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One grade in - an A in Health Systems.

The best thing about the semester break is the opportunity to read for enjoyment again. I try to get in at least ten pages a night before bed when classes are in session, but I can't give over much more time than than. This week, I've finished A Time of Torment, by John Connolly - very good thriller, and Ayahuasca, by Jonathan Huls - started hate-reading it by page 50 and haven't decided if I'm going to put it in the HPB pile or just recycle it to keep save anyone else from making my mistake. Started I Hate You - Don't Leave Me last night, in a further attempt at understanding BPD.

Cold snap this week, and Saturday looks like a mess. Rain in the morning and afternoon, with highs around 60 and then a dive below freezing, so all of the water on the roads will become ice. Had thought about a day trip for Saturday, but I think I'll be better-suited to staying home and playing games or something.

Maybe I could take that little trip tomorrow, he thought, before consulting the weather forecast and deciding against that plan as well.

I've created a wiki for my Star Wars game! Very early stages, only a few entries so far, but it's a fun exercise, and it helps me keep track of details.
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I'm up way too early this morning, but it seems I've become hardwired to this sort of thing. I was up until 2AM last night, coffee and reading, and couldn't get my mind to slow down for nearly an hour after going to bed.

I'm reading A Fiery Peace in a Cold War, by Neil Sheehan. It's a biography of General Bennie Schriever, one of the driving forces behind the USAF's development of ballistic missiles and related spaceborne research projects. Sheehan's a skilled writer - A Bright Shining Lie is a brilliant look at a very vocal critic of America's conduct of the Vietnam War, and I wish I'd had time to make use of it when I worked on Spycraft: Battlegrounds. I find myself more and more impressed with non-fiction writers who are able to spin a compelling narrative without embellishing their subject. It's definitely a particular gift.

Binged on movies last night, while following UofL's bowl game on ESPN's Gamecast site. Included American Psycho and followed that up with Looker. These started mixing together and making a Shadowrun plot, and gamer ADD kicked in - DTRPG provided me with a couple of sourcebooks and I found myself almost completely distracted by the gaming material over the movies themselves.

(Also, having my Blu-Ray player linked to my Amazon account for streaming video access is both wonderful and potentially quite dangerous.)

Looks like a messy rainy day ahead. I've got a few errands to knock out before settling in for the last Sunday of the NFL's regular season. The Bengals locked in their playoff slot a couple of weeks ago, among other teams, and while I have no illusions about the Bengals' Super Bowl chances, they're looking pretty darn good.
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The furloughs were expected, but another five layoffs weren't. My department got hit, one guy from Team 2. I wouldn't call him a friend, but he's a good dude. This is going to mean more of a load on the remaining two members of that team, as his territory is in the southeastern end of the state - many miles to cover - and word was given from On High that the territory can't be abandoned.

Pain in the ass week, too. Each team had one rep on vacation, so we were all spread a little thinner. Rep SC is off next week, so, yeah, so much more to cover. And we moved our workspace to the opposite end of the building, losing our cherished isolation.

I took today off as a mental health day. Woke up way too early. Saw an early showing of Star Trek Into Darkness, and, ain't gonna lie. I wasn't impressed. There are a lot of good ideas in there, but the whole thing just doesn't hold together. If there's another one in this series, its probably going to be a rental of some kind for me.

Since I was close, after the movie, dropped into Half-Price Books. Tron Legacy and Layer Cake on DVD, and the novel version of the latter as well. I've watched Tron Uprising over the past week, and am in that headspace.

This weekend looks like another one with family of both kinds. Mom's coming up tomorrow for a follow-up exam, and Sunday I'm off to Louisville for the afternoon. Good stuff to help recover from the past week and shore me up for the one to come.
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The good part of Saturday was getting in a game of Trail of Cthulhu, the first time I've played it under the Purist setting. It was suitably bleak and anticlimactic. The Investigators found things, and those things were horrible, and the Investigators did not survive intact.

Scoring a copy of Fortress America at half-price was pretty nice, too.

The bad part? Knowing that it was the last time I'd be in that place, at least while it's still a store. AW was a great shop, and the communities it helped create will continue. That's something.

Speaking of great shops, I stopped in at Yottaquest in Cincinnati yesterday. Best darn game store I've ever seen. Stock and selection like you wouldn't believe. Clean, well-lit, huge playing area, and friendly knowledgeable staff. Man alive, this place...

I started reading The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy this weekend. I like Ellroy, a lot, but damned if he isn't disturbing as anything. Man's a mess, but he sure can write.
tracker7: (Gaming)
Fire Academy continues to be a great experience. This week, we got a look at airpack systems. Obviously, they provide breathable air to firefighters in smoky or otherwise toxic environments. What they also do is alert nearby firefighters to an immobilized firefighter, share air between firefighters, and flat-out keep the wearer alive.

After the airpack overview, we got assigned our own gear - helmet, hood, jacket, pants, boots, and gloves. Heavy stuff - outfit plus airpack comes to about 50, 55 pounds. Whew. Working in this gear... my respect for these men and women is growing by leaps and bounds.

Tonight was the first in what I'm hoping becomes a regular bi-weekly Star Trek Heroclix game night. I went 0-2, losing both a 200- and 400-point battle. I'm figuring out strategies and ship mixes, and picking up new ships now and then. Had lucky picks tonight - got a HMS Bounty and a second USS Prometheus, the latter of which I was able to trade for a USS Excelsior.  Aw, yeah.

Furloughed tomorrow, which is conveniently Customer Appreciation Day at Lexington's fantastic big-ass independent bookstore, so new books are in the very near future. Spycraft game on Saturday, maybe another minis game on Sunday.

I'm reading Distrust That Particular Flavor, a collection of essays and articles by William Gibson. Good stuff, in bite-sized chunks. Gibson's take on technology, culture, language, writing, whatever - it's good reading, thought-provoking and clever. Even his non-fiction shows his gift for putting words together. Check it out.


Mar. 11th, 2012 07:11 pm
tracker7: (Reading)
Basketball bores the everloving hell out of me. Around here, that makes me something of a pariah, as UK basketball is something of a religion. Being utterly disinterested when you're surrounded by a largely fannish population has some occasional advantages, though - like the office emptying out on Friday afternoon. Looks like I'll have that again on Thursday, which is pretty alright, too, since I'm off Friday of the coming week.

Saw John Carter yesterday. It's a darn good movie, enjoyable, fun, beautiful, and full of adventure. And likely to be a commercial flop because of studio infighting and a piss-poor, if I'm being kind, advertising campaign. Go see this while you have the chance.

I've been drawn, briefly, back into World of Warcraft. There's some kind of resurrection promo, giving free Cataclysm content and a boost to 80th level and a few other goodies. I figure I'll run around for a couple of months and hang it up again when the prepaid play time card I bought expires.

I'm currently reading Resurrection Day, by Brendan DuBois. It's a very good read so far, a murder mystery set in an America still suffering the effects of the war brought on by the Cuban Missile Crisis. DuBois is an award-winning mystery writer and his craft really shows in this one. Recommended.

Auditioning a prospective GM for GenCon this week, and I'm ... not hopeful. Still looking to recruit a couple for the show.
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Futzed around all day. Finished reading (again) Spook Country, which still entertains and has one of my favorite bits of writing - the description of United States $100 bills as "the universal currency of bad shit." Started (re-)reading The List of 7, a fantastic adventure story with creepy supernatural elements throughout. And read a couple of old CP2020 sourcebooks. I've batted around the idea of a CP2020 game at an upcoming convention, and ... I don't know. It's still got a lot of charm, for certain definitions of that word, but it does show its age.
tracker7: (Default)
It's Halloween!

I went to Lexington's Halloween celebration last night, mostly to see Space Madness on the Planet of the Apes by the March Madness Marching Band - and yes, they did "Rock Me, Doctor Zaius." Lots of people there, some good costumes, and the parade was a joy to behold.

I'd planned on driving to Florida this evening to see Space Shuttle Discovery's final launch, but that's pushed back until Wednesday afternoon, and I can't make that and be back in time for my flight to Las Vegas for NeonCon. I'll settle for CNN coverage, I guess. Only three missions left, and then the US is reduced to hitching rides on somebody else's spacecraft until at least 2015.

I'm looking forward to NeonCon, for the most part. The flight's going to be a hassle, what with all the TSA circus acts, but I can deal. The Fantasycraft adventure I'm scheduled to run (twice) is ... well, I really really don't like it. The Spycraft mission is a good one, though, and it looks like there will be a lot of opportunity for pickup games. And, well, I'll be in Las Vegas.

I'm reading Jacqueline Carey's Naamah's Kiss at present. Liking it rather a lot, unsurprisingly. Looking forward to Amexica, sometime after I get back.

Pulling for the Texas Rangers to win the World Series. Pleasantly surprised that the Oakland Raiders are 4-4. And stunned at the disintegration of the Dallas Cowboys.


Aug. 30th, 2010 09:15 pm
tracker7: (Comics)
Saturday afternoon, I went to a fundraiser at the Louisville Zoo. Lots of food from local restaurants and producers, wineries, micro- and craft breweries. I don't drink beers and ales, and don't like most locally-produced wines, so I was able to get away with the less-expensive ticket. And was, of course, given the alcohol-indulging wristband when I got there. The event was a lot of fun - no small amount of people-watching, of course, and, to be honest, the main reason I went was to hang around with D for the first time since early May. She is quite happy with the new job, what with it being a better work environment, getting a raise, and being made full-time this week. Very good to see her.

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm on vacation this week. Not doing anything big; just relaxing and hoping to get some rejuvenation. I've done a bit of reading today, watched a few movies, and dealt with the results of not really sleeping at all last night.

Finally finished reading the books I got at GenCon. I now see the appeal of Savage Worlds, and the Space 1889: Red Sands book for SW was a very good read. Likewise Sunward, for Eclipse Phase. And if the first Pathfinder module in my subscription is any indication, I'm going to love this product line. It's that good mix of adventure and source material that I remember from the good ol' BECMI D&D days. In the next few days, I'll work up a document converting this to Fantasycraft, and see about getting a few game sessions underway.
tracker7: (Gaming)
GenCon 2010 has come and gone, and it was a really terrific show - again.

We arrived early Wednesday afternoon. Plans had been to leave Lexington at noon, but I asked for an earlier departure when I saw (or rather, smelt) that the repair work going on outside my apartment window was on a sewer line. Parked at the hotel and headed to Scotty's Brewhouse for lunch. The rest of the team arrived in the early evening and we finalized plans for the show. Part of this involved using three of the hotel's luggage carts to lug 37 boxes of books over to the convention center for booth setup.

Thursday morning. Up early. Breakfast. Went to the ICC to pick up some material for the day's games - and was able to snag what I was told is the first copy of DC Adventures sold at the show. It's quite lovely. Had some bad news right after that, though. A phone call from my bank to advise me that my debit card had been compromised. They lifted the card's suspension just long enough for me to get enough cash out of an ATM to get me through the weekend. Yay, unexpected stressors. Thursday afternoon's game went well (Fantasycraft), and the players outsmarted most of the dungeon's traps. I still don't like the adventure, but, hey, I'm done with it, so yay. Thursday evening was the Crafty Games seminar, followed by the weekend's second trip to Scotty's. Back to the suite around midnight.

Friday, I slept in. Booth duty in the afternoon. First Spycraft Third Edition game in the evening. Very good stuff. Smart and incredibly entertaining players. Turned in after the game, since ...

... 9AM game on Saturday. Had to deal with one player who didn't quite understand that Spycraft is a brand, and that not all SC games are live-action games. Other than that, a good game. Booth duty in the afternoon. Evening saw dinner at a really good Japanese restaurant. An all-too-brief visit to the meet. Board games in the lobby of another hotel. Very late night. Great time.

Sunday morning, packed up. Loaded the car after one last ridiculously long wait for an elevator. Put in a little extra time at the booth so that the company's partners could make with the schmoozing. Finished my shopping. Crossed paths with a friend from the home county that I hadn't seen in maybe 22 years. Helped tear down the booth at the end of the show, then headed for home. No accidents to stop Interstate traffic for several hours this time. Dropped off my rider and got home around 9:30. Unpacked, did laundry, crawled into my own bed and slept.

Attendance looked to be about the same as last year; heard rumors that it was, in fact, a little higher. The exhibitors hall was very busy, our booth included. Paizo appeared to be doing better business than WotC. More and more women attending.

Besides the aforementioned DC Adventures, I had a modest haul this year. All For One (signed), Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity (signed), Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition and the SW Space: 1889 book, and Sunward (for Eclipse Phase). Got a Stark Industries t-shirt for The Niece and a Blue Lantern one for me. Also got a replica Soviet flag for the office. The first adventure in my Paizo Pathfinder subscription was waiting at my desk when I got to the office this morning, too.

I've started watching Covert Affairs. It's fun, no Burn Notice, but that's a darn high bar. Currently reading Hardwired, by Walter Jon Williams for the nth time.
tracker7: (Comics)
The weekend kicked off with a bang - a real one. My clothes dryer's electric motor seized and burned out Friday evening. Luckily, OGB Jim was available on Saturday and looking for something to do, so he graciously agreed to help me haul the old dryer out and pick up a new one. Moved some money from my emergency slush fund, bought the new dryer, and things were back to normal quickly enough.

Finished reading Accelerando and started on a reread of Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Was kinda dreading a party tonight, but wound up having a really good time. And the fireworks show from the house a couple of lots down was terrific.

Another party tomorrow. Taking leftovers from tonight's to-do as a contribution to tomorrow's. I'll get in a few hours there, but most of tomorrow is going to be spent building Fantasycraft characters and converting a module from another system over to FC.
tracker7: (Comics)
I didn't drive up to Origins. I was up way too late last night, and slept in this morning. Backup plans for this evening fell through, too.

Instead, it looks like movie night. Watching In Cold Blood, and writing a little bit about narcotics trafficking.

Like a lot of other people, I've been watching some of the World Cup. The US made a good showing, but was knocked out today by Ghana. France's team self-destructed like a comic-book villain's doomsday device. I guess now I'm backing England.

My Dodgers have started going off the rails, too. After leading the NL West for a while, they've dropped into a tie for third in the division. The Reds are doing pretty well, currently tied for first in the NL Central. And I still really need to get to a Legends game, and soon.

Not a whole lot else going on. Still digging on the Pendragon game. Reading Driving Like Crazy, by P. J. O'Rourke. Learning bits and pieces about Pages as a layout application. Liking Bendis' Avengers and Brubaker's Secret Avengers a lot.
tracker7: (Comics)
Thursday night, I linked up with a friend from college for drinks and catching up. It'd been close to 15 years since we really talked and hung out, and man alive, that really was a lifetime ago.

Friday started off with seeing Iron Man 2, and it was good. Very good. Not as good as the first one (and I know that's a very high bar), but I think I liked the sequel better. This will require further investigation. I went to Louisville that evening to see it again with D - always a good time, even if she was under the weather.

I've been reading a lot of Chaosium gaming books lately - Cthulhu Invictus, Cthulhu Dark Ages, Malleus Monstrorum, Basic Role Playing, and BRP Modern Equipment Guide.

Bedtime reading this week has been A Devil's Chaplain, by Richard Dawkins. Very good.
tracker7: (Reading)
I've really picked up the pace in my reading over the past couple of weeks. Spin and Axis, by Robert Charles Wilson, The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, by Jack Campbell, The Steel Remains, by Charles Stross. Started in on Hominids, by Robert J. Sawyer, tonight. I haven't done much in the way of writing in the same time span, but that'll come around. For now, I'm happy enough consuming lots of words.

On the gaming front, I'm still immersing myself (har-har) in Blue Planet. I've gotten a good handle on what I want to do with the one-off, I think. Now it's a matter of building characters and making sure that I've got a good adventure for them to play in.

Maybe going to Las Vegas in November. More on this story as it develops.
tracker7: (Comics)
It's Opening Night for Major League Baseball. The Yankees are currently up 5-1 over the Red Sox. The season begins for real tomorrow, and there are at least two games I'll be able to listen to during the workday. Should make things go better at 100 Midland.

I've been an utter slug today. Slept late, got in a little WoW time, slept some more. Managed to write a teeny-tiny bit, and while it's a very small step, it felt good.

Moved furniture yesterday - picked up a couch with [ profile] tegyrius  in Louisville for [ profile] elalyr  and him (and he accompanied on this godawful errand run), then down to Liberty to get a bedroom suite from my grandmother's house. It was not uneventful, unfortunately, because of family stuff - Dad threw his obligatory hissyfit when things weren't done just how he thinks they should have; ultimately, that worked out for the best as it kept him out of the way while T and I took care of loading the van. Plenty of stupid on the drive back to my place, though - random pedestrian stepped right off the sidewalk and into the street in front of us, and T reported he had a I-just-shat-myself look on his face when I leaned on the horn and the pedestrian turned to see two tons of Ford Econoline bearing down on him. More troubling (and irritating) was at my apartment, where a herd of small children were riding bikes/tricycles right into the path of every vehicle they could find. This was worth a call to The Local Constabulary, who hopefully came out and rounded up some parents. For those of you out there that do take your parenting duties seriously, thank you. These, though... damn, keep an eye on your crotchfruit. Evolution takes no prisoners.

Conglomeration is next weekend, as well as D's birthday. Hoping for a good time.

Quick hits - Cthulhu Invictus is a pretty good read, if sometimes a little bit sparse, and I'm enjoying the heck out of The Trouble With Islam, by Irshad Manji.
tracker7: (Comics)
Last Saturday, rather than playing Traveller and L5R and maybe Spycraft, I helped move some furniture out of my grandmother's house. Not a good day.

My Wednesday night gaming group drafted me into running something for them, so I'm going to give Delta Green a try. I've only played a handful of Call of Cthulhu sessions in my quarter-century in this hobby, so this will be a very new experience for me.

About halfway through Newton's Wake, by Ken MacLeod. It's quite good.


Jan. 6th, 2010 07:23 pm
tracker7: (Comics)
Exceedingly busy day. Silly drama among the peripheral team. Yay for headphones.

I've finally acquired a copy of the score to Near Dark - along with 52 other Tangerine Dream albums. Almost two days' worth of listening material.

The current reading material is Halting State, by Charles Stross. I'm only a few pages into it, and it's interesting. Written, so far, in second person.

This is, I think, my third read of a full-length Stross product. I thought Glasshouse was extremely good, and had a lot of fun with most of Saturn's Children, but there was a chapter there that left me physically ill. Can't say as I'd like to revisit that experience, but I've got to give Stross credit for being able to elicit that kind of response.

A significant winter storm is forecast for the area tomorrow. 2-6 inches of snow. We've had slight dustings and some ground cover over the past few days, but nothing like points to the northeast and northwest.


Jan. 1st, 2010 04:50 pm
tracker7: (Comics)
Previous friend-locked post? Times a thousand.

Got out of the office around 1:30, but D couldn't leave the clinic early, as they had an emergency surgery come in. We got together shortly after she got to town. Late dinner, then up until an ungodly hour talking. Got together for breakfast this morning and then watched the Auburn-Northwestern game. Good times.

Doing some writing this afternoon, maybe getting out for a while this evening.

Currently reading Spin State, by Chris Moriarty. Recommended.

I'm feeling quite good, and still have an entire normal weekend ahead. RoXXor.
tracker7: (Comics)
Friday night, I got to see a new 35mm print of Aliens at the Kentucky Theater. Looked fantastic. This movie hasn't lost a thing in 23 years.

Saturday night was my 20-year high school reunion. I had a rather terrific time. Saw some old friends, and caught up with a few in particular. One very interesting data point was revealed to me, inadvertently, and I'm debating on what to do with it.

Today, football, reading, game stuff, and baseball. Recently read Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides, and loved it. I'm to understand that the story and title have been purchased by Disney for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

My Dodgers are currently in the first inning of Game 3 of the NLCS. At Philadelphia, ugh. I am hoping so very much for a Dodgers-Yankees World Series.

tracker7: (Writing)
I've rotated between the Spycraft job and two pieces of fiction today. Probably not the most efficient way of getting any writing done, but I'm unwilling to let this sudden burst of energy go to waste, and said energy is pushing all of these projects with an equal intensity. There was a fourth piece, something that's been rattling around with me for a long, long time, but I cannot get any traction whatsoever on it. It was an ugly and brutal little revenge piece, and I don't feel the need for that one anymore.

Arizona and Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. Not at all what I wanted to see, but what can you do?

Old Man's War (John Scalzi) is a good read. Solid military SF, full of good ideas.

Back to work.


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