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Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
5:05 pm - 7V brief recap
Warning: LARP talk.

Had a great time at 7V yesterday.  Enjoyed the final fight with the Serpent Mother, though I can't shake the feeling that it should have been a bit bloodier, literally and figuratively.  The PCs really seemed to hate the SMom and seemed excited to take her out, so that's good!  Plus they got a lot of great trash talk in, which always awesome.

I think my favorite exchange of the weekend was when the Hero Queen came into town, crankily wearing a ridiculous purple velvet and gold dress that was a little too big, because she had been vetting suitors all day.  Of course everyone starts looking at me with a mixture of confusion and pity.  Brianna finally works up the guts to say something.

Brianna:  "Your Majesty!  You look..."
Hero Queen: "Brianna, I have the utmost respect for you.  But before you finish that sentence, I want you to remember I can have you killed."

(OOG, we actually forgot her doublet, but sometimes improvisation leads to the best scenes.)

Our PCs continue to be the awesomest!  Thank you everyone!

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Monday, March 26th, 2012
10:37 pm - Endgame: the My Little Pony/Muppets Caper!
Back by popular demand, we've cast your favorite LARP with ponies and Muppets!  OMG!  

The Ponies:
Twilight Sparkle - Karen
Pinkie Pie - Gord
Applejack - Micah 
Rarity - Angela
Rainbow Dash - Fox
Nightmare Moon - Rhysis
Princess Celestia - Lady of the Haven
Spike - Cordelia

The Muppets:
Kermit - Peregrine
Sam the Eagle - Winterborne
Gonzo - TJ
Fozzie - Gilligan
Rowlf - Caleb
Big Bird - Preacher
Snuffalupagus - Catherder
Camille the Chicken - Helen
Animal - Samson
Scooter - Doc Marc
Statler and Waldorf - Stanton Cade and DJ Hex
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew - Meg
Miss Piggy - Mashala
Swedish Chef - Nate
Crazy Harry - Doc Gray
Oscar - Abel
Sweetums - Ash
Penguins - Chaos Vortices
Janice - Saffron
Lew Zealand - Dmitri
Count von Count - Salismandt

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Friday, October 21st, 2011
12:28 am - Lowly Worm, O.H. (Original Hipster)
I know I haven't posted to this thing in over a year, but I have a very important discovery to share with all of you.

I had an epiphany recently.  Lowly Worm, of Richard Scarry children's book fame, is the original hipster.  

Lowly Worm has always been undergroundCollapse )

Observe.  Vintage hat, skinny jeans, bow tie, one Van sneaker (despite not having any feet; it's like wearing glasses when you have perfect vision), and in the process of poorly busting a move:

He also has a sweet fixie:

A biofuel car: 

And a thing for local food:

And let's not forget the obsessive devotion to Apple products.

Lowly Worm: underground before it was cool.

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Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
11:58 pm - Because I'm getting married in ten days now is OBVIOUSLY MEME TIME
Fill in the blank:

somehedgehog, what is your favorite _______?"

And then I will answer.  Word.

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Monday, April 26th, 2010
8:47 am - Garment district NYC recommendations?

Bought 7 yards of black cherry red silk dupioni for my wedding dress off SilkBaron.com, after diligently ordering and comparing swatches, of course, only to discover that fabric is way darker than the test swatch I ordered. Of course I only realized this after I had my seamstress cut the 7 yard bolt into two smaller pieces. I may be out $91 for fabric, for a really tight budget wedding. * bangs head on desk *

In the meantime, I still need to find fabric for my wedding dress. I'm going to NYC next weekend, so I was thinking of hitting the garment district, but I've never been. Does anyone have suggestions on stores I should check out to find vibrant, dark red silk dupioni?

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Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
11:53 pm - FIRST

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Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
12:02 am - Just watched last week's "Dollhouse"
Buh.  Wha. Buh.

* wanders around apartment aimlessly, bouncing off walls *

Buh.  I don't even.


People - if you have not seen this series, get it on DVD when it comes out.  DO NOT START WATCHING IT NOW.  It's already canceled, you won't save Uncle Joss from falling down the well.  And the spoilers, the spoilers, sweet baby G, the spoilers.  But seriously.  Get it, and start watching it from...about episode 6 in the first season.  The first 5 or six epsiodes set up a few good characters and lines but they're mostly meh.  Watch it in order.  Front to back. This is not optional.  And when you start season two....don't make any plans for that evening.  Or maybe that week.  You'll probably want to stock up on food.  And maybe adult diapers.

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Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Unsurprisingly, I like to collect the foreign words for "hedgehog" whenever I encounter a new language - whether by studying it or encountering people who speak it. So far I've collected the following:

French: herrison
Old English: igl
Irish: granneiog (pronounced: granny-og)
Latin: Erinaceus

As you can see, the unifying theme here is that all of these words are inherently hilarious. However, today I finally thought to ask adrsta  what the word for hedgehog was in sanskrit. A quick check of the dictionary revealed that it is "Shalya."

Which is actually kind of sexy. It means "dart, javelin, or arrow," and comes from a longer word, "shalyakantha" (pronounced shal-ya-kahnt-ah), which means "arrow/dart-throat." The word is also a male name used for a king in the Mahabharata, but it could become a feminine name by putting a long "ah" sound at the end.

So now I need a reason to name a character "Shalya," clearly. Suggestions?

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Friday, December 25th, 2009
2:07 am - I salute you
I salute you. There is nothing I can give you that you have not. But there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.

No heaven can come to us, unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.

No peace lies in the future, which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take Joy.

And so at this Christmastime, I greet you - with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.

--From a Christmas Eve letter by Friar Giovanni Giocondo

(1 comment | comment on this)

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
11:58 pm - Kitchen Improv
We eat dinner very late in this house on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as the Invisible Canadian doesn't get home until 9 and we sometimes go for a run. This leaves little time for grocery shopping, hence: kitchen improv!

Opening up the fridge after our run, I found we were a bit short on supplies, but we did have the following:

Half a can of whole peeled tomatoes
A frozen package of garlic chicken sausage
A slightly stale, mostly empty bottle of Two-Buck Chuck Shiraz

This is where keeping a decent pantry of dry goods, herb plants, and a steady supply of onions/garlic/shallots comes in handy. I threw together the following, and it was DELICIOUS. I even suspect it would be just as delicious with the tomatoes omitted, perhaps with a bit of stock thrown in - I'm looking at you, ryxander and chaointe (the latter could just leave out the pepper flakes). I think this may become my new cold-season larp crock pot dish.

Sausage and Bean Ragout

1 package pre-cooked roasted garlic chicken sausage
1 can cannelini beans, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small can whole peeled tomatoes in juice (or half a 28 ounce can)
4-5 springs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup red wine
pinch salt
generous amounts of fresh-ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste
Fresh parmesan (optional)

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or very large skillet. Add onion and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Slice sausage into quarter-inch rounds and add to pot. Season sausage with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste. Turn heat up to high and cook until sausage rounds are lightly browned.

Add beans to pan. Add about half the tomato juice from the can and all of the tomatoes; crush tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Add rosemary and wine. When about half the liquid is reduced, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve, garnishing with freshly grated parmesan if desired.

This would probably be great over pasta if that's your thing.

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12:57 am - Some good news
I've been sticking to the Couch to 5K thing, and should start Week 4 tomorrow. I'm now going to physical therapy twice a week as a pre-emptive strike, and it seems to be helping, even if my PT looks disturbingly like the preacher from There Will Be Blood and has a Skippy-the-Cruise director optimism to him that is downright unsettling.

Today commences my 25 days of "one Christmas thing every day," where I attempt to do something in the holiday spirit, no matter how minor, every day. I was going to start yesterday, but I totally flaked. Tonight, the fiancee has made us mugs of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea! And then we will watch this:

Finally, my father wrote me from Namibia to inform me that he had learned that the Afrikaans word for hedgehog is "krimpvaarkie." Is that not the best word ever? Krimpvaarkie! Krimpvaarkie Krimpvaarkie Krimpvaarkie! I'm printing that on a T shirt. My next larp character will be a Viking warrior-shaman named Krimpvaarkie the Bold. All shall quake in fear at my spines of DOOM.


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Wednesday, November 11th, 2009
8:50 pm - They call her Wheezing Hedgehog
Soooo, in an attempt to find an exercise program that is flexible enough that I can actually stick to it, and not boring, and doesn't cost me an arm and a leg, I'm starting up the Couch to 5K program. It's three sessions of walking/running per week, for nine weeks, working your way up to running 30 minutes straight by the end.

I haven't run since I blew my kneecaps off in college (ask my old roommates about the cracking noise my kneecaps used to make that was AUDIBLE FROM ACROSS THE ROOM), but I haven't had any symptoms in years due to physiotherapy and general laziness, so I figure now's as good a time as any to give it a try.

OK, actually, now is not as good a time as any, as I can't find my inhaler and the snow is gonna start flying any minute, but there will always be reasons for excuses.  The biggest excuse I had for not doing the Couch to 5K was that I didn't want to be constantly checking my watch or counting in my head to time the walk/run intervals - nothing would make the workouts less tolerable - but, as it turns out, there's an app for that.

I did the first session on Sunday and the second session today - both challenging by the end of the run, but very doable.  I didn't really stretch for the first one - THAT was stupid.  Anyway, we'll see how long this lasts once the temperature drops and the snow flies, and the running intervals start lasting longer than 60 seconds....

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Thursday, August 27th, 2009
1:08 pm - THANK YOU
I have about two brain cells rattling around inside my skull, but I wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped us move on Sunday, despite the oppressive heat, and the fact that we were short handed due to some unavoidable last minute cancellations. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Bonus points for wearing your very loud shoes.

Super extra mega bonus points to whatkyndylan and illuminari, who went above and beyond to help us move even more things to the new place over this week. I owe you big time.

I would write some kind of florid praise right now, of which you are all totally deserving, but I think I'm going to fall over in slow motion instead.

*falls over*

(2 comments | comment on this)

Friday, July 31st, 2009
12:44 pm - Groucho Glasses Emergency
 So I need a pair of groucho glasses - you know, like these - for a video shoot on Monday.  After unsuccessfully hunting around for some, I rush-ordered a set from a seller on Amazon; the listing said they'd arrive in 1-3 business days.  I've checked the UPS tracking number, and it seems they're using some obscure dialect of English in which "1-3 business days" means "6 business days."  So there's 10 bucks I'm not going to get back.

Does anyone know where I can buy a set of Groucho glasses in the Boston area?  Or perhaps have a pair I can borrow?

(1 comment | comment on this)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
12:39 am - punch punch punch punch punch
Went back to Krav Maga for the first time in years, and brought along adrsta .  The instructors remembered me, and Karen commented that I seemed to slip back into form quickly.  She also told me I need to focus more on punching faster, not harder, since I just don't have the mass to throw a single devastating punch.  But, "I love your aggression," she said.  "I bet you think you're bigger than you actually are."  Heh.  That doesn't sound like me at all.

Pricing has gotten rather annoying since my last time there.  There's a basic package that costs roughly what my monthly fee used to a couple of years ago - but you only get to attend 2 days of classes per week.  Realistically, that's all I can probably attend these days, but I liked having the option of being able to drop in whenever and blow off some aggression if I was having a particularly stabby day.  There's also an intermediate package that costs somewhat more, but it's all you can eat classes, plus additional kickboxing, knife & stick training.   The intermediate package is a 12 month contract, as opposed to 6 months for the basic package.  Also you have to pay up front for 6-12 months in advance to get the better prices, and there's no month-to-month contract option. Plus they're now requiring that you buy a "uniform," a krav T shirt and pants (though you have your choice of styles).  Used to be they didn't care what you wore, but I don't begrudge a small business trying to make an extra buck here and there.

Stil, they've started up conditioning classes again, which was one of the things that was keeping me from getting back in. I don't think I would have survived my level tests if it hadn't been for conditioning classes.  The new studio's in a better neighborhood and appears to have reliable running water and AC (!), unlike the last place.  No showers, though.  Ew.

All told, though, I think I'll sign up for the 6 month basic package.  By the time that expires it'll be midwinter, and if I'm still gung ho about it, hopefully I'll be on a new contract at work that will eat up slightly less of my life, so I can justify signing up for the intermediate package.

Let's see how this goes!

(punch punch punch punch punch punch punch punch hammer elbow elbow punch grab knee)

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
10:46 pm - Yuppie Sports Bar Food
A topic that just came up over an impromptu late night dinner of improvised nachos: we should totally do a dinner comprised entirely of the most yuppified interpretations of middlebrow chain restaurant sports bar snack food possible.  For instance:

Chili cheese fries - Yukon Gold steak frites topped with melted raclette, serrano ham, and cornichons (based on Provencal Raclette)
"Jalapeno Poppers" made from fresh poblanos stuffed with mascarpone, rolled in a panko bread crumb crust
Brownie bowl sundae - single-source chocolate Souffle topped with Tahitian vanilla gelato

And so on. 

Anything we should add to the list?

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Monday, May 4th, 2009
1:49 pm - Everybody calm down, have a cup of tea, and do some math.
Readers, a gentle reminder, which comes out of a discussion with my father, a developing world public health consultant.

With one exception, all of the swine flu fatalities have been in Mexico.   
Mexico is a country of about 90 million people.  This means that one million people die from all causes combined every year, regardless.  That's about 19,000 deaths per week.
Generally speaking, about 5% of deaths in Mexico are due to respiratory infections of one kind or another.
This means that, even if there is no outbreak of swine flu, 960 people die of respiratory infections every week in Mexico.
The outbreak is considered to have started about 7 weeks ago, so about 6720 deaths due to respiratory infection are to be expected during that period as a matter of course.

So far, only 149 deaths in Mexico have been linked to swine flu, and only 20 of them have been definitively linked through testing of the virus. Even if all 149 deaths are actually swine flu, that would represent barely a 2% increase over the usual number of respiratory infection deaths.  The virus has not shown the same predilection for killing healthy young adults the way that the 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic did.

We are overdue for a global pandemic, considering that population density, air travel saturation, factory farming, and other factors that put more people and more animals from more places in more contact than ever before.  But it's unlikely that this is it.

Everyone please calm down, have a cup of tea, and if you want to learn more about pandemics, read "RX for Survival," the companion book to the PBS miniseries on global health challenges.  

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Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
9:47 pm - Costuming: advice/hiring help
Had a quite enjoyable weekend this event at Endgame. I'm hoping someone out there can help me with a vague costume idea I've had.

I want to make what can basically be described as a mecha vest for my mad scientist character.  I'm hoping to create something that creates the impression of a wearable futuristic weapon, with various technological metal bits (more likely, plastic spray painted to resemble metal), tubes, hoses, glow wire, switches and glowing bits, etc.  A few pockets and attachment points for gear would also be useful.  Ideally I'd like to create something that is at least slightly flattering and does not make me look like a fat glowy mecha cow.

My initial thought is to start with a military tactical vest like this and bling it out, but I wouldn't really know where to start.  Does anyone have suggestions on techniques or materials to use?  Alternatively, would anyone be interested in taking on this job for pay?  I have a box of mad scientist bits - wire conduit, clear vinyl tubing, CPAP hose, glow wire, that kind of stuff - but wouldn't know how to get started.

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Friday, April 24th, 2009
1:22 pm - A thought
Has anyone written a piece of speculative fiction about a culture in which women are oppressed and reviled (something Taliban-esque), and then one day, the women all vanish without explanation?  

I've read about tongue-in-cheek proposals for "Day without a [insert disadvantaged group here] protests, in which  the members of the group in question are all encouraged to go on strike, call in sick, etc.  There's also Neil Gaiman's short short story, "Babycakes", about what would happen if animals suddenly all left Earth.  And, of course, there's Y The Last Man.  But I haven't heard of anything specifically like what I'm thinking of.

I doubt I'd be good at writing it.  It would get into some dicey religious territory that would be a challenge to handle, and I'm not sure I have the skills to write a social think-piece that wouldn't come across as shrill, ham-handed, or simplistic.  But I'd be curious to read an explanation of what a character like this guy would do if he was suddenly confronted with a world without women.

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Sunday, April 12th, 2009
6:52 pm - Need advice
All right.  I've been looking for houses now for a while, and I'm starting to think I'm just not going to find something decent in the right neighborhood that I can afford. (Keep in mind my definition of "decent" basically means "structurally sound;"  I'm happy to live in a tiny house with shagadelic carpeting.)  The only possibility that *might* be affordable are non-townhouse style condos in Dorchester.  I'm very leery of these because of various horror stories about structurally crappy recent condo conversions, crooked/draconian housing associations, and the usual neighbor issues.  Neighbors wouldn't be as much of an issue in a townhouse style condo, where you have no common spaces or shared floors/ceilings, but townhouses are more expensive for that very reason.  

Then there's also horror stories about one unit getting foreclosed on, and the other owner(s) have to pay their condo fees.  Not a big deal in a ten-unit block of townhouses, but a very big deal in converted double and triple deckers, which make up the bulk of the market.  I'd be less concerned about this in Somerville; that market is hot enough to make vacant units unlikely.

I don't know how much longer I'll be able to get month-to-month extensions on my lease. 

Finally, the overwhelming desire for a garden and a dog is getting almost unbearable.  Given this, what do you think I should do?

OPTION A: Keep looking and hope I get lucky trying to find a detached house or townhouse.
>>Pros: My preferred type of housing with regards to owner rights, privacy, etc.
>>Cons: Highly unlikely to find this.  Potential for costly repairs high.  This would almost certainly necessitate moving to Dorchester or otherwise further afield - these are good neighborhoods, but I'm not as fond of them as Somerville.

>>Keep looking and try to find a non-townhouse type condo in Somerville.
>>Pros:  Can start building equity.  Word on the street is that dog-friendly condos are more common than dog friendly rentals.  Would get to stay in Somerville, which is a more dog friendly community than Dorchester.
>>Cons:  Highly unlikely to be able to afford this.  Condos in Somerville cost as much as small single families in reasonable neighborhoods in Dorchester.

Keep looking and try to find a non-townhouse type condo in Dorchester.
>>Pros: Out of all purchasing options, most likely to be able to afford a unit of this type. 
>>Cons: See above concerns about neighbors, housing association, etc.  If I end up with evil neighbors, I'm stuck with them until the market improves enough/I build enough equity to sell, likely a minimum of 5 years.   Plus I'd have to leave Somerville; I'd mind this less if I had my own place, but if I hated my living situation it would be nice to have a community around me with a lot of resources.

Throw in the towel and try to find a dog friendly rental with a yard in Somerville.
>>Pros: More affordable than buying, no matter what.   Probably represents the greatest chance I have of getting a decent apartment that allows dogs. I get to stay in Somerville.  If the landlord or neighbors suck, I can leave. 
>>Cons: Landlord can kick me out.  Neighbors may suck.  Either may develop dog-hate at some point. If I have to leave the apartment, finding a new dog friendly apartment, especially with a larger dog, can be extremely difficult.

Give up on dog ownership and rent whatever.
>>Pros: No risk of suddenly finding myself unable to find housing for myself and my dog.
>>Cons: High risk of long term total misery.  My income is unlikely to rise significantly in the forseeable future, so if my plan is to hold off on dog ownership until I can afford Boston real estate, I may never be able to get a dog.  (I am not being melodramatic when I say that.)

Your thoughts?

EDIT: Ha ha, originally wrote this with two "Option C"s.  Way to go, me!

Also:  ryxander wisely advised me to try ranking what's important to me in terms of housing.  I think right now, in order of preference, the things I want can be listed as:

1) Dog
2) City location with transit access
3) Garden
4) Ownership of detached dwelling

Sometimes I struggle with which one should be in slot #1 - viscerally I feel the need for a dog more, but I haven't forgotten how isolated and bored I felt renting in Newton, which is hardly in the hinterlands.  Plus, if I live far from my job in terms of travel time, having a dog will likely be not feasible, as it would be sitting at home for so long every day.

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