Act of God

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:36 am
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Somehow, I'm still tired from yesterday. Kaiser woke me up around 5:30, needing something. He was happy enough to be let outside; I couldn't go back to sleep. I checked out my Armada fleet, tried to get a little more sleep, tossed and turned until 7:30. Got up, showered, rechecked the fleet. Left Kaiser plenty of water and food, and hit the road for Shepherdsville.

Seven players for the Armada tournament, so one bye for each round. I drew against the eventual store champion, Collin H, in the first round; he won comfortably, but I did well enough - knocked out the support ships and about half of the fighter complement. I drew the second-round bye and spent the time trying to learn what I could for the third (and final) round. I drew Jacob, one of the other Rebel players from our aborted Corellian Campaign. His fleet was similar ways to Collin's, so I figured I'd put up a decent fight this time. We set up our fleets, and by the end of the second turn, I was in trouble. My frigates were set up to deliver broadsides, and Jacob had maneuvered to keep his ships in front of my frigates, where their firepower was much weaker. I lost, and badly. After the match, Jacob pointed out the biggest mistake he saw me make. I'm fielding very fast ships, but engaging my opponent very quickly, almost in a headlong rush. Instead, I need to make use of the speed and maneuverability I have to get into better positions - and stop being so darned conservative with my defensive options. Spend the tokens - they'll refresh!

After six hours and change of play, it was done. I placed dead last by one point. Came home with a stack of alt-art ship and modification cards, some destined for the trade/giveaway bag, and some snazzy acrylic defense and command tokens. Talked with Ken S about getting together for some Project Phoenix games this week. Drove home, was greeted by the dog, had a late dinner, went to bed.

Mom&Dad are coming home tomorrow. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to stick around until they get back here or light out before. Will, like so many other things, depend on how much sleep I get. I predict the lovable, friendly, affectionate, needy red Doberman currently dozing on the front porch will wake me up much earlier than I want.

Sabbath

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:50 pm
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Second day at The Farm. Got here early yesterday morning, and Mom&Dad headed out around noon. Yesterday afternoon saw a shopping trip to Campbellsville - medicine and snacks for Kaiser, food and clothes that I forgot to pack for me. Had a mighty moment of dumb when getting things together yesterday morning, I guess.

This dog, y'all. Despite the heat, he's outside on the porch, but will probably whine in a half-hour or so to be let back inside so he can lie down on the floor and cool off for a while. He's a hoot, swinging between "I'm a strong proud red Doberman who doesn't need no (hu)man" and straight-up almost as needy as my housemate.

It's high summer, that's for sure. Lexington weathermen have tossed around the phrase "hottest day of the year" quite a bit. It's presently 91F, heat index 102F, down a few degrees from a few hours ago. There's a chance of daytime thunderstorms over the weekend, which should help knock air temps down a bit. But thunder will scare the dog, so, a mixed blessing.

Little things: USPS mail holding is pretty great for long getaways like this. I'd bought some promo and alt-art cards from eBay, shipped through USPS, and had a little anxiety about them arriving while I was away - housemate's shacking up with this season's Whatsername when he's not working in Lexington. Two minutes at USPS.com and all is handled.
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In a somewhat manic run, I finished the Pandemic Legacy campaign today. Final score was 557 - Recovery and Progress: Partial success and a chance for recovery. The face of the world changes a lot in the ensuing wars. Humanity eventually recovers.

This has been a heck of a lot of fun. The game definitely got tougher as it progressed, and threw some help to me as well. And in a few months, Season 2 releases, and I'll do it all again.
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Since I bought him, my Mariner's had a little hitch in the steering when I make a left turn. He's needed a front-end alignment, too, just a couple of degrees, so I figured the hitch was part of that and really no big deal. Thursday, turning to back into the driveway, I heard a pop and the power steering faded on the left side. No bueno. Drove around the block, and no other symptoms appeared. Made an appointment with the shop for Monday (yesterday) morning. Drove to Heroes and back Friday evening, power steering to the right, but still nothing on the left. Troubling, but not crippling, and I was planning to drive Mom&Dad's vehicle to the Belle on Saturday, anyway.

Rack-and-pinion were failing. Five hours and some money later, it's replaced, along with tie rods, and realigned.

The Dodgers went into the All-Star break 61-29. Best record in the Majors, a half-game ahead of Houston. The NL lost the ASG 2-1 in the 10th - a little disappointing, but the ASG's just for fun again. Regular play starts back Friday night, at the Marlins.

Broke my losing streak in the October Pandemic Legacy game. Found Patient Zero, unlocked everything the virologist needed, and I'm feeling a little bit hopeful about the final 2-4 games.

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My Dodgers are on a real tear as the first half of the season comes to a close. They've won 25 of their last 29 games, and are 60-29 going into this afternoon's game against Kansas City. Tuesday night's the MLB All-Star Game, and six Dodgers are on the NL roster. It's a good time to be a fan.

Played an Epic-scale X-Wing game Friday evening. I got out my CR90 and a half-dozen fighter escorts against an Assault Carrier and a heap of TIEs. I got in some good shots early in the game, knocking out the Bombers before they could get their ordnance off, but the TIEs were the death of a thousand paper cuts, and I lost in a slugfest. The game got a lot of attention while league matches were going on, so I've scheduled a Team Epic night in a couple of weeks. Assuming the ratio of interested to will-actually-play holds up, we should have two Epic matches going.

Yesterday was Mom's birthday. Dad and I took her for a cruise on the Belle of Louisville, something she's wanted to do for a while. Really great experience. Weather was about perfect - low 80s and scattered clouds. We had a reserved table in the ballroom/dining deck for lunch, and the boat never felt crowded, even with a sold-out cruise. After lunch, we headed up to the open-air sightseeing deck for the remainder of the cruise. The Belle took us upstream almost to the new East End bridge, so plenty to see along the way. The old steamboat can get some speed when she's underway - jet skis and powerboats were zipping by (and their passengers gave the Belle her due), but we overtook a couple of barges and their towboats during the cruise. I went below to get a look at her engines, and it was like stepping back to another era of engineering. The Belle is a no-fooling steamer, 103 years old, so it's all boilers and pistons and vents and such down there. Pretty darn cool, and would definitely do this again. Possibly on one of the distillery tasting cruises.

I'm into October in my Pandemic Legacy campaign. Things aren't going well - we took steps to try to contain COdA as much as possible, but a streak of Scarlet Fever epidemics did us in. New Zealand's provided some emergency assistance, but it feels like it's just delaying the inevitable.

Finally got to see both Kubo and the Two Strings and Moana. Very different, but both very good. I was glad that Moana didn't become Maui's story -  Dwayne Johnson exudes charisma, even through a Pixar animation - and we got to see the mythology play out and a fun story unfold. Gave up on seeing Alien Covenant in a theater. I felt like I was constantly talking myself into going, and that was a warning sign - plus the not-very-goodness of Prometheus a few years ago.
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I'm into September in the Pandemic Legacy campaign, and the game is getting brutal. Difficulty is consistently increasing - I'm on a three-game losing streak. I've managed to complete all of the "Find the..." missions so far, and it's building a pretty good narrative.

It's a rainy and cloudy Independence Day. There's a good chance of thunderstorms through late afternoon, but things should be cleared out in time for the fireworks. Tonight's edition of them, anyway.
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Got the track laid and secured, hooked up the power pack, and ... nothing. The left side of my dual-pack controller is dead. The ancient controller still works, so I connected it to the inner loop, and set about to test the fleet. All of the locomotives ran very well - some gear noise and burning dust smell out of the older ones, and there's a cheap Geep that occasionally picks a switch, but after the first few laps, things looked to shake themselves out. Inventoried the leftover track, and saw that I have enough to build a second simpler layout, and I'm of a mind to do so in order to be able to practice more modeling and operation ideas.

Oh heck yeah. It'll be single-tracked, so there's my Frankfort Avenue mockup.
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In one move or another, a shitload of my track has gotten misplaced - some switches and all of the curved track. So, there went about $60 to replace it. Now I've got the track to put this thing together.

More tech issues. The trackball's crapping out. Replacement is ordered - a first-generation Magic Mouse, because every wireless trackball I could find uses a USB receiver and the Magic Mouse 2 requires macOS X 10.11 or newer.
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The remains of a tropical storm blew through here Thursday and yesterday. A couple of rounds of heavy rain, and fortunately no flooding here. Lexington got hit a little harder, with some brief road closures. All now seems well.

I learned last night, after getting home from gaming, that Stewart Wieck died on Thursday. 49 years old. Wieck was one of the founders of White Wolf, and had later founded Nocturnal. He was one of the most influential figures in this hobby/industry; universe knows his products brought me a lot of good times over the years.

Oh, hey, I won a second Sabine's TIE Fighter in the league raffle last week. Was able to pick it up last night, so at some point, I'm going to field a Rebel squad built around four TIE Fighters. It will terrible, but I expect I will have a good time with it.

I've got this little list of things to do before Monday. Since graduation, I've been about two-fifths successful in my 300 words/day writing. I'm going to get better at that. Yesterday, I picked up some little pieces for the portable layout I want to build so the (quite ridiculous) collection of locomotives and cars can get out of their boxes and get some actual running in. Need to do some cleaning in the bathroom and kitchen. And, with the expectation of it not being good at all, go see Alien: Covenant at the second-run theater down the way.

So, best get to going on this. Saturday, go!

Truth

Jun. 22nd, 2017 07:12 pm
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Calendar summer is upon us. Short nights, hot days, and at the moment, a heavy rain here in Bowman.

I saw Wonder Woman this afternoon. Loved it from start to finish. It's a gorgeous movie, long on action and myth. Gal Gadot is fantastic as Diana, and I'm sure I missed plenty of details in the movie, because there are times when I couldn't look away from her. She's attractive enough in the collection of period costumes, but when she's on screen in the WW costume, I'm just enthralled. She moves and looks and acts like a goddess. It's uncanny and so lovely.

On the smaller screen, I've started Amazon's The Man in the High Castle. It's quite good, expanding logically on the book.

And on - or behind - a different screen ... my trusty ol' iMac remains trusty, but there are some consequences of its age showing up. Not so much in the machine itself, but in some software. OS updates are no longer available for it (10.10.5 is the last version that it'll run), and Blizzard reminds me that 10.10.5 won't be supported much longer. So, I'm looking at a replacement, or successor, maybe. Despite being nearly ten years old (I bought it in '08, a factory refurb probably built in late '07), it still performs more than adequately, and, well, it does what I want and need it to do, and there is this grossly underutilized PS4 over there.

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I am home from Origins, having had a darn good time. My passenger was a guy I knew in passing from games down at Pet Shop, and he turned out to be a great guy to have for a long drive. Lots of good easy conversation on the drive to and from Columbus, and we became each others' convention buddy pretty quickly.

Origins is a very different convention experience from GenCon. GenCon can be sometimes draconian in its policies, especially regarding exhibitors, but it's very organized, very effective, very efficient - Shit Gets Done. Origins, on the other hand, plays a lot looser, and feels antiquated in some ways. Where GenCon has a very friendly search engine for events, Origins uses a ginormous spreadsheet that doesn't see any kind of grammar or spelling check, so if a GM registers, say, a Shadorwun game, then that's what goes into the spreadsheet. And the time/date fields aren't standardized, which leads to some messy formatting - in the convention event book provided onsite, games that were scheduled at, say, 3:00PM are under one heading and those scheduled at 3:00:00 appear under another. The print file seems to pull from a weirdly sorted output, as we found headings in an order like Friday 1:00 PM -> Friday 10:00 AM -> 11:00 AM -> 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM. So, that was a mess. And a LOT of our events scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just didn't show up in the printed event guide. They were in the spreadsheet and whatever form the online guide took, but if you were just looking for a game to get into during that period, you had no indication that something was going on. 

Columbus was mercifully free of the occasional sewer gas smell that plagues downtown Indy, so points to Origins on that front. Our hotel, the Downtown Westin was very nice, if a bit of a hike from the convention center - about 1.25 miles. Sure found plenty of Pokemon candy on those treks! The Pride Parade was on Saturday, running (or strutting, or sashaying) down High Street, and that made for some great entertainment on my way back to the hotel to meet up with Ben P.

I got to spend several hours with Rebecca and Ben that afternoon. Saw their gorgeous house, some parts of Marysville, had excellent brisket for dinner. Some of my favorite folks.

So, games and other stuff. Lots of good times, the good gamers far outnumbered the bad. Ken Hite signed my replacement copy of Trail of Cthulhu, and I got to chat with John Wick for a few minutes. Picked up a 6'x3' mat for X-Wing Epic and Armada games. Saw Ray Forsythe and a couple of Louisville people. Talked with Jim Searcy for a little while.

The Mariner ran very well, if thirstier than I like. Not much to be done there. Some good meals, and good times at them. Met and spent time with some very fun people. It's good to be home, though. The closer I got to Louisville, the more I liked the thought of sleeping in my own bed. There's some laundry to start, and once that's well underway, I'm hitting the sack and hopefully sleeping for at least ten hours.

I think I'd sooner go back to Origins than GenCon, the gripes above considered. Far fewer people, just a different vibe, plenty to recommend it. I think I'd like to try it as a civilian, and probably not for the entire five days - more like a three-day weekend. For someone like me, who is primarily a role-playing gamer, three days of Origins is just about enough. So, we'll see where things are in nine months or so.
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UK won the Lexington regional, UofL beat 'em 2-0 to win the Louisville Super-Regional, and UofL Cardinal Baseball is going to the College World Series! I am thrilled. The first game is Sunday afternoon against Texas A&M - Go Cards!

As prep for Origins, and because I don't want to have to organize player schedules, I started soloing Pandemic Legacy. It's a damned good game, adding changing elements to the already excellent Pandemic. I can see this game becoming damn near unwinnable, but figure there have to be ways to overcome the COdA threat in the game's future. I'm of a mind to try and make a RPG setting out of the world at the campaign's end.

Today was my day for good deeds. Darryl V's raised the funds to replace his Ranger, and found a late-model Escape suitable for Uber/Lyft service. Dude's been dealing with some seriously rough times, and right now, I'm in a position to help out a little. So, got him from his apartment to the dealer, checked things out, all that, and he was able to buy the Escape.

This evening, Cassandra and her boyfriend got free from her conference, and we got together for dinner and catching up and introductions. I played tour guide, showing them some of my city's sights. Ken's a good dude, and they're getting married next summer. She's doubtless my favorite cousin, and we touched on some family history tonight - the uglier parts pertaining to our grandmother and that entire side of the family's ... acceptance or blindness or whatever regarding her abuse and hate and all of her awfulness. We are grandchildren and children of abuse, and we both have ended that cycle in our own ways.

Lighting out for Origins tomorrow afternoon. Lots of Pandemic variants on my on-duty schedule. Planning to meet up with Rebecca and Ben Saturday afternoon, and expect to cross paths with some other folks over the course of the con. Nothing on a shopping list - just going up to play games and see a new con and meet some new good people.
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UofL won the Louisville Regional. Xavier played a hell of a game, and the score went back and forth all evening. UK wound up winning both of their games, just running away from NC State in the evening game. I was wrong earlier; there's one more game for the Lexington regional, and it's a UK-NC State rematch tonight. Currently in a weather delay; Lexington looks to be getting some heavy rain at the moment.

I think things with Shadow, casual as they have been, are coming to an end. A lot of complications, and while it's been fun, and I do have the time and energy (now) to keep things going, I just don't know if I still have the interest. Whatever happens, the sun will come up tomorrow.

I'm about halfway through Thrawn. It's a decent enough read, and very much a love letter to the blue-skinned Grand Admiral. Zahn's doing what he's good at - weaving multiple plots together and providing interesting characters doing interesting things. So far, there's nothing involving the nascent Rebellion.
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Sometimes you make changes. Sometimes trivial ones, sometimes significant ones.

Since I was sixteen, I've shaved with disposable razors, usually keeping the fool things around way past their best-use period. Unlike my crown hair, my facial hair is slow-growing and not especially thick, so I get away with shaving every other day, or less often on lazy weekends. So, a basic two-blade disposable is usually good for about a month, or longer if I'm not paying anything like close attention to how dull the thing's getting.

Anyway, that's a lot of plastic tossed, not recyclable, and just not environmentally friendly.

So, I'm trying out both an electric and a safety razor. The appeal of the electric is pretty straightforward - there are mornings when I just do not feel like lathering up and dragging a sharp hunk of metal across my face. The electric is relatively quick, and while I catch myself having to do a little more touch-up with it than with bladed razors, that'll improve with time.

The safety is a whole other thing. With a fresh blade, I don't even have to apply any kind of pressure. Just let it slide across my face, and voila. De-whiskered. There's also something to the ritual of mixing the soap and brushing it on and all of that. It's a direct counter to the ... convenience of the electric, and some mornings, that's the thing I want.

A disposable is likely to remain in my travel pack, though, and I used a reasonably fresh one this morning.

In other news, UofL baseball is 2-0 in the Louisville Regional. Last night's game was tied 1-1 going into late innings, when UofL's offense just opened up on Oklahoma. Seven runs in the eighth inning, three in the ninth, and the Sooners had no answer. OU plays Xavier today at 1PM, and the winner there plays UofL tonight at 7PM. If UofL wins that game, they win their regional and host a Super Regional next weekend. Still hoping for a UK-UofL series, but that would require to beat IU at 1 today, and NC State at 7 tonight. It can happen.
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Those are all either expansions for the excellent Pandemic board game or variants for it. I'm scheduled to host a boatload of Pandemic events at Origins in a couple of weeks, and I'm giving myself a crash course in all things related. I ran some of my Asmodee/FFG teammates through a game of stock Pandemic last night, and soloed a first round of Legacy this morning. I managed a win, with unrest in a few cities due to outbreaks.

I effectively gave up my convention/volunteer wrangling duties with Crafty Games after GenCon 2014. I didn't plan to attend the con at all in 2015, but wound up there for a couple of days when a volunteer flaked and didn't show - a headache I had to deal with a few times myself. Last year, I went for two days and wrecked out my beloved Focus wagon on the drive home. It's been a while since I went to the con for the con; mostly was there to see friends that I only get to see there. And even with Crafty covering my badge and room, it had costs.

Origins has been on my to-do list for a while. I've gotten less and less comfortable with GenCon's size, over 60K the last three years, and I expect this year to get close to 70K because of the 50th anniversary events. Origins saw just under 16K in 2015, and that feels a lot more manageable to me.

Yeah. Looking forward to this. And one of the 2017 cohort asked about going to a con sometime, and I figure something like Archon should be a good one for him.
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As a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, I'm obligated to dislike, and even wish ill upon, the San Francisco Giants. I give Hunter Pence a pass, because he was a Lexington Legend and was really cool to my niece and my then-girlfriend. Yesterday, a Giant relief pitcher, Hunter Strickland, hit Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper in the hip, probably in revenge for Harper hitting two home runs off of him in 2014. Harper, who has something of a temper, charged the mound, and in proper baseball tradition, the dugouts cleared. The Giants didn't seem all that eager to back up their pitcher, best displayed by Buster Posey's clear refusal to get between Harper and Strickland - usually, the catcher is the first to defend the pitcher from a batter's wrath. So, yeah, there was a brawl, and some of Strickland's teammates bodily carried him back to the dugout. Strickland managed to swing at some of those teammates, including the aforementioned Hunter Pence. Suspensions and fines are in the offing, hopefully pretty severe ones for Strickland - dude's a relief pitcher, so a 5-game penalty isn't going to mean anything.

Baseball, y'all.

UofL baseball is hosting a NCAA regional round again, starting on Friday the 2nd. UK's hosting, too, and if both teams come out of their regionals, UK comes here for the Super Regional round. Pretty darn cool, especially considering this state's general madness for basketball over everything else.
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Roger Moore died, age 89, on May 23. Moore was the James Bond I grew up on, thanks to ABC's regular broadcasts of Bond movies on Sunday nights when I was a kid. Seven outings as 007, from 1973 to 1985, from one of the most perfect movies (For Your Eyes Only) to one of the worst Bond films (Moonraker). He was the playboy Bond, more lighthearted than his predecessor and far more so than Timothy Dalton.

As this entry's title suggests, I'm watching Pierce Brosnan's last Bond film. Gods, I love Brosnan as Bond. He managed to combine Moore's smoothness and Dalton's and Connery's toughness. Goldeneye is one of my favorite Bond movies - really, outside of DAD, I think Brosnan's run is my favorite. I love Jonathan Pryce's Eliot Carver and Famke Janssen's Xenia Onatopp and the tank chase, just all of it.
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It's May 25, the real Star Wars Day, the 40th anniversary of the release of what we now call Episode 4, but what was then simply Star Wars.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a fan. I love the simple core of the stories, that good will always oppose evil, and while there will be setbacks and loss and suffering, love and friendship triumph over selfishness and greed. 

There's good and bad, in the movies and games and TV and books, and in the fanbase, and in the business, but I think the good far outweighs the bad. Some of my best gaming has been Star Wars related - a quiet, almost whispered "I call on the Dark Side" will forever be one of my touchstone moments as a GM. The joy of finding Heir to the Empire at the old Hawley-Cooke store on Bardstown Road in 1991, and seeing the growth of the old Expanded Universe - Zahn and Stackpole and Allston being the best of the lot, and bringing me such incredible enjoyment through their stories. I picked up every novel during the 1990s and early '00s, good and bad, but the awful New Jedi Order put an end to that. 

Now, of course, we're given a new canon, and Lucasfilm is part of the Disney empire, and there's a new movie every year, and the good parts of the old EU are being brought into the new stories - I have a copy of Zahn's new Thrawn in my backpack - while the dross is forever cast aside. There is, of course, nerdrage over this, but whatever. Just as the adventures of the old Green Squadron haven't been negated by the new missions of the crew of the Leap of Faith, the Legends books and stories will always be out there.

I'm celebrating or observing or whatever tonight with a game of Imperial Assault, giving my Origins team leader some practice time before the convention. Tomorrow, running a session of Fantasy Flight's Star Wars: Force and Destiny RPG, and maybe getting in an Armada game before Saturday's tournament.

It's a good time to be a fan.
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Several years ago, Intermountain produced a limited-run N-scale SD40-2T in RJ Corman colors. I lusted after that model. RJC served my former employer,  and I saw the prototypes for these specific models with some regularity around Lexington. But, for whatever reasons, I never bought one, and I've regretted it since.

More recently, Kato produced models of Norfolk Southern's gorgeous heritage fleet. Growing up, most of the locomotives I saw were Southern Railway high-hood units in their classy black-and-white scheme. So, having learned my lesson, I bought one of the Kato models, the Savannah & Atlanta SD70ACe. It is a beaut of a model, and a very nice graduation gift to myself.

Met up with one of my X-Wing pals for a couple of practice games and to exchange some promo items last night. The A-Wing just didn't synergize with its ARC squadmates at all, so it's probably going back to the hangar. I've got a couple of other ships in mind - a Y-Wing and T-70 - and will probably test those tonight. The drive back home was going great until I got to MM28 or thereabouts. A motorcycle running from KSP wound up hitting the median barricade, and the left two (of three) lanes were closed. Long delay. Should have stuck around and flown another couple of rounds.

Got an e-mail this morning alerting me to an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for a new edition of Top Secret. Way back when, TS/SI was one of my go-to games, and I still have a lot of love for it. With Spycraft 3 still in maybe-someday space, I'm definitely up for giving TS: New World Order a shot.

UofL baseball ends the regular season this weekend. I haven't made it to a game all season, and won't be able to catch either of the remaining two. Louisville's hosting the ACC tournament, so with some small luck I can get over to Slugger Field for some games, and we should (should) host NCAA Regionals and maybe Super-Regionals, too. Here's hoping.

Sundown

May. 13th, 2017 10:05 pm
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It's done. Commencement was today, and I am a Master of Public Health.

And what a day it was. I got up plenty early to get over to the shop and get the Mariner checked out. Could have been a whole lot worse - broken flex pipe. Relatively inexpensive fix, but a few other issues were identified. These will probably be taken care of in Liberty. To their great credit, the shop here was able to get the repair done in time for me to drive to commencement, saving me the cost of a Lyft. I used one of Dad's cards to park for free at the Galt House, and got back to the arena for lineup and commencement.

Commencement was about what I expected, and I'm glad I brought something to read. My cohort was the very last group to be recognized, so we mostly made the best of it. We decided we would make slow walks across the stage, not crowd or rush each other, just enjoy our last moments as students. It worked. It was good.

Afterwards, lunch with Mom&Dad, and that was a good time. Mom's having some issues with mobility right now, so Dad went back to the hotel garage to get the Canyon and come back to the restaurant to pick her up. And this is where the trouble started.

After, oh, 20 minutes or so, I get a text from Dad - "I can't find the truck." I show Mom, we laugh, and decide that we'll both walk back to the hotel and I'll help Dad. No big hurry, we'll just mosey along at Mom's comfortable speed and when we get to the hotel, Dad will have found the truck and all will be well. This turned out to be a very good idea for Mom's sake.

Dad texted me at about 2PM. We didn't find the goddamned pickup until 3:45. Dad kept saying some combination of parking level and space, so, logically (at least to me), I tried to find it. Well, I did ... and no truck. And Dad says, "Okay, good, this where I was parked this morning before I went out to find breakfast for me and your mommy." And I'm pretty sure I heard that record-scratch sound from TV sitcoms. I managed not to yell, but did raise my voice above conversation level when I asked what. Dad figured that if he could find where the truck was, he could retrace his path to find where the truck is. As I am telling a story, you may have already guessed that this did not work. We found the truck. Pardon - I found the truck. And while I maybe overreacted, I felt myself sliding up my scale of anger. I was silent during most of this search, almost swore at Dad in frustration. Mom had started texting during the search. She was starting to get some anxiety hits. I do not blame her.

Got home a little after 4PM. Tried to take a nap before going out for Housemate's birthday to-do. Had just gotten stretched out on the couch when a serious motherfucker of a muscle cramp hit my left calf. Oh goddamn did this thing hurt. If I move my foot the wrong way, I can still feel a little bit of soreness. Okay, anyway, headed out to the restaurant. Got sick of waiting for flakes to show, so I started ordering - damned good cheeseburger, for the record. I'd had a vibe that this would happen - Diane showed up. About a half-second of eye contact, and, welp, my decision from about this time last year was vindicated like you wouldn't believe. Nothing there. Nothing. Anyway, some good talking with other party members, then off to the bar, and I waved off of that after about 20 minutes because I was just tired.

And now I'm on my couch for a few more minutes before crawling into bed. Tomorrow, I'm either binging on movies over at Village 8, or lying in bed all damn day. I have earned either one.

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