Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Let’s be honest last week sucked. There was the almost incomprehensible mass shooting at the Pulse Night Club, in Orlando. To add to that town’s terrible loss singer Christina Grimmie was killed by an obsessed fan a few days before, then a two year old child, was attacked and killed by an alligator outside Disneyworld. Across the sea member of parliament Jo Cox was assassinated by a neo-Nazi in a library. I think of England as this place beyond these types of killings. Then we have what I have come to fell is just the usual BS, that is coming out of this long and nasty election.
Personally things haven’t been much better. I got some really bad news at work. Also I have had, what in the grand scheme of things are really just minor setbacks, but seems terrible at the time, like losing my phone and a bought of stomach flu, was just was the crap frosting on a guano cake week. When things really go south I have a few things I use to pick me up. They are for the most part geeky and trivial, but they are some of the things that help get me through the bad times.
I am in no way saying that these things compare or compensate for the tragic loss of human life. They don’t. I do not intend for this list to diminish in any way the gravity of what has transpired recently. They are not answers, with the exception, this is what gives me a little glimmer of hope, in what sometimes seems like a depressing world.
Also these are the big things that I am grateful for. Like my family or where I live. These are the little things that make It easier to cope with the seemingly tsunami of depressing events out there in the world.
1 One time there was this perfect song.
I love Social Distortion, I love Reach for the Sky, but this version is amazing. To my knowledge this is the only time they did this song full on unplugged with this arrangement. Sure there are other versions of Social D doing this song acoustically out there on YouTube but those versions have their own distinctive flavor to me. I love aging punk Mike Ness, I loved that he struggled to beat drugs and keep his family together and like icon Johnny Cash you hear, his music is deeply rooted in his struggles. This is the ultimate reflection of this phenomena. Not your cup of tea find you on special song and play the heck out of it, then when it seems to get a little trite keep it in reserve for those time you need a pick me up.
2 Free role playing day.
Friday I got a text from Chasiom (the maker of The Call of Cthulhu RPG) that were participating in this year’s free role playing game day. And what a prize where they offering. A 23 page COC scenario by “The Godfathered Call of Catha Sandy Petersen” (That is what it says on the cover). And well it is true for the game at least. For those of you who don’t geek out about horror game writers he created the Call of Cuthlhu RPG, such books as S. Petersen Guide to Cthulhu Monsters: A Field Guide, and the story for the video game Doom. With Golum like obsession I declared “…The Precious, shall be mine.”
So I got to Portland institution Guardian Games early yesterday. There was a table of treasurers, everything form RPG pencils to a hardback copy of The Dr Who role playing game. There were however only two copies of the COC scenario The Derelict. So in true gaming fashion you rolled a D20, for what you got. Hopping for a “14” I got an “8”. I won Slugs a source book for a game called Limitations of the Flame Princess. As near as I can tell it is a game out of Finland, that is a D20 hybrid that kind of combines classic D&D, GURPS and Macho Women with Guns and then gets weird. And this is a book how to add slugs to your game. Cool I guess but not what I wanted.
But then I learned you could pick what swag you wanted if you stayed and played a game. So I ended up at a table for a demo for a game called Turn of the Cards. It is basically a quick scenario RPG that uses tarot cards instead of dice. More story telling than rules, we did an end of the world session which quickly turned in to Tucker and Dale Save Walmart. This rich Jerk is leaving the Wal-Mart I swore to protect with all the guns, and my guy (One of two dudes names Joe) gives this eloquent speech how that even though the world is in flames and the apocalypse is nigh, that the rules of law are what separates us from the animals and that beside that the honor of Wal-Mart was on the line and that he was not leaving without filling out the requisite BOF4245A gun ownership papers. I pulled out the World card, the order car and so the belligerent drunk went to the table and filled out the forms.
If you are interested in the game check out Turnofthecard.com, it is made by Noble Ventures.
It was a blast I met some cool people, had fun and oh yeah snagged the lost copy of The Derelict.
3 The Voodoo Dozen.
So you want to take a friend to Portland institution Voodoo doughnuts but don’t want to wait in line for two hours to get you Diablos Rex or you need to take a dozen doughnuts to a work event, you want to make am impression but don’t want to fork out the $25.00+ for a pink box full doughnuty goodness. Well I let you in on a secret, there is a Voodoo Doughnut food cart with almost no waiting and for $16.50 you can get 13 of their lovely pastries, they chose but it is thirteen of their signature doughnut, not just frostingless cake doughnuts. The last box I got a had a Grate Grape, Mango Tango, McMinnville Cream, Captain My Captain, The Loop and Neopalitian, plus 7 others. Extra bonus points they checked to make sure that no one I was taking them to had coconut or peanut allergies. .
You either love, hate or just don’t get Sucker Punch. Zack Snyder’s opus about feminism, staring five women in fetish gear. Me I love it but at the same time, I admit that the lobotomy and other world brothel scenes can be a downer, but few people don’t think the fight scenes are amazing. I should do a full post on Sucker Punch someday, but when I am down sometimes I watch Baby Doll and the ladies do their thing. Everything in the movie is foreshadowing (The whole story is told on the glyphs of BD’s Katana or how she always uses the word free instead of escape.) Symbolic (Baby Doll’s weapons are a M1911 .45 automatic and a Katana, weapon’s used by opposing forces during WWII or Sweet Pea seeing the boy solider on the bus at the end) or just cool (Orc launching themselves on a catapult & steampunk Zombies) Every time I watch the fight scenes I see something new both physical or symbolic.
I first learned about Greg Ruck though the awesome comic book/Novel series Queen and Country. Since then I have gone on to his comic books Stumptown, White Out, and Lazarus, all awesome stories with strong female protagonist. But he started out as novel writer before he got into comic books. My father I think only read one comic book since he was 12, a copy of Rucka’s Queen and Country Declassified: Son’s and Daughters. A story about the troubles in Ireland. I also gave him two out of three of the Q&C novels, A Genetelmen’s Game and A Private War (I don’t think Final Run had come out yet before he passed away.)
Rucka also got the plum job of writing the back stories of Star Wars newbies Fin, Rey and Po Damerion in the novel Before the Awakening. I gave that to my 11 year old niece who dove in to the character’s backstories. That three generations of my family who love Rucka’s writing for completely different reasons.
There is this little book store in my sleepy Oregon town called the Book Nook. It sells used books at a good price, and is completely staffed by volunteers. No child, who enters there leaves without a free book. That’s the cool part but not the magical part. The magic is that it almost always has the book I want. Now if you are regular to DCotU, you know I am a skeptic about the paranormal but this is just too weird, not to be something. In addition to finding all the books I didn’t know I wanted like a dozen, Dark Horse, alien EU novels, or Allen Dean Foster’s Star Trek Logs, one time I walked in and was thinking gee I wish hadn’t lost my copy of Michael A. Stackpole’s, Shadowrun short stories Wolf and Raven. When I moved from California. Guess what? There it was on the shelf when I finally got to the sci-fi section. It happen twice with Ruka novels at different times I found Rucka’s Final Run and Alpha when I popped in to see what they had. Recently I went there to get a book to read while waiting to pick up my aunt, and my niece and nephew at the airport, and I thought gee I been looking for Charles Stross’s short story A Colder War and well there at The BN was the collection that had that story. Now I know that I could find it on line, but part of the fun is to hunt these books down if old used book stores. And remember these are rather obscure books, in a used bookstore in a town of only 2,500, people. Maybe magic is real after all.
You all know that I live on a goat farm. Sometimes when a day is really really bad I take a baby goat, set it on my lap and we watch Clone wars or Torchwood or listen to pun rock music and things are better.