Thursday, September 24, 2009


Several years ago I stumbled onto character roleplay online. It evolved by accident just from hanging out in chatrooms on the old yahoo and the old AOL. Overtime it has become a kind of creative lifeline for me. A place where I get my writing yayas out.
It started out as something to do online when I was bored. But eventually it evolved into almost an addiction.

It has been an unwitting path to self discovery in many ways too. More on that some other time.

It's given me ideas for stories that are floating around one day to finally be put to more practical use and its kept me creative during my fallow times. I'm actor who has been too broke for a long time to be able to take the smallest of jobs and so the role playing exercises both the writing and acting impulses.

After my accident, when I was hospital and then home bound for several months, this was a real lifeline. I had plenty of corporeal friends visiting, but not all the time...and when you can't do a lot of walking and you have seen every single rerun available, staying creatively alive is a godsend.

One particular venue that I've been spending my time in for the last few years has been quite an adventure. Without going into detail, I have managed to bond with people and have some very terrific roleplay that has caused me to actually start writing on a particular character I've created to see if I can get a novel of some kind out of it.
And then there are friendships. It's become common now through Facebook, Twitter and all these venues for perfect strangers to become friends (and sometimes lovers) despite (perhaps at times because of) distance. Sometimes you even get to meet the people you chat/play with. I went to see one of the old Batman movies with an entire gang of friends from a comic book venue I was hanging out in. And I've met and been to weddings of friends I've roleplayed with.

One could argue that I spend more time than I should,here, but its been worth it to me.

A few months ago I met an RPer whom I will call James. Now in the venue where I am these days I've had a particularly hard time connecting with other guy RPers. Most I have found were posing jerks using RP to compensate for ego issues. He was one of the rare males that I found it possible to have intelligent role play and conversation with. About my age, also divorced though happy in his second marriage and family. His wife also roleplays and I enjoyed getting to know them both. We also had daughters who were about the same age. There was a lot in common to talk and joke over.

We didn't get terribly close, but it was clear that we were going to become pretty good friends and enjoy some adventurous RP.

Yesterday morning James died. He had fallen ill very suddenly about 3 or so weeks ago and had been in and out of the hospital. His wife would leave updates here and there on a chat board they had set up. Sometimes he would come online from the hospital and it seemed like he was getting better. Then this last week things just spiraled completely out of control. If any of you remember the end of Jimmy Smits' character on NYPD Blue, it felt very much like that. Something rare, seemingly innocuous turns out to be relentless, cruel and random, but this was no tired actor retiring from a TV show.

I spent yesterday in a daze, mourning a friend I barely knew and had never met. Mourning for his wife and children. I spent a lot of energy thinking about connections. How modern life has changed the way we relate to each other for good or ill. I'm of course pondering my own mortality since James and I were of the same age.

Maybe its unhealthy to have bonds with people you don't know. Maybe its a blessing. I know this. James's wife had so many messages on the chat board itself of condolence, love and support, in addition to the real time help I am sure she is getting, that its impossible for me to think its a bad.

I consider my life better for having known him however briefly. I consider my life better for other friendships I have made as well. Some very close indeed. Very rewarding and inspiring.

I'm grateful for all of my friends, both "real" and "virtual". My life is greatly enhanced by presence and meaning in my life. I hope very deeply that their lives are enhanced by mine as well.

Rest in Peace James. Thank you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A political pondering

Following is a comment I left in response to 2MorrowKnight's blog entry on Huffington Post stating why he thinks that 2010, despite pundit predictions of doom for Obama, will prove otherwise. (Yes, my ID at Huffpo is Wondering Imriel. Some of you will know what that references)

I think it remains to be seen whether the energy and enthusiasm that the Obama campaign brought to itself will translate into Congressional elections.

Will that same demographic remain as enthusiastic and involved for their local representatives and/or Senators? I don't know that there's any indication that they will.

While the teabaggers are hypocritical by definition and much smaller in number than they would have us believe, they are loud and very active and enthusiastic.

Obama's poll numbers jumped after his speech on Healthcare Reform, proving two things: 1- He is still well liked and trusted and 2-the myth that he is over exposed is just that, a myth and wishful thinking on the part of anyone that makes that statement.

Will he be strong enough to have coattails in 2010? I hope so, for the most part. I do predict that whatever gains the Right may make next year, they will be harder fought than they think. Hope is still a greater ally than resentment, and resentment is all the Right has right now. Resentment and Dick Armey's funding.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rhymes with Beer (Yuengling, please)

Perhaps its a cliche, and I've made my feelings clear about the way we wear this day on our sleeves, which I don't care for. But it doesn't seem right to let the day go by without commentary of some kind.

I've been thinking a bit about how we've behaved since that day 8 years ago. The craziness recently; Glenn Batshit Beck's 9/12 Initiative that links to TeaBaggers and other hypocritical nonsense with what I think are the wrong lessons.

All of it, I think, stems from Fear. Whenever I watch Dick Cheney, I not only see a man who is fear mongering, but who is also mongered by fear.

Right or Left we are all Americans, all scarred and all fearful. But what happened to us is not what makes us. Its how we hold to what we stand for afterwards that shows us for ourselves.

Fear is what makes us open the old wounds every year. Fear is what makes us small and keeps us from taking action. Fear is what causes the invasion of the wrong country and missing the ball entirely. Fear is what makes us go on and on about future attacks instead of remembering what we stand for and how we can make this world safer, truly safer. Fear makes us vengeful.

But we can't overcome national fears if we don't overcome our own. And so, geek that I am, I offer two thoughts on fear. One from my favorite book, Dune by Frank Herbert, the other from one of my favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

From Dune; the Litany of Fear, spoken by warriors of all kinds.

"I must not fear
Fear is the mind-killer
Fear is the little death
That brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will allow it to pass over me
And through me.
When it is past I will turn the inner eye
To see its path.
Where the fear was, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain"

From an episode of Buffy. Halloween when Gaknar the fear demon is revealed. He is 4 inches tall.
Xander: (playfully)Who's the little fear demon. Who's the little fear demon?"
Giles: Xander, don't do that.
Xander: (suddenly worried) Why, will it anger him?
Giles: No, because it's tacky.

In pace requiescat.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks...

...but I thank you." Hamlet

My daughter's text books are, as most textbooks, obscenely expensive. We all know the racket of kickbacks for professors and the like. Or how tiny the sell-back rate is (used textbook is a bare 5% of the new).

Grrrrr. So, the last couple of weeks have been a struggle, I've fallen behind in some payments. Fortunately September is an extra paycheck month, so I will be able to catch up. I am grateful for that.

I was strapped for cash and nothing in the fridge by Thursday when I went to work, very unsure of how I was going to get through the night with no money to get a decent meal. Less than a block from my apartment as I left for work, a clean, folded $10 sat on the street, awaiting my watchful eye. Lunch for Thursday and Friday. I am grateful for that.

Today, visiting my daughter who is in town for the weekend. Taking the train from Brooklyn to Queens. The G train, the only train that skips Manhattan altogether, was shut down so I had to take the F into Manhattan and then switch to the V to get to my daughter's stop. At the last second, I remembered that there is no V train on the weekends, but had enough time at the right station to switch to the R train. Thus a potentially frustrating and long trip, was barely delayed more than the original trip. I am grateful for that. Good brain, very good brain.

The weather today, was back to perfect. Sunny, mostly warm but with a cool breeze to take the edge off. I love that. Thank you.