July 2011

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The thing is that I did read a lot this month. But half of them were books for the Certified Archivist test I took last week. So it’s not like most of it was FUN reading. Especially the one on Automated Access from 1981. Ridiculous.

Books Read: 37

Books Partially Read: 6 (one of them was Automated Access. Who would read all of that? Punch cards! Groan.)

Books Bought: 5

Money Spent: $25

Books Borrowed: 18

Books Given: 1

Books Re-read: 5

Money made (from selling books): 0

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: I don’t want to say. Sigh. 48.

Favorite Books: Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey, Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade, The Cat Club by Esther Averill, and Henrietta’s War by Joyce Dennys.

The Naamah was the final one in that trilogy so it’s possible my liking it was partially due to its being over. But I also liked it! I am suspicious who Carey will write a series about next though. Please don’t let it be the little girl. Please. The first Kushiel trilogy remains her best. None of her other characters can beat Phedre for wonderfulness. But I did really love the first Naamah one (proof) and I did enjoy the conclusion to it.

Queen of the Dead is the sequel to The Ghost and the Goth which I also liked. It’s about a teenage girl who gets run over by a bus, comes back, makes friends with the boy who can see ghosts, sort of become an item. Blah blah, YA romance, yo. In this one though there’s some more stuff happening with ghost-seeing group, more powers, and the delightful epithet, “Casper-lover”.

The Cat Club is something I read as a kid and still completely and absolutely love. It’s about a little black cat named Jenny whose owner is a crusty sea captain who knits her a red scarf and her adventures with the neighborhood cat club. So adorable.

Henrietta’s War was written in the 40s and is an epistolary novel from a middle-aged-ish woman to her childhood friend at the war-front. It’s all from her letters and is about the happenings in a small town in Britain with a bunch of other middle-aged to old people and their home-front war efforts. You wouldn’t think it would be as fabulous as it is for a novel from someone you’ve never heard of but it’s great. Also there’s a sequel which I just borrowed from Kris and will get to eventually after this piles of library books goes down a little.

Least Favorite Books: I mean, let’s be honest here. Automated Access, OBVIOUSLY. I was also not raving about the new Kody Keplinger–Shut Out–(which I was maybe TOO excited about anyway after D.U.F.F.) and the newest Mary Janice Davidson about the vampire queen, Betsy (Undead and Undermined). Because seriously WTF is happening with those? It’s like she’s on acid.

Other things I liked all right: Arabel’s Raven by Joan Aiken, Bumped by Megan McCafferty, Phedre by Jean Racine, Candida by George Bernard Shaw, Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore, Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook, Wildefire by Karsten Knight, and Web 2.0 Tools and Strategies for Archives by Kate Theimer.


Shadowrun Parts 5 and 6


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In honor of the fact that the last Shadowrun game is tonight, I’m going to give you my favorite lines from the previous two sessions. Somehow I either didn’t take notes the first Gene-run game or I lost them. You get what you get.

For past games see here and here and here.

So this game is being run by Gene and has all the same characters as the one Jacob ran–Emmy the troll (me), Scott the Batman (Adam), Smoky the high shaman (Ivan), and Alfred the yacht owning rich magician (Aaron). But it also has Yacob the short, smelly, bad English speaking guy (Jacob) and Ridge the poor dice rolling thief (Tami).

In the first one, we fought out in the mountains against ant people. In this one we are in the city attending a dog race. We’re protecting 1 dog, stealing a 2nd dog (back), and fixing the track betting bookie system with some computer whiz guy we’re sneaking in. TOO MANY JOBS.

In the first 3 sessions we made it thru like two weeks of doing not much. In tonight’s session it’s like 4 hours to race time and a lot of shit is going to hit the fan. As they say.

So ahem, without further ado.

They’re discussing our background music and arguing what movie it’s from.

Adam: Where Sylvester Stallone plays a soccer goalie.

Ivan: Oh yeah.

Me: What?

Gene: It’s actually Gangs of New York of all things.

Where we’re eating dinner and talking about one of the dogs and how we need to know what he looks like so Alfred can impersonate him.

Yacob: What was he wearing?

Emmy: Ear cocked? Half-cocked?

Ridge/Tami: Tastes like salmon.

Hilarious because why would the dog be wearing clothes? My question was mocking, but still more astute. And Tami was in her own little word of hating fish flavors in dinner.

GM: These aren’t the dogs you’re looking for.

Because we always need a little Star Wars reference in our role-playing.

Alfred needs to learn a new spell to impersonate one of the dogs if he shape-shifts and switches places.

Alfred: I’m pretty sure I can learn to glow.

Scott: Or we’ll go to the party store and get you some glow sticks.

GM: And play some German techno music.

GM: Ah-ah-ah-ahem. Woof. Bow-wow.

I’m pretty sure that’s either because we asked what the dogs sound like so Aaron could fake it. OR he was role-playing what Aaron would sound like as a dog. Or maybe a dog was actually barking? Hard to say. Either way, hilarious.

Random lines:

Yacob: Has dog killed a man?

GM: Johnny Cash style?

Alfred: I touch myself and glow.

Scott: That’s not a rocket launcher in my pocket.

Emmy: Cause you left it on a roof up north.

Oh I bring back that joke.

Ivan shows up late the second day because he had to go to the hospital because he stepped on glass and had no trauma patches (yes, that last part’s a game joke).

Gene: Did you get it out?

Ivan: No.

The man had glass in his foot so far in they couldn’t remove it and he still came to Shadowrun. Plus, he came ON HIS BIKE.

Emmy: It’s bed and ration bar time.

I have priorities.

In the limo at 11am with Scott and Alfred:

GM: Pass the cheese plate.

We argue about how we will do some of the jobs we have without arousing suspicion.

Scott: I think a clipboard, a hard hat and a confident wave will get you in.

We go to a bar to meet some guy who is hot. For something… We seriously played weeks ago, I don’t remember. Tami suggests he looks like Johnny Depp in Alice. Ridge and Emmy try to flirt.

GM: Give me a charisma test.

Emmy: One success! Suck on that charisma!

(I have very low charisma as a troll)

GM: He notices you blinking your eyes.

Emmy: He might just think we have something in them.

Ridge: He offers us visine.

Adam’s plans to confound Gene proceed apace. I like that this is his ultimate goal in the game. Well, this and cheese plates in limos.

Scott: I plug in ‘Group Behavior’ Soft.

GM: What does that do?

Scott: Deal with it, Gene! I don’t know!

Ridge is trying to plant explosives under the truck of the company we’re going to steal a dog from and keeps getting shitty dice rolls and attracting attention from guards. I am trying to protect her so I throw her over the fence so she can hide.

Scott: Stick the landing!

Yacob: For stealth!

Smoky: 9.5.

I do not remember what this next bit was about but I remember the giggling.

Smoky: What are you wearing?

Scott: What are YOU wearing?

Adam then proceeds to giggle like a girl for at least 30 seconds.

OK! Last one tonight. Will I punch people? FINGERS CROSSED. I hope we save the pretty dog. And that none of us dies.


Backscatter BOO


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My terror of the backscatter machine made me demand a pat-down. Though my terror of the pat-down made me a little too over-share.

Me: I don’t want to go in that. I want a pat-down.

TSA Agent 1 (male): Uh. Ok. Wait there. We need a female pat-down! Code 3-4!

I wait a while.

TSA Agent 2 (male): Do we have any female agents on call?

TSA Agent 1: CODE 3-4!

I wait a while. A lady shows up! She tells me what she’s going to do and how she will use the backs of her hands in my crotch area.

Me: Ok. I want to tell you that I’m having my period so I’m wearing a pad in case you feel it and if you want to go somewhere else if I need to take off my clothes to show you, just tell me.

TSA Agent 3 (female!): Uh, that’s ok.

Me: No seriously, I will fully show you my menstrual blood.

TSA Agent 3: I’m good.

Me: Are you sure? Well if you change your mind. I can show you. It’s no problem.

I think she was glad to see me go. And I have to say, if that’s all the pat-down is I am ALWAYS asking for it. Fuck the backscatter x-ray. That shit is huge and scary looking. I didn’t even want to stand NEXT to it.


I shall now tell some stories


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I went on a houseboat trip last month and have been meaning to write about it ever since. But laziness, you know. Also I kept forgetting things that happened on the houseboat. Which, I think, is what occurs when you’re a) drunk the whole time and b) possibly have a concussion.

At one point Christine, Kris and I were sitting in Baby Albee discussing how chores ought to be divided up next trip.

Me: I’ll do whatever you tell me to do.

Christine: (skeptical face)

Me: What? I do what you tell me to do. I’m fine with that.

Christine: You are not fine with that.

Me: (starting to worry that my friends know me better than I want them to) But…I do it.

Christine: Yes, if you already want to do it.

Me: (drunk and proud of my ability to still remember and pronounce big words and giving up on my friends knowing me too well) I can be quite truculent.

Kris: Maybe your new pirate name should be Truc-y.

But no, it stayed Drip. Which was apropos since I was dripping from the ice bags held against my black eye and the oozing poison ivy dripping into my belly button. What’s a trip without me being truculent and disgusting?

Let me relate the story of the black eye though most of you have heard it already. So we’re skinny dipping at night and the moon is big and we are mooning all the nine foot sturgeons.

Aaron: Let’s race!

Me: OK!

Aaron: To Gene.

Me: Go!

I am already gone.

We race to Gene and smack him.

Gene (who had been minding his own naked business): What is happening?

Aaron has already started swimming back to Baby Albee.

Me: Wait, what? To Gene. I win!

Aaron: And back.

Me: You didn’t say that before!

Here we are both kind of inching back towards the speed boat already.

Aaron: Race!

Me: OK!

I am truculent AND competitive.

So we race back and since we’d kind of head-started and I was drunk I didn’t take into account the distance shortened from where I started back (was basing it on distance from Gene) and so started to open my eyes and raise my head a micro-second before smacking in to the metal bar on the back of the boat with my face. I immediately grabbed the bar and my face. But it took a minute of hysterical, drunken, elated laughter at racing for people to notice that I was clutching my face. Also I may have thrown them off with how much I was laughing.

Aaron: Are you ok?

Me: Really not ok.

Then there was ice packs and repeated assurances by non-medical doctors that I wasn’t broken. And maybe some crying (Drip).

Every time I tell this story I am once again AMAZED that I didn’t injure myself horribly. Though admittedly, my eye socket still feels kind of bruised.

Another night we were skinny dipping (I was at least less drunk) and having sparklers. Jon and I were the only ones in the water, Gene was handing us sparklers, and Kris demanded a light-saber battle. Proving that I will, in fact, do what I am told (I’m not even telling you the story of how Kris told me to go collect a dead fish in a floaty and I did. OK, that’s pretty much the whole story), I commenced an EPIC sword-fight with Jon.

Me: Pu! Pu pu pew!

Jon: Pugh! Pugh pew pugh!


Jon: Meow? Meeeeeeeeee-ow.

Me: (gurgle gurgle)

Cause I started to drown from laughing so hard. Best light-saber battle ever.

What else happened on the houseboat? A lot of Magic: The Gathering. Like, A LOT. An equal amount of blendy drinks made by me (once we got a blender). A ridiculous amount of beer and talk about beer. And I made blackberry cobbler from scratch without a recipe (I am duly proud of this accomplishment. I am less proud of how idiotically I got poison ivy on my stomach from storing blackberries in my swimsuit.) Still, an awesome trip with so many friends. Pictures: HERE.


July 2011

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Impressively I thought I hadn’t managed to do last month’s book blog but I totally did! I think I forgot because I was drunk while posting it. That was the night I had like 4 shots of tequila and a beer. Oh man. Oh wait and then the other thing with like 3 shots of vodka. Ok, but that was after I posted it so it barely counts. I mean, sure, the whole room was spinning, but whatever. Whatever.

So July! I did SHITTY. But a lot of July was spent taking care of kids and driving and….starting my internship. My excuses even suck. Not every month can be a 30 books read! Stop judging me.

Books Read: 8

Books Partially Read: None. I read them all! That’s a first.

Books Bought: 9

Money Spent: $27

Books Borrowed: 4

Books Given: 4

Books Re-read: 0

Money made (from selling books): 0

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 41

So once again I bought too many books. Seven of them were from this awesome used book store in Alameda which I discovered while house-sitting there last month on my many walks across the stupid island gathering blisters and broken foot bones. The other two were at used book stores in Oregon.

Out of my eight books this month, guess how many were favorites? It’s not eight, don’t panic. It is six. But the other two I didn’t even hate, I just didn’t love them.

Favorites: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, The Shadow in Hawthorn Bay by Janet Lumm, Divergent by Veronica Roth, What Every Woman Knows by James M. Barrie, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, and Life Among The Savages by Shirley Jackson.


Beauty Queens is about a bunch of teenage pageant girls who get stranded on an island and have to survive an evil lair of bad guys under a volcano, an Asian dictator, and some pirates from boarding school. It’s hilarious and socially scathing.

The Shadow in Hawthorn Bay is old school YA set in Scotland/Canada. It was pretty and nostalgic.

Divergent is amazing and everyone should read it. Dystopic future a la Hunger Games, equally awesome but in very different ways.

What Every Woman Knows is a play by the author of Peter Pan. I bought it at the library book sale in Bandon, OR and found the very smart female character overcoming sexism to be delightful.

Girl Who Circumnavigated is the second book by Valente I’ve read. This one is much more a kid’s book similar in scope to Alice in Wonderland with girl entering alternate world and having to go on adventures and deal with a mean Queen, save her friends, etc. It’s very whimsical and entertaining. Would be great to read with a kid but was good to read as an adult too.

Life Among The Savages is Jackson’s partial (fictional) autobiography about living in the country and raising her kids. It is hilarious and baffling and awesome. She wrote the famous short story “The Lottery” which everyone should have read. Katherine (my cousin) was reading this at the beach and kept chortling and relaying passages so I got it from the library when I got home and devoured it on the houseboat. It’s a fabulous vision of parenting mid 20th Century. Also apparently there is a sequel, say what now. Must get.

Less favorites: Follow My Lead by Kate Noble (unexceptional romance novel) and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (4th in the Queen’s Thief series which I wrote about last month).

Book Quotes:

“Desire played by its own rules. She wanted him to want her. Madly. Truly. Completely. His wanting her supplied a missing piece she couldn’t supply for herself; no matter what the self-help books said, desirability was something reflected back to you. And right now, she needed that.”

From Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

“The sun hitched up her trousers and soldiered on up into the sky. September squinted at it and wondered if the sun here was different than the sun in Nebraska. It seemed gentler, more golden, deeper. The shadows it cast seemed more profound. But September could not be sure. When one is traveling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it IS brighter and lovelier, it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.”

From The Girl Who Circumnavigated by Catherynne M. Valente.


Not actual shit, though I suspect given a chance we would blow that up too.

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The last day of Shadowrun was long. And it was the day immediately following Day 2 in real life. Also I was in an incredible amount of pain from what I would refer to as a Category 5 Period on a scale of 1 to 5. Let me put this into perspective for you:

1. I wore pajamas to the game because all other clothing was too horrible to face. (FACE. Oh, I bring it back.)

2. I had those self-adhesive heating pads stuck to my front and back to really sandwich my revolting uterine wall and it’s sloughing. Damn uterus.

I feel most people who play Shadowrun (witness my 4 fellow players) don’t have this kind of problem. But honestly I would wear pajamas to all events if I thought I could get away with it.

So, day 3. We were still trying to get the Lorenzo away from the butt-plug (it’s butt is a plug) ant-lion. We were failing pretty miserably.

Alfred tried to cast a levitating/shield spell around Lorenzo to get him away from the ant lion and his giant, giant pincers.

Alfred: Can I call my spell ‘Hamster Ball’?

Does this really need an answer? Rhetorical.

Gene decides to dump sand on the ant-lion with the earth mover machine (large mining equipment).

Scott: Sand beats sand.

Rusty: Let’s do this thing.

You know what I like best about playing with boys? Their desire to fuck shit up. What I liked least about this plan though was that all the sand they dumped had to go past me first as I descended into the pit. But the main point here is: boys and toys. Which leads me to:

Smoky: This TNT is just for personal use.

I don’t even want to know. He didn’t get that name for nothing.

Adam became very sleepy. He slept sitting up for at least the last hour of the game. At several points we were just messing with him. But often he messed with himself.

Scott: I don’t get into the cab, I’m in the cab.

Scott: I would like to talk to Bob.

I’m pretty sure the self-conversation about being in the cab went on for at least 5 minutes. And you know what? He was in the cab the whole time. The second one was when we made him call someone to use his “corporate etiquette skill”. Who knew that would come in handy? Oh, wait. It didn’t. He wanted to know the name of the person. Jacob made one up. The fact that it was Bob was too much for Adam to handle at 11pm. The conversation quickly degenerated. Rusty hung up the phone.

At the end, we got Lorenzo back, we earned our money (which did not equal the cost of items Gene lost/used on this run). We also got some shiny stone worth a ton but Scott’s “fencing skill” was not up to the task of black market unloading. But hey, at least we all survived. And now Gene is going to Game Master a turn and Jacob is going to play. Also Tami is joining in the fun. What will happen next? I don’t even know. I bet it will be good.


We blow shit up

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Shadow Run happened again. The second day had some excellent goings on. Let me tell you about them. We learned a lot of stuff about the ant/men. I learned it all really fast and summarized it for the others (after finding a notebook in the game) causing Jacob to almost cry because he spent a week (or something) trying to make the notebook super complicated and I figured it all out in about 5 minutes. We negotiated with the Queen of the ant/people. We went after Lorenzo. We ran into trouble.

But first things first. A giant spider climbed on to my face! I hate spiders and so, by extension, did my character. It pretty much immobilized me.

Game Master Jacob: It’s hairy and all up in your grille.


Scott (Adam): Should I shoot it up? I’ve got sharp-shooter skills.


Eventually Alfred (Aaron) did some spell which made it suck in on itself like a black hole. I’m glad I was so terrified by the spider that I didn’t notice this was happening because what if he had sucked my face into a black hole? Event Horizon FACE, they would call me from then on.

Blowing shit up became a popular sport the second (as well as third day) and also a running joke. This is how it started:

Game Master: Do you have any demolitions skills?

Rusty (Gene): No.

And then he attempted to blow shit up anyway. The amazing thing is that we threw grenades and TNT bombs (which we had just made) successfully EVERY TIME.

Awesome side note to this:

Smokey (Ivan): Who brought a flashlight?

Scott: I brought flash grenades.

Yeah. ….Yeah. Event Horizon FACE! Also: NO ONE BROUGHT A FLASHLIGHT.

These two comments are not related in any way, and yet somehow they happened simultaneously:

Alfred: ‘What ho, fair maiden’, but in modern parlance

(which makes sense I guess, though I’m not sure what maiden he was talking to)

Scott: Bye bot!

(which I can only assume was directed at Gene’s tiny spy camera on legs as it wandered off in the wrong direction.)

Why? I don’t know. But excellent juxtaposition.

Smoky: I say we go there and see what it tastes like. I mean: Science.

Indeed, Smoky. Indeed. I really should have written these up early because I have no idea what we were committing ourselves to scientifically anymore. But I bet we did it. And threw a home-made TNT bomb at it with some sticks we got off the back of a truck.

Smoky: What, I just started running down a dark hallway; you need an intelligence test?

Smoky? Very funny. Also, we ran down that hallway in pitch darkness. I considered lighting some TNT to improve visibility but I was carrying three stunned wimps already and then I tripped.

We’re offered a trade for one Lorenzo with another Lorenzo. Lorenzo was a thing. Our quest, if you will, was Lorenzo.

Alfred: It best be a better Lorenzo.

Rusty: It’s like the Eucharist contract, but not quite.

I wish it had been. I wish we’d gotten some wafers and bad wine instead of losing my good handcuffs.

We found an ant-lion guarding the real Lorenzo (not the bread and wine one–who never actually existed. Coincidence? I’m not casting aspersions.)

Rusty: It’s butt is a plug. A butt plug.

Game Master’s (Event Horizon) Face: *semi-appalled*

It’s like we know science from licking it. I would know a butt plug if I licked it. I would also know a Christ wafer if I licked it. Q.E.D. Science.

Scott: I think I forgot my rocket launcher on the roof.

And he had. We never saw it again.

End of Day 2.

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