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Graduate regalia acquired, and Rebel Alliance starbird sticker placed on the cap. Rehearsal tonight, and then dinner with Mom&Dad, I figure. They're coming up this afternoon, staying downtown to avoid a very early start tomorrow morning.

I've had some off-the-record talks with some professors about ways to make up for the policy class. If/when I pursue a terminal degree, that's almost certainly the field. My undergrad policy instructor has provided a healthy reading list, and suggested that I go hard on self-education and consider writing, essentially, a thesis by any other name. A couple of instructors here at SPHIS have offered to tag me in if the right opportunity for collaboration comes along, and agree with the undergrad instructor's suggestions.

Replaced the ancient router this week. Tuesday night, it dropped the wireless connections four times in an hour, and my patience just evaporated. Now there's a sinister-looking dual-band device handling things, and everything is hunky-dory so far. This has me in the mind of a couple more little projects. Simplest, and just a matter of dropping $30 on a couple of sticks, is the Peppermint laptop. More complicated, and quite possibly more than I'm capable of, is replacing the old Macbook's optical drive with a solid-state drive. That's a little bit more expensive, because in addition to the new SSD, I feel obligated, somehow, to max out the thing's RAM.

No, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, either, but I hung onto the old machines to tinker with them.

On the negative side regarding technology, the Mariner needs exhaust work and the most recent Alexa update seems to have removed TuneIn function from the Echo Dot. One of these has a much higher priority than the other - my little cute-ute should not be nearly as rumbly as the old Monte Carlo.


Oct. 11th, 2016 09:31 pm
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Finished all of the papers and my group project components. Right now, I'm planning on coasting through the next couple of days, getting in a good day at LMPHW, running a good Star Wars game Friday night, and then spending no small amount of the weekend in bed.

The Mariner's sunroof has jammed itself. Closed, fortunately, but it's an irritant, and I don't want to think about what it'll cost to repair.
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My last-hour GenCon purchase was the Shadowrun Anarchy Prototype - a 48-page preview of the upcoming rules-lighter version of the game. I like what I see - magic and cybernetics and all that are rolled into a catch-all category of "Shadow Amplifications," or just "Amps." They do appropriate things. Ranges (weapons and movement) are given in bands, not unlike FFG's Star Wars games. A weapon is OK, -2, or - at the Close, Near, or Far ranges, so no roll penalty, a 2-dice penalty, or unusable. Can't hit a guy three blocks away with a handgun, and can't use your big ol' sniper rifle against the guy right next to you. The full version of the game promises easy compatibility with Shadowrun 5, too.

Adapting to the Mariner will take some time. I can't fling it into and through curves like I did with the Focus, and holy cow is the visibility different. It's a refined descendant of my Explorer, I guess. Not quite a truck, but with truck qualities. And a killer Shaker 360 audio system.

I drove three other vehicles before deciding on the Mariner. 2008 Taurus - very comfortable, but big. And a CVT mated to an early version of the 3.5L V6; anemic acceleration. Third-generation Explorer XLT, dark red, V6 - really comfortable, nicely equipped, but just bigger than I wanted. F-150 Supercrew - a descendant of my first vehicle. 2WD, V8, and it was a real truck. Probably too thirsty, and only a 4.5' bed. I liked it, but, not now. My plan with the Focus was to get through graduate school and my first year or two in the new career, then look into a new Ranger. Now ... well, the Mariner looks to be in very good condition, and the mileage is low for its age, so barring something unexpected, I'll keep it going for a longer stretch and go from there.
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Got home Wednesday night, and my cops of 7th Sea 2nd Edition was on the porch - a most happy surprise! The book is gorgeous, and I kinda wish I'd had the resources to go in for an all-the-hardbacks pledge, because it appears that there will be a graphic extending across the spines of the books.

Spent Friday morning at the MRC/LMPHW storage space at Louisville Megacavern. Lots of inventorying, stocking trailers, all that. More body bags than I cared to count. But it was a good morning, and good work.

After the cave, I headed up to Indianapolis. Got there around 3PM, linked up with my nerd-siblings, and got settled into the hotel. Clowning around, catching up, telling stories, all that. Con went well enough. Lots of excitement about the Mistborn board game (and despite my disinterest in the property, it is a lot of fun). Got a couple of new ships for X-Wing and the Shadowrun Anarchy preview. Got to see Ben and Rebecca, then we broke down the booth.

I decided to detour through Northern Kentucky and see Erin and talk about 7th Sea, so headed out on I-74. Got to the Shelbyville (Indiana) exit, and hit a hole in the road. Shouldn't have been anything worse than maybe a tire knocked off the wheel, but the impact broke the rocker arm. Got it trailered home, and the mechanic inspection was an eye-opener. His evaluation - it can be made drivable, but it'll never be highway-safe. An ungodly amount of structural rust throughout. Like, hit the rail with a hammer and watch it cleave levels of rust. So, he told the adjuster what was up, and the adjuster totaled it and wrote a check right there in Mom&Dad's driveway. Bought a Mercury Mariner this morning. Loaded up, but thirsty. I'll deal.

So, a more eventful end to the weekend than I would have liked, but maybe a blessing in disguise. I'm back in Louisville now, and all seems to be well. Going-away party for an old GSP buddy and his fiancee tonight.

Never Stop

Jan. 23rd, 2016 09:22 am
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Last weekend, there was a car problem. My water pump seized, which resulted in the serpentine belt shredding. While bad, my luck held - I was at the farm. Got the Jolly Green Giant to a shop in Liberty and was able to get things replaced, although I lost a day of work.

There's a game store in my little tiny hometown now. Didn't get the chance to drop in, but, well, it exists.

Snow hit on Wednesday (Mom&Dad's 48th anniversary, BTW). A couple of inches, but enough for UofL to cancel classes and close offices for the day. We were back in session Thursday, but closed again yesterday due to the bigger storm. This thing, which is named Jonas for whatever reason, was a heck of a thing to watch. Our forecasts changed rapidly - snowfall prediction, when the storm would hit and pass, everything. The end results were all over the place, too. At SDF, the official snowfall total was just under two inches. Straight-line distance, SDF is about 7 miles from the house, where we got better than four inches. At the farm, there was a quarter-inche of ice and sleet below just over a foot of new snowfall. And the Atlantic Seaboard is getting hammered.

And there's a 35-mile string of vehicles on I-75 in Rockcastle County that isn't going anywhere for a while. Never a dull moment.

Besides class and desk time, the storm knocked out a couple of events - a course on harm reduction at Metro Health & Wellness and a X-Wing escalation tournament, both today.

I'm becoming that which I hate, briefly. It's store championship season for X-Wing, and I'm flying in one. With a two-ship build. I have no expectations of placing highly; mostly I want to learn about other builds and entertain myself.
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Being out in the rain and cool air weekend before last took its toll. Wednesday morning, I started feeling poorly - sore throat, coughs and sneezing. By Thursday evening, it was a full-on bad bad cold. Managed the symptoms as well as I could, and headed to Liberty after work on Friday.

An interlude: A classmate is getting herself into serious trouble. Worse, she's assigned to one of my working groups, and her loose understanding of plagiarism policy is making the rest of us look bad, as well as have to rewrite a lot of her straight-up copy-and-paste submissions to group assignments. Friday morning, I had an off-the-record chat with the relevant professor. He seemed to know what was up as soon as I entered his office. The student in question is doing the same thing in other classes, other professors know about it, and despite several official warnings, she is continuing, and the School is preparing expulsion proceedings. It sucks for her, but this is something that SPHIS (and UofL) takes seriously, cultural differences be damned.

Anyway, got to the farm in the early evening. Mom&Dad were about to leave for the wilds of, I think, McCreary County, so I laid down for a nap. That nap lasted about 12 hours, interrupted by a few coughing fits severe enough to make for abdominal pain. Had an appointment with a tire shop on Saturday morning. On the way to the shop, some damn stray dog decided to commit suicide-by-Focus and bent a tie rod when it ran under me. No local shops had that part on hand, so Dad and I arranged to trade vehicles for a few days. Back to the hous, and I went back to the couch, and there was NyQuil and football and sleep and hallucinations, I think. UofL beat NC State during a heavy rain, and WKU ran all over Rice.

Hurricane Joaquin has made an ungodly mess out of South Carolina. A 70-mile stretch of I-95 was closed due to flooding over the weekend, and no small number of smaller roads are washing out. State of Emergency, all the heavy stuff. I do not envy anyone involved in this mess.

More adventures in transportation. Driving back to Louisville last night, I get stuck behind a slow car somewhere in Washington County. Finally get room to pass this guy and start making up for lost time around the Washington/Nelson line. There's a lengthy grade, although not too steep, and as I start up it, I smell smoke (distinctive burning motor oil smell) and see flashing lights at the top of the grade. First thought, Oh crap somebody's wrecked out. Got closer, and nope. Some joker in a Monte Carlo is trailing a 35-year-old Chevy pickup that's trailering a junked Camaro. Said pickup is burning enough oil to create a screen behind it - headlight beams visible in the smoke. He can't get much over 35MPH, the stink is getting worse by the mile, and it's a ways before I and this other fella can get enough room to pass. We finally do, and man, that Chevy sounded like it was about to come apart right there on US150. I was quite happy to watch those headlights disappear in my mirror. And got into the Ranger this morning to discover a dying alternator. So, yay TARC and free passage as a UofL student. Dad's bringing the Focus up this afternoon, and I guess we'll swap in a new alternator then.

Thank dog (but not the suicidal one) that the first couple days of this week are our fall break. I've got to be at the front desk, but there's no one around.

Act of War

Nov. 9th, 2014 05:44 pm
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So, we lost. Maybe not big, but big enough. The Republicans have both houses of Congress, or will when the 114th Congress is sworn in on January 4. The Commonwealth sent McConnell back, as well as the entire slate of Representatives (including John Yarmuth, thank fuck for that small victory).

Those who crow, wrongly, that "governs best governs least" will get their wish for the next two years. The Republicans have a chance to repair the damage they've done to the nation and their own party and reputation, but they won't. There will be two years of show, of odious bills and legislative chicanery, of cries to impeach the President, and nothing will get done.

My great hope remains that at some point, the Republican Party's non-crazy wing will call the bluff of the People of Tea and their allied bagmen and frauds. Let them leave. Let them start their own museum, with ... well, probably not hookers and blackjack for these paragons of morality, but with whatever it is they do. Let the Republican Party slide back towards their center-right home, so that we can back to being what passes for liberal in this nation.

I'd also like either a 2015 Focus ST or Mustang convertible (V6 or EcoBoost-4), while I'm asking.

The semester's over in a month. I have my spring classes lined up; just have to wait for a hold to be lifted to register. Should have that out of the way in a couple of days. Eight hours of SPHIS courses, a mass communications course, and an ethics course - GPA boosters, in the case of the latter two.

Eight Ball

Jun. 28th, 2014 11:28 pm
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The workweek ended early - ran out of material to stow, and I was outta there after only about two hours. Thought I'd be home by 9:30 or so, but it was not to be. Took close to 2.5 hours to cover four miles on I-65SB due to a single-fatality accident. Got to the rest area/welcome center, and the road was opened up completely - and wonder of wonders,there was nobody on it but me. There's not much in the world like having an entire Interstate all to yourself for several miles, and I made the most of it. The Jolly Green Giant isn't especially quick, but he can make some speed and is plenty sure-footed. Got home about midnight.

Replaced the low-speed fan relay Thursday morning and found that the high-speed relay was darn close to burning out as well. Swapped in a new one - this was much easier to find than the low-speed relay - and all is well. Took a load of books to HPB Friday morning. Not as large a purge as I'd planned, but it's a lot of books that I'll never have to move or sort again. Made dinner for the family when they came home that evening, and got to talk with The Niece for a while. She and Mom&Dad are on their way to South Carolina tonight for a short getaway. I kinda wish I was going with them - I do not look forward at all to going back to Shepherdsville tomorrow afternoon and spending the next four nights in that damned warehouse.

I told Mom I wouldn't drink while I was here, but broke that promise tonight. Couldn't face the loneliness without some reinforcement.
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A haiku, poorly-composed, on the summer McJob:
If you buy flip-flops
Online via Amazon
Please go fuck yourself

The drive home Thursday morning was pretty terrific. About halfway through the drive, the sky started to brighten, and I watched the first light of the day fill the eastern sky, going from deep blue to light blue to a beautiful pink, and the arc of the sun was just rising above the horizon when I got to Mom&Dad's. Just lovely.

And 10 minutes later, I was back in my childhood bedroom and dead to the world.

The things you learn inadvertently. My Focus has two cooling fans, one slaved to the air conditioning system. Should that one fail, the A/C loses a lot of cooling capacity, and the radiator's fan has to take on the extra load. Note that my Focus is a wagon, with lots more glass in the cabin, and on hot sunny days, that cabin becomes a greenhouse. Now, for the most part, the intricacies of auto mechanics are beyond me. I could recharge the A/C on my Taurus, for example, and change the oil (if I had a place to dispose of the oil, that is, but since I don't, it's off to VIOC every 5K miles or so). For whatever reason, the low-pressure valve on my Focus' A/C system is located in the passenger-side forward wheelwell, as the handyman my dad hired and I found out. We also found out that the system isn't leaking refrigerant, so, yay. And the fan is okay, so more yay. The relay, however, has burned itself out. Were my Focus any other model, it would use an easily-acquired relay, but as a wagon (much much more common in European Foci than American), it uses a weird relay developed with, of all things, Volkswagen. So, hopefully tomorrow, new relay. And better cooling, both under the hood and in the cabin.

A quick note about the fellow Dad hired. This dude is darn near a stereotype. He's country as anything, wouldn't want to live anywhere but here, got through high school and did a two-year tech school run, and sweet Christmas, this dude knows his shit. All-around good guy, and he's flat busting his ass to overcome a slew of problems plaguing his family.

Mad Sounds

Apr. 14th, 2014 03:00 pm
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Got the Focus's A/C fan repaired, finally. Failed resistor, causing a short across the fan motor. Not as bad as it could have been. A/C spools right up now, too. The seat heaters still won't switch on, but I'll worry about that later. Their circuit isn't on any of the fuses I checked yesterday.

Optometrist checkup tonight. Wasn't able to schedule the glaucoma screening; hopefully that'll come along once I'm employed again, or at least under the University's insurance program. Christ, that's another sign I'm aging. Have to be aware of things like this.

Also a sign - this weekend is my niece's junior prom. She's excited as all get-out. She scored a 27 on her first go at the ACT, and to the surprise of pretty much nobody, thinks she can do better when she takes it again in June.
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Well, I did it. Friday the 11th was my last day at the paper. I feel good about the decision. I'm free of the place and all of its toxins. It means being away from a lot of good people, of course, but this is the era of easy and ubiquitous connection, so that sting isn't so bad.

Had a really good evening out with friends on Thursday evening - one of the very few times I can remember crossing the work/not-work streams. Shared celebration of my departure and Diane's birthday. Dinner, drinks and pool and great conversations going past midnight. There's going to be at least one more party here before I leave, and at least a couple more when I get settled in Louisville.

Up late Friday night after leaving work, because why not. Slept way later than I should have on Saturday. Missed most of a really gorgeous day. Spent a little while poking around at the Focus' fuse box this afternoon before the constant sweat dripping into my eyes drove me back inside. I'll try again in a couple of hours, in that glorious time around sunset when there's still plenty of light but the heat of the day is gone. Hoping the problem is just a fuse; otherwise it's a trip to the shop and opening up the instrument panel.

Mom&Dad will be here in a bit. Looking forward to seeing them - may not get to again until after the move.
tracker7: (Gaming)
My trusty Taurus went into semi-retirement last weekend. I'd been looking at a replacement for a while, tested a few here and there, and pretty much out of the blue one of my preferred options appeared. Much like my ol' pal Hephaestus, this is really a great workaday vehicle - a Focus ZTW. Pale green, pretty nicely equipped, and after about 300 miles and four days, I'm pretty taken with it. Easy to drive, very comfortable, and offers a prodigious amount of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.

I guess the little wagon will get its first real road test next weekend. Initial plans were for four of us from Lexington to ride to GenCon together, but a combination of factors is forcing a change. Looks like the West Coast head office is going to have quite a bit of material printed here - banners, signs, convention game material - and that plus 20 man-days of clothes and other convention accoutrements will probably be more than the originally-planned vehicle can handle. I'll get the Focus serviced Saturday morning and I guess we'll light out for Indy on Wednesday.

I'm about as prepared as I'm going to get for the con. My duties don't require much in the way of materials and front-loading, so it's mostly a matter of knowing our product line and handling any crises that arise. I've got a few items on my shopping list and my event locations and times in my phone. Going to see some friends, make some new ones, and have a good time.


Sep. 17th, 2012 09:01 pm
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Labor Day weekend, replaced the radiator. This coming weekend, new brakes up front.

I've been using converted Pathfinder modules for my pickup Fantasy Craft games, and this weekend's game brought to light some of the d20 baggage that FC jettisons. The current module (part 2 of a six-part story) is a big ol' wilderness trek. The first third of the trek is overland; at this point, the PCs arrive at a medium-sized city that's the furthest outpost of civilization. From there, the expectation is the party will follow a river's course for most of the rest of the journey, several weeks of game time. The city mentioned previously is a river port, built where two rivers converge. Both rivers are described as large enough to see regular boat traffic.

Nowhere in the module does the idea of the PCs acquiring river passage come up. All of the encounters on the remainder of the trek are land-based. In fact, upon review of the module with this information in mind, I see that this entire damn module is little more than an XP grind to allow the characters to gain enough levels to face the whatsits in later modules in the series. Fantasy Craft uses a very different system of building monsters and opposing NPCs, see. I am ... less enthused about the rest of the adventure.

I'm thinking, though, about getting all Apocalypse Now with this river journey. Or, just handwaving the rest of the journey, getting the PCs to the outpost, and wrapping up the module in two weeks.

So I can start a Mage game.
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[Error: unknown template qotd]
Of course.

The first one, a F-150, was named Abrams.

My Monte Carlo SS was Molly.

The Caprice Classic police spec was the Pig Rig or RBC.

The Mustang is the Engineless Wonder.

The Explorer was Omar.

The Taurus is Hephaestus.
tracker7: (Comics)
I met up with #1 Crush for lunch on Inauguration Day. She looks, simply put, incredible. No, better than that. Keep going. Yeah. Right about there. We talked a bit, watched the swearing in and inaugural address, and had a terrific time at Sav's Cafe. A string of late night talks has followed, as is becoming something of a norm for us.

Wasted a trip to Danville yesterday. Had a paint-scrape accident on Saturday last, and the shop that's going to do the repair work is only open M-F. I'm going to find a half-day I can be out of the office and get down there again, hopefully before mid-February.

Missed St. Zevon's Day, but will be celebrating belatedly tonight.


Dec. 19th, 2008 08:02 pm
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With a month to go in his term, President Bush finally does something right. Now, it's up to the manufacturers and the UAW to follow suit.

There are things that the manufacturers should do - GM, for starters, needs to consolidate.  Right off the bat, eliminate the GMC Truck division.  The last time that line produced anything that wasn't a gussied-up Chevrolet was 15 years ago with the Syclone/Typhoon sport trucks.  Roll Buick under Cadillac's umbrella, and likewise Saturn under Pontiac.  Saturn maintains its status as the import-fighter division (and the Saturn-badged SUVs go away), and Pontiac becomes a specialty marque. Hummer?  Already heading out the door, and thank goodness for that.

Ford, which is in the best shape of the Big Three, has to make a significant change, as well.  Mercury goes away - the make's line is nothing but rebadged Fords.  Lincoln stays around - the significantly lower production runs on Lincoln products make the line useful not only as a luxury division (and continuing to focus on younger buyers is a good idea) but as a testbed for technologies that will move into the Ford models as well.

Chrysler ... I just don't know.  I think the best option here is for the company to simply die with some dignity.  The Charger/300C have been successful, and the Jeep name still has some value, but the merger with Daimler-Benz was a failure, and the company's not recovered from that.  Its time as an innovator and creator of interesting vehicles is gone.

What's good, what's worth keeping these behemoths around for?  GM's R&D programs, for starters.  Look at the Chevrolet Volt, for example.  It's not perfect, but its leagues ahead of the old EV-1, and it's a vehicle that deserves a chance to make a real change in automotive design and production.  Ford CEO Alan Mulally has pushed his company forward, and barring further economic collapse, I expect that he'll easily achieve the goal of putting Ford back into the black in 2010.

Oh, and Mr. Mulally?  Work out an AWD system for the Fusion GT, please-please-please?
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One thing about an employee meeting that eats up 65 minutes of my life, on the busiest day of the workweek - it gives me time to think about a writing project.  An ongoing project.

Godawful cold continues.  16 right now, dropping to 5 overnight.  I know in 6 months, I'll be bitching about the heat, but, man, I have had it with this weather for a while.

Ford's doing something that I think is pretty darn smart.  Starting with the 2008 model year, the Taurus and Sable names are coming back, taking over the 500 and Montego, respectively, and the Freestyle is becoming the Taurus X.  The cars are getting a badly-needed power boost to make them comparable to the competition, and Ford's CEO is making a statement about not resting on a great first-year product (as the company has been notorious for), but instead making incremental improvements in every model year.  Now, assuming the company is able to right its course and survive and thrive, I have a little tiny wishlist.  Since the current Fusion mid-size is built on a Mazda 6-inspired platform, how about putting the Mazda Speed6's go-fast and road-holdy parts (the turbocharged 2.3L I-4 and AWD setup) into a Fusion and calling it a Fusion SHO or SVT?  And since I'm asking nicely, take note that Dodge is about to take away the police cruiser market from the ol' Crown Victoria, so fight 'em hard, and go GM one better, and bring us that mean-sumbitchin' Falcon from Ford Australia.  In all the incarnations except the Ute, please.  Base V6, blown V6, and big ol' V8.

Comics today - Iron Man: Hypervelocity #2 and The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1.  Hypervelocity intrigues me.  An extremely hardware-heavy Iron Man story, set before this whole Civil War trainwreck ... and I think maybe it's going to be used to explain Stark's ... craziness during CW.  The Gunslinger comic is a good-looking retelling of one part of the first DT book - Roland's test against Cord and the events immediately surrounding it.  Man.  I'd lost sight of how amazing this was.  Still is, too.
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Phone call from my dad yesterday.  7 M-Bs on his truck, one Chrysler.  He was to deliver the Chrysler to a dealer in Michigan, then go to a Daimler-Chrysler facility near Lansing to pick up something listed on his invoices only as "2008 Prototype."  Size and weight were listed, and we think he's picking up a Dodge Challenger mule.  Whatever it is, he's to deliver it to Air France's cargo terminal at O'Hare.  Should I get pictures, they'll show up here.

Covering for vacationing co-workers next week.  Moving the week after that.  Burning plenty of remaining vacation time between now and November.


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