Just One of Those Days?

Today is one of those days where I woke up and had so much to say and nothing to say at all. Confusing? Certainly. Annoying? Definitely. The actuality is not that I have nothing to say, rather the reality is that I am tired of shouting at the wind.

We all do that from time-to-time. Maybe that is a bit too general and assuming. That may even be a bit arrogant – assuming that I know that everyone spends time talking/shouting/yelling at the invisible energy that gently pushes the leaves and petals and plants or tears apart life in a dynamic show of Earth rage. I can afford that arrogance. Not only is the Foundation loaded like the diaper on a over-eating baby with diarrhea, but I am a narcissist (I think I may have said this a couple of times).

I had the dream again last night. The empty dream. My dreams typically start the same: a small figure in a blue dress with no facial features except for black eyes (yes, the iris and the sclera for you anatomy freaks) appearing on the silent, mouthless visage.  The figure dances and points to a hallway: a two-story, wide-fucking hallway that is lined with several doors. Some are simple wooden doors. Some are futuristic doors like those on the Enterprise (1701-D or E). Still others are secure, metal doors like bank vault doors or dungeon doors. Some are old-timey. This is what occurs in the beginning of the normal dreams. She points to the hallway, points to a door, and I go through the specified door and the night thoughts begin.

That is the norm for my nights. But not last night. Last night, the hallway was black. A faint, white light illuminated a single chair in the center of the hallway. A disembodied voice told me to sit. So, I sat. I sat in this chair under the white light like I was about to be interrogated by fiends while other fiends watched from the darkened perimeter (I could see no further than the circle of light illuminating the seat and myself). There was no music. The funny thing is that I did not notice that the music was missing right away, it was after I had been sitting and waiting in that chair for some time. So, I guess I really should say that I cannot remember whether there was music the whole time, music that stopped when I noticed there was no music, or if there was never any playing at all.

"I hear that song, too! I am in the darkness..."

“I hear that song, too! I am in the darkness…”

I sat. I sat. I sat some more. After a while, it seemed like I could hear murmurs coming from the dark surrounding my little light-patch. I yelled at the murmurs: “I can hear you out there!” No reply. I got angry. No, I got pissed. I started to walk to the darkness, but the light and the chair followed me, but not really followed me. I would say the experience was more like walking on a “moving sidewalk” in a direction opposite of that in which the sidewalk was moving. I walked, but got absolutely no where. Eventually, I decided that I had not been hearing anything and sat back down. All of that walking made my legs very tired. Painfully tired.

I sat. I sat. I sat some more. And this time, while I sat, I waited. I waited for quite some time before I stood up, announced that I was leaving, and started to head, well, I do not know where I was going to head. There were no doors. There was no light beyond the perimeter. The voice that told me to sit then asked me where I would go. The voice reminded me that all there was for me there was that circle, that chair, that darkness…the voice wanted to know where I thought I could go. I yelled that I did not know, and demanded to be let out of this dark, and increasingly foreboding place.

“For you, there is this circle. For you, there is this chair. Good luck finding a door…there is no more for you.”

Now shit got really creepy. For a moment, I could see everything. The doors, the hallway, the figure – everything. The figure usually danced, she was still and lying on the ground in the darkened circle. I called to her. She turned over and faced me. Her black eyes pits of nothing focussed on whatever and however they managed to focus on something. For a second, a black tear fell down her cheek. Then everything was gone. Except for the chair, the circle of light, and the blackness.

Since she is not on this iPad, here is what she would look like as me.

Since she is not on this iPad, here is what she would look like as me.

Since I knew there was something there, I ran for the darkness. Surely I could outrun this circle and chair and find my way out, or at least through a door with something behind it. Fuck me with a seven iron I would even settle for a nightmare that ended with me dying in the dream, and waking up dead in the morning. Okay, so I would not wake up dead, but you get what I am saying. I headed full-sprint toward the darkness and crashed into something. A wall, a barrier, a force field…a giant tree? I have no idea. But it hurt. Blood ran from my face and down my shirt. My nose was broken, teeth were smashed. It all healed as quickly as it began; the blood and mess of my clothes vanished.

Frustrated. Enraged. I sat down and put my head between my knees and tried to think. No thoughts would come. I looked up periodically to see if my Hell was gone. It was not over. It was only just beginning. Soon, many faces began to appear. All of them filled with hate and venom. All of them focusing hate and venom. Some of it at me, some of it at the circle, some of it at the darkness. All of it intense…and red.

Red! Something new (well, besides those horrid faces) and it was welcome. I began to feel a little less anxious, and then, just a quickly as it all appeared. It was all gone. I was standing in the white circle again. The chair was gone. There was only the light. A door appeared. Slap my ass and call me “French Patio,” there was a god damned door. I started toward the door. The voice spoke again, only it was from behind me:

“Through there is what is to come.”

I turned to the voice and saw that it was the figure speaking. Speaking through her no-mouth. I do not remember hearing her speak before. She did not dance. She turned and walked and sat in the chair. She and her chair and her circle of light vanished. I was left with the door. I opened the door and was greeted by nothing. More darkness. I entered the darkness and opened my eyes. I was now looking at the ceiling in my darkened bedroom, my alarm ringing in my ears.

I got out of bed and headed down for a smoke and some coffee (I did remember to set the auto-brew before I turned in last night). I walked to the window. The dark Samurai City morning peppered with cold air and snow flurries. It is still snowing. It will keep snowing. I noticed that I had not turned on the lights. I was standing and looking out into the pepper-colored morning and sipped my coffee. I heard the voice in the back of my head; so loud that it felt like it was in the room with me. I turned and saw no one. The voice was there and clear as water:

“…there is no more for you.”

Always Stay in Character. Metagamers Need Not Apply

Unless WordPress is up to shenanigans, there are a lot more people who follow this blog that I suspected. At first, I assumed that there were only two or three of you checking out what is going on around here. It appears that there are billions of you. Okay, not billions, maybe a thousand. Now, while I may have this “following,” I have to say that only a few of you read this damn thing. Like, what? Maybe six of you. Who knows? In any case, I feel the need to celebrate! I will do this by offering you dear souls a full disclosure: I have been lying to all of you.

I bitch and bitch about never writing, or never being able to write, or yadda-fucking-yadda. The whole story is I write a bit more than I let on; I save a lot of drafts. I just never go back to them, or save them as “journal entries” because I think having a diary entry looks a little strange. Other people see a nifty title, I mean a title that makes you want to grab your schmeckel and prepare to let loose the hounds of spooge while you read this salacious bit, and then click on said title and having nothing to read because it is private. And then you lose your reader’s boner and return to Facebook. Or porn. It is like walking around a bunch of kindergarteners and saying: “I have got a secret!” and taunting the double Hell out of the poor little wretches.

But I digress. I was not even meaning to talk about that random crap up there. Since I bothered to do write all of that, I am sure it is relevant somehow. More than likely it is obvious only to myself. I really do not care if that is the case. I am a narcissist, you know. Now where was I..? Oh yes, my title. If you got what that meant, give yourself a pat on the back, fifty experience points, and fifty geek cred status points (or whatever geeks give out like victorious jocks doling high fives in a sweaty locker room). Be on the lookout for more point opportunities, give yourself what you think you deserve, I am a lenient, if not all power storyteller/dungeon master. If you did not get it, feel free to Google it while the rest of us wait. Do not pretend like some of you did not do just that already (we all know that some of you refuse to admit not-knowing anything about everything and Google shit before posting to message boards so just stop with it already). Is everyone back with the group? Good let us continue.

"I'm too sexy for this square."

“I’m too sexy for this square.”

Another confession: there was a time when I was an avid LARPer. I really, really want to spell that out but that just seems plain wrong on several levels. Levels that I cannot get into right now. A damn I used to run around in makeshift costumes and pretend to be a vampire. Typically, I chose to be Brujah or Ventrue…whatever. No, not whatever. I chose those two clans because I could always be pretty. There. I said. I am totally geeking out, so I need to refocus. Anyway, I was a LARPer. A damn good one, as well, apparently. Why? Because I participated in a LARP at GenCon one year and won “Best Role Player.” That is fucking why. I was a LARPing badass.

You know, there is a lot more to LARPing than people let on (those of you courageous to admit that the title up there totally befuddled you and chose to read on rather than be a Googling know-it-all will get to understand said title now…somewhat). It takes a lot of work running around pretending that you are some undead thing that you are really not. The key is to always stay in character.

A segue: I am phobic of caterpillars. I do not know the name of the phobia, but I am deathly afraid of caterpillars. It has to do with tent worms. To this day, I will burn a whole section of apple trees to rid the orchard of one tent worm. Caterpillars scare the shit out of me. If you taunt my fear and provoke me with caterpillar(s), I will probably do very, very bad things to you. Horrible things. Painful butt things. Never fuck with a man’s fears, home-slice.

Now, when you create your character, there are built in flaws and advantages. Letting others know these things can be positive or negative. Usually negative if it is a flaw. Every damn vampire I created was afraid of caterpillars. Every LARP session, I did something to flee a caterpillar. No one ever picked up that I had this issue except for one person during that GenCon. And she was one of the non-player, storyteller characters. She watched what I was doing, and at one point called me on it secretly. We played a wonderful scene. She made motions to go “out of game” (geek points!) to discuss the issue, and I refused. We had to play out the scene. Assuming she wanted to know what the score was, the scene worked in my favor.

No. I am not a vampire. I just like cemeteries. Really.

No. I am not a vampire. I just like cemeteries. Really.

After the LARP, she asked me about the caterpillars (see, in the scene I was spoked by a caterpillar on a flower). I told her I always had that fear in my characters. She pointed out that it was not on my sheet. I responded, no, but I would have treated it like any other phobia if called on it. If someone caught me acting and gambled, then it was all good. That is kind of how life works, no? She asked if anyone ever caught it, and I said no because most LARPers are so caught up in the “story” to add nuance and curiosity. I told her that I did not want to go out-of-game because one should always stay in character. She liked my bit.

Staying in character keeps the metagamers at bay. Every game has people who know so much about the game that once they find out a small detail out about you, they exploit that to there advantage. It is like playing “Street Fighter” with some asshole who traps you in the corner and abuses you with Chun Li’s lightning leg, or some ten-year-old who only knows how to jump kick, and has to actually jump when the fighter on the screen does. You people who remember arcades know what I am talking about. Metagamers love “out-of-game.” Somehow secret details from the break area enter the game; you can call foul, but you cannot unring a bell. So, always stay in character and you can avoid the metagamers. Damn. That was anticlimactic, even by my hack standards.

Another thing, and perhaps the most important thing that metagamers miss, is the very thing that they not only seek out, but proves to be their very undoing. They look for the endgame, know what it is, plan for it, and wait. They are always successful…at least in that perspective. However, since they know that, they tend to avoid the rest of the game; they miss subtle changes that show that endgame is not coming. No, for them, that has played out already and they are now simply waiting for the deathblow which has ended the game for that LARPer.

It is strange to admit that I find myself currently a metagamer instead of the consummate Ventrue who totally dominated the “Masquerade” at GenCon years ago (2d20 experience points if you get that first reference, major geek points if you get all of this). I have been waiting for an endgame scenario. I waited too long and missed it.

“…to survive the tide…”

Oy. It has been one of those days/years/decades. I have no idea where to begin or where to go with this; I seem to be having that problem rather often when it comes to writing in this blog. No, extend that. It goes way beyond this blog.

You never know how much you will miss a place until you are actually faced with leaving it. You know? That trip to Disney or Cedar Point lasts forever while you are in the lines or taking pictures with a gigantic anthropomorphic mouse. Then you head for the gates to return to your car, or bus, or motorcycle, or long-distance walking shoes and are faced with the prospect of leaving. The difference is most of us return home, or to something like a home. Which leads me to the following question: would you miss a place more if you were not so sure that you had a place to return?

Yeah, yeah, yeah…

I fucking hate January.

I tend to appreciate duality. However, Janus and your namesake month have never been anything but a source of ill for me. I have been listening to the same song on my iPhone when I am in transit places since September. Maybe even before that. Maybe it was the mantra the song had become. Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something. Maybe I should have listened.

It is taking every ounce of strength I can muster today to stay here at the Foundation and manage daily affairs. I came in to an empty desk. I have piled that desk with work to accomplish. This work will never be accomplished. This desk will never be clear. I sit and look at it, and realize that it will never be clear. I have come to realize that eventually, I will have to sit at the desk…

Even with the chatter of the Board of Directors earlier, the Boardroom was empty. Many of us know a person that walks into a room and has that sort of personality that fills the room. Sometimes the person is smothering; sometimes we would prefer that the person vacate so that the rest of the people in the room can move/breathe/walk/talk freely. Other times…other times the person contributes such an air that others suffocate as soon as that particular air leaves. The Boardroom was very empty. I twirled my pen and sat and stared at the emptiness. Thankfully, the Board Secretary takes excellent notes; I have no idea what happened during the meeting. I was absent in the empty. I am pretty sure that the Veep took over presiding the meeting at some point. I remember him calling votes and asking for seconds…on votes as well as danishes.

Now, back in my office. I just want to burn the place. Not my office…not just the office…the whole place. Like cleaning out the old dead growth in the orchards. Last night, I went out to set some of the old growth to flame. I figured I would get a start early so that planting in the Spring of the new trees could start sooner that usual. Whatever. Any excuse to burn things, right?

Orchard Hand: “Mr. Sir. X, this is not the best time to try burning the orchard. Really, it is never a good time, but now is really not. Too much snow.”

Me: “When did I start paying you to question my burning needs? Look, this fire is going well.”

OH: “Yes, sir. That it is. Starting to go pretty good. However, soon this shed will be engulfed. The snow will put out the fire. However, we’ll be burnt up before that happens…the smoke will get us before that.”

Me: “Oh. Yes. That. You may go for the day. Take your son to shoot some dangerous or delicious animal.”

OH: “After we leave together. By force if necessary.”

Me: “Fine. I am going to fire you as soon as we get up to the estate.”

OH: “Sure you are. Just like always. Now come on, I’m starting to smell like burnt apple-cherry crisp.”

“…you’ll never walk alone…”

No, this is not about Dionne Warwick or whomever may have sang the song with the title that consists of the same words of the italics above. This is my way of saying some things that maybe need to be said. Maybe they are better unsaid. Maybe they are better off forgotten and ignored. Who knows? I certainly do not. What I do know is that I have to get out of this office before I have legal issues surrounding arson, insurance fraud, and a lot of disappointed community members without a place to freeload off of the largesse of the Thunderdome. They come in daily. They tour the grounds. They enjoy the free food court. They swim in the pool, enjoy the arboretum and dodge the koalas and cybergators. Yet when they leave, they pause and look at the statue commemorating a loving and valiant Lord or Lady Phant (really, I cannot even think about that now). That statue was supposed to be a shrine, now it only serves to remind visitors of that tragedy. And that is what the Foundation has become, that is what has become the Rothechilde legacy.

Looking at the clock I find myself wondering if it is ethical for me to leave early for the day? I mean, there is an answering machine. Also, this place has gone on for months at a stretch…even with the ineptitude of Smeagol trying to run this place. So, yes. I think I can go now. No one is even going to notice that I have gone.