Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My name is Rachel, and I was a Wargamer.

My name is Rachel and I am a Wargamer.

Yes, you read right. I know what you’re thinking…..those people are freaks [said with love], and you’d be right, and I’m proud to have been one of them. Despite my haven’t really kept in touch or actually PLAYED the games when I was there, I still consider myself a part of a hidden culture at the UW – Parkside campus.

For me, it was about the friends, not the games. I felt a part of something. I was a part of these people.

My good friend Lynn V. brought me up for the first time during my second semester at UW-Parkside in early 1990. It was a magical place, said loosely, filled with strange people that had neat things to say, weird games I’ve never heard of, lots of black clothing with chain mail or leather. Granted, I really didn’t understand many of the terms at the time….things like kvotes, mechs, and Amiga come to mind. Later I've learned that there are many of 'Bitch Kvotes' out there in the world.

The room was cool, and hidden unless you knew about it. I remember laughing at the people that happened to ‘find’ themselves up there mistakenly. They look around quickly and turn around and almost run down the stairs. Our room was located in Molinaro Hall on the 4th floor. You had to take the elevator up to the 3rd floor, then take the stairs to the next floor. We had roof access but it was locked. I think at one time, we were able to go out there, but something must’ve happened so they stopped that train.

We had a refrigerator to keep our lunches, but preferred eating in the Cafeteria. I still have dreams about the Slab ‘O Death pizza they had there. Many times, a pack of us would head down together to get a few slices. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. It’s amazing I didn’t gain the freshman 15 that semester. That ugly head waited ‘til the last couple of years.

The room usually had music going, usually the hard rock variety. That was in then. And the stuff we listened to usually was more of the classic range, so probably still is in. We had these great drawers that I’ve recently been told once held computer punch cards. Each person had a drawer or two to hold their precious things. Lynn mentioned to me the other day that she wondered what she had stored in hers. I do too. Probably things like hairspray, comb, deodorant, gum, etc…but I’d really like to know.

Games were an essential part of our group. I preferred the social aspect, not the game aspect. I guess that made me more of an outsider than the others. I think being a woman made me appealing. There weren’t many of us up there. I gave myself a nickname. I often had a sassy side (still do) and quickly became ‘Bitch with an Attitude’, ‘Bitch’ for short. There was also a ‘Wench with an Attitude’, whose name was Lynn Klaus. I enjoyed being Bitch. I think it represented my attitude at that time well.

I had always been very studious and did well in school. College was different. I learned now that I should’ve dropped classes instead of stop going (to go to the Warroom). When I was not in class, I was there - studying, talking, laughing, eating, relaxing. I learned lots of things. I regret not finishing college, but it is what it is. I wouldn’t have changed my time I had there, except maybe to have kept in touch with my new friends.

My dad didn’t like me ‘gallivanting’ all hours of the night, so my visits to my new friends’ houses usually ended by 11:30 and me racing home to sneak in the door before the clock struck midnight. I was a real life Cinderella when it came to my dad. So unfortunately, most of my social memories came during school hours, thus I probably got spared a lot of the bad stuff. I did not drink, so it was probably better that way.

One particularly memory comes to mind. It was the day before/after Thanksgiving (can’t remember which)and we had an incredible snow storm – probably around 9 inches or so. I had been dating a guy from my high school and he had visited me that day at my house. We were discussing my coming over to his house while his parents were away so we could be ‘together’. I couldn’t make a viable excuse and told him I couldn’t. I told him, “So I’ll see you at Christmas right?” to which he replied, “I don’t think so” thus ending our 1 and a half year relationship.

I was devastated. I cried in my mom’s arms for the first time and told her what happened. That was a good feeling. I was 18. But I knew then where I needed to go next. I drove for nearly 2 hours to get to UWP to go to the Warroom. I don’t remember who was all there, but remember that the trip was worth it and instantly made me feel better. The guys that were up there did what most guys do, and started to rip the ‘ex’ a new one and that gave me a warm & tingly feeling inside. They soothed me with words and putdowns of the man who so scorned their Bitch. I got over the guy eventually, but the Wargamers were my people that did that for me.

Why did I tell this story? I know the people that have read it already know about the room, the culture, the bonds, but my hopes is that they already know how special they were to me, and that to not judge people just by how they look, as our society tells us to, and that there is a place that everyone is welcome.

I have been blessed to have known these friends, and hope to catch up once again. Everybody needs good people. At that time in my life, they were mine.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Confession Survey

I decided to grab an idea from Evil Twins Wife, who got the idea from Life According to Jennifer, so thanks to them for the idea!!

So, I suppose I have to tell the truth, even if it kills me.

Confession Survey

1)What is your blogger name? Red from Ktown

2) When is your birthday? July 4th

3) How long have you been blogging? Since 2006 on Myspace, but only Nov 2008 on Blogspot (Thanks for reading, even though I’m not the most faithful blogger – not a lot of extra time).

4) Who tagged you? Not tagged, but Evil Twins wife gave anyone the challenge. Her link is above!

5 ) Tell me your 5 most favorite body parts: Well, if I do say so, my eyes are a really deep blue and I’d say that’s numero uno. My hair color is unique and has ONLY once been colored about 6 years ago and it was only highlighted a bit (deep strawberry blonde), I have nice straight toes, my butt is nice but not too big. Hmmm….small frame, but I’m gaining weight as we speak.

6) What do you wish most for your birthday? I must confess, even though I’ll be 38, I still look forward to the check I get from my parents.

7) What color are your nails now? Fingernails: My nails don’t get long, and the 6 or 7 times I’ve had them long, I’ve painted them with French manicures or some kind of medium pink color. Toenails are ALWAYS red or pink.

8) Any depressing thoughts lately? Money issues. Wondering why our business is slow. Hating my regular day job for the first time in my life and wondering if it will finally get better.

9) What's your next 1 month's plan? Finish a display cross-marketing book with a local wedding cake lady featuring all of our ArtZAngel photography.

10) At what age did you have your 1st crush? Third grade. Cushman Jordan. God, that name just SOUNDS like a movie star name, but alas, he’s not even on facebook. He looked so cute in his white & yellow-3/4-sleeved baseball shirt and his blonde hair.

11) Did you attend any school reunion after you graduated till now? I unfortunately did the 5 year and nothing changed, I skipped my 10 because I was in the middle of a divorce, and no one has had the courage to prepare a 20th much to my dismay.

12) Have you ever passed gas in public and pretended you didn't smell anything? Sure, haven’t we all? Don’t lie, WE ALL DO IT!

13) Are you a clean freak? I have my moments, but usually I clean, REALLY clean (dust, vacuum, sinks, etc.) only every couple weeks. I’ve been known to use a few Clorox wipes though in between.

14) Which era do you wish you were born into? I love the 50s, but I think because I'm liberal, I wouldn't have survived. I would've been an outcast like Rizzo from the Pink Ladies.

15) Are you a vegetarian? I only like 2 veggies (corn, potatoes) and both of those are bad for me, so I doubt that I could live on them. Skip the lectures, they won’t help.

16) How many pillows do you sleep with at night? 2 thin pillows.

17) Are you a light sleeper or an I-don't-care-if-there's-a-bomb-here sleeper? I can hear things, but usually I’m out like a light and can sleep anywhere and in about 5 minutes or less. I might have a tad case of Narcolepsy, I’m fearing.

18) Do you secretly wear comfortable granny panties when your man is not around? Never. But lately, I’m wearing more low rise bikinis than the thongs I used to.

19) What is your ultimate dream job? Actual Photography studio instead of the weekender stuff (we lost our studio due to mall closing several years ago). Graphic design, but getting paid, combined with a flower shop.

20) What is it your hubby does that annoys you the most? Hmmm….how long you got? J/K…ummm……not answering me when I ask a question. I just want to know if he heard me, ACKNOWLEDGE PLEASE!!!!

21) What is your dream car? I have a great little blue Hyundai Elantra that is now at 101,800 miles (see earlier blog on the 100,000 milestone) but I’d kill for a convertible with kick. 22) Do you easily wake up in the morning? I am ‘programmed’ to snooze 3 times, then wake up before each one so I can quick shut it off so I don’t wake up the hubby.

23) Do you like hairy men? No, suppose not really.

24) How about goateed men? Yes I suppose, but I would suspect it would be pricklier kissing them.

25) Which one would you prefer, 2 hour spa, 2 hour Thai Massage or 2 hour foot massage? Love the massage, but it has to be a gentle massage. I don’t like those Swedish or deep-tissue ones. Ouch.

26) Have you ever wished you had a different name other than your real name? I used to make up names I wanted to be when I was a kid, but not anymore. I love my middle name, Annette.

27) What is the most extreme sport you have ever done? I did a parasail 1500 feet over the Virginia Beach last summer. Other than that…not much.

28) Do you prefer traveling in Europe or Asia? My sis and I are planning on doing England next spring…can’t wait.

29) What is your favorite food? Pizza!!!!

30) What is the most embarrassing moment when you were out on a date? It took me nearly an hour or two of standing outside my moms house after the junior prom to have my date kiss me. We were both too scared to make the first move.

I’m not tagging anyone, because I only have 11 followers, but if you wouldn’t mind linking me if you do want to use the idea, as I have done above.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I haven't blogged in a while. I sometimes can't think of anything decent to say, but today I was reading my subscriptions and I got a great idea from a new follower Streetcopswife and she had a '13 random songs on my ipod' list....

So I thought I'd give it a try!

1. Bright Lights - by Matchbox 20

2. At Last - by Etta James (not the version by that "dumbass Beyonce'")

3. Addiction (accoustic version) - by the Black Crowes

4. Give a Little Bit - by Supertramp

5. Sweet Release - by LIVE

6. Boogie Shoes - by KC & the Sunshine Band

7. Everyday - by Toby Lightman

8. Wild Horses - by the Sundays

9. Possession - by Sarah McLauchlan

10. Songbird - by Eva Cassidy

11. Crush - by Dave Matthews Band

12. Redneck Woman - by Teri Clark

13. Rainin' You - by Brad Paisley

Tell me your random list.....

BTW...I do my playlists via my mood. Here are some of my lists: Girl/Group/Boy Power. Sad Songs, Mellow Stuff, Sexy Chicago, Stupid Dumb Boys, Girlfriends, Fun Stuff, Hot September, Lost Tracks, Rain Songs, Colors (all the songs have colors in the title - same as the Rain Songs list)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Best of.....

Hi new folks.

I got this great idea from "Well Okay Sassy Britches" about welcoming my new followers (all of you since I only started blogging less than a month ago on blogspot) with a quick recap of some of my fave blogs.

Hey Sassy, I found out the hyperlink thing from Word, so hopefully they work! Thanks anyways!

Please take a look whenever you can. I appreciate your looking!!!

My Fantasy day...Can this REALLY happen?

I killed a robin....

Benches for our butts

A wine story.

2 Days of Chicago bliss....Spring 2008

My kind of town...Chi-Ca-Go

Red's Picture Dictionary - part 1


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Plumber update!!

I call my hub during the day yesterday and ask if he heard from the plumber. To which he replied, "Yes, he came and went."

I don't know why they think we can read their minds (at least when it comes to plumbing bills) so I ask, "Well, how much did it cost? What did they have to do? How did they get it out? How long was he there,?" You know, the ol' twenty questions dealie.

He casually responded, "$300.45 ." Of course he didn't embellish any of the questions I asked. He then said, "Well, it was $40.00 to come out, then we are Level 4 pricing, so it was $245 for that, then tax, etc."

"What the hell is Level 4 pricing mean?" I ask in a higher pitch than normal voice.

"How am I supposed to know?" To which I hang my head and wondered how he got along in life without common sense, because OBVIOUSLY, us women would have asked these kinds of life-changing questions.

Well...upon looking at the bill, the 'level pricing' was outlined in full which scared me because we were only level 4 out of 10 (10 being $998 for one hour).....must be for nuclear bomb repair or something. It is actually for 'emergency backup protection'. But in my mind, there is no plumbing service worth 998 bucks an hour.....OK, maybe sewage backup protection....

Turns out, all he did was come in, see the 'cartridge thingy' busted off inside, pull out a huge ass drill like you see in Freddy Kreuger movies and drill out the inside. When he put everything back in, 'overpriced plumber' casually mentions that now we might have to watch the downstairs pipes because when we tried to pry out the old 'cartridge thingy' we somehow bent the 'phalange thingy' and now could leak. If it doesn't leak into the tub, the 'overpriced plumber' says, then watch in the next week for a leak in the basement.

Great. Just great.

So now we wait to see if we have a basement leak. If we have to replace that pipe and the 'phalange thingy', then the plumber said it would cost $1000 or so to replace.

Fantastic. Moral of the story. CALL THE DAMN OVERPRICED PLUMBER. Just do it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So my husband thinks he can do plumbing. I'm not sure why he thinks this. We have had a foray this summer where him and his dad tried to replace a garbage disposal that the guy at the store said would take a 'half hour, tops'....which turned into a festival of hammers and screw drivers against metal & bigger men than are possible to fit under the sink, fitting under the sink. I got nominated to be the 'girl under the sink' seeing as they weren't fitting too well.

We ran into a problem as well when we had to do the 'righty tighty, lefty loosey' thing and found out the moron who put the kitchen sink drain in, did it backwards, so all the while I was lefty looseying, I was in actuality, righty tightying. Yeah, don't ask.

Anyways. Last night my husband has this brilliant plan to fix the tub faucet that had started out as a light, but annoying drip, and has now escalated over the course of about a year to a full on stream that is costing us more than we care to admit on our water bill.

He goes to the 'friendly neighborhood home improvement store for dummies'.....and was promptly told by the tweeny girl that sold it to him, 'Oh, it's very easy. Just pull out the old one, and push in the new cartridge.'

Yeah, right.

He gets home and proceeds downstairs to shut off the water (Hey, at least he did that, right?), and the next thing I know, he is banging on what I know now to be the shower. He was able to get the faucet off, but the 'cartridge thingy' did NOT come out, I repeat....DID NOT come out at all.

After a while, all of the remaining plastic that was in the most remotest possibility to be grabbed on and pulled out to gain access to the 'cartridge thingy' was now nonexistent and broken off, leaving one small metal pipe.

He went back to the 'friendly neighborhood home improvement store for dummies' and talked to the tween again and got himself a lock wrench this time to attempt to remove the 'cartridge thingy'.

Upon arriving home, I had already begun to dig on line for those DIY sites to see if I can find anything with pictures, video attached, etc. You'd be surprised on how much there ISN'T. Frustrating! I did find one video and it proceded to stop 3 times JUST at the part I needed to know about. 3 times!! This means I had to watch the commercial endorsement of Dove Body wash 3 times in order to see the boring video of a 50-something guy with bad facial hair and a probable plumbers butt crack to get to the part where it conveniently geeks on me.

The next attempt by the hub was to pull with all his might at the small brass pipe that was part of the 'cartridge thingy' to see if it indeed could be popped out like the tween at the store said.

So, needless to say as he was pulling with the new nifty lock jaw pliers, POP off comes the pipe.

Yep, now our 'cartridge thingy' would NEVER come out. And of course, we didn't have the trap door behind the closet that my parents assured us we had like all other homeowners so that the pipes could be gotten at easily. No, we didn't HAVE ONE OF THOSE DOORS!!!!

We opt out of calling my mom to see if we could stay the night because with the lack of shower, that wasn't going to be very nice if we couldn't find a way to make only the TUB valve stay off. After finagling some and trying different combinations, we finally found the magic one that gave us a toilet, sink, kitchen sink and NO TUB.

I had to grab the phone and call the dreaded plumber. I haven't heard yet today what the outcome of it all is, but it sure can't be good.

As much as I say I don't really care, I DO because we don't really have any extra cash lying around, but the thought of having to do a sponge bath again, that doesn't include a beer & a massage, is not on my list of favorite things.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What's your bag??

So, I got this great idea for the blog from a new blog I'm following, Adlibby on the loose, so THANKS to her!

In reference to her rules...it's not fair if you take a purse that is fun, your fave, or something with more character than you happen to be using this minute. The rule is....it has to be one that you carried with you today. Here's mine.

It is a pumpkin-spice colored suede purse that I got from "That's My Bag" on Michigan Avenue in Chicago on one of my many trips in to train for the Chicago 3-day walk.... I love it and it holds all of my crap, without looking TOO much like a suitcase. I love that the straps are long enough to go over my shoulder without it being too tight. It only cost me about 39 dollars and it is Sag Harbor brand. It came in an olive green too, but I got the larger tote accompaniment in that color. I have that one today too, but don't have pics of it.

Here is the inside.... I love that it has credit card slots (then I don't have to have a wallet in there). Keeps the weight lower! Despite it looking full, it really isn't. I have a small spiral notebook in there that has lists. I have a brag album of my awesome nephew who is incidentally 7 months old yesterday. I have a ton of lipstick/gloss/juice/chapstick....I am not sure why I have so many. That's actually after I removed about 6 tubes of various other colors just yesterday.

Lastly, here are the contents....unveiled. I'm not sure why I have 2 packs of gum either, or the dogtags. I think they are left over from me taking them from my car console to my purse and they never found a home at home...They are souveniers I got from the Harley 105th festival in Milwaukee in June (yes, June), and custom dog tags I had made when we were in DC last August (again, yes, August). I have a small pack for those ostentatious credit cards that I don't like to show that I have those silly cards like Bath & Body Works & actually kept the promotional fake credit card from the movie "Confessions of a Shopaholic" on accident. I have recently thrown that out, but you get my drift. I have my business card holder in the pretty blue case which I got from my sister, and a brochure from my business just in case. I did not remove all of the receipts from the center pocket, because that would just make me look messy!
In looking at the pile, I don't know where the money is!! Probably at the store where I got all of my lipgloss.

Tell me what's in your bag!!??