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  • Decisions, Decisions

    I am in a dilemma. I have a choice to make. Do I pick option A, which is a powerhouse but a bit on the reality-challenged side, or do I pick option B, which is smarter but not very strong?

    Politics? What the hell, you say.

    I'm not talking politics. I know who I'm marking down as my candidate. I think I was certain months ago. I'm talking D&D, dammit.

    I gotta make a new character. It's for a 3.5 game, and I can't decide. Not only am I building from scratch, it's got to be L7, to keep up with the others who've been in the adventure for a couple of months now.

    Do I make a Warforged and build him into a Juggernaut, where he'll be uber-strong but rather stupid, or do I create a human defender/fighter who is strong but clever?

    The group doesn't actually have any human PCs, and none of those characters are melee fighters. The DM does not perceive this to be a handicap, although it has caused problems in the past for their other game, which is a standard adventure offered in the 4E book. The 4E game runs different PCs, but no one is a tank and they're regularly starting fresh with new PCs because the dragons are devouring/burning/stomping them to death on a fairly consistent basis.

    And so I ask you, dear readers, to advise me as you see best. Perhaps I should go in a completely different direction. I doubt he'd let me bring in Brenys, with her bag of holding, magical sword, and combat-trained pony, especially since they already have a ranger in the group and my old DM was rather unusual in the goodie-giving department. And so I thought Warforged, since I've never run one, and I am attempting to embrace new experiences.

    What say you?

    Neither a borrower nor a lender be

    I have polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Caused by a dominant allele on an X chromosome, the kidneys (and eventually, the liver) develop water-filled cysts over time. The cysts do not push kidney and liver tissues out of the way; they replace tissue, cell for cell. The cysts can be removed or nuked out through chemo- and radiation therapy, but empty holes left in their place. There is no cure, other than transplant.

    My children will watch me die a slow, painful death, years before anyone really should, unless something can be done about my condition. I have already taken steps to help myself. I was already a non-smoker, and I rarely ever drank to excess, so it was easy to quit alcohol completely. I cut back my caffeine intake dramatically to the occassional Pepsi, limited to one per "event." I eat more vegetables and fiber, had minor surgery to help me get off certain medications, and tomorrow will begin a new gym membership with the help of my oldest daughter in order to shed about half my total body fat (there's more here than I thought!). Without a transplant, however, I will still die of kidney failure, if my bad driving doesn't take me first.

    My sister, who does not have the allele, called me last night. We talked about our father and his sister, who are in advancing and end-stage renal failure, respectively. They are in their early 60s, just a few years older than their mother was when her kidneys failed. My aunt is in far worse shape, requiring dialysis in her home every night. My father, who is older but took better care of his health, is only just starting to "head south."

    Sister told me that Auntie is on the list for a transplant. This surprised me, because Auntie did nothing to adjust her ways once diagnosed nor after her dialysis treatments began. I assumed there were standards for this as well as age limits, but we learn new things every day.

    Sister then told me that Auntie was in fact offered a transplant this summer, but turned it down. I asked if Auntie was examined by a mental health professional, and Sister explained that the kidney came from a deceased HIV patient. I replied, "So?"

    The conversation went something like this:

    Sister: Um, hello... It's AIDS. That'll kill you.
    Me: And the PKD means you're gonna live forever? How long does she want to live, anyway? She's already 60.
    Sister: What do you mean?
    Me: Look, it's easy. At my age (35), taking that particular kidney would be stupid. But at 60, I'd only have 20-ish years left anyway; no one in our family has lived past 84.
    Sister: But you'd get AIDS.
    Me: They've got drugs for that. There's no other cure for PKD. What are you gonna choose?

    And so I started thinking. What would I really choose? If my kidneys failed today, I'd have at most about 15 years left on my life if my body does not reject the dialysis intervention. Dialysis isn't easy, fun, or fast. A transplant would be the best choice.

    But what about that AIDS kidney? According to CDC studies done after the introduction of successful "drug coctails," if I were diagnosed with HIV today, I'd have 11 years before onset of AIDS, and six years after that. Well, provided my treatment regimen was well-tailored to my biology and that I stuck to it with extreme determination.

    Sixteen years without near-crippling dialysis in exchange for HIV/AIDS. I dunno. Seems like a good trade, if the kidney's former keeper was only HIV-pos. I'd be dead anyway, and those HIV/AIDS years are just averages. I could last longer than 16 years.

    Try not to let that thought keep you up at night!

    Daydream Believin'

    This is my dream house. Yes, I know it looks just like the creepy old man's house from down the street where you grew up. That's what's cool about it. Imagine building your own creepy haunted house, but with all the modern amenities and 'green' technology!

    On the market now are solar-cell roof shingles that are practically unnoticeable if you color-match the regular shingles. You can also get solar-power outdoor light fixtures from front porch lights to ornate pole lights. Downspouts can be directed into a rain collection system that stores rainwater to be used later for lawn or vegetable garden irrigation. Tinted low-E windows will help keep the interior cool in the summer time by reducing the amount of sunlight, and warm in the winder by reducing the amount of escaping heat.

    Denim is now being recycled into insulation that is far superior to fiberglass. Bamboo, which grows at an alarming rate all over the US, is being harvested and turned into energy-efficient, impact-resistant, low-cost flooring. Fluorescent lighting fixtures just get prettier and prettier every year. And using recycled building materials, such as doors from demolished homes, also adds to the 'green' value.

    Creepy it will definitely be. But haunted? Only if the kids leave the water on!

    My funny bone is broken.

    Attention People Who Are Smarter Than Me!

    Please, please, please, read this and tell me it's a joke. It seems like a joke, only not funny. I found it on Yahoo news.

    McCain cast self as middle-class guardian --By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

    WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Evoking "Joe the Plumber" in his pivotal home state, Republican John McCain on Sunday cast himself as the guardian of middle-class workers and small-business owners who fuel the economy.

    "If I'm elected president, I won't raise taxes on small businesses, as Sen. (Barack) Obama clearly wants to do, and force them to cut jobs," McCain said of his Democratic opponent during a rally at Otterbein College. "I will keep small business taxes where they are, help them keep their costs low and let them spend their earnings to create more jobs. We need that in Ohio. We need it across America."

    McCain was flying from the Columbus suburbs northward to Toledo, near where "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher lives, amid the GOP's push for this pivotal swing state and its 20 electoral votes.

    The Holland, Ohio, plumber was in New York making the media rounds with his family, but McCain has been evoking his spirit after making him the focal point the final presidential debate between McCain and Obama. McCain also mentions Wurzelbacher at his rallies after the plumber was videotaped questioning Obama about whether his tax plan would keep him from buying the two-man plumbing shop where he works.

    While some analyses showed Wurzelbacher faring better under Obama's plan than McCain's, McCain has lashed out at Obama for saying that while his policies may force some workers to pay higher taxes, they were designed to "spread the wealth around" by targeting only families making over $250,000 annually.

    "Sen. Obama is more interested in controlling who gets your piece of the pie than he is in growing the pie," McCain told a crowd of several thousand.

    He drew cheers when he proclaimed he was campaigning "on behalf of Joe the Plumber and Rose the Teacher and Phil the Bricklayer and Wendy the Waitress."

    Earlier Sunday, the senator complained that the vast sums of money Obama is raising risk the post-Watergate financing reforms.

    Speaking on "Fox New Sunday" hours after Obama's campaign reported raising a record $150 million in September, McCain said the overall sum his Democratic rival has raised — $605 million — showed the "dam has broken" for future White House races.

    McCain also complained that the identities of people who contributed more than $200 million of Obama's total take have not been reported, although that is allowable under federal law because the individual donations fall under the $200 reporting limit.

    "I'm saying it's laying a predicate for the future that can be very dangerous," McCain said. "History shows us where unlimited amounts of money are in political campaigns, it leads to scandal."

    The Arizona senator has been limited to spending $84 million for the general election campaign after he accepted federal funds under a program created after the Watergate scandal. Obama initially indicated he would adhere to the same limit, but reversed course and became the first post-Watergate candidate to finance a general-election campaign with private funding.

    McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, also sloughed off Obama's endorsement by one of the country's best known black Republicans and former military leaders, Colin Powell, who was President Bush's first secretary of state.

    Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Powell expressed personal affection for McCain but chided his friend of 25 years for the type of campaign he has run against Obama, who is black.

    McCain said: "I've always admired and respected Gen. Powell," before noting his endorsement by four other former secretaries of state. Asked whether Powell's endorsement undercut McCain's stance that Obama, a freshman senator from Illinois, is not ready to lead, McCain said of Powell: "We have a respectful disagreement."



    My friend, G.O.D., took a nerd quiz and posted his results on his livejournal page. He's what I would call an uber-nerd. He doesn't have to consult a rule book when we're playing D&D, unless it's to shove it in someone's face just how very wrong they are. He's OCD over Batman, and he's a bit socially backward. (He sometimes forgets that other people have feelings, but he's never deliberately mean. Well, not to chicks with boobs, anyway.)

    G.O.D., I love you, but it's the truth.

    Anyhoo, his results were something like this:

    And so I took the test. Here are my results:

    NerdTests.com says I'm a Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

    Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. wOOt!

    PS--I really need to bone up on my coding. Seriously. I'm totally lame in that department. Time to bust out the Linux, I think.

    Where's the beef?

    I try to live my life with an upbeat attitude, because happiness is just as contagious as sadness, and I'd rather spread joy than pain. But occasionally, I'll come across something incomprehensible that really pushes my buttons. One example is the news articles announcing an imminent announcement, or the contents of an upcoming speech by a celebrity or politician.

    What happened to the mysterious press conference? Why do journalists feel they need to spill the beans? You told me at noon Senator Whats-'is-face would be discussing his affair with the Chilean belly-dancing nun and announcing his retirement from the Senate. Now I have no need to watch his speech at 4:30, but you're going to interrupt my favorite TV show anyway. Why can't the reason be a surprise, dammit?

    I really do get annoyed by this. Back in the early days of CNN, when it was the only 24-hour news channel and The Internet was practically non-existent, I felt rather calmed by the fact that for once in my life I could get "news" any time I wanted it. These days, there is so much news available, it seems that they'll discuss, debate, and infer anything, just to have something to say.

    Just STFU already, and give me back my mysterious press conferences.


    UPDATE: re--News viewing on TVs in Military offices open to the military public

    Since my last rant concerning the selection of 24-hour news channels for televisions in the lobbies of military-run facilities, I am pleased to notice that miraculously, the number of choices available has risen from one (just FoxNews) to three (FN, CNN, and MSNBC).

    I doubt I had anything to do with that, but I'll take it just the same.

    Some images from Dragon*Con 2008

    Some photos taken during a con in Atlanta that The Girl and I attended this year.

    Sean Astin (we were way in the back)

    DJ Helsing, Gaia Online programmer

    The Dark Side (of the street)


    I think they're from Bleach

    Voice Actors
    C. Martin Croker, some other guy, and Vic Mignogna (super nice guy, BTW)

    Star Wars costume contest

    lovely Yip-Yip

    geeks after my own heart

    Star Wars Legos

    *Fans: if you want to borrow my photos, please do not use my images for nefarious purposes, and give my website credit. kthxby!

    I'm a pin-up girl. Woot!

    So I took this quiz, and this is what I would be, if fantasies were real.

    Waddah yous knowsit from funny, eh?

    Must... Watch... This...

    Found it on Fark. Lovely site, really. And yes, this is Safe For Work, and you don't need the sound up too loud; it's subtitled.

    I will warn you, however, that the song will get completely embedded into your head, and you'll be pounding yourself in the forehead or trying to poke your eyeballs out, before too long. I would like to recommend a dose of Pearl Jam or a bit from Carmina Burana to cleanse the palate.

    And now, for your viewing pleasure, may I present a "lateral video version" of "Take On Me," by A-Ha, as interpreted by www.dustfilms.com. **The idea is this: What if the song actually reflected the actions of the video?**

    I'll have that in the can

    I'm getting my internet switched from [name redacted]'s most horrible DSL service to [name redacted]'s cable service. We had cable internet and phone from another company when we lived in Virginia, but thought that DSL would serve us better here in Georgia. Not so. At least, not so with the company I chose.

    So the problem we have is that my router is close to the desktops we have in the dining room. The nearest useable cable outlet is in the living room and will require a run of about 100 feet of coaxial cable to make it work. Not pretty and completely out of the question.

    So I delve into the yellow pages in order to find local computer supplies stores so that I may purchase a USB wi-fi adapter for each desktop. Because I'm slightly stunted in the brain, I always look at the right side of any book or magazine before I look at the left. Using the right side of the yellow pages, I found "computers-concrete."

    On the left-hand page, I found "colonic-computers."

    Augusta may be the crackhouse of Hell, devoid of a regular breeze and a 3D Imax theater, but at least you can get your colon irrigated locally.