Another gym day up, and another gym day down. Butterfly Press is awesome. Argh! but awesome.
Started working on an in-game Crossover LARP story yesterday.
I picked up a box of munchkins for the office this morning.
Finished enough leaf pick up this weekend to be satisfied. In time, too!
Album for today is Kate Bush's "50 Words for Snow." Huh, Stephen Fry is on the title song. New information for me. Very cool and moody album.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Words_for_Snow
My kids asked for Moana songs at bedtime
Cracked open a a decent Malbec yesterday
Today, was balance/leg day at the gym - rocked it
Friday and another work week comes to a close!
Running a small LARP means I can e-mail my players 1-1 and discuss casting choices and preferences personally.
"Maui Man, you can try, try try, but you can't expect a demigod to beat a decapod (look it up)" – Shiny, Jemaine Clements on the Moana soundtrack
We have a new boss at the office. He seems reasonable, but I have “Don’t get fooled, again” running through my head.
In The Name of the Wind, my current audiobook, Kvothe is being vindictive. It is enjoyable, vicariously, and I realized it is a truth about realistic heroes. Even the best people, heroes, suck sometimes. Also, the internet tells me that Kvothe Meme is a thing.
I really enjoyed Sam Adam’s HOPFLAKE WHITE IPA from the Winter mix. When did I become an IPA guy?
Five happy thoughts…
I hit the gym this morning. My back and shoulders ache the good ache.
The Name of the Wind remains a delight to listen to, and I wish my commute was longer (Ha!)
Kicking butt and repairing lots of devices at work. I want to clear my to-dos before December.
Starting to get into Donnie Firebrand’s mindset as my default PC – funny at the gym.
Chai, our newest kitty, is sort of dog-like in adoration. Funny to have a cat welcome me home from work.
I got out of the habit of posting my list of 5 good things. Attention can be hard to muster, and some days FIVE is hard to come up with. The things is, though, this practice is a good focus for the heart and a pretty good way of journaling the outline of your activity. Plus, in the social media arena, it gives you an outlet to frame your life and concerns to your friends. So, here it is, five good things that come to my mind today.
1. Moana – A great movie on many levels; good music, a romance free story, a female chieftain assumed to take power without conflict
2. Dark chocolate – This week out office has a selection of Dove Milk and dark chocolates. Bess has fully converted me to the dark side.
3. Nonny has an informal interview for Kids4Peace this weekend. She is interested and dedicated to communication between various religious groups and is more civics-minded than her parents. I am proud of her.
4. The Standing Rock Go Fund me page has exceeded their goal. They will need it, but it is important to recognize that despite hushed media coverage, they have gotten support and people have stepped forward and care about them. Stay vigilant. Stay supportive. Stand strong. This is a long fight. They need all the help they can get. https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp
5. Still alive. It is worth noting that I never expected to get old when I was a kid. It wasn’t something that I thought of, but I always kind of assumed that something stupid would happen to me before I reached the age of 30. Here I am well past that, and chugging on. Borrowed time? Who knows, but in any case, I am glad for each moment. I am reminded of one of my favorite sorrowful Sarah Mclachlan songs, "Hold On."
We’ll see another day and we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile across your facehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN0jDwg0UW0
Thus, ever, my closing and promise: more anon…
So, I need to preset some black scrolls. I am not going to sweat it. Some poetry is better than none, not worse (Verse?) So, here are 10 Haiku about death. Yay?
Cast unfeeling eyes
In-between this life and death
Pass by, pale Horseman!
A spring flurry
Crows dark as ancient depair
Float from tree to tree
Stabbing through my soul
This life a creamy rosebud
Plucked from the garden
In a split second
During a Fall's thoughtless breath
A life unravels
The last flicker dies
Chills settle in your cottage
As friends start to weep
This limp hand is held
As the wind catches the soul
The candle flickers
One more tendrilled soul
Has found a strong lattice
To wind upon now.
Succumbing to death
The eyes shine as they whisper
I am not afraid
A peace will settle
upon the needled forest
Witness to a Fall
Silence in the sky
Despite the intents thunderous
For we cannot hear
Okay, I'm getting in the head space for this game.
So, now that Shadows is done, I may have some time to sink into other projects. We'll see. There is stuff that is overdue and stuff that needs more attention.
I am told I have a family, for example.
But there is also preparing for my other games. I have Cottington - 5th Gate - A free weekend??? - Crossover - Cottington - A FREE WEEKEND - and INK... and then it is summer properly.
We have season passes to Water Country again. They pay for themselves with two visits, but I'd like to make more... like maybe 4?
We will see. Summer is Coming!
So, today is my new quasi-monthly holiday "PAYDAY!" and it coincided with emusic.com sending me a "We'll double your booster pack purchase right now" e-mail. Now, emusic has been a quirky and nebulous service. It originally featured independent and hard-to-get artists and labels with a reasonably affordable subscription service. I liked it as a means of filling out my music collection. Then, they added a lot more labels and major artists were available, but the per album price was higher. Now, they have dropped the prices and a lot of labels and it is similar to the original service - EXCEPT - they have added a streaming service that includes all previously purchased items. So, it is quirky, but full featured.
Anyway, I dropped in $50 for $100 worth of downloads. I chose 17 albums today, with a mix of Brazilian, some alternative-punkish, and classical recordings. It is a big load of music. The classical is especially pleasing to me. I must be getting old.
Anyway, here is what my $50 got me today:
A Creature I don't know - Laura Marling
A Sense of Place: Ravel, Sheng & Shostakovich - Triple Helix Piano Trio
Adagio I - Thomas Hlawatsch
Buddha - Blink-182
Cantigas de Alfonso X El Sabio - Orquesta del la Asociacion Espanola
Crystal Tears - Andreas Scholl
Debussy: Harp Works - Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam
Enemies - Pele
Every Night for you - Juned
For Keeps - The Field Mice
Forever Hasn't Happened Yet - John Doe
Mandolin and Guitar Recital - Alison Stephens
Romantic Harp - Patricia Spero
Songbook for Isabella - Musica Antiqua of London
The Medieval & Renaissance Harp - Elena Polanska
Timeless - Joyce
Why try to Change me now? - Maya
Looking forward to enjoying this in the months to come.
- Tags:consumer, music
- Music:"Dance of the blessed spirits from Orfeo ed Euridice" - Christoph Willibald Gluck
Overall, this was a good weekend. Friday had me heading home early because work was slow. Then Saturday, I had a lazy morning followed by a decent round of cleaning. Our dining room is much more livable as a result. As usual, I found a lot of interesting useful stuff.
Then Sunday was a clash of things. Since Purim was last week, our Temple’s religious studies (which happen on Sunday because, well, Sunday) were swapped out for the Purim Spiel, and carnival. Nonny and Noah were extremely well behaved for this and enjoyed the festive atmosphere. Then I drove down to my Parents for an Easter Dinner. My folks aren’t religious any longer, but Easter dinner is a tradition, and that was important right now.
Tomorrow my dad is going into the hospital for a quadruple bypass, his first heart surgery. He was tired and a bit dazed. My mom is deeply stressed, but handling things well. The operation will be local and is old-hat now, by all accounts. Still, it is a hard thing to consider and daunting.
I’m not sure I ever adjusted to my father’s near death 11 years ago. There is an element to the event that changed him so fundamentally, it was like he had died and his shadow was left. I suppose it is often like that as one gets older, but it was so dramatic after his collapse. And my children never knew him before his collapse, so they only know the slow, tired man.
I am praying that this operation gives him some strength and a measure of renewed happiness. Many people feel this way about their parents, but he really is one of the finest people I know, and deserves as much joy as anyone can stand.
Needless to say, this made for an awkward Easter dinner. I hope your Spring tidings are joyous and meaningful.
So, let me see:
This weekend, March 25-27 has us doing Easter at my folks after a Purim Speil at the synagogue.
Then we have April 1-3, which is my anniversary and some Bat Mitzvah preparation for Nonny. The first step!
Then, my LARP spring begins with the Finale of Cottington Woods, April 8-10. I am looking forward to this with a mixed delight and sadness.
Immediately follow this with the PENULTIMATE Shadows of Amun event (#12) in which redacted will happen to redacted after redacted shows up.
Then Bess heads off to Wrathborn #3, April 22-24, or she would if it weren’t Passover. So yeah, we do Passover!
Then there is April 29-May 1 which is strangely empty…
Then, we see Crossover start, and Sylvester will become a reality, ready or not, May 6-8.
Followed immediately by THE END OF ENDINGS – Shadows of Amun GAME 13 – May 13-15
Again, May blesses me with a free weekend (probably our observed Mother’s Day) May 20-22
AND then the Eyrie storms the Silverfire Kingdom for Silverfire #3, May 27-29
A small breather on June 3-5, and then the second Crossover event June 10-12.
That is a lot of upcoming LARP, and it is coming up soon.
Ohhhh my! This means two weekends of prep, and then 7 out of 10 weekends of STUFF running. April & May are crazy.
So, when I originally started writing Venting Day, I wanted the characters to be gender neutral. This doesn't mean that all the characters are gender-less (although a couple are pretty much gender-less for a variety of definitions) but rather it doesn't matter for game play if "An inspired, misunderstood genius" identifies as a man or woman, for example. Further, attraction between players isn't set in straight fashion and pairing could create homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual identities based on casting and shifts. I wanted the identity to be fluid and casting to challenge what might be seen as gender tropes. It has been interesting, and I have loved seeing how different castings and gender identity change the presentation of the roles.
But I goofed up. In writing the 7, and then 9 characters, I gave the characters traditional gender-specific names and used gender specific pronouns. In the various runs, I edited each sheet for the casting and player chosen identity. But this meant that each run reflected the specific casting and gender of the run. It was quite a bit of work to verify that each character sheet had the correct gender nuances for the sheet and the other castings in the run.
This wasn't what I originally wanted, and I should have gone the extra half-mile to create gender neutral names and material. Well, that is what I am doing NOW. Essentially, I am filing off gender markers from the entire game. It is a bit of work and I tend to fall on using the character's name instead of shorthand pronouns.
In any case, I wanted to list here the gender-neutral names. I know some have some gender leanings, but overall, I like these:
Rowan Van Allen
So, what does my internet bunch think? Are these suitably vague in terms of gender id? Would you feel comfortable playing a character with this name and your preferred gaming gender id? Inquiring GMS need to know!
1. Fossils by Aoife O'Donovan (of Crooked Still)
2. Facebook Like filtering (I can Like-Like something which is amusing)
3. Commedia Show TOMORROW in Berlin (C'mon Camelot folks, see you there?
4. Working on a new LARP for Intercon Q (sort of 2 games, actually)
5. Ira headed back to school after being sick (Strep is not pretty)
So, for the upcoming Crossover LARP campaign, I am playing a Hind, a Sylvan Deer creature. I have been making a shopping list for him and I am having a problem finding a decent tribal shirt, and I'll probably just go with renaissance shirt #76 at least at the start, but my shopping antics have lead me to discover that most deer-related items are for HUNTERS.
This is a bit creepy, but then again, I should have known that, right?
Anyhow, a camo-deer hoodie might be a possibility, and there are a number of jewelry things that are nifty. And then there is this... ...A remote-controlled mechanical deer tail
Sure it is for a deer decoy and it is aimed to improve your chances of killing a deer - something antithetical to my character concept, eh? But I could have a working, swishing floofy tail!
How did I ever even get to this crossroads? What say you great Internet friends. Would you sew this into the butt of your pants?
1. 49 Degree HEATWAVE!
2. Characters for INTERCON! Excitement!
3. New Debit Card and Credit Card
4. Went to SAVERS and Chunky's yesterday
5. Merengue Rojo on the HARP
To break out #4 a bit, bought 4 dress shirts, 2 ties, a belt, and a stretchy teal sheet for costuming and packets. Savers was CRAZY because it was in 50% off Presidents Day Sale mode. The we say The Good Dinosaur, which was good, but not great. Lots of internal logical faults, but a good story.
I have no idea why, but the soft rock wonder of the 70s is calling to me today. It started with Chicago's Greatest Hits, then Michael Franks, and now James Taylor. Don't get me wrong. This is good stuff. But it seems an odd thing to feel crave.
Ah well, January Cold I battle thee with the rock that is soft.
So, this is a 100% affectation, but I have been enjoying listening to cassettes in my car. It is a funny sort of thing, I guess. I pulled out a case of cassettes when I was cleaning out the garage and then I pulled a dozen of these and have them loose under the car stereo. There is something visceral and delightful about pushing in the cassette, and rewinding and the whole process. Plus, since I full stopped buying cassettes in 1993 or sometime around then, it is a guaranteed 20 year old time machine. This morning’s tunes? The Gin Blossoms’ “New Miserable Experience.” Still amazing.
I acknowledge that this is probably about me getting older, but if it is good enough for Dean Winchester, it is good enough for me. Get off the sidewalk, kids. I am driving here.
Am I seriously surprised when Prime Items are scheduled out a week, despite 2nd Day Air? Get it in order Amazon. I have LARPS to go to this weekend! Why do I have LARPS to go to this weekend? Seems sort of crazy, I admit.
Anyway, after some more selective shopping and I will be getting all I need...
A pad of Black drawing paper (instead of sheets)
A silver and a gold calligraphy pen (Instead of ink well & pen)
A black fleece tactical balaclava
Jet Liquid Eyeliner
Prime Time Foundation 15 Fl Oz (wanted 30)
So, that was 3 swapped out items and I dropped a second eyeliner. I guess that the Amazonians are a bit busy, and in the end I am okay. Still, I am a bit let down. Consider this a warning for holiday shopping.
Related, looking forward to 5th Gate's Conglomeration event.
So, it has been months since my last post. Weird. Either too much to write about, or too much to do, or no ideas of interest. Go figure. While I don't want this journal to be ALL-LARP ALL-THE-TIME, recording Intercon history has been good.
Friday: "A Second Chance for Wings (run 2)"
Saturday Morning: waitlisted for "Red Dwarf" with back-up plan of sleep.
Saturday afternoon: "Stop that Moon" Bofferiffic superheroes a la Sentinels
Saturday Night: "Platform 6" which has a great sci-fi vibe
Sunday: Dustpan", a game of things under the couch. With Bess!
So, um, no pirates in sight despite the theme. I have not done enough work on "Bowie, Bowie, Bowie" to bid it (yet). If I do bid it, I probably will ask to run it Saturday Morning...
This event is rushing at me full force... ...so, in an attempt to get organized:
Order yumtastic treats from Laughing Oak Bakery Buy Doubleshot Espresso pack Buy cliff bars Check Make up kit I'm missing 1 pair of pants - replaced with mundane
Pack up and check on costume
Finish adjusting veils and head wraps Inspect and tape pole arm
Make thrown weapon belt sheaths NOT THIS TIME, MONKEYBOY
Craft four new thrown weapons
Update packing list
Print packing list and Check it
Print out character sheet, PEL and info
The thing about 5th Gate for me is that I am not taking time off from work to pack or prepare. That is also true for Occams razor. My packing needs are somewhat simpler than other games, and I am better about staying organized for games. Still, without an eye on the ball, I am likely to stress out in preparation.
This will be a busy Fall. No packing stress need be added.
This year Intercon will be running in a different venue. I was talking with some friends about it, and I think one of the challenges is that the venue has progressively required more and more small convention space, specifically in the form of suites where mini games run. I think this was difficult on the hotel and an odd sort of con request. It is also the result of having more games, but smaller games.
It seems unlikely that Intercon will be able to manage the more-smaller model in a new venue. It is a tough request to make of a hotel facility. So, I think that it is prudent of those submitting games, and those who might submit games, to bring more large games to the table. I am no exception to this rule. In thinking of this, let me go back to my numbers;
Game & Size
Serpent Spiral - Max.34
Vengeance in Zanzibar - Max.27
The Wreckers - Max.28
Purging Purgatory - Max.30
The thing is that the bigger games require big rooms and Serpent needs two dedicated spaces. I'm uncertain what to do. Vengeance in Zanzibar only ran once, and I think I have found a way to improve the tension and story, and possibly remove a huge obstacle. It may be a doable game, but it is a weird one and would require a lot of rewriting and improvement (and possibly some new characters)
There is a temptation to write a NEW game, but most of the ideas I have are smaller ideas.
Bowie, Bowie, Bowie
This is my every character is a different version of David Bowie, and no you can't all be the Goblin King. Believe it or not, I have an idea for an actual plot that might be workable if Tesla-Bowie and The-Bowie-Who-Fell-To-Earth are played well. It is weird and I dunno if I can actual write a game for 30 David Bowies.
Screwed Up People Make Great Art
This is a weird concept of a game idea where players will be encouraged to make art in-game and bring materials. The idea is that wach player will be playing a GREAT artist at some sort of timeless (or unusual) Conference on the measure of man. The game will explore our relationship to art, creativity, and meaning. And because I am writing it, the artists may have to save the Universe... ...or something.
This is what happens, Larry, when you FIND a Stranger in the ALPS!
So, this one is a brand new idea. There is a famous scene in The Big Lebowski where John Goodman smashes a quality automobile shouting, "This is what happens, Larry, when you f*** a stranger in the a**." You see my use of "*" for censor beeping? Well, apparently, they just changed the language for TV acceptability and it mysteriously became, "This is what happens, Larry, when you FIND a Stranger in the ALPS!" This is both nonsensical and fascinating... and that is a good starting point for a game. I have no idea what it would be about? Do you? Do you think I could get 30 people to play a surreal descent into censorship? It is a mystery. Also, a long title...
TOO MANY COOKS
I just... I am not... man, that might be too much for me.
Anyway, what do you, the reading audience, think? Bring out an old game or try crafting something new? I ask now, because I need to get this ball rolling before Fall boffer season eats my brain.
A while ago, I mentioned I had a huge playlist for Cottington. While I would share it, it is too big and questionably appropriate for the game. I created a shorter list of songs I want to learn and sing, which is a better to share in general.
It feels good to have some songs to sing, and it makes my commute more interesting.
Cottington Woods Playlist (Short Version)
Safe Upon the Shore - Great Big Sea
Weelia Weelia Wallia - Dublineers
She Moved through the Fair - Peter Hollens
Health to the Company - Brobdingnagian Bards
A Clean Song - Oscar Brand
Byrd one Brere - St George Canzona
Wind and Rain - Crooked Still
How Can I Kepp from Singing? - ENYA
Almost Home - HEM
Have You seen but a Bright Lily Grow? - Jennifer Lane
Take My Ashes to the River - Mark Erelli
So Says the Whipporwill - Richard Shindell
Tomorrow Will be Kinder - The Secret Sisters
Wildest Sea - The Strangelings
All the World is green - Tom Waits
Keep me in your Heart - Warren Zevon
Queen of Argyle - Bedlam Bards
Don't get Married Girls - Sean Cannon
The Humbling River - Puscifer
The Mermaid - Great Big Sea
So, my company is moving this weekend - just across town, but my life is chaos. All the stuff I procrastinated about and put into a corner has been unearthed and I have been knocking these things off my to-do lists. It will be nice to be in a new place with a clean(ish) slate. I'm going down to a cubicle, or up depending on your point of view. My desk has always sort of been in an open space. My cube is now a private-like space in our lab. It should be nice. Also, Brickstone is a pretty professional building and 5 minutes closer to home. So, despite the work now, it should be great.
Last night I had a massage with a new massage therapist for me. He may have been trained by House Bolton. This is not necessarily a bad thing - I needed some serious pressure. Still, I have several sore spots, and my shoulders may be two inches lower than before.
My kids are about to embark on a month of serious summer camp, such is July. August is more vacation times. Next year they all move up to the next school. Ira goes to high school. Nonny goes to middle school. Noah goes to 1st grade. This synchronicity will remain throughout their education since they are four years apart, scholastically. I miss the previous versions of the kids they were, but they remain awesome.
I am considering ways to simplify my LARP schedule. Some are ending, but other have begun.
Cottington Woods (ends this Fall)
Fifth Gate (started last Spring - ongoing)
Occams Razor (Ongoing - no end determined)
Shadows of Amun (end Next Spring)
Crossover (Begins next Spring - I will probably join)
So, on my current path - I will be in 4 games this Fall and 4 next Spring, then drop down to 3.
That seems like a lot and I am reconsidering my long-term commitment to Occam's and/or Crossover. It isn't that I don't enjoy them or the concepts behind them, it is just there is life to be lived. These last few LARP-free weeks have been great and I dislike the separation from my family.
Anyway, that is the state of me. Oh, and Bess and I have run out of episodes on our current TV series, so we picked up and are binge-watching Agents of Shield. It is good, and I am enjoying the binge aspect of netflix. We are almost through season one and woah, Joss Whedon has been Joss-like.
Today is a trip back into Shadows of Amun. I have four named roles with complicated tasks. However, I am thinking of family.
My mom wrote me a lovely e-mail earlier this week, so I just wrote back. It isn't a paper letter, yet, more likely to get a reply. Things are getting stressful back home. Both my parents are in poor health. My dad has limited mobility, and his PCP thinks he might need surgery to improve things. My mother is recovering from extensive surgery and will have more scheduled. As a result, my grandmother has moved in to my cousin Cheryl's house. Cher is about 10 years my senior and remained in the area, so that makes sense. She is also a bit high-strung, so it also doesn't make sense. I do not know how it is working, but my mother fears it isn't. My grandmother may need the care of a nursing home soon. That is one of those things... hard to face.
In all this, my niece is having a home-school graduation party on Sunday, and my sister is having a home-teacher retirement party. She is headed towards empty-nester time, and my niece has the world open to her, but lives in books. I love my niece.
In all this backdrop, I think on my life and wonder why I punched out, left home, and didn't really look back. I am out of the equation because I live over an hour away, practically in another state or another world in my provincial family's thoughts. There is a meme of the prodigal son... and part of me identifies with it, always has, and I don't know why. I love my family, and am deeply defined by them. But there is this drive to live my own life... college - Boston - Pilsen - now Chelmsford - it makes little sense. I never hated where I was from, nor my family.
It mystifies Bess. She talks with her folks on an almost daily basis. Usually small check ins, and it gets frustrating, but it is how they work. Me, I talk to them every other week? But when we talk it is an hour on the phone.
And I think about my kids. They are happy, for the most part, and well-balanced and loving. I wonder how often I will talk with them?
Time moves on. There is no denying that. I just worry I'll regret the movements I never noticed.
As I was taking my constitutional during lunch, and the weather was colder than it has been and a touch windy, it struck me that "The good days" are often hard to track or identify without perspective.
Certainly, there are those celebrations or big expected events that are happenings, but these experiences are more like entertainment to be consumed, not self-definitions. That stadium concert may be rocking hard, but it isn't your life. It is an experience shared by 20,000 strangers.
It the quiet walks and the laughter over coffee. It is a meal with friends, or family. The quirky humor you share and odd games you play with one another. These weave the tapestry of your life. You never see that until you get some distance, or get that punch in the face of illness or disease or loss.
When people talk about abundance, they often talk of excess. They rarely talk about what they have, unless they look backwards at something they have lost... the good old days.
Today I looked out at the meadow's grass, losing the first flush yellow-green, and felt the wind on my face and everything was fine. I am grateful for where I am and those around me.
I do not have the gift of perspective, yet, but I am fairly certain that these will be the good old days sometime. I am glad that my mind settled down enough to appreciate that, if for only a moment.
Of course, I cannot say that tomorrow.
This week has been weird. The 5th Gate Silverfire game was surprisingly emotional for me. No, my character isn't emotional. My reaction to playing this dead-inside/dead-outside character is emotional. There is a lot to process. Part of me admires him, and I just don't know how I feel about that.
While Fifth Gate rolls on a boil in the back of my head, real life rolls on. My daughter had a weird confrontation at Hebrew school with her teacher. I think she is very upset with herself and her Hebrew, but is having a hard time expressing it. I'm not sure though. The problem is, she is having a hard time expressing it, so she is a mystery. My step-son remains a young teen, and that is always a challenge. My son has been deep into minecraft, but also legos. He made some amazing small creatures. Further evidence that Noah is actually a cloning experiment.
This weekend is the Non-LARP May weekend. Bess has a craft show tomorrow, and that is preempting my birthday celebrations. Then Sunday is Nonny's birthday and mother's day, and I get a chance to see my mom. It will be the first time since her operation and I am concerned about her a lot. She sounds good, positive, but it is hard.
In 7 days, I go to Occam's Razor, which I am looking forward to.
Then there is Shadows of Amun, which will be a whirlwind.
After that Bess and the Wrathborn side of 5G have fun.
The we go straight into Cottington Woods.
So, four weekends and four different games... ...oh my! Welcome to being 46.
"Every moment you have is a victory against death, and it is a treasure. Even when the moment is painful and regrettable, it is greater than the absence of life. Celebrate the victories and honor the treasures. Live fully. Live well."
I was uncertain why I was initially drawn to the Order of the Veil in Fifth Gate. When I was a freshman in college, I died my hair black and indulged heavily in the late 80's Goth scene. I grew out of it for it seemed hypocritical and pretentious. It seemed easy to become infatuated with death while young. I did not blame those who where drawn into the curious morbidity. Death is a primary motivator in life, and something worth contemplation and fascination. It was more that I did not connect with it. Not really.
So why now, on the cusp of my 46th birthday, did I take on a role that is the refined extract of my mope-tastic late 80's playlists?
It is hard for me to say precisely. The Egyptian themes do tie in with the environment from Shadows of Amun, but that is hardly enough. I am not a huge Egyptologist, despite my character's name (REN - the soul's name). Initially, I was considering the possibility of an exception to the order, a well-adjusted member. But with the order background, that wasn't an option, and still I was intrigued and determined to play this character. I thought, perhaps, I would be reliving some of my youthful fascination.
On the other side of the first event, it was much more. Dwelling in loss, in the absence of life and joy, existing as a ghost looking in on the waking world... ...there is mourning I must do. I mourn the loss of myself, and it is something I needed space to do.
I understand that I am not yet truly aged, but I feel as though I am approaching the threshold of my winter years. I think in our society we have difficulty acknowledging this transition. We celebrate and idolize youth. We cater to it and preserve it within ourselves. We compliment people on their ability to remain ageless. We try to deny our advancing years. It is a form of insanity. It is also something I have internalized.
I was young and I lived well. I loved deeply. I laughed loudly. I played with enthusiasm. I felt deeply. I contemplated with sincerity. Much of that life has passed. By my estimation, at best, I have lived half my life. It has been good, bad, dull, glorious, painful, charitable, mirthful... ...so many things, and it is largely past. The world I walk through today is not the many times I have lived before. Friends are gone - passed elsewhere to other lives, changed by circumstance, or dead. The pillars of my past are the acquaintances of today, and a once fond acquaintance is my bedrock, my wife. I have passed through many versions of my life and cannot be those lives again. Time eats it all.
Part of me is much like Ren. I look outward and past a Veil looking back at life and knowing it is all gone and more will be gone. Strangely enough, this game allows me to dwell in that space - that observation - in a way I do not allow myself in life. Renfield has died - given up everything and become a tool to ensure the life of others. He feels nothing, but looks out on life and knows it is worth the loss. He is in a constant mourning, and all too familiar with everything that he can no longer have. The aspects of my youth that are further from my reach, or simply not possible for him.
And he celebrates this. To him the life he looks on is not a loss, but a validation of everything that has been and everything he is. He became what he is to defend life itself. Frequently other characters talked about how beautiful the day was, or the area, in a way of consolation for the emotional difficulties presented in the game. Looking out on the most beautiful spring day imaginable (we had such blessed weather) I knew Ren could not actually feel it - he was beyond such appreciation. He recognized warmth and sun and trees... ...but all of it was alien to him as he was alien to life. I did not immediately know how Ren would respond. Finally, after grappling with this on several instances I came to this decision. "It is beautiful. I do not understand this beauty, but it is life, and I know that life is worth everything."
This odd focus on life from beyond life is why I chose this role, I think. I had a panic moment in game because I made a chump mistake. I got a magic item from the kickstarter and we were able to chose which one we wanted. Beyond a nifty small bonus power, each item also carried some personal plot identifier with it. I looked them over and decided to take the undead-sounding one from the corpse-born without double checking the background information. In game, it suddenly hit me, the corpse-born hate the undead. How the heck was I going to explain that?
Well, the group hates the undead because (at least on the surface) they believe that existence is a process of earning life. Philosophically, my character is in live with them. While he does not despise his order of heroic undead, he does loathe the way he must exist - the constant self-horror. He does not blame them for loathing him. Some part of him feels he, and his order, deserves this. So, in my mind I created the scene;
During the war, Ren was fighting with a number of the Veiled against the Ebon Order, and the Corpse-Born ridiculed them from the distance while the Veiled were losing ground and getting cut down. Then, having felled the Veiled, the Ebon Order turned their attention to the Corpse-born and began destroying them. Renfield managed to revive himself and healed those of his Order still in existence and rallied them to save the corpse-born who has treated them with jeers and loathing. He personally healed, many of the corpse-born. He and the other Veiled made sure they and could retreat before the unstoppable force.
But this heroism was not the reason Ren earned their respect. When one of the oler corpse-born asked Ren why he had done such a thing, Ren replied, "I exist purely to serve life. You do not respect us, but you are alive and worth preserving. I would rather cease to be than see life die." It was with this answer that he was given the token of respect from the corpse-born.
Ironically, a simple mistake that caused a bit of confusion helped me define him. Ren is first and foremost a healer. He chose to give up life that it might be preserved. He can not experience the thing he cherishes most, and all other joys - love, delight, indulgence, decadence, humor - these too have been banned. He sits past his life... and he is old, as this game allows players to be capable and physically sprightly despite their age.
Being there, being ancient, and past life... it is something I need to celebrate as I stand on the threshold to my Autumn years and Winter. I am not a young man. I will be an old man. I have seen a lot of life. Life is the cause for itself.
Already, this game is emotionally challenging and deeply philosophic. I am sincerely looking forward to where this game is headed.
To do list for Fifth Gate - in no particular order
Purchase and ship donations Finish working out banner stand for myself (WORKING) Work out Sarah’s banner stand (patio umbrella stand) Print stencils/images for banners Paint silk banners – slit for reduced wind drag? (WORKING)
Secure veil to current headdress
Finish secondary headdress
Consider removable inner veil layer (AKA sneeze stopper)
Buy new white cake makeup Buy knee socks</s> Buy plain messenger bag (REMOVED - Will use other bags) Buy Storage box Renfield stuff? BIG BLACK BOX - YAY FORGE packing list for REN Pack borrowed equipment from other characters (belt pouches) Finish up my boffer Anvil Cut and sew heraldic tunic (WORKING)
Cut and sew baldrics, belts, bags, if possible
Buy snacky stuff as needed
Order and pay for BREADY GOODNESS Check on encampment stuff Go over build and incants Develop Initiation Ritual (SKIP - IMPROV WITH WHAT I GOT!) Check in with team to see how builds are going Print out character stuff as needed? Iron out rides with S&S Make more throwing knives
Make a black scroll (waste ink cartridge by indulgence?)
What am I forgetting?
Back on that bandwagon...
1. Intercon is over, and I have free time. Maybe.
2. My game, Venting Day, ended differently every time - awesome.
3. For Those in Peril on the Sea was tear-tatstic
4. Too agreeable/insecure is deadly - Spring River life lessons
5. Next year... P is for PIRATES!
This has been a hard couple of days. Nothing DOOM-ridden - 1st world stuff, really. In any case, I need a few happy thoughts. Feel free to add more in comments.
1. Hot shower. (our shower has been luke warm - not today!)
2. Getting some time alone with Nonny yesterday.
3. Looking at new possibilities for 5th Gate LARP
4. Bess - always and forever - Bess
5. The Dowager Countess of Grantham (should have her own series)
1. Ricola is a much more pleasant drop than sucrets
2. Casting Bess in a run of Venting Day - never done that
3. My Deltoids got a SNOW WORKOUT (good, even if they are loud)
4. My sore throat has improved my Johnny Cash impression 150%
5. Bess seems to be feeling better - Yay!
So, it has been a while since I actually posted. Things have been good, if snow-bound and winter-filled.
As noted, I joined Best Fitness. This is a big thing for me. I have NEVER joined a gym. The thing is, I enjoy exercise, but I have typically preferred exercise to be similar to prayer - private and personal. It is strangely anti-social. Anyway, I have certainly had to brush a big chip off my shoulder to go for this. For the next few months I will be working with a personal trainer to work up my strength and reflexes to specifically become a better stick fighter. As long as I am working out, might as well direct it towards a goal. Right now I am working on my hips and rotation and improving my lateral movement. It is literally a pain in my butt. Apparently my glutes need some serious exercise. Who knew?
Bess has started ramping up her new home business - shimmering silks. She has done a lot of silk painting projects and her recent work on Ira's Tallis had her thinking that this is a needed niche she can fill. She will be making a number of painted silk scarves, barrettes, and of course Tallisim. The silk stretchers are impressive and tend to take over the kitchen. This winter's cleaning task will be to get the basement habitable so she can work on them there.
The mid-winter Boffer events happened. I enjoyed the heck out of both Cottington and Occam's Razor. I will be interested in seeing where the path in Occam's goes. I did not get much personally in way of plot for Cottington, and maybe I missed it. Some general Golem plot moved forward and I made stuff happen with various fairies. I need to finish up a PEL.
My work on the Intercon game, VENTING DAY, continues apace. Casting is interesting and I have roles largely gender-swapped in the two runs. I am also running a private game for the Brown crowd REAL SOON NOW. That is exciting and a bit nerve wracking. I think I will generally use the gender-casting of the second Intercon game for their roles. It is very interesting to have a character swap genders, and I suspect I could do a fascinating paper on the role of gender in game based on these runs. Of course, that is too much work, and this is for fun. It will also be interesting to have this game so very well boxed that I would be glad to hand it to others. I really hope my guess of 2 hours is right. I may have to rush some stuff, or set a timer - 25 minutes per vignette. See how it goes.
Noah had his birthday. We finally buckled and made sure he got Skylander Trap Team. It was good to wait. He needed some more general attention and capability to play the game through. He has been enjoying it a lot - maybe too much? Nonny has been rebitten by Judy Moody and made herself a Summer Challenge Chart with a Lot of THRILL goals (inspired by Judy Moody & the Non-Bummer Summer) We'll definitely have to see how that goes. I suspect she might go Bigfoot hunting again. I will do what I can to help. Probably set up a wildlife camera near her trap.
Ira has been a less-sullen teen now that he is actually a teen. To be fair, last year was pretty rough on him. He was concerned for his Step-mom and concerned and unhappy about the ramp up to his bar mitzvah. Now, he is not doing Sunday School, Hebrew School, and barely doing Boy Scouts. It has helped having a looser schedule. Also, he has settled on some medications, and I think they really help. This year has been MUCH better scholastically and just in general. I am delighted to have him back and happier.
We had a lot of snow. For some reason I am resisting the purchase of a snow-blower. We actually bought one ten years ago before Nonny was born, but I cheaped out on it and the thing died after one winter. So, I have some good snow shovels and a sore back. I do not know how my stoic resolve will hold up after the predicted hardship of this winter. The driveway may become smaller and smaller with each snowfall.
In the meantime, I am preparing for NEW LARPS. The Dear Deer got together to hang out and talk expectations for Crossover. It was great. I had some concerns about being part of this race because I do not naturally drift to an tight-knit and stand-offish team. However, that is not anyone's desire and any of my worries were unfounded. Indeed, for Crossover I hope to actually play a lot with my wife. CRAZY! Speaking of which, her current race concept is super-wacky. I suddenly have a lot of floon for a game 16 months away!
And in the 5th Gate department, I may be switching my build. At Cottington liahgeron
pointed out a interesting build possibility. If you combine a certain defender that can refresh 4 air armor by losing 1 vitality, with the healing header that has a reasonable healing pool, you suddenly get 20+ uses of refresh armor. That is a sort of crazy tanking that I have been trying to ignore for the sake of not cheesing my build. But 80 points of disposable armor is hard to ignore...
In any case, this is where I am. For all my socialization. I need to get out more.
Five great thoughts for Friday
1. Workout was good. 1st time on my own in gym.
2. I got TWO LARP castings – Spring River & For those in Peril on the Sea! (Karma!)
3. I’ll sing this
4. Noah’s new PBS obsession, The Odd Squad
5. Friday, just Friday!
PS: I am having a metric tonne of fun listening to different versions of "The Parting Glass." I am going to sing the heck out of this song - sometime...
Five Happy Things -
1. I have cast both runs for my LARP, Venting Day, at Intercon O
2. I produced dinner last night including a decent smoothie
3. Birka SCA event and Occams role-play night on Saturday
4. The Best Fitness Food Journal is keeping me honest
5. Getting sore muscles rubbed by a sweet spouse
5 Good thoughts for the day...
1. Warm sweater, fuzzy and brown
2. Made and completed my 6AM workout. A start!
3. 1 millionth use of google docs - allowance spending
4. Big Nonny snugs this morning.
5. Downton Abbey - CZARIST RUSSIANS!
1. I joined a Gym! Best Fitness. First One EVER for me.
2. Into the Woods - I almost prefer the movie (heresy!)
3. Long Trail Brewing Stand Out American Ale ~ Yums
4. Playing Super Smash Bros with Noah
and the Laurel Writ of Summoning
Friday Five Things inspired by Friends here and elsewhere
1. BPALS – London, Delphi, Morocco, Bengal, El Dorado (I like Wanderlust)
2. Flight of the Concords (on Amazon Prime on Repeat)
3. XKCD and screwdrivers
4. Munchkin Donut Holes
5. The photography site 500px https://500px.com/
5 Happy thoughts for the Day
1. Growing Daylight - palpable at 5PM!
2. Two new sweaters for sweater weather
3. Cottington Woods Playlist I put together
4. Sleepy Hollow - Cheesier than Wisconsin
5. Taking a cheerful Ira to school
1. It is Noah's Birthday - 6 - flies so fast
2. Reading "Hop on Pop" still amuses Noah endlessly
3. Simple tastes - Noah loves McDonalds & Cliff Bars
4. Funny tastes - Noah enjoys JoCo and Weird Al
5. Learner: Reading, Math, Skiing, Tennis, Video Games- quick study
Overall, I am a lucky dad.
1. I don't post happy thoughts on the weekend, because I don't spend much weekend time online, which is happy thought #1
2. According to Amazon Music, I have 142 Kate Bush Songs
3. Noah's face upon receiving Skylander Trap Team
4. Cottington Woods was a lot of fun. Top Hat! Foods! Polka!
5. Bess' parents are wonderful and fabulous folks.
Five happies for Friday
1. 29F, it is a heatwave!
2. Midwinter LARP season begins tomorrow!
3. Having a good, steady, non-insane job
4. Early shuteye last night - needed that!
5. Heard "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" by Icicle Works on radio
(new song for my 5th Gate Playlist)
So, in this day and age it seems unfavorable to embrace a resolute attitude, and so many people I know, perhaps after discovering they are not resolute creatures in years past, have created goals for 2015. I have been milling around the idea of goals or maybe even resolutions for myself and I am unsure what I my commitments to myself might be.
Some general aims, then? How pathetically non-committal of me!
Yoga. Doing some nightly yoga improves my sleep and my life. There is no reason not to do this. 15 minutes of stretching and relaxing is worth 30 minutes of sleep. Do the math. Win, win. Surprising how hard it is to motivate myself at the end of the day despite this.
Outdoors. I love going outdoors. It may seem crazy on a super cold day like today, but I need sun and outdoors time every day. Lunchtime walks and constitutionals should be doable.
The five happy thoughts thing. I know some people do this for the morale boost, but for me, it as much about tracking and journaling my life. If I list five things everyday, then I cover some of the minutia I don't talk about elsewhere. Plus, it is a simple entry that keeps my journaling alive.
LARP. I have a lot of this. My main goal is to try and keep this from eating ALL of my life. so that includes, writing PELs shortly after the event and submitting quick simple versions of my PELs. It means packing and organizing in the lead up to events. I must remember that I only have ONE Occams and ONE 5th Gate game this Spring, so my Shadows and Cottington kits take precedence and must be maintained to a higher degree.
SCA. Uncertain. I had a good bit of floon after Pennsic, but that is waning. Bess and I will maintain some plans for going to events. I must make the effort to do Birka and some other good upcoming things. Do we do Pennsic again? Uncertain. It might be easier now that Ira is in a more stable spot. Thoughts from the SCA crowd?
Household. March and April should be good months for cleaning the interior of the house. LARP season presents some challenges as that coincides with yard maintanence. My feeling in this is that I want to do minimal lawn care, but the shrubs need some serious tending. The garage may have to wait for the summer for a purging.
Digital organizing of photos and music is on a back-burner. The video singing blog is currently on hold. I need to find some appropriate studio-space and set aside some time to set this up. So, digital audio/video projects are on hold. I will continue to record and store stuff and buy music and the like, but I am not making organizing a priority right now. Too many other things.
Work. We did not move last year, but we will likely move in 2015. I need to get my cruft under control and ready for migration. That means purging some of the "maybe this will be useful sometime" bins of repair goods. Also, going through my pending repairs and fixing/scrapping them.
Health. Yoga and walks outside are a good start. I want to focus on practical exercises, again. This means sparring, running, and throwing packets. After Intercon, I will begin couch to 5k, again, and see what sort of time my 5K is now. I should add in time for staff work and packet chucking.
Love life. I think Bess and I are spending a good amount of time together. I hope to vary some of our together activity at night more. We have a lot of hobbies we share. Of course, even when we watch tv together we are often working on sewing projects and other things. We also need to plan dates, other than regularly scheduled home-time.
So, that is it. What did I miss? Thoughts and comments welcome.
Five Good things
1. My tailcoat, which looks splufty even with patches
2. Noah goes skiing today - Yay winter fun
3. Amazon music service, I stream all day these days
4. Bess made super-delicious pork last night
5. LARP floon (CW, 5th gate, OR, Intercon, ALLtheGAMES)
Five bits of Happiness
1. Heating! I can't imagine this weather without it - even wood fires - yipes!
2. Over breakfast Nonny was wrapped in her cloak. She looked like a Jawa
3. Ira started a D&D campaign at school, as a DM!
4. Birches, by Bill Morrissey - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnp5E1Hm3Lw
5. Sewing patches for my costume for this weekend's Cottington Woods
1. Kids reasonably cheerful about going back to school
2. Having the right, and good, snow shovels
3. Gallivant! (a year's supply of dick jokes per episode)
4. Cider Donuts
5. Plans for getting a new (to me) car
1. Sleeping in late
2. An Epiphany Party tonight - social!
3. Cottington Woods Next Weekend
4. My daughter's delight at American Girl Magazine
5. Ipswich Ale's Winter Mix is Really Good
I got out of the habit of doing this, and it is a pity. I fear that 2015 will need me to "Accentuate the Positive!"
1. 2 parties in 2 days, with engaged, interested kidlings, no less!
2. Playing the "One Night Ultimate Werewolf" game
3. Some good sleep for a change
4. A new (to me) show - Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
5. Bess, who ends this list, but is my alpha and omega in all things.