July 31, 2002
The Annoyance of Character Sheets

I like systemless gaming. I usually say this is because I like the freedom of a freeform game. Because I don't like having rules and dice intrude on the roleplaying experience.

I could go on for hours probably, and pull in all sorts of bullshit. And y'know what, I wouldn't be lying.

But there's another very simple aspect of it.

I lose character sheets.

There is one sheet which has been lost since the day it was created. For my World of Darkness game, Sam wrote up a sheet for his character. I vaguely remember him handing it to me -- we were at another game at the time. I tucked it into my things *somewhere* for safekeeping.

I've never seen it since.

I've gone through many folders and binders and books. Every time I unearth something I used during that time period, I look through it, wondering if perhaps now, years and years later, the character sheet might yet resurface. If it ever does, I'm sending a photocopy to Sam.

This has become a sort of a legend in our group. Since then, I've hardly used character sheets. When I did do the first set for the Amber campaign I ran, I carefully kept them all in Notes and in a binder, so I couldn't lose them. Or I'd have to lose all of them.

But I just keep proving I'm terrible with character sheets.

And this time, I'm certain they exist. I even remember seeing them sometime in the last 5 1/2 years, since we moved into this house. And the scary part is, I thought this was organized. I thought I knew exactly where they were. And they're not. *groans*

I've started work on a new FTF game. Since I'm not playing in one just now, and there are no other GMs I can find in this area, I figure if I want one locally, I'd better put something together. So this weekend a possible plot hit, and I started sketching out the details. Its a dark supers idea, and I plan to use Superworld as the system.

Yes, I said a system, complete with dice and character sheets.

I had some old characters. In fact, the two I originally ran when I first ever played Superworld back in college. The Artful Dodger and Babel. Both would fit in nicely with the concept I'm working on as NPCs. So instead of having to recreate them, I planned on simply adopting their character sheets into my NPC stuff.

So I went and grabbed my Superworld box, which contains the original box set of documents, plus a few more I picked up when I got the game used. Plus character sheets.

I have all kinds of character sheets in there, especially with newer characters I'd been making to play years ago, or for another campaign idea I had.

Everything *except* Dodger and Babel.

*sighs* *groans* I can't win.

The thing is, I'm sure I saw them. Which means they must be in a box or a folder somewhere. So now I need to go through everything, and clean up all sorts of things. I'm also missing a few useful sheets, like the errata. Hopefully I penciled a lot of it into the books. I've got some reading to do. Which I'll try to do while my laptop is dead, and while in the car this weekend (I can share with Kev by reading aloud while he drives to the RenFest I think).

I just need to find those bloody character sheets!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:42 PM
My Garden, My Zen

My garden is my zen. Every evening I have to water my garden, since it isn't exactly raining well this summer. We have a new soaker hose which works wonders for the main garden. Rather than trying to aim a sprinkler at the garden and wondering where the drops of water will fall, we wound the new hose around the base of all the plants, and when it comes on water soaks into the ground.

But we have many plants in pots as well that those have to be watered separately. It takes me several trips, filling the watering pot and then tipping it and watching the water fill up the top of the pot.

I look at each plant as I pass by them. Surveying the tomatoes -- the ones that are prospering and the ones that are still small but alive, and I wonder if they will ever suddenly take off and start growing. Looking at all the different varieties and the flowers. Some of the flowers have spawned tomatoes, and I keep wondering which ones are which, trying to sort out the intertwined branches and figure out which ones belong to which plants.

There is something about standing there, looking through the plants, searching for ripening vegetables. Even weeding is calm and relaxing. My garden is my peace. My zen.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:02 PM
July 30, 2002
Searching for Inspiration

I have a craving to write. I'm already doing my gaming, and working on a new game to run (Mask of the Innocent). I'm putting together background information on that.

Yet, when it comes to my fiction, I am inexplicably stumped. I think a part of it is that there is no one to really talk to about it, much. So projects fall by the wayside, only begun but never finished. And a part of it is timing. I have things that have been started that I feel like they require more concentration to complete.

What I'd like to do are writing exercises. Things I never have to think about getting published. Things I can put up here just to get them out of my head. Short scenes and vignettes about a topic.

The problem is, short of a book of quotations, I can't come up with the bloody topics.

*sighs* It has been said that ideas come from a PO Box in Schenectady. You'd think some of them could manage to 30 mile trip out to my place!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:19 PM
Random Ramblings

I've been kind of running through my online comics tonight... catching up slowly. I haven't read them in something like 3 or 4 weeks, what with all the mess in my life. So I figured tonight I'd finally catch up on those, and maybe tomorrow night I'll catch up on my blogs and finally update my sidebar. Which'd be cool.

So tonight I'm kind of being random. Being bad, and not doing email, although maybe I'll try to get to that part now. I think I'm sulking because I don't have my laptop. It arrived at the depot today, but they were working on it and hadn't finished yet. *heavy sighs* I'm borrowing Kevin's tomorrow so I can at least take it to a meeting and have something to type up our brainstorming on! I'll have to email it to get it off of it, since his machine won't really go on our network (not and login to the domain!). But it'll be better than nothing.

I'm currently listening to "The World According to Adrienne". I made the soundtrack for Adrienne finally, just before the game ended. I like all the music on it, and well, it definitely evokes Adrienne in my mind.

Then there's A Twisted Weave. I got so caught up in just vegetating that I almost forgot to do tonight's piece. I've been trying to regain the quality I started the serial with, now that I'm in Chapter 3. The second chapter was just way too short... I didn't spend the time I really needed to on each daily episode, and its starting to turn into talking heads. My usual bad habit of good characters having realistic conversations against a background that could be a plain white sheet for all the readers know.

So I'm trying to fix that. This one didn't do so great a job at it, but I remembered some more of the background details. A little more each time, I think. This is my writing exercise, to try and remember how to write, and to do a little each night. If I ever want to write, I need to just find the time to DO it.

Even if it does mean I'm doing it at midnight. Which is the way it seems like it'll be.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:16 PM
Book Review -- Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Dart
by Jacqueline Carey
(from Tor Fantasy)

Wow. It is just amazing that this is a first novel. A part of me is craving the second one desperately, so I can learn what happens to Phedre. Another part of me simply wishes to bask in the glow of finishing this tale. The book is 925 pages long... I was captured before page 100, and could hardly put it down after 200 pages.

Let me warn anyone who reads this book -- there is a point near the end where you simply cannot stop. I read through a haze of tears for many pages, but was desperate to continue, to find a place where I could rest for the night and continue it again in the morning.

In the end, it was only that I was passing out, and had finally found a moment where it began to move into the endgame of the story, that allowed me to rest last night.

Possible spoilers ahead...

Phedre is a true anguisette, the first known in Terre D'Ange in three generations. Pricked by Kushiel's Dart, a tiny red mote in her eye, Phedre fits in nowhere in the Night Court. But Anafiel Delauney recognizes her for what she is, and takes her as one of his two students, to train not only to be a Servant of Namaah, but also to listen, to learn, and to understand what is seen.

She is a courtesan of a rank to be presented to Kings. She is one who knows pleasure, and how to give pleasure, and she takes pleasure from pain. But she is also so much more.

The characters bring this book to life. Alcuin, her "foster brother" -- the other student of Delauney's. Hyacinthe, her Tsingano friend whom she met the first time she ran away to Night's Doorstep. Joscelin, the Cassiline bound to guard her, though he despises what she is. They all come alive, and are so much more than we think upon first meeting. And they only continue to grow throughout the novel.

This is not an easy book to read. It has its sorrowful moments -- I have cried more in this one novel than for the last several I've read. It has its erotic moments (but if you are bothered by masochism or same sex relationships, this is not for you). It is a romance. It is political. It is magical. It is a little of everything, and yet, those pieces entwine together beautifully to create one solid tapestry.

"That which yields is not always weak." That single statement defines Phedre.

Kushiel's Dart called to the Bethany in me. I look forward to reading Kushiel's Chosen.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:20 PM
July 29, 2002
Cute Kiddisms

Today I had to pick Dani and Ryan up early. Well, actually, Kev picked up Ryan and I met him at Dani's place and then took both kids home while Dani went off to golf league.

So since we had so long, I asked Dani to help me out so I could also throw a load of laundry in. Which was when we discovered something.

Whenever Dani shouted "boo!", Ryan laughed. Whenever, wherever. She could be in the next room, randomly scream "boo!" and Ryan would start laughing uncontrollably. It certainly helped!

Then later, while Dani and Ryan ate, I was making pizzas for dinner. I use these shells (low Weight Watchers points) from Hannaford, and tonight I was making pesto pizzas instead of using tomatos or tomato sauce. I made one with sliced romas, yellow peppers, and scallions, then sprinkled with parmesan cheese. The other had fat free chicken tenders sliced on it, then the parmesan. Both actually looked really pretty, and Dani was watching as I made them. And then Dani smiled and told me, "Mommy, you are *so* Good Eats!"

Can we tell Dani watches a lot of FoodTV with us? *grins*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:49 PM
July 27, 2002
Damn Machine

The laptop is dead AGAIN.


No, I don't truly believe it. A part of me is in denial. But its hard to deny when it won't even power up. First, it turned off while I was using it. Then it kept losing access to the battery -- the battery light would disappear completely and it would shut down. Then the little power plug light flashed. Battery or power supply -- the damn thing won't even power up now. I'm using Kevin's to do this at the moment.

So on Monday morning it gets shoved into a box and sent to Toshiba. This is ridiculous. I think its time for them to just send me a new machine and pretend this all never happened. The machine is either possessed or dead and I can't admit it. And its driving me bloody nuts!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:21 PM

Thursday I lost my voice. They found it amusing at work, and Ethan pointed out that I'd been losing it for days before it finally went. And when it did, it really went. All the way to deep, throaty, and sexy, like I should be working a 900 number and making good money.

On Friday, it returned. Surprised me, actually, considering how bad I was on Thursday. But handy since I had to spend time singing to Ryan to try to get him to calm down and sleep.

Today it is gone again. It kept Michael in stitches during WEF, as Adrienne was trying to state something emphatically and my voice was cracking like that of a 12 year old boy! eek! But now my throat aches horribly, and this time I think I'm stuck with it for a day or two. We'll see. I just popped advil in the hopes that the sore throat might go away, or at least back off. But the throat damn well hurts, and I can't exist without talking. *sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:18 PM
When Its Over

When its over... it is as if a piece of me is suddenly cut off and unavailable, yet still screaming where I can hear her. As if there is so much left unsaid that she needs settled, yet the game is gone now. Ended.

Yes, WEF has ended this evening, and now Adrienne is an Inactive Character.

I will miss her sorely in many ways, and in others I am glad. She had reached a point where she was unplayable within the confines of the game. That's hard to admit, but so true. Even some aspects of how the game ended, and the part she played in it, showed that truth.

I have fondly called Adrienne my "little psycho bitch". She isn't really a bitch, nor truly psychotic. But she does live in her own little world which at times has little to do with sanity. What no one ever understood was that so many of her problems were because when she asked questions, she did not receive answers, and she is terminally curious. Given that she is told something is (or may be) possible, but not told how, she will be determined to discover the method. Whether it is safe for her or not.

Adrienne is the daughter of Cybele (first daughter of Oberon) and of Oberon himself. Oberon suspected that his daughter was involved with Benedict, and sought to prove it -- so he shapeshifted himself into his son's form and slept with Cybele. Adrienne was the result, and Cybele refused to name the father. Everyone assumed it was Benedict. Adrienne knew the truth, having confronted her mother when she was (in her mind) old enough. She kept the secret admirably, for Adrienne, I think.

She was innocent when she came to Amber. And she was originally simply "a spoiled brat". Julia read the original character sheets when we were done tonight, and that was the very first sentence on mine. And it fit, and quite honestly, still fits, but she is now truly only spoiled by herself. By her own desires and attempts to achieve those desires.

Over time Adrienne has proved time and time again that her judgement was well, lacking. She had a crush on, then fell in love with, then obsessed over Jerrym, all without a single word of encouragement from him. He only learned of it when she offered to give her life so that his dead girlfriend could possibly live.

Okay, maybe psycho was a good word after all.

She got over Jerrym, and at one point counted him friend. Until she fell in love again, and he did not approve of the match -- her twin brother, Stephan. But he is a part of her, her second element, and she can as much be without him as stop breathing.

Actually, stopping breathing would be simpler. After all, she can shapeshift.

The issue is simply that when the two were born, Amber was nearly destroyed. If they were to produce a child, it is likely they could destroy even more. They don't intend to reproduce.

And its not that they knew they were siblings. They had already met, and were falling hard, when they found out that Dworkin had used his powers to birth Stephan in the mirrors. So Stephan wasn't even born into Amber in truth, and that is what *saved* Amber at the time. And Cybele wasn't aware that she had a son. It certainly made things interesting when it all came out.

So here we are today, at the end of seven and a half years of game. Adrienne has changed over and over, yet her headstrong attitude and leaping before looking, while tempered in her eyes remain the same.

When the plan (loosely termed) came into being, Adrienne found herself without much of a part in it. No one wanted her with the strike force. She was too interested in finding out the reasons before destroying Oberon. No one listened when she and Caine both suggested that someone should deal with Grace while others dealt with Oberon (and yes, it turned out that Grace was behind it all). When Adri spoke to Brennan (who orchestrated the plan) about her plan (suggested by her mother - Brennan's lover) to distract and protect Oberon's wife (Mara), Brennan almost refused. He didn't want her to interfere with the plan. Adrienne didn't believe it would, and finally agreed to stay out of the way and not do anything to interrupt.

She held by that, until they blew up half the castle, by blowing up Oberon. And Stephan ended up trapped in the Dreamlands (not anyone else's fault really, on that one). And yet, when Adrienne wanted to spend time with Stephan and learn how to go back and forth, Jerrym told Caprice he shouldn't show her how. All Adrienne wanted by that point was to be with Stephan. She had been looking for home in recent times, and had finally come to the peace that came with making a home with the one person who was important to her. It was painful not to be with him.

I am babbling horribly. In my mind, I want to believe that Adrienne is happy. That she is able to move between Dream to be with Stephan and back to Amber to be with her mother. That she has found a place and can settle into simply *being*. A part of me knows that can't be true, simply because other characters think she would do something wrong with that power.

I reminded them, Adrienne is fine when she is taught. Its when she has to discover her own way, with her own logic, that things go wrong. The trouble happens when people try to keep her in the dark. *smiles*

I am working to put her away in my head. I have tapes. I have her site, and all the conversations. So much from over seven years of gaming. During that time, I personally have been married, bought a house, had two kids, become a manager (hells, I'd only worked at FAC for 4 months when I joined the game!).

I don't think I still have the original post from Julia. Which listed how far she was from Albany. I smiled to read it, and I'm glad I joined. I remember being terrified that first session, because I knew no one in the game. I was shy for so long (yes, me, shy). I had met Stormy at ACUS, and Julia at Arisia, and then joined the game during the June session (it had started in January). But I knew no one else, and barely knew those I had met, and everyone already knew each other online. It was scary. But it was gaming, and I quickly grew to love the game, and Adrienne.

I'm going to miss it. The game. The social part too.

*sighs* Its over.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:12 PM
July 26, 2002
Friday Group Therapy 1.5

1. How well did you do in History class in school?
I got low A, high B. Mostly because I am too stubborn to do worse if I can avoid it. But did I like it? No, not really. I enjoy learning and am interested in history, but I can't memorize. Nope, I am REALLY terrible at rote memorization. Languages and music, where the memorization has meaning to me -- that works. But flat dates and facts do not. I need associations for it to stick.

On the other hand, reading a fictional work based around history works really well for me.

2. Who is your favorite historical "good" person?
*Frowns* *Looks around as if the answer lies somewhere in this room*

Um, I don't know... I told you things don't stick very well in my head. *grins*

3. Who is your favorite historical "bad" person?
Oddly enough, I don't focus on specific people in history. I focus on the events and the effects they had on the recipients. I think this is my problem answering these questions.

4. Is there a historical event or era that has caught your imagination?
When I was a kid I somehow focussed in on World War II and the holocaust. It terrified me. It fascinated me that humanity could go so wrong. Come to think of it, the Salem Witch Trials for much the same reason (although that is *also* because George Burroughs is my ancestor). I've read a lot and studied a lot on WWII although that has waned now that I am an adult and don't have the time.

5. If you could choose any historical time and place to live, where and when would you choose?
As much as I am fascinated by the middle ages, the rennaissance, etc., I want to live NOW. I happen to like my modern conveniences. *grins*

6. If you could go back in time with your present knowledge intact, where would you go and what would you do?
I wouldn't. Yeah, that sounds odd. But if I went back and changed something, then NOW wouldn't be NOW. And I don't think I could make that decision because in my innocent attempt to make it all better, I could make it horribly worse.

7. Which version of the beginning of time do you subscribe to? (Big Bang, Biblical Creation, etc...)
Yes. *smiles* Basically, I am a scientist. I believe that evolution happened. However, there are periods of evolution we can't account for yet, and there are mutations that are extremely lucky that it happened, so I don't discount a diety's involvement, either. Hence, "yes".

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:24 AM

Pain is my constant companion.

I have fibromyalgia. I'm not even sure I'm spelling it right. *sighs* But what that means is constant pain in varying amounts. Yesterday swelling started in my right shoulder and arm, and my fingers keep going out of control on my main hand. This makes typing interesting. My thumb is stiff. Sometimes the side of my hand burns.

And there is very little I can do to combat it. I have a diet of advil, and lots of water because the heat isn't helping. But the more I do -- the more I lift my children, do housework, etc -- the worse it gets.

And sleep is a factor, too. If I don't sleep, I don't heal. They've determined that one of the best ways to fight fibro is to sleep regularly, using a sleep aid to ensure that the proper amount of deep sleep is gotten. I can't do that -- not with two children and a job that requires me to have a pager and too much hell on the servers lately. *groans*

It'll get better when the sleep starts happening again. And when the stress goes down. But for now, if you see a typo -- blame my stiff thumb. *smiles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:17 AM
Friday Five

1. How long have you had a weblog?
May 27, 2002

2. What was your first post about?
So, it's been a day. I just rambled on about my day... baking cookies with Dani, parenting, the long weekend.

3. How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one?
Same name all along for *this* blog, which is my main one. The Hall of Mirrors is my domain, my site, and ME. That part won't change, I don't think.

4. What CMS (content management system) do you use?
Now, MT. I started with Blogger, but Julia convinced me to try MT out and I just LOVE it.

5. Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place?
There's a difference? *confused look* Um... I just read what seems interesting. Which reminds me, I need to update my sidebar. Maybe this weekend I can get to that.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:10 AM
Morning Has Broken

I was awoken this morning by a kiss on the nose.

I was lying on my bed, half hanging off the side (facing the side I don't usually, actually), and my daughter leaned in to kiss my nose as I slept.

I wasn't thrilled to be awake, but she had a point -- it was time. Ryan snoozed on as I showered and Dani dressed, and then I put her lunch together. I didn't awaken him until it was time to tuck him into the car in order to take Dani to school.

I think if Kevin had been able to drop off Dani this morning, Ryan and I would've slept in. A *LOT*.

His fever appears to have broken. It may yet return as the day goes on, I suppose, and I won't forget to pack his various medications to go to my parents' this weekend. But for the moment, he is cool, and not so moody. This is good. I'm actually hoping to catch a bit of a snooze myself this afternoon (he's napping now) if at all humanly possible. I'm still exhausted, and we have driving to do after Kev and Dani get home.

But first, laundry. I'm trying desperately to get through a few loads of laundry (including dry time) so we can pack more easily. And so I'm not completely screwed on Sunday when we get back. And then, after lunch, a trip out to the grocery store to get the things we most desperately need, like formula, and diapers. *groans* How the hell am I ever supposed to save money when I spend more than I have monthly just on groceries and gas???

I have a few blessed moments while he naps. I've now done dishes and got a load of laundry in. I'll fold some more laundry shortly. And begin the packing. I want to get as much done as possible before Kevin and Dani are home so all we have to do is pack his car and hit the road. *fingers crossed* I'd like to get in at a reasonable hour tonight. We're all just too tired to make it a late night, I think. Besides, it may take time to get Ryan all settled this time.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:59 AM

Its been a long day, but remarkably peaceful. At least, in some meaning of the word, I suppose.

The night was interrupted one more time, when Ry woke up at 4:15 or so. I gave him a bottle, and he drank about 3 ounces that time, and I had him back in bed by 5am or so. But then I turned off my alarm... it'd been a bad enough week and all that I figured I could get in a little late since well, I hadn't exactly slept much all night. I wanted to make sure I could safely arrive if I drove. *wry smiles*

I finally got up around 7am (only an hour late). Kev helped me get Dani up and in motion, getting ready to go to school. I made it into work not too late, so it was okay.

And the day was much more peaceful than they have been lately. I managed to mostly lock myself in my corner and get some things done. I lost my voice throughout the day, and well, found out that I've been looking as strung out as I've felt with all the stress and exhaustion. So I made arrangements to take Friday as a personal day, rather than trying to work at home while taking care of Ryan. I needed the assurance that I wasn't going to have to try to get 8 hours of work in while he was sick and while errands needed to be run. And its a load off my mind to know I can relax a little.

Even the evening wasn't too bad. Some tough times as his temperature rose and rose again after 8pm, but we couldn't give him more motrin until 9ish. But once we did, Kevin got him to lie down for bed. He just got up and drank a good amount of formula, and he's still blessedly cool. I'm hoping that maybe it means the fever broke, but I'm being cynical and figuring it hasn't. If it hasn't, I'm calling the dr. I know there's nothing they can do if its a virus, but I'm looking for advice I guess. Poor kid. I feel like such a failure because I can't fix it.

That's one of the hardest things about being a parent -- when your child looks at you with that bewildered why is this happening to me and can't you fix it mommy expression, and the answer is no, you can't. *groans*

So anyway, now that he's tucked back into his crib, and he seems to be sleeping well enough, if snoring noisily, I am going to go back to bed. And in the morning maybe I can figure out what's gone wrong with my CD burner -- it won't read CDs particularly well, and it keeps failing on burn. *groans* And I've got a CD I've just *got* to get burned tomorrow. It'd be no big if I were going to work -- I'd drop the files onto the laptop and burn them in the office. But with staying home, I've got to find a way to do it here. Stupid hardware.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:19 AM
July 25, 2002
Rotten Mood

Gee, including this, I guess my last couple of entries have been SO upbeat. *sighs*

I'm exhausted. Its 1am, and I'm still up, despite my wanting to go to bed around 10pm. I was actually getting ready for bed. Winding down, sending out one last PBEM post before I conked out.

Then Ryan started fussing. So I started dealing with him, because he was crying and cranky and hot. I took his temp. Not bad. But he seemed hotter. So I took it in the other ear and it was MUCH higher. So then I did tylenol and a cold bath (oh he just so didn't enjoy that one). And now hours later we're still up, he's still cranky and exhausted and hot and hungry. And half the bottle's gone to waste. And Kevin's up and ticked now because he was asleep and I got him up three times -- the last time because then Dani was up too and I just couldn't deal with comforting both kids at once -- its impossible.

So yeah, I guess I sound like I'm in a pretty bad place. And its not that I don't love my kids. I do. That's one of the hardest things. I feel like a bad mom because I'm resentful because I have to go to work tomorrow so I'm just getting into worse and worse shape this week between work being hell and more hell and even worse hell and home being hell and I just can't deal with it all and still be sane. And I can't *fix* the problem either except cuddle and give tylenol and there's only so much cuddling you can do when the baby's screaming and pushing at you and its 1 in the morning and you haven't slept right in three nights.

I'm really not handling this time in my life very well at all.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:49 AM
July 24, 2002
Nasty Little Bug

Its been a rotten day.

One server blew up on its own, by virtue of Windows Update. A once in a thousand sort of thing, and it had to happen while we're in the middle of a string of bad luck with servers.

One server transition actually went well... except a host of small issues, and Win2K bug for window settings, caught us out and it seemed far worse to the end users.

That all just snowballed into an utterly unpeachy day.

Add in one son ill and home with one husband who thinks he's getting it next. One daughter fully cranked out and shrieking at the end of the night.

And top it all off with being bitten by a nasty little bug.

Yes, a real bug. Not a software bug. Not an illness bug. But a real live bug.

I was sitting on this chair in my dining room, my feet pulled up and my leg against the side of the back of the chair. I felt this tiny pinching, and I moved, looking at the chair for a splinter. Nope, no splinter. I made a confused face and went back to sitting the way I was.

There it was again. A pinching along my leg like something was sticking into it. Frowning, I moved my leg again and peered at the chair. I moved back, and peered again.

And there, peering almost as cautiously back at me, was the nasty little bug. It was between the back of the chair and the side of the back, in the darkness. And it apparently had considered my leg an invader.

It is now, of course, dead and gone.

It was an earwig. So out of curiosity, I looked them up. Turns out, that's what's probably eating our garden, so I'm going to set out traps for them in the morning. This one probably came in on something we brought in, or our shoes or something, and then took up residence in the darkest little spot it could find.

I just have to remember to look before I sit, apparently. And get rid of the nasty things in my garden!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:34 PM

Dani is so adorable. The other evening I asked if she would like me to braid her hair before bed so that she would have curly hair in the morning. She was all excited -- she wanted her hair to be curly like Aunty Liz's. You see, on Friday, Dani and I had finally noticed Liz's perm (which I have been told I've managed to NOT notice for like the entire time since before Ryan's birth *sighs*).

So now, for the past two days, Dani has braided her hair and night, and in the morning we've brushed out her wavy hair and pulled it back in two barrettes ("*Barrettes* like Aunty Liz, Mommy. NOT a ponytail!"). And she looks SO adorable with her hair in a little wavy fuzz about her face. I've got to get a picture of her somehow but my camera is still broken (can't afford a new lens right now). *sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:11 AM
July 23, 2002

Okay, after publicly stating that I'm a night-owl, and well-versed in the subject of sleep deprivation, let me add that when I *want* and *need* to sleep... its bad to keep me awake. *groans* I get cranky and nasty and downright bitchy.

This said... tonight Ry went to bed early. He was exhausted and dinner, and although he ate well, he just wanted to sleep, so I gave him his bottle and off he went into lala land.

I just paid for it. I was getting ready for bed at 11:40 or so, and heard him fussing. Well, he'd been doing that since 7:30, on and off, since he went to sleep. So I thought nothing of it.

At midnight it turned into an outright crank. Complete with screaming fit. So I fed him, noted a mild (under 100 in the ear) fever, and cuddled him back to sleep, searched out the tylenol, administered that, and tucked him back into bed.

I figure he's teething. That would fit the symptoms, as well as the little red ridge next to the other little itty bit tooth. *smiles*

So anyway, here it is, fully an hour after I intended to be in bed, and I can barely keep my eyes open. My head aches, and I'm feeling miserable.

*sigh* Staying up late works much better when I'm actually somewhat rested to begin with.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:39 AM
July 22, 2002
PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.29

1. Do you remember your first encounter with computers? Tell me about that.

My first encounters with computers are all sort of jumbled up inside my head. I think it was Julie's TRS-80 that was the first... I think hers came before my own. *thinks* Yes, yes, that was it. I went over to my new best friend's house, when I was in seventh grade, and she had a TRS-80 Model 1. We played the classic Adventure game that afternoon, and she showed me Eliza, and we were in stitches trying to get really silly answers out of that.

You know Eliza, right? The original online psychiatrist. It was a very simple basic program that tried to be a psychiatrist -- basically, it asked questions, and it would say "how do you feel about that?" to your answers. Sometimes the way it would turn a statement into a question was riotous. In those innocent years, it seemed almost like AI.

Then there was the classic Adventure. With two word commands -- "Get Key", "Go North", "Kick Gnome" -- it was about as simple as it could get. But that was the classic, and in part, it became a large part of my eventual introduction to roleplaying when Julie and I began to write our own adventure games and play them without the computer.

2. How late can you stay up and still be functional the next day? Do you do that very often?

About 1am, if I get to sleep consistently until 6 or 7. Much later if I can sleep later. Do I do it often? All too often, probably. I usually don't go to bed until midnight or so. This is probably bad, since I tend to operate on 4-6 hours of sleep a night regularly.

I am all too familiar with the symptoms of sleep deprivation.

3. When was the last really good hug you got from another adult? Who was it and what was the situation?

This sounds like you're looking for more than the last walk-by hug I got from my husband. *smiles* When? Dunno... I honestly, don't know.

4. One thing about children is that they all like to draw. We all shared the same ability and skill level at one time. Do you still like to draw? (Not do you think you draw well, or do others, but do you like to?) If not, how come? Did you get discouraged at some point?

I still love to draw. I doodle when I am sitting places sometimes, but I've actually tried to stop that habit just because I end up with all kinds of doodles in all sorts of strange places like my planner at work.

I used to try to draw, in a rather cartoony style, and sell the artwork at SF cons. I'm not THAT good, though. Which is a pity. There are all these things in my head that I just can't get out!!

5. I way overslept today. I had to head to work with no shower (don't get too close), and I am not in the best of moods. Have you ever overslept on a day you had something important going on? What's the story there?

*laughs* Constantly. I'm not a morning person. At all. In fact, just last week I wasn't to work until almost 9am twice because I managed to either sleep through my alarm or more likely, turn it off in my sleep. I had to cut corners by having Ryan eat at daycare instead of at home. Dani won major points by being a good girl and getting herself ready all by herself those days.

6. Ever go shopping for something you know you can't afford? You look at it and even think about how it will look when you get it home, somehow you justify the cost and believe it can happen? And just before you get to the counter come to your senses? What was the last thing you almost bought, but thought better of it? And why the heck do we do that to ourselves?

I can't even think of a single example of this. It happens all the times. And almost as often I give in to impulse and buy it anyway (I'm a bad influence on people -- don't go shopping with me if you don't want to buy those things you think about but don't think you should).

7. (It begins again...) It's all such a blur now. I'd asked you to help me wake up but the alarm didn't go off. It was 10 till and just I knew I'd be late. Somehow you got me here on time. How did you do that? 

Didn't happen. You're still dreaming.

BONUS: Can't you see, you belong to me?

Somehow this sets off the Liana voices in my head... she who changes the lyrics of "Eternal Flame" from "You belong with me" to "You belong to me" whenever I'm singing it...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:06 PM
July 20, 2002
Introducing Kids to Gaming

Kim said...
I'm not sure how old your kids are, but you might try ElfQuest with them. Scott and I plan to start ours (when we have them) on that one.

My daughter Danielle (Dani, or the peanut) is 4 years old, and my son Ryan is 7 1/2 months. Dani's been around gaming since she was born... hells, since before she was born. I took a maternity leave from WEF and from AoW (which I was running) when she was born, and then jumped right back in. So she knows mommy and daddy both game, and she's got a fairly decent understanding of what gaming is. Or at least as much as a four year old can understand.

I've thought a lot about where to start someday. Handily, I know the parents of her best friends decently well (and one of those parents has expressed an interest in learning about gaming recently). I also have a few gaming friends with kids. I think I think even more about how to approach gaming with her friends -- so she can have a little gaming group of her own.

I may start systemless. Its what she sees most often -- no dice, just notes and a lot of talking, and mom being different people as the GM. So just as an outgrowth of "let's pretend". In a way, that's where I started, combined with the computer games, so its a logical place to go.

The hardest part of gaming with kids is the separation of "pretend" and "real". We have a lot of conversations about those as it is -- she watches a very different type of thing on TV or movie than her friends do, but then, she also gets a lot of the difference and therefore isn't as scared. And we also talk about righ and wrong -- a necessary topic before one can really get into a lot of things in life!!

Oh, another possible starting point, as something familiar, is always doing a Harry Potter Lite sort of thing. Zip out some of the darkness and keep the fun pieces. That would give the kids a familiar world at least. That's one of the big things, I think -- familiarity of world. But then, I think I've got a few years yet before she'll really be ready for it. Of course, I want to be ready when she is!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:21 PM
Still a Good Day

Well, it wasn't the RenFest, but it was most definitely still a good day.

We started off slowly in the morning. Well, Ryan woke up at 3am demanding food (I think he's growing -- I *know* the second tooth is coming in), and was up for an hour or so. But then I got to sleep in until 8am. Yay!

So we got up and got moving slowly. We got in touch with Josh & Liz and made tentative plans for bowling. While they did some stuff, we went out and did some work on the garden -- putting up cages for the tomatoes and cucumbers, and feeding the whole thing through the watering system. All good things, that should make for healthier veggies!

And then after lunch we headed up to Josh & Liz's and met up with them, and then went over to bowling with them and Evan & Annette. And that was quite fun! Dani had her own lane, and bowled four strings. We could tell she was getting tired by the end because her score had gone down. Then she took a break and ate french fries while watching the adults finish up their second string. I had started out fantastic (a strike on my first throw), but hadn't broken 100 either game. *sighs* Kevin and Liz on the other hand were amazing. Kev bowled better than I have *ever* seen him bowl, and Liz just beat him by 1 pin on the first game, and tied him on the second.

After that it was back to Josh & Liz's for a while, and hung around, and then out to dinner at the Dragon Buffet. Ryan ate a lot of finger food -- he's trying to get into feeding himself, but still chokes a lot and scares the crap out of me when he does that. We were there for a long time, but it was very enjoyable. We talked about all kind of things, from cooking to work to gardening to kids (we had one of those conversations about child-bearing that I'm sure just thrilled the other diners around us *laughs*).

Then we got to go over to Evan & Annette's for the first time and see their house. Kevin had intended to just stop in for a little bit, but Ryan was sleeping, and then he was having his bottle, and Dani was having such a great time, and we ended up staying for a couple of hours. We actually just got home, tucked both kids straight into bed, and as soon as I wind down, its off to bed myself.

I promised Liz I'd blog something, just for her, and now I can't remember what it was. *sighs*

But yeah, it definitely wasn't the RenFest, but it *was* a much needed enjoyable day with other adults as well as with our kids. It was a *very* good thing.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:03 PM
Friday Group Therapy 1.3

1. How did/will you tell your children about sex and childbirth and at what age?
Lessee, we've already given Dani (the 4 year old) a basic overview of the subject, which we did the first time when she was about 3 1/2. Of course, we had a good reason, too -- she asked. I was pregnant with Ryan at the time.

I don't see any reason to hide the subject. Honestly, the longer you keep it a mystery, the more curious they are, and the more likely they are to try and find out about it by other means. Demystify it and make it a part of life and they're not going to go exploring. At least, that's the theory.

Basically, I answer questions as asked, and I'm honest. I'll do the same with Ryan. And hopefully we'll end up with well-adjusted kids who aren't afraid to ask questions, and don't feel the need to try things before they're ready.

2. How old were you when you found out about sex and how did it happen?
According to my mom, she told me when I asked at about 4 or 5 years old. I don't remember that one consciously. I remember my best friend when I was in fourth grade got this book about the facts of life and we read it and giggled about it. And then, of course, there were various Judy Blume books (progressively more and more detailed as they were designed for older and older people) for more learning from.

3. What was the most shocking thing that you ever discovered about sex? (Shocking at the time that you discovered it, not necessarily shocking now.)
I can't think of much I was ever shocked by! When I was a kid I thought it was awfully funny -- and the book described the act as pleasurable so we thought people would laugh. But that's about it. I guess I've always been pretty accepting of yeah, well, someone must enjoy it then about whatever I've heard or read or whatever.

4. Tell us about any "first" in your sexual life.
I had to think about this to come up with something my husband wouldn't consider too high on the TMI index (whether or not it had to do with him).

So we'll go with the first french kiss.

I was sixteen, and Steve was my first boyfriend, so he also gave me my first kiss. He had a real thing for french kissing, and his version of it was trying to shove his tongue as far down my throat as humanly possible. Of course, I thought it was the thing we were supposed to be doing (wasn't it?) and being naive, I just kind of tried to go along with it. But that first day, he was eating kumquats, so it was kind of like being kissed while an orange was shoved down my throat.

To this day I can't stand kumquats.

5. What is your "sexual identity"?
I leave it as an exercise for the reader to find the right mirror with the right reflection to reveal that answer... *smiles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:00 AM
July 19, 2002
A Change in Plans

Once again, we have a change in plans. This week Dani's sick -- same thing Ryan had last week. So the poor little one has a cough, and is hoarse with a nasty sore throat. We've just tucked her into bed with her sleepytime cough medicine and some tylenol.

But that means that like Readercon, the RenFest isn't happening. *sighs*

We're going to try to arrange it for another weekend, but first we have to *find* a weekend. That part's not easy, but we'll see if we can manage it.

So, since we weren't driving out to Herkimer, we went out to dinner with Josh & Liz. We *finally* went to Ocean Palace -- a local Chinese place I've been wanting to go to for ages. They serve dim sum for lunch, and when we asked, they said we could order for dinner too. Ooh! It was utterly wonderful. It made up for a part of the change in plans. And the kids were so well-behaved. Dani ate a bowl and a half of rice, and Ryan enjoyed fortune cookies as well as his dinner.

Tomorrow, if Dani's feeling okay, we'll do something with Josh & Liz for the afternoon, which'll be really nice. Dani adores Aunty Liz and wants to spend time with them tomorrow, so she's really excited and hoping she feels well enough.

The weekend won't be a bad one, just not the one we planned. Hopefully it'll at least be relaxing.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:21 PM
Bug in the System

Ryan has this toy he loves. My mom gave him three stuffed bugs for Christmas -- each one is a different shape, and has different noises that it makes. The one he particularly likes has crunchy ears, like paper covered with fabric. The bug also rattles. We have named it, so originally, just Bug.

He has started chewing on burp cloths, so I was figuring maybe he was getting a security blanket. But he hasn't formed an attachment, really, to anything but Bug.

So today I noted... Ryan doesn't have a security blanket, he has a Security Bug.

And of course, as a programmer, I found that really funny....

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:05 PM
Friday Five

1. Where were you born?
Just outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

2. If you still live there, where would you rather move to? If you don't live there, do you want to move back? Why or why not?
I've been living in the capdist of NYS since 1986, when I came up here to go to college. I'd love to go back to Massachusetts. Partly because I'm close to my parents, and they are close to my kids. Partly because there are friends there (although that is balanced by friends here that I will miss horribly). And partly because my husband would like to move to Massachusetts eventually, since he was born here and thinks its time for a change. *smiles*

3. Where in the world do you feel the safest?
Um, that's a really good question for which I am not sure there is a good answer! I can't think of a place that just makes me feel inherently safe. A person, now, is something else entirely. Which makes curling up with my arm around my husband the best answer.

4. Do you feel you are well-traveled?
Oh yes. I've been to Italy twice, Britain, Canada multiple times. I love to travel, and enjoy going to conventions all over the place when I can manage to afford it. Luckily I grew up with parents who figured that if it were within an 8 hour drive we could get there in a day easily enough so why not go!

5. Where is the most interesting place you've been?
Mm, I've been too many cool places to make this one easy. There's Venice, which is just gorgeous and great exercise. And London and Glasgow, both of which were just fascinating and there was the Tower of London and all kinds of fun things. In the US I'm trying to think and again there are a lot of fun places. It makes it hard to choose!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:43 PM
July 18, 2002
Moulin Rouge

I have now seen Moulin Rouge. Even knowing what was coming... even seeing it, so obvious, from a mile away... I still bawled when it happened. It was wonderful. It was horrendously painful.

Gods... I loved it.

Do I need to say more? Half the world has seen it... many obsess over it. Suffice to say -- go see it. Make it through the first half, be ready for frenetic pace and strange cuts. Wonderful directing. Wonderful art and mood. Just absolutely wonderful.

(And on the who am I quiz I came up as Christian... yeah, I can see that.)

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:11 PM
Nicole as Florimel

Flora's Trump

When thinking about the infamous Amber casting thread, there is only one option for Florimel for me -- Nicole Kidman. I've used her as my model for one Trump I have done, for Damara's campaign.

Now, as I watch Moulin Rouge, I am once again impressed by how much she can make me think of my image of Flora. Her expressions, her shifts, her way of looking at people and playing with people... Nicole as Satine works so well for Flora.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:32 PM
The Weekend Approaches

It is always hectic to plan to leave for the weekend directly after work. But there is something wonderful about it as well... after all, when we pack the car tomorrow we do not plan to return to the house, so doesn't that mean the weekend begins in the morning? So that part makes me look forward to it, despite all the rush and hurry and list making involved in getting a family of four successfully out the door before any of us are truly awake in the morning.

We will be going to the RenFest on Saturday, and I am looking forward to it thoroughly. The last time I went was when I was pregnant with Danielle, 5 summers ago now. And I've never actually been with Kevin -- he was away at army or something the last time I went. So this should be a great time. I can't wait to seehow Danielle enjoys it!! Ryan won't really care -- just a lot of people to play with from his point of view.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:27 PM
Kale's Room

Bridgette asked us to describe our character's room for Age of Retribution

Posted by Deb Atwood at 02:40 PM
Thursday Again

1. One hot summer afternoon, while walking through a parking lot at a large shopping mall, you notice a dog suffering badly from the heat inside a locked car. What would you do?
Yikes. First instinct is to get into that car... I would never want to be responsible for the loss of life. I think what I would probably do is call the police. I've got a cell phone -- I'd call the police because they could get animal control and the police could get into the car and rescue the poor dog. And it'd be a lot faster than hiking down to the mall and having them try to page the person.

2. You are in a restaurant rest room. You notice an employee leaving without washing his/her hands. Do you bring the matter to the attention of the owner or manager? If so, do you do it publicly or privately?
Actually, I'd approach the employee first. Quietly, politely (or at least attempt to be) mention to them that they should wash their hands before leaving. If they object or get confrontational, then I would quietly ask to see the manager and explain to them that I have been thoroughly grossed out and ignored to boot, and that they really need to do something about the problem.

3. What is one item you own that you really should throw away ... but probably never will?
One item?? Only ONE??? *laughs loudly* My husband says he should back up the dumptruck cuz I'd never miss it all. He's wrong, though. One of the big ones is probably the closet full of computer equipment. Or my letter jacket from high school. I can't stand to throw away memories.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:28 AM
July 17, 2002
Naming Conventions

I was just looking at my sidebar and thinking about names.

There are times when I think I've gone off on this naming kick, and all the names of all my characters sound the same.


Lots of Kat's in there too.

But then I just looked at the sidebar and sort of tasted the names that are there. Adrienne, Damara, Kale... Diana, Jenny, Jinx, Phoebe, Talis. They are all different, and in many ways each one rings true for the character it was. Talis could never be anyone in my head but who she was. Jinx (or Jordan as her actual name was) will always be that personality. Kale is Kale, and Adrienne (or Adri as she is sometimes called) will always be Adrienne.

It is interesting how a name becomes attached to a character, and how they come to fit the character, or perhaps, the character comes to fit them. And no matter how much I seem to go on a naming jag, when I look back at the character names who have survived, similarities aside, the names *belong* to those characters that have them.

But then, names are important to me... oftentimes both the easiest and hardest part of creating a character. Sometimes I will go for symbolism -- as in Phoebe's case. And sometimes for sound and style, as in Jenny. She is Genvieve, with the proper long name, but always was the girl-next-door Jenny to everyone. Which totally fit.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:49 PM

Okay, I finally managed to get an archives link built. Got the templates all worked out, and now it will be possible to get to pieces of fiction that are built randomly through here by their own title. Admittedly, since archives go in reverse order, it might still be tough to read (go bottom to top) but it'll be easier than hunting down dates! Heh, I feel productive!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:11 PM
Espresso Surge

A new short story, I think... mostly some random ramblings that began tripping off my pen today, and we'll see where they go. And it was interesting... I started typing the title, and it sort of typed itself. Hopefully this is a good sign!!

[This started the other day, and I've added more tonight... should I continue? Click More to read it...]

One part coffee, two parts chocolate. The coffee was thick and black, dark and bitter. The chocolate was dark and sweet. No milk or cream.

Jane was too impatient to wait for it to cool, sipping at it as soon as it mixed, and feeling the burn against her tongue. She swirled it in her mouth, letting the heat disapate against the tender skin before swallowing it. There, one mouthful, then two. Soon the caffeine would be sliding into her system, making her eyes pop open, her fingers jitter. A strange feeling, as her body was taken over by odd nerves, but oh so welcome, this morning.

"How the hell long have you *been* here already?"

"Huh?" Jane looked up and then smiled to see Justin standing over her. His blue eyes were shaded by brows furrowed with concern. Then she covered her mouth as she tried to stifle a yawn. "Too long," she finally answered his question. "I kept waking up last night, so I finally decided to jack in and see if I could get some work done, and when I did I saw all these damned alarms going off. So I got dressed and came in. I've been here for about 4 hours already."

Justin looked at the steaming cup of mocha cradled in her hands, then back to her pale and drawn face. "Is that why you look like shit, or is it something else?"

It took her a moment to decide how to reply. Justin was a friend, of sorts, if anyone at work could be called that. They went out for drinks sometimes, but that was about it. Justin had a girlfriend back on Long Island that he spent most of his free weekend time with, so it was rare they saw each other outside of the office. But it wasn't like she had anyone else around actually asking...

"I haven't been sleeping," she admitted. She stopped then, looking down at the coffee and sipping at it, feeling it burn her tongue on the way down again. Hot... so very hot. It was the sensation that drew at her. The feeling and the wait for the surge. "So I'm running on empty."

"Yow." Justin pulled up a spare chair, spinning it around and sitting on it backwards, his arm across the back of the chair. "Why not? What's wrong?"

Jane shrugged, a wry smile quirking at the corner of her mouth. "I'm not sure. I keep waking up. Sometimes..."

She stopped then, uncertain how much she dared say to Justin, sitting there in the office. The mug slipped from her hands, landing with a clunk on the desk, the liquid sloshing a bit. Her fingers sought out a pen, twirling it, twisting it... discovering that the plastic bent when stressed. Bent when stressed... she repeated the words beneath her breath, and unheard by anyone else they tasted right.

Justin's hand was on her arm, and she looked at it, surprised that it had appeared there without her seeing it happen. "Sometimes... what?" he asked softly.

Jane looked away again, looking at the pen twisted in her hand. "Sometimes... I wake up because I hear things. Like the door has opened and someone stands there, breathing, at the foot of my bed. Or footsteps in the hallway. Or murmurs as a hand brushes my shoulder, then forehead." She glanced up, half-knowing what he was going to say. "My cat is asleep on my bed, curled up against my hip like she always is. I don't have any other pets. Nor a boyfriend right now. Its just me, and the cat, and that's it."

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:53 PM
Sorting Hat

Well, this one was a bit of a surprise! Although for amusement value, Kev's Ravenclaw too!

Where do YOU belong?

By way of Brian Peace at Random Ravings...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:20 PM
Movie Review -- But I'm a Cheerleader!

Finding this movie was a complete surprise. I bumped into it in the wee hours one night when Ryan was first born. I was up with him, and he was refusing to sleep, so I needed something to occupy my mind. I flipped through the movie channels and happened upon But I'm a Cheerleader!

I saw the first half that night, and wanted to see the rest, but had to Tivo it and watch it at another time. I finally managed to see the rest, and now I find I have to own a copy of it so I can share it! If you like farcical fare, and want to see RuPaul in a male role (!), I highly recommend this movie. I adored it, and was surprised by where it went (or rather, how it got there).

Spoilers ahead... click more, if you want to know, well, more. *grins*

When the movie first began, I thought it was a simple farce. Megan, a cheerleader, is entranced by images of her squad-mates anatomy, and can't stand french-kissing her boyfriend. Her friends and family perform an intervention, telling her they believe she is a (shock! horror!) lesbian, and then send her to True Directions to find her way back to heterosexuality. [RuPaul plays Mike, the male counselor at the school.]

Megan rebels the whole way there, uncertain she is a lesbian, but once there, she finally admits that perhaps she is. The school is peopled with a mix of young men and women, all in various stereotypes of homosexuality (Andre, one of the boys, is just SO stereotypical limpwristed).

As Megan goes through the steps of the program, she finds that she is attracted to Graham, a girl who arrived as a happily card-carrying lesbian from the get-go. And Graham returns it... The story becomes more serious as the two become friends, and then as they steal a night away from the school and their friendship shifts to love. It is then that the farce begins to be colored by the more serious matter of being true to oneself and to one's sexuality.

This is not a movie against homosexuality. The frightening thing is that places like True Directions DO exist. The irony in the movie is that if Megan had never been sent there, she might never have understood herself, and might have never been happy with herself, her sexuality, her life. She grows as a person there, from simply a cheerleader dating a football player, to a young woman who is scared of where life is taking her, but makes the decisions she has to in order to get where she needs to go.

It is a great movie, and I highly recommend it.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:20 PM
Gymnastics Lessons

Dani's gymnastics lessons continue, and she loves them! She doesn't practice as hard as Rachel, but then, maybe that's my fault. We are so whirlwind around here every evening, and she doesn't think of it. I should probably encourage her.

She wants to keep going, so she'll take more in the fall. Unfortunately, she can't be in the same class as Rachel in the fall. We're going to try and do class on the same night at least so they can watch each other for a bit. But they are right -- Dani isn't patient enough or disciplined enough to go on to the next class yet. The ten months difference is really huge sometimes as I watch them together.

Dani watches the big kids as we go in and out of the gym. She is fascinated by the tumbling, and really wants to be able to do what they do. I'm going to get her a leotard or two, and I think if she has one she can "play" with at home, she'll be encouraged to do more practicing too. And its cool to watch her.

She has my flexibility, which is both good and bad. It means she'll need to really work to get any flexibility in the shoulders, so starting young will just help her in everyday life someday if she can gain that. But her natural flexibility in the legs and toe point are both excellent. She's got a lot to work with, and she likes it, so its a definite to keep on going.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:19 PM
New Tooth!

Ryan has a tooth!! Just a little one, but it popped all the way through the gum without us noticing it was happening. In fact, it probably happened while he was sick and all croupy and everything. So at least that explains why he's the king of fussy lately.

On the other hand, it might also explain his nausea. Yeah, sick again. He stayed at daycare yesterday, but today after he threw up twice, they had me come get him. Which I totally understand... but... he's only doing it there! He didn't throw up at all last night, or after I got him home today. *sighs* I think its the post-nasal drip, and if he gets himself worked up he gets all gaggy. *sighs again*

But on the good side, he has a tooth! And he's only not quite 8 months old -- a big improvement over Dani getting hers just before her first birthday!

He also had his first french fry tonight, and he absolutely loved it!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:15 PM
July 16, 2002
Gaming & Life

Just responding to a few of the comments... *smiles*

Scott said...
They would have dragged me away in chains at 34 if it was illegal to be gaming. :)

Okay, well, yes, me too. *smiles* It ranks up there with "mommy's don't write that!" which is my description of some of the fiction I write. But I refuse to stop gaming, and stop writing erotica, just because I'm now a 34 year old mother of two. Rather, I think I need to keep doing all my fave hobbies simply to keep myself in some semblance of sanity!

Y'know, I think the world would be a better place if more people used a safe way to escape from life for a while like gaming.

One of these days I'll give a true history of me as a gamer -- from D&D and Greyhawk to the Masks of Nyarlothotep; from cheesy villains in V&V (Champions is one of the =few= games I've never played, much to my chagrin) and Superhero: 2044 (an old chestnut if ever there was one), to Storm Knights in TORG, I've done a lot.

I think that's one really good quality in a gamer -- someone who's tried a lot of different systems. Just because experience is really the best way to find out what's good and what's not, and to teach a person how to make a judgement call or throw out the rules when necessary. Its hard to say that to a novice gamer and have them know enough to throw out the right stuff so that it doesn't harm the game.

I'm not saying that everyone ends up having the same view of systems and how to modify them, nor that there *is* only one good view. Just that experience with a lot of different things gives one a good idea of how to find *one* right way.

It's odd how we've returned to 3rd Edition, too. I discovered last year that it's =fun=. Sure, it has its problems, but I find I really enjoy it.

I haven't played it much yet -- only via PBEM. I've been reading the rules, and *want* to run it because well, there were things about AD&D that I liked (go ahead, everyone, laugh!). I liked the class system enough to mimic it with my own guild system, but I always felt it needed a better explanation, and more flexibility. And there is something about that is simply well... fantasy. *smiles* Its a particular style of fantasy and of game feel that isn't done by any other game. While other games may be "better", there is *nothing* that has the feel of AD&D.

I perused Amber some time back as our friend Gareth has a copy, but we never tried it out.
Ooh, try it. But that's my opinion and I'm an addict. *grins* But if you like the books (and at least the GM really needs to *know* the books) give it a whirl. But be prepared for intense roleplaying and a need to trust the GM and the other players (although not necessarily the characters).

Of course, that means I should do my rant on diceless RP and intense RP one of these days.

We also have Aria, which conceptually sounded stunning, but we only have one of the two books needed. You need a PhD in anthropology to play this one.
What's Aria? *curious look*

Runequest and TORG are my two great loves, though, for gaming. Nothing beats Glorantha for a game world with the possible exception of Tekumel/Petal Throne, and TORG with its reality/genre-blending cannot be topped.

Oddly enough, my experience with Runequest and TORG came together... had a friend who like the TORG world, but not the system, so he ran it with Runequest underlying it. Which worked really really well, IMO, for the little time that it ran. At least, I enjoyed it anyway!

Kim said...
It's cheap?!? Cheap?! Somebody tell Scott that! ;p

*laughter* Okay, okay, depends on the outlook. *grins* It wasn't cheap for me, either, when I was obsessively buying every White Wolf supplement that came out for two or three years straight.

But now that I have most of what I need (I need a few small books for d20, stuff like that), its pretty cheap. The travel costs me more than the game -- cuz I have to travel or host lots of people in order to get a good gaming crew together. Everyone moved away. *pouts*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:00 PM
Left My Brain Behind

I arrived at work this morning, and swung my backpack onto my back, out of the car. I marveled at how light it felt this morning, but then remembered that I had emptied out all of the writing stuff I'd been carrying around and left it at home finally. So it was my laptop, and my meds, and a few other things still in it.

Then I realized that along with the junk, I'd also set the stuff I'd brought home to work on next to my laptop on the couch. I'd packed the laptop. I'd left my work at home.

So here I am in the office, sitting here without all my notes on what I'm supposed to be accomplishing. *groans* Thankfully I got a good part of it into Notes yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't get *enough* done. *sighs* Its gonna be a long night cuz I'm gonna have to catch up for some of this tonight!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:18 AM
Monday Mission 2.28

1. Have you ever sold anything through an online auction? What did you sell and did you make very much?
Nope, never. I keep *wanting* to do it, but never get around to actually *doing* it. Like all those ancient Magic cards I've got...

2. Have you ever bought anything through an online auction? How was your experience?
Yes, but only once so far! I bought the Saint Seiya DVDs, which are hysterical from the translations (done from Japanese to English by people who speak Chinese *giggles*). The transaction was fine -- I got what I wanted, it wasn't TOO expensive, really, and it arrived promptly. I then stopped looking at EBay again before I tried to buy MORE things!

3. Do you like the sun? Getting a suntan? Have you ever had a bad sunburn?
Have I ever had a bad sunburn? *dry laughs* Oh gods, yes. I burn like crazy. My skin will crisp up completely at the drop of a hat. When I was a kid I used 15 SPF which was *high* for then, and I could still burn through it. I've burned while wearing fishnet tights (in a parade for baton twirling) which was just annoying. I've burned my shoulders so badly I couldn't raise my arms.

But do I like the sun? As long as I've got good shades on, sure. I don't sunbathe -- that's not my style. And I like a good breeze -- I'm not fond of getting really *hot*. And surprisingly enough, this year I've been taking so many walks and working in my garden so much, that I've got a (Very) faint tan on my arms and even have a white mark for my wedding ring!

4. Are you a vegetarian? Why? If not, have you ever considered it?
Am I? No, I like meat too much. Have I considered it? Yeah, who on a diet doesn't? But my husband would never give up meat. Still, we eat more healthily than we used to, and I've even found some versions of tofu that he will eat. So we are closer than we were, but we certainly aren't completely vegetarian.

5. Suppose you are getting into your car after you've just made your purchase from a store you visit twice a week. You suddenly realize you had a .35 item in your hand and you forgot to pay for it. What would you do next? (what *would* you do, not what *should* you do)
I'd go in and drop off the 35 cents on the counter, then duck out again. I get guilty very easily... which is good for my ethical health, I suppose. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it, but I'd do it.

6. Sometimes it seems that there is just not enough time to do everything that must be done. Was there anything you wanted to accomplish this weekend that didn't get done?
Yeah, finishing putting up the stakes for my garden! My cucumbers are getting out of control and attacking the beans and must be confined!

7. What is your favorite game to play with a group and/or an individual? (board game, computer game, athletic, etc.)
Er, I'm a roleplayer. So that would be it, overall, I'm certain. *smiles* Choose a decent roleplaying game, and I'm happy. If I have to choose something else, I'm really into card games, especially pinochle. Playing partner pinochle is like a big treat for me. There are also a host of board games I enjoy (Eurorails and Iron Dragon top that list, I think).

Posted by Deb Atwood at 07:38 AM
July 15, 2002
Speaking My Mind

I realized today that the voices have voices. Depending on what I am doing my tonality, pitch, intonation and even phrasing change as different aspects of my personality take control. Its interesting to watch, almost like an outsider watching a stranger sometimes.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:23 PM
Its Got Personality

I hate my laptop. And it hates me. The feeling is definitely mutual. Since I'm using an old hard drive I'm doing a whole host of Windows updates in the hopes that that might just solve some of the problem.

But it might just be that my laptop hates me.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:59 AM
July 14, 2002
GameWish -- Systems
Describe three systems you have gamed under: one you thought was good, one you thought was all right, and one you didn't care for. What were the good points and the bad points of each system? Did the systems support their genre? Were they complex or simple? How easy were they to GM and play? Is there a system you'd really like to try that you haven't? Which ones wouldn't you try based on reading them?

Good system...
Julia discounted Amber from her answers, because the system is minimal. However, I have to say... that's the very reason I will include it. *smiles*

For me, the best systems I've played in, and enjoyed the most, were the ones that were barely there. I like diceless, I'll admit it. My favorite systems have been Amber, my own (the one I've been trying to codify into an actual *system* as opposed to the bits and pieces are that are in existence now), and various other systems taken diceless. Yes, I've played diceless White Wolf, and diceless Champions, if you can believe it.

The why is simple -- I like to concentrate on the roleplay. I get tired of arguing rules, tired of rolling dice for things that just don't need dice, and well... I like non-intrusive rulesets. *smiles*

All right system...
I've played a lot of all right systems. The funny thing is, when I start really thinking about it, the fun of the game doesn't always mean good system. Like Champions. Its allright, but it has holes you can drive a truck through. GURPS is another one. I've enjoyed games I've played in it, and I can make characters easily, and they are fairly intuitive. But it still bogs down for me as a system. Then there is White Wolf, which I understood enough to run and liked at first, until I found the huge holes there. And it kept changing between editions, and well, I ended up using a weird mix of published rules and old rules and home-grown rules. I'm not sure I was entirely playing White Wolf after a while!

I think the best two actual *systems* I can think of, for pure mechanics, are Superworld and Runequest. I love the skill improvement -- place a dot next to a successful skill use and then you have a chance of improving it based on how good you already are -- you are more likely to be able to improve the worse you are. Its nicely realistic and allows for improvement based on actual use of an ability. I'm not all that thrilled with the powers in Superworld, but overall they are usable, and when combined with the skills, I like it for Supers games. Prefer it over Champions when I want a grim and gritty game -- its much more lethal than Champs ever could be. Runequest I don't know a lot of the world, but I've used the system for other worlds and its been great.

Bad system...
Lessee, this one would be easier if I were doing this on the upstairs computer and could see my collection of Superhero games. V&V is one -- randomly generated superheros just drive me NUTS. The Enforcers was just plain BAD. For more well known systems, I still don't get Shadowrun, but then, I'm not a great player of Cyberpunk games anyway.

Things I'd like to try...
I own Theatrix and have never used it. Want to. I've played Nephilim briefly, but would like to see more of it. I've created two Seventh Sea characters that I've never gotten to use and would love to try it out. Although that one is hard for me because I'm not good with published worlds that I'm not familiar with. Fudge sounds like fun.

Although right now, I'm just plain open to available gaming!! As long as its a theme I can deal with, strong on roleplaying, and not a "module" oriented game, I'm open to try it.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:36 PM
Movies, Hollywood Style

[This blog entry was written in the memopad of my BlackBerry last night, but I'm posting it with tonight's timestamp so it doesn't get lost in the past.]

I am sitting at a place of pure American as I type this into my BlackBerry for later transcription into my blog.

We are at the drive-in.

There are only about 400 drive-ins left in the country. More than 1% of them are in the capital district of New York State. The Hollywood is less than ten minutes from my house.

For a family with kids, the drive-in is a wonderful place. A godsend, really. We can all go to the movie and the kids can run around beforehand with other kids. And no one gets upset if our kids cry. Its great!

Tonight is the 50th anniversary celebration. The first movie (Scooby Doo -- Dnai is SO excited to see it!) will start at 8:45 but we've been here since just past 5pm. They've had a DJ and dance contests and Dani's just been having a blast. Its 8 now and the official show has begun. They have a karate club doing demonstrations. One guy just broke 5 slabs of cement and a girl is about to break 2 boars. Cool, huh? The kids are loving it.

There's a juggling show next which Dani has been looking forward to since we got here.

The whole atmosphere is wholesome and family values -- one of those places where I don't mind the term. It is also sort of blue collar, but then, where we live is also very blue collar. I don't mind. The only times I've minded were when we first moved in and people thought we were stuck up college kids. Yeah, like RPI kids are stuck up! *laugh*

Kevin and I have loved drive-ins since before the kids. We finally made it to one together on our honeymoon in the middle of Los Angeles. Yes, they have a HUGE multiscreen drive-in theatre in the heart of LA about ten minutes from Disney! If we go back to LA in '06 for our tenth anniversary (which we will if LA wins the worldcon bid) we will definitely have to go to that theatre again.

Time rolls on as I type. Larry juggles and Dani and Kevin watch while Ryan drinks his bottle. The sun drifts down. And soon the movie will start.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:55 PM

Google! DayPop! This is my blogchalk: English, United States, New York, Wynantskill, Deb, Female, 31-35!

From Julia by way of ***Dave.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:11 AM
July 13, 2002
Sleep! Woohoo!

Okay, it is officially a GOOD THING that we stayed home from Readercon. Ryan slept all night, until 5ish, and then Kevin fed him and came back to bed. When I woke up this morning finally I looked at my clock. 9:37. Ohmigod. I rolled over and said "I think its time to get up now and we should go check on the girl."

And from the hallway, where we could also hear Ryan's chatter in his room, we heard, "I'm here. I got up, and I got dressed all by myself, and then came upstairs to check on you."

And there is our daughter, all dressed properly and ready for the day, and waiting for us without crying or waking us up.


This has never happened before. So she's getting an extra good start to the day. She forgot to go potty, but no big deal -- she didn't have an accident. And while Ryan's still sick, he's sounding much better. And us? Well, Kev slept from 9:30 to 9:30, with about an hour break in the middle, and I slept from 11:30 to 9:30 with a few small breaks in the middle. We're both doing MUCH better!!

Sleep! Woohoo!!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:46 AM
July 12, 2002
Gaming as an Adult

Ginger said... If you have to give up gaming when you're 34, I'm doomed. I don't seem to show any signs of it, though.

Thankfully I don't show any signs of it either. *grins* Although I *do* find I'm able to do FTF less and less. *grumbles* *pouts*

Part of it is where I live. There aren't that many gamers around here, without driving huge distances, and well, I don't know any other GMs who do the style I'd like to play in the immediate vicinity of where I live. Driving's okay once a month, but unless we're going near my parents' place, or the place is kid-friendly, it just doesn't work with the kids. So when WEF ends, until I start running something or someone else runs and we can bring the kids along, the cons are going to be it for me. Which is why I will continue to go to ACUS and TBR, no matter what! I still kinda wish Kevin could go to ACUS with me -- I think he'd enjoy it.

But I honestly don't see myself stopping gaming. I think I'll still be doing it when Dani's a teenager and old enough to be embarassed by mom acting young. And when Dani has kids and I want to teach *them* to game. I mean, why not?? Its GREAT exercise for the imagination.

After all, if I can be a mom and write erotica, why can't I age and still game?? *grins* Besides, it keeps us all young, right??

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:20 PM
Friday Group Therapy 1.3

1. Tell us about your first concert.
I didn't go to a concert for the first time until I was in college. No, I wasn't really sheltered as a kid. Its more that I didn't get into pop music until I was a junior, almost a senior. And then the people I was most into -- Styx -- weren't touring.

But when I got to Union College, I heard that the Hooters were going to be performing at RPI the second or third week I was at school. My new friends wanted to go, and so did I, so off we went. I had a great time, and bought probably my only official concert t-shirt ever. And y'know, I can't remember more than that. *smiles*

2. Tell us about your last concert.
Er... that's actually an in-progress blog entry which'll eventually get finished and posted! I saw Rush last weekend and it was SO awesome. I'll leave the details for later since I'm writing it up anyway. But suffice to say I had such a great time, and I'm glad Kevin took me.

3. Tell us about your favorite concert.
Three way tie here. *smiles*

The Rush concert. That'll have details soon enough. But I was SO disappointed that it ended after 3 hours of almost solid Rush. I mean, they have so much more music... surely they could've kept going? *smiles*

The second time I saw Styx, along with Kansas, at SPAC. The guys of Styx are just so great, and it was better than the first time I saw them because Tommy Shaw was back again. And Dennis DeYoung is a great showman. And besides, I still love Styx. And having Kansas as an opener was a wonderful surprise. I don't think I've ever seen a lead singer with more energy!

And that same summer as I saw the second Styx concert, I also saw Meatloaf. Now THERE is a showman. Great sets, great stories, and great music. Hugely long songs. Lots of singing along. I will never forget standing on the blanket on the lawn singing Paradise by the Dashboard Light with Kevin, Chris, Kat and Chris. *happy little sighs*

4. Tell us about your least favorite concert.
*frowns* *thoughtful look* I haven't ever been really disappointed in a concert. The closest came when I saw Edie Brickell opening for Don Henley. I went more for her than for him, and she was NOT a good performer. She obviously wasn't comfortable with stage work, and when she didn't have a guitar in her hands she clung to the microphone. But with a guitar, she relaxed a lot and she was great. And Don Henley's part of the show really rocked, so it made up for everything anyway.

5. What kind of music do you love?
Um, yes? *laughs* I'm very open with music. I take it artist by artist, rather than style. It makes it very difficult for me to globally say I either love or hate an entire genre.

6. What kind of music do you hate?
*grins* See above.

7. How important is music in your life?
Totally. I sing in the car and around the house. Music quiets my son, and my daughter never stops singing it seems. I did musical theatre as a kid. I used to write music, but my lyrics aren't all that great. I like to have music going whenever I can. I create mixed tapes of all kinds, and currently I really miss being able to do more of those -- its tough to sit down and make a good mix when I've got the two kids and all the work. Music and songs show signposts of my life. Even the voices in my head have their own soundtracks, as do I. There are songs which will always be a part of me, and of my life... and not just songs I associate with my husband, either. There are songs for my best friends, for my kids, for my childhood, for the heartaches and the joys. Music is a part of me and always will be.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:00 PM
On Being Seen...

First, I've been finding myself linked into new places which is just SO cool. *grins* So hiya!! And hopefully there are more new faces out there and I'm not boring you all completely to tears. *laughs* The Voices may even update tonight with some more meta-gaming rambling, which would be cool. Although maybe not until tomorrow, since I also want to send out some PBEM moves (*fingers crossed* I don't fall asleep first).

And other than that... its amazing where one's blog goes. So Kim, at work, goes to visit Meta (not our company, but we partner with them for some stuff). And when she comes back she tells me that my friend Peter says hi. I think this is just way cool, because I had somehow not realized he was still at Meta, and I say so. And Kim's surprised, because she was sure I must've talked to him recently, because Peter knew about Ryan and everything.

So I think and think and think... and finally realize... Peter's found my blog.

I finally managed to email Peter, and he mentions my blog, and I'm like yeah, I was right. *grins*

So HI PETER!!! *big grins*

I think there are other people who find that scary... that completely random people that I know might be reading this. Y'know, I've already thought about that. A lot. And that's why I don't talk about certain things, like ranting about work and all. Because it just might go somewhere I don't want it to go. I sort of think about what I write and then taste it to see if it tastes like something I want to share with the people down the hall because y'know, they just might read it.

I'm sure that there are people who only sort of know me who might bump into this blog and realize that they really don't know me anywhere as well as they thought they did. But on the other hand -- I'm a pretty honest person. I don't try to pretend to be some perfect woman that I'm not. I'm up front about being kinda cracked, and liking gaming, and all kinds of stuff. So it shouldn't be a surprise. Hells, I'm just me. And that's all its possible for me to be.

In some ways, it'd be cool for this blog to be found by some of my old friends that I don't see or talk to near as much as I should.

So I guess, if you know me, and you're here, say hi or something. 'Kay?? Oh, and let me know how you found me... cuz I'll admit it, I'm curious!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:52 PM
Hell of a Week

Its been a hell of a week. From major Notes issues at work, to simple exhaustion, to Ryan being ill, to rocks hitting my car... its all coming after me, it seems.

The rocks... have I talked about the rocks? Nah, no rocks yet. I was driving down route 150 at about 50 mph... and the nice construction truck was coming the other way, likewise going about 50 mph. And rocks were flying off the truck... two small rocks hit my windshielf at 100 mph, and there are now two small spiderwebs on the windshield of the van. Thankfully we have full glass insurance, so on Wednesday Keivn and I carpool and leave the van home and it'll get all patched up. Which would be why whenever you get car insurance, make sure to get full glass. So when the gods throw rocks (or waterballoons which have been slingshotted off a fraternity) at you, its a lot less painful to get it all fixed.

I'm hoping for a decent weekend. I'd like to do some gardening. I've been using it to relax this summer, and I've got a lot of things I'd like to get done. Now that we're here instead of Massachusetts, I can do things like laundry, relaxing, web site work, writing, and otherwise relax, I hope.

Although there are the disappointments. No Sarah. No seeing Brian and Sandy -- we haven't seen them in a few years, since they moved to Massachusetts. But I talked to Brian for a while tonight. Caught him up on the latest from FAC (Brian's the guy who brought my resume in to FAC in the first place, so I owe him for the job *smile*). Learned all about the stuff he's doing now. One of these days, on another trip down to my parents' place, we'll get together with Brian and Sandy and their kids.

I've decided that tonight is a night off. I really needed one. So I chatted on the phone, and now I'm blogging while watching Kim Possible on my Tivo. I love my Tivo. *grins* And I really like Kim Possible, hence why I've got it on season pass. *big smiles* Its an amusing show on the Disney Channel. Once Dani's asleep I can go upstairs and work a bit more on the other computer. Sleep soon, though. I NEED sleep. Need to catch up on it. Which is like, a major goal for the weekend!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:20 PM
July 11, 2002
No Voices

I really really wanna go do another Voices entry. I've got comments on the comments. *smiles* But not tonight... now that Ryan's finally calm (he's been screaming for an hour or so) I should go grab some precious sleep. I'm betting I'll be up with him at least twice more tonight. One high fever, one coughing fit. If not more. And since he calms for me but not for Dad, I can't even just pass him off. All that does is get both Kevin and Ryan more and more frustrated. *sighs* So Ryan is a mommy's boy. Figures, since Dani was a Daddy's girl. *tired chuckles*

So anyway, upshot is, hopefully I'll get back to the Voices over the weekend. *fingers crossed*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:17 PM
A Long Day

Gods, I'm tired.

Its been a long day. Ryan's still sick, but not as sick as last night. His fever crept up again a bit over the course of the day, but never really broke 100 again. Of course, now we're giving him the right tylenol dose, which helps a lot.

We went to the Dr. and he's been cleared -- no ear infection, no throat infection, no Coxsackie virus. So its just a standard virus that produces a really croupy cough and a nasty little fever there for a while. We've got to let it run its course.

But this meant today was an exhausting washout for me. I worked when I could, but when Ryan was awake he either wanted to cling or to play with me (which means he wouldn't play alone -- he wanted my laptop if I was trying to use it). I've been working every spare minute I can grab, and I'm just tired now. I didn't get enough sleep, and probably won't tonight.

But the mere fact that I'm considering going to bed at just past 10pm kinda shows how bloody tired I am.

The weekend plans have now changed, too. The trip to Readercon has been called off. I'm pretty bummed. I'd been looking forward to seeing Sarah, not to mention other friends. And it was the first year we were actually going to go to the convention. I'd hoped to run into a few people I wanted to ask some stuff about their publications. But... its better for the mental health not to disrupt the family, for Ryan's physical health, and of course, for the budget. Not spending $100 or so on books is a good thing right now, unfortunately. And its not like I don't already have the hugest to-read pile. I just need the time to actually work on *reading* it, huh?

So I'll be here this weekend, probably gardening (my zen relaxation technique) and cleaning and laundry and such. Hopefully some writing, if I can manage it. And almost definitely some catching up on work things if I can escape on my own for quiet time for a while. And hopefully catching up on some sleep!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:12 PM

It is morning, and we are preparing to stay home and go out, all at once. Ryan's cough is still there, although his breathing sounds better. He is still slightly warm, so I expect the fever to rise again. I have yet to call in -- I will do that over Ryan's breakfast. Dani has gotten up and when I asked her to be a big girl and go downstairs and choose her own clothing and get dressed, she actually went downstairs, which is, well, a surprise. I have to go see how she is doing.

Hopefully there is no ear infection. Or maybe hopefully there is, because then antibiotic will help him feel better. We'll see.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 07:04 AM
The Night Continues On

Well, I have now watched DiY for the first time. I suppose it was only a matter of time, since FoodTV and HGTV are among my favorite stations, and DiY goes along with those. I just wish it were in the same channel range so I could flip easily between them.

The tylenol seems to be helping Ryan. Its been almost 4 hours, and his fever is only about 99.5 now. He still feels warm when I hold him, but his feet and hands are no longer warm, and when I actually take his temperature (ear and under the arm both) it is much better.

He just woke up a little bit ago crying, so I have given him another bottle. With the fever, he's thirsty, and I can't blame him. His breathing is better, now that we have the vaporizer going. Its a definite improvement, and I'm glad Kevin finally agreed to set it up.

Ryan seems settled now, with another 6oz of formula in his tummy. I'm going to catch a little more sleep -- I've only gotten an hour so far -- and then check on him in an hour or two. Kevin's alarm goes off at 5am, so that'll be the latest. If Ryan's fever is going up again, I'll give him more tylenol. He can't have more before 3:30 or 4:00 or so anyway.

Man I am exhausted...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 02:57 AM
The Voices Ramble On

The Voices have been updated with a random meta-gaming ramble about me and gaming throughout the years...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:44 AM
Ryan's Fever

Ryan has a fever.

This is one of those times where a mother (or father) feels helpless. Although Kevin has a more pragmatic approach to it -- there's nothing we can really do save make him comfy and give him tylenol and formula as needed, so Kevin is now asleep. As for me... I just gave him a bottle, and another dose of tylenol, and I'm waiting up for a little while to make sure the fever is going down and not up before I go to sleep.

Its around 102, which is a decently high temperature. This is all weird for me, because I don't run temperatures. When I break 100 I know I'm really really sick. And its been the same for Danielle. When she hits 102 she's a miserable little girl, and was always just clingy and mopy. Ryan, on the other hand, is at 102 and thought for a little while that this meant he got to get up and play. He was ready to climb down and go exploring. And he feels like the temp would keep on climbing if I can't get it under control.

Which would be why I'm staying up. I know it can get bad if they get too high, and well, he may be over 20 pounds in weight, and a big bruiser of a guy, but he IS also only 7 1/2 months old, and just a wee little babe in that respect. He just looks older. And acts it, really, too.

He has a cough, so I know where the fever comes from. He's just got a bug. I've got a sore throat too, which I thought was allergies, but given that Dani complained of one this morning (not since tho) and I have one, perhaps we've all got a bug going around.

Kind of a bummer, since we were intending to go to Readercon this weekend. I suppose, then, that we'll have to play that one by ear.

No matter what, I think I'm not going to work tomorrow. I'll need to go out to take Dani to TeddyBear because I'm not keeping her home too, if Ryan is sick. And I'll need to make a Drs appt for Ryan, just in case and all -- he tugged on his ears a little, so we should probably get those checked too.

This won't be cool on the work front. I've got a couple of somewhat important meetings tomorrow. And all the things I would want to be doing at home are of course sitting on my desk -- this being like the one night I didn't pack them up to bring home. *sighs* I suppose I could stop in and get stuff after dropping off Danielle -- it would be easy enough to do as long as I don't let Ryan get too close to anyone. We'll have to see how tomorrow morning is.

But for now, I just have to manage to stay awake another half hour or so, then disturb him enough to take his temperature (which I might be able to do without waking him up *fingers crossed*). Then hopefully I can catch some sleep.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:07 AM
July 10, 2002
Me & Gaming Throughout the Years

This ramble is inspired by Scott, who's blog I stumbled upon last night and stayed at (and couldn't resist commenting) because of his ranting about Notes (hey, after 8 years of working with the product I *had* to say *something* right??).

So after Ginger and I stumbled over to his blog, Scott discussed his history of gaming.

And since I haven't done that yet in my blog, I thought hey, that sounds like fun. *smiles*

I started gaming when I was a kid, really. I've always made up stories, and always played my own version of let's pretend. I am an only child, so for a long time, the best companions I had were the ones in my own mind. I would practice viewing the world in different ways, and writing mini-stories, by taking on a personality for the day. I would create an entire persona, and I would then walk through the day looking at the world through her eyes. It was fun, and creative, and in retrospective, my very first attempts at playing a role.

I discovered a more formalized gaming when I was 12, in 1980 or so. I was already reading science fiction and fantasy. Someone at school tried to start a AD&D game -- I made a character then we never played. When I told my parents about it, my dad gave me his copy of the original D&D pamphlets. I read them over and over... and then incorporated them into my own version of gaming.

My best friend and I were into computer adventure games. Y'know, the one with the map and two word commands ("Go N" or "Get Book"). We'd lay out our own maps and puzzles, and I started using monsters and ideas from the D&D stuff my dad gave me to populate my games. Basically, one of us would be the computer game, and the other would play. We didn't know it, but yes, we had created our own dungeon crawls.

The best part was, if we wrote our notes in these little notebooks we always had on us, we could continue the game at any point, mark off the save place, and then pick up again later. We did this a lot -- making up new games during boring points in classes, and trying them out at lunchtime.

Since Julie and I only really had each other to game with at that point, things dropped off. I heard about a gaming group that met at our library, but when I heard it was all boys, I wimped out and didn't go. [Yes, anyone who knows me now may LAUGH considering the demographic of my friends, but then I was *shy*.] Julie went, for one session if I'm remembering correctly, and met our friend Glen, who would later become important in both our lives. [Damn I wonder where he is now and what he is doing... wouldn't it be amazing if he somehow bumped into this online and said hi?]

We really got into formalized gaming again when we were 15. Friends were starting up a game, and so we joined that. It was me, Julie and Sheila, and then there were John, Tommy, and Glen (yes, same Glen). This was my first REAL introduction to AD&D. The group grew and shifted over the years as I met more people who gamed, and we went in different directions. I realized that I didn't like AD&D as much as I liked Champions -- something about getting into character in an alien vs a familiar setting. And Champions, being modern world, was familiar.

When I got to college, I wanted to find people with similar interests. I hadn't really been thinking about gaming -- I'd actually been looking for people who READ the same stuff -- but I ended up at the games club at Union College anyway. Met one boyfriend, then another, then another (yes, total three throughout the years at Union). Met Dave through gaming. Eventually, when I went on to RPI, I met Kevin through gaming. Handy, that -- I don't think I can imagine being married to a non-gamer. *shudders*

While at Union I discovered GMing. And I discovered that when I GMed, I could twist the way the game worked. I could make it more roleplay and less puzzles. More talking and less dice. I started this with the Champions game I ran my junior year. I remember having long one on one conversations in which the other party never doubted that I was a sort of jock college junior guy.

I'd discovered I had a talent for it. For becoming someone else when GMing. And for drawing the other player into the fantasy as well.

I ran my first campaign starting in um, fall of 1988 or so, and I've run on and off ever since. I really LIKE running. But I also like playing. And I've found I don't run well if I'm not playing -- its like it gets my creative juices going. I need the energy.

I played in two AD&D campaigns while at Union, one of which became the basis in part for a world I designed for Amber (the dragons of Fires of Home). I played in a Superworld game which is one of the few games to have a scene which actually made me cry. That was when I discovered deep roleplaying -- falling into my character and just sinking into her until the lines blurred for those moments of speech and she took over my mouth, and my eyes. Oh man, it was wonderful. I remember that first blush of discovery of what roleplaying could be, what the potential was. For that reason, Cassie (The Artful Dodger, my Superworld character) has a special place in my heart. And I'd have to give kudos to Marc's GMing skills -- he really read me, and played me well, and I loved it.

I ran Champions again briefly at RPI, but the players were different. Its hard to play Champions with a bunch of engineers!! *grumble* *laughs* Then again, they taught me to min-max. *grins* I ran White Wolf, as soon as the first Vampire book came out. That game seemed to run forever, with a wonderful cast of characters and a well developed world that bears little resemblance sometimes to the published White Wolf version of the world.

By the time that game ended, I had completely removed the dice from it. By then, my friends had discovered Amber, and I had been brought into the second campaign (that would be playing the infamous Jenny). And we did well without dice. Me? I developed an addiction, both to Amber and to diceless gaming. But that should be another blog entry entirely, I think.

We played Amber and more Amber and more Amber. Then there was Shadowrun -- which I determined I didn't like, and therefore wouldn't play. Some more Champions (never let the GM put all your points into one weakness -- I think Harmony ran into the possibility of drowning at least once a scenario! *laughs*).

Then I ran my wonderful diceless fantasy game -- Artifacts of Winter. This used a world I'd created back in 1988, and am still using today for the sequel game run over PBEM -- Between the Lines. AoW practically ran itself. Up until I got pregnant, everyone moved away, and then Dani was born. *sighs* So we finished it up, and I took a little break.

Then I was back with Amber again. A game which has come and gone. Now I run primarily at cons -- I haven't the time to do the proper world building for the AD&D game I want to run so I can try out the new D20 system.

Full circle, huh?

I've learned a lot about my own style over the years. I like character oriented roleplay. I like puzzles, to a point. I don't like futility plots (hate them, really). I don't like pure hack & slash. I despise dungeon crawls. Mostly I like it best when the plot takes on a life of its own simply because of the characters (PCs and NPCs) involved.

I do play board games, and card games, as well, which is especially good since so does my husband. *smile* I'm always looking for new and interesting ideas. And ways I can still game with a family -- its hard with the kids! Its not just finding the time to game, but the time to *prepare* for the game at a time when I'm coherent (like oh, not midnight! *laughs*).

So here I am, 34, and refusing to give up the hobby. I'm already trying to figure out how to run light games so I can teach my kids how to roleplay. Dani knows what it is, and talks about it, but hasn't shown an interest yet. But then, she's only four. But at least she's learning a lot about the difference between fantasy and reality!!

Back on the age thing -- I don't see a reason why I *should* give up the hobby. Its creative. Its cheap. And its fun. Its certainly better than a lot of things I *could* be doing. And besides, I enjoy it, and it relaxes me a lot. Which is all a very very good thing!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:32 PM
Visionary Philosopher

EMode Ultimate IQ Test found by way of Julia's site...

My IQ is 135, and I am a Visionary Philosopher. According to them, this means I am equally good at mathematics and verbal tasks, and learn best through experience. Both of which are most certainly true.

I admit, I'm really curious which answers I got wrong, but not curious enough to spend the $15 to get my personalized booklet! *rolls eyes* I did find some of the questions to be almost too subjective to answer, but I supposed that's the way the test is.

Now its Kev's turn...

And he is 133, and a Visual Mathematician (a strong ability process visual-spatial mathematical information).

So we're pretty similar in smarts, but different styles, which we already knew. *grins*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:29 PM
July 09, 2002
Finding the Inner Manager

The Voices section has been updated with a minor rambling about how I roleplay. I'll probably expand on the subject eventually, but then, the Voices section is also probably a really good section to begin to develop that game system Josh and I were working on writing at one point.

*pauses* *stares off into space* *shakes head to wake up*

Mm, that reminds me that I also need to writeup a page for SSC and to do a rambling for Jenn's page for it. Hm. *thoughtful look*

I've got a lot of writing to do. Maybe this weekend, assuming I have the laptop in SOME working condition.

But anyway... thinking about the Voices made me realize... I haven't generated a "me" personality in a long time. One to deal with aspects of life. And maybe that's why I've found it so difficult to be a manager.

I haven't made one up.

I've said all along that managing is a lot like writing, or rather, even more like GMing. I'm running the show, and scripting the basics, but the players are all complete wildcards, and I have to do my damnedest to read them in order to get the things done and going in the right direction. Yeah, its a lot like GMing. I also have to come up with the right things to say at the right time.

The thing is, there is no manager in my head. There are a lot of leaders, and I think that in part, they are the Voices that have been getting me through this. But I need a role I can simply slip into, so I see Her reflection in my mirror instead of my own, and She makes the decisions that I don't think I can. If I play the role, things will happen and come out correctly -- I trust my Voices for that, at least. They know more than I do.

I suppose that means I know it too, somewhere deep inside. But I can't get at it consciously, so I let a Voice do it for me.

So far I've nicknamed the manager one "the Bitch". I'm not always sure I like her. She's harder than I am, more analytical. But then, she has to be. But she also gets things done, and seems to be doing a far better job than I ever did at my own job. *smiles* In some strange way, I'm finally getting comfortable in some aspects of it. Odd, really.

She is also oddly patient, displaying an ability to knock down an argument and simply stop it in its tracks, to make people listen to her. Then to state what needs to be stated, again and again, until it is understood -- if it is EVER understood. Her patience wanes when she is ignored. It dwindles rapidly when hse is outright and willfully ignored. Her temper flares like mine does, but she tempers it. She has all of my sarcasm, and needs more limiters on her speech -- it is as if everything I have learned not to say, she says. Which can be BAD. I have to take over and stop her at times, before sarcastic bites slip out and gnaw on someone or something.

But having her around eases the pressure. Perhaps because I share it with her, and share mental real-estate with her. Perhaps because I am absolved in some strange way from what happens, even though I know that it is me in all respects still. Or perhaps because she is knew to it, and already knows it all, when I do not. And she gives me the confidence that I lack, and the confidence to do what I already know needs doing during the day.

She even gave me the time today to allow the Programmer to surface briefly. To involve myself indulgently in a programming project, discussing the hows and aspects with another developer until I realized that I had forgetten to let Mom surface to go collect the kidlet for her gymnastics class.

Yes, I do speak of myself in the third person. Regularly. All of me. I think Dani's gotten the habit from me. When she starts referring to herself as *different* people in the third person, I'll know she's as cracked as I am. *grins*

And sometimes I think its healthy to be a little bit insane. Controlled insanity, for a purpose. It works for me.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:52 PM
Gaming by Instinct

Some people game. Some people play. And some people live.

I'm the last sort. I play with all my heart, and very little of my head sometimes. This makes me excellent at characters like Adrienne and have to work a lot harder at characters like Damara.

But I've found that I don't enjoy it when I really have to think. I don't have anything against puzzles in games, but when that is the entire focus of the game, I get bored. I want to *be* my character for a little while. So that means I need things to be within my grasp, so I can channel the character and then they will come up with the response.

Sometimes they surprise me. Or perhaps I surprise myself.

When I was pregnant, I had a real hard time playing Damara. My cognitive abilities were at an all time low, everything sapped by the growing child in my womb. Once Ryan was born, even though I wasn't sleeping, all of a sudden Damara returned to my subconscious and I could play her in my usual style again. And she does things I just don't understand. Damara has a fusion that occurs spontaneously inside of her mind because she looks at things differently than I do. And somehow, even though she's in me and supposedly can really only do things my way, it works.

I do play characters that are different than myself. But I think all of them are drawn from within me somewhere. They must be, at least the best of them, to come alive like they do. And that's why I game, I think, to feel that new personality come alive, thriving and surviving. *happy little sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:32 PM
Taps for the Machine

Yes, its dead. The truth is, its dead dead dead. *heavy sighs*

The laptop will boot... sometimes. Then it will hang. "Indeterminate Hard Error". Its the hard drive, but then, I already pretty much knew that. Right now I have my old, minimally configured, hard drive in it, so at least I'm somewhat operational, if feeling more than a little crippled.

Tomorrow we try one more time to extract data from the drive -- pulling a ghost image so we can then restore it to a new hard drive. Then it goes back to the shop, although I'd rather wipe it first if at all possible.

No matter what, this just isn't good. I *think* I got all the important data off of it yesterday. I hope. I know there are a few things I missed, because I was rushing and doing too many things at once. I didn't follow my own rules of being certain to doublecheck my work. At least it affected only me.

But right now, half the time, I want to go curl up and cry. That's what I get for doing so much on the laptop, I suppose. Hopefully I haven't lost any of my writing -- I've lost too much of that already.

I have a feeling it'll be quite a while before this is all settled. *heavy sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:11 PM
Find Your Inner Flower

From Julia by way of ***Dave...

what's your inner flower?

[c] s u g a r d e w

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:00 PM
Bad Timing

The whole getting up just as I'm going to bed thing is getting tiring. Ryan doesn't do it all the time. But a lot. A lot more than I'd like, especially since it was fine when I wasn't working, but now that I'm back its not so hot.

I stay up until 11:30 or 12:00... its just a good bedtime for me. If I go to sleep then, I get 6 hours, which is pretty good. But lately, I just get myself off to sleep, or am just getting ready, and Ryan starts fussing... which then turns into full scale screaming, and he's got to be fed (a full bottle) and rocked back to sleep. Like tonight.

I'd crawled into bed and gotten comfy under the covers. I think I fell asleep, sort of, but I was under the impression I hadn't *really* fully gone out yet. Then he started, and I tried to stay asleep, hoping he'd go back to sleep. No luck. And when I got up it was only 12:30... meaning I'd only been in bed for a half hour. I thought it hadn't been long, but I had also thought it'd been longer than that!

But I also have to admit, even though my eyes were closing as I fed him and channel surfed, that there is still something magical about being in the rocker with my son curled up in my arms, trustingly asleep, cuddled close to me. The bottle slips from his mouth and he lies there, breathing soft little baby breaths, his lips still moving slightly as if he dreams about what he was just eating. So sweet.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:06 AM
July 08, 2002
Death of the Machine

The laptop is dead. Again.

I saw it coming. I mean, it was definitely on its way out as of the 4th of July. It died four times that day, and then three more times at least over the weekend. Today three (or was it four) times. The first it rebooted itself, and blue-screened and babbled about an atapi.dll error. The next time it just hung. Then later, it hung, and then when I rebooted I got unknown system errors, and it finally rebooted and couldn't find the hard drive. So yeah, that would be four times today.

Its off now. Looks like either the controller or hard drive is gone, and I'm guessing its the drive. My goal is to get the replacement drive and rebuild it, trying to hold onto the new one for now, just until I can be sure I've gotten everything off of it. Then it can be wiped and sent to wherever hard drives that are replaced under warranty go.

Although I *still* wanna know if my fan was replaced.

Tomorrow I'll start running with the old hard drive. If that works, it'll tell me for certain whether its the hard drive or the controller. Although I think the controller should've been replaced with the mainboard when it went to the shop a few weeks back.

Argh, this is annoying!! Its gonna really hose my productivity at work, and at home, both. So much for keeping up on either my gaming or my blogging!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:03 PM
Friday Group Therapy 1.2

From Group Therapy...

1. When and why did you first start your weblog?
Recently, very recently. I first heard of blogging when reading the introduction to Neil Gaiman's Boskone book. Then again in March when I traveled to ACUS with DJ, and he and Fiona were talking about LiveJournal over dinner. Then I think Julia mentioned hers during a WEF session. And then again at TBR I kept hearing about blogs and blogging.

Me, being a writer, thought hey, this could be cool. Although my first thought *wasn't* setting up a blog for me. It was to use the tool as a device for publishing my online serial, A Twisted Weave. I'd started the serial back in 2000, and failed miserably at keeping it up because it was just too much effort to do the site day after day, because it was all manually updated. I'd looked for a tool to use, similar to what people used to do online comics, and couldn't find anything for text. I was confused. I couldn't believe that no one had thought of doing fiction this way. But I found nothing, so the project got dropped.

So that was the first thing I thought of, and the first blog I started. Then I started a personal blog. Then Jvstin read my blog and I discovered I was part of this whole huge community that was even bigger than I thought. I started reading more and more blogs, and discovering more toys to play with through conversation and reading. And whee! Its a huge addiction now. I've got five blogs now, between this one, ATW, Gestalt, the Voices, and the Diet. And that doesn't count the administrative blog for ATW which I use to do administrative stuff for the site, but isn't really much on its own. Yikes! Not bad considering this all started right after TBR, the last week in May!

2. What hosting service do you use? What criteria did you use to choose that host?
Um, given that the next question is actually about blog publishing software, I'll assume you mean my domain hosting.

I purchased my own domain a couple of years ago, back when I knew I was first getting cable modem access. I was determined to never have to change my email address again. At the time, a friend recommended Hostway and since I trust his opinions, I went with them to host the Hall of Mirrors domain.

3. What weblog software/service do you use and why? (Blogger, Movable Type, Greymatter, etc?)
I started out with Blogger. I'd heard of LiveJournal, but they required a recommendation to get on, so I skipped that. I then found Blogger and started there. But I had a lot of problems with them. I lost posts because they timed me out. I couldn't post because of template issues. All sorts of annoying little things. Julia read some of my complaints and suggested Moveable Type. I resisted at first, because I didn't want to have to redesign my templates *again*. But then Blogger ticked me off again and so I downloaded it, installed it, and tried it out.

And I LOVE it. I've moved everything but my shared blog to the new platform (that'll be moved when I get to it). I love the categories. I love the fact that I can do just about anything with it. I most ESPECIALLY love Draft/Publish and changing authored dates. All I need is the ability to automate moving something from Draft to Published for ATW and life will be perfect. And yes, I could probably write it in Perl but I don't have that kind of time. *smiles*

4. How did you learn your web authoring skills? Did you learn before or during your weblogging days?
I was introduced to the web while running my White Wolf game (Where Chaos Reigns). A character was using the web, and while I was certainly internet-friendly (okay, I was a mailing list addict), I wasn't familiar with the web as it was back then. We're talking a good 10-12 years ago, after all! So that meant since it was a neat new internet technology, and a useful one for a GM to communicate with players, I had to learn how to do it.

Not long after that I needed to learn it for work, and well, since I already knew it, that was certainly a help. *laughs* Now I do it for work, and for fun, and I use my own website and now my blogging to help keep me current or at least somewhere closeby. I don't have the time I'd like to have to play around with my website, so I'm always a bit behind, technology-wise.

5. What is your favorite weblog and what makes it so wifty?
Ooh, this is a toughy. And after some thought, I'm not going to try to narrow it down. I am SO new to reading and enjoying blogs that I really haven't made up my mind yet. There are so many yet to explore. A sampling of what I try to read daily, or every other day, is on my sidebar, and that list will grow and change as I continue to do that exploring. So that's really the best place to go for what I like to read.

As for why... I look for different things in blogs, but mostly, I look to be interested. I want to have a reason to come back and keep reading, whether its for useful information, interesting reading, or a peek inside a friend's (or stranger's) head. I guess I just need to be entertained.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:12 AM
July 05, 2002
Friday Five

From Friday Five...

1. Where are you right now?
Someplace I shouldn't be blogging, but I'm waiting for a server to reboot while I'm at work. *smiles* Was in the middle of working on a problem when the server decided to do its weekly scheduled reboot. Doh!

2. What have you lost recently?
My patience. My temper. My mind. On the more normal side, um... recently? I have no clue. I'm not the one who loses things in the family -- I'm the finder. I tend to notice things, so then later when I want to find them I can. Or my husband calls me and asks, "Did you see where 'X' was?" and I'll be like "oh yeah, on the top of the freezer in the mudroom." Its weird. On the other hand, I *did* just remember something. Can't find my Eyeore scrunchy. Its sitting somewhere in the house just under the edge of something, like a keyboard. *grumbles* I can see it in my mind's eye, but can't place the image properly. Hence, its currently lost.

3. What was the first CD you ever purchased? Does that embarrass you now?
Squeeze, and I can't remember the title, but it was the one that was out when I was in college -- say late 80s. Am I embarassed? No way... I still enjoy Squeeze. But then, I still enjoy most of my 80s music. Of course, I bought it when I didn't even own a CD player yet. *laughs*

4. What is your favorite kind of writing pen?
Currently, I prefer the gel pens. My trademark around the office is silver gel on dark stickies (black or dusky purple).

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Hm, oddly enough, that's tough. I think chocolate peanut butter cup from Haagan Dazs is top, with Chocolate Almond Chip from Friendly's a close second. For stuff I actually don't feel guilty eating, the chocolate fudge bars from Skinny Cow are great!!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:54 PM
July 04, 2002
GameWISH 3, part 2

And once again, as I am thinking about it later, I remember something I should have said. And once again, I am refusing to go back and change anything, so I'm just gonna add on here.

Arthurian legends. I know, trite. And nothing special. But utterly pervasive in my gaming. There is so much, so many archetypes, that I simply cannot resist them!! I am known for it, and I've amused people when I *haven't* used them. This goes with my tendency for mythological themes, as well as religious. In IWS I used greek mythology (had to when I had a player choose Castor as a character name, with a dead twin Pollux -- I reread that myth and ran with it). I like to draw from really basic stuff, I suppose.

Midsummer Night's Dream. How could I forget? Jack referred to it as a recasting, but I thought of it as a strong influence. Bridgette and I ran "To 'Scape the Serpent's Tongue" at TBR which just went awesomely. We are hoping to rerun it at ACUS, if we can find a slot we can both do it in. The quote for the description, and for the title, both come from the Shakespeare play, and the original inspiration came from there as well.

Shakespeare is another one I love to use. Yes, yes, another classic. And at TBR I wasn't the only one -- I was thinking about Serpent's Tongue in the car on the drive home from ACUS, because Bridgette and I had just agreed we were going to do it if she was going to be able to make TBR, and then it got DJ all thinking on Shakespeare, and he ran "Amber in Love" which wasn't Shakespeare but the title was inspired by the conversation about Shakespearean love comedies, and also "Much Ado About Benedict", if I'm remembering the title correctly, which would obviously be stemmed from a conversation about "Much Ado About Nothing". Ah yes, gotta love Shakespeare.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:47 PM
Happy 4th of July

Its been a relaxing day. Which is nice -- I needed one of those! Admittedly, we still got a LOT done, and it was hot as hell outside, but overall, I ended up feeling productive in my home life and calm, which is what I needed. What we all needed, I think.

The day began with Ryan getting up at 5:30, but Kevin was a wonderful husband and sent me back to get some more sleep while he fed the babe. Yay, sleep! I have a vague memory of Kev coming back to bed, then we slept until 8. Ooh, lovely sleep!!

We took our time getting through breakfast and showers and everything. Only one misunderstanding when I didn't realize that Kev hadn't fed Ryan during my shower, so I didn't feed him either -- the boy basically ate zweiback and cheerios for most of breakfast!

I got the first load of laundry in before we went out to run errands. Laundry had reached a "do it or go without" stage, so I figured better to get started asap. Then we went out.

We have our Tivo back. Yay! So tonight I could say "pause the movie" and go deal with laundry, which is SUCH an improvement over normal. Means I still get my chores done and get to see cool stuff too. Makes me relax more. *smiles* Okay, so maybe I'm easily entertained.

Anyway, we went to Walmart and got stuff, and then to a nice lunch at Panera's, which I *think* is a chain restaurant. Either way, it was very very yummy, and a nice treat. And Dani enjoyed getting to have a croissant (once we explained its just *bread*) and a chocolate chip muffin top for lunch. After that, we rescued our Tivo, and then off to Hannaford (while Ryan took his second catnap in the car) so I could get things to make ice cream (and peanuts, per Dani's request).

So of course, that means that this afternoon we made the first of three planned batches of ice cream. Four, actually, if I use up all the basic ingredients we bought, because Kevin wants to make a sorbet too. Today was a chocolate, with chocolate swirls. Tomorrow will be peanut butter. Then Saturday the cirtus sorbet. And finally, maybe a strawberry. Yum!! And of course, all of these are as low fat and low points as possible, so I can really enjoy them.

Oh, that reminds me. The new blender has been going strong ever since we bought it. Tonight Kevin made a vanilla chai sort of drink, but we've decided it needed a stronger tea flavor. When I get some fresh fruit I'm going to experiment with making smoothies. Its a real treat in the summertime to be able to do this, and has been going a long way towards helping the relaxing in the evenings.

The weather finally started to break this evening -- a really short storm, and a drop of about 10 degrees in temperature. Any relief is a help, and welcome. This means we might be able to go to the movies tomorrow night and not be overheated in the car. Which would be good. Dani's been itching to see Lilo & Stitch, and its playing at the Hollywood, which is only about five minutes from our house. We had considered going last night, since today was a home day, but with the heat we were afraid we'd either be outside the car and being eaten alive by bugs, or sweltering inside the car. Neither option was appealing. So hopefully I can arrange something tomorrow night to coordinate with Audrey & Rachel, too. If they are interested in seeing it.

Took a good look at the garden today, while I was out hanging laundry. Things are looking good! We have this most amazing cucumber pot, which is a total Miracle-Gro advertisement. They say twice as big. This one is a good 4 times as large as its seedling-mates which were planted in the ground. Which simply means I have to fertilize everything else, hm? But we *do* have baby cucumbers on the way, and I finally found a baby zucchini (which means I can now identify which ones are the normal size but black ones, and which ones are the normal colored but round ones). I can also see baby okra, and lots of flowers on the bean plants. Plus the herbs are going crazy (we made two herb butters tonight, which should be amazing by the time the herbs seep into the butter overnight). And I can even spot some very tiny tomato flowers, which should grow into tomatoes eventually. *big grins*

Okay, yes, I love gardening. Fresh vegetables are the most wonderful thing.

The only bad part of the day is the laptop. Its trying to die again. In fact, it hung and turned itself off three times today and just hung a fourth time. I think it'll be going back to visit the nice shop again. *grumbles* Just what I needed for the weekend!! Although the box won't arrive until Monday, so that means that I'll have it over the weekend, if I can manage to keep it from shutting itself down!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:05 PM
July 03, 2002
Looking for Laurie

Y'know the habit of ego-surfing? Googling for yourself? Well, I rarely do it anymore, simply because a LOT of the hits for "Deb Atwood" are really me, doing various things (I am surprisingly well-linked -- eek!). And "Deb Allen" is too common.

So I surfed the other day for Laurie. "Laurie Cuthbert" to be exact -- his full name.

Now, for me, this name is a vampire character I *made up*. I used the name Lawrence because of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, where Jo's friend was nicknamed Laurie. The image in my mind of a tall slender blond vampire, with a long ponytail drawn back from his face, no hair on his chest, a little lanky... that was Laurie. And Cuthbert just sounded appropriately British.

So I plugged "Laurie Cuthbert" into Google and was surprised that I got back results. Not just a few, like pointers to old references to "A Moment in Time" but lots of *real* results.

Apparently there is a real Laurie, a well-traveled and well-published Professor of Electrical Engineering in London! And yes, its a "he"! When I found the name "Laurie" I was expecting a girl, not an actual Lawrence.

How weird. I might've expected a Lawrence, who used Lawrence, but not one who actually used the nickname, although I guess its just more common in Britain than I'd even supposed (which make the choice of name I made seem even more appropriate!).

Anyway, I wanted to share the fun. *grins* The real Laurie was so well published it eclipsed any other real references to the unreal one, or any others!

I *did* decide to go looking for "Deb Atwood" as well, and was surprised to find that although my own site came up first, the second reference or so was to another Deb who is a writer. Scary! I always intended to publish under my maiden name, and have, but there's another one out there, and she is writing *utterly* different stuff! Could be very strange, someday!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:59 PM
Tivo's Coming Home

Woohoo! Our Tivo has been repaired and we can pick it up tomorrow. That's the good part.

The bad part? I'm going in already pissed off, because they've HAD it back and didn't bother to call us. They'd originally told us a week or two, and its been three now. So they may well have had it a while, and we've been paying for a service we haven't been able to use. So I suggested that Kevin should have a little talk with them, due to poor customer service. Especially since they're reaction was simply, "Oh, yeah, its been back. Sorry, we uh, didn't call you."

Now, I have to admit. I love my Tivo. Um, *our* Tivo. *laughs* I wasn't so sure I wanted one originally. Then I got pregnant with Ryan, and I knew I had to have one. Because we never got to see the beginning of any show without some huge fight. And TV was managing to interfere with our home life, and with our children. Which was just *wrong*.

So we got our Tivo finally this past spring. And it was WONDERFUL. All of a sudden we could put Dani to bed, get everyone all cuddled, and not miss a thing. Admittedly, I don't think we watched a single show when we were supposed to after that, but hey, it worked for us. Yeah, I sound like an advertisement. But I have to love a product that lets us still enjoy the things we like, but also helps us be better parents.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:49 PM
GameWISH 3

From GameWISH...

Discuss three setting ideas or ideas for elements of settings that you got from movies/books/TV/etc. that you have read or seen recently. These do not need to be full-fledged settings, but can be single elements that could be incorporated into existing games.

Ooh, this one is *difficult*! Y'see, I don't always *know* where I get my inspirations from, and sometimes I come back and figure it out later. Much later, like when my subconscious brain finally informs my conscious busy-GMing brain what is actually going on in the game. This is often close to the end of the game, after I've been running it for ages. *chuckle*

One of my favorite inspirations are the mirrors from Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen Donaldson. I was told to read the books so I could understand something a friend was talking about, when his trump artist taught my trump artist more about artistry. Despite my lack of love for Donaldson's writing in general, I found that this book and its sequel were wonderful, and the mirrors were fascinating. So I used something similar in one game.

For recent reading, or watching, I can't think of anything off the top of my head. I read one of the Hugo nominated books in part because its description reminded me (very loosely) of a plot I ran once in Vampire years ago -- so that would be the reverse. *laughs*

No, wait... its not recent, but its one of the stronger influences I've used. I was reading Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series while I was running "If We Shadows" (my FTF Amber game, which has since ended). Pullman's view of the dimensions, and the land of the dead and its interactions, impressed me greatly, and that heavily influenced how my world ended up put together.

I'd love to do a game which uses the soul creatures from Pullman's novels. At one point, I wondered if that's where Michael was going with the creatures in Chaos Theory, but that's not it. But the idea of a game where one wears one's soul, one's essence, on the outside is a wonderful thought. Either with Amberites or anyone, really.

I've also greatly enjoyed a game using Gaiman's Neverwhere as an influence. London Below is a great concept. Gaiman himself makes for great influence -- I've used the Dreaming before, in part because I was running a crossover game ("Artifacts of Winter") and one of the players who crossed into it was a Sandman fan, and utilized the Dreaming heavily. I created a guild called the Dreamweavers, and then Chris and Josh together really built what the Dreamlands in AoW became. And still are, today, in the sequel game of Between the Lines.

I think I've done more than three now, but I'm not sure if I've done any of them solidly enough to really be *used* by anyone else.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:21 PM
July 01, 2002
Mental Chatter

The Voices have been talking to me. I know, when I retreat it usually means that things arent going well. What it means right now is that I'm stressed at work and would rather retreat into good gaming and writing. And at least those are healthier than food. Ice cream is one of my staples these days, I'll admit, but I'm sticking to my diet.

Instead of focussing on food, I'm letting the Voices come out. Maybe I'm working on developing a new one for work. If I am, I don't know what her name is yet. Not to mention her personality.

Because Laurie's been invoked recently, I've just posted an excerpt from one of his stories to The Voices section. He's been talking to me. I'm not sure yet what he's saying. A part of me suddenly craves running World of Darkness again so I can use him. Dunno... since WEF will be going away, I will be utterly without FTF gaming for a while. So I guess it would be somewhat good to do a game. I'm just not sure how, or when.

Writing is definitely more healthy physically than eating. Mentally, I'm not so sure. No, no, I'm not going insane. I'm never going to slip over that edge fully into the world of fantasy. But its nice to slip there on occasion and let the little voices in my head rule my fingertips while I type.

The irony of this is, of course, that I am at my most creative when I have the least time and ability to do anything about it. I want to retreat, so the voices give me a place to go. But I don't have *time* to retreat. I have so much to do at work (I should be working tonight, but I keep resisting -- I did do so for about a half an hour).

I suppose its a combination avoidance tactic and mental refreshment. Whatever it is, my timing sucks. But its always this way.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:06 PM
A Moment in Time

Now that Laurie's been invoked twice in two weeks, he's talking inside my head. So he thinks I should post an excerpt from "A Moment in Time."

This story takes place after Jim Rain's death. Laurie has returned to London, returned to the place where his brother's power holds sway and where he is seen as a strange sort of vampire to consort with humans. His brother has ordered him to stop his involvement with humans. And Laurie, being Laurie... does what he will anyway...

What is below is merely an excerpt from he beginning of the story. To read the rest, check out Cherished Blood from Circlet Press.


"Can I get you something?"

The girl's dress was cut low, giving a broad view as she leaned over the table suggestively, breasts almost brushing Laurie's arm. He smiled distractedly, muttering, "Red wine," as he waved her away.

She pouted, straightening up. "Will that be all, sir?"

He glanced up, seeing her smile at him and pose. "The wine will be all," he said firmly. She frowned and walked away, leaving Laurie to survey the club again.
It was a typical club in this new era of darkly gothic music. Laurie felt this new generation was the most comfortable he had found since his birth time. With his pale skin, long hair, dark clothes, and flowing poet's shirt, he fit in as if he were born to this time instead of centuries before. The music swirled around him, an underlying rhythm almost like a heartbeat seeming to crawl inside his soul. So many people... so fragile.

"Here's your wine." The glass was set down with a slight thunk, and the girl waited only long enough to get her pay before hurrying off to a more accommodating customer. Laurie didn't even notice her leave.

He reached into his pocket and withdrew a vial, emptying it into the wine. He swirled it with a finger as the deep red liquid grew cloudy and thick. He sucked the finger clean, watching the dancers speculatively. Spotting his quarry among the throng around the bar, he quickly downed the contents of the glass. He left the empty behind on the table as he walked away, licking his lips clean.
"Would you care to dance?"

The young man looked up, surprise mirrored in his chocolate eyes. Laurie smiled reassuringly, "Of course, if you would prefer not to..."

The man smiled then, sliding off the bar stool. "No, actually I'd love to."

"Well then." Laurie held out a hand, clasping the stranger's firmly in his own. He drew him out to the dance floor, already moving to the slow beat of the music.

He had dark hair, cut shorter than most of the others in the club, and those deep chocolate eyes. Laurie had to smile at his quarry. He slid his hand's around the other's back, pulling him closer as they swayed to the beat.

"Isn't this where you deliver a corny line?" the stranger inquired, chuckling. "Or shall I play the dominant and do the honors?"

Laurie frowned, stepping back slightly. "Just because we are both men does not mean we need to play at any roles." Perhaps he had made a mistake. But he had been watching him for several nights before deciding to approach. He had considered every option, and this seemed to be the correct one. Had he been wrong?

The stranger shook his head, smiling ruefully. "I'm sorry. I'm not very good at this."

Laurie began to move off the dance floor, drawing the other man with him to a table in one corner of the club. "Perhaps we should talk." If he were wrong, it would be better to find out now, rather than later. And only honesty would tell. "Do you drink brandy?" At the stranger's nod, Laurie caught the waitress and gave her the order, before settling in at the table. "Where should we start?"

Dark eyes blinked once, and then looked away, off to the dance floor. "Maybe we should start with introductions."

"Lawrence Cuthbert. Most people call me Laurie."

The other man smiled. "Ryan James." He looked just a little more comfortable, and Laurie began to relax. He was moving too fast. He hadn't made a mistake, just a miscalculation.

"Tell me a little about yourself," Laurie encouraged.

Ryan shrugged. "There isn't really much to tell. I'm a student at the university. Majoring in biostatistics. It's a good enough field." He seemed to be defending a choice he hadn't made.

"Good enough," Laurie agreed. There was a long silence, as Ryan toyed with his drink. "Can I be honest?" Laurie finally broke the silence. "Would you prefer if I let you alone?"

Ryan glanced up sharply. "No. It isn't that at all." His eyes softened as he looked at Laurie. "Actually, I..." He shrugged. "It's just that I had a companion, and he only moved out about a month ago. I guess I'm not as over it as I thought."

"It does take time," Laurie agreed, reaching out to take Ryan's hand. When the other didn't resist, he squeezed gently. "I'm sorry to have moved so fast."

Slowly Ryan's other hand stole up to cover Laurie's. "It's all right. I was just a little scared for a minute there." He stood, still holding Laurie's hand. "Let's try this again. Would you care to dance?"

"I'd love to." Laurie smiled, allowing himself to be led to the dance floor.

As they danced, Ryan relaxed, his body swaying closer to Laurie's until the two relaxed together on the dance floor, moving easily in synch. Laurie ran a hand over Ryan's back, drawing it up over his shoulder, then touching the pulse on his neck. It fluttered quickly under his fingers, as Ryan's head fell to Laurie's shoulder, exposing the neck to his touch.

Laurie licked his lips, trying to hold the hunger at bay. The night was growing late, and the hunger came more from desire than any true need for sustenance. Gently he pressed a kiss against the skin just below the curve of Ryan's jaw, feeling the pulse jump as the other man sighed. Then he drew away. "I think perhaps it is time for me to go," he said softly.

There was a flicker of regret as Ryan said hesitantly, "I don't live in the dorms. I have a private flat now that Evan's left."

Laurie allowed his own regret to reach his eyes. "It's too soon. You need more time." He slide his hand away from Ryan's neck, over his shoulder, down to his hand. With a gentle squeeze, he stepped away. "Perhaps tomorrow evening you'll be here again?"

Ryan relaxed slightly. "Perhaps." There was a teasing glint in his eyes.

"Then perhaps so shall I," Laurie teased in return.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:54 PM

Okay, so I'm getting curious... I have to find a way to get my referrer log on. There's an entry for it in my webstats, but it is annoyingly blank. Why?

Because I'm curious. I wanna know who's visiting here and then if they have a site go back and look there. Because I'm just too curious for my own good.

Not to mention still awake. Okay, um, bedtime. I'm not gonna be good for much tomorrow, am I? *sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:52 AM
What Color are You?

I can't remember whose blog I got this link from... so sorry for not acknowledging you if you are reading this!! This one is more of a personality test than the others, with the 4 colors seeming to fairly closely represent the basic Meyers-Briggs quadrants (I'm an ENFJ if anyone's curious on that). I wasn't surprised at my outcome, which was high in blue, then tied for yellow and red. I have very clear tendencies towards all of them, to be honest, but yes, blue would be me. *chuckles*

Red: 11/100 Blue: 17/100 White: 6/100 Yellow: 11/100

Take the Color Code Test
by Dano

There was one line in the yellow explanation that really struck me, though -- "Yellows Need Emotional Connections -- Yellows often appear so nonchalant that people think they don't care about anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yellows need a great deal of attention. They need to be stroked. Yellows enjoy touching. To them, physical contact is often the most direct, comfortable intimate connection."

This made me laugh. Why? I've been nicknamed a "cuddle-slut". Er, don't take the bad connotation for the slut word, okay? It just means that I'm very touchy. The most remarkable thing is that Kevin isn't. Its just not his style, and its been remarked on often how odd it is that we are together. Especially when I read about the weres in Laurel Hamilton's Anita Blake novels and say "Yeah, that makes sense" as they all curl up in a pile together. *smiles*

But the part in that quote that really got to me was that they appear nonchalent and act like they don't need it, when they do. And that is SO true. There's that whole yes no is it appropriate in this setting sort of thing, when its more natural for me to make contact than refrain but because most people refrain then I refrain and well, then it seems weird and just goes on that way.

I'm babbling. And probably sharing more than I would if I were more awake. *smiles* But I'll leave it. Sure, why not. Hells, I know some of y'all have heard the stuff before.

Isn't it weird how we can learn a response that is utterly alien to our natural one, and then live by that instead of nature? There are times when people see me, and they are surprised, because I seem to become someone else than the person they know -- like well, work would be the obvious example. But I think everyone does that.

Its the point behind my mental construct -- the Hall of Mirrors, and the Voices. There are all these reflections, all these images and masks inside of my mind, and I pick the right one out and step into it to wear it for the day, or the hour, or whatever. And when I'm done with it, I shift to whatever is appropriate for the next event, and the next. But am I ever being natural? And do I even really know what natural is anymore? I know what gut instinct is, so I suppose that would be nature. But I'm not sure I can act like that anymore -- everything is so well trained to be what is expected to be, and not what I am.

Too many masks, perhaps. And now, enough babbling. I think Ryan and Dani are finally both asleep, and I should be too.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:41 AM