Monthly Archives: November 2009

Puppies and Trucks

We had a really nice visit with Ashley and Scott and Puppers this weekend while Nefarious went with my sister to visit her grandmother. We took the little car on a road trip since it’ll be moved into winter storage within the next week, and on the way I got to see a really big truck with 66″ terra tires that really shows just how tiny the Saab is, as well as my old truck, which is on 44″ boggers.




I saw this at a construction site this evening…


Jerry’s Kids

Another doctor’s appointment today. After a series of basic physical tests (reflexes, strength, and so on), we began with electrodes being hooked up to nerves on my feet, and then the nurse used an electrified puck to send surprisingly intense electric shocks (sort of like a TENS machine) through various muscle groups and measuring how well the signal was being transmitted (I think). Because the problems appear to be symmetrical, only one leg was shocked.


The doctor then came in and did part two, which involved pushing a two and a half inch needle into the muscle and seeing what sort of signal was moving through the muscle. The insertion of the needle hurt a little, and moving the needle around inside the muscle was unpleasant but not too painful thankfully. First he put the needle into my upper inner leg, then into the thigh, then my shin, and then my lower back, right next to the spine (this one felt fairly intense), and then my shoulder and my hand. The whole thing took a bit over an hour.




While all this was happening, the results were being displayed on an oscilloscope as well as being amplified and output as audible sound, and the doctor seemed very focussed on trying to see whether anything was amiss in terms of the shape or amplitude of the signal. In the end, today’s test indicated a problem with the signals not being as strong as they should, which confirms a problem in the muscle, primarily in my legs but it also may be spreading. The muscle biopsy that was done a while back also implies problems with the muscle (rather than the nerves). Next week I’ve got a couple more appointments (CT or MRI scan, genetic tests, heart tests), but the current “shot in the dark” theory is that I have muscular dystrophy… but still, all we have right now are a very small set of symptoms that are not definitively pointing at anything, so that could easily not be the answer.


She must have thought I was a bit odd too

Today I was at the park and I was playing monster with Nefarious, chasing her around the wooden castle and park grounds. Another girl about her age joined in, and I noticed that she was being watched by my sister, although I didn’t recognize her at first because she had dyed her hair light blond since I last saw her. Other than that she looked exactly as she always does, and of course had the same voice as we made idle conversation about the girl she was babysitting. I had a strange Capras delusion feeling though about her, the odd sensation that I was not talking to my sister, but instead some sort of doppelganger even though facial expressions and everything were a match. However, when the little girl called her by her name — “Ashleigh” — I was relieved. When I got home, I noticed that my sister had posted on her page about becoming a “white tiger”, so I assumed that was a reference to her new hair color and I commented on how the transformation was literal and made her almost unrecognizable.

To which she replied awkwardly, with paranoid confusion…

…because the girl at the park had not been her.

Our latest chess variant using two boards

“All Chess Goes To Heaven” is Nefarious and my latest chess variant (she named it), and makes bigger changes to game play than our previous experiments. For starters, it’s played with two boards. The first board (the Earth) is set up as normal, using either regular pieces, or in our case, your favorite fairy chess setup (we played with jokers, archbishops, freezers, canons, and bombs added to the roster). The second board (Heaven) starts completely empty. The goal of the game is to kill the opposing player’s king, with the caveat being that you have to do it twice — first on Earth, and then in Heaven.

When a piece is killed on Earth, it is transported to Heaven. It goes in the same position that it was killed in. However, if there is already a piece in that position, then the player that did the killing gets to place it anywhere on the Heaven board. The other way that pieces can go to Heaven is by committing suicide. When a piece commits suicide, they can be placed anywhere in Heaven. You can also kill your own pieces, but unlike suicide, it is treated as a normal combat death and they land in the same space they were killed in, unless it is occupied. Chess pieces all behave normally in heaven with the exception of pawns, which lose the ability to transform into queens upon reaching the other side, but gain the advantage of being able to move (and capture) both forward and backwards (although not sideways).

On your turn you can move a piece on either board, or you can have a piece commit suicide. If canons are being used, the canon ball is only transported to heaven if the canon is holding it when it is killed. If all the pieces of one color are in Heaven, and they have killed all the pieces of the other color that are in heaven, the player with pieces left on Earth is forced to transport (via suicide) one of their pieces from Earth to Heaven in order to reduce the chance of draws occurring. We haven’t had this happen, so this rule set might need some tweaking (as may others — Nefarious and I debated possible rules as we went along).

We’ve only played once so far, but it was a lot of fun, and the game takes a little longer. Strategy-wise it’s interesting because it adds new elements of planning in how you configure Heaven, as well as the obvious element that the losing player builds up a formidable advantage in Heaven (so if you have to take care to make sure you don’t put all your strategy eggs in one basket), but at the same time, the winning player, who will end up moving most of their pieces to Heaven by suicide, has a good chance at engineering a checkmate. This is how I won, but it was close, and I was a little worried as she built up a very solid set of positions. The freezers are very powerful as well in Heaven, and she’s quite good with that piece. Anyway, I definitely recommend giving this variant a shot!

The middle picture is her jumping on me and punching me like a berserker to celebrate a particularly clever board. I think she would probably like chess boxing.