gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
Next year [personal profile] kshandra and I will be marking our 25th wedding anniversary. Despite my recent meltdown over my birthday (and I apologize to anyone I offended with that), we want to do something special, life a cruise.

The problem is we're still poor. But Kiri deserves a real vacation. She has been so awesome for so long, she has earned a big ship and a fruity drink with an umbrella in it. I actually told her the other day that I don't care that we were looking at Alaskan cruises, she was getting a goddamn fruity drink with a goddamn umbrella in it!

My question is this: what would your reaction be to me starting a GoFundMe for this trip? I hate begging, I hate admitting that I can't do it, but to really have a great trip, we'll need help. Would you be offended? Think we're asking too much? Spread the word?

I'm still in a weird place emotionally. But Kirsten and I will celebrate a quarter century of marriage with something more that dinner at La Fondue. Kirsten and I will go someplace awesome (I hear Alaska is just filled with nature from reliable sources) and I will do whatever it takes to make this happen.

Other options we've discussed are a trip to Washington D.C. (she's never been) and possibly a Mexican Riviera cruise. The fantasy trip, which would take around $50,000 to do right, which is probably out of reach.

So, friends, Romans, countrymen. Your opinions on doing a GoFundMe for a vacation for our 25th?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
And it's still Saturday! )

After the show, we traveled to Oakland where a friend of Kiri's had offered us a place to sleep for the night, so we wouldn't have to drive all the way home and have her have to come back to SF the next day. This nice lady had very friendly dogs. I was pleased.

Welcome to the ORG. Be one with the ORG )

So far, a great weekend, and now I'm resting.
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
A night of revelry!

This got long )
gridlore: The word Giants over a baseball (Baseball - SF Giants)
Is July fourth.

That day, the San Jose Giants play the Stockton Ports at Memorial Stadium in San Jose. I want a birthday extravaganza at the ballpark, people!

If we can get fifteen people, we get a group rate. I want everyone who might be interested to look at the Group options and let me know what works for you if you'd like to attend. I think the Baseball with BBQ ($27/adult, $15/child) is a great option because it includes food and drinks. But I'd be willing to go with the General group prices ($10/person).

Right now we have 10-12 people we're pretty sure can make it. But join the party!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Welcome to the latest edition of It's The Arts (journal edition.)

Been a busy weekend for watching things. Friday night, [personal profile] kshandra and I attended Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna. This was her company's annual "we survived the holidays" event. I really enjoyed it, although I can now say with certainty that dance does not work for me as a narrative medium. Amaluna is loosely based on The Tempest, one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Even with that head start I can no clue what was going on. So I just enjoyed the amazing acrobatic performances.

Saturday I watched Metallica's concert film Through The Never. We had really wanted to see this in the theater, but the realities of my post-stroke rehabilitation meant that never happened. Really regret that now. The concert footage is amazing. The story of the roadie Trip being sent out to recovery a bag from a truck is wonderfully surreal. I really need to costume The Rider for cons.Just need to find out what model gas mask that is.

As for the meaning of the side-story, I have my own theory. Spoilers )

After that, we watched the epically bad 2012. Oh, dear Ghods. Never mind the terrible script and acting, the film has it's best disaster sequence in the first half hour. The destruction of Los Angeles was pretty epic. But it came early. After that it was just more narrow escapes and increasingly improbable escapes. With added scientific howlers, like how they handled the detonation of the Yellowstone Caldera. ProTip: you will no survive is you are in line of sight of the explosion. You will not outrace it in a Winnebago. And your Cessna will not survive when the shock wave hits. The entire last act with the stuck loading ramp was pointless.

But for me, the biggest howler was political. The big drive of the plot was the existence of a project to build arks in the Chinese Himalayas. The idea was to preserve as much life and culture as possible to reestablish things after the Earth settles down. Problem is, the President decides not to go, the Vice-President has been killed, and no one can find the Speaker of the House. So the Chief of Staff declares himself acting President.

This is where my suspension of disbelief snapped. First of all, the Secret Service would drag the President kicking and screaming onto that plane. Secondly, the chain of succession exists for a reason. It's not like you couldn't find a reason to send the Secretary of State to China, where s/he could be pre-positioned on the ark.I'd have one of the people in the chain up on one of the USAF's command planes for a reason, and make sure that everyone in the chain was someplace where they could be found at a minutes notice. If that means camping at Andrews AFB, so be it!

Really, really bad movie.

Finally, the Super Bowl. That was ugly. Turned it off early.
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
Yesterday we went out with two main goals: pick up my meds and get me a trekking pole at REI. The cane I had been using was too short and heavy. The therapists suggest a lighter trekking pole and had me work with with one. Much better feel. At REI, a very helpful young lady showed us the options and I ended up with a Leki Wanderfreund AS.

Walking stick

Made in the Czech Republic. Cool!

What made this fun was the guy checking us out used to work at Lord & Sons as a machinist. There was a line, so we didn't really have a chance to chat, but I'd love to learn why he left a good position at a skilled trade to work retail.

The plan was to hit Pizza My Heart so Kiri could have lunch. Alas, it was still a while before they opened and I could feel myself fading, so we went to RiteAid, got my pills, and headed home. The only other big thing was making a big order from Safeway and clearing out all the things in the fridge that had died in the past month.

After a night that led to us calling to cops on our normally quiet-if-not-gone neighbor, I felt the need to do something. I took out some garbage, straightened up around my desk and the back of the futon, vacuumed, cleaned out Vera the Vacuum, did some dishes, and was then order by Kirsten to stop now so I wouldn't burn out.

I obey those kind of orders now.

Just waiting for the Safeway order to arrive, and then the Niners' game tonight. Tomorrow I have OT.

Next weekend we're going to try to make the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival for as long as I can hold out. Any locals who want to meet up there, just let us know!
gridlore: The word Giants over a baseball (Baseball - SF Giants)
On July 5th, the day after my birthday, your World Series Champion San Francisco Giants play the Dodgers (spit) at AT&T. I would like to get a group together for the game.

Anyone local interested? If we can get a good-sized group together, we get a break on tickets and can have dinner before/after the game.
gridlore: The word Giants over a baseball (Baseball - SF Giants)
San Francisco Giants: 4
Detroit Tigers: 3

It had to end this way, right? A see-saw game, extra-innings, torture, and Marco Scutaro bringing in the winning run with yet another clutch hit. Of course you needed things to be finished off by a wacky bearded closer (Sergio Romo this time) facing the AL Triple Crown winner and probable MVP, Miguel Cabrera.

Struck him out looking. Giants take the World Series in four straight games. Second World Series title in three years. That's the best thing about this win; it shows that 2010 wasn't a fluke. The Giants are a team that will find a way to win, and will never give up. A different hero every day. Stellar pitching. Incredible defense. Hits when we needed them, and scratching out every run.

Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval was the easy choice for Series MVP. He only hit .500 in four games, along with tying Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols by hitting three home runs in Game 1. He is the only player ever to get those three homers in first three at-bats in the Series.

The parade is Wednesday. We're so going to be there. Anyone else up for meeting along Market Street somewhere? I'll be the guy in the Giants hat. :)

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2012 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS!!!!!

Edit: Almost forgot. I called my mom last night after we had finished yelling and dancing here, and learned I was the second person to call about the game. The Emergency Back-Up Niece had called right after the final out to exclaim "They won!" Then she asked if this meant they were the best.

Yes, Kylie, that's exactly what it means.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

  • Back when I worked for Lord&Sons I had several pairs of good work gloves. Today? Can't find any of them.

  • A trip to OSH is in order.

  • Or back to L&S. Be nice to see people again.

  • On the other hand, a culling of my socks is in order.

  • Have to get rid of the odd ones, worn ones, and the few that just don't fit right.

  • Still wondering what happened to one of my awesome fuzzy socks.

  • Our TV decided to die.

  • No Earth-shattering kaboom, just refused to turn on.

  • Luckily, [personal profile] kshandra was on the job and found us a new set on Craigslist.

  • Got for way cheaper than what it was going for online, and we have a proper, if small, widescreen at last.

  • Of course, this means I need to save up for another Ikea run now.

  • Needed a new set for several reasons. Mostly that playoff baseball is beginning, and the Giants and A's both won their divisions!

  • The A's did it by sweeping the Texas Rangers in the final three game series of the year. Very dramatic and a great story.

  • But over on the SFGate, when Giants fans tried to congratulate the A's and their fans, we got attacked.

  • I have never seen such an inferiority complex before in sports.

  • I blame Bud Selig.

  • The 49ers are doing well, the Sharks are locked out, and I couldn't care less about the Warriors.

  • Oh, and the Raiders SUCK! (again)

  • Going to see the restored Lawrence of Arabia tonight as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

  • I got to see this years ago in a restored 70mm print. Unbelievable.

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Wine & cheese)
Well, technically. We were actually out on Treasure Island to enjoy Fleet Week's Parade of Ships and the air show. How we came to be there requires something of an explanation. We're on the mailing lists of several wineries and wine distributors. I got an offer for VIP tickets from one of the distributors through the SFGate. A bit too pricey, and [ profile] kshandra had plans for today with [ profile] murphymom. A few days later, those plans were canceled, and Kiri grabbed us regular tickets. Still very cheap.

Fleet Week is one of those events that overwhelms San Francisco. The traffic jams and lack of parking, especially down on the Marina Green and Crissy Field are legendary. I expected the same problem on T.I., so we got an early start. Upon arriving, we were shocked to find almost no one there. I think the incredibly tricky nature of getting on and off the island might scare people away. (One lane exit from the bay bridge that immediate goes into a tight turn then a blind merge, getting back on the bridge means coming to a complete stop then trying to get right into a freeway traffic lane. Not for the faint of heart.) We stop to admire Bliss Dance, an amazing statue that was first shown at Burning Man last year, then went in search of our party.

Their building is in the middle of the island. No line of sight to where the events were happening. Evidently, they advertised that the planes fly right over their building. Yes, when they pull out from performance runs, but that's not what we came to see! I cam to see ships, and Blue Angels zipping along at 300knts 15 feet above the bay, inverted, with the pilot playing the violin. Filed with despair and disgust, we went back to the seawall and waited. The parade of ships did not disappoint. Seeing a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier appear out of the fog was impressive as hell. Sadly I hadn't printed the list of ships so I was stuck on identifying them. But still, seeing the USS Carl Vinson bearing down on you is not something anyone would soon forget.

After about two hours up there on the rocks, I was starting to react badly to the weather. It had been predicted to be much warmer with less winds, so I had dressed accordingly. When I started getting chill cramps in my legs, I knew I was done. Walked back to the car (where Kiri had wisely retreated to long before) and we decided to at least get a glass of wine before leaving. Drove back to Treasure Island Wines got in, got a glass of a really nice white. While at one of the standing tables I got in a great conversation with a fellow disabled guy who worked for a company Lord&Sons has heavy business with, and he was shocked to learn that Benicia branch had closed. Kiri wanted a grilled cheese from her new church and I needed to sit down. Here's the first suck. There were about 40-50 plastic chairs, all of them reserved for "VIP" ticket holders. I sat down because I really had to at that point, and immediately got scolded. I told this officious woman I was disabled. No budging. So I told her that telling a disabled man that he can't sit on an empty chair when over half the chairs were empty made it almost certain I wouldn't be giving them my business any time soon. I saw a lot of that, people coming in, drinking a glass, getting told off, and leaving. The second suck was you could not see anything. A B-2 Spirit did a low, slow, pass over the island and we had to run around the corner to get any sort of look at all. When they said "wine-tasting and viewing" I expected what other groups were doing, setting up on the island's west side so people could see!

But we did get some pictures.

It's either a frigate or a Cylon raider. Bloody fog!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Google)

  • Wow. Things are getting really busy for my poor broken butt.

  • This weekend is the annual birthday taco feast at [ profile] baka49er's place. Ann and I both have places to be on our actual birthday, so we're doing it a week early.

  • Yay tacos and time with the nieces of awesome!

  • Next week I have a pulmonary function test. Dr. Butcher and I thought it would be a good idea to get a new baseline since the last test was done before we knew there were blood clots in my lungs.

  • Not very social, but it gets me out of the house.

  • Then comes WesterCon 64. We're po'folks for this event, so feel free to buy me a beer.

  • Without so much as time to draw a breath, we're going to see Tales of the City at the ACT. Kiri won the tickets from KFOG

  • So, after all that we get to rest right? Ha.

  • We have a fannish event on Saturday the 9th.

  • Then the Mayhem Festival on Sunday. \m/

  • I won the tickets to that one.

  • Luckily after that we get two stress free weeks to prepare for an event that promises to be louder than Mayhem Fest..

  • The Niece of Last Resort's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese!

  • She's turning 4! Her big sister is turning 6!

  • How did this happen????

  • After that, we're cool until mid-August when we go to Reno for Worldcon.

  • There is very good news on the medical/financial front.

  • My application for Social Security was approved. So money is a bit less of a problem.

  • Not cured, but not quite at the "selling organs" state anymore.

  • The Giants are 41-34, half a game out of first in the NL West, and tonight face the Cleveland Indians.

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Google)

  • Spent last night off the tube, and decided to see how far I could go today. So far, I'm doing fine, with blood O2 levels remaining at or above 95%. My last check came after a burst of activity. I took care of some garbage (mostly empty soft drink/beer cartoons), put cans in the refrigerator, a little general tidying. After that, my pulse was up around 130, but my oxygen levels were holding!

  • Still keeping the hose close at hand, just in case. So long as I remain above 90%, I'm good.

  • Progress, you gotta love it.

  • I was just thinking how my spring and summer schedule went from 0 to 60 in no time. At the beginning of the year, we were committed to Renovation, and that was it. Given my health, that was even very iffy.

  • Now, in very short order, we got the free rooms in Reno for our anniversary, I'm back as a panelist at Baycon (no word if I'm on every panel again this year.. I told them to use me creatively), we've acquired Westercon memberships, we're going to the Mayhem Festival, and then Worldcon.

  • Best part? Almost all of those are at no or reduced cost to us. We still need to fit in a trip to see the Giants.. I need to see that banner with my own eyes.

  • It's funny.. after Mayhem, [ profile] kshandra will have massive Metal cred. She'll have seen Judas Priest, Testament, Queenryche, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Metallica, The Sword, Machine Head, Trivium, MegaDeth, In Flames, Godsmack, Dsiturbed, Lamb of God.. I'm probably forgetting one or two.

  • Need to finish up The Church stuff, so I can put it together before Baycon. I'd like to be able to at least have a link to download a .PDF of my work.

  • Speaking of which, anyone willing to contribute? I need clerical orders for the churches, and at least a little art.

  • Like my first three professional works, this will be credit-only.

  • Contact me if you'd like to help out.

  • Giants-D'backs tonight. Squish the Snakes!

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Kirsten and Me)
Kirsten and I are quickly approaching our 20th wedding anniversary.

Yeah, me too. How did this happen?

Anyway, due to my ongoing health problems our plans for the big day were getting severely trimmed. I think we were making reservations at Wendy's, but don't quote me on that. But now things have changed. Kiri stays at Reno hotels when coming back from That Thing In The Desert, and compulsively signs up for mailing lists, rewards programs, etc. That paid off. She got an offer for two free nights at the Grand Sierra Resort, and among the available days was a block covering our anniversary (May 4th, if you've forgotten/never knew/never cared)

Jumping on that! A nice little vacation, a chance to scope out sites for Renovation later this summer. The only thing we're actually paying for is a "Dinner and a Movie" package. Which brings up a delicate subject...

Money is still really tight. We'll be able to get up there and back, and we won't starve, but if anyone would like to contribute a little to help us enjoy this special event, we'd be thankful. This isn't a crisis, so no one should feel in any way obligated. Like I said, it would just be nice to have a bit of a cushion.

Anyone wishing to help, the usual suspect is handling things at

Please don't feel that anyone has to contribute. This is an absolute luxury thing. Thanks in advance to anyone who can spare a few bucks.

Twenty years? Can we get a second opinion on that?
gridlore: A Roman 20 sided die, made from green stone (Gaming - Roman d20)
My attempt to create a local gamers filter was a crashing failure. Again, if you are local to Santa Clara, and would like to take part in a monthly game, contact me. I may set up a mailing list on Google to make things easier. Feel free to let anyone who might be interested know.

I think one problem is my intense dislike of the most popular gaming systems. I loathe the current versions of D&D, and the "old school" revolution has little appeal. Here are the game systems I really like. Feel free to give your opinions or ask questions.

  • Ars Magica

  • Dark Heresy



  • Harnmaster

  • Hero System

I really want to get back into a regular game.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Google)

  • In the last five days I drove four different routes, trained two people, and got overtime every single day. On Wednesday I hit 12 hours without a break.

  • But in better news, the Giants now sit atop the National League West for the first time since May 6th. Things are still close, but Giants Nation believes!

  • We also won our season series against the Dodgers.

  • For the non-baseball folks among you; rivals tend to pay attention to how the regular season meetings between teams stack up.

  • This year, the Giants played the Dodgers 18 times this year, winning ten of those games.

  • First time we've won the season series in five years.

  • In a continuing attempt to add culture to our lives, we're taking another stab at attending one of San Francisco Opera's live simulcasts at AT&T Park.

  • We already have our free passes for Aida next Friday evening.

  • Anyone want to join us? Opera & garlic fries; how can you turn that offer down?

  • We were planning on hitting the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival this weekend, but a money crunch and potentially poor weather may force a change of plans.

  • Reading still more WH40K fiction. This time I'm getting deeper into The Grey Knights Omnibus.

  • Normally, books about fanatics don't interest me, the characters are too one-sided. Here, the author keeps the characters interesting by making sure that they are challenged and forced out of their comfort zone. Not as good as the stuff by Dan Abnett, but very readable.

  • I find myself wondering what Traveller's Third Imperium would have been like if it had been so strongly supported by good fiction that helped to deepen and define the setting.

  • [ profile] kshandra picked up Gordon Biersch's Autumn variety pack, which included Hefeweizen. Never been partial to wheat beers. It just tastes heavy. Still better than most beers.

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Gaming - DM Laughs)
I am creating a Local Gamer filter. I now live only five minutes from a great game store with oodles of tables for play. No charge, you just need to schedule a time. So I am now going to start doing a series of polls to determine what people want, and how they want to do this.

In the past, such polls have always attracted several well-meaning people who are local only in that they live on the same planet. I understand wanting to contribute, but it gets frustrating.

So, let me know if you want to be on this filter. "Local" in this context means being able to make it to Santa Clara (specifically to Game Kastle) once or twice a month to spend a day gaming, probably with food after. "Gamer" means you are interested in playing a paper and pencil role-playing game with me as the GM (although I'd love to get a group going with other people taking the chair from time to time. I love having players who take an active role in building the game.

Everyone can comment, but please use the phrase Please add me to the filter in your reply if you meet the criteria. If you're not local, and want on just to see what I'm planning, go ahead, but please do not take part in any planning polls. I'm really kind of desperate to get a social life going again.
gridlore: Photo: penguin chick with its wings outstretched, captioned "Yay!" (Penguin - Yay!)
Kirsten called earlier, we have been approved for a place we both loved, a triplex in Santa Clara. YAY!

Now comes the fun part. We're moving. The plan is simple:

Saturday, July 31st is Final Packing Day. Everything is either in a box or out the door to Goodwill or the dumpster. We could use some help here.

Sunday, August 1st is Moving Day. We'll have at least two, maybe three large vehicles to move things between our current place and the new place. What we really need is people to help move things. We have some furniture that needs to be moved down one flight of exterior stairs, and into the new place.

Helping for an hour or two would be great. Anyone who helps out for the day will be treated to food.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Kirsten and Me)
After not thinking she was going this year, a few texts and tweets later she's in the parade with the Bay Area Bisexual Network (like most other queer sites this week, the server has said "Fuck this, I'm going home." Try again later in the week.)

Despite the best efforts of man and sunblock, she always get sunburned. The question is where is it going to be this time?

[Poll #1584565]
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Kirsten and Me)
Kirsten and I have now been married for nineteen years.

Considering we got engaged after our second date, I don't think we're doing too shabby here at Offhand Manor.

Happy Anniversary, Boo Kitten!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Science!)

Airspace Rebooted from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

A visualisation of the northern European airspace returning to use after being closed due to volcanic ash. Due to varying ash density across Europe, the first flights can be seen in some areas on the 18th, and by the 20th everywhere is open.

The flight data is courtesy of and covers a large fraction of Europe. There are a few gaps (most noticeably France) and no coverage over the Atlantic, but the picture is still clear.

The map data is CC-by-SA and contributors.

This CC-by-SA visualisation was produced by with support from


gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

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