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Jan. 22nd, 2010

Bad Pun Night

     After a month's layoff Team Overkill resumed its adventures.  When last seen we had just been allowed inside the city of Havanna, which we had helped defend from an attempted invasion by Constructs.  Our first business was to find a ship to transport us to the Poseidon Archepelago.  Berengaria pointed out a likely-looking clipper ship currently taking on cargo.  Clipper ships are fast, and we were beginning to feel that time was running out to find Pyron, the remaining Magnum Persona, before that icky green thing launched his full-out invasion of our world.  All right, so he's a Githyanki, but calling him that icky green thing is much more satisfying.  Anyway, we spoke to one of the ship's crew about the possibility of taking passage, and he suggested we come back in several hours to talk to the captain, after the cargo had been loaded.  He thought there would be plenty of room for all of us, Siddaglez' wagon, the three horses and Oscar.
     That left us with several hours to kill, and Arigato suggested that we go to a tea house.  Remembering what had happened when Grumph had gone to one in Kurosaki, Shaar and Berengaria were dubious about this idea.  But, as Arigato was offering to treat us, we shrugged and said, "Why not?"  Sidd declined and went off on errands of his own.  We went to a very fancy tea house called Splendor of the Orient, and it was splendid indeed.  Arigato ordered mugs of the establishment's best tea, which was very good indeed.  The very highest quality, served in china mugs.  One "should only drink tea in China," Arigato observed gravely.  Shaar smacked him, unfortunately not hard enough.  Over our tea we discussed the Githyanki and his aims.  He always seemed to be three steps ahead of us.  What would he gain, we wondered, by destroying our world?  Other than a little fun, that is?
     When we had finished our tea, to the last drop, it would have been an insult to the tea if we hadn't, Arigato went to the library, and Shaar and Berengaria went on a private errand.  They were determined to find a nice ornament for Arigato's hair, as a thank you for treating us to tea.  Ber was looking for something of a joke present, but Shaar was as serious as only a Paladin can be.  Ber suggested that perhaps a mithril hairnet would be good, it would be elegant and hold up well in battle, and perhaps less likely to fall off a the wrong moments.  Shaar agreed enthusiastically and we went in search of a smith who worked in mithral.  Eventually we found one and explained what we were looking for.  Not surprisingly he stared at us as though doubting our sanity.  It took some time to convince him that we were serious.  He had trouble getting his mind around the concept, especially when we attempted to tell him how much hair our friend had.  Finally understanding that it was a hairnet we wanted, he said flatly, "Mithral doesn't expand."  We were disappointed but thanked him for his help, and left him staring after us with his mouth open.
     Iin the meantime, Arigato found some interesting references in one of a series of Holy Books in the library.  Pyron was the Divine Dragon from the Poseidon Archepelago, who had twice saved Poseidon, once from an invasion by Zabimaru, and once from an uprising from within.  The third reference stated that a minor lord had plotted a coup, much later than the first foiled attempt, and tried to seal Pyron away forever so he could succeed with his plan.  His plan backfired and he was incinerated body and soul, though apparently Pyron was at least partially sealed away and not heard of since.  The lord's lands had been divided and given to others.  This had happened approximately 175 years ago.
     Pleased with the results of his research, Arigato went in search of more hairnets and some scrunchies, preferably with a nautical theme in keeping with the coming sea voyage.  He found hairnets used to bundle hair up under wigs, and had to be satisfied with that, and no scrunchies at all.  Shaar and Berengaria had been searching other shops for their present for him, and finally found an upscale women's clothing shop that sold fancy combs.  We found a set of real-looking mother-of-pearl side combs with blue stones and agreed they were just the thing.  We even splurged and had them gift wrapped.
     Arigato was quite pleased with our gift and immediately put one in his hair, at the back of his head.  Shaar pointed out that there were two of them, meant to be worn on each side of his head.  Arigato explained that he couldn't do that.  The twin scimitars of Pronimo would catch in combs worn on the sides of his head and dig into his scalp, and he would then get blood in his hair.  He shuddered at the thought.
     Shaar and Berengaria exchanged glances and rolled their eyes.  Vanity, thy name is not always woman.
     The captain of the clipper was happy to take us and our possessions as passengers/cargo, but, as the ship would not sail till midmorning of the next day, we still had plenty of time to kill in Havanna.  Shaar spent it telling the story of the Miracle of the Floursack to anyone who would listen, and to many who would not.  Berengaria went to the Sword School for lessons and practice with her Eager Fullblade of Force, aspiring to Focus with it.  Arigato found a nice shrubbery to hide in and read the Lawbook of Sylvania.  The first one he found said that it was against the laws of Sylvania to read its Lawbook in a bush.  The next one said that it was against the law to build shrines in front of Sword Schools.  Shaar, who had given up her "not exactly preaching" and was trying to build a shrine while she waited for Berengaria, moved hastily further along the street.
     Point of information: Arigato's copy of the Law Book had three-sided pages to be able to accomodate all the laws in one volume.  There was a pocket version available.  It had to use the edges of the pages to fit all the laws in.

To Be Continued.....

Dec. 31st, 2009

New Year's Eve

     A very quiet New Year's Eve.  Brother Bear and Sister Bear (yes, we really did call them that, when we read the Berenstain Bears books to them over and over and over....) have gone out to a party at some friends' house.  The cats are sleeping in front of the woodstove.  The Husband is puttering around making supper and reading.  And here I am, doing what any stereotypical literary type should be doing - looking back on the past year.
     It hasn't been one of our better ones, but we have survived it.  Come to think of it, do I really want to look back on it?  Why not look ahead?  There's a whole new year starting tomorrow, with its own achievements and challenges.  Looking back, especially at this time of the year is only likely to bring regrets for things not done or not done better.  Another year has slipped through my fingers, and what have I accomplished?  So, I'm not going to do that.
     And New Year's resolutions?  My only one is to try to write more.  Not even my generic one of the past few years, to take better care of myself.  Since that has failed to come to pass in the last howevermany years, I decided to drop it.  I just want to write more.  I will write more!  So there!
     SB and I made what was supposed to be a quick trip to Borders this morning, but of course was nothing of the sort.  At least three hours, though I wasn't really paying attention to my watch.  I needed to find a 2010 calendar and she wanted to spend her gift cards.  She read manga, while I combed the store for just the right book.  Had wanted to find a new Diana Wynne Jones book, but the only ones I didn't already have were parts of series, and I want to read those in order and I don't yet know what the proper order is.  So, after many false starts I finally decided on A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves.  Yes, yet another writing book.  And I have abandoned Shakespeare the Lodger for it. 
     This is all wandering around, going nowhere, so I'm going to put this out of its misery and go have supper.

Oct. 25th, 2009

the end of a short weekend

     An unpleasant end to an otherwise good day.  James is watching the old movie The Blue Angel.  Ah, Germany and it's decadence between the wars.  Not only is the sound horrible but the movie itself is unpleasant and ugly in feeling.  I'm going to have to find something good to read and listen to to get it out of my mind.  I don't like movies or books in which a person is ruined, in all aspects of personhood, even if the character was a jerk to begin with.  There's enough of that in the real world, thank you!
     Whew, finally finished.  Fortunately it's only 8:30, so there's time to exorcise this before going to bed.  My dreams are weird enough without something like this to help them along!

     I got some writing done today, about ten pages of the novel typed back onto my flashdrive.  It took a lot longer than it should have because I did do some editing as I went.  Which is a no-no; I'm just supposed to get the whole thing down in whatever form.  But the part I was typing in was very old and had never been seriously edited.  It was also written when I was under the influence of Douglas Adams, and I wrote a lot of wise ass "humor" into it which doesn't belong there.  So, I took a bunch of adjectives out that made poor Athena seem comic.  My characters have a sense of humor, but they are not  comic.  Athena particularly, with her straight back and unconscious dignity.  A writer's life is full of undue influences!  Though I had great fun writing it at the time!

Oct. 24th, 2009

Dungeons Update

     After a two-week hiatus, all four of us were available for D&D on Thursday.  For the record, D&D campaigns really need to meet at least once a week to keep the continuity and momentum going.  I'd forgotten just where we'd gotten to at the end of our last meeting.  But not to worry, the DM had not forgotten that we were on board a small ship, crossing Laconia's great bay to the city of Athens.  Amazingly, we'd arrived without incident, probably because Shar and Berengaria had the foresight to tie up the Gnome.

Perhaps introductions are in order.  We are:
          Shar, a 6' tall Human Paladin of Hieronius.  Her mount is a Pegasus named Lord Allen.  Poor Shar is Very Good, which tends to make her rather self-righteous, and doesn't understand humor.  Particularly sarcasm.  However, she is beginning to mellow as a result of our adventures.
          Grumph, a Gnome Wizard and would-be inventor.  So far he has not managed to injure us...too badly.  There was that badly aimed fireball that lightly toasted Shar, but the damage has healed nicely, and she has very magnanimously forgiven him.  Though she has found it difficult to forget the incident.  (Perfectly understandable, if you ask me!  Grumph was not very apologetic, being more inclined to blame her for getting in his way, and saying that his aim was off.  Almost killing one of his companions has not dampened his love of fire and explosives, unfortunately.)  He talks a lot, though we are never sure to whom, and has a Riding Dachshund named Oscar.
          Siddalgez, a Human Sorcerer with a rather stony look about him.  It is he who recruited us for this quest of his.  He lives, and travels, in an oversized wagon pulled by two horses.
          Berengaria Erwyn, a Human Fighter and would-be artist, who thought she was tall until she met Shar.  Fortunately she has a good sense of humor.  She needs it given her companions and circumstances.

     As I said, we arrived in Athens without incident, untied the Gnome, and unloaded Siddaglez, his wagon and the livestock (with the exception of Lord Allen, who preferred to fly), and proceeded into the city to find an ocean-going ship to take us to Zaraki in Zangetsu.  (For those with a passion for correct pronunciation, the U in Zangetsu is silent.)  We headed, as usual, for the city square.  Berengaria likes to look around and catch the feeling of a place.  Shar was intent on finding a travel agency to help us book passage to Zangetsu.  Grumph, of course, wanted to find things with which to make fires and blow things up.
     Unlike the cities of Thebes and Sparta, the military was not in evidence in Athens.  It seemed to be a very theatrical city, with both a Thespian School and a Thespian University, as well  as a very large stage weapons store.  By contrast the one shop selling real weapons was tiny.  These people obviously had no idea of the threat hanging over them from the Constructs and their demonic masters.
     There were six travel agencies crowded together in one corner of the city square.  One, Gonzalez Travel, was run by Gnomes.  Berengaria wanted to avoid it, but Siddaglez recommended it as the most reputable.  With considerable misgivings Shar and Berengaria went in, with Grumph trailing after.  The Gnome behind the desk had a strange accent, but otherwise seemed to have no pronounced oddities.  We told him we needed passage to Zaraki.  He questioned our choice of destination, as there was a lot of fighting there, but we assured him that we liked fighting.  He shrugged and offered a choice of a boat, a ship or a ship.  
     Berengaria sought to speed the process up by telling Speedy that we needed something big enough to accomodate a wagon as well as four people.  "Well, three people and a Gnome.  And a team of horses.  And their mounts."  Shar announced that Lord Allen would return to Celestia during the trip and she would summon him again once we arrived in Zaraki.  "Then just his mount," gesturing toward our Gnome.
     "And what ees that?" asked the Gnome behind the counter.  Grumph attempted in a confusing sort of way, and with many hand gestures, to attempt to describe Oscar.  He was completely incomprehensible.  Getting impatient I said Berengaria said, "It's a hot dog."  "I see," said the Gnome, who obviously didn't see.  "And how big is it?"  Berengaria gestured at Grumph again.  "Well, big enough for him."

     It was at this point that things went from bad to wurst.  Wayne has the ability to say exceedingly outrageous things quite seriously and sincerely with a straight face, looking quite earnest.  He made a double entendre, and Virginia, Frank and I promptly became hysterical.  Uncontrollably hysterical.  Rolling around on the floor, aching guts, crying hysterical.  And every time we thought we might be able regain our self-control Wayne would say something else phallocentric and we would be off again.  I suppose one had to be there to appreciate it, as is so often the case with humor.  The retelling never does it justice.  Suffice it to say that there are a great many nicknames for the penis, such as hot dog and wiener, and most of them popped up during the rest of the evening, rendering us hysterical every time.  Sometimes is was even unintentional!
     And I grow tired of this detailed recounting.  P'raps I shall resume later, and p'raps I won't.  It is after all MY journal, and I can do whatever I want.  What I want to do right now is go home and find a drink!

Oct. 23rd, 2009

online exhibitionism

     Why are we in such haste to...expose ourselves on-line?  I cannot answer this question, as I have now enrolled myself in a second public venue.  It makes me sad to think I might be doing this to bolster my ego or feel important, but this is an undeniable possibility.  My ego is as fragile as anyone else's and would love to be made much of.  And I don't have any particular wisdom to impart, that couldn't be said better by someone else.  So, why?  Perhaps because I like to watch people and try to understand what makes them tick?  I call this being a student of human behavior.  My children call it being nosy.  My husband calls it being a voyeur.  They're probably right, (*heavy sigh*), but it's not just people I like to cats!...? 
     Now that, ladies and gentlemen, was a classic case of the subconscious taking over.  I meant to write birds, and go on to talk about the other things I watch like cats, any animals, really, clouds, snow, so that it would be realized that if I am nosy, it's about everything.  In which case I can dignify it by calling it Curiosity.  But the word cat zoomed in there via my fingers, instead of watch birds.  That explanation is simple.  One of my cats caught a goldfinch this morning, and left it on the front step as an offering.  And then, of course wanted to be petted extravagantly to make sure I understood that his undertaking had been fierce and courageous and that he isn't going to let me starve this winter.  Though when I showed no signs of eating it on the spot he went back outside and polished it off himself.  Later he came back in to curl up sweetly on my bed.

24 October, 2009
     After further though not necessarily mature thought on online exhibitionism, I have realized that curiosity and ego are not the sole factors involved here.  What a wonderful new way to put off doing things I really should be doing!  I can even claim that this is a Good Thing because at least I'm writing something, aren't I?  Then I wonder how long it will take me to find this another thing to procrastinate about, and lose interest in it?