30 November 2008

Getting Older

I had a birthday yesterday. How old, you might ask? Dunno. stopped counting after 28. Ask my wife. I think she remembers.

Anyway, getting older got me thinking about .. well, being younger. It got me thinking about my expectations for my birthdays in my youth and what i expect out of them now. I loved big parties with lots of people and food and music and games and lots of mingling and snacking. Presents were never important. I'd much rather have my friends and family all together. Well, this year my friends list is dwindling, and there was no money for any kind of food filled bash, so we had a gaming party instead. my folks came over in the early afternoon for cake and chat, then they left and my two remaining (almost one, when Lone ships off for the Marines in January) friends that live here and I spent 10 hours killing random things in Dawn of War. Overall it was a great birthday, even without all the people and food. Pizza, of course, was there, and Sinister's wife brought a really great jello pie, and we still had cake.

But as I get older, do I really expect large house-filling-stomach-stuffing-music-blasting parties?

Yes. yes i do.

Maybe next year.


16 November 2008

Star Wars Saga Edition

Ok, so the procrastination post actually came from looking at one of the blogs my wife reads titled procrastination, and i had an epiphany and had to post. but now i'm on to real hobby-ing stuff.

Recently i've been itching to game. Not video games or board games or card games, but paper-and-dice-character-sheet-pencils-and-game-master-friends-around-the-table game. So i've convinced my friends to create level 3 characters to play in our Star Wars game, and i've written the beginning of an adventure that should take us a few days to get into, and then i have a couple campaigns and some plot hooks to take us further. should be pretty interesting.

But the hobby part. The blitz part. the part i get way too into. I went to the WOTC site and i downloaded it. The whole thing. Well,.. pretty much. I have now six additional planets, three space stations, eight new ships, four bad guys to collect bounty on, three adventures, twelve characters, and a four part essay on what it means to be Sith. I've downloaded the core rules book, four sourcebooks, and seven of ten parts of a national campaign. I think i've got a good start for them. Now I just have to make sure i do my part and keep their interest long enough to make use of it.

Collecting e-books is a bit of a hobby of mine as well. At home i have the entire D&D 3.5 system (up to a point, around last... April?), most if not all the Conan books, the entire D20 Modern and Future set, the new D&D 4.0 edition, Iron Kingdoms, World of Warcraft (Yes, as an RPG, not a video game), Traveller20, and a few random ones I've never heard of that I ran across and figured I'd better grab them "just in case". I have them neatly organized in My E-Books folder under RPG/D20/*.* and I've read each of them once or twice. Generally I just bookmark the pdf's for future reference. But I've played almost none of them. The Star Wars ones will be some of the lucky few. Maybe someday I'll find a party that loves to play and will want to make use of them, but for now, my few friends that will show up are proving to be true friends to put up with me and my blitzy ways.




09 November 2008

The house

(this is about a year old, but needed to be posted)

in my quest to be a good husband, i'm trying my hand at mr. fix-it. i've had the lunacy to take on several projects at once, to my chagrin. i began with the basement.

this house, for some unknown reason, has 18" wallspace in the basement. that is to say that the sheetrock on the inside wall is approximately 18" from the concrete of the basement. as a result, we have deep window boxes and a waste of space. at first i thought it to be duct work, perhaps aluminum, running behind the wall. there was a spot in the extra room of the basement - known as the apartment - where the wall suddenly jogs back to the concrete and is no longer taking up that 2' of space. I expected this to be the termination of the aluminum duct work.
when we took the panel off the end of that wall section, i was astounded to find dead empty space. the duct was a one foot in diameter flexible tube lying on the floor and plugged into the return in the wall. no aluminum. there was also a pipe and valve, which i discovered to be my water main.

the first project we undertook was to take back that 18" of space. or at least some of it. we tore down the wall and my roommate Lone, a framer for the last two years, framed me a new wall. total space acquired: 15 square feet. not bad. we moved the wall back about 14" on a 10' length of wall. We left a portion of the wall around the water main to be network closet, wired romex for power, network cable, and new lights along the wall. all in all, not a bad renovation.

this took approximately 4 weekends to get 70% done. the wall is built, the wires are run, the sheetrock is up everywhere except around the network closet. we need to finish the closet, plug in the power, and tape/texture/paint.

in the interim of this project, my wife became annoyed with having the dish washer in the kitchen.

this house, for another unknown reason, has one of the smallest kitchens i have ever witnessed. the total size is 10'x10'. not too bad if its a bedroom, but then bring all four walls in by the two and a half feet of cabinet and counters, and the area is significantly smaller. the dishwasher, a roll-away, perfectly rolled into the opening between the counter and the fridge, and hooked up to the sink. she has been telling me for the last year that she wants it permanently mounted to the end of the counter. i could not figure out how that was supposed to work, but after cabling the basement and wiring for power, i felt confident i could figure it out. to ensure i would not slack it off and only half finish it, i cut the connection to the faucet from the hoses, and off we went to home depot.

we bought fittings, irrigation pipe, and teflon tape, and took our treasures home to properly mount the dishwasher in its now irrevocably permanent home. After drilling holes in the walls of the cabinets, feeding through the hose and running the dishwasher several times, i have tightened the fittings down enough that no water leaks from the connections; not as easy a task as you might think. Forget screwdrivers for this type of torque. Rachets are a godsend.


Crazy guy in 14 house

It wasnt right away that i noticed the guy was crazy. it took a few days.
he was fine playing spades, pretty good, actually. He could pick up my tells quick and throw just the right thing to roll us wheels and jump two-hundred points on the suckers sitting to either side. he was fine at dinner, easy conversation about his life before, about what he would do when he got out, about simple things in the world. never seemed crazy then.
but i started to pick up on things, things i hadn't noticed, or didnt' pay attention to, until just one day it caught my attention. like the disinfectant. after using the head and washing his hands with soap and water, he'd spray disinfectant on his hands and rub them together. that had to dry out his skin.
and he had a ritual for going to bed. when i noticed that, i watched it for three days before i asked him about it. three days of the same thing. he'd pull his covers back half way and sit down. he'd stare at his toes for a minute, then lift up his left foot, flip the sandle off, then his right, flip the sandle off, use his big toes to position them so they were even and right straight down from the side of the bunk. then with his feet together, he'd tap the floor on either side of his sandles, once, twice, three, no four times. then roll to the side, grab his covers and flip them up, and slide his feet under and lay totally flat before the blankets would sink over him.
if any part of this did not go exactly to plan, he'd put his shoes on and start over.
I dont remember his name now. i do remember he confided in me that the world would end if he didnt do these things exactly right.
i remember him. crazy or no, he was a good card player.


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