Sunday, January 30, 2005

Better, but not better.

The second half of last week was kinda rough. I wasn't feeling well at all; running a fever, not sleeping well, going to work anyway because of some important meetings, not being able to think to actually do any work on rules and such. Bad. I was slowly feeling better over the course of days, and I had some fairly good hours, but mostly I was sick -- though not sick enough to really impdede me.

I did an okay job of taking care of myself with pills, trying to get good sleep, etc, but it didn't help much. Friday night and Saturday I did nothing except sit at home, relax, and watch DVDs. I finished the commentary track on Anchorman and then started in on the Firefly DVDs that Kytte leant me. I watched them all on Saturday and I gotta say, they're really good. I have no clue what Fox was thinking when they short-shrifted the show the way they did. I' really like to find out more about the characters and the universe. I'm sure that means I'll have to go see Serenity when it's released, hopefully later this year.

Anyway, I'm feeling almost completely better, but not quite. Hopefully another night with Nyquil and I'll be better tomorrow. I may post more later tonight.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


As of about 3:30 today I started getting a bit of a scratchy throat and sore sinuses (if that makes sense). Now, after a fun little D&D game I'm afraid it's ballooning into a full-fledged, sore-joint, headachey, annoying cold (or flu) which would be bad.

Hopefully a night's sleep will have me feeling better. Hope. Hope. Hope.

Otherwise, send soup.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Whole Week

I know, I've been very bad. A whole week has gone by without and update. Heck, Mom even emailed me and asked what was up. The reason is actually pretty lame and I bet you'd never guess. Yep, work.

It just so happens that in the course of about a month I have three fairly major products in development or due. This week I wrapped up one of them, am mid-way through another, and started another, plus we had the quarterly company meeting with the big-wigs from Back East (which I had to sit in on because my boss was out of town (yep, eight full hours of meeting)), and we had our annual distributor open house, so I also had to do some things for that. And really, that was about all I did all week.

Okay, not entirely true. Tuesday I ran the next session of the World's Largest Dungeon. The players even managed to have a really big, impressive fight that nearly wiped a handful of them out in fairly short order. This, of course, being the week that Jim was out of town -- Jim's the one always pushing for big combats with lots of death.

Speaking of which, I have a bone to pick with the World's Largest Dungeon; bad editing. Seriously bad editing. The reason this week was a big fight and the last time I ran wasn't, was because the editors missed the fact that the room (E44) wasn't labeled on the map. Very, very bad and it had a large impact on the game. Regardless, I did a bit of juggling and got it to work as well as possible, but a word to DMs out there: look for E44 and mark where it is on the map. It's important.

Thursday I went to the regular game and we split into two groups; one playing The Shadow of Yesterday, by former Thursday gamer Clinton R. Nixon and the other group playing Unknown Armies (run by me). I'm really looking forward to running the game, but I'm a bit fearful, too. I have a hard time running "realistic" or "grim and gritty" games. Also, this game has a lot of room for horror and I'm having a hard time coming up with horrific things that aren't just visceral blood-and-guts-style horror. I prefer suspense, fear of the unknown, and creepy horror for this game. I'm going to have to put some thought into it this week before the game to come up with some really good ideas. I have the broad strokes of the story, but the detail is what will make it really work.

Shane's cousin (who lives in London, but has taken eight months off work (nice, eh?) to travel) came down from skiing at Whistler to spend the weekend in Seattle. We picked up Shana and went to the B&O (yes, this is the third week in a row we've been there) where we were met by Kian and Ariel. We had a good time, but I was completely exhausted after my work week. I could have gone to bed at nine o'clock and been happy. And for me, that's saying something. Oh, I stopped by the nearby Half-Price Books and picked up a copy or Blankets. Good stuff.

Saturday was the usual, plus I met Shane, Cathy, and Leslie (the cousin) for dinner at Cedar's and then we all met up with Seth to watch Sideways at the Seven Gables Theatre. It was my first time there and I liked it. The movie was very good. I may write more about it later, but I'm too tired to be intelligent about it now.

Sunday I dove into the editing assignment I've only nibbled around the edges of so far. I made it a good number of pages in with only a few hours of work, so I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'm very happy with the style, quality, and consistency of the writing. That's always a good thing.

Sunday evening I went to work, but didn't end up getting more than about a half-hour's worth of work done before taking care of some errands and starting a game of City of Heroes. Initially it looked like a bad night for gaming, but it turned out very well and I managed to get six levels for one character and three for another -- which ultimately was a very efficient use of my time. I'm happy with it.

Okay, I'm going to go relax a bit and then get to bed. I will endeavor to update more frequently this week. I swear.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I Had a Plan

So, I had a plan with Shana to watch a bunch of movies that neither of us have been able to see lately. There are a ton of good films out right now and we wanted to catch up on them. Sort of a mini-film fest. It didn't quite work out that way.

Friday, Shana had to get here hair done. We'd made plans to hook up with Seth, Chris, and Seth's sister's friend's sister (who lives here in Seattle now) at the B&O for dinner, then see Very Long Engagement. However, Shana's hair took too long, so the two of us arrived late and we didn't make it to the movie. We did, however, have a good time hanging out and chatting with everyone, then we went to Half-Price Books nearby and browsed. That was fun. I picked up Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark, Donald E. Westlake's The Hot Rock, and Invisible Frontier, which is about exploring New York City's less glamourous places (sewers, the tops of bridges and buildings, etc.). And a very solid-looking copy of Castle Falkenstein. Mine's losing some pages, so a new one for $10 was a good deal.

Saturday I did the usual, but also spent a good five hours at work trying to muscle through a new project that would be even further behind if I hadn't spend the evening there. It was good, constructive time.

Sunday I had breakfast with Seth, then went to work again for a few hours, but it wasn't nearly as constructive. At six o'clock Seth, Matt, and I hopped online and played City of Heroes. Kim joined us for the first time, which was pretty cool. After that Matt and I were hungry so we had dinner at Red Robin before I took off to pick up Shane and Cathy from the airport. They'd spent the weekend in San Diego visiting a friend. It sounds like they had a good time. I know they needed a break.

Work has filled much of my time lately, but it looks like I'll have some nice breaks coming up. I have a trip to visit Jen next month, a trip to Vegas the month after for a convention, and I have to use up some vacation time in the next couple of months or I lose it, so I'll be taking some time off sometime soon to . . . I dunno, maybe clean up around the house, relax, go through some of the boxes in my storage unit, read, play games, work on a new editing project? The possibilities are nearly endless!

I should mention that I spent a few hours Saturday night working on a couple of new roleplaying game systems that I actually like pretty well. Mostly I just noted the broad strokes of how they work and how you do things, but they seem pretty cool. I'd like to play with them a bit more and flush them out, but that should be fun -- and there's no deadline, so I'm in no rush.

Now I'm really tired, so I'm going to go read and go to bed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

That Forgotten Thing

Don't you hate when you think of something you want to tell someone and then as you open your mouth to say it, you forget what it is? Whether you forget because you were interrupted or because your mind wandered for a moment, or whatever. I hate that. That's sort of what I feel like right now. I'd thought of something that happened in the last day or so and now that I sit down to type, I find that I've forgotten what it is. I hate to even talk about this, but maybe it'll jog my memory. We'll see if I remember by the time I'm done.

Mitch's birthday is Saturday and I picked up a card to send him. I'll get that out in the mail tomorrow. I'll try for Priority Mail so that it makes it in time.

I didn't write about it, but last week one of my comic book heroes died; Will Eisner. He's simply amazing. One of the true pioneers of the medium. He was very intelligent, creative, passionate, and interesting. I'm very sorry to see him go, and I'm sorry that I never managed to meet him even though I was within five feet of him at a show. (He was getting packed up to leave and I didn't want to interrupt.) It's very sad and I'll miss his stories. I recommend them all.

My friend Will and his wife Johanna called this morning to tell me that she delivered a lovely baby girl this past weekend. Everyone is doing well and life if great on the East Coast. It was nice to hear from Will again.

I played Shadowrun Tuesday night with Mike and the group from work. It was fun, because we finally got a chance to interact with the world a bit, but the game isn't flowing quite like I'd like to to. Same with the D&D game, but I think that's limited by its dungeon-crawl format. Hopefully Thursday's game will be better, but I think we're starting something new this week or next, so not much hope of that.

I received some nice pajamas for Christmas from my mom and dad. They're very comfy, but I realize now why button-up shirts don't work well in bed; I roll over and the shirt gets wound up. Then in my sleep-adled attempts to straighten it in the night, I rip the material. It's only a small rip at the point where one of the bottons attaches to the shirt, but it's disappointing; they're brand new. Ah, well, perfectly wearable still.

Late night at work again tonight. I have three projects all due within three weeks of each other and the overlap means I have all sorts of work to do all the time. Happily, I finished up most of the set I was working on tonight, so I only have a little bit left to work on. Well, except for the rules themselves, which will be mostly consolidating and clarifying. Then it's onto the next project.

I've been making omelets for breakfast lately and I'm very proud of the fact that I've gotten them down to an art. Including the ability to flip the omelet in the pan! I risked my breakfast Tuesday morning and I managed to land the omelet right back in the pan. And I repeated the feat Wednesday morning. Woohoo! It really is the small things, isn't it?

Phil and I got a nice thank you from John Kovalic in his latest collection of Dork Tower. That was nice to see.

I picked up tickets on Monday to fly down to see Jen next month for a few days. That's definitely something to look forward to.

One of the things above, I think, is the thing I was trying to remember at the start of the post, but I can't be 100% certain. Anyway, consider yourself informed on the comings and goings of my life.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Hero vs. Purple Butterfly

This weekend was nicely bookended by movies.

Friday night I went to dinner at the B&O with Shane and Cathy, then back to their place to watch Hero. It was excellent. I didn't manage to see it when it was in theatres, but it's definitely a movie I'll be picking up on DVD. Soon. It was beautifully filmed throughout and parts of the story stood out as better than others (to me), but the ending is what nailed it for me. The conflict between what the emperor wanted to do and what he had to do was fantastic, well done, and counter to how Americans would have wanted the ending. It was perfect. Really and excellent film.

Saturday I went for comics with Seth, did some of the mounds of laundry left over from the holidays, and went to work to play City of Heroes with a bunch of people. My boss has a friend in from home and we got together there to play for a few hours. It was a good time and Gil (the friend) is a really good guy.

That evening I went to a birthday party for some old co-workers. They're good friends who both have birthdays around now, so they invited all their friends to a big bash in the back room of the Bad Juju Lounge. I'd been to the Bad Juju a couple of times before, but I had no clue that it had a back room. It does, but it's more of an emptied-out attic with some lights, a sound system, and a bar installed. It served as birthday party central pretty well. I picked up Shane and Cathy on the way over and since we didn't know anyone other than the birthday girls we mostly ended up talking to each other. Luckily we get along great, so we had fun. I got home around 2:30.

Sunday morning I woke up around 8:30, said, "No, uh-uh, not getting up yet," and went back to bed until 11:30 -- a bit later than I thought I'd get up -- and went for breakfast. On my way I played good Samaritan. I saw a little black dog almost get hit by the car in front of me, so I pulled over and called it to me. He came bounding over, no questions asked and I scooped him and up took him to the address on his collar (about a block away). No one answered, so I went for breakfast and left him in the car. When I came out I checked him out again and found that his collar had a phone number, too, so I called. The lady was very happy to hear her pup was safe and I drove over and dropped him off. Ain't I the best? Super cute puppy, though.

I spent a couple hours at work getting some things taken care of, but nowhere near as much as I needed to get done before Seth and I hopped in the car and drove over to the University district to see Purple Butterfly at the Grand Illusion theatre. The movie was . . . not bad, but not good either. It seemed like an experiment in telling a story with as few words as possible -- even to the detriment of the storytelling, characterization, and plot. Quel bummer. There were some good moments, but I was underwhelmed, despite the fact that the idea of a conspiracy/espionage story set in 1920's China sounded like it could be pretty cool to me.

Friday, January 07, 2005

It Had To Happen

I knew it wouldn't be long after I returned from vacation that I'd have to put in a late night. That was tonight. It was mitigated a bit because a friend of a friend came into town today, so some of us from work went to a quick dinner with him and then played City of Heroes. I ducked out early, but it was a nice break before diving back into work until quarter to midnight. I'm sure I'll have a few more of those days in the next couple of weeks.

I haven't had much to update this week, nor have I had much time to update. I'm not sure how that works. It seems like I should have plenty of time to update. I've started watching the DVDs of The Simpsons season four and I've been trying to read a bit more, maybe that has something to do with it.

I heard from Seth that one of our mutual acquaintances has taken a job as an editor at Del Ray. That's pretty cool.

I was expecting my package o' Christmas presents on Wednesday, but they didn't show up until Thursday. They were all in perfect shape and are already in their appropriate spots after just arriving home.

Now I'm going to relax and get some sleep.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Day One . . . Again

I did it. I actually went to the gym. It's the first time since sometime near the end of February of '04. No lightheadedness, which I'd expected, so I must still be somewhat healthy. I'm going to try to go 3-5 times a week, starting with cardio, then moving onto some resistance training in fairly short order. I'm actually pretty jazzed about it now that I've been there once.

Today was also the first day of watching what I eat again. The holidays really threw me off and I'm planning to jump right back into behaving when it comes to food and snacks. I have goals, damnit, and I'm gonna get there.

I'm still having a hard time adjusting to the time difference between here and Wisconsin. For some reason I have a really difficult time moving from Cental time to Pacific time. It's probably a good thing for my sleep schedule, though. I've been in bed by midnight quite often since I've returned -- and up by eight o'clock the next morning.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Twelve Days

It's hard for me to beleive I've had 12 days off. And that I haven't really thought about work the entire time. Part of me thinks that's a bad thing, like I've lost some of my passion for it, but mostly I think I just needed a break from it. That's probably more accurate anyway.

So what have I been doing?

Flew back to Wisconsin to visit with family and friends. Had a great Christmas. Spent time with my nephews -- including taking them to see Christmas with the Kranks, of which, the less said the better.

My nephews are always fun to see because they change so much from one visit to the next. It's very clear very quickly which "phase" they're going through. They're so much more dynamic than adults.

I only managed to spend a day in Madison and I missed out on seeing Tim, Kevin, Kerry, and the guys at FM, but I got to spend time with Kim, John (who I hope gets to go back to England soon), and all the Monkeys at the get-together that John and Lisa hosted. Lisa was happy to report that she'd finally found work in the Detroit area, so she and John could live together again. (Briefly, John's been working in the Detroit area for over a year now and Lisa's been looking for a job out there all the while. Now she's found one. Hooray for them!) Anyway, the party was a lot of fun. Very low key. We pretty much sat around and caught up on what everyone was up to. It was especially nice to see Becca, Doug, and they're little Henry, as well as Scott. Man, I just don't get to see those people enough. Scott really, really needs to come out here sometime. The only people missing were Kevin, Lori, and Karen. It would have been nice to have them there as well.

Wow, I'm really enjoying typing right now.

I read A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin while I was home, too. It's the second book in the series (I read the first last year sometime) and I think I liked this one better than the first. Very, very, good stuff.

Oh, Christmas stuff; I received a number of really nice things for Christmas, but I wanted to note the things I picked up with gift money/certificates so that I don't forget. I know I'll have to send a note to my sister and grandma so they know their gifts went to good use. So, here's the stuff I've picked up since my return:

Pet Sounds CD (Beach Boys, y'know.)
Garden State DVD
The Simpsons Complete Fourth Season DVD set
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (the next book in the series mentioned above)
The Hedge Knight, also by Martin. This one being a comic adaptation of a short story that's a preqeul to the regular series of books.
Batman: The Long Halloween TPB (for half price!)
The Savage Tales of Soloman Kane by Robert E. Howard. I can't wait to dig into this.
A new calendar for my house (also half price!)

That's all certainly worth more than would be covered by my Christmas money, but I also exchanged some gifts that had gift receipts with them for some local stores -- plus I sold two big boxes of books to Half-Price Books which netted me $53.00. So, more goodies for me. Really what this all means is that I'm restocked on fun stuff for a while. I have plenty to read and catch up on.

New Year's Eve was fun. I was invited to Sandra and Javier's for an evening of fun and poker. I had a really good time visiting with everyone and learning how to play poker better. I did all right, but I made a couple of mistakes. I may start playing regularly with Javier and some of his friends -- good business contact. Very. Very. Good.

I've been talking to Jen daily for a couple of weeks now and I really like it. Hmm, I'm never sure how much I should write about my dating/social life here, but I guess I'm enjoying the time I spend talking with her enough that I want to mention it here. It's been nice to reconnect with her -- even if she is in L.A. Maybe a visit is in order.

Hopefully Mom will read this on Monday and know that I'm thinking of her and hoping that she goes to her appointment.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you're all well and that you had a relaxing holiday or two in the past couple of weeks. I'll update more soon.