Francisco Penninsula, California, USA
Age: 36 (The
atomic number of Krypton, the number of chambers in the Wu Tang Clan's
first album, the number of views of Hokusai's Mount Fuji, and the
number of plays in Shakespeare's First Folio.)
Sex: Manly, but
still sensitive and in touch with my emotions.
Father and mother in Idaho, brother and wife and passel in Utah, sister
and husband and passel in Arizona. All the pressure to bring forth
grandchildren has been relieved, and non-immediate surviving family is
surprisingly small thus avoiding the need for painful and awkward
None currently. My parents' house was a menagerie, composed of multiple
dogs and cats, budgies, ferrets, rats, guinea pigs, a cockatiel and a
skunk at various times. If California ever repeals its ferret
discrimination laws, I'd consider housing a ferret friend again.
California newage pastiche: season dependant nature celebration with a
healthy dash of Taoism, Zen, and common sense. I am still fascinated by
Christian mythology, however.
party/affiliation: Monster Raving Looney, officially.
Neither Democrat nor Republican, neither Labour nor Tory. Leaning
toward Socialist economically and Libertarian socially.
I spent ten years going to school until I ran out of money, going to
work until I had more money then repeating the cycle. I majored in
sixteen things, I learned to dance tango, I took 'Introduction to
and 'Hitchcock as Literature' each twice (not because I'd failed),
few years as a college radio DJ, worked in local theater up until they
asked me to direct, and never once got invited to a party where girls
got drunk and took off their clothes.
I finally settled on a
double major of PoliSci and History. And then I
forgot to graduate.
I write fiction (nothing good enough to even submit to a publisher), I
create music mix CDs, I'd some day like to get back into theater, I'd
some day like to DJ again, I'd like to dance again, I'd like to play
the guitar. There are too many things to do in life, and not enough
time. I'm submitting a bill to Congress to expand the day's length to
38 hours, so as to facilitate more hobby time.
test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently living,
in your parents' basement? I have been living with a
wonderful housemate for over five years now, who shares her toys and
her cats with me. When I was a teenager, I lived in the basement
because it was delightfully cool in the summertime but I was one of
those who, come eighteen, hiked himself out and got a room in a house
full of college students. We lived fifteen feet from the railroad
tracks, but the house was wonderful - solid, exposed wood beams, a
garden in the yard, and a giant tree which demanded to be climbed. And
no matter what Jennifer says, we never used the tree to peep at her.
What is your favorite way to
spend a weekend? Surrounded by friends, possibly at the
coast or in the woods, with very little in the way of planned
structured activity that demands that everybody be a specific place at
a specific time. Food should be, of course, wonderful, and the
conversation should be free flowing. There should be stories, either
told by participants or read or watched. And there should be hugs.
the most frightening thing you've ever done? Moved to
California with a pickup truck of stuff on a month's notice and landed
on a friend's front porch with no job and little in the way of savings.
your favorite word? Currently, 'pan-Turanianism', the
idea that all Turkish-speaking peoples should be incorporated into a
Turkish SuperState. Not because I like the idea, but because I like the
sounds the word makes as it cascades across the palate. I got it in a
spam email this week, and it promptly replaced the old favorite,
'clitoriste', which I read in Neal Stephenson's "Tree Frightener"
trilogy. A close runner up, from the same email, is 'muse-ridden'.
languages do you speak? I am well versed in American
English, and have forgotten a great deal of German, Spanish and ASL. I
love words, and am fascinated by the many ways in which people fail to
communicate. My first girlfriend was fluent in French and so I learned
a smattering in self-defence. Watching Hong Kong films gained me a
pastiche of Chinese words, although I could not tell you whether they
are Cantonese or Mandarin or whether I am stressing them properly. I
learned a little Russian and a little Italian, and in my work at the
international airport I am picking up the occasional Tagalog.
How many languages do I speak? Quite a few. How many do I know? Pretty
much just the one. In the words of James Nicoll, the English language
doesn't "just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other
languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their
pockets for new vocabulary."
could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I have always wanted to be small, willowy and lithe. Even if I were to
become emaciated, I would still have broad burly shoulders and be six
feet tall, so that's not something that's going to happen in a real
hurry. And so in gaming I tend toward the high-dex acrobatic characters.
If you could pick any other time
period to live in - including the future - which would it
be, and why? I would want to live in the Jules
Verne/Steampunk Victorian Pulp era (with perhaps just a dash of
fantasy/occult--maybe elves and a hint of Elder Gods) that never
actually existed, so I could be a dashing lantern jawed hero who went
about saving beautiful dragons from fire-breathing robot maidens and
one thing that you regret that you would go back and change if you
could? My past is the sum total of choices and decisions
I have made. My wish would be not to go back and change anything but to
*learn more* from the choices I made so I can make better choices in
the one thing you want to do before you die? Arise from
the cavernous depths of my alchemical laboratory, with the cure for
stupidity clutched in my creosote-encrusted hand.
just purchased a small island off the coast of any continent of your
and you are preparing to start your own country there. What does your
flag look like? Something that doesn't clash with the
shoreline, I'd think. We may cop out and just go with basic black--it's
true, it doesn't clash with anything. There would be some witticism on
it, translated into Latin, encircling a stylized icon of a coyote. And
not one of those cheesy silhouettes like you can get at the gas
stations in Albuquerque either, something classy.
Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played.
My favorite character was probably Nitya Sethuraman. It was a
GURPS 3.0 campaign, modern occult, in the style of X-Files or the
Friday the 13th television series. The campaign was called "After
Midnight" and everybody was an employee of the After Midnight
Detective Agency. It took place in the Corvallis/Albany/Philomath
area of Oregon, where I was living at the time. Nitya was min/maxed
to make her a linguistic genius, fluent in some thirty-two languages.
She was the library, she
was the giant throbbing brain in the tiny four-foot six-inch body. She
also had a stubborn streak, and could be provoked into displaying a
vitriolic temper. She'd just graduated from Berkeley with a PhD at a
prodigiously young age, and knew everything and had no patience or
tolerance for stupid people. She drove a Kawasaki Ninja, something
light enough that she could pick it up if it fell over. I very quickly
ended up the Game Master, so she didn't get a lot of time as a PC. But
she was glorious as NPC and newly-promoted head of the agency when the
former game master stepped down and the former head of the agency had
an unexpected and rather fatal encounter with that week's case.
your favorite RPGs? I love the variety and crossover
potential of GURPS, I enjoy the quick and dirty mechanics of Feng Shui,
the worlds of Seventh Sea and Deadlands, and there's this home brew
system I crafted which involves using Tarot cards instead of dice--I
think it really facilitates the story telling aspects of the game. Come
over here and let me show you how it works....
your first RPG session like? I was one of those kids
who, in the early '80s, discovered AD&D. We cracked out our
first game in the computer room after school, and I remember very
little about it except that the entire idea was new and exciting, and a
grand adventure. I think my friend Rich Bushell was our DM, and there
were definitely kobolds involved.
your WORST RPG session like? Let's just say that my
worst RPG session involved another AD&D game, a cramped and
ill-ventilated mobile home, a television with professional wrestling,
discussions over when the Masters of the Universe sequel would come
out, a coffee table full of salty snacks and a group of adventurers
with Truly Mighty Armaments, Magical Artifacts which mimicked the
powers of the Gods and ludicrous amounts of hit points. I was a
character surrounded by action figures, and I couldn't wait to go home.
Let me stress, however, that everybody else had a perfectly delightful
time. This was not a Bad Game, this was simply a game in which my goals
were at odds with the rest of the group's goals.
your all-time favorite person to game with? My two
favorite gaming groups--because at its heart the chemistry between
players is just as important as the players themselves--are the Ar Noir
gang and the Seventh Sea gang. Ar Noir was Post-WWII Los Angeles with
magic leaking into the world through an atomic hole. Megan, Cindy, Tony
and Laura were amazing. Sometimes they were far more invested in the
world and its minutiae than I was. We had a LJ account where I would
post newspaper articles, a web page, and hours and hours of post-game
discussion and debate. We got a deep exploration of Film Noir style
morality and ethics, and what I hope was a hell of a puzzle to solve
which worked itself to a cinematic epic conclusion in the desert at
White Sands against the armies of destruction. Plus, we used this
gaming system with Tarot cards instead of dice. Come on over here and
let me show you how it works...
The Seventh Sea campaign
is still kind of ongoing, and there are pirates and intrigue and
vikings and flashing blades and buckling swashes. The style is
completely different, and instead of grey moral decisions and cryptic
puzzles we have broad characterizations and broadcast plot twists which
Ellie, Leigh Ann, Cari, Angie, Clay and Laurie all do their best to try
not to notice until their characters have been doomed by them in
classic serial adventure form. They leap atop moving carriages to wrest
the reins from the evil henchman's hands, they swing from chandeliers,
they flee in terror from zombies lurking in the Paris sewers. It's a
have anything gaming-related to plug? Well, anything Jess Hartley is
writing (especially in the new White Wolf:Promethean line or her
prodigious editing for Steampower Publishing) is bound to be fabulous.
And Evil Hat Games
should soon be releasing Spirit of the Century (pulp role playing),
Don't Rest Your Head (damned creative dream roleplay setting) and later
this year the Dresden Files RPG based on the books by Jim Butcher.
Also, there's this gaming system based on Tarot cards instead of dice
that I created. Come
over here, I'll show you how it works...
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