May 1st, 2021

Panoply

Random Bits from Facebook

April 17:
Fifty years ago today, April 17, 1971, Dave Arneson had his local gaming group over for what he called a medieval Braunstein. A time-traveling hyper-intelligent fly on the wall would have recognized the session as a fantasy role playing game, the first such that had ever taken place in the history of the world.
The pebble becomes the avalanche, and the world changes.

April 18:
Dredged from 2016:
The following is posted on behalf of the friend who wrote it, because it's sad and smart, appropriate WAY beyond its primary content, and generally worth reading.

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When I came out poly to my family, the message that I got was- sanitized, paraphrased, and to the salient point:
"We love you, but we do not like how you live and we don't want your sex life shoved into our faces."
For anyone who has said that, or something that could be condensed to that, I have a story to tell you.
I am the most boring man at my workplace.
"I went camping with my husband this weekend. [Long story with a lot of anecdotes.] What did you do, Jason?"
I spent time with a woman from out of town who is for all intents and purposes a second wife. We took the kids to the zoo. I got to take lots of pictures, and that was amazing. That afternoon, we met up with my wife and her boyfriend, an old friend, and my new girlfriend who is fitting hand in glove into my world. After dinner, we met up with other friends and watched a movie about two men learning to share the woman who loves them both. I was snuggled on the couch between my wife and my new girlfriend, and my out of town girlfriend leaning against my legs. Everyone was happy, everyone laughed and had a good time, and I haven't felt that kind of carefree joy in a very long time. After the movie, my out of town girlfriend and I got to spend an evening alone together and reconnect, because our last two visits were short due to random accidents of life. All in all, it was a great weekend and I came out of it feeling amazing and refreshed.
"Not much. I had dinner and watched Bandits with some friends."
I have to keep it short and simple, so as not to invite questions because I don't like to lie and I'm not good at it. I can't share in the communal Monday experience because I don't want to "shove my sex life into people's faces." This closet, as comfortable and well appointed as it is, grinds away at me when I'm at work, just like it has for the last 20+ years. I can almost tell this story to my parents these days, but I make lighter of it than it is because I don't feel like watching my mother stiffen up, change the subject, or heaven help us all cry again.
To most of the people on my friends list, this is echo chamber material. I'm posting it friends only because the closet is still a real and necessary thing at work, even if I refuse to go into it otherwise (excepting certain extenuating circumstances.) That said, feel free to tell this story if you think it would be useful. Copy and paste it without attribution if needed. If you feel as I do, at least know that you're not alone. And if you've ever given that message to someone you say you love, think long and hard about the pain you're causing that you might never see. Maybe dig around inside you to figure out why you feel like you can talk about your life and loves, but it's not appropriate for someone else to have the same bonding experience.
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April 19:
Life in my household:
We are still plowing through "Supernatural". We have gotten to season 13, in which Dean is dealing with epic grief by being chronically caustic and surly. After one particularly deft insult, Dementia commented, "Wow. When Dean is grumpy, he's almost as caustic as you are."
I'm inclined to take that as a compliment...

April 21:
I have always found the idea of "dream job" troublesome. I never bought into the idea that "work" was a source of meaning, it was always something unpleasant that you had to do to avoid even more unpleasant things, like being cold and hungry. And I've always had many more things to do than I could accomplish in several lifetimes, WITHOUT worrying about food and shelter. Every now and then I run into people who actually love their jobs, and I react with both envy and bafflement.

April 22:
Mostly useless trivia:
It's not certain, but the odds are that a celebrity "Dame" outranks a "Knight". The reason for this is that most celebrity knights have the rank of "Knight Bachelor", the lowest rank of knighthood in the British system, and that rank is NEVER issued to women. The lowest such rank that is open to women is "Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire", which, like its male counterpart ("Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire") is slightly higher on the ladder. (Also a slightly different ladder, but higher in any case.)
One finds oneself going down some very odd rabbit holes while watching "Graham Norton"...

April 23:
These (Spiral Path Business Cards) came in today's mail. They are part of my deranged and haphazard plan to play Storyteller at Bristol this year. I shouldn't (and WILL NOT) accept tips, but I can certainly push these on people who are interested.
I think it's a functional concept: Dress to mostly fade into the background, but with a, "May I Tell You a Story?" sign on my hat, and then see what develops, all while being careful not to interfere with the official performers, or offending the Powers That Be.

April 25:
So the question of the day (and I am looking directly at you, Carl Johnson) is: To what extent would you consider "Fiddler's Rose" furry fiction? I am looking for a hard yes/no binary, but subsequent comments will be VERY welcome. Thanks!
(For bonus points, same deal for "Storybook Orc". And for that matter, the various gnoll-focused fragments.)

April 27:
Mental Meanderings:
I spent two years as an inmate of Wheaton College, a place where the writings of C.S. Lewis are held in VERY high regard, and during that period I consumed almost all of his catalog. I carried MANY things away from that, but the two that have stayed with me most strongly are things that were NEVER discussed at Wheaton and would significantly upset my fellows students, and the administration, and the faculty. Both are from "Perelandra", one of old Clive's most highly regarded works, and he makes the case for each decisively, if somewhat clandestinely: First, that arguments are won based on skill, not on truth, and second, that sometimes violence is the best solution.
I'm a truth-seeker; I am always willing to lose an argument. Over the years I have refuted a fair number of the things Lewis taught. But I have never been able to dent either of those.

April 27:
After 18 months without, my van once again has a nose ring. (Which is to say, I crawled under the car, and hooked up the connection for the nose rope, and the car is now ready to carry the canoe again.)

April 29:
Language meanderings: I recently came across a piece that claimed that the distinction between "High Fantasy" and "Low Fantasy" was etirely one of setting, that what I call "otherworld fantasy" is "High", and what I refer to as "this world" and "crossover" fantasy (two separate categories, to my mind) are "Low." I have always though of the distinction (in addition to being too vague) as having more to do with scope than setting.
Of course, I don't really think of "High" and "Low" in scope, either; I think more in terms of "save-the-world" and "save-the-ranch" plots. Dementia pointed out that "save-the-ranch" is not a particularly transparent term, and this led to a vocabulary discussion. "Epic" captures "save-the-world" moderately well, but the other? I thought for a while, and dredged up "picaresque", which caused Dementia, who has a degree in literature, to look at me cross-eyed.
So the question-- the main question, because there seems to be a LOT of room for discussion here-- is, what is a good way to differentiate between the two scales of story that will be meaningful to the average reader?

April 30:
The "Supernatural" crawl is into Season 14...
How does Dean Winchester say, "I love you"?
"Hey, you wanna drive?"