Okay, technically it started less than a week ago but since Christmas is really the only worthwhile part of winter I declare winter to be over and replaced by the Miserable Rainy Boring Season. (Why yes, I would be less bitter if it were snowing right now. However did you guess?)
The past two days were awesome, though. Christmas Eve was the quietest in recent memory due to Chris's grandmother just having had foot surgery and not wanting a huge crowd. In light of this Chris and I offererd to cook dinner for both then and Christmas, both of which turned out awesome. For Christmas Eve we made lobster bisque, (me) a really delicious paella with shrimp, mussels and chicken, (Chris) and potato salad (also Chris.) Christmas dinner was a fairly traditional turkey one accompanied by a rather tasty salad made with wilted spinach, pomegranate seeds and walnuts, roast root vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, and sausages stuffed with Edam, onions and garlic, all courtesy of me and supplemented by a mint chocolate mousse cake courtesy of Chris. Then we all kicked back and watched the Doctor Who Christmas special which was very silly but which featured a number of seriously awesome supporting characters who I hope get their own spinoff at some point. (You guys would watch a TV show about a Victorian detective lizard woman, her human wife, and their beligerent potato-esque alien butler, right? Let's petition the BBC!)
Chris also got me XCOM which I've been playing religiously in between bouts of haphazard essay writing. If you're familiar with You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, imagine the parts of the book report song where Lucy is just listing random facts about the book in no particular order just to pad out the word count and that's basically where I am right now. I have half of January to edit it, at least, so that's something.
I hope you've all had a good one and I'll see you in the coming year. Don't let Miserable Rainy Boring Season (or Miserable Hot Sweaty Season for you, Vel) get you down.
Do any of you guys have experience with night terrors and how to deal with them? This is something I've never had a problem with before in my life and then suddenly I've had two in the past month. In addition to being generally unpleasant it's really freaking my other half out and his sleep schedule is precarious enough without me waking up screaming about nothing, so if any of you have any ideas about what to do I'd really like to hear them.
I'm lying on my bed sans pants (after a stretch of the greyest, most depressing weather that's lasted for most of this year it got really nice but really hot on Tuesday) in a post-finals haze and not remembering a single thing about Lord Byron or late 19th-century novels. I'm not even sure I remember how to spell "Dracula" after writing it so many times. Clearly this is all a sign that exams are over. More to the point, it's a sign that my time at Reading as an undergrad is unofficially over. It's taking a while to sink in, frankly, but I do feel better for my double-threat exam day being out of the way. The "oh god what do I do with myself am I seriously going to get a masters degree what's wrong with me" part can wait.
It does, however, throw into sharp perspective the fact that I only have a year remaining in close proximity to continental Europe so I'd better get my butt in gear if I'm going to finally get over there. (This means you, milkcracker. Where should I see in Germany?) More immediately, I'm looking forward to seeing sunshine_shaman when she has a moment out of her studies of all things awesome and London. Even more immediately, now to eat a chicken wrap and spend the rest of the day chillaxing.
Tonight's culinary experiment: risotto with shiitake mushrooms, clam meat and Red Leicester cheese. Actually, in retrospect it was more like a paella considering the ingredients, but presumably the inclusion of cheese makes it risotto instead. I really liked it, especially the clams which gave the whole thing a really nice texture. Unfortunately Chris thought they were too overpowering so I probably won't be doing this particular recipe again. I stand by Red Leicester as a really delicious cheese to do risotto with, though.
In other news, yesterday I discovered the hilarity that is the website Myths RETOLD. The retellings are, as the title implies, mostly ancient myths but there are also a lot of more modern stories in there as well, from Canterbury Tales to The Little Engine that Could. (I personally really want to do some retellings of The Silmarillion in his style now.) I recommend that everyone with an interest in such things as myths, storytelling and funny stuff on the Internet check it out. Additionally, for some reason the format tends to make me imagine Pvt. Michael J. Caboose reading them, so I also recommend doing this for extra amusement.
This afternoon my V:TM campaign finally got into the really heavy-duty Gothic novel territory I've been aiming for since the start of the game. I had it all carefully planned out. My players would show up at the creepy manor house, be stopped by the groundskeeper and then be shown into the lady of the house for her to tell them her evil masterplan. They might have then either gotten into a violent altercation and killed her or peaceably gotten her to give them a sample of the reagent she'd been using to turn London street urchins into creepy albino monsters. It was all intended to be really spooky and atmospheric in any case. However, this was not the case that happened.
What did happen started when PC Matt's Nosferatu character failed to mention that the boat he was hitching a ride on had failed to stop at the town (Hoddesdon) that he was aiming for. This necessitated a flying leap off the boat in which he missed the bank and had to swim downstream to shore in a comical manner. Meanwhile, PC Chris's Assamite (antitribu, natch) guy had found out that the place they were looking for was actually three miles away in Stanstead Abbots, so they woke up the owner of the town carriage-house telling him that a plague caused by ducks that caused inflamation of the hippocampus and hypothalmus had broken out in Stanstead Abbots and they needed to go treat it immediately.
So Nos PC made the horses go stupidly fast by instilling English patriotism in them and they finally arrived at the manor. Instead of waffling at all outside they made a beeline for the servants' entrance at the back. Assamite PC turns on Quietus level 1 to silently break the door down. The following events went something like this:
1. PCs troop inside creepy manor. Malkavian and Nos PCs are Obfuscated. 2. Groundskeeper is alerted to this by the house ghost and comes in after them. Assamite PC hides in a cupboard. 3. Groundskeeper waves a loaded blunderbuss about. Nos PC attempts to feed on groundskeeper. Nos PC does not succeed. 4. Assamite PC, to distract groundskeeper from the fact that a horrific creature with one eye and no lower jaw is trying to drink his blood, activates Way of Levinbolt which makes the cupboard glow like a freakin' lamp. 5. Groundskeeper freaks out, fixates on cupboard. Nos PC attempts to feed again. Nos PC does not succeed again. 6. Groundskeeper, very suspicious, whirls around to try and see what the INVISIBLE FORCE THAT IS ATTEMPTING TO BITE HIS NECK is. In a last-ditch effort, Assamit PC yells, "I am God!" from the cupboard. 7. Groundskeeper is so nonplussed by this that Nos PC, instead of trying for the Kiss again, makes a bid to grab his gun. In the struggle, the gun goes off and hits Malk PC in the shoulder. Malk PC's fuge state activates from the stress and he immediately becomes visible. Everybody facepalms as he just stands there staring vacantly off into space like an idiot.
At this point the lady of the house showed up and things went downhill from there. The conversation was fairly civil, but it ended with her getting staked for transport back to London, presumably for later interrogation by the Camarilla powers that be. Her groundskeeper ended up with his wrist broken after the ghost tried to use his arm to punch Nos PC out. They then went to sleep because it was dawn by this point and there was no time to get back to their home base in London. It was one of the funnest sessions I've had in a while and everything got done that needed to be done, but the complete lack of gravitas of any sort was definitely not what I was expecting. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to berate my players for failing at the Gothic genre.
So after discussing it briefly with milkcracker I’ve been inspired to do a long review/rant about the short-lived TV show Kindred: The Embraced. If the name isn’t a dead giveaway it was based off of White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade, which I know that much of my friends list is not familiar with,but when has this stopped me in the past? I will endeavor to make the review at least a bit accessible.
Girl Walking Behind Me #1: People are saying you get a lot of work in Week 8. Do you have a lot to do? Girl Walking Behind Me #2: Not really. I just have to read Petrarch's sonnets on courtly love. G#1: Wait, what? G#2: Courtly love. G#1: Like the woman? G#2: Women, men... you know, knights devoted to women and-- G#1: Ohhhh! I thought you said Courtney Love! (Aspen, overhearing this from in front, quietly dies laughing.)
Wow. Petrarch's sonnets on Courtney Love. I want to write that now.