I am pretty behind on doing anything on this site. Meh. I still need to post photos from 2012. I've gone through them, I just need to make final selections & export them. It'll happen. At some point.
Also, i've been doing some work on the site engine and kicking around some new site design ideas. Because that's what I do.
Also, also (and this is related) a group of us has started talking about this year's OotsCon, which is now called the Trogland Meetup. It's becoming a bit more of a stand-alone entity. We're expanding it a bit, due to past difficulties. This year, we're going to have some hotel space for some of the events, and we're formalizing some of the other "goodies" - like con badges and 'schwag' items. Due to this, we're implementing a registration fee as well, and I've been developing a registration site for us to use. That's taken a bit of time.
Didn't Think She'd Mine
So I got Sheri into Minecraft. I'm actually kind of surprised she enjoys the game as much as she does. Also, due to some hardware replacements at work, she got a new computer. It's the fastest currently in the house. 64-bit Windows 7 2.9ghz with 8gb of ram. This machine - dubbed Pheonix as it was born from the ashes of a few dying pcs - replaced Lain, and it plays the game quite well.
The Savage and Fantastic
We brought our Savage Seas game to a pausing point - actually, a point just before a new leg of the adventure - and decided to pick something else for a while. It is a good game, and we'll go back to it eventually, but I was really in the mood to do something different. The group had wanted to play a high fantasy game for a while, so I started a new D&D 3.5 game at 10th level. The setting I'm developing for it is called Cyrran Reaches, and it's a region in the corner of a kingdom with half a dozen settlements and quite a few interesting characters. So far, I've only really developed the generalities of the place and the westernmost village, but the detail is awesome.
Speaking of, I've been continuing my experiments in gaming notes. I like to have gaming notes because I like highly-detailed setting creation, but I've never had a good way of organizing them such that it makes any sense. I got a new idea while listening to Fear the Boot, and downloaded MediaWiki - which is the open source platform wikipedia is built on - and put it on a subdomain on this site for my personal use. It is now my game note repository. Since it's online, I can work on it from anywhere, and it's topical, internally-linked nature makes organizing things intuitive and effortless. It is the best method I've come across so far, and I'm really loving it.
I'm now kicking around ideas for RuchtCon III coming up in mid/late march. Due to Hannah, I think I'm only going to be able to participate a little, but I told Rucht I'd run one game, so I'm now gearing up for some Mouse Guard.
Whenever there's a gap in the blog, it usually means i've been working on the site in the background - this time trying to get some inspiration for a new look and trying to perfect a little back-end purity of style.
The Christmas Nothing
We got back from our trip to AR for christmas early yesterday morning. Both ways we opted to drive over night so that Hannah could sleep - which she basically did. I think it went as good as it could have, though yesterday I felt a bit like i "over did it". Feeling a bit better today.
I also enjoyed doing basically nothing for a week+ - not really having anywhere to go or anything I had to be doing.
Basically, I hung out and played video games on my laptop while Sheri and her mom watched TV and did card-making stuff. Of course, we had our christmas festivities as well, and everyone enjoyed playing with Hannah - she was the entertainment, as usual.
I mostly played two games. The first was Seiken Densetsu 3, a japanese sequel to the Secret of Mana (which is one of my all-time favorite games). It many ways it is considerably wider and deeper than SOM. The story is a bit more involved, there are more characters (and you get to choose who makes up your party), and the rpg mechanics are more sophisticated. I actually started the game with two sets of characters as was playing through the first part of the game in tandem, noting differences in dialog and such, though most events unfold the same way.
And then I got back into Minecraft. That was the last thing I remember.
I like to build massive structures in Survival mode. I built a huge tower (it breaks the cloud layer by about 4 floors) with many floors with varied interiors (bedrooms, balconies, a library, common rooms, etc). Outside there's a workshop, pens for cows, sheep and chickens, crops of wheat and sugar cane and a cultivated oak grove. I've also mined down to bedrock, found some gold and diamonds and created/harvested some obsidian. Currently working on a courtyard wall. I have no idea how long I spent on all of this, but I assume it was a fairly high percentage of every waking hour.
It was actually really nice to do a lot of nothing.
Well, here we are. Version 10. In the last 7 years, there have been 10 iterations of this site, each constituting a complete rebuild and incorporating new things I've learned about web design & development.
As far as design goes, I was going for something cleaner, simpler and more elegant than the previous design (which was a bit more graphic rich and stylized). In terms of architecture, this is the first version that's actually built on an MVC platform. The specific framework is one of my own creation, loosely based on CodeIgniter. I'm really liking it.
This new site has some new features as well. Commenting ability has been expanded. (Re)added a site search feature (accessible from the footer). Games, Galleries and Albums are more official entities. More images in sections. General polish has been applied.
The music page has returned with an actual player. I'm not really happy with most of what's up there as of now, but I figured I'd put it up for good measure. Or mostly because the previous version of the site had nothing on the music page at all. I do have plans for future recording - when I have the opportunity to do much with it.
|Thursday September 30, 2010 at 1:30pm||state of the penguin, work, family, bunguin, gencon, parties, jamming, website||Comments (5) »|
If you're the superstitious type, you might suggest that the title of my last blog entry was tempting the fates... ...but then, I'd probably have to pat you for it.
Much is different since my last blog entry, and some of it is responsible for the gap between posts. Most relevantly, I am no longer working for Legend Web Works. I have a wide array of thoughts on this particular matter, but I do not wish to belabor them here. Further, if you're reading this you probably already know about it - I simply wished to state it for posterity. This is generally the case for most things on my blog and this entry is no exception.
So now I'm looking for a new job. Unfortunately my particular area of expertise is rather narrow in scope and directly-related opportunities in this area are somewhat limited. I've found a few leads, but things seem to be slow in developing. I'm not entirely sure what to do and I'm a little stressed about it, but I haven't hit a brick wall yet, so I'm still trying to be optimistic.
Anyway, on to happier things:
First and foremost, Sheri is pregnant! We're going to have a Bunguin! We actually saw the first ultrasound yesterday, which admittedly doesn't look like much at this point - but still. The expected due date is May 14th 2011. We're really excited!
Secondly, as I mentioned previously, I finally got to go to Gencon back in August. It was pretty awesome. The Exhibitor's hall was an amazingly geeky mall full of cool stuff, but the most fun was hanging out and playing games with the Playgrounders and a bunch of guys from the Fear the Boot forum. I have a few souvenirs from the con including a new set of dice, the Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, and a lanyard from the Fear The Boot guys. I really liked it, and I'd like to go back at some point, but my favorite parts were things that didn't have anything to do with the con itself - things like Chris's Battletech game. I think i prefer less commercial and more gaming - things like our local mini-cons. Also, I'd really like to go out to Fear The Con one of these days.
On that note, we had Gamesplosion back in late August - our third local mini-gaming-convention. This one, I believe, was the biggest one to-date. It was held at our place for logistical reasons, and took place from friday-sunday as usual. I ran a session of Mouse Guard and one of my own homebrews called Bot. I played in a Weird War II (Savage Worlds) game, and played Agricola during one of the other slots. It was definitely a great time.
And of course, I've been continuing my normal gaming. We started a D&D game using the Sandstorm rules/setting (along with some stuff from Unearthed Arcana), and that's been interesting. The WoD game has resumed and is starting to build in the "action" dept. I've also spent quite a bit of time reinterpreting the Battletech rules into Savage Worlds - this is intended to make 'mech combat a bit more fast-paced and also tie a roleplaying system directly into it. Sheri and I playtested it a bit, and I was quite happy with how it played.
We were finally present for Robb's "Talk Like A Pirate party" this year, which was lots of fun - and the location of perhaps the most epic nerf war we have witnessed to date. Another item of note related to this is the piratey shirts Sheri's mom made us for it - they're really cool and I think they'll be handy for a few different costumes should the need arise.
Robb and I have been jamming with Josh & Bill again, which has been cool. I think we're supposed to do that again soon. We've picked out about 5 cover songs and we're just going over them again and again as we try to gel as a group. It's been a lot of fun - I really missed getting to play with a band.
Finally, as I'm sure you've noticed, my site has been reincarnated yet again. This is partly due to my job situation - I really didn't want to keep it on any framework related to my former employers. It just felt...odd. This rebuild is being constructed purely according to my preferences. As of now, it's still under construction. The blog was the first piece - additional pages will come online in the coming weeks as I'm able to build them to my taste. Also, there is, as of now, a very modest mobile site (which looks awful on a pc), currently only capable of reading and commenting on the blog - but I'm sure I'll start working on it after the main site is completely set. Accessing www.penguinsushi.com on a mobile device should direct you there.
Well, here we are at February.
Yes, I know that's redundant, seeing as there's a date right above the statement, but that's what's going through my head atm.
First off, Penguinsushi.com is another year older - bringing me up to 5 glorious(?) years on the web!
Second, RPM 2010 starts today, but sadly, I don't think I'll be participating this year for two reasons: 1) I haven't been able to come up with any new material in the last couple of months - though to be honest, I've only put in about 15 hours worth of effort in that time - and 2) because, due to some extenuating circumstances, I'll be losing a large portion of my studio gear next weekend. This will be replaced, of course, but it may not be immediately.
In other news:
Sheri & I went to see Avatar with Robb & Edie last night night. It was quite a good movie, if a bit predictable. My assessment is that it is basically 60% Ferngully, 25% The Matrix, and 15% other (possibly LoTR; others have suggested Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves and Aliens). That's not to say it was completely derivative - it did have its originality - but large parts of it definitely conjured thoughts of "I've seen this somewhere before...". Still, like I said, a good movie.
Llama and I played a fair bit of Super Mario Wii this weekend and, with an obsessive-collecting "No Big Coin Left Behind" philosophy, actually finished and beat the game seeking and obtaining every big coin in every level of the primary 8 worlds (including going back to hunt ones we'd missed in other worlds previously). Yes, we are the awesome. We've now started on the "secret" post-game World 9, which, I have to say, is pretty tough.
We started a new D&D game on friday night and I'm proud that not even the snow storm could prevent it - though driving Steve home was...entertaining...and 2/3 of our guests actually camped out here that night.
As I mentioned before, I had carefully mapped out the game's scenario from most-if-not-all angles and then gave the "party" and obvious hook for them to take - a hook which would lead them to the ruin of a prison outpost where a demon was reportedly hiding. Obvious adventure, right? Given the attitudes originally fostered at the conception of this game, I thought they'd want the obvious hook. Silly me. The first 3/4 of the session was spent around town investigating some other goings on. By the time they actually made it to the keep, it was so late that we had to call it a night after the first encounter - which was actually still outside it's gates.
So here we have a question of causality: *Because* I overcomplicated the game, writing in the multiple goings-on from different angles, I knew exactly what to do and what they would find when they went off the "expected course". HOWEVER, if I *hadn't* written up all those other angles (i.e., if I'd just said "you're in a tavern. you see a wanted poster for a demon. it's in this keep. go for it."), they wouldn't have had *reason* to go off the "expected course" (though that iteration of the setting would have seemed much less realistic and "alive"...to me anyway). So basically, my excessive detail was both the cause of my "problems" *and* my salvation there-from. Still, I wouldn't change much if i could. It was a good time.
The real beauty is, because the party did something that I didn't expect, I realized that the story was going to have to change. At least one thing they did was going to have a significant impact and make drastic alterations to how the narrative would have unfolded otherwise - and that's the way it should be. The characters' actions should have real meaning in the story, beyond the simple "either you succeeded or you failed". Being able to account for that as a GM is a bit of an art, and one that don't always feel I'm doing well. This time though, it's working beautifully.
So, it had been about a year or so since I redesigned this site, and I felt that the time had come. I mean, more than a year with one design is about 4 times as long as they usually go.
I liked my previous design a lot. I spent a lot of time on it and I thought it looked really nice (probably why it lasted so long). Still, my urge to redesign was not something I could ignore, and I think this design is at least as good and probably a bit better. *I* like it better, anyway.
This version of the site has a lot of more sophisticated functions than the previous incarnation. Some of that might be apparent to you all, some of it won't be.
Anyway, here it is!
EDIT: Also, I should point out that I'm a terrible webmaster, as I forgot the site's birthday this year. Yeah, I'm in trouble. Anyway, Sushiday the 4th was back on Feb 1st - taking the site to 4 years up and running.
As i've said before, my hobbies are too time-consuming to be able to do them all at once. I sort of have to go in shifts. My gaming hobby is pretty much 'always on' to a greater or lesser extent - probably because that's the only one that's not solely for my enjoyment - but my other hobbies (web/computer projects, photography and music) kind of have to fight for my free time. I've been on a photography kick for most of the last year, and I'm still loving it - but it's January, which means it's time to switch hats.
I talked a bit about RPM last year, and i'm gearing up to do it again this year. This time, however, i'm not going to try to actually write all of the stuff during February - i'm hoping to have most of that done beforehand. Hopefully this way i'll get more than 3 tracks down - my hope is to actually complete the project this time. Having started this today, i've got most of a song written. 9 more to go before Feb. 1st.
I have a faster (and portable!) computer for recording this year, which should let me get away with more simultaneous tracks/effects than i previously could - and I have plans to clear out the office closet to turn it into a sort of recording booth to keep the sound nice and tight. Last year was very rewarding and I'm really looking forward to giving this another go.
After this (depending on what my work schedule looks like, i.e. how burned out i am), i'm thinking about taking a couple of weeks to redesign/build this site again - i like this design, but i'm beginning to feel like it's time for a change.
Uhm, to me, I guess.
So the site's now been up and running for 3 whole years. Mildly impressive, I think. To date, it's been through 7 incarnations. I'm pretty happy with how it looks and works... ...for now. (At least until I get some other cool idea and want to "upgrade" to version 8. Hehe.) The last version was put together in March of '07 - so it made it almost a year. Pretty good, I think. I'd generally say that I'll be content with this build for a while, but I always say that and what "a while" is exactly is somewhat subject to change...
Anyway, Thanks for sticking around. Here's to the continued randomness that is my site.
Welcome to version 7!
I think the version 6 made it almost a year. Pretty good. Of course, change was inevitable.
Quite a bit different with this one - my focus shifted a bit since the last build. Among other things, this layout was designed with a lot more concern placed on appearance. I'm sure you can tell, as it's easily the slickest Penguinsushi.com so far.
Probably the most obvious thing is the absence of the forums. I basically decided they weren't used enough to rebuild or port for this version of the site. Most of the people I built it for in the first place have their own blogs, etc by this point. About the only thing I used the forums for was planning gaming sessions. I liked the centralized nature of them for planning, but I generally ended up emailing people anyway - so, going back to email as the primary method isn't going to be much of a change.
The new Gaming page will keep track of the games I'm running in terms of posting the session times as they are planned and keeping track of character xp, etc. I'm going to take a break from typing out synopsis' of the sessions. It's just too much work in addition to planning. If I were only running one game, it'd be different, but...
I also took out the quotes page. It didn't get much traffic. The *list*, however, still exists and you can still add to it. It's just that now the only public display is the 'random quotes' box.
One of the biggest reasons for the rebuild was the Gallery - having a 10mp camera isn't very satisfying if you're only posting 400px images on your site. I'm still not *posting* 10mp images (that's crazy talk), but I've doubled the size of the pictures displayed and I think it adds a lot.
I also added a Music page to post some of the stuff I've recorded over the last couple of years for anyone who's interested.
Basically, the site is now built around my 4 biggest pastimes - web development, gaming, taking pictures, and writing songs.
For any of you using rss to read my site, note that the feed has changed. It's still in the same place and all, and probably won't have much effect - but it's possible some of the links in your older articles will be broken. Sorry.
Anyway, hope you all like the new site. I do. :)
So I finally got a very bare-bones rss feed working for this site - at the request of Kevin. It can be referenced here: www.penguinsushi.com/blog_feed.xml.
This was fun to do in a 'just because i can' sort of way... ...but i really don't get the rss thing.
Perhaps I am not as cool as some of you, or maybe I just don't understand it enough, or maybe my feed's just too simplistic, or maybe i just enjoy visiting actual websites too much - but I don't see rss as being that cool in any way except for having all of your info in one place and being slightly easier to tell if there's anything new - basically, saving time at the expense of some site features.
I mean, I put a lot of work into the site, and i believe most (if not all) websites are more than the sum of their parts - that is, the information contained in them. The rss feed neatly skips all that.
...and generally if i'm really interested in something, i don't have to use such ruthless efficiency to get at it.
I also notice that the rss 'articles' are kind of 'fire and forget' That is, if I make changes to them later (even if i update the feed as such), most of the rss viewers that i've messed with say basically 'i already have that article' and don't look at it again. This is probably by necessity, but still - it makes things difficult for people like me who tend to do quite a bit of post editing.
And other streams like comments either have to have their own feeds (which seems a little silly to me), or just get left out (like they did in this case).
So - all of you rss fans out there, tell me what's so great about it and/or how i'm using it wrong, as i am as yet somewhat unconvinced.
Some of you knew this was going to happen.
Some of you didn't know this was going to happen.
Some of you didn't know this was going to happen, but knew this was going to happen.
So yeah, the site has undergone (yet another) redesign. I think the pattern of steady improvement has continued. This incarnation does away with a number of things that were less than effective in the previous design, and adds some new features of its own.
Hope you all like the new look, feel and function.
Seems the old blog has been neglected lately.
Man, I'm exhausted. I have decided that it was probably a bad idea to go walk for nine holes of golf since I slept really, really crappy last night.
Either that, or I'm really out of shape.
I hope I sleep better tonight since I'm supposed to go out and play some with Joe tomorrow.
I hope I'm not getting sick again, I was freezing last night while I was trying to sleep and I have this nagging off-and-on headache.
Well, time to head out. Think we're heading to the Nameless Lair for some dinner and relaxation.
And probably some mario kart.
Today is penguinsushi.com's second birthday. While this last year has seen only one major site redesign (as opposed to the 3 the previous year), I still think it's come a long way in terms of what it can do. Not that there's much of a reason for it, mind you - much of the site remains a 'because I can' sort of accomplishment.
So anyway, yeah, 2 years on the web. Woo-hoo! Hope you've enjoyed them.
As you have probably noticed, my *new and improved* site now features a (boring-ish) webcam over on the left panel. Not that i really have a good reason to have a webcam, it's more just a 'because i can' thing.
The cam updates about every 5 minutes, showing a slightly delayed image. It has been quite a source of amusment for me/us.
I have discovered i make some really funny faces when i'm confused about some piece of code i'm working on or when i'm playing fps games (particularly if i'm winning).
Kevin likes to IM me and say things like 'dude, weren't you wearing that shirt yesterday?'.
No, no i wasn't.
He's also suggested putting up 'away messages' via large signs in front of the camera when i'm not around. I've yet to try that idea, but i occassionally put one of my penguins in front of it when i'm out.
About a week after starting this latest redesign, I think I have enough of it working to put it into effect.
Take a look around. You may notice that quite a bit is the same, but quite a bit is different. Some features I'm omitting from this new site, and some may come along later.
I'm sure there's a bug or ten i haven't caught and fixed yet, but give me some time and it'll be solid.
Well, i've been up working on this too long already. See you all later.
As some of you already know, I have begun work on the next version of this Website (yes, please be sure my ghost has plenty of pepsi). In the course of writing a script to export my blog from the current db and import it into a slightly different format, I accidentally emptied the db table. The source table. I had completely erased my entire blog. Crap.
Kevin suggested I try some things to try to recover the data, and I found some stuff online about bin logs, but sadly, i don't know what i'm doing. Nor do I actually know if my hoster gives me sufficient permissions to do it anyway.
After about 2 hours of mucking about, I decided I couldn't pull it off. I submitted a support ticket to ICDSoft's support service. Within 23 minutes of my submission, my database table had been restored.
This has shown me two things, both of which I already knew from previous experiences:
1) For the sake of pete and his dragon, pay more attention to what you're doing.
2) The support my host provides is amazing.
Well, I'm off to backup my db before I try messing with it some more.
It has now been a year since this site was brought into existence. Seems to me this deserves some small notice in the blog. In case some of you missed the candle in the title at the top or if you just didn't bother clicking on it, here is the birthday page i put up honoring this site's perseverance.
This site has come a long way since it was first built, but if i'd have known how well it would turn out when i started, i would have been quite pleased. It has proven to be both fun and useful - and here i would have settled for 1 of the 2.
Thanks especially to my friends, whose continued use and enjoyment of this site makes the entire project worthwhile.
It may seem like i have been neglecting the site in general and my blog specifically. The first part is completely untrue, but sadly the second is mostly factual.
Over the last several weeks, i've been rebuilding my website from scratch, fixing some things i didn't like, and adding some features i'd always wanted to. After about a week and a half of labor, Penguinsushi.com version 4.0 is up and running. I'm really happy with this new site and how it works - though it may take a little getting used to for some.
Aside from the web development (for work and for fun), the last couple of weeks have had some coolness in them that i haven't got around to talking about until now.
As you've probably already seen, there are now pictures up from the costume party. Yeah. Dressing up as a giant penguin is great fun. I think i was the entertainment for the evening...at the very least, i had the goofiest costume.
We finally started the second d&d campaign with Eric & Cory last week. I thought it went pretty well. I'm still not sure how much Cory wants to play, but she didn't seem actively bored and seemed to at least enjoy goofing off with us.
Last week we had an open mic at the coffeehouse again. I left my tuner on the piano again. It was a lot of fun though. Sam & I played one of my songs together - mostly because he insisted i play it, and i insisted that i wasn't going to unless he played it with me. I also played a new song i had written called "I think you're reading too much into this." I was very happy with how it sounded, though it's a sort of intense song, and playing it about exhausted me. Anyone who says singing and playing guitar isn't physically exertive has never done it.
also, my parents came down to visit this last weekend. That was cool, i hadn't got to see them since july. It was a short visit, but it was nice.
if 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' is something to say when you don't know what to say, what do you blog about when you don't know what to blog?
in case the previous bit didn't give it away, we happen to be watching 'mary poppins'. This movie amuses me for reasons i don't entirely understand. Maybe i have pleasant associations from my childhood...or maybe i like the layering of the fantastical with the ordinary...or maybe i'm just thinking more about it than anyone should think about a movie that won an award for 'best song' being something called 'chim chiminy'.
so anyway, today was a good day. we went to visit anselm earlier today - he misses ginger. we could hear him meowing from the bottom of the stairs outside her apartment. from there we went to dice & played quiddler with llama, eric and cory. llama won, but he didn't come anywhere close to his high score of something like 361 - though at one point he was pretty sure his hand was capable of summoning cthulu.
friday (since we had no game) we went to the coffeehouse to play some games and hang out. sue complimented me on the songs sam & played there last friday and asked if i'd play again when they had the next open mic. i said i would. now i need to see if i can get ahold of sam...
in other news, i've made it to the 5th world in (dude) yoshi's island and i've got an interesting colosseum session planned for the next one-shot i run...
i've also made quite a few changes to this site over the last couple of weeks - smoothing out the appearance and interface and just generally having fun with it.