Archive for May, 2004

Letters to Venus

I enjoyed Lea’s letter to Mr. Harkness, some 1882-ish astronomer who wrote about the transit of Venus.

I love repeating astronomical events. It’s like passing a certain point on a trip coming and going, with many years between, and it’s as if all those years fold and the two points in time meet.
Hello! Mr. Harkness! Hello! Hello, people of 1882! Hello from the 21st century!

Thinking about “the last telegraph station in the U.S.” I wonder if telegraph is common elsewhere, still.

Everyone’s asleep. Ahh, peace at last, today.

I’m still reading but going to take a break to meditate. It is a strange thing to do to set aside time to watch my thoughts and feelings without writing them down, trying NOT to verbalize them, or just sort of letting go of them. It does seem to be about practicing detachment. At other times, detachment is what I’m trying to kill. But it’s useful and comforting.

I love Lea for travelling back in time — sending tender, fierce, funny letters to the dead!

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cooking

Moomin has been cooking things all morning – mainly “yukky soup” and chocolate cake.

Today’s yukky soup had marshmallows, cat barf, snake poop, stinky socks, and broccoli.

The cake was for his stuffed horse (really, mine from when I was little) D3sdemona. It was fucking funny to see him writing a birthday card to her. It took him fully 5 minutes to write the word “D3sdemona” on the card. The card was placed in the mailbox with a sticker for a stamp.

I keep sneaking off to read. A lazy morning. Kushiel’s Dart is hot, hot, hot! It also totally feels like the best parts of reading mary renault. I had to consult a map of France to get it straight where things were. I don’t really know anything about french history except for all that stuff about charlemagne we learned for that ars m@gica game.

***
Yay! the book has had me in its deadly grip all day. They are at the Allthing, and there was a holmgang, and, and, and. It couldn’t be better!

Moomin quietly read “dr. d00little and the pirates” and typed all the numbers up to 50 and played with his animals while I was lost in my dirty little alternate history dreams. It’s hard to get up and help him do something or play for a little while and bear patiently with interruptions. Finally around 3:30 I put on a video for him and retreated into the cool darkness of my bedroom, with the book.

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fun at the con

I had a great time at B@ycon as Minnie and T. took Moomin to the zoo all day long.

Bought some incredibly cheap books. Books that made me squeak with delight – and then to have the guy tell me “35 cents”. Ahhhh! unheard of! What amazing scores I just made. And fizzy, bewitching C. bought me Kushiel’s D@rt. I will be reading it in the bathtub any minute now.

Many fabulous outfits were seen. It was joyous to see so many total goof-ass nerds.

I flashed my underwear constantly to the world, which appreciated it. Rather like that bit from Inanna where it goes something like “Leaning against the apple tree, the young woman applauded her vulva…” Though most of the time even my underwear was not visible, the very idea that it might be about to be visible seemed to just about kill some people dead of heart attacks. Fittingly, the myth is all about Inanna drinking her patriarchal dad under the table and walking off with all his stuff. The list of stuff given/stolen is well worth reading. I seem to remember it being much longer in a different translation….

R. Ruck3r rather cute, nice. I like his writing, but you never know if someone will come off like a big old jerk. Nope. Seemed nice. Gazed like deer in headlights at my almost-visible underwear.

***

I am also thinking of Doxie tonight and wondering how she is. She is at a conference somewhere in Engl@nd. Her mom just died. I hope she has good emotional support and the thought of her having to be “on” and all sexy and outrageous-acting and talky to a bazillion sex-crazed strangers while in complex emotional state… arrrgh. She can handle it, but I still worry.

Am also curious to death over how Rook’s “Brawny Thews” con@n the barbarian game went today. He looked hauntingly attractive last night coming home at 1am with his game-playing prizes – what a stud. Will he have more decorations and medals tonight? Will he be sparkling with Ideas?

Tomorrow: ?? reading? slacking? must do something new with Moomin? There is no plan. Then at 4:30, Ep’s going-away party for J.M. and family. Rook will still be at the game con all day, I think.

the Pilot has come up with a fantastic party idea – we will have a craft party and all decorate bras with, like, plastic goop, or flowers, or spikes, or beads and toy soldiers and fish heads or something. I think as a substrate I would need a very scary iron-style bra (maybe k-mart has something?) But what theme? I have no good ideas yet. Arty and scary? Or funny, yet still wearable and functional?

I started the Le0nard Wibberly book, “Encounter Near Venus,” a little bit and it’s excellent, very cool and witty, 4 children and sudden adventure with aliens in classic E.Nesbit mode, but then I realized I want to read the Kushiel one first.

My offline writing has been a bit crazed lately. I am inspired…

Meditating is going okay and in fact I will go do that before reading and taking a glorious hot hot hot bath with patchouli and rosemary and mint bubbles.

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a quote

“something something, / to ward off the inexistency devils ” I can hear kerouac’s voice and exact intonation from the recording. A little torturesome when this happens and an imperfect soundtrack is stuck in my head. (This, all the way from here to SF today in the car.) The rest of the quote? What it’s from? Anyone?

And as it looped I began loving it and thinking How True and that nearly everything worthwhile or not is “to ward off the inexistency devils”. That I understood perfectly what the inexistency devils were and are and how to ward them off.

And so to bed.




p.s. this is just wrong

Best title for a blog post… shit, best headline…

Lyra better not be going to ‘Band Camp’

Oh, the wrongness of this image! See, most of the time when a whump-ism is committed, I just snicker at his touching hope that someone might get his obscure jokes. But this one is within my radar and so I’m totally cracking up. Evil, evil, evil!

Alas, I think there’s no way “they” could make that movie without it sucking. Even if they manage to find child actors who act without their mouths always open in that one annoying child actor facial expression, it will 99% likely suck.

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paper

You know, I just re-read my paper on gaming and power and noticed all its editing mistakes and typos and the bits where I didn’t bother to fix the html markup for underlining and stuff like that. I should fix it!

I also think it is really cool and if I made it a little more clear and put in better transitions, it would be great. I mean, I start out with narratology and end up saying that imaginary things are as important as real things and basically that there is no reality. How fucking funny! What gall! I crack myself up.

I think all my academic papers end this way. I just can’t stand to be pinned down to spouting some pompous opinion. So attacking “reality” or truth is my big fuck-you. Fortunately, I’m not in Kansas anymore and saying that sort of thing in San Francisco is so old hat that I still make good grades.

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day of fun

I had a great time hovering ghostlike amongst the WisCon game/comix and feminism panel. I think it might have been a bit inconvenient/ annoying for the panelists as the audio kept cutting out but still, I said some reasonably good stuff that I think was entertaining. I was very interested to hear about the stuff going on in video games.

Why did I not go to WisCon this year? Am I crazy? Next year for sure. We could all go. Moomin is old enough to be in whatever daycare they have, too.

Whump, I hope you took notes or else got me whatever handouts or lists were going around… actually just bring me back whatever neato flyers, handouts, etc. you come across!!!

I wish I could be there for the panel on older women characters.

Moomin watched C1nderella (poisonous movie! and he named his blue pretty pony after her, too, that eyelash batting ho! ) We visited Squid and family and then hared off to the zoo for a flamingoes and pizza picnic. My friends’ graduation party (“we are going to a grownup party” “oh, okay. can i eat cookies?” “Yes.”) was fun especially as it was unexpectedly filled with their relatives from all over instead of (as I had thought) everyone from our department. I swear to fucking got I had the best conversation with Moose’s brother from w1sconsin. First of all, realizing that his family calls him “Moose”. Second of all I learned in casual conversation that his brother “goes over the road” (was that even the exact expression?) which means does interstate trucking.

I loved this man. He said to me and some other slightly older guy who was someone else’s uncle: “Yeah, I’m from a really small town, like, REALLY small, and if I hadn’t been in a lot of other cities, and I lived in M@dison for a couple years… I was actually kinda like, whoa, am i really GOIN’ TO SAN FRANCISCO? Because I don’t know if I could’ve handled it, otherwise. And my cousin was like, “Oh, no, it’s really not such a big deal and you don’t even notice it, really, they are pretty much just the same.” But then I told her, “No way, you don’t understand, see, you just, like, went to Alcatraz, and did those things and rode the cable car or somethin’, but I’m gonna be walking up and down Castro Street with a coupla GAY guys, ya know? I don’t know WHAT I’m gonna be seeing. But, you know, that’s cool, I can totally handle it, because I lived in M@dison and have Travelled all over, to Tampa and Wyoming and stuff, even if I never made it to California.”

I found this utterly charming. I remember why I liked the midwest at times. Innocence and openness. My other friend’s relative, the other recipient of the Trucker Brother’s wonderful monologue, started in horror, looked around the room, and said (sincerely) “What? There’s two GAY GUYS here? Who’s gay? You’re kidding right? I’m gonna get my WIFE over here. Don’t look at me man. It’s not me. I have a wife. Really. Over there.” as if a sling was about to pop out of the ceiling and whisk him up whle his cock were about to be sucked forcibly right there and then while someone trussed him up like a thanksgiving turkey and fisted him. He should be so lucky. Then a tiny, tiny realization that it was the Trucker Guy’s BROTHER who was the gay one entered his pea-brain and he verbally backpedalled for a while really badly. I didn’t help him one bit. I could not believe I had just heard those words come out of a real person’s mouth. Me and the Trucker exchanged Looks and then I asked him a lot of questions about owner-operated rigs vs. working for a company, and got an earful of information.

Moomin, meanwhile, watched Al@ddin and read F0x in S0cks several times. I enjoyed many doubletakes as people realized he was really reading it and not just flipping the pages.

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gender and gaming

If given any opportunity to say something about this for the W1sCon panel

Power, Information and Play my own paper – crucial point is realizing and taking apart the ways people tie in non-hierarchical collaboration to gender. (dirty essentialists!) (okay, “dirty essentialists” is not productive… and is this too complicated to get across?)

talk about the stereotypes from Knights of the Dinner Table. How they apply but how they don’t and are quite irritating. Sara is 10 times as knowledgeable as the guys about game system trivia, so as to be taken seriously, but ALSO always talks to everything before fighting out of girly niceness. “Wait! Let’s TALK to the Ogre.” She is written as having a better understanding of psychology and relationships and behaves ethically. The guys sometimes see these qualities as “ruining the game”.

The simple fact that most of the gaming community doesn’t actually believe there IS any sexism in gaming. They desperately need education, a Feminism 101 primer.

the scandinavian gamers and theorists of Solmukohta and their excellent books. Their LARP based on Le Guin. Actually maybe this is where to start, as it’s a positive and cool thing. (Instead of my getting lost in a labyrinth of endless sniping against evil, when the whole great thing about W1sCon is you don’t have to spend all your time explaining what sexism is and how to see it.)

Okay – focus.

- the finnish books and the Le Guin LARP. [go find book Beyond Role and Play and As Larp Grows Up]
- Rook’s link collection for this
- my paper (toot, toot!)
- Rook’s points about family roles, example of v1nland “wife and mother” roles being powerful
- our upcoming book on RPG theory
- mention Emily Short’s fabulous games!!! so good!!! Galatea and Metamorphoses and the others.
- Br@wny Thews (gently and instructively objectify barbarian gladiators, chainmail bikini style)

That is plenty to say and in fact too much.

But it really needs to be said.

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best joke!

I think I might have a replacement for the pirate joke. I almost forgot. Told last night by one of the readers at genderenders.

Q: What’s red and invisible?

(the answer is in the comments)

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drifting thoughts

A little work today – piano playing – reading – typing up more of Acheron. Writing bits and pieces, blah blah blah, all inadequate-seeming stutters that failed to catch.

I read all the back issues of “Other” magazine. Re-re-re-infinitely-re-read David Shenton’s illustrated version of Salomé. Tooled around in books of chinese poetry and in Andre Gide. Today I was a happy intellectual tourist finally able to turn off the painful laser-like focus of the last 5 months of my 2 school projects. (Which, though they are turned in, are not Done and I need to rewrite the Girls that go Boom essay and send it off. Also incorporate some of the changes El Profe suggested for the L.V. double translation.)

Hung with Jo making cake the Real way. I dreamily watched her fold things into the batter. Her new chapter of Ada is looking just great. Made effort to talk about its greatness, but I fear instead I only really talked about my own thoughts…

Kids alternately all cute, helpful, sharing, intelligently following what was happening, and then fighty and screamy. Moomin self-righteously bossy, obnoxious. “It’s All Your Fault!” accusations were exchanged between kids. (What? The screaming?) During such moments I fear that I am the worst person on earth to be explaining to anyone else the fine line between over-aggressive hostility, self-expression, and healthy, balanced self-assertion. What will happen later when I have to explain more important things to an older kid? I thought of the ideas in the “Shame and Pride” book about affect walls and teaching children what is socially acceptable in “affect broadcasting”. While I’m all for teaching little kids how not to scream or cry or jump around spazzing out at inconvenient moments, (or, as Moomin does instead, become possessed with some kind of Holy Paladin-ness, kitten rescuing, and shaming of misbehavior) in fact I think maybe my own affect broadcast is turned up past 11 a lot of the time. Since I don’t consider this bad, it feels odd to discipline children for pretty much doing the same thing. I suspect a lot of other parents feel reluctant to apply dampers to their childrens’ public emotional intensity…

I also am reminded of my friend El’s thesis which was on cultural differences in childrearing between china and the u.s. — discipline/punishment/child control by shame vs. guilt. Shame being the instilling of hegemony at an early age, or something. Guilt, I freaking forget what, but based on fear of actual punishment.

Listening: John Lee Hooker, Blind Willie Johnson, The Raincoats, The toasters, Johnny Cash (“you’ve got to change harmonicas faster than you can kiss a duck!”) more Jem. (Obsessed with poppy poppiness of Jem. Writing “poppy” makes me want to hear patti smith. Was thinking of her last night and spouting random bits from “Piss Factory” to someone I have no idea if they knew what I was talking about or maybe I just sounded crazy. “you’re puttin’ out piece work too fast, you’re screwing up the quota.” “I’m gonna be somebody be somebody”

Then today again (I’m becoming like Dirty Greggie, spouting thoughts) “Oh the yoke, the old buddha-yoke will set that turtle free.” Hmm.

Must go off into redwoods and write for hours and just sort of stare at things.

But sooner than that, i must go play with Moomin and bathe him and read some books with him and put him to bed. by 9.

***
Bath was fun. I got cake-making equipment and Moomin “the daddy who cooks the birthday cakes” made a soap and water chocolate cake for a small plastic turtle. He often consulted a facecloth to see what to do next. Waterproof recipes are the best! He was then entertained by a reading of “The Stup1ds Step Out”.

A really good day!

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