Discolor Online

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


Third post of the Day

Yes, yes, I know. I'll shut up soon.

I'm feeling very grinchy (if one can be a grinch about Halloween) this year.

Home alone. Chris is playing wargames with Rick, Kate is old enough to go out trick or treating with friends from school. She walked home with Camille tonight and the Gang of Four is trick or treating in Camille's neighborhood. Until dusk I was seriously considering going to see Michael Clayton and leaving a bucket of candy on the porch for the first group of kids to polish off.

Instead I dug out my costume, made myself in to Zombie Red Ridinghood (much like Evil Red Ridinghood from last year except I blackened my eyes and applied white face powder so I look good and haggard). One group of kids came to the door before I was ready so I had to ignore them. Another group of teenage boys bolted up the street and I recognized one of them as our neighbor Mark. (Mark used to play with Kate a bit when she was younger until he hit 12-13 and discovered he had no interest in playing with a little girl... he's all grown up now, tall as me, probably driving or something.) I chided them for not having costumes. "C'mon boys, *I* even have a costume," to which they protested that they did have costumes:

Mark: I'm a snowboarder (points to stocking cap)
Boy I Don't Know #1: I'm (something unintelligible).
Boy I Don't Know #3: I'm 100% Filipino, yo.

I told them to go ahead and take some candy out of the bin I was holding (my entire stash for the night) and the rude little punks started grabbing with both hands! "Hey, now, there are little kids who are going to be coming around later... leave some for them!" They continued grabbing until I yanked the bin away and hid it back inside the house. THose four boys easily took half my night's candy. Thought I could trust them to not behave like animals since they were with Mark but I was w r o n g.

In an effort to make my stash look not quite so bad, I went upstairs and dug out some random packs of Break-key that we'd hoarded years ago when Kate was into it and never got around to giving to her before her interest waned. We'll see how that goes over, I guess.

Next year Halloween is a family thing or I'm not bothering. I hope Kate brings me home some good candy (at least the Tootsie rolls she doesn't like).



A Tale of Two Repairmen

As chronicled elsewhere, Chez Ronin has needed a bunch of fixes in recent days.

Repair Story One: On October 22, after being unable to find a reputable washing machine repair service that would actually service MY area or MY machine, I broke down and scheduled a repair from Sears. I had to wait another week but I had an appointment and a confirmation number, I offered up my credit card as a guarantee, I thought it was a done deal.

Monday I waited around all day for the repair guy. Nothing. My "window" was from 1:00pm to 5:00pm and I finally called at 5:45pm, whereupon I was told they were "running a little late" and I should "give them another 10 or 15 minutes." At 7:45pm I received a call from a guy with a thick accent telling me that they "weren't going to be able to make it" and "would have to reschedule." Babbling excuses about two guys hadn't shown up for work, blah blah whatever. It was extremely unclear whether or not they were actually going to call ME to reschedule or if I was going to have to call them. Yesterday, I defaulted to calling them.

When I called the person on the other end of the line tried to claim "no one was home" when they tried to make the repair call. I strongly objected, reiterated that I'd called them and had been told they were "running late" and that TWO HOURS after I made that call, I'd gotten a call that no one was coming... I was home for every minute of that alleged service window and more, thank you very much. "We will have to reschedule," said the guy. "For TODAY, right? Because I've already been waiting a week since I made the appointment..." No appointment yesterday but he did book me for today. 8:00am to noon, he said.

It's 11:45am and I've still seen no one. Still no idea if I'll be able to wash clothes at the end of all this. Status: Unresolved and unsatisfied

Repair Story Two: Meanwhile, as I was on a kick yesterday, I called Comcast about my upstairs reception problem. They were very nice, booked me a repair guy for that same afternoon! The repair person showed up promptly within the window I was told, was professional and pleasant, and fixed the problem by replacing my old cable box with a new, smaller, totally digital box. Just that easy. Well... not entirely that easy as we'd had the upstairs TiVo on a serial connection and the new box didn't have a serial port. Removing the old cable box also lost me a plug (as one of our devices was plugged into a power relay on the cable box). I had to get another IR controller and move everything to a new powerstrip to make it all work like it was supposed to (which involved moving some heavy things around to get to the appropriate outlets, too) but that's not Comcast's problem and it was nothing I couldn't handle. We're now premium channel AND TiVo-enabled upstairs. By this morning Comcast had called back to see if my problem had been fixed to my satisfaction. Status: Resolved and satisfied

Bonus Repair Story: My anti-technology field continues to cause havoc with my recent Miva purchase. The Miva troubleshooter called me back yesterday and we tried to tweak my settings to get Synchro working, to no avail. We changed settings, uninstalled, reinstalled, restarted, uninstalled, redownloaded, reinstalled... no love. Even though we haven't solved the problem, the Miva people get big points for effort, professionalism and politeness. They called me to make sure someone had contacted me about my issue since it hadn't been marked resolved and had been going on since the weekend, plus the main troubleshooter was very reassuring that I could call back with updates as I tried some of the fixes and that I didn't have to worry about being bumped around... he was going to stick with me through this until it was sorted out. Plus, they all spoke clear English, which was SUCH a relief after dealing with Sears and Microsoft. Status: Unresolved but satisfied, so far.



Official: Too Much Stuff

You would think that having recently divested the household of 8 boxes of books I'd be sitting pretty. Not even close. Can't even tell they're gone, to be frank. We officially have too much stuff. Junk. Crap. Detritus.

In order to make room for the washing machine repairman (who didn't show up yesterday and swears, swears they're coming tomorrow morning now) I had to move things that I'd been storing in the laundry room (which is larger than a standard closet but smaller than a walk-in closet). Those things largely bankers boxes of papers and assorted files) are now taking up a good corner of my kitchen. The kitchen is already my defacto office and I have shelves, boxes, filing cabinets and all the random things you'd expect to find in an office here in addition to the stuff you'd expect to find in a kitchen. The kitchen table is completely ringed by boxes, shelves, bins and piles waiting for storage. We've even got shelves in the corners of the landings in the stairway and in the upstairs hallway!

Upstairs the bedroom is in the same state: shelves on every wall, over the bed, under the windows. Boxes, laundry baskets, drawers and other storage options ring the bed on all sides. Closets are full (winter clothes, summer clothes, everyday clothes, business and "occasion" attire, luggage, and some stray boxes of yet more junk). The upstairs guest bathroom has spent the last year as a storage room, mostly old boxes of Kate's old toys or kids' books that are slightly damaged (thanks to a book-binding nibbler named Bonnie) and not suitable for resale but still decent books that I can't bring myself to throw out or recycle. Kate can't walk in her room at the moment because I haven't been able to take apart the old deluxe (expensive!) bunny cage to get it out of her room nor have I been able to remove the coffee table that has lived in her room as furniture since her Kindergarten days. I'd put that junk in the garage but the garage is also full. FULL. In anticipation of the recent windstorm I moved a large pile of boxes (and goddamn packing peanuts... oh how I HATE packing peanuts) off the back porch and into the garage. That took up the very last available space that there was in there....

The "office" is also full. Years ago we took the door off the room to be able to get another book shelf wedged in. That shelf is long full and so is the rest of the office. Full, full, full.

I look around at all the stuff and I know more is coming. There's always more. Birthdays, Christmas, new technology supplanting the old, more Green Ronin books (and more...and more...always more...) and things I can't even predict. I look around and I don't know where to start purging. We need those Clean Sweep people to come and ruthlessly purge. Or a giant dumpster from Trashbusters that can just be indiscriminately filled and hauled away.

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Dare I tempt Comcast?

After following along with Eric's trials and tribulations with Comcast I shudder to add dealing with them to my list of things to do...but I must.

We have a two-TiVo household. The "big" TiVo lives upstairs with the "little", where we enjoyed its capability to record one station while watching another or to record two shows at the same time. Chris will often work on Green Ronin business on his laptop while the History Channel plays in the background. Meanwhile, the "little" TiVo (a hand-me-down from Tim ) lives downstairs with the big tv (also a hand-me-down from the Technologically Upwardly-Mobile Tim) so Kate can watch Naruto or NCIS instead of Dogfights of WWII if she so desires.

Somewhere in late June (shortly after the Sopranos series finale, thank the cable gods!) the upstairs TiVo stopped being able to record any shows above basic cable. Not TiVo's fault... any channels over 99 no longer come in upstairs (though service is fine downstairs). Instead we see a blue screen and the message "This channel with be available shortly" but it never is available. We were entering convention season by then so aside from one day of screwing around with the connections to be sure nothing was unplugged or anything obvious, we've been just dealing with it.

If either of us really wants to record a show (from BBC America or HBO) we can record it downstairs and transfer the recording upstairs and that's worked ok as a stopgap. We have to be fast, though, because we never know when Kate will have the "little" TiVo recording a two-day marathon of something wretched, like last weekend's non-stop assault of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. The "big" TiVo is full of offerings from basic cable but there are only so many back-to-back episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report I can watch in a row before I need something else. The "big" TiVo continues to record shows that it predicts I will like but because it's pulling from a large number of channels we should have (and do pay for, and do get in the other room) there are a whole lot of blank recordings tempting me. Why yes, maybe I would like to watch V for Vendetta or Big Love... but no, they're just recordings of a blue screen.

I think it says something about the generally full and hectic pace of my life that I've only now, some four months later, had the time or energy to even consider addressing this cable issue. If we're lucky, it's something as simple as getting a new cable box. Wish me luck!



Technology's continuing campaign to thwart me

Friends offered up some helpful troubleshooting tips for the Xbox 360 problem but to no avail. My power source worked fine with the borrowed Xbox but offers nothing to the console it goes with.

Tomorrow I finally have someone coming in to fix our washing machine, after several months of nursing it along and then another several months of bringing my laundry to a drop-off service (which resulted in an unfortunate "bleach episode") and/or heading over to borrow Ray and Christine's machines. Here's hoping it actually gets fixed and it's not just another repairman dead end like some of my other attempts.

Over the weekend I bought two programs, one business and one leisure. I bought the business program first and was intending to spend the weekend working with it but I could not get it to function as advertised and, of course, their service department is only open from 7am to 3pm (hello East Coast!) Pacific Monday through Friday. Since I found myself unexpectedly free from my plan, I went trolling for a computer game to satisfy my desire for some "veg out" time. I bought Neverwinter Nights 2 after Kate told me she'd been playing at her dad's and having fun with it. I should have stuck with the Nancy Drew series and Legend of the Crystal Skull which was recently released. Neverwinter Nights 2 was nothing but frustration for me. My desktop machine doesn't have the right video hardware and my laptop has the right everything except gigahertz. It literally took me all weekend to screw around with those programs, multiple downloads, patches, machine reconfigurations, blah blah blah... all to find out that it wasn't going to happen.

Hell, even Facebook was refusing to let me play my last couple of Scrabulous turns (though really, once I was 100 points in the hole it really didn't matter anyway).

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And the day was saved...

Kate and her friend arrived home after school and we got them all set up to take over the living room for Sleepover Extravaganza 2007. Furniture was moved, sleeping bags unrolled, Nintendo DSes were plugged in. I braced her for the bad news.

"I have some bad news..." I said.
"You weren't able to get the guitars from Ray?" Kate guessed.
"Worse," I said.
Stricken, Kate gasped, "BUNNIES?!!" (Poor kid, two hamsters deaths have scarred her...)
"No, no, not that bad!" I reassured her. "I wouldn't break news about your bunnies like this!" *sheesh*

I let her know that by "worse" I meant there was no Xbox at all... which meant no games or DVDs for the sleepover. Disappointing but not earth-shattering.

Meanwhile, people had been following along on my blog, where I'd vented about the situation a couple of hours earlier. After reading my tale of Xbox woe yesterday, Mysticalforest kindly offered up the use of his 360 in the comments of my LJ! Not only that but he was kind enough to drive up to my house and hand deliver it. I was soon able to share the happy news with the girls and Sleepover Extravaganza 2007 was saved! Games were played, movies were watched, pizza ordered, popcorn popped. Bunnies frolicked, girls and parents were happy. When the replacement machine was plugged in and booted up, Kate said, "He even uses the same icon I do!" Big Hero Points to Mysticalforest for saving the day.

The girls are crashed out on the living room floor now and I expect they stayed up pretty late. They were still going strong playing Animal Crossing when I went to bed. At some point during the night they pulled chairs up to my computer and were watching Code Monkey videos on YouTube (because that was what was on the screen when I got up this morning). I've been puttering around trying not to be too noisy but I've been up for two hours already and I'm starting to get hungry and want coffee. When the girls arise I'll probably bust out the recipe for pumpkin pancakes and make bacon.

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Anti-Technology Aura and the Xbox 360

Kate is having a friend over tonight. This is a new friend this year and Kate's fairly excited about the sleepover. I took her to Hollywood video so she could rent some movies and Xbox games in anticipation of the event. She picked up Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox 360 and gave it a try (and a fairly enthusiastic thumbs up) last night. She also asked Ray if she could borrow his Guitar Hero guitars so they could play Guitar Hero together.

Everything seemed to be in place... except the Xbox is now not working. At all. It was working fine last night but this afternoon it's cold and dead: no power, no "red ring of death", no error messages. Just dead. What perfect timing, Microsoft, thanks! Do you enjoy making girls cry?

After an excruciating 34 minutes on the phone with a customer service agent, I felt despondent. First the woman couldn't understand my serial number. "0-1-5-6..." she'd say, and I would say slowly "NO, 0-1-5-FIVE-6..." only to have her tell me it was not a valid number, it was only eleven numbers when it should be twelve, and we'd start all over again. Finally got past the serial number and then she told me that my phone number was "not correct" (except that the third time I repeated it to her it miraculously WAS correct!) and then that my ZIP code was not correct and did I want her to change it? I had absolutely no confidence that authorizing her to make that change would have been actually correcting a problem and not causing one... but she insisted that my ZIP code was listed as "78XXX" which is somewhere in Texas so I authorized the change. Fingers crossed that she didn't blow up my account for me in the process.

It's bad enough that this will be the second time we've had to send this machine in for repair in less than 12 months. It's pretty ridiculous considering how relatively little we play with the stupid thing, which can go for weeks on end not even being turned on because we're just not hardcore console gamers in this house... But the timing! Does the timing have to stink so bad every time? Here's hoping we have it back in working order before Christmas. Hell, at this rate, I'm wondering if I shouldn't just give up and get a frickin' Wii instead... I don't hear about people having to send those back for repairs on a regular basis!

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Kate in the Seattle PI

Last April I described how I learned about Kate's activism in her school, petitioning the school district about the school lunches and basically being a ringleader for a nutrition revolt.

Yesterday there was a nutrition committee open meeting during the school day that she attended. We had company last night for dinner and gaming so I didn't have a chance to ask her how it went. Today she came home and informed me that she'd been quoted in the paper! The Seattle P-I covered the kids' efforts to get better food at lunch and one of the students quoted in the piece was Kate:
"You get more servings now, so we're not as hungry, and I think it's just plain better," said sixth-grader Katherine Frein, who said the cafeteria still runs out of some choices by the time she gets to lunch. "I'd like more variety."

She tells me there were photographers there but for the second year in a row the school believes that I've not given my permission for Kate to be photographed (which I'm pretty certain is not true, since I've signed the papers each year when they've come home in the student welcome packets) but there are no photos with the online article anyway. I haven't seen the print paper.

Some of the nutrition concerns were addressed with the move to the new school building, which has a proper cafeteria and can allow for food prep instead of prepackaged meals. Other items (like the organic salad bar that was popular with a small-but-very-vocal minority of parents and students) were deemed not practical to continue. Still, as another student noted, the kids are learning to organize themselves and strive for solutions rather than just grumble amongst themselves about how they're unhappy.

You go, Orca kids!

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Why I stay away from message boards

I was up a little early this morning and had a bit of time to go poking around the ol' Internet for fun so I scanned through a couple of message boards, looking for interesting conversations. Over at Story-games.com, I stopped to browse a thread titled Ars Magica - my first dirty hippy game. ArM is my first love and even though the old girl is looking a little old and haggard these days so are we all.

I found myself reading along, happily thinking to myself "Yeah, man, you tell 'em about troupe-style play," or "Oh, you're missing the point on the magic system there, snarkipants... I hope someone sets you straight." Several people reminisce back to the days of Ars Magica Second Edition, which is when my ArM infatuation was also its strongest. Before the days of the Berklist, before the days of excessive Latin and history police scolding the non-compliant about their conjugation or their anachronisms.

Many people who know me in real life have heard my patented Ars Magica Rant. For over 20 years people have grossly misunderstood the game and continually found ways to miss the damn point to my intense frustration. Back in yon olden days I wrote magazine articles and contributed to Alarums & Excursions to get my case out "in defense of the grog." Colleagues who I respected as clever designers and experienced roleplayers time after time showed astonishing blindness where Ars Magica was concerned. Oh, they liked parts of it but they were blind to its metagame balance every time.

In the course of that single thread, I enjoyed a brief and happy nostalgia thinking back to my glory days and the height of my Ars Magica passion (where I was playing ArM up to three times a week with different groups), was dragged back through the dark days of 3rd Edition ArM and the 4th Edition "fix" (an ordeal that so wearied me I barely bothered to crack the book open when it finally came out through Atlas Games), and by the end I was once again shaking my fist at the screen and growling "No, no you fools!" like some crazed mad scientist game designer. I've resolved not to register at the site precisely to keep myself from posting any insane rants.

People consistently miss that Ars Magica IS balanced. They consistently look at the "weird" ideas like characters held in common and shared GM duties (under the umbrella of troupe-style play) as a fringe thing or a "technique," an extraneous add-on to an otherwise appealing system. I've become even more strident about this in my older age: playing ArM without those things is like playing Vampire with only Virtues and no Flaws (or whatever the kids call them these days). Shut up with the whining about the Latin in the magic system, it's no harder to learn than made up rpg lingo or understanding what it means to have a "proficiency bonus" what "obfuscate" does. If you're playing in a game where "Magi go around doing something cool, the companions help and the grogs carry the baggage, stand around looking tough, and say <i>yes master</i> a lot" you're playing with assholes, find a better group. No, the game would NOT be better if the characters were "balanced in terms of the power" and HELL NO you shouldn't be trying to rotate the Storyguide every scene!

gnash, gnash, gnash...

I wish I could say it was these kids today but really it's been like this for 20 years now and even with all the young up-and-comers and their talk of game design revolution, nothing has changed for poor Ars Magica. People still don't get it and I'm no longer young and foolish enough to think they will.

Backing away from the message boards now...



Game Night 1

For the last while Tuesdays have been "Game Night" around here. "Game Night" might or might not actually involve gaming, depending on who can make it and what kind of week we've all had. Sometimes it's more of an "Eat and Bitch Night" and that's cool, too. Lately, SassyRonin has had a conflict on Tuesdays and has valiantly made the effort to come to "Game Night" anyway, often leaving his house (some 20 miles from Casa Ronin) after 8:00pm and driving across the whole of Seattle to join us, sometimes an hour and a half after everyone else had arrived.

In an effort to be more sensitive to his conflict, we're trying out Thursdays as "Game Night" instead but that's put the newly-recruited Jeremy out, as he's got conflicts on Thursdays. Seniority wins out and SassyRonin has been part of our "Game Night" since there's been a game night but we felt bad that we'd invited Jeremy to join us and then promptly switched things up so he couldn't join us after all.

In that vein, we had a mini "Game Night" with Jeremy tonight even though the rest of the gang is coming over on Thursday. It probably won't happen that often but this week is Double-Gaming Fun Time. A little dinner (stuffed bell peppers, bread from Columbia City Bakery with some homemade rosemary-garlic butter, and a heart of romaine salad with a soy "Caesar" dressing), a little wine (Bogle Petit Syrah is a current favorite and stand-by) and some Ticket to Ride Switzerland. Plus, we were all finished and cleaned up by 10:00! Score!

I really enjoy Ticket to Ride. I'm not nearly as into it as Rick Achberger but I'm virtually always up for a nice, friendly game. I usually come in last but still have fun while I'm playing which is really the mark of an excellent game. (Ticket to Ride is one of the games chosen for Hobby Games: The 100 Best and every time I play I feel, yep, it sure does deserve to be in the book.) I've yet to play the straight Europe version, but I've recently played both Ticket to Ride - Märklin Edition and Ticket to Ride - Switzerland Expansion. Both add some new mechanics (Märklin adds passengers, Switzerland adds tunnels) that change up the game in fun and interesting ways. (Tunnels are scary!) I won for the first time tonight, purely by lucky draw on the route cards and being able to construct the longest route. I usually come in dead last, so winning on the Swiss board was a real treat.



ELy, MN Needs Your Help

Modest little Ely, MN (the birthplace of yours truly) is trying to win an MRI for their hospital. Siemans is running a contest and will give away one machine to one hospital.

In order for Ely to win, they have to get people to watch their video and vote for them at this site:

Ely does a dramatic take-off on Extreme Home Makeover for their video. Just type in "Ely" in the search function and the video will come up.

Reasons Ely deserves to win:
Ely currently only has access to a "mobile MRI" which means that they don't have 24/7 access to an MRI when it's needed.

Patients needing have to travel over 100 miles to the nearest hospital with an MRI machine. As a child I had to make that trip to Duluth to have medical procedures done myself... it's a long trip to make when you're sick.

Patients accessing the mobile MRI in the winter have to be taken outside in the freezing temperatures (Ely being in extreme northern Minnesota has pretty cold winters, where the average temperature in January is 5 degrees above zero... not factoring in any wind chill.)

You can vote once a day through the end of the year. Right now poor little Ely has just 197 votes. If you have a minute, click on over and help them out!



Operation Cook for Tomorrow

Success! Operation Cook for Tomorrow has been successfully executed. It's only 2:30 and already I have completed:

One batch of Short Sharp Chops
One batch of Pork Ragout
One batch of Vegetarian Polenta "Lasagna"
One batch of Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Beans
Two Alabama Meat Loaves

Beans are soaking for Red Beans and Rice

Still on the agenda:
Tomato-Basil Lasagna with Proscuitto
Chicken Tetrazzini
Moroccan Chicken and Lentils

I also have some additional ingredients that I might get creative with. I still have two thick-cut boneless center cut pork chops, a pound and a half ground beef, about a pound of hot Italian sausage, a bag and a half of frozen meatless "crumbles", mushrooms, red peppers, a red onion, two danish squashes, a couple of cans of pumpkin and some other goodies. Some Pumpkin Bread is definitely in order, if nothing else.

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Prep Day

I spent a large portion of today either online or on the couch combing through recipe books and magazines in preparation for a big cooking day. I put together a list of recipes that freeze well and am going to stock the freezers (which had been recently cleaned out by Mr. P and myself with just this sort of thing in mind). Last night I baked up an apple coffee cake that was extremely apple-rich (to the point that I worried there'd be no "cake" to hold the apples together) for my hard-working husband to take to the office with him today as his department is in the last push before "content complete" on Monday. He's going in again tomorrow but they ate all the coffee cake today, so I may have to come up with another treat for the hard working Flying Lab ConCo folks.

It's been a couple of years since Flexcar let me down but it happened today in a minor way. Luckily I was flexible and it wasn't a situation where I had an appointment or a deadline like making it to the post office before the Express Mail cut off. The two nearest Flexcars to me were either booked already or not available for the entire time slot I wanted, so I ventured a little further afield to get my third choice. This involves a short bus ride followed by a half mile stroll. Today when I arrived at the location, the car would not respond to my keycard and after a while on hold and talking to two different people, it wouldn't unlock remotely for Flexcar HQ and I had to book yet a different Flexcar (and walk another half mile or so). This ate into about an hour of my errand-running time and by the time I finished everything and got home, I was in no mood to try to cook anything nor did I have much time to fool around before I had to get the car back to its inconvenient location. It's not exactly in a bad/scary area but it's definitely not a nice area and it's not somewhere I relished walking around alone (or waiting for the unreliable bus) at night.

In the end, Chris and I grabbed a late dinner at Geraldine's Counter and he came with me to return the car. We walked the mile back up to the top of Beacon Hill where we could get our comfy and familiar #36 bus back to our house. Groceries are put away, delicious comfort food eaten, recipes lined up and ready to go as soon as I care to tomorrow. Chris will be working at Flying Lab a healthy portion of the day and Kate will be spending the day with her dad so I will be alone to cook, cook, cook.

I'm looking forward to it.

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Kate Hates Leap Year

Kate is back from OPI and had a great time.

I gave her the update on what's been decided about her visitations with her dad in her absence. He's coming down to take her out for the day on Sunday, but has to work over her Thanksgiving break (as it's not a holiday in Canada) so we decided she'll spend her break with us. She was okay with that as she had a long, boring summer of hanging around his house while he worked and isn't anxious to repeat that for Thanksgiving break. Then I broke the news that her dad is going to see her for one weekend in December, but nothing else until January because he's going to be in South America touring gold mines or something (WTF? I didn't ask.) and she handled that news just fine, too. Hooray for maturity!

That discussion spawned talk of making birthday plans. This year is 12. "Next year, I'm 13 on Friday the 13th!" she said, excitedly. She figured this out for herself a couple of years ago and has been looking forward to it ever since... except she forgot to calculate for leap year. Poor kid. She was not happy to find out that she will not only NOT turn 13 on Friday the 13th ("...which I've been looking forward to for my WHOLE LIFE!!") but she won't have any Friday the 13th birthday until 2013, when she turns 18. I tried to make it seem cool that she's going to have Friday the 13th in 2013 and that 18 is a great year to have a big, cool theme birthday, but it's just not as cool as turning 13 for Friday the 13th.

She announced that she hates leap year and was going to "drown her sorrows by watching Meercat Manor."



Halo 3

I tried playing Halo 3 last night.

I know next to nothing about Halo. What I know I've picked up from occasionally watching Tim and Kate play, or from seeing Red vs. Blue. Master Chief, needler, warthog. That's about all I know. Soldier-guys shooting up Alien-guys. If there's more, I don't know it.

Shooter gamers are not really my thing but I'm getting desperate. Last winter's infatuation with Viva Pinata cooled when I reached the hardcore gamer stage and would have had to spend a week of real time breeding Taffly herds to attract the pinatas I really needed to attract the high-level rare creature I wanted to attract. Screw that, I was done. There's been no new Knights of the Old Republic-style game (KOTOR2 pissed me off SO bad I can't even count it). I haven't had any Guitar Hero action since the "Bonnie Incident" and I'm waiting for the wireless guitar before I get a replacement...besides, Rock Band is just around the virtual corner.

We'd recently been gifted with a copy of Halo 3, though, so I broke it out and gave it a shot, running through on easy. I really don't know what I'm doing, so it's been a learning experience. I don't even know what the plot is (I missed Halo 2 completely), what the evil aliens are called, what one weapon does compared to another. I can barely orient myself or move around without accidentally looking at my feet, or backing up off a damn bridge and accidentally drowning. I realize the Master Chief is some sort of badass but not so much when I'm playing him. When the club-wielding berserker alien was chasing me into corners and clubbing my brains out, I was screaming like the girl I am. Running and screaming. And dying.

Chris watched me for a little while. His only comment was "I guess the immersive experience is working. That guy is scaring the crap out of you." And he was right.

I'm not sure how far I'm going to get in Halo 3.

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Pick Your Candidate

According to the poll on this site my ideal candidate for president is Mike Gravel, with whom I have "no disagreements". Interesting. I saw him on the Colbert Report and thought he seemed, well, old. Well meaning enough, on "my side" of some issues in a kind of broad sense but a little weird and wobbly, like someone's not-quite-doddering-but-you-can-sense-it-coming grandpa. Would he call the Internet a "series of tubes"? I don't know, maybe not... but he didn't give me that gut feeling of certainty that he wouldn't. Is it shallow to admit that I need the comfort of at least a little slickness and charisma? Not insincere slickness, not snake oil salesman stuff, but a person with the ability to speak in a difficult or even hostile environment and not come off as petulant, smarmy, or bumbling.

Some of the major candidates scored surprisingly low for me, probably because I feel strongly about certain issues that they're only offering tepid support for (if any support at all). Those candidates don't necessarily share my strong convictions but they do have those personal qualities (such as charisma) that aren't measured in a strictly by-the-numbers poll like this one.

Who is your ideal candidate according to this poll? Is it the same person you've been thinking you supported?



RTID Proposition One

I've been trying to keep my head down and out of politics lately, just too much on my plate. However, with the elections coming up (and having received my voter's pamphlet) I decided to try to make sense of the Big Issue of this election in Seattle: Sound Transit/RTID Proposition One. It's contentious.

Basically, it's a package deal. Funding for road expansion tied to funding for expanded transit, including extending light rail and adding express buses. Everyone hates it! The people who commute by car hate it because they see light rail as a rip-off that should be "stopped in its gold-plated tracks." Environmentalists hate it because it expands roads, which makes it "bad for the environment." Many people want to vote it down to "force" the legislature to present something else (and we've all seen how well that tactic has worked in relation to the Alaska Way Viaduct... damaged close to seven years ago and still it's all bickering and no plan).

Michael O'Neill at Carless in Seattle has been doing a great job of covering the RTID issue. He's also got some very interesting things to say on population density in relation to light rail (something I've been just becoming interested in because of the continuing development in and around the New Holly/Othello Station area). Seattle Transit Blog has been following the issue with passion and calling bullshit on some of the worst of the misleading numbers being thrown around by RTID opponents from both sides.

Geov Parrish over at Eat the State calls RTID Prop One The shotgun wedding of two different agencies' propositions in one ballot measure but also reminds us that perfect is the enemy of good. In that vein, I've decided to vote in favor of RTID Proposition One. Sorry Sierra Club, but imperfect commitment to transit now is better than additional years of wrangling in the hopes that we get more perfect commitment to transit later.

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Violence Against Stick Figures!

News at 11.

Or, in the local metropolitan paper, in this case the Minneapolis-St. Paul-area Pioneer Press.
Back in February I posted about John's interest in the politics of his hometown of Maplewood, Minnesota. I've worked for, with, and around John Nephew for what amounts to my entire career in gaming, going all the way back to our days at Lion Rampant and the founding of Atlas Games. When James Wallis was shopping around his Once Upon a Time game and looking for a publisher who would both "get it" and treat him fairly, I took him by the hand and said, "There's someone you have to meet." The news article lists Once Upon a Time as Atlas Games' best seller almost fifteen years later, so I guess that worked out okay.

John is running for city council in Maplewood and someone has decided that the "truth" about John must come out (you game-playing readers surely see where this is going): he publishes "violent" games like Let's Kill (a card game for adults 18 and over where stick figures are killing each other with outlandish "weapons" like sporks and weed whackers) and "corrupt" games like Corruption.

Violence against stick figures?! Oh, what about the children? Who will think of the children?!

John's political opponents managed to fire up a Maplewood resident and touchy-feely school teacher ("author of 'The Kindness Curriculum'") who, predictably was "absolutely appalled" and worries "about the effect this game will have on people's minds" because it's "pure violence" and "horrific" and "absolutely creepy" and "offensive". The Pioneer Press article notes a flier blasting Nephew for marketing violent and dark games and purporting to be from Maplewood Voters Coalition was distributed to some homes. The group has denied responsibility and requested a police investigation. Police confirm a probe is under way. John was actually endorsed by the Maplewood Voters Coalition back in August.

I enjoy the image of John striking fear in his opposition through his well-reasoned and factual campaign to the point that they resort to tactics like this. Naked political distraction.

I spent 20 formative years in Minnesota and watching this Maplewood City Council fight play out is a little slice of home for me. Maplewood is finding out what John's colleagues in the game industry have known for quite some time: John's one sharp cookie and if you want to take him on you'd better be sharper and better prepared, which is easier said than done. I have every confidence he's going to win this election despite these shenanigans.

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Fewer To Dos

I'm slowly making it through the To Dos on my list. I did a reasonable job of preparing for the summit, though I didn't have as many charts and graphs as I would have liked and I failed to flog my employees into complying with my requests for a new podcast or a new staff photo. Still, we made it through the summit pretty well and the food, at least, was solid.

Then it was my in-laws' visit. After brief confusion about their arrival dates, it turned out they were indeed arriving the day after the guys departed from the summit. Between the summit andthe visit, it's been two solid weeks of eating out or eating in-but-fancy, including a weekend barbecue at Ray and Christine's house (since they're our "Seattle family" it was nice for the Family family to meet them). A couple of false starts (Panos Kleftiko unexpectedly closed the first day we tried them, and Serafina not open for breakfast on Saturdays, which we didn't know until we showed up there) but all in all it's been a good run of food and activities. I've even managed to squeeze in a little cooking, including some Chewy Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip cookies. Bill and Elaine will only be in town for a couple more days and I hope it's not another two years until we see them again. It's been quite a while between visits recently.

Kate left for her class trip to OPI this morning. She's having a fantastic year, really coming into her own and bonding with a small group of very nice girls. Many of the kids who tormented her in previous years have left the school to attend middle school elsewhere, plus the kids are all just growing up and getting more mature. Kate was telling us about a kid who is new to the school this year who is annoying a lot of people with his behavior and how the kids got together to pick two "representatives" to take the kid aside and try to talk through their issues with him. So far it hasn't resulted in much for them but I'm quite pleased that the kids selected Kate to be one of their reps and that her ability to be fair, compassionate, and level-headed has been recognized (and is being honed). She was beside herself with excitement about this trip and I wish I could have squeezed in going to camp with her again this year, but it was not in the cards. I'm certain she's going to have a really good time. We'll hear all about it on Friday, I'm sure.

Now that the big milestones are passing I can get back to the regular level To Do lists. That in itself seemed miles away a few weeks ago.

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Japanese Garden

Speckled koi
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
In honor of my in-laws being in town, we headed over to the Japanese Garden (part of the Washington Park Arboretum) this afternoon. Early morning fog burned off and the sun came out, making it a stunning autumn afternoon that was perfect for strolling around the garden. I took a lot of great photos of koi, stone lanterns, bridges, ponds, leaves, and a Great Blue heron. If you click on our friend the speckled koi you can view the whole set.

We also stopped by the U District Farmer's market for a little while and ate so much at The Continental for breakfast hat I'm still full. my mother-in-law was making noises about seeing the symphony but I don't know if that will come about. There may or may not be grilling in their honor tomorrow, plans are still fluid.

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I want my $2.00!!

I've been trying to get the Marriott rewards people to credit me for my stay in Indianapolis since August. I've faxed their "missing stays" line the information three times and talked to two different people. One was a fairly capable-sounding chick who was thoroughly confused since my name was attached to some room that seemed like it was booked and paid "through an agency" or something. I can only think this is because my room reservation was part of a block reserved for Gen Con exhibitos but that's never kept me from getting my points before.

I can show that my name, address, and credit card were on the reservation (the Indy Marriott faxed me a copy of the bill showing *I* paid for my own room in my own name), I even sent a copy of my electronic banking records (with the other transactions blacked out) for the time period that shows the transaction clearing my account. They even credited me with points for eating in the Indy hotel restaurant during my stay... I have those points but not for the stay itself! It seems so stupid and simple to fix from my end.

After talking to a woman who swore "anyone" could help me once they got that information from me, I faxed, waited a week and called back. The next woman I talked to was definitely no genius. She started insisting they'd credited me for my stay... the stay she was referring to was the stay from *2006*! Then she looked at my recent credit from the Springhill Suites (where I rented two rooms for 4 nights for our summit) and talking about how it was "double posted" as if the two rooms were a mistake and she was going to "fix" that for me! Ai! NO!

I've been hoarding my Marriott points for years and barely keeping my "Silver Elite" status alive now that we're not traveling as much. If I don't get this Indianapolis thing sorted I'll be two stays short for keeping my status next year. In the big (or even small) picture this is nothing but for some reason it's been really bugging me and I haven't been able to let it go. I feel like that kid from Better Off Dead: "I want my $2!!"

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Current Food Obsessions

I'm currently hooked on KIND snack bars, specifically the Sesame & Peanut with chocolate variety.

Not only are these sesame bars super yummy but they're also full of hippie goodness: no trans fats, non GMO, wheat and gluten free, low sodium. KIND is a PeaceWorks brand, and gives 5% of its profits to OneVoice, described on the packaging as "empowering moderates against extremism in the Middle East."

My next most recent food obsession is the Tomolive. Have you heard about the Tomolive?

Jess is to blame for this one. The Tomolive is a specially grown and pickled little olive-sized green tomato. It is the perfect garnish for a martini but beyond that, I could munch down a jar of these little beauties for a snack, no problem. Holy cow are they addictive! And, apparently, incredibly difficult to find! Jess was tipped off to their existence when he was off on some computer game industry jaunt and went looking for them, only to find they were out of stock and while another batch was being cooked up, he was warned off the bat that he'd better place a pre-order right then or risk missing out. Jess ordered up a case on the spot and he's been sharing his tomolive largess with us at game night. I'm not usually a "martinis on Tuesday night" kind of girl but the tomolive martinis are too good to pass up.

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Just when I thought all was calm

For weeks I'd had it in my calendar that my in-laws were coming to town yesterday for a week-long visit. Tuesday, as I was taking Pramas to Flying Lab (a slight detour before picking up Rob and Bill and getting them to the airport) he told me, no, it was the 17th they were coming. I breathed a sigh, had the guys over for an abbreviated game night (exhaustion hit hard about (9pm but we held out until 10) and started planning ahead to make Thursday "Bed Day".

Returned the rental van yesterday and with all the screwing around I only managed to get about half a day of actual work done. Dinner was baked potatoes with various toppings and/or left overs. I fell asleep around 9:00 again watching Ace of Cakes with Kate and woke up at 10:50 when someone called wanting to do a telephone survey about micky fricky movies I've seen in the theater! WTF? I told them I haven't been to a movie in months, which may be true or not, I honestly couldn't remember in my muddled state.

Happily, all of this led up to me being awake when another call came in at about 11:30pm. It was my mother-in-law. I did the quick time zone conversion in my head and thought "Uh oh, it's 2:30am her time, what's up?" only to hear her cheery voice telling me they'd arrived safely and were in Seattle and just wanted to let us know.

Ah. So no "bed day" tomorrow after all.

Kate is home with a sore throat that I'm going to try to get tested today in case it's strep. There's no school tomorrow, and next week she's supposed to spend the week at OPI so I want to be sure she's healthy before sending her off.

Meeting my in-laws at Panos Kleftiko for yummy yummy Greek food. Unless Kate has strep throat.




I was carded for a bottle of wine at Safeway last night by a snaggle-toothed, fake-fingernail-wearing automaton. When I stepped up and Kate and I began unloading my cart, which was full of groceries, she asked how I was doing. I told her I was fine. Then when I finished unloading the cart I stepped up to the keypad area and she asked again how I was doing. I told her I was still fine. I should have known then it didn't bode well but I let it pass. She was clearly on autopilot.

Then she told me she needed to see ID for the wine. I looked at the little You Must Be THIS OLD to Buy Alcohol sign ("You must have been born on this day in 1986") and then back to her. "Are you serious?" I asked. In her false-cheery automaton way she assured me she was entirely serious. She made a couple other inane comments to the effect that I was still younger than she was, blah blah blah. I, equally fake smile pasted to my face, told her I appreciated being treated like a valued customer and productive member of society instead of a potential criminal. I also assured her that I was not 10 years old when I gave birth to my daughter.

I'm going to be 38 in a month. I do NOT find it "flattering" because I don't believe for a minute that they actually think I'm 20 years old. When does it end?




Back to work! Best thing about post-summit activity is that the summit always reinvigorates me. Decisions have been made, directions chosen. I have things to do and starting something fresh (even if it's an old project that has a new set of decisions applied to it) is where I do my best work. I love the possibilities laid out before me at the start of things.

Another good thing about post-summit: leftovers! Hooray for leftovers. I will eat well at lunch this week.

Chris informs me that his parents aren't coming to town until next week, so I have a week to recover. This is excellent news. I may need at least one day of working from "the soft office" (to steal from Steve and Christopher) before I'm ready for the full treadmill of daily life.

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Summit: the end


We took it fairly "easy" today but even so I'm tired and the guys all had that glazed look by the time we finished dinner, too.

Started late today, a nice lunch at Etta's Seafood for the guys as they'd wanted to do a little roaming Pike Place market and the weather wasn't crappy as it had been all weekend. After lunch we got started on some play-evaluations of games that we're considering for the 2008 schedule. We tried to fit a podcast in but got into a deep rules-crunch discussion that ran out the clock on the summit and followed us all the way to dinner to boot.

After a fine dinner at Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon, full of handmade noodles, dumplings, salted and peppered items, chicken, and crispy eggplant we called it a night and officially ended 2007's summit. Aside from taking Rob and Bill to the airport tomorrow, my summit duties are officially discharged.

It was an emotionally draining summit for some reasons, exciting for others. Green Ronin is going to look a bit different in 2008 than we anticipated and some of the things on the agenda were not decided on in the way I would have predicted.

My in-laws are in town starting Wednesday night. I'm sure this will mean more eating out, if nothing else. Maybe I'll remember to take photos this time!

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GR Summit Official Day Two

Today was a pretty good day all around. Food-wise, things were definitely much better, and knowing the food situation was taken care of allowed me to feel more relaxed about things. Gotta make sure my people are fed. If nothing else, people who work for me won't go hungry.

We started the day with brunch at Serafina. I'd stopped in on Friday to make sure they could accommodate our large group and we had a wonderful time. The waitstaff was incredibly attentive and helpful, giving great suggestions and bringing the dessert menu around so we could add some pastries to our brunch selections. The food was really excellent, the live jazz a nice touch. I don't get over to Serafina very often but I'd definitely give it a great recommendation. Evan lamented that he didn't eat there back in the days when the Games & Gizmos offices were mere blocks away.

We had a ton of things to cover and I feel really positive about the schedule and the projects we have in development through 2008. We have some rather substantial changes in our future, which can be a little unsettling but we have a lot of exciting opportunities as well. I set out some crackers and some of the noshes we didn't polish off yesterday but largely people were satisfied until we broke for the evening. Dinner was pizza and salads from Tutta Bella, which has become my favorite pizza place in very short order. We tried five different types of their standard pizzas and they were all fabulous. It's probably a good thing Tutta Bella isn't closer to the house or they'd know me on sight.

I had to drive up to get Kate from her dad tonight, too, so most of the guys stayed around the house and played Ticket to Ride until I got back. After my return I served up the Guinness cake and ice cream, which went over really well. My cake was a little lumpy and should have been stirred more but I had been nervous about over mixing and over compensated, but overall it was still as good as we remembered. Mmmm.

Tomorrow is more of a half day for us; we're evaluating new game designs and game proposals tomorrow afternoon. Fun!

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GR Summit Official Day One


Did not sleep last night and not because I was out doing anything fun, either. Full of stress, anxiety, anger at the motherfucking Seattle Underground Tour, you name it. I was up all night. The good part of this, I suppose, is that I burned off some of my upset energies by scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees at 1:00am. My kitchen floor hasn't been this clean in years and the timing for the summit was perfect.

As I did last year, I bought a whack of baked goods from the Columbia City Bakery for the boys to enjoy at breakfast. Fruit danishes, cinnamon twists, pain au chocolate, ham and Gruyère croissants, gougère with Gruyère and pepper (hot from the oven, SO AMAZING!) and coffee...lots of coffee was definitely in order
I managed to pull together the numbers I needed to present to the guys for my state of the company report but I didn't have print outs as I'd intended. I had information spread between two computers and in three formats and it was just too time consuming to mingle all the material just for printing. We did okay with a verbal report, I think. Lots of goings on to consider, lots of things on the table, and we're preparing to make a major shift in several of our processes which bode well for the coming year for efficiency.

I provided a lunch in today, with several meats from Salumi, multiple cheeses, olives, pickles, roasted peppers, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, mustards, spreads and tapenade, my fig-orange jam, a walnut levain and a white loaf that I can't remember now in my exhausted state. After lunch we managed to get through the rest of our agenda for the day.

Dinner tonight was much more satisfying! I took them out to La Medusa. Uncharacteristically (again, because of my fatigue and distraction) I did not have my camera on hand, so you're just going to have to take my word for it: everything was fantastic. I had pasta with tuna meatballs that were out of this world. We had one small hiccup in the evening when Bill sent his steak back because it was unpleasantly charred underneath but the waitress made sure he was taken care of and he was pleased with the dish when it was redone for him. Not only that, but the chef came out to talk with him and once again make sure he left happy. I think everyone did leave happy, I know I did. Hal stopped in at the Bookworm Exchange and got a deal

Tomorrow is brunch at Serafina, a cram session to get as much work in as I can before I have to drive up and get Kate from her dad's. Oh, and I have to find time to fit in making a Guinness chocolate cake! I made the second batch of ice cream today so I have enough to go around tomorrow and sampled it to make sure it was okay. It was better than okay, it was great! I'm looking forward to Operation Guinness Dessert after all is said and done tomorrow.

I felt a little remiss in that I didn't have any activity or anything planned for tonight but it was probably for the best as I can hardly keep my eyes open and the guys all seemed ready to go back to the relative peace of their hotel. Hal stopped in at the Bookworm Exchange for a few minutes and made a good Tolkien find and I had them all back at the hotel early. They might go out on their own tonight but it will have to be without me. I'll be lucky to make it another 15 minutes.


The Motherfucking Seattle Underground Tour

I am not happy.

The Green Ronin annual summit is something I look forward to every year. I go to great lengths to make sure everything is just so for my boys. I try to do everything in my power to make sure everyone has an easy stay, has anything they need, has entertainment and food and drink and basically anything they need. Special diet? Done! Special travel arrangements or rooming needs? Done! Seafood-free, high-end vegetarian meals? Done and done, sweetheart. I'll take care of you, just ask!

So, when one of my guys expressed interest in taking the Bill Speidel's Seattle Underground Tour, I made sure on the eve of our summit adventures, I made sure it was arranged. Or, I thought I did.

I had called the motherfucking Bill Speidel's Seattle Underground Tour people, made sure that we could get a tour this Friday. I called the number, listened to the recorded message about how awesome it would be, visited the webpage, saw where they offer "Private Tours may be booked with two weeks' advance notice by calling 206-682-4646, ext 202" and called for exactly that. I talked to a man, who did not identify himself. I gave him my information, told him I wanted 8 tickets to the Underworld Tour (the 21 an over evening tour) and was told, yes, they could do it. I should show up at 7:10 to pick up my tickets and it was no problem. I called in advance, I gave the correct dates, I was told we were in, no problem.


My entire team showed up for this tour. We entered the "bar" which was completely empty, and the area for tickets was shuttered. We were approached by a waitress who asked us for ID. We told her we were there for the Underground tour and she told us they don't DO them in October because "it gets dark early and we can't do the tour in the dark." That was it. She had no idea who would could have talked to who would have told us that we could have a tour today, no sympathy, no answers, just NO.

I hate the motherfucking Bill Speidel's Seattle Underground Tour. I hate being left hanging. I hate being LIED to and treated with such lack of respect: if you tell me to show up on October 5th at 7:10pm to pick up my tickets for a 7:30 tour, we'd better get a damn tour! I could have organized a different event for my team. I could have planned a better meal than falafel at nearby Zaina (as nice a falafel as they make, it's just falafel). I wouldn't have paid $10 for shitty parking in the obscene junky-town of Pioneer Square. I wouldn't have had to resort to the too-loud (if drink-a-riffic) Zig Zag as a stop-gap activity for my guys. We wouldn't have been aggressively pan-handled by the totally crazy guy looking for "chicken with spicy sauce" and accusing us of not giving it to him because he was black.. we wouldn't have had to deal with him nearly crawling into our car as we tried to get away! If you Bill Speidel's Seattle Underground Tour assholes hadn't LIED to me, I wouldn't have had such a god-awful bad night to kick off such precious time with my friends and employees... because I consider these guys my friends first and I'm ashamed to have put my friends through this. That's not how I do things, motherfucking Bill Speidel's Seattle Underground Tours, and I can't forgive you for hanging me out to dry like that.

Screw you, Bill Speidel's Seattle Underground Tours, you lying sacks of shit. Screw you for getting my summit off to such a craptacular start. It's not like I look forward to this event all year or anything, assholes.



Guinness Cake and Ice Cream

I stayed up late making a double batch of ice cream custard (batter? what do you call it before it's ice cream?) last night so I can quench my desire to pair the Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream from David Lebovitz's excellent book Perfect Scoop with Guinness Chocolate Cake and feed it to the boys at the GR Summit this weekend. (As the only woman at Green Ronin and a mom to boot, I always refer to the rest of the guys as "the boys"... I can't help it.)

After a hard day of agenda items and reality checking, isn't cake and ice cream really just a necessary thing? I mean, seriously.

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Comedians of Comedy

Pramas and I saw this show at the Showbox in Seattle tonight. We don't usually pack the social schedule this full of trips and events but this year there were several things bunched up together: the Subhumans (UK), Talk Like a Pirate Day, Speaker Speaker, Jonathan Coulton, our anniversary (and the Canadian Subhumans), Comedians of Comedy tour.

The comedy tour was at the Showbox and they were not kidding that seating was "extremely limited". We were very near the front of the will-call line and there was not a chance in hell of getting any kind of seat when we entered. Ended up standing for the better part of three hours (if you count the time we waited outside). Everyone milled about and stood in front of the stage for all of the acts. Wow, I'm getting too old for this. The comedy was fun, though headliner Patton Oswalt let himself get sidetracked by some heckler/douchebags in the front row for a little too long at the end and included three or four bits we know well from his album. As Pramas noted after the show, unlike bands where you go and hope they play your favorite songs, hearing the same jokes doesn't carry that same special something. I would have loved more new material with less "pile on the douchebag" there at the end.

As we shuffled out I spotted Sherry Floyd (too far away to converse with) and yet closer to the door I spied and finally introduced myself in person to the extremely gracious and talented Krystof Nemeth, uncharacteristically out on a school night. I would have felt positively hip if I weren't nearly falling over from fatigue.

One more day to get everything done I need to get done before the GR Summit. It feels like I've been running all over town for days. Weeks even. Summit starts on Friday, eek! Am falling asleep at the computer so this will have to suffice as an update. Wish me luck getting through the next couple of weeks intact.




Wimpy Roy
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Subhumans photos are now up.

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Anniversary Weekend

Pramas and I spent the weekend in Vancouver to celebrate our anniversary this weekend. Thanks to some school friends of Kate's, we got to spend our romantic weekend away together alone after all (after Kate's dad had to be out of town and skip his visitation weekend, this plan was in peril until the very last moment).

I'm quite busy trying to get everything in order for the upcoming Green Ronin Summit which begins on Friday, so I don't have time to write up a full accounting of events, but I have posted photos to my Flickr account, including photos of our dinner at Chambar (a Belgian restaurant), dinner at Tojo's (in their new, swanky location), and dim sum at Vancouver dim sum institution, The Pink Pearl.

Other events of the weekend included a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery for an exhibition on Emily Carr and the Group of Seven and the last weekend of wacky experimental artist Andrea Zittel's Critical Space exhibition. Georgia O'Keefe starts next weekend, darn. Lest we go too high-brow with our fancy hotel room, gourmet dining, and art exhibits, we balanced things out with an hours-long expedition to Gastown's Pub 340 for an intimate and rockin' good Subhumans (Canada) show. We'd missed seeing D.O.A with their original line up at their DVD release party the night before we arrived in Vancouver (which Pramas lamented) but the Subhumans show was awesome and we're pretty convinced we spotted both Randy Rampage and Joey Shithead in the audience. Lots of pictures of the show waiting to be uploaded. We wrapped up the weekend by sitting in the icy rain on the 8th floor outdoor jacuzzi (pros: no one else was using it, cons: rain and cold everywhere outside of the actual hot tub) and then making a quick stop at Richmond's Imperial Hobbies to sate someone's lust for hard-to-find historical miniatures rules.

Pramas or I might have more details on the Subhumans show later but for now it's back work! Summit, then the in-laws visit, then Kate's week-long outdoor school trip and next thing you know October is going to be over! Ack.

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