Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday's Feast #188

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Appetizer: Name something you would categorize as weird.
The movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's one of my favorite movies, though. I love it, but there's no question that it's very, very weird.

Soup: What color was the last piece of food you ate?
Light and dark brown (dry Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal - yum!)

Salad: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?
Probably about a 7. I loves me some space. But I do get lonely, and it comes on suddenly, and more often than not I can't get anyone on the phone, and then my level of enjoyment when it comes to being alone is probably a 3.

Main Course: Fill in the blank: I will _________ vote for ___________ in _______.
I will always vote for sleeping in on rainy days. Period. Point blank. Rainy days and sleep. Awesome.

Dessert: Describe your sleeping habits.
I'm a night owl, so I always go to bed late. I normally watch a little TV before I fall out - it makes me sleepy to lie in my bed with the lights off and watch the TV with the sound turned down low. So normally there's anywhere from half an hour to two hours where after I've gone to bed I'm still awake, watching TV. When I finally turn off the light, I turn over on my left side and doze like that for a bit and snuggle with the cat. When it's time for the real deal sleeping, I turn over on my stomach and sleep with one arm under me and one arm under the pillow and my face half-in, half-out of the pillow. I usually wake up once every hour or so.

Monday, April 21, 2008


The past couple of weekends have been really good. Last weekend was FULL - Friday we went to a poetry reading at the Leopard Forest coffee shop in the thriving metropolis of downtown Travelers Rest, SC. It was actually really good. The poet laureate of SC, Marjory Wentworth, was there. She read for about half an hour. I enjoyed some of her stuff, but overall she was kind of... well... flat I guess? She had great imagery in some of her work, but she read in that high school English teacher style, all breathy and monotone, making a singsong nonsense out of her beautiful words. It was quite the pity. After she finished, they had open mic night. Next time, Gail and Shaggy and I are going to READ! If I'd known there was an open mic, I would've brought a couple of poems.

After the poetry reading we tried to figure out where we wanted to go next and I suggested that we go to the Gaslight - it's this tiny little place set off the beaten path that I've always wanted to go into but have never had the courage to try it by myself. This place looks so noir from the outside, it's crazy. There's latticework over the windows and this big huge tree that covers most of the parking lot with shadow. The sign is old and weathered and in old-English letters it says "Gaslight Underground". This place looks like the shadiest place in the world - like a place where bikers and mobsters get together to play darts and make bets on horseraces. I've always been intrigued by it, and with the group we had I was brave about it. We decided to go, and it was awesome! It was dark and filled with bar signs and dartboards and surly old men looking into their beers, talking feverishly about sports, gas prices, and the state of the economy. There was an old pool table out on the porch, so we got some beers and played a couple of games of pool. I'll definitely go back there sometime.

Saturday we went to our favorite pool hall, the Palace, and shot pool with a buddy of ours. Then Saturday night was LARP - I finally decided that I'm just not having fun with my current character, so I'm going to bring in a new one. The nice thing about Cam games is that they allow you to have two main characters, so I can just make the one I've been playing do a fade and bring in a new one. I'm having fun deciding how I want to play him.

Sunday we went to see SPAMalot! It was awesome. I got a black t-shirt that says "I'm not dead yet" in white letters across the front. I plan on wearing that the first night I bring my new character into game - ha! Not dead yet, "yet" being the operative word, right? After SPAMalot, Erin, Shaggy and I went to an old burned out mill and took about ten thousand pictures. What a great weekend.

This past weekend was my screenwriting class - I think it turned out to be definitely worth the money. I can't wait to start writing a screenplay. The professor recommended this program called Final Draft, and I'm going to go see about it. From what I understand it's fairly expensive (around $200 I think), so I'll probably have to save up for it. But I will - I'm pretty excited about this whole screenwriting thing. What a great class. It was really inspiring. On Sunday we watched Little Miss Sunshine and the prof kept pausing it to show us different parts of the script and how they were used in the film. It was incredibly cool and interesting. I really want to give this a shot.

Other than that, not too much is going on. Work's still work, spring has come to the South so I'm sneezing my head off every five minutes. The Sox are doing well - leading their division, but it's still early in the season and anything could happen. I'm still staring out the window wistfully at work every few minutes, dreaming of being independently wealthy. The cats are starting some sort of gambling ring since we told them that they couldn't have their martial arts cadre. You know. Same old bullshit.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday's Feast #187

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Appetizer: Name a color you find soothing.
Seawater blue-green.

Soup: Using 20 or less words, describe your first driving experience.
Me, my dad, and a pitcher's worth of margaritas (for him) in a church parking lot.

Salad: what material is your favorite item of clothing made out of?
I don't so much have a tantamount "favorite" item of clothing, but the vast majority of clothing that I own and love to wear are my black cotton t-shirts with whimsical, quirky sayings and designs on them.

Main Course: Who is a great singer or musician who, if they were to come to your town for a concert, you would spend the night outside waiting for tickets to see?
Ahhhh... nobody? I've seen everyone I want to see that badly already. Although if Sinatra were still alive I'd probably do it for him.

Dessert: What is the most frequent letter of the alphabet in your whole name (first, middle, maiden, last, etc.)?
What a strange question. 'E' is my most used letter - 5 times in all.

Story, not stats

Reposted from an old journal entry of mine I found on another blogsite. This is about four years old. Yeah, recycled, I know, but it's still my sentiment exactly and I wanted to share. Fair warning, non-geeks: this is a post about RPGs and role-playing in general.

When I was four years old I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: I wanted to tell stories in one form or another. Since then I have done just that in dozens of different forms, from games of "let's pretend" with the other kids in the neighborhood or my cousins, to writing my own short stories and poems, to running popular roleplaying games like Werewolf or Vampire or D&D.

I have been running the aforementioned roleplaying games almost constantly for the better part of ten years, and it at times pains me to see something I take so seriously (and craft so painstakingly and lovingly) referred to as something as trivial as a "game". I don't take what I do as triviality; I am doing my best to make a damn good story. I am also not like other Storytellers, Game Masters, or Dungeon Masters in the fact that I am not a rules monger, dice nazi, or stat queen. In fact *gasp* I couldn't really give a damn about things like stats, levels, and experience.

Yeah, you read right. I don't care about it. I don't give a damn about how many experience points you get for slaying that Ogre. I really can't make myself care about how much damage you can do to an orc with your plus-five halberd of doom or how many agg your Grand Klaive of Depravity can do. What I want to know is, did you have a good time doing it, and (just as importantly, I think), could you see it taking place? Did I tell a good story, in other words? In the years to come, I don't want you to tell me what kind of Gifts your character had in my story, or how many dice he could roll for a fireball, or whether or not he got to twelvth or thirteenth level. I want you to tell me about the scenes you remember: that dingy tavern your character got pickpocketed in, or the first time you met a particular NPC, or when your character saw what was to become his home for the first time. I want you to remember how the bad guy was triumphed over, without reciting how many hit points or health levels he had. I want you to get a look on your face while you're talking -- that look that says you are long and far away, in a place that you have been taken to that lives only in your memory, a place you can see as clearly as you can see the walls of your own bedroom at home. A place that I created for you. I want you to remember the story. I could give a damn about stats (my catchphrase for roleplaying/storytelling has become: "STORY, NOT STATS.").

I want to take your hand and lead you down a path you never thought of before, to a place you didn't know existed. I want to make you see this place, and the people in it, and the things that make it up, like the way it smells and sounds and tastes and looks and feels. I want you to live in the story I tell you, to breathe it, to eat it up with your mind. I want to make you forget about everything but what you can see in your mind's eye for a while. And when you look back on it later, I want you to remember it in your imagination as if it were a memory drawn from the roadway of your own experiences.

I want to shine. And I want my stories to shine. If this were baseball, I would want to hit that sucker out of the park every time I get an at-bat. And I try to do it every time, God knows I do. Most times I get a piece of the ball, but sometimes I really sock the stuffing out of it. And then there's times when I strike out completley and end up going back to the dugout with my head down. But I always step back up to the plate when it comes around again, ready to swing as hard as I can, drunk on the possibility of my achievements, giddy and happy but determined. Determined to make it good. To make it great.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Quotes of Note

Since I'm ultra-busy at work, here's a lazy entry. Some good quotes I've come across lately, for your reading pleasure.

“If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you’re always going to be disappointed.” - Madonna

"Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege." - Michael Moncur

"A woman is the most fiendish instrument of torture ever devised by God to bedevil the days of man!" - Ulysses Everett McGill

“Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.” – Stephen King

“I have a perfect horror of words that are not backed up by deeds.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein

"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not." - Mark Twain

"I have great faith in fools. My friends call it self-confidence." - Edgar Allen Poe

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

"In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"The worst of all fears is the fear of living." - Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, April 04, 2008

An old favorite

My Friday's Feast post made me think about poems I really like. One of my favorites is "The Second Coming" by W. B. Yeats.

The Second Coming
by W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I think of so many things when I read this poem... It's so very prophetic.

Friday's Feast

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Appetizer: Invent a new flower; give it a name and describe it.
Dragon blossoms: a deep scarlet, tropical flower that grows in the faultline crevices of active volcanoes, the Dragon Blossom is a hardy plant that can withstand the massive heat and sulfur-laden atmosphere of a volcanic mountain. The petals make a ridge of what appear to be spines along the top of the flower, while the stem is thick and has no leaves. In late summer the petals spread out to catch every ray of sun they can; when they are fully opened they resemble a pattern of wings.

Soup: Name someone whom you think has a wonderful voice.
James Earl Jones. "Ya mamma's goin on a date. Y'hear me? A date. She's goin with me, an' she's gonna have a good time." (If you haven't seen the Vader Sessions, please proceed immediately to YouTube and look it up.)

Salad: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how clean do you keep your car?
Right now the tidiness of my car is about a 5. I could get it cleaned in less than five minutes. However there are all kinds of papers and crap in the passenger side front seat floorboard, so it looks really messy... I was able to keep my car relatively clean until I got the Honda and we used it for driving EVERYWHERE. When I just go back and forth to work it stays relatively clean but when we drive it for road trips or even just tooling around town on the weekends, it accumulates junk.

Main Course: How do you feel about poetry?
I write poetry myself every now and again, so some poems I'm very fond of. Overall, though, poetry isn't my favorite thing to read. Normally my poetry isn't all that great, but I have written a few that I'm proud of. If you're curious, just ask.

Dessert: What was the last person/place/thing you took a picture of?
My friend Paul is going on vacation to Hawaii, and someone made him a pineapple upside down cake with an Aloha Barbie sitting on top of it like she was sunning herself at the beach. It was pretty hilarious. I took a pic of it with my camera phone. The last picture I took with a real camera was this weekend, when Max was doing something adorable (which happens about once every fifteen minutes).

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

OK Google, ya... me.

I forgot that yesterday was April 1st. April Fools' Day! Dammit. I've been way too preoccupied with things like family members in hospitals and trying to stay out of arguments between close friends to even think about the significance of what day it is. Yeah... ok... they got me good.

Thanks to Shelaine for pointing out the date to me without making me feel TOO dumb. Ha!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Procrasti Nation

From the front page of Gmail:

Ever wish you could go back in time and send that crucial email that could have changed everything -- if only it hadn't slipped your mind? Gmail can now help you with those missed deadlines, missed birthdays and missed opportunities. Pre-date your messages You tell us what time you would have wanted your email sent, and we'll take care of the rest. Need an email to arrive 6 hours ago? No problem. Take sending emails to the past one step further. We let you make emails look like they've been read all along. Use your custom time stamped messages wisely -- each Gmail user gets ten per year. Forget your finance reports. Forget your anniversary. We'll make it look like you remembered.


Gmail, I love you, but... encouraging people to forget their anniversaries so you can pimp your new ability to falsify time & date stamps on emails is a little over the top. And restricting the emails to 10 a year is hilarious. Good lord... you know, I already receive spam that's dated in, like, 2038. And I get this ALL THE TIME. If you're going to be so damn cavalier about supporting procrastinators, go all the way! Don't puss out, Gmail!

Now, listen. Procrastinators - I'm one of 'em. In fact, I'm a charter member of the Procrastinators' Association of America, which has branches in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and North and South Carolina. Would you like to join? We have meetings... well, we WILL have meetings, but we haven't planned which night we're having them yet. But if you join now, you'll have an exclusive chance to order your own PAA jacket, which has our logo embroidered over the left breast. Well, you can get a jacket after we've placed the order. But we need to give them the design of the logo first. And before we can do that, we need to design the logo... 'cause it's not done. Not yet, anyway. But by Friday, yeah, definitely. It'll be done by Friday. Well... I have plans Friday, so it might be Saturday. Of next week. Maybe.

Anyway... yeah. Instead of time & date stamping, Gmail, why don't you try creating a web version of the Outlook calendar, so I don't miss the anniversary in the first place? Oh yeah... that's logical. SCREW THAT!!

Who's up for a movie? There's a good one playing this afternoon. Or... maybe we'll go tonight. Or tomorrow. Or maybe next week. Or next month. Screw it, let's wait for the DVD.