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Scott and I had a discussion last night about tabletop RPG rule systems that was both extremely frustrating and fairly enlightening. The first thing that became clear was that we had very, very different definitions of 'simple' and 'flexible' when it comes to rules systems. I don't think either of us are necessarily wrong

He adores FATE and Cortex Plus while I look at them and shudder. I prefer some sort of percentile system or GURPS that's very, very, very light on the rules/dice or, if I can get it, something diceless. I once played a game where we traded off GMs every hour, and each GM had a preferred dice system, so we changed that regularly, too, even though we had continuous plot and characters.

I think the basic problem is that he considers the rules and the manipulation of the rules to be an interesting part of the game, a way of simulating character problem solving efforts. I don't. I compared it to min-maxing during character creation. I find it mechanical rather than creative and an active impediment to the parts of the game that I'm actually interested in.

I want dice/rules to be an added factor that can make the story go in an unexpected direction from time to time. He wants dice/rules to be tools that both players and GM use shape the story into their preferred lines.

It took me a lot of effort to get Scott to understand what I was trying to say.

Scott thinks that my preferred style of play only works with long established trust between players and GM and that it's really easy to screw up. He's probably right. I'm more on the improv/collaborative writing end of things. Whatever results the dice give, the point is to come up with a cool and compelling story that everyone present is into. I know that he can run games for a lot of players who I can't really manage because I have trouble with players who aren't enthusiastic about story in the ways that I am.

For Scott, a game is flexible if the rules will allow players to put together problem solving approaches based on how the rules work, a very engineering approach. For me, it's flexible if it allows a wide range of settings, genres, character types, etc. without insisting on divisions that hem the story in.

Explaining what we each mean by 'simple' is harder and not something I'm prepared to tackle just now because my brain is turning to goo.
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I have phone calls I need to make today, and I don't want to deal with them. I also desperately want a nap and know that, even if I lie down, I'm unlikely to sleep.

At least, my mother called me back (I left her a message last night). She and my step-father can't come to Cordelia's concert after all but do plan to come to 8th grade graduation. I had thought that 9 a.m. would be too early given the two hour drive, but Mom says that that's much easier than trying to drive home at night. Also, they have contractors working on urgent house repairs, and the contractors will only work if someone's at home.

One of my phone calls, I need to make around 3 p.m. as I'm calling a high school teacher, the choir director, to talk about choir camp this summer. The other call, I can make any time, but it's also not urgent urgent, so it's hard to make myself do it. That second call is to schedule a tune up for our air conditioner. I really hate to spend the money on it, but getting it done will keep the dratted thing running for longer.

We had a session of Scott's new Firefly game last night. I think I'm going to loathe the system because my preference is for rules that require no decisions on my part and that I don't have to think about or use very much. That's my preference when I'm GM, too. No matter what I'm running, I run rules lite. People who've done a lot of table top gaming tend to boggle when I say that GURPS is my preferred system but that I run rules lite. GURPS is the most flexible system I've seen for character creation/setting creation/genre bending. I'm just not prone to deal with the picky rules in play. I've got a general feel for what different dice rolls mean relative to the numbers on the character sheet, but I'm guided more by interesting story than by the dice. I don't ignore the dice altogether, but I can go a session without asking anybody to roll anything.

I think that what I want is a weird hybrid of GURPS, Amber Diceless, and some form of percentile system.

I have an appointment at the sleep disorders clinic tomorrow. They called me yesterday in response to my patient portal email. I'm not sure what they're going to be able to offer me. The main thing the woman I talked to thought was that I need anti-anxiety medication. Yeah, I do. I've only been trying to find something that works, long term, since 1987. The only things I've found that work are controlled substances, and I'm not willing to take those every night even if some doctor was fool enough to prescribe them that way.

I'm so frustrated by this health crap. I can get plenty of lectures about potential long term problems but no discussion that everything they tell me to do about those is killing me right at the current moment. When I'm drowning, I'm not going to worry about the risk of sepsis from splinters from the bits of wood currently keeping me afloat.

I'm kind of irritated with the lecture series I'm currently watching. The title of the series is 'The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World.' Apparently, the only places that existed in the ancient world were Egypt, Rome, Greece, Britain, and certain other small bits of Europe. Eleven episodes out of forty eight focus on Greece. Six focus on Egypt, and one of those is on Hellenistic Egypt. Thirteen episodes focus on Rome and territories under Roman control. The date on the box is 2012.

Cordelia's friend with the concussion was back at school yesterday. She's still having some headache issues and is taking things very easy. I don't know if she'll be at the concert tonight or not. Her father is becoming a US citizen today (her mother did a few years ago, and both kids were born in the US), and that, naturally, is a higher priority for her limited energy than the concert.
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I'm glad we went to the viewing. We hadn't seen Mary and her husband (also named Scott) for quite a long time. Mary shared a house with Scott and his brother during college, and her husband moved into that house when my Scott moved out.

We spent most of our time talking to a third college friend, Jim, who also lived in that house and who is Mary's cousin. Jim's kind of responsible for me and Scott meeting in the first place. We mostly talked games. He's been playing that Pandemic version that can only be played once but that takes a couple dozen longish sessions to get through. He says it's a lot of fun and very difficult to master. He compared the monetary investment to buying a videogame that one only expects to play once or twice. He also commented that he's pretty sure that the reason his tabletop RPG group is stable is that none of them have kids. Which makes sense.

We picked up dinner at Plum Market on our way home. Scott got a salad and some mac 'n' cheese. We got some sushi for Cordelia and seem to have chosen well enough for her to eat it all. I got an assortment from the hot buffet. Most of it was just barely okay. There's one dish that I took a small amount of that turned out to be really, really good, but I was worried that it might have hidden dangers for me or even just have flavor I didn't like. If I'd been able to sample it first, I'd probably have taken just that and the steamed vegetables.

Scott is expecting to have to work late tonight, so he stopped at the center and cancelled Cordelia's PT appointment for this evening. The last time she was in, the therapist said that she might be ready to be discharged, so the hope is that we won't need to make up the appointment. I did mention that it was feasible for me to get her there and home again, but Scott wasn't keen on that.

I see my primary care doctor on Thursday. I need to make a list of things to talk to her about. I suspect that my difficulties sleeping will end up high on the list. Those are at least 50% scheduling (family obligations, medications, meals and reflux, Scott and Cordelia needing to be able to do things that are mildly noisy but enough to keep me awake) issues, but there's a good chunk that relates to the c-PAP and even more that relates to anxiety and to other physical issues.

Talking about sleep and schedules for my own benefit )

I just looked at the list of WIP that I used to follow on FFnet and discovered that I haven't checked on any of them in almost five years. I didn't realize it had been that long since I was reading fic regularly enough to keep going with that. I didn't have a FFnet account at that point, so I just kept an offline list with the url of the most recent chapter and the date of the last update. After two or three years of no updates, I'd gradually stop checking (unless the story was just that good...).
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I'm feeling a good bit better today. I'm still being very cautious about what I eat. I was okay with tea and toast (with margarine, even!), but a little turkey lunch meat (nitrate and nitrite free) made me feel really terrible. I probably would have tried making rice if it hadn't been a Thursday or if I hadn't slept so late. Scott picked up some Cup o' Soup packets, some saltines, and some ginger ale for me. I would like to keep saltines around all the time for this sort of thing, but if we have them in the house, Scott devours them with margarine and then complains about the calories and how we shouldn't have such things in the house.

I've been sneezing and sniffling off and on. It'll be bad for five to ten minutes and then not there at all for half an hour and then come back again.

My sleep last night wasn't as good as I had hoped. I spent the last three or four hours convinced that I needed to get up to take medication every hour on the hour which was decidedly not true. I didn't need to take anything until a little after 5:00 when Scott's alarm went off.

Scott dug up a PDF of the Firefly character sheet. Unfortunately, it's not possible to save it after one fills it out; one can only print. I was going to put in what I've established so far and save for later editing when Scott was available, but I can't. I'm not sure it's useful to fill in what I have so far and print that when I'll have to retype it all later. I should see if Scott has a PDF of the game rules. If he does, I might be able to make the character on my own. The game book is too heavy for me.

I've written about 3000 words so far this month. I've spent most of my writing time editing rather than writing new text. I have a friend doing a beta read on my Fandom5K story. I haven't looked at her comments yet, but I get the impression that she might be looking for a different sort of story than the one I've written. That will make dealing with the comments harder because I'll have to weigh half a dozen different factors in deciding what to do in response to each or if I'm going to do anything at all.

We got a weird phone call yesterday that I'm quite sure was some sort of scam. Scott agrees, but we disagree about what it was trying to do. The caller ID said the call came from Comcast, an 800 number, and it was a recorded thing telling us that we have a service call scheduled today between 4:00 and 5:00. I'm pretty sure that they were trying to get me to talk to an 'operator' and give them personal information. Scott thinks it's a setup to try to get me to let some stranger in. I suppose the latter is possible, but I'm not convinced that it would work better than just showing up cold. Also, showing up personally is a much bigger risk and investment than phishing phone calls.

The idea of getting a call from an 800 is just-- That's not how it works.

If I wasn't fighting so hard to get through today, I'd probably call Comcast and report the call. Maybe they'd actually care that someone is spoofing their ID. Of course, it's Comcast...
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I slept really badly last night with reflux and gas and pain. I'm almost certain it was a post-stress thing because this is the response I'd expect from my body after the day I had yesterday. It hit hard enough, though, that I called to cancel my PT appointment. I really hope I did it correctly because it would suck big time to have to pay for the missed appointment.

I'm not even sure why I'm still up at this point. I meant to go back to sleep. At first, it was because I thought I might eat something, but everything I looked at in that direction provoked nausea.

I think that my miscalculation yesterday was to go ahead with our evening plans instead of crashing after Cordelia's appointment. I enjoyed seeing our guests, but I think I wasn't up to it. Also, one brought some mildly cheese flavored potato chips, and I likely shouldn't have had any given how things have been the last few weeks. I don't know how much those contributed to the reflux; given how things went, it's possible that they didn't have any effect on it at all. It's just that the rest of what I ate yesterday evening should have been safe.

Unless I was doomed to reflux no matter what I ate.

I have about 2/3 of my character for Scott's Firefly game. He keeps shoving paper character sheets at me and expecting me to fill them out. I finally explained very explicitly that no character sheet is important enough for me to write it by hand at this point. I'd been trying to figure out the best way to make my own version of the sheet online, but Scott tells me there actually is an online version. I'm kind of bewildered as to why he's been pushing the paper version at me for months.
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Scott and I picked up food at the Syrian place yesterday. We spent a lot on it, but I’ve gotten three meals out of it, and Cordelia has gotten two. Scott has had one or two. We still have a little food left, and I’ll probably eat that for lunch before we go out.

I want to make soup today or tomorrow. We have a lot of turkey that could work there, but I need Scott to pick up some broth and some frozen veggies that will work. I don’t know if I can make something Cordelia will eat, though.

Scott promised Cordelia a visit to the mall today with me along to make it a full family outing. I’m iffy about it because of my difficulties with walking. It’s not just the tendinitis; I’m having ankle problems right at the moment with my left ankle feeling like something’s wrong in how it compresses when I put weight on it.

Scott and I spent some time last night trying to narrow down options for a character for me to play in the new game he’s thinking to start. I’ve got a pretty clear concept. It’s mainly that the system he wants to use is difficult. He adores it, but it’s kind of rigid in ways that make me long to break it. There’s also a minor problem in terms of me wanting to play an older character who has a long history of being really good at what she does. She’s not really a starting character, and I have to figure out how to approximate what I want with a starting character.
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My left Achille’s tendon has really been hurting the last few days. It’s been very nice outside, in the 50s and 60s, and I very much want to take a walk. I just know that I wouldn’t make it very far before the pain was too much, and then I wouldn’t be able to do anything the rest of the day. That’s not been an option all week and won’t be today, either. Tomorrow, I will almost certainly walk too much because Scott has the day off (it’s his birthday) and will want to do things.

All of the laundry has also made my hands hurt a lot. My right hand was angry enough to make sleeping difficult last night which is highly unusual. I slept badly last night, generally. I was too warm, and my sinuses complained a lot. When I’m upright, I feel fine and don’t think I have a cold at all, but when I lie down, suddenly, I feel like I have a bad cold. I can’t think of anything in the bed that I might be allergic to.

We had three friends over last night. We talked about a game Scott wants to run in the Firefly universe. I’m kind of generally eh on Firefly, but everyone else is really enthusiastic. The game system will be Cortex Plus which I don’t know a lot about. We only had one copy of the book last night, and I let other people look at it since it lives here and is mine any other time.

I only have to do two loads of laundry today. I’m kind of hoping that I can get all of the chores done quickly and then nap. It might happen. Maybe.

To do list )
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I’m going back to bed very soon now. Due to various factors, I only got six hours of sleep last night, and my body is letting me know in no uncertain terms that doing that two nights in a row is utterly unacceptable. I’ve just got a couple of things, including this post, that I want to get done before I crash, so it will be at least another half hour before I lie down.

Scott discovered last night that some of the bolts holding Cordelia’s loft bed together had been working themselves loose. He tightened them, but I worry about the ones that we can’t see without moving the bed. We can only get at the thing from two sides (and one of those requires standing in the closet).

We played Flash Point with Cordelia last night, at her request. I think she enjoyed it more than she expected to. We just barely won— We had one black cube left to place when we rescued our seventh person. We got lucky because the fire kept landing in one half of the house while the people to be rescued always landed in the other part.

There was no school yesterday, so it was me and Cordelia at home together all day. I got her to watch two episodes of Princess Tutu with me, but I’m not sure she was really interested. I suppose I’ll find out when I suggest watching it again.

My left Achille’s tendon is giving me more trouble, even just in terms of walking around the house and doing the things I have to do.

I think I’m not going to sign up for [community profile] fandom5k. Looking at the specific requests so far, there aren’t many that I could actually write well, and half of those are in fandoms I wasn’t going to offer because of the canon being too big. Two of the remaining ones are for the same person. There were also several requests in fandoms I had intended to offer that were things I’d have a hard time writing.
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I’m slowly whittling down my to do list. I keep adding things, too, but they’re generally small things. Things look much better if I don’t include my list of things I want to finish writing. There are so very many of those, and right now, I’m flitting back and forth between several different stories.

I checked last night, and the face to face training for the recount is, while technically in Ann Arbor, well outside of reasonable travel range if I have to take a cab. The bus doesn’t go close enough for the ride planner to accept it as a valid destination. They’ve set up about five online training sessions, though, so I signed up for one of those. I still need to email the coordinator and let him know that I’m not coming to the face to face session. I’d kind of rather do the face to face because I’ve never done something like this online and don’t know if it suits my learning style.

I didn’t get back to sleep after Cordelia got up this morning. I stayed in bed until she left, though, so that she could have the time to herself.

We had a game session last night. We did a little more first contact stuff, but the group is being sent on an off-planet mission next session, so I don’t know if we’ll go back to that. The npc who’ll be taking over seems only sort of competent, but I suspect that’s largely because the GM wants the pcs to make the decisions about what to try.

I made chocolate chip bars last night. I’d gotten to the point of not easily being able to delay when we discovered that we had no baking soda in the cupboard. Neither of us could figure that out because that’s not the sort of thing that we usually run out of, especially not without realizing that we need to buy more. Scott ended up making a trip to the store to get some, and I pulled things together while the game session was getting started. I didn’t want to deal with our rock hard and years old brown sugar (I know there are ways of softening it. I didn’t want to deal with it), so I used white sugar and molasses. That changed the color of the resulting bars but not the taste.

My hands are hurting a lot. I keep doing the things I need to do, but I say, "Ow. Ow. Ow!" a lot and use heat and cold and wish desperately that there was something I could take that would actually help. I need to prod my doctor. She said she was going to refer me to orthopedics and that they’d call me with an appointment. It’s been three weeks now, and I haven’t heard anything. Given that it will take months for me to get in, I really want to get things rolling now.

I have one library book due on Sunday that can’t be renewed. I’m about twenty pages into it. Finishing it is possible, but I’m not sure I will because I’m not finding it engaging. I’ve got another book that can’t be renewed that’s due in the middle of next week that I haven’t even opened and another unrenewable book that I have started and really want to finish but am not sure I can because holding it hurts a lot. The latter has a lot of full page pictures, so it’s not a long as it looks, not in terms of time spent reading words.
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Only one person came over for our game session last night. The other three people all have colds they didn’t want to share with the rest of us. They also hoped that an early night would help them recover faster.

The three of us ended up playing a cooperative game Scott bought at UCon, Star Trek Panic. None of us had ever played before, so it’s likely we messed up the rules in ways that we didn’t even realize (there’s one way we messed up that we decided to keep for the session because trying to fix it, at the point when we realized, would have been difficult). The game is actually fairly difficult for the players to win. We just barely squeaked through to victory and wouldn’t have if we hadn’t misread the rules.

Cordelia’s homeroom teacher sent out an email this morning to let us know that representatives from some colleges in New England that do summer programs will be at Expo during the time before the eighth graders start presenting. I followed the links in the email, but none of the sites have concrete information about things like cost. I suppose that, if you have to ask about cost, you can’t afford the program.

And we had an actual bird in the house just now. I think it was a sparrow, but it was hugely panicked, so I didn’t get a good look. I opened the back door, and it eventually went out that way. I had to leave the room and wait for the sound of panicked tweeting and the bird banging into the windows stopped because there wasn’t a place I could stand that wouldn’t be too close to the door.

But how on earth did it get in? Scott left three hours ago, and Cordelia left an hour ago. We don’t have windows open because it’s about 35F outside. Even if we did, we have screens. I only started hearing the bird about five minutes before I saw it. I don’t think it came in when someone left and then stayed calm and quiet for a long time. I mean, I like that option better than I like the idea that we’ve got a hole somewhere that it was able to get in through. If a bird that size can get in, a chipmunk or a bat could. (We can’t stop mice because nothing stops mice.) And the hole could get bigger. The bird probably didn’t get in through the attic because there’s no way from the attic down into the house except a well sealed ceiling access.
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I woke today with a migraine. It’s almost gone now because I took an Amerge about half an hour ago. My best guess is that it’s a reaction to being among people so much this weekend. I both find being with people energizing and find it horribly exhausting. I’m not an extreme extrovert, but I do have some mild extrovertish tendencies that mean I’m frustrated a lot of the time because I’m at home alone so very much. At the same time, being out and about pushes all my anxiety buttons because I perceive more potential for something— anything— to go unexpectedly wrong. More people equals more uncertainty and more feeling of not being remotely safe.

Anxiety history )

I ended up with players for my Sentinels of the Multiverse game. All four were people who just wandered by and decided they were interested. There were two kids, siblings, who looked to be between ten and fourteen and who had played before and two men who had never played before. The players lost the first game even though they did everything right. The villain just happened to get the cards that made it impossible for them to beat him. We had forty five minutes left of the time slot, and the players wanted to try another game. I shouldn’t have let them, but I wanted the two new players to have a positive experience. Of course, during that second game, three of the players had to leave and were replaced by other people who just wandered by.

Scott took over running for me when I needed a bathroom break, and I never took my seat back. He was cranky by the time the game ended because he thought the players weren’t cooperating with each other but rather were trying to maneuver to be the one to take out the villain. I’m not sure he was right, but we were both tired, and we got out of the hotel at about 7:40 and had to figure out getting me food that I could eat before 8:00. Scott suggested pizza as something that would be ready by 8:00. I pointed out that that wasn’t actually soon enough for me to be able to eat.

We ended up picking up food at McDonald’s. Scott had taken Cordelia home earlier, so we called to ask what she wanted. She and I both had burgers. She had fries, too.

I wrote about 900 words after we got home, all on my Yuletide fic. I think I have to talk to someone who knows the canon, just to bounce ideas off of them. Scott knows the canon, but he’s not great at talking about such things. He’ll give me notes and comment after I’m done with the first draft, but that doesn’t help when I have fragments in my head and am trying to decide which ones fit and which ones don’t. Fortunately, I know some people who like this canon and the characters I’m writing.

Scott participated in a character generation demo for an rpg based on Sentinels of the Multiverse (one of the game creators was there). I attended the very beginning of that and the end, but my brain was dribbling out my ears due to exhaustion, and I’m terrible about crunching numbers for creating characters. I loathe it. We did a little bit of a play test after the character creation. I wasn’t pleased with it because, although I think the designers intended it to be flexible, I felt like there wasn’t very much I could actually get the character to do, including things that she really ought to be able to do.

The game designer said he wanted to write a game that would appeal to new players and new GMs. I’m not convinced this is good for that, but my reactions to various systems as a GM tend not to be at all near to the reactions that most experienced GMs have. I want the system to be as unobtrusive as possible once character creation is complete, and this system is very much not that. I might be able to play this system if I spent a session or two with a cooperative GM who understood the system and was willing to go slowly enough that I could figure things out. We only had about twenty minutes for this demo, and the GM wanted to show off combat.
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My game went well yesterday. The pronouns got kind of confused, but, eh, whatever. Misgendering someone’s character is nowhere near as bad as misgendering them, at least not in a four hour convention game where they didn’t create the character. If they’d created the characters, that would be different because the players might have some investment.

We had one man playing a male character, and one woman playing a female character. Then there was a woman playing a character of undefined gender ('other' covers a lot of territory, and the player didn’t specify). The final player was a guy who looked at his character, which I’d tried to write gender neutral but tended to think of as male, and decided that the character read female. Later on, the character shape shifted into male human form in order to impersonate a dead assassin.

I ended up doing a lot more making stuff up than I had planned to. A lot of things I had been going to do just didn’t feel right with this group and the things they did. I only ran about ten minutes over my time slot (there was an hour until the next game scheduled in there), and I let the player characters take down the bad guys without any twists because it was the very end of our time slot. If it had been a game I expected to continue or if the players had been unwise about how they went about things, I’d have had at least one person get away, but the players were pretty sensible about their tactics and about what they could do.

I played in a Chill game from 8:00 until a bit after midnight. Chill is a horror game, but the horrors tend to be on a smaller scale than in Call of Cthulhu, and the player characters are actually part of an organization dedicated to fighting such things. My character was a young, former soldier with combat experience in the Middle East. Her impetus for getting involved with the organization was the organization saving her girlfriend from a werewolf that my character, who had been expecting coyotes, couldn’t kill.

I was the only woman at the table apart from the GM, but it was a reasonable group of guys. I didn’t really look closely at the advantages and disadvantages when I picked the character, and I discovered once I did that the character had a honking big disadvantage in terms of not being able to talk clearly. The explanation said it could be shyness, could be a stutter or a lisp, or anything else that made spoken communications something I wasn’t comfortable with or good at. I did a lot of hand gestures and holding up the items that I thought were important in order to draw attention to them. I didn’t speak in complete sentences unless they were very, very short and most just tried to pick the important words. Sometimes the other players got what I was getting at, and sometimes they didn’t.

We were trying to locate and stop a revenant. The GM hinted heavily (at least, I thought it was heavily) that we would need dirt from its grave in order to kill it. She actually said, when we found the grave, that the dirt 'might be useful.' And the revenant left dirty hand prints on everything it touched and kept stopping to shower without managing to get rid of the dirt. My character had a rifle and a very high skill with it. I ended up pulling out all of my bullets and smearing a little bit of grave dirt on each of them. None of the other characters did, so I was the only one who could do more than knock the thing back.

But we’d cornered it in a bathroom, and one of the other characters could draw a line that magic and monsters couldn’t cross, so we were able to stand back and take our time. A couple of characters who lacked weapons tried throwing handfuls of dirt and then were surprised that throwing loose dirt was actually difficult (some of that was dice, but…). Then the martial artist smeared dirt on his hands and arms and went into the bathroom and rolled a critical success on his attack. He didn’t kill it, but he got it down for long enough that I could put a bullet through the heart, and the law enforcement types could put cuffs on it. That shut it down. We then took it back to the grave site and burned the body. Some characters just wanted to bury it again, but I was very opposed to that.

I got back to the room about 12:30, and, naturally, I had a hot flash. Scott and Cordelia were both already asleep, and I didn’t want to risk waking them, so I just got ready for bed and used a damp towel to try to cool off a little. I didn’t end up sleeping all that well. The bed isn’t terrible. Lying on it doesn’t hurt. It’s just that, when I stand up, my back is very stiff and painful, and my knees and hips ache.

We got carryout Chinese food last night. Scott nearly poisoned himself by trusting that the online menu was accurate. He ordered a dish containing several different types of meat. The online menu did not mention beef, just pork and chicken and shrimp, but I was dubious when I saw the dish. The paper menu Scott ended up with said there was beef. Scott didn’t end up getting sick (which surprises me because he did eat some of the dish), so we got hugely lucky. We threw out half of the food because Scott wasn’t willing to try to keep it and take it home (or to eat it cold in the morning).

I’m trying to scavenge a decent breakfast. I don’t want to spend $15 on the hotel’s breakfast buffet given that it would basically be bacon, a little fruit, and a ton of carbs. If I could eat eggs, it would be different, but I can’t. I’ve gotten about half of my stuff packed. What’s left is all the small things that I’ll have to find. I think everything that’s left is by the sink, but I’ll need to look around a bit.

Cordelia has asked Scott to take her home some time between checkout and when he runs at 4. I think that it’s a reasonable thing to ask given that there’s nothing else he can do in that time because how things are scheduled, but it’ll take at least half an hour.

I have about 1500 words of my Yuletide fic done. This is just one section out of several that I have planned, but I think this bit could stand alone perfectly well if I don’t finish anything else, and that’s something of a relief. I need to tweak things a little because there’s a character who uses a few different names in canon. I’m used to using one, but my POV character would likely default to the other. Or maybe she wouldn’t. I need to review that specific bit of canon.

I’m glad we have a couple of hours before checkout because I just slopped tea all over my chest. I’ve only got the one bra that’s clean, and I already packed the spare shirt that I brought. I can dig that out because Scott hasn’t taken that bag to the car yet, but I don’t want to shove the wet shirt into the bag or to put the wet bra back on.

I haven’t been able to brew tea that’s strong enough for me to taste it. I gave the second mug extra time to steep, but that didn’t help. I’m hoping that two mugs of weak tea will give me enough caffeine to avoid a headache from that. Of course, I’m likely to get a headache from poor sleep. I don’t know.
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I just got back from a breakfast for women GMs. Cordelia came along and stayed for part of it even though she’s not a GM and not interested in being one. Including Cordelia, there were eight of us. I think that part of that was that it was 8 a.m. on a Saturday so that being there required more effort than most people were willing to put forth. I know that wanting to go to the breakfast was part of the reason I didn’t play in anything last night. I really enjoyed the discussion which was pretty wide ranging. Cordelia left after about an hour and a half, but I stayed until things finally broke up at 11:30. Four of us stayed that long. I’m pretty certain that I was the oldest one there.

There was only one person pre-registered for my event. She’s someone I know and have gamed with previously. If Scott is willing to play, I can run something, just probably not what I had planned. I think though, that Scott and Rain wouldn’t mind if I go off script entirely. I’ll just be a little sad about all of the prep work I did that won’t get used.

No one pre-regged for my Sunday game or for Scott’s. I think the timing works against us. Any players we get will probably come in on generics and not really have planned to stay at the convention quite that late in the day.

We got out the door a little later yesterday than we intended, but the trip to the hotel went faster than Scott expected, and there was no line for picking up our pre-reg stuff. We had a game at 10. It was scheduled to run until 2, but at 12:30, the GM told us we’d run through everything she’d had planned. We were using the Leverage game rules, but the scenario kind of went sideways because the two guys playing the hitters refused to make plans or to cooperate with the rest of us. They just wanted to wave their guns around and shoot people. The rest of us pointing out that killing cops made all the other cops really enthusiastic about coming after us didn’t make any impression at all. Scott actually says that, because of those two players, the game left a bad taste in his mouth and that he really regrets that he’s not likely to have a chance to play with a different group any time soon.

Scott wanted to hang out at the convention until we absolutely had to leave to get Cordelia, but I was too tired and really couldn’t walk. Also, there weren’t that many people there, and the dealers’ room wasn’t open. If we were just going to sit around, I wanted to do it at home where I could deal with laundry and the dishes and all of that. Scott wanted to try to get our room early so that I could nap there. I wanted to lie down in my own bed.

Scott was pretty cranky with me because my attempt to nap meant the we left home about 5:30 last night which is, of course, an awful time to be on the highways around here. Me pointing out that none of us had anything scheduled until 10 p.m. didn’t make him happier.

I spent most of the evening in our hotel room. I started a couple of different bits of my Yuletide story. I’m not sure if I’ll keep them all, but right now, I’m planning five sections that will involve different character interactions. I’ll see how that goes.

Cordelia hung out here, too, mostly watching TV (well, trying to find something to watch on TV). We didn’t manage to get the heat to work, but we did manage to turn off the thing that was blowing freezing cold air throughout the room. Sadly for me, the room was cold enough that I wanted a blanket but not cold enough that the quilt on the bed was bearable.

I’m playing in a game from 8-12 tonight. I think I’ve played the system before, but it’s been at least twenty years, so I’m not actually sure. If I have played it before, it was with this particular gamemaster and likely at UCon. The game system is Chill. It’s a horror adventure game kind of in the same vein as Call of Cthulhu but without the trademarked bits. I don’t remember anything at all about the rules, but the GM listed it as no experience necessary, and I’m pretty sure I can adapt. I’ve had fun playing some thoroughly terrible game systems just because the GM and/or player group was good.
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I’m making slow but steady progress on the game scenario for UCon. I think I have one character completely done but for a few formatting decisions. I think the remaining characters will need about half an hour each to be completed. Right at the moment, I’m fiddling with the order in which I present the character information. I’m not sure there’s a good way to do this. The character I’m working on has a large, fairly indigestible lump of information about their powers. I want that information easily found because the player will need to refer to it during play, but if I put it first, the player may not actually reach the information about the character’s backstory and interactions with other characters.

Right now, I’m thinking to put character name and stats first then follow that with character backstory and such. I’ll either put the powers information at the end or make it a separate document. I may do it differently for different characters. I don’t know. Some characters won’t require nearly as much explanation for what they can do. This character has spells, many of them, and each of those needs to be explained in terms of effect and requirements for casting. (Spells in the game books are scattered. There’s a single section in the first book and then four sections, each attached to a specific npc, in the second book.)

I ended up buying the PDFs of the two game books. They were $12 each, but working from those is a heck of a lot easier in this case than going back and forth between the hard copies and documents on my laptop.

I spent a while walking around and playing Ingress yesterday after my visit to UHS. I shouldn’t have because it made my foot hurt a good bit, but I really needed to do something mindless, and it was pleasant to be outside in the cool air. A few people gave me strange looks for wandering around without a jacket, but I wasn’t cold. I managed to capture some new to me portals and to hack a very few new to me portals as well. I created a bunch of tiny fields (any field created is worth a tad more than 1200 points, so small fields are not terrible things). I used a lot of level one resonators because they were what I had the most of. I knew I wouldn’t actually be able to hold those portals for more than a few hours, tops, and I get the same number of points for placing a level one resonator as I do for placing anything more powerful.

Scott’s mother called while I was out. She just wanted to check to see how I was doing, healthwise. I doubt that it occurred to her that anyone at all could be upset about the election. Of course, she was also utterly convinced that last Monday was Halloween, so who knows? Maybe she didn’t vote at all.

I’m trying to figure out a good way to get my morning caffeine while we’re at the convention. I can take teabags and stevia, but I’ll only be able to use those when I’ve got about half an hour to spare, and I really can’t carry my mug with me as I wander around the convention or put it in my backpack in case I need it later. Usually, we’d just buy a bunch of small bottles of some caffeinated soda pop, but I’m not supposed to have anything like that unless I add massive amounts of psyllium husks which isn’t really doable when drinking from a bottle. I’m also not sure how the psyllium husks would interact with something carbonated; they’re really extraordinarily nasty in hot beverages but okay in cold orange juice as long as I drink it in under five minutes. Taking longer produces sludge that often can’t be poured.

And extra psyllium is just what I need right now after weeks of diarrhea, right?

At the physician’s assistant’s recommendation, I took immodium last night, and that seems to have stopped everything dead. I am not altogether convinced that that is better than the situation before. I certainly don’t feel very comfortable. I will probably keep taking the immodium over the weekend simply because I won’t have easy access to be visiting the bathroom every fifteen minutes, especially not when I’m running my Amber game.

Okay, I need to either write more characters or to start packing. Packing may win just because it’s less mentally exhausting and still needs doing before the same deadline as the game. I really, really don’t want to stay up late tonight because Scott and I signed up for a game that starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow. We’ll need time to load the car, drive to the convention, and then get our preregistration stuff. We’ll come home around the time Cordelia gets off of school to pick her up and get anything that we didn’t pack earlier.

Of course, given that I was up late last night, what I really, really want right now is a nap.
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I finished assigning all character points for my UCon game shortly before I went to bed last night. I think I’ve got reasonable balance between the characters and have spent their points on things that make sense for each character. I’ve still got to assign spells to the two characters who have sorcery, make lists of 'things to remember' for each character, and write up what each character knows about the others and about certain npcs that they know well. I also need to write some explanations of the various powers characters have, just in case the players aren’t familiar with the novels or the game rules.

Scott’s sister ambushed us last night with a request that we come up on Sunday (during UCon) to celebrate our niece’s birthday a couple of weeks early. I explained that we’d be busy, and she responded that it did sound like we’d 'be too tired.' Scott and I kind of boggled at that because I’d said that there really weren’t any windows in our schedule when we could leave the convention. We have four hours on Sunday afternoon between checkout from the hotel and when Scott and I both run games, but trying to get up there and back in that window wouldn’t be easy.

Parent teacher conferences took forever. I think we were there for more than two hours, trying to see three different teachers. We saw the orchestra teacher within ten minutes of arriving, and that made me hopeful that the other two would be as easy, but they weren’t. Nobody had anything bad to say about Cordelia, so that was nice. The orchestra teacher did say that, if Cordelia goes to Community and wants to keep on with viola, she’ll have to go to another high school (Pioneer) for that class. I overheard some parents talking about high school orchestra, and they were of the opinion that being in orchestra is like playing a sport all year in terms of time commitment and competitiveness.

The school counselor was hanging out in the hallway to talk to parents who were waiting to see various teachers. He talked extensively about high school options and encouraged everyone to apply to Community because it’s easier to say no after applying than to try to get in later if one hasn’t applied. He also said that they’re planning to have people from the various schools visit to talk to the eighth graders and that he will put together some information on the options so that parents can look at it all.

The walking involved in the conferences left my foot aching pretty badly. It wasn’t as painful as Sunday’s experience, but it was painful.

Scott and I got Chinese carryout for dinner. He had just enough time to shower between ordering and needing to leave to get the food. We didn’t end up eating until after 8:00 because our next door neighbor stopped by to talk about a letter she’s putting together to send to the city about the parking situation in our neighborhood. She wants the city to limit how long people can park on our street during the hours between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. That would still accommodate school drop off and pick up and would make it easier for the nursing home around the corner. I suggested that she mention that having trash pick up at the same time of day as school drop off is kind of dangerous because, due to the number of cars parking along our street, it’s very hard for the robotic arm to safely grab and lift the bins.

I called UHS (the clinic where my doctor works) yesterday. When I talked about tendonitis and pain, they said they couldn’t get me in until December 8th. When I mentioned the prolonged diarrhea, suddenly they wanted me in quickly. I’ll be going over there at 4:30 today (I got the last same day appointment because I called a bit more than an hour after they opened. I was up in time to call earlier, but my brain wasn’t working well enough until after 9:00). I won’t be seeing my doctor. I’m not sure if the clinician I’ll be seeing is a doctor, a physician’s assistant, or a nurse practitioner. I could look him up, but that would take more effort than it’s worth right now.

I feel like they’re overreacting because I have a pretty good idea of what’s been going on in that direction, and pretty much only the last week and a half have been illness. At least, I have other explanations for the earlier stuff. I’m not feeling bad, just annoyed at having to deal with it, so I’m pretty certain I’m neither dehydrated nor starving. I don’t have other symptoms unless the tendonitis is related. Some sort of long term, nasty intestinal bug might explain the sudden tendonitis issues as apparently certain infections can do that even after they’ve passed, something called 'reactive arthritis.' I’m fairly dubious that that’s what’s going on, but it’s possible. And there’s something really bizarre about getting tendonitis, at the same time and in the exact same place, on both hands.

I’ve already gotten about thirty emails from various political lists urging me to go and vote and telling me all about looking up my ballot in advance and finding my polling place and who to call if I need help with transportation. I know it’s important, but I’ve already done as much as I can do by sending in my absentee ballot. I’m kind of tempted to temporarily stop checking that email address. I could go in tomorrow and do some mass deletion…

I’ve tried a couple more tea samples in the last three or four days. Stash’s breakfast in Paris is a black tea with bergamot, lavender, and vanilla. I wasn’t sure I should try it because I’m allergic to the scent of lavender. I could definitely taste the bergamot, and at first, I could, I think, taste the lavender, but the lavender vanished rapidly. I’m not sure that this is one I’d go back to. It wasn’t terrible, but I don’t think bergamot is my thing.

I tried the other sample this morning. It’s Stash’s fusion breakfast green & black tea. I didn’t expect to like this because there’s nothing but black and green teas of various types mixed in together, but this reminded me a lot of tea at Chinese restaurants which is sort of a nostalgic thing for me. I might consider getting more of this one just because it’s something I could pretty reliably drink.

I’m working my way through a couple of different kinds of 'apple cider' teas that we’ve had for a while. I’ve been cold brewing those, mostly. I just want to use those up so we have more space for things that all three of us are likely to drink. I suppose I could offer these to our cleaning lady, but I kind of enjoy them. Not enough to buy more but enough not to mind drinking them. One is something we bought because Scott had gotten it before and liked it. The other, I bought because I knew Scott had liked the first one and this one was cheaper but much the same flavor.

I think I’m going to lie down and try to nap. Getting up at 8:00 was really hard, and I’m still dragging pretty badly.
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Scott tells me that there’s no way I’ll be able to watch Doctor Strange, even on a small screen, because of the way that certain scenes are filmed. Cordelia thought that the surgery scenes might be a problem for me, but I suspect that the movement on the screen will be more of an issue as that’s what gives me migraines.

We went to the library not long after Scott got home. Cordelia came with us because she had a hold to pick up. We could have gotten it for her (I still keep her library card because she hasn’t started carrying a wallet or purse yet. Even if I didn’t, Scott has scanned the barcode on the card and saved the image on his phone).

On our way home, we dropped Cordelia off at the bottom of the hill, near the church, and went on to the science center to recapture the portals that the other side had captured two or three hours before. We managed that without much trouble, at least from the Ingress side.

Unfortunately, the library trip plus twenty minutes of walking really made my left foot hurt. I think it went past a five on the zero to ten scale which was quite enough to make me unwilling to get up from the couch. I iced the dratted thing twice during the next few hours and took naproxen. I tried to find one or the other of my canes but couldn’t. I haven’t used one in years, so they were no longer where I had put them. Scott managed to find them in the dining room. I have no idea what they were doing there. The cane didn’t help much except to make Scott take the whole thing seriously.

This morning, the foot is better enough that I can do things like emptying the dishwasher and making myself breakfast. The cane I was using last night is in the bedroom now. My foot still hurts when I walk, but it’s nowhere near as bad. I just want to be able to take a walk and not have it wreck me.

I now have all six of the characters for my UCon game at 2/3 to 3/4 done. I’m not entirely happy with the one I wrote yesterday because it doesn’t seem to fit with the other characters very well. I’m not sure whether the problem is with that character not working or if it’s with the other characters being too connected. I could just drop that character. I set the maximum number of players at five, so six characters is more than I should need.

I got an audiobook yesterday at the library that I think I might actually get through quickly. It’s Tolkien’s The Children of Hurin read by Christopher Lee. Well, the first CD is read by Christopher Tolkien who is rather less compelling than Christopher Lee. I’m two CDs in (out of eight). My main difficulty is that I can’t remember all of the people mentioned.
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I ended up ordering a small pizza and a small salad for lunch yesterday. Scott got half of the pizza as his dinner and seems to have enjoyed it, so that’s good. I’m not sure the salad was a good idea because, eight hours later, I was still burping lettuce flavor. That happens about half the time when I have salad and is a huge reason why I avoid cucumbers which always have that effect.

I got through a bunch of library DVDs yesterday. I’ve got half of one left to watch and am not sure I will. I might just return the dratted thing to the library without finishing. I’m sort of vaguely interested in knowing what happens, but given that I’m about 1/3 of the way through, that seems like a weak reason to go on.

I have a book of poetry due back tomorrow. I’ve renewed it once and have only gotten about thirty pages in. I like it reasonably well, but there are so many other things that I want to get done that it’s low on my list of things to read. I’m not sure that renewing it again would actually lead to me reading more of it, so maybe I should just take it back. No one’s clamoring for the chance to read it, but…

Scott had to work early this morning, but they let him leave an hour or two early (I didn’t check my clock when he got home, so I’m not sure how early, just that he said they had). He picked up bagels on his way home and then fell into bed to sleep some more.

I woke with a headache. It had already started by the time Scott got home and was worse by the time I got up. I did manage to sleep in that gap, however, which was good. I took an Amerge, and that seems to have helped.

I still have two characters at 1/3 done and four characters at 2/3 done. Only five of the six will get played, even if the event fills up, but I want that extra character just in case because there’s one character who must be played as female while the other five can go either way.

I’ve only got one term left to define on the terminology sheet (Pattern is the one that’s left), and I’m trying to decide how to break up that sheet. Right now, it’s mostly alphabetical with a section at the end that explains some character sheet terminology rather than game world terminology. There are some terms that are both game world terminology and character sheet/rules issues, and I’m not quite sure how to treat those.

I’m trying to decide how many npcs I actually have to name in advance. A lot of the player characters have 'allies' and/or 'minions' as things they’ve paid points for, and I’m trying to decide whether those need to be solid in advance or if I’m willing to make them up as I go. It might make sense to leave them so that the players can ask for what they need as they need it. If I have a list of names to draw on, I can do that reasonably well. (Me naming characters on the fly doesn’t tend to work out so well. Scott will never let me live down the ultra-powerful npc mage that I named Ernie because that was the only name that I could come up with on the spot.)

Maybe I can get Scott to come up with some names. I have an excellent baby name book that has lots of variant names, so I could hand him that and ask him to make some lists. He’s doing the grocery shopping right now, and he still needs to rake leaves, do some of his own convention preparation, and pay the bills today, but maybe this evening… He can do it while watching the Star Trek movie he just bought.

Of course, he has occasional issues with selecting names that people can’t reliably pronounce. He once named a geo-political group in a LARP the Remaranans. We got a lot of very confused players as they tried to say that. I think some folks gave up and called them the Ram-a-lan-a-ding-dongs for the entire game.

Cordelia’s school had a middle school fun night last night, so she and her friends went to that. It ended at 8:30, so she got home much earlier than she normally would on a Friday evening. She ended up going to bed early, too, about 9:30 or 10:00.

I stayed up until a little after 11:00, just in case Scott’s work was going to call to say he didn’t need to come in. They didn’t, of course, but they sometimes do.

Scott tells me that conditions at work are improving under the new manager. Basically, the new manager understands people a lot better than the old one did. The old one was mostly the top expert in how the machines worked and didn’t much care if the workers were happy or miserable because he didn’t realize it mattered. They’ve shunted him sideways in order to keep his expertise with the machines, but he’s not telling people what to do any more.
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Okay, the game preparation is moving along. I now have four characters at 2/3 done. The list of canonical npcs is complete, and the list of canonical terms is almost done (I’ve got five things left to define). I’ve got two characters left to get moving on, and they are, of course, the most difficult. I also need to name a lot of non-canonical npcs, decide what’s generally known about them, and figure out which characters know which of those npcs personally. I have decided that I’m ignoring about 90% of the second series. I’m keeping some characters and some bits of information about the Courts of Chaos.

I’ve tried a few of the singleton Stash teabags that have been floating around the kitchen for a while. I didn’t end up noting down all of them because most were black tea variants that tasted alike to me. Yesterday, I tried guayusa tea with mint early in the day (I can’t safely have mint late in the day). It was okay, but I don’t think I’ll buy more.

A couple of days before that, I tried Stash’s licorice spice tea. I kind of liked that, but I think I would need to dilute it a lot more or maybe mix it with something else. It was very sweet, and it left an aftertaste that— Well, it wasn’t horrible, but it kind of felt weird, like I had a film of flavor over my tongue and palate. I was only able to drink half the cup, and that took about three hours to get through. I wonder if this would mix with black tea of some sort?

Scott has been having the same intestinal difficulties that I have, so maybe this is a bug that I caught from him. He started having trouble before I did, and he felt okay yesterday. I had enough gas yesterday that I kept having to lie down to ease the pain of it. I’m still having trouble this morning, but who knows? If it is a bug, it will pass.

Cordelia’s teachers are planning to do a 'Colonial Day' either the Monday or the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and have asked parents to donate supplies. We’re willing, but there are a lot of things where they haven’t said how much they actually need. Embroidery floss, for example, would be easy to pick up, but how much and what color(s)? They want the kids to all cross stitch their names on bookmarks. I haven’t done cross stitch since I was seventeen, and I never did it in a way where I had to figure out quantities of anything. Or we could provide freshly baked bread, but how many loaves are needed? They seem to be asking for 40-50 of most of the stuff for which they give quantities, and I know there are between 40 and 45 kids in the eighth grade.

I have not managed to make any of the phone calls that I need to. Some of them, I could, in theory, manage today, but I don’t know that I will. I hate making phone calls; they’re so very, very hard.

The folks at the library found the missing book on CD, so I’ll be able to pick that up on Sunday, but they did not find the missing CD. I moved the couch and didn’t find the dratted thing. I have not looked under the loveseat yet. I probably ought to get down on the floor in our bedroom and see if it fell under the bed or something. It’s not on my table in there or on my shelves.

I have three episodes left in season one of Murder She Wrote (and I keep wondering why all of these people, mostly police, are handling guns and other such bits of evidence with their bare hands). I also have two library DVDs, one of which I’m halfway through and the other of which I haven’t started yet, and a Netflix DVD that arrived yesterday.

I’m debating ordering in for lunch today because nothing currently in the house appeals to me. But nothing I could get delivered appeals much either.
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Our gaming group met last night. We ended a little early, but we went on with the first contact situation. The alien creature seems to be able to hear us speak but didn’t make any sounds itself. Instead, it made a lot of different gestures with its various tentacles. The creature also seems to be extremely intelligent in terms of figuring out what we were trying to convey. I don’t think we did nearly as well.

I slept until nearly 10:30 this morning. I’m hoping I can get to the point where I get up earlier than that.

My digestive system is still hugely cranky. It’s been a week since I last had the stevia with inulin and four days since I last had Zoloft. I have no clue what’s going on in that direction. I’ve been spending the first five or six hours that I’m awake every day dealing with that, so I don’t dare leave the house until late afternoon.

I keep writing more of a story that doesn’t need to be done until around the end of January instead of the UCon scenario or my Yuletide story. I think that I’m struggling with the UCon scenario because I have to write everything as if all the players will lack knowledge of Zelazny’s novels. That means explaining a lot of things that the characters ought to know but that aren’t directly relevant to the scenario. If I only fill in what’s relevant, then the answers will be pretty obvious. I’ve almost finished the background stuff, the canonical npcs and the terms that I may be tossing out without explaining every time. I have three characters about two thirds done and three characters that only have notes and stats. I’m writing these the way I would LARP characters in terms of style and target length. I don’t want to overwhelm people, but I also don’t want them missing information they ought to have. For LARP characters, I always end with a list of 'things to remember,' the points that I think are most important to break out of the text of the character sheet.

I haven’t managed to find that missing library CD. I think I’m going to have to move the couch and loveseat in order to look underneath, but I’m going to search everywhere else I can think of first. At this point, I can renew the dratted thing, and I will if I don’t find it. I suppose I should ask the library to look, too, but I haven’t been able to get myself to do it.

This is very odd— My laptop is prompting me to download an update to iTunes, 12.5.3, but according to the App Store thingy, I’ve already downloaded and installed that specific update three times. I’m very puzzled by that because I haven’t gotten error messages of any sort. Anybody else had this issue with iTunes updates recently?
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Scott and I did a bit of Ingress yesterday. We went to a park on the other side of town that was all level eight portals held by the other team. We hacked a lot of them and captured four. We didn’t try to capture more because we ran out of time. I hacked quite a few new to me portals on the trip there and the trip home.

From there, we went to Saica, a Japanese restaurant near our house. We finished up in plenty of time to get home before Cordelia did. I just ate my leftovers for breakfast.

We had a Stargate game session last night. It was more of trying to deal with the first contact situation. I was kind of groggy the way I have been the last week or so. Our characters are going to be replaced in the first contact situation by actual experts who know what they’re doing (our characters range in level from 1st-3rd, so we’re not that good at what we do. We’re just the best that the base we’re at has at the moment).

I haven’t managed to watch any of the shows that we normally watch as a family in at least a week. Scott and Cordelia have gone ahead without me. I can tell that I don’t care very much about any of them because I haven’t felt motivated to catch up even though I could. I think I’m two episodes behind on Agents of SHIELD (though Scott and Cordelia haven’t watched this week’s episode either, so I’m only one behind relative to them) and one each on The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.

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