Help play-test the pencil 'n' paper roleplaying game I'm writing for my undergraduate honors thesis!
/msg me today! More information is available on my homenode.

The end of the first week of the second term of my last year of undergraduate study.

I am slowly starting to make progress on the roleplaying game that I am writing for my honors thesis. For a long time, I was worried that the original ideas I had for a setting couldn't be reflected sensibly in the format of a game.

The original mood I had for my game was post-apocalyptic steampunk. When the idea sprang into my head, I quickly wrote a short story, but it occurred to me that my ideas might very well make for potentially good fiction, but trying to build a system of rules around them would be impossible.

My problem was, essentially, in a blasted world ruined by mad science, could I create the possibility to play a wide variety of character types, and reflect the 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration feel of mad science, and not steal too heavily from the "Englightened Science" of Mage: the Ascension, the spark of Girl Genius and the general feel of Perdido Street Station. It's a mighty thin line between inspiration and copyright infringement at times.

My eureka moment occurred last night while looking through the "Dorwing" archives of Avid Liongoren at A picture from September 2000 called "this robot" depicting a stoic robot with one arm covered in a pink floral print. A smiling mechanic with a giant spanner slung over one shoulder stood behind him.

So then I thought, "Hey! How about the characters repair old creations?"

I'm still working out some "original invention" rules, but they can be more demanding, since the mad science flavour of the setting can be experienced by activating old technology introduced only as the Game Master chooses (making the game "stable"). This also captures the obsolete excellence so characteristic of the steampunk genre, ensuring that the setting maintains that yummy steampunk flavour.

I'm now stealing from Sorcerer instead of Mage, I guess.

I have a hum-dinger of a schedule this time around. Here's what's on tap.

MTH 341 "Probability & Statistics" TTH 8:00 AM ~ 9:50 AM
Last time I took a math class was 2 years ago, with Calculus IV. I got a C. If I want to have any chance of graduating cum laude at the end of the year, I need to get at least a B.

JPN 410 "Intensive Reading in Japanese II" MWF 9:20 AM ~ 10:30 AM
Japanese is traditionally a B class for me, but when I took "Intensive Reading in Japanese I" last year, I got a C, probably because I kept getting stressed out getting the lab assignments done. I would like to get an A in this class, just to prove I can. It will also be my last Japanese class.

CSC 420 "Operating Systems I" T 6:30 PM ~ 10:00 PM
Even though this class is taught by my favorite CS professor, I'm only taking this class because it's required. Operating Systems are not a particular interest of mine. This class is notorious for being rough on CS majors.

SCT 245 "Musical Theatre Dance II" MWF 1:20 PM ~ 2:30 PM
I had so much fun in Dance I last term that I just had to get a little more value out of all that money I spent on jazz and tap shoes. Also, I can blow off some steam from the stress generated in my other classes.

So I grew up with the idea that the real sin committed in sodum and gamorah was not homosexuality, but a failure of hospitality. The town's people want to do really unpleasant things to Lot's guests, God gets upset. If only this meant that the bitchwad who threw me out of her house last night was going to get rained on with fire and brimstone. It's awkward, most of the time when I hear people say stupid things like "man this girl just went psycho on me and I didn't do anything" I'm always thinking, 'yeah, right. Must have been something'. I don't know what I did. I think my crime was sleeping in her ex-boyfriend's bed. Platonically. Because I didn't really have anywhere else to go. For about 4 or 5 days while homeless. I think that must have been it.

I come home last night after a late movie, and she's sitting in the living room with several other people, and the minute I walk in with my "date" Girl in Question starts spitting venom and fire. I'm pretty sure she was sober, which is unusual for her lately, but what ever. She starts going off about my being a terrible house guest. That's a real possibility, that I'm a terrible house guest. I said "could you be more specific?" I don't do subtltey much, and she knows that. We used to live together. For me to fix the problem she has to say something else. She keeps taking cheap shots at me like that, I'm like "Girl in Question, why don't you tell me what the hell I did hey? I have plenty of character flaws for you to make fun of with out making things up." She glares at me. So I get up to go for a walk. Did I mention that everyone else had left at this point due to the unpleasant atmosphere? Then I made the mistake. She was shouting at me as I left and I said,

"You act as though you're the only one who's ever suffered you stupid bitch!"

I said this because she's had an imensly hard life, and I sympathise, but nothing justifies attacking the person you most care about in the world with a knife, which she's done, or physically threatening and breaking the property of said person's love interests, drunk or sober. I'm not interested. Sure it's hard to be you sweetheart. That tendency has been bothering me a lot lately and I could just picture her defending this farce with this same excuse, although she generally doesn't defend her obnoxious behavior to me, ever.

Well that was it. I came home from my walk and she called the cops to try to get rid of me, but since the other person living there had invited me and since I wasn't creating a disturbance there was nothing the cops could do. The worst part was when my host got sick of the two of us arguing and got up to leave, she put her hand on his to stop him and said "Baby..." in this pathetic girly voice. That hurt. This wasn't about any bad house guest, it was about control. I watched my Host, who is generally determined and knows what's sane and what's not, shrink into that chair as though she had the power of life and death over him. And the fight was over. I left, at 5 am on one of the coldest nights in the time I've been staying in that city and her last words to me were "I don't care what happens to you go sleep in a ditch."

Girl in Question and I used to be friends, which was wierd for both of us, but lately I'd been talking smack about her about as much as she had me. I guess we were in competition, but I don't really know what for. I mean, we were definitely competing most of the time I was staying there, perhaps just for the attention of my Host. Apparently she had been against my staying with my friend from the first she heard of it, as had another house mate. I wish I'd been warned of that, but since I didn't think I had any other choice but to stay there I can understand my host's not telling me that he was the only one glad to see me.

I went to a friend's house at 5 am, and this friend was severely abused in high school by his girlfriend, and he believes that Girl in Question has basically conditioned my Host to do what she says, and to be affraid of her etc. She's knocked Host's teeth loose before in her wildness, and committed other similar violence quite publicly. Host doesn't talk about it.

My dilema now is that I'm furious with Girl in Question. Horribly horribly angry. The kind of person I would slap but shit spatters. But it wasn't until last night watching them interact that I became worried about Host. I am really worried about what she might be doing to him, but I think under the circumstances I'm the wrong person to do or say anything about it. Plenty of people like Girl in Question, and when you're on her good side she'd pretty cool I have to admit. I don't know if anyone else will do or say anything for Host, he comes off as someone who can always take care of himself. I'm still kind of concerned about what happened with Host and Girl in Question after I left. I haven't heard from either of them. All the other housemates are away traveling, and I guess one of them in particular is usually listening to their fights just enough to know if it's necessary to call the cops. (So far it never has been necessary.)

Well, fortunately Girl in Question waited until the night before I was to leave the city to go all psycho, and I have a few days to work out what to do and think.

Sometimes I get the feeling that my subconscious likes to surprise me in ways I never thought possible, by revealing emotions that previously passed my thoughts like a lonely pebble on the corner of a sidewalk. Today was one of those days- all centered around a moment that made me feel like I wanted to spontaneously combust and crawl under the covers at the same time.

I'm the classical female commitment phobe, in fact one of my friends characterized me as Alyssa in Chasing Amy. Something scares me about it- I feel this attachment and longing torwards another soul and I get scared, I wonder why and how and I just feel like I lose my direction. I don't know if I'm ready for anything now, but I value my independence. I like the feeling of being able to kick ass alone, have a job, cook my own dinner, and being able to fart and burp in the privacy of my own home. The irony is that despite all of this, despite this bachelor pad style life, I am still achingly lonely, and it gets to the point where I will even cry at songs and chick flicks I once denounced. Today was one of those days where I wanted so badly to go against the rules I have set up for myself in this empty existence that is my own life. There are smiles and laughter on the outside- I look great; but I'm empty inside and what scares me the most is that this friend of mine can see what I am and see what I want the most.

Not to say that all of my day was full of dangerous longing, in fact most of today was wonderful. My stepfather is a Harley Davidson buff and he managed to drive me 45 miles to this friend's house (me bundled up and shivering the whole way, it was 30 degrees this morning). Exhilarated, I jumped off the bike and rushed into the house It was me, his brother, and his adorable little sister that watched great anime (including Serial Experiments Lain, which everyone must watch) for a five hour marathon. But the moment was still yet to come. The best part is that I feel so close to them all, like in some weird twisted way we were related in a past life, and I want to cry when I know that the brother and sister are going to grow up and have a family when what I had is some sick joke.

The four of us went upstairs- his little sister longed to learn how to play chess, and I longed to teach her, for I always love seeing a sign of vitality and spunk in the next generation of women. Let me explain that his room is gorgeous- it is a loft overlooking the rest of his house, with a beautiful view of the countryside and windows open so that the scent of grapefruit and the rush of the wind can permeate inside of the room. Sunlight streams in and highlights everything, every strand of hair and every cheekbone, so that you feel as if you are in a room of Paradise and content where everyone is beautiful and time stands still for you to enjoy simply being there. It was in the middle of her first chess game that the moment began- where I saw him, under the pretense of sleeping, give me a *look* that made me feel like the lead character in Like Water for Chocolate . It was more than romantic, in fact it was greater than that, because it was a look of the pure and untainted love for someone else. He loved me, I saw it in his eyes, and I wanted so badly to return that look, but shyness made me avert my eyes like some force of nature that wanted to keep me away from his passion. And it clicked- all of that denial, all of that convincing myself out of the relationship- it just faded away and I knew that I could no longer deny our mutual attraction. It lasted only for a moment, but I know that we have changed, and I feel so heady and emotional that I don't know if happy is the right word to classify it.

Neither of us talked about it, in fact I doubt that he knew that I saw that gaze. We held hands on the drive home, and we gave each other one last parting stare before I finally had to go inside. And now, I feel like crying- both tears of joy and the longing that is waiting to see him again, for our times together are far apart and often short. And I wonder at what kind of God, if there is one, wires us to want what we can't have. I'm confused yet happy, and I laugh that my life is becoming such a messy contradiction- like the universe, my being must seek to become more and more chaotic before it can finally be stable.

Warning: Kit Lo is not in his best shape to write down everyting.

I've made penne with vodka sauce for the early noders... It was damn strong. Made it with Grey Goose, and ouroburos' recipe... And it was damn good penne too (-Gamaliel)

I owe Aphexious a print of a picture of her wearing my hat. She looks sexy in a suit. I like girls in suits.

I have to develop my film and scan them. I don't think I can take care of the scanning all of the time.

Must rest in the New York City Noder Compound.

Why did I ask Lisa out to a date ever? She's a nice girl, but not the kind who'll screw all night. Why do I want this as a criterion for an ideal woman? Why am I alive?

What else? System is not good.

I'm going to New York City (Columbia University) in a month, if I can write this paper in a few days. And "That's a big 'if,' Lisa!" because my troubled iBook, only a couple months old, has had its LCD screen shatter inside. I am at my wit's end. Maybe grad school is not for me.

On the up side, my cat seems less depressed than ever.

Yesterday, I did something terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible. Downvote me if you will, but I need to say it. I hate myself for allowing it to happen and I keep playing it over and over in my mind, in an horrific loop, trying to change the past, afraid to see the future.

What I was doing, I'm not sorry for. Who got caught up in it... one of the people I love most... that's what I'm sorry for.

I won't go into the details. I can't even talk about them, really. But I needed to record it, to write it down, so I won't forget and fuck up again. Thanks for listening.

I think there's something wrong with me.

Normally, I have no problems keeping a flexible sleeping schedule. I can get 4 hours a day during the week and then catch up on sleep on the weekend by sleeping in for 12 hours. No problem. This really shouldn't be a problem now, considering I'm still out of classes. I got nothing to do than sleep.

However, for the past week or so, I haven't been able to sleep in. No matter how late I stay up, I've been getting up at 9-10ish. It's not really just a matter of not being able to sleep in, I'm waking up at that time even if I didn't get to bed the night before until quarter to 5. I mean, I've had problems with oversleeping before, who hasn't? But undersleeping? That's a new one.

Update from the next day:Yaay, slept in till 1:30 today. I'm cured!

So yeah, woke up today, after about 3.5 hours sleep, and couldn't get back to sleep. So, I went to play some Tetrinet, for about 3 hours before getting some breakfast and heading out to face the day.

For those of you know aren't aware, Calgary Transit sucks hairy goat ass. However, some of us don't really have a choice as to if we want to use it. I got on the bus today, and it was the bumpiest ride I have ever had in my life. I swear, we were driving over perfectly level pavement, and it felt like we were off-roading it over logs without shocks. For most of the ride, something under the bus was making this horrid metal on metal grinding sound that just can't be good. The bus was so bumpy that at one point in the ride, the freaking window emergency exit worked itself loose. Me and the girl sitting behind me had to close it. They really need to get some work done on some of their busses.

So, I went to school, and bought myself a bus pass for the month, because I had so much fun on the ride there. Bah, at least the C-Train is still nice and smooth. I ran up to the Gauntlet office and real some nodes for a bit before walking over to Kilkenny's for the...

Calgary Noder's Meet!

Sat there talking about School, Work, Noding, Bob the Angry Flower, politics, caffeine, girlie drinks, and whatever the fuck else ran through our deranged minds with (in order of appearance)PhysicsChic, Torque, JyZude, Lao-Tzu, Cecil, and AT. 'twas fun. Noders are cool. Some of them apparently aren't just really complicated perl scripts. Sat there in the bar shooting the shit for about three n' a half hours. Didn't seem nearly that long.

After that I hopped back on the train south, and headed over to my girlfriend's place to watch Buffy, and then Clue. Clue was hilarious. That movie is downright fucked up, but I loved it. Go. Watch it now.

So, what have we learned so far?
  1. There are shitloads of noders in New York.
  2. There are people who actually call people "noders". And some of them are not even noders!
  3. "No one here is ever going to be President." Loud cheers.
  4. Most of the people reading this are about ten years younger than me. I find this absolutely bizarre, with David Cronenberg overtones. The fact that most of them also seem to be brighter than me, and more fun to have at parties, makes it even more unsettling.
  5. stand/alone/bitch can read Hebrew. Be very careful around this woman, she knows too much of the secret lore. Under no circumstances should she be allowed near Project X.
  6. When people from E2 go to an E2 party and log onto E2 during the festivities to check out the webcams from the party, there is a slight but real danger of becoming stuck in an infinite recursive loop. Or something.
  7. When in doubt about whether or not to bring a six-pack to a party, always do so, because the need for beer has almost always been underestimated by the hosts. This should have been obvious after the last party i went to, when we ended up having to walk fifteen blocks to buy beers from a pub due to New Jersey liquor license laws demanding that all liquor stores shut down at 10:00.
  8. There are more ways to draw bipedal robots on construction paper than any of us knew.
  9. These noder people throw a hell of a party. I mean, like, music and all. And hookahs, and webcams, and piercings. And all the other stuff. And lots of nice people whose names i don't remember (i told you that would happen). There are four or five whose names i DO remember, but i won't mention them so as not to insult anybody else. Basically, if you were there, i either enjoyed talking to you and hope we'll meet again, or enjoyed watching you on the other side of the room and hope we'll get to talk sometime, or i really, seriously enjoyed listening to the music you were doing and totally hope you'll be making money doing that shit someday soon (if you aren't already). Nobody who was there last night cannot fit into one of these categories. You are all Cooled in the Everything behind my eyes.

Those, for the moment, are our observations from the party at the NY Noder Compound. Wait a couple of days, i'll figure some more shit out. You'll be the first to know, i promise. Now i need a lot more coffee, and the baby is demanding that i play with her.

We have had about an inch or two of snow today in Cincinnati. It has given me an opportunity to partake of one of my favorite pastimes: watching large trucks try to get up my street.

First, a word about my street, Sachem Avenue. It dead ends into a park. The neighborhood is the oldest in Cincinnati, boasting a lot of Victorian homes. Ours is an original, dating back to 1890. Sachem is also on a hill. It is, perhaps, a quarter-mile long, but we gain about two hundred feet by the end of the street. My house is perhaps a third of the way up, about sixty feet gain from the base.

The first two-thirds of the street are quite narrow. Three cars can fit in a comfortable fashion. However, most folks in the lower half the street do not have a garage. There are always cars parked on the street, including my own.

So, whenever a big truck (fire truck, dump truck, etc.) tries to get up our street, it is an adventure. However they go up (forwards or backwards), they must come back down the same way. A few years ago, a couple of kids in a house at the top of the street made a series of prank calls to the fire department to see them get their trucks up and then back down.

Today was the bonus round: steep hill plus snow. The contestant: a salt truck. He was able to back up the street to my house, engine huffing and puffing as it went. Then, just as he reached my uphill neighbor's property line, his wheels started to spin. These aren't the whimpy tires on my small car: they were thickly treaded, wide, and as tall as my car. He went down past my house, then back again--he gained a couple of yards. The part of the street in front of my house now had a triple-dose of the salt he was trying to spread.

He went all the way to the base of the hill. I though he had given up. Nope--he charged up, following the area cleared by the people living at the top of the street. And, he made it. Quite an impressive performance.

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