Monday, December 9, 2013

Feeling a bit nomadic...

Nicholas Roerich. Mongolia. 1938. Tempera on canvas. State Museum of Oriental Arts, Moscow, Russia.

I normally try not to post personal stuff, so I'm going to do my best to wrap this back into gaming by the end.

As many of you know, I'm a Dallasite. We, like many others, have been victims of winter storm Cleon. My sister facebooked the other night... "Jim Cantore is in Dallas. You're screwed." I spoke a client of mine in NYC on Friday morning and started the sentence, "Jim Cantore's in Dallas—,” which he promptly completed with “You're screwed."

I was going to give the play-by-play from day-to-day, but I'll give you the Readers Digest version instead...

Friday morning, I woke up really early, and was in front of the computer by 5:30 a.m. I had JUST started scanning and retouching the final illustrations for the d30 Sandbox Companion when the power went out (about 6 a.m.) My wife and I spent the morning at home, then headed to my brother's that afternoon. He lives 6 blocks from me, but still had power. At 6 p.m., HIS power went out. My wife and I scrambled to find a hotel room and get the dogs boarded, so we hauled our stuff (most of which was packed in a big, blue Ikea bag) and braved the icy roads to get to the closest decent place we could find a room (which was not that close).

Since then, it's been a wait-and-see game with electric service folks and the other contractor's they've called from the surrounding areas (including Alabama?) fighting to service what must be hundreds and hundreds of downed lines in the area (due to icy limbs on trees which have come crashing down).

On Saturday night, we moved to a hotel closer to the house. We checked out Sunday morning and hoped for the best. When dusk started to fall, we got word from our neighbor it might be DAYS before power to our orphan of a cul-de-sac is restored. We live in a weird space where many of the lines come in through overgrown back alleys and not close enough to major intersections to warrant more attention).

Sunday night, we went by the house, got my desktop computer (so I could actually continue to service my clients' needs as the week begins) and headed back to hotel numero dos. Same hotel as Saturday night, but different room. At this point, the plan is to stay here at least another day, and hope we don't find ourselves wasting money on leaving past the accepted cancellation deadline. (My wife and I are very lucky to be able to make a bit of a "vacation" out of this.)

I am craving stability. With my wife and my sad Ikea-bagged necessities, my thoughts have been on the nomads of Mongolia.

When I researched and wrote Valley of the Five Fires, I spent a lot of time researching yurts and gers. I trust William over at Ramblings of a Great Khan when he says, “Yurts are kind of a pain in the ass to set up." But he also says, they are the "palaces of the world." They provide this tremendous sense of stability for a nomadic peoples. The door always faces south, the west interior is reserved for the males and tools, the east interior is reserved for females and cooking accoutrements, and the north interior is reserved for elders and others as the place of honor. In the center is the stove that warms them. Around the walls and over the floors are the blankets that insulate the yurt. Everything has its place, no matter in which part of the steppe these travlers find themselves.

Given the last few days, I can appreciate that stability.

My bed faced west on Friday, north on Saturday, and south on Sunday.

At least there's always a coffee maker in the room. That seems to help.

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