Up to the Holidays

Up to the Holidays Image

Well, the Blog has been neglected of late.  I guess that happens.

My job search has continued with rather sparse results.  Still looking.

Sheri & I have been trying to finish up Christmas stuff, which I think we've managed to do.  We're trying not to spend lots of money this year, but we really like giving things to our friends and family.  This has presented some challenges - some of which have been met wonderfully, some of which have been significantly more frustrating.  All in all, though, I think it's going to work out.

Apart from the more mundane aspects of my life, there have been one or two things of interest.

I've been working a bit on board game design for a couple of projects about which I may go into more detail at a later time.  Llama and I spent quite a bit of time last saturday night discussing one of these in particular and I think it has quite a bit of potential.

The two rp games I've been running have been going well.  The plot in my London 1802 game is coming to a head and I'm interested to see how it will turn out in the end.  The Sandstorm game left off for the holidays with a bit of a cliffhanger as the party exited the local wise-woman's cave to the sound of surrounding war-horns.  On a related note, I'm woefully behind in my session write-ups.  The last two sessions for each game have yet to be elaborated upon.  The synopses are really only for my benefit anyway, but I do need to take (what will now be a few hours worth of) time to flesh those out before I can no longer remember them.  I'll probably have to reference Sheri's notes as it is.

My birthday weekend was relaxing and cool.  On saturday night Tony & Adam came over and we played Dominion and watched a couple of the old Pink Panther movies (Peter Sellers ftw).  On sunday we had our last Rogue Trader session (Rucht's game) for the year and Stacie made me peanut butter birthday brownies which were *awesome*.  They even stopped the session and sang to me.  My friends are cool.  :-D

I spent this last monday afternoon shooting portraits for the Hippies.  This was a new and interesting experience for me, and I learned quite a bit from it.  I've been told the pictures turned out pretty well - they look good on my computer screen anyway.  One or two will get put into my Portfolio for this year at some point.  Also, I've discovered a poor-man's lighting solution: If you can't afford studio lights but you have a decent flash (with a pivot/swivel head), a 2'x3'  sheet of white foam board positioned a few feet away makes a pretty good bouncing surface for indirect lighting when you don't want to bounce from the ceiling or there is no usable ceiling.


At the moment, I'm taking a break.  Today we've been finishing up our christmas stuff and cleaning the house in preparation for Sheri's mom, dad & aunt who are coming to stay for the holidays.  They're supposed to get in sometime late tonight and I think our current plan is to stay up playing board games while we wait for them - probably some Dominion and Touch of Evil, which were two of Sheri's birthday presents this year.



Parents, Puppies and Projects

Tuesday May 18, 2010 at 9:46am family, home, jeep, gadgets, gaming, milligan, birthdays, friends Comments (0) »
Parents, Puppies and Projects Image

Well, we had a good weekend. My parents and Rylee (my mom's havanese puppy) came to visit, which is always a good time. Ally wasn't quite sure what to make of the little white fuzzball that ran around the house, but overall I think they got along.

There were, of course, the requisite "projects".

The roof's minor issue has now been completely fixed (which is good, because it's raining) and the downspouts on the gutters have been flushed out too. The jeep's had some small tune-ups - changed the fanbelt and a small vacuum hose. There are some other little things, but overall I was told the jeep was running well.

We also spent most of saturday doing what we can to map out a deck plan. I've been wanting to build a deck on the front of our house for a couple years. The project is still very much in the preliminary stages, but we're making some progress. What we need to do now is discover where our septic system is for sure (we're pretty sure already) and have the water line marked - because those pipes are in the area in question. Also, we need to either figure out how to get 18ft support beams or shorten the width to 16ft (which might squeeze one section). Still, we're making some progress.

In addition to home/auto projects, we had a great time hanging out. We went to bay's mountain park and went for a short hike and got soaked with rain about 3/4 of the way back to the car. On the upside, the rain cover for my camera case has been field-tested with great success.

My parents also, of course, had their shiny iphones. I decided a while back that I want one of these. We kinda need (at least one) personal phone, and if I'm going to add another bill to our monthly expenses, I'm totally willing to pay a bit more to get something *fun*. As of now, I think we're waiting for Sheri to decide if she wants her own phone and whether she also wants an iphone. She isn't sure how much of a smart phone's capabilities she would use a lot (at first anyway), but she doesn't really have any gadgets and this would be several in one. I personally think it would be kind of cool, if somewhat expensive. Edit: yeah, we did it. We now have shinies. Rather sooner than I would have imagined, but we had put it off for quite a while...

My World of Darkness game is now two sessions in and is going great. The players seem to be really enjoying it, and I'm liking the theme. Synopses' are posted on the Gaming page as useful. On a related now, I have now feared the entirety of the boot, and I've been poking around on the ftb forums. On another related note, I'm trying to figure out if I can pull off going to gencon this year.

Milligan's faculty/staff picnic was last tuesday, and that was cool. It's fun to talk to people we only see occasionally and meeting others.

A week ago last saturday was our friend Stacie's birthday party at Rucht & McKennas, and that was cool. I game with a lot of the same people, but that's a lot different from just hanging out. Plus, Stacie, McKenna and Jen aren't really gamers and they're really cool people - when we're gaming we sometimes "see" them, but don't get to interact with them much when we're roleplaying.


Easing into the Holidays

Wednesday December 9, 2009 at 1:34pm holidays, birthdays, friends, music, recording, anime, video games, gaming Comments (0) »

The holidays are fast approaching, but this year hasn't become as hectic (yet) as years past.

We have our vacation time planned out now - we'll be gone to the IN/OH area from the afternoon of the 20th through the 28th. We'll get to go to christmas parties on both sides of my extended family this year, which will be cool. Still need to finalize some details - like when to meet up with some people and who might be able to take care of Ally.

Other stuff (in no real order):

The Social Theory class I had been sitting in on came to a close, which is kinda sad. I was enjoying that. Dr. Beck took us out for lunch on Dec 1st - this was a reward for the class's good grades and they invited me to come along for fun. I brought them cookies on the last day of class. They were a little abnormal in terms of shape & consistency, but tasty.

Our friend Steve has moved back into the area, and it's been fun trying to catch up with him a bit. We've been talking a bit about music & recording and he wants to get back into a little tabletop gaming too. I've set part of my recording 'studio' up and have been playing a bit with Addictive Drums and AmpliTube. I've been looking at electronic drum kits again too.

We're planning what should be a fun new-years-eve party at the Hippie Hut Mk. II, though we are very sad that our EP & co. will not be able to make it. :(

Yesterday was Sheri's birthday. We went to the crazy tomato and then to best buy to buy a movie. We ended up getting Evangelion:1.01 - the first of 4 feature-length movies which are to be a retelling of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. It was pretty faithful to the original. On the downside, I doubt the next one will come out before next christmas.
Also, for one of her birthday presents, I got her Super Mario Wii, which she was very excited about. :) We played a couple levels of that too - it's hugely entertaining.

Still haven't got to playtest my new roleplaying system, but hopefully soon.


What passes for 'Vacation'

Saturday September 26, 2009 at 10:22am birthdays, trips, vacation, family, weddings, friends Comments (0) »

Picking up from where I left off last time, Patrick's birthday party was a lot of fun. A group of us met up at a Japanese/Sushi place for dinner and then headed back to his place for cake and general hanging out. I had a good time playing with my new camera lens as it let me take a lot of pictures of those in attendance without the need (or distraction of) a flash.

And that, I guess, brings me to Ben's wedding and our trip to AR - which was our most recent 'vacation'. We have found that the past few years, we really haven't had much of a vacation to ourselves - our vacation time is invariably spent visiting family since they all live so far away that we have to plan it out and take about a week to make it worth the trip. Not that we don't enjoy visiting our families - because we really do - but we'd kind of like to work in our own vacation at some point.

So anyway, we headed out to AR on friday the 18th. Ben & Brie's wedding was on saturday the 19th which, it should be noted, is also 'Talk Like A Pirate' day (note that I *did* talk like a pirate a bit, but found it's not nearly as much fun around people that don't get it) Ben had asked me to take some pictures at his wedding, which I was happy to do since it meant I had an excuse to play with my camera. The wedding was at 6pm and outdoors. The lighting was pretty decent beforehand, through the ceremony and most of the way through the reception, but around the time of the cutting of the cake, I was losing too much light - even for a 1.4 aperture. Still, I think I got a lot of good stuff for him. The 'official' photographer used a flash for all of her pictures, so I believe our photos will have very different looks to them, which, together with the fact that I took more informal shots, might make mine seem less redundant.

The rest of our visit in AR was mostly hanging out with Sheri's parents and playing cards. We did go out to a park on monday to go heron watching, which was cool. We also went up to the visitor's center by the dam where I took some pictures of the flower garden they have as well as some in their little museum (again enjoying the ability to take pictures of things inside without a flash).

Wednesday was our drive home, which took forever and I was completely exhausted and getting a little bit of a sinus infection (which still hasn't completely gone away) by the time we arrived home. Sheri has been reading some Anne McCaffrey books to me on our various trips this year - this time some in the 'talent' series. I think we made it through a book and a half on this trip.

Thursday was officially 'recovery' day. I did very little except fight a sinus infection and veg.

Yesterday was the only day off I had that I personally count as 100% vacation (as opposed to merely not having to work). Robb took us out to Asheville to hang out in the downtown area. We'd heard good things about downtown Asheville from various locals (most recently, Dr. Beck whom we randomly ran into in a Burger King as we headed that way), but we'd never been to it (intentionally). It's a nice little area with some amusing shops. There's a lot more life there than in downtown JC, that's for sure. We had a good time hanging out, looking around, perusing the shops, etc. We had a tasty dinner at a little Irish(ish) pub called Jack in the Wood which had a nice atmosphere and friendly people. They even had a mural in the restroom which depicted a scroll with a poem about the forest.

Anyway, after dinner we headed over to the Civic Center for our original purpose for being in Asheville - which was to see the Decemberists concert. I'm gonna make that it's own post.

So now it's Saturday and my 'vacation' is winding down. Again, I really need to mow, but it's extremely wet and rainy outside and that doesn't work out so well with the push mower. I can't tell you how heart broken I am not to be mowing right now... ...though when I'm finally able to do it I'll wish I'd been able to do it sooner...


Photo Shows and New Arrivals

Saturday September 12, 2009 at 10:46am photography, shows, friends, munchkins, camera, birthdays Comments (3) »
Photo Shows and New Arrivals Image

Well, my photography show "opened" at WAPC yesterday evening. Some of my friends were there to show some support and hang out: Robb, Edie and Llama came and so did Larry and Kris Rosolina...and of course Sheri was there :). There were also a fair number of people from Watauga as well - some of who I had met, and some whom I hadn't. Lots of people said they really liked my pictures, which was cool. Larry and Kris suggested I look into putting some of my work into next year's regional fair or possibly some other kind of photography show. I'll have to think about that - it sounds interesting.

I think I'll put up an online version of the gallery at some point - with the photos I chose and their names (which I had a lot of fun with and got several compliments on specifically). The gallery has a lot of still-lifes, a few landscapes, some pets, some small children and one or two other random shots.

Anyway, while we were hanging out there, our friends Ginger and William Galaini became parents of little Liam Ross. We've seen some pictures already (this expediency is one of the many reasons I'm such a fan of the internet and digital cameras! :)) and he shows signs of extreme cuteness and being one with the Force. As far as we know, Ginger and the munchkin are doing ok, but that's mostly because we haven't heard otherwise...I hope that gets confirmed soon.

Not much else of note has transpired. I did get some new stuff for my camera on friday : an extra battery (needed), a cable release (yay for tripod stuff), a lens hood (say no to flare) and, most importantly, a shiny new lens. At $400 it was the least expensive of the ones on my list. It's a 50mm prime with a 1.4 maximum aperture. It's intended uses are for low-light/indoor, fine depth-of-field and portraits. I'm still getting used to exactly how narrow the depth of field is at 1.4 on a 50mm lens only a few feet from the subject - like different-parts-of-peoples-faces-being-in-and-out-of-focus kind of narrow. Still learning on it and continuing to enjoy playing with it though.

Tonight we're going to a friend's birthday party. That should be fun times. :)

Nothing else to report here. Carry on.


Fireworks Weekend

Monday July 6, 2009 at 12:40pm holidays, friends, food, photography, birthdays Comments (2) »
Fireworks Weekend Image

So this weekend was the July 4th holiday. We went over to Rucht & McKenna's to join in their massive party. It was a lot of fun. We got to meet some new people, which I always enjoy - especially when we have something in common. It was also really cool to get to hang out with a few folks we don't get to see much since they're from out of town.

The desserts Sheri and I brought were both big hits. This was very gratifying, but I wouldn't have complained had the other guests liked the lemon cheese bars a little *less* (i.e., if there had been even one left over).

At the end of the evening, we all watched the JC fireworks display, which is conveniently set off pretty much right behind their house. A few of us climbed up onto Rucht's roof to get a better view - which was cool. I don't do heights and I won't say I was completely comfortable the whole time, but it was fun nonetheless.

I had brought my camera to experiment with taking pictures of the fireworks - which is a bit of a tricky art. I wasn't expecting to get anything terribly good, I just wanted to evaluate what would be necessary to do it. Still, I got a few shots I consider to be pretty interesting, and I've put them up in the gallery. I do wish I'd taken some pictures of the party, but I feel a little self-conscious taking pictures of such a large group of people many of whom I'd just met.

On Sunday we went to Katie's 5th birthday party. It was intended to be a pool party, but rain and some cold weather put a bit of a damper on that. It did eventually clear and warm up enough that a few people got in, but most of us simply spectated. Most importantly, Katie had a good time, and we all enjoyed playing with her.


Recording Preparations & Llamabration '09

Monday January 26, 2009 at 11:40am music, recording, friends, birthdays, parties Comments (2) »

Only two noteworthy things to mention here this week. And they're completely unrelated.

The first is that last week I started making preparations for this year's RPM challenge. Basically, i've been setting up my "studio". In the interest of improving the "tightness" of my recorded tracks (particularly the vocals) i've decided to turn the office closet into a sort of recording booth. I've cleared it out completely and lined most of the inside of it with foam from a cheap mattress pad. I've also moved in my guitar amp and the mic/soundboard setup that will run into my macbook for recording.

I spent a good chunk of time friday night and saturday afternoon doing sound checks with various instruments and vocals. It's sounding pretty good. Now I need to spend the next week writing.


On saturday we had "The Party Man Was Not Meant To Plan". This was Tony's birthday party. He apparently requested a Cthulu theme. We had all kinds of impressive unspeakable snacks and played some Lovecraftian horror games - namely Arkham Horror and Cthulu 500 (though we did have several others to choose from). And, of course, no horror experience would truly be complete for our Llama without some pink elephants. Hehe. It was a good time. I took quite a few pictures, the best of which are in the Llamabration 09 gallery.


Holiday Blog, pt. III + 2008 Portfolio

Thursday January 1, 2009 at 7:59pm holidays, christmas, birthdays, family, photography Comments (1) »
Holiday Blog, pt. III + 2008 Portfolio Image

Happy New Year!

So all of our company kind of left us at the same time. We went from having 8 people in the house to 2 in a matter of a few hours. My parents & sister arrived on tuesday evening and stayed till this afternoon and Sheri's family started back to AR this morning. It was a good holiday though. It was great to see everyone, and was nice to have people come to us instead of having to travel.

We had christmas with my parents last night in addition to the hanging out and playing games typical of new years eve. I was even able to find a video stream of Time Square for the final countdown (and not a SECOND sooner). Also, today's my dad's birthday and we took him out to lunch to celebrate. Additions to the already awesome holiday loot include (but are not limited to) Paper Mario, Wii Fit, an old-but-reintroduced Fantasy Flight game called 'Talisman' (that I'm *sure* I was talking to someone about recently), an 8gb USB flash drive, dvd's of My Fair Lady and Lt. Robinson Crusoe and some more $$ to put toward my camera gear (i'm currently about 2/3 of the way to the telephoto lens i want to buy) - and my brother did this awesome oil sketch/painting of sheri & I from a picture we'd sent him.

62 of the best pictures from the festivities are up in the Holidays 2008 Gallery.


Well, I've had my camera for a little over a year now, and I've learned a *lot* since i started out. I took approximately 11,700 pictures in 2008. I'd say probably about half of those made it off the camera. I have posted what i believe to be my best work in a 2008 Portfolio Gallery. These are the pictures that I really like and/or I think are good enough to be proud of.


Holiday Blog, pt. I

Tuesday December 23, 2008 at 3:02pm holidays, christmas, camera, friends, family, birthdays, projects Comments (0) »

It's christmas eve eve.

Anyway, we've had a lot going on lately - not too much of which makes for good reading though.

Last thursday I finally finished the wardrobe we bought over the summer - it looks pretty good and functions wonderfully. It's nice to have something other than the cheap wal-mart dressers we had before.

Had a good game session / birthday party on saturday. That was fun. I got presents! Heh. Also, some of my friends got together to make some game-inspired snacks. We had Gnome Knuckles and Pixie Puree and a giant Cheese Ooze and treeant branches and all kinds of geeky goodness. The game was lots of fun too. It was a bit combat-heavy, but it makes up for the last session where there was none.

Sheri's choir had their Christmas Cantata on sunday - it went pretty well, i thought. We spent most of the rest of the day cleaning up in preparation for our lot-o-christmas-company.

Speaking of, sheri's parents and brother arrived early monday morning and it wasn't long before they'd fired up the wii to feed their bowling addiction. Hehe. Her grandparents arrived later that evening. We are having a full house, but it's fun. I'm excited to have people here for the holidays instead of traveling. It's a nice change of pace.

My camera flash came in the mail yesterday too! Much fun is had! I've been discovering all kinds of things with bouncing light off ceilings and walls. I've taken some really nice, natural-looking shots with it already. I have *also* taken a few accidentally lit pictures with some rather bizarre lighting when i didn't realize the flash head was pointed some odd way. Anyway, i'm loving this thing. It's such an amazing improvement over the little built-in pop-up.

Also, i got to hang out with Sam a bit yesterday. Good times.

Also, also - i need to finish my christmas shopping today. Yes, i know i'm way late. It's hard to find a good time to go when sheri's not with me.


I'm Old(er)

Friday December 19, 2008 at 10:00am birthdays, projects Comments (1) »

So yesterday was my birthday. It was pretty much a normal day in most respects. Since Sheri had choir that evening, we really didn't plan much. I did finally put a clear-coat on the wardrobe that's out in our garage (it's almost done!).

It was a pretty good day though - I got phone calls from both of my parents and my brother and tons of birthday messages from friends. :-)

We're gonna have a gaming session saturday though (mayhem!) and i've heard a rumor that some aspects of the evening's festivities may pertain to my birthday.



Ticket to Birthday

Tuesday December 9, 2008 at 10:10am birthdays, parties Comments (2) »
Ticket to Birthday Image

Yesterday was Sheri's birthday.

Shortly after Ginger's birthday extravaganza, I started trying to think of something fun I could do for Sheri. Since her favorite board game is Ticket To Ride, I decided that would be a good thing to get together & play. I invited a bunch of friends over and we played a large, team-game adaptation of the game - using two different versions at the same time. It actually worked really well, and I think we want to try playing it that way again sometime (when we have enough time to actually finish). Going for something like a themed party, I also got a gingerbread train kit that I made for a sort of birthday cake... ...this was in addition to a turtle pie and a bunch of other snacks we had.

It was lots of fun, and Sheri had a great time. :-)


EDIT: Picture added to this post: all of the Ticket to Ride games we have, two of which were added last night.

Steampunk Mystery Photos

Monday November 17, 2008 at 12:00pm birthdays, parties, pictures Comments (1) »
Steampunk Mystery Photos Image

Photos from saturday's awesomeness are now up in Ginger's Birthday Party (Steampunk Mystery) gallery.

I thought it would be fun to convert this group shot to sepia such that it looks old in keeping with the steampunk/victorian/19th century theme. My original intent was to do this for individual photos, but i really don't have very many and i'm not even close to having a shot of everyone, so i decided to just do it to this one.

Anyway - enjoy. :-)


Steampunk Mystery

Sunday November 16, 2008 at 5:26pm birthdays, parties, steampunk, costumes Comments (0) »

Last night was Ginger's birthday party. I haven't mentioned much of anything about this on the blog because the details of the party were to be kept secret from Ging as long as possible.

The idea we had was for a murder mystery party with a steampunk flair. We all made steampunk-ish costumes and Rucht customized a murder mystery party kit to be a little more in this vein.

In case some of you don't know the general idea behind a 'murder mystery party' game, it's something like this: The host invites a group of guests who are all given a character role for the evening. One of them is the murderer. Through the course of the evening, the participants interact in character and will discover various details and secrets pertaining to the other characters which may make them seem more or less likely to be the culprit. At the end of the night, all the evidence is compiled, speculations are made, and the truth is revealed.

Ours was great fun. For the most part we were all roleplayers, but i don't think many of us have done much resembling larp (live action role playing). The costumes people made/assembled for this thing were great and i thought everyone did a awesome job of acting in character throughout the evening (granted there were digressions, but they were all amusing and didn't detract from the experience too much in my mind). This is definitely something I want to do again. The GM in me has decided it would be a fun thing to actually create one (though it would be a lot of work) and i've begun kicking around a few random ideas along this line.

I did break character from time to time to take some pictures. I think i got a few good ones - perhaps not as many as i would have liked, but I didn't want to devote a lot of time to that for this particular event. We did a nice group shot. As of the time of this blogging, i haven't gone through them all and I'm currently in erwin so i can't be working on that now. They should be up in a new gallery in a day or so. I'll update this post when they are.


Good Sessions, Upcoming Holidays, etc

Saturday November 8, 2008 at 11:36am gas, gaming, birthdays Comments (0) »

I'm currently sitting in our church's sanctuary while Sheri directs here choir practice. I had to get up at 8:30 on a saturday. Blah. Also, my left leg hurts for some unknown reason. Yeah, yeah. Complain, complain.

Anyway, gas is down to $1.99/gal here in Erwin. As I've previously declared, I stop complaining about it when it drops below $2.

One of the reasons I so disliked getting up at 8:30 this morning so much is because we had a rather late gaming session last night (not that i would have wanted to get up that early on a saturday *anyway*). The party wound up in a rather large and somewhat pivotal combat and we didn't want to break off in the middle of that. It was worth staying up for though.

As it turned out, we only had 4/6 of our players last night. We *thought* we were going to have 5/6, but another player had a minor crisis to attend to and had to bow out at the last minute. Since the rest of us were there already and wanted to game, and since 4 is a decent number, we decided to play anyway. I generally don't like to play with more than one player absent, but the way scheduling gets with a 6-player game, I'm starting to think the options are accept some absences when necessary, or just don't play - and the lower the acceptable number of players, the more likely it'll happen. I'm completely open to suggestions from the player on this (as always), but i may lower my 'gaming threshold' to 4 players in the interest of actually playing. When there's a month between sessions, i tend to get out of 'the groove' and it usually takes me an hour or so into the session just to get back in tune with the world & what's going on...and when you're only meeting once a month(ish) for a few hours, you don't get very far when your gm is constantly 'loading'...

Despite the fact that we missed a couple of players (and we *did* miss them), I think it was a good session. The party accomplished something important, we laughed at a lot of in-game jokes, and all the players seemed to be enjoying the game. Even Nick commented that the last, monumental encounter had been particularly interesting & fun - and that meant a lot to me. I have a lot of fun coming up with interesting/intricate/bizarre scenarios for the players to encounter & deal with, but my biggest goal is always to make sure the players enjoy the game. When they really seem to be having fun in a session, it's a success. I consider myself to be a good gm, and i think my game and the world is interesting, believable, and fun to play in - and i do take some amount of pride in it - but some of the players are harder to read than others and I can't always tell if they're really into it. Sessions like last night's are good ones. :-)

As for today - we have some errands to run after this choir practice wraps up, and then we're heading over to Nick's where he's going to make us all some burgers for *his* birthday. Apparently, he insisted on this. I'm not gonna complain. I think the plan is to spend the evening playing board games. :-)

We've now officially entered the Season of Celebrations - we have a ton of birthdays interspersed with the upcoming holidays. Very busy time of year, but in a good way overall.


McKenna's Costume Birthday Party

Sunday November 2, 2008 at 4:42pm birthdays, friends, parties, costumes Comments (2) »

Last night was the much-anticipated birthday/costume party for our friend McKenna. It was *lots* of fun. There were quite a few people there, and a lot of good costumes. Ginger's steampunk outfit was awesome, and Patrick's nobleman/wizard(?) costume was most impressive. Finn, of course, looked adorable in his King Arthur costume, and I had a good deal of fun taking pictures of him. I got a lot of compliments on my Vash the Stampede costume as well, which was nice. I don't think more than a handful of people actually recognized the character, but a lot of people liked the coat. :-)

The evening consisted of some most enjoyable socializing, some tasty, tasty fondue, and some other fun & games including Apples to Apples (always a favorite) and Rock Band (note: I can *not* play that game).

Near the end of the evening, we played a rousing game of Taboo. It should be noted that some of the participants were somewhat more tipsy than others - which, of course, added to its amusing nature. Also, there were at least two instances that words must have been guessed via telepathy or some other form of ESP. The first was Rucht's "Uhm...you might see this in a zoo..." to which Sheri quickly shouted "A zebra!" which, remarkably, was correct... ...but even more astounding than that was Nick's clue which began "So, there's this guy-" and was never actually finished because McKenna immediately yelled "Houdini!!" before he could finish coming up with the rest of the clue. Yes, the answer *was* Houdini. No, we still can't believe it either.

At one point during the game, there was a brief intermission caused by the eruption of an exceptionally brief sabre duel between Queen McKenna and the Pirate-Captain Nick. I wish I could have gotten a few pictures of this, but it literally lasted about 3 seconds, and by the time i got my camera back out, I had time for only a few poorly-composed shots before Captain Nick's weapon was sundered at the hilt and the blade ricocheted off a nearby lamp and "impaled" poor William, who had been napping on the floor nearby. After his defeat, Nick commented that clearly McKenna's blade was superior in its forging, and it was postulated that perhaps it was created by a Spaniard. Heh.

It was a great time. We need excuses to do stuff like that more often. I put up some of the best pictures i took at the party when we got home last night. They're in the McKenna's Birthday Party gallery.


Costume Complete

Thursday October 30, 2008 at 11:08pm costumes, projects, birthdays Comments (0) »

As of about an hour ago, my costume for saturday's party has been completed. I've put an unnecessarily large amount of time into constructing this, but I've enjoyed it and I think it has turned out quite well. Its taken so long mostly because a lot of the pieces had to be fabricated/modified/repainted/etc in order to suit my purposes. Putting it on involves about 22 pieces and takes 15 - 20 minutes. Also, it's kinda hot so i may not be wearing the entire costume for the whole evening - but it'll be easier to take pictures of the others without some of the pieces on anyway. Still, it's pretty awesome. :-)

I'm excited & looking forward to saturday. :-D


Llamabration 2008

Sunday January 27, 2008 at 9:52pm birthdays Comments (0) »

Yesterday, we held our annual Llamabration - that is, our birthday party for our resident llama. Great fun was had by all who attended this monumentous occasion.

Basically, we hung out at Mike & Steph's, ate Lasagna-not-lasagna made by our EP as well as many other tasty goodies, played much Wii and gave our quadruped many interesting gifts. I took a bunch of pictures which are now posted in the gallery here.

Happy Birthday, Llama!


Cameras, Birthday Happenings, Etc

Wednesday December 19, 2007 at 11:39am cameras, birthdays, friends, penguins, christmas, family Comments (2) »
Cameras, Birthday Happenings, Etc Image

This is probably the last picture I'll post taken with our Kodak EasyShare digital camera. The subject of the picture should adequately explain why that is. :) I was able to pick this up (on sale) yesterday due to the *amazing* christmas bonus I got this year. I am now horribly out-classed by my equipment - but this is a disparity i'll be seeking to remedy over the course of the next year or so. Perhaps with some help from some friends.

In case anyone cares, I did type up my thoughts regarding Why I Decided on the Canon 40D. You know, if you didn't get enough of my rambling on that before.

In other news, I had a great birthday yesterday. For much more than the above reason. After work, Sheri, Ginger and Tony took me out to eat at O'Charley's (potato soup....yum) and then we went to a place called Fun Expedition and played miniature golf. Blacklight miniature golf. The second half of the course was in a closed-off, darkened area illuminated solely by blacklights and florescent materials. The balls glowed. The cup glowed. The obstacles glowed. The putting surface however, was a well of inky blackness. You couldn't see it at all. Sometimes you didn't know if there were bumps, basins, mounds, etc until you watched your ball unexpectedly change direction as it rolled over them. It was evil. But very cool.

After that, we came back here and had ice-cream cake and i got presents. Ginger gave me a fantastic penguin kids' book. A new IM away message is taken from it. :-)

Tony gave me a game called Penguins: a family penguin-stacking game - ironically put out by Fantasy Flight, the same people who make Arkham Horror and a bunch of other rpg-type games.

Sheri gave me a copy of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original - Gene Wilder is awesome) and a penguin-shaped vibrating massager.

So, out of 4 birthday presents, 3 were penguin-based. Not bad. ;-)

Tonight we're supposed to have our little christmas party. We've invited Rucht, McKenna and Finn as well. I'm going to make some spaghetti. It should be lots of fun.

Just a couple more days till christmas vacation and heading up to IN. I can't wait to see everybody - it's been a *long* time since i've seen some of them.


Happy Birthday to Me

Tuesday December 18, 2007 at 10:04am birthdays, friends Comments (0) »

So I'm 28 today! Even though the older I get the less significantly individual birthdays affect my self-identity, I still have a sort of child-like joy regarding the annual day of birth and the general merriment that it implies as good friends and casual acquaintances express that they wish me well. Such things are important to me.

I think some of my friends have planned something fun for this evening. I know we're at least going out for dinner tonight - which is always a good time. I'm sure we'll have some sort of cake/ice cream, play some games. We generally seize any excuse to partake in such activities.

I'm sure sometime tonight or tomorrow I'll post the full list of events as they happened. I'm also planning on acquiring something else today - which I'll probably be posting about later too.


Blog entry in three part discord

Tuesday December 11, 2007 at 12:53pm birthdays, movies, weather Comments (2) »

Last saturday was Sheri's birthday. To celebrate, she, Tony, Ginger and I all went to Holiday Lanes and bowled 3 games (from which i'm still a little sore). We all had a great time. Perhaps we will do that again sometime.

After the bowling, we took her out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse, and then returned here where we had cake, ice cream and presents for the bunny. Tony gave her a game called Treehouse, Ginger got her a hummingbird feeder, and I gave her the Jungle Book dvd and the Ticket To Ride: Switzerland expansion.

We rounded out the evening by playing a couple games of Ginger's Mario Golf.

Good times. :-)

In other, unrelated news:

I don't get excited about the movies that most would. This makes me happy:

Tim Burton to Direct Alice in Wonderland

I think this could be very, very good. I've always liked these stories and the characters, and I think Burton's somewhat darker (than Disney) imagery could make a very cool adaptation.

In other, very unrelated news:

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007. 72 75 degrees. I'm not complaining, but that's a little freakish...


Giving of Thanks

Sunday November 25, 2007 at 2:07pm birthdays, friends, video games, holidays, family, food Comments (0) »

Hanging out at church on a sunday afternoon. Sheri's working at the piano on some songs, etc - figured I'd write a little something about the festivities of this last, long weekend.

Before the holiday, we had a little birthday part for Ginger. Her birthday was actually on saturday, but she was going to be gone for the holiday, so we had to have our little celebration a bit early. It was pretty fun. Sheri and I took her out to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, then we went back to the Igloo where Llama and Joe joined us for ice cream cake and some Mario Golf - which sheri and I had given her for a birthday present.

I think I'm obligated to say a little more about that, given what I've done the last several days. While Ginger was out of town I/we borrowed her gamecube, and over the course of thursday, friday and saturday, I played ridiculous amounts of Mario Golf (Toadstool Tour). It is a very fun little game. In fact, I played and liked it so much, you'd think it was my idea to get it, or even that I was with Sheri when she picked it out. I wasn't. (long story even though it's kind of short, but suffice to say she went to get something else we had decided on, and ended up with that instead). It's also a multiplayer game, and I look forward to some more nights of 4-player golfing mayhem.

On thursday, Sheri made us a little thanksgiving feast - complete with most of the traditional faire - turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry salad, rolls, etc. Very tasty. After that, we put up our christmas decorations, because Sheri just wasn't waiting any longer. They look pretty good. To date, Ally hasn't tried to eat any of them. Also, we took turns calling our families, which was cool.

On friday, we didn't do too much. Went to check on Ginger's cats and do a couple things in town - careful to choose tasks that did not involve shopping.

On saturday, we did do a little christmas shopping. We're almost done. Mostly due to Sheri's organized responsible-ness.

And that brings us to today, at church, hanging out. Nothing much to report here.


Happy Birthday?

Thursday June 7, 2007 at 1:43pm birthdays, penguins Comments (1) »

Did someone move my birthday while I wasn't looking? I just got a birthday card in the mail from sheri's mom.

Now, I know she knows when my birthday actually is - but looking at it, you can probably guess why I got this card. Apparently she found this one somewhere and decided she couldn't wait 6 months.

I don't suppose the summer-themed card would go real well for my december-themed birthday either, so maybe that's a justification for its prematureness.

It is quite fun - and it makes a nice addition to my penguin-themed life.


Sushiday, The Second

Thursday February 1, 2007 at 9:13am birthdays, website, because i can Comments (1) »

Happy Sushiday!

Today is penguinsushi.com's second birthday. While this last year has seen only one major site redesign (as opposed to the 3 the previous year), I still think it's come a long way in terms of what it can do. Not that there's much of a reason for it, mind you - much of the site remains a 'because I can' sort of accomplishment.

So anyway, yeah, 2 years on the web. Woo-hoo! Hope you've enjoyed them.


Things I did while not blogging

Monday January 29, 2007 at 11:31am our house, friends, food, birthdays, gaming Comments (1) »

Another weekend came and went. It was a pretty good one.

On friday and saturday sheri and I talked about some stuff for the house and decided that I'll start working on the hallway this week. I became much more interested in the project when we decided not to paint the hallway white. White is boring. The first step is to repair a couple cracks and smooth out the drywall. I'll be photo-documenting it and i'll try to put some pictures up as I go - or at least when it's done.

Kevin was in town this weekend too. It's always nice to get to hang out with out-of-town friends for a bit.

Saturday night we all took tony to Misaki's (japanese hibachi steakhouse place) for his 25th birthday. I've decided I like Misaki's pretty well - despite the fact that I don't like chinese much and I haven't been a fan of any eastern food in the past. It was tasty.

We gave tony a llama calendar and ginger gave him a shirt that says 'the penguin made me do it'. Appropriate on so many levels.

Last night we finally got to continue one of my d&d games that's been on hold for a while. We had a good session.

I think a couple more quotes got added to 'the list' this week too.


Weekend Frenzy

Monday December 18, 2006 at 11:06am friends, choir, work, funny, birthdays, holidays, long freakin post Comments (0) »

This is going to be a long one.

I'm tired.

I'm not entirely sure why, since I slept in a bit this morning, but I'm still tired.

My only theory about why I don't seem to have any energy today is the amount of running around we did this weekend.

On friday I had work as usual, then we went into town to finish up our christmas shopping.

After that, Sheri needed to go to Erwin for what was supposed to be a practice for the kid's program that was to be put on sunday night. Unfortunately, only 2 of the kids showed up so there wasn't much point to it. Keep in mind, there'd only been one other practice for this thing the previous wednesday.

On the plus side, Sam & Erin were there and I personally had a great time getting to talk to them.

After we had returned home, my sister arrived. She was on her way to IN for Christmas break and didn't want to make the whole trip in one day.

The next day we had a rehearsal for the choir cantata that was to go on on sunday morning. It went pretty well.

After returning from that, we went out to lunch with Jese before she left to continue to IN.

We then went to the JC Chorale's Christmas concert. Sheri was sad that she didn't get to sing in it, but she enjoyed watching and talking to some of the Chorale members. They miss her. I got to talk to Rucht a bit about gaming and other assorted things. I also ran into Sue and we talked about the website i'm doing for Watauga a bit.

After that, we went to the Crazy Tomato for our 'company christmas dinner' with KW (boss-man), Addie (coworker, boss-man's wife), Brandon (coworker) & Randy (brandon's wife). We talked about how we did this year and what we're looking to accomplish next year. Pretty much all good news. Brandon & I also got spiffy old navy fleece pull-overs with our company logo. Sheri and Randy each got throw blankets (because Addie didn't think it was fair that the boys got stuff but the girls didn't). Brandon and Randy gave us a cool cinnamon candle and a penguin ornament. I felt like kind of a bum - since we didn't even think about christmas presents. I wasn't expecting anything and we were so busy that I didn't have time to wonder. I'll remember for next year though.

Another thing I wasn't expecting was the bonus that Brandon & I got. I'm planning on putting mine toward a new electric guitar - something I've been wanting to get for a while now.

Sunday morning we had the cantata - which went very well, the choir did great. After church we helped the Rosolina's a little as they set up the set for the children's program that night. Then we went home for the afternoon (something we usually don't do).

We had a relaxing afternoon and then returned to Erwin to practice the children's program one more time. Around 6:45 people started arriving and the program went on at 7. It went pretty well, all things considered. After that we had our resident santa come and give out little gift bags to all the kids - and to the staff. Seeing Dr. Gwaltney sit on Santa's lap was hilarious. After all the festivities we disassembled the set and put the stage back the way it normally is.

Probably the most memorable part of the entire evening was Katie's little mishap with the baby jesus. See, I think the church has had the small, hollow, plastic-formed baby jesus for about 30 years. It was so old, the paint had worn off of most of it so it was mostly just white. And it was ugly. Really ugly. It actually closely resembled a prairie dog - especially the way Erin had placed him in the manger - sticking straight up.

So anyway - Sam, Katie and I were standing in the choir room. Katie was holding the plastic baby jesus saying she should hide it so that they'd have to use something else next year. In fact, she said, if that was her kid, he'd better be the son of god, because that's all he's got going for him. She must have been squeezing a bit too tight as she gestured because at about the time she finished this statement, the baby jesus EXPLODED. It didn't just crumble and fall apart mind you - there was an audible *pop* as little pieces of christ flew out about 5 feet in every direction. Katie's half-terrified / half-amused expression was priceless. Sam stared at her wide-eyed and gasped "You broke baby Jesus!". I simply laughed uncontrollably.

After we finished cleaning up, we departed. Sheri and I then went to Cheddars where we met Ginger, Tony and Justin for dinner somewhat in honor of my birthday (which is actually today. happy birthday to me). We enjoyed some good food and amusing conversation even as my energy level decreased rapidly.

After dinner, we returned to the Igloo where I got to open some birthday presents. They also got me an ice-cream cake that I was way to full to eat any of. I think I'll have some today though.

After that, we had our own little christmas party as everyone is leaving the state sometime this week. It was fun.

I ended up with a few cute, new additions to my penguin army, a ps game that looks like fun and a 10 inch figure of Marvin, the manically-depressed robot from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy.

I may well have left some parts out of this crazy weekend, but that's what I remember off the top of my head.


A good weekend

Monday December 11, 2006 at 10:25am birthdays, video games, gaming, friends Comments (0) »

It was a good weekend.

Friday was Sheri's birthday. I took her out to dinner and then we, llama and the EP drove out to see the Speedway in Lights. That was fun.

Continuing their past tradition, ging and tony got sheri the 3rd Mario Party game. I gave her a dvd of White Christmas and a new Ticket To Ride game - which is pretty fun.

Saturday we had a choir rehearsal and then we returned and I got to run my d&d game for the last time for the year. (Which gives me PLENTY of time to come up with the trials that await the party in the tunnels outside Fissure. Cue maniacal laughter.)

Sunday we spent in Erwin as usual, though, unlike usual, we were invited to lunch at Shelton & Gale's (along with Craig and Meghan), which was very enjoyable.

Nothing overly interesting or exciting or 'blog worthy', but I feel pretty good this monday morning.


Kevin, Birthday, Duke, Apple

Tuesday May 30, 2006 at 10:31am travel, birthdays Comments (2) »

Yesterday Ginger, Tony, Sheri and I embarked on what would be a near-epic adventure to Durham to visit Kevin for his birthday.

Conspiring with some local friends of his - Joe and Amy - we showed up at his apartment around 1pm - much to his surprise. We told him to change out of his penguin pj's and come outside for a cookout we were having. We generally spent the afternoon eating, talking and playing frisbee.

After the cookout, the six of us went to look around Duke's campus and buildings. We got to walk around in the amazing cathedral-style chapel and the div-school building(s). We stopped to examine both of Hauerwas' office doors - which are plastered with all manner of interesting stickers, photos and other strange and humorous artifacts. We had a brief encounter with Dr. Hall, who is very friendly and regretted not having time to talk to us for long. It was amusing to hear her harass kevin a little - leaving him with nothing to say (which is a bit extraordinary in and of itself).

After leaving the div-school, we drove over to Durham's mall (which, as we discussed, is a real mall, as opposed to the little thing we have here in JC) and to the Apple store, where my desire to in some fashion purchase a mac was further and greatly reinforced. Alas, i must see to house-related stuff first.


Happy Sushiday

Wednesday February 1, 2006 at 10:57pm birthdays, website Comments (1) »

It has now been a year since this site was brought into existence. Seems to me this deserves some small notice in the blog. In case some of you missed the candle in the title at the top or if you just didn't bother clicking on it, here is the birthday page i put up honoring this site's perseverance.

This site has come a long way since it was first built, but if i'd have known how well it would turn out when i started, i would have been quite pleased. It has proven to be both fun and useful - and here i would have settled for 1 of the 2.

Thanks especially to my friends, whose continued use and enjoyment of this site makes the entire project worthwhile.


Happy birthday to me

Monday December 19, 2005 at 9:00am birthdays Comments (2) »

Well, yesterday was my birthday. I'm now officially 26. We got to play The Penguin Ultimatum for the first time last night. That's a fun little game.

The next couple of weeks are, as expected, going to be pretty much taken up with holidayish stuff - finishing shopping, traveling, etc. Things probably won't return to normal till the beginning of next year. Fun times.


The weekend...as usual?

Monday December 12, 2005 at 11:45am birthdays, coffeehouse, church, music Comments (2) »

As was mentioned on the forums, last thursday was Sheri's birthday. We had a little party complete with cupcakes and yoshi. I got her a d&d player's handbook. I would say i'm a dork, but it seems that that's the present she's been most excited about.

Friday was coffeehouse night, but Sheri went caroling with some other ladies at church, so i spent most of the evening with Ginger and Tony. Ginger came over to the Rabbit Hole after work, where we proceeded to be not at all exciting for a couple of hours as i worked on some stuff, she played AOE and we talked about nothing terribly important for a while. From there we proceeded to the Lair where we met Llama. I won't say that made us more exciting necessarily, but it certainly made us more random. The three of us went out for dinner and discussed such deep questions as why ginger is unable to eat chicken nuggets while in our company (and if we could get a federal grant to research this), and how one would operate a usb toaster with passing references to our degree of normality.

On Saturday Sheri's choir had a rehearsal for their christmas program and then we came back here to game. It was great fun, though some of us are a little concerned that the pizza delivery guy may report us for conspiracy to commit arsony. Don't ask.

Sunday was the usual "stay in erwin day". This week, it was even more "stay in erwin day", since it was the 3rd of 4 possible trips to erwin within 4 days. We went to Wendy's for lunch and it was freezing because their heater had been broken for 3 days. I was amused to notice the marquee on their sign said "stay warm with a chili".

Sunday night was the Carol Sing at our church for which Sheri, Sam and I played Christmas Carols of the Rising Sun. We had quite a few compliments on it. Joel gave me a look that i interpreted to say "I really shouldn't admit that i enjoyed that, but i enjoyed that".

If you ask me, a great weekend.