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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Neon Vincent's LiveJournal:

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    Friday, August 22nd, 2014
    11:56 pm
    Leaving California

    Twenty-five years ago today, I left California with my son and ex-wife as we moved to Michigan so that I could attend the University of Michigan to earn a Ph.D. in Biology. That happened. However, the original plan was to move back to the west. That never came to pass. All of us, plus my younger daughter, are still here. I repeated that with my second wife, who moved here from Wisconsin to marry me. Looks like I've been doing my part to reverse the trend of people leaving the state during the past few decades. The result has been something like the image below, except that the heart in Michigan should be in Detroit, not Grand Rapids.

    While people moving into Michigan, particularly from California, has not been much of a trend* people moving out of California during the time I've lived here has been. Click on the link below for the relevant excerpts from two entries on The New York Times' The Upshot blog that give the details.

    Leaving California at Crazy Eddie's Motie News

    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/89742.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: nostalgic
    Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
    3:40 pm
    Saturday, April 12th, 2014
    9:32 pm
    Car names--Yuki




    I ended Driving update for December 2013: My car by postponing making good on a promise.

    Also, I made a promise at the end of the last report.

    Yes, I bought this car in October 2003. I have a story about that, but I'll save it for the next report, along with why I named my car Yuki. Stay tuned.

    I'm going to take a rain check on this promise. These look like the kind of stories I would write to post while I'm traveling, which I might do over the next two weeks.

    Instead, I explained the name of my wife's car.

    It's late and I'm tired, so I'm not up to it. Besides, this report is about my wife's car, which I call Ruby (my wife doesn't give her cars names). I gave her that name because of the car's color and because my wife and I are fans of "Once Upon a Time," which had a character named Ruby, who is really Red Riding Hood, for the first two seasons.

    Well, my car turned over 220,000 miles today, so it's time to tell her story.

    Read more...Collapse )

    Adapted from Driving update for April 2014: Yuki, a longer entry at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

    Current Mood: tired
    Sunday, March 30th, 2014
    8:57 pm
    Zombie entries from Crazy Eddie's Motie News

    For tonight's season finale of "The Walking Dead," I present the above macro and the following links about the show and zombies.

    Norman Reedus AKA Daryl Dixon of 'The Walking Dead' on the Tonight Show and Late Night
    The Archdruid and his readers on zombies
    More from the Archdruid and his readers on zombies, part 1
    Drink and drive with "The Walking Dead" Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/88891.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: hungry
    Friday, February 21st, 2014
    4:43 pm
    Evil Dave the Exterminator
    Over at Grand Line 3.5, the artist asked for a story prompt in the comments: Tell a story about bug problems in your game!

    There was a player named Dave in my gaming group who always had giant insects and spiders in every dungeon he ran. I eventually figured out that he did that because bugs frightened him and he hated them for that, so he figured that if they scared him, they'd scare the other players. He was eventually able to act out his feelings about insects in real life. He became an exterminator.

    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/88755.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: amused
    Saturday, February 15th, 2014
    8:33 pm
    Four links for forty years of D&D

    Dungeons and Dragons turned 40 years old this past month. Here are three links to articles that mark the anniversary, and a blast from the past.

    Buzzfeed: At 40 Years Old, Dungeons & Dragons Still Matters

    Intro and more comments on above article at io9: Why Dungeons & Dragons Still Matters

    The practical applications of D&D at Quartz: Everything I need to know about management I learned from playing Dungeons and Dragons

    That reminds me of this What’s New with Phil and Dixie cartoon from 30+ years ago: Lessons for Life

    Originally posted to fandom_lounge on JournalFen.

    ETA: I forgot to add this link from Kotaku: Ice-T Accidentally Recorded A Dungeons & Dragons Audiobook. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/88494.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: full
    7:53 pm
    Texas A&M to archive filk
    Texas A&M: Science Fiction Collection adds Filk as Deeper than Swords Exhibit Closes
    January 08, 2014
    Fans of Game of Thrones have until February 7, 2014, to visit the George R. R. Martin Deeper than Swords exhibit at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives before it closes. The exhibit showcases objects, editions and manuscripts from the best-selling author’s prolific writing career. The collection forms the capstone of Texas A&M University Libraries’ internationally recognized Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection.

    As the exhibit closes, the Libraries will broaden its dimensions by adding “filk” related materials to its science fiction collection. Filk is best described as a musical culture, genre and community among science fiction and fantasy fans, which is a manifestation of fan labor to create a wide-range of musical styles and topics.

    Science fiction conventions, as well as designated filk conventions, have various filk programming that includes concerts and late night filk circles, where music is performed and shared, as well as panels about music and fandom. Most filk conventions put out songbooks with songs submitted by members of the community to share with attending members.

    The Cushing Library filk collection will showcase examples of these songbooks, as well as audio, video, digital recordings and fanzines and fanvids—which demonstrate the interest and affection for particular aspects of both literary and broadcast science fiction and fantasy media. The collection seeks to preserve the popular legacy of science fiction and fantasy by documenting and acquiring various fanworks.
    Originally posted at fandom_lounge on JournalFen. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/88285.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: cold
    Monday, January 27th, 2014
    1:59 am
    Examiner.com article on voter registration deadline
    The deadline to register to vote or update one's address for the February elections in Michigan is Monday, January 27, 2013.
    Credits: Scott Olson/Getty Images
    Deadline to register for February election is Monday
    While the next elections in Michigan are a month away, the deadline to register to vote is tomorrow.

    All those who wish to vote on February 25th must be registered to vote by Monday, January 27th. Michigan residents can find out if they are already registered by filling out the online form at the Secretary of State website. However, if one has moved to a new city or township, one must re-register. Also, if one has moved from one residence to another within a city or township, one must update the address. Normally, that happens when the address on a driver's license is changed at the Secretary of State's office.
    ...
    In Washtenaw County, residents of Salem Township will be joining others in the Salem-South Lyon Library District in voting on a millage proposal.
    More details at the link in the headline. Also, welcome to the next installment of Save the libraries, save civilization.

    Originally posted at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/87857.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: accomplished
    Saturday, January 25th, 2014
    8:42 pm
    Two Examiner.com articles on Detroit weather records

    Examiner.com: 2013 wettest year in Michigan history
    It's official. Last year was the wettest year on record for Michigan.

    According to NOAA's national overview for 2013, which was released on January 21, 2014, the average precipitation in Michigan was the highest in 119 years of record-keeping. Michigan had 40.12 inches of precipitation, 8.9 inches above average. This beat the previous record wet year of 1985 by 0.64 inch.

    Other states setting weather records last year were North Dakota, which also had its wettest year on record, and California, where Governor Jerry Brown recently declared a drought state of emergency after the Golden State's driest year ever.
    Examiner.com: Record broken for January snowfall in Detroit
    Detroit broke another weather record for precipitation today.

    As if 2013 being the wettest year in Michigan history was not enough, Accuweather reports that last night's snowfall brought the total for January so far to 31.3 inches, while the Detroit Free Press is reporting 31.5 inches so far. Either total beats the previous record for the month of 29.6 inches set in January 1978 almost two inches. To add more perspective, the snowfall for this month is about a foot-and-one-half above the January average of 12.5 inches.

    Don't get too attached to the current snowfall total. There are six more days left in the month and the National Weather Service predicts another weather system will bring one to two inches to the area on Sunday.
    Official word on both records came this week.
    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/87554.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: accomplished
    8:37 pm
    Twentieth Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake


    As part of the opening to Debate, endorsements, and a poll from KPBS in San Diego, I observed in passing that yesterday (at least here in Michigan) is a holiday. I made no further mention of the day, which is odd, because I stated in Happy Festivus! that I love holidays, including fake ones. I realized that I should have posted something about Martin Luther King Day, at least as much as last year, when it was combined with Obama's Inauguration. Today, I'll mark the occasion by describing my most vivid memory about the holiday, which ironically has nothing to do with the intended meaning of the day. Instead, it's about experiencing the Northridge earthquake from afar through television, a story I tell my students.

    Before our daughter was born, my ex-wife and I had agreed that I would take the second feeding of the night, which means that she was bottle-fed. After several years, that meant that I was in charge of my daughter's breakfast. On the morning of MLK Day, my daughter woke me up by saying "Daddy, I'm hungry." So I got up, prepared her breakfast, sat her down in front of the TV in the basement, and then put one of her favorite Disney tapes, which was either "Sleeping Beauty" or "Cinderella," I forget which. Just before the tape started running, I saw the announcement on Good Morning America that there had been an earthquake in Los Angeles. "Yeah, yeah, what else is new," I thought. Then the movie started and I lay down on the couch to sleep. After all, it was a holiday, and I didn't have to go to school or work. When I woke up, Regis and Cathy Lee were not on, as I expected, but news coverage. I recognized immediately that this was a bad thing. The last time I saw news instead of the mid-morning show was when the Challenger exploded. I grew even more horrified when it was about the earthquake and the location shots were all of places I knew and had been. There was damage at the university I had attended before I moved,* damage to the apartments my sister had lived in, damage to the mall where I had shopped. I may have been 2,000 miles and five years away, but it still struck close to home.

    I could go on, but I'll let Peter Jennings and the ABC Evening News do the showing instead of me doing the telling in 1/17/94 1st Segment of "ABC World News Tonight" Northridge Quake.

    For the rest of the entry, including two embedded videos, surf over to Twentieth anniversary of Northridge earthquake at Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/87478.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: nostalgic
    Friday, January 24th, 2014
    7:32 pm
    Putin the Brony on His Little Pony

    I tried to put together a serious entry last week at Crazy Eddie's Motie News and failed. Instead, I present Vladimir Putin on His Little Pony from JollyJack on DeviantArt.


    Yes, Pooty Poot as a Brony. As if that's not enough to twit Vladimir Putin, the Most Interesting Man in the World, here is the music I decided to listen to when I saw this: "Go West" by the Pet Shop Boys.

    More at Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/87090.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: silly
    Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
    12:02 am
    Finale of a coup as solo dungeon
    I have another D&D memory to follow up on the previous one.  Again, it was inspired by a prompt over at One Piece: Grand Line 3 Point 5: Share a story about a player character who wanted to take over an entire town or city.

    In an earlier campaign than the one with the evil cleric, One of my friend's low-level paladins became the prophesied True King for a city-state that hadn't had a legitimate ruler in a long time. Instead, it was governed by a warlord with his higher level henchmen as a junta.

    When the paladin reached 9th level, I had the word spread in the city that the rightful king had returned. The citizens revolted and chased the junta out of the city. The paladin then had to defend himself against the old head of the thieves guild, an evil patriarch, and an evil sorcerer, before he could face the warlord. He killed them all in single combat in their jungle lair. Good thing he had more hit points than all but the warlord, was resistant to magic because he had a holy sword, and had a better AC.

    Once that was done, he was able to rule his city-state in relative peace.

    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/86879.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: geeky
    Monday, January 13th, 2014
    10:59 pm
    More campaign comics than I ever thought existed
    Over at One Piece: Grand Line 3 Point 5, the campaign webcomic about One Piece, there is the most comprehensive page of links to other campaign webcomics I've ever seen.  If any of you are or were tabletop gamers, there is something for almost every taste, from Star Wars to Harry Potter to Pirates of the Caribbean in movies to anime and American Animation.  Go ahead and waste your time, if you dare.
    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/86741.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: geeky
    Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
    8:15 pm
    I got tired of blogging about Winter Storm Ion
    I had a second snow day today, which I didn't expect, but it was enough to make me tired of blogging about the storm and its aftereffects. Instead, I decided to post about the intersection between science and sports, climate, and the latest developments in Detroit.
    That should get my desire for a change of pace out of my system, so I might write about the weather after midnight. If not, I have some more D&D war stories to share. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/86285.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: cold
    Monday, January 6th, 2014
    12:47 am
    Fantasy and reality of snow days in Michigan

    The second paragraph of Mid-storm update on Ion in Detroit read:
    Then, at 6 PM, my workplace closed, along with dozens of other schools. As the Detroit News describes the situation, there will be "no school from Lincoln Park to Clarkston, Ann Arbor to Utica and Lincoln Park to Grosse Pointe." Snow Day!

    Time to post the fantasy and reality of snow days in Michigan like I did in First major snowfall and it's already late January. For the fantasy, I present Pure Michigan's Snow Days.

    Remember snow day when the schools were closed and the day was wide open? The first step into fresh powder was like stepping into a new world.

    Now the reality from John Kerfoot of Not So Pure Michigan: Pure Michigan: Snow Days.


    If this looks familiar, then you read to the end of Hercules leaves behind a snow day. If you did, you should also remember my punchline.
    At least we got more than five inches, and I got a snow day. Vacation extended until tomorrow!
    What do you expect? I'm an environmentalist; I recycle!

    Originally posted at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/86201.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Sunday, January 5th, 2014
    9:29 am
    Winter Storm Ion entries

    I was very busy elsewhere blogging about Winter Storm Ion yesterday. At Crazy Eddie's Motie News I opened Metro Detroit bracing for Winter Storm Ion with my experiences shopping yesterday.
    Last night, I told my readers Winter Storm Ion is on its way. I just returned from the grocery store and, as I expected, the place was crazy busy. This was as bad as the night before a major food holiday, and the workers there said it had been worse earlier, with lines for the butcher going down the aisles and sales 50% above normal. Fortunately, the clerks were busy stocking, so the shelves were full and I was able to find everything I was looking for that the store normally carried.
    An hour later, things got worse, so I posted Warning issued for Ion in Metro Detroit after WXYZ uploaded Winter Storm Warnings.


    Then over at Daily Kos, I headlined Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Winter Storm Ion) with this article from The Weather Channel: Winter Storm Ion: Rockies, Midwest, Great Lakes, Mid-South Snow Followed by Brutal Cold
    By Chris Dolce
    Published: Jan 4, 2014, 10:46 PM EST
    Winter Storm Ion is spreading a swath of snow from the Rockies to portions of the Midwest, Great Lakes and Mid-South this weekend. Following closely behind Ion will be a blast of brutally cold air in the Midwest.

    Ion's upper-level energy, which brought snow to the Rockies through the Central Plains and into the Great Lakes on Saturday, will pivot eastward into the nation's midsection through early Sunday. As a result, low pressure will begin to develop over the Southern Plains and then head towards the eastern Great Lakes by Sunday night.

    This will lead to the development of widespread accumulating snow from Missouri to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and southern Lower Michigan through Sunday morning. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for portions of these states.

    The snow will be heavy at times and will be accompanied by increasing winds, which will lead to low visibility and very poor travel conditions Sunday.
    Stay warm, everyone.
    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/85855.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: cold
    Friday, January 3rd, 2014
    2:36 am
    More Dungeons and Dragons memories
    I've been reading two more campaign comics in addition to Darths and Droids over winter break,  One Piece: Grand Line 3.5 and Friendship is Dragons.  The writer of the One Piece comic leaves prompts in the comments for some of his strips, which got me to write some incidents from the campaign I described in Dungeons and Dragons memories almost five years ago.

    The first came on page 246, where the artist requested that the readers "share a story about a flaw that... turned into an advantage of sorts."  Here's my response.

    I have a story from the days before there were official flaws in D&D,* back when some people were still playing out of the original three softbound booklets plus Greyhawk and Blackmoor.

    I was the DM for low-level group who was exploring a stronghold full of martial arts monks. The defenders were too much for the group, which was about to suffer a whole party wipe when one of the clerics prayed for divine intervention. I rolled the dice and the deity intervened. Unfortunately, the cleric was evil and so was his deity.

    After killing the mob, the diety turned to the cleric, sent him on a quest to capture a high-level good cleric, then cursed him with a permanent stinking cloud, not to be lifted until the cleric was captured. The good news was that anything within 15 feet that could smell had to save against poison or collapse from disgust. The bad news was that this included the player characters. This eventually turned into an advantage when the party eventually all saved, which meant that only the monsters would suffer from the ill effects.

    The party eventually was strong enough to go to Hell, defeat a couple of pit fiends, and capture the good cleric, who had been taken there by an arch-devil. It seems the cleric's deity wanted him for itself.


    *Chaosium's games had them at the time, but not TSR's.

    His second prompt was "Tell a story about how your GM or DM implemented a seemingly weird or out of place idea that a player introduced just for the hell of it" on page 256.  My response:

    In the same campaign where the evil cleric called on his deity and was cursed and sent on a quest for his trouble, the other cleric in the party decided that he didn't like the leader. It was good role-playing, as the clerics served different divinities and were of different alignments, but he decided to do something about it.

    He convinced me to let him contact the local thieves guild and recruit some guides for the party. He did, but he also paid them extra to backstab the leader when it the time was right. The rebel cleric also recruited a bunch of horse barbarians to ambush the party on the trail. The idea was that the guides would assassinate the leader during the ambush. He forgot one thing; he never actually role-played telling the guides about the ambush.

    So when it happened, they hung back, until the horse barbarians were starting to lose, then launched their attack. I justified it by saying that they didn't want to share credit with anyone else. They didn't kill the leader, but they escaped to harass the party all the way to the end of the campaign, even following the party into Hell. That was something I would never have thought of myself.


    Ah, memories.

    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/85613.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: geeky
    Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
    4:56 pm
    Hercules leaves behind a snow day

    I just came in from shoveling the sidewalk and driveway and digging out my wife's car Ruby, so I'm cold and tired and in no mood to compose something serious. Instead, I just want to whine about the weather. WXYZ just happens to have the videos to let me indulge myself.

    First, here's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He4iXIQ-pQQBraving the cold in Detroit with T-Baby from yesterday.


    T-Baby is the star, but the guy shoveling his driveway looks like me.

    For more videos, including a parody of a Pure Michigan ad about snow days, surf over to Hercules leaves behind a snow day at Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/85317.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: cold
    Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
    1:44 am
    Happy New Year from space!



    Original here.

    Continuing with the Happy New Year from space theme, here's NASA Sends Out of This World New Year's Greeting in Times Square.



    For more, see the fireworks at Happy New Year 2014! on Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/85101.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
    8:18 pm
    Examiner.com article on popular elections stories for 2013

    Stephen Kunselman with his daughters Sophia and Sabrina
    The Michigan Daily's endorsement of Stephen Kunselman and other candidates for City Council was the top story about local elections held during 2013.
    There is also a slideshow: Looking ahead to Washtenaw County elections in 2014
    The five most shared stories about Washtenaw County Elections for 2013 all looked ahead to 2014. Here are the politicians running for federal and state office to watch next year based on the Facebook likes of the readers.
    Top Washtenaw County election stories of 2013 look ahead to 2014
    As 2013 comes to a close, it's time to look back on the top stories from the past year. Based on the number of Facebook shares, five stories stood out, all of which share a common theme, looking ahead to 2014.

    All of them were also about elections for federal or state office, such as Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor, even University of Michigan Regent. No county or municipal candidates or issues broke into the five most liked list for 2013.

    Three more tied for sixth. Two of those were also about next year's elections, while one managed to be the most popular article about local elections actually held in 2013. This last got an honorable mention in this year's countdown.

    Here are the five most shared stories on Facebook along with an honorable mention.
    1. Walberg losing to generic Democrat by nine percent: poll
    2. Schauer declares 'he's in' the race for Michigan Governor
    3. Michigan Democrats already campaigning on Labor Day for 2014
    4. U-M Regents: Gratz considers running while Weiser consolidates support
    5. Peters endorsed by Stabenow and Levin for U.S. Senate
    Honorable Mention: Michigan Daily issues endorsements for city council, millage renewal

    In addition to the two commonalities I mentioned in the article, four of the articles (1-3 and 5) are good for Democrats, while only #4 is good for a Republican. May that be a sign of things to come.

    Now, I shall close out my calendar year here the way I did in the article.

    "So long, 2013. On to 2014!"

    Originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Crossposted to Michigan Liberal.
    Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/84875.html comment count unavailable

    Current Mood: accomplished
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