Monday, June 30, 2008

Fantastical Lives

We greeted each other in the elevator as I stepped in and I turned to face the door.

"What's that you’re reading?" she asked.

"Pardon?" I said, turning down myPod.

"Your book," she pointed toward it, "what is it?"

"Oh," I said as I felt my face flush. "It's called The Legend of Holly Claus."

She frowned.

"It's sort of a kids' book," I said. "I like kids' books. Sometimes they’re just what I need."

"Uh huh," she said.

I turned back to the door.

"I'm reading this book, right now," she said. "It's very realistic and sort of about..." she mumbled and I didn't understand what she said. "It has all these great characters in it."

I nodded.

"I really like it when it's like that. When there are characters in the book that I recognize. I like it when I see people I know in the book I'm reading."

I thought, yeah, it was fun reading a 'realistic' book with familiar people in it, but that it was also great recognizing people you know or have seen in books that are full of the fantastic. To see your brother lead a band of rogues against a dragon or to watch as your cousin pilots her ship into a planet's atmosphere is often more amazing than reading about them go to a bar and get drunk or visit a retirement community. Why limit those you know to the mundane when you can find them doing amazing things that aren't possible? Don't they deserve to have fantastical lives?

"Sure," I said, "I like that, too."

The elevator dinged and we both got off. She turned to the right and I walked straight ahead.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Before Seeing It

I heard a review on the news of WALL•E last night. The reviewer gave it two-and-a-half out of four because, I'm paraphrasing as best I can, parts of it are lonely and sad and families, and especially younger kids, don't need sadness and loneliness when they go to the movies.

I would rather hear what she thought of the movie and why she didn't like it than what she thinks families should want from the movies they go to see. I wonder what she thought of it compared to the "family" films out there, like College Road Trip.

I haven't seen WALL•E yet (I'm going this evening.) but her comment about what families, and especially younger kids, don't need to see.

I completely disagree with her that younger kids don't need to see things that depict loneliness and sadness. These kids, like every other human being, feel lonely and sad sometimes, but they don't always have the vocabulary to describe how they're feeling. When their best friend is gone for the summer and they just don't feel right, how else can they describe it? Seeing things that they have felt, or are feeling, or will feel, helps them to build some sort of language to share how they feel with their parents or others, even it the only thing they can say is, "I feel like WALL•E did when he was on the planet all by himself," and from that parents or an older siblings or other family members can build on ideas to help the kids understand what they're feeling and how it moves on.

Maybe I’m just naïve thinking that kids have reasoning abilities. I doubt it, though.

Hell, I've seen the previews, and WALL•E doesn't stay lonely forever.

That has to count for something, dammit.

Just a Game

Did you ever wonder about shooting stars?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Many Plays

I'm going to be in The Bay in July for work. Three days and two nights, so I wrote to Wings to see if there was anything good going on. She said it's too bad I couldn't be there in June because Hairspray was playing, but that A Chorus Line would be in town while I was there. That got me excited. It's a classic, right? I've never seen it before, but I hear it's a singular sensation.

It would have been the first play I've gone to since Wings and I saw Avenue Q last August.

It's not, though.

As I drove back from the supermarket over the weekend, past the junior college, I saw a huge poster advertising the plays that their summer rep company are performing. The one that really caught my eye was The Producers. Saw that in SF many years ago, but it's really funny and I'd like to see how this company handles it, so I thought it'd be fun to see again.

I also noticed that they're doing The Crucible, which is a play that I absolutely adore. Can't get enough of it. Saw on production where the stage was slanted so the back was higher than the front and it was lit from below by red lights. Very cool.

This morning I went to their website to check out times and days of shows and ended up ordering tickets for all five shows their doing. And they all happen in the next five weeks. Tonight is something called The Women, which I've never heard of before.

I'm going to see The Producers on Saturday. Next Thursday will be The Crucible. Then, the weekend before I head down to The Bay, I'll be watching Kiss Me Kate. Later that week I'll be enjoying A Chorus Line. And, finally, after all my "training" is done, a week and a half later, it'll Snoopy!!! The Musical.

At least I know there'll be some good things coming up in the next month, even if my next interview blows barnical balls.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Undesired Emotion

I'm angry at some people for what may or may not be legitimate reasons. All the facts are not in, but I can not bring myself to call the people who would have all the facts because they are the ones who I am angry at.

I have very rarely been really angry. It's not something that I enjoy feeling. But here it sits in the pit of my stomach, festering.

Why can't it be next weekend already? I really have to get out of this town.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A More Colorful World

Except for the ones after a night of exquisite passion with someone you deeply care for, the best sunrises are the ones while there are wild fires.

Normal sunrises, in my experience, are pretty much just a lightening of the world:
  1. Everything is dark.
  2. Black shapes show up.
  3. Shapes turn grey and are more visible.
  4. Shapes are clear and start to color.
  5. Colors become more clear.
  6. You're staring straight at the sun as it crests the horizon and all you can see for a little while is a purple after image no matter where you look.
  7. Everything looks normal.

When there are fires, though, the sky turns colors. Reds and oranges and yellow spread out from where the sun will rise. Any clouds that are in the sky reflect the reds and oranges and yellows, only in deeper shades, showing a nice contrast to what's behind and beneath them.

On mornings when there were wildfires in Yosemite, I'd insist on working the drive-thru at 'Bucks. The drive-thru window faced east and I'd stand there watching the colors shift as the sun rose.

This morning's paper had a headline saying there were 842 wildfires in California.

The sunrise was spectacular.

Monday, June 23, 2008


When ever some one comes over and says, "I just have a real quick question," it's never real quick, is it?


Friday, June 20, 2008

Anal Battlestar Galactica

Okay, so this is going to be packed full of spoilers for those who haven’t finished Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica and has some stuff from what’s been out in Season 4, so far, even though I haven’t seen any of the episodes.

That said, I started watching Season 2.0 again last night and there’s a scene in the episode where Chip 6 shows Baltar some of the massacre that took place on Kobol before the exodus. He protests that the gods and humanity lived side by side in harmony on Kobol. The Chip 6 tells him that everything that’s happened before will happen again.

And here I started thinking: 12 Cylon models, 12 Lords of Kobol. Could it be that the Lords of Kobol were Cylons? The Cylons can download their memories and share them with others. If one dies his or her replacement will be along shortly wearing the same face. How does that not appear to be a god to a human?

I’m sure I’m not the first one to notice this or even think too much about it, but since I didn’t want to actually work today, I used the Battlestar Wiki and Wikipedia to compare the 13 Colonies with their zodiac counterparts and the 11 Cylons that we know and the 10 named Lords of Kobol, along with the one who’s not named and is the Cylon God, on a neat little table. I also did one list that lines up the Cylon numbers with the traditional order of western zodiac to see how well that might line up.

Colonies Astrological Partners Symbol My Cylon Pick Cylon by Number Comparison God
Aerelon Aries Ram Saul Tigh
Brother Cavil
Tauron Taurus Bull Brother Cavil
Leoben Conoy
Gemenon Gemini Twins Boomer/Athena
Canceron Cancer Crab Galen Tyrol
? (12, according to actor blog.)
Leonis Leo Lion Samuel Anders
Aaron Doral
Virgon Virgo Virgin Tory Foster
Libris Libra Scales Aaron Doral
? Asclepius
Scorpia Scorpio Scorpion Natalie
Sagittaron Sagittarius Archer ? ? Athena
Caprica Capricorn Sea-Goat Simon
? Poseidon
Aquaria Aquarius Water Carrier Leoben Conoy
? ?
Picon Pisces Two Fishes D'Anna
Galen Tyrol
12, according to actor blog.
Earth **Gaia or Terra** N/A N/A N/A Cylon God

And so, in the end, I have Athena, the Lord of Kobol who killed herself left without any Cylon to match up.

I also matched Athena up with Sagittaron/Sagittarius. According to my minimal research into the zodiac Sagittarians: "Keyword: "I perceive". Freedom loving, straightforward, extrovert, philosophical, intellectual, fun-loving, arrogant, adventurous, expansive, optimistic. Can be blundering, scattered, careless, jealous, too-serious, tactless."

Huh, sounds to me like Starbuck fits that description almost perfectly. Could she be the final Cylon?

Ron Moore said that final Cylon was not in the "Last Supper" photo, but that could be misinformation. If not, then who could it be?

If I’m right with the gods=Cylons thing, then it’s a woman. But who?
Could Ellen Tigh have been a Cylon? She fits the Sagittarius list as well as Starbuck did. Will she turn up on Earth upset, even though Tigh killed her? After all, didn’t the Three who saw the final five say that the last Cylon model wasn’t in the Colonial Fleet?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


"Training" coworker each afternoon from now until who-knows-when.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The RP in RPG

And let's not kid ourselves. This is a game of combat -- as much as the original D&D was, if not more so. This is not a game of out-of-combat nuanced roleplay and complicated social mores. This is a game where your character is an optimized killing machine. Yeah, you can take intimidate or bluff if you really want to, but honestly, you have a charisma score, do you really need more than that? Especially when most of the time, your intimidate skill will take a back seat to your Riposte Strike at-will power or a well timed Shadow Wasp Strike. Your characters will feel most at home in a darkened corridor, decimating all around them.
From Eric Burns's I roll to disbelieve.

When I started playing AD&D, second edition, with my brothers and friends, it was all hack and slash dungeons.

Hack 'n Slash was what we wanted at that time: to kill orcs and evil wizards and dragons. Nothing was more fun than kicking open a door to find twenty orcs in a room and have our wizard throw a fireball into the crowd to see how many could be taken down with only one strike before sending in the fighter and the ranger to cut down the rest. We reveled in the hideous descriptions of the melted corpses and bits of flesh that were scattered around the room. Bodies were stripped of anything that might be of valuable which was then shoved into our packs and pouches so we could sell and trade them away at the town that was conveniently close to the dungeon's entrance. Then it was onto the next door and more slaughter.

But after a while, we changed. We started to interact more with the characters in the towns. Our GM began creating arch villains who were more ambiguous in their evil and nobility that wasn't as noble as they would be in an ideal world. We found scenarios that we could talk our way out of that the GM was sure we'd have to fight. We surprised him and he surprised us and together we created a fuller world to play in. And in its way, this was more rewarding than the blood and guts only games we started with.

Sure, there was still plenty of fighting our way through trolls and goblins, but it wasn't the only focus of the game anymore.

In college, split from friends, I tried to find a place in a party, but with those I played, creating character and story wasn't rewarded. Most thought of unwinding from the school week should be the slaughter. They didn't want to create a narrative. They didn't want to define a character. They didn't want to play people. They just wanted to be killing machines and got annoyed that I wouldn't regress back to the way I played in junior high. I never found a place to regularly play there and never really looked after.

Now comes the fourth edition and, from a reviewer I trust, that quote up at the top. And I can see the fun in that type of a game. I just can't see getting the same sort of satisfaction from full on hack 'n slash as I did from mixing the hack with character. I just like the character stuff more.

I know that the old editions of the game aren't gone. I know that with the right people character and story can be emphasized in a game. And I know that the new edition is probably a lot of fun with the right people. But, to me, it's a shame that story and character aren't really emphasized anymore.

Monday, June 16, 2008

One Song, Glory

I sit and I wonder. I've written on this before because there are times when it just happens: What do I write in my blog?

I don't want to write about my grandpa. There's nothing for me to do with that for me. It just becomes endless chatter that runs in circles because not enough is known.

Do I write about the junk that I want to eat tonight? It's not really something I want to write about, but it could be done.

I could write about how screwed up my internal calendar is because of my trip last week. But that's all I have on that subject.

Iron Man.

Extra sleep.


Something my great uncle told me at Easter that I'm still trying to work through.



Trips for work next month.


Phone numbers.

TV anniversary.

Flashes of stories that are hardly ideas but want to become them.

Desire isn't just a crazy girl/boy person. But how does Desire lead to creation when his/her brother is Destruction? Or does it come from Dream? Who can say?

Spoiler's return.

Chuck Dixon.

Final Crisis.


The crunch.

New car and the financing that goes along with it.

Jessica Jones and the greatness she is in Alias.

Another loss of power. Third time since November. Never happened before.

The numbers assigned to body parts.

The crap that is my work.

Comic Sans.

Blank verse.

"Mending Wall."

Déjà vu.

Dan Jurgens draws the best BG Batgirl, ever.


Thursday, June 12, 2008


JtI: How was the interview?

JtA: Awful.

JtI: Could you elaborate?

JtA: Yeah, I guess.

My interview was the last one of the day, at 3:20 PM. One of the people was coming down with a cold and the other two just looked plain tired. I spoke too quickly when I answered their questions and some times, while answering, I thought I was pretty much repeating things I'd said when I answered past questions, but teamwork is important when working with a group or people, dammit! And when it came time for me to ask them questions I just couldn't draw them out. They answered in clipped sentences and then sort of looked at me with their exhausted eyes, except for the one who was coughing, her eyes were all watery.

JtI: Did anything seem to go well?

JtA: I got there on time.

JtI: Okay, moving on. How was your visit with your grandpa?

JtA: Strange, hard, sad.

I got there after a fourish hour drive a little after 10 in the morning. He was awake and watching TV. I asked him how he was and he said tired and hungry, but okay. He wasn't in any pain, he said.

JtI: How is he?

JtA: He's scared.

I know he'd never admit it and he'd probably get really angry if he knew that I think he's scared, but he is.

Part of it is that at the time we didn't know what the hell caused the infections in his blood. There was simply no information, yet. The focus so far had been on getting him cleaned up, clear those buggers out of his system so they could move on to the next step. He's never liked a lack of information.

Another part is that he's afraid to die. He doesn't know what's coming next and that worries him. When he was young he was going to go to seminary and become a priest. I don't know what happened, but he didn't and eventually became a staunch atheist. A few years ago, he sort of backpedaled. He started watching that John Edward guy and found some comfort that maybe a part of him lived on, but that comfort also frustrated him some. He still didn't know what was going to come next. He still doesn't and no matter how often he tells people that he's okay dying, I don't think he is.

JtI: And at your visit?

JtA: He was hungry because he hadn't eaten since the day before. They wanted to do an MRI the day, but found some metal in him and put it off until they figured out whether or not it was safe to do it. He'd had an x-ray the afternoon before, but by the time I got there his doctor hadn't looked it over yet to make any decisions or get advice from the radiology department. The x-ray results were what everyone was waiting for.

He's really weak. He's not allowed to walk or get out of his bed by himself. I don't think he could even sit up if he wanted to.

After some very small talk, I've never been able to sustain real conversation with my grandpa while I was on my own, my aunt and grandma showed up.

JtI: How were they?

JtA: Okay. I mean they were functioning and didn't break down into uncontrollable crying, but how is someone supposed to act when every time something happens they are told to wait? There's nothing they could do.

My aunt was scared and angry and frustrated. She's one of those people who are always just a bit too uptight. She's always so worried about how everyone else is that she never really has a good time anywhere. When a disaster strikes she gets ever more uptight because unlike other situations there is nothing she can do about it. She can't make sure people's glasses are full; she can't pull out more chips or crackers; she can't put on music. All she can do is sit there and listen and wait and even when the waiting is done there's still nothing she can do because she isn't a nurse or an internal medical doctor or a specialist, she can only watch them go to work.

I could tell it drove her nuts, but she put on a hard face for my grandma. A couple of times, though, when she was talking to me, her voice got shaky and I thought she was going to cry. She didn't.

My grandma is just putting up a brave front. She loves my grandpa even though he can be quite a butt. This year, actually just before my visit, was their 67th (I think) wedding anniversary. That means something, right? She didn't like being in his room when anything even slightly medical was going on. A nurse came in to take his blood pressure and temperature and she was up and out of the room before the velcro was ripped.

She told me two things, in some private time, that really surprised me:
First, she said that she'd been to the hospital a lot recently and none of it was for her and she wondered why she kept coming.
Second, she said that she was afraid that she was just going to fall to pieces and not be able to be rebuilt. She's not like a jigsaw puzzle, she said.

JtI: And you?

JtA: Me?

I don't know. I don't like hospitals because I don't like being around people in pain or who are really sick. Other than that, I was okay.

I tried to make some jokes to lighten the mood. I listened to a lot of talk. I asked the doctor questions that I thought might be important. I put my arm on a shoulder when I thought it might do some good. I walked around with those who could.

I felt like I was there more for everyone else than I was there for me. I mean I went to mostly say good-bye in case he's coming to the end. That's what I wanted to do for me. The rest was trying to help the others through all the crap that's happening.

JtI: What's been found out since your visit?

JtA: He had an MRI the afternoon of my visit, but I was on my way to Cowtown by then since I had another two-and-a-half hour drive.

My grandma called the next day to let us know that they found the cause of the infections. He has an obstruction in his common bile duct. Yes, even without your gallbladder you can get a gallstone.

Today is the surgery, a laparoscopy. The hope is this'll stop the cause of the infections so he can finish off the antibiotics in two weeks and have a clean system. I haven't heard anything about it, yet. Maybe tonight or tomorrow.

JtI: Thanks.

JtA: 'Welcome.

Monday, June 09, 2008


My grandpa was sent to the hospital last Wednesday. He couldn't move and there were other things that were wrong with him.

There was talk about his kidneys and liver.

He was getting better, though. When my parents visited him he was awake and alert and wanting to get home.

Today I read an e-mail from my mom that said he has sepsis, which is infection in the blood stream.

Most old folks don't recover from that unless it's caught early.

Apparently, he still feels okay.

I've taken the day off tomorrow to take the four hour drive down to his hospital and visit for a bit. After, I'm going to visit my grandma to visit with her, too.

My brother was invited to ride with me, but I haven't heard from him, yet. I hope he comes. I don't think he's visited with them for a couple of years.

It's not that I'm worried about him dying. Yeah, I'll miss him and so will my grandma and the rest of my family, but that's our problem. I'm more worried about him being in pain before he dies. I don't want him to hang on by his fingernails when it's okay for him to go.

I'd rather he gets better, though.

On Wednesday this week, I have an interview in Cowtown. It's the first one I've done in nine months. I'm nervous about it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Dear Homeless Guy,

I understand that you need somewhere relatively safe to sleep and although I'd rather it not be the alley thing between my building and the one to the west, I get why your there. It blocks any wind there may be and you can walk way back away from the street so you can't be seen and I imagine that the ivy there is much softer than the stoops you usually sleep on.

This morning, though, you felt the need to yell at your dog. At 5:15. The thing is that at 5:15 AM I'm still asleep and I hope to stay asleep until my alarm blares about ninety minutes later. And even though I didn't climb out of bed during those last ninety minutes, the drowsing that occurred wasn't nearly as restful as the sleep I'd normally have gotten.

So, please, next time you sleep in the alley thing, tie something around your dog’s neck so you can pull him toward you if he runs off. I know that finding an actual leash is unlikely, but with all the construction on the freeway, I'm sure you could find some length of rope that'd work, in a makeshift kind of way. I know I'd appreciate it and I'm pretty sure all my neighbors would too.



Monday, June 02, 2008

Just Heard Now!

"So, are you gonna go beat it with the other stuff?"

225 Words

The power went off at about 6:30 last night. The light and computer flickered, went dead, and then I heard a POW! I was just about to get myself some dinner. Instead, I grabbed the book I'm struggling through (Quicksilver, the first of The Baroque Cycle); the character who supposedly makes the first two books worth reading has finally been introduced. After more than 300 pages.

So, I raced the setting sun and read.

At one point, the light I left on brightened and the phone beeped to tell me the power was flowing. I raced for my alarm clock to set it when the lights flickered out again. And again I heard a POW!

I settled into reading, again.

As the sky was darkening, the lights came back and the phone beeped. Power was flowing. I waited, though. I didn't want to get excited. I was hungry and wanted dinner, but didn't want to open the fridge because the last time power went out like this (with a POW!); it was out the whole night. Fortunately that night had been a Friday and there wasn't any need to worry about when I woke up the next morning. Plus, I had already eaten that night.

Two minutes later, the power was still on, so I made dinner, ate, washed up, and to bed I went.