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On the Yellow Brick Road

Week 27 Back in Minnesota

Week 27 Back in Minnesota

Six months!  For over six months I have been living in Minnesota and I can't believe that I have lasted this long.  Honestly I didn't think I could live like this for three months, let alone six months.  Now I am starting to wonder how long I can live like this.  I wonder because in many ways the way I live in Minnesota has become my normal and going back to Topeka is not normal for me any more.  And those feelings make me sad and worried at the same time.

Trudy believes our house is going to sell in the next three months.  I don't know where she gets that optimism from.  There are people who have had their homes on the market for a long long time and they haven't been able to sell them.  We had to fire our previous agent because she wasn't doing a good job.  Hopefully the new agent is better and more agressive about drumming up buyers to see our home.  I know it is all about getting enough people to look through our home to find the right one who wants it before it sells.  With the economy the way it is and Topeka the way it is I just don't see our home selling anytime soon.

So I wonder if I will be writing a blog Week 52 Back in Minnesota about how I can't believe I have lasted this long with out my family.

As for work, you can read about it at Making Progress - The Engine Is Running.

Last Sunday I went to go see one of my favorite blues guitarists, Jimmie Vaughan.  Check out the article and photographs.

Well I need to get ready to go so I can head out for the Sat. morning jam at the Coffee Corner.  I go to meet with some great people, play my guitar, have brunch and enjoy myself.  It is a good way to lose myself for a while.

Testosterone Role Playing Book

Testosterone Role Playing Book

While going to Texas Tech University I had the wonderful pleasure of playing role playing games with some of the smartest and creative people I will ever know.  We played the original TSR D&D, AD&D and eventually started playing using the Hero game system.

As we played many funny things were said and some of them were recorded along the way.  Here is a partial list of those sayings.  You may find them funny.  You may think they are stupid.  You may think they are weird.  I am sure you will decide "David you are definitely a nerd." And I am ok with all of that.

I am publishing these in honor my friends and those great times we had +30 years ago.  Thank you Don, Rosemary, Mike, Matt, Chris, Rob, Jerry, and the many others who joined us over the years.

  • A pissant has one-fourth of a hit point.
  • In Champions: Little old ladies fly on a three.  (This later happened.)
  • My grandmother is much too smart to fly.  Maybe Chris' grandmother. . .
  • From the movie Octaman: Put the fire around him [the monster].  It'll burn up all the oxygen around him and he'll pass out.
  • Chris: Given the choice of indulging in sexual intercourse or dying of the plague, I'll choose sexual intercourse.
  • Overheard from David: I'm excited.  What do you want?
  • Don: Thank God for rent-a-urchin.
  • Chris:  I don't care what they call it.  If it tastes good, I'll eat it.
    Matt:   Even if it's radioactive?
    David:  It doesn't matter--he eats sausages.
  • From the adventure where the elven Druid, trying to ask aid from the visiting queen, seduces her:  Aren't affairs of state fun?
  • The amount of enjoyment you derive from a sexual encounter = (your testerone level [d100] / d20 ) * 6 plus charisma modifiers for all individuals involved
  • Are you kinky? No, he's a Druid.
  • Don: I think a Druid is the logical person to have satyriasis.
  • I wouldn't speculate as to the height of his order.
  • Don't worry, magic armor doesn't absorb odor.
    How natural is hobbit shit?
  • Don't ask me, I just own it [the sword].  I'm not responsible for its peccadillos before I met it.
  • Chris (resident theologian):  Something that does not exist is not evil.
  • Is it a co-ed ship?  If not, there's a problem.
    That's what change self spells are for.
    If you have a giant-size bladder, then that's a real problem (with gesture of urinating over the side of the ship).
  • Don:  I used to do that when I had flashbacks.
  • Did he move like flowing mercury to envelope it, or did he catch it like a cleric?
  • From Wizards and Warriors: (Watching a demonic guard from concealment) Being here is foolish.  I'm going to do something silly.
  • Matt:  I need to know what I know about it because I don't know what I know about it.
  • Matt:  The magic words of "Poof, poof, piffle/make me just as small as Sniffles!"
  • Probably Quetzalcoatl comes back every thousand years or so and looks for a tasty virgin.
    But I didn't think that Q liked virgins.
    Okay, so an experienced woman.
  • Rosemary:  This thing looks funky.  It looks really funky.  I'm going to use my big thing on it.
  • I don't care about the justification, just the facts.
  • I've got plenty of inches left 'til I get down to seven.
  • I've heard lots of strange battle cries.  "Bink" is not as bad as some.
  • David:  I'm chaotic neutral.  Eat this.
  • Matt:  Shoot for the blacks of their holes.
  • Well, after I saw the monk teaching the owl bears a martial throw, I'm sure any kind of weapon you design is new and innovative. . .
  • Put on an air of several hit dice. . .
  • This'll take a few minutes.  Be back in a sec.
  • They're huge green dragons, ancient, about 40' long. What do you do?
    Well, since they're coming toward me, I guess I'd better attack.
  • No, it's much better to go into limbo than be annihilated.  In limbo, you get Muzak.
  • If you give a frog immense magical powers, he &will have a personality like the Shadow's.
  • My sister is a half-ogre with a negative comeliness. She has a wisdom of 6 and a strength of 18/75.  Do you want me to introduce you?
    No, marry her off to a barbarian.
  • After a giggling fit: The only thing that will start that up again would be for someone to say something actually funny.
    Sir, I need the keys from you.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. . .
  • What's a koko master?
    It's the level at which you can kill 20 men without spilling your cocoa.
  • Vampire in a bottle
  • There are two horses being dropped on you.  What's your armor class?
  • Where's this kingdom?
    Several levels of experience away.
  • Well, was he dead?
    Not at that time.
  • Melody: If you're a little gray-haired old lady, you have to swear harder before they'll take you seriously.
  • Rosemary, as Holly: My mother always told me, "If you don't think it's there, it's probably something you can' see."
  • Did you grab her nice?
    I'm a paladin--of course I grabbed her nice!
  • Mike:  If you can't kill them, bullshit them!
  • Rosemary:  The only reason his testosterone is that low is that his charisma is that high.
  • At the max, you burn down buildings.
  • To the samarai:  Don't assume anything.
    To the Viking:   Do you like sitting there with blood dripping off your face?
  • Does he sit like flowing mercury?
  • All you hear is squeaking.
    Well, does he squeak like flowing mercury?
  • I'll check my "Shooting out those forces" roll.
  • Cartoon with mage looking at crystal ball.  From the crystal ball "This has been a test of the emergency magickal broadcast system.  If this had been an actual magickal emergency, you would have been instructed where to scry for. . ."
  • Are you the level of monk where we can stick you in a portable hole and forget about you?
  • Knowing these are ninja, I'm still taking precautions even though I am three inches tall and invisible.
  • Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?
    Of course I can--I'm a monk.
  • I need to figure out what my plusses are.  What do I need to get to hit this guy?
  • This will not necessarily be a charge from behind, but I think I should get that bonus because I am two inches tall and invisible.
  • Can a medical tricorder detect virulent micro-orgasms?
  • When you're as evil as Nessie, you just shit in the Loch.
  • If you think that was impressive, you should see what I had to do to get my lance in there.
  • I don't know if, strictly speaking, this is possible but I've seen it done on cop shows.
  • You want me to mate with something?  I'm not going to screw that!
  • Don't think of my orifices.  Choose a category.
  • After an errant dice roll landed in Matt's lap:  Now, that's what I call a cocked dice.
  • I guess that's what makes him a bard.  He can enjoy things like that.
  • You will live to regale your apprentices with this story.  "I went to another plane to bowl for kobolds."
  • I laugh in total fear.
  • During a Champions game:
    One of the sanitation engineers steps on you.
    No problem, I have PD.
  • I need a brilliant idea and luck. Oh, damn.

Week 26 Back in Minnesota

Week 26 Back in Minnesota

Something ironic happened  yesterday when Trudy and I picked up Catalina at church (yes I am in Topeka for the weekend).  The pastor's wife came over and gave me a big hug and said "I just can't imagine how you can handle being apart like this.  I really hope your house sells soon."  It is ironic because if you had told me a year ago I would be in this situation I would have said no way in hell I would be doing this.  But here I am and honestly for me there is no end in sight.  Trudy is optimistic that the house is going to sell in the next few months.  But I don't have any hope or opinion on when it is going to sell anymore.   I just hope it sells before I wear out my welcome at Dale's home in Minnesota.

As for my life in Minnesota there are some really great things that have been happening.  For work stuff you can read about that by checking out my Project Management articles.

The part that is going very well is the freedom that living in Minnesota and only being answerable for being at work early enough to get to the gym and for my own self-respect.  What that means is that I have done things like go out to see Moses Oakland's Sunday night jam, or a company happy hour, or go see a bad movie, or watch an old TV series on DVD, or Sat. morning jam sessions.  Essentially I am responsible to myself and not answerable to anyone else while I am in Minnesota.  And I have decided to full advantage of my freedom while I am in Minnesota.

That doesn't mean I don't miss Trudy, Benjamin and Catalina.  I miss them very much.   But I can't do anything about being apart these days.  Nothing I do will make our house sell any faster or slower.  It just is the way it is.  So I have decided to enjoy the parts of this experience that I can and try to minimize the parts I hate (being apart from Trudy, Benjamin and Catalina).

So I started taking my guitar to the Sat. morning jam sessions and playing with everyone else.  This has been a real boast for me.  I also played at church this last weekend.  I didn't practice enough to play as well as I would have liked too have played but I didn't train wreak so I guess I will be playing with them again.  Next time I will just have to practice more.

Well it is time to sign off.  Trudy and I have a house upgrade to do which will make the master bathroom look nicer.

Week 25 Back in Minnesota

Week 25 Back in Minnesota

Well this was my long week of Sprint Planning with my three teams at work.  In the end I worked 47 hours and still left early on Friday .  Just nuts.  For more on work check out Some are Scrumming

Well Trudy has been very busy with her work with other clergy in Topeka to try and get the state govt. from taking action that will cause serious harm to a very vulnerable part of the population.  I think she was a little surprised that everyone who showed up at her latest meeting wasn't 100% on board.

As for me I tried my very best to keep my head down and plow through the work week.  I did get out my guitar a few times this week which is good because I volunteered to play at church this coming Sunday.  About once a month the congregation has 'instrument' Sunday which means that an odd assortment of instruments show up and get played - which always seems to work.  Fortunately for me the pastor also plays guitar so I won't be alone when I play because I don't know the hymns very well.

Today I will be heading out to the weekly guitar jam and play some blues and other songs with the folks there.  Then I will be practicing hymns this afternoon ... Hopefully not until my fingers bleed .

On Sunday one of my co-workers from Atlanta and I are going to Famous Dave's for BBQ and the weekly Moses Oakland blues jam.  Pavan is from India and a photographer.  So I am not sure if he has ever been to a blues joint or seen a blues jam but I figured this will be a good experience for him.

The one great thing about next week is that I head back to Topeka on Thurs.  I really miss Trudy, Benjamin and Catalina.  I do still wonder how much longer we are going to be living apart because it is very hard.  As long as I stay very busy I can tolerate this separation but all I am doing is tolerating it.  My prayer is "Soon soon soon Lord let us move onto the next step of our journey together as a family".

Week 24 Back in Minnesota

Week 24 Back in Minnesota

Well this week Trudy was on the front page of the Capital Journal which you can read all about.  If you want to know more just email or Facebook her about it.  I am very proud of her work. 

She is also going to be working part time for a ELCA congregation in Topeka that just called a new pastor who won't be arriving for a few months.  The interim pastor will be leaving soon and I gather from what Trudy told me she was their first choice to fill the gap.  Again I am very proud of her.

On the house selling front Trudy and I have come to the conclusion that our current agent was not doing a good job.  Big things like the description of our house in on the web & listings

Quiet neighborhood - yet convenient to Wanamaker corridor - grocery shopping, mall, freeway access. Enjoy lots of mature trees w/almost every tree blooming in the Spring. Sprinkler system - house can fill all your needs!

was really weak.  This was frustrating since other listing the agent had written were glowing.  The agent's only suggestion was to drop the price by $10k.  We had other suggestions to make first but the agent was not interested in any of those ideas. 

So we are going with another agent.  The house will come off the market for 3 weeks.  The new agent had some suggestions on minor fixing up - at least on of the items we thought about doing anyway but we need some $s to do it.  I got a small year end bonus from work which will cover that so we can do it.  We are also going to get her to add the following to the listing

Man-cave : big enough for pool table + large screen TV & entertainment center

Work room : workbench + shelving

Large amount of shelved storage space

Screened porch + Deck

Very large master bedroom + walk in closet + master bathroom + jetted bathtub

Programmable in ground sprinkler system

As for my work and life here in Minneapolis it is going pretty well.  Aside from another crazy week at work.  I am pretty tired of +45 hr work weeks.  I feel like I should be able to get my job done in 40 to 45 hours.  I did get the gym every day this week and that is a good thing.  Next week is  Sprint Planning week which means +50 hour work week .

I plan on going to the Sat. morning Jam here in a bit.  Last week I took my guitar and played (see this post).  This week I may lead a few songs - we shall see .

I am also going out tonight to a party where a bunch of my friends from Guidant (now Boston Scientific).  It will be wonderful to see them and catch up.