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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.

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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Dr. Wilson was happy with my practicum presentation, and since he's the one who assigns the grade, his take on it is about all that matters to me. Our final paper for Social Determinants is done, the presentation PPT mostly so.

We, most of the HPBS cohort, had a celebration dinner last night. Marc was in Columbus, Jessica and Dammit Alice unreachable. But their loss. It was good. Some last venting about the program, but mostly celebrating ourselves and the couple years of work we've completed. Just one more class session.

My Star Wars game is back on this week. Looks like all the active players are in. Ready to do this.
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(Disclaimer: not actually in Memphis)

The end of the semester is closing in quickly; sometimes it feels like I'm rocketing towards the horizon, sometimes it feels like the ground is rushing up to greet me. I missed one assignment in my last entry - a short presentation on the 25th. And that's the end, one way or another.

Star Wars Celebration is going on. Well, I guess it just wrapped up this afternoon. Some friends went, and posted up plenty of pictures. We got teasers for the fourth and final season of Rebels and for The Last Jedi. Despite having only seen one episode of Rebels this season, I'm as excited about the upcoming season as I am the next movie. Rebels has done some great storytelling over its run, and despite its home on DisneyXD, it hasn't been dumbed down.

Steve J was in town this weekend, and we got to catch up over dinner and drinks. Despite being exiled to Paducah, he's doing pretty well. I wasn't aware that I needed a night out like that. For the past couple of years, most of my socialization has been with the cohort or gaming, and while that's by no means bad, I guess I needed something else.

Today, storms. Thunder woke me up around 5AM today, and, having no real need to get up so early, I spent a couple of hours lying in bed watching the flashes of lightning and listening to thunderclaps and rain pelting my bedroom windows and awnings. Really nice. Three more storm fronts blew through over the course of the day. Lots of rain. Some heavier weather to the east, based on Facebook postings. Our weather was a good backdrop to homework. Good progress.
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Three years ago today, I left my job at the LHL after 14-and-a-half years there. I survived numerous mass layoffs, a couple of near-firings, changes in assignments and teams, and towards the end, constant attacks on my mental health. I don't miss it. I miss a lot of the people.

Since then, I've faced trials of wholly different kinds. As noted in a previous LJ entry, I've fallen, but in almost every case, I've fallen forward, and I'm okay with that. I'm facing some uncertainty in the job hunt, as I don't really want to leave Louisville, and if I stay in Kentucky, it will almost have to be here or back to Lexington. One of my professors cracked a good-natured joke about my career plans within earshot of the dean yesterday morning, leading to an informal chat and some suggestions from him. My plans have changed - I don't know that I want to work in rural healthcare anymore, having a lot more interest in drug treatment and policy and emergency preparedness.

First, though, finishing the program. Last night was the final presentation of the somewhat useless Integration class; final exam next week, and that sucker is done. Some discussion tonight in Social Determinants and a short group paper, and it's done. Paper and policy dev for the Policy course, presentation next week. Two presentations in evaluation, one this week and one off-site next, and that's done. And my practicum presentation on the 24th, and that's it. Assuming I hit the markers, I'll be a freshly-minted Master of Public Health.

I, and my classmates, have been dissatisfied with this final semester of our program. Classes seemed haphazardly put together, and the crossover course with the nurse practitioners has turned out to be a smoking mess. Our evaluations have not been kind. It's only cathartic for us; hopefully, they'll help the future students.
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Last week brought an uncomfortable realization. Two years ago, all of us in this cohort were strangers. I don't think any of us knew each other. We met on orientation day, then spent the first semester seeing each other every day before splitting into our concentrations, where smaller groups of us saw each other every day - well, four days a week in class, and regularly out of class to work or not work. And now things are winding up, and when this is all done, some of us will never see each other again. Marc's set on going back to Columbus. Marina's maybe heading to law school. Stephen's taking a year before dental school. I'm looking for epi graduate certificate programs. Katy's been mum about her plans. Jessica, too, but we're betting she chases down a PhD somewhere. We became a family, and as families do, we're about to scatter to the winds. I will miss these folks.
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Relevant to the previous entry's overdose discussion, Thursday afternoon, I saw a LFD engine and two LMPD cruisers roll onto Gray Street and stop in front of LMPHW. The engine crew dismounted, no turnout gear, and to my shame, I thought, "Just an OD case, then, no big deal." This is now normal, I guess. And this is not right.

Wednesday was my 45th birthday. Nothing exciting, really. Had a short meeting at Shawnee Academy for one of my classes.

Friday, time at LMPHW, planning for ICS instruction in May, then a couple hours in the Cave to close out the day. A staffer in OEP is retiring in a couple of weeks, and my mentor suggested I apply for her position. I'm applying for a position with CHE, too, so hopefully things will start moving on that front. After practicum time, I went to Crescent Springs for Erin's birthday dinner. Met her boyfriend (who is a heck of a good guy) and other folks. Pretty good evening.

Including last night's round trip, I think I can count the number of times I've driven I-71 between I-265 and the I-75 merger on two hands. I've never had much need to travel that way, and that stretch of Interstate is strange to me. Lots of grades and curves, and there are markers for the Carrollton bus crash way back when. It's a little bit spooky. And I'll be making the drive again a couple of weeks, when I head to CincyCon.

Going out with Mom&Dad in a little while, and probably with some friends tonight. And if they bail, I can just as easily go to a movie on my own. Have to schedule my Corellian Conflict game sometime. Prep for SYR and my regular SW game. Do homework, research, search for jobs. Keeping moving.

81 days.
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My classmate and buddy Stephen K is a good guy. Despite nearly 20 years' difference in our ages, we've become good friends over the past year.

Stephen's older brother, Nathan, has been battling a handful of different and rare cancers for several years, and it looks like it's coming to an end. Stephen let us know over the weekend that he wasn't expecting to be in class at all this week, but would be able to work on group assignments from Lexington, where his brother is being treated. We checked in yesterday, and the reply wasn't good. A few last-ditch treatments, Stephen said, mostly to give Nathan's wife some kind of peace, and ceasing the transfusions. "After that it could be hours to days."

Nathan's not yet 30. This ain't right.
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I find myself drawing comparisons between my time at the other school and my current program. At UK, I couldn't have told you the name of the A&S dean, or the chair of the department. At SPHIS, I talk regularly with our dean, and outside of business and class hours, I'm on a first-name basis with him. Friday was extremely quiet, being the day before a three-day weekend, and I found myself sitting on the steps of the HSC library with Dr. Blakely, eating tacos and talking about my plans for my second MPH year and what I'm doing afterward. He told me straight-up that he thinks I'm shortchanging myself by not pursuing a doctorate - if not right away, then when I'm working in the field and can get an employer to help cover the expense.

One of my pledges when I started this program was to not discount advice about academics and career paths from those in a position to give it. A doctorate was on my mind at the outset, and while I've pushed it to the back of my mind, the idea is still there. I have no reason not to do it, and my career would definitely benefit. So, something like a plan.

I didn't make the last Slur Your Role, so no Edge of the Empire time. There was some nerdrage over one GM not getting players and then not getting a player slot in games that people did want to play. The next one is in a couple of weeks, and there's a Changeling game listed, so, yeah, my interest is piqued. And a couple of my regular X-Wing opponents are interested in some Star Wars role-playing.

Went to see Mom&Dad on Saturday, avoided the family reunion (maybe should have gone, in retrospect), got to see Shadow in the evening. Ran into some bad traffic on I-64 when I got back to Louisville, with my exit bracketed by westbound and eastbound wrecks. Got home okay, played WoW for a bit, napped.

Shadow (or maybe Six-String Shadow, since she's learning to play guitar) came by yesterday, giving me a convenient excuse to not go to Indiana for a cookout. Introduced her to Joella's, had ice cream, did normal-people date things. Rather fun. After she went home, I wound up sitting in bed and writing for a while. Got inspired, I guess, and I'm continuing with it this morning.

Loved Captain America: Civil War. The Russos have given me two tremendous Cap films (Winter Soldier is far and away my favorite MCU movie), and this one really showed how weak Age of Ultron was. It also provided the exception to the rule that Captain America is always right in moral or ethical matters. In this case (protecting the Winter Soldier), he was wrong. Friendship is precious and valuable, but when your friend is a weapon of mass destruction and the keys to that engine are in who knows what hands, the right thing isn't keeping him on the loose. You secure that weapon, and help find ways to disarm it.
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Wedding rehearsal - went well, no problems, simple, fun ceremony. Lots of laughter and joking around. Got some great news - Rebecca's taken a position with CDC that will move them from Birmingham to Marysville, Ohio. Most importantly, it means that B&R will be three hours away instead of seven. As a bonus pointed out by Ben, it means that Dusty and I have a place to stay for Origins trips.

Wedding day! Events led to me lighting out for Simpsonville around 9:45 to pick up Ben's suit. And then, the weather. Oh dear me. According to WLKY, I drove under a possible funnel cloud a few minutes after getting back on I-64. I cannot verify, as visibility was down to about nothing. This was a monster storm. Got back to the house, made sure my stuff was together, and settled in to wait for D. She arrived, and off we went. Got to Lexington without any problems and helped out with last-minute details. Lots of photos. So many photos. Then the ceremony. Then more photos. Then the reception. Then turning for home. Such a great day.

Saturday would have been D&D, but I was having none of it, my body decided. Slept until noon. Read. Read some more. No idea what I did on Sunday.

New Horizons sent back some amazing photos of Pluto and Charon. There's real geography there! Mountain ranges, canyons, all the good stuff. And data will be coming in from the probe for another year or so - and it may be able to visit other outer system bodies. So damn cool.
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The nonsense continues. My cousin has appeared on MSNBC and other places, and has not acquitted himself well at all. His grandstanding is going to result in a very expensive lawsuit, one the county cannot afford. I'm pretty sure that, from the family perspective, my silence is speaking volumes. Not that anyone except my parents would really care, and, frankly, their opinions are the only ones that I want to engage with.

Well, amend that. There's Cassandra, my fave cousin. She's on the other side of the family, very close to me on the political and social spectra. We're watching this with a mix of disgust and fascination.

Hit-and-miss weekend. Wanted to see Macbeth Friday night, but weather didn't cooperate. Went down to Waterfront Park, saw Jeffersonville's fireworks show and the Bats' as well, and got home in time to see the last few bursts from the JCC. Smoke from the last mixed with the rising mists and the orange glow from streetlights to give my quiet little street a lovely otherworldly look. Tried again on Saturday night, but the concert was not pet-friendly, so we stayed in and goofed off.

Saw Inside Out last night. Not impressed at all.

Ben's wedding is Friday night. This is going to be a fun evening.
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Here's a thing that happened, and it has to have happened before, but I've never noticed it until now.

Tuesday night, some of my classmates and I got together after class for a couple of hours to tag-team some homework. We wrapped up around 8:30, a half-hour or so after sundown. One of our group mentioned where she parked, said she didn't want to have to ride the shuttle (she was parked in the huge lot at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium). I offered to give her a lift, as I was parked much closer - surface lot instead of the garage I prefer, but still closer. She accepted.

I'm a good-sized guy. A "person of size," if I want to make one of my professors laugh, a "big fat dude" when I'm making fun of myself. Just under six feet tall, and, well, big. Leila, my classmate is about 5'4", maybe 110, and straight-up just as cute as a button.

We chatted on the walk to the parking lot, just idle conversation to pass the time. And I noticed that no matter how wide or narrow the sidewalk, she never got closer than four feet or so to me, and she had her keys in hand the whole time. When we got to my car, I opened the passenger door for her, but she didn't move to get in until I stepped away and started to walk around to my side; she kept her backpack in her lap and keys in hand until we got to her car. My car autolocks the doors; I took care to unlock the doors with my right hand and kept my left on the steering wheel when we approached her car. I put a parking space between the vehicles when we stopped - seemed appropriate - and when she opened up the door, she leaned over and gave me a quick peck on the cheek, then bolted out.

The last thing, I'll chalk up to impulse, but the other behavior was pretty deliberate, and it took me a couple of minutes to realize that it was basic defense stuff. And it makes sense - I'm a classmate, but not really someone she knows. I don't think I put out any kind of threatening vibe, but to someone the better part of a foot shorter than me and half my weight, I guess I can represent a potential threat. No matter how abhorrent the idea of physically (or worse) assaulting someone is to me, Leila didn't know that, and while she did trust me enough to walk/ride with me, she kept her defenses up, and it was plenty reasonable.

And she sent me a short e-mail an hour or so after I dropped her off, making sure that I wasn't somehow offended by how she acted. More proof that I'm not to old to learn things.

In other matters, still lots of classwork. Debate in 440 and presentation in 430 next week. For the first time, ever, I'm feeling the need to do the end-of-chapter exercises in most of my courses. I have to make myself work with minimal distractions - can't work with the TV on, for example, and usually, I'm studying in my bedroom if I'm at home. Tonight, I figure I'll be at Highland Coffee Company, or on campus if I'm going really late.

UofL lost to Virginia yesterday on a late field goal. Good game, though.

Broke in my copy of Last Night on Earth last night - three games, zombies won all of them. Played Legendary Encounters, too, using the Alien 3 setup. We got slaughtered in the first game, but did pretty well in the second. We used the agenda option for that one, and the traitor got his comeuppance late in the game. Our synthetic did him in and held off the xenomorphs for several turns, but we ultimately lost on deck depletion. Terrific evening of gaming, and I needed to get away from homework for a while.

Came home to what under most circumstances would have been a delightful surprise, but my headspace didn't let me appreciate it. Stayed up pretty darn late with homework, slept well enough but not long enough, and went back to homework when I got up a few hours ago.

Time to get back at it. Onward.

Try

Aug. 30th, 2014 11:50 pm
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The first week of class is behind me. I'm completely certain that this is where I am supposed to be, and I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

There's a marked difference in teaching/learning/grading philosophies between SPHIS classes and my lone A&S course. SPHIS takes, I guess, a more holistic approach. With the Internet in everyone's pocket now, access to information isn't nearly as important as knowing what to do with raw data, and SPHIS is set up towards teaching how to make use of the information. Conversely, BIOL 372 is going to be graded on bouncing classroom information back to the instructor. Now, it's going to be really interesting information (man, cholera has nifty effects on its host), but the learning experience won't be as complete.

By the way, my Tuesday/Thursday classes begin at the sour spot as far as parking goes. The garage is full when I get to campus, and I'm parking out behind Speed instead. Which affords me the opportunity to walk past the site of my catastrophic failure 25 years ago. Motivation, of a sort.

Went to Frankfort for an X-Wing tournament this morning. Went 1-1, and proved the worth of a cheap-ass Z-95 kitted out as a missile carrier. Only one salvo, but it punched WAY above its weight class and teamed with a X-Wing to blow a YT-1300 right off the board. Pretty terrific return on investment. Next time around, I'm fielding an Imperial force, as part of my ongoing project to make the TIE Advanced somehow useful. The host store was holding a weekend long mini-con and sale, so I picked up the On the Brink expansion for Pandemic; later, I swung by Something 2 Do and got the Blood in the Forest expansion for Last Night on Earth for quite a bit under retail. Since I'm not expecting to get into any RPGs anytime soon, these should  be pretty good investments.

Had a rather good evening out. Hibachi, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, delicious ice cream, and fantastic company. And hey, NCAA football got underway this weekend!

Add it Up

Aug. 21st, 2014 05:44 pm
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GenCon ended on a pretty good note. There was the usual flurry of last-minute sales, and I contributed by picking up a copy of Last Night on Earth. Looking forward to playing it with The Niece sometime soon. Fastest booth breakdown we've ever done - about 20 minutes, and Ben and I skipped out when we determined that there were too many people doing things and we had a drive ahead of us.

So, the drive. Man, sometimes, just screw Indiana, alright? Road construction on I-65 Southbound, down to one lane for only a few miles, but enough of a traffic bottleneck to make our trip from Indy to Louisville take just shy of three hours. Less than 100 miles. And then the rain hit, just as we cleared the backup. Drove Ben to Elizabethtown to link up with his fiancee, and for a few miles south of Shepherdsville, I swear to Cantore, the sky was purple-pink and brightly-lit and downright unsettling. Got home, decided that laundry would wait for Pants-Free Monday, and slept in a bed for the first night since Wednesday. My bed, even. Very comfy.

TLGS Colin got his game prototype into Alderac's hands. We got his buddy's games in front of some publishers who will have a better chance of getting the game manufactured than us. We sold a lot of books. All of the problems were resolved. And next year's going to rock.

Bought a non-powered reel mower. It was unfortunately insufficient to the needs of the yard, so it went back to be replaced by a gas-burner. Much better.

Holy cow, today. Day 1 of my SPHIS orientation. Met some classmates, met the SPHIS dean (who looks like Donald Sutherland). Had an impromptu talk with said dean, and he introduced me to the CEO of KentuckyOne Health - possible internship! And in a couple of years, possible posting with the University's next overseas campus. All very very tentative. But I am excited. Oh sweet mercy, am I excited. I've got to get through this semester, show what I'm capable of, and then things look like they're really going to get exciting.

Onward.
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Yep, in Indianapolis. Taking a break between the Exhibitor Hall and dinner and dancing this evening.

Our little convoy assembled at the house Wednesday morning. I'd loaded the Focus with the weekend's supplies, and had my personal bags ready to go. Arrived in Indy around 1:30, checked in, and started sorting hotel assignments. This was the first hiccup of the weekend - GenCon placed us in three hotels, and all of the rooms are double/doubles, instead of the suites we expected. There was some scrambling to arrange additional bedding, and one of my bosses and I were ready to make a fast trip to Meijer or CostCo or something and get inflatable mattresses, but one of our friends (staying with the company) came through with a camping cot and two airbeds. So, hooray for Art!

On the other hand, man, seriously, screw flaky gamers. One of the new guys sent me an e-mail letting me know that he wouldn't be able to make it because of his wife's health issues. He sent it at 11AM the day before the con formally begins. We had to cancel four more tables of games because of this shithead, on top of the 10 we had already had to cancel because of the licensor throwing a wobbly. Brief anger, leading to disappointment, but ultimately not surprised. I'd had a lurking suspicion about this guy, mostly because of who recommended him to me. So, yeah, that happened. We handled it.

Oh, hey, lunch Wednesday! We got to Tavern on South and had duck wings before the Munchkin people took over the place for the weekend with their crappy game.

Wednesday night, we assembled the team, had a meeting, had a good time. Played some games and braced ourselves for the next four days.

I love working this convention, by the way. A few weeks after each year's show, I start to think that maybe I'll go as a civilian the next time, but I snap out of that soon enough. I don't know that I'd enjoy it nearly so much from the other side of the curtain now. I like my Exhibitor Badge and the access it grants me. I like having enough time scheduled with work that I don't go into decision paralysis over events I want to attend. I like having a base of operations in the hall, and handshakes and quick chats and evening pickup games with designers I admire. Heck, this morning, Michael Stackpole came by, sat down in our booth, and shared a few words. Yesterday, John Snead said it was nice to see me again. Had breakfast with Steve Kenson yesterday, and then talked with a possible licensee about using Fantasy Craft to power his newly-acquired Lxxx & xxxxL property. It's just cool.

So, yeah, on to Thursday. Finished booth setup, with the new layout I'd pushed for. Much better product presentation, more security and comfort for my staff. Fast dashes to some vendors (I got a Rebel Aces set, so will be hankering for some X-Wing action real soon). And then the VIGs. And sales began. And at 10, the rush of attendees. Meeting and greeting, all the good stuff. Nice coffee flask from ACD Distribution.

We have dinner with our convention staff and a few others on Thursday night. This year, dinner was followed by a meeting with the managers of our host restaurant, with the hopes of arranging a different kind of convention presence for 2015 and after. We're abandoning the traditional large event schedule after this year. We're big enough to fill up our events with players, but not so big that we can reliably and easily fill up the required GM slots. Next year, we're going to partner with a couple of other similarly-sized publishers and rent the restaurant's largest private room for two or three nights, hosting open gaming nights. Food and drink sales will go against our rental costs, and it's not unlikely that our visitors will effectively pay for the facility. It's exciting, and I think it'll work better for us than the traditional process.

More games, more people, more fun on Friday. Handled some little problems with event materials. Played Star Wars: Age of Rebellion in the afternoon and some board and card game prototypes late into the night. Had a moment that reminded me of why I love this con - looked around, and there was about half of my team, some friends and partners, and groups of other folks, sitting/lying around the third-floor lobby of the JW Marriott, playing games and hanging out and having a good time. It was kinda magical.

Traded my booth-credit-acquired books for a fantasy setting guide this morning. Worked the booth. Debated buying Last Night on Earth. Lunch, errands, then back to the hotel to recharge. Watching football fans stream into Lucas Oil Stadium for a Colts game. Arranging meets with friends for dinner and going dancing and stuff. The show's over tomorrow; in 24 hours, I'll be back home.

Kingfisher

Jul. 30th, 2014 09:34 pm
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I have, all things considered, enjoyed the time I've spend in my childhood home this summer. I've strengthened my relationship with my parents, and I think for the first time in my life, I've started to get some real idea as to how deep a good parent's love for a child goes. I'll never be a parent, of course, but I do get a sense of it through my relationship with the world's best niece.

Speaking of Micahalia, she and I got to spend an evening running around together last week. I'd gone to Louisville to check out a couple of housing options, and gave her a call. So, we went out to dinner and Vint and enjoyed some good time together. She's fantastic, and the depth of our relationship means that she and I can be completely honest with each other. I told her about my adviser's take that I have a long history of selling myself short - and Micahalia instantly told me "Yes, you do!" So, yeah... more encouragement to swing for the goddamn bleachers every chance I get.

I made the decision last week to commute from Liberty (or wherever) for my last two weeks at the summer McJob. The hotel had just gotten too depressing, and given the number of shortened workweeks over the course of the assignment, I wasn't really making any money with the cost of the hotel factored in. As it turns out, I made a good decision. Got to the shoe mines on Sunday afternoon, and my workgroup (and a couple others) were released. Well, we were given the option of finishing out the assignment, but working at most 20 hours/week, or leaving with no consequence. I handed in my badge and hit the door, with a "So long, mofos!" in my heart. And, in something like a sign, when I stopped in at Speedway for some tea for the drive home, I saw that I had enough rewards points for a VISA gift card. Got the card, routed to a FLGS, and rewarded myself with a copy of the new D&D Starter Set. Because why not.

Visited a few more houses and apartments on Monday. Found a place near the Frankfort Avenue reservoir that I really liked, but we wound up signing a lease this afternoon on a house on Cannons Lane. No watching trains from my living room, but since we're a half-block or so from Bowman Field, I can go out into the back yard and watch small aircraft come and go.

Huh. Spoke with three of the four super-influential Louisville Girl Friends today. That's pretty alright. More encouragement and general goodness.

Looked again into the UPS/UofL Metropolitan College program. Slightly different from what I remember from previous inquiries - and for the better. I think this is going to work out for me. Not an easy thing, but not insurmountable, and it will make the path smoother in the long run. It fits with my ... whatever it is of placing everything into the perspective of "Will this help with school?"

Moving the housemate tomorrow and/or Friday. He's under more time pressure than me to get settled. And has a lot less stuff. I respect that. I still have too much.

Symmetry

Jun. 14th, 2014 09:37 pm
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Screw buying a Kindle. The iPad app works really well, and it's not too bright to read in bed, so I'll spend the $120, when I have it to spare again, on e-books.

I intended to start sorting things into the sell-versus-keep categories Thursday evening or Friday, but it didn't happen. Thursday, I slept a heck of a lot, and Friday morning was slept through as well. Wound up going to Louisville on Friday afternoon to see a Moth storytelling competition with Diane. I didn't know how much I needed time with a friend until we got out and ran around for a while. Good conversation and just time with one of the best people in my life. Got a quick and surprising flurry of texts while we were driving around after the competition and some late-night coffee. Got home around 2:30AM, listening to a radio station out of Chicago most of the way.

Home. There's a heck of a word. For about half of the week, home is a cheap hotel room in Shepherdsville. For the rest, it's the house I grew up in. On the whole, it's good to be back here. The night sky is heartbreakingly beautiful, I'm with my far-too-good-for-me parents quite a bit, and even with the clutter, it's comfortable like you wouldn't believe. I'll be glad to have a place in Louisville, and hope that happens soon, but there are far worse situations to be in.

If I hadn't been so dumb, I'd probably be at Iroquois Park tonight, rockin' out to the Arctic Monkeys.

Too Much

May. 25th, 2014 11:58 pm
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This should be my last-to-night in Lexington. If things go as planned, tomorrow I'll get the last of my material possessions boxed and packed and take them to the farm or to a storage facility somewhere.

I had a lot of help with loading up a 17' U-Haul truck today, and was reminded again that I have awesome friends. And my parents are wonderful beyond words for letting me store pretty much everything at the farm for the next few weeks.

Now, for the bad.

I own entirely too much goddamn stuff. Especially books and role-playing games. Goddamn, the boxes of books. Ridiculous. Hundreds of the things. Hundreds of pounds of them. This is a problem. People, that truck was 2/3 full and while much of that volume was furniture and appliances, so many boxes of books. As a straight-up technofetishist, I really should be deeper into electronic books and shit.

(Warning: Poster got back to his somewhat emptier apartment, took a shower, and poured himself a strong drink. As the observant reader may have noticed, I am under the influence of liquor. Have one yourself, and carry on.)

So, I am planning to purge the everloving hell out of some bookshelves. I'm going to start with the non-gaming side, as I think those will be easier to let go. Some books will stick around, of course - anything signed, items with VERY strong emotional ties - but other stuff is going to HPB or a recycling center. Look, yes, books are awesome and they have a tactile presence that nothing else in the world has. And for that, I'll soon have the Louisville Free Public Library, taking the place of the Lexington Public Library for me. I'm going to catalog all the books I have boxed up, and I'm going to make a big damn (I swear a lot when I'm wound up and have had a drink) shopping list and I'm going to finally buy myself a Kindle. Probably a non-3G Paperwhite model. Yes, I know there's a Kindle app for my iPad. I'm planning on some compartmentalization. I'd like to be able to get rid of (or repurpose!) the larger of my bookcases, and just have the smaller cases with physical books.

Now. The other books. The RPGs, some of which I swear to Gibson I've had since 1986 (Star Frontiers, which was okay when the Satanic Panic made my brother and me sell off our BECMI D&D stuff). Those, I'm going to have a much harder time parting with, but I have a plan. Except for a very few titles, GoodReader + iPad is cooler than the other side of the pillow. I'm going to take another, much harder look at my RPG inventory and be somewhat draconian with this set of cuts. For example, why the heck do I still have Freeport items, or Monte Cook's World of Darkness or, heck, Traveller: TNE for that matter? Damn, man, I'm going to be busting my huge ass on proving myself to SPHIS, I ain't got time for a creaking paper library.

It's midnight. I gotta go to sleep and let my subconscious think on this. More news as I make it.

Strangelove

May. 1st, 2014 08:28 pm
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Tuesday night, I went to Headliners for a Moth Radio Hour storytelling event, a story slam. As noted in the previous entry, I wasn't especially looking forward to it, but the company promised to be good, so I went. There were ten storytellers, some okay, some really good, and some just terrible. The better stories (and storytellers) were in the second half of the slam - and they were legitimately better, this wasn't brought on by the drinks I had over the course of the evening. All in all, it was okay, but not something I'll seek out again without some serious fringe benefits involved.

I was still in something of an odd mood, leftovers from last week's weirdness. And is the way of such things, my behavior swings around - and I often don't feel like making small talk. That happened during the slam, and continued on when we went to the Back Door later on. So, my date responded by trying to fill all of the time I wasn't talking with her own concerns (including going over for the Nth time the particulars of her relationship with a buddy of mine) or trying to get me to be chatty or, worst of all, telling me how she'll help me decorate my new place when I finally get moved to Louisville. That rather pissed me off.

I just had too much on my mind to really enjoy the evening, and even with the drinks, I was pretty damned consumed with other things. The more Jen tried to get me to be someone I wasn't that evening, the more I wanted to be with someone else instead. When we finally called it a night, I fueled up the Focus and drove around Louisville for a while before turning towards Lexington around 1:30. Not a terrible night, but it was a strange one, at least from inside my head.

Last night was Ben's going away party. More than made up for Tuesday night. I'm looking forward to moving to Louisville and starting school and all that will come with it, but I am sure going to miss my Lexington friends.

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