When The Reverie Breaks

Things I think about when I'm not thinking of other things.

Month: July, 2016

Bittersweet

On April 2nd, 2016, I received some very bad news. An old, old friend – and a large part of my (misspent) youth – had died suddenly from back surgery complications. We’re not young anymore, but we’re not old either, and this was a blow to the group of us that lived that era.

Most of us are still reeling, quietly, in moments when the truth hits: there will be other losses. BH was the first. He will not be the last.

When we started trading memories, pictures, and stories, the scenes that flashed into my mind became the first part of the following poem. I’ve been trying to write it since BH’s death; the emotions were there, but the words weren’t. I’m not sure that it’s completely right, not yet, but it’s true. My truth, through my eyes, from that period of my life, and the people that shared it.

Bittersweet
We were young,
feral,
beautiful.
Drunk
on our own wild arrogance,
we prowled dark streets,
smoky clubs,
the corners of our own lives.

We built ourselves
word by word,
note by note,
from stories and songs
shared
you to me,
me to her,
her to them.

Stories end,
songs fade,
youth vanishes.
Some lives end,
the rest go on as best we can.
We change,
not really understanding
how we became
this
Other.

When we see the children,
young,
feral,
beautiful,
our lips form smiles
bittersweet
as dark chocolate.
Because we know.
“That was us,
once.”

~for Mopey~

Resurrectionists or Perhaps, Burkers

Der Mann is desperately looking for a two-player game – something besides Trivial Pursuit. He says he’d occasionally like to do something a bit different, and I understand that. Traditional gaming/games – RPGs and such – aren’t fun with just two people, and the usual card and board games also pall quickly. And for some odd reason, he’d rather play Call of Duty on his XBox, instead of Sonic the Hedgehog. I don’t get it.

I think we’re going to have to make up our own game. As Herself put it, “A Calvin-ball card game.”

We have some ideas. For instance, last night (that would be 7/5/2016), Der Mann wanted to stop by Fun For All to look at the games. He asked the clerk if she had any recommendations for two-person games and she gave us Patchwork. Apparently, you make a quilt? Anyway, it didn’t thrill me. As we were walking out, Der Mann remarked that I might have been more enthusiastic if the point of the game was to patch together a Frankenstein-type creature, and I agreed. And thus was the idea for Resurrectionists (Burkers?) born.

I’m thinking a card component for building your creature. Roland thinks a dice component for the fighting part. Now – how do we integrate this?

We discussed “durability rolls” after your creature is built to establish your hit point threshold. Plus extra decks for creature upgrades (say, clockwork “bionic” arms or metal skeletons). It could get convoluted, but then, so is Magic, right? I like the idea of having your creature laid out in front of you (the cards) and then taking bits off when it gets damaged in a fight. Perhaps, if we really want to complicate things, you can rebuild your creature after a certain amount of damage is sustained and if you have the capital (cards).

And should there perhaps be a board component? The fighting arena, perhaps?

Finally, there is the most important part: naming the game. I’ve got two favorites right now; Resurrectionists (after the Victorian-era Resurrection Men that dug up corpses for medical students) and Burkers (for the resurrection gang called the London Burkers that killed people and sold the corpses to medical schools). I like them both. Burkers is a bit more ominous, but most people are more familiar with resurrection men. Or perhaps we could go with Victor, a double play on the victor in the fight, and Victor Frankenstein, the most famous creature-maker/resurrection man of all.

If we can work out the specifics, it could actually be fun. However, knowing us, we’ll get so involved in making the card decks that we won’t ever get around to actually playing the game…

Book Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Last Call Book Cover

Author: Paul Kreuger

Category: Fantasy, New Adult

Sid thinks: If you like lighthearted, quick reads with drinks and demons, then read it!

Der Mann picked this book up on a whim. I was looking for something to read, something a bit different, and as I read faster than he does, I sneaked Last Call out of his TBR pile.

Bailey Chen is our narrator. She’s a fresh Ivy-League graduate with no job prospects, that takes a job as a barback to tide her over while she looks for her career. Of course, she gets much, much more than she thought. While I found her annoyingly short-sighted and self-centered at first, I came to like her more in the end. And to be honest, who isn’t short-sighted and self-centered at 22? I know I was. She rang true, and she grew a bit over the course of the story, which is what we love in a main character.

Then there is Zane, the geeky best friend/high school crush-that-wasn’t, who knows more than he’s telling and has grown up more than Bailey thought. Zane isn’t as developed as he could be; he seems to be there more for Bailey to angst about and fawn over, but he is a demon-fighting bartender in his own right, where Bailey is not. He’s grown past her in this regard, and could have gotten a bit more credit (and page time) for it.

There’s a bit of political infighting, and a lovely character that trains Bailey in demon-fighting, and some interesting side characters, including a woman of color and a trans bartender,  that I hope show up in later books or stories of their own. Honestly, some of these secondary characters were more interesting than Bailey and have far better backstories (and I want to see them!).

As for the demons themselves, or “tremens” as they’re called (and yes, a group of them is a “delirium”), their motivations aren’t quite clear. They’re not intelligent, and their reasons for hunting people aren’t really spelled out. Bartenders hunt them because that’s what bartenders do. Good enough, I suppose. There aren’t any deeper motivations, except for the draw of the magic of the fabled Long Island Iced Tea…honestly, it gets a bit garbled. Tremens are ugly, eat-you things and bartenders fight them. Yay bartenders!

It isn’t great literature, or even an enduring fantasy for the ages, but it’s well-done, light, and fun, plus it has some fantastic drink recipes (the Mixology inserts are some of the best parts of the book)! If Mr. Kreuger writes another novel set in this universe (maybe about baristas?), I’ll be picking it up.