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So Many Things Left Unsaid

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Thursday, May 8th, 2014
9:44 pm - Hey all
You're a good bunch and I miss you all. The world hasn't quite moved on has it? May I recommend an album for you? Bastille's Bad Blood is amazing stuff. Many thanks to mycroftca for a birthday remembrance. :D

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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
10:07 pm - Whoa
I remember this place. I think it's been a few years. Missed a lot of you at Arisia.

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Thursday, July 11th, 2013
10:21 pm - Happy Birthday Bill
Geez. Two years go by. Okay here's a shoutout to one of the most upstanding and regular guys on LJ. Happy Birthday mycroftca! Hoping it's all still happening for you on the edge of the great and bountiful Pacific.

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Sunday, August 14th, 2011
11:28 pm - It's almost time to go
I have loved so many LJ moments. I need to back up my own one more time. I wish that I could also back up my friends' journals. To show the whole community. There is however a crazy quilt of interlocked posts with varying levels of permissions.

So it goes.

If you didn't figure it out by now, it's almost time to bid farewell. For many of you, you might try me on LiveJournal. I don't know how easy to find, but start with Bill Collins and the whole "at gmail dot com" thing.

Should you prefer a little more conversation, please send me a ping or email and I shall provide a Google+ invite.


I'll visit again. But not often. And not for long. Thank you all for so many fine hours and minutes and seconds and the effort to offer your words and thoughts and deeds and hopes and dreams and cares.

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011
10:25 pm - Z is for Zeppelin
So I'm thinking that post-Gen Con I should take a break from all this D&D stuff. Not that I have free time. No no no. Not at all. However, I've been coasting a bit on D&D and enjoying the infrequent Spirit of the Century and/or Dresden Files game.

Which gets me to thinking.

I last finished an ongoing campaign circa 2004. If you count the three (yes three) online RPGs I was running, they hit the skids around 2008. (Much to my disappointment. So many good things left unfinished.)

I haven't run a planned game in a long time. Oh sure. I *love* convention games. They're awesome. In fact, there's a case to be made that they help keep me sane.

They aren't a regular game.

So what about them Zeppelins? I'm thinking a world of cloud intelligences, gasbags, clockpunk, magic, and more.

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
11:45 pm - Sports Related Injuries
I'm fairly certain I have a partially dislocated left pinky. Been like that for three+ weeks. Eh. Doesn't hurt. Couldnt' find any websites on how to easily treat without X-rays. So much for frontier living!

There may also be bruises on my left shin from a parkour style workout last Friday, and shaky knees from neglecting my quadriceps workouts. Oh wait. Is that an injury or just a whine? I have a few assorted aches and pains. The shin splints have transmuted but not gone entirely away.

So what.

I'm working out. I feel great. I will keep going!

Man, I *love* the feeling that I get afterward. For a couple days. How did I go through life without these rushes?

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Thursday, June 16th, 2011
11:06 pm - TCBY back.

And cool.

Imagine that.

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Sunday, June 12th, 2011
6:54 pm - "Nice try."
It was close to 3 miles in. I passed another runner. The finish line was ahead. The rain was holding off. Then I heard the sounds.

Thud thud Thud thud Thud thud ThudthudThudthud

Someone was catching up to me. I put on a burst of speed.


They got faster.

Whuf! My breath left me fast. I pumped harder. My arms pistoned. Slapping my feet hard down on the damp pavement I glanced up. Crowds hovered around two blue padded posts. "Finish" it read. I pelted down the slight slope.

I heard the runner behind me:

thud thud thud thud...thud...thud


I kept up my speed across the line. Looking back, I saw this young kid - 22-25 maybe - right behind me. Not having any idea of the etiquette, I opened my mouth. "Nice try," I said. Not meanly. I was sincere.

Hours later I realized that I must have sounded a bit like a jerk. But hey. I won. There's a reason guys are competitive.

(So this was my first ever 5K by the way. Finished #82 of 450. Time of 24:06, which is a 7:46 pace. Pretty happy about that.)

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Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
10:59 pm - D&D with the Boy
Liam is 9. He has Asperger's and (recently evaluated) severe anxieties. Homework take 1.5 to 2 hours a night. Until this week.* When he did it early. And wanted to play D&D instead.

That's a bargain.

I took it.

Night One: We made his character. His PC is also called Liam. heh. He started his adventure. He ran across a spiker on his way to the Traders by the lake. Boom. One good shot. Down it went. He kept going, meeting Seanus the Loreseeker. Just before the session closed, they came across a figure in gold armor shot with flames.

To be Continued....

Night Two: The technodwarf snarled a challenge. The two attacked! Magic ice flared into mist and vapor on the creature (Seanus) moments before two well placed shots rang out and downed it! It de-resed.

(This was his first critical. I am a proud geek dad. I rarely see his face light up like that.)

They explored about, after taking its armor and technologically enhanced sword (runes run down the blade, like the effect from the Matrix). Then they saw a light blinking down a crevasse. At an ancient security door, they paused, as a noise came down the slope behind them.

To be Continued...

Night Three: A great blind ape snarled its echolocating sound then charged! They rushed about the cavern, ice magic and bullets ringing. It took a shot, and a second shot. It slammed Seanus into Liam and both went down. Up stood the ranger and put a third shot into the ape's brain. Splat.

(This was his second critical. Tonight's line: ‎"I can't believe I killed a blind ape with two bullets. Now can I use that healing surge?")

They entered the blue glowing door, to find a room filled with mysterious boxes. As they stepped in, the door closed, the floor jolted, and it dropped downward!

To be Continued...

See how I'm using the storyteller format here? That old Scheherezade trick? It really, really works. He can't wait for more. I'm enjoying myself immensely. Wow is this an upgrade from supervising homework.

*He's had 1:1 therapy for several months, and we started a course of anti-anxiety med that will last up to a couple years. On the big plus side, when it's over, he won't develop depression. Apparently, anxiety in kids leads to that condition in adults. Who knew?

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Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
8:16 pm - homework
I so look forward to June 17, 2011 - the end of the school year. It's also when my son should not have any homework requiring monitoring until sometime in September 2011.

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Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
10:42 am - Stuff to Read
I think I'm going to start keeping a list of titles - for my old age and impending retirement at 75. Feel free to nominate ideas! If I'm interested I'll add them.

Cory Doctorow - Makers, a Novel of the Whirlwind Changes to Come

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making” by Catherynne M. Valente*

Steve Hockensmith - Pride & Prejudice with Zombies
On the Wrong Track
A Crack in the Lens
The Black Dove
World's Greatest Sleuth
Dear Mr. Holmes

*This is the second time a good friend has recommended this book. I need to read it.

current mood: chipper

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Friday, April 29th, 2011
2:11 pm - Exercise-oops!
The workout log doesn't lie. In my mind, I ran 3 times the last three weeks. My mind had filled in the gap, calculated differently, moved days around, something. I had run one week for three times that week. Yep.

That somehow translated into three times every week this month.


Gotta work on that. On the plus side, my mileage is way up! Over 8 this week already, and just shy of 8 (at 7) last week. I really want to exercise for an hour a day four to five days a week.

That may be coming.

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Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
5:10 pm - RPG Coincidences
Open a magazine from 1992. See a letter from Martin Ralya (now the Treasure Tables blogger), another one from Paul Cardwell (CAR PGA), and multiple articles from Spike Y. Jones. Plus, an adventure that appears to be the original of the GURPS Hanger 13 book. Weird.

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Thursday, April 7th, 2011
10:43 pm - Eating Mods
Do you read this journal? Do I know you in real life? Are you one of the half-dozen or more friends who commented on how my weight loss/health improvement inspired you? Cool if you are. And actually, I just enable you to inspire you. Seriously.

I thought I'd jot down a few of the tricks I use to keep the weight off. These are small individually. In combination though, they works well. Each one may not suffice for any given person. You may have ideas of your own! Share 'em please. Go find more tricks. It's the way to go.

If you decide to use these, I recommend one a week or better yet one a month. Start building habits. Ideally you should work on one of these until it becomes ingrained (habits take 30 days to form). Incidentally, none of these are my own. I'm sure each and every one of these was first published elsewhere.

(I'll add more when I remember them.)

1. Don't get the fries with lunch or dinner.
- it's okay to ask the waitress to leave them out
- side salad substitutions are great
- double coleslaw is okay, but remember it's more dressing
- steamed veggies = awesome especially with a little lemon juice

2. Have eggs for breakfast several days a week
.- eggs are a natural hunger controller
- they have good cholesterol to balance the bad
- remember to eat within 45 minutes of waking!

3. Take small bites. Of *everything*.
- cut the steak small
- cut the chicken small
- savor the stuff dammit!

4. Put your plate away when done.
- you won't be tempted to have more

5. Never eat anything fried.
- okay once a month it's cool to make panko-crusted chicken or haddock that's pan fried
- and yeah, every 2-3 months I break down and enjoy a grease-fest with the family from Five Guys
- I pay for that immediately after

6. Eat small meals every 3-4 hours.
- this was a big one; a hard habit to change
- I eep various packages of nuts or protein bars or fruit bars in my desk for the 3:00 meal
- yes this means that if you eat dinner at 6 PM and you're up at 10 you'll have to eat again

7. Stop buying commercial soups and other salty, salty products.
- make your own with no sodium, then salt later when you reheat
- if you add up the amount of salt we consume daily against the recommended allowance, it's disgusting

8. Substitute non-fat greek yogurt all over the place.
- better for your geeky gamer friends than sour cream
- tastes the same
- comes with fruit for breakfast

9. Treat yourself to a big feast once a month or a fun meal once a week.
- you have to cut loose every now and then
- utter deprivation means you'll lose momentum

10. Eat a veggie meal once a week.
- I love an extra cheese veggie sub from Subway or D'Angelos
- veggie sushi is awesome

11. Skip the damn cream dressing.
- I use balsamic vinaigrette on everything
- sometimes I even go without dressing

12. Exercise, exercise, exercise!
- if you imagine that the weight around your middle is like an overflow of water, you realize that you have to drain the pond
- pumps for "water" aka fat are called liposuction
- it's expensive, painful, and doesn't cure the bad habits
- this one is a huge key guys - HUGE! - exercise

13. Focus on reduction of unneeded carbohydrates over fats.
- your body needs a certain amount of fat
- hunger for carbs means your body wants more protein
- so eat a piece of chicken or something instead of a box of Cheez-Its already

14. Reduce refined sugar everywhere you can; slowly.
- I cut back from 3 sugars a day to 2 in my coffee
- then I went to 1
- now when I get to the bottom of the cup, there's this warm, sweet flavorful finish
- it balances out the fact that it got cold
- I never enjoyed cold coffee that wasn't an iced coffee before

15. Find mayonnaise substitutes.
- yes it's eggs, but it's eggs plus - usually sugar
- try making egg salad or tuna salad with mustard or half-mustard - wow!

16. Hummus is awesome.
- I started eating it at night for my late meal.
- It's got so many varieties out there.
- Find a decent corn chip that you like without too much salt and grease (skip Fritos)

17. Unless you are deathly allergic, eat fish twice a week.
- this is an American Heart Association type recommendation folks!
- it lowers your cholesterol and improves your health
- when cooking, bring the flavor to it *without salt*

18. Order appetizers for your main meal dining out
- just make sure there's enough in it to sustain

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Monday, April 4th, 2011
9:48 pm - New Running Shoes
Ah vanity! I succumbed to the lure of good running shoes. Thanks to my days of working at a bike store/sporting goods store, I know that you get a much better result by talking to someone knowledgeable. I took myself down to the Fleet Feet franchise in West Hartford. (The owner had done a great presentation at my gym. So I had a Google scent trail.)

This great Aussie guy named Sean - no relation to SKR even if he looked a bit like him - helped me out. I found the look of modern shoes...weird. They have...cloth honeycombs on the tops with glittery stuff for edging. But they feel great! They are light as hell. (The glittery stuff is reflective. Okay, suddenly I feel better.) With semi-orthotic inserts, the shoes fit like snug and tight and I float over the pavement when I run in them.

After I got home, I changed into my running togs and went out for a fast run. Yeah, they will shave 30 seconds off my mile. Eventually on every mile, not just the first of 3 or 6.

Very happy with them.

I consider the ~$120 US an important health care cost. Really I do. I'm saving loads on the ER bills 20 years from now.

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Saturday, March 26th, 2011
7:50 pm - Flatland
by Edwin A. Abbott

#6 or #7 for the year. Finished it on the plane out to Grand Rapids, Michigan. For the first time, I was highly intrigued by the concept of the Fourth Dimension. Especially after reading about Flatland and Lineland. I enjoyed the Square - and wonder if that's where the derogatory about "what a square" came from. Or at least found inspiration.

The book did have a bit of sexism, although it seemed clear that when corrected for the Victorian era mores, the author at least thought better of women based on Square's comments. That was interesting but tangential to the math.

I did find it amusing that certain expressions remained even though they don't work in a two-dimensional universe. Things like "stood up". They implied height, which the Flatlanders can't imagine. For the most part.

Overall, well worth the read.

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Sunday, March 20th, 2011
1:57 pm - Obnoxious Runner Fashion
Yep, I have my first pair of compression tights. I love 'em. It was high 30s when I set out. My legs were warm! They were comfortable. I felt like a runner superhero - encasing my legs in black pseudo-spandex. (Hm, what color cape?)

I noticed on the way back that the wicking from the material was excellent - I barely had any sweat on my bod. That was a huge improvement. Next I need to get really good shoes and some tops, plus a pair of compression shorts for summer.

The brand? Nike. I am happy I went up the $10 over the other brand. I'm told there are better, but for starters this is fine. I even got them on sale with a coupon.

Why the title? Well, we people getting fit are kinda obnoxious about pointing out that we look good in this stuff. My friend JT has cracked that I "have the fashion gene". Maybe I do.

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1:37 pm - Happy Birthday to

Sorry I am a day late!

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
9:22 pm - Books Read 2011
I managed to finish a book of short stories that I started *last summer*. This is #6 for the year, or at least half of #6.

The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures

I bought this on closeout. That was about the right price. Many stories had interesting Vernian angles, but merely told something anew in the Verne universe, or added to an existing story. A handful however really sang. The one that I liked the most was "The Secret of the Sahara", which involved a scientific expedition into the sea that now covers the Sahara. It has a lot of neat elements to it, including an amusing end twist, and it was well written. The author was Richard A. Lupoff.

Others were decent, like "The Very First Affair" by Johan Heliot, which manages a neatly clever combination of dimensional travel and several of my favorite villains.

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Sunday, March 6th, 2011
12:38 pm - Books Read in 2011
I will probably make this a running list. Reviews will be optional as time permits. Perhaps a short sentence or too. I want to thank my new job, time spent in waiting rooms, doctor's offices, and other weird situations where I couldn't bring my laptop for giving me the time to read.

1. The Rational Optomist (How Prosperity Evolves), by Matt Ridley
2. Blood Rites, by Jim Butcher
3. The Bonesetters Daughter, by Amy Tan
4. The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
5. Cut, by Patricia McCormick

The last one is a short YA novel. Yet it's depiction of life in Rehab rings true. Interesting note - the back cover indicates that it was the author's first novel and she spent 3 years researching it.

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