Prosatio Silban in his galleywagon / Illo (c) 2008 Alana Dill, http://youbecomeart.com
IT ALL STARTED IN 2005, when I decided to write fantasy tales. Or maybe 1995, when I was bored with the between-task tedium of printer’s work. (Of course, it really started in 1977, because that was the year I discovered D&D
To our game group, a couple of dozen people in Northern California’s Diablo Valley playing hundreds of five-or-six-player sessions between 1978 and 1983, “Dungeons and Dragons” was not yet an accepted rite of geek passage, a million-dollar industry, or a major cultural influence. In those days it was barely known outside SFnal convention circles or college campii; I learned of it through a fan friend who was heavily involved with legendary game-guru David Hargrave‘s Arduin campaign — “campaign” being the term for an ongoing adventure milieu, a created world like (and often modeled on) Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Lewis’ Narnia, or Leiber’s Lankhmar.
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THIS IS ONE OF THOSE blog posts where the writer tries to predict, dreads to inspire, hopes to distance himself, and wonders if.
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IN THE STARS MY DESTINATION
, Alfred Bester imagines a world peopled (in part) by a cast-off group of future savages who chant scientific formulae during their religious rituals. “Quant Suff!” they chant, in abbreviated imitation of “sufficient quantity.” “Quant Suff!”
At the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, I inhabited a world peopled (in part) by a cast-off group of fannish folk who sometimes chant together after consuming a quasi-alchemic formula during their quasi-religious rituals. “Trolle Sweate!” they chant, in inebriated consequence of quant suff. “Trolle Sweate!”
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0. THE FOLLOWING MAY BE PARTICULAR to Jewish worship services, which are the only sort I’ve led (not counting five weddings and various improvised blessings/moment-summonings). But I’ve tried to adapt the advice for anyone whose worship tradition includes structure and text, and who finds oneself in the liturgical spotlight. Hope it helps; I learned it all the hard way.
1. Know your material. This may sound fairly obvious, but I mean it in a deeper sense: The service-as-conducted is a living breathing entity whose skeleton is the service-as-written. Know the latter like you know your own breathing. At least know how and why it’s structured — what each piece hopes to achieve, and how it leads to the next — and, most importantly, what page everything’s on. (PostIts are a big help here, as is having your own siddur (prayerbook) to notate.) Likewise, see in advance to the functioning of candles, wine, microphones, guitar strings, etc.; there’s nothing like a last-minute surprise on a solemn occasion (ah, but see thought #4). (And if you’re feeling terribly insecure, keep in mind that for group readings you really only need to emphasize the first five words. It takes that long for people to catch on and start drowning you out.)
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OUR WEEKLY TORAH STUDY SHIFTS this week, as I am honored and privileged to lead Shabbat services tomorrow morning (Sat., 7/9/11) at Sonoma’s Congregation Shir Shalom. We will begin by looking at one of the Book of Numbers’ most action-packed portions: the tale of Bilaam the Evil Wizard. (Just typing “Evil Wizard” is a...
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“SOMEWHERE SOMETHING INCREDIBLE IS WAITING to be known.”
THIS IS LESS A POST than an invitation to share hidden landscapes.
Within the past year or so, and due partly to an almost chronic drowsiness, I began noticing that a significant number of my dreams are set in a handful of recurring locations. The dreams themselves are not repetitious; that is, the circumstances within each setting is different, but the settings themselves are the same — lending to the experience a curious sense of permanence or visitation:
- At (a) Renaissance Pleasure Faire, in the large tree-bordered parking lot; the Faire often recedes as I approach, or is over by the time I make it inside
- A bustling airport, to which I arrived via BART, and whose airplanes have couch seating
- Beach resort alongside a straight highway
- “The towns south:” a forested drive through a number of small California towns, eventually leading to a series of Southern California beach resorts
- High rise hotel with a series of terraced balconies; restaurant at the top
- The Endless Cemetery (ornate crypts & sarcophagi)
- An unknown suburb of Sonoma, sometimes on fire
- Back corridors of the world’s biggest shopping mall
Am I the only one with assigned seating? What are your recurring dreamscapes?
…IS THAT HIS COMPOUND WAS built in the shape of what some would call “Greater Palestine,” with his house corresponding to the location of Jerusalem. (This comes to me from to the French website JSSNews, by way of YNet, by way of The Tablet, which latter is recommended daily fare.)
I stress that this is a rumor only
(like the time in high school that I convinced someone that Ronald McDonald was portrayed by an African-American actor — which was repeated to me later in the day), and doesn’t really seem to fit with what we seem to know thus far about Mr. Bin Laden’s motivations. But as rumors go, it’s worth passing along. (AS A RUMOR.)
Raining, raining hard.
Watchful figures on the bridge
note the rising creek.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN you mount a high-definition camera on a spaceship and send it to Saturn:
(More information at http://www.outsideinthemovie.com/. For maximum fun, expand the view by clicking on the arrow-square in the bottom right corner.)
ONE REASON WHY CALIFORNIA HAS so many smart people is that, periodically, the lesser-reasoned go down to the seashore to see the tsunami come in.
IF YOU’RE CURIOUS ABOUT LIFE on the other side of the foghorns, waste no time in clicking on marinetraffic.com — a global, scalable, real-time map of the world’s shipping traffic, from cargo and passenger vessels to navaids and tankers to tugs and pilots. Each is labeled with specifications, course and speed (if applicable) and destination. (Think of it as a very stately air-traffic control diagram. Which makes me wonder if there’s one for air traffic … clicketyclickety … yep: flightradar24.com. Cool. Limited, but cool.) With this in one window and the Califonia Highway Patrol’s dispatch logs in another, I feel like a secret peeker at the world’s gears.
(Thanks to Friend-of-the-Show Steve Marler for sliding this my way.)