August 31, 2002
Success!!

Well, the first sessions is over and done with, and after some definite chaos, it worked out well.

The session began with some nice social time -- everyone collecting at the house and the barbecue beginning. Got the swordfish and steaks on, got the other stuff laid out, and everyone had a nice lunch and the people who hadn't met before had a chance to say hi.

Then we started in with the character building. I did the first parts -- rolling of stats (yes, Superworld still rolls random stats, and its actually a feature I *like* in it) and the assigning of historical skills -- as a group. Then with Mike's help, we got the powers laid down for all the characters. I'd estimated a few hour for social and character building, but we spent a little longer on social I think (we always do) and then the character building was confusing because it used points and dice, so for the newer players they had to try to learn the system and understand the lingo all at once. Which was just difficult for me to remember how to put it in the right terms so it made sense.

In the end, I think it worked out okay. Before the next session I'm intending to do up a cheat sheet of sorts to make it easier for all the players to track their energy use, and understand what they are rolling and when. I do remember what its like to be sitting there staring at my dice and asking, "What die do I roll and should it be high or low???"

In a way, it was weird using dice again. And in a way, it was really cool. I think I kept them from being intrusive but they were useful as well. And as I do the synopsis for the website, I need to also jot down experience points for each player so I don't lose track of those. There will be about 3-4 sessions in the first scenario, so I won't be giving out the actual XP for a few months yet. So I don't want to lose track. Also I need to jot down dots for successful skill rolls, which I entirely forgot about during the game.

This would be why I need to put together a cheat sheet, so a few things run more smoothly. But then, I haven't done this in ages (and have only played, but never before run, Superworld) so I hope I can be excused at least somewhat.

So now, tonight, I need to do the synopsis before I forget, and add some data to various character pages that can be published publicly. Get the website all updated and notified, and everything'll be cool for the night. Then I've just got more work to do before next session. Glad we're only playing monthly!!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:16 PM
August 30, 2002
Two Hours Later

...and I'm feeling a bit more ready for tomorrow. Still nervous, but then I always am. Still feeling icky. Yeah, I'm sick on top of everything else -- this summer bug that's going around. So imagine getting ready to GM a game including for people you've never GMed for... and you have no voice. *sighs* It keeps cutting in and out. We'll see how the day goes tomorrow! I might not get through all my goals for the day if my throat hurts too badly and I can't talk, y'know?

I got a lot more stuff written up, including a basic outline of what I want to accomplish tomorrow. Yes, I have notes. Those who know me may chuckle, or even laugh outright, but for some reason I'm at least starting out organized for this game. We'll see how long it lasts, I suppose. But I spent a lot of time pulling things together tonight, and I've still got some more things to go over tomorrow.

Mostly, I still need to read and decide on some mech. I like Superworld because its a simple system, relatively, and there aren't a lot of rule mods. But of course, that means that when something requires creativity because there's no rule for it, I need to come up with a rule that doesn't unbalance anything. And I'm so far away from using mech lately that that's a little more difficult for me. But I'll manage it.

For now tho, I think its time to sleep and recharge these batteries. Hopefully I'll feel better in the morning. This only lasted Ry a few days this time. I need to be on my best game tomorrow. The first session is always the hardest one -- you don't get a second chance to make that first impression and all that.

No wonder I've got stage fright.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:27 PM
August 29, 2002
Babbling

Gods, I am exhausted. I put one set of risers under my step today, which was harder than I expected I think. I've been getting more and more in shape. I don't breathe as hard any more, but my legs still cut out in the middle, turn into rubber, and simply seem like they stop working. I find myself stumbling over the step sometimes, because my legs are so bloody short and they just don't reach entirely over the step... especially when I'm tired.

They just showed a commercial for the latest Subaru WRX... the car Kevin is lusting over. One of these days... *smiles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:46 PM
August 26, 2002
Being a Parent Means...

...learning to go without sleep.
...driving at midnight without passing out.
...feeling awful when you can't make the hurt go away.
...kisses on booboos and hugs for bumps.
...crying tears of frustration.
...wondering what to do when your child is too sick for daycare *again*.
...pride at a first step, a cartwheel, a smile.
...unconditional love.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:58 PM
Ripe Tomatoes!

The ugly (Black Krim) tomatoes are starting to ripen. I can't wait! This is the really exciting part of the growing season, where everything comes ready. There are lots of different types of cucumbers growing, and our first yellow squash, and the mystery tomato. I've got the seeds from the grape-like riesenstraubes (there were two types -- small grape, and large cherry, mixed in the seed packets by accident -- I don't know which is actually riesenstraube!) already sitting in water soaking so they can come clean and get stored for next year. I have to collect seeds so I can grow more plants next year. That's the coolest thing about growing heirloom plants.

Okay, so I really enjoy this. But its cool and fun and something really productive I can do. I can't wait until I can have a huge garden some year!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:17 PM
August 25, 2002
Teething?

Is he teething? I dunno... its my current guess. But for the past few nights Ryan has fussed all night (to quote my husband "he has?" and as I told him back "yes, dear, he has and no you don't wake up when the kids cry..."). And tonight I'm having trouble getting him to stay asleep at all much. He keeps waking up and screaming. He's been fed, he's dry, so that pretty much leaves internal discomforts. He's got a mild temp (hells, reaching normal is a mild temp for him -- he usually registers around 96.7 or so), and right now he's about 98.9). And nothing else really save some minor sniffles, and since teething causes post nasal drip... yeah, I think he's teething.

The question is, will this be a teething that results in actual teeth, or like some of his other bouts, will it just be a few days of discomfort followed by no evidence of what happened? *sighs*

In the meantime, looks like I'm up for night number three of restless sleep. After all, Kevin was sleeping with his head next to the monitor this afternoon, and Ryan woke up shrieking, and Kevin didn't even stir until I shook him because I was in the middle of something and couldn't go collect the babe.

Its going to be a long night.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:00 PM
Book Review -- A Rebellious Bride

A Rebellious Bride
by Brenda Hiatt
from Avon Historical Romance 2002

Yeah, so I like romances. So sue me. And Jenn brought me presents which I just totally inhaled. And loved.

This is one of those romances with a peppy heroine and a sensitive hero.

Quinn Peverill is the sort of girl who just doesn't fit in with society. She's new to England from the States, and she just can't seem to get the hang of how it all works. Nor does she feel comfortable with the poverty she sees in London. So she decides to do something about it, and heads out, dressed as a boy, to try and help a young girl and her brother.

She ends up bumping into Marcus Northrup, the youngest son and a rake (of course, its a romance!). He puts her back to rights and sends her off back in a woman's clothes. But she is seen by gossips, and her reputation is ruined. Next thing she knows she is engaged and then quickly married to this man she barely knows!

And so begins the usual round of shakespearean style of comedy, wherein each member of the married couple doesn't know the truth about each other, and tries to fool the other so that they can safely hide the truth. But only by discovering the truth can they live in safety... and find their true love.

Yes, its a typical plot. Yes, when I say usual, I mean usual. But its fun. Its enjoyable. And the characters come alive well and keep me interested. Its really a great read and fun mind candy. Neither of the main characters simper nor whine (which is always a relief to find in a romance). I *like* them and I wanted it to work out. Which for me, is the sign of a good romance novel.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:24 PM
Can You Tell?

Can you tell I'm trying to get caught up today? Despite having spent a good part of the afternoon over at the mini carnival, and having done a lot of cleaning and laundry, and maybe even some baking soon and more kitchen cleaning... I have now done two book reviews (I have two to go) and am hoping to finish reading my book, plus writing up more stuff for Mask of the Innocent, catching up more on A Twisted Weave (I need to start backfilling!!) and other fun things like planning this week's menu.

Whee! But damn, I feel productive...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:53 PM
Bizarre Garden

Okay, many many weeks ago Priscilla gave me about a dozen heirloom tomato seedlings. I planted them all, and oh, about half of them really took off in their pots. Maybe fewer. But now, all of a sudden, the ones that have just sat there, staring at me but not dying, have started to grow! There is new growth on almost every tomato plant!!

Plus, the mystery tomato is starting to ripen. I'm not sure what color its going to be (its yellowing and turning faintly orange so far, so it might be a normal red). This is the seedling I found on the edge of my garden and planted, wondering who had tried to wander off with it and then dropped it into the garden! It looks like a nearby chipmunk or rabbit was going to have it for a meal, but dropped it on its way out. Lucky for me, since its one of the few that really grew well and is producing fruit!

Now comes the fun, hopefully, of getting to try all these really neat types of tomatos. Although with the ones that just started growing -- they may well not produce fruit until October!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:46 PM
Book Review -- Dragon's Bait

Dragon's Bait
by Vivian Vande Velde
paperback, from Laurel Leaf 1997 (c. 1992)

This is a YA book. I try not to force my choice in YA books on people because well, I've found that what I find to be an enjoyable read often times is seen as simplistic and/or childish writing to others. That said, I still like to read YA. Its one of my favorite genres, and this was a fun, quick book. I'd certainly buy another one by the author.

There is a certain type of YA novel that isn't quite just a genre novel, but is also a backwards sort of romance. Actually, this is a typical sort of romance novel, where the novel tries to focus on everything but the attraction between the characters, but it keeps slipping back in, and the characters themselves never quite understand it. This falls into that cartegory.

Fifteen-year-old Alys is falsely accused of witchcraft and then staked out on a hillside and left as the sacrifice to a dragon. But he isn't at all what she expects of a dragon. And when he offers to help her take revenge on the wrongs against her, she can't help but agree.

The relationship between Alys and the dragon is confused and interesting, especially since the dragon is as alien as one would expect -- part boy, part something other than human. The story moves quickly (I read it in about an hour one evening), and has a satisfying ending. The author has also written a vampire novel, Companions of the Night, which I'm definitely going to try to find.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 03:46 PM
Book Review -- Living Dead in Dallas

I'm jumping the gun in my reading order to review this one. But since I borrowed it from my mom I want to make sure I can return it next time I see her! *smiles*

Living Dead in Dallas
by Charlaine Harris
paperback, from ACE Fantasy 2002

This is the sequel to Dead Until Dark, also starring Sookie Stackhouse, Sam (her bartender boss) and Bill the Vampire (her boyfriend). Once again, I found this southern mystery series to be a highly entertaining and quick read.

After Dead Until Dark I heard comparison's between Charlaine Harris' novel and Laurel Hamilton's Anita Blake series. At the time, I totally discounted it. Now, with the second novel, I *can* see the comparison more clearly. This does not mean that Sookie is an Anita Blake carbon copy -- far from it. Just that there *is* indeed a similar flavor, especially in the way that Sookie attracts interest from males, and falls into the strangest bits and pieces of relationships.

Harris' world is one in which Vampires recently came out of the closet to live among the mortals. They survive on synthetic blood, and are trying to reintegrate themselves into society. Or at least, most of them are. Of course, this means that there is the occasional cult that believes that vampires are evil and should be eradicated...

And vampires aren't the only supernaturals. In the first novel we met a shapechanger, and of course, Sookie herself, who isn't entirely human. She is telepathic, and to her, the silence of Bill's mind is a refreshing change.

In this novel, Eric, the sort of head vampire of the area, is loaning Sookie out to Dallas to help the vampires there. It is her first assignment, and Bill goes with her to protect her. And she *needs* it. Watching her go through her assignment, meet another telepath for the first time (I *hope* he comes back again in another novel), and deal with her interactions with all of the men in her life, is enjoyable and intriguing. And its a quick read, which right now, is a high recommendation for me -- I don't have the mental capacity to really THINK when I read these days.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:32 AM
August 24, 2002
I Miss My Tivo

Once again I have learned the habits of Tivo... never watch anything exactly when it is on. Watch it later, even if only 20 minutes, so that you can fast forward through the things you have no need to see, like opening credits and commercials. Gain more of your life by doing what you can and cramming TV watching into as small a time as possible.

But my Tivo has returned to the shop (they say they have to fix it, and we'll have it back in a week and a half... I don't believe them, and if it breaks AGAIN in the same way they'd better admit that after twice they obviously CAN'T fix it). So I am sitting here watching normal TV as I sit on the couch working on email. *sighs*

I miss my Tivo.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:06 PM
Where Has All the Time Gone?

Meeting Celia via Rob, and seeing her jewelry site, made me really long for some of the things I used to do, once upon a time.

Before I was pregnant with Danielle, I made jewelry. It began as a lark, when I was in graduate school, and my mom was starting to make her jewelry. She makes the neatest things, with small crocheted and stiffened things -- all very different, some snowflakes, some spheres, spiderwebs... really neat. And I picked up the beads and wire and started having fun just twisting and playing and making things. I then went on to do it for the next 6 years or so after that.

But when I got pregnant, my hands swelled up something awful. I could hardly move my hands comfortably, and certainly couldn't type. Nor handle needle-nose pliers. So I simply stopped.

The thing is, the jewelry habit had been sort of self-feeding. When I didn't use the profits to pay bills (which did happen). I made the jewelry and took it to SF cons and put it into the art show there. If I was lucky, enough pieces would sell that I could turn back into more supplies again. But now that its been years, I'd need to just about start over. I'm out of wire, and out of all the other findings like jump rings, small metal beads. I've still got some semi-precious stones, which are way cool. But my supplies are really missing a lot of the basics. So getting started again would likely be costly.

But it used to be very therapeutic. I did some really big pieces, and I really enjoyed just sitting there in front of the TV or while gaming and putting something together and watching it take shape and become something beautiful.

I think one of my favorites was the commission I made for a woman who wanted a headpiece for her wedding. I still have the pictures... it turned out lovely, and matched her gown beautifully. *happy sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:47 PM
I'm a WHAT?


What is your Alter-Ego Personality?

by way of Random Ravings

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:16 PM
Happy Annivesary

Today is my sixth wedding anniversary.

No, nothing incredible is planned. We've been married six years, together for eleven, and we have two children under the age of five. There isn't really a great chance for romance here. *smiles*

We did have our quality time last night, after we managed to get the kids into bed. Today is a lazy day. We'd planned to go to the little carnival that's come into the old schoolyard across the street, but its raining, so that's been put off until tomorrow. Instead, I am watching my Tivo of "Ring of Endless Light" so that we can then take the Tivo back again.

Yes, the Tivo is broken, in exactly the same way, again. So we're taking it back today, and Kevin is going to insist on a replacement unit. They had it for three weeks last time, and I refuse to give it up for another three this time. It means we're paying for a service we aren't getting any use out of. And that it has broken the exact same way is ridiculous and points to a deeper problem. But I'm going to let Kevin argue it out. I just tend to get stubborn and bitchy at times like these.

Now, the movie I'm watching... The Disney CHannel original movie of the week is a Madeline L'Engle book, and I've been really waiting to see this. I love the Austin books, and I adore Vicky. And I'm finding the movie to be well, fun, and pretty much like any Disney movie. I'm glad I taped it, and I sort of wish I were dumping it to video so we could keep it. With any luck they'll put it out on DVD sometime, but then again, its Disney, so who knows. And I don't know what rights were given, either.

Anyway, I guess its just going to be a quiet day. A lot of cleaning -- its time to start preparing for Ryan's baptism, even though that's a few weeks away. We'll need to keep it clean until then, but if we do a little each weekend hopefully we'll be ready when the time comes! It seems like such a huge project, and it just keeps getting worse. But that's just life. *shrugs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:17 AM
August 22, 2002
Book Review -- Season of Sacrifice

Season of Sacrifice
by Mindy L. Klasky
paperback, from ROC, 2002

I picked up this new book by Mindy because I am utterly in love with her Glasswright's series. I really like her writing, and the way her characters have faults, but seem real -- they don't superficially overcome the faults, nor wallow in them.

This book is no exception.

Possible spoilers ahead...


The book begins with the kidnapping of twin children from the People, from a place where their lives are very different than that of those in the rest of the world. The customs are different, and certainly, their religion is different, worshipping the Great Tree.

And Alana Woodsinger is the one who can speak to the Tree, and use the Bavins the Tree creates to reach through to her people. But there are things she does not know... skills which are long lost... which she must rediscover as things go from bad to worse.

One of the children has a Bavin, and through that she watches and sees what happens to them, and tries to direct them. And one of the rescue party has a Bavin as well, and through that she tries her best to aid them, despite the failings of humanity. And when she cannot help them from afar, she rides to their aid.

This story is one about people. It is about the fears, and about what people will do to get what they want. And it is about growth and change, and the acceptance of that change. Each of the adults shifts and changes throughout the story, growing and sacrificing in order to get what they want.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it readable, and fast paced. There are parts that are difficult to get through -- including the treatment of the kidnapped twins -- but in the end, it was very much worth it. Of course, I don't pull back from dark writing, so it didn't deter me, either. But there are those that might find it difficult to read.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:20 PM
A-Cleaning We Will Go!

I think I spent the whole day cleaning.

Yes, literally. We are doing a major move on our floor, restructuring the entire layout of IT. And as a part of it, we have been tasked with cleaning everything out and throwing out every bit of unnecessary crap that we can.

To this end, I spent the day going through my desk and my bookshelves and reorganizing it all and throwing tons and tons of stuff out. I almost filled up a big trash bin all by myself.

I also started my actual move. I started cleaning things off my desk and moving things over to the new desk (which is smaller than my old pod *grumbles*).

In the long run, lack of space aside, I'm REALLY looking forward to this move. AppDev is moving over closer to the windows, and we're getting a set of high walls as a noise break. Its going to be much nicer, and allow us a measure of peace and quiet.

We determined a long time ago that Developers are aliens, when compared to the rest of IT.

Basically, IT is comprised of AppDev (we develop in Notes, Informix, web, etc, plus our Informix DBA), Network Infrastructure (WAN and Telecomm), Desktop Services (Help Desk & Setup), Server Admin, Business Analysis, and Management Services (contracts & special projects).

Of these, Management Services is quiet, as are we. And we really need good heads down let me forget about the rest of the world and get into a coding fugue and get my project done time. But the rest of IT is by nature chaotic and noisy and talks and then stops and blows of steam and is well, interruptive.

Its come up a lot. I'm really hoping that this move will be really good for us, and really good for the rest of IT because we'll certainly be a lot happier and much less likely to get all snappish about the noise. Thus bringing better relationships all around.

The move has already begun, and will be completed by the end of next week. I'm glad its done before I am out on vacation.

But right now, that means I'm exhausted. Bend & stretch & lift & carry all day. Whee! But my part will soon be done.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:32 PM
August 21, 2002
Rambling

Its been a frustrating few days. Some of it is well, work, so that means my lips are zipped, as always. Although I can mention the move, and the HUGE cleaning effort we are putting forth before the entire floor reorganizes. So today I managed to do three boring things. I cleaned out files, throwing things out or redistributing them to other people. I worked on the project to decommission dead Notes databases. And I worked on updating and prioritizing App Dev's project list.

Needless to say, by the end of it, my head was spinning. I was glad to get out of work today.

After work I headed over to the Y and did a 30 minute bike ride. Went 7 miles in that half hour, and burned 133 calories. I also did a weigh in, and was down a pound and a half, which is great. I'm trying to work hard on this, and I keep slipping on the eating part. I know its psychological. I know its comfort food and its bullshit. But the thing is, it does work. And I desperately need that comfort these days.

But I'm trying to obsess in different directions in order to make myself somewhat healthier. Somehow.

The problem is, I'm paying for it tonight. It did something to my back somehow, and I've been in some intense pain. It backed off when I took Advil, and I'm hoping that sleep will help heal it further. Otherwise I might not be able to do the step class tomorrow night.

I've been working on recipes this evening. I finally bought EasyRecipe Deluxe, which is a nice recipe program. The thing I like about it is the nutritional calculations. Since it accounts for fiber, as well as calories and fat, I can easily convert to Weight Watchers Points. Its a huge help for me. There are features I wish it had, but I think I can pull that together on my own. Slowly, but surely, I am becoming more organized.

But then, I've been realizing that the more we do, and the older the kids get, the harder it is to simply get dinner on the table. Kevin has to be to work early, and I'm either working late and going to the gym, or getting out on time and going to the gym, or getting out on time and taking Dani to gymnastics. Either way, our schedules are different. And I don't think they're going to jive any time soon, either. So I'm trying to get better about cooking things ahead of time and doing some major planning. Making lunches the night before. Stuff like that. Its been helping this week. I just have to keep it going long enough to make it a real habit.

On other news, Dani finished her current gymnastics class. So in a few weeks, when we start up again, she'll be going on Monday nights instead of Tuesdays. Since golf league will be over, that means Kevin won't be out on Mondays, which will help. And since we're already used to being out that night, Audrey and I are going to take two nights at the gym instead of the one. So more gym time. Yay!

Ryan keeps trying to stand, chattering in his nonsense words (although he now really cries mama sometimes... *happy little smiles*). No more stitches, thank god! He eats with his hands now, messily and happily, and is really having a great time of it. Lots more cleanup for us, though.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:14 PM
August 16, 2002
Barbarella

I am watching Barbarella for the very first time and so far I have two impressions...

This movie is just plain WEIRD.

and

Jane Fonda looks surprisingly like Nicole Kidman. Or perhaps I should say it the other way around. But many of her expressions are similar, and evoke the same images.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:55 PM
August 15, 2002
Chirpy Me

Y'all know... I've got the Voices. This manifests in real life by the way I develop certain ways of dealing with things.

One of those is the "Secretary Voice". So dubbed because it first manifested when I was working on my first summer job as a secretary for the sales department at hnu Systems.

The voice is very chirpy, cheerful, polite. The minute I use this voice, my personality changes to match it and I don't have to worry about saying the right thing. Suddenly, I'm politically correct. Of course, I'm also as sweet as saccharine.

I've been calling people today to determine how they are maintaining addresses for mass emailings. And I've been completely, and utterly, chirpy. Think Brittany on Daria but not braindead. Have you ever seen the episode where she is trying to teach Daria not to sound so down? Brittney counsels to end every sentence like its a question because it makes you sound cheerful. That's what I sound like.

The funny part is, normally my voice sounds a hell of a lot more like Daria.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:46 PM
Argh!

I have GOT to change my alarm clock procedures! I remember setting it this morning when Kevin got out of bed. Because of past problems I carefully checked that the dot was there and that it was set for 6am.

Then woke up at almost 7 and it was turned off. *sighs* I must be doing it in my sleep. Time to change how it works, huh? Switch to Kevin's, I think, because I hate his so maybe it'll wake me up better. Its also harder for me to turn off.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 07:15 AM
Wow...

Okay, its gaming related and probably belongs in the Voices but I just had to share this one... if you're a gamer, and haven't already seen this link, check it out... wow...

The Ultimate Gaming Table

Thanks to Julia for the link.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:09 AM
August 14, 2002
Continuing on...

And so it goes. I've added three more pieces to the Mask website -- character creation basics, guidelines for electronic communication, and the NPCs of the President and the First Husband (doesn't that sound SO weird???). It is coming together. I know there is still more I need to complete, including the timeline (want to have that ready for the first session and keep it properly updated). But I'm happy with how much is already done!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:35 PM
August 13, 2002
Defining Dark

Today I had a conversation with Jeremy where I struggled to define “Dark” as it relates to my “Dark Supers” game. I had explained that Superworld was more like Batman than Superman, so he translated Dark to mean Gotham in atmosphere.

Yes, but no. And it was a good supposition… it just didn’t fit with my exact image. Yet, I found it hard to put to voice exactly what I meant by Dark. I ended up not being able to really put it into words that made me happy, other than “I don’t mean Sweetness & Light”. Which wasn’t really acceptable to me as an answer. But at the time, it was the best I could do.

What do I mean by “Dark”?

The world begins as today does, in this particular case. In most cases, the world is a realistic place, where there are dangers and you don’t get off scot-free just because you are a PC. A place where you probably *shouldn’t* walk in the worst area of town late at night. A place where bad things happen, as well as the good. A place where things might not go right just because you want them to.

A place where life is not fair.

Dark also means I don’t pull punches. These realisms of life will affect the PCs and quite possibly affect them deeply. And in my mind, that’s not a bad thing. It is these things which will drive the PCs to grow and to learn, and give them more motivations to continue onwards and discover more plot and make their world a better place. Perhaps, even, a “Lighter” place.

When I ran Artifacts of Winter, it started off with a bang. Chris arrived in chains, a prisoner, and was set loose by Tessa, a teenager in rags and barefeet. She begged him then to help her ease her mother’s slide into death. So Chris’s first scene in the entire game, once he was free, was singing Marie away... playing music to ease her mind as she died. And then helping Tessa to bury her. And then he and Josh learned more about Tessa's situation (abused by her employer, who they later learned was her father) and resolved to rescue the girl and her brother.

I think it all began with the first Champions campaign I ran, in which Dave's character was brainwashed to believe he was married, and he came out of the scene to discover that he was now the father of twins. Who disappeared into an alternate dimension. He did marry the girl for real, too.

Dark doesn't refer to physicality. Yes, there will be injuries. Ask Josh about the puncture holes in his shoulders during AoW. Or some of the broken ankles. There will be emotional difficulties. The world is dark. But not dingy...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:43 PM
Thank you!!

Just want to say thank you for your lovely comments regarding my kids!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:55 PM
Gymnastics

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At the party, Dani showed off her "Seal" to Aunty Jenn and Aunty Liz got a couple of snapshots of my flexible little girl. I'm so proud of how well she is doing with her gymnastics class!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:06 AM
August 12, 2002
Quick Book Blog

I am SO behind on book reviews! I finished Mindy Klasky's "Season of Sacrifice" and then last night I quickly read the YA novel "Dragon's Bait" by Vivian Vande Velde. Then I picked up one of the two romance novels Jenn brought me (signed yummy books!!) -- Julia Quinn's "Romancing Mister Bridgerton" and I whisked through that somehow too. Whee! But now I owe book reviews for each of those three and am about to start a fourth. Eek!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:56 PM
Dead Spider

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Many many thanks to Liz for this digital pic of Ryan, complete with the "dead spider" on his eyebrow. The stitches are off now, as of this morning.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:44 PM
Baby Quote

Miranda, from Sex and the City

"We're both afraid we're going to kill the baby, that's a given. But we agreed that this week on Monday through Friday I would try not to kill him, and on Saturday and Sunday *you* would try not to kill him."

I couldn't breathe, I was laughing so hard. You see, the most horrifying, terrifying thing about parenting is doing something wrong. Every parent I've ever spoken to walks by their infant's crib and checks to see if they are breathing. Parenting is scary. But I've never heard it said so succinctly as Miranda made it. And its SO hard to eat dinner when laughing like that.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:40 PM
Monday Mission 2.32

1. If I could guarantee that the Fashion Police would not lay the smackdown on you, which favorite out-of-style article of clothing do you wish you could wear right now? (and if you have photos of you wearing it, post 'em)
Let's see... I'd love to shock everyone by wearing the two piece bathing suit I bought when I was um... 21 or 22. It isn't a string bikini, nor one of the new tankinis, but somewhere between the two. It covered enough that I looked good in it, and it was pink (yes pink) and black. However, the only person who ever saw it is Dave, who egged me on to buy it. And I'd bet he doesn't even remember it. *smiles*

I swear, if I can ever be that small a size again, I'm wearing it, just once, just to do it.

2. In your opinion, who is famous but shouldn't be?
*raises eyebrow* I think I could probably come up with a lot of people for this one... including half of Hollywood. In the interest of not boring people to death, I'll not climb up on my soap box and let this one slide...

3. Are there any new movies or TV shows that you are forward to this fall?
Ooh, new season of Angel!!! I actually think that's the only thing I can think of off the top of my head. I am SO far out of the loop with the media...

4. If you had a time machine that you could use only one time (there and back), where would you go and what would you do?
*wrinkles nose* This... this is a really difficult choice. And I honestly don't know. There are so many different things in history that I would want to see. I think, in some strange way, it would be theatre. The ability to see a play performed in its original manner... Shakespeare perhaps, Midsummer Night's Dream.

5. What cologne of perfume do you like to wear? Which brand do you prefer that your partner wear?
NONE. Cologne/perfume makes my nose tickle. Eyuck.

6. Do you recall your first "French kiss?" Tell me about how that felt, and how it came about. Do you like them?
I am so not going there again. *laughs* I've now blogged about Steve, my first boyfriend, twice at least. And told the full stories of Steve eating kumquats and then shoving his tongue down my throat (and my subsequent loathing of kumquats). Suffice to say that done right it might be appealing. But I have no clue how *right* is done for a French Kiss. Its not unappealing with Kev, but not my favorite activity, either. Although I still find it good as an element to include in an erotic story, so it can't be all that bad an idea.

7. Excluding your partner...If you had the opportunity, who would you most like to French kiss?
Hm... *thoughtful look* I can't think of a single answer to this that won't be me in trouble somehow. *chuckles* *grins* *daydreams* Okay, we'll go for a famous person (so everyone knows who they are) and choose Nicole Kidman. She is just so... um... well, there's a reason I would choose her to be the actress for Florimel in the Amber movie!! Yum!! Oh wait, Gwyneth Paltrow has potential too. Uh... I'd better stop before I really get rolling, huh?

BONUS: Can't you see that it's late at night?
*blinks* Okaaaay... that explains the sun in my eyes then...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:21 AM
August 11, 2002
Surprise!

Yes, I can now finally blog about it! Today was Liz's surprise party, and I've been going nuts trying to read and reread everything I've written in my blog lately to make sure I didn't leave any hints. Even last night when I was blogging about the Great Escape I had to catch myself before I said something about getting to bed cuz we had a lot to do in the morning so we could be at Josh & Liz's place by noon. So now, *phew*! *smiles*

I will be posting more about the party and about seeing everyone and everything (and there were digital photos taken of which I will post some in a while) tomorrow. But for now, there is much tiredness and I think I am instead going to be going to bed for some sleep. I slept well last night after all the walking around in the heat at the park, and today was a long day too (although without all the walking) so I think I'm going to try and get good sleep. After all, its gonna be a long week at work, as usual. *sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:56 PM
And So it Begins...

Well, I gave out the first of the invitations to Mask of the Innocent today. So far I've got a lot of yeses, and a couple of maybes. I think its going to be a ton of fun, and I'm really looking forward to it. I still need to get quite a bit more of information up on the website for it, but not tonight. Tonight, well, tonight I think I'm going to go get some sleep. Its been a hell of a long weekend.

Oh, and Liz? I'm sorry I lied about when I had to get the invites done by. For everyone else... Liz's surprise party was today (which'll be detailed in the main blog soon) and I couldn't say I had to have the invites done today cuz I'd be seeing Evan and Annette so instead I had to have them done by Monday to give out at work. *smiles* Now I can tell the truth. *grins*

UPDATE: It is Monday afternoon and I have now given out all of the invitations, although since Jeremy is out he won't get his until he's back. At this point I have 6 confirmed players, and 4 yet to confirm. Although I'm waiting for emails officially from all the confirms, and I'm pretty sure one of the unconfirmed ones is playing. I just want to know... how did I go from having no players locally to having ten?? Meep!! But its gonna be fun. I think this game will actually go very well as a large group -- MUCH better than an Amber game does as a large group.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:53 PM
August 10, 2002
The Great Escape

Just got back and settled in after a day at The Great Escape. For those not from this part of the country, that would be the theme park in Lake George which is *owned* by Six Flags but is not listed as Six Flags: Great Escape. Some day it will be, I'm sure, much like Riverside became Six Flags: New England. But for now, its still our local Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom.

I never realized just how old the park was. It opened as Storytown in 1954, the year before Disney opened. There are a lot of the original attractions still running -- the tiny houses, the statues to climb on, a train ride for the kids. And the land its on is nice. There are also a lot of really new attractions, like the Sky Coaster which is for insane people only who want to be dragged up to a 100+ tall pole while dangling from a wire and then dropped to go careening through the air, swinging back and forth. Yes, people do this. We watched them several times, and after a while, my heart stopped jumping every time I saw them drop, half expecting them to either crash into a building, other people, or back into the pole they came from. Insane, I tell you, insane. And the best part is -- they PAY for this privilege -- an extra fee (and not a small one, either) on top of the regular theme park admission. Wow.

Great Escape also has one of the top ten wooden rollercoasters in the world, at least according to TLC. And that -- The Comet -- was our first stop of the day upon arriving. We headed directly back to that so Kevin could get his coaster ride in. Its his absolute favorite coaster. After that we tried to take him to the Bobsled ride next, but it was closed.

Then came the long fight of attempting to get Danielle onto a ride. She's even more of a wuss than I am! The real problem was that we didn't bring a friend for her. If she'd been with a friend she'd probably never have gotten OFF the rides. But the Jumbo ride (flying elephants) was too big for her (we finally got her on, first with Kevin, then with me) and the flying Dragons ride, which was just the same but smaller she would've gone on but no one could go with her (no one over 54 inches tall allowed, and yes, I am a whole 60 inches tall). She even argued about the swan ride (which Ryan loved up until the point where he broke because of lack of nappage).

We had lunch at the pavilion, but before that we bought a funnel cake and a small ice cream for Dani. This small ice cream was more than enough for all four of us! I shoveled some of it out of the dish into the cone for the peanut, then nibbled on some myself. Even Kevin ate some, while I was feeding some to Ryan. His expression on the first two bites was priceless, a funny face of confusion over the coldness of the treat. Then he realized it was chocolate and his mouth opened right up for more and he really enjoyed it. The boy does love chocolate.

We stopped off at a game of chance -- toss the ball to get points to move the horse and win the race -- and I won a puppy with a heart for Danielle. She loves it and is sleeping with it. Kevin tried to throw the baseballs later for a cat but we didn't make it. I had it much easier with the race horse, I think!

We bought Dani a Powerpuff Girls balloon. She wanted Blossom, but they were out then, so we got Bubbles. The thing is HUGE! The cool thing was they put this weight on the end of it, so even if she let go of it, it wouldn't fly away. Gotta love people who are used to dealing with kids and helium balloons!!

I had a hair wrap done. My little bit of being spoiled for the day. Ryan sat and watched me (and babbled "Mmmmeh MMmmmmeh" which is his first sound other than vowels) while I had it done. Three colors -- black (of course), dark purple, and maroon. I like it. We'll just have to see how long it lasts as I wash my hair. I wonder if it'll surprise anyone at work. *GRINS*

We did an awful lot of walking today. It helped walk out some of the kinks in my legs from the step exercises the other day, but every time I sat down again, my right calf locked up. I mean, its so locked up you can see the muscle definition. Yowch!

And now... well, now I'm exhausted. I should write ATW. I should do more work on my new game. I should write the game blog I came up with for the Voices about the best relationship I've ever played through in a game -- not successful nor unsuccessful, but one of the best playing experiences I've had.

But y'know what, ATW is going to miss an episode and the rest will stay unwritten because *I* am too tired and am going to go pass out.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:47 PM
August 09, 2002
Friday Group Therapy 1.7

1. Do you know the circumstances surrounding your conception or birth?
I know I was born a week or so early. And I know I was early in the marriage (as in, they were married Dec 1967, and I was born in May of 1968). *smiles* I believe I was born on a Monday morning. While Mom and I talked about the birth when I was pregnant with Dani and getting close to giving birth myself, she's never talked about my conception. *grins*

On the other hand, I suspect my children will get to hear about their conceptions. I'm just happy there's a story for both of them, so one doesn't have to feel left out.

2. Overall, were your school years good or bad (Pre College)?
Eh. I was a brain, and a geek, and I had my friends that I was close to and the girls who wanted to (and in some cases did) beat me up. There was a lot of unpleasantness. On the other hand, when I got into junior high and met Julie, who was my best friend for many many years, and then in high school when we fell into a whole group of people with like interests... those years formed a lot of who I would become, with respect to writing and gaming and just being me. Despite the heartache and headaches, I wouldn't give it up.

3. If you went to college, what was college like for you? If you have not started college, what do you think it will be like? If you never went to college, why not?
College was good. Grad school was good. I liked college (Union College) better for the actual academic environment. Smaller classes, lots of hands on, accessible professors for the most part. But RPI (grad school) had so much of a better social environment for me, so all in all, despite troubles with the school, I was happier there. Which would explain why I live only ten minutes from it now.

4. What kind of career are you in/do you plan on going into? Why did you choose it and are you happy with your choice?
That's a really loaded question and I think we'll just set that "happiness" question aside for now. *smiles* Although I think "frustrated" is really the best term.

I didn't so much as choose a career as it chose me and I clung to it. I discovered computers as the fun part of my major my freshman year in college. In fact, I only majored in it so I could weasel my way into a closed class. I was really majoring in biology, and intending to do genetic research. But by my senior year I figured out that well, I not only enjoyed computers, I was GOOD at them. So I went to grad school, then left that because I was well, hungry. Wandered through some temp jobs, then got a job doing training and help desk. Got laid off, did some more temp, and got hired at FAC as a programmer. I've done just about everything at FAC at some point, it seems. I grabbed onto Lotus Notes in the beginning because I loved it and it was interesting and I could *do* it. I've done admin and development, help desk and training. And now I'm a manager. 8 years in one job, and no two years the same!

5. How many children do you plan on having, if any? What influenced this decision?
Two kids. We're done now. We wanted two because we're both only children and we didn't want an only child. But we almost didn't continue after Danielle because I loathe being pregnant. I'm glad we had Ryan. I wouldn't give up either child for the world. But its time now for Kev to get his stuff done so we don't have to worry about the risk. *firm look* Not doing that again!

6. How old do you want to get? How old can you see yourself getting?
7. What is the ideal and worst ways that you can imagine dying?
I'm not going to deal with these questions... I have one fear, and that's death... and these give me the cold shakes. So I think I'll just be done here and say y'know, if I could will it, I wouldn't die. Simple as that.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:00 PM
Mask of the Innocent

Construction of the new game continues. The goal is to have invitations ready for Monday, so I can hand out a couple at work, and get some to Josh to pass on when he gets the chance. But I'm rolling right along, and its going well. Check out the website to see how its going. In the interest of communication, I've most recently added a section on what its like to game with me. And what the players need to know about me, and what I need to know about them.

I am, at this point, intending to invite 8 people to play. I'm guessing not all of them will accept, but we'll see how that goes. I am inviting my husband, two married couples, a married guy, and two single guys. I really wish I knew some more female players to invite. If there are any women out there in Albany NY looking for a good, semi-realistic, roleplaying oriented game, drop me a note and we'll talk!!

In the meantime, I've got just a few more things to write and it'll all be ready. And there's a part of me which can't wait!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:24 PM
Friday Five

1. Do you have a car? If so, what kind of car is it?
We have two cars. Kevin technically owns the 1998 Plymouth Voyager, but I drive it. We bought it after Dani was born when we realized we couldn't fit everything into the Protege, which was our good car then, and the bigger car (the Taurus SHO) was dying. Then just before Ryan was born we traded in the Protege for the car I technically own but Kevin drives which is our one year old Subaru Outback (her nickname is Dragon).

2. Do you drive very often?
A lot, yes. When we go on trips, Kevin usually drives, but I have no problems going on my own either, as long as I'm not trying to entertain kids and drive at the same time. I drive to Detroit (about 11 hrs) every year, and like to visit my parents (2.5 hrs).

3. What's your dream car?
To buy to drive practically? I want a nice little SUV. The model keeps changing. Currently its a Mazda Tribute, if they offer it with a stick and the good engine and a hybrid car. *grins* For a classic car, its a 1965 ragtop mustang. Yum!

4. Have you ever received a ticket?
*shakes head* Nope. On the other hand, Kevin has. In fact, just last weekend he was grumbling about how I don't and he does (after he well, did). I think its because despite my rather speedy driving habits at times, I'm also careful to avoid tickets.

5. Have you ever been in an accident?
More times than I'd like, but not big ones. I've been rearended in the van, about 4 years ago when it and the baby were both still brand new. $1000 damage for us, which insurance covered, and it crumpled the front end of the guy who hit me. He looked at his van, and at mine, and said that he'd be looking into the Voyager as a replacement since mine held up so well. *chuckles* I've also had two times people have walked out in front of me -- the scariest moments of my life. I've spun out on the on ramp to route 7 down in Troy and ended up facing in entirely the wrong direction across two lanes of traffic. I've been sideswiped while going 60 along free route 90 in NY. I think basically I've just been through periods of my life where my cars are trouble magnets. Thankfully, it seems to have passed (*knocks on wood*!).

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:33 PM
August 08, 2002
Was it THEM?

Parked on the corner, as Josh and I crossed the street during our walk, was a black SUV. Shiny black, with high performance tires and darkly tinted windows. And Josh noted, as we walked past, not a bit of identification of the make or model. The only thing to identify it was the license plate. Otherwise, it was about as generic a dark black SUV as it could be.

So, was it Them? Were They sitting there, observing someone?

Isn't it fun to inject a little paranoia into the day? *grins*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:54 PM
Its a Spider!!

[This is from this morning, as Dani is playing with Ryan and I'm buzzing around getting ready to leave for work...]

Dani started screaming. "Mommy! Mommy!"

I was in the living room, pulling on my socks, and being frustrated because its so hard to get anything done when Dani is being clingy. Finally I yelled back, "What?!"

"Mommy! There's a dead spider on Ryan!"

I was confused, and surprised. A dead spider on Ryan? I'd just set him down, in clean clothes, in a clean stroller. Where did the spider come from. "Where?" I yelled back.

There was a pause, and I figured she was looking at him again, and then she yelled, "On his head! Where the bandaid was where he got his stitches!"

When I finally managed to stop laughing, I choked out, "Dear, those *are* the stitches!"

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:21 AM
August 07, 2002
Memory Like a Sieve

If only I could remember half the things I think about blogging about this would have SO many more updates. The problem is, they all happen at times when I cannot get to the computer to type. So I file them away and the thoughts slip out the holes of the sieve that is my brain.

There are little things, like Ryan periodically spitting out sounds that are something other than a screech, then resolutely refusing to do anything but smile when prodded to do so again.

Or the sky as I drove home -- perfect clouds in a perfect blue sky. And the temperature today was wonderful. It was cool without being cold; a great day for walking.

Or for that matter, the night sky. I walked outside to turn off the water for the garden, and when I looked up I could see all the stars. There were clouds on the horizon, but straight up it was wonderfully clear and all the constellations seemed to leap out at me. I spotted Orion easily. Or at least, I think it was Orion. I'm not very good at constellation recognition. But I have a fondness for Orion, mostly because I had three freckles that reminded me of Orion's belt, right in a straight line on my arm.

Of course, then there's Draco. I should learn to recognize it, because somewhere inside of that constellation is a star that has been named Dragonsinger. Gene named it with the star registry for either a birthday or our anniversary one year. I told Anne McCaffrey when I saw her at a con. After all, I have the nickname because of her novels.

And yes, folks, for those who don't know, D. is short for D-Singer which is short for Dragonsinger. My last name is not Singer. *smiles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:32 PM
Surprise, Surprise!

How's this for surprising? The Voices have been updated!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:27 PM
Building an Outline

This would be called brainstorming in plain view. In a way, this is weird to me. I'm not used to showing off my writing in full view as its built. And in a way, this is very helpful to me, just because it puts it into a central repository. Besides, I know I won't get this completed and revised by the end of August, so I can't submit it, even if I'd like to.

The concept is a new Laurie story.

For those who don't know, Laurie is Lawrence Cuthbert, a British vampire of about 200 years old. He fell in love with Jim Rain, a 500 year old teenage vampire from South America, and was devastated when Jim was destroyed. He returned to London from the States (where he had met Jim) and tried to bury his head in other things. A Moment in Time is part of the story of that period of Laurie's life.

There are other stories written after that, about how Jim was ressurrected, due to his magics before his death, as the mortal mage Bridget Randall. And how Bridget was magically grown back to the age she wanted to be, so she could continue on a as a human at the same age Jim had been sired. She intended to become a vampire again -- after 500 years it seemed a pretty normal way to be -- but she wanted to make it to adulthood this time. She also, for some reason, wanted to live through the puberty she'd been stuck in before.

And so Laurie had his love back, and she had him, and both were happy. It actually wasn't that big an adjustment for them that Jim was now Bridget and that a gender change had happened there. After all, both were bi, and neither were really bothered by the whole thing. It certainly didn't change the appetites anyway.

The fact that Bridget was mortal was a little more difficult. There were stumbling blocks in the relationship as Laurie still dealt with the politics of his hidden world. And other politics as Bridget was seen to be a normal teenager -- her mother never knew that her daughter had a 500 year old soul, and remembered every moment of those 500 years. In truth, Bridget was never a child.

This story is called "Humanity".

Part 1 -- Laurie shows up on Bridget's doorstep. He is in near death condition, or at least, pretty damned close to it for a vampire. Burns over half the surface of his body. He has to explain about Sebastien. About Whitechapel. About the rescue. About loyalties. He hasn't seen Bridget in some time -- she needed a break from him. She is horrified by what has happened, and does not want to let him walk back in alone. She wants to be a part of the plan. But she has a requirement first.

Part 2 -- Bridget explains. At first, Laurie is confused. How the hell can Bridget expect him to father a child? But Bridget wants to experience motherhood, and she doesn't really want someone else's child other than Laurie's (although she'll threaten if he won't agree at first). And she has heard a rumor about a way that it might be possible. There is a rumor of a spell that can return a vampire to mortality, if only for a little while. And she thinks she knows how to get her hands on the book. Except that it means crossing Laurie's sire.

Part 3 -- Laurie has no desire to deal with Eric. He and his sire... do not get along. Nor does he wish Eric to see him in this condition. Bridget agrees to table the discussion, and takes care of Laurie, working to heal his wounds. They are burns -- they will take time, and blood. As always, he refuses to drink hers at a time like this. He cares for her too much, and is always afraid he will take more than she can give. More than she is ready to give. Bridget is stubborn, but in the end, Laurie wins as he always does. And Bridget is left to have dinner brought in for him.

[I'll continue this later. Time for sleep now.]

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:16 PM
Creating a New Campaign

I'm in the process of working on all the background information for a new campaign I'm planning.

The idea sprang mostly formed into my head as we were driving home from WEF. I suppose the thought of a lack of FTF gaming made my imagination kick into overdrive. Or maybe I just got lucky. Either way, Mask of the Innocent was born.

It is going to be a Superworld game -- dark, grim and gritty superheros. I love the system and am busily rereading it now. I've started character creation, and yes, I am even intending to use dice.

I've decided to deal only with local players at this point. I've actually got between 8 and 10 players on the invite list already, just dealing locally. I'm not sure how many will play when all is said and done. I'm hoping to send out the invitations by the end of the week. I need to collect some more email addresses before I can do that, or else just print out the invites and hand deliver those I can, and give others to pass along to the friends of friends I'm hoping might play.

As I go rambling along on the site, I'd certainly love any comments anyone might care to offer. I've been brainstorming so far by babbling away at Kevin and Josh. But of course, I don't want to babble any of the details they *wouldn't* know. And I can't blog about those here, either, since Liz reads the site and hopefully she'll be playing too. *smiles*

See, a public forum is both a great idea and a bad idea all at once!

I'd better get those invites out. I think a large part of the inspiration will be finishing coming as I start getting character concepts from my players. But in the meantime, I've got a few more metagaming posts to get done for the site. I've done the political situation, and the "so now you're a super" post. I now need to do the "Deb's philosophy of gaming" post and the "how to build a character" post. Then it'll be a decent starting reference for the new players in the game. Especially those who haven't gamed with me before.

I'm seriously thinking of telling any new players that they should read my site. I mean, as a GM, I'm not always as strange and twisted as my characters. And for some strange reason, Josh laughed when I said that when we were walking the other day. Which, I suppose, is why I'm considering making it mandatory reading. I like it when my players have an idea just how far out there my brain can go. That when I say I am a no-holds-barred GM I mean it -- I have played through all kinds of things, and if it is a part of reality and a way to push character (NOTE: NOT PLAYER) buttons, I'll do it. I want to have emotionally involved characters, because then they have goals and reactions and they do things, and together we build the plot.

And in the long run, I just want all of us to have fun. And if I'm going to wig a player out, its better that we all know it in advance and just don't go there. I think between the AoW stories (what little there are posted) and the Jenny and Adrienne stuff, this site gives a pretty good overview of where my mind can go. And asking me questions fills in the blanks. Just trying for the good policy of honesty...

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:07 PM
August 06, 2002
I Have My Laptop Back!!

Woohoo!!! The laptop is back, with the hard drive in it and everything looking good so far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but at least the power hasn't cut out yet, which was its latest trick. The battery is charging, and I am typing away happily. Oh, and not only did they replace the mainboard again, but they also replaced a couple of pieces they sort of left out the first time (like the little switch to get the cd drive out).

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:26 PM
August 05, 2002
If the Site Goes Weird...

...its just me working on the templates again. Yeah, I could copy the whole blog and work somewhere else, but well, I'd rather just work live. Its simpler sometimes. So bear with me if things go a tad bit whacky!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:12 PM
New Dishes

Did I blog about my dishes? *glances down the blog* Nope, cool, I can babble away then. *grins*

Kevin and I ordered a new, professional quality, set of cookware. Before you choke on pricing, its part of this deal with our food delivery service and well, our food bill actually went down. I don't understand this version of finances, but since it ended up being money I was already spending, and less of it, AND I got the cool pots & pans, then I'm happy!

Two big boxes arrived on Thursday. We basically had time to drag them inside and we had to run out for family haircut night. After we got the kids in bed that night, we unpacked them and looked at all of them.

They have GREAT heft. They are copper core pans, with two layers of stainless steel and a copper core sandwiched in between. They are amazingly heavy, and feel almost like cast iron with the weight. So they also have fantastic heat distribution. And there are so many types, which is what I was excited about. Two steamers, a pasta insert, a HUGE skillet with high sides. Three non-stick saute pans, plus a deep fry pan. Many stock pots and sauce pans, and a baking pan which is perfect for lasagna.

So far I've only managed to use one of the sauce pans. And its the same one Kev used last night, so we haven't exactly gotten to give it all a good try. *pouts* I have to make homemade sauce in the huge skillet and pasta with the insert and then toss it all together for that last minute of cooking... mm... I'm gonna have so much fun!

I just washed the sauce pan I used for dinner. NOTHING stuck to it. *happy little sighs* It was a breeze to clean, which just thrills me. I'm really happy to have this stuff. I love cooking so much, and its always better with good equipment.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:09 PM
Firsts

I've realized that I really wish I had a blog when Dani was a baby. This is the best I've been at maintaining any sort of a journal since I was a teenager (now there would be a trip -- posting excerpts from my high school journals! *laugh*). So with Ryan as an infant, I'm catching a lot of his firsts.

Yesterday he stood up with the push toy (not a new thing) and then happily walked across the room pushing it. He was so bewildered when he bumped into something and couldn't keep going. But if I reset it, he'd do it again and again. He really likes walking, and he thinks he's really ready to do it. Which is terrifying in some ways -- he's only 8 months old.

And then today we had another first. His first trip to the emergency room. *sighs* I got a call around 5pm, as we were heading to pick him up. He had pulled himself up on the kitchen set and then he let go to stand on his own, and when he went to sit he pitched forward and clocked his head on the wooden shelf. Sliced his eyebrow open. It didn't really bother him much, as long as no one was trying to touch it. But it was still bleeding.

It had finally stopped, and when Kevin got home we both managed to take a really good look at it. Its about a half inch long, and a millimeter wide, so its basically not closed. We called the on-call doctor and she recommended that we do get it looked at for stitches. So Kevin's taken him down to Samaritan Hospital to the urgent care facility to see if it needs to get stitches.

I guess this is what its like to have a boy, huh? I think its going to be a long night. He's going to be in an awful mood when he gets home. Dani was so worried about him when Kevin took him -- she is concerned because she knows stitches will hurt Ry. Poor little guy, and poor little girl being worried about her brother.

UPDATED 11:15pm -- I just talked to Kevin, and the Doctor was coming in to do a couple of stitches. They should be home in an hour or so, assuming Ryan isn't too much trouble with getting the stitches. The poor little guy's exhausted. He was having a bottle while I talked to Kev. So I guess the little guy has stitches in his eyebrow, and he'll definitely have a small scar there. He's starting in early with the battlescars!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:38 PM
Inspiration

My husband has found inspiration for me to complete my diet.

I already have a goal set. It is my realistic goal -- to get down to 150 pounds. So if I reach that goal, and keep on going, I'm going to get three more holes in my head. A third hole on the left ear, a second on the right, and a cartilege pierce on the left ear. Its only about 20 pounds away, and I'm really excited.

So over the weekend we were talking, and I asked what I would get if I can make it to 120 lbs, which is basically where I *should* end up. I'm not sure if I can even do it. But he gave me incentive to try. He asked what I wanted... and I said something he'd already said no to. A tattoo.

I explained that I'd come up with a new design. One that wouldn't show when wearing a strapless or spaghetti strap dress at a businses function. And he said fine. If I get to 120 lbs, and hold it for at least 6 months, I can get the tattoo.

Whee!! I'll need to get someone to design it for me -- its a concept in my head right now. Basically scroll work and a pentagram, all across the base of the back. I'd have to be thin enough to wear a short top so it could show up sometimes. Hence the reason the incentive goes SO well with the goal.

Now I just have to do it.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 02:46 PM
PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.31

1. Ever considered just deleting your Blog and not doing it anymore? What prompted that and what stopped you?
Nope. I think mine's too new to think about stopping yet.

2. How about a quick review of the last movie you saw?
Um, I don't know what I last watched, actually... I've already reviewed Moulin Rouge, and But I'm a Cheerleader on my blog. Hm... Pearl Harbor? Long, but excellent, and enjoyable. I'm glad we bought it. Scooby Doo? Good for the ending, and always fun to watch Sarah Michelle Gellar kicking butt. *grins* Reign of Fire I thought was too slow and not entertaining, but I know other people who liked it.

3. What's your favorite gadget? Are you lusting for any new ones? Will you ever be satisified???
My BLACKBERRY, especially with Go.Web loaded. Internet any time anywhere. I'm not addicted, I'm connected!!!

*phew* Okay, got that out of my system.

Am I lusting for more? Yeah, I want my BlackBerry to be better. Want a pen interface as well as the keyboard. Would like better games. Want a phone hookup, but the network for the phone BB isn't good. *sighs*

Will I ever be satisfied? *chuckles* Not until the direct wireless uplink is installed in my brain...

4. Saturday night I played "UNO" for the first time in years, I mean it has been over 10 years since I played it. It was great fun, but it really made me want to learn how to play Backgammon again. What "table game" do you enjoy playing most with other people? Have you played it lately?
Pinochle. And not recently enough. *pouts*

5. About a year ago I was obsessed with losing weight, and I dropped pretty low before I got a handle on things (I've actually gained about 8 pounds of it back, and it is still a struggle sometimes to not try to loose it). Thankfully, I like fattening sweets and buttery popcorn too much to live like that for too long. Have you ever been obsessed with something so much that it was close to causing you physical or mental harm? If not, have you known anyone else who has?
I come from a long line of addictive personalities. For all I joke about it, realistically, I AM addicted to the net. I do it at times I probably shouldn't, and I go nuts when I can't get to it. However, I'm aware of it and try to work around it. Many of my family are alcoholics. I've seen the damage addiction can do. I won't lose my family and friends to my net... the people are far more important. As long as I can keep priorities in order, I'm fine.

6. Did you grow up in a family or community that displayed racist or prejudice attitudes? Did it influence you in any way, either toward or away from those views? How did you manage to avoid it, or did you?
My family is about as unprejudiced as it can get. I think I'm pretty good about it myself. I just don't have patience with prejudice or racism or well, idiocy. Thay would be my big prejudice I guess. I can't stand dealing with people who don't listen and are unwilling to learn.

7. Good grief, I am starving! You got anything to eat around here?
Grapes. Y'know that diet you were on? I've still got an awful lot of my weight to lose...

BONUS: What did you tell them?
*looks right* *looks left* Nothing. Never tell them anything.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:27 AM
August 04, 2002
Friday Group Therapy 1.6

1. What are your three favorite things about being in a relationship?
Okay, I'm assuming you mean significant other sort of relationship here, but some of my friendships are close enough that these apply there as well.

I like that there is someone who loves me, even when I'm bitchy and horrible. And understands that sometimes I am, and sometimes they might not *like* me, but they love me.

I like having someone who is there with me, supporting me as I support them, and sort of mentally there as well, on the same wavelength or at least close enough by. Knowing I am not alone in both my successes and my failures.

I like having someone who shares my interests and that I can do things with, but with enough independance that we can also both go our own way.

2. What are your three least favorite things about being in a relationship?
Extreme dependency, blame, and manipulation. Of course, those three things might not be considered part of a healthy relationship in the first place.

If I talk about now... well, I love Kevin with all my heart. But there have been moments of curiosity and times that my life might have been different if Kevin hadn't already been in it. But he is and I love him and would never hurt him. And yeah, he knows about these things... hells, there was one crush everyone I knew knew about -- I wore my heart on my sleeve.

3. How much free time do you have to do "you" stuff? Is it enough?
*laughs* Oh, that has nothing to do with my husband! I have plenty of time to d me things when its just us. But the kids... now that's another matter. Kevin never was a time sink for me, nor me for him. We are blessed with a fantastic understanding of each other and that neither of us is overly dependant upon the other for our needs and entertainment.

4. How does your current {or last one if you are between relationships} compare with your parents relationship while you were growing up?
In some ways, eerily similar. But in my mind, that's not a bad thing. And I think that we have managed to go past some of the road bumps my parents met, which is also a good thing.

5. Tell us about your first relationship.
*dry laugh* This is not a happy story. I was sixteen, and crossed over the fine line between hate and love and fell for this guy who was really annoying. We dated for something like um... 6 months? I don't even remember now. He was the one with the bad kissing technique that made me hate kumquats. And he was stubborn and not particularly mindful of my wishes. He was all set to move onto the next level of our physical relationship whether I intended to or not (I didn't). And when I broke up with him he tried to pull something on me to guilt me out and landed himself in the hospital getting his stomach pumped. And as worried as I was about him, there was a little part of me who was glad to hear how painful a procedure that was because I was SO PISSED at him and his manipulations by then.

6. Tell us about your favorite relationship.
Just thinking brings a smile to my face. Since I'm focussing on significant others, that would be Kevin.

By the summer after my first year of grad school, I had been single for most of a year. I had had a bad/stupid fling with my ex the summer before (dumb dumb dumb -- when you break up with someone STAY broken up, that's what I learned). I had had a short 2 month boyfriend. But otherwise, I was single.

But I was still pretty disillusioned on the whole relationship concept. I didn't want anything heavy or serious. I just wanted a little fling to take the edge off and have some fun.

I met Kevin through the games club at RPI. It turns out I'd met him a couple of times at Genericon the years I'd gone while I was still at Union. Then I came to RPI for grad school and met him (and a bunch of other people) again. We were in the same Champions campaign, and we'd flirted some at the beginning of the year. I'd somehow gotten the impression he had a girlfriend back home (which was incorrect) so I hadn't continued the flirtation in any way. But as summer drew closer, I got bolder and braver and started hitting him over the head with bricks, so to speak.

We had mutual friends who saw what was going on. They saw me being about as overt as I could be, and Kevin acting as dense as he could be. They tried to help. *laughs* It was a very fun and I have very fond memories of this time in my life. At one point, when I had thrown subtlety completely by the wayside, Kevin admitted that yes, he knew I was throwing myself at him, but he hadn't decided what to do about it yet. We had long conversations about life and relationships and agreed that sex without caring really wasn't much at all.

And so we started dating. When my summer fling was a year and a half old, Kevin told me he loved me. Actually, the quote was (on the phone, new years day, at 3 in the morning or so because he was at Officer Basic Course in Missouri) -- "I love you." *pause* "No, this doesn't mean I'm going to marry you."

I didn't laugh. But I knew things had changed. This wasn't a summer fling, and it wasn't even a simple relationship anymore. When Kevin came back from OBC he moved in with me. This was in 1992. In 1994 Kevin and I talked about marriage. We agreed that we couldn't get married in 1995 because none of us could afford to get married the same year we (and my parents) were going to the WorldCon in Glasgow, Scotland. But before that trip we had the family diamond reset in a ring for me, and I said to Kevin, "Does this mean I can start planning the wedding?" And then he proposed to me.

We were married in 1996 after having been together for more than 5 years. We honeymooned in LA before and after the World Science Fiction Convention. I want the Worldscon to be back in LA in '06 so we can have our tenth anniversary there as well as taking our kids to Disney.

Now we have two kids (4 1/2 years old and 8 months old), a house, a lot of job stress... and we argue and are pretty much a normal couple. We have a pretty well distributed set of responsibilities, and are very well adjusted. We like doing things together, and we like doing things apart. Kevin isn't jealous over my friendships with guys, which is a GOOD thing. And he is perhaps the one person in this world that I can actually live with.

Not bad for a summer fling, hm? I just hope summer continues to last a REALLY long time. Like at least another 50 years or so. *smiles*

7. Tell us about your worst relationship.
I have a nice history of bad relationships. Bad ideas on my part, or misinterpretations, or good things that went horribly bad.

I started to really babble on this one, and catalog every mess I've made. But then I realized that the one that stands out last all of a week, in grad school, and I'd managed to forget to even mention him when I was talking about that year above.

I think I've tried to erase him from my mind. He was my biggest mistake. I wanted something... someone... that year. He was interesting, and attractive, and far too young for me (3 year difference in age, more in attitude). He was attracted to me because he thought I was wild because I wrote erotica. A lot of his attitudes about the physical side of things, in retrospect, reminded me of my first boyfriend. It wasn't a give and take. It wasn't particularly great. And I really regretted the whole mess afterwards. A part of me still does, just because it wasn't well thought through and I felt rushed and like I was forced into making a decision I shouldn't have.

But that's all water under the bridge and a long time ago. If I met him today, I wouldn't hate him. Which is more than I can say for some of the people in my past.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:32 AM
August 02, 2002
Where Do I Come From?

1. What is your lineage? Where are your ancestors from?
I am over half Italian, the rest is mostly British, with some random elements thrown in.

2. Of those countries, which would you most like to visit?
Italy. Which I have now been to twice and absolute love it. I went the first time when I was 16 and a junior in high school (Latin club trip during April vacation). As we were riding on the bus from the airport to the first hotel, I really felt like I had somehow come home. And a few years back, when we were in Venice, I was really comfortable. There is something about it that calls to me there.

On the other hand, the one time I was in Britain I really loved that too. *smiles*

3. Which would you least like to visit? Why?
None of the above. I like traveling, and I like the places I came from. So there aren't really any disadvantages to visiting either that I can think of!

4. Do you do anything during the year to celebrate or recognize your heritage?
*shakes head* Not regularly, no. I think the closest I've ever come to a ritual was Dad walking across Cotton Mathers' grave in Boston because Cotton was the guy during the Salem witch trials who authorized the hanging of one of my ancestors (George Burroughs -- first man hung during the Salem witch trials).

5. Who were the first ancestors to move to your present country (parents, grandparents, etc)?
From Britain? We came over on the Mayflower. Yes, seriously.

From Italy? I'm the third generation born here. I remember one of my maternal great grandmothers speaking Italian when I was a little girl. My memories of her are really vague, but I remember her being very much like the typical Italian grandma.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:27 AM
August 01, 2002
WISH 6: Secrets
This week's WISH is something of a follow-up to last week's.

Sometimes the plot of a game requires a GM to keep secrets. Is it better for the GM and other players to keep most out-of-character knowledge secret, or to assume that players are capable of keeping in-character and out-of-character knowledge separate? Where and how do you draw the line as a GM and/or player between what secrets should be kept and which ones are OK to reveal?

Okay, so I'm sort of doing these in reverse, since I haven't done the communication one yet, but right now, I need something mild I can work on and this one is actually easier.

I'm big on secrets. As a GM and as a player. In fact, in recent years, I've had to back off because I found I've been gaming with people who are far more open about in-character knowledge than I am.

I think my fondness for keeping the secrets secret is due to two things... The first is that I'm somehow always the character who ends up with a weird big secret during the game, or becomes the betrayer. I think I started a reputation when I first showed up at RPI. The second Champions character I had here at RPI was amnesiac. I thought it would be fun, which leads into the second reason -- I like learning things about my character during play. It means I always have something to do. So there I was, trying to learn about her during play and discover her secrets, and well, next thing I knew I found out she had at one point been allied with the enemy! Hells, at one point she thought she'd been sleeping with the enemy, but turned out that one wasn't true. Although there was a great conversation that had the bewildered line, "Uh... last I knew I was het?"

So anyway, I don't like hearing about secrets during the course of the game, unless I know them, because for me, part of the fun of the game, is unraveling those very secrets.

And I don't like secrets being told because as a GM, or even as a player, part of the fun is watching *others* work to uncover them. Or even the risk of them bumping into them by accident. I spent two sessions of WEF working hard to make sure Brennan didn't figure out that Benedict was NOT Adrienne's father -- Oberon was.

There are those pieces of OOC information that are okay to reveal. In Rite of Passage, because I'm running it at ACUS and because I want to run it in a single room, there's a lot of OOC stuff revealed during the ACUS sessions. But we continue over email between cons, and the things done there remain secret unless talked about between the players. And I think that's actually worked well. If there is something I really don't want anyone knowing, I take them in the other room.

In terms of me, as a GM, talking to my players... it happens. I've learned over the years that I cannot talk to Kevin (my husband) about games other than ones he plays in -- he admits flat out that it doesn't interest him. So we talk about what he's playing in, which if I'm playing that means I'm usually running it these days. Our conversation usually centers around what if's with his character, or IC conversations, or whatever. But right now, we've been talking about the new game I'm setting up, and he's been helping me work through some of my history.

It goes the same, if not moreso, for Josh. We walk, we chat, and he has always known more about what's going on in the games than others. But I STILL don't spill the big secrets if I can at all help it. After all, I want him to be trying to get at them too during the game!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:00 PM
Testing

Okay, this is a test.

I need to know if putting nice little paragraph marks around what I type makes it publishable in a decent fashion through my BlackBerry after the fact.

Otherwise I'll totally not update ATW for the first time this weekend because I'm not going to have access Friday night, and on Saturday I either won't have access, or it'll be just too late to be thinking about publishing blogs!

End of test.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:47 PM
Sidebar Updated

I've added a few more places to go on the sidebar. There are more to add, still, but since I can't get to my own laptop's hard drive I can't get to my favorites listing. *grumbles* Once I get my laptop back, I'll work on doing more updates!

EDITED: Forgot to note, I alphabetized the sidebar, so if you got moved around it was just me realizing it was easier to organize the nice names than to not!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:21 PM
Writing for People's Eyes

A quote from Daria...

Daria: "I'm sort of thinking of submitting it somewhere. For publication."

Jane: "Oh good. When can I read it?"

Daria: "How about next leap year?"

Jane: "So, you're willing to publish it so complete strangers can read it, but you don't want to show it to your best friend?"

Daria: "Thank you for understanding."

Yes, this quote struck home... I've been there and certainly have felt that at times. Writing is hard. For some reason it is so much harder to accept criticism from people you know than from complete strangers.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:14 PM
Bloginality!

My Bloginality is ENFP!!!

The interesting thing is that this came up with the same thing as when I took Meyers-Briggs, so it seems to do pretty well.

Courtesy of Tuesday's Child.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:03 PM
Am I Owned?
25 %

My weblog owns 25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Courtesy of jen.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:56 PM
Oh, Look! People!

Okay, that's cool... in the past two days I have received comments (one in the diet and one in A Twisted Weave) from people I don't know who are reading parts of the site. Whee!!

Yes, I think this is really neat. Spread the word!

I think I've actually determined that the various blogs on this site have two functions. There are the parts that I do for myself. Random ramblings, chatter, discussions, whatever. Then there are the parts I do specifically because I *want* to share them. Because I hope other people will gain some enjoyment or use out of them. Like writing ATW, or the recipes in the diet, or the gaming stuff. I have no illusions about my characters -- those are for me and my GMs. But sometimes I hope that I'll post something that'll give someone an idea.

Of course, the site has always been useful for showing people just how strange and twisted I can be before they decide if they want to game with me. I've made it a requirement to read my website before beginning. Not that anyone *does* but if they do, I think they get a head start on the whole understanding my creative process thing.

It also gives them a chance to squick on their own and then beg out if they think I'm just too weird to deal with. It happens.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:13 AM