Things I Love Saturday?

  • Fresh fruit salad this time of year kicks ass. Summer is awesome for fruit. You know it. Nom.
  • It is a properly hot summery day outside. The waterfront is packed with people walking, roller blading, strolling, riding crocodile bikes….you name it. I adore this heat. I am such a lizard. I am chuffed that I can wear just my summery cotton dress and not get cold.
  • The colossal squid at Te Papa doesn’t have tentacles that are very long but the mantle is freaking huge. It gave me a shiver. It was neat to be able to get such a close look at it and I liked the video where they filmed it getting caught. I also like that Te Papa is air conditioned.
  • Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death and all His Friends album. It’s all strung through with deep rhythms and overlaid with pretty melodies. I am really enjoying it to be honest with you. But I also hope that they play some of the classic old stuff at the concert as well.
  • Weekends, holidays, seeing friends, relaxing, sleeping in, napping and reading.

You might not be able to tell, but I’m feeling happier today than I was on Thursday. I *heart* time that’s my own.

For the new Icing transformation challenge I’m going to focus on making myself write for at least an hour a day. I’m slowly pulling my productivity levels back up but it’s very easy to procrastinate, and procrastination is funsies.

My reason for doing this? Well, so I can get closer to my darling, beautiful goal of being published and actually making some money from something I have written. I know I can do it, because I have done so in the past (like when I did kiwinowrimo) and if I get my current stuff done then I can start something new and delicious. The grass is always greener on the unwritten project after all.

Ok, so I might have mild sunstroke, but whatever. *runs off to drink iced water that is rapidly warming up*

Friday is right to party

Mr Vintage are narrowing their collection down to kiwiana tshirts only so they have a pretty wicked sale on right now, if you’re into tshirts with 80s icons on them, go check it.

Bemeaningful on twitter linked me today to this lovely website One million acts of kindness.

I am seriously tickled that someone found my blog by googling “marrying into the irish mob”. Aah LARP reports, how you ruin people’s innocent google research!

I have a big weekend of laziness planned, then a two day work week next week and then a blissful blessed holiday at the beach. Ah, I am looking forward to it so much!

Finally, a poem spoken to you by one of my personal heroes, Leonard Cohen. It’s a love song kind of.

Things I Love Thursday

A little list of small happiness this week.

  • Email, facebook and blogs for creating connections and keeping friends close.
  • Pokemon on the DS.
  • BK Chicken Grabba burgers. Nom
  • New friends, new games, new books.
  • Writing.
  • Supplement water. Not the green stuff with the caffeine in it though, the other ones.
  • Supernatural Season 3
  • Watching a fairly regular stream of traffic come to my concert review from a Leonard Cohen fanpage.

And how about you? What’s your list of happy this week?

Wednesday Writing

Although I came over all emo when I got home and was tempted to give up on everything I’ve ever cared about because no one in the world has ever been as sad as I am, I got over myself and got some writing done.

Well, I got a huge chunk of note-taking/redrafting for WtWTCH?. I guess feeling emotionally useless doesn’t preclude sitting still and reading through and deciding what needs changing and what needs expanding. I’ve done 18 pages today, which is wicked awesome and I’m just about to get to the big climactic battle scenes.

So I’m feeling pretty good about that. I think before I start redrafting the digital version I will give myself some space to write some of the smaller projects that have fallen by the wayside. I’ve been pretty lazy in terms of making myself write and I’ve been too busy at the times when I have felt like writing. I have erotica to redraft and seekrit project stuff to do (I’m holding up the project, woes). I have also been contacted by a person compiling a book of essays about girl gamers so I should figure out something for them too.

Other random asides:
-I have borrowed a Nintendo DS and it has Pokemon Diamond on it. I’ve been playing it while we watch TV. I love it. Pokemon is so damn fun.
-I am addicted to supplement water, the made in NZ rip off of vitamin water. It’s official. I can’t live without it.
-My desire to go to swing dancing is greatly depleted. It’s just so tempting to be lazy instead.
Supernatural season three is awesome.
-I am also addicted to twitter. I love reading other people’s updates and I love getting replies to my updates and I love that I can stalk famous people through it. I hate calling them ‘tweets’ though.

New Character creation process

Inspired in part by Nick‘s post about creating characters as a GM, here’s a bit of a brainstorm about my character for the new Buffy game I’m involved in, “Fall”. A game using the Buffy Unisystem rules.

First, the concept: I wanted to play someone who, like my character J.D. in Dan’s “Not Our Future” game, had no compass. I didn’t just want to play that character (well, I totally did but I thought I’d better try and mix it up) so I tried to think of a character who wasn’t just a misfit trenchcoat mafia type. While we were discussing Veronica Mars on Friday I thought of Logan. Messed up and morally confused (Veronica kind of becomes his moral compass), popular, arrogant and hella obnoxious. It was a great template to build a character on.

I fleshed him out with some details: parents are constitutional lawyers who used to be very controlling, ensuring that he got good grades, etc. Then his big sister disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Unable to cope with this, the parents withdrew. Throwing themselves into their careers and all but ignoring my character. With Lee’s help I decided on a US Presidential name for my character and his family. Calvin Coolidge Grant. Parents Rebecca and Jeffrey, big sister Martha, called Marty by Calvin.

Here’s the blurb I sent to the other players:

His parents, Rebecca and Jeffrey are high powered constitutional
lawyers with lots and lots of money. Up until 2 and a half years ago,
they were very involved in Calvin’s life, ensuring that he got the
best grades in school, private tutors and enough extra curricular
activities to get him into Yale, Harvard or Brown. Then Calvin’s big
sister Martha, who had been accepted to law at Harvard was killed in a
mysterious accident.

Since that time Rebecca and Jeffrey have withdrawn completely,
throwing themselves even further into their careers and all but
ignoring Calvin unless he needs bailing out from prison.

Calvin has reacted to the years of fierce control followed by
abandonment by acting out in any way he can, from bullying to
fighting, to property damage and drug use. Parties at Calvin’s place
are always roaring keggers full of debauchery, and they don’t get
raided because the mansion is in such a nice neighbourhood. Only the
uppermost echelon of the popular crowd get invited.

At school Calvin does the bare minimum to get by, hanging out mostly
with his best bud Mason Hutchinson and dating various cheerleaders and
cool cute girls who fall for his bad boy shtick and disarmingly
handsome smile.He has dropped out of all the clubs he was in
previously and is a regular visitor to both the principal’s office and
the guidance counselor.

Casting: Our group decided casting actors was a good way of getting a simple visual for each character. Also, as our GM pointed out, the game is set in TV land where everyone is pretty. I chose Jared Padalecki. jared Because he is so very beautiful, and he is also tall and buff and I’ve been watching a lot of Supernatural. I managed to find this one picture of him looking vaguely bad boy-ish so that’s my character image there.

Songs: Ever since Slayers East, I have been slightly obsessed with assigning songs to my roleplaying characters. I find it helps me develop who they are. So far for Calvin I have Violet Hill by Coldplay, because of the power in the song, the references to death and the refrain “If you love me, won’t you let me know?
Everybody get dangerous by Weezer (set there to clips from Hot Fuzz rather well), because it’s about juvenile delinquency, and it’s kind of fun too.
Hysteria by Muse…I mean come on. It’s angsty and angry and yearning. It’s about wanting what you can’t have and getting completely messed up by it.

Stats: Actually giving Calvin attributes and skills….well, I ended up with a fairly even spread around the strength/dexterity/intelligence stuff. When it came to skills though I focussed. I gave him a high crime skill for forging notes and breaking into stuff, high in physical combat related stats, some drive and some computers. I gave him a bit more knowledge than seems obvious because he does have a background in researchy type stuff. It was in the ‘qualities and drawbacks’ section that I had the most fun. I loaded Calvin up with emotional and mental problems (abandonment issues and cruelty), recklessness, tragic love, the works basically. With those negative points I could afford to make him very rich and very good looking. I also got him a point of ‘hard to kill’ because that’s a trait I like in my roleplaying characters.

So there you have it. Look forward to future entries detailing Calvin’s exploits.

PoF: lazy
CO: emo

Reading is what the cool kids are doing

Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. by Judy Blume. Kind of the quintessential teen girl book, I remembered a couple of things very clearly from this book: the breast exercises and the description of antiquated sanitary pads. (You needed a belt and you had to hook the pad onto the belt, Margaret got a pink one). Well, one of those things was still there. Turns out they’ve updated the book so as to not confuse the hell out of modern girls who go looking for special pad belts in shops.

The major themes of the book are puberty and religion. I vaguely remembered that there was some stuff about religion in there, but I couldn’t remember specifics. It’s quite a nice wee overview of different religions and whether or not you need one to get by. Also how it can tear apart families. I enjoyed re-reading this well enough but I didn’t love it. I think Tiger Eyes is a better book. I’m really looking forward to re-reading Deenie because I loved that book so much.

I am also (finally) reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac, I’m only about a hundred pages in but I’m liking it. As long as I remember it’s set back in the 50s and these boys really are that idealistic and stupid then it’s good fun. I like to imagine the lives of the random people he encounters. Did they know that they’re mentioned in his book? Did it affect them in any way? Yeah, good fun.

Just about finished with the second Walking Dead trade paperback, “Miles from Home”, which is as nasty as expected. I don’t find the emotional content as compelling as in the first one though. I have also finished Fables: War and Pieces, which completes the Fables saga quite nicely. It was bittersweet and fun and clever, I especially liked the art in the first story, which was a bit of a departure but a good one. I would sigh for no more Fables but I do have Jack of Fables so I have nothing to complain about really.

What have you been reading my lovely readers? Any recommendations for me? Any thoughts on Judy Blume?

Sleep easy

I haven’t been sleeping well lately, I’ve been waking up at odd hours, some times able to get back to sleep and sometimes not so much. Then I get hella sleepy during the day, want to crash out on my desk at 2pm at work.

Following conversations with a few workmates who were having similar problems I began to suspect this was all of a sudden a common problem. I suspect it’s an alien invasion plan. The aliens are here, right, and they’re going to interrupt our sleep and make us all really cranky. Once we’re all cranky enough they hope that we’ll attack each other. Then they can take over the world.

I wasn’t too sure how to defend against this, but then my workmate said that he’d tried a herbal sleep aid Healtheries easy sleep and that it had worked for him. We were talking about it a day later and another workmate mentioned she’d taken it and had the best sleep in ages. I tootled along to the supermarket and bought myself a bottle of them. The checkout operator asked me if it worked, because she hasn’t been sleeping well lately either. Alien invasion theory isn’t sounding so crazy now is it?

So on Friday night I tried it for the first time, just one pill. The effect I noticed once I had given it an hour to kick in was that it made my head really heavy. You know that stage of sleep where you feel like you’re sinking into the pillow? It recreated that for me. This makes it really easy to fall asleep.

Then I woke up after an hour or so to pee, because I’d drunk a lot of water to swallow the pill, because it is a big pill. Walking was a bit difficult, I wove around a bit. I had a good night’s sleep but I did keep waking up at random hours, like I have been lately. On Saturday morning I managed to sleep in past my alarm time and get out of bed feeling relatively onto it.

On Saturday night I had a lot of champagne at Morgue and Cal’s civil union, and when we got home around 11.30 I took two sleep pills to see if I could stop waking at random hours. Well, I can tell you that these pills definitely have an effect, two pills was way too much for me. I still woke up at random times, but I managed a very long sleep in. Basically it was very difficult to wake up. I managed to stumble into the lounge and onto the couch where Lee and I watched some Season Three Supernatural. I was very sleepy. I wanted to close my eyes all morning and go back to sleep.

After midday we opened up the curtains and decided to enjoy the sunshine. The Lovely Sokky managed to meet up with us in Waitangi Park and some good lounging and catching up was had. On Lee and my return home I tried to do some copyediting and fell asleep for about an hour.

I woke up from that nap feeling awesome, and made it through The Winding City rehearsal with nary a yawn. Last night I went back to a single pill and I think that’s the way to go for me.

Once awesome side effect of these herbs is vivid and memorable dreams. On Friday I dreamed that my hair had grown out enough that I could make braids. Giffy was very pleased for me. Last night I dreamed about my new Buffy game character and some intriguing drama I could work in regarding his parents. Good times.

Point of Fashion: Kapcon 18
Current Obsession: New Buffy game! Woop woop!

Things I Love Thursday

  • Leonard Cohen. Obviously. I’m completely in love with him all over again. I am desperate to rewatch I’m Your Man, but I haven’t had Lee free time. I did have his albums on repeat yesterday afternoon though, so I’m definitely getting my fangirl on. Bootleg video from the concert! Oh and I forgot, one of my favourite moments from the concert was when he started singing ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ and forgot the words after three lines. He went from singing to saying “oh and I’ve forgotten how it goes sorry” and then stopped and the band waited for him to start up again on guitar and he sang it all the way through.
  • Roleplaying and the lovely lovely people in the roleplaying community. It’s so nice to go to a convention over two days and be surrounded by friends. People who get you. People who will listen to your dreadfully boring roleplaying war stories and try and better them. Plus, awesome games, costuming, laughter…it’s all good.
  • New Things! Ok, so my plan to have January be a no-spend month flew out the window like a luck dragon on speed. I don’t care though, because I now have the tenth (and kinda final) Princess Diaries book and the companion romance novel by the title character, two Glassons breast cancer research tshirts (NZ map and philosophy cat). I can’t help myself, I am a consumer. I like shiny things. Plus a Kapcon tshirt, a Leonard Cohen tshirt, plus….
  • Bloom brand lip gloss. I bought another colour of it today and got a free box of scented soaps! Delish-i-mous. Plus it makes me look good when I wear it and it smells like heaven (mandarin and vanilla).
  • The world’s most awesome President Obama action figure. I really want one. I really want one so that I can make him team up with Softimus Prime and battle Darth Fancy (er, the toy not the band.)

Honourable Mentions: Songs and singing, clothes and warmth, cuddles and kisses, friends and family, pizza with salami on it and planning a summer holiday.

Please share your list, what are you happy for today?

PoF: NZ map
CO: Jambalaya for dinner!

Kapcon 18 day 2

I didn’t sleep much on Saturday night. Not too sure if it was emotional tension, my brain processing the day or just the ninja caffeine in my supplement water, but I got three hours tops, probably less.

So I felt a bit zombified on Sunday morning even though I was pretty well hydrated and I’d had a sandwich and stuff. Still my first game was Nick’s Pokemon Emergency! Which promised to be awesome. The pokemon roleplaying game is the world’s highest selling RPG, so that’s a point of interest. Us players also thought it would be funny to name ourselves S names, so I was Snack Lightly, Fraser was Spoons McGraw, Cat was Sunny Daze and then we had Susan Mary and Spiffy Danish rounding out the group. (Have decided that Spiffy Danish is the best name for anything, ever.)

Anyhoodles, it was much like playing the first part of any pokemon game, or watching the first episode of the series, except there were five of us and we worked together. Professor Oak gave me a Bulbasaur to start off with, which I was happy with. Once we were out of Professor Oak’s lab we walked about in the long grass and captured wild pokemon. I got an eevee and then later a Charmeleon and a Raichu. Go me.

Cat: Thunder Rave Attack!

Nick: You’re staying at a pokemon breeder’s house.
Me: Oh cool, I go out and look at their field of pokemon…..getting it on. (I actually won a spot prize for this quote!)

Fraser, realising that Oddish half out of the ball looks a bit terrifying: Cthulu! I choose you!

Nick: I just wanted to check the success of your giant pushing people into holes plan.
Fraser: This is the best plan I’ve come up with all Kapcon.

My character also insisted on burgers quite a lot, and this lead to everyone in the game craving burgers so we went on a Burger Fuel run. Delicious. After that I was in Svend’s “Dirty Streets” game which was a Mountain Witch scenario set in Film Noir times. I played the Grizzled veteran detective, Richard, my partner a bright eyed rookie called Charlie played by Chloe. Jackie played the high flyer and Margie was the career cop. Andy played the DA and organiser of the team with the task of bringing down the mob boss. I drew the ‘Past allegiances’ dark fate which I find really hard to grok for some reason. I really struggled with my dark fate narrations, but I think I roleplayed well enough the rest of the time that it didn’t matter. I really love the game system, the trust counters work very well. I also loved playing with that group, especially as their true natures became clear.
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Leonard Cohen Live – United Hearts tour

The crowd to get into the arena was huge and old and well behaved. Frank, my Mum and my Dad were quietly excited going in. The people at the door were taking water bottles off people, but my mum smuggled hers in. Our seats were in the back row of the upstairs seating on the right hand side of the building. We were about half way along, so we had a great view of the stage, completely unimpeded and not too far away.

Sam Hunt opened with some poetry recitations, his own and some famous Yeats and Baxter ones as well. He was unexpectedly funny and moving. He swore a lot too, I liked him.

There was a 15 or so minute break in which I purchased a programme and a United Hearts tshirt for an extortionate amount of money (well, not really, I was happy to pay for them after all) and some water. They took my water bottle cap away. The arena has a policy apparently that you can’t have bottle caps at concerts. If anyone can explain the reason for this please let me know. shirt

Leonard Cohen’s band took their places, the instruments assembled on different levels on a huge red Persian rug. There was a red velvet chair in front for the Spanish banjo player. When Leonard took the stage it was at a run, in his signature suit and fedora. The audience gave him a standing ovation before he’d done anything. He waited for it to die down, thanked us politely and then launched into ‘Dance me to the end of love’.

From then on I ascended into a kind of religious ecstasy. His songs are so important to me, so familiar and his voice was much better live than in the old recordings I have, and to see him start a song on his knees, bent forward over the microphone and then straighten up as the song went on. To close my eyes and imagine that it was me that he sang for…it was all quite overwhelming. Frank thought I was overheating, mostly I was overcome with emotion. He played every single song that I had hoped he would. He danced a funny little shuffle, his banter was humble and warm and funny. He mentioned a newspaper article that had mentioned his short stature. “I cannot always be seen by the naked eye. I’ve been offered a job, I’ll be the colossal shrimp and lie down next to the colossal squid.”
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