Micah Photography

Tuesday March 8, 2016 at 10:21pm photography, family Comments (0) »
 Micah Sleeping - exported via screenshot
Micah Sleeping - exported via screenshot

Still having some issues with Canon's Digital Photo Professional, as I've mentioned before.

But Micah is super cute.  Just over 4 months now.

~PS

No Thank You, Evil!

Sunday March 6, 2016 at 6:04pm gaming, family Comments (0) »
No Thank You, Evil! Image

Kickstart

Back in May of 2015, I backed a Monte Cook Games project called No Thank You, Evil.  This project was to be a tabletop roleplaying game aimed at kids for families to play together.  It sounded awesome - awesome enough to get me to, after considering it for several other projects, actually make an account on Kickstarter.com an contribute some money to making it happen.  It has thus far been my only kickstarter experience, and I have been really impressed with the whole process.  MCG does a good job.

Yes Please, Adventure!

Just about a week or so ago, I got my copy in the mail - having been eagerly awaiting it.  The production value of the game is amazing, and the guts of the game itself did not disappoint.  It uses a simplified version of the Cypher System, and does a great job tayloring its mechanics and flavors to a young audience.  The game is beautiful and solidly designed.

We - myself, my wife, our daughter, and Tony - just finished our first adventure in the world of Storia, and, I have to say, it was a blast.  My 4-year-old daughter actually picked up the concepts pretty quickly, even if some of the minutia is still a bit over her head.  She took to the roleplaying elements quite well, and seemed to catch on to the "game" parts with only a little coaching.  We all had a great time with it, and she's excited to play it again soon.  

My Storia

Like any game I touch, though, I had to make some adjustments.  I'm sure a person can quite easily run the thing as-is, right out of the box, and have a great time.  As any of my friends can tell you, though, that's just not me.  I have to tinker.  I have to tweak.  I have to make it my own.  This ability is what I love about TTRPGs.

I did a little cherry-picking of the mechanics for our first game - we kind of played something between the "triangle" and "square" levels - but mostly left it as-is.  I do think that some additional differentiation between characters could be acheived by introducing one or two special "skills" that the characters can have - allowing a possible of three factors that could lower a Goal number - and I may do this in the future.  

Really, the most significant considerations for game tweaking were focused on setting and plot.  The setting is brilliant, but some things aren't clearly defined in the books and a couple of other things seemed like they would be a lot cooler if I changed them just a little.  I actually didn't change that much of the game, but I think what I did tweak added a lot.  What I had in the end was a solidified structure for an awesome game taylored to my tastes.

~PS

Pages of Holidays

Monday January 4, 2016 at 12:32pm family, friends, books, geocaching Comments (0) »
 Zach (and also, Bravery) at Ogle Lake, Brown County State Park - doing some geocaching
Zach (and also, Bravery) at Ogle Lake, Brown County State Park - doing some geocaching

Holiday Trip

Had a great Christmas this year in IN with my parents.  Bunguins #1 and #2 both handled the trip car pretty well, and everyone loved getting to see them.  

I got to do pretty much everything I was looking forward to with my family, which was a lot of fun.  Didn't make it to the new Star Wars movie, but that was pretty low on the list, really.  Spent a lot of time relaxing, enjoying Christmas festivities, reading, playing cards, playing wii golf (Tiger Woods '10) on my parents' projector, and geocaching.  

Spending time with family - Mom, Dad, Joe, Jame and my Uncle Dave & Aunt Roxie was great.  Wish I saw them all more often.  I got to catch up with my friend Justin, too - first when we introduced him and his two older boys to geocaching (seen above), and then on New Years Eve wherein we changed an alternator and played Settlers of Catan.  More surprisingly, I got to chat with another old friend, Scott, for a while at church last sunday, too.  We did miss my sister and brother-in-law this year, but they were off having fun with his family.  

All in all, it was a great trip.

Additional Reading

I actually read quite a bit over the break.  Tony gave me the Welcome to Night Vale novel for my birthday and Sheri got me Randall Munroe's What If? book for Christmas - and I read all of both of them (and recommend to any like-minded oddballs).  I wished I'd brought the Battletech book I'd been reading as well.  I normally don't read that much (at least from non-gaming/non-reference books), but something about the relaxing week seemed to be conducive.

The Welcome to Night Vale book is pretty good - it does a good job of preserving the feel of the podcast.  I did find myself reading sections of it in radio host Cecil's voice/cadence.  Actually, I think that particular affectation enters my own speech patterns in certain circumstances if I've been listening to it a lot.

What If? is also great.  I started reading the articles on the website quite a while back, and they're all fantastic.  There are quite a few in the book that aren't on the site, too - though there are many more on the site that couldn't fit in the book.  A few of my favorites accessible here are Drain the Oceans, Into The Sun, and Interplanetary Cessna.  And also, many, many, more.

~PS

Lately, Again

Friday December 11, 2015 at 12:46pm bunguin, family, gaming, music Comments (0) »
 Micah ~ 1 month old
Micah ~ 1 month old

Bunguin II

So, I've been busy with nothing lately.  Well, not "nothing", just nothing exceptionally interesting to write about.  Little Blue is now approaching 2 months old, and gaining weight nicely.  He (thankfully) doesn't have Hannah's issue with eating.  Like Hannah, however, he sleeps pretty well at night.

Minis & Mechs

I've been continuing to paint my Battletech miniatures.  I've gotten a bit better at it, and I'm almost done with the ones in the original set.  I'm planning to pick up a couple of the Alpha Strike lance packs to get a few models the intro set doesn't come with.  And Catalyst told me over Twitter that they just might have some plans to bring some of the reseen 'mechs out in plastic form - I'll definitely be getting a few of those if and when that happens, too.  I've actually got to play the wargame a few times, and that's been fun.  I'm still really hoping to run a mercenaries campaign in the future.

Current and (Far) Future

I'm trying to gently nudge our World of Darkness campaign toward a conclusion, and getting ready to start a Numenera campaign.  I think the campaign I'm planning to run will in some ways might run smoother for this group.  Also, Crackle Nights are, in some ways, getting...difficult...as game nights.  Might need to try to move this back to the weekend.

Mus(ic)ing

I've actually been trying to do a little songwriting lately.  My list of hooks and inspiration notes is growing.  I've got a solid set of ideas.  I'm pushing the boulder closer to the edge.  At some point, I'll be ready to push it over and we'll get this rolling.

~PS

Bunguin The Second

Thursday October 29, 2015 at 10:24am bunguin, family Comments (0) »
 Bunguin The Second: Micah William Shoemaker
Bunguin The Second: Micah William Shoemaker

As of 11:29am on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015, we have a new family member: Micah William Shoemaker.  Mommy and baby are doing well, and recovering here at JCMC.

~PS

Return of the Family Vacation

Thursday July 16, 2015 at 12:43pm family, vacation Comments (0) »
iPhone pano Cliff Tops on Mt LeConte iPhone pano of the Cliff Tops on Mt LeConte.  One of the many times I wish I owned a wide-angle for my real camera.
iPhone pano of the Cliff Tops on Mt LeConte.  One of the many times I wish I owned a wide-angle for my real camera.

Last week, we got to go on vacation with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and my brother.  Only the older of my two sisters couldn't make it (which was sad) - the rest of us were all there.  It was awesome - and the first time we'd had a family vacation in....maybe 17 years?

We all met at a condo in Sevierville, TN, to hang out and do things together.  Highlights included:

- a new lawn game (Flimsee), which is thoroughly bizarre, but great fun.  I've now made my own set, and I think it'll be good for the meetup next year.

- pontooning/skiing/tubing.  I actually got up on skis with no problems this time!

- disc-golf (fun fact: there are very, very few courses in the area.  We had to drive ~30 min to find an out-of-the-way 9-hole course, but it was a great time)

- Ripley's Aquarium and the Titanic Museum.  The most touristy things we did, but they were both pretty cool.

- swimming and pool/ping-pong at the activity center.  Swimming was Hannah's favorite part of the week.  Also, I'm solid 'ok' at ping-pong and pool.  Also, also, I have learned that cue with a loose/broken tip will do crazy things to where you think your shots should go.

- board/card games: we played Catan, Time's Up and Dominion.  Good times.

- an epic hike up to the top of Mt LeConte which, all-told, was about ~14 miles and 3400ft of elevation.  The top was spectacular, though, as you should be able to see from the photo above.  Was probably the best place to rest & have lunch in the park that day.

Most of all, it was great just to spend time with everyone.  We don't get to see everyone enough, what with us all living in different states and all.  It was a truly amazing week - we all had a fantastic time.  Many, many thanks to my parents for putting it together.   

~PS

A New Season

Thursday April 23, 2015 at 5:14pm family, little two, photography, geocaching, gaming, trogland Comments (0) »
Hannah on her swing set Swing, swing!
Swing, swing!

No blog entries for a while basically means I haven't had much to write about that would be interesting to anyone (not that much of what's here is, so I don't know why that would stop me).

But stuff goes on.

And hey, it's spring.  I was more than ready for some warm weather.

Bunguin The Second

The most "significant" development is the news of the eventual arrival of Little Two - Sheri is pregnant!  Hannah will be a big sister!  Coming this Halloween!

Photo Season

Now that the weather is warming up, I'm shooting a bit more again.  Still have my eye on some gear that I'd like to get pick up before Little Two arrives, but don't know what I'll be able to manage.

Some Premium Caching

Still been out caching.  Had some great experiences this year so far - actually went out hunting with a guy we met through the hobby last weekend.  That was a blast.  The AT is always fun.  I have upgraded to "premium" membership now (and Tim bought me another year), so there are a few we didn't know about lingering in places we'd previously cleared.  That just means we get to go back!  I've added a few more things to my gear pack: some rope (see: Pride Rock Hampton), a battery charger for my phone, and a walking stick.  I've also placed a couple more caches on the Tweetsie Trail, and Tony and I have plans for a series.

Games & Cons

Our D&D game is still going...I guess because it won't end.  Heh.  Actually, it continues to be pretty awesome.  I don't think I've ever run a game that wasn't pretty unweildy by this point, but this one remains solid.  Still want some variety though, and we may set it aside again in the relatively near future to play something else for a while.

I ran a pretty awesome FATE game at RuchtCon last month.  I think the card print-outs added a lot and helped out the players with aspects and rp.

Trogland 9 is fast approaching!  63 days!  I still have a lot to do for this.  Need to get the badges designed and ready for printing, and need to plan my game sessions..

~PS

As The Year Ends

Tuesday December 30, 2014 at 8:27pm family, holidays, geocaching, friends, gaming, music Comments (2) »
Hannah Out Caching Hannah, waiting for me to re-hide a nearby cache.
Hannah, waiting for me to re-hide a nearby cache.

Holidays

Had a great trip to AR last week, though I still haven't recovered.  Was good to see Sheri's folks over the holiday.

Got to go caching a couple of times while out that way; that was pretty awesome, too.  I've now been all over the parks around Bull Shoals, AR.  Was cold and somewhat wet, but I was 11 for 11.  Hannah and I went on a short trip in Branson, MO, too.

Didn't play *quite* as much minecraft over the break this time around.

Sheri got me the Numenera core book for Christmas, and I've been reading through it.  I think it might be the system/setting where I finally actually do something with my ideas for a Myst-like game.  Got some other cool stuff, too - some old movies I wanted, a penguin hat and 7 Wonders to name a few.

Went up to IN over Thanksgiving (just realized I haven't posted anything since then), and that was a good time, too.  Got to see family, and dad & I had a great time out caching again this year.

Now You're Older Still

So I guess I'm 35 now.  Had a birthday back in there somewhere (probably on the 18th - that's when it usually is).  Adam gave me a pretty sweet geocaching shirt, and Sheri got me a walking stick, a headband/ear-cover and some other caching stuff.  Hannah gave me a new set of dice.  Also, "birthday crackles" is a great tradition.

At The Table

Our D&D game continues to go strong, though I've been working on at least 3 other games here and there as well.  Steve - our remote player - had to drop out due to work-related busyness, unfortunately.  I like how I'm running this game in particular, though the layers of causality get a bit dizzying at times.  That's not a bad thing, though.

Talk of RuchtCon V has begun as well.  I decided a while back I was going to run a game of Retrograde (FATE Core) this year.

A Tune In My Head

I'm hoping to do something with music in the coming year.  I've been kicking around some ideas for a while now, but I haven't yet made time to really flesh any of them out.  That, and my "space" in the office is in...disarray...to say the least.

~PS

ThanksGeoPhoto

Thursday December 5, 2013 at 6:07pm geocaching, photography, family Comments (0) »
Joe + his D3100 Joe, lying on the floor playing with his camera
Joe, lying on the floor playing with his camera

For the first time in quite a while, we made the journey up to IN for Thanksgiving.  Was quite a good trip - great to see a lot of relatives I don't catch up with often.

Caching On

I wonder how many more Cache/Catch puns I can come up with?  Anyway, inamongst the more typical festivities, I managed to do a little geocaching - mostly to place a travel bug I'd picked up here in TN.  I think I might have mentioned it before.  I even got my dad & my brother to come along with me, and the three of us had quite a good (if cold) time.  I'm up to 12 finds, total.  It's been quite fun.

Sibling Photography

Also, spent quite a bit of time talking to my brother about camera gear and photography in general - something I always enjoy.  Joe is learning to handcraft jewelry, and wanted a camera setup to take photos of his work.  He recently bought a Nikon d3100 and 40mm f/2.8 lens that has some decent macro capability.  I, personally, would have steered him toward Canon, but that's mostly because that's what I have and I might be able to help a little more with that.  Plus we could share toys.  But he found a deal on this one, so that's what he got.

It seems to be a decent camera  We had some fun playing with it, seeing what it was capable of.  It does have higher iso performance than my camera, though I haven't tested how well it performs at 3200+.  The close-focus/macro of the lens seems to work pretty well also.  I'll be interested to see what he does with it.

~PS

Caching Up

Tuesday November 12, 2013 at 2:24pm geocaching, friends, family Comments (0) »
Blue Skies Container A Hard-Fought Find
A Hard-Fought Find

Llama & I went geocaching again last saturday - this time out a Winged Deer Park.  Sheri and Hannah came along with us, too.  We all had a pretty great time.

We decided to start looking for the 7 or so caches hidden around in that area in the order of how close they were to where we parked.  The first one was within just a couple hundred feet.  One might think it should be a pretty easy find.

Not so.

It took the group of us about 45 minutes to find, largely due to two facts:

1) The GPS signal was pretty screwy in that wooded valley.

and

2) The "hint" was "at the end of a fallen tree".

That second one wouldn't have been so bad if there weren't about four thousand fallen trees within about 100ft of the site.  I might be exagerrating on that figure, but I'm not sure.

After nearly giving up a couple of times, we did finally locate it - and that was pretty rewarding.

The other two caches we picked up didn't give us any real trouble finding - we all but walked right up to them.  We did find a Travel Bug in one of them - which I'm going to try to re-deposit out of state.

All in all, it was a good day for a search.

~PS

Fall Fun/Photo '13

Saturday November 2, 2013 at 9:38am family, photography, milligan Comments (0) »
Pumpkin Decoration Sheri, Hannah and the Pom-Pom Pumpkin
Sheri, Hannah and the Pom-Pom Pumpkin

Last weekend was some fun times.  Sheri helped Hannah decorate a pumpkin (with, I believe, 64 pom-poms), and then we went to Homecoming at Milligan.  This year was Sheri's 10th-year class reuinion (since she was a 5th-year senior).  It was a good time.

I, of course, had fun taking pictures.  Particularly at the parade, where I got to play with my 300mm.  I'm quite happy with the results I got.  I think the quality of the images is pretty professional.  So I now have really nice, candid photos of a dozen or so Millgian people I don't know.

Oh, and on a related note, my boss recently (self?) published a book, on the back cover of which is his instance of the ubiqitous bio photo.  Which, in this case, I took.

I really like autumn, but that particular season is rather abbreviated down here.

~PS

Change of Pace

Monday July 30, 2012 at 9:56pm vacation, family, photography, gaming Comments (0) »
 gentoo penguin at the Indianapolis Zoo
gentoo penguin at the Indianapolis Zoo

Vacation '12

It's been a little while since we've had an actual "vacation".  I mean, where we do "vacation"-y things.  This year, we did.

For one, we got to go to the Indy Zoo.  Sheri has been saying she wanted to go to a zoo for about...7 years?   I took a lot of cool photos, which was a lot of fun.  Also, it made me wish I had more money to spend on camera gear.

We also went out on my parents' boat and did a little water skiing.  I no longer shame my ancestors with my loss of water skiing ability.  I'm not as steady as I once was, sure, but at least I got up this time.  Last time I tried, I couldn't even manage that (to be fair, however, i'd gotten in at 3am the morning before...maybe I was just tired).  It was cool to get to go out on the lake with Justin again, too - and his boys were...amusing.

Sheri and I also got to go out for our Anniversary, which was tuesday.  Kinda hard to believe it's been 8 years. :)  Mom & Dad watched Hannah for us, and we went out to dinner and a movie.  Also, "Brave" is pretty good.

Zoo Photos

As I mentioned before, I took a few hundred photos at the Indy Zoo.  I did have a little hiccup with the ISO setting, but its effect turned out to be minimal.  Taking pictures through some of the glass was somewhat challenging, but not too bad.  The fences were worse.  I did get a basic circular polarizing filter for my 50mm prime, which did seem to help a little with some of the reflections, and it does give a nice contrast boost to portrait-type shots in general.  Like small children, animals are fun to photograph - they do interesting things, and they don't really care if you're taking their picture.  I got quite a few good shots, which I've put up on facebook.  I'm sure a couple will make it into this year's "portfolio".

False Start

I mentioned before about starting a World of Darkness game, Scarecrow.  Well...  ...yeah.  I actually have extremely high hopes for that game, but I'm just not sure now is the right time.  I'm having trouble with inspiration for it, and, as a GM, I just don't seem to be in the mood for something quite so dark.  I tried forcing it through for a while, but I wasn't getting over the 'hump' - and if I'm not excited about it, it's going to be pretty mediocre.  I'm not ok with that.  I have higher expectations for this game.  My players are generally great about giving me energy and inspiration, but they don't tend to get really excited about a game until one or two sessions in.  

I'm not sure I've ever done this before, but I have talked to the others and we've decided to postpone this game for a bit.  But seriously, I am going to run that game at some point, and it will be awesome.  I've actually got quite a bit of setting written for it already, and several plot ideas.

But for now, we're going to do something else...

Buckle Your Swash

Since I'm wanting to run something a little more "light" and "adventurous" than WoD, and I've wanted to do a maritime campaign for a long time, I think this is the direction I'm going to push for next.  Also, I've been wanting to do something with the Savage Worlds rules set, and this seems to be a perfect candidate for it.  

I'm planning to pitch a swashbuckling-style sea adventure to the group.  It'll be set in a world similar to 17th-19th century earth (with a few fantastic elements) and the PCs will be part of an expedition sailing out into unknown waters.  I expect it to be a lot of fun.

~PS

One Year & the Present

Saturday May 12, 2012 at 9:00am family, recording, gaming, photography Comments (0) »
One Year & the Present Image

Well, Hannah's almost a year old.  Sheri's been planning a little for her birthday party - I think we're going to have a cookout with some family and a few friends.  Turns out quite a few people are going to be out of town next weekend.

I've been doing some more with recording on the rare opportunities I get.  I think I've discovered that I get better sound and less noise by using the condenser to mic my amp than by using my amplifier emulator AUs.  This might be unsurprising.  The problem is, in order to do this, my amp has to be cranked pretty loud...   ...loud enough that I don't really want hannah in the room with me, and when Sheri's home, she's not so much a fan.  Maybe if I clean out the recording closet again...

My Star Wars game, Shards of Endor, is reaching it's finale.  Tonight's session may or may not be the last game.  (honestly, I kind of figure it'll go one more, but we'll see...).  It's been fun, and I think it's been a good length.  I'm still really enjoying it, but I think I'm just about ready for something else.

Also, I've been doing some slow and unsteady planning for the Little Fears (1.5) game I'm going to be running for some Playgrounders come the end of June.  I've been doing a lot of concept/theme/atmosphere setup in my head for this one.  I hope it comes off as well...

Also, Crackles.

Mom came down for a visit last week - to see Hannah, of course.  That was cool.  Amongst the general hanging out, we went out to Sycamore Shoals, where I did some photo shooting for the first time in a while.  That is always fun.  Seems like I don't have as much time for some of these hobbies anymore.  Guess that's due to the Rosebug.

And, apart from having been a little sick and that I'm not looking forward to tackling the yard after I'm done posting this, I think things are pretty good.

~PS

Life of Late

Wednesday April 4, 2012 at 6:43pm family, video games, gaming, recording Comments (2) »
Life of Late Image

A brief glance at my calendar has reminded me that March was pretty uneventful, at least in any exciting way.  

Sadly, about the most noteworthy happening in the month was my grandma's funeral.  She'd been slowly fading for some years, so I suppose it was just "time".  In a certain sense, I think we "lost" her some time ago, but there is something in the finality of the physical passing that gives one pause for this sort of reflection.  It was good to see everyone though - I don't think I can recall the last time I got to spend time with that many relatives all at once.  I do wish we could have stayed a bit longer.

In other, less serious news:

"Crackle Night" is well established at this point as tuesday evening's passtime, so that's been fun.  I have also procured Ginger's copy of Windwaker from Patrick.  Also fun.

"Shards of Endor" continues in a somewhat sporadic fashion, but has been a lot of fun.  I've been kicking around ideas for subsequent games.

I've been giving some thought to further music projects.  Since I haven't come up with much in terms of new compositions lately, I'm considering returning to some of the stuff I've already recorded and laying it down again - now having considerably more experience under my belt.

Also, included for your enjoyment, a picture of Hannah at 10 months.  (Also, also: as of this version of the site, pics posted to the blog have thumbnails as well as a larger web image - click it for higher-res cuteness.)

~PS

Edisto Beach + HDR

Monday August 15, 2011 at 2:22pm vacation, family, photography, kubb Comments (2) »
Edisto Beach + HDR Image

So we just got back from a little mini-vacation out to Edisto Beach, SC with my sister & parents.  We don't get to do "vacation" stuff very often.  I'd comment on whether Hannah had a good time, but I think she slept through 90% of it.  We certainly loved it though.

In fact, I'm kind of bummed now that I'm back to the norm.  I don't think I was quite ready.  Maybe I needed more than a 3-day weekend.

Anyway...

Apart from the typical fun of a vacation, I've got a point of potential interest.  My dad & I got to talking about HDR photography (mostly asking what it was) and I, of course, had my camera and had been taking a lot of pictures.  When I pulled them all onto my computer last night, I noted one or two that I thought could benefit from this technique.  Manipulating the RAW images into some pseudo-bracked exposures, I made a couple of composites which I think turned out pretty well.  I didn't do anything particularly special, but the process at least makes the photos a bit more like what I was actually looking at.

• Ocean At Sunset

• Beach Path (shown here)

 

Also, I played beach kubb for the first time - which was pretty awesome.  A word of caution, however: this version has some new hazards.

 

~PS

Coming Home

Tuesday May 24, 2011 at 5:03pm bunguin, family, photography Comments (0) »
Coming Home Image

A quick update for the blog:

As of this afternoon, Sheri & Hannah were released from the hospital, and both seem to be enjoying being at home.  Ally isn't quite sure what to make of the munchkin, but there are other visitors here right now so I'm not sure it really registers as odd yet.

Photos are being posted on my facebook page here - though I have really not begun to post what will be there after a few weeks. :-D

Thanks to everyone for the congratulations, well-wishes and hospital visits.  We can't wait for more of you to meet our little Bunguin.

~PS

Baby Shoe's Arrival

Sunday May 22, 2011 at 11:35am bunguin, family Comments (1) »
Baby Shoe's Arrival Image

Most people who would see this here already know this, but for a little posterity:

Hannah Rose was born on May 21st, 2011 at 4:36am - after quite an arduous day for momma and baby which ultimately required a C-section to complete.  She's healthy (multiple pediatritions have said 'perfect') and beautiful, has a fuzzy head of dark hair and some very, very dark eyes.  I'm actually not sure what color they are, but at the moment they seem to be a very dark gray.  For those of you interested in the "christmas-turkey style" statistics, she was 6lbs, 8oz and 20in on arrival.

She seems to be very alert most of the time, and often tries to wobble her head around to look at anything and everything.  She loves to be held - and doesn't seem to like being put down unless she's too tired to care (mommy is trying to get her to sleep in the bassinet right now, and she's not too happy about it).  She still seems a little foggy on this whole "feeding" thing, but she loves to suck on her fingers (already) and generally feel around her face.  Also, when she gets the hiccups, it's as funny now as it was before she was born.

I haven't had a chance to take tons of pictures yet, but I have a few posted on Facebook.  Still, her "number of photos" to "hours of life" ratio is pretty high.

Can't wait for you all to meet her!

~PS

Anytime Now

Tuesday May 17, 2011 at 10:42pm baby, family, work Comments (0) »
Anytime Now Image

Well, Baby Shoe is 3 days overdue - she seems quite content where she is.  The doctors aren't going to let her hit the snooze button past friday.  One way or another, she's coming this week.

The job is going pretty well I think.  Of course some days are more fun than others.  Also, I'm growing to hate MS SQL Server - things that should be simple...  ...aren't.

Gaming has been sparse lately, which is sad.  We've kind of hit upon a time of "hurry up and wait" where we can't really make any plans, but we're not really doing much.  I've spent most of my free time lately mowing and/or working on refinishing a dresser we bought for Baby Girl.  That's been pretty fun and relaxing.  Still, I'm looking forward to a return to normalcy - even if it is to be redefined in the process.

Oh, and we saw a pretty amazing rainbow in the sky over our house this last weekend.

~PS

Please Stand By

Monday January 24, 2011 at 1:31pm stand by, job search, family, friends, gaming, auto repair Comments (0) »
Please Stand By Image

I was kind of hoping to have a bit more to report the next time I keyed and entry in here, but it's been a minute and things aren't progressing fast enough to suite me.

Mostly what I'm referring to is the job search.  I've had a couple of very promising interviews, but I haven't heard anything definite from either of them.  I have a third tomorrow so we'll see where that goes.

The holidays were fun.  It was good to get to spend time with family.  Sheri's parents and her aunt stayed with us for about a week and then my parents came down for the weekend.  We also got to see Jerry, Amanda, Stacey and Tracy - and that's always a good time.  Stacey and Tracy are going to be overseas for a few years so we wanted to make sure we could spend a little time with them, and Jerry & Amanda (+Pickle) are always fun.

Gaming continues as it must.  General fun times.  A little behind on the session write-ups (as usual).  Working on some projects (also, as usual).  We've started talking about RuchtCon II.  Had a pretty sweet character/player exit in last night's game.  Cool things happen.

The Jeep is having issues which I'm about to (hopefully) go get fixed.  Battery not charging correctly/consistently - probably the alternator.  EDIT: Jeep fixed; alternator replaced.

More details may or may not follow on some or all of the above.

Please stand by.

~PS

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.

 

~PS

Things Have Changed

Thursday September 30, 2010 at 1:30pm state of the penguin, work, family, bunguin, gencon, parties, jamming, website Comments (5) »

If you're the superstitious type, you might suggest that the title of my last blog entry was tempting the fates...    ...but then, I'd probably have to pat you for it.

Much is different since my last blog entry, and some of it is responsible for the gap between posts.  Most relevantly, I am no longer working for Legend Web Works.  I have a wide array of thoughts on this particular matter, but I do not wish to belabor them here.  Further, if you're reading this you probably already know about it - I simply wished to state it for posterity.  This is generally the case for most things on my blog and this entry is no exception.

So now I'm looking for a new job.  Unfortunately my particular area of expertise is rather narrow in scope and directly-related opportunities in this area are somewhat limited.  I've found a few leads, but things seem to be slow in developing.  I'm not entirely sure what to do and I'm a little stressed about it, but I haven't hit a brick wall yet, so I'm still trying to be optimistic.

 

Anyway, on to happier things:

First and foremost, Sheri is pregnant!  We're going to have a Bunguin!  We actually saw the first ultrasound yesterday, which admittedly doesn't look like much at this point - but still.  The expected due date is May 14th 2011.  We're really excited!

Secondly, as I mentioned previously, I finally got to go to Gencon back in August.  It was pretty awesome.  The Exhibitor's hall was an amazingly geeky mall full of cool stuff, but the most fun was hanging out and playing games with the Playgrounders and a bunch of guys from the Fear the Boot forum.  I have a few souvenirs from the con including a new set of dice, the Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, and a lanyard from the Fear The Boot guys.  I really liked it, and I'd like to go back at some point, but my favorite parts were things that didn't have anything to do with the con itself - things like Chris's Battletech game.  I think i prefer less commercial and more gaming - things like our local mini-cons.  Also, I'd really like to go out to Fear The Con one of these days.

On that note, we had Gamesplosion back in late August - our third local mini-gaming-convention.  This one, I believe, was the biggest one to-date.  It was held at our place for logistical reasons, and took place from friday-sunday as usual.  I ran a session of Mouse Guard and one of my own homebrews called Bot.  I played in a Weird War II (Savage Worlds) game, and played Agricola during one of the other slots.  It was definitely a great time.

And of course, I've been continuing my normal gaming.  We started a D&D game using the Sandstorm rules/setting (along with some stuff from Unearthed Arcana), and that's been interesting.  The WoD game has resumed and is starting to build in the "action" dept.  I've also spent quite a bit of time reinterpreting the Battletech rules into Savage Worlds - this is intended to make 'mech combat a bit more fast-paced and also tie a roleplaying system directly into it.  Sheri and I playtested it a bit, and I was quite happy with how it played.

We were finally present for Robb's "Talk Like A Pirate party" this year, which was lots of fun - and the location of perhaps the most epic nerf war we have witnessed to date.  Another item of note related to this is the piratey shirts Sheri's mom made us for it - they're really cool and I think they'll be handy for a few different costumes should the need arise.

Robb and I have been jamming with Josh & Bill again, which has been cool.  I think we're supposed to do that again soon.  We've picked out about 5 cover songs and we're just going over them again and again as we try to gel as a group.  It's been a lot of fun - I really missed getting to play with a band.

Finally, as I'm sure you've noticed, my site has been reincarnated yet again.  This is partly due to my job situation - I really didn't want to keep it on any framework related to my former employers.  It just felt...odd.  This rebuild is being constructed purely according to my preferences.  As of now, it's still under construction.  The blog was the first piece - additional pages will come online in the coming weeks as I'm able to build them to my taste.  Also, there is, as of now, a very modest mobile site (which looks awful on a pc), currently only capable of reading and commenting on the blog - but I'm sure I'll start working on it after the main site is completely set.  Accessing www.penguinsushi.com on a mobile device should direct you there.

 

~PS

Midsummer Lull

Wednesday July 14, 2010 at 3:39pm family, friends, gaming Comments (2) »

*Walks by* *Comes back*

Oh. Hey.

Not much going on lately.

Sheri's parents were visiting the last week in June. Her dad is/was trying to find a job in the area because they think they'd like to move here. So far, not too much has come of that, but I don't think they've given up hope.

Rucht & McKenna had their annual 4th of July party on the 3rd. We had a lot of fun hanging out with people, playing kubb and watching fireworks.

My World of Darkness game is going quite well - they made it to the end of the first act. We have a little in-game and out-of-game downtime, and I'm currently working on some narrative for the different characters.

Our GenCon badges should be arriving sometime tomorrow. :-D

We're also in the initial planning stages of Gamesplosion 2010 - our 3rd local gaming con - taking place later in august. This one is, as of now, slated to take place at our house and I've been contemplating what that will entail/require. Also, I'm looking forward to hopefully running a game or two for this event.

Not much to report on work, other hobbies, or other personal stuff.

~PS

Festivals, Meetups, Conventions and Gaming

Saturday June 12, 2010 at 10:34am festivals, gaming, friends, gitp, gencon, family Comments (0) »
Festivals, Meetups, Conventions and Gaming Image

So it's saturday.

We don't have too much going on this weekend. I think we are/were going to go walk around at a nearby park (and check out some bike trails), but it's raining at the moment - so that might put a damper on things.


Last weekend, however, was pretty eventful. The first weekend in June is the date of two different local festivals.

First, we went out to Rogersville to the Shakespeare and Friends Renaissance Faire (warning: their website is pretty hideous). It should, perhaps, be noted that I'd never been to a Ren Faire before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I think I had more fun than I thought I would - which is not to say I expected not to like it, I just didn't really know what it would be like.
There were some interesting booths, a lot of impressive costumes and some amusing shows. In particular, I enjoyed the jousting. The guys doing it explained a lot about the competitions, equipment and everything that goes into it.
I took quite a few photos of the faire which I posted on facebook.

Second, there was the Blue Plum in downtown JC. I've been to this festival a few years now. Unlike the Ren Faire, there's not too much to write about it, but we had a good time walking around with our friends enjoying the atmosphere. We also went to a pizza place downtown where we had one of our other friends as a waiter - that was pretty cool (I didn't even know he worked there).


On some gaming and related stuff:

In other news, my WoD campaign has been continuing nicely, though we've yet to get Curtis into it. I've also added some house rules to the core WoD system (surprise, surprise).
I love dice. They give you a nice, tangible connection to what's going on in the game world and they provide an element of unpredictability that's still connected through the rules to what a given character is generally capable of. Dice are great - as a player.
As a gm however, I've found they drive me crazy. I'm trying to juggle the narrative and keep each of the players engaged in the game and I find it to be a huge distraction when I have to stop, roll dice, calculate results and then report numbers back. Therefore, I've basically modified the system such that the players roll all the dice. The WoD system in particular lends itself to this with some only minor tweaks. We're still kind of trying this out and there will still probably be times that I'll roll a dice, but most of the time I'd rather that aspect stayed in the players' hands.
I've also been working on several gaming side projects including another simplistic thematic rpg (like Bot, but completely different in theme) and a couple of board games (which I may or may not be able to manifest).

Patrick ran his Star Wars game on thursday and we ran into a little bit of a hiccup near the end where the mechanics kind of broke down the fun, as it were. I also, unfortunately, found myself to be getting a bit frustrated as I tried to interact with a scene in a way that didn't seem to be jiving with the rest of the group (mostly my fault for not being clear enough).
I mention this not to criticize the game or the players - because I think Patrick's running a great game and the players are participating well - but to point out that even good games can get bogged down by one thing or another. It's just going to happen.
It's easy to look back and say "oh, well person X should have done Y", but when you're actually in the game that's not always so apparent. Still, I think the conversation Rucht, Patrick and I had post-game (even though it was quite late) about how we might address certain issues in the future (both as gms and players) was helpful if only so we didn't all leave on a complete down-note.

Oh yeah, and we gamed at Patrick & Stacie's new house - which is a pretty cool place and about half the distance from here as their old place.

We're two weeks from hosting our FOURTH GitP meetup. This year is shaping up to be much like previous years - which is to say, awesome. As usual, there are some people who can't make it that we'd really like to see, but there are some others we're glad to see returning and a decent number of new people to meet. I think it's pretty cool that this has become a Playground tradition and that people continue to flock to our little town for a great time.

And finally, I think I'm actually going to get to go to GenCon this year!(!!!) I've been saying I want to make it up for that for years now, and I'm excited that I'll finally get to do it. In addition to the con itself, there are a few hard-to-find gaming books I'll be looking for, a few random people I'd kinda like to shake hands with, and a couple of forum communities I'll be looking to hook up with for general fun-times and hanging out. Edit: Badges have been ordered. :)

While we're up there, we'll also spend some time with my parents & Sheri's grandpa. Also, the current plan is to rent a uhaul for the trip back so we can empty out a storage unit Sheri still has up there.


~PS

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.

~PS

Return from AR 2010

Tuesday March 16, 2010 at 11:43am trips, family, gaming, board games Comments (1) »
Return from AR 2010 Image

I'm not sure if I'm back in the swing of things or not. I was actually kinda looking forward to work after being gone last week, but so far I don't have any fun projects. :\

Sheri's mom's surgery went as well as could be expected, I think. It wasn't nearly as bad as last time. When we left AR, she was still in some pain, but seemed to be recovering pretty well.

The week was largely uneventful. I spent a lot of time writing gaming notes for World of Darkness and playing on the lappy while they watched TV. I posted some more detailed info on my plans for this game on the gaming page.

We did play some games we brought (Settlers, Pillars of the Earth, Ticket to Ride), particularly with Ben & Brie when they were there on saturday, and we did enjoy simply spending time with her family.

I also took about 300 pictures of random stuff outside around their property, which was fun - it had been quite a while since i'd had the opportunity to got shooting. A couple are pretty good. I may post 'em somewhere.


Not much on the calendar for the next couple weeks as of now. Ginger, William and Liam are planning to come and visit on the 27th and are going to hang out with us for about a week. That will be lots of fun. Apart from that, there's the thursday evening gaming group I'm playing in... ...and that's pretty much it.


~PS

Busier Than Usual

Friday February 19, 2010 at 3:17pm friends, church, holidays, movies, gaming, work, family Comments (0) »

It's been a rather busy week. Unusually so, actually.

It was good to see Nick again on saturday, and to meet Jen. She seems pretty cool. Unfortunately, they weren't able to stay as long as originally planned and we only got to hang out for a little while.

Sunday Sheri & I went to Grandview for church. That was cool. We saw quite a few people that we knew (but hadn't seen in quite a while) and I was reminded how much I really like to hear Aaron Wymer speak.

Sunday was valentine's day, but Sheri and I don't usually do much *on* that day. Instead, we wait until the 19th - which happens to be today - to 'celebrate', since it was on the 19th ten years ago that she and I started dating. Happy Valentinanniversary to us. Or something. :-D

Monday we got to see Jerry & Amanda and little Jared as they stopped through at the Hippies' on their way home from a trip to FL. It's always cool to hang out with them, and their munchkin is exceptionally cute. I didn't have my camera with me, but I should have...

Tuesday was significant this week only in that it was the only evening I *didn't* have something going on.

Wednesday Rucht had a group of us over to watch Aliens. Prior to that time, I hadn't seen any of the Alien movies (and I still haven't seen any others). This was seen as somewhat of a problem that needed to be remedied. I enjoyed the movie and it's always cool to get together with friends.

Thursday (yesterday) was Patrick's Star Wars game. This game has been very enjoyable for me. It may be the first time I've actually had a character's personality, motives, actions, etc evolve *in game*. At Patrick's prompting, I've written up a bunch of stuff (probably more than he really wanted) for/about him with respect to his development in the story.

Tonight Sheri and I are going out to dinner and then over to see Milligan's production of Little Women - maybe not in that order...

Work has been kind of crazy lately as we're *still* trying to tie up some stuff before the end of the day... ...unfortunately, I'm currently waiting for a crucial piece of info to plug in - without which, I can't do much.

Looking ahead:

Next weekend our friend Thes is coming in for a visit and I'm supposed to run a couple of gaming sessions (after a month-long interim). That should be fun.

Also along the gaming line, Rucht is starting a Rogue Trader game next week that I'm gonna be in. I'm looking forward to this as I haven't got to play in one of Rucht's games before.

A couple weeks after that, Sheri and I are heading to AR to help her mom out after her upcoming surgery.

~PS

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.

~PS

Really...?

Wednesday October 14, 2009 at 11:40am spam, video games, family, golf, food, photography, gaming Comments (6) »

Every once in a while, I see something in spam that makes me laugh. I just received this little gem:

Dear user of the penguinsushi.com mailing service!

We are informing you that because of the security upgrade of the mailing service your mailbox (shoe@penguinsushi.com) settings were changed. In order to apply the new set of settings click on the following link:

http://penguinsushi.com/owa/service_directory/settings.php?email=shoe@penguinsushi.com&from=penguinsushi.com&fromname=shoe

Best regards, penguinsushi.com Technical Support.


This makes no sense on several levels, not the least of which is that it's basically claiming to be from *me*.

The link, of course, while claiming to point to a non-existent folder on my server, in fact points to another server entirely where they had hoped to lure me for some reason.


EDIT: This just in: spam for russian hunting videos (*in* russian) is a new one on me...



In other news...

Not too much has gone on the last couple of weeks. Our friends have mostly been busy lately, so we haven't done much that's particularly interesting or fun. We *have* played a fair bit of Lego Star Wars.

My mom did come through on her way to see my sister in Columbia, SC. She stopped over tuesday night and again on her way back on saturday. We got to go play a little golf and had a good time talking. We also went to Five Guys for the first time (it just opened up here in JC), and have decided (like several of our friends) that they are probably the best burger place ever.

My photo show at WAPC came down on thursday (also, i've been playing with my new 50mm prime a lot), almost bought a riding mower on saturday (still waiting to see if they get back with us), Thanksgaming (RuchtCon II) is coming up soon (and I've got a fair amount of work to do for it) and I've been comparing wide-angle lenses on my photography wish list.


~PS

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...

~PS

We're back

We're back Image

As some have commented, not too many knew we ever left. Probably because it was the sort of trip that was difficult to be real "excited" (and therefore talk much) about.

Last friday Sheri and I headed up to IN. The main reason for the trip was to go to the memorial service for her grandmother, who passed away back in april. As you might expect, it was a nice, if somewhat sad, time.

We spent some time with some of sheri's dad's family - for the first time, really. Stanley and Bonnie were hosting us as well as sheri's parents for the weekend. They were really nice and fun to chat with and we ended up talking with them for quite a while after her parents left on monday.

We also got to meet Ben's fiance. She seems nice, if quite shy. It was kind of a shame we didn't get more of a chance to hang out.

We also stopped in on my parents for about a day, which was great. We played some games and talked and generally had a good time.

While we were there, a rather significant storm system came through tuesday morning that resulted in flooding, power loss and downed trees. the downed trees resulted in a bit of a wet adventure as we tried to make it back to their house from lunch.

And, as I try to do each time I go to IN, I had Noble Roman's pizza and breadsticks. Tasty.

I put a few pictures from the trip up in the Gallery - mostly pictures of scenery and small children.


On some other stuff:

About a week ago we had the 3rd session for Little Fears (session synopsis on the gaming page soon). It went so-so. It was a little slow and certain elements didn't manifest quite the way I'd hoped, but it was alright. Hopefully next session will be a little more satisfying.

Last thursday we (me, robb, josh & bill) had our second band practice. Improvement from the previous session was 100%, not that that first practice wasn't great. That was the most fun I've had playing guitar in 5 years or more. :) Right now we're just doing cover songs, but we've talked briefly about maybe trying to write some stuff. We've also talked about possibly playing some small local shows once we get good and solid. We're planning to get together tomorrow for more fun. On a related note, I should be getting an eq to run my amp through soon.

~PS

Weekend with Parents: Golf, Plumbing, Waterfalls

Sunday May 31, 2009 at 9:05pm family, home repairs, golf, hiking, photography Comments (4) »
Weekend with Parents: Golf, Plumbing, Waterfalls Image

Well, my parents were in this weekend - it's always cool to have them. They don't make it down here enough, really... ...and we don't make it up to IN much either.

After they arrived on friday, we went out to play some golf. I played only using 5, 7 and 9 irons and a putter. I have discovered this does not negatively impact my game - in fact, I think it makes it a bit better overall. I've decided i'm not cool enough to use other clubs, so i'm gonna stick with these for a while. Or, as Jody put it, I haven't "unlocked" the other clubs yet. I think I need to reach 200 good shots with the 5 before I unlock the 2 iron...

I think my dad fixes something every time he comes to see us. This time, it was a leak in the shower dripping into the basement... ...oh, and also our outside water spigot which seems to have developed a tradition of freezing and breaking every year, no matter what I do to prevent this. We think it's good this time though. Probably.

On saturday, we gave dad an early fathers' day present. It was a picture frame. He'd said he wanted a print of one of my photographs so I decided I'd let him pick one. Well, we got to talking and he said he really liked several of them, but asked if I had a picture of the creek from the Laurel Falls trail (which we'd hiked earlier this week on Memorial Day), but with smoother (aka "fuzzy") water. I said no, but that I could. I'd wanted to go back there anyway, since we had some trouble finding part of the trail last time. This, in turn, spawned an expedition.

The four of us (dad, mom, me and Sheri) went out to the Laurel Falls trail again with the intention of me taking a particular photo. We waited till mid-afternoon (so that by the time we got there it would be late afternoon), and then headed out to the trail. I took quite a few more pictures this time - including some slow-exposures with a tripod (which i didn't have with me on monday). I got some pretty awesome shots, I think.

We ended up hiking the whole trail which, contrary to what i'd previously heard, isn't really any easier than the upper trail: it's difficulty is just a bit more spread out (as opposed to being incredibly rough at the end). On average, I'd say the two trails are comparable.

Aside from Sheri's ankle (which has been sore for a while), it was a good time. I've recompiled the pictures that I took on monday and added the new ones to the collection in the Gallery. Dad ended up choosing the wider shot of the falls for his frame, though we got prints of two others as well (since he couldn't pick just one).

They headed back to IN this afternoon. Back to the normal routine.

~PS

Easter Weekend in Ohio, etc

Monday April 13, 2009 at 2:50pm work, friends, family Comments (0) »

Last week was pretty cool. On wednesday, Sheri and I headed up to OH for a couple of reasons.

The first reason was for work. Kedrick and Addie wanted me to take a trip up there to see the new office and to have at least a couple days in the office with everyone else. It was actually a lot of fun. I like working from home, but I enjoyed being in the office too - getting to hang out with my coworkers who are, i must say, pretty awesome. We got a lot done, but there was a fair amount of laughing and general goofiness as well. The work environment there (for those of us in the back room, anyway) was really laid back and relaxing. For someone like me, it was just about perfect for productivity.

So Thursday and Friday were spent at the office, finishing up a project which most of us are quite excited about and going over some general practices and methods. It was a good time.

On saturday, Kedrick and Addie took us to the Cincinnati area. We had tasty lunch and Graeter's ice cream - which was funny because i'd actually had the very thing i ordered before, I just hadn't realized it. Edie gave me some of their Black Raspberry Chip ice cream the last time we were over there playing Talisman.

After that, we went to Ault Park. They had wanted me to take some pictures of them as part of a yearly tradition. It was the first time i'd *really* tried portrait photography. I don't typically do 'posed' shots of people, i think candid shots are so much more natural. I also don't "direct" - I basically just let them sit or stand however they wanted or thought would look good, and I simply tried to make the most of it. I won't say they turned out fantastically, but I think there are a few in there that would look nice on their wall. It was a good time. Most importantly, I now have a little xp in this capacity and I learned a bit about what tends to work and what doesn't. I'm still far from considering myself particularly qualified for this yet. A little of my difficulty might be equipment-related as i don't really have nice portrait lenses (a nice 50mm prime would have been good), but I suspect it's mostly technique that needs practicing.

We were also talking about all of us going to the Ren Fair later in October if we can at all manage it... ...that would be awesome. :-)

Later Saturday afternoon we headed to my grandparents' in Greenville - which was the second reason for our trip. We hardly ever get to see them, which is kind of a shame. My parents and my uncle had also headed there for the Easter weekend, and the group of us had a great time talking together. We even got to sit out on their deck Sunday afternoon, which was really nice. We didn't do a whole lot, but it's always cool just to spend time with family. I'd like to get to see all of them more often than I do. Hopefully when we have a car that we trust a little more (and don't necessarily have to rent for trips like this) we'll be able to see some of them a little more.

~PS

Remote Updates

Tuesday February 10, 2009 at 6:12pm trips, family, health, surgery, internet Comments (0) »

Well, we're still hanging out in AR. Sheri's mom had her surgery on friday and seems to be recovering fairly well, if a bit slowly. She has her ups and down, but it's my impression she's doing a little better each day. All things considered, I think things are going as well as can be expected, if not exactly as well as we might have hoped.

We're still not sure exactly when we'll be heading back, but our original plan of leaving tomorrow morning has been postponed and it's likely to be thursday at the earliest and it could well be later.

This has all put a bit of damper on my recording project for the month, but real life happens. I did bring my guitar, but haven't had a chance to play it much as being quiet has been necessary for most of the day so far.

Actually, i haven't done much besides play AoE III and Neverwinter Nights. See, I seem to be stuck in a bit of an internet black hole - perhaps mostly due to the massive ice storm that was through this area recently. So... ...I haven't been able to do much work or play on the 'net. I've stopped in at a hardees for dinner once that had an open wifi, and i'm at the house of some friends of sheri's parents now to do some general email checking and work out some minor issues on some projects for work.

Don't think there's much else to report now.

~PS

Weekly Penguin Report

Sunday February 1, 2009 at 3:08pm music, recording, gaming, friends, family, health, trips Comments (4) »

So today's the first day of february and RPM - sadly, i'm in Erwin for most of the day and can't do much in the way of recording. I *can* however, work on some preliminary stuff now that I have a macbook, which i'll be starting in a bit. 27 more days. Deep breath...

Had two great gaming sessions this weekend. Sadly, one of the games is losing a player. I will admit slightly shrinking that group is not all bad (6 players is a little past my 'ideal'), but we'll miss having Nick around for the next year. The other group had a good time with session #2 last night. I'm enjoying the progressing stories and interactions for both games immensely, each in its own way.

We got to see Bart & Sarah's baby Joe today - he's 9 days old. And quite adorable.

In more serious/troubling news, we discovered this week that a tumor Sheri's mom had removed was malignant and that she'll be having more surgery soon. We're beginning to make some initial preparations for a trip out to AR to be with her and the rest of the family for that, but we're not sure exactly when it will be as yet. We're also a little concerned about the weather, since they've had a really bad ice storm and a large part of the region has been declare a disaster area and is without power and a little short on other provisions.

I think that's everything on the list for now...

~PS

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.


~PS

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.

~PS

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.

~PS

End Feb, In Sum

Wednesday February 27, 2008 at 1:01pm sickness, music, recording, family, weather, movies Comments (1) »

Well, here we are.

Not too much to report. I think I'm finally over this round of the sickness. Still the occasional cough, but it's not much.


I think my getting sick was the death knell to my hopes of finishing my recording project on time - having now recovered, i'm feeling thoroughly uninspired. As it's obvious I'm not going to be able to write and record 7 songs in the next 48 hours, I think I'm going to shelve the project for a while and pick it up when my attitude concerning it improves a bit. On the upside, I did get 3 songs written and recorded (and ideas for approx 1.5 more) this month - even with all the games I had to run, the being sick, and all the other stuff - which is a greater per-day ratio than I think I've ever accomplished. I also went in a considerably different direction from normal with the writing (I'll talk about that more when I get around to finishing/posting it). All in all, I think the project was a huge success, even if I didn't pull off the formal objective. I think for next year, I'm going to try to have the writing done before the recording month - my writing output just isn't high enough to write 10 songs in a month - though I think I *could* accomplish the actual recording in that time.


My mom stopped through monday on her way to visit my sister in SC. We went out to dinner and had a good time chatting about whatever. She's supposed to stop over again thursday on her way back up to IN.


We've had a bit of real snow for the first time this year. It's starting to melt off now, but we had probably better than 1.5 inches this morning - which is about twice what we generally get.


We're supposed to host a Muppethon this saturday - a bunch of us are going to get together to watch some Muppet movies. Why? The question, my friends, is why not?


~PS

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.

~PS

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.

~PS

A lot about not much

Friday November 9, 2007 at 10:15am busy, family, gaming, church, photography, friends, dogs Comments (0) »

So i guess when my dad points out that i haven't put up a blog post in about two weeks, I must be slacking a little. We were talking on the phone last night about another possible web project, but I'll talk more on that later when/if it pans out.

We've been fairly busy the last couple of weeks, but there's really not much to talk about.

We did go to our church's 'Trunk or Treat' thing on halloween (think: give candy out from trunks of cars in the church parking lot), which was pretty amusing. I think the best costume I saw was this little girl dressed up as Raggedy Anne. Followed closely by this boy as a pirate - complete with mustache the hung down to his chest. Those two were very well done outfits amongst the majority of walmart suits. Alas that I was unable to get pictures of them - partly because i felt a little odd taking pictures of other people's kids, and partly due to the limitations of our camera (recycle time & low-light capability (I hate flash). Talking of which, I've been looking at a lot of digital SLR's and lenses lately and reading a lot about what's good and what's not and learning a bit more about photography in general. Pretty fascinating. But, I digress...). After that, we went over to Ginger's place an hung out with some friends there for a while - which is always fun.

Apart from that, we've done some gaming (though not on "world-wide d&d day" - which was last saturday. a friend of mine was running some stuff at a local comic shop, but i didn't make it out. Other things going on. It was coolest a few years ago on the 30th anniversary anyway... but i digress again...), hung out a little at Ginger's church's coffeehouse, managed to remember the time change from DST and went to our church thanksgiving dinner. I think that pretty much brings us up to speed.

As far as upcoming events, I have 2-3(!) games this weekend (running 2, maybe playing 1), possibly swinging by Edie's birthday party, church's oh-so-exciting committee & board meetings on monday, planning to (finally) have Bart & Sarah Price (youth minister & his wife) over for dinner on tuesday, celebrating Ginger's birthday (a bit early) on wednesday and probably running another game on thursday. Keeping busy.

Don't think i've given any update/info on this point either: Ally has so far been inside for a little over two weeks. Thus far, there have been only one two "accidents" (that were probably my fault) and one case of negligible property damage (when she accidentally pulled my trackball off my desk and one of the buttons cracked. Still works though.). She seems a lot happier and less frantic (except at breakfast time) in here. Plus she keeps me company while Sheri's at work.

~PS

Good Times.

Tuesday October 2, 2007 at 11:56am work, coffeehouse, dogs, gaming, church, family, golf Comments (2) »

I've had quite a bit of fun the last few days.

On friday I built the framework for a sort of work side-project. I'm pretty excited about this one - it'll be really cool, I think. Yes, this counts as "fun". I'm a geek like that.

On friday night we went to the coffeehouse at Ginger's church. Not much was going on, but it was cool just to hang out and talk to people. I watched some friends play Go. Interesting little board game. Some of them were also talking about the world traveling they'd done. I kinda wish I had been / could go to some cool places like that...

On saturday our dog Ally got the bath she needed. She wasn't such a fan, but she's a good little beagle and so it wasn't a terribly difficult task - even by myself. After that Sheri and I walked her around the backyard for a bit and sat in the shade (of our neighbor's tree) for a while. It was a beautiful afternoon.

On saturday night we continued and wrapped up a d&d game I'd been running for a few sessions. I think it went pretty well. I've now started some work on the two new games I'm starting. With the Liimar game and Robb's Exalted (see below), this makes 4 rpg's I'm in or running. I think I'm insane. It's a fun insane, but still...

On sunday, we went to church in Erwin as usual. I'm very glad that we have a wireless net connection at the church now - since we're kinda stuck there all day. I spent most of sunday afternoon working on putting the finishing touches on the project I mentioned working on on friday. Very excited about that. Sheri was working on choir stuff. We did go outside and play a couple of games of Kubb (which happened to be in the jeep), however.

Sunday night was also the 'all-sing' - where the area churches get together and sing together and for each other. It's not my favorite thing in the world, but Sheri's choir sounded pretty good. Plus we got to hang out with people and have snacks after.

On sunday night my mom came back through from visiting my sister in SC. I'm always glad to see family. Don't see them much since they're all quite far away.

On monday morning, mom and I went out and played 9 holes at Pine Oaks Golf Course. That was lots of fun. Beautiful morning. I played better than I think I ever have - which was pretty impressive considering it had been almost exactly 4 months since I'd played - and I played terribly that day. As it turns out, I think my grip was most of the problem. A simple tip that mom happened to mention that she saw on her video completely transformed my game. I've never had a piece of technique make such a difference. I birdied a hole for the first time ever, and I par'd the 8th and 9th. Total score for the round was 48. I could have dropped a couple strokes if i hadn't made a few chipping/putting mistakes. More than that though, my shots just felt better - more solid. Of course now I'm setting myself up to do terribly next time, since I'll be expecting much more than I was yesterday...

I also thought about how lucky I was that I have a job where I can just kinda take time off to hang out with my family if they happen to come through.

On monday (last) night, we finally got to play Robb's Exalted game. I had a lot of fun. It's a pretty interesting premise and system. Plus I get to play a shapeshifter. I have a soft spot for shapeshifters. Also, there are some people in that group that I haven't gamed with in years. I'm looking forward to continuing this one.

So yeah... ...the rest of my week looks pretty boring compared to the last several days...

~PS

Vet'd

Friday August 31, 2007 at 11:45am dogs, family, vet, health Comments (1) »

Well, as of wednesday, Ally has had her vet checkup and shots - she seems to be in great health. We did get some preventative and just-in-case medicine for her and some flea medication.

The vet also said she doesn't think Ally's pregnant - which is something we were concerned about since she's gained some weight lately (which really isn't a bad thing considering how thin she was).

The vet out here at the Good News clinic is really good and really nice - and she and all the techs *loved* Ally - who put up with everything they did with nothing more than a squeak. She also very much enjoyed the cookies they gave her - which she'd never had as far as we know.

She even made a friend - the vet's dog was wandering around the place and tried to play with Ally some while we were getting ready to leave. At first she seemed to be confused by this concept of "play", but she caught on after a bit.

Ally seemed to be in good spirits when we left the vet and was also excited to be home.

Later, Sheri & I went to Petsmart and got her a new collar (the old one was getting ratty), a name tag with our phone number (which was about time) and a brush to get some of the loose fur off of her - which we noticed when we gave her a bath on tuesday.

So I think she should be all set. :-)

~PS

Remote Blogging

Sunday July 29, 2007 at 4:35pm internet, computers, work, family, gaming, friends Comments (1) »

It's been a while since there's been a blog.

I'm currentlly sitting upstairs at our church in the youth room on the couch. They finally got a DSL connection here, and I have the wireless key.

It's kind of odd to be hanging out here, writing a blog and seeing my office over in the sushi-cam. Odd in a cool way, though. Heh.

Now, if only I had a macbook, this would be even sweeter.

Not much has been going on lately, actually (hence, the bloglessness). Work's been pretty busy/hectic. We've been pretty impressed with Andy's work though. We just have a lot of big development projects coming in. Some I'm excited about; some not so much.

My parents came by a few weekends ago on their way down to Myrtle Beach. They met us over at Ginger's place and played Apples to Apples with us for a while. Then we went back to the Igloo and talked for a bit. Saturday morning, dad replaced the dash in my jeep (the speedometer was broken). Yeah, he's in here for all of 12 hours, and he manages to fix something. He's cool like that.

I've been working quite a bit on my d20 campaign setting for Liimar. It's been a pretty fun, yet challeneging experience, because there's so many mechanics i've decided to play with. I've changed my mind about how I want most of the stuff to work about 16 times. I can't wait to get enough of it done so that I can try some more on my guinea p- ...er...i mean "players"... ...so that I can change how it works a dozen or so more times.

Got to meet another, local gamer the other night. Name's Nick. He seems pretty cool - he's already made the quote list even. We'll have to put something together to play sometime soon.

~PS

Family Visit

Monday July 2, 2007 at 10:31am family Comments (0) »

This last week we had Sheri's parents in town. They arrived here on saturday the 23rd and stayed until the following saturday morning. It was cool that they finally got to come see us in our house - since they hadn't had the chance to see it yet. We had fun hanging out with them, playing games and watching movies.

We also got a gas grill while they were here, and her dad showed me how to use it. Not that it's complicated, I'd just never done it before.

It was a pretty relaxing week - nothing overly exciting, but that was nice. It was cool just to get to spend time with them.

We don't see them much, unfortunately - since they live about 13 hours away.

~PS

Puppeteering

Friday June 22, 2007 at 9:23pm vbs, puppets, family Comments (0) »

Well, tonight was the last night of VBS. We all survived. It went very well, despite our directors nervousness about it.

Sheri led music, most of the opening and closing and one of the classes. She had a lot of work to do for it.

I just ran the powerpoint & projector for the words for the songs.

Oh, and I got to be a puppet. A dog puppet called 'Digger', to be precise. It was a big hit. Everyone loved it, and I had a lot of fun doing it. I used to do puppets at my church back in jr high. Kinda forgot how much fun it was. Especially with all the improv/ad-lib I got to do with Sam (since none of this was scripted). I also had a lot of fun putting bandannas, hats and sunglasses on him, and I even got to work in my little penguin hand puppet for a cameo tonight.

It was great! I mean, when you're as easily amused as I am, what could be better than puppets? :-)

Well, Sheri's parents are to arrive tomorrow, and i've got some stuff to do, so I'm off...

~PS

Parents' visit.

Monday June 4, 2007 at 11:12pm family, golf, lawn games Comments (2) »

Well, my parents left to return to IN this afternoon. We had a good time hanging out this weekend. It had been quite a while since we'd gotten to spend any real time with them. I miss them.

My dad couldn't resist fixing a few things around the place (a couple repairs on my little push mower, the garden hose spigot, and my jeep's passenger window) - which i much appreciated, but I was glad that wasn't all he did this time.

It was nice just to spend some time with them. We played some quiddler, and watched a couple of movies. Went out for dinner. That kind of stuff. On sunday, we went out and played some golf. I played terribly, but it was still fun. We also taught them to play kubb - which they greatly enjoyed. I'm betting my dad makes a set when he has a chance.

edit: I should have taken more pictures while they were here.... :-(

~PS

The Standard Report

Sunday January 14, 2007 at 12:16am friends, family, coffeehouse, music Comments (0) »

Well, it's been a pretty good week since the last blog entry.

Tuesday evening I went out to dinner with some friends, and then i returned to the Igloo where myself and some more friends (two of whom i believe to be parents by now) and my sister (who was passing through and stopped over for the night) all played Apples to Apples until about 10:30. Fun times.

Wednesday and thursday were pretty 'uneventful', though I have been wrapping up some pretty exciting work-related projects.

Fridays are always good. Went out to dinner again (same restaurant even) and then to the coffeehouse where some of us played Apples to Apples again. Seems this was the week for Texas Roadhouse and adjective/noun games.

Today I went and spent my christmas money. I'd been wanting a new electric guitar for a long time (ever since i started playing with the praise band at church) and today I went and spent quite a while playing several of them. I kept coming back to one of them though - a Gibson SG. Plays really nice. The guys at Morrell's were really cool too: Since I didn't want the gig bag (soft case) that came with the guitar, they kept it and took the price off the hardshell case that I wanted. Ended up getting the case for about half price. :) I've had the guitar plugged into Hikaru here for a bit. Looking forward to plugging it into my amp tomorrow. I'll probably put a pic of it up at some point.

This evening we had ging and llama over for chili and card games. Much fun was had - as always.

~PS

...And a Happy New Year

Monday January 1, 2007 at 12:18pm family, vacation, holidays, friends Comments (0) »

Ah. It's been a while. Good to be back.

So last week we went out to visit Sheri's family. Everything went went pretty well - including the long 12+ hour drive there and back, each of which we did in only one day instead of the normal two. We had a good time. Played lots of board games and cards.

Last night a bunch of us hung out for new years. We had intended to play some games (i think), but mostly we just sat around talking. I personally thought that was nice. Some of those who were present I don't get a chance just to talk to very often.

Lastly, I'd like to extend my apologies, well-wishes and thanks to a few people who called me on or around christmas time but I never got back with them because I didn't discover they called until much later. Kevin, Llama & Eric - I greatly appreciated your messages. The same to you. :-)

~PS

Merry Arkansas. I mean Christmas.

Friday December 22, 2006 at 9:25pm family, vacation, travel Comments (0) »

Tomorrow morning at [too early]o'clock, Sheri & I are heading out to AR to visit her family for the holidays. We'll be back sometime lateish on the 30th.

Happy Holidays to all and safe travels to those of you journeying forth this season.

~PS

Certainty

Monday December 4, 2006 at 11:18pm funerals, family, reflection Comments (0) »

I'm currently sitting in a room at the Holiday Inn Express at exit 38 on I-75 in Ohio.

My grandfather (on my mom's side) passed away sometime last friday. I'm up here with most of the rest of the family for his funeral.

Grandpa's condition had been steadily worsening for several years - especially within the last few months - so this was pretty expected, and probably for the best given his situation. Still, it's sad to lose someone.

This is the first funeral I've been to in... ...a very long time. I don't exactly remember how long. I've been to a couple of viewings since, but...

Unfortunately, I hadn't seen him much over the last several years and, since his health began to decline, even less frequently. Still, even though I've been fairly disconnected from him for that stretch of time, he is still the closest person to me who has now died.

This has again brought to mind thoughts about how well I will be able to handle death around me - with just a little more urgency. Just a little more close-to-home. I've not had anyone who is very close to me pass away yet - and I sincerely hope I won't for a long time to come - still, that is something of an inevitable circumstance. I hope i'm ready for it when it happens.

It has been nice to see friends and relatives that I haven't seen for a long time though. Wish we had a more cheerful reason to gather.

~PS

The 'Weekend Of Doom', etc

Monday October 16, 2006 at 3:27pm family, food, golf Comments (1) »

So this last weekend was interesting.

My sister Jese and her friend Kate came to visit us for a couple of days. Kevin also came into town. After the unusually full week I had, the bookstore/coffeehouse/theological/oriental escapades didn't exactly make for a relaxing weekend, but it was quite a bit of fun.

The weekend *did* involve 'broadening my horizons', as it were. On saturday night, the lot of us went out to a japanese steakhouse. The kind where they cook the stuff on the table in front of you. I'm not generally a fan of oriental food, but this was pretty good and quite entertaining.

Sunday was pretty much the usual after Jese & Kate left.

Been trying to play a little more golf while its still nice out. I think i'm starting to get a little better at the game. I've now par'd a par 5 by making an *amazing* (read: 'lucky') 12ft putt. I'm pretty sure that's the first time i've ever done that.

~PS

Return to Yoshi's Igloo

Monday September 25, 2006 at 2:35pm family, travel, pictures, we have your keys Comments (0) »

Well, we made it back from our trip to IN alright. We had a great time. It was nice to get to hang out with our families and relax - we hadn't been up there since last christmas.

We spent the first half of the week up in the Frankfort area with sheri's grandparents - mostly playing cards and talking and stuff. We also stopped by Sheri's sister's house on our way back down to visit our neices. They're cute.

The second half of the week we spent in Columbus with my parents playing golf (for the first time in 10 years!), bowling, playing some more cards and generally having a good time.

We returned to find some rather impressive post-it art in our livingroom and office. I sort of saw it coming though - since we had all talked before of doing it to someone else's place. Next time the post-it's strike, i want to be in on it.

In some ways I wish we would have had a bit more time up there, but in other ways its good to be back (aside from some computer issues and people spamming my site).

I put some pictures up in the Gallery. Enjoy.

~PS

A Good Weekend

Tuesday May 10, 2005 at 7:08pm family, food, auto repair Comments (0) »

well, my parents have left...and this is sad. we had a lot of fun though....

they came in on saturday afternoon and stayed till this evening. We took apart the jeep, watched some movies, hiked to Laurel Falls, and put the jeep back together again - in that order. We also got to go to Cootie Browns and the Crazy Tomato.

My jeep is all fixed up now - for the first time in a few months. Aside from being banged up a little from the accident i had a few months ago, it had the worst radiator problem my dad has ever seen - and, since my dad has seen pretty much everything to do with cars, that's saying something. Anyway, I can actually go places now! yay! (not that i...uh...have any place to go...)

~PS

Nothing

Thursday February 24, 2005 at 11:13pm reflection, gaming, family Comments (0) »

has this been a mostly bad week, with some good places or a mostly good week with some bad places?

haven't really done much lately - that is, i haven't worked much on the games (i've only got a little of Europe done for Earth) and i haven't written any songs in quite a while. I've mostly just gone to work and come home (which is bad, because i find that toward the end of the day i start to think in php). At present, i'm waiting to see if flightless birds of questionable alignment and quadrapedic beasts of burden bring me yummy tacos...

anyway, sheri's mom was visiting since last thursday (for anyone who may wonder, this was one of the good things). basically what this is means is that i got to lose a bunch of card games this week. i did get to win half a game of scrabble though.

tomorrow is friday, this is always good. don't know what i'll be up to this weekend, but, even though it probably won't be anything worth talking about, there's a good chance you'll hear about it anyway. really, though...it's your own fault.

~PS