Pathfinder Game Arrives

pathfinder box.jpgCall me a happy nerd, because my Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Boxcame in the mail today.

pathfinder soloI’m really excited to learn this game, but what makes me really happy is this. It says:

“If you are on your own, but still want to experience an adventure before reading the rules of the game, grab the Hero’s Handbook and turn to page 2. Inside, you will find an adventure you can play by yourself that teaches you the basics of the game.”

YES! That’s what I wanted with the D&D Starter Set. I want to be able to learn on my own without having to ask strangers to teach me. I’m not exactly outgoing, I’m the kind of person who likes to do things alone, you know, soloing. When I play video games, I play by myself. I’m not anti-social, I’m just an introvert.

What I want to do is learn the basics of the game so that if and when the day ever comes when I can start a group at the Bakersfield Gay & Lesbian Center, I’ll know exactly what to do. They don’t have a D&D or Pathfinder group that meets there, they told me that if I wanted to start a group, I could, but I’d have to find some people who also want to play the game, otherwise, I’d be there by myself once a week lol. But I figured if I am going to start a group, I should at least know how to play the game. I can’t expect a bunch of people to show up and not one of us has ever played D&D or Pathfinder. If I can’t find anyone who has played, then it is up to me to be the Dungeon Master, so I will not only have to learn the game as a Hero, but I also have to learn to be a Dungeon Master as well.

The instructions in the Hero’s Handbook are easy to understand. It’s like they wrote this book specifically for me to understand. Then again I haven’t really read the entire book yet, so I’ll save my judgement or review for later when I’ve actually read the entire book(s) and have played the Solo Adventure. But from what I’ve read so far, it is like they knew that D&D was hard, so they made it easier for people with a learning disability to understand and remember. At least I hope so.

So let me read and play the solo adventure and I will get back to you. Otherwise, if you want to learn Pathfinder, this is a great place to start. Click the image or the link above and it will take you right to Amazon.

Advertisements

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box

I am very excited because I finally bought the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box. I bought the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set: Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set (D&D Boxed Game)in July, but it didn’t have everything that the Pathfinder beginner box has, which is probably why the Pathfinder beginner box was more expensive.

The D&D starter set came with 2 books, 1 book was the player handbook and a quest book that teaches you how to play the game up to level 5. The Pathfinder beginner box comes with a Hero’s Handbook, Game Masters Guide and a transition guide to bring your characters into the Pathfinder world. I assume that means to bring your D&D characters into the Pathfinder world. Both come with dice, D&D has 6, Pathfinder has 7. What sets the Pathfinder Beginner Box apart is the 80 full color pawns of heroes and monsters including a dragon. Pathfinder also includes a huge map to play on that you can also write on with dry erase markers and a blank map on the reverse side to create your own map.

The problem that I had with D&D is that I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to do. I asked for help and people answered my questions, but I do better when I’m in a room with people who are teaching me face to face rather than reading in a book or reading someone’s text. I learn by doing.

I know of a store in Bakersfield called “Otto’s Video Games and More” who have game nights, but I would feel more comfortable with people I can be myself around. You know what I mean? I am sure the random people who go to a video game store are good people and you have to get to know people before you judge them, but I don’t know that they or one or two aren’t homophobic. I’ve had many experiences in my life where I have tried to do things with people who turned on me when they found out I was gay, so I would much rather find a group of people who are gay and gay friendly and join or start a D&D/Pathfinder group at the Gay and Lesbian Center here in Bakersfield. It’s just easier to go where you know 100% that you are accepted and you aren’t judged, well, unless you wear the wrong belt with the wrong shoes of course. Just kidding.

I have already asked someone at the Gay and Lesbian Center and they said that there is not a group like that, so I would have to start one. I think it would be a great way to get people who have the same interests together to play a game for a couple of hours every week. I think it would be fun. Even if people aren’t interested in that kind of game, they could try it and see if they like it. And no one has to bring anything because I have spent a few bucks here and there on D&D and Pathfinder stuff and I can even bring all the character sheets and blank note cards and I already have 2 sets of dice and the Pathfinder Beginner Box will have a 3rd set. I also have a bag full of fake gold and silver coins, and a box of pencils and a bunch of erasers. I’m all set lol.

Now it’s just a waiting game and I hope to find people who are interested in starting a D&D/Pathfinder game night. I think it will be fun.

The Miracle of Walgreen’s Petroleum Jelly

walgreens petroleum jelly

My skin has been so dry since we moved to Bakersfield from Los Angeles in 2000.  My feet were the first things to dry out.  I started buying lotion and would slather that on my cracked big toes and my heels and the backs of my ankles.  Unfortunately, it was never enough.  I would literally use lotion made specifically for dry skin the whole day and my skin would still be dry.  I have spent a lot of money on lotion for dry skin over the years with barely any relief.

I started making keychains and earrings with this stuff called Rexlace and Craftlace, and naturally it took that to dry out both of my index fingers.  My right index finger in particular has been so dry that the hair literally broke off and has not grown back.  All I see in the dryness is stubble that won’t grow.

My doctor gave me an ointment that I was supposed to use 2 to 3 times per day, but naturally it didn’t help at all.  Yesterday we went back to the doctor’s office and he told me to use the ointment he gave me during the day, but to use petroleum jelly at night before I go to bed.  Well, we went to Walgreens to fill our prescriptions and I bought some petroleum jelly.  We came home and despite what the doctor said about using it at night, I decided to just start applying thin amounts of it to my finger throughout the day.  It would sit on my finger until it dried up and then I would spread some more on it.  It’s actually helping.

dry fingerI didn’t think to take a before picture because of how horrible it looked.  I was too embarrassed to do that, but here is an after picture.

You can see that my finger is still dry, but what a huge difference from yesterday anyway.  I did apply the petroleum jelly to it last night, a well as to my dry feet, my arms and legs and my face, even though those parts aren’t dry, preventative maintenance.  My mom did that, and I think I should too.

I didn’t know how well this stuff worked at helping dry skin, but I do now and I will continue using it from now on.

Today I found out that I have Sialolithiasis

Sialolithiasis

I have been dealing with a problem in my right saliva gland, called the parotid gland, for at least the last 10 years.  It comes and goes at the least 2 times and at the most 5 times per year.  The doctors have always given me antibiotics, or by the time I get to the doctor it has gone down so I don’t mention it.  This time around I had the issue and I made a special appointment for it because it was too painful to ignore.

inches and centimetersThe doctor put me on antibiotics which lasted 1 week.  I saw him a week later and was still in pain and it was still swollen and he gave me more antibiotics.  Because it wasn’t going away, he sent me to get an ultrasound and when he found out that it was 1cm, he suggested surgery, but asked me if that was what I wanted.  Not everyone wants to have surgery which would scar you, so he wanted to know what I wanted to have done.  For scale, see image (left).

He referred me to an Ear Nose Throat doctor who sent me for a cat scan with contrast and when I saw him on Wednesday, he told me that I needed to go to yet another doctor.  Are all these doctors getting a kick back for these referrals?  I mean honestly, why do I need to have so many referrals?  Anyway, he was trying to send me to Los Angeles and I told him that I’d rather go to a doctor here in Bakersfield because I don’t want to have to drive (well, I don’t drive, I’d have to be driven) all the way to Los Angeles just for a consultation to be told that I have to come back for the surgery and then after surgery.

So I went to a doctor at Kern Medical Center today for the consultation and he told me that I have 4 options

  1. Live with it.
  2. Ultrasound which they don’t do there and my insurance doesn’t cover.
  3. Surgery where they use a scope to go in there with a camera and grab the stone and pull it out, which is also not available there, I would have to go to LA and most likely make several trips, which we can’t afford and my insurance might not pay for it.
  4. Have him do surgery to remove the entire gland and give me a huge scar.

I decided on option 4, but when I told my partner out in the lobby he said “Oh no tell him you want to go to LA.”  Without thinking I went back to the counter and said I need to tell the doctor that I want to go to LA.  Then we got to talking, my insurance company probably won’t want to pay for that because I bet you that will cost more than having it removed.  Plus, we’d still have to go all the way to LA and probably make several trips.  I can’t afford that dammit!  If I could have afforded that, then I would have just done that in the beginning.  Sheesh!

Well, the doctor at KMC told me that before he can do the surgery (when I had told him I was up for option 4) he needs my doctor to sign off on it.  So I made an appointment for Tuesday of next week so I could talk to him and tell him that I need him to call that doctor’s office and give them his okay.

This is what I have.  It’s called Sialolithiasis.

parotid gland “Sialolithiasis (also termed salivary calculi,[1] or salivary stones),[1] is a condition where a calcified mass forms within a salivary gland, usually in the duct of the submandibular gland (2) (also termed “Wharton’s duct“). Less commonly the parotid gland (1) or rarely the sublingual gland (3) or a minor salivary gland may develop salivary stones.”

This is what he said will happen.  They will have to start cutting right at the edge of my sideburn just at or near the top of my ear which is where my glasses are, go all the way down below my earlobe and turn towards my neck and go down my neck.  It’s a big gland as you can see in the image above, so naturally they have to cut a lot.  He said there will be a pretty big scar, but I’m okay with that.  Neosporin has a cream for scars to help them disappear.

I have no issue with scars.  In fact, I feel scars give you character.  Perhaps the doctor will let me keep the stone so I can have something to show when I tell the story of how I got that scar on my face.

As always, I will keep updating this blog on the progress.

I can finally fit into my old clothes!

dressed up

I have lost quite a few pounds since January 5th when I started using the Noom app on my Android phone.  The difference is absolutely amazing to me.

I haven’t been able to wear this outfit in such a long time.  Actually, I forgot I even had it.  It’s a blue shirt that I got 2 years ago, I forgot what I needed it for, but I needed a dress shirt.  The neck was tight, so I wasn’t able to wear a tie, but I didn’t need to.  I also wore it last year to the grand opening of the Bakersfield Gay & Lesbian Center, but it didn’t really fit me as well as I had hoped.  The neck definitely didn’t button, but it was so tight that the button below the neck button was making it too tight, so I had to loosen that one too.

I’ve had the pants since 2004 when we went to my partners mother’s funeral.  They are adjustable with elastic so that if I gained or lost weight, I’d still be able to wear them, but I haven’t been able to wear them for a very long time because I was too big.  Today they expanded all the way out so they just fit me.  I can’t wait for the day when they don’t need to expand to adjust itself.

The tie is a clip on tie because, well, that’s how I roll bitches LOL.  I actually don’t mind tying a tie, but why when you can clip it on?  I’m not a real estate agent or the CEO of a company, so why the hell should I tie a tie?

Of course I don’t have any dress shoes so if I were to wear this outfit I’d be stuck with my black tennis shoes, which are really old and need to be burned lol.  I will focus on new shoes when I am at a point where I’m needing to go on a shopping spree for a new wardrobe.  When I do get some new clothes, it’s going to be all dress clothes with collars.  I am so tired of always wearing t-shirts and jeans or shorts.  I’d like to start dressing with some style.  I’m an adult, not a child, so I’d like to start dressing like an adult.

Take a look at these before pictures of me on my Noom page and see the huge difference from then and now.  I’m not done with my weight loss, I still have a long way to go.

Getting Back In Shape

bike path 2013

As part of my New Years Resolution to lose weight in 2013, I plan on adding an exercise routine that is sure to melt the fat away.  The plan is to get to the bike path here in Bakersfield from my house, then get on the bike path by turning left, and then just keep riding until the path ends which is 16.5 miles out.  At that point I will take about 5 minutes or so to rest before turning around and coming home.

I have done this in the past, but instead of turning left, I’ve always turned right.  That route was only 22 miles round trip.  I wanted to continue, but I’d have to ride in traffic, which I didn’t want to do, to get to Hart Park.  On the way back to the bike path from Hart Park, I’d have to ride uphill, which I did not want to do because I didn’t want to wreck my thigh and calf muscles with too much hard work.  I’m no spring chicken, I have to do what I can to keep my legs strong, but at the same time not ruin them by exercising too hard.

My weight loss coach app called “Noom” will help me this time.  In the past I have used a cheap bicycle computer that I bought at Target, but it didn’t have all of the functions that Noom has, the only thing it can’t do is map my progress.  I do plan on using my bicycle computer to let me know how many miles per hour I am riding and to see what time it is since my phone will be tucked away safely in my camelbak, but I won’t rely on it for anything else.  It’s still a useful tool.

I have tools for fixing my tires, but the one tool that I don’t have that I will need is a Co2 pump and cartridges.  I have a regular hand pump, but I have carpel tunnel syndrome and my hands are getting worse everyday.  I have fingerless gloves that are made for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, but they won’t help my hands when I pump the tire.  The Co2 pump will be a great asset.

I also need bicycle shorts.  They have gel in the butt of the shorts which will help keep my butt from hurting, trust me, I’ll need it lol.  Nashbar has a pair of “Gel Ride Bib Shorts” that I can actually afford.  I will buy that when I get some money later in the week along with the pump and Co2 cartridges.  I’m almost positive that those are the last things that I have always been missing in my bike rides.  I will especially need them if I plan to ride 33 miles per day.

Just like always, I won’t be riding 33 miles on the first day, I will start at 10 miles, then add 1 or 2 more miles everyday until I get to 33.  And I will ride every other day to give my body the rest that it deserves so I don’t overwork myself.

Oh boy, this is going to be a lot of fun.  I can’t wait!

Cloudy Lava Lamp (Updated)

lavalamp

I have enjoyed my lava lamp since I got it for Christmas last year.  It is my very first lava lamp and I sit at my desk chair sometimes staring at it for literally 10-20 minutes.  It is that interesting to me.  What is even more interesting, or probably more disturbing, is the fact that the water used to be crystal clear, and now it’s yellow.  I don’t know why it has turned yellow, but apparently it’s a common problem with lava lamps.

Here is my lava lamp in December 2011 when I first got it, and here it is now in January 2013 a year later.

 lava lamp december 2012 lava lamp january 2013

What a huge difference.  I wonder what would cause the water to turn yellow like that?  I never thought anything of it until I was browsing through the pictures in the My Pictures folder on my computer and came across it.  I then suddenly remembered how clear it used to be.  Naturally I went to Google to research it to see if anyone else has had this issue and to see if there was anything to do about it.  I did find several websites that mentioned it and even a solution.

Update: I deleted everything I had typed out before and retyped it.  I took out those links and here is why.  I followed their instructions which seemed legit to me because more than one website mentioned the same exact thing, but all it did was mess up my lamp.  Here is what it looked like after I tried their fix.

lava very cloudy from salt

I was devastated when this happened to my lava lamp.  The instructions were to let it cool so the wax was solid and open the top of the lava lamp and dump the water out into the sink.  Then put new water from the tap in and swish it around to get all the grease off the walls of the lamp which meant doing that a couple of times.  Then they said to fill it up with tap water and add a couple drops of dish liquid and add a mixture of epsom salt and water with a straw.  Those white flakes in the image to the left is the result of the epsom salt.

I let the lamp cool down and dumped the water out and added new water and more soap, but not the epsom salt and turned it on and there was still epsom salt in the wax at the bottom, so it took several times of rinsing it out to get it back to this…

lava afterI was thrilled beyond belief when the lava lamp was back to normal and the lava was rising.  But then it stopped rising and went back down and never went back up again.  What did I do wrong?  Like an idiot I mixed a tiny amount of epsom salt with a lot of water and added an inch full from a straw and I got that image from above again.  UGH!

That blew my mind that such a tiny amount of epsom salt would do the same thing as a bunch of epsom salt in a smaller amount of water.  I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.  I rinsed it out again and didn’t add ANY salt at all and the lava wouldn’t go up again.  I searched for more instructions because I really want this working again.  I found one guy who made a video and said don’t use too much soap because it will ruin your lava lamp.  He also said to use 1 tablespoon of regular table salt and use the straw to add it, which I did and it still won’t rise.

I’m not sure if every time I had to rinse it out and added more soap if the soap ruined the wax or what, but it’s not rising anymore at all.  I rinsed it out again and didn’t add anything and it is just not working.  I think I screwed it up beyond repair.

Of course I have questions, like did I use the wrong dish liquid?  It’s Palmolive anti-bacterial, maybe it didn’t have enough of the right ingredient.  Maybe I used the wrong epsom salt.  The epsom salt I have is generic and it’s hard as a rock.  I assume it’s because the ziplock bag it is in wasn’t manufactured properly because the zips don’t line up right so air gets in, maybe that’s why it’s hard, maybe moisture got in.  Perhaps if I bought a brand name epsom salt then it might work, but what if I bought some and tried it and it still messed it up?  What if, what if, what if…

Another update:  It works!  Here is a brand new post with a video.