(RPG) Actual Play – Fall “Never look a gift horse in the eye”

Previously on Fall…..Episode one
Epsiode two
Episode three
Sophie’s recaps

Sunday, the slayer has a nightmare. Nothing new there, she does that all the time. This one is direct, it makes her think she’s there. She’s in the forest, watching as a park ranger is eviscerated by a bear by the horse skull faced hooded figure from an earlier episode. She wakes up and texts Darius, Megan and Calvin, telling them to meet at midday at Darius’s house.

I decided that Calvin would be the first to turn up, since Dan mentioned that my parent’s were in New York seeing a show. This is of course, after a gratuitous fanservicey montage of Calvin working out in his home gym. Megan had a lovely morning with her mother making her pancakes and there was similar with Alex, although with bonus concerned mother summoned by night terrors. I think Darius did something wildly out of character like read some books in his occult library.

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Things I’ve learned about happiness part 2

Click here for part one

Some things I’ve noticed about how to make yourself happier. One is saying yes to new experiences and last minute invitations. I have this weird desire to say no to people if they ask me out at the last minute. Like last night I got a call from Regan at about 6 asking if I was free to accompany her mother to Black Grace, since she had a spare ticket. My instinct was to say no, but when I thought about my reasons for saying no, I didn’t really have any. It would disrupt my plans…but my plans were to blob on the couch and do nothing. I hadn’t expected to go out…what kind of reason is that? It doesn’t really need a lot of forethought when you just have to walk around the corner. So I said yes, and I’m really glad I did. It was great to catch up with Regan’s mum (who worked with my sister for a couple of years) and I got to experience something I’ve never done before. The Black Grace dance company is fantastic, powerful and moving and so energetic.

Experiencing new things, like shows or concerts or parties is fun, you never know what you might learn about yourself. If you don’t enjoy it, then that’s fine too but if you stay home and do nothing then you don’t know. You don’t move forward that way.

On the other hand, I have found a lot of happiness in saying ‘no’ to things that I know I won’t enjoy. Also staying home on my own and doing whatever I want while blasting my favourite music. You can get a lot done this way, whether it be catching up on reading, surfing the internet, taking a long bath, writing, your favourite craft or just lying on the couch and snoozing. Taking time for yourself is refreshing as well. Gives you time to think.

Spending time with the people you love, whether it be your family, your partner, your workmates, your friends, your buddies on WoW, whatever. You love them for a reason and spending time with them will remind you of that (well, hopefully).

Extra reading:

Zen Habits is a very good blog for learning about being happier with yourself, but lots of things reasonated for me in this article beating discontentment.

I also recommend, if you haven’t already, reading this post on the Discomfort Zone titled Imagine This to get an insight into what really matters.

Via Galadarling, these guys complimenting people made me really happy and I wasn’t even there.

Things I Love Thursday

I didn’t do one of these last week, since our hotel wanted to charge 68c a minute for internet, so this week I make it extra specially long!

  • Coldplay. My workmate passed me the link for this rather hilarious interview of Chris Martin by Ricky Gervais. The concert was just so good. I keep thinking back and wanting to hear Fix You, Lost, The Scientist, Viva La Vida played live again.
  • Broken Picture Telephone is a kind of chinese whispers online game. It’s fun to look at.
  • Strawberry frosted dunkin’ donuts with chocolate hail. The donut is light and cakey, not greasy at all, the frosting is sweet and soft, the chocolate hail crunchy and malty….oh so good. Yeah, I’m gonna open a franchise as soon as I get that first million dollars.
  • Lee and I are rather enjoying Arrested Development. It’s more of a slow burn than a laugh a minute show but I rather like the characters. And I think I like the name Maebe for a girl. Or maybe that’s just my body clock typing there. *ahem* It’s a funny show. I like it. We’re still in early days though, disc 2 or season 1.
  • Last night, in my Buffy game – Fall we pulled off the best plan I’ve had in a roleplaying game since the Pokemon game at Kapcon pushing-people-into-holes plan. I had to make a distraction, get a man out of his house, I sneaked into the back yard. I was attacked, bitten in the ankle, by a tiny dog. I picked it up. Bryn leaned over and whispered ‘put it in the trash can’. So that’s what I did. I rolled a 16 on my putting-a-small-dog-into-a-trash-can plan. It worked very well. I rock. Love this game, watch this space for the actual play report, and by this space I mean my pants blog.
  • Having a clean house really does make me feel good. I don’t love cleaning but it is nice to live in a tidy(ish) place rather than having crap stacked everywhere.
  • My new boots. I got just past the ankle black boots with buckle straps and non-ugg ugg boots. The non-uggs are tall and fake suede and are lined with faux fur. They have little pockets on the sides, for all my boot storage needs and they keep my feet warm as toast at work, where I have the mysterious under-desk air con of doom.
  • Dooce. She’s so funny and cute. I especially love this entry about a dream she had and this one about hate mail (err. If you’re offended by swearing don’t click that last one.)
  • My parents. They stayed with us on Sunday and it was just so nice to spend time with them. Also, bonus hilarity: on the walk home from dinner at Scopa my Dad fell behind a bit and was solicited! Like, seriously, a woman came up to him and said ‘hello dear, you looking for a lady?’ He politely turned her down and we all had a good laugh. That’s what you get for lagging behind your wife and daughter on Ghuznee St. Lee wasn’t solicited because he was walking with me and mum. 🙂

Honourable Mentions: Listening to Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Tori Amos, Coldplay and Weezer, my Lee, snuggles, hugs, laughter, blog stats, 10 minute stories, long stories, filling up notebooks, nice pens, Totoro, peppermint tea, mini quiche from the Cozy Cake Shop, looking forward to seeing my Giffy, giving presents, receiving presents, catching up with friends and Dollhouse. Phew.

And you? Why don’t you share your list in the comments?

Wednesday Writing

Last night I got a rejection letter for my short story ‘Infection’ that I had such good vibes about when I finished it back in September. It’s been rejected by two places now, must look around for other places for it. I was a little sad, but it’s silly to let it get to me. It’s so hard to get your story to just the right publisher at just the right time. It’s never nice to hear ‘no’ though.

The rejection letter was very nice too, it said that my story was well written but they’d seen too many similar things. The editor certainly didn’t have to say to me that it was well written! So in a way, yay me.

Today I finished typing up the short story ‘Famine’. It ended up being nearly 4,000 words, so that’s all good. I need to read it through before I know how much revising it needs, but it felt pretty smooth typing it up so…hopefully not too much revising.

Next on my list is to type up the PTA story I scribbled while I was away and put it up here and email it to Svend before we start the game on Tuesday. Then I have to finish writing the horror story that ate the world (or at least, my notebook) and type that up. Then I can get to work re-crafting some of the short stories I already have to make them more perfect and start shopping them around. Oh and I have to write the zine article that I made all those notes for. Must do that!

If you want to be noticed, get smirks from geeks and strange looks from older people you should totally wear a tshirt that says “I kissed a vampire and I liked it” through town. It’s a real attention getter I found out today. Buffy game tonight, I’m getting excited about it.

PoF: Bill Compton 4eva
CO: Horror, clearly.

Late one evening

10 minute story, prompts from Matt. You must include at least two of the following things in your story:
The sound of distant laughter


The fog was very dense. You couldn’t see more than a foot in front of you, which made walking the wharves something of a dangerous affair. If I’d had any say in the matter I’d be at home, sitting in front of the TV with my feet up and a hot cup of Joe. Unfortunately I was out in the mist, trying not to fall into the filthy harbour and trying to find a criminal.

That’s what you get when you’re the best cop in the city and the heiress to a major fortune has been missing for more than 48 hours. The plods didn’t have any leads, they never do. Of all the detectives on duty the commissioner had picked me. I guess he remembered that time twenty years back when I got those two boys back. I’d had my picture in the paper then, my Mother had been so proud. She was dead now. As dead as the wife I’d had twenty years ago as well. She was shot, a personal vengeance act from one of the guys I got stuck in jail.

My foot hit something hard. I looked down, peering in the fog. I pointed my flashlight and saw it was just one of those bollard things that they rope boats to. I stood still for a moment, listening, inhaling the night air. The fog made everything muffled, like it was coming from another world. I just made out the sounds of people laughing, a woman, maybe two, a couple of men. There was a new apartment building nearby, it could be a party on the balcony there. It was worth checking anyway.

I turned my flashlight off and stumped towards the laughter, the end of my nose was damp and I wiped it off on my sleeve. The apartment building suddenly loomed above me, lit up like a cruise ship in the Bahamas. I looked up and saw right into some guy’s bedroom. He was changing, his back to the window. I circled the building, looking for a balcony full of party goers. I saw them at the back of the building, just two floors up and illuminated from behind by fairy lights.

I dropped my flashlight. My wife was up there. Laughing with the heiress. Passing them drinks were the commissioner and the head of the local mob.


If you would like to see more 10 minute stories, please feel free to comment with prompts. It’s easy, just choose one each of the following if you don’t have any ideas: Person, Place, Weather, Time

PoF: Batgirl
CO: Coldplay


I’m a writing machine at the moment, I’m not too sure what it is, maybe the ‘nood’ brand notebook I’m writing in (thick, creamy, unlined pages), it could just be the mood I’m in, but I’m churning out short stories like a mad thing. I am writing some longer length ones, and some super tiny ones.

I didn’t write on Wednesday because the day went: Clean house > Go to Airport > Got to Auckland (didn’t feel like writing in cramped seat) > Travel through Auckland in shuttle > Settle into hotel room > Explore Queen St > Dinner > Concert and Thursday was similarly manic up until the afternoon. Then the bit of The Mist I watched gave me a short story idea, so I got some of that down. Then Friday was busy again. Saturday we had some spare time in the afternoon, we both had sore feet from exploring so Lee played computer games and I wrote.

On Sunday morning I couldn’t sleep in, I was too wired about going home maybe. I got up at 7.50, sat at the desk and wrote solidly for an hour. My arm hurt. I realised we’d better get up if we were going to get the airport in time for our flight and went and woke Lee.

Monday I was itching to write but had a bunch of errands to run in the morning and after lunch got kind of ansty and unfocussed. Eventually (around 5pm) I sat down to type out the previous short story, which I managed to wrap up Sunday the week before. Around making dinner I worked for about an hour and got about 1,500 words typed up. The story is a long one, it’s only about half way through. I did some more after a bath later in the evening and still felt the bug to continue battling with sleep.

I tell you, the more you do it, the easier it gets. I managed to fill my whole nood notebook in 18 days. It’s not a small notebook either, it has a lot of pages. It’s exciting, to be honest, to have this many ideas. I can tell you that I never thought I’d write short stories, I never thought I’d be able to craft them. In all the long hours of studying them in English I always though the form was out of my reach. I’m not saying that my stories are study-worthy, but I am enjoying writing them and I feel good about them. I think that’s all that matters in some ways, if I get the practice in, even if these ones are shite, then my next ones will be that much better.

Still writing mostly horror, by the way. In case you were wondering…

A great article from copyblogger about why you write. Short, sweet and inspiring.

Jenni’s Guide to Auckland

A couple of Coldplay concert videos: Someone from down on the floor at the concert on Wednesday caught this footage of Coldplay performing Yellow. It’s not the whole song, but you get an idea for how much singing along there was, and what the huge yellow balloons looked like. And Chris Martin’s revolutionary outfit.

Someone else got this film of what the butterfly confetti looked like from the ground…just gorgeous.

So. My highlights from the trip, in no particular order. Not counting Coldplay, since you can’t generally plan on them being there.

Tanuki’s Cave Yakitori bar. You go in and sit down at a space around the bar and order a bit handle of Asahi and edamame and whatever else tickles your fancy off their menu. I can recommend the takoyaki. The asahi is very drinkable, the food is quick and good and the atmosphere is just….perfect. They play My Neighbour Totoro on a screen at one end of the bar.

The Imax. We saw Watchmen but really any movie that you are keen on and that they are playing would be awesome. It’s so big that it’s immersive. Plus Lee and I had frozen coke and it was yum.

Borders. It’s huge, but more importantly it’s all mazey and arranged on different levels. Wellington’s one just isn’t as cool. Plus everyone knows where it is so it’s a good meeting place.

Auckland Museum. I like the interactive discovery area, the Victorian street, the tree that does a day cycle in 5 minutes so you can hear the different bird songs and the dinosaurs. Especially the special exhibit T-Rex.


It’s big. 12.8 metres long and 4.0 metres tall at the hips. Plus it had a neat interactive exhibit and I did in fact learn some things about Tyrannosaurs that I didn’t previously know. The other neat thing about the museum is that in the gift shop you can get 10 of their specially printed Auckland museum postcards for $2.00. That’s nothing! So just about everyone on my postcard list got Auckland Museum postcards and two people got elaborate stories instead of news, based on the pictures on the cards. I am eager to hear when people have received their postcards.

The Chocolate boutique in Parnell has many delicious treats, including the Italian denso, which is an insanely rich hot chocolate. Their handmade truffles are really good.

Submarino, fish in a bowl, denso and cherry tart.

Submarino, fish in a bowl, denso and cherry tart.

You can get to it really easily on The Link bus, which is cheap at $1.60 a ride and does a loop around many useful areas in Auckland. It’s handy and has a TV that gives you the weather, the news, images of what the driver is seeing and of the people on the bus. It also did news headlines and advertised local businesses and there was a neat live map so you could see where you were.

$3 Japan. Up the high end of Queen St, $3.00 Japan was like a magical heaven. I got some presents for people, some stuff for myself, useful things, silly things. I got some really nice comfy socks….it was just magical.

We had a really good seafood platter at Neptune on the Viaduct. It wasn’t too expensive and had turkish bread, dips, scallops, prawns, fried fish, smoked salmon, heaps of calimari, mussels and olives and pickled onions. It was seriously yum. The people at the next table to us actually said ‘we want what they’re having’ but I can assure you it wasn’t because I was screaming or anything. The food just looked really good.

And also, you should totally check out this behind-the-scenes glimpse into The Winding City video that Conan put up. It has me in it, and many hilarious bloopers. And bits that I filmed too.


Stuff done: Coldplay concert was very cool, pretty and intense and yeah, cool. I was a little disappointed that they started with Violet Hill when they weren’t warmed up but that would be my only complaint oh and they didn’t play ‘trouble’. But they did play Yellow and all these huge yellow balloons were released onto the crowd, the people on the floor bounced them around and from where we were sitting it looked amazing. When the balloons popped yellow bits of paper rained down. The ‘mosh pit’ kept boucing the balloons onto the stage though, so the band had to keep kicking them out.

During Lovers in Japan they released thousands, millions? of paper butterflies in all different colours from the ceiling. The sound guys put up paper parasols to protect themselves and the gear. It was gorgeous.

Chris Martin is an astoundingly good performer, he just throws himself into it so much, he really works. He dances like a particularly uncoordinated scarecrow and you’re sure he’ll fall down at any time. For a couple of songs they left the stage and played from a mini-set up right in the back rows of the arena. They covered ‘I’m a believer’ from there and got audience participation. Chris played The Hardest Part on his own just on the piano, on the catwalk in the crowd. Lots of awesome memories. I wish I’d taken my camera but I’d assumed they’d be taking them off people. Everyone else seemed to have them though, so there’s bound to be footage from the concert on youtube.

The curtain raiser band was completely rubbish too.

Watchmen at the imax. Yes. So big, so immersive.

Tanuki’s Cave for dinner last night was so good! Takoyaki, edamame, mushrooms stuffed with chicken and a big handle of Japanese beer….nom. I might make Lee take me back there on Saturday night actually.

Auckland Museum and the T-Rex named Sue. Very big skeleton, very cool interactive exhibit. Fraser, Lee and I had a great time. I have good photos but you’ll have to wait for those.

Chocolate boutique, Parnell. After catching the wrong bus to the museum we hopped on the right one and it took us past the chocolate cafe, which we both remembered from last time. It was awesome. We went there after the T-rex.

Our hotel room is pretty nice, not super fantastic but pretty nice. I like the view and the bed is comfy and that’s all you really need right? I’ve been watching Sky movies. Saw most of Margot at the Wedding and The Mist.

Today the plans are for Dressmart, then meeting up with various friends. Tomorrow hopefully we’ll make it to MOTAT and then we’re flying back home lunchtime Sunday. It’s really warm in Auckland, I dig it.


Attention, writer type folks! The lovely editor of Filament magazine is currently looking for submissions for the magazine. You can get info here. You have 14 days in which to submit to be considered for the first edition, later entries will be considered for later issues.

Also, Cory Doctorow is on twitter, and I just learned that his baby daughter’s first word was Chewbacca. So cute. Also nice and writery posts so far.

There will be no Wednesday Writing Wupdate since this afternoon we fly to Auckland and tonight we see Coldplay Live In Concert. (I only just managed to not write that in all caps.) Quite excited. Not just about the concert (although yay!) but also about the plane and the hotel and the restaurants that have been recommended and the shopping.

My Tuesday night group did brainstorming for the second season of Prime Time Adventures – The Other Side last night, through the noise from the band at Mollie’s playing right outside my house. Should be a good season. My character, Sam, is back in the real world, hacking his gender change spell by living in California where it’s always sunny.

I finished a short story on Monday night that ended up being quite a lot longer than I had intended. I think it’s good though, it was easy to write which is always a good sign and I think I got the beats right. Will have to you know, actually read it to be sure though.

Ok, off to finish packing and do some cleaning. If I can move off this couch that is.

PoF: pjs
CO: Coldplay! Concert! Plane! Hotel!

Oh and check out this worth100 collection of the weirdest animal photo manips. I’d seen some of them before but the winged horses (and elephant!) make me really happy. I’m thinking new desktop background happy.

Weeeeeeekends rock

Ok so my weekend started out with dinner at Cha and then attending Regan’s play Play On! I liked it a very lot. Regan is impressively good at comedic acting, I enjoyed her performance very much and often found myself watching her over the other characters regardless of who is talking. This might be a bias though. The other actors were funny too and overall the show was very fun.

The premise is that a bunch of not-so-great actors are putting on a play but the playwright keeps adding new stuff and changing things. First act is a rehearsal, second act is dress rehearsal and third act is opening night. It was a little like watching a live, very long gag reel off a DVD extras menu. It was tempting to yell out the line prompts when you remembered them and it was very funny when people forgot their cues, etc.

I was at a table with my Lee (much easier to get him to come to something that itsn’t a musical), Svend, Star, Maggie, Nick and Sass. We had a lot of candy and sugary drinks so we got quite silly. If you’re on Facebook you will have already seen the photos of the various cups of things that we created, but I’ll put one in here for the non-FB-initiated. cup of lollipops

So, that was awesome fun and we stuck around and got to chat to the star herself, which was awesome as well.

Saturday morning I finished reading World War Z by Max Brooks which is a collection of oral histories of the Zombie apocolypse, 10 years after humans beat the zombies back. It was fan-freaking-tastic. If you have any interest in horror or history or wars I would recommend it. I am making Lee read it next, so that I can talk to him about it. The author is pretty equal opportunity, collecting stories from all over the world (nearly) and one guy who was on an international space station at the time of the war. New Zealand is mentioned in three sentences near the end, so that was fun.

Met up with Svend and C for brunch at SMK and got a bit of shopping done for my Armageddon costume.

Saturday night Lee and I brought a bucket of KFC and watched Speed racer on Blu-ray at Chelle and Jase’s house. Nothing beats a bucket of chicken, it’s just so high class. We were all giggling like little kids about it actually. I am impressed with HD TVs and Blu-ray now, I think Speed Racer was made for that format. I’m keen to watch some other movies that way, Cloverfield for one, but there’s not too much point in us buying or borrowing them until we get an HD projector, which is some ways in the future.

Today, Sunday, has been nice and lazy. Saw my mother in law, passed on the fabric and pattern for the jacket of my Armageddon costume, went to Spotlight and the library and had a very good hot cross bun at Bordeaux Bakery. As you can tell, I haven’t been eating hella healthy though, so my energy levels today are a bit crap. I did write a ten minute story, a couple of notebook pages of my current long-short-story and did some scrapbooking.

It’s a sunny and beautiful day, I’m feeling good. Especially because I only have a two day work week and then we’re off to Auckland! Now, to note down the names and locations of all the food places you guys have recommended to me.

PoF: Batgirl
CO: What’s for dinner.