December 15, 2011
So yes, sometimes I am very focused and generally, when there is something that I want, I usually get it. If I am grilling someone, there is no doubt that all of my attention and energy is centered on that person and I could care less about what else is going on.
That intensity naturally leads me to be passionate in my dealings. Almost every event that I find interesting I want to share with others and I try my best to promote it and get others interested. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
I'm pretty cheery. But beyond that, I've been known to get so excited that I start to feel lightheaded and actually, I recently watched this youtube and can TOTALLY relate. It's fun to be excited. I like living in the moment.
Which is why I'm really interested to see where QC takes it from here. Is Jeph going to lean on the side of "Enjoy It While It Lasts" or "It's Not Worth the Pain"? Because really, what is life without a little pain here and there? Some of my best stories are of my worst moments. And isn't it weird that when you're down, or when you're especially happy, everything in the world sympathizes with you?
December 7, 2011
For the last month and a half I've been making some changes. I've decided to like drinking whiskey. Consequently, I've also been drinking a lot more. I've also decided to like drinking black coffee; so far I can tell the difference between shitty black coffee and not so shitty. I'm still planning on walking to the park and ride a few times a week, but fell sick after the first time. I even tried some olives over Thanksgiving. Yup, they still taste bad. I also have been eating some eggplant (*gasp*) and the ones that I had during lunch yesterday really weren't too bad. I couldn't even taste "eggplant".
Why the changes? Well, to be honest, yes, I'm not satisfied and I want to improve. Whether or not these specific changes are an improvement is up for debate.
But to be really honest, you know how emo people cut themselves? I'm not saying it's like that. It's much less complicated. It's more about being insolent and saying "You know this idea of me? You think you know me? Well fuck you, that box is boring. I will be whomever I goddamn well please." These are not warm, fuzzy, feel good changes. There's a simmering pot of anger and frustration, the makings of every lone cowboy gunslinger. They drink their black sludge because fuck nice things. Getting soaked to the bone and having to sleep without a fire? Good. The outside finally matches the inside.
Nothing like a backpacking trip in the middle of December.
November 11, 2011
I could have gotten the China 2011 post to you earlier, but then I got hung up on having pretty pictures to show too. I created a Flickr for my co-workers and put up all the typical ones. I put all of the other pictures I took on a Facebook album. The problem now is privacy. How much do I want RoughDreamer to be tied to my name and is it already so tied that it doesn't matter anymore? I've been pretty laissez-faire about my online footprint but I have some pretty paranoid friends, and while Zach (who is also pretty paranoid) is the only person I mention by name on here (that I remember anyway), conceivably, this little web I'm spinning implicates a great deal of people.
But then there's the whole, really, who gives a fuck? Do I really think anyone important or malicious enough is going to put in that much effort to stalk me in order to ruin my life or the lives of people I know? I've been meaning to Google myself and do some self-stalking but keep on forgetting...but mostly I think I won't because there's large part of me who really just doesn't want to know what's out there. I have been pretty non-discreet. But how non-discreet do I want to continue living my online life is the question.
I'm not as whiny about my personal problems and issues online as I could be. None of my status updates/tweets are about how [insert emotion/physical ailment] I am, unless you count the ones a few weeks ago about my foot. But those were special. They had pictures! Speaking of pictures, I have grown increasingly fond of taking pictures using my phone and immediately sharing them. I love the fact that because of the wonders of the Internet, I can be doing something or looking at something cool and then BAM, by the power invested in my phone and technology, you too can practically stand right next to me and experience the same thing. It's the timeliness and immediacy of the interaction that makes it awesome.
For example, Wednesday night I saw Neil Gaiman and his wife, Amanda Palmer do a little show and dance. It was much more awesome than I expected and it actually kind of just felt like we were sitting around and they were just telling us stories. It didn't seem like a big production thing at all. Jonathan Colton was even there. But anyway, I knew some people would have been interested in the fact that this show was happening, so I took a picture of the billboard at the Moore and was going to tweet about it, but the network there was terrible or something and the tweet didn't publish. So instead of doing it way after the fact, I just deleted it. No point in letting people know about it now. It was just some thing that I did. The picture wasn't even that interesting.
The reason I don't post about negative stuff is because I dislike pity or even people feeling like they're emphasizing with me. Not specifically because of the whole "fuck you, you have no idea what it's like to be me", but mostly because I am ALL about managing how I appear to others. Yes of course I'm just as fucked up as the next person, but why should I advertise that? I'm happiest when everyone else thinks I'm happy. And luckily for me, I have a great group of friends that go out of their way to make sure that I'm generally pretty happy, so it's not really smoke and mirrors. Also, I hate dealing with my problems/issues/concerns/whatever over and over again, so if no one even knows to ask, then it's one less rehashing I have to do.
October 7, 2011
I read the wikipedia article and still have no idea. However, this youtube street performer was my first intro to "dubstep" a few years ago.
I am suddenly super into this type of music with an interesting, fast-paced bass and electronic beat. I stumbled upon SoundCloud, which has a dubstep tag today. It is way way better than my Pandora radio station that I've been trying to cobble together to listen to at work. Of course, now that I'm going out of the country for two weeks, I'm unlikely to listen to any of this.
I'm in a really groove-based, yet high energy wanting to dance mood. I think this actually started at PAX this year. There was a room, Jamspace, that I stopped by on my way to see what was up with story games. It was really awesome and I caught one or two of the last songs by these two guys, but I don't remember their names. I think one of them had was some sort of animal or insect name. I really enjoyed standing in the back and letting the music wash over me.
It was a novelty to be by myself, at a mini concert. There's so few times that I'm not doing something with someone else to share it with that it's hard to enjoy things by myself. I don't remember the last time I watched a movie on my own. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've eaten at a nice restaurant by myself. I don't particularly think it's because I can't do things on my own. I like sharing things that I think are cool with everyone else I know. I'm that person who derives maximum enjoyment out of looking at art and shows when I can whisper my thoughts and comments to someone.
It's like I almost don't trust that my experience on my own will be as valid or real without someone else there to share the reality. I should probably get over this, but it's so hard because I don't want someone else to miss out on something awesome. I'm always optimistic that the things I go to are going to be awesome. Why wouldn't you want to want to come with me? It's going to be awesome.
One of the differences I feel this time is not so much the "I'm going somewhere!", but more the "I'm leaving." aspect of traveling. This isn't the first time I've felt jaded about travel and I'm not sure why the aversion. I kind of like doing touristy stuff and browsing the little kitschy shops. What I dislike is the pressure I feel to take an obligatory photo of said landmark or landscape with someone in the foreground. I like the feeling of being far far away from everything familiar and being able to adapt and test my limits of going with the flow. I dislike constantly worrying about forgetting something, whether it's when I first leave, every time I leave the hotel, switching transportation, or leaving from a restaurant or event. I also don't like being super paranoid about things like money (is that guy going to rob me), the water (being sick on the go sucks), the time (don't want to get left behind).
I think for once in my life I'm kind of feeling like a vacation where I don't actually do all that much and I spend all of my time sitting in the warm shade reading and all events and food and water are perfectly safe. Like an all-inclusive cruise. Mmmm, food buffets 24 hrs/day! Now there's something to get excited over ;).
Also, taking a longer vacation caused a lot more organizing and training of back-ups than I anticipated at work. Everyone wants to get their shit out the door on Nov. 1st. So slightly bad timing. But I'm sure everything will work out. /supersincere
One thing that I remembered though that will make this fun is that Zach and I will not need to drive anything anywhere. So we can drink at any time! All times! Vacation is awesome! However, I have no idea what kind of alcohol is available in China. Are there cocktails? I don't remember drinking much when I was in Japan either. I'm again glad that Zach talked me into bringing another and bigger check-in luggage because I'm going to need something to bring back the booze. Foreign, exotic booze is so cool that we don't ever drink it (case in point, the rum that we brought back from Jamaica two and a half years ago).
October 4, 2011
I shrugged, a little sullenly but I was appeased. "So now what? Do you think you finally have what you need for your disguise?"
He gazed at me appraisingly and said, "Okay. You've proven your mettle. I'll answer your question, but you are to never bring it up again. Is that understood?"
I nod slowly, "Yes sir."
He leads me up the stairs, taking them quickly, two at a time, but half way up the stairs, he stumbles on a step and flies forward, landing on his face. Or he would have if the stairs had stayed solid. I sigh inwardly, leave it to Jack to devise the most ridiculous secret entrances. With my luck, I'll have a slightly off posture and break my nose. I hesitate at the bottom of the stairs, trying to gauge which step he had "tripped" on when the stairs suddenly disappear and Jack's head pops up. "Come on then, you're taking too long. Just jump in here."
The room beyond the trip-step entrance is opulent and shimmery. Even the air smells rich. Jack takes a deep breath. "Notice that? I have a machine setup to infuse the air with particles of fat. Deliciously extravagant isn't it?"
October 2, 2011
Our history was about the invasion of aliens who give us amazing technology, back when we were only at the Industrial Revolution-stage. The prime minister of Britain, Nigel Wilcox, manages to convince the world leaders to cooperate with the aliens because they discovered that the aliens were deadly allergic to a specific type of bacteria.
In later years, the followers of Nigel's philosophy and teachings have become powerful in the newly advanced world but hidden behind the idyllic façade are disturbing ripples of abuse of aliens, abductions of humans, and extremist groups.
One of those extremist groups are the Nigellians, extremists of Nigel's way of thinking, who believe humans are recklessly using the technology given by the aliens. They plot to use the aliens' weakness to drive them from the planet, but in so doing, end up dooming humanity and in the end, mankind is obliterated.
I think the scariest and most exciting part of Microscope is the fact that huge, major plot points and world blocks are laid by one person, with little to no say from everyone else experiencing the story. That kind of power the first few times is overwhelming and feels wrong, you're just thinking, "Really? You want me to come up with the big secret? I'm pretty sure whatever I come up with is not going to be as cool as what you could come up with."
But the surprise is that most of the time that's not true.
The story just needs to be told. And because whatever you say is going to be a surprise to everyone else, it has that added, "Oh I didn't see that coming" overlay, which is really what makes stories interesting. You listen to someone else tell a story because you want to know what happens next. In Microscope, and most story games, each time someone steps up and drops in a piece of the puzzle is the best part and what you need to keep in mind, is that there's going to be plenty of opportunities for everyone else to do the same, if not in this game, then in others. And the same goes for you. If whatever pops into your head at the moment doesn't seem like the coolest thing in the world, so what? This is just one story. And the rest of us are here to back you up.
And honestly, that's something I need to keep in mind too. I feel like story gaming is kind of like flag football sometimes. When someone is running at you or you're running after someone with the ball, what you really need to do is focus, and I mean REALLY FOCUS on reaching your hand out, and grabbing that damn flag. None of that half-assed flailing. Or worrying about if you're running fast enough, or if you're going to hit into the person. None of that really matters. And in story gaming, plot points and major reveals are that person with the ball. They're coming at you and it's your responsibility to focus and just reach out and grab it.
September 27, 2011
So I went to see The Hedgehog tonight. I've been trying to see it for weeks but haven't been able to because of my crazy schedule. I decided to go to the 9:35 PM showing because I needed to make dark chocolate covered bacon first and I also didn't think I could go home, take out the puppies, get some thing to eat and then get down to the Egyptian for the 7:10 PM showing. So really it was the only logical choice. I was planning on going by myself, but my friend R, whom I haven't seen in a year or more, agreed to go with me when I offhandedly mentioned it to her in an email. So we went. And we both really liked it. And maybe it was seeing an artsy, foreign film in the middle of the night on a weekday, or just the fact that it's something far enough removed from routine, but the drive back home was beautiful. The roads are still wet from the constant raining during the day and the streetlamps make it look like a cross between ice and an oil slick.
And though I'll probably be completely exhausted tomorrow and miserable with wanting to crawl under my desk and sleep, I hope I'll still think it was worth it to step outside the bounds and remember how easy it is to change and do weird things because it's interesting and not think about how crazy it would sound written down.
September 26, 2011
They had been following a fire salamander and its trail of embers led them to a set of double doors. However, these were no ordinary double doors. After looking carefully at the oddly moving bas relief, they realized that it had been infused with a bevy of tormented souls. Not very nice. Inadia called upon her god, the Raven Queen, to quiet the suffering of these abused souls and her god answered by bestowing a blessing upon the bas relief that eased the souls and caused them to no longer hunger after the lifeblood of the living.
Ever cautious, Vealkarion put his ear to the door and listened for sounds within. The occupants within were arguing with each other about administrative dungeon handling and why it had been the suck lately. There was no mention whatsoever of The Grey Hand. Thus insulted, they gave Kalavich leave to kick open the double doors, so they could give them what for.
The fire Salamander Assassin was also in the room, along with two bat-like monsters with a pennant for doing large bursts of fire that caused victims to feel weakened.
The Grey Hand, well rested and raring to go, rolled up their figurative sleeves and got down to business. Which is, of course, the dismemberment and looting of uppity monsters.
We are now lvl 20! This battle in particular really brought to light just how many different status and bonus effects we all do now. No longer is it just simply immobilizing and dazing enemies, but a whole slew of other stuff that is really really hard to keep track of. Zach wasn't at this encounter, but A played Zach's character for him and everyone kept on feeling like we were just not rolling enough dice :). I feel like we should have spent more time in the beginning doing monster knowledge checks because it wasn't until the middle-ish of the encounter when we all realized that the fire demon, Sinder, was undead and thus it was time to pull out all of our radiant powers. And even though I remembered in the beginning that my skull does 2d6 extra to demons, I forgot for the rest of the encounter.
It was a good "let's see how we can fuck up this room full of monsters and not die ourselves" encounter and it was even a little iffy there for a bit when a few of us were bloodied. My character only survived without needing a heal because of her skull which grants +10 resist to necro and fire. Which came very much in handy. Oh god one round lasts so long now. We had more monsters than usual and since we have a party of five, you have lots of time to think about what you want to do, but more often than not, by the time it gets around to you, the battlefield has changed so much that your original plan no longer works. But we did get through several rounds, enough for me to have used up all of my normal encounter powers, though P's Victory Surge really sped things up. It was like we were rolling along really well in the beginning but then lost steam after everyone had used up their encounter powers. Or maybe that's just me and I should pick different At-Will powers...again.
September 24, 2011
September 23, 2011
I stared at him coolly. "If you'd like to step back into the House, you can see for yourself."
His eyes gleamed and he leaned forward, "I almost can't believe you two fuck-ups succeeded." He laughed and pinched the bridge of his nose, his personal exit motion. I lent down to my bag and slowly undid the zipper, drawing it out as much as I dared. I was insulted by how little faith he had in my skills, so I showed what little defiance I could by making him wait.
As I carefully drew the durians out of my bag, Jack roughly snatched it out my hands, recklessly drawing blood from both our hands. I winced as some of my blood dripped onto my bag, it wouldn't do to have my DNA scattered everywhere. I'd have to get it professionally cleaned if I ever wanted to use it again. I twirled my hands slowly so that the blood wouldn't drip and made my way to the kitchen.
Ten minutes later, after both our hands were sprayed and the mess cleaned up, Jack abruptly said, "Good job. I know you know I didn't think you guys had it in you, but I'm impressed. I'd pat you on the shoulder but my hands are still wet."
September 21, 2011
My friends and I have been playing D&D with the same characters since 4th Edition came out, June 2008. We're lvl 19 now after about a year of playing every Wednesday and Sunday, and these last two years of playing on just Sundays. I've written a few posts on campaigns that we've run, notably on Obsidian Portal (The Fallen Leaves of Mithrendain & The Crafters of Lon). It was fun, but also somewhat tedious depending on how much I enjoyed the session. I'm taking it up again, using this space for posts. I usually avoid using my friends' names in blog posts except for Zach, for privacy, so I'll be referring to everyone by initial.
We are in a party called The Gray Hand, our characters:
- Inadia, half-elf wizard played by F (me)
- Vealkarion, elf ranger played by Z (Zach)
- Malak, human warlord played by P
- Ctharyan, eladrin rogue played by A
- Kalavich, dwarf priest played by S
- Vygcarraash, dragonborn paladin played by J (currently the DM, so this char is not around)
The Gray Hand starts off by finding a secret passageway that has a shadow ward at the entrance. Since none of them are shadows or have anything shadow-based, they pass through with no problems. The room ahead is inhabited by two wizard-y scholars of low-importance, though they're nice enough and offer to give information about the tower in exchange for dispelling the shadow ward. Malak takes some valuable books and Inadia finds two rituals and the components that go along with them. The ward is dispatched readily by Inadia's Arcane superiority and Ctharyan's nimble fingers.
The scholars reveal that there is a demon in heart of the tower and that the purple flames around the tower are a means of transportation to and from the Forgotten Realms. They also notice Kalavich's "hat" and how it's not super good for him and have a nice little catch-up chat with Inadia's Skull of Sartine.
The Gray Hand offers one of their tower's rooms (once it's reclaimed and put back in Sigil) to the scholars before continuing down the hallway. The door to the next room is cracked open and they see an epic wresting match between a huge brute and a demon. The door going out of the room is also spied and the party decides to quietly sneak through the room using Arcane Gate.
It goes smoothly and Malak puts a Nail of Sealing into the door to buy the party some time to make their getaway. Inadia uses her nature skill and Mo-Mo to create dust to hide their tracks and they sneak into an empty room and wait for the monsters to go by. Once they emerge and continue on their way, they find gruesome remnants of the two huge brutes. The brutes appear to have been in the way of a large fire snake. Buoyed by the likelihood that all enemies in front of them have met a similar fate, the party picks up the pace, though always checking around corners to avoid meeting the fire snake face to face.
I liked that we used our brains instead of brawns for this encounter, but I think a small fight would have still been nice. Honestly, while I like being rewarded for coming up with smart ideas, sometimes it's fun to have things go horribly wrong. It would have been just as if not more amusing if they had already heard us coming and staged a wresting match or if the door had been locked. Challenge is good, tough decisions are memorable, and it's always about being a hero. Whether or not you're an effective hero is up to the dice.
September 13, 2011
This was the most relaxed PAX I've ever had. I've finally boiled down PAX to what really matters: Friends & Indie Games.
We actually all (minus 1) sat down together at the Tap House Grill and had lunch together. Right in the middle of the day, during normal lunch hours, not to mention the exhibition hall being open. And the food was really good. And we had beers. Like adults. It was a real defining moment: we'd all done this song and dance before and there was no reason we needed to run around frantically, subsisting on junk food and being sleep-deprived.
I didn't even put on makeup for two of the days. Previous PAXes were focused on getting free T-shirts, the majority of which I never wear and fit me poorly, silly swag which sits untouched in bags, and playing up my role of being a hot gamer chick.
I'm hoping that this year's epiphany flows over to my IRL existence and that I can try to cut out some of the things that I used to think were important, but that I don't really need. Boil it down to the things that really matter. And what does really matter? Seems like sleep matters less and less because it's the only way I can hang out with more people.
Writing matters to me. I read somewhere that you have to get to a point where you can't NOT write, when not writing is like dying. I've always been focused on writing something amazing, and that's where it ends. But writing is one of the things that I do that I am genuinely proud of. I re-read good pieces and marvel that it was wrought by my hands and despair that I'll never reach that potential again.
I refuse to believe that I reached my creative genius in high school.
I on the other hand, got to have a relaxing dinner of crepes (#9), at Crepan Crepe World and then headed over to Gamma Ray Games. Fifteen people showed up! Two groups had to go across the street to The Capitol Club, and I was in one of those groups. I really wanted to try out a game of Shock or Polaris, but since I had brought along my book of Fiasco, I felt like I should learn how to play something that I own.
I watched some friends play a game of it during PAX and it really didn't spark my interest that much. The game that I played had lots of rabies and heroin in it and honestly, I was kind of bored during some of it. I'm not a huge Coen brothers fan, I'd rather my movies have a little less coincidental weird shit.
However, this was my first experience playing a game with complete strangers. We got along pretty well. And that's saying a bit since I hate lots of people. I wasn't sure I was going to get along with them at first, but after they loosened up a bit, it was fine. Definitely one of the drawbacks to story gaming for me because it's a slippery slope to outright hostility for me once I get rolling.
But if I like you, it means you're pretty awesome.
September 12, 2011
July 3, 2011
I love that the elements I drop into the world that we're collaborating on become integral pieces. I love surprising myself with what comes out of my mouth. I'm surprised, but not overly so because as soon as my brain thinks of it and it starts coming out of my mouth, there's this feeling that it fits, that this is what is supposed to happen, like I'm on the outside watching and as an astute observer, can guess at what is coming next. It's all about not thinking too hard, intuition, and being flexible. I am unsure what my next sentence will be, but I have the feeling that if I just go with it, it'll turn out really cool.
This isn't my first time at this story-thing rodeo. I've been listening to others tell their favorite stories and telling my own favorite stories for decades. One of my good friends back in middle school was a fantastic storyteller. I loved hearing his stories, even though I'd heard them time and time again. It got so that I knew when he was skimping on details and when he was really launching into it. I would sometimes start laughing before a funny part, in anticipation.
But then, it's not really anyone's first time. We're asked to tell stories every day, often mundane ones, "What did you do today?" "Nothing much."
My own style of storytelling is full of facial expressions, exclaimations, and expectant pauses. But I never embellish. I occationally tell the stories of my friends if they're not there, or if they don't feel up to it.
What is the key to becoming friends with someone? Listen to them tell their stories, tell some of your own, and then go and create stories that the two of you can tell others. The more fantastic and interesting the stories, the faster you'll bond.
Basically, story gaming is genius.