Traffic from Pleasanton to south San Jose was much nicer than I had feared, though it was good to leave a 6-something and hear, on the radio, that there were two accidents behind me. So it only took me 40 minutes to get where I needed to go, rather than the two hours that I'd planned. I'm glad, though. The umbrella to keep away the rain, I guess.
Carl ran Dogs in the Vineyard for Gretchen, Earl and I on Saturday, after I napped for a lot of the various drives to Earl's to get him and to Gretchen's to play. It was very satisfying to thump MOOOOOooose thoroughly. It's been a while since I've thumped a Big Dog and it was very nice to do so. We had great garlic pizza with pepperoni and good, solid Roma tomatoes.
The game was fun. I especially enjoyed the character generation and the first conflict. I'll admit it's very strange to play a strictly hierarchical, patriarchal religious game when I'm nearly the exact opposite in beliefs; but it's also so engrained, in some ways, by this society, that the trops and memes were very familiar and well-worn to the touch and came handily to the call. Responding to the responsibility was very interesting as well, taking the power over others, even fictional others, was a struggle for me in an odd way.
But tugging and pushing that those barriers and limitations were what made it fun, and given the structure of the society and the framework of how to really tell what was evil and what was good and what needed cutting away or burnin' it got very interesting very quickly. On the other hand was the severe consequences of escalation from talking to fighting to guns built right into the mechanics. Those I admired greatly.
We had unlain ghosts, a werewolf, and sacrifice all out of proportion to the need. It was interesting to see how the chain of Pride to False Doctrine to False Priest to path for Demons worked out and seeing how to counteract it with the mechanics was fascinating.
I'm less certain that the town mechanics would work for other genres. I do believe that the conflict mechanics could be cheerfully applied to a great number of genres and settings, so long as a weapon can kill in a stroke and otherwise do terrible damage. I think the greatest parallel might be to the concept of the Chinese Judge (typically Judge Dee), going in to root out the evil in a town and give justice to those that need it and help witness the other stages of life.
The game itself was cool. Earl playing a girl who had burned down the store of a shopkeeper that had assaulted her. Gretchen doing a great job as a very terse Mountain girl who listened to spirits. I did a Water Dog, dowser and rainmaker, more apt to save and protect than hurt (Trait: "I have a soft mouth.") who was the mountain girl's foster sister in a family that took on the two orphans but had none of their own survive. The relationships multiple and entangled rather gorgeously as Carl brought in tie after tie in a town that had a deep knot of trouble at its heart. Which, I guess, could be said of all Dog plots as the whole system pulls that together.
It went until 11, and with two hours to drive home, by 1 I was falling over tired, even after three naps during the day. But it was well worth it.
Sunday we weren't up until 10, and we headed to breakfast at the Red Tractor Cafe. I am amazed by the place. It's a nice little order at the counter and they bring you the food place and they serve all great, homemade food. Cheddar scallion biscuits, real meat loaf, complete breakfasts (the farmer's breakfast had bacon, sausage, pancakes, eggs, and biscuits and gravy. Yum), and bottomless coffee mugs and free extras (extra eggs, extra pancakes, extra whatever you want BUT the biscuits, which were 95 cents a piece). Wow it was good.
From there we headed towards Earl's, and got a call for us to pick up Trip as he wanted to play Dogs. Cat was feeling poorly, so that worked out fine, and Trip, Carl, and I played in Earl's game. It was fun. Lots of bugs (high creepy and low supernatural! Kinda...).
We had a delicious pumpkin cheesecake with Bourbon cream that was truly decadent. Lovely stuff.
We finished just a bit before 8 and then headed out for Sushi with a few other members of the Horde and LJ, including diony, yessod, marith, space_parasite, and amberley. Much great food was had by all. I really enjoyed the comfort food of a chawanmushi and a toasted omusubi along with orders of salmon, tobiko with quail egg, and saba. Yum.
I ate a lot, talked with folks a lot, and felt pretty good.
Carl took me home before the Witching Hour of 10, and it was nearly 11 when we got back to his place. We had to zoom out when I found that my period was starting, but then I got back and went to sleep pretty happily. Yum. Yay!
And I was up at 6 this morning, quite easily waking up before the alarm. I've been drinking waaay too much coffee, though it's now decaf, it tastes good. I cleared up another problem with a credit card while traveling today (what is this about trips and bad luck with credit cards?), and it feels good to have done that. Had a HUGE four dollar salad for lunch through most of the afternoon, so I'm unlikely to need dinner.
I still have a ton of work to do, and time, now, to get that finished. Good thing I will have a quiet hotel room with a wireless connection and no need to go out. The weekend was great, but today was also fun in getting to be involved with the folks I needed to talk with in order to resolve some things.