I'm back, the trip was great,
I'm pooped to heck'n'gone and there's a ton of work I have to do.
Selected pictures will be online
tomorrow, along with a trip report and other nifty things.
Yes, I almost called MM and said "I quit", but cooler heads pointed out that it wouldn't have been practical. I've got to cash in my stock options, then I can quit.
Actually, my final decision regarding A Big Move is on hold until the Ft. Bragg/Medecino area has been checked out. Kevin and Colette have land up there - planning to build some time in the future - and they both think that the area would satisfy mine and Alex's urge to get away from the sprawl down here, without putting us within a stone's throw of the Canadian border...
More on Thursday...
The trip report will probably have to wait until the weekend or at
least until tomorrow. Last night the Miskatonic House decided it needed
a night of taking it easy, so we went to the movies and ate Chinese
food, instead of doing chores.
We watched "Shaft" which, while rather unlike it's predecessor, was amusing, nonetheless. I'm rather perturbed by the fact that only Dave, Alex and I got the "It's Guiliani time!" reference but, heck, we were watching the movie in Martinez and the audience was mostly teenagers, anyways.
The three of us spent a lot of the time giggling and muttering "Yeah, that's how the Concord PD works in Aragon..." which, of course, you don't get unless you play in the game...
And I still have a mad thing for Christian Bale. I know it's silly, but life needs a little silliness, non.
I saw a trailer for some Kim Basinger thriller that looks like it might provide for some good plot-fodder - now I've just got to ensure that none of the Aragon players go see the game...
report will have to wait until the weekend. I had intended to
spend this morning in the office gleefully procrastinating from my
tasks and writing something up but, dammit, my bosses keep giving me
things to do! Ah well...
Last night - rather than writing the promised journal-entry - I was online far too late chatting in-character with a player in Rich's Vampire LARP Casting The Runes. Oy, two hours of chatting for 'okay, maybe I'll allow your character the chance to impress me'... elders are so annoying, sometimes. The player in question - Dominic - loves verbal fencing, so I'm sure we could have resolved the matter within half-an-hour, otherwise...
Continuing the gaming theme, Aragon is unfolding nicely. We've just unleashed some horrific nightmares on a few characters, with promises for more ickiness in the near future. Heh. I love being an evil GM. Meanwhile, on the 'indulge-the-GM' scale, there is a chance that my favorite coroner will be making a cameo during downtime - but only if a player really screws up his meeting with the Prince of Sacramento.
job hunt is looking up again. It's like a roller coaster at times, but
he just had a really good interview with a small book-publishing
company in Berkeley. Apparently they're torn between him and a guy who
has more publishing experience, but Dave has more
space-management/sales experience and that's what the position is -
warehouse/inventory management. The money is pretty good, the
environment seems nice and the commute wouldn't be too rough,
so fingers are crossed over at Miskatonic Acres...
All this and Dave seems to have a very nice online-soon-to-be-personal acquaintance going with a law student in Ohio. Her name is Heather and she's coming out here in July to take the California Bar Exam and - if she passes - move out here to start work on her forensic pathology PhD (which I think is waaaaaaay groovy)... Dave gets this slightly poleaxed look whenever he talks to her, so I think he's on to something... :)
trip to Port Townsend was lovely. The town is a stone's throw away from
the Canadian border near the northern end of the Olympic Peninsula.
Before the bust of 1890 - when the railroad didn't come through
from Seattle, Port Townsend marketed itself as the "New York of the
west coast" and the smart money was on it becoming the state capitol in
short order. But, as I said, the railroad failed to come to town and
things went badly belly-up.
The town has since recovered, and now makes its living by being unbelievably quaint and historic. It stops just short of being cloying, so it's really very cool. I have a bazillion pictures - and not just for use in Alex's Vampire game - but I'm still sorting through them, so I'll have to post highlights later, maybe tomorrow.
We stayed in a gorgeous B&B, the Hastings House, which was built in 1890. Red walls, three stories, many rooms, antiques all over the joint - so naturally I felt entirely out of place. Except at breakfast. Then I felt right at home, particularly when I was giving myself a third helping of the wild-rice pancakes with home-made applesauce (and that was just one of the half-dozen nummies served every day!). Food became a bit of an ongoing fixation for the four-day trip, as our days were increasingly planned around which restaurants we intended to hit for lunch and dinner (and the naps that followed breakfast and lunch). Heck, it was a vacation and eating well is an integral part of relaxing, right?
We tramped around the town a lot, taking many pictures and going into far too many bookstores. For a six-block downtown district, four or five bookstores (new and used) must be above average. Of course, I made purchases in every one - ranging from a four-dollar copy of Hanif Kureishi's latest novel to a reproduction of the 1908 Sears-Roebuck catalogue, with some books on beading and other shiny things to fill in the gaps in between. Alex laid his hands on some cool history books and Kevin practically cleaned out one store's aviation section - and followed it up by picking up the Corgi Battle of Britain set at the toy shop around the corner...
Monday, we went to the Quinault Valley (or was it the Sequim Valley? I
forget..) to see the temperate rainforest of the area. Now, I'm not a
big fan of the outdoors, as anyone will attest, but this was nifty.
I even saw some native wildlifes (a deer and a black squirrel) which is
always my gauge for a successful ramble through the outdoors. I have a
picture of the deer somewhere...
The forest was amazing - straight out of Disney, or even Lucas. I know for a fact that Alex was looking for Ewoks to pummel. Huge redwoods/fir/somekindatree towering overhead, ferns growing knee high and unbelievably long beards of moss hanging all over everything. We hiked up a trail to observe a waterfall - about 80 feet tall and very pretty but, alas, the area was choked with tourists.
At one point, Alex and I were contemplating a betting pool as to precisely when Colette - a serious hobbyist photographer - was going to snap and start clubbing people with her tripod... She didn't snap, but she got very close. When Colette is taking photos, everyone else on the planet is just another annoyance. More than once, she would kneel down in the middle of a thoroughfare - pedestrian or automotive - to take pictures. I hope they turn out beautifully, because I certainly got enough gray hairs fretting about her getting hit by a truck.
journey to and from Port Townsend was a blast - albeit a bit
nerve-wracking for a nervous nelly such as myself. Kevin had rented
some little six-seater Piper for the flight, and he picked us up at
Buchanan Field in Concord. The takeoff was a bit bumpy, because Friday
was a windy day and - given that I'm a nervous flier in a 737 - I was a
bit unnerved. Okay, I was scared silly. Collette had to hold my hand
for the first ten minutes of the flight and reassure me. It was so
embarrassing, because my brain knew damn well everything was
fine. If the pilot isn't looking worried, then don't worry yourself,
right? - but that message apparently didn't make it as far as my
adrenal glands, dammit.
Anyway, after the first half-hour, I calmed down and got to rubbernecking out of the window. I tell you, at ten thousand feet on a clear day, the landscape is far more interesting than it is at 35,000 feet in a jetliner and I had a bigger window...and more legroom...
Okay, so losing communication with Seattle at midnight, when we weren't quite sure if we were past the mountains wasn't any fun, but we got by that okay...
The trip took about five hours, each way. Kevin is planning to buy a twin-engine plane soon, which could do the trip in about half the time - wow! He tells me that the wing-weight-ratio (or somesuch) is comparable to a jumbo-jet, so that turbulence is not nearly as noticeable - as it was flying back to California through some heavy clouds, and that jouncing around was just mild turbulence, gods help me...
So, all in all, it was a great trip, Alex and I shed a metric ton of stress over four days. It was very kind of Kevin and Colette to look after us so well. They not only happily flew us up to Washington, but they insisted upon covering our hotel bill and incidentals as well...*blush*. To be blunt, I know Kevin has more money than Alex and I - quite a bit more - and I know what fun it is to share it with friends. I do it myself, when I have some to spare, which is why I'm always broke come Christmas time and friends' birthdays. But Kevin had to finally sit on us and tell us to quit worrying about it. But still, how do you pay friends back for such a thing? It feels like a 'thankyou' and a bouquet of flowers just won't suffice...
In other news entirely, Logan sent me pictures from the photographic expedition to Mount Diablo. Alas, it seems that his light meter was screwed - or maybe he just has to get the hang of spot-metering - so many pictures didn't come out. However, a few did, and he scanned the contact sheets so I could get an idea... My few favorites are below. I'm going to be interested to see how they print...
lazy day, yesterday, and I paid the price for it sooner than I
We slept late and had breakfast/lunch over at IHOP - a helluva change from last weekend - and toddled around town a bit, as we had to pick up a new cartridge for the printer and some other sundries. Once we got home, I felt a little tired from a tummy upset (I should know better than to have three cups of coffee at breakfast) and thought I would take a short nap...
I woke up two and half hours later, entirely discombobulated. Then Alex and I went to the movies.
and Bullwinkle was amusing, but not worth eight bucks. Rene Russo
and Robert DeNiro were a hoot, and the rendition of the Pottsylvanian
anthem (and seeing 'em all groove to "Secret Agent Man") was almost
worth the cost... Still, I say wait for a matinee or cable for this
Upon arriving home, I realized there was a price to be paid for weird sleep patterns and popcorn for dinner, as the migrane-fairy came by to say hello. Fortunately, I was able to retreat to bed within moments of realizing what was going on, and I managed to sleep through the worst of it - which wasn't too bad. I've really got to go to a doctor about the damn things, although I'm sure the fact that my glasses are over a year old is probably a factor.
Colette, who suffers awful migranes, told me that irregular sleep patterns can be a factor in migranes - bad sleep certainly kicks them off for her - so maybe I should be paying better attention to that, too. I think the movie had something to do with setting me off, too, because I was having a hard time tracking the picture right near the end - it was like the film had been shot at 20FPS but being shown at 24 - which probably only makes sense to you film wonks... Regardless, it was vexing...
last week's trip and a general influx of influences from other sources
- Rich's Casting the Runes, for a start, compounded by viewings
of The 1900 House and An Ideal Husband - I suspect I'm
about to embark on a Victoriana phase. If I'm very careful, I
can just limit it to reading a couple of history books and maybe (if I
can fix my fershlugging sewing machine) making a silly outfit for the
next CtR game. If I'm not careful, it could get messy... Well, that's
what I have a husband, for. To sit on me when I get dam'fool ideas
about redecorating the house and changeing my wardrobe... Although,
bless 'im, he asked why didn't I have Carmine (the Prince in our LARP Aragon)
declare an upcoming game as a costume ball - answer: because I don't
want to inflict this incipient craze on anyone else! Not everyone is as
silly a history-wonk as I am!
Quick sidenote about An Ideal Husband - it's a good adaptation and worth watching, but the sight of Rupert Everett in a cutaway makes (and every woman I know) wish sooooo much that I was a gay man, dammit....
Interesting incident mentioned in Jennifer's
journal today. She's feeling a little upset because her character in
Dave's 7th Sea game - Katerina - has become more of a supporting
character than she anticipated. I say it's interesting because it
dovetails rather neatly with something Alex and I were discussing just
last night about the GMing styles of our friends - and how that can
affect our characters.
Now, don't get me wrong, I think Dave is a hoot when he runs a game, and he loves creating nifty ambiance but - it seems to me - that his characters have a habit of being the hero/focus of the game. Oh sure, one of my gaming mantras is "A game is never about one character, and certainly not your character"... But when the entire troupe is reduced to supporting the NPC who is apparently the Fourth Prophet of God, well, it can feel a little frustrating. I suspect Jenn is feeling it more keenly because she created Katerina as an adventerous, boldly-going-into-the-unknown type of character, and now she - like the rest of us - is following her husband and feeling a little bit poleaxed...
I had been feeling at a bit of a loose end with my character Elena for a while, but I attributed that to how I had created the character - who feels very much like an outsider-looking-in around everyone. With a character like that, it's a little hard to feel involved. I've been trying to roleplay her gradual thawing to the group, but it's not been easy or entirely successful - how was I to know Elena would have such a short temper? ;)
Ironically enough, Elena got a kick-in-the-butt from God/Dave, and now has a bit more direction than I anticipated, but I'm not sure how it's going to play out. It has put her thoroughly into Protector Mode, but Elena has got a few sins of her own that her dogging her heels just fine, without any help from Legion, thankyer very much...
Yeah, it's all a lot of fun...
Aragon game is on Saturday and, as usual, we're getting our plots all
together. Once again, I'm fretting about whether there's enough going
on to entertain the players - I'm really used to catering games for the
MTV generation - but Alex and Dave are faithfully bopping me on the
head and reminding me that our players are perfectly capable of getting
themselves into trouble.
The biggest problem the game is facing right now is one of communication between the PC's. Vampires are so used to keeping everything to themselves that when a matter comes up that concerns the entire court, no-one tries to co-ordinate their efforts with anyone else. Naturally, this means we've got a few Keystone Kop-esque situations going on behind the scenes... Still, it's nothing that will wreck the game, and the PCs can chalk it up to a learning experience..
to report, I'm afraid. Yesterday was spent recovering from Saturday's
headache and wandering around the antique stores of Martinez. I saw
lots of lovely things but, other than a couple of nifty vintage
photographs, I didn't pick anything up...
I would say more, but I've got to duck into my we-swear-it'll-only-be-an-hour-long-this-time meeting, that always lasts at least two...
guys, I'm banging the drum for a personal cause. If you're in the
United States, get off your ass and donate some blood to the Red Cross.
Reserves are drastically low - down to one day's worth in some cities -
and it's just getting worse. The Red Cross needs blood of all types,
and they need it now. To find the donation center nearest you,
Just be over 17 years old, 110 lbs and - here's what's disqualifying a lot of people - swear that you didn't eat red meat in England between 1985 and 1996. My tattoo doesn't matter - I got that over a year ago - but the fact that I had a couple of hamburgers ten years ago has disqualified me from donating blood. Blasted BSE....
A busy day at work, doing various annoying recruiting thingies. Today is hell-meeting-day but it's offset by the presence of free breakfast and lunch, so it's not so bad. The fact that I now have a laptop upon which to type all meeting notes is also a godsend. Whenever I find myself kvetching about meeting-duty, I just remember how awful it was when I had to do it by hand, and I feel much better.
Played catch-up with Mike Gonos, last night. Karen Ffinch is apparently divorced - to my utter nonsurprise. I liked working with Karen (her presence made MicroProse bearable) but I never could quite cotton on to her husband... Still, there's a chance I might be able to catch up with her at some point. A theater in Oakland is doing some revival showings of some of Sean Connery's 007 films and Mike is trying to round up a posse of us to go see Goldfinger this week. I don't know if I'll have time, but I suppose I'll try.
Tonight is running a quick bit of downtime with Ryan for Aragon. Ryan was chafing a bit at the apparent stinginess of the Experience Awards for the game, but I'm hoping we managed to explain our POV - the game meets more frequently than most other LARPs and we think that players have gotten really spoiled by GMs who give XP for breathing. Heck, I used to do that myself, but I'm trying to get better... In the meantime, it seems that Ryan is still interested in the game, so I'm not too fussed. Honestly, any player who quits because they think they aren't getting sufficient goodies from the GM, I'm not going to miss them, anyways. And this little downtime adventure should be fun for him. If he plays his cards right...well, it'll be good for a lot of PCs, not just his.
Prep for Aragon is going well, although Alex is going to have to scramble to get character packets ready. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting to hear if a 'drop-in' player is going to make it or not... It's not the end of the world if he can't make it, but I just need to know, darnit. Dave, throughout all this, is just doing his happy Evil-GM dance as we're gleefully unleashing a few moderately horrific things across the Bay Area.
The players who are currently involved in that plot line are appropriately horrified/intrigued/grossed out... Gosh, just wait until they see the next round. The unofficial motto for Aragon is "Bad Things Happening To Good People" and we're not about to loosen the screws just as we're starting...
Must dash, work awaits.
Oooogh... The blankets were extra heavy this morning. I slept weird last night, lots of odd, incoherent dreams and the dog thinking that the backyard was being invaded by UFO's at 2AM didn't help, either. I came within a hair's breadth of pulling the covers back over my head and calling in, but I know I'm out of sick time. I've gotta be... However, I know the Creeping Crud is making the rounds of the office, so I hope my tired state won't lure nasty little viruses into my system. I really don't want to be sick at game weekend.
Been having some interesting conversation with 'Walkyr, off and on, via the ol' Instant Messenger. He, like I, is prone to writing about his RPG characters, and he asked permission to use Rachel in a piece he's working on. Of course I agreed, and this led to some nifty back and forth about how Rachel would operate in a given situation, her usual methods, etc. I always like talking about my babies, so it's been rather fun. I'm curious to see the tale, when it's done...
contemplatory matters, I'm thinking of getting my ears pierced again.
I've got two piercings in each lobe - I used to have three, but the
middle set healed up ages ago - but I've always rather liked the style
of multiple fine-gauge rings going along the lobe and up the edge of
the ear. I think it's quite nifty, in a metallic sort of way. As usual,
though, the stopping point has been that I'm a coward who firmly
believes that we haven't gone through all this evolution just to put
ourselves through avoidable discomfort.
Getting the tattoo was different, hush. I bet getting my ears pierced would hurt more - certainly for longer. The last time I had my ears pierced, I was seventeen and therefore immortal and impervious to pain. It's been ten long, learning-experience filled years since then...
Still, I've been thinking about it for quite a while, off and on, so I'm thinking about taking the plunge. My ears are the only part of me I would ever pierce - mostly because I've cut a deal with my more-squeamish-than-me husband - so I might as well go ahead and do what I want. An advantage of living in the Bay Area is that there is no shortage of reputable piercing joints... Kids, even if you want 'only' a cartilage piercing, do not go to JC Penney's and have some nimrod with a plastic gun do it. It will hurt far more than neccessary and be generally awful - or so I'm told. Hit the books and find a reputable body-piercing place...
Last night's Aragon downtime with Ryan went very well. Dave and I had several scenarios laid out, and the best-case is the one that actually occurred, much to my relief. Now Ryan's character will have some very interesting information to spread at the next game - which will neatly get his ass out of hock to the Prince, too...
The pre-game scramble isn't quite as bad as I had feared, but it's early in the week, still...
again, I have based a body-modification decision upon two factors -
does the business have a good website, and are they close to public
transit? I got my right earlobe pierced for the third time over at Body Modification, in the Mission
District. If you're curious about that kind of thing, take a look at
the site - although I would suggest skipping the scarification pictures
if you're squeamish. Still, their site answered most of my questions
about ear-piercings and the business manager showed enough sense/taste
to hire a decent web-designer, so I was willing to trust 'em to poke me
with a needle.
As far as such things go, it was quick and pleasant. The place was about two blocks from the 16th & Mission BART station, and I slid out of work a little early to take care of it and not get home too late. Honestly, I wasn't entirely sure I wasn't going to turn chicken clear until I got off the train, but once I was heading down the street, the deal was sealed. The place itself has a nice storefront and genial counterhelp. Ear piercings are done in a walk-in basis, and I was lucky in that there was only one other person there, when I arrived, so I only had to wait about ten minutes.
Thereupon, I met a chap named Tommy - a nice fellow if you like 'em heavily pierced and tattooed. I talked with him for a minute about my long term plans and, fortunately, his advice coincided with my own conclusion to progress one piercing at a time. Heck, it's not like they give a discount for bulk - although at $23 a go, it would be nice. Apparently it's a case of 'how much can you take?' for multiple piercings. Given that I'm a massive wimp, one at a time is just fine...
Actually, it didn't hurt that much - I hardly felt it at all. When I commented that I've had hangnails that hurt more than that - true! - Tommy laughed and said the trick was to use really sharp needles. Wow, that was a detail I could have done without. But whatever works, and it did...
Needless to say, I didn't tell Alex about the new piercing until afterwards. Oh, he knew I had been thinking about it, but there was no need for me to make him all anxious, as he would have gotten if I had said "I'm off to get another hole in my head, see you later". He would have fretted from that moment until I got home, and he's got enough stress in his life. As it was, he appreciated my approach and was generally upbeat about the venture, which is a relief.
Getting home was a minor adventure, too. Just as I put my ticket through the fare gate at the Mission BART station, the station transformer blew, and the entire place was plunged into darkness - and with no windows and almost no emergency lighting, that was pretty damn dark. Fortunately, there was a train at the platform that picked everyone up and ran down to 24th Street, whereupon I was able to grab a Concord-bound train. It could have been much worse. I was envisioning the entire dratted outbound line closing down from the fracas, but it didn't...
was severely-unhealthy stuff over at the local Red Robin, and I swung
by the local over-the-counter-culture store to pick up a couple of 18
gauge rings to match my latest acquisition so I can, y'know,
accessorize my earlobes. Of course, at 18 gauge, those beads are
extremely fiddly...*mutter*...but I got 'em set eventually, so I now
have three matching rings dangling on my right ear. An advantage of
small-gauge wire is that I can take these things out without resorting
to pliers - unlike Dave's battle with ten-gauge some time ago...
Amongst the many silly things catching my eye at the store was a tee-shirt stating "I'm just a little *@#$ing ray of sunshine, aren't I?" which I almost bought for Dave, then and there. I managed to resist, but I don't know if that resolution is going to last past next pay-day...
Unexpected ramification of getting pierced: I seem to suddenly have a lot more to talk to my boss Brent about. Well, between the piercing thing and the fact that he really digs punk and ska (not that you'd know it to look at the lad) I think some ice has been broken between us. Although that's not to say he can't be a twit at times, but if I had an apathetic admin-assist like me, I would be a twit at times, too...
Well, I think we're cutting it a bit close for prep for the upcoming Aragon game but there isn't that much we have to do, I guess. I'm still used to the sixty-players-and-one-GM type of game, rather than twenty players and three GMs. We've got to run by the craft store tonight for a couple of props, and then Alex intends to spend tommorow night updating characters. Since we've only had one round of XP awards, not many players are ready to spend, yet, so character-updates won't take too much, I guess.
I'm still nervous we don't have enough going on at the game itself to keep everyone amused, but I hope my fear is misplaced. Logan has put on his "Ass-kicking Duke" hat and has been laying about left-and-right with his court and people - all for the best, I think. He was dangerously close to having a court of loose cannons, but I think he's asserting himself just in time... Now we've got to shake up the other Duke's court, which has been getting entirely too complacent. Heh...
a call for larps for the VampireLARP.com
directory over the the WW-forum and have gotten a few responses.
Annoying enough, some people didn't read the whole post and have sent
me listings for wraith and garou LARPs, too... Now, I dig larpage in
all it's forms, but I'm intending to keep this portal project on a
narrow focus, just to keep me sane... Still, it's a shame, as some of
the other WoD LARPs I received details about seem pretty nifty!
For the moment, the site is still with namezero.com as a host, but once I get paid, I'll be taking care of paying of InterNic and moving the site to Brian's box on the east coast. The nice thing about owning the domain name is that I can still start pasting the URL here and there, even now, and moving the site next month won't screw things up too much...
it before, I'll say it again and probably before the month is out, but
I'm my own worst enemy at times.
I was talking about piercings and tattoos with Trish, yesterday afternoon. She was asking after where I went for my tattoo (Pacific Tattoo, I reccomend 'em) and did I have a good experience with Body Modifications, etc... "Watch out," Trish chortled, "Piercing's addictive..." - which is something I've heard about tattooing, too.
Now, I don't really understand why piercing is addictive, as the endorphin dump from a simple lobe-piercing has never been particularly significant in my experience. Contraiwise, lobe-piercing is about as insignificant as possible - as piercings go - so I wonder if perhaps those addicted to it are referring to more, um, intrusive piercings (yow!).
But I do understand the essential fact that it's addictive. Right now I'm feeling like I did about two weeks after getting my tattoo. Hey, that didn't hurt nearly as much as I though, and, heck, I could afford to get the next one done as soon as the ouchies fade... Fortunately, I recognize that I'm probably not entirely rational at the moment. Getting another piercing days after the previous one would not be sensible for a variety of reasons, mostly ouchy ones.
Oy vey, Brent made me a cup of his 'espresso without an espresso machine' yesterday. One taste and it was immediately on my top-five list of 'most serious cups of coffee I've ever tasted' - other spots are occupied by the quadruple latte I slammed down on a film set at 1AM and my one taste of Blue Mountain. The stuff tasted great - once I got over the initial shock - but it burned a hole in my stomach that kept me appetite-free clear until 9PM, whereupon I fell over in a zombie state. I think I see why Brent eats antacids like altoids, now. Between drinking a mug of that stuff every day and his penchant for chile from the Galleria next door... Ow.
amusing sideline discussion with Dave, the other day, about personal
soundtracks, favorite songs, etc. As we were discussing titles, I
realized I had very few happy songs on my little list, which is odd
because - despite my bitching to the contrary - I consider myself
optimistic-despite-facts-otherwise (aka Bloody Hopeless Romantic).
Maybe it's time for me to revamp my list - or my opinion of myself...
I may as well include a few examples of Johanna's Soundtrack for life - in no particular order.
Wait - Wang Chung West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys Lessons in Love - Level 42 Fuck and Run - Liz Phair Girlfriend In A Coma - The Smiths Dogma - KMFDM I Want You Now - Depeche Mode Secret October - Duran Duran Insanity - Oingo Boingo The Only Time - Nine Inch Nails
Yeah, yeah, not a song after 1987 in the pack of 'em. ;)
Some helpful fellow sent me a huge chunk of the One World By Night directory, to add to VampireLARP.com, so I spent a fair bit of last night checking URLs and sending out pinging e-mails to various STs. Fortunately, it seems that OWBN are pretty faithful about ensuring that their member games are up-to-date.
to report today, as yesterday was pretty brain-dead at the office -
aside from an interviewing snafu - and today is going to be running
around, getting ready for Aragon...
Alex's final days in the military are proving to be a real test. Yesterday, one of his coworkers asked him for a floppy disk upon which to save the days' reports. Alex told the co-worker to grab one from the supply box, please don't use any on his desk, because they already had some important stuff on 'em that Alex wanted to keep. Actually, that 'important stuff' was everyone's XP requests for Aragon but there wasn't much point in trying to explain that...
So, what does the co-worker do? You got it, he takes the disk off Alex's desk, reformats it and dumps the daily report on there. Alex didn't discover this until after he got home - it seems the co-worker returned the disk to Alex's desk when he was done, wasn't that considerate. Grrrr...
The fact that we're going to have to update characters on-site isn't so bad - only a few people spent XP this month - but this incident just drove Alex's blood pressure up by another ten points and I swear steam is coming out of his ears. It's been like this all month - short-timers' syndrome, it's called, or so I'm told. I call it a short-cut to an ulcer.
Whee! Who else felt the earthquake this morning? We had a little temblor of 3.56 on the Concord fault at 5AM. I barely woke up - and even then, I didn't know what it was - but it startled the life outta Dave, apparently. Of course, we're trying to think of a way to incorporate this event into tonight's game...
Must dash, lunch and errands await!
I'm very tired and the guys are waiting on me to go get breakfast, so
I'll keep it brief. The game went very well last night - at least I
think it did and, given that I remained sober this time (as did Dave
and Alex) I think our recollections might be vaguely accurate. We took
a lot of pictures, some of which I'll be posting online, later, for the
I think Alex and Dave had a good time, I know I had a blast - although quick-changing between Prince Carmine and Mattie - especially a half-hysterical Mattie - was a bit wearying. However, it was worth it, as it was all part of the Grand "Mess with Tony's Character" campaign. Through three LARPs now, Tony's been waiting for a GM to actually use the painstakingly crafted history he made for his character, Devon, and Aragon finally did so, with a veangence. Devon, of course, felt like hell - particularly after his long-estranged childe appeared in court, only to die in his arms - but I know Tony appreciated it. Gods, I love being a wicked GM...
Dave, as usual, won the quick-change character of the night award, given that he had to play five characters - three of them simultaneously - but he managed to do a great job and raise much havoc. Eyeballs, anyone?
Must dash, food awaits.
weekend was lovely until last night. I don't really want to talk about
it and - with luck - it will be taken care of by day's end. But, for
the meantime, I'm feeling a bit cranky and I definately don't
want to be at work today.
Ah well, I don't want there to be war and starvation, either...
And crankiness has its uses, too. I came up with a couple of evil ideas for Aragon ("Bad things happen to good people!") this morning. I bounced them around and found 'em good, so they'll probably be introduced shortly after game three...
Saw X-Men last night. It'll go on my list of "Crap, but entertaining movies". In all honesty, it could have been much worse but, lord, there wasn't much there for the mind... Still, if you're a fan of the comic, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Dave is a ravening Wolverine fan and convinced that, no matter what, the portrayal of that character was going to suck. He walked out of the theater happy, and I'm glad, as a sulking Dave would be insufferable...
Not much, aside from evil ideas cited above and fretting about a spat that has apparently blown up between two players...
Alex's last day with the MEPS. Tomorrow he goes to Travis to drop off
Cue: Shattering fanfare.
Unfortunately, I'm massively swamped at work right now, otherwise I would take the time to gloat a little more. I'll probably take the time to write a longer entry to post tomorrow - providing I don't go into a food coma after my pre-birthday dinner at my parents' place...
course, I fell into a food coma last night. After a large helping of
roast lamb and tasty trimmings - plus chocolate cake - who can blame
me? Alex was even worse off, but that's to be expected... I always
win 'my mom can cook better than your mom' contests...
To my relief, my parents are willing to buy me a new vacuum cleaner for a birthday present. I've finally reached the age where I'm finding useful presents far more, well, useful than the latest Wallace & Gromit merchandise. That's not to say I don't like some silliness on my b-day - which would explain why Saturday will be spent watching massive amounts of Dr. Who over at Kevin's place. A Dr. Who marathon certainly won't be to the taste of most of my friends, but to heck with 'em, it's my birthday!
Other b-day prep has included looking over the garage-sale listings for the weekends. Alex and I have found some very groovy stuff at garage-sales - mostly game props, like our 94 year-old, fabulous-condition typewriter - and we haven't gone out for a while. It's a fun way to spend a morning and there's a huge neighborhood sale going on down in Danville on Saturday that I wouldn't mind picking over...
off to Travis to drop off his USAF ID today. Once that's done, Japan
could invade San Francisco but the military still couldn't call him
back. Alex is still looking a little poleaxed - unsurprisingly enough.
I don't think the fact that he's no longer part of the military is
really going to sink in until he starts interviewing for a new job -
and I'm already working on that.
An advantage of running the recruiting process in my office is that I'm on terms with a lot of high-end headhunters. So far I've got three agencies ready to look at Alex's resume, and they're all really good places. God knows they're tenacious enough with me when my bosses are reviewing their candidates, so I figure they'll be just as tenacious finding Alex a job. If they want MM to hire any more of their candidates, they had better be tenacious! Okay, okay, I'm just kidding, but still...
Ack, I have to find a yard-maintenance service, and they all look the same in the yellow-pages. All I care about is if they're licensed and if they'll give a free estimate. I guess I'll just close my fingers and point. It's not like I need the front yard to resemble something out of House And Garden, I just need it to less resemble Ypres circa 1917...
Aragon is going well. It only took the Prince stamping her foot twice and flat-out telling the Tremere that they were going to lead this plot/investigation no matter what to get the court off it's ass. *Sigh* And these are the intelligent players in the area...
Alex and I have been giving a lot of thought to opening up the plots a bit - that perhaps the clues that have been laid down are a little too abstruse for the players to perceive, while seeming ten feet tall to the GMs - and I think we've got some good solutions coming up. We don't want to spoon-feed anything to the playership - they're a smart bunch and deserve better than that - but apparently they've been feeling a little frustrated lately, so there's no harm in trying to alleviate that.
Late last night, I got an idea for a plot that could only concern the Toreador/high-society types, and I'll be bouncing that off Dave and Alex later today. I feel bad because the Duke of Aragon, Devon Ashmoore, is being made to look ineffectual when it's just a case of the driving plot of the moment doesn't make use of his talents - or the talents of most of the courtiers in Aragon territory. Solution: create a plot that does make use of his talents and that of the Toreador clan and unleash it on the playership. With luck, it'll also provide a bit of relief from the current 'we're all doomed!' plot...
little surrealities and why I don't miss Blighty as much as I might can
be encountered in one delightful package here and thanks to Mavis for the
link. Now, I'm all for wallowing in the monarchy every now and then -
particuarly when I'm 6,000 miles away and it's not my money
supporting the teetering edifice in question but really...
Wombles? A parade of Wombles in
guards uniforms at the Queen Mum's birthday? Does the Queen Mother
even like Wombles?
I mean, when you've managed to baffle The Times - a monarchist institution if ever there was one - then you've really baffled everyone... Oh, just go take a look...
the more mundane news for the moment. SuperDave came by the office
yesterday. Apparently he's finished with the latest bout of
chemotherapy - the office-gossip guess that his cancer had come out of
remission seems to be correct - but there's still no indication when we
can expect him back in the office regularly. Everyone's been a bit
gloomy about his being away for the past two months, as he's a very
dynamic guy - to the point of reguarly causing seizures in his
corporate fellows ("He promised what to his department??") so
his absence has had quite an impact on espirit-de-corps.
Unfortunately, SuperDave is having to fly back to the UK because his father has just had a nasty heart attack. This guy can't get a break, I tell you...
Had a pleasant interlude at work, yesterday. Thanks to the proliferation of reunion websites, I managed to stumble across an e-mail address for a guy I knew in high school and had completely lost touch with, thereafter. Moving across the country will do that for a person, go fig. So, I dropped Faisal a line and, to my surprise, he actually replied. He's doing well, newly married, living in Boston and apparently in the pink. It's a little odd to be writing to a guy after a gap of ten years but, hell I haven't really changed that much - at least, that's how I feel...
a job interview over at e-mode,
yesterday - total waste of my time. The environment is alright - less
than thirty people, planning to grow to 70, tops, but they really want
someone who will do three jobs for the price of one - Executive
Assistant, Office Manager and Benefits Coordinator - and I'm not too
keen on the neighborhood where their office is. It's on Market, near
Civic Center, which is perfectly alright in daytime but I know from
experience can get a little hairy after dark. I would spare 'em more
thought if the job was straight up exec-assist but the rest...? Forget
it. So I'll be politely telling 'em to bugger off later today.
That's the lovely thing about job hunting while one still has a job, one can be extremely picky. I've never had the luxury of looking for work while still employed before and I must admit it's a damn sight nicer than the other options.
Memoirs Of A Geisha at the used-bookstore last night. I've
seen so many people reading the damn thing on the train, I suppose I
may as well give it a try, myself. And, following in the current craze
of adults reading juvenalia - as per the Harry Potter
phenomenon - I picked up a couple of the old Target Dr. Who paperbacks,
for nostalgia's sake. Maybe I'm jut being cynical, but I still
thing those throwaway books are written for a higher reading-level than
your average high-school textbook.
Although I must admit, I felt a little shame-faced reading Mind of Evil on the train, this morning. Gods help me when I pull out Death To the Daleks!
Alex and I had a good chat about Aragon plots last night, and what to do for the Toreador contingent of the game. We hashed out a good idea - although it meant I had to blow a plot I had cooked up as a surprise for Alex - but I still want to see something we can launch during downtime... Meanwhile, I've got to get cracking as I have to cook up nightmares for five PCs this week - time to get the Jung and Campbell off the bookshelf and see what I can turn up...
my birthday - cue the kazoo fanfare...
I wonder how long one's husband is allowed to not say "Happy Birthday" without one becoming peeved. He's been up for over an hour now, and not a peep to commemorate the day. Oh, alright, I don't want a big fuss made - I got over that after my 21st birthday - but some sort of acknowledgement from him would be nice...
Later today, we're off to Kevin's place to wallow in many, many episodes of Dr. Who. I haven't wallowed in that aspect of myself for years, so it should be rather fun. However, such wallowing might have unforeseen circumstances, as I'm looking at the event list for Gallifrey One - which isn't clashing with DunDraCon for once - and thinking Hmmm, I could go down there. Van Nuys isn't too far... Worse yet, I've mentioned the convention to Kevin - and the fact that the hosting hotel is directly next door to the Van Nuys airport...
before any Whovian silliness can take place, I hve to rush off to the
videostore and see if I can lay my hands on a copy of Logopolis
- the last and one of the best Tom Baker eps - and something, anything,
watchable with Peter Davidson. All Hollywood Video had was Snakedance,
which isn't the greatest, although it's better than some. What I would
really like to find is Caves of Androzani (Peri
nonewithstanding) or maybe Earthshock...
But I digress... I finally called a yard service and they're coming over later in the morning to give me an estimate on tidying up and maintaining the front yard. As long as it comes out to less than $200 to fix and $100/month, I'll be happy. However, I don't know if I'm going to be that lucky...
Had a monster brainstorming session for Aragon last night. We've come up with a very kewl thing for Game Three, and we've tooled with the plot that is currently primary, as the players are finally getting off their heinies and - if they follow through - they will make progress. I still think the Aragon Duke is getting left in the shade, but maybe I'm wrong. The latest addition to Game Three should take care of it...
Providing I'm not in total photon-shock from hours of Dr. Who, tomorrow will be spent sending out a lot of downtime e-mails, letting the players know what they're going to accomplish, asking for clarifications, etc... Some of them are chafing for results, already, even though the deadline for people to let us know what they want to do isn't until tomorrow, and we can't determine what's going on until we, the GMs, know it ourselves. I love the players, but when did they get so darn impatient? They certainly like to drag their feet when we're asking them for things... Ah well, I know, it's the same all over...
I certainly followed one birthday tradition. No, I didn't get
drunk - Kevin's is a teetotaling house - but I ate way too
much. Many cookies and nibbles were laid out during the fast half of
the evening, then I stuffed myself on sashimi during dinner and then
cake was brought out and it was marzipan, my utter favorite...
I'm honestly surprised I didn't explosed like something out of Monty Python...
Yes, I had a lovely time last night. Assorted friends were present - DJ, James, Laurel, Jennifer, plus the hosts Kevin and Colette - and we watched about 7 hours of Dr. Who, all told. Of course, that was about a quarter of what we had between us, and only about 2/3 of the playlist we set up for the night, but it was good fun! We watched the original pilot for An Unearthly Child, the final episode of The Celestial Toymaker, The Three Doctors (I'd never seen it before), The Talons of Weng Chiang and Earthshock. James, Laurel and Jennifer now know far more about Dr. Who than they ever intended....
Of course, I've got all my tapes over here - including rental copies of Snakedance and Death to the Daleks - and I'm thinking "Hm, I could finish watching those before we return 'em to the videostore..." but I think Alex might be getting a little punchy.
Kevin made a remark about Dr. Who occupying a special place in his psyche and I have to agree with him. As a kid, I loved the show - and couldn't see the awful special effects - because it was this cool time-travel-adventure thing and it had a rather broad affect on me. I'm sure all that 'the good-guys always do the right things' moralizing scarred - um, I mean made an impression upon me and I rather suspect that Dr. Who is more than somewhat responsible for my hardcore history-habit... Now, of course, nostalgia plays a bit part of it but, y'know, some of the storys hold up very well - shame one can't say the same about most of the FX and some of the acting... ;)
I'm giving more thought to attending Gallifrey One and - pressuring Kevin-the-pilot aside - I think I'm going to make the effort to attend, one way or another. 2001 is the first time in six years that I can recall G1 not clashing with DunDraCon, so I'm going to see if I can't attend both events. If there's a money crunch, I can always save a bundle by not buying a room at the local event... But with two conventions a week apart, I may as well take the intervening week off and really wallow in geekishness. I guess I'll see how I feel after the next rash of bills come in...
old friends, part two. Again, thanks to the wonders of online
technology, I found an e-mail address for a girl (well, okay, woman,
now) I knew in high-school - Jennifer B. - not to be confused with the
two other Jennifer B's I know. This particular Jennifer I met in the
8th grade and rather liked her - in the way the class-geek is always
somewhat awed by a friend who is at least a little bit bad - and like
her as I do, I have to admit that she wasn't an angel when I knew her.
But she had a rather rough time of adolesence - for various reasons -
which contributed to her behavior and she rather upset me by running
away halfway through senior year, never to be heard from again...
After ten years, I happened to see her name listed over at a reunion site and I dropped her a line, not really expecting to hear back from her. After all, high school was pretty awful for her, so why would she want to dredge any of it up by talking to me? Just knowing she was still alive and obviously doing well enough to regularly access e-mail was enough for me... But she did write back and has let me know that she's doing very well living the life of a computer geek - like everyone else I graduated with - and generally loving life. How nice!
With luck, we can keep up an e-mail correspondence and maybe I'll find out what happened to her. What can I say, I'm as curious as a cat sometimes...
time to write, this morning, which is okay because I didn't get up to
much, yesterday. I devoured about 400 pages of Memoirs of a Geisha
- a fun read if you're into historical fiction, but an ultimately
meaningless book, I fear - and otherwise lazed around.
Heavens be praised, my mother has loaned the household her vacuum cleaner for a day or two, so we're no longer ankle-deep in dog-hair. Now we've just got to take care of everything else, ugh. I've really got to go through my clothes and throw away about half of them - either I've gotten too big for 'em (sigh) or I just don't wear 'em no more - and without a dresser, I'm rather short on space, as it is...
Dave is supposed to hear from Berkeley Games today - an RPG/game distributor. I certainly hope he does get the job, and not just because he'll get a heinous discount on gaming materials (there goes his first paycheck...). Alex really doesn't want to be spending his vacation with Dave and I fear that, if he hasn't gotten an offer by the middle of the week, Alex will send him out to sell pencils on the corner...
Must dash, work awaits and all that...
certainly did everything possible to lower my IQ last night. Dinner
consisted of a beef jerky appetizer, followed by fresh-made brownies.
Then I watched wrestling. Oh sure, I had cherries for dessert, and I
finished Memoirs of a Geisha but that was too little, too late.
If I had progressed any further, I would be wearing a cotton print
sundress from KMart and buying Shania Twain CDs.
Yeah, it was a low braincell kinda day. I felt like I couldn't get anything right at the office, and it was all my own damn' fault, so I didn't even have the satisfaction of blaming someone else. If/when SuperDave gets back to MM, I'm going to have a word with him about whether or not he still needs an assistant because if he doesn't, I'm going to step up the job hunt. I'm not doing anyone any favors by sticking around my current situation. Bah.
I think part of my grumpiness is attributable to my realization that it's been over a year since I've sewn anything and I really miss the hobby. Laurel, bless her, has offered to let me come over to visit her and James and have a stitch-and-bitch... It would be nice to finish the 1940's Vogue pattern I had cut and pinned shortly before my machine died... Better yet, it would be nice to have a working sewing machine and room to sew in.
Unfortunately, job-hunting and paying bills comes waaaay before sewing machines and craft projects. But, darnit, Renaissance Faire is only a few weeks away! Fortunately, my gear is all set - just needs a washing - but I really should make Alex a better pair of breeches and, maybe, a doublet that isn't suede so he can have two full outfits for days when we attend Faire both days on a weekend. Yes, we like going to Faire. If we had just a skosh more time and money, we'd look into volunteering with the Friends of Faire bunch - which is a bit less rigorous than joining a guild - but we just can't make another time-sucking commitment, not just now.
luck, Dave will be getting a job offer early next week, from the local
RPG/game distribution outfit. The money won't be great, but it'll do.
It'll have to. Way back when, in those hazy days when we thought Dave
would have a job within hours of crossing the state line, Alex and I
agreed that we would host Dave until Alex got out of the military and
got a better-paying job. By then, we figured, Dave would have a bit
saved up so he could get out on his own, and we would easily be able to
make bills with Alex's new salary. Of course, the picture is a little
less rosy now, but I've realized that I still want Dave to leave the
house before Hallowe'en. We really need the room and, hell, we've
already proven we can get by without his contributions on our current
salary... That bedroom of his would make a lovely little craft
Heartless, yes, but I think I've proven I've got plenty of heart after supporting the lad for eight months. At least he hasn't run up the pay-per-view bill like some other roommates in Alex's past...
On a brighter, sillier note, I finally found Stormtrooper micro-machine figures! Alex had been tearing toy stores apart trying to find the damn things, without any luck. In a moment of optimism, I logged on to Toys R Us to look for the figures - and found 'em on clearance for 97 cents per package of six. So I bought him ten packs. I'm not sure what he has in mind for the Star Wars game - Alex has been re-inspired - but I think sixty Stormtroopers should suffice. What really worried me is that he picked up a package of teeny-tiny smugglers and Imperial Officers too...