This week in Andalusada: 10/28/2012

I'm not sure how to separate the editing from the original writing here, so fuck it, I'm lumping these together. Let's take it from the top.


Sunday night was spent on gun porn: first and foremost, trying to fill out the details on Go-guns...
  • ...but then writing in some details on skopetchkas too...
  • ...and adding, and changing the layout very slightly, to derping more about 8.8mm, which was still disgracefully written as of when I signed off that night.
That's all I can honestly remember at this point.


And all for an act of kindness

So I wake up in the morning, scrub the crusts from my eyes, shower, shave, clean myself up... and it's time to make a quick $100, by driving B. down to Springfield.

B. has a gift with lottery tickets. I have never seen anybody win quite so consistently with them, and so often in such large amounts for what was put in. This time was the magic number: $1000 on a single ticket. And that meant no going down to the gas station: we were going to Springfield to cash it with the state registry.

In my name, of course. "Child support owed for nonexistent children" is a nasty problem to have, especially when it defies repeated efforts to correct it.

You know what else is a nasty problem to have? Discovering that something's wrong with your taxes, and having them hold the $1000 lottery ticket in your name while and until you get it sorted out. I still haven't, to be honest, because I spent the rest of yesterday moping, and the rest of today editing for the Student.

That was about the time I discovered that B. had not only won a thousand-dollar scratch ticket, but had also committed almost all of it before he actually had cash in hand. I was flabbergasted, and he was pissed. I am now short $820 to keep him in the good graces of his (presumably pistolwhipping) friends.

Oh, and to ice this cake: I also have to report that ticket as earned income and on taxes. That quick, easy $100 is going to cost me money.


The 21st Sunday after Pentecost

The recurring theme of the day was St. Francis, a reminder of why he's still going to show up in Andalusada: his fingerprints are too large to leave out. This morning's processional was a singing of his prayer ("Not to be consoled but to console...")


Mall Chinese food

I can't remember the last time I had mall Chinese food before last night.

It was the usual, in some ways. White rice - always white rice. Mall beef teriyaki, because it's savory and has a lot of onions and capsicums in there... and a spring roll, mostly for the grease. ...and some barbecue pork which isn't even plausibly authentically Chinese, because it's artificial-coloring red and sweet. In a lot of ways, the usual.

What set it apart was that I can't remember the last interesting meal I made in awhile... and, more than that, that the cashier asked if I want something to drink with that, and before I caught myself I said yes, water would be fine.

A small cup of water with small mall-food-court ice cubes came with the meal, and chopsticks. No Sriracha this time, because I didn't think for it. And somehow that made all the difference.

This week in Andalusada blogging: 10/20/2012

Actual new pieces:

Monday: Since I've been on a GURPS trip this last week or so, GURPS Low-Tech has been getting attention from me as well. Since I've had the idea bouncing around in my head for quite some time, and had already written up the sansing last fortnight, I (for no reason other than to maintain a regularity of posting) spat out the other world-specific sword I'm aware of: the esbat.

Tuesday: Monday night was spent reading, trying to figure out naming conventions for things and discovering something interesting: the medieval Abbey of Grandmont. To that end, on Tuesday I introduced St. Matilda, the *Dominican equivalent of St. Clare.
  • And when I was done with that, I introduced a fractious, squabbling order that provides the springboard for the Gonzalans: the Order of St. Stephen.
  • And, building on something I haven't thought about until the night before, I introduced a brand name to Andalusada: ACP.
  • And, once that was done, to one of the very few people I know nothing about in Andalusada: Guillermo I, the first fictional king of 11th-century Iberia.
  • And once that was done, I started some historiography again, in the form of what was at first titled "Plebeian Cabralia." It's changed names several times since then, but as long as the url stays .../early-brazil.html it says everything that really needs to be said.
Thursday: Thursday saw me do the single biggest dot-connecting thing I've done in weeks: not just a post, but an outline of the Burning Thirties, and of course the dot-connecting that follows something like that.
  • On a similar note, I created a page for something else that's been referenced enough to merit its own page: the Order of Saint Gonzalo.
Friday: Friday saw only one post worth mentioning: Go-guns, Andalusada's stand-in for the SMLE.


Dear you

Dear ________,

For the longest time, I thought that Carly Rae Jepsen talking about how she missed you so, so bad before she met you was incredibly, mind-bogglingly stupid. Then I started writing this letter. I've reached this sentence, and I get it now; it seems like the best way to express my feeling right now.

Because I do miss you, and we haven't even met yet.

A stranger in my own life

The tag and concept of "presence" were created because I'm really bad at it. I got that from my father.

When he was of a mind to, and he had a chance to show it off, Dad could hit some inner switch and could turn his amicability on. He could be the life of the party. A month or so ago, Mom remembered that he could be "dazzling," and the word struck me: Dad actually could turn on Bishie Sparkles if he tried.

My love says that I got that from him, but when I introspect, what I see most of him in myself is the other side of that switch: he didn't try. "It was his story," I remembered to Mom at the funeral reception, "and I was honored to be a secondary character in it." - and it's true. It was my father's world, and we were all invited into it only if and as he made it known. How much of it was the fact that he was devoted first and foremost to his art, and how much was his undiagnosed cancer, I'll never be able to say. But when I compare myself to him, I do see that: I'm in the presence of another world. [viz], and just as he can devote himself tirelessly to photography, so can I to demiurgy: attending to the art and neglecting the world of the artist.

Sometimes it's small, like not even trying to meet up with the friends last night. Other times it's bigger, like revisiting a blogger I haven't thought about in years and discovering that while I was away she became a mother.


This week, in Andalusada...

Something that's bothered me for awhile now has been my single most consistent bit of writing here: a weekly chance to show off all the work that I've done with Andalusada. I was bothered, most of all, by the fact that it was making my tags a lot less useful: not only was it using two categories of tags, "Andalusada" and "week in review," but there were so many of them that it was becoming a pain in the ass to actually find anything that wasn't related to them.

Well, no more: in a vain attempt to get Thankless Days, Dreamless Nights a bit more love, I've gone back in time and edited all of those posts (and this Saturday's upcoming one) to a new and obvious tag, "This week in Andalusada."

That's pretty much it, world. You may now resume your regularly-scheduled ignoring of this blog. Thank you.

Oblative love

For the sake of modesty, this entire sonnet lies below the cut.


Letters, mine and yours

Friday's sonnet was no mistake.

I remember when I first wrote you letters, love. The first one was a tear-streaked confession of how badly I'd destroyed my life, and I never expected to hear from you again. The next dozen or so - the ones I'd photocopied myself - were the ones I spent coming to terms with the fact that nobody had ever said "I like you" to me before you did.

I remember this year's letters, love. The ones that I'd reliably turn out once a fortnight, fifteen pages of them, all blue and (eventually) copper ink. The ones where I would sing your praises, write them beautifully and well and mail them off to you with the Amnesty International letter seals. I wrote them all through this summer, love, and you'd be adorable about getting them on Facebook.

And then, suddenly, it got hard.


The 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Prior to this morning, when I dragged my ass out of bed and hurried out the door at 10:20, I can't remember the last time I actually made it to church. There's been far too many weeks of me waking up at noon, or sometimes on time and simply getting caught in some petty excuse to not get out the door. Far too many, and too much time beating myself up for not doing so.

It's the first time I've been to a 10:30 service in months. The last time was the Second Sunday after Pentecost. And honestly, when I sat down in the usual pew, and realized that I'd forgotten my pen, one of my first distractions was the realization that it'd been 133 days since I first set foot in church, and where the hell had the time gone?


This fortnight in Andalusada: 10/13/2012

The fortnight since my last post was (forgive me) a hell of a week. If anybody actually visits this and cares, forgive me. I've had my reasons.

But it hasn't been entirely unproductive:
  • The first post of the month was a biography, specifically of Sufyan, he of the thirty-odd kids and the family named after him.
  • The next day or so was dedicated to cleaning up Urraca and, just as much, blogging about some things that I actually could write about substantially: real Iberian people.
  • And then the Church of Hungary, partly to elaborate on what it is, partly to get down some thoughts on Hungary's history during the late medieval era.
  • Tuesday last saw me increase my workload a fair bit (as if it wasn't increased enough by permanent changes to Mandarin) by a bit of simple cyphering of Polish orthography.
  • Wednesday saw me make my last significant post, hammering out a character archetype that I've had bouncing around in my head for quite some time: the Taiping Princess.
    • And, as a side effect of introducing her, defining what I mean by "skopetchka."


Epistolary form has its limits

To, more than steady, be a worthwhile boy -
Be looked on as the artist by the muse
And offer to her all the arts I use,
And make my only pride to be her joy -
As yet I can't pretend that this is true.
The letters that you say were writ so well?
Mundane dispatches from the private hell
Of waiting, ever lonesome, here for you
To come home safe. My dear, if I confess
Epistolary works to be a chore
And drudgery, and that you merit more
And better from me, would you love me less?
Forgive me, my beloved, as I seek
A better written voice with which to speak.

The logic of Andalusada and playability

Yes, yes, I've neglected this for the last two weeks. I'm lazy, and I've had a full week of excuses. Now, where was I? Ah yes. Writing about how Andalusada's been shaped by being inextricably tied up with GURPS.

Most alternate history writing makes a point of prizing plausibility. Andalusada does too, or tries to; it's why I went from this thread to this scrapbook-blog, which gets more attention than this. But because it was first GURPS, and only secondly a serious alt-history, Andalusada has another value that many TLs don't: playability.



Two envelopes on Saturday were sent
To circumnavigate the world, my dear,
En route to you. I wonder where they went,
And where they are, and struggle not to fear
That all the hours with my pen in hand
And midnight oil not have been in vain;
That all my poured-out words might not withstand
The gloom of night, or heat or snow or rain.
And pour them out I did, for you to read,
In copper and in blue transcribed my heart
In tongues of men; I poured them out indeed
For you, so many miles and months apart.

The birthday gift

It was a gray day in March, about seven months ago and about three weeks after I'd asked my sister for it, that I went outside to check the mail and found a slip for a package.

It took me a little while to realize that I was supposed to go inside and ask at the front desk for the package, but I did, and I did, and they had it. There was absolutely no evidence that it was what I'd asked for: a cardboard-brown box, sealed up with tape and marked with an Amazon sticker. Even the dimensions of the thing looked wrong somehow. At this point in time, I'm not sure if I had to sign for it or not; there's a patch of my memory that's faded out. The next thing I remember was walking around the complex, back to my room, holding it in my hands. Looking forward to cracking the tape open.

One memorable meal

My father died on February 10, 2012. His funeral was the next week.

At the memorial service, one of his lifelong friends - Aaron - spoke about the morning that he met my father. He also mentioned a detail about my father that I'd never known before.

Every day, throughout his life, one of my late father's hard and fast rules of life was to have one memorable meal. It was an important part of his ethos; he'd spend an inordinate of time driving out of his way, in every state of the Union, to get to somewhere that would allow him to have at least one memorable meal.

It was brilliant. A worldly thing, but a brilliant and beautiful rule of life anyways.

And, because it's not something I actually abide by very much - and it occurs to me that I should write about other things here than Andalusada and miseries - I've established a new tag, "a memorable meal," to prompt me to write about the ones that I've had.

And also, maybe to eat them more often. Thou shalt not live by Concerta and water alone, Edo.

One bad week

The seven days spanning from September 29 to Sunday, October 6 were something remarkable: a series of crises and nightmares, one for almost every day. I've blogged most of it (including some of it retroactively, I no longer know exactly what), but I'm going to try putting it into perspective and connecting all the dots to wrap this up and continue writing the things I was intending to.
  • Friday, 9/28-Saturday, 9/29: Went out to dinner with A. (which merits a retroactive post tonight, if only for the sake of filling out "one good meal," because it was a good meal.) Played part of a game of LOTR Risk, and watched Looper (which I'm still trying to write a review of.) The first sign of the coming week of fail was after midnight, when I got home and realized that I'd left my umbrella in the car.
  • Saturday, 9/29: Alarm clock was set to go off at 8:00, 8:15, and a few other times to wake me up. There was a further alarm set to remind me to get out the door for my car inspection at 10:30. When did I actually wake up? 11:15. Oops.I rushed my ass down to Holyoke to drop the car off, and managed to reschedule for Tuesday - at which point I realized that because of my scheduling I'd be driving two days after my inspection sticker had expired. That meant super-cautious driving, because the cops would be out in force, and if you're pulled over for a bad inspection sticker you're going to be pulled over forever. And so I drove home, super-cautiously, noticing a vibration in the steering column that I hadn't felt before.

    On the way back, I stopped and checked at all the places I'd been with A. the night before. None of them had my umbrella. Fuck. 
  • Sunday, 9/30: Woke up in time to miss church, and as planned drove up to Sunderland to meet Mom en route from Vermont. Fuck "vibration." By that point, I was driving my own private earthquake. We got out of the car and walked a bit (before it started pissing down rain), and I rumbled my car back to its parking lot to get my first good meal of the day - my first mediocre meal at the little Korean restaurant. (And, after that, some delicious caramel apples.)
  • Monday, 10/1: I honestly have no recollection of this day at all.
  • Tuesday, 10/2: Accounted for here.
  • Wednesday, 10/3: A thankless day, a dreamless night. I ate some breakfast at the Route 9 Diner, which improved things a bit, but then got stuck in front of a computer monitor until dawn, at which point I trekked back to my house, took a Concerta, showered, shaved, lay down, got up, and had...
  • Thursday, 10/4: Which was spent walking in the rain, without the umbrella that I'd lost on Saturday. (Isn't it fascinating how these things keep recursively connecting?)
  • Friday, 10/5: I drag my ass out of bed and sprint my ass up the street. Late to appointments. Fuck.
  • Saturday, 10/6: Accounted for here. Fuck.
  • The last Fuck of the week was Sunday, when I slept through church again.
It's not pleasant to write, but it is cathartic at least; now that I've got this off my chest, I can get back to active writing. So yeah.


I had to say no

Saturday came. And with Saturday, the completion of the car work. So the time came to deal with the last logistical headache: "How do I get there from here?"

So I asked H. She was at work, but she'd swing by as soon as she was able. That gave me time to pick up a new umbrella, and wait in the rain for a bit, and such...

"As soon as she was able" turned out to be later than I thought. The bus route wasn't running the right way, and so she had to take a windy one home that ran around the campus once. Okay, no problem. I had time to wait. So I waited, and walked back to the library and such...

...and then got the call that she was in her car and would be on her way, and where did I want to get picked up. "Haigis," I said, and she was okay with that, and F. would be coming with her, and maybe ten minutes later, lo! she was there.

She took the back route to Holyoke. Why I honestly don't remember at this point, although there was a reason for it. F. was gushing about Pokémon number-crunching, and to be honest I wasn't paying anybody any mind. And at 6:00, we made it down there.

And that's when I discovered that the lights were out.

"Maybe they parked it in front?" F. said, and so we carefully backed up and drove over to the cars parked in front of the dealership, gingerly, to see if one of them had the license plate that was mine. Nope. Not a blessed one. My car was parked securely behind the chain-link fence.

At which point, F. asked me directly: "Did you even call to see how late they were open?"


Walking in the rain

I rolled over, on Thursday... oh, who the hell am I kidding. I was on the Internet the entire night, because I got dropped off here, ostensibly to pick up the bus schedules, but really to get away from my life because my sleep had been so unremittingly awful that I didn't want to miss the last appointment of the week that was contingent on waking up early enough to be there.

Namely, the appointment with my therapist.

I got back home at 8:00, as the sun was up, and showered, and shaved, and took another Concerta to keep me moving until I passed out that night. I changed my pants, changed my socks, changed my shirts, and got ready to trek back to the last place I was certain the bus would stop en route to Northampton.

And that's when I discovered that all of my ID was missing.


Car work

On Saturday, I slept through my scheduled mirror repair in Holyoke.

On Tuesday, I drove my car back down there, arriving at the dealership almost exactly 59 seconds late. They didn't care. I handed them the keys and asked them to take care of the side-view mirror (driver's side), and one of the tail lights whose bulb had burned out, and to winterize it a bit. I also asked them to check the engine mounting, because the car was starting to rattle a bit at high speeds, and the steering column would tangibly twitch a bit.

They said it'd be a few hours, and so I sat down, made myself a cup of coffee, and started writing the newest letter to my beloved.

A few hours later, they came back with the bad news.

The reason it was twitching wasn't the engine mounting (as Bennie had suggested.) It was because both struts were worn, much more than they ought to have been, and the rear tire rims had slightly warped (possibly as a result?) This, in turn, had caused uneven wear on the tires, which would've been enough to automatically fail the inspection even if the superficial stuff had been bad.

The total bill comes out to a hair less than $3,000. FML.