Flu shot time

Today my wife and I were booked in for our annual pre-winter flu shots. We also booked a COVID booster, but when we showed up at the pharmacy after my wife got home from work in the evening, they said we weren’t due for a COVID booster yet. I thought we should have them at 6 month intervals, but they said we weren’t supposed to have them until 12 months after the last one. I guess they changed the recommendations about it recently.

Anyway, we had our flu shots. So far we’re both fine, no negative effects at all, apart from the slight dull pain in the arm.

This morning I wrote a lesson plan for this week’s new critical thinking and ethics topic, on “Dreams”. I think this should be an interesting and fun one. First classes are tomorrow evening. Some sample questions:

  • Do you think dreams are a part of everyday reality, or visions of something else?
  • Why would some people think dreams can predict the future?
  • Have you ever had a dream that inspired a story, artwork, or an idea to solve a problem?
  • Could dreams be part of our creative processes?
  • If you do something bad in a dream does that mean you could be a bad person?
  • Could you be dreaming right now? Why or why not?

New content today:

Annoying back pain

The past few days I’ve had a bit of a shoulder strain. It hurts, but I’d been thinking at least it’s not lower back pain, I should feel lucky.

Then today, for no reason at all, as I bent over to put something in the kitchen tidy bin, my back muscles spasmed and I ended up collapsed on the floor in pain. Argh!

From experience, this takes 2-3 days to get over. I’ve been icing it with an ice pack intermittently all day, putting it back in the freezer to chill down again in between. And doing some of the careful stretching exercises my physiotherapist taught me to manage and reduce the strain.

Apart from dealing with that, I did some comics stuff and had three ethics classes tonight. I’ll stop there since I want to get away from the desk and relax now.

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Games and eye tests

Friday was board games night at a friend’s place. It was a new venue as he’s moved recently, and he cooked an Indian style beef curry with rice for dinner for us. I arrived in the middle of a game of Last Message.

This is a game where someone has been murdered and one player has to give the solvers clues as to who it was, by drawing their clues on a small erasable whiteboard. Then another player, who is trying to prevent the others from solving the murder gets to erase parts of the clue before anyone else sees it. The whiteboard is divided into 9 squares, and in the first round the obfuscater can erase I think 5 of the squares, leaving the other 4. Then the solvers have to try to interpret what’s left of the clue to identify the killer… from a large Where’s Wally-like drawing containing hundreds of slightly different characters! So it ain’t easy!

If they fail, they get another clue, and this time the obfuscater gets to erase one less square. You continue for four rounds, and if the solvers haven’t identified the killer with four guesses, they lose and the obfuscater wins. We played a few games and it was tricky, but we always managed to identify the killer in time.

After that we split into two groups since there were a lot of people, and I played a game of The Guild of Merchant Explorers while the other group played Heat: Pedal to the Metal. I’d played this game once before and liked it, so it was good to give it another go, even if I came equal last of 4 players. Then we played a game of Through the Desert while the others finished Heat. We finished those two games almost simultaneously, so everyone joined together for a game of Codenames. I was a spymaster, but despite valiant cluing and guessing we lost by just one card.

Today, Saturday, I did a 5k run in the morning. The weather being cooler meant I could go a bit faster, and I recorded my third fastest time: 26:33.

Mid-morning I went with my wife to get our annual eye checkup at the optometrist, to see if our glasses prescriptions need updating. The optometrist also took fundus photos and optical coherence tomography (OCT) cross sections of our retinas to check for any abnormalities. We came out with a clean bill of eye health, which is good.

After this we grabbed some lunch from the nearby shops (I got sushi) and sat in the park and let Scully run around a bit, before heading home. This afternoon I worked on writing several new Darths & Droids strips.

For dinner I made okonomiyaki. We ran out of seaweed flakes last time and I tried to find more in the Asian grocery store, but I couldn’t find it pre-flaked, so I bought a small pack of seaweed sheets, thinking they’re brittle enough that I could quite easily crush them into small flakes. But they turned out to be tougher than I expected, so we had rather large flakes. Oh well.

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An intense game of Root

Yesterday was board games night at a friend’s place. We started with a game of Codenames, which my team lost when my partner and I guessed the assassin word. Always a terrible way to lose.

Then we split into a game of 4 people playing Root, and 3 people who played some Jump Drive and possibly other things. I was in the Root game, playing the Eyrie. The game progressed steadily until we were all about 15 points, halfway to the wining score of 30. Then the Woodland Alliance player suddenly made a big series of gains in one turn, putting him within striking distance of victory. Then the Vagabond player did the same, also scoring over 10 points in his very next turn, setting up potential victory next turn too. And then the Marquisate player played a Dominance card, removing his point score and setting an alternate win condition of controlling two clearings in opposite corners of the board. And then he moved 8 cat warriors into one clearing and 10 into the clearing in the opposite corner!!! This would easily win him the game at the start of his next turn, and it would be basically impossible for the rest of us to stop him.

I took my turn, meekly doing pretty much nothing, as I didn’t have the potential to do anything dramatic on this turn. And then the Woodland Alliance scored the final few points to hit 30 and win. Basically, just a turn ahead of the Vagabond, who could have won next turn, and the Marquisate, who would have won right after that. So all three of my opponents had victory in sight within a turn of each other, while I was stuck languishing in very obvious last place.

Just look at all the cats in the two corners of the board!

Root end game

Also yesterday I walked past the construction site that is a few blocks from our place, where a slew of apartments are replacing the old houses that were there. It’s making progress, although still in the digging and moving earth around phase.

Construction progress

This morning I went for a 5k run, but I noticed as I ran that I had a bit of a pain in my side. I completed the 5k, then had my shower and also cleaned the bathroom and shower while doing that. Then sat down for a while, and a few hours later my side had tensed up terribly. It’s a muscle strain, and quite painful I’ve been putting an icepack on it to reduce inflammation but I suspect it’ll take a few days to calm down. Which means probably no running tomorrow.

For dinner tonight my wife and I took Scully for a long walk over to the Flat Rock Brew Cafe, which is a really nice place for a late afternoon drink and meal. It has shady outdoor seating. I had a dark ale and a pulled pork burger, which was really good.

Back home this evening we watched the Australian movie The Dry. Excellent film – highly recommended for anyone who likes mystery/crime investigation. I won’t say any more – just see it.

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New neighbours and old ankles

Friday was board games night at a friend’s place, so no post yesterday. I arrived just in time to join a game of The Guild of Merchant Explorers, which was new to me. It was a fun game of exploring across a personal hex map (each player had an identical map), establishing towns and trying to connect trade routes to earn coins. I liked it, but I ended up significantly behind everyone else, finishing with about 130 coins while all the other three players were within a few coins of each other around 150.

After this we played a game of Mysterium, at the medium difficulty level. I was going really well, guessing my character and location quickly, but I got stuck on the weapon, guessing wrong 3 times and ultimately being the only player not to correctly get all of my information! Being a cooperative game, that meant we all lost, alas.

Then we finished off with a game of Just One, which I’ve played a lot online, but never with the actual boxed game equipment. That went pretty well and we scored a lot of matches.

Another thing that happened is I met one of our new neighbours, who moved in this week. It’s an older couple, retiree age, and they’re from South Africa. I met the woman and she met Scully, and was delighted to meet her. She said that they had a Maltese terrier and a cat, but they are in quarantine after arriving from South Africa and wouldn’t be moving in until February. When they arrive we’ll have to make sure Scully meets the dog and becomes friendly.

Today I slept in a bit and then went for a 5k run in the relative cool of the morning. Unfortunately at one point I had to step off the footpath to go around a clump of pedestrians and I twisted my ankle on the grass. It wasn’t bad at the time and I finished the run, in better time than my last couple of runs. But through the day it’s gotten more sore and swelled up a little bit. I’ve started putting ice on it to reduce the swelling and inflammation. But I doubt I’ll be doing a run tomorrow. I can walk okay, and in fact we did a couple of long walks today with Scully, but I don’t want to risk running on it.

We went over to Naremburn after lunch for a sweet treat from the bakery – I got a cinnamon roll. And then we went out again for dinner, to a seafood restaurant that we really like. I had mahi-mahi, which was really nice.

I spent a few hours today refining an adventure for next Saturday’s Scum & Villainy game that I’ll be running at the local science shop. I’ve found a one-shot adventure outline for Blades in the Dark, and I’m reskinning it from fantasy to science fiction in the Star Wars setting. It’s coming along nicely, and hopefully should be a lot of fun.

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Spinal update and heavy rain

This morning I worked on some more Darths & Droids writing. It never ends!

After lunch I had an appointment with my neurologist, following up on the spinal injection procedure I had before Christmas. The numbness in my left leg seems to have been partly relieved by the injection, improving slowly over the past few weeks. I’d say it’s about 50% back towards full sensation now, so a noticeable improvement, but still not back to normal. I told the neurologist this, and she said that this showed that it was indeed the L3 nerve causing the issue. Which is a good thing, because it’s not something else that might indicate more severe problems. She said at this stage the most sensible option is just “wait and see”. It might slowly deteriorate again over the next few years. She also said that if I notice any other symptoms like tingling or numbness anywhere else in the body, I should get it checked up straight away. But for now it seems there’s no serious ongoing issue, as it’s simply minor loss of sensation, with a pinpointed cause, and no effect on any muscles.

And as a bonus, she didn’t even charge me anything for the consultation!

I walked back home via my wife’s work to pick up Scully and take her home. I wanted to hurry a bit because there was incoming rain on the weather radar, to get home before it hit. We made it, and it’s a good thing because it really set in. It’s been raining steadily, sometimes heavy, for the past several hours. It won’t be fun later when I take Scully out for her pre-bedtime toileting. I use a big umbrella and try to stand over her to shelter her from getting too wet, but inevitably there’s some towelling off when we get back inside. It’s been a ridiculously wet summer so far, and seems to just be rolling on. All over Eastern Australia – there are ongoing flood issues both north in Queensland and south in Victoria, but we seem to have missed most of the major floods so far.

I made fried rice for dinner. We were out of the usual vegetables like broccoli and carrots, so I did it with a lot of celery and some chopped Brussels sprouts, which seemed to work okay.

And tonight was the first three classes of my “Minor Laws” ethics topic. I had some interesting discussion with some of the kids, and quite varying opinions on whether it’s okay or not to break laws that thousands of people break every day without caring about it.

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Stabbed in the back

I got stabbed, or rather jabbed, in the back today. I had an appointment at a nearby hospital to have a cortisone injection in my spine. I’ve been having some issues with partial numbness in my left leg, and did some diagnostic scans a couple of months ago that revealed a pinched nerve in the lower spinal region. My neurologist suggested that an injection in the area would relieve pressure on the nerve, give it more room to conduct properly, and hopefully relieve the numbness symptoms.

So I reported to the hospital for a CT-guided injection. They took me into a CT scanner room and had me lie down on the scanning table face down. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t ask me to take anything off, not even my shoes! They just lifted the shirt off my lower back and did everything like that. I went into the scanner and then the doctor gave me a local anaesthetic and buried a long needle into my back on the left side of the spine. They ran the CT scanner while guiding the needle into the correct position, and then injected the cortisone. It didn’t hurt at all, but I could feel the pressure of the needle and the injection.

Once it was done I could get up straight away and they made me rest for 10 minutes, then I was allowed to go home. There’s no lingering discomfort or pain after the anaesthetic wore off. It feels pretty good. But I think it may take several days to see if there’s any effect on the numbness, because my neurologist booked a follow-up appointment for at least a month after the procedure.

In other news, we had some wild weather today. The forecast was for heavy rainstorms, but the morning and through to mid-afternoon was fine and mostly sunny. Fortunately I was back home from my procedure before the storm clouds rolled in late in the afternoon. We had some spectacular lighting and thunder, and torrential rain, although it didn’t last very long. Multiple lines of storms passed over, with breaks in between. We’ve had 34 mm of rain, in brief bursts over the past 4 hours or so. It should ease off overnight.

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MRI scan time

Today I had my MRI scan appointment, for the nerve issues I mentioned last week. They did a scan of my lower spine, looking for pinched nerves or something. The neurologist will tell me what they found in our follow-up appointment.

I’ve done a few MRIs before, but all cerebral ones. The machine is very noisy, and they give you earplugs and headphones, but it still makes a racket. But I have to say that scanning your lower spine is a bit easier and less claustrophobic than a cerebral scan where they lock your head in a face clamp.

Apart form that I did 4 ethics classes, finishing off the “Success and Failure” topic for the week, and worked on comics for a bit. I’m rushing to get enough comics buffered for our trip to Europe in two weeks. I’m concentrating on Darths & Droids, and don’t have any Irregular Webcomic! buffered, so this week I’m doing the hiatus thing and running reruns on IWC.

For dinner my wife made pizza dough and I topped it with cheese, pumpkin, asparagus, and walnuts. I was thinking what other nuts would make sense, and I think some time I’ll make another satay sauce pizza with broccoli and cashews. (Neapolitans are spinning in their graves, but I reckon you can put whatever you like on a pizza and it’s valid.)

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The Wyrm of Brandonstead, session 2

On Friday night I ran the second session of the Wyrm of Brandonstead D&D adventure with my friends. I’ll paste the session log in here, but a few other things first.

On Friday I had a busy day, with 4 ethics classes. I had a 4-hour break in between after the first morning class, but I needed to use this time to travel out to Macquarie University to a medical clinic there to get a nerve conduction scan done. I’ve had some loss of sensation in my left leg for several years, just a very slight numbness, like 80-90% normal sensation, just enough to be noticeably not normal. I had some scans done years ago when I first noticed it, but nothing conclusive came up. It doesn’t really bother me, but recently I noticed the numbness spreading, and so my doctor referred me to back to the neurologist, who ordered another set of scans.

For this one, they place electrodes on the skin of the leg, and then use an electric probe to send small currents through the nerves. It’s not painful but it causes a jolting sensation and the leg muscles twitch quite strongly. After doing a few of those, there’s a needle test, where they stick a needle into the various leg muscles and again pulse electric current through them to measure the conduction of the nerves. This is all to measure if the nerves are conducting electric signals at the normal strength or not. On Monday I also have an MRI scan scheduled to check if there’s some sort of pinching of the nerves at the base of the spine.

At the university I also found this beautiful flame tree:

Flame tree

Anyway, that done I returned home and immediately went out to the doggy daycare place to pick up Scully, who I’d dropped off earlier, first thing in the morning. Then I had three more ethics classes, and that led right up to the D&D evening. So it was a pretty full day. There were six players who had said they’d show up for D&D, but one called in sick with a cold, and another said he was very tired so elected not to drive over, but he did join in by telepresence. I set up my wife’s laptop on the table so he could join in!

Virtual D&D

We added the gloves for amusement.

Today I did a 5k run in the morning, which was tough because it was close to 100% humidity. Then I spend time writing up the adventure log from last night. In the middle of the day my wife and I went for a drive out to the beach and the pie shop there for lunch, then dropped in on her mother for a visit on the way back. While near the beach, we passed a park where some people were playing cricket. And since everyone knows that a cricket field needs a picket fence around it, with a gate so the players can get in and out, they had set up a picket fence gate:

Picket fence gate at cricket field

This evening we walked up the street, intending to get dinner at a cheap Asian place, but they didn’t have any unreserved tables available. So we wandered up the main street looking for somewhere else to eat. The trouble is Saturday night is very popular and busy, so most places didn’t have tables free. We finally found a table at a restaurant which is pretty fancy and expensive. We like this place, but don’t go there often because of the expense, but we decided to just splurge for no particular reason.

With that out of the way, here’s the log of last night’s D&D session:


Regathering

As the party contemplated what to do, footsteps and the familiar voice of Brother Leonardo approached. He had completed his penance for overly beseeching his god and travelled to Brandonstead to seek out the rest of the group. There, the innkeeper Bentley had told Leonardo that the group had set out for Sir Brandon’s tomb this morning. Leonardo followed their footsteps and found the retainers waiting outside the tomb. They told him to go in and turn right and he might find the rest of the party.

Rats!

The party decided messing with the antlered clay statue and its encircling stones was too risky and explored the passage to the west. Here they found a 4-foot deep circular pool of water, scummed with algae and slime, but beneath it a faint glitter of gold from the bottom. This also struck them as risky, so they retreated back to the main corridor and advanced west towards the chittering sound.

A long corridor led west and turned south into a room where they found 8 giant rats, the size of large dogs, squabbling over half-rotten food that had spilled from large broken clay amphorae. The amphorae looked like they’d been tipped over and smashed on the stone floor.

Drashi tossed a ration of food over the rats towards the far opening in the southern wall, causing them to race over and fight over the fresher food. Garamond rigged his lantern full of oil and threw it hard at the rats, attempting to spread oil over them and set them on fire, but his throw was poor and the lantern smashed short of the its target, creating a pool of fire between the heroes and the rats. The party took this chance to move into the eastern exit while the rats were busy and partly blocked by fire.

In the eastern room they found nine amphorae, intact and standing upright, with an odour of dust and lavender. Someone knocked one over and it smashed on the floor, spilling cloudy old lavender oil all over the floor. Garamond and Nogge worked together to carry an amphora into the rat room and smashed it on the floor, creating a large pool of fire. Three of the rats died in the conflagration, screeching horribly, while the remaining five scurried away to the south.

Undead!

With the way blocked by fire, the party retreated back to the earlier oom the the antlered statue. Here Drashi tried breaching the circle of small black stones to approach the statue, intending to toss a coin into the offering bowls. But as he stepped into the circle of stones, they began jumping and clattering on the floor, making a loud sound. Nogge collected the stones, and they quietened down as they came together. Drashi tossed a gold coin into an offering bowl, but nothing happened.

They went into the room with the slimy pool of water and Nogge tossed in one of the black stones. Then they noticed that as someone stepped between Nogge and the pool, the stones began rattling in Nogge’s hands. They figured if someone was between the stones they would jostle and make noise.

They were interrupted by an approaching sound, clanking and the scraping of metal on stone. Attracted to the noise they’d been making was a large skeleton, 7 feet tall, wearing rusty armour and a silver death mask with a bushy moustache on it. The skeleton wielded a large two-handed sword. The heroes attacked, with Notgandalf striking with another well-aimed thrown dagger. After a a few rounds of fighting, they prevailed over the skeleton and Nogge claimed the two-handed sword.

Now they decided they had to retrieve the one in the pool in order to make the best use of the stones. But they also realised that in the chaos, the goblins they had captured had snuck away and fled, nowhere to be seen.

Nogge: “Can I carry the others stones around the pool and see when they vibrate, to determine if there’s anything alive in the pool?”
DM: “We’re just one step away from you wanting to do computed tomography on the pool”.

Nogge waded into the pool and got covered in green slime, which began eating away at his armour and skin. He jumped out of the pool and grabbed a torch from Tarlan the cleric, and burnt the slime off, taking a bit of damage from the fire himself. Nogge then waded back into the pool with bare feet, searching the bottom with his feet to find the black stone. He also found a human skeleton, which had two gold teeth in its skull, and an ornate silver dagger. Notgandalf took the dagger to use.

The party went back to the rat room. The lavender oil fire had died out, but the remaining five rats had returned to get more of the food. The group decided to just attack and kill the rats the old-fashioned way this time, making swift work of them with weapons.

But the noise appeared to have attracted more attention! Maniacal laughter approached from the south. Quickly, the heroes hatched a plan: spill another amphora of lavender oil across the southern entrance and set it on fire, to prevent whatever it was from approaching them. Fire set, the party girded themselves and waited to see what new foe appeared. A floating skull with big yellow eyes swivelling in its sockets approached, flying right over the slick of fire! It cackled as it approached. Notgandalf wasted no time and cast Magic Missile at it. Nogge then swung his new two-handed sword at the skull, cleaving it in twain, and revealing the sword to be magically empowered.

The ghost!

The next room to the south was an old armoury, with shattered weapons and shields strewn about, covered in thick spider webs. Notgandalf cast Detect Magic to see if any of the equipment was magical. Finding none, he then ran back to the room with the antlered statue to see if there was any magic there. He found a small golden amulet, hidden behind one of the offering bowls, which had a folded up piece of paper inside, inscribed with a Protection from Evil spell.

After he returned, the group headed east into a lounge area with carved stone armchairs and a table with an empty bronze pitcher on it. The next room to the east held nine 5-foot tall stone statues of warriors, each armed with a real wooden, metal-tipped spear. While deciding what to do, a ghostly apparition of a bearded priest appeared and drifted towards them! It screamed that the party was trespassing on hallowed ground and ordered one of the stone statues to attack. The statue charged at Nogge, who took a spear hit, before the statue froze again.

Severely wounded and not willing to risk fighting all of the statues, Nogge suggested a retreat. The party fell back, but Garamond and Notgandalf loosed Magic Missiles at the ghost. They hit it with three Missiles, which caused the ghost to dissipate.

Safe for now, but wounded and out of Leonardo’s healing spells, the party decided to retreat and return to Brandonstead for a day of rest.

The upper chapel

After resting for a full day to recover and make use of Leonardo’s healing spells, the party felt strong enough to return to Sir Brandon’s barrow.

First they tried exploring the western passage from the entry chamber on the upper level, which they had ignored until now. The first room contained four 8-foot tall statues of knights in different poses, with words carved on the plinths: “Valour” gripping sword and shield; “Piety” praying, with a staff resting on one arm; “Wisdom” reading a book; “Duty” bent over carrying a load.

This led to another chamber west, a chapel with stone pews facing a stone statue of St Arthur, patron of hunters. Water dripped from a root-penetrated hole in the ceiling, onto the states face, which was partly covered in mould. Brother Leonardo decided to clean the mould off with his robes, which released as cloud of spires that he managed to avoid. After cleaning the statue to look respectable again, Leonardo felt blessed by the good grace of St Arthur.

The crypts

Returning to the lower level, the party returned to the armoury room and headed south, finding a priest’s work room with a desk, and a footlocker full of rocks. One the desk was a magnificent illuminated book with velum pages, titled Lives of the Saints. Leonardo said it told the stories of several of the local saints venerated in the region. In the desk drawers were a small hammer, chisel, quills, and dried bottles of ink.

A room to the east was a crypt, containing a sarcophagus, the lid carved to show a human with a long beard. Next to the sarcophagus was a small table with three dusty bottles, containing greenish, purple, and yellowish liquids respectively. They took these then opened the sarcophagus, revealing a headless skeleton which attacked with a great silver-bladed axe. The heroes defeated the skeleton and Drashi claimed the axe.

Nogge: “Can I put one of the black stones on either side of a sarcophagus to see if theres anything alive inside?”

The next room east was another crypt, with the sarcophagus lid broken on the floor. Inside was the desiccated corpse of the priest, with platinum coins over the eyes. It held a carved stone tablet in its crossed arms, which Leonardo determined was a clerical spell of Bless.

The next room along was a third crypt, this one with the sarcophagus lid shattered on the floor, as if pushed violently off from inside. The sarcophagus was empty except for rotting shrouds exuding a musty smell.

From here a passage headed north to the room of the nine stone statues again. Brother Leonardo used the Blessing spell from the stone tablet on everyone, before they tried prodding the statue carefully in case they animated. But they remained solid, and they tipped them over to smash them on the floor.

Progressing east they found an antechamber with great stone double doors leading south, shut and blocked by a statue of a noble woman wearing a crown, holding a stone sword out horizontally in front of her. Brother Leonardo decided to kneel beneath the sword. He heard a woman’s voice in his head: “What makes a true knight?” Leonardo answered with the inscriptions from the statues in the upper level: “Valour, piety, wisdom, duty”. The statue moved slightly to dub Leonardo on the shoulder with the sword, and the double doors slowly swung open.

Revealed inside was the crypt of Sir Brandon. His sarcophagus was in a small ship, the lid carved in Brandon’s likeness. The group removed the lid carefully, finding Sir Brandon’s body resting peacefully within, clad in plate armour, with a shield, magnificent sword, and jewelled chalice.

The group took these items before letting Sir Brandon be, reasoning that they had need of dragon-slaying gear in their present adventure. On the way out of the barrow they also grabbed the coins and five small rubies from the offering bowls in the antlered state room.

Character moments

  • Brother Leonardo – Cleaning the statue of St Arthur and getting spore clouded in his face. Kneeling before the sword-wielding queen statue.
  • Drashi – Tossing rations to giant rats. Breaching the circle of rattling stones to toss a coin into the offering bowls.
  • Garamond – Making a molotov cocktail out of an oil lantern. Failing to hit rats with it and creating a flaming pool in front of them.
  • Nogge – Wading into the slimy pool and immediately getting covered in green slime. Obsessing over magical rattling stones. Cleaving the floating skull in twain.
  • Notgandalf – Hitting with daggers again! Casting Detect Magic and then running back through the tomb alone to check other rooms.

Loot

  • 10 small black “warning” stones – magical, Nogge
  • Two-handed Sword of Sir Alfred – magical +1 sword, Nogge
  • 2 gold teeth – estimated value 20gp
  • Ornate silver dagger – Notgandalf using
  • Golden amulet – value: ?
  • Scroll: Protection from Evil – Notgandalf
  • Illuminated book: Lives of the Saints: value: ?
  • Silver Axe of Sir Wyllt – Drashi
  • Stone tablet: Bless scroll – used
  • 2 platinum coins
  • Sword of Sir Brandon – magical, Garamond
  • Plate mail of Sir Brandon – Garamond
  • 45sp and 20 gp – from offering bowls
  • 5 small rubies – from offering bowls

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Wadanggari Park

After my ethics class this morning I went with my wife to get our next COVID vaccination booster. On Tuesday I’d seen signs at the local hospital pointing to a COVID vaccination clinic, so we went there. But… there were no signs. So we went to the main entrance to ask where the vaccinations were, and they said that they were no longer offering them, and yesterday was the last day! So we called up a nearby pharmacy and checked that they were still doing vaccinations. This confirmed we walked over there and got our shots.

My wife had a day off because she just ended a job and starts the new one next week. She went into the city to do some shopping, while I took Scully and went to the nearby pie shop so I could get some lunch. Then we went to a brand new park that was opened only last weekend: Badanggari Park. Here’s Scully enjoying the grassed area:

Wadanggari Park

It’s a very nice little park with a couple of grassy areas, edged by sandstone seating enclosing native plant gardens.

Wadanggari Park

Wadanggari is a native Cammeraygal clan word meaning banksia. Which is nice, but I didn’t see any banksia pants among any of the gardens. I dunno, that sees like kind of a big missed opportunity. It would have been nice to have some feature banksia trees in the park.

But then I noticed that in the really excellent looking children’s playgrounds, this enormous climbing tower is a stylised banksia flower:

Wadanggari Park

And this tower is a stylised banksia cone:

Wadanggari Park

The park is elevated above the local train line, and on one side of the wall below the park is this artwork, with an explanation of its cultural significance:

Wadanggari Park

The patterns in the brown metal sheets are representations of the seed pods on the surface of a banksia cone. It’s actually quite neat, if you know what a banksia cone looks like. Here’s one I happen to have photographed years ago:

Banksia nut

And here’s a flower so you can compare to the giant stylised flower above:

Banksia

Tonight is online board games night with my friends. We’re playing the brand new Board Game Arena implementation of Heat: Pedal to the Metal, which we’re really enjoying.

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