A busy but essentially meaningless weekend. Friday, I spent most of the day
at Jenn's place "supervising" the move. I was the only person able to walk on Saturday morning, I think. Saturday was running
a few errands and going to CAST. Sunday, Logan came to visit and we just hung out and talked movies and comic books - as usual.
Very fun, very non-strenuous.
By the way, who won the Superbowl?
The scale continues to bring forth good news - 137lbs. Feel free to go read week two of the diet journal. Even with the post-intervention plateau, I'm still sure I'll reach 135 before the 16th.
CAST went alright, although I'm ever so slightly smug about the fact that Alex conceded that he should have listened to my voice of doubt and crafted another plot line to ensure that things kept bubbling. But I think most of the players had a good time. I expected more a reaction to Bone's bloodless coup of the throne, but - hell - we've noticed before that the court is politically apathetic.
Patricia had a vaguely good time. She was very happy about having carved up a PC like a roast during downtime and cajoling another one into undergoing the same treatment. Contrariwise, I'm still frustrated by a lack of long-term planning for the character. Part of the problem is borne of my role as narrator. It's tough to scheme when one knows all the plots, and I've long since put myself into the role of someone who will pick up the puck and hurl it back into play. Characters will introduce themselves to Patricia, and I will make a point of mentioning other characters or incidents that I think will appeal to them (as well as amuse the player). But those incidents rarely involve Patricia, herself - the curse of being so unique, I guess.
But what little Trish-ish activity I got up to managed to wake her up a bit, I think. She's rattling the bars of her cage again - wanting me to think about the ramifications of carving up a courtier and such like. But I have to be careful that I don't go careening back over territory she has already trodden - I want the character to evolve a bit, really! Trish also wants me to finish that dam' Dead Time story that's been plaguing me for something like nine months, now. I'm going to dedicate some bath-time to it (like so many writers, I find ideas come to me in the shower) and see if I can't get it sorted out. The end is within sight, I think. I just need to get there!
interesting couple of days. Monday night, in particular...
Round 'bout 1:30AM Tuesday morning, we're woken up by a knock on the door. Alex, being the braver of the two of us, goes to see what's going on, whilst I reach for the phone, ready to dial 911 if need be. So much for that idea, as it was the cops at our door, wondering if we were the parents of two teenagers that had just been pulled over - as said teenagers (who had pulled into our driveway) were claiming. Alex, of course, replies that he's never seen these kids in his life. Cops nod sagely and tell Alex what's going on. The kids were pulled over for speeding, just around the corner, and they were vehemently claiming if they could just go to their dad's house, everything would be fine. Yeah, right.
So, when the kids realize that they've shot themselves in the foot, they start clamoring that, oops, they're on the wrong street. Dad is a couple of streets down, could they please, please, please just go get their dad. By this point, the cops are, of course, smelling a mouse. They search the car. They find a gun in the backseat, as well as a laptop computer and a few bits of paper that elict a lot of interest. Teenagers are cuffed and hauled away. Alex is asked to give a statement - I remained hiding in the back room through all of this - and the police go on their merry way.
Tuesday morning, Alex reads in the paper that two teenagers were implicated in a drive-by shooting in Antioch which happened, oh, about an hour before these boys showed up in our driveway. Hmmm... No wonder the cops were jumping out of their skins. We're going to watch the police blotter for the next couple of days and see if we can figure out what the hell happened.
The whole incident left me a bit jumpy. Thank heavens cops never trust teenagers when they pull them over...
Interesting...it seems I was deluding myself when I thought I had a 30 inch waist for the past couple of years. Turns out it's been closer to 34 inches. Well, now it's 32 - yay, I suppose. So how come whenever I sewed garments made for a 30 inch waist, they fit just fine? I'm baffled. Alright, that's it for diet talk.
Hmmm, an acquaintance of mine is having a big 'garage sale' on Sunday. I wouldn't care, but she used to work at the discount fabric place on Haight and has mentioned that she's clearing out her fabric store. Hm... I wonder when that tax refund is going to come through?
I've figured it out. Joss Whedon is testing the FCC to see if they're even paying attention to his shows any more. Between Angel on Monday and Buffy on Tuesday, I've been needing a lot of cold showers lately. I just about fell off the sofa last night when Spike and Buffy were at the Bronze. Not that I'm complaining mind you. It's all been good fun, too. Perhaps the FCC is too busy concerning itself with Brittany's latest Pepsi ad. I don't care if the critics are calling it 'surprisingly demure' - in my book o'definitions, demure and visible nipples are mutually exclusive.
The latest twists in Buffy have got Paul And Yvette rattling the bars of their cage again. I guess those similarities just woke 'em up - although what's going on with Spike and Buffy is much more reminiscent of Rachel and Paul. Still, they can just hush until I'm done with the latest Dead Time installment (had a bit of a breakthrough over the weekend) and my complete background for Renee...
If there are any reports of sudden, unexpected thunderstorms over the central county area, don't panic. It's just Michael and I talking about the CAST logo and website design. I know Mike's an artist and all - earns a living at it, and everything - but I've sat in on enough marketing meetings to have picked up a fair whack by osmosis. Certainly enough to know that using the Astigma font for a vampire troupe is a bad idea. Astigma is one of those heavily distressed fonts and very hard to read at any size... But MG has fallen in love with the Blizzard logo, and I don't think he's going to listen to me when I tell him that what works for a computer game company won't necessarily work for a Vampire LARP.
Before I get into the rest of it - the latest ramblings about The Diet. Enjoy, if that's your thing these days...
Today was rambling
of another kind - I went to San Francisco with my tax-refund burning a hole
in my pocket, and went on a fabric bender. Actually, I stuck to my budget
but not without some serious teeth-gritting...
The day began, as many of my days in San Francisco do, over in the Squat and Gobble cafe on Haight Street. Since I had gotten up with Alex - I didn't see the point in sleeping an extra hour, because it would have meant not getting in to the city until noon - I was at Haight forty-five minutes before the discount fabric place opened. So I chilled out with a big breakfast and a cup of tea. I suffered massive guilt for forgetting to tell the waitstaff that I only wanted the omelet - no bread, no potatoes - but I doubt they're going to stay up nights about my waste of foodstuffs.
Sitting in the window, enjoying the sunlight and reading Tim Brookes' travelogue A Hell of A Place to Lose A Cow, I finally sussed out why I like reading 'armchair travel' books so much, particularly when sitting in the window of a reasonably-funky breakfast joint. I'm secretly hoping some other sharp-eyed writer will pass by and, I don't know, be struck my winsome-yet-erudite pose and I'll end up as a footnote in some similar recollection. Knowing my luck, the only way a sharp-eyed author would make mention of me, would be as an example of some insufferable bourgeoisie quality, but daydreams are always so pleasant...
I visited the Discount Fabric Store and Mendel's Far Out Fabrics in quick succession. Man, oh man, did I nearly drop a ton of money. Both stores had such a lovely variety of brocades, taffetas, burnout velvets and that deeply nifty metallic two-tone mesh that is so popular these days. I managed to stave off bankruptcy by reminding myself that I wanted to make clothing I would wear more than once - although practical fabric was sadly lacking at both of these stores... So I bought three yards of a really nice silver lamé - the heavy stuff, not crinkly tissue lamé - for a pair of Hollywood pants. I've always wanted to do that, y'see... Sort of "Glamour Girl Meets The Disco Age" - sort of.
Alas, the hike to the two fabric stores on Clement proved a bust. One of them was a chi-chi interior-decor type place (oops) and the other had a very limited selection of very tatty stuff that I didn't want. Honestly, I tried looking for corduroy (I like using fine waled corduroy for pants) and other practical fabrics, but it seems that the practical stuff didn't last long enough to get remaindered this season. Still the mile-and-something walk from Haight to Clement was a time for pleasant introspection. I had my CD player in the bag, bopping out tunes - whenever "Soul Bossa Nova" comes on, I keep waiting for a spontaneous musical number to break out around me, a la Austin Powers. One day it will - I just hope someone will show me the steps!
A nice thing about the city - you can happily lip synch to your favorite tunes while you walk down the street. No-one makes eye contact with you anyways, so who says they're going to notice? That's a difference I've noticed between walking in suburbia and in the Big Bad City. When I'm trotting down to the local BART station here in town, most of the passers-by will say hello, or give a friendly nod. Not in The City. No doubt such gestures are a considered a short cut to murder and mayhem - or at least a really annoying panhandling riff - by urbanites.
But walking through the city is far more interesting than walking through the 'burbs. Even the relatively quiet stretch of the Richmond was more interesting than anything Concord has to offer. Faux-Victorian houses with wide open curtains offer all sorts of material for the nosey speculative thinkers. And when that palls, I can always wonder what some post-war architect was thinking when he dropped a row of what looked like stucco bungalows in the middle of a pretty street. The tiny terraced houses with their equally-tiny strips of front yard reminded me of the huddled houses I would see from the train as it crawled towards Victoria Station. Well-meant, an attempt to make maximum use of minimum space, but almost utterly unwelcoming after a few decades of grit and smog had dusted the walls. But all I had to do was turn my head and look directly into the local health club - bursting with vitality and and a different brand of masochism.
I noticed that the San Francisco dwellers are still wearing a lot of black. It's almost like they're trying to match the urban architecture - soot, ash and concrete colors are everywhere. Only the tourists stand out as little misplaced puddles of color. Returning to Union Square from the Inner Richmond was like being dropped into an advertisement for a Caribbean cruise.
To assuage my disappointment at the Clement bust - and because it was barely noon by the time I returned downtown - I hiked down to the one of my formerly-favorite fabric haunts: the Discount Fabric Warehouse on 3rd and Bryant. Once again, I was assailed by a wonderful variety of impractical fabrics - this time mostly velvets of various types. I almost bought four yards of crushed black panne velvet for another Claire McCladdel cloister dress (Metropolitan Museum of Art issue, I love that pattern) but I decided that one was enough for now. Then I wistfully fondled some relatively-cheap purple silk - only $18/yard - and thought of long skirts and shirtage. But, once again, reason prevailed and I put that back.
However, I did walk out with a yard and a half of simply amazing silver jacquard (it's reversible!) and some dark red not-quite-burnout velveteen with a charming pattern of undulating lines running the length of the bolt. It's going to make a fantastic long skirt - slightly dressy, but not overly so. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the jacquard. I thought of a jacket, at first, but I realized that would be a bit too Leisure Suit Larry, so now I'm thinking mini-skirt... or perhaps a masculine styled shirt, but without buttons, a chinese collar and worn open, if that makes any sense. (You mean a tunic, Johanna? - uh yeah, I guess). It'll look fabulous, I hope.
After that, it was 1:30 and my feet were grumbling seriously about the new pair of sneakers I was breaking in. So I decided to skip going down to the Mission - the Discount Store there has corduroy usually, but otherwise would have had much the same inventory as the places on Haight and 3rd Street - and headed for home. At Concord BART, I told me feet to cope with a few minutes' more abuse, as I trotted over to the hairdresser and made an appointment for tomorrow, and then hopped the bus for home. My feet are very happy, and so am I.
The weather has been gorgeous, and it was a great day for walking through the city. I hope it stays gorgeous tomorrow, as I want to walk to my hair appointment - although probably not back again!
Now I just have to convince myself to finish cleaning the kitchen, rather than pulling out all my new fabric and going through patterns...
None. Nada. Not a thing. I'm looking forward to DunDraCon, though, which is a change from usual. The past couple of years, I considered it a bit of a chore, almost - I've gotten too fussy about my games to usually jump in with a strange GM and I've long-since gotten too old to stay up past 2AM more than one night a month. But this year it's a different story. I'm not entirely sure why, but I'm going to enjoy the feeling while it lasts!
The latest about The Diet. Enjoy.
I know, I know,
it's been a week. Mea culpa.
Last week continued with only slight moments of surreality. Being accosted by one of Concord's few roaming crazies who wanted me to hear all about his desire to become a woman, because he "wants to go through all that bleeding and stuff, because I like blood," was extremely strange. I was very tempted to tell the chap that if he wanted to bleed on a regular basis, he could just explore the realm of self mutilation, but there are some things you don't say to people who clearly need medication...
The next three days, I spent sewing. No, seriously. If I was awake, I was at my machine. I loved it, of course, although my projects didn't come out quite as I had hoped. The liquid-silver pants came out more MC Hammer than retro-glamour, so they've been put aside with the intention to recut/revamp when skinner times come along. The purple shimmery tank top decided to fundamentally disagree with the notion of being sewn - but that was a calculated risk, given that it was a sort of organza-type fabric. It's currently awaiting some radical redesign. I'm going to tear it apart - not so bad, given that it's only three pieces - and recut it on more flattering lines (it looks like a field-hockey shirt right now) and also finish the collars and armholes in a way more suitable to the fabric. But the silver jacquard mini-skirt came out great, as the almost-finished wavy-red long skirt is showing similar signs of success, yay!
This week, it's back to job-hunting. I pretty much let things go last week, since I was entirely too distracted by the impending convention. But I'm out of excuses now - although the house really could do with a good cleaning...
I could go into long intricate detail about my experience at DunDraCon, but I don't think that would be too interesting. For a lot of this sort of thing, you had to have been there. But I can do a fast recap.
The Dave/Rob V&V game was...alright. Actually, I really didn't enjoy it. I'm not entirely sure why Dave/Rob were so insistent that I join in, really. They had plenty of players - they actually had to turn people away at the door - and the character I was handed was hardly one that required my particular talents. The fact that the entire team rolled almost nothing but botches all night didn't do much for our mood, either. That's the last time I borrow dice... Still, the game produced some amusing quotes, such as "So, there I was in the castle basement, surrounded by NecroNazis..."
Saturday was the usual social-flitting and heavy drinking. I didn't make too much of an ass of myself or if I did, I don't remember it, so I'm not going to lie awake at night about it. Alex was more sensible, he retreated back to the room at about 10PM with an armload of newly acquired 7th Sea books and read half the night.
Sunday was mostly, go figure, hangover recovery. However, Alex and I had a great chat with the Dreams of Deidre crew, and we've agreed to collaborate on a convention event next year. Initially, it was looking like a Mage live action game (the idea sets my teeth on edge, but Alex seemed very keen) but we think that there's a chance we can convince the DoD dudes to consider a 7th Sea larp. But we've got 12 months, so there's plenty of time for hashing all this out in the future..
The only other event of note was that, once again, Alex is being tapped by the CEO of Skotos to help plot Lovecraft Country. I thought this project had quietly died on the vine months ago, but it seems that it just got stalled by legalese issues with Chaosium, during which the lead developer for the project left the company. Oops. So now Chris Hutchins is back to buttering up Alex. On the one hand, it could be a hell of a thing to participate in - helping develop this vast text-based online RPG - and would look great on the resume. On the other hand, it's an unpaid gig - strictly volunteer - and it could easily suck up all of Alex's free time. All of it. Alex is already talking about finding someone else to take over the CAST logistics and I doubt he would be feeling too inclined to keep working on his Star Wars game - or even the 7th Sea ideas I know are currently fermenting in his skull - if he's spending twenty hours a week or so with Skotos.
And, oh yeah, I totally failed to corner the one guy on my 'Corner him if you can' list, but that was okay. I'm getting a little old - and lazy - for that sort of shenanigans, anyways.
I'm thinking about
officially cutting this journal back to a weekly event, at least until I
have something more to say than: No work, house messy, cat rambunctious,
I think I'll go sew. It's all getting a bit monotonous, y'know?
Actually, Max should be calming down, shortly, given that he's going to the lo-cost clinic today to get neutered, as well as his very-overdue shots. I feel bad, packing the fella off to vet, knowing that it will frighten him, but he'll recover, and maybe he'll stop beating up on Tigger so much, too.
In a fit of
optimism, I've sent my resume off to LucasArts, since their site declares
they need an AA. It's optimistic in more ways than one, as San Rafael is not
an easy commute from my neck of the woods. I'm hoping that MG - a former
employee of LucasArts - gets hired back on there (he might, he's angling for
an interview) and then we could carpool. It's a slender thread on which to
hang some hope, but what the hell.
Slender threads have been the theme of the moment. Following a wild impulse, I've sent my resume - unsolicited - to several casting agencies in San Francisco, on the off chance that they need some help. I really don't want to end up in a faceless MegaCorp or some teetering dot-com again - although, given the choice, I'll take the dot-com - and I thought that, heck, maybe the hectic-yet-interesting setting of a casting office might appeal to me. This is the same reasoning that led to my sending off a resume to a gallery in SF, too - but I never heard back from them. Bah.
Maybe I just write awful cover letters, or something...
In the meantime,
I've been doing a few things. Cussing my diet, finishing/re-doing some
sewing projects (finishing red skirt, unpicking and re-cutting purple tank
top) and putting together my so-called 'writing portfolio'.
That last one has been a simultaneously entertaining and humbling project. There's a story behind this, so bear with me.
For the past couple of months, I've had an archive of 60s fashion images online, over at tripod.com. Just yesterday I discovered that not only do they have a limit of 1GB data transfer a month, but my site's been shut down at least once, when it wasn't over limit, according to their own little data-meter. Grr... Pause. Thinks. Realizes: I can register a domain thru drak.net for half the price of Network Solutions, and host a site for reasonably little money...
Upshot: I finally bought foozwak.com - there's a story behind that too, but it's too silly to get into, either you get it or you don't - and I'm in the process of setting it up as an online portfolio site for Alex and myself, as well as a new home for The Electric Swinging Pussycat Lounge site. 250MB, 3GB transfer and five POP3 for $10/month - less if I pay quarterly, which I am. It should all be online by Tuesday afternoon.
That was the fun part. Now for the humbling bit. Putting my 'portfolio' together. Sure, I've got that huge-assed writing archive but very little of it is a) original and b) written in the last five years. After I finished school, almost all of my writing has been RPG fiction - derivative of someone else's game-setting - and fan-fiction, which is just as bad. Not anything one would want to show a potential employer as proof of my originality and creativity. Sure, I can string words into a sentence - usually - but gamer-fic is hardly the height of original human thought.
Still, I managed to cobble something together. An excerpt from my Forbidden Kingdoms work, my h2g2 article, and the review I just did for Black Gate. I included two personal pieces, too. One is a short screenplay which has a very narrative tone, and the other is - of all things - my Matrix fanfic, but with a very cocky little note about it being 'featured' in Matrix Revisited and I'll take it down as soon as I have something - anything! - to replace it with. That covers a decent range of subject matter, and shows that I can write in a variety of voices and settings.
With that in mind, I've told Don I'll do at least two reviews for the next issue of Black Gate, and I'm wondering about re-writing my Costuming For A LARP bit and trying to sell it to him as a bit of filler. But it's going to need a lot of fluffing and spicing up if I want to do that and I'm not entirely sure it would be BG's cup of tea... But it can't hurt.
In the meantime, maybe I should get back to that dam' screenplay that BJ and I were talking about. The Gattaca meets A Clockwork Orange idea I kicked around a couple of years ago. But BJ is such a kickass writer, I'm sure he'll leave me in his dust. And there's the simple fact of getting together with a collaborator in SF who keeps artist's hours is never terribly easy. Sigh. The travails one has to suffer... *melodramatic pose*
Much to my relief, the CAST game last weekend was called off at the last minute. Not only was I relieved that I wouldn't have to miss a game - I was booked to go to Howard's Jedi game - but also because I just don't think the plots are quite gelled yet. Now Mike, Alex and I have a few extra days to brainstorm ideas...
I'm still torn about my future with that group. One day I think "I should quit, before the BS recurs" and then it's "No, I don't need to quit, I should just retire Patricia and go on to NPC duty". And then it's "Retire Patricia? Are you mad? She'll never forgive you!" I never thought I would be living in fear of one of my own characters...
I might have an easier time resolving matters if I knew for sure that Dark Odyssey was going to get off the ground. I'm rather keen to try Renee out, and see if she will work in a LARP. If she does, that will almost certainly guarantee my leaving CAST, as I'll have 3 Saturdays a month taken up by Vampire LARPing, and that really is a bit too much.
My first attendance to Howard's Jedi game was moderately enjoyable. The game was quite low-key - following what was reportedly a very exciting encounter with the senate of the New Republic - which I didn't really mind, as it gave me a chance to get to know the other characters.
I'm already worried - in and out of character - by Bob's misogynistic Chiss. I can understand the allure of a challenge - namely the challenge of trying to play a character who is aspiring to be a Jedi, but also has some mighty character flaws. But I'm wondering about Bob's justification for picking that particular flaw. According to Jennifer - who has been in the campaign since the beginning - Bob likes to stir up the shit for the hell of it, and that kind of character quirk would certainly give him the means to do so. Sigh. I suppose it'll be up to me and Jenn to bust his little red wagon between us. In the meantime, I'm going to do my best not to grind my teeth at the fact that, yet again, Bob seems to be playing a character who is determined to be an individual in a team setting. What's that Japanese saying? The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. The trick would be to do it in such a way that isn't going to earn me Dark Side points...
Howard has set the game about twenty years after the Timothy Zahn Thrawn books, an era about which I have only the sketchiest knowledge. Fortunately, I think Howard is making up a lot of it as he goes along too. But the setting has given me a chance to play a very interesting character. A citizen of the Imperial Empire who has enrolled in the Jedi Academy - the first such citizen to do so, in fact. Howard and I have already exchanged a few ideas about the subtly different ways such a person might interpret the way of the Force, as well as those not-so-subtle differences, like protesting the blatant bias in the Academy's teaching curriculum. Heh.
I expect the pace will pick up in the next game or so, and then the fur will start flying - in a purely spiritual way, of course.
one game that I didn't want to end has done so. Rob has had to shut
down the Aberrant game, because Real Life is demanding all of his
time. That's what happens when you work full time, have two kids and are
trying to go to grad school. I can't be mad at the guy for having his
priorities straight, but I'll miss the game. I felt like we were very close
to finally coming together as a unit and having some really good RP.
Alex has just told me that he's cooking up an idea for a 7th Sea tabletop game, which would be a great break from Vampire - as well as another reason to leave CAST, if Alex's game occurs at all regularly. Fortunately, he's thinking about using the Port Townsend crew, so I can't imagine us being able to get together any more frequently than the once-every-two-months-or-so that is the current standard.
Better yet, Alex has said that not only can I play Elena, but that I must play her for at least the first episode. Neat! I've had to do some alterations to her background, now that I've actually read the core rules-book, and a couple of supplements - I didn't realize Vodacce women weren't allowed to be literate, etc... But it's just going to make the character more interesting in the long run, I hope!
As usual, other projects loom on the horizon. Alex and I have been talking to the Dreams of Deirdre crew about co-running a larp with them at DunDraCon in '03, and I'm rather hoping it could be a 7th Sea larp, rather than the Mage game that is currently being kicked around. Not that I don't like Mage, but I've had enough of running WoD events, I think, and I hardly know a thing about the current incarnation of Mage... Besides, a 7th Sea event would mean all that skull-sweat I've dedicated towards figuring out costuming for a Vodacce Fate Witch would not have been in vain! BTW, I've heavily re-written that article, if you're curious...