So, I was all ready to write huge post-feminist-inspired rant about imposed roles, learned helplessness and the general fuckwittedness of society... Then my friends came over, and my mood got all happy and I lost the inspiration. Dammit.
Missy, Beyer (Mike Beyer, but I know too many Mikes), Alex and I went up Mt. Diablo to take a
look at the campsite on Saturday. The drive was only slightly harrowing - as we're heading uphill, Missy blithely announces that she
has an eighth of a tank of gas - and very, very pretty. It's also cooler at 2,000 feet, and that was a heck of a plus.
Afterwards, we jaunted down, picked Shannon up, and headed over to Pickwick's for dinner - I really didn't feel like going back to the house, just yet. To my surprise, Pickwick's wasn't nearly as tacky as I had expected it to be - having only heard about it's awesome karaoke night, I was expecting major tackiness - and the food was quite good, either.
Have you ever gone out for dinner at a quiet restaurant and there's always a table of loudmouths who are constantly chattering and screeching with laughter? And, after a while, you just want to barge in and find out what's so damn funny - or slap them all with a dinner plate, whichever? That was us. I'm sure the beer with dinner didn't hurt, but we had quite a blast trading anecdotes and generally not talking about gaming. Believe me, for a pack of gamers, that was quite unusual...
We ended up back at Miskatonic Acres and, after deciding not to dye our hair after a few beers (whew!) we all hung out for another couple of hours and generally shot the breeze. It was a very pleasant, low-key kind of day. I need more evenings like that - although dinner consumed my disposable income for the month. Ah well, at least I spent it with friends.
The hair dyeing will probably take place in a couple of days... Next week at the latest, I think. I'd like to have the color before the moot. I'll drag Shannon over to my place and I'll help her re-dye her ebony locks, and she can help me paint in Egyptian Plum...
Shannon gave me a piece of amber resin and it smells so good! I'm going to have to find/make a locket so I can carry it with me all the time. It's so nummers, and - unlike perfume - it doesn't make my throat scratchy or my eyes itch!
I'm sure the theme for the rant will come back to me right around 9:30AM tomorrow. I'm usually pretty bitchy on a Monday morning...
I should know better than to go my own way with a pattern. A simple shirt that should have taken me an hour to sew has now sucked up three hours, because I decided to do things my way, rather than listening to the pattern. Still, I should be finishing it later tonight and I swear that's the final thing I'm doing for the Narn. When it's finished, I'll post a picture or two. Otherwise, my fun for the day was devising a 'loincloth' pattern for Gaizer's character in the moot. It involves big chunks of leather, a pair of thrift-store shorts and a lot of fabric glue.... Heh.
Glory be! I found a fabric in just the right color for EarthForce uniforms! The catch is that it's $3/yd broadcloth and totally thin. So I had to spend another $15 on interfacing, just so the uniforms won't be see-through in strong light. That and I'm thinking that Alex and I may just have to wear shorts and a tee-shirt underneath, just in case... But the color is perfect... Heh.
As mentioned above, a bunch of us jaunted up the mountain to look at the game-site, yesterday. It's....alright. A bit small and bleak, but it's serviceable. The Barbecue Terrace looked much nicer, but I think that's only available for day-camping. Still, I'm going to look into it and if it's available for overnight camping, I'm going to change the reservation for the moot...
Played in the CAST game today, and had a fine time. Some of my intended fucking-with-the-courtiers
didn't happen because other game-events demanded Patricia's attention. But that was fine - that meant she wasn't getting bored. A
bored Patricia is a dangerous Patricia. But she was happy because she knew she had a Ventrue all staked and ready for torture -
the Prince's okay, no less. Patricia was very happy about that - although she was pouting that her victim had to be restored
to recognizable condition, so he could be handed over the to the lupine for their own justice... Bah.
However, I am a little vexed at some of the players... At one point, Patricia is describing some fairly heinous things - intricate ways to torture a vampire, for example - and none of her spectators are batting an eyelash. I finally called them on it - asked them what their humanity was - and the answers came back as 3 and 4 (on a scale of 1 to 5). I pointed out that their characters really shouldn't be sitting calmly while Patricia is describing how to induce a seizure in a kindred with just a lit cigarette and a cup of ice-cubes, and all three spectators come back with some bullshit about how their characters have been there, done that. Then your humanity should be lower, quoth I. Of course, they didn't have an answer to that. Grrr, sigh. Fuckin' roleplay, kids. Anyone can not react and pretend to be cool... Being humane in a Vampire game takes talent.
But they're getting better, mostly, in terms of RP. Although that could just be that the average has improved because a lot of the flakes who are only barely in-character half of the time have been frightened off by the whopping $5 dues. I'll take the blessing while it lasts, frankly. Now, most of the players stay in character for the most of the game - and have the tact to move away from the in-character area if they want to take a break. Some of the greenies are starting to stretch their wings and give their characters some ambition - we were all stunned to see meek-little-Susan (not to be confused with my mother) finally grow a spine and tell her fellow Toreador where to jam it when they were competing for the Primogency of that clan. Yay, Susan! So, on the average, the average is improving. I just hope the trend will keep going.
Ugh, I'm too tired to rant today. I woke up every 30 minutes from 4AM until the alarm went off, this morning. I think the weekend of beer and junk-food caught up with me... Ah well, I did it to myself.
my birthday is coming up, soon, and I'm absolutely out of ideas as to what
to do. If Kevin was going to be in the country, I would probably impose upon
him for another Dr. Who viewfest, but he and Colette are going to be
admiring sheep in New Zealand, and thus unavailable for imposition.
I'm torn between the egomaniacal aspect of birthdays - pay attention to me, me, me! - and just staying in bed all day sucking my thumb. Actually, I think I'm saving that latter option for the big three-oh next year...
I don't want to just do dinner-and-a-movie. Heck, I do that reasonably often that it's hardly a special event. I've definitely gotten too old and too susceptible to hangovers for the club-scene - and why should I celebrate my b-day at a place where my colorblind husband can't join me? I'm not into outdoorsy things - picnics and trips to the beach are just short-cuts to sunburn. So, now what? I was thinking maybe a get-together at Miskatonic Acres for socializing and silly board games, but the Little Black Duck is arguing that such an evening is insufficiently birthday-like. There's the Exploratorium or maybe the Japanese Tea Gardens, but those places will be packed on a July Saturday... Y'know, something new and fun, but not expensive and not too crowded and accommodating at least a half-dozen friends...
Y'know, if I taped the Little Black Duck's beak shut, determining my b-day celebration would probably be much easier.
It's official, I'm a masochist. Hey, James, since I'm going to be making EF jackets for me and Alex, anyways, and your character is going to need one, albeit in a different color, would you like one, too? This is for a chap who has been comped into the game, no less. Granted, I warned him that if I couldn't find really cheap fabric for him, also, we would have to go thrift store shopping for a substitute outfit, but I really must be a glutton for punishment to take on extra work like this. I think I see how Laurel gets herself into binds, now...
Doing a lot of scrambling for the moot, now. Alex is getting the first-draft character sheets out, and I'm quietly lighting fires under players who seem to think that deadlines didn't apply to them. Fortunately, the moot is such a low-brain thing that it's not the end of the world if a guy is a few days late getting back to us, or if their e-mail gets eaten by Internet Pixies... Alex assures me that we're going to have enough plots and IC interactions going on to keep things ticking over at the event. I just hope he's right! Right now, it's hard enough to keep my attention on the moot, as it is... I'm much more concerned with SteinCorp Station.
|Shih / The Army||Hsieh / Deliverance|
The army needs perseverance and a
Deliverance. The southwest
If you've taken on more than you can handle, there is nothing wrong in admitting that and cutting back what you can, even if that means abandoning a favorite project. If you can handle whatever you've undertaken, then don't hesitate to do so!
Every July 4th I
complain about the lack of spontaneous patriotic singing at firework
displays. I take that all back, now. Last night, while sitting on a hill
near my parents' house and enjoying not one but two very fine local
shows, a contingent of local youths who were inebriated by something
- be it patriotism or beer - were bent and determined upon eager, if not
skillful, recitations of every patriotic ditty they could recall. I suppose
one must grudgingly grant a bit of admiration for the fact that they
remembered all the words to The Star Spangled Banner... But, oh my,
the lads certainly failed to inspire patriotic fervor in the few dozen
others who were sitting upon that same hillside.
Next year, Alex and I are going to round up every person we know and take over that same spot en masse. It's too good a viewing place to give up, but I see nothing against stacking the odds so that we don't have to share it with drunk teenagers...
Actually, I had wanted to go to T's picnic in Berkeley, but I woke up with the migraine fairy snuggled up to me - no surprise given my recent diet, the heat and my hormones - so I spent most of the day in a daze and it was touch-and-go if I was going to feel up to going anywhere, let alone out of town. Honestly, the headache was gone by 1PM, but I was feeling woozy and detached for many hours thereafter... and never mind what happens when pre-menstrual snappiness and post-migraine surreality mix. Suffice it to say that Alex has taken to hiding in the den more so than usual....
I think I've figured out what I want to do for my birthday. Well, I've had an idea, and that's something... I'm going to call the St. Francis and see if they still do Sunday tea. My b-day is on a Sunday and perhaps an afternoon in the city would be fun. A matinee over at the IMAX theater in the Metreon (please, not Secrets of Egypt again...) and then tiny sandwiches and currant scones, afterwards... Failing a better inspiration, that's the plan. If I had a/c at Miskatonic Acres, I would just go on a baking binge and host the bloody thing myself. Although my last batch of scones did turn out rather like old boots...
Alex has a
short-term job, starting today. It's not much - $15/hr doing word processing
for the next two weeks. It's not great, but it's something.
Annoyingly enough, Alex had a dynamite phone interview for an assistant graphics-dude job, in Newark. Alex tells me the interviewer was nuts for his online portfolio, but she also warned that the commute was hellish. It seems the person currently occupying the position has to take public transit from Alamo to Newark and it was taking nearly three hours, each way. Oy! With our car in the state it's in, I've got to admit that I don't think it would last very long... Still...if the job was that dynamite, I rather wish it had occurred to Alex to keep up with the interview process (ie, go down there to meet 'em, etc) and talk to me about options. The car might make it down there - especially once I get my promised rebate check and pour it into getting the beast a new water pump - and, if the job turned out that well, hell, we could move to Hayward/Fremont... It would be a bit saddening to move away from the central-county crowd, but my commute to SF would be only slightly longer, and we've got friends in the south bay, too...
Ah well, it's not too late. The would-be employers asked Alex to call them, should he find himself in the south bay - they like him that much... I dunno, I feel like a good chance got thrown away. Would it be overstepping my wifely limits to nag Alex just a bit?
I am done, done, done with the Narn garment, yay! I discovered some flaws in the alterations I had made in the shirt pattern - narrowing the sleeves without adjusting the armholes on the bodice - oops - but the doublet hides most of the mistakes I made, whew. I tried the whole thing on - although an outfit for a 6' 2" guy looks just a bit ridiculous on me - and Casey's going to be feeling no cold while in-character. Thank goodness the Marriot has A/C! And it weighs quite a bit, too - as evinced by it pulling the hangy-hook off the bedroom door at some point during the evening...
Next on the to-do list are the EarthForce uniforms for Alex and me - and hopefully James. I did a test-bonding with the heavyweight interfacing I had picked up and it helps a lot. It adds a nice crisp feel to the broadcloth, and renders it much less transparent. I think it's going to work!
Now, of course, I wanted to tighten up the sleeves on the pattern - the chef-jacket's sleeves are a bit baggy - and this time, I had the sense to do the mucking around in muslin, first. First mistake: just because you can take two inches off the cuff doesn't mean that you can take it off the rest of the sleeve. Oops. Actually, the sleeve still fits, but it is a tad snug around the bicep. However, I think I may have made a dog's dinner out of the sleeve attachment on the bodice. Tonight will tell - I didn't have time to attach it last night, although I did have time to realize that it looked very dodgy... Still, with 95cent/yd muslin, I don't mind making mistakes. I really want to de-baggy the pattern a little, so I'm going to keep trying. If I have to, I'll pull up one of my shirt patterns in the same size and see if I can graft the sleeve/armscye onto the jacket.
I'm going to have to make a toile of Alex's jacket, too - at least the collar and shoulder arrangement. My hunny has a thick neck, you see...
Not much new to report. The lupine moot prep is ticking over nicely. We got a last-minute signup for SteinCorp Station, yay! Things are going well, so far...
|Pi / Grace||Ting / The Caldron|
Grace has success.
Supreme good fortune. Success.
Don't let a bad first impression ruin a potentially good encounter. Listen to those who are willing to dispense advice - and learn from their mistakes.
So, I'm having
second thoughts on the b-day front... Persons A, B, & C whom I would
like to see are going to be out of town, Persons D & E aren't too keen
on tea, Persons F, G & H are under a lot of stress - economic and social
- so dropping money and time on things like tea isn't really going to rank
high on their list of things to do. And, for that matter, dropping $40 on
tea-for-two for Alex and I is really an expense we should forgo if we can.
And Persons J thru Q are either busy on the 22nd, or have fallen off the
face of the earth and quit responding to e-mails. Damn.
Furthermore, all the afternoon tea places around her are rather high-falutin. Y'know, harp-music and silver service and champagne cocktails, as well as cute little sandwiches with the crusts cut off and scones with heart-stopping cream. Although the King George Hotel in San Francisco looks awful tempting. The reviewers consider it quite cosy and the 'most English' of teas around here - whatever that means. Maybe I'll treat just me to tea one day, after work. Nyaah!
Now I'm all gloomy
about lack-of-birthday prospects and various other things. I suppose I could
wait until general conditions have improved and are more suitable for
celebrations, but that strikes me as cheating. And I'm feeling inclined to
wallow in moodiness because it's That Time Of The Month. And we all know how
much fun that can be, right?
Last night, I was sitting in front of the tube with Alex, watching a tape of the July 4th Junkyard Wars trans-Atlantic matchup, munching on a sandwich and feeling that all was reasonably right with the world. Then the PMS fairy came along. I've always imagined that she looked like Carol Kane from Scrooged - y'know, all glittery and little-girly - but with a 20lb sledgehammer carefully concealed in her trousseau. With me so far?
So, there I am, sitting on the couch, and the PMS fairy traipses by, wallops me with the hammer and flounces off, leaving a shiny soap-bubble trail behind her. Meanwhile, I'm suddenly flummoxed by the thought: I want to have a baby. I can't wait to have a baby. I want to have one right now. An adorable little girl to tear up the house. Maybe Alex - Oh. My. God. What the hell was that about?
Fortunately, that was not the first time I've dealt with the PMS Fairy's more twisted curve-balls, so I just kept my mouth shut until the seizure passed, and now I'm fine. No, really. I'm great. Just don't show me any Baby Gap catalogues for the next day or two, okay?
My half-assed attempt to alter the sleeve pattern for the EarthForce jacket, whilst not quite as disastrous as I had anticipated, still turned out unusable. Ah well. I'm going to have a go at Plan B - grafting the sleeve and armhole from another jacket-pattern onto this one - and if that doesn't work out, I shall officially resign myself to working with just the pattern as it is. Now I've got to lay my hand on about six yards of red piping, or make my own - and that's a bloody chore. Cutting bias strips takes forever.
I really shouldn't be reading books on 19th Century clothing while on a sewing binge. Oooh, that's pretty. I wonder if I could make something like that in time for Gaskells in August? Short answer: no. Although I do have a pattern for a simplified Edwardian dress that would be perfectly presentable. Of course, this would matter more if I could actually dance. Gaskells is a formal period-costume ball, y'know with dancing...
Alex made big puppy eyes at me, and I'll be joining his third-time's-the-charm resurrection of his Waterdeep game. It'll only be monthly, so I suppose I can join in and not shoot my 'less gaming' resolution in the foot, too much. Given that I won't be joining Jennifer's Star Wars game, I'll be dropping from every other Friday to once a month, so I guess it counts as less gaming, technically. I've also decided that if Aragon returns, I won't be, so that saves me from another time-sucker, albeit a potential one. I've also decided that once I get bored of playing Trish - ha! - I'll drop out of the CAST game, rather than creating a new character. Right now, the CAST game is the biggest draw on my time, with it being every-other-Sunday and all.
This having-more-time-to-do-stuff thing can grow on one. Alex's final installment of his Star Wars game is tonight, and this morning I found myself rather vexed at the notion of having gaming intruding upon some much-needed sewing time (see above). Ah well, it's a passing snit. I'll have fun once the game is started, and I'll probably be able to do this and that while Alex is dealing with the group.
|F^eng / Abundance [Fullness]||Li / The Clinging, Fire|
Abundance has success.
The Clinging. Perseverance
This is not the time to isolate yourself from
friends - you do so at your peril. A bad attitude will drive them
away, so think twice before indulging in poor behavior. Count your
blessing and try to build on what you have, rather than tearing it
down out of spite.
It's been a busy few days. Things have picked up at work a bit and I'm up to my ass in spreadsheets and the like. It's been interesting enough to suck up the morning time I usually put aside for the journal, hence the lack of news lately.
Alex's new job is alright. He likes the people, they seem to think he can walk on water, and the work isn't anything too onerous. We'll see how long it takes for the bloom to come off the rose, this time. If that's going to happen, I hope it does so before they make Alex a permanent offer. As I say, they apparently think he can walk on water...
I think I'm going to have to totally can any ideas I had for my b-day. Money needs to be saved for August, and there's no point in doing something for one's b-day that one's friends aren't entirely keen on.
Aw, ain't I got considerate readers? One of my regular visitors took this screenshot of the counter that had just rolled over. It's kinda silly, but I like it. Matthew's e-mail brought a smile to my face during what was otherwise an unusually cranky evening. My mood just collapsed after I got home from work - circumstances were conspiring against me, I think - and I spent most of the night scowling at the computer with a big glass of wine in my hand.
spending most of my time in Life's Bleachers, watching various meltdowns
happen around me. Oddly enough, I'm stifling my usual urge to give advice.
Jennifer, in particular, is in a situation that I've found all too familiar,
but I've realized that anything I could say to her will probably make her
feel worse. Her current sitch has evoked all sorts of ugly memories from the
Alan Incident and I'm aware enough of my own prejudices to realize that
anything I say to Jennifer might be tainted with bad karma from that period
- no matter how well meant that advice might be.
I'm not known for keeping my mouth shut, so this is a bit of a novelty. Of course, my reputation for blabbiness makes me wonder why people keep telling me things and then asking me to keep them secret. Fortunately, I have discovered that the best way for me to keep secrets is to forget them as soon as they are told to me. It's much less risky all the way around, then.
When I wasn't scowling at the computer, I was scowling at my EarthForce jacket. Things were ticking over well, I had grafted a new sleeve onto the pattern and, in the muslin, it looked alright. Of course, when I put together the final piece - that I had fuckin' killed myself over with the piping and all - and the shoulders are too damned wide! It looks like a phreakin' Good Humor Man jacket. Argh! I'm going to try to set the sleeve in a little further - the jacket is a bit big for me around the torso, so I think I can take in the side and re-cut the arm-hole and re-set the sleeve. It won't be perfect, but it will be better.
Fortunately, Alex doesn't mind slightly baggy sleeves on his jacket, and he's come up with a quick-fix of his own which I don't like, but he finds tolerable, so making his jacket will be less work-somewhat.
The heavyweight interfacing has been a lifesaver. And at a buck-fifty per yard (albeit a 36" bolt) a cheap lifesaver. Ditto for the pre-made piping in the quilting section... Mind you, one jacket takes nearly seven yards of piping...
I really need to quit reading these history-of-fashion books. I've got ideas for denim breeches and velvet frock coats dancing in my head, and I saw these dreamy riding boots at the Clayton Saddlery. If only I was thin enough to pull off the Victorian-influenced ideas I have in mind! And, no, I'm not about to start wearing a corset regularly. I'm too old to start waist-training...
Suffering some upsets to SteinCorp Station. Kevin's vacation plans got pushed back, so he won't be making the game. Not only was he playing a key NPC, but he was also going to help fill the shortfall between dues collected and the room rental fee. At this point, that's only $40, but given that Alex and I wanted to rent ourselves a hotel room for the night, too - as well as use it as extra play space - $40 matters to our current budget. But, ah well, it's only money...
Much more vexing is that Kevin, as mentioned, is playing a key NPC and I'm flat out of ideas as to who can replace him. I've called on a couple of chaps, to find out they're either not interested or already booked for that weekend. I could do some re-shuffling with people I've already got, but that will still leave me with a big hole, because Dave can't make it to the game, either, and his character represents another major plotline. Argh!
Right now, I've got an idea of how to handle matters, but it all hinges on if Beyer wants to join the event. I'll have Beyer play Max Stein, move T (who is currently booked as Stein) into Kevin's role, meanwhile, we'll put Logan into Dave's role, and just wallpaper over the hole left by Logan's changearound. Difficult, but it can be done. If Beyer decides he's not interested, then I'm out of ideas... But I'm not cancelling this game, goddammit! Grr...
|Pi / Holding Together [Union]||Ts'ui / Gathering Together [Massing]|
Holding Together brings good
Gathering Together. Success.
Giving silent support from the background is all
well and good, but giving those in need a more demonstrative show of
support might not be out of order. Relationships require a bit of
visible effort, at times, and rarely is such effort unappreciated.
for dinner on Wednesday. I had to run into Berkeley to pick up some things
for the moot, and Alex had the cogent idea of meeting up afterwards, having
a bite to eat and - gosh - why not call Christopher to see if he wants to
join us. What a good idea! We chatted about the usual things and are
planning the next Mead Video Fest. This time the theme is the early films of
Malcolm McDowell: If, Oh Lucky Man, Royal Flash, Raging Moon. I don't
know if we're going to watch A Clockwork Orange, since we've seen it
before... But it should be interesting. I really enjoyed the Peter Sellers
fest we did last time...
Unfortunately, meeting up with Christopher was the only good thing about going to Berkeley. All of the stores I had intended to visit - looking for henna, etc - had turned into trendoid cafes. Bah. The last thing Berkeley needs is another cafe selling two dollar lattes and stale croissants. Although, since I had time to kill, I swung by Kasuri Dyeworks, which was utterly gorgeous. Of course, I was a little taken aback by hand-dyed silk that cost $75/yd (and that's on a roll that's fourteen inches wide) but gosh, it was pretty... Given that the average kimono would cost about a thousand dollars if made with that material, I can see why the darn things were prized so highly - and passed on through family lines. The saleslady at Kasuri had lots of interesting information to share, and I gladly listened to her for a quarter hour or so. I half-heartedly looked for a yakuta or kimono pattern, but they didn't have any...
Last night was
spent at Shannon's house, painting henna and doing other lupine-y things for
the moot. Unfortunately, because we had to go out and buy an awful lot of
henna - at the last minute, three more people voiced an interest in the
event - we didn't really get started until 9PM. I had great fun drawing
various glyphs on the back of Gaiser's legs, although I think observers
thought I had more fun cutting him out of a pair of scrap-shorts I told him
to buy so I could make him a "loincloth" for game. As Beyer aptly
put it, "Some guys would be thrilled to have a woman tearing his
clothes off..." I think Gaiser was just a bit too worried about
those scissors I was wielding near his waistline to laugh at the joke.
Since we didn't get started until quite late, Gaiser was the only one who got worked on. I left the henna (and temp tattoo ink, and the transfers) all at Shannon's, and she's more than happy to have people over tonight to keep working on it. With luck, Shannon will be able to find some cheaper henna powder at Ming Quong or something, in the meantime...
I also temp-dyed my hair (back to L'Oreal Botanicals, again) in Shannon's kitchen sink. I picked up something that I had been meaning to do for ages: one of those rubber-shower-pipes that can be attached to a sink faucet. All too often, I color my hair, rinse in the shower and end up with a red/blue/black back and far less color in my hair, it seems, than is on my skin. I thought it might be much easier if I just bent forward over a sink and rinsed my hair with an attachment thingy. And it was. It's also a lot easier to have a buddy put the hair color in... Shannon dumped the entire bottle of "Egyptian Plum" goop into my hair, mushed it around and, glory be, all of my hair was colored - no nasty mis-colored surprises in the back... And not a bright-red ear in sight!
The color looks pretty nice, I think. On my hair, it's a dark red - of course - and really only noticeable in the light, but my old highlights took the color quite well. And there's an added benefit in that the spot where one of my highlights has turned green (from a washout blue dye that didn't quite wash out) has now been well-hidden.
I think I'm getting over the worst of the most recent seizure (purple denim breeches, black ciré frock coats, etc). My frustration at the Earth Force jacket seems to be beating it into submission. But still... There are some elements of eighteenth and nineteenth century fashions that were so fun. Mind you, I'm talking about what the men were wearing. I would look terrible in an Empire dress. Trust me. All bosom and no waist is not a good look for Johanna. Corsets are marginally better, but I've already got a corset...
Alex and I picked the worst time of the season to look for a copy of Laws of the Wild. Since the new edition was supposed to ship six weeks ago, all of the gaming stores quit re-ordering the old edition and were thus empty-shelved. Even the infamous Games of Berkeley didn't have it. It was extremely annoying - you know, trying to run a game for which one doesn't have the rules. Fortunately, we have begged and borrowed a couple of copies from the players. Supposedly the newest edition is going on the shelves this weekend, but I'll believe it when I see it. Tonight, Alex is going to do the numbers for everyone, having realized that he gave some people improper Gifts for their breed/auspice, and I'm going to desperately brainstorm some more crunchy bits for the game.
One thing that has driven me mad is the EZ Board. The software itself has been working just fine. But no-one has been using it. Well, I exaggerate. When I started things up, I told all of the players "Log in here, the password is this and that is where I'm going to post all game announcements, news etc. So make sure you check it every couple of days or so." So, for the past three days, I have been constantly getting e-mails about "Where's the campsite?" "What time should we be there?" "Where's the henna thing happening?" "I didn't know there was a deadline for blah" and I keep saying "Read the dam' board!". The whole point of it was so I wouldn't have to answer the same question ten times over.
"Oh," they whine, "but we did read the board...Two weeks ago." Grr...
What's the point? I tried to put every bit of useful information in an accessible forum, so people could know what was going on and not worry about having missed an e-mail because their software filters decided that 'garou' was some sort of coded pornographic word and tossed it in the trash... (also because I've learned that gamers hardly read their e-mail either). I had a nagging suspicion that expecting a dozen people to keep up with an online forum would be too much, and it seems I was right. Oh well, welcome to GMing....
Don't even ask me about SteinCorp Station...
|F^eng / Abundance [Fullness]||Li / The Clinging, Fire|
Abundance has success.
Still, this is not a time to be backing off from
those who can support you through a time of crisis. However, the key
part to handling a stressful situation is to not overreact. Don't
wallow in negativity, and watch your tongue. A hard word at the wrong
time could have severe consequences.
It's all gonna be
about gaming. Bear with me.
Friday night is a blur. I vaguely remember visiting with Shannon et al again to finish doing henna with various peoples and Alex printing out characters.
Despite my intention to sleep in a bit on Saturday morning, I woke up at 7:10AM, 7:30AM, 8:00AM and finally hauled myself out of bed shortly after eight. My mind was in 'game day' mode, which meant I wasn't going to get a speck of rest. Alex and I had breakfast, picked up supplies at the local grocery store and stopped by the thrift store so I could get a black tank top that that cat hadn't pissed on and were ready to go when Missy picked us up at one.
The campsite was okay, although as a non-camper, I was woefully unready for certain things - such as the privies - and if I do this again, we're going to book a site in a non-foggy locale. Once the fog rolled in, it was freezing.
The moot went off alright. The players had a good time and I think they got my oft-repeated point that it was them who made it a good game. Alex and I just made sure that they had characters and were in the right place at the right time. We created almost no plots, but the players had a fine time keeping things bubbling with in-character interaction. That's a character-driven game! The only downside, I think was that the moot was often a series of grandstanding moments. One character would be commanding the entire group's attention, then the torch would pass to the next character. Moments of general mingling were few and far between. But Alex put it into perspective by mentioning that such a dynamic could be seen as akin to wolves jockeying for position in their pack - in the case of the moot, the packs were maneuvering for position amongst their peers. So that smoothed my feathers a bit.
Some of the players went all-out with costuming. Dave was in full seen-The-Mummy-too-many-times Silent Strider 'madji-look' garb. Gaiser was in the pulled-together 'loincloth' - he nearly got renamed 'bright legs' for his pale shanks. Erik's Fianna was resplendent in his Faire garb, and Aaron was an Asian-influenced garou in something that he dismisses as 'just my kung-fu uniform', but it had the niftiest closures, loop-through-loop all the way down the front. I took a few pictures, but my digital camera wasn't fully charged, so the auto-focus was whacked and I couldn't get a single frame once the sun had gone down - the flash had totally lost it's oomph.
A few interesting life lessons were learned:
-- Mountains are lumpy. If you are going to sleep on a mountain, bring an air mattress.
-- Fog may look all misty and nebulous, but when you put your tent under a tree, that fog rapidly precipitates in the tree's branches and does a very good impression of rain.
-- A rainflap is a useful thing for a tent. If your stakes are too flimsy to get through the tree roots two inches down, get stronger stakes. Damp blankets are more of a pain than the chore of buying stakes.
-- When howling at the moon, do not be surprised if the local coyotes decide to join in (that was so cool!)
-- Never offer the park ranger a beer.
There's a story behind that last one, of course. I had warned everyone that alcohol was not permitted on the mountain, but I knew damn well that a few players weren't going to care. I wasn't too worried about it, but I rather hoped that those with booze would have enough sense to keep it in their tent. Well... one of the three boozing players did. Erik's infamous Fianna Brew (the recipe sounds vile, but it was quite tasty) was kept in an urn, inside his tent. Ryan and Rory chose to keep their beers in a cooler, outside... About midnight - I was just going to bed at this point - the rangers walked down to politely point out to us that we were making just a wee bit too much noise (go figure). Ryan was facing the fire, beer in hand and had his back to the pair, so he didn't really notice who was standing behind him. Apparently, Ryan hears a voice asking "Do you have any more beer?" and Ryan, thinking that it's a player with whom he is unfamiliar asking him for a drink, Ryan says "Oh sure, they're over there in that cooler. Help yourself."
And that's when the near-laser-strength flashlight popped on and Ryan realized who he was talking to. "Oh, really?" says Mr. Ranger. At this point, Ryan is wondering if he's going to be ticketed, or if he's going to save the ranger the trouble and simply die of embarrassment on the spot.
Fortunately, the rangers just insisted that the beer be poured out - all 17 bottles (how much were those two planning to drink?). At one point, Rory sniveled something about being on the verge of tears as he emptied the bottles, to which the ranger tartly pointed out that the fine for violating the no-booze rule really would make him cry.
So, aside from that, a good time was had by all, I think.
Ironically enough, I've realized that I'm really not that keen on Werewolf. I can't use all that high-falutin' language about Gaia, etc, without sounding very sarcastic. I much prefer court politics to pack dynamics and I think I'm too much of a cat-person, anyways... Beyer has been thinking about running a Garou larp on a monthly basis and, as tempting as it sounds, I don't think I'm going to take part. I hope he doesn't take it as an insult...
Sunday, I woke up
at 6AM - sick of trying to sleep on the lumpy mountain and freezing cold to
boot - and thanked heavens that everyone else seemed keen on getting off the
mountain in short order. Alex and I were home by 10AM, and it was a real
tossup as to which was going to get taken care of first - my need for food,
or my need for sleep. I realized that there was no way I was going to sleep
without showering off all the camp gunk, first - even duraflame logs are
smoky - so I wolfed down some frozen food whilst Alex cleaned up, and then
crawled into bed for a short nap after I had my turn in the shower.
Twelve noon, time to get up and go play in the CAST game. I had resigned myself to keeping Patricia in the background and quite cranky - because, y'know, I was tired and cranky - but, to my surprise, I had a reasonably good game. Trish picked up some well-deserved court status - feared - and got to put the frighteners on a couple of misbehaving neonates who seem to think that they don't have to take the new Prince seriously. I made enough of an impression to win a player-kudo point (an extra XP, yay!) but now I've got a much harder job ahead of me. Patricia's reputation has been established, now I've got to maintain it without alienating the court, and I've got to start bringing out the other aspects of Patricia's character. Fixating on the "Who's this, can I hurt him?" side of Patricia is amusing, but I don't want to become a one-note character like Mark's Diggs. Diggs is an interesting spin on Brujah, but he's a one-trick pony, too... And the Primogen have gotten sick of him already - three games, I think it took...
I almost got saddled with 'looking after' a new player, but Gaiser agreed with me that the player's concept sucked - the usual looney-toons split personality kook - and he managed to re-work it as a far-saner Brujah. I was also relieved because the player - Jesse - was clearly very shy, especially around girls, and I just didn't have the patience to handle the guy. Cold and unkind, I know, but true. At least I didn't let my Englishness overcome me and say "Of course I'll look after your little brother, Josiah." My American cussedness kicked in and I bluntly told Joe that I was too tired and too short-tempered today to play babysitter for anyone...
Some of us went to Pickwick's for post-game and had a lovely chinwag. Alas, I think Chris was a little left out, because a lot of the talk revolved around the moot, but he didn't seem to mind too much... After dinner, we went home and despite my fears that I would regret it, I went to bed at 8PM. I was totally wiped out. Ten hours' sleep has somewhat recharged my batteries, but another two hours would have been lovely. I dreamt a lot, too, during the final three hours or so, but I couldn't be bothered to wake up enough to write any of them down.
Now I've got to
start panicking about SteinCorp Station. I've lost another PC to
GenCon, dammit. There's a chance I put Beyer and Erik into the two Narn
roles and move Logan into an NPC role (either Stein or The Other One -
probably the Other One, just to keep from rocking too many players' boats)
and that leaves me with a vacancy for Bryo, the assistant to the Centauri
ambassador. That's going to be tough to fill, but we might be able to
cope without him...
I've got until Friday to do the expanded histories for the PCs, so I know what's going to be filling my nights for the rest of the week. Aiye!
|Chieh / Limitation||K'un / Oppression (Exhaustion)|
Galling limitation must not be persevered in.
Oppression. Success. Perseverance. The great man brings about good fortune. No blame. When one has something to say, it is not believed.
Take a break - quit burning your candle at both
ends. If you insist upon overextending yourself, you'll be left with
less than you started with. Be easy on yourself and patient with
others. Use this chance to rest body and mind.
Ugh, tired and cranky today. The migraine fairy came dancing by at 2:30AM - I think I've got to quit drinking Chateau Boite entirely - and then at 3:30, the cat decided to be ill all over the house. Double ugh. I think Tigger is the only cat out there who can be so happy he gets a stomach upset - because I know for a fact he was purring like at motor while I was glaring at the ceiling at 2:30. Clearly, I had woken up just to pay attention to him...
Feeling very much
at a loose end on the b-day front. Four days to go, and I'm still warring
with the urge between demanding that everyone drop their other plans for the
day and hang out with me, dammit or just creeping off somewhere with only
Alex, or maybe even by myself. I've been giving thoughts to my next tattoo,
you see, and I think I'm ready... Anyways, the first option would
mean that I've got to think of something to do that's at least marginally
enjoyable by everyone and hopefully doesn't involve cleaning up my house.
The second option is easier on the hostessing front, but less cheerful and
I'm back on the idea of tea - regardless of cost - but I know that's not a terribly popular idea with my clique. Although I suppose we could freak out the staff of St. George's and have a gothic/gamer tea... Well, that would rule out having to worry about if Alex would enjoy tea, as I'm sure he would stay away from such an event. Hm, scratch that idea, then.
I'm just too bloody distracted to think about much of anything right now. I've got to get my Vodacce review out of the door asap, before I get snowed by SteinCorp Station. Dan and I had a chat and he agreed that we could drop the Nosferatu Clan Novel review if the novel stinks that badly - and it does. I was in my fifth paragraph of vitriol on the first draft before I remembered that the review is supposed to be about 100 words or so... Oops. Now I've just got to try to condense my 400-word first draft down to 150 words or so. Arrgh...
Deadly Triangle is being kicked around again. I now actually have one site visitor who is specifically waiting for that story - much like those I have waiting for the second tale of Una Carmine and the Charlemagne, so my guilt feelings are rumbling around. I really should get to those stories, one of these days... I've realized that I can let go of my overwhelming need for verisimilitude in the James Bond fic. It's not like Ian Fleming ever let reality get in the way of his work...
I couldn't resist it. Buny's Specialty Fabrics is having a moving sale, so I picked up five yards of black damask for $30 with shipping. That's the last of the fabric I'm going to need for the Vodacce dress, I think. I'm considering ditching the black-on-black paisley upholstery stuff I got in favor of the damask because, whilst 7th Sea is a historical fantasy setting, maybe introducing a 19th Century pattern into an essentially 17th Century dress would be pushing things a little. Still, I might use the paisley for the underskirt, if it doesn't fight with the damask. Failing that, I've got a whole lotta fabric for corsetry and cushion tops - although it might make for some very cute clam-digger-type pants (oh god, the breeches project is coming back again) or a walking skirt. Yep, the Fate-Witch dress project will be back on track after August 4th - especially as it looks like Gaiser wants to run a Dark Ages special event on/near Halloween, and a Fate-Witchy dress would work just fine for a medieval vampire game... I think I just want to make this damn dress to prove to myself that I can.
The Earth Force jacket has stalled again, until this Friday. I've got to focus on getting the in-depth character histories done, first.
As mentioned above, the pre-game meeting for SteinCorp Station is coming up on Friday, so I'm scrambling to have everyone's 'deep' character histories ready for review by then. Fortunately, I know some players aren't going to be making it to the get-together, so at least I don't have to worry about their histories. I've done five of the fourteen, and I've got at least three more that need to be done for Friday. Of course, I did the easy ones, first, so I'm staring at the to-do list thinking "How does a Narn think? What's a typical childhood for a Narn?" etc... I'm sure I'll pull something about of my ear, but until then, I'm panicking.
Another facet that's worrying me is character homogeneity. Since the turnout is at our bare minimum, the absolutely essential characters are the only ones being played, and almost all of them are intelligent, strong-willed, reasonably-noble characters. Oh sure, some of them have their disagreeable moments - you can't climb the diplomatic ranks without being just a bit ruthless - but the real slackers, the thieves and spies have been left by the wayside because of the slimmed down plot. Alex is right in that this game isn't Star Trek, we can have lead characters that aren't noble, but the situations that these characters are in (ie, high-pressure government jobs, etc) demands that they be at least a little bit trustworthy... But too much nobility makes my teeth itch...
|K'un / Oppression (Exhaustion)||Wei Chi / Before Completion|
Oppression. Success. Perseverance.
Before Completion. Success.
You've got a choice to make. Stop dithering and make
a decision. Make it wholeheartedly and stick by it...
Well, I have
decided to go with the Greedy Black Duck approach for the b-day weekend and
try to do everything with everyone. Saturday night, I'm
rounding up whoever wants to come over for movies and hanging out. Sunday
afternoon, it's off to the King George Hotel for tea. And no, it's not going
to be a gothic tea, although it's my birthday, I'll wear anything I darn
well like! If no-one else wants to go to tea, to heck with them. Alex and I
are going, the rest is just gravy.
I've made my appointment for Saturday morning for the next tattoo. We'll see if I chicken out - or decide I'm just too tired to get on to the BART at 10:30 in the AM to make a 12:30 appointment in the city...
Eavesdropping on the BART today, some middle-aged office drone was
complaining about his "shithead" eighteen-year-old son who was
dragging his feet registering for classes at DVC. Apparently the son didn't
like the look of the long line for registration (who does?) and so he came
home and said "I'll go back tomorrow."
(Parenthetically: all of us former college students know that boy is going to regret that little decision when he goes back and realizes that the only units left are Remedial Basket Weaving and Elements of Hopscotch, but let's not go there)
So, apparently the father wasn't too enheartened by this attitude, asked his son to step outside to get something from the car, and then locked him out of the house. His intention was to let the son sit on the stoop and stew for an hour to get the point that sometimes you've just got to wait for things, and that the son doesn't have that much else imposing on his schedule anyways. At this point, the speaker's companion was agreeing with him and making dark mutterings about the uselessness of teenage sons.
Meanwhile, I'm sitting there and thinking. "Okay, teenagers can be a bit of a handful, but I really fail to see the lesson here. What if the little lad decided to put a garbage can through the front window to let himself back in, hm?" Listening further to Daddy Dearest's conversation, I hear more about what a lump the son is, how he just doesn't listen to Dad, etc... By the time we reached MacArthur Station, I was ready to climb over the seat back and throttle the guy. Sure, he was frustrated but maybe a more supportive attitude for the past, oh, eighteen years might have encouraged better behavior in the kid. No doubt the child was a simple product of instant-gratification culture and was lacking any other examples - from parents or peers. Wait a whole hour for something? No way! Of course, one wonders why the child hadn't heard about registering by telephone, but that's a whole other can of worms.
I don't know why, but something in Daddy's tone just really put my teeth on edge. The son was just an inconvenience, it seemed. How lovely. How loving. I suppose Dad was just blowing off steam, but I couldn't help thinking "Do you talk like that to your son's face? No wonder he doesn't give a shit about your priorities..."
Not an entirely auspicious beginning to the day...
Had dinner with Missy and Beyer last night at a so-so Italian restaurant in Walnut Creek. Well, actually, my dinner was so-so, whilst it seems everyone else enjoyed what they where having. But the conversation was good - we kept off gaming for most of the time, surprise, surprise. We talked about movies, music, scrapes we have gotten into, etc. The usual hanging-out kind of thing. It was good fun, if a bit 'spensive (but that's mine and Alex's fault for ordering a bottle of wine to split). Next time, we'll stick to cheap-and-cheerful over at the local Nation's burger joint...
It seems that Missy - being a mere slip of nineteen years old - is unfamiliar with vast chunks of popular culture that Alex, Beyer and I consider essential. How can a person not know about Pink Floyd's The Wall or Danny Kaye or Real Genius? So a huge movie/culture binge is on the cards... Poor Missy's not gonna know what hit her...
Oh gods, I have to get back on track with those uniforms. Maybe next week...
I've got most of the in-depth character histories done for SteinCorp Station. Certainly those for the, um, two or three people who are showing up to the pre-game meeting tonight. I've not heard a peep from some players in a while, and I'm getting vexed - but I think that's just GM egomania getting in the way. Y'know, "Pay attention to the game, darnit!" Sometimes us GMs forget that our players have other lives, too...
Hm, I'm in a bit of a pickle at the CAST game. A certain character got hit with negative status by the Harpy. It seems that the player in question isn't too keen about the situation and is rules-lawyering the situation. As far as I can tell, the Harpy acted within the status rules that have been posted by the GM, but it seems that the GM has changed his mind without telling anyone. My problem is twofold.
One: The GM - Gaiser - is a nice fella, but he's impressed by intelligence. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think he has confused the Aggrieved Player's rules-lawyering for actual brains. I must admit, the Aggrieved Player's ability to pick nits is quite breathtaking. I've not seen loophole-finding skills like that since the dark days of Jeff D... So, I think perhaps AP is pulling a bit of a snow-job on Gaiser. I hate seeing a nice GM being intellectually bullied by a player... I mean, players have every right to state their opinion, but I've got a feeling AP is going to hang onto this like a terrier on a rat...
Secondly: I don't like AP's character. The entire raison d'etre for the character seems to be - can you guess? - rules lawyering. At first, I thought "Well, this character is insisting that his fellow courtiers don't just blandly accept the status quo, that they question authority," and I thought that was a pretty good thing and kind of smart. A court jester, almost. Then it became apparent that questioning authority by the dogged seeking-out of loopholes is the only motivation this character has. That's it, nothing else. This character has shown no signs of being at all developed in any other way - no RP conversations about matters other than 'how can we wriggle around the latest edict from the Prince', no interesting facts coming up during downtime research. Nada. The PC is nothing but an in-character rules-munchkin. Booooring. And annoying. And unoriginal. Given that he's a rules-lawyer OOC, I suppose finding a way to character that hobby into character must be his idea of bliss. Ugh.
Have we sufficiently established that I don't like this character? Good. Now, when I heard about AP agitating against being hit with Negative Status, declaring that the rules hadn't been properly followed I had a knee-jerk reaction against the guy. In a bizarre reversal of fortune, I think I've carried my in-character feelings over to out-of-character. Wow, that's a change from the usual situation. I knew AP's character (and disliked him) long before I talked to AP, himself... I feel a bit guilty about this ... But not too guilty. I've talked to the guy a bit, OOCly and I don't think he's anyone I'm going to be inviting over for dinner any time soon. Sigh. He might have a legitimate beef, but based upon my own review of the situation, he doesn't. He's just arguing for the sake of argument (and probably a bruised ego, too). How dreary.
I think matters are being compounded because Gaiser suffers from the common GM fallacy of trying to keep everyone happy. I've learned - the hard way - that such a state is not possible. To pervert an old saying: You can keep all of the players happy some of the time and some of the players happy all of the time, a combination of which keeps the game lurching along. If you try to keep everyone happy all of the time, then you're risking the opposite state as players become alienated and pissed at ongoing GM inconsistencies - caused by the GM's attempt to keep everyone happy. I really don't want to see a nice fella drive a game into the ground the way I did Diablo's Children. I tried to make fifty Anarch players happy all the dam' time and ended up with a real mess on my hands - which I promptly ran away from. Not one of my more stellar moments.
Of course, GMs are egomaniacal beasties and aren't too interested in unsolicited advice...Sigh...
Po / Splitting Apart
Splitting Apart. It does not further one to go anywhere.
Maybe I should just stay home and lie in bed for the entire weekend...
I know, I know, it's been a while since an update, I've been busy. Work's been busy, too.
dinner was...alright. One should not have tea at a hotel that is about to
close it's doors for six months - the cupboards were rather bare... Although
I wonder if the tea-sandwiches would have been any better than velveeta-and-tomato
if I had been there at the tearoom's height of activity. At least the bread
However, it was nice to see some friends in a new corner of the city. Next time I want tea, I'll listen to my Paranoid Internal Voice and do it myself... At least the sandwiches will be decent and we'll get boiling water for our tea...
After tea, Shannon, Missy, Beyer, Alex and myself went out to the movies. We turned off our brains and saw Jurassic Park 3. Oh my, does it ever suck. There are dinosaurs. There's Sam Neill. There are cool jungles. It still sucks. A primary reason for the suckedness would have to be the fact that Téa Leoni does not get eaten during the film. I think the blasted dinosaurs put in a better performance then she did. Then again, the entire cast seemed to be killing time and have their minds on better things - but it must be demoralizing to realize that the star of the movie is some CGI critter. No wonder the characters had all the chemistry of a wet firecracker. And the dinosaur chompings weren't even particularly nasty, either...
One thing that did surprise me was Shannon. Shannon - for some misbegotten reason - loves horror movies. She really gets a kick out of the classics: The Exorcist, Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc. So be it, there's no accounting for taste. Anyways, so the movie is doing it's thing and Shannon is jumping in surprise. So much so that I'm noticing it, and Shannon is sitting two seats down from me. Given that this gal has apparently laughed her head off through some of the more notorious scenes in horror cinema, I can't help wondering what had her so startled. Maybe she was just having a really adverse reaction to the non-existent storyline and acting...
Work has been taken up by frantically looking at office space. Yeah, we're leaving the train because, let's be honest here, it's a big tin box and the lack of plumbing and air conditioning has proven vexing. I'm going to miss the office, but I'm not going to miss the neighborhood and the rent is way inflated for the current state of the market. I must admit, I'm just the tiniest bit smug about the collapse of the real estate market in downtown San Francisco. Space that was $100 per ft2 last year is now in the mid-thirties. Har! And real estate agents who couldn't be bothered to return our calls twelve months ago are having knife fights about who gets to show me a vacant office in SoMa. Har har! Malicious? Me? Of course...
I've been so tired
lately, it's hard to get enthusiastic about anything. My brand-new sewing
machine (squeal!) is still in the box. Normally, I would have had that thing
out and humming within minutes of getting home, but it's been four days now,
and it's still boxed up, sending out pathetic play-with-me vibes, much like
the dog. Sigh, and, like the dog, I feel guilty, but I'm just so
The nice lady over at the Sewing Center assures me that the Viking is a little workhorse, as long as I'm careful to use the proper needles for the job and never, ever use Singer parts in a Viking machine... Heh, we'll see how long that lasts. If I'm lucky, I'll uncrate it tonight, as I really need to finish the uniforms for the B5 game.
Oh. No tattoo. The car needs new brakes more than I need new ink. And I had a last-minute panic about where to put the tattoo, so I took that as a clear sign of not being ready yet. However, when that $600 check comes in from Mr. Bush... Providing the car doesn't gobble it all up, that is...
Aiyee! Panic! Mayhem!
F^eng / Abundance [Fullness]
Abundance has success.
Ahh, it's time to quit whining and enjoy the good things...
Mental note: When
the car starts making an interesting grinding sound/sensation when coming to
a halt, I should put my foot down and insist the car go to a garage immediately.
I should not wait under the grinding/juddering becomes intense enough for
one's much-loved, but partially-deaf husband to notice it...
Although, it must be said that the brake system didn't fail completely until after Levi got to the garage, but apparently that was a matter of luck more than anything else... I understand that the mechanic is quite amazed that we take that car anywhere - more to the point, that we could stop it once we got there.
The 'good' news is that it won't cost $5,000 to fix. Only certain key bits of the brakes need to be replaced, not the entire system, so the total bill will be about $1,000. There goes the money we were saving for a trip to Chicago in August - but at least we have it. Alex and I don't have credit cards - we're just terrible with 'em, so we stay away from the little beasts - so having a small cushion in savings has been an occasional life (or car) saver.
Of course, I'm peeved about the expense but a car is rather essential. However, the state of Levi is such that he's probably going to regularly vomit major engine parts (the spark plugs and the water pump need to be replaced, too) on a regular-enough basis to make saving up for a new-used car a major pain in the ass. Again, since our credit stinks, there's no way we could get financed for a loan - nor would I want to. To add insult to injury, has anyone else noticed that used-car dealers no longer off a discount for cash? It's because so many of those bastards are either owned by, or invest heavily in, loan-granting institutions...
I talked with
Chris the other evening, and had to admit that my life-passions have
changed. Interesting. It was one of those long-realized, but not vocalized
admissions. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn't immediately quit my
job and go sign up for a twenty-hour-a-day job as an apprentice editor. Nor
would I sit down and try to write the Great English Screenplay. I just don't
feel that mind-consuming ohmigod enthusiasm for either pursuit any more...
I have realized that if all of a sudden, I became fabulously wealthy, I would probably be terribly mundane in my riches. I would pack myself off to a ludicrously expensive fat-farm for a few weeks, to be alternately pampered and bullied into losing weight, getting exercise and generally establishing better habits. Then I would do all the traditional things - buy a new house, pay off debts, buy my parents that apartment in Paris they really want, etc. - and then... I would get right down to having a family. Lots of kids (well, um, maybe two, tops) and spending lots of time with them - mostly counteracting the evil social programming that is all around us and ensuring the kid(s) are actually, oh, literate by the end of first grade. The whole notion of having the time and money to be able to just focus on raising a reasonably sane family fills me with inexplicable warm fuzzies.
Ack! When did I turn into a Stepford Wife?
Maybe it's not that bad, but it's a little disheartening, in some ways. Spare me the post-feminist backlash cant about how motherhood is finally being recognized as an unsung glory and labor of love. It's still not exactly a conversation starter at cocktail parties. In fact, maternal subjects can more often stop a conversation than start one - and if you don't believe me, try to talk about your nephew's predilection for projectile drooling during your next soiree. Let's see if your friends sing the praises of childrearing then.
Anyways. Passions and changes thereto: Writing is a fun hobby, I like it and I think I'm reasonably good at it. But I lack marketable ideas - or for that matter, any ideas of late - and I'm also short of the indomitable will that is require to finish that manuscript, find an agent and get the bloody thing published. Oh, sure, if I was suddenly rich, I might tinker around with a couple of screenplay ideas. But the kind of stories I come up with are strictly indie-circuit, methinks. Otherwise, I'm just a dilettante and delusions of grandeur aren't going to get me anywhere. What a letdown, I have been coddling those delusions for a good long while - although I think they slipped away a couple of year ago, it just took me this long to finally notice.
As for editing... Well, I enjoy it, but most female editors hit their career-ceiling by the time they're thirty, and twenty-hour days are not reconcilable with the notion of having a family. But, should I win the lottery, I might look into a hoo-ah personal computer, a digital camcorder and a whole bunch of post production software... That would be fun, and I would be setting my own hours! But it's not the overwhelming need it used to be... I suppose it's just like recovering from an addiction, in a way. When I was in school and had time for this sort of thing, I was hooked. But real life intervened, other priorities reared their ugly heads, and so I have weaned myself off the old fixations...
It's the sewing. It must be the sewing. It starts with looking at patterns for ridiculously impractical things like sci-fi costuming, but then it's just a small step to making practical clothes, and then adorable baby outfits and baking apple pie. Aiye! What's next? Joining the GOP?
Reading note: If
you're a fan of 'armchair travel', check out Bill Bryson. I've just read Notes
From A Small Island and I'm a Stranger Here, Myself and I'm
enjoying them both - although I would recommend the former over the latter.
Bryson's got half-a-dozen travel tomes published, ranging across the
Americas, England and the Outback, so I'm looking forward to chewing through
them as soon as they filter down to the used-book store. Bryson has a clear
sense of humor and fond regard for the places he writes about, and has
managed to spark in me a curiosity to see the cathedral at Durham, he made
it sound that interesting...
And I caved in and picked up The Forest, the latest in Edward Rutherfurd's fictionalized history of England shtick. I really enjoyed Sarum, got a good chuckle out of London, avoided Russka like the plague (on the recommendation of everyone I know who had read Sarum and London) but when I saw The Forest in hardback last year, I just thought "Oh. Again?" But it's out in paperback, the reviewers on Amazon.com thought it was rather jolly and I'm getting sick of re-reading my battered copy of London (Sarum, like the construction of Stonehenge, has been lost to time). So I picked up The Forest when I finally noticed it was in paperback. It's alright. Rutherfurd starts the story in the 11th Century, which is a pleasant change from his usual Ice-Age introductions and the characters are, as usual, entertaining and just developed enough to save them from total vapidity. Good summer reading.
Buggerit. We've lost another player of SteinCorp Station to GenCon. That, plus the sudden cash hemorrhage that is Levi's brakes had forced us to try to reschedule the game. Providing the hotel doesn't try to screw me for rescheduling the contract again, the event will most likely occur on September 15th. Ah well, that'll give me more time to sew, anyways.
Of course, if the game happens in September, we'll suddenly have five more players to accommodate, which is going to create some problems, as I had already re-cast their roles to other players. Most of those re-cast players have seen the ' extended character backgrounds, so I really don't want to move them, and burden them with dealing with OOC knowledge. I'm going to have to cross my fingers and hope that I can work things out with the minimum of toe-treading.
I'm not too perturbed by the idea of rescheduling the game. Right now, if it went off as planned, I would be too stressed out about money-worries (and sewing worries!) to really have a good time. These things work out for the best.
|Hsien / Influence (Wooing)||Ko / Revolution (Molting)|
Revolution. On your own day you
I have to mention the 'image' text for the second
hexagram here: Fire in the lake: the image of Revolution. Thus the
superior man sets the calendar in order and makes the seasons clear.