Sorry for the long break, but there hasn't been much of a reason to post anything. I've hit
that brain-dead stage of unemployment. And that's a shame, as there are lots of things I would like to do - or should be doing -
such as writing, or sewing, or cleaning up the house, but I just can't get motivated enough to haul myself away from the computer
or my latest book to do anything about it.
At least I'm still reading, which I guess is something. Having chewed through my usual old favorites - various fantasy/SF novelists and a couple of murder mystery authors - I'm now rummaging through that stack of stuff I bought and never quite got around to reading for one reason or another. At the moment, I'm elbow-deep in The Hitler Options: Ten Alternate Decisions of World War II. It's rather interesting, but very dry, as it's written by a bunch of military historians who are clearly assuming that I know a Ju-82 tank from an Ju-88 and why it matters that one type was put on the field instead of the other... I'll probably loan it to Dan when I'm finished with it, as I think it might be his cup of tea.
But intellectual distractions don't diminish the fact that the house is filthy, we're running out of money - it's going to be a close call as to whether that unemployment paperwork comes through in time for rent, as a whole bunch of people did like me and waited for the new year to file and receive the benefit of the increased payout. No doubt that was a nasty shock to the state's economists on the morning of January 6th. Y'know how we were thinking that the economy was picking up because new claims for the dole went down? Well, guess what? The claim center just melted down from call volume - and that's true, it did. It took five hours of redialing for my fax form to get through, which is why I'm hoping it didn't get lost in the pile... You can imagine how easy it's going to be to call and confirm a claim...
Had my annual catch-up with Chris H. last week, and that was very nice. The poor sod lost his job after the startup game company he was pushing pixels for went belly-up, but he's already got some nibbles from other would-be employers, so he's feeling pretty sanguine about his situation. I wish I could say the same. I met with another recruiter last week, but I don't have much hope of that coming to anything... And my whopping paycheck from two days' filing is precisely $20 less than the cost of the living room window that was smashed last week. *Sigh*
Okay, okay, you've waited long enough. Time for a Max picture!
|And this is about typical of the pair, these days. Tigger - on the right - is sitting in just about the only place left in the house that Max can't reach. Max, meanwhile, loves sitting on the monitor, leaning over and chasing the cursor across the screen|
Amongst the other books I'm reading, I'm ploughing through The 48 Laws Of Power, which is a very entertaining book, especially if you're a Vampire player - although I'll gladly recommend it to all you Lawful-Evil types, too. This book picks up where Machiavelli left off and delves into all the so-called rules of power that supposedly enable one to claw their way to the top in whichever venue they choose. Each law is illustrated with examples l from history, amusing little anecdotes, etc. With laws like Act Like a Friend, Work Like A Spy and Always Let Others Do The Work For You, But Always Take the Credit, it's very much the ultimate Vampire players' guide. I've even gone so far as scanning in the summary of the laws from the beginning of the book and posting them online for my fellow Vampire nuts to read. Anything to improve the level of intrigue in your average game, really. Feel free to take a look yourself. If nothing else, it's an interesting chunk of human thought - or an alarming one...
Now, eagerness to get the pot-boiling in CAST aside, I'm really worried by the idea of anyone using this book - or one like it - as an actual life-style guide. Sure, in theory it all makes sense, but putting it into practice... it's liable to ruin your life, methinks. But for gaming purposes? Oh boy. The publisher is going to wonder why there was this sudden run on copies in Northern California. Gaiser's bought a copy, James and Jenn are on the verge of getting copies and I know a few others who will probably be converted to the tome once they see it... Heh.
And if ever there was a good time for everyone in CAST to get on the intrigue-wagon, it's now. The playership has hit a stage of mushroom-like growth - five new guys last game and looking at four or five more for the next one, so the de-facto elders might have to actually start working to keep their positions. Heavens know, Patricia is keeping a close eye on her tail-feathers. Alas, I can't quite play her "By The Book" (that book being the one referenced above) since she is Malkavian, and a wee bit impatient and unsubtle... Still I think we're entering a new phase o'fun with that crowd.
Thinking of new phases, Rob & Dave's Aberrant game seems to have hit that. We played again last weekend and I can only hope that things will improve from there. Sure, we drove a big badass off the field of battle, and we got a couple of new team-mates, but the group isn't a team yet, and it's starting to get annoying. I know James isn't the only person getting a bit frustrated out-of-character as well as in. Still, it's just a superhero game, so I'm not going to stay up at night, worrying about it.
I'm actually in a
good mood today - shock, horror! - so I thought I had better post a happy
entry before the feeling wore off.
Why am I in a happy mood, you ask? It's not just because I had a strangely luscious dream about eating butterscotch swirls with Rob A. immediately before the alarm went off, I assure you - but I will admit that it might be a factor...
1) My unemployment paperwork showed up and has been duly filled out and sent back to the proper bureaucrats, so my first unemployment check should be showing up just in time to make rent and save Alex and I from further iniquity.
2) I've been sewing lots for the past couple of days and enjoying it - more about that in a tick.
3) I've decided to take the plunge and give the hi-protein/lo-carb diet a go for a month. More on that in a moment.
4) And, by sheer amazing luck, I've managed to track down a girlhood pal of mine - Lera - who I haven't seen in nearly 20 years. Even better, she actually remembers me, too and we've started exchanging e-mails.
It's that last one that's really got me chuffed, go figure. It seems that even after all this time, Lera and I still have things in common. She too is a larper and nutso for cats - although she hasn't had much time for either, as she's in the final month of preparing her PhD dissertation on climate change in the Amazon. Heady stuff! But we've exchanged promises to swap lengthy e-mails once her dissertation is done and she's recovered from the post-review drinkup, and that just tickles me pink.
Yeah, I'm a big sentimentalist - what of it? Heck, I'm running out of things to do around the house - anything to avoid cleaning it - so it shouldn't be a surprise I'm e-mailing old pals out of the ether. Speaking of which, I have got to find a phone number for Alice G... I've been so beastly bad at keeping in touch with her that she deserves a call...
Geeze, get a load of Anglophilia gal over here - beastly, chuffed... Must be all that BBC America I've been watching this week. Daytime TV is such a wasteland, and even Auntie Beeb is hit or miss with it's ongoing fascination with running repeats of Keeping Up Appearances and Monarch of the Glen. My beloved Ballykissangel has totally vanished from the screen, so I'm forced to write whining letters to PBS - who used to run it, too - begging for its return.
So, the diet
has been waving pom-poms for the lo-carb/hi-protein thing for months, and
I've been casually listening to testimonials from other people. Although the
medical community doesn't like the routine - I can't say I blame them, after
reading the long list of potential side-effects from overdoing the Atkins
plan - I've heard an awful lot of people say it's a great way to lose a few
pounds. So, what the hell...
I've been chatting with Jennifer, and I'm probably going to give it a go for four weeks - the theory being that even a really bad diet can't do too much damage to me in four weeks. I hope! The really tough thing is going to be giving up bread. I can just about face life without chips (time to buy celery sticks!) and french fries. But bread? I love that stuff... But if it helps me shed a few pounds and maybe keep them off, I think I could live without it for a few weeks. Supposedly I could lose between eight and fifteen pounds in a month and I'm willing to give it a chance.
I know that even if I do initially lose weight through this nigh-voodoo diet, I'll still have to work at keeping it off, afterwards. After all, there's no way I'm dumping bread out of my diet forever, although I will concede that I'll be better off without the fries and the chips... So I know this isn't a magickal cure-all - more of a kickstart for my esteem so I'll feel some incentive to keep the weight off and tone up my baggy skin. I know I'll never fit into my high-school jeans ever again, but it would be nice if my hips could see the thin side of 40 inches. And, unlike most woman, I'm praying for weight to immediately vanish from my bust - I know, I know, oh the irony. Time to change the subject!
Hm, Max makes a better door than a window. He's taken to sitting in front of the monitor, when he's not draped on top of it and it's making typing a little difficult. Still, it's unspeakably adorable when he sits on the monitor, leans over and chases the mouse-pointer on the screen. *Squeal*!
Let's see... I've been doing some oops-I-guess-I-couldn't-slack-off-that-task sewing on my gorgeous Gothic-Lolita inspired overcoat - hemming down some inside edges so the interfacing doesn't show if the coat is blown open. I also made a fast-and-easy skirt with some very funky gray mottled spandex I've had sitting in my fabric pile for years - two panels, 30 inches of elastic and no waiting. I've got some vague thoughts about wearing it to the game on Saturday, but I'm not sure - mostly because of some other dam'fool idea I've got.
I'm working on a muslin right now, but I'm trying to put together a pattern for a very closely fitted hobble skirt - pretty much tight-tight-tight to the knees, and then closely hobbled to the floor. Vinyl, of course, is being considered - I'm not even sure if I have enough PVC for the finished product, but I can still go ahead with the muslin - and I'm going to add entirely non-functional lacing up the sides and back for that fetish-meets-Frederick's of Hollywood look. Just to have something totally impractical to wear for the CAST game this weekend...
I wish I had some black ciré to sew. I've got a great blouse-y pattern that would look fabulous in black ciré. I'll never finish kicking myself for passing it up that time I found it for $8/yd at the discount fabric joint...
Had a good ST meeting for CAST, last night. I've learned a couple of things about Gaiser - things I don't think I'm allowed to mention online - but it's given me some insight into his GMing style and general approach to life, and that has made managing our occasionally hectic ST meetings not exactly easier, but less wearying... Also, Alex has done a couple of nifty things - little status reports on the plots - that make tracking things much easier. With luck, fewer plots will slide past us from now on. We're having to think very long term, right now, as Gaiser wants to start laying down groundwork for an even that's not going to happen until the fall... Just keeping the players in suspense for that long will be a challenge unto itself.
We've got at least 4 new/returning-after-a-long-absence players coming in on Saturday, bringing the total active playership to 29, which just rocks. We've got two new Toreador, a Brujah and a Malkavian coming in. Now we just need some more Ventrue!
Of course, there's some potential stickiness accompanying our increased numbers. It seems that Player A, who has past issues with Players B & C and therefore agreed to check with B & C to see if it was alright that he join the game didn't check in with them, and blithely handed in his concept, anyways - and we forgot to follow up with Player A to make sure that B & C had been warned. Player B has rung in and said he'll be a bit uncomfortable with Player A's presence, but he'll live. I'm waiting to hear from Player C, as that's the one I'm really worrying about. Ahh, all the subtle dynamics of a high-school cafeteria... It's just a game. It's just a game. It's just a game...
subconscious can drop the Rob A. theme any time. It must be the
Speaking of which, yes, today is Day One of the diet. Since I rather doubt that y'all are going to want to hear the intricacies of precisely how badly I want a chocolate bar, already, I'm going to be keeping my diet journal on a separate area of the site. Furthermore, I'm not going to post my meanderings on the subject until the first week is completed, so those of who would be amused by my carbo-starved rantings (sadists!) have to wait a few days...
One final dietary-type note: Congratulations to Jennifer, who just reached the 25% mark of her total weight loss goal. Yay!
sucked up by the CAST
game and Sunday was mostly consumed by recovery and grocery shopping, so it
was a quiet weekend, really.
Lera pointed me towards Friends Reunited as a way to track down some more long-lost pals. I've thrown pings out towards Katy B. and Alice. The latter of the two is now working as a missionary in Romania which, I must admit, is a hell of a surprise. But if she's happy, I'm glad - Alice has been striving for satisfaction for far too long.
Well, I'm glad I didn't have enough PVC on hand to go ahead and make that vinyl-hobble skirt. The outfit I had in mind for Saturday's game would have almost precisely matched that of another player and, frankly, it was more in-character for her to be wearing it, anyways. Instead, I made a pretty green and black brocade skirt (good for office wear) and then discovered I had retained just enough water for it to be uncomfortable around the waist. Sigh, this diet is happening at just the right time, I think. Anyways, it's a darn nice skirt. Now I'm rummaging through my fabric stash looking for things I can make shirts/blouses with...
Admittedly, I'm a bit leery about sewing anything too complicated/expensive right now. Heavens forbid I manage to stick to this diet and actually lose weight... I would be left with a wardrobe of slightly-too-big clothing. So I'm thinking I should hold off on making anything new for at least a few weeks. Probably for the best, anyways.
For having almost no plots created for it, I think the CAST game went pretty well. A couple of the new guys - and one long-term player who has consistently ignored plots we've thrown at him - have been muttering that the game is the "Johanna and Alex Show" (I wish!) but I'm not going to stay awake at night worrying about them. Besides, I've got a few plot ideas that will focus on non-courtly matters, which should shake things up a bit. I hope.
At the moment, far more of my brain power has been taken up by coping with Gaiser's excitement about buying a domain name, space on a server - Drak.net, pagan friendly web-hosting - and downloading a copy of Ikonboard. Oh boy, the next few weeks are going to be interesting. I seem some...spirited...discussions in our future, already.
Ryan, Rory and Jake are getting ready to launch a new Vampire LARP, Dark Odyssey and I'm tossing a couple of concepts into the mix. Since only the 7 Cam clans are allowed, I still can't play Svetlana or Adriana but I've dusted off the idea for Renee - yet another Malkavian - and created two new ideas. One is for a fairly standard Toreador wannabe Harpy, and the other for a earth-and-blood magick type Tremere who sounds more like Willow the more I write about her. We're allowed to throw an ancilla/elder idea in, too, and I've been wracking my brains. At first, I was thinking I would want to play a Malkie, but I realized that most of the players would just expect Trisha again - or think that I've got no imagination - so I've tossed that idea out. I've got an idea for a Gangrel elder, but she's not setting me on fire... Maybe a Ventrue control-freak...
It's going to be a while until the next Aberrant game, which is a shame, because I'm really looking forward to dealing with the challenge presented by the team. I'm trying very carefully not to tread on James' toes. His character has seniority, and if anyone's going to be laying down the law in the group, I want it to be him, but - as has been noted before - I've got an awful big mouth and can be kinda pushy at times. So I just keep telling myself Remember, Jane's not used to working with other novas, she's not going to have any idea how to deal with these situations and keep my mouth shut. But, I dunno. Geist (Gaiser's character) has lately acquired the delusion that his wife and family are not dead, and a psychotic nova is a thing that no-one needs... What fun!
Phew! A Rob A. free evening. I guess bludgeoning my subconscious with protein has done some good. Aside from that, I would kill someone for a Coke, right now. Just point 'em out, and I'll gladly strangle them. Further details in the forthcoming diet journal, and now I'm going to change the subject.
I heard from Katy
B. and she's doing very well. She's teaching in London, has a little boy, is
happily married and all the rest of it. I was dead chuffed to hear from her,
and I'm hoping to hear more, soon. Actually, I'm just dam' thankful I didn't
get an e-mail back saying Johanna, who?
Ironically enough, Katy's sister has just moved back to Blighty after spending five years in...San Francisco. If only I had undertaken this search a little sooner!
Otherwise, all is quiet in the land of the unemployed. The kitchen is overdue for a cleaning - as is the bathroom, the living room and the den, so I think I'll be getting some exercise in those areas over the next few days. I might as well do something whilst throwing resumes into the black inky void.
Going in to the city on Friday to see Gaelic Storm. Yeah, they're a trendoid band - they were the 'steerage band' in Titanic - but they're playing in a small enough venue (a club in SoMa) to be worth the trouble of going into the city at night. I've picked up two of their CDs and rather enjoyed 'em, although they're a bit thin on original material on that first disk... Still, I haven't been to a live musical performance in over a year, so it should be fun.
It looks like I'm going to be playing Renée in Dark Odyssey. I'm looking forward to trying her out, although I'm not sure how well she's going to work out in a LARP. I just hope the other players don't roll their eyes and think "Oh look, Johanna's playing another Malkavian." Outwardly, she's very different from Patricia, so I'm hoping any critical players take note of that... Inwardly...well, there are similarities, yes, but I think I'm always going to play characters who are overly concerned with power on one level or another.
Meanwhile, Alex and I managed to totally mess up our plans by forgetting that it's not his Star Wars game this Friday (which we were just going to cancel, because we're going to the city) but Howard's Jedi game. Oops. Fortunately, it seems that Howard can wrap up some loose plot-ends with those that show, and my and Alex's arrival can wait. I'm not entirely sold on this game, yet, but Howard keeps dangling an Imperial Jedi character in front of me, and I find that hard to resist...
Sunday is the Port Townsend game. I love playing Janice, I really do, I just don't play her often enough any more to get a handle on her beyond "Angel Wannabe", these days. It's just so bloody hard to get Kevin, Alex, me, Logan and Jennifer all together at the same time. Regardless of the game - which I'm kind of lukewarm about, mostly because of the enforced infrequency - it will be good to see Logan et al, again. I haven't seen him, or Kevin for ages. With luck, Janice will finally be out of the bedlam that got forced upon her by that Unseelie Pooka...
Good lord, has it really been five days? Time sure flies when you're having fun... and sick as a dog... and helping a friend move...
First, the diet
news. Even though I've hit Day 8, I've not weighed myself, mostly because I
wasn't near my scales this morning - and I'm not about to use anyone else's
darn it. However, I did take some measurements and whilst my waist
remains stubborn at 32 inches, I've lost an inch off my hips and at least an
inch off my bust. Yay! And, oh yeah, I've posted my self-involved
tribulations about the first week, if
you're feeling masochistic. Tune in tomorrow morning for the weigh in...
My goal is to find my way back to 130lbs. In particular, I want to reach 135lbs by DunDraCon, so I can misbehave on the diet (and flirt!) a bit without feeling too guilty. If I can - healthily - get below 130lbs, then that's icing on the cake. Not that I can have icing, mind you...
Okay, that's enough of that. If you want to read more, go hit that link.
Storm on Friday night rocked, but was rather marred by the fact that they
didn't get on stage 'til 10:20, and Alex and I had to head out for BART at
11:30. Still, they were very good - very high energy - and Slims is a
great place to see bands. Although Jeff was grumbling about the acoustics a
bit. I picked up a shirt and the latest Gaelic Storm CD, as souvenirs....
Unfortunately, I woke up the next day with a little tickle in my chest that I initially thought was just the aftereffects of hollering myself hoarse at the concert. Not so. By afternoon, it had developed into a nasty little chest cold, and Saturday night and Sunday were pretty miserable. Thank heavens for NyQuil, DayQuil and hot tea! Not necessarily in that order...
I haven't heard
from Katy W. since the weekend - hmph - but her last missive was rather
enlightening. Seems I've always had a thing for playing spy-games.
Katy reminisced about us running around doing just that when we were
relatively tiny tots. Geeze. Plus le change, plus le meme chose, I
guess. Although I agree with Lera's suspicion about something being in the
Brighton water. Katy is a fan of RPGs, too - although she's not had much
time to play since getting married and having a son (yay!). But still...it
seems that all three of us have continued on some parallel geek-development
continuum or something... It makes me kinda happy, really - to have some
continuity with the past when it's least expected.
I've been helping Jenn with her move by packing up her house while she's at work. I'm widely acknowledged as a slob extraordinaire - and now I can see why Jenn wanted a slob to pick up her rooms. Admittedly, she's been trying to live the thirty-something lifestyle in about two hundred square feet so of course things are going to get a little cramped, and messy...
Now I'm just hoping I didn't wrench my back with all the bending and lifting today... I won't be doing Jenn any good if I can't get out of bed tomorrow morning!
Logan ran the PT game on Sunday. It was low-key, but fun. Kevin and Colette's "puppy", Angahred definitely stole the show, though. I use the term "puppy" loosely, as she's nearly 100lbs - a rottweiler. But definitely still a puppydog! Very sweet and playful, but I had a hard time stopping her from going where she wanted to go - such as up my torso when I was sitting on the floor...
my gaming plate and wondering what to do. If I join Dark Odyssey -
the STs just let me know I'll be playing Renée - then every Saturday
of my month will be taken up. I'm thinking about maybe quitting CAST -
although I'm willing to help continue vetting character ideas. For one
thing, that will free up two Saturdays a month, and I can always go back if
I don't like DO and, for another, it might help reduce the
player-grumbling about "The STs have too much power as PCs."
Yeah, that old bullshit complaint is back. Sooner or later every larp has to deal with it, I think - unless the STs simply don't play - and what's the fun of that? The complaint is doubly ironic, given that Alex and I have characters that began on exactly the same footing as everyone else - no extra points - and we're at a disadvantage because we're ineligible for the "Good Roleplaying" nomination at the end of the night (which garners a person an extra XP). We got exactly where we were by roleplaying and the decisions of the other PCs. Sheesh... Still, when players get an idea in their head, they sometimes stick their heels in the ground and just won't listen. I've enjoyed playing Trisha, but maybe I should take a break from the game, and let the bullshit level subside.
And I'm sure as hell not quitting the Aberrant game. I'd lose my monthly ration of gazing wistfully at the hottie GM. I had better hope his wife doesn't read this journal... Heh. Actually, the GM is quite safe from my usually-predatory wiles. This guy is so married, I feel guilty for just thinking naughty thoughts about him... After ten years' acquaintance, I've gotten used to the status quo...wistful sigh
Oops, no time to
post on the 29th and it's past midnight now, so I guess this will have to go
on the 30th...
Stepped on the scale Tuesday morning - 139 lbs. Yay! I haven't seen that number in nearly two years. The last time I encountered it, in fact, was during the last time I actually gritted my teeth and stuck to a diet and exercise routine for more than a fortnight. But the weight came right back after I let is slide. Bah.
Nine more pounds to go. Only four more pounds to my DunDraCon goal! Even though I expect the pace of weight loss to slow down after the second week - I'm told that's usual - I'm still sure I can shuck off four pounds in three weeks. Pretty soon, I'll be picking up my weights to start toning. Given that these past two days of packing up Jenn's place certainly counted as exercise, I should probably capitalize on that and keep going... That'll put weight on me, possibly, but it'll be much-needed muscle and much nicer to look at...
I have a pair of jeans from my early college days in the closet. I don't think I'll ever get 'em to zip up again (did I really have a twenty six inch waist? Why didn't anyone tell me?) but I'm hoping to at least get them over my hips again, eventually. They're my "Masochism Pants"....
My cold is clearing up. It's not going away as quickly as I would like, but today's packing at Jenn's place was much less strenuous, despite the fact that it involved more crawling over the floor and bending and stretching to rearrange boxes. Her rooms are done - much to Jennifer's surprise - except for one bookshelf that we didn't have boxes for, anyways. I'll finish that on Friday morning when I go help with the move itself.
Had a long chat with a player in CAST who had put my nose severely out of joint last week. That issue has been settled - as far as it's going to be - between he and I, and I'm glad for that. I'm still contemplating retiring Patricia, though, just to keep the playership from grumbling. As mentioned before, once their heels are dug in... Besides, she never really had any long-term goals in that crew, and the court are kind of getting used to her. I'll be able to get my Malk fix courtesy of Dark Odyssey from now on. Maybe I can convince Gaiser to let me play Svetlana Yeremov. She's a classic Toreador with a nasty twist...