I don’t like static shocks. When I was young, we had a slide in the back garden. When the sun was out, it would accumulate a static charge, and we would hate the ensuing shock climbing up to go around again. Now that I’m (somewhat) more mature, I still hate static shocks. In Glasgow, I have a pair of felt slippers at the office, and I wear fuzzy jumpers. As a result, I get zapped. I thought that I had left that behind me.
Every day, at LIGO, I manage to become a walking ball of negativity (electrical charge, that is). Light switch? Ow. Open the door? Eeek! Sit down in my metal framed chair, not falling for that one! What am I going to do, stand all day? I’ve been trying to determine the root of all of this, and I’ve narrowed it down some.
Just before I arrived, the office had new carpet put down. Maybe it was that. Maybe it was nylon rub. But then surely, everybody would be experiencing the same trauma. But asking about a little, it seems that only I have these shocks.
So that rules out the carpet.
So if now the carpet, maybe my old tattered shoes were so worn through that I spend my days rubbing socks against the carpet, not the sole. The simple solution was to just wear different shoes! And you might remember that I just purchased new shoes. What luck! So in all, I have had 3 pairs of shoes in this office, walking all over this new carpet.
Old shoes? Ouch!
Running shoes? Ah!
New shoes? Eek!
3 strikes, and the theory is out!
But what about the chair. Now I’m really grasping at straws. I have a roller chair. If a Van Der Graaff generator has taught me anything, its that circular motion can create static.
But I don’t have a rubber belt on the wheels, or a metal dome over my head. So by this point, I clearly am grasping at straws.
Bye bye, “theory”.
Maybe it was, as it had been in Glasgow, to do with the jumpers I like to wear. Luckily, I work indoors, and I live in a desert climate, so jumpers are not exactly necessary at all times. So I went for a day without a jumper (cue the wolf-whistles).
Stupid, damned static shock! That hypothesis has been rejected.
By this point, people are saying to me “Maybe its the dry air” or the ever helpful “Its your electric personality!”. Gee. Thanks, that’s lovely, but entirely useless to me!
One day, at home on my other laptop, plugged into a power outlet behind one of the sofas, I got up for a drink, flicked a light switch, and get a shock. In the house? On returning to my laptop, thinking nothing of it, I could feel my laptop chassis buzzing, life my slide did at home as a kid. Not so much, b ut immediately, I knew. The American 2-pin plug isn’t grounded, and my bulky UK plug, on top of a big, cheap US-UK converter wasn’t grounded at all, and I was the grounding rod!
I have a similar set-up at work. A bulky converter into a British plug, into my laptop. Often, the connection is so bad that the connector will fall out of the outlet when I shuffle my feet under the desk. But I need this here, I can’t just not use my laptop.
So today, I have taken the bold step of buying a brand new 2-pin US style power cable for my laptop. It should arrive by tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted.
As an interlude between the Shock part and the Aww part, let me give you this brief note on wind and tumbleweed.
This week, we have had 60mph winds in the desert. You know what’s light, likes to roll and gets everywhere?
And in large amounts?
and asserts its territory very aggresively?
Tumbleweed. The little balls of hell are thorny, fragile, pretty quick, and very good at getting tangled and attached to everything.
That is all
Since I arrived here, I’ve been experimenting with board games. On Tuesday of this week, Evan, Nutsinee and Hang all joined me playing Boomtown again. It held up, and the game is a hit! But we didn’t stop there for the week, oh no. On Wednesday, Evan, Nutsinee and I joined in a 3-player game of Pandemic – a nail-biting, disease beating co-operative game where we must cure the world of all of it’s ailments. The game is really stacked against its players, with one win condition, and 3 or 4 lose conditions.
But I have a confession.
I bought Mouseguard.
I’m not proud (I am a little). I played Mouseguard as a character in the past. It’s a roleplay-heavy table-top RPG where all players embody anthropomorphic mice, all fighting for the sovereignty and defence of their kingdom against other, more predatory woodland animals. Back in Swansea, a friend of mine, Jake GM’ed with a whole bunch of good friends and I being an adventuring party. The game really draws you in, and a good GM will really push the bounds of every character, and you feel like you can fully explore the mouse you are
I bought the full box-set, instead of just the rule book. It comes with, not only the rule book, but also 20 dice, a pad of character sheets, a GM screen, player cards, a pad of GM sheets, a map of the realm, and a booklet of extra rules and additional missions.
It was partly for simplicity – everything in one place, partly for clarity to new players (and me as a first time GM) that this is, in fact, how to play, and mostly this: It’s very pretty.
I have a brave (if not downright foolish) band of mice, Nutsinee, Evan, Darkhan and Hang, who are eager to play. As am I. We did the character creation (well, 2 and a half characters) on Wednesday evening, still one and a half to go this weekend. I think that we’re going to have a good party. I’m already trying to work out whose buttons will get pushed!
Just to give you fair warning: once a week, I might upload a post about the adventures of my guard’s patrol under a different category. You may feel entirely free to ignore those posts.