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[sticky post] Sep. 15th, 2015

For those just joining us, or those who've known me since before I made this entry... welcome to the unofficial home of Nidoking's brain! This is a place where I dump a lot of information every night that I really don't want to carry around in my head, or maybe I've got a CRAZY notion that it'll entertain someone other than me. *pfft* Like THAT ever happens. Anyway, feel free to take a look around and see what I've been up to recently.

The Audience Participation exercise to end all Audience Participation exercises (except those that come after it):
Respond to this entry with interview questions that you'd like me to answer in my daily posts. Each day, I'll pick a question (if there are any I haven't answered yet) and answer it in my daily post, then respond to the comment here with a link to that entry. So if there are already some comments down there, you should be able to hunt down the answers easily enough and see what I've already said about myself or the random topics these jokers like to post about. (My friends are great, but a little off their rockers at times. I, on the other hand, have never been ON my rocker to begin with, so nobody out-randoms me and gets away with it!)

I may add some links here to favorite entries of my past, but other than the Young Ones/Monty Python crossover I listed in my Memories, I can't think of any right now. Oh well. We'll see what happens as I remember more things.
Today's Bridge: I teamed up with Nathan against Ryan and Dan, so the play was rather eclectic, to say the least. The hand I declared was S K-x-x-x H x D 9-x C A-Q-10-8-x-x - hardly a hand to bid on at all, but Nathan passed and Dan opened 1S to my right, so I knew we weren't missing a spade fit when I bid 3C. Nathan had S x-x H Q-J-10-x D Q-x-x-x C J-9-4, which was more than I could have hoped for. The lead was a low heart, so I put up the queen, and Dan took the ace and led a low heart back. I tossed a diamond, hoping for developments, and Ryan took the king. At last, he switched to the queen of spades, which ran to my king. I wanted to try to reach the good hearts, but I couldn't afford to give up the king of clubs on top of my other losers, so I exited in spades. Dan took that and led... another heart. Okay, there went my other diamond, and the first actual gain so far. In dummy at last, I ran the nine of clubs to Ryan's king, so the contract was a bust until that heart lead. Ryan tried the last heart, which Dan ruffed with the seven, but it no longer mattered - throwing a spade or a diamond wouldn't have helped him, since he'd still have a spade left and couldn't possibly cover dummy's four of clubs. I overruffed and led a spade, which Ryan ruffed with the five. I just overruffed with the jack and declared the rest on the crossruff.

Today's Work: Waiting for the world's slowest computer to install programs, only to discover that the program that needed to be installed before we started wasn't installed. Gah.

We can't do everyone's jobs all the time

Today's Bridge: Dan and I teamed up again, and it was mostly a series of triumphs for Precision bidding. I started with a 4H pre-empt that was a bit of a stretch at S A-K-x H K-Q-10-9-8-x-x D x C x-x, but I saw no reason to cut corners and ended up off one. We hit 3NT after that, and I should have raised to 3NT in the next hand, but forgot my point count and was a bit shy with Q-x in diamonds. The defense was kind and we made 6. I stuck Dan in 4H with a Moysian fit in the next hand - we were probably short of power, but I had 3-5-5 shape with a void in his spades and all of my power in Diamonds. We finally finished the rubber with 2S in the next hand, and then went for a gross sacrifice 2S in the hand after that. I was hoping one of the opponents would brave 3D, but they left us to it.

Today's Work: We've officially run out of things to do, once the people running our repository get it up and running again so we can finish the last of what we had. That's not to say we'll be idle - we just have to do administrative stuff, which also badly needs to be done. It'll be a relief to spend some time on it.
Today's Bridge: Lots of sets to start with, but the opponents managed to make a partscore, which left us on the defense. I went for a 4C sacrifice that wasn't horrible, but with A-K-J-9-x-x in the suit and just a doubleton queen of hearts outside, it was probably a big mistake. Finally, I had S A-10-x-x-x H A D 3-2 C K-9-x-x-x, which was just enough to open 1S in fourth seat (bidding Precision with Jerry). He responded 2S, so I had to jump to game just on the distribution. He had S K-9-x H x-x-x-x D K-Q-x-x C J-x, also a fairly minimal response. The opening lead was the king of hearts, so I led a diamond right away, finding the ace on my right. Dan returned another heart, which I ruffed, and I crossed to the queen of diamonds to lead the jack of clubs - queen, king, ace. Ken cashed the ten of clubs, then led the jack of diamonds, which I ruffed. My only hope at this point was to find the Q-J of spades doubleton, so I ruffed a low club (the split was 3-3, fortunately) and cashed the king of spades, drawing no honors. Oh well. I crossed back to the ace of spades and claimed off one thanks to the established clubs. I don't think I had a better hope than that - I needed to avoid losing two clubs, but I don't think there was a way I could do that given the actual distribution.

Today's Work: I think we got all of the problems solved, but the task lead suggested that I should leave early to pick up my new glasses. I did that. Things look even weirder than they did with the previous lenses, but I expect that to go away once I get used to them. It still takes me a while to focus on text, but I hope that will clear up in time as well.

Even more snow days ahead

Today's Bridge: Ken and I started with a game in hearts - he opened 2H when I had S K-Q-J-x-x-x H K-x D A-x C K-Q-x, which is a pretty impressive hand. I bid the spades, but we ended up in 4H even though he had 10-x-x of spades. Hearts were probably the better choice, since the opening lead was a club to the king, ace, and a ruff. That gave him time to force out the ace of spades and get rid of his losing diamonds, losing just the ace. On a diamond lead, we can't make slam in either suit. Unfortunately, we were on defense the rest of the time, including a near-laydown slam.

Today's Work: We spent the day trying to figure out an alternate way of doing something we were already pretty sure we could do, then had to give up. Finally, we went back to the old way and formalized it, and something went wrong the first time we tried it, but I couldn't recreate it. I figure I'll try again tomorrow, and if we can't make it happen again, we might just forget about it.

There's been just a bit of snow every evening so far this week, and they're calling for both ice and snow tomorrow. If I can't get a ride to work, I'll try to work from home. I might have an opportunity to make it to the mall to get my new lenses, but I expect I'll be waiting until the weekend.
Today's Bridge: We were playing defensively all day. Brent started with a 3S pre-empt off one - two diamonds, two clubs, ace of spades, and no way to get rid of any of them. Then I sacrificed at 2H and made a good run at a crossruff, but I misjudged an underlead of an ace and gave up a trick that Ryan gave back by not covering the queen of spades, letting me throw away my club loser. (Then again, I had nothing productive to throw from dummy under the king of diamonds had I not ruffed.) Ryan responded to his partner's opening bid with only a queen to his name and propelled them into a game that missed by two, but they two-putted a game while I tried to get Brent to bid them out of the second one. He thought my double of the suit I'd already takeout doubled was for penalty, but to his credit, he asked Dan and got a bad answer.

Today's Work: Brent offered me a ride, which really helped, because driving on snow with no peripheral vision would be pretty risky. The good news is that we found a simple solution to last week's most complicated problem. The bad news is that we haven't quite finished all of the work from last week, so there's still more to do as our deadline recedes further into the past. We've got a path forward and everyone has stuff to do.

I hate the way these super-thick lenses cut into my face. Can't wait to be rid of them.
It was a busy weekend - I recorded a Dominion video and a session of Goblins 3 guest videos, and got a new pair of glasses. It's only temporary, because they won't have the high-index lenses I need for a week or more, but it makes text readable if I can orient my head so I'm looking straight at it through the center of the lenses. I have no peripheral vision whatsoever. The doctor also suggested a clinic that offers lots of options for vision corrective surgery, including a lens implant that could potentially correct my vision entirely. I'd like to check it out when I get the chance. Meanwhile, it was snowing this evening, so I went ahead and cleaned off the car as best I could to save myself some small amount of effort in the morning. I also had to refill the tires - the ones on the right side were so low, the pressure gauge didn't even register that it was connected to a tire. I really hope that was just because I haven't checked them since the summer, because I'm going to need to drive to and from work on those, probably on snow.

Eyes don't work that way

Today's Bridge: I rather botched a 2NT because I was playing as if it were 3NT - I had S K-6-5 H A-J-9-x-x D A-x C A-9-x and Brent had S A-Q-9-x-x H K D 10-x-x-x C 8-x-x. From K-Q-J-10-7 of clubs, Raymond led the seven, and it ran to my nine. With control of every suit, I decided to duck a spade to establish the suit against a 4-1 split, but it wasn't necessary - in the worst case, I cash three top spades and lose one, then win the return, cross to the king of hearts for the last spade, and back to my remaining ace. As it was, the spades were 3-2 and the Q-10 of hearts fell under the K-A, so I made two overtricks anyway. Raymond made a 2NT next, and then Brent opened 2NT and just made it. Raymond started the second game with 1NT and an overtrick, and then Ryan left him in 2S with a singleton spade and a decent diamond fit. We only set them two, but it's tough to say whether there were more to be had.

Today's Work: We're taking on a final few efforts this week, and I've been given a week to get my eyes working again and start driving to work. That certainly doesn't give me enough time to see a proper ophthalmologist, so I'm stuck going to Lenscrafters this weekend and hoping that I can get the new glasses immediately and that they completely fix the problem in a day. Thanks, boss.

I was up late last night, rather sick, and I don't know which meal caused it. Likely a combination. I can't imagine it'll be that bad tomorrow, but at least I do have most of a week to get into shape to drive to work every day again.

At least I have a lot of time to read

This week's manga: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime 3, Love & Lies 3, Blue Exorcist 18, Attack on Titan 23, Blood Blockade Battlefront 8, Absolute Duo 2, Dreamin' Sun 5, Unmagical Girl 1, Nurse Hitomi's Monster Infirmary 7, My Monster Secret 9, Nisekoi 25 (the last one), Orange Future, Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor 1-2, Say I Love You 18 (the last one), Magi 27, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Daily Life 1, and The Water Dragon's Bride 4.

I spent the week at Mom's house, mostly doing my normal work. I saw the neuro-ophthalmologist on Wednesday and finally got an update - it seems that I've got a previously undiagnosed astigmatism, which in combination with the strength of my prescription causes my eyes to have to work harder than normal to focus on things. After my glasses got really scratched up, my eyes just quit, more or less. So I need to start with getting new glasses, and then maybe look into Lasik to reduce my prescription. Meanwhile, something I ate today is clearly not agreeing with me and I'm up way past bedtime on a bad day to stay up late. So here's hoping I get at least a little rest before morning.


It's been a fun weekend. Mom and I got to play Clank, Dominion Nocturne, and the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle game. We started at Game 2 and made our way to Game 4. We were up against a horrible pairing of bad guys on our first attempt at Game 4 and still came pretty close, but the second attempt was much smoother and we didn't even lose the first location, even though the market filled up with expensive cards early on and Mom couldn't afford to buy anything. It helped against the enemies that strike only purchased cards, at least. We had a dinner at Logan's Roadhouse, where the food was great but the service was questionable - they didn't have one of the items for my dinner, and replaced it with something significantly smaller, then left out another item and replaced it with the wrong thing. And every food item went to a different table before it came to ours. They apologized many times and comped my dinner, which was nice, but I don't think we'll be going back to that location ever again. My birthday dinner was Akira Teppanyaki, where the only disappointment was that they didn't have the ice cream tempura that was on the menu. (Our chef also didn't cut the scallops, but they were still mostly edible.) I also found another Doctor Who board game that looks like a series of Yahtzee-style missions. It seems interesting, and there will be expansions to support more Doctors, but it looks like it will take a long time to play, and we didn't really have time to mess with it. Perhaps another time.
I had therapy today. As always, I got some things to think about, mainly because my therapist is leaving her practice in a few months. I'll have to decide whether to start with a new therapist (possibly the EMDR therapist, but without the EMDR unless I need it) or just try to work things out on my own for a while. I also finally got an answer of sorts about the billing issue where they sent me a bill indicating that I didn't have insurance coverage. Apparently, whoever was behind the desk for those months didn't do things properly, so the new person said to ignore the bill and wait for a more accurate answer. If I owe anything after that (which is likely), I'll settle up next month.

I also got to start reading The Maze Runner at long last. Finally, a book where nothing makes sense that acknowledges that nothing makes sense and makes that central to the plot.
I wanted to do my food shopping this morning, but the trunk of my car was frozen shut. I had to wait until the ice had melted a bit, and even then, I had to force it open. At least I got it done, and I'm holding back a bit on sugar since my glucose was way up again. Still not so high that I'm worried, but until I get another A1C reading, I still need to be responsible about my eating habits. I also probably spent way too long messing with the audio for the next Dominion video. I think one more pass to clean up some background noise in one of the tracks should do it, and it really doesn't take very long if I apply myself to getting it done. I just keep wanting to play games, and The Vagrant and the Breath of the Wild DLC keep attracting my attention.
It rained early this morning, and then it snowed on top of the rain. I know because I was up taking doses of Pepto-Bismol. This evening, I watched a car drive down the road sideways, so I believe I'll stay inside tomorrow and maybe consider venturing out on Sunday, after the plows and traffic have had time to operate a bit. On the bright side, I got a lot of good work done.

Advance planning

Today's Bridge: Dan H. and I partnered up, so we were bidding some razor-thin contracts, and they paid off. We started with a 3NT that hinged on my A-K-Q-x-x-x of diamonds coming in. They did. I was left in 2NT with S x-x H A-x-x D A-K-Q C Q-10-x-x-x facing S A-K-x-x H Q-x-x D x-x-x-x-x C J. The hearts were to my left, so there was a good play at game, but I only needed eight, so I let the heart lead run to my ace, unblocked the diamonds, and cashed dummy's spades and diamonds. The last club ended up taking an overtrick anyway. Brent went for a 2S, which I defended rather poorly by not cashing a club winner when I had the chance (since it would set up one of his clubs for a discard), but he underled the ace of hearts to my singleton king after running out of trump, letting me get the winner anyway. They went for 4H in a competitive auction, but Dan led the king of spades to my A-Q-x-x-x - I covered, cashed the queen, and led a third for him to ruff. He had the ace of clubs for the set. Finally, we were battling in hearts and spades, and with S 10-x-x-x H A-Q-10-x D K-Q-x C x-x, I elected to raise to 4S rather than letting 4H go. It would be possible to trap my hearts with repeated leads through, so we'd get the ace of hearts, ace of clubs, and maybe a diamond or two. As it turned out, Brent had the top two spades and Ken had the ace of diamonds, but Dan led low from my K-Q-x of diamonds to his singleton jack and stole it, then crossruffed, giving up just the trumps and the king of clubs to make the doubled game.

Today's Work: I got a lot of great information about the extensive amount of training I have to do. It'll be a hassle, but I know I've got support from management, so it's not completely awful.

I'm still really tired, and there's supposed to be an ice storm tonight. It's raining pretty hard now, so there's going to be a lot of water to freeze. I took out the garbage tonight even though the can wasn't quite full, because I don't want to be stuck inside all weekend with a full trash can, and I don't want to have to try walking across the ice to the dumpster.
I had to review a lot of updates today, mostly in one giant update. I'm rather glad, because I'm not sure I was up to doing much more. I had a hard time waking up this morning, and barely managed to cook breakfast by skipping meat and toasting Pop Tarts instead. I tried making scallops for dinner, and I think they turned out okay. I just melted half a stick of butter in a pan, then added lemon juice, dropped in the scallops, and flipped them a few times, sprinkling them with garlic sea salt on both sides. Maybe not the ideal preparation, but I had all of the ingredients.
Today's Bridge: It took a lot of searching, but we found enough people to play, and the first hand was a real doozy. I know nobody reads these...Collapse )

Today's Work: It was a long meeting to discuss the immediate future of the project, but we got a lot of work scheduled and there will be a few very busy weeks ahead. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks, and to having a decent connection tomorrow so I can finish closing the last two sprints from home.
I spent the day cleaning up LP audio (and discovering some really bad desynch in one of the tracks that I may have to do something about), playing Dominion (including a rather interesting kingdom with six Treasure cards and Pooka), and finding the stuff I've missed in Super Mario Odyssey. I continued adding carbs and sugar to my diet this week, since my glucose was up this morning, but still within the normal range. I bought some Little Debbie snack cakes and a 2-liter bottle of non-diet soda. Small steps, always.

Weekends are when I play games.

I played a whole lot of Dominion, and that was pretty much my day. I recorded a couple of the games for the LP, and organized the Goblins 3 recording into the videos that just need audio cleanup. I even devoted a few hours to Mario Odyssey, and accomplished a fair bit.
I've been really tired the past few days, and managed to record more Goblins 3 last night, so I didn't take the time to write entries. Not a great deal to say anyway. I finally got the Dominion thread off the ground, and a few people have joined the Discord server I set up for it. I'm hoping it will expand as I go and I can spread the joy of Dominion far and wide.
Today's Bridge: Ken and Jerry took on Anna and me, and the first rubber was over almost before it started. I think we had a shot at setting Jerry's 4S - I high-lowed Anna in hearts as Jerry ruffed the second one, and he tried to cross to dummy with a club, but Anna ruffed that. Then she led... her king of trump. Another heart would have established a trick from my 10-8-7, and if Jerry doesn't ruff with the queen or jack, we score the king as well - either because I get in the lead and run another club through, or because he ruffs with the ace trying to prevent that. Either way, I had a guaranteed diamond trick, which would have been enough for the set. Anna started the next rubber with 3NT, and it was a near laydown. I had the promising S A-2 H Q-J-x-x D K-J-10-9-x-x C 6, and she had something like S K-Q-x-x-x H K-x-x D Q C A-10-x-x. Simple enough, after the ten wins the opening club lead - cover the queen of diamonds with the king, then run the suit until the ace comes out, and use the ace of spades as an entry to the rest. It's even possible to defend against a 5-2 diamond split by running the queen, then crossing to the ace of spades to force out the ace of diamonds (which she did), then underleading the king of hearts twice for a guaranteed entry (which she did, but only after cashing her top cards in the black suits and setting up the opponents' winners). I got the chance to make up for it in the next hand, which was just a matter of overtricks - S A-K-J-x-x H A-x D K-10-9-x C 10-x facing S x-x H K-Q-10-9-x D Q-J C A-J-x-x. After the opening diamond lead to the ace, I had nine tricks on top, but I ducked Jerry's queen of clubs, and he switched to a heart. I ducked, and Ken provided the jack. All I had to do was cash my tricks in the right order after that. Finally, they stopped in 3H, and while I think we had a good shot at 3S (and a great sacrifice in 4), Anna kept quiet on five points and 3-3 fits in my 5-5 suits, so they got to play their partscore, and Jerry played like he was in game and made it.

Today's Work: As usual when I'm actually there, we got a fair bit done. There's still some work to be done on practices like building the code before pushing the changes to the repository, just to make sure nothing's been broken along the way, but we'll get there.

I intended to post the Dominion thread tonight, but I suddenly have no idea what to write for an introductory post. I'll give it a few days and try to come up with something compelling.

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Yes, I'm THAT Nidoking. Sometimes I write fanfiction... often I waste all my time playing video games and watching anime. But it's not a waste if I enjoy it, right? I can quote from a movie, video game, anime series, or British comedy apropos of just about any situation, and one of my main goals in life is to entertain people. (The other big one is amassing as much anime and manga as I can... see below for a progress report.) That's me in a nutshell. ("Help! I'm trapped in a nutshell! What a bloody great nutshell this is!")
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