Monday, January 31, 2005

Unwired at the Hotel

So I'm at a conference in Baltimore, staying at a very nice hotel in the Inner Harbor, and I'm ridiculously unwired. The hotel's conference rooms, where I spend most of my day, have a wi-fi network ... but I can't sign on to it. My hotel room has internet access ... but it's $10 a day, and the 2-foot of Ethernet cable they expect me to use to connect to the network jack effectively shackles me to the room's desk.

As a geek with a home wi-fi network, who's used to being able to take his laptop everywhere, this is infuriating.

So, hotels of the world, listen up: it's no longer enough for you to provide high speed internet access from rooms. You need to cut the wires, and you need to offer rates that incorporate 24/7 internet access. For modern geeks and -- I suspect -- even for business travelers, the Web is ubiquitous. Balkanizing your hotel's internet coverage, and chaining your guests to their desks, is eventually going to lose you customers.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Quote of the Moment: "If You Can't Take a Bloody Nose..."

"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you oughtta go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." -- Q ("Q Who?", Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pattern Recognition: The Movie?

Having finished William Gibson's Pattern Recognition -- which was excellent all the way to the end -- I naturally wondered if there might be a movie in the words. According to Gibson, the answer is maybe.

The DragonDex

Dragon Magazine is a great resource for Dungeons & Dragons but unless you've got a photographic memory (or the Dragon digital archive from a few years back) you can spend hours trying to find that one article about magical robes from a few years back. Enter The DragonDex. It's an index of every Dragon Magazine from the beginning, and updated monthly. It includes one massive index of every article, as well as breakdowns by spells, magic items, fiction, game reviews, and more.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"What's the Status, Kenneth?"

I'd like to take a moment from my busy work day and thank whatever brainiac at Microsoft came up with the bright idea of having Internet Explorer's "status bar" default to "off". Truly, this little enhancement was was a great leap forward for Web usability. I mean, hell, why would we want users to know where a hyperlink was going to send them next?

Yes, this is sarcasm.

For those who don't know, the "status bar" appears (or rather, appeared) at the bottom of every Internet Explorer's browser window. If you moused over a hyperlink on a Web page, the full web address for that link would appear in the status bar. It's a subtle thing, probably lost on most users, but when you spend your day coding and testing Web sites, like I do, it is an important tool. It lets me check a link without actually having to click on it, which over the course of a day can be a real time savor. It was also used to display the current status of the web page in question -- what percentage of it was loaded, how many images were left, etc.

In short, it was a good thing for geeks like me.

But unfortunately, Microsoft apparently decided that was just a little too much information for the average user, and disabled it. Now I can turn it back on again, but for reasons I don't fully understand, it won't stay turned on. When I close out of IE 6, the status bar disappears. So the next time I launch IE, I have to bring it back up again. Arrrgh.

And people wonder why Firefox is my primary browser.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

An Hour in the Mindspa

The slow mental massage that is William Gibson's Pattern Recognition continues during my commute as I cruise through the digital audio book. The book is exactly my sort of read; I love it when the writing is so detailed, so intimate, that I find my brain entering an altered state of literary consciousness. Suddenly I find my thinking deep thoughts, contemplating the mental textures of that sign for Exit 20 on I-78, wondering about the branding behind the Acura that just passed on the left, and generally savoring the flow of words as the audio book washes over me.

All this while at the same time being very much aware of the road around me, the intricacies of traffic, the needs to be conscious of assholes who's driving skills are only barely up to the challenges of the slushy New Jersey roads.

It's like spending an hour or two in a spa for my mind, relaxing in an imagined world between the reality of the job, and the reality of the home. Of course, that does make for a certain amount of dissonance when I do finally walk through the front door, as my brain is still spinning out Gibsonian descriptions of my living room, and my 22-month-old is clamoring for a kiss.

The solution, I think, is to downshift from high thought by listening to Cheap Trick or Smashmouth on my way through Phillipsburg, so that by the time I reach my front door my mind will be thinking in more normal terms.

At least until the next morning's commute.

Ring Around the World

I've posted a review of Larry Niven's Ringworld to Nuketown. While not the mind-altering read that Pattern Recognition is, the book is nonetheless a classic of science fiction, filled with some very big ideas (How big? imagine a habitable ring the size of Earth's orbit. Yes, that big.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Good-bye iBlog, Hello Blogger!

So why, a few days after writing that I'd probably stick with iBlog, have I switched to Blogger? The answer is simple: the free trial on iBlog expired today, and after a near instantaneous evaluation in which I considered my free time and finances, I decided that a) I wasn't going to have the time I needed to incorporate comments into iBlog's pages, and b) the ol'personal budget can't handle the $20 something fee for registering iBlog.

So I went back to Plan A, which was to use Google's free Blogger service.

Blogger touts some not-insignificant advantages above and beyond price. Although I lost the "subcategories" I had on the iBlogged site, I gained the ability to post from anywhere and even to submit posts via e-mail. I also gained integrated comments and a much-more attractive site template (because I have just as little time to redesign the blog's look as I do to figure out how to incorporate third-party comments.

I still consider iBlog to be a pretty darn nifty product, but at this point in time, it just isn't meeting my needs.

As for The Atomic Age, I've ported over all the posts from the old site, screwing up the timestamps in the process but aside from that they've made the trip relatively intact.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Xbox Live Goodness for Mac and Windows

As an Xbox Live fanatic, I like to know when my fellow Geezer Gamers are online. The schedule on the Geezers web site rocks, but that just lists people's intentions, not their current status. And the MSN Messenger Beta will send you an alert when someone signs on, but it doesn't provide a comprehensive listing.

Fortunately, there are two different "Xbox Live Friends" applications -- one for Mac, one for Windows -- that provide you with a moment-to-moment look at who's presently online. Very cool.


... the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl! While yesterday's game wasn't the cleanest I've ever seen, one certainly got the feeling from watching the Eagles play that they were entirely focused on winning the game, and that they were going to get over the championship hump. I haven't watched the Patriots much this season, and I don't think yesterday's game versus Pittsburgh was an adequate demonstration of their prowess, so it's hard to say what Philly's chances are. I am, however, cautiously optimistic.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Geezer Tag

Since inquiring Geezer Gamers want to know, my Xbox Live tag is "NukeHavoc". Oh, and speaking of the Geezers, check out this interview with the Founders on

Evaluating iBlog

I've been using iBlog for the last three weeks to publish The Atomic Age, and the time has come to evaluate it's effectiveness. The software is exceptionally easy to use, which is certainly a major plus, and it allows me to publish to a web space that I directly control, which is another. It also integrates very well with my .mac account.

There are a few drawbacks though.

First, the URL is cryptic -- why can't I specify a specific folder I want to publish to on .mac, rather than having the hard-to-remember folder name of "B854689283"? I'd much rather be able to publish to "" or some such.

Second, there's no integrated support for comments. I realize that this would be difficult to implement natively on .mac, since the Apple service doesn't support server-side scripting, but still, I'd like to have some sort of solution for this. The iBlog site does mention a few alternatives that work with the software, I'm going to have to spend some more time researching them.

Third, although the program is well integrated into the "iLife Suite" (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie) it is exceedingly slow when pulling up a photo library.

And finally, the program doesn't support syncing across multiple Macs. Fortunately, this is a temporary shortcoming; the developer responded to my question about this feature by saying it would be in iBlog 2.0. When that version will be available, I do not know.

Overall, I'm still liking iBlog, and I think I'll continue to use it, especially if I can get the comments thing figured out. I really would like this blog to be more interactive than Nuketown,which really remains more of a zine than a blog.

Winter is Coming

Our first really big snow storm of the season is scheduled to arrive tomorrow afternoon, dropping something like 6" of snow in eastern Pennsylvania. I can't wait -- this will be the first snow storm that Jordan has experienced while in full-on toddler mode, I'm looking forward to building snow forts, sledding, and generally acting like a big kid with her. It's also nice that it's happening on a Saturday, so I don't have to worry about traffic or traveling; we can just hang out at home and enjoy the snow.

The snow should also make Sunday's Eagles championship game vs. Atlanta one hell of a game. I don't envy those guys at all; they're going to earn every penny playing in that cold and wind.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Pattern Recognition

I started listening to William Gibson's Pattern Recognition last night, which features the most wildly neurotic protagonist I've seen since Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. The lead character, Cayce, is a "cool hunter" who flies around the world looking for new trends for corporations to exploit. Her particular bit strangeness? She's allergic to high fashion and corporate marketing; the Michelin Man sends her into hives, and she's has to wear the most utilitarian of clothes.

Yep, it's weird all right, but come on, this is the guy who gave us Neuromancer, so what did you expect? I'm enjoying the book more than I thought I would -- Gibson's plugged into modern day net culture surprisingly well, and I couldn't help but smile when Case runs into a guy in London collecting Timex-Sinclair computers. Casual fans might decry the book's lack of cyberpunk, but so far, this thing reads like vintage Gibson.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ringworld RPG

I was doing a little research on Larry Niven's Ringworld last night, for a review of the book I'm working on for Nuketown, when I came across, a site dedicated to the the Ringworld RPG published by Chaosium in 1984.

Unfortunately, the site doesn't have a great deal of support information for the game -- it's got a few new races, some thoughts on campaigns, notes about GURPS conversions -- but nothing on the scale of a new source book. Still, it's worth visiting for those who remember the game ... or who are like me and can't believe the masters of Lovecraftian horror ever released a sci-fi game like this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Geezer Hangovers is an excellent site that's done wonders for my online gaming experience. I've gone from dreading Halo 2 deathmatches to dreaming about them at work. I think it's also been single-handedly responsible for salvaging MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf for me by turning the multiplayer mode from a death trap to strategyfest.

There is, however, a drawback to all this great gaming -- I don't want to stop.

I tell myself I jump on for 30 or 40 minutes before heading off to bed, and the next thing I know it's midnight and I'm trying to rationalize staying up until 1 a.m. This in turn has given rise to the "Geezer Hangover", in which thirtysomethings around the country (and the world) find themselves turning to ever-greater doses of coffee to stay awake through their commute. I'm not complaining though: it's a happy problem to have.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Thoughts on Thunderbird

Apple's Mail program is my default e-mail program on the Mac, but on the PC I've been using Thunderbird, the open source e-mail client released by the Mozilla Foundation. In general, I'm liking it, but I've got a few complaints:

1. The ability to read RSS Feeds in Thunderbird is cool, but flawed. Adding feeds isn't intuitive (you need to create a new account, specifically for "News and RSS" before you can subscribe to anything) and all feeds need to be added manually; there's no integration between Firebird's "Live Bookmarks" and Thunderbird's reader.

2. Thunderbird won't let you set different pane views for different accounts -- i.e. I want preview on for RSS feeds, but not for messages.

3. It sometimes crashes when I try and assign a priority to an e-mail -- this usually happens when I'm trying to assign the same priority to multiple e-mails, and one has an attachment.

Aside from these mostly-minor quibbles, Thunderbird's met my expectations. It supports message filters, can handle junk mail, and runs equally well on my Windows machines and Macs.

Improving .Mac Syncing

Apple's .mac syncing service -- which allows me to sync the calendar data on all of my Macs, as well as my PDA and iPod -- has been a tremendous boon for me. I can manage my day-to-day calendar and address book on my work Mac while my wife adds important family dates and phone numbers to my home Mac. After syncing the machines, the data merges, making everyone's life much easier.

But there is certainly room for improvement. With the release of Mac OS X Panther, Apple introduced the ability to sync your remote "idisk" (an online, mountable hard drive of sorts) with your Mac's "home" folder. This is a very cool idea, but it has a fatal flaw: It doesn't allow you to choose which folders are synced. Since I have gigs worth of music and digital video in my home folder -- and only 200 mb or so of iDisk space -- syncing really isn't feasible. Indeed, even if I had the money, I don't think I could buy enough space through .mac to sync that folder, and even if I could, waiting for 50 gig worth of files to sych -- even over DSL -- just isn't realistic.

What I'd love to see is the ability to sync specific folders -- for example, my "Writing" folder, which contains all my freelance work, and my "Gaming" folder, which contains all my Dungeons & Dragons and Spycraft campaign data -- to my iDisk. And not just to my iDisk -- I want to be able to do the same thing for my iPod. Heck, I could easily see buying one of the new iPod shuffles, and using it as a combination music player and documents folder, allowing me to carry my favorite music -- and often-needed files, like my character sheets -- where ever I go.

Will Apple ever do this? It's hard to tell. Looking over Mac OS X Tiger's syncing page, it appears that they're expanding what's sync able to include mail accounts and rules, which is nice, but not something I particularly need. At the very end of the page, however, they make mention of opening syncing to developers, saying:

"System-wide availability of sync services means that developers can now easily incorporate syncing capabilities into their applications. Fully expandable, this engine allows developers to go beyond synchronizing calendars, bookmarks and contact lists to sync new data types."

So it sounds like it could be possible, though it may fall to a third party like Microsoft to develop it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Go Geezers Go!

I spent a good chunk of my free time last night playing with Team Geezer, who will be representing my fellow Geezer Gamers in Bungie's "Hump Day Challenge" tonight. The crew will be fighting a team of Bungie's own (no word on how many of Bungie's people will be on the same side of the age hill as the Geezers).

It was an honor and a privilege to lose to the best Geezers had to offer, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to play a bunch of really strategy-intensive games. Good luck Geezers!

The Mac Mini

I wish I could come up with a good reason to buy one of these, aside from the fact that it's bright and shiny and makes my geek brain itch (in a good way).

It ships without a monitor, keyboard or mouse (but really what geek doesn't already have all that crap?) and costs $499, or less than one of the higher end iPods. (that said, I expected it to be less; $399 would have been perfect)

I'm just astounded at how small the thing is -- I mean, look at the pic: this thing is only slightly larger than the CD! Throw in a nice 14' flat screen, and you've got one sweet set-up. This is much, much cooler than the new iMac G5 , which still strikes me as the ugly duckling of the iMac line.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

SF Flare

Solar Flare is a sci-fi web news site that's gone through quite a few incarnations; this time around, it's a genre blog focusing on "musings, commentary, and rants". I've been visiting the site on and off for a while now, and for a while it looked like it had fallen into the net's event horizon; it's nice to see it back from the brink and publishing again. Expect a link up on Nuketown soon.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Cold on the Run

After a weekend of almost laying low (had to take the tree and all the Christmas stuff down yesterday) it looks like the family cold is now on the run. Now Sue and I are just crossing our fingers and hoping Jordan doesn't get sick -- so far her sniffles and coughs have been minor.

Messing with Windows Media

At the day job I'm presently struggling to find a way to embed a Windows Media file streamed from a Windows Media Server url (mms://) in a Web page. It's not going well, but I did find this nifty tool for embedding media in a Web page at the University of California (San Francisco). It handles Flash, Real Media, QuickTime and Windows Media. Unfortunately, it doesn't work and play well with the mms:// url (actually, I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to be using that url, which is obviously a big part of the problem).

Friday, January 07, 2005

Guardians of Orders' Troubles

It seems that the implosion of the d20 indy market, combined with the sliding U.S. dollar, is creating problems for Guardians of Order, publisher of titles such as Big Eyes, Small Mouth, Silver Age Sentinels, and The Authority RPG, new home of the Amber Diceless Role-Playing Game and future home of the A Game of Thrones RPG, based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series.

Basically, they're looking for their fans to help them out, and buy some stuff in order to help out their immediate cashflow problems so that they can get their future products out the door. Personally, I've never been that interested in GoO, mostly 'cause I'm not an big fan of anime RPGs, and the superhero book Silver Age Sentinels never really tickled my fancy. That said, I'm very interested in seeing more Amber books released, as well as the The Game of Thrones product seeing print, so I do hope they make it through this time of troubles.

And the Cold Spreads...

I spent another night sleeping on the sofa, yet this time I wisely decided to fold out the sofa bed. I think everyone who owns a sofa bed should spend at least one or two nights a year sleeping on it, just so they're aware of what they're subjecting their guests to when they stay over.

Fortunately, our sofa bed's still in pretty good shape, and it was a comfortable enough night. Mad Dog joined me in my first-floor exile, and I think she was ecstatic to finally be sleeping in the same bed as her master (she's been banished from our own bed for a few years now).

The good news is that after a solid night's sleep, I'm finally feeling something close to human again. The bad news is that last night Sue was looking even worse than I was, and this morning Jordan had a cough that didn't sound particularly healthy. Granted, she'd been crying (another 6 a.m. diaper change) but even so, she sounded more congested than normal. Hopefully it's just a passing thing; a weekend with all three of us sick won't be fun.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

FTP Clients

Although much of the Web is moving toward content management systems with web-based front ends, I still spend a good amount of time mucking around with FTP programs.

On the Mac side, my preferred FTP client is Panic's Transmit, a full-featured with a very user friendly interface. Creating and editing bookmarks to local and remote folders is a snap.

On the Windows, the hat tip goes to CuteFTP, which has a polished, simplistic interface and a bevy of options. Bookmarking (which I do frequently) is simple, but managing bookmarks is not. Actually, I haven't figured out how to do that yet -- I can add bookmarks, but I can't change or delete them. Still, it's the best FTP client I've found on the Dark Side.

Both programs are trialware; you can use them for a limited amount of time before you're required to register them (actually, I think Transmit will continue to work, but with a greatly reduced feature set) but both are worth the money.

Invasion of the Stomach Bugs

I should have known that when I couldn't fall asleep, something else was going on. That "something else" is a stomach bug that hit me yesterday, and sent my guts reeling to the bathroom. Combined with some aggravating post-nasal drip (no doubt from not drinking enough fluids), and you've got on unhappy Nukester.

I spent last night sleeping on the couch (when either Sue or I are sick, we always retreat to the couch for the night, to avoid infecting the other). Well, not sleeping really. Sleep once again evaded me, but instead of staring at the ceiling for a few hours trying to ignore my eternal enemy "The Drip", I stared at the television instead, watching Lost, the season premiere of Alias, Old School (which I'd rented from Netflix) and (when I was truly desperate) an interview with Mark Walhberg on A&E.

I finally nodded off around 3 a.m. As you can imagine, my ass is now dragging. Fortunately, most of the work I have to do today is no-brainer conversion stuff, so I can get it done, get home, and get back to sleep.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Is Riddick the new Conan?

A thread over on the Robert E. Howard Conan Comics Yahoo Group echos my own thoughts while watching The Chronicles of Riddick: The anti-hero Riddick has a lot in common with Howard's Cimmerian.

Both Conan and Riddick are outsiders, barbarians living on the fringe of civilization, doing whatever it takes to survive. Each has his own strange (to civilized minds) code of honor, belongs to a mysterious and distant race, and is exceptionally good at killing men in hand-to-hand combat. After reading the collected short stories in The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, I think Conan is the more honorable (and likeable) of the two, but that only makes sense given that Howard had the opportunity to take his hero from barbarian to rogue to king. Thus far, we've only seen Riddick as a brutal killer and reluctant liberator.

This idea tickled the back of my mind while I was watching Chronicles but the sense of familiarity erupted full at the very end of the movie when (DANGER: SPOILER) Riddick takes the throne of the Necromongers, lounging on in as the conquered warriors all begin bowing before him.

Howard would have approved.
I've posted a review of Wil Wheaton's autobiography, Just a Geek, to Nuketown. Short version: it's a good book, read it.

As an aside (and "asides" are part of what The Atomic Age is all about), actually finding this book in Barnes and Noble was frustrating. I initially searched for it in the biography/autobiography section, which was only logical (at least to my mind). No dice. I checked the next logical place: science fiction. Still no dice.

So I went to the customer service desk, and the woman there looked it up on the computer. It then took about another 5 minutes of searching to finally find its physical location, nestled within the science fiction books (but out of order, and not with the Trek books, which explains how I missed it the first time through). I bought the last copy.

This little misadventure shouldn't reflect too badly on Wheaton though; it took even longer (and two workers to boot) to find the store's sole copy of The Dungeon Master's Guide 3.5, which was the only D&D book in the store, and was one of only a handful of gaming books. Clearly, this B&N (located at Route 33 and Freemansburg Ave. near Easton, Pa.) is not a friend of geeks.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Forgetting How To Sleep

There's a great line in Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where Ford Prefect explains the secret of flying to Arthur Dent: you just have to throw yourself at the ground, and miss. To paraphrase Adams, the knack lies in ignoring the ground entirely, and (this is the hard part) ignoring the fact that it is going to hurt quite a lot if you fail to miss it.

I bring this up because I was up until 2:30 a.m. last night, lying in bed, tossing and turning, trying to sleep, and it occurred to me that slumber is a lot like Adams' take on personal flight. It's not something you (or at least, me) can will yourself to do. It just ... happens. And it happens best when you're not thinking about it.

But you can't "not think about it" too hard, because ignoring the fact that you're trying to fall asleep will inevitably bring you back to the awareness that you are trying to fall asleep, and you end up in a vicious cycle of sleepy/non-sleepy thoughts that leaves you bleary eyed at 2:30 a.m., wondering if other people also forget how to sleep.

Where's Apple's Blogging Tool?

So I've been playing around with iBlog some more, and while I like the application, there are a few things I wish it would do that it doesn't -- like syncing up files between multiple Macs. This got me to wondering why Apple hasn't taken the logical step of releasing its own blogging tool as part of the "iLife" suite.

It would make a hell of a lot of sense -- they've got .mac (a suite of internet services that includes data syching, web hosting and e-mail), they've got excellent consumer video and music editing tools, and they've got the know how to make the entire experience seamless.

Instead, Apple seems content to rely on its Web page templates, which are supposed to be the "quick and easy" way of publishing Web pages, photos and videos to .mac. Yeah right. Blogger is easy. iBlog is easy. MoveableType is allegedly easy (I haven't used it). Messing with Apple's .mac templates just gives me a headache, particularly when I try and do simple things, like say make all my web pages share a common look and feel. I suppose it's adequate for those who want nothing more than to post a very, very simple web page, but it's 2005 and even complete technological idiots can create a nice-liking, consistent web site using free online tools.

It's time for Apple to ditch the templates and give us a blogging tool that fully exploits the power of their iLife suite.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Welcome to the Atomic Age!

I've been publishing Nuketown as a webzine, and then as a sort of webzine/blog hybrid, since 1996. So why am I ringing in the new year by creating a blog apart from the ol'thermonuclear blog?

There are a bunch of reasons, but the biggest one is that despite its shifts to a more bloggish set-up, Nuketown remains very much a webzine-type site. Most of its content is given over to reviews, news and links, and it doesn't lend itself particularly well to short, personal blog entries.

Enter The Atomic Age, a blog that will intersect Nuketown, but which will let me expand in other directions as well. Oh sure, there will be plenty of the old familiar geek-centric stuff, but expect the occasional rant about my commute, thoughts on parenting, and yes, the occasional libertarian digression. I plan on using this blog to experiment with a more concise style of writing (and perhaps excerpts of fictional "works in progress") while at the same time integrating photos, videos, and other snippets not easily included in Nuketown.

So why the name "Atomic Age"? It's a name I've been kicking around with relation to Nuketown side projects for a while now -- for me, it evokes a spirit of adventure and discovery, of a time when flying cars, personal nuclear reactors, and weekend jaunts to the Moon weren't just day dreams, but were expected to become reality.

Blurry-Eyed Morning

One of the challenges of being a parent that no one ever tells you about is just how difficult it is to come up with a schedule, and stick to it. Because in the end, no matter how much you plan, your schedule is the baby's schedule. Trying to fight that can only lead to frustration and madness.

Case in point: last night. After a week off from work, I was eager to get an early start to my morning commute. I laid out the clothes I'd need, threw a Pepsi in the fridge to nurse through the morning, made sure I knew where my keys and wallet were, charged the iPod, and went to bed by 10 p.m. My plan was to get up at 5:30 a.m., walk Mad Dog (my Yellow Labrador), and then launch myself into the early morning darkness in hopes of getting to work by 8 a.m.

And then Jordan decided to implement her own schedule. Fresh from a birthday party for a fellow two-year-old, she though that 11 p.m. was a much better bedtime for all of us (a bedtime inspired, no doubt, by the huge amount of birthday cake she'd eaten earlier). Once finally asleep, Sue and I were able to nod off, only to be jostled from bed by a screaming Jordan at 2:30 a.m., after she woke from what we assume was a nightmare. 3 a.m. and we're back asleep, only to be woken by the unmistakable sound of a dog -- the aforementioned Yellow Labrador -- vomiting.

Needless to say, my 5:30 a.m. wake up call slipped, first to 6:30, then to 7. Fortunately, I managed to salvage some of the morning by having prepared the night before, but the dog didn't get her walk and I got to work at 9.

So much for the plan. Fortunately, there's always tomorrow morning...

Geezer Gamers Review Online

I've posted a review of to Nuketown. The Geezers are a group of thirty-something gamers (like me) who've banded together to play games via Xbox Live, and to flee from the unruly mob of teenagers currently rampaging their way across Microsoft's online gaming service.