Monday, December 31, 2007

I did a short bit of metal detecting on my lunch break at Hounz Lane Park today. I found a Mike's Hard Lemonade bottle top and an old pull tab. I also spent fifteen minutes hunting for something that was showing up as a dime 6-8 inches deep, but had to return to work before I fount it. I suspect it's junk metal, a hunk of it, and it's deeper down than I dug.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Busy Holidays coupled with inconsistent Web access equals no posting by me. And it sounds like Erin will wake from her nap (on the floor of the hallway) soon, so this is likely to be brief.

All yesterday I worked on a painting for Jill's bedroom for her birthday. Pictures forthcoming. It is not done, but is nearly so, after about twelve solid hours of work. 28 x 40 inches of kitty cats and butterflies.

Like my brother Brian, I got a metal detector for Christmas. It's a Garrett Ace 250, which is a good one. Lots of fun so far, but the time I've been able to spend with it is limited. According to his blog, he's found a dollar in change, and I'm only at 48 cents. 18 of that came from my yard or the yard next to mine (the house is unoccupied). The rest came from my parents' back yard. I've found bottle caps, nails, construction material, and misc. bits of crud, but the major component so far has been coins, so I guess that bodes well. I find myself mentally tracing driving paths across town, trying to remember places I've seen that might be good hunting grounds.

I'm reading Tolkien's Children of Hurin. Good so far.

Two D&D games this month. Friday night we left off with the three PCs present entering the forboding and fortified lair of goblins and ogres, looking for two missing comrades. Last time they tried this, two party members died. However, they succeeded in killing dozens of goblins and ogres, including some really tough ones. This time out, the PCs are trying to be a little less frontal assault-ish. We'll see how that goes. I'm very interested in seeing how this plays out.

Today I raked the front yard and crushed aluminum cans.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

More D&D

This takes way too long, but how could I not?
What D&D character are you?

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Bard/Sorcerer (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:







Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Bards often serve as negotiators, messengers, scouts, and spies. They love to accompany heroes (and villains) to witness heroic (or villainous) deeds firsthand, since a bard who can tell a story from personal experience earns renown among his fellows. A bard casts arcane spells without any advance preparation, much like a sorcerer. Bards also share some specialized skills with rogues, and their knowledge of item lore is nearly unmatched. A high Charisma score allows a bard to cast high-level spells.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

थे आर्डर ऑफ़ थे स्टिक।

Hmm. It seems I've tripped some switch for Hindi.


I’d guess that everyone who is interested in such a thing has already seen The Order of the Stick, a D&D online comic. But just in case you are interested and haven’t seen it, here is the link. I think it’s fine geeky entertainment and provides an excellent view of the D&D Experience.

I’m only up to episode 163.

Inside this skinny person is a fat person trying to get out.

The past couple of days I’ve not been well. I’ve had a head cold with a cough and congestion (and that has been the status quo for a couple of months, except for a 1-week break from it last week.) And for the past day or two, my stomach has been a little off; whether from Crohn’s disease, or cold medicine, or related to my head cold in some other way, I don’t know, but it’s just been sort of yucky. And I’ve been tired and run-down.

I say all this to explain why, as I was driving to work this morning, it occurred to me that I should really lay off the holiday snacks for a day. I said to myself, “OK, no cookies or candies or whatever at work today.” This office, you know, is zonkers for snacks. It is definitely worth checking the break room every morning to see if anyone brought in donuts or a cake or cookies. This time of year, we’re up to our incisors in sweets.

So I issued my own little moratorium, and yet I walked through the break room and saw Krispy Kremes and a tray of candies. I ended up taking a chocolate-dipped Oreo and a chocolate-covered pretzel. The Oreo was especially good.

I don’t gain weight because the things that make me gain weight (that is, food in general) make me sick. But I have no will power. Or very little. I just successfully fought a fifteen minute battle with myself to resist the strong desire to get a donut. “There are only a few left!” my glutton self said.

“They should go to someone else,” my wise self replied.

“Well, let’s compromise. Go get another Oreo.”

“Good idea. A compromise. Yeah, that Oreo was better than a donut, anyway—hey, wait a second. I said no more, and I meant it.”

“Well, how about just one of those little cookie bar things. They were small. Really small.”

“Yeah, they were. But, umm, no. Nice try. I feel like crap already.”

“I’ll be back later.”

“I know.”

The funny thing is, now that a half hour has elapsed since my inner contest, I have almost no desire for sweets. It doesn’t sound good. Like many other things that I find very hard to resist, if I can hold out for just a little while, the impulse subsides.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Leonard Cohen waltzes back in

Once, a few years ago, I decided to listen to my Best of Leonard Cohen CD, but the case was empty. I checked the CD player, Kim’s old one that hadn’t been used too much in a while, and it wasn’t there either. Then I remembered, “Oh, yeah, I put it in the CD carrier I took with me to Oklahoma City when I went for training a while back.” I looked in the CD carrier, in all the CD carriers. Not there either.

After searching some more, I pretty much concluded that I had left it in my rental car in OKC. I’d looked behind book shelves, behind the entertainment center, everywhere. Very sad, although I was amused by the idea of some dude in OKC sitting down in the rental car, and suddenly hearing “So Long Marianne” or “Sisters of Mercy.” He’d have to think, “What kind of weirdo had this car before me?”

I don’t know what trip to OKC this would have been. I’ve been out there twice in the past five years: Winter 2003 and Spring 2005. I can’t recall which trip this would have been, although I really feel like it was before Erin was born, making it 2003.

This Leonard Cohen CD had not been what I expected it to be when I got it. I thought it would be more brooding and electronic, but this was much older Cohen and sounds acoustic and, I don’t know, dippy. Brooding but with a slightly whiny voice. But I listened to it and tried to like it, and pretty soon I did. I began to like it quite a bit.

I’ve missed it from time to time, but never replaced it. The empty CD case hung around just in case, somehow, the CD turned up.

Last night I was switching out our computer monitors, and knew it would take a little while to do. It was late and everyone else was in bed, so I decided to put on some music. Nothing too intrusive. As I skimmed the CDs, I saw the Leonard Cohen case and pulled it out. I could tell by its weight there was nothing in it. I opened it, looked, closed it again. “I suppose,” I thought, “I should throw away the inserts and use this case to house one of our other music or picture CDs. There is plenty of stuff here I can get rid of to make a little room, and this case is at the top of the list.”

Then I skimmed a little further, and saw Radiohead’s Amnesiac. It’s been a long time since I listened to that, maybe a couple of years. That would be perfect. I opened it and there, on top of the Radiohead CD, was The Best of Leonard Cohen.

What’s weird is that I feel quite strongly that I have listened to Amnesiac since the other CD went missing.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No more leak

Oooh, I forgot to mention. The back of our house no longer leaks. The gutter guy put in a nice new drip edge, and that took care of it. The contractor’s advice: The damage inside the walls is minor and non-structural. It has dried out now that the water has stopped leaking into it. Instead of spending thousands of dollars to fix it, just whistle a happy tune and be glad you caught it before it got worse.