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, 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.

Thursday is the new Black

Apparently, Thursday is now the Cool Kid™ of the week these days. Currently I run a game of GammaWorld – a fun and ridiculous role playing game I’d quickly describe as sort of Mad Max meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – on alternating Thursdays. And once we wrap up this campaign – Famine in Far-Go – next up is Numenera and we can’t wait!

But unfortunately, my slowing metabolism has been screaming at me to get up and get more active. Thursdays used to be my hashing day, but running kinda hurts now.

So, here’s my new Thursdays events:

  • Gaming. The other session will be moved to a variable, flex day.
  • MTB/Cyclocross in City Park. I have a nice MTB that really doesn’t get ridden like it should. I’d like to change that. Granted, this won’t be the riding it truly deserves, but it’s a lot better than nothing.
  • Indoor Climbing Gym. I used to climb A TON, and miss it. I have friends who go regularly on Thursdays, so that should help with actually getting up and doing it.
  • Hashing. Ok, so maybe I won’t jog/run the whole trail, but I can at least walk/jog it, and give one of the dogs exercise as well. I also plan on keeping the beers down to three or less and plan on NOT running circle.

I think that’s a good starting point. The only “fixed” event is gaming, so I can choose which one of the other events suits me on any given week. Of course, this is a guideline, so it’s ok if I bail on a week as long as I don’t do it too often.

In other news, I still really want a canoe.

Ubuntu Edge – The Next “Desktop”?

I just read about Ubuntu Edge and have to say, I’m impressed. The idea that a smartphone would be your next computer isn’t a giant leap – for many tablets have already replaced desktops/laptops for many – but I really like what they’ve put together. This video explains it well and is well worth a watch:

I have a desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone at home, and a desktop and VoIP phone at work. The idea that I could more or less replace all of that with a single device and two small docking stations is really neat to me. I use DropBox a ton for selective file syncing, and I’m sure I’d still leave a large amount of data on my fileserver at home (my music and video directories add up to ~470GB), but with 128GB of storage in this device, it’d cover almost all of my needs.

I use Ubuntu a lot, so that’s not an issue for me – and honestly I think many would embrace it easily. Also the fact that it handles Android apps is not only a no-brainer – Android is Linux –  I think it would accelerate adoption.

The Splitting of “We” to “You” and “Me”

Dear friends, family, acquaintances, frenemies, and arch-nemeses,

It’s with a heavy heart that I bear bad news, but Bea and I are parting ways. It’s not a decision or situation that’s been taken lightly. We both share a deep fondness for a past version of us and our relationship, and will always cherish those memories – many of which we share with you. Time and situations can change people, and sometimes those changes may strengthen individuals but weaken the couple. We hope you understand that this is a difficult time, but know that we’re optimistic that we come out of this as good friends. We don’t hold ill will towards each other, and hope that you do the same. We’ll never forget the good times, but look forward to moving past the turmoil and uncovering the new good times to come.

We’re also sorry to not have been able to tell you in a more personal way – it seems to have become more difficult or time consuming these days. But we’d still rather than you hear it from us than from the grapevine.

– w