Monday, June 28, 2021

Testing the EV Charging Infrastructure

Last week I tested the EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure along a route stretching between Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and all the way across South Dakota. Then back. 

The good news: I made it both ways! Thanks to the car's self-planning feature (it decides which charging stations to stop at, and how long I need to charge there), planning the trip was a cinch. Overall, I enjoyed a lot of alone time, during which I listened to audiobooks galore. It was sweet. And wonderful to see my family, many of whom drove in from their own distant points to be there at the same time.

But that's not to say there weren't a few odd glitches. At one point, about 30 minutes out of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, my car suddenly told me the charging station I was making for was "closed" and my only option was to return to Coeur d'Alene, get a bigger charge, then come back once more with enough charge to make it to the next farther charging station. Well, that whole process added about 3 hours to my trip. All to find that the "closed" charging station was open all along. Some sort of lapse of cell communication in the middle of Idaho was probably to blame.

On the way back toward Washington, I stopped in Mitchell SD, only to discover that every one of the chargers would only let me charge for about 1 minute before stopping, then starting up again 20 or so seconds later, then stop, rinse, and repeat. Luckily I had a really big charge left, and so despite this herky-jerky situation, I was able to gather just enough energy to move on after about 20 minutes of worry.

A few other weirdnesses plagued me. About an hour and a half before I reached my initial destination in SD, the car freaked out, telling me there was no charge to be found at my destination, and that I should GO BACK. It helpfully tried to re-route me. (What it didn't know was that my parents had installed a charging plug in their garage, and that I was going to be fine.) Then, with too little information to go on, it decided that Highway 25 was actually the speed limit, and kept trying to limit my speed to 25 miles per hour.  Easy enough to fix: stop relying on the autopilot function and just drive the car like normal.

So, long story short: I had a great time on the drive (and an even better time seeing family in the middle). And I learned a lot, thanks to the events I've just described. So much that I might try to do it again next year.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Batgirl Vs. The Insidious Ache

Hi folks!

A few days ago,  Batgirl became part cyborg. She got a new hip to replace the one injured in a battle with her arch-nemesis, the Insidious Ache. 

The surgery went well. But we had a tougher first night than either of us expected. The next day's breakthrough pain was so severe I was placing calls to her surgeon (as the instruction sheet they sent us home with said I should).

Thankfully, she turned a corner for the better on day 3 (yesterday). In fact, last night we were able to finally make it upstairs to the bedroom to sleep instead of us sleeping downstairs on the couch. Sleep, I missed you...

It seems like we're heading in the right direction, finally. Soon (well, in a little less than six weeks, if the prognosis holds), she'll be back, better than ever with an arthritis-free artificial hip. (Cue Bionic Woman theme music.)

[Photo by Aaron Barnaby on Unsplash]

Monday, May 10, 2021

Watch Me Sleep

I have a new health-tracking watch!(1) In addition to telling the time, it also tracks movement and heart rate.(2)  Using all those functions, it also has a way of recording the wearer's type and quality of sleep. Last night, I had pretty good sleep, including a reasonable stint of deep sleep(3), so I'm hoping that translates into a productive day today.  

1 (The watch was a birthday gift last week from Batgirl. It's a Samsung Active2.)

2 (At  56 BPM, the watch is telling me my heart rate is lower than the average heart rate for someone my age and gender.)

3 (It sounds like 1 or 2 hours is a reasonable amount to strive for. Not that you can strive for deep sleep. You just have to prepare for deep sleep as best you can and hope that it arrives, like Santa at Christmas, bearing gifts of brain detoxification and memory consolidation.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Darkest House

 The Darkest House is pretty cool. And, TBH, pretty scary. 

The Darkest House is a tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) compatible with the game you're playing now. In fact, it's made for it. Quickly and easily convert your existing characters (it takes about five minutes) and use those stats while in The Darkest House. Once the PCs emerge, your players will return to their regular setting using their regular character sheets. The House System is a sort of RPG Rosetta Stone, allowing easy translation into and out of any game system—and even letting you bring characters from different games together.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Allergy Season, Again!


Hey folks!

Allergy season begins, for me, at the beginning of March. Of course, it can't really be the beginning of March again, can it? I mean, it was just a few short months/years/decades ago when March rolled around in 2020…

Oh, right.

So, here we are, a year into the pandemic and it’s time for me to once again pull out the Zyrtec. Though I was a little too late in doing so, as last night I must have been rubbing my irritated eyes in my sleep or dozing state and managed to poke one. This morning, in addition to my eyes watering because of allergies, one of my eyes is watering because I poked it.

Yay, March!

Anyway, time to drop Chapter 19 for Ark of Broken Dreams to my Patrons on Patreon. In it, we rejoin Kit Dawes, FBMA agent who discovered the government building where she goes to work has a secret bunker. A secret bunker where a strange woman called Hathezar has apparently been living since the place was sealed away over sixty years ago.

[Photo by Nadiya Ploschenko on Unsplash]

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Darkest House

Whelp, this zillow(?) listing gives me a bad feeling.

"Don’t let the outside fool you—step inside and this house will steal your heart! Surprisingly spacious, crafted with amazing attention to detail, and filled with discovery after discovery, this home welcomes you with timeless grace and charm. A history as intriguing as it is mysterious will draw you in, and you’ll find yourself amazed as room after room beckons you."

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

We Walk and We Like It

 Hey folks!

How's your week? Snowy for some of you, sounds like. For us here in the greater Seattle area, rainy. But that means nothing to our dog Tesla. The walk is the highlight of her day. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays her from giving me that guilt-inducing "It's time for my walk now!" look.
(Ok, she has a few other highlights. Breakfast. After-walk dental treat. Supper. Sitting on the couch with humans after dinner. Running like a crazy dog into the back yard when she's spied a squirrel....)
Anyway, this intro was all precursor to me dropping novel chapter seventeen for The Ark of Broken Dreams, but I lost the thread. So expect that next!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Greetings, Earthlings!

Greetings, Earthlings! 

The days are getting lighter earlier, and I have to say, I enjoy that. Getting up while it's still dark outside isn't my groove. Of course, we set up conditions in our room that are optimum for sleeping, not getting up. By which I mean we leave the window open to cool things down, so that it's nice and comfy under the covers.  We also keep the shades drawn to filter out any light so it's like a cave. Great for sleeping, but not so great when you have to get up and it's still cold and dark.

But if the sun is up, our shades can't stop it from leaking in and giving everything that sort of quiet dawn glow that, to me anyway, promises a good day. Maybe because I remember those sorts of mornings when I was little? Anyway, today was like that when I got up. Do you have any similar reactions to morning light, positive (or negative?)

Anyway, on to the next chapter drop, Chapter 16, which I'm preparing in my next patron-only post.

[Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash]

Friday, January 22, 2021

A New Week, A New Era (Hopefully)

Hey everybody!

[Cross-posted from my Patreon]: Like me, I imagine most of you are relieved to be where we are. We've got a brand new (old, heh) president in the White House whose associated officials no longer have to watch their back for sprouting knives when talking about serious issues (Fauci, I'm looking at you).
As I was just remarking in a private message (you know who you are), the "new" norms of open racism, reality denial, and ugly aggression aren't actually norms after all. The cover has been pulled back, revealing that it's ugly all the way down. Here's hoping that makes an impression on a lot of folks at the margin. (I know at least one on who it has, anecdotally.)
Take care, and be kind to your mind if you can. I'm certainly trying to in the face of all the various things that have come my way lately. Peace.
[Photo by Kien Do on Unsplash]

Friday, January 15, 2021

Grading yourself on your response to the Pandeminsurection

Greetings from 2021!

If you're reading this, I just want to let you know that I value you. Your support, yes, but also you as a person. Stay strong, my friend. Find those moments of peace. Try 5 minutes of meditation if it's not something you're already doing. Look at the window at some trees and do some slow breathing. We can't control events, but we can control how we respond to them to some extent.

If I were to grade myself on how well I'm responding, I'd give myself ... well, I suppose it varies by day. I'm going to say 7 out of 10, on average.

I hope you're doing at least as well.

In other news, I've dropped Chapter 15 of my novel here at my Patreon. Take a look!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Rune of Reconciliation


Mid-December brings with it a couple of active tabletop roleplaying game Kickstarter campaigns that I'm involved with.

First, we have my friends (and employer) MCG's Heroes of the Cypher System campaign, in which I'll be writing a sourcebook about people with powers called The Origin. As it happens, I wrote a preview here, which takes the form of some secret communications on the dark web. This campaign ends in two days, so if you wanna get in on the super fun, the gap is narrowing

Next, my friend Peter Schaefer is running a TTRPG Kickstarter for his new setting and game system called The Well. The Well utilizes a new, lightweight game mechanic directly integrated into the story of your PCs exploring the abandoned crypts of your people's ancestors, putting down the undead abominations that have risen from their remains, and escaping with as much loot and as few scars as possible.

As it happens, I'll be writing some short fiction for The Well, as unlocked by the very first stretch goal.

You have about two weeks to check out The Well at the time of this writing.

P.S. Wanna see an excerpt from the short story "Rune of Reconciliation" that I've started? Head over to my Patreon, where I've dropped it as a public post!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Sweet 2021 Action

My friends, 

It's December 2020! I don't know about you (though I can guess), but I'm ready for some sweet 2021 vaccine-deployment-and-new-administration-attention-to-critical-issues action. That's a mouthful. What do you think of my new portmanteau? Probably needs some trimming. I'll leave that for the editor. (JUST KIDDING!)

Ready for another chapter in The Ark of Broken Dreams? Well, ready or not, here you go:

[Photo by William Daigneault on Unsplash]