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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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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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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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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.
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LA lost to the Cubs Saturday night, ending the playoff run and sending the Cubs to the World Series for the first time since the 1940s. So, just beat Cleveland, you lot.

UofL beat NC State, Auburn whooped Arkansas, and WKU won, so a good weekend for NCAA football. The NFL put on a crapstravaganza, to balance things out. The Sunday night game ended in a 6-6 tie, which makes me feel pretty good about not tuning in and watching the last episodes of Making a Murderer instead.

15 days until Election Day. Still confident, but a little concerned that voters will get complacent and stay home and we wind up with Cheeto Jesus in the Oval Office and Reverend Stryker as Veep. The day's a full University holiday, so I won't have to come into the office, even. My loose definition of a plan for the day involves buying bourbon the night before, voting pretty early on Tuesday (my polling place is a short walk from the house), and either celebrating or drowning the ever-loving daylights out of disbelief and disappointment.

I've found myself considering buying a gun, thanks to this election cycle. My (grandfather's) Browning is safely in Liberty, and should stay there, so it's not really germane to this line of thought. I know I'm being reactionary, but there is a lot of scary noise coming from one camp.

Thinking about dialing back my work hours in the spring, maybe going over to Infectious Disease for 20 a week or so.

Had a talk with Housemate about some gaming issues last night. One of my SW players actively (and secretly) betrayed his teammates in the last session, so there needs to be some kind of consequence for this. I think I'll come up with a reasonable way for the betrayal to become known, and let the PCs and players handle it.
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Managed a far higher score on my Health Systems midterm paper than I expected, which countered the less-than-satisfying scores in two other classes. We're given the opportunity for rewrites, and my teammates and I have picked out sections to focus on - so, there goes the weekend.

Still getting out of town tomorrow. Should be able to get a lot of work done - if I can keep myself focused - and refresh a little bit.

The Dodgers are up against the wall in the NLCS. Cubs are up 3-2, and the series goes back to Chicago for the final game(s). I'm hopeful, but this won't be easy at all.

UofL's up against NC State tomorrow. Louisville's a solid favorite, but they were against Duke last weekend, too, and that was a much tighter game than it should have been.

Off to the Cave in a little while. More of the same, and then over to LMPHW for whatever the afternoon brings. Non-zero chance that I'll sneak in some work on class projects.
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NCAA baseball playoffs are here! Louisville's hosting a regional, and probably a subsequent super-regional, having started as the national #2-ranked team and seeded at the top of the four-team bracket. The Cards beat Western Michigan 6-1 yesterday, and are currently whipping up on Ohio State 14-0 in the top of the 7th. The game's seen a couple of delays, it being a rainy and sometimes stormy day here.

The playoff setup is double-elimination. Western Michigan lost to the Cardinals yesterday to to Wright State today, so they're heading home. Ohio beat Wright this afternoon, putting Wright on the ropes. Unless something nearly historic happens in the next six outs, they'll play again at noon tomorrow and the winner of that game plays Louisville at 4 tomorrow afternoon.

Vanderbilt, last year's College World Series runner-up and 2014's champion, got hammered this afternoon, losing 15-1 to Xavier. Vandy was playing under a figurative cloud - a talented freshman pitcher drowned on a fishing trip early this week. I can't take any joy in their misfortune, but my feelings won't be hurt if they're eliminated in tonight's second game - they are consistently very good, and Louisville would likely face them in the next round of games.

Muhammad Ali died last night. If Louisville can be said to have a favorite son, it's likely him. I was out with some of the cohort when the news came in, and a very noisy bar got quiet in a hurry. Flags at city buildings are at half-staff this weekend.

Progeny

Apr. 7th, 2016 09:03 pm
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Days go by.

After a brief debate, I subscribed to MLB.tv for the season. With the student discount, it came to less than $80, and Housemate and I split the cost. It's a terrific service, and since our favorite teams are both out of the local TV market, we're definitely going to get our money's worth.

My Dodgers took off like a rocket in the first three games of the season, shutting out the Padres. Nothing good lasts forever, though. They lost to the Giants tonight, routed after a good first half of the game.

Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers since 1950, is retiring at the end of the season. He's pushing 90, and time catches up to us all, I guess. I'm glad to have been able to listen to him for the past few years, thanks to MLB apps - there's nothing like him.

Tomorrow night, I'm GMing a RPG session for the first time in a couple of years. I'm on the hook for two Hunter: the Vigil sessions at a local con. I'm well-enough prepped, I think, but I think I'm going to have a kernel of something in the back of my head wishing I was running something else ...

... because holy cow, the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer.

The Storm

Feb. 24th, 2016 10:30 am
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NCAA baseball season started last week. UofL swept the opening weekend opponent, outscoring SIU Edwardsville by 43-5 over the three games. Friday was a little cool and very windy, but a pretty good day at the stadium. Saturday - oh, man, Saturday. Sunny, warm, about perfect. Mom&Dad came up for the game, and D came with us, and it was just a delight. And barbecue for dinner after the game, so heck yeah.

Sunday, weatherwise, was not sunshine and rainbows. Well, there may have been rainbows, because there sure was a lot of rain. I drove to Lexington to play X-Wing and despite going 0-3, it was a pretty good day. The second and third games could have gone my way - agility dice betrayed me both times on a gunnery pass. Did manage to kill Bossk with a TIE Defender and one-shotted Guri with a TIE Bomber, and anytime I can blow up a flying sandcrawler, I'm happy.

I threw the Defender into this list mostly because I didn't want to fill up the leftover space with the default of a couple of Fighters. It's got some problems (next time, FFS, put the Mark 2 engine on the thing), but it is a solid ship, and can deliver and endure a lot of damage. It's going to see more use when the Imperial Veterans pack arrives; I'm going to keep it in the rotation for a while. It's an interesting ship.

I cancelled on CincyCon. The getaway would have been nice, but prepping a couple of games for the con was adding more of a cognitive load than I wanted. May port some of the notes into a Slur Your Role day over at Kaiju as a warmup for ConGlomeration.

Great Train Expo here in Louisville this weekend. Probably going for at least a few hours; otherwise I'll be deeply immersed in prepping for a biostats midterm, and I will have to have a break from that.

The Rock

Sep. 28th, 2015 09:47 pm
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We're closing in on the end of the regular season. My Dodgers are on top of the NL West, and will probably repeat as division champs, but I'm not celebrating just yet. They've lost three in a row (to the Rockies, for crying out loud), and I'm afraid that maybe they've just forgotten how to play baseball.

I kinda have a hint of how Cubs fans feel.

Spent the weekend in Liberty. Volunteered to help Dad out at the Apple Festival. Did not enjoy the experience, outside of time spent with my family. Too many people, not enough space or sense or civility.

Cardinal football finally got a win, and WKU clobbered Miami of Ohio. I'm thinking about going to the WKU-Marshall game over Thanksgiving weekend - WKU tends towards rapid-fire offense, and last year's season-ender against Marshall was darn near a live-action Madden game.
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The Super Regionals went the distance, with two extra-inning games. UofL lost both of those, ending a terrific first season in the ACC. I'll follow at least one Cardinal's MLB career - Kyle Funkhouser was drafted into the Dodgers' already very deep bullpen.

The Niece's high school graduation was last week. It was ... well, a high school graduation. Now that it's over, my family no longer has to deal with her mother and stepfather, and I'm quite glad to have them out of even the periphery of my life.

When not watching baseball this weekend, I worked on a tractor, dug a trench and graded some earth with another one, replaced a starter, recharged the Focus's AC, and ... I don't know, did some other stuff. Not enough stuff.
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We're about a third of the way through the pro baseball season. My Dodgers are on top of their division, but only one game ahead of the Giants. I'm much more excited about the UofL baseball team right now. They finished the regular season with the best record in the ACC and ranked #3 nationally. The ACC tournament went poorly, but the regional round of the NCAA tournament was fantastic. UofL went 3-0, beating Morehead State once and Michigan twice, winning the round. This weekend, the Cardinals host Cal State Fullerton in the Super Regionals, a best-of-three playoff, with the winner going to Omaha for the College World Series. This is the third straight Super Regional for the program, and the sixth entry in NCAA playoffs in eight years.

Got a demo kit for Shadowrun Crossfire. Pretty nifty deck-builder, with an advancement mechanic in the full version of the game. I've played a couple of solo games, and like it well enough to put the full version on a couple of wish lists. It's not Shadowrun role-playing, but I'll take what I can get.

Stranded

Mar. 17th, 2015 04:07 pm
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Got out to the CardBoard Gamers to-do on Saturday. Pandemic, Elder Sign, Escape, City of Terror, and something I forget the name of. About 50 boardgamers - really good turnout. Lot of fun.

Saw a lot of emergency vehicles just off of Bardstown Road on my way home. Didn't really think much of it until I got home and saw posts to a Facebook group. And video. A car ignored the lights and bell and horn, shot into a railroad crossing. Not across, mind you, as a hojillion tons of train moving at about 45-50MPH prevented the successful completion of the attempt. Two instant fatalities, two survivors in bad shape.

Sunday, went to a UofL baseball game. Gorgeous day, great game. Just a terrific afternoon out at the park.

Found out that afternoon that a cousin's kid had been found dead that morning. 13 years old. John, the father, was very much a second brother when we were kids, and up into our early 20s. Visitation is tomorrow, on what woud have been the kid's 14th birthday. This will not be easy.

More baseball today - except for games against IU and UK, UofL baseball games offer free admission, so there's no reason for me not to go. A little cooler, but still a great day at the park, and the busloads of elementary school kids were having great fun - really made the day even more fun. Patterson Stadium turns out to be a pretty good place for railfanning, too!

Tried out a solo RPG option - The 9Qs. Interesting ideas, and it worked out well enough that I'll keep tinkering with it. I'm going to take a crash course in Shadowrun over the next few days, and give that a shot pretty soon.
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Stormy day here in the Derby City area. Tornado warnings all around, heavy rain, hail here and there. No damage in Bowman.

My Dodgers lost their NLDS against the Cardinals. The Orioles-Dodgers World Series that America deserves will have to wait for another year.

Season premiere of The Flash was pretty darn good. Got Barry's character down, the suit and speed effects look really good, and the show planted plenty of seeds for future events. Looking forward to the Arrow premiere tomorrow night.

Seven Seas

Sep. 28th, 2014 06:19 pm
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I am still quite in love with being a student again. I enjoy the challenges - there is no easy way out this time around, unlike my time at UK. SPHIS requires work, and a lot of it, and it is stimulating. I'm pretty lucky in that I've found a good group of fellow students to study and work with. I'd have a much harder time of this without them.

Took The Niece to Liberty Friday night - Apple Festival time, and she does love it. D rode with me, gods love her, and she made the drive back to Louisville much better than it would have otherwise been. Some frustration with linking up with Mom to drop off The Niece, but shikata ga nai. I did what I do. I handled it. Hoping to see Mom&Dad later this evening when they bring her back to Louisville, but I/we may be deep into studying and homework by the time they get into town.

I'm still unable to really study at the house. Still haven't got a new desk, can't spread materials out on the couch/coffee table, and I hate trying to study in bed, because it muddies up some mental borders. There is no shortage of places on campus to use, of course, and today I've deployed to the Student Activities Center - I prefer studying here to the library, since I can take the occasional mental break and watch trains pass by - and there are very few people here on weekends.

On the other hand, the coffee shop in Ekstrom is supplied and operated by Heine Brothers, and that's a fantastic draw.

Busy week coming up. Debate in 440 tomorrow evening, then an exam review in 301, and a SPHIS event until 10PM. BIOL372 exam on Tuesday. 301 exam on Wednesday (and that thing has me worried). Fall break is next week, so there's a bit of a reprieve. Maybe going to Liberty for the (extra) long weekend, unless there's a surprise workload or something. Need to mow and fix a plumbing problem, too, sometime.

Cardinal football won against Wake Forest yesterday, and today is the end of the 2014 MLB season. My Dodgers won the division and will take on St. Louis on Friday. My 440 instructor is a big STL fan, so I expect some gentle ribbing on both our parts come Monday.

Better get back to Biostatistics.
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I have two clases on Monday/Wednesday. Biology for Population Health is fantastic, and I enjoy the class. I lead discussions. I get a handle on topics in a hurry, I can bring my classmates along when they have problems, and it's a great course. Biostatistics, on the other hand, makes me feel almost dumb. The material is sufficiently dense that I wind up staring almost blankly at the screen and my notes trying to get this stuff, but it doesn't engage for a day or so. Frustrating.

Cardinal football got an easy win against Murray State on Saturday. Backup players started going in midway through the second quarter. No one was really surprised; Murray got some national exposure and ESPN money, and UofL got more experience with the new coach. So far, so good, and the Cardinals are favored against Virginia this coming weekend.

My Dodgers have a slim lead on the Giants in the NL West. 19 games left in the season, including tonight against the Padres. My Bio for Population Health professor is a big St. Louis fan, and we've already made a few good-natured jabs at each other. Come October...

Had a good time with Dad on his birthday. Worked on The Niece's car a little. Went out to dinner. Just spent time together. A really good day.
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Boatloads of pics from Archon have come across my Facebook feed this week, and I've gotten the soft sell on attending next year. I'm about 90% sold on going and running a couple of games; I can't imagine that we won't have Spycraft Third on shelves by then, and *-***** should be available as well.

The Dodgers won their NLDS, but have dropped the first two games of the NLCS to the Cardinals. The Cards are probably the best team in baseball, so this is nothing to get heartbroken over, but ... well, LA's my team.

Spent Friday and Saturday at The Farm. I think this is going to become a more regular thing with me - at least once a month. It's a zero-cost getaway, I can write and relax, and I come back with so much stress removed.

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