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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. [ 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 [ 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 [ 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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[ 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. [ profile] fuschia headed for the airport before we did, and [personal profile] blue_crow and [ 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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I saw many cool costumes at the Con, and I took pictures of a few them.  Here they are. 

On day before the show, waiting in line to pick up credentials, I saw these Futurama fans:

Futurama on their minds )

There was a woman in a superbly done Victorian style dress, complete with a hat and walking stick, and when I asked for a photo, she agreed, but only if she could hold her cell phone to her ear :)

Dammit, Oscar, I told you never to call me at this number! )

Then, there was a guy dressed as an Alien (a la the Ridley Scott movie), who had gotten behind the desk at the Hyatt and was menacing the accommodating clerks:

You know, I exploded out of the torso of a mammal much like yourself... )

Finally, there was the coolest costume I saw at the whole show, a superbly done, terrifically original full-body piece:

The Ottoman Automaton, The Engine Of The Lamp )

There were, as one might expect, lots of women in revealing costumes, though only three or four Princess-Leia-as-Jabba's-slave-girls, including one brave woman in a chainmail bikini with, I think, nothing at all underneath it.  (Ouch.)  I tried not be a skeezy guy who makes the ladies nervous, so I held off on taking any 'sexy' pics.

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Day 0 )

Day 1 )

Day 2 )
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En route to DragonCon, waiting for a connection in Raleigh-Durham*, I spotted a woman carrying a clone trooper helmet#. Struck up a chat about the con. Ggg and her husband% were charming, friendly, and instantly gave me that sense if being among friends that is one of the joys of coming to cons- one I'd half forgotten until just now. I'm now quite jazzed for the weekend!

* Disappointingly not shaped like a lit cigarette.
# You can tell because it's a different shape from the Storm Trooper helmets.
% They're both marines, and crystallized my sense that service people who are also fans are usually really cool.

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Yesterday M and I went back to Andover and celebrated the holiday with my family and hers together at the LANAM club.  It was all buffet style this year, and it created a relaxed atmosphere that made it the best Thanksgiving meal in many years.   It didn't hurt that we got there on time, for once.

Afterwards, I watched most of 2001 with my brother.  He's got hi-def TV and an HD-DVD player, so the picture quality was state of the art, and better than it could have been in earlier decades, and Kubrick's genius really stood out.  The film looks fabulous--flawless, in fact.  Everything was done without CGI, of course, and it looks better than almost any film I have ever seen, better than many state of the art movies of much more recent vintage.  There were little touches, like people moving within distant windows, that are still tough to do today, and which Star Trek, for example, couldn't afford to do 20 years ago, yet Kubrick did it 20 years before that. 

I like going on trips with M.  It was great to chat in the car, brainstorm about fic she's writing, start to plot for Xmas, etc.  Also, we listened to about an hour of Pratchett's latest book, Making Money on CD.

Right, bed time.

ETA: I should make a list and count them, but I have read a number of books lately, and I think I should have no trouble making the 50 book challenge, if I haven't already.  Since the trip to Vancouver, I have read the Undercover Economist, Pattern Recognition (by William Gibson), The Tipping Point, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier, and started Cloud Atlas.  I have also read a bunch of comics.  Right, now bed, for real.  Must work tomorrow morning, and then there's RAZOR tomorrow night.

Oh, yes: I'm famous

Well, slightly.
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I am pressed because it's nearly July and I still have much to do on my research project. It's so easy to find other things to do, that I have not made nearly enough progress. Yet, to be fair, I have made some. I now know more or less what I am trying to do, and I think I can churn something out of it. I don't know if it will be very good, but with work it may well be good enough. All I need to do is get this done and retake the American science comp and I'm finished. Closer, closer....

Millari and I are slowly and steadily getting better at living together, and despite the occasional personal crisis for either of us, I am very happy, and I think she is, too.

I'm looking forward to getting the research out of the way, because then I can make time for many things that I have been putting off for awhile, including:

--finishing unpacking our things and arranging our home to our satisfaction.

--visiting my family. My mom called today, and she said, with a hint of tears in her voice, that she missed me. I need to go home soon. And, she needs to come visit.

--play OverPower. Unimportant, but fun.

--design NPCs, setting details, and adventures for the new D&D game I shall start running in September. And, maybe, prep another one to run at the store, perhaps on Friday nights when Jim's game isn't running. I think I can set up a campaign in the Southlands of the Cloth with a pleasing mix of old-school dungeon crawling and a lot of the politics, role-playing and macro-scale plot that I enjoy.

--Call folks out of town or state that I want to speak to at length, especially Justin, Gwyn, Fletch, Fran, Shawn, and Ronnie & Amy.

--plan and research for our upcoming trip to Europe. The main impetus is a reunion with some of the other people who were part of the Kenyon Exeter program in 1990-91. I haven't seen any of them in seven years, and I'm worried that they'll all decide that I'm lame and that they hate me, but they're special people and I wish I was close to them as I used to be. Of course, the reason I haven't been so good about staying in touch as I was a few years ago is that I am no longer so painfully lonely. I realized this when I read a letter I sent to someone years ago that got returned, and it was difficult to read because it seemed so needy. For this, I must thank my good friends here in Western MA, some of whom no longer want to talk to me, so I shan't mention names except to single out Millari for especial appreciation.

--Life goals, medium and long term. Medium: once I have the MA, I want to get a job and support myself. Talking with Jim, there may be a possibility of more hours at the store, which is very exciting, though it depends on our continued sales growth, which is definitely counting chickens early. If that proves unworkable, I'll have to explore other options. I'd like to work 25-35 hours a week, which would leave me enough time for a Long term goal: writing. I have ideas for novels and essays (and even a couple of documentary films, for what that's worth), and they may all suck, but if I don't ever confront my fear of failure and inadequacy and try, I'll never be really happy with my life.

Cool thing I have to mention:
I did well on my job performance review last week. I must credit Jim for his patience and help with my punctuality issues. I have gotten a lot better about timeliness and it no longer feels like a huge effort to be on time for things. (Credit for this also goes to Dr. Lange and my Tuesday therapy group for calling me on this a lot, and, for that matter, to Filthyassistant for her frustrated efforts over the years.)

Oh, I forgot to mention the other cool things about going to Europe: 1) we shall visit Michelle's old friend Arnaud in Toulouse. I hope to get to see the cathedral at Chartres on the way, and spend a day in Carcassone! (I'm interested in the Albigensian Crusade.) 2) I hope to see my friend Rob Shearman, a wonderfully nice, hugely talented, incredibly smart and, last I saw him, modest play/screen writer. He's working on the new Dr. Who show, which means that at least some of it will be really, really good.

Check out these links for more info on Rob and his work:

Hmm. Somewhere, I have copies of a lot of playscripts Rob wrote back in the late 80s and early 90s. I should check them out again, and then see how much he squirms when I bring them up. :)

Unimportant matters:
I have become a regular follower of the LJ life of a woman in Chicago who writes for the Onion. Check out [ profile] rollick for a more interesting blog than this one.

And, finally, cool LJ name spotted at random: amorousuroboros

That's all for now. Hope all my friends (and any other readers) are prosperous and healthy.


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July 2017



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