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I haven't written much about sailing, despite it eating a number of weekends this year. Difficult to talk about, because it's too easy to wax poetical and somewhat purple about it; I know why Masefield wrote:

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

even if I am in awe of the beautiful simplicity of his language and rhythm.

So, last weekend, I sailed around the Isle of Wight with the Bank Sailing Club (of which I am now a member, and therefore allowed to fly a particular pennon if I am ever skippering a yacht. This pleases me immensely). We were heading almost due west, not far off rounding the Needles, and we had a favourable tide and wind - smooth seas as I took the helm. "Best course to windward" I was told as I took over - i.e. get the wind in a good place and just go.

As I sailed, we were skipping across the sun's track on the water - low in the October sky and dodging in and out behind the clouds, the rays were glistening on the water, looking like golden cobblestones on our path. But the wind was shifting round the quarter, and I was chasing with our boat, making small adjustments, changing the heading by 10 or 20 degrees each time.

The skipper came on deck. "Why the jinking?" he asked.

"I'm trying to keep her to windward," I replied. "If I steer straight west, we're making about 5 knots. If I keep her in the wind, we're making about 6."

He grinned at me; aware that 1 mile an hour's gain is actually, really, not a huge deal. We weren't racing, we didn't have to be anywhere in particular. The tide and wind were in our favour.

He looked forward.

"I have often thought", he said, "That one of the joys of sailing is that it allows one to emphasise the romantic over the merely efficient. Best course to sunset, please, Helm."


Aug. 24th, 2012 01:43 pm
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The next time I mention that I'm anti-Royalist / Republican and someone trots out the line "but they're trained from birth to the role, bred to be ambassadors for the country" someone remind me to mention Harry Hewitt?

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

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So, not very long ago, an artist named Gotye released this song:

And it's good. It's catchy, the video is interesting, and it's a strong song.

Then the internet kicks in. If you youtube for Gotye and 'somebody that I used to know' there's a whole heap of remixes and covers. This is one of my favourites.

All the remixes happened quickly - people grabbed the original, ripped it apart, reshot it, remixed it, retasted it.

And then, Gotye, rather than complaining about what had been done to his song, did this:

Note, especially, the long list of credits on his website, and his attitude here:

Reluctant as I am to add to the mountain of interpretations of Somebody That I Used To Know seemingly taking over their own area of the internet, I couldn't resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered.

I was directly inspired here by Kutiman's Thru-You project:


Wonderful stuff!

Thankyou to everyone who has responded to Somebody That I Used To Know via YouTube. It's truly amazing!

An artist to watch, I think.
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That's a link to an article by a Renaissance scholar who's been living in Florence for the last year, discussing what was so important about Machiavelli.

It's a lovely article; well written and surprisingly touching.
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There's a lot I could say about the Olympics - the Orwellian mascots, the Zil lanes on the roads, the potential travel nightmares.

Here's something else, from a story in the Independent about the Olympic village, and the athletes' responses to it.

"After all those dark days of the war, the bombing, the killing, the starvation, the revival of the Olympics was as if the sun had come out... I went into the Olympic Village and suddenly there were no more frontiers, no more barriers. Just the people meeting together. It was wonderfully warm. Men and women who had just lost five years of life were back again."
Emil Zapotek, Czech Middle Distance Runner, London, 1948. Gold Medal winner.
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But this is just lovely.

Storybook calligraphy

Sinfest is a wierd little webcomic about God, Buddha, the Devil, books, people, poetry, feminism, patriarchy and love. Click on the comic to go through to the site.

I'm not doing it justice with that description at all. :-)
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We're planning to put on a show in the Autumn - depending on the venue, either a 1 week preview in October followed by 3 weeks in Jan / Feb or 3 weeks in November. To discuss, we usually meet for coffee in the middle of town, but time pressures this week meant that we thought we could delve into the joy that is a Skype audio conference.

What's the first rule of any conference? First check your equipment.

So 7:30 came around, I joined the conference, I could hear everyone perfectly. Could they hear me? Not so much. A few text messages (because you can't IM someone who's in an audio conference with you) and checking my headset leads me to believe that my microphone is kerput.

Aware that there are 3 people waiting on me to sort my shit out, I dig through the box of bitstm that every geek has to find my spare microphone. This, unaccountably, is not in the box of bits.

So, I would like to thank Skype and Apple for inspiring / allowing me to download the Skype for iPhone app, install it on my phone and join the conference (15 minutes late, but still there) using my phone, essentially, as a working microphone.

We are living in the future ...
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Does anyone know of an application that allows you to handwrite annotations onto an email? iPad would be good but I'm not sure that such a thing exists at all.
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One of my favourite books about how to write is Stephen King's "On Writing". King, like John Irving, has such a distinctive voice when he writes - that New England laconic that infects my writing style for weeks after I've read something of theirs, sticking to my fingers like creosote, staining my keyboard with their rhythms.

So, following links on a dull May Bank Holiday Sunday, I found a post by Neil Gaiman where he'd interviewed King for the Sunday Times and then, because the Times interview is behind a paywall, has posted the interview on his blog. And one of the things that King said put my back up at first. He's written a sequel to The Shining.

I'm not a big fan of sequels that come out many years after. Le Guin managed it with Tehanu, but it took 10 years for me to (grow up and) like that book once it had been published. The questions it asked and answered about what had happened to Ged in the first three books were questions that it took me a long while to appreciate needing to be asked. Scott Card's 'Shadow' books were disastrous - take a character (Ender) that went through hell, and then take all his victories away from him 20 years later because the authors new favourite character (Bean) is working in the background, making things easier. It's revisionism, pure and simple.

So when King said he had written a sequel to The Shining, my instinctive reaction was to be wary.

And then he said this:

“I wanted to write Dr Sleep because I wanted to see what would happen to Danny Torrence when he grew up. And I knew that he would be a drunk because his father was a drunk. One of the holes it seemed to me in The Shining is that Jack Torrance was this white-knuckle dry drunk who never tried one of the self-help groups, the like Alcoholics Anonymous. I thought, okay, I'll start with Danny Torrence at age forty. He is going to be one of those people who says 'I am never going to be like my father, I am never going to be abusive like my father was'. Then you wake up at 37 or 38 and you're a drunk. Then I thought, what kind of a life does that person like that have? He'll do a bunch of low-bottom jobs, he'll get canned, and now he works in a hospice as a janitor. I really want him to be in a hospice worker because he has the shining and he can help people get across as they die. They call him Dr Sleep, and they know to call for him when the cat goes into their room and sits on their bed. This was writing about guy who rides the bus, and he's eating in a McDonalds, or on a special night out maybe Red Lobster. We are not talking about a guy who goes to Sardi's.”

And, you know? That's just such an awesome summary of 30 years of someone's life, 30 years of what would have happened to someone who went through what Danny did at the Overlook, 30 years of never being able to let go of the past.

I'm very much looking forward to reading this.
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It's taken a while for the words to come.

[livejournal.com profile] furzepig is the reason I don't LRP anymore.

No. That's not quite right.

[livejournal.com profile] furzepig is the reason I know I'm not a LRPer anymore.

I've known D. for a very long time. Memory* says 'The Dome' which would place it around '95 or so; bonding over LRP and web design in a virtual room pretending to be a castle in an imaginary world. I'm aware it doesn't get much geekier than that. Though she won. My webdesign was for a university. Hers was for a comics company. Orbiting around each other at games the length and breadth of England. Always having a good word to say to each other when we did.

Then, post Millenium, I stopped going to the same games that she did. Well, I stopped going to games, mostly. She was at the first NWO game, and we had a few seconds to chat - there was far too much going on to spend time on real life interactions. And the games which did have that time, I was no longer attending. She played Maelstrom, and had a whale of a time. I took up clubbing, and it was pretty good, all things considered. But we fell out of contact.

But the modern gossamer thin strand was there. D came relatively late to LiveJournal, and then there was Facebook, and the myriad ways that it's possible to keep in touch without much effort in this modern age. I'm a great believer that friendships are sustained by trivia - if you see someone infrequently, then you get to hear of the highs and the lows, but all you know of their life is the top and bottom of the sine wave. For their life to seem full to you, for it to seem real ... for that you need to know what they're having for lunch, or that they stubbed their toe. That can be by seeing them day to day in person, or online.

So, thanks to Facebook and LJ, D and I became real to each other again.

So, LRP. D. persuaded me back. "Come to Odyssey", she said. "Play a snooty Roman. Kt and Iain will be there, and some other people that you won't have seen for a very long time. It will be fun."

And it was. I think, of all the games I've played, it was one of the best. Great company, fantastic costumes, an immersive world. The weather held, the wine flowed freely, the laughter rang through the trees. There were no strops OOC (in our group, anyhow), no hardships.

And if I can come out of a game like that with no desire to return, I think it's fair to say that this is no longer my hobby.

D. gave me a gift (as did Kt, Iain, Sarah and everyone else that game). She gave me the best possible way to draw a line under something that had been a major part of my life for 10 years, and a minor (but still important) part for another 5.

That wasn't the last I saw of her, which is of course even better than the gift of a game. She was making more effort to visit London and to socialise when possible, and my work took me to Glasgow occasionally, so we'd meet up for dinner and drinks when we could. (Even though it was a 3 hour round trip for her.) I'm not sure I could tell you now what we talked about over Glaswegian sushi, but cabbages and kings were certainly involved.

And now she's gone.

Ave Atque Vale ...

By ways remote and distant waters sped,
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come,
That I may give the last gifts to the dead,
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb:
Since she who now bestows and now denies
Hath taken thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes.
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years,
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell,
Take them, all drenchèd with a brother’s tears,
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!

Aubrey Beardsley, translating Catullus.
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My niece reads as voraciously as I do. Those of you who have been to my house know what that means. So for a couple of years, I bought her the Swallows and Amazons hardbacks - a couple for birthdays, a few for Christmas. Even when she was desperate to find out what happened next, and her Mum said that she could go and buy the books with her own money, she didn't want to. Those were the books that I bought her, and this was a thing between us.

So you can imagine when I bought the last one for her, I knew I had a hard act to follow.

Come last April, I looked around the books that I thought she'd like, and that would mean something to her. And I found the 'Hunger Games' trilogy - strong female protagonist, sci fi, exciting. Perfect. But one of the reviews made me pause - I hadn't read the books and my niece is young for her age. So I ordered them for me and read them first; if they were great and appropriate, I'd buy my niece her own set. If they were either rubbish or not appropriate, then I wouldn't.


The books are fantastic.

There's no way I want my 13 year old niece reading them. Not yet.

So you can imagine when I saw that a film was being made, I was slightly concerned. Even more so when I saw that it was going to get a 12A certificate.

I went to see it tonight.

It's everything that the books are; dark, melancholic, disturbing. It's a great film - it's a long time since a film has put my heart in my mouth for me and it happened several times tonight. The cuts they make to the book all make sense, and are few and far between.

It's a powerful story. And it's one I'll watch again. But not one that I'd suggest to my sister for my niece. Not just yet.

Even before I'd seen the film though, I'd heard ... not the soundtrack. I don't know if this is common but alongside the soundtrack album, there's this one - - The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond. As best I can tell, these are largely songs that fit the theme, or that have been written to complement the film - certainly the lyrics in many cases are too apposite to not reflect the story.

And it's just beautiful.

I've been listening to it on repeat pretty much for the last week or so, and there's one track in particular that I've played over and over - I might as well, because when I'm not, I still hear the chorus. Friends call this an earworm. When you have a track that you just can't get out of your head. There's a way out - you need an emergency backup track that's even more tenacious, to drive the earworm out.

But I don't want this one to go, not yet.

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How does one go about buying art that might appear at an art auction?

There's a print that I'd really like to get a copy of - there were only ever 200 or so prints. I know the artist, I know the name of the print.

Is there an easy way (other than setting up a Google alert) to find out if one of these prints is going to be offered at auction somewhere?

A memory

Mar. 27th, 2012 09:17 am
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When I was 11 or so, I cycled to Tywyn.

I wasn't on my own. It was organised by the local church as a youth trip. There wasn't sponsorship or anything like that - it was just considered to be a good way to spend a weekend. Cycle, camp, play on the beach, come home. It was almost certainly done in the summer holidays - it's about an 85 mile cycle, and we did it in a day, from flat Shropshire into hilly Wales and down the long road from Machynlleth to the sea, where you can pretty much free wheel all the way. There was a grandly named 'support car' carrying all the luggage, and about 10 of us cycling.

I can't remember if Nici and I was amongst the youngest, but I think we were. Nici had been my friend at school since I was 5 and we were in the same class together. He has two brothers and was unusual for many things; he was a good artist from an early age, talented at almost anything he put his hand to, very charismatic. Nici's dad was a teacher, and he was bringing up Nici and his brothers on his own - he'd separated from his wife. This may not sound unusual now, but in Telford in the early 80s, especially as we were all Catholic, it was cause for comment.

I don't remember much about the ride there. Flashes - basically mental photos of punctures being mended, rests being taken. And that long, long road down which was almost like flying.

That night, Nici and I shared a tent. So it was me he woke in the dead of night, wheezing and unable to breath. I flicked on my torch. It was silver barrelled and threw out very little light - certainly nothing as useful or bright as the maglights I have now, or even the mini LED torches I used to take clubbing with me. A wan yellow light, shining on the face of my friend, who was unable to breath and slowly turning blue.

He panicked. I panicked. Calling out got no response from the tents around us - I'm guessing that what was the dead of night for us was probably about 10:30 and that the adults and teenagers had seen that we were dead to the world and so had gone to the pub. This was the 80s; James Bulger and Madeline McCain hadn't been born yet and there was no harm in the world that was going to come to 2 young boys in a camping field in a small Welsh coastal town.

Health and Safety and Risk Assessments hadn't been invented yet. Neither had mobile phones, of course, so we couldn't just call for help.

So - both of us realised we were on our own. There was only one thing to do - get up, find someone else, get an ambulance. We got dressed, I wrapped Nici in a sleeping bag for extra warmth and we set out into the night. Taking action calmed us and the cold night air eased his wheezing. While he still wasn't breathing well, being out and active meant that he could at least get some air into his lungs. So with him wrapped up and leaning on me, we headed towards the lights at the corner of the field where the road was.

I don't think we were quite at the road before we met most of our group coming back from the pub. While there were initial questions as to why we were out of bed, as soon as they heard Nici's breathing they acted. The local hospital was very close by and Nici was admitted straight away. They quickly diagnosed that he was having an asthma attack - whether it had been brought on by the exertion of the cycle that day, or an allergy to something in the field, or something else, I still to this day don't know. And asthma, once diagnosed, is trivially easy to treat.

Nici was kept in overnight, and wasn't allowed cycle back the following day. He sat in the support car and as he and I had been keeping pace with each other on the journey there, I wasn't allowed (nor would I have wanted to) cycle back on my own.

Nici grew up fine. He started seeing Jo when they were both 16; they got married when he got a job in a middle eastern state that wouldn't have been happy with them co-habiting, and they're still together now, 26 years later. I'm in touch with them both via Facebook and they look happy. I've no idea if he still carries an inhaler with him, or if it was something that passed once he got out of his teens. Given that he and Jo run marathons together, I'm guessing he's doing okay.
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1/ For a long time you were the only other practising (or in my case semi- practicing) Christian larper I knew. Is faith/spirituality still important to you?

I honestly don't know. I blogged about a year ago about how I didn't tick 'Christian' on the Census form this time, though it was a tussle. I've been thinking a lot about it since, and I guess my current state of mind is that of practical agnosticism - I don't know that what I believe is necessarily important. What's important is what I do. If I do something nice for someone, then its irrelevant if I'm doing that because God told me to, or because Kant suggested it, or even if just because I like the nice warm fuzzy glow I get from doing it. The person in question still got something nice done for them.

Having said that, on the winter solstice in 2009 I wrote my own credo:

I believe that this life is a journey, and that the day I stop learning is the day that I die.
I believe that I come to truth through stories, and that by telling stories to others I learn.
I believe that I am from this land and of this land, and that the stories that teach me best are the ones that spring from the same ground as me.
I believe that love, light and warmth are three things to strive for, and to wish for, and to wish for others too.

I still hold that to be true.

2/ Was LT the only larp you were involved with, or have there been others which have grabbed your attention at times?

*grin* I started LRP in 1986 at a little club in Telford, and by the time the LT started in '92 was playing a lot with a group called Nemesis in Manchester. In fact, many of the Harts in '94 were Nemesis players. For fests, I also played Omega, and then I played in the 5 'NWO' freeforms - probably my favourite game of all.

3/ Have your political views changed any since first formed?

Yes - I'm far more left wing now that I ever was. I think there's a number of massive inequalities in society, and that I need to play my part in trying to reduce those inequalities. And I'm far more republican now (anti-royal rather than IRA :-)) that I was in my teens and twenties.

4/ Why tabletop RPGs?

The joy of collaborative building; stories and worlds. The fun of the game, and a good reminder that games don't have to be zero-sum (something, to my shame, I'm not always good at remembering). And sometimes, just a damn good excuse to hang round with my mates and drink beer and eat pizza.

5/ Would you recommend laser eye surgery following your experiences?

Yes, but my experiences have been all positive. I healed quickly, had great eyesight for 9 years after the surgery and am only now having to wear glasses in certain circumstances; driving, mainly.

Still think it's one of the best decisions I ever made.

6/ What fictional character do you most relate to, and why?

Horatio Hornblower / Nicholas Seafort (they're essentially the same character.) Because I like to think that even when I screw up beyond all belief, and I have, that it's not because of any malice. Most of the biggest mistakes I've made have been down to lethargy.

7/ What skill would you most like to acquire?

If by 'acquire', you mean magically, without any effort, then speaking languages. Japanese if I'm only allowed one. If I'm allowed multiple, then I may need to think about that some more. (Welsh, Gaelic, Latin, French, Spanish, German ...)

On the other hand, if you're not going to allow me a magic wand, and actually mean that I've got to do all that dull learning and practice, then it's either sailing or climbing.
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1. What does dancing mean to you?

It's one of the few activities that I do where I switch my brain off and just be. I don't know any formal dances, and I don't believe 'dance like no-one is watching' is enough. 'Dance like it doesn't matter who's watching' is far more important.

What I'm really bad at is dancing with someone else - I often get very self conscious about it, especially if I find the other person attractive.

2. Where do you think will be the next place you live?

I honestly don't know. There's no reason to move from Ilford in the foreseeable future; my home is here, it's handy for work, I have friends nearby. Life would have to change a great deal for me to consider moving away from London, and I really can't see myself not living in or on the edge of a city. But when I was looking for work before I got this job, I was looking in Birmingham as well as London. I don't know if it's next, but it's certainly a contender.

3. Which do you consider more important, being totally honest or keeping people happy?

Keeping people happy, if it's a binary. I think the situations which require total honesty are few and far between - especially as I'm getting more and more aware that the things I believe are filtered so much through who I am that I'm not sure that there's any such thing as absolute truth.

Not that I'd lie to someone for the sake of it; I just think that 'total honesty' requires you to say something about a situation with no regard for how the person you're speaking to is going to take it.

4. What's your favourite book?

Can't answer that at all. It's so situational. I have books that I find challenging each time I read them. Books which are like old socks with holes in that you can't persuade yourself to throw out. Books which are freshly laundered jumpers straight out of the dryer. Books which have chapters that are old friends; the sort that you can ring at 4 in the morning whether it's to tell them that you're having the worst time or the best time of your life.

Basically, I'm polyamorous about books.

5. What do you / did you get out of LRP?

Did. Very much did. :-)

A huge amount of sociability. An adrenal rush. Quiet moments around fires in the dark. The dull ache of armour and the particular joyful moments that occur just after you've taken off your chain and the wind can get through and start to dry your sweat and you feel light enough to dance on the moon. Excellent friends. Hangovers. Bruises and kisses.

My heart in my mouth on more than one occasion.

6. How's the Beetle going?

I now understand why people are petrolheads.

7. Would you ever consider living in Ireland?

My heart says yes, my head says no. None of my friends are there; the people I know (many of whom I'm related to) who are I'm not really in touch with - the occasional wedding, baptism or funeral is not enough to convince me to move.

Find me a green eyed, black haired girl though, and all bets are off. :-)
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Once a week, I go to a primary school in Bethnal Green to help the children there put together a school magazine. It's organised through the Community Relations team at work, I've been doing ti for about a year, and it's a lot of fun.

It's hard work (and really makes me appreciate the work that teachers do) but it's quite different to my day job and breaks the rhythm of the working week.

So this term, I've really taken the lead in project managing the magazine - of the people who can go regularly, I'm the one with the most design / printing experience. So we're encouraging the children not just to write articles and take photos, but also to proofread each other's work, and to think about what goes into making a magazine. I even briefly talked to them about page layout, and things they needed to consider about the number of articles we had. I've got an editorial board meeting with them this Thursday to show them the final proofs of the magazine and they get to say whether they're happy with it.

There's a whole heap of good things about doing this, but last week's session really raised a smile. 2 nine year old girls were putting together a recipe page, and they were decorating the edge of the page with clip art of chocolate chunks. As I looked over their shoulder to the PC, one of them turned to me and, with a very serious look on her face, said "We're only putting the pictures of chocolate on the left hand side and at the top, so you must make sure that this is a left hand page, otherwise the design won't work."

I think I managed to nod, say "I'll make a note of that" and turn away before grinning too much.
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Usual meme rules - comment back if you'd like questions for yourself. (If you'd like to comment without getting questions, feel free, just let me know)

The delightful [livejournal.com profile] kt_peasant asked me these 7 questions:

1. Would you rather watch something done well, or do it yourself, possibly less well? Discuss.

Both. I love watching people who are better than me at things; its one of the best ways for me to learn. There's a guy called Nigel who climbs at Mile End who is just one of the most graceful people I've ever seen and he climbs in a way that makes ... jealous is entirely the wrong word. He inspires me to climb better, even though I doubt I'll ever climb half as well as he does.

So both - give me someone good at what they do to watch and to learn from and to inspire me, and I'll be happy.

2. What does the word 'cabaret' evoke for you?


At its best, cabaret is entertainment. Related to Q1 it's watching people good at what they do, up on stage, making other people feel emotion, usually very positive emotion.

And I get to stand at the back and watch the audience and be aware that I've been a part of making that happen.

Running an event is something like I've always imagined surfing to feel like - it's chaos and you're thrashing away and it could all end up with you flat on your back with the waves about to crash down on your head. But then you reach this balance point, where the chaos is going on around you, but you know that you're better than it. That you've got everything you need to make it through to the end, and that you're poised on top of the wave and that there's nothing coming that you can't cope with. When I got to that point in the evening with Planet Angel I used to go and sit on a speaker at the front of the room, face the dancing crowd and I would just burst out laughing with the joy of that feeling.

With cabaret, that would disrupt things rather too much, so I laugh on the inside instead.

Still get the feeling though.

3. Have you ever taken IC learning/development back into real life? When?

Not sure. Things like confidence? Definitely. But that's a gradual grow rather than specific instances. I once went into a work evaluation meeting as Jarane because they were trying to pull a fast one with The Code the HR Policy regarding bonuses. That was fun :-)

4. If you could be anywhere, with a forcefield beneath to prevent InstaDeath, what would you most want to climb?

I wouldn't.

There's two reasons. Firstly, for me, climbing is about the route, not the destination. It's lovely to be at the top of a rock knowing that I've just achieved it. Which rock it is isn't as important (at the moment. As I get more outdoor experience, that might change.)

Secondly, the challenge in climbing isn't really the fear of falling. It's "Can I make the next move?". I might not be able to make it because I'm scared to fall, but your forcefield isn't as reassuring as a stout rope and an alert belayer. But it's much more likely that I won't be able to make the next move because I'm too tired, or not quite strong enough, or my balance isn't right, or I haven't approached the hold intelligently, or I'm just not good enough.

And sometimes that all happens when I'm only 2 feet above the floor.

There's lots of places I want to go - many of them I want to go and climb. But no need for a forcefield. :-)

5. Are cities at night better in winter or summer?

Depends on the city. Prague at night in winter; you wrap yourself in the blanket that the bar provides and sit outside, drink the winter ale and watch the lights of the Old Town all around. London at night in summer. Walking through Bloomsbury when it's warm, and almost silent. The stones breath out and everything is calm; a side of the city that you rarely see.

6. Name five books you would want with you on a desert island.

  • Dante's Divine Comedy, if only because I might have time to make it all the way through.
  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Because they're beautiful, and if I'm going to be talking to myself (I do it at home, no doubt I'd do it on a desert island) I might as well have something good to proclaim.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary - as large an edition as you'll let me get away with. If it has the etymologies, so much the better.
  • The Times Atlas of the World - because even place names make my imagination fly.
  • Kim, by Rudyard Kipling. Just because ....

7. Which tabletop game have you found most immersive? Tell me a story from it.

I don't find tabletop immersive when I'm playing. I focus too much on the 'game' part of RPG. This is not something I'm very proud of.

But as a GM? 3 stories.

An Ars Magica game where an old Diedne came out of Faerie to negotiate with the characters about bringing his house back into the Order. They'd sent him because he was dying, and tough enough that the PCs wouldn't be able to force any information out of him. And he'd gone because he just wanted to sit in Snowdonia once more, and to die in Wales. As I was playing him, his voice kept dropping quieter and quieter as he slowed further and further towards death. And when I looked up, at least one of the players was crying.

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer game where a friend called Caroline, in her 3rd ever RPG, was playing a 'Cordelia' like character. She was walking through a vampire infested warehouse when another PC dropped a bundle of sticks near her and used magic to change them to snakes. Caroline said "I pick my feet up carefully and move slowly", whereupon the character who'd dropped the sticks shouted "Don't be scared. I'll command the snakes away from you." Without a pause for breath, Caroline retorted "I'm not scared, you stupid man. These are very expensive shoes!". For a handful of breaths, I honestly felt like I was watching a TV show being created in front of my eyes.

An Unknown Armies game, where [livejournal.com profile] forbinproject was playing an Avatar of the Architect, and he and his group had been sucked into a dreamworld where another Avatar of the Architect was trying to make Simon's character break taboo. The party were stuck at the top of a towerblock with the Chinese Triads coming in through the ground floor with lots of guns. Simon's character could change the building they were in to escape, but only by adding things to it. If he subtracted them, he broke taboo. He not only got everyone out, he got me (as his opponent) to break taboo because I honestly couldn't think of any other way to slow them down. Very few dice rolls, no preplanning, just trying to inhabit the mind of the architect faster and better than he could. And failing. It was awesome.
jfs: (Default)
On Stratford station, on platform 8, listening to music, waiting for a train home.

A young man catches my eye. "did you hear that?" he asked. I remove my headphones. I didn't. I don't know what he's talking about.

"there's a platform alteration. Are you catching a train to Shenfieldl? It's now going from Platform 10.".

So thanks to the kindness of a stranger, I'm on the right platform, waiting for my train home.

London can be scary, and huge, and unfriendly.

But it can also be full of the kindness of strangers. Don't forget that.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

jfs: (Default)
I bought one of these.

While it's described as a 'mug' I bought it because it's basically a camping cafetiere. I figured that when out under canvas, I could make a couple of cups of ground coffee first thing each morning.

Given that I'm on my second mugful today, I guess I'm using it as originally intended.

January 2017

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