Horror In The Halls Of Stone

alter ego
Honestly, I've waited too long to do this, and my memories of individual incidents in the last couple of sessions have faded to uselessness. There is something I'd like to bitch talk about, though. Spoilers and SpoilersCollapse )

Moderate In Vices With The Usual Abuses

warm dice
I haven't killed any PCs since my last post! Yai! Kingmaker: Might Be SpoilerishCollapse )

Bitter Green They Called Her

Kingmaker ramblings. Spoilers ahoy!Collapse )

In This Game of Consequence

alter ego
Log for our most recent session of Kingmaker. Spoilers, but not really.Collapse )

All Along The Watchtower

alter ego
Another chapter in our Kingmaker campaign: Spoilers Ahoy!Collapse )

You Are Brave Enough To Burn

I have been lax about doing this, which is no great surprise given my blogging track record. But on to matters of making kings. As always, spoiler warning.Collapse )

The Freedom I Feel When I Fly

So, once again I prepped a zig and my players zagged. Them's the breaks, GM. Suck it up. But, once again it comes back in part to my complaint about the writers' expectations. Those hexes that the players have already explored are an issue. Why should they go back there to find [insert several spoilery encounters here] when they've already explored those? Waste of time. Which means that, while I've moved some things, others I just have to push the PCs toward. That annoys me a little. Maybe more than a little. Still, other than one really obvious hiccup on a monster power that I had not researched yet, I don't think it went too badly.

Wimpy Werewolf and the Disinterested Bats (Kingmaker Spoilers)Collapse )

My Standard Break From Life Is Getting Longer

dream peddlers
So, I'm back at school today. Mondays and Wednesdays are going to be mighty full this semester, but doing it this way allows me Fridays off. I think there's a balance there. Still, staring into the maw of four-class days is making me a bit nervous.

I suspect that I will have to give in and leave the house later - at least some of the time. My first class does not begin until noon and the last ends at 5:45. Leaving at 6 AM makes for a less crowded commute but for very long days. I will adjust as needed. I hate leaving the house mid-morning, though. It feels... lazy and weird. And it's not as though I tend to get anything done in the extra few hours. I spend the time waiting to leave. Useless. I could get things done. A load of laundry here, a sink of dishes there. Tidying. Emails. But I have a mental block. I'm having trouble trying to think of a way to explain it to someone who is not in my head. It's got something to do with being afraid of running out of time, not finishing what I started. Hrm. Should work on that. (The block/bad habit, not the explanation of it.)

I feel a little flaily this morning. Nervous energy, I suspect. I have all new (to me) professors this semester and I hate the first couple of weeks, trying to learn what this or that one wants and expects. Given the courses I'm taking, I anticipate a great deal of reading in my future this spring. That's good, though. And if I use the time on the metro - two hours each way - it should be pretty easy to keep up.

My diploma arrived on Saturday. It's strange, my name on that little piece of paper. It causes a low buzz of unidentified Emotion whenever I look at it. I haven't poked it hard enough to see what rears up out of the heart/brain mire, so I can't decide yet if it's good emotion or not. I don't have time for self-psychoanalysis at present.

Let's see... Having managed to drop my old one in the toilet, I got a new phone. Which somehow killed my texting. Cursory internet research says I'm not the only one with the issue and that AT&T doesn't even know what the problem is, much less how to fix it reliably. I have not yet called them. I keep hoping it will magically fix itself. I have reset, rebooted, and generally fucked with everything I could. Reports online speculate that it's nothing to do with the phone, though. I will call, I guess. And if they can't fix it, I will bloody well switch to Verizon when they get the iPhone. It's funny. When I first got the smart phone, I never texted. But having decided that it's generally useful, especially for someone who is mildly phone-phobic, I am mightily irked that I can't use it. Ah, well.

Nothing more to report here.
devoured by mice

As I expected, returning suddenly and violently to full school weeks has pretty much killed... oh, everything else. Add in Bear's current helljob and we have stress and weight gain and lots of mindlessness whenever there is free time. My Dragon Age character has progressed. Anything else? Not so much.

I have reached burnout phase a little earlier than I had hoped. Next semester I have scheduled three day weekends, which should help a bit.

I feel as though I ought to have more to say. Meh.

Love Language meme for you, then.Collapse )


Nani Kashira?

vogon poetry
My Japanese homework includes the instruction, "List three of your favorite Japanese words." Really, sensei? Surely there are better questions you could have put in that spot.

Mostly, though, I just find it annoying. Questions like that sound like something you'd find on a meme. And I can never think of an answer. Or rather, I vastly overthink my answer. For instance, one of the most interesting Japanese words to me at present is 島国根性 (shimaguni konjou). It means "island country mentality" and translates as insularism. I like it. I like that I know it. However, it's well beyond the level of the class. Will sensei think I went and looked something up to try and sound learned? Is it possible for me to balance a word like that with more common terms? Will that just look silly? (The equivalent of "duck, peanut butter, Machiavellianism?") But if I add in other words of an equivalent level - I also know how to say polytheism and pediatrics - does that just make it worse? Fishing for praise? Lookit how smart I are! But the alternative is to think of an essentially random list of three words that mean nothing to me and make me feel stupid. (Kitties! Play! Happy!)


Scary Is Exciting

Although, today has not so far been all that scary.

I made my way out of the house on time with everything I need - likely much more than I need for the first day, actually - and was on campus almost an hour before my first class. Plenty of time for coffee and a quick verification that my financial aid did actually process, both of which were to make me feel better. I had already made a trip to campus to locate all of my classrooms. I may be a nerd, but I am a nerd who is not freaking out five minutes before class because she can't find it. So that particular panic shouldn't be an issue.

I am taking a required course for all English majors this semester, and I can already tell that it's going to annoy the hell out of me. We will be required to turn in our first drafts for every paper. I don't write first drafts. Or, more accurately, I write them in my head. By the time I sit down to start typing, I already pretty much know what it's going to look like. From there I make minor revisions for awkward grammar and typos and the like, but nothing that could seriously be called a second draft. Although I suppose it will be a useful skill to pick up. I probably can't continue doing that when I get to papers much longer than the five or so pagers I've been doing. Still, it will be aggravating. My English professor looks rather like she belongs on a Baltimore stoop with a hot-boxed cigarette hanging from her lips. This is disconcerting.

Next up is Asian Religions, but I've got almost an hour before class starts. I'm hanging in the library charging my computer and checking Teh Intarwebs.

I really was expecting to be more nervous today. I keep waiting for that free fall feeling in my stomach, but it hasn't shown up yet. I even introduced myself to a girl I saw thumbing through a Japanese text book in my English class - an utterly terrifying thing, for those who don't know me that well. I almost didn't, walking past after class, but I turned myself around and made myself do it. I've got to get over my fear of people. Most of them won't bite me, right?


Even My Henchmen Think I'm Crazy

Worth noting in light of yesterday's post: I am way ahead of the curve in terms of language ability and GMU.

I signed up for their sophomore level "Gateway to Advanced Japanese" class, thinking that two years since formal instruction plus university vs. community college would equal some difficulty for me. But then I looked up my text books, and I completed the text they are using for that class in my first Intermediate course. Never mind that I went well past it in the second half of Intermediate. Hrm.

So, I sent an email to the head of the department, who told me to take the placement test. Well, duh. That was silly of me. Should have done that in the first place.

Now, looking at the text books for the various classes told me that they didn't even begin serious kanji instruction until that "Gateway" course, which meant that I was likely to be waaaaay ahead there. Between several classes that included kanji and two years of self-study with vocabulary as a focus (because that's far easier to study on one's own than grammar) I suspected that I would blow that portion of the test out of the water. Which I did with a 96.4%.

Next up: grammar. Well, as I said, that's more difficult. But I knew that I was already past what they consider their Advanced prep course, so I wasn't very worried. Just needed to dredge up some disused patterns and I'd be fine. And even if I couldn't recall their exact usage, didn't that just prove that I needed the refresher? No big deal. Besides, the whole thing was multiple choice. My grade on that portion was 85.7%.

The last section was listening and I expected to do worse there. Listening and speaking are the hardest to drill on one's own, because feedback is important. And even worse, it was only eight questions long, so it wouldn't take many mistakes to tank my score. But I'm fairly sure that they pulled those questions directly off the two lowest levels of an old Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I walked away with two wrong for a 75%.

That, for those of you who are math deficient like me, gave me a final grade of 88.6%. On the placement test. (I am still going to have issues with listening and speaking at first, but I should be able to get back into the swing of those skills within a month of starting class.) But that score prompted the department head to tell me I should be taking the senior level courses. Seriously? I'm going to spend two years at your institution and only get instruction in my language for one? One of the reasons I started looking at their study abroad programs was a sudden concern that they aren't going to be able to advance my language skills as far as I would like them to be when I move to the next level. Gah.

Now, I have not signed up for the senior classes, mostly because I want the Japanese Studies minor which requires me to take all four upper-division language courses. Which is fine because I will be reinforcing knowledge already covered, a must for language acquisition anyway. At this point, I'm looking at taking what they offer while continuing with my self-study methods, with the tentative goal of passing the JLPT 2 (the second hardest, as opposed to the second easiest, level) before graduation. Because I suspect that the JLPT certificate will end up meaning more - both to me and to prospective masters programs.

In other education news, I have finally remembered to apply for my AA from the community college. Yai?

Always Running Out Of Time

yuki's book
Well, that's a lie. I just haven't been arsed to write any journal entries. Twitter and Facebook require so much less of me. I am not actually here to change that trend today. Instead, you get a meme I ganked from malinaldarose. Nyah.

Books! Yai!Collapse )

The Tigers Come At Night

dream of men
I dreamed that I was taking a lit class and that we had to go on a field trip to an art exhibition. The exhibition was a series of room-size pieces in which each artist had filled a room with his or her take on the history of woman.

The first room I entered was dark, both in lighting and color. The walls were done in weathered wood, like an old barn. There was a very S&M feel to it, with leather harnesses and whips hanging about. The walls were covered with vintage-looking posters. The one I read described the physical damage of rape in gory detail, complete with illustrations.

The next room was filled with over-bright light, white walls and floor and wall-to-wall white boxes of varying sizes. On top of each box, in a crystal clear glass case, was something that the artist felt represented a cage. I remember corsets and Christmas ornaments.

And then I woke up. Brain is very strange today.


not defeated
So. I haven't posted in forever, because the Universe has been messing with me and I didn't want to spend all my time whining at you. However, apparently I need to. I presume the lack of recognition is why the suckage continues. It's worth a shot, anyway.

Today, my husband is in another country. He was not supposed to be, but this is the way of the military, neh? I had mostly reconciled myself to that. My mother was still coming down to be with The Boy and me for dinner. And it's the first time he's had to be away from us for a holiday.

About an hour after she was supposed to pick up the rental car, Mom called. There was a screw-up with the reservation and, predictably, no cars are available at midday on Thanksgiving Day. She will not be joining us, although I did get her to stop crying.

However, there is still a great deal to be thankful for. I'm not especially good at mush, but if there was ever a day for it, it is today. Although Bear cannot be with us today, he is not in a place where he is likely to be shot or blown up in the line of duty. He is also not in a place without communication. Although he's been gone for a month, I have been able to talk to him almost every day with the wonder that is the internet. For these things, I do truly give thanks. My talented and witty Boy is here with me. I could not ask for a cooler kid. For this also, I do truly give thanks. My family means so much to me, even if I don't always express it in traditional ways - as my son well understands, although his girlfriend does not. I am thankful that I have found depths of willpower I did not know I had in the past few months, and that I am now 35 pounds lighter as a result. I am also thankful for the huge amount of food with which I am soon to sabotage all that work (for a day). I have an amazing best friend, who calls now and then to make sure I have not lost all hope, although she never says that's why she's calling. (That's right, salleesuewho, I am immensely thankful for you.)

I have so much in my life. A few annoyances do not take that away from me.

Happy Thanksgiving!


vogon poetry
I think we should form a NaNoWriMo group who are writing their novels based solely on prompts from the automated version of Wondermark's Genre-Fiction Generator 2000.


Three-Fold Utopian Dream

dream peddlers
This is an awesome Irish commercial for marriage equality. Watch it, please.

Edit: Apparently MTV did this as well. I don't watch MTV, so I'd no idea.


makai tensho
I am furious and frustrated, looking for a rooftop from which to shout. The situation which inspired this is in a locked post, so I am not at liberty to share details. I think I can say this: If you are going to flaunt your institution's diversity as a selling point, you should not then quietly gild and gloss someone to make them fit your ideal, hoping no one will notice.

Asshattery doesn't even cover this.

Edit: This may have been one person rather than an institution. No less maddening, but I am calmer about one moron.

We Didn't Start The Fire

Dear Fire Marshall,

I know you are a very busy man. After all, the front door to my apartment building might run away from the scary alarm if you were not watching it so diligently. I appreciate you providing that service.

If, however, there is no actual fire or drill in progress, and a pair of people come hurrying out of that door with a panicking dog and a cat in a pillowcase, might it not be too much trouble to tell them so? Certainly, you might initially think that the barefoot woman and the teen in pajama pants are going out. Kids and their fashions, neh? But once they stopped and turned to watch you, perhaps walking the few feet to the edge of the building - leaving your partner to monitor that potentially skittish door - and letting them know that there was no reason for concern and that they might return to their air conditioned lives would not be overly taxing.

No love,

And If Your Heart Stops Beating

It's not so much that people keep dying that's weird... it's the young deaths.

Now it's lesser celebrity Billy May, better known as the hawker for Orange Glo and OxiClean.

I was honestly not all that affected by Michael Jackson's death. The part of him that was part of my childhood effectively died a long time ago. Other than once having been compared to her (due to a tendency toward hair flipping), Farrah Fawcett meant absolutely nothing to me. Ed McMahon... meh.

Still, I hope the string ends here for now.

Living Proof That The Camera's Lying

vogon poetry
I've started going through my Japanese Player's Handbook, working out vocabulary lists. It's a little bit difficult, because so many of the terms are nonstandard. It is also a great deal of fun, though, and certainly more intrinsically entertaining than the economics article for which I am doing the same. I have promised my husband that gaming will not cease after I drag him to Japan; this project begins my attempt to make sure that's so.

My Smart.fm studies are going well. I've almost completed the second step in the Japanese Core 2000 list. The third step continues to throw me. So many words I don't know at all. While I was making the vocab list for the fifth chapter of my Nakama text this morning, I realized just how many basic words the "core" list hasn't gotten to yet. There seems to be a skew toward business-speak, which I totally get, but - if I were a beginner - ought I really be studying "research" and "procedure" before "bus" and "telephone"? (Granted, "bus" is an English cognate, so it's not exactly a hard word to pick up.) I don't know. It seems strange. However, that's a small flaw in an otherwise marvelous (and free!) website, so I should not bitch about it.

I have so much non-work work to do. I mean, I'm trying to ramp up the Japanese studies a bit, as the JLPT looms ever closer. I've really got to get my poor gray lizards painted and ready to make things go squish and/or boom!fwoosh. There's a pathetic little afghan crying in the corner of the bedroom, because I promised to finish it and haven't so much as looked in its direction in days. There's also a campaign and assorted character journals waiting to be written. And never mind all the actual work I'm supposed to be doing, like housework and the overflowing laundry. "I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped."

I suppose I should quit farting around here, shouldn't I?

Ask Me To Surrender

I feel there is something wrong when I look up a Japanese word and then have to go look up what the English means.

(That makes me sound dumber than I am. I working on a translation of a newspaper article and my random choice happens to have been an economics article. I do not know this lingo. But hey, I now know how to say International Money Fund in Japanese - and also what the frak that is.)

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October 2012


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