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TotD: Robin Laws on Roleplaying Games

I hadn't ever thought of it this way, but I think the man is on to something.

"One of my pet theories about the popularity of roleplaying games goes like this. Roleplaying is fantasy shopping for guys. That is, men would, as a group, be more interested in shopping if a) it meant never having to leave the house and b) they were shopping for super-powers. In that case, the typical roleplaying rulebook is like a Nieman-Marcus catalog for super-powers. Depending on the game system and character type, these extraordinary abilities might be called feats, spells, schticks, disciplines, skills, high tech gear, psionics, or whatever. For lack of a a better all-encompassing term, I refer to these things as crunchy bits."
Robin D. Laws, Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering

Secrets of Good Game Mastering cover

Book Joy! And Stuff

I'm so tickled! In the last two weeks, I've found not one, but two books that Sam and I have wanted for ages at good prices on eBay!

Seeing Red
First, I've been looking for
Seeing Red: The Rapture of Redheads by Howard Schatz for years and years. Seriously, it has to be at least five years since Sam first mentioned that he'd love to have it. Unfortunately, it's out of print, and the only thing I found for the longest time were used copies for $150 or more. It's a gorgeous book, but that's far more than I could pay for it.

I had the book on my wish list at Half.com, which is part of eBay, but for some reason I also set up an eBay search a few months back, and finally got found a copy going for $35.1 I didn't happen to see the email until a day later, and by then the seller had dropped the price further for some reason. It was more than I pay for most books, but after five years, it was more than worth it. We received it in the mail earlier this week, and it is just a beautiful as any new copy.

Your Guide to Metabolic Health
That gave me an idea, so I set up a search for another book I've wanted for a while, but couldn't afford. John C. Lowe's tome Your Guide to Metabolic Health came out in 2003, and I haven't ever found it in stock anywhere. It must have gone out of stock quickly, because Amazon has only ever had used copies that I've seen. And again, they were always pricey—$180 was the price I'd seen most recently.2

Today, eBay came through again! The "buy it now" price was very reasonable, so Sam encouraged me to go ahead and get it instead of chancing the auction route.

Dr. Lowe has also written another book that's specifically about the metabolic treatment of fibromyalgia, but it runs over $500. Apparently, that one is intended for physicians, rather than laypeople. I have an eBay search going, but I'm fairly certain the book I bought today has the information I need in it. From what I've heard, it's mainly about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.3

Keep Working Girlfriend
I'm busily reading my ARC of Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend! It's good stuff.


1 For what it's worth, Half.com still shows only the higher prices. Weird.

2 It's available more cheaply now, but I still got a deal.

3 Aha—the publisher actually sells the latest version of that one for $99.95. Why would anybody pay the used price? Why do the used sellers think they can demand so much?

Laptop Research & Shopping

Sam and I spent most of our date time look­ing at lap­tops. Yes, we’re final­ly replac­ing the one that died last sum­mer. Yay! 

I find it eas­i­er to put what I find online in con­text after hav­ing actu­al­ly played with a bunch of machines tonight, so I’ll be doing a lot of research online.

Any­body have any strong rec­om­men­da­tions or good/​bad expe­ri­ences to share? Knowl­edge of any places that give “edu­ca­tion­al dis­counts” that aren’t just “steer your stu­dents to us and we’ll give you a lit­tle low­er price on your own machines” deals? Sure expe­ri­ence exor­cis­ing Vista from a “Vista-com­pat­i­ble” PC? Please speak up!
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It Was a Lovely Day

Please note: Yes, I am referring to today, the 12th, which is my birthday. Those close to me know that I generally hate my birthday, as it's a reminder of multiple miscarriages and other nasty things happening around this time several years in a row.

Sam and Katie managed to make #41 very nice, though.

Quotable Mug With Osho QuoteSam and I went out Saturday evening to Barnes & Noble, but I just couldn't make a decision. So many choices! We went over to OutWrite, too, which is always fun. I saw lots of adorable trinkets there, and plenty of interesting reading and listening material, but still couldn't make a choice. I really liked this mug, and it felt great in my hand, but I couldn't find out if it's microwave safe. (My favorite coffee cup was broken recently, victim of my unreliable grip. Thank you, fibro/arthritis/CMP!) Have any of you tried a Quotable mug? How did it hold up?

Oh! On the way home, we started to drive past Krispy Kreme and Sam had a sudden need for donuts, so we popped in there to satisfy that. I've never done the drive-through there before, but things were really crowded in the store. The car line was long, too, but we had the advantage of privacy and good company while waiting in it.

We enjoyed being out, but I came home without having chosen anything but donut fillings. Sam threatened to pick for me if I didn't make a choice on Sunday. I have a lot of trouble spending any money on myself, or asking for presents, and he thought that's why I hadn't chosen anything.

So we went out again on Sunday—leaving the house two days in a row is very unusual for me any more! I had finally decided on exactly what I wanted, and we tried to go get it, but found the place closed for Veteran's Day. My man insisted on taking me to Borders and buying Kim Harrison's A Few Demons More, promising that we'd also go to The Place again on Monday. Then he took me to Steak & Shake for dinner, because when I saw the sign I had a serious craving for their mushroom-swiss burger. (Don't bother with the new Portobello mushroom burger, as you get far fewer mushrooms that way!)

Katie and I (she's home from school, sick) had a very nice, low-key day Monday, and Sam and I set out again after he got home. This time, success!

I asked for something that probably seems odd to most people—a non-resident library card so I can access the best library system in Georgia, Gwinnett County Public Libraries. But I'd checked, and they have 95% of the books I'm really wanting to read, and past experience says they'll continue to carry the fantasy and science fiction I love. They have a far better selection of everything than Dekalb, where we live. (Okay, Gwinnett has stopped carrying music CDs, because so many went missing. Big deal.)

I wanted the card instead of a few books, because this way I can read all of them! And, in fact, we came home with nine books that have all been on my wish list for some time, and two or three graphic novels for Sam.

Now I have a whole pile of new-to-me books, and A Few Demons More! They're all way too tempting to a girl who still has homework to do, including a SWOT analysis that's due for my management class this week.

Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes via Facebook, email, Twitter, LJ, etc. 🙂

A Day in the van

And it was, tru­ly. Which is why this looks much the same as it did last night.

Katie and I drove all over metro Atlanta, test­ing out the new wheels in the process. A med­ical appoint­ment, a trip to the bank, the post office, our mail drop, a craft store, a school sup­ply place, a cou­ple of book stores, Phoenix & Drag­on, and some­thing I know that I’m forgetting.

You wouldn’t believe how much “home­school­ing” gets done on the road. Had the deal­er had a van in stock with a DVD play­er installed, I could eas­i­ly have jus­ti­fied it for pure­ly edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es. As it is, I’m glad my lap­top has a DVD play­er, as we find var­i­ous BBC and PBS series pret­ty good sup­ple­men­tary mate­ri­als at times.

No AV mate­ri­als today, though — just books, paper, cal­cu­la­tor, and a lot of dis­cus­sion. Sci­ence, alge­bra, world his­to­ry, crit­i­cal think­ing, Eng­lish, vocab­u­lary, cur­rent events…

Oh! We got our Latin texts! Katie and I have decid­ed to start study­ing Latin togeth­er this sum­mer. I’ve always regret­ted not hav­ing had a chance to study it, and it can only help her. So here we go!

The girl got some knit­ting done in the car while we talked, too. As she gets more con­fi­dence in dri­ving, I look for­ward to get­ting some stitch­ing done while she dri­ves. On the oth­er hand, she’d get few­er lessons done. Hmmm.

I need to study to try to keep a lit­tle bit ahead of her. We’re going to have anoth­er blog where she, Sam and I post about our learn­ing adven­tures. It isn’t quite up yet, unfortunately.

Namaste,

Cyn