Discolor Online

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


Joy of Cooking

Ah, my kitchen, how I love it. I've missed it all this long summer. It seems that 3 weeks out of four in the summer I'm either preparing for a convention (too busy too cook...who wants a dirty kitchen on top of packing, product prep, filling last minute mail orders?), attending a convention (desperately seeking culinary delights, or just a latte that won't make me gag), or recovering from a convention (have been gone for a week or more, and returned home to sour milk, withered greens, over-ripe fruit) and my kitchen gets short shrift. Add to that summer heat, barbecues with friends, and it's sadly predictable that I've been extremely lackluster in the kitchen.

Last night I went straight for the comfort food: hamburger stroganoff, 1960s style (ground beef and onions, mushrooms, a can of cream of chicken soup, and some sour cream, served over noodles). Tonight, with the kitchen drought broken, it was Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken, recently featured on America's Test Kitchen. The recipe was also printed in Cook's Illustrated this month, and it was indeed as good as they claimed it would be.

Followed up with a cool Moscow Mule over ice. Mmmm, my kitchen welcomes me home.



Originally, I was supposed to be on the road this week, on my way to DragonCon in Atlanta, with a stop in Hershey, PA for Kate's amusement. When we decided we didn't have it in us to attend yet another convention this summer, I told Kate we'd go camping instead. She was very interested in a camping trip with me.

That is, until this past week arrived soaked in rain. We're not talking Seattle-typical, rain that settles over everything like a heavy mist, but storming rains downpouring over everything. Kate was bummed, but accepted that camping in the rain would really suck.

Yesterday was a beautiful, warm, rain-free summer day. Under Kate's prodding, we set up our little two-man tent in the back yard and she and I slept outside last night. Not exactly the same as camping in the woods, but good enough for Kate, who was gleeful. She read me a bedtime story (two pages from Judy Blume's Blubber) and then we fell asleep counting planes that passed overhead. Kate got to six before she was snoring away, I counted fifteen before I drifted off. I honestly don't notice the air traffic much from inside the house, nor do I notice it during the day, but outside last night it was clear we're directly under a landing/take-off route for SeaTac.

Kate slept like a rock and happily bounded out of the tent, into the house, to eat Trix and watch cartoons. I slept less soundly, and woke up cold. Under real camping circumstances, I'd plant myself beside a campfire and drink coffee, but there are no campfires to be found. I guess I'll have to settle for a hot shower.


Out of Synch

I am awake. I've been awake for a couple of hours now. I am out of synch with the rest of my household, and I hate it. I've been falling asleep "early" (by ten o'clock, sometimes earlier, times by which my eight year old is usually not even asleep), waking at three or four in the morning, forcing myself back to sleep until six or seven.

I should do something with these waking hours, and yet, the things I long to do are not very neighborly (I'm sure my neighbors would not appreciate me mowing the lawn at this hour) nor can I start running the garbage disposal and vacuuming without waking my night-owl family.

I spend these hours sitting, feeling like I'm spinning my wheels, waiting for traction. I wouldn't mind being awake in these quiet morning hours if I didn't also feel like I was wasting precious daylight hours, hours when my eyes are open and my brain engaged.


Damn Mailman

When we bought our house, we received a shoe box-sized lock-box mail receptacle that is down at the other end of the block. Not ideal, but we didn't exactly get to choose.

In addition to the things we want to receive (birthday cards, Cooking Light, Dork Tower) and the things we expect to receive (utility bills, solicitations for pizza places) we also get strange, unsolicited packages (a "religious" tract of some sort ProEvo: Pro Evolution - Guideline for an Age of Joy), mystery magazines (Chris started receiving a subscription to ESPN Magazine which, in addition to being oversized was utterly unwanted and went straight into the recycling) and general mail clutter. We also get a lot of large packages that are too large to fit in the shoebox, so the packages are dropped on our doorstep by our mailman.

Our current mailman has not always been our mailman, and I hope he does not remain our mailman for much longer. He is extremely put out by the amount of mail we get, surly and unpleasant when he needs to talk to us for any reason. Sometimes he will shove an unholy amount of mail into our box, bending, creasing, mutilating and tearing things in the process. Other times he will simply leave a note that he's taken the mail back to the post office and I must go retrieve it myself if I want it.

After our most recent vacation hold, we asked that the mail be brought to the house after we returned on Monday. He left it in the box, and came up and rang the doorbell on Tuesday. Kate answered, and he told her "Tell your parents to check their mail." I was irritated, but I was also not going to go out in the pouring rain RIGHT THEN to go check the box, especially after he'd gone to the trouble to come to the door without bringing the mail with him! Yesterday, I was out running errands with the Flexcar and made sure to stop at the box. It was empty. I thought little of it: Chris must have gone out for it while I was gone.

Nope. Mr. Unpleasantness had to bring a package to the house, so brought our mail with him so he could chew Chris out. "Are you ever going to check your mail?!" he said to Chris, among other things. Very glad I wasn't home to hear that bullshit. I do NOT need that kind of aggravation from the fucking mailman, thank you very much.

Wonder if it would help at all to complain to the postmaster... though with my luck it would just result in a vindictive asshole mailman instead of the merely irritating and insulting mailman.


GenCon Wrap-up

GenCon wears me out.

For the first time in years, we shared our room with friends and I had to deal with people coming in and out at all hours. One guy comes in at 2:00am or 3:00am, another guy needs to get up and has his alarm set for 5:30am, and I try to sleep in the hours between. It's been a very long time since that's been a concern for me at GenCon.

The GAMA meeting was lame, time consuming but mild and uncontentious.

Saturday and Sunday were great days for us, and we posted our best GenCon ever. The booth looked like locusts had descended upon it by the time the day was done, and with the help of our guys we managed to get the booth completely packed up and everything on a pallet in one hour flat.

I spent far too little time with friends, though we did have a great post-GenCon GR dinner at Palomino. Kate and I went back to the hotel room and went swimming/hot tubbing before I tried to put her to bed. I'd intended to get her off to sleep and slip downstairs to join the guys at the hotel bar, but Kate was anxious about being in the room and didn't want me to leave, so I didn't.

Before leaving Indy Monday, I slipped off to the zoo with the Joneses where Miranda and Kate got to witness Bodily Function Day with elephants, horses, llamas, penguins and rhinos producing prodigious amounts of waste before their very eyes. Hilarity ensued (if you're in the 8-8.5 year old age range).

Not only was Ryan Dancey on my return flight, but on the second leg (from Minneapolis to Seattle) he was IN MY ROW. We did not speak, though there was an unpleasant instant of eye contact during some turbulence. What are the fucking odds?


GenCon, Day 2

Fantastic, fabulous, super day. Dead on my blistered feet, but woohoo are we feeling the love! The hall was crowded and business at the booth was brisk. We're down to just a few copies of the signed and numbered copies of The Red Star Campaign Setting and Foes of Freedom, and we've had to put in a restock order from the Osseum warehouse for some other titles. We're already out of stock on all the gamer's satchels I was able to carry with me from Seattle, all but a couple of M&M t-shirts, and we only have one Cosmo the Moon Monkey plushie left. It's been wild and wonderful.

Have had lots of very productive meetings.

Topping it off, today was a day of seeing lots of friends and fans, followed by the ENnies where Green Ronin and our publishing partners (The Game Mechanics, Human Head, Dog House Rules) really felt the love. Biggest satisfaction for me was winning the Gold ENnie for Best Publisher, so exciting! It was really wonderful to feel that all the lvoe and care and attention we've put into our work has been noted and appreciated out there.

Basking in the after-glow. Tomorrow is the crappy GAMA FVM meeting, at which I will not be feeling any love.


GenCon Day 1

We've been in Indianapolis for a couple of days, but today was Day 1 of the convention. First impressions:

Holy cow, are there a lot of people! The Green Ronin booth was swamped, just SWAMPED with people when the exhibit hall opened. In the time it took me to run out to the (admittedly long lines at the) coffee kiosk, we ran through all of our opening-day change and the staff were puling out their personal wallets to dig out ones and fives as I returned with coffee and danish for everyone.

Dracula's Revenge demos are running constantly and people seem to be enjoying the game. Other hot sellers are The Red Star, Torches & Pitchforks, and Foes of Freedom. We've sold several Green Ronin Satchels, which I look forward to putting up on the website.

Dave, our roomie, did NOT hike the Apalachian Trail: that was Dan. This explains why Dave is not erxhibiting the signs of having a life-changing experience that I was mistakenly associating with him.

Ryan Dancey does indeed have the biggest balls in gaming: how he can even walk with balls that big is a mystery to me. I ran into him TWICE today, while completely missing people who I actually had any desire to see.

Mikado, the Japanese place a block or two from the Hyatt, has the slowest service outside of Milwaukee that I've yet experienced. The slow service was so slow that our 7:30 reservation was seated at 7:50, meaning Chris left before drink orders were even taken (to make his 8:00 super-secret Warhammer 2E playtest), but he didn't miss much. 2.5 hours later, mediocre food was indeed delivered. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't superb either, and definitely not worth the wait. Funnily enough, the last terrible meal like this I had was (like this time) with the Joneses, at Maders in Milwaukee at another GenCon. Tired, starving kids and slow, slow service make for cranky mommies.


The Last Weekend of Summer

This is, for all intents and purposes, the last weekend of summer for us. Tomorrow Kate returns from her summer visitation with her Dad and Tuesday we leave for GenCon. After GenCon, there are a couple of weekends before school starts in Seattle, but days will be full of preparations as we try to wrangle Kate back into a school-day schedule and keep her from tearing the house apart (building forts on the stairs, holding 'picnics' in the living room with every stuffed animal in the house, etc.).

I've been a bit crazy, taking advantage of the "last chances" (though they're largely psychological) and Thursday Chris and I finally hit a happy hour at The Brooklyn (mmm, oysters and appletinis!) before he took off to play a minis battle.

Friday it was a big party at R&C's in honor of C's best friend David's 50th birthday. It was quite the bash! Got to see mutual friends Mitch & Robin for the first time in three years: they're looking great and it was great to see them. Also got to meet many of Christine's Chicago-area friends and hear fascinating stories of their travels and brushes with fame. After everyone else hit the road to head home, night-owls Ray, Tynes, and Pramas were still going strong so we headed out for late-night eats at the Pomodoro. Though their posted hours are until 2am on Fridays, they were having a slow night when we arrived (only one couple mooning over each other in the far corner) and had already closed the kitchen. They reopened for us happily, and later explained, "We're not Germans after all! We're Spanish/Italian. What's an hour more or an hour less. Our customers understand this."

Yesterday, Chris had to crack down and get some work done, in prep for being away at GenCon for a week. I joined a few others at Chez Pominger for grilled sausages, cocktails, and XBox. Good fun just relaxing around their spacious house. I love how everyone makes themselves at home there: when I arrived, Bill was watching the Adam West Batman movie downstairs, Chris was lounging in the front room reading, young Master Jeffrey was amusing himself learning a new XBox game, Ray was in the kitchen getting the sausages ready. Home away from home.

This afternoon we'll be heading out to Chateau Codrus for yet more grilled meat and libations. Great weather for it, sunny but not brutally hot as it's been too often recently. Must force myself not to stay too terribly late, though, because I have GenCon prep to finish and I have to be up stupid early to collect Kate from her dad. Now I'm signing off, because I've got to prepare the dry rub for the several pounds of ribs I'm contributing to the BBQ.


Julia Child 1912-2004

Julia Child died in her sleep yesterday at the age of 91. Every American chef, gourmand, and epicure owes her a great deal, whether they recognize it or not.

"What's dangerous and discouraging about this era is that people really are afraid of their food. Sitting down to dinner is a trap, not something to enjoy. People should take their food more seriously. Learn what you can eat and enjoy it thoroughly."

Not in this house, never in this house!


Cluing in last night that the Perseids were peaking, I dragged Pramas out onto our little postage stamp-sized rectangle of back lawn with a blanket and we laid out in the dark, gazing skyward in the hope of seeing some of the meteor activity.

I'd heard there could be up to one meteor per minute visible if we were lucky. Unfortunately, the best direction for gazing was to the east, which is not the direction we chose. Too much residual light from the city, but to the west it's fairly dark thanks to the air field and the freeway over the hill (instead of swaths of housing developments).

It was peaceful to lay out in the yard in the warm air, but we only managed to catch six or seven meteors before the one persistent night-bug buzzing around Chris's ear drove him into the house. Without someone else out in the yard with me, I started to dose off and I'm sure I missed some great stuff. I jolted from the beginnings of sleep when I heard what sounded like an angry rodent of some sort far too close for my comfort. There are rats and coons in our neighborhood and I have no desire to meet them on their nightly rounds.

Maybe next year I'll plan to watch the Perseids at their peak instead of stumbling out into the back yard almost by accident. I'm betting there would be fantastic viewing out on the Peninsula instead of in the heart of the city, for example.


Game Night

Curious? Pramas explains...

Corruption of the innocent?



Testing to see if I've managed to solve the comments issue.



I've received the most amazing apologies over the last two weeks. As the news of a certain industry bigwig's misdeeds broke behind the scenes, I received phone calls and e-mails from colleagues in the game industry, apologizing for being fooled by the smoke and mirrors, for having lent their credibility to the platform and the agenda of someone who had, in their eyes, betrayed their trust (in addition to my privacy). It certainly took a lot for those people to apologize to me, not that I expected any such apologies, and those apologies were meaningful to me.

More recently, as the news reached a wider audience, I was stunned to receive yet more apologies from people who felt they'd wronged me. Not in any direct way, just by quietly holding onto a belief that I was over-reacting to simple personality conflicts, or being unforgiving. Although these people had never confronted me, never berated me, never back-stabbed me, nor let on in any way that they held these unfavorable opinions of me, of their own accord they were moved to apologize for their privately held opinions! I was deeply touched.

Especially my feelings toward the people who have absolutely, without question, wronged me in recent months. The predictable lack of any apologies from those who have the most to apologize for is glaringly apparent amidst these heart-felt, unsolicited confessions from unexpected quarters.

There are two things about me that have been solid truths for my whole life: if someone has something to say to me, I want to hear it to my face; and the person who recognizes his dickwad behavior and tries to make it right is far, far higher in my esteem than the guy who ignores or rationalizes away the wrongs he's inflicted.

I have more thoughts on apologies to share, but they'll have to wait for now.


Bed Day, Farm Aid, and No Hersheyland

Sunday Kate declared we should have Bed Day. We would retire to my bed in our pajamas, watch movies, play games, and eat junky food. Kate created a the menu for the day: donuts, corn chips, cheese dip, cheetos, soda, soup (Campbells Chicken & Stars Soup at Hand, specifically), avocado, and pie.

I dutifully picked up her requests from the store, and an assortment of Kate-friendly videos and DVDs that wouldn't make my own brain melt out of my ears. A selection of Little Rascals classics, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Monty Python. We crawled into my bed, watched videos, ate delicious junk, dressed Kate's Polly pockets, and she tried valiantly to get us to play some MagBlast but that never happened. We capped off bed day by watching a dozen Strong Bad E-Mails. Kate drew Trogdor the Burninator for me, full of majesty and "consonant Vs" (said Kate) before I finally forced her to go to bed for real.

Monday we all ended up down at the Pike Place Market around breakfast time, and ended up with a ringside seat to the press conference that announced Farm Aid would be happening here in the Seattle area. Got to see the Seattle Mayor give a little speech about how Farm Aid brings together two things that Seattle loves: music and food. I pretended to be excited about it, so that Kate might also be excited about seeing the mayor of her city giving a speech about something she could grok. She's just a smidge too young to be entirely cynical already. I think it worked, she was at least mildly interested.

Kate's back in Canada for a couple of weeks before we all head out to Indianapolis for GenCon. I had to break it to her that we weren't going to DragonCon this year after all, which meant no road trip to Hershey PA "on the way." She's a good sport about it, though, and I'm going to devote the last two weeks of her summer vacation to doing some fun, family things with her that have nothing to do with conventions. Probably nothing as tantalizing to her imagination as a chocolate theme park, sadly.