The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Labor Day (Monday, Sept 5)

| August 28, 2005

Okay, so Liz isn't around Labor Day, so I'm all alone. I have some ribs, seaks, chicken, etc. and a grill. If anyone wants to come by, bring something, I'll probably be outside, sipping a drink, reading and hanging out. If anyone wants to stop by, feel free. I have no idea who is coming, or what they're bringing, so bring whatever you might want to eat, plus maybe a little extra. Show up any time after noon, and hang out.

You can get wireless signal on the front lawn, but if you want to bring a laptop, please email me your MAC address ahead of time so that I can add it to the access list.

Anyone who needs directions, call or email (email is probably better).

Miniatures pics

| August 27, 2005

A friend gave me some miniatures advice: 1.) Matte varnish doesn't give as good protection (not as thick) as gloss varnish. 2.) Gloss varnish gives good protection, but is shiny. 3.) A good coverage (several coats, turning the mini around to get all angles) of gloss will give excellent protection, and if you then zap it with a quick coat of matte, the matte will make it non-glossy.

Surprisingly, this worked. I figured that the matte would reduce the glossiness, but not eliminate it totally. However, it almost eliminates it completely.

Anyway, it worked so well on what I was painting, that I pulled out a bunch of other figures which I had painted glossy (because that was all I had at the time) and got them with a coat of matte. While I had them out, I figured I'd take some pics of them.

These are all minis used for shadowrun. Some were painted by me, others (most of the female figures) were painted by Liz and . I finished some of them up (detail work, eyes, etc.) and varnished them.

Red Samurai These guys are used as Renraku Red Samurai. SR Figures I think these are mostly real SR figures. The one on the far right is a Copplestone figure, I think. SR Figures I think these are all Copplestone “Macho Women With Guns” figures. SR Figures I think the left three are more Copplestone “Macho Women With Guns”, and that the right most one is an armory figure, but I’m not sure. SR Figures I think these last three are more Copplestone “Macho Women With Guns”.

Kitty pics!!!!

| August 27, 2005

So, we took everyone to the vet.

  • Toby has ear mites, fleas, and roundworm. All treatable, so he'll be fine.

  • Arthur is fat. He weighs 21.5 lbs. The vet gave me some information on feline obesity. So, we aren't going to be free feeding the cats anymore. We will be feeding each of them measured amounts of dry food each morning and evening.

  • Mikey is fine; he just likes to complain a lot about going to the vet.
Toby Toby on the table. Toby and Me Toby on me. Toby Toby, all tuckered out from a hard day chasing Mikey around. Toby and Arthur Toby and Arthur sleeping on the couch.

New addition to the family

| August 19, 2005

Joey the Cat This is Joey. He was a stray by my brother’s house, and they already have 3 cats, so Joey came to live with us. He is small, but fluffy, and very affectionate. He took a flea bath better than any cat I’ve ever seen, and is very self-assured and inquisitive. We’ll be taking him to the vet to get some frontline and something for his ear mites. Oh, and for the curious, he’s eating a piece of peanut butter cookie. Edit: We’ve decided that Toby is a better name for him than Joey.

The problems with RPG's as adults

| August 17, 2005

Even if you do a 9-5 M-F, realistically because of traffic, emergencies (which happen pretty often for a lot of people) basically cancel out weeknights. You can be sure to be home by 7, but 7-10 is not really enough time to play much. So, weekends makes sense, and one can probably get away with a Sunday once or twice a month, and play something like 8 hours.

Problem is, not everyone does the 9-5 M-F…

So, maybe the answer is “adults don't do RPGs”…

Hoi, Chummers

| August 15, 2005

If I can ever get my life back together (a large part of which is getting the house set up and having things at work settle out), I'd like to run an RPG again. So, I was talking with and she would like to play Shadowrun again. So, I looked it up and found the following: Shadowrun 4th Ed announcement

SR4 FAQ 1 SR4 FAQ 2 SR4 FAQ 3 SR4 FAQ 4 SR4 FAQ 5 SR4 FAQ 6

SR4 Cover art

It looks like this will invalidate all the rules books that I have (which is okay, they were overly complex anyway), but the sourcebooks are still good. Basically, they overhauled everything (magic, hacking, combat, etc.), and updated things to have more of a modern feel. The Matrix is supposed to seem more like the evolution of the modern internet than of the 80's BBS-es.

Plus, the whole game is supposed to be a lot quicker, cleaner, and easier to play, but still have the same setting and “high tech, low class” feel.

On today's episode of "renting houses older than your father"….

| August 3, 2005

First, an aside:

Liz got pulled over for properly executing a stop. She was on the 1N on ramp in Wakefield (the one by Shaw's). She stopped at the sign, let another car go, then turned the corner. A cop is on the bottom of the on ramp, and flags her down. He tells her that he pulled her over for failure to stop. Now, my mother is in the car with Liz, because they are finishing up at the old apartment as my father and I are installing the new dishwasher. My mother, being my mother, proceeds to yell and berate at the policeman in that voice that only mothers have, informing him that Liz most certainly did stop.

The policeman says that he was just checking for seatbelts anyway, so she was free go.

Anyway, back to electricity.

This house was built some time ago – I'm not 100% sure when, but I'd guess 25 years at least. While wiring in the dishwasher, we're playing with the electrical system. First, we find that this is all fused, not breakered: antiquated, for certain, but workable. Then, we start chasing wires looking for a circuit to take off of for the dishwasher. We find one – 2 outlets in the kitchen are on one 20A fuse. The other 2 are on a second. Excellent! Someone wired a kitchen halfway decently for once. One of the circuits has the fridge plugged in to it, so we take the other one for the dishwasher. No problem. However, we start looking at the other circuits. They seem older, using 14ga wire. For those non-electrical people, this is 15A circuits. But, what's this? A 20A fuse? On a 14ga line? Geesh! Again, for the uninitiated, this means that we could realistically pull more current through the wires than the wires can handle. This makes the wires get hot. Hot wires melt insulation, start fires, and basically are unpleasant. So, I changed the fuse to a proper size. It lasted about 12 hours before it popped, presumably because one of the A/C's switched on.

So, liz and I started mapping out circuits. One 15A circuit feeds my office, our dining room, and our bedroom. This means that this circuit is running (with peak currents given in parens) 8,000 BTU A/C (7A) 7,000 BTU A/C (6.5A) 6,500 BTU A/C (6A) My computers (5A) Laser printer (8A) Total: 32.5A (peak)

Nice, hunh? No wonder it popped.

Now, the laser printer is off most of the time, and I've changed over to the heavy motor fuses (which allow time for motors to spin up before it blows). Also of note is the fact that air conditioners pull that load at peak – once the compressor is up, they drop off to like half that. So, realistically, we're talking:

8,000 BTU A/C (3.5A) 7,000 BTU A/C (3.25A) 6,500 BTU A/C (3A) My computers (5A) Laser Printer (0A (assume it's off) Total: 14.75A

Well, that's not so bad. Still a bit high, so we moved the 7,000BTU A/C to another circuit. Remember the one with the fridge? Well, that's all that's on that 20A circuit, so a heavy duty extension cord (rated for 13A, of course) later and the 7,000BTU A/C is on the other kitchen circuit.

This brings us to: 8,000 BTU A/C (3.5A) 6,500 BTU A/C (3A) My computers (5A) Laser Printer (0A (assume it's off) Total: 11.25A

To be safe, I'll probably turn my A/C off when I'm printing something…

Now, this brings us to another issue – fire protection. Not only are most smoke detectors in rentals really old, but if you check them, often the batteries are removed. The one which came with out rental looked to be about 10 years old, had a disconnected battery, and was mounted incorrectly (fewer than 4″ from the ceiling, and mounted on a wall). The landlord left a new one for us to put up, so it went on the ceiling outside our bedroom, and we're going to get another one (the more expensive kind designed for kitchens) and mount it at the junction of the basement stairs, hallway, and kitchen. This should make us pretty aware of any potential fire and brimstone.

Oh, Liz got me a grill for my birthday. I got to pick it. Charcoal, of all things. I know, it's tempermental, no instant gratification, etc., but what can I say? It's an art, or an exercise in a lack of convenience to achieve a specific goal. Life is so hectic, when I'm grilling, I can have a beer and slow down…