May 24th, 2009



I have been lax in singing the praises of our new shower.

There were several factors that triggered our bathroom renovation. The plumbing was wonky and the tub had worn to a point that it was hard to keep clean. The triggering factor, though, was that the grout on the shower walls had dissolved to a point that the tiles started falling down. (It turned out that there was another layer of tiles behind those. Our house has lots of construction quirks like that.)

Lori's father offered to do it for us. We intended to do it over the winter, but it got delayed til spring: we were slow to order products, then Loews neglected to order one of our pieces, then the tub surround had a slash sawed through it at one edge and had to be sent back. So we didn't start ripping out the old shower until April.

There followed two weeks of inconvenience as we had to go elsewhere to bathe. Lori did most of her bathing at her parents' house; I learned that my office building had a nice locker room with showers. After that, we had the tub and the surround installed, but not the shower doors, so we could take baths but not showers. On May 12, though, the caulk on the shower doors had finished curing, and I got to take a shower at last.

Our new shower is splendidly sumptuous. The showerhead (Amazon link) has two parts, a fixed shower head and a handheld part. The fixed shower head does a great job of covering my back with water luxuriously; the handheld part detaches to focus water on one part for easy rinsing, and adjusts to provide a nice massage as well. (Both parts are independently controllable; when we were in bath-only mode, we would use the handheld part without the fixed shower head.)

I'm also very pleased with the drainage. After years of fighting with a corroded drum trap that was very prone to clogging, our tub now drains so efficiently that water doesn't come halfway up my toes during a long shower.

The cabinetry is not yet done, so I'm not ready to post before-and-after pictures of our bathroom. But showering is lovely. I hope that I'm able to hold on to the delight of this shower for quite a while.

Dragon Taunting

A war story about our April 24 GURPS game.

My character is a priest, in the plate-wearing D&D sense. In fact, though I didn't plan this, he fits the fantasy-game notion of a paladin pretty closely.
He's just learned a new spell that (if successful) will compel a foe to attack him. (The strategic advantage is that it draws a foe away from a vulnerable or wounded ally. I think of this spell as a "taunt", akin to the WoW warrior ability.)

We've been traveling with a good dragon (named Vicnagolotha), en route to a territory of evil dragons. At a rest stop, she suggested that she could engage in mock combat with us, to prepare us to fight evil dragons if the need arose.

We made plans: we could go all-out against her, she would pull her punches. She would breathe fire so that we could see what that is like, but she would aim over our heads.

We began to fight and saw how clearly outmatched we were. Our hardest-hitting warriors could scratch her a bit if they got lucky. Our mage's spells could only penetrate her magic resistance with great luck. And she could easily knock us down with her wings and tail, or take to the air to elude us entirely.

She pointed at our mage and began to breathe fire over his head. In a bid to "save" him, I shouted "attack me, instead!" and cast my taunt spell. It was a nigh-futile gesture; I had never cast the spell before, and her magic resistance made it extremely improbable that it would affect her at all.

I rolled a critical success. The dragon's head snapped around and she blasted a jet of fire straight at me.

The GM ruled that a critical success on my first cast granted me some extra divine favor so that I didn't get burned by the fire; I insisted on at least the cosmetic damage of having my eyebrows burned away.

Even so, it was a splendid demonstration of the inherent risks of this taunt spell. I'll be pressuring other characters to learn first aid very soon.