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Well, that was certainly a fraught convention experience. Fraught, I say. But I shot a lot of film and got a lot of good shots.




More later? Maybe. I'm still frazzled. When life hands you chlorine gas, put on your carpet suit and dance.

MFF 2014

Dec. 10th, 2014 09:15 am
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Surreal and stressful and it ended with reporters calling my mom.

But I got some nice photos.

Of film

Oct. 26th, 2014 10:36 pm
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When I noted I had really gotten into film, I meant.... like, a lot.

I have about 20 film cameras, in 120 and 135 format. I shoot black and white and develop it in my sink. This photo was taken with a 108-year-old camera. You cannot get an older camera that shoots currently manufactured film.

I've found it an incredibly meditative process. I'm not constantly snapping photos of things. I've learned to slow down and compose. I've also learned that I really only need one or two photos from an event, not 200.


Oct. 26th, 2014 10:33 pm
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So, I'm 40. Still live in a triad. Worked as a newspaper reporter for four years, really got into film photography, got laid off, and now work as a software tech writer.

How are you all?
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Conversation is the root of friendship. The capacity to share, to sympathize, and to be a convivial and attentive companion may be a larger part of making friends than things like shared hobbies and opinions. It might be said that shared hobbies and opinions just give you things to talk about!

I am told that I am good conversationalist. I think sometimes I am, and sometimes I’m not, but I have had some thoughts about what makes for a good conversation. As I often do, I’ve taken these thoughts and nailed them down for your edification.

These rules apply to one-on-one conversations, dinner parties, phone calls, emails, and instant messenger interactions. And, I should note that they apply to conversations with friends. They are not rules for talking to strangers. I have some rules for that, as well, but they’re a lot shorter: "That stranger probably does not want a conversation with you."

These are not the rules to follow when you need to talk to someone about something specific. They are not the rules you follow when talking to your significant other. They are not the rules you follow when seeking a friendly ear to talk about something that is depressing you, or angering you, or to confess to sins, or whatever.

These are rules for general, light, positive social interaction that serves as the foundation for friendship. These rules make it easier to make friends, and help keep things interesting with your current friends. At least, that has been my experience.

1. If you won’t talk to people, people won’t talk to you.
This is the most important one. Talking to people is intimidating. You don’t want to seem needy. But, you know, everyone craves social contact. If you’re in a room with a friend, they want you to talk to them. They want you to call them, or page them on IM, or send them a friendly text. If you like someone, or find them interesting, go and talk to them. In most cases, they’ll talk back at you and the initial awkwardness about engaging will disappear.

2. Ask questions.
How do you start talking to people? Ask them a question, and keep asking them questions. Start with the superficial, if you like:

“How are you?”
“How’s work?”
“Did you see that movie?”

Then get specific. Ask questions that can’t be answered in a single sentence:

“How did you meet your spouse?”
“Why did you go to school for engineering?”

Most people enjoy talking about themselves. And, asking questions may inspire them to share anecdotes and stories, and so on. They will ask you the same questions. The things they say will fire connections in your memory, inspiring you to witty banter and intelligent commentary.

3. Be positive and enthusiastic.
Tell positive anecdotes, when possible. Ask people questions that make them remember happy things. Tell people positive stories from your job or life. Don’t complain about stupid people all the time. Be enthusiastic about your own topics. I would rather listen to someone speak enthusiastically about mixing paint, than listen to someone speak cynically about supermodels and ninjas.

4. Vent judiciously, if at all.
Don’t complain about your health or finances, at least not immediately. Establish a positive conversation and mutual sympathy, and then, if you have to vent or complain about something, do so judiciously and in small amounts. If you have a concern with someone, talk it out and address it. If you need to get something off your chest, you should, but ideally it should be a concern that specifically relates to the person you’re talking to.

5. Share, then listen.
Once conversation begins, feel free to share anecdotes of your own. Tell anecdotes about things you’ve seen, people you’ve met, and places you’ve gone, but don’t boast about them. If you don’t have any interesting anecdotes, talk about things other people have done. Draw anecdotes from history or fiction, if you have to.

Then shut up and listen to other people.

6. Be aware of your audience.
Listen to people. React to what they say. If they change the subject, go with it. Don’t interject with completely unrelated anecdotes. Be aware of existing prejudices, politics, pet peeves, etc., and avoid triggering them in most social situations.

It is okay to get into a political or religious debate with someone, if they came looking for one. But, be aware that what they are looking for is actually an argument. An argument is not a conversation. Arguments can be stimulating and fun, and they are sometimes essential, but they do not build connections or strengthen friendships.

7. Don’t complain about work.
This deserves its own entry because I see it a lot. Everyone hates their job sometimes. It’s fine to spout off briefly about your boss or coworkers when someone asks, “How’s work?” The key word is “briefly.”

Do not complain about your job for more than a minute or two. Let your friends make sympathetic noises, then move on to something else. Do not list all the absurdities you’ve had to face. Don’t complain about your coworkers or boss. Don’t talk about the stupid task you had to do today, or the annoying phone call you had. Save it for your diary or blog.

You see, we don’t work at your office. We don’t know what a TPS form is. We don’t know who Lydia is. Complaining at length about office politics or procedures will cause every brain in the room to shut off and give you a reputation as a negative person and a bore.

Especially key :

Seriously, it’s like going into an amputee ward and telling a legless man how much your feet hurt.

There is an exception to this. You can “talk shop” with people in your industry, and a large part of talking shop is bitching about common frustrations. In this case, you have the sympathy and comprehension of your audience and should feel free to complain as much as you like.

8. Do not complain about money.
See rule #7. Everyone is bad at financial management. We don’t need to hear about your credit card debt or your income. There are exceptions to this. Sometimes the conversation will turn to financial matters, and since everyone has finances, it can be thought of as “talking shop,” and is therefore acceptable as noted in rule #7.

9. Do not be afraid to be ridiculous.
Tell stories that make you look foolish. Be gracious when others do so. Be the butt of jokes. Crack puns. Make ribald comments (in appropriate company). Be whimsical. Do these things judiciously, but do them.

10. Speculate!
Finally, if you really want to get a conversation going, move it beyond the mundane. Ask people their opinions on things they’ve not experienced, and possibly never will experience. Ask them about weird and wonderful things. For example:

“Tell me about your dream house.”
“Do you want to live forever?”
“Have you ever seen a ghost?”
“What do you think it would be like to live in zero-g?”

Be prepared to provide your own thoughts on the questions they ask. And remember, that friends are the people you are supposed to share things with. Don’t be afraid to do that. The more you share, they more they will share in turn.

It's March!

Mar. 1st, 2010 11:51 am
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We purchased a new desktop PC the weekend before last, and I was therefore finally able to clean off my MP3 player. For a year or so, I only had access to 300 MB of it, the rest of the available memory locked up in invisible chunks of gawdsknowwhat. Not even formatting helped. However, the situation seems to be resolved now, and I cleaned off all the songs I'd heard a thousand times before, and filled it anew.

So, for example, this morning I was listening to a lot of early Talking Heads. It's rather sparse and unpolished, but quite listenable. I forgot how much I liked the song "I Want to Live," for example, though the lyrics of the song speak more to who I was in 1990 than who I am now.

I want to live
To see the earth turn one more time
I wanna live
To feel a hand that isn't mine
I'm only standing on the shore
I had some fun but I want more
I'll try not to act like I'm so far away
I try to be right in whatever I say
Deeper feelings recur again & again & again & again
A complex spiral leads me to spin...

Ah, to be 16 and convinced that I was going to die when the Antichrist appeared, and me without even having ever kissed a real live girl! On the other hand, Once in a Lifetime now speaks to precisely my situation and age, though I'm not filled to any particular extent with existential angst.

I have a beautiful wife, and a beautiful (well... comfortable) house and I drive a large automobile. And I know how I got here, and it's never caused me to say, "My God! What have I done?" It was a pretty comfortable ride, too, at least once I got out of school. May everyone be so lucky!


[ profile] velvetpage and I will be at Furnal Equinox this weekend, along with special guest star [ profile] kores_rabbit. [ profile] velvetpage will be selling books, I'll be running games and doing a panel on the history of the fandom. Come one, come all.


With the death of February (marked in a ceremony by some friends yesterday), I find myself experiencing my annual seasonal rise in energy and creativity. I have a lot of work to do - overdue gaming contracts, household repairs, and the like. Roll on, Spring!
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Thus ends the longest RPG campaign I've ever run. Tonight, the Hamilton Underdark Exploration Society finally faced and defeated Ashardalon, an anicent red dragon with designs on godhood.

He straddled the Fount of Pre-Incarnate Souls, devouring them, preventing new life from entering the Prime Material Plane. The heroes fought well - two of them died in the struggle. [ profile] mar2nee's warrior madien, Ariadne, struck the final blow.

At the end of the game, everyone was 19th or 20th level.

  • [ profile] velvetpage was Velvet, who retired as a Rogue 9/Shadowdancer 10 to become spymaster for the Duchy of Urnst.

  • [ profile] doc_mystery, who has been writing about our exploits for the Alarums & Excursions zine, was Bishop Roger Thursday, 20th cleric of St. Cuthbert. Bishop Thursday went into a monastery to study and pray, at least for a time.

  • [ profile] shadow_maze was Eidolon, 20th level Elven Illusionist. He returned to spread the gospel of the Maze, and right the heresies that had arisen in his cult.

  • [ profile] mar2nee was Ariadne, 19th level Fighter. Though a human, she had risen to great respect amongst the Dwarves of Oerth, and settled down as a master smith in the Caves of Iron.

  • Finally, Daniel's 19th level Half-Elven Ranger, Laucian. He retired with his wife and child in the Druid enclave of Ossington, where he dedicated his life to learning the ways of the forest.

It was a grand adventure with good friends. I know we will keep playing together, and I look forward to the next 8 years together!
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I had a dream about [ profile] kores_rabbit's rats, the fictional Roderick Spode (Earl of Sidcup) and driving in a two-seater to Blandings Castle.

I think this is my first ever P.G. Wodehouse dream. Aside from the rats.
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Elizabeth has moved from drawing anthro tigress warrior princesses, to rainbow coloured unicorns.
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That's me on my 7th birthday, just about to get a guinea pig. I called him Darth. That is all.
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[ profile] velvetpage: We're playing Warhammer tomorrow tonight, come Hell, High Water, or Mutant Elves.
Me: You looked at my game notes!


Feb. 18th, 2010 10:25 am
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We shall abolish everything but the solitary orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Guild or the forum. There will be no love, except the love of Lulz. There will be no laughter, except the Lulz. There will be no art, save photoshops, no literature, save epic threads, and no science, save Wiki.

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always (do not forget this, Winston) always there will be the intoxication of self-referential irony, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of trolling, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on an image of a hemaphroditic snowfairy - forever.
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We watched Casablanca on Saturday night. I just realized that this screening took place almost 15 years to the day of the time [ profile] velvetpage and saw it at the Broadway Cinema in Hamilton, on Valentine's Day.

Which means this weekend just past was our 16th Valentine's Day together. We started dating in August of 1994.

Love ya, Erin. :)
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Work sucked, but I went off to a D&D game, which was followed by sleep, and a quiet movie with [ profile] velvetpage and [ profile] kores_rabbit, which was followed by more gaming, which was followed with cake, which was followed with Casablanca, which was followed by silly people, and now I'm going to BED!

I am a very lucky fellow. Happy Valentines Day, [ profile] velvetpage. (Seen here with new haircut and new necklace!)

And, during the last 24 hours, an enormous bag of P.G. Wodehouse novels dropped into my life. OMGWTFBBQ!!

Read more... )
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Was playing Legend of Zelda with Elizabeth on the Wii. We got to the first dungeon.

"Say, this is a lot like Dungeons and Dragons, dad, except on a Wii."

"Don't worry if the dragon kills you. You can just look up how to kill it on the computer."

And finally..

"What's that thing? Oh, wow! WE GOT A TRIANGLE! YAY!"


Feb. 9th, 2010 05:32 pm
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I have hypertension!


How is that possible? I eat nothing but meat and cheese and eggs and coffee. I weigh a svelte (and solidly packed) 128 kgs. My weight, height, age, and collar measurement are exactly the same as Jackie Gleason in the first season as The Honeymooners!


So, there you are. Pyat has entered early middle age.
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We watched Logan's Run yesterday afternoon with [ profile] doc_mystery, [ profile] mrs_dm and [ profile] shadowmaze, whereupon we went home, put the girls to bed, and I ventured forth to the Faehold to watch Kurosawa's Throne of Blood.

I think I gave myself artistic bends.
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Data rekeying continues to be very easy yet intense and fiddly work. It's not difficult, though it requires constant concentration over stretches of hours, and I find myself in odd moods once work is done. The pay is excellent, even though it quickly became clear that it was excellent because we're doing the bureaucratic equivalent of cleaning out a septic tank.

There is absolutely no out-of-office job stress following me home. I've been sleeping like a rock. The commute is easy, as I take the 407 toll highway most of the way and drive during hours when traffic on the 403 stretch is easing. I could do this sort of thing for a long time, which sort of solidifies my concept of myself as a sort of natural filing clerk or lirbarian, born in the wrong decade.
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Remind me again how awesome you were...

Rebel scum!! )
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[ profile] commanderteddog did it again. :) An tray of brownies and rice crispy squares set up as the Echo Base shield generator, for last night's Star Wars game.


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