Discolor Online

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


So, the car...

As regulars to Discolor Online have noticed, I'm still without car. We had a little mishap back in January. I filed a claim with the city on the advice of the friendly police officers who stopped to check on us. A few weeks passed and I received a postcard from the city claims case worker telling me that someone had been assigned to our case and it would take 4-6 weeks to before we should expect a resolution.

More time passed. Finally the city sent a letter, but only to tell me that they'd looked into our claim and determined that the area of construction I'd run afoul of was under a permit that had been issued to Seattle Housing Authority, and the condition of the permit was that they agree to hold the city harmless in any incidents like mine.

The claim has now been forwarded to the people at the Housing Authority, but I'm starting the process all over again. Meanwhile, we're entering ten weeks of not having either our car or our resolution and I've been renting cars a couple of times a month to catch up on the real difficult chores (both for business and for personal) and the rest of the time I'm walking or taking the bus. Unlike Ray, who had a similar run-in with a pothole and filed a similar claim, we have only minimal insurance on our 10-year-old car, and I can't just have the insurance fix it and get the money back from the city in due time. Neither do we have the money to absorb a costly repair, should it turn out to be something more major than minor. In fact, since the accident, both my insurance and car tabs have expired, piling on more costs to getting the car back on the road. I can't get the tabs renewed until I have an emission test, and I can't get the emission test until I get the engine running. If the car is not running, I'm loathe to pay the insurance. Something about paying for insurance for a car that's just sitting idle irks me to the core.

Now, the situation is not all bad. The good news is that the weather is looking up and most days are nice enough that taking a walk or waiting outside for the bus is no hardship. I've become much better acquainted with the bus routes around my house, and it's not overly difficult to get where I want to go most of the time. It's frustrating the times when the buses are late or when I roll up in time to see my connection pulling away, or when I spend more time waiting for the bus than actually riding on it (by a factor of three) but mostly the transit is acceptable. If I didn't have to drive 180 miles round trip twice a weekend when it's Kate's visitation with her dad, I might be convinced to give up the car altogether, or just sign up for Flexcar, but I can't get out of those visitation trips, and so I continue to feel tied to my car, despite its current less-than-ideal condition.


And Spring is gone...

Just like that, the weather went back to being cold, windy, drizzly and gross. Boo! Hiss! My mood, grey as the overcast skies, followed suit and went completely into the garbage.

I ran out to do errands this afternoon but my timing was terrible and I managed to just miss three different bus connections, including one that runs only once every 30 minutes. Utter crap. Three hours wasted, though I did then have time to pick up some pork ribs from Bob's Quality Meats while I waited for my connections. Dinner, at least, was satisfying. I even managed to apply enough pressure to Kate that she cleaned her plate for once (though not before drowning her peas in ketchup and gagging on the single sauteed mushroom I asked her to try).

After I finally strong-armed Kate into eating two small pieces of rib (slowly oven roasted for over 90 minutes, rubbed with salt, pepper, sage and rosemary, a terrible thing to ask of her to be sure) she admitted that it wasn't too bad. I asked her if she liked the ribs enough that she'd eat them again. Her answer:

"Weeeelll, on a scale of one to ten, I'd give it about a five. A ten would be the greatest thing ever, and you've got to admit this isn't the greatest thing ever. A one would really suck, and this doesn't really suck...too much."

Wow, I'm glad it doesn't suck...too much. Sheesh.

I'm trying Safeway's online shopping and delivery for Thursday. I really, really, really miss the days of Homegrocer.com and the outstanding quality, convenience, and good old fashioned fun of being one of their customers. I haven't tried another grocery service since Webvan bit the big one, but Safeway is offering deliveries in my area now. Safeway can't hold a candle to Homegrocer as far as selection, but they will deliver 12-packs of Diet Coke with Lime. It's a start.



Ah, what a beautiful day today. Over 70 degrees, flowers in bloom, blue skies, gentle breezes. Perfect.

Took the bus to Renton to visit the post office and renew our PO Box. Ran into Stan! who kindly gave us a ride back to our place and hung out with us for a while.

After Stan! left, the weather was still so lovely, I went out into the back yard and started to putter around. I managed to take care of a gigantic load of garbage from the back porch (boxes that needed recycling, used packing peanuts and other general crap that I've been waiting to recycle) and then weeded and prepared my little garden plot and containers for planting. Must remember to get some drip irrigation stuff before we start on convention season this year...

Worked until darkness threatened to fall, and then came inside and watched a couple of old episodes of Angel on TiVo. Finally got around to making the following recipe for dinner. It was delicious and dead easy, so I share it here:

Asian Noodles with Asparagus and Shrimp
From Cooking Light

6 ounces uncooked soba (buckwheat noodles)
2/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon bottled minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
2 cups (2-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

While the noodles cook, combine chicken broth and next 6 ingredients (broth through sesame oil), stirring well.

Heat vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 45 seconds. Add asparagus; sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp; sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are done. Add broth mixture and onions to pan; cook over medium heat until hot. Add noodles, tossing gently to coat.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


CALORIES 357 (21% from fat); FAT 8.4g (sat 1.5g, mono 2.4g, poly 3.7g); PROTEIN 32.7g; CARB 40.3g; FIBER 2g; CHOL 172mg; IRON 4.7mg; SODIUM 868mg; CALC 91mg;

I'm so looking forward to the reappearance of the Columbia City Farmer's Market later this spring, not to mention the modest bounty of our own backyard garden. Ah, these are the days when I really love living in the Pacific Northwest...


Tripping the Rift

A few years ago when the short animation Tripping the Rift was circulating the internet, I was incredibly smitten. I loved Captain Chode, Six, and Darph Bobo. I loved it so much that I was willing to download and save the entire several-meg file to my limited hard-drive, through my dial-up connection.

Last year at San Diego ComicCon, SciFi Channel was there pushing their upcoming series based on the short. I wrote about how Hal handed me one of the free character bottle-toppers that were being handed out, without knowing what it was or that I was a fan.

I've TiVo'd several episodes of the new series now. Aside from the additional characters created for the series, which are simply not as fun or interesting as the originals, I'm sad to say that the skits just aren't holding up. What was funny as a five minute short is terribly un-funny as a weekly series. It fails, but not for the reasons I expected. I feared that the sexual humor, the cursing, the adult nature of the the show could not be shown on television. I was completely wrong about that: if anything they're even more foul-mouthed and perverted. Nope, it's simply predictably un-funny.

Bummer. It's not like a precious childhood memory has been pissed on or anything, but there is a urine stench about the show nonetheless.

I think I'll switch to watching Deadwood instead.


I'm sick of re-capping

GTS finished up on Thursday, and despite trying very hard to get out to a punk club with friends after the show, I only managed to hang around the bar area talking (or rather croaking and whispering) for about three hours before I decided to call it a night.

Thursday is usually game night at our place, but this week we called it because I just wasn't up to having folks over to the house.

Now I'm finally feeling better, physically, but even so I can't get away from the sickening political environment. Joshua Marshall sums up my thoughts on this week's national bombshell:

The first possibility is that the Bush White House is so freewheeling, inattentive and just plain unlucky that it keeps appointing senior counterterrorism aides who actually turn out to be both policy incompetents and closet Democratic partisans. The second that these malefactors leave the White House, they show their true colors and start leveling all manner of baseless charges against the president.

The second possibility is that every counterterrorism expert the White House hires who isn’t (a) a hidebound ideologue or (b) a dyed-in-the-wool Bush loyalist eventually becomes so disgusted with the mix of incompetence and mendacity that is the White House’s counterterrorism policy that he eventually quits and then immediately sets about trying to drive the president from office.

Which seems more likely to you? Choice one or choice two?

I'm not even going to go into politics at the micro "game industry" level, but suffice to say I'm sick of that as well. The two arenas are much more similar than I like to contemplate.


Wednesday, Last

Wednesday at GTS it was clear that my voice was not going to be back anytime soon. I awoke and had breakfast with the gang. We were joined by Jeff Tidball, who told us about the project he's working on for the swell folks over at Fantasy Flight Games, about his screen writing efforts, and about life in LA, amongst other things. Jeff's appearance at GTS was an unexpected delight. I've now gotten to visit with him twice in four months, which is something of a record.

I ran off from breakfast to stock up on throat lozenges and tea, and from there to the Academy seminar I was scheduled to host. I'd originally asked for an earlier timeslot so as not to conflict with exhibit hours and seminars, but had to acccept a less ideal timeslot when the final schedule was set. Regardless, we had about a dozen interested people attend and they all kindly clustered around while I whispered and croaked at them during an intimate chat session. Believe it or not, this is one of the best-attended face to face Academy meetings I've attended. I was very pleased with the turnout and the particiapation. I was also pleased to correct a misconception amongst some of the attendees that I was paid or compensated in any way for acting as Chairman of the Academy! Holy cow, nothing could be further from the truth! GAMA has a couple of fulltime staff people whose time is largely spent organizing the two shows under GAMA's control and controlling the finances, but the Board of Directors and the Academy Chairman are purely volunteers.

I spent a little more time in my booth on Wednesday. Wednesday night I had a Board of Directors dinner with the fine people from Nawlins, our show decorator. Jim McGee and his lovely wife Janet are warm, hospitible people who embody southern charm in the most admirable way. It is always a pleasure to see them and this year I particularly enjoyed myself as I was seated next to Janet and got to talk to her about a variety of topics, including the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans.

We had to run off immediately from the dinner to a scheduled tour and reception at The Riviera, the hotel and convention center where GTS will be held starting in 2005. I did not tour the hotel rooms, which I understand are being rennovated anyway, but I did tour the convention facility and found it to be a wonderful improvement over the Orleans arena. In fact, it's a better facility than the Orleans conference rooms, wedged as they are between the bowling alley and necessitating a long walk through the casino floor. The Riviera convention area is apart from the casino and one never needs to walk through the casino to get there. I also appreciated that the seminar rooms are adjacent to the exhibit space, and that sky-box meeting rooms are available.

We were originally scheduled to attend a show at the comedy club at the Riviera but both Chris and I were too wiped out to contemplate staying out any later, so we wandered the hotel looking for the cab stand (which we eventually discovered is underground at the Riviera) and made our way back to the Orleans. Once again, I went on a mad search for tea to try and coax my voice back, and then went to bed.

Wednesday, This
My voice is back, thankfully. My coughing seems to be confined to mornings and when I exert myself, but mostly I'm just terribly head-achy and run down now. Had a somewhat more productive day, but I am fatigued and without appetite. Must remember not to take Aleve Cold medicine. Leaves me feeling dopey and jittery at the same time, and it lasts for 12 hours. Must also remember not to buy Progresso tomato soup when I'm longing for comfort food, blech.


More Recap

Tuesday, Last

I woke up on Tuesday to discover that my voice was totally gone. I could barely croak, and despite the application of lozenges and hot tea throughout the day, I was resigned to whispering, croaking, rasping and generally sounding pitiful.

Tuesday was the start of the trade show proper for us, as we co-hosted a brunch for the retail buyers first thing in the morning. Hal spent the morning doing last minute touch-ups to the Power Point presentation, Chris hauled hundreds of books to the room for the attendees, and I lurked around and begged some tea and honey from some of the very nice servers who were setting up the breakfast buffet. The brunch went well, and Chris heard several times over the rest of the week that several retailers thought his presentation was one of the best they'd seen over the week overall, which was certainly nice to hear.

Between being sick and having a few residual GAMA-related things to attend to, the day flew by. I think this was the day I had lunch with Ann Dupuis and Nancy Berman which was quite interesting, but I'm thinking that might have been on Monday now that I've written it down. Tuesday was the day I made something like nine trips back and forth between the hotel and the arena. Youch.

The high-point of the day was being able to get together with good friends at the Bellagio buffet. The wait in the line was long, but we quite enjoyed it once we made it to the food. Hal was attending a business meeting, so he couldn't join us but my heart didn't break for him too much since he and Chris went to this very buffet without me last year. John was nice enough to agree to go to the buffet again after having gone to this same buffet the night before with the lovely Judith and some other industry friends. Also joining us on our evening out were Jeff, Green Ronin favorite Mastermind Steve Kenson, Christopher (our favorite non-rpg author), and Stan!. Since I had no voice, I had a hard time participating in a lot of the conversations, but my voicelessness did result in a funny incident. Steve got up to use the restroom and asked us not to let the servers remove his plate since he wasn't done with it. Moments later a woman swept by and tried to grab up Steve's plate with barely a pause, and I just happened to be the first to react. Except that my normally, er, dulcet tones, which I tried to bring to bear to say, "No!" came out as a hideous incomprehensible screech (something like a teenage boy crossed with a catfight) startling everyone at the table and scaring the crap out of the poor server. Ah how we laughed.

After dinner we decided to be good and head back to the hotel for some rest, and I ordered up a couple of pots of tea via room service and hoped hard that my voice would return by morning.

Tuesday, This
Argh, why can't I shake whatever this is?!

I made myself some tea this morning but coughed so hard I accidentally made myself puke. Not good, not good. I did a little paperwork and puttered, but was so generally under the weather that I ended up going back to bed for a while in the middle of the day instead of pushing myself. Chris ran off for a while in the afternoon to the post office and some other errands and I slept hard. Kate and I watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Woohoo.

Nothing like reporting from your sick bed to keep the blogging masses fascinated, eh?


Monday, Last
Monday was the big day. It was the day to set up our booth in the new exhibit space in the Orleans Arena. Prior to arriving, GAMA had made the announcement that the trade show would be moving to The Riviera hotel in 2005 and certain parties were loudly complaining about he change in venue until they had to make the long, long walk from the area where the seminars and registration were held to the arena floor where the exhibitors were stationed. After making that walk myself several dozen times over four days, I will be the first to say I will not miss it in 2005. Not one bit.

Mostly, Monday held many GAMA-related meetings for me. The meeting had the potential to be brutal, vicious, personal, and divisive. Somehow, though, we managed to have a nice, productive discussion (thanks in no small part to Ann Dupuis, who took charge and guided us into neutral territory), undoing a lot of misunderstandings and personal affronts that had taken place over e-mail in the weeks leading up to the meeting. Behind the scenes, however, there were still many things that needed to be addressed, many difficult meetings and situations that had to be juggled, and by the time we got to the Full Voting Member's discussion meeting at the end of the day, I was already exhausted.

After the meeting, there was a post-meeting meeting, and I did my duty and stayed for the procedings even though Chris, Hal, Jeff, and I had reservations at the fantastic Aqua restaurant in the Bellagio. Happily for me, the post-meeting ended in time for me to walk into dinner shortly after the boys had their first cocktails (and before they'd placed their food orders) so I got to partake of the full seven-course dinner. It was divine. A caviar-creme fraiche-smoked salmon-potato appetizer, in an appropriately noveau cuisine-sized portion started us off with a bang. We then moved into tuna tartare with jalepeno (the weakest of the courses, I think). From there we were served miso-glazed chilean sea bass with mushroom consomme, then a langoustine ravioli (yes, only one) in a beyond compare buttery-tomato-cream sauce that we all ate every bit of, to the point of using bread to soak up every last drop. Mmmm. From there we rocketed into full decadence with the scallop topped with fois gras; only just shy of the wildly good kobe beef with fois gras from a previous year's Nobu outting. It was this course that literally brought tears to Jeff's eyes, and brought out the moans of pleasure from the rest of the table. It was SO good. Finally, we got our "entree" for the night, the so-called surf and turf: a buttery medium-cooked filet mignon topped with lobster claw, over a puree of potato and a savory demi glace spiked with just a smidge of lobster oil. Oh my. By the time dessert came, I wasn't sure I could honestly enjoy the assortment of mini desserts put in front of me, but I did my duty. A tiny rootbeer float, with homemade sasparilla ice cream, and a little chocolate straw to go with it, then a tiny thumbnail-sized chocolate chip cookies (warm!) and creme brulee baked in an asian ceramic spoon, amongst other items. We left that meal very, very happy people.

Monday, This
Finally recovering from whatever creeping crud I managed to contract at GTS, I slept restfully and soundly (with a little NyQuil assistance) and woke feeling incredibly refreshed and free from congestion. At least, until I moved. Seemingly, the only way to preserve that blissful state was to lay perfectly still in bed all day, which I could not justify, and once I got up the coughing, congestion, and all-around aching and misery started to resurface. Undaunted, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful, sunny spring morning by opening all the curtains and blinds, then eventually throwing the windows open and letting the house air out a bit.

My brother called to say that he was coming to Seattle to pick up his wife at the airport (she's returning from a trip to Guatamala with some students from her Christian school) and if we didn't mind he'd be dropping in this afternoon and staying through dinner. I was quite pleased to see him as we hadn't seen him since Christmas. While we waited, Chris and I did some much needed cleaning and reorganizing, getting the many boxes of Green Ronin books that piled up pre-GTS put into order, and another set of shelves assembled to hold some new acquisitions (including Green Ronin's InQuest Magazine Fan Award for Torches and Pitchforks, which won Best Card Game this year). Chad arrived, then offered me the use of his truck to take Kate to some appointments in the afternoon, hoorah! When I returned home I threw supper together: broiled a butterflied chicken (though it was bigger than called for and needed longer to cook than I'd planned) spiced with just a tad of cumin/cinnamon, and cloves mixed with bread crumbs, steamed fresh green beans, and couscous. The chicken received raves, even though it hit the table late and in bits (as some pieces needed longer cooking times). Angie called while Chad was still finishing up his dinner to say she'd landed early and he had to take off to pick her up in a bit of a rush. I offered them a place for the night, but Chad (correctly) predicted that Angie would be excited to get home after being away.

Before I could rest, though, I remembered that a couple of charities I often contribute to were going to be coming by in the morning, so I did a final run through the house looking for Kate's outgrown clothing items, out of season or out of fashion items that have been stuck in closets and cupboards around here forever. Three bags, plus a couple of old small appliances that I could stand to get rid of.

I am SO tired. Here's hoping I wake refreshed again tomorrow!


Sunday, Last

Last Sunday I awoke early in the morning and got packed and ready to go to Las Vegas. Kate, Chris and I piled into the rental car so I could take Kate up to her dad's for the week. Luckily, it only took us less than three hours to make the exchange, return to Seattle, return the rental car, and catch the shuttle to the airport for our departure. Whew. I arrived in Las Vegas just in time to check into my room and rush off to grab just a bite to eat before the GAMA Board meeting, which I was dreading.

Because of the political situation at the moment, the board meeting was one of the better attended meetings I've been at during my tenure on the board. I was a few minutes late because I decided to have something to eat and drink before arriving, lest I stab someone in the eye with a pencil in a hypoglycemic rage, and arrived just as the meeting was starting. I grabbed the only remaining seat at the table, sadly with my back to the attendees, and got down to business. There were only a couple of unfortunate digressions, but I felt frustrated and sick nonetheless.

After the meeting, there was additional post-meeting meeting that needed to be done, so I ended up joining Chris and Hal at the hotel's Italian restaurant just barely in time to have some dessert and coffee. A couple other minor crises were averted, and my memory of the night ends there.

Sunday, This
This Sunday I spent most of the day in bed. I roused myself only when it was time to return my rental car. I was not feeling at all well, but decided to be virtuous and take the bus back, meaning the total time I was gone to return the car clocked in at almost exactly two hours total for the trip. I then returned to bed, where I did crossword puzzles and caught up on my TiVo. Greatly enjoyed the recent episode of the Sopranos, some old Angel re-runs, and the Tracy/Hepburn classic Adam's Rib.


Playing Catch-up

Sorry for the unintentional dead air here at Discolor Online. I was too busy, too stressed in the lead-up to the GAMA Trade Show to have anything interesting to say. Or rather, I had plenty interesting to say but none of it was appropriate for blog posting. Once I hit Las Vegas, I was running around like a stress-monkey, handling various crises for GAMA, attending meetings, and so on. We flew to Vegas on Sunday and by I woke up Tuesday morning having completely lost my voice. For the next two days I tried as best I could to represent my company, to fulfill my obligations for running seminars or discussions, to meet with people. I sounded so horrible that total strangers kept coming up and pressing throat lozenges into my hands, or telling me to go have some hot tea. Still, I didn't feel truly, actually sick until Thursday.

The last day of the show, after going to bed early every other night and avoiding the smoke-filled bars and casinos, I agreed to go out to a punk rock bar with a friend from England. Except that three hours after we were supposed to have left for the bar we were still hanging around the hotel, and wouldn't you know that I'd used up all my stamina in those three hours! Eventually I had to just go up to bed, where I woke every hour, tossing and turning and coughing. I'm not quite as sick as I was when I came down with pneumonia after GenCon 2001, but I'm definitely sliding in that direction.

I'm updating from bed on my laptop, surrounded by tea and tissues. I can't talk at all, I cough if I breathe too deeply, I can feel that telltale crackle in my upper lungs that tells me things aren't good. And I'm pissed off... I rented a car to catch up on errands this weekend, fill mail orders and to go grocery shopping. I'm missing a beautiful, sunny, spring weekend in Seattle. The flowers I planted last fall are coming up and blooming. Yet here I am, weak and aching and coughing and miserable. Weak, traitorous body! I'd kick my own ass for being so weak, if I had the strength to do so.

I'll post some write-ups of the higher points of Vegas in between naps and coughing fits now that I'm home.


Micky Fricky E-mail

Apparently e-mail to my Green Ronin address has been bouncing most of the day. Even when all other mail was bouncing, some spam and GPA-list postings were managing to get through. I'm getting no bounced messages from messages I've sent, but I'm not receiving test-messages I've sent to myself either.

Not like there's any important e-mail going around in the lead-up to the GAMA Trade Show next week or anything! ARGH.

If anyone is having the problem with bounced mails to Green Ronin, go ahead and CC: my Nikchick address at AOL.


The Game Industry Raises Nice Kids

Kate spent the better part of the day at Cody Pondsmith's Chuck E. Cheese birthday extravaganza, mingling with Cody's excellent, interesting, well-mannered friends. We shared a ride back to the city with Brannon's son, Stone, who had also attended the party and who lives on our side of the water. We've also wrangled an invitation to a potluck next weekend that both boys are scheduled to attend, much to Kate's delight.

In the car, Kate told Stone that she was at the party even though she's grounded (for smuggling her hamster to school last week) and Stone exclaimed that it would be worth it to be "grounded for eternity" for something as cool as smuggling a hamster to school. They exchanged phone numbers in the car, and Kate is at this very moment in the living room, chatting away to Stone about her hamster and Knights of the Old Republic.

What sweet kids we have.

Chris is seeing the Subhumans downtown tonight, but after a day of 10-year-olds, Chuck E. Cheese, silly string, and utter birthday chaos, I'm ok with missing the show in favor of crawling into bed with a book after Kate goes to bed herself.



I completely agree with Tim's recent non-rant. People who are feeling frustrated with Bush's re-election ads co-opting 9/11 should read this widow's reaction.



Tuesday I used the rental car to catch up on various errands and then returned it to the Capital Hill rental car location. Ended up meeting up with Adam and Tai from Osseum, and several of Tai's school chums and having a late lunch, which turned into happy hour, then dinner, then more drinks and eventually a cab ride home. Hadn't seen Tai in ages, since she's been back at school and it was really nice to get together with them, but man did it waste me for the day!

Today was Kate's Student Intervention Team meeting, so I had to be up and on the bus before I'm normally even awake. It was quite a positive meeting, largely in part to Michelle the reading room/special ed teacher who had wonderful things to say about Kate and seems to really understand how to handle her. It was Michelle who really stressed Kate's positive points and the fact that Kate is not performing up to her capacity, and strongly advocated for Kate as far as testing for learning disabilities goes. I was relieved that I didn't have to do it all myself, because my other discussions with the teachers had led me to worry that it was all about Kate's emotional responses to things and not nearly enough about the fact that she can't freakin' READ. I'm strongly suspecting we're dealing with a Talented and Gifted/ Learning Disability dichotomy here, and I hope something comes of the testing. At least I have a better understanding now of who is going to help Kate make the break-throughs she needs to make.

Aside from these trips, I have nothing new or fun to report. My volunteer positions are still causing me tons of stress and I struggle every day against just throwing my hands up and throwing in the towel. On one hand I wonder why I bother to try, on the other hand I can't bear to let the assholes win all the time. Can't win for losin', or so I've heard.

Tonight was game night and we actually started at a reasonable hour, though much silliness abounded anyway. I'm so glad Chris is such a patient GM, as we were really going off on some tangents and cutting up tonight. Still, it felt good and I'm really glad we had a couple hours to play and joke and laugh and have fun before people had to go home this time. It helped that I made a crock-pot stew and Jess brought bread (and he and Bruce again brought wine) so dinner was ready with no fuss. They cleaned the pot, too, so I'll have to definitely mark this recipe a success.

I've finally committed to trying to start a cooking club with my friends, and Bruce and I have agreed to hold the first 'event' this month. I still haven't heard back from a couple of potential members, but the idea is that we will gather once a month to cook and eat and drink and enjoy each others' company. We'll pick a cuisine or food or theme, and have each of us agree to bring something (even if it's just bread or wine) in addition to the thing we agree to cook together. If "the thing" turns out, we've got a great meal; if we try and fail, at least we have the bread and wine and so on to eat while we enjoy the process. I'm very excited to finally be pulling this together, since I've been talking about doing it for more than a year. Foodies of Seattle-area, unite!


Lost and Found

Thursday was Game Night and we actually had a full complement of gamers at the house. Unfortunately, dinner was a little later than I had planned; I was making pulled pork but it took longer to cook than usual because I had to buy a bone-in roast instead of a boneless roast to start from. Then, when just about ready to serve, I discovered that Kate had eaten ALL of the buns at some point, unbeknownst to me, leaving nothing but the empty bun bag in the bread drawer. Argh. Evan took me down to the store for more buns, and I added some chips, potato salad, and angel food cake with fresh strawberries and coolwhip to the list, as long as I was out. Yummy dinner, very late start to gaming.

Friday morning Kate wakes up and discovers that her hamster is missing. Oh joy. I hadn't found it by the time Kate got home from school. First she wanted the neighborhood kids to come in and look for it, then began to roam the house sobbing and looking under furniture with a flashlight when I told her that we didn't have time for that nonsense because I had to get on a bus and across town to the rental car place, and she had to go to her dad's for the weekend. After quite the ordeal getting the rental car sorted out, I ended up with an upgrade to a Nissan Altima, which the rental guy called "a sweet ride". Took Kate up to her dad's, then Chris and I went over to hang with Ray and Christine and some of their friends from Chicago. No sign of small rodent when we returned home.

Saturday I moved some things around in Kate's room until I found her hamster. He as so dehydrated! He went immediately to his water bottle and just drank and drank and drank. In the afternoon we met The Game Mechanics for lunch, to drop off authors copies of books and talk about some upcoming projects. Straight from there we joined Bruce and Tim for a viewing of the Angel puppet-episode, which TiVo somehow did not record for me. Laugh out loud funny, oh my god. I've seen the line "I'm going to tear you a new puppet hole, bitch" popping up in people's sig files. We moved from Angel into a viewing of Red vs. Blue and from there to frickin' Issaquah (yes, I went to the 'quah) for steak at Jak's Grill. Jak's doesn't take reservations, so when we showed up they told us it would be an hour and forty-five minute wait, which turned into over two hours. Sadly, Issaquah doesn't have too terribly much to do downtown after six o'clock on a Saturday, but we did go to a local brew pub for appetizers and drinks while we waited. Happily, Jak's food was excellent once we finally got to eat. Fun night, good company.

Sunday was the day I used the car to catch up on things. Went to pick Kate up, made a stop at Target and another at Trader Joes. Picked up things like cases of soda that would be a bitch to walk home with or take on the bus. When I finally got home, I poured myself into bed and watched Teen Titans on the TiVo. Tried to read a little but fell asleep after two pages. I'm never going to get through this book!

This morning I discovered that the $40 quality sneakers (not to mention pink and sparkly) I bought for Kate have gone missing. I was NOT happy. She went off to school wearing these foul dirty, stinky old slip ons because I can't find her new shoes. I did find out where all her clothes are, though. I'd been wondering for a couple of weeks where in the world her clothes had gone, since I washed everything in her hamper and she was still short of pants and shirts. Well, turns out that after her week of sleep-overs at the end of January, she put her suitcase away in her closet with all of her clothes (washed and neatly folded by Tammy) still inside! I don't know which is lamer, that she did that or that I didn't figure it out for several weeks!

Well, at least she has pants to wear tomorrow. Now, if we can just find the shoes!