A long-awaited day has arrived: Seas of Vodari is now available as a PDF on DriveThruRPG!

I hope you'll check it out, I hope it'll become your new favorite thing, I hope you'll tell all of your friends!

It has been a delight to work with Shawn Ellsworth, Colin McLaughlin, Jack Houser, Michelle Klein Houser, Rabbit Seagraves, Tomas Giminez, Mark Cookman, and Dave Jumaquio. Consummate professionals all!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/308461/The-Seas-of-Vodari?affiliate_id=242797

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Well, shit. I have never played an RPG in my life, but I want to play this.
If I can help with this in any way, let me know - but I'm guessing you've got plenty of friends who would be delighted to help. =)
 

If you need a mask and you can't sew, this might help. 
http://blog.japanesecreations.com/no-sew-face-mask-with-handkerchief-and-hair-tie

Why not just wear a bandanna? This fits on your face more snugly, and you'll see that it has more layers. 

How am I supposed to get an 18" square of fabric? Dude, if I can cut up a pair of pajama pants, you can cut up an old t-shirt or a pillow case. 

I put away my sewing rig for now, I was tired of having it take up the entire living room. It's streamlined now and I brought it up to my office. I'm still obsessed with watching mask tutorials, though: the idea of making something flat into something three dimensional and useful continually astonishes me. 

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I kinda want to make some crazy paper mache demon mask with a cloth filter insert. Because why not?
Might not even have to make something. Looks like they make the ones above for paintball protection. The whole thing is on velcro which attaches to a harness around the face. I could simply add velcro to both sides of a protective mask, and I'd be done.
I found a similar tutorial on YouTube. I'm taking an air conditioner/HVAC filter apart and using the HEPA filter paper as an insert. i'm happy to send you some if you need it!
Dude, send me the tutorial!
Wow, it's like mask-making and origami all in one! That's incredibly cool.
 
 

So far due to good luck and enormous privilege, we're healthy and working hard to remain so.

Mask up, friends, wash your hands, and stop touching your face.

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Same here. Just listening to the clock tick.
Thank you for the update. I'm very, very happy to hear that. Are you and D and your fellow citizens under mandatory lockdown?

I have never been more grateful for, and uncomfortable about, my privilege. We have enough. We are OK. We are safe, and we are happy, and we are creative together. I recognize how rare this is, and my heart aches for people who are alone, sick, scared, experiencing homelessness, worried about bills, etc. I don't know how to help except help people in my neighborhood, and donate what I can... but it seems so puny.

Much love heading northward to you both.
Not yet. Yesterday the provincial premier announced $750 fines for refusing to provide accurate identification to police when accused/charged with public health violation -- including failing to maintain physical distance. The fridge is getting bare of fresh food and I think we both dread a grocery run (probably solo to conform with current advice) along with the queues and anxiety.

We used to like walking a lot. Now it's fraught, undesirable. Even the staircases and halls in our own building may contain impatient people with no evidence of protective measures. We are playing Schroedinger's infection status.

My mum continues to be confined to bed in Hamilton, week 3 or 4 I think, as the illness has been confirmed for several residents and staff on the floor of her nursing home.
 

Today, while driving, I was listening to The Creative Penn podcast. She was talking at one point about how it's better as an entreprenuer to have an online business right now because people can still purchase your books, and that will help you stay afloat in the hard(er financially, at least) to come.

My mind wandered as it pretty much always does. That brought me to the simple idea that art, in all its various forms, are luxuries. They're not absolutely necessary for us to exist. Yes, I know. I, too, feel like it's pretty much life's blood, but logically, it's not.

That, in turn, made me think about the fact that many (most?) folks will have to cut back dramatically on their purchasing of any form of art in the near future. I myself was thinking about how I need to go on a 'financial diet', and get rid of a bunch of recurring payment stuff that I simply don't need.

But here's the thing - if we assume that TomTom isn't going to be forced to take us off the road, AND that I'll continue to be employed there for the forseeable future and of course that I don't get sick, I'm going to be okay. I still have a job. Art doesn't pay my bills. This is probably the first time in my life I'm thankful for that, even if only marginally.

All of which brought me around to "But what about those who aren't in my situation?"

I got really upset at that thought.

There are just so many people who are going to be struggling. And the artists out there who have been scraping by with the income from their art? Forgoing the 'niceties' of things like health coverage because they would rather be creating than healthy? Or maybe a step up from that - those who were able to get by, but certainly couldn't put even a penny away for a rainy day?

Ouch.

I know that there's talk of governmental help. I know that creatives aren't the only folks who will be hurting. But I just felt like... I dunno. I guess I just want to do something to help.

I have no idea what that is / should be.

Any thoughts?

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I have similar thoughts, and then I want to read up on the Federal Art Project, and why it worked or didn't. https://www.theartstory.org/definition/federal-art-project-of-the-works-progress-administration/
Bookmarking for later consumption. Thanks for the heads up.
 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4227879-is-data-human-the-metaphysics-of-star-trek

I gave this book, "Is Data Human? The Metaphysics of Star Trek", to my friend Chris shortly before he died from complications of muscular dystrophy.  I don't know whether he had time to read it.

It ponders a lot of the philosophical conundrums inspired by Star Trek tech, such as androids and transporters.  Our friend Tom B. says that he's chill with the idea of being scanned, destroyed, and re-created as an identical copy.  But what if the process goes awry?  This happens to Commander Will Riker, who winds up with a "twin" eventually named Thomas.  Is the "duplicate" going to be just as sanguine about being destroyed to balance the equations?  What if it's unclear which copy is "excess"?

If you played Rock-Paper-Scissors with yourself to solve this problem, would you keep tying endlessly, or are you already different enough to make different choices?  If you're already different, are you really exact duplicates?

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this thread is the definitive exploration of the subject:

https://twitter.com/StorySlug/status/1242077170043936769
CM Adams 3/24edited
 

I did jury duty a few weeks ago. It was a rape case, and there were five charges in total. We were able to only deliver one verdict, guilty on the charge of traumatic injury to an intimate partner. The case was complicated by having only a single witness, the victim, who also was rather unreliable. She admitted freely that she did not remember many of the events of that day, and what she did remember, she wasn't sure of their order. Both people involved had been smoking meth, which was used as a way to further cast doubt upon her testimony, despite clear instructions during jury selection that we should not let that bias us. Three of the four charges which we were hung were overwhelmingly tilted towards guilty, where one juror held out because she felt that the witness was not reliable at all, again despite instructions regarding the single witness rule. The one charge where we were definitely not close to any consensus was the actual rape charge.

It's difficult not to come away from a trial like that feeling that the system is tilted away from justice for the more vulnerable population, or feeling that, by thinking that she could have gotten a more just verdict if she had been a more reliable witness, it's not that far from saying that the victim didn't do enough, which is certainly not compassionate. There was no question that the defendant was a manipulative creep, in addition to his prior history, including a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence.

After the trial, the judge asked the jury if we would stay behind to speak with both lawyers in order to talk about the case and ask any questions or give any feedback. Half of us did it, and I'm glad that I did so. During deliberations, the court recorder came in to read testimony back for us, and she commented that it was a dream trial in the sense that both lawyers were not only on their best behavior but actually worked well with each other. I noticed how remarkably civil and helpful they were, a far cry from the scripted undercutting and backbiting you see on television. I asked the public defender how well-funded his department was, and he said that he would only consider working for Santa Clara County, San Francisco, or New York.

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Ugh that is a wrenching situation. Thank you for doing the work.
My one and only stint of jury duty was aggravated sexual assault, which I think wasn't rape only by dint of the fact that the aggressor didn't get beyond removing some clothing items from the victim. There were actually two charges, through which I discovered that "a credible threat of death" is a serious offence in Ireland.

The parties knew each other. The defence made much of this, more than I was comfortable with, given the solid statistics on a rapist being someone that the victim knows. Neither of the parties were sympathetic, either - not quite to the extent you've described above, but certainly there was a sense that this was just another disaster in the lives of two people who had plenty of other disasters in their lives. There was some stagey antagonism between the lawyers (barristers? solicitors? there's some nuance here that I don't know offhand about who gets to be in court and who just wears a suit in an office and takes your money in return for some quantity of legal advice), and I got the sense that it was grandstanding for the jury and the minimal public gallery, and that after the case the two would be off down the pub for a cosy chat.

The thing that struck me most was the whole concept of "beyond a reasonable doubt", which is the standard required for the assault charge; the judge explained to us that if there was any other /possible/ interpretation of the evidence, no matter how implausible, we should make a finding of "not guilty". I get the reasoning behind this, but it's an extraordinarily high burden of proof for a situation which frequently has no real chance of reaching that level of confidence, not least because there may only have been a single witness who also happens to be the victim and the accuser. I think, when it came down to it, there was a certain amount of fuzziness in how the jury interpreted this, because I may have been mistaken but it looked like the judge raised her eyebrows a little when the guilty verdict was delivered. I'm comfortable with my own vote on this, in no small part because of the audio from the emergency services call which we had access to. I don't much care what happened beforehand and who might have given what mixed signals to whom, the person on that call was terrified, and no amount of mitigating circumstances or alternative reads of the evidence could alter that.

Not, I would say, an experience I enjoyed. But an experience, nonetheless.
Waider 3/22
 

Sometimes I really don't understand folks.

And generally, my mindset can be summed up as:

ETA: I did a new episode of 1100 to add a little of my own mirth to the topic:

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Eeeee! Jillbot!
She doth return to the hallowed halls of 1100. :)
I'm sure glad we don't have a stomach bug going around. The stores would be stripped bare of nasal spray.
Heh. Too true.
 

Move along, nothing to see here.

I've been the strong one for a very long time. Not always-always, but a lot of my life and identity has been in roles where tears, complaints, and collapsing from exhaustion are accepted in the people I'm supporting but have to happen off stage if I run out of solidity. Funeral? Severe illness? Team or family troubles? I'm the guy with the shoulder and the resources.

Sometimes I have depression. Or loss of executive function. Or a physical illness. I don't let it show, except to one or two very well trusted people who get the hell of my worst, some of the times when I am at low ebb and simply cannot any further.

The rare occasions when I do let it show more publicly, inevitably someone or other throws noise my way about how horrible I've become. Or quietly backs away, never to interact with me again. I've seen both extremes and a few departures in between.

Between a cold last week and the work-from-home mandate that came down for most of the civil service on the weekend, I am already weary of a confinement that will go on for at least a month and possibly longer. Getting physical activity and social interaction have been keystones in my self care, and both have become considerably harder to achieve: no gym, no choir, lack of routines and structure to replace either.

Today I got not unexpected news that my aunt's funeral last year is probably the last I will have seen my mother alive. I've been  treating every goodbye as a farewell for years but it's different when a lockdown order gets issued, it seems.

I will keep doing my best to put on a public face of being the kind of person I desperately need. Thoughtful advice. Wacky, uplifting distractions. The stuff that gives people strength.

I sure could use some of that strength now.

Hail, Hydrate.

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I'm sorry to hear. Hail Hydrate.
DAUNTINE:
Come with me
Where tongues are never taxing.
All us nerds
At home, at home, relaxing.
Tom, our patron,
We pray you won't be picky.

VALSEAN:
Admit me to your Lebensraum
And set me dark and sticky.
Tuberculosis is so romantic. Thanks for the reminder of other times.
My advice: search for images using the words, "Castello di Sammezano."
 

I wrote this maybe 10 days ago.

I forget where I left off, but I was living full-time in NJ at my folks' place from 2/8 to 2/28*.  Most of that time I was away from Matt because he was working in Maryland, music directing a show.  It was a really hard three weeks.

(*which does not include the 5 then 6 days in January we were up there, too.)


One of those February weeks my dad was in the hospital, so with my Mom's routine disrupted she was extra spacey. Once Dad came home, things slowly returned to normal, but Dad was really struggling with the fact that for the first time he wasn't just *bing!* back to normal. He is not used to feeling weak and needing help.

Anyway, Dad had a bowel obstruction, and thankfully the surgical fix didn't require a bowel resection-- instead there was just a weird piece of string (made out of a strand of scar tissue) that strangulated his guts.

Didja ever cut a raw, boneless chicken breast and there's that weird white tendony-gristly thing that kinda goes through a 3rd of it?  It looked like that.  So the doc snipped it, and in one second my dad went from Guy In Agony Who Could Not Breathe And Wanted To Die to WHEW SWEET RELIEF.  They waited six days before they operated, hoping the obstruction would just kinda clear itself, but after Day 6 they realized they needed to get in there. Three teeny laparascopic incisions and a snip later, and he was fixed up. They watched him for 2 more days and then released him.  

(Side note to Jeremy Moskowitz  and Matt Lichtenwalner : Remember that time in either 2006 or 2009 (I can't remember) when we went for Indian food someplace on Kirkwood Highway and I had to go sit in the car in the middle of the meal, and when you came out I was inconsolably wailing and screaming bloody murder in the back of the car, and you guys took me to the hospital? That was a bowel obstruction. Dad had the same thing. We're built weird, I guess.)

Problem is that while Dad was in the hospital, they stuck a naso-gastric tube down into his gut and pumped his stomach for 6 solid days, to relieve the pressure building behind the obstruction in hopes it would clear itself. During this time he wasn't even allowed to have ice chips, let alone any food, broth, water,  nada.  After the surgery they continued to pump his stomach so he could heal up, so for a grand total of 8 days he didn't move, eat, or drink anything.  He was a withered shell of a guy.  We were afraid he'd never regain his strength or confidence after that.  Once they sent him home, it took him about two weeks of constant care by yours truly, but by February 28th he was back to about 87% strength, which was enough for him to tell me I could go home, so I could do a gig on the 29th.  (Gig was great. More on that later.)

Mom continues to be on Planet Mom. Her dementia is fascinating, honestly. If you talk to her, you would have no idea anything is wrong. She is funny, normal, on-task, quick-witted, well-spoken, patient, friendly, sweet, knows all of her stories and recipes, all that.  It's just that 5 minutes later she won't remember that you had that conversation.  So she'll go to a doctor and will sign in perfectly, will be friendly, will make eye contact, and will tell people things that sound totally reasonable... and 50% of the time she's right.  But while my dad was in the hospital I had to take her to a GI appointment, and she told her GI doctor that she was the one who was in the hospital for a week... and the GI doctor dutifully wrote it down in her chart, because it sounded totally convincing. I had to gently say, "Mom, you weren't in the hospital; Dad was."

"What now?"

"Dad was the one in the hospital, not you. He's still in there now with a bowel obstruction."

"What? Did I say I was in the hospital?

"Yep, just now."

"Was I in the hospital?"

"Nope. I mean, you visited Dad, but you weren't the one being treated."

"Oh. Hmm. ((chuckle)) Well, that's old age I guess."

The GI doc was puzzled listening to us have this exchange. On the way out I popped my head into his office and asked him to please make a note in her chart that she's got early-stage dementia, and to please make sure someone else is in the examination room with her, because otherwise we can't be sure if she'll be giving accurate information. And also, she won't remember any instructions you give her.

Fast forward three weeks later, where we had a follow-up appointment with the same GI doctor. He now sees in her chart the note he wrote-- "patient has early stage dementia."  I am in the examination room with her again.  As he prescribes her antibiotics for something, he looks at her and says loudly, "Now don't forget that you have to take these for 10 days. Don't forget, now!"

Right. Because those are the magic words that make dementia patients miraculously remember shit.  Fucking idiot.

(And no, that wasn't his way of making sure I was paying attention. Trust me on this one. He just doesn't get it.)

She's like a computer with a bad hard drive. If something was written to hard drive before 2017, she remembers it perfectly. Post 2017, it gets glitchy. Starting around Thanksgiving 2019, it's RAM only.  


Anyway. While I was up there, I did not think I would ever be able to come back to DE.  I had several private, epic, Oscar-worthy meltdowns... and in the twitchy aftermath of one of them, my brother picked up on the fact that I wasn't doing so well and he suggested that I go home to DE for one night, sleep in my own bed, attend a Sunday rehearsal that I didn't think I'd be able to attend, and then head back up to NJ afterwards, and he'd watch my folks for that time.  Those were a sweeeeeet 20 hours, I'm not gonna lie. It's amazing how much one can recharge in a short amount of time. Everyone at rehearsal was so, so, SO lovely and supportive, and genuinely asking not only how my folks were doing, but how I was doing. This was weird for me... I've never really been the one who needed a supportive hug; I'm the one who gives them. I didn't even know that many people even knew about my parental situation. I felt really loved and cared for, by people I didn't really think ever gave me much thought. 

While I was in NJ, I contacted 41 home health agencies to lend my folks a hand... and only TWO serve Warren County (the ass-end of cow-town NJ where they live). One agency had caregivers that live in Newark, which is about an hour away from my parents. Generally speaking, Newark folks don't understand country life, they don't understand deer and bears and how your nearest neighbor is a cow a few acres away. They also don't drive generally, so when we tried one caregiver we had to pay a $68 Uber ride each way for them. How would they be able to give my parents a hand if they can't even drive?  So they weren't a good fit.  But the other agency, Home Instead Senior Care, is based about 8 miles from my folks, and their caregivers live in the area. They understand the ways of the cows. After some shuffling and scheduling, we now officially have Wendy the caregiver spending 3 days a week with my mom for 4 hours at a clip. This basically frees up my Dad to turn his brain off so he can putter in the garage, go have lunch with the guys, snooze, pay bills, whatever. Wendy makes sure my mom is entertained, fed, takes her meds, helps with meal prep, can take her to get her nails/hair done, take her to doctor appointments, etc.  It's a huge relief.  Of course now with all of the COVID-19 lockdowns, I'm not sure how long this will last... but I'm comforted that at least for now there's an extra set of competent eyes making sure she (and Dad) aren't experiencing any symptoms. 


Now we're home. I'm writing this part on 3/15/20 now.

So anyway, I've been home since March, and I've mostly been hermiting. Like, pretty much staying in my PJs, leaving the house only when absolutely necessary. I've been doing a decent amount of voiceover work, and 

On Friday March 13th, Matt's Ramones band had (53rd & 3rd) a gig at Oddity Bar, which was comfortingly bleachy, and not very well-attended due in part to collective nerves, and the Delaware State of Emergency which didn't make ir clear if folks should stay home. We were all OK with the attendance, honestly. The 25-ish folks who did attend really wanted to be there, and we all amused ourselves coming up with silly, inventive ways to greet each other without shaking hands or elbow bumping. Everyone tipped the bar-staff very well, knowing they had it rough. Some of us even ate at the Chinese place next door and overtipped there, too. 

In other news, the stores have been busy but not nuts, and fairly well-stocked. They were out of bleach, hand sanitizer,  and rubbing alcohol, and low on bread, but nothing we couldn't work around. (Besides, we already had bleach and rubbing alcohol on hand Because Adult, and also Because Burning Man.)  We feel prepared for a week or two (or  of isolation if it comes to that.

I bleach-washed the bejeezus out of the kitchen floor and the entire master bathroom, so I feel like I've accomplished something. I'm hoping my burning lungs are from the bleach and not a symptom of COVID-19. 

Anyhoo, there's more to tell, but this is already hella long. 

As a reward for reading this long, blathery post, please enjoy this delightful thing by making with the clicky (fixed link!):

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Everything is beautiful, isn’t it?
I can’t imagine your stress. I’m glad you’re back at your home.
Thanks, m'dear. Very glad to be back home... though the guilt is pretty overwhelming at times. Trying to just stay present and breathe, y'know? 💗

Love to you guys.
I can see Derren Brown, but was there a particular tweet you wanted to share?
Weird-- not sure why the link isn't working. When I edit the post it's fine, but once I post the post, it just takes you to Derren's profile and not the tweet.

Anyway, I think I was just able to fix it now.
BRILLIANT!
RIGHT?!
Super glad Dad's back on track and that Mom's got additional help so he can get some peaceful Dad time. Also, that Wendy knows the ways of the cows, because yeah.

Most importantly, I'm glad you've got your life back. When this pandemic is over, I'm very much looking forward to catching up.

Love you and love to the folks.
Glad your back and rebuilding your spoon inventory. Offer still stands, if needed. Don't be a martyr.