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Arrrr, Mateys!

Soo, as p'r the usual, 'tis the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Therefore, me hearties and mateys, this be the day when ye all haf ta talk like the scurvy dogs and wenches, pirates though ye be, that ye are!!

Good wishes an' raisin' a mug o' froth to all me LJ salty sea dogs and lovely, briny wenches!

Arrrrrrrrr!! :)

Friday Evening Gaming Session Cancelled

This evening's gaming session with the Friday group, the replacement session for last week's missed session, is off for tonight.

The illness that was ravaging the members of the gaming group last week continues, so we'll not be playing tonight. I'm saddened by this, as I was quite looking forward to running some Torg Eternity this evening.

Perhaps the Friday night group will be able to game once more at their regularly scheduled time next week.

(NHL) Senators' Day of Infamy

Today is the 13th of September, and though it's not a Friday, it's a day that's going to go down in Ottawa Senators's history as one of the worst days ever.

The Ottawa Senators have traded their generational, *franchise* player, Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks for a couple of NHLers with some experience but no panache and scoring ability and a batch of prospects and conditional picks. This is a mess of a deal that gave them the equivalent of a penny on the dollar. The trade was made to continue the rebuilding of the franchise that owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Pierre Dorion have put in place with their plan, to make the team younger and faster over the long haul. So much for contending for the next few years, as there are going to be a lot of bad nights to sit through and watch (assuming anyone goes to the game any more, as Karlsson was the main draw with his dazzling displays on many nights, even when he was operating at only 75%). The question is whether Mark Stone and Matt Duchene are going to be willing to stick with the Senators and sign deal extensions to play here in the long term over the course of the rebuild. And whether other players of quality will come to Ottawa to play, knowing that the team's owner obviously didn't want to give Erik Karlsson what he was worth contract-wise.

While I'm angry about the trade and sad about the loss, I am kind of looking forward to seeing what sort of product the team puts on the ice, as I lived through the early days of the franchise. I think like most Senators fans, I'm in for a long season - and perhaps the team overhaul isn't done yet. And also like most Senators fans, I wish Erik Karlsson nothing but the best with his new team, and really hope that he gets to slide a Stanley Cup ring onto his finger one of these years.

That said, the Senators got a very poor return for their generational star player. This may rank up there as one of the worst trades in NHL history, depending on how the prospects and potential-filled players do in the next five or six years. But that said... October 13th, 2018. A day that will live in infamy for Senators fans. The day they traded away their franchise player for...nothing, pretty much.

No, Sens, No!

Diabetes Clinic Appointment Report

Got home about half an hour ago from the Diabetes clinic and my regularly scheduled six-month appointment.

I managed to get to the hospital around 1:00 pm for the 1:10 pm appointment, and was told that the doctor was running late. One of the nurses who works there took my vitals, and the only real surprise was the fact that my blood pressure was somewhat elevated. Not surprising, given the stress(es) I've currently got going in my life. My weight was holding roughly the same (and no, I'm not going to say how much I weigh, but I could still stand to lose a few more pounds), and otherwise everything else is status quo.

The appoinment with the doctor went pretty much as I expected it would, but he surprised me by saying that he doesn't think several of the medications are doing me much good these days. My a1C level was down a bit, my cholesterol levels were nicely down (within normal levels) and my triglycerides were still a bit high, but better than they've been. He wants me to go back to a meal time insulin that I had taken for a while (but which gave me little red rings around the injection points) and to stop taking the Lantus, the Glumetza (metformin), and the Diamicron. I told him that I'd give this a lot of thought, and I'd be in touch with the diabetic nurse about what I'll be doing and keeping track of things. Lots to think about.

Went over to Harvey's for lunch and had an Angus burger, some onion rings, with some water, and then caught another taxi home. Came in and just put my feet up and relaxed for a bit (may have taken a nap).

Now to figure out what I want to do. Decisions, decisions...

A Terrible Anniversary

Seventeen years ago today, a terrible series of events occurred. We call it 9/11.

Once more, it occurred to me today that I was at the sf bookstore I owned and ran back in those days, Basilisk Dreams Books, getting paperwork done for the morning and getting ready to open the door, when the kind lady who owned the store next door (a video store that also sold tvs, vcrs, and dvd players) knocked on the door, and said that I needed to come to her store and see the terrible tragedy that had occurred and was still ongoing.

Needless to say, the complexion of the rest of that day was forever changed. And the world changed that day forever as well.

I want to once more offer my condolences to those who lost loved ones on that day, and my heartfelt thanks for those who toiled and struggled and bravely survived that day.

On this day, take the time to remember where you were on 9/11. And how your life was affected by the terrible, tragic events of that day.

Getting Ready for Sunday Gaming

Getting myself together for this afternoon's game session with Tammy and spross. Feeling under the weather, as I have been for the last week and a half or so, but I really can use the distraction of gaming today so... Just a matter of seeing how functional I'm going to be.

SteveR is going to start the campaign (I hope) of Star Trek Adventures that he'll be running for the next little while. Not really sure what to expect in the game, so I'm going to try and roll with it and just enjoy myself as a player and not have to worry about running games or getting deep into the rules. I'll admit there are some rules that he went over with us last week that I'm not crazy about, but I will wait and see how I feel about them when he runs the game.

For now, I'm looking forward to gaming this afternoon, but need to get upstairs and make some lunch before gaming. Something hot, I think, that will ease my throat and chest somewhat.

Happy Jewish New Year!

Today at sundown marks the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

So I would like to wish all my Jewish friends and followers 'shana tova, and best wishes for the New Year. May it be filled with happiness, health, prosperity, joy, love, and everything else that you would wish from the New Year.

And for all my goyim friends out there, a good (Jewish) new year to you, as well. You're welcome. :)

Friday Evening Gaming Session Cancelled

Tonight's gaming session with the Friday night group is off.

Several of the gamers in my Friday night crew are down with an illness. Two of the players are being incapacitated by relatively high fever, and two of the others are down and out and "feeling like crap" (to quote Mark). Since I'm not feeling all that hot myself at the moment, I can't say that I'm displeased to not game tonight.

While I was looking forward to continuing the current adventure the players were involved in for the Torg Eternity RPG, it's better that we don't game this week. Especially after the last couple of days that I've had.

Ah, well...
Yesterday afternoon, spross ran the Star Trek Adventures RPG.

Technically. Tammy and I finished off character creation for the game, and then he went through the game rules for the system and then gave us the basic background for the start of the campaign.

I have gone somewhat outside the box for the character that I'm going to play in the game. A while back, SteveR and I tested out the character generation system and I created a Roman character for the game, who'd been found in a stasis chamber of some sort on a word in the Pompeii system. I really wanted to play him, and thus Marcus Claudius Antoninus was born. He's a Lieutenant Commander and a Conn officer. Should be interesting to see how this character shakes out, especially with the mystery of how he came to be in the Pompeii system!

The rules for the Star Trek Adventures RPG are pretty simple, as the game uses the 2d20 Momentum system, but there appear to be layers to the various rules, almost like peeling away the flesh of an onion and finding more rules beneath. I'm not sure how I feel about them, but we'll see as the game goes on.

The basic campaign will see my character and Tammy's doctor serving aboard Picard's old ship, the U.S.S. Stargazer during the pre-"Generations" movie period, exploring the newly discovered Shackleton Expanse (what seems to be the default campaign area/region for the game). See how that goes.

I'm looking forward to the game, and seeing how narrative the system is. (It'll be a good learning lesson for me when it comes time for me to get into the John Carter of Mars RPG once it comes out in print.)

Books Read in August, 2018

As is my standard usage of my blog space at or near the beginning of the month, I present the listing of my August, 2018 reads.

Books Read in August, 2018

July, 2018 Locus

Star’s End by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Time Siege by Wesley Chu

Hellspark by Janet Kagan (r)

The Golden Compass: The Graphic Novel by Philip Pullman, Stéphane Melchior and Clélment Oubrerie (Graphic Novel)

The Pleasure Model Repairman by Ruuf Wangersen

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked Roleplaying Game by Raphaël Bardas, François Cedelle, Pierre Coppet, Sarah Newton et al (RPG)

Wired by Julie Garwood

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

And those were my reads in the month of August. August was a month of quality of books, as opposed to quantity, as I read several rather many-paged novels this months, not to mention an epic sized roleplaying game. I didn't manage to read a couple of non-fiction books that I was planning on, but what can you do? Only so much time every month to read.

The books I enjoyed the most were:

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger - Nolan Moore leads a team of four TV web series production crew members in an effort to retrace the path of an explorer from 1909 who made an important, but mysterious, discovery of a cave high up in the rock strata of the Grand Canyon. Nolan’s crew hopes to ramp up their reputation of chasing after strange conspiracy theory anomalies and turn this potential find into ratings gold and hopefully an actual TV network program. Thus, they allow a journalist and a representative for their corporate sponsor along for the journey, making for a complete party of six. When, against all odds, they actually find the rumored cave and manage to climb to its entrance (filming their documentary along the way) it remains only to discover what, exactly, lies deep within. I'm not going to spoil anything for the reader, but will say that The Anomaly is an energized and suspenseful archaeological sci-fi (and how I hate that term!) horror story that will keep you reading chapter after chapter. From the beginning of the book to its bizarre climax, the book maintains an ever increasing tone of suspense and anxiety inspiring tension that kept me reading. To put it into perspective, this story becomes a tale of survival. What I didn't realize at the time I read this was that the author, Michael Rutger, is actually the pen name for Michael Marshall Smith (Michael Marshall), the novelist, short story writer and screen writer. This book may make the reader think that they've read this story before, as it's got a lot of similarities to novels of the genre, but there are enough twists and surprises that make the book feel fresh. Told from Nolan's first person perspective, this books feels like it has a deeply personal level (which it does). There's a good measure of humour throughout, which makes the horrific moments all that much sharper, and that added to my enjoyment of the book. Recommended.

Star’s End by Cassandra Rose Clarke - This book was one of my favourite novels of the month's reads. Star’s End is the ultimate book about corporate control, the location itself being the home of the Coromina family. A science fiction story about the Four Sisters, four planets terraformed by Philip Coromina. He not only owns the planets, he owns the people who inhabit them. Any person who doesn’t follow company rules disappears. But what really happens to them is a matter for the reader to discover. The family business manufactures weapons, one of the "products" being humans who are DNA programmed to be soldiers. They fight wars across the galaxy alongside normal human mercenaries hired by the corporations. The protagonist of Star's End is Esme Coromina, Philip's eldest daughter. Her mother is a soldier who left her to be raised by Phillip when she was born. Esme’s three hundred-year-old father is dying, Philip having a disease which kills even those taking rejuvenation treatments. She is taken by surprise, but she has been waiting a long time. Esme will become CEO of the Coromina Group, and wants to change the corporation's direct away from weapons manufacture. The dying Philip wants Esme to find her three younger half-sisters who disappeared some time ago, and the dutiful Esme goes about this, all the time dealing with corporate matters, that include aliens living on the Coromina planets. There are a lot of plot elements that sound familiar and should do, but they are tied up in a nice way. The book jumps between the past and present and shows the history of a very dysfunctional family. There are lots of secrets, both familial and corporate, which we don’t learn until events occur in the past chapters or until Esme reaches a level in the corporation hierarchy to be able to learn them. This novel is an interesting, fun read, though obviously anti-corporate. My only real problem with the book at times was I found Esme's reluctance to follow her father's orders a bit hard to swallow. Still, good read. Highly recommended.

Hellspark by Janet Kagan - I'll state right now that this book was a re-read for me, one of my favourites of my re-reads over the years (for reasons that are evident, if you know me at all), so I'm a bit biased. Hellspark is a wondrous book, being a murder mystery, but with the story really being about the intricacies of language and the meaning of sapience. Every time I read this book I find something new, something that resonates with me. While some people find the book tedious, it's definitely not for everyone. Language is a dance, and language is fascinating. I still have my original version of teh book, though I've bought replacements over the years. I can't recommend this book enough. 'Nuff said.

The Late Show by Michael Connelly - Michael Connelly is best known for his detective series featuring Harry Bosch, but with this novel launches a new series in the City of Angels. Renée Ballard is a well-established detective with the LAPD, working the "late show", police talk for the 11 pm - 7 am shift. It’s mostly about picking up the scraps of the nightlife and directing cases to daytime divisions, but police work all the same. This means that she's called out whenever the need arises, but Ballard is left without closure or any sense of propriety on the cases she catches. During a single shift, two monumental cases land in her lap: the assault of a transgender prostitute, left for dead in a parking lot, and a shooting at a nightclub with three victims left to die in their own blood. I'm not going to spoil the plot too much here, but will say that while wrestling with her own personal demons, Ballard is taken captive for poking her nose around on these cases, but no one knows she’s gone missing. Is this the end of the late show for Ballard? I really liked this book, mainly because the author has crafted a character in Renée Ballard reflects the grit of the LAPD (based on what I know of it) and offers readers an interesting perspective, not only as a woman, but one who is single and not tied down to anyone else, save her dog. I'm not going to say anything else about this book other than the fact that I recommend it very much.

Overall, I managed to read 7 novels, 1 RPGs and RPG product, 1 magazine, 0 comics, and 1 graphic novel in August. This brings the year total in 2018 to a set of numbers that look like this: 58 books, 34 RPGs and RPG products, 15 magazines, 0 comics, and 3 graphic novels.

Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)


John Kahane

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