Pick it up! Superman.

All the nominations for the bloggies Australia and New Zealand category are Australian. Well, I think they are. I didn’t check that last one on account of explicit content. But it’s called Aussielicious so I think it’s a safe bet.
This makes me feel terribly patriotic and competetive. Come on New Zealand bloggers! Pick up your game! Sheesh.

In other news, I read a fantastic Superman comic on the weekend. Recommended by Hix, it’s a Kurt Busiek (Astro City) title called Secret Identity. Basically it’s set in something like our world, where Superman and Batman and everyone are famous because of comics. A kid is born to the Kents in Kansas and his hair is dark, so they name him Clark. A hilarious joke for everyone but him.

Then when he turns 18 or so, he actually gets the superpowers and has to decide what to do about it. He likes privacy, so he decides to go with the secret identity thing. It follows him throughout his life; teen, twenties, middle age, old age and tells a rather charming tale about trying to keep a part of your life completely normal when this other part is taken up with extraordinary feats and keeping the government from finding out who you are.

It got me thinking about how ‘uncool’ it is to like Superman. Like, people always complains that he isn’t interesting because he’s “Just a big boy scout” and it always kinda rankled with me that that’s a valid reason.
Sure, Superman has a moral code that he sticks to pretty strictly, and that might make him a little less interesting than say, Punisher or the Sandman. But that’s only one aspect of who he is, and it’s a trait shared with all sorts of other heroes.
Is it because he’s got all the Big Name superpowers? Flight, invulnerability, heat vision, freezey breath, Xray vision, etc. Is a hero less interesting if they can do less? I think his abilities are balanced by his weakness: exposure to kryptonite hurts him and then he dies. And if you’ve seen Smallville you know that that kryptonite stuff is everywhere!

But my point is, there is more to him and that is what makes him an interesting character. For one, he is an alien, and can never truly integrate into human society. By virtue of what he can do, he is excluded. The outsider perspective can be interesting to explore because everyone at some point, feels like they are on the outside looking in.

Point two: because he is so powerful, and one of the first superheroes invented, he can act as a metaphor for all heroes*, for the human condition and for all sorts of things like war, peace and justice. This is useful for storytelling purposes, and one thing that secret identity did very well, making him a metaphor for everyone on some level.

Point three: Because he has a strict moral code, he is a contrast to other characters. Obviously Lex Luthor, but also Batman. Batman himself has a strict no-guns-no-killing code, but he uses intimidation tactics and fear as weapons. Superman is more about fighting the big fight and keeping himself clean as he does it. He is noble, and noble is something worthwhile in a role model.

So yeah. I’m a Superman fan, and I am not ashamed of it. I think he is more than a Big Boy Scout, and I like stories that have him in.

Soundtrack to this entry: Superman ~ Five for Fighting
*(Kurt does an interesting thing with this in Astro City, in a short story called “Flying”)


Visited my sister again and stayed nearly two hours, holding the baby and chatting. Both are feeling a lot better and more rested today and should be going home tonight!

I got some sweet photos, so I am crossing my fingers that the photo printing paper I ordered on Thursday night arrives on Monday and I can get printing!

Baby fingers are so very tiny. Her skin is darkening a little, looks like she’ll be a dark olive colour. Her eyelashes are lovely and thick and she makes little cooing noises if you move her around. She seems to love visitors, and she blisses out when held. Once again I held her for a good long time and she just slept.

My sister and brother-in-law are so proud and so happy. It makes you feel good to be alive!

PoF: pretty but casual
CO: avoiding school work.

baby, books, baby cusack

Visited the new baby yesterday, and held her for about 45 minutes while she slept. She kept doing these full body snores and then settling back down to silence. My sister said I had the magic touch, but I think it has more to do with baby crying all night and getting a feed right before we got there. She has a couple of scratches on her head from the forceps (it was a very difficult birth) but otherwise she is completely perfect, and my sister looked very well too after getting a good sleep. The hospital is keeping them for a few more days, so Lee and I are visiting tomorrow.

A Spot of Bother is the second novel by Mark Haddon, who you may remember wrote the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Spot of Bother is nothing like the Curious Incident. It is about a family, the father is retired, the kids are grown up and messing up their own relationships. Then the father finds a lesion on his side and decides it�s cancer.
The story is told in chapters from different character�s points of view, as the father spirals through facing his own mortality into possibly going mad. The writing is compelling and I was sucked into the story almost straight off. It�s essentially a family drama, but it�s told with affection and humour and that makes it fun. I liked it a lot, but I didn�t think Lee would. It�s a bit too much about emotions and real life for him.

Today I am wearing an altered t-shirt that I made out of my old cropped Supergirl tee. I cut up an old long sleeve red tee (from Deka!) and added the sleeves and the bottom part of the torso to the cropped white one. It looks pretty flattering and it�s nice and long in the body. I can wear my Supergirl tee without feeling like Britney Spears (i.e. showing off my belly, which it is terribly unfashionable to do now.)

I liked Say Anything well enough, although it was a bit more serious than I expected. I wouldn�t say it�s the most romantic film I�ve ever seen, but it was pretty good. I would have taken Cusack back earlier than the girl did, but that�s just me.

PoF: detailed above
CO: the future.


Check out this kitteh.
Cuteoverload saves my life regularly, I have to say.

Oh. and in case y’all are wondering why I haven’t been mentioning being bloated and sick and unhappy, etc, it’s because I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m on metamucil in the evenings and by keeping my gluten intake down to one serving a day (-ish) I am feeling pretty good. If I have gluten I get gas, but if I keep it down I don’t. I ate pretty spectacularly badly over the weekend, with pizza, chippies and lemonade being my staples, but I feel more unwell from the exhaustion than anything else.
Maybe there’s hope for a future, a future where I can eat donuts again.

Kapcon 16 Day Two

Man, I’m so tired.

I was severely tempted to sleep in on Sunday morning, following a frustratingly poor night’s sleep. I kept waking up too hot, too hyped on adrenaline and with a lingering crush on Sky Captain.
Three things stopped me sleeping in: One, I had to collect Steve from the railway station. Two, I was in Nick’s Samurai game first round. Three, I had to be there before first round to advertise my P&P game which was in the following round.
I was a little late collecting Steve, but we had a rave in the car about the coolness of the LARP so it was ok.
Session one was Nick’s Super Samurai Stir-Fry game, wherein I played Jin from Samurai Champloo. James P was Mugen my offsider and we had a lot of fun together. There was also much hilarity over the differing animation styles between us, Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Jack. Heh.
Nick, as an NPC: You speak in the third person? Don’t you think that’s a little strange?
Cat as Kenshin: This one doesn’t think so.
Mugen: He called us fools. I have to kill him now.
Mugen: Jin got a job.
Nick as Fuu: Well, at least we’ll be able to afford food.
Jenni: Jin will be able to afford food for Jin.
Nick, as distraught NPC: Oh, it’s horrible! These girls get taken and it’s horrible! It’s just so horrible!
Mugen: That’s horrible.
Cat, in the middle of a bar brawl: What happened to those other guys?
Nick: They went out the back window with a wok attack.
James, having defeated a mob of loin-cloth wearing baddies: I rob everyone.
Kieran as Samurai Jack, who has a G rated series: I’ve killed everyone right?
Jenni: in a strangely bloodless battle.
Nick: You kill them in a strangely Jedi lightsabre way.
Jenni and James P: Ohno! The villain is the Famous Pickler! The pickler of Japan Town!

The next session was my Matchmaking and Machinations revival, which was apparently very popular. *glow* I had a dream team of Svend, Daniel S, Nick P, Erik, Cat and Kieran (were you guys stalking me?)
It was a strangely marriage-less game, but not that strange since everyone was just having so much fun having extended conversations and being rude to each other that we only got through two days in gametime. Great fun.
Erik as Elsbeth: What is going on in here?
Dan S as Patience: Lily is once again being insufferable.
Svend as Lily: Patience is once again being unfashionable!
Nick as Alice: I did not think you enjoyed the country?
Kieran as Elliot: No, but I enjoy the country women.
Alice: This is Mr McKinley.
Elliot, (loudly): My father is a Lord!
Lily: are you the eldest son?
Elliot: No, I am the youngest.
Patience: Oh so it’s the church for you then.
Cat, Mr Darcy Knight, and a slip of the tongue: I visibly roll my eyebrows.
Elliot to the girls: Oh, you’re NOT all going home are you? At least a couple of you could stay the night?
Alice: Now Lily, we must not be associating with Mr McKinley.
Alice: I say Patience, couldn’t you play something a bit more upbeat?
Lily: Oh Lord no! Patience is very boring!
Lily to Patience: I do have some men’s cards…some of them were very shortsighted, they might be interested in you?
Elsbeth: What a fine horse you have, and how it improves your stature!
Lily about Patience: She smells like Mrs Harridan’s carriage.
Elsbeth: What were you doing by the waterside?
Patience: Probably looking for some frogs to kiss.
Lily: Unlikes some, I have better prospects than that.
Patience: It’s a wonder that you kept your shoes dry.
Lily: it is, isn’t it?
wheee. After that breathtaking laugh fest, Mr Knight and Elsbeth began a courtship and Lily was probably locked up in the attic for good.
The prizegiving was exciting as I had completely not expected to win anything this year, but did anyway. Turns out everyone had nominated me for the underhanded tactics in I Know, Right? and I won most nominations for a player in a single session. I got a Darth Vader lolly jar with dice in it. Glee!
Hix won for his portrayal of Elliot Ness in the larp, Fraser won for being Ultraman and many other cool people got prizes too. Picture of the winners here.
For the final round I had begged Sam to run her Faery Tale game, so she did and it was awesome fun. Me, Giffy, Svend and C were childlike faeries, and despite nearly falling asleep we had some grand adventures.
I played Willow, a super magical pixie. Svend played a shapeshifting pooka, C was a household Brownie and Giffy a sprite.
Giffy: Where are you going to get wolf milk?
Svend: From a cow?
Svend: Katria! Flynn keeps poking me in the arm!
Giffy/Flynn: stop having arms then!
Svend at one point, broke us all by turning into a custard pudding with arms and legs and then singing…”When I was just a custard pudding, I asked my mother “what the Hell?”
Sam, on the frog jumping race: “It was basically a race between you two and everyone else was left in your…..slime.

After that I picked up my Lee and we made a brief appearance at Sass’s birthday where I couldn’t stop myself talking about roleplaying with Nick, Svend and C and had to prop myself against the wall to not fall down.
I didn’t get to sleep in today either.

PoF: duvet
CO: Kapcon is fun!

Kapcon 16 Day one

What I did at Kapcon. Last year’s is here.
My Saturday started bright and early with mad packing of stuff I might need and then collecting Hix from the train station. We were both pretty psyched and it was great to get there and see all those people who I know from previous Kapcons and catch up.

My first round was a game of I know, Right? run by Zac. I was feeling kinda weird being allowed to play in the game I created, but Zac made it clear he wasn’t concerned as well. He gave me the target character to play, which was pretty cool actually, because it gave me licence to be completely underhanded and desperate in my scheming to get to the top of the heap.

Carla played the Queen Bee and she really was excellent at it, using her monetary resources to keep us onside and making up little things like pinky-linking with her BFF (Nasia) and not with any of the rest of us. I really enjoyed this game, and was extremely impressed with Nick B who played Valerie the art-wank student and was essentially my partner in overthrowing the clique. Oh yeah, I ended the game as Queen Bee. So Good.
Some quotes:
Zac as Jen Claude, the wankiest art student evah: I’m setting up a twelve person string quartet.
Nasia as Sakura: Do I look like I hang out with boys?
Her Dad: Oh, no boys would take any interest in you, you didn’t inherit your mother’s looks.
Val, about a constantly bicep flexing jock: It’s just repulsive the way he parades is body like that! *then checks out jock’s ass*
Sakura has got new pink highlights: Do you like it?
Carla as Amythest: Ah! It’s…..different.
Val, in the principal’s office: It’s just the teacher! he hates me!
Principal: yes! He made you smoke the cannibas
Val: what’s cannibas?
Amy’s mum: which one is Valerie? Is that the Beatnik girl? Yes, your Father and I have discussed her.
Brad the jock: I was just pumping some iron and thinking of you
Amy: We totally have to get you a dress that matches his-
Val: biceps?
Kelly’s mum leaves her some terrible clothes including a tshirt that says “I am a plain, boring person”
Amy: I think it’s time for an insinkerator accident with your hat.
Kelly: I tried to throw it away once, but it came back.

For round two I ran a session of Best Friends. My group had Ian H, Fraser, Kieran, Naomi, Cordelia and Giffy in it. Awesome group, who sat girls on one side, boys on the other without even meaning to.
I have a fantastic photo of my group for this..but first. We were sitting and discussing what kind of game to play, and having some trouble agreeing on a style. Then Giffy suggested the Star Wars universe, and everyone was into that.
The group of Best Friends was made up of (in the player order I used above) an ewok with 5 cool and no other skills, a Jedi jawa with a nice spread of traits, a tough wookiee, a rich human Jedi apprentice, a smart human rogue and a pretty twi’lek who was training to be a Companion.
At first I had some difficulty working the conflicts in, but it sorted itself out once the players got the hang of the rules and we were all in the swing of it. Here’s the timeline for the game:
Characters in bar – disturbance in the force – stormtrooper shoot out – characters run to bolthole – spa – ewok makeover – call the Jedi boys – Jedi council – space ship to Hoth.
Everything came to a head on the spaceship. The ewok became jealous of the others’ complimenting the wookiee’s fur and went psycho, which brought everyone else’s issues to a head.
I didn’t get many quotes from this game because I was mostly trying to keep the plot (such as it was) on track, but I did get this one, for which Cordelia won a prize:
The jawa and the rogue hug in a touching moment of friendship
Cordelia: I almost don’t mind the fact that her head is in my crotch
Fraser: I do.

Third session I played an amazing game of Donna’s called Wonderquest. It was set in a world just like ours, except a dimensional portal had opened up a way into a traditional fantasy world, and after the initial concerns Earth started organising tour groups through Raeth, although no technology was allowed to travel to Reath and no magical items were allowed back.
Four of us played tourists and two played native Reath tour guides. I played Simon, a total fantasy geek who works in IT and was hoping his latent magical powers would awaken during the tour.
Ruth had a lot of fun playing Tiffany, a spoiled model, used to a luxurious lifestyle that simply wasn’t available in Reath. Most of the jokes came from her 🙂
Tiffany: Does the hotel have a gym?
Zaklin, the wizard guide: There’s a john?
Tiffany: can we buy souveniers?
Zaklin: oh YES
Tiffany – after being told that orcs have a bonfire around our accomodation for the night: Is there a party with the orcs?
Carlton (her husband): Are they having a cook-out?

The Flight of the Hindenburg (larp)
I was getting steadily more excited about the larp all day Saturday and I wondered why I ever thought I wouldn’t enjoy it. I really liked my outfit with my shortened trenchcoat and it was so much fun seeing everyone dressed up.
The game itself was quite frenetic for me. I played Polly Perkins, a “Meddling Investigative Reporter”, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
My goals were: Help Elliot Ness find Al Capone’s missing ledger and therefore bring him down and get an awesome story.
Get some leads for stories.
Spread rumours that Sky Captain is a Braggart and a cheat (even though I still secretly loved him).
I have to say the hardest by far was helping Elliot Ness. The leads I had hit a brick wall and it turned out that the guy who had it wasn’t interested in talking to people like me, or Ness, or Evey White (Al Capone’s girl who had been feeding me information).
I still had heaps of fun though. It was good that although I didn’t have an offsider like I normally do, I could interview anyone I wanted to and be as bolshy and rude as I liked because I was a reporter.
Highlights: Arguing loudly with Sky Captain (Nick P) as soon as he walked in the door.
Snarky exchanges with Sky Captain that over the course of the evening became information sharing. Sky Captain telling me repeatedly to stay out of trouble just as I went to find it and then finally leaving the Hindenberg with him ten minutes before an explosion on board.
Interviewing movie stars such as Clark Gable, Orson Welles, Errol Flynn, Greta Garbo and Bette Davis.
Chloe Clarke (Donna G) and my professional rivalry. I rushed forward to get a photo of a collapsed Albert Einstein, she rushed forward to tell me off, sparking an argument so loud and catty that a Presidential candidate had to pull us apart. At the end of the night when Ultraman appeared Chloe stonewalled me, blocking my way through and ruining my photos of him. Brilliant.
Being offered a huge sum of money to give Al Capone his ledger back when I had no idea where it was.
The way that after the first hour, presumably because I had been talking to so mnay people, everyone started trusting me with secrets and offering me information. I had so many stories!
I also helped a couple of people achieve their character goals, purely because I’d talked to so many people. When Biggles mentioned needing a backer for a business venture I immediately introduced him to William Randolph Hurst, to great mutual benefit. I also helped a mobster get his goal of a photo with Greta Garbo (I took it) and lent him pen and paper for an autograph.

The photos all look great as well. You can see them here courtesy of Zac.
Here’s me.

Little joys

Some bubbly-making things for Friday afternoon…

1. Glassons have a sale and while going through the racks I found one size ten bright blue jacket, of the style I have been desiring ever since they first started stocking it for $20. It’s a denim jacket, dyed cerulean blue and with grey sweatshirt cuffs and hood, so it looks like I’m wearing a hoodie under it. Loves it.
2. Tomorrow is Kapcon and I get to see so many lovely people I am excited with happiness!
3. Knowing that the wii remote gives me pain in my right forearm means I know I can prevent said pain.
4. I altered another t-shirt and I will wear it tomorrow!
5. Hopefully there will be a Kapcon tshirt for me, and I can alter it easily if it’s too big.
6. I have helped a friend.
7. I have nearly finished my wedding album! (Yes it’s been nearly a year, but I didn’t do any scrapbooking for about 9 months last year, so it’s not that bad. Besides, have *you* finished *your* wedding album?)
8. I get to see my Giffy tomorrow!
9. I have a new skirt and it was $15 and it’s a longish hanky hem tshirt skirt of black and dark grey stripes. I feel cool in it.
10. weather forecast for the weekend is awesome, although I’m spending it mostly indoors, so not that good. Might try and get some beach time on Monday.

Happy Friday! Why don’t you comment and share what you’re happy about?

PoF: skirt and old Kapcon t
CO: Kapcon!


I feel very uneasy today, like I’ve forgotten something important or I’m about to make a bad choice or something…
Anyhoodles, last night our roleplaying group played two playtests for Kapcon.

The first was The Mountain Witch, a demo run by Steve. Because it was a demo we had breaks to talk about the rules systems, but the game itself seems very fun.

The premise is that everyone is an Akira Kurosawa style Ronin samurai. Our birth year animals were hugely important (so much that we were calling each other ‘Tiger’ and ‘Horse’ rather than the given names) and related to trust issues.
The mechanic of giving each other counters to show how much we trust each other worked very well, and although I personally found it hard to make up an entire backstory and plan for my character based on my secret dark destiny, the others had no trouble at all, so that was cool.

The second was Amazing Monkey Adventures, a rawking game where everyone is a zoo monkey having wild adventures. The best bit is definitely the “Mad Monkey Challenges”. Basically, if something unexpected happens the GM asks how you feel about it. Either you can choose to be friendly, or you can roll a die and possibly be mad, friendly or curious depending on how the die rolls. The thing about choosing to be friendly is that the other characters can issue a Mad Monkey Challenge because they don’t think you should be friendly.

Mad Monkey Challenges happen thus: everyone who disagrees with the decision gives the monkey in question a ‘peanut’ (game currency) and then everyone stands up, turns around and shouts “Mad Monkey Challenge!” then everyone turns back to the table making a face that is either mad, friendly or curious. Whichever emotion is most represented is the winner.

Best moment I had in the game? Let me paint you a picture. Imagine a cotton top tamarin, all tiny and black with a puff of white hair. Imagine it driving an ice-cream truck. I was really tiny so I had to alternate between steering and jumping on the accelerator, so the truck was bunny hopping some, and I had the music blaring, the lights on and hanging off one of the window wipers is a gibbon in a hat. Brilliant.

Big thanks to Jared A. Sorensen for designing a game that tested even our boundaries of craziness. The game is available for download here. Svend is going to run it at Kapcon.

PoF: damn weather too cold
CO: maybe it’s the bleak weather?

A bit about shopping

I have been using various eco-friendly products over the few months and finally feel like I have some things to recommend.

Every dishwashing liquid we’ve tried has been fine. The cheapest is I think the Down to Earth green stuff with the dolphin on it, but the bubbles don’t last a terribly long time. The other one we’ve tried is a BEE brand one called “I feel good on your hands” (all their products have conversational names, as you will see…) and it’s a bit more expensive but rather good.

I’ve tried a couple of different dishwasher powders and found them to be lacking. One was a Plunket approved one, which I can’t recall the brand of and the other was an Eco-store bottle. In the process of using them both I found the glasses would come out of the machine smeary and the plates would sometimes have little bits stuck on them, so I’ve gone back to the old nasty chemicals instead. The eco-store rinse-aid seems good though, and just as cheap as any rinse-aid. The enviro-friendly dishwashing powders are quite expensive, though, and you get less.

Spray on surface cleansers turned out fun to test, since I bought a BEE brand one called “I love your every surface” and Lee found the essential oil smells got right up his nose and irritated it. He simply can’t use it without sneezing and complaining so we bought an Eco-Store one, based on citrus and he likes that one fine. The spray cleansers work the same as regular spray and wipes and are about the same price.

For the laundry I like to use a liquid, because it’s less hassle, so I tried out the BEE line first. The environmentally friendly laundry liquids are a bit more pricey than the other brands, but I kind of think a couple of dollars to get their businesses booming now and the price will come down as more and more people use them.

So, the BEE cleaner “I’ll take care of your dirty work” was fine. It works perfectly but didn’t have any kind of wow factor. I didn’t realise I needed some sort of wow factor from my laundry until I switched to the eco-store branded laundry liquid. This is based on eucalyptus oil, but it gives the clothes this lovely clean fresh air lemony smell. I pulled the laundry out of the machine that first time and knew I could never go back. The clothes smell awesome and the bottle has a pretty picture of a petticoat on the front. What more could you want?

There are two brands of recycled toilet paper available at my supermarket, and I approve of both of them. And yes, I recall the jokes from primary school about recycling toilet paper, but these packets both assure me they are recycled from clean office paper, so it’s fine.

One brand is SAFE and produces it all within Australia and the other is Naturale and has a tree frog on the cover. Generally I buy SAFE because you can get 6 rolls, but the tree frog only seems to do four at a time. Again, these are exactly the same price as all the other nicer toilet papers (it’s more expensive than the cheap stuff, but not Sorbent which we used to get.) It’s soft, it’s 2 ply, it’s clean and even embossed. SAFE also do a range of unbleached toilet paper but it was a weird brown colour and Lee got upset.

I have yet to find recycled paper towels or tissues, but I did find a range of organic sanitary products called Natracare and they are just fine. Oh, and mustn’t forget the Potato plates I saw, a nice colourful alternative to paper plates and fully compostable and biodegradable! They’re a bit expensive but I suspect just because they aren’t yet mass produced.
Eco-store online, or at the New World in Thorndon. Oh and they have a free sample of laundry powder promotion on the main site there.

BEE (Beauty Engineered for Ever) here or at the supermarket.

SAFE are here.
And the Potatopak brand, and after having a brief look it seems a lot cheaper to buy their stuff from the website. Huh. A LOT cheaper.
Also, for those interested in the new Susanna Clarke book The Ladies of Grace Adieu, which is $55 in bookstores in town, fishpond have it for much less, more like $37. See for yourself here