grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I'm at the Hyatt in Morristown, NJ this weekend, taking part in a really fun gaming convention, as I have done several times in the past. Today is an interesting day for me, slightly melancholy but also happy and grateful, as it's ten years to the day since millari and I tied the knot. Of course, we untied it last year, but we're still very close and she had planned to come down to the con with me, until she bowed out because of work pressure. It's too bad, but I'm proud of her for recognizing that she couldn't make it work and not blowing up her life trying anyway.

I've had some unexpected downtime here, as a couple of events I offered to run didn't fire, but they were scheduled at the last minute, and I did take the opportunity to swim yesterday afternoon (430 meters in the hotel pool), at least. I've played a couple of D&D adventurer's league adventures, which have been OK but not compelling. I'm not sure if it's just the hit or miss quality of the writing (because they can't all be excellent) in comparison to the stories they had for LFR back in 4th edition, or if it's just that I don't love this paladin the way that I loved the wizard I played in those games, but I do find myself missing the chance to play Omen of Halruaa. Also, it does distract from the story when one is riding herd on three twelve year olds. :)

But I quite enjoyed the Agents of SHIELD LARP (which I had to play in as I already have the badge). It let me scratch the itch of 'doing the thing no one else is doing', because I signed up for the Networking division, which basically meant that my job was to be the fixer for everyone else. And literally no one else had opted for that, choosing mostly field ops, Intel, tech, and medical. There were about 40 other players, so the story was big enough that I did not have a clear picture of what was happening, which is the part of live action gaming that most throws me compared to table top. This was the debut session, and it looks like there will be more at future cons, so I look forward to doing this again. I wonder if they'll make anything of the fact that character-me was born in Wakanda?

I also tried out Trail of Cthulhu, which was very simple to play (though I gather not to run) and appealingly tragic and weird. I played an antiques dealer whose college student son had disappeared two years before, supposedly while somehow at a house that had burned down in the 1890s. Driving home one afternoon, I suddenly saw the old house on Hill Street, standing where it no longer was, so I stopped and went in. There, I met a PI who claimed to be hired by my long-dead wife, a young girl who claimed to be the stillborn daughter my wife had died to bring into the world, and a woman who confidently asserted that it was all fine because she was only dreaming. We slowly uncovered a twisting mystery of alternate histories in which I was dead, or a hopeless drunk, or a single father, until we finally tracked down my long lost son, only to discover that he was, indeed, long lost, and that his body was only a vessel for a consciousness that was jumping across alternate realities. Some other NPCs claimed that it was a monster, a worm that was slowly eating through all reality, but for me, it all came down to whether or not I thought that I could reclaim my son from the thing that looked out from his eyes, or if I could only avenge him. I went with option B, after the girl playing the daughter I never had convinced me that now that we knew what had happened to Francis, it was time to move on. As I said, appealingly tragic and weird. It reminded of that shortlived TV series starring Jason Isaacs, Awake.

And now, I have to run and eat before I run my 4th edition D&D adventure, the Dreadful Davenport of Dolorous Doom, in which our party of murder hobos must haul a wizard's accursed sofa across town to the dump.
grinninfoole: (Default)
I'm in a better mindset than my last post. It's tough to resist the old patterns of my family, but one of my friends (I think it was millari but it might have been morlock) summed it up well: don't go back to Andover to care of your mom, go back to visit your mom. And it's true that we already have a great team helping mom, with the PCAs from Home Instead, house calls from Patricia and Margaret at Elder Care Coordinator, financial coverage from the folks at US Trust, and chats with the minister. I'm going to focus on making my time in Andover about what I can do that others can't. Also, when I'm away, I call every day.

Right now, though, I'm in Tarrytown. I came down on Saturday and stayed with friends in Mount Vernon (super pleasant home for a super nice couple) (saw the Last Witchhunter movie, which was just as predictable and ersatz as a Snickers bar). Sunday we had the 'make plans for 2016' board meeting, and in the evening Lefty and I played Pathfinder (the adventure card game not the RPG, because who has time for such a baroque rules system?)* I had planned to drive back home tomorrow early in the day, but Lefty called and asked me to come take him to urgent care. He's got some sort of bladder problem that I think has been greatly exacerbated by an infection? Anyhoo, it was horrible so he needed a ride and a friend while he got treatment. I stayed the night at his place, and this morning the pills are working and he's much improved. Huzzah! (I beguiled the hours after he crashed out by watching Burn After Reading, which was as great as M told me it would be and was like watching a Fiasco game adapted to film, and the The Seven Percent Solution, which I had seen thirty years ago but I hadn't noticed that it's kind of racist and that Robert Duvall's British accent sounds terrible.)

Now I'm heading off with Lefty on a store errand, and then it's home to vote!

{BTW, while driving down, I listened to a podcast recommended by a friend I'll call Vanderbilt, the Blacklist Table Reads, which turns unproduced screen plays into audio dramas. It's a Hollywood thing, but the episode I listened to was Chrome Noir, a 30s crime story with robots that was a lot of fun.}



*I do, actually, in a game that Stoic is running. Honestly, though, if it weren't a long-running and already ongoing campaign, I don't know that I would find it worth the trouble, and I kept my character simple.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
Stoic has been running a pathfinder game inspired by the Sharpe's Rifles books for a couple of years now, I think, and I joined in about a year ago as a !Quaker chaplain. It's been quite fun, the sort of game that makes it worth dealing with all of Pathfinder's rules apparatus. A couple of months ago he decided that he wanted to run a session only every other weeks, so I offered to run an alternating Deadlands game. (Why Deadlands? I was familiar with the Savage World rules after playing in another one myself, the rules are fairly simple but flexible enough to allow for players to customize their characters, and the feel of the game with an initiative system using a poker deck and drawing fate chips from a bag would be a nice change of pace from what the other guys were used to.).

We're down to four of us, just now, so I invited MaMEd to join us for our first session of 2016, which was yesterday--I thought it would be a good excuse to see more of him. On the spur of the moment, after stopping by the shop and chatting with Successor at the Roost, I invited her to join. Given how busy she is, I was shocked she said yes, but I'm delighted I did so. She hit the ground running, and her shapeshifter bounty hunter is a great addition to the group. Ironically, MaMEd had to cancel at the last minute, so I'll have to work him in next time.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Today, I got a tutorial on the basics of editing audio files with Audacity. This will be useful, I'm sure, at some point in my radio career. I also went shopping in Hadley with Stoic. Maple line Farms and Aldis are, he says, the places to get the optimal combination of fresh produce and groceries at low prices. It took longer than my usual method (go to a market, fill the cart with the stuff I want, pay for it, and leave), but who knows? It might do me good to spend less money.

I made my cannellini, artichokes, portobellos and stuff over rice dish, then M came over and we three played Dominion. It was fun. I look forward to perhaps trying it again, maybe with something other than the intro set up of cards.

Chatted online with [livejournal.com profile] usakeh and now I'm posting this. Am I really forming a new habit?

Oh, and my show went well on Friday, and mom listened in using the iPad I got her for Xmas, so that's starting to pay off.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I started 2016 off well. I spent New Year's Eve with MaMEd and his family, swapping gifts and enjoying each other's company. The Attraction game (which is like playing marbles with magnets) was a big hit with Princess C. Saturday into Sunday was a lot of games. [livejournal.com profile] millari and I had a nice supper at Mulino's Saturday evening, followed by some Chrononauts at her place. Sunday was twelve hours of gaming fun at my house. M came over, as well as Suave, and folks from my Deadlands/Transhuman gaming group (until I come up with nicknames: SS, TJ, JEL, JE). We played a cute trick-taking game called Friday the 13th, then Lords of Waterdeep (as there were only five of us yet–poor M had to wait an hour for us to finish, but was very chill about it–and it was a close game to the end), and all seven of us played Shadows Over Camelot. It turned out that none of us was a traitor (only 12.5% chance of that) and we managed to find the Grail, retrieve Excalibur and Lancelot's Armor, defeat the Black Knight, and drive off an invasion of Picts. Ironically, we won by allowing an invasion of Saxons to proceed, thus filling up the Table. After that, Suave took off, so we played Unspeakable Words (the Lovecraftian word game) and more Friday 13th. Then TJ and M departed, so the four of us remaining wrapped up with an old chestnut (for me, at least), Reiner Knizia's Lord Of The Rings coop game. I got that game back in 2001, and I have played it dozens of times (according to the scoring sheet), but not since 2007. It was a bit of a roller-coaster as I tried to recall the rules, but the hobbits managed to chuck the ring into the fire all the same. Poor Stoic, who has been my houseguest for the past month as he reboots and regroups, is also recuperating from an injury, and he felt too unwell to join us. Perhaps next time.

It was enormous fun, exactly why I keep trying to have these sorts of parties. I hope to have more luck with them in the year to come.
grinninfoole: (Default)
1) This coming Saturday will be the second Paint & Pixel Festival.  I've managed to arrange programming this year, which is good, but I still feel like I did a slap-dash job, and kind of guilty about it.  Peggy continues to impress with her passion and capability. 

We're hosting comics workshops for kids at the store as part of the build up to the show.  Colin, the education guy, has done a great job setting these up and running them.  Peggy also sponsored a couple of movie nights at Popcorn Noir, the next of which is the Muppet Movie on Thursday..... which will conflict with my Deadlands game.  aargh!

Oh, and there's a filk band performing in the Mythos on Monday at 7, which could conflict with dinner plans!  double argh!

2) On columbus day, M and I went to NYC, met with the Ladies of Brattleboro for dinner at the Green Table, and then went to see Sleep No More, which is an extraordinary experience in immersive theater.  One is given a mask & enjoined not to speak, and for up to 3 hours one wonders around inside a warehouse of four or five stories where a troop of interpretive dancers performs something inspired by Macbeth.  One can explore the trappings of the set as much as one wishes, or follow performers around or hang out in the lounge.  It's a choose your own adventure style of show, though only as an observer.   I wound up following one stunning beautiful woman around for a while, and wound up getting whisked into a locked room for a short private performance that, while a scripted part of the show, was quite intimate and moving.  Which, if you are thinking of something sexual, is completely wrong--yet it felt like everything you would fantasize about.  A great experience which was well worth the cost.  I plan to go back at some point.

3) My mom is still in a rehab hospital, still in real pain, but I think getting better.  I hope.  Dad is still slipping away a bit at a time.

4) I drove back to Andover last night, couldn't sleep, and watched the Matrix Reloaded on demand.  It's better than I recalled.  The talky scenes make more sense when I can process the sometimes ornate and philosophical dialog, and some of the WTF plot twists actual do make some logical sense.  The biggest weakness that remains, for me, are the pointless action scenes.  The first Matrix was good in part because all the fight scenes served the story, developed character, and looked cool.  In Reloaded, there a couple of set pieces that just take up time. If the Wachowskis had done more with them, they'd have greatly improved the movie.  (Three examples: the introductory fight with Seraph--what does tussling with Neo for two minutes tell him, or us, that we don't know?; then. the  big fight scene with a crowd of Agent Smiths drags on; and the fight with the Merovingian's goons in his foyer is designed to waste Neo's time, but must it waste ours?  What's the point of another display of kung fu?  Are these guys really as challenging as the huge crowd of Agent Smiths?)  On the whole, I stick by some of my earlier criticisms, but I have to upgrade my rating of the film.

5) Sometimes I'm fine, and sometimes the depression gets to me.  I need to spend more time with friends.  I clearly need that.

6) Had an interesting talk with Morlock about making changes in my life. He pointed out that I'm still struggling with some of the same questions that bugged me years ago.  Maybe, he suggested, I need new questions.  hmmmmmmmmmmm.

7) 2013 must be the year I learn to budget.  Just because my desires have heretofore not exceeded my means, doesn't mean those means are inexhaustible. I must get the hang of identifying priorities, choosing amongst them, and then setting aside the others while resisting impulsive spending.  Good grief!
grinninfoole: (Default)
This has been a very busy time for me at work.  Last weekend, I went to Morristown NJ to sell stuff and promote the in-the-works Modern Myths NY at DexCon.  It was a bit of a drag driving down and then working late setting up on July 4, but the con itself wasn't too much work and, as I mentioned in my last post, I had some fun.  (I also tried Legend Of The Five Rings, a long-standing RPG that we carry and that I didn't know at all, so I got to have fun and learn something useful. :)

Driving back from the show on Sunday evening, I was feeling really sleepy, so I called a few friends for conversation to keep me awake.  The first couple of folks I tried weren't home, but Grounded was, so I talked to her for 20 minutes.  A nice chat, and while I think I'm still doing some grieving, I definitely feel better about myself and happy to have her as a friend.

In what might qualify as a modern miracle, two different insurance plans of my father's just paid our claims for his care in full.  His care is still shockingly expensive, but now it won't eat up all the family money in only 3-5 years.

I have started walking a couple of days a week in the morning with my friend [alias TBD], which is a good start towards my 'fit into my tux before a friend's wedidng' goal.  Also, it's nice to have nerdy chats about all sorts of stuff.  I don't know who else would tell me about the history of boxing and how it intertwines with racism in America.  Or that the NHL's fan base is growing in the south, possibly because hockey is the last remaining major sport with almost no black players.

Hmmmm, wow, have I really not posted about my college reunion in May?  OK, well, I flew out to Ohio for my 20th reunion from Kenyon College.  I stayed with friends in Granville and drove back and forth to Gambier on Thursday to Saturday.  I got to catch up with a number of my friends from my year in Exeter, which was great.  I went on the 'ghost tour' with Professor Shutt, who is older but still a goofy and charming raconteur.  (Still no word on whether Gunnar is home, but his halberd is. :)   I also spent some time with the Church of Otis crowd, and it was great to see them, particularly [ FVC alias also TBD] and her new boyfriend.  I have known FVC since I was a freshman, and I long had a crush on her (which she knows all about), and she's been an out lesbian all that time, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this guy she's been living with the past year.  Happily, I quite like him.  He's a friendly, grounded, witty person, and a great fit for her.  She's the happiest I have seen her in years.  I would love to see them again soon.

I am slowly migrating my life back into the master bedroom.  The key steps of getting a new bed and sheets etc. has been achieved.  There's more to do, but Feisty approves of bigger bed to share with me.

It's time for me to go, but I'm just going to mention that the fireflies were spectacular this year, and that on the weekend of July first I watched the Easthampton fireworks from my living room window, while the fireflies dancing in the foreground in my backyard.  It was lovely.
grinninfoole: (Default)
It was OK. Not as dramatic as I had hoped/feared, not painful or joyous or intense. Really, it was nothing like what I had imagined, but just what I had wanted: a conversation between two people who used to know each other, who had had a relationship once, and who had moved on to make different lives, and were happy to catch up again.

For my, my relationship with {Grounded} had been a major, emotional intense episode in my life, unmatched by anything else. For her, I think it was part of a drama that played out mostly with other people, that started before we met and continued after we broke off contact.

In some ways, I'm pleased with myself for having made a real life for myself, that I haven't been simply sitting around pining for her, and that I'm a grown-up she can respect. On the other hand, she's got a full, busy life as a doctor, a mom, and someone with friends and interests and autonomy. I must strive not to take the opportunity to flog myself with a litany of ways I could be cooler, busier, more accomplished, etc. My life is a process, I can change the things I don't like, I can rescue myself from my dungeons, and other people who know me well don't see me as a failure unworthy of respect. (Thank you, little blue pills and years of therapy for letting me even perceive this perspective.)

We're going to get together again for coffee or something in a few weeks. I feel a bit of a let down, but I am glad to finally have some reality to deal with, to scorch away Miss Havisham in her yellowing dress. Because I still like her, and I want to get to know her as an actual person, and not a memory.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Congratulations to my friends Raf and Dave, and the rest of their team, for doing great work animating this commercial which aired during the Superbowl.  I have no idea what the hell Chatter really does, or why companies will use it (nor do I have any interest in the Black Eyed Peas), but I'm glad my friends did a great job in front of a huge audience.  Raf apparently did the Elephant and Donkey shot himself.

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