etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
2037-09-07 01:15 pm

I think I might be an actor

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: a fermata with the words "Hold Me" (music)
2017-06-06 01:24 pm

Downloading it all

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)
2017-04-06 09:41 am

Well, that was fun while it lasted

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)
2017-01-04 09:40 pm

The Love of Things

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)
2016-12-29 10:01 am

Not Dead Yet

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)
2016-11-18 11:00 pm

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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)
2016-11-16 10:39 pm

On Third Parties

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)
2016-11-15 11:02 pm

All Good Things...

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)
2016-11-11 12:21 pm

Enter the Ruffle

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".
etherial: a pink bow (ruffleboy)
2016-11-10 11:36 pm

GiP!

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)
2016-11-09 02:27 pm

Define "interesting"

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)
2016-11-07 03:56 pm

Well, that was fun

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)
2016-11-04 11:55 pm

My resolve is weakening

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?
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
2016-11-01 01:53 pm

NaBloWriMo

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)
2016-08-31 04:16 pm

Invisibilia

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
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
2016-05-03 03:38 pm

O Canada

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.
etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
2016-01-28 11:43 pm

Scheduling

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.
etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
2015-10-25 06:46 pm

Gah!

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 )