I have been a busy little beaver, yes indeed!
I've been cleaning the house. Not just moving the mess into tidier piles, but actually cleaning. Most of my friends wouldn't recognize the kitchen - or the bathrooms, for that matter - after what I've done to them, but that's what getting down on hands and knees and scrubbing will do for a floor. And the walls. But I didn't mop the ceiling, this time. At the beginning of the week, I flipped out hard and decided I was sick of a house that smelled like old laundry and the cat box. I wanted a house that smelled nice dammit! So I've spent the best part of the past three days cleaning up, throwing things away and washing everything in sight.
Of course, there have been repercussions. For the first time - ever - almost every single item of clothing in the house is clean. Even though I've thrown out three garbage bags full of too small, or the cat peed on it, or just plain worn out clothing, there were a lot of clothes left. And my closets are already full of such useful items like drawers for a dresser that fell apart when we moved it out of the old apartment, that sort of thing. I've just about squeezed what's clean into the current closet space, but I've made Alex promise that we're going to finish cleaning out the den closet (the one that's full of things like useless drawers) to make more room, tomorrow. I've still got two laundry baskets full of clean clothes that have nowhere to go.
Another repercussion is now that I've got half of the house clean (and I'm aiming to finish the rest, next week) I want to keep it clean. So now I'm all anal and rude about little drips and splats in the kitchen, and such. I'm sure the thrill will wear off, sooner or later - and I'll hate it when that happens. It'll be another moment for me to wallow in self-loathing sure (my favorite hobby, second only to giddy fantasies) but such a disappointment, too...
Hmm, maybe the house will finally be in good enough shape for a housewarming party - and it only took two years!
Max is a little perturbed - beyond having been neutered last Tuesday, that is - because all this cleaning has taken away a lot of his favorite toys - empty soda boxes, piles of comic books and such. But, sucker that I am, I've left him one soda box to play in, and a grocery sack in the kitchen. Speaking of my favorite tabby cat, here are some more pictures!
|My friends say he looks spoiled, here. In reality, he had only just woken up when I took this picture, so he's just tired. Weighing 9lbs at 6 months old, the local vet predicts he'll be at least 15lbs when adult - and it's all muscle, so far!||I turn my back for two seconds and he's into the box I had assembled for the pile of Alex's comics in the den... It must be his feral roots...|
|...and he wasn't going to let the box getting full stop him from his good time...|
Aside from cleaning, I spammed a few more places with my resume, to no avail. Sigh. Cleaning the house is more satisfying. I'm going to finish the 'interview skirt' I've been working on, so I feel like I've done something that's perceptibly constructive towards the job hunt this week...
I got my portfolio - and Alex's - online over at foozwak.com along with the transplanted material from the Swinging Electric Pussycat Lounge. The site isn't too terribly sexy, but it's not supposed to be. Alex has done a kickass job on his part of the site, go look! If any of y'all have any tips for how I should assemble my portion, please let me know! I have no idea how one should present a writer's portfolio. I'm just making it up as I go along. I'm just glad it's finally done! Although I suppose it's too much to hope that it's going to have that much of an impact on my 'career' - not yet, at least.
I've heard from Don about the two reviews I'm going to do for the next issue of Black Gate - both Vampire supplements from White Wolf - and the Kear'en lads are willing to offer me a gig with their writing/re-writes for OWC. I just hope that gig is coming to me because they honestly like the way I write, and not because of some sense of gratitude for introducing them to Dave et al. I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, I guess, but self-doubt is a constant pain in my ass...
As I had hoped, the cancellation of the last CAST game gave Mike, Alex and I some time to gel the plots. Not too much was added during the last ST meeting, but there's a stronger sense of feeling ready, of having considered all the angles. There are a few interesting surprises in store for the players - and not all of them coming from the STs - so I think the game will go well...
In the meantime, I'm still struggling with my lack of long term goals for Patricia. I'm still suffering from this sense of not wanting to over-reach, lest I be accused of meta-gaming or - as most people call it - cheating. As an ST, I know an awful lot about not just the plots, but also the characters' closely held secrets, so I'm constantly treading on thin ice, trying to be very careful to not use that knowledge. That makes it very difficult for my own character to get involved with the general intrigue and skullduggery. But I don't see any way to reach a compromise - not without stepping back entirely from the running of the game, and that's not an acceptable solution. I've been enjoying helping the players craft their character over the past few months and it might be snotty to say so, but I think the game's overall quality has improved. If I ditch the job, I'm not confident that whoever takes over will be as conscientious. So, for the meantime, I keep tap-dancing on the ice.
But I can still have some fun. It's occurred to me that I've let Trisha become entirely too...likable. Likable, empathetic and approachable. That's all very good for a politically minded kindred who happens to be Seneschal of the court - as Patricia is. But Patricia is also an egomaniac and a sociopath - and a bloody good actress, granted, but still... The lingering softness of the character is attributable to my own personality. Occasional bitchiness aside, I do try to be an approachable person - if not always nice. With a little effort, perhaps I can shove all that aside for a few hours and try to put Patricia in the space I wanted her to be in when I brought her out of retirement. Intriguing? yes. Intelligent? Certainly. Creepy as all get out? You betcha! But never campy... Time to dust off The Laws of Power and re-read Trish's archive.
I've been hit with another Cthulhu Live idea - this one for a modern-day game, set on a research submarine. Talk and about a setting that's ideal for a horror event! Dank, claustrophobic, and - one the sub is inevitably crippled by some mysterious boogums - dark and very cold. The idea almost writes itself but, alas, not quite. The plot is far from complete, but the idea so far features a joint venture involving the Woods Hole Institute and Miskatonic University working together to excavate a sunken English ship dating back to the 16th Century...
The closed setting has its advantages, in that there's no risk of the PCs "wandering off" and it's easy to turn up the emotional pressure in between the characters. However, the setting also makes it slightly tricky to introduce plot elements - it's not like NPC Bill Jones can walk in off the street, and if a Deus Ex Machina is needed, it's going to be very difficult to provide one without snapping the suspension of disbelief. And what sort of plots can be introduced that are an integral part of that environment? After all, if you're going to set the game on a submarine, it had better be dam' different from a game that would happen on dry land, otherwise, why do it? On top of all that, one has to be careful to avoid straying into James Cameron territory and becoming some sort of HP Lovecraft version of The Abyss. I mean, I like that movie and all - the sheer technical chutzpah alone is breathtaking - but I don't want the players to think that their adventure is going to turn out anything like that - because it won't. Not by a long shot.
It's fun brain candy to think about while I'm scrubbing the house...
I'm still kicking around my WWII Cthulhu Live idea, too, although that one is definitely on the back burner, just because of logistics. In a simliar vein, I doubt Valley of the Kings will ever happen, either, as Alex has made the cogent point that if our landlord happened to discover that we had built a tomb complex in his precious back yard (and he likes to stop by unannounced) then we would be out in the street in short order. Drat.
guess I'm paying the price for last week's industriousness. I don't know if
it's the pollen count, or just plain laziness, but I've had a hell of
a time getting out of bed for the past three days. Being socked in by two
ever-so-warm-and-cute cats probably doesn't help, either. If I've managed to
get out of bed before 10AM this week, it's escaped my notice.
Today is definitely one of those why did I wake up? days. The toilet's blocked, the Tabby Terror (aka Max) is being particularly Terrorizing, and after sending twenty resumes into the void over the past ten days, I've had two bounce back because it seems the hiring companies have quietly vanished without taking down their websites and the rest have elicted not one whisper of response. Oh, except for one guy asking if my requirement "Must be accessible by public transit" would rule out my working in Millbrae. Uh, yes! I'm not spending $20 and 3 hours on a daily commute for a job that pays $13/hour.
Last week, I spammed casting and advertising agencies with my resume. Today, I'm looking at the local broadcasting companies. I figure it can't hurt. It certainly can't provoke any less of a response...
Still, it could be worse. I could be Susan. She's stuck at home waiting for the phone repairman who will show up - get this - some time between 8AM and 6PM today. A ten hour window! That's ridiculous!! Sigh, some service economy.
I know my sleeping-too-much of late derives from growing anxiety about the job/money situation, and it really doesn't help - the sleeping that is. All I get when I sleep too much is a headache and another reason to berate myself about something. I would go sling hash at some local food-joint - heck, they're hiring over at the local Lori's diner that's being built - but my short-term memory has been so shot these past couple of years that I sincerely doubt I would be any good at it. I would be constantly taking orders to the wrong tables, or forgetting things. I've worked myself up into a total dither of no-confidence and anxiety, I'm surprised I don't just oscillate into Earth 2, some days. And that's why I'm sleeping too much - trying to get away from the ditheriness. Bah.
Amusing paradigm-adjustment for the day. My grandmother - who didn't have a phone in her house until the late 1980s - now has a computer and an e-mail address. What fun! Maybe I'll actually keep in touch with her, now.
re-reading Backlash by Susan Faludi. I read it way back when, in my
junior college days, but, since I had to cram the thing down in two weeks, I
didn't retain too much of it. So I'm going through it at my leisure now.
Poor Alex is bearing the brunt of it. It's not his fault he happens
to be in my vicinity when I'm undergoing a fit of blithering fury whilst
reading. Fits average about three per chapter, by the way. It's a fine book
for working oneself up into a feminist lather, although it feels a bit
dated, now, as it was published in '91, and refers to studies performed in
the mid and late 1980s. I would love to see a follow-up to Backlash
but the closest to that has been Faludi's latest book Stiffed, which
seems to be about how American males have been similarly screwed over. I
guess in Faludi's world, nobody wins. Then again, is it really about
If you're in a mood for feminist latherings, I also recommend digging up a copy of the videotaped presentations Killing Us Softly and Still Killing Us Softly - they're both dated now (I think the follow-up was produced in the mid-80s) but the points made during the lectures are still extremely valid. You'll never look at an advertisement the same way again. I rather want to find a copy to watch with Alex, as then he might have a better understanding of my almost total-hatred of most marketing campaigns aimed at women (and most men, for that matter...) Yeah, I know, the irony of the fact that I've been sending resumes to advertising agencies is nigh-overwhelming. What can I say? I have to admire the combination of creativity and low animal cunning that goes into a successful ad campaign. But admiration - in my case - doesn't necessarily translate into dollars spent.
Thinking of male-engendered standards of beauty - here's the latest on The Diet.
The Cthulhu-on-a-sub idea - tentatively titled Under Pressure - has been ticking over nicely in my head. I've hit that point of plot development which is always the most frustrating - figure out the ending. Also, the setting is still presenting some problems. What's to stop the characters from just doing an emergency ascent back to the surface - could I plausibly put even that mechanism out of commission. Because if I was in a crippled sub and had just encountered an aspect of the mythos, you could bet your last dollar that I would do everything possible to get back to the surface, and to hell with the risks!
I'm trying to approach the plotting with the setting in mind - which is a bit of a change for me. Usually, once I've got the core idea set, I move on to creating characters, and deriving sub-plots from them. But what's going through my head now are questions like What sort of plots fit into this cramped, claustrophobic setting? How can the ambiance feed the plot, and vice versa? What about Plot X serves to enhance this unique setting - in other words, why here and not on dry land? Fun questions, but I'd probably enjoy them more if I had a clue about the answers!
If anyone has a nice map of the Atlantic sea floor - or knows where to get one - please let me know! You would think National Geographic would have something like that, but no, they don't. Only the Pacific sea floor, and only for sale. Drat.
In a desperate attempt to achieve something yesterday, I did some much-needed maintenance on the Chuckling Cthulhu site - updated the mailing list link, moved the picture archive from Tripod to the shared server, etc.
game went quite well, although attendance was a bit low - fallout from the
previous game being cancelled, I think. But we had a couple of new players -
one of the courtesy of the recommendation of Dreams
of Deirdre, which was a pleasant surprise.
Anyways, the game itself seemed to go over pretty well. We've thrown a wrench into the Prince's paradigm, the Tremere are finally getting their act together, the "Ooze" plot seems to be progressing well and at the pace we anticipated. Now we've just got to figure out what to do next!
I'm still wrestling what to do with Patricia. On the one hand, no matter what I play, I'm still going to know all about the game plots, so retiring her on that basis is kind of stupid. I may as well stick with the character I've been playing for eight months, right? But the lack of long-term goals is irritating me. She's really only doing what she is doing in order to help game plots along, not out of any character-driven interest. Maybe I need to settle all the loose ends in Dead Time before I can determine what to do next - figure out her past, then her future. Fortunately, I have been wrestling - again/still - with the latest chapter in that story. It's almost finished - like, within a page of the end, but the visit from the Lethargy Fairy has set me back on that, too.
week in Casa Cthulhu. I sent out about twenty resumes and got one response -
a rejection. Still, at least they took the time to let me know...
Last week ended as lazily as it began, so I'm a little hard-pressed for thought-provoking material, right now...
I'm also still a bit rattled from watching 9/11 on CBS on Sunday night. Unsurprisingly, it shook up my subconscious a bit, and I had a rather nasty dream about dying of radiation poisoning in a small town north of London. I baffle myself at times...
I'm a little irked with CBS because, once again, they proved that there is no such thing as a 'commercial free' presentation on network TV - with the NexTel logo slapped up during the intermissions. A minor quibble, I suppose, but it's those little things that erode larger issues.
Otherwise, life is quiet, except for an extra large dose of vicarious melodrama that's going on. An acquaintance of mine - who shall remain nameless, because I think he would prefer it that way - has just discovered that (shock, horror!) when you keep a journal on the web, people are going to find it and read. Especially people you would rather not have finding it, and reading it. He's been bitching about his ex-girlfriends, sharing some raunchy thoughts and - this is what set off the melodrama - talking about his ex-g/f's supposed habit for cheating on her current boyfriend. He also went on about his desire to break up said boy and girl, because he can't stand the boy (and still has the hots for the girl, I believe) but that's another issue.
Deciding that I wanted to head off a possible homicide, I dropped the acquaintance a line, saying that he might want to consider a more anonymous web-host, or start using pseudonyms, or something, as the boy-he-hates is known for having just a bit of a temper and will probably go up in flames if/when he finds out about this chap's literary pursuits. The ex-g/f has read the latest meanderings from him, so I suspect it's only a matter of time before the despisÚd-boyfriend hears about it.
Naturally, I get an outraged response demanding to know how I got that URL, and why am I reading the journal. Oops, it looks like someone has just come up face-first against one of the ever-persistent problems of keeping an online journal. Honestly, I got the URL from a mutual acquaintance, and the journal is situated on a very public webhost - one of those 'online community' sites. What's surprising is that I haven't been reading the journal any longer than I have been. I almost feel sorry for the shmuck - I had the same problems too. Every web-journaller has. But, as it is, I'm not too keen on the fella, so I'm not going to stay up nights worrying about his tender feelings.
But watching all the fallout and the scurrying is quite entertaining. What can I say, it's been a dull week.
I have a vague chance at an interview later this week. The job sounds suspiciously like a sales position, but I won't know until I get there. It's in Oakland, near the BART station so fingers are crossed...
I wrote a new column for my LARP Advice section - Setting the Stage For Your Live Action Game. It could have been longer, but, damn, it's long enough already! Anything beyond what I've got down already, and it will just get too specific, anyways. I don't think LARPers need that much help.
CAST has suffered it's own episode of melodrama, lately. Just as I was gearing up to write a rant-ette about how it's not the Storytellers' fault if a person's is feeling uninvolved in the game - I had been hearing the complaint third hand just a little too often, lately - Jennifer beat me to it. Since she has the freedom of expression that is open to a player, but not a GM, she cut loose with a truly impressive bit of vitriol about players who blame the STs for matters beyond the STs' control. Beautiful!
Unfortunately, I can't agree with Jennifer - at least, not on the game's BBS where she published the rant - because then she'll probably suffer some backlash from other players and be branded a 'GM Favorite'. Sigh. Quick tangent: Favoritism happens in a game, kids. Just hope that the GM doesn't let it go too far, and if you're feeling left out, just do what it takes to become a favorite yourself.
But at least over here, I can say that I agree with her. Heh. What really pissed me off was that several of the players who chimed in to respond with "Heck, yeahs!" I know are the same players who indulge in bitching behind the GMs backs. At least two of the applauding players are guilty - recently guilty - of bitching about me, Alex or Mike behind our backs, and now they're polishing their own halos.
Mike doesn't want to make a big deal about it - and I see his point. This is just a game and why go stirring up the muck any further. But, oooooh, it's annoying! I suppose I'll save my "You Stinking Hypocrites" speech for the time when I decide I'm leaving the game permanently...
Meanwhile, I had to spend the morning soothing the fragile ego of some player who didn't like my opinion of her weak character concept. Now, I suspect that perhaps the tone I considered brisk and businesslike might have come across as arrogant and pushy and the other end of the internet - oops, my bad. But, y'know, if people are going to try to join a game, they're going to have to get used to the idea that the GM might have higher standards than they anticipated - and a rather blunt way of expressing those standards. Aw, whatever. She's another player I'm not going to lie awake at night worrying about. Rumor has it she's known for being a bungee-player - in for a couple of games, and then gone. Those sort of players aren't worth anything more than minimal attention...
Oh look, it's St. Patrick's Day. I think I'll stay home all day... I know that the Catholics wear green, and the Protestants wear orange, but what do the pagans wear? Pink? I like the sound of that - 'Pagan Pink' - although I suppose a multicolored tie-dye would be more apt.
That Oakland interview got pushed off until next week. I'm still not too keen on the position - it sounds suspiciously like a lot of sales-work, with a thin veneer of office management on top - but if it pays more than unemployment, I don't have much choice at this point...
Eek! I just found out my
mother had to rush into hospital and have her gall bladder removed last
night. I know this is an almost routine surgery, but Susan really hates
hospitals so any sort of visit is a bit of a crisis. Christopher tells me
she's fine, and we'll go visit her tonight and bring her home.
As an aside, I don't like the nervous wave of heebie-jeebies that wash over me when hearing about a parent's health problems. My mom and dad are supposed to be immortal and invincible, dammit! They were both quite young when I was born, so occasionally I get shocked by time's passage when I'm visiting with them. It's not like they're decrepit - my mother is in her forties - but, given that I can clearly remember when she was younger than I am, now... It's a little strange. Every now and then, I think "When Susan was my age, she had an eleven-year-old daughter already." It makes me feel like I'm wasting my time, in a way. But the time just isn't right for Alex and I to start a family, and I don't know when it will be...
Book recommendation for today: Confessions of a Shopaholic. It suffers inevitable comparisons to Bridget Jones' Diary because it's about an English female who is sans boyfriend, is slightly nuts, and ends up on television, but it's a very enjoyable book. I identified rather a lot with the main character, in fact - she read like some sort of alternative universe version of myself, at times. There is a followup - The Shopaholic In Manhattan or somesuch - but I'm a bit reluctant to check that out. I like the character in her English setting. I don't know how she would work in NYC - and I'm also afraid that the book will just be more of the same. Once was fun, twice would be a bit too much, and a little stale.
In the meantime, I finally got a copy of Susan Faludi's latest - Stiffed - and I'm preparing myself to wade through that. It's a bit hard to go from 'fluffy chick novel' to 'sociological treatise', even if it is a pop-culture coated one...
Drue, bless her, took a look at my portfolio the other day, and gave me some tips, which I shall be enacting shortly. I thought it would be immodest to include much personal information, but she suggested I put up a resume, of sorts, and a brief description of my goals as a writer. I wonder how one phrases 'money-grubbing hack' in a professional manner? Then again, knowing the writing biz, that might be a professional title.
In other writing news, I'm off to the city tomorrow to meet with the Kaer'an guys and find out what I can do for them in the next few months. They've got deadlines from May 1st to the end of September, so if I play my cards right, I might get some steady gigs out of that. I'm also doing two reviews for Blackgate, providing the books show up in time, and I've got an idea for a feature article that I think I'm going to pitch to larper.org. That latter will be an unpaid sitch, but the site is an up-and-coming one that shows signs of developing a good following, so it would be a worthwhile investment of time. Speaking of money, there's still no sign of payment for the FK work, but the contract gives them until the end of May to hand me the check... I would just frame that puppy out of sheer pride, but it's going to be a nice bit of change and I have every intention of buying two things with it: a clothes dryer for the house, and my next tattoo... One responsible thing, one fun thing. Heh.
On the sewing front, I
have been as happy as the proverbial clam, just about. 5AM Thursday morning,
I get an idea for a jacket to wear to game on Saturday. Those of you who are
familiar with my typical sewing speed will understand that this is not nearly
enough lead time for me. Add on the fact that I wanted to make a muslin of
it, first - I was experimenting with grafting two patterns together - and
I had to go to San Francisco for the closures, I shouldn't have stood a
Wrong! I finished it at 4PM Saturday! And it looks gorgeous, I might add. It's a closely-fitted jacket with princess seams and a tabbed collar, in a black brocade, with the front panels in black crepe satin and nifty metal clasps down the front. As soon as I've got some fresh batteries in my camera, I'll take a picture for bragging purposes. I took the collar and front panels from one jacket - an unflattering 'Asian tunic' thing - and grafted them onto a pattern for a fitted shirt/jacket thing which I had made before, albeit in a much longer form as a coat. Rather to my surprise, it all came together very easily, even after I altered the neckline to make it higher.
However, there were some problems. My sewing machine - my beloved Viking! - vomited up it's bobbin case when I was half way through sewing on the incredibly fiddly clasps. I'm not sure how I could have been pushing the machine too hard, but maybe I was using too fine a needle - I was out of 70/10, so I had resorted to a 65/8 - for crepe satin. Anyways, so I had to scramble to finish sewing on the clasps and hemming the garment by hand. I cheated outrageously, and the hems were done with hot glue. I'm sure I'll regret that in the long run, but I left a lot of selvage on the hems, and I can probably unpeel the gluing - carefully! - and re-sew by hand, now that I have the time.
All that for a jacket for a character I'll probably play twice. Still, I think it'll be a knockout thing to wear to interviews, too. I paired it up with my green-satin/black-flocked pencil skirt, and it looked fabulous, if I do say so myself.
I would be working on a nice little scoop-neck tank-top right now, as well as the stretch-PVC leotard I've been kicking around, but I don't have a single functioning sewing machine in the house. Once mid-month checks come in, I'm going to haul all three of my machines into the shop and have them looked at. Two of them are just blown-timing. As for Joanne's machine...Either it needs a good cleaning, or it doesn't taken Singer needles, I think. It's dropping stitches like they're out of fashion, and totally unusable right now. The machine is a 30-years-plus old Pennman, so it might be a case of taking some obscure brand of machine-needle... Or, as I say, it might just be really dirty inside.
The Storyteller meeting on Thursday was incredibly productive. I think having Ryan in the mix is a great help, 'cos he's almost as sneaky a bastard-GM as Alex is, so when they plot together, their energy is just quadrupled. As a result, the game last night was very high-energy and I think the players had a good time. For once, the guys followed my suggestion that we try to pile lots of plots onto the players - so that no one player can keep up with everything - and the game was held away from Elysium, so the potential for violence was rife. The plots unfolded as anticipated, and everyone seemed to be very excited and happy... Yay!
I've taken Trish out for at least the next couple of weeks. I want a break from her for a while, because she's just stagnating in the court right now, and I need to decide if she should remain there, or retire permanently. A bit of distance should help me make that decision. The Greedy Black Duck says "Why give up nine month's worth of XP?" but the Roleplaying Black Duck is saying "Without stronger in-character goals, there's not much point in keeping all those hard-won toys, is there?". I'm hoping for inspiration, one way or another. Either I'll think of some new goals for the character, or I'll be inspired with a new, long-term PC.
Saturday night, I just played a short-term NPC. A Giovanni from San Francisco who is checking out the preparations being made for the independent clans in regards to an upcoming conclave. She was fun, but it was hard to switch quickly from Patricia - who left the court very abruptly - to someone who was nice, outgoing and reasonably humane. Medea Giovanni might make an appearance at the next game, but that's about it. She honestly got most of her questions answered last night, and I don't want her around too long, lest it look like the STs are hogging the 'cool' clans. Honestly, I don't care much for the Giovanni, myself, but the idea of having one present for the short term sounded like fun...
Meanwhile, I am singularly uninspired for new Vampire characters right now. The couple that are waiting in my 'grab bag' to be played - Toreador assassin, Settite political lobbyist - really aren't suitable for CAST, so I need to come up with a fresh idea. All I've got so far are ideas for great ghouls. Nothing is coming to mind that would suggest a persona strong enough to merit the Embrace. And, dammit, I give the player a hard enough time about that when they're handing in their ideas to me, so I'm going to have to meet my own standards. Oops. Bitten in the ass by perfectionism, again...
It's probably a sign that I need to take a break from Vampire, in general, but I really like the CAST game - when it's going well. The players are, generally, a nice bunch of good-sports, and the game energy has been going so well for the past few months. I could just take a break for a few weeks whilst deciding about Patricia's future, but I would still attend the games, just to know what's going on! I hate being left out of the loop, y'see... Alex is in the same boat, apparently, so I'll probably talk it over with him, one of these days.
gap, I'm afraid. The reasons are many and varied.
By far the most annoying is that there's been some sort of nasty short in the house circuit box, so there's no power in various bits of house right now, including the computer room. Only by virtue of a really long extension court into a bedroom am I typing this right now. And the electrician isn't going to be here until Saturday afternoon. Peachy. In the meantime, we're cooking in the kitchen with a flashlight - the microwave, fridge and stove have power, but not anything else - and running another extension cord from the fabric room to the TV, so Alex doesn't suffer from entertainment withdrawal.
I've also been spending
most of my daytime this week over at my mom's house. She's recovering nicely
from her surgery and she decided to push back her trip to the UK by only
three days. But she's needed me around so she can rest easily and so avoid
doing anything that would require her to bend over - a maneuver guaranteed
to do terrible things to her sutures. Yesterday was particularly tiring
because I had to haul myself over the entire Bay Area to take care of
rescheduling Susan's trip. First to the doctor's office to get a note
stating she shouldn't travel on her original departure date, then down to
SFO (an epic journey via public transit) to present that and various other
paraphernalia in order to get a new ticket issued. It wasn't difficult -
everyone was very cooperative, every step of the way - just very
time-consuming. The fact that I quaked with fear at the notion of screwing
something up did little to relieve my tension, either. But it got done.
SFO was pleasantly mundane. I noticed a few more security dudes, and a higher frequency of 'security announcements' on the PA, but otherwise all passengers seemed pleasantly blithe. Airports are funky emotional stews at the best of times - all those travelers in the grip of one extreme emotion, or another. It's the kind of place I love to people-watch at, but I'm sure that would get one sternly talked-to by security, these days.
Today, Susan felt up to getting her hair done, and we even went to the mall for a short while, to pick up some books for her flight, and a couple of other things. She was pretty pooped by the end of it, and I was a walking bundle of nerves. Sixty minutes of trying to project a 'don't come near us, oh careless shopper!' aura got a bit tiring. My telekinesis just isn't up to snuff, it seems, so I spent an hour trying to subtly glare at anyone who got too close. The last thing Susan needed was an accidental elbow in the gut. We got away from the mall without incident, and that's what matters.
There's supposed to be
an ex-vividian/Modemite drink-up on Friday, but I'm not sure if I'm going to
go. First of all, it's in the peninsula, which is hell for me to get to,
even with the offer of a ride from Colma BART. Second of all, I'm not sure I
can rely on my willpower to keep me off the carb-laden drinks and
keep me sober. See, I can stick to my diet my just knocking back vodka on
the rocks (or with soda water) but two or three of those, and I end up
sliding down the slippery slope to Foolish Behavior. Judging by past
behavior, I'd end up shitfaced and stranded in Pacifica. Ugh. And the
hangover afterwards. Double ugh. Better to just avoid temptation altogether,
I think. Maybe Alex and I will go see "Ice Age" or something... If
I want a drink, I've got fixings in the kitchen...
Of course, the movie theater is replete with temptations of it's own. Butter soaked popcorn, sugary chocolate treats, etc... But at least chocolate doesn't give one a hangover. Well, not unless one eats an awful lot of it.
Random note: congrats to
my buddy Lera for earning her PhD! If you need a doctor of environmental
science with particular emphasis on the Amazonian ecosystem (I think that's
what she studied), drop me a line...
The body of the jacket is a gorgeous black brocade, I assure you!
Alas, my sewing machine
is still waiting to go to the shop. So, of course, I'm jonesing to sew
something, anything. Maybe I should dig up some of my old twill/duck fabric
and hand sew a bodice or two for Faire. Or I could do some more embroidery
on my Faire skirts. I wish I had a decent pattern for Alex's doublet, as I
was thinking about hand sewing that, anyways!
Given that I'm losing weight, it's a bit silly for me to be sewing too much, but I don't think my final shape is going to be too much different than my current one. I've got 3lbs more until I reach my 'good enough' goal, but I would like to shuck 5lbs beyond that, if I can - go read the Diet Journal for the latest gory details. Still, I doubt that I'm going to whittle off more than one more dress size. Maybe if I just cut everything real snug... Like I did for the jacket, above...
There was a minor fit of BS in CAST, earlier this week. A shame that Michael hadn't told me of a decision he had made, otherwise a lot of it would have been avoided. Then again, if the aggrieved player had just mentioned 'but Michael said it was okay', rather than going off half-cocked in CAST's online forum, that would have been good, too. *Sigh* Ah well.
Annoyingly enough, the aggrieved player is also on a fast-track to getting his character killed. Alex and I had a talk about it, and we've figured out how to warn the PC without skewing the game entirely. But we strongly suspect that the PC will go ahead, anyways - the joys of being an overconfident Vampire - and the player isn't going to react well at all, methinks. Which is a shame, as I generally like this guy. But we can't grant him a special exception to the rules just because he's a nice fella. If a character is bent on suicide, then that doesn't leave the STs much choice.
I'm still short on inspiration for my next CAST character. But I've got three more weeks until I have to make a final decision about Patricia, so I'm not going to push matters too hard. Either an idea will come to me, or I'll just go on NPC duty for the duration.
I've been reading Kindred Of The East - finally - and really enjoying it. There are some aspects to the Kwei-Jin that I prefer to Cainites, in fact. As in 3rd Edition Mummy: The Resurrection, the need for balance is an overwhelming theme to the vampires of The Middle Kingdom, and the Kwei-Jin carry a lot more individual responsiblity for their state - no Sire to blame for their curse. Pretty nifty. Of course, I'm kinda eager to play one now, but there is no reason for one to leave Chinatown for New Haven in the CAST game. And the Kwei-Jin are pretty unbalanced when compared, pound-for-pound, to the Cainites. So not only would a Storyteller (again) be playing a 'goodie' clan, but a potentially game-stomping one, too. Although I have got an idea for a totally mute in-and-out again appearance of a Kwei-Jin minion that I want to bounce of the heads of the other STs in the game...Heh. And I can only imagine what I would sew for such a character!
tiddly and full of good tidings - the perfect time to do a journal entry.
The good tidings are entirely external. I spent a good hour on the phone nattering with Beth, who has been a pal of mine since high school. She's currently in Ohio, which I wouldn't consider paradise, but she seems to be enjoying it, and is very much looking forward to separating from the army after five years and four years at Westpoint before that, of which I'm inordinately proud of her, but it suddenly occurs to me that I never told her that, hrm...
Anyways, we had a lovely time talking about nothing in particular - dogs, cats, 401K rollover options - and it was bloody nice. There's a faint chance she might be in my neck of the woods later this year, and that would be lovely. I haven't seen her since Sarah's wedding, two years ago. Oh Christ, I forgot Sarah's anniversary. I better call her tomorrow...
Saw Susan this afternoon, she's much closer to her usual self. We dished madly about The Oscars - most particularly what everyone was wearing. For example, Gwenyth Paltrow. Oh. My. God. Although I rather liked what Julia Robert wore. And that gorgeous brown-taffeta thing belonging to one of the artistic directors of Fellowship Of The Ring - that was fabulous. I love watching the Oscars. It's a wonderful mix of pop-culture catharsis and rampant bile, as my old rant on the subject demonstrates. One of these days, I should update that thing...
Bought far too many books over the weekend. Baroque, Baroque - a gorgeous look at the 20th Century baroque movement, which is already giving me ideas for some outrageous sewing ideas. Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples - gloriously free of the traditional historian's desire for neutrality. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan - yeah, I caved in and bought it, and rather enjoyed. But I hope the author doesn't release a third, as that would definitely be too much.
Meanwhile, I'm very much enjoying Susan Faludi's Stiffed. I'm about 250 pages into it now, and pleasantly surprised by her point of view. After Backlash, one can't help but expect Faludi to be a little... unsympathetic to the notion of the collapse of American masculinity. But she isn't. It's too complicated to explain, just read the book. It's worth the effort.
Oh, I almost forgot. I picked up The Matrix Revisted a couple of weeks ago, and finally got around to watching my segment. Wow, all that fuss for 15 seconds of screen time. A bit of a letdown, I suppose. It's a bit of a shame, as I know Josh Oreck shot something like two hours of footage with half a dozen fans, and he was very keen on the fan-aspect of the film. But it got cut down to about two minutes, with four people by Warner Bros - Josh warned me he didn't have final cut on the project. But I take consolation in that I was the relatively (if not completely) sane fan of the piece... Although I wish I could have lost a little more weight before the filming!
Don't ask me how he did it, but he managed
to wriggle into that space this morning.
It looks like Patricia might be coming back to CAST much sooner than anticipated, mostly because Medea Giovanni got a lot more accomplished in her first evening at court than I anticipated. However, I'm going to grit my teeth and do my best to keep her out of the upcoming game. I want her away from the court long enough to be 'missed', so to speak. Although I have no idea what I'm going to do, next game. Medea has no real reason to show up for another few weeks, and I hate being a non-participatory Narrator...
Meanwhile, Alex has convinced me to go back on a long-held rule for Chuckling Cthulhu - that of 'no convention games'. Alex made a cogent argument that Under Pressure would make for a good convention game, and a convention appearance would do a lot for our PR. So I've written to the larp coordinator of KublaCon, pitched the idea to him, and he's all over it. He's even willing to accommodate our caveat that we will not accept a timeslot that clashes with Dreams of Deirdre, and that's great. Alex and I are trying to build a relationship with those guys, and we don't want to be perceived as competing with them because, gosh, we aren't.
After six hours of
sewing, and one hour of glaring at pattern directions and realizing that the
cutting plan was incorrect (gack!) I decided that all this work was
not worth it for a dress for a character that's going to have sixty seconds,
tops, in tomorrow's game.
It's been that kind of week - overcompensating at the worst times. Wednesday night, Alex and I went to Christopher's, had Chinese food and watched Moulin Rouge cranked up to 11. Loved the movie, didn't love the migraine I had afterwards. I don't know if it was the food, the one beer I had with (bad diet!) or the sensory overload. Probably all three. I suppose it's unreal to want hair the exact shade as Satine's, huh? Well, I sure as hell can't have that figure. That corset Nicole Kidman was running around was just yummy.
I'm still glaring at my bathroom scales, although I really should be going by my mirror, instead. I've only been lifting weights for a week, but I'm already seeing the sand shift, here and there - yay! I don't mind being 132lbs if it's all muscle - which, alas, it isn't at this point. Still, I'm feeling pretty good about progress made, so far.
inadvertently acquired a livejournal
the other day. I needed to create a livejournal ID in order to contribute to
the Gothic Sewing Circle's online venue, and I somehow ended up being
saddled with a livejournal of my own.. I'm ambivalent about whether or not
to keep it. The last thing I need is a venue for minute-to-minute triva in
my life, really.
Although, the livejournal has gotten me thinking about reviving my long-languishing dream journal. Keeping a dream-journal is a double-edged sword for me. On the one hand, my imagination is rarely so vivid, or detailed, as when I dream. It's an interestingly bubbling cauldron of ideas for me to rummage through, and a written journal makes the rummaging that much easier. However, because my dreams are so detailed, it's a lot of work to record them accurately - I think I maxed out at 3,000 words for one dream, back in my high school days. Matters aren't made any easier by the fact that I prefer to keep a notebook by my bed to jot down immediate impressions when I wake up - and deciphering my handwriting is a task unto itself!
Had another fabulously productive ST meeting on Thursday. Ryan once again proved himself a fine rat-bastard in the plotting department. Meetings are also a lot easier now that we're not losing two hours to telling Michael what's been happening in the past two weeks within the game-universe. There's all kinds of hell waiting to break loose on Saturday night. Heh.
And I've committed Chuckling Cthulhu to running Deep Secrets (formerly Under Pressure) at KublaCon in May. This should be interesting. Uh, yeah, that's it, interesting. No, not stressful at all, honest! Now, what was the plot about, again?