Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, September 29, 2002

I was doing a tarot card reading for myself earlier and before I did the reading, I flipped through the deck. I ended up looking at the Tower for a little bit. The Tower has seemed darker than normal since last year. Shortly after 9/11, I was looking at the card and I realized how much the card reminded me of the recent disaster. I still see it every time I look at the card. It's fitting the symbolism of the card in a very eerie way. The tower represents materialism. It is struck from the sky and shaken, reminding us that as we build our lives on materialism and greed that the tower can be taken away and leave us shaken.

So, I stared at the card and felt a real conection there. Lately, I've been feeling trapped in that tower and I keep waiting for the lightning to strike.

I'm thinking that I want to make a costume for next year's Ambercon Costume Contest. I already need to piece together two costumes for the costume LARP, so I probably won't have the time or money for yet another costume but I've got this thought in my head. I want to put together a costume of Prince Corum, one of the Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champions. Prince Corum is the last of the elven race called the Vadhagh. He was attacked by humans and lost an arm and eye. He later received a magical silver arm and a crystal for his eye-socket that grant him special abilities. I was thinking that it should be a simple costume to put together. The hardest parts would be the scarlet cloak he wears and doing the make-up on the hand. The coolest part is that the costume could easily represent Nuadha as well.

Thought Train
Wendi and Sean's housewarming party was last night. They threw a great party. (Of course, with the group of people that was there, you can't go wrong.) Wendi and Sean have a very nice house. Seeing them settling into their new house made me really wish our house would sell so we could move into a cool house too.

Carla ended up having to work late, so she had to cancel at the last minute. Her work has been keeping her late all this week.

I can't wait until this project Carla's working on is over, not only because I don't like seeing her tired all the time but because I'm also not getting to spend much time with her. While she has been home, she's been too tired to even talk. She's playing Final Fantasy at night which seems to be helping her unwind.

Does "absence make the heart grow fonder?" I'm a firm believer that it does. Every time that something has caused Carla and I to see less of eachother, I've been more aware of how important she is to me. When she's not around, I can feel something missing. Then, when she's here I feel more aware of her and I'm happy she's here, even if we're not doing something together. Even if she's in a different room playing Final Fantasy, I'm happy that shes around.

While we were living in Ft. Wayne, Carla took the job in Ann Arbor. She stayed at her brother's during the week and drove home very other weekend, while I packed and tried to sell the house down there. Those weekends that she came home were the best.

Change of topic: I was driving home from work this afternoon and saw a bumber sticker that said "Think Green- Save the Planet." It was on an SUV. I wondered if the driver had any idea how ironic that was.

Carla drives an SUV...sort of. It's a Tracker, so it's a smaller one. It's not as bad on gas as the bigger ones. We both want to get more fuel effecient cars in the future and it's starting to sound more and more like a reality.

I'm really tired today. I stayed later at the party than I planned to and didn't get home until one. That's not usually that bad, but I drank a little alchohol last night and I think it reacted bad with the new medicine my doctor has me on for my sinuses. Sure, it said not to drink alchohol while taking this medicine, but they always say that, don't they? Well, I din't even drink enough last night for a buzz, but have been feeling like I have a hangover all day. I don't get hangovers. With the exception of a few times with wine, I've never had ill effect from alchohol. (Hence, I don't drink wine.) Last night all I drank was Guinness. It must be the medicine. Stupid medicine.

Carla just called. She's on her way home from the Baby Shower she threw for a friend today. We're going out to eat tonight. We usually try to go out to a restaurant once a week together. It's nice. It's date night. Usually, we go out on Friday nights.

Wel, this train of thought post needs to come to end. I'll type more later.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

If I were an Amberite....
Depending on my favorite color:

With black (my favorite color to wear):

Warrior, general, poet and song writer. How can we truly describe this man of "Green eyes, black hair, dressed in black and silver," wearing a silver rose as his symbol and the famous sword Grayswandir? He fathered Merlin and drew his own version of the Pattern when he thought the original was destroyed. At the end of The Courts of Chaos by Roger Zelazny, Corwin says of himself, "And what about the man dress in black and silver with a silver rose upon him? He would like to think that he has learned something of trust, that he has washed his eyes in some clear spring, that he has polished an ideal or two. Never mind. He may still be only a smart-mouth meddler, skilled mainly in the minor art of survival, blind as ever the dungeons knew him to a finer shade of irony. Never mind, let it go, let it be. I may never be pleased with him."

Which Amberite are you?

Maybe these tests are trying to tell me why I HATE Corwin. He's the only character in the series I truly despised.

With Green (my true favorite):

Amber's most memorable king, Oberon was an enigmatic powerhouse. No one, except perhaps Dworkin, knew what he was actually capable of. He could even shapeshift. He was cunning and ruthless. A extremely effective monarch, but a distant and cold father to the hoard of children he sired. In The Courts of Chaos by Roger Zelazny, Oberon sacrifices his life for the sake of his kingdom.

Which Amberite are you?
this quiz was made by Mysti

Much better. At least my second wasn't Flora this time.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Half-formed Thoughts
I tend to pick apart stories wether its a book, comic or movie. I don't mean nit-picking. I don't look for things to find wrong. I may notice errors in a story, but that is because I try to pay close attention. What I really pick at is taking a story down to its elements. I love symbolism and seeing writers use different character archetypes and themes in different ways.

I sometimes drive Carla crazy with this. She doesn't like the dissecting of stories like I do and I think she gets irritated with me sometimes because I don't like to "just enjoy" the story. If a watchmaker sees a well built clock, he's going to want to pick it apart and see what makes it tick. I'm the same way with stories.

The Child's Journey

I was reading Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card a while back and after I was about four chapters into the book, I realized something: Harry Potter is Ender! They are two completely different stories but the main characters fit into a similiar role: The Child Hero. Now, I don't know if anyone like Joseph Campbell has ever covered this version of the Hero's Journey, but there was definately a them there and it is a theme hat seems pretty common.

Ender's Game is the story of Ender Wiggins a young boy destined to save the world. Like young Mr. Potter he is marked as different at a young age and his youth is miserable. He has no control over his life and his brother keeps him living in fear. Ender Wiggins may not live in the cupboard but his brother, Peter makes sure that his life is plenty miserable. Like Harry, Ender has no control over his life. The two young heroes are like any young person in this regard and I think that is why these characters quickly become endeared to the reader. We've all been there. We've all been kids. We've all known that feeling of helplessness that we are not yet the masters of our own destiny. However by making this beginning really miserable, the author amplifies this feeling of helplessness to a greater degree and the reader really begins to connect. (Another character in this mold- James from James and the Giant Peach. Do you remember how his story started?)

Then someone or something signals to the young hero that he is special. There is a taste of the magic involved. Harry spoke to a snake. (Of course he did. He is the Slytherin's heir of course.) Whatever happens in this scene it gives the character the first taste of the adventure to come.

And from there on the story becomes a journey of discovery. The character learns of his own special nature and gains power to affect his or her future. The character makes new friends and uses his or her newfound strength (wether magical in nature or merely a new-found confidence) to save their friends and eventually save the world (or something like that).

Of course, in the Harry Potter books, Harry ends up going back to live with his Uncle and Aunt and the whole cycle begins again. Maybe that's part of the charm of the books. Everything starts out bleak for Harry, things get better as he goes back to his friends at Hogwart's until the challenge comes. He faces his challenges, learns more about his special nature and saves the day and we are with him right from the beginning. Right from the beginning we feel his helplessness and connect with him. Most kids have had the dream of having the magical journey, making good friends and being the hero. With the child-hero we live that dream.

So, this got me thinking about roleplaying. A friend I know has a theory about roleplaying that he will share with anyone who listens. He believes that, by playing through a character as a child a player can build a greater connection to the character. He believes it is because the player can play through some of those developmental years and start the character with a clean slate. It's a thought, but I have another. As I stated above, we all know this feeling. We all know what it is like to be a child. We may not know what it is like to be a demon-hunter or an immortal Amberite but if we start the character as a child, there is a time where we truly understand our character and with that beginning we will have a better connection to the character.

This weeks WISH question comes from Meera:
What is your idea of the relationship between GM and player? Is the GM a host, an adversary, an enabler...?

There's been some excellent WISH questions the last couple of weeks and I've been meaning to go back and answer the last couple. However, this one particularly strikes a chord for me.

I've found my standard way of explaining to non-gamers what roleplaying games are and I think it helps describe my thoughts on what the relationship between the GM and the players. "Roleplaying games are a form of cooperative storytelling where people gather together to tell interesting stories. Some players take the roles of certain characters and other players, called gamemasters, take on the job of giving the story structure. The gamemaster gives the player a basic plot, a setting and other characters to interact with. Together, they tell the story."

The GM is a host, an adversary and an enabler. It is the GM's duty to complete the story. The PCs will come with a certain amount of characters, plotlines and theme. They will come to the game with all their stuff in tow, but even with all of the characters and story they bring, the world is far from complete. They may have parents and siblings, friends and enemies but they probably won't come to the game with the firendly shopkeeper who sells love potions down the street or the loyal lackey of their chief adversary who always seems to be a thorn in their side. No, they will bring only a certain amount of the world with them. The rest is up to the GM.

As a host, the GM sets the scene and introduces the players (and characters) to the world that the GM has created. The very presence of the PCs immediately begins to change the world and like a gracious host the GM should accept the fact that these PCs are going to make themselves comfortable and move things around a little. The GM and his or her world should be ready to adapt to these changes rather than fight them and force the PCs to conform to his or her vision. The story is not just about the world. It is about these characters as well and for them to fit into the world, the world must give a little. The GM may help the player design a character that fits in to the "big plot" they have in mind for the game but once the player character has that character, it's all their's. Even when playing a pregenerated character (a character the GM supplies to the player) the GM must be ready to let that player "create" their own version of the character and for that version of your character to somehow change the world.

As an adversary, the GM creates and plays the antagonists of the story. The GM must make them interesting and complete characters. Ideally, the GM gets in to their head a little and understands how they think. Then the GM can have these non-player characters act as real characters making decisions that are consistent and as intelligent as the antagonist would make. The antagonists want to win and they usually want to win as bad as the player's characters do. To that end they must work against the characters, resisting them and generally making their live's difficult.

As the enabler, the GM ensures that the players are able to be succesful. The players should be able to overcome all (or almost all) challenges and come out the victorious heroes (or anti-heroes). The GM also should enable the players and characters to have some influence on the story. Give them tools and abilities to change the face of the world or at least the oucome of the story. Give them oppurtunities to explore the depths of the character and become the fully realized person that great fictional characters are; not just two dimensional plot-devices but characters with hopes, fear, etc.

The GM is as much a player as the players who play the protaganists, the "player characters." The GM just has a much broader part and set of reponsibilities but these responsibilities are much a game as the game the others play. The GM must stretch his or her imagination and throw themselves into the imaginary world. Together with the players, it becomes a story. Together, with the players, the GM should feel free to have fun and remember that, in the end, it's a game. Everyone is playing to have fun. It just becomes a larger part of the GM's duty to make sure that fun happens. Encourage the players to throw themselves into their character's and let loose those creative energies. That, if you want my humble opinion, is the whole point of gaming. I have heard people try to make roleplaying into more than that and it can be. If we walk away knowing something more about the human condition or finding some deep insight in to our own personalities, its a nice bonus. The true magic of gaming comes in the creative flow between players and GM and the willingness to "just create."

What Stone Are You?

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What Planet Are You From?

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Inigo Montoya

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
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(Via Double N)

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Gaming: Thoughts on Vampire
When Vampire: The Masquerade came out I was thrilled. I read through the book and loved the theme of personal horror. The system, with the importance placed on Self Control, Conscience and the retaining of one's Humanity did a lot to try and reflect what it would be to become a monster. I played in a game and had one of the best roleplaying experiences I had ever had. To make my character even more tragic, I started with a mortal based on the Mel Gibson character in Lethal Weapon (the first one), an undercover cop with a death-wish. I thought it would be great to play a depressed suicidal guy who has been made immortal. Then, shortly after he was embraced he met the love of his life: another Vampire. She helped him through the horror of self-discovery and made it a little less painful. I was enjoying the game, but something happened.

As the rest of the players were worked in to the plot, the game became about politics and action and the more personal elements were lost. Alisia, my characters girlfriend, faded into the background and the fact that one was a vampire was only remembered when we had to feed (which was played as a quick dice roll) and when we used our "dark gifts." The game also became more political (as most Vampire games are these days) and the GM decided to throw more plot elements in dealing with the Camarilla (the society of Vampires) and the in-fighting.

Something was lost and after playing in a couple of campaigns, I realized that most Vampire GMs and players were forgetting what was, to me, the most important element of teh game. Vampires are monsters! The game was supposed to be a horror game and the horrible part was becoming part of the background.

So, I decided to remind the players I played with. I did a one-shot game (which was actually played over two nights) where I had them make up themselves in the Vampire system. No powers. No clans. Just stats and skills. They had unlimited points to do this with, but they had to be honest with themselves. (Most players ended up with low attributes but a lot of "one-dots" in skills.) The descriptions in the Vampire game for attribute and skills made it pretty easy to create onesself. Then we played.

...and they were embraced.

It was intense.

This scenario came up in conversation at ACN. During Nobilis in a typical gamer-tangent we talked for a few minutes about WoD and I told them my thoughts on Vampire and about this scenario. I had forgotten about it until then but now I am thinking. Amber players are some great roleplayers and some of them would probably be interested in giving this scenario a try. I could run it at an Ambercon (shedding the V:tM trappings and doing my own version of Vampires) and probably get one hell of an intense game. Maybe too intense.

Vampire: The Masquerade Clan Test

You aren't sure where you came from. Perhaps your sire did an embrace and run. Or maybe your sire was an outcast himself. Either way, your powers are unique and really don't belong to any clan...or maybe a little from each. Because you of these circumstances, you aren't really sure where you belong. You tend to wander and do a bit of soul searching in your eternal life. Maybe some have a while after all

What Vampire Clan Do You Belong To?

Test Created By

What!? I don't even get a clan!? I got ripped off!

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Clark and Lex are building their first house together. Funny. (Via Fuscia, friend of Ferret)

The season premiere was cool last night. So was Buffy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Post-Con Stress
A friend posted how she sometimes finds herself stressed after a con, re-living any social gaffs she may have made.

I used to do the same thing. Not just in gaming. I used to get stressed out about how I handled all sorts of social situations after they were over. "Did I speak too much about myself?" "Did I seem unfriendly?" "Did I come off as a complete idiot?" They say we are own worst critics and I believe its true.

Why get upset with yourself about some little mistake you made? Do you have to be perfect? Does letting yourself get stressed change something that has already happened? Why do we do this?

First of all, we have to remember that mistakes made in a game aren't really that important. They are games. If you're stressing yourself out about them then you're missing the whole point. If you had fun and other had fun, then the game was a success. Second of all, if other people enjoyed gaming with you then they don't care if you mispoke or if your intro wasn't just right. Most people don't even notice the mistakes.

If you ever plan to GM, you'll want to quit torturing yourself about these things before then. When you GM you will make a lot more mistakes. There are just more opputunities to make mistakes. I could list tons of mistakes I made from the games I ran at ACN. At times I told characters how they feel. (A big no-no. A GM shouldn't ever do that. A GM should describe what the characters sense. Let the players decide what their characters feel. I know this and yet constantly catch myself breaking this GM rule.) I forgot to introduce important clues in to plots. My timing was off and I had to rush endings. The list goes on and on.

However, I'm not stressing about these mistakes. The con is over and I had a great time. My players seemed to enjoy the games despite all of my mistakes so I just make mental notes of things to do better in the future. It's bad enough I have to go back to work after a wonderful weekend of gaming. There's no reason for me to make it worse by stressing about how I spent that weekend.

Whatever mistakes I made as GM, player or just a person; they are in the past. No need to stress about them.

Howard Zinn on History
I'm reading Howard Zinn on History at work on my lunch breaks. After reading several of his articles in The Progressive and, I decided that I wanted to pick up his A People's History of the United States. They didn't have it when I stopped at Borders the other day so I picked up this one. It's a collection of his articles on history and how it applies to the present day that were published in several magazines. In the article I read today, he wrote how the dehumanization of the "enemy" has been a necessary accompaniment to war. "It is easier to explain atrocities if they are commited against infidels or people of an inferior race."

In the Gulf War, the dehumanization of the Iraqis consisted of not recognizing their existence. We were not bombing women, children, not bombing ordinary Iraqi young men in the act of flight or surrender. We were acting against a Hitler-like monster, Saddam Hussein, although the people we were killing were the Iraqi victims of that monster. When Colin Powell was asked about the Iraqi casualties he said that was "really not a matter I am terribly interested in."

The American people were led to accept the violence of the war in Iraq because the Iraqis were made invisible- because the United States only used "smart bombs." The major media ignored the enormous death toll in Iraq, ignored the report of the Harvard medical team that visited Iraq shortly after the war and found that tens of thousands of Iraqi children were dying because of the bombing of the water supply and the resultant epidemics of disease.

-Howard Zinn, Howard Zinn on History

Victory of the loud little handful

The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit will - warily and cautiously - object... at first. The great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it."

Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the antiwar audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

Before long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men...

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

-Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)

"Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it."

German Political Update
Schroeder won. The Social Democrat/Green Party Coalition won 306 seats. The Conservatives won 295 seats.

There has been talk in the US of the several different Socialist parties and the Greens doing some coalition building and it has mostly been dismissed from what I've heard. (There are some major rifts between the different socialist parties in the US which I'm not sure I completely understand.) Maybe this will get people thinking. The Social Democrats would never have won this election had it not been for the Greens.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Politics in Germany
The Guardian has an article on the German presidential campaigns this year. Some of the parties campaigns:


Attempting to appeal to art lovers and gay rights supporters, a campaign poster parodies a 16th century painting from the Fountainebleau school which hangs in the Louvre. A topless woman pinches her lesbian lover's nipple, while behind them two men do the same - it marks the Greens' promotion of their same-sex marriage law which was introduced last year.

Conservatives (CDU/CSU)

Cashing in on the popularity of its campaign slogan: "Three women can't be wrong", which it printed on T-shirts four years ago in a dig at the chancellor's three divorces, the conservatives have this year wheeled out Gerhard Schröder's third wife, Hillu, for a cinema advertising slot in which she says: "I left my husband; you can do it too!"

Communists (PDS)

Its main campaign website is called sexanddrugs and outlines the party's plans to legalise cannabis and push for sexual equality. A campaign poster boldly states: "Today I'll fuck, tomorrow I'll smoke grass, the day after I'll vote for the PDS".

Theres more in the article.

Ambercon North- Games
Friday Morning- I ran "Blood and Darkness in the Dreaming City." For the scenario I did something similar to what I had done in the game I ran at ACUS. I split the characters in to two different groups. There were the street kids, a group of homeless kids who look out for eachother, and the demon-hunters, heroic defenders of the city. (The previous game had the street kids and the detectives.) It worked out pretty well as the two groups played off of eachother very well. The street kids were trying to save their friend that had been possessed by a demon while the demonhunters were trying to save the city from an invasion of unseelie fae. Good clean fun.

Friday Evening- I played Anoki in RW's "Here, There and Everywhere." I had fun, but I don't think the character I chose was right for the scenario. Still, it was an interesting game.

Saturday Morning- I ran "Morpheus Calling." It didn't go as smooth as when I ran it before, but everyone had fun. To begin with, I have learned that it is a lot tougher to run something at 9 in the morning then it is in the afternoon. It helps when the GM is awake. Also, I had previously had Carla co-GMing with me and she ran people through some of the beginning scenes. This time I didn't have her help and it took a little longer to get to the big plot. I made some changes to the scenario based on the characters that people selected and I think the changes worked well.

Saturday Evening- I played in Arref's "Bloody Grievance." I took a pregen character and ended up playing the third son of Dworkin, Morgenstern. A little while in to the game I found the character and he was a blast to play, especially with Arref's Dworkin and DJ's Basque (Dworkin's adopted brother). They both did an excellent job with those characters. It was a dark scenario with all of the characters preparing for a hopeless battle. We managed a victory but scarred Amber in the process. The game was a lot of fun with a good mixture of serious scenes and light-heartedness. As slightly amusing note (for those who know Amber)- I humored myself during the game that Morgenstern's horse was named Julian. Unfortunately, Morgenstern never had a reason to say the name of his horse.

Sunday Morning- I ran Nobilis. It went OK. We were all tired from a weekend of gaming and I don't think any of us (including this humble GM) was ready for the serious plot I had planned. Luckilly, one player played Raven (the trickster) and managed to lighten up the group and I changed some NPCs around in the scenario to put more emphasis on the other tricksters, Monkey-king and Coyote. I think the tricksters saved what almost turned into a bunch of sleepy-eyed gamers trudging through the plot. Also we ran in to timing issues as it took us a while to get started. I had to rush the ending (with the help of one player who realized a real quick but unclimactic solution to one of the problems they faced) but in the end I think the players had fun.

Ambercon North
I'm back. I had a great time. I got to meet a lot of cool people and spend time hanging out with some friends that I don't get to see as often as I'd like.

I'll post more about it later.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Columbus Day
October 14th is Columbus day. It's almost a month away, so this may be a little early, but I read this on my lunch break and thought I'd share.

They are the best of people in the world and above all the gentlest- without knowledge of what is evil- nor do they murder or steal...they love their neighbors as themselves and they have the sweetest talk in the world...always laughing.
-Christopher Columbus describing the Arawak Indians in his journal

It seems CC thought very highly of the "Indians." Indeed, his descriptions of them describe a paradise. It sounds like the type of society that we are constantly told could never exist because people are naturally wicked and greedy.

They are very simple and honest and exceedingly liberal with all they have, none of them refusing anything he may possess when he is asking for it. They exhibit great love towards all others in preference to themselves.
-Christopher Columbus in a letter to one of his Spanish patrons

They sound like they were a great people and that they already understood the christian ideal. I don't see why they needed converting.

They would make great servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
-Christopher Columbus describing the Arawak in his journal

Oh wasn't about God. It was about Gold. The Arawak were forced by Columbus to bring him gold. They were sent out to bring it back and if they did not bring back a certain amount by the end of the day, his men would cut of their arms as a warning to the rest of them. Those who tried to run were hunted down with dogs to be killed. If they managed to escape they died of starvation or illness.

...of all the infinite universe of humanity, these people are the most guileless, the most devoid of wickedness and duuplicity...yet into this sheepfold there came the Spaniards who immediately behaved like ravening beasts...Their reason for killing and destroying is that the Christians have an ultimate aim which is to aquire gold.
-Batrolome de las Casas, a Dominican priest who came to the new world a few years after Columbus. This quote is from his book The Devestation of the Indies

Greed is the cause of most of the atrocities man commits and yet in America we applaud the greedy and make them to be heroes. Happy Columbus Day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

West Wing

The idealistic speechwriter is well-liked by just about everyone. He's known for his excellent writing, sense of humor, and tendency to be clutzy. Although being younger than the rest of the staff, he's often treated as so, much to his dismay.

:: Which West Wing character are you? ::

(via Angel Mills)

Why Now?

Almost no one wanted to come out and say that the Bush White House was pushing a showdown with Saddam for crass, political, hey-there's-a-midterm-election- coming-up reasons. It sounded so, well, unpatriotic. Would the administration really screw around with war and peace to save the GOP's electoral bacon?

Now – perhaps because the front pages are filled with Iraq talk instead of the presumably Democratic-friendly chatter about Social Security, prescription drugs and corporate scandals – the previously unspeakable is being spoken.

No one is seriously suggesting that Bush wants to go to war with Iraq as a distraction. But as a Washington Post story put it yesterday: Why now? If Saddam Hussein is pursuing weapons of mass destruction and is a threat to the civilized world, why didn't the president make these demands six months ago – or wait until six months from now? What was the trigger that demanded immediate action?
-Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post

I like Kurtz's column. Some people are starting to ask. Maybe this will all backfire on Bush. Probably not, but I can hope.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Cowboy Politics

I've yet to see or hear anything -- and trust me, I've been looking -- that compells me to believe that we have to attack Iraq right now. They have all the same capabilities as they've had for the past few years. Saddam Hussein has made no new overt actions against its neighbors.

But the magic lightbulb went on at the end of the story. NPR revealed that the expectation is that the U.S. oil trade is going to surge in the wake of an attack on Iraq because any new Iraqi regime is not going to want to deal oil with any country that did not support the attack on Saddam.
-Prozac Conniption

Good point, LM. This could explain the sudden international support Bush is getting, even though nothing new has come to light. Bush still has no evidence. He still hasn't produced a reason besides "He's a bad man." But, the UN won't fight against the US and Bush has stated that he'll do it no matter what, so they better fall in line.

Also while talking about why it's suddenly become such an important issue, let's not forget that elections are coming up. This proposed Irag invasion also takes the media focus further way from the corporate scandals and health care problems that are both issues that Republicans, for good reasons, poll badly on. The Republican party is highly supportive of big business (even more than the Democrats who aren't so clean themselves) and there is no chance in hell a Republican congress would ever pass a socialized health care system. (There's a slim chance of the Democrats getting it done but at least a few of them would be willing to try.) These are issues important to Americans.

I heard on NPR this morning that Bush is speaking out about fiscal responsibility. He is urging congress to keep the budget down. At the same time, he is arguing for an invasion of Iraq that qould cost us billions as well as risking the lives of American soldiers. The United States has plenty of money for everything (including socialized health care), if we didn't have such an inflated military budget.

Comic Book Geek Purity Test
"You answered "yes" to 125 of 300 questions, making you 58.3% comic pure (41.7% comic corrupt). "

In the old days I would have scored much higher. Still 41.7% is quite geeky. I should be proud.

The GM of the Champions campaign I'm in would put most geeks to shame. The man has over 40 "long-boxes" of comics and they are all bagged, boarded and in order. It's kinda scary.

Me? I have a little over 10 long-boxes. These days I never bag and board comics and they are nowhere near in order.

If you want to see how geeky you are, the test is here.

(Link via Meera)

Friday, September 13, 2002

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They both
should be changed regularly and for the same reason.


What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? .

Your inner child screams for cartoons and sugary cereals, but your adult tastes love the buzz of quality mind altering substances. Sooner or later, you're going to have to grow up, at least a bit.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Dreaming City
I typed up most of the character creation system for The Dreaming City tonight. I had a bunch of random notes and jottings in my iBook that I tried making as understandable as I could for everyone.

Two Years
Yesterday was my two-year anniversary working for the company. When I started, I was buying Jolt Cola from the store downstairs each day. This morning, I bought a Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi. How things change...

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Gaming: The Big Red Button
"Thinking isn't getting us anywhere!"
-Tidus, Final Fantasy X

Ginger talks about how some people play characters that take every foolhardy action they can, constantly taking unneccesary risks and doing exactly what they were warned they shouldn't do.

As an opposite scenario, I've played in a game where players wouldn't try anything. Everyone was too concerned about what would happen to act. They talked and talked but there was little action. Sometimes you need an impulsive character, a character who doesn't see evrything as a game of chess that you have to predict every reaction before making their move. So, in that game, I took it upon myself to be the impulsive one. If anyone was going to accidently destroy the universe by trying something really foolhardy, it had to be me.

The impulsive characters make sure things are always interesting. A whole group of them would be tough to deal with as a GM, but I'd rather not have a group that didn't have at least one.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

An agitated Vice President Cheney, in a tête-à-tête with NBC's Tim Russert on Sunday, said it was "reprehensible" that people would think the administration had "saved" its ammunition on Iraq to bring it out now, 60 days before an election. "So the suggestion that somehow, you know, we husbanded this and we waited is just not true," Cheney said.

Now where would people get such a cockamamie idea? Well, maybe from White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and Bush political adviser Karl Rove, who made the case to the New York Times's Elisabeth Bumiller last week that they pretty much did what Cheney said they didn't do -- waited patiently and deliberately to launch a long-planned rollout. "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," Card said. Added Rove: "The thought was that in August the president is sort of on vacation."

from this article in The Washington Post

Video Games
There is another Final Fantasy Tactics game coming out for Gameboy Advance. There's a preview here with screenshots.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Dreaming City
Last weekend I had planned to spend most of the weekend working on the Dreaming City web page. I wanted to get the basics of character generation and the history of the city up. If I could at least get character generation up, I could email my Ambercon North players and offer them the chance to create their own characters instead of taking pregens. Well, I got sick and until this last weekend I had little interest in being near a computer. I'm still not feeling good but i'm back at my computer. I typed up some history for Murias tonight. Character generation is coming.

Here is The Dreaming City.

9/11 changed everything...except Bush's agenda looks back at the last year with an article by Howard Zinn and an Op Ad. From the OpAd: "According to President Bush, the terrorists hate our 'love of freedom.' But now, the president can declare any American an 'enemy combatant' and detain them indefinitely without charges, counsel, or contact with anyone. Maybe he thinks the attackers will stop if we no longer have our Constitutionally protected freedoms. "

I made my appointment with the doctor. Maybe she can tell me why I'm not getting better.

Global Footprint
I took the Global Footprint Test. (Link via Kristen) Being vegetarian helped out my score and my mobility was low but I still can improve.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Witch Hunt
I am very happy. I just won a VHS copy of Witch Hunt from eBay. Witch Hunt is the sequel to Cast a Deadly Spell which I already have on tape. Both movies were HBO movies that mixed film noir with magic and were one of main inspirations for The Dreaming City. It also has Julian Sands one of my favorite underused actors. Here is the description of Witch Hunt from the eBay auction:

It's a mythical 1953 Hollywood, and to most people, magic is just a new everyday tool to make life easier. But to Senator Larson Crockett (Eric Bogosian), witchcraft signals a sinister, moral decay, a threat to the family and the eventual collapse of the American way of life. Thus is the premise of the clever, allegorical fable WITCH HUNT. Against this backdrop, private investigator H. Phillip Lovecraft (Dennis Hopper) is hired by starlet Kim Hudson (Penelope Ann Miller) to investigate her philandering producer husband (Alan Rosenberg), the assignment turning into a murder investigation when he is killed by sorcerous means. Now Lovecraft must draw on his own skills--which he had sworn off of--to find the killer, bringing him into contact with old nemesis Finn Macha (Julian Sands) and with Crockett's witch hunt trials. Effortless special effects handled in a refreshingly offhand manner and clever McCarthy-era metaphor combine to make this a surprising, original, and highly entertaining film. In addition, there are a number of witty, comic touches; for example, William Shakespeare is transported to the 20th century to act as a script doctor in a cheesy B movie.

If I were an Amberite....
"We have looked deep into the Jewel of Judgement, with some help from Ghostwheel, and determined that your amnesia hides the fact that you are actually Corwin."

Damn it. I don't want to be Corwin. Last year when deciding which Amberite to play in KG's "Flotsam and Jetsam," Corwin was my last choice, right after Flora. So, out of curiosity, I change one of my answers on the quiz: Boom! Flora!

Take the quiz here.

Gaming: The LARP
Last year, I told LT that I would run the LARP at ACUS 2003. I had this "great" scenario in mind. It had to do with the destruction of everything and what to do when your spirit is floating around in primal chaos. It was a very serious and "deep" plot dealing with the purpose of life, the universe and everything. Characters could be anyone who ever lived, wether they were Amberites, characters from other forms of fiction/gaming or real people and they would have to work together.

Carla told me that it might be a little too serious for the Saturday LARP and I agreed. I dropped the idea but not until after I told LT that I would run the game. No problem. I still want to run it. I just need a new plot.

So, I talked to several people about it and their suggestions were "make it fairly light." Carla was right. She often is.

So here are three scenarios I've been toying with. I need to decide before October so I can start preparing.

"Amberites and the Chaosians That Love Them"
Blurb: Filmed live in the courts, the Garry Flinger show is one of the most popular television shows in all of shadow. Garry Flinger is the show where people come to air their scandals before millions of universes. It is the show of which all other talk shows are but shadows.

The show is fast approaching its one millionth episode and CBN, the Chaosian Broadcasting Network has decided to do a special two hour episode and for an extra-special treat they have convinced several members of the royal family of Amber to be guests. This is going to be good. I hope nothing goes wrong.

Characters: PCs would be needed to play some of the royal family and other characters from the Amber series. The audience, which would be made up of people from anywhere in the multiverse will also be involved with the plot. Everyone will conspire with the GM to come up with scenarios that can come out on the show.

Pros: The scenario would only need two NPCs and I can play them both. The game is bound to be very silly. I have some twists in mind that will take the game well beyond the two hour "filming time" and keep everyone involved for the whole time.

Cons: The game is maybe too silly and may suffer if it doesn't get a lot of players.

Morpheus Rising
Yep, a LARP follow-up to Morpheus Calling

Blurb: I can't share the blurb yet, since the scenario would build off of MC which I will be running MC again at ACN and maybe at U-Con. (MC would be a great scenario to introduce people to Amber who are new to the setting/game.)

Characters: Players can be anyone or anything. They will be built using a variation of the ADRPG. Players who have played in Morpheus Calling will be able to return with their characters from before. Some changes may be made to what their characters experienced in "Morpheus Calling" to tie in characters from different times that MC has been run.

Pros: Several players from ACUS 2002's game have expressed interest in a sequel and the game was run in the Saturday Night slot last year, the same slot as the LARP. Characters can be anything the player wants, so people can dress as any character they decide and still be an Amberites. The background of the game should be pretty simple to explain to all of the people who have not played in MC. Some returning players could be given extra information on the scenario and act a bit as GMs. The scenario would center around one main location, a party. The scenario can be as serious or as light as needed.

Cons: It may be seen as too serious a plot. I don't think it will be. I would have to figure out a way to dress as Morpheus. I can't afford a black leather trench right now and I'm certainly not shaving my head. The game will require a few locations outside the party.

The Magic Murder Mystery (haven't decided on a real title)

Blurb: A storm rips through shadows destroying everything in its path. Several Mages gather at a mansion on the edge of a world to perform a ritual to protect their corner of reality from the storms destructive force. They come from many shadows with retainers and bodyguards. The night before the ritual is to take place, their is a murder, an impossible murder. Now they are all stuck in the mansion together and one of them is a murderer.

Pros: I've run the scenario successfully twice before as a regular roleplaying game, once in GURPS and once in Changeling. It only takes some minor changes to fit into the Amber universe or a LARP. A mystery can always be fun.

Cons: Limits character concepts. Character backgrounds will have to be provided somewhat by the GM. Somebody will have to play the culprit (or culprits).

So, I'd like to know what you think. Please, leave comments below.

Still not feeling good. Carla started feeling sick Thursday and is already feeling better but for me it keeps hanging on. I'm beginning to think my sinuses are infected. A sinus infection usually comes from a cold and won't go away without antibiotics. (That's what the doctors say, but what did we do before antibiotics?)

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Wish: Keeping the Mood

Sometimes in my games, I try to set a mood, only to have a joke or out-of-character chatter/commentary ruin it by going off on a tangent or breaking everyone into laughter, occasionally including me. I have pretty much given up on trying to get my players to be serious all the time - after all, when I'm on the other side of the screen, I'm not always serious either. Plus the game is a social, fun event, and people should not feel forced to be serious or in character all the time. (I'll save that for LARPers)

That said, how do you keep the mood? And once lost, how do you try to bring everyone back? Can you? Is it even possible?

And what do you do with that one player who is always the first one to crack a joke and break up the tension you've built to so carefully, no matter how many times you've asked/warned him/her not to do that?

I have two words: Tangents happen. Let them play their course and you'll usually be able to return to the game in short time. If the tangents keep happening, notice what kind of tangents are happening. This can be a hint for what type of game the players want. If the players keep joking around (the most common tangent), they may need a little humor before getting back to the heavy stuff. Add a light-hearted scene in the game. This way the players will be in character and get the much-needed humor. Unless you've set up some sort of deadline for an event you can usually side-track your oh-so-important save-the-world plotline for a little while with humorous PCs or humorous situations and make it seem like it was part of the plot from the beginning.

For example, let's say your characters were going to meet with "Don Capione", the Mafia capo to try and negotiate a peace-fire between the Capione family and the Leon family. They just dealt with a very serious scene of finding out one of the Leons was shot in the back of the head and they had to tell the girlfriend. The players now seem restless and keep going off in bad Mafia impersonations which eventually leads them somehow into Monty Python sketches (a universal favorite of gamers everywhere). You've tried bringing them back, reminding them how important and tense this meeting will be, but you're afraid they won't be "in the scene". Perhaps, as they are driving to the meeting they see a black car shove someone out at a corner butt-naked and it happens to be "Ronnie the Fink", a small-time hood the PCs can't stand. The car drives off and they recognize it as one of Capione's. So, they stop to interview "Ronnie the Fink" and find out what happened. This scene could be plenty of fodder for humor while revealing some of the plot bits. Ronnie's obviously in trouble with the Capiones and may know what's going on with them right now, but he's a little more concerned with modesty right now. Make sure to play Ronnie a little over-the-top and the players will feel OK realxing and letting their characters be a little silly. (Even super-serious PCs can take part. I play a super-serious quiet-type Samurai in a Champions game that often goes off on silly tangents in game. I have learned that playing the straight man in those scenes can be just as much fun as cracking the jokes with the rest of them. In fact, sometimes the fact that my character is so serious makes the joke.)

Maybe that didn't work. Maybe the PC's didn't get the jokes out of their system or maybe they didn't find much humor in the scene. (Let's face it, the naked scrawny butt of some two-bit hood isn't really going to be that funny.) Then, work in some more light-hearted scenes or....

Increase the drama. You have to be careful with this one, though. It can be heavy-handed and overdone. The games are supposed to be about having fun. If you shove the plot down their throats, where's the fun in that.

Another option a GM can use in some games: Roll Dice. While dice can be distracting at times from roleplaying, it can also act to keep the game focused. If roleplaying isn't really happening anyway, a dice rolled scenario can really keep players involved. I can't tell you how many times I have run campaigns where everyone knew how important things were when I started having them roll dice and when the dice rolled everyone watched. They knew that a "fumbled" roll may not kill the characters but it would greatly complicate an already dangerous or touchy scenario. So, if I occassionally had them roll when things weren't life or death, they felt that things could be and paid closed attention.

When I ran "Vurt", a cyberpunk campaign using the Masterbook RPG, the first session had the players taking a drug called Vurt. When the NPC showed up at the party where they were going to try it he burst in the door, held up a paper back and shouted "Gentleman! Let's broaden our minds!" They took the drug and things got really weird and intense. One character dealt with father issues while another took a wrong turn in a dark corner of his mind called Pirate's Alley and faced his worst fear. When they left the feather dreams of the Vurt and returned to the real world they discovered that they had somehow brought a bit of the trip back with him. A business card a dream-person handed one of them when he took that fateful wrong turn, was still clutched in his hand. Thus, the game was born. For the rest of the campaign, whenever the players got distracted I would say in that one NPC's voice, "Gentleman! Let's broaden our minds!" and they would immediately get back focused. Sometimes there's little catch phrases you can find that the whole group will realize means, "Let's get focused on the game!"

I tried using the phrase again in the next game I ran with that group, a Palladium Fantasy game, but somehow, "Gentleman! Let's bloody our swords!" didn't have the same effect. After Vurt, it became an inside joke, but for that one campaign I had my "attention stick" to hit the players with.

These days, I play in a Champions campaign where we seem to spend half of each game B.S.'ing. We spend more time cracking jokes than fighting supervillians, but I like it that way. We can get "serious" when the situation calls for it and noone detracts from the mood in those times, so I'm happy.

As for "that one player." I haven't run into that player yet. Most players can take a hint.

OK- I think I made up for posting so lightly this last week....

Meme a little meme
I just answered the ones I had answers for.

The Man Quiz
1. What’s your favorite before-breakfast beer?
Murphy's Stout. It fills you up so you won't need breakfast.

2. Tom Green or Green Giant?
Green Giant. Tom Green is annoying.

3. How many remotes do you own? [Use exponents, if necessary]

5. Superpower you’d like to have [Bonus points if it lets you see through clothing]

6. Jackie Chan, or Bruce Lee?
Jackie Chan, because he starts almost every fight with "I don't want to fight you!" and then proceeds to kick their butts.

7. Favorite color? Is your favorite color decision based on the favorite color of this month’s Playmate?
Green or black. No.

12. If you could meet one person, dead or naked, who would it be?
Jesus Christ. I got questions.

14. Buffy, Willow or Cordelia?

24. Captain Picard, or Captain Kirk?
I'm a Kirk fan, although I must admit that Picard was the better captain. He was the better leader and he was more cultured. Kirk was just more entertaining to watch as he method-acted his way into bed with whatever alien woman caught his fancy.

(Via Double N)

An albatross for Cheney
Sorry about all the political stuff, people. Like I said in my last post, I'm catching up. I usually get most of my news from NPR and WCBN (an Ann Arbor non-corporate station), but since I am getting my news on the internet today, it's too easy for me to blog about what I read.

Excuse me: I don't want to be tacky or anything, but hasn't it occurred to anyone in Washington that sending Vice President Dick Cheney out to champion an invasion of Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein is a "murderous dictator" is somewhere between bad taste and flaming hypocrisy?

When Dick Cheney was CEO of the oilfield supply firm Halliburton, the company did $23.8 million in business with Saddam Hussein, the evildoer "prepared to share his weapons of mass destruction with terrorists."

So if Saddam is "the world's worst leader," how come Cheney sold him the equipment to get his dilapidated oil fields up and running so he to could afford to build weapons of mass destruction?

Molly Ivins, Hypocrisy Now! (Link via Howard Kurtz, Washington Post)

Will the Canadians legalize Marijuana?

I'm catching up on all the news I missed while I was sick. I hope they do legalize Marijuana. It could set an example. Why spend all this money fighting "the war on drugs" and putting people in jail when marijuana is less dangerous than alchohol and we could be taxing it?

Of course, the drug dealer lobbyists would never let it get legalized....

Friday, September 06, 2002

Funny stuff
Non Sequitur

Warning: long rambling rant ahead

There are moments in every man's life, in the life of a nation, when, under the excitement of passion, the simple truths which in common times are the foundation upon which the right order and conduct of life depend are apt to be forgotten and disregarded. I shall venture tonight to recall to you some of the commonplace truths, which in these days of war need more than ever to be kept in mind.
Charles Eliot Norton, "True Patriotism" 1898

Last year, Bush and the media were able to whip the American people into a blood frenzy to start a war that, I believe, was senseless. The Taliban were no saints, but they were willing to work with us to find Osama bin Laden. They just asked to see the secret evidence against Osama bin Laden Bush said he had. Our government refused and instead invaded them to set up a more US-friendly regime (that would of course allow US oil companies to drill in Afghanistan, one of the last big deposits of oil). We didn't get Osama, but we did manage to kill a bunch of civilians. The majority of Americans have ignored the fact that this "secret evidence" was promised to be released last year but still hasn't been. While the "Patriot Act", a blatant attack on American liberties and the system of checks and balances our founding fathers created, was passed most Americans were too busy putting flags on their cars to notice.

Now, it is almost one year since 9/11 and I am relieved to see that more level heads are looking at the proposed Iraq invasion. Bush is having a tough time finding support for this war. He's tried claiming that he has secret evidence again, but we fell for that one before.

Of course, Bush is hungry for war. He knows that Americans are getting wise to him. If he's going to send our boys off to die in the desert, he'd better do it quick before people realize that he really just wants to help his big oil buddies. So, he's trying to say that he can legally start the war without approval from Congress. It's a grand American tradition. Our founding fathers wanted Presidents to have to get congress to declare war for a reason. They did not want that much power in the hands of one man. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for presidents to start ignoring that. In the 1800's, we invaded Mexico without declaring war and ever since, presidents have felt they could conveniently ignore the idea. Well, this time it looks like congress is going to fight him.

I have seen that we do not intend to free but to subjugate the Phillipines. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons in any other land...I have a strong aversion to sending our bright boys out there to fight with a disgraced musket under a polluted flag.
-Mark Twain speaking against the American invasion of the Phillipines in 1900. He was declared a traitor for exercising his freedom of speech and conscience.

Here's the way I see it. Bush's interest is oil. He got where he is with the help of his friends in "big oil" and now he's working hard for them. He's trying to open up Alaska for them as well as the middle east. The problem with the middle east is that we don't control it and the Arabic nations aren't always willing to play ball with greedy American companies. 9/11 was too good of a chance for Bush to pass up. If he said, I want to invade some countries and risk our men's lives for oil, we would never have allowed it but with the spectre of terrorism, he could easily fool a fearful and angry populace into supporting an invasion. To make it better, he also said we would improve the lives of the Afghans. The Taliban were bad (on this we could all agree) and we would remove them. From what I've been hearing, life hasn't improved that much and from what I'm seeing "big oil" isn't full. Iraq has a lot of oil just waiting for Mobil or Exxon to move in.

There's one other thing I wanted to mention about the flight of the intellectuals to support of the current war. Were seeing it today in regard to women's rights. Women under the Taliban had a terrible life. I have news for Laura Bush. I opposed the Taliban before she knew what they were. I opposed the Taliban before George Bush could find Afghanistan on a map. Yes, the life of women was terrible. When was it better? It was better under the regime the US had helped to overthrow over a decade ago. What are the two countries in the Islamic world where women have equal rights? One is Iraq, which has a despicable regime. I oppose the sanctions on Iraq, but its a horrible regime. The other is Libya, which is not such a bad regime. In those two countries, women don't have to wear the veil. And in what countries do they have to wear the veil? Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where they cannot even drive a car, but which are U.S. allies.

- David McReynolds, Non-violent Alternatives to Bush's War on Terrorism

Elihu Burritt: Peace is Patriotic
I was reading Milestones to American Liberty last night and I think I found a new addition to my list of Americans I consider heroic. Elihu Burritt was a peace advocate in the 1800's.

If peace has its victories no less than war, it has its heroism and its patriotism. The men of peace can find no attribute, in the great gospel principles of their faith, that can side with despotism, or wink with indifference at oppression. They are not cowards. They counsel no tame, unmanly submission to wrong; but to oppose to wrongs a courage of the human will that shall never faint or waver at any extremity of endurance; -aye, to "resist unto blood" if it be unavoidable, - to give their own necks to the axe or to the halter, on the block or on the scaffold, but never to shed themselves a single drop, or to perpetrate a single act of malevelont injury on any human being, under the severest pressure of despotic rule. Peace has its heroism, serene and dauntless, that neither trembles before the guillotine, the halter or the knout. Peace has its patriotism; deep, earnest, unselfish, self-sacrificing, and sensitive, - a love of country that would bleed to the last vein, but never wound, for its rights, honor and prosperity. Peace has its battlefields, bloodless, but brave to a degree of heroic endurance of wrong and outrage to which martial courage could never attain.
-Elihu Burritt, "Thoughts and Things at Home and Abroad." 1854

A blacksmith who earned twenty-five cents a day in a foundry became the 19th century's foremost advocate of world peace. Elihu Burritt, the son of a soldier in the [American] Revolution, was born in Connecticut village in 1810. Although his schooling was skimpy, his hunger for learning was so intense that he soon taught himself a score of languages while working at the forge. Offered the chance to learn at Harvard, he said that he preferred to "stand in the ranks of the workingmen of New England and beckon them onward and the full stature of intellectual men." In his early twenties he became known as "the learned blacksmith" and began lecturing and writing in behalf of temperance, abolitionism and the peace movement.
-Milton Meltzer, Milestones to American Liberty

I tried to see if I could find any of his writings online, but all I could find was a library that was named after him.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Haven't felt like doing much the last several days, but I have managed to play some Final Fantasy X.

Best blitzball game I've played so far: 8-0 against the Kilika Beasts.

Feeling slightly better
At this rate, I should be back to my old self in two weeks. I went to work today, even though I felt like crap. Couldn't stand laying around any longer.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Been sick and feverish for several says now. I'm starting to feel better tonight. I'll blog some more when I feel better. Until then....

Which Animaniacs Character are You?

You have megalomaniacal impulses regularly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, as you have the cranial capacity of a small planet. Trying to take over the world is hard work, though, and you're not above exploiting your lessers. Even now, you have a plan that's being enacted which will pitch the world's economy into turmoil, leaving the floodgates of trade exposed for the sole owner of stock in the © company! You are en route to taking over the world!

Oh, and you ARE pondering what I'm pondering.

Click here to see my Livejournal.

(Via Random Acts)

Sunday, September 01, 2002

One company to rule them all
According to this article, Nestle and Cadbury are looking at buying out the Hershey company. Do you see what this means? One company would have control over both the major american makers of candy bars. This may not seem like as big a deal as, say, AOL Time Warner's grip on the American Media and it certainly isn't. But still...chocolate...

From an Interview with Black Elk
Bert: A lot of us are studying fairy tales. Studying is the wrong word. We're feeling the Spirit in these fairy tales, getting into our hearts.

Black Elk: So they're not cartoons. They're not Mickey Mouse stuff. They're real. But we sort of shy away from it, and try to base everything on material things. Technology. Figures on a piece of paper. We have to have proof.

Bert: But the proof is in the heart, in the Spirit, and in the feeling.

(From Menweb; Link via Meera)

Masculine Spirituality
Meera writes: As much as, "Maiden, Mother, and Crone," became part of the gaming archetypes, the (spiritual) evolution of men becomes mired in neglectful and archaic terminology. Little of it rolls off the tongue, and things like, "Squire, Knight, and King," refer perhaps too much to possessions.

There's a lot of bias. My search engine quest gave me a little over 201 examples of "sacred masculine." (Including Resources for Men as another potential place to look.) That's compared to 1454 results (or so) for "sacred feminine."

There used to be a magazine named Green Man that dealt with men and paganism. I picked it up occasionally and it always had some excellent articles. I don't think it's still in print, but I may be wrong.

One of the things that initially attracted me to paganism is the concept of a male and a female divine aspect, both equally important. By envisioning god as both god and goddess, the religion seemed more theory. Unfortunately, I realized quickly that the male aspect seems to get underplayed. Perhaps it is a backlash against the patriarchal religions, but I don't think it is any more right.