I just finished reading Bridget Jones' Diary - not a good novel for an aspiring journal writer, methinks. No matter how much I tell myself "This is a novel! No real human's life makes for such interesting reading!", Captain Paranoia keeps telling me that my journal needs to be far more exciting. Make things up, if
I'm not going to make things up, but I am going to try to make this page more than just a grocery list of my every day life. Or, if this does devolve, at least they'll be interesting lists.
I have been giving more thought to my fanfiction writing. Before I start on Cutting The Cord - my next Matrix fanfiction, I think I'm going to devote some time to developing the
characters as they are in great danger of devolving in mid-1980's reminiscent archetypes. That is rather the pitfall of having characters that go by hacker names, eventually the ensemble sounds like the character-list of a CBS after-school special about teenage gangs. So no more Matrixfic until I've developed the characters a little better.
On the other fanfic front, I have started roughing out the first draft for Deadly Triangle, my James Bond fanfic. Alas, I have run into a minor crimp in that Australia didn't have an atom bomb program until eight years after I want to set this story, but I can work around that. At the moment, what I really need is a history of Hong Kong, and Asian involvement in heroin trafficking in the 1950's. If any of you kind readers have suggestions, feel free to e-mail me. I'm having to move carefully to make sure this tale doesn't bear too much resemblance to You Only Live Twice or From Russia With Love - the books, not the movies. But considering the hardly-overwhelming traffic to my homepage, critical response is not a pressing issue.
New website projects
I know it's a new state in many ways, but why is everyone asking me what married life is like? I could understand that question if it was being asked forty years ago, before couples regularly lived together before marriage, but now? The most significant difference I've noticed so far is that I have to keep correcting myself when I call Alex my boyfriend.
Oh yeah, and occasional moments of a dizzying free-fall sensation whenever I think the words 'husband' and 'my' in the same sentence, but I'm hoping that's attributable to the four cups of tea I drank to get going today...
Because Alex has conveniently tidied up my I Ching book somewhere, I won't be casting until I find it again - hopefully later tonight.
Drat. Mutter. Damn. I got paid today and I'm already down to less than $200 until next payday - the 15th. That's barely enough to cover my transit and lunch costs for two weeks (it's an expensive commute). Alas, it's my check-card that gets used for all incidental expenses, because Alex's account is on the other side of the continent and thus it's impossible to get local merchants to accept his checks, or even find an ATM that will give access to his account without a ruinous surcharge.
Practical upshot: My money pays for 80% of our operating expenses, leaving me feeling broke, stressed and crabby way too early in the pay period. I hate to even mention money-things to Alex, as it makes me feel like I'm being selfish: Mine! Mine! It's all mine! but we're going to have to start dividing up the expenses more equitably. I've nothing against funding our trips to the bookstore, or taking friends out. It's when it's my account paying for groceries, most of the bills, dinners out, his trips to the comic-book place and all my incidental expenses - capped by Alex blowing a wad of his account on personal stuff because he thinks he's doing well and has managed to save up money - that irks me. The sooner I can convince him to move to a local bank, the better.
Alright, no more late-night pasta for me. The dreams I had last night were too bizarre for words. My subconscious ran a parade of incest, field trips with the Pope and lesser demons, and that's just what I remember. That's what I get for complaining that my dreams have been dull, lately...
Yesterday's money grumble with my beloved husband has been resolved. I don't know why I'm so jumpy about the subject - it's not like I've ever been in dire straits, not really - but when I think I'm about to run out of money between paychecks, I get very irritated and defensive and have a nasty tendency to pick fights with whoever happens to be in the vicinity. That usually means Alex.
It had to happen. Someone in my office has bought a Darth Maul inflatable chair to sit in the engineering section. I think it's quite amusing, but it clashes with the blue inflatable lounge in the front of the office. What are our clients going to think when they see our office has clashing inflatable furniture?
Roleplaying is a favorite hobby of mine - as you may or may not know. I've been giving some thought to the kind of characters I like to play, following a discussion with a couple of friends last night. Actually, it's more of an ongoing internal-scrutiny, and I'm getting some interesting answers, especially when I analyze the trend of the past five years.
In one word, I've been
playing followers. Even the psychotic/driven/supposedly independent characters
are follower-types. Rachel
DuNoir and Mattie
Storin were both characters that gave the impression of being independent
beings (one was an assassin, the other an independent ghoul) but they were both
being strictly controlled by other beings. Even my beloved Malkavian vampire, Patricia
DeMontfort, who started out as fairly strong willed and has a superiority
complex like only psychopaths can have, has turned out to be willing to follow
strong leads when they present themselves.
So that makes me wonder why I've been playing these characters the way I have. Alas, my grasp of psychology is tenuous at best, and I hate self-analysis - but I'm going to do it, anyway.
On the one hand, I've been consciously playing follower-characters for the past year or so simply because I burned myself out as a leader-type (as far as I am such) while running various live-action events. On the other hand, I vaguely worry if this tendency to play non-leadership driven types bespeaks some kind of character flaw.
I think in any other culture, I wouldn't even be having this debate with myself, but in the United States, with it's overwhelming emphasis on Type A behavior, of course a person is going to feel inadequate if they don't want to be the biggest fish in whatever pond they happen to be swimming in.
Bah. I think the point that I'm close to losing sight of is that gaming is meant to be fun, play whatever characters you enjoy. I must admit, most of the time I deliberately hobble my own characters. I will craft a character that declares themselves independently minded - such as Mattie or Patricia - and then manipulate their history and circumstances so that they are not nearly as free as they believe they are, and then have immense fun roleplaying out their reaction to that situation as they discover it. That probably read like a moibus loop to you, but to me it makes sense.
And, of course, another factor in all this is that 98% of the games I play are Vampire. Manipulation, treachery, deceit and personal freedom are all good themes to play with in this game. If I was playing Shadowrun, I'm sure I'd be debating some conflict within that area, such as why do all my characters have to wear so much cyberware, even when it's not needed? or somesuch.
But at least my characters do evolve - when I have a chance to play them over a significant period of time. During another phase of this ongoing internal-debate, I wrote an essay about how Patricia has changed over the years. I'd hate to be the kind of player who's characters are incapable of change. Ugh, how dull would that be?
Oh, I'm so tickled! I
finally got some random feedback on Unplugged!
It wasn't much, but the reader enjoyed it, and asked after other pieces I've
written that she intends to read. I love writing, and would do it even if I
didn't have a web-page to show off my efforts, but it's so nice to see that
someone - anyone - is actually reading what I'm putting out. Sure, the
site-counter tells me that people are going through the site, but feedback is so
rare, I have no idea of any readers' opinions.
That's a shame, because I'd really appreciate the opinion of strangers on my work. I'm a lazy writer, too used to writing for just myself, or for a tiny, over-informed, audience. Response from outsiders, especially of the "What the fuck is this meant to be about" variety would help me break that habit much quicker...
|Lu / Treading (Conduct)||K'uei / Opposition|
|Lasting progress is won through quiet self-discipline||Misunderstanding truth creates opposition.|
Beware of wielding power for it's own sake. Such aggressive actions result in conflict between yourself and those around you. Should you feel provoked to anger by another, try to look beyond the superficial reasons for the other's actions - and your reaction - and you may learn something new about you both.
I guess this is going to be a day for me to bite my tongue and not be too quick to fly off the handle.
Today started gray and gloomy, and my mood pretty much matched it. Then one of my coworkers e-mailed Star Wars Cantina to us. You need a real-audio player to listen to it, but since it's free, you may as well download it anyway. The track is a spoof of Copa Cabana and you can guess the rest... Extremely silly and just what I needed to lift my spirits.
Oh my. The Phantom Menace (aka The Movie) has been out for only two weeks, and I've already found a truly impressive archive of adult fanfiction based around solely Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. No, I'm not going to post a link to it, since some of you may be under 18. I'm sure you can figure out how to find it if you really want to... Personally, I blame this phenomenon on Ewan MacGregor calling Liam Neeson "Master" for two hours. If Obi-Wan has been addressing Qui-Gon by name, I don't think quite so many people would have run for their keyboards. *chortle*
Drat, I should know better than to read naughty stories at work. Now I'm all hot and bothered and there's no-one within reach to alleviate the situation. Well, there is that cutie at Organic three floors above my office, but he was a bit perturbed when I made a pass at him. I guess the fact that I was engaged at the time threw him a little. Telling him that Alex and I are in love, not dead, didn't reassure him any. Damn. That line always seems to work for middle-aged men picking up on college students - although it's true in my case. Well, I've always got my imagination - dammit! I think I had better find some things to do to distract my wandering mind - time to clean off my desk and double check the personnel records!
|Sung / Conflict||Kou / Coming to Meet|
|The proper response to conflict, whether it lies within or without us, is disengagement||Darkness reappears unexpectedly. Caution and reticence are in order.|
Step back from any conflict that you may be involved in - be they internal or external. Only by removing oneself from the situation and assessing it as impartially as possible can a fitting solution be found. Be wary of your own behavior, and do not become your own worst enemy. Often pride and stubbornness forces us into a situation that could have been avoided if one had kept a clear and calm mind.
Hmm, I better not pick any fights today. My temper can be terribly quick sometimes, especially on emotional issues. One of my less useful skills is that I can go from glibly cheerful to sullen and defensive in a matter of seconds...
Had a nice quiet evening at home last night with the husband and Brian Wiatr, who is flying out this morning. We just hung out, ate pizza and listened to Bill Hicks (a hell of a guy, I highly recommend him). It was like old times - very soothing.
I've decided to do a
hard edit on The
Collected Stories of Rachel DuNoir and Paul Viersan. Even though Rachel and
Paul are both dead characters now - they're from the old days of Bedlam's Rest -
I think that suite of stories can be improved. A friend of mine, upon reading
the collection, commented that how a sense of theme was lacking in it and I
think that's attributable to the fact that I wrote them as I went along. I
didn't have a clear idea of how their relationship was going to progress from
one story to the next. Now that the whole thing is closed, I can go back and try
to establish that. I'm also taking out most of the naughty bits as I'm not too
good at writing adult scenes, and I think it shows. Give me coy dialogue and
implication, any time...
Still on the writing front, I think I have managed to put together a working outline for the final-episode-this-time-I-mean-it of Dead Time - my de-facto Dead Ringers/Vampire crossover. I feel a bit of pressure to finish it, as my game master won't read the series until it's complete, and I think there's a lot of character fodder contained therein that could be very fun for both of us - my GM loves torturing his characters. At this rate, Patricia will be driven (or killed) out of Diablo's Children before the series is done!
My workplace, vivid is having a Bossa-Nova-esque cocktail party tonight, followed by an outing to Bardot-A-Go-Go. I'd like to join in that latter part, but I think that my tired brain and body would be much better served by going home after spending some time with my happy fellow-vividians. I've invited a friend of mine, Terry, to the cocktail party tonight, and I hope he comes. I'm hoping to lure him over to the Purple Side of the Force - as I have taken to referring to the office - as I think he'd be much happier here than his current job. Plus he's a groovy guy and I dug working with him when we were at the ill-fated goodcompany.com.
|Sheng / Pushing Upward|
|Activity grounded in truth brings progress and good fortune|
This is a good time to be making progress on tasks you have set yourself. Resist the urge to rush ahead, but proceed carefully and deliberately. Do not be afraid to ask for help as you go. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break and remind yourself of your ultimate goal and look to that, rather than momentary obstacles.
Looks like a good time for me to be doing all that overdue editing! :)
I am extremely
pissed with Tripod - the folks who host this site. For over 24 hours, my journal
directory - where you're reading this - was unavailable for viewing because of
'hardware upgrades'. Because the rest of my site was accessible, that
really makes me wonder what they're doing at their back-end...
Of course, they gave no warning that there might be a little trouble, did they? Then, when I'm finally able to access the maintenance area of my site, I discover that my journal's homepage has been deleted! What the fuck? I look all over my huge site for it, and there's no sign. I managed to rebuild it - obviously - but now I'm wondering what else may have gone missing. I have over 300 files online, so the search might take a while. Grrr.
I wouldn't mind so much, but I actually pay these guys money every month, so I have extra space and no dam'fool popup window on every page.
Too het up for deep thoughts or comments on the previous day, just now. More later.
Whee! I just got my first random flame! Some little troll (from easymail.au - in case he's stopped by again) came by, visited my journal and then sent me the archetypical ungrammatic, mispelled flame. Gosh, I'm a real netizen now!
Instead of doing laundry or any of those other things I should have done today, I have been designing new graphical bits and bobs for Serious Moonlight. It's not nearly as productive, but a lot of fun! The site is far too text-y right now, so I'm glad to have the chance to try to jazz it up a bit...
|Sung / Conflict||Kou / Coming to Meet|
|The proper response to conflict, whether it lies within or without us, is disengagement||Darkness reappears unexpectedly. Caution and reticence are in order.|
Step back from any conflict that you may be involved in - be they internal or external. Only by removing oneself from the situation and assessing it as impartially as possible can a fitting solution be found. Be wary of your own behavior, and do not become your own worst enemy. Often pride and stubbornness forces us into a situation that could have been avoided if one had kept a clear and calm mind.
Whoa, this is the same pattern I threw two days ago. Spooooky. Maybe I'm just not getting the message... ;)
I was a naughty girl
yesterday. I was up until 1:30AM uploading pictures for Serious
Moonlight and now I'm all tired and dopey. I did get some cleaning
done, yesterday - in the kitchen - but playing around on the computer is always
far more fun than household chores.
I have willpower, it's just used for all the wrong tasks!
I've been thinking
about my intended tattoo - the eyes of the wedjet (Horus) on my back - and I'm
wondering if I'm going to be able to sit through it without bursting into tears.
I'm not big on stoicism, but then again, I'm not big on looking foolish in
public (silly outfits at live-action games notwithstanding). So I guess there
will be a tug-of-war between my pain-threshold and my humiliation-threshold. Oh
boy, that makes me so enthusiastic...
My husband isn't too keen on the idea of letting a stranger poke needles into me - much like I wasn't too keen on the same when my mother went for her tattoo (two words: midlife crisis). But since Alex has a severe phobia of needles, he won't be accompanying me, either. I suspect I'll be asking my friend Jennifer to come along, instead. I'd like to get it done this upcoming weekend, but I don't get paid until the Monday after and tattoo parlors aren't keen on checks, so it will have to wait. Bah.
Continuing in the radical-changes theme, I've also got to book myself in for my I'm-going-to-cut-it-short-I-swear-it hair appointment. Yep, my lovely long tresses are going to be shorn and dyed dark red - I've had long brown hair for the past twelve years, so it's time for a change.
Actually, I feel far more tremulous about the haircut than I do about the tattoo. Sure, the hair can be grown out if I don't like it - but that will take months. If I don't care to show my tattoo, I'll just have to wear a high-backed teeshirt - which I usually do, anyways.
We'll see if I go through with any of this. I'm sure there is a betting pool being set up as I type this...
|T'ung Jen / Fellowship With Others||P'i / Standstill (Stagnation)|
|In fellowship with others, embody the principles of the Sage||In times of stagnation, attend to your attitude|
This is a good time for compromise in order to heal rifts between yourself and others. To genuinely settle a conflict between yourself and another, you must be honest and willing to meet the other person halfway, otherwise there will be lingering resentment. As always, by acting as best you know how, you will be an example and inspiration to those around you. Be patient, sincere and honest. Be aware that there may be faults within your own behavior and be willing to correct them.
That's interesting, and would be more so if I thought I was embroiled in a fight with anyone right now, but I'm not. However, it's always good advice: be willing to meet others halfway, be flexible and be on your best behavior no matter what the provocation. Easy to write, harder to follow.
Happy birthday, Daddy! My father is a great guy - and I'm not just saying that because he paid for my wedding - and I'm very happy that he and my mom are 1) still together after 25 years and 2) that my family lives less than a mile away from me, so I can run home for emergency infusions of family luvin' and home cooking. :)
I did my good deed for the day yesterday. My friend, Jennifer was in a foul mood yesterday and I sensed that getting her out of the house would be a solution. So I invited her up to my end of town, well aware of the risks of A Grumpy Friend. We had dinner and we got to chatting about various subjects that I knew would put her in a good mood - writing, tattoos, BDSM, etc and I think it cheered her up sufficiently. I hate to see friends down in the dumps if I think it's curable, and what kind of friend would I be if I didn't try to help out?
Mind you, there are
certain kinds of depression that can't be dealt with by having a sympathetic ear
and I've got a bad feeling another friend of mine, Rob, may be going through it.
He dealt with a pretty nasty depression last year, and now he's drifting into it
again. Unfortunately, his apathy and his health plan are conspiring against him
and, even if he could get counseling without paying through the nose for it, he
doesn't have the energy to care at this point.
I sympathize with the situation he's in - knowing that things can be better, but unable to summon up the strength to change - but I'm also a little irritated. By dint of having to play counselor for almost all of my friends during the more-tragic-than-thou years of high school - you know, that time when we all had a roof over our head, food to eat, nice clothes and the love of friends and family that still struck us as a terrible tragedy? Anyways, by dint of having to play 'well-adjusted-pop-psychology-gal-pal' through that, I've run out of sympathy for anyone who has the ability to pull themselves out of a depression but won't. There's a difference between can't and won't, I've been through both of them personally and with friends. Some day I'll tell you about the time that I had a screaming match with a suicidal friend who expected me to save him, but that's a story for another day.
At the moment, I think Rob is in the won't category, although I could be wrong. He's shot down ideas for help/treatment from his friends with no better reason than "I just can't get the energy up for it.". Gaaack.
Depression is a nasty cycle whereby it saps your energy and ability to help yourself, in its early stages, but - in my uneducated opinion - Rob is at a point where he could pull himself out of this severe funk. The nasty think-the-worst part of my mind suspects that his current funk is because he feels that we, his friends, aren't paying as much attention to him as he'd like, so this little bout of blahs - and his stubborn refusal to do anything about it - is an extended ploy for attention. Although, as I say, I could be wrong...
Depression is a bloody awful thing and when I see friends who can't get treatment because their bloody health-insurance plan won't cover it unless it's life-threatening - which is a bind that Rob is caught in, regardless of the underlying reasons for how he feels - it makes me want to scream and run outside and foment socialist revolution...
On a different note entirely, I've finally uploaded the last of the new Serious Moonlight site redesign. Take a look if you like!
|Sun / Decrease||Sheng / Pushing Upwards|
|Be still, lessen the power of the ego, and misfortune will be avoided||Activity Grounded in Truth Brings Progress and Good Fortune|
If you find yourself frustrated in a task, do not try to force it by being argumentative or pushy. By doing so, you will not impress others with your forthrightness, you will only be repelling them by seeming selfish and rude. Take a step back from the frustrating situation and re-examine it. Put your ego and desires aside and focus on what you are trying to accomplish. Try getting there via a different route.
Hm, I'm stalled on a couple of writing projects now, and I know that trying to force inspiration never works. Perhaps I should let them rest for a couple of days, then throw out my outlines - upon which I'm stalled - and start afresh and approach the plot with a new perspective.
I'm afraid today is another one of those horribly busy days. With luck I'll have something written before midnight!
With the cute-meter going off the scale, I've just found out that a friend's nickname for me is Wyldekyttin - that's so adorable, I'm fighting off an urge to squeal.
I spent yesterday adding some new links to The RPG Anti-Defamation League and trying to think of ways to make it more than just a portal site without having to write all the content myself. I barely have had enough time this week to write this journal, let alone well-thought out essays defending role-playing games against their detractors..
I wish I could say that I've been horrendously busy with world-shaking tasks, but the fact is a lot of regular work just piled up on my yesterday, hence it's scanty journal entry. Then again, why should I feel beholden to discuss Important Issues every day? I certainly don't think Deep Thoughts every day...
I'm booked in for my
haircut and color on Friday. I have only the scantiest idea of what I want done.
I'm too much of a realist to think that a change of hairstyle will magickally
make me taller and thinner, and I'm inept in matters of beauty so I have no idea
what would actually suit me. I intend to sit down in front of stylist, throw
money at 'em and tell 'em to just have at. I know, it's an attitude like that
that results in people looking like Cher on the bad end of an electrical outlet,
but all change involves risk, right?
I'm havering about the tattoo - I'm going to go through with it, certainly - but I'm alternating between feeling pretty relaxed about it and "Owieowieowie! Why am I volunteering for 90 minutes of owchies!". As mentioned before, I'm not big on discomfort. If I wanted to suffer, I'd be living up a mountaintop and fighting with the wildlife for sustenance. Comfort is a primary reason behind our evolution, if you ask me.
Gack. I finally added a new Maternal Jackal column - Screaming on the Train but it's not one of my best. I suspect there may be a link between increasing blissfulness in my home life and my shrinking reservoir of bitchy cattiness. Shit! What am I going to use for party-fodder, then?
|Sun / Decrease|
|Be still, lessen the power of the ego, and misfortune will be avoided|
Hm, I threw this pattern two days ago. I get the distinct impression that Dame Fortune is trying to hammer a lesson into my head. :)
Drat and quadruple
drat. I've booked in for a tattoo at Pacific
Tattoo - I liked their book and they're in a good location for me.
Unfortunately, however, they won't let me have company while the work is being
done, so my friend Jennifer
won't be able to hold my hand - so to speak. Naturally, Jenn ain't thrilled by
the idea of sitting in a waiting room for an hour, so I allowed her to bow out.
Now I'm going to have to go to this all alone, dammit!
Small world, Chapter IX. A high-school chum of mine, Marlene Geary, has unexpectedly popped up in my neck of the woods. She's in the nearby town of Livermore for a couple of days, and I'm hoping that perhaps we can catch up with each other while she's here. I've not seen her since about 1991, so it should be another one of those interesting/terrifying meetings, if it occurs.
It seems that I did not win the $85 million dollar lottery last night - nor did anyone of my acquaintance. I had better call that realtor back and cancel my order...
Gamer talk, alert!
Alex and I have been talking about running our own Vampire LARP. Yes, we're
gluttons for punishment. I've got some ideas for a chronicle that have been
kicking around for over a year, now, and I'm thinking about implementing them.
Alex has promised to help as much as he can, and that might be what convinces me
to go through with this. Last time I tried to start up a LARP - about 18 months
ago - I was pretty much by myself and I realized, halfway through preparations,
that I was still weary and burned out from running Diablo's Children for two
years. Lately, however, I've been looking at Vampire GMs and thinking "I
can do better than that." and I think it's put-up-or-shut-up time.
The two main things driving me at the moment are that I want to prove that I've not lost my GMing-legs entirely and a nasty urge to try to show up some other Game Masters who I think are making some fundamental mistakes.
|Shih / The Army||Hsieh / Deliverance|
|In times of war it is desirable to be led by a cautious and humane general||A change in attitude delivers you from difficulties|
You are entering into a period of difficulty and anxiety. Overwhelming turmoil and stress are best met with a calm head and logical mien. Do not let your temper get the worst of you, nor be motivated by petty vengeance. Take care of yourself, and do not sacrifice your goals - but ensure that you do not sacrifice your well-being, either.
Apparently I'm about to hit a turbulent patch of my life. As always, my temper and over-sensitivity - I do not take criticism well - are my own worst enemies. I also tend to let myself go during stressful times - physically and mentally - and that feeds a vicious cycle. I think, perhaps, that I should be learning how to be graceful under fire or, better yet, avoid fire entirely!
Well, I see my friend Jennifer
has finally admitted that she's feeling a bit petulant about my choosing another
tattoo artist over hers, a chap called Advance.
I know she wants me to have what she believes to be the best. But getting this
done is an intensely personal thing and, after doing a lot of asking around and
looking at books of various artists, I chose Pacific
for a variety of reasons. Annoying Jennifer was not one of them. :-)
Jenn apparently is feeling a little bemused about my having to get the tattoo this weekend. What's the rush? If y'all promise not to laugh, I'll tell you. I had a dream. I'm not sharing the details, but my subconcious hit me with a baseball bat via the dreamlands and I've decided to pay attention to it. Ironically enough, that will probably strike only half of my readers as silly as my friends who read this tend to put a lot of stock in personal portents.
My life is a constant
struggle between romance and cynicism, did I ever mention that? The above is an
exact example...Every now and then, something will happen in my life that
carries extreme resonance and just as my feeling of wonder peaks, my
cynic-o-meter kicks in and says - in a voice that sounds remarkably like my
father's - "Oh, please! Get a grip!"
I'm left feeling deflated, embarrassed and a little annoyed. The embarrassment and annoyance are directed both towards being so "foolish" as to have any kind of experience not firmly grounded in the 'real' world, and at my cynic-o-meter for refusing to allow me to enjoy it. And, of course, the experience - whatever it was - has been thoroughly invalidated.
And people wonder why I'm doing so much reading into magick and spirituality lately. I'm looking for something that can strike that chord within me and smother/convince the cynic-o-meter. The current count is Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Vodoun, Santeria, Wicca, Hermetic Magic and the wedjet. So far, the two that have carried the most resonance for me are Judaism and the wedjet (Ancient Egyptian theology/magic) so reconciling those two could be interesting. Mind you, I'm not done reading yet!
My god. My cat, Tigger, just head-butted open a tightly closed door. No wonder he's brain-dead, he's a big walking head-injury!
Oh dear, I could resist this: Darth Maul, A Best Case Scenario, courtesy of The Sith Academy. I do so like to see fans having fun!
|T'Ai / Peace||Chi Chi / After Completion|
|Heaven exists on earth for those who maintain correct thoughts and actions.||Good Fortune Unfolds for Those Who Remain On Guard Against Inferior Influences.|
This is a time of great potential. From this point forward, you could acheive almost anything you undertake, providing it is a good and honest goal, and that you approach it properly. Do not waste your time with vanity and folly, nor expect the assistance of others if foolishness is all you crave.
Hmm, maybe I should focus on cleaning the house before running an RPG...Or getting a tattoo. :-)
The great hair
expedition went well. I heeded my hairdresser's advice (Jesse, at Heidi's in Sun
Valley Mall) and my hair is neither as short nor as red as I initially intended.
A very cogent point was made that because my natural color is so dark, to force
a vibrant red on it would require stripping my hair and that's some serious
damage to do to a poor unsuspecting head of hair.
Still, I think it looks great and I don't know how Jesse managed to dry my hair so it was a big bunch of curls, but I'd give good money to learn the technique. As it is, I foresee many evenings with my diffuser and a big bottle of styling mousse.
Why do I have the feeling that all of my friends reading this suddenly got an obscene vision from the previous sentence?
So, today is wedding album assembly, tattoo and Diablo's Children so it should be a very interesting - and busy - day!
Will Johanna go through with her tattoo? Will she suddenly decide she hates her new hair color? Will she have the nerve to wear latex trousers to Diablo's Children - again? Find out all this and more in Tomorrow's Installment.
|Meng / Youthful Folly||Shih / The Army|
|Even the foolish can attain wisdom by modestly following the Sage||In times of war it is desirable to be led by a cautious and humane general|
The energy of youth - or the enthusiasm for a new project - will be most productive if carefully channeled. Do not seize an opportunity for a quick fix, or settle for quantity over quality in the matters that concern you. Understand that significant accomplishments require and equally significant investment of time and effort. Rushing about with untrammeled energy and efforts runs the risk of burnout and failure.
Man, oh man. The closer I get to this tattoo, the worse the I Ching reads. Ah, to heck with it. I've had respect for the wedjet far longer than I have for the I Ching.
So, I staggered into Pacific
Tattoo an hour late because of the evils of bad directions compounded by San
Francisco traffic. I threw myself at Laura's feet - Laura being the tattoo
artist I was seeing - and begged for mercy, asking her to squeeze me in where
After the family group - who were all getting tattoos as a bonding thing or somesuch - were done, I finally sat down and warned Laura that I was starting to get just a tad nervous. Just a bit. Laura, of course, understands and gives me a warning before drawing the first line.
"There, how was that?" she asks.
"Not bad" says I, "ask me after you're done."
One hour later - "Done!"
"Wow! That wasn't so bad!"
And it wasn't. I think owning a needle-clawed cat toughened me up a bit. Plus it's not a very big tattoo...
But I love it. The design - the eyes of Horus - is a little different from what I conceived, but Laura's changes were good ones. As soon as I have a photo of it, I'll post it up here, of course.
I didn't cry, didn't yelp and didn't chicken out. I'm very happy. Now I'm buying lots of low-backed shirts so I can show it off once it's healed... :)
My husband, Alex, gets the extra-super-value-sized Karma Points from me for driving me into the city - something he hates - and for being able to sit in the waiting room while hearing bzzzzz for the best part of an hour. Alex has a severe phobia of needles, you see....
Children game last night. DiaChi (as it is known for short) is a Vampire
LARP that's been running for four years and I have an grudging loyalty to it
because I ran it for the first two years of it's existence. Yesterday's game was
fairly average for me. My character Patricia
wasn't terribly taken by the plots, but since the current GM, Nick, seems to
delight in torturing my favorite Malkavian, I had more than enough to keep me
Unfortunately, my level of enjoyment of the game has been steadily decreasing because I think that Anarch games fundamentally don't work. When you have fifty rampant individualists in one place, there is no plot on earth that can pull them together - not even the interminable Ring plot that Nick has had going for the best part of two years. It also doesn't help that those fifty characters are about the most mismatched lot you could ever find in a Vampire game.
But, I'm still having enough fun with Patricia to return to the game for the meantime. But for the past three games there's been a definate sense of "This may be my last..." Watching Anarch Vampires beat the snot out of each other is not my favorite way to use my roleplaying time - and there is not much my character can initiate within that group, for reasons too dreary to get into here...
Tonight is Bedlam's Rest. That game will be less violent - I hope - but the GM has an unfortunate habit of using popular media for about 80% of his plot ideas, and he doesn't file off enough of the serial numbers first, so the players often recognize it immediately...Well, nobody's perfect...
Whew, that's enough of that. I should remember that game-talk is usually of no interest to anyone not in that game...
|Chen / The Arousing (Shock)||Fu / Return|
|The shock of unsettling events brings fear and trembling. Move towards a higher truth and all will be well.||A time of darkness comes to a close|
Life is about to - or is already - smacking you upside the head repeatedly. You are straying from your proper path and that will be brought home to you - and continue coming home to you - until you realize that it's high-time to get back on track...
My life is so without focus - I have no Higher Calling, or raison d'etre - that I find it hard to believe that I'm going off my 'proper path'. Perhaps it's time to find one, no?
*preen*preen*preen* - The day has had a pleasant start with many of my co-workers saying nice things about my new haircut. Heck, I don't care if they're just being polite, it still makes me feel good. And on a tired Monday morning with about five hours of sleep the night before, I'll take anything enheartening that I can!
One of my many Vampire
LARPs - Bedlam's Rest - was last night and, for me, it was more fun than Diablo's
Children on Saturday. I blundered in that I had no goals for my character, Rebecca,
but I still managed to keep busy. Unfortunately, Rebecca is not a character
really suited to court life - what is an adventuring archeologist Tremere going
to have to do in a court? - and I anticipate continuing difficulty in crafting
goals for her that I can pursue during game sessions. However, the Tremere clan
in that game is so well put-together that it makes me reluctant to toss Rebecca
Personal highlights had to include: Trying to keep a straight face while listening to the Malkavian Sir Gawain tell me of his quest for the Holy Grail; getting picked up on by a fugitive Gangrel ("Hey, doll. You'd look really good on the back of my Harley"); trying to pick my way through the minefield that is the Court Herald's multiple personality syndrome; watching the Elders have a pissing contest in the middle of court. All in all, a classic Camarilla evening.
*Chortle* Of course, I also had a fine time showing off my tattoo at the game, but I dam' near made a fool out of myself. One of the players - a distinct cutie who shall remain nameless in order to protect me from rampant teasing - came up behind me and lifted my hair to take a look at my new body adornment...How was he to know that having cute fellas play with my hair makes me weak at the knees? I had to bite my tongue from saying something extremely foolish - I just hope my expression didn't give me away. It wouldn't have been nearly so disturbing if he wasn't on Johanna's List of Idle and Unattainable Fantasies. Heh. As it is, I just got way more fodder. The curse of an active imagination, I guess....
|Sun / Decrease||Chung Fu / Inner Truth|
|Be still, lessen the power of the ego and misfortune will be avoided.||Through openness and gentleness, the correct solution is reached.|
Things may not be going your way at the moment, but that's no excuse to get sulky or argumentative. Your temper may overtake you, and cause you to stray even further from your correct and intended path. Take a deep breath, prepare to apologize anyone you behaved abominably towards, and pull yourself back on track. A short break, away from whatever is disturbing you is a good idea.
Hm, I think The Sage may be telling me to quit spending so much time goofing around on the web while I'm at work... :-)
I feel like a rotten
friend. I had a conversation with Terry yesterday. As you may or may not know,
Terry was dating a mutual pal, Kat, for the best part of three years and the
relationship melted down last month. Naturally Terry isn't a terribly happy
camper. I was chatting with him - via the internet, not face to face - and
discovered that he's been feeling abandoned, lonely and unsupported by his
friends during the past few weeks.
He's gone through a breakup, Johanna, of course he needs a bit of support, mutters a reader. Well, the kicker is that Terry is such a private person, he's not going to stand up and say "Hey! How about some support, here, huh?", nor does his behavior encourage a person prying. I can't speak for any of our mutual friends, but my usual reaction to the destruction of a relationship is to give them lots of room. If a person wants to share details, or needs a sympathetic ear, they'll ask. I've tried to unobtrusively hover in the vicinity, but the last thing I wanted to be was obtrusive. I guess I succeeded too well.
In the duration of one quick conversation, I felt horribly guilty, confused and a little angry. How can one support a friend if one isn't aware they want support? Of course, Terry tells me that he didn't intend to make me feel guilty and even though I know that, it doesn't stop me from feeling that way. The anger comes from that fact that I felt like I was getting contradictory messages - he wants support, but he's got a wall twenty feet high around him. *sigh* It's a case of "Should have, would have, could have..." at this point. Drat.
And reading Last Chance - a poem of Terry's - while feeling blue was not the smartest thing I've done. It cuts me far too close to the bone.
Of course, on the
other end of the real-world-relevance scale, a gamer of my acquaintance is
jumping up and down and calling Alex a cheat after the last Bedlam's Rest game.
I've only heard one side of the story - I'm sure you can guess who's - so I'm
not in a position to know who is in the right. What's really annoying is that
the offended party has apparently issued an ultimatum to the GM, Rob, of
"If Alex remains a Narrator (assistant GM, kind of), then I'm going to
leave.". Players should never issue ultimatums to Game Masters. It's
manipulative, petty and almost certain to backfire on them.
Alex is further worried by the possibility that this player will badmouth him in other games, and such behavior is almost impossible to defend against. It's moments like this that remind me that your average roleplayer has the subtlety, ego and self-discipline of a ten year old and makes me seriously wonder why I keep with the hobby.
|K'un / Oppression (Exhaustion)||Kou / Coming to Meet|
|An unavoidable time of adversity. Quiet strength insures a later success.||Darkness reappears unexpectedly. Caution and reticence are in order|
A good night's sleep
can take the edge of the bluest mood and I feel a lot better today. I'm still
chafing about matters mentioned yesterday but it's
bearable. I may have a short temper, and sometimes be quick to take offense, but
I think I can bounce back from things very easily - especially when they're self
generated. I just don't see the point in wallowing in an unpleasant headspace
for too long. It doesn't do me any good and drags down everyone around me as
That's not to say that I'm not capable of carrying a grudge, though...
I got some amazing feedback on Unplugged, yesterday. The reader - a fellow called Martin - made some very good points about the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. Another bonus is that he's managed to re-motivate me regarding Unplugged's sequel, Cutting The Cord, - which was starting to lose steam. Cord was giving me trouble at the outline stage because one character is coming off as terribly whiny and the other as far too bitchy, but I think I've got it licked, now. Watch this space for further bulletins!
I churned out another letter for my Indiana-Jones/Laura-Croft-gone-Tremere, Rebecca Logsdon, last night. I like the character, but as I mentioned before, it's a little hard to find reasons for her to be at court. But I've been inspired to try to get some of the other neonate PCs from Bedlam's Rest together before the next game for beer, pool and gossip about our clan elders. I'm hoping that will help her forge some better connections with her fellow courtiers, as well as serve as a good example to other players of the kind of thing any character can do during 'downtime'.
Still on the gaming topic: Alex and I went through our list of people to be inviting to our Vampire LARP that's in the works - Aragon. At the moment we have sixteen people on the first round list, and six more on the second round. I think that will be enough to get the game going with, but I'd be happier with a few more. Maybe I'm just too used to running big games, but I've always enjoyed games that were so big and so busy that it was impossible for one PC to know what was going on. Such a situation would force characters to come together and cooperate to resolve plots... Well, before I fret so much about that I had better get those niggling last minute details out of the way - like the story arc and finding a location to play... :-)
|Wu Wang / The Innocence (Unexpected)||Ming I / Darkening of The Light|
|All good comes when we are innocent||Darkness reigns in the external world now. Disengage from negative feelings and maintain your inner light|
You are surrounded by conflicting demands on your time and you are at risk of being immobilized by those demands. You have overextended yourself, and you're not sure how to step back. Indeed, you may be reluctant to give up anything you have undertaken, but that is a neccesary thing if you wish to succeed in any of those things. Better to fail in one than to fail in all. You must be honest with yourself and be strong enough to do the correct and proper thing.
Hm, maybe I'm taking on too much with my current writing projects, playing in two LARPs and planning two others... Drat. Well, at this point, it's the playing that's going to get put on hold. My characters aren't too active in downtime, anyways.
A different start to
the day, yesterday. I got to the train station at my usual time - about ten
seconds after the train I'm aiming for has departed - and as I slogged over to
the usual spot where I wait for the train, I saw an unattended briefcase, near
the edge of the platform.
Hello, thought I. What's this? I looked around and see no-one at the phones who may have left it there, nor anyone walking towards the lone briefcase like they had just gone to the restroom.
I'm English - as I'm sure you've learned by now. Since I was a little 'un, it has been drilled into me that unattended cases are potentially bad - although I honestly couldn't think of anyone who'd want to bomb the BART train, other than the Associated Federation of Highway Pavers and Associated Car Dealers, maybe. But I'm paranoid. I was not going to touch that case, but I didn't want to leave it alone while I find a station agent. Nor did I want to ask someone to watch it, lest that watcher turns out to be either a thief or a hysteric, themselves.
I finally got a station agent, who was far more relaxed that I was. She blithely declared that she will take the case and wagered me anything that the owner will manifest immediately. Sure enough, the moment she picked up the case, a middle aged man jumped up from a bench thirty feet away and says "Hey, I was leaving that there to keep my place in line!". Sure enough, since that case was at the very edge of the platform, next to where the train doors would be - BART is very precise in the matter of where the train pulls up in the station - not so their scheduling - and other commuters had patiently lined up behind it.
I was ready to shout at this lazy fool. Instead, I manage to take a deep breath, lean in very close to him and tell him, very firmly, that where I came from unattended bags meant bombs and if his place in line was so bloody important, he could stand there himself, and stomped off.
America is a lovely country in many respects, but there are still surprising incidents of naivete...
Today's masochistic task: I may take up a visitor's suggestion and start a webring for Matrix fanfiction and writings. I just don't know if there are enough sites out there to justify creating a ring, though. I've found several sites that claim to be Matrixfic archives, but 80% of the time, the webmeister posts their own story and no-one else's. I say this after e-mailing many so-called archives, asking for Unplugged to be added, only to receive stony silence. And, of course, that will bring the number of webrings I'm running up to four...
Johanna's Gaming News
This is a new section. Since I can't help blathering on about my favorite hobby, I may as well put it into one area, which may be easily skipped by those who don't want to read it.
Nick, the GM of Diablo's
Children pitched an interesting idea at me the other night. DiaChi is where
I play dear, insane Patricia,
who has lately been plagued by visions/hallucinations/hauntings of her Sire,
Michael - who is being played with malicious glee by the aforementioned GM.
Nick's thinking it may be fun if we went out in-character. Trish would be trying
to treat herself to a night on the town - having dinner, hitting a couple of
clubs - all the while pursued by the invisible Michael. As Nick put it, "We
could have some role-playing fun and probably scare the hell out of the mundanes.".
Whilst scaring mundanes is not something I usually enjoy - at best it's immature and at worst it gives roleplaying a bad name - Nick's idea might be rather amusing. If nothing else, we'll punt character out of the window and just have a fun night out. Of course, I had to explain to Nick that the places that Patricia would go to, Johanna wouldn't dare go near, so we're going to have to compromise on that score... :-)
|Chin / Progress||I / The Corners of The Mouth (Providing Nourishment)|
|You progress like the rising sun. The brighter your virtue, the higher you rise.||Give proper nourishment to yourself and others|
Happy birthday, Mommy!
I'm not going to risk your wrath by mentioning anything like your age, but I
will say that you look great - always have and always will. :-)
Because Mother Nature has a sense of humor, I am, of course, turning into my mother, and it's a fairly frightening prospect. Well, not that frightening, but surprising... Although, to be strictly accurate, I've long since noticed traits from both of my parents in my personality - go figure. But from my mother, I picked up my urge towards being theatrical (especially when playing hostess!), my stubbornness and my erratic memory - it's like a steel trap, but only for the most useless information you can possibly imagine. I'm still waiting for the inherent-neatness trait to kick in, but I haven't given up hope, yet!
Another sign of my
growing insanity. I've started another webring
- this one is for fanfiction and essays based upon The Matrix. I've
noticed that a lot of fansites keep so-called archives of fan fiction for the
film, but those archives usually contain one story (the webmaster's) and that's
about it. So someone may as well create a webring and try to increase readership
But I don't expect the ring to grow very large, so I doubt it's going to be too much of a burden with the other three webrings I run. :)
I'm going to get cracking on the outline for Cutting The Cord - my next Matrix fanfic - fairly soon. I was re-inspired by some recent feedback, but I'm still frustrated by a meandering plotline and an unsatisfactory conclusion. I am not going to slip back into my habit of writing-as-I-go-along, but I think I will start writing a fairly detailed outline in the hopes that once I start the creative juices flowing, I will receive new inspiration regarding the unresolved plot matters.
Johanna's Gaming News
The development of Aragon is proceeding well. I've decided to make a list of every nifty thing that I wish I'd see in other Camarilla-themed Vampire LARPs and use that as a focus/set of directions as I continue crafting the mythos of the game. I have a lot of freedom in that I'm creating a whole new community in the middle of Contra Costa County, but that also means that I've got to create something exhaustive enough to seem real to the players - as real as Concord or Walnut Creek, in game terms. Phew! I'm glad I have Alex's help. He's a very devious fellow.
The fate of dear,
remains unknown. She might be joining the Sabbat, or she might be
"rescued" by a fellow Malkavian. I honestly won't mind either outcome,
as both possibilities have a lot of potential. But I do want it resolved,
as I have story ideas for both eventualities lurking in my head, and I want to
know which ones to write and which ones to discard. Unfortunately, getting
downtime done is this game is usually very difficult, between the GM's haphazard
approach and the fact that trying to get three gamers in the same place at the
same time seems to require as much organizational effort as the Dunkirk
|Sung / Conflict||Ts'ui / Gathering Together|
|The proper response to conflict, whether it lies within us or without us, is disengagement||To lead others towards good, one must purify one's own character|
ARGH! I thought I had uploaded this page, only to discover that I left it on my machine at work. Don't you hate it when that happens?
Alex's sister, Melissa, is getting married today - yay! So I don't have any time to re-create the page. Suffice to say that life is good - despite my minor irritation with people who don't return phone messages (hint, hint - you know who you are).
The wedding was very pleasant. Melissa and Lance - her other half - just had a few family and friends over to their house and had a simple ceremony on their deck. They live in Antioch which is about 3 miles from the sun, so it was rather warm, but I don't think too many people were noticing the heat. I clung to Alex's hand and grinned foolishly through the entire thing - it was all so familiar!
An odd moment occurred
while I was talking to one of Melissa's friends. She asked me how long I had
been in the United States and I realized that today is my anniversary - fifteen
years. I'm rather glad that it almost slipped my mind - it means that I'm
finally getting used to being here.
In many ways, my anniversary stopped meaning much to me after I reached my 'halfway point' - half of my life in the US, half in the UK. It coincided with my graduation from college, so I threw a massive party to commemorate the occasion and that was the last time I really gave June 19th much thought.
I came to America when I was just turning twelve and I was determined not to like it. I was unhappy about leaving my friends in England and definitely put off my stride by my new home - Los Angeles. I've heard that youngsters have an easier time with culture shock than adults, but I wasn't having any of it. I sulked quite fiercely for almost three years. That compounded with standard teenage surliness must have driven my parents to the edge of despair... It certainly made me very unpleasant company and I didn't make many friends until I was in high school - but the crew I fell in with are people I still know to this day, so it seems I made some good choices.
My occasional bouts of Anglophilic melancholy are more irritating than saddening, these days. I've not been back to the U.K. since 1989 and if I was to visit again, I'm not entirely sure I'd like it. Reluctant as I am to admit it, I'm American - despite what my passport and my accent (occasionally) claim - and I've grown up in America. My homeland is just something for me to cry about when I get maudlin drunk.
But I'll break the nose of anyone who has anything to say against the place. If you dig down deep enough, there are still some lingering feelings of loyalty to that green and soggy land... :-)
Yesterday, I spent some time in a very groovy bar at the recently opened W Hotel (yes, that's it's name) on 3rd and Howard in San Francsico. The bar - aptly named XYZ - looks rather like what a modern-day motion picture art director would have created when told to build a swingin' cocktail car for a luxury train in the 1950's. Lots of round edges, plush furniture, and fixtures that only can be described as very swanky...
Johanna's Gaming News
Preparations for Aragon are going well, although I keep letting myself get distracted by outstanding writing projects. Alas, one of my shortcomings as a game master is my limited attention span. Quite often, I'll get bored of a plot before my players do! I'm working to improve that, but it's not easy.
I saw Disney's Tarzan last night. I was all ready for a fairly standard Disney feature - nice on the eyeballs, one good song - five awful ones - and no resonance whatsoever. Boy, was I a dim-bulb... The animation was fantastic, the voice-talent was great and the songs and score were far better than I expected. And, even better, Disney is finally letting go of the obligatory goofy-animal-sidekick syndrome. Okay, yes, there were animals in this film - it's Tarzan for crissakes - and sometimes, some of them were rather goofy, but it was not the usual comic-relief turn.
If you want a nice bit of feel-good animation that won't make you wince, go see this film! But go to a late show - there'll be fewer kids.
--end: gooey sentimentalist mode--
The whole experience rather reminded me of when I saw Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame. Complete and utter mangling of the story aside, I was not ready for Disney to be dealing with themes like lust and revenge as they did. "Hellfire" was the best number in that film - although it nearly caused my jaw to unhinge permanently, I was so surprised by it...
Well, it took the movie producers nearly fifty years to figure it out, but you can make animated features that don't induce nausea in adults. It makes me rather curious to see Titan A.E. that 20th Century Fox are producing...
Johanna's Gaming News
The plots for Aragon have started flowing well. Yesterday, I wrote up three long-term plots that could span between three and eleven months each, depending upon how quick the characters are on the uptake. I'm still creating a few crunchy-bits (as I call them) for the first game, but I finally feel confident enough to start calling for characters and scheduling the first pre-game meeting.
I'm looking forward to running a Vampire game for a bunch of adults, and I'm hoping that they'll be willing to create adult characters. Some details of the plots I have written up are rather disturbing. They're not as disturbing as they could be, as I don't want my friends committing me to the local branch of Arkham, but I'm not going to censor the beastial aspect of Vampires, nor the harsh edges of the world they live in.
I'll save the really disturbing stuff for later... *evil GM chortle*
I've been watching Aeon
Flux again. It's one of my favorite pieces of brain candy - extremely
stylish and just enough surrealistic substance to make one think sideways. I
tend to watch it either when my life has been very mundane, or if I'm craving a
dose of Trevor Goodchilde.
We'll discuss my weakness for authority figures some other day, alright?
But I really enjoy that show.
I sometimes think of the times - when I was younger - where I would enjoy surrealism for it's own sake. In some respects, it was very shallow - another stage of adolescent 'artsier-than-thou' - and in other respects, fine imaginative fun, harmless at worst and source of wonderful ideas at best. These days, when I have the sudden urge to wrap yellow chiffon around broken circuit boards and name it Fuzzy Logic, I usually feel foolish. Everything has to have 'meaning' now - meaningless fun is no longer an option.
When do we lose that? Why do we lose that? When did I sign up for the responsibility race? I don't like it - so why do I have to run?
Johanna's Gaming News
Aragon continues apace. The website should be posted in the next twenty-four hours. It looks like Jennifer is going to play the Duke of Concord for me - probably as a Tremere. That will be good - a Toreador Prince, and Ventrue and Tremere Dukes - a good Camarilla backbone. Jenn and I had a good chat about what we'd like to see in games and what it would take to encourage proper elder-neonate relations, without the game devolving into a bloodbath.
Nick, of Diablo's
Children didn't bother to return my calls this weekend - so it looks like
the night on the town for Trish
and Mike will have to wait for two weeks (I'm busy next weekend). More
importantly - I need to talk to him about joining Diachi's contract at the San
Ramon Marriot so that Aragon has a place to play...
Last night's brain candy was Guns of Navarone - as those readers who've known me from high-school have no doubt guessed. It's a very, very silly film - but one of my favorites. *chortle* as I recall, it installed within me a crush on Gregory Peck that wouldn't quit, introduced me to the pulp-genre (via Alistair MacClean), and Captain Mallory provided me with the name for my first RP character/alter ego...
I suppose it's alright to vicariously enjoy wars where it's a little clearer who the bad guys were...
The last part of the above quote is from my favorite scene in the film - an argument between Corporal Miller and Captain Mallory about how best to deal with a traitor in their group - was featured prominently in my locker in my senior year. These days I'm amazed that I wasn't ordered into counseling. Perhaps the authorities are a little better at telling the difference between adolescent drama and genuine psychosis than we gave them credit for...
About The Truth launched nicely the other day. I e-mailed about ten other
websites that might have an interest in joining, and so far, five of them have,
which means that my ring will now be listed in the Webring
Directory, enabling others to find it.
Unfortunately, I don't think the ring will ever grow to be very large, as the fanfic community for The Matrix is quite small and isn't showing any signs of growing. It seems that many fansites to the movie were created in a rush in the month following it's release, but now the growth has slown down dramatically and many of the sites I visit regularly haven't been updated since they were created. It's a shame, really, because I think that The Matrix presented a setting that is utterly ripe for fanfiction. So many things were left vague - such as the Oracle and Zion - that I can't believe the fans have been able to resist writing about it to the extent they have. Perhaps, as time passes, more people will get ideas.
How do movie stars feel about seeing miniature plastic versions of themselves at the toystore? While I'm quite thrilled at the notion of having my own Ewan McGregor to play with, surely it must be a little unnerving for the one who's likeness is being pawed at by sticky fingered strangers. Not that I'm sticky fingered, mind you... I think I better change the subject.
about Nick in yesterday's entry got him to get in
touch with me... A misuse of the journal, yes, but useful nonetheless... ;-)
A final note to yesterday's comment on Aeon Flux - Manic Academic Aeon Flux Fanatic - and will whoever has got my copy of Eye Spy (Drew Newman's music for the show) please give it back to me?
Johanna's Gaming News
The Aragon website went up today, feel free to take a peek - but it's a bit short on content just now.
Oh dear, I've reached
the stage of game prep for Aragon that I've been dreading. Telling some people
that they're not invited. I've decided that my time is far too valuable to waste
on rule lawyers, bad roleplayers and GM hogs, so Aragon will be an
invite-only event. The first round, I'm inviting twenty people and expecting
sixteen to be able to commit. There will be a second round of invitations to
another half-dozen people who I want to play but not until the game is
established, about six months after the game has started.
Yes, it's nasty and elitist and if you don't like it, run your own event and feel free not to invite me.
But despite my priggish elitism, I'm also a big nervous nelly. I hate being the bearer of bad news, and I really don't like telling a person something they don't want to hear, so I'm definitely not looking forward to it. I've already had to tell one person that they're not welcome and, no, they're not in the second round and, no, they cannot be 'sponsored' into the game.
"Sponsoring" was something I flirted with during my aborted attempt to launch Aragon a year ago. I decided that if a person wasn't invited, they could be allowed in if they were vouched for by an invited player. I thought that the invited players would have enough brains and discretion not to sponsor players that wouldn't fit the paradigm of the game. Silly me. Within a week of my announcing the scheme, every single player who I did not want, had been sponsored - and I didn't want to be the Evil Bitch GM and tell them to take a hike. That blunder is one of the reasons why Aragon didn't launch last year. Well, that and I was still burned out from running Diablo's Children into the ground.
But the lesson has been learned. If a GM wants the game that they are envisioning, they are going to have to be a hardass, otherwise the players will walk all over them. Shame it took me four years to figure that one out, hm?
Of course, I'm going to be bloody crushed if no one is interested in playing in Aragon. If people don't have the time, that's fine - there are a bunch of established LARPS already demanding people's time. But if the players simply aren't intrigued by the idea, I'm going to pout...
I had a good chat between my Bedlam's Rest character Rebecca and her Chantry leader - Alexander - yesterday. After playing tightly-wound hyper-paranoid Rachel DuNoir for so long, playing a slightly careless, khaki-clad Indiana Jones wanna-be is a great relief!
The conversation had definite Buffy/Giles overtones towards the end - amusingly enough. I think Rebecca's going to drive Alexander out of his tree, pretty soon, with her flippant attitude towards The Beast and other topics that should be far more important to her than they are. But that's the first rule of improvisation, isn't it - get your character into trouble? Or, as my gaming friends Brian and Rob say, "We have to go into the basement, or else there isn't going to be a movie...."
I'm in one of those moods again. The kind of mood that is best placated with half a bottle of wine and an extended keyboard-bashing session. Alas, I have a rule against drinking on worknights - as working with a hangover is awful, as we all know - and I've got too many ideas bouncing around in my head for me to focus, dammit! Time to prioritize my writing list - and then throw the list out of the window and works on whatever twisted idea manifests after the second glass of wine. The trick is getting the outline down before finishing the bottle. After that, I have trouble typing - and that makes it rather difficult to finish sentences. Final drafts can be done in the cold, hard light of morning...
Failing the bottle-of-wine-and-twisted-imagination order (I just don't have time for that right now), I've sat down with all 31 pages of the Rachel DuNoir and Paul Viersan to do the hard-edit I intended to do last month. I did some work a few weeks ago, but that was more like trimming the fat. Now I'm fixing Rachel's voice - the early stories have too much Johanna, not enough Rachel - and crawling into Paul's skull a little more. Their relationship is the archetypical hate you/want you device, with vampire fangs thrown in, but I really enjoyed writing it, and I still like the pieces even now, two years on.
amusement was watching a group of engineers, including my co-worker, Nate,
playing whiffle-baseball in Southpark during lunch. The ball only came close to
landing in my salad twice, so it was generally a very relaxing lunchbreak.
I always feel a little guilty taking a long lunch when things are a bit quiet - sure, it's the logical time for taking a leisurely lunch, but my ever-guilty conscience tells me that since my fellow vividians are working so hard, I should be, too! I most certainly should not be eating a tasty salad while stretched out in a sunny park in the middle of the day. Bah, I say. Overwrought consciences are responsible for too many polluted psyches as it is - including mine!
Visited with Eric for his birthday yesterday. I had completely forgotten that I had agreed to go to the movies with him and some friends - Tarzan again, and I'm not complaining. Alex is coming down with a cold and I almost cancelled with Eric, but I had made a promise and I like Eric too much to break it. I don't see him often enough as it is. A large gang of us were at the theater and everyone seemed to like the film. Eric Young - not-the-birthday-boy, another Eric - learned that goofing around while watching a film with an ex-film student is a surefire way to get your toes stomped on... Perhaps it was intolerant of me, but I didn't agree with his need to thump his chest every ten minutes throughout the film. If you want user participation, go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show...
Johanna's Gaming News
The invitations to Aragon have gone out, and I've gotten a minor trickle of response already. My plotting is pretty much on hold until I have a better idea of what kind of characters people want to play. It's a reactionary approach, and I know the dangers of that, but I enjoy crafting plots for particular characters, and I think my players enjoy it.
Hoo-boy... I just finished putting together the newsletter for Bedlam's Rest - part of my ongoing campaign to suck up as many experience points as possible - and I can see that the classifieds section might cause some chaotic fun. The Classifieds is an area in the newsletter where PCs may address short messages to each other, advertise services and - this is the big favorite - make threats from anonymous cover. And someone certainly used it to their best advantage, this month. I can't divulge the details before publication, of course, but - *chortle* - it's going to be interesting...
I'm amazed at how used
I've become to the world wide web - how everyone I know has quickly accepted it
as part of their lives - a useful and important part. I was a bit young when the
PC revolution hit, so I can't compare it to that, but I wonder if it was
similar. It seems that in the space of five years, the web has gone from being a
bit of a novelty to a standard household tool, like the phone or the television.
When I stop to think about it, I'm slightly stunned that something so vast
has been accepted so quickly. It's either very good or very bad, and I can't
The web has changed my life. These days, when I want to research something, I no longer go to the library, I hit the web, first. Libraries are plagued by lack of funding and the ones in my county are only open four days a week - boo, hiss - and sometimes the information they contain isn't as current as I need it to be. So I'll go through the web first, looking for documents and bibliographies, then I'll go to the library or the bookstore. And, more importantly, the web works as information tool. Sure, there's a lot of crap out there, but there's a saying "90% of anything is crap", and the best way to combat that is just to search intelligently.
experience, last night. Nick suggested I sit in on the Intro to Acting class
he's taking at the college next door to my place. No particular reason, just
that it might be fun.
It was! His teacher, Beth, is a very savvy woman with a lot of energy - vital for dealing with a pack of young drama students - and she obviously loves teaching.
After watching the class do their first round of exercises - approach a partner, count to fifteen in a demanding manner and then quickly leave - and watching Beth evaluate them, help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and tell her students about the basic energy dynamics of acting, I lean over to Nick and say, "So what would it take to get all the LARPers that we know in here?". The answer of course is "An act of God.". And thar's a shame because even just a few hours of exercises and a quick-and.dirty introduction to method acting would probably improve the quality of roleplaying in the area's LARPs by a factor of ten.
I warned Nick that once he's done with this summer class, he's going to have a much higher standard for what makes a good roleplayer. He doesn't believe me right now, but he will.
*sigh* Watching those students reminded me of how I came very close to switching majors in college. Had I made it into Jim Kirkwood's advanced acting class many years ago, well...This journal would be written by a frustrated actor, rather than a frustrated film-maker... Bah, I'm not brave enough to take a risk like an acting career. I've known that for years - which is probably why I didn't change majors back then. Hamming it up in LARPs is enough for me, although last night's encounter has made me start thinking about how to improve my own presentation in a game. I consider last night's outing time well spent!
Johanna's Gaming News
It looks like the night out between Patricia and Michael may occur this weekend, after all. My Saturday night has freed up, and Nick is apparently still game. Now I've just got to figure out where we're going in San Francisco. As mentioned before, there are places that Trish would go that I won't, so I have to adjust the paradigm just a touch.
I wrote Preparations in, um, preparation (go figure) for the Trish/Mike night out on Saturday. I also spent an inordinate amount of time yesterday at sidewalk.com checking out possible places to go. The current front runners include Harry Denton's Starlight Room, So What!, Fuzio, Persian Aub Zam Zam and The Carnelian Room. We're looking to establish a contrast between a variety of stylish and noisy places. I expect there'll be a bit of running around at the Embarcadero waterfront or through Union Square, as well. Nick is looking forward to people watching. I'm looking foward to getting through the night without being arrested. :-)
I'm very lucky to have a GM who's as nutso as I am. Being the GM scratching post has it's advantages, at times, it seems. Heh.
The hard edit on the Rachel/Paul collection is going well.I currently have 31 pages festooned with red ink - particulary dialogue adjustments and putting in more of Paul's POV. I'm very satisfied with progress so far, and hope to have the polished revision posted by Monday.
An interesting moment
in the morning. I was reading through Jennifer's
archived journal - September, I think it was - and found the following: Thursday.
I'm fighting with Johanna. It's over something stupid, too. Still, it all comes
down to the same two things: She can't keep her mouth shut about -anything- and
she has that "I know best" attitude that drives me crazy. This time,
I'm not giving into her attitude or dramatics. Maybe, she'll figure out that she
really did f*ck up. *pause* Probably not. I've known her for 5 years. This isn't
our first spat and it won't be the last.
First reaction: Hurt. Ouch! Second reaction: Cattiness. Hmmm, it takes one to know one, doesn't it? Third reaction: Adaptation. Funny how time changes everything - or has it?.
I've grown used to/resigned to Jennifer and I having spats every few months - usually about something that is terribly important at the time, but ultimately meaningless. The usual factor in our fights is that we're very similar - right down to that "I know best" attitude - and an unwillingness to back down when we're convinced we're right, which is always the case. That which keeps us close to each other is usually what makes for the most ferocious fights, no?
But still these silly fights will recur, and we say and think the same things over and over again - if only she'd get over herself and see that I'm right, everything will be fine! Part of me wants to laugh out loud at how stupid that is, and the other part of me...well, is a little worried.
Quick aside: If one party in every conflict was able to concede that they were wrong, there would never be another fight on the face of the earth...Both sides being convinced that they're right and that the other side is a pig-headed dolt is why fights happen in the first place... *sigh*
I'm worried that there
might be a lack of trust between Jenn and me - at some deep, nigh-unfathomable
level. I used to think our cycles of spat-and-make-up as normal, but there are
times when I feel that neither of us really forgive each other... I remember
after our last round of spatting I accused her of still being pissed off at me
from the *previous* fight, and I think that she agreed to the possibility -
ouch. And then I was honest enough with myself to realize that I was probably
chafing for the same reason - double ouch.
I'm not innocent, I'll admit that. I used to be a prizewinner for carrying grudges, although I've worked very hard in the past few years to drop that habit. Sometimes, it's very hard not to throw old fights back into a person's face during a new one. Often, it's only been the strength of my belief in "Why make more trouble? Why create more bad feelings?" that stops me from sinking to that level. Forgiveness is never easily learned, either.
*grin/sigh* Perhaps I'm making too much stew from one oyster, I dunno. I'm sure when Jenn reads this, a discussion will occur, and maybe the issue will finally be resolved and my worries put to rest. I suppose I shouldn't lose sight of the underlying fact that we're friends, and friends have their ups and downs. *chortle* My attitude and dramatics? Where does she think I got it from? *gentle nudge*
Oh dear! Alex is sick with a head cold. I always worry when he gets colds, as they have a nasty habit of settling in his chest and staying with him for weeks - making him miserable. And his best friend, Dave Webb, is going through some nasty family troubles - his mother is sick with lung cancer and rather than moving out here to California (from New Mexico) it looks like he'll have to head back to Alabama for a while. Alabama is not Dave's favorite place, nor is it wonderful that he has to go back. Drat. I hate it when people's lives go to hell. Where's my magic wand when I want it?
Heh. My friend Brian
has been wondering if perhaps he should start writing his own online journal,
but he fears that his friends wouldn't take too well to reading his honest
opinion of them, online. As he put it, "I'm quite a troll beneath the
surface.". I told him that he could always change names, but he pointed out
that you can't quite disguise a tiger as a mouse. Good point.
Because I allow this diary to be read by others - and write it with that in mind - I will sometimes keep certain things hidden. Given what I've decided to share today, I'll leave it to you to guess what I'm keeping back. But since I write for an audience, I must keep that audience in mind - there are some things that you don't want or need to know, dear reader. I'm ready to take any and all fallout from what is written here, but I don't see any point in borrowing trouble. I write this for me and you.
It's a tricky balance to strike, to be honest without exhibitionism, to maintain a sense of privacy (or intimacy, if you will) but still wanting the document to be read - otherwise what's the point of publishing online? :) I'll leave those questions to the literature students of the future. I'm writing this because it's fun, because it's a nifty way to let everyone know what I've been up to, and because it's a great way for me to record my thoughts and track how life affects me over a period of time.
Happy dance! Chris Hockabout, a fella who I feared had fallen off the face of the earth after his e-mail address bounced back at me a couple of times - has re-manifested from the ether and dropped me a line. Alright, it might not sound like much to you, but I'm glad. Chris is one of my many happenstance-meeting-at-a-gaming-convention buddies who I don't see nearly enough of outside of those same cons... ;)
Rob's having a party tonight. I'm going to go, but not for too long, as Alex doesn't feel up to anything too strenuous, and I don't want to wake up hungover tomorrow. Long gone are the days when I could have ten beers and get up fresh as a daisy the next day. *sigh*. I'm also hoping that this party isn't going to devolve into a de-facto orgy as some of Rob's parties in the past have. It was fun at the time, but it's something the group's outgrown - which is a bit of a surprise, because I've always thought that people never stop being silly about sex... I guess we just find different ways to be silly about it, that's all. Oh boy, given my past, the future should be pretty dam' silly, then... ;)
Johanna's Gaming News
Not a lot to report today. It looks like I have the minimum number of players interested in Aragon for me to get off my ass and make it happen - yay!
I'm still scoping out places for Saturday night. I'm suffering a money crunch, so I'm going to have to drop a couple of potential spots unless Nick can cover himself for dinner and some cover-charges. I promised to pay for cabs to get around - since driving in San Francisco on Saturday night is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy - and I'll keep to that. I was hoping to help contribute towards other costs, because Nick isn't working just now, but I don't think I can do that. I will keep forgetting about things like the phone bill... :)
I received an intriguing note yesterday from somebody who had visited The RPG Anti-Defamation League. All it said was "Thanks for explaining D&D to my parents. Don't write back to this address.". So I guess the site has done someone some good...
A happy start to the day. Jennifer read yesterday's entry and told me that I was making too much stew from one oyster and reading too much into things. Time will tell if she's right, but for the moment, I'm reassured.
Went to Rob's party
and had a good time. A lot of guests flaked out - some legitimately, others not
- but those of us who were there had a nice time. I had a great conversation
with Brian B. on topics ranging from abnormal psychology to religious
epiphanies. It occurred to both of us that it was probably the longest
non-gaming conversation we had ever had...
During the evening, the aforementioned nameless cutie wanted another look at my tattoo and was - ulp! - holding my hair and tracing a finger over the outline of the design on my back, while I'm trying to explain the personal meaning the eye of Horus holds for me, without drooling on my shirt. *sigh* life is full of these little moments of 'want and can't have'. The best I can do is take that energy and turf it into a good story.
When did I grow a set of morals? The bookkeeping system I used in place of a conscience was so much easier to manage!
Alex is feeling a lot better, which means I'm feeling better, as I get rather anxious whenever he's sick. When the closest hospital that I can take him to is the best part of an hour away - gotta love those so-called benefits that the military offers, hm? - I tend to get nervous whenever he gets anything more serious than a hangnail.
Johanna's Gaming News
Another quiet day - phew!
It seems that Rob is
gathering up ideas for a possible brain-candy tabletop game. He asked the
prospective players what we would play in a 'dream' game - the only restriction
being that the characters had to be human. I rather flippantly said "Aeon
Flux with better hair". One of the other players - not the nameless cutie
cited above, but another one of the chaps on the the Idle Fantasy List, separately
stated that he would want to play a Trevor Goodchilde clone. Rob
immediately started grinning like a maniac and I don't know if to be worried or
Oh sure, sublimating sexual fantasies into RPG characters is a copout and perhaps unfair, but that's not stopped me in the past. There have been times, in my sorta-sordid past, when the object of my roving eye was so utterly clueless about my intentions that I'd have to play a character interested in them, just to get their attention...
However, it seems that somebody clued the gamer-boy species in on this little ploy, so now there is a terrible risk of misinterpretation when one person's character becomes interested in another's. Now either or both parties have to play a few rounds of "Are they projecting or not?" until things get cleared up. Hm, so much for thinking adults get less silly about sex and love as time passes....
I'm pretty psyched about tonight. I just hope that my bank account and my stamina can hold out. A final list of places to visit hasn't been determined, but Nick and I have a mutual promise to post bail if one of us gets arrested. :)
Alrighty, kids, resign yourselves to the fact that the today's entry is gaming news - dedicated to reporting the much-publicized (at least, locally) outing of Patricia and Michael in San Francisco. I'm sure some other things happened yesterday, but I'm darned if I can remember them.
Actually, I remember one thing. ;-) A passing fan of Unplugged made a banner for my page - wasn't that nice of her? Go take a look.
Patricia and Michael Have A Night Out....
The night started in
The Carnelian Room, with Patricia admiring the view and grumpy over the lack of
single persons who might make a good meal. Michael, Patricia's unlamented Sire
enters, and all thoughts of food leave her mind.
They talk for some time. Michael drops tantalizing hints about knowing what happened during the two years that she is missing from her recent memory. Patricia tries to demand the truth and is only told that she needs to find that for herself. Patricia counters with her belief that this apparition of Michael is self-conjured phantom - a hallucination of her own making. Michael, in turn, states that if that is the case - or even if it isn't - he is there because she needs him. Deep inside, Patricia admits that this is a possibility, but this is not something she is going to admit to him.
Frustrated and annoyed, Patricia hopes to leave Michael behind by leaving the bar suddenly. For some time, she is indeed alone, and she heads to XYZ for a drink and another - futile - attempt at hunting.
Just as Patricia thinks she is alone for the duration, Michael again manifests and quizzes her. Has she ever let a victim survive feeding? Has she ever fed from a woman? Most disturbing of all, Michael constantly mentions the appeal of young children as prey - and suggests to her that she should try killing and replacing the parent of a family. "Take the potential of a child you so kindly refuse to kill and make them into your own image." he urges, while strongly implying that Patricia may have already done this, without knowing it - or perhaps that is has been done to her.
Throughout this, Patricia is subjected to suggestions of Settite involvement in her predicament - thus implicating her old nemesis, Gammon, who is claiming that Michael has interfered with his memory, too. Michael also constantly barrages her with the notion that she is thinking in two dimensions, not three - and that there are three involved in her situation, not two. Michael accuses her of being self-centered and Patricia does not deny this. As she puts it, "I'm the center of my universe. If I don't look out for myself, no-one will."
Meanwhile, Patricia is not convinced that Michael is not a hallucination, as she catches herself performing actions that, seconds before, she attributed to him - playing with an ashtray, fiddling with a glass, etc.
Once again, Patricia moves on - now accompanied by the shade of her sire. She tried cajolery, pleading and threats, to obtain some kind of direct answer to the missing time in her past and the underlying reason behind her current situation. Again, all she is told is that she is being too self-centered in her thinking, and again Michael espouses the delight of manipulating children - before they are aware of such forces in their lives. Patricia becomes very worried by the possibility that she had been a tool of someone - Michael or Gammon - long before her Embrace. But Michael laughs off that possibility, reminding her that all this doesn't necessarily revolve around her.
Patricia ducks in and out of several bars in quick succession - from downtown to the Haight. As Michael continues to insist that she knows the answers, she just hasn't grasped them, Patricia finds herself more confused and almost longing for the days when she could retreat into an sedated fog and ignore her problems until they faded away. Michael teases her and predicts that that is precisely what she will do before the night is over. This strengthens Patricia's resolve not to.
While arguing with her sire/herself at a bar in the Haight, Patricia sees Gammon walk by outside, dressed as her sire. This infuriates her, as she is suddenly certain that Gammon is a willing conspirator in some scheme to drive her mad - if not entirely suicidal. There are too many possibilities - ranging from that she has simply gone mad, to that she has joined the Settites in their worst depravities, and willingly, too.
Sickening of bars, and hoping to blot Michael out with sheer noise, Patricia goes to a club. The club she finds plays music from the 1980's and there the pickings for food are much richer. Patricia is not happy to find that Michael is still with her. Oddly - in her opinion - he shows a penchant for the dance floor. Feeling that she has nothing to lose, Patricia joins him, deciding that, at worst, she will seem to be dancing by herself (if no-one else can see him, as she suspects) and perhaps a few potential meals will try to approach her.
Several potential meals - men in varying degrees of intoxication - do approach Trish, but she either frightens them off, or they find themselves rather worried by a conversation she seems to be having with an empty wall. Patricia gets an awful lot of room on the dance floor during "White Wedding". Trish's amusement fades when the visage of Michael changes to that of Gammon on the line "Start again...", and she storms away from the dance floor, realizing that there is no avoiding or escaping her predicament.
By now, Trish is tired, hungry and desperately confused. She steps out into the street to cool off and gather her thoughts...
Patricia awakens in a
car being driven by Gammon. She is covered in blood, and there is a dead boy at
her feet. The blood is from the boy, but before Trisha can even assimilate this,
Gammon yells "What the fuck has he been telling you! You've been talking to
him, damn it!"
A rather unpleasant conversation ensues. Gammon claims - and apparently truthfully so - that he was hunting in San Francisco and found Patricia, near the 80's club, in an alley, bruised, covered in blood and with the boy's body beside her. Patricia accuses Gammon of being behind the death of the boy - because she would never kill a child. Gammon accuses her of being insane and a liar, too. She points out that, years ago, he had once tried to convince her of the appeal of killing children - unsuccessfully. He admits that, but maintains that he has nothing to do with the dead boy at Trish's feet. For the moment, Patricia lets that go, as she fears there are other, more important things, to worry about.
Patricia notices that Gammon is dressed precisely as Michael was that evening, and this leads to further accusations. Gammon sticks to his stories and, almost in passing, complains that Patricia is sticking to "two dimensions". Unsurprisingly, this only further convinces Patricia that Gammon and Michael are somehow in league - even if Michael is only a phantom in her own mind.
Gammon counters with the much more likely probability that Patricia is behind the two year gap in his memory and goes on to confirm Patricia's worst fears. They have both been subjected to false memories spanning almost six years. The Anarchs they knew in San Jose don't exist, and may never have existed.
Something has happened between Patricia and Gammon that has caused this consequence, but neither of them know what. Patricia reluctantly admits that her Sire may not have died at her hand in 1996 as she had thought, but she is still not willing to trust Gammon too far. But the sheer desperation and anger in Gammon's voice convinces her that he might be telling the truth. Gammon suggests that either Michael - or possibly a hitherto unknown childe of his (as suggested by the visions of the reluctant prophet, Delphi) - may be exacting his revenge against the pair of them.
The conversation returns again to the repeated theme of dimensions - the fact that the answer is apparently before Patricia, but she can't face it. Gammon wants to face Michael - real or not - and Patricia wants proof that Michael and Gammon are not the same person, which requires their presence in the same room at the same time.
"Pain and pleasure - survival responses - those are the first level of the pyramid." Gammon mutters obsessively as he drives - again echoing a statement made by Michael.
"Then what is the next level?" Patricia demands. Gammon prevaricates, and Patricia almost strangles him - she doesn't want any more of these games. A few moments later, Gammon says "Knowledge is the next level. Knowledge is the third dimension.".
Again, Patricia finds herself overwhelmingly weary as she has been returned to the beginning. "Fine, she says. You want to meet with Michael? You want your past back?". Gammon nods in reply. Patricia continues "If you could choose only one thing - killing Michael or having your past returned to you, which would you take?"
Gammon thinks for a moment, while Patricia hopes that he doesn't realize that she is trying to bargain for Michael's life. Real or not, she doesn't want him killed at the hands of this snake - no matter how wronged he might be. No-one is going to kill her errant father but her. Finally, he says "My past. If I can have only one thing, I want my past back."
Patricia nods. "Alright, I have an idea... But I need you with me - to bring him." Gammon looks contemptuous, he believes that Patricia is still accusing him of somehow being behind her troubles.
Patricia is not going to admit her plan - not yet. It's one borne of desperation but she believes that, one way or another, it will end things. It will either summon the true Michael - if he exists - or destroy her. At this point, she will accept either option.
Patricia has decided that she will allow Gammon to torture her - on the condition that he will stop as soon as Michael appears. She will spend the next 24 hours thinking very hard about this - for the benefit of the phantom in her mind - and she will bespeak it to the air, just in case he really is an existing individual, dogging her every step. She believes - she hopes - that Michael will manifest when she willingly goes under the knife - to save her or to gloat... She's not sure which, but that doesn't really matter, as long as he appears.
Either Michael will appear, or Patricia will be forced into torpor. If pain doesn't lead to knowledge, at least it might lead to oblivion...
I bet you can't tell
that I had great time... Unfortunately, I think I'm frustrating Nick. I
warned him that I can be extremely clueless at times, and this adventure
proved that, I think. I can tell that all the puzzle pieces are in Trish's
hands, but I can see three or four ways they can go together. Nick tells me that
the simplest solution is the one that's true, but I'm not sure. The simplest
solution is that the entire episode happened within Trish's skull and that none
of it was real...and I don't think that's the case.
Regardless, I had a really good time running all over the city with Nick, and found some cool new places to go. Now I'm wondering how he's going to react to those last two paragraphs, above - as the first time he's going to hear about them is when he reads this journal...
And one final, little
note, before I sit down and write up Patricia's POV on all of this: Nick, you
looked pretty good last night - the ensemble was good and even - *ulp* - vaguely
sexy. You may not have seen the girls checking you out, but I did...
There, if that doesn't embarrass him, just a little bit, nothing will.
It may be rough, but so is Patricia. Here is her point of view, in Aftermath.
Sunday was a very lazy day for me. It was too hot to do anything strenuous - the air conditioning packing in didn't help - and I spent most of the day in a post Michael and Patricia haze.
In a desperate attempt to save the day from being a total waste, I baked myself in front of the computer finishing and posting my edit on the collected stories of Rachel DuNoir and Paul Viersan. It was more game-writing, but it was sorely-needed bit of revision. It's up on my site, now, but I'm still catching some formatting errors, so you not want to read it until tomorrow or so.
That done, and Aftermath
posted as well, I battled through my post-gaming haze to have another think
about why I enjoy roleplaying games so much.
I'll spare you a repetition of my meandering thoughts on the kind of characters I play - I think you can find an entry about that in June 2nd. This time I'm getting into the 'whyfore' rather than the 'what'.
RPGs are extended make-believe, and with that comes a strong element of wishful thinking and - for me - a significant dollop of curiosity. Within the context of a roleplaying game, I can explore aspects of my personality that I might not be able to, otherwise- Patricia's sadism and Rachel's paranoia come from somewhere, y'know - and utilize them in manners that I couldn't or wouldn't in the real world.
For example, despite my occasional lapses, I consider myself an honest person. Not entirely moral, but honest, certes. Within a game, I can play a lying, two-faced bitch, with no worse repercussions than losing my character. I can dabble in dangerous relations with other characters (a recurring theme, I admit) without risking stalking, psychosis or a furiously pissed off husband. I can also indulge in a bit of vicarious fantasy - I'm not a world famous artist, but Janice is...
Beyond the basic "Living out assorted daydreams" aspect, I enjoy creating new personas, getting them into trouble and then getting them out. I'm not a great actor - or even a particularly good writer - but I love crafting different personas and playing with them. Despite the fact that many of them seem to be - and often are - variations on a theme, I find those themes fascinating.
Lately, the themes of choice have definitely been control, common sense and how a person can be intelligent and still prey to naiveté. 90% of the trouble that my core characters of the past year - Mattie, Patricia, Rachel and Rebecca - have been in, could have been avoided if they just listened to that little voice that said this is probably a bad idea, turn back!. With my characters, curiosity not only kills the cat, but usually dismembers and burns it as well. But they never learn.
And that, in turn, says a lot about me, doesn't it? I've never been too fast on the uptake - Oblivious Girl is one of my private nicknames for myself - and I have an unerring instinct for following my curiosity over the warning of common sense at the worst times. Ask me about my first boyfriend, sometime...That was textbook case of "Who not to date". In games, I can use my shortcomings to entertaining ends - and I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy my characters so much, even as they are wading into deeper and deeper trouble.
Johanna's Gaming News (like the above wasn't)
Eek! I've just realized that the next Diablo's Children game is this weekend, and the fate of dear, insane Patricia still hasn't been resolved. The 27th notwithstanding, the end of the last game saw Patricia in the unenviable position of being carried off by a member of the Sabbat and being told "Join or die!".
I'm amenable with Patricia joining the Sabbat - in fact I thought it was rather inevitable, but apparently some other PC has gotten it into his head to save her - no doubt because he'll own her, if he succeeds. The reason behind my minor eek! is that this has to be resolved before Saturday. Unfortunately, Nick - the GM - has class three nights a week, the other PC is still in high school and I don't get home from work until about ten minutes after the GM's night class starts. Not the best scheduling situation, but I'm hoping that something can be worked out without a mad scramble half an hour after the game starts...
The hot weather
continues. I hate the heat! The SF Bay Area isn't exactly famous for it's
scorching weather, but it when it happens, it doesn't muck around. Last night,
it was too hot to sleep and today I still feel too icky to eat. It's so hot,
it's even warm in San Francisco! You locals know what an event that is.
The heat is definately making people wiggy. Walking to work, I noticed one well-dressed woman strolling down the street, vigorously sucking on a set of rosary beads. Freudian implications aside, it still looked darn strange. I have a bit of an oral fixation meself (don't say it, you'll regret it, I swear!) and seeing that woman made me resolve to quit my absent minded habit of chewing on the dangling end of my headphone cable while sitting at my computer. Isn't that a lovely mental image? *evil chortle*
Small World And It's Getting Smaller, Part VII - It seems that my cousin Graham, who lives in the UK, and my friend, Kat - who is a local - are getting along famously via the wonder that is internet messaging. I know Graham is entirely too footloose and fancy-free to even consider a long-term relationship, but Kat was asking me questions about emigrating to Europe the other day... Regardless of her reasons, I think if you're going to travel, going when you're young is the best thing to do...
Spent a large chunk of yesterday morning - whilst trying to stay awake over my keyboard - chatting with Jennifer about doing a little epilogue-writing for our respective Bedlam's Rest characters who were retired when the game reset at the beginning of the year. Writing such things is definitely 'wishful thinking' - after all, my character from that game is dead, albeit cloned a few dozen times - but it's potentially fun. Especially considering that our characters were so extensively messed with at game's end that it's not very clear who was an 'original' character and who was a clone. This is what happens when GMs watch too much X-Files and Aeon Flux. :)
Johanna's Gaming News)
*chuckle* It looks like I had better keep an eye on my Tremere neonate, Rebecca for a while. She's being hustled by a handsome Tremere fella called Jericho, and he's got "Trouble" written all over him. You can read their first encounter, if you like. Gotta love evil Game Masters - hi, Rob!
Silly moment, the other night. I was watching Face/Off last night, particularly Travolta-as-Castor-Troy and I thought: Hmm, flatten the jaw a little bit, darken the skin tone a tad, lengthen the hair and sharpen his features just a bit, and that's a pretty good likeness of Michael... I need to get my mind out of this rut, now! Not that I don't mind the idea of tying one of characters in with a Travolta clone, but I generally don't like to use movie stars as sources for character-looks. I don't like to risk being accused of carrying a torch for the actor in question - even when I am... ;)
I feel like a prize idiot. A friend of mine, James, pings me via Instant Messenger and says "I'm in Louisiana!" and I reply with the usual "You lucky lad," sentiments, only to discover that he's there because his grandfather died over the weekend. Hmmm, tastes like tarmac, it must be my foot...
Heat continues to fry my brain as I managed to toss this week's conference room schedules into the trash, rather than last week's. Fortunately, I have very forgiving co-workers. You forgive me, right guys? Not to be upsucky or anything - there's no point since, as far as I can tell, none of my co-workers read this journal - but I do work with some very good people. They're all so smart as to make me feel very stupid, they all have a wonderfully twisted sense of humor and quite a few of them aren't too bad on the eyeballs, either. I've wiled away many a dull moment during staff meetings with idle fantasy... I had better stop right there in case one of my fellow vividians does read this...
I had a good time with
my family last night - Alex and I went over for dinner and a spot of furniture
moving. Susan and I killed a bottle of wine between us and indulged in a bit of
family gossip, which I'm not going to share here.
There was also an extended discussion of children's names - despite the fact that I'm not planning on little 'uns for a while, yet - and my family threw more gasoline on the fire regarding the use of family names for grandchildren. It's bad enough that something like five family names end with Alex, but my parents had to start suggesting names from their families as well. Oy vey. Fortunately, this is one of those things that gets filed under "Cross that bridge when we get to it" (aka, "Don't go borrowing trouble") ;)
Johanna's Gaming News
I've been giving more thought to playing around with the idea of creating an epilogue-tale for Rachel DuNoir. There's a device that Larry Niven used in his short story Rammer that I might steal - uh, I mean appropriate - involving the suggestion that most memory is carried in the RNA of a person's body and thus a person's memories could be transferred to another body. In the case of a clone, it would just be a case of a Progenitor playing with some proteins to re-awaken things... Sure, it's weird science, but it's my story so it's my rules.
However, during my weekly meeting - which occurred after I wrote the above paragraph, I now have an idea that better involves the nasty manipulative types who made the Rachel clones in the first place, and their deliberately releasing a clone-without-memory to see what kind of actions she would take to restore lost memory - and if she would succeed.
And there are other possibilities lurking in my mind, also, ranging from fairly mundane - as far as the World of Darkness can be mundane - to exceedingly silly. I love it when I have variable options for a story! I'll have to talk with Jennifer and see where she was heading with her own ideas regarding Marlena - who was Rachel's childe, and who also might have been cloned - and see if they're likely to cross each other's path. Oh, that would be very hairy...
And with all that in mind, I wrote this - Starting Over, Prologue - last night. ;)
May '99 Index July '99