2005-10-06: Where I'm coming from
I like knowing a bit about the people I read. It's annoying to be following along, and then to suddenly realize "Hey, this person has X major thing in their make-up that squicks* me! Drat!" So, to avoid that, here's my "where I'm coming from" piece. I'm figuring you've read so far, you deserve to know a bit about me.
I was born in 1971 in rural upstate New York. My parents split up when I was 4, and my little sister was 1. A year later, my step-father was part of my life, and so was his serious alcoholism. That led, eventually, to a second divorce in my teens. He was gone a lot, for various reasons, so I mostly think of myself as having been raised by a single mom who worked full-time. She worked at Planned Parenthood in the 70s and early 80s, doing door-to-door outreach, asking people if they knew about the services offered and if they needed them. Pretty courageous, and highly influential to me. She also developed and taught the sex ed curricula for our local Unitarian Universalist church. Later her course was folded into a national About Your Sexuality course for teens, which developed into today's Our Whole Lives sex ed curricula, which covers the whole range from body awareness and safety for 1st graders through contraceptives and gender identity for teens to dealing with changes as we age. I teach this to the 14-18 range, and I totally love it. It's fucking (no pun intended; I just rarely swear, and this warrants the emphasis) amazing to watch people get the info they need to make the choices that best fit them.
My first gaming was D&D, out of the box, in ~1978. I played a ton of 'big dumb fighters' with the occasional sneaky cleric. We drifted pretty far into self-made worlds, with my older (9 and 11) friends making worlds for us to play in. I played with them almost daily till I moved to CA in '83. (My step-father had joined the Navy to try to beat his alcohol addiction. WTF was he thinking?!? It didn't work, but it dragged us across the country to where he got stationed.) In high school, I played some great home-brew D&D schmear that ran for three years. High school was 3600 kids in 10-11-12th grades, armed security guards, and waaaaay different from my NY town of ~600 people. They did not know how to handle teens that wanted to talk about religion, sex, politics, and gaming in intelligent ways, without sports, drugs or alcohol. We got into lots of trouble for sitting in a circle at lunch talking about comparative mythology. 'Satanism' was mentioned. Yeeash. I still have the newspaper article about me and my friends and our Satanic ways -totally misrepresented and not checked with any of us. Yeeash again. No wonder I got as far away as possible for college.
I moved to Massachusetts in 1989 to go to Hampshire College, student pop. 1450 total. I met Vincent in Sept. 1990, and the rest is history. We dove right into the juicy goodness of Cyberpunk and Ares Magica, as well as falling totally in love. I was an Emergency Medical Tech on campus for ~3 years - mostly minor accidents and mixed chemicals. People are really stupid sometimes about mixing their drugs and their alcohol. Academically, I studied American history, specifically early American women's history, and how the history of non-dominant voices gets recorded in objects, not words. I made 16 quilts and wrote 200+ pages of quilt related history. I continue to quilt avidly, and I'm fascinated by oral history. My interest in graveyards and genealogy ties in here, too.
What else. Oh, I did a bunch of standard progressive liberal protest stuff, like big marches on Washington in support of reproductive freedom and in protest of the invasion of Iraq, both times. I played in the local Society for Creative Anachronism, awards and all. I still work with the Hampshire Shakespeare Theater Company each summer. I've been studying middle eastern dance for nearly 10 years, since just before conceiving Sebastian, our efectivly-9 year old. I've volunteered at the local soup kitchen/free store/survival center since shortly after Elliot, our 5.5 year old, was born. We're planning our second home-birth for the baby due in December.
Currently, we're (Emily, Vincent and I) playing our Ares Magica home-brew, started in August 1999. We (all of the above) also play regularly with Joshua and Carrie, most recently PTA: Epidemonology ("Thursdays at 10 pm, only on Secrets") I went to Gen-Con and totally loved it, and look forward to lots more good gaming and game discussion to come.
Hopefully, you now have a decent idea of where I'm coming from. If I surprise you from here on out, it's on your heads. 'Course, you can always ask..
*squick = thing that you do that I just don't like/turns me right off, but no moral judgment implied. Originated in the BD/SM scene, I believe, to help clarify preferences.
2005-10-07 14:08:10 chris_moore
Thanks for the intro.! My wife is a home-birth midwife who belongs to a Middle Eastern dance troupe. In the SCA. We're also screaming liberals.
...no wonder I read this blog.
Chris from Iowa
2005-10-10 22:02:31 Brand Robins
Nice introduction Meg.
I'm Brand: a Texas-Califonia Mormon who went to UCLA and hung out with pot smoking Marxists while studying Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, and Rhetoric. I am still LDS, but not in a way that always makes my parents happy. I now live in Canada, and am still discovering the subtle differences in culture and personality that make up the boundaries of the nation-state.
I'm also deeply interested in, well... pretty much everything that I've seen you and Emily working on recently, so you may well be seeing my name more in the future.
2006-01-19 21:17:03 John Kim
Hi. I have a darn long gamer history—I'll see how short I can make it.
I was born in 1970 in Brooklyn, but grew up an hour north of New York City. I played D&D and then Traveller and Champions starting from 3rd grade. I was gaming starved in high school, then went to U of Chicago undergrad where I played with a fantastic group of role-players. After that I went to Columbia University for my physics PhD, in New York for a time, then back outside of Chicago at Fermilab. There, I reconnected with some U of C gamers but also discovered the Internet (and rec.games.frp.advocacy in particular) and talked to gamers about new ways to play. Late in grad school I got married to cool and punky woman, then did a post-doc in Irvine California, had a baby, and then moved to Silicon Valley for a high-paying job.
Presently I'm comfortably well-off, have one circle of more counter-cultural friends with kids, another circle of hipster friends some of whom are just starting to have kids, and two regular gaming groups—the Harn group (all-male, boardgamers, a little grognardy) and the Buffy group (2M/4F, more tech geeky). Gaming is my main hobby. I also sing and act, but haven't been in a formal production or group in a while (since being a parent).