Archive for February, 2010

My recent enthusiasm for LARPing. Part 1, an introduction and Reunion.

I’ve yet to do a proper account of the fun that I had Kapcon this year; but it also occurred to me that the LARP is usually one of the major highlights for me and coupled with the fact that I recently participated in The Black Hart of Camelot, LARPing is what’s on my mind at the moment.

Prior to this year, I pretty much only ever got involved in one LARP a year and that was at Kapcon. I would justify this based on the fact that I loved the larger scale LARPs where everyone puts in effort to bring awesome costumes and character portrayals to the game, The LARP crew doing the same to bring the scenario to life with set dressing and an excellently written game. For some years now, this has been true but in recent times, more and more opportunities have started to pop up. I can safely say that my hunger for awesome LARPs has increased substantially!

I’m still a bit picky about what I’ll sign up for, I tend to like LARPs with quite an emotional or heroic quotient and failing that, the setting and other people involved also tend to influence my decision. This year, there are four major LARPing opportunities that I’m interested in so far. Two that I’ve played in already: Kapcon: Reunion and The Black Hart of Camelot. The next two games I’m involved in are coming up in the next few months and I’m really looking forward to them, these being: Masquerade on Fleet Street and St. Wolfgang’s Vampire Hunters: Revelations

To each event, I’ll give some consideration in the next few posts that you’ll see here. But for now (and long overdue) is the first half of my report from the Reunion LARP. This is mostly just the set up as my character had a whole bunch going on to take into account before going into the actual evening.

Reunion took place in a Sci-fi setting where many different nations had populated the galaxy as a result of a certain of technological advancements. What connected them all were a series of interstellar gates controlled by AI that had mysteriously closed down and left each of these nations isolated for 500 years. Each nation was presumably suffering from their own problems and the Reunion LARP is set when the gates open for the first time and the first delegations from each nation are reunited.

My character was Stephen Le Grange, an adventurous, humanitarian doctor who travelled the galaxy helping those in need. Prior to the gates closing down, I was married to Marianne Ambrose (Jenni), a beautiful woman with a particularly amazing secret. Her family had learnt the secret of immortality by way of gene therapy/magic science. I was fortunate to have also been given this treatment after our marriage and together we travelled around being dashing and awesome.

After that, Marianne got fed up/jealous of the fact that I spent my time focusing on the plights of others and not on her. We fought with each other more and more, our relationship becoming somewhat bitter. My work was something that I was unwilling to compromise on and we agreed to spend some time apart.

That’s when the gates shut down and I ended up trapped on the Cigani homeworld. In a nutshell, the Cigani people are pretty much space gypsies. They are quite an insular society and if I was going to be accepted as one of them, I would need to become one of them. So I became Mircea, a helpful and reliable doctor. The Cigani people were smugglers, traders and scavengers, never staying in one place too long and always managing to stay one step ahead of the authorities. This inspired the expression ‘The luck of the Cigani’. When I came to the Cigani, it was after they were ‘gifted’ a big hunk of rock to call home, as an attempt to tame these allusive and trouble making people. The hunk of rock, orbiting a gas giant, proved to be an incredible source of wealth and they became very rich. They also mysteriously stopped aging.

When the gates shut, the Cigani thought this was the best thing ever as it meant that invaders or disgruntled debtors could not touch them, but it quickly became apparent that the negatives far out weighed the positives. The people soon found out that what was causing their eternal youth, also prevented them from bearing children. The Cigani homeworld also suffered and it became difficult to sustain crops and they could not trade for food now that the gates had shut. As result the Cigani population dwindled dramatically over the 500 year period before the gates would re-open. It was literally at the point where the handful of people from the photo below were all that was left of the Cigani, and I wasn’t even a true Cigani!

From the right hand side front, people in my story: Aishe, Nadya and Farkes. I'm there in the back!

I had a few major concerns going into the LARP, most were to do with my foster homeworld.

-I knew why it was that the Cigani people ceased aging. It was an effect of the radiation from the gas giant and this effect was also directly responsible for them not being able to bear children. Being immortal, I blended in quite well which was very fortunate! I could not mention this to anyone else however and I certainly couldn’t offer a treatment as this would raise too many questions about who I was and would likely out me. The consequence of this I feared, would be my death. Apparently Cigani are crazy like that.

-I had developed some feelings for a Cigani girl, Nadya. I had met her some time ago when she was in a bad way and with child. Her brother Farkes convinced me that she was drug addled and did not have the capacity to raise a child. Farkes told me that he knew of someone who could care for the child. To this end, I delivered the baby and handed her over to Farkes. I told Nadya that the girl had died during child-birth. When I came to the Cigani people I was shocked to see that Farkes has adopted the young girl as her own daughter Aishe and when I confronted him over this, he effectively blackmailed me into keeping this secret from Nadya. If I reveled our part in this deception to Nadya, Farkes would reveal my secret. I wasn’t sure whether I started to fall in love with Nadya, whether I felt sorry for her circumstance or whether there was something more to it. I knew for sure that I had to look after her though.

-The thought of seeing Marianne again intrigued me. I didn’t know whether she would still want me after all this time, but given that we were at such odds when we left each other, surely not…

-I knew other bits and pieces too, but my evening at Reunion was mostly focused on how to help my people and how unbearable it was to keep such an awful secret from Nadya.

How it all played out in the end was all so incredibly emo and amazing, but you’ll have to wait for my next post, so tune in again soon!

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Pole Dancing/Fitness: Beginning and Thoughts.

Towards the end of last year I got involved with Pole-Dancing at The Studio in Wellington. This largely came about because of attending performances that my lovely girlfriend was involved with (shows that were mostly focused on Burlesque and Pole routines).

Actual pole dancing is very cool and is quite a different beast then what you may immediately think of, strippers and strip clubs being the more common associations. I’ve never been to a strip club and now that I’ve seen burlesque and pole dancing routines, I’d never want to. You want to see naked bods that you can’t touch, look up some web-cam girls on teh interwebs. If you want to see quality of performance, awesome feats of strength, grace and acrobatics, look up some *good* pole dancers.

What sparked my interest in getting involved was going out to a show in Petone with some of Sarah’s friends from the Studio. It was a really fun night out and the people I was with were all involved with dancing. So when it was announced that they were gong to run an ‘amateur’ pole competition where the audience were invited to compete, the people that I was drinking with basically ended up representing the competition. They were a bit drunk and there were some falls, but they certainly made it look like a whole bunch of fun.

I’m really obsessed with music, and by association movement and choreography. My thoughts tend to enjoy taking a piece of music and then choreographing some kind of action sequence, dramatic moment, or fight scene in whatever context my mind tends to be focusing on at the time. Usually whatever RPG has most recently been occupying my thoughts. A number of the dance papers that I took at university were answered with similar thoughts and there were a couple of projects where I really got to let my imagination loose on piecing together a theoretical dance recital.

I find myself doing similar things, only now with potential pole routines in mind. Of course, they tend to be pretty ambitious and far beyond any skill I may hope to develop myself. But it means that I listen to music and will be able to recognise pretty quickly whether any given track would be appropriate for a pole routine. Basically, pole has weaseled it’s way into my unconscious reaction to music that I’m listening to. This particular phenomenon actually happened before I started doing anything myself, so I figured I ought to at least give it a go.

But what’s it all about? As a boy with limited flexibility I thought I was a bit daft to want to get into pole. I mean, a lot of what you do is just gymnastics on a vertical plane. However flexibility is not quite as pivotal for guys as our strength tends to lie in what we an do with our upper body. Which is not to dismiss the importance of flexibility, but I’ve got to work with what I have and work on what I don’t have. What I’ve found so far is that it’s really good for building strength through your abs/core and upper body, we also tend to do conditioning which reinforces that. When I don’t have to run away for a bus, we also do a fair amount of stretching at the end of the class, which I can only imagine is helping to improve on my limited flexibility.

Another aspect of pole which is not immediately apparent to the untrained eye, is the amount of bruising one must experience as you become accustomed to staying on and moving around the pole. Anytime a new part of your body is being heavily utilized to support your weight while you are in the air, it is quite likely that bruising will follow.

For me, it was a slow build to get where I am today. I’ve got a few moves in my repertoire but I’ve got a long way to go yet before you’ll get to see me outside of the studio. If you want to see what awesome male or female pole dancing looks like, there’s plenty to see on the Youtubes. Also, if anyone has any favorite videos and wants to share, post a link in the comments.

If you want to see some mental pole dancing, the 2009 Miss Pole Dance World winner, Felix Cane is always guaranteed to impress.

And if you’re curious about what it is we do, then please check out the linky at the top of the page for The Studio Facebook page. We’ve got an Open Pole Night coming up this Friday evening where you can have a couple of drinks, see some folk in action and try it out for yourself. It usually starts at 7pm and goes till around 10. There’s a $5.00 entry fee too.

And here’s a bonus something extra which I think is totally hippening; The Foals acoustically jamming away in the park with ‘Red Socks Pugie’

Am I dead!? No, just really freakin’ lazy

In an effort to kick my regular blogging back off, I wanted to put up a quick post with all the things you can expect to hear about in the not to distant future. It’s been a pretty hectic start to the year but there is heaps of awesome stuff going on and then some not so awesome stuff too.

So, here’s a list of what’s coming up for all my honchos out there:

-Kapcon! Holy crap what a kickass RPing event, constantly justifying why I’ve been every year for the last 11 years.
-Kapcon LARP! This deserves its own write up given that it was a pretty epic occasion.
-LARPing that I’m getting involved in this year, and LARPs that I’m already signed up for like Dark Hart of Camelot and St Wolfgang’s Vampire Hunters.
-The other RPing games that I’m getting into this year. My Exalted campaign ‘Red Sun’, Luke’s Eberron game which is kicking off this weekend and hopefully getting back into our lapsed Warhammer Fantasy game with James. I’m sure others will present themselves too.
-Getting involved in pole-dancing towards the end of last year and what that’s all about.
-More music! I’ve come across some awesome stuff which I just know you’re going to love! At the moment I’m amped about BT’s new album These Hopeful Machines which is out here in about a week and already out in the States.
-And likely anything else that I’m bound get unreasonably excited about.

All this blogging going on has got me motivated, I’ll cross post when I’ve got them updating hook ups for you.