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I'm sitting on my bed with my beloved Feisty for the last time. Now at the end of her 19th year, my precious girl has shrunk down to skin and bones. Her fur is dirty. She can't stand up. It's time. I called her aunt Syd over for a visit, called Aunt Daybreak and let her know, broke the news to my mom, and [personal profile] millari  should be here soon. In the morning, we shall take our little gray tiger to the Cat Hospital one last time.

Farewell, my dear friend. If there is something beyond this mortal coil, please give my love to your uncle Dave, and to Miles and Tilda. It's OK if you ignore Stinky.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I'm at the Hyatt in Morristown, NJ this weekend, taking part in a really fun gaming convention, as I have done several times in the past. Today is an interesting day for me, slightly melancholy but also happy and grateful, as it's ten years to the day since millari and I tied the knot. Of course, we untied it last year, but we're still very close and she had planned to come down to the con with me, until she bowed out because of work pressure. It's too bad, but I'm proud of her for recognizing that she couldn't make it work and not blowing up her life trying anyway.

I've had some unexpected downtime here, as a couple of events I offered to run didn't fire, but they were scheduled at the last minute, and I did take the opportunity to swim yesterday afternoon (430 meters in the hotel pool), at least. I've played a couple of D&D adventurer's league adventures, which have been OK but not compelling. I'm not sure if it's just the hit or miss quality of the writing (because they can't all be excellent) in comparison to the stories they had for LFR back in 4th edition, or if it's just that I don't love this paladin the way that I loved the wizard I played in those games, but I do find myself missing the chance to play Omen of Halruaa. Also, it does distract from the story when one is riding herd on three twelve year olds. :)

But I quite enjoyed the Agents of SHIELD LARP (which I had to play in as I already have the badge). It let me scratch the itch of 'doing the thing no one else is doing', because I signed up for the Networking division, which basically meant that my job was to be the fixer for everyone else. And literally no one else had opted for that, choosing mostly field ops, Intel, tech, and medical. There were about 40 other players, so the story was big enough that I did not have a clear picture of what was happening, which is the part of live action gaming that most throws me compared to table top. This was the debut session, and it looks like there will be more at future cons, so I look forward to doing this again. I wonder if they'll make anything of the fact that character-me was born in Wakanda?

I also tried out Trail of Cthulhu, which was very simple to play (though I gather not to run) and appealingly tragic and weird. I played an antiques dealer whose college student son had disappeared two years before, supposedly while somehow at a house that had burned down in the 1890s. Driving home one afternoon, I suddenly saw the old house on Hill Street, standing where it no longer was, so I stopped and went in. There, I met a PI who claimed to be hired by my long-dead wife, a young girl who claimed to be the stillborn daughter my wife had died to bring into the world, and a woman who confidently asserted that it was all fine because she was only dreaming. We slowly uncovered a twisting mystery of alternate histories in which I was dead, or a hopeless drunk, or a single father, until we finally tracked down my long lost son, only to discover that he was, indeed, long lost, and that his body was only a vessel for a consciousness that was jumping across alternate realities. Some other NPCs claimed that it was a monster, a worm that was slowly eating through all reality, but for me, it all came down to whether or not I thought that I could reclaim my son from the thing that looked out from his eyes, or if I could only avenge him. I went with option B, after the girl playing the daughter I never had convinced me that now that we knew what had happened to Francis, it was time to move on. As I said, appealingly tragic and weird. It reminded of that shortlived TV series starring Jason Isaacs, Awake.

And now, I have to run and eat before I run my 4th edition D&D adventure, the Dreadful Davenport of Dolorous Doom, in which our party of murder hobos must haul a wizard's accursed sofa across town to the dump.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
Actually several "its". Next weekend, I'm off to DexCon in NJ. This August, I'll be driving down the east coast to visit friends while I head towards DragonCon.

I've been seeing a life coach, which sounds kind of dumb to me, but it's been helpful, because she's helping to articulate what I really care about, and thus to focus on doing what I want to do, rather than what I think I should. I find that I am more relaxed and confident lately, and I'm accomplishing more things that matter to me. (Such as getting to the trainer 4 times a week, getting solar panels on the house, driving out to Kentucky for a family wedding, and spending more time with friends.)

It's ten months since my brother died. I'm still growing my hair out, two months to go, and it's such a nuisance. I don't know how people deal with it.

I started listening to a podcast on the History of Rome on my long drive, and it feels good to be learning about stuff that I didn't want to spend a ton of time reading about, but that I'm glad to know nonetheless. And so far, my favorite historical character has been Hannibal Baraka, so I'm sad he lost.

Millari is living here at the house again for the summer before she moves to Mexico. It's lovely to have her around so much, though her stuff is creating some clutter. The kitty is very happy she's here, and is every more cuddly and purring than otherwise. (She's in the crook of my arm as I type this. I think she sends her felicitations to you, dear reader.)
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I'm currently in CA, near San Francisco. My good friend Usakeh's mother has just died, so I have come out here to offer moral support. It's quite a blow for anyone, and harder when your mom is so young. [livejournal.com profile] millari is here, too, and it's been nice to spend time together. Things I like about it here: it's so sunny and mild; the gorgeous countryside of rolling hills; there aren't any mosquitos to eat me alive when I'm out exercising. What I don't like so much is that everything is more costly than back home in MA. If I were living out here, I'd really have to get a job.

Usakeh's dad is a Stanford prof, and he's been very accommodating of our presence, but I'm sure he'll be pleased to see the end of lounging on his sofas. Happily, it's a large, sunny, pleasant house so there is at least enough room. (Actually, the previous owner was apparently an AV nut, so there's a home theater room that's like a more comfortable version of the little downstairs venue at the old pleasant street theater.

We spent last weekend in Carmel, with U's grandparents (retired professors originally from Vienna), in a gorgeous villa overlooking the sea. It's probably worth millions now, but they've been there for decades and it has a pleasantly lived-in feel. It sort of reminds me of my grandmother's house, for all that it's a comfy Adobe structure on a slope with a gorgeous view of the bay, rather than a stodgy box in North Andover.

Lots of great places to go walking out there, and the most beautiful was Point Lobos state reservation. There were deer, seals, pelicans and many other birds, plus some truly gorgeous terrain and vegetation. I took a bunch of pictures, mainly thinking how Mole Underfield would love them and how he might paint them.

I'm flying back tomorrow, and then... Well, we'll see. No civil politics this week, as we're all away, which is a pity as Cruz and Kasich dropping out leave only Trump in the running for the GOP nomination is probably worth a few minutes discussion.

I have started reading the Three Musketeers, and enjoying it quite a bit. Dumas is quite the storyteller, and it's interesting to me how much I'm enjoying it despite the characters all being rather broad and archetypal. I wonder how much of that is because he created the archetypes? I have seen various movie adaptations, so I'm familiar with some of the story and general plot elements, but it's interesting to see how much of the milieu, the flavor of the story, comes from Dumas. Also, I'd forgotten that he was black. It fascinates me how much of the most popular pop culture is created by marginalized people.
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I'm in a better mindset than my last post. It's tough to resist the old patterns of my family, but one of my friends (I think it was millari but it might have been morlock) summed it up well: don't go back to Andover to care of your mom, go back to visit your mom. And it's true that we already have a great team helping mom, with the PCAs from Home Instead, house calls from Patricia and Margaret at Elder Care Coordinator, financial coverage from the folks at US Trust, and chats with the minister. I'm going to focus on making my time in Andover about what I can do that others can't. Also, when I'm away, I call every day.

Right now, though, I'm in Tarrytown. I came down on Saturday and stayed with friends in Mount Vernon (super pleasant home for a super nice couple) (saw the Last Witchhunter movie, which was just as predictable and ersatz as a Snickers bar). Sunday we had the 'make plans for 2016' board meeting, and in the evening Lefty and I played Pathfinder (the adventure card game not the RPG, because who has time for such a baroque rules system?)* I had planned to drive back home tomorrow early in the day, but Lefty called and asked me to come take him to urgent care. He's got some sort of bladder problem that I think has been greatly exacerbated by an infection? Anyhoo, it was horrible so he needed a ride and a friend while he got treatment. I stayed the night at his place, and this morning the pills are working and he's much improved. Huzzah! (I beguiled the hours after he crashed out by watching Burn After Reading, which was as great as M told me it would be and was like watching a Fiasco game adapted to film, and the The Seven Percent Solution, which I had seen thirty years ago but I hadn't noticed that it's kind of racist and that Robert Duvall's British accent sounds terrible.)

Now I'm heading off with Lefty on a store errand, and then it's home to vote!

{BTW, while driving down, I listened to a podcast recommended by a friend I'll call Vanderbilt, the Blacklist Table Reads, which turns unproduced screen plays into audio dramas. It's a Hollywood thing, but the episode I listened to was Chrome Noir, a 30s crime story with robots that was a lot of fun.}



*I do, actually, in a game that Stoic is running. Honestly, though, if it weren't a long-running and already ongoing campaign, I don't know that I would find it worth the trouble, and I kept my character simple.
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As of January 28, it's been 14 years since I started this journal. I'm older and fatter, yet both physically and emotionally healthier. I have gone from an apartment in Northampton to a house in Easthampton. When I started this journal, Modern Myths didn't even exist, and now I'm looking back at a career there. [livejournal.com profile] millari And I were just starting to date, now we've had a whole marriage. Feisty has gone from vibrant young little tiger to sleepy old kitty who creaks with the years.

Some other moments worth noting:

This past weekend, I had a lovely supper at a tapas place near Union Square with Redacted. I haven't seen him/her since last spring, so it was good to catch up.

I tidied up in my bedroom and found a number of old cards from [livejournal.com profile] usakeh. They follow a consistent pattern of apologizing for not staying in touch more, and then thanking me for sending a gift, calling when she was in the hospital, or otherwise reaching out. It's actually rather pleasant to read so many affirmations piled up together. I hope she keeps sending them.

I also found a program from when [livejournal.com profile] mole_underfieldAnd I went to see Book Of Mormon last March 15th. We very much enjoyed the show. We stayed at my godmother's flat near Lincoln Center, and didn't go out that much. I had wanted to gad about the city more, but MU, as was his wont, preferred to stay in and chill. We tried to get into the Nightly Show, but couldn't. (We went to see American Sniper instead, which was OK.) I spent a fair amount of time reading a book which I quite enjoyed, but now I can't recall what it was.
[edit: China Mieville's Perdido Street Station. Just the kind of immersive fantasy I can't stop eating with a spoon.]

That was, in retrospect, about the peak of MU's respite from the cancer. He went off the chemo for a couple of months after that, and the cancer bore down on him until he smothered.

The weekend of October 4th, I flew to Cleveland to catch the final game of the season between the Red Sox and the Indians. I'd floated the idea to MU last winter, and he said he'd like to go if he felt up to it. I stayed with B, whom I hadn't seen much of for many years, as we'd had a falling out after my doomed romance with Grounded. I had a great visit. We reminisced, and carried on as we had done years ago when we in our 20s. I even dug up an old 2nd edition character, just in case it had worked out that I could join his D&D group for a session.

The weather was perfect, and Cleveland was lovely and friendly. The Red Sox capped a losing season by getting beaten 3-1.
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Today, I got a tutorial on the basics of editing audio files with Audacity. This will be useful, I'm sure, at some point in my radio career. I also went shopping in Hadley with Stoic. Maple line Farms and Aldis are, he says, the places to get the optimal combination of fresh produce and groceries at low prices. It took longer than my usual method (go to a market, fill the cart with the stuff I want, pay for it, and leave), but who knows? It might do me good to spend less money.

I made my cannellini, artichokes, portobellos and stuff over rice dish, then M came over and we three played Dominion. It was fun. I look forward to perhaps trying it again, maybe with something other than the intro set up of cards.

Chatted online with [livejournal.com profile] usakeh and now I'm posting this. Am I really forming a new habit?

Oh, and my show went well on Friday, and mom listened in using the iPad I got her for Xmas, so that's starting to pay off.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I started 2016 off well. I spent New Year's Eve with MaMEd and his family, swapping gifts and enjoying each other's company. The Attraction game (which is like playing marbles with magnets) was a big hit with Princess C. Saturday into Sunday was a lot of games. [livejournal.com profile] millari and I had a nice supper at Mulino's Saturday evening, followed by some Chrononauts at her place. Sunday was twelve hours of gaming fun at my house. M came over, as well as Suave, and folks from my Deadlands/Transhuman gaming group (until I come up with nicknames: SS, TJ, JEL, JE). We played a cute trick-taking game called Friday the 13th, then Lords of Waterdeep (as there were only five of us yet–poor M had to wait an hour for us to finish, but was very chill about it–and it was a close game to the end), and all seven of us played Shadows Over Camelot. It turned out that none of us was a traitor (only 12.5% chance of that) and we managed to find the Grail, retrieve Excalibur and Lancelot's Armor, defeat the Black Knight, and drive off an invasion of Picts. Ironically, we won by allowing an invasion of Saxons to proceed, thus filling up the Table. After that, Suave took off, so we played Unspeakable Words (the Lovecraftian word game) and more Friday 13th. Then TJ and M departed, so the four of us remaining wrapped up with an old chestnut (for me, at least), Reiner Knizia's Lord Of The Rings coop game. I got that game back in 2001, and I have played it dozens of times (according to the scoring sheet), but not since 2007. It was a bit of a roller-coaster as I tried to recall the rules, but the hobbits managed to chuck the ring into the fire all the same. Poor Stoic, who has been my houseguest for the past month as he reboots and regroups, is also recuperating from an injury, and he felt too unwell to join us. Perhaps next time.

It was enormous fun, exactly why I keep trying to have these sorts of parties. I hope to have more luck with them in the year to come.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
At my brother's memorial service, I lined up five other people (my uncle, an old flame of MU's, Hannah-Belle Goulet, a long-time family friend who used to be our neighbor, and [livejournal.com profile] millari) to share their memories of him before I got up to speak. I wanted to keep things moving because Mom gets tired easily, and I wanted to allow everyone else to say their piece, so I kept things simple. (Also, I wasn't sure quite what to say. It's tough for people who have lived in the valley their whole lives to properly describe the mountain to outsiders.)

...and thanks for all the fish. )

At the reception, following my brother's request, we sang Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. About 100 people turned up, some of them quite unexpected, like the Battler, whom I hadn't seen in 20 years; or Suave and Sydneycat, who both made the drive from the valley; millari's parents; many of the people who have been providing home health care; people from MU's school days, both old & recent. Thanks especially to Millari for returning from Germany for a week.
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1) I'm pleased by the results of last week's election.  Four more years of Obama will be better than four years of Romney, and six years of Elizabeth Warren will, I think, be better than Scott Brown.  More generally, I'm pleased that the hateful and blinkered clique that controls the GOP was so soundly rejected across the land.  I hope the real Republicans retake their party from the zealots.  We need them to call us lefties on our many failings.

2) Millari went back to see my family with me this weekend, and that was big help. She's been a rock for me, and I hope I don't lean on her too much.

3) Talking with friends has helped me to recognize that I'm someone who forms intense romantic bonds.  In the case of Grounded, the ones I formed many years ago, once unearthed and confronted with the marvelous reality of who she is now, became very strong once again.  Yet, I just don't see that she feels the same way, and I don't think the lives we have separately chosen mesh well.  So, I'm going to break off contact with her for a while, until I can accept things as they are.  I hope this won't take 5 to 10 years this time. :(

4) M and I saw Cloud Atlas the other day, and it's fantastic.  I love the book, and the movie adapts it for the screen well, keeping enough of its nested narrative structure to evoke the parallels and contrasts it featured, while keeping the action moving and providing a gorgeous spectacle.  Several actors played multiple parts in different times and places, and I think the complaints about 'yellow face' or other race fail problems miss the forest for the trees: all the actors who play multiple parts are made up in a different race or gender.  This isn't done as mockery or appropriation (the main issues this sort of race fail raises), but as a commentary on the fluidity of gender and identity.  I will not dispute with anyone who considers the experiment a failure, but I don't think it offends in the way that the Jazz Singer or White Girls do.

EDIT TO ADD:
5) I have a friend who works for FEMA, and who is deployed in Brooklyn.  Apparently, even two weeks after Sandy, things are still pretty rough out there, and many people are desperate.  Kudos to the relief workers who are struggling mightily to help people, and kudos to the activists of Occupy Wall Street, who have started organizing their own informal relief effort.

6) Louis CK did a great bit on Saturday Night Live last week in the style of his sitcom, except he was playing Abraham Lincoln as a sad sack comedian.
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1) This coming Saturday will be the second Paint & Pixel Festival.  I've managed to arrange programming this year, which is good, but I still feel like I did a slap-dash job, and kind of guilty about it.  Peggy continues to impress with her passion and capability. 

We're hosting comics workshops for kids at the store as part of the build up to the show.  Colin, the education guy, has done a great job setting these up and running them.  Peggy also sponsored a couple of movie nights at Popcorn Noir, the next of which is the Muppet Movie on Thursday..... which will conflict with my Deadlands game.  aargh!

Oh, and there's a filk band performing in the Mythos on Monday at 7, which could conflict with dinner plans!  double argh!

2) On columbus day, M and I went to NYC, met with the Ladies of Brattleboro for dinner at the Green Table, and then went to see Sleep No More, which is an extraordinary experience in immersive theater.  One is given a mask & enjoined not to speak, and for up to 3 hours one wonders around inside a warehouse of four or five stories where a troop of interpretive dancers performs something inspired by Macbeth.  One can explore the trappings of the set as much as one wishes, or follow performers around or hang out in the lounge.  It's a choose your own adventure style of show, though only as an observer.   I wound up following one stunning beautiful woman around for a while, and wound up getting whisked into a locked room for a short private performance that, while a scripted part of the show, was quite intimate and moving.  Which, if you are thinking of something sexual, is completely wrong--yet it felt like everything you would fantasize about.  A great experience which was well worth the cost.  I plan to go back at some point.

3) My mom is still in a rehab hospital, still in real pain, but I think getting better.  I hope.  Dad is still slipping away a bit at a time.

4) I drove back to Andover last night, couldn't sleep, and watched the Matrix Reloaded on demand.  It's better than I recalled.  The talky scenes make more sense when I can process the sometimes ornate and philosophical dialog, and some of the WTF plot twists actual do make some logical sense.  The biggest weakness that remains, for me, are the pointless action scenes.  The first Matrix was good in part because all the fight scenes served the story, developed character, and looked cool.  In Reloaded, there a couple of set pieces that just take up time. If the Wachowskis had done more with them, they'd have greatly improved the movie.  (Three examples: the introductory fight with Seraph--what does tussling with Neo for two minutes tell him, or us, that we don't know?; then. the  big fight scene with a crowd of Agent Smiths drags on; and the fight with the Merovingian's goons in his foyer is designed to waste Neo's time, but must it waste ours?  What's the point of another display of kung fu?  Are these guys really as challenging as the huge crowd of Agent Smiths?)  On the whole, I stick by some of my earlier criticisms, but I have to upgrade my rating of the film.

5) Sometimes I'm fine, and sometimes the depression gets to me.  I need to spend more time with friends.  I clearly need that.

6) Had an interesting talk with Morlock about making changes in my life. He pointed out that I'm still struggling with some of the same questions that bugged me years ago.  Maybe, he suggested, I need new questions.  hmmmmmmmmmmm.

7) 2013 must be the year I learn to budget.  Just because my desires have heretofore not exceeded my means, doesn't mean those means are inexhaustible. I must get the hang of identifying priorities, choosing amongst them, and then setting aside the others while resisting impulsive spending.  Good grief!
grinninfoole: (strangelove)

I worked late today, and after work I stopped by M's place to divvy up the farm share. Wound up having some dinner, and then joining her for a trip to Popcorn Noir for Zack Snyder's 300. I cannot recall having ever seen a worse movie.

The visual effects were OK in places (well composed, so stylized that they weren't interesting), some of the photography and cinematography were aesthetically striking, but otherwise it was just bad. I didn't hate the film, because that would have required it to evoke an emotional response beyond mild boredom and disdain, but it's an embarrassment that should never have been filmed (or, failing that, released).

Not to mention that it was obviously racist, sexist, and homophobic, filled with ridiculous decisions, a pretentious and unnecessary narrator, logical inconsistencies, question begging, and fundamental historical inaccuracies that completely subvert the crapulously earnest speeches all the Greeks make.

Mind you, the many slashy scenes were so incredibly over the top that it's the closest I've ever seen gay subtext come to being text without quite making it. It should have just been a gay porno.

Oh, and I couldn't but compare it Tarantino's Kill Bill, which I disliked intensely because it seemed to have little point beyond reveling in violence and bloodshed. Say whatever else you wish about Quentin Tarantino: he made a film I didn't like because it was basically an excuse to watch Uma Thurman flight and mutilate folks. 300 should have been the same, but mostly I just didn't care about anyone on screen. So, meh.


Oh, and tomorrow evening the store is celebrating it's tenth anniversary. I hope you'll all stop by and join us.

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A clear sign my depression is waxing just now:  I find keep minor piano chords as my internal sound track, and I find myself imaging dying in various circumstances, and trying to come up with the funniest last words.  (What can I say?  Edmund Kean is my hero.)

In the mean time, trying to limit myself to ONE sticky bun.


EDIT:  Another Tuesday evening drained away at home suggests to me that my marriage might also have had an element of coping strategy to it.  M is the best anti-depressant available without a prescription.
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Well, I have perpetrated another crime against pop culture commentary.  This week I talked about science fiction comics, and really just barely scratched the surface. 

In other news: happy birthday [livejournal.com profile] millari!  I hope you and [livejournal.com profile] trovia have a great time celebrating it.  You're still my favorite person, and I hope your 43rd year is prime in every sense of the term.
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Still waiting for a chance go talk to Grounded. She texted me today:"crazy busy. Will try to call next week." Somehow this leads me to suspect that she may not feel as intensely about me as I feel about her. This makes me sad. I'm trying to give myself permission to feel sad without being prematurely negative or telling myself how dumb I am to feel so. (and I don't want to assume its going to to badly in advance. That hasn't served me well in the past. I'm starting to think that there may be some validity to the notion that happiness is a matter of habit, that it takes practice and an open to heart to accept good things in life. To that end, I called some friends to join me in activities that would make me happy, which is why I'm typing this at the Cinemark while M and I await the 10:05 showing Avengers.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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I meant to post a few days ago, but I got sick a few days ago, and I'm only recovering now. (Some sort of gastro-intestinal whatsis, which made it so I couldn't eat for almost 2 days straight. Now I'm feeling better, but I still feel a bit of discomfort just below my sternum.) M was so kind and helpful in taking care of me during this ordeal.

My dad has, as they say in biz, plateaued. He's not likely to get much better, so he's switching to custodial care, which means Medicare won't cover his bills any more. Which means it's time for me to step up and get serious about making claims on my Dad's insurance policies, because the bills come out to more than $10,000 a month. A lot more. I don't know how families without our resources cope.

I'm going to have to work some convention in New Jersey at the end of the month. Not looking forward to all the driving, and I've already missed one weekend visiting Dad because of my illness.

M is preparing to move out at the end of the month. I'm going to stay here in our house. We're figuring out what's going to stay, and what she's taking with her, and so forth. It's pretty low key, but I do find myself tripping over the mental change from team mode to solo mode.

M and I are awaiting the final season of DS9. Until then, we're watching other stuff, like the new Tinker Tailor (which we loved, though was there gay subtext added to the story, or did we just miss it in the Alec Guinness version?), the 1981 BBC TV Smiley's People (less gripping plot, more comprehensible characters than Tinker Tailor), some Jeeves & Wooster (glad it holds up so well), and now Rome. We're half-way through a rewatch of season 1, en route to the unplumbed wonders of season 2. It's such a good show, though I had forgotten just how shockingly, explicitly sexual and violent it is.

I caught the tail end of the Superbowl last week, and I was briefly sad that the Patriots lost. While my football loyalty remains a foot wide and an inch deep, however, I did form a powerful emotional attachment to a new fandom during the game, though I suppose it's really more of an anti-fandom: the New York Giants scored their winning touchdown in the last minute, and the guy who scored it actually turned and completed the play butt first. I really can't stand arrogance or a sense of entitlement, and, which is what's always bugged me about the Yankees, and this struck me as a blatant display of same. So, I still don't care all that much about the Patriots, but I really hate the New York Giants. Funny how these things work, isn't it?


P.S. I'm having lunch with [Grounded] on Wednesday, so cross your fingers, eh?
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Or, in my case, not so much.

Hurricane Irene, which did enormous damage in the Caribbean, was barely a tropical storm by the time it got to my house.  Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, even nearby towns in Massachusetts, have all had dangerous floods.  Fortunately for me personally, my house is near the top of a hill with excellent drainage, so I'm basically OK.  M and I got some groceries and extra batteries, and spent a few hours making food that we could have if we lost power for a while. 

And we did lose power at about 9 AM. 

It was back on before 10 AM, and we haven't had any problems since.  For us, it was just a cloudy, blustery, rainy summer's day.  It cleared up after  4 PM, and we went for a walk.


Some more general stuff about me and my life:

1) I hemmed and hawed from March to July about my job. On the one hand, I have a job that's reasonably fun, at which I'm reasonably good (and experienced) and which has several attractive perks (wholesale cost graphic novels and games, running D&D games professionally, serious nerd cred, lots of time around things I love), but which pays poorly.  On the other, I love teaching, almost any teaching job would pay at least 40% more (and could easily reach 100%), and teaching has a social cachet that retail store clerk does not.  However, searching for a teaching job requires the same mental and emotional resources as research did in grad school, and that's hard for me.  Plus, this is a bad job market.

After careful reflection, I decided to ask for a raise at Modern Myths, and to stay if i got it.  After some awkward negotiations (salary negotiations require a somewhat different approach from home purchasing negotiations), I got a raise that met my minimum requirements.  After a month of the new regime, I am pleased with my choice.  I have found MG a pleasure to work with/for, I'm getting more free weekends (and more latitude in my hours in other ways), I'm finding the new mix of responsibility and autonomy energizing, and the opportunities for personal and professional growth open at the store right now (as JC starts up a store in New York) must be seized now or not at all.  Everything that's appealing about teaching will still be there in, say, two years (assuming society doesn't implode).

2) Millari and I continue to share the house we bought together.  We continue to be best of friends, and good housemates.  She was away for about a month this summer, visiting her girl in Germany, and I found living alone to be difficult at times (especially when I got sick), but also to have its attractions.  The biggest surprise for me has been that I would often prefer to go home and watch TV alone, rather than go out and see people.  I don't know if that's a genuine personality trait (given my father & brother's dispositions, it might be), or if that was an effect of depression.

Anyway, now that M is home, we have begun to discuss the painful subject of furthering our separation.  I know that it's something that I need to do, but right now it's difficult.  I'm not dating anyone yet, so I have a very comfortable home life with a beloved family member on the plus side, and no real drawbacks.  It's different for M, because she's got a girl (who is actually pretty cool), so she's got an emotional stone in her shoe to prompt her to make changes.

I have, for now at least, made a firm professional commitment, which has in turn reinforced my sense of identity.  I am loathe to undo the other mainstay of my sense of self (and, really, the best decision I think I have made heretofore in my life), but I know from experience that if I don't keep moving on this, I'll regret it later.  I just hope that I don't have to let things turn into an ugly confrontation in order to proceed, as I have seen that happen to others.  (in particular to Fran, a woman I have known since college, who used to have a lovely relationship with the woman she married, but which has curdled, to say the least.)  I would find it deeply painful if my friends found it necessary to pick sides.

3) My parents continue in declining health.  I visited on Friday and Saturday, and in addition to helping my brother make (as it turned out, unnecessary) preparations for the storm, I gave my dad a short test I found in a book M gave me about living with and caring for people with Alzheimer's.  The idea of the test is that, if the person does well, they most likely don't have it, and if they do poorly, they might.  Dad did poorly on one element (naming as many animals as he could in a minute--he got 10), but had no trouble remembering the month, day, date, year, who is and who was president; telling time on a clock face; and little trouble remembering four images of common objects that I showed him (which is fine, since he is 82).  So, it's possible he doesn't have Alzheimer's, which is great.  Except that I have no idea what the hell is wrong, or what to do about it, if he doesn't.  My loins, I must gird them.
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[livejournal.com profile] millari and I slept in a bit, and then had to scramble to pack our bags and tidy up enough to leave the room behind before Joke and his adorable daughter arrived. [livejournal.com profile] fuschia headed for the airport before we did, and [personal profile] blue_crow and [livejournal.com profile] blaaksable dropped by to say farewell, though they mostly spoke to M while I bustled about.

 

We checked out, piled into their car, and drive to a café called the Flying Biscuit, where we met the Reverend Mrs. Joke (pray for a better nickname) and their surprisingly well-behaved three-year old son. 

We tried the biscuits in gravy, which were absolutely amazing, and put the rest of the quite good food to shame.  We talked about the con, and travel, and comics, and all sorts of random things.  I suspect that we were a welcome bit of grownup interaction for our friends.  I really love Joke, and his family has completely charmed me.  I very much wish they lived next door.

Then they took us to their place, where we gave Joke a birthday gift (two games: Chrononauts and Pandemic) and they showed an episode of a sitcom called Big Bang Theory featuring a pointless and geeky variant of Rock, Paper, Scissors, which, despite adding the additional options of Lizard and Spock, still completely failed to resolve any disputes between them.  I have to admit, I laughed, despite my being too cool to enjoy any sitcom.

Then, a mad dash to the airport, a tolerable flight home, picking up the car, driving home, ended in a late bedtime.  The cats were only normally psyched to see us.  Clearly, our cat sitter did a great job in making them feel loved and secure.

I had a sore throat by that point, so I spent most of Tuesday sleeping, and then BAM!  Back to the soul-crushing grind of professional nerd-dom.  :)

ETA: some press coverage of this year's con.  None of them mention me.

The Emory University paper on the whole con; the Journal Constitution on the Shatner/Nimoy panel (with video clip), the DesMoines Register on the guy who organized the blood drive, and someone at a website called BSC Reviews on her Con experience, complete with cute pictures of her daughter.


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Day 3:

Another slow off the mark day.  In retrospect, it's clear I was coming down some sort of con crud, but at the time, I just felt moderately washed out in the morning.  Whatever was going on, I slept through the 10 AM Torchwood panel, the 11:30 Q&A with Gene Wolf, and wound up getting to the con too late for either the Hellboy panel with Scott Allie  & Mike Mignola or the Patrick Stewart appearance.  I also missed, at various points, all of the frakking Babylon 5 panels, and the intriguing panel on the still in production 11th Doctor episodes.  I did, however, make omelets for the three of us, and lunches, and clean up a lot of the mess from the raucous Squee party.

I can't recall exactly what M and I did once we actually reached the con, but we soon wound up hanging out with the bubbly [personal profile] nicole_anell in some other person's suite, waiting for [livejournal.com profile] sabaceanbabe to come by with a video she made for M's birthday (her contribution to [livejournal.com profile] freshcraftmills .  THANK YOU VERY MUCH!)  For some reason, I was feeling sort of depressed and maybe even crabby.

I went off to catch a panel in the Hyatt about the Space Ghost Coast to Coast cartoon, but I couldn't find the room.  Instead, I wandered into the art show, which was OK, and then into the comics room, which was cool.  I chatted for a bit with David Petersen about how cool Mouse Guard was, how well it sold in our store (both the comics and GNS, and the RPG as well), and asked him to keep us in mind if he ever did a signing tour in the Northeast, as we'd be delighted to have for both comics and gaming events.  I also spoke with a sales rep for Avatar Press, and learned interesting things about their actual inventory levels, versus our ability to order reships from Diamond.  

[I also noticed, but forgot the name of, an artist who did some funny yet hot drawings, featuring stuff like a half-naked Batgirl lying in bed, with the Bat Cave behind her, thinking "Boy Wonder indeed", or Lt. Uhura pulling slave-garbed Princess Leia into a passionate kiss.  I actually felt rather self-conscious while I looked the booth over.  The artist approved of my grammar matters T-shirt.  I think her name was Cat Staggs, but I'm not sure.  Cat Staggs, however, definitely did this awesome Dr. Girlfriend piece, and it looks similar to what I saw, so I'll leave it at that for now.]

Perhaps fortified by my foray into schmoozing retailer mode, I then managed to find [livejournal.com profile] spacepug in the lobby upstairs.  I ill-advisedly ate a hot dog and chicken fingers.  (No serious consequences, but over the next couple of hours I came to understand that my digestive tract did not approve of these culinary shenanigans, and that I should have waited for similarly overpriced, but tastier, food.)  Anyway, SP and I chatted for a bit while we waited for M and her M to join us.  [livejournal.com profile] fuschia spotted us, and we socialized for a bit before she went off to a Dark Fantasy panel (?), and then SP and I went and found [livejournal.com profile] millari in the Marriott, and eventually settled down to chat for about 90 minutes about... nothing earth shattering.  Gossipy stuff about the housing market in Vancouver, and living with injuries, and other things that I can't even remember.  I'm pretty sure I actually let the other two talk for a significant portion of the time, too.  It was a high point of the convention for me, though, from the simple joy of spending time with someone I quite like, even though I still don't know her that well, yet.  I look forward to our next visit.)

We might have chatted for hours more, except that I noticed there was a BSG panel in five minutes, so we dashed down the stairs and went to that.

and now it's really late, so I'll finish this up tomorrow.  I still haven't gotten to our dinner with AJ. :)

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