26 hours

February 27, 2007 at 10:13 pm (news, nonfiction, rant)

on monday at three in the morning we lost power. or rather, to be more precise, our electricity went out.
this sucked.
for those who don’t live in the midwest, we had a lovely huge storm of snow, freezing rain, sleet, all that good stuff on saturday night. a lot of people lost their power.
we weren’t one of them.
i went to work on saturday afternoon, to campus to work an assigned weekend shift in the only mac lab on campus. it was supposed to be an eight hour shift, until midnight, but i was sent home after an hour and a half by campus security because they were locking up the whole building.
still, when i got home, we had power. i talked to a friend the next day – she had lost power for fourteen hours. i felt bad for her. i knew that didn’t sound like much fun. but i figured we were in the clear.
we hardly ever lose power where we live, and when we do its usually only for a few minutes at most.
the storm was all over by sunday.
but yet, on monday morning, something woke me up. i was wide awake and i didn’t know why. then i heard my computer shut down and everything else in the house that makes that house-filling kind of white noise suddenly stop. the house had that kind of quiet that it only ever has when it lacks any electricity.
i dragged myself out of bed, got my cell phone and checked the time. three am. i was awake enough at that point to even set the alarm on my cell phone in case the power didn’t come back on, or i was asleep when it did. but i figured it WOULD be back on, and soon. it wasn’t.
in the morning, seeing that there still was no power, i decided i might as well go to school early and work on things in the library before my eleven am class, since i couldn’t do anything other than read at home. after my classes were over at one, i called home. still no power. i stayed at the library to work.
the outage continued.
even stranger, to me, was the fact that not only had it started after the storm was over, but our power lines are underground. i wondered if it even was connected to the storm, or did we just have the bad luck to have this happen when thousands of other people had lost power due to the storm. the people behind us had power, the people one block away had power. maybe a dozen houses on our block were affected.
finally, the electricity came back on at six in the morning on tuesday.
twenty six hours without power.
it was frustrating, but i can’t claim it was traumatic in any way. more annoying than anything else, and it made me think for awhile about just how much i (and most people in our society) rely on electricity, and electricity provided by an outside source. it made me wish for a “green” house with solar panels, batteries, and bio-fuel powered generators. i hated being paralyzed, driven from my home because of this.
anyway, i’m not sure where else i’m going with this. i just know that being without electricity made me feel “powerless” in more ways then one. it reminded me of how completely dependent most people are on electricity, and that worries me quite a bit.

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Protected: self-control

February 26, 2007 at 12:01 am (episode, fiction)

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stupid wordpress

February 25, 2007 at 10:21 pm (meta, rant)

okay wordpress isn’t quite as awesome as i first thought. i do like it much better than blogger so far, but i also ran into something the other day that just seems stupid.

when i post something, it puts the date and time i did so. it doesn’t sign the post, however. when i noticed this i thought it was strange. after some exploration and experimentation i realized that apparently it’s all based on the layout that i’ve chosen. some layouts show date, time, and name. some (like mine) just do date and time. some just do date and name.

what the hell is up with this!?

i can customize how my date and time is displayed, and that is cool. but why can’t i chose to have it sign my posts regardless of the layout i’m using? why aren’t date, time, and name options that can be selected or deselected for any blog? hell, why not have those options available for every post? it can’t be THAT hard, can it?

anyway, i’m the only writer on this blog, so having it sign my name is kind of redundant anyway… i just thought it was absurd that i can’t choose to have it do so without changing to a whole different layout.

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battlestations!

February 23, 2007 at 9:53 pm (gaming, nonfiction, rant)

so anyone who’s known me more than a day probably knows i’m a gamer.
i frequently end up running the games that i play with my two best friends, but i discovered last year that running games while in school doesn’t really work out.
this saddens me greatly at the moment as i’ve really been wanting to get a game of weapons of the gods going. WotG is a game of overpowered wuxia style action in a fantasy version of ancient china. it’s pretty slick, cool stuff. but nonetheless, running a game just isn’t in the cards right now.fortunately for me and my friends, we have battlestations.battlestations is an excellent, independently designed and published boardgame/rpg hybrid. it has a lighthearted sci-fi theme (think futurama crossed with star wars or star trek) and incredibly nifty mechanics.
while you’ve got the standard starmap with ship counters that you see in games like star fleet battles, or what have you, you’ve also got a modular layout of your players ship, with little standups or minis to represent each crew member. need to turn the ship to avoid crashing into a star? well, get someone to the helm module to do it. need to launch a missile at an enemy ship? someone’s got to be in the missile bay to do it. think an lone asteroid is suspicious and want to scan it? someone has to be in the science bay to run the computer.
in and of itself this might all sound tedious, but it is anything but. in the middle of a starship battle there is always more to do than crew to do it, and when you add to it the fact that with teleporters and boarding missiles (yes, crew can load themselves into a missile and launch themselves at an enemy ship) you might have some of your crew on the enemy ship and enemy crew trying to take over your ship . . . well you have a lot of highly enjoyable chaos.
and this is where the rpg part of the game comes in. by default, one person will referee the game, handling the mission obstacles, doing the rules arbiter thing, and controlling enemy ships, and the other players will each control one crew member a piece, with their own special abilities, alien powers, equipment, skill ratings, etc. characters and their ships will change, grow, and advance as the game goes on.
another nice thing about the game is it’s fairly easy to adjust on the rpg/boardgame spectrum. maybe you’re not into the rpg side – you can easily down play that part and let players control multiple crew members each (in our game the two players both control 2 crew and a couple bots). on the other hand, if you love to ham it up, you can cram all the play acting into the game you want.

of course, i don’t work for gorilla games. i’m not being paid to rant about how awesome the game is. it does have a few problems. for one thing, the books aren’t particularly well laid out. it can sometimes be difficult to find particular rules. they also lack a consistent method for denoting modifiers for die rolls. sometimes penalties are described as adding to the difficulty, sometimes they are described as subtracting from the roll. similarly, bonuses are sometimes described as reducing the difficulty, sometimes as adding to the roll. this is irritated. it would be nice if i could see a minus sign and immediate know – penalty. also, as an independently produced game, the components are somewhat lacking in quality when compared to the price, but this is understandable.
still, these cons are FAR outweighed by the good things about the game. in is an incredibly fun and flexible gaming experience, there is tons of support material out on the web, the designers themselves are readily and quickly reachable via email or the fantastic yahoo group forum.

so if you’re interested in a really cool, different kind of boardgame or rpg experience, buy this game. or come play with me and my friends. we could use a few more players. don’t be scared. we’re nice. :)

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Protected: the city

February 23, 2007 at 9:27 pm (fiction, fragment, unpolished)

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Protected: darkness

February 23, 2007 at 9:25 pm (fiction, fragment, unpolished)

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frustrations

February 23, 2007 at 9:23 pm (nonfiction, personal, rant)

this is going to be short and vague.
but i’ve said it before and i feel it bears repeating.
if sexual orientation really was a matter of choice: i’d be asexual
being attracted to women just doesn’t seem worth the trouble most of the time.

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Protected: sense of self

February 22, 2007 at 3:47 pm (fiction, short story)

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posting stories

February 22, 2007 at 3:31 pm (announcement, nonfiction)

okay, my loyal readers (both of you) here is the plan:
when i write a story, it’s going to be password protected.
for now, i plan that every story will probably have the same password.
this might change, but i doubt it. i can’t see much reason to use more than one.
i will probably give the password to anyone who asks.
at the moment i’m going to just go ahead and send the password to everyone i suspect might want to read this.
if you somehow come across my blog without knowing me ahead of time, well then you can email me, or request the password in a comment and i’ll email it to you.

enjoy! happy reading!

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