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: Recommendation: From the Dungeons & Dragons game on Sunday: you must watch Grave of the Fireflies, and you must have My Neighbor Totoro ready to pop in and watch immediately after. I haven't yet watched the former; maybe I'll put myself in a stupor by watching it alongside Requiem for a Dream.

I like my D&D coplayers and dungeon master, but we don't get much time to chat, because we get together to play so seldom (maybe once a month). At one point we had a ten-day limit to raise one of our characters from the dead, and I cracked that it was a good thing the limit was ten in-game days. Also: a great way to get people off the phone so you can get back to your game is to tell the caller exactly what you're doing. "We have to find some giants or something to battle to get experience points, so that one of our clerics can level up and resurrect another member of our party from the dead." Don't call them; they'll call you.

Vera was such a horrible character that Stephen Colbert told me not to play her. Backtrack: I got to see The Colbert Report get filmed, and if you're free ALL DAY some Mon-Thurs weekday from 11am or noon till six, you can probably also get standby tickets by sitting in line outside the studio. For the quick Q&A session before the show, I asked Colbert what to do with a character whose lowest 4 (of 6) stats were 7, 8, 9, and 10 (out of 18). "Oh, you rolled a farmer!" Colbert exclaimed. He said that, in his D&D group, if someone rolled a character that bad, the player would announce that this character would take up farming, lay it aside (basically making it an NPC), and roll a new one. We also got to name off the six stats (he forgot one, I believe Wisdom) for the benefit of the studio audience.

I did create a new character, because everyone has two, because Vera sucked, because nearly everyone in this battle had fallen unconscious or worse and we might have needed someone to step in and save the day. Gordon* is a third-level fighter with pretty good dexterity and intelligence and only medium wisdom. He left the family farm seeking fortune and stories, got captured by slavers, and escaped only to run into The Intrepid Heroes (actual party name). Alignment: chaotic good, which I'm not really sure how to play except by being bouncy and helpful and feeling okay about stealing from dragons. Suggestions?

* Namesakes: Fog Creek office manager Liz Hall, née Liz Gordon, and Canadian-American children's/young adults' author Gordon Korman. Also it vaguely makes sense in tenth-century Europe.

: Announcement (Bookend):

"Susan then poured the fish into a plastic bag so we could get a good look at it. Afterwards the fish didn't want to leave the bag because it had corners, and corners are safe. I said the fish was trapped in this tide pool, and Susan said this was the fish's territory. She compared the fish to someone who's always complaining about and wishing they could leave their home town, but when you say 'The bus leaves at four' they start making excuses for why they can't leave."

I'm no longer working at Fog Creek Software. It turns out it wasn't a good fit. I'll give you more details over the phone or email if you'd like. Bookend: the original move/new job post.

Leonard's work and search for work are going well so don't worry about us moneywise. I'm still learning some software development skills and finishing up my master's. More as it happens.

: Re: Microsoft Research: "Isn't it amazing that someone would create their own Xerox PARC and then treat it exactly as everyone treated Xerox PARC?" -me

Also by me: "J2EE: designed by committee, and used by committee."

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