Saturday, August 16, 2014

No Soup (Gen Con) For You!

After the horrors of the Chicago 2013-2014 winter, I asked the mechanic I've taken my car to, to look it over. I knew that it was a terrible winter. It was so bad that where I work shut down for a few days because they had to do a lot of mechanical maintenance and other bits aside. My car was having trouble starting and tended to be shaky when on the expressway. The mechanic is fantastic in terms of his mechanical abilities but...

Tells me I need spark plugs. Get those.

Next day car doesn't start.

Have huge drama getting it to Auto-Zone and it's a whole story here of how I wind up buying a new battery from Tripple A and having some locals repalce my starter.

Total damage including the sparkplugs? $500 bones roughly.

So that's in like May.

Then my mom is driving the car while taking my sister back and hey, there's this awesome snapping noise that sounds like the car's been struck.

NOW the mechanic has no time for me, but gives me a recommendation to another guy he knows.

Rear brakes completely shot.

Rear axle completely shot.

Water pump worthless.

Motor Mounts gone. That was the loud SNAP my mom heard.

There was some other things wrong too and all in all, roughly $3,500 bones.

First, while I know the mechanic who usually looks at the car knows what he's doing, he could not possibly have missed all of that if he had bothered to look for it. Seriously, it can't all happen at one time.

Second, the car is twelve years old. While it was a Saturn and was still getting about 20 mph, and its paint was peeling but not rusting because it wasn't metal, I knew that it was only matter of time before some serious issues hit.

I was honestly expecting it to be the transmission. After all, it was an old car.

But that just meant that if I spent the $3,500, that was something else I could look forward to going out.

So I went out and bought a Kia Soul.

So now I'm on the hook for a few bones for many a month.

But in theory, I could have still went to Gen Con BUT...

About four years ago now, my mom was experiencing debilitating pain when walking. I almost had to carry her down the stairs and had to bring a chair to the flights between levels so she could rest. So among the many reasons I hate doctors is that they don't' know what their doing. My mom went through x-rays, MRI scans, electro-shock tests, muscle tests, bone density tests, and a lot of finger pointing from one specialists to the next.

So with her diabetes, she gets a foot infection and BAM! Half her left foot has to go. But hey, turns out that the pain? That was PAD, Peripheral Artery Disease and yeah, for almost two years no doctor could figure that out. So before she gets the foot lopped off, she has to have arteries transferred to allow blood flow to get to the foot so that the surgery to remove the infected part of the foot actually works.

So then it's four months of physical rehab. The place isn't bad for the most part, but the food is downright atrocious. So terrible that she doesn't eat unless I bring food to her, so that meant for about a third of the year I was going to the rehab place every day, but hey, it was only a few blocks away so that was win.

But in talking about my hate of doctors, they give her a shoe that is visually not good. Where the front meets the back, there is an obvious overlapping section. They insist that she wears it. Hey, it gives her newly healed foot a blister. A wound on the amputated food of a diabetic.

So for the last oh, eightteen months I've been taking her to see a wound specialist. The meeting is before I'm off work so lots of vacation time used up there. Mind you I've used vacation time on some of my own things, because lord knows I get sick myself, but the majority of my vacation and floating holidays, went to taking the mom to the doctor.

So with little money and only a few days of vacation left, which I break into half days to take mom to the doctor, at least four times a month, I made the decesion to skip Gen Con this year.

On one hand, it's a bummer. I enjoyed running games and seeing all the great art and meeting the creators and getting Con exclusives.

On the other, well, I still haven't painted everything I bought from Gen Con last year. I still haven't played all the games I bought last year. I still haven't read all the books I bought last year. It's not that I wouldn't buy more if given the opportunity, it's just I'm not suffering from it.

Another thing limiting my disappointment with not going this year, is that, as in years past, several companies are doing sales for those that aren't going. Several companies are even selling the convention exclusives through the web store for the duration of the convention. I was going to pick some stuff up from one store, but for three books to ship it seemed an excessive charge. Perhaps it's a weird thing but if shipping three books is now $12+ dollars, it's a good thing I'm an Amazon Prime member.

Heck, some of the very late Kickstarters have even started to trickle in so there's that to keep me amused at least. Speaking of Kickstarters I'll have to do another post about that and my own recent actions with them.

Anyway, that's my sob story. I might have been able to sneak down there for a day but I wasn't going to pay $50 to wander the Dealer's Hall for one day and play a few pick up games when I have a regular group and two good gaming stores down here.

For those who did get to Gen Con, how was the trip? It seemed crowded last year but it's a big con and I suspect getting bigger with more mainstream acceptance thanks to movies and board games. Heck, Amazon has a deal of the day for numerous board games and the Fate RPG.

I do miss the food trucks through. Well I ain't missing no meals I assure you, the novelty of the food trucks and the variety of food is great. I wish we had them here. Chicago politicians seem dead set against actual capitalism despite the defense of that word whenever they want to stomp on someone, 

Anyway, tell me of the good stuff you bought. Point out some great threads of Con loot. Post some links to the awesome!