|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.
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, it's December again. Seems like just yesterday it was....November.
I guess that's not too far off.
So as we approach the holiday season, thoughts once again turn to "what do i get for X?" - where X == some friend or relation.
Or "all" friends and relations.
Don't get me wrong, I really like getting things for people. It's a chance to do something nice and, in my case, a chance to celebrate common interests. See, I prefer to get things for people that make sense "coming from me". I try to put a lot of thought into what i would like to give someone: something they'll really like, and that I'd really like to give them.
Of course, sometimes you come up empty.
This year, that seems to be the case for more people than not. I've got a few ideas, but not an especially vast array(). Er, "array".
As for me, I'm pretty easily amused. I get a kick out of anything anyone who knows me might give me, with very few exceptions. Of course, then there's the part of me that thinks I have too much stuff already.
This particular season, one of the things I'm hoping to come out with is the new Zelda game. See, Tony and I have an agreement. Our Wii is broken at the moment, but his isn't. We're planning to get ours fixed at some point, but we're not sure when that might happen. Come January, I'm supposed to have The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - one way or another. While I wouldn't be surprised it Tony ends up with a copy of the game himself, his "job" here is to supply the Wii. (I'm not sure who's supposed to supply the motion+ controller...) Our plan is to recreate a bit of our experience with one of the older games.
Back when we were at Milligan, Tony brought his N64 down to my room, and the two of us started playing Ocarina of Time. It's a single player game, but we enjoyed hanging out while the other played, occasionally offering suggestions. We also took turns on our own games so that one of us would get further ahead, and then the other would play, catch up, and get a little further still. This kind of leap-frog approach kept the game interesting to play and watch.
Edit: I went looking through my photos for a picture for this post. Apparently I don't have a single photo of wrapped presents. I'll have to remedy that this year.
Well, 2nd actually.
Rucht & McKenna had their annual fireworks party last weekend, and, as usual, I brought my camera along. I'd been wanting to try to get some interesting shots of fireworks for some time, and their house is located in a fairly ideal spot for attempting this: right beneath them. Actually, I'm surprised it's not more of a fire hazard.
The day was fun, of course. Got to see some friends we don't see often, and I took some photos of the Kubb game we played. Robb & I actually made a point to play that weekends since we didn't get to the previous weekend at the meetup.
When it got to be time for the JC fireworks display, I hiked up to the top of the hill where I would have a clear, ubobstructed view of the sky. You can actually see a lot of them from the street in front of their house, but I wanted a wider view with no other objects.
I found a decent place in the grass, took a guess as to where the fireworks would ignite, set up my tripod and hooked up my cable release. Even at the widest angle on my zoom lens (28mm - approx 45mm with my cropped sensor), I still had nothing but black sky in the viewfinder. Perfect.
I closed down the aperture as far as it would go (f22), set the ISO as low as my camera supports (100), and set the shutter speed at 'bulb'. I'd never really done bulb exposure before, so this was interesting. My cable release actually has a button lock on it too, which is nice.
During the fireworks show itself, I simply watched the sky, guessed when the fireworks 'blooms' would happen, opening the shutter just before this and holding it open until the blooms I wanted to capture had faded - generally between 5 and 20 seconds - so that the shooting points of light would imprint bright streaks on the camera's sensor.
Then I waited.
This was perhaps one complaint I have with my camera. For some reason, bulb exposure pictures take a long time to write to the card - the time might actually be the length of the exposure, in fact - and the buffer will not hold more than one such exposure (meaning you have to wait for it to write before you can take another shot). I'm not entirely sure why this is so. Perhaps I simply lack a complete understanding of how the photo sensor and image processor function. The upshot here was that I was only shooting about 1/2 the time - the other 1/2 of the time I was waiting for the buffer to clear. Had I been shooting at 1/200 or something, it could have been constant.
Anyway, it was a great experiement and I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting the shots turned out. I have them up in my "4th" of July facebook album here.
I have some ideas on how I might play some more with bulb exposure...
|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.
|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.
|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.
The snow seems to be following me around. I'm currently at my grandparents' house in OH where we've been snowed in for the night. Hopefully we'll still be heading down to TN tomorrow as planned, however.
Our trip has been good, though I haven't had my voice for any of it. It left me saturday the 19th and hasn't come back to me since. If any of you see it, please send it over. At least I'd gotten over the rest of being sick before we headed up here.
We got to see most of my extended family on both my parents' sides this trip - which was cool. I don't get to see these people often enough. I took a bunch of pictures which will probably be posted to facebook (where I'm starting to post more 'personal' pictures, reserving my gallery here for more 'artistic' photos.)
The evening sunday the 20th we spent in OH with my mom's side of the family. For most of the week, we hung out at my parents' house and relaxed. This was nice. We hooked the Wii up to my parents' projector and enjoyed some Wii Bowling and Super Mario on the big screen. That was highly amusing. Christmas day we spent with them and Sheri's grandpa came down to join us for the day. We opened presents, had a tasty dinner, and played games. On saturday the 26th we went out to see Kedrick & Addie (my 'boss' & his wife) and enjoyed a nice dinner and catching up with them. That brings us to today, when we traveled here to my dad's parents' house for christmas with this side of the family... ...whereupon we have become snowbound.
As usual, I got some fun toys for christmas, including Mini Ninjas for the Wii (yay!), the Mouse Guard hardbacks, the Star Wars rpg rulebook, a midi interface for my computer, a lego set, some cool clothes, some money for the 'camera fund' and some other cool stuff that's not floating to the top of my head quite as quickly.
|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.
So here I sit at the end of the thanksgiving weekend. A few days of not having to do much of anything were nice. It's been a while since I've had that kind of time to relax. I think it did me quite a bit of good. I'm thankful for it.
We had a tasty thanksgiving meal, played quite a bit of Age of Empires II and Ticket to Ride, helped set up Skype for Sheri's mom and my parents (and enjoyed chatting with them over it), moved some furniture in the livingroom around and then put up our christmas tree & other decorations. We've also reached the time of year when Sheri will generally be insisting Christmas music be played a rather large percentage of the time.
The next week or two compose what I've come to know as the 'lull': a (too) brief period between the busyness at thanksgiving and the busyness leading up to christmas. It's generally a good kind of "busy" for us, but there's not quite enough time to relax in my opinion.
Currently I'm at our church, as is typical of a sunday afternoon. I've just sent out some invitations to a sort-of birthday party thing for Sheri and I - basically, we just wanted another excuse to play some games with our awesome friends. I hope people can come, I know it's a busy time of year. I'm also preparing to send out a couple of gaming-related emails. Sheri was telling me yesterday how she's been wanting to play. It's been quite a while, but there's been a lot going on. Alas, it'll probably have to wait till 2k10.
We're still trying to work out some of the final details regarding our trip up to IN this christmas. I'm looking forward to it.
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.
|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.
|Thursday January 1, 2009 at 7:59pm||holidays, christmas, birthdays, family, photography||Comments (1) »|
Happy New Year!
So all of our company kind of left us at the same time. We went from having 8 people in the house to 2 in a matter of a few hours. My parents & sister arrived on tuesday evening and stayed till this afternoon and Sheri's family started back to AR this morning. It was a good holiday though. It was great to see everyone, and was nice to have people come to us instead of having to travel.
We had christmas with my parents last night in addition to the hanging out and playing games typical of new years eve. I was even able to find a video stream of Time Square for the final countdown (and not a SECOND sooner). Also, today's my dad's birthday and we took him out to lunch to celebrate. Additions to the already awesome holiday loot include (but are not limited to) Paper Mario, Wii Fit, an old-but-reintroduced Fantasy Flight game called 'Talisman' (that I'm *sure* I was talking to someone about recently), an 8gb USB flash drive, dvd's of My Fair Lady and Lt. Robinson Crusoe and some more $$ to put toward my camera gear (i'm currently about 2/3 of the way to the telephoto lens i want to buy) - and my brother did this awesome oil sketch/painting of sheri & I from a picture we'd sent him.
62 of the best pictures from the festivities are up in the Holidays 2008 Gallery.
Well, I've had my camera for a little over a year now, and I've learned a *lot* since i started out. I took approximately 11,700 pictures in 2008. I'd say probably about half of those made it off the camera. I have posted what i believe to be my best work in a 2008 Portfolio Gallery. These are the pictures that I really like and/or I think are good enough to be proud of.
|Sunday December 28, 2008 at 4:22pm||christmas, holidays, family, presents, video games||Comments (0) »|
Hope everyone had a good christmas!
Things were cool here. We had a rather full house. As was mentioned before, Sheri's parents, brother and grandparents were here as well as Ginger & William. We had a nice, relaxing day. Opened some presents and had a tasty ham dinner. Some high points on the loot include a couple new wii games (Sheri & I each got each other one: she got me Mario Galaxy and I got her Okami - plus wii points for the Secret of Mana and some other games yet to be decided upon), some *awesome* autographed stuff (the Brobdingnagian Bards' newest record and the Gamers II which was purchased for me at gencon this year - neither of which i've had time to view/listen to yet) and some spiffy lens filters for my camera lens. Sheri's dad is thrilled about his new wii (that we and her mom & brother got for him) too, which is cool.
Since then we've been hanging out with our company - generally playing a lot of Wii and a lot of cards. Sheri's grandparents left on friday morning. Yesterday was an awesome 73 degrees. I took Sheri's dad & brother out to watauga lake since they wanted to go fishing. I walked around with my camera for the afternoon. I didn't get anything awesome, but a few decent pics i think. We took her parents to Misaki last night - which they said they really liked.
Today we had church and went to Toby's for lunch. Just relaxing since then. Sheri & her mom just left to go see Edie about some beading stuff.
Tomorrow is back to work as usual - through wednesday anyway. I think my parents & sister are supposed to come in tuesday or wednesday - so we'll have an overfull house yet again. I'm really looking forward to seeing them again.
|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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
Just so you all know, today is Penguin Awareness Day. This was *not* going unmentioned.
In other news, gas prices have finally dropped below $2 here in east TN. As per my previous agreement with the fuel companies, I will now cease complaining about the high price of gasoline until it is once again above $2.
Congrats to one Tony "Llama" for having successfully conquered Ape Escape 3 earlier this week. Catching 142 monkeys is no small task.
Game night at the coffeehouse last night was fun - but that was the most drawn-out game of Shadows over Camelot I've ever not finished. One of the guys that was playing with us heard us talking and said we should have a d&d night at the coffeehouse. This amuses me.
Lastly, I've been playing my new guitar a lot. My fingers aren't used to it, but it's been lots of fun. I think I need to retire my old effects pedal though. If I have enough money relatively soon I think I'll by a Boss EQ pedal so I can ditch the thing.
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.
Today *we* had Thanksgiving.
Yes, I know Thanksgiving was yesterday.
Since Sheri had to work yesterday, we postponed our festivities to today. Sheri made some great food and we spend the evening decorating the Igloo for the Christmas season. It's pretty early still, but I really like the lights and Sheri likes anything and everything related to Christmas - hence, we did it.
So anyway, yeah. Good day. I put up some pictures in the gallery of some of the decorations at the request of Sheri's mom - but you all can enjoy them as well.
And, just for good measure, here's a by-no-means-comprehensive list of some things I'm thankful for. In no particular order.
-Friends and Family (particularly Sheri ;))
-My awesome job
-Soda and tasty food
-Dungeons & Dragons and other games
-The internet and Apple computers
Probably lots of other stuff...
We went out to Erwin last night to have Thanksgiving dinner with our church. It was tasty. Our church is fortunate to have our own caterer/chef who is willing to prepare such meals for us.
As we generally do, there was a short 'program' that accompanied the feasting. Predictably, it was mostly people talking about things they were thankful for; though at the end Sheri sang a hymn for everyone.
Kathy (who was in charge of this) had asked me to talk about something I was thankful for. I was trying to think of something that wasn't overly obvious or cheesy (I think made some comment to Sheri about being thankful for Cheese-Its). Ultimately, I decided I had way too much to be thankful for - to the point I almost feel guilty for having it. In the end, however, I decided that what I was most thankful for was my friends and family. I am very fortunate to have the relationships I do.
Thanksgiving proper isn't for another couple of weeks however. Sheri has to work, so we can't travel anywhere to be with family, and it seems many of our friends would be out of town.
We have also discovered while at the grocery store that the poultry industry doesn't want us to have a small, two-person turkey for thanksgiving. We managed to find a 5lb turkey (which is pretty small), but I'm unlikely to eat 2.5lbs of bird, even on thanksgiving. Looks like we'll have turkey for a while after...
So anyway, with those potential leftovers in mind, I would like to say that if any of you are going to be stuck in the area this holiday, feel free to come help us eat some of the turkey and various other tasties we will probably have. :)
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.
...i'm pretty sure i was out of it.
Anyway, we're back in TN again. The world seems to be returning to normal after it's brief yearly lapse. It's a bit of a weird thing to get back into a routine after being out of one for more than a week.
Our trip was a good one though. We got to see just about everyone we knew in IN and OH. There are some photos of it in the photo gallery.
We are, however, having a bit of difficulty finding places to put all our new stuff. Our game shelf that wasn't quite big enough now really isn't big enough.
When you can describe your closet by saying 'what goes in doesn't come out', it might be time to clean it out. It sounded like a good new-years-resolutiony kind of thing to do, so i did it. I think i have equalized the Gross Gifts Gain by getting rid of a bunch of junk, so i think the collective mass of the rabbit hole has remained fairly uniform through the season.
Well, as of sometime tomorrow afternoon, sheri and i will be heading up to IN and OH to see family for the holidays. It's been a while since i've seen most of them - in fact, when a couple of them stopped by last weekend (which i now realize i forgot to mention in the blog), it had been a nearly year since i'd seen one of my sisters. Should be a fun trip.
Hope everyone else is having a good time this christmas and that everyone arrives and returns from their various destinations with no trouble.
A few of us had a little christmas gift exchange last night. This is one of those times when you can tell out just how odd we can be.
Ginger gave me legos! Yay! No, really. I got legos. And this makes me happy. I've been saying i wanted some for a couple years now. Legos are fun times. I spent a good while building a little house last night. I think i need some more...
Tony gave me a game called The Penguin Ultimatum by Eight Foot Llama games. It seemed appropriate. It looks like lots of fun - what with the bass-playing seals, dancing sheep and polar bears on unicycles. I'm looking forward to getting to play it, and i'm so bringing it to the coffeehouse.
Sheri got Mario Party 2 for my n64. She now has 3 games for it, while i still don't have any. She also got a Veggietales Christmas double-feature dvd. It has penguins on sleds. :)
We gave Ginger a collage frame so she can put up some more of her pictures and a cloth draft-blocker for her apartment (hindsight check: what's with the practical gifts?).
We gave Tony a stuffed llama and a Shel Silverstein book called Lafcadio - one of my favorites. It's about a sharp-shooting lion. It seemed like something he would find amusing.
Well, as far as i can tell, the Bunguin is on the mend. I've been ok - seems i've managed to hold whatever it was off thus far.
Turkey day was good - even with just the three of us. Since Justin (Xerxes) was kinda on his own this year, he brought over some mashed potatos and came over and hung out with us. I think i may have addicted him to AOE2.
Sheri made a great turkey - especially since it was her first time doing it by herself. We had/have a lot of it left over too - i think she had turkey at least once every day last weekend. She also made some great cranberry sauce jello stuff.
Friday we did NOT go shopping. Well, not really anyway. Most of the day we just sort of hung out. We did go over to Turtles Nest Toys for a while - not to buy anything, but because Sam (Shasam - not that he's signed on in forever) was working there and he told us to come by and check out a game they had called Dread Pirate. It looks pretty cool. We also put up some christmas decorations - namely the little tree we have. It's cool. I like christmas lights.
The coffeehouse that night was pretty fun. I got to play some songs with Sam for his show and later he and his friend Ben and I messed around playing everything from Decemberists to Cream.
On saturday Sheri and I went christmas shopping. It actually wasn't nearly as crowded as i might have thought. I discovered the advantages of having a cell phone yet again by calling my mom a couple of times from various places to ask questions about what to get for a couple of my family members. We got most of the rest of our shopping done that day, though some of the quests i believe were epic.
I think my favorite part of saturday's exploits was the sheer number of penguins encountered. This time of year is always pretty good for that, but, either i'm getting better at seeing them, or there are more and more of them every year. The giant Playmobile pirate standing outside Bear & Friends was pretty cool too.
We stopped at Dice for a few minutes to check the price on something and talk to Charlotte for a bit (she's fun to talk to). We showed her the penguinification pictures on here. It was only fair, seeing as she was one of the ones who helped buy it for me.
Yesterday was sunday which means we stayed in Erwin all day. This amounted to church, pizza hut, a nap on the choir room floor and a game of ticket to ride before choir practice that evening. Sundays always seem long.
i have found it. the answer i've been wondering about for so long.
my friends, it is one thing to listen to christmas music.
it is another thing to listen to bad christmas music.
it is another thing to listen to cheesy bad christmas music.
it is another thing to listen to cheesy bad christmas music with "drama".
it is another thing to listen to cheesy bad christmas music with drama IN JUNE!!!
that's when i realized it: the answer. the sole reason sheri wanted to become i choir director is, i'm convinced, so that she could listen to christmas music all year and have at least a nominal excuse.