tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
A late Easter and and early Mothers' Day has thrown everything off. I saw my mom (and dad and aunt) on Thursday, and we were both surprised that this weekend was the day. I'm going to find somethign this week, though, and do something on for the weekend I assumed would be Mothers' Day.



In the quest for more art on the walls, I recently purchased a print of Portal 2 concept art:
A black and white image depicting Aperture Laboratories in the hopeful 1940s. Scientists walk along catwalks on multiple levels of a vast working space, seen through glass instruments and beakers.
Looking to get it framed now.



On Monday, I was taken by surprise by sickness. On my way home from work, I was feeling tired, but was having a hard time falling asleep on the subway. When I got home, I found I was running a fever that would keep me home for two days. It wasn't a particularly bad cold, but enough to want to keep everyone at work from getting it too.

At the end of it, I'm feeling better, rested, and happy.

Still a little sleepy though. I really need to get better about going to sleep earlier.
tablesaw: A close-up of Dracula, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The text reads "Dark Master" and in smaller text "bator". (Dark Master (Bator))
"Happy Halloween! What wonderful costumes you have! I don't have any candy, but you can take a Kleenex if you want!"

DVD Proof

Mar. 30th, 2010 12:54 am
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
I put some finishing touches on the DVDs in the bookcase that I mentioned the other day. I'm concerned that I have no room for more DVDs, even though I know there's a few knocking around somewhere. I wonder if I'll just sell a few if I need space. Some of them were intended as gifts that never got given (duplicates, some unopened), so I may make an effort to give some stuff away, too.

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: 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 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: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
I've only got one day off tomorrow, so that I can take a full weekend Sunday and Monday. We're taking a trip to Vegas to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] hahathor and others.

Tomorrow, I've got [livejournal.com profile] cthulhia in town. We're probably going to do some sightseeing (Getty sounds like a good option) and eating (Cthulhia wants to visit Thai Town).

I added a few more links to The Pervy Survey.

Tonight's episode of Leverage was awesome.

Mushrooms taste good.

I need to set up the futonbed now.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
So today, I met with my family to celebrate my birthday. I had a nice lunch and got a new GPS receiver to replace the one that got busticated a while back. More importantly I talked about some of my previously-alluded-to resolutions, so I can talk about them here.

Resolutions for the year:
  • Get a new job.
  • Move into a new apartment.
  • Post to Livejournal at least five days a week (at least one having some significant substance).
  • Exercise at least four days a week.
  • Spend time with other people socially at least once a week, at least three weeks a months.
  • Write Intercoastal Altercations 5 with [livejournal.com profile] foggyb.
And most importantly:
That last one in particular was one I didn't want to put onto the internet until I'd told my parents, but now that's done, so now you know. Unless you happened to be in the bar with us last Sunday night in which case you probably already know. (And incidentally, thank you to all of those people for not blogging about it.)

My plan is to keep track of my progress using LJ tags. And if you have any tips or advice, I'd be glad to hear them.

Okay, back to work.

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tablesaw: -- (Default)
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