28 September 2011

NHE Doesn't Work in Japan

Beside the fact that I'm on vacation and will eat whatever I damn well please, I just couldn't follow a restricted carbohydrate diet in Japan. The noodles here bear little resemblance to that flaccid stuff you find in the States. You can buy bread as good as anything found in Paris (though, perhaps, you have to look a little harder to find it here.) And something in the water makes for terrific rice.

NHE in the US is easy.

27 September 2011

Konnichiwa from the Land of MILFs and Ramen

Its true. Japan is a land filled with so much beauty and great food. I'm happy to be back here again. The last time we came the girls were too small to do anything but stay inside and visit family. This time, we have a chance to get outside and see the town a bit.

The thing I like most about Japan is the ubiquitous tiny boutique. Everything has a store dedicated to it and every hundred feet has some little shop whose owner toils behind the counter doing all the tasks needed to run the place. Today was a day of shopping for myself while the girls were napping. So I splurged by going by my favorite T-Shirt designer's place and haberdashery, followed by a great little joint that makes splendid pork buns with salted turnips and mushrooms.

Tonight I'm hoping to sneak out with Hirono to the neighborhood shochu (local vodka) joint.

18 September 2011

Uther to Arthur, a Playlist

So, my friends know me as an avid gamer. I don't play those video doodads, though I do dabble in historic strategy games on the computer. My real passion is table-top fantasy role playing games (RPGs.) I've been playing since 1979 with a few short breaks. My usual role is as the Referee, Dungeon Master, Game Master, whatever the name might be. The campaigns tend to be intense, both from a combat and an emotional perspective.

The story is paramount and I daydream at length in preparation for the next session while exercising or walking home from work. Right now we're 30 sessions (a long time, about a year and half of folks getting around a table with dice regularly) into a campaign that retells the romantic fantasy of King Arthur.

We started with the players as vassal knights, the tanks of the battlefield in chainmail and shield. Uther Pendragon was king. The player knights were with Merlin when Excalibur came from the Lady in the Lake. The years passed and Uther was assassinated, Arthur hidden by Merlin. What followed is a period of destruction as chaos ruled the land and Saxons poured in from the continent. Last session a young Arthur pulled the sword from the stone at the climax of the session. From start to finish it was a roller coaster of courtly intrigue, warlords dominating the battlefield and unbridled passions. Quite a game!

Each year in the game thus far has a theme song that inspired the story for that year. Below is the song list I've used thus far in the campaign, a list of beloved (if not always great) music that conjures a brutal world of the Dark Ages emerging into chivalric knighthood. For those who know the game system, this is The Great Pendragon Campaign for the system King Arthur Pendragon (version 5.1.)

485 AD - Living in a brutal age

486 AD - Recover Excalibur from the Chiltern Witch

487 AD - Scouting the Franks

488 AD - Invasion of Bayeaux

489 AD - Angles Overrun Caer Colun

490 AD - Battle of Lindsey

491 AD - Duke Gorlois Rebels

492 AD - Abduction of Prince Arthur

493 AD - Death in Caer Colun

494 AD - Uther's Illness

495 AD - Death of Uther

496 AD - Anarchy

497 AD - Enemies On All Sides

498 AD - Expansion Into Rydychan

499 AD - On the Brink of Destruction

500 AD - Angles and Their Big Mofo Battle Axes

501 AD - Do or Die

502 AD - Wave After Wave of Saxons

503 AD - Faerie Forest

504 AD - Raven Queen

505 AD - Struggling for Survival
Shut It Tight - by T-Bone Perkins, worth the search on the internet

506 AD - Lost in Faerie

507 AD - Faerie Court

508 AD - All is Lost

509 AD - The Pettiness of  Humanity

510 AD - The Sword From the Stone

11 September 2011

What 9/11 Taught Us

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

- excerpted from "September 1, 1939" by W.H. Auden

01 September 2011

On the Phone

I've had a phone plastered against my ear for 3.5 hours straight now. My neck is getting sore. This is going to continue for another hour before a 15 minute break and then back to meetings. At least the afternoon meetings are in person instead of on the phone.