Volcano

Sep. 6th, 2017 10:56 am
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Today, on his 70th birthday, Dad is hauling a couple of turbofan housings from Ohio to somewhere in the greater Massachusetts wastelands. As of a few minutes ago, he's on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, escorts front and rear, and limited to 55 miles-per and daylight travel only.

Hurricane Irma is closing in on Puerto Rico and Hispanola, the best models show it heading into the Florida Strait, then turning north and going up Florida's west coast. The thing is at category 5, sustained 185+ MPH winds and gusts to 225 and better. Tropical Storm Jose is a few hundred miles to the east of Irma, and a depression in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico just got strong enough to be named Katia. This is not going to be good. Florida's in a statewide state of emergency; tourists are being evacuated from the Keys, and Miami's evaccing people with mobility problems.
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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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What's left of Hurricane Harvey is heading this way. Rain late tonight, sticking around for about a full day. A flash flood watch begins tonight at 8PM. Clouds from the thing are here already. A sewer line collapsed under Main Street yesterday morning, closing Main between Clay and Jackson and Hancock between Billy Goat Strut Alley and East Washington. MSD estimates repairs will take a couple of weeks, and work won't start until after the storm's remains are gone.

That section of Main has been a mess for a while - a couple of lanes closed to allow for Whiskey Row construction. It's at the entrance to parking for Slugger Field, so getting to Against the Grain will be trickier, I guess.

There's more happening in Texas. A couple of explosions at a chemical plant northeast of Houston - and there's a whole other mess, with chemical contamination mixing in with the existing water and sewage and everything else. Recovery is going to take years.

Tomorrow is Force Friday, a marketing blitz that's going to be a long day of Star Wars gaming for me. LGS in the afternoon and Epic X-Wing at Heroes in the evening. FFG's announced a mystery gaming product, probably something for Destiny. I hope it's Destiny-related, since that will mean absolutely no temptation for me to buy it.
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It's not a hurricane any more, but Harvey's still doing a number down around Houston. A levee south of the city let go this morning; evacuation is underway where possible. There's a comparison to be made to Katrina, and I heard discussion along those lines this morning. The biggest difference seems to be duration. Katrina hit New Orleans and blew through in a matter of hours; Harvey's been noodling around for a few days now, and is moving very slowly. Rainfall is over four feet in some areas, and it's a whole region of poor drainage - bayous everywhere. This is catastrophic in every way.

Got out pretty early this morning to run a couple of errands, and caught a train at Hurstbourne and Six Mile. Approaching Hurstbourne, I was pretty sure I saw the headlight reflecting on the rails at the overpass, and sure enough, a couple of BNSF locomotives pulling a long stack train came barrelling down the line. Not a bad way to begin a day.
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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.

Sabbath

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:50 pm
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Second day at The Farm. Got here early yesterday morning, and Mom&Dad headed out around noon. Yesterday afternoon saw a shopping trip to Campbellsville - medicine and snacks for Kaiser, food and clothes that I forgot to pack for me. Had a mighty moment of dumb when getting things together yesterday morning, I guess.

This dog, y'all. Despite the heat, he's outside on the porch, but will probably whine in a half-hour or so to be let back inside so he can lie down on the floor and cool off for a while. He's a hoot, swinging between "I'm a strong proud red Doberman who doesn't need no (hu)man" and straight-up almost as needy as my housemate.

It's high summer, that's for sure. Lexington weathermen have tossed around the phrase "hottest day of the year" quite a bit. It's presently 91F, heat index 102F, down a few degrees from a few hours ago. There's a chance of daytime thunderstorms over the weekend, which should help knock air temps down a bit. But thunder will scare the dog, so, a mixed blessing.

Little things: USPS mail holding is pretty great for long getaways like this. I'd bought some promo and alt-art cards from eBay, shipped through USPS, and had a little anxiety about them arriving while I was away - housemate's shacking up with this season's Whatsername when he's not working in Lexington. Two minutes at USPS.com and all is handled.
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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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I'm progressing, just not as quickly as I'd like. After my shift ended yesterday, I worked for a couple of hours in the SPHIS lounge, then played some Imperial Assault, then worked until midnight or so when I got home. Woke up crazy early this morning and went back to SPHIS around 7AM, worked for a couple of hours, then back home when I started losing focus. Power nap. Still focusing on the policy paper, since it has to be more objective than the practicum writeup. I want to be done with the policy paper before going to bed tonight, and if that requires coffee or something stronger, then so be it.

Weather has improved enough for the airshow to happen. I've heard a lot of planes at Bowman in the past couple of hours, and WHAS11 is streaming their coverage. Kinda wish I was there, but, priorities.

Got invited to go to Origins with the FFG delegation, and, fuck it, I'm going. I've wanted to see this con for a few years now. The people who invited me are some of my best friends here in Louisville, and, y'know, life's short. Details to come; I figure I'll be on Star Wars duty of some kind.
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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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Last working day of the year, and it had an inauspicious beginning. Made the turn onto Broadway from Baxter and heard a rhythmic thumping sound start up. Dammit, a flat tire, I thought, and pulled into a church parking lot to get a look. Not flat yet, but it wouldn't be long - a bolt imbedded in the tread. Not near the sidewall, fortunately. There's a Meineke shop a couple blocks from SPHIS; pulled in, and they were able to plug the puncture and all was well.

Freezing fog set in overnight, and by the time I got to Gray Street, it had thickened enough that I couldn't see past I-65. Around 10AM, it changed to dry blowing snow. Pretty, but I'm glad I wasn't out in it.

I'm ready for the holiday break. One errand to run tonight, and then I've got a couple of days to just goof around. Going to work on my Star Wars game for Friday night, read, watch a whole lot of Netflix. I'm lighting out for The Farm Saturday morning, staying until Tuesday, I think. Keeping gift-giving and receiving to a minimum; just exchanges with Mom&Dad. Everyone else gets my whole over-the-stuff state of mind and get that I just want time.
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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've come to love Thursdays. I don't really miss market setup and teardown, although the lunch options right outside my building door were nice to have. Thursday night is my favorite class, the one not part of my concentration. Two instructors, four students, and we tend to be super casual. Last week, we spent a good chunk of class time talking about communications methods and technology, human obsolescence, technoshock and a singularity event. And then went for a joyride in one classmate's RS6 and holy cow that thing is fast.

Fridays are hit and miss. This one was a hit - practicum mentor was out of the office, so I had a free day. Slept late, went into LMPHW around 10, handled some paperwork and phone calls and journal logs, and went home. Age of Rebellion game that night, which went well and, more importantly gave me tons of good player feedback and suggestions on the game as a whole.

Which led to Saturday. Stayed in bed until noon, working on the game. Wrote up three opposition forces for the PC group - a Rodian clan, an ISB investigation team, and an Inquisitor. I think they're nicely scaled, each with their own threat level and reasons to oppose the PCs. We'll start finding out next session when the PCs cross paths with the ISB operation.

(UofL won Saturday night, after seemingly trying not to do so in the first half of the game. Three higher-ranked teams lost, moving UofL up to #3 in both polls. Playoff committee meets tomorrow and if UofL is in their top four, people are going to lose their minds. Next game is Thursday night at Houston, and that's maybe tricky.)

Autumn finally showed up. The last few mornings have seen sub-freezing temperatures when I woke up, and highs have been in the low 60s. Took long enough - yet another summer that didn't want to end.
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Louisville beat Marshall. Cards are 4-0, playing at Clemson this week. Although, UofL is ranked higher than Clemson, I can't quite get myself to believe that UofL will win. Clemson is so darn good.

Classes are still progressing. For a small number of reasons, I'm starting to wish that I'd maybe concentrated in Health Management instea of Promotion. I mentioned this in passing to one of my professors, and that led to another conversation about post-MPH plans. We have a rough map, combining our new executive MHA program with our policy PhD while working for SPHIS or a city or state agency.

It's the middle of the semester already. Monday and Tuesday are fall break, and I'm taking the days off from work. Going to head to the farm in a few hours to work on papers. Mom&Dad are gone to Arizona, so I'm house-sitting, and the quiet environment should be conducive to getting plenty of work done.

Set up an epic-scale X-Wing game last night. Led a 400-point Imperial force with my Raider against a 12-starfighter Rebel group supported by a electronics warfare GR-75. My Raider and a TIE/SF were the last Imperial ships on the table, but the Raider did its thing and, after hanging back to build up energy reserves, ripped the Rebel forces to bits. A really good time all around, and we're planning to do it again soon - I have yet to use my CR90, and that needs to be rectified soon.

Shadowrun Anarchy dropped this morning. Hoping to get (or make) the time to read at least some of it this weekend.

Oh hey, autumn finally arrived for real. The past week has seen daytime high temps in the low 70s or upper 60s, rain, clouds, some sunshine peeking through.
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With the arrival of Imperial Veterans, TIE Defenders are now very, very good. They're not unbeatable, but they're definitely the premiere Imperial starfighter now. Yesterday's tournament (so much for that pledge, it seems) saw four Imperial squadrons, all using some new Defender options in a Palpatine-on-a-cheap-shuttle model. I went up against two of them, losing badly to one and losing to the second by one point. Biggest difference: in the first battle, I went for targets of opportunity, and in the second, sicced my force on the shuttle and removed the Emperor's dice modifying ability.

Celebrated Independence Day with a couple of parades, driving and riding in Dad's F-100. Russell Springs' parade was a mess, and we spent more time sitting still while a marching band or flag corps or something performed. A nasty storm front was rolling our way during the parade, and when it ended, we raced a heck of a storm home (and lost). Tornado warning, rotating clouds overhead, sideways rain. But all things equal, we had a good time.

Dad texted me late Saturday night, letting me know that an uncle had died. Not one I'm at all close to, so not really something I'm torn up over, but, well, Mom. In fact, my first thought when Dad told me was, hey, Tudor's and Gino's! But, the funeral looks to be on Thursday, and I can't/won't miss market day without a really good reason, so I'll have to wait until Charcon, I guess. (I'm not a good person sometimes.)
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Under the clouds, at the moment, and I'd like them to open up for a little while. Just be done by 2PM, when we close up for the day.

This is Derby Week in Louisville, when the city puts on a couple of parties for itself and its residents (Pegasus Parage, something called Thurby, and the Kentucky Oaks race tomorrow) and a big party for the rest of the world on Saturday. No small number of streets are closed around HSC today, and non-medical offices (like us and a couple of banks and restaurants) are closing up shop plenty early so we can get home before the parade completely wrecks traffic flows - or find a place to watch the parade, if you're so inclined. I've been here since 8AM, we've had no visitors of any stripe, and a couple of co-workers and I started our day off by goofing around in front of the building and watching LMPD remove vehicles whose owners ignored the ridiculous number of very large signs warning of today's street closures, posted since at least Monday.

So, yeah. Today's been quiet, and tomorrow will likely be so as well. Oaks Day, much of the city just shuts down. Most - darn near all - of our faculty and staff stay home or go to the races or whatever; I volunteered to be here, knowing that I'll likely have the building nearly to myself. Heck yeah I'm going to catch up on my reading.

Derby Day itself, I don't know. I'm not much for the very showy parties that accompany the day. Damned if I don't love Derby Night, though. The Highlands fills up with folks out to have a good time, everyone is in a good easygoing mood, last call is extended until 6AM. And I live close enough to that part of town that I can just walk to and from wherever.

And Sunday, there's Slur Your Role over at Kaiju and I'm planning to get in some Deadlands Noir time.
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The semester ends tonight. Group presentation, a communty health assessment. And then done.

I know one grade already, am near-certain on a second, and have good guesses on the other two. There's a shot at an improvement in Biostats. Assessment is ... I don't know. There's been a lot of nitpicking in grading, and I'm not especially confident that we'll get the grade I believe we've earned. We'll know one way or another in 48 hours.

Since Marc is leaving for home as soon as our presentation is over tonight, we had one last evening out last night. A storm front came through, knocking out power to the restaurant/bar for a while, and the wind bounced me around quite a bit while I was on I-64. But it was a good time, and good spirits.

Now we wait.

The Storm

Feb. 24th, 2016 10:30 am
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NCAA baseball season started last week. UofL swept the opening weekend opponent, outscoring SIU Edwardsville by 43-5 over the three games. Friday was a little cool and very windy, but a pretty good day at the stadium. Saturday - oh, man, Saturday. Sunny, warm, about perfect. Mom&Dad came up for the game, and D came with us, and it was just a delight. And barbecue for dinner after the game, so heck yeah.

Sunday, weatherwise, was not sunshine and rainbows. Well, there may have been rainbows, because there sure was a lot of rain. I drove to Lexington to play X-Wing and despite going 0-3, it was a pretty good day. The second and third games could have gone my way - agility dice betrayed me both times on a gunnery pass. Did manage to kill Bossk with a TIE Defender and one-shotted Guri with a TIE Bomber, and anytime I can blow up a flying sandcrawler, I'm happy.

I threw the Defender into this list mostly because I didn't want to fill up the leftover space with the default of a couple of Fighters. It's got some problems (next time, FFS, put the Mark 2 engine on the thing), but it is a solid ship, and can deliver and endure a lot of damage. It's going to see more use when the Imperial Veterans pack arrives; I'm going to keep it in the rotation for a while. It's an interesting ship.

I cancelled on CincyCon. The getaway would have been nice, but prepping a couple of games for the con was adding more of a cognitive load than I wanted. May port some of the notes into a Slur Your Role day over at Kaiju as a warmup for ConGlomeration.

Great Train Expo here in Louisville this weekend. Probably going for at least a few hours; otherwise I'll be deeply immersed in prepping for a biostats midterm, and I will have to have a break from that.

Never Stop

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

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

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

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

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

I'm becoming that which I hate, briefly. It's store championship season for X-Wing, and I'm flying in one. With a two-ship build. I have no expectations of placing highly; mostly I want to learn about other builds and entertain myself.

Strangled

Jan. 10th, 2016 07:17 pm
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And we're back in session at SPHIS. A couple of days to, really, get paid for doing nothing before classes started. Read quite a bit. Directed a few new students. Held a few hands.

Went to Indianapolis for a model train show yesterday. Saw some very nice modular setups, bought a whole damn Amtrak train. Didn't stay long; the facility was crowded and ventilation wasn't great, and that combination usually leads to me getting very uncomfortable very quickly. Kinda wish I'd sprung for the Chessie SD-35 I've been lusting after for a while, because what I need is more motive power.

NFL playoffs have started. The Chiefs rolled into Houston and embarrassed the Texans. The Bengals threw away a win against the damn Steelers with a set of penalties. The Vikings lost in the final few seconds when their kicker blew a short field goal. And at the moment, Green Bay and Washington are trading possessions and scores. Even if I haven't been happy with a couple of the outcomes, the games have mostly been good matches.

Winter showed up last night. Couple inches of snow, and it's been below freezing all day. I'm still in pajamas, having had no real reason to get out of the house; nothing that I can't take care of after class tomorrow night, anyway.
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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.)

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