Excuse me. I’d like to ass you a few questions.

So, I was basically challenged to fill out the Proust Questionnaire (with a bonus question I added). Below are my answers, erring on the side of brevity:

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?
Spiders. My actual greatest fear is that one day there will be another disaster from which we can’t recover.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND?
Antsy. I currently have a lot on my plate, and can’t wait for it be a bit more clear.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OCCUPATION?(WAY OF SPENDING TIME)
Currently, it’s sitting at a table with friends and beers, and pencil/paper/dice gaming. Engages/distracts my math/logic brain, and wakes up my less active art brain.

WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?
Not any one specifically. It would generally have to be a leader’s Chief of Staff or a similar position – the person who isn’t in the spotlight, but helps keep everything running behind the curtains.

WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
Perhaps Stephen Hawking? I think most people would have given up long ago, but he just keeps mathing on.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL HERO?
I don’t have a single one, but I’d perhaps have to say that the Bagginses are really up there.

WHO ARE YOUR REAL-LIFE HEROES?
I’m not sure I have one, really. This might be my one cop-out answer.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
My house, I guess. Technically, the bank still owns most of it, but whatever.

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST?
My wedding, perhaps? That was an exceptional day.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST OBVIOUS CHARACTERISTIC?
I’m pretty clever? At least I think I am.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE (HATE) IN YOURSELF?
I have this need to know things – sometimes I can’t leave well enough alone.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS?
The need to put themselves above others. It’s natural, and just about everyone and everything is guilty of it, myself included.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
My house, and the work/improvements that I put into it.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE JOURNEY?
The 4 1/2 minute bike ride from my doorstep to my “coffeeshop” ( a bar on Decatur St. )

WHAT DO YOU MOST DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE?
My hair is starting to thin. Boo.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE?
This is a bit broad, so I’ll go with one of the 7 classical virtues: Chastity. I get the pure of body/mind thing, but ex isn’t a bad thing, and I think a lot of people are hung up on it / place too much importance on it.

ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE?
Usually to keep a friend from knowing about an upcoming surprise. It takes too much energy to keep a false story “correct” and in play.

WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER-USE?
“(oh) for fuck’s sake”
“One would think…”

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I assume this is a mental thing, so I’d say the fact that I tend not so much hold grudges, as create blood feuds. If physical, I’d love to not have my hair be thinning.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Making the lives of those I care about better.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
Exactly where I am, and/or in the woods.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A MAN?
It’s a bit traditional gender-role-y, but the strength/resolve to stand up for / protect / call people out on their bullshit / whatever to those that need it. To not just walk by because it’s someone else’s problem.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A WOMAN?
Oooh, this one is difficult too. It would have to be strength too, or perhaps grace. Women are often still dealt a shitty hand these days, and I see so many that handle it with grace, composure, and strength.

WHAT IS IT YOU MOST DISLIKE?
Mono-culture, and/or those who cannot or are unwilling to adapt/change.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS?
Honesty, communication, and promptness.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE?
Painlessly, ideally. If it has to hurt, might as well be doing something worthwhile. And while death isn’t something I look forward too, Earth-bound immortality doesn’t sound great either.

IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR AN ANIMAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE?
A dog, to a caring and good owner/family.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE AN OBJECT TO COME BACK AS, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Something useful, with a long working life. A tool, or perhaps a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Those things last forever, and who doesn’t love the thing that make cookies and cake?

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO (WORDS YOU LIVE BY OR THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU)?
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
– Marcus Aurelius

“Hodor.”
– Hodor

WHO HAS BEEN THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?
I think “parents” is the obvious answer. Them, and/or my ex-wife.

WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE?
To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.

Beware the Tides of the War Cow

So, Down‘s Beneath the Tides came up on shuffle this morning and it sent me down a whirlpool of nostalgia. The song/album isn’t that old – it was released in 2007 – but it’s a misheard lyric that did me in.

Real lyric:

Beneath the tides of the washout

Misheard lyric:

Beware the tides of the War Cow

Now, most anybody unfortunate to still be reading will think “Huh? What the shit is a War Cow?

Well, let me put down my cane, children, and tell you a tale. The year was 1999, or perhaps it was 2000. Either way, I was living in the former LSU Medical Center Kidney Dialysis building with a handful of friends and co-workers. Yes, there was still a dialysis machine there when we moved in. No nobody got drunk and did things with it. I don’t think.

Yes, you read that right. 2000 Tulane, across the street more or less from Rosenberg’s (and if you grew up in NOLA, their jingle is now stuck in your head. I’m not sorry).

2000 TulaneI was working for Tech Company Who Shall Not Be Named™ and the pay wasn’t great, but the room/board was free and I did teach myself a lot. Also? I played a shit ton of Unreal Tournament with the fellas. We had a coffeeshop on the first floor, Taco Bell down the street, and much of an empty floor that we could take over and do proper LAN Parties.

 

Nali War CowWhich brings us back to origin of this post. The War Cow. The Nali War Cow was a playable race in Unreal Tournament. It was far from my favorite to play, as it was better suited for melee combat, where I preferred to snipe. I did love playing against them though, as they made a decent target and I think they might’ve made a sort of mooing sound when you killed one. We would stay up ’till dawn, downing Mountain Dew and cappuccinos, eating crappy burritos, fragging, cursing, and listening to thrash metal.

It was wonderful. I still play some non co-op FPS with friends over XBox Live, but there really is something about trying to kill someone in-game, and physically pushing them IRL, hoping it messes them up so you can get an advantage and get the shot. That physical proximity is something I really enjoy about our ongoing D&D campaigns.

Also, enjoy one of the more played albums during those sessions – the first album by The Haunted:

The CARDIS Has Landed!

Not all that long after getting the new car, in a color close enough to “TARDIS Blue”, I decided to go all in and get a custom plate:

CARDIS
Full size/etc here: https://flic.kr/p/nYZR5m

The things I do for a cheap laugh.

Scorched Earth

I had a nightmare last night. Well, not so much a nightmare as a bad dream. It wasn’t scary or anything, it just wasn’t … fun. Or good.

I was at my folks house, helping out with some thing that needed to stay submerged in the pool. It obviously wasn’t an injured animal or anything, just something that needed to stay submerged, and would surface if left unattended for more than a minute or so. My sister and I were taking turns underwater for x-minutes of time, each with our own set of scuba gear (it had to be closer to the bottom, so snorkels were out), and it just so happened that we’d surfaced at the same time – I think we needed to communicate something a little more intricate than standard underwater signals would convey.

We surfaced, removing regulators and masks, and happened to catch her husband and son just as they were going inside, closing the door behind them. Whatever it was, it involved them. So, she took off her gear and joined them inside.

As she closed the door, I could sense fire, in the distance. The scent/taste of far off smoke, then I saw the fire and felt the heat approaching. And it was approaching fast.

By the time I had reached the edge of the pool, it had seemingly covered far too much ground – where it might have been a few blocks away a moment ago, it was now at the front of the house.

All I could do was to yell at them – my sister and her husband and son, my parents, and my grandmother – to get out. Two words, that’s all I had. This wall of fire in that short space of time had advanced all the way to the back of the house.

There was no chance to save them. All I could do was fall back into the pool, replace my mask and regulator, lie at the deepest part, and watch the surface turn orange and just hope there was enough water to protect me.

The fire passed, and I got out of the pool as quickly as I could.

Everything was scorched, barren. Barely any structures still stood, and while I saw the fire continue one way, I could see unimpeded in the other direction. Nothing was left. Just me.

Gadmeer Terraformer Stargate

It left me not feeling pained, but numb. Maybe not numb, but more like that tingle that you feel when hungover. It’s not a difficult dream to dissect, by any means, especially considering I signed what are most likely the final papers for the divorce yesterday.

Either way, it’s safe to say my day didn’t start out in the best manner.

Maz “Sarge” Babineaux

Maz "Sarge" BabineauxAt the time that Paul started up his Shadowrun game using Numenera‘s Cypher System, I knew I wanted to play, but didn’t think I had the time.

Well, that changed.

Paul had done an excellent job updating the world-building that had been previously done w/ Shadowrun – a neat cyberpunk setting where magic and tech co-exist – and updating it with more modern events and having New Orleans be a focal point. We refer to the game as Shadowrun: Neo Orleans and the role-playing heavier Cypher System fits super well with the lore and feel of Shadowrun.

Sarge is a Strong Troll Glaive who Wields Two Weapons at Once, in Numenera-speak. Basically, he’s a tank. He is a former NOPD Sergeant, but also, uh, “freelanced” a bit. And got busted. So after a stint in prison he couldn’t return to the NOPD, and became an as-needed enforcer for the Leonidas Lords – a gang he’d occasionally do business with before.

The existing party needed muscle on a visit to a warehouse, and had hired two guys related to a Vietnamese chemist. One wasn’t available, so Sarge filled in. As it turns out, he recognized a person in this group – Taki (friend of a punk-ass named “H.C.“) – whose sister he used to be involved with. And apparently she was once married to Ebon, one of the other members of the group at one point, too. Neo Orleans is a small town.

Now, he bounces for/lives above/co-owns the Fallen Angel – a bar in Lakeview – and enjoys these little adventures with his new friends. And H.C. He pretty much hates H.C., which makes for some fun roleplaying.

And, this past weekend I found the perfect set of dice for him (I like to co-ordinate my dice with each character) at Comic Con!

Anyways, Sarge keeps a sort of log of these trips over at lmddd.org, if for some reason you’re interested in reading more.

All The Gifts Are All Wrapped Up.

All the gifts are all wrapped up
I give you all that you want
Take the wrap and peel it back
Now doesn’t that make you feel better?
all the gifts

Thursdays are the new Ouch

I spent much of yesterday and the night before in tears.

I woke up Saturday morning with a slight twinge in my lower back. It wasn’t bad, but was just annoying. I chalked it up to sleeping wrong or something, and I couldn’t think of anything I’d actually done to tweak it.

Sunday and Monday weren’t horrible, and it wasn’t getting any better – in fact, it was worsening. So, I just made a point of taking it easy.

Tuesday though, was a different story. I started on some Advil/Ibuprofen and a heat pad.

Wednesday was so bad, I walked over to Magnolia Physical Therapy around the corner, but they wouldn’t be able to see me ’till Friday. I upped the Ibuprofen and iced/heated. minimal relief.

Thursday was even worse. By the time I’d finished dinner with my brother-in-law and tried to self-medicate w/ beer, I needed to be home. If I’d’ve had one of those walkers with the tennis balls on the feet, I would have gladly taken it. Bea came over and dropped the dogs off, and I could barely get out of bed, much less get lower to the floor to pet my dogs. The pain was bad enough to bring me to tears. I’d try to find a more comfortable position – a process which hurt by itself – but whatever temporary relief I’d fine was fleeting.

I saw the Physical Therapist Friday morning for an eval. She narrowed it down to my first or second lumbar vertebrae, but said my muscles were so tense and guarded that it was difficult to narrow down what was actually going on. She suspected that I have a dysfunctional facet – that more or less one of my aforementioned vertebrae was rotated a bit, and that a slipped disc seemed unlikely. Regardless of what was going on, she apparently couldn’t treat me as she needed a prescription.

I shuffled home, and set up my laptop so that I could lay on my belly on my bed, with my head hanging over, and at least do some light computering and watch some Netflix.

By the way, if you’ve ever had a dog, petted a dog, seen a picture of a dog, or read about them in a book, you need to check out Wilfred (Netflix link). I had to stop watching after ~10 minutes, as laughing really hurt. I’m not going to go into what the shows about, just watch it and be pleasantly surprised.

Anyways, it was just about 10 and I was facing a very long, excruciating weekend. I decided to take up a friend on a very gracious offer of the rest of his Vicodin from a recent prescription. I’ve never been a recreational pill taker – mostly due to the fact that it’s ridiculously easy to get, and apparently easy to get hooked on. But I got over that, as even taking a deep breath hurt.

Seven hells, I could have kicked myself for nothing taking one of these earlier. Inside of 30 minutes, I went from and 8.5/10 on the pain scale, to a 2/10. I could still feel what I’d describe a little soreness. It didn’t hurt, but I still had that reminder that I was injured and to take it easy. It was a complete game-changer. No fuzziness, not “high” sensation. I had a clear mind and a relatively trouble-free back.

Feeling less doomy, I also managed to schedule an appointment with my doctor for later that afternoon. The Vicodin wore off completely in a little over 3 hours, and by the time I was in the waiting room, I’d already cried a few times. Despite the fact that he knows my Dad, I grew up playing soccer with his son, and the only time I’d asked him for pain meds was when I blew up my knee, he almost seemed to be skeptical of my pain. Like I was trying to scam him. Eventually, he came around. I got a cortisone shot, a Vicodin scrip, a muscle relaxer scrip, and an ASAP referral to see a spine/back doctor.

I cried on the way back to my truck. Being ~4pm on a Friday, I called Southern Orthopedic Specialists – the clinic I’d been referred to – to go ahead and get an appointment as soon as possible. Apparently the doc I was supposed to see is out of town ’till the 12th or so. Boo. I went back inside, and the super-kind woman at the front desk of my doc’s office did her little back-channel thing and got me an appt. with a different doctor on Wednesday. Cried some more.

Got to Walgreens, got my prescriptions, cried some more. But, about 30 minutes after popping that sweet, sweet pill, things were much better. I decided to do the muscle relaxer once the Vicodin wore off, to see how I’d sleep only on that – it wasn’t bad.

Things were definitely better this morning, but I still needed a pain pill shortly after getting up. I took one a few hours ago, and right on schedule, it’s wearing off already. Thankfully, I have awesome friends nearby, and am going to float in their pool for a while, pill-free. I want to see how the cool water and zero-pressure environment of the pool feels on its own.

So there we go. Not sure what exactly is wrong or how it was caused, but I’m optimistic that I’ll be on fewer pain pills by the time I see the doc on Wednesday – and I’ll make sure to time it so that the drugs will have worn off by the time I see him.

And just when I had made new plans for more physical activity. Well, once this is all done, I’ll be hiring a physical trainer to help out with strengthening the weak areas at my neighborhood gym, and perhaps have some quasi-regular Pilates sessions with my friend who teaches that.

Ok, off to the pool.