Jaja, det er vel på tide å legge kukken på bordet igjen

Å være alvorlig sinnslidende er bare halvparten så morsomt som det høres ut.

Det vil si, for meg i hvert fall, med min bestemte form for alvorlig sinnslidelse (bipolar 1, sånn manisk-depressiv, du vet: opp og ned).

Jeg får veldig god hjelp på Vindern Voksenpsykiatriske, der jeg går en gang i uken. Psykiateren min er sånn passelig tålmodig og sånn passelig streng. Hun bruker å ringe meg når det trengs. Også skremmer hun meg sånn passelig når det trengs. Sånn som i fjor høst, da hun sa de ordene første gang: «alvorlig sinnslidende». Det var første gang jeg hadde hørt noen si det om mine greier. «Jøjemeg», tenkte jeg. «Det hørtes da voldsomt ut».

En tidligere blogpost om samme emne: Knappe 3 års erfaring med min nye venn bipolar 1

Nå sist var hun sånn: «du står på samme dose som ved en akuttinnleggelse».

Jeg, igjen: «Jøjemeg, det var da voldsomt».

For tingen er; jeg tenker jo ikke på meg selv som Two-Face eller The Joker. Jeg tenker liksom at jeg er en rimelig oppegående, fornuftig fyr. Normal, liksom. Men jeg er altså klin kokos, hvis man ser nærmere etter. Sprut, sprøyte gal.

Det er en fyr som har begynt å dukke opp i gata der jeg bor den siste tiden. Han liker å chille ved en søppelbøtte. Snakker, eller nei: mumler om reklameplakatene. Litt sånn ironisk-aggressivt. Han ser ikke ut som han har det så bra.

Og jeg tenker: det der kunne vært meg. Skru litt på parameterne for familie, venner, jobb, IQ, hva det måtte være som spiller inn. Jeg kunne sitti ved den søppelbøtta og dustefilosofert. For jeg er faktisk gæærn.

Jaja. Mener ikke å overdramatisere her. The Verve sang at «the drugs don’t work, they just make it worse». Jeg tenker vel at de virker på sitt vis, men bivirkningene kan av og til være litt slitsomme. Når jeg justerer opp og ned på antidepressiva og ikke klarer å komme, for eksempel. Får’n opp helt fint, men det går liksom ikke. Eller det antipsykotiske medikamentet Zyprexa som gjør deg sløv og øker appetitten så du blir en liten tjukkas. Medisinfeit, som vi sier i bransjen.
Men jeg spiser mine piller med glede jeg, altså, hvis alternativet er å skremme vannet av foreldre, foresatte, venner, arbeidsgiver og den slags.

Og for en tålmodig gjeng de har vært. Der snakker man support, altså. Det legges til rette i alle bauger og kanter for at jeg kan få surre med mine problemer. Tålmodighet. Herrejemini. Jeg er så privilegert og heldig som får være kokkeliko i et så godt samfunn (dette er ikke ironisk ment, eller noe sånt). Men jeg ser jo at noen (som søppelbøtte-entusiasten) ramler helt utenfor.

Psykiatri og rus går hånd i hånd, men det har visst vært sånn at de hjelpeleddene som håndterer det ene ikke vil ta i det andre med ildtang (eller rett og slett ikke har kompetansen). Det er jo litt leit, for å underdrive.

Jeg har, som 60 prosent av alle med lidelsen bipolar, et rusproblem. Heldigvis er det «bare» pils det dreier seg om. Jeg har fått god hjelp av førnevnte psykiater de siste par åra, men ting tar tid, ass. Også snubler man litt underveis. Det er kanskje bare mitt fordomsfulle inntrykk, men jeg vibber på at det er mer eller mindre stuereint å være klin kokos, mens det å være alkis fortsatt er ganske tabubelagt. Men kan Ingvar Ambjørnsen, kan jeg.

Jeg må jo være verdens dummeste som skriver at jeg er begge deler her, ute på det store internett-osean.

Jaja, det får gå som det går.

HYPOMAN: litt gira. Litt ekstra energi. Litt lavere impulskontroll. Litt flere ideer. Litt sånn mer kjeveaktivitet. Litt speeda, rett og slett. På fjerde uke, nå. Begynner å bli ganske sliten. Klar for å lande. Håper det ikke blir en krasjlanding. Men jeg klarer meg alltids. Er flink gutt, velmedisinert.

Så blir det vel en ørliten depresjon i andre enden, med sånn gode gamle tenke-på-selvmord-for-å-få-sove-greier.

Blæ.

Men «en får værra som en er, når’n itte vart som en sku».

Jaggu.

Publisert i Uncategorized | 7 kommentarer

It is frequently argued that games are supposed to be fun.

[Context: I presented this text at "the hour of the rant" during Knutpunkt 2014. It consists of verbatim quotes from the Knutpunkt book "The Foundation Stone of Nordic Larp".]

I do not usually drink alcohol on a Tuesday afternoon or a Wednesday morning, dance sexily in a Spider-Man costume while singing karaoke, or travel without a cell phone and computer, but on this cruise, I probably would.

For what is live action role-playing if not a constant construction of alternative structures of being alive as a humanoid creature?

It is frequently argued that games are supposed to be fun.

Whether this means that it is acceptable for the participant to have intercourse as a character or the belief that a participant can in fact have intercourse completely in character are the main themes of discussion in this school.

There is limited research on these kinds of games and experiences.

Searle argues that social reality is constructed through constitutive rules. Constitutive rules are not rules in the traditional sense — they are not directives on how one should behave in a given situation and they cannot be broken in the traditional sense. Rather, constitutive rules are social structures we use to establish social institutions.

The majority of players, I must add, did probably not even see anyone in the nude.

If the game-makers succeed in presenting the player with a reality they can find plausible, then the world is the world is the world, enabling an experience that does not perceptually come across as fictional.

In Luminescence, possibly the most symbolic larp of all time, the terminal patients were placed in an abstractly lit room on a tonne of white flour – and the players instructed to treat this fact as both literal and entirely expected.

Role-players are slowly deconstructing the wall between reality and game, letting larp become “radiant” instead of a closed space for play (no matter if that play is political or escapistic).

Grown men skating as fast as they can to move a piece of plastic to a specific area. Seems pointless, yet it is immensely popular.

It is entirely possible, even easy, to see “objective reality” as a role-playing game. Making the games more complex and less abstract has made gaming reality stronger and more fulfilling. The next logical step is to lose the barrier separating games and reality once and for all.

Even if this means I have to spend the entire game alone in a closet without anyone ever finding out.

 

Publisert i Uncategorized | Legg igjen en kommentar

People we’ve been, people we’ve yet to become

When I saw the gallery «11 Best Larping Pictures From Around The Globe«, I thought it’d be cool to do a similar thing with Norwegian larp photos. I did a bit of crowdsourcing on Facebook, and the images below are some of the ones that turned up.

I’m in no way implying that these are the very best larp photos from all Norwegian larps ever, they’re just the one’s that I was tipped off about and liked enough to post here. There are certain larps and photgraphers I’d very much like to see represented here, but that’d demand more research than I’m currently able to do.

If you don’t want your photo or image to appear here, please get in touch at ole.peder.giaever [] gmail.com

SPARKLES (2013): A Larp about vanity, fame and celebrities. Photo: K. Grønningsæther

SPARKLES (2013): A Larp about vanity, fame and celebrities. Photo: K. Grønningsæther

1942: Noen å stole på? (2000): 1942: Someone to trust? A larp depicting life in a Norwegian west coast village during the second world war. Photo: Britta S.

1942: Noen å stole på? (2000): 1942: Someone to trust? A larp depicting life in a Norwegian west coast village during the second world war. Photo: Britta Kristina Bergersen.

RED OCTOBER (2011): A larp depicting life in Norway's maoist  movement AKP-ml during the '70s. Photo: Marianne Gundersson.

RED OCTOBER (2011): A larp depicting life in Norway’s maoist movement AKP-ml during the ’70s. Photo: Marianne Gunderson.

RAVN'S SUMMER LARP (1998): Photo: Christine F.

RAVN’S SUMMER LARP (1998): Photo: Christine F.

ONCE UPON A TIME (2005): Western Larp. Photo: Anne Isene.

ONCE UPON A TIME (2005): Western Larp. Photo: Anne Isene.

NOSFERATU VENDEPUNKT (2013): A fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe

NOSFERATU VENDEPUNKT (2013): A fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe

MILORG D19 (2005): A larp depicting the Norwegian resistance during Second World War. Photo: Nina S.

MILORG D19 (2005): A larp depicting the Norwegian resistance during Second World War. Photo: Geir Harald Helgeid.

MARCELLO'S BASEMENT (2010): A musical larp based on the lyrics of the Norwegian band Kaizer's Orchestra. Photo: Li Xin.

MARCELLO’S BASEMENT (2010): A musical larp based on the lyrics of the Norwegian band Kaizer’s Orchestra. Photo: Li Xin.

MAD ABOUT THE BOY (2010): What would happen if all the men in the world suddenly died? Photo: Li Xin.

MAD ABOUT THE BOY (2010): What would happen if all the men in the world suddenly died? Photo: Li Xin.

LOOSE ENDS AND STIFF UPPER LIPS (2005): A humurous larp based on the works of Wodehouse. Photo: Andreas Berg

LOOSE ENDS AND STIFF UPPER LIPS (2005): A humorous larp based on the works of Wodehouse. Photo: Andreas Berg

LIFE IS CHEAP (2013): A Firefly larp. Photo: Tim Esborn

LIFE IS CHEAP (2013): A Firefly larp. Photo: Tim Esborn

KRISTIANIABOHEMEN (2007): The Christiania Bohemians. Depicting life amongst the bohemian crowd in Norway during the late 19th century.  Photo: Marianne Gundersson.

KRISTIANIABOHEMEN (2007): The Christiania Bohemians. Depicting life amongst the bohemian crowd in Norway during the late 19th century. Photo: Marianne Gunderson.

JUST A LITTLE LOVIN' (2011): A larp portraying the gay community in New York and the Aids epidemic during the early '80s. Photo: Frida Jansen

JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ (2011): A larp portraying the gay community in New York and the Aids epidemic during the early ’80s. Photo: Frida Jansen

A Handfull of Time (2008): Fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe.

A Handful of Time (2008): Fantasy larp. Photo: June Witzøe.

BARE SOLEN ER DITT VITNE (2013): (The Sun is your witness). Larp set in 1895. Photo: Kjetil Raaen.

BARE SOLEN ER DITT VITNE (2013): (The Sun is your witness). Larp set in 1895. Photo: Kjetil Raaen.

GUTTESKOLEN (2005): The Boy's School. Larp set in the US in 1957, portraying life in a boarding school for boys. Photo: ?

GUTTESKOLEN (2005): The Boy’s School. Larp set in the US in 1957, portraying life in a boarding school for boys. Photo: Geir Harald Helgeid.

DE FORTAPTE PIKERS ØY (2012): (Island of the lost girls. Larp set in the aftermath of the second world war, depicting the treatment of Norwegian women who had fostered relations with the German occupying soldiers. Photo: Thomas Atle Nes.

DE FORTAPTE PIKERS ØY (2012): (Island of the lost girls. Larp set in the aftermath of the second world war, depicting the treatment of Norwegian women who had fostered relations with the German occupying soldiers. Photo: Thomas Atle Nes.

DECA DANCE: Photo: Sunniva S. Elveste

DECA DANCE: Photo: Sunniva S. Elveste

1349 (1995): Photo: Lars Eithun.

1349 (1995): Photo: Lars Eithun.

Publisert i Foto, Laiv | 3 kommentarer

Den som har begge beina på jorda står stille?

Hadde en veldig interessant samtale med psykiateren i dag, om åndelighet/religion, psykiatri, transetilstander og hallusinogener.

Utgangspunktet for at vi begynte å snakke om slike ting er at jeg nevnte at jeg vil begynne på yoga i februar. Hun spurte da hva slags type yoga det var, og jeg sa at det virker som en relativt sekulær variant, men med noe meditasjonsgreier og et vagt åndelig tilsnitt (si noen greier på sanskrit og slikt). Grunnen til at hun tok det opp var at hun er skeptisk til yoga-instruktører uten «personalkompetanse» som meditasjonsveilere, hvis man går veldig «opp i det åndelige» eller hvordan hun formulerte seg.

Under tidligere samtaler har det kommet frem at min psykiater selv er religiøs (vi snakker mest om meg, men det hender jo jeg får vite noe om henne også), og jeg ble litt fascinert av at en religiøs person advarte nettopp mot åndelighet og slikt. Hun forsøkte å utdype ved å si at det finnes et stort spekter i religiøs praksis, og at hun selv tar avstand fra en del av det som finnes der ute på det «åndelige markedet» (min formulering). Jeg gravde videre i dette, og det kom frem at hun vel snakket om transetilstander, visse former for dyp meditasjon (hun har tidligere anbefalt såkalt «mindfullness» som en fin greie å drive med), suggererende praksiser, hypnose og sånt. Hun nevnte også en artikkel hun nylig hadde lest om folk som dro til en øy for å ta et eller annet rusmiddel som skulle sette dem i kontakt med ånder og slikt (jeg antar at det var ayahuasca). En pike hadde visst dødd under sitt opphold der.

Jeg spurte henne hva hun, som kristen, tenkte om bønn, og hun sa noe sånt som at det finnes ulike varianter også der. Husker ikke helt hvordan hun ordla seg, men det var noe med at det finnes bønn hvor målet er å komme i kontakt med guddommen, og bønn der man ber om noe for seg selv, takker for ting etc. Hun advarte mot førstnevnte variant, for «folk som er litt sårbare».

Personlig har jeg siden 15-årsalderen vært fascinert av mytologi, religion, åndelighet, endrede sinnstilstander, hallusinogene stoffer osv, og har lest en god del om dette (men ikke praktisert noe videre selv. Litt meditasjon har jeg prøvd meg på, og oppnådde en gang en pussig, euforisk tilstand gjennom dette. Har også bedt «Gud» om tilgivelse ved en anledning og følt «et eller annet», hatt noen veldig sterke naturopplevelser og slikt). Men jeg er litt sjalu på de som har vært ute på de reisene der. Det virker spennende. Psykiateren anbefalte meg å lese litteraturen (det har jeg i og for seg gjort en del av), og nøye meg med det. Sikkert et klokt råd, men det føles litt urettferdig. Men er man litt skjør, så er man litt skjør. Jeg ville ikke jogget med forstuet ankel, heller.

Uansett: selv om jeg er interessert er jeg også dypt skeptisk til en god del av det religiøse /åndelige tankegodset. Jeg regner meg som agnostiker, intellektuelt sett, ateist i praksis. Ytterligere «vaksinert» mot slikt ble jeg etter å ha vært psykotisk selv, og fått oppleve hvor surrete i nepa man kan bli og hvor mye rart man kan innbille seg / hvor feil man kan tolke verden. Jeg føler meg ganske sikker på at mange religiøse forestillinger/opplever opp gjennom menneskehetens historie har oppstått i samspill med a) ulike former for mentale lidelser b) rus.

«Det er også et hardt liv å være medisinmann, det er ikke alle som blir så gamle», sa psykiateren.

Videre i vår samtale forsøkte hun å forklare litt om sin kristendom, som nok er en veldig nøktern og hverdagslig greie. «Jeg er ikke veldig religiøs», som hun sa. Men hun trakk frem studier som viser at kristne jevnt over er mer happy enn andre, og nevnte det med følelsen av å være elsket for den man er, å bli tilgitt sine feil og mangler, etc. Jeg har lest artikler om det samme, men trodde vel kanskje det gjaldt de fleste religioner. Altså at religiøse jevnt over har det greiere, mentalt sett.

Vi snakket også litt om kristen moral og etikk, og var enige at det er mye vakkert og fint å hente der (men også mye lort).

Men jeg synes uansett det var en fin prat, og en interessant nyansering fra en religiøs person sin side: gjør litt sånn passe, men ikke ta helt av.

Men mystisk praksis og slikt virker fortsatt underlig forlokkende. Det er et Crowley-sitat jeg synes er ganske fint/interessant:

«In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.»

Men igjen: jeg synes det er fint å tenke på at det har vært mennesker på månen. Jeg har ikke noe behov for å reise dit selv.

Publisert i Religion, Tanker | Merket med , , , , | Legg igjen en kommentar

Reality: The Disappointment

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Bilde | Postet den by | Legg igjen en kommentar

Problempost til Pythia

(Fra spørrespalten «Problempost til Pythia» i Morgenposten, den meningsbærende kulturavisen i Itras by)

Pythia har svar på alle spørsmål, og tar for seg utfordringer både store og små. Har du noe du lurer på? Send brev, rørpost eller telegram til Moherats allé 27, 132 Sentrum. Merk forsendelsen «Pythia».

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en bankfunksjonær fra Storenga, og bor i en trivelig liten villa nedenfor Itras Zoo. Alt var fryd og velstand, inntil nylig, da det begynte å vokse vinduer og speil på kjøkkenet. Det er som en skog! Naboene har fritt innsyn, og vi vet ikke vår arme råd. Men det verste av alt er at spisskammeret har begynt å konsumere maten vi legger igjen der. Hvordan bør vi best gå frem?
Vennlig hilsen “Ola Kristian”.

Kjære Ola Kristian.
Slapp av! Huset ditt har har bare blitt rammet av bygningskreft. Det er en uhelbredelig sykdom og det kommer bare til å bli flere og flere speil og vinduer. Etterhvert skulle det ikke forundre meg om dører blir sperret eller at det dukker opp en trapp til ingensteder. Til slutt vil huset enten falle sammen eller i det minste være ubeboelig. Mitt råd: Ta ut en forsikringspolise på huset før bygningkreften blir for åpenbar. Som bankmann burde dette være null problem for deg.
Arkitektoniske hilsener,
Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Min kone er den skjønneste av skapninger, men hun ter seg så besynderlig. I det ene øyeblikket forbarmer hun seg over meg, baker kaker og steller med barna. I det neste er det som om hun blir fylt av Gudenes Vrede. Hun kaster ting veggimellom, skriker og bærer seg. Jeg ber om ditt råd.
Med vennlig hilsen, “Herr Smult”

Kjære Herr Smult.
Ta det med ro. Alle kvinner er på den måten. Det er noe vi menn bare må akseptere. Hvis det blir for vanskelig kan du gå til legen og få en resept på laudanum, en effektiv medisin for å roe ned nervene. Ta et skje laudanum hver morgen, og gi gjerne litt til din kone også for å bevare husroen.
Realitetsorienterte hilsener,
Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Vi har nylig kjøpt en eldre villa her på Kirkehaugen, som vi er i ferd med å totalrenovere. Da vi var kommet til kjelleren fant vi ut at vi ikke var de eneste beboerne i huset: det lever en slags kjellerblekksprut der nede, som hjemsøker oss i søvne og fyller våre netter med umulig geometri. Er dette et fenomen du har hørt om tidligere, og finnes det noen presedens for hvordan man bør gå frem i slike tilfeller?
Med hilsen “H.P.”

Kjære HP.
Løsningen på ditt problem er såre enkel. Brenn huset til grunnen. Helst på en litt regntung og vindstille dag, så ikke ilden sprer seg og forstyrrer naboene.
Flammende hilsener,
Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg har en bror som er et par år yngre enn meg selv. Vi vokste opp sammen på Myntekollen, men livet har ført oss i ulike retninger. Nå lever jeg som maler på Kirkehaugen, mens han er Allviter ved Universitetet. Det siste året har jeg dog merket noe underlig: hver gang jeg ser ham fylles luften av englers vingeslag, hjertet mitt slår fortere og blodet bruser. Jeg kjenner attrå, mine lepper bever, og øynene mine blir fylt med ny glans. Tror du jeg kan ha blitt forkjølet? Er jeg simpelthen allergisk mot min egen bror? Håper du kan gi svar.
De beste hilsener “Julie”.

Kjære Julie.
Du skriver selv at dette kanskje er forkjølelse, og jeg tror du har rett. Pass på å holde føttene tørre og drikk litt varm melk med honning eller te med sitron før du legger deg om kvelden. Forkjølelse pleier å gå over i løpet av en ukes tid.
God bedring! Hilsen Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg skriver til deg fra Grelviks asyl for kriminelle sinnslidende, og forsøker etter beste evne å smugle dette brevet ut ved hjelp av en glupsk rotte jeg har temmet i løpet av de halvt dusin årene jeg har tilbragt her. Det er min mann som har fått meg innlagt mot min vilje, ene og alene fordi jeg har gjennomskuet den billedvev av løgner verden setter opp for oss. Det har seg nemlig slik: du, jeg og alt vi ser omkring oss er en fiksjon, forfattet av to skjeggete typer i en annen dimensjon. Denne innsikten har tatt livsmotet fra meg, men da jeg forsøkte å formidle det hele til min mann henviste han meg altså til dette “stedet”. Hva synes du jeg burde gjøre?
Med hilsen “Fruentimmeret”

Kjære Fruentimmeret.
Les godt gjennom det du skriver, og det vil gå opp for deg at du tar feil. Hvis to skjeggete typer i en annen dimensjon skulle ha forfattet en fortelling, ville de selvsagt ha skrevet om noe mye mer spennende enn et hysterisk kvinnfolk som for sitt eget beste har blitt lagt inn på asyl. Det sier seg selv at du er sprøyte gal. Stol på legene og din mann, de ønsker kun ditt beste.
God bedring! hilsen Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg satte meg på toget, hvorfra jeg kom vet jeg ikke. Da jeg våknet befant jeg meg i denne underlige byen. Her er så underlig. Himmelen er blodrød, mennesker oppfører seg ikke slik mennesker skal. Det er underlige dufter i luften, og drømmene mine manifesterer seg og blir til virkelighet i kaffekoppen hver morgen. Jeg vil så gjerne hjem til den virkelighet jeg trodde jeg kjente, men vet ikke min arme råd. Kan du hjelpe?
De beste hilsener, “Sigbjørn”

Kjære Sigbjørn.
Velkommen til Itras by! Alt er i den skjønneste orden, og du må bare slå deg til ro med at du aldri vil vende tilbake til den triste virkeligheten der du kom fra. Kanskje trenger du et lite opphold på Grelviks asyl før du finner deg helt til rette her i byen. Snakk med den nærmeste gardisten du finner, så kan han fortelle deg veien dit.
Inkluderende hilsener,
Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg ble født i tidenes morgen, og har nå regjert over en middelstor by som i begrenset grad eksisterer i cirka 311 år, siden min gudinne og skaper forsvant. Jeg er meget tykk, men har til gjengjeld tusen øyne jeg bruker til å plire utover all eksistens, kikke i folks drømmer, og beskue stjernenes myriader av konstellasjoner her over tårnet der jeg bor, etc, etc. Grunnen til at jeg skriver til deg er at jeg synes det begynner å bli på høy tid med ferie, men jeg vet slett ikke hvordan jeg skal komme meg unna mitt ansvar. Har du noen råd?
De beste hilsener, “Anonym”

Kjære Anonym
Å finne en god balanse mellom jobb og fritid kan være en vrien utfordring. Noen tar sine arbeidsoppgaver så innover seg at de fyller alle døgnets timer med jobb og bekymringer og utsetter alle forlystelser til en feriedag i den fjerne fremtiden. Men dette er ikke sunt for hverken sjel eller legeme, og Grelviks asyl har korridorene fulle med overarbeidede funksjonærer og kontorister som tok på seg alt for meget jobb og jobbet til fornuften helt slapp taket. Mitt råd: Ta deg en velfortjent hvil. Inviter noen venner på te og småkaker. Dra på en forestilling på kinematografen eller theater. Eller kanskje et lite lystseilas ut til Perleøyene? En liten pustepause nå og da kan holde galskapen på trygg avstand. Men hvis du kanskje allerede har mistet forstanden, så er det ingenting å bekymre deg for. Da er det bare å fortsette akkurat som før – det er for sent for deg uansett, og av hensyn til dine omgivelser så må du se å ta fatt i de mange arbeidsoppgavene som ligger og venter.
Mist ikke motet! hilsen Pythia.

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er et mekanisk menneske med mekaniserte kamearaøyne. Jeg ser virkeligheten i sort hvitt, men skulle så gjerne vite oppleve disse såkalte “fargene” som jeg har lest så meget om. Hva bør jeg gjøre?
Hilsen “Fargeblind”

Kjære Fargeblind!
Amor Fati, er det noe som heter. “Elsk din skjebne”! Farger er, på samme måte som emosjonene jeg antar du som mekanisk mann ikke opplever: kjærlighet, omsorg, savn, sentimentalitet etc, blant faktorene som forpurrer manges hverdag og stjeler oppmerksomheten vekk fra produktivitet, disiplin og allsang. Fargene har en rekke konnotasjoner, og det er et helt symbolunivers knyttet til hver av dem som det tar en mannsalder å få noen grad av innsikt i (og selv da vet man gjerne mindre enn da man først begynte). “Blått” assosieres med bølger, manndom og kjekke matroser. “Rødt” med ild, kjærlighet, styrke. “Grønt” med vår, sjalusi, nye begynnelser. Og så videre, og så videre. Det å gå rundt å tenke på alle disse tingene leder ikke til annet enn psykoser og kunst. Du skal prise deg lykkelig over de øynene du har, min gode maskin!

(Eventuelt, og hvis du på død og liv insisterer selv etter å ha lest dette, kan du oppsøke en optiker.)

Rosa hilsener fra Pythia.

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en ung og pen mann i en god jobb. Men nylig mottok jeg en skrekkelig beskjed: Mine foreldre har fortalt meg at det er på tide at jeg blir gift, og jeg ble beordret om at jeg skulle fri til min egen kusine! Hun er jo hyggelig nok, men jeg trives best som en fri og frank ungkar, og vil slett ikke gifte meg. Hvordan kan jeg komme meg ut av denne forlovelsen uten å fortørne mine foreldre?
Hilsen “Ungkar 27”

Kjære Ungkar 27,
Nedenfor Kirkehaugen ligger det et tempel viet Aldora, gudinnen for trolovelser. Hvis du oppsøker den ved midnatt en kveld fullmånen står høyt på himmelen og bloter en sort geitekilling vil problemene dine løse seg til det beste for alle parter.
Offervillige hilsener,
Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en forfatter med skrivesperre. Vanligvis sitter jeg i fred og ro på mitt skriveværelse og skaper dikt og noveller, men i det siste har inspirasjonen blitt ødelagt av en talende ravn, som kommer flaksende og forstyrrer meg i tide og utide med kryptiske vers. Hva skal jeg gjøre?
Hilsen “Nevermore”

Kjære Nevermore
Kan det være så vanskelig? Kjøp inn noe gammelt brød hos bakeren, hell rottegift på det og legg det i vinduskarmen.
Kra-kra! Hilsen Pythia.

Kjære Pythia!
Jeg er en respektert og vellykket herremann med kone og flere elskerinner. Uheldigvis gikk en av disse tøytene hen og forelsket seg i meg, og etter litt om og men endte det hele opp med at kastet seg i Akeron og tok sitt eget liv. Det burde vært enden på visa, men det viser seg at noen elendige journalister i Primatskriket har startet å spørre og grave i denne ubetydelige hendelsen. Om min perifere rolle i denne affæren kommer frem i dagen, kan det utarte seg til en skandale! Hvordan skal jeg få dysset ned denne saken? hilsen “Monokkel og flosshatt”

Kjære Monokkel og flosshatt!
Dette er ingen ting å bekymre seg for! Sørgmodige ungpiker med brustne hjerter går omkring og drukner seg til stadighet, og din venninne er kun én i rekken. Jeg foreslår at du setter i stand noe riktig stort bladfykene i Primatskriket kan engasjere seg i istedenfor, for eksempel en bybrann, et kupp eller et veldedighetsball av noen art. Det bør ta oppmerksomheten vekk fra den druknede piken for godt.
Gordiske hilsener,
Pythia

Kjære Pythia!
Nylig ble jeg oppsøkt av en fremmed person som ga meg et tilbud jeg ikke kunne si nei til. Jeg fikk sjansen til å starte et nytt og bedre liv og de siste månedene har vært helt fabelaktige. Uheldivis har jeg begynt å få noen svært ubehagelige mareritt når jeg sover. Jeg har prøvd urtete, og unngår å spise sterk mat før leggetid, men ingenting hjelper! Hva skal jeg gjøre?
Hilsen “Skår i gleden”

Kjære Skår
Jeg har alltid hørt at mareritt skyldes dårlig mage. Du skriver at du allerede har forsøkt urtete, men har du testet en skikkelig tarmskylling hos Doktor Funkelbart? “Doktor Funkelbarts tarmskyllinger: renser ryggen og gjør Hypnos vinger skinnende blanke!”
Kjøpte og betalte hilsener fra Pythia.

Publisert i Itras By, Rollespill | Merket med , | Legg igjen en kommentar

Darth Vader reviews The Desolation of Smaug

ldvader1Even when posted on such a formidable battle station as The Death Star, there are days of boredom. Days on which the rebellion seems all but vanquished. Days on which there are no planets to visit destruction upon. Days on which I retreat to my Qabbrat in order to watch an entertaining hologram.

After having been sorely disappointed by Admiral Motti’s recommendation of “Love Actually” (I find his lack of taste disturbing), I decided to give one of the Emperor’s personal favorites a chance. The hologram is titled “The Desolation of Smaug”, and is the continuation of the “Hobbit” series. These are based on books I seem to remember enjoying as a youngling, so I was eager to find out what, if anything, had been changed in the adaptation. I was not disappointed.

Spoilers ahead. 

Are you still reading? 

As you wish.

The main character of this epic is Azog the Defiler, and it centers upon his struggle to please his master, the Necromancer of Dol Goldur.

Azog quests through the lands of Middle Earth with his underlings, the orcs and their mighty steeds, the wargs. The force is strong in him, and he certainly likes to release his anger. 

Azog seeks to destroy a band of dwarves, who resemble shaven Ewoks, on behalf of his Master . However, there are more pressing matters to attend to in the ruined fortress of Dol Goldur, where the Master resides. The enemy in the shape of a foolish, old wizard (who reminded me of my former Master), draws near. Gandalf thinks he can lay siege too Dol Goldur all by himself, but the Master has put up some sort of powerful cloaking device. 

Then, there is the epic confrontation which is the highlight of the hologram, where the Necromancer reveals himself to be none other than Sauron, the mightiest Sith Lord of Middle Earth. He is disembodied, represented only as a flaming eye in the midst of darkness. This depiction of the failure of the wizard when confronted with the true power of the Dark Side truly amused me. 

The wizard is beaten, and locked up in a cage. It seems like a wise decision, as he is then forced to bear witness when the mighty hordes of Sauron march upon Middle Earth. 

Oh, and the shaven Ewoks and rebel scum of Dale will get their come-uppance, too, as the dragon Smaug has finally been woken from his slumber to wreak ruin upon their lands. I eagerly await the next hologram.

There were also some cool spiders.

(For a minute, though, I was very concerned: the ewoks seemed to succeed in drowning Smaug in melted gold. I was actually shouting: “Nooooooooo!” That’s how riveting this hologram is.)

(I suspect there will be some kind of twist in the next hologram, in which Azog is revealed to be the son of the Necromancer)

I give it five out of six lightsabers.

Azog_the_Defiler

Publisert i film | Merket med , , , | 1 kommentar

A Trip Down Memory Lane

My 15 years in larp.

For a long time, I’ve been telling people that I started larping in 1997, but according to the infallible memory of the Norwegian Larp calendar, I’ve only been involved in the hobby since ’98. ;)

Wonder what larp is? Me, Eirik and Even have written an article about that (in Norwegian): Erstatningskaffe og alveører

My debut came as a priest of the elemental church in the weird fantasy setting of Skumringstid where there were cell phones and other technological miracles amongst some of the groups, as I recall. I remember being a little confused, and maybe ill-prepared. I was 17 at the time. Maybe I hadn’t read the compendium thoroughly enough. Maybe people didn’t play up to my status. Maybe I was just a n00b. Anyway, I wasn’t too enthralled. Larping seemed to take too much time and effort compared with what I got out of it, so it took me four years until I tried it again, but I sure am glad I did.

Some Romans enjoying themselves at Amaranth III. (Photo: Lise Hamre).

My larp epiphany came at Amaranth III in 2001, where I played a slave in the antiquities. It was all immersion and bleed and whatever we call it these days. It really opened my eyes to what larp can be like: such an amazing hobby, where people come together to share and create an illusion, and immerse themselves in the lives of someone, someplace else. The larp had many, many slave characters, and focused on this aspect of Roman society. I don’t know how “historically correct” it was, and there were some fantasy elements. The Amaranth larps followed the family saga of the cursed Amaranth family, who had some kind of pact-with-a-demon-thing going on.

Then, the same year, having been bitten by this strange affliction, I attended the artsy larp inside:outside, which was kind of a prisoner’s dilemma thing. All the characters had different ideological leanings/viewpoints, and were held prisoner for some reason they didn’t know. I mostly remember having to pee, that the white plastic prisoner’s suits were quite uncomfortable, and that being brought out for “interrogation” came as a relief.

The Amaranth IV larp site, in Skåne, Sweden (Photo: Hanne Jakobsen)

In 2003, I played two very different, but both very cool larps. Amaranth IV continued the saga of the cursed Amaranths, and this time I wasn’t slave but master. Or so I thought… My character got royally shafted in the end, by the testament of his wicked father (the larp was centered around the nightly readings of this testament, there were also nasty occult rites and stuff, of course). Here’s my review of the larp, in Norwegian

Me as baron von Lövenfeldt sometime during the 18th century. And a castrato singer whose name I can’t recall (Angelica, one of the organizers). Photo: Helene Johnsen.

Then there was PanoptiCorp, which was recently reprised in Denmark. It was a satire of PR companies and the way they “rule the world”, with a strongly critical perspective of that industry. I guess this was the larp that “proved” to me that larps can be used for critique of phenomena in our own societies (not that I’d doubted it). My review (in Norwegian).

Also that year was Den store Kyrthanim-laiven (wow, I larped a lot that summer), which took place in the fantasy setting Veiskille and centered on a nomadic group of people. Yes, a gypsy-like group of nomadic people… The larp itself wasn’t all that interesting to me personally, but I chilled out a lot and got a girlfriend. My review (in Norwegian)

Kjærlighet uten strømper (2004) was an example of a genre that has come to be termed a “costume drama” (or “stockings larp” ;). It was set in Denmark-Norway during the 1770s, and featured an old, but relatively broke, established family of nobles who wanted to marry their son away to a nouveau riche bourgeoisie family (who wanted titles etc). I had so much fun as the baron of the old, wealthy family. He was a total dick. You can see him pictured to the right, here. My review, in Norwegian

The local blacksmith working in “Gibson” in the old West (Once Upon a Time). Photo: Anne Isene.

Once Upon a Time (2005) was a western larp, where the scenography was pretty great. There are some people who own their own “cowboy village” out in Akershus county, and in addition to this a lot of tents were set up, a “main street” was built etc. I think other players probably had more fun than me, but the visuals of this thing were impressive. My review, in Norwegian

Norges Dæmring (Norway-Sweden in the early 19th century). Photo: Veronica Sæther.

Norges Dæmring (2006). Another costume drama, by the same organizers as “Kjærlighet uten strømper”. I had lots of fun and high passion as the nationalistic poet at some union friendly burghers’ fancy estate. Norway-Sweden, early 19th century. My review, in Norwegian

Blodige Baltazars skatt (2006) was a silly, one evening pirate larp. Yarrr. My “review”, in Norwegian.

The Bohemian crowd at «Kristianiabohemen» (2007). Photo: Marianne Gunderson.

New Voices in Art (2007) was the first «chamber larp» I attended. The concept of a chamber larp, as far as I’ve understood, is to have sort of a script, so that the piece can be run again. They’re also relatively short. New Voices is about a group of aspiring artists at a party in the gallery the day before the big vernissage. It was my first encounter with so-called “meta-techniques” in larp: you could tap the glass of fellow players in order to hear what their characters were really thinking. Here you can download the PDF for the game. Me and Even’s reviews at the beginning of this thread

Agabadan (2007): now this was some weird, experimental goodness that I quasi-attended from Chile. The game itself took place in Norway and online and in people’s heads. It wasn’t really a larp, more some sort of experiment. I didn’t get to participate much, but there’s a thread about the “larp” over at the forum.

Kristianiabohemen (2007). A larp played out over two consecutive evenings, about the Bohemian crowd in Oslo (Christiania) in the late 19th century. A fun, unpretentious thing. Here’s a capsule review of the larp, and here’s some reflections about the meta techniques employed (which were new to me at the time). (both in the Norwegian)

From the musical larp Marcello’s Kjeller. Photo: Li Xin.

Then, starting in 2009, there was an explosion of shorter larps on the local scene here in Norway. At the annual larp conference Knutepunkt that year, I attended When Our Destinies Meet, Walkabout, the Larp Factory started up in Oslo, with the goal of organizing monthly (!) shortlarp events. There was The Upgrade! which was sort of about reality shows and their contestants, Kjærlighet i fornedringens tid, about lovers and love affairs, Oasen, a fantasy scenario set in a 1001 Nights type setting, Marcellos Kjeller, sort of a musical larp based on the music of Kaizer’s Orchestra, Didrik + Tina 4Ever (a fun soap opera type larp about a marriage ceremony), Fade to Grey and several others. Scripts for many of the short larps played under the Larp Factory banner have been collected in the excellent volume Larps from the Factory.

I didn’t attend a longer larp event again until 2011, when I played in a Harry Potter larp called 1958, set in the year 1958. I had a lot of fun as the American ambassador of magical somethings, talking with a silly accent, magicking my obtrusive wife and stuff. My review, in Norwegian.

I must’ve gotten a taste for the longer format again, because the same year I attended Rød Oktober, a larp about the Norwegian maoist movement of the 70s, AKP-ml. A very interesting experience, and one of the best “historical larps” I’ve attended. I’ve written about the larp here on the blog previously.

In 2012, the Larp Factory was still running, and I attended Klassefesten (Play the Cards), Playing with intent, and (the highly experimental dating-as-performance-as-larp) The Lover’s Matchmaking Agency. I also attended the second run of Norges Dæmring (the trend of reprising longer larps is also an interesting feature of the last few years in Norwegian larping). I attended my first Call of Cthulhu larp, Festung Norwegen. It was set in 1945. My review, in Norwegian.

This year, there was the fantasy-mafia larp Cosa Nostra, but otherwise I’ve been focusing mostly on shorter larps and freeform stuff at different festivals.

I sort of skimmed over the shorter larps, chamber larps, freeforms or whatever one wishes to call them, not because they’re not interesting, but because there are just so many of them! :) I think this is where the cutting-edge experimental stuff seems to be going on, but I could be wrong. Anyway, 15 years on: I think I’ll keep on larping.

Publisert i freeform, Laiv, Rollespill | Merket med | Legg igjen en kommentar

What’s up with all the angst?

So this year I’ve opened my eyes to the wonderful Dano-Swedish tradition of freeform games. I’ve had many great gaming experiences, and gotten to know a lot of great creators and players.

What I’m wondering is: what’s up with all the angst?

Let’s take this weekend’s Stockholm Scenario Festival as an example. Here’s the playlist of the 30 games played.

I haven’t played all games, obviously, but let’s look at some of the keywords in the descriptions and see what can be gleaned from them.

* The word “death” occurs four times in the descriptions, “suicide” once. There’s also cancer, madness, abortion, bullying, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Two scenarios deal with alcoholism.
Lots of bleak stuff.
* 12 might be labeled social realist drama.

Then there’s a smattering of the surreal, fantasy, relationship dramas, awkward sex, art and more. For sure, it’s a varied playlist. But I’m stuck with this feeling that there’s a certain overweight of the dark.

And I guess that’s ok. Creators will have to create whatever they’re inspired to, and players can pick what appeals to them. Nothing wrong with that. I’m just wondering where this impulse comes from.

Where are the light-hearted comedies? The action adventures? The straight up fantasy and sci-fi? The genre stuff that is so common to traditional role playing games?

Why are so many creators and players intent on doing… dare I say it… “misery tourism”?

And why was I? Back in May, I was thinking to myself that I might want to pitch a game to Fastaval (the Danish freeform convention). I thought to myself: ok, what’s the most Danish shit I can cook up? What I ended with is Bipolar Lush, an autobiographical scenario that deals with bipolar 1 disorder and substance abuse.

I mentioned it to the Fastaval people, and they came back to me in August wondering where I was in the process. I ended up giving it to the Norwegian chamber larp festival Grenselandet, however, both because they asked for it and because it somehow felt safer to premiere it in my local scene. So it won’t run on Fastaval, since they’re only doing premiere scenarios this year.

The game is ok. Not great, but ok. There have been three ok runs of it, and one that was a bit shit (where we lacked a player).

Writing such a game, dealing with relatively dark subjects from your own life, is an interesting process, and a somewhat therapeutic one.

I’m not sure what the players get out of it. Maybe a little education. A little identification. A little understanding of living with such a disorder.

But Claus, many year Fastaval organizer, told me this weekend that what the Fastaval programme actually lacks, the games that are easiest to pitch are straight up action and comedy. Because there’s a lack of them. People would rather do high brow art, experiments and dark stuff. Which I guess confirms my hypothesis in this piece.

Again: why is that?

Because we’re grown-ups now, all the art we can relate to has to be depressing?

As a counter-point, me and Håken Lid designed a game this year for the book Larps from the Factory, called “The Hirelings”. Is a humorous romp through fantasy clichés, Dungeons & Dragons style. You play a group of hapless adventurers about to go forth on their first dungeon crawl. It uses various freeform techniques and techniques inspired by improvisational theatre.

And I’m sure there are many, many other examples like this. The huge Alexandria.dk archive has its own categories for comedy, action, fantasy etc, whereas “drama” is just one category. There are plenty of games to choose from for those who are not inclined to deal with alcoholism, death and fucked up families in their games.

So anyway. Here’s a list of some games I’ve played this year, where I’ve not been actively seeking depressing shit, but not really trying to avoid it either:

Bipolar Lush – see above (Norwegian)
The Hirelings – see above (Norwegian)
The Curse – a game dealing with inheritable breast cancer (US)
Maroons – a freeform game in the American tradition, about a group of colonists stranded on an alien planet. Sci-fi. (US)
Fiction – a flexible freeform system I designed with Elin Nilsen. Can be filled with any kind of subject matter. I’ve played this three or four times with varying results. (Norwegian)
Mikodine XA: a larp/freeform about the board of a pharmaceutical company that have to face some tough ethical decisions. (Swedish?)
Little Libertine: about love relationships in small communities. (Danish)
600: a game about “the world’s largest gangbang”, where you basically play porn actors (Danish)
Easter: a game with a recurring motif, Easter breakfast in a dysfunctional Danish family (Danish)
Udover Dig: a game about love and different kinds of relationships (Danish)
Dino + Saurus: a cute and sad game about two dinosaurs in love (Danish)
Doubt: about fidelity, love and temptation (Swedish)
Happy Ends: “Let’s explore the delicacy and intimacy of happiness together”, the blurb reads. Well, I can tell you that the main character’s father gets killed in a car crash, her mother is permanently injured. Then the mother gets Alzheimer’s – before she dies. Yeah. The GMs employ a whistle to have the players re-do sequences in game if the play gets too depressing… Hm. Yeah. Well. (Swedish)
Mulholland Larp: surrealism inspired by David Lynch’s movie Mulholland Drive. A black box larp. Very interesting stuff. (Swedish)
Summer Lovin’:  a game about awkward festival sex. Fun and weird. (Norway/Sweden)
Superheroes World: a game about growing up. With dance battles and superpowers (Palestinian-Scandinavian?)
We’ve also played a bunch of different games at the freeform gatherings here in Oslo, many of them from the Nørwegian Style-tradition. Which is similar, but a bit different, to what the Swedes and Danes are up to.

I don’t remember all the games I’ve played. But I mean… that list isn’t too depressing? Maybe I have to eat my own words. Maybe I’m just perpetuating prejudice against this Nordic larp / freeform /chamber larp tradition. ‘Cause there is a plethora of very varied games out there. And you can pick and choose. And even create your own.

Argh. This is getting as unstructured and rambling as always. I’m sorry.

Lastly, I want to mention a very interesting game I ran in Palestine, “Caged Flesh” by Swedish Tobias Wrigstad. It’s less a straight up role playing game and more a guided meditation on where role playing ends and reality begins. “What is a character, and what is you?” Those kinds of questions. I found it highly intense to run, and I think the players had a good, intense experience as well. Something I had a little trouble with is that the game specifically instructs you not to do a debrief, but rather “get the fuck out of there”.

I cheated, and I’m glad I did.

But anyway, I think that is one of the many very interesting directions freeform games can go, that move a bit beyond the alcoholic-abusive-father cliché that I think some might have come to associate with this tradition of games.

Publisert i freeform, Laiv, Rollespill | Merket med , | 17 kommentarer

Grenselandet

I had an interesting con experience this weekend at Grenselandet, the annual Norwegian chamber larp festival.

Socially it’s always nice to meet so many old and new friends from all over the world. I don’t know exactly how many nationalities were represented, but I counted French, Lithuanian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, American and more. It’s such a boon that we’re able to get together and share both experiences and insights. That way we can learn from each other’s gaming cultures.

Bipolar Lush
Friday, I ran Gilbert Kraag’s game “Bipolar Lush”, which deals with bipolar 1 disorder and alcohol dependency. The game features a GM, a main character (P), The Demon (representing the disorder and addiction) and The Extras (representing supporting characters). It’s a fairly scripted game, with many scene suggestions, especially for the first act. The first act details the main character’s journey through depression to hypomania and eventually full-blown manic psychosis and forcible commitment. The rest of the game deals with the aftermath, dealing with the disorder and finding a way to cope with addiction.

The players had different experiences. Some found it to be a very intense game, one player reported she had a lot of fun playing The Demon. This function is sort of a “shadow” to the main character, using bird-in-ear techniques and light physical pressure to affect the actions of the main character.

The game was set up to last for 2 hours, which is exactly what we had. Some of the players felt the game was cut a bit short, and it would be probably have been good to have another half hour available. The game is designed to last 2-3 hours.

The Hirelings
On Saturday me and Magnus Jakobsson ran The Hirelings, a freeform game written by me and Håken Lid. It’s about a group of hapless adventurers in a fantasy scenario entering a dungeon to fight monsters and gather treasures and experience points. The twist is that the “dungeon crawl” itself is not played out, only represented by a guided meditation. The rest of the game has to parts: before and after. Before, the characters are led by the Paladin, and NPC who makes them train on marching order, asks them job interview like questions and does various other team building exercises with them. The last part is a session of “dungeon therapy” under the leadership of “The Sage” (an NPC).  Here the characters are instructed to use the ancient technique of “role playing” to relive scenes from the dungeon crawl (they play each other, it’s all very meta). There are also group hugs, self-critique, and more.

My game only ran for two hours, although it was a four hour slot. I found it to be sufficient, very much believing in the tradition of focused play and short, sharp shocks rather than long-winded sessions that drag on forever. One of the players complained it was a bit to short. I don’t know.

The Curse
Lastly, I was a player in Lizzie Stark’s game “The Curse”, about hereditary breast cancer. It’s a very structured and focused game, and an intense play experience. I thought all the four players were very much on board and did a good job of playing close-to-home real life dilemmas. The dilemma for the women in the scenario is that they know they have the BRCA gene, that increases the risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer. They have to choose whether they should operate their breasts (and eventually ovaries) away in order to reduce the risk of getting cancer. It’s a very educational game that deals with deep, ethical issues.

It’s also a game that primarily deals with women’s issues (breast and ovarian cancer, pregnancy, chemical menopause, etc), sort of a Bechtdel test in reverse. It was interesting to explore the dynamics between the men and women in the scenario.

It was also both unnerving, frustrating and highly interesting to play Peter, a firm believer in “bodily integrity”, who was against his girlfriend getting the operation. I struggled somewhat with the motivation of the character, and played him as sort of a dick. It’s always interesting to be the one who brings conflict to the table, but also a little stressfull.

Larps from the Factory
Saturday night also saw the book launch of the Larpfactory Book, containing 23 Norwegian larp scripts (including The Hirelings) for your entertainment and inspiration. Details on how to procure the book can be found here: http://larpfactorybookproject.blogspot.no/p/welcome.html

At the website, you’ll also find videos demonstrating many of the techniques and warm-up exercises utilized in the various larps. It’s quite a project, with over 70 contributors. I recommend you have a look.

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