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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.

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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Oh man, I am sometimes really dumb. Decided to rewrite my Health Systems final paper, and pulled the first all-nighter in ... years. I think the paper came out okay, but I didn't. Got home Thursday night after class, and I was out like a light for about 15 hours. Ground away at the grant assignment. Skipped out on gaming Friday night, read.

Saturday, got up and got my grocery list together and headed out to the Mariner ... and dead battery. Housemate ran me to get a new one and some tools I should have already had. Batteries swapped, back on line. Did some small amount of work on the very last assignment of the year. Went over to The Louisville Game Shop for an afternoon of Star Wars gaming. Taught an Air Force brigadier general how to play X-Wing (as is the way of our people). Played some Armada, and got a better sense of how the various bits interact and how it compares to X-Wing (X-Wing is checkers, Armada is chess). Got even more alt-art cards - not the Inquisitor I was lusting after, though. All good. Came home, thought about groceries, thought more positively about staying in. Stayed in.

Today, maintenance in the morning before lighting out to Frankfort to play X-Wing (okay, yeah, I'm playing this a lot). And I have embraced my shame.

I've railed against the 100/6 default, because it took over every play experience around. The ORH league rejected this for the sake of a more casual, friendlier play experience - and that has made me crazy happy. I get in fast skirmishes and Epic games, and it is good. So, with this going on, I can take a different tack when it comes to 100/6 games, which are mostly tournament games in my X-Wing field now. I can play fun squadrons on league nights, and optimized squadrons other times. Today, I decided Heck with it, I'm flying a netlist. Found someone else's build using a couple of the new ARC-170s and flew that. And I tore shit up. Clobbered my buddy Don's Emperor-and-aces squadron. Won a close match against a 3x B-Wing/1x K-Wing squadron. In the final game, my ARCs and my opponents B and K destroyed each other, leaving me with an ace A-Wing versus a generic Y-Wing. Well, I love Y-Wings, and know 'em pretty well. And Y-Wings can do a lot of things, but they can't do any of 'em fast. So, I played to my strengths. I ran like a scared rabbit. My A just ran rings around the Y. Stayed out of weapons range. Ran out the clock. 3-0 on the day. Heck yeah. And for added value, the unfortunately obligatory dickish player got swept. And he was not happy. Didn't stick around to see final standings, just packed up and left when his final match was over. Nothing of value was lost.

So, to heck with it. I've got the league for pure fun, and this darned effective squadron for competitions. Next time, I'm going to replace the gimmicky A-Wing with a solid trusty Y-Wing (and add some raw survivability to the squadron, as well as control options) and see how that works out.

Speak Slow

Jul. 19th, 2016 09:41 am
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Since moving to Louisville, I've managed exactly one session as GM, running Hunter at Conglomeration. That's about to change. I'm kicking off a FFG Star Wars game this week! Very excited. I need that particular cognitive exercise.

I broke in my own new TIE Defenders and Bombers in a couple of games over the weekend. Made a couple of horrible mistakes that lost one match for me, and just flat got outflown in another. Lots more to learn - I just don't play Empire enough, I guess. FFG's started spoiler articles for Wave 9, so I figure they'll have those ships for sale at GenCon. Hopefully they won't be sold out by Saturday morning.

Played old-school Little Black Books Traveller Friday night, and it was a good time. I have an early printing actual LBB box, courtesy of an ex-girlfriend, and dropping that on the table got a couple of comments.

Having survived the funeral and all the foolishness that accompanied it, Mom&Dad came up Sunday to pick up the Ranger from Micahalia. The little truck's due for some work anyway (new tires, a leaking vacuum line, one or two other things), and the timing's right. He hinted at bringing it back to Louisville and leaving it with me, and I guess that'd be plenty useful.

*sigh* A F-150 with the same paint job as my old one moved in a few houses down. The new neighbor is a couple years older than mine, but the similarities are more important. This one even has the proper West Coast mirrors. I have swooned.

SpaceX pulled off another first-stage return. Still not routine, but they're getting a good handle on doing this. I figure the real test will come when one of the returned stages is used in a commercial launch.
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Sometimes it's weird in my head. To set the stage, know that a big snowstorm was forecast for the region, early this week. By "the region," I mean "the continental United States roughly bordered by the Mississippi River, the Atlantic Ocean, and Interstates 40 and 70." And we got it alright, starting around midnight Sunday here in Louisville.

Sunday was my birthday, and this is not the first time that the Commonwealth has gotten hammered by severe weather around February 15 - 2003's ice storm messed Lexington up good.

Anyway. I'm out getting a late lunch, and Dad calls. Wants to know if I had school the next day (Presidents Day). "Yep," I say. "Oh," he says, disappointed. Turns out his dispatcher had a small shipment to pick up in Bedford, Indiana, going to Pontiac, Michigan.

A couple of hours later, the University of Louisville calls off classes for Monday because of the impending weather. So, I call Dad. You know the rest, right? I went to Michigan.

Our cargo? An electrical box, maybe 2.5' x 2.5' by 1.5', weighing about 30 pounds. Dispather had advised Dad of the small size, so we took a pickup - a Ram 1500 R/T. This is a vehicle that is quite good at being shot full of gadgetry and going fast in a straight line, but for driving long distances, it's pretty shitty, and for reasons beyond the very thirsty V8 up front. And it is maybe more skittish than my Mustang was on icy roads. When we stopped for dinner on the way home last night, we had come to the conclusion that we should have taken the Ranger. Or my Focus, even.

Lotta snow, though. And slick roads. Props to KYDOT and INDOT for their work - I-65 from Indianapolis to Louisville was mostly clear and if you were smart, you encountered no problems. Likewise I-64 to Frankfort, at least.

Classes were cancelled today, too. Got the notification while we were eating. I'm relieved, because this gives me more time to work on a presentation. Hoping we go back tomorrow.

Neuromancer

Apr. 9th, 2007 04:07 pm
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Abusing resources today.  Color laser printers do bang-up jobs on gaming PDFs.

Spoke to Mom and Dad separately today.  Mom's sore from going to work today, but I think they'll both be fine in short order.  Dad, I think, is heading out on the road tomorrow, and that'll be a real test for him.

Got some replacement parts for the Explorer this morning, and Matt's arranging for the work to be done at the speed shop he manages.  I feel extremely lucky today.
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It has been a very busy handful of days since last I posted.

On Monday, Erin and I went to the Louisville Zoo.  The day was lovely, and we saw lots and lots of animals.  I definitely got in my day's required walking, and we had a terrific time.

Tuesday morning, we went to Dick's Sporting Goods to look at camping supplies and pick up her newly-repaired mountain bike.  Saw plenty of goodies to get before we take off on some camping trips later on.  Got back out to the Explorer (he's picked up a name, now - Omar), and there were two voice messages on my phone.  Dad telling me to call him immediately, Matt advising the same.  I call Dad, and get a hit of bad news.  They've been in a wreck - some wangrod t-boned them.  Now get this, dear readers - they were making a left turn onto a side street.  The other driver came from behind Mom&Dad and shot over the road's centerline, hitting their Explorer on the rear driver's-side door.  According to witnesses, the Explorer was lifted off the ground by force of the accident, and it rolled onto the passenger side.  They were both banged up, but no serious injuries.  The Explorer is likely to be totalled once an insurance adjuster gets to look at it - Dad's doing something I consider catastrophically stupid, but more on that in a moment.  Now, I'd been planning to take my Mustang to WV, as it's much easier on gas than Omar, but I'm now taking the truck so I can haul Mom&Dad back home.  No sweat.  We load Erin's bike into the cargo bay, run out to my apartment to throw some clothes together, and I get her back to Berea.  From there, off to West Virginia.  Matt is heading out by himself, and the plan is to leave the Explorer with Mom&Dad, and I'm going to ride back with Matt (he's coming home right after the burial).

I tear-ass across I-64, averaging better than 70 miles-per until I get to Huntington.  Dad and Matt have been crowing about this alternate route to Logan County via Richmond and Irvine and Prestonsburg and a batch of Federal and state highways, but I stick to the route I know.  Off 64 at Huntington, and onto WV10.  And I'd forgotten what a mess that road is.  95 miles to Logan from Huntington, and it took better than two hours to traverse.  Had I been in the Mustang, the drive would have rocked on toast, given his road-holdy nature.  Instead, the drive was a tedious and constant speed adjustment, punctuated by my swearing at the massive radio-dead-zone I'm stuck in.  (Must must must get a CD player installed in the truck.)

Arrival at Logan Regional Hospital to meet up with parents.  Matt arrives within minutes of me (so much for that nifty new route being quicker and better - he ran his Mustang like Hell was after him, and me and the big clumsy and slower SUV beat him to the hospital, and I made at least four stops to refuel, get drinks, and return drinks to ecosystem) and off we all go to aunt's house.  We go to the wake, I see and talk with many cousins and politely avoid a few others.  Dad has decided to get a room at some little lodge in Man - but, of course, he hasn't checked to see if there are rooms available before we go there at 9:30 p.m. to check in.  Of course, no vacancy.  Now, please note that this is Tuesday night.  They've been in Logan County since Sunday morning.  At this point, I'm deeply regretting cancelling a room reservation I'd made at a Super 8 in Logan (the town).  So, another motor lodge has a room, we go there.  I do not sleep well at all.

Now, Wednesday.  Funeral, brief service.  Burial is several miles away, and the funeral procession is at least a half-mile long.  Mom rides with me, Dad with Matt.  Quick graveside words, crowds disperse, Matt splits, as Dad has convinced me to stay another night.  He and I do some quick shopping (I brought exactly two shirts, including the one I wore on Tuesday, so need more if there's another day's stay involved), then we go to my aunt's house to move all of the bags out of their damaged Explorer to mine, as at this point the plan is to head back home today (Thursday).  Mom is aghast when I announce that we're going to leave by noon today, so that I can see Erin perform at a Maundy Thursday service in Berea.  Drama ensues.  She wanted to stay longer, so that she can attend another funeral - her older sister's sister-in-law.  *headdesks*  There is a discussion I'm not privy to, and Dad decides that he'll just drive the wrecked Explorer back to Liberty.  We spend the night at my aunt's house.  I do not sleep well at all, unsurprisingly.

Thursday morning.  Mom gets pissed at me because I can't translate "Andy, this thing is doing that thing again" into a useful sentence, and point this out to her.  A couple of cousins and I do a quick fix on the shattered passenger window, I transfer all the crap that I'd moved to Omar back to the wrecked truck (with no small amount of grumbling), and they're all set.  I shoot the breeze with two cousins for a while, we rotate Omar's tires and discover a damaged bushing, and then I'm off.  Instead of WV10, I head for US119.  Four lanes.  Minimal traffic.  Hell is split wide open.  God bless West Virginia - the old state roads are barely deserving of the name, but by God, they have engineered some Federal and Interstate highways that are well-suited to move really damned fast on, and I make great time getting out of there.  Cross over into Kentucky, and I don't know that I've ever been so happy to see the Catlettsburg refinery.  Make the mistake of getting off of the Interstate in Morehead.  Catch myself drifting off to sleep twice, and find a rest area for a power nap.  Either I didn't set my phone alarm or I just shut it off when it sounded, because I'm awakened by Erin's call ... 10 minutes before her performance is to begin.  Dammit dammit dammit.

So, I'm home now.  It's cold out there.  I'm expecting to have to go back that way on Saturday and pick Mom&Dad up when some hidden damage pops up and immobilizes the truck completely.  I tell myself that I'll be gracious about it, but we all know better.  Tomorrow, I'm hitting Autozone or Advance to get a replacement bushing.  I'm hoping to get some time with Erin, but not counting on it.  We're probably going to the Horsemen home opener on Saturday evening, unless I have to go rescue stranded parents.

Yeah.  This week was supposed to be relaxing and fun.  Vacation becomes visitation becomes recovery becomes drama.  Bleah.
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Ouch.  Sore.  I am so very out of shape.  Spent much of yesterday helping Justin move into his groovycool new loft condo, and it whupped me.  My arms and legs are in protest, as they repair the muscles used yesterday.

The Explorer, incidentally, continues to show its incredible usefulness.  Hauled several loads of furniture and other goods from old apartment to new loft, and never offered up the first complaint.  I have the feeling that when he passes other Explorers that are pristine and clearly used by someone who wanted only a station wagon with visibility, he feels sorry for his underutilized brothers.

Continuing to love love love Growlanser Generations.  I don't think I'll keep this one, but I'm certainly enjoying it while it's here.  I need to get in some Kingdom Hearts and Xenosaga time, too.
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What a week.  It's definitely 4th Quarter at 100 Midland Avenue.  Huge volume of ads this week, and Friday night was bugnuts.  Stayed 2.5 hours late - that'll be a nice boost to this paycheck.

Saturday afternoon made up for it.  Lunch with Erin and Camille&Clayton and Colin.  Beer-can chicken with lots of sides.  We ate big, and threw around ideas for a live-action con game.  Something so very wrong there.

Dad bought a new Explorer.  Didn't need the old one, so he gave it to me.

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