Discolor Online

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


Book Expo and Blisters

Look at me, blogging!

Upon my arrival in LA it seemed like my experience might not be such a good one. I was at the car rental counter when I realized, to my horror, that I'd left my wallet in Seattle! I use my passport for ID when I travel, so I didn't realize the wallet was missing until I tried to rent my car. No driver's license, no credit card, no car. Uncharacteristically for me, I had a good amount of cash on me so I was able to pay for the $70 cab ride to my hotel (where they let me check in because the room was pre-paid) but it was an inauspicious start to say the least. Thankfully, my sainted husband was able to Fed Ex my wallet to me and by yesterday I was back on track.

Book Expo has been good. While Green Ronin is not exhibiting, Diamond Book Distributors has a large presence and their show graphics feature some of our products, including the upcoming A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. I've been able to make numerous printer contacts and the like. There is a large contingent of librarians here as well. I've been pretty impressed with the seminar tracks have attended several seminars each day. Some have been very informative and some have been just plain entertaining. Yesterday I was able to make it to a seminar with Thomas Friedman, who I vaguely remembered as being kind of a pro-Iraq War jerk but his writings on environmentalism intrigued me. I was not disappointed by his speech. I also managed to see jeff Bezos's presentation about the Kindle, where his numbers and enthusiasm were interesting but then during the Q&A when things touched on Amazon's Print On Demand policies, the audience was restless and Bezos's non-answers on the subject brought to mind "douchebag" more than "visionary". For fun I attended the last seminar of the day: Tor's Patrick Nielsen Hayden moderating a talk with John Scalzi, Markos Moulitsas, and Cory Doctorow. I was sitting in the front of the room, close enough that I could hear the guys talking amongst themselves before the seminar started and I kept thinking, man, I'd love to just sit down and be part of this conversation! Little did I know then that an hour and a half later I'd be having dinner with Cory and the inestimable Wil Wheaton. An inadvertent walking tour of downtown LA and an engaging conversation over excellent vegetarian Thai food. Couldn't have been better (well, maybe fewer blisters from the 4 mile walk in girly dress shoes could have been better, but it was worth the price). A nightcap with Paizo's Erik Mona topped off the evening and I finally made it out to my hotel, where I ran into two quite tipsy ladies from a publisher services organization in Minnesota with whom I exchanged cards.

Today I have a full schedule of seminars that I hope will prove as entertaining and informative as yesterday's!



Book Expo

I'm off to Book Expo America and I won't be back until after midnight Sunday. What are the chances that I'll have time for blogging while I'm there?

I'll do my best to update. Hopefully I'll at least have some new restaurant experiences to share at least!

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What "Girls Night" turned into

It took me a while to realize it (like "Hey, why the heck is this cream I just bought bad already?") but it's confirmed, my refrigerator has died. The freezer side is still working a bit but the refrigerator side is definitely dead. I think the freezer took longer because it was packed with solidly frozen meats and whatnot and it gets opened far less often than the fridge.

So instead of going out tonight with Kate to see the new Indiana Jones movie, I ran out to the 24-grocery and bought half a dozen bags of ice and a new 52-quart cooler to supplement the coolers we already have. Kate helped me take all the beverages out of the small fridge we keep stocked with drinks for game night and we put as much of the perishable stuff (meat, cheese, milk, juice, the fresh strawberries I just bought... the raspberries had already started to go bad. :( ) as we could and then rearranged things in the little freezer to accommodate as much of the meat and seafood from the big freezer as possible.

I've now got the big new cooler mostly full of ice to supplement my inferior old coolers. One small cooler is full of jars and tubes of things like anchovy paste, mustards, jams, and other condiments. The bigger cooler has more of the same plus things like unopened yogurt containers and other things that are sealed and water-repellent. I also have a large bin full of all the sodas, beer, water and other drinks that were in the little fridge. Those can get warm and be re-chilled later, they'll be fine. I haven't been able to figure out what to do about the fresh vegetables that won't survive in ice water. For now I've got them in a smaller container with some ice packs but I think I'm going to be eating a whole mess of broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and other perishables this weekend.

Kate was a huge help in handling this mess. She was having a grand old time, in fact. "Now THIS is exciting!" she enthused. After all was said and done I collapsed into my computer chair with a drink and fired up my browser. "Going to Twitter?" she asked. "I already did," I replied. "Writing the Mom's List?" she guessed. "Already did," I responded again. "Going to blog about it?" she tried again. "Yes!" I was laughing at this point. She knows her mom well. Then she cracked me up offering me suggested titles "You should call it 'A fun start to a fun weekend.'" she offered. Then she launched into a story about how she was looking up a recipe at school on my recipe pages and how this led to her explaining to her classmates what blogs are and that I had one. I guess I may end up with a few new 12-year-old readers. Heh.

Not sure what tomorrow holds. Could be a repair place can work some magic on the machine, but the fridge is 8 years old and it might just be time for a new one. If I have to go fridge shopping this weekend I just hope I don't have the problem I had with last year's washing machine fiasco...and that they haven't built new refrigerators so big that I can't fit mine in the space allowed (like nearly happened with the new washer). Kate will be excited that more "fun" is on the horizon. She already said excitedly, "A new refrigerator means a refrigerator box, right?!" Oh dear.

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Game Night again

Our game night has been pretty sparse since Jess and Tim both moved to California within a month of each other. The last couple of weeks it's been down to just three of us getting together, four if we're lucky. Tonight it was three again.

Luckily for us Kate is getting to that age when we can play adult strategy games together and still all have fun. Tonight we played 3rd edition MagBlast. We've been MagBlast fans through all the editions. It's been a little jarring to go from the more 'serious' science fiction version of MagBlast to the most recent version with the Kovalic art and the more 'wacky family game' feel but we're still all on board. Kate was very excited to play as this is one of her favorite games ever. We had fun but had to gang up on and kill Kate once it got to be 11:00 since it's still a school night for her. Poor kid, someday she'll be able to stay up as late as she wants. Heh.

Ev's currently on a restricted diet as he tries to sort out some allergies and whatnot so I went to Metropolitan Market and just let myself be inspired by what was available. Between all members of the group we've got to be carb conscious and avoid wheat, soy, dairy, and seafood at the moment. I was going to make some of my favorite sesame noodles with shredded chicken with some rice noodles but remembered there was also soy in the dish and decided to look elsewhere for dinner. Instead I bought a bunch of Indian-inspired ingredients. I made a Sri Lankan eggplant curry from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, some peppered cauliflower, some packaged Neera's Urad & Channa Dal (a hit, will definitely try again, along with others in this line), rice, Sharwood's papadums, and a round (or two) of tamarind martinis. Kate helped a lot with the food prep tonight, which was great! She helped with something in every dish and made several things largely on her own (including the cauliflower, the papadums, and the dal). She also made dessert, a rosewater and strawberry sorbet. Good meal!

Tomorrow Pramas is headed for Enfilade in Olympia. I have to get up for 6:30am yoga. Kate and I are staying home for a "girl's weekend" with Rosie (the World's Sweetest Pitbull [tm]). Monday we're having people over to play Descent. Next week looks to be busy as I continue to catch up from the Month of Travel ad prep for Book Expo. I fly out on Thursday!

Not too bad of a day, I'll say.

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Summery Weekend

Friday turned out to be such a beautiful day it was little surprise to me that Ray and Christine summoned the usual suspects to inaugurate Grilling Season at Chez Pominger. A little more surprising is that we all made it. I came straight from dropping Kate with her dad and wasn't even the last person to arrive. Grilling was done, gin and tonics were made, I even got to carry the fussy Miss Vivian around the block so she could cool down and decide that she really did want to sleep. Felt triumphant and as if I hadn't lost that baby touch (especially since I found handling someone else's baby much less intensely stressful than dealing with my own wailing infant from back in the day) but ruined the effect by trying to put the sleeping babe back into a reclined position in her carrier. All hell re-erupted that I dared try such a thing (just as it used to with Miss Kate... I never did master that) but I think J&J had a slight rest and Miss V and I got to know each other better. She reminds me A LOT of Kate as a baby: bright, curious, observant, a little intense, quite physically strong. It was a pleasure.

Saturday was busy. I wasted time playing some online games with friends the way some might do a crossword puzzle over breakfast or something. Then we hit a lunch date (and found, to our disappointment that Stellar Pizza opens later on the weekend than on weekdays...but that Calamity Jane's will step up as a substitute lunch place in a jam) and conducted a marathon podcasting session, and went to Marc's party a little late for good food, good sangria, good conversation, and some fun Rock Band action. I ended the night by MacGuyvering a fix to a CPAP problem that had been irritating Pramas. He confirmed this morning that my fix (involving an old velcro watch band and a large binder clip) may indeed have solved his issue. Fingers crossed for a repeat good performance tonight!

Today was a leisurely day, but still summery and nice. I slept late and played more online games (the only thing I use Facebook for) before squeezing in a little Green Ronin work and some minor household chores. It was beautiful again today, a little more comfortable temperature-wise, so I took the bunnies out to the back yard for an hour or two and watched them romp and dig and kick up their heels. Had a good laugh that Bonnie spent an hour digging a hole for herself to lay in only to lose it to Sammy, who threw himself down in it the moment her back was turned. There's something so fun about scampering bunnies.

Today I also confirmed for myself that I'm loving yoga. Georgetown Yoga is so awesome! I highly recommend it to all my Seattle peeps. Sandy's only been in this location since October and I'm so glad we decided to go there instead of going to Columbia City or elsewhere. It's a lovely space and she's a gentle, attentive, calm and lovely instructor. I find myself feeling great when I leave, even if I'm just doing beginner's stuff and thinking about improving my form and technique on the days I don't have classes. I look forward to going and think about whether or not I can fit in an extra day during the week... I figure that must be a good sign that I've picked the right fit for myself. Yay! I'm definitely going to miss going to the class while I'm traveling during convention season. Sundays I have an evening class, and I found it such a nice way to end the weekend.

Came home to find Kate watching Angel again. Thanks to re-runs, Angel seems to be Kate's equivilent of The Brady Bunch or Hogan's Heroes or I Love Lucy or the numerous other shows that I grew up seeing because they were on before or after school. Thanks to the generosity of a particular video hound we know, Kate now has a bag full of the early seasons of Buffy and the entire run of Angel so she can start watching from the beginning and learn Angel's full story. We watched a couple eps of Buffy tonight to get things rolling. I even busted out a little Laphroaig to toast the weekend out. It was that kind of summery, relaxing, enjoyable weekend. Nice!

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A Day in the Life

Kate's substitute bus driver failed to pick her up for the second day in a row and I had to drive her to school this morning. We were significantly late because I had a conference call scheduled for exactly when she should have been arriving at school to be on time.

Pramas and I drove together so we could talk over the conference call. We stopped at the Columbia City Bakery for americanos and baked goods. We also made a stop at the bank before heading to Queen Anne.

I stopped at Arvey for shipping supplies, where the older gentleman who works there was keyed up about something and kept muttering "Oh no, don't do this to me, no no no," and calling me "precious" and "sweetheart" and thanking me profusely for waiting. He's a nice old guy and I love going in there and letting him check me out so it was no trouble at all to wait patiently while he sorted out his morning crisis. I hope his day went better.

The afternoon was filled with mail orders and invoicing. I put together over 40 invoices today, and a couple of bins of mail.

Tonight was, in theory, game night. Only Evan could join us but I cooked anyway. We had an improvised white bean and chicken soup in homemade fennel broth that I whipped up in the pressure cooker. Adding chicken to the fennel broth adds a bit too much chicken flavor (and takes away from the subtle-but-luscious fennel flavor of the unadulterated broth) but everyone seemed to like it okay anyway.

We even busted out with Thurn und Taxis and got a whole game in. I'd never played before but I won the night's game so I guess I picked it up successfully. A couple glasses of wine, a little chocolate, some fresh strawberries, and a new board game on a warm spring night! Pretty successful if you ask me.

Tomorrow we have doctor appointments to attend, plus I'm intending to get up for 6:30am yoga. I also have to drive Kate up to drop her off for the weekend with her dad. We have a busy weekend planned. Here's hoping I feel up to everything.

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Topsy Turvy World

Today it was 52 and raining. Friday they're predicting record highs, 89-90 degrees. The teachers at my daughter's school briefed them on "appropriate dress" which included lots of warnings about tank tops, muscle shirts, and shorts that are "too short" (more than one inch above the knee). Yow.

Meanwhile a friend of mine was telling me about a situation that had cropped up with a foreign exchange student that is staying with her. This nice German boy was called into the principle's office because a girl had complained about him. He had tapped her on the shoulder (to get her attention, as people do) and this apparently violates some "no touching EVER" rules at the school. I was stunned that there are such rules. I know schools have rules against fighting, and rules against "sexual" contact (including boys and girls holding hands in the hall) but NO touching, EVER? Yep, and not only at that school but all over the country. Another mom I know then told me that her 12-year-old son was warned that he'd be sent to the office because he and his friend high-fived about something. NO HIGH FIVES! NO tapping someone on the shoulder to get their attention. No showing legs, arms, collarbones, or wearing clothes appropriate to the heat on a record-breaking hot day.

What the hell?

I find myself looking around at this kind of thing and feeling sick and fatigued by it all. Is it possible to find myself one of those exclusive communities made of people who hare MY beliefs and aren't, uh, C-R-A-Z-Y? Somewhere where the future doesn't look like Cory Doctorow's Little Brother and the Prison Industrial Complex isn't eagerly rolling out new and better ways to tase us, bro?

Probably should just keep this sort of stuff to myself these days but hey, I haven't been blogging much lately so it was either this little rant or another day of no content.

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I'm making a note here:

Huge Success.

Well, I seem to have survived the last couple of days. There were only four girls at the sleepover party which turned out to be a perfectly manageable amount. There was a little friction at first because they couldn't decide on a movie that would make everyone happy. The girls were really showing their personalities: the idiosyncratic friend wanted Juno, the girliest girl wanted Sleepover, the non-conflict girl was okay with whatever the other girls decided, and my steeped-in-geek-culture girl wanted Hellboy. Hellboy was deemed "too scary" (as were Ladyhawke, Princess Bride, Goonies, and The Mummy) and anything with ghosts (no Poletergeist) or aliens (no Galaxy Quest, no Close Encounters) were off the menu for two girls. Ferris Bueller's Day Off was given a thumbs down after the trailer was deemed "BORING!" despite two girls vouching for it being fun. I finally hit on Josie and the Pussycats, Clue, and (*sigh*) Sleepover and they ended up watching Sleepover though Kate was fairly sulky about it at first.

Band frictions threatened to flair up when the girls played Rock Band but they soon settled in and by the end of the party the girl with the least experience who was the most frustrated early on was begging to play more. Chips and sodas were consumed all evening, supplemented with veggies and dip and fresh strawberries, then the girls made personal pizzas which they shaped and decorated for quite some time. They spent the night in the living room and after I went to bed Kate tried to get the girls into Angel by showing them the Smile Time episode. They stayed up late into the night, being girls, but I think the most poignant and sweet part of the whole night was when they were all changing into pajamas and getting sleeping bags set up in the living room and they started comparing and showing off their blankies. Each of these sweet almost-teen girls not only had their blankies but brought them to their sleepover and compared them.

I made bacon, sweet rolls, and more fresh fruit, with optional juice, milk, and soymilk for them for breakfast and then one by one the girls left. Kate and I took her bike down to the bike swap but the larger bikes were few and far between (and being hoarded by one particularly annoying girl... Kate didn't even touch a bike for the first 40-50 minutes of being there. We finally left with a bike but it was way less fun than I thought it was going to be.

Headed from there down to meet Pramas for a very late "lunch" and strolled Emerald City Comic Con for a couple hours and ran into a ton of people we knew, some of whom we hadn't seen for ages. Feeling peppy, we crossed the street and finally caught a showing of Iron Man, which is still playing to packed theaters in Seattle. How great is Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? Really, really enjoyed his performance. I saw him in Less Than Zero over 20 years ago and have followed his career ups and downs since then. When the man is on, he's SO on. I hope he stays on because I'd love to see more from him.

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Holy Cow

I just looked at my Friday and then at my Saturday. This is definitely not going to be a restful weekend!

Friday morning I have my first morning yoga class: 6:30am. Not all of the classes are going to be that early but Fridays are early. Then it's back to the house, where I have to help Kate transport her gigantic Brooklyn Bridge project to school. Lunch I believe I have a lunch date, though times haven't been confirmed. After school Kate is bringing home three friends for an overnight party, a make-up party since she never gets to have people over for her December birthday because of holiday conflicts. The girls will be staying until Saturday morning and I've promised Kate they can make their own personal pizzas, watch movies, and play Rock Band in the time they have.

Saturday after the girls leave for home I'd planned to take Kate to Bikeworks' 12th Annual Bike Swap to see if we can get rid of her small bike for a bigger bike that actually fits her. She's grown a ton since we got that old bike for her. Saturday is also Emerald City Comic Con.

Also confirmed today that I will be heading down to LA on the 29th for Book Expo. I guess I'm going to remain busy after all...



What the heck is up with Nikchick anyway?

Wow, I've had so much going on that I can bring myself to Twitter a little, or take a break for some mindless Facebook game or other but I haven't had the time or energy to get back to blogging. Sorry about the sporadic content, I hope to get back in the swing of things soon!

What have I been doing in the meantime? Well, Pramas already posted a bit about a couple of failed culinary excursions. I've done a little cooking but not as much as I would like to be doing. Did make some fine goat riblets for game night dinner the other night but Chris and I were the only takers willing to try them. I may have to stick to things a little less adventurous for what remains of our game group. When I get back into the swing, I'll get back to posting more recipes and food photos.

Things are busy at work as always. I'm thinking of going back on my vow to stay home until June and try to fit in a trip to Book Expo at the end of the month. Still waiting to see if that's going to be necessary. This week continues to have me playing catch-up, with the weekend promising Emerald City Comic Con followed by the Ion Conference next week. Even where we're not actually involved in the shows there are people coming to town with whom we want to meet.

On the home front I'm trying to get caught up on chores, new and old. Last week I replaced both the squealing shower head in the master bathroom and our completely dead garbage disposal. I've also scoured the house for things to give to my regular charity (Community Services for the Blind") which is doing spring collections. I'm also trying to balance a couple of new medications that are not necessarily going to play nicely together. Fingers crossed on that one as I'm fully ready to stabilize on the prescriptions thing.

As if I'm not busy enough I'm also signing up for some yoga classes because I need to find a regular activity that gives me both some physical challenge and some scheduled "me" time where I can force myself to let go of a lot of the distractions, stress, and isolation that come with my job and my life in general. There's always something else to sign up for, some committee at Kate's school that needs something, some committee or crisis with the Neighborhood Association or the Homeowners' Association, some work that I "should" be attending. While I don't need to be quite as busy as I was in April, I do need to make time for social outings with friends and, more importantly, I need to take time for myself that doesn't involve me doing for others. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Mother Theresa, out in the world constantly doing deeds... but I too often let myself slip into Nik Does It All mode, taking care of friends and family and coworkers and customers before I take care of myself. That shit wears a person down.

Plowing forward, trying to get back to blogging a bit at least.