Gaming fun

Jan. 17th, 2015 01:16 am
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Started running a new Pathfinder game tonight. Currently the group only has 3 players and no healer, but they managed to pick Lawful Evil, Chaotic Neutral, and Neutral Good, so at least we have the alignments covered.

Tonight's session involved: detective work, arm-wrestling, impenetrable nautical jargon, and providing relationship advice to a teenage tengu. "Don't commit petty theft for just anybody, save it for someone special!"

Now to plot the next one...
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My paper has been accepted for NTTS in Brussels for March, so I'll be overseas in ARGH ONLY TWO MONTHS AWAY BETTER RENEW PASSPORTS! and travelling on via Iceland, UK, and USA as part of Rey's 50th-birthday holiday trip.

We saw "The Imitation Game" yesterday. I had mixed feelings about it...Read more... )
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I do like a good mashup, and this is an excellent mashup: "Maiden Goes To Hollywood" with bonus Sir Ian.

Bonus points if you already knew the link between Iron Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Frankie's "Welcome To The Pleasuredome".

More where that came from.
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It's not quite six months since we were a two-dog household, and now they're both gone. We took Basil to the vet just last Thursday and he was surprised by how well Basil was looking, but warned us that it probably wouldn't last.

Read more... )

He was so very different from Dog-Or. Dog-Or was an uncomplicated dog who loved everybody and assumed they loved him back (mostly correctly). Basil had a lot of defensive behaviours, he bit all of us at least once, and he was cautious about us - he would give my hand a very polite little lick when he was feeling friendly. When you called him, he'd stop to think about whether he really wanted to come. (Baths: no thank you.) But it was clear he liked being around us, and not just at mealtimes; when Rey was out he'd camp by the door waiting for her to come home.

I wish I knew where he came from before the Lost Dog's Home, whether there's somebody out there wondering whatever became of their little black-and-white borglie. We only got the last quarter of the story, but we did what we could with it.


May. 25th, 2014 08:19 am
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Today we were almost trampled to death by a small black-and-white dog who wanted us to know that it's Feeding Basil Time.

I can see subtle hints of illness; the vet told us "could be as quick as three weeks" and it's already been almost two. But for the time being he's happy and getting a lot of love.


May. 23rd, 2014 09:42 pm
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Committing these things to memory:

A white-tipped tail, quite out of proportion to its owner, standing high above his head when happy, waving as if he's trying to hail a taxi.

Pointed ears, one straight, one folded, twitching at the mention of his name.

The rituals of Wanting Something. The plaintive eyes, head slightly cocked, showing off those ears to best advantage. The small polite lick on my hand, like a gentleman offering his card. The offered paw, a preamble to the rollover and the belly. The frantic circles at feeding time and the leap-thump-leap-thump as he overcompensates for the shortness of his legs.

The appetite, gulping down food unchewed before it can be taken away.

The shedding. So much fur, finding its way into everything.

The mind, too sharp by half, that always knows what we're up to.

The fears. Alarm at loud noises, the tail tucked down between his legs as cars drive by. The jealousy over food and the reflexive snarl when suddenly woken - and the apology afterwards. The dog who crept into a dark cupboard on his first day with us and sat there so quietly that we looked there twice and missed him; the dog who sneaks under our bed at night like a little ninja.

The sore spots that we never understood but eventually learned to avoid.

The delight every day when we come home, sniffing our legs to find out where we've been and who we've seen, tail lashing hard enough to hit himself in the face.

And now, counting cans and wondering if the dogfood will outlast the dog. Oh, little fellow, I wish you were staying with us.


May. 13th, 2014 03:04 pm
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This morning the vet diagnosed Basil with advanced lymphoma. This was quite a shock to us; he's not a young dog (somewhere around 11-12) and he's had a few health problems, but we certainly weren't expecting this.

We might be able to get him a year or so with chemo; from what I can make out, chemo doesn't knock dogs about as badly as humans, but I think quite likely it'd still be very stressful for him. He's a nervous dog who's afraid of a lot of things, including the vet's office, and I can't imagine he'd deal well with having a drip inserted regularly.

Otherwise it's palliative treatment, and probably only a couple of months.

Poor guy. At least with Dog-Or we knew he'd had a long and happy life with us. Basil's a rescue dog; we'll never know his story before he came to us, but I don't think it was a happy one. He's always been defensive, the sort of dog who'd bite you if you touched him in his sleep (and then apologise afterwards) but he's mellowed out a lot in the time he's been with us; there are still behavioural issues but he clearly likes us and wants to please us. I really did hope we'd have a bit longer to enjoy one another's company.
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Thanks to everyone who offered their sympathy; I won't reply individually to everybody, but I do feel loved, and it helps a lot.
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We took His Majesty to the vet for the last time today. I've been crying on and off all week, knowing this was coming.

Medical details. )

I will miss him terribly. When we looked at the vet notes from an earlier visit, somebody had noted "lovely dog" on his record, and he really was. I don't think he ever bit anybody in anger (there were a couple of accidents as he grew old and blind and mistook G's fingers for bacon) and he loved to cuddle. On cold nights he'd jump on the bed and nudge me until I lifted the quilt for him to burrow under and snuggle against our knees.

Thanks to friends and family who've offered sympathy. I know a lot of you loved him too, and as far as I can tell he loved pretty much everybody. It was a good life and one worth some tears.
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Last year Rey and I saw "The Sapphires", a movie about four female Aboriginal singers and their dissolute Irish manager.

In that order. Chris O'Dowd does have an important role in the story and he gets a fair bit of screen time, but it is very much "Aboriginal girl group and their manager". With the "Aboriginal" bit being an important part of it all.

Here is an interesting comparison of the Australian and US DVD covers...
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Happy Mother's day to all those who've brought up children, whether their own or somebody else's.

But... thinking also of those for whom this day is a painful one. Hugs to them of you as wants 'em.
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is still setting an example to authors by receiving reader criticism with the quiet calm and grace for which she is so justly renowned.
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After a good spot of tunnel-bashing our heroic D&D adventurers emerge from under a tombstone in Ye Olde Cemetery and are spotted by town guards, who want to know what they're up to. Our response, paraphrased:

"Quick! What should we tell them?"



"We could tell them we were fighting the undead menace that was threatening this town."

"Hey, that's actually true."

"Hooray! We don't need to lie! This time."
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My uncle mentioned a line from James McAuley a while back. It resonated with me, and I just got around to looking up the rest of the poem. An excerpt:

People do what they can; they were good people,
They cared for us and loved us. Once they stood
Tall in my childhood as the school, the steeple
How can I judge without ingratitude?

Judgement is simply trying to reject
A part of what we are because it hurts.
The living cannot call the dead collect;
They won't accept the charge, and it reverts.
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Aside from this little-known work, are there any versions of the Sherlock Holmes stories that could accurately be described as "the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes beaten by Irene Adler's wit"?

NB - I am NOT talking about situations where she gets a temporary advantage over him, only to be put back in her place by the end of the story. Plenty of those out there. I'm specifically looking for stories where Adler ends up triumphant.

Because it's kinda depressing to think that Arthur Conan Doyle was too feminist for modern commercial sensibilities, but I'm starting to get that impression. Anybody?

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"These studies in python behaviour were possible after these snakes ate the radiocollared possums we were radiotracking "

"We scaled the cryogenic pods around barbie dolls because the boss wanted one for his desk. "

"N was reduced to save my marriage. "

"the eppendorf tubes were "shaken like a polaroid picture" until that part of the song ended"

And so many more.
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Had a lovely Christmas. We now own three copies of 'Firefly'* and two of 'Black Books', which seems like more than we really need.

Saw 'The Hobbit' on Boxing Day. I enjoyed it; I don't think it was quite on a par with LotR, but will be seeing #2 next year.

Hobbit thoughts. )

After Boxing Day we took Senior Dog up to my dad's place at Long Beach for a few days. (Junior Dog doesn't like cars, and we thought Senior Dog might enjoy a spell of being Only Dog again.) It was a bit of a nostalgic visit: it's been my parents' holiday home since I was a kid, and has a lot of memories attached. But we've all moved away, so we don't get there often enough to give it the maintenance it needs (had a couple of pest-control scares this time, not including the wee scorpion I found in the bedroom) and this may be the last time I go there.

Still, we had a nice relaxing time there. It was a bit cold for swimming, but I got some work in on my year-long NaNo, and dragged out my old leatherworking gear to make a snazzy red suede sleeve for New Laptop to protect the beautiful Gelaskins made from this diptych. Senior Dog enjoyed his time there, and even managed a staircase for the first time in months. I discovered a trove of #1 Ladies' Detective Agency books and have been scarfing them up. And some time with my father and stepmum, which is always nice.

Now, spending a few quiet days at home trying not to die in our current heat wave, before I go back to work on Monday.

*the TV series, not the Piers Anthony monstrosity.
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Because if I see one more person trotting out the old "how come the Mayans couldn't predict their own extinction" chestnut, I'm going to get cranky:

"There are an estimated 7 million Maya living in [southern Mexico/northern Central America] at the start of the 21st century. Maya of Guatemala, southern Mexico and the Yucat√°n Peninsula, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras have managed to maintain substantial remnants of their ancient cultural heritage. Some are quite integrated into the majority hispanicized Mestizo cultures of the nations in which they reside, while others continue a more traditional culturally distinct life, often speaking one of the Maya languages as a primary language."


Dec. 20th, 2012 06:20 pm
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This started out on Twitter, but I think I'll crosspost it here. Blame @LeVostreGC, who started the #carolswithspiders hashtag.

This ended up shorter than I'd intended, but not less horrible. )
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I haven't posted about the Sandy Hook thing because I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said by countless others in the last few days (and the time before this, and the time before that...)

But this story, about a girl who survived by playing dead among the bodies of her friends, managed to piss me off:

Pastor Jim Solomon told ABC News: "She ran out of the school building covered from head to toe with blood and the first thing she said to her mom was, 'Mommy, I'm OK but all my friends are dead."

"Somehow in that moment, by God's grace, [she] was able to act as she was already deceased... How at 6 and a half years old can you be that smart, that brave? I think it's impossible outside of divine intervention. She has wisdom beyond her years."

I'm used to this whole weird twisted thing where if a disaster doesn't kill quite as many people as it might have, God-of-speaker's-choice gets credit for the ones who survived, instead of being held responsible for the ones who didn't (or for the memories that kid is going to carry for the rest of her life). It's kinda like one of those private-public partnerships where the profits are privatised and the losses are dumped on the taxpayer.

But I'm infuriated by the attitude that a six-year-old girl couldn't possibly have been smart enough to do this of her own accord. Kids can be pretty resourceful! She's already suffered a horrendous loss, do we really have to rob her of the credit for using her wits to keep herself alive?


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