Today 28Jan2023: No Rest

It is a rushed Sunday morning when I write this. I could not fall asleep again on Saturday night. This new thing has been going on for a few weeks. I feel sad and unsettled on Saturdays now. So I am up at 7ish (having ignored my 6:30 alarm) trying to make Sunday work.

Saturday started with me sleeping into a late 7:15 and making breakfast. I cooked a batch of linked sausages for breakfast and for later. I had an NYC bagel (I have only a few left frozen) with the sausages. Next, I made Equal Exchange brand coffee; the taste of liberal and helping others for me everyone morning using my French Press. While I enjoy other coffee, there is also a subtle taste of exploitation in Starbucks and other coffee. I look for Fair Trade in my imported products.

I spent the morning writing the blog and then working on my second ship model. I painted over the primer in three coats without heavy sanding, which was a mistake. The primer has gunked up here and there and removed the smooth surface I was looking for. But it does not look like plywood anymore, so I will take that as a win. I picked Star Wars colors of shades of gray, black, and red supports (like in Star Trek). I managed to not get much paint on the lovely wooden decks and managed to sand any that slipped on. Next, I made the wheel holder and the base for the control levers making this time more like the levers on the laser cut look.

The Dungeons and Dragons game was canceled on Sunday evening as Matt V., enjoying a cruise with his wife and friends, was exposed to a respiratory issue. We have folks with compromised immunity (like myself), so it is best to be conservative and move the game to later. It appears that 12 Feb 2023 will be the next game. I have some more time now to finish my model.

I managed to board Air Volvo near 11AM and reached Susie’s place a little later, at 11:30, without incident. The predicted snow and ice did not happen–the forecast was revised to rain later and in warmer temperatures. The cold weather, in the twenties (-6.67C to -1.67C), was delayed until Sunday night, and with the winds drying the roads before, the freeze was not a threat now. My door on my fence did bang a bit, but I slept through that and only heard it in the morning make much noise.

Arriving there, I found Susie in her wheelchair and her coat on. It was damper in Tigard, the rains were just over, and there was some mist still. Leta called, and ice skating was on NBC, but I spent twenty minutes and could not find local TV on the cable. I will have to get a local antenna for that.

I brought Susie some flowers. Safeway again had good bouquets of flowers for sale yesterday, and I picked one up for Susie. Susie was delighted to see me and the flowers.

While it was not cold or windy, 45F (7.2C) is not Susie’s favorite temperature–she likes a warm sun of 75F+ (24C). So we bundled up and headed outside for Mezger park, next door, where you can watch the basketball courts from Susie’s room. The park was damp and looked sleepy and waiting for Summer (remember, it rains all through Spring here), but it was nice to be back.

We called Leta, Susie’s mother, from the park, and Susie and she chatted for a while. Then, Susie looked like she was cold, so I took the short loop to the cedar trees, a favorite spot in the summer, and headed back to the warmth of the hummingbird house.

Anassa, the nursing aide for the weekend, helped on our return, and soon Susie was comfy in her rocking chair in her room. Not able to get NBC local for ice skating, I put on the newish Disney animated feature, Enchanto, which includes the hit song We Don’t Talk About Bruno and is one of my favorites. We saw it with the Smiths, and I thought of Cat when we watched the animation.

Susie nodded off and was deeply asleep for the boring part. She woke when I was laughing at the part where Bruno was introduced. Evan also came in about the same time; he had some chores and ran late. Susie liked the musical, not remembering it from a few years ago.

Susie was ready for lunch, and it was time, after 2PM, for me to leave. I spend about three hours with Susie on Susie until she gets lunch or falls asleep. Susie was asking for a nap, but some warm lunch first. Susie was sad when I left, and I must admit that I cried in Air Volvo. Some days are hard.

My emotions are close to the surface. I find one song, the sad story in Enchanto, that can make me cry; find it here. Recommended. With Susie’s decline (very slow, and it may stop), potential re-org (layoffs) at Nike, and other challenges, it is hard to keep grounded.

Evan and I headed to the local taphouse, The 649, and the Mexican place across the parking lot for lunch. We usually can find a parking spot, but we had to park a bit away and walk to the restaurant this time. They were busy, and the staff was pleased, running from table to table. They were thrilled to see us; it had been a few months since I wandered to Portland and Beaverton, looking for other places to play board games. I had a sizeable Mexican beer with a chicken enchilada and a Chili Relleno. Evan had a drink and something new with shrimp in it.

We played, moving to The 649, which also was busy, the board game Terraforming Mars, which was new to Evan. I blew the rules and limited us to only two actions, an epoch and not a turn (oops), making the game easier to play and play longer. As often with these engine-building and resource-management games, time went by without even noticing, and soon we were approaching the end at 6PM! I finally, near the end, worked out what I had done wrong, and we agreed to stop. I did enjoy teaching (even when I was wrong) the game, and it was interesting this time.

Terraforming Mars (TM) came out in 2016 and is the 6th greatest game on the Board Game Geeks chart. Its design, not its production, which is cheap and weak, is foundational, and many games after 2016 are children of this game. The game has endless expansions and practical organization offerings to improve the embarrassingly cheap implementation of the initial game. The game has you collect patients to create something or cause an event that will grant resources, the ability to generate resources, or cause an event (like crash something like a comet full of water into the simulated mars) to continue the process of terraforming. Cards that let you bring in animals, microbes, and so on allow you to build engines. You can connect the various items into chains of point and/or resource-generating engines. You can even have your animals eat the other players’ animals for points. Build cities, flood areas into oceans, plant forests, and have space colonies to get more points.

Arc Nova, a new hit game, is a re-work of Terraforming Mars–I like it better. Other games borrow the iconography and processes here and there. The base game for TM, which has appalling bad cards for tracking resources (one bump and the game is gone), sells for about $50. The better Big Box is about $120 and can be brought under control with a $75 laser-cut organizer, but the provided trays will work, so the buy-in cost is about $120. Expansions (there are a lot of them) are purchased separately and run $20 to $50 each.

I recommend learning and playing TM as it is the foundation for many new board games.

We headed home at 6ish, Evan, back to Portland, and I made dinner of the last of the bourbon chicken and cheesy grits. I watched more Vox Machina, enjoying three or four episodes of season two. I like better, and this season reminds me more of some of my Dungeons and Dragons games (the show is a retelling of a D&D campaign). The bit of seriousness matches my experience as your characters gain levels, and the game takes on a more organized style that I see in the animation.

I could not sleep, so I worked on my model some more. The painting is getting the look I wanted, but the clean lines are gone from issues with the undercoat–next time, only one coat and possibly a spray-on painting if I paint the wood anyway BEFORE assembly!

I still could not sleep, so I went back to coding on my Kaggle Project. I have to 6 Feb 2023 to produce an early syntax-correct result. I could not get Groupby to work in the data frame in my Pandas-based Python. It would not give me a working data frame. I tried everything I could find online. I finally wrote the table in CSV format, and after setting a few parameters, the results were perfect. Well, puke, I can write it out but not access it on the data frame. What the h**l? I wrote it out to a scratch file and then read it back in as I wanted it, perfect. Cost me two seconds of run time (who cares!). I went back to sleep and could finally fall asleep.

Now I am late for Susie. So I have to just push this out. Sorry for the typos.

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