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Up and Indy-At ‘Em! August 15, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, gencon, health hut, personal, travel.
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Awake.

Too damn early to get up.

Well, my suitcase and carry-on luggage are mostly packed, other than putting the cold pack with the insulin in and the last of the toiletries, everything is pretty much ready to go. Heading out to GenCon 2017 this morning, around 10:00 am, but need to be at the airport by no later than 8:00 am.

Didn’t sleep all that well last night, tossing and turning somewhat, having left foot nerve spasms again, not to mention my bad shoulder is hurting quite a bit. Going to have to remember to avoid lifting anything at all with the arm, suitcases and all.

Other than that, time to get functional for the day. Shower and shave first, I think.

‘Twas the Day Before I Leave for GenCon… August 14, 2017

Posted by jkahane in food hut, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, personal, rpg hut.
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…and as per last time I did this, if you think I’m going anywhere with that, guess again. 🙂

While today is officially the start of GenCon Week for most, it’s a very bizarre time. Most folks won’t be leaving for Indy until either Wednesday or Thursday, others have actually already started to make their way to Indianapolis, but I will be heading for Indy early mid-morning tomorrow for a mass date with all my geek (and I mean that in a good way!) and gamer friends. In the meantime, I have a few thoughts on the whole GenCon experience to share.

I attended GenCon last in 2015, having gone before that in 2008, 2011 and 2012, and before that I hadn’t gone to a GenCon since it had been in Milwaukee. (Yes, that’s a long time between conventions prior to 2008.) While the convention has changed over the years, certain rules of etiquette and behaviour have not, but as the convention has gotten larger, the scope of these basics of etiquette and behaviour have been modified somewhat. I’m not going to talk about these, so much as I’m going to talk about stuff that is important to me, and things about how I intend to enable a good time for myself this year at GenCon. One of the nice things about my attendance in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2015 is that I’ve learned a bit more about some of this stuff.

The first thing I’m doing for this year’s visit to Indianapolis is to pack relatively light. Being diabetic, there are certain medications and the like that I have to take with me, not to mention the insulin and needles, but from the point of view of clothing, I’m taking twice the number of pairs of socks and underwear that I need, two sets of comfortable shoes, and several pairs of pants and t-shirts along with me. The two pairs of shoes is a necessity, since one does a lot of walking at GenCon, and being able to change shoes each day is a desirable thing. Same thing with the extra pairs of socks. It’s going to get pretty warm (actually, hot!) at the convention, and changing socks halfway through the day does wonders for keeping the feet relatively comfy. Comfy feet make for happy feet!

The second thing I intend to do is to take care of my health. With over 70,000 people attending the convention tis year, there are bound to be some health issues and the like. There are some basic guidelines that I intend to deal with in regards to my health this year. Same as I did last time around. First off, I plan to wash my hands regularly. Second, I’m bringing a small bottle of hand sanitizer; while there is some debate as to whether it works in helping to kill off germs and all, this is still a good move. Third, I’m bringing with me a box of kleenex. Fourth, I’m bringing a mask or three with me (just in case). Finally, I’m planning on exercising common sense in this regard.

Part of the common sense aspect of taking care of your health also involves what is called the “3-2-1 Rule”. Simply put, this means that in a twenty-four (24) hour period, you should get 3 hours of sleep, eat 2 meals, and take 1 shower, MINIMUM. Personally, I’m going to practice the “8-3-1 Rule” (if I can). Sleep is good for you, and with the sheer amount of gaming and walking and all one is going to do at the convention, sleeping makes you healthier and happier. One of the things I plan to do in this regard is that if I don’t catch enough sleep at the convention, I’m going to take short naps if possible. Food? Well, one needs it. Eating three meals per day is better than eating two, since you’ll need the fuel to keep going at the convention, and we’re not talking about snacking here. Snacking is all fine and good when you need it, but to stay healthy and keep the energy up, you need to eat real food at sit-down meals. I’m planning to eat good breakfasts, light lunches, and a healthy hot evening meal each night come hell or high water, and will have some healthy snacks with me as being diabetic, I need to keep an even level of blood sugar in my body if possible. Planning to buy some foodstuffs for the refrigerator that I asked for in the hotel room. Healthy stuff, of course. Oh, and bottles of water or other stuff to drink. Everyone needs to remember to stay hydrated at the convention. I plan to buy a 24-bottle case or two of water for the convention to have to drink when I need it. Speaking of water, Shower. It’s going to be quite warm in Indianapolis (as it always is at this time of year) and there are going to be around 70,000 people at this convention, and they’re all going to sweat. You don’t want to smell bad (or worse, stink) while talking to old friends and possible new friends, and so showering at least once a day (more often, if your body type needs that) is a good idea. Showering is good for your health, and will make you more friends. Not to mention a good, hot shower can ease those tired and sore muscles that you’re bound to develop. Depending on how grotty and gnarly I feel, I plan to shower once every morning, and then take a quick wash down in the hotel room if I need to during the course of the day.

The third and final thing I plan to do this year at the convention is to pace myself. I didn’t figure this out back in 2008, but that experience proved valuable in this respect in 2011, 2012 and 2015. Part of the thing about GenCon is that the convention is just way too big. This is, these days, a trade show more than it is a gaming convention, although all manner of games are extremely well represented. That said, the convention is just too *big* to see everything. So you have to learn to pace yourself. Have a rough idea of what you want to game in (hopefully having pre-registered for whatever games you want), and then allocate the rest of your time to doing what you want to do – whether it’s some more gaming, catching up with friends, and of course, going into the Exhibit Hall. One of the things that I did in 2008 was I didn’t pace myself, but that was largely due to the fact that I’d not been to a GenCon in quite a few years. Got caught up in the excitement. This year, like last time I went, I’ve thought things out a bit more, and am running a couple of games. I’ll be running two sessions of Fria Ligan’s Coriolis – The Third Horizon at the convention (assuming anyone shows up to play!). I’ve already decided that the rest of my time will be split among a few other things, but suffice to say that I will pace myself to the best of my ability.

I’ve got the two scheduled games I’m running at the convention, and am hoping to get into a couple of games to play, but there’s also so much to see at the convention! Between the games, the seminars, and all the other stuff going on, one can easily forget about the Exhibit Hall. Dealers from all over gaming goodness will be represented there, and some who deal in merchandise peripherally related to gaming as well, and it would be easy to miss all manner of goodies. I’ll try to see the whole Exhibit Hall, for example, but I won’t hold my breath that I’m actually going to manage it – it’s just too big. My key goal this year in the Exhibit Hall is to purchase the stuff that I came for as early as I can get it, and then just browse, mosey around, and see what else there is. Might buy a few other things, might not. I’ve left some time during each day (other than the Friday and Saturday) for taking in some of the other sights and sounds of GenCon, but whether I manage to succeed in this regard is anyone’s guess.

And there are just a few other basic rules of etiquette.

First off, be polite to people. Courtesy is something that we all owe each other at GenCon, and given that there will be over 70,000 of us, politeness is a necessity. That and the “1” of the “3-2-1 Rule” (see above). This politeness takes the form of both the mental/social politeness but also the physical politeness. One tends to stand close to friends, not strangers, when talking to them. And people like their physical space. This also needs to be considered when one is walking around at the convention carrying one’s bag of stuff or backpack. If you’ve got a backpack on you, bear in mind that it takes up *room*. When you swing around to talk to someone, that backpack swings with you – and if you’re in tight with people, it’s going to hit someone. Be considerate, and economise your movements. Or better yet, use a shoulder bag, and still consider your movements.

Second, don’t monopolize peoples’ time. While I know that you want to spend the next hour talking to the poor game dealer guy about your character in his game or your thoughts about their new line of products, bear in mind that others are waiting to talk to this poor fellow, too, and he wants to sell some product so that he doesn’t have to travel back to his offices/warehouses with it at the end of the convention. Know when to say goodbye, and move on.

That’s all I can think of for now, but this is a pretty long post. So that will do.

Back to the final packing for the trip. After some supper.

However, anyone who wants to offer some thoughts or advice in the Comments section is welcome to do so. 🙂

A Busy Monday August 14, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, diabetes, doctor, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, personal, physiotherapy.
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Monday morning. The day before I leave for GenCon Indy.

Must have slept on the bad shoulder last night, as I’m in pretty bad pain this morning. Need to take a couple of pills now, and hope they mute the pain somewhat.

Not going to be able to get much rest today, as I’ve got two doctor appointments today, and have to do a bit of shopping for some of my medication related stuff (noticeably the insulin and the needles) and a couple of other sundries. I’ve also got to finish the packing for GenCon 2017

So this promises to be a busy day once more. I would have liked to have taken it easy and rested up a bit today, but such is not to be the case.

Two Days Before GenCon 2017 August 13, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, personal, roleplaying games, rpg hut.
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Sunday afternoon. It’s two days before I leave for GenCon Indy.

A relatively hot day outside, and a sign of things to come for the much of the rest of the week here in Ottawa, it seems.

So many things to do, packing-wise and gaming-wise, before I head off to the airport on Tuesday.

Between the weather, the allergies (this season seems to be particularly bad), the shoulder agonypain that I’m in, some of the stress I’m feeling, and some other stuff that I won’t go into on my journal, I’ve not been sleeping all that well, though I do seem to have caught about four or five hours last night, so I guess that’s better than nothing. It won’t stop me from napping at times, either. That said, it doesn’t leave me feeling all that well, my temper’s a bit on edge, and I feel a bit ragged. Not an auspicious beginning for what promises to be a very busy (and hopefully enjoyable) week.

I’m taking it relatively easy today, “relatively” being an operative word. I’ll do a bit more packing though as I’m going to try to get most of the packing done today (I’m about 28 to 30 percent done; it’s the last 70% of packing, especially when you have gaming stuff to take with you, that always worries me; fortunately I don’t have too much gaming stuff to pack, as I’ll be receiving a rulebook and GM Screen as well as the scenario at the convention (if all goes according to plan) for the games I’m running at GenCon), since I’ve got two medical appointments tomorrow and a couple of places I need to stop for shopping. I might read a bit, but will definitely try to take a nap or two.

Just a reminder to folks going to GenCon Indy: I’ll be staying at the Westin downtown. If folks would like to meet up with me, chat, do dinner, or whatever, drop me a line on my Twitter account or text me (if you have my mobile phone number, PM me if you don’t).

Shopping, Buying a Car, and Boston Pizza August 11, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, food hut, gencon, grocery shopping, health hut, personal, photos.
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It has been a long, stressful day in many ways. But with a good outcome.

Spent part of the morning shopping for supplies and stuff that I need for the trip down to GenCon Indy 2017 and was pretty tired when I got home for lunch. After lunch, I made my final decision as to the car that I wanted, and went over to the Mazda dealership, Dilawri Mazda, and bought my car.

She’s a 2014 Mazda GS, and her colour is Titanium Flash (fancy paint job, that!). 🙂

Since the car won’t be mine until the insurance is set up and new license plates and registration are established, from Mazda it was getting late so time for supper. Headed over to Boston Pizza once more, and ate a lovely meal of a small caesar salad and a Pizza Bella, washed down with a Heineken.

I couldn’t eat the whole pizza, so took the leftovers home with me for lunch or supper tomorrow night.

Just sitting back and relaxing now, about 10:35 pm, before I have to take my insulin shot. Then bed.

Long day, tiring, exhausting, but rewarding. 🙂

Important Subject if You’re Going to GenCon August 10, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, personal, rpg hut, videos.
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I’ve been giving some thought to all things GenCon Indy at the moment, given the convention is just about a week away, and the fact that I’m going to the convention. Thought that I would pass along a simple piece of advice: Remember the 5/3, 2, 1 Rule of GenCon. This means that in every 24 hours, get at least 5 (or 3) hours of sleep a night, 2 meals per day (at least one of them should be hot), and take 1 shower per day. And these are minimums, folks, bare minimums (at least for some people).

Following this basic guideline will keep you alive through the convention, maximise your time for gaming, and allow for the comfort of those with whom you are gaming. Please, please, please take a shower and use deodorant, folks. Oh, and no matter what you think, cologne/perfume cannot and does not make up for the lack of showering.

And here, to put the whole showering thing into perspective, is Savage Gypsy:

An Exhausting Day (Cars, Physio, and Food) August 8, 2017

Posted by jkahane in food hut, health hut, life, personal, physiotherapy.
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An exhausting day.

The day started off with almost no sleep last night due to foot pain (nerve spasms) and the terrible shoulder pain the exercising has caused.

The morning consisted of a round of car shopping. Went to the local Toyota dealer and looked for a second-hand car, but didn’t see anything I really liked. Took a second-hand 2015 Corolla around for a spin and while it handled all right, the seats weren’t comfortable and I wasn’t crazy about the feel for the road. The price was good, though.

From there, went for my physiotherapy appointment and got put through the wringer. The pain in the shoulder was pretty bad, so we tried acupuncture but that didn’t work, and made the neck muscles on that side hurt. Some deep massage helped, and after some electro-stimulation, I felt almost pain-free again. Went to the little restaurant in the building with the physiotherapist for lunch, and had a terrific potato and parmesan soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. Very tasty, and quite satisfying.

After that, it was back to car shopping. Went into Mazda and found they had some good second-hand vehicles. Wanted a Mazda 3 from 2015, but that one had already been sold, but got to look at a decent Mazda 3 from 2014 that was fully equipped and decently priced. Took that vehicle out for a test drive, and it was smooth and sleek and handled like a dream. Could even drive it right-handed, which made things easy and rested my left arm and shoulder. From there, it was over to Hyundi and checked out the cars there. Thought about the Accent but it was too small, and then drove for test with the 2014 Elantra they had. There was a lot of terrible things about the car, the worst being that I had to drive two-handed – and guess what, my left shoulder pain got very bad.

By that time, it was supper time. After stopping at home for pills and meds, my mom, sister and I went over to Boston Pizza for supper again. Terrific meal, including a side salad, hummus and flatbread chips, and spaghetti Bolognese with meatballs and mozzarella for supper. There was enough Bolognese for three people on that plate! So I took the rest of it home with me. Also had a Heineken with supper, and that helped with the shoulder pain somewhat. 🙂

Am now home. And get to do some of this all over again tomorrow.

Totally exhausted.

Civic Holiday (Colonel By Day) Thoughts August 7, 2017

Posted by jkahane in colonel by day, conventions, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, holiday, housework, personal, physiotherapy.
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Monday, the civic holiday here in Canada. Colonel By Day, officially.

I’m feeling somewhat giddy after the gaming experience on the weekend, but am still hurting quite a lot in the left shoulder and the area of the various muscles that come off the shoulder. My exercises are helping somewhat, but stressing the body parts, I suspect. To make things worse, my allergies are driving me crazy, to be honest. I have no real plans for the day, other than to do a bit of laundry, since I need to start sorting out some of the clothes for this year’s GenCon Indy trip.

I’ve got three medical appointments the last four days of the week, so that should make life interesting this week as well.

A Crazy Week Ahead August 7, 2017

Posted by jkahane in gaming hut, gencon, health hut, holiday, life, personal, physiotherapy.
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Even though it’s a civic holiday today, I’m up relatively early. Couldn’t sleep too much as my body is just hurting in various places. The left shoulder is particularly bad. The exercises seem to be helping, but the pain from them has made the condition much worse.

This week promises to be a bit of a bitch. Given mom’s current non-driver status and the fact taxis and the like are getting too expensive, I had planned to spend much of today searching for a new car, but discovered that all the car dealers are closed for the day (that civic holiday). This means that I’ll either have to do this tomorrow afternoon, or spend Thursday on this. I have a rough idea of what I’d like, but we’ll see how the expenses for the car shape up.

I’ve also got two physiotherapy appointments, one on Tuesday and the other Friday, and also have a Footcare appointment as well on Wednesday. In addition, I need to get a haircut this week, as my hair’s so long I’m starting to get a mullet. I don’t usually go this long without a haircut, but… In addition, I’m leaving for GenCon Indy a week Tuesday, and have got all sorts of things to purchase and start getting ready, so that’s another element to deal with.

Should be a crazy week.

Physiotherapy Appointment Results August 4, 2017

Posted by jkahane in food hut, health hut, personal, physiotherapy, test results.
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It’s Friday morning.

I feel pretty good this morning, but the left shoulder and the area there are hurting pretty bad. Probably due to the “exercise” it got yesterday.

Speaking of which, I had my physiotherapy assessment and first treatment yesterday afternoon. I managed to get to the appointment barely on time (they only do assessments at certain times, so if you’re not on time, they may not be able to take you) due to a snafu with ParaTranspo that had me end up taking a taxi to the appointment.

Once checked in, the assessment took something like 45 minutes. The verdict is that I tore the upper back muscle that connects to the shoulder and rotator cuff some 5 months ago, and it has not healed properly (likely due to overuse). In addition, there’s a lot of edema and damage to the shoulder and muscles around the joint. Physiotherapy will help it a lot, but the physiotherapist discouraged me from getting a steroid shot in the shoulder, as she didn’t think it would help (since there’s no real problem with the shoulder socket itself).

I then underwent the first treatment session that consisted of some exercises, a deep massage on the area (that hurt like the dickens), and finally some electro stimulation. I felt much better after the session, and have booked two more appointments for next week. She also advised me not to lift anything relatively heavy and to not extend the arm too far or raise it higher than my shoulder for a little while, as this could aggravate things. Will definitely make things interesting when I go down to Indianapolis in around 12 days. *sigh*

After the appointment, I had a really good lunch at the coffeeshop/cafeteria in the building: a nice bowl of hamburger and veggie soup with a roast beef and havarti wrap. Filling, and satisfying. After that, I went home and did some work on stuff that I’ve been meaning to do.

My only complaint today is the fact that my shoulder is hurting like hell, as mentioned above. Meds and some tidying around the house and a bit of reading will help. I hope.