A blissfully quiet weekend. I spent most of it sewing this and that. I've made a lovely Elizabethan bodice in a red satiny brocade which will be great for the next Aragon game - and a lot less time-consuming to make than the troublesome full-on corset. Said corset was put aside for the weekend, while I tackled something a little less frustrating. Now I've just got to get the correct boning for the Elizabethan bodice - I seem to have every length except what I need - and that will be done. I also started the skirt I'm going to be wearing, using my Edwardian walking skirt pattern and the shimmery gray fabric I initially bought for Dale's stillborn Babylon 5 LARP.
Yep, I like sewing. And, yes, I'm making up for lost time.
Had a lovely dinner at the Outback Steakhouse with James and Laurel on Saturday. It was to belatedly celebrate Laurel's b-day and we all got a little squiffy. Well, except James, as he was driving (bless him). I think the party got called at just the right time - shortly after midnight - because if we had kept drinking, it would have been too much. Knowing to call it a night before people start throwing up - it must be a sign of growing up, or getting old.
However, Stupid Mead jumped online and promptly starting chatting on IRC with Casey's girlfriend, Mary. An interesting conversation of the kind you can only have at 2AM ensued... Nifty stuff. I really should spend more time with Mary. Well, Alex and I will be oweing Casey a favor once he fixes Levi (the Sable with a cracked radiator) so that would be a good excuse for a get-together.
The boom has been lowered. I put my notice in at MM and, given how many others are putting in notice also, I've got a distinctive rat-off-a-sinking-ship vibe. Oh dear. Anyways, Friday is my last day and given that a several others are leaving/transferring very shortly, some kind of get-together is in the works. At least I don't have to worry about it clashing with Dave's pulp game this Friday - Dave will be out of town, visiting friends and thus not running the game.
I tried to get the energy up to do a little writing, over the weekend, also, but it seems the sewing machine established exclusive residency in my skull over those two days. I've got a nascent Yvette/Paul piece that's been floating around my head for, oh, six months now. But it's been around so long, it's proving hard to begin - and I'm starting to think that I need an interim piece showcasing Yvette, solo, before I move on to the next stage. Hmm. Well, I'm never in a rush with those two, so I guess I'll see what develops.
"Sire-whipped." - Obligatory Buffy quote.
the day begins with the melodious strains of a sysadmin yelling
"Fuck!" at the top of his lungs, over and over again, while he
tries to wire up the new server room, I decide this might be a good time to
slip the headphones on and tap out a quick entry. 80's tunes, take me
My meager ego has
been somewhat salved by the myriad of disappointed noises provoked by the
announcement of my departure at the department meeting, yesterday. Given
that my sense of panic is growing the more I think about the new job - ohmigod,
what are we going to do with the web server when we move? - I'll take
any ego salve I can get. However, I sincerely doubt I'll merit some fulsome
tribute from the managers as I go - the relief at my departure is apparent
on all sides. Now I've just got to make sure I don't leave half a hundred
loose ends behind me.
Alex, meanwhile, has
already determined that he hates answering phones. He doesn't mind the rest
of his job, but acting as the front desk is driving him nuts. He's certainly
bearing with some factors easier than I would. If I had the dam' Chief of
Engineering telling me to make his squash-court reservations, I would
suggest a new place for him to carry his racket. Apparently, the CoE really
needs a PA of his own but, since the company budget won't allow for it, he
believes it's okay to co-opt the office manager - who is already rather busy
trying to do his job and the front desk, thankyerverymuch...
As I say, Alex is
handling it a lot more gracefully than I would. That's not to say he won't
start looking for a new job if his bosses don't hire the full-time
receptionist by the promised deadline, though.
Did my usual
homage to the one-eyed god last night, watching Buffy and Angel.
I think the Buffy ep really didn't gel too well. The plot was entirely
unstartling, although the actual dialogue was alright. But the energy seemed
to be down from the usual level - not a good thing two episodes into the new
season. One thing I do approve of is the lack of special emphasis on Willow
and Tara's relationship. Given the media's love of glorifying itself, I'm
surprised there hasn't been much marketing-driven squealing about the
matter. But, then again, it's been kept rather low-key, so far - the
occasional friendly hug and the rest conveyed by dialogue and exposition.
I'm sure a metric shitload of Alison Hannigan fans are waiting for her to
clinch with another woman, but I hope they don't hold their breath.
seems to be settling back into the same groove as last season - themes with
a sledgehammer, and good production values. I'll save further commentary for
Keeping with the
media vein, I watched the European release of The Professional over
the weekend. It's been put out on DVD, finally, so now Americans can see
what the MPAA were freaking out about. The restored footage was worth the
cost of the DVD, I think, as it really helped develop the relationship
between Leon and Matilda. But I could also see why the censors choked on a
couple of scenes... I won't spoil 'em for you, though. However, I also think
the MPAA also forgot that Luc Besson is most definitely not American
in his sensibilities or outlook and we sometimes forget to credit the French
with having a sense of humor. And humor there is, even within those scenes
that might make viewers uncomfortable - sly, but undeniable.
Yet more media.
Next week, Josh Oreck will be in town interviewing people for the followup
documentary on The Matrix that he's shooting. I've agreed to do a
short interview - which will almost certainly end up on the cutting room
floor, as he seems to go for a rather large shooting ratio. Still, it'll be
a hoot and an interesting change to the usual routine. Now, if I can just
contain the nostalgia that will no-doubt overwhelm me when I encounter the
small crew he's bringing (4 guys, shooting 16mm) I'll be fine...
seems I spoke too soon when I decided that no-one in the office is going to
miss me. Curtis - who is away today and tomorrow - gave me a nice bunch of
flowers as a going-away gift and actually managed to dredge up something
nice to say about me in the formal announcement of my departure. Okay, so
Mr. Prickles got more press than I did, but I'm not surprised - he's got a
more memorable personality as it is. I'm considering bequeathing the Prickly
One to the office, but I don't think Alex would like that - he's a bigger
sentimentalist than I am. But I have got a second Ty hedgehog at home
that could be snuck in to the office... Heh, maybe I'll send him in a parcel
next week with a note declaring his defection...
But some of my
favorite co-workers have stopped by to say that they'll miss me, which was
very nice of them. I've always said it was the groovy people that kept me
here for so long, and now they're proving that all over again. *sniffle* I'm
gonna miss them, too - but I'm not going to miss this job, no siree bob!
Out of the mouths of
babes: I was gleefully kvetching about the cost of office leases in central
SF to Dave M. (not SuperDave, not RoommateDave) at the office and, with an
enviable air of innocence, he suggested "What about a loft
space?". The heavens open, thunder cracked and the angels of Blatantly
Obvious walloped me with a wet fish. Holy cow! What an idea! I've pinged
Rick about it, and he's all for it - we'll talk more next week, of course -
but I couldn't resist looking at a few loft-sites - Lofts
Unlimited and Loftstyle
I can see why
long-time residents hate loft-developments for driving up neighborhood
property values and forcing them out of their homes with rising rents but
the architecture slut in me is droooooling at those same properties that are
being derided. For a mere half-million dollars (or $3500/month for lease, ow!)
one could have a thousand square feet with one bedroom and one and half
bathrooms in an area of the city with a bit more seismic stability than
jello pudding. Given that that works out to, oh, one tenth of what it
would cost to lease/buy comparable office space in SoMA, I think it's the
best possibility. Of course, the part of me that desperately craves a groovy
workspace loves the idea, too.
What's with the jello
pudding remark? Most of the new live/work developments are being built in
SoMA, which is entirely 'fill' - artifically created land built out in the
past century by dint of dumping all kinds of loose crap into the bay until
it was reasonably above sea level. Not being too stable, the stuff didn't
cope well with Loma Prieta and it's widely believed that when the Big One
hits, the entire neighborhood will collapse like a house of cards. I'll do
whatever I can to skip that, thanks. Besides, there are cheaper developments
down by Mission.
Gack, at this rate,
I'll be driving an SUV and voting for Willie Brown. Oh wait, I can't drive
and I'm not a citizen. *Whew*
alternating between gleeful enthusiasm and abject panic about my upcoming
career move. Still, I'm told that's perfectly normal, but since when have I
been perfectly normal - or perfectly anything, for that matter?
continues apace. I'm frantically documenting my job and daily procedures for
whoever takes this job after me, so they won't be entirely at-sea when they
come in. Of course, at this rate, that person might be Alex... He really
hates being a receptionist, although the rest of his job is perfectly
Josh has let me know
that it doesn't matter if my house is messy, he still wants to shoot there.
Oh dear. Maybe I can ask my parents to loan me use of my old room in their
place - a much, much tidier venue, and there would be fewer hyperkinetic
dogs on the scene. I've also just realized that I've double booked the house
for Wednesday night, as a few guys from the Aragon game are coming over to
talk decoration for the next event. Oh, such a bother that my social
calendar is so packed! ;)
outstanding downtime for Aragon, I went ahead and put together our newsletter
for the month, as there were some things that couldn't wait any longer to be
announced. Unfortunately, us GMs are suffering a bit of brain-burn at the
moment, mostly from assorted career-situations, and we're plume tapped out.
With luck, our creative juices will start percolating again before the next
game and we'll have lots of lovely things cooked up for 'em.
That reminds me, I've
got to call the hotel and find out what their policy is about smoke-machines
The Friday night
game isn't going to be happening as Dave is out of town visiting family and
I fully intend to go out with some Modemmites to celebrate my departure...
Let's just hope I'm not too hungover for Alex's company picnic on Saturday!
and brimstone! During the weekly office-meeting yesterday afternoon, someone
kidnapped Mr. Prickles!.
A ransom note was
left demanding 500 monopoly dollars to be left on the pool table on Friday
morning, or the hedgehog would be a shoe. Oh, the ignominy!
So, I've just left
the ransom - play money was all I had, but I'm sure it will suffice - in the
appointed place. We'll see what happens... Watch this page for details as
Why yes, I am
Well, the ransom was picked up some time during the morning, but so I've not
yet received instructions for the exchange. I suspect I'll get him back when
we go out drinking tonight...
had damn well better get him back later tonight...Or else I'll be
telling the next admin to burn all vacation requests filed between now and
Okay, I'm done laughing now. The hedgehog was not returned at the pub. KJ
has promised to keep an eye out for him at the department but...*grr*...A
joke is all well and good, but that little plush whatsit is my
property. Honestly, I suspect the guy who nabbed him just got stuck at the
last minute and couldn't return him as planned. But if I don't have him back
by the end of the day on Monday, there will be Trouble.
bet today's title (parties & hot wax) got you scurrying over here in a
hurry. Alas, the entry isn't nearly that exciting.
Well, aside from the
non-return of the Prickly One, last night went very well. We went to Jim
Foley's, an Irish pub/restaurant place on O'Farrell, near Union Square. It
was quite crowded, although the noise didn't become unbearable until about
8PM or so. Some members of Bruno were jamming there that night - hence the
choice of venue - and Alex really enjoyed listening to 'em. I'm glad he
finally got to hear them, since he's heard me talk about the band so often.
Not too many of the
guys from the office could make it, because they had other plans, but KJ and
a few of the chaps I've always liked managed to show. Lauren even managed an
appearance, which was nice, although it didn't help my lingering guilt about
not making her going-away do last week. She and various other
wimminfolk that were assembled were all goggling at my corset - it was my
final goth-day at the office, so I had gone all out. They didn't seem to
believe me when I explained that it's more comfortable than a brassiere and
no, you don't have to tight-lace the sucker... I also almost caused a
few traffic accidents while walking down to the pub - I didn't think to
button up my jacket while I was outside. Oops. ;)
Getting my final
paycheck has saved Alex and I from starvation, although I'm gloriously
miffed about losing nearly three hundred dollars on the Employee Stock
Purchase Plan. Oh well, them's the breaks I guess. Now the trick is not
tearing through the money before the 1st. I've got an expensive game coming
up, too - although the players have been very generous - so I've got to be
Still, I think I'm
going to get one little indulgence I've been planning for weeks - a
leg waxing. My skin gets dried out horribly by a razor, so I'm going to give
this waxing thing a go. If you hear a faint scream emerging from Concord
about 11AM, that'll be me.
Tonight is Rich's
Vampire LARP, Casting The Runes, which I'm still feeling so-so about.
It's certainly more my fault - for not getting as involved as I might -
rather than Rich's. I'm still hoping things will improve once the game
reaches modern-day (tonight is the last 'historical' game, set in the
1920s). As it is, I'm in the same headspace as my friend Adam. 'Show up,
cause as much trouble as possible, go home and don't think about it again
until the next game'.
Meanwhile, of course,
I'm frothing at the mouth about Aragon players who have the same
attitude. But I've never declared myself free of hypocrisy. And, in Aragon's
defense, I like to think that the GMs have put a hell of a lot more work
into crafting the setting - although I'm sure Rich will outstrip us once his
game becomes contemporary. And we've got better players. Nyaaaah!
Damn, I've got to
quit doing that...
was a lazy day. My leg-waxing was far less ouchy than anticipated - although
my naked feet looked darn strange. How was I going to know she was
going to wax my admittedly hobbit-esque feet, too? By the time the stuff was
being slathered on, it was too late! Still, the experience was fine and
surprisingly affordable, so I'm probably going to try to make a habit out of
it - as a waxing once every six weeks beats the hell out of razor-burn twice
a week. And I've still got a scar from the mother of all shaving cuts...
I killed some time
before my appointment reading about 'body wraps'. Get slathered in some kind
of lotion, get wrapped up like an econo-pack of sausage rolls and watch the
inches melt away. Does anybody else think this smacks of snake oil?
Otherwise, Alex and I
puttered around the mall a bit and I picked up a really nice jacket/dress
ensemble from JC Penney - in a shade other than black. It's a
hunter-green kind of color and made out of 'doe-suede', which is just fabric
with a slight nap to it to make it look sort of suede-ish. Aside from being
a bit long in the skirt and sleeves - both totally fixable - it fit very
well and was reasonably well-priced (given that it's knockoff in Mervyn's,
which fit like a sack, was barely ten dollars less). So I picked it up and,
ignoring all historical rules, wore it to Casting The Runes, last
night. Whenever I get a new outfit, I always want to wear it right away. I'm
such a girl, sometimes.
I also picked up some
semi-permanent hair color. This stuff is supposed to last 8 - 24 washes, but
given that I have to use a dandruff shampoo, that usually means 2 - 10.
Which can be a good thing if one doesn't like the color. It's a bright,
shimmery red and it'll probably look really good for, oh, three days. I was
going to put it in last night, for the game, but I ran out of time. Now I'm
wondering if I should just save the color for the next CtR game, or do it
anyways. Given that I intend to put in a not-at-all-permanent black for the
October 28th Aragon event, slapping in L'Oreal's Indian Poppy Red
might not be the hottest idea...
So, as mentioned
before, Casting The Runes was last night. As usual, Rich ran a very
low-key event with very few plot points. I guess I'm used to my own 'Quick!
Save the world! Hurry!' type plot-lines, as I found it rather dull. However,
the fact that Rich had a passel of last-minute cancellations on Saturday
morning probably didn't help his plans much, either. I know how much even
one unexpected absence can thoroughly screw up a plot line, so I really felt
bad for Rich last night. To his credit, he dealt with it far better than I
would have. I would have been stomping around and spitting nails, but I
guess Rich got that out of his system in private...
Most of my fun was
derived from roleplaying with Adam's character (Joseph, the Tremere
Primogen) and trying to rubbish the Sheriff's reputation and get together a
movement to depose him. It didn't really work - not enough of the characters
got behind the idea - but I had great fun tweaking the Sheriff's nose. Just
because two kindred go outside for a while, and then come back slightly
dishevelled - with the lady of the couple carrying the gentleman's tie - is
no reason to go assuming things. But the Sheriff went right ahead and
assumed the worse when that happened between my character and Adam's. Silly
boy, such assumptions will come back to haunt him.
Despite the fact that
not a lot really happened - well, nothing I was involved in - the game was
still bloody tiring, which goes to show that even gossiping can take it out
of one, when one is 320 years old...
good. I'm tired. Might have found an office space - not a loft, but nearly
as groovy. More tomorrow.
haircolorists: when the package says 'be generous' be really
generous. My hair looks just the same as it did before, but slightly redder
at the ends, slightly darker at the roots (argh) and unevenly colored. Where
the color came through, it looks good. But it's not evenly distributed. Ah
well. It's chalked up to learning experience and a deep gratitude to the
fact that Head And Shoulders will strip my hair back down to its uniform -
albeit still dark-rooted - self in no time.
is hell. Drop another CD into the stereo, fire up the computer, give the cat
another scritch and wonder what the hell the dog is barking at. Second day
on the job and I'm already allowed to telecommute - not bad!
Mind you, the fact
that Rick's home office is awfully small is part of the reason why I'm at
home today. Besides, he's off seeing clients today, and that's nothing I
could help him with. I've been spending the morning writing many little
lists of things we will need and - more importantly - where to go to get
them. The trickiest one is going to be DSL, I know it. So many service
providers, so many horror stories. Ack.
So, as I mentioned
yesterday, an office space might have been found already. Once Rick detailed
what he wants in an office, a loft was pretty much ruled out as too
expensive - as at least two private offices would be needed, plus a
conference room. So much for that idea. Darn.
But a quick visit to
Craig's List has revealed something that could be almost as nifty: a train
car. No, really! It's an old observation car from the 1960s (as near as we
could figure) that's being converted into office space. Rick and I went to
take a look at it, and chat with the 'neighbors' who occupy a second
carriage that has already been set up. The car has been divided into three
areas, which would just about work for Rick's needs - he and Steve can have
their private office at the caboose end, while I remain up front. The decor
is a bit bleak - white walls, gray carpet, but that's fixable. More to the
point, Rick loved it. At the moment, he's trying to sweet-talk the
realtor into knocking a few bucks off the rent in return for one year's
lease paid up front. We'll see how it works out.
The location in
Potrero Hill, which is a reasonably groovy neighborhood, stuffed as it is
with design firms and startups. The only real downer is that said train cars
are jammed into their space - a de-facto alley behind a small one-storey
office building and a loft development being built on the lot about three
feet away. Shade won't be a problem, but claustrophobia might be... I'll
have to take some pictures if it looks like we're going to be moving in
The rest of yesterday
- after scoping out offices - was spent talking about logos and web-design.
I tried to farm out the actual logo design to BJ, but he's swamped at the
moment. However, he thinks he can reccomend someone, so that would be good.
I can layout a web-page, but corporate branding is beyond me...
So, a fun beginning
to the new job. I had already realized that Rick is a little more eclectic
than your typical investment banker, but I would never have pegged
him as the let's-put-our-office-in-a-traincar type. Whee!
rumor hath it that Mr. Prickles has been taken traveling. No doubt I'm
about to receive some foolish pictures - the Prickly One at the Golden Gate
Bridge, etc. Well, as long as he comes back intact.
work-at-home day, and I'm really missing my T1 connection, as everything
takes about five times as long - with five times as many computer crashes -
to get anything done. Ah well. I think I've found us a web-host and v-mail
service provider, so that's good. No news from the realtor, yet.
Tonight I'll be
meeting up with Josh for his interview and then the Aragon decorating crew
will be over at Miskatonic Acres - a busy day!
couple of days. Yesterday was particularly mercurial, as I've never had my
ego built up and shot down quite so quickly. But more of that, later.
Work has been
quite well. After doing a little work at home on Tuesday and Wednesday,
Thursday and Friday were taken up by frantically doodling ideas for a
company logo and look - a graphic artist, I ain't. Fortunately, Rick
already had a pretty good idea of what he wanted. Now we're going to be
meeting with some graphic artist we found on Craig's List and finding out if
he can parlay our notebook doodles into viable bits of branding. It's been
fun, but I have idea if what we've hacked out is viable. And the cost,
ow... Still, you get what you pay for in this particular biz, no?
suggestion: Photoshop Type Effects (or something close to it). It's a
step-by-step guide on how to do some very cool things with text in
Photoshop - from the simple to surprisingly complex. I had borrowed the
first edition from Rick, last night, and immediately realized that I would
have to buy the current edition, lest Rick never see his copy again. Both
Alex and I can get a lot of use out of it.
Meanwhile, Alex still
hates Imagelock and has started looking for a new job. I don't know how he
did it, but he's managed to land a position at a very Dilbert-esque startup
So, Josh Oreck et
al came by the house on Thursday night - a day later than planned.
Unsurprisingly, their interview schedule in Alameda - meeting some cast and
crew for the second Matrix film - got blown to smithereens in short
order, but I didn't mind too much, as Josh was faithful about keeping in
touch. The total crew was four guys and, don't ask me how, but we managed to
get a key light, a camera, a mike stand and two people into the den. My
incredibly messy den. I still don't buy that line about mess making the
interview more 'real', y'know...
Anyways, the chaps
were ultra fast and very professional. Maybe it was just the crew size and
setting, but I'm used to a situation that involves far more swearing,
sweating and frenetic language. Not that I'm complaining about the lads'
good behavior, mind you. They were set up within an hour, and I spoke with
Josh for about thirty minutes on the subject of role-playing games and
fanfiction in general, and Matrix fandom in particular. It's entirely
doubtful whether any of the footage will make it into the final cut but,
honestly, I'm not much bothered by the notion. The evening was a hoot, and I
hope I wasn't too much the ex-film-student film-groupie... "What
stock you shooting on mister? What kinda lights are those? Huh? Huh?"
Minor sidenote that
tickled me pink. He may not have read it, but Hugo Weaving ('Agent Smith')
has 'flipped through' Unplugged
and thought it - Matrix fanfic - was a v. nifty thing. Oooh! Apparently
Weaving is quite unaware of the impact the web has had on fandom in
general... Given that he's in the upcoming Lord of the Rings, he had
better get aware, soon. If his agent hasn't already brought him
crates of electronic-fan-mail, already, then they will be!
So, practical upshot:
Johanna was left feeling all glowy and important and, if not loved,
certainly appreciated a little bit.
Then came the two
hours of 'relationship-talk' with Alex. Crash. Thud. There have been some
upsets lately - once again I'm referring to that which I will not divulge
any details. I honestly thought that we had dealt with the worst of it, but
last night's conversation cured me of that little misperception in a hurry.
Alex is still really angry about some things - so much so that even he
realizes it's disproportionate. We talked a lot about the stress he's under,
just from adjusting to civilian life after 16 years in the military, and
what we can do to make things better. But the practical upshot is that Alex
is going to start therapy next week, and I might not be too far behind him.
As I say, heavy
things have been happening. I've got to admit, I'm not too keen on the idea
of therapy at the moment, as I know that even the most open-minded therapist
is going to give me a ration of shit. A lot of what's blown up between us is
entirely my fault - so any way it's sliced, I smell less than rose-like. As
with any easily-inflated ego, mine is entirely fragile - so even justified
scoldings don't go down real easy. Ah well, medicine is due and all that...
random thing: I found a Squeeky Bobo at the comic book store today! If you
don't read I Feel Sick by Jhonen Vasquez, then don't ask what a
Squeeky Bobo is, as it'll take far too long to explain.
goof-off day, today. Alex and I ran some errands, picking up supplies for
the next Aragon game - which cost just over $100, ow! But we've got
almost everything we need, except ingredients for food and whatever Dave et
al need for building the flats. This darn even might actually come in
somewhere close to budget. Having Alex around to squash my occasionally
lunatic flights of fancy helps, too.
We got sucked into
the fabric store, looking for material to make me a new pair of 'Hollywood'
pants - big comfy slacks, and to get some fabric for Alex's czur coat
which I swear I'm going to make before the upcoming Aragon
game. We found some real nice slightly fleecy polyester stuff - a good drape
and texture for about nine bucks a yard. It took me nearly two hours to cut
the dratted pattern tonight - not a lot of pieces, but they're big -
and I'll probably start sewing tomorrow.
forays looking for a certain Photoshop book and some decent comedy CDs (to
listen to while cutting fabric) proved futile but, again, that's probably
for the best in a money-saving sense. All told, we dropped nearly $300
today, between party supplies, fabric, some art stuff for Alex and lunch.
Still, I think we're getting value for money - for once.
After killing my back
and my knees cutting Alex's pattern on the kitchen floor - it has far fewer
furballs than the living room carpet - Alex and I curled up and watched the
rest of Leon on DVD. Alex really enjoyed the movie and I'm glad he's
finally seen the blasted thing. It's been a revolutionary week for
family-viewing, as Alex even watched American Psycho with me on
Thursday, and found it reasonably amusing... The movie's a satire, honest...
We had sorta
planned to go to the last day of Renn Faire on Sunday, but we can't seem to
be able to catch up with our ride - Tony - so I suspect that's going to be a
washout. Ah well, we would only spend even more money there, anyways...
tired. More tomorrow, maybe, although I don't think a catalogue of pinpricks
and fabric scraps will be that interesting.
again, I let the dear ol' Rambles slide while I was busy with the
rest of my life. I guess I'll just have to accept the fact that it might be
a while before this journal becomes a daily phenom again, if ever.
To my pleasant
surprise, Tony caught up with Alex and I last Sunday and we went to the
closing day of Renaissance Faire. The end-of-faire crazies had definitely caught on but, to the guilds' credit, the energy level was sustained until
the end. I bought a new suede bodice - to replace the one that has
stubbornly remained misplaced - otherwise the expenditures were kept to a
reasonable level, including paying for Tony's food and drink, since he
The best moment had
to have been before we even got in the front gates. Alex's sister, Melissa,
had given us four free passes for the day, so we had one spare. After some
discussion in the parking lot at the Nut Tree, we decided to give the fourth
ticket to someone in the line who was a) in garb and b) with family. Even
though the lines were awfully scanty, we spotted a young couple in period
outfits, with a little girl who couldn't be more than ten years old. I
bopped over to them and handed them the ticket with a brief explanation and
their happily surprised grins was all the thanks we needed. See, it costs
about $17 each to get into Faire...
Otherwise, we roamed
the Faire, caught a couple of shows and oohed and aahed at lots of expensive
things we can't afford. However, I found a good pressie for Alex (I'm not
telling, as he reads the Rambles) and maybe a good pressie for me -
leather underbust corsets suspiciously cheap...
Work has been
moderately busy, with a variety of projects. Things aren't looking good for
getting the train car. If a realtor wants space leased, he really shouldn't
bullshit the prospective tenant, and ambush him with hidden costs, besides.
So it's back to Craig's List to find likely sublets. Although Rick is rather
wistfully looking into buying a train car and finding a siding in South of
Market where it could be kept. The carriage itself wouldn't cost much - less
than a year's rent for the carriage in Portrero. But the cost of ripping out
the guts of the thing and turning it into an office...oy. And the time
it would take...
The designer that we
found via Craig's List is a good guy. His references sang his praises to the
heavens, too, so we're engaging him to go hog-wild creating the company's
brand. It should be pretty nifty to see what he comes up with - far better
than my paltry doodles, I'm sure!
As the date
approaches, I'm still havering about going to my high school reunion. On the
one hand, I'm 98% certain that I'm probably not going to want to talk to anyone
there - with perhaps one or two exceptions. But, if it sucks, I can always
call to the remaining CT contingent still in the area to come rescue me...
And if I don't go, I'm pretty certain I'll regret it. The jury is
still very much out about the issue, and will probably remain out until
mid-November, when I will be able to afford air-tix for Alex and myself - at
which point it will be an unseemly scramble to get tickets for the 24th.
Alex is dead-set on coming with me, much to my surprise... Well, I think he
just wants to see Brian et al, again...
We'll see what the
future brings, I suppose, on all fronts...
been on hold to Network Solutions for nearly a half hour, now, and I thought
"Geeze, I might as well do a journal entry, even if I have nothing much
to report". To overcome Internic's Classical Lite muzak, I've
got some 80's tunes blasting out of ol' Winamp - what do you want to bet
I'll get taken off hold right in the middle of a rousing chorus of Video
Killed The Radio Star?
Work has been
alright. A little up and down as we play realty bingo. Rick and Chris have
loosened up, somewhat, when it comes to dealing with the reps of the
train-car, so all hope is not yet lost. It all boils down to the fact that
we like the darn place so, annoying brokers or no, we're going to
keep talking to the other side until they flat out tell us 'no' - which
hasn't happened yet. Crossed fingers and all that.
In the meantime,
tomorrow afternoon will be taken up looking at a couple of other offices -
including one right next to the old vivid studios
office - and meeting up with the designer-fellow to brainstorm more ideas.
Meanwhile, I've got to put together a directory of businesses and who's-who
of SoMa businesses. Ouch! To my surprise, such a directory does not
Tomorrow is also an
Oktoberfest/food drive at MM, which I've tentatively agreed to attend. If
naught else, I'm hoping I'll get Mr. Prickles back...
Forty minutes... I'm
into the Nine Inch Nails, now.
It looks like Alex
might have made the right decision to keep job-hunting. It seems that his
employers do not have second-round funding, nor are things looking
too rosy. Crappy job aside, it's a shame. I went to visit him at lunch today
- eating at the infamous Fog City Diner - and he's got a very pretty commute
along the Embarcadero. I always like riding the trolley through that
I've decided to
take the plunge and move Rough Cut - and
the remainder of this journal - over to a shared host in San Francisco. For
$20/month, I get 100MB for my site, 5 POP3 e-mail addresses and up to 5GB in
data transfer per month. More the point, no more popups! Or even worrying
about popups. I keep waiting for the current journal hosts to tell me
they're pulling an Angelfire bait-and-switch...
remembered some e-mails I have to write... Back later.
minutes on hold for 'you'll have to send us a fax to do that'. Grrrr.
Time for a nasty e-mail to customer support...
and I went to MM's Oktoberfest party tonight. I've only been away for
two weeks, so the conversation wasn't too earth-shattering. Even I can't
change much in a fortnight, you see...
Various members of
Bruno played in the foyer, the beer was flowing freely and no-one thumped me
about the head and neck asking me whatever happened to some bit of paperwork
that had been left dangling. All in all, a pleasant evening.
Since Alex has to get
up early in the morning to drop off Dave at the BART (poor sod has to work
on the weekend), we left by 8PM or so. As we were heading down in the
elevator, Alex reached into his pocket, muttering about something lumpy
therein. Lo and behold, the missing Mr. Prickles had been returned!
We had left our coats
and bags dumped by my old desk, more out of convenience rather than anything
else, and they had been sitting there unattended for a couple of hours. It
seems that whoever had suggested we toss our things there must have been in
on the scheme. I'm darned if I can remember who the accomplice was - five
pints of beer and my memory just collapses. The important thing is that he's
back. I wonder where he's been all this time...
party-madness, Alex and I were inspired to register yet another domain name
- 'chucklingcthulhu.com'. Yes, this will probably host any future Cthulhu
Live events we run. It's all Laughing
quiet. Mostly because the power was out for about twenty hours.
The sound of tearing
tree-branches is extra thrilling at 4:00AM, let me tell you. Thank
god the Hyundai is in impound (long story) otherwise it would have been
crushed by a chunk of the neighbor's pine tree. As it is, only a bit of the
fence - already teetering - got smashed.
It's been windy, you
Saturday was a
nice day - a little cleaning, a little pottering and then down to Fremont to
go to the Heather Alexander concert with Jennifer.
The concert was the usual silly fun at the local second-run theater. The
audience was the usual collection of furries, faire-ies and
fantastical-types. Strangely, I'm about the most mundane person who goes to
these things, I think.
I finally finished
taking care of transferring my domain name - skaro.com - to Laughing Squid,
so I have to scramble to upload my files there before too much traffic gets
lost in the ether. Like I'm overwhelmed with visitors... Given the jumping
around this journal has done, and the fact that Peopleweb doesn't yet demand
popup boxes, I think the Ramblings will stay here for the foreseeable
future, although I'll move the archives from Tripod to the new host.
That's about it
for the weekend, kids...
a busy couple of days. Lemme get the bad shtuff out of the way, first:
1) The extremely
unregistered Hyundai got towed. Our own fault, but the $850 plus the $200 to
get it out of impound is a bit much. We can afford it. Barely. I wouldn't
worry at all, except for #2 and #3.
2) Alex got fired.
Back story: Alex's
kidneys were twinging, so he took some vicodin and decided to call in to
work on Monday. Serious pain killers make work tough, anyways. Later that
day, Alex's boss calls and tells him that he shouldn't bother coming back,
how dare he take a sick day within his first month of employment. Alex did
the honorable thing and refrained from mentioning that if that crummy job
hadn't stressed him out so much, he probably wouldn't have needed the
trouble-prone eyeballs decided that life was far too easy and cut loose with
their exploding-blood-vessel trick again. Once again, Dave is mostly blind
and having to take unpaid time from work. Six more days until his insurance
I'm just doing my
best to chant my current mantra "We got ourselves into this, we can get
out of it". The trick is not strangling each other in the mean time.
1) I got my vanity
domain up and running. Rough
Cut is settling in nicely at its new home. Now I've just got the boring
chore of making 800+ forwarding pages for the old Tripod site, so visitors
get automatically forwarded to the page they wanted to be at, rather than
just punted to the new URLs front page. While I was at it, I finally re-did
page as I have been meaning to since Logan and I went on our photography
2)I've also got my
boss's URL established and a little coming
soon page posted. The nifty logo is courtesy of my newly-acquired copy
of Photoshop Type Magic.
3)Speaking of cutesy
logos, my crazed idea to contact John
Kovalic about drawing a logo for the incipient site, Chuckling
Cthulhu has proven fruitful. Since the graphic is for a personal,
non-profit-oriented site, John has quoted us a very affordable rate, which
was very kind of him. Nor does he mind waiting until I have cash again
before starting work - I had contacted him before I learned how much
it would cost to get the car out of hock. For those of you wondering
whoinheck John is, he's the chap who draws the v. amusing comic Dork
4) This week has been
mostly work-at-home, which has saved me money on the commute and food. Given
numbers 1 & 2 on the Bad Things list, this is a Good Thing.
Must run, I've
been hogging the computer for hours.
One last thing:
While we're still looking at other places for an office, Rick is pursuing
the train-car option to whatever end it might bring. He really wants
the space, and the matter is still fifty-fifty in his opinion. Fingers are
very much crossed at my end, as I spent most of today looking at vastly
overpriced and unsuitable offices and Thursday looks like more of the
put the curse on us? 'Fess up!
Today, some idiot in
a van forced Alex off the road and onto the sidewalk. The good news is that
he missed the pedestrian, but the bad news - because, of course,
there has to be bad news - is that both tires on the passenger side got
pulled off the rims.
So, y'know, there
goes the money we were borrowing off Alex's sister to pay for food for the
next two weeks.
I'm at the end of my
rope. On the one hand, I'm glad for a few things. That Alex didn't get hurt,
or hurt anyone, for a start; for the fact that all of our problems are only
a cashflow crunch and if we can make it to the middle of the month, we'll be
okay; that we've caught up on all our bills and don't have to worry about them
But still, it's
difficult not to be an absolute bitch about it all. If Alex had gotten the
Hyundai taken care of, as we kept meaning to for the past two years, we
wouldn't be in this crunch. All in all, it cost over $1100 in fines and fees
to get that little red beast out of hock, so the temptation to rail and yell
at Alex has been pretty strong. I've managed to resist it. Most of the time.
I'm also taking it
out on Dave, mostly because the poor sod is within range. He's got nothing
to do with it, but there are times when I get a wee bit resentful about the
fact that he can't cover his share of rent and bills. Compound that with the
fact that if he had been working for the previous ten months, Alex
and I would have had a chance to put some money in savings against this kind
of eventuality and, well, as I say, I've been getting a bit bitchy. Dave
seems to be sensing this and is pretty much staying out of the way.
Yeah, yeah, I'm as
much responsible for this as anyone, but I'm really great at ducking that
kind of thing. Simmering fury is much funner to deal with over
has had a lovely impact on Aragon preparations. Mostly in that
there haven't been any. I've got a sinking feeling the flats that James and
Dave are supposed to be building will not be done. I'm not quite sure
how we're going to pick up the food, unless the car gets fixed tomorrow
(which it might) and thank heavens that one player has promised to cover
whatever the dues don't, otherwise the gamers wouldn't be getting anything
to eat at all, on Saturday. Grump.
Frankly, I'm far more
worried about what I'm going to have to eat for the next two weeks.
My paycheck will just about cover the rent, and the remnants of Alex's check
might keep us going in the duration...
As it is, I've
cancelled the room reservations Alex and I had - we can just drive home
after the game and prick ourselves with pins to stay awake - and I'll have
to figure out how to hide my dark roots with a lot of hairspray and the
bottle of Manic Panic I've got under the sink.
So, if y'all 'scuse
me, I'm going to go curl up with my teddy bear and suck my thumb. It'll be
cheap and the safest damn thing I've done all week.
have been improving a bit today. Which is a relief, as I shudder to think
what would have to happen to make things any worse...
brother-in-law, Lance, works at a tire place in Concord, so he got us a
break (and sneaked us in ahead of the queue) to get a new tire put on the
car. Fortunately the rims are intact, and one of the tires just needed to be
reinflated, rather than replaced. So that wasn't quite as ouchy as
thought. It still would have been better if it hadn't happened but, oh
And my mood improved
somewhat, as there's no way I can stay that grumpy for more than
eight hours straight. Alex is a bit relieved about that.
verynicechap that he is, is covering our hotel room for tomorrow night. This
relieves me no end, as Alex has an unparalleled talent for falling asleep
behind the wheel. There's actually going to be quite a few Aragon
players staying over Saturday night - Trisha, Kevin and Colette as well as
me and Alex. Sunday morning should be pretty interesting. I'm lucky to have
such generous buddies!
So tonight is going
to be panicked plot-crunching. Heh. Pass me the character-beating stick.
if you don't want to read about the latest Aragon
game, you probably should just skip this entry, as it's all I'm gonna talk
Bad thing: the flats
were not done, but that was because I'm not the only person whose
hobbies are being interfered with by Real Life (TM) and I can't get too mad
Another bad thing: It
seems that the hotel hasn't been too conscientious about cleaning out the air
ducts, as several players - including me - were being attacked by the
snuffle monster, particularly after sleeping in the room all night. If it
was just me, I would have shrugged it off, but Colette, Trish and Dave also
told me that they were reacting to something in the air, and dust is
the most likely culprit. I'll have to have a word with the hotel staff about
that, but I doubt they're going to do much and it's not something I would
call the board of health about...
Okay, onto the good
The game went very
well, despite precisely no plots created by The Trinity, despite the
overall fact of the change of power. Alex was a little nervous about being
the Prince, but since he was playing one of his darlings - Gregor
Skolnikov - he got the hang of it, right away. The fact that the players
seemed to get the point that this was their characters' best chance to get
in good with the new regime kept matters bubbling nicely, too.
Everyone joined in
with the masked-ball theme, although I have a had time believing that
jeans-and-sweats is as formal as Brook's character would get. Never mind,
his character, Brion, is already on the Prince's shit list, so I'm not going
to fret about it. Heh. Jennifer Brecheen walked away with my vote for best
outfit - despite the fact that I can rarely resist Trisha when she's wearing
lots of PVC, as she was last night. Jennifer decked herself out in a
floor-length Edwardian dress, a full-coverage feathery mask and a long
blonde wig, so her character, Corianna, was utterly unrecognizable. Yay!
Someone who understood was a masquerade is. The rest of us - myself
included - just dressed nice and bought cool masks. :)
I'm doubly glad that
everyone looked good, because Colette was there, many cameras in hand, and
she shot about five rolls of film during the game. Colette's a good
photographer and she's just so darned enthusiastic about it that no-one
could object to being occasionally blinded by the flash. I can't wait to see
how the pictures came out! Of course, she was grumbling about a lack of
'action' in the game - she was hoping for more swooping and biting,
apparently - but Camarilla games are rarely that action packed. I suspect if
she pouts hard enough, we'll cave in and script something for her, just so
she can shoot it. She's got us whipped like that. We're suckers for a pretty
So, while Alex got to
play one of his darlings, I was playing one of mine. Honestly, I wasn't too
enthusiastic about playing Anja
Skolnikov, at first, but once the game warmed up, I got into it. Anja's
malicious streak is usually too much fun to play for me to be reluctant for
While Dave - playing
Monsignor DiCendia of the Giovanni - made a pet project out of a would-be
revolutionary Ventrue played by Quinn, I went after Chris Brecheen's
character (Hilario) who had already spent time with Anja et al at their
court in Richmond. Hilario's memories of that time had been wiped, but they
tended to come back to him in dreams. Chris told us to mess with Hilario,
who suffered from amnesia, thus giving us carte blanche to totally
fuck with him.
I was running a
riddle contest as a device to talk to other characters and learn about them.
I had found a fat sheaf of riddles online and I was gleefully asking them of
anyone who wanted to play. If they got the riddle right, they got to ask me
a question that I had to answer honestly. If they got the riddle wrong, I
could ask the same of them. Given that Hilario suffered a rather nasty shock
when he recognized his new Prince and the Prince's retinue, he waded in to
the contest, using his questions to find out more about what had happened in
Honestly, like most
GMs, we really hadn't given the situation much thought, going by 'burn that
bridge when we get to it' school of game-mastery. So, Hilario - who traded
boons with some other kindred to obtain even more questions of me -
started asking Anja for some pretty specific details. Damn. Fortunately, I
pulled some good, twisted, things out of my ear and cranked the angst-meter
up a few notches. Chris seemed to enjoy it, so I think it's all going to
work out. The conversation started out pretty dam' strange:
Hilario - Why
are you in my dreams?
Anja - Because
you love me. (wicked smile, flounce off, stage right)
Heh. That one stopped
him cold. And it only got stranger from there. *Happy
Speaking of being
stopped cold... I forget the reason why but, near the end of the evening,
Gregor planted a kiss on the Monsignor, the sight of which just about
derailed my neurons. Given that, outside of game, these two fellas are about
as straight as the proverbial picket fence, it was a hell of a sight.
The only problem I
see looming on the horizon is that this court might like the new
regieme just a little too much. The new Prince and his people are inhumane,
greedy beasts - even as vampires go. Honestly, it's not intended for them to
be liked, much - particularly once we pull out the stops on their behavior
(they were quite restrained, last night). But I forgot to account for the
fact that we have a pretty inhumane court on our hands, so it's not like
they're easily shocked or disgusted. The Trinity will have to think on this
The new players -
Alex and Jason - worked out really well, although I thought Jason wasn't
getting that involved in things. But he says he had a good time and talked
to a lot of PCs, so I must have just missed it. I think we'll be letting
both of them come back for another game. Unfortunately, Chris got entangled
in some imbroglio in the city, so he couldn't make it. He was really pissed
off, too, but he'll get over it. I'm just glad he called and let me know.
So, all in all, a fun
night was had by all. I had a little too much to drink at the end of the
night but, aside from one conversation I know I'm going to have to
apologize for (I had a chat with Jenn and Chris Brecheen and let me leave it
at that), I don't think I made too big a fool of myself.
Must dash! Dinner is
on the way and I got an idea for a vignette between the Monsignor and Anja.
work-at-home day. I spent most of it slogging through the web looking for
information about companies to go on the IC mailing list. Very
time-consuming - particularly on a 56K modem - and occasionally frustrating.
The afternoon was broken up by a brief, but noisy, thunderstorm that had me
scurrying around the house and turning things off. I certainly can't afford
to have my computer fried by a power surge...
snuck up on me this year and I think I'll have to do a copout for my costume
- given that I'm going in to the 'office' and all. I'll dust off my one
formal business-outfit, do my hair and makeup in a severe style and declare that
as my costume for the daytime. If I was working somewhere larger/sillier
then I would put on my Faire garb or something. IC is an investment
bank, after all and we might have to run some errands.
Otherwise, not a lot
It seems that my
gaming-muse got kicked awake over the weekend, as I came up with three
plot-ideas for Aragon
while in the shower today, as well as further tinkering on a vignette for
Anja. Alex has come up with some ideas to mix things up with the Primogen
and get them more involved, too. Phew! I was afraid we were flirting with
burnout already... We - the GMs - have heard from a couple of players and
they, at least, had a good time. I just wish all of 'em were that