Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


DragonCon 2

Well, they're here! Leaving the hotel this morning, the streets and shops were swarming with convention attendees. Girls in plaid skirts, girls in devil horns, girls in renaissance costumes, girls in Star Wars rebel fighter costumes, men in long scraggly ponytails and chainmail shirts, guys in kilts and combat boots, people wearing DragonCon t-shirts from previous years.

The local news teams were on the street filming news clips, undoubtedly reporting something like, "Well, it's started again: DragonCon, when the freaks descend on downtown Atlanta.

Today we get to see if anyone will actually find our booth (off in the corner) and, once they find it, will they buy?

Lunch yesterday at the Pacific Rim Bistro, very near the hotel. Exceptionally good pan Asian cuisine. I had an Ahi tuna, pineapple, avocado salad that was wonderful. The boys had tuna tartare that I tried. Could have eaten two portions of that.

Last night's dinner at Tiburon Grills was excellent! Kobe beef skewers as appetizers, oh my. Swordfish poached with shrimp and artichoke hearts, honey-lacquered duck (with stilton grits and portabello mushrooms), peach pork tenderloin (with pole beans that Hal raves about). Hal and I split a piece of peanut butter pie, and Chris had a warm bread pudding with rum sauce and we rolled home. YUM!



Haven't spent much time in Atlanta in the last ten years. A couple of quick trips through town on my way somewhere else, or a trip to DragonCon. It's been very pleasant to be back. In town with Chris and Hal, we've been able to move freely around the city, checking out places to eat and shops. It's been relaxed so far, as we got in a day earlier than we needed to due to a booking snafu. Totally worth it.

Most of what we've done is eating and wandering. The first night we took off for Greek food in Buckhead, which ended up being a $40 round-trip car-ride (with that in mind, Hal rented a car the following day). Even though it was a Tuesday night the place was hopping! We were severely under-dressed for Kyma but we were treated with absolute courtesy and had a fabulous, hilarious, personable waiter for the whole meal. The octopus was so delicious and tender I ordered a second course of it before the first was even devoured. Main courses of lamb and fish were unbelievable.

Since we had a car, we took off for Atlanta Cyclorama which was very cool and very much up Chris's history alley. We stopped at a restaurant called Six Feet Under, which was VERY cool and very much the sort of place we all would have loved to hang out at home, if we had a place like it. Our hip. friendly waiter was impressed that the boys were wearing Boss Hog and Mission of Burma t-shirts, and we had great fun and great food.

Last night, having a car, we chose a new "far away" restaurant to try, since we could drive to it. Again, thinking that it was only a Wednesday night, we didn't think to make any reservations, so we ended up at a VERY crowded Eclipse di Luna, where a live four-piece jazz band (ala Squirrel Nut Zippers) played in the corner. Waiting wouldn't have been a problem, but the bar was particularly crowded and a truly spectacular thunder storm whipped through, drenching everyone waiting outside and people who were sitting on the open-wall porch. Once we finally were seated, we ordered up six tapas dishes and a pot of delicious paella to share and had yet another stunning meal. SO GOOD.

Slept terribly, but the boys were very sweet and handled booth set up while I stayed at the hotel and caught up on some work. Things start for real tomorrow.



Off to Atlanta, off to DragonCon. Busy, busy. Will try to post highlights as they happen.



Call him Sevvie and get your head bitten off.
You are Severus Snape.
You are a superbly sarcastic, somewhat evil wizard.
You are a former Death Eater but have found
your true calling in making students' life

Which Cool Evil Guy Are You?
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Baby Shower

This afternoon I went to a surprise baby shower for a friend who is five weeks from her due date. It was great fun to go shopping for baby items for her, and really made me nostalgic for my own pregnancy. I was the only mom at the party, which gave me a unique perspective on things. I am afraid I talked too much about my own experiences, but I tried to give reassuring stories to even out some of the jitters that our friend was experiencing.

Many duplicated items were bought, despite all of the attendees shopping off the gift registry. Babies R Us did a terrible job of updating the registry as we bought our items, I guess! Still, one can really never have too many baby bath towels, and duplicated mobiles and whatnot can be returned for other items on the list (especially since we all dutifully provided our mom-to-be with "gift receipts" for just such an inevitability).

One item missing from my friend's list was a Boppy. Not knowing if it was intentionally left off (because she already has one or because she's decided she doesn't want one for some reason) I was loathe to buy one for her, and since the party was a surprise I didn't want to ask outright. Aside from the baby sling (which I found to be a wonderfully handy, impossible to do without item) the other item I got when I had Kate was a nursing pillow (now widely available under the Boppy brand name). I can't recommend the nursing pillow highly enough to my pregnant friends, though I didn't actually have a Boppy-brand pillow myself.

Several of the childless attendees were commenting on how many things you "need" to have to have a baby. It's true, there are many items out there that make baby-tending safer and more convenient! I was marvelling at the advances in "baby gear" technology that have sprung up in just the 7 years or so since I was a new mom. And there's no denying there are things you need to have, like diapers and car seats. But I'm reassured by the fact that I had my baby when I lived in a two-room apartment, when her father was a graduate student and I was an unemployed spouse. It's possible to raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child on so much less than it seems! I'd forgotten how overwhelming and demanding it can all seem until I walked into the Babies R Us store and saw all the cute, soft, colorful, adorable, useful items. Tam was saying she felt like she wasn't prepared (meaning she didn't have a stock of diapers or wipes or baby shampoo) but honestly, with all the love she has to give this little girl, their two pairs of arms to hold her, a blanket, and a milk-delivery-system (be it boob or bottle) is all they need and they have that much well covered. They're going to be fine, and I'm so thrilled for them.

Unfortunately, Tam arrived looking pale and just got paler as the party went on. She'd come down with something yesterday and had been to the emergency room with a fever and chills. As the afternoon wore on, it was obvious that she wasn't feeling well again and in the end we urged her to go home and get comfortable and rest! It was unfortunate timing for a baby shower, but everyone there was there because we love her and we weren't put out a bit that she didn't feel up to a prolonged event. I hope she didn't push herself too much! Your 8th month of pregnancy is not when you want to become seriously ill.


Your anime hair color is green.

What is your anime hair color?
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Ripped Off!

Spent the day so far working on getting my money refunded after someone got his hands on my debit card number. (For those keeping score, this is the same card I used to rent my car at Sleazy Rental Cars on my trip to San Diego, where they kept a physical imprint of the card and all my information. I blame that.)

Happily, many of the transactions were already either declined outright or reversed by the merchants, who realized something was up. Still, it's pretty interesting to see the pattern of his wanton theft: $60 to host a website (cancelled), $340 in purchases at Polo.com (trying to get in on their "Spend $300, get free shipping" deal, I'll bet. Too bad it was declined!), $35 for Russian MP3s, $280 for access to porn MPEGs sites (refunded), $160 for a round-cut, multifaceted diamond ring from QVC, shipped to Texas (refunded and turned over to their fraud department), $211 for items at Gamestop.com (exposed as fraud by their internal controls and never shipped to the address in Pennsylvania) and, my personal favorite, $165 to 1-800-Flowers for a 14K gold diamond and sapphire pendant and a card that read, "Maryanne, I love you and I will always love you. Don't worry, we'll get there." That was going to be shipped to Garland, Texas. Yeah, honey, I just need to defraud a few more people of their money so I can stock up on Polo shirts and porn, and we've got it made!

Cancelled the card promptly yesterday, which means I'm without it for my upcoming DragonCon trip next week. So far it's been a week of near-misses (where things that could have been really bad just turn out to be grand, time-sucking annoyances) but nonetheless the stress has caused my TMJ to ratchet up a notch again on top of everything else.

Am probably going to drive down to Oregon and back tomorrow for a short visit with my mom. She's offered to help me get caught up on some database creation and data entry while I'm away at DragonCon and then my grandmother's memorial in Minnesota. I'm going to bring the materials down there, have a short visit, and head back tomorrow night. Thanks Mom!!


Spam, Bank, Car, Mortgage, Sweat

Have been getting tons of echospam and notes from people telling me they "can't open the .PIF file I sent, could I resend it as a Word Doc," or chiding me for sending them spam/viruses. Someone who had all of my e-mail addresses (home and the various permutations of my work addresses) was clearly infected with the new worm going around. In addition to getting the spam messages from infected computers myself, I'm doubly spammed because of the bounce messages and people who think I've done the spamming. Lovely.

Also got a note from my bank: a couple weeks ago I was charged my yearly fee for my safety deposit box, a fee which I completely forgot was coming. Taking that fee out of my account caused the account to go into the negative by $12 or something (add to that the $25 insufficient funds fee) but since I put my paycheck in the account right afterwards, I didn't notice the problem and went on to pay my bills as usual (mostly through electronic bill-pay and automatic deduction). That's all pretty safe (if there's not enough money in the account, auto-pay just doesn't make the payment instead of cutting a bad check) but there are a couple of places that just refuse to get with the program and insisted on having actual paper checks mailed to them. Fine! Except I had something like $75 less in my account than I thought I had because of the incident with the safety deposit box ...and that started a cascade of bounced checks and overdraft fees. SHIT! I haven't had something like this happen in years and it really sucks.

Put off taking the car in yesterday so that I could get a few things done before losing its services again. The clang turned into a full-blown shimmy and frightening "rattle" (at least "rattle" is what the mechanic called it... more like a car-quake!). Because the car was acting up so badly, I decided it was best to skip going out at all last night, and so missed hooking up with some friends at the Zig Zag. I didn't want a repeat of Saturday night's pathetic call from the roadside. Took the car in again today for a "minor adjustment" and then caught the bus back to my neighborhood, but had to sprint up the hill because I was missing the appointment with our notary (see below).

Today was the day we were signing the papers for the refi of our house. Taking advantage of the low mortgage rates, we've managed to refinance three percent off our interest rate since we first bought the house. Excellent! But this morning, the finance company called to confirm our appointment for closing, then some woman called up a few hours later to tell us she was the notary assigned to our case but she'd never gotten the papers and so our closing was "canceled." What?! I had to run out to go to the post office, drop some paperwork off before a deadline passed, go to the bank, and still make it to drop the car off for repair, so I didn't wait around to get the full scoop. Turns out Watermark didn't know who this woman was, but our actual notary was indeed coming by at our scheduled time! Good grief. Raced back for the meeting and was very late, but the notary was good-natured and had been hanging out with Chris, talking about World War II.

Tonight is game night, so I expect people to be arriving in a couple of hours, which means I'd better get off my lazy, sweaty behind and get back down the hill to catch the bus back out to the repair place if I intend get home and fulfill my obligation of providing dinner for the group. Jess returns tonight, having missed the last two weeks due to a boys-only vacation out in New Jersey. Am very curious to hear if he has any entertaining stories about getting caught in the blackout.



I'm mobile again for the moment, but after driving only a short way in the car, I've noticed it making an occasional clanking noise when driving at slow speeds. The engine certainly is running more smoothly, my timing must have been quite out of whack before. Still, I'll need to return it to the shop in order to get that clank looked at.



Guy from the garage called back this afternoon. Halfway through the repair on my car he discovered that the part he'd had sent over from the Ford dealer had a faulty gasket, so he had to call in an order for another one, and I won't see my car again until tomorrow.

Am making glorious progress cleaning, sorting, and uncluttering. I may actually get all the suitcases emptied and stored before I have to haul them out again for the September trips. I have agreed to put out charitable donations of clothes and household goods to benefit Community Services for the Blind next week, so I'm taking this opportunity to wash and sort a lot of clothes and clear out Kate's outgrown school items from last year. I give to Community Services fot the Blind on a regular basis, especially Kate's outgrown things. Big Brothers, Big Sisters also gets some of Kate's things on occasion.

It's been nice to be home! This is the longest stretch we've had at home since convention season began. I've been steadily sticking to my meal plan and putting all the good food we bought on our return to use. In addition to the blueberry/lemon trifle I made for Chris's birthday dinner, I've made turkey cheeseburgers, roasted corn salad, fresh greens with tomato-balsamic dressing, a fresh fruit salad with mango, banana, apple and grapes in a lime-honey-mint glaze, grilled turkey and provolone sandwiches with pesto-mayonnaise. Tonight I tried a new recipe that claimed to be "Shepherd's Pie" but aside from the mashed potatoes on top had nothing in common with actual Shepherd's Pie. It was more like chili with potatoes and cheese on top, but good nonetheless. (It just wasn't Shepherd's Pie.) All this cooking and the counters are sparkling, the dishes all done and put away! I rock.

Sadly my success inside the house hasn't carried over to the outside of the house; it seems that the two trees along my fenceline have died! One is almost completely bare of any leaves at all, the other has all its leaves but they're all prematurely brown and dead! I've had no problems with those trees before, but after my neighbors in back and to the side built and painted their fence (and their side of my fence where the yards overlap, the same fence where my trees were) I noticed a problem developing with the trees and bushes. I also seem to have lost a lilac bush and the raspberry vines I planted on that side, though the blackberry is just barely hanging on. I have to wonder if something in the paint got into the soil or something! Very sad. I'll be sadder still if they're permanently dead and haven't just done dormant. I'm still clinging to the hope that they'll rebound next year.



Awoken at 9:05am after falling back asleep sometime before 7:00am. Phone call from the auto repair shop: he wasn't kidding when he said he'd take a look at it first thing this morning!

Snapped timing belt on the car. Repair in the hundreds of dollars, not in the thousands. If all goes well, I'll have my car back tonight. Good news!

Now, if only I weren't completely weak from fatigue...



Asleep after midnight, awake at 4:30am. After laying awake for over an hour, I've given up and am quietly surfing the web from my laptop. I'd leave the bedroom altogether, and get some work done or something, but the humidity of the night has stuck my bedroom door shut. If I were to force it open, the resounding crack would disturb my sweetheart, sleeping here peacefully. So I touch-type my way across the world wide web, in the dark, listening through the open window to the sounds of my hard-working immigrant neighbors leaving for jobs unknown.


S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

Joined Ray and Christine, and friends Bill and Chris for dinner and games, to celebrate Chris's birthday. Ray and Christine whipped up veal and hand made pasta and sauce for dinner, and I contributed a lemon and blueberry trifle. Dinner was divine, a couple abortive attempts at playing games of Trivial Pursuit were made, and we all eventually settled for watching a TiVo'd episode of Queer Eye For the Straight Guy. Oh my god, I laughed so hard. LOVED IT!

Kate and her dad made a cameo appearance, as they stopped by to say hello and exchange some of Kate's things on their way to the airport. Kate and her dad leave for vacation in South Carolina tomorrow morning. After dinner and Queer Eye, Bill and Chris left, and shortly after that Christine retired, but in the meantime we'd been joined by Mr. Tynes so we hung out for a little while longer anyway. Fun was had, but eventually we decided to call it a night.

On the way home, about halfway between our two places and in a not-very savory area, my car suddenly lost all power and stalled out. I coasted through the intersection and into the parking lot of a 76 Station that also houses a repair shop. Not open at 2:00am, sadly, but at least I wasn't stranded out on the street.

No sooner had I rolled to a stop in the gas station parking lot than I was accosted by a woman offering to help, she could use her card to buy me gas if I needed it. I assured her I was not out of gas. She pressed me to accept her "help," saying she'd "just left her old man and could use the money." I declined. I saw her rooting around in the nearby dumpster not long after, and then she disappeared into the night.

The car was not making "Your engine just blew a rod and is seriously screwed" noises, I had electrical power and the engine was turning over, but not igniting. I took that as a good sign, and sheepishly called Ray's house (having just left a few minutes earlier) to see if he or John could come rescue us and bring us the 2-3 miles through the unsavory neighborhood that stood between me and my home. Bless their hearts, they both jumped into Christine's Land Rover and drove to our rescue.

I hold out hope that the repairs on the car won't be too outrageous and that I can get someone to look at it first thing Monday morning. Meanwhile, tomorrow is definitely a stay-at-home day for me. There were things around the house that needed doing anyway...


You are a Noble Warrior
You are a noble warrior.
You belive there is no true evil, and that everyone
can turn onto the good side. You spare your
enemies when they admit defeat. You fight with
a passion. You save those in need, and put
their saftey first. You use a long sword, and a

What type of Swordsman are you?
brought to you by Quizilla



Nikchick.com was caught in the blackout that swept the east coast, hitting New York and New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ontario, Michigan. No blogging for me last night. Back up this morning and no worse for wear.

My friend Rob writes about being in the midst of it, out in New York City, trying to get back to his home in New Jersey, trying to make sure his wife was ok. This is the same friend who was at Ground Zero two years ago, he and his wife on opposite ends of the block, with flaming wreckage and destruction between them, neither one sure that the other was ok.

My night was much more enjoyable. Rona worked on me for over an hour and during the process my ear, which had felt plugged up from the same moment my TMJ acted up, unplugged and while my jaw is still sore and cranky, it's much less painful. I was able to fully close my mouth for the first time in a week, and was able to chew without pain. I had a cheese burger at The Ram to celebrate, talked to my mom on the phone, and then joined Chris and Rick in Renton, where they'd stopped for dinner after an abortive trip to the game store.


Justin's Journal

These are some badass baby photos of me. When you have kids, you'll wish they looked so fly.

Justin Achilli joined White Wolf Game Studio long after my day, in what I then referred to as the "third wave." I have no idea what wave they'd be up to at this point, but Justin is still soldiering on and is a White Wolf Old Timer as far as most industry folks are concerned. I definitely give him his props for that.

I find reading Justin's journal and his retellings of antics past and present to be wildly entertaining. He's a one-man emotional thrill ride; the mom-half of me cringes and tsks ("You're going to put out an eye! Your liver, what about your poor liver?") and the middle-finger-to-authority, punk part of me cackles with vicarious glee at his debauchery.

I once told him, after he posted some scathing, hilarious come-back on some industry mailing list or another, that posts like his were one of the only reasons I remained subscribed. I've said "Yeah, boy!" to his posts often enough to feel like a game industry version of Flava Flav.

And now he's even hitting my mother-half where I live, by posting baby pictures to his blog. Really, if nothing else, you've gotta check out the baby pics.


Somehow, when I don't feel entirely well, only dopey online quizes will do.

"You must remember this, a kiss is still a
kiss". Your romance is Casablanca. A
classic story of love in trying times, chock
full of both cynicism and hope. You obviously
believe in true love, but you're also
constantly aware of practicality and societal
expectations. That's not always fun, but at
least it's realistic. Try not to let the Nazis
get you down too much.

What Romance Movie Best Represents Your Love Life?
brought to you by Quizilla


No Wil for me today.

TMJ flare up has paired up with one of my headaches, and the 3.5 hour drive down to Portland is just too daunting to contemplate. Bummer. In fact, I've taken to my bed and am just doing small projects from my laptop until I feel better.



The day was taken up by correspondence, paperwork, and bill paying. Took some slight satisfaction in planning out some meals for the week and shopping for food, which I always enjoy. Bought lots of mushy food (makings for shepherd's pie, jello, pudding, couscous) because my TMJ is still bothering me. Made an appointment with Rona for her to work her CranioSacral therapy on me Thursday.

Now, quizes!

You are a werewolf.

What legend are you?. Take the Legendary Being Quiz by Paradox

And Chris will laugh his ass off at this one:

Congratulations, you're New York City, the Big Apple.
What US city are you? Take the quiz by Girlwithagun



Still having a flare-up. Looks like I'll be sticking to things I can nibble with my front teeth, and lots of liquids. Chris brought me some pizza tonight, with the crusts cut off so I could gingerly eat the gooey parts. I've been researching different possible treatments that don't involve breaking my jaw or capping all of my teeth. Moist massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, craniosacral massage, chiropractic manipulation... I have no idea where to begin, but my usual coping techniques of Advil or Acetaminophen with Codeine and a couple of beers hasn't gotten me back to normal.


Color Quiz

My results, from simply admitting my gender and choosing colors:

Your Existing Situation
Sensuous. Inclined to luxuriate in things which give gratification to the senses, but rejects anything tasteless, vulgar, or coarse. (Besides coarse language?)

Your Stress Sources
Wishes to be independent, unhampered, and free from any limitation or restriction, other than those which she imposes of herself or by her own choice and decision. Well, duh!

Your Restrained Characteristics
Feels listless, hemmed in, and anxious; considers that circumstances and forcing her to restrain her desires. Wants to avoid open conflict with others and to have peace and quiet.
Clings to her belief that her hopes and ideas are realistic, but needs encouragement and reassurance. Applies very exacting standards to her choice of a partner and wants guarantees against loss or disappointment.
Um...this is where it starts to get creepy.

Your Desired Objective
Wants to make a favorable impression and be recognized. Needs to feel appreciated and admired. Sensitive and easily hurt if no notice is taken of her or if she is not given adequate acknowledgment. You think?

Your Actual Problem
Strongly resists outside influence and any interference with her freedom to make her own decisions and plans. Works to establish and strengthen her own position. Yes, absolutely.

This thing really creeped me out.


Wil Wheaton

As someone who has personally brought a few of you, dear readers, across the line from "Wil Wheaton, I hate that guy!" to "Wil Wheaton, he's one of us!" I thought this write-up he links to in his own blog deserved a second mention here.


I'm seriously considering driving down to Portland on Wednesday to go to his signing at Powells. Maybe this time I'd get a chance to talk to him for more than 10 seconds.



Just back from a weekend in Vancouver, where I spent a little time with my sweet girl. Won't see her again until my ex-'s dad drops her off with me at the end of DragonCon. ::sniff:: I like my adult time, but weeks on end without seeing her is tough.

Arrived in Vancouver late because of heinous traffic, road construction, multiple accidents, and a rain storm! A trip that usually takes 2.5 hours took 5 on Friday. Kate's dad dropped her off with me at my favorite Vancouver restaurant, Tojo's, where we got a table on their outdoor balcony and enjoyed Tojo's Tuna, Tojo's Baked Oysters, Tuna Tataki, and the Golden Roll (among other things). Kate devoured some miso soup and an Avocado Roll (aka Tojo's Roll, no wasabi). Stopped at the nearby London Drugs for some snacks (including two large bags of Spitz brand sunflower seeds, which I can't find in the US) and drinks to take back to the hotel.

Saturday we rolled out of bed and straight downstairs to the White Spot restaurant attached to our hotel. Slow service, typical White Spot food, but it was good enough (except for their coffee, which is really bad). Then off down Oak Street to meet up with MacBin. We brought him some of his comp copies of books he's worked on recently, as well as a box of Legions of Hell to use for prizes for H.P. Lovecraft's Birthday Party, and a big ol' check for more of his recent work for Green Ronin. He helped us get in touch with Vertigogirl and Theo, as well as former Stamp's Landing cohort Evil Jeff. We confirmed that we'd show up for dinner at Vertigogirl's pad and got directions, then Kate got her wish and we went to Science World for a few hours. While there we saw an OMNIMAX presentation of a film called Whales, and poked around some neat exhibits. (Having been to several science museums recently, I recognized several popular educational doodads from other museums and avoided those in favor of the exhibits that make Science World unique.)

Dinner with Kate and Theo was a nice break from the chaos of Science World, but I was severely overwhelmed from too much driving and flashing lights and crowds of people. We'd barely sat down to dinner when I had the worst attack of TMJ I've had in years! I don't usually have TMJ symptoms that affect my ear, but this time I immediately felt like my ear canal was suddenly "stuffed up" almost like the sensation of pressure change when in a plane that's taking off. As of tonight I still can't bring my back teeth together when I close my mouth, can't apply enough pressure to chew anything firmer than a hotdog, and even that much pressure must be applied gingerly. It's the opposite of my usual TMJ symptom, which is that I can't open my mouth more than about an inch and can't bite down with enough force to even take a bite out of a sandwich, but it's affecting the same troublesome joint that has always caused me problems. I had very little to eat (one burrito and half a piece of cheesecake), even though it was quite tasty. Kate ate about 1/2 a tortilla and some cheese, and when I said she needed more growing food before she'd get any chocolate cheesecake, she reluctantly ate a bit more cheese and two Triscuits. Two bites into the cheesecake she was complaining about not feeling well. I sent her to the bathroom to wait and see if her stomach would settle, and she'd no sooner told me she didn't think she was going to throw up than she DID vomit her poor little guts out. Very sad.

Kate was heartbroken, she'd been so looking forward to seeing the Celebration of Lights Grand Finale fireworks that night. I didn't have the heart to take her straight back to the hotel, especially when she wasn't feverish and didn't seem to have continuing problems with her stomach. I've noticed that sometimes when we travel, or when we've had a very busy and exciting day, Kate is sick that night, enough to vomit. I don't know what it is, but I've noticed the connection, so I suspected Kate wasn't "sick" in a contagious kind of way. Nonetheless, I was not going to take her down to the beach in the cold night air to stand with the masses of people (millions expected) watching the fireworks close-up. Instead, I agreed to park up on a hilltop park in my old neighborhood where I'd watched the Celebration of Lights the years we lived in Vancouver. You can see most of the fireworks, except for some of the particularly low ones, and though they're at a distance they're still pretty.

Took some Tylenol PM for my TMJ-aching jaw when we got back to the hotel, and slept hard until late this morning. TMJ was still acting up, but at least I was rested. Kate seemed fully recovered as well. We met the gang for dim sum at The Pink Pearl in East Vancouver, and Evil Jeff brought his whole clan along with him, including his girlfriend and her two delightful girls, who hit it off with Kate very nicely. The dim sum was good as usual, though I had to pass on many of my favorites, like the squid and the Chinese broccoli, because there was no possible way I'd be able to chew them in my condition. However, my consolation prize of egg tarts and mango pudding was yummy!

After dim sum, Theo and Vertigogirl left us, and we joined Jeff and family and friends at their house for a few hours. The girls played together until we had to leave. I could have stayed later but had given MacBin a ride and needed to get him home for an appointment. Kate was having so much fun that she really fell apart about leaving, which is hasn't been her M.O. lately, so it took me by surprise. We coaxed her out of it fairly quickly, dropped MacBin off at his appointment, and then spent several pleasantly sunny hours on Granville Island enjoying the sights and smells (and some tastes!) of the market in particular.

After Granville Island closed up, Kate's dad agreed to meet us at the park near-ish his house where Kate had suggested we go to kill more time. After handing Kate back to her dad for the rest of the summer, I decided to go ahead and stop for dinner at another old favorite, Rasputin (the Russian restaurant). Cabbage rolls to die for, the Best Potato Salad in the World, perogies, peroshki, some chicken and dumpling soup that was divine, even a pint of Czech lager that totally hit the spot. There were gigantic pieces of pastry and tiramisu visible on the dessert table, but I was stuffed with enough excellent Russian food that I couldn't possibly have eaten a bite of dessert. As it was, I feared I might not make it all the way home, between the food coma and the general fatigue. Stopped just across the border for gas and bought a sugarfree Red Bull: tasted like cough-syrup-flavored soda, but no denying I felt peppy enough to drive home without stopping.

Tomorrow it's back to the grind, but at least I've fortified myself with some Kate suggles and potato salad.


One more for the road

How Do You Rate?

(I was afraid my predilection toward owning power tools and keeping a short haircut–not to mention waitrons and small children calling me 'Sir'–would tip me into a much butcher category. Maybe not owning any cats saved me?)



I'm off for the weekend to spend time with my girl.

Meanwhile, Elissa Carey continues to keep me amused with quizes!

Here's the latest:
jack and eliz on island
You are "Welcome to the Caribbean, love."
You're more than a little world-weary, but also
intelligent and you keep your head when things
get dodgy. You're everybody's favorite
drinking buddy, but your stubbornness does get
in the way sometimes.

Which one of Captain Jack Sparrow's bizarre sayings from Pirates of the Caribbean are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


The Machine Takes Over

Recently I've received several long messages on my voicemail that appear to be from someone's cell phone. Lots of background chatter, people talking and laughing, but no one speaking into the phone. "Ah, someone sat on their cell phone again," I thought.

Last night I'd given Ray a call about the ZigZag and hadn't reached him. Figuring it wasn't worth bothering to leave a message about, I didn't. His cell phone, however, had a much different opinion on the priority of my call! It called me back, apparently all of its own accord! Since I have Ray's cell phone number programmed into my phone, when he calls, my phone tells me it's him. "Ray's cell" called me while I was driving home last night, and yet, when I answered, there were only the familiar sounds of people talking, laughter, and the "shhhka, shhhka, shhhka" sounds of someone with a shaker shaking up some sort of icy, boozy beverage.

Shouting "HELLO? HELLO!!" into the phone got no response. Chris did me a favor and called R&C's house to see if they were home. They weren't. I called Ray's cell phone back, but was kicked over to his voicemail again. No, the cell phone was just determined to mock me, to tempt me with the knowledge that somewhere out there laughter and cold beverages were being enjoyed...but not by me!

Ray called the house when he got home and got Chris's message, and this is when I found out that his cell phone has been routinely calling random numbers, not even numbers that he has programmed into his phone (such as my new cell phone number). Apparently it went on quite a tear the other day, calling out 11 times over the course of half an hour or so, without Ray's knowledge. Wacky!


Listen to the Professionals

Mr. Tynes is so, so right in suggesting that I need a chance to unwind at the ZigZag. From some fluffy reviews they quote on their website:"From the steps outside, the warm glow illuminating the Zig-Zag's windows and the soft chatter of diners and drinkers on the patio welcomes, and walking through its double doors is a sweet relief."

Indeed! Sweet relief is just what the doctor ordered. Not to mention that I dig a place that will tell you, in addition to listing their cocktail and food menus on their site, that they will call you a cab anytime, that no firearms are allowed in their establishment, and that they use raw eggs in their Caesar salad dressing all in one concise list.

After today's out of office meetings, and dinner at Ivar's with friends from out of town (and their kids), I will just happen to be conveniently located to waltz myself over the few blocks to "sweet relief". Who wants to join me? You're all invited--unless you've recently blown your deadlines for me.



Well, it's happened. I've pushed myself to much this summer and now I've crashed. I'm frayed, I'm tired, I'm extremely cranky. I have people pulling at me from all directions. I started to list off all the things that people want from me, but honestly, I was going to start crying about it, so I stopped. Today I spent two hours going over a behavioral questionaire for a study my daughter is enrolled in, dealt with the stupid people who are in charge of our waste management, spent two hours hand processing credit card orders and banshing my head on the keyboard because the people who took these credit cards for us at GenCon did NOT collect the information that I told them was VITAL for processing the cards (such as, oh, names, and expiration dates...), found the reports some of our authors have been bugging us about for a month (regardless of the fact that I've been everywhere *but* here this month), went to open them and found them corrupted, crashed two machines trying to simply PRINT a couple of simple spreadsheets with no more than two dozen data points...and that's just the first 7 hours of my day so far.


Times like these, I just want to take a flamethrower, burn everything to the ground and start "fresh" because there seems little hope. Hope of what? Can't say...little hope for anything.

Ugly, ugly evil mood.


Design House

Today we had an out-of-office meeting about partnering up with another company as their game producers for some very intriguing new ventures. Awaiting paperwork from company's lawyers and the official proposal.

Wednesday we have another out-of-office meeting, about partnering up with yet another company as their game producers for an undisclosed IP.

Thursday we have another out-of-office meeting with the design house we're collaborating with to produce our hottest property.

Meanwhile, Project X and Project Y, lingering in a state of perpetual "almost finalized"-ness, continue to move forward at a glacial pace.

This doesn't even touch the usual pile of post-convention "Why haven't you answered my e-mail?" e-mails, backlogged orders, and projects in motion.

James Wallis had a sig file for years that read "I have so much to do that I am going to bed" and that is precisely how I feel at the moment.


How Not to Watch a Movie, Nicole Style

Went to see 28 Days Later. Very good! Spooky, plausible, visually interesting. Remarkably satisfying for what I expected to be a zombie flick. Naomie Harris was excellent, in particular.

Unfortunately, I chose to see it in the theater with the World's Most Uncomfortable Seats. About an hour into the film, I was really uncomfortable, suffering twinges in my lower back. I tried scootching down in my seat so that I could hitch my knees up against the empty seat in front of me, but even that was not ideal. And every time I shifted my weight at all, a woman in that row jerked like I was giving her an electric shock. Finally she whined to her male companion, in a voice I swear she borrowed from my seven-year-old, "They keep kicking the seat!" HE then swung around and in an irritated, demanding voice said, "Could you STOP KICKING the seat?!"

Now, first off, I was not "kicking" the seat. I did not mean to irritate this couple (there were only three people in the whole row in front of me) but I really didn't appreciate being *commanded* to stop irritating them, as if I were an unruly child, especially when all I was doing was trying to find a comfortable position. If they'd asked me nicely, or at all discretely (instead of barking at me) I would have had much more sympathy.

I retorted that I was not TRYING to kick their seat, and rearranged myself so that I was not touching the seat back for the rest of the film. I eventually had to just stand up in order to be comfortable. (We were in the last row, so thankfully this was possible.)

I watched the rest of the film with this nagging irritation, both from my inability to find a comfortable position and because I was irritated about the way the couple had treated me. I was ESPECIALLY irritated when, at the end of the movie (after the credits and the alternate ending had been shown) Mr. Bossy Boots had to wake up his girlfriend, who was now fast asleep!

I'm soooo glad I suffered along in an uncomfortable position for half the film so that Precious wouldn't be disturbed while taking her little nap! (How she could sleep in those damned uncomfortable seats is beyond me.)


How Not to Watch a Movie

A few days ago, my friend JD went to a screening of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. His experiences there have garnered dozens of entertaining comments. I'm especially entertained by his companions' utterly goodnatured reactions to the events of the day.

Click on that link. It's more interesting than a report about installing software to fix my Palm Pilot, that's for sure.


Micky Fricky Blue Angels

Turns out our house is right on the main flight path for the various air-show fliers performing for Seafair here in Seattle. The first year I saw the Blue Angels flying formations over the house, I thought it was pretty cool. Yay, free seats!

This year, though, it's beyond annoying! In years past the fly bys did not take place every few minutes for hours on end. The endless rumble of jets, the constant chattering of window panes and glassware, the additional irritation of propeller planes cruising by our house as if in the midst of a WWI dogfight (I swear all that's missing is the dakka dakka dakka), all in the middle of the day while I'm trying to work at home.. it's too much! I just witnessed a mom out with her little girl in the park next to our house. The girl, maybe four, was climbing to the top of the kiddie climber when three Blue Angels buzzed past, particularly low-flying and loud. The poor girl stood quaking at the top of the climber with her hands over her ears until her mother had to retrieve her and walk home with the girl trying to burrow into her mother to escape the noise!

I can't tell if it really is that much worse this year, or if I'm just noticing it more this year. Either way, it's cutting into my ability to concentrate on anything! Please let Seafair be over SOON! They've flown over five times in the time it took me to type this blog entry!