Monthly Archives: May 2012

To Health!

I had my annual checkup with my doctor this afternoon, and there are no signs that I’m going to drop dead any time soon. Given my current weight (though it’s started dropping this week) I wouldn’t have been surprised to see some small hiccup somewhere in the results, but I’m not going to argue if everything’s perfect. I’m also not going to wait for something to go wrong, the weight loss continues. I haven’t stopped craving junk yet, but it should happen soon.

I’m almost done making notes for the next draft of my most recent short story. I like the direction it’s taking, and I’m starting to think it’s got more potential than I ever gave it credit for. Time will tell. This is the sort of break I wanted to take before editing it the first time but I had writing group deadlines to meet. I always do my best editing when the story is cold. Story-wise that’s true, at any rate, you can fix typos no matter how long it’s been since you wrote something.

I’m sore from a second bout of tennis tonight, but it’s less bad than Monday was. I’m going to shower and see if I can finish those short story notes before I fall asleep.



I’m blogging early. There are thunderstorm warnings everywhere, and parts of Montreal are badly flooded, so I’m not going to bet much money on not losing power tonight. I want to get the computery things done before that happens.

I’ll probably spend the night offline, since I wanted to get started on the next draft of my most recent short story. Step one is to take out the printed copy of the previous draft and kill it with fire make a lot of marks on it with assorted pen colours. For whatever reason, I always start off in a super organized manner, picking different types of ink and highlighters for different types of problems or edits, and eventually I realize that there are too many different types of problems for the selection of markers/pens I have and so I give up. The first few pages of my drafts look like I tossed a rainbow into a spirograph, and the last bit is usually just marked up in red.

I think I’ll just start with red this time and skip the mess.


Tonight was the first tennis game of the year, and it hurt every bit as much as I expected it to, though I held my own reasonably well. I can only imagine what tomorrow morning will bring.

Also, after several false starts at the weight loss resolution, I’m trying again starting today. So not only am I tired and sore from tennis, but I would kill for a bag of Doritos with guacamole and candy sprinkles. Maybe not the sprinkles, but you get the point.

It always takes me a few days to get into not-a-fat-bastard mode, but once I manage that, the rest is easy. And once I actually do manage to shed more than a pound or two, the junk food begins to look like something I simply don’t want, as opposed to something I want but am depriving myself of.

Anyway, I’m going to hobble over to where my bed is and fall in its general direction. I may even fall into it in something resembling a sleeping position, where all my body is actually on the mattress, but I’d settle for half right now.

Gaming, Sunday May 27

Today after I finished the second half of the lawn, I decided to sit down and turn off my brain for a bit. My mother-in-law had borrowed the kids for the afternoon, so I actually had some time to relax. I played Skyrim. It was fun, I killed things and took their stuff, I made myself a new set of snazzy Orcish armor. But everything that happened was something I more or less expected to happen. Partly because I’d done some of it before with another character, partly because there aren’t a lot of surprises when you’re spending time crafting something out of something else. After supper, my friends came over for RPG night.

What I love most about tabletop RPGs, probably what most people like most about tabletop RPGs, is the unexpected things that can crop up. Tonight, in the game I’m running, the players started off getting ready for a minor adventure, and one wanted to offload a sword he’d looted in the previous game. The problem is, they’re currently in a valley populated by peasant farmers, and there isn’t a single person with the coins needed to pay him what the sword is worth.

In any computer or console RPG, that would have been the end of it. Either you can buy or sell something, or you can’t. End of story. Tonight? The player asked me if he could trade the sword for anything besides coins. I replied that the only thing these people had was dirt, vegetables, and livestock. He said he’d happily take payment in livestock.

So… the group of them and a small herd of goats and a pig went off on the rest of their adventure, and the goat became the unexpected focus of every joke of the night. Clever (and horrible) puns, naming the goat after another player’s character just to egg him on. It was fun, and it required the sort of adaptability you just don’t get in programmed games. You have choices, you have options, but those options have to be coded in advance. The game can always roll with the punches you throw at it because you have a limit to the types of punches you can throw, the game never has to improvise. In this sense, the coded game can only very rarely surprise you.

Also, there’s no published walkthrough for the game I’m running, so I know for a fact that the players never know what’s coming.

Well, it looks like I wouldn’t have needed to stay up late last night to see the Devils win their series, they clinched it pretty early in theovertime period. Still, I’m glad to have gone to bed early, otherwise I would have been extra wrecked today.

Mental note: Mike, when you have to take your kids to their soccer games and you have the presence of mind to dose them with a healthy amount of sunscreen, put some on yourself as well before sitting in the sun for an hour.

And speaking of spending time outside, I’ll be spending a little bit less of it working now. We replaced our weed trimmer this week. Where the last two we had were battery powered, this one runs on gas. All I have to say is, “holy shit”. Talk about power. I see the same difference I saw when we switched from electric mower to gas mower about seven years ago. It used to take me about three hours to mow the lawn with the electric beastie, but with the gas mower it’s an hour and a half. With this weed whipper, it took me about five minutes to do all the edges around the front of the house and the fences, something that took me fifteen to twenty with the battery whipper. Plus, the battery was the worst part of the old thing. It would be fine for a season or two, then the battery wouldn’t last for me to do what I needed to do, and eventually it got to the point where it wasn’t worth using, and the replacement batteries cost more than the whipper did. I went through two whippers in seven years, where this gas one should last me a good long time with a little bit of proper maintenance.

Hockey Playoffs

The NHL is something I haven’t talked about in a while because I really haven’t been paying attention to hockey this season. Well, the regular season has been over for  while, and the post-season is just about three-quarters done. Usually the playoffs are when I really tune into hockey, trying to watch as many games as possible. This year I think I’ve watched two matches. It doesn’t sound like much, but considering I watched maybe a half dozen games all season, it’s not too bad.

The LA Kings have already made it through three playoff rounds and into the final series. In the Eastern conference, the NJ Devily and the NY Rangers are still playingit out, though it could end tonight with a Devils win. I just saw the game is going into overtime, but I’m pooped so I’m definitely going to be asleep before that game finishes.

Like most sports fans, I have my favourite teams, I have teams I’m ambivalent toward, and I have teams I hate. If we have a Devils-Kings final, I’ll be pretty happy because I’ve been hoping to see the Kings make it to the end. They’re a classic example of a team that hit bottom and built their way back up through good drafting, trading, and player development. Also, one of the Kings assistant coaches taught me math in high school. Strange but true.

I’ve always liked New Jersey, since I’ve always liked local hero Martin Brodeur, and it’s a final I can honestly say I’d be happy no matter who the cup went to. Honestly though, they’ve won a few cups over the last twenty years, so they’ve had their moment of glory.

The Rangers? Not so much. I remember the Rangers of the 90s and early 00s who would spend ludicrous amounts of money bringing in overpriced fading stars and free agents, only to fail year after year. It got to the point where I started to hate the Rangers, wanting to see them lose on principle just because I didn’t like to see teams trying to buy their way to the championships. The current Rangers are not those old Rangers, but the sentiment hasn’t completely gone, so I’m definitely on the Devils bandwagon for the moment.

I’ll know in the morning if we have a matchup scheduled, or if I have to wait until the seventh Devils-Rangers game to see a series winner. I am, however, excited for the final round. I haven’t been excited about hockey all season, so this is pretty cool.

Hump Day 2/2

Le sleepiness, it is settling in.

I definitely stayed up way too late last night, so work was more of a slog than usual today. Straight after that, though, was a poker night with a bunch of work friends, which made everything better, but didn’t make me any less sleepy. I did about as well as last time, meaning I finished top three in one game and was the first one out in the second. The average isn’t too shabby.

Obviously, that means no writing time today. I’m not sure yet how this weekend is shaping up for free time, but it shouldn’t be too bad. I ought to be able to find a bit of time to get some words down.

For now, I’m going to bed or I’m going to be pasted in the morning.