tablesaw: A trial sign ("This trail is OPEN") against a blue sky in Los Angeles's Griffith Park. (Hiking (Open Trails))
With all the caching I've been doing, I thought I should spend some time getting reacquainted with Google Earth. And yet, I didn't get around to uploading any of the new stuff. Instead, I touched up some photos and made a map of a hike I made three years ago with [personal profile] ojouchan.

It was one of a few hikes that Ojou indulged me in, since she never really enjoyed just walking through the mountains like I did. When we reached the peak, she was rather miffed that there was a road that led straight to the peak. Still, the trail led through a cool rocky narrow on the way up. She took a lot of pictures there. I did too, but most of mine didn't turn out so well.

Google Earth file / Online Google Map

tablesaw: A black woman and a white man hold each other on a park bench. Text reads "2004-2010." (Ojouchan)
I've created a new access list for me to talk about my emotions during my breakup. By default, most people with general access to this blog are on this list, with the exception of [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan and a few mutual friends that I would not feel comfortable venting to at all. You can visit the introductory post to see if you're on the filter.

This filter is not about "picking sides" in the breakup. It's mostly about keeping our emotional fallout sequestered from each other, so that we can move on healthily. But it's also about letting people decide how much they want to hear about that fallout.

In the process of creating the access list, I also renovated my friends lists on LJ and DW. There wasn't anything particularly drastic; most of the people who I removed were inactive journals. However, the undertaking was large enough that I very likely made mistakes.

If you want access (or want renewed access) to this blog or to the breakup filter, you can comment to this post. All responses are screened.

It's over.

Oct. 28th, 2010 08:17 pm
tablesaw: A black woman and a white man hold each other on a park bench. Text reads "2004-2010." (Ojouchan)
[livejournal.com profile] ojouchan and I have broken up and ended our engagement.

You may or may not know that we've been having troubles and were taking a break. This is not a break; it's over. Please don't question the finality of the decision.

Our friendship remains essentially intact, but it's very difficult for each of us emotionally.

Comments are open, but I'm not entirely comfortable saying much about this publicly yet. I may reach out privately if I haven't already. I may set up a filter to process this.

Please also keep in mind that my family reads this journal and are finding this out too. Mom, Dad, I may not be ready to talk immediately.
tablesaw: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
A post to say, among other things that I won't be posting for a while, as I'll be in Seattle for the National Puzzlers' League Convention following my recent tradition of going on even-numbered years.



Traveling always makes me anxious, and this is no exception. No major freak-outs, but [personal profile] ojouchan's been keeping me in check because she knows me and is awesome.

My flight leaves early tomorrow morning. Too early, really; I chose the flight based on getting into Seattle early and forgot about getting to the airport even earlier. Since I don't want to leave my car this time, it means getting a shuttle van for the ride there. Which means getting picked up stupid early. Bleah.



It also, then, may not have been a good idea to commit to GMing a game of Cortex K (aka the Smallville RPG), since it means I can't go to bed early. (Would I have been able to sleep? Probably not, but still.) In fact, it probably won't be worth it for me to go to sleep after gaming at all.

We're running our faux Vampire Diaries campaign, Darkwillow as a one-shot. I . . . didn't go into campaign creation with a good idea of what that would mean, so I was a bit stressed out early on trying to flesh out the world quickly. But as things started falling into place, it got progressively easier. I can see how, after a few games of regular play, GM prep goes down to almost nothing.

Josh has also given me a peak at some of his old prep materials for Shercroft Academy, and it's hilarious to see how some of his planned adventures went nowhere near where they were supposed to.



I'm apparently addicted to yogurt now. I was looking for something sweetish to use as an afternoon snack that wasn't a candy bar out of the vending machine, and started eating yogurt. I don't know that I actually like it, but it's just everything I need when I need it. Still, better than a Snickers bar.
tablesaw: A trial sign ("This trail is OPEN") against a blue sky in Los Angeles's Griffith Park. (Hiking (Open Trails))
For a while now, I was having trouble getting to sleep, sometimes not even making it to bed before two a.m.

Well, that pendulum has swung back, and I'm pretty pleased. Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan and I went to bed at about 11 p.m., and I woke up early enough to get up, shower, and get donuts before taking the train to work. That . . . just doesn't happen. I'm more of a roll-out-of-bed-and-into-the-subway guy. It kind of through my measure of the day out of whack: I remembered so much more of the morning, and I don't think that's actually a net gain.

We're going to bed early again tonight, but I'll probably sleep in until I roll out.
tablesaw: A black woman and a white man hold each other on a park bench. Text reads "2004-2010." (Ojouchan)
My valentine to [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan, the love of my life, forever and always:

A picture of Moz: 'VALENTINE: I love you like Chicanos love Morrissey.'


And for the rest of y'all:

Masked wrestler Demonio Azul picks up the phone; 'VALENTINE: Please holla back!'


(Images by Rio Yañez)



On the other hand, if you don't like Valentine's day, you might appreciate this post by [livejournal.com profile] fiction_theory. If you don't understand why anyone wouldn't like Valentine's Day or why anyone would get all worked up about how much it bugs them, then you should definitely read the post.

This Week

Jan. 30th, 2010 04:26 pm
tablesaw: A trial sign ("This trail is OPEN") against a blue sky in Los Angeles's Griffith Park. (Hiking (Open Trails))
Some stuff from the past week.
  • Hitched a ride out to Mission Viejo (inorite?) to go to Farrell's for [livejournal.com profile] wjukknibs's birthday party. W's on a quest to have birthday parties at locations when Angelenos our age would have had birthdays as children. We've done Chuck E Cheese's, and he's contemplating a McDonald's party.
  • My role-playing group has been having a lot fun playtesting a new game. Of the games we've played, this is probably the one most up my alley, and I've been smiling because of it for the past two weeks.
  • Went out to eat at Little Dom's. I enjoyed it, but Ojou was a bit taken back by the too-much-porkness of the menu. My entree, linguine with New Orleans–style BBQ shrimp, sounded unlikely, but was very tasty.
  • Short hiking through Griffith Park. I wanted to take the Ferndell-Observatory trail, but I was stopped midway by a lonely coyote. My policy is to just leave coyotes alone when I'm hiking by myself. I repositioned, and walked up from the Greek Theatre to the Observatory and back down again. It's always fun hiking after winter rains. I'm walking along the side of the mountain, and instead of gold, everything's black and green. It was like I was in not!SoCal.
  • I've been playing Sam & Max: Season One. Adventure games in 3-D still feel a little clunky to me, but the dialogue is spot-on and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the used copy I bought is skipping a little bit. I'm goign to see if I still have time to find the recent and try for a different disc.
  • [livejournal.com profile] jedusor was in town for grad school interviews, and on Friday, I met up with her and [livejournal.com profile] cramerica and Artistry and Mr. Pizza on Fairfax. I got a really (really) big calzone, and two bottles of Dr. Brown's Black Cherry. 'Twas yummy.
tablesaw: Paul, who is a ghost, declares this to be "Booooring!" (Booooring)
Woo! It's been a busy new year. [personal profile] ojouchan and I did a bunch of stuff, and we slept a bunch, and then there was work, and Arkham Asylum and Rock Band 2 and yeah.

But anyway, I'm getting back to normal, and getting ready for my birthday this weekend. Still no idea what I'm going to be doing, but I've got the weekend off.

A little bit of time left for the Christmas Wits & Wagers, which, incidentally, has been declared "awesome" by the designer of the original game. That's a recommendation there.

And I should be getting to bed now.
tablesaw: Two women put the star on a Christmas tree. (Apocalyptic Christmas)
Woo. It's been a busy few days, and it still is. Shopping and parties and work work work—I won't really get a chance to relax until Tuesday, when my New Year's break starts (five-day weekend!).

The executive summary of gifts received is: lots of nice clothes, two fantastick backpacks, and an Xbox 360 for [personal profile] ojouchan and I from my nuclear family.

As I mentioned earlier, I ran a trivia game based on Wits and Wagers. If you've never played it, I describe it as a combination of Balderdash, The Price Is Right, and Vegas betting. Everyone gets asked a trivia question with a number for an answer. Your goal is to be the closest without going over. Everybody turns in their answers, and they're lined up in order on the betting board. Odds are assigned according to the order of guesses, and you get to bet on which one was the closest without going over.

So, in the poll below, I've reproduced the questions, my family's guesses, and the odds that were assigned to them. Your job is to see if you can be better bettors than they were.

For each question you can pick either one or two guesses. If you check two boxes, you'll split your bet, placing one "chip" on each, and receiving the basic return if that bet is right (if the odds say 3:1, you'll get 3 points). If you check only one box, you double your bet on one option, and the rewards are doubled as well if you're right (if the odds say 3:1, you'll get 6 points).

Poll #1987 Christmas Wits and Wagers
This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8


In the song "Feliz Navidad," how many times does Jose Feliciano say "Feliz Navidad"?

View Answers

30 times [4:1]
2 (28.6%)

28 times [3:1]
1 (14.3%)

24 times [2:1]
0 (0.0%)

15 times [3:1]
2 (28.6%)

12 times [4:1]
1 (14.3%)

All Too High [5:1]
1 (14.3%)

According to the free edition available online from Project Gutenberg, how many words are in the main text of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, from "Marley was dead: to begin with" to "God bless us, every one"?

View Answers

250,000 words [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

100,000 words [3:1]
2 (25.0%)

10,015 words [3:1]
6 (75.0%)

10,000 words [4:1]
2 (25.0%)

All Too High [5:1]
0 (0.0%)

Across both their entire twelve-game seasons, how many points did the USC and UCLA football teams score combined?

View Answers

1344 points [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

675 points [3:1]
1 (12.5%)

540 points [2:1]
1 (12.5%)

456 points [3:1]
4 (50.0%)

360 points [4:1]
3 (37.5%)

All Too High [5:1]
0 (0.0%)

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, in what year was the first Nativity creche made?

View Answers

1500 A.D. [4:1]
2 (25.0%)

1300 A.D. [3:1]
4 (50.0%)

1256 A.D. [3:1]
0 (0.0%)

1060 A.D. [4:1]
1 (12.5%)

All Too High [5:1]
2 (25.0%)

According to the Shulchan Aruch, a codification of Jewish law, what is the maximum height for the lights of a menorah, in cubits?

View Answers

8 cubits [4:1]
1 (12.5%)

pi cubits [3:1]
1 (12.5%)

3 cubits [2:1]
3 (37.5%)

2 cubits [3:1]
4 (50.0%)

1 cubit [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

All Too High [5:1]
0 (0.0%)

In a Gallup poll conducted between December 11 and 13, what was the average amount that American adults predicted they would spend on Christmas gifts in 2009?

View Answers

$1,500 [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

$1,000 [3:1]
4 (50.0%)

$800 [2:1]
3 (37.5%)

$250 [3:1]
1 (12.5%)

$200 [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

All Too High [5:1]
0 (0.0%)

What was the total precipitation in downtown Los Angeles, from January 1 through December 25 2009, measured in inches?

View Answers

10 inches [4:1]
2 (25.0%)

7 inches [3:1]
2 (25.0%)

6 inches [3:1]
3 (37.5%)

4 inches [4:1]
2 (25.0%)

All Too High [5:1]
0 (0.0%)

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, how did daytime last in Anchorage, Alaska on December 21, from sunrise to sunset?

View Answers

6 hours [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

3 hours [3:1]
2 (25.0%)

2 hours, 45 minutes [3:1]
2 (25.0%)

2 hours [4:1]
4 (50.0%)

All Too High [5:1]
2 (25.0%)

According to a poll conducted in Canada, what was Santa Claus's approval rating in December 2008?

View Answers

75% [4:1]
4 (50.0%)

70% [3:1]
3 (37.5%)

60% [2:1]
2 (25.0%)

48% [3:1]
0 (0.0%)

36% [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

All Too High [5:1]
0 (0.0%)

According to Walt Disney Studios, how many "fully animated Disney features" have been made from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to The Princess and the Frog?

View Answers

175 fully animated Disney features [4:1]
0 (0.0%)

75 fully animated Disney features [3:1]
3 (37.5%)

40 fully animated Disney features [3:1]
3 (37.5%)

36 fully animated Disney features [4:1]
1 (12.5%)

All Too High [5:1]
1 (12.5%)



Obviously, no internet research is allowed. Also, the poll is set to display everyone's guesses once you've entered yours, but try not to let it effect your responses.

When my family played, the best team got 28 points from betting. Can you do better?
tablesaw: Two women put the star on a Christmas tree. (Apocalyptic Christmas)
We're already in a countdown to Christmas. Various things like [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan's new job and some annoyingness with banks have meant we got a really late start. And it was only yesterday that I fully realized that I wasn't going to have any more free days before Christmas Eve. (Thursday and Friday are my days off, so my last pre-Christmas weekend just finished.)

But yesterday, Ojou and I cleared up some of the bank stuff, then we went with [livejournal.com profile] twilightsyren to Downtown Burbank. I got a lot of stuff done; I've pared down my budget this year, and I'm doing pretty good with it. I think I can get everything else done pretty quickly; my biggest regret is that I'm not likely to get to my regular used bookstore unless they've got expanded hours, or I make a rush to get there on the 23rd.

Still, since I've been thinking more about it, I thought I'd expand the Holiday/Birthday lists:
  • Puzzle Books.I mentioned Mutant Sudoku last time, but there's a lot of other good stuff out there.
    • Nikoli Books. A few years ago, [livejournal.com profile] cramerica got me Penpa Mixes 1-3, which were loads of fun. They were especially useful once I dropped my nikoli.com membership. I still really love the puzzles, but having them in book form means I can forget about them easily. I'd love to see Penpa, Fillomino, Slitherlink, Masyu, Nurikabe, and Heyawake. (Obviously, they won't get here in time for Christmas, but whatever.
    • Nikoli by Sterling. Sterling Publishing puts out some real quality stuff, and recently they've been publishing Nikoli puzzles in books mixed with Sudoku. I've already got Slitherlink (which I've finished), Masyu, and Nurikabe, but I'd still like to get my hands on the other varieties listed above.

    • Crosswords. Also from Sterling, Frank Longo's Vowelless Crosswords looks good, as do Patrick Berry's Crossword masterpieces.
  • Tea. Specifically looseleaf tea, not bagged/packaged. Our tea reserves are dreadfully low, and we haven't had time to restock. I like most kinds, black, green, white, oolong, herbal infusions, etc. I'd avoid Teavana and Lupicia because they're overpriced. We usually shop at specialteas.com or dragonwater.com online, and when we want something in person, we go to Wing Hop Fung in Chinatown, which stocks birdpick.com. (It looks like they have a store in Pasadena too.)
  • One-Time Maid Service. Ojou and I are way behind on cleaning, and a burst of professional help would go a long way, especially now that we rarely have a full day off together.
  • New Year's Eve Plans. I'm working most of the Christmas weekend, and as a result, I've got a nice five-day weekend from December 29 to January 2. Ojou's got a sexy, sexy Foxy Brown outfit to wear . . . and a lot of our friends are going to be out of town. We need something to do, something big. Scrabble with Ellen isn't going to cut it this year.
And that's the end of my proactive gift list.
tablesaw: A black woman and a white man hold each other on a park bench. Text reads "2004-2010." (Ojouchan)
Hey guys, I don't know when [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan will get around to posting it, but she's been hired as a preschool teacher.

Tell her woo, and also hoo.

SatNYTX: 30. MonNYTX: 4. TueNYTX: 10:30. I deliberately slowed down when I noticed the theme, and I tried to solve the puzzle using as few down clues as possible.
tablesaw: Two women put the star on a Christmas tree. (Apocalyptic Christmas)
Some things wanted this gifting season:
  • A new backpack. I love my trusty Jansport, but at some point, the stuff that's supposed to keep the weight off my shoulders melted on the left side. And recently, It's been leaking out red goo if I try to wear it other than one-shouldered.
  • Tablesaw. [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan wants some new furniture. We've been talking about getting a new coffee table from IKEA for ages, and she'd like to replace our big dining room table with something more functional. We're probably goign to swing by St. Vincent de Paul, but I guess IKEA gift cards would make us pretty happy.
  • Untables. Speaking of new tables, we'd like to get rid of our old ones. The coffee table is nice. We'll entertain all offers, and I'll drop it off pretty much anywher in the LA area you'd like. The dining-room table is nice too, but I'm not sure if it fits in the car. Pictures soon, I think.
  • XBox 360 Ojou's been eying it seriously, and now that we have the HD TV, we're ready for it. The system's about five years old, which means we've got a backlog of things we can get used (though Ojou's got her eye on Dragon Age). This may wait until birthday, though.
  • Mutant Sudoku. I've been looking forward to [livejournal.com profile] motris and [livejournal.com profile] onigame's book of sudoku variations for a while. I usually find sudoku boring, but these two are able to bring out some amazing things out of the structure. It came out a little while ago, but I thought I'd leave it for giftability.
  • Clothes I hate buying clothes, so come December I always need new ones. I had some bad luck with pants recently, and I could do with some new shirts too.
And that's really it. Once again, we're going to try to get rid of stuffs and clean house, as well as trying to sock away some money for the wedding. And as usual, I prefer most gifts to be used whenever possible, especially when it comes to things like music, books, games, and DVDs.
tablesaw: A black woman and a white man hold each other on a park bench. Text reads "2004-2010." (Ojouchan)
Ever since I first mentioned the gentrified food trucks around my work, there's been at least one outside the office every weekday I happen to venture out. Bool and Fuxion, which I mentioned before, are regular enough that I suspect they must be doing some catering for offices nearby. And there's often one or two others. Today, there were three (in addition to Bool).

It says something about the market, I think, that the Kogi BBQ looked empty, a far cry from the crazed crowds of hipster foodies that were reported to follow its twitter posts like a siren song. Also unlined was Marked5, which notes that "When we first opened [in May], we were 1 of 6 catering trucks (BarbiesQ, kogi, green truck, Coolhaus, Don Chow’s and Marked5) running around LA." (Note that "catering trucks" does not include the many lunch trucks and taco trucks that were already in LA, an oversight that permeates the post.)

But the truck that had the line was a newcomer, Mattie's Southern Kitchen, and I ended up there too. I considered doing Kogi simply to say that I had, but then I reminded myself that was a stupid reason. Marked5's burgers with rice buns looked really appetizing for a decent price, and I may return tomorrow, if they're in the same spot. But I had a bit of a craving.

Spending Thanksgiving with [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan's family in North Carolina was wonderful, and the food was great. But we didn't get to take any of it home with us. No turkey sandwiches, no yams, and no collard greens; and the past few days, I've been missing all of those. The turkey sandwich I had last night using store-packaged sliced turkey didn't cut it, but here I had a chance to buy collard greens right outside the office.

The food was . . . okay, but it certainly hit a craving. The hot item seemed to be the vegeterian gumbo, and it was so hot that the truck sold out just as I got there. If they're around again, and I'm in the mood, I might go back and give it a try.
tablesaw: Paul, who is a ghost, declares this to be "Booooring!" (Booooring)
I got a head start on vacation today. I slept late and took a nap, then showered and started cleaning up the bedroom. So I've got one more day of weekend to prepare for next week's vacation. I'm putting my to-do list up here mostly so that it can be amended by [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan if necessary.

Things to do (mostly on Friday but generally by Sunday night):
  • Get a haircut.
  • Visit Disneyland for a Princess and the Frog discount thingie (this is the most likely to-be-done to be dumped) (Done, but now I can't find the card!)
  • Get quarters from bank.
  • Get cheap cell phone. (Number above)
  • Buy Eid gift for future brother-in-law.
  • Do laundry.
  • Pack. (Mostly done, but needs some finishing touches.)
  • Finish dishes. (Not completely, but all potentially stinky things were taken care of.)
  • Take out the trash.
  • Arrange the DVR so that the hard drive doesn't overflow.
  • Write about El Verde Origins (still playing through Sunday, use code VERDEBCT for $7 off the ticket price tomorrow and Saturday night!).
  • Return library books
Things to remember to pack:
  • Ipod
  • facial tissues
  • Netbook
  • Eid gift for future brother-in-law
  • Cheap cell phone
  • Clothes
  • Nice clothes
  • Chargers (iPod, cell phone, DS)
  • Baby mouse ears from Disneyland

Home Alone

Nov. 17th, 2009 10:34 pm
tablesaw: A sketch of me talking and smiling. (Personable)
[livejournal.com profile] ojouchan is safely back in New Jersey, and I am alone in our apartment. It's nice being able to stretch out in the bed, but not that nice.

Before she left, Ojou made a huge pot of chicken soup so that I will (1) stay well and (2) have home-cooked food when she's gone. It's yummy though.

I wanted to say more, but I just started getting really sleepy. So, until tomorrow, then.
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
[livejournal.com profile] ojouchan is holding a sale tomorrow on her Etsy website.
Tomorrow ViolentBelle is having a MASSIVE sale. Most things will be between 20- 50% off. But only for one day. Yeah. I know. One day sale. I'll be posting new things too. Necklaces made of bone and found objects. More hats. Clothes. That's right. Vintage wear. But all the remaining stuff? Super Duper cheap.
There's loads of good stuff there right now, and I know there's other stuff she hasn't listed yet. For example, she's going through a bunch of her vintage clothes to find some stuff to add.

Here are some old pieces that I like:

Plum Delicious- Swarovski Crystal Horn Barrettes Boho Honey- Vintage Woven Ribbon Choker Mushroom Hunting- Victorian Mini Straw Hat with Vintage Trim

But don't forget, the sale is one day only.

Sleepy Day

Nov. 5th, 2009 07:39 pm
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
I spent a lot of the day in bed. Just relaxing, reading the internet, snuggling with [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan.

Is anyone interested in seeing this with me next week?

El Verde Origins--El Verde vs. La Quinceañera: Who Will Win?
Get ready boys and girls for a thrilling episode of El Verde! Meet mild mannered Arturo Sanchez, born as an alien from the not so far away world of Mexico and raised in the good old U.S. of A. All Arturo ever wanted was to live an ordinary life, but after a freak elote accident, Arturo became . . . El Verde!!!

Join us as we go back, way back, to see how it all began. This November, TeAda Productions will present THE ORIGINS OF EL VERDE. Watch as Arturo becomes the superhero who fights for truth, justice, and the Mexican-American way! Then watch him as he battles the evil La Quinceañera with her ultimate plot to destroy the world.

Yes, EL VERDE is the live superhero show that’s fun for the whole family. If you’ve never been to an EL VERDE show before, be sure not to miss this one.
I meant to catch the show in August, but we got all busy. I don't want to let this one go by.
tablesaw: A trial sign ("This trail is OPEN") against a blue sky in Los Angeles's Griffith Park. (Hiking (Open Trails))
I'm running a game for [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan, [livejournal.com profile] cramerica, [personal profile] amythyst, and maybe [livejournal.com profile] thefreak (who's will probably be working) and [livejournal.com profile] pbchris (who hasn't let us know whether he's coming glare). Ojou asked for Call of Cthulhu, which I've run before, but I decided to switch to Trail of Cthulhu, which looked awesome and is nicely streamlined. I'm finishing up writing my notes now, which is good, because I still keep moving things around as I do it. But two things have been bouncing through my mind.

(There are no spoilers for the game in this post.)

One, it's awesome that the places that I walk to when I want to clear my head are exactly the setting of the game I'm writing. I live just a few blocks away from the old Krotona Colony. Krotona was a colony for Theosophy, an esoteric religion that still exists today. (So does the colony; it moved to Ojai in 1926.)

A regular feature in my walks is this stairway, which served as the southern entrance to the colony. I knew that several of the buildings up there were from the colony, but I didn't realize how many. A review of the architecture of the area (available as a PDF) has this to say:
Nearly all of Krotona's major and many of its minor buildings still stand occupied, though all have been to some extent remodeled and most changed dramatically in function. Together they comprise what may well be the largest coherent group of architecturally significant, Theosophical structures in the western hemisphere.
And sure enough, looking through the pictures, I kept recognizing the less flamboyant buildings as ones I walked past.

Tomorrow's adventure begins at this house, though not with its then owners, the parents of Mary Astor.

Second, I've always wondered the extent to which Cthulhu roleplaying games are fundamentally racist. Not in the sense of mechanically dealing with 1920s American race relations in roleplay. More in the sense of whether Lovecraft's stories structurally racist, whether they contain or foster or support ideas of the primacy of whiteness. There's no doubt that Lovecraft was a serious racist, even for the 1920s. (If you doubt it, read this; you can get the gist by looking at the title in the URL.) But the last time I ran the game, Ojou drew up a character that was essentially her grandmother, and it threatened to break the game. Not because of min-maxing or anything, just in having a view of the world that was not the WASP academic worldview that Lovecraft relies upon. That worldview is necessary for the horror to work, and as a result it supports it in the reader. Add a character that doesn't fit into that worldview (like a rich black woman withconnections to other African-American practitioners of Vodoun), and the story completely changes.

The role-playing games are very good at breaking down the stories of Lovecraft (and other Mythos writers), and examining them can give a sense of what's there structurally. There's definitely a sense of extended Terra Nullius. The Mythos contains a whole host of gods, creatures, and alien races that populated earth long before "humanity." And yet, non-White humans (like the native Tongva of Southern California, or ancient or even contemporary Africans) seem to have regular contact with this mentally toxic existence.

Trail of Cthulhu takes Call of Cthulhu's legendary "Sanity" stat and breaks it into Sanity and Stability. Stability is what many people consider to be "sanity"; it's the ability to hold yourself together when terrible things happen, whether they're natural or supernatural. Sanity is specifically tied to knowledge of the "Cthulhu Mythos." From the ToC manual:
Sanity is the ability to believe in, fear for, or care about any aspect of the world or humanity as we know it: religion, science, family, natural beauty, human dignity, even "normal" immorality. The horrible truth of the Mythos is that Sanity measures your ability to believe a comforting lie . . . . It is perhaps best understood as a long-term measure of how close you are to fully realizing the bleak and awful reality of the cosmos.
Given all this (and some other things), I start to see Lovecraft's take on horror as one in which Whiteness and its privileges is equivalent with "humanity." Horror comes from the threat to Whiteness, the comfortable (and comforting) lie that is threatened by incursion from or exposure to the Other, who are alien and unhuman. It's an attitude and analogy that does permeate the structure of Lovecraftian horror, and I'm trying to find ways to neutralize it.
tablesaw: Close crop on Brock Samson's I'm-gonna-kill-you face. (Brock Samson)
Actually, [personal profile] ojouchan and I had no problems watching the season premiere of The Venture Bros., but most of our friends were not so lucky. The West Coast feed of Adult Swim played the first half twice, and the second half nunce, but our HD channel is on the East Coast feed.

No, this is just a GIP for a new Brock Samson icon I made:

Close crop on Brock Samson's I'm-gonna-kill-you face.

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