3:18AM

Jul. 16th, 2013 03:37 am
This will probably make no sense at all to folks who don't larp, and precious little to folks who do, but I just got jolted out of a sound sleep by a dream that managed to combine a 'end of game, final battle for all the marbles' larp moment with a heavy dose of 'ohmigod its final exams and I haven't studied at all'.

Anyhow. There were four groups of people, of us, with excessively elaborate Jack Kirby versions of medieval outfits except for the ones in wild west gear. And we were told to form up for the final battle. And even though I was wearing what in retrospect was like a green-yellow version of Boba Fett armor I decided to go with the gunslingers, which they treated as Very Significant (while in my brain I was like "Okay? I guess?") And it was dusk and autumn when we started walking, but just a minute later it was night and there was snow on the ground (I remember part of me being impressed by the larp's special effects), and they were all talking softly about how dangerous the fight was about to be, which was getting ME worked up.....when all of a sudden we turn a corner and my friend Veronica leapt out of the darkness and yelled, "Brian!! The Widow Lawson is DEAD!!!"

And there was just this moment of dead silence, while in my brain there was this surge of "Oh crap, for Plot to do this now, that must be a Hugely Significant Fact...and I have no idea who that is." And the adrenaline rush was enough to knock me completely awake.

And the worst part is, now I'll never know what the heck that whole plotline was about or why the Widow Lawson was so significant.
Question of the day: Have you watched World War Z? If you have, what's your disease of choice?

I have not yet seen it. I've loved the book and the audiobook, but I know the movie is a very, very different beastie.

However, I just read [livejournal.com profile] bending_sickle's excellent and frothy review, so I think I know where you're going with this question.

SPOILER ALERT:

As I understand it, in the movie zombies will avoid anyone diseased. So you have a scenario where what's left of the world population has to infect themselves with something in order to survive, but it has to be something that doesn't make you so sick you WISH a zombie killed you.

My first choice was Sydenham's Chorea, the Saint Vitus Dance disease, for the simple reason that I love the thought of the solution to the zombies being a huge global dance party. But (shockingly!) the disease doesn't actually work like an LMFAO video. In fact, once I got to the sentence that said "Other neurologic symptoms include behavior change, dysarthria, gait disturbance, loss of fine and gross motor control with resultant deterioration of handwriting, headache, slowed cognition, facial grimacing, fidgetiness and hypotonia" I was beginning to think that this was what the *zombies* actually had.

So I'm going to go with Acquired Hypertrichosis. (Which is technically just a side effect of something else going wrong in the body, but I'm sure our wonks at the NIH can figure out a way to make it work.) Or, as they're bound to call it in the movie, werewolf disease.


I mean, c'mon! It does no harm apart from kicking the hair production into overdrive. It will make life very, very interesting as people try to figure out new beauty standards. More than that, though, there's just something so right about the line "The only way to save the human race from the zombie plague is to unleash* this new werewolf plague!" That is GOLD.


*heh
Random Question: Would you rather take a squid or a hummingbird into outer space?

"That depends" is an awful answer to almost any question*, but I feel like I have to wheel it out here because, well, spaceship design. Would I want a squid in the Apollo 11 capsule? Would the squid want to be there? Would it have made for really fascinating NASA footage? No, no, and yes omg now I need a gif of Buzz Aldrin and a squid colliding in zero-gee are the answers to these question.

So let's make a couple of ground rules: big ship, with enough food and air that relative size isn't the deciding factor. Artificial gravity. Modified genetics or tech so that the squid could breathe without being confined to a tank of water, and....this is tricky...so that both the squid and hummingbird are uplifted to a point where their intelligence and communication skills make them capable of functioning as crew members.

**There is now a 30 minute pause while the author searches the internet for fanart of either a squid or a hummingbird wearing a Federation uniform. A search for 'star trek + squid' takes you down some strange rabbit holes, people.


ANYhow.

With all that said and done...I'm still torn.

SQUID


Pro:
Amazingly good at multi-tasking
Intimidation factor
Boneless nature allows them to squeeze into small spaces. That + the tentacles + speedy multi-limbed propulsion = EXCELLENT shipboard security.
The whole hentai thing
Already pretty darn smart


Con:
Possible connections to Cthulhu
The whole hentai thing
Squid use of rapid changes of skin color and patterns to communicate may either cause trouble in communicating with humans or create a whole new branch of human body modification
Already pretty darn smart PREDATORS
Perceived pro-whale bias and grumpiness about treatment of world oceans has potential for shipboard tension and even eventual mutiny, in which case all those pros become cons really really quickly



HUMMINGBIRD


Pro:
Fast
Very small. You can fit an entire colony of hummmingbirds in a starship designed for humans.
ZOMG SO FAST
Cute, too
Manueverable
Have I mentioned the speed? I think I need to mention it again. FAST.


Con:
Here's the problem: fast creatures don't perceive themselves as fast, they perceive normal creatures as

moving



very








slow






l




y.

See how annoying that was? Now imagine if you were a hummingbird in a mixed-species crew, and every single conversation was like that. A boring hour-long meeting takes on a new level of horror when your heart beats 1240 times a minute and you're never more than a few hours away from either starving to death or falling into torpor. A Star Trek'ian five year mission would be the equivalent of a 70 year mission for hummingbirds. And say if you tried to compensate for that by bringing a whole colony of them along...now they're enhanced enough, what if their society changes at the same fast rate as their biology? It would be like an advanced race beaming up a town of Dust Bowl farmers, taking a nap, and then waking up to find their spaceship full of hippies.



WINNER:


Hummingbirds would be fantastic scouts. And hackers, now that I think about it. And gamers. And moderators of internet comment sections. But when I think of outer space it's all about slowness and majesty...watching a moon gradually coming into view over the rings of Saturn, or hanging motionless and watching the clouds of Jupiter swirling down below. There's a reason they didn't use "Flight of the Bumblebee" for the Star Wars theme.

Also, sooner or later we'll run into robot space sharks. And I think we all know who we want in our corner then:













*The one exception being "What that on that old person's bottom?", and if your follow-up question is "Why are people at a nursing home communicating in caveman-speak?" I've got a "Why the heck not?" with your name on it.
Random Question #1: Do you like peas?

I do...however, I have to confess I like the growing and prepping of them more than I actually like eating them.

Peas are FUN. They're especially fun when you're a small child. The poles for them in the garden are taller than you are, and you get to watch the vines twine upwards and keep an eye on each pod as it grows. (Compare that to carrots, where you never really know WHAT'S going on, no matter how many times you dig them up to check.) And then once they're ready, the shucking process is very kid-friendly. Maybe the first cooking chore I ever remember doing is being given a tin pan and a paper bag and taught how to pop the pod open and run my thumb down the inside to get the peas out, and the satisfying "ping! pung! plang!" as each pea came loose and fell into the bowl.

But once they're cooked and on your plate, the kid-friendliness ends. The suckers ROLL, yo. Yet some families expect you to eat them with your fork. Otherwise sane families. Families who would never look at you and say, "Oh I see you're eating Cocoa Puffs. You should use a fork for those!" or, "Blueberries? Eww, don't use your fingers! Eat each one with our specially-designed blueberry spike." Families who believe in clean plates, families who want their suppers to last less than an hour: please reconsider making small children eat peas with a fork. (Or have a large dog under the table.)
Intercon M happened! And while outside of game there were a few off-notes that made me aware that my mingle-and-socialize muscles have gotten alarmingly atrophied, each and every larp I was in was awesome.

There was one thing in particular that threw me for a loop, and I think it's a good illustration of how larps can have unique strengths as a game/event/artform. Saturday night I played in Teenage Mystery Dance Party, a game where ALL the teen characters from the Hanna Barbera cartoons get together in the same mansion for a big party. I was part of Team Speed Buggy; the Scooby Doo gang was well-represented, as was Team Speed Racer, Josie and the Pussycats, and even the Jabberjaw group managed to travel back in time from their usual setting to take part (and try to protect their timeline from alien invasion by Zorak's mantis-people). And most of the game was the sort of madcap set of escapades that you'd expect--chase scenes! People in flimsy costumes trying to scare away meddling kids! A battle of the bands! A road race! Plus all the cross-pollination you'd expect from the different shows, with Jabberjaw getting his fins on some Scooby snacks and Speed Buggy and Speed Racer teaming up to trap a villain by blinding him with headlights. Hijinxalicious!

And THEN.

Now, here's the most beautiful thing of all: as far as I know, none of this happened because of anything any of the 5 GMs did. It just grew organically. Valerie from the Pussycats and Velma from Scooby Doo had teamed up to create a device that would increase someone's intelligence because, let's face it, every team had at least one character who could really use it. But out of everyone, by far the dumbest character (and this is a testament to the player's acting ability) was Bubbles from Team Jabberjaw. How dumb? She had a special ability called "Too dumb to be scared" that kept her from running away when a monster appeared. When she was asked if she'd like to help with the experiment she thought they were saying spearmint and offering her gum, so they zapped her, and she went from being the most clueless person in the very large room to being (and this is another testament to the player's acting ability) by far the smartest. Which, considering that Hanna Barbera likes to stock each its teams with at least one gadgeteer/brain/Clueful person, is saying something. So the teen genius group welcomed its new member and/or developed instant crushes, and all was well.

And then we all realized that the effect was temporary.

In the last half hour of the game, with almost all of our special abilities used up, we'd just entered/created Flowers for Algernon: the LARP.

I can't really describe the honest panic as the smartest characters from four different shows pooled their brainpower to try to figure out how to help Bubbles, who was (have I mentioned this was a good player?) losing her intelligence bit by bit and getting more and more distressed as people came up and asked her questions that she knew she used to know the answers to. We were in the last 90 seconds of game when we got everyone together with what we hoped was a functioning device that would make her intelligence permanent...turned it on...and saw everyone from Team Jabberjaw suddenly vanish. And then GAME END. With none of us knowing whether we'd saved her brain, or erased her entire timeline.

This game was supposed to be my light, fluffy vacation from the angst of the other larps!

(For the record, during the post-game wrap-up the lead GM confirmed that Bubbles and the rest of Team Jabberjaw had just gone back to their own time. Except they'd also never been here in the first place, so they hadn't won the Battle of the Bands. Except we remembered them. I think. By that point in the night I was a little wiped out.)
I'm very dubious about reincarnation and past lives, but I'm willing to believe that there's some sort of ancestral memory, little instincts hard-wired into the brain after centuries of experience. I'm willing to believe it because I can't see a bucolic foxhunt scene on tv without some wee part of the back of my brain waking up and going "Oh crap. RUN!"

If it is an ancestral memory, then my ancestors seem to have spent a lot of time trespassing on upper-class property and trying not to get caught by their dogs.

Needless to say, this adds an interesting twist to the experience of watching Downton Abbey.
Pluses and minuses:

++ Halloween is coming up!

- I have no skill crafting costumes.

+ Ebay exists

++Ebay not only exists, it means it's possible to get cool little origin stories of costume bits you buy, in a way Goodwill won't give you

+++The costume bit I bought was part of the debris when a Beatles tribute band in Branson, MO, finally broke up.

+++++BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND FROM BRANSON, MO

-To fit into this, I canNOT gain weight between now and Halloween. Like, not a single ounce.

+++++BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND FROM THE CAPITAL OF ALT-COUNTRY, Y'ALL
So my spam filter sent up all sorts of TARDIS-like sounds this morning to let me know I'd gotten something particularly whackadoodle in an LJ comment. I'm not even sure if it's accurate to call it spam, exactly...I mean, it's spammy in that it didn't relate to the subject at ALL, but it's both too coherent and too full of crazy rage to be lumped in with the sorts of mass mailings I'd normally consider spam.

I want to share it with y'all because it's the sort of cray-cray you normally have to go to the Craigslist political discussion pages to encounter, but at the same time I don't want to see this nut think his or her goal--to anonymously slander someone--is meeting with any success whatsoever. So I'll give you the comment spam, but with a few of the names tweaked just a little bit--see if you can spot the edits!

A vote for Candidate for SALON INSPECTOR in South Middlesex County AMANDA HUGGINKISS is a wasted one


A vote for Candidate for SALON INSPECTOR in South Middlesex County AMANDA'S SISTER, APUMPKINDA is a vote to support her and her hubby's Cokecaine dealer! Wasn't her purse recovered last year by Cambridge Health Alliance Security and a small baggie of Cokecane was discovered inside of it? Hospital Security then contacted a Somerville Police officer after going through the purse and finding her id card and driver's license who in turn swept it under the rug for her and her friends in the press along with Somerville Police officers that work for her and she controls thier payroll budget squashed that story for her didnt they? It must be nice? Please look into this and it with surface sooner than you think. The security guard is now all of a sudden going public with it. ANYBODYTA blammed her nephew and will turn this into an addiction problem for the kid when in fact it's her and her hubby's adiction.


Several points:

1) "Cokecane". Just....cokecane.

2) It took me four readings of this just to understand what the hell was going on. Not to harp on the fact that Craigslist has a superior sort of crazy, but over there 'Donnie' has spent the last 9 years complaining daily that the parks need a sunset curfew enforced with horses and barricades to keep "the Gays" from "partying". Compared to this, Donnie is Marcel Proust.

3) On the other hand, it's amazing what a cast of characters has cropped up in seven sentences. Which of them is the spammer?? Was it the security guard, furious that his attempt to bust a cokeycain user was ignored by the po-po? The nephew, seeking revenge for being blamed? A bold reporter who, after having their story spiked thanks to this diabolical politician's network of compliant local media-types, has decided that this is their last best chance to spread the Truth? It, of course, can't be one of the other candidates up for this job in the primary next week.

4) WHY LJ?? Did their first idea, to give this candidate a bad Yelp review, not pan out?
So Saturday I went to my friend Jim's birthday party, which was at an indoor trampoline bounce-a-rama place. And there was much bouncing, 2/3 of it controlled and 1/3 of it of the "oh gracious, I did not mean to go here, no no I did not mean to go here at all" sort, and after the bouncing was over we had pizza and cake and it was a good celebration, hooray.

On Sunday I woke up and didn't feel bad at all after the previous day's unusual activity. And I felt a bit smug, as this was proof that I was a studly stud of studliness.

Today.....oh. Oh, today. Picture if you will a super-fun-ball placed inside an inflated balloon. Put the balloon in a little bit of motion, and watch as the ball inside makes with the wacky and bounces all over. That's what was happening with my internal organs on Saturday, based on the messages I'm getting from my muscles today. Owwie.
There's an alternate Earth that's almost identical to this one, except early humans put all their time and energy into domesticating and breeding goats, not dogs.

I hope our scientists figure out a way to make contact with that world in my lifetime, because I have a hunch that the Westminster Goat Show is amazingly entertaining.

Seen today

Apr. 8th, 2012 02:25 pm
Dear Random Anime Boston Teen:

At some point in life...well, I think a sage named Hoots said it best when he told Ernie that sometimes you have to put down the duckie, if you want to play the saxophone.

Or, in your case...you can dye your hair black, have two lip rings, and stand outside the hotel scowling as you smoke your cigarette. Or you can dress in a full-body yellow Pikachu suit with little red circles painted on your cheeks. But when you do both at the same time YOU BREAK MY BRAIN.

I cannot believe that I still have a headache three hours after a dachshund headbutted me.
On today's events calendar:


Coffee & Doughnuts with the BUPD

Dean Elmore will make a guest appearance at Coffee and Doughnuts with the Boston University Police Department on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 from 12-2 p.m. at the George Sherman Union. Students will have the chance to fend off the dean using Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) tactics, while enjoying complimentary coffee from Starbucks and doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts.
Dear LJ,

At this time tomorrow I'll have gone to a far, far better place.

Which isn't hard, as at the moment I'm sitting here at a very messy desk in the dark in underwear and my thick wool coat because it's a) before sunrise and very cold and yet I'm b) too lazy to actually put pants on.

As usual before a big trip my head is spinning with questions, and this isn't just a normal trip but DISNEY WORLD, a place I haven't been to since I was 4 years old. Agh, SO many questions: Have we not planned enough? Did we overplan? Should I be calling their hotline right now and desperately making restaurant reservations? Will it be a ghost town? Will it be too cold? Will it be too hot? What will I do if my name is accidentally on a 'do not fly' list and I'm left at the airport? Does my new haircut make my head look like a particularly blobby pineapple?

....to be fair, I'd be asking that last question anyhow.

Anyhow, what it all boils down to is that we're about to leave for three days of close encounters with giant mice, and I'm ridiculously excited about it.

The interesting thing is that even though, as mentioned, I was 4 at the time my memories of Disney World are oddly vivid. And a lot of them, I hate to say, are of me having toddler meltdowns. Of refusing to go near the Haunted Mansion because it looked too scary. Of refusing to go in the Hall of Energy because there were a lot of people going in but no one coming out, so OBVIOUSLY once you got inside you'd be killed and eaten. Part of me feels like I should seek out those rides and go on them just as an apology to my parents (who were a little younger than I am now and isn't THAT a kick to the gut to realize?).......and also because, let's face it, the Haunted Mansion is awesome.
This is a true story.

A little background first: my boss's grandson is 3 1/2, and her son and daughter-in-law are artsy folks with Ideas about how to raise young Rowan. One of the Ideas is that while they won't enforce a total ban on pop culture, they'll draw a line in the sand and ONLY let him watch movies and TV shows that came out before 1960. So he, being 3 1/2, has been gorging himself on the Three Stooges and Little Rascals.

(Yeah, I know. I KNOW.)

So last week they had a holiday party and one of their neighbors, a sweet elderly woman, was approached by Rowan. Rowan with his golden curls and big sweet smile. Rowan said, "Ask me what the number after one is!" So she bent down, her face level with his, and asked "Rowan, what's the number after one?"

And Rowan gave the answer...which, as Stooges fans will remember, is "pTOO!" as he spit in her face.
Dear Neighbors: Everything's cool, we're not actually fighting. Or having a Greek wedding, for that matter.

Dear Birds: We meant nothing but the best for you, honest. Please do not fear us and our clumsy, clumsy ways.

Dear Plate Which So Recently Held Bits of Bread: You served us long and faithfully. Please believe us when we say it wasn't on purpose. It's not you, it's us. (Well, maybe if you'd been a little less slippery...no, no, that's blaming the victim.)
I decided to try something a little different with my pumpkin this year. Fish-o-lantern turned out pretty well for a first try...




Totoro, though, looks more like a Pikachu when his ears are visible, and more like an owl when they're not. Hrrmph.






I do think they look good together, though.



Happy Talk Like a Primate Day, everyone!

Ook! Ook! Oo......wait, what?
I'm not going to say it's a fair trade, but one thing I notice about Tropical Storm Irene is that the air smells really, really good. I've been going outside during the calmer moments and inhaling deep lungfuls of it. Is this what air from the Bahamas smells like? I should've gone there a long time ago.

We've gotten off lucky compared to a lot of folks--so far the biggest damage we've seen is that our neighbor's tomato plant has tipped over. The direction of the wind means that there's a corner of the house that actually provides a nice little windbreak; as I type this, I'm looking out the window at five sparrows and a robin who are taking advantage of it, hunkering down and eating the seeds I've tossed out.

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