Is my Hippie Showing?

If I went back in time and met 17 year old me and told her that she would find herself wanting to live on a farm, live in the country, have a garden, lots of animals, live in a tiny house, and be skipping the store bought shampoo she would laugh.  Except for the animal part.  She would totally dig that idea.

I have come a long way from my high school years.  Gone are the ripped clothes, band shirts, fishnet undershirts/stockings, shitkicker boots, crazy hair colors, and dark makeup.  I do still have some shitkickers and I’ve gotten better with the makeup.  Sure, there is a pair of fishnets in my drawer but they’re worn on special occasions.  I still like my heavy metal music(I still know a shit ton of Rammstein songs).  In all honesty the only thing that has changed from high school is my wardrobe, hair styling of choice, and makeup.  My personality is still the same.  I curse like a sailor, love my metal/rock music(and 80’s music and classic rock and Irish music and one hit wonders….. okay my choice in music is rather eclectic), and geek out about horror movies.  I’ve grown up.  I’ve become an adult.  And I love high school me because I was coming out of my shell and finally flexing my muscles in the way of ‘finding myself’.

Nature has always been something that I adored.  Whether it was family vacations to National Parks or running around in the wooded areas on Air Force bases, I loved slipping away from the hectic ‘city life’.  True, I never lived in a BIG city (like LA or Chicago or Atlanta) but we’ve always lived within a reasonable distance.  We were close to LA and San Diego while in California, Atlanta was pretty close when we lived outside of Macon Georgia, and we’re about an hour away from Chicago(or it’s suburbs, which is pretty much the same thing[don’t shoot me Chicago people]).  No matter what, though, nature was also within reach in some way.

My mother began telling me, once I hit college, that if I ever moved to Hawai’i I would end up living with the hippies there.  I never thought much about the comment until halfway through our 2003 trip to the Big Island.  There I was, wearing a sarong, flip flops, hair in a braid, and milling about a swap meet.  I looked around and realized how much I fit in.  Sure, one could run into someone wearing such an outfit ANYWHERE but there something different about there.  It felt right for once.  The atmosphere just made something click inside me and things began to change

Now when warm weather hits, when ever I’m not at work, I am in sarongs and loose fitting shirts.  I run around barefoot as much as possible.  Skirts and long dress are, once more(was a major tomboy as a child but you couldn’t get me out of my dresses to save my life), my friend.

It was meeting Grendal and spending so much time with him that made me realize how much I enjoyed nature.  I knew it calmed me before but something was different at that point.  Especially joining him at an organic farm he worked at.  Every morning he’d be up at 4:00  and heading out to the farm to feed the animals and let them out of their pens. After many days of him asking if I wanted to join him, I did.  I enjoyed spending time with the goats, watching a chicken follow Grendal around, and getting up close to a draft horse(talk about feeling like a hobbit suddenly).  I was there often enough that one morning, when the farm had a bunch of inner-city kids out for an over night field trip, I made them pancakes using some of the goat milk and fresh eggs.  That is probably the moment I really found myself enjoying farms and cooking things from scratch.

Bread is made in the house, no bread maker needed, and I use fresh ingredients whenever possible.  Not because it’s better for me or anything like that.  No.  I enjoy it.  I find myself enjoying the complexity of things and, as odd as it sounds, how simple it is.  I’ve always wondered how people lived ‘way back when’.  Colonial times, medieval times, and even in the early 20th century when the world was changing in leaps and bounds.  A part of me wants to chuck all of what I have to the road, find a spit of land and tiny house and just LIVE.  Farm, work with animals, and become one with nature and myself.

Yet, I want my heavy metal, my internet, my books, movies, and video games.

Maybe hippie isn’t the right word.  Who knows.  I blame my mother for the word use but I wouldn’t change it for the life of me.

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This Is My Design

Go me for a Hannibal quote(love the show but more on that another time)!

So, I have mentioned before that I game. Usually every Sunday but life happens. We have been playing this previous game for nearly two years and have gotten nowhere. Grendal was tired of it all and decided to stop it, which is sad because I was enjoying the story. Plus my work in progress novel is that game.

So, now we are gameless. For the next few weeks we’ll be chatting and playing board and card games. There will be Mansions of Madness and Munchkin in my future. Probably some Cards Against Humanity too. Good times. But it leaves us without a tabletop game to play. We have three of us, myself included, working on ideas. A game of Delta Green may happen, which is awesome, and then some other haphazard attempt.

Me?  Well, during the thirty minute drive home I managed to get an idea rolling around.  So much so that I was ready to study, brush up on stuff, and Grendal was giving me idea for social/political structures within the world.  Our problem is that, more often than not, our games run for a long time. Years.  So the game I’m planning would purposely run in chunks.  One mission.  Get the info, complete the objective, PROFIT!  End of game.  The characters would be kept with me and, if another hiatus happens, the characters would return for their next adventure.  Same world, different place.

So far what I have set up for the first mission is this(very bare bones):  The group, who is a group of mercenaries/bounty hunters/swords for hire, hears that the ruler of a kingdom needs help.  The payout is good so they get the job.  The kingdom has been suffering failing crops, animals becoming hostile, their animals being spirited away, and certain creatures/beings connected to nature terrorizing them.  It’s pretty straightforward: go to this underground dungeon and retrieve these items.  Well, if the group is smart enough and investigates they’ll learn of a large forest nearby that holds an old coven/grove of Druids.  Further investigation garners the group the information that land and animals that were connected to the Druids were stolen, killed, or destroyed.   Perhaps there is a reason behind the kingdom’s problems.  Anyway, the group goes through the dungeon and gathers the items.  Turns out that these items are essential to summoning something/someone.  Turns out it is to help summon a powerful Blighter(evil Druids FTW) that had been sealed away.

Then comes the big choices:

Do they give the items to the king and let him destroy the Druids, their grove, and the forest?

Do they give the items to the Druids?

Do they try and open up diplomatic talk between the two?

Either way a character that I’ve been wanting to play can be made and introduced as an NPC.  A man by the name of Nikolai and a Paladin/Druid of Obad-Hai.  He watches the group when they exit the dungeon in the form of a dire wolf.  He would be the one talking with the group if they try and have ANY interaction with the Druids. And if the group decides to screw over the Druids and give the items to the king, Nikolai would hunt them down for revenge.  They would also have to deal with a Blighter who is suddenly out of control.

Game is set at 4 sessions at the most, depending on how much the group goofs around, and opens the world up for so much more.  Fun times.

Why Yes, I Do Have a Hoard

There is little doubt that I collect things.  These things range from comics/manga to movies and video games.  Perhaps I do have a collection of earrings that happen to be pair-less.  It’s what I tend to do.  I’ve always had odd fixations on gathering things and keeping them.  No reason.  I remember finding a balloon in the backyard when I was younger, partially deflated but still buoyant.  Rather than popping it or ignoring it, I took the item and kept it in my room.  Why?  I felt sad for it.  It was all by itself and close to the end of it’s time.  I wanted it to have a place where there was sound and life.  I was weird.  And I wasn’t a child.  This was when I was in middle school.  Odd, I know, to personify ITEMS.  I’ve always been like this.  Stuffed animals are the worst.  They have faces.  I get attached to them.  It’s weird.  Grendal uses it to his advantage and makes the stuffed bear he bought me years ago talk and make me feel guilty for not grabbing the dog’s bone before she was settled in for bed.

I get it.  We’re weird.

Anyway, my hoard.  I don’t hoard shiny objects, precious stones, or things like that.  For me it’s recipes.  Not books, no! Just the recipes.  While in my previous work space there would be magazines in the break room.  Mostly food magazines.  These things had pages upon pages of recipes.  I would flip through these things and begin to tear out the recipes I wanted.  I thought about taking pictures of them or trying to write them down.  No, tearing the page out was the best thing.  No one complained, there were no signs.  No one knew it was me.

So I began to bring these pages home, showing Grendal the awesome item I found this time.  He thought it was strange and didn’t say much, unless said item looked tasty and I needed to make it soon.  I would put these pages on a book shelf and when they became unruly I found an old shoe box.  I just kept collecting recipes.  They were/are useful and items I want to make.  I just kept finding more and more.

One day Grendal handed me a red binder and told me to use it.  I opened it up and found these clear sleeves for loose pages.  I spent an hour slipping the gathered recipes into these things, using about 3/4 of what was given.  There is no rhyme or reason to my ‘cookbook’ but it has everything in it.  I have printed pages from sites on line(which reminds me I need to print a few more up).  Since I left the job at the grocery store I have no supply of cooking magazines.  A shame.

Though someone did give us old cookbooks and the coffee shop.

Books our owner doesn’t want to sell.

Books that will be given to goodwill eventually.

I may or may not have snagged a few for my hoard.

(and I wasn’t the only one)

Life Can Kick Ya

So, I’ve been missing around here for about a month(give or take) but there is a good reason behind it. About a month ago Grendal’s uncle passed away suddenly. It was the second uncle in four months. His youngest and now oldest uncle are gone. The previous death hadn’t effected him like this one. This uncle seemed to mean something more.

I am honestly at a loss when these things happen. I have yet to lose a human in my life. I have had many pets pass away and it tears me to pieces every time. Never getting the chance to say good bye to two of them. Both seeming like siblings. One was a Sheltie named Pikala and the other a Persian named Itokuzo. They were close to me, put down while I was away at work. While the incidents are different, I can’t help but empathise. The uncle passed in another state. No one was able to say goodbye, not even his wife who was beside him when it happened.

So, Sunday was the day when everyone was finally able to come together and celebrate this man’s life. And that is how I think a funeral/memorial should be: a celebration of that person. Yes it’s sad and horrible that he is gone but he would have hated seeing everyone so sad. There was music, singing, the man’s beautiful artwork, and memories shared. While I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know him too well, he was the type of person I would’ve wanted to learn from. He was a modern day hippie, out to better mother earth and create beautiful things along the way.

Doug, where ever you are, you were one awesome man. You make me want to create once more and live better. Peace be with you.

Modder Problems

Grendal and I LOVE the Elder Scrolls series. Love them.  There isn’t much else I can say to express the emotions we have towards the series.

With TES: Oblivion Grendal spent countless hours modding that game.  New armor, new races, hair, eyes, poses, weapons, revamped cities, and more.  Running through that game was something completely different then the original version of the game.  While it caused him many a moment of anger neither of us would have it any other way.  We’ve created characters that were amazing and I was able to creature images of D&D characters thanks to what he had tracked down.

When Skyrim rolled around Grendal and I made sure we got the PC version of it because we knew modding was in our future.  This time around, though, I was the one given the honor of modding the game.  I figured out how to go about it and went out in search of mods to do what we had done with Oblivion.  We have played over 400+ hours of this game and this time I was the one having moments of anger.

So I recently had to uninstall and reinstall the game and then ALL of the mods. All 150+ freakin mods. I tried cutting back but Grendal was peeping over my shoulder, whispering that we need that one. And that one. Don’t forget this awesome armor. It took me 4 days to do this and everything seems to be running well, so far.

And I am finding the urge to play it again. Ignore the fact that I have well over 200 screenshots(serious and humor filled[not as funny as Mass Effect, though]). I will be wandering through Skyrim again and taking more pictures. It’s an addiction but something I can manage.