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Crisis averted. Or managed. GoodReader doesn't send out update notifications, so I was using version 3.X, while version 4.X was out and 64-bit compatible. Five bucks out of my iTunes account, and we were back in business. Still couldn't migrate files from V3 to V4, so I took the opportunity to reduce the number of PDFs living on the iPad when I removed V3. Now, there's just some Call of Cthulhu and Star Trek Adventures. Couple of GB freed up.

--

Pretty good Star Wars session tonight. PCs being PCs, they took off down disparate paths, leading to the Jedi's capture by an Imperial Governor's Stormtrooper detachment. Aeris is now in custody of the Inquisition, and he's about to encounter the real face of that organization, at least in the Japrael Sector. The rest of the team has to decide how best to attempt a rescue, and what risks they face.

Discussion away from the table is leading me to try to make the game more personal. So, I'm going to develop allies, places, relationships, rivalries, and try to keep things inside the home sector. There will be jaunts across the Galaxy from time to time - one player gave me some good hooks involving Hutt Space, another wants some exploration/discovery action - but most of the action will happen in and around the hundred or so systems of the sector.

I've got the Inquisition and an ISB team assigned to pursue the PCs and find their base of operations. I need to identify the Imperial, Rebel, and criminal and civilian people that the PCs will most likely come into contact with. Reduce the prominence of the cybernetics company that sent the PCs out in search of a Separatist treasure ship - if a player brings up the need or desire for that kind of session, then work it into the game. Otherwise - fight the Empire, protect the weak, and be heroes.
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Continuing from yesterday's entry ...

Pathfinder. I have to give Paizo this - they're either giving their fans exactly what the fans want, or the fans want exactly what Paizo's producing. Either way, Paizo is making plenty of money and they're doing some creative things with their setting. Golarian is chock full of gods, with every intelligent species having a whole pantheon, and semi-regular appearances of these gods and their avatars - no sane thinking person can deny the existence of gods in this setting. Yet in Golarian, there are atheists - they don't disbelieve, they just have no use for gods in their lives. I get that. Before I admitted to myself that I just didn't really believe, I was very comfortable with Yahweh and me not interfering with each other.

Trail of Cthulhu characters can have their religion as a pillar of stability, something they can (almost) always fall back on when things have stopped making any kind of sense; the new edition of Call gives investigators a similar resource as a shield against unyielding horror. There's good role-playing and storytelling to be mined out of a character trying to reconcile their faith with exposure to the monsters and other entities of the Mythos, and it can be handled with respect.

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Since starting the rewatch of Battlestar Galactica (2004 edition) and catching a few episodes of the original on one of the local digital side-channels, I've been thinking about the role of religion and/or faith in my gaming and related writing.

I'm, for sake of labeling, a post-Christian atheist. I grew up in a pretty mainstream rural Methodist church, and was somewhat involved in youth groups and things like that, but never really wanted to be warming a pew on Sunday mornings (evenings, at Wednesday night prayer meetings, revivals, you see where I'm going). To be honest, I think I learned more about being good and doing right from episodes of Star Trek on WAVE-3 than I did from most of the preaching I was exposed to - I sure enjoyed them more and loved Sunday mornings when I didn't have to go to church.

I remember a Palladium Fantasy game in high school, where the PCs were crusader-missionaries, spreading their faith by example and at the point of the sword. There was a World of Darkness game in the mid-90s, with the PCs caught up, indirectly, in angelic and demonic machinations. My D&D 3 historian/lawman/wizard was devoted to his goddess, if occasionally angry with her, and cared little for the beliefs of others. Currently, my Pulp Cthulhu investigator was raised a Quaker, left that belief for something between non-specific Protestantism and agnosticism, saw some weird shit while part of the occupation of Haiti, and is now confronting Yig's cultists. My CP2020 solo was a lapsed Catholic, more so in stories I wrote about him than in play.
In my current Star Wars game, there's no real discussion of religion, outside of the Force.

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Met some new-to-Louisville folks at Colin's shop on Friday, and found myself in the role of ad hoc tournament organizer for the X-Wing players there. Everyone got plenty of loot, including some Armada goodies for us fleet commanders. Then, most of us decamped for more gaming at Heroes, and holy cow, did I get a surprise. I'd pitched it as a night for Epic play, and got some interest. Wound up with three 4-player games going. Pretty terrific!

Harvey's remains came through, dropping a lot of rain and cooling the air quite a bit. I didn't hear of any flooding or any other serious issues. There's another hurricane in the eastern Atlantic, probably hitting the East Coast in a week or so.

Last night saw North Korea's most powerful nuclear test yet, something in the 50-120 kiloton range, if seismic information is to be believed. NK claims to have developed a thermonuclear device, and they've progressed to test-launching ballistic missiles over Japanese airspace instead of into open ocean. I hate feeling alarmist, but I keep hearing Admiral Painter's words - "This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it."

------

I don't know where the information came from, and today it doesn't really matter. We'd observed Imperial patrols ranging further and further out from the Onderon depot, and Sector Command decided to hit one of them. A target presented itself - a Raider rendezvousing with a Gozanti carrying the sort of material we can make better use of than Moff Vancyon's forces can. Sector assembled an appropriate force, a couple of CR90s, a GR75, a couple of refitted freighters, and all the fighters we could round up.

For a few blessed minutes, it was perfect. We dropped out of hyperspace a stone's throw from the Imperial ships and it seemed we caught them completely unaware. Less than a squadron's worth of TIEs showed on our scopes; we had more than twenty fighters. The Raider was caught between our corvettes, taking more broadside fire than it knew what to do with. We had 'em.

Then the sensors started screaming. Realspace reversions all around us, and coming in fast. The Empire had set its own trap, and we'd fallen for it. If only that had been the case.

It was a pirate force. Three of those damned C-ROCs, faster meaner versions of the Gozanti, and enough fighters and transports to give both sides pause. And they were spoiling for a fight. They came roaring right into the fight between us and the Empire, throwing both sides into chaos. We wan
ted that Gozanti's cargo, but the pirates must have wanted it more. What had been a straightforward engagement became a brawl, damned near three separate battles. I hate saying this, but the Imperials handled themselves better than our divided force. We lost over a dozen fighters before our own ships disengaged and ran for safety - we did manage to destroy one of the C-ROCs, at least. The one that made the mistake of tangling with the Raider didn't last long. The corvette and its fighter escort cut the thing to pieces.

We're licking our wounds now, and listening.
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I'm feeling some fatigue with my Star Wars game. It's been going for about a year now, and that's a decent run. After for-freaking-ever with only minis gaming, launching the SW campaign was a good way to knock some rust off. Joining the Pulp Cthulhu game has been a good decision - good GM and players and a ridiculously cute black kitten. Should go ahead and throw in on Imaginarium and Nerdlouvia, I guess.

Saturday was for nerdery of another stripe. Small model train show across the river in Sellersburg. A couple of good HO scale modular setups and one okay N scale display. Took my buddy Darryl along, and it turned out to be a great day for him - someone from one of the clubs was able up to repair his prized 4-4-0. They put it on their layout, and dude got to see his baby run for a while. The club invited us out to their meeting nights, no pressure to join or put down dues or anything - just come out and run some trains and learn some things. Depending on things, I'd like to pick up a couple of locomotives to run on their layout. Watch for warehouse sales and the like. Like the Chessie System GP15-1 over at Walthers, for a c-note. Not that I've been window shopping or anything.

Hurricane Harvey rolled onto south Texas over the weekend. Ungodly amounts of rain and flooding, but minimal loss of life. It's not over, as forecasts predict that the thing is going to get a recharge before heading back over land and up the coast. This one's going to be costly. Every refinery is shut down, either due to damage or as a precaution, and fuel costs are already starting to climb. Some cities in the Houston metro area ordered evacuations, but most didn't, likely out of memory of the Rita evacuation in 2005. Maybe 3 million people were trying to get out of the Corpus Christi area, hopelessly gridlocking the whole evacuation network, even with Interstates set to contraflow. Over a hundred people died during the evacuation, mostly due to heat-derived conditions, and the roads were clogged for days after the storm's passage, preventing relief supplies and personnel from getting to affected areas. Lessons learned. There's a small and surprising silver lining - one of the few people in the current administration who isn't utterly awful is the FEMA director, and he seems to be handling things as well as can be.

CNN's reporting that Texas's governor has activated the entirety of the state National Guard. 12,000 citizen soldiers. Customs & Border Protection has been retasked into relief and assistance. And there could be another four feet and change of rain coming.

Loosely related, traffic was utter hell for a hojillion people a week ago. A total solar eclipse was viewable across this great land of ours, and ... well, see my previous entry. A GenCon buddy and his girlfriend went to Nashville to see the totality, and routed through Louisville on their way
back to Michigan. We made plans to get together for dinner. And then a late dinner. And then a midnight refuel. It took them nine hours to get here from Nashville, and no rerouting helped. Interstates, federal highways, state roads - all just choked. And it wasn't just a regional problem. Similar stories all along the eclipse's path, from Oregon to South Carolina.

LA's still on top of all of MLB, despite dropping two of three to Milwaukee. This has planted a tiny seed of worry in the back of my mind. This may be the best single-season baseball team, ever, but come playoff time, the season is much shorter, as short as three games. LA's collapsed in the postseason before (albeit with a less-talented roster than the 2017 team), and I can almost see it happening again. For now, though, 91-38 with 33 games left in the regular season. The Giants were eliminated a week ago, before the Padres, even. October's coming.

The late stage of baseball season means the approach of football season. I've already seen a few mediocre preseason NFL games, and UofL starts against Purdue this weekend. (High school games are already underway, but I give zero fucks about those.) Maybe as a by-product of the Dodgers being just amazing this year, but I'm not as excited about football this year as in most previous years. The rapid increase in information about brain injuries in NFL players has taken a lot of shine off the sport, too.
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Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. After yesterday morning's entry, I made a Facebook post, half-seriously looking for a game to join. Within a couple of hours, I had three invitations. I turned down D&D and Shadowrun in favor of Pulp Cthulhu. I know all three of the GMs, and have no doubts that the games would be quality, so it was something of an embarassment of riches.

Saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets this morning. It's a very beautiful movie, and there are some damned imaginative bits, but ultimately, it just isn't very good. The lead actor isn't believable, and there's no sense of connection between him and the leading actress. Clive Owen is unsurprisingly good, and there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it nod to The Fifth Element.

Pakistan removed its prime minister from office last week. Well, he resigned, but it seems he got resigned after fallout from the Panama Papers. There's likely to be a mostly-orderly transfer of power and all that, but as a GM, I have to take advantage of this. This is what starts it. In the interim, ISI makes a real play to move out of its deep state operations, but things only destabilize. The new PM and their cabinet have initial popular support from the military, but ISI action and resistance from Sharif's party cause a lot of problems. Tensions with India rise, and a shooting war breaks out. Border territory changes hands; other countries start pulling personnel and resources, and someone somewhere uses a nuclear weapon. The nuclear arsenals are quickly depleted or destroyed, with China launching its own strikes to destroy both aggressors' means to fight. The world has irrevocably changed. Good luck, agents.

Foolish

Jul. 30th, 2017 08:36 am
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I got back to Louisville late Monday afternoon. I do love being at the farm, but the isolation was starting to get to me. I'm not some kind of super-outgoing social butterfly, but I do like being able to get together with friends for a game or a movie or drinks or whatever on a few minutes' notice, and I was many miles from that opportunity.

I've spent far too much time these past few days reading about the cascade of fuckups around a local convention, FandomFest. I got roped into this hot mess back in 2012 and 2013, and tales of the 2013 debacle still circulate, waiting for a Google search. This year, the con advertised its location as the Fair and Expo Center - up until about two and a half weeks before the con. That's when the actual location was announced - the hastily-named Jefferson Mall Event Center! In other words, the old Macy's space. Then, announced guests started dropping out. About 25 of them, mostly for "personal reasons." Booking agents started popping up to deflect this, making sure that people knew that their clients weren't just blowing things off - in most cases, the con hadn't gotten contracts signed or had failed to arrange flights and hotels and guarantees. In two cases, the con announced the appearance of someone who lives here in Louisville, and those locals opted to not attend after hearing about the goings-on. One of them lives about ten minutes from the event site - I've been to his house - and he still noped outta there. The site itself had problems, including a dead raccoon spotted on the floor a couple of nights before vendor setup began (Ralph the Raccoon quickly became a mascot). The con owners didn't bother to get fire marshal approval until the day before the show. According to the local FD, the con first asked for approval for 30,000 attendees, then 10K. Then they checked with the mall and its formula for occupancy of that space - 4225. The fire marshal eventually approved the space for 1700 people. From what I've heard, they've been in no danger of hitting that number. Vendors have lost big. The con organizers have run off representatives of other shows that were handing out flyers - something that happens at every con. It's just an utter shitshow.

Apple discontinued the iPod Nano and Shuffle last week. The only iPod left now is the Touch, an iPhone 5 without the cellular radio. I do love my Nano, so much so that I think I'm going to buy another one for when this one eventually shuffles off its mortal coil. Yes, I could use my iPhone, and it certainly has more storage space than the Nano, but I am no fan of Apple Music.

SYR's tonight. Four D&D games, two Call of Cthulhu, one Ten Candles. I'm getting a real hankering to play something, in addition to running my Star Wars game ... just not so much at the SYR environment.

Act of God

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

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

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

Mom&Dad are coming home tomorrow. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to stick around until they get back here or light out before. Will, like so many other things, depend on how much sleep I get. I predict the lovable, friendly, affectionate, needy red Doberman currently dozing on the front porch will wake me up much earlier than I want.
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My Dodgers are on a real tear as the first half of the season comes to a close. They've won 25 of their last 29 games, and are 60-29 going into this afternoon's game against Kansas City. Tuesday night's the MLB All-Star Game, and six Dodgers are on the NL roster. It's a good time to be a fan.

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

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

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

Finally got to see both Kubo and the Two Strings and Moana. Very different, but both very good. I was glad that Moana didn't become Maui's story -  Dwayne Johnson exudes charisma, even through a Pixar animation - and we got to see the mythology play out and a fun story unfold. Gave up on seeing Alien Covenant in a theater. I felt like I was constantly talking myself into going, and that was a warning sign - plus the not-very-goodness of Prometheus a few years ago.
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The remains of a tropical storm blew through here Thursday and yesterday. A couple of rounds of heavy rain, and fortunately no flooding here. Lexington got hit a little harder, with some brief road closures. All now seems well.

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

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

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

So, best get to going on this. Saturday, go!
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Still waiting on two grades to post. I expect Dr. Wilson is going to get message-bombed today.

The first of us has left Louisville. Marc moved back to Columbus Friday evening. Stephen and I helped him load up his truck. Marc's a good dude. One of the best in our cohort.

Also on Friday, we got the Star Wars game back underway. Things went pretty well, but problem player appeared and behaved in the manner that led to him getting the boot in the first place. Whatever. The PCs captured a Sith-influenced petty dictator and recovered parts of a holocron. We laughed, we had a good time, all was well. Next up, going to give one of the players his chance to visit Hoth before Echo Base is established.

Went to Liberty Saturday morning, planning to stay until Sunday night. Got super restless Saturday evening and went back to Louisville. Detoured through Lexington and picked up some new ships for my Armada collection. Got home, read, called it a night around 2. Not much accomplished on Sunday - reading, some game planning, job-hunting, long overdue cleaning.

This is Derby Week. Got to see one of the balloon races Friday morning - yay for living across the road from the takeoff site. A few events this week, building up to the Great Steamboat Race on Wednesday, Thurby on Thursday, Oaks on Friday, and the race itself on Saturday. And most important, getting out and screwing around until an unholy hour on Saturday night.

Got the Origins orientation e-mail from Joe P this morning. It all feels very familiar. I'm getting excited about this trip.
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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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Yesterday's presentation went well enough, and now we are done with that mess of a class. Have to go over to K-Wing (not the New Republic bomber) to pick up a hardcopy of the report for our MPH instructor. Got a couple of pages to lift from a previous term paper and edit into a report on the ACA and Kynect and Benefind this morning before diving back into my policy brief and practicum report.

Tomorrow is Thunder Over Louisville, the kickoff to the Kentucky Derby Festival. Big airshow and fireworks display, drawing about 650,000 people to downtown and the riverfront. Weather forecast is not good - heavy rain throughout the entire day and air temperatures in the upper 50s. I can't go - will still have work to do, and though I do love that kind of weather, I prefer to watch it through the window or from a nice sheltered front porch. I've seen a few of the aircraft participating already - a F-18 flying up and down the riverfront, and a P-51 and what I think was a Tucano flying over the neighborhood.

I've been coming into SPHIS early this week, getting here around 6AM, to make use of the quiet to get work done - heck, I'm awake before 5AM, so why not make good use of the time. It's actually very nice. I can lock up a conference room and just press on. Traffic is, unsurprisingly, very light and I get here before the full morning shifts at UofL hospital come in, so parking is easy to find. I've seen the ending minutes of some underground utility work on the corner, more ambulance runs than I expected, and other little moments. I'm going to miss this place, I think.

I'm looking at getting back into painting miniatures when I have free time again (which is in less than a week holy shit this is really happening). At the very least, I want my Armada squadrons to be more easily identified in the case of mirror matches, and, well, the red Imperial Guard paint job on TIE Interceptors looks very good. As I finally gave in and started playing Imperial Assault, I've got those figures to work on.

Nerdery.
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Last semester, and maybe more so this one, I have had some straight-up panic attacks over the amount of work (particularly large papers and projects) required in this program. These have been mostly self-created, if I'm being honest with myself. I can handle the work; I just have to remember to handle it in chunks instead of looking at the entirety of the project. What I also have had to remember is, when I'm piddling around and procrastinating, is ... I like doing this stuff. I like diving into existing literature on the subject. I like figuring out how to pull relevant data out of different reports and studies and synthesizing something out of it. I like putting the words down. 

I have to do a lot of it in the next few days. This is what's still outstanding: Integration final exam tonight. Policy presentation Wednesday. Evaluation presentation Thursday morning. Policy report Friday afternoon. Practicum presentation on the 24th. Social Determinants group paper and presentation on the 25th. And that is it. One way or another, my grad school run is over in eight days. Long nights ahead.

I'm trying to stop griping about this final semester. There is nothing to be done, as Kim Stanley Robinson wrote. Just have to deal with the problems, hit the markers, and get out into the field. Put PhD and other considerations aside and focus on the local, the immediate, the things I can affect. Talk, seriously, with the faculty members who have contacts and experience, and can point me down paths I don't know exist.

In the wider world, there's a lot going on. Under Lord Dampnut's direction, the US is pushing for North Korea to be "handled." There's some reason for concern here - remember, of course, that Dampnut is unstable and aggressive and not very smart, and he's already attacked a Syrian airbase with a shitload of cruise missiles. (He also misnamed the nation the missiles' target was located in, while apparently focusing on the quality and size of the cake he was eating at the time. These fucking people.) North Korea tested a ballistic missile yesterday, but the launch failed; there was talk of a nuclear test (April 15 being a national holiday there), but it seems that nothing came of it.

After seeing the Spycraft 1 game at Conglomeration, and a talk with Erin about it, I've had a hankering for an espionage game start to rear it's head. Despite my love of Spycraft, I don't know that I'd use it. I feel like that's ground I've covered comfortably. There's the 007 clone, Classified, and something else I picked up along the way. Merle Rasmussen and some other folks bought the Top Secret name and product rights from WotC, and are launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund Top Secret: New World Order sometime soon. Always good to have options.

I need to go somewhere. Just go. Driving up to a truckstop 15 miles inside Indiana a couple of weeks ago was, I think, the first time I've left Kentucky since GenCon. Christ, I can't recall traveling anywhere besides my routes to Liberty since Thanksgiving. There's a day or weekend trip coming soon, either to celebrate or deal with the end of the semester.
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SPHIS reactivated the student ambassador position, so I've gone back to worth this week. No changes in the job, and other staff and faculty are glad we're back. The break was nice, as it let me put a stake in my practicum.

The X-Wing season wrapped up on the 31st. I backed into a playoff slot, and put together a fast-moving very agile squadron, but my opponent's big guns tore me apart in the first round. My buddy Ben S was our eventual champion, playing Rebel Alliance squadrons throughout the playoffs. Now, a few weeks of even more casual play, and probably some Armada and Imperial Assault games, too.

Classes are coming to a close. I'm not as panicked about things as I was a couple of weeks ago. Things look more realistic now. There is a whole lot of work still to be done, but I can manage it.

Weather's looking interesting today. Right now, it's a pretty day, clear skies and warm, but there are watches and warnings to the south, and they're heading this way. Just heard that Auburn University is shutting down for the rest of the day, and Atlanta is getting hit pretty hard. Our currently pleasant weather is expected to feed this mess when it gets close. Have talked with some of the cohort about skipping class tonight, because the front is supposed to hit about the time we go in and stick around through the evening.

This should be my last posting here. The new terms of service don't sit real well with me. I don't have any fear of posting up something that'll break the host country's laws, but for personal and political reasons, I'm not keen on involvement. I'm migrating over to Dreamwidth, with the same journal name, in case anyone wants to follow. Dreamwidth is importing everything from here to there, and I understand that to be a pretty complete and painless progress. Lots of people doing that, looks like, as my entries and replies are deep in a queue. No hurry. Do your thing, machines.

Eleven years and change here. Huh.
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I am done done done with my practicum. Put in my last day at the Cave yesterday, then Tim and I went out to lunch and just shot the breeze for a while. Not going to lie. It feels pretty good to be done with this.

The afternoon brought more good stuff. Paul Ryan cancelled the vote to approve the ACA replacement. That cheered me enough that I went out for X-Wing after all, and managed a pretty good win in league play.

The problem player in my Star Wars game seems to have self-resolved - or would have, if I hadn't suspended the game for school. He posted to the club page that he had run into a financial crunch and had to sell his X-Wing collection. Sucks - I don't like seeing misfortune unless it's hitting someone really deserving. Anyway, a buyer did appear - someone on temporary assignment to Knox - and I guess that got handled. So, the problem player, if his post is accurate, won't be able to make game nights for a while. This would be awfully convenient for me if the game was still on; we'd continue the game, of course, and find that the group dynamic was just working better without him, plus a new player and and and. So, if I stay in Louisville and restart the game next month, we'll see how things shake out. (Footnote: guy wanted someone from the club to buy the collection and keep it at our host store so he could still play. That didn't work out, obviously.)
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Thursday (3/9), was at LMPHW, doing some inventory checking (did you know that N95 masks have expiration dates?), when Matt R comes tear-assing into the cube farm, booming out that we need to evacuate the building right now. So, we do, and Gray Street fills up with fire trucks. Electrical fire in the basement, and while LFR is able to contain it pretty quickly, it was in the building's main junction box, so the building had to be, I am not fooling here, shut down and restarted. Which would take most of the afternoon. So we went home.

New player in my Star Wars game, and may take the place of one that has just about worn out his welcome. Some X-Wing and Armada time this weekend. Late night out last night, which was not a good idea.

Mulholland

Feb. 26th, 2017 09:10 am
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Started trying to catch up on movies last week - unrelated to the Oscars tonight. Got out of class Thursday night and treated myself to John Wick Chapter 2. It's a superlative action pic, an excellent sequel to one of the best in the genre. Goes deeper into the underworld these characters inhabit, their rules and resources. After watching Hell on Wheels, I shouldn't have been surprised by Common's performance, but I was, and pleasantly so.

Yesterday was The LEGO Batman Movie, and it was an utter delight. Nonstop running gags, pop culture nods, Batman rapping and/or singing about how great it is to be Batman. Very good voice casting, and an appropriately sweet ending.

And on this bright Sunday morning, I'm watching Mulhulland Drive, because it seems I want to get the weird underway as quickly as possible today.

I saw both movies at Baxter Avenue Theater, and should probably make a habit of seeing more movies there. It's on my way home from school, so makes for a good way to wind down after the classweek ends. It's not part of the ginormous Cinemark or Regal or other chains, and, well, it's got its own cool little vibe. Also, extremely comfortable recliners. Like the Kentucky back in Lexington, Baxter regularly runs midnight shows, and in March, the theme is the Fash Bash - three movies involving lots of punching Nazis: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saving Private Ryan, and Inglorious Basterds. Don't know that I could handle SPR at midnight, but Raiders ... just try keeping me away.

Also in media, I'm rewatching Heroes Season 1, and remembering that this was a pretty darn good show, with some occasional missteps. And then the later seasons happened and oh no what is this.

Got in the second round of the Corellian Conflict Friday night. Lost a close match, acquitting myself better this time than in the first round. My fleet's reduced to about 90 percent of it's starting capability right now, having lost one of my capital ships. Bumped up the fighter complement to try to compensate.

Nightcall

Feb. 12th, 2017 02:37 pm
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Graduation is now 90 days away. This past week saw a lot of progress, and one small hitch. Got to see a couple of unpleasant egomanics butt heads in class. Had my second meeting at the Nia Center, and this week I'll be out at Shawnee Academy. MRC training went well Thursday night. Going to start winding the practicum down in a few weeks.

Good Star Wars game Friday night. One player's Obligation is nearly discharged, so we can start replacing that with Duty soon. The Jedi is learning to work with the other Force-sensitive on the team (but mostly wants to find the Inquisitor who stole his lightsaber). It's a good game, and I'm so glad that the players are enjoying it. In a couple of weeks, I'm on the hook for Shadowrun Anarchy at SYR, and I think I've got a sufficient handle on that one.

The PeppermintOS laptop is doing what I wanted it to, and that's work. The hardware is old, and limited - about the same HD space that I have in these USB jump drives floating around - but Peppermint's pretty light and fast, and OpenOffice's descendant runs very well there. Now, I want a cheap Chromebook, just for comparison.
tracker7: (Writing)
Hitting the Empire in regions it considers safe or under complete control was a pretty brave - maybe even foolhardy - choice, but after Scarif and Yavin, Command has been feeling aggressive. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Here in Japrael, we're taking advantage of the power vacuum and confusion that Moff Dardano's death brought on. Seven Bells and Archer are still our biggest sticks, and they got a workout a couple of weeks ago. After one of my teams met with resistance fighters on Akeforst, Sector Command sent the frigates and a couple of corvettes and every starfighter we could get out hands on over there. Successful raid. Destroyed an Imperial frigate and a couple squadrons of TIEs, plus one of the planetary navy's corvettes. We lost six fighters, and in the calculus of warfare, that's an acceptable trade. Big prize out of the raid, too. One of our corvettes was retasked with boarding a gas freighter before it could jump out of the system, and we got our hands on a few thousand tons of blaster and coolant gases.

The same team, a few days ago, got mixed up in some real trouble at Onderon. Our listening post (which has to be relocated and soon) got word of a real high-level visitor, extend all courtesy and all that. We figured probably a possible new Moff or something along those lines. Nope. Nothing less than the Devastator - Vader's Star Destroyer - dropped into the system and was in orbit over one of Onderon's moons for several days. It left a good-sized garrison there, and Sector Command decided that whatever was there was pretty important, so we sent my ops to investigate Sector parked Archer at the edge of the system. Well, things happened, and there was a fight, and based on the ops team's report, there was an Inquisitor there. I've given that team some off-the-leash time. They're good, and whatever Sector has coming up next, they'd be useful, but we'll manage without them. They've got ... something to pursue, and right now, no one else needs to be involved. They'll be back when they're back.

The offensive over in the Corellian sector isn't off to the best start. Two of the task forces there got beaten up pretty badly; the third handed the Imperial Navy a resounding loss. I don't know much more beyond that. High Command committed a big, big pile of resources to this and if it doesn't pay off, we're going to be hurting.

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