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If you've read my wife's blog, you know that it's our second anniversary today. As she's mentioned, the tragic thing is that my work/school obligations are keeping us from really spending any time together until at least Saturday night (I have to work during the day until 6 PM). I've got a bunch of work that's due right in the middle of the week this week, so it's going to mean a couple of long nights. Hopefully the weekend will bring peace...

Speaking of which, I need your help! As soon as humanly possible, I need to find a contemporary (post-1940) short story retelling of a fairy tale to read, make a copy of for class, and analyze in comparison to the Grimms' version. It has to be fairly brief (again, I have to make a photocopy, and I've got to have time to read the silly thing). It doesn't have to be a literal retelling - that is, it doesn't have to be set "once upon a time" - it's better if it's been put into an entirely different setting (sci-fi, contemporary life, etc.). I've been given a short list of suggested authors (such as Vonnegut, Le Guin, Tanith Lee, Terri Windling, Kafka [not exactly modern, but she said he's the one exception]), but after searching the school library, there isn't much of any use there. I plan on making time to visit the county library - though I still have to figure out when I can do that before Thursday - so if anyone knows of a good short story to analyze...please tell me!

I've been using a different shampoo this week. This wouldn't really merit any mention except that it's medicinal. Nothing serious, so I'll spare you the details. Anyway, it smells awful - like dog shampoo mixed with burnt plastic. The odor sticks, so I smell it all day long...but on the plus side, Marilyn says it makes my hair super-clean. This has been a precursor to something I've been wanting to do with my hair for a long time - since I was a teenager, really - and Marilyn has given me the go-ahead (I'm still trying to figure out if she's serious or not). I'm not going to tell you what it is, except that it does not involve shaving my head. My head is a little misshapen - it's due to the circumstances of my birth - so I don't think it would be a good idea to shave it, no matter how comfortable that might sound to me.

Oh, and I've started growing my beard again. It'll be a new experience for Marilyn; so far she doesn't seem repulsed, so that's good. Now that I think about it, she's been quite hair-permissive. I love my wife.

I went to the Source last Saturday after work; they were having a big bash for D&D's 30th Anniversary. They had all of their D&D stuff on sale: 10% off with specially-marked books 30% off. I picked up a copy of The Psychics' Handbook (for no reason, Michael and Dan, no reason at all). That was cool and all - I always relish the opportunity to browse through the gamebooks - but the real reason I went was because there were games going on in the game area being DMed by Dave Arneson and Monte Cook.

For those of you not in the know (dare I say "those of you who failed your Knowledge rolls"? Oh, that hurt. I'd better not), Dave Arneson was The Other Guy who created D&D in the first place, way back in 1974; in fact, many claim that he was the idea man behind the whole thing, and that E. Gary Gygax just committed his ideas to paper. These days, he's a white-bearded, soft-spoken old man who still runs Killer Dungeons, now using the D20 system (seriously - I heard some of the players laughing about it when the store closed; their entire party died!). Monte Cook is a younger fellow - redhead, now sans beard - who helped design the core mechanics of the D20 system (which is the system D&D uses) and has published several books for the game, including his own setting. I came with the intent of watching them run their games, getting a better handle on how the game is played. I learned a little, but it was tough without really hovering over Monte and asking him questions as he ran the game. His notes were much more chaotic than the ones I usually keep, though. They had all the stats he needed, crammed into a small amount of space. Maybe three papers. When I run a game, I have a binder with the entire adventure (or as much as I've been able to type up) described in a paragraph-by-paragraph narrative form, along with loose sheets containing NPC stats, maps, and other accoutrements.

This is my problem in GMing. I desperately need to simplify, and place my trust back in my powers of improvisation, reminding myself that it doesn't need to be Great Literature, just a good time.

Anyway, it was fun, and kind of illuminating.

As Marilyn said, we tried out Solomon's Porch again. You really need to read her account of it. Perhaps predictably in accordance with our personality types, most of the things she saw as, er, difficult were to me a breath of fresh air, something I really appreciate. I will agree with her on the part about "facial worship," though - I found that a bit wacky. They do a lot of things there that I've always thought a church should do - a speaker at the center of the room instead of in the front (a medieval invention, if my memories of art history class serve), many members actively participating not only in activities but also to some degree in the sermon, taking communion with the actual breaking up of loaves with each other rather than bits of stale cracker on silver platters, and so on. And art! Lots of art, of all kinds, all over the room! I also enjoy the incorporation of different denominational traditions. Very neat. Perhaps the most challenging - and wonderful, really - aspect of it is that I always feel as though I must engage myself in what's going on, actively engaging my mind instead of just sitting back and letting it soak. After a service there, I think to myself, "Man, I really need to start studying my Bible again..." So many others are educated in theological matters, and the pastor always (well, the last two times I've gone) asks people to contribute their thoughts and the things they've learned to the sermon's subject.

Okay, I've got to close the store. Once I get home, it's nothing but homework for the next few days when I'm not at work...and even then, I've got to do some homework (taking pictures of all the cheesy nativity sets we're selling at the bookstore; there are some truly gaudy, awful, poorly-thought nativity scenes out there). Talk later!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 at Tuesday, October 19, 2004 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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