etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
It's getting rather difficult to keep track of what shows I've been in and what shows I want to be in. I'm the kind of nerd who uses The Complete Works of Shakespeare as a To-Do List, so I'm including notes on which shows of his I've seen or studied. The list currently does not include shows done as a child or shows where I worked Tech.

Note: Plays marked with an asterisk (*) are now commonly referred to as the "late romances". Plays marked with two asterisks (**) are sometimes referred to as the "problem plays". The two plays marked with three asterisks (***) were not included in the First Folio.

5 down, 33 to go )
etherial: Earthdawn Logo (earthdawn)
 From the court-mandated parole log of Gronk Longtusk:
10 Raquas
Hired on as a guard for a caravan of settlers heading out from Throal. Lareth and Anfalon don't strike me as the smartest of leaders. Only 25 humans to start a new town out in the wilds? I wish them well. If there's hope for them, then there's hope for the Buunda Boys.
 
11 Raquas
Our first day out of Throal. Two brothers, Vah and Zot, got into a scuffle. The other adepts tried to break them up before anyone even drew blood. Cleary these ujnort don't understand what a real fight looks like. If they had intended any harm, there'd have been some broken bones and eye gouging.
 
My fellow guards are Heartscry, a Windling Illusionist; Krel Tor, a Troll Nethermancer; and Ceadda, a Human Warrior. Three of us are quiet, but Heartscry tries to make up for it by sticking her pointy nose into everyone's business. She was able to find out that Vah and Zot's father had run the market in the Hall these Humans grew up in, and did not treat his customers well. Wish I had known these folks before, we could have knocked over his store and everyone would have been better off for it.
 
Heartscry and I will take first watch, Ceadda and Krel Tor the second.
 
12 Raquas
During the night, a sneak managed to take a sword from Rosario, one of the Humans. They placed it in Zot's tent. Odd, though, that we found their tracks so easily. It didn't seem likely to us that he was the thief, but Lareth banished him anyway. Heartscry told him to follow along, a couple hours behind the caravan. She had tried to talk to his brother, but was brushed off. We're pretty sure he knows who the sneak is.
 
During the long walk south we kept an eye out for any suspicious behavior. Setting up camp for the night, we noticed that Kirtar, a dirt poor fisherman, had suddenly gained a tent. He'd slept under a wagon the night before. Now, he was the proud owner of Zot's tent. We have ourselves a suspect for Vah's accomplice.
 
We worked out a plan to catch the real thief. I'm going to hide on the roof of one of the wagons during our watch, while Heartscry will be big and obvious.
 
12 Raquas (again)
The plan worked. Vah made some furtive attempts to get out of his tent, each time seeing Heartscry fly by, and cowering back inside. Once he figured out her big and obvious pattern, he snuck out and met with Kirtar. Vah handed Kirtar a sack of silver, rewarding him for 10% of Zot's stolen wealth. With both culprits caught red-handed in the middle of camp, I needed a little ruckus to wake everyone up, so I shot Vah in the foot.
 
Sure enough, he started screaming, bringing Loreth, Anfalon, a buck-naked Ceadda, and everyone else out of their tents. Faced with the possibility of walking back to Throal on two broken feet, Vah started to waffle. Faced with my glowing red finger on his breast, Kirtar was more than happy to turn in his boss. Loreth booted the two of them out of the caravan and apologized to Zot.
 
14 Raquas
Mid-day, the trail we were following suddenly ended. The Scouts who were supposed to be showing us the way must have gotten into trouble. With a little luck, we were able to find one of them. He was delirious, his skin discolored by a venomous bite. We administered a poultice and continued down, trying to find his partner.
 
We encountered a creature, something called a Dappled Brithan. It was kind of like a big furry Troll that crawled around on all fours. Extremely territorial, we had to prove our worth to it. Ceadda answered its challenge, and though he nearly got himself killed, his tenacity allowed him to knock it unconscious. We had a Scout to find, so we didn't stay to skin and butcher it.
 
Down by the river, we saw something called a Bog Gob, a hideous gray lumpen thing, gnawing on the bones of the other Scout. This was apparently not normal behavior for Bog Gobs. Then it attacked us. We'd've easily handled it, but it had a Blood Raven friend and Ceadda managed to step on some snakes that attacked us. Heartscry was able to keep the Blood Raven occupied and even cast her Displace Image spell on the other two, but that just meant the snakes went after me. That poison was seriously harsh and I blacked out for a moment, but we were able to defeat the monsters and recover the Scout's body.
 
15 Raquas
We've delivered the settlers to their new home. They offered to let us Name it, and Heartscry Named it Borgan's Rest, after the Scout who lost his life helping them get there. I'm still worried that Lareth will too-quickly rush to judgment in the future, but that's their business, not mine. We headed back to Throal and left them to their work.
 
18 Raquas
Back in Throal. We detected no sign of Kirtar and Vah. I hope they didn't get attacked by a Horror.
 
PCs:
Gronk Longtusk, male Ork Archer
Heartscry, female Windling Illusionist
Krel Tor, male Troll Nethermancer
Ceadda, male Human Warrior
 
NPCs:
Lareth, large Human blacksmith, leader
Anfalon, small Human tailor, his wife
Vah and Zot, angry brothers
Rosario, sword owner
Kirtar, lying liar who lies, fisherman
 
etherial: a fermata with the words "Hold Me" (music)
When I read about Chris Cornell's death last month, I was suddenly reminded I had money in my discretionary fund and hadn't bought music in a long time. In no particular order, here's what I've bought since then:

the entire Discography of blink-192: I've been a big fan of Tom DeLonge's other act, Angels & Airwaves, for some time. He was interviewed in an episode of Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone, a documentary series about guitarists and I loved the way he described blink-182: lullabies for stoned exhibitionists. I'd originally discounted blink-182 as a raunchy sexed up Green Day, but lately I've been working on writing my own raunchy sexed up punk songs, so I don't really have that excuse anymore...

Revelations by Audioslave, King Animal by Soundgarden, and Temple of the Dog: These are the remaining band albums by Cornell that I didn't have, with reason it seems. These don't strike a chord with me, unfortunately. It's nice to finally put a name to the sound of some of the Temple of the Dog songs I was already familiar with, though.

180/365 by okgo: I've been following this group for 16 years and they're fantastic live but this album...they chose the wrong songs for it. Most of these performances are overwrought, not the straightforward four piece band they're best at. And it's got no ELO covers...

Some Nights by Fun. Ugh. I wish I hadn't bought this. Should have been titled "Entitled White Boy Feelings". Essentially confirms my theory that "We Are Young" is about how inconvenient it is keeping together the cover story for your abusive relationship.

One More Light by Linkin Park. While not as bad as Living Things, there's nothing to write home about here, either. I suspect the band peaked with Minutes to Midnight.

Gone Now by Bleachers. A typical sophomore release. Neither the writing nor the tone are as good as the original. I had high hopes for this one.

Information by Eliot Sumner. Buy this album. Now. You will understand what it felt like being a music fan at the beginning of the new wave. Part of the allure of this particular album is that Eliot is Sting's genderqueer offspring and, well, she sounds just like him.

Steven Universe, Vol. 1 by Rebecca Sugar, et al. The soundtrack of the first four seasons of Steven Universe. I have much love for this album. Especially lovely is finally having the full versions of "Big Fat Zucchini", "Haven't You Noticed (I'm a Star)", and "Love Like You" (though it would have been nice to include all three versions of "Haven't You Noticed"). Upon listening to "Tower of Mistakes" by itself, I kinda like the way Michaela Dietz has a weak singing voice (in that song anyway). It lends some interesting depth into Amethyst and her self confidence and difficulties fitting in with the Crystal Gems.
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (Default)
I've officially imported my LJ and abandoned it except for reading other people's posts. If you haven't been keeping up with things over there, there may be a few new posts here you haven't read, some flocked and some public.
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (autobot)
I love things. I love taking my things out of their boxes, holding them, fiddling with them, recalling previous times I'd played with them, worked with them, fiddled with them. I love making things, assembling things, disassembling things, and buying things. I think that's why I gravitate toward board and card games over computer games. It's certainly why my discretionary spending account is always empty.

Last month I backed a Kickstarter for a miniatures wargame called Burrows & Badgers, with the intent of just getting the terrain piece. My mind seized upon the wargame, though, and is obsessing over the details of how to build and play a campaign for this particular wargame. Something about the cross between Redwall, Disney's Robin Hood, and Dark Sword & Sorcery roleplay is really scratching my imagination, and thinking of all the painting, the statbuilding, the moving minis, the measuring of distances, the rolling of dice...it's filling up the parts of my brain that love things. I want to thing the hell out of this game, but my attempts at finding other people interested in playing it have not met with significant results.

I'm sure this feeling will pass, but for now, I just want to buy all these figures and paint them and move them about on the table and twang their bows and pew-pew their slingstones and come up with funny pun-based furry names and medievaloid backstories for them. The brainweasels are busy, only this time they're wearing gauntlets and leather tunics.
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (Default)
According to rumors, livejournal is finally being abandoned for dreamwidth. This makes me sad for a number of reasons, but I wanted to update here in case people were scouting for connections to rekindle.
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
While I continue to be ticked off at J. K. Rowling for her complete mishandling of Magic in North America, my position on this particular film has softened compared to Dr. Strange due to the prominent roles of women and minorities, including two Jewish main characters and a Black President of Macusa (The Magical Congress of the United States of America). So while I did not set it high on my to-watch list, [livejournal.com profile] rosinavs was more interested in it than Arrival, so we went to see it.

Wow. Man, is Eddie Redmayne a good actor. I hated Newt Scamander and Eddie positively shat on every scene he was in. The character was obnoxious, self-centered, awkward to the point of ridiculousness, and not only bad at people, but pretty terrible with the animals, too. It's kind of like the screenwriters saw The Imitation Game and took it upon themselves to write an even more unlikeable Autistic-coded British Intellectual character. Newt gets into a number of poorly conceived, tedious, repetitive comedic sequences trying to capture some of the creatures that escaped from his case and I look forward to being able to fast-forward through them.

The rest of the main characters, however, are awesome, the plot is directly connected to the mid-20th Century detailed in the Potterverse backstory without feeling predetermined, and the visuals are stunning.

I would not say that it's a must-see, but if you've been jonesing for Pottermore and don't mind Rowling's codescending views on Native Americans (who make no appearance whatsoever in the film) and Americans in general, it might be fun to watch.
etherial: a burning flag (politics)
I was a paid staffer for Phillies 2008, a Libertarian Party Presidential Campaign. By then, I was already identifying as a Small Government Socialist, so I got an inside view into the Party with an outsider's perspective. George had no intention of winning the election. He had no intention of getting the 5% of votes necessary to win Federal Funding for future Libertarian Presidential candidates. His one and only goal was to spread the message of Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty. He didn't get the nomination.

See, the problem with Third Parties in America is that they've watched too many underdog movies. They remember that Lincoln was the first Republican President, but they ignore they course of events that led to that Presidency. The Whig Party had coalesced in the early 19th Century in opposition to Andrew Jackson's platform of expansionism and genocide, with the explicit goals of protecting American businesses and empowering the Legislative Branch to limit the power of the Executive. It broke up in the 1850s over the question of Abolition. Most of the members of the Radical Republicans were former Whigs. When Abraham Lincoln joined the Republican Party, most of the Governors of the Northern States were already Republicans.  And when he won the White House, he brought with him Majority Control of both houses of Congress. Contrast with the Libertarian Party, which has never won a single seat in Congress. Or the Green Party, which has never won a single seat in Congress.

Now I know I'm very very angry at those voters in swing states that voted for Johnson (I'm also angry at those voters in swing states that voted for Stein or really anyone other than Clinton, but those numbers are less impressive). I know I bitterly and angrily told friends both here in MA and further afield to not risk Human Civilization to vote Third Party, but some did it anyway. Why? Because it feels good. And if the stakes are this high, we have to find a way to get people to come together and do what is right and feel good about it. And if they didn't feel good voting for Clinton, then we needed to reframe the proposition so that they got to do what feels good and help Clinton get elected. We did not get enough people to feel good about voting for Clinton, and at the end of the day, that's why she lost.

I propose a new system. The stick did not work, so let's try the carrot. I take as given that anyone reading this will accept that electing a Democrat in 2020 is better for the country than electing a Republican. Add in the alternatives and we have:

Vote Democrat >> Vote Third Party >> No Vote >> Vote Republican

If we default the Opposition to Trumpery to the Vote Democrat state, in order for you, gentle reader, to move Right, you need to get five people to move Left. Why five? Sampling error, for one. You may think you've moved someone left when they really were voting left anyway. You may think you've moved someone left when it was really a team effort and multiple people earned the "reward" of being able to vote Third Party. You may think you've moved someone left but they're really just going to vote Republican anyway. You may think you've moved someone left who's no longer able to successfully cast a ballot due to Voter Suppression schemes. So that's the deal. Make plans with your Conservative-leaning and Far-Left-leaning friends to go out and vote. Work out the plans of when and how and for whom you're going to vote. Hold them to their word that they'll vote to oppose Trumpery in all its forms. Vote for whoever you damn well please, but only as long as you can point to five people who are going to Move Left.
etherial: Earthdawn Logo (earthdawn)
It's beginning to look like my Earthdawn game will be ending sooner than expected. A lot of things are changing lately, not just because of election worries, and that's causing several of my players to have to terminate their attendance earlier than the anticipated February ending of the game. We may have only one or two more sessions left before it's all over.

The feeling that this is the last season of America only grows...
etherial: a pink bow (ruffleboy)
I have two vivid memories from when I was ten that help highlight my relationship with traditional masculinity.

Art class: I'm painting a rainbow. I get my hands on the purple paint and the other boys recoil in fear. "That's a girl's color", they tell me. No one can own a color, I scoff.

Summer camp: We're talking around the table at dinner. One of the other boys says "When I get married..." and I ask who he's planning on marrying. He doesn't know. He just knows that he will. The other boys all know that someday they will get married. How? When? To whom? They have no idea. I scoff.

I scoff because I don't need someone else to tell me how to be a man.

When [livejournal.com profile] rosinavs and I moved in together, we had to deal with one of those fundamental incompatibilities that all cohabitators share. She likes the bedroom significantly colder than I do when we sleep at night. So I invest in pajamas. I have a lot of pajamas. Muppet pajamas. Superhero pajamas. Disney pajamas. Fleece pajamas. Flannel pajamas. Sleep pants. Union suits. Footie pajamas. Onesies. Some of these come from the menswear section of stores, but most come from the womens' intimates section.

About two years ago, I was in Wal*Mart, browsing their new winter collection of pajamas and I see something I did not expect to find irresistible. It was a Hello Kitty sleep set, with fluffy fleece sleep shorts with teeny tiny bows on the hem and a ruffled bubblegum pink camisole. It was the ruffle. Something about the hyperbolic shape of the ruffle appeals to the mathematician in me. I like the way they twirl, the way they refuse to lie flat. Also they're pretty. I bought it immediately. I don't wear the camisole very often since I'm not a fan of spaghetti straps and it wasn't really built for someone with a torso as long as mine, but the sleep shorts are fantastic on the colder summer nights. So I've been looking at finding newer, more suitable sources of ruffles to wear.

Last winter, I had a dream involving a pair of pink sneakers and white ruffle socks. After a couple weeks of searching, I found the shoes but I still haven't found ruffle socks in my size. SADFACE. I stopped in at Lane Bryant last week to buy some tights for an Elizabethan event and took a browse through the clearance rack when I saw a skirt that I loved. It was white, green, and off-black in a sort of camo/floral pattern, with a gold wire on the hem of the ruffle to add a little sparkle. I didn't have time to try on clothes, so I left it to go finish running my errands.

Then on Tuesday we saw the future of human civilization go down the toilet in front of our eyes and Wednesday night I was mad so I went to go buy me a skirt because Fuck Mike Pence. So I went back to Lane Bryant and strode boldly forth over to the clearance rack and when the staff said "May I help you?", I said "Yes. I'm here to buy a skirt. I don't know what size I am so I may have to try on a few. I thought you had this one in a size 16 when I was in last week, but I can't find it now." She offered to go back to see if they had any more. I asked her to grab anything else ruffly that looked like it might fit.

Thanks to Awesome Andrea and Magic Michelle at Highland Commons Lane Bryant (in Hudson, MA), I now have *two* ruffly skirts: The camo/floral one and a faux-distressed-leather dealie that makes me look like a fangirl for the Shadows. They are awesome.

So, in summary:
I like pink, ruffles, and sparkles.
I wear a size 17 or so skirt.
I wear women's size 12 shoes.
I'm thinking of changing my gender designator from "cismale" to "ruffleboy".

GiP!

Nov. 10th, 2016 11:36 pm
etherial: a pink bow (ruffleboy)
Tonight's post has been delayed because I had to reteach myself how to use Gimp. So you get this cryptic Gratuitous Icon Post instead.
etherial: a burning flag (politics)
When I decided a few months ago to watch Post-Apocalyptic films on election night, it seemed like a pretty fun gag. And as the mood dampened last night and the odds of HRC winning went from good to bad to desperate, I put the laptop away and watched the damn movies. Because there's one key thing that a good Post-Apocalyptic movie has: survival in the face of desperate circumstances.

America has handed the Republican Party control of all 3 branches of the Federal Government. Over the next four years, they will do everything in their power to destroy all progress made by the human race in the last 120 years. Equality, Education, Opportunity, Peace, Safety, Stability, Trust, the Environment, all of these things are in dire peril.

I never expected to make it to 30. I'd always feared that Millennial thinking would take over Conservative Christianity and that the rise of American Fascism would happen at the dawn of the 21st Century. But living through history is like the metaphorical boiled frog. Small incremental changes slow alter the political landscape until one day you wake up in a Totalitarian Dictatorship. But I'd decided long ago that I was going to dig in. That I would hunker down and help my fellow Americans succeed, survive, or escape, as things dictated.

I am in shock and horror and fear. But I will do what I can to help and protect my people no matter what comes. No matter the cost.
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (tyger)
Crown Tournament was a blast. Anna and Brion decided to go old school and ran a straight-up Double Elimination Tournament, seeded by Order of Precedence. Now, we didn't have a 64-person tree (or 64 combatants), so we had to fudge a few things setting up the first round, but that's something only us MoLs ever saw. The Shield Tree Shields did their job and helped combatants, consorts, and populace see who was fighting who where. The Heralds did their job and told everyone who was fighting and who they were fighting for, and the Marshals did their job and helped ensure that every fight was clean and safe.

The trip home was not so happy as I was violently ill starting around midnight and lasting most of Sunday, so I only feel a little guilty about not posting over the weekend.
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
So far, Doctor Strange has been getting rave reviews. It's been on my nix list due to the blatant racism in the casting decisions and I'm looking for ideas for penance to pay in lieu of a boycott. That way, I can make a clear decision in advance whether I think it's worth the blood price.

What do you recommend I donate and to whom to make up for any contributions I might make to Hollywood's Whitewashing?

NaBloWriMo

Nov. 1st, 2016 01:53 pm
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
I like to write, but I have difficulty motivating myself to do so at times. So while I have no overwhelming urge to write a novel at this time, I'm taking advantage of all my other friends' positive writing energy to get back in the habit of blogging again. I'm gonna try to post every day, although not every post will be Public, so be sure to login and friend me if you want to see them all.

I frequently have dreams while sleeping on the train, and some of them are dreams of me sitting on the train. Now the worst ones are ones where I'm dreaming I'm going the other way, which is always just rude of my subconscious, but this morning I dreamt I was sitting next to the Royal Chiropractor on the train. When the train pulled into the station, I pulled my gloves off and there was another pair of gloves underneath them. "I guess I'm still dreaming", I said, and then I woke up.

I used to be a lucid dreamer. I got out of the habit in college because, well, sleeping for pleasure becomes less of a thing when there are friends and classes and games and parties and and and...I'd like to see if I can get back in the habit now.
etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
This is not the post-Pennsic post. I will post the post-Pennsic post later. This is Invisibilia. )

Invisibilia (Latin for invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.

http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510307/invisibilia

O Canada

May. 3rd, 2016 03:38 pm
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
I've been trying to get to a Canadian Crown Tournament for years. Every six months, the Kingdom of the East holds a Crown Tournament to determine the Heirs to the Throne. Then five months later, those Heirs are Crowned and a new Crown Tournament needs to be held. The tournament travels through each region of the Kingdom in turn. I've been to every Fall Crown Tournament since joining the SCA in 2006, but the Spring Crown Tournaments happen at the ends of the Kingdom, and I live in the middle. I've been to two Southern Crown Tournaments now, but Tir Mara has remained elusive. 2010 was a week before my wedding. 2012 was in Nova Scotia and both money and PTO were extremely tight. We almost made it in 2014, but we were already running a local event that day. Finally, on the last day of the 50th year of the SCA, I made it to Crown Tournament in Canada, and it was glorious.

Crown Tournament is one of my favorite events, and not just because I'm working to make it happen. Or, more precisely, it's because so many people are working to make it happen. The combatants and their consorts process into Court and are presented before the Crown. The shield heralds raise the combatants' heraldry for all to see. The field heralds announce each bout to great acclaim. The marshals work hard to keep the excitement and pressure from going to the combatants' heads. The list runners bring the results back to the Ministry of Lists, and we ministers move names on paper to figure out who's fighting who next. And the whole time, the Order of the Rose calls attention to great acts of chivalry (while also making sure to catch the winner's inspiration in case they faint).

We drove North to Montreal Friday night, having had a small snafu with the car, but otherwise proceeding apace. We got to Chateau de Robin around midnight and had a good time chatting, stretching, and decompressing until around 1:30.

Saturday, the weather was damn near perfect: sunny but not too hot, too windy, or too stifling. During the tournament itself, everything worked like clockwork. There were a few injuries and a few hotheads, but the marshals arranged for the occasional pause in the action to give the combatants a chance to cool down. And the winner? Duke Brion Anthony Uriel Tarragon -- Knight, Laurel, and Pelican -- fighting for his wife, Duchess Anna Ophelia Holloway Tarragon -- Laurel, Pelican, Lion of Atenveldt, and Tyger of the East -- AKA two really big deal people in their 50s. Brion took all comers with courtesy, chivalry, grace, and a great deal of serenity.

We left the event only to drive immediately back. A group of local folks had lost a critical engine belt and we gave one a ride back to the event to try and get some help. We had dinner at a local restaurant with a lovely house wine and delicious poutine.

Sunday, we had a nice leisurely breakfast where Jeanne put up with my deliberate mispronunciations of french, packed the car, went shopping for wine, and then slowly made our way home.

Scheduling

Jan. 28th, 2016 11:43 pm
etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
For a year and a half, I tried to keep my schedule posted here. It was a dumb move. For starters, Livejournal just ain't the format for keeping track of calendar events. It was nice seeing everything laid out in a list, but that was about all it was good for. It didn't make for interesting reading, it failed as a writing prompt, but -- worst of all -- it raised the minimum hurdle for getting a post out there. So I've now made the effort to formally move everything to gcal.

However, one thing that LJ is great for is open-ended discussion, so I have ideas for a couple of events I'd like to spitball a bit:

1. Caper Night
Crime happens; hilarity ensues. I want to host a party where we watch a bunch of crime procedural films and marvel at how awesome they are. Over the years, I've developed quite the collection, some of which are rather obscure. Dinner will of course be deviled eggs, mescalin greens, and chicken piccata. This is closest to happening given that all I really need is a free weekend.

2. Casino Royale
A more ambitious sort of theme party, I want to host a tribute to spy movies. James Bond Marathon in the TV room. Roulette, Craps, Baccarat, and Texas Hold 'Em in the Great Room. Costume Contests, Assassin Games, and Beluga Caviar. I have a team of interested parties, I just need the money to make it happen.

3. Whiskey Party, AKA the cigar-smoke-filled backroom
I'd like to start holding a regular meeting of like-minded individuals who want to intellectually and then practically work towards solving the big issues of the day. The last time I tried to organize this, I only got 2 responses. Some of the principals from when this gathering was originally proposed are no longer talking to each other. This will probably never happen, and it makes me sad. Actually smoking cigars was never part of the plan. I do still like the idea of sipping whiskey at it, but that's not compatible with the biology of all the principals.

4. Grilling and Games, Miami 2017 Edition
I had a 4th of July party running for several years that was pretty awesome, designed around the idea of having fun on 7/4 even when it is a weekday. 2017 begins a new 3-year series of 7/4 on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and we will begin by having the lights go down on Broadway.

5. The Battle of Five Armies
I play in the SCA with the Shire of Quintavia, which has the dubious honor of bordering on six other local groups, all Baronies. It is extremely rare for Quintavia to hold an event where none of its direct neighbors are holding competing events, let alone other groups in the region. I want to run a big outdoor camping event whose premise is to get several of our neighbors to commit to coming and fighting each other. We do the work, we collect the money, they get the prize, everybody has a good time. There will be War Points and Great Court and a White Elephant.

Gah!

Oct. 25th, 2015 06:46 pm
etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
I'm not really sure why, but the urge to write is failing to coalesce. So here's what sense I can make of my current calendar. I'm worried I'm missing some things, but that's life.

Plans Ahoy )
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (camelot)
Since I have overheard multiple people exclaim how good these were last night:

1 pound snow peas
1 onion
1/4 cup scallions
1/4 cup parsley
garlic to taste
vegetable oil
sesame oil
sesame seeds
soy sauce

Wash and clean all vegetables. Chop the other vegetables but leave the snow peas whole. In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and add the snow peas. Note that sesame oil has a low smoke point and should be added later. If you add it now, it could scorch or start a fire.

Since all of these vegetables are perfectly edible raw (with the possible exception of the garlic), the frying is mostly about adding and mixing flavors. After the snow peas have started to soften, add the other vegetables and continue frying until the onions have started to turn clear. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook for another minute.

Ideally you have started with just enough oil to fry all the vegetables but that when you add the soy sauce, the water cooks off a little and it turns into a glaze.
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
I have many posts brewing inside me, but I am stuck at work loading a build when I should be running my RPG. Would anyone be interested in Sense8 Til You Bleed on 6/6? It's a new series on Netflix by JMS and the Wachowskis. It looks pretty cool.

Plans Ahoy )
etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
There's a logic puzzle that's been going around that has a bunch of my friends stumped. I don't know if it's really from a primary school assignment in Singapore (the syntax certainly reflects Singapore's mixed heritage), but I solved more complicated logic puzzles all the time in elementary school, so maybe.

Albert and Bernard just become friends with Cheryl, and they want to know when her birthday is. Cheryl gives them a list of 10 possible dates.

May 15, May 16, May 19, June 17, June 18, July 14, July 16, August 14, August 15, August 17

Cheryl then tells Albert and Bernard separately the month and the day of her birthday respectively.

Albert: I don't know when Cheryl's birthday is, but I know that Bernard does not know too.

Bernard: At first I don't know when Cheryl's birthday is, but I know now.

Albert: Then I also know when Cheryl's birthday is.

So when is Cheryl's birthday?

Answer behind the cut )
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
A number of friends have expressed an interest in going to Pennsic this year. While http://www.pennsicwar.org/penn44/geninfo.html has a lot of great info, I thought I'd organize my own thoughts on some of the concepts involved. Besides the items on the packing lists, there are three big-ticket items you need for a trip to Pennsic: Time, Money, and an Encampment )
etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
I was totally going to post something substantive, but I forgot what it was, so I'll just update my calendar and be done with it. Anyone wanna give me a writing prompt?

Plans Ahoy )
etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
Well, there was supposed to be a post or two in January, but here we are. The big news is that [livejournal.com profile] rosinavs' contract expired, which means money is tight, but we knew this was coming, so we'll deal. 2014 was a very rough year for many, us included, but we did manage to pay off WPI, the IRS, and our unpaid condo fees that had built up while we we both unemployed the last time around.

The Madwoman of Chaillot is going very well, people have been very impressed with our performance. Last show is this Friday, so please come by and watch the vagabonds of Paris get their revenge on the Corporate Machine.

Plans Ahoy )
etherial: a fermata with the words "Hold Me" (music)
S.H.I.E.L.D.T.U.B. was a great success, we have about a dozen people for Season 1, then people slowly trickled out as we watched Season 2. However, I am still slightly overbooked and slightly broke. Since I wasn't able to pay for Intercon during the initial signups due to a financial scheduling snafu, I haven't signed up for it yet and might skip it this year in order to catch up on sleep. I am especially overwhelmed by Christmas this year. I just want to pull the ripchord. Here's what I am looking forward to:

Plans Ahoy )
etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
I had a great time at the Masquerade Ball last night, but damn I have been busy. That was the fourth SCA event in a row and I have not had a single free weekend since August. Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] rosinavs and I have carved out next weekend for Absolutely Nothing. We may not even put on pants. It will be glorious.

S.H.I.E.L.D.T.U.B. is the weekend after, and even if you didn't fill out the poll, please come by, it'll be a lot of fun.

I don't usually advertise the Camelot New Year's Party here, but since my usual other New Year's Party is taking a year off, I will probably staying home all night and be comfortable inviting people to join me. There will be games, drinks, karaoke, and probably some navel gazing for the coming year. Y'all come by.

Plans Ahoy )
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
Having blown past our original target date of 9/13 as well as given up on our backup date of 10/4, I can now take more time to consider the options. I have three freeish weekends coming up, including Thanksgiving Weekend, which obviously has its pluses and minuses. Please fill out this poll and, for better or for worse, I'll make a final decision. Also my calendar for the rest of 2014 has mostly firmed up, so take a look and see if anything is interesting to you or if you want to fill an open hole in my schedule.

[Poll #1983980]

Plans Ahoy )

Toast

Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:59 am
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
My toast from last night:

Hello everyone, thank you for coming. I'm Greg and I've known [livejournal.com profile] teenyweenyowen since he was this tall (holds hand above head).

It seems a millennium ago I started college at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, about half an hour from here, and not too long after, so did Owen. After graduation, I joined the Society for Creative Anarchronism, and not too long after, so did Owen. Later, I bought a house off Sawyer Hill Road in Berlin, and not too long after, so did Owen. And then I married a wonderful person I met through the SCA, and not too long after, so did Owen. So you can clearly see that I've been friends with Owen for a while now and we've done a lot together, and if you have an interest in History and are looking for The One, you should consider joining the SCA.

If you were just meeting Owen for the first time today and werre wondering what kind of person he is and what he has to offer Rebecca besides huge size, here are a few things you should know about him: He is kind to animals. He is good with children. He is handy. He is a foul-weather friend. By that last one, I mean that when I need people to get something done and I don't think anyone will do it -- I don't even think I would do it if the circumstances were reversed -- Owen is the first to volunteer. Even if sometimes I can't count on him to be awake before noon, I know I can count on him when I'm in trouble.

But most relevantly for all of you: He makes Rebecca smile. He makes Rebecca laugh. He makes Rebecca happy. I told Owen and Rebecca when he asked her to marry him that if being engaged ever ceases to be the most fun thing they've ever done, that they should stop. As you can see, they took my advice and they are no longer engaged.

There will be sorrows and frustrations and tragedies ahead, and lots of hard work, but it is when we work hard for ourselves and for the ones we love that we receive the greatest joys, and looking back on that work, it has been a lot of fun. So please raise your glasses and join me in wishing these two that being married to each other is the most fun that they will ever have.
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
S.H.I.E.L.D. til you bleed!

I'm going to try to squeeze in a viewing of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 on Saturday, September 13. The show, of course, is 22 episodes long, which makes it roughly 18 hours long. Further, there's a movie that takes place about 2/3 of the way through the season that, while it doesn't directly involve the characters from the show, has a strong impact on the characters in the show.

[Poll #1980039]

Plans Ahoy )
etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
I had an unsettling dream which called into question my perception of events long ago. I am left wondering what I have done that seemed right in my mind, but to the other parties involved was wrong. Therefore, if I have wronged you or another in the past, please consider the possibility that I am blinded by my perspective on the matter, ignorant of my wrongdoing, and in need of correction. Please help me be a better person by letting me know of my unforgiven transgressions.

Comments are screened.
etherial: a fermata with the words "Hold Me" (music)


Taking a break from the 21st century for a while...
etherial: a fermata with the words "Hold Me" (music)
Grilling and Games will not be happening this year. The genesis of the party was "What do you do with a full time job and a day off in the middle of the week?" and that's not true this year. Grilling and Games will return in 2017 when we will drink Mojitos while playing "Bigappleship".
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
After last Intercon, [livejournal.com profile] rosinavs told me she wanted to write and run a "big" LARP. Our previous LARP, Resurrect Me, Please was a lightly paced storytelling game for 11 people. This time around, she wants something a little bigger. After some discussion, including of this coming Intercon's theme, "Orbit", we hit upon the idea of running a game based on John Scalzi's Old Man's War Series. That's where you come in.

We're looking for two groups of people:

1) People who are interested in writing a 30+ person LARP based on a military science fiction series.

2) People who have read the series who are interested in helping us discuss some of the questions raised by the series, whether we should try to answer them in our LARP, and, if so, what those answers should be.

Comments will likely be full of spoilers. If you are of the first type and want to read the books before viewing the comments, we have the whole series.
etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
This morning, I felt terrible. Coughing fits, fever, chills -- terrible. I took the day off of work and miraculously felt better when I woke up again at 9:30, so I spent the day dealing with some things I'd been putting off. I paid some bills, did some laundry, and signed up for some credit cards. There is a bubble, like a shockwave or sonic boom, of 0% interest credit card debt riding our income, threatening to overcome us if all of it expires at once. Every Spring, it comes close, and then we sign up for a few new cards, transfer the balances over, and continue to ride it out. It's not a very good plan, but it's the best we could come up with on the way down.

I get paid semi-monthly and [livejournal.com profile] rosinavs gets paid biweekly, which is actually a really convenient way to earn money when deep in debt. All of my income goes toward paying the monthly expenses: credit card bills, condo fees, utilities, commuter rail passes, etc. and all of her income goes toward paying the day-to-day expenses: food, gas, entertainment, etc. There's not a lot of room in the budget, but what there is, we sock away for the annual expenses: car insurance, real estate taxes, income taxes.

We keep track of our expenses in a spreadsheet on Google Docs, so we can both edit it at any time from anywhere. While updating things, I got to take a look at our debt numbers and sure enough they've been going down. It sometimes feels like we'll never make any progress (mostly because we're still very underwater on the house), but, besides a certain very expensive cat, the debt is going down. Very soon I'll have my student debt paid off.

We're not out of the rapids yet. We've got income taxes next month and real estate taxes the month after that, but at that point, it should be fairly smooth sailing for a good six months.

Good Reads

Feb. 15th, 2014 09:35 am
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
Two of my favorite reads of last year were the first two installments of this book series: Unidentified Funny Objects. UFO is an anthology of humor SF/F stories. Stories featuring Orcish Public Defenders, Alien Invasions via Twitter, Elemental Activists, and The Improved Cubicle Door Spell. Stories by Jim Hines, Sergey Lukyanenko, Mike Resnick, and more.

UFO3 is available for pre-order on Kickstarter.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/776571295/unidentified-funny-objects-3-annual-anthology-of-h
etherial: Earthdawn Logo (earthdawn)
Long ago, a scholar in a remote monastery began the work of translating an ancient text, which foretold the rise and fall of the level of magic in the world. And at its crest, the barriers to other dimensions would thin, and beings of unspeakable evil would be able to cross over into our world and lay waste to it. These beings became known as Horrors, and that time became known as the Scourge. The people of the world built massive underground fortresses to hide civilization from the Scourge and wait until the surface became safe again.

It didn't. The magic level began to drop and then mysteriously stabilized. Explorers were sent out, and they discovered a world transformed. It was inhabited by strange creatures they had never seen before, plants and animals that had barely scraped by, and populated still with Horrors. It has been a hundred years since the doors were reluctantly opened. It is an age of legend, as brave heroes explore the jungles, reclaim the land, and combat the Horrors.

...

This is the world of Earthdawn, my favorite fantasy RPG. Why is the wilderness filled with wandering creatures? Why are there dungeons full of monsters and magical treasure? Where does magic come from? How does a magic sword become a magic sword? Earthdawn began by taking a cold hard look at all the classic tropes of fantasy role playing and said "If this is what makes for a fun game, can't we at least come up with a world where all of this makes sense?" The setting is designed to bring sense to these fantasy tropes, and the system is designed to reinforce the setting.

The rules are slick, combining the best strengths of level-based and skill-based systems. The world-building is spectacular. It sucks you down into the Age of Legend to battle with evil and rebuild a shattered world. Earthdawn Fourth Edition is currently being funded via Kickstarter and I encourage all lovers of fantasy to take a look.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/783548120/earthdawn-4th-edition
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
In their never-ending quest to drive people away from livejournal, SUP has no restricted going older on your flist to 100 entries - it used to be thousands. If anybody posted anything of note in July, please comment here so I can find it (comments screened).
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
There are really only two weeks a year when all of my clothes are clean: The week immediately before, and the week immediately after, Pennsic. There's this moment where the rising tide of clean laundry crests like a wave about to curl, as more and more of it is clean, but I'm not quite ready to start packing, so my drawers fill with pants and underwear, my hangars fill with shirts, my shelves are bursting at the seams with towels.

I have a lot of clothes. Souvenir t-shirts, souvenir polo shirts, work shirts, work pants, dress pants, jeans, suits, formalwear, costume pieces, sca garb...This year, during the post-Pennsic laundry binge, my goal is to cull the clothes that are no longer in sufficient repair to bother keeping and to mark the leftmost shirts and such. Then, next year, I can fill in from the right and cull all of the clothes that I haven't worn for a year.

Also, I think I need to rotate out my black socks after this year. Most of them are looking rather grey.

On Death

Jun. 25th, 2013 02:35 pm
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
I continue to feel really, really weird when people post death notices of prominent SCAdians on SCA-related facebook pages, email lists, livejournals, etc. I thought perhaps my feelings might change when someone I knew died, but they did not. I feel really voyeuristic, almost offended that I'm receiving information I feel is private. Yet I don't feel this way when a "famous person" dies. Thoughts?
etherial: Galliard Moon (galliard)
I'm working on a LARP Character, and I'm puzzling my puzzler with coming up with a good name. It needs to say "I'm of Scandinavian Descent" but also "I'm from Middle America". It needs to be ethnic, but not too. I'm not overly concerned about meaning or symbolism for this name, but for reference: He's a bit of a misanthrope, but a team player. He's a physical education teacher who wants to reach out to his students: the couch potatoes, the dumb jocks, the loners, the social butterflies, and teach them to challenge their preconceived notions about how to tackle problems and achieve their goals, and maybe avoid poisoning themselves or getting pregnant. Also, he's a werewolf.

[Poll #1916669]

Netrunner

May. 22nd, 2013 10:32 pm
etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
Character death was not the only big thing to go on during my weekend. Sunday was the Boston Netrunner Regional Tournament. Netrunner was originally released as an Asymmetrical Collectible Card Game back in 1996. The "Asymmetrical" part comes from the fact that there are two players: The Corporation and the Netrunner. The Runner is trying to break into the Corp's servers and steal the plans to their secret projects. The Corp is trying to keep the Runner out long enough to launch their secret projects. It was rereleased last year as a Living Card Game, which is basically the same thing only the distribution model is a little kinder to players.

I had mixed feelings going into this tournament. Most of the times I played this game, my gameplay blew up rather spectacularly during the first game, which can be pretty lethal in a tournament. I was also unsure of how many people were going to be there. The Game Nights at Pandemonium tended to cap out at 7 people, and had seemed to be petering out. Meanwhile, the stresses of my commute have been getting to me and I had not spent much time deckbuilding, nor had I played any online matches since March.

The Tournament Organizer himself wasn't sure who was showing up, and said he'd be happy if we were able to break even on the prize support ($20/person for 16 people or $10/person for 32 or more). We had 47. Pandemonium, normally largely occupied by Magic: The Gathering players, was packed with Netrunners, some of which I knew, many of which I had at least met, but many of whom were brand new to me (One of my opponents had come all the way up from Long Island).

Most of my games are a blur at this point - Netrunner is a game of bluffing, misdirection, and information control, and there are a number of strong deck archetypes that I saw repeatedly throughout the day. One thing that is not a blur, though, was that I was doing well. With 47 people, we had six Swiss Seeding rounds before a cut to the top 8 for a Single Elimination bracket to determine the overall winner. In the first five rounds, my worst score was a draw.

One of the quirks of the Swiss Tournament format is that, in the last round, you can reach a situation where actually playing the game hurts your standing. If my sixth round opponent and I came to a draw, we were both in the top 8. If one of us was badly beaten by the other, he could get knocked out, and the winner would have had only a minor advancement in place to compensate for it. The risk (and more importantly the stress) wasn't worth the effort, so we declared an Intentional Draw.

Sadly, in my first elimination round, I was quickly trounced and out of the tournament, but I walked away with some nifty prizes and the realization that yes, I am rather good at this game and had not been wasting my time (completely) and that I'm getting much better about controlling myself when profoundly nervous (the secret is Ginger Ale).
etherial: Galliard Moon (galliard)
Once upon a time, my roommate Daren and my friend Conor invited me to join them in a Werewolf LARP called "Crossroads". I had played a couple of Werewolf one-shots before, and it was kind of interesting, but it had not yet grabbed me. This game grabbed me. Werewolf is a game of found family, of holding the line against the darkness, of courage in the face of impossible odds, of painfully swallowing your frustration, and of letting loose your Rage...and then having to deal with the messy consequences.

I am currently playing in another Werewolf LARP and had a fantastic time on Saturday.I died. )
etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
[livejournal.com profile] dilettante gave [livejournal.com profile] rosinavs and I a copy of Android: Netrunner yesterday. I have spent a significant portion of the last 24 hours musing about the mathematics behind organizing tournament play for the game given the official tournament rules (and also where the tournament rules are wrong).
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
Just dove into the deep end of the pool. Let's see if I can swim.