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Another interesting thing about Dreamwidth: as they are less well-known, they are not blocked by my school's firewalls. Booyah.

Anyway, here is my first post via Dreamwidth, and my first personal blogging post in some time. I feel under a lot of pressure to make this post "good" and "seminal," to define with grace and brilliance what this blog is going to be about.

That's why instead I'm going to post this RPGnet motivational poster I made about five years ago.

The Others

Sometimes, you just need to move on.

I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with a blog. Post about writing, gaming, and random geeky things on the internet? I do that already on the Burning Zeppelin Experience. Post about miniatures, wargaming, modding, and painting? I think I'm the only person in my immediate internet circle to be into that sort of thing. Post about how freaking slow and unreliable Audible downloads are? Tempting, but probably not a great idea.

So, I guess that leaves posting about my life. Hopefully I can elevate the format above "how was your quesadilla?" blogging, but I'm going to assume that if you're reading this, you're at least tangentially interested in what's going on with me, in a broader format than Facebook allows.

Which reminds me - if I want my friends to read this and be updated about my life, I should link to Facebook from it.

Anyway, the fact is that I miss the heyday of Livejournal. I miss reading my Friends page and seeing what my friends are up to, creatively presented in their own words, impregnated with their own personalities, intermixed with a liberal sprinkling of people I don't know personally but think are neat. Maybe there's nothing I could do to bring those days back, but I can post this, I can post about Dreamwidth on Facebook, and I can hope.

So, here goes nothing. This blog will be about me, for those who care to read it.

Also, is it just me or does Michele Bachman look less like she's dropping out of the race and more like she's promising to bite all those who oppose her?

There is definitely something bitey about that woman. I know that her dropping out of the race doesn't mean that she will stop spouting horrible hate-filled rhetoric, but at least it means that I won't have to hear about it - or look at her horrible bitey weasily face - nearly as frequently.

But enough about politics. What's been up with me?

The last - God, how long has it been? - the last period has had some ups and downs. Ups include my teaching career, which continues to be lots of fun. Abby is well, as well, and I'm still quite happy to be married to her. I've recently gotten into wargaming - I'm sure you've all noticed, after all the pictures I've posted - and while it's a hobby that's possibly even sillier than the rest of the ones I've already got, It's also a lot of fun. I really enjoy the artistry that goes into assembling, modifying, and painting my Tiny Plastic Spacemen, Tiny Plastic Lizardmen, Tiny Plastic Giant Robots, and Tiny Plastic Giant Monsters (TPSMs, TPLMs, TPGRs, and TPGMs, for short). Apparently, I'm even quite good at it, and getting better.

However much fun it is, though, minis wargaming doesn't replace roleplaying. Real roleplaying, the kind I did in college, the kind where you tell deeply meaningful stories. I'm done feeling ashamed - I've been done for a while now - this is one of the major ways I express myself. It's also really hard to do when you're a grownup. I've posted about it before, and I'll probably post about it again. It's kind of up right now in my life, and it's been a major source of frustration.

There are some lights at the end of various tunnels. I've got a Dresden Files game going on - while it isn't quite a game of truth and beauty yet, it's certainly fun and I think it has the potential to become such. I've started developing more local friends (Friends! Dear friends!), which is good, because while I've got some awesome friendships already, I'm also pretty isolated and lonely.

In other news... well, I think that about covers it. If you read my blog you already know about my Summer from Hell, my mother basically disowning me, and my brother's continued douchebaggery. You probably also know that in addition to being wonderful and fun, teaching is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, and it continues to leave me exhausted.

So that's where I am: work is fun and work his hard, my creative life is full of new things I enjoy and all but empty of old things I love, I have more friends, and that front is continuing to improve, and my marriage is great, but unsurprisingly strained by all the things that are difficult in the rest of my life.

Watch this space for more blogging. Let's see if we can't keep in touch.
electricpaladin: (Default)
 This is really, honestly, swear-to-God not a hint...

But I have added to my profile a link that leads to my goodreads.com (an awesome web community for readers that you should all check out) 'wishlist' shelf, which is like an Amazon.com wishlist, only I find it more useful to maintain an account on goodreads than on amazon.

Because Goodreads is fun.

Anyway, this'll help the next time anyone wants to buy me a gift.

This is not to say, by the way, that all I want are books on this list. Feel free to surprise me, when the time comes. I like surprises. I like getting books I've never heard of.  I like getting things that aren't books.

But the books on this list are things I would also like.

There really is no way to talk about this that isn't awkward, is there?
electricpaladin: (Default)
The apartment is quiet, and a little lonely. Jon and Abby are both asleep (Jon on the couch next to my chair, Abby in our bed). For those of you not in the know, Jon is staying with Abby and me as a holiday-season houseguest. He'll be leaving shortly to spend the rest of the month bumming around the Bay Area. I'm not sleepy enough to join them, so I have done some dishes, made a quiche, and put said quiche in the oven. I have my Waite-Rider Tarot next to me, and I may noodle around with the cards a bit. There will likely be after-dinner Tarot readings - I may post about mine. Dinner will be quiche.

Incidentally, it's a chicken-apple sausage, onion, and brie quiche. The recipe is cobbled together from the internet and Monica (Abby's mom, for you stragglers out there). Here's the recipe I use:

2 Chicken-Apple Sausages
1/2 Onion
1 Frozen Pie Crust
A Little Butter
2 Eggs
2 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Half & Half (milk works, too)
Some Amount of Brie
Handy Spices

0. (Like the Zeroeth Law of Robots!) Preheat oven to 375°F.
1. Cook the sausages however you choose. I like to poach them in my frying pan (cast iron!), then pour out the water and brown them. It helps that I use pre-cooked sausage from Trader Joe's. Otherwise we'd probably all die.
2. Cut the cooked sausage into little sausage discs.
3. Chop of the onion into as small pieces as you have patience for.
4. Sauté the onion in a little butter, in the frying pan.
5. Add the chopped sausage to the onion and sauté them together for a while
6. Pour the sausage and sautéd onions into the pie crust.
7. Chop the brie into little cubes and sprinkle it over the onions and sausage. You should use enough brie to generously sprinkle the layer below. The recipe I got off the internet gave some number of ounces of brie, but I don't have a scale in my kitchen, or any idea how dense brie is, so I improvised.
8. Beat the two eggs and egg whites, and the half cup of dairy stuff, until it's homogenous.
9. Pour the egg-and-dairy liquid into the pie crust.
10. Season with whatever's handy. Today, I used garlic, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. In fact, the only seasonings I have that I didn't use are cinnamon, cyanne pepper, and paprika. I have no idea how to proportion or choose seasonings, so at this point you're basically on your own.
11. This is the point at which I usually remember that I have to preheat the oven, so I run over and turn it on, and then spend the next five minutes cleaning up and cuddling Abby while the oven heats up and the uncooked quiche sits on the kitchen counter, forlorn. Normal people do this first. In fact, I'd better add preheating the oven to the directions list (see above). If you remembered to preheat the oven, this is where you put it in. Leave it there for 45 minutes, or until you can stick a butter knife into the quiche and it comes out clean (greasy, but clean). You should probably also cut the quiche open and make sure it cooked inside, too. I made the mistake of taking a quiche out too early once. The top was cooked, and it smelled great, but the inside was a yellow, eggy mess. We ate it anyway.
12. After 45 minutes, take out the quiche. Let it cool a bit. Eat it.

Last night was great. Abby and I gave the old year a great send-off, with our second party, an unprecedented success. It was even nicer than last year's party. The population was a little smaller, so the part was quieter and more conducive to talking. There was also a long series of games of Guitar Hero II, which is almost cooler than DDR. Almost. I'm sure I've just marked myself as one of the least cool people of my generation, but this is me not caring.

Today was a nice start to the year. Jon was gone when Abby and me dragged ourselves out of bed, off to have lunch with a non-mutual friend. It was a good choice. Jon got some valuable not-with-Mark-and-Abby time, and Abby and I got some valuable Mark and Abby time, and everyone was pleased when Jon got back. Then we made Unknown Armies characters (I'm running a one-shot), and then everyone went to sleep. Then I made a quiche. This pretty much brings the entry full circle.

I'll try to post more tonight about a few Unknown Armies-related personal revelations, other personal revelations, Tarot readings, the possibility of New Years LJ memes, and, of course, how the quiche turned out, but it's time for me to go wake Abby up.

Happy New Years, my friends. Cheers

EDIT: The quiche turned out brilliantly!
electricpaladin: (Default)
Rebecca has returned home, and the week of the houseguest has come to a close. It was nice to see Becca again, even if I was working for the greater part of most of the days that she was here. We had some good times, some fun conversations, and most of a fun game.

The game - as some of you might have read in Abby's LJ - did feature naked mud wrestling lesbian werewolves (well, mud-wrestling werewolves, one of whom was a lesbian), but it wasn't entirely my fault.

The game was a sort of pseudo Iron GM competition. Iron GM, for those who don't know, is when an ST is given three games (traditionally, three random GURPS supplements) and told to concoct from those three disparate parts a working setting and a playable one-shot. Also traditionally, the books are assigned at 9:00 PM one night and the one-shots are scheduled for the next morning at 11:00 AM. On the one hand, I had a little more time. On the other hand, I was working with Werewolf: the Apocalypse, GURPS IOU, and GURPS Castle Faulkenstein.

Now, most of you will know what Werewolf is. GURPS IOU is a game of weird magic, weird science, and college life, and GURPS Castle Faulkenstein is a GURPS edition of a 1800s fantasy steampunk game. The setting I concocted from these games was a fantasy steampunk setting where the garou were about the only supernatural still a secret, and set the game at a weird Oberlin, whose open admissions policy had earned them a very strange student body. This is why the game ended with a battle between the PCs (the naked werewolves) and a despair powered robot made by an evil sidhe out of cold iron and malfean stone.

What else is new? As many of you know, I've been working as the TAG Initiative Specialist (Jew-stuff) at a Jewish day-camp in the area, splitting my time between camp and Borders. Camp has been a lot of fun - often challenging, but a lot of fun. I'm teaching groups of ten to twenty or so kids, roughly between the ages of five and fifteen. The challenging is the age range, the time frame, and the setting - In addition to being vastly unfamiliar with some of these age groups, I only have fourty-five minutes with each group and I'm the content guy at a summer camp. Nobody wants to learn at summer camp, so I have to be tricksy. The kids, however, are great. I mean, a lot of them don't want to be in my activity, but a lot of them do want to be there, or at least don't mind. I'm even developing a following. The job pays well, and on the days I work there, I get to wake up at eight and I'm home by four, which is sweet.

The news is that I just quit my job at Borders, and starting next Monday I'll be working full time at camp. The story is a little complicated, but I'll tell it anyway. I had requested Abby's birthday (June 29th) and the Fourth of July (um... July 4th) off, and the last time I looked, I wasn't working on the Sunday in between. Of course, at some point during the four days I wasn't going to Borders, they added the Sunday, apparantly without checking to see if I would ever be in to look at the schedule. Someone also forgot to actually take me off the schedule for one of the two days I got off - I don't know which. That makes it two days in a row that I didn't show up and didn't call. Three days of that, in California, is job abandonement, which is grounds for immediate firing. So, when I returned to work on Thursday, I saw that I wasn't scheduled at all for the next week. A little investigation uncovered what had happened.

Now, I have had a standing offer to work at J-Camp full time, but if I wanted in for the next two-week session, starting a week from Monday, I needed to act by that Thursday evening. To complicate matters further, the only person with the authority to tell me what was what wasn't in, and wouldn't be available until Saturday (that is, yesterday).

So, I told Borders I was done, told Tracy at J-Camp that I'd like to be put on the schedule full time, and that was that. I mean, Borders has been grating for a while. It's time I find someplace to work with better hours and better pay, and possibly the vague feeling that I'm working towards something worthwhile. This does mean that I'll be without health insurance for a while. I'd better just stay healthy.

In shinier news, Becca got me this really awesome necklace. It's a little silver sephirotic tree on a black thread. It's my favorite necklace, up there with my love knot/tree of life bronze coin and my 'zion' star of david.

Other important things have happened since I last posted life news, but that can wait until the next time I feel like LJing.


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June 2012

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