essentialsaltes: (Whiskey Tango but no Foxtrot)
Had a great time. Saw lots of friends and had good long chats with some that I haven't had the chance to in some time.

The rev left a pregnant (so to speak) pause after his call for marriage equality. I was too timid to cheer, even though I got a few cheers when I left a similar pause the last time I officiated.

Karen looked lovely, the girls looked excited, Ian was rocking the tux, and Brian had a superfluous fork in his hand as he gave his toast. Perfect.


More photos
essentialsaltes: (essentialsaltes)
Going back a bit... Mom came down with a sinus infection (all better now, thanks) and cancelled Thanksgiving. [ profile] hagdirt's family cancelled for political reasons. While Enigma Thanksgiving is almost designed for such situations, something about the last-minuteness of it all inspired the Accidental Thanksgiving, with bonus Lee with Kung Fu Grip.

Last night was a wee bachelor party. As is well known, only a moral degenerate would have a coed bachelor party, so there were no women present:
Read more... )
essentialsaltes: (Wogga Zazula!)
Once again I announce: "All hail [ profile] popepat!" And Mrs. Pope and Minipope. They once again opened up their house for (can it be?) the 12th Maxicon (which is still ongoing, but I moderated my participation to Saturday only... stretching into Sunday).

First up for me was Garrett's Dead Space RPG. I had played the demo, which made me the most knowledgeable about the source material I think. Which is not a problem, since the whole point is to scare the pants off you with the unexpected. It went well: fast-paced, high tension, limited resources, stressful timing deadlines. If there was any problem, it was that the gods of luck smiled on us too much in the final showdown. Good scary fun.

Next up, [ profile] aaronjv ran The Tribunal, an award-winning LARP created by [ profile] jiituomas. The 12 players play soldiers in a totalitarian state, faced with a difficult decision: whether to value honesty over expediency. I'm torn about how much I should or shouldn't reveal. One part of me says it doesn't matter since whatever happens is almost entirely the product of the players; the other part says that hearing the rationalizations or bullshit produced by one set of players might affect future players who read about it, and thus color whatever they would ultimately produce. I'll err on the side of caution and step back a bit.
I enjoyed the experience. This is perhaps controversial. Some people (named Aaron) have denigrated the idea that LARP is merely (?) an enjoyable pastime. It is Art with a capital A. I don't have a problem with that, except that in its extreme form Art becomes Pollock and Rothko. You're a rube if you expect to enjoy it, it's Art fer crissakes. Art!
I had my doubts about whether I would enjoy being an ant in a totalitarian army. But I came in to the game with not only an open mind, but a willingness and readiness to do it right. And the other participants probably saw me red-faced and shouting more in those couple hours than in the rest of their experience of me. Anyway, my awesome role-playing (relatively speaking) is beside the point; the point is that I enjoyed the experience. But am I supposed to enjoy my Brussels Sprouts?
My answer is that I don't care. LARP for me is an enjoyable pastime, and as long as I enjoy it I will continue to participate. It may also be Art; it may also be therapy; it may also be escapism; I don't care: Philistine that I am, I'm only interested in doing it if I enjoy it.
Anyway, stepping back in. I liked the way that character names instantly invoked associations that helped to establish character, and aided others in remembering same. I liked the way that the game was essentially entirely created by the players rather than directed from outside. The game relies on the players being willing to play, and I'm glad we had a group up to the challenge.

Following that was an impromptu meeting of the Live Game Labs & other interested parties, wherein we plotted the future of American LARP while simultaneously solving the problem of monetizing LARP and trading juicy gossip.
essentialsaltes: (Wogga Zazula!)
Haven't posted in a while, so I'm gonna talk your ear off now.

Tartan Hall has altered its schedule so that there was no school for Thanksgiving week. Since Dr. Pookie was thus free, I took the week off as well. Primarily we had a staycation, but I'll hit the highlights.

Monday, we got in the still-fairly-new car, and Dr. Pookie closed her eyes, stoically refraining from comment, while I drove like a madman up the coast to Santa Barbara, where we hit up a few wineries. Bought a few bottles, but the real reason was just to get away, see some nice scenery, and go where we wanted without any particular plan.

For Thanksgiving, we hosted for mom and the stepdad. We had a not very traditional menu; we (or rather Dr. Pookie) made duck as the main dish, and I chipped in on making the bacon risotto and green beans with cilantro. Mom brought bread and cranberry sauce. The duck was fine, but not spectacular, and everything else was pretty good. Finished it all off with pumpkin pie.

Saturday, we hosted a small poker and liquor party, with a good mix of good people.

Any intervening periods in that week were probably spent cleaning the house, or doing as close to nothing as possible. I endorse the staycation plan, but I was lazy as all get out. The cats were starting to criticize me for my lassitude.

Maybe tomorrow I'll catch up on blogging about my reading. Yes, I'm sure you're all excited to hear that.
essentialsaltes: (essentialsaltes)
Went to an estate sale in Beverly Hills yesterday, primarily the belongings of silent film actor/director Hobart Henley, as well as those of his wife and boys. It's like they all went off to the other house in Florida in 1940 and just left a house full of possessions behind. Lots of great stuff, but with antique store prices on them, even at 50% off most of it when we got there. Sure, it's a tough balance between trying to get what the stuff is worth and trying to empty the house in a weekend, so I have no problem with the prices, but I'm feelin' the vibe of Lock, Stock... these shotguns may be antiques, but we're not paying antique prices for them.

I was interested in the 30's-ish bakelite Mah Jongg set, despite the broken hinge on the case and the rusted out doodads on the racks. A nice prop or curiosity for me, but not for $375. No, not even for the half-off price of $187.

We did get one 'antique', and it's almost comical as the estate agent is talking up this piece, and the legendary status of the manufacturer. OK, I'll take your word that a brand-new Brown Jordan Tamiami loveseat will run you $800, but the last lawnchairs I bought at a yard sale were $5 each. I'm delighted to know that for a few hundred dollars, I could get it sandblasted, repainted and have the vinyl rewoven, but honestly I'm gonna give you $30 and stick it in the yard:
From Public Photos

Now, true, it is a neat piece, and the style originally debuted in 1959 (the design was relaunched a few years ago). Very comfortable and a nice design. Well worth $30. But $800? I am not your customer, Brown Jordan. I think the fainting couch is the probably the most expensive piece of furniture we own, and it wasn't $800 and it doesn't sit in the yard. Definitely a neat estate sale, but mostly not for the likes of us, who live some distance from 90210.

That evening A&K had a little BBQ for LARP-ish Wyrd-y folks. Fun to get together and socialize with occasional semi-serious discussions of live gaming. I'm sorry Lisa got a bit ganged up on as the only strong proponent for live combat present among a group of people where I'm probably the most sympathetic to LC, by which I mean "eh, it's not my thing".

You can click through the image to see a couple more from the yard/garden. Me in my new boonie hat next to the high (and getting higher) corn (infiltrated by monstrous fennel), and the dark sunflower in front of the volunteer tomato.
essentialsaltes: (Robot in Orbit)
involved a great meal at Koutoubia. Even better, it gave us a chance to sit down with friends for a long spell and just gabble about everything under the sun. I guess I've finally completed the triumvirate of LA Moroccan restaurants. Koutoubia is a bit more like a 'regular' restaurant... you actually get cutlery. I guess as long as we're going Moroccan, I prefer to get my hands in there in a big communal platter, but I certainly can't fault the food - excellent.
essentialsaltes: (Squid)
Celebrated [ profile] jason_brez & mum's birthday chez Brez. A convivial get-together on a beautiful day in their getting beautifuler every year garden. Topics ranged from Pinkerton's to the Baldacchino to the Icelandic penis museum.
essentialsaltes: (Grinch)
Had a great time at [ profile] jsadler's birthday shindig. We hadn't seen their new digs before, so we got to tour the palatial estate. Very cool place. Plenty of good BBQ and friends on tap, and Amy's amazing cake creation. Got to chase rugrats/be chased by rugrats, though the heat really counterindicated such a course of activity. But it was all worth it to hoist crumbgrabbers by their stick-like limbs and whirl them about dangerously. Got a little taste of an element of giantsdance's Trail of the Necronomicon scavenger hunt game for the West Hollywood Book Fair. I puzzled and puzzled til my puzzler was slightly ache-y. I solved it, but it was demoralizing to see Jay shred through it with both hands tied behind his back.
And just generally cool to hang with a broad cross-section of friends and gab about this and that. People should get older more often!
essentialsaltes: (unleash the furry)
Wow. It's such a neat event when the main attraction is the other attendees. (not to diss the entertainment provided by the awesome [ profile] boymaenad, the awesome League of Steam, the awesome Wandering Marionettes, and the awesome non-distaff half of [ profile] castle_kevorah -- the organized and semi-organized diversions were also fantastic).

Most of the evening's memory is just a pleasant phantasmagoria of milling and/or dancing with Doctor Pookie among the myriad costumes. And random bumpings into the distaff half of [ profile] castle_kevorah, [ profile] colleenky, [ profile] aaronjv, [ profile] hagdirt, [ profile] chartreusekitty, [ profile] michaelar, Lee, Alex, Morgan...

It was funny drifting by the League of Steam. It was, like, 'Oh, you're going to role-play at us? It's on.' Doctor Pookie managed to talk her way into helping demonstrate the net thrower, as the nettee. Out of the 1500 costumes there, mine probably ranked around #1350 or so, so I was bewildered when someone wanted to take a picture of me. She shouted "Flowers!" at me, and asked for a picture. I was wearing a crown of braided flowers, and she was sporting an effulgence of flowers in her own costume, so I imagine she was trying to collect pictures of all of her fellow flower-people. I expect my face in that photo expresses bewilderment combined with all-my-friends-have-just-been-swallowed-by-the-multitude.

And then there were 1,000 costumes, each better than the last.

A quick post-Jareth drink with A&K, a drive home, a shower to de-makeup, de-sparkle, and de-hair-color, and then to bed.

ETA: As a testament to the experience, I think that the whole time I wandered about LoJ, there was a grin or smile plastered on my face. 'This is great! Everything I'm looking at is amazing!'
essentialsaltes: (essentialsaltes)
[ profile] aaronjv is bringing the HP Lovecraft Film Festival to Los Angeles. It'll be a one-day program (9-11-10) of some of the best films shown at the previous HPL filmfests in Portland, Oregon. Get your tickets.

Nifty news that a MA court struck down part of DOMA, saying (as far as I can tell - IANAL) that legislation about what is or isn't a valid marriage is a right retained by the states. Going further into IANAL-dom, I'm a little confused about the scope of the ruling. As I understand it, unless it is appealed higher up the court system, the ruling applies only to MA. So is (part of) DOMA 'banned in Boston' but operative elsewhere? How does a federal law live a twilight existence like this? My mental picture of a law being declared unconstitutional has it being banished to the outer darkness amidst flames of eternal woe, never more to trouble the sunlit lands. But it appears that it has only been kicked out of MA, but remains on the federal lawbooks. Fuckin' laws, how do they work?
Further meanderings. Sure I could make a half dozen separate entries, but I'm aiming for a tag record. )
essentialsaltes: (Whiskey Tango but no Foxtrot)
Dr. Pookie and I flew up to the Bay Area Saturday morning. We also had my mom along. This was something of a great event, as Mom had not flown for more than a decade. But with our stalwart aid, she was able to make it to LAX, through security and onto the plane. It's a quick trip up and after landing in Oakland we got to the rental car kiosk and, since they were out of the midsize car I had reserved, we were ushered toward the premium option, a Mercury Grand Marquis, a truly astonishing beast, "one of the last "traditional" American full-size cars still available for retail sale". All the modern conveniences, and yet styled as though it were 1975. The thing has twice as many cylinders as any car I've ever owned, and slalomed along the road like a full ton of Detroit steel. The whole trip was about 60 miles, and I put 5 gallons of gas in it before I returned it, so you do the math.
yes, I run off at the mouth as usual )
essentialsaltes: (Skeleton)
[ profile] citizenbrown had a little shindig last night to celebrate the miraculous non-brokenness of his leg. What further proof is needed that the Atomic Messiah can rearrange atoms to suit his needs, and transmit salvation?

In any event, many friends were about for conviviality and conversation. Important news and revelations vied with less serious conversations, such as determining the best proxy for sex among the activities that earn one points in weight watchers: squat thrusts or wrestling?
[ profile] graydons amused all with his profound ignorance of fantasy literature. Not only did he defend later Amber novels, and expose his ignorance of Leiber and Moorcock, but he seemed to be under the impression that sword and sorcery originated roughly at the same time as his own mayfly-like existence. He uttered something like: "I mostly read Dragonlance. I had no idea sword and sorcery existed in the 1930s."

I'm very sorry, Richard. Please drink some rum to dull the pain. Rest assured I heaped scorn upon him. I am not a violent man, but I think flame shot out of my eyes as I shouted 'Conan!?!?!' at him.

And since I mentioned it at the time, I like a lot of Zelazny's short stories better than his novels. So seek out his collections, particularly Last Defender of Camelot.
essentialsaltes: (great)
Saturday was [ profile] postgoodism's birthday bash, with a good mix of people I don't know, people I sorta kinda know, and people I know all too well. [ profile] zorker and [ profile] ian_tiberius put together a postgoodism-athlon, a multi-event gauntlet of tests in which the guests competed against the birthday boy in things he's good at. I bowed out of the identify ingredients of cocktails round, since I had to put wheels to the road at some point in the not too distant future. This may have given me an advantage in later rounds. I also bowed out of snapdragon, which again was a wise move, though it was fun (as always) to watch. Bridared acted as my champion, but he fared as poorly as everyone else, since the net result was singed hand hair and a broken not-as-heat-resistant-as-we-thought bowl. I did okay at postgoodism trivia, but my triumph was in puzzling.

Sunday, I mostly lazed about and watched football. I even got to see the last 45 seconds of the Raiders game, in which they tied the game with a touchdown, and then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff leading to a game winning field goal. Raiders beat Bengals, and Chiefs beat Steelers. Crappy AFC West teams beat the top AFC North teams. Haha!

At the break between morning and afternoon games, we did some grilling: filet mignon, corn, peppers, potatoes, and even some sweet potato in honor of the season. One of our recent inventions is to cook tinfoil packets of sliced taters with onion and rosemary on the grill. It works with sweet potatoes, too. It all turned out really great, and we've now marked (at least) 24 straight months of grilling.
essentialsaltes: (insect)
The Goth Gardener has already alluded to How the Swine Flu Stole Halloween. But at least I got to pack up all my bitterness and take it to Brian's house for his birthday. But no bitterness can remain when in the presence of Brian, so I had a great time. BBQ and wine and beer, strange children, old friends and new acquaintances. Speaking of new acquaintances, I saw someone take to Rock Band in an even unhealthier and crazier way than even Aaron. An apparently law-abiding member of the law enforcement community turned into a bright-eyed demon monster when handed a pair of drumsticks. "We've got to get this!", he kept shouting as he pounded the plastic skins.

Brian said he loved and hated me. The proximate cause was some dialogue of the you-had-to-have-been-there sort. After the bottle of wine I brought was dead, Brian brought out some red table wine, and there was a bit of discussion of the relative merits of blended wines. I opined that most vintners typically don't want to loudly proclaim that their wine is a blend; it sounds so much better if they can call it something like a meritage. Brian looks at me quizzically, so I say "It's just a fancy word for blend."
Later, we were discussing Dia de los Muertos and Brian was treating it as though it were a Catholic-wide observance. I think [ profile] zorker said something about it having something more to do with Aztecs than Catholicism. I agreed, managing to dredge up the term "religious syncretism." Brian looks at me quizzically, so I say "It's just a fancy word for blend."
For a fleeting moment, I felt like Voltaire.

Iain Banks' The State of the Art is a collection of short fiction, with the titular story at novella length. Although somewhat touted as being short fiction in the world of The Culture, some of the stories were distantly if at all related to The Culture, like "Piece", a grim and powerful fable on religious idiocy. Since the stories are rather old (from the 1980s) they are also somewhat interesting as archeological artifacts of Banks. On the whole, I didn't find the stories very good. I don't know if that's because Banks hadn't yet matured, or if he's just a novelist and not a short storyist. "State of the Art" is about The Culture carrying out a clandestine survey of Earth circa 1977. More than most of his work, it betrays a lot more of what I presume to be Banks' true feelings about human culture. In a way, the novella reads like the condemnation of mankind in Plan 9:

Jeff Trent: So what if we *do* develop this Solanite bomb? We'd be even a stronger nation than now.
Eros: [with disgust] Stronger. You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!

I didn't find it a very good story, but it provided an interesting critique of, and appreciation for, human society. The same could also be said of the final piece, an essay on the Culture (first published on USENET!) Interesting in how he explicitly contrasts The Culture and our culture. And how much he had clearly thought about The Culture and its background.
essentialsaltes: (great)
Hung out at [ profile] ian_tiberius's swanky (yet temporary) digs in the OC on Saturday, and socialized with many folk and spawn. Important conversational notes from the spawn: "I've seen daddy naked." and "Brian is squishy."

Sunday, we had people over for poker and Rock Band. I triumphed at poker & sang Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom". Monday, I lay around and read. Great weekend.
essentialsaltes: (Default)
Yesterday, we went out to Poway to visit with some of [ profile] dark_of_night's cousins and Aunt Toni @ Teresa & Jay's house, where they had practically a block party with their neighbors. It was fun, but my name buffer overflowed rapidly.

Last night, I finally experimented with one of the absinthe cocktail recipes from my Old Mr. Boston Bartender Guide. Most of the absinthe cocktails don't sound all that great to me, but this one sounded the best, and it turned out a winner. Here it is, straight from the book:

Knock-Out Cocktail

1 teaspoon white creme de menthe
1/3 absinthe
1/3 Old Mr. Boston Dry Gin
1/3 French Vermouth

Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. Cocktail glass. Serve with a Cherry.

As made by me (approximately - I just pour by eye):
A dribble of green creme de menthe
1.5 oz. gin
.75 ounce vermouth
.5 ounce absinthe
Served with a cherry.

It turned out a cloudy, pretty green. The different herbal tastes were distinct, and went together well. I said to myself, "Oh there's the gin. Wait, over there's the absinthe, and that flavor over there must be the vermouth." The mint was pretty faint, but that's okay.
You'll notice there's no stupid fruit juice or anything to dilute this puppy. This is pretty common in the old recipe book. These are stiff cocktails, dammit. Or maybe it was just living up to its name.
essentialsaltes: (Cognitive Hazard)
Brokedown party at A&K's was fun. Socialized, watched AM1200, invented the Azore, played Guitar Hero World Tour, beat the Tool songs, but got eaten by Alex Grey's art.
essentialsaltes: (Default)
Click me for a few more photos:

We had a handful of trick-or-treaters... maybe 5 small groups. The best result was the tiny wing├ęd fairy who was, I think, already hopped up on sugar. She commanded conversation with a voice that somehow managed to be a high-pitched bellowing. [To all generally in her party]: "Look at the punkin patch [i.e. jack-o-lantern]!" [To me and [ profile] dark_of_night]: "Your punkin patch is soooo byuuuutiful!" It was enough to make me temporarily reconsider my long-held belief that our species should, for the benefit of our planet, forego procreation.

And there was plenty of chaotic partying as well. I hope people enjoyed the tasting of commercial and homemade aromatherapy products. Although I feel justly proud of our homebrew, it was great to get some external validation.

Thanks to everyone who came, and apologies to those to whom the size of our home precluded an invitation.
essentialsaltes: (Whiskey Tango but no Foxtrot)
flickr set

The groom-cake doubled as a battle mat:
Close-up on the Battle


essentialsaltes: (Default)

September 2017

345 6789


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 10:56 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios