Sum of the New Year

Saturday January 11, 2014 at 9:21am christmas, photography, geocaching, gaming Comments (0) »
2013 Family Christmas Photo 2013 Family Christmas Photo.  Camera controlled from laptop, laptop  controlled from cell phone.  Hannah controlled: barely.  Flash bounced  from left off a piece of foam board on a music stand.
2013 Family Christmas Photo.  Camera controlled from laptop, laptop controlled from cell phone.  Hannah controlled: barely.  Flash bounced from left off a piece of foam board on a music stand.

Ah, the new year.  2014 happens.  Looks like is almost 9 years old.  Over Christmas I, once again, made the journey northward toward parentville.  Unquestionably a great time.  Tons of pictures on the Bookface (for those of you who find me there).

The Pro

I finally was able to meet Tony Vasquez, my friend Brittany's husband, who happens to be a pro photographer.  We had a great time talking.  He gave me a few tips on flash photography/lighting and post-production, and I was somewhat gratified that, during the course of the conversation, I actually did feel like I knew what I was talking about.  Since I've been back, some mention has been made of us going out and shooting together next time I'm up that way - which would be completely awesome.

Potential Gear

Christmas was also pretty good to my camera fund.  In theory, I think I have very nearly enough for my next purchase (though that's going to wait at least a while for a small myriad of reasons).  I'm still not sure what, exactly, I want to go with.  It's down to either an updated camera body, or a nice wide-angle lens.  Unfortunately, a perfect candidate for either of those doesn't exist at the moment - though there are rumours of developments throughout this year.  As of now, I'm planning to rent Canon's 14mm F2.8 L II later this spring to try it out.  I figured if I'm considering spending that kind of money, I want to be absolutely sure it's what I want.

Cold Cache

Ha! Another geocaching pun! 

So dad & I went out 2 and half times over the holiday.  Seems he had a lot of fun over thranksgiving, and wanted to do some more.  I say "and a half" because there was one time that we both went out, just not together.  On new year's eve we went out to a trail near Lake Monroe and hit 10.  Overall, we were 13 for 16.  Looking at the logs, a couple of our DNFs seem as though they, perhaps, weren't even present.   I've now found more caches in IN than TN (a condition my good friend the Llama wishes to rectify).

So Tony/Llama and I have been thinking about placing our own cache somewhere around here.  I've found some promising containers for "not-too-expensive", and been thinking about possible sites.  I, personally, am more a fan of the caches that are in parks, along trails, etc.  We still need to scout the locations, though getting permission to actually place one might be difficult.  Can't put my finger on why, but I get the general impression standards/restrictions may have become tighter in the last 5-10 years.

And A Happy New Game

Our Cyrran Reaches game wrapped up a chapter in mid-December, and it left off with 4 or 5 possible directions in which to proceed.  It has been a fantastic game, and we're planning to keep rolling with it...

...just not immediately.  See, we've been playing that game for almost a year now, and I find that too much longer than that and I start to get burned out.  I'm loving that game, but I also like variety.  We kicked a couple of ideas around and decided that we're going set up a brief interlude game: something different to play with for a few sessions before we get back to the "main event". 

We've done a lot of fantasy, so I'm planning to run a short sci-fi game for the group.  I've just actually ordered the Fate stuff I'd been wanting to pick up (I'd been planning to buy it ever since I downloaded the Pay-What-You-Want pdf and ran a game at Trogland 7), and I'm looking forward to playing some more with that.  I was talking to Sheri last night about the setting I have in mind, and she seemed pretty interested.


An Epic Quest

Saturday December 3, 2011 at 10:51am holidays, christmas, gifts, video games Comments (1) »
An Epic Quest Image

Well, it's December again.  Seems like just yesterday it was....November.

I guess that's not too far off.


So as we approach the holiday season, thoughts once again turn to "what do i get for X?" - where X == some friend or relation.

Or "all" friends and relations.

Don't get me wrong, I really like getting things for people.  It's a chance to do something nice and, in my case, a chance to celebrate common interests.  See, I prefer to get things for people that make sense "coming from me".  I try to put a lot of thought into what i would like to give someone: something they'll really like, and that I'd really like to give them.

Of course, sometimes you come up empty.

This year, that seems to be the case for more people than not.  I've got a few ideas, but not an especially vast array().  Er, "array".

As for me, I'm pretty easily amused.  I get a kick out of anything anyone who knows me might give me, with very few exceptions.  Of course, then there's the part of me that thinks I have too much stuff already.


This particular season, one of the things I'm hoping to come out with is the new Zelda game.  See, Tony and I have an agreement.  Our Wii is broken at the moment, but his isn't.  We're planning to get ours fixed at some point, but we're not sure when that might happen.  Come January, I'm supposed to have The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - one way or another.  While I wouldn't be surprised it Tony ends up with a copy of the game himself, his "job" here is to supply the Wii.  (I'm not sure who's supposed to supply the motion+ controller...)  Our plan is to recreate a bit of our experience with one of the older games.

Back when we were at Milligan, Tony brought his N64 down to my room, and the two of us started playing Ocarina of Time.  It's a single player game, but we enjoyed hanging out while the other played, occasionally offering suggestions.  We also took turns on our own games so that one of us would get further ahead, and then the other would play, catch up, and get a little further still.  This kind of leap-frog approach kept the game interesting to play and watch.


Edit: I went looking through my photos for a picture for this post. Apparently I don't have a single photo of wrapped presents. I'll have to remedy that this year.


Let It Snow?

Sunday December 27, 2009 at 7:49pm snow, trips, family, holidays, christmas Comments (0) »

The snow seems to be following me around. I'm currently at my grandparents' house in OH where we've been snowed in for the night. Hopefully we'll still be heading down to TN tomorrow as planned, however.

Our trip has been good, though I haven't had my voice for any of it. It left me saturday the 19th and hasn't come back to me since. If any of you see it, please send it over. At least I'd gotten over the rest of being sick before we headed up here.

We got to see most of my extended family on both my parents' sides this trip - which was cool. I don't get to see these people often enough. I took a bunch of pictures which will probably be posted to facebook (where I'm starting to post more 'personal' pictures, reserving my gallery here for more 'artistic' photos.)

The evening sunday the 20th we spent in OH with my mom's side of the family. For most of the week, we hung out at my parents' house and relaxed. This was nice. We hooked the Wii up to my parents' projector and enjoyed some Wii Bowling and Super Mario on the big screen. That was highly amusing. Christmas day we spent with them and Sheri's grandpa came down to join us for the day. We opened presents, had a tasty dinner, and played games. On saturday the 26th we went out to see Kedrick & Addie (my 'boss' & his wife) and enjoyed a nice dinner and catching up with them. That brings us to today, when we traveled here to my dad's parents' house for christmas with this side of the family... ...whereupon we have become snowbound.

As usual, I got some fun toys for christmas, including Mini Ninjas for the Wii (yay!), the Mouse Guard hardbacks, the Star Wars rpg rulebook, a midi interface for my computer, a lego set, some cool clothes, some money for the 'camera fund' and some other cool stuff that's not floating to the top of my head quite as quickly.


Entering the Lull - Don't Blink or You'll Miss It

Sunday November 29, 2009 at 3:00pm thanksgiving, christmas, holidays, relaxing Comments (1) »

So here I sit at the end of the thanksgiving weekend. A few days of not having to do much of anything were nice. It's been a while since I've had that kind of time to relax. I think it did me quite a bit of good. I'm thankful for it.

We had a tasty thanksgiving meal, played quite a bit of Age of Empires II and Ticket to Ride, helped set up Skype for Sheri's mom and my parents (and enjoyed chatting with them over it), moved some furniture in the livingroom around and then put up our christmas tree & other decorations. We've also reached the time of year when Sheri will generally be insisting Christmas music be played a rather large percentage of the time.

The next week or two compose what I've come to know as the 'lull': a (too) brief period between the busyness at thanksgiving and the busyness leading up to christmas. It's generally a good kind of "busy" for us, but there's not quite enough time to relax in my opinion.

Currently I'm at our church, as is typical of a sunday afternoon. I've just sent out some invitations to a sort-of birthday party thing for Sheri and I - basically, we just wanted another excuse to play some games with our awesome friends. I hope people can come, I know it's a busy time of year. I'm also preparing to send out a couple of gaming-related emails. Sheri was telling me yesterday how she's been wanting to play. It's been quite a while, but there's been a lot going on. Alas, it'll probably have to wait till 2k10.

We're still trying to work out some of the final details regarding our trip up to IN this christmas. I'm looking forward to it.


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. II

Sunday December 28, 2008 at 4:22pm christmas, holidays, family, presents, video games Comments (0) »

Hope everyone had a good christmas!

Things were cool here. We had a rather full house. As was mentioned before, Sheri's parents, brother and grandparents were here as well as Ginger & William. We had a nice, relaxing day. Opened some presents and had a tasty ham dinner. Some high points on the loot include a couple new wii games (Sheri & I each got each other one: she got me Mario Galaxy and I got her Okami - plus wii points for the Secret of Mana and some other games yet to be decided upon), some *awesome* autographed stuff (the Brobdingnagian Bards' newest record and the Gamers II which was purchased for me at gencon this year - neither of which i've had time to view/listen to yet) and some spiffy lens filters for my camera lens. Sheri's dad is thrilled about his new wii (that we and her mom & brother got for him) too, which is cool.

Since then we've been hanging out with our company - generally playing a lot of Wii and a lot of cards. Sheri's grandparents left on friday morning. Yesterday was an awesome 73 degrees. I took Sheri's dad & brother out to watauga lake since they wanted to go fishing. I walked around with my camera for the afternoon. I didn't get anything awesome, but a few decent pics i think. We took her parents to Misaki last night - which they said they really liked.

Today we had church and went to Toby's for lunch. Just relaxing since then. Sheri & her mom just left to go see Edie about some beading stuff.

Tomorrow is back to work as usual - through wednesday anyway. I think my parents & sister are supposed to come in tuesday or wednesday - so we'll have an overfull house yet again. I'm really looking forward to seeing them again.


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.


A Christmas List Blog

Tuesday November 25, 2008 at 7:17pm christmas list Comments (0) »

So I've been told I should make a christmas list and post it here. Problem is, I've found i'm expensive - especially with respect to the budgets of people who are actually likely to see this. There just isn't a whole lot that I explicitly *want* that doesn't cost a lot :-(.

That said, i'm pretty easily amused. There's plenty of stuff *not* on this list that would keep me entertained for hours. You know, like bubblewrap. Yeah.

I don't expect to get a lot from this - it's mostly for ideas & posterity.

Anyway, here's my best attempt at a conglomerate (though by no means comprehensive) wish list:

Some Videos:
trigun box set *awesome* anime (aa)
cowboy bebop box set also awesome anime (aaa)
red vs blue box set :-D (ohpleaseohplease??)
little nemo (as opposed to *finding* nemo) - difficult to find
my fair lady i have this on vhs, but would really like the dvd
the pirates who don't do anything (if only because it has a veggie commentary)
stargate sg-1 seasons 4-10
star wars original trilogy box set
talespin, season 1 (yay for cartoons!)

Some Cd's
the decemberists: castaways and cutouts
the academy is...: almost here, santi
iron & wine: in the reins w/calexico, our endless numbered days
flogging molly: drunken lullabies, swagger
margot & the nuclear so and so's: the dust of retreat
my chemical romance: the black parade
the weakerthans: fallow, left & leaving
yellowcard: paper walls

animal life (american museum of natural history) (i saw this at books-a-million and it was *awesome*)

Wii Stuff:
wii points (as many as you can give me, guys...)
wii classic controller(s)
mario galaxy
metroid prime 3
other fun-looking wii games...

Camera Gear:
money for camera gear (flash, lenses)
camera battery
cf card (sandisk extreme III 4gb)
cable release

golf practice balls (foam, textured)
legos (particularly Creator sets)
boss eq pedal
new apple keyboard (wired)
airport extreme base station (nice replacement for my sucky router)

I might add some stuff to this later, but that's about all i can think of... if it weren't way too much already


The Return, '07

Monday December 31, 2007 at 11:30am christmas Comments (3) »

Well, we're back from another epic holiday trip. Strangely I felt significantly less internet-withdraw this time around. Still, it's good to be back on the web.

Here's kind of a general fly-by.

We went up to my parents house last friday and were there for almost 20 hours before heading out on the first of two trips to OH for christmas with my mom's side of our extended family. The second trip was made the following day (after returning to IN for church sunday morning - I really miss getting to hear John Sichting speak) for christmas with my dad's side of our extended family. They were both fun, if short, gatherings. It was good to see people I hadn't seen in quite a while.

Monday (christmas eve) was official 'do nothing' day. After all the traveling, I was ready to kick back with some mario golf and just hang out with the family I hadn't seen in more than a year. And kick back, we did. My parents quickly became addicted to the game, and we played quite a few games of it over the week. In fact, they liked it so much that when sheri and I went up to visit her family in indianapolis, I left the gamecube with my parents so they could play it. They must have played it quite a bit, because they got really good at it over the course of those three days. My mom even got a hole-in-one - something I tried for 45 minutes to do on a training hole and couldn't pull off.

Christmas day was cool. It was nice to get to spend it with the family again. Last year, none of us were together on christmas. We didn't do much that day either except spend the day together - which was great.

Wednesday, we headed to Indianapolis (as previously mentioned) to spend time with sheri's family. I took quite a few *great* pictures of a charades game. I'm not sure which ones I'm allowed to post here, though. ;-). We also played a *lot* of cards (of course). Shanghai Rummy in particular. I'm terrible at that game, but it's fun (if generally frustrating) to play. We also played a couple games of Up and Down the River and we even got out sheri's new(est) Ticket To Ride game (the US version - she now has them all) and taught them to play. It was a good time - if a bit crowded. With 9-10 people in that house, we had some spacial issues at times. Despite the temperature fluctuations and lack of sleep (due to leaking air mattress), I think I managed to avoid getting sick.

On saturday afternoon we returned to my parents' house. We went out to Noble Romans for dinner (at my request - i try to make it by there whenever I'm in IN) - which was tasty. After that, I helped dad make a couple of Kubb sets - so now I have my own! I think he's made 5 or 7 now - and has done quite a bit to spread the game to OH - as those were also his exchange gifts for the two previously-mentioned OH christmas parties. Of course, after that was more mario golf. Till 2am. It takes something special to keep my mom up that late.

On sunday, we went to church, I made some spaghetti for lunch, we played a last game of mario golf (addicted - i'm telling you) and then sheri and I headed back down here. Ally was very glad to see us.

That's pretty much it. Over the course of the week, I took 275 pictures. I had room for about 53 more on my 4gb card - so I'm glad I was able to get the 4 as opposed to the 2gb. I'll post some up here pretty soon. I love my camera :-D.

In terms of the less-important stuff, I got some new speakers for my computer (it's nice to have some that aren't dying), a nice golf practice-hitting mat, some dvds (including abbott & costello and victor borge!), some legos (yay!) and quite a few new additions to my penguin army. My shelf can no longer hold them all.


JC Christmas 2007

Thursday December 20, 2007 at 11:23am christmas, friends, cameras, board games Comments (0) »

Last night's christmas party was fun. Ginger, Tony, Rucht, McKenna and Finn came over for spaghetti, presents and hanging out. McKenna had to leave early, but Rucht stayed around until Finn got too cranky to be up.

After he left, Tony, Ginger, Sheri and I played a game of uber Carcassonne - as of last night, we have all but one tiny expansion. The game is now massive and barely fits in its box.

I played with my new toy (camera) a bit. I'm still learning it, but it's very nice. Took some pictures of Finn and some of our game-playing. At Tony's request, I got one of Optimash Prime joining our Carcassonne game. I'll start posting these at some point.

Rucht & McKenna gave us Settlers of Catan - a game that I've heard lots of good things about, but never got to play. In addition to that and the Carcassonne expansions, I got my own memory card for Ginger's game cube (hehe) and Sheri got a pair of yoshi slippers(!).


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.