Alex's mom is
still alive - if you want to call it that. Patty - a friend of the family
who is staying with Joanne and thereby earning far more good karma points in
a few days than I could ever hope to accumulate over my entire sinful life -
tells us that Joanne's 'not here' any more. She's not in a coma, just not
here. Alex's sister, Melissa, called us last. I think she wanted Alex to go
over to the house and make a Grand Goodbye scene out of it, but he didn't
want to do that. He said goodbye to her on Wednesday night, he doesn't need
to keep doing it. Furthermore, Alex's dad is not exactly welcoming intruders
just now - and anyone is an intruder at this point.
No, I don't want to talk about how I feel.
And now, for those
of you who prefer the happier stuff, we shall return to our regularly
I adhered to the Mead family traditional reaction to tragedy by spending money, yesterday. I swear, I only intended to duck into the local Virgin megastore to pick up the latest Nine Inch Nails album... But they were having a sale on Beatles CD's and Alex and I keep meaning to pick some up. I managed to whittle down my selection to Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, *phew*.
Then, since FAO Schwartz was just next door, I thought I might as well step inside and see if they had some micro-machine sized Star Wars stormtroopers for Alex (he wants them for his Star Wars game). After extensively wandering through three floors of toys and managing to resist the fuzzy temptation of too many Gund plushes (I love Gund bears), I came to the grumpy conclusion that there were no teeny-weeny stormtroopers to be had.
At this point, I found myself in the Lego section, lazily eyeing their selection of the "Adventurers" set - my current favorite. One element of this set is a Lego zeppelin. It's something that Alex and I have found endlessly amusing, and we keep telling each other that we'll buy it 'one of these days'. Well, its day came yesterday, as I decided that Alex would have a lot of fun putting it together.
It seems I made the right call, as Alex was tickled pink, and I have to admit that it's a deeply groovy toy. The skull-in-a-jar that's on a podium inside the zeppelin's gondilier was a particularly nice touch... :)
It's Friday. Today
I'm wearing a voluminous, long black skirt in a light polyester fabric
(we've been having a heatwave), a fishnet-over-something-solid tank top,
red-and-black stripey tights, obligatory ankh necklace and, of course, the shoes...
Time is an illusion - lunchtime, doubly so!
A quiet day. Alex
and I went to Rob's house and played another episode of Concordia
Alliance last night. True to my nagging suspicions, the intrepid PCs did
not make it to their intended destination - the Hollow Earth - last
night, but instead had to cope with nasty Nephandi thingies (all implants
and eyeballs) and an insane Void Engineer, while their Etherjammer plowed
its way between the stars...
We definitely got a little carried away with the movie references - from Flash Gordon to Das Boot - but we had fun and managed to cram a few character moments in between fighting the aforementioned eyeballéd beasties. Mercy is definitely shaping up as the type of character who usually communicates via deadpan humor - and then says something so cold and/or insensitive that the rest of the PCs want to club her. Still, it reminds 'em that she is a Euthanatos. :)
Hm, I am rather
ticked at Bass
Tickets, this morning. I hopped online this morning, getting ready to
buy tickets to the upcoming Kids in the Hall tour. According to their
site, tickets didn't go on sale until 10AM, so I was in plenty of time as I
hunted down the correct page for online ordering (why bother with that phone
I discover that not only are the tickets already on sale, but the lower floor is completely sold out, and all that's left is the balcony. WTF? I check back on the homepage, and sure enough, it still blithely declares that tickets can't be bought before 10, yet here is my order confirmation page at 9:45AM (you bet I went through with it) telling me that the best I could get would be two seats in the tenth row of the balcony, seventy bucks plus handling, please...
I have no idea what happened. I know my clock isn't that slow... And several hundred tickets had already been sold by the time I made my purchase. Odd.
Now I'm all paranoid about the Pet Shop Boys tickets that are going on sale, tomorrow. Knowing me, I'll be logging in at midnight tonight, just to make sure there isn't any funny business going on then, as well - and every hour thereafter. I will not take shoddy seats for that show... ;)
Not much news on Alex's mom, although what there is might be vaguely good. Apparently Joanne is breathing a lot easier, now, and is merely unconscious rather than in a twilight state. It's not time to celebrate, just yet - far from it - but it's better than we could hope for. We may be going over there this afternoon to visit, but we'll be keeping it short. Apparently, Alex's father has been inundated with visitors lately, and he doesn't like guests at the best of times...
Sometimes, there's nothing to say.
Joanne died last
night. Apparently she slipped away very quietly while she was asleep. As
life goes, it could be far worse. We were all warned, we've all had time to
prepare - previous yo-yo-ing notwithstanding.
Still, it doesn't mean that I'm not upset. She was a very strong woman, with a sharp mind and a great sense of humor. She had to have all that to raise Alex, who was not always the considerate, loving chap I know now - and let's not even mention his sister. She did her best to make me feel part of the family, despite the fact that I was extraordinarly commitment-shy when Alex and I first started dating, and once I learned we had a common love of science fiction and history, things just got better from there.
I really don't like losing people just when I'm getting to know them. I'm particularly upset that she didn't have enough time to see Alex and I start a family - and, no doubt, laugh her socks off while she watched. Still, I think all other witnesses will be happy to pick up the slack in that regard. ;)
About a week ago, Joanne told us that she had a belief system in place. We didn't need to know the details, she said, but we had to take her word for it that she was going to stick around on the ethereal plane. I've got a feeling she's not going to answer the ouija board, though, unless we stick a Harlan Ellison 1st edition on one corner and a six-pack of Pepsi on another....
Back on the usual
happy-goofiness that is my life... Yes, life does go on. Given the
alternatives, it's for the best, don't you think?
Alex and I went to Renn Faire yesterday. Even with the knowledge that this is the time of the month when we have to 'think poor', we barely got away with our bank accounts intact. A devilish merchant packed me into a suede bodice - and any merchant that looks at me and declares that I have to wear a size extra-small gets my money just out of sheer gratitude - and it looked darn fetching, if I do say so myself. However, I managed to resist, with promises to return after next payday - which is the closing weekend of Faire.
Meanwhile, Alex got offered a hell of a deal at the sword merchants. He was discreetly drooling over a rather nice rapier - not deluxe, but a nice medium weight piece with a minimal basket hilt - that cost a hair over three hundred dollars. I told him that if he split the cost with me, we could get it for him on the final weekend - heck, I've already got one bodice...
The wily merchant then passes a main gauche to Alex and encourages him to strike a pose. Alright, I'll admit I'm prejudiced, but Alex looked quite dashing.
I tell you, this merchant knew when he had a live one... He tells us that he has a package deal to offer - main gauche, rapier, scabbards for both, belt and sword frog (the think that keeps the sword sheath on a belt) for only fifty dollars more than the cost of the sword alone. Yowza! The merchant continues by telling us about his fine layaway plan...
Well, we got out of there without the sword - barely. But the merchant knows we'll be back in two weeks. That sword is a popular item (given that most of his other swords go for over four hundred dollars) so he has a few in stock. Two weeks hence, Alex will have his sword and assorted accoutrements. Now I just have to get him a pair of boots - which I intended to do for Christmas, anyway - and he'll be fully kitted out for any Faire in future.
Then we get to finish my wardrobe. Heh heh heh. Fortunately, wench dressing is much cheaper. In all honest, all I really need to complete my closet is another underskirt and some bloomers... Walking around with bare legs under heavy cotton skirts in 100 degree heat is for the birds - can you say 'heat rash'? Anyways, another skirt and some undergarments are all I need... But there are always pretty shoes and prettier skirts to be considered... And that suede bodice. ;)
And, to top it all
off, Alex and I found a gorgeous antique typewriter at a garage sale
on Saturday. Every LARP group needs an old typewriter, particularly a
Cthulhu Live group. No, really! So, we were driving back from our last visit
with Joanne, and I just happened to see this old Underwood machine in
someone's driveway display. It's an old Underwood - and still functional. We
decided we had to have it and, after a bit of haggling, we bought it.
Once the typewriter had been lugged home - Alex nearly killed himself carrying it, as it didn't occur to either of us that it was mostly iron - Alex hit the web, hoping to identify it. We had tentatively pegged it as a 1930's model. Well, we were close, sort of... It was made in January, 1906!
This dang typewriter is older than my grandmother! And it still works! Let's see any bit of current desktop technology still function after ninety years! Of course, given the whole Y2K thing, that might be a lot easier said than done...
The Beast (as I have mentally dubbed it) just needs a heavy dusting and a new ribbon, and it's in tip-top shape, otherwise. Chortle, it looks very nifty in our living room, next to The Book of Evil. Don't ask about The Book. It's one of those things you have to visit to appreciate. Suffice to say that it was a prop made for another Cthulhu Live game.
Not a lot to
report today, fellows. I slogged in to work after a bad night's sleep -
Alex's cold has settled in his chest, alas, and kept both of us awake - only
to be told "What are you doing here? You've still got bereavement
leave. Go home!". Since I was in the process of discovering that I had
fully caught Alex's ailment (cough, hack, wheeze), I'm going to be turning
back around and heading home as soon as I've uploaded this and done a few
minor office chores.
Actually, being in the office feels pretty good. It's nice to see other people, and I'm fighting a wave of inexplicable goofiness. I'm not entirely sure why. Then again, I feel a bit trembly underneath it all, so it's probably just Johanna's Coping Mechanism (patent pending) kicking in.
Incidentally, for those who've asked, if you would like to send Alex a message directly, you can e-mail him.
Never mix Nyquil and Sudafed...
Thank heavens for bereavement leave. I'm still in the grip of a nasty head-cold and I'm out of sick-time. Yes, Alex has a cold too, we like to share these things... I've been fighting it for three days and I'm still coughing and sneezing like it's going out of fashion. Ugh.
I went to the
bookstore yesterday, more as an attempt to get Alex out of the house for a
little while. Of course, we bought books, mostly from the discontinued-please-take-these-off-our-hands
table, which saved the bank account from complete ruin. I grabbed
yet-another Discworld novel, a Simon Brett that I hadn't seen before, and a
fancy casserole/stew cookbook, all for five bucks apiece.
A bit of dedicated wandering took me into the 'writers' advice' section of the store. I'm hooked on writing books. I suspect that, deep down, I believe I will one day find that book entitled "How to Smash Writers' Block to Bits and Directly Access Those Brilliant Ideas You Know You Have Lurking in The Depths of Your Mind - Without Going Insane!". In the meantime, though, I'm enjoying reading my way through the Howdunnit series (great resources for mystery writers, or fans of same) and I'm eyeballing the Elements of Fiction collection.
None of which would be worth mentioning if it wasn't for the fact that I have been feeling well and truly uninspired lately. Not just uninspired, but just plain repelled by the notion of writing anything - even my usually-beloved RPG character brain-candy. What's the point? I grumble. Somebody else has already said it, and better than me, to boot. Of course, I'm not helped by the fact that, since I've ditched my habit of writing-as-I-go-along, I'm-sure-the-ending-will-come-in-time the ideas have been flowing like molasses in winter.
No, I'm not going to revive old habits, either. Writing-as-I-go only gets me horrid dialogue, characters that don't gel until the final third and a meandering plotline that usually wasn't worth writing in the first place. Besides, I do enough of that in this journal...
I don't even feel like I've got unrealized ideas floating in my skull. I just feel like "Well, that's that. Fifteen years was pretty good for a hobby. Maybe I'll try macramé next..." And that's not a good feeling, I assure you.
I'm not going to be a film-maker - it's too damn late for me to enter that field - and I don't have any other talents - other than writing. Well, I thought I had a talent for writing, but I'm constantly finding brilliant, unpublished, others. That in itself wasn't so bad - as we all know, the brilliant ones usually go unpublished, thanks to the capitalistic need of booksellers to pander to the lowest-common-denominator - but now the ideas have dried up, too. A lack of esteem and inspiration is a bad combination.
"There, there, Johanna," you cry, "It's just a dry spell. It'll go away, you'll see!". I'm not so sure. This one feels damned different than the other dry spells I've dealt with. For one thing, it's already lasted far longer than the others. I haven't been seized by the urge to write all night for two months. That's not long to some of you, but it's a minor bloody eternity for me. I don't like it, and I'm out of ideas for how to break it. I've done clustering, creative dreaming, and (my personal favorite) banging my head on the keyboard. As I've said, it's not a case of being unable to express an idea, it's the complete lack of any ideas in the first place.
I should have listened to my parents and stuck to the smart-arsed parody I used to write. I'd be the next Terry Pratchett by now...
I'm getting out of here before I depress all of you, too. ;)
In his way, Mister K. will challenge the world!
kick-in-the-ass comes courtesy of the latest rail disaster in the UK and a
fact related by the author of Erm.
In case you've been avoiding the news media even more than I usually do,
over a hundred people were killed on a commuter-rail line outside of London
on Monday evening. Mavis (Erm's writer) related an observation from
emergency crews: As night fell, and searchers were looking for bodies,
mobile phones scattered throughout the wreckage began ringing as worried
Britons tried to call missing loved ones. The crews just let them ring;
there was nothing they could do.
I can't speak for you, dear reader, but I find that a bloody horrifying image. Nothing like a major rail disaster to pull one's mind off one's troubles, no?
I'm still fighting
off the head-cold, but I'm back in the office, feeling crumby. Massive
amounts of Sudafed and Odwalla's Vitamin C monster are making life bearable,
but I would still rather be lying in bed, grumbling about writers' block.
After all, that's far easier than working.
Incidentally, I owe a passing thank-you to those of you who sent in your own personal remedies for writers' block, some of them were quite nifty! I'll let you know if/when I get past this attack of the doldrums. I'm sure it will pass, eventually. I'm just not enjoying the process.
But, of course,
Alex and I are kicking around another Cthulhu LARP idea, even while Valley
of the Kings is unfinished. We found a nifty thing on the clearance
table at Barnes & Noble - a package of very reasonable facsimile
documents associated with the Titanic - from ship plans, to the final
SOS telegram to on-board marriage certificates and the post-sinking inquiry
Naturally, Alex and I started idly chatting about how to run a real time live-action event set during the Titanic's final night. For full gamer-cheeze factor, we were going as far as planning to start the game at around 10:30PM on a given evening (be it at a convention or whatever) and follow the documented last few hours of the ship's time afloat - at 11:30, the iceberg strikes, at 12:30 the deck takes on a noticeable tilt, etc. We think the real-time factor would add a wonderful sense of urgency and drama as the Fearless Investigators deal with their own crisis - which has nothing to do with the iceberg.
So, I'm not completely out of ideas. Just original ones... ;)
Oh, and because one of my fairly-faithful online swains has been persistently bugging me to post a recent picture of myself...
If jewelry is a collection of jewels, then what is coquetry?
expert came into my office yesterday. It was very interesting - and mildly
informative. I think the poor woman was a little stunned by the returns from
our work/leisure habits survey. Apparently my co-workers average
twelve hours per day on the computer. That's hardly surprising, given the
average hobbies of your average geek - writing, surfing the web, playing
To my utter unsurprise, my work area was declared an ergonomic disaster waiting to happen. The temporary fix-it measures include a ream of paper under my monitor and a lamp box that has been turned into a footrest. I'm a small person trying to make it in a biggun's world. I've even been threatened with voice-recognition software if I don't ease up on the computer time. Ha. Find me a voice-writer than can keep up with my speed and my accent.... The office's HR person, Alisa, was trailing behind the ergonomics expert, making notes of recommended changes and muttering "Oh, this is gonna cost a lot...". Still, Alisa understands that paying for wraparound desks and funky pointing devices is a lot cheaper than forking out for disability when we all come down with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Today, alas, I am
cranky. I've been dealing with a headache for about, oh, 36 hours now, and
I'm reluctantly coming to the conclusion that I might have pinched a nerve
in my neck. Thanks to the joy of health plans - and switching 'em every time
I change jobs - going to the doctor is a chore I rank right up there with
pulling hair out of the bathroom drain. So I'm going to take the coward's
way out and down lots of painkillers and sleep on my back for a couple of
days and see if that doesn't take care of it.
But, on the something-to-look-foward-to side, Alex will finally be running another chapter of Tales of the Iridium Rose tonight, and we might actually see the conclusion of this particular story. Yay!
Alex showed me some of the graphics he's been making for a couple of new NPCs and they're exceedingly groovy. They won't be posted on the site just yet, but I'll let you know when they are. The pic of Derek Jacobi as the CO of the Star Destroyer, Relentless is particularly nifty... ;)
Dan, pursuant to your suggestion: my husband has told me that I can't propose to 35 of my co-workers (or even complete strangers) to cut my citizenship waiting time down to one month, and the INS have just told me it wouldn't work, anyways. Oh well, it was an intriguing idea.
"Any last words?"
"Yeah. Are all the stormtroopers around here part of your harem, or just the unlucky ones?"
- Yahnna, trying to mouth off to an Imperial Intelligence agent.
Yep, the Iridium Rose happened again, last night. You'll get the highlights when I write up Yahnna's log, but I'll never forget the mental image of watching an Imperial Star Destroyer involuntarily throw up it's entire AT-AT hold in deep space... Now that's collateral damage!
It's not quite breaking writers'-block, but I did write something, yesterday. I threw together a new column for my LARP Advice section.
No time to dawdle today, I've got to get to Joanne's memorial. More tomorrow!
was yesterday. It was very informal. Dozens of people - mostly strangers to
me (and even to Alex) gathered at his father's house, all bringing ton
of food and sympathy. Dan - Alex's dad - read a favorite poem of Joanne's
and we all talked to each about our favorite memories of her and that was
pretty much it.
But it wasn't easy to go through, though. Both me and Alex kept expecting to see Joanne sitting on the sofa, or hear her laughing in the kitchen. God knows how Dan is coping right now, but he's not talking to anyone about that. All we can do is call him every now and then and ask him how he's doing, does he want company? He doesn't, but we have to ask.
So Alex and I have a fridge full of food - trays of cold cuts, several cakes and more. So we've called a few friends over for tea this afternoon to help eat it. It was only going to be thrown away, otherwise, so we had to do something. I'm going to be sick of ham sandwiches by the end of the week, I know that already... In the meantime, I'm heading over to JC Penney's to buy an honest-to-gosh teapot.
I had a hard time falling asleep last night - I kept feeling like there was something I hadn't done, that I had to complete before closing my eyes. Given that state of mind, it's no surprise that the Anxiety Demons came to visit.
nowhere. Your job is not your career. You've sold out for a fistful of stock
options and now you're sailing rudderless through the next three years.
But once my stock options are vested and my company goes IPO, I'll have a lot of opportunities! Alex and I will be able to get a mortgage, and maybe he'll be earning enough by then for me to quit working and go back to something more creative.
Yeah right, changing diapers. You want a family and you'll be using any stock-option money for *that*, not for re-learning the film trade. Female film workers hit the glass ceiling at 30, anyways. You've missed the boat on that one, woman, what are you going to do now?
I'll think of something.
Brilliant. You'll cross that bridge when you get to it, si that right? Or, as you like to say, you'll burn that bridge when you get to it. How apt. The reactionary approach is what has gotten you in this mess. You've managed to burn out, without anything to show for it.
I'll get over it.
And what if you don't? All you've got for the past 27 years is a useless college degree, a bunch of hobbies that will never make you money and a dead-end career path.
And a husband that treats me like a queen!
I'll concede the husband issue. You got lucky on that one. But what now? You're not smart enough to get the hang of programming languages, so you can kiss off the idea of web-design if you're not going to learn Java. You'll never have the talent for graphic design - you're just another Photoshop user. And you're terrified of taking risks, so now what?
Now I get up and swallow enough brandy to drown your whining little voice and hope a good night's sleep makes me feel better. Gods, I hate introspective moments. All they do is make me selfish and cranky. It's the bloody American influence, that's what it is....*grumble*
And that's what I did. I feel a bit better this morning, but it's an accurate summary of what's usually running through my skull at any given time. *wan grin* There are so many problems that could be solved by a winning lottery ticket. Of course, those are what my stock options are, lots of little lottery tickets. :)
Yesterday was a
pleasant day. Alex and I had a lot of food from the memorial lurking in our
fridge - two meat-and-cheese trays, several cakes, etc - so we invited a few
friends over to help us eat it. There was no way on earth that I was going
to be left with all that food - particularly the cheesecake - to myself.
All told, Laurel, Jennifer, Jen and Chris Brecheen and Britt stopped by. Much food was eaten and incompetence demonstrated when it took us five hours to complete a game of Trivial Pursuit. I won, but only by sheer dumb luck and a storehouse of useless information inside my skull.
I didn't get to bed until fairly late, so I'm spending this morning sleepily resentful of the fact that we don't get Columbus Day off in my office (it's traded off for an extra day at Christmas). Meanwhile, my father - who works for the City of Berkeley - is sleeping in to commemorate "Day of Solidarity With Indigenous Peoples". Yes, that's what the city has renamed Columbus Day... Nice to see the frontline of political correctness still doing its thing...
All I want is the chance to prove that fabulous wealth won't spoil me.
about as low-impact a day as they come. Work was blitheringly dull. I went
home, had Indian take-out for dinner, read some comics with Alex, and went
to bed. No deep thoughts but - here's a relief for those of you who've been
telling me to quit whining - no anxiety attacks either.
I would happily write up something deep, as I sit here at my desk at work, but the fact is that Tuesdays are Meetings From Hell days for me, and I have to go sharpen up my pencil and prepare my "Yes, I really am paying attention and understand what the hell you're talking about" expression to last me clear through 2PM.
In other news, my pal 'Walkyr has just launched his own journal, Memories of Fire, so go pay him a visit and spare him a word of encouragement, alright?
Everyone's talking about when the other shoe is gonna drop, and it
hasn't dropped yet...
It's starting to feel like a Shoe of Damocles - anonymous vividian
Alright, I feel obliged to make up for the past couple of days, so brace yourself for a lot of blather, today.
Yesterdays Meetings From Hell weren't quite as bad as anticipated, as one was cancelled, and the other was held in a Japanese restaurant across the street (which got blitheringly warm after a couple of hours, but the change of scene was nice). You know you're losing your attendee's attention when more than one of them have taken to jabbing their pens through their soda pop cans and twirling them like a demented spinning top. Bored engineers are strange and inventive creatures...
Vegged out in
front of the tube last night. I'm such a demographic archetype. "Hey,
the tube is on, so we may as well watch Angel after Buffy the
Vampire Slayer." - as if I wouldn't watch a solid hour of
the deeply yummy David Boreanaz.
I'm not sure if the show's premise is going to last, though. I'm afraid it's going to turn into a Batman variant with fangs - y'know, cute and broody loner out to help others, while trapped in his own isolation, etc. Apparently Joss Whedon is out to play with adult-angst, in contrast to the teen-angst of Buffy. I'm no opponent of entertainment-driven angst - it ranks up there with UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) as one of my favorite character-devices - but it's just so bloody trendy this days... Sigh.
Heh. And I bet I'm not the only fanfic troll waiting for the naughtier-minded fic writers to run for their keyboards with visions of Angel, Riley and Cordelia in their heads... Oh come now, don't pretend you don't know about that kind of thing. If you've read this journal for more than a week, I can't imagine how you couldn't not know... My husband and I have a quiet agreement - I'll no longer make comments about the omnipresent male habit of trolling the net for naughty pictures, if he stops wondering why I keep downloading HTML files from sites with titles like "The Mulder/Krycek Torture Association"...
For all of my
bitching about writers' block, I have been bashing out a few words, lately,
just not on the topics I expected. I re-arranged my LARP
Advice area the other day, and added a new column. I was starting to
write an article on how to craft plots for LARPs, but promptly found
several, much better, pieces by others, and I hate going over ground that
has already been discussed - especially by a better writer. It's much better
for all concerned if I just post a link to that better article, and write
about something else.
So I'm kicking around writing two other bits. One will be about running LARPs for gaming-conventions - which is a very different beast than running an ongoing event, or a private one-shot for your gaming buddies - and an accompanying guide about crafting interesting, playable characters without straining an overexcited gamer's attention span. They're both areas that I've got an awful lot of experience with, after all, and I've not seen any other writing on those particular subjects.
I updated Whither I Ramble the other day and added a couple of new journals that I've started reading, regularly. I've been thinking about adding a list of the online comics I read, too, but that would be an awfully long list. ;)
Lately, I have
taken to craving a digital camera. Almost every day - usually as I walk to
and from work - I see something and think "Darn! That would make a good
picture!" but, of course, I am camera-less. I'm also bloody lazy when
it comes to taking film to a developer's, as well as an addict to the online
form, so a digital camera would suit me down to the ground. I could post
little pictures up here all the time - and eat up my remaining few megabytes
on Tripod even faster!
But I also really want a DVD player, and the way their price is plummeting, I'm going to be able to afford one of those long before I can afford a digital camera that will satisfy my ex-film-student standards. Besides, I have every intention of hogging any such digital camera, and Alex wouldn't really appreciate that. At least I'd have to share a DVD player.
Hmmmm, all my favorite movies, on widescreen, with extra bits (in some cases)... I'd be in hog heaven. I'd never leave the house. Well, I hardly leave the house, anyways, but having my fave films on widescreen would be yet another reason to stay home all the time...
But, for the moment, I have promised to buy my hunnybunny a sword and, darnit, I'm not going to renege on that. What kind of indulgent wife would I be if I didn't lavish my husband with gifts at every opportunity? It's only fair, since he treats me like a queen and hardly ever complains about the trail of mouldy tea cups and old laundry that I leave behind me throughout the apartment.
But I know what I do like...I love passion - "Paninaro", Pet Shop Boys
making me work at work, this week! Yesterday was taken up by over six
hours of meetings for a project kickoff (sorry kids, I can't say which,
blame my pesky non-disclosure agreement) and today is going to feature
another few hours - and four more on Friday. However, after that, the
project team can look after itself. I never should have let it get around
that I can type fifty words a minute without looking at the keyboard or
the screen and (when typing) take dynamite notes. When I have to hand-write
my notes, all bets are off - as another internal project team are learning
when I spend more time trying to scrutinize my handwriting after than the
meeting actually took in the first place.
I was tired and cranky when I got home last night. So what did I do? Did I relax with my hunnybunny? Well, yes I did, but only for a few minutes, while I watched a "Prisoner" spoof on "Reboot" (wrong! wrong! wrong!). Immediately thereafter, I tied myself to the computer and made myself write up some notes from a meeting on Tuesday that still had to be done. Then I started to goof around with my latest silly web-project. I'm not going to say what it is, just yet, because I'm not sure if it's going to gel. If it does, it's going to be another online-commitment, and I'm not entirely sure why I'm driven to these things. Maybe I should get out of the house more often... Nah...
Suffice to say that I was up far too late last night, fooling around on Photoshop making cute little buttons, and devil take the bandwidth. :)
Warm fuzzy moment:
A friend of mine - who I shall call Tom for the moment - has been struggling
with some issues lately. Specifically, he's bisexual, but has been a bit
confused about what the next step after realization is - he's young and a
bit shy, you see... We had a conversation very late at night a few
weeks ago and I had tried to give him a bit of pep talk "Do what makes
you happy! Don't rush things! Move at your own pace!" etc, but I was
convinced that I was about as cheering as a small happy-faced-balloon in the
midst of a hurricane...
My failed attempts at morale boosting, aside, Tom has decided to 'sorta' (his term) come out of the closet, and has been seeing another chap for the past couple of weeks. They work near each other, and hang out at the same club - there's only one decent gay bar in my neck of the woods - and have been checking each other out for a while. One of 'em finally took the plunge and asked the other out. Tom is really happy and feeling very comfortable with his new fella, but he's taking the coming out very slowly. His parents don't know yet, nor do many of his friends - hence the pseudonym in this journal. But I'm really happy that he found the courage to act on his feelings and take some risks. Yay! I've not met the new fella yet, but I certainly intend to give him the is-he-good-enough-for-one-of-my-friends exam as soon as I do. :)
Can we please make it a capital crime to clip your fingernails on public transportation? I've noticed this grotesque habit on the rise lately, and it ranks up there with spitting on the sidewalk as a display of lousy hygeine and worse manners... One of these days I'm going to snap and start clubbing offenders with my increasingly heavy work-satchel - and as long as my jury are all well groomed, I'll never be convicted.
Dan, I don't work in a cubicle. You think they could contain my sizzling glory to a mere cube? Not at all. I share a large office space with my assorted co-workers, allowing them all to bask in my unspeakable presence...
These are the Daves I know, I know, these are the Daves I know - Kids in the Hall...
The ugly actually
working-at-work trend continued, yesterday. One of my buddies in engineering
- David Marks - made big puppy eyes at me and begged me take notes at a
client meeting in the morning. I didn't mind doing him the favor, but since
it was an engineering meeting, half of what they said sounded like Greek.
"Are you going to be using the Vershloomakit application for the image
delivery?" one will ask. "Nah," replies the other.
"We've got our hands on a sweet freeware thing by Whatchamacallit Wear.
It runs great on the Martian servers, which we already have in the place for
the IXO processes..." ad nauseum. I don't see how my notes can be of
any use to 'em, as I don't understand what I'm writing, most of the time...
But David's gratitude, and the ongoing gratitude of the producer for the same project (did another three hours with her, yesterday, too) has won a few more supporters for the 'buy Johanna a laptop' campaign in the office. Budget money is tight - when is it ever not tight? - but people are noticing that I'm forever bumming the producer/designer/engineer's machine to take my increasingly appreciated notes. And they're starting to depend on those notes more as time passes. Seems to me that the minute my co-workers realize I'm in the room, they all stop taking notes of their own. Their faith in my recording abilities is touching. Now, where's my machine, goddamnit?
During my scanty
lunch break, yesterday, I was downloading a few yummy pictures of David
Boreanaz. My boss, Dave, happened to peer at my monitor at one point and
smiles at what he sees. I hastily explained that I was just taking a break,
I swear - in case there has been a sudden, ugly, change in the usually lax
company policy about personal surfing - but my boss is entirely too busy
grinning at the pic on my desktop. "Hm, Angel," he murmured.
"I've got a few pictures of him," he reassured me. "And a few
in my head, too." And with an evil chuckle, he wandered back to his
Now, I pride myself on being dam' near unflappable, but I'm still getting used to dishing men with my boss... So, I sent him the URL for a particularly impressive gallery I had found earlier... He stopped by my desk this morning to tease me and say 'thanks' :)
Work continues on the Mystery Site. I've got to do some writing over the weekend, and it had better bloody be ready to launch by the end of the weekend, but I've got an awful lot of other silliness planned - Renn Faire on Saturday and Sunday, another chapter of Concordia on Saturday night, and the Pizza Meeting for Bedlam's Rest on Sunday night. Phew! Well, this is what Palm Pilots and transit time were made for...
Argh! I am so
annoyed with myself. I was running a little late this morning and in my
haste to remember a book to read on the train, I forgot my shoes! I mean, I
had my sneakers on my feet, but I left my Gothic Friday office shoes next to
the door. Damn damn damn. Fortunately, I'm wearing hilarious stripey-tights
today, so I'll just go around in my office in my stocking feet.
And for those who are curious about that kind of thing, the book is "Glamorama" by Bret Easton Ellis. I'm addicted against my will to Ellis, much like others are addicted to mallomars (gross, yet compelling, chocolate coated marshmallow cookie things). As usual, he's writing about overwrought rich-people who are breathtakingly shallow getting sucked into apparently-surreal circumstances. I don't think "Glamorama" will be replacing "American Psycho" as my favorite Ellis novel anytime soon....
"How is your father?" she asks disinterestedly.
"A contrivance," I mutter. "A plot device."
- Glamorama, Bret Easton Ellis
I really shouldn't
read Ellis while I'm eating. There's something about his hyperkinetic
dialogue and memory-shot characters that deeply screws me up. Food is enough
of a bitch in my life since I've developed a nasty habit of finding food
very boring, and only seem to be hungry after I eat (or after I
decide to toss out my lunch because I'm not that hungry, after all), without
losing my skewed appetite to the misplaced fits of bad temper that Ellis
inspires in me.
As I said yesterday, my addiction to Ellis is a reluctant one. Maybe it's because his books make me so glad I'm not rich or famous. Of course, I'm still shallow, but at least I've got a few redeeming qualities.
And reading Ellis shoots my coherence all to Hades, too. Bah.
This would all be
a lot easier if I knew it wasn't my fault. My own inertia and fear of change
has landed me in my current predicament. Could somebody please explain to my
subconscious the pointlessness of anger and resentment?
Bloody hell, I'm just the raven of happiness today. I'll be spending the day as many frightened members of the middle class do - spending money and not thinking about who I am and how I settled for a bland-as-oatmeal life.
Maybe I should just cut down on caffeine. Or thinking.
It being payday and all, Alex and I already got the jump on the spending way-too-much-money front. I blew my bodice allowance (don't ask) on a vinyl trenchcoat, Alex found a sweet deal on a fake-leather jacket at Mervyn's (I call it his 'Angel' jacket, but alas, it didn't transform him into a tall, dark-n-broody hunk) and then we both blew a wad at the video store. "Time Bandits" has been released on widescreen, we couldn't help ourselves...Ditto for "Face Off" and "To Kill A Mockingbird"...and we put in an advance order for the widescreen Indiana Jones boxed set...
My friends, Laurel and James, want to launch a custom-made costumer's business, and I've tentatively offered to build them a site to sell online. This should be an interesting challenge - and I guess I'll discover how much I've observed from working in the web industry for the past year...
Stow the enlightened one stuff, I've got Nazis to kill!
- Bishop, Akashic Brotherhood, Concordia
Ran myself ragged
at Renn Faire yesterday, as did Alex, so we decided against going again
today. The wind was blowing up a lot of dust, and we had spent more
than enough money as it was, so I think it's a good decision. Folsom Faire
(not be confused with San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair, which is entirely
different) is coming up next week, so if we want another Faire fix, we can
Yes, I bought Alex his sword, and it was definitely worth the amusement factor of watching him cope with having a three-foot-long tail trailing behind him and trying to figure out how to sit down with all that steel clanking around his hips.
As the above quote
indicates, we made it to Rob's Concordia
game last night. The campy-plot-meter buried the needle as the intrepid
adventurers on the Etherjammer Argo Two (um, that's us) stumbled
across a hidden realm that was home to an honest-to-gosh Nazi Stronghold,
complete with ludicrous Skeleton-Bots, Bavarian castles and Ayran
antagonists straight out of central casting - all festooned with swastikas,
of course. Needless to say, the intrepid PCs made mincemeat outta the Jerry
bastards - despite a few false starts... My dice were rolling just fine for
me until I had a chance to gut the Nazi C.O., then the botches started
manifesting like autumn leaves...
Highlights would include:
"Goddamn, John Carter, it's good to meetcha, now let's bust out of this Barsoomian prison." - Bishop
"Nazi toast!"..."Well, um, 'jam', actually..." - Intrepid PCs.
"You enter a sumptuous banquet hall, and see a long table bedecked with
a fine white tablecloth, and at the end of the table-"
DJ: "Darth Vader!"
Entire group: "What??"
Lengthy pause while the group derails into high movie-spoof mode and somehow manages to incorporate both "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" into one scene...
A fine, if silly, time was had by all. I may actually feel inspired enough today to write about an aspect of it that's been bothering Mercy (guess who got to distract the commander with her sex-kitten bit?) and, heavens forfend, I might finally scrawl down my missing report for Yahnna while I'm at it, yay!
"It seems to have fixed itself."
"That's a bold statement..."
For a Monday morning, I'm feeling pretty good. It has to be the backswing from Friday's crummy mood...
Sunday was a day of rest - or at least, heavy napping - in the Mead/Baker household. I did manage to haul myself out to the computer long enough to write a short vignette for Mercy and another for Yahnna, but neither of them will have the Pulitzer Prize committee knocking on my door.
At the pizza
meeting for Bedlam's Rest, yesterday, I had great fun showing off my new coat
(which billows in a pleasing paging Castor Troy kind of way) but,
more importantly, I had a chance to sit down with my friend Laurel and talk
briefly about what she wants for her custom-made-clothing-for-sale website.
Unsurprisingly, she wants a lot, and I'm already thinking in terms of two releases. Laurel wants to launch in January, but she also wants a lot of custom graphics and photographs. Since we're working on a barter system, most set up expenses will be coming out of my pocket and taken out in trade, and I will not have the cash to rent the photo gear to do her portfolio before the end of February... So I'm hoping that Alex (graphics and high end HTML guy) and myself (low end HTML, photography and site layout chick) can just put an initial site together for the January launch, with a second version going up in mid-March.
Whee! This is going to be fun! If we can pull it off, it'll be a nice item on Alex's resume - it won't mean much to mine. :)
Well, I've got to look like I'm doing some work today - it being Monday and all - so more tomorrow...
"Slugs! He created slugs! What use are they? They cannot hear, cannot speak, they cannot operate machinery...If I had been in charge, I would have started things properly, with lasers, eight o'clock, day one!" - Evil, Time Bandits
day, yesterday. Alex and I bought a passel of Chinese food, went to my
father's house and watched Time Bandits - as if you couldn't guess. A
comment Christopher made rather amused/prickled me. I mentioned that the
first time I saw Time Bandits, it scared the life out of me. Nervous
ten year-olds are not going to enjoy some of the images in that film, such
as Evil's equine-skeletal henchmen - keep that in mind before showing this
film to your kids, campers. My father laughed and said "I was just
trying to stimulate your imagination..." And a grumbling after-comment.
"For all the good it did...".
And I wonder why my self-esteem tends to crumble out from under my feet occasionally. Then again, maybe he's just bitching about the cost of sending me to film school...
I've been giving
some thought to various bits of brain-candy writing. I know I promised
myself I would cut down on the stuff, but after the recent dry spell, I'm
happy for any ideas.
I think part of what's been getting me down lately is that I've not had much time for writing. Between various silly web projects and just being pooped from coping with Joanne's death, I've been coming home and just zoning out in front of the TV (very unusual for me) or mucking around on the computer, surfing the web - rather than writing.
I would schedule some time to do write every day, but I find that such schemes don't work well for me. If I feel obligated to write, whether or not I'm feeling inspired, I'll get very cranky, reluctant and set up a dandy case of writers' block for myself. Not good. Writing is, was and always will be just a fun hobby for myself, so I'm far more comfortable with writing 'when the moment takes me'. Although I suppose that means I should hush up whining when it doesn't... Nah, where's it say I have to be reasonable about these things?
"To the Angel-Mobile! I'm almost out of that nancy hair gel I
like so much..."
- Spike, providing his own dialogue while watching Angel play vigilante.
As you might be
able to guess, I did my weekly two-hours of servitude to the one-eyed god
and vegged out watching "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer" and
"Angel", last night. I hate to say it, but the production values
on Buffy seemed to have seriously slipped - the stunt-people were
much too obvious, but perhaps it's just a flaw of Buffy kicking ass in the
daytime, for once. Still, it was a fun episode. Any episode with
Spike ("Harmony, I love syphilis more than I love you.")
is usually a fun one.
"Angel"...well, I guess it's time for me to admit something. I really like that show. Sure, the long, lingering shots of a brooding David Boreanaz are a factor, but my enjoyment has finally crossed reasonable bounds. I really like that show...You know what I'm about to admit, don't you? I'm so ashamed of myself...I made...(deep breath) a fansite (cue: thunderclap). That's what the Mystery Site of the last week has been.
I hate fansites, I really do. There's far more of them than any show ever needs, most of them duplicate each other and almost all of them suck. But I felt compelled to try to prove that perhaps I could create a bearable example of the genre. I know, I know, it's Messiah Syndrome meets Dr. Frankenstein all over again...
Alas, the above site isn't going to be much different from its compatriots - my HTML just ain't that good - but I'm hoping that a big draw will be the fact that I'm trying to go about this with the minimum of squealing. Squealing fansites, with animated gifs, red-heart borders and introductions that read "I LOVE so-and-so SOOOOOO much!!!" make my skin crawl. There'll be none of that on Seraphim.
Brilliant, Mead, that now makes four websites that your handling, mutters my internal voice. Yep. For an encore, I think I'll build an e-commerce site on a shoestring budget - wait, I already am!
In all likelihood, I'll be moving Death and Dieting to a back-burner, very far back on the stove, to make room for Seraphim and the upcoming commerce site for Laurel and James. After all, Death and Dieting was started as a joke... But I won't stint this journal, fair reader, never fear!
Alex: "So, he's a guy who's a cross between Steve Irwin
and The Joker...'What's that you've got there, Pete? A shotgun? Amazing!
What a little beauty! Go on, Pete, kill me again...Makes you feel tough,
don't it? I like it when you feel tough, Pete..."
Johanna: "If I have nightmares tonight, it's all your fault!"
--- Discussing plots, aka playing 'Frighten the Waiter' at dinner last night.
Actually, aside from the quote, above, it was another bland day. Alex and I wandered around the mall and picked up the soundtrack for Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I'm liking it a lot more than I expected, and I'm currently keeping it in my office, making MP3s off it so I can listen while I work. ;)
a bit last night. Since the damn acmecity banner eats the top of the page,
the intro graphics have to be kept physically small - less room 'above the
fold' - so I caved in and made an image map using a cast photo I found
somewhere on the web. Discouragingly enough, I'm finding more really
good Angel-specific sites every day, and I'm starting to feel like a very
redundant little fangirl.
Still, I'm a stubborn wench. I'll just have to roll up my sleeves and learn some niftier design tricks to keep the site looking nice - and dust off my Big Gal's Book O'Film Critique when writing episode critiques. Those critiques are what I'm hoping will make the site a mite different from the others out there..
But, of course, if my silly web projects vaporized tomorrow, the world will still turn and my life will continue much as before - albeit a bit crankier... But it's so much fun! But, judging by the expressions of my web-co-workers, it's not much fun to do for ten hours per day on diverse topics you might or might not hate...
It had to happen
some time. I've entered into a correspondence with a grad student in
Illinois who is writing their thesis on communication amongst members of a
subculture - specifically, LARPers. The student is a LARPer, herself, so she
wasn't asking me for an explanation of what the sport is about, or anything
dire like that. But we've started talking about the reciprocal relationship
between character and player (and back again). For example, Alex and I
watched a really cool documentary on the building of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Four months later, Serious
Moonlight runs a game set on the recently-opened Golden Gate... Contrariwise, I decide to play a seriously insane, sadistic Malkavian, so I
start reading up on psychotic disorders and serial killers, so I can present
her in a plausible manner..
I think I'm about two e-mails away from becoming a footnote on somebody's thesis, just I had always hoped! Yippee! Okay, I guess you have to be a serious academic wonk to find that amusing, but I do!
Another work day demands my attention. I won a few more supporters to the 'get me a laptop' campaign yesterday, but I doubt I'm ever going to see success in that particular venture. Today I have to wear my wunnerful-interview-coordinator hat. Ack...
Transylvanian Concubine...You know what flows here just like wine - Rasputina
The Office-Gothic Clothing Report
Long swooshy skirt - very good at getting caught under the rollers of my chair Spandex tank-top - which I always forget (until after it's too late) has a habit of sliding down so far that my workers think I'm trying for some Madonna underwear-as-outwear thing. Chiffon-esque and cotton over shirt - to cover the tanktop, somewhat Vampire-gamegeek ankh signet ring. Purple and black rosary. Mr. Happy watch. And, of course, the shoes All black, of course - except for the tights.
I am such a
marketing drone. After listening to the Rasputina track Transylvanian
Concubian on the Buffy, The Vampire Slayer soundtrack, I decided
I rather liked it and I toddled over to the nearby Virgin Megastore to see
if any of their CDs were on the shelves. Many dollars later, I walked out of
the store with all three of their albums. Sigh. And I wonder why I'm
For the record, though, I've listened to all three and like 'em a lot. Although I have to currently give the edge to their most recent effort How We Quit The Forest.
And aside from
that, it's been very quiet. My neck/shoulders are giving me a lot of trouble
again, and what sleep I got last night wasn't really worth the effort. I
kept ending up on my back, which tends to give me nightmares. I know, it's
an old wives' tale, but since I happen to believe in it, it gets to me. I'm
glad Alex has cancelled tonight's installment of the Star
Wars game. We're just going to hang out with the guys, instead, and -
with luck - a friend of mine from Florida, who's in town this week, can come
up for a visit, too.
I've just got to get through the day without passing out at my desk, or falling off my shoes.
start well. I ran into Terry, online, and promptly managed to mangle what
little communication we had going. I don't know whether to apologize or
throttle him. He went through a tough breakup a couple of months ago and has
since reached the "To heck with everyone, I'm looking out for number
one, pass the bottle." phase, combined with a dollop of the "I'll
tell the truth to everyone, no matter what!" period. When he justifies
all this to me as 'coping as best I can' and that pickling oneself 'is a
socially acceptable crutch', I have a reaction that could be called mixed
He's an adult, he can do anything he likes. Even when it sounds bloody stupid. I went as far as saying that it didn't seem to be an advisable course, but I didn't want to start bickering with anyone. I was going to follow up with the fact that he's as stubborn as a mule and once he's dug his heels in, I don't see much point in trying to shift him. However, I got a very abrupt message back (we were on Instant Messenger) that he wasn't aware we were bickering, he was just being honest and oh, gotta run.
So I'm left yelling 'Wait!' into the ether, and feeling quite vexed. He's free to do what he likes. I'm free to feel vexed by it. However, I can't shake the sense that Terry wants more support from his friends, while simultaneously trying to drive everyone away with his behavior. Please, note, members of the "Terry Can Do No Wrong Club", that this is just my opinion. After our last spat a couple of months ago, I concluded that Terry was playing variant of 'Get-Away-Closer' and I promptly got away. I don't have the strength to go through any more emotional yo-yoing. Horrible and unsupportive, yes, but I've been sucked down into other people's personal Abysses way too much, already. Next time I go into counseling, I would like it to be because of something I've done directly to myself...
And he's my age. I know breakups are damned tough, but I thought there was something in the Grownups Charter about putting away the excessively immature behavior after a certain point. Aww, what the hell do I know? I've only been dumped twice, both times in short-term relationships. They say love makes fools of us all, and I guess all this is another manifestation of that.
We're scheduled to grab a pint together on Wednesday night. Maybe things can get a little more settled, then. I'm quite certain that our current form of communication (e-mails, instant messages) is part of the problem. 'Cos, beneath it all, I still like Terry - he's a smart guy and hellishly insightful when he wants to be - and I would prefer that we keep things on an even keel. But his current behavior and tone are putting my hackles up, all out of proportion for the matter. I'm sure if I could figure out why that is, all other incidental problems would melt like snow. Argh.
But that ugly
incident was followed by a pleasant lunch with a co-worker, Kerry, who has
the good fortune to be dating a loaded investment banker who's currently
living in the UK and flying her out so she can spend New Year's with him.
I'm seething with jealousy, on the sillest levels, but more seriously, it
tickled me to see Kerry so happy. She's a bit bemused by the whole
relationship - it's all been very sudden, apparently - but she's grinning
like an idiot at the slightest provocation, and such upbeatedness was a balm
to my encroaching post-Terry grouchies.
The pleasant lunch was followed up by one of vivid's monthly cocktail parties. Of course, the phrase 'cocktail party' makes it sound entirely too dignified. But 'several hundred web workers drinking as much they can on someone else's dime' doesn't fit easily on a small invitation, nor does it have the professional élan that vivid tries for.
As usual, I had a little too much to drink, but I had a very good time actually talking to my co-workers, for once. My job tends to keep me tied at my desk, issuing snotty e-mails, rather than actual face-time and I don't like being so removed from the rest of the vivid crowd. Of course, after four beers in fast succession, topped off with a large vodka (yes, my head is hurting this morning), the vivid crowd probably heard a little more of me than they wanted to. *groan*
Then I staggered home and got anti-social. Jenn and Jenn (no relation) had come over to hang out and I was glad to see them. But, after scarfing down some leftovers and watching the end of Ghostbusters 2 (a terrible movie) with them, I decided that I was too tipsy to be very good company and hid in the computer room, instead.
Memo to future self: writing on a Palm Pilot when on the train home, late at night with a few beers sloshing around inside one, is an exercise in futility. "Give me a cone, you stupid bat" indeed!
Once I've put my
head back on and soaked my back long enough to end those aches and
pains, it's off to the Clan Macdude
Halloween party. The MacDudes are a great bunch, but Alex and I haven't had
much chance to hang out with them since the final StarQuest convention, so
we're seizing the chance to visit them - and wear silly clothes, as per
My head and back hurt far too much for me write any more...
The first time I met him, he said he was a dwarfstar because he was small, and he was famous - Rasputina, DwarfStar
night's party went well, despite Alex deciding that he was too grouchy to
attend, following a wickedly bad day at the office. I visited with Dot,
Kevin, Sarah, Jane and a handful of other Macdudes
that I haven't seen in ages. Much gossiping was done, and I'm afraid the
male half of the human race was not in the highest esteem with the
assembled. Things took a definite fella-disliking turn when Jane's sorta-ex
- 'sorta' as in, Jane believed they were trying to work things out, even
after she had moved out on her own - let Jane know, by phone, that he
had a new lady in his life (disparagingly referred to as 'Flavor of the
Month' by some) and, gosh, what do you mean you're upset, Janie?
General consensus: Men are twits, particularly when it comes to women.
So the spaceship piñata was renamed after the now-definitely-ex and we encouraged Jane to go after it with vigor. The candy and cheap toys flew all over the house...
And what a house it was. Dot and her beloved occupy a most interesting structure. Built in 1910, it was a combined delicatessen and private residence, that had been converted entirely for residential use, some time in the past. The result is three tall, narrow, stories of oddly laid out rooms. Those turn of the century architects weren't concerned with matters like indoor plumbing. So, the kitchen sink isn't in the kitchen, and the bathroom is squeezed into a remote and inconvenient corner of the house - worries about sewer gas, y'know... Doors that look like they should lead into closets lead to small staircases that reveal yet more rooms. Touring the place was quite an adventure...
Bedlam's Rest. I've got rather mixed feelings about the game tonight. The
plot that Rob is planning to run isn't the most original (I'm not giving any
details before game-time, as I know at least 3 players who read this
journal) and I don't think it's going to be much of a hit with the players.
*Shrug*, I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
And poor Rebecca has to actually dress up for this one. Rebecca doesn't even dress up for court, but the premise of the game is a Toreador Halloween ball, and Rebecca understands the use of playing along with that clan when it's convenient...
I'm sorry, I have to go home and file my crayons... - 'Most desperate excuse to leave a date' Honorary Mention, 1999
Another yawning morning in lovely San Francisco. As per normal for this time of year, my neck of the woods - east bay - is far more fog enshrouded than central San Francisco. It's a little disconcerting, really. I thought all fog was supposed to wreath cinematically around the Golden Gate Bridge and all that...
Bedlam's Rest went
off last night. Alex had a grand time - he was up to his neck in trouble -
but I pretty much could have called it in. Once it was apparent that, while
the Supreme Antagonist, Dr. Chaos, was a Mage and Tremere magic really
couldn't do much against him, Rebecca
and the rest of the clan were left looking rather useless. I'm sure that's
going to have some very ugly repercussions down the line...
It didn't help that half of the game's Tremere have vaporized - two of seven have retired their characters, and a third was playing an NPC last night - and communication between what remained was non-existant. Sigh. I tried, but Rebecca didn't want to look like she was trying to seize power, and Johanna started the game frustrated and cranky, as I knew of the plot and thought it was a clanger.
But, it seems that I was in the minority and for that, I'm glad. The GM's ego is a bit fragile at times (I believe there is no other kind of GM, actually) so I always feel like I'm kicking a puppy when I criticize his game. If only the plots were a little more vampire-centric, rather than pulling in every single supernatural creature in the World of Darkness. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I think a Vampire game should be about vampires. Ah well, not my game, so I should probably hush up. ;)
Well, I've got to look like I'm working - despite the fact that most of my office is still recovering from the party on Friday night...
There are some things I'm really glad I don't include in my journal
- me, after listening to an innuendo-laden conversation between two of my managers.
As usual, Tuesday
is meeting-heck day, but I have a scant few minutes to scrawl down my
minimal ponderings of the day.
I was writing some gratuitous fluff for the ongoing Yvette/Paul silliness, last night - no, you don't get to see it until final draft - and damned if both of my characters, just as I was reaching where I wanted to conclude the piece, looked me in the eye (so to speak) and violently disagreed with my outline. I had everything all neatly laid out, but my mutinous characters simply refused to follow it, took over my fingers on the keyboard and followed a course I had no intention of allowing.
I love it when my characters do that.
So, instead of serving them with a cease-and-desist order, I'm working with their ideas, and doing my best to integrate their episode into the established continuity.
Alex, usually unflappable sweetie that he is, thinks I'm nuts.
I love my husband dearly, but it's obvious that he's never been in the throes of a serious writing binge, the kind where your pet characters storm your frontal lobes like plotline-waving peasants attacking the Bastille...
Wait, I think I just got another idea...
Who's a cutey-wootey little fear demon?
- Xander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I feel obliged to warn you. Spoilers for Buffy and Angel ahead!
Did the weekly
obeisance to the one-eyed god last night. Maybe I'm just a scaredy-cat - I
can admit that - but I found some bits of last night's Buffy episode
rather off-putting. Except for the teeny-weeny fear demon, of course. But it
was an enjoyable episode. The Oz/Willow costume-concept in particular was
The Oz-as-God costume reminds me of a former vividian named Zak who has a face tattooed on the back of his always-shaved head. The face is some Buddhist thing, I believe, but why a person would want it tattooed on the back of their skull, I don't know. Anyways, for Halloween, Zak put red stick-on horns on the back of his skull, and wore a tee-shirt that said 'devil' on the back and 'god' on the front. I happened to espy this coming down the stairs and I dam' near broke my neck...
Angel was worth
watching, also, but I'm starting to peg a few too many recurring devices.
Maybe it's because the principal cast is smaller, numerically, but does
there have to be the obligatory 'Doyle/Cordelia antagonistic bonding
moment' three-quarters of the way through each episode? Shrug, 'tis a
minor quibble, I suppose. At least Angel didn't have any Bruce Wayne moments
this time, unless one counts the return of Kate. Every vigilante needs a
buddy in the police department, right? But Kate is hardly Commissioner
Gordon, fortunately. I like Kate, though, and I'm glad to see her back.
Hands up who wants to see Doyle and Angel in a sweaty clinch following Doyle's little remark about maybe finding Angel just the teenyest bit attractive? Oh good, I knew I wasn't the only one... Mind you, I'd been thinking of that since the pilot episode aired. Of course, it'll never happen outside the realm of fanfiction. Oh, spare my your mutterings and rolled-eyes, a dirty mind requires constant attention, otherwise it atrophies... ;)
Thinking of dirty minds, Gratuitous Interlude is as done as it's going to get, but I'm reconsidering my 'no cease-and-desist order' policy in regards to bossy characters. Yvette and Paul have been jumping up and down, waving story ideas for the past 48 hours (two and half outlines in my head, and no end in sight). I haven't got the heart to tell them that Seraphim now has custody of most of the scanty-processor time I had for throwaway writing...
Regardless of all that - and my recently obtained copy of the screenplay for Eyes Wide Shut which is sitting on my desk quietly chanting "Read me...read me..." - I've got work to get to. More indecipherable notes to decipher and the unpleasant news that the odds of my getting a laptop in the next month are up there with my chances of spontaneously learning German overnight. Drat....
Snakes...Why does it have to be snakes?
Had an interesting
day, e-mail wise, yesterday. One communiqué from a screenplay-writing
contest scam (modest entry fee!) and by the time I bothered to check out
their server, just out of curiosity, it had crashed. Another letter was from
a woman who prefaced her words with "I'm not a writer, but..." and
promptly barraged me with so many questions and ideas inspired by my story Unplugged
that I'm writing her back with "You might think you're not a
writer, but you are...". All she has to do is learn how to stitch all
those ideas together - and anyone can learn technique.
A third letter came at me from a woman who's building an on-line resource for poets, asking me to answer a quick survey for her...And I finally got in touch with the student film-maker in Seattle who's making a documentary about LARPs.
An intriguing and varietal day, e-mail-wise.
was the order of the evening, given the news and the further fact that Alex
and are broke, as is the end-of-the-month norm. So we camped out in front of
the tube and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, newly re-released on
widescreen. Alex and I both love that film, despite it's inherent silliness,
but we still want to know how Indy managed to cover several hundred miles
clinging to a U-boat sail without being discovered, or the U-boat
One of my German co-workers, Thomas, tells me that German audiences found a lot of inadvertent humor in Raiders. Apparently it has something to do with watching American actors, in Nazi uniforms, trying desperately for the matinee-reel Evil German accent, but still sounding like Yosemite Sam - as far as German ears are concerned.
What kinda scary-assed clowns came to your birthday party?
- Chandler, Friends
Ah, the things I
will do to maintain an espirit de corps with my co-workers. Some of
my fellow vividians
agitated to come to work in costume today. I thought that would be fun, but
I wanted something that would be in keeping with Gothic Friday and - this is
the clincher - could be worn or carried on BART.
End result: I'm sitting at my desk in a rubber-look shirt, latex trousers, knee-high bitch boots and my coat, in a sorta "I wanna be Trinity" kinda thing. Of course, only half a dozen people bothered to join in the costume-donning frenzy.
No, you don't want to know how warm I am right now. And remember, if you're going to wear large latex items, kids, take care of it.
Had an interesting interlude with Jennifer, yesterday. An innocuous question about voting somehow led into my trying to give her an encapsulated history of the British Parliamentary system, via Instant Messenger. I hope I didn't mangle it too badly. Still, it got me thinking about how I could stand to learn more about the political history of The Old Country and The Land of The Free - especially since I might go for my citizenship, soon. The INS has announced that the waiting time has been cut to around 12 months (from over 24), and I think that's worth the $200+ fee...
Nothing exciting to report. Most of my personal processor-time is being spent not keeling over from either heat-exhaustion or embarrassment.
Every day is Halloween
Sorry about the entry-less day, yesterday, but if I wasn't asleep, I was out of the house...
Friday night was
Wars game, and it was great fun. The plot was such that the group is on
the verge of splitting up - one half wanting to go do the proper Rebellion
thing, and the other half looking to take a high risk/high profit job,
locally. You can guess which group Yahnna
is in, can't you?
The game went really well, with a lot of roleplaying on all sides. The 'Rebellion Poster Kids' - as Yahnna mentally refers to the rest of the group - are having to give some thought to their principles and motives, and it's been fun poking those motives with a stick.
The crux of the dillemma is that the high-profit/high-risk mission is against the Empire (pinch an Imperial shuttle), but it is not an action sanctioned by the Rebellion. So, there has been some furrowing of brows and examination of bank accounts by everyone but Yahnna... ;) Yahnna's been offered the lion's share of a souped-up yacht and a wad of credits, so she's all over the idea - especially since the Broken Spanner lived up to it's name after being walloped by an asteroid. *Sigh*
Saturday was visiting with my friend Britt to celebrate his birthday. We met up with some friends of his in San Francisco, and headed over to New Wave City who were - of course - having a come-in-costume night. A great many fairies, devils, droogies and goths were in attendance. Yours truly gothed out, bigtime, and would like to state for the record that Ben Nye's black lipstick must be named 'asphalt' because of it's similarity to road tar. I finally had to use cold cream to get the stuff off...
I didn't realize that one could learn so much in a dance club over a few
I like dance clubs, when I'm drinking. When sober, I find them very dull. Even when they're full of fairies, devils and droogs. If you're going to go to a dance club, wear deodorant. I did but, by god, a few people didn't. Yuk. When intending to go out and boogie one's tuckus off, do not wear a tight-laced corset. If wearing a tight-laced corset, drink nothing but water all night - and lots of it. There is always somebody who looks better in a corset than you do. Just because it's a guy is no reason to want to hurl yourself under a truck. Just when you are thoroughly bored and hating every aspect of a place, the music will magically improve. Throw off your sulk and get back on the dance floor, corset and all. No-one cares how you look, just get out there and dance.
Maybe it was the
sobriety-thing working against me, but I wasn't as entertained by the club
as I usually am. New Wave City is a great place - huge dance floors, nothin'
but new wave tunes, etc - but I spent a lot of time leaning up against a
pillar, scoping out cuties in PVC. I partially blame the fact that the
entire group split up once we were inside. Apparently, I was the only one
who believed in social dancing... I hate dancing by myself. At least
being gothed out made it viable, as many goths are reluctant to share their
dancing space with anyone. So I spent a lot of time leaning against the
wall, drinking water and wondering if I should loosen my corset...
I did run into my pal, Cliff, who I haven't seen in ages, and we chatted netgeek for a few minutes. Cliff is one of the people behind Apache (serious web-server software) so geektalk is no frivolous matter, to him. Actually, it is... Anyways, we chatted and the practical upshot is that he is willing to host this lovely place - Rough Cut, Irregular Ramblings, all of it - at his home web-server for no price other than a drink when we run into each other at clubs. What a nice chap. Hosting on a pal's server means I can ditch the whole 'members.tripod.com/~johanna_mead/blah/blah/blah' URL and actually make some real use of the domain name I bought a couple of months ago. It'll be 'skaro.com/blah/blah/blah' instead, which is a little easier to remember. ;)
My husband is
agitating for lunch, and we have a dinner date in the city with some
gaming-friends, so I have to run. Don't eat too much Halloween candy, kids!