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GenCon 2017, Day 1 Report August 31, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, gencon, personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg, torg eternity rpg.
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Here is the report of the third day of the trip to GenCon 2017, and the actual first day of the convention proper. The report on the second day of my trip to GenCon 2017 can be found in this journal entry.

August 17th, 2017

I woke up this morning feeling much better than I had on Wednesday, though my back hurt something fierce from the lumpy, soft mattress on the bed. I took care of the morning ablutions (the hot shower did wonders for my back), and after he had done the same, SteveR and I headed down to breakfast after I took my morning insulin shot. This promised to be a busy day, as it was the first actual day of the convention, so a good breakfast was important.

I had a 2-egg omelette (cooked with some cooking spray, rather than butter), with spinach, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, and it was satisfying and not too filling as the omelette the day before had been. The decaf coffee was still too bitter for my taste, so I drank a cup of it sparingly. SteveR and I headed back up to the Westin Indianapolis hotel room to get ready for the morning. We had planned not to go to the International Convention Center (ICC from hereon out) for the opening of the Exhibit Hall and the dealers’ section, as it would be more packed than ever to get in at 10:00 am. (Note: From some of the photos I saw on-line that morning, it was an absolute madhouse and sea of humanity, so I’m glad we didn’t try to go that early.)

Once SteveR and I went over to the ICC and got to seeing things in the Exhibit Hall, much of it is a blur (though I did take some photos here and there). I started off by going over to the Modiphius Entertainment booth, as I needed to pick up the stuff that I needed to run the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG games I was going to run on Friday and Saturday. T.R. Knight and his family weren’t working that morning, and I didn’t see Chris Birch there, but one of the folks working the booth recognised my name, and he brought me the stuff that I’d need to run the game – the main rulebook, the GM Screen, and the new scenario that was debuting there at the convention, “The Dying Ship”. SteveR was kind enough to carry the heavy Coriolis book and GM Screen material for me, since my shoulder wouldn’t bear the load. He was also eyeing the new Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, but he didn’t pick it up (yet).


The Darkness is coming to GenCon…

From there, SteveR and I headed over to the Ulisses Spiele North America booth, and I was pleased to see that both Eric Simon and Darrell Hayhurst were there. I introduced myself to Darrell, though he recognised me (and my wearing the 2015 TORG ETERNITY t-shirt didn’t hurt!), and we talked about all manner of stuff pertaining to the game for a bit.


Darrell Hayhurst of USNA and me

I didn’t want to monopolise his time, however (that’s bad etiquette at conventions), so I spoke with Eric about The Dark Eye RPG, since I was thinking of picking it up as a possible alternative to the Trudvang Chronicles (whenever that comes out). A lovely young German lady who also works for the company (I think) talked to me about the game and made me a good deal offer on a whole bunch of the game materials (and I wish I could remember her name). The folks at the booth put the Dark Eye materials away for me, since I didn’t want to lug it around the dealers’ room and I didn’t want SteveR to be too saddled with the game materials.

From the Ulisses Spiele NA booth, I headed towards the other side of the Exhibit Hall, encountering lots of slow moving traffic, and people who don’t understand that you have conversations off to the side of an aisle, not in the middle of it (this happened a lot during the weekend, but that’s another story). SteveR and I worked our way over to the Exile Games booth, and chatted with Jeff Combos and his daughter (they grow up so fast!). I also saw Tom Cadorette there as well, and we chatted for a bit, and caught up with each others’ lives. The booth had a good amount of Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) materials, but nothing new. I also checked out the Quantum Black RPG that was for sale at the booth (the two designers of the game were also there), but it does nothing for me in terms of the Cthulhu meets Ubiquity feel, and I would rather run the Chill 3rd Edition RPG if I’m going to play horror, to be honest.


Jeff Combos and his daughter at the Exile Games booth


All things HEX at the Exile Games booth

SteveR and I went all the way to the Paizo booth were more of the Ulisses Spiele NA folks, namely Ross Watson and Dean Gibert (his user name most places is TorgHacker), were working. I introduced myself to the two gentlemen, and we talked a bit more about Torg Eternity and some of the plans for it. Had a good conversation with Ross and Dean, and learned a few secrets about stuff coming up, among other things. Dean mentioned that there were going to be a limited number of Torg Eternity dice sets available on Friday and the new Torg Eternity t-shirts on Saturday. Aggghhhh! That meant that I needed to come to the Exhibit Hall early on both days to make sure I got one of each, though I was able to convince SteveR to get here if I couldn’t make it for whatever reasons.


Me sandwiched between Ross Watson and Dean Gilbert

After looking at some of the other merchandise in the Paizo booth area, primarly the Ulisses stuff, SteveR and I headed from there to the Koplow Games booth. Several of the staff working there, including the owner, were somewhat baffled when I asked if they had any dice that were reminiscent of the Arabian Nights stories or the like, while the customers around me were amused and curious as to why I wanted them. They couldn’t help me with those, but did have some lovely scarab dice that glow in the dark, and I bought sixteen d6s from them. Very happy with that purchase.

SteveR and I went back to the Ulisses Spiele NA booth, and I bought a ton (well, it was only 12 kgs worth) of The Dark Eye RPG books. We were both ready for lunch, so we left the ICC and headed back to the Westin, where we stopped at the FedEx store in the building, and I shipped the Dark Eye books back to Canada. Somewhat expensive, but worth it (I thought at the time).

After going up to the hotel room and relaxing for a bit, we headed down to Shula’s for lunch. The place was quite busy, but we got in easily enough, and had a nice table by the windows where the sun was coming in. I had their terrific club sandwich (minus the mayo) with a tall glass of water (actually, two, as I was feeling a bit dehydrated). We went back up to the hotel room, grabbed a few things to take with us, and then I headed over with SteveR to the J.W. Marriott to hopefully get into the Torg Eternity game going on there, “The Burden of Glory”. The trip to the J.W. took too long, and there were no vacancies in the game, so we sat and watched the game for around 1/2 an hour or so. My GMing style for Torg (and Torg Eternity) is very different from that of the fellow (whose name I don’t know) running the game, but it was insightful to watch the game, to be sure. SteveR said that he’d come to watch the game as he was curious about how it played, and he told me that he really liked the use of the three decks of cards. My appetite to run the game was so whetted. *sigh* I could have taken a couple of photos of the table at play, but just didn’t feel right doing so.

SteveR and I headed back for the Westin to take a bit of time off and relax a bit. Caught up a bit on my Twitter feed, and heard about the terrible attack in Barcelona. Terrorism is unacceptable. My thoughts were with the injured and the families of the injured or dead. I realised that I needed to read up on “The Dying Ship” scenario for the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG that I’d be running, and discovered something – it didn’t have any character sheets and there were a lot of handouts to give to the players, plus several maps that were needed to run the adventure! I started to panic, but SteveR calmed me down by saying that we should use the printer in the Westin lobby. We went downstairs to try that and when that didn’t work, I asked the Westin staff if they’d be willing to print out two copies of the character sheets as well as all the hand-outs and ship maps and the like, and they were more then willing to do so! In colour! We used the on-line version of the “Dark Flowers” Quickstart scenario and some of the material off that document. When the Westin printer started having problems printing the character sheets out (perhaps due to lack of ink, or some other malfunction…in either case, I felt somewhat guilty about things), SteveR went over to FedEx to do the rest of the copying for me. I want to thank the folks at the Westin Indianapolis for their terrific assistance with my printing and other issues this day. If you’re reading this, *Thank you!* very, very much.

By the time I finally started to breathe calmly again, I discovered it was getting on towards supper, and since I’d not really snacked properly during the afternoon, I was feeling somewhat light-headed. I took one of my glucose tabs, but that only went so far to help out in this regard. SteveR and I decided to go and eat at High Velocity in the J.W. Marriott area, and so we headed there. By the time we got there, I was literally on my last legs, suffering dizziness and blurred vision. (Too little food during the day, and a lot of exercise.) The hostess at High Velocity told us that the wait would be at least 45 minutes, but they took pity on me when I told them of my diabetic condition (and I guess I must have looked pretty horrible) as we were seated at a table in less than 15 minutes. Looking over the menu, I ordered a caesar salad and the fish ‘n chips. The Caesar salad was extremely salty (though I needed a bit of that, too), but the fish ‘n chips really hit the spot. When we left High Velocity, I was feeling much better but somewhat tired.


Fish ‘n chips at High Velocity

Heading back to the Westin from the J.W. Marriott, I saw this game being played in one of the many hallway alcoves in the ICC, and couldn’t resist the picture opportunity, as it was just so cute.


A game of Oh, Gnome You Don’t! in the ICC area

Got back to the hotel room at the Westin feeling…tired. Just felt like a long day. With a bit of time before my insulin shot, I sat back and read most of “The Dying Ship” adventure one more time. After all, the Darkness is coming tomorrow at GenCon…for two days only. 🙂 Need to be read up on the scenario, obviously.

Also took a couple of other pictures in the hotel room, one of my lovely scarab dice, which will see use tomorrow. hehe (However, those will wait until the loot photos at the end of the convention.)

I took my insulin injection, and followed this by having a bowl of Cheerios with some milk. SteveR joined me in this endeavour (the Cheerios, not the insulin) and we chatted amiably about the day at GenCon 2017 and how things had gone. We both hit the beds, and continued talking for another half hour or so, and then turned off the lights. I didn’t sleep all that easily, but don’t remember the clock reading 1:00 pm. It was a long day, and I would need my rest for Friday and the first running of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG.

Anyway, so that’s the wrap-up on the third day of the trip to Indy, and the first official day of GenCon 2017. Next up will be the Friday report, when I get the chance.

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GenCon 2017, Day -1 Report August 30, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, gaming hut, gencon, personal, roleplaying games, rpg hut.
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Here is the report of the second day of the trip to GenCon 2017. The report on the first day can be found in this journal entry.

August 16th, 2017

Woke up this morning feeling somewhat tired. While the bed looked really appealing when we got into Indy yesterday (Tuesday), the mattress was rather soft and a bit lumpy for my taste, and undid all the good the hot tub had done for my back and shoulder the night before. Today promised to be long day, what with the unofficial start to GenCon 2017 and the fact that the Will Call line was expected to be longer than ever. I was also going to spend the evening at the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN) Social at Loughmiller’s Pub, so it would make for a somewhat long day. However, one step at a time.

SteveR and I took care of the morning ablutions, and then set out to find some breakfast. I was feeling somewhat queasy in my stomach, but attributed that to the fact that my body clock was off from the travelling, and we headed down to Shula’s for breakfast. It was relatively quiet when we got there, and we had an easy time getting a table. (It wouldn’t be that simple on Thursday, but that’s getting ahead of myself.) Wandering into the buffet section of the restaurant, I decided right away that I was going to order food off the menu. SteveR agreed with me on this, and so we went back to our table and ordered breakfast. I had a 3-egg omelette with mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella cheese, with bacon and toast, and had a cup of decaf coffee. The omelette was just too large for my taste, but it was delicious. Filling. I realised that for the next morning, I needed to cut it down to 2-egg omelette, and have them cook it without butter. Still, it was delicious. On the other hand, I found the decaf coffee to be a bit more bitter than I like it.


Me at breakfast at Shula’s


Steve at breakfast at Shula’s

We went back up to the room for a bit, and SteveR and I decided that he would head over to the CVS Pharmacy again to search for a couple of things, while I went down to the lobby and waited for him. (I didn’t want to spend too much time in the hotel room.) After he got back from the pharmacy, we would spend a bit more time in the room relaxing, and then would head for the Convention Center to collect our registration stuff for GenCon 2017 at the Will Call area. From there, we would head to lunch. And it was while I was sitting in the Westin lobby that I had my…accident. Suffice it to say, I spent what felt like an hour in the Westin lobby bathroom, with my pants, underwear and socks messed up, as I waited for SteveR to return to the hotel from the pharmacy and help me out. The hotel took the soiled clothes, and would clean them, returning them around the supper hour the next night, but in the meantime, I just felt humiliated, helpless and just plain depressed. And SteveR and I would be late for Will Call. This whole incident was due to the fact that I’d not eaten for close to 6 hours the day before during our flying experience, and when it was all over I vowed that I wouldn’t let this happen again at the convention or during our return trip to Ottawa. Anyway, not going to dwell on this any longer and I’m not even going to mention this again.

Once we’d returned to the hotel room and I’d dressed in clean clothes, we headed over to the International Convention Center (ICC from hereon out), and boy was the place packed! More people than I’d seen in one place in a while. We went and joined the Will Call line, and I figured it would take a long time.


The Will Call line, looking forward


The Will Call line, looking back

I should have known better. The Will Call process took less than thirty minutes, and the line moved along at a really good pace. We got to the desk area, and the GenCon 2017 staff there made the process relatively painless and pretty quick, but it was a madhouse of activity and I have to say that I’m glad I wasn’t working the Will Call area. Will Call took less than thirty minutes. Here’s another pic.


The Will Call area, when we got there

From there, SteveR and I went to the Event section of the booths, where the line was much shorter than I’d expected, and we both bought some Generic tickets. I was hoping to get into a game of Torg Eternity during the convention, and thought I might play in a couple of other things as well. While waiting in the lines for stuff, I’d been tweeting with my virtual friend, T.R. Knight, and we actually arranged to go to lunch with T.R. and his daughters. SteveR and I hustled to get to the Circle Center Mall, and we met them in a relatively quiet section of the food court area.

It was a pleasure to meet T.R. and his daughters. T.R. and I have been good virtual friends for a bit now, and this was the first time we met. They were already eating by the time we arrived, and though I didn’t really feel like eating (as I still had a rough feeling stomach), I realised I needed to eat. Fortunately, we were in the part of the Circle Center Mall where one of my favourite food places, Maki of Japan, was, so SteveR and I grabbed some food from there and rejoined T.R. and the girls at the table. I can’t remember what we ate there, but the conversation at the table was lovely and I felt like I had just met someone that I’d known for years. We chatted for a while about all manner of things, and T.R. presented me with the jar of home-made cherry jam that we’d talked about for several weeks on Twitter. T.R. and the girls had to return to the Exhibit Hall to continue helping the folks at the Modiphius booth set up. We agreed to chat a bit more when I saw him next, as I was sure that I’d see him at the Modiphius booth later on during the convention. Sadly, I forgot to take a photo or three. *sigh*

SteveR and I returned to the ICC and we went over to the GenCon 2017 (GenCon 50) merchant booth in the halls that was being run by the good folks at OffWorld Designs. The line-up was pretty long to get to the merchandise, but we managed.


Waiting in line for GenCon merchandise

I managed to buy myself one of the GenCon 50 t-shirts that depicted the fully winged dragon in gold, while SteveR picked up a special anniversary t-shirt for Tammy and a t-shirt for himself (can’t remember which version of the t-shirt he picked up). We walked back to the Westin, and dropped off our purchases at the room, then headed out to the Hyatt see if I could find the room where I was scheduled to run the two Coriolis – The Third Horizon game sessions. SteveR and I walked around the second floor of the Hyatt to see if we could find the Directors rooms where I’d be running the games, but for the life of us we couldn’t. By that time, it was getting late in the day and we both wanted to relax a little bit back in the hotel before heading out to Loughmiller’s Pub for the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN) Social. When SteveR and I got back to the Westin, the lobby was *packed* with folks checking in to their rooms. Turned out there was an electrical problem of some sort that was wreaking havoc on the process. Once back in the hotel room, I lay down on the bed back in the room at the Westin, and fell asleep for about 3/4 of an hour. Lovely nap.

After getting up, I took a quick sitz bath and felt a bit more human again. The rest had done me good, as my stomach was relatively calm. Headed over to Loughmiller’s Pub, but SteveR said he had to go back to the hotel room for something. I wandered through Loughmiller’s looking for a table for supper and reached the back without recognising anyone I knew (at least I didn’t think I did). At the back of the Pub, at one of the tables there, a fellow was sitting and I thought I recognised him – and then I saw the Biohazard Games t-shirt and realised it was Jeff Barber! This is the guy who created the waterworld (or waterpunk) Blue Planet RPG, and a fellow that I’ve been wanting to meet for at least 20 years! Oddly enough, Jeff recognised me since we’d been recently tweeting and he recognised me from my image there and my blog, and invited me to join him for dinner. I did so, and we had a pleasant conversation about all things Blue Planet and Upwind.


Sitting with Jeff Barber at Loughmiller’s

SteveR finally came in and joined us and we had a good meal. The Cobb salad that I ordered for supper didn’t agree with me all that much, so I ate rather more sparingly than I had intended. Didn’t even finish the beer that I ordered. *sigh* SteveR was still having problems and took off for the bathroom, and when he came back he ate sparingly and then excused himself and headed back to the Westin hotel room. Once Jeff and I finished dinner and talking, I wandered around a bit and met several other people that I knew, including Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games and Simon Rogers and Cat Tobin of Pelgrane Press. We chatted a bit, and I had a pretty good evening (notably after the earlier difficulty I had). After talking with a few people and giving them my business card (which will hopefully lead to some editing and/or writing gigs), I was feeling worn out and headed back to the Westin.

I wasn’t quite ready to head up to the hotel room, so sat down to just drink in the gaming atmosphere of the Westin lobby (there were already some gamers in action, mostly board games, by this time). I texted SteveR, who was up in the room, and convinced him to come down to the lobby for a bit and just sit and chat. He did, but were both pretty tired and SteveR looked a bit green around the gills, so we headed up to the room around 10:30 pm, and I dealt with my insulin shot and had a snack of Cheerios and some apple, before crashing for the night around 11:30 pm.

Anyway, that’s the wrap-up on the second day of the trip to Indy, and the day right before the official start of GenCon 2017. Next up, the first day of GenCon, 2017!

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. 🙂

Ambrosia RPG Quickstart Has Arrived June 7, 2017

Posted by jkahane in ambrosia rpg, personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut.
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Been waiting for it for a while, but have finally received my copy of the hardcover Ambrosia: A Gathering of Souls, the English Quickstart book for the Ambrosia RPG. (The link above is to a YouTube video review of the book.)

Deep in our collective memory, hidden by mistakes of forgetfulness, lies a world that balances on that fine edge between sleep and awakening. A world that appears to come from a painting by Jheronimus Bosch or Pieter Brueghel, a world of gods and monsters. This is the world of Ambrosia, a unique role-playing game inspired by the history and folklore of the Low Countries. Ambrosia is based on a relatively low fantasy setting. The game offers a combination of political game and classical adventures, where conflicts in the court can be as deadly as a direct confrontation with a monster-like creature of forgotten times.

The hardcover Quickstart book (it’s available in other formats at DriveThruRPG by following the link) is a beautiful book that is 78 pages in length, and has solid, but manageable, cardstock paper, beautiful art (as seen above), and is about half preview of the rules and a little over half the adventure itself, “A Gathering of Souls”. I’m not going to spoil the adventure for would-be players, but will say that it’s highly evocative of the setting, the writing and editing are pretty good (though there are a few glitches to my editorial eye), but overall this is one snappy looking, well thought out Quickstarter book.

If what I’ve said and the two graphics above intrigue you, take a look at the game through the link I’ve posted above.

Leave Your World Behind, Again June 4, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, personal, photos, rpg hut, skyrealms of jorune rpg.
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“The time has come,” the walrus said, or something like that.

Once upon a time, in something like late 1982 or perhaps the 1984/1985 period (I can barely remember some of that time, and in my weakened state right now, well…) there was a really cool science fantasy (though I preferred to think of it as science fiction) roleplaying game called SkyRealms of Jorune. It was a very alien world, and had a great motto for the time: Leave Your World Behind.

Well, it’s time for me to Leave My World Behind, Again (to paraphrase somewhat). While I dearly love the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG, I’ve had a hankering for a while to go back to Jorune, to experience some of that sheer alien-ness again, and while I’ll continue to run Coriolis as well, I think SkyRealms of Jorune is that “other” science fiction rpg that I want to run.

So with the help of SteveR today, I have taken all the Jorune goodness out of my gaming/books storage cupboard, and have now but to peruse them again.

Can’t wait to revisit Jorune…soon.

Dice to Go, Version 2 May 17, 2017

Posted by jkahane in cangames, conventions, gaming hut, personal, photos, rpg hut.
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As a general rule, when I go to the local gaming convention here in Ottawa, CanGames, I try to take dice and provide for the folks playing in any of the games I run. Well, this year is no exception.

I have one of these very nice wooden, 10″ dice trays that I purchased years ago from Koplow Games (which they still sell, though not on-line), and that’s what I take with me every year for CanGames.

And well… it’s ready to go for this year. Dice to go! 🙂

Book Stacks Arrived (and a CD) March 7, 2017

Posted by jkahane in book hut, music hut, personal, photos, reading hut.
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One of the things I’ve always said is that I’m quite likely to die with a stack of books that I won’t have read left behind.

Here’s proof of this. This load of books arrived in snail mail yesterday, Monday the 6th.

And here’s the second batch of books that was waiting at my door when I got home this afternoon. (There was also a Delta Goodrem CD with this package, but you can’t make that one out too well.)

I’m glad to have received the books, now just gotta find time to read them all. 🙂

Icon Deck for Coriolis RPG February 12, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut.
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For those who are interested, here is a photo of the unpacked Icon Deck for the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG.

Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG Goodies Arrive! February 10, 2017

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It has been an interesting day.

But today (Friday) has been made much better by the arrival of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG Kickstarter pledge materials via courier. It is everything I could have hoped for, and some more.

There is a Darkness coming to my roleplaying game table soon, a Darkness Between the Stars…and it’s coming for you. ::evil g::

A Wintery Monday December 12, 2016

Posted by jkahane in housework, life, ottawa, personal, photos, weather, work.
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It’s a very snowy day here in Ottawa.

The snow started last night around 5:00 pm or so, but wasn’t too heavy, though that intensified over the course of the night. A lot of snow on the ground now, and more is expected between now and the lunch hour. Here’s the view outside my window about 10 minutes ago.

I took one look out the window, and decided that I was going to work from home today. Since I had heard about the potential for this weathery set of events on Friday, I had planned for this. Turns out to be a good decision, as a lot of folks at the office called in sick today.

So I’m nice and toasty here at home, and am working away diligently on office stuff. I’ve also got a couple of loads of laundry I need to do as well, and have to change the bed linens. Also trying to figure out how I’m going to get the garbage out tonight, though.