Return from AR 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


~PS

Let It Snow?

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

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

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

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

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

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

~PS

Can't Sleep, Blogs Will Eat Me

Saturday December 19, 2009 at 4:10am snow, friends, adventures, video games, trips, holidays Comments (1) »
Can't Sleep, Blogs Will Eat Me Image

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.


~PS

What passes for 'Vacation'

Saturday September 26, 2009 at 10:22am birthdays, trips, vacation, family, weddings, friends Comments (0) »

Picking up from where I left off last time, Patrick's birthday party was a lot of fun. A group of us met up at a Japanese/Sushi place for dinner and then headed back to his place for cake and general hanging out. I had a good time playing with my new camera lens as it let me take a lot of pictures of those in attendance without the need (or distraction of) a flash.

And that, I guess, brings me to Ben's wedding and our trip to AR - which was our most recent 'vacation'. We have found that the past few years, we really haven't had much of a vacation to ourselves - our vacation time is invariably spent visiting family since they all live so far away that we have to plan it out and take about a week to make it worth the trip. Not that we don't enjoy visiting our families - because we really do - but we'd kind of like to work in our own vacation at some point.

So anyway, we headed out to AR on friday the 18th. Ben & Brie's wedding was on saturday the 19th which, it should be noted, is also 'Talk Like A Pirate' day (note that I *did* talk like a pirate a bit, but found it's not nearly as much fun around people that don't get it) Ben had asked me to take some pictures at his wedding, which I was happy to do since it meant I had an excuse to play with my camera. The wedding was at 6pm and outdoors. The lighting was pretty decent beforehand, through the ceremony and most of the way through the reception, but around the time of the cutting of the cake, I was losing too much light - even for a 1.4 aperture. Still, I think I got a lot of good stuff for him. The 'official' photographer used a flash for all of her pictures, so I believe our photos will have very different looks to them, which, together with the fact that I took more informal shots, might make mine seem less redundant.

The rest of our visit in AR was mostly hanging out with Sheri's parents and playing cards. We did go out to a park on monday to go heron watching, which was cool. We also went up to the visitor's center by the dam where I took some pictures of the flower garden they have as well as some in their little museum (again enjoying the ability to take pictures of things inside without a flash).

Wednesday was our drive home, which took forever and I was completely exhausted and getting a little bit of a sinus infection (which still hasn't completely gone away) by the time we arrived home. Sheri has been reading some Anne McCaffrey books to me on our various trips this year - this time some in the 'talent' series. I think we made it through a book and a half on this trip.

Thursday was officially 'recovery' day. I did very little except fight a sinus infection and veg.

Yesterday was the only day off I had that I personally count as 100% vacation (as opposed to merely not having to work). Robb took us out to Asheville to hang out in the downtown area. We'd heard good things about downtown Asheville from various locals (most recently, Dr. Beck whom we randomly ran into in a Burger King as we headed that way), but we'd never been to it (intentionally). It's a nice little area with some amusing shops. There's a lot more life there than in downtown JC, that's for sure. We had a good time hanging out, looking around, perusing the shops, etc. We had a tasty dinner at a little Irish(ish) pub called Jack in the Wood which had a nice atmosphere and friendly people. They even had a mural in the restroom which depicted a scroll with a poem about the forest.

Anyway, after dinner we headed over to the Civic Center for our original purpose for being in Asheville - which was to see the Decemberists concert. I'm gonna make that it's own post.

So now it's Saturday and my 'vacation' is winding down. Again, I really need to mow, but it's extremely wet and rainy outside and that doesn't work out so well with the push mower. I can't tell you how heart broken I am not to be mowing right now... ...though when I'm finally able to do it I'll wish I'd been able to do it sooner...

~PS

Jam Sessions, Heroic Rodents and One Hundred Yards to the Pin

Sunday August 16, 2009 at 3:01pm band, gaming, golf, trips, concerts Comments (1) »

You know, if i remembered to do this more often, I wouldn't have to cover eight things in one post... ...though I might have fewer nonsense titles, and I would miss that...

Anyway...

It seems i've been pretty busy over the last couple of weeks - though not with anything particularly important, mind you.

The band we're starting seems to be taking off nicely. We had our third practice last tuesday, and I thought it went pretty well. We're having a good time. Mahto actually joined us for that one. It was fun to have him around, but I think the sound got a little muddy with three guitars. I'm not entirely sure if it was just volume/eq or if we need to have a clearer conception of our respective guitar "parts" or possibly a combination of both. Anyway, I think our next practice is tentatively scheduled for wednesday, and I'm looking forward to some more jamming.

We *finally* got to start our Mouse Guard campaign friday evening, which I'm very excited about. It was a fun is slightly shorter session. I still feel a little awkward with the system as, unlike the d&d i've been playing/running for nine years, I don't always remember all the basic mechanics off the top of my head. I'm sure that will smooth out as we go though. I'm looking forward to continuing this game, and I hope we can get to be somewhat regular as I think that would help us as we learn the system.

I got to play golf for the second time this year yesterday. Our church helps sponsor the East TN Children's Home benefit tournament at the Elizabethton Golf Course each year, and so two of us get to go play in it. They asked me if I'd like to play and, after telling them I wasn't sure they wanted someone as lousy as me representing them (heh), I said I'd love to. Tracy Moore and I did pretty well, finishing up at +1. Of course, that was pretty much all him, but I will take credit for a few shots, most of which were chips and putts but they ended up saving us some pars and birdies. It was a good time, though it was pretty hot and I did get a nice sunburn.


A vague look ahead...

Well, my calendar looks kind of empty for the short run as of this moment, but it'll probably end up filling in too fast. Next month we'll be taking some time to go out to AR for Ben's (sheri's brother) wedding, causing us to miss yet another Talk Like A Pirate party. There's also a Decemberists concert the next week that I might be trying to go to, another small GitP gathering (with munchkins!) that I'd like to attend (though it kinda looks unlikely :() in october and then, further out at the beginning of november, we'll be enjoying having Thanksgaming - which will be another mini-gaming-convention much like RuchtCon for some of our gamer friends. I'm hoping run Mouse Guard (because everyone should get to try that game) and/or my homebrew system (because I think it will be fun and I'd like to see how it flows... ...but I haven't heard much interest in it as yet :\) for this. If I do get to run something, I'm glad I have a few months to prepare this time.


~PS

We're back

We're back Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


On some other stuff:

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

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

~PS

On a Variety of Recent Activities

Sunday June 14, 2009 at 4:39pm weddings, trips, friends, churches, songwriting, music, gitp, gaming Comments (7) »

Sheri, Llama and I took a trip out to North Carolina this weekend to attend our friend Kevin's wedding. It was a nice little ceremony. We're all very happy for them. Stephanie is sweet, and well suited to Kevin in a number of ways. It was good to see him so obviously happy too.

I must confess a bit of mild camera-gear-envy with respect to the photographers' toys. Also, there was a penguin cake at the reception, which was cool.

We got to see some other mutual friends there too - William and Ginger and Mike and Bethany. It's always good to see people we don't get to hang out with much (esp. Ginger who just moved away from us). We spent saturday afternoon and evening hanging out and playing games with Ginger and William. It was a lot of fun - we don't play games as much as we used to.

The car ride was a bit long, and I think Llama was starting to get a little loopy by 2am when we got home, but the trip was successfully completed.

This morning we went to Hopwood Christian Church. We had originally thought we were still going to be in NC this morning and so had arranged for Sheri to have this morning off at our church, but we ended up coming home saturday night and so decided to visit somewhere else. It was nice, actually. Jim Street had a great message about how to bless a fish (heh), and it was probably the most thought-provoking message i've heard in a while - and one that I truly thought embodies the spirit of christianity. We saw the Rosolinas (who we're still trying to have over for dinner sometime) there and also Brian West and his family (who i hadn't had a chance to talk much to in a while). Brian and Danielle invited us over for lunch, and we ended up hanging out and talking for a quite a while.

Brian is trying to get motivated to record some of his songs, and I think this is a great idea. He's been writing for a long time, and he's really into it - but most of his stuff just gets left on the page after it's written and he doesn't have any really good sounding recordings of any of it. We had a lengthy and interesting talk about the technical and artistic aspects of songwriting and recording. I really hope he does something with this. I've even offered to help with the technical stuff which intimidates him a little - not because i'm great, but because i've at least done it before. Maybe it'll get him started.

Tonight we're supposed to have a planning meeting for OotsCon '09. Our crowd this year looks a little smaller and some key people will be missing (and they will be missed), but some *other* people are able to make it this year. Hopefully it will be as successful as it's been the last two years. It's really not about the numbers, it's about the fun - there were only 13 11 of us at the first OotsCon back in '07. Hopefully we'll be able to get our plans ironed out.

My homebrew gaming system has reached Alpha status. I have just a couple more mechanical aspects to iron out, and then the first round of playtesting will begin with whoever i can get to help me out with this. I've discussed the theory of the system at some length with Sheri and Tony, and they both seemed to think it has some potential. It is definitely a bit different in its root philosophy from the games like D&D that we're used to - but I personally think these differences are a *good* thing. At whatever point the system reaches Beta, I'll be posting some more detailed info on it.


~PS

A Blog Resumption, Pt. I: General Updates

Sunday March 1, 2009 at 8:05pm trips, health issues, music, recording, just coffee Comments (0) »

So, it would seem that i've neglected the poor blog for a while. I've got a couple-few things to mention, but i'm gonna break 'em up into separate posts for thematic reasons.

Ok, so first off: returing from AR - since i was still there at last posting. I must say, i'm loving the macbook & having a computer with a battery life long enough to actually use some of the wifi hotspot around (it gives be 4.5 - 5 hours on a charge - not too shabby).

So, we stayed in AR for a little over a week so sheri could help her mom with her recovery from surgery. Last I heard she's doing alright regarding all that, but did find out she'll need chemo which is upsetting to her. Still, she's doing her best to get through all of this. Sheri's grandma is in the hospital again as of now, so health issues in the family seem to be on a disheartening rise. :( This year's been pretty arduous overall so far, unfortunately...

Partially due to the trip, but mostly due to a startling and irritating lack of inspiration (and not for lack of *hours* of trying), i didn't get very far on this year's RPM. I have most of two songs recorded - and only one of them is actually new (the second is an old song that i decided i'd finally put down). My closet soundbooth does a good job though and it was worth constructing - now if i could only come up with something to record. Erg. I'll have the new stuff put up in the music section after i've finished mastering the second song.

We went to the coffeehouse again a couple weeks back, which was fun. I got to take some pictures and play Wii on a giant projector screen. Good times.

We have VBS (for which i'm slated to do A/V stuff and photography) as well as a trip up to OH coming up this month...as well as some other stuff to be mentioned in the following entry...

Anyway, I think that's about all for this one...

~PS

Remote Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

~PS

Weekly Penguin Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

~PS

Interim

Friday September 12, 2008 at 11:28am unevents, trips Comments (1) »

Not too much has been going on this month. By leg is mostly better, and life has pretty much returned to normal - that is to say, pretty uneventful.

The coffeehouse started a week ago - that was fun. We've had a couple of really good gaming sessions in the last couple of weeks too. Ally had a vet appointment yesterday - her necessary stuff has been taken care of for a while. Still looking forward to jamming with Robb & co. again sometime.

We're about to begin our preparations for our trip out to Arkansas next week for Sheri's sister's wedding. That will be the first trip anywhere we've taken since christmas. Maybe I'll have something to talk about after that...

~PS