Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,

Adventures in Fire and Water

An update of my weekend activities, featuring prominently a lack of sleep, water in the wrong place, combustive failure, and grilled peaches.

My weekend seems to have flown by fairly quickly, I think because my sleep schedule was stupid.

On Friday, while Jerry went off to Jen & Nick's, I stayed late at work to get stuff finished and make up for some short days during the week. Didn't get home til 10:30 or 11.

Saturday was pretty mellow; I remember doing a fair miscellany of things, though I can't really recall any of them other than a trip to the grocery store for grillables. Mike K. had a game to test out for the Con next weekend (TactiCon, I think), and he recruited those of our Ghostwalk crew who could make it to play it Saturday evening. Since the Jerry-mon had a pretty dreadful day at work, in the interest of preventing bloodshed we left him at home, and I carpooled down to Aurora with Tom O. instead. So we ended up with me, Thomas, and Thomas & Karen. Scott (Mike's co-author) was also there, and we called Bryan, whom I haven't seen in ages, to come and join us, which was pretty cool. (Not Bryree-- the other Bryan.)

So we grilled our dinners (I did a chunk of steak plus zucchini, red pepper, and peaches, of all things, which turned out really well) and played the game for a while. It was a lot of fun; we had pre-gen characters, of course, but we didn't get any game stats, and there was clearly a Secret about the characters that the players weren't aware of. The characters were technologically quite primitive, and people we encountered ran away from us, and hey! it turned out that we were actually (nice) orcs. (Preaching to the choir here on the goblinoids-are-people-too front here, but so what.) We had a blast role-playing the characters, since the event is billed as the "role-playing challenge", and it was a pleasant diversion.

However, somewhere in the middle we had a bit of an adventure because Scott came up to tell Mike that the floor was wet in his basement. Apparently there's an occasional leak, so he ran off to fix it and mop up the water with some towels.

And then we discovered that it was a MUCH BIGGER leak. It turns out that his water heater suffered some kind of catastrophic failure and was leaking lots of water, very quickly. So we rapidly mobilized and all ran downstairs to rescue boxes from the closet that was filling up with water (mostly Christmas decorations, and nothing was much injured, since we were quick) and coordinate draining the heater into a buckets and so on. We ended up pulling carpet and carpet padding, and Karen and I ran off to K+T's place in the middle of it to grab their shop-vac, since they live all of six or eight blocks away, and so on and so forth.

But, thankfully, it wasn't too disastrous. I mean, other than the busted water heater aspect of it all. A pile of manpower can go a long way towards mitigating these kinds of problems, and we moved pretty quickly. With scooped-up alacrity, even. Almost none of the boxes got soaked, and the pipes drained a lot faster once we thought to run upstairs and open up all the hot water taps to break the pressure lock. (I still feel really dumb for not thinking of that right away.) And eventually we got back to our gaming.

Didn't get back home till I think 2, and then I stayed up a little while longer before I went to bed. I don't know if it's actually because it takes some time for me to wind down before I can get to sleep, or if it's just that I'm prone to staying up way too late because I am dumb, but either was, not much sleep that night.

Took a pretty damn long nap on Sunday afternoon, though. Didn't do a whole lot else. I was so pleased with the grilled stuff on Saturday that for dinner I pulled out the little portable charcoal grill and tried to grill some pork chops for dinner Sunday.

This did not work.

Discovery number the first is that if you have match-light charcoal that's, good lord, must be five years old, maybe more, all of the lighter fluid evaporates and it turns into normal charcoal, which does not light with just a match.

Discovery the second is that lighter fluid (for refilling cigarette lighters) is not the same as lighter fluid (for charcoal), and if you want to start those ancient briquettes, you had best remember that, yes, you actually do have real lighter fluid, and you'd better dig it out if you want to get the grill lighted.

Discovery the third is that you really didn't need that much fluid. Sure burns good, though!

Discoverty the fourth is that you really haven't grilled over charcoal grill in a long time, have you?

Discovery the fifth (probably number one-half, actually, but its significance is not made plain until much later in the process) is that if you have a cheap little portable grill, and you use it once and then let it sit unusued for several years, the ash remnants on the inside will cement the little sliding air vents permanently shut. This prevents airflow from reaching the coals, which really keeps them from ever changing from singed charcoal briquettes into coals, and basically makes the whole enterprise pretty much a net lose.

Having completed my journey of re-discovery into the basics of combustion, I gave the whole thing up for a bad job and cooked the pork chops in the frying pan instead, and they were quite tasty.

The grill I left on the patio to cool off, and tomorrow I'm going to throw the whole thing out.

So after that, I helped the monkey with trigonometry (which he gets, making the whole helping / tutoring / teaching a total joy) for a bit, then went and hung out with the Floyds for a couple hours. We just sat around and talked about stuff, and I heard lots of good gossip from Rosemary. She says she's going to give it up sometime soon, but I kind of hope not, because it's so damn interesting.

Which brings us to today, Monday, which was mostly uninteresting, so I suppose it's just as well that I was too lazy to bother making any entries before now.

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