Discolor Online

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


Set Up Day

Chris and Kate and I made it to Ohio unscathed, despite figuring out that we were leaving for Columbus at 12:20am Tuesday morning, not 12:20 Wednesday morning. Frantic phone calls were made and hotel rooms for the correct nights were secured, nothing incredibly crucial was left undone, we made it to the airport in plenty of time. A brief layover and overly-long trek through the Houston airport broke the trip into two segments. (A pre-recorded message in playing in Houston reminded us that "inappropriate comments or jokes" about airport security would be considered threats to safety and "could result in arrest"; Kate asked what that was all about, that was an interesting converstation.)

Got the Green Ronin booth all set up before the rest of the team arrived, and now we're just getting cleaned up before dinner. A booming thunderstorm has kicked up, lots of lightning and thunder but not much rain so far. Spike, Mary and Miranda are in the room right next door, which is very convenient for little girls dying to play together.

Tonight, yummy Japanese Steak House. Tomorrow, working the booth.


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How did it get to be Wednesday?

Every so often I look around and realize that days have passed in a blur and I barely know what happened. If I didn't have a husband and child to look after me, I sometimes wonder if I would just go all absent-minded professor and forget to eat or sleep entirely.

Monday the gang gathered to support Kate's efforts at the end of the year reading the writer's club at her school gives. Kate's read a sweet little poem about the city, all of five or six lines long, but she did really well. Considering how much trouble she's had reading and writing to this point, it was a pretty big moment for her and she was so proud to see so many of her adult friends there cheering her on. Some of the kids were so quiet and shy they could barely be heard, others were complete and total hams. Kate was somewhere right in the middle.

School is now out for the summer and amidst my usual jobs I'm also juggling prep for Origins, shipment of new products, and planning a "half-birthday" party for the kiddo (because it was just too hard to do the party in December this year). Ug. Absolutely nothing coherent to say, I feel like I'm in a zombie state.

I made myself feel better by making some chocolate chip bread pudding.


New Keyboard

I am typing this from my new and considerably quieter keyboard. I've managed to blow up two keyboards this month. Granted they were older, well-used keyboards, but in both cases the keys were very noisy and in both cases the spacebar became very sticky and difficult to use. Even more common than the letter E, there's a space after every single word I type. Having to mash down the key three or four times before a space appeared, or just having to apply considerable force for each key stroke was about to drive me completely out of my mind.

I was afraid to buy anything cheap or generic, so went with a Microsoft model that has more bells and whistles than I would ever use. Apparently I can program this thing to do everything but make me a latte in the morning. Honestly, all I want it to do is type, smoothly, quietly, gently. And it does.

I'm much relieved. It's amazing how much stress can build up from such a little thing.


Ready for Summer

I am SO ready for summer weather. We had an unusually warm and dry early spring, and by March the governor had declared a drought emergency.

I started joking a month ago that it had rained every day since the drought announcement.

I'm no longer joking about it... A quick look at statistics for April, May, and June so far show that it's not just my imagination. April ended more than an inch above normal rainfall, and 17 days of rain. May ended with one and a half inches more rainfall than normal, 16 days of rain, and only 5 purely "sunny" days. June is again trending above normal for precipitation, and every day so far this month has been at least partly cloudy if not more.

One thing I've always said about the Seattle area is that it follows the seasons: if the calendar says Spring you look around Seattle and see flowers and trees blooming, green grass, wispy white clouds in the blue sky; when the calendar says summer it's gorgeous, temperate, blue skies and sunshine; then the calendar says autumn it's falling leaves and cool air, foggy dampness. Winter is dark and rainy, but if I want snow the mountains are less than an hour away.

This year has not been like that and frankly, I'm really tired of it. Three months of above average rainfall in a typically rainy city is enough for me, thanks. Bring on the sun and the barbecues and the trips to the ocean, please.


Current Favorite

From BarMedia.com

Not only is Cruzan Estate Light Rum the best value in this category, it is also one of the most savory rums in the Caribbean. Made in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, it is a blend of triple-distilled rums aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels between two and three years. After aging, it is then filtered through charcoal to remove impurities, and much of the color is obtained maturing in the barrel. The Cruzan Estate Light is an unexpected treat, which, if sampled blindfolded, would be easy to mistake for a gold rum.

Cruzan Estate Light Rum and Diet Coke with Splenda. Yum!



Managed to get assurances for payments on money I've been expecting from a couple of sources today, which always makes the day better than wondering if you're going to get that money that's owed to you. It's been a year where great tens of thousands of dollars blink in and out of existence a few times before materializing, just to keep things "interesting." I'd really prefer boring ol' timely payments.

Turkey, white cheddar, tomato, mayo and a few leaves of basil in a pita make for a yummy lunch.

I have to miss Happy Hour at the Brooklyn tonight, celebrating my husband's birthday and mourning another friend's pink slip from his job. Katherine was given a pair of tickets to the Seattle Storm vs. the Minnesota Lynx for tonight. The tickets were given by her school's librarian for great improvement in reading. The girl is very proud of herself and I'm very proud of her, too.

Monday she's doing an end of the year reading of her own writing with her school's writer's club at the Richard Hugo House. Just today her teacher, himself a published poet, was telling me how gifted she is as a poet and how wonderfully expressive she is with language. I've always thought so, but it's nice to have these things confirmed by others.

The Columbia City Farmer's Market had beautiful strawberries and gorgeous fava beans available today. I bought both.

Met with Kate's teachers to talk over her IEP for next year and her progress this year. I'm definitely going to have to come up with some money for private testing, the state provided testing has really failed to address the core of her issues. Her teachers all feel that she is "exceptional" and very likely gifted (perhaps highly gifted) and that she's also clearly suffering with at least one learning disability more than the state testing uncovered. Her official IEP is for "written expression" but over and over again we're seeing evidence that she's dyslexic and very probably inattentive ADD (not the disruptive, stereotypical "hyperactive" type commonly seen in boys...in attentive ADD is different, often seen in girls and very often overlooked because it's just not as disruptive or troublesome to others as your ADHD). Her test scores are all over the board, from late second-grade level to late sixth-grade level, showing repeatedly that she's doing a great job of compensating for her learning disability in some cases and really struggling in others. It's great that she's able to compensate and isn't completely drowning, but I really worry that she's going to "hit the wall" in one of these upcoming years and really start to go fall behind in ways that can't easily be made up if we don't deal with the core of this now. If not for her reading room teacher, I'd feel like I was really tackling this one on my own. Thank god we at least got her out of the clutches of that awful, awful woman she had for a teacher half of last year. That horrible harpy had a long and lasting impact on Kate's self-image and self-confidence: I'm extremely sorry I didn't agitate to get Kate out of her clutches sooner.

I hope to go see Batman Begins at the Columbia City Cinema this weekend. Hooray for little local theaters!


Leave my PBS alone!

The New York Times reported on Friday that the House Appropriations Committee has voted to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for public broadcasting.

By a voice vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee adopted a measure that would reduce the financing of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that directs taxpayer dollars to public television and radio, to $300 million from $400 million. The subcommittee also eliminated $39 million that stations say they need to convert to digital programming and $50 million for upgrading aging satellite technology that is the backbone of the PBS network.

What they don't talk nearly enough about is how this applies to the blatant political take-over of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by the conservative right wing, who are simultaneously investigating PBS programming for "liberal bias".

In 2003, Bush appointed Rove-pal and O'Reilly Factor-fan Kenneth Tomlinson as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Board of Directors. In his efforts to make PBS every bit as "fair and balanced" as Fox, Tomlinson has pushed forward conservative showcases such as Tucker Carlson Unfiltered and The Journal Editorial Report, has appointed conservative ombudsmen (William Schulz, the admitted conservative, and Ken Bode, a former journalist and a fellow at Robert Bork's favorite conservative think-tank, the Hudson Institute. Bode is hilariously billed the "liberal" ombudsman in this formula), and Tomlinson is now pushing Patricia Harrison (former co-chair of the Republican National Committee) to serve as CPB's board president. PBS is already three season in on the Book of Virtues cartoon show for kids (the only episode I've ever seen was the overtly religious episode on "Faith") written by everyone's favorite former Drug-czar and Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow, Bill Bennett. When talking about his credentials at the PBS site, they don't mention he's also the author of The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals. Funny, that.

I've seen some liberal activists invoking Gen Xers' beloved childhood memories of Sesame Street and trying to paint this as an assault on Big Bird. That's a splashy way to catch attention...who wants to see Big Bird out on the street? I also think this is a bad way to go: it trivializes the problem, reduces it to a false argument over kids and cartoons. This is bigger than that: we're talking about partisan meddling in the public media! We're talking about Voice of America being told not to talk so much about car bombings and deaths in Iraq, but to find "positive stories" to run... with an ominous (if only implied) OR ELSE hanging over every directive. I don't want more Crossfire, I don't want more O'Reilly. I want News Hour. I want boring, non-commercial, factually informative programming. Hell, I want America's Test Kitchen! I want educational entertainment for my kids that doesn't stoop to slipping a few Bible stories in because they can.



Pramas keeps scaring me.

I used to have my main office space downstairs, on the other side of the building from him but after the Great Osseum Implosion of '05, circumstances and my various new responsibilities led me to move my office upstairs in the room next to his.

I chose to set up the computer facing the window that overlooks the park and trees; it's not much of a view, but it's something. I did the whole "desk facing the corner" thing downstairs.

The problem is that Pramas is a ninja or something. Every single freaking day he opens the door and comes into the room behind me without me realizing he's there. Then he speaks and every single time he manages to scare me out of my skin! (It's not just me, he does the same thing to Kate.)

Jeez, man, I'm going to get you some loud shoes or something!


We Jam Econo

Pramas and I hit the Northwest Film Forum last night to catch one of the last showings of Rocket Fuel Film's documentary on The Minutemen, We Jam Econo.

To our surprise (and the apparent surprise of at least a dozen other would-be film attendees) the Northwest Film Forum was packed people milling around with plastic cups of wine while a live band (complete with stand-up bass) belted out They Can't Take That Away From Me. Pramas did his best to wedge his way through the crowd to the ticket counter, which was blocked off by a table of refreshments; there was no notice posted anywhere that the showing was cancelled or postponed, but neither were tickets being sold. While I lingered near the band and watched a projected slideshow of clips what I assumed were from movies or projects associated with the event, I overheard several groups of people discussing what to do now that there was a party going on in the film space.

Obviously this little shindig wasn't what we'd come for, and neither Pramas nor I are the type to crash someone else's party. As we were leaving, debating whether we should wait around for the 9:00 show or give up altogether, Pramas spotted a woman who looked like she knew what she was doing. She confidently explained that this was a fund raiser for The Film Company, Seattle's non-profit film studio. (And indeed, I can confirm that Michelle Witten, digital film editor and Rat City Rollergirl was in attendence because I totally coveted her outfit.) Our source jovially noted that they were reaching the point of the night when they hoped that the fund-raiser attendees would be writing the phat checks and assured us that the 9:00 showing was going on as planned. As we are not so much a part of the "phat checks" crowd (as Pramas put it, you don't know how econo we jam) we were happy to hear this and went off to a local eatery to kill a couple of hours.

Rolling in with a handful of other die hards, we made our way through the dregs of the fundraiser and into the theater just before nine.

We Jam Econo was a lovely tribute. Mike Watt was a cute and awkward young man who has grown into a sweet older man (if a bit befuddled, in that aging pot-smoker kind of way), still wearing what you would swear are the same jeans and flannel shirts, still earnest and honest and all about the music, still gutted over the death of D. Boone. George Hurley still seems like the most unlikely new wave surf drummer to make the third member of this trio. I was really struck by the honest working-classness of these guys, their peers intereviewed in front of their cluttered porches, leaning fences, claustrophobic courtyards and studios. Watt was interviewed in his 1990 Econoline van The Boat, which cracked me up as he spent at least half the time punctuating what he was saying with both hands, regardless of being on the road. The movie contains great clips and archival footage of the band as well as great ranging interviews.



working on the edge
losing my self respect
for a man the presides over me
the principles of his creed
punch in punch out
8 hours, 5 days
sweat pain and agony
on friday i'll get paid
this ain't no picnic
this ain't no picnic
this ain't no picnic
this ain't no picnic
hey mister don't look down on me
for what i believe
i got my bills and the rent
i should go pitch a tent
but our land is not free
so i'll work my youth away
in the place of a machine
i refuse to be a slave
this ain't no picnic
this ain't no picnic
this ain't no picnic
this ain't no picnic


Recipe Page Update

CHICKEN WITH OLIVES AND LEMON, from Cooking Light, JANUARY 2003. Prepared 6/6/05

CURRIED COUSCOUS WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES, from Cooking Light, July 2001. Prepared 6/6/05

SUMMER BERRY PIE, from America's Test Kitchen on PBS. Prepared 6/6/05


A little something we've been working on

Green Ronin to Publish New Edition of Hit Superhero RPG

June 6, 2005—Seattle, WA: Green Ronin Publishing is proud to announce a Second Edition of its smash hit superhero roleplaying game, Mutants & Masterminds. Originally released in 2002, Mutants & Masterminds won multiple ENnie and Pen & Paper Awards and went on to sell out several print runs while supporting a successful line of high quality supplements. Mutants & Masterminds, Second Edition, will ship to the hobby and book trade in September of this year, with Green Ronin releasing a series of teasers and previews in the three months leading up to its release.

“Mutants & Masterminds has been an amazing success for us,” said Green Ronin Publishing President Chris Pramas, “but we knew the time was right for a new edition.”

“Three years and tens of thousands of active players have proved the strength and flexibility of the Mutants & Masterminds game,” adds designer and line developer Steve Kenson, “but they’ve also shown us how we can make the game better. Second Edition will do just that.”

The new edition will be a 256 page hardback that continues the game’s tradition of glorious full color presentation and outstanding art and design. A full product description follows. For more information on Mutants & Masterminds, Second Edition, see the FAQ on www.mutantsandmasterminds.com.


Terry Brooks

Any Terry Brooks fans in the Seattle area?

I found out purely by accident that the former Waldenbooks store in the Cascade Mall in Burlington is relaunching itself as "Borders Express" and this is their big Grand Re-Opening Celebration. Apparently they've got Terry Brooks coming in today to sign and so on.

I've never read him, but I know the name. The nice (if geeky) counter clerks at the store yesterday seemed quite excited by his impending appearance.

Interestingly, he's appearing at the 50th Annual Pacific Northwest Writers Association Summer Conference in July, which I'd been blissfully unaware of. The PNWA is probably just another totally insular, screwed up, back-biting association like GAMA but at least it looks interesting on paper.


I can't wait until midnight


Thus Begins the Solemn Trudge

We're under 30 days now to the first convention of the season: Origins in Columbus, OH. I'm trying my damnedest to keep on top of everything that needs to be done for the conventions in addition to the other jobs that were dropped in my lap when our fulfillment house decided to go tits up and AWOL in March. Convention season is the worst, though, because there are shipments of books and convention displays to coordinate, paperwork to fill out for the conventioneers, badge requests, hotel bookings, volunteers to coordinate, flights to book. Have we arranged for the correct number of tables, chairs, warm bodies? Have we remembered the cash register, the credit card slips, to book electricity for the booth? Do we have enough change?

These are things that we, as game publishers, do not normally have to do. That I do not normally have to remember and keep track of. A few retailers I know smirk as we stumble back into the hazy realm of the consumer game con, because they do this for a living. They know all about merchant accounts and sellers permits and they can make change in their heads and don't complain about sore feet or tired legs from standing on concrete floors for hours straight. They've earned their smirks, and I reserve to smirk right back if they ever jump into the business of game publishing.

June goes by so quickly every year. We almost always miss the Seattle Film Festival. This year I think I'm going to see four films, which is a lot better than I've done in the last couple of years. I never have the luxury of going away to camp with my daughter like the parents of her friends often do; camp is next week already... school isn't over until June is nearly over in Seattle, but the last month races past me every year and I miss things like the school year-end potluck every time.

This year Origins takes up my life from June 28th through July 4th, including travel. July 13th we hop the red-eye out to Trinoc*coN in North Carolina, where we've been invited to be their gaming guests along with Dave Arneson. Kate and I have what I can only describe as a family reunion to attend in Tennessee July 27th to August 2nd. I've been greatly anticipating this get together for over a year now, but it definitely falls in the midst of convention hell and adds to an already busy summer season. Thankfully I'll have exactly two weeks between my return from Tennessee and my departure (again on a red-eye) for GenCon in Indianapolis on August 16th. September 2nd through 5th will find us at ConQuest SF, put on by the same wonderful people who invited us to Conquest LA in February.

That's it. Just like that summer's gone.