Waiting in line at the pharmacy

Today I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to check on progress as I heal. Edmund kindly accompanied me, though it’s tedious for him. It was slow-going because the entire computer system was affected with unusual lag, and every appointment was running late.

The doctor blessed my progress, warning me that healing would continue to be slower than normal as long as I was on some of my post-cancer medications. She also gave me a prescription that had to be compounded at the hospital pharmacy, and the necessary paperwork to extend my disability leave.

I decided to take care of the paperwork first, hoping this would give plenty of time for the pharmacists to prepare my prescription. When we got to the Release of Medical Information Counter, there were a LOT of people waiting; the number being served was 11, and I was assigned No. 25. We sat down to wait but a quarter of an hour, we were still on No. 11. Edmund suggested that he stay to provide my paperwork, and I go check in at the pharmacy to make sure the order was in.

So I got to the pharmacy, checked in, and was told it would take about 45 minutes. Edmund and I started a turtle race for who would get done first, and I decided to keep him entertained with tales of my adventures.

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If you’re wondering, it took me a total of just over 90 minutes from the moment I checked in at the pharmacy to walk out of there. Edmund finished first with 15 minutes to spare, but since he’d already waited waited at least that long before I got the the pharmacy, it’s probably a draw. That said, the personnel was very nice and diligent, they checked on me a few times, it’s not their fault the place was packed and the computers were sluggish. Yes, we could have decided to come back later, but I didn’t want to restart the clock…

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Funny SF/F books

My friend Theron was mentioning this weekend that he had given his young son The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to read, and the boy just devoured it.  As all of us geeks on the conversation were congratulating him, this made me think of other funny fantasy and science fiction books to read.

My picks:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - coverThe rest of the Hitchhiker’s Guide series by Douglas Adams, of course, with the adventures of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect through the galaxy after the demolition of Earth.  Featuring unforgettable characters such as Marvin the depressed android, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian, and of course a bowl of petunias.  The first three books made me laugh more than the last two or Adams’ other series built around Dirk Gently’s detective agency.

The Stainless Steel Rat - coverThe adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison: the tales of master con-man Slippery Jim DiGriz and his dangerous family, including his beloved Angelina.  The series goes on for eleven books, some of which are more devoted to space opera adventures and others which are frankly comedic.  Like many series, it loses a bit of steam in the long run, but still good easy reads on a plane or bus trip.

Phule's CompanyThe Phule’s Company series by Robert Lynn Asprin, telling the adventures of Willard Phule, a.k.a. Captain Jester, and his inept but surprisingly successful mercenary company.  Meet the soldiers of Captain Willard Phule’s Company–a handful of military rejects able to do more damage before 9 A.M. than most people do all day. Threatened by an alien enemy, Earth’s military sends Phule and his soldiers to a distant planet. But now, the aliens have chosen a new target of war… Phule’s Company.

Another Fine Myth - coverThe Myth-Adventures books, also by Robert Asprin, featuring the adventures of Skeeve, a young gifted but untrained magician’s apprentice, and his friend the demon Aahz.  I greatly enjoyed the first few books in this series (there are nineteen!) but I started losing interest as Skeeve mastered his magical abilities and became just too powerful.

Bimbos of the Death Sun - cover Zombies of the Gene Pool - coverBimbos of the Death Sun and its sequel Zombies of the Gene Pool, both by Sharyn McCrumb, two hilarious mysteries featuring Jay O. Mega and poking loving fun at science fiction and fantasy authors, fandom, and conventions.  Everything nerdy or geeky makes it in, from cosplay to fanzines, and from role-playing games to Trekkies.

The Warslayer - coverThe Warslayer: The Incredibly True Adventures of Vixen the Slayer, the Beginning, by Rosemary Edghill: A sort of fantasy version of Galaxy Quest, where actress Gloria “Glory” McArdle, star in a Xena- or Buffy-esque fantasy television show, is confused with her fictional character Vixen the Slayer and whisked off to another dimension to be a champion against Evil.

Agent to the Stars - coverAgent to the Stars by John Scalzi is available free online: aliens come to visit Earth but decide that to ease first contact, they need to hire an agent — a press relation, booking kind of agent, that is.  Scalzi has published other humourous novels and short stories including Red Shirts and Fuzzy Nation, which I have not yet read, as well as his more serious books.

How Much for Just the Planet - coverHow Much for Just the Planet, by John M. Ford, set in the classic Star Trek universe and hilariously funny for those who are fond of the original television series.  The crews of the Enterprise and rival Klingon ship vie to establish an alliance with the unaligned planet of Direidi, which recent surveys have discovered is rich in dilithium crystals.  But the inhabitants are not fond of being the football in this game and have their own non-violent way to deal with diplomatic pressure.  Funniest Trek thing written since “The Trouble with Tribbles” and until “Trials and Tribble-ations.”

Not so funny to me, but others enjoy them:

The endless Xanth series by Pierce Anthony.  I read over a dozen of them, figuring that I was just not “getting” the joke, until I decided that no, it was just very heavy-handed puns and slapstick with a good side order of misogyny.

The even more enormous Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.  Light-hearted and amusing, but not enough to get more than smiles from me.  I rather like the British television versions of some of the books, though.

Game plans – 2

I’m done with the exams, and expanding and updating the list of games I’d like to run or play as posted last week.

Games I’d like to run

  • Jaws of the Six Serpents: the book is out I have the PDF, my print copy should be in this week, and I’d like to give it a spin. Sword and sorcery isn’t a genre I’m big on, but I like what Tim does with the PDQ system.
  • Freedom City/Truth & Justice: I just re-read a few episodes of Astro City while I was sick on Saturday, and that put me in the right mood.
  • Freeport: Some pirate game set in Freeport, probably using Savage Worlds and using RPTools. SW is a good match for the setting, easy to use, not an exciting system but serviceable and handy. Arr!
  • Roma Imperious: I have the True20-based version but I have yet to try it. I don’t know if the system can withstand a Skype approach, though.
  • Tibet: The original RPG’s system is awful, but the setting material is great. I’d probably go for HeroQuest as the engine.
  • Spirit of the Century: I’d really like to give this another spin.
  • Knights of the Realm (PDQ) is still on the roster. I’d like to run a few semi-serious episodes, or at least introduce some drama.
  • Mouse Guard: I’d like to run an interlude episode or two with some of the background characters of Lockhaven, and try a couple of rules tweaks just to see what happens. This would be the “bonus feature” in the back of the comic book between our regular games ran by Edmund.
  • Dead Inside: Yes, another PDQ game. But I’ve long wanted to try that one and run it as a very serious game with a bit of metaphysical/supernatural taste.

Games I’d like to play

  • Low Life: Our good old Savage Worlds-based game. We still had a few episodes to go.
  • The Red Star: Based on the HeroQuest/Mythic Russia system. It was such a great game experience, I would love to play it again.
  • Blossoms are Falling: Yes, it’s Burning Wheel, but I think the setting and the system are a good match.
  • Damon Sainte, P.I.: Edmund’s fantasy noir game running on the Bloodshadows (Masterbook) engine.

Obviously, way more games than I’ll have time for, but at least the ideas are not lacking.

Game plans

Since I’m supposed to return to a more normal schedule after this weekend, I thought I’d make a wish list of games I’d like to play or run via Skype ove the next few months.

Games I’d like to run

  • Jaws of the Six Serpents: the book is out I have the PDF, my print copy should be in next week, and I’d like to give it a spin. Sword and sorcery isn’t a genre I’m big on, but I like what Tim does with the PDQ system.
  • Freedom City/Truth & Justice: I just re-read a few episodes of Astro City while I was sick on Saturday, and that put me in the right mood.
  • Freeport: Some pirate game set in Freeport, possibly using the brand-new Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies or on HeroQuest. Arr!
  • Roma Imperious: I have the True20-based version but I have yet to try it. I don’t know if the system can withstand a Skype approach, though.
  • Tibet: The original RPG’s system is awful, but the setting material is great. I’d probably go for HeroQuest as the engine.
  • Spirit of the Century: I’d really like to give this another spin.

Games I’d like to play

  • Low Life: Our good old Savage Worlds-based game. We still had a few episodes to go.
  • The Red Star: Based on the HeroQuest/Mythic Russia system. It was such a great game experience, I would love to play it again.
  • Blossoms are Falling: Yes, it’s Burning Wheel, but I think the setting and the system are a good match.