October 21, 2008

New Arrival

It's been more than a year without a post, but I thought I'd offer this one, despite the fuzzy picture it requires.


That's Storm (tentative name... was Cleo), my newly adopted cat. Not a great picture (my camera's died, and the phone is far from an adequate replacement), but it gets the point across.

More perhaps to follow.

Posted by ghoul at 08:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

September 13, 2007

Sad Day

I came home from work today to yowling. It was constant, loud, and immediately told me something was wrong. But when I looked for what, I couldn't see anything. Yes, the house is mostly empty (at least relative to its usual cluttered self). Yes, what is here is all in the wrong place. But nothing was seriously out of place. Nothing I could tell, at least.

So I set out some treats for the cats, and that let me see what was wrong. Because Lightning just nosed at them, then turned away. And he never does that. He picked one up, gummed at it, then dropped it again, drooling heavily. And he never does that.

I'd set out the cat-carriers a few days ago, preparing to move the cats to the new house. It was fairly easy to corral a listless Lightning into one, rush him out to the car.

He hates the vet, and that hadn't changed. He was a royal terror for the doctor to examine, but with a shot of valium to calm him, they were able to start to look at him. Nothing was obvious right away, though the doctor said his heartbeat sounded bad, so they wanted to try some blood tests and x-rays. I left him there, looking angry and confused, wrapped in a towel and wondering why.

They called just a bit ago. Apparently, his kidneys have or are in the process of completely shutting down. There were a few things they could try, but it would mean costs in the thousands of dollars and little real hope.

So, tonight, we've put Lightning to sleep.

I'd been setting up a place for the cats at the new house (yes, I'm still in the process of moving, which is a large part of why there have been no posts), with a large window looking out at a birdfeeder that's almost constantly in use. I just knew my cats would love it. Now, only one will ever get the chance.

Thunder is sitting in the floor near here, looking at me, looking around, clearly not sure what has happened.

The house is terribly quiet.

Posted by ghoul at 07:26 PM | Comments (2) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

August 20, 2007

Speaking Of The Other Guys

I spoke kindly of Apple's customer service (eventually), now I need to mention the opposite.

Two weeks ago, I purchased two garage door openers for the two garage doors of my new house. I paid slightly more for installation than I did for the hardware.

The installers called 2 days later, said they'd come in 3 days and would call first.

Three days later, cell phone in hand all day, and nothing. Eventually, I got a call that claimed they'd called 3 times earlier in the day but gotten no answer and left no message. And also left no trace of a missed call on my phone, which means they probably didn't call. They re-scheduled for today, late (as they'll be an hour and a bit away on another job in Keene, NH, most of the day).

Today, they call at 8 AM and ask if morning is OK (what happened to the job in Keene, I don't know). I say it is. Two hours later, they show up, look at the garage for 5 minutes, and decide there's a problem. No place to anchor the header of the garage door opener. Or, rather, there is a place, but it would require cutting and attaching a heavy piece of wood where there's currently just a gap. Relatively easy carpentry, they agree.

But a call to their boss results in them saying they can't do it. The boss won't allow them to do carpentry as part of a simple install job, and claims its a liability risk (which it might well be).

They call back to the retailer who contracted them, who says they'll find another installer to take a look. But they also tell me there is no other installer in southern NH.

So they leave me their card, some fairly hollow apologies, and two garage door openers still in their boxes.

Not the happy experience dealing with Apple provided.

Posted by ghoul at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

August 18, 2007

Apple Vs. Other Guys

OK, let's imagine something.

Let's imagine you bought something three years ago. And, just two week or so back, it went belly up.

Let's say it's a tower computer. A really nice dual processor beauty. And let's say the power supply gave out, to the point that it started leaking nasty, oily fluid all over the place.

Now, let's say you take it to the company's store, tell them it's under warranty, and they promise to fix it.

And let's say that, after two weeks' effort and 2-3 replacements of pretty much every part, they can't manage it.

So... what do they do?

Well, I can tell you what Apple Computer does. They say "Sorry, we can't fix your G5 tower. So, come in tomorrow and we'll swap it out for a new MacPro dual Intel processor tower with as similar features as we can (i.e., the same RAM, a slightly larger HD, 2 extra drive bays for future use, and about 2-3 times the speed). Oh, and we'll port over all your data first, so that's taken care of."

How many other guys are going to do that for you?

Lesson of the story: not all warranties are worth the cost, but AppleCare pretty much is. I stopped on the way out from picking up the new tower to purchase coverage on the new machine.

Posted by ghoul at 02:58 PM | Comments (2) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

July 19, 2007

New Home Day

... is tomorrow. Closing is at 8 AM, after which I'll be able to say the house in Bow is mine.

It'll be a while before I'm living in it, and I'm still shopping around for the best shelving and other furniture options. Which should keep me distracted for a while longer.

Posted by ghoul at 05:39 PM | Comments (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

July 08, 2007

The Black Road 2007

OK, The Black Road was last week, but better late than never!

I took a break from gathering papers and signatures (except for one phonecall and email exchange with the realtor) to spend the weekend with others interested in Amber and Indy RPGs.

Continue reading "The Black Road 2007"

Posted by ghoul at 09:59 AM | Comments (1) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

June 16, 2007

And It's Official (and Scary)

After a bit more negotiation on price (they wanted more than I offered, but not more than I'm willing to pay, so we found an agreeable spot) and dates (they wanted a later date, which is fine by me so I took theirs), we've reached terms on the new house. I sign some final commitment papers tomorrow.

And, come August, I'll be moving to the nice house in Bow. Just for fun, let's see the picture again...


And, until then, I'll be arranging endless things to please realtors and mortgage brokers, packing up a lot of books and games, and looking into furniture options. Particularly bookcases. The best feature of the house I'm leaving (other than it having a price I could afford in early 1999) is its ~90' of built in shelving, almost 2/3rds of which is in one large room that quickly became my "library". The new house has no significant built-shelving except in the garage, so most of that 90' will need to be made up with new bookcases or other shelving units.

And that's not including the new shelving I'm planning to instal to put my boardgame collection in a more accessible place (I'm currently guessing that's at least 100' more shelving) or the fact that I've outgrown my DVD storage space by about 10 feet of shelving. And both grow rapidly enough that I'd be foolish to not give plenty of expansion space.

And to make that boardgame collection useful, I'll be looking for a nice table in the 7-8 foot range with sufficient (and comfy) chairs.

Oh, and I've got at least one whole new room to supply, as the current house has 4 rooms other than the kitchen and foyer while the new house has 6, and two of those are quite large. A rough mapping of everything I have (including all the shelving I already know I need and the gaming table) still leaves the whole living room empty!

And I own no outside furniture for the deck, though I do have a never-out-of-the-box grill I'm itching to put to use.

And I'll need lawn care equipment, and will want to plan ahead for snow removal as the new drive is significantly more than I'll want to shovel by hand.


What am I getting myself into?

Posted by ghoul at 10:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

June 15, 2007


Wrote a check today to officially start the process.

That is the process of moving from here...


...to here...


I expect it may be a somewhat longish process, with perhaps a bump or two along the way (like, say, a pre-approval letter with the wrong name on it, to mention something that has already happened and been addressed after many alarums, excursions, and phonecalls... mostly phonecalls). It's actually not a very long move distance-wise; Google Maps says 7.1 miles, just from the north-west side of Concord to the north-east part of Bow, which is the town just below Concord. But the new house is more than twice the size of the current house, and that's not including significant garage- and basement-based storage space. Also, there's a real yard (though not too much real yard; most of it is wooded and needs minimal care), a deck (less than 2 years old), and an absolutely huge family room (roughly 13x30 and just begging to have a huge board game collection put to use in it).

But yes... except for some minor oddities of corner cut-outs to fit the space, it is all but completely euclidian.

So... now I pretty much know what I'm doing this summer.

Posted by ghoul at 03:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

June 11, 2007

Catching Up

OK, it's been a while...

Comcast has been being a royal pain again, to the point that I've stopped using their email as anything but a back-up. For now, it's GMail as my primary (though it's all just who I forward thru anyway). If anyone sent me email last week expecting a reply and didn't get one, please re-send.

I've got 3 games to complete this month, one for a Stillpoint game day, two for The Black Road. All are in fairly good preliminary shape, but they need to get done in the next two or three weeks.

Work is work. Plenty getting done, but busy most of the time doing it. I haven't made a boardgame club meeting yet in 2007, and that may not turn around anytime soon despite tons of interest in several new games.

And, just to make my summer sufficiently crowded, I've spotted a house right in the size/location/features/price range I've been saying "if I spot one like this, I'll take it" for the best part of a year now. Because when you're plenty busy, nothing adds to the mix quite like moving to the other side of town. If the house has one serious flaw it's that, from what I've seen so far (and I'll actually be seeing the inside in person later today), none of its staircases or other features are even remotely non-euclidian.

Posted by ghoul at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

March 30, 2007

Odd, Sad Coincidences

Last Saturday night, as part of John Schippers's Justice Legion Militia: Lengthening Shadows game at AmberCon, we were handed pictures of a semi-fictitious, bankrupt Christian amusement park that was the site of some suspicious and unpleasant activity. One of those pictures was familiar to me. In story, they were in South Carolina, but I was pretty sure immediately they were actually taken in Covington, KY, at the Garden of Hope (page down; it's the third item in the article... I can't find the nice color pictures John found for the game).

Why did I know this?

Well, because my grandfather was part of the churchgoing workmen who built the Garden of Hope, back in the late 1950s. He mixed the paints into the concrete to give the faux-stone the proper color and aged appearance, among other tasks. My mother was very proud of that, and told me about it regularly, particularly as the family made roughly-Easter-Sunday visits to the site. I've stood right where the picture used in the game was taken a dozen times, at least. And, even today, there aren't all that many replicas of the traditional Tomb of Christ in the USA. Until very recently, there was only this one, tucked away in its hard-to-find corner of West Covington, KY.

So it was a rather odd coincidence, to say the least.

And was near the top of my mind when, yesterday afternoon, I got the call that my grandfather had died, after a long battle with Parkinson's, a severe stroke, and several minor heart attacks, plus a recently-discovered large tumor in his throat that made swallowing difficult. It wasn't completely unexpected; there had been talk of transferring him to a hospice among the options under discussion for the better part of a month. None of which makes it any easier, really. As I mentioned in a quick post yesterday, I'm flying back to Cincinnati for the services, and to help out however I can.

And, if time allows, I may well even try to wiggle up the back streets in West Covington, refresh some memories. They'll be all decorated for Easter next Sunday. It seems right.

Posted by ghoul at 08:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

March 29, 2007

Barely Home Then Away

I'll be back in Cincinnati this weekend following a death in the family. I will post as possible, but wouldn't want to promise anything before the middle of next week.

Posted by ghoul at 03:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

March 26, 2007

Quick AmberCon Summary

I'm home and essentially whole (though I wouldn't actually want to insist I was actually awake enough to drive home from the airport safely if I hadn't just proven that by managing it).

Good times were had. A couple of great times were had. Folks were seen I don't get to see and chat with nearly often enough. New folk were met (or met for real after brief glimpses at earlier gatherings). Characters were put thru wringers or set up for future wringing.

More details to follow, perhaps, once I've caught up from general sleeplessness.

Posted by ghoul at 05:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

February 23, 2007

About Amazing Grace

As I said I would do here, I made my way tonight to see the newly released film Amazing Grace.

I lives up to every reasonable expectation, telling a solid story about the long campaign to sway the House of Commons against the slave trade. A strong cast is led by Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce, assisted by a wide array of talented actors and the very capable direction of Michael Apted.

And while I found nothing bad about the film and even quite enjoyed it, I have to admit it had little to solidly recommend it, either. Now, if you're into British History and political drama (of the 'politicians debating and scheming' variety, not the intrigue and thrilling chase sort), or just love an uplifting tale of right triumphing by never being willing to quit, this is a good movie for you. But, really, just a workmanlike, solid, comfortable film, that might have been more with a somewhat more daring script, a bit less inevitability in its plot, or... I don't know, something.

Certainly not a bad way to spend two hours, but I have to admit I'd hoped for something special that was always just beyond what this film was reaching for.

Posted by ghoul at 08:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

February 16, 2007

Travel Woes Day 2

It looks like my flight to Philly will leave only around 10-20 minutes late.

But my flight from Philly to New Hampshire has already been cancelled and a replacement selected.

So at best I'll be home 25 hours after my original planned return.

At best.

The fun continues!

UPDATE: Made it to Philly. No news yet if the 3:55 departure time on my replacement flight to Manchester is valid or no, and it's way too soon to even guess given the cavalcade of delays that is USAir (and, likely, everyone else) today.

UPDATE 2: Still in Philly, still no news. The flight before mine in this gate is getting some chaos due to a lack of ground power, but that's not my issue at all. And, as my other post shows, there's actually some good going on as well. Certainly the best unexpected and undesired long delay I've had in some time!

I still want to get home, of course.

UPDATE 3: Still waiting, but the new so far is good. We'll see. 30 minutes remain for something bad to happen.

UPDATE 4: Made it home. Lots of digging necessary to have a parking place, but I am home. My checked bag actually made it home 2 hours before me, which I find interesting but was not worth staying in the airport one second longer.

Home is good.

Posted by ghoul at 08:14 PM | Comments (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick

Unexpected Travel Joys

OK, I'm still waiting and all, but I just had the most unexpectedly fun coincidental meeting.

I was sitting, typing away on some work email, and a nice gentleman came over, chatted for a bit, then asked if I like movies.

Turns out, he is Ken Wales, currently on his way to do a special showing of his new film Amazing Grace and, for some reason, he decided I seemed like the kind of person who would like to see his preview DVD (a 7 minute extended trailer). And it really does look quite good. A well-cast, solid-looking film of a major event in modern civilization, William Wilberforce's campaign to end the British slave trade.

Which, I think, gives me something to do next weekend, when the film comes out.

Posted by ghoul at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) Copyright ©2003-2008 Jack 'The Ghoul' Gulick