Niftiest costume I saw on Halloween: a bike messenger had put a pari chiffon-and-wire butterfly wings on her back and a pair of antennae on her helmet...
Life's little ironies, number 37. I'm too broke to get my hair colored on Friday, as I originally planned, so I'm giving my appointment to Dave so he can finish the peroxide job we began last weekend. He really wants to go platinum - strangely enough, blonde rather suits him - but I've never met a head of hair so resistant to chemicals as his. The irony is this, I earn twice as much as that lad does, but he's got the cash to consider hair appointments. Hmph. Yeah yeah, he didn't his car towed last week.
As it is, we had just enough cash to go to CostCo and stock up on food for the next couple of weeks - frozen fishsticks and chicken, ahoy! Other than that, we have cash for commuting and that's about it. Sigh
Oh, I almost forgot. Alex has a new job, starting Monday. It's a little fuzzy and certainly unexciting, but it pays $38K per year and has full benes after 60 days. They're not entirely sure what he's going to do, but there's a strong possibility he'll have to do (gulp) tech-support for his employer's product - web-based payroll outsourcing. Oh boy, my idiot-intolerant hunnybunny is gonna have to do tech-support... Listen for the explosions.
Cryptic message for he who'll get it:
Jon, don't worry too much. I haven't done too much to keep up the friendship at my end, either. I think we just know each other so bloody well, we've run out of things to say to each other... Don't let the impending three-oh prompt you into any stupid decisions - or impart a permanent crick-in-the-neck from looking back over your shoulder. And I assume that if your entry does qualify for Battlebots you'll be wanting to stay here while visiting? ;)
Apparently I've been 'darker than usual' - at least, that's according to
Jennifer. I found that declaration a bit surprising. I think that everyone's so used to being share-everything-tell-everyone motormouth that, during this rare period when I've been clamming up about some personal issues, the spectators are thrown for a loop. If I had an iota more conscience, I might feel guilty for shutting Jenn et al out, but the Great Unpleasantness (as it is being referred to over at Miskatonic Acres) is very much a private matter, and better off that way. Sorry if I've upset y'all, but I guess I've finally found something even I won't talk about.
Like disco and kidney stones, this too will pass...
Dave and I have been playing ping-pong with the Anja/Monsignor vignette and it's shaped up pretty well. One more round of minor tweaking from Dave and I think it'll be ready to publish. Then we'll just have to think about the sequel. Heh heh heh.
Talking of Aragon apparently we're suffering a resurgence of that which plagues every larp: accusations of favoritism by the players. Dave is claiming he's 'heard from several players' that they perceive us as playing favorites, to their detriment. Sigh. Why can't these people talk to us, I wonder? What is the point of trying to run an open, player-driven game if the players don't communicate? Of course, Dave can't/won't name-names...
Once again, I'm going to have to dust off my usual schpiel about favoritism in games - particularly LARPs.
Listen up all you live-action GMs and players: Favoritism happens. Cope with it. If you feel left out, find out what it takes to be a favorite and do that. I assure you both you and the GM will be happier for it - just don't be a total toady - and the difference is usually pretty obvious.
Just like a royal court, GM favor ebbs and surges (okay, is my ego out of control yet?). We get our pet projects, we dedicate time to them, and we move on. I'll agree that, at the moment, the GMs of Aragon are focusing a lot of attention on three particular characters - Corianna Stancliffe, Tommy Wong and Hilario Mendez. That's derived partially from their character histories, but mostly from the direction the game has gone in. With the introduction of an inhumane regime in charge of court, this hits some very specific buttons those players built into their characters. GMs love big red shiny fuck-with-my-character buttons, so of course we're going to press them. In a month, we'll be messing with someone else. Two months ago, people were complaining that we were paying too much attention to the Tremere and 'occulty' vampires - and they were right then, too.
Favorites happen. The focus of a game shifts and flows to emphasize different characters and situations depending upon the forces currently active. Players who see this as favoritism obviously never watched a soap-opera over a long period of time... Sometimes one cadre of characters would be the core of several episodes, then another group would step to the fore. It's not the writers playing favorites (well, unless the ratings really run the show) it's creating variety for the viewers. Running an ongoing LARP is very much like writing a soap opera on the fly - and much more challenging. A professional writer, I ain't.
Oh yes, I'm going to be putting all this forth to playership, soon. I just thought some of you gamer-phreaks (fess up, I know you're there) might get something out of the mini-rant. ;)
but go take a look. The new office - sans furniture, though. We
started moving in today - I nearly killed myself (and my boss) hauling in
the huge-ass oak desk he bought for his office. Me, I'll be lucky if I get
something out of pressed particleboard... Actually, that's an utter lie. If
I can find something that matches it (not a small order, given that I've got
to match something from the late 50's) that doesn't cost too much, I can
have it. Oh, and it's got to fit through a door that is 27.75 inches wide -
either entirely or in pieces. The narrow entryway to the train has had a
severe impact on the furniture-buying process...
Tomorrow is more furniture-moving, lots of cleaning-up of aforementioned desks and such, waiting for the PacBell guy and meeting the artist who is doing the corporate branding. Meanwhile, my boss is making a conference table over the weekend. A regular Paul Bunion, he is...
Oh, I've been having far too much fun with Aragon this week. I've let Anja off the leash and I'm madly messing with another PC, Hilario. Fortunately, Hilario is being played by Chris B. who gave the GMs free-rein to madly mess with his darling - and we've done so with a veangence.
Last night, while Jennifer, Dave and James handled some downtime of their own, Chris and I headed out for a bite to eat (with Alex and Chris' wife, the not-starkitten-Jennifer) and RP'd a meeting between Hilario and Anja for a couple of hours. I had a blast, although Chris' character has the same flaws mine always have: the ability to debate anything into the ground. I really think we could have fenced for another two hours (we chatted for about that long) without actually coming to a conclusion about anything. And we like it that way. Heh.
But our schedules rarely mesh, so now the whole thing will be going to e-mail, which is fine by me. I can be much more evil when the other guy can't see my face. Yeah, yeah, I know, that sentence sums up the entire online-chat community, right there.
Oh, I almost forgot - the latest vignette - featuring Anja and the Monsignor - is finally completed. Heh.
proceeds apace. I just about seared my lungs cleaning the office yesterday.
Anybody got any tips for getting encrusted grime - including rust - off
textured chrome/steel? I'm afraid steel wool will scratch the surface too
much, but good ol' Goof Off (special extra-smelly variety) didn't
seem to do the trick. But it was worth it, of course. After all, I don't
need our clients knowing we're slobs...
Rick and I met with Darren yesterday to look at his initial designs for logos. My boss wants feedback from strangers, so go take a look at them and tell me which you like. They didn't photograph so well - a shortcoming of my camera, I think - but they're clear enough. Logo3.jpg has some really-fine engraving-type lines on it, but I don't think they came out too well...
Me, I thought they all looked pretty good, but I'll hold off my opinion for a couple of days. As I say, my boss wants me to get some non-employees to take a gander and get their opinion. ;)
opinions, am I going to get keel-hauled for trying to stay out of the
ongoing discussions about the election? I'm on a buddys-from-Connecticut
mailing list (aka, the Society of Syrinx) and tempers have been flaring up
all week. The flames have been fanned, mostly, by the posts of the group's
one dedicated Libertarian - who voted Bush, and don't ask me why as I doubt
he's going to be very sympathetic to my friend's alternative-lifestyle, but
I digress. Anyways, that situation seems to by symptomatic of everyone
around me right now. At the moment, I'm too frightened to even make my usual
abstaining comments, lest I get lectured on civic values and how bloody important
this situation is.
Fellas, if it was that important, how come the majority of those eligible to vote, didn't? (That in itself is a whole other rant, but I'll save it for another day)
Actually, I'm not denying the massive impact of this brouhaha, but I am a little disgusted that, like the last episode of some soap opera, people are only caring because the situation is a little more exciting than usual. Last time I checked, the NFL usually got better ratings than any election coverage.
The electoral college system has been whacked for years - and why does everyone seem to think that voter-fraud has been an impossibility since the Depression? But the poor sods who've been trying for election reform for ages have been dismissed or laughed at. I suppose they're laughing now, albeit rather bitterly.
Yeah yeah, Johanna, you're not a citizen, you can't vote, so hush up. Well, usually I would, but this is my corner of the web to rant as I please. And insensibly, too - don't think I haven't noticed that I've gone a tad off the rails...
Umm. I have no idea what the point of all that was, but it felt good.
My intended pulp-game didn't happen last night as Jennifer was stuck at work until nearly 8PM and she was far too pooped to attend. I was still a little loopy from inhaling Goof-Off fumes and a bit pooped myself, so we all went out to dinner, instead. Good thing, too, as I was having some difficulty remembering the intended plot and I couldn't find my notes.
Meanwhile, Alex is off to Bob's D&D game tonight. I think I'll just stay home and write up some more evil things to happen to Hilario...
Work proceeds apace with one caveat - that train car is cold! Well, we are having a cold snap right now, and Rick likes things cooler than I do...but at this rate, I'm going to have to start wearing fingerless-gloves at my computer, like a latter-day Fagin...
Ooooh! I just hate it when I write up all kinds of kewl, nifty, mess-with-your head stuff for a player and then their character puts the brakes on! Yeah, I'm talking about Hilario in Aragon, again. It's all perfectly legitimate - Hilario has permission to slow things down whenever he likes. I'm just an impatient GM who can't wait to see the player's face as the plot unfolds. And I can't do that if his dratted character won't cooperate! Mutter, grumble.
Yes, the situation is amusing. Don't think I'm seriously upset. It's the good kind of upset that GMs get when a story is going really well.
Meanwhile, an alarming number of characters in that game are finding reasons to explore BDSM. Some of the players are already familiar with the scene, but others aren't. Uh-oh. What have we unleashed here? I'm all for horizon-broadening, but I don't need a decent little vampire game becoming an extended dungeon. For one thing, the vanilla players wouldn't like it at all...
Meanwhile, Dave is
now talking about launching an AD&D campaign. Last week it was going to
be a horror game. Four weeks ago, he was supposed to be on top of the Pulp
game (which I have since co-opted). Sigh. I don't think I'm going to
join this latest venture until he proves that it's going to last more than
three episodes. That seems to be the threshold for him. If a campaign makes
it to game four, it'll go for a while, but until then, don't put any money
on it. I put a lot of thought into Violet
for his games, only to have them left languishing when he lost interest. What
a bloody waste.
Yeah, I'm a bit peeved about it. But it's only gaming, so I can let it go...
Speaking of letting things go, I'm almost certain I'm going to quit playing Dora in Alex's Star Wars game. I thought playing a bimbo idiot-savant would be amusing for a while, but that while turned out to be much shorter than I thought. I'll be skipping the upcoming game - to go to a friend's party in the city on Friday - and I'll give some thought to what I'm going to play after that, if anything. At the moment, Aragon is taking up enough of my time and creative juices to keep me happy...
The day at work was very quiet. I'm still getting things organized, and suffering some nasty writers' block on creating content for the web-site. Ah well, it'll pass. I'll get on top of it sooner or later. I just wish I had a dial-in connection so I don't get snowed by e-mail when I get home... The DSL line is on order, but Rick's having a devil of a time getting a modem, my computer, the phone system and my machine to talk to each other...
This evening was nice, 'though. Alex and I took a few bucks to the used bookstore and picked up a few things. I grabbed an armload of Robert Graves' work, including his two-volume set on the Greek myths and his study of the manifestations of the fertility goddess in pre-Christian Europe. Graves' style is very readable, and I gleefully recommend him to anyone who'll listen. However, don't read Goodbye to All That unless you're mentally prepared for something pretty dam' harrowing.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale: perky ankh! Isn't it the cutest thing? John Kovalic is flogging 'em as yet-another-way to raise money. Naturally, I'm buying one. Say it with Igor: It MUST be mine!
Oh boy! Aragon is ten days away. Plots? What are those? Whee! Right now, I'm just hoping players read (and react!) to what's in the newsletter. For all I've heard from the list lately, they may as well be on the moon.
Meanwhile, I'm starting to get the Cthulhu LARP bug again. Maybe it'll stick this time...
Even this journal
has been getting repetitive.
1) Kvetch about money
2) Bitch about my messy house
3) Brood about thwarted career
4) Brood/gloat about gaming.
I'm starting to feel like this journal is merely a sophisticated 'Mad-Lib' - fill in the spaces from this list of words to describe how Johanna is feeling today. Bah.
Ack! Whining is
such a bloody waste of time! Of course, when I get to feeling like this,
self-pity and self-loathing start playing piggy-in-the-middle with my esteem
and that's just a hoot, let me tell you.
Okay, enough of this. Lemme find a happy topic to counteract all this...
It'll come to me...
Any minute now...
Aw hell, let me keep on the moving-out-of-town topic for a minute or two.
Seattle-area - specifically Port Townsend/Port Angeles. Prettier than anything, a little costly (compared to the surrounding area) and work could be tough to find unless Alex and I are suddenly seized with the urge to run a bed and breakfast. The very notion of my running a B&B makes me wince, and my readers too, I'm sure... But it's oozing with history, pleasantly damp without being as cold as Vancouver/Toronto and, since they've got to be a tourist-friendly area, not entirely blanketed with conservatives.
NYC - hardly a serious consideration, as we would have to commute from, roughly, Pennsylvania. Also, my mother would have a heart attack at the notion of my living anywhere close to the five boroughs and would probably insist I call every day to reassure her I'm alright. But NYC is a deeply nifty city. More museums, shops and interesting places to visit than almost anywhere else on the globe. However, I would no doubt fall into the same rut I'm in, here, which is never actually visiting any of that nifty culture because, y'know, it's right there and I'll get to it sometime... And the cost of living. And the crime... 'nuff said.
Connecticut - pretty, cold enough in the winter for Alex, decent schools in some towns and I'm at least reasonably familiar with the place. But the entire state rolls up the sidewalks at 5PM, most of my friends who were there are gone, or about to go, and I think Alex might lose his mind during those hot, humid summers. But it's an option - relatively close to NYC and Boston and halfway towards London, for visiting English family...
London/UK in general - well, once Alex and I have been married long enough, I can get him a passport and working permission reasonably easily but... Well, it's England. The food stinks, the weather's worse, the schools are going to Hades and, brother, if you think the U.S. income tax rate is high here, just complain to a Brit. They'll tell you just how good you have it in the States. But...crime is still better than it is here, any school system's flaws can be counteracted by a parent and - at the rate the cultural erosion is going - the place is going to be the de-facto 51st state by 2010 anyways. Oh, spare me any grief over that last comment. People have been gloomily predicting the UK's admission to the USA since about 1945...
So, no clear winners. It doesn't really matter, since I think it'll take a major earthquake to motivate me enough to get off my ass and move, anyways.
Hm, okay, happier stuff.
By dint of a small miracle, I've got the entire household booked for hair appointments at my favorite place on Saturday. Dave's going to be getting his hair re-bleached. I can't believe how yellow it is after just three weeks, I've never encountered a head so resistant to peroxide. Alex, meanwhile, will be getting his first non-Supercuts cut in about five years. Now that he's got reasonably long hair (yay!) he deserves a visit with a decent stylist to determine what he can do with it. Meanwhile, I'm going to get my color redone. Although whether I'm going to dye it down to my root color (very dark brown) or lighten it all again is yet to be determined. As usual, it depends upon how persuasive my stylist is... No, I don't think I'll be coming home with purple hair...
Friday night is Victoria
Vitalie's Penance-NV party at a club in the city. Vic is an
interesting individual who seems to be a mistress of the art of
self-promotion. In addition to her regular job - I think she's over at muses,
inc. now - she creates and sells her own line of clothing and now it
seems she's leaping into the depths of performance art and poetry. Whatever.
She's a fun chela, I haven't seen her for a couple of months, I know a few
Modemites will be at the party, and it's an occasion to dress up. With
Victoria, I know I will never out-dress the hostess, so I can have some fun.
Not too much fun, though, as I've got to ride the bus across town after work
to get to the party locale...
And the fact that I have to get BART home will also save me from over-indulging or turning into a pumpkin.
Last night, I reminded da guys that the next Aragon game is coming up in nine days. I was gratified by their panicked expression that was much akin to mine upon realizing that same fact. It's the primary reason we're scrambling for hair appointments, but I digress. Tonight's going to be some serious plot crunching - fortunately, several players have managed to amuse themselves quite nicely and have unwittlingly set the pieces in place not for this upcoming event, but certainly for the December event I've got planned. Meanwhile, I'm sure the three of us can cook up a few interesting bits and bobs for November 25th.
Alex got a bit pouty when I stood by my decision to remove Dora from his Star Wars game. I don't blame him, as I'm sure it upsets a couple of things he had in mind - although I doubt it upsets them that much. Dora wasn't a terribly vital member of the crew. Dave's character was a better pilot, and Jenn's character has a good-enough grasp of Imperial culture and politics, so they'll do just fine without cute ol' Dora. Alex and I talked about replacement characters - initially I wasn't too keen on playing anything new - but we came up with something that might work. I can't talk about here, because at least two of the group read this journal and I don't want to give anything away. Heh.
So, anyways. I
went to Victoria's
party last night, and I'm glad I heeded the little voice in my head that
said "You're going to have to ride public transit, so tone the
outfit down a little, huh?". I wore an outfit that was dressy and
only a little bit daring if I unbuttoned my jacket (I was wearing my red
bodice with some dressy slacks). Meanwhile, everyone else was in their
Friday-night-going-out-clothes - a lot of leather, I noticed, but not
exciting leather. Sigh. I'm too used to gamers. I'm too used to
people who, when urged to follow a theme for an event, do so. Ah well, no
Victoria's fashion show was great, although all her clothes are best for people who are rail-thin. Still, they were nifty to see up close, as the web site doesn't quite do 'em justice. Vic's also got a line of postcards together using some nifty original graphics and prose - with luck she'll have them available for purchase soon, as I rather liked 'em.
I got to meet up with some former-vividians and discover that, after a huge hiring blitz - which I left in the middle of - Modem Media is now in a round of layoffs (go figure) and they let 3 of the 5 most-senior engineers go. The logic of that one escapes me. One of the remaining fellas was telling me that they were all ready to quit, anyways, and volunteered to be laid off to get their hands on a substantial whack of conscience money - I mean, the generous severance package. This, of course, means it's going to be super-stressful for those who remain. The phrase of the evening was "Are you still with MM? You are? When are you leaving?"
I only stayed for a couple of hours, as the atmosphere was not conducive to sobriety, there's only so much conversation one can have in a noisy club and I had to get to BART before turning into a pumpkin at midnight. Aside from somehow missing Chris H. who was supposed to show up, it was a fine little evening.
Today was a
pampering day. Got my legs and eyebrows waxed over at my usual place, and
then Alex, Dave and I all piled into my hairdresser's place. Joe - my
hairdresser - managed to juggle all three of us quite handily and, by late
afternoon, Dave's bleaching had been redone (his hair is the white
blonde he wanted), Alex had gotten a nice haircut and I had gotten my hair
recolored and highlighted. The shade is supposed to be a reddish-brown,
although the red doesn't show much except in strong light. Still, it's a
good color and I'm happy to err on the side of caution. I can always have
the red cranked up a notch next time.
Heh, I'm even talking to Joe about building a web site for his shop - the usual work-for-trade deal. At $20/hour for my web-bashing (a ridiculously low price since I'm a rampant amateur) I can probably cover at least the next round of household hairdos. ;)
We did a little mall-crawling after that, but our hearts weren't in it... It was naptime for the britgeek... All in all, a luvly day. Expensive, but all viable costs, in my vain opinion... ;)
If you ask me eversonicely, I can upload an MP3 of the aforementioned Wang Chung song, if yer curious.
I'm not an optimist, I just have a really short attention span.
At the moment, my
scanty attention is being hoovered up by Aragon which isn't a
terribly good thing, as it's managed to suck up the braincells I should have
been devoting to work. Aiyee! Fortunately, I got inspired this morning and
managed to crank out a few ideas/designs that I think have created
the illusion that I did some work over the weekend. Of course, I keep coming
up with ideas that cost far more than we've got budgeted for such things as
party invitations. Whaddya mean we can't rent the Goodyear Blimp?
Beg pardon, I'm a little hyperkinetic after a very gloomy weekend. It's all PMS and utterly artificial, but I'd rather be up than down, so I'm rolling with it. The weekend, particularly yesterday, was spent in a pretty bleak state of mind. Take Friday's entry and roll it in gravel... (quick! random Bloom County reference - "Could you pass me the peanuts of pathos?") Frighteningly enough, I don't even come close to qualifying as PMDD, so I can't help wincing when I think about those women who are on a real emotional roller-coaster once a month. Ouch.
Gamers! If you don't already, you must read Dork Tower by John Kovalic. Alex and I just picked up the latest issue, and Alex is demanding to know how the writer/artist managed to eavesdrop on our relationship... See, it features a perky-goth and a gamer-guy who madly like each other, but get set up with the wrong people - at first... Grin/grump, I still maintain I'm not nearly as perky as Gilly (perkygoth of said cartoon) but it's kinda hard to fight such accusations with the recent purchase of Kovalic's perky ankh looming in the background.
parents last night, and discovered that Susan is still very leery about
becoming a U.S. citizen. Her reasons are very valid - she doesn't want to
swear some irrevocable oath of loyalty to the United States until she's sure
she means it. I can only imagine what kind of conflict she's dealing with,
having lived in the U.K. for over thirty years. I was there for barely more
than ten, and I've got almost more baggage than I can deal with. Alex's
feathers were a little ruffled at first - you can take the boy out of
military... - but he calmed down once he got a better understanding of
Susan's hesitance. It's not that she's disloyal to the U.S., just
that she's got a significant amount of emotional (and a smidge political)
attachment to her past home and that can't be shucked off as quickly as
signing a bit of paper. At least, I think that's the situation. With my
mother, nothing's ever really guaranteed.
Ahem. To The Friends of Susan Club: there's no need to repeat this little bit of speculation, alright? She doesn't like it when I talk about her in this journal, apparently - even though I don't say anything here that I wouldn't say to her, or to my friends directly...
I've just got to cover my ass on this one...
Oh, goody gumdrops! Alex has approved my character for his Star Wars game. I'm sworn to secrecy, so I don't ruin the surprise for the other players (hi Jenn, James). It's not much a surprise, really, but even little ones are fun...
Did I just use the phrase goody gumdrops in casual conversation? Oh dear, I did. Time to cut down on the over-sugared coffee. But it was decaf!
Where was I? Oh yes...
We did some
plot-storming for Aragon on Saturday night, and it went really well.
It may have come a couple of months later than I anticipated, but it seems
that many of the PCs are now looking after themselves quite nicely, and
creating their own plots, which takes a lot of pressure of the GMs. We still
direct the action, in an overall sense, but our need to create 'NPC of the
Week' at each event has decreased dramatically. That's a hell of a relief,
given that Dave was just about running himself to death playing all those
Additionally, we're in the process of retiring all of the Elder characters (with the exception of the Prince and his retinue) to create a more level playing field. Once the neonates have fewer Elders looming over them in a stomp-circle, we think they'll start mixing things up even more so than they are right now. Fewer elders also means less incidence of 'take it to the top' syndrome. The Primogen are PCs, now - which is great - and we're even contemplating allowing a PC Prince - eventually. It really depends upon what the characters do. If they sit on their asses, then they'll be stuck with the Unholy Trio (the current Prince & Co.) until Doomsday. However, if the characters decide to take the initiative, well, we're very interested to see which way they go.
Of course, that's not to say we won't stomp all over them if the court decides it want to go Sabbat or something. A Sabbat game I have no intention of running.
Now, if we can just keep a couple of players from stomping on each others toes... Honestly, it's become such a regular habit for them, I don't think they're even aware of it any more. But Alex, Dave and I agreed that we are sick of being the playground-monitor for the individuals concerned, so our tolerance of the situations (which has probably contributed to the status quo) is about to decline, sharply... Why can't people say "It's just a game" and be done with it? I know, I know, because people aren't perfect and gamers more so than most...
Friday should be my day to run the Pulp game I keep squealing about but, given the holiday season, the fact that it's the day before Game Six of Aragon and DJ's wanting to hold a party that night, to boot, I think we'll be skipping it. Drat. Ah well, it will just give me more time to puzzle out the final chapter of the campaign... I'm still trying to determine how to get the PCs to the League of Nations summit in Paris...
An unexciting day
today. Yesterday had the highlight of choosing the final design for
Intelligent Capital's logo, letterhead and bizcards. As soon as Darren gets
the high-end electronic version of the graphics to us, I'll be able to start
seriously revamping the website. Mind you, to get that done, I'll
need to get Photoshop onto my work machine, and that might take a while. The
network settings are a little voodoo, you see, and it's almost impossible
for me to install anything.
Another minor highlight. I participated in a business decision! Although I suppose it would be more accurate to say that my opinion managed to coincide with the boss's. Rick had received a bizplan from a dot-com looking for someone to arrange financing (I can't say which company, sorry), and he asked me to take a look at it and give him some feedback. Figuring he just wanted a run-down on what the business did - which surprised me as Rick is pretty online-savvy - I started explaining that. Whereupon, he cut me off and asked me for my opinion about the company's future - if I thought they were worth financing or not. I hemmed and hawed a bit - what the hell do I know about how fit a company is to keep going? After all, they all look good on paper. Anyways... I hemmed and hawed a bit, and Rick finally prodded me into telling him that I thought they weren't worth it. The niche they're looking to fill is already flooded with competitors and nothing about their strategy or product struck me as particularly compelling. Add to that the fact that the executives didn't seem to have much (read: any) experience running an online venture and their head of web development was younger than some of the scotch I keep in the liquor cabinet and, well, it wasn't encouraging.
"Cool." said Rick, "That's what I thought too." and he promptly tossed the bizplan into the circular file. I don't know if he was looking for reassurance or what, but he took the time to tell me about the kind of things you look for in an initial presentation that will tell you right off the bat whether a company is worth your time. I'm not precisely sure how often I'm going to be reviewing these things, but I've got a sinking feeling Rick intends to shuck the duty of reviewing unsolicited bizplans to me. Apparently he gets spammed by the little blighters on a regular basis. It could be worse, I suppose, I could be doing what my boss is doing and building our conference table this weekend...
Sewing fiends! Larkspur Books has almost all of the Folkwear patterns, and a dozen of them at clearance prices. Given that I'm used to paying $5 for regular patterns at the store, the $20 - $25 cost of Folkwear patterns always gives me a nasty shock. Larkspur sells most of theirs for about $17, and the clearance patterns are $6.95. Yay! I picked up a couple that I had always been hankering after, but couldn't quite justify - particularly given that one pattern will have to wait for thinner days. It's a lovely dress, but not suitable for anyone bigger than a size ten... I also picked up a 1950's halter-top dress that made Alex go all distracted when he saw it at Lacis. Heh. I really want to grab their Model T Duster pattern. It's a gorgeous full-length coat from the late Edwardian era, but it would mean - gulp! - button holes. No, I still don't know how to sew the things. I suppose, for now, I can blame my buttonhole-incapable machine. Ha.
I think I've come up with my next character for Aragon. Love Anja as I do, I'm quite certain that, sooner or later, she's gonna get the vampiric equivalent of a bullet to the back of the head. So, I'm looking to the future. It should work out rather well, as Dave and Alex's story arc for Year Two calls for...oh crud, I really can't say. Too many Aragon players visit this site... Let's just say that a genuine lunatic will fit their bill quite nicely.
No, I don't get to play Patricia. As much as I would like to, the Aragon Trinity has reluctantly decided to call it quits on cross-continuity characters, particularly for the GMs. We decided that the game was a bit elder-heavy, particularly as the elders haven't been doing much other than stomping on the neonates (or fleeing from the Archon, heh) and we've got a growing suspicion that some players believe we're using the game to grandstand with our particular 'darling' characters. That's only partially true - Alex adores playing Riley, and I know Dave is very fond of The Monsignor - but we're getting a sense that it's upsetting the players, so Riley is being retired and as for the The Monsignor, well, Anja isn't the only one who's on the list for a probable-nasty end. That'll be especially true once the playership realizes that the Monsignor is an even nastier piece of work than Anja is.
Of course, it would be nice if the playership could tell us these things, rather than us relying on mind-reading, but what else is new? A GMs lot is not a happy one (cue: music).
Today is my high
school's ten-year reunion. Yeah, the reunion I swore that I would be at, no
matter what. Well, the car getting towed managed to scotch that plan with
alacrity, although I doubt I could have swung an affordable ticket for this
weekend, anyways. Still, I'm a bit down about it, which makes no
sense as I'm 98% certain that I wouldn't want to spend any time with my
former classmates. I didn't exactly like 'em back then, so I'm not very sure
why I would want to fork over a large chunk of cash and time to see them,
now. Intellectual curiousity was driving my desire to go, I think. That and
a vague need to feel some more connection to my past than I have. Shit, I
dunno. I'm not there, so I'm better off not brooding about it.
And a good thing, too, seeing as how I utterly failed to lose any weight in the past year. ;)
Most of today was spent running around running errands for Aragon. Thanks to it being the busiest shopping day of the year, two hours' worth of running around took twice that long. Alex and I even abandoned a couple of things when we saw the state of our target-stores, aiye. Even stopping by the fabric store to get some thread with which to hem a skirt took far too long. The place was stuffed with crafters laying in their Christmas supplies. Uck.
Ohboyohboyohboy. The Aragon game is tomorrow and I really hope the players have bothered to keep up with the newsletter. Alex, Dave and I have so much shit ready to unleash on the court that they're going to need every tool they can lay their hands on. And yes, my little darling Anja has continued to do a mind-job on Hilario. What fun! Of course, the fact that Hilario's player (Chris) is really enjoying it, too.
In this month's moment of gamer-excess, I got my nails done - extensions, the whole nine yards. Typing this journal has been far more of a challenge than I need. The fact that the manicurist thrashed my fingers doesn't really help, either.
from the weekend, today, although Sunday's mid-afternoon nap proved to be a
mistake when I spent the night tossing and turning, barely asleep. I can't
win. And none of my dreams were worth recording, either. Bah.
Watched Unbreakable last night, with Jen and Chris Brecheen. It was amusing and stylish. I probably would have had a much lower opinion of it if Dave hadn't prefaced it with "Just consider it a superhero-origin story.", which just about put me in the right frame of mind. The film was well made, granted, and it was refreshing to see the camera used as an active - rather than passive - tool in telling the story. But the story itself? Dreck. Still, with Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson in the cast, I could probably sit through a remake of The Sound Of Music without much complaint.
The trailer for the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons movie was shown, too. Oh dear. It's obvious the entire budget was spent on paying Jeremy Irons and the visual f/x crew. The story, I suspect, was probably carved out of some module found down the back of Gygax's desk. Not that that's such a bad thing, after all. If a D&D film tried to overreach itself, it would be laughable. Well, more laughable. Of course, I'm going to see it. Given my husband and social circle, it would be pretty hard for me to avoid it... And, while others scarf Twinkies in private, I've got a nasty little habit of watching Jeremy Irons in almost anything - particularly when he obviously doesn't give a rat's ass about the project. He's such a hoot. Die Hard With a Veangance, for example, can keep me amused for an entire afternoon. Yeah, yeah, he's a serious actor, too. So was Leslie Nielsen...
On the other end of the scale - I think - I just finished reading Anthony Burgess' The Wanting Seed for the nth time. Much like my experience with Dune, I get a little more out of the book each time I read it. Like every other Burgess book I've read, it's wickedly funny and sharp, but very dark, too... Unfortunately, I'm too dense to catch most of the nuances, I think, but I reccomend the novel, regardless.
The ongoing messing-with-Hilario continues apace in Aragon. I think, now, I have an inkling of why Alex enjoyed developing the Riley/Corianna relationship so much, back in the Darke Silver Theater days. This is a hoot! The fact that I'm being utterly wicked to a character is rather incidental. Alright, it's part of the fun - but so's the tightrope I've got Anja walking. One wrong slip and I'll have the Keeper of Elysium - and a few key others - flamingly pissed at the regime. What fun!
Meanwhile, the usual core of machinating players have been, um, machinating. Information gleaned from the Unholy Trio's participation in a game of 'questions' (see yesterday) is busily being bartered back and forth between the neonates, while the Dukes-in-exile (rather, the ex Dukes) are busily trying to keep up with what's going on, without giving away their current locations. And some naughty vampire seems to be draining and dumping innocent women all over the territory - shock, horror! Ahh, now that's a Vampire game...
A very quiet day,
yesterday. Rick was in a client meeting in Sunnyvale all day, leaving me
with not much to do other than try to tune in the 1980's station on our
beat-up radio and re-tinker with the website designs. Unfortunately, I
couldn't track down the 80's station (Bay Area 80's fiends: it's at 101.3FM,
they went to a new format) until this morning. Bah. But, on the plus side,
my boss doesn't mind my keeping it on while's he's in the office, as long as
I promise not to sing along.
Still not sleeping too well, and I'm having a hard time figuring out why. Part of it is that I have a tough time dropping off without my little hot-water bottle (aka, Alex) under the blankets with me. Since he can catch up on missing sleep on the BART - that fall-asleep-in-ten-seconds-or-less trick comes in handy quite frequently - Alex doesn't see much wrong with staying up until midnight. And I hate being the shrewish come-to-bed-now wife. I try to hold off the whining until 11:30 or so...
And I've been dreaming a lot the past few nights. Nothing really worth writing down - although some of the smuttier bits certainly were memorable. If only I could build a story around that one involving the P.I, the Aragon characters and that very pretty church my head thought up. But once all the naughty bits were cut out, there wasn't much left... Anyways, I think all this bloody dreaming is wearing me out. No, I've never pretended that my life makes much sense.
Coincidentally, Alex has been dreaming a lot lately, which is not normal for him. Well, he does dream, sometimes, but he hardly ever remembers what he dreams about. But he says he's been remembering more in the past couple of days. I wonder if dreaming is contagious?
Admittedly, another factor would be all the writing I've done in the past twenty four hours. It's all gaming-related, though, so I'll save it for that section.
One final note on Unbreakable: The Self-Made Critic over at Brunching Shuttlecock nicknamed the film "Die Hard With A Sixth Sense" and I think it's one of the most cogent metaphors for the movie I've run across. If you don't read SMC's film reviews, you should!
Did an online-chat session with Chris (player of Hilario) last night and had good time with that. I can't divulge too many details (hm) but suffice it to say that I should know better than to make certain jokes when playing a Tzimisce. "Hey, James," I said in another message-window. "Anja's got a new pinkie ring, and its name is Hilario!". I was joking, but how was James to know that? As far as he knew me - and Anja - I was speaking literally. Oops. That took a minute or two to clean up. Heh.
After far too long
a fallow period, Yvette
and Paul finally quit stalling and let me write the next installment of Starting
Over. It's been rumbling around in my head for a long time - close to a
year, I think, but my little darlings were dragging their feet getting
around to it. Not that I blame them, as the story hardly showers them with
glory - although it does shower them with something else.
Honestly, I think their reluctance was just an attempt to put off the next chapter, which I know is going to be difficult for all three of us. I know which way it should go, but I think I'm siding with Yvette on this one about where I want it to go. However, I don't know if that's really best for the series, nor do I think Paul is going to give up what he wants all that easily... Sigh...
Do all gamers have such mouthy characters?
So, I'm sitting on the number 22 bus this morning, desperately trying to stay awake and blearily peering out at the wonder that is the Mission district in the morning. A truck pulls up next to me. It's a smallish-sized tanker truck, with the legend "Modesto Tallow Company" emblazoned down the side. I take a second look at the truck. Yep, that's a pump truck, all right... And a large-mouthed, slightly grubby, hose running down the side. So, of course, I have to wonder: Who needs that much tallow? And what do they need it for? Some things shouldn't be considered too early in the morning.
tried to get to bed early last night, but I had to wrestle with some work
stuff - still no Photoshop on the work machine - until 11PM, and then I did
my usual toss-and-turn routine until Alex came to bed. Damn, damn, damn.
Still, the work stuff came out pretty well. Another 24 hours or so and I
think the new website will be ready to unveil. And once I figure out how to
export a fershluggin' Publisher file to either Illustrator or Word
without losing everything, the invitations for the 'train-warming' will be
done, too. Yawn
I think my subconscious is on overdrive again. I've been thinking about the writing I've done lately and future installments. Thinking about it rather a lot. Another day or two of this and I'll be talking in my sleep again. No wonder the cat bugs me in the middle of the night - he thinks I'm awake!
Further on the writing front: Don, of Black Gate (gaming 'zine) finally dropped me a line after Jennifer introduced us virtually. It seems they still need people to write 'short' reviews (600 words or so apiece) and they're even offering to pay. Hmmm. Given that the only critique I've done lately is of Angel episodes (and that none too recently) I'm a little leery but I guess it's worth a try. Don asked to see some examples of my writing, so I sent him towards The Maternal Jackal as a source of my shorter bits. I'm now wondering if that was the smartest thing to do... Maybe I should have shoved him towards the Angel site. Decisions, decisions.
Received an interesting note from a buddy, yesterday. He's got a fondness for high-camp and superheroines, so he's looking for some help to shoot a campy D/S superheroine video. Images of Supergirl and Batgirl chained up in a dungeon couldn't help but dance before my eyes. So of course, I've agreed to to help my friend (who shall remain nameless) find volunteers who might be amused by participating in such a project. If you're an aspiring Catwoman with a good sense of humor (and your own whip) drop me a line... Me? Good lord, no. My spandex days are over. I've even given away my beloved Huntress costume - to the then-girlfriend of this same buddy, go figure... :) My contributions are going to strictly behind the camera.
It only took six months, but it seems the Aragon characters have woken up a bit. One character has put a lovely little rant against the current regime into the newsletter - although he wasn't brave enough to sign the piece. Meanwhile, a few others are scurrying the background, trading boons and selling each other out - and how. I've never seen a more backstabbing crew. Yay!
Okay, this whole sleep-dep thing isn't funny any more. Worse yet, I actually got a little more sleep than usual last night - Dave is taking a couple of days off so I'm not being woken up by his getting up at 6AM - but this morning was the worst yet for trying to get out of bed. Grr.
Drat, no more
goofing off at work. I've got Photoshop 6 and Illustrator 9 (aiye!)
installed on the machine. Now, if only my books didn't refer to Photoshop 5.5
and Illustrator 8 I would be set. I don't think I'm too keen on
Photoshop 6. The interface seems to have gotten a bit less
user-friendly and I'm spending half my timing hunting around for tools that
I had only just gotten used to on the older version. I see the purchase of a
Dummies book in my immediate future.
Otherwise, the office monotony was broken by the arrival of the first conference table. I dam' near broke myself, too, while helping Rick haul it into the office. Rick made the thing out of several slabs of mahogany, so it weighs a ton, and it just barely squeaked in through the front door. But I won't deny that it looks great. Rick put a little oil on the wood to help bring out the grain, and it's pretty as anything.
The more I look around the train-car, the more annoyed I get by the expanse of white. I'm starting to think that just a few posters isn't going to do it. We might be allowed to paint the internal window-frames, which would be a big help, but I'm starting to think that the walls - at least in the large conference area - would benefit by being off-white, rather than stark white. However, I doubt I could do better than the admittedly half-assed job that was done the last-time around (by Carl, a lovely chap, but not a good painter) and it would take money and time that I think Rick would be happier not spending. Drat. Mind you, he's so neck-deep with a job right now, I'm starting to think he wouldn't notice if I started painting the place on my own initiative...
I can't go into too much detail about the client - of course - but I'll relate one vaguely amusing incident. Yesterday, Rick had a two hour conference call with his partner and a couple of the muckety-mucks from the client's company, to go over a presentation they had put together to show potential investors. I was brought into the call to act as canary in the coal mine of Power Point slides.
The client puts out a very techy product, and they have to cram a lot of information about what they do and why they believe they're going to dominate the market into anything they present - totally understandable, right? Right. What occasionally defied explanation were some of the more technical slides - and Rick realized that could be a potential problem. So I had to sit there and listen to the call while Rick occasionally peered at me to see at which slides my eyes glazed over - and glaze over they did. At that point, Rick would ask the clients about the value and intent of that particular screen. Unscientific, but it worked...
Oh hell. Brian is coming for a visit over New Year's and the spare room is still neck deep (and more!) in boxes. If I rent a dumpster for next weekend, the place might be clean in time. Alas, Alex has said we can't throw Dave out with less than thirty days' notice, just to make room for a weekend guest. Drat.
I had one of those
interesting late-night conversations with a friend of mine on the East Coast
(yet another person who is remaining nameless until he okays anything
different). Well, it was late at his end, it was only 10PM at my end
of the world. But I digress... It seems the ongoing outbreak of BDSM
awareness has reached the wilds of suburban New England, as my pal has
recently discovered his dommish side. Now he's got to find a nice little
subbie to play with. Poor sod. As might be guessed, the power-exchange scene
in Connecticut isn't quite as extensive as it is in the Bay Area... Of
course, it might help if his standards weren't quite so high... Sigh.
Why does every aspiring dom want a twenty year old woman built like one of
the thinner Spice Girls? Anyways, we had a nifty chat about resources and
books. As I do with all aspiring scenesters, I shoved him towards Good
Vibrations. Then I made the mistake of trolling through the site myself.
Thank heavens I couldn't find my wallet... It's bad enough I found the local
discount fabric store yesterday...
On a similar theme my other-unnamed-friend - he of the incipient campy D/S superheroine video - has been sharing more details with me. The whole thing sounds like a grand hoot - providing he can find a couple of women with a very good sense of humor and a modicum of acting talent. I told him not to sweat the bondage skills - that can be taught in an afternoon. Somehow, I don't think my friend is going to have a shortage of guys wanting the minor parts of "Henchmen A & B."... Meanwhile, I think I just committed myself to editing the opus once it's done. Oh boy!
Not much to say. I've been too busy to keep up with Aragon, but it looks like Dave and Alex are on top of it for the meantime. Phew!