Discolor Online

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



Pumpkins, that is. Kids came by and smashed our pumpkins while we were out. Kate was prepared to be brutally upset, but the smashers turned out to be unthorough and the chose to slaughter the Big Cyclops and Jack O'Lantern and but left the Phoenix and Baby Cyclops unscathed Bruce B. posted photos of the pre-smashed contestants in last night's carving contest. Frankenpumpkin and Little Unibrow went home with their carvers. Let's hope they were spared from any pumpkin genocide in their neighborhood.


Halloween Party

Had a great party last night. Good fun, lots of LJers in attendence and many great costumes, saw lots of people we rarely see. Wolfgang came dressed as the Pumpkin King for the evening and he and Shelly entertained with the story of how he won Brunch for Life at Salty's.

Brannon, with costume-clad son Stone and young Master Cody Pondsmith (none of whom we'd since Cody's birthday party last spring) joined us early in the evening to Kate's delight. Michelle and David arrived with their darling boys in costume. I think I scared poor William, who in a very small but polite voice said "No thank you" when I offered him some Monster Toes. David was nice enough to run back to his house during the party to fetch some additional Xbox controllers so there could be some 4-way Halo action.

One of my life-rules is "Don't have more kids than you have hands," and to that I'm adding, "Don't have more kids than you have Xbox controllers." One of those friends we rarely see anymore, long-time WotC editor Jennifer Clark Wilkes came bearing wine. It was great to finally see Bruce B., who I've not seen since he moved back to the area (despite his getting together with Kate and Chris on multiple occasions). Bless his heart, the last guest had barely departed the party and he had photos of the evening posted already.

Regular game night attendees Jess, Bruce H. and Tim joined in the festivities and helped out by bringing much-needed ice, judging the pumpkin carving contest, and schooling the kids in Halo respectively. "Cooking Club" members Nihar and Pooja arrived in full costume and were kind enough to help me on some of the last minute prep on my "Monster Toes" and "eyeballs" when I discovered that having gigantic scary fake fingernails as part of my costume was not condusive to peeling eggs and removing toothpicks from my spooky hors d'oeuvres.

Friends Nate and Erika brought their infant, Ruby, who was just the sweetest thing. Hadn't met Ruby yet, so that was an extra pleasure, and Nate and Erika recently bought a house in my neck of the woods so we're planning to try getting together more often now that we're virtually neighbors.

The greatest bonus of the party was that even after all the cooking, eating and drinking, and pumpking carving, we still had a net-gain in the cleanliness and orderliness of the house. Hosting the party inspired us to move a lot stuff around, Chris reorganized his office and the Green Ronin product and we made more space in both the living room and the kitchen. If we had parties more often, just imagine how clean and orderly we would be!


Heads Up, West Coast Board Gamers

This just arrived in my mailbox and I'm passing the word along for those who are interested.


Premiere Annual Los Angeles Event

October 29, 2004 ˆ CAMARILLO, CA: Name of the Game,
LLC is proud to announce the creation of the West
Coast Board Gaming Championships hosted by CONQUEST
LA, the newest Los Angeles tabletop gaming convention.

These championships are the first of their kind being
held on the west coast, servicing the vibrant board
game communities from Seattle to San Francisco to San
Diego, and as far east as Denver.

The West Coast Board Gaming Championships is the
premiere event at Conquest LA, being held on the
weekend of February 18-21, 2005, at the beautiful Los
Angeles International Airport (LAX) Marriott Hotel,
which boasts over 1000 sleeping rooms and about 40,000
square feet of convention space.

To date, major sponsors include Mayfair Games, Rio
Grande Games, and Final Fantasy Games, with plans
being finalized with other major board game
manufacturers like Uberplay, Eagle Games, Days Of
Wonder, Avalanche Press and more.

Prizes and trophies will be awarded to winners of each
of the championships with tournament fees being waived
for all four-day attendees of Conquest LA. Further, to
facilitate those traveling to the championships,
Conquest LA will be offering its "Stay for Three, Play
for Free" program which reimburses those four-day
attendees who stay at the LAX Marriott for three
nights the price of their four day pass, in exhibitor
hall dollars.

About Name of the Game, LLC

We are a company of California gamers who are looking
for ways to create terrific events for people to have
a great time at while pursuing their hobby of gaming.
The Name of the Game, LLC owns and operates Conquest,
now called Avalon, held each Labor Day weekend in the
San Francisco area, and now looks forward to bringing
a great new convention to the Los Angeles area with
Conquest-LA, each and every Presidents Day Weekend.
For more information see our web site at

Name of the Game, LLC Media Contact
Gabriel "Mondo" Vega


Can it be?

My Boston-born sweetie's response? "Surely there's an Olympic panel that's going to come take it away or something." Enjoy it, I say. I still have quite fond memories of being in Minnesota in 1991. The fact that the Minnesota I loved triumphed over the Atlanta I'd just flipped the finger to and washed my hands of is still sweet all these years later.


Minnesota Days

I was late coming to the CD revolution. I had a smattering of LPs and boxes upon boxes of cassette tapes (purchased and mixed both) that I lived by well after CDs became the default way to collect your new music. After leaving White Wolf and Georgia circa 1991 (where a young Josh Timbrook had influenced my musical tastes and I'd started dabbling in rap and dance music) I returned home to the comfort of Northfield, Minnesota, and its liberal senator (local college professor, Paul Wellstone), its liberal arts colleges (St. Olaf and Carleton) and its Scandanavian sensibilities. I spent a lot of time at Goodbye Blue Monday, a coffee shop and smoker's delight, a hangout for college kids who spent their days hopped up on caffeine and their nights smoking, drinking, and debating Derrida.

Goodbye Blue Monday was started by three college friends who quickly whittled down to two when the constant responsibility of tending the store wore on one of the partners. Ironically, one of the owners of ended up also being my housemate but despite sharing a house with him I rarely saw him. We worked opposite shifts. His partner was most often the guy on duty at Goodbye Blue Monday when I would roll in after my 6am-2pm shift for a pick-me-up and most often the one who was off-duty when evening activities presented themselves. Chad was hip, confident, political, opinionated and far more cosmopolitan than I was, and was constantly introducing me to new things. It was his influence that drove me to buy one of my early CDs: Billy Bragg's Peel Session Album. I learned about John Peel through the conduit of Chad Snelson.

When I heard today that John Peel had died, my mind immediately went back to that album, to Chad Snelson and the energy and rhythm of the coffee shop. Last I heard of Chad he'd gotten engaged to an equally hip, political, beautiful young woman he met through Goodbye Blue Monday, sold the store and moved back to the city. That was years ago, and I have no idea what happened then.

I put in the album and listened to Bragg's earnest rendition of "Days Like These" and it's as relevant to me now as it was then, as it was when it was broadcast on John Peel's show in 1985...

The party that became so powerful by sinking foreign boats
Is dreaming up new promises because promises win votes
And being resolute in conference with the ad man's expertise
The majority by their silence shall pay for days like these


Good Weekend

After feeling sick and lethargic all week I was definitely feeling more myself yesterday. I could tell because I got up the gumption to clean the kitchen, make pickles and do some laundry. Yeehaw.

Friday night I primed and painted some assorted minis. I haven't painted anything in for-freakin'-ever , so it was fun to just settle down for some creative painting practice.

Yesterday Chris and Kate went down to Bruce Baugh's together. Chris is playing in Bruce's new game and Kate went along to play with Michelle's kids while the adults made characters. Chris rarely (read: never) goes off alone with Kate, so I took the opportunity to bask in the silence of an empty house.

Later in the evening, while Kate and Chris were still out, Ray called and we shot down to the ZigZag for some cocktails. Five hours passed like nothing while we talked about everything under the sun (including Buffy, burns from bacon grease, politics, game design, Mac and Apple vs. PCs and Microsoft, charity, and barbecues). The ZigZag has some great cocktails and I sampled a few, including a savory, herby concoction called a Tailspin, the lemony-cherry Aviation, and something the bartender whipped up called Paradise (or maybe it's Pearadise?) that was made with Pear Brandy, simple syrup, lemon, and peach bitters. YUM.


Stifling Discourse

Remember the newspaper in Crawford, Texas endorsing Kerry a few weeks ago? Republican bully boys just can't let that stand...

In the past, when individuals disagreed with an editorial, they would write a letter to the editor politely expressing a different point of view in contrast to the views of the publishers, which we have usually published...The new mode of operation, I am told, is that when a newspaper prints an editorial of which some sectors might disagree, the focus is now upon how to run the newspaper out of business. Out the window are the contributions the newspaper has made to the community in the past and the newspaper’s extensive investment in the community.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that people who support a candidate whose party policies include signing loyalty oaths, removing from sight (by force if necessary) anyone who might protest, and leadership that views a t-shirt reading "Protect Our Civil Liberties" as a threat would stoop to harrassment and threats over a newspaper editorial. And yet, I know seemingly decent people who are Bush supporters. They seem decent, thoughtful, Bill of Rights-supporting, even if we disagree on how and who should do the day-to-day running of the country, they don't seem to be the kind of people who would support thuggery. I oppose the brutish, undemocratic tactics of that candidate's supporters. Putting aside the relative merits of each individual candidate, I cannot understand or tolerate the tactics being used to bring Bush a win. I find it chilling that so many seem to turn a blind eye to the culture of suppression and hostility embraced by their side.


Food for the Sick

Whether or not I actually have what Kate's got I'm definitely feeling crummy (though I wish I had as much energy when healthy as this kid has when sick!). Headachey and alternately sweating and shivery. Thank goodness for my crockpot!

Tonight's dinner has been bubbling away in the crockpot all day and all I had to do was throw it together this morning and turn it on. We're on track to have Crockpot Beef with Black-Eyed Peas for dinner in an hour or so.


Strep Throat

Oh joy. Kate's school called to tell me she was sick in the office with tonsils the size of my thumb. Sure enough, got her to the doctor's office and the rapid test confirmed that she does indeed have strep throat.

No gaming for me tonight, and no whipping up the dinner I'd planned which is probably for the best as I have a blinding headache (though I did let Kate put the pumpkin pie in the oven because it's her favorite). I'd better not get sick with this crap, I have things to do! Please, please just let me be feeling like hell because I didn't sleep last night...


Recipe Page

Updated with a recipe for Mexican Meatball Soup.

This is the kind of thing I do when I wake up at 2:00am and can't get back to sleep...


Rollercoaster Weekend

Emotionally up and down this weekend.

Friday I bought a few things to prepare for my Halloween Eve party and dropped Kate off with her dad.

Yesterday I got news that a friend's dear parents have been dealt a terrible blow. I don't know how many of you feel close to the parents of your friends, but these parents in particular were incredibly kind to me and literally took me into their family when I was alone in Canada and getting on my feet after my separation (and eventual divorce). Steve went into surgery to have a polyp removed from his intestine only to have the surgeon come out with terrible news: it wasn't a polyp but a metastasized tumor that had spread to his liver. The surgeon declared the situation, "Not good." Of course Steve is one of those guys who has always been healthy, who gardens and eats healthily, who rides his bike everywhere as his main form of transportation... I want to cry and scream and rant. Unfair, UNFAIR!

Last night, I joined my friend Stan! to celebrate his 40th birthday. A roomful of us mingled and talked and laughed and ate, we listened to Stan! deliver some of the best of his suite of Japan stories, and rumor has it some karaoke broke out. I got to see some good friends who I haven't seen in probably 9 months or more. So happy to be a part of it.

Today is the first post-summer craziness meeting of my nascent Cooking Club. This month's theme is Brunch. The group will be attempting Eggs Benedict (mmm, hollandaise), and each participant is also contributing some other brunch-themed loveliness which is expected to include some homemade biscuits and jam, pumpkin pancakes topped with whipped cream and cardamom sugar, and my simple-but necessary contribution of Assorted Breakfast Meat. I mean, c'mon, that menu clearly needs bacon! Freshly roasted coffee and some sort of alcoholic morning cocktail are also on the agenda. It's a grey, foggy morning so far and a perfect time to revel in a delicious brunch.


Dirty Political Tricks

My anxiety over the coming election is growing. I've seen for myself how people I thought were moral, decent people have been completely hoodwinked over such small-potatoes politics as GAMA and Danceygate, and I fear, truly fear what will happen next month with all the dirty tricks and underhanded schemes the big boys are working.

A few examples currently on my radar (any bold/italic emphasis is mine):

...few of those wrongly purged from the voting rolls in 2000 are back on the voter lists. State officials have imposed Kafkaesque hurdles for voters trying to get back on the rolls...

The signs carry the name of the Philadelphia Education Project, a political committee that registered with the IRS just over two weeks ago. Its registered purpose is "to educate the public about important issues of public policy," but supporters of Specter's opponent, U.S. Rep. Joe Hoeffel, think the aim is to associate Republican Specter with Kerry in a heavily Democratic area.

...what was supposed to happen was that one operative was going to come into the campaign office and leave the flyers on a table full of other campaign materials, so that a second operative could come in, "find" the documents, and start raising a fuss. But Fitzhugh's quick-witted and observant volunteer, Kate Honey, spotted the materials and had them thrown away. So then the second operative comes by, expecting to find the materials there, and starts complaining about them -- before realizing that they've already been thrown away. As a backup, he goes out and retrieves them from the trash.

Sproul has become entangled in controversial allegations in at least three states where his company was conducting registration drives paid for by the RNC...

South Dakota campaign official who resigned after questions arose over absentee-ballot applications will work in Ohio for the Bush-Cheney campaign, an internal Republican Party memo indicates. Three other GOP workers who resigned over the application fracas also will be involved in the Ohio campaign...

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett accused Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker of inviting election-night chaos by not printing as many ballots as city officials requested...[city officials charge] that Walker, by holding down the number of ballots printed for the city, is attempting to depress turnout, particularly in central city neighborhoods expected to back Democrat John Kerry in the presidential race...Walker is a co-chair of the statewide Bush campaign.

Federal prosecutors yesterday called a halt just 20 minutes before Democrats were to question a Republican official under oath over the identity of a Bush-Cheney official allegedly implicated in an illegal phone-jamming operation...court filings yesterday identified the alleged co-conspirator as Jim Tobin, director of the 2004 New England regional Bush-Cheney campaign

Let me be clear, I do not approve of vote fraud or dirty tricks no matter what side it benefits. But what disturbs me so deeply about stories like the ones I've quoted above, is that these incidents are not being attributed to just some guys who got carried away and stole or defaced road signs or bumper stickers; each of these stories seems to be part of a purposeful, coordinated effort (some might even say "campaign") whose participants are repeatedly high-up muckety mucks in Republican party, state chairmen and regional directors.

Karl Rove is famous for his dirty tricks, names like Jim Tobin ("Our strategy? We’re playing very hard to win this state," said Tobin. "Our strength is our ground game."), and Roger Stone (remember that mob scene of people protesting the recount in Miami-Dade that turned out to be packed with G.O.P workers brought in from around the country?) sure do seem to pop up a lot, too.


Good Deeds

Folks, I'm going to share a story of a very good friend of mine and the incredible journey of giving she and her family are about to embark on. I've talked and written about my "mom's list" before, a group of pregnant ladies who got together and formed an e-mail list in the summer of 1995. We were all due to deliver our babies in October or November of 1995...in the end some birthdays slipped into September or December, but we've stuck together and turned our pregnancy-support list into a mom-support list and now we're just a group of good, good friends who are closing in on celebrating 10 years of being together. We've held get-togethers around the country, stayed in each others homes, talked to one another every day, and many of these ladies truly are my extended family. We've grieved together during deaths, divorces and illnesses in our families, we've celebrated together during the joys of new births, new families, new beginnings.

Nothing so far can compare to what my friends L&S area about to do.

About a year and a half ago L&S had taken steps to adopt a child to add to their biological family of two daughters. L is adopted and feels strongly that adoption can make a huge difference in the life of a child in need. That's when they met a young, single woman (A) who had a child she was considering giving up for adoption. In the end, the child went to live with a family member, but L and A have stayed in touch. A is 19 years old now, and has 3 children ages 3, 2, and 1.

Last night, L's phone rings: it's A. This spring, A was diagnosed with leukemia and told that her chances were not good, even with treatment. Withot treatment she has 6 months to a year to live. A's two older children are currently living with her sister, who has two children of her own, one a newborn, and has told A that she is only willing to have the children until A gets better but if she dies, she will send them to foster care. As you can imagine, this was a huge stress for A thinking of her children being lost in the foster care system possibly for the rest of their childhoods. When she dies, she said, she wants L&S to keep her children and have legal custody of them.

L tells A she will have to talk to S about it and will call her back as soon as possible. When S arrives home they talk and pray and eventually make the decision to do everything they can to help.

Earlier this spring, L&S bought a house, a duplex that belongs to them. L told A they're willing to take custody of her children if that's what she wants, but proposed another option. Their house is a duplex and the people who live next door are moving out at the end of October. They have invited A to live there with her children, who they will eventually adopt. Their plan right now is to go out to where the 3 year old and 2 year old are living to pick up the children, then drive to where A lives with her 20-month-old, and bring them all home with them.

They are going to need everything like furniture, etc. and, to be honest, they could use financial help with the trip going out to get them. It will take several days as it's about a 4,000 mile round trip. If anyone knows anyone who is charitably minded who would like to donate to a good cause, we're collecting all we can to help.

100% of anything given will be used to get A and the children to their new home and make them comfortable. L has worked extensively with troubled children in a past career and is active with charitable groups. She's already contacted her local hospice organization about helping A cope as her disease progresses.

This is true Christian charity at work.



I realized the other day that I have a gigantic number of saved online quiz results on my machine. I've added a link to my new Quiz pages, where I've collected them for your amusement.

Click the link above to check it out or, you can click on the quiz-taking punk kitty icon in the sidebar if you prefer.


More Food (better than More GAMA)

Dinner last night came out alright, despite a few kitchen mishaps. I cooked about three pounds of my nine pound pork loin, and that was about right. Whole pork loins were on sale at Safeway for $1.99 a pound last week and I was just thrilled to pick up such a good-looking swath of meat. I've saved two other three-pound-ish chunks for other purposes. Last night it was Maple-and-Herb-Brined pork. Sadly, I over cooked the damn thing because my digital thermometer fried itself and was insisting that the uncooked pork had an internal temperature of 160 degrees (or that my freezer was a balmy 130, when I tried putting it in there for comparison). I had to guess at the doneness of my pork, and then it sat too long while I whipped up some potatoes and stuffed squash to go along with it. Still, it was a dead easy recipe and with the jus to go over it, it was still pretty tasty. I'd just have preferred to have cooked it less well-done.

As for my last-minute addition of Baked Butternut Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Apples, that was the best thing I served all evening! Mmmm, mmmm. I didn't bake the squash to initially prepare it, since I was boiling some tri-colored baby potatoes anyway (a collection of blue, red and white spuds), I steamed the squash until soft, and mixed up the stuffing from there. I also didn't bother to bake the whole thing until "piping hot" as called for in the recipe, since I was well aware my pork was sitting waiting to be eaten. Instead, I just stuck the stuffed squash under the broiler until the brown sugar was nicely melted and bubbly. I used some of the Apple Rosemary Chicken sausages I got from Uli's booth at the Seattle's Cookin' expo on Sunday in the stuffing and it was outstanding.

The guys helped me finish off a whole pan of Orange Rolls as well, which were just as yummy rewarmed as they were fresh out of the oven yesterday.


In Good Food News

I've updated my recipe page. Incredible Orange Rolls and Maple-and-Herb-Brined Roast Pork (from the Herbfarm Cookbook), yo.

My long entry with photos about my tour of the Seattle's Cookin' Expo on Sunday will have to wait until I have something other than dial-up to work with... or until the middle of the night, I suppose.


More GAMA/Origins Awards

Discussion for the stupid Origins Awards proposal is scheduled to be end tomorrow, and I just cannot tie up the phone line for the time necessary to engage in the debate about the proposal. Still, I couldn't keep my mouth entirely shut. The "short form" is that it is no more inclusive a proposal than the proposal or changes I made when I was empowered to do so as Academy Chair. More than that, I think it's a LESS inclusive proposal because they made the mistake of opening up the discussion to anyone who wanted to participate ("stakeholders") and then didn't like the results of that, so threw a large portion of those discussions out and came up with a whole bunch of new stuff that might be a good idea, but hasn't been properly discussed or thought through.

Categories have been compressed and whittled down because "most" people want fewer awards (or so we're told) but at the same time they've instituted a Gold, Silver, Bronze ranking (which actually results in more awards, just in fewer categories. Card games now compete directly against card game expansions in one, big free-for-all category. How the 12-card expansion for Bang! is to be judged against a game like Grave Robbers From Outer Space is undetermined. Same for "collectible games" which are now all thrown into their own single category (Magic: the Gathering, vs. ?-Clix, vs. Pirates of the Spanish Main...judged on what? Their excellent collectibility? They've disenfranchised historical minis guys (whose products will now be lumped into the single "best miniature or line" category), Play-by-mail or play-by-email games (which have been dumped entirely, supposedly for lack of sufficient participation over the years, although they never bothered to ask me, as the most recent chairman, how many participating PB(e)M companies we had or how many Academy members were from PB(e)M companies), they've dumped the graphic design awards (thus the "these awards are for *games*" line) again with complete disregard for dues paying Academy members who are artists and graphic designers. At the same time as the Origins staff is trying to reach out to historical gamers and get professional artists to participate in the new Origins art show, the new Board and the paid Origins Awards Task Force Facilitator are willingly cutting out these categories from the Origins Awards. They've also removed public participation, which makes the Origins Awards even LESS relevant to anyone.

Then there's the jury. If the jury "can't" find a game (or if the publisher doesn't feel that sending $1000 worth of product to the jurists for review is a reasonable investment) the product isn't considered. This rewards big companies and those who participate to a MUCH greater extent than the previous system. I was (rightly) criticized because worthy games (board games in particular) were not on the ballot because the companies and creators did not chose to submt them. Now it's the same boat, except that you can look and see that the game is part of the online database of eligible games (a good idea that I'd suggested last year, but GAMA lacked the technical resources and staff to pull it off) but your game can be effectively vetoed by a hostile jurist who claims he doesn't have a copy or "can't" get a copy. And let's say they get a panel of decent, knowledgeable, eager jurists who give you a good result one year. According to this proposal, GAMA cannot (CANNOT) use them the following year! Nope, they can only serve every other year... a needless and ham-handed mechanism to make the board or the FVMs or whoever seems to be worried about control of things feel like they have power to keep anything "bad" from happening by allowing the same people to serve on the jury.

Oh, they do agree to allow the Academy to exist, and for the Academy members to elect their own Chair. Of course, the board can vote to remove the chair at their whim, so the whole "election" is rather empty. Academy membership is free, or you can pay $30 to be a Supporting Member and have a 3:1 vote against those who get in free... tipping the scales once again toward those companies who participate heavily. If WizKids wants to buy 100 memberships for its staff, Wizkids suddenly has 300 votes. The free-Academy would have to be pretty darn big to off-set that kind of bloc...

I know I really shouldn't care, I really shouldn't. But I spent a lot of time on the Academy and the Awards in the past, and to see the contempt with which the participants, the process, the history have been treated, well, it just really, really bothers me.



Argh. My DSL has gone from being out every 12 hours to being out altogether since noon-ish today. Fighting with Chris for access to the phone line for dial-up (and those calls and faxes as well). Yeehaw. This SUCKS.


New Origins Awards Mission Statement?

"These are awards for *games* that have [a] large base of fans or involved professionals. "

I have a dozen reasons to oppose the proposal that's currently being floated as the "FVM-friendly" Origins Awards proposal that Mark Mackinnon was pushing for at the Fall GAMA meeting, but this telling quote is certainly one of them.


Busy Coupla Days

Tuesday Kate came home from school telling me that they'd had a lockdown at her school. As she tells it "Someone jacked a car and dumped it by our school." She saw and spoke to police officers who were "swarming" around the school, some with guns out. They asked her if she'd seen a black man in white clothes, and she said no, why? Then they explained why they were looking for the man, and shortly after all the kids were hustled back into their classrooms and doors were locked. The school, on the other hand, did not contact us with any information or explanations. I hate the crap communications at these schools!

Tuesday was also game night, so I made Meatloaf Wrapped in Bacon for the boys. It was, I must say, the best meatloaf I've ever made. SO good, highly recommended for meat lovers. Bruce chipped in a pound cake and raspberries and I whipped up some heavy cream to go along with it. Baby Zoey joined us for a bit of gaming, but was thoroughly sick of us by 10pm and we broke off for the evening without having made much progress at all in the adventure. We're stumped.

Yesterday I went with Kate's class (and two other classes) on a hike planned by the school PE teacher. We took the bus out to a mountain trail and then the kids were marched up the trail. According to what I've read the trail starts at 2600 feet, gains 740 feet as you hike, and it was 2.2 miles each way. We hiked for 2 hours, including a very short stop for lunch. Of course it was raining on us and the trail was awfully slippery and muddy in several places... one poor little girl had her shoe sucked right off her foot when she stepped in some mud!

At one point one of the teachers who was in the lead was letting a bunch of eager kids run ahead on the trail and when I caught up they'd lost the trail and gone scaling up a cliff face of boulders! Oh my god, I thought I would swoon, the thought of those rambunctious kids up there on the slippery, wet boulders! Thankfully, Kate's classroom teacher was already up there getting the kids down.

I twisted my knee on a slippery part of the path on the way up and by the time I got down I was having real trouble. Spent the rest of the day limping horribly and eventually last night had to just crawl into bed with an ice pack on my knee. Took some anti-inflammatory stuff and I'm better this morning. REALLY sore all over from the workout of climbing the trail, but I can bend my knee and get up and down the stairs, which I was really struggling with last night.

Whipped up a quick dinner from the bounty of the farmer's market of chanterelle mushrooms sautéed in butter, a bit of sherry and with a dab of sour cream, served over toast (from the fresh sour dough loaf). Too tired and sore to do anything else.

The DSL cut out at 6:45 last night, and I couldn't even work from the laptop in bed (where I was resting my knee with an ice pack) so I made due with watching The Daily Show, Good Eats, and a documentary about the cover-up surrounding 1995 killing of two young Puerto Rican men by NYPD detectives (one who had former been Mayor Giuliani's body guard) called Justifiable Homicide on TiVo.


Recipe Page

People who know me know that I love to cook. I've been meaning to do something more than just post random musings to my website for quite a while now. I will be posting a diary of what I've been cooking and links to the recipes I'm currently trying.

What Nikchick's Cooking


Technology Hates Me

My DSL is still going out every night at 7:30 and staying out until dawn. I have finally convinced the Earthlink people that something is up and they're supposed to schedule someone to come out and see if a tech can fix the problem.

Last week my printer kept refusing to print, giving me unexplained postscript errors.

I can't get Kate's wireless connection to stay connected to the network no matter what I try, which means she still wants to use my computer all the time.

For about two weeks the caller ID on the phones went out for seemingly no reason. It's come back now, all on its own.

Saturday night the TiVo crashed and went black in the middle of Chris watching a movie. I managed to get it back and working again with the help of TiVo customer service (good service, much better than Earthlink), but we've had our TiVo for less than a year.

We bought a little key-chain back-up device for Chris's laptop because the screen has started going black for no apparent reason. The key-chain back-up device does not appear to work on his computer or, for comparison purposes, on the Mac either.

My laptop battery stopped charging and I'm not sure if there a problem with the power cord, the battery, or something altogether different. I haven't been able to boot it up for over a week and really should take it down to the Apple store but I just haven't had time.




When I was a girl, the only profession I desired was to be a veterinarian. I love animals of all sorts. I read books about animals, fiction and non-fiction. I know numerous breeds of dogs. I still watch Emergency Vets and Animal Cops when I have a chance to watch television. My desire to be a vet lasted for years, until I was 11 or 12 and my mom (a struggling, young, divorced mom with two kids) decided to give me a dose of reality. She said that 1) I'd better be prepared for animals to die on me when I was a vet and 2) that if I wanted to go to all that schooling I might as well become a doctor so I could at least make some decent money. I was a cliché, all little girls want to be veterinarians (and want ponies) right? What did I really want to do?

I stopped talking about being a vet.

I look back on that exchange and wonder if instead of getting a dose of reality ("Look, kid, we're poor and if you want to do something like go to veterinary school you're going to have a big struggle ahead of you because that dream is very expensive.") if I'd gotten encouragement, ("You've always loved animals and you're good with them. You're a good student. I'm sure you'd be a great veterinarian.") would I have actually done it?

In addition to loving animals, I've always been soft-hearted and wanted to help people. I bought into the love your neighbor, charity is your duty doctrines of Christianity, I fought school bullies, I worked in a nursing home in high school and was outraged at the lack of respect shown to the residents by most of the poorly educated, poorly paid aides. I started thinking about getting into nursing (doctor was, of course, lumped in as "unattainable" with veterinarian). Instead, I fell backwards into the game industry and in the end decided that ultimately I had no faith in the rewards of nursing. At that time nurses were being paid less and less, were being forced to work more hours and spend less time with each patient and I had no confidence that I'd actually be able to do that part of the job that I liked (helping people).

I stopped thinking about being a nurse.

When I was going through my divorce, I was so low I despised myself and saw nothing but pain and despair. I could not imagine there was anything out there I could contribute to, any job I could do including pumping gas or cleaning toilets that I'd be any good at. The last interest to slip away as I fell into my depression was cooking, and it was the first to reemerge when I began to recover. Two different times I looked into going to school for Culinary Arts, only to back away both times. Becoming a chef was impractical. Cooking was something that gave me joy, feeding people and seeing them happy pleased that part of me but it felt very much like "the only thing left" and in the end I decided I didn't want to sacrifice it on the chance that I wouldn't find that same pleasure and comfort in it when it was my job.

You can guess what I stopped doing.

I wonder how many possibilities I've needlessly passed up. I hope that I can do better for my daughter, for as long as she tells me she wants to be a zoo-keeper or whatever she decides she wants to be instead.