Monday, July 28, 2008

Dragon*Con Update

The day after booking my (non-refundable) hotel room and plane ticket, I was informed that there's a pretty strong chance, say 90%, that our department is about to be cut. So by the end of August, I'll probably be out of a job.

I'm still going to Dragon*Con.

Year of Yes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Labor Day Weekend...

will be spent at Dragon*Con.

Flight and hotel is booked.

Year of Yes!

(And yes, I will be wearing at least one costume.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Heart RPGs More Than Yoga

Monday night is my Yoga class, but it's also the night my RPG group has decided to game. I can't do both, so which one wins?

This question isn't even worth asking - I'd rather play a role-playing game (exercise for my mind and imagination) than do Yoga (which exercises the body and, they say, the spirit) any day of the week. It's just more interesting.

We started a new game (and from here the rest of this entry's gonna get a bit... technical, so be warned), a d20 Modern campaign set in the late 1920s, a fine period for pulp horror and mystery. This is the Age of Lovecraft, after all.

When creating a PC (player character), I usually pick someone who will help round out the group - I'd rather choose last, so I see what we need, than go first and say, "I wanna play a fighter."

Not sure why I'm like this, maybe I'm an indecisive Libra and this makes it easier, or maybe I'm just a smart (yet meta) player who realizes the importance of a cohesive group. The A-Team doesn't need two B.A. Baracuses, you know?

The other PCs would be...

- A Scientist/Gadgeteer (Intelligence)
- A Boxer (Stremf)
- A Starbuck-like Aviatrix/Adventurer (Dexterity? Tough?)
- And a Rich, Spoiled, Athletic Dilettante (Stremf/Dex Combo?)

I figured the best complement to this group would be someone with good observation skills like a detective (Wisdom) or a face man (Charisma).

Due to the nature of the game, I decided to play one of my old favorites, that of a psychic. This might've been influenced by my recent reading up on Thomas Carnacki, who definitely would fall into the detective category. Yet whenever I hear the word psychic, I immediately think of our dear departed friend Criswell, who certainly belongs in the latter.

What to choose, what to choose? I wish I had written about this earlier, as it might've led me to a different conclusion. Hours before the first game, I was still agonizing over which path to take... and I went with Charisma.

(Really, the tipping point was which Prestige class I wanted... I wanted to be a Mesmerist over a Spiritualist, and the best way to get there was through Charisma. Technical!)

But very early on in the first game, I thought, "Whoa, that was a mistake," as those detective skills would certainly come in handy, while skills of diplomacy and charm, maybe not so much.

You can't sweet-talk your way past werewolves. Also, my character has absolutely no fighting skills, which come in handy when you're fighting werewolves.

And as a player, I'm much more in tune with finding clues than in dealing with people. And despite being a "performer," I always get vaguely uncomfortable acting around the gaming table.

Still, after two sessions, I'm pretty pleased with the Great Calveri. I like the idea of someone who wants to look for clues but is absolutely horrible at it. And his skills of deception have certainly made things easier once or twice.

He just needs to learn how to fire a gun or something.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Attempt to Appreciate Art

Julie had an extra ticket to the Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling opening at the MoMA, so I Year of Yessed and tagged along.

Art isn't really my thing (at a museum, I'm more interested in historical junk or suits of armor than paintings or photographs), but pre-fabricated houses? I love stuff like that! Sign me up.

I always get a big kick out of soirees like these, because it makes for great people watching. People are dressed conservatively or outrageously (one long-haired guy had a stripey suit and round glasses - Julie said he belonged in a Dan Clowes comic, I'd say he was from Hogwarts) or ever so stylishly in a way that annoys me.

Hogwarts guy almost won Best Person, but there was one guy, Asian, long gray hair, chubby, wearing a bright red shirt, bright red glasses, and dad jeans. He was awesome.

As Julie said, "Who would you rather sing you a serenade?" and it's totally the guy in the red shirt. The other guy was too much like Carol Seaver's weird boyfriend from Growing Pains.

As for the houses themselves, there's several at the MoMA, one indoors, and the rest in a vacant lot outside.

The one inside was great! Post-WWII, all made of metal, it reminded me of a school locker. Walking through it was kind of like EPCOT Center, only better, and I really got a kick out of just locking and unlocking the door like an idiot.

It's like the House of the Future from the Land of Yesteryear. Seriously, stuff like this makes me wild, and I wish it wasn't so crowded so I could enjoy it more.

The houses outside were a lot less traditional, and I should've read more about them, because they didn't make much sense to me.

One was tiny, not that much bigger than my cubicle.

Another appeared to be made out of pressboard pieces (almost like a puzzle), and it was just one big room. The only thing inside was a model of the house, which, I think, also had a model of the house inside that.

One was raised on bleacher seating, so it was amusing to watch people try and get up these ridiculously steep stairs. Inside there were no doors- I couldn't tell if that was its normal state, or if that was modified for the exhibit.

One building was several stories high, all the windows made of glass (or cellophane, according to the website), and it looked like there were a number of solar panels attached. We didn't go in that one - the line was too long, and you could see what was inside, anyway. (Nothing was inside except people.)

Anyway, what these fabricated houses had in common was a lack of privacy. They all had either huge glass walls (some in the bathroom!), and one had tiny little holes of glass all around it. I guess it might work if you live in an isolated area, but otherwise, they were just too exposed.

Still, any exhibit that has stuff you can walk through is an enjoyable experience, but I was a bit disappointed that they didn't have anything like the Xanadu House.

I am not kidding when I say one of my biggest regrets in life is never having gone through it when I had the opportunity, I've only visited it as its abandoned, derelict husk.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cakey... The Final (?) Episode

This is the final episode of Cakey! The Cake From Outer Space that we made for

I hope you enjoy it. It's been one kooky rollercoaster ride.

I wish I could say more about what might happen to Cakey now that the series has ended, but I'm not one for ruining surprises or jinxing myself.

But I will say this - any illustrators who are interested in collaborating on something should please drop me a line.

I Can Has Vacation?

(A lot of my recent blog titles have been written in LOLcat, I don't know why.)

I wanna go on a vacation! I feel like I haven't been on a real one in forever.

Sure, every Thanksgiving and/or Christmas I go home to Florida for a few days, and last year I spent some time in Los Angeles visiting Disneyland and The Price is Right, but this year I have the days off and the money to do something good.

But what? That's what I'm trying to figure out. I wanna go somewhere for around five days. These are some ideas I've had so far, but I'd greatly welcome any feedback and/or suggestions.

- London/Paris. Never been to London, but some people who know me very well say it's the city where I should be. I'd like to find out if they're right. And David Tennant and Patrick Stewart are playing in Hamlet right now. That alone is reason to go, really.

Paris I'm very "meh" about, but my roommate loves it and can't recommend it enough, and since I'm already so close, I ought to take a day or two to see the City of Lights. Plus, it's near Disneyland Paris, which houses Phantom Manor.

- Hawaii or the Caribbean. I've been told Hawaii is wicked expensive, but I've watched just about every Hawaii program on the Travel Channel, and the ads on LOST really make me want to go. The Caribbean is a cheaper, closer alternative.

- Walt Disney World. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say I've been here over 100 times. It comes with the territory when you live nearby and have a Florida residents' pass. I haven't been there since 2001, so a lot has changed, and I doubt I'm considered a VIP anymore. But my friend Pam has always wanted to go, and she thinks I'd make a good guide. And I think it'd be interesting to see the park through someone else's eyes.

This is probably the easiest trip I could take, but would also be the cheapest.

- Japan In another world, another reality, back in 2002 I decided to move to Japan and teach English instead of moving to New York City. I still would very much like to go there, probably focusing on a small area (I feel it's better to get a much deeper look at a small area than a quick run-through of several cities or countries). This might be the most expensive option, though. Also, Tokyo Disneyland.

That's about all I've got so far. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hair Adventure Recap

Result: It's pretty good!

But before I go into the details of this fascinating hair adventure, I need to tell a little backstory.

A long time ago, I used to go to this nice place in the Village that probably specializes in exotic (read: Asian) hair like mine.

Then, for whatever reason - maybe I lost my job and didn't have money to throw around, maybe I just stopped caring - I started going to the Russian barbers, who are cheap and satisfactory. Plus, they offer straight-razor shaves when I'm feeling masochistic.

But this being the Year of Yes, and being that I am now ridiculously wealthy, I decided to go back to Lupe. This was last month for the hairstyle change, and that was an awkward reunion, let me tell you.

Lupe: It's been a while! I haven't seen you since I first started working here.

Kirk: Wow, that long, huh? Like a year, right?

Lupe: No, that was three years ago.

Yeah, a bit awkward. I always feel weird about breaking up with a barber or a doctor or a restaurant, and returning after a a long absence... oh, the guilt.

What a backstory! Now on to last weekend.

As mentioned before, this was my first time getting my hair dyed. My mom and grandfather dyed their hair regularly, and most of my significant others were regular dyers, too, so I've got some second-hand experience with it and figured it'd be exciting.

I was pretty wrong, it's boring. I liked having the dye painted on, but then you sit for 20 minutes reading a magazine. I imagine things are still too awkward between Lupe and myself to converse for all that time. I earned the solitude, I disappeared for three years, after all.

Anyway, you know the result - it's pretty good! My hair is a lot more brown than it used to be (it used to be dark brown/almost black), but all the gray is gone. It's pretty subtle - the only people who've noticed are my hair-savvy friends.

I'm unsure about shampooing it, though - am I supposed to buy treated shampoo? Lupe says yes. Lynn (who dyes her hair all the time) says no, and Julie (a veteran of many a dye job) says no, since I didn't bleach it, and as long as it's a nice Shampoo, like Finesse or Biolage or the kind with Oscar the Grouch on it.

So I'm a bit unsure about that.

PS: I'll be honest, I don't think this constitutes an "adventure," but I don't feel like changing the title of this entry.