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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.)

On Hold

Jan. 26th, 2017 11:25 am
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I only went to a few SYRs after the summer dramasplosion, not as a result of that nonsense, but because the venue was incredibly uncomfortable (very hot) and Sunday afternoons became reserved for homework and football. Got asked to run something at an upcoming SYR by the group organizer, and since the only football game left is the Super Bowl and it's no longer hot weather, I think I'm going to give it a shot. First on the list - Shadowrun Anarchy.

A couple of my Commonwealth's legislators filed a bill to create state regulations for public high schools that want to offer courses on Hebrew religious texts and some version of the Bible. I wish I was surprised. I can barely even be disappointed. The positive, for now at least, is that these courses would be electives. Still, it's hiding theocratic methods behind a flimsy shield of cultural education, and no good will come of it.
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Got clobbered in my first Armada tournament on Saturday. Got in a few good licks, didn't totally embarass myself, but lost both games. Learned some things and got a nice pack of prizes (one advantage to small turnouts, I guess), and got to clown around with some friends.

While I was moving little plastic spaceships around a table, something like 1% of the nation's population took part in rallies and marches for civil rights and good government and against Cheeto Benito. Hopeful that this anger and commitment holds on until the midterm elections and we can get better defenses against the administration.

Registered for Cincycon this morning. No GenCon this year, so getting in some smaller events instead.
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We lost. Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States. I am sickened, and afraid, and I feel depression coming my way in a hurry.

I've got friends whose marriages are at risk. Womens' health is at risk. My own well-being is at risk. My career prospects are at risk. The economic well-being of the country, the whole damn world is in danger.

The state Senate went red, paving the way for Governor Chucklefuck to establish his theocracy. Louisville kept Yarmuth in Congress, so that's our state's bulwark against pig-fucking ignorance and madness.

The Republicans will control both U.S. Houses of Congress until at least 2018. This means we're going to lose the Supreme Court for at least a generation. Goodbye to a half-century of civil rights progress.

I'm afraid. I won't make any hyperbolic statements about leaving for another country - I can't afford it, and I can't abandon Mom&Dad. I've looked at some other places to be (northern Illinois, parts of Virginia). I'm ashamed of my fear, because I'm thinking of buying a handgun.

I'll go where there's a job. I want there to be work here in Louisville, so I can stay in somewhere sane and comfortable, and fight the good fight from here.

Today we mourn, tomorrow we fight, one of my classmates said. That's what we have to do. I have to do. To lend - to give - what strength I can to those at risk, thanks to this abomination.

In a Drawer

Nov. 7th, 2016 09:31 am
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I accomplished pretty much nothing yesterday. There was sleep, and cooking, and watching football, but not much else. I really shouldn't have just pissed the day away, but for whatever reason I had very little energy and very little motivation.

Maybe it's election fatigue. I avoided any kind of newscast, starting Saturday, sticking to ESPN and Weather Underground apps. No NPR or BBC, even. Just don't want to deal with any more of Trump's nonsense and the continuing witch hunts. I'm voting early tomorrow morning, then going into a Netflix binge and/or going to Village 8 to see The Magnificent Seven.
I'll watch results in the evening, put a dent in the household bourbon reserve, and face Wednesday when it comes.
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LA lost to the Cubs Saturday night, ending the playoff run and sending the Cubs to the World Series for the first time since the 1940s. So, just beat Cleveland, you lot.

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

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

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

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

Had a talk with Housemate about some gaming issues last night. One of my SW players actively (and secretly) betrayed his teammates in the last session, so there needs to be some kind of consequence for this. I think I'll come up with a reasonable way for the betrayal to become known, and let the PCs and players handle it.

Her Mercy

Oct. 10th, 2016 08:03 am
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Yesterday was spent grinding away at a set of papers and projects, all due this week. I'm still way behind where I want to be with the Health Systems assignment, but feel confident that I can finish it today or tonight. It may not be top-shelf work, and I don't like the idea of relying on the second stage of the assignment to make up for what I'm doing right now, but that's where we are.

29 days until the election. This fool state is going to send Rand Paul back to the Senate, and six of seven House seats will stay red. Secretary Clinton's showing at last night's debate was good but not great, and Trump exceeded his low expectations by not shitting himself on live television. On the other hand, he sure enough displayed his utter lack of fitness for the office he's campaigning for.

Okay, enough here. Gotta finish this other thing.
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I've wound up  with a pretty good pool of players and characters for my Star Wars game. Had to have a quick talk about tone and expectations with a couple, but they seem to be on board now. First playing session is Friday (7/30) night.

Worst X-Wing game ever on Sunday. Got whupped in three or four turns by a trio of TIE Defenders. I rolled no, none, zero, null evade results during the entire engagement. Just got blown up good. Later games went better - lost by a smidgen to a Ghost/Falcon squadron and ran roughshod over a good mixed Rebel squadron and a Biggs/Phantom/Ghost squadron. I'm having a great time with this squadron of three X-Wings; I'm going to try replacing the T-70 with a non-ace X-Wing and Z-95. Get a little more overall firepower on the table and force two-ship lists to spread their attacks around a little more.

The Republican National Convention was last week, formally making Donald Trump the party's Presidential nominee. That's a hard thing to type - Trump's the least-presidential candidate I've seen in a while. In a sane year, in a sane party, he'd be relegated to the fringes like, say, Buchanan in 2000, but preaching hate and a total lack of substance seems to be the way to go for the GOP this time around. Christ on a cross, Ted Cruz did something to earn a tiny bit of respect during his address - encouraged listeners to vote their consciences, and made the daring suggestion that people who aren't white Protestants were as American as anyone else.

The Dem convention is going on this week, and there are problems. To me, they're a tempest in a teacup. I think that Secretary Clinton is supremely qualified for the office, and more than that, I'm on board with the party platform. Long-term, a Trump- (or maybe worse) Pence-appointed Supreme Court will at best stall and more likely roll back countless civil rights and legal protections.

I'm scared, though. I think that there's enough hatred and partisanship and anarchist-Joker-mindset going around that Cheeto Jesus can win the election. And what then?
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I won't - almost can't - mourn the death of Antonin Scalia. The man was clearly intelligent and well-spoken, but as The Onion put it, he lost a 30-year battle with progress. This year's Presidential election has become even more important.

Because of course they are, the Party of No is insisting that no replacement nomination will even be considered until 2017, following the inauguration of Barry O's successor. Down in my unapolgetic leftist heart, I hope it plays out something like this: Obstruction happens, and the Clinton or Sanders campaign grabs hold of it. The Senate flips, and for my 45th birthday, I get to see the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Barack Obama.

A few of the cohort came over for the Super Bowl. Good time, a good game, and incredible playing by the Denver defensive line.

Saw another NS Heritage unit Friday evening - the Conrail one. Paced it for a few miles down US127, but couldn't get a good photo. That's five for me, I think - CofG, Southern, Jersey Central, NYC, and CR.
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A year ago yesterday, I left the Lexington Herald-Leader, where I had worked for over fourteen years. I've made some mistakes on the path since leaving, but in every instance, I believe that I have fallen forward. I do not regret it.

Netflix released their Daredevil adaptation on Friday. I've watched four episodes so far, and I am mightily impressed. The casting is quite good, and Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk stands out in a very good field. I don't want to refer to him as the Kingpin just yet, but it's coming. The show is surprisingly graphic in its violence, easily an R if it was a theatrical release.

Yesterday was supposed to be an afternoon and evening of board games (Table Top Day), but homework and a dinner date superseded. More of the same today - I have to miss sitting in on a Shadowrun game I've been invited so I can finish up a lot of work.

Next weekend is Thunder Over Louisville - the first one I'll attend. I'm looking forward to it - airshow, fireworks, and more. Had planned to go to Lexicon on Sunday morning for a X-Wing tournament, but an unexpected sale at ate up the money set aside for the tournament - new ship plus shipping costs came in at less than the cost of admission and food and fuel.

If the morning news shows are correct, Hillary Clinton announces her Presidential candidacy sometime today. I think there are better options within the party, but none are going to run, and I'm certainly more friendly towards Hillary than I am towards the two clowns that have already declared for the Republican ticket or anyone else who is likely to do so.

Cuts you Up

Apr. 5th, 2015 01:42 pm
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Woke up far too early yesterday morning, and decided that instead of lying in bed (more likely, tossing and turning), I'd get up and go for a walk. Quite glad I did - I got to watch a lunar eclipse happen as I hoofed it around the block! Very short totality, and just a lovely thing to watch pass.

Also seen on the walk: a few Blackhawks on the ground across the street at Bowman. A few hours later, they flew over the house, and man, five of those things at about 250' altitude means a lot of noice. Shook the windows!

Took The Niece to Mom&Dad's for Easter and her Spring Break. We had a really good afternoon and eveing together. Making dinner as a family brings me a lot of happiness, for whatever reason. Just being together, y'know?

Drove back to Louisville shadow-casting-bright new moon. So beautiful.

So, the Hugo Awards this year. The Hugos are a popularity contest - buy a Worldcon membership and you can nominate pieces and vote on 'em. I don't think I've ever bought something because it won a Hugo or didn't because it, um, didn't. A few years ago, Larry Correia started some kind of movement to disrupt the awards process, and the worse elements of his fellow travelers ramped it up, and got a slate of writers and their products on the ballot. It's a big ugly mess.

I'll cop to my bias. I lean left, and while I won't read an author because of his or her skin color or national/cultural/ethnic origin or genitalia, I won't not read for these reasons. However, I will avoid an author that I consider a terrible person, by my own private calculus. The puppies (and they for-real call themselves that, either sad or angry, depending on oh hell I don't even know) are aghast that there have been a growing number of nominated and winning writers who are not white and male. Many many strands of pearls are being clutched, I'm sure. I've read part of one of LC's books, and I couldn't finish it. I guess he's gotten better at the craft, but those hundred or so pages started the poisoning, and a face-to-face encounter a few years later sealed the deal. Fortuneately, there is no shortage of things to read, and I can easily avoid seeking him out.

Okay, there's my preachifying for the day. I gotta do some homework and send out a flurry of e-mails. Happy Easter!
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I don't keep careful track of my grades - the tools to do so exist, but I'm content to keep a rough idea of my progress instead of however-often checking-in. I did look at one class, though, this week, and was surprised to see it so high - especially since I'm making up everything I do in the class. I'm not sure what's the bigger fraud in this case.

I saw Air Force One yesterday! It is a darned pretty aircraft. Barry O was in town to talk up a startup firm's progress and plans. Delayed arrival, thanks to last-minute agreements with Iran, and the motorcade played holy hell with traffic. People seemed unable to deal.

Saw a huge lightning strike on my way to class yesterday, too. It hit an Army Reserve building on Bowman Field, blowing part of a wall off of the building. By ill luck, I was looking right in the direction of the bolt, and it was close and bright enough to leave an afterimage for a couple of hours.

Last night, a monster storm system moved into the area. About seven inches of rain overnight, a brief storm a few hours ago, and another set of storms heading this way right now. Lots of flooding, road closures, and the like, and Brownsboro Road washed out over Goose Creek. And, because why not, a huge warehouse at GE Appliance Park caught fire. Shelter-in-place orders for two miles around the site, a smoke plume visible from my yard and down in Bullitt County and thick enough to show up on weather radar. I've smelt burning plastic all day. It is not a pleasant thing, don't let 'em kid you.

So, the deal with Iran. Sanctions are going to be eased, and Iran will dial back its nuclear program. Netanyahu, always ready to rattle a saber, has vowed that Israel won't accept the deal - no matter that Israel wasn't invited to the table anyway. The people you'd expect to be very very angry about any arrangement with Iran that doesn't include Spartacus-level blood-and-sand mingling are ... angry, insisting, not unlike with Cuba, that just because something hasn't worked for decades, there's no reason not to keep it not working. So far, no big names of a political party have seen fit to send another ill-advised letter to leaders of other nations undermining their own nation's credibility - not yet anyway.

(Digression: There's the first thunderclap from the new wave of storms. Rattled the house. This may be a long afternoon. And my phone just sounded a flash flood warning. Here we go again.)

SotU, 2014

Jan. 20th, 2015 09:56 pm
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January 20 is my parents' anniversary (1968!), and a pretty significant day in my life for another unrelated reason; it's sort of a personal holy day for me.

I'm watching the State of the Union address now. I've been disappointed by Barry O's presidency, and he's ultimately too conservative, but damned if the man can't deliver a speech, and I am taking great pleasure in watching Speaker Boehner squirm and VP Biden just revel in it all.

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.
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Last night, over on the G+ wasteland, I saw some comments on a kerfuffle involving this year's Hugo Award nominations. Short form - a couple of dudes got nominated and some other people think there's been ballot-stuffing or the like.

The dudes in question are Larry Correia and Theodore Beale, the latter writing under the pen name Vox Day (OMFG AREN'T I CLEVER NO ONE WILL GET MY CLEVER WORDPLAY ON BEING THE VOICE OF GOD). I've read only a little from each of these fellows, about enough to be comfortable in not wanting to read more. The borrowed copy of Correia's Monster Hunter International failed the 100-page test, and failed it spectacularly; occasional dives into his online presence haven't improved my take on him, and he was an utter dick at the one face-to-face encounter I've had with him. Baele's not a good writer by any means; well, his grammar's pretty good, but that's about it. Assuming he's not engaging in some kind of long-form trolling or performance art, his blog posting indicates that he's a pretty terrible human being as well (but has occasional reasonable economic ideas). John Scalzi refers to him as Racist Sexist Homophobic Dickweed (RSHD), and I can't find it within me to disagree.

Whether or not the nomination process was gamed doesn't affect me at all, and I'm not sufficiently outraged to buy a WorldCon supporting membership just for the privilege of voting against these guys and for some of the good stuff I've read in the past year (like, Charles Stross's very good and very creepy Equoid). There is no shortage of material out there for me to read or view, and I can continue to vote with my wallet.

That's easy enough to do in many, many cases. Take occasional whipping boy Orson Scott Card. He's a dreadful homophobe, and a disingenuous coward, and seems to be able to only write variants of one story. Makes it easy to not support him in any way. (Disclaimer: Yes, I saw the Ender's Game movie, and it was terrible, and I donated twice what I paid for the tickets to anti-bigotry organizations after seeing the movie.) On the other hand, there's Bryan Singer. I like Singer's movies, and I'm looking forward to Days of Future Past. Singer's long been known as a chickenhawk, and of late, some very unpleasant accusations have been made against him - Google's right over there, should you want to know more. I'll see the movie. I'll probably watch The Usual Suspects again. But if these accusations prove to be true, some part of me will probably be a little bit conflicted.
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I hate to sound classist or whatever here, but I have felt just icky when I left some of the car dealerships that advertise in the crappy little magazine. Most of them are buy-here-pay-here businesses, and there's an unpleasant predatory vibe there. The standout moment came when a car was being pulled around for a photo, and I heard a rattling not unlike a rod about to throw.

Tomorrow's Election Day. I expect it to be the shit-losingest day ever, no matter the outcome. Kentucky's going to go for Romney in a bigger way than it went for McCain in '08; I'm watching the 6th Congressional District race more closely. The incumbent, Chandler, isn't much to get excited over, but his opponent has run a terrible and odious campaign.

Scheduling issues have thrown kinks into gaming lately, and I'm still not comfortable enough with my footing on Mage to run it. I'm also starting to think that it's not the best option for a one-shot, especially with players who would come into this more or less blind.

I'm four months out from my first convention of 2013. Hoping that at least one of the new/revised/translated games is in a presentable state and I won't have to fall back on either of the fantasy lines. Don't get me wrong, it's all quality work, but my fantasy burnout shows no signs of abating. There's nothing to keep me from relying on SC2 to power the games at CincyCon - I know it, if not coming-and-going, certainly well enough to use it to represent Ten Thousand Bullets or [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR CLEARANCE]. In fact, using it for the latter would be pretty nifty, as I've never used the big grey book for anything besides crime drama or action-espionage/technothriller games.
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I didn't make it out to Louisville yesterday.  Sleep won out over the desire to play Dark Heresy.

Renewed my lease, and the $10/month increase was more than offset by the $200 in certificates as an initiative towards the 12-month renewal.  Sometimes, I guess, the universe lets me in on the joke.

Started playing Ghost Recon (GameCube) yesterday.  The squad control part of the game is going to take me a while to get adept at, but I expect once I've got a handle on it, it's going to be great fun.  A search this morning for Mac versions of Civilization led to the discovery (and immediate order) of a port of Sid Meier's Pirates.

Have found the Geezer-Dingbat yard signs (and other paraphernalia) at CafePress.


Sep. 29th, 2008 06:10 pm
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Saturday night saw the first event held as a cooperative venture between Aaron M's Meetup group and the [ profile] ukmsu .  It went pretty well - decent turnout, at least four game tables, no Bad Parenting Theater.  I ran Spycraft (and will do so again on the 11th).

Sunday was an adventure.  Mom's van broke down on her way back from West Virginia, and Dad picked me up on the way to rescue her.  We loaded the van at a rest area near Morehead, and they dropped me off back here in Lexington so I could follow them home in Hephaestus.  The Niece was with them this weekend, and I took her home - to Louisville.  And Mom came with me.  And I took her back home to Liberty.  And then came home to Lexington.  14 hours on the road, and I never left the state.  A rather tiring day, and I wasn't completely recovered by today.  Went home from work after only a couple of hours, and slept most of the afternoon.

I'll be back in Louisville this weekend for the St. James Court Art Fair.  Looking forward to this little day trip.  And a slightly longer trip over the days immediately following.  Probably not going south, as apparently there's minimal dinosaur juice to be found there.

No, I didn't watch the first Obama-McCain debate.  I know I should have.

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Some really good folks ended their careers with my employer this week.  Early retirement for some, but for at least a couple of others, no definite plans, and these are people within a few years of my age, higher and lower.  There's a massive warning sign there.

I'm still sorting out my take on John McCain's choice of running mate.  I don't know if it's genius or desperation, but I do know that Governor Palin (R-AK) is not going to make me at all interested in voting for her ticket.  Not that such an action was really an option, you understand.  There are things that McCain proposes that I like better than Obama's platform, but they're just not enough for me to support what I can't help but seeing as a continuation of the last seven years of awfulness.

Invested in a copy of iWork last night.  Had played around with Scribus, but it's missing a key bit of functionality that Pages provides.  I'm planning to spend a good chunk of time this weekend learning my way around the thing and getting some basic templates put together.  And next week, start generating content to fill those templates up.

Hunter: the Vigil continues to be a terrific read.  Need to put together characters for the upcoming Spycraft game.  This is going to be a productive weekend.
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There's a lot going on at the office.  Further thinning of the ranks - voluntary, at this stage, and some of the people taking that option are among the best and brightest in the place.  It's hemorrhaging a lot of the good ones, and moving further down the death spiral.

I found a copy of the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide yesterday at the FLGS.  I've only given it a quick once-over, but it looks to have a heap of usable material.  Not for tomorrow's game, though - that's pure New Republic action, stealing a ship and furthering bloodying the Empire.

Started reading Hot War (Malcolm Craig/Contested Ground Studios) last night.  Already, it's a whole other breed of game than I'm used to.  I like it - the themes of trust and not just enduring horrible things work for me.  It's already on the to-run list.  Won't actually run it for a while, though, as I expect there to be a Twilight: 2013 game soon.

So, Obama/Biden.  I'll take it.


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