This was a first for us.
I'm part of two regular gaming groups: one I run, and one I play in. It's nice to be able to do both. Our friend Rucht runs the group I play in, and right now he's runing a 5e D&D game. On a side note, 5th Edition seems to be a solid system. I like how they've simplified and streamlined the system but kept it feeling very much like Dungeons and Dragons.
In this game, Tony is playing a halfling barbarian. Edie's character, his sister, was trying to help with his "anger issues". They decided to try cake decorating as therapy. This did not go well.
The really hilarious thing was that Tony's dice knew exactly how well a halfling barbarian should be able to decorate a cake, and out of 4 or 5 rolls, I don't think he rolled higher than a 5. The whole session was hilarious, I don't think I've laughed that hard during a game for a long time. The die rolling, the RP, the descriptions of everything that was happening - even when the bakery was attacked by monsters - everything was cracking us up.
Then Tony got an idea: we should make a cake, decorated as badly as possible, and bring it for Rucht at the next game - down to the black-icing (mostly illegible) "this sucks" Tony said his barbarian wrote on it.
So, we did.
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.
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.
|Tuesday December 30, 2014 at 8:27pm||family, holidays, geocaching, friends, gaming, music||Comments (2) »|
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.
A group of us got together at Nick & Jen's (current) place for his birthday party on saturday. Was cool to hang out with friends - something we find ourselves doing less and less.
As I am want to do, I brought my camera along. I didn't really have any good opportunities to take photos of the party in general (I didn't bring my flash, and we were mostly inside with relatively poor light). When we adjourned to the fire pit outside, however, I decided to see exactly what I could pull off in that extremely dark situation - and, by extension, what I would need to do a better job.
I took a handful of shots using my 50mm 1.4 wide open - something I almost never do. It's generally a little soft at 1.4. It sharpens nicely somewhere between 2.0 and 2.8. Still, I was already at "high iso" (3200 equiv.) and at 1/60. I really didn't have anything else to open up on my rig.
These pictures actually look surprisingly good, all things considered. They're exceptionally grainy, of course - accented by the fact that I lightened them about +1.75 ev. I don't mind a little grain - in fact, if you desaturate them a bit, it can add an interesting feel to some images. This is a bit much, however. Still, the IQ is higher than i expected.
And if I had a camera body with a couple more stops of ISO, I think I could have done more. Incidentally, I read today that the 7D mk II is supposed to be out first quarter of next year...
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.
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.
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.
So last night's game was something of an experiment.
I'm usually pretty guarded with my game/story/plot settings. Historically, I've liked to retain pretty tight control over what is and isn't present in the game world, and I'd say that, for the most part, that's still pretty true. I don't think there's anything wrong with this, and its greatest virtue is that it guarantees a certain level of internal consistency.
In recent games, though, I've been a bit looser with allowing the players to "make stuff up" for me to incorportate into the world while keeping it a cogent whole. Last night added a new level.
A friend of ours from our annual Meetups was in town for the weekend, and we asked him if he'd like to join our game for the night. I'm usually pretty easy with letting "guest" players come in and out. This time, though, I gave Reinholdt a choice: I told him he could either be a character that was basically in line with the party (and would be much more in the foreground), or he could play the part of the primary antagonist - which was going to be more of a puppetmaster role. Since Reinholdt is, in fact, a cylon, he of course chose the latter.
So I had a new PC at the table playing the part of a character that I had carefully constructed and designed specifically for the situation the characters have been dealing with for about 10 games or so. I tried to explain the character as best I could, but of course someone else is always going to interpret the facts differently. It was interesting watching someone else interpret it, as well as giving control of the primary villain to someone else at the table.
Reinholdt did a great job. He spent most of the game passing me notes telling me all the things he was trying to do behind the scenes to confound the PCs. Actually, a lot of his suggestions made the game. He did some things I wouldn't have, of course, but I'm prepared to roll them into the canon.
Sheri, Hannah & I went on our first real trip in the "new" car we got back at the beginning of this year. One of the nicest things about having it is (in addition to my getting much better gas economy), being able to go places more than 20 minutes away and be reasonably confident the vehicle in question will make it there and back. Since our good friend Ginger couldn't make it down for Trogland 7 this year (much to our disappointment), we decided to work out a time to go visit them up in the DC area.
The trip was tremendously fun. Ginger & William are great hosts, and it was so much fun to hang out with them. We hadn't really done a lot with Ginger in several years and it was great to really have some time to catch up. Also, William is a great guy - I really wish I knew him better. Hannah and Liam seemed to get along pretty well and were really cute playing together. William has decreed that, on our next meeting, there shall be more games.
In addition to some relaxing, we went to Udvar-Hazy and the National Zoo. I, of course, I had a great time taking pictures at both locations. I was particularly impressed with my camera's performance at Udvar-Hazy in terms of high ISO (was shooting at 1600 for most of it) and the 28-135mm IS kit lens I was using (generally at the 28mm due to the size of subject material). That thing may be consumer-grade, but it has given me some impressive results (if not completely consistently). At the zoo, I was using my new 300mm telephoto. I'm not sure how high I rate that zoo in terms of how good it is for photography, but we only got to about 60% of it and several of the enclosures were possessed of animals that weren't exactly cooperative - so maybe i don't have adequate data to make that sort of call. Still, it was a lot of fun and I did get a few really nice shots.
So Milligan's 2012 Homecoming weekend was a few weeks ago. This also happened to be my 10th-year class reuinion, which seems bizarre. I think the reason time seems to go so much faster as you get older is because you get insanely busy and your perception slows down to compensate for the barrage of information. If I had as much boredom/free-time as I did when I was five, I'm sure a year would still seem like forever. As it is, I think I've caught site of bits and pieces of 2012 as it has flown by at a rate well above any reasonable speed limit.
Homecoming itself was enjoyable. I got to see some old classmates I have peripheral contact with via the book face, which was cool. Also, we got to see some really good friends who, unfortunately, live way too far away. Amber and her family came to stay with us for the weekend, which was a lot of fun. Hannah had a great time playing with her boys, and they loved her too. Also, Amber made an awesome doll for Hannah. We also got to see Ginger again. We didn't get to spend as much time with her, but it was great to hang out for even a little while. We did all go out to dinner at Mid City on saturday night, and that rather massive gathering was awesome.
We miss them.
Scheduling Time For Nothing
I met Robb out at the Acoustic Coffeehouse last night for no particular reason - which is to say, just to hang out and talk about whatever was on our minds. Ironically, a good chunk of what was on our minds was the fact that we don't get together to just hang out very often. Yeah, it's a little mobius. We decided we may have reached a point where being social requires a little more forethought, and some of us aren't exactly "planners".
Keeping It Going
Last weekend I changed the oil in the jeep (and the car). Thrilling, I know, but I'm proud of me. My parents were also in town a couple weeks ago, and my dad helped me fix the power steering fluid leak I've been tolerating for a while now. So the Jeep's happy. And the car...well...it's still going. It's a bit past retirement age, but, unfortunately, we haven't yet found a likely replacement.
So Sheri has this tradition of trying to fly kites on Easter sunday. The last couple of years, it's actually worked pretty well. Winged Deer park seems to be a good place for it. Tony & Adam also joined us this year - I thought that was pretty cool. We have good friends. I think it was quite an enjoyable time - I got some good pics, too. Some of my favorites were done with some intentional lens-flare. There's something cozy and nostalgic about that look. I'm not sure what it is.
Shards of Endor continued last weekend as well. This particular session was a little unusual as the group was split for its entirety (which may be a first) and both parties were in rather tense situations - one attempting to sabotage Imperial resources, and the others discovering a particular bounty hunter was still on their trail. The session played out in two halves as opposed to staggering events in a quasi-simultaneous fashion, but I think that was probably for the best in this circumstance - and I didn't get the impression I was losing people on either side. The last few sessions have been interesting for me as the GM in general - I think I'm learning a bit of what works and what doesn't with this group as it relates to the kind of game I'm trying to run. I'm starting to think that, with Star Wars, it's a good idea to keep the action moving. That seems to work best for this particular genre. As it's turning out though, I may be contrasting that next game with something a bit more brooding - so we may see how versatile our group can be.
I spent some time sunday night talking with a friend of mine about his musical ambitions. I may be doing some stuff with him to help him further this goal. We're at pretty different places with respect to how we view our musical pursuits - and what we'd ultimately like to do with them - but i always like to see a fellow creative actually doing something. He's talked about it for a long time - and I know he's put a lot of thought into it - but it's good to see that over the last year or so, he's really starting to move forward. I find that motivating myself.
Well, Feb. is almost at an end, sadly. As usual, I had had hopes for doing something with RPM again this year since I actually have my own gear now, but it has turned out not to be. I've had too many other things pulling me in different directions. I think i've basically reached the conclusion that now isn't a good time in my life for a hobby project with those kinds of time constraints. I actually struggle more than I used to just to get a rp session planned.
That's not to say I haven't been doing a lot with music & recording stuff - i have. I'm really enjoying my new setup like I said before. I just haven't been able to spend 4 hours a day with it. It's more like 4 hours a week - and that's if I really try.
Earlier this month I also went on my first-ever "business trip" (it's like I'm all grown up or something) down to a web design conference in Orlando. I didn't learn anything earth-shattering, but it did point me in some new directions and shift my focus a bit. Overall worthwhile.
Also, Sushi day has come and gone. The site is 7 years old now. On a similar note, if some hypothesize that a new version of the site might be forthcoming, they wouldn't be completely wrong.
Hannah is 9 months now - and still super cute. Tony and I have been enjoying some Zelda. Talk has begun about the 6th OotsCon meetup this summer.
Things have been.
|Wednesday April 20, 2011 at 1:46pm||state of the penguin, munchkin, work, friends, gaming, photography, writing||Comments (2) »|
Edit: New Photo. The iPhone is nice, but it doesn't quite hold up to what I'm used to...
First off, we're getting close to Sheri's due-date - only about a month to go before the Bunguin's arrival. We've been trying to get things ready as much as we can, but we don't exactly know what we're doing. We *have* inherited a wide array of baby-related "stuff" from several friends and acquaintances - for which we are very thankful. We also went to some child birth & infant care classes at the hospital, which were somewhat helpful and informative.
Second, I finally found a new job with a local company here in JC (I'm actually posting this on my lunch break). Still doing web-work, though in a rather different context than before. The position is temporary through June, after which time they'll decide whether to hire me on permanently. It's good to have something again though. Less stressful, especially with the munchkin coming.
Since RuchtCon, gaming has returned to its "normal" schedule. My Sandstorm game has continued to progress nicely, and I'd say the PCs are on their way toward the resolution. No word yet on how much longer it will go. I'm developing thoughts on what to propose next. Still working on several gaming projects.
I've taken a few more photos since I last mentioned it, but nothing amazing. Still haven't posted a 2011 portfolio, but it'll come.
The weather here's been warming up as we head into spring, and my yard is already ridiculous. I've mowed it something like 1.5 times - which is to say the front yard has been mowed at least twice, and I have waged a war with the forest in the backyard which is beginning to look favorable for my side. I did grill out for the first time this year last sunday afternoon though.
Sheri & I watched something like 30 hours of LotR extras (all the bonus features on the 3 4-disc sets) over the course of the last few weeks. Some pretty cool stuff in there - I recommend it to any fans.
Finally bought the Red vs. Blue: Recollection and looking forward to watching that with Llama and also listening to the commentaries sometime. I also heard that Dead Gentlemen is going to be re-releasing The Gamers: Dorkness Rising - this time with commentaries (I actually asked them why the first dvd didn't have them and they told me that they ran out of space on the disc). That would be cool.
I also picked up a new CD, but I think I'm going to make a more specific music related post soon, so I'll save my comments on that.
Ginger and William are in town even as I'm typing, and we've had a good time with them this week. Also, Liam is fun - and he likes me. :)
I've continued to kick around some ideas for some writing projects. I'll defer to voltaire (by way of Dan from Fear the Boot) for how this is progressing: the perfect is the enemy of the good.
Also, I've been having a pipe dream about opening a gaming store in JC - we need one, and that would be a lot of fun... ...alas...
Well, another local gaming mini-con has come and gone. This makes me a little sad, but it was a great time.
This particular gathering was, from the very outset, plagued with problems and difficulties, but overall I think we triumphed over them. Overall.
Festivities began on friday night around 7pm with the first set of games. Casey ran a session of Dark Heresy, Doug ran a zombie game called All Flesh Must Be Eaten, and Rucht was to be running an old school Dungeons & Dragons game - we're talking 1st edition here. The first to games got started as planned, but Rucht was delayed for a while and so the rest of us played some board games while we waited for him. When we finally did get started though, it was a lot of fun.
I spent all day Saturday running games. In the afternoon slot I ran my session of Little Fears, which I think went very well. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun and there were definitely some memorable moments. I think we're going to try to continue the game at some point so that they can finish the story they started. During this time Doug was running his Thundarr game (using the Cartoon Action Hour system) and Matt was running his game of Eclipse Phase.
On saturday night I ran my Savage 3025 game. This was basically a Savage Worlds game with a custom add-on for mech combat (which I've talked about here before). The plot was good (at least, I think so), but we didn't get more than about 1/3 of the way into it - and not far enough for them to have encountered any real twists. I am also not as familiar as I'd like to be with Savage Worlds (due mostly to lack of experience), so I there were times where I think I struggled with that, but overall I think it was a good game and everyone enjoyed it. While we were doing that, Rucht was running his Dresden Files game (which I understand was hugely popular) and Doug was doing Call of Cthulhu.
I was slated to run a session of Mana Burn this afternoon, but some of us got to talking and I think everyone was getting pretty tired. In any case, there didn't seem to be quite enough energy to start the game, so we opted to play a boardgame instead. I may try to put together a one-shot of that sometime soonish.
Between slots there were also quite a few board games played - Revolution! (which Dave introducted us to), Invasion From Outer Space, Dominion, and others.
It was great to see everyone, and I think everyone had a great time. I'd give a "special thanks to" list, but I think that would just amount to mentioning everyone.
We did miss those that couldn't make it - it would have been even better with them. We were also glad to have a few unexpected additions though, so that was cool.
Already looking forward to doing this again...
|Monday January 24, 2011 at 1:31pm||stand by, job search, family, friends, gaming, auto repair||Comments (0) »|
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.
|Thursday December 23, 2010 at 5:57pm||job search, holidays, board games, gaming, photography, birthdays, friends, family||Comments (3) »|
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.
*Walks by* *Comes back*
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.
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.
|Tuesday May 18, 2010 at 9:46am||family, home, jeep, gadgets, gaming, milligan, birthdays, friends||Comments (0) »|
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.
Wow, s'been almost a month since i've keyed something into the ol' blog.
Probably not much to talk about has happened in that interim. Let's see...
I previously mentioned a podcast called Fear the Boot, but at the time it was only with respect to their interview with Matt Vancil. I'm going to bring them up again because since that mentioning, I've really become a fan of the show as a whole. I should mention again that Rucht actually told me about this podcast a while back and correctly guessed I'd enjoy it, but to this point I hadn't given it much of a try. As someone who likes to listen to amusing group commentaries on independent projects (often listening to the commentaries on the first Gamers movie as well as those for Red vs Blue) and someone who loves talking about gaming in general, this thing was indeed "right up my alley", so to speak.
Now, when I get hooked on something, I tend to go all the way - so a few weeks ago I manually downloaded all of their stuff (at the time, 8.2 days worth). Generally, when I'm doing whatever (work, mowing, driving, working on my own projects or just playing on my computer) I tend to listen to music, movies and/or (especially) commentaries as a fairly constant backdrop... ...so for the last few weeks, I've been listening to the guys at Fear the Boot. It has been quite enjoyable to my taste - and I've made it through almost 3/4 of the show's history.
Anyway, looking back...
On Monday I started my World of Darkness game, and I thought the first session went very well (as always, there's a synopsis on the gaming page). We had 4 players and a 5th is planning to come next time, so we've got a pretty full table. I'm pretty excited about this game (and the current WoD system in general). I have some interesting ideas for where this campaign might go so I hope it sticks together.
This game was started in the interest of doing something a bit more regularly than our Mouse Guard game, which has some pretty severe scheduling limitations. Still, I in no way want to abandon Mouse Guard since that game is pretty awesome too...just...sparse.
Our friend Nick is finally back from Saudi and he introduced us to a new game called Citadels last weekend. It's a pretty cool, simple & relatively quick little card game. He also has Dominion, which I've been wanting to try, but we didn't get to it last weekend.
Edit: Played Dominion tonight (May 1st). *Great* game. We'll probably pick it up at some point.
Way back on the 10th I got to playtest an RPG I previously mentioned having thought up and written in about a week. This game is called Bot. There's a (very) brief mechanics-less description of the concept and a synopsis of the session on the Gaming page. I thought it went very well, everyone seemed to catch on quickly and have fun and I was very happy with it.
Way, way back on the 7th our GitP friends Stacy & Tracy stopped in on us JC folk, wherein we played some games and ambushed Llama with nerf guns (this is becoming something of a tradition). It's been a while, so I don't remember what all we did, but we I know had a good time.
In terms of the less interesting, we've come upon the lawn mowing time of year again, and I've been doing a bit of that. I actually enjoy the exercise, but it just takes so long to do. We've been talking about getting a rider for some time...maybe sometime this year.
We lost our company this morning, and that was sad. Ginger, William and Liam left around 9:30 or so. They'd been hanging out with us for about the last week. We had a great time.
They arrived here last Saturday evening. On Sunday we went to the coffeehouse at WAPC and chatted with some of the native Wataugians who wanted to catch up with Ginger since she'd been gone. On Monday we had a game night at the Hippie Hut Mk. II, complete with 3 munchkins. Cash & Guns was entertaining. Thursday Patrick ran his Star Wars game and Ginger's old character got to return for a cameo appearance in it, along with William's "Bill Redshirt". Last night we met up at Mid City for dinner and came back here for a very enjoyable game night featuring Time's Up. Much fun was had. Samara came out to join us - which was cool since it had been a few years since we'd had her around - and Rucht brought Duane who was in town and is always a lot of fun to hang out with too.
So this last week was lots of fun and games. We now return to our regular existence. I have posted some pictures on the book-face.
Well, the first mowing of the front yard for the season has occurred. It was like a small forest in places. While doing that, I was listening to and enjoying an interview with Matt Vancil (writer/director of The Gamers movies) from Fear the Boot.com, which Rucht sent to me - and now I'm passing on to anyone here who might like it. I was actually sad that the Gamers II dvd didn't include any commentaries (they ran out of room on the disc), so it was cool to get to hear Matt talk some about it. Also, he and the guys that do Fear the Boot have philosophies on gaming/roleplaying very similar to mine, and I enjoyed their articulation of some of those ideas.
Working backward toward the last blog, we had a game night over at our friend Casey's place a few weeks ago wherein we got to play another great Days of Wonder game called Small World. Tim was in town for that, and it's always good to get to hang out with him. Also, we had another awesome Mouse Guard session (which has been posted on Gaming page) on the 19th. We left off in the middle of some action & hopefully we'll get to continue that one soon.
In slightly related news, I recently spent about a week designing a new table-top rpg. It's considerably different than any other rpg I've ever played. I think it will be a lot of fun. I'll probably post some stuff about it on the Gaming page at some point, but I don't want to talk about it in any specifics yet. I intend to "spring it" on a group of players as a one-shot without any prior disclosure or explanation - I think that approach will suit this game and its setting quite well. I'll probably be trying to put that together soon.
In other gaming news, my World of Darkness game has enough foundation to get it started whenever we choose to bring it up, so I've shelved it until I have an opportunity to work it in - which may be a while. Still very interested in it though.
Now that the weather has been warming up, I've been thinking a bit more about photography again - pulling out my camera more often and looking at the lenses I wanna pick up at some point. I'll probably end up buying the really expensive one next - but that might not be for some time. I had a great time taking a *lot* of pictures of Liam this week - most of that album may be him, with other people thrown in.
Work is going alright. Business is quite good, all things considered. I'm still/again working on some systems for the next version of our model. It also looks like we're going up to OH for a "business trip" later this month. Yay rah. It'll be good to see Kedrick, Addie, little Jack and my other coworkers, but other aspects of the trip are much, much less exciting. Oh well.
We had a wonderfully great time with Thes this last weekend. We got to spend the last few days hanging out, playing lots of games, occasionally engaging in large-scale nerf warfare and generally being our goofy selves. Thes really seemed to like my Mouse Guard game, and I finally got to play Agricola!
I have realized I didn't take any pictures of the festivities. Use your imagination: it basically looked like some previous meetup pics, only with fewer people. Just as much fun, though. :)
Sheri and I were very sad that she had to leave before we got up though... ...apparently Thes didn't want to wake us. We really wish she had... Alas...
So...not much is up now. I'm just hanging out, checking some facebook, writing a session-synopsis for the Mouse Guard game, watching Star Wars and contemplating some World of Darkness.
I'm also passively looking at some cell phone plan info. There has been a slight altercation relating to my work phone & personal use (which had never been a problem before). I think it amounts to a little bit of a misunderstanding and/or lack of communication. I figure it will probably be ironed out shortly, but we've been talking about maybe getting our own phone for a while anyway (for a variety of reasons)... ...and I do like the shiny iPhones...heh.
...for posterity, I guess.
Sheri & I went to see Milligan's production of the 'Little Women' musical on friday. It was amazingly good. There are some seriously talented people in the Milligan Theatre dept... ...and the musicians did a fantastic job also. We had a good time.
On saturday, we hung out with Llama & helped him take a rental car back. He's still looking for a new steed.
Our friend Steve moved *back* to SC this week, and this made us sad. He'd only been back into the area for a few months. It just turned out that he wasn't able to help with the music at his church back in SC as well as he wanted from here, and he was only seeing his daughter every couple of weeks anyway. He just decided it made more sense to be there for now. Hopefully we'll get to see him occasionally.
My gaming hobby has been dominating my 'hobby time' lately. It's too cold to be out taking pictures and, while i've been playing my acoustic a bit lately, I haven't come up with anything original. Mostly just playing some covers I'm fond of.
I picked up a couple of new gaming books over the weekend: Mr. K's had some copies of White-Wolf's current World of Darkness core rules & Mage: The Awakening books. I probably wouldn't have bought 'em new, but half-price for current editions was irresistible. Since I picked those up on friday, I have gone through them both with a broad-toothed comb - which is to say, I read both books, but I skipped things that a) were redundant b) i already knew or c) didn't seem necessary to know completely in total (such as the 150+ pages of spells in Mage).
I remembered really liking Robb's Werewolf games at RuchtCon & Thanksgaming and I've found I really like the current rules set for WoD. Exalted (another WW game) is fun and the concept/setting is cool, but the system is (in my opinion) somewhat muddled and over-complicated. WoD seems to keep things (relatively) simple. I'm also drawn to the fact that it's *different* from our normal games (both in concepts & mechanics), and I've been all about some change for about the last year. I'll probably be looking to start a WoD campaign in the not-too-distant future. I've already got some ideas.
Some things I've mentioned before, more imminently:
With respect to other gaming, Rucht is planning to start his Rogue Trader game tomorrow night, and I'm scheduled to run both of my current games this weekend (after a month interim). I'm also *still* looking to get ahold of a few indie game books I've mentioned previously, but haven't had a chance to yet.
Also, we (our local circle of friends) have a friend visiting from out of town this weekend. Thes is coming in later tomorrow night to hang out with us until monday morning. That should be a fun time. :)
|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.
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.
I think we're getting more than our fair share of snow this year. Or, more than we've ended up with the last 10 years or so anyway.
Usually I talk about my friends, my hobbies and stuff that's been happening on this thing. Not too much fits that bill lately.
Aside from picking up the acoustic from time to time (occasionally with friends), I haven't done much with 'music' lately. I have a recording or two that I could post, but I'm really not completely happy with them. In fact, I've become increasingly critical of my writing & composition. I think when I finally do get some stuff that I like recorded, it will probably be a bit different from past projects. Who knows.
I've wanted to take some pictures lately too, but I think I've photographed everything in my general vicinity and I haven't been anywhere new... ...and I haven't been particularly inspired by any 'new angles' on things available.
We've had some more scheduling conflicts with our gaming. These aren't all bad, but I'm still trying to figure out when we can play again.
We have done a little hanging out with a few friends lately. Robb & I got together to play some guitar last week and then went out for pizza (and sandwiches) and the hideously-colored Generous George's.
I've also been hanging out with Steve a bit lately, helping him record some of his songs. I've also recently dug out my Magic cards and he & I have played a few games of that. That's been fun, though I haven't been able to convince Sheri to learn it yet. I've always enjoyed that game, but most of the people I know stopped playing it quite a while back. Others I know have moved on to only playing it on the 360, but, like Carcassonne, I'd prefer to play the actual, physical game - and then there's the fact that I don't own a 360...
In other news, as she mentioned on her blog, Sheri has resigned as choir director for our church - mostly because the choir was pretty much dissolving anyway. This puts us somewhat in 'limbo' with regard to what we'll do next. It feels kind of awkward in Erwin, and we've talked about visiting some other places closer to where we live. Nothing's actually be decided though.
As she *hasn't* mentioned on her blog (as yet), Sheri's also been doing some writing. She's about 60 pages into a story, and I think she's doing a great job with it - which is why I mention it.
Work is work and, aside from a few frustrations, has been pretty good. The last month or so has been a continual swing from really busy to really slow and back again. Not too much going on at the moment, so I'm just looking over some stuff. I know some other things will be on their way to me soon, though.
|Wednesday January 6, 2010 at 12:46pm||holidays, friends, photography, recording, gaming||Comments (0) »|
Still trying to get back into the normal swing of things after a couple of relaxing weeks.
We had a great time over new year's with a bunch of awesome friends. We basically spent the long weekend hanging out and playing lots of games - including a midnight game of New Year's Kubb. Robb & Edie were awesome hosts in their spacious new house, and it was great to get to see Jerry, Amanda and Stacey again. Plus Llama and Tim were there, which always makes for entertainment. :) I've got some pics of the festivities up on facebook.
I've finished compiling most of my favorite photos from 2009 (and the ones that I think are "good" from a technical perspective), and have created a home for them on my Gallery page.
On a more musical note (ha!), I'm still not sure whether I'm going to make another attempt at completing RPM this year. I really *want* to, as I've been upgrading some hardware & software in my "studio", have been helping Steve record some tracks, have been streamlining my approach to the recording process and have learned quite a bit regarding the enhancement of the quality of the tracks I put down... ...unfortunately, when it comes to actual material to record, I am all but completely dry atm. I've been trying to come up with some stuff for the last week or so (albeit, pretty sporadically), but haven't had any luck. If I can come up with a few likely tracks before Feb 1, I'll probably give it a go... ...otherwise, I may sit out this year.
In other news, I'm trying to work out some scheduling get my gaming group(s) back together after the chaos the holidays generally bring regarding this hobby. I've been working on my Mouse Guard campaign, which I'm excited about. I'm intending to pick up a few other games reasonably soon as well and I'm hoping to run and/or play with some greater-than-usual variety this year.
|Saturday December 19, 2009 at 4:10am||snow, friends, adventures, video games, trips, holidays||Comments (1) »|
I can now add "Voluntarily venturing out into a snow storm for the purpose of purchasing ice cream" to the list of crazy and strangely ironic things I've done.
Unfortunately, our plans for a birthday gaming night last evening were foiled by the aforementioned snow storm, which dumped 4-6 inches of snow on our area between 3:30 and 8pm and continued to spit more for a few hours after that. The only person who made it out to our place was Llama, but he had the unique advantage of not having to drive home that night. If others *had* made the journey, I think we may have had to make more room.
The fact that the roads were pretty bad, however, didn't stop Llama and I from making a run out to the grocery store and to arby's in the jeep - which got a chance to prove its usefulness in the 4WD capacity. It was a bit of an adventure, but in the end we arrived back at the now-appropriately-named Igloo completely victorious whereupon the three of us (Llama, Sheri and I) spent the evening hanging out and playing Wii.
As of now, I'm on vacation until the 29th. My one complaint is that I wish I weren't sick. Since wednesday, I've been pretty congested and have had serious difficulty sleeping. I'm starting to think the decongestant I've been taking is having the side-effect of insomnia. The last two nights, I've been unable to get to sleep for long amounts of time, finally dozing off, and then waking up only a couple hours later wide awake. This explains the time of this post.
If I feel a bit better and the weather eases up by then, we're supposed to head out sunday afternoon toward OH and IN for the holidays. I'm looking forward to this trip - I really hope I'm feeling better by then.
Also, the hiccups aren't helping.
|Wednesday December 9, 2009 at 1:34pm||holidays, birthdays, friends, music, recording, anime, video games, gaming||Comments (0) »|
The holidays are fast approaching, but this year hasn't become as hectic (yet) as years past.
We have our vacation time planned out now - we'll be gone to the IN/OH area from the afternoon of the 20th through the 28th. We'll get to go to christmas parties on both sides of my extended family this year, which will be cool. Still need to finalize some details - like when to meet up with some people and who might be able to take care of Ally.
Other stuff (in no real order):
The Social Theory class I had been sitting in on came to a close, which is kinda sad. I was enjoying that. Dr. Beck took us out for lunch on Dec 1st - this was a reward for the class's good grades and they invited me to come along for fun. I brought them cookies on the last day of class. They were a little abnormal in terms of shape & consistency, but tasty.
Our friend Steve has moved back into the area, and it's been fun trying to catch up with him a bit. We've been talking a bit about music & recording and he wants to get back into a little tabletop gaming too. I've set part of my recording 'studio' up and have been playing a bit with Addictive Drums and AmpliTube. I've been looking at electronic drum kits again too.
We're planning what should be a fun new-years-eve party at the Hippie Hut Mk. II, though we are very sad that our EP & co. will not be able to make it. :(
Yesterday was Sheri's birthday. We went to the crazy tomato and then to best buy to buy a movie. We ended up getting Evangelion:1.01 - the first of 4 feature-length movies which are to be a retelling of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. It was pretty faithful to the original. On the downside, I doubt the next one will come out before next christmas.
Also, for one of her birthday presents, I got her Super Mario Wii, which she was very excited about. :) We played a couple levels of that too - it's hugely entertaining.
Still haven't got to playtest my new roleplaying system, but hopefully soon.
|Wednesday October 28, 2009 at 1:05pm||social theory, friends, moving, chorale, concerts, gaming||Comments (0) »|
It's been a while since a blog has happened. Only a few things to report from the interim.
Got to talk about Wallerstein in Dr. Beck's social theory class. That was fun. I think I might have been a little too long-winded though.
Helped the Hippies move into their new house. It's a lot bigger and nicer than the other place they were renting (which was much too small for them). We're all really excited for them. They're still in the process of finishing that move & getting settled, but I think they're most of the way there.
Sheri had a Chorale concert last saturday night, before which we went out to dinner with Patrick & Stacy. It was a fun time - got to hang out with some friends and hear the choir sing.
Been working really hard on stuff for Thanksgaming. I think/hope my stuff will be ready by then. I think it will, but I still have a lot to do.
|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...
|Saturday September 12, 2009 at 10:46am||photography, shows, friends, munchkins, camera, birthdays||Comments (3) »|
Well, my photography show "opened" at WAPC yesterday evening. Some of my friends were there to show some support and hang out: Robb, Edie and Llama came and so did Larry and Kris Rosolina...and of course Sheri was there :). There were also a fair number of people from Watauga as well - some of who I had met, and some whom I hadn't. Lots of people said they really liked my pictures, which was cool. Larry and Kris suggested I look into putting some of my work into next year's regional fair or possibly some other kind of photography show. I'll have to think about that - it sounds interesting.
I think I'll put up an online version of the gallery at some point - with the photos I chose and their names (which I had a lot of fun with and got several compliments on specifically). The gallery has a lot of still-lifes, a few landscapes, some pets, some small children and one or two other random shots.
Anyway, while we were hanging out there, our friends Ginger and William Galaini became parents of little Liam Ross. We've seen some pictures already (this expediency is one of the many reasons I'm such a fan of the internet and digital cameras! :)) and he shows signs of extreme cuteness and being one with the Force. As far as we know, Ginger and the munchkin are doing ok, but that's mostly because we haven't heard otherwise...I hope that gets confirmed soon.
Not much else of note has transpired. I did get some new stuff for my camera on friday : an extra battery (needed), a cable release (yay for tripod stuff), a lens hood (say no to flare) and, most importantly, a shiny new lens. At $400 it was the least expensive of the ones on my list. It's a 50mm prime with a 1.4 maximum aperture. It's intended uses are for low-light/indoor, fine depth-of-field and portraits. I'm still getting used to exactly how narrow the depth of field is at 1.4 on a 50mm lens only a few feet from the subject - like different-parts-of-peoples-faces-being-in-and-out-of-focus kind of narrow. Still learning on it and continuing to enjoy playing with it though.
Tonight we're going to a friend's birthday party. That should be fun times. :)
Nothing else to report here. Carry on.
Not too much going on, just a few things to put down.
Had a great time at the Hippie Hut yesterday. We had a cookout with quite a few friends, played a couple of fun games (Red Dragon Inn and the always-favorite Apples to Apples) and generally had a good time hanging out. Sheri and I have discovered that we officially don't count as "company" anymore - meaning when we arrived early, we got to help clean up a little for later arrivals. Heh. We were glad to help.
Trying to work on some game and story content for a few different projects. Not sure how well it's going, but it's going. What I'm trying to do with some of it is a little different than anything i've tried before (I may elaborate on that later). In related news, I'm also looking forward to continuing our Mouse Guard game, whenever we can.
Of the fifty-something online matches i've now played on QuakeLive, I have 2 wins. That sounds pretty bad, but I'm actually a little proud of it. I've only played free-for-all, and it's really hard to come in 1st of everyone in the arena. Most of the time, I'm somewhere squarely in the middle, and usually 20ish points behind the leader.
I've had a few things going on the last couple of weeks, but not much worthy of recording or reporting.
About a week ago we took the Gamers II movie over to Rucht & McKenna's house so they could see it, and Tony joined us as well. It was a good time. I think McKenna was laughing so hard she was crying. (aside: If you're a roleplayer, you should really see the Dead Gentlemen's movies 'The Gamers' and 'The Gamers II: Dorkness Rising'.)
Last saturday we went over to Robb & Edie's to hang out for a while. Robb, Josh and I hung out on the porch playing guitar while Robb was starting one of his brewing projects. At some point we got to talking about going to Josh's house to play with his dad, Bill, who is a drummer, so on sunday we met up at Bill's place and jammed hard for a few hours. That was a lot of fun. I've played with Robb a bit and with Josh once and we'd never played with Bill. For our first time getting together, we sounded great. I really don't think it will take much work for us to sound quite good. *With* a lot of work, I think we could sound pretty awesome. We're trying to make plans to get together again soon.
I've been working on my Mouse Guard campaign quite a bit. We finally got to get together to make characters last night. We didn't have time to really get started on the game itself, but we had fun and I think the players have come up with some really cool ideas. I really like how character creation works in this system. Hopefully we'll get to actually start the game soon, but, unfortunately, it probably won't be for a couple of weeks.
In other news, we *still* need to get out and ride our bikes. It seems like something always comes up whenever we think we might try to go out.
So this weekend was the July 4th holiday. We went over to Rucht & McKenna's to join in their massive party. It was a lot of fun. We got to meet some new people, which I always enjoy - especially when we have something in common. It was also really cool to get to hang out with a few folks we don't get to see much since they're from out of town.
The desserts Sheri and I brought were both big hits. This was very gratifying, but I wouldn't have complained had the other guests liked the lemon cheese bars a little *less* (i.e., if there had been even one left over).
At the end of the evening, we all watched the JC fireworks display, which is conveniently set off pretty much right behind their house. A few of us climbed up onto Rucht's roof to get a better view - which was cool. I don't do heights and I won't say I was completely comfortable the whole time, but it was fun nonetheless.
I had brought my camera to experiment with taking pictures of the fireworks - which is a bit of a tricky art. I wasn't expecting to get anything terribly good, I just wanted to evaluate what would be necessary to do it. Still, I got a few shots I consider to be pretty interesting, and I've put them up in the gallery. I do wish I'd taken some pictures of the party, but I feel a little self-conscious taking pictures of such a large group of people many of whom I'd just met.
On Sunday we went to Katie's 5th birthday party. It was intended to be a pool party, but rain and some cold weather put a bit of a damper on that. It did eventually clear and warm up enough that a few people got in, but most of us simply spectated. Most importantly, Katie had a good time, and we all enjoyed playing with her.
As I previously mentioned, this last weekend was the 3rd Annual Southeast-Trogland Giant in the Playground Meetup - aka: SET GITP Meetup 2k9. This is our third year hosting playgrounders from all over (which i find to be pretty impressive in itself), and it continues to be awesome.
Our group this year wasn't *quite* as big as last year (there were several who really wanted to, but were unable to make it - and we *did* miss them), but in some ways, the smaller group was better overall.
Here's basically how this all went down:
On friday night around 7pm, we all met up at Thunderdome. This was the "official" start of the festivities, but several people had arrived earlier that day, and we hung out at the Hippie Hut for a while beforehand.
Thunderdome is basically a JC gamer's hangout. They have about 20 networked PC's as well as some consoles hooked to projector screens, and a bunch of board games. They also serve some pretty tasty food. We had told the owner that we were going to be invading on friday night, and he said they'd stay open as long as we wanted, basically... ...so we all had a good time playing video games, board games and card games (and some played a session of Paranoia) till about 3am.
On saturday around 1pm, we all went over to the Greenwood Challenge Course, which as been a meetup locale for all three years. It's a private area with a shelter, an open field area, as well as some high-ropes climbing elements that Robb is certified to administrate. We had a cookout and spent the afternoon playing Kubb and some other games and watching a few climb up about 70ft to 'the wall'.
On saturday night, we all headed to the Mid City Grill for food and more games. Mid City is a great place for this, as it's about the most laid-back restaurant i've ever been to. Oh, and they're also open till well-past stupid-thirty in the morning. Zeb & Alarra taught me and Sheri to play the Ticket to Ride card game, which we'd never had a chance to play before. It's really cool. If past years are any indication, there's a good chance Sheri will get that for her birthday or christmas this year. There were also games of Munchkin Fu, Monty Python Fluxx, Battlestar Galactica and a session of 4e D&D (which was testing encounters for a module written by one of the absent playgrounders). Probably more as well.
Sheri, Ginger and I left the party around midnight, but I'm told festivities continued (in various places) until about 6am. I do wish I'd been able to stay with them a while longer, but we had to get up for church in the morning and honestly, I was pretty tired by that point anyway.
When we returned from Erwin on sunday, our house had been occupied by the remaining playgrounders (some had had to leave earlier). This *was* the plan, but it was still kinda odd to walk into your house to find a bunch of people you'd only met a couple days ago. We played an interesting game of Monster Manual Charades (high recommended, btw ;)), a game of Werewolf (the party/card game, not the whitewolf rpg), and then there was some Ticket to Ride, Arkham Horror and Set.
I need to point out here that, while the Ticket to Ride and Arkham Horror games were going on, I was sorting through some pictures in here on my computer. As it happened, the acoustics in our house were such that I couldn't tell whose voice was coming from where. Also, everyone's voices were at almost the same volume. At one point, I heard the following dialog:
Voice 1: "Ok, I'm going from Raleigh to Pittsburgh"
Voice 2: "So, are you attacking it or what?"
It was... ...a little surreal.
Anyway, people began to head out, but the rest of us hung out and had a great time till all had departed.
It was a great weekend. I miss everyone already and can't wait for next year. About 129 of my best shots from the weekend have been posted in the Gallery (plus the pretty-terrible-but-existent group shot shown here - next year, I think we're going to try to stage this at the challenge course...it should also be noted that the shot is missing a few people).
I feel like I should mention that the weekend *was* marred by one pretty significant black spot: one of the guys ended up in the hospital. I haven't mentioned it on the boards, and I don't want to talk about it here much because other peoples' health concerns are kind of a private thing, but I felt like if I didn't mention it at all, it would sound like I didn't care - and that's completely untrue. I should also point out that this incident isn't directly related to anything going on this weekend - it was just something that happened to happen here. We're all pretty sure everything is going to be ok, but he's going to be there for a couple of days. He's had some visitors from a few of the playgrounders before they left town, and I think he'll have some more from the locals. And of course we all wish him a speedy recovery... ...and that it didn't completely kill the experience for him.
EDIT: Supagoof has since told us to let people know what happened: basically, he's diabetic and his insulin pump stopped working, causing his blood sugar to skyrocket (like, 600+). We went to hang out with him in the hospital last night. He seems to be doing pretty well and was in fairly good spirits. We were actually there for over 5 hours playing games and talking to pass the time. His brother is flying into town tonight and he'll hopefully be released today. He said he had a great time at the meetup right up until this happened. We hope he comes back next year.
Friday, June 26th, lunchtime -
Had a great time with the Rosolinas at dinner on wednesday. They're lots of fun - i wish our schedules would let us get together with them more often.
Worked on gaming project a little more, changed some things, hoping to playtest soon.
House clean, Ally had a bath, am eating lunch and finishing up some work.
2009 SET GITP Meet-up is very nearly underway. Some people are already in town, others are heading this way.
|Sunday June 14, 2009 at 4:39pm||weddings, trips, friends, churches, songwriting, music, gitp, gaming||Comments (7) »|
Sheri, Llama and I took a trip out to North Carolina this weekend to attend our friend Kevin's wedding. It was a nice little ceremony. We're all very happy for them. Stephanie is sweet, and well suited to Kevin in a number of ways. It was good to see him so obviously happy too.
I must confess a bit of mild camera-gear-envy with respect to the photographers' toys. Also, there was a penguin cake at the reception, which was cool.
We got to see some other mutual friends there too - William and Ginger and Mike and Bethany. It's always good to see people we don't get to hang out with much (esp. Ginger who just moved away from us). We spent saturday afternoon and evening hanging out and playing games with Ginger and William. It was a lot of fun - we don't play games as much as we used to.
The car ride was a bit long, and I think Llama was starting to get a little loopy by 2am when we got home, but the trip was successfully completed.
This morning we went to Hopwood Christian Church. We had originally thought we were still going to be in NC this morning and so had arranged for Sheri to have this morning off at our church, but we ended up coming home saturday night and so decided to visit somewhere else. It was nice, actually. Jim Street had a great message about how to bless a fish (heh), and it was probably the most thought-provoking message i've heard in a while - and one that I truly thought embodies the spirit of christianity. We saw the Rosolinas (who we're still trying to have over for dinner sometime) there and also Brian West and his family (who i hadn't had a chance to talk much to in a while). Brian and Danielle invited us over for lunch, and we ended up hanging out and talking for a quite a while.
Brian is trying to get motivated to record some of his songs, and I think this is a great idea. He's been writing for a long time, and he's really into it - but most of his stuff just gets left on the page after it's written and he doesn't have any really good sounding recordings of any of it. We had a lengthy and interesting talk about the technical and artistic aspects of songwriting and recording. I really hope he does something with this. I've even offered to help with the technical stuff which intimidates him a little - not because i'm great, but because i've at least done it before. Maybe it'll get him started.
Tonight we're supposed to have a planning meeting for OotsCon '09. Our crowd this year looks a little smaller and some key people will be missing (and they will be missed), but some *other* people are able to make it this year. Hopefully it will be as successful as it's been the last two years. It's really not about the numbers, it's about the fun - there were only
13 11 of us at the first OotsCon back in '07. Hopefully we'll be able to get our plans ironed out.
My homebrew gaming system has reached Alpha status. I have just a couple more mechanical aspects to iron out, and then the first round of playtesting will begin with whoever i can get to help me out with this. I've discussed the theory of the system at some length with Sheri and Tony, and they both seemed to think it has some potential. It is definitely a bit different in its root philosophy from the games like D&D that we're used to - but I personally think these differences are a *good* thing. At whatever point the system reaches Beta, I'll be posting some more detailed info on it.
|Tuesday May 26, 2009 at 12:23pm||milligan, gaming, friends, moving, holidays, hiking, bicycles||Comments (8) »|
This last week has been pretty crazy. A lot of out-of-the-ordinary has gone on. This is really 3 or 4 blogs in one - and is mostly just a 'state of the penguin' address.
Last Tuesday, Sheri and I went to Milligan's faculty/staff picnic - which was open to "many" part-time employees this year (the wording of the invitation email left something to be desired). It was actually pretty cool. I knew quite a few people there and got to talk to some I didn't know so well. I also got to talk to Dr. Beck for a little while, which was cool. She was one of my Sociology profs at Milligan and one of my favorite professors overall. She told me i could sit in on one of her classes if I want sometime - which I'll probably do if i can find one at a time that doesn't conflict with other stuff too much.
Last Thursday I got to join Patrick's Star Wars game. I've generally enjoyed the Star Wars games i've played in before and the rules for the new system are fairly simple (which i like). It was a lot of fun and i'm looking forward to continuing it in a couple of weeks.
On Friday, Kevin and Steph (his fiance) came into town, along with Mike and Bethany (some friends we don't get to see much). The girls all went out to have a sort of bachelorette party for Ginger and Mike, Kevin and I went to see a (decidedly mediocre) movie.
After that, we all met up again to throw Kevin in the creek at Milligan around midnight. That might require a little explanation for some of you. Apparently Milligan has a "tradition" wherein guys who become engaged at Milligan are thrown into the creek by their buddies. The triggers for this operation have since been blurred to include Milligan alumni as well, so Ginger and Steph decided Kevin was fair game. I've personally always thought this tradition was dumb, and strikes me as locker-room behavior. (Sidenote: When I proposed to Sheri, I made it quite clear to some friends that this would not be happening - or, if it did, people would be physically harmed in the process and we might not all consider each other friends afterward. I have found that being physically forced into something I don't want is one of the few things that will trigger a violent reaction from me. I am very thankful they respected my wishes here.) Everyone else, however, seems to think this is great, and as long as all involved are reasonably amenable, it doesn't inherently bother me. The only reason I was involved, however, was because Ginger asked me to take pictures, which I did. Those have been posted in the Gallery :)
Saturday was moving day for Ginger. A bunch of us descended upon her apartment and possessions and spent the hours between 10am and 4pm (more or less) packing up stuff and loading it in a u-haul. After that we all went out to Mid-City Grill and had a good time relaxing and talking after a tiring afternoon. Unfortunately then we had to say some goodbyes, which sucked. I think things will be a little better for her up in VA, but we all miss Ginger a lot. Hopefully we'll get to see her from time to time. It's not the same when someone's missing.
Sunday was "recovery day" from the late nights and monumental-packing done earlier in the weekend. We went to church, but beyond that we didn't do very much. I briefly considered mowing the lawn, but decided against it (in part due to rain). That'll probably get done today.
Yesterday was Memorial Day, so we had an extra day off. In order to take advantage of the warm holiday, we decided to go hiking. The weather threatened to rain us out, but we decided to go anyway. We went out to the lower entrance to Laurel Falls and hiked around there for a while. Due to some trickiness in the trail, we never actually *found* said falls. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous. At a certain point, none of us could find the trail and, given its location perched above the creek, I was disinclined to mess around too much since I had my camera. We talked to some people later who explained it to us and we think we know where it is now. We still had a great time and I got some good pictures, which have been posted in the Gallery.
After the hiking we grilled some hot dogs and then Sheri and I went into town and ended up buying some bicycles. Before that sounds totally random, let me give you some background:
Some time ago, we decided the 5th Anniversary is the Bicycle Anniversary and so we decided we'd get some bicycles as anniversary presents for each other. Sheri had said she wanted to get them before our actual anniversary because by the time we get to late July, a lot of the good cycling weather for the year is behind us - so we'd been looking around. We initially looked at Dick's Sporting Goods, but most of those seemed really expensive and we didn't really need anything amazingly cool. We also looked at walmart (though I was/am disinclined to buy a bicycle from them), target and even toys-r-us - just trying to see what was available and to evaluate some prices. So yesterday, we decided to go to the mall for something completely different - something we'd never actually end up doing, as it turns out.
We entered through Dick's (as we usually do) and decided to go look at the bikes again - just for fun. We ended up finding a couple that weren't much more expensive than one's we'd priced elsewhere and this was actually the first time Sheri found one she really liked. So after quite a bit of discussion, we decided to go ahead and get them.
I'm glad we ended up buying from an actual sporting goods place. The guy there was able to answer some questions and when we'd decided to buy something, he went over everything (gear changers, brakes, tire pressure, etc) on both of them, making sure everything was working smoothly and correctly and in good condition. IMO, this was worth the $20 price difference.
So we're excited about this. We know of a few places around here that will be lots of fun to go and ride (which will be practical once we have a carrying rack - getting them home last night was *possible*, but not pretty) and i'm sure there are quite a few others.
So now we're sort-of back to the usual grind - but not completely. It'll be a short week for me as I'm taking this Friday off since my parents are coming into town this weekend... ...so we'll be getting ready for that this week. That'll be fun too.
Yesterday, my friends, we feasted.
In the interest of using up some of the contents of Ginger's fridge & freezer before her move, we had what turned out to be a monstrous cookout last night. It would seem we fell victim to an overcompensation for a worry about having enough food to the point that we had more than we could have possibly eaten if we'd all been fasting for a week. For 7 of us, we had a couple of steaks, some hamburgers, some sausages and a small mountain of chicken, mushroom, zucchini, onion, pepper and pineapple kabobs as well as a tray of fries and a couple quarts of ice cream for dessert. When we began to realize were were going to have so much food, we tried to think of some others to invite, but most of the likely parties who were not already present were off doing other things. Despite hearty appetites, there were lots of leftovers. Not that that's a bad thing.
So after spending quite some time cooking, grilling and otherwise preparing our tastiness, we enjoyed a leisurely and abundant meal while chatting about various things. This was followed by some enjoyable games and general relaxation to go with our ice cream.
All in all, a good way to spend a nice, spring evening.
|Wednesday May 13, 2009 at 10:45pm||gadget spite, jeep, outdoor, computer problems, music, band, gaming, camera, friends||Comments (4) »|
...that i can mash the button on the jeep's clicker for five minutes and it will not unlock for anything, but i can then hand it to Sheri and she'll push the button once and, click, it works...???
Research is currently underway to determine if this is also related to the Pickle Jar Phenomenon.
And now, the news (in no particular order):
Getting new tires on the jeep tomorrow. Yay rah exciting, i know, but it needs done.
We played catch in our backyard today. This seems random, and it is, but Sheri had been saying for a couple years that we should get some ball gloves and baseball and play catch because it would be fun. We had a couple of walmart gift cards, and it seemed an amusing thing to spend them on.
I think the last of Hikaru's current computer problems has been isolated and (somewhat) solved. I love my computers... ...when they work.
Had a great time jamming at the Hippie Hut yesterday. I think we're still one band member short, but it's going pretty well.
Continuing to go over the Mouse Guard rules and trying to get one of the current D&D story arcs wrapped up so i can put it on the back burner for a while in the interest of something new.
Been looking over some camera lenses and reviews of them. I know i want a long telephoto, a super-wide-angle and a wide-aperture prime (probably 50mm), but i keep going back-and-forth regarding exactly which ones i'm after. Oh well, i've got time.
Had a going away party for Ginger last weekend - which she almost missed ;). I think we had a dozen people or so. I took a few pictures - but didn't get too many before my flash batteries died. I hadn't thought about bringing the camera until right before we left and at that point i didn't have time to charge them. Anyway, we had a bit of a cookout and then sat around and talked for a good while. Later we played a game of Apples to Apples, which is always fun. It was a good time. We're going to miss Ginger a lot. :(
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.
Finally went to Thunderdome last night. Pretty cool place. We watched some guy beat Force Unleashed on a giant projector screen, played Apples to Apples and ate some tasty food.
The weather yesterday was awesome and we had a bit of a picnic at the Linear Trail park in Erwin. Due to the fact that there's only one picnic table in the area we went to, we ended up having lunch with a random couple. They were nice and fun to talk to. They lived in Alaska for a few years, which i thought was cool. Yay for meeting random people.
Went to John's on saturday to see if my MouseGuard stuff had come in yet. Still hasn't - apparently it's on back-order and some of it's hard to get. He did have a couple issues I didn't have though, so i picked those up (which was kind of nice - the last few times i've been in there it's been 'walk in, ask about stuff, walk out'). Actually, i misread the back of one and so accidentally bought one i already had... ...so Llama got to inherit it. Still much looking forward to getting the roleplaying book. :-D
Had a gaming session on friday night, which i think was good despite several of us being tired (and some occasionally nodding off...heh). The "plot" at this point is pretty open because i wanted to put the players into a situation where they have to decide what to do about the circumstances. This isn't bad, but it's less straight-forward and usually results in the players having to weigh lots of options and so it can move kind of slowly at times. I think they're doing well with it though.
I'm also really trying to get to a few plot points before Ginger moves... ...we'll miss her a lot...
On some house stuff: mowing season has begun, and it's already getting ahead of me. We had a pretty impressive storm the other night and the basement stayed dry - looks like my sealing job around the font doorjamb worked well. Oh, and i unclogged the sink which had been draining ridiculously slowly for a while.
I've been addicted to Super Paper Mario lately - I started it about a week ago and i've now played it enough to pass Ginger and Tony in the plot (though Tony's still a few levels above me - he's been working on the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials). It's a very fun game... ...and since Sheri won't let me play Okami...
Yesterday was an awesome 77 degrees and sunny. There's something special about the first really nice day of the year - the first day that you really want to get out and do something. When that happens on a saturday, so much the better.
We decided to carpe the diem by making an afternoon of some kubb and an awesome cookout with a bunch of friends (before our previously-planned gaming session). I took a fair number of pictures, some of which will get posted at some point. It was good, good times. We definitely need to make a habit of this as the weather gets nicer...
EDIT: Pictures posted in the First Kubb-Out of the Season photo gallery! (some pictures of our much-belated christmas gift exchange also included ;))
|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...
Only two noteworthy things to mention here this week. And they're completely unrelated.
The first is that last week I started making preparations for this year's RPM challenge. Basically, i've been setting up my "studio". In the interest of improving the "tightness" of my recorded tracks (particularly the vocals) i've decided to turn the office closet into a sort of recording booth. I've cleared it out completely and lined most of the inside of it with foam from a cheap mattress pad. I've also moved in my guitar amp and the mic/soundboard setup that will run into my macbook for recording.
I spent a good chunk of time friday night and saturday afternoon doing sound checks with various instruments and vocals. It's sounding pretty good. Now I need to spend the next week writing.
On saturday we had "The Party Man Was Not Meant To Plan". This was Tony's birthday party. He apparently requested a Cthulu theme. We had all kinds of impressive unspeakable snacks and played some Lovecraftian horror games - namely Arkham Horror and Cthulu 500 (though we did have several others to choose from). And, of course, no horror experience would truly be complete for our Llama without some pink elephants. Hehe. It was a good time. I took quite a few pictures, the best of which are in the Llamabration 09 gallery.
|Tuesday December 23, 2008 at 3:02pm||holidays, christmas, camera, friends, family, birthdays, projects||Comments (0) »|
It's christmas eve eve.
Anyway, we've had a lot going on lately - not too much of which makes for good reading though.
Last thursday I finally finished the wardrobe we bought over the summer - it looks pretty good and functions wonderfully. It's nice to have something other than the cheap wal-mart dressers we had before.
Had a good game session / birthday party on saturday. That was fun. I got presents! Heh. Also, some of my friends got together to make some game-inspired snacks. We had Gnome Knuckles and Pixie Puree and a giant Cheese Ooze and treeant branches and all kinds of geeky goodness. The game was lots of fun too. It was a bit combat-heavy, but it makes up for the last session where there was none.
Sheri's choir had their Christmas Cantata on sunday - it went pretty well, i thought. We spent most of the rest of the day cleaning up in preparation for our lot-o-christmas-company.
Speaking of, sheri's parents and brother arrived early monday morning and it wasn't long before they'd fired up the wii to feed their bowling addiction. Hehe. Her grandparents arrived later that evening. We are having a full house, but it's fun. I'm excited to have people here for the holidays instead of traveling. It's a nice change of pace.
My camera flash came in the mail yesterday too! Much fun is had! I've been discovering all kinds of things with bouncing light off ceilings and walls. I've taken some really nice, natural-looking shots with it already. I have *also* taken a few accidentally lit pictures with some rather bizarre lighting when i didn't realize the flash head was pointed some odd way. Anyway, i'm loving this thing. It's such an amazing improvement over the little built-in pop-up.
Also, i got to hang out with Sam a bit yesterday. Good times.
Also, also - i need to finish my christmas shopping today. Yes, i know i'm way late. It's hard to find a good time to go when sheri's not with me.
I have a new toy.
The laptop my boss gave me to use has been sadly outdated and a bit flaky for quite some time (occasionally, the keyboard will stop reporting certain keys - namely, the enter key. inconvenient, that). I don't use a lappy for work terribly often, but there are occasions that I really do need one. There are other occasions when i'd just really *like* one.
Knowing this, for something that resembled a cross between a business-expense equipment upgrade and a christmas bonus, they let me pick out a replacement for the aging dell lappy.
So now I have a new Macbook (Awesomeness!!), and Sheri got to inherit Moro, the old laptop - which, despite its faults, is still kicking and will be cool for her. Like she said 'old lappy is better than *no* lappy'.
I've added some code to the site to play with the isight camera on this thing too - you may occasionally see a 'penguin-cam' beneath the sushi-cam. Not that you *want* to, but just because I can.
In keeping with my tradition of naming gadgets after anime characters, Kotoko is named after a minor character from Chobits
I got this new spiffy gadget on saturday when we went out to dinner with Kedrick & Addie. They're a lot of fun - it's too bad we only get to see them once a year. We do have a standing invitation to come stay with them for a weekend or something if we get a chance. They talked about having us come up sometime to hang out. Maybe go to the cincinnati zoo or something. :-)
I gave them a framed 8x10 print of one of my pictures as a christmas present, and they really seemed to think it was really neat - which was great. *I* was really proud of it, but wasn't sure what other people might think. In related news, i'm going to be compiling a 2008 Portfolio gallery of what i'd consider my 'best work' around the end of the year.
Last night was the much-anticipated birthday/costume party for our friend McKenna. It was *lots* of fun. There were quite a few people there, and a lot of good costumes. Ginger's steampunk outfit was awesome, and Patrick's nobleman/wizard(?) costume was most impressive. Finn, of course, looked adorable in his King Arthur costume, and I had a good deal of fun taking pictures of him. I got a lot of compliments on my Vash the Stampede costume as well, which was nice. I don't think more than a handful of people actually recognized the character, but a lot of people liked the coat. :-)
The evening consisted of some most enjoyable socializing, some tasty, tasty fondue, and some other fun & games including Apples to Apples (always a favorite) and Rock Band (note: I can *not* play that game).
Near the end of the evening, we played a rousing game of Taboo. It should be noted that some of the participants were somewhat more tipsy than others - which, of course, added to its amusing nature. Also, there were at least two instances that words must have been guessed via telepathy or some other form of ESP. The first was Rucht's "Uhm...you might see this in a zoo..." to which Sheri quickly shouted "A zebra!" which, remarkably, was correct... ...but even more astounding than that was Nick's clue which began "So, there's this guy-" and was never actually finished because McKenna immediately yelled "Houdini!!" before he could finish coming up with the rest of the clue. Yes, the answer *was* Houdini. No, we still can't believe it either.
At one point during the game, there was a brief intermission caused by the eruption of an exceptionally brief sabre duel between Queen McKenna and the Pirate-Captain Nick. I wish I could have gotten a few pictures of this, but it literally lasted about 3 seconds, and by the time i got my camera back out, I had time for only a few poorly-composed shots before Captain Nick's weapon was sundered at the hilt and the blade ricocheted off a nearby lamp and "impaled" poor William, who had been napping on the floor nearby. After his defeat, Nick commented that clearly McKenna's blade was superior in its forging, and it was postulated that perhaps it was created by a Spaniard. Heh.
It was a great time. We need excuses to do stuff like that more often. I put up some of the best pictures i took at the party when we got home last night. They're in the McKenna's Birthday Party gallery.
So yesterday was Halloween, and as of about noon, we had no plans at all. See, we have a costume party for a friend's birthday *tonight*, so dressing up might have seemed a little redundant (plus, I would have wanted to save my costume anyway). There were several things we could have done, but not really grabbed our interest.
Still, it didn't seem right not to hang out with one's friends on the 'Ween, so we decided we'd get together & do...something. It ended up like quite a few of our weekends, but that's not a bad thing. We went out to eat at Cootie Browns, headed over to Mr. K's to see if anything looked interesting, and then went back to Nick's place to watch a movie.
Our cinematic choices for the evening were a horror movie called The Descent and an anime called Steamboy. Despite the fact that it *was* Halloween and one can make a strong case for the watching of scary movies on Halloween, we decided to watch Steamboy. Ginger & Sheri aren't overly fond of scary movies on the whole, and decided I'd rather watch the anime as well, so, despite some attempts to count a vote for Abby, I think it was decided our way 3-2.
I think I give Steamboy about 3.5 stars. It was quite beautifully drawn, and the camera-effects emulation (sweeps & pans, etc) looked really cool. The story was interesting (if not overly deep) and I liked the fact that most of the movie kept you unclear as to who were the 'good guys' and who were the 'bad guys'. Also, it was about the most steampunk anime I've ever seen, and we've been conversing a fair bit out steampunk recently.
Still, it had some typical anime flaws. Character development was a little shallow (not surprising as it usually takes a series about 12 episodes to established a character). Also as Nick pointed out, a couple of the characters had more than their fair share of monologues - often in their own static timestreams (ala "hurry up get out of here! - but let me give a 15 minute soliloquy first!"). A couple of the more villainous characters seemed to pop in and out - seeming very important in some short scenes, but completely insignificant (and absent) for the bulk of the movie. And, perhaps the most typical aspect: exceptionally bizarre and wildly inaccurate interpretations of thermodynamics. But those are *fun* and hey, it's a movie.
So while we did enjoy poking fun at it, I still enjoyed the movie for what it was.
So we randomly had a 'net friend in town for a couple of days at the end of last week. Midnight Son stopped through as part of his massive, cross-country biker trip and we all had a great time hanging out with him again. He's a great guy - hopefully he'll be able to make it to the 2009 SE GitP Meetup Extravaganza.
As was alluded to in the comments of the last entry, a good chunk of friday was spent modding nerf guns. The Hippie brought his over along with some power tools, and with that and what we had at the Igloo, we made some standard mods to the guns and also primed & painted them to give 'em a kind of steampunk feel. They are looking *great*. Yesterday I got some clear-coat to seal mine once i've decided i'm done with it (and once i get a day with less than 70% humidity).
Had some good gaming earlier this week and looking forward to some more tonight. Speaking of which, I've got mayhem that needs planning.
So I went to the Battle of the Bands at Winged Deer Park last night to see Mahto's band, Ralvaden, and some others play. It was quite a fun and entertaining way to spend a thursday evening, I have to say. Hanging out with friends and listening to some live music. Does make me miss playing a band, though (I think i've mentioned that before?). Troy even made it out - hadn't seen him in *forever*.
I was pretty impressed with Ralvaden. I think they've improved quite a bit since I heard them last just a week ago. For their first show *ever*, they were awesome. They had written the two songs they played, which I thought were pretty well-composed for no longer than they've been at it. If they stick with it, they could be very good. In terms of technics, I don't think they were the most talented musicians playing, but they did have a good style and played well I thought. I could tell they've worked hard at it. I loved how Mahto handled the 'interview' that they did with the band after the performance - he really seemed to keep the mc off balance. It was quite amusing.
What kind of surprised me was that the whole event was sponsored by a a 'christian' organization, and there were some plugs for some upcoming 'christian' events, etc. Also, the surprise 'prize' for the winning band was being given the opportunity to open for one of the aforementioned events. A cynical part of me wants attribute the fact that the most overtly 'christian' bands took the top spots to these aspects, but the more benefit-of-the-doubt part of me decides (and hopes) that that was *probably* not the case. I think I would have picked the same 'winner' (based on the judge's proclaimed criteria), though I think I would have flipped places 2 & 3.
I really think that the David Nipper band (who placed 3rd) was really the most musically talented and professional of the lot - though The Verity (who took 1st) was a close second on that score (and a bit better on the stage presence). I suspect it was the fact that their stage presence was a lot more laid-back that cost them a higher slot... ...but, for a group that stylistically reminded me quite a bit of John Mayer, you can't really have the crazy jumping-around that some of the more hardcore/punk bands did. High-energy, high-volume music is easy to dance and jump around with, but mellow stuff takes a different, more subtle and more difficult, kind of expression. The guy was a good song-writer, and *all* of the musicians were very, very good. David, I thought, had good expression and presence, as did the drummer, but the rhythm and base players - for all their talent - just kinda stood there. Still, I would have given them 2nd above the repetitive thrashing (if energetic) of Free The Martyr (though, man, their guitarist could play *wicked* fast).
Pictures are posted in the Gallery. I was mainly there to photograph Ralvaden, but I tried to get a shot or two of everyone. The only one I missed was the Last Minute Band - who happened to play while I was eating dinner. Sadly, I was least impressed with them - probably because they only played cover songs (i'm big on originality)... ...but having only been together for less than a week, they were pretty good. Troy liked them.
|Tuesday August 12, 2008 at 1:12pm||lawn, church, photography, friends, swimming, gaming, music, blogs||Comments (4) »|
Or, you know, as real as I get.
Not too much has been going on here. Watching the grass grow. No, for real. Since i strained my calf muscle, I haven't mowed the yard - which is now really, really bad. My plan is to start tackling it later today. That's gonna be rough.
Sunday was our church picnic. I took a few great pictures of the munchkins on the playground. I'm still learning how to best shoot moving subjects - a lot of my shots are a little soft. Especially the ones of Claire. She doesn't stop moving. Anyway, it was fun. Oh, and I made lemon cheese bars for it (the first time by myself :)) which were a big hit with at least a few people. There were only two left.
Ginger, Sheri, Nick and I went out to the Elizabethton city pool on saturday. That was cool. Actually it was downright *cold*. There were only a dozen or so others in the water. I think i know why. After 5 or 10 minutes you got used to it though... ...if only because you were at that point numb and couldn't feel the cold. It was a good time though. The weather's been beautiful here: very mild for this time of year. Tomorrow's high is only 78 and the lows have been near-record.
On friday we had a fun gaming session. The party wrapped up what they had been doing in the dwarven ruin and have now traveled to the city of Madrid for more fun and mayhem. That game continues to be lots of fun.
Mahto's band had a practice on monday & I went to listen in. They sound pretty good for a highschool group. I think if they keep it together for a couple more years, they could be really good. They're actually playing at a 'Battle of the Bands' this thursday that we're gonna try to go to. That should be fun. Robb and I got to sit outside & play some guitar on monday as well. I really miss getting to play in a group. We talked for a while about trying to put something together at some point, but i think we'll need to find at least one more member.
Not too much else. Calendar's pretty blank for this month.
addendum: late last night i finally finished the graphic design for sheri's new blog - you can see it here.
|Sunday July 27, 2008 at 3:12pm||anniversary, gaming, work, friends, music, video games||Comments (2) »|
No, really. The past week+ has been fairly uneventful. Despite this, I still have several things to do around the house that I haven't made it to yet. I feel like I've been busy, but I also don't feel like i've done/accomplished much - how does that work?
Sheri & I did have our 4th anniversary on thursday. :-) That was a good day. We went for a walk around sycamore shoals (cause it was such a nice day), and then went out to dinner. We then went to look for a movie to watch (we were going to go see Wall-E, but our theatre wasn't showing it at a time that worked well) and bought disney's The Sword in the Stone. I love cartoons.
I guess in terms of my hobbies' time ratio, gaming has gotten the lion's share lately. I've put a significant chunk of time into continuing to develop my new(ish)/experiemental system/setting but i'm still not happy with my progress - it seems to be going much too slowly. Hopefully I'll get a little more momentum soon. We had a last-minute game session last night for my surviving d&d group, which was quite fun - though it took the party about 3x longer to get to where they did than I figured it would.
Apart from that, i've been working on some large projects for work - even some on my own time. There's one in particular i really want to get done, but I never get enough time to spend on it. It's going to make things a lot easier on several of us once I do though.
Got to hang out with Sam a little on friday. That was cool. Haven't seen him much since he's been at Berea. Got to hear a couple new songs of his - they're pretty cool (as was to be expected). I've been sadly neglecting my music stuff lately. I did play a little yesterday and discovered my fingers are way out of shape. My callouses are still there, but my index finger cramps on bar chords pretty quickly. I need to start compiling ideas for a new album for next year's album recording month too. If i can write most of it beforehand, i might have a prayer of actually finishing one.
Tony & I (and Sheri, to some extent) have been working through the obsessive-collecting madness that is Lego Star Wars. There are minikit pieces on some of the levels i swear don't exist: i've gone back and forth through some of these levels like 12 times and they're still nowhere to be found. It's a fun and funny little game though.
Anyway, that's pretty much it.
Or, the "Second Annual Southeast-Trogland Giant in the Playground Meetup"
The meetup was an unbelievably huge success. Our gathering of 35+ forum members from all over the country (and even from canada!) here in Johnson City was an absolute blast. So many cool people, so little time in the weekend.
A short run-down of the events is as follows:
On thursday night, there were some early arrivals - Ceika, Tantolain, Sir Dustin and Trog. Llama and I made cookies for the meetup on thursday night. Well actually, Ceika made cookies and Llama and I helped.
On friday, I went to pick up our first house guest, Krade, from the bus station. From there we went over to the Stable where we hung out with those gathered, played tetris and watched Dusty (Sir Dustin) run around the room chasing his chew toys.
By friday night, most of the others had arrived. We met in the basement of ginger's church where we had pizza, games & music.
On saturday we went out to the Greenwood Challenge Course, where we had an awesome cookout, played many epic games of kubb, and quite a few went up on the high-ropes course.
On saturday night, many of us met up at the Mid-City Grill - a cool little restaurant downtown that has good, cheap food and an incredibly relaxed atmosphere. Also, they're open till like 5am.
On sunday afternoon, we met here where we intended to have another cookout, but it rained so we had a pretty decent lunchmeat spread and played Wii for most of the afternoon.
Even though most of the people had left by sunday evening, those remaining met up at Robbs place where we hung out, chatted and played the Oots board game. Ok, we played a very small part of the Oots board game.
Which brings us to this afternoon when Krade, the last one still in town, left around 2:30 after playing a rousing game of Grave Robbers from Outer Space.
That was quite a bit of a fly-by, but I couldn't possibly go into all the details of the weekend. You just had to be here. It was awesome. Can't wait till next year... ...though I am glad for some recovery time before then...
It was awesome to get to meet so many cool people, and fantastic to see some of the one's I'd met before again! :-D Words can't describe the coolness.
A gallery has been added for the event on the Gallery page. It contains
107 98 of the best pics from the weekend. :-)
After last week, i was ready for the long weekend. The downside is, I've now been back at work for two days, and I don't think i'm ready for it yet. I'm not sure if I needed the long weekend, or more of a vacation.
Well, it's not that bad really. This week has been a lot better. Just. Eh.
Anyway, the weekend was fun. We had a couple of cookouts - one here for Kevin's birthday/graduation and one at Robb & Edie's for Memorial Day. Much fun was had and many kinds of games were played. We introduced a couple new people to Kubb and played some rather epic games (the second time where we've been down to no kubbs and come back to win!).
We've also started finishing Spare 'Oom. Last week sheri cleaned out pretty much everything in there (no small feat!) and so far we've primed and got one coat of paint on it. I'm planning on putting the second on tonight (if it dries in time - it's really humid/rainy here). I'll put a picture up when we get it done. I'd put an 'in progress' picture up, but i'm feeling too lazy for that atm.
The yard really needs mowed too, but it's been raining. Gonna be pretty rough once i'm able to do it, i'm afraid.
As I mentioned a while back, I've been cleaning out the office closet. Well, as of yesterday, it's as cleaned out as it's gonna get. Freed up a lot of room in there by tossing a bunch of junk and boxing up the stuff i don't want to chuck just yet. It was during this massive excavatory (not a word, should be) undertaking that I unearthed this priceless treasure.
The experts are still debating the artifact's authenticity - see, it's not *exactly* like the legends depict. Still, it is undeniably very, very close. If past experience can tell me anything, I figure this object has the potential to make me rich beyond all necessity - if I can just get to Hyrule somehow. Everyone knows that empty, corked, glass bottles are by far the most valuable commodities in that realm.
Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who knows how to get to Hyrule, and even if I did, it would probably be in the midst of some tyrannical rule or buried beneath the sea knowing my luck. Then I'd have to find the Hero of Time and/or wait 7 years or somesuch. Yeah, and then he'd probably just take my bottle in the name of 'saving the world' or something. Pssssh. Maybe I could at least make him beat me in several, annoying swimming races first...
Anyway, given the circumstances, despite it's obvious and undeniable pricelessness, this wondrous item will probably remain here on my desk, collecting dust. And any faeries I happen to come across.
In other news, we've made some progress in cleaning up other parts of the house as well - the land of Spare 'Oom is looking much better thanks to Sheri's efforts, and the basement is getting tidied a bit as well. This is partially in preparation for the upcoming GitP meetup (t minus 5 weeks and counting).
This weekend we are to have a sort of going-away party for Eric and Kevin will be in town to celebrate his birthday and graduation with us. Should be pretty fun all around.
Well, the week went by alright. It was pretty dull as well, but the weekend was good. It occurs to me i haven't had anything interesting to say in a while. Maybe i'm just being lazy. Anyway, just some notes on what's gone on...
Played Exalted on monday, which is always fun.
I ran one of my d&d games on friday - which was a great session (i'll get updates for you all soon).
Saturday we did some work around the house. Sheri potted some of her plants. We went to Erwin for a dinner thing. Stopped and took some photos of geese (including fuzzy babies) on the way (though i goofed and my camera settings weren't ideal).
Had church today, but didn't have to stay in Erwin since there was no choir practice. Instead we hung out with ginger and nick and played a AoEII (conquered the world). Also, we talked to our mom's since it's mothers' day.
Now it's late. I should head to bed soon.
Not too much to report or make note of, but here's the gist -
Had a great gaming session on saturday, which was lots of fun. I'm enjoying that game quite a bit.
Saturday night we went to the Midcity Grill in downtown JC. Hadn't been there before. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the food was great and cheap. We were scouting the place as a potential hangout for the Oots meetup we're planning for the end of june. The owner wasn't sure if he could handle our crowd (it's a small place and we may have 25 or 30 people), but we're hoping in addition to trying to come up with a plan 'B'.
Yesterday we went to the Milligan vs Team USA softball game - or, at least most of it. The cold + wind + rain eventually caused us to leave a little early. We all pretty much knew that Milligan was going to lose terribly to the olympic team, but i figure that wasn't really the point of it. I saw the point as seeing what Milligan could accomplish against them. I was told the final score was 24-0 in five innings, but Milligan did keep USA from scoring one inning and even managed to get one or two people on base.
Last night we had some tasty quasi-mexican for dinner and a sort of video game night with Ginger, Nick & Tony. There was Dragoon, Gauntlet, Contra, Lifeforce and Katamari. A good time was had by all. Oh, and Nick and I are heroes that saved the universe. Booya.
Now to expand on something I previously mentioned in passing...
Yesterday I drove out here to Kevin's place in Durham to see the Weakerthans play at the Cat's Cradle. I'm currently reclining on his futon (where i crashed last night) doing some work (i love how i can work from anywhere with a net connection) and generally hanging out (cause those two can go together quite nicely for me).
It was kind of a crazy thing to do - drive 4 hours (each way) in the middle of the week, pull some rather complex car-switching (special thanks to Ginger) and orchestrate things around work and play schedules just to go to a concert and hang out with an old friend... ..but it occurs to me that I don't do crazy stuff all that often, so i figure i'm good. And it's totally been worth the trouble.
The show last night was awesome. The opening acts were good, and the Weakerthans are great in concert - very talented, energetic, animated, and entertaining to watch. They played a lot of their upbeat stuff - which is great at concerts - though I'm also a big fan of their much mellower stuff as well. They played most of the songs that I really like - including Plea from a Cat Named Virtue, which is probably my favorite.
I (of course) took my camera and, by cranking the ISO to 3200 (and possibly using some under-exposure), I was able to get what I *hope* are some pretty good shots with my lens (which isn't particularly fast). If I had a lens that could open up to 2.8, I think I could have done a lot more. Still, very fun. I found the burst drive mode to be very handy in this application as well. Anyway, I'll be posting the best of them after i get back to the Igloo, as I don't want to mess trying to pull them off my camera and convert them from raw from here.
My plan for today is to hang out here in Durham and head back to JC sometime this evening.
It's been a few minutes since i've written up a blog entry...
Been doing a lot of gaming - as it happens, every group i'm in or running (total = 4) has met or is meeting in this two-week span. It's been fun.
We had a cookout for Justin on saturday. He has successfully defended his masters thesis and, though he's not quite out of the woods, things are looking good. It seems none of his family or out-of-town friends are going to be around for his graduation - which is sad. We needed to celebrate, so we did.
Sunday (yesterday) was spent in Erwin - the first time we've had to do that in few weeks. It was a beautiful day and we went down to the Linear Trail (which follows the river). I took about 240ish pictures - granted, a lot of those were duplicates. I've developed the mantra that any shot worth taking is worth taking (at least) twice - just to make sure you get a good one. I created a gallery for the Erwin Linear Trail and put a few of the best shots in it. Speaking of taking pictures, I put a couple really nice ones I took at dusk at Milligan a while back in its gallery, and I also posted some pictures of the dogs (Ally and Abby) from saturday evening.
Tonight we have Robb's Exalted game, which I'm looking forward to. It's the only game I'm a player in. It's nice to be on the other side of the screen (as it were) once in a while... ...and it's also nice to take a break from d20.
On wednesday I'm planning to drive out to Durham, NC to visit Kevin and go to a Weakerthans concert - that should be pretty sweet. :)
Just a few random excerpts from my life this last week:
Took Ally to the vet on wednesday; made an appointment to get her spayed. That's supposed to happen on the 24th. By all accounts, she's in good health and very cute. :)
Had a game on thursday; got to use a clever riddle in a situation that actually made sense in-game. Didn't kill anyone.
Ginger made us chicken fajitas on friday and we played some carcassonne and mario kart. Much fun; very tasty.
Saturday, Sheri and I talked some about some future possible home improvement projects, went and bought flower seeds, ate chili and made Nick watch The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged. It had been a long time since I'd seen it, and it made me laugh. :)
Yesterday was the start of DST. We lost an hour, but I'm glad that there's still plenty of daylight left after work. As the days warm and lengthen, I'll have more and more time to be able to shoot outside. Looking forward to this.
We also had the usual church stuff - which we were on time for because we remembered said DST stuff. I played Brave Saint Saturn's "Estrella" for the special - and I think it sounded really good. Don't think I've ever played a song kapo'd that high (7th!).
After Sheri's usual choir practice, we met up with Dennis (aka TheGreatJabu from the OotS forum). Robb & Edie came over as well and the group of us chatted about random stuff for most of the evening. After our Bored Meetings tonight, we went to Robb & Edie's house to hang out with Dennis (before he leaves town tomorrow) by playing some Killer Bunnies. Dennis seems to be a great guy, and meshes with out little group quite well in terms of personality. If his interview with ETSU's psych. doctorate program went well enough, he may even be moving to town. That would be pretty cool.
Anyway, that's about it for now.
Today was pretty epic. In the interest of making absolutely sure all of us had seen adequate muppetry, we invited a bunch (i believe the final count was 16 total(!)) of people over for the expressed purpose of watching Muppet movies. During the course of the day, we watched Muppet Classic Theatre, Muppet Treasure Island and the original Muppet Movie - all of which were very enjoyable.
In addition to this, there was pizza, card games and we even took advantage of the nice weather to play a couple of games of Kubb with those gathered. I (predictably) took a bunch of pictures of the festivities, the best of which have been posted here in the Muppethon Etc gallery.
It's been about a week since my last blog post, so I guess it's that time again. Not too much interesting going on. Not to talk about anyway.
Last saturday Rucht, having decided that way too many of us gamers had never seen the movie Conan the Barbarian, had a bunch of us over for a viewing of the very old and cheesy film. Apparently we've been initiated now. We did have a good time playing with the plastic swords he got for the occasion, eating some tasty food, playing an epic game of munchkin and making another (failed) attempt at finishing a game of Arkham Horror. Oh, and because i'd seen that movie, I realized last night that James Earl Jones is also in Dr. Strangelove. Weird.
Sunday, I continued my longest currently-running campaign (18 sessions now, started a year ago last october). I love that game. It's so much different than most rp games.
I've been continuing to work on my RPM project. I'd hoped to be a bit further than I am, and it's beginning to look like I'm not going to finish. We've now reached the half-way point, and I've only got 2 songs down. I wrote about 1.5 more last night, but I haven't even started recording them yet. Perhaps tonight while sheri's at choir practice. I'm also discovering this project to be more a 'proof of concept' than an actual finished product. I'm way too picky to settle for what's coming out so far. Still, it's been most enlightening and enjoyable.
Also, I've posted to the gallery a few more pics i've taken recently. A couple more cute pictures of Ally (apparently one of my favorite subjects)(Ears!) and a few scenery pics - including a decent moon shot and a killer sunset sky. I'm looking forward to the weather warming up enough to actually go out to some different places to shoot.
Some of us were talking the other day, and we decided we don't get out enough.
I probably don't mean that the way it sounds though. It's not as though we're hiding under rocks, but we all just kinda do the same things all the time. That is to say, we hang out and play games - board, video and roleplaying. We occasionally do other stuff, but probably not often enough. We could also stand to get outdoors a bit more often. Don't get me wrong, I very much like just hanging out, playing games and doing nothing in particular, but it would be fun to do something different for a change. Here are some things we've decided we should try to do - maybe sometime this year (preferably once it gets a little warmer).
- We should do quite a bit of hiking. And not just at Sycamore Shoals (which is nice enough), but at least a couple trips up to Round Bald, Lorell Falls and other places. I mean, we're in the mountains just miles from the AT. There are *lots* of good sites around here.
- We should go to a zoo and/or aquarium. Sheri's been saying this for a few years. There's a zoo in Knoxville and a zoo and aquarium in Chattanooga.
- We should go over to Bay's Mountain to see the wolves. They have a sort of preserve/habitat for them up there.
- We should look around for some interesting museums. I know there's a big one in Knoxville and i'm sure there are quite a few others within a reasonable distance. Nashville (5 hours away - far, but not ridiculously so) has quite a few including The TN State Museum (which is *huge*) along with the only full-size replica of the Athens' Parthenon (Not as cool as going to Greece, but some of us aren't that lucky), a Botanical Garden / Museum of Art and the Cumberland Science Museum/Planetarium.
- We should go to some state parks and/or similar areas. Maybe do some camp-outs, the aforementioned hiking and other stuff. There are quite a few of them within a couple hours of here.
- We should bike the Virginia Creeper Trail. This would be great fun. I'm told they'll rent you bikes and there are several different segments of the 35-mile trail you can take (you know, in case you're not used to going *quite* that far).
- We should go up to IN to go skiing/tubing/etc with my parents on their boat. I've been saying this for a few years, but we haven't gotten around to it yet.
I'm sure there are some more good ideas as well. You all can put some in the comments if you want. We'll probably be asking around for who might like to join us in our grand adventures too.
Of course, one of the best things for most of these (at least for me) is the opportunity to take some great pictures at a lot of these places. I'm really looking forward to that. :)
I thought $$60,000,000,000 was a bit of an overstatement in my case - even if you have been bugging me for pictures of this.
Here's what happens when you have friends like mine. They buy you awesome costumes, and then they want you to wear them and take pictures of it.
Apparently one of my friends found this replica of Vash the Stampede's coat on ebay, decided it must be mine, and gave it to me for christmas. It is pretty awesome. Whoever made it did a great job. It's pretty darn accurate from what I can tell too. I don't have the actual glasses, so I had to improvise for the photo (it didn't look right with no glasses). Still, looks pretty good.
I guess with costumes this cool, I feel it's about the least I can do to oblige their demands of photos. Plus, it's another excuse to play with my camera. I think took about 8 pictures. I thought this was the best one.
It really is a nice coat. I've thought about modding it slightly (by maybe adding a few details and/or maybe a partial lining) and actually wearing it places - but then i remember i generally don't like people staring at me. Plus, they'd probably think my strangeness + bulky coat makes me a terrorist or something. Then they'd Google me and find out i'm wanted for sixty billion (double) dollars. It's just all down hill from there...
Some of you may remember the penguin costume. That one I actually wore to a costume party. There's some pictures of that floating around somewhere. It was pretty spectacular too. I had thought about dressing the penguin up as something (that'd be two costumes at once!), but I think Vash the StamPenguin is too surreal even for me...
Anyway, thanks guys. :)
Last night's christmas party was fun. Ginger, Tony, Rucht, McKenna and Finn came over for spaghetti, presents and hanging out. McKenna had to leave early, but Rucht stayed around until Finn got too cranky to be up.
After he left, Tony, Ginger, Sheri and I played a game of uber Carcassonne - as of last night, we have all but one tiny expansion. The game is now massive and barely fits in its box.
I played with my new toy (camera) a bit. I'm still learning it, but it's very nice. Took some pictures of Finn and some of our game-playing. At Tony's request, I got one of Optimash Prime joining our Carcassonne game. I'll start posting these at some point.
Rucht & McKenna gave us Settlers of Catan - a game that I've heard lots of good things about, but never got to play. In addition to that and the Carcassonne expansions, I got my own memory card for Ginger's game cube (hehe) and Sheri got a pair of yoshi slippers(!).
|Wednesday December 19, 2007 at 11:39am||cameras, birthdays, friends, penguins, christmas, family||Comments (2) »|
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.
So I'm 28 today! Even though the older I get the less significantly individual birthdays affect my self-identity, I still have a sort of child-like joy regarding the annual day of birth and the general merriment that it implies as good friends and casual acquaintances express that they wish me well. Such things are important to me.
I think some of my friends have planned something fun for this evening. I know we're at least going out for dinner tonight - which is always a good time. I'm sure we'll have some sort of cake/ice cream, play some games. We generally seize any excuse to partake in such activities.
I'm sure sometime tonight or tomorrow I'll post the full list of events as they happened. I'm also planning on acquiring something else today - which I'll probably be posting about later too.
|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.
|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.
Ok, so here's something I wouldn't have figured I'd have done. Not that I didn't enjoy my time at Milligan immensely, but I'm usually not such a huge fan of 'organized' social activities and most of the people that I spent my time with during those years either still live near me, or weren't coming out for the 'homecoming' thing anyway. Still, there was one notable exception.
Our friend Amber told us last week that she would, in fact, be coming down from Iowa for the event, and that she would be bringing here two munchkins (Seth and Charlie) as well as her mom and grandma. Despite the fact that this was my 5th year class reunion, I think the fact that she was coming and that Sheri and I hadn't seen her in about 3 years were really the reasons we attended.
And actually, it was pretty cool. Even though (like i mentioned before) most of my *best* friends were either local or absent, it was quite enjoyable to get to talk to a wide variety of people I knew at school, even if they weren't the ones I hung out with often. Despite the wide variances in our lives, there was some small sense of common heritage with these people (which is of course the draw to these sorts of events) and, despite its somewhat contrived nature, I'll admit that it was a nice feeling and an enjoyable time to get to socialize with those present once again - even if that interaction was mostly superficial. My description here may seem overly cynical, but it's not intended to be. I really found it interesting to get to meet again for the first time people you once knew.
So we spent saturday walking around campus with Amber and her entourage, talking to familiar people (some of whose names I remembered, others not so much), and generally hanging out on campus - something I hadn't done in a while.
We saw the parade, which was somewhat amusing. We got to see the progress that's been made on the inside of the new arts building on campus, which looks pretty cool. We also had lots of fun with Seth and Charlie, who were very cute. In addition to the Milligan festivities, we spent some time just hanging out with Amber - which was really cool. We all miss having her around.
I will put some pictures up in the gallery soon. (EDIT: pictures are up!)
On a somewhat sadder note, I also went by Robb's house for a while on saturday evening for Ken, Teri and Erica's going away party. They're moving up to Columbus, IN (of all places!) and we'll miss having them in the area as well. I'm going to try to make it a point to get together with them when I go up there to visit my parents.
A forum friend of ours has been sent over to Iraq with the military. A few of us got together to make a package for him. We decided as part of that, we'd bake some cookies for him, take some pictures of the escapade, and send both the pics and the cookies out to him.
I've put up about 12 pictures in the gallery. If you're at all interested in chronology, I suggest starting here and working forward/left to the newer pics.
Last night Sheri and I went to Rucht & Mckenna's place for the evening. Specifically, we went there because they invited us for Thai food, along with several other people including the Helms and some people Sheri and Mckenna knew from the Chorale.
Rucht made some awesome cashew chicken along with some other stuff that I can't pronounce, but that was very tasty. Another guy who comes from Korea by way of Germany made some Korean beef stuff that was also really good and went very well with Rucht's Thai food. For desert, we had some German Chocolate candies.
In unrelated news, Rucht & Mckenna also gave us a pet crate that had as an extra. It's currently outside with Ally's bed (and Ally herself) in it. We're trying to get her used to it because we're wanting to try to crate and house train her so that she can be in here with us instead of outside by herself.
So we helped Eric (aka Speaker for the Dead) move into a new apartment yesterday. That was a high-level if not epic task.
He was moving out of a 1-room efficiency apartment. It was so small that he wasn't able to pack everything because he ran out of room. We were comparing the size of the apartment to the size of the uhaul we were putting the stuff in. It wasn't much bigger.
The sleeper sofa couch he has is exceedingly heavy, gives you splinters, and doesn't fit nicely through any doorway. Moving that was probably the most daunting task. The waterbed was a close second, but wasn't too bad after it finally drained (via methods that can only be described as 'the hard way').
This brings me to my subject line: I swear the man has more computer-related equipment and spare parts than kevin and I combined at the height of our pc-collections - and that's saying something. I swear we moved at least 7 crt monitors.
His new place is 6 or 7 steps up. Aside from actually having more than one room, it's about twice as big and looks really classy. Like, he might actually have room for visitors.
And he even took us out for pizza after we had completed our mission.
All said, it was a good time.
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.
This last weekend was a blast. Those of us here in Johnson City, TN who are members of the GitP Forums all got together and also hosted several out-of-state members for the two-fold purpose of getting to meet each other in person and having a lot of fun.
I would say our mission was a complete success.
Sadly, not everyone who wanted to was able to come, but those of us who were present had an awesome time.
The meetup started friday night as we converged upon Llama's apartment. I believe Jerry was the first to arrive. Amanda and Ginger had also arrived by the time I got there around 8:00pm. Justin (who I'm told is Lord Xerxes on the board, but whom I've not actually encountered there) was also around, as it was his house too.
We tried to play a game of Kubb, but it got called on account of lightening. We had just begun a game of Apples to Apples when Ron arrived, so we dealt him in.
After some games and a run to the grocery store for refreshing beverages, some of our company departed to Ging's place for the evening. Llama was trying valiantly to stay awake on the couch while me & Jerry talked about random stuff until about 3am when Dave finally arrived.
On saturday, we went over to Ginger's place for breakfast around 10am for breakfast. From there, we went over to the Greenwood Challenge Course to use their little pavilion and field for some grilling out and playing Kubb. There we met up with Robb (who got the place for us), Edie and Ken. We spent the afternoon playing Kubb, eating grilled goodness and generally having a good time. I took a lot of pictures (see the gallery) with Ginger's spiffy camera. I kinda want one of those.
After we left our outdoor meeting location, we proceeded to Ginger's church's basement (where the Just Coffee coffeehouse is) for the evening where some of the group played the OotS board game and a couple played some other board games. Sheri, Llama, Ron and I played a D&D one-shot I'd made up a while back. It was pretty fun.
After church on Sunday, we met up with the group here where we did a little more grilling (with our spiffy new gas grill!) and hung out and talked until people needed to leave.
All in all, it was one of the coolest things I've done. :-) I am so looking forward to doing it again. Like I said after meeting Ceika and the Hippie (the first time), it was so cool to get to meet people from other states you'd only talked to online - especially when they are so much fun to hang out with.
Yesterday started off early for a saturday. About 7:30am actually. I'm pretty sure that shouldn't be legal.
We got to our church in Erwin just before 9 so that we (the band) could practice a bit before everything started that afternoon. See, yesterday was our VBS 'kickoff', which we did by having a sort of all-afternoon party in the field behind the church. Among other activities, our band and another band played on the stage they had set up (which was actually a flat-bed semi trailer) and Toby grilled some hot dogs and made some other stuff.
It was pretty fun. Everyone said our band sounded great - though honestly I couldn't tell because the monitors pointed at me let me hear sam's guitar really well, and very little else. But I'll take their word(s) for it. It was pretty fun to be able to play some of our hymns a bit louder (and with more distortion :-D) than usual because it wasn't for a formal service. Not that that necessarily stops us.
We were pondering how good we'd probably be if we'd practiced more than about 6 times for this gig.
At about 6pm, the festivities wrapped up and we headed out. I was pretty tired. We played our 10-12 song set through about 4 times, and I can only sing and play for so long. Also my fingers were on the verge of serving a restraining order to my guitar strings.
I had heard a rumor that a forum friend of ours was going to be in town, so we gave Llama a call as we left. We ended up going to the home of one 'smellie_hippie' (and i got incontrovertible proof that he does exist!) to meet him and his wife and kids, and there we also met 'Ceika'. Other Playgrounders present included me, the Llama and the ArchivesNinja. We proceeded to hang out, eat ice cream and play Kubb and Killer Bunnies. Good times.
I had wanted to meet the hippie for some time, so that was cool, and I'd heard quite a bit about Ceika - especially with respect to her avatar-fu. It was really cool to get to meet people I'd seen online but never met in real life - especially when they turn out to be great people to hang out with. :-D
So by 11pm(ish) when this was all over, I was quite tired (though probably not as tired as Ceika who'd been up for about 24 hours and driven from Dallas, TX). Didn't take me any time at all to get to sleep.
Probably won't get to do anything as cool as any of that for a while...
So I got to have lunch with Ken today. (aka Raldor, aka WiseTurtle)
It's always interesting to spend some time hanging out with someone you used to see pretty regularly but (for whatever reason) haven't seen in a few years.
So we talked about work and OoTS and friends and gaming over some Funny Name sandwiches. It was really cool. I'm looking forward to him coming to game with us. It's been a while...
Well, this was somewhat unforseen.
Seems our house (specifically, our livingroom) has become a tourist site.
Tony stopped by a little while ago on his way out of town - with two friends of his from canada. Allow me to go on a brief tangent to say that Scott and Dave drove 14 hours out of their way just to come get Tony here in TN before heading to IN.
They all came in and we talked for a bit - 'hi, nice to meet you, isn't llama odd?', etc - but then they wanted to go into the living room to see the wall where the monumentous Post-it Yoshi (which they had seen photographs of) once stood. They stared in awe at the empty space - imagining what it must have been like. They were further moved by the artifact remains of the Yoshi itself, carefully preserved on a shelf near the site.
Now all I need is one of those gray 'historic site' markers that are all over the place here.
With a few misspellings on it - just to follow suit.
So I haven't written much here lately. I'm going to go ahead and blame it on being sick. Or, at least, on not being well.
It's not that I *feel* bad exactly, I've just been congested for...a good while now. To the point that my ears are stuffed up. Yeah, that's a new one for me. Anyway, I'm taking some stuff now that seems to be helping. Hopefully I'll get rid of this soon.
About the only interesting thing we did this week was on Saturday when we helped Ginger move into her new place: a nice, 70's-ish townhouse a couple miles from her old place. It's a considerable step up. She's pretty excited about it.
We had quite a little party doing it too - Ginger, her parents, Sheri & I, Tony, Mike & Steph and Chris Mak all took part in the event. It was pretty cool to get to hang out with all of them - some of whom I hadn't seen in a while.
During the packing and the loading, we showed Ginger where some of the remaining pirate booty (from Project Pink Pirate - see the Sept 2005 blog, or the We Have Your Keys gallery) was hidden - as we promised. I still can't remember where the last silver one is. We may never know.
The move itself only took about 4.5 hours - pretty good time, I think. After we got all the stuff over to her new place, we had some pizza and unpacked/set up a bunch of stuff to get Ging started with the mammoth task of unpacking. It was all quite enjoyable - even with my annoying cough.
Hmm... Maybe I can blame the fact that I put the futon together wrong on my congestion too...?
Another weekend came and went. It was a pretty good one.
On friday and saturday sheri and I talked about some stuff for the house and decided that I'll start working on the hallway this week. I became much more interested in the project when we decided not to paint the hallway white. White is boring. The first step is to repair a couple cracks and smooth out the drywall. I'll be photo-documenting it and i'll try to put some pictures up as I go - or at least when it's done.
Kevin was in town this weekend too. It's always nice to get to hang out with out-of-town friends for a bit.
Saturday night we all took tony to Misaki's (japanese hibachi steakhouse place) for his 25th birthday. I've decided I like Misaki's pretty well - despite the fact that I don't like chinese much and I haven't been a fan of any eastern food in the past. It was tasty.
We gave tony a llama calendar and ginger gave him a shirt that says 'the penguin made me do it'. Appropriate on so many levels.
Last night we finally got to continue one of my d&d games that's been on hold for a while. We had a good session.
I think a couple more quotes got added to 'the list' this week too.
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.
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. :-)
|Monday December 18, 2006 at 11:06am||friends, choir, work, funny, birthdays, holidays, long freakin post||Comments (0) »|
This is going to be a long one.
I'm not entirely sure why, since I slept in a bit this morning, but I'm still tired.
My only theory about why I don't seem to have any energy today is the amount of running around we did this weekend.
On friday I had work as usual, then we went into town to finish up our christmas shopping.
After that, Sheri needed to go to Erwin for what was supposed to be a practice for the kid's program that was to be put on sunday night. Unfortunately, only 2 of the kids showed up so there wasn't much point to it. Keep in mind, there'd only been one other practice for this thing the previous wednesday.
On the plus side, Sam & Erin were there and I personally had a great time getting to talk to them.
After we had returned home, my sister arrived. She was on her way to IN for Christmas break and didn't want to make the whole trip in one day.
The next day we had a rehearsal for the choir cantata that was to go on on sunday morning. It went pretty well.
After returning from that, we went out to lunch with Jese before she left to continue to IN.
We then went to the JC Chorale's Christmas concert. Sheri was sad that she didn't get to sing in it, but she enjoyed watching and talking to some of the Chorale members. They miss her. I got to talk to Rucht a bit about gaming and other assorted things. I also ran into Sue and we talked about the website i'm doing for Watauga a bit.
After that, we went to the Crazy Tomato for our 'company christmas dinner' with KW (boss-man), Addie (coworker, boss-man's wife), Brandon (coworker) & Randy (brandon's wife). We talked about how we did this year and what we're looking to accomplish next year. Pretty much all good news. Brandon & I also got spiffy old navy fleece pull-overs with our company logo. Sheri and Randy each got throw blankets (because Addie didn't think it was fair that the boys got stuff but the girls didn't). Brandon and Randy gave us a cool cinnamon candle and a penguin ornament. I felt like kind of a bum - since we didn't even think about christmas presents. I wasn't expecting anything and we were so busy that I didn't have time to wonder. I'll remember for next year though.
Another thing I wasn't expecting was the bonus that Brandon & I got. I'm planning on putting mine toward a new electric guitar - something I've been wanting to get for a while now.
Sunday morning we had the cantata - which went very well, the choir did great. After church we helped the Rosolina's a little as they set up the set for the children's program that night. Then we went home for the afternoon (something we usually don't do).
We had a relaxing afternoon and then returned to Erwin to practice the children's program one more time. Around 6:45 people started arriving and the program went on at 7. It went pretty well, all things considered. After that we had our resident santa come and give out little gift bags to all the kids - and to the staff. Seeing Dr. Gwaltney sit on Santa's lap was hilarious. After all the festivities we disassembled the set and put the stage back the way it normally is.
Probably the most memorable part of the entire evening was Katie's little mishap with the baby jesus. See, I think the church has had the small, hollow, plastic-formed baby jesus for about 30 years. It was so old, the paint had worn off of most of it so it was mostly just white. And it was ugly. Really ugly. It actually closely resembled a prairie dog - especially the way Erin had placed him in the manger - sticking straight up.
So anyway - Sam, Katie and I were standing in the choir room. Katie was holding the plastic baby jesus saying she should hide it so that they'd have to use something else next year. In fact, she said, if that was her kid, he'd better be the son of god, because that's all he's got going for him. She must have been squeezing a bit too tight as she gestured because at about the time she finished this statement, the baby jesus EXPLODED. It didn't just crumble and fall apart mind you - there was an audible *pop* as little pieces of christ flew out about 5 feet in every direction. Katie's half-terrified / half-amused expression was priceless. Sam stared at her wide-eyed and gasped "You broke baby Jesus!". I simply laughed uncontrollably.
After we finished cleaning up, we departed. Sheri and I then went to Cheddars where we met Ginger, Tony and Justin for dinner somewhat in honor of my birthday (which is actually today. happy birthday to me). We enjoyed some good food and amusing conversation even as my energy level decreased rapidly.
After dinner, we returned to the Igloo where I got to open some birthday presents. They also got me an ice-cream cake that I was way to full to eat any of. I think I'll have some today though.
After that, we had our own little christmas party as everyone is leaving the state sometime this week. It was fun.
I ended up with a few cute, new additions to my penguin army, a ps game that looks like fun and a 10 inch figure of Marvin, the manically-depressed robot from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy.
I may well have left some parts out of this crazy weekend, but that's what I remember off the top of my head.
It was a good weekend.
Friday was Sheri's birthday. I took her out to dinner and then we, llama and the EP drove out to see the Speedway in Lights. That was fun.
Continuing their past tradition, ging and tony got sheri the 3rd Mario Party game. I gave her a dvd of White Christmas and a new Ticket To Ride game - which is pretty fun.
Saturday we had a choir rehearsal and then we returned and I got to run my d&d game for the last time for the year. (Which gives me PLENTY of time to come up with the trials that await the party in the tunnels outside Fissure. Cue maniacal laughter.)
Sunday we spent in Erwin as usual, though, unlike usual, we were invited to lunch at Shelton & Gale's (along with Craig and Meghan), which was very enjoyable.
Nothing overly interesting or exciting or 'blog worthy', but I feel pretty good this monday morning.
Well, yesterday evening was both more interesting than it could have been and less.
Because this is our first year in this house, we had no idea if we'd get any trick-or-treaters or not. Due to a certain incident last year wherein we were caught completely unawares, we decided to stock up on candy just to be safe - which we began snacking on rather early in the evening.
Ginger and Tony also came over for a bit, and we played a game of Munchkin Bites - which was the most halloween-related game we could come up with.
We only had one trick-or-treater, and she was solicited. Mike & Steph brought katie over (dressed as supergirl) to our place for a couple hours. She spent that time working off some of her sugar high by running around aimlessly and playing with us.
All in all, the night was lots of fun.
This is Abby Grace. When asked about me by Ginger, she has said that I am:
A) Not scary.
B) Not weird.
Apparently I am considered to be Sam because I also play guitar. I love little kids. They're so cute. Abby in particular. I'm kinda bummed now that they're going to a different church and I don't get to see them every week. We did get to see them today, however.
Today was our church picnic. Despite the dreariness of parts of the day, it was a lot of fun. Sam and I got in some good practice time, we all got to swim (in very cold water), had good food, and played a 2 hour game of Purple Ball. We are, in fact, the best Purple Ball players in East Tennessee.
The rest of this weekend has been pretty good too. Warren (boss-man) took me & Brandon out for breakfast on friday. Friday night we spent with Ginger and Tony playing mario party.
Saturday, my game (finally) continued as The Party attempted not to get themselves killed by some eel-people and discover why , how and by whom an underground town had been partially flooded. Fun and mayhem.
I've also been catching up with some out-of-state friends I haven't heard from in a while. I came across at least 3 people I hadn't emailed in ages when I imported my address book to my mac. It's been cool.
Sam & I had lunch at Shlotzky's today, and then went over to the Acoustic Coffeehouse to play some guitar out on their patio and pen in a date for us to play there.
Upon returning to Shlotzky's that we might go our own ways (we carpooled to the AC), we saw the following in the parking lot:
A silver Honda Element - quite possibly the square-est car ever designed - with a bumper sticker that read: 'You just got passed by a toaster'.
Yeah, i haven't been hitting the blog much these last few weeks. I could probably get away with blaming it on having too much to do with the house and work and all, but that probably wouldn't be that accurate. I have discovered that merely having more stuff to do doesn't make you any busier than you would otherwise be unless you actually do some of it.
I've also realized i've been slacking off on this site - I haven't even put our currently running summer d&d game on the site at all.
So last week was pretty good. On wednesday we went to a local minor league baseball game. The home team lost (not that i could be called a 'fan' or anything), but it was fun to watch and hang out with some friends for an evening.
Yesterday we had band practice. It was a lot of fun and the songs we're planning on playing for next time are sounding pretty solid, though i couldn't talk them into playing 'Crooked Deep Down' for the special. Something about 'offending people'. Pfft.
More if i think of it.
On friday afternoon, for the first time ever, I did something to fix a car: That is, i replaced the ignition module on sheri's car. Myself. Considering I know only slightly more about cars than i know about nueclear physics, i'm darn proud of this.
On saturday we had a pretty good gaming session. Not killing the party == pretty good. After the game, some people left, some people stayed, some people showed up. We had an interesting conversation involving everything from comedy shows to politics to psychology. Afterward, sheri and i made a midnight run to walmart for sweet potatoes.
Sunday was Easter. We went to ginger's house for lunch. We == me, sheri, tony, eric and justin. We ate lots of fried chicken and played some ninja burger, but eventually ginger got tired and my allergies were acting all crazy, so the party disbanded a bit earlier than it otherwise might have.
Later sunday evening, ginger and justin came over and the four of us played a couple games of Age of Empires 2 - world conquering at its finest. Its pretty cool that i have friends who can bring laptops over and lan game on a whim.
There were some other things i wanted to include in this blog, but i don't remember what they were. They were probably some funny quotes or something. Alas.
Last night was fun. Sheri, Ginger Tony & I got to hang out, which, of course, is always fun. Beyond that, Ginger, Sheri and I played some Age of Empires - which was fun even though we lost. A lot. I made spaghetti for us, which turned out quite tasty and then we all watched the just-released Wallace & Gromit movie: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - which was very good.
Aside from the precipitated mess in the kitchen, the fact that Sam skipped out on us, and the unfortunate cutting of my finger while chopping onions, it was a great evening.
|Monday February 6, 2006 at 11:57am||music, friends, little kids, football, gaming, computers||Comments (0) »|
It was a pretty good weekend - if a little short.
Saturday we had a good game. Fun times & mayhem.
Yesterday (Sunday) our praise band led worship. So far all direct comments to us - and we've had quite a few - have been exceptionally positive, though there are a couple people we suspect weren't too thrilled (like the one who tried to cancel church due to the weather). Still, it was cool, and we all know there's just no pleasing some people.
Yesterday afternoon, Sheri & I were invited over to our minister's house for the afternoon. They were having the youth and a bunch of people over that evening anyway, and it's always cold in the church after everyone leaves. So we hung out, played with their kids and talked with them.
I actually found out that Joel, our minister, used to play a little d&d back in the 80's, when everyone thought it was satanic (hehe). He said he never really got too into it (he said the math was his real problem. thac0 and all.), but he had some friends who really liked to play so he joined in. He said he was always the guy who got killed first - and that he always had trouble figuring out whether he was dead.
Later that evening, a bunch of people, including but not limited to the youth group, came over to their house to watch some football game (hehe). Joel was asking everyone who they wanted to win. I told him i voted for the Seahawks because they had the cooler name. I was not the only one to use such pointless forumlas to determine preference either.
I didn't pay much attention to the game anyway as me, Sam and a couple others were playing Dread Pirate - and we actually finished a game. I'd played the game several times before, but we'd never finished one. Despite my bad luck at the beginning, I actually ended up winning. Not only that, but I successfully took the Dread Pirate flag from the current holder (with the help of +5 (!) from cards i had) and managed to hold it until the end of the game, through at least 4 attacks. Truly, it was my finest hour on the high seas. okimdone.
After that, we returned here to the Rabbit Hole where i fixed the first hardware problem i've had with this computer : a loud, strange noise it was making, which turned out to be the video card's fan that had become incredibly dusty (despide the fact that it sits in the case upside down) and was making a crap load of noise.
well, we did it. not much too soon either. the mystery puzzle has been finished (save for the two missing pieces) and solved. heh. it was great fun. if you've never worked on a puzzle that you don't know what it looks like with at least 3 other people, i highly recommend it. Pictures of it are posted here.
saturday was a bit more chaotic. i really wanted to game, but sheri had a concert that night, and llama had to work during the day. plus eric and cory were out of town. so, no game. alas.
anyway, ginger and i met tony at dice. he was playing a very long game of killer bunnies. while we waited for him, we decided to walk down to quiznos to get some dinner. (she had been saying 'feed the penguin').
this is where i discovered something, for the second time: apparently bacon, lettuce and tomato are no longer an acceptable combination of sandwich items in and of themselves. Allow me to briefly flashback.
I have always been a fan of blt's. I have ordered them at lots of different sandwich places and, until recently, never had the slightest problem. A month or two ago, sheri and i went to subway in erwin. There, i had a conversation with the employee on duty:
me: "hi, i'd like a foot-long blt sub"
guy (a bit rude): "we don't have blt's, only bmt's."
me: "you mean to tell me you, in fact, have bacon, lettuce and tomato, but you can't put them all together on a sandwhich for me? I don't really care how you charge me for it, i just like blts."
...somewhat reluctantly, he relented and made me a rather mediocre blt. having never encountered this before, and fully aware that i was in a sort of back-woods TN town, i figured it was an isolated incident - which it was... ...until last night, when ginger and i went to quiznos.
that encounter went something like this:
me: "yeah, i'd like a regular blt sub"
guy: "well...we don't really have that on the menu..."
me: "well, how about this? make me a 'classic club' and hold the turkey, ham and cheddar."
me: "it's...pretty much the same thing, man"
guy: "oh, ok".
this guy was much nicer than the first guy, but, nevertheless, it seems that sandwich shops no longer acknowledge the existence of my sandwich of choice. LISTEN TO ME! CLAIMING IT DOESN'T EXIST WON'T MAKE THE BACON-LETTUCE-TOMATOY GOODNESS GO AWAY! LONG LIVE THE KING OF ALL SANDWICHES!!!
after that, we came back and played some carcassonne (all your base are belong to meee!!!) and ticket to ride.
today, we had the berea college chamber singers at church this morning - they're really good. Sam's sister Erin is one of the members. It should be noted that results the imfamous Rachel vs. Erin debates are as yet undeclared, but I decided i liked the name 'Erin' better, and, as a matter of fact, she told me she shared that opinion.
in other news, sheri and i just finished watching cinderella and the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. it was an odd combination, but hey... ...so are we?
so long, and thanks for all the fish