My gaming hobby has made a rather sharp resurgence of late - though not in the way it normally does.
As some of you know, whenever i start talking about my hobbies, i ramble. This is likely to be exceptionally long-winded. I'm not sorry, but i *am* sorry that i'm not sorry.
It all started when formal planning for RuchtCon '09 began. For any who might not know, RuchtCon was conceived by a friend of ours (Rucht) who wanted to have a miniature gaming convention for his birthday. This is to be held on the third weekend of this month, whereon we will spend ridiculous hours playing rpgs as well as board and video games. It's a *fantastic* idea and i wish i'd thought of it. When planning began, Rucht asked for volunteers for people to run games for his mini-con. Of course i volunteered immediately.
My plan was to (finally) introduce the fantasy version of the Roman Colosseum i've been devising for some time now. It was to be a massive-scale, morphing encounter with multiple goals that would require wits as well as strength and also an ability to please onlookers - which could grant you boons or hindrances in the arena.
However, my game was but one of perhaps a dozen rpg's mentioned for potential playing. When i saw the survey Rucht sent out, i was sure there was just too much gaming goodness to fit into a single weekend. I decided to check a bunch of stuff i'd never played before, but that looked really cool - to sort of sample the field, as it were.
When i noticed several of the new games didn't have a designated GM, i was quick to offer to fill in such a gap if necessary, assuming i could get a sourcebook - because really, i'm a GM at heart. I love to play these kinds of games, but I enjoy running them even more. Coming up with my own stories and getting to have my friends bring them to life is my favorite part of the roleplaying hobby.
I also mentioned in my reply that one of the games on the list marked as GM-less seemed particularly interesting to me: it was a game called Little Fears.
Basically, Little Fears is a kind of horror/fairy-tale kind of game where all of the characters are children, and all of the things kids are afraid of (things that go 'bump' in the night, the monsters in the closet and under the bed, the bogeyman, etc) are all very, very real. The concept just fascinates me.
Apparently, most of those attending RuchtCon shared a similar mindset to mine - wanting to try new things. It seems that my plain 'ol D&D game didn't really generate much interest in the face of so much new potential awesomeness. While part of me still wants to run that game at some point, I'm much more excited about what we're going to be playing now...
Since my original offering didn't get much interest and i had offered to run something - and specifically mentioned Little Fears - Rucht asked if I would pick it up and run it for them. I was completely thrilled to accept the challenge and picked up the book from him the next day (saturday morning). In the less-than-36-hours since then, i've read the rulebook cover-to-cover, reviewed several sections and have the broad outline of a scenario to present in my head. I'm looking forward to continuing work on it. The game seems really cool. Lots of potential.
There were several other games on the list that seemed potentially awesome as well - games that i think i could really get into. All this kinda got me to thinking: basically, we only play D&D. I guess it's because it's a system we all know, and fantasy roleplaying comes pretty easy to most of us. Still, seeing all the other games and reading their descriptions got me thinking - maybe it's time to branch out. *GASP*. I know.
Don't get me wrong, i still love D&D (well, version 3.5 anyway. in fact, we had a *great* session last night) and i'll always be willing to have a game of it running... ...i'd just like to pick up some new stuff as well. Kind of the 'keep old friends, but make new ones too' idea...
Anyway, we happened to go to a few different bookstores on friday (strangely enough), so i made a point to go peruse the adventure gaming sections therein (...as if that wasn't what i'd have been doing anyway...) to see what i could see.
At Mr. K's I ran into Rem (who i hadn't seen in a while) and had a nice chat with him about some random games. He mentioned one to me that sounded interesting and I later found and leafed through it at Barnes & Noble: White Wolf's new edition of Hunter - this time called 'The Vigil'. (most of their games are titled 'Something: The Something Else'. Heh.).
Hunter: The Vigil is basically about people who have somehow discovered the demons and monsters that lurk in the shadows of our everyday lives and are driven to combat them and otherwise rid the world of them. It's like a pretty cool game - and the new edition looks particularly good. If i was going to do a modern game, it would probably be something like this. I decided i might be interested in picking it up at some point.
At Books-a-Million though, i ran into something that was truly awesome. Probably the coolest thing i've seen all year. In their (rather pathetic excuse for an) adventure game section, i saw a lone rulebook for an rpg called Mouse Guard. The cover of the book shows a large array of mice in various fantasy-esque costumes. I picked it up and stared at it in disbelief for a full minute. Mouse. Guard. It's mice. Fantasy mice. Mice struggling valiantly to survive against owls and weasels and all manner of other predators. It was like LOTR meets the Mouse and the Motorcycle. Actually, it reminded me a lot of Redwall. And Reepicheep.
I started flipping through the book. The whole thing was beautifully illustrated and the game seemed really cool and relatively simple (I like simple). I made up my mind then and there that I will have this game, and I will run it.
Still, like most rp books, it was a tad expensive - about $35. I figured i'd look it up on amazon.com, since it would certainly be cheaper there. Amazon did indeed have it for about $23, but more importantly, amazon led me to discover something else about it: it's based on a comic series of the same name.
Now, I don't read comic books (or "graphic novels") - it's just not something i'm into... ...but the game just looked so awesome i decided this was something i needed to check out - just to see what it's all about.
Saturday morning (while sheri was at choir practice) I went into John's (Mt. Empire Comics on Road St.), since llama told me he had some of the Mouse Guard stuff. No one else was there, so i started talking to John when i came in and asked him about it. He showed me where it was & said it looked pretty cool. I told him I was gonna leaf through a couple, just to check 'em out.
At this point, i had pretty much decided i just wanted to get a feel for the world and the characters to know what it was intended to be... ...but if it wasn't the sort of thing i envisioned after looking through the rp book, i was already preparing in my mind to reinvent it for the purposes of the game i was determined to buy and run. To my surprise, however, the world and characters were exactly the kind of thing I'd envisioned - and i loved it. I actually bought 4 issues. So i guess i've been sucked into a comic now...
(I found out later, however, that the issues i bought were kind of in the middle of a story (even though they were at the beginning of a series)... ...so i need to go pick up the 6 that precede them before i'll *really* know what's going on beyond simple context deduction. Luckily, there are only a total of 11 issues in existence right now (12 is due in april, i think), so i should be able to pick up all of them from the beginning without spending too much)
Now i'm even more excited about the game, and i had John order the roleplaying book for me. (I had previously planned to get it for cheaper off amazon, but John's a good guy and his store is a nice place. I'll pay a bit more to support him, you know?)
Finally, I'm starting to pick up some of my homebrew stuff again. It all has a *long* way to go, but i've started kicking around ideas again and trying to come up with the worlds' foundations. If and when they get significantly further along, i'm sure i'll have more posted on them (as i've said before)... ...but these tend to be picked up and put down a lot (for some reason)....so they're likely to be a long time in coming.
Also, i'm still waiting on Robb to pick up his Exalted game again... ...i have shiny new dice for it and everything... ;)
...so many games, so little time...
Given the amount of time i've spent on it, it was destined to make it onto my blog sooner or later. The blog is a place to write down my thoughts, and this has taken up a fairly large number of thought cycles over the last several months.
I enjoy picking up new hobbies (despite the fact that I have less and less time for current ones), and ever since I held ginger's XT hostage for a few weeks back in July (during which time i played with it almost constantly), i've had a rapidly-growing interest in the art and technique of photography, doing a considerable amount of reading on terminology, practices and how cameras work.
So anyway, I've decided that I want a DSLR camera. I usually get a bit of money for christmas, I'm supposed to get a significant raise as of January, and a christmas bonus of some undisclosed amount. I figure between those boons, I may be able to save up for a decent camera in a (relatively) short amount of time. I hope.
Anyway, that brings me to the matter at hand: what to get.
I've spent hours reading specs and reviews on quite a few different cameras and lenses, made lists of pros and cons for several, and waffled back and forth on what I think I should go for at least 17 times (I'll probably add at least 2 more to that number as I write this entry).
Unfortunately, there seems to be some discrepancy between what I *want*, and what I think I'll be able to afford in some fashion. :-( See, the more I read and understood, the more I realized what some of the nicer (read: expensive) cameras have to offer, and part of me would rather have a camera that I can grow into, as opposed to out of. I'm usually the kind of person that will wait a little longer and spend a little more to get what I really want, as opposed to settling for something *almost* as good that i can get much quicker and cheaper.
Still, I would probably be happy with a less sophisticated camera, and as a first DSLR you can make the case that I really don't need anything more than that. Also, if I truly found that I had "out grown" the thing or really wanted some of the capabilities of the spiffier models, I would by that point have much more experience and perhaps a still clearer idea of what I'd really want to buy as an upgrade. True that I'd have already spent the money on the initial investment, but several years later i might be able to afford something a little nicer if it came to that.
The Specifics - here's what I've been looking at.
The first camera I looked at is the Canon XTI. This camera gets great reviews - esp as a first DSLR camera. It is lacking a couple of features I'd really rather have, but at only ~$580, it's the least expensive of the lot. Enough that I might be able to get a bit of a nicer lens with this one than with the others. As mentioned, I've spent quite a bit of time on ginger's XT, and so I already know a lot about how it works.
A camera that i've spent a bit of time actually playing with at Best Buy and liked was the Nikon d80. It's a great camera, and at ~$800 it's at a pretty good price considering, but the one thing that keeps me from saying "this is what I go with" is the fact that it has a sort of known issue with its metering being a little...wonky. It overexposes shots at varying increments between .3 and .7 ev. It's the inconsistency that many have commented on as being difficult to compensate for to the point that a shot often has to be taken two or more times to get the proper exposure - a luxury not always available.
A considerable step up on the quality/price ladder from either of those is Canon's 40d. This one sells for about ~$1300 for just the body, or about ~$1500 bundled with a decent kit lens.
The camera I would really like is Nikon's D300. Unfortunately, at ~$1800 for just the body, it's just too expensive. I couldn't get a decent lens to go with it and still keep the package under $2000 (not that I want to go up even that high) - so, barring something like an unexpected inheritance from a late and unknown great uncle, I think i can safely say that one's off the table. Sadness. As such, I won't bother rambling in greater detail about how cool it is.
So anyway, that's about how it breaks down. I looked over a handful of other cameras too, but those are the top 3 contenders - at the moment anyway. I didn't go into the lenses I've looked at and considered here, because that largely depends upon what camera I get.
If anyone has any input, I'd be glad to hear it - esp. if you've some knowledge of one or more of these cameras and/or photography in general. Leave a comment or send me an email.
As of now, I'm leaning toward one of the canon cameras. Not that that narrows the field too much...
Last night, Sam, Nick, Larry and I went to Knoxville to see The Decemberists at the Tennessee Theatre.
That was easily the coolest thing I've ever seen. Period. Really.
The trip started out with some minor hiccups - like the exit we were supposed to take being closed to the point of non-existence and the fact that there's really not much in the way of restaurants (that we could find) in downtown Knoxville.
Once at the theatre, however, it was awesome. We were there plenty early and so stopped at the table at which they were selling stuff. I got a spiffy, blue Decemberists t-shirt - which was, in fact, a goal of mine. :)
The theatre itself is beautiful. Very ornately decorated and old-fashioned looking - yet with a modern twist of having some very cool color-changing cove lights which illuminated various alcoves and borders. It occurred to Sam and I that its style really seemed to go well with the band.
The opening act was My Brightest Diamond. I thoroughly enjoyed their performance - though I have to say, I think I prefer the energy and attitude she has on stage to their somewhat mellower recordings of the same songs.
At about 9, the Decemberists came on stage. As I said before, their show was amazing. Every member of the band played at least two different instruments - and most played three or more. Its one thing for a band to have dramatic instrumentation on their recordings - it's another thing to watch them do it all in a live show. I have an even greater appreciation for their musical talent. Their live performance easily sounds just as good as their albums, if not better.
They played mostly songs from Picaresque and The Crane Wife - with a few others thrown in. They brought out the singer from My Brightest Diamond to sing with them on Yankee Bayonet (one of my favorite songs of theirs). I always think it's cool when artists collaborate like that.
The most notable song I suppose was the Mariner's Revenge - which they played as an encore. They had wrapped up their performance and left the stage but, at our continued prompting, returned for one last song.
For those of you who don't know the song, it tells the story of a boy who goes off in search of a man who betrayed his mother some years earlier. He eventually catches up with him on the high seas, only for all of them to be swallowed by a whale.
Colin (the lead singer) told us that we had to supply the sound effects of a multitude of people being swallowed by a whale - i.e., screaming - at the appropriate time when his bandmate directed us. Once that instruction was given, they began playing the song - which they essentially goofed-off their way through, but yet somehow played it flawlessly. I would do a poor job describing exactly how their stage antics went for this one, but I'll hit a couple of points to give you a hint:
The drummer was only playing a floor tom - which scooted across the stage in a random direction each time he hit it. At one point in the song where there was no drum line, he actually picked up the tom and put it over the head of the bass player, who continued playing the large stand-up bass he was holding. When the drummer took it off, the bass player pulled the bow out of the sheath on the bass and mimed stabbing him with it.
At a particular bridge in the song, the entire band sort of hopped side to side while playing the song in a sort of waltz time. It looked hilarious, yet fit the song and the band wonderfully.
At the point in the song where the characters are swallowed by the whale, we were directed to scream as a giant costumed whale plodded out onto the stage (didn't see this one coming...), engaged in a brief battle with the band members (most of whom continued to play the song while the lead guitar player pantomimed beating it with his guitar). The whale ate all the band members, who collapsed on the stage as the lights when out at the musical break at that point in the song.
The lights slowly returned as they played the rest of the song, at the end of which is a particular repetition of a musical phrase at faster and faster tempos - which they took to extremes not on the recorded version. The accordian player was quite tired at the end of that one.
I know why they played that song last: Nothing follows that.
I would highly recommend their show to anyone who is even passively amused by their particular style. They did a fantastic job. If/when they come back to Knoxville, I will be going if it's at all possible.
|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.
Something's been going around. Kind of like a cold, i guess - only, instead of making you cough and sneeze, it makes you tell your whole life story in quintets. Only, I've found that there's too much that's left out in the in-between times, so i'm gonna include a few other little notes.
It seems that i got hit with this one because the EP was short of targets.
10 Years Ago
I was a sophomore at Brown County High School in Nashville, IN. This was my first year in the public school system since the 2nd grade. I discovered public school was way easier than home schooling. I didn't have many friends at school, but I met a kid named Casey in my gym class who introduced me to Battletech. I mostly hung out with some friends from church and camp. I was living at home with my parents and two sisters and rooming with my brother, who tended to annoy me the way little brothers tend to annoy teenage kids. I was starting a band with Justin Booth (whom I met at camp) and Scott Cvelbar (whom I knew from church), mostly playing some old songs by the Beach Boys, Eric Clapton and Billy Joel. I started writing a couple of songs of my own.
Rob Rigsby from our church eventually joined our band which would be called Stained Glass. We played a few shows at the camp and a couple other places. I decided that I wanted to go to Milligan College mostly because i wanted to go to a christian college that was NOT a 'bible' college and that's the one my minister (john sichting, who is awesome) went to. I met my first girlfriend, Kelley Fox, at a crysalis flight my senior year in highschool. She taught me a lot about relationships in the clumsy learn-through-trial-and-error sort of way. I went to Milligan, where i met Kevin who taught me a good part of what i know about anything technological and introduced me to things like IM, Quake 2 and music made after 1983.
Five Years Ago
I was a junior at Milligan College, TN. I had changed my major from CIS (because i hated the CIS classes) to Psychology and started taking more psychology and sociology classes - which i enjoyed. My band from IN had just had what would be our last show to date the previous summer (which rocked). I was listening to Jets to Brazil, The Get Up Kids and the Juliana Theory. I was living with Nathan Henry in Webb Hall after Kevin moved to Quillan. I had started dating Sheri the previous year, and we spent a lot of time together. I was reintroduced to roleplaying in general and introduced to D&D by Rich Riddle (whom i miss gaming with a lot) and i proceeded to spread this evil (hehe) to several Milliganites.
I graduated from Milligan in 02 and moved back home for part of a summer before moving back to TN with Kevin in the Yellow Subroutine. Kevin was a 5th year senior and i was having a bad time looking for a job (or being motivated to do so). I was pretty depressed most of the time. Ginger and Amber had graduated with me and moved back to their respective home states. Sheri was also a 5th year senior at Milligan, and I spent a lot of time at her place in MSA. I finally got a job at the Dawn of Hope. Sheri graduated and moved back home to IN. Kevin graduated and moved to Tampa, FL the next fall. Both of these depatures made me sad. Thankfully, Ginger moved back here that summer and Tony was still around when Milligan was in session. Massive friend shuffling. Sheri moved back here the following January. This made me very happy. She began working at the Dawn of Hope and as a choir director at First Christian Church in Erwin, which we started attending. I proposed to her in February of 04 and we were married that July.
One Year Ago
Sheri and I had just been married for a few months (:-D), and we were still trying to figure out the best way to live with all our stuff in this tiny little apartment. I was working at the Dawn of Hope in Johnson City, but had recently been approached by Brian West about a Web Developer job. I was still running games for my gaming group every other week or so. I was still playing guitar quite a bit and was trying to start to write some new stuff, since i hadn't in a while. I was listening to Guster, Weakerthans and Alkaline Trio.
-End Life Story-
Five Yummy Things
-sheri's chili (speaking of...)
-lemonheads and redhots (that is one thing)
-strawberry raspberry cinnamon jello applesauce
Five Songs I Know by Heart
-Bright Eyes - "Bowl of Oranges"
-Jets To Brazil - "Wish List"
-Our Lady Peace - "In Repair"
-Simon & Garfunkel - "The Boxer"
-Thrice - "The Melting Point of Wax"
Five Things I Would Do With A Lot Of Money
-buy all the stuff i need to record everything i've ever written. (i fully intend to do this when i can)
-buy a really nice set of condos, apts, houses, whatever and convince all my friends to come/go live there. (i think Kev had a dream about that once)
-help everyone i know who's having a bad time any way i can.
-help as many people as i can that i don't know that are having a bad time; most likely by finding some good charities. Ginger could probably help me out on that.
-Travel with Sheri. Take the EP as a guide and anyone else who wants to come.
Five Places I Would Escape To
-I'll go along with Narnia, during the reign of the Kings and Queens.
-Australia - or somewhere thereabouts.
-Antarctica - but only after they invent some uber keep-you-warm-no-matter-what clothes
-Machu Picchu - or any number of ancient civilizations
-the distant future
Five Things I Would Never Wear
-women's clothing (any)
-clothes that are uncomfortable
other than that, pretty much anything works. Now, if you were asking what i would wear in public or what i would buy, that's something different.
Five Favorite TV Shows
(I don't watch TV, so i'm going to have to stretch on this one)
-Any cartoons. (even spongebob, which i used to hate)
-Gilmore Girls (the sheer volume of dialogue cracks me up)
-Old sci-fi shows like Twilight Zone & Outer Limits
-Any of the plethora of redecorating shows
Five Favorite Films
-The Princess Bride
-Lord of the Rings
-My Fair Lady
Five Favorite Toys
-Lain & Moro
-Game console(s) (outdated though they be)
Five People Who Get This Meme
Well, Ginger gave it to me. Kev got it from Heard like Ginger did. Llama doesn't have a blog. Punkie hasn't been on my site for a while and has probably done it 6 times already anyway - so i don't really have anyone to pass it to :(.
Well, last night was certainly...interesting
Here was the evening, as it happened:
Being that it was an off-week for gaming, sheri and i had no real plans for yesterday evening. It also just so happened that this morning at midnight was when Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince was supposed to be released and sheri had reserved a copy at Barnes & Noble a few months earlier. In light of these two coincidental facts, we decided to do pretty much everything we could.
First, we went to walmart because sheri needed to get a perscription before the pharmacy closed. we were in there for a while getting a few other things she wanted, but we tried to hurry. walmart is not all that much fun. I did notice that walmart has started carrying mp3 players like ipods and creative zen's. I have decided this is cool. I want one.
Anyway, by the time we were finished there and got to the entrance we noticed something we had failed to account for: it was raining. hard. i don't mean this sprinkling stuff it tends to do in TN, i mean it was raining. We decided to make a dash for it rather than waiting around for it to stop like the 73 other people standing there. Being that we were parked in tim-buck-seven, we were COMPLETELY drenched by the time we got to the car. There was about an inch of standing water in the sloped parking lot. Once in the car, sheri was trying very hard to be mad at the fact that her shoes were now soaking wet, but couldn't managed to look at me (and the water dripping from my forehead and down my nose) without laughing. I, personally, thought the whole thing was hilarious.
From there we drove over to Dice, our favorite game store. Dice has been having a sale in july with everything (except some ultra-new stuff) being 25% off. We had decided that it had been a while since we'd got a game and, since our anniversary is coming up (hard to believe), we thought it would be ok to use that as an excuse to spend some money on some games. As everyone knows, the First Anniversary is the Board Game Anniversary. We ended up getting the next expansion for Carcassonne and also decided to get another game we had actually played there before: Ticket to Ride (Europe). We also talked to Charlotte (one of the store managers) for a little while...she recognizes us as 'regulars'.
From there, we went to get haircuts. This had the combined advantages of making our very wet and now unruly hair look nicer before going out to eat, and actually getting our hair cut, as we both needed it at least a little. We were the absolute last people there and, as they cut our hair, both of the ladies were remarking to us and to each other about how long and arduous the day had been and how hungry they were. At one point, the lady cutting my hair actually apologized, and told me she had to stop for a second to go get a cracker because she was starving - which she did. This struck me as hilarious.
Once our hair was reasonably shortened and we wished the ladies good luck recovering from their day, we proceeded to Cracker Barrel. We specifically chose to go to Cracker Barrel because we had some gift certificates for it. We had a nice dinner that didn't cost us anything...and, when we were done, there was 11 cents left on the gift card.
We made our way from there, at last, to Barnes & Noble and the release party. Given how horribly small the b&n parking lot is, and how crowded it is EVERY friday, i was only marginally surprised when there was absolutely NO PLACE to park anywhere in that plaza. We ended up parking at another little plaza that was across the street and a bridge from the destination. It was a nice evening though. We actually met, by coincidence, another woman heading to the same place but coming from a slighly different direction. As we all cut through the grass on a median and proceeded through the parking lot, a small white car pulled into an empty parking place right in front of us. "Figures" said the the woman in a somewhat amused yet slightly exasperated voice. We had a brief chat about how it was a nice evening and how there was NO EARTHLY WAY that that parking space would have been there if either of us had been driving by.
The book store was, as was expected, completely packed to the gills (i didn't exactly know book stores had gills - nor a reason to breath underwater, but it's just an expression anyway). It was kind of amusing/annoying in that there were so many fans of the books (on a level that seems obsessive) in such a relatively small place. I.e., people in costumes, carrying wands, talking about 'muggles', etc. There were some games that were going on for the young kids - things about being sorted or catching Sirius Black or some such. Most of the people i saw there, however, were adults or kids at least high school age. I took up my standard place in the d&d aisle and started leafing through a book or two that i haven't wanted to spend the money to buy. I was amused to hear at least 3 people comment, as they walked by, about how 'dorky' things like LOTR, D&D and/or fantasy and science fiction in general were - as they were dressed in full costume. It totally blows my mind how someone could like Harry Potter that much, and yet so strongly dislike things that, in my mind (as i like all of them), are so similar. This further confirms my belief that a good deal of HP is fad based, and a good deal of the dislike for d&d, science fiction and fantasy is based on the similar idea of what is 'cool' or 'uncool'. That, and the fact that i think everyone i heard say that was junior high or high school aged.
While we were there we saw someone we knew from church (she was in line as number #176 - we were #226) and justin (who was #349).
I started reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy while i waited for it to be midnight, and then for the first 225 people to go through. Surprisingly, it only took about 40 minutes for us to get checked out.
Having accomplished everything we set out to do, we headed home with our new stuff and some interesting memories.