A long time ago, in the early days of OtherSpace, we had an e-zine in PDF format for our players.
Starting now, we renew that tradition with the introduction of the Spacers Landing e-zine. The first issue, available for free download, is at this link.
In this issue:
* New race: Ligerlings!
* Showcase roleplaying log: Name on the Bullet
* Sage advice from OS veterans
* Introduction to OS: Dominion!
Congratulations to the OtherSpace Roleplayers of the Week for 3/26/10:
Top Roleplayer: Kestrel
Stars: Razorback * Lucius * Naoi * Mern * Tiana Ryoleli * Grayback * Fauze * MacNamara * Sheppard * Miklos Gyrferen * Jaswinder * Kiterin * Garviel * Alaire * Eylohta * Majors * Lildrina * Bennatsuyu * Chaos * Sarenity * Lila * Medea * Andrew * Ribas Salek * Alexandra * Loken * Bri
Join our cast of talented characters at http://www.jointhesaga.com
Mostly, this plan involves eating:
* Not much red meat or pork
* Little or no dairy
* No junk food
And it involves drinking:
* Diet soft drinks
And it involves getting off my ass and:
* Otherwise exercising
I’ve been on a decent walking regimen for about a month now, but that’s going to be amped up. Eventually, I’ll probably sign up for a fitness club membership somewhere. In particular, I’ll be watching for clubs that offer achievements because, as people should know about me by now, I’m an achievement whore and I love turning things I should hate into things that are fun.
Stay tuned. We’ll see how it goes.
One bright side of a funeral for someone as well-loved as Mama Bess is that it brought together a lot of relatives who hadn’t seen each other for years. I hadn’t seen my cousins Chip and Joel for decades. We’re featured together in a photo from 1969, when Chip and I were toddlers and Joel was still an infant. The toddlers are standing on either side of Mama Bess as she’s cradling Joel in her arm. For the memorial service on Saturday, we sat together once again, watching the photo show up in the compilation that Mom put together.
After the service, back at my folks’ house, we sat on the front porch having lunch. Chip looked over at me and asked, “Do you watch Caprica?”
It pleases me to no end that I’ve got a cousin with whom I can safely geek out. He plays Dragon Age and Mass Effect. He knows what I’m talking about when we talk about computer games and science fiction.
“Sure,” I said. “I didn’t think I’d like it, but I love it. Really good show.”
“Did you see the episode a couple of weeks ago?”
“You know who you look like?”
Well, I thought, people always used to say I looked like James Spader, but he hasn’t showed up on Caprica. So it’s not him, right? Couldn’t possibly be him. I didn’t bother guessing that I looked like James Spader. It must be some other star of stage and screen lighting up the big HD screens. But who could it be? Certainly not any of the young guys on the show. I’m just too old to bank on the old “strong teen look” of my youth.
Eric Stoltz? No, I’m too tan and squat. The man looks like a ghostly beanpole with a mop of red hair on top. Maybe if I moved to the Arctic Circle, dyed my hair, never saw the light of day – then I could look like Eric Stoltz. It wouldn’t be so bad, as long as I didn’t look like Eric Stoltz in Mask.
Okay, so not Eric Stoltz. Must be someone else in the cast. Caprica hasn’t had that many episodes. I tried thinking through them, trying to wrap my brain around the possibilities. He couldn’t possibly mean any of Sister Clarice’s husbands/boyfriends. Could he? No, surely not. Probably not any of the Tauron thugs – they’re all musclebound hulks. I’m not a musclebound hulk. My dog’s more of a musclebound hulk than me, and he’s a big furry marshmallow.
The choices were dwindling. I’m not Oriental-looking, so it couldn’t be Daniel Graystone’s adviser. I don’t look like a shrewish blond woman, so that leaves out Graystone’s wife.
Esai Morales? No, I’m not nearly swarthy and rugged enough to be Esai Morales. I’ve got shoes that are swarthier and more rugged than I am.
“It was the guy Adama’s daughter went to see,” Chip said.
BOOM! Ego shot! Because the guy Adama’s daughter visited in the episode “There Is Another Sky” was a bloated Sydney Greenstreet-inspired villain named Chyron. First, I went and consoled myself with a piece of cake. Then I resolved to excavate something of the old me from inside the Jabba-ish exterior once I returned to North Carolina. I refuse to show up at the next big family gathering reminding people of a fat mobster!
Mama Bess didn’t mess around when it came to food. She baked the best cakes – coconut or German chocolate, usually. She whipped up the tastiest buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy. Her fried chicken fed me through many a summer visit.
She couldn’t abide sweet yellow corn bread, though. That was crossing the line from a decent sopping corn bread into the realm of near-dessert, the way she saw it. This inspired her to say: “If you’re going to make a cake, make a cake.”
Know what you like. Know what you want to be. Do that.
My grandmother died last week. I’ve had a few different grandmothers, thanks to the wonders of parental divorces and subsequent remarriages. I don’t think it shocks anyone who knows me that, of them all, Mama Bess Street – the mother of my mother – was my absolute favorite.
On Monday, March 15, I was on Messenger, checking in with Mom as is my routine. I might not call every day or even every week, but we communicate pretty frequently over the Internet. I’ve given Mom grief from time to time for failing to mention vital need-to-know information. When I asked how things were going this time, she didn’t hold back. She wasn’t happy. Mama Bess was dying.
She’d been living with my folks in their house in Deltona for several years. I was still married to Joy, sometime in 2007 or so, the last time I really recall Mama Bess knowing for sure who I was (as opposed to mistaking me for my father or not knowing me at all). Alzheimer’s took so much of what made her the vital, vigorous firebrand that I’d known since childhood. She was smart. She was funny. She was tough. I missed her. I’d been missing her for years when Mom told me that the hospice workers didn’t expect Mama Bess to last more than a few days more at most. She wasn’t eating. She wasn’t drinking. She couldn’t last much longer.
The next day, March 16, I packed Huck in the Juicebox and hit the road south to Florida. I stopped a few times along the way to let the dog stretch his legs and grabbed lunch on the go. When I got to the Florida welcome center north of Jacksonville, I felt rather tired. I thought maybe I’d just grab a nap, but something told me that I should keep going. So, I did.
I pulled into the driveway at my folks’ house to find Mom coming out to meet me and Huck. She showed me to the cottage so that I could drop off my bag. Then we walked into the house, just in time for the nurse to come in and tell us that we should be with Mama Bess. I stood with Mom, the nurse, and Bess’ second husband, Malcolm, as she drew her final breaths. Knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it any easier for anybody to watch – especially when it’s someone you love, someone you’ve known all your life. I’ve only watched one other human being die in front of me – and that was a condemned murderer in Florida’s electric chair. In that case, he was a stranger who killed people, viewed through the relatively safe filter of journalistic objectivity. This woman changed my diapers. She raised my Mom. And I haven’t been a journalist for about seven years.
If I had taken that nap near the border, I wouldn’t have made it in time for those final seconds. I’m not quite crazy enough to think that she would have kept waiting for me, but I did feel a little freaked out, like I was some kind of angel of death. Before I could dwell too much on that, Mom asked me to call Dad and Don, to let them know that Mama Bess was gone.
It was a whirlwind week in Florida. I’ll talk about it more as I continue to process. For now, I’m pondering those words she burned into my mind so long ago: “If you’re going to make a cake, make a cake.”