Friday, September 28, 2012


Sent to me by my youngest daughter; might apply, looks like an improvement.

I am doing better today, and I can say that I have been getting better all week. I had an appointment just a week ago with my doctors, which in turn was a week after The Incident, and they say that except for absurdly high blood pressures I'm basically healthy. So, no more things that get my blood pressure up; lots of rest, and lots of painting figures, I'm told; the goal is bring my blood pressure down from the observed 220 over 180 I presented at the hospital two weeks ago with a much more survivable 140 over something. It's pretty simple, really; I get upset, my blood pressure goes up, I bleed out, and I die. Pretty straightforward, really.

In practical terms, what this all means is that I get recertified to be able to drive a motor vehicle and go back to work next week; I get to sleep and rest up as much as I can; and I get to stay away from any sort of 'business' activity that might get me upset. I've had a lot of that last, over this past year, and it really did contribute to me having to get my head drilled out for drainage holes; having an 'old friend' certify that I "was unsuited to represent Tekumel in public", and the further antics that cost me $800 in legal fees, really didn't help. "Well," he said "but we don't want Jeff talking to the Tekumel Foundation," - and this to Mrs. Ambereen Barker, who is the Tekumel Founation, mostly, and while this same person wasn't helping out with Professor Barker's health care; I and my extended family was, along with the directors of the Foundation.

I accepted the job of Archivist for the Professor's collections at his and Ambereen's request; I'll keep that job, because I promised them I'd do it. I will not be involved on the 'business' side of the house, as that's the domain of the Tekumel Foundation; talk to them, if you have any 'business' issues, and not to me; I'm not going to be able to handle them, anymore. I will still answer your questions, but only via e-mail; I cannot do phone calls, especially during my work shifts and sleep periods. Sorry!

I will also be dropping my limited participation in any on-line forums; I don't have the energy for it, anymore, and I have to say that I don't seem to have the patience to keep explaining the same thing over and over and over again. Buy Jon Peterson's book: Trust me; he's got something in it to offend all of you out there in Internetland, both Arnesonians and Gygaxians. He's saying the same things that I've been saying for years, and backed it up with the documents.

So, that's where things are; me, flat on my back with occasional excursions to the bathroom (Kidneys and bowels working just fine, thank you!) and a very sore neck. I do really appreciate all your kind thoughts in your comments and e-mails, as well as the cards that have come in the mail; they are very welcome, especially right now. I plan on being here for a long time; I just have to be a whole lot more careful, these days.

Just one or two more things, though...

Phil's Tekumel, you see, still lives on. Just because I've taken a major hit doesn't mean that Tekumel is in bad shape; people still play, like John Till, Brett Slocum, and Rob Leduc. And that's what Phil said he wanted. "Here's my world." he once said to me, "here, have fun with it." My only comment is that it's all too easy to get bogged down in "realism", of once sort of another. I don't worry about realism, but then again I never did play any RPGs; I played something called "Tekumel" with some guy named Barker, something called "Blackmoor" with some guy named Arneson, and eventually something called "Greyhawk" with a guy named Gygax. No 'realism', no 'editions', just some old farts sitting around a table telling tall tales.

"We made some stuff up, and we had fun." Some guy named Dave to some guy named Jon. And that, folks, is what sums it all up for me. I'll still be around, and posting here, about how I make some stuff up and have some fun. You're all still welcome to come along for the ride, too...

Thanks again! More later!!! - yours, chirine

Friday, September 21, 2012

I is alive!!! Don't look if u haz eaten recently!!!

I haz a big hole in my head. I iz doing ok, nd will be home in bed for the next two weeks. More when I iz not so dizzy... thank you all again for your comments and kind thoughts, tooo!!!!!!


[Edit: if you've dropped by here as a result of the post on the Tekumel Foundation's blog, here's the backstory of what happened:

I had all the classic symptoms, and if the Missus hadn't spent the $1,750 on the ambulance ride to the hospital I would have been well inside the 40% mortality rate.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Saving throw = 00

Greetings from a guest blogger (Janet, da wife)!

Sometimes we forget just how fragile life really is.  On Saturday night, Chirine made the biggest saving throw of his life, and rolled a double-aught -- literally for his life.  Evidently Lord Vimuhla still needs Chirine on this plane of existance, because Chirine had a stroke which required emergency brain surgery, and he survived with little, if any permanent damage.  He has a bit of vertigo, which triggers his motion sickness, and sore muscles from the surgery, but given what happened, that's minor.

Saturday, after the Golden Gophers football game, I picked him up (he worked 11am to 7pm) and we drove home.  He left me at home (because I'd spent the time while he was at work at Mrs. Barker's, photographing Phil's Egyptology books so I can put them up for sale for her) and drove up to the new Tekumel Foundation office to install doornobs and locks on the new door for the collections room.  Before he left home, around 7:45 p.m. he complained that he had a headache starting.

At 9:14, I received a phone call saying that his headache had gotten much, much worse, and that everytime he moved he threw up.  Since he had the van, I called Thiolleb and her Nlyss who came to my rescue and brought me to Chirine.  When we arrived, Chirine was lying on the floor, next to a bucket.  We stowed the tools he'd been working with and, when he told us he couldn't walk, called an ambulance.

Co-workers of Joe, our firefighter/paramedic roommate, came to our rescue and transported him to the U of MN Medical center - Fairview (UMMC), which was the closest hospital.

He arrived at the UMMC, and was given meds for the pain and nausea.  His blood pressure was extremely high 200+ over 100+.  All of the usual neurological tests were normal - i.e. pupils equal and reactive, no numbness, no tingling, no one-sided weakness, etc.  It took them a while to get a CT-Scan, as another patient had just gone, but once they did they discovered a large blood clot at the back of his brain.  He was in surgery an hour and twenty minutes after the CT Scan, having also undergone a brain angiogram to check for malformed blood vessels. Thiolleb stayed with me while Jeff was in the ER, and Joe arrived right before the CT Scan -- he'd  been working but they let him take time off.  He was kind enough to drive Thiolleb home, then came back and stayed the rest of the night.

The surgery took four hours.  They had to take a piece of skull out, open up the membranes covering the brain, and take out the clot while cauterizing any blood vessel that was still bleeding.  At 7 the next morning he was in the surgical ICU where he was checked every hour for neurological symptoms.  Joe and I left about 8 a.m.

They think the cause was high blood pressure; given his levels of stress lately, it's hardly surprising.

Monday night they transferred him from the ICU to a regular hospital ward.  He is very tired, but he knows the day and knows what happened to him.  If everything goes well, he'll be going home soon (Wednesday or Thursday, we hope).

I'm sure he'll be giving a full account of his adventures when he gets home.

I'm just glad he made his saving throw.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whirling Blades Of Death!!!

*cough* Now that I have your attention... *cough* Thank you...

In amongst all the other myriad tasks that I'm struggling with (cleaning up the workshop, boxing old figures, sorting files, etc., etc., etc...) I have come up with a dilemma that I am hoping that all of you folks out there in Internet-land can help me with. And, yes, it does involve Whirling Blades of Death.

Back a few years ago, I was making some terrain for a game we Aethervoxes were putting on at The Source Comics and Games, here in the Twin Cities. The store has a huge sand table, which is normally covered with plywood; I made a set of 'terrain tiles' to fit this table, and we've run more then a few games on these. The issue at hand is set forth (or adumbrated, as Phil would have said:) in the following list of dimensions:

Table size at The Source: 63 1/2" by 137 1/2"

Standard folding table size here at the Workbench: 30" x 60"

Usual miniatures game table using these tables: 60" x 90" (Chanis, Ry, for example), 30" x 180 (the recent wedding, see previous post), or 60" x 60" (the "Pushing Lead On A Holiday Weekend" game, also see previous post)

Standard 'terrain tile' size to fit Source table: 23" x 40"

(N. B.: It takes nine tiles, plus an 18" x 23" 'filler' tile to cover the table at The Source; I shall leave figuring out how this actually works as an exercise for the reader. Might offer a prize, too.)

My problem is that 23 inches doesn't go very well into the dimensions of our standard tables. I can deal with the 40" length, but I am wondering if I should cut down all of the 'terrain tiles' to 20 inches instead of their present 23 inches. And yes, I know that I'll need to make a 20" x 20" filler for the 60" x 60" tables, and so on. But then, I got to thinking, which is always a dangerous thing.

So, here's the burning question: Should I simply cut all of the 'tiles' into one uniform size that will fit all possible tables, or just panic?

(A secondary consideration is storage and transport; the current tiles are, frankly, a pain in the posterior to store, transport, and set up because they are so large; about the only positive thing is that their weight is very low, as they are made of 1/8" MDF or Masonite with 1/2" expanded styrene glued on top. I also want to make some new 'river' and 'shoreline' tiles, as I happen to have three 24" x 48" panels of the same material that have blue vinyl laminated to them.)

Given the size of the current panels, and the width of the blades (the Whirling Blades of Death I promised you) I have on my table saw, the 'universal' tiles can be between nine inches and nine and a half inches. (I could also cut these on the little band saw I have, for a much thinner cut, but it's a much more interesting operation to do it what way...) My gut feeling is that I'd get a lot more use out of this size square tile then I would anything else, and we'd still be able to use these on the huge table at The Source. It would also be easier to build transport carts for the smaller size, too.

Here's where you all come in: let me know what you think about the notion of 9-ish by 9-ish (an old school war gaming tradition, as terrain used to be made on 9 x 9 floor tiles) terrain sections. I'm assuming that I'll have to make modular road sections, like I want to make the rivers and shores, but I have plenty of extra Masonite and expanded foam...

Comments? Ideas? Thoughts?

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Tekumel Foundation has a new post up, with video even!

The Tekumel Foundation has a new post up on their blog, with video of the new office and all the boxes I have to go through:

There is, as you'll be able to see, A Lot Of Stuff to be sorted and organized onto the shelves. Once I get that done, the actual cataloging starts and we'll have an index of some sort created; right now, everything is in my head, and that's not an optimal place for the information...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pushing Lead, on a Holiday Weekend...

Once again, Chirine and Princess Vrisa are in the soup, with the Young Master's hordes of  bloodthirsty barbarians closing in for the kill and no possible hope of escape in view...
Only Chirine's household troops from the Legion of the All-Consuming Flame and the Vriddi clansmen detailed as his bodyguards by Lord Takodai stand between the twain and Dire Doom as the hordes surge across the narrow stream outside the village...

But wait! The shrilling sound of trumpets and the standards of the Legion of the Translucent Emerald! Is rescue at hand? Will Chirine escape an untimely fate? Will Princess Vrisa evade the amorous clutches of Ragnar Hairypants (A real Viking, borrowed for the occasion) who has been fatally smitten by her charms?
A bit of quick marching to the flank, and the troops link up to effect the rescue; the Vriddi clan standard and Chirine's own personal one of the Dragon and The Flame float over the stalwart household guards...

And then it's hand to hand with the hordes; the Tsolyani counter-attack, and fight off the barbarian chieftains and save the day! Hurrah!!!

This past holiday weekend marked the end of our regularly-scheduled game sessions for the summer; I have the football season ahead, and the coming months will see no free Saturdays. (Mind you, the overtime money pays for all the wonderful figures I get from Howard Fielding and his Tekumel Project!) We thought we'd go out with a bang, and I did up this little scenario for the amusement of the group. It used the same battle map / ground sheet as the Battle of the Temple of Chanis, with Chirine and Vrisa holed up with their guards in the village hoping to be rescued by Narkhodlan and his boys and girls from Translucent Emerald.

It was a fun little fight, with the barbarian hordes causing all sorts of mayhem before finally being driven off by the Tsolyani. Their staff-slingers shot one of Chirine's archers clean off the rock ledge he was standing on, providing one of those classic 'Hollywood' moment as the archer plunged to his doom. It was also a good use of all the miniatures that I did for the Battle of Anch'ke, if I do say so myself, and everyone seems to have had a good time.

Table size was 60" by 60". Figures are by Old Guard, Reaper, The Tekumel Project, Warlord Miniatures, and Iron Mammoth; Chanis scenic ground cloth by yours truly from a map by Prof. M. A. R. Barker; terrain by Hudson and Allen and the local pet shop's 'fish tank accessories' section; trees from the after-Christmas sales, and not yet painted...