Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holy Days and Pepper Sprays

I was off Thanksgiving, and though I often volunteer to work it, I took it off. I made Peryton and me oven baked "fried" chicken, peppery Brussels sprouts and cheapo macaroni and cheese. I found some some pecan pie for desert. All in all, I rather enjoyed the little holiday meal. I felt kind of rebellious, which always kind of satisfies me to begin with, but this was something different. The meal was fancy for us, as in we didn't order out, but instead cooked at home. But at the same time, besides the desert (we don't do a lot of pie), it was nothing specially bought for the occasion. The meal and the concurrent viewing of Ralph Bakshi's Fire and Ice, was quite a bit of fun and somehow "spiritually" satisfying.

Neither of us got on the phone and pined for old times with relatives. We certainly didn't start an itemized list of what we should be thankful for. We were thankful for a chance to have dinner together on a Thursday without either of us having to go to work that day. We didn't say it aloud, but it showed.

Of course, I over thought things, I wanted to walk over to my FacetuBe account on my laptop and post something like, "Christians, celebrated this Thanksgiving like our Founding fathers! Fast for three days every couple of months!" But most people probably don't realize that the tale of the "first Thanksgiving with the Indians and pilgrims" was something made in 1905. So I t
hought of a subtler joke to poke fun the event going on around me instead. That said, this year, I start the "High Season" of the winter with a new perspective on collective behavior as well as my usual axe to grind against Christianity during the Christmas days.

Santa Claus and private gift giving events became part of the Christmas tradition in English-speaking cultures a little before American Civil War, when wealthier folk got tired of poorier drunken rabble swinging by their houses to sing to them with carols. Ads were placed in papers, and mildly talented poets were featured like authors of Harry Potter books to get this tradition started. And this year, as the #Occupy movements with their rather anti-Capitalistic notions have stirred up trouble while pointing out alternately that park regulations are better enforced than banking and investment law and pepper spray is food product, Christmas shopping started at 4pm on Thanksgiving day in some places.

My instinctual distrust of mass movements, seems to be b
orne out in reports that I read that evening and the next morning. True to form, some idiot fully involved in the absurdity of of the Holy Days pepper sprayed a group of people during this "new shopping craze." And others were trampled, while even dead people were stepped over during this festival of purchasing. Security forces and police seem to have been busy elsewhere, letting people live their lives as they fit it seems as long as it's inside a Walmart.

I can't wait for my big turkey feast day next Memorial D
ay or Arbor day now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"The Mushroom Consumed" Carnage 2011, part 5

Sunday, 6. Nov.
Andre's Room of Ruination was full and there was an impromptu ceremony where he was receiving an award for one his warship war-games, during the Napoleonic wars, or there about. And though Pery says she came into the party after I did, I remember seeing her there when I first walked in. I could be wrong. Things get a little fuzzy, and all I can say is that I wasn't the only person keeping the party going until 6am this time around. I think Scott, Ben, Mike (Gandalf from the RPG Bomb) and CCrabb were hanging
just as strong as I was. Two highlights of the party for me were my recitation of the life of Black Bart the pirate, and Andre's continued threats to just go ahead and pay the $50 late check-out fee.Around 10am, the PeryPubbers were all packed up and bathed, believe me, this group requires that last part frequently, and we were ready to hand in our room keys. So we hung out waiting for noon when we promised to hook up with Zach and CCrabb for a departing lunch/breakfast. Hanging out in the now emptying lounge area overlooking the lake, we lounged on couches. Gaylord, Dr. Nik and others sat with us to chat us up for bits. Tyler swung by with his microphone and absconded with me and Pery in separate turns for quick interviews. Zach was with us recounting his wildman exploits with the Zack-Pack back in their room.

I have missed an event of importance in my recountin
g of this tale so far; Monk's games, both Fudge, I believe were hits. Not only were they hits, but the man had tens of ppl fawning on him every time he walked into a crowd. Apparently, while I was wandering around looking for parties, this man was sequestered away in private rooms and dispensing humor and gamer insight. The is indeed the guru of Rock'n'Role-Playing(TM) with his adventures "Clerks Vs Zombies" and "Beastie Boys in Billsburg." All that said, it was great to see my close friend have as much fun as I was having. K Bell mentioned that the whole convention rekindled his faith in his GM-abilities, which I never knew were being questioned-- the man's just good at what he does.

Well the departure lunch went off after CCrabb checked in the last round of RPG games. And we were on the road by around 2pm. The drive was scenic and windy, with the sun in eyes all the way. We made it to Syracuse a little after 9pm, and found our favorite Red
Roof Inn there, really we have one. And the PeryPubbers enjoyed their first night in separate rooms of the entire trip. I actually fell asleep at midnight and slept until 7am Monday morning.

The rest of Monday was spent checking out a couple places for Andre and my spoken of "Hoot thing." Keep tuned in for news on that. At 1pm we kicked out Monk and K-Bell to fend for themselves at the Syracuse airport, I'm sure they're fine, they like airports and know enough not to run out into traffic. Pery and I made our way back home, but first had to swing into Tag's restaurant and stage. Pery was downright rushing out of the car, forgetting everything as she saw our little spot's neon sign. It was kind of sweet.

So at about 9pm on Monday, our trip through the rabbit hole was over as we pulled into our driveway.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"The Smiling Cat" Carnage 2011, part 4

Saturday, 5. Nov. (continued)
Upon entering Andre's Billiards Room of Doom, I entered the cozy after-party that I've been hanging out at for the last two years. Stevie-D and Zach were actually new additions, but Ben from Schenectady, Andre (obviously) and CCrabb are my after hours gang. Stevie-D faded first, and Zach went out for a cigarette to never return. At around 3am, Ben bid everyone adieu. At that point I usually head home, but this time around, I decided to "go for bro" , so I pressed onward into the realms of sleepless debauchery. And debauch it was; Andre treated CCrabb and me to his death metal collection. CC
rabb got poky and admitted that even editors have creative thoughts every now and then. I think Andre and I were arguing about the Randolph Carter cycle, Christi metaphorically passed away long before, when suddenly we were talking about doing a small horror get-together-- "One your Hoot things." was his choice of words. And just as I was about to go into details as to how these "hoot things" occur, the cognac hit in and I got dizzy and noticed it was after 5am. with promises to return, I left an equally dizzy Andre to straighten up his den of death and death-metal before he stumbled to his own bed.

So there I was, back in my room, everyone mildly snoring, and me staggering ass drunk
at about 5:24am. I just knew I was going to sleep until 11am, maybe even past noon. Maybe people were going to have to shake me awake ten minutes before my afternoon games! 9:14am Pery sits up and sneezes, I am awake for the rest of the day and I know it.

Once again Monk and K Bell were up for the walk into town, or at least along the gas station and greasy spoon strip next to the New Hampshire border. The fresh air did me well. And I was ready for my upcoming events.

Coming into the resort, I saw the line for next year's reservations underway. Seemed kind of depressing to me, so we sent K Bell up to stand in line for us.

After some dork swiped two tables in the role-playing room, the Carnage Passchendale as I like to call it, I had to head into the main dining room. But hat tip to Tyler, the executive decision was handled with less than a second's ind
ecision, and his place I would have done the same thing. That said, I hope something will be said to the table-grubber about his being a DICK in a hobby where everyone actually tries to get along. My T&T game "The Mines of Naram-Sin" still filled up, with an extended family of five (headed by Ari and Chris(?)), and Michael Behrman, I say his name just because anybody with the name "Bear-Man" is just kewl beyond normal bounds. The game went a little over, I blame myself, as well the party taking an hour to approach the entrance of the tunnels I had for them, and the final encounter ended up with a "total party kill" event" which I didn't engineer. Still it was a good game, and the family angle keeps my public-speaking skills well practiced.

Had dinner with Pery, Andre and Zsuzsa and then Monk and K Bell. I couldn't stick around because I had to work my characters for my CoC game coming up. No room hijinx, just me forgetting a great costume that I was going to outdo Dr. Nik with this year.

My "Castle of the Moth" for CoC was one awesome event for me, if no one else. Zach and Derek showed up. I saw Heather and Patrick across the room, yet again avoiding actually playing one of my games, the scalawags that they are. But Dan and Dan, two true Lovecraft fans, and Lucas, also a man who knows a good Cthulhu tale when he hears one, showed up to fill out the table. Now while the plot never got around to the deep Mythos knowledge that I had in store, I felt like I was watching a movie. The characters were a disparate collection of people with separate interests as to why they were in the scenario I presented. In the end, with a couple of "character feeds" (The GM tells the Player what his PC should do), I had a nice gruesome yarn unfolding in front of me. The was only a "Bigfoot" of a CoC game for me, next year will be better. But after the high caliber performance of the players involved, I am not sure it will open to the public.

The after-party started innocently enough. I bought my Castle Moth players a drink of their choice, except Lucas, who abstained. The next thing I know Ray was sitting on my lap, where I was keeping the camera in my front pocket. After pushing him off, I forcibly told him, "The Story is that it was a hot chick that broke the camera!" I mean if I was going to get in trouble for breaking a piece of technology with Pery, it had better be worth it.

I actually found Pery, and a room full of others already in Andre's Den of Iniquity and Villainy...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Off With the Head." Carnage 2011, part 3

Friday, 4. Nov. (continued)
Me stumbling into the hotel room just before 5am, didn't surprise anybody. Even me speaking of the debauchery-filled orgy that I had just come, to the sleepy Peryton went over without a second yawn. But when I looked at my cell phone, which I had left in the room the previous evening, with the text message from her saying "It's 3:45. Where are you?" I had to wake her up and shake her shoulders demanding, "3:45 am!?! Where the hell have you been tramping about?"

"With shotguns and An
dre?" She answered. "Where else?"

I hate when she does that, but fair's fair. Her party was better than mine.

At about 7:30am, I realized I was awake and experiencing a Switchback Ale headache. The aspirin and glass of water that I had before lying down was helping, but som
e fresh air would definitely help. Luckily Monk and K-Bell were awake as well, so we did my yearly "breakfast walk" from Vermont to New Hampshire, because no one along the way takes debit cards. Truthfully, we had some cash so we actually just hit the bridge between the States to say that we had.

Back in the room, I fi
nished up the characters for the afternoon's fast approaching T&T game, "Raiders of the Temple of Marduk." Didn't take to long, so I tried to nap. Didn't stop Monk and Pery from having some hijacks with my still conscious, unbeknown to them, body. Just before we were headed Monk came around the corner in the room and caught Pery pouring her wine cooler into her exercise water bottle. I can't complain because of the alcohol, I had been washing my mouth with Miller High Life since 7:45am, but the wife's downward spiral being a flask full of Mike's Cranberry Lemonade not scotch or something else was just too hilarious for everyone in the room.

So "Raiders" had CCrabb, John Prushko, and couple of guys from Connecticut, Dan and Don. The session itself was a nice mixture of just the right size, three to four players is my comfort zone as a GM, and old-school gamers trying out T&T for the first time. It was a
n awesome game, though the players skirted my whole WWII parody by sneaking around the Neo-Assyrians, none too affectionately called "the Nazis." Instead we had a group of adventurers finding their way to a lost Temple with only chaos spawn in their way. But my monsters, some goat-folk and a Chaos ogre worked out well for my tastes. Overall, a perfect game.

In between the afternoon games and the start of the evening's events, found the PeryPubbers rallying at the bar. Shocking I know, but even more surprising, I was the fir
st there. So besides Joe the bartender, whose mixture of wit and wisdom I don't think I could live without at Carnage, I was making my well rehearsed rant "Canadians are Cylons" to Tara, a LARPer, Charles from New Hampshire, and a fellow wearing the official Green Mountain garb of a flannel shirt and baseball cap, hiding his face. The last fellow looked familiar and was laughing, but I just wasn't sure if I knew him (I couldn't see his face).

After dinner, it was time to run my Spacers scenario "The
Sirens of Sedna." Coming up to the table was the fellow with the hat, who was indeed ZACH! My prodigal son from last year's Spacers game. Well I kind of kept him in a hole, but you know. As well as his long term friend Derrik, not sure if I am spelling that correctly. Steven Dresser also showed up. And a new fellow named Jamie. Patrick, also a member of the Zach-Pack, from last year swung by to observe the game. Once again I had a good sized group, and Stevie-D (from now on) had some special coffee with magical coffee beans that made on tipsy as well as the beverage tasty. Had a great time myself because of the great players. I think I did okay having forgotten to bring my own rule book.
Who didn't make it was Heather Ryder, who will always be one of the Original woman of Spacers. She did make it for the picture above.

Luckily my midnight game was a wash, I was feeling tired. Dan from Connecticut did swing in to give me a scare, JERK, while Zach and I played a couple hands of poker just to pass the time.

Saturday, 5. Nov.
I can blame Stevie-P and CCrabb for getting Zach and me riled up again by wanting to hang out and waking me up. Once again Stevie-P's magical coffee doing its thing. I dragged C.J. Henderson from some place during a trip to the bar, to do a reading of one of his books. My cohorts had disappeared to spots unknown, but I had great time listening to part of his story "Around the Mulberry Bush" read aloud. The writer excused himself after the session, and I found I was restless.

I found Stevie-P, CCrabb and Zach heading towards Andre's little billiards room of doom...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

"We're All Mad Here." Carnage 2011: part 2

Thursday, 3. Nov (Continued)
When everyone finally was awake and refreshed, the PeryPubbers were in the car and rolling by around 9:30am. Everyone was having a good time as Mavis, o
ur car's GPS unit, navigated us through the Adirondack region of New York. I am sure everyone was more than happy to be educated on my thoughts of all the Amish living in the area as well, especially Pery as she needs to know more of my personal opinions everyday of her life. We were having a ball and discovering some parts of the world that I didn't think existed outside of the Ukraine, the Troika and various parts of outer Mongolia; gas stations where you didn't have to pre-pay.

Heading into Vermont, yes we found a way back to an interstate, despite Mavis's love of antique shops and dairy farms, we were treated to rough streets of Rutland and then into the Green Mountains. As often as I've driven the route, the only thing I noticed was signs of the flooding from Hurricane Irene and a definite lack of bathrooms. Monk and K Bell were eating it up with a spoon though. And soon enough, we were at the Lake Morey resort.

The first night, I intended to get my characters for my scenarios done, and I got as far as getting the character sheets photocopied. Then Thomas and Ben f
rom Schenectady and Dr. Nik dropped by, and we had a beer to dampen our throats filled with the dusts of the roads we travelled. And then Gaylord, Steve and about sixteen other Toms swung by, and I couldn't be rude and not have beers with them as well. Tyler even stopped by to discuss a little Dr. Who and Pery's little game spin-off.

Friday, 4. Nov.
By 2am, I had finished four out of 30 characters, was staggering drunk, but was stubbornly hanging out waiting for Pery to finish Andre Kruppa's CoC game. I stretched my arms and rubbed my eyes... Wallah it was 4:30am and I was waking up at an empty bar. To quote Monk, "the day could only go up from there."

"Chasing Rabbits." Carnage Convention 2011: part 1

An old German Riddle:
Q: How does one make
catching rabbits easier?
A: Run fast enough to sprinkle pepper on its tail.
No one takes credit for this mean joke played on many kids until they are about 162, but is almost universally adored.

Wednesday, 2. Nov.
Heading of of Cleveland at 8:42am, only twelve minutes late, perhaps wa
s not the smartest thing to do as Pery and I started heading to Fairlee, Vermont by way of Syracuse, New York; rush hour traffic downtown and then towards the uptown area to get out of town was a little trying. But then again, Cleveland doesn't really have traffic jams. So the old ball and chain and I were in free-flying mode by around 9:30 and cruising through space and time to pick up Monk and K-Bell at the Syracuse airport by 3pm. We passed the time pretty much alternating between silent expectation and gamer small talk. Stuff like Ravenloft versus In Nomine and our viewing of Torchwood: Miracle Day the night before-- I had fallen asleep, but was impressed overall.

While being a little euphoric at being headed towards our "Fall convention," Pery and I were a bit guarded, as this time around we had many moving parts in the works to make things work for this trip. We were picking up a couple of our best friends in an unexplored airport in a city where I pretty much knew nothing about, except its place on a map and that Peter Weller (Robocop) is a Professor of History at its university. There was a little crimp in funds until the upcoming Friday. Pre-generated characters had to finished. My laundry wasn't done. Just all sorts of needed to fall into place.

Lucky for our square-jawed smiles, because when we arrived at the Syracuse International Airport, a poor cop detailed to the joint, pulled me over for running a Stop sign. I read him in about two seconds and knew he was going for the ticket, if not a full search of the car and a grope of my wife. When he came back with my ticket, without th
e other things I was half-expecting occurring, I made him repeat everything and clarify everything he said in his well-practiced spiel, and and then had the gall to pleasantly ask him directions for the surrounding area. I even asked how many Stop Signs there were in the airport's thoroughfare. There were twelve before we could get back on the interstate again. He was about to explode just before he was done, must've needed a coffee break or something.

Finding Monk and K-Bell was not hard at all. I walked in to the rather small airport, and the only "Arrival/Departure" screens were right next to where the couple walked around the corner in two minutes-- before I finished reading through the arrival lists. Monk could only laugh as he heard about me picking on the local law enforcement officers after only fifteen minutes of my arrival in their fair city. And as it happens when Monk and K-Bell arrive, the car was filled with mirth once again. Everyone, except Pery, giggled as I ran yet another Stop Sign, as my red hair started showing again.

It was still early
, so we decided to travel on. Monk suggested it would be good to get some distance between me and the city of Syracuse's popo. But after an hour, the rush hour traffic started to resume, so Pery pulled out her GPS and searched for hotels and whatnot with a watery landmark within their title. As we all know, a "watery landmark" means interesting in tourism -speak. So we broke off of the toll road and headed into the wilds of New York state's bedroom communities. We ended up in Little Falls, down in their gentrified Canal District. The B&B where we stayed was decent enough, but I won't go into details because the owner had problems with his credit card machine, which I found out via a note, and then couldn't find the replacement cash tip when I left it in our room the next morning before check out.

Of course "no one and none of (his) staff had been in the room" before he decided to call me trying to shake me down at 5pm the next day.
Of course he knew that I wouldn't lie about leaving dozen or so dollars he did not know how to process before completing the bill. He tried to convince me that Monk and/or K-Bell stole it from the "tip" envelope when I wasn't looking. When I mentioned that I knew had known them longer than I knew him, he realized that his coy mind game wasn't working and shifted into full aggressive douche bag mode. I never said "fuck off" but I told him to call me when he found the money to apologize or wanted to admit that he swiped it from his waiter who deserved it.

But I digress, there is a little story here. In Little Falls, the refurbished antique shop/bed & breakfa
st/artist studio district is about 200 yards from a railroad track. Of course the trains every thirty minutes or so. While we were sitting in the B&B's ajoining pub/restaurant, a train was going past and a busboy opened the door to the kitchen. The clock over the door way, which happened to be behind our table (our choice no one else's) fell from its perch, and shattered on the floor. After cleaning the mess up, our waiter, who was a lot of fun as well skilled stated, "That is spooky."

"It would be spooky if it was still October." I replied.

That drew a room full of laughter, it made convincing Monk and the waiter to perform a re-enactment of their reactions, just for the purposes of this blog.

Thursday, 3. Nov.
Awake at 5am means one can have some time to himself. I took a walk hoping to find some coffee and a paper, but found a laundry mat. One more thing off of the checklist to get everything working right. I met the place's owner and his big-ass dog. Are big dogs the fashion these days? I noticed everyone with a pet that I had ran into out in New York's bedroom land territory had dogs that their children could mount as

Between the cop and the B&B owner, I guess I was finding out in "upstate" New York that if you aren't a fast rabbit, everyone is either providing pepper or about to sneeze on you.