Monday, November 30, 2009

Holidays

Thanksgiving went great. We played games (Rock Band and Scene It) and had a lot of delicious food. Cherish and Melanie did a great job decorating and hosting. The two turkeys we bought were tasty. They weren't perfect, but they were fairly close to it. It was damn sure better than what happened to some other turkeys (I'm looking at you Beebys).

I had fun with my mom and sister over the weekend. They came up to join us in the Thanksgiving celebration. I saw Boondock Saints 2 with my sister at the Lakeville Theater (btw, did you know they have a Medieval Madness pinball machine?), which of course was pretty crowded. The movie was very enjoyable. It's pretty much more of the same, but I liked the first one. I just find the fact that it was even made impressive.

Emily has decided that for the month of December she's going to take it easier and do less things. Basically, except for a few events, she plans to be less social. No cow nights, every other game night at our place (at most) and no spur of the moment outings or parties. It's not a bad idea, it seems to work well for Joey. As it is we're already pretty booked with Colin's birthday, Cherish's birthday, Winter Walk, Christmas, Emily's birthday, Donata's Gift, and the Just Food parties that Emily has planned.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's going on?

First off, for those that care, we're having Game Night at our place on Friday. We'll be playing Battlestar Galactica starting at 8pm. We'll be having a new guest with us this night, Nolan, son of Lindsay the Front End Manager of the Just Food Coop. Due to this, there will be no alcohol consumed, since he's underage and all. This is fine with me, I think it'll still be fun. Oh, and Lindsay will be joining us later that night after she's done closing. OK, on other topics.

Not sure if you heard, but Facebook can now be accessed through the Xbox 360. One of nice things about this is that you can find the gamertags of your facebook friends more easily. Also nice, through this you can see the real name of your Xbox friends, no more trying to remember who YougartKing really is anymore. Although it does require that you both have added and used the facebook app on your 360, but whatever. I think this is just awesome, finally the Internet is starting to piece together my social networks so that there's more, I don't know, synergy(?), interconnectivity(?). All I know is that it's nice to have one list of something instead of having to copy the list at every website.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and my mom and sister are coming up to spend it with us. Exciting! I don't really have any plans other than the feast that will be enjoyed at Melanie and Cherish's, but that's usually how I roll, or at least how I like believe I do. I do have to work at Just Food for about an hour from 2pm to 3pm on Friday.

With Thanksgiving so close, that means that a bunch of Haskell birthdays and Christmas are right around the corner. This year is Emily's 30th Birthday. I don't know what we're doing for it, but Emily what's to host it somewhere suitable for a group of people to celebrate. She feels that our house is to small for such things, especially in the winter, when you can't really hang out outside. Right now the thoughts are at her sister's. The only issue with that is that it's in the cities, so I'm not sure how many Northfielders would attend (some of them think Dundas is far). But we've still got a while to work that out, it's not until the 28th of December. There's also been talk about doing it in a Logan's Run/Renewal motif. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Exasperation

I've been thinking and I believe that it's probably a good thing that we're not hosting Thanksgiving this year. I've been feeling overwhelmed lately and Emily is feeling constantly in pain and tired and is unable to do much at home because of it. We haven't cleaned the house in weeks and the few times we do eat it ends up being cheese and crackers or possibly fudge and chocolate squares. Yeah, it hasn't really been very productive or healthy in our house as of late.

Not only do I feel like I have try to take care of myself as well as Emily, but there's the ever looming presence of tasks and projects I want to get done. Emily thinks I schedule too much for myself, with the second job, and game nights, and D&D, and socializing with others. That's all on top of household projects like clean out the garage, and setting up coat hangers, and cleaning up the bedroom, and organizing the office, and cleaning out the kitchen. Although, it's hard to relax when your free time is just trying to finish up the things on your “fun” to-do list like finish Borderlands, or Gears of War 2, or Fable 2, or Half-Life, or Wheelman, or Dead Space, or GTA IV, or Fallout 3, or watch the rest of Weeds, or Dexter, or Deadwood, or Mad Men, or Fringe, or Leverage, or Lost, or X-Files, or Tough Love, or all the numerous movies out there to watch and the multitude of podcasts to listen to. There's just not enough time out there to get things done.

BTW Nintendo told us an awesome secret! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gaming and Games

Well, my weekend has been fully booked. Tonight we're having Game Night at Nancy's, which is awesome. She makes some really tasty snacks. Saturday I have D&D, depending on how the child watching situation pans out for Todd. After that, at 8pm, I get to help Alex at Just Food move shelves and tables and things around the store to get ready for the floor repainting going on later that night. When that's done I'm heading up to St. Paul to hang out at Pipe's (sorry, I mean Paul's) game night, which could go on until 2am or so. Then on Sunday . . . actually Sunday's free as far as I know, but I'm guessing there'll be some chores and errands to do, possibly I'll get some video gaming in. Or I just might end up sleeping through the whole day.

Speaking of video games, you should go download our newest game Excitebike: World Rally for the Wii. It's a WiiWare title and is basically a remake of the classic Excitebike. We improved the graphics a lot and even tweaked the gameplay a little to make it, in my opinion, more fun. There's also online multiplayer, which I hear is popular now-a-days. It's only $10. OK, that's probably enough shilling.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Concerns and Achievements

I just found out that we are having Thanksgiving at Melanie and Cherish's this year. For the past few years we've been having it at our place. It's a little small but we were able to make it work. I feel some what conflicted over this change. On the one hand, it will be nice to have someone else worry about all the cleaning and decorating and hosting and have more of the cooking parceled out, plus they do have more space and Cherish does have a knack for party hosting. On the other hand, it was nice to have a tradition of my own and I enjoy cooking but I don't like the cleaning so I don't cook that much and Thanksgiving is an excuse to do some cooking, but I guess we'll still have to cook some of our usual dishes like Broccoli Casserole and Candied Pecans and Herbed Cheese Croissants. I also don't know if we're still going to cook the turkey or if someone else will be. I guess there's really not that much to worry about this year. I would like to know what the full plans are, in particular what we need to bring or prepare, as well as if we need to pick-up anything from Costco for others.

Last weekend I played Chez Geek at Adam's with some of his friends. I had a blast and it was nice to meet new people. Saturday I had to work at the coop (to Nancy's credit I wasn't originally scheduled to but I ended up switching with Monica) and I followed that up with some gaming at Scott's, which went great. Usually when Scott hosts a Game Night at his place we only get in one maybe two games due to all of the food prepping and hosting and teaching of new games. This time that wasn't a problem. It was only Scott, Chris, Janine, and me so there wasn't as much corralling needed. We also played games that the majority of us had played before, cutting down on the game teaching. Of the games we played (Pandemic, Chicago Express, and Kingsburg), I only won one, and that was because Pandemic is a cooperative game so either everyone wins or everyone loses. I still had fun though.

Sunday, since it was so nice out, I got some yard work done. I put away the last of the hoses, mowed up all of the leaves around the house, put up and stored the hammock, and finished getting the mulch where it needed to be. I would still like to get the trees pruned before it snows, but I don't know anything about doing that, so I'm a little hesitant to start cutting. Other then that, I think we're ready for the coming of winter.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Game Night tonight

Adam has offered to host Game Night at his place, which I think is awesome of him. We figure we'll start at 7:30 or so. I know he has Guillotine and some Settlers of Catan games and Carcassonne as well. I also plan to bring a few games in case a number of people show up. I'm looking forward to it. If you want to go and don't know where he lives, ask me or him. He lives real close to the golf course.

I know, short post, but whatever.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Portland Trip

Portland was fun. Emily had a good time at her conference, learn a lot of good things and made a few friends while she was at it. She and Paula really hit it off, which is nice. I'm glad she has some HR friends now and doesn't feel so lost. While she was at her conference, I spent the time wandering around Portland and reading the graphic novels I brought along.

Graphic Novels I read: Invincible (1-7), Preacher (1-5), Scott Pilgrim (1-4).

Places I ate at (that I remember): Henry's Tavern (awesome vanilla banana creme brule), Voodoo Donuts (open 24 hours!), Cupcake Jones, Pazzo's, Saucebox (tasty cocktails and appetizers), Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen, the Flying Elephant deli, Fuller's Diner, Whole Foods, Pizzicato (had a delicious pear and caramelized onion pizza slice), The Macaroni Grill, various food shack vendors.

Places I visited: Portland Art Museum (crazy layout but some interesting pieces), Finnegan's Toy Store, Powell's Bookstore (big bookstore that happened to be re-organizing all my favorite sections), Counter Media (small alternative comic shop), the Chinese Garden (with a small tea house inside), the Japanese Garden (everywhere you look is a great photo opt), the Goodwill on 10th (one of the fanciest goodwill's I've ever been in), West Elm store, Bonnet.

We planned to rent a car the last day to drive out and tour the Tillamook factory as well as see the Pacific ocean, but when we went to pick the car up we were told we needed a credit card and not just a bank card. The only credit card we had on us had been used for the hotel room and so had no available balance on it. Instead, we decided to walk the 10 or 12 blocks to the Japanese Garden, which just happened to be uphill the whole way. It was quite the hike, but it turned out to be a lovely destination. Afterwards, we walked back into downtown, ate some dinner, and passed the time in a bookstore until it was time to get a cab to take us to the airport.

We caught our 9:00 flight to Seattle (where they served a complimentary glass of local beer or wine), waited/slept for 2 hours until we could board our flight to Minneapolis, flew/slept-as-best-as-we-could-with-babies-seated-in-front-of-us-and-a-loud-snorer-a-few-rows-behind-us-in-seats-that-barely-recline our way home in time to drive back to Northfield and start back up at work.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Game Night Peril

Game Night tonight is being held at Nancy's place. She's wanted to host for some time now and today both she and her husband have the evening off and are looking forward to having people over and playing some games, even if it is just Emily and me. The kink in the plans is that one of her sons has just been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. They've been spending most of the day cleaning up their house, especially the downstairs, and disinfecting everything. They really want to have this happen, so we're going over there tonight. Plus, Emily doesn't want to have to try and clean our place. Double plus, Nancy said that she was going to bake a few gluten-free dishes for Emily to enjoy. If you were thinking of coming to Game Night tonight and choose not to after reading this, well, I understand. We'll see how well Emily and I fare on our trip to Portland after having this adventure.

Honestly, I suspect a few of my coworkers' kids might be carrying it, or any number of the customers I've helped at Just Food. I'm just saying, chances are I've already been exposed to it.

Update: Turns out it was not H1N1 but Strep. A relief?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Additions and Changes

My Geekscape shirt came in today and Jonathan added a Geekscape pin/button and, as a bonus prize, a tape of the radio program The Shadow. Weird. Unfortunately the shirt's a little on the large side and they don't have any mediums. I guess that's why they're pretty cheap right now. (This reminds me, I still need to order the Hurm shirt from iFanboy).

Shawn was at Barnes and Nobles the other day and grabbed Scott Pilgrim vol 1 for me. Score! Now I can start reading the series, or at least the ones I have. Today Scott grabbed Street Fighter IV from Target for me because it was down to $10 on their clearance. Double score!

Emily has started rearranging the bedroom, but there's only so much space to work in and with. She wants to put the bed in our closet and line the walls with dressers and armoires. She seems to have a vision for it, and maybe we'll actually keep our clothes organized. We got a little closet thing for hanging our clothes in from Target the other night, but when we put our clothes on it, the bar slipped out. That's not going to work. I think Emily wants to go to Ikea now to get a more long term solution.

Honestly, I think we need to get rid of some of our clothes. We'll have a pile of clean clothes on a chair and in drawers, but for some reason Emily needs the clothes in the dryer to get dressed. Didn't she just wear those clothes? Why do we have all these other clothes if we're not going to wear them? Yes, I have quite a few dress clothes that I don't wear now that my job doesn't require it, but I'd rather take them to a consignment shop then donate them, if for no other reason than the fact that most of them are really nice and were kind of on the expensive side. I don't know, but is that wrong of me?

I haven't really played any video games since our trip to Kansas, I'm having trouble finding the time. Next week, we're going on a trip to Portland. Emily has a Human Resource seminar thing going on down there and I'm tagging along to check out the sights and catch-up on sleep. I'll also probably get quite a bit of reading done. We're flying down there Monday and getting back Sunday night, I believe. Hopefully Emily will find this trip more relaxing then the last one.

Speaking of trips, I believe Marty has started his trip back to Northfield. It'll be nice to have him around again. He was a game night regular, so now our numbers are growing. Plus, when he goes to an event, the chances of Isaac showing up increases by like 10% or so. Anyways, Marty's a fun guy who's usually up for anything. I like it much better when people leave California to live here than vice versa.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cleaning out

Fallcon was fun. I went with my nephew and we had a good time looking around at the vendors and checking out some of the artist's work that was on display. He bought a couple of comics and a few toys, while I massively increased our graphic novel collection. I got the first 7 of Invincible, a couple more volumes of Preacher that I didn't have, Scott Pilgrim 2 thru 4 (still need number 1), the first 3 volumes of Buffy Season 8, and few extras like Walking Dead vol 2, and Death: At Death's Door. We both picked up some of the free comics they had left over from free comic book day. If I had planned better, I would have brought some of my own books to get signed by the creators that were there, but I didn't do any research beforehand and honestly, I wasn't expecting to see anyone that had worked on any of the things I had read. We then stopped at the Source down the road because they were having a 20% off sale for con goers and I was hoping to find Scott Pilgrim vol 1, but to no luck, so I bought Roll Through the Ages and Ultimate Werewolf instead. That'll show'em.

Emily recently got another test for celiac, but we haven't heard the results yet. No matter what, she's going gluten free. She just feels way better off the gluten. We've recently started eating gluten free and to begin with she juiced up a storm this weekend. Now we have all kinds of juice to drink, apple, zucchini, carrot ginger, apple with zucchini.

Unfortunately our place is a bit of a mess right now. I haven't cleared off any space for the new books I bought and the kitchen table has juicing remains scattered across it. I think we should have enough time tonight to get some cleaning done. Hopefully.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Weekends

Our trip to the Lake of the Ozarks went well. We stayed at a lake house some of my family own; for most of the time it was just Emily and me. We did a lot of sleeping and sitting around and reading and we swam in the lake some (the water was like 70 degrees). It was nice and relaxing. My sister came down on Friday and she drove us around the area on Saturday. We didn't talk much, due to the lack of both of our communication skills, but I thought it was nice to spend time with her. My mom came down for the rest of the weekend and brought her boyfriend Alan. I had a good time and I think Emily did was well, for the most part.

I can't believe it's already Thursday. Where does the time go? I'd love to have a game night tomorrow, but our kitchen table is still a mess.

I was thinking of going to Fall-con in St Paul on Sunday (I'm working pretty much all day on Saturday). I haven't been to any cons before, so I thought this would be a nice introduction. I'd love to go to more cons, especially the big ones (Comic-Con, E3, PAX, Origins, Dragon-Con, etc.). Someday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who's in charge here? Wait, I am?

I feel tired. Not surprisingly consider the amount of work I have this week as well as my inability to go to bed at a reasonable time in most cases. Tonight (Wednesday night) is the only night I have free. Ok, technically I have Friday night free, but that's usually Game Night and I canceled last week and feel bad about canceling again. I wish Game Night was at a local gaming store and there was a group of people that regularly attended so I wouldn't feel so bad about not going every once in a while.

Really it seems like lately anytime I want something to happen, it's up to me to take charge and be the person who works out all the details and shoulders most of the responsibility. I understand that someone has to, but it can get a little tiring. There's game night, there's D&D, there's various parties, there's house repairs. These are things I want to do, but I want to be the guest person. The one who gets invited and can show up and have fun. I don't want to have to be the one inviting everyone and working out timing issues and locations and activities and yadda, yadda, yadda. I know, I know, if I want to do these things the only way to make sure it happens is to actually set it up myself.

I mean, I like playing board games. I have games I haven't played yet (though not that many anymore). Unfortunately, there's no local game store/club where people can get together and play games, so I started up game night to play with my friends. But that makes it my responsibility and I know that some of my friends enjoy getting together and playing games as well. The problem is that every once in a while I don't feel up to having a game night (like say I've been working 60 hours all week), but I feel obligated to do it for the sake of others.

I enjoying playing RPG's. Dungeons and Dragons came out with a 4th Edition and I wanted to try it out. The friends I used to roleplay with still lived in the cities and I was inconsiderate of Emily and came home late a few nights, making her less than happy to see me drive up to the cities to play with them. Plus they got addicted to World of Warcraft. If I wanted to play D&D, I would need to get a group together and be the DM. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed DM'ing, but it requires a lot more work beforehand than just being a player. It also requires more during play as well. Maybe I would enjoy it more if I had created the adventure myself instead of going off of a module, but I've only just started DM'ing and I haven't played in a whole lot of games either, so I don't have much faith in my skills to do that, but that's a whole different issue. I would love to just play in a game, immerse myself into a single character instead of 100's of them.

Emily helps out quite a bit, and I love her for it. It's awesome to have a wife who wants to see me happy and helps as much as she can. But it still leaves the stuff up to me and she's not as excited about it as I am, so she has no interest in taking the lead on any this stuff.

I don't know, maybe I'll feel better after this vacation and once I've caught up on sleep.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thunderspire Labrynth, 2

Having received the package Bairwin required, they decided to make the trip back to Winterhaven right away. They spent another week traveling the trade routes and arrived in town, much to Bairwin's surprise. He gladly paid them for their troubles and complimented them on their unexpected speed. With a little more coin in their purse, they headed back to Thunderspire.

Upon arriving, they noticed that they were treated a little differently than before. They received wary looks and were given a wider berth. A few people would quickly cross the street to get away from them. Nachi seemed to take some enjoyment of this new treatment and scared a few passerbys. At one point, Sophana caught what looked like Brugg chuckling out of the side of his mouth when seeing this.

Saul wanted to get a magical item he had in mind so they went to shop at House Azaer. He didn't have nearly enough gold to pay for what it, so he performed a ritual to create fool's gold and entered the store with Nachi, and Sophana. They met Noristo, a young tiefling merchant with a sly smile, and were able to pass off the fake gold as real gold and left with their new goods. Soon after Allyria and Tasil entered to look around. Allyria unknowingly caught the eye of Noristo, who offered to personally help moisturize her tail. Allyria turned red (which is quite a feat for a tiefling) and stumbled out the door with Tasil close behind snickering.

The group decided to question the duergar in the Grimmerzhul Trading Post about a letter they found in the Bloodreaver's hideout. Nachi attempted to intimidate his way into some information and while everyone was distracted Tasil stole one of the bracelets on display. Nachi's attempts were met with near-open hostility and they decided to take a different approach. Nachi went up to Brugg and informed him that he had proof that the Grimmerzhul clan is purchasing slaves and that he might want to get the mages involved. Brugg informed him that while he respects the group after hearing some of the rumors about them, unless there's something happen within the Seven Pillared Hall, he and the mages don't care what happens.

Finding no help, they decided to take matters into their own hands. They returned to the Chamber of Eyes (the Bloodreaver hideout) to find it empty and tracked the slaves from there. With the help of some teamwork, Sophana is able to track them through the tunnels until they ended at the Horned Hold, a minotaur fortress that the Grimmerzhul converted into a stronghold. It consists of three parts connected by bridges over a deep chasm.

Upon arriving at the entrance they were greeted by some orcs inside the gated entrance. After dealing with some crossbow shots and spear stabs, Nachi teleported past the gate in the hopes of finding a lever to open the door. Unfortunately all he found were some angry orcs and a duergar guard, who quickly surrounded him. The rest of the party was left outside, fighting as best as they could through the gate while Tasil attempted to unlock it. Nachi got knocked unconscious numerous times before everyone was able to take control of the room. After a short rest and some healing, the party took a look around at their surroundings. They found a hall with a few locked doors and examined the rooms behind said doors. One of the doors opened into a armory, which they proceeded to ransack. The other doors opened into empty barracks with footlockers filed with nothing but clothing and hygiene products, much to the disappointment of Tasil.

The next door held back the sounds of roaring fires and hammers hitting anvils. The party gathered their courage and burst through the door to meet a couple of duergars and orcs working in a blacksmith area being directed by a large duergar covered in soot carrying a huge hammer and barking out orders. Within no time a fight broke out with the smithy flinging spells and slurs in equal measure. It was a hard fought battle, but in the end the heroes won out.

They searched the area and took what finished weapons they could find. They also stumbled upon the smithy's bedroom and were surprised to see an ornamental scepter that resembled the one Gendar talked about. Other than that they found little of value.

Having dealt with two groups of foes, everyone was feeling a little worn out and decided to take their chances and sleep in a small abandoned room off of one of the barracks they discovered. Saul magically locked all the doors they had explored and the group went to sleep with Nachi going into his trance to keep an eye out. Within the first hour, Saul was awakened with the knowledge that one of his locks had been broken. He quietly crept up to Nachi to let him know what was going on. Hour after hour another lock was broken, some leading to their room and some leading away. The rest of the party needed 8 hours to be fully rested and it wasn't until the ninth hour that the duergar search party unlocked the door leading to them. With everyone else well rested, the party sprang to the defense, taking out duergars left and right. Nachi and Tasil were able to take out an invisible scout before he could warn the rest of the hold. Together they decided to head down the hall the scout was head toward and find the slaves.

Got the time?

This week is going to be busy. I'm working at least 1 job every day this week, starting this past Sunday (Just Food: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday; Monster Games: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). Plus we're taking a week long vacation next week, so we need to prepare for that as well. You know the usual packing and cleaning and preparing that goes on before any long trip.

I learned a great tip about Facebook. Did you know that there's a way to hide status updates of people you don't care to hear from? There is. I don't know how long it's been there but I've been wanting this for a while. Just hover your mouse over one of the unwanted updates on your home page. A little box titled “Hide” will appear in the top right corner of the update's box. Click on the “Hide” box and select “Hide ___” where the person's name is in the blank and you're done. Now you'll never have to see the person's updates again, unless you really want to. This is great, now I 'm more likely to see updates from people I want to see. Yea!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fun times?

Last night I had the largest single transaction I've ever dealt with come through. It totaled $1825.95. It was a whole butt loads worth of special orders for Farm House. That check was over half of my whole nights total. Crazy huh?

The facebook app for my iPod touch stopped working, because they updated it so that it required the iPhone 3.0 upgrade, which I hadn't purchased yet. But it seems like more and more apps are requiring it to work now, which is annoying since Apple is charging for it. So I broke down and bought the upgrade. Surprisingly, the upgrade only costs about $6 instead of the $11 it used to be. I still think it's crazy that they're charging for it, but whatever, I ended up buying it didn't I? I really hope it makes my iPod run better. The annoying thing is that I started this in the morning and it took a half hour just to download it, then it had to update the iPod and because of the update, now it has to restore it, which means uploading all the apps, videos, and music files I originally had on there. That's close to 30 gigs worth of stuff. I ended up just leaving it at home to finish while I went to work. Hopefully it will be done by lunchtime. It's going to be weird not having it for the day.

I'm not sure if you heard (or if you care), but Connor is sick so the “party” at Kathie Smith's is canceled. I hope Connor starts feeling better and I'm sure Kathie will host another party when the timings right. In the mean time, Susan's offered to have Game Night at her place. I think that'll be nice, I know she enjoys playing games, but can't make it out since someone has to keep an eye on sleeping kids. So for tonight, Game Night will be held at the Beeby's.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Busy?

Things have been going good here, a little hectic but good. It seems like we've been getting all these little windfalls lately. It's nice. Things are moving in a good direction at a noticeable pace. It's like all the work and hardship we've dealt with over the past years is stating to pay off. It's a nice feeling.

I have been working a lot the past few weeks. Way more than I was expecting or hoping. I hear they're hiring a few more cashiers so maybe I'll be working a few less hours. I will say that business has been good at Just Food, at least from my perspective. Maybe it's just the hours I work, but it seems like it's always busy.

I'm still loving Batman: Arkham Asylum. I was telling Isaac that I haven't been this engrossed/obsessed in a game since Bioshock. On the other hand, I still have other games to play as well, but I probably won't get to them until I'm done with Batman. I really need to finish Half Life since the Rebel FM Game Club this month is Half Life 2 and its subsequent episodes. I told myself I would play Half Life before playing its sequel, and I started that a month ago and got maybe halfway through but never finished. Now I have a strong incentive to do so.

I really like their idea of a Video Game club, like in place of a book club. The group plays a particular game either all the way through or to a checkpoint and then gets together and discusses their thoughts on it. I guess that's why I like listening to the Game Club podcasts. I think it'd be more fun to be in a group instead of vicariously listening to one, but right now I can't even keep up with the book club I'm in. I don't really need to add more things to my schedule.

Oh, Game Night is going to be at Kathie Smith's house. Apparently a Mamma Mia night is being held there at the same time. I figure the game night part will entertain the people who have no desire to watch Mamma Mia. I'll have to figure out what games I have that either correspond to some degree with that movie or at least can be played while a crowd in the other room sings songs. Either way it should be fun, right?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

NVG Day

First off, Happy National Video Game Day!

I woke up this morning, after going to bed late from gaming at Scott's, and helped Cherish and Melanie and Emily set-up their craft tent in Central Park. Every time I see their set-up it seems to get nicer and nicer. They have some nice stands to display their cards and paintings. We arranged and priced Emily's larger ceramic pieces. They also have buttons, and cards, and necklaces. I would suggest at least checking it out and saying hi. Emily will probably be there from time to time. They are located at the corner of Winona and 3rd.

I won't be there much because I have to work from 3 to close. I've been told that it's slow at the coop during Jesse James Days, but this year doesn't seem to be the case, at least it wasn't on Thursday. We'll see how today goes. For now, I'm going to try to catch-up on some sleep before I have to go. Hopefully I can get some Batman in today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yea!

Defeat of Jesse James Days is upon us. Em's sisters will be selling their crafts here, so stop by their tent and check it out. Emily will probably have some of her pieces there as well, though maybe not as much she would like, since we didn't take the time to go through and price some of her bigger pieces.

Time has gotten a little more valuable as of late, what with my second job and all. I don't think it will be as stressful as the last time I had a second job (which was what, all of 8 months ago?). This time our financial decisions were all made to get us ahead, instead of attempting to maintain. In fact, it's more like to accelerate our getting ahead, because we were on track to make some headway. Now though, I have a second job, Emily's working full time again, we refinanced the house for a lower mortgage payment, and we have a paying roommate again. I think if we keep this up, we might actually be out of debt in the next year or two, including our student loans. We should also have built up some savings by then as well. Yea!

We're (or at least I'm) still trying to get Friday Night Game Nights to be routine. That's step one. Step two is to start having it at other people's places. This Friday night a coworker of mine, Scott, is planning on having it at his place. He has a nice open place and a closet full of games. Then on the 18th, the plans are to have it at Kathie Smith's. She can't come to our place because she's allergic to cats. Double Yea!

Oh, and if you haven't gotten it yet, get Batman: Arkham Asylum. It's awesome. It's a 3D version of Super Metroid (a game I've been told that all games are based off of, but this one more so) starring Batman with a story straight out of a massive batman comic book arc and voiced by the awesome actors from the original animated series. I am loving this game. It speaks to me on so many levels of geekdom. Triple Yea!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My new busyness

This was a busy weekend. On Friday we had another game night and played Battlestar Galactica again. The key players were Baltar, the Chief, Starbuck, and Tigh. It started off a little rocky and Chief and Baltar jumped up to accuse the other. Galactica was surrounded by cylon ships and another basestar had just arrived. Luckily, Galactica was able to jump away before things got too dangerous. Repairs were ordered and quickly completed, and with no pressing concerns, everyone decided to hunt for the cylon spy. The committee threw the Chief into the brig and then, to be safe, threw Baltar in as well. Both professed their innocence the entire time they were trapped in there. After another jump, Chief showed himself to be a cylon sympathizer and was subsequently rescued and taken to the cylon fleet. Meanwhile, unknown to all, Tigh was awaken as a cylon sleeper agent. As acting Admiral, Tigh declared martial law and named himself as the President. With a cylon in both positions of power, it was only a matter of time before the humans ran out of resources (specifically fuel) and lost, one jump away from reaching Kobol.

Saturday we slept in some before heading to Just Food to enjoy the Harvest Festival. It was a fun little time and we tried many tasty treats for various vendors. Unfortunately we arrived too late to take full advantage of the pressed art station. Afterwards we headed over to the Beeby's to play D&D for the rest of the day. I'll post how that went separately. Then around 10 o'clock we went home to go to bed.

Sunday was spent lying around and getting a few chores down. I spent some time playing more Wheelman as well as Shadow Complex. I was still a little tired, so after a quick shopping trip to Just Food, I took a 30 minute nap, which turned out to be an excellent idea. We volunteered to help with the Just Food reset, and our shift started at 9pm. We helped move things off of shelves, build-up and rearrange shelves, and then put items pack onto shelves.

Monday I went to work at Monster Games at 8am and then went to work at Just Food at 4pm and stayed there until close, which was until about 10pm. It was a long and tiring day. I'm still a little tired.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wheelman



I've been playing Wheelman lately. I haven't gotten extremely far, in fact there are a few side mission types that I haven't unlocked yet. So far it's been pretty fun. It's like a simplified GTA 4 but with more emphasis on driving. I've been enjoying the driving combat. You can hit the right stick while you drive to slam the car in that direction, which can push other cars into walls or obstacles.

Here are some things they get right. The car combat action is fun. It's frenetic and you find yourself driving through all kinds of breakable objects, fighting back and forth, and it achieves the cinematic recluse driving scenes that they're going for. The PDA/map page is great in the fact that they let you just start a mission from there; no need to drive all around town to get to the starting point. The dialogue is nothing spectacular, but then again you don't go to an action movie for the words of wisdom. The voice acting is good, for the parts they were given.

Sounds like a fun game right? Well it is, but it's not a great game and it's because of the small things they miss. Little things that add aggravation and detract from the fun. One thing I could not believe is a problem with the y-invert option. Now, I had this problem in the demo, so I wasn't too surprised to still see it in the game. Here's the issue: in the options you can select whether the y-axis is inverted, like most games, but when you do any of the car-shooting special moves (either spin the car and in bullet time shoot at cars that were behind you, or just go into bullet time to shoot a blockade in front of you) the game has decided not to pay attention to your y-axis choice. This is ridiculous. If I want the y-axis inverted, I want it that way ALL the time, not just when I'm running around with a gun (which doesn't happen nearly as much as the driving, it is called Wheelman).

Another thing that's off-putting is you get emails after every story mission. They don't really add anything, it's just a reminder of what you have to do next. The problem is that to read emails you have to pull up your map and hit another button. Of course, while you're looking at your map there's no way of knowing if you've gotten any new mail. Combine this with the fact that after every mission, they take you to the map to show you where you're new mission is located, and you have an annoyance. This means you'll finish a mission, be in the map screen, see where your new mission is located, exit, and then be told "You have new email!" Now you have to go back into the map, and then from there go to the email screen where your email will basically say "You have a new mission!" There's no need for this. The only reason to have it is to try to disguise the map as a "PDA" screen. That's kind of pointless in my mind. Just keep it as a map, it shows where the next mission is, I don't need another reminder.

Another issue I have is the AI for street racing side missions. I enjoy some of the street races but the way it's set-up, it seems like it's me versus the pack and not a street race where everyone is fighting for first. When I'm in the middle of the group I get smacked around like nobody's business. But if I'm in the back, I don't see any of the cars slamming each other. With each other they'll play nice, but for me they try to shoot out my tires and slam me into walls. That is definitely not an example of taking care of the player.

Speaking of side missions, I can say that I approve of the way they have been doling them out. At the early point that I'm at now, they have been giving me a story mission that is basically the form of the new side mission. Once you complete the story mission, the side missions open up, all of them of that type in that area. I think that's just bad pacing. What I would have done is open the first side mission of that type, maybe two. After those have been completed, the player need to race another story mission. After that they have now unlocked a few more side missions of the old type as well as the new type. Just keep repeating this process until all side missions have been unlocked. This way the player switches back and forth between story missions and side missions. I understand that some people may enjoy the side missions more than the story mission, but the point of the game is the story, let's try to keep them down that path.

Bottom line, this game is a fun game and has some interesting takes on the criminal driving game, but it definitely has some missteps along the way.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When It Rains It Pours, But It Also Brings Flowers

As you may have heard, earlier this month things were just going crazy, financial-wise. The car broke down and took weeks to fix. Some unexpected bills popped up and to top it all off, Emily's Paypal was hacked and charged a little over $1500. Now, however, things seem to have turned around. We got the Paypal charge refunded; Wells Fargo reversed all of the overdraft fees they charged; I got a second job at Just Food; and we just recently refinanced our house so that we have a fixed 30 year mortgage with no balloon payments and on top of that it's for roughly $35,000 less than the previous one and is going to save us about $200 a month in mortgage payments. It's been a relief. Now we can start getting ahead instead of just treading water like we have been for a while.

Last weekend I played paintball with a couple of co-workers in this big wooded field. It was a blast and a big difference from running around between plywood boards. We played for quite a while, and being the dumbass that I am, I never thought to put sunscreen on and burnt my face and head. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it certainly wasn't necessary. It's now starting to heal (i.e. peel), another scene of recovery.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thunderspire Labrynth, 1

Last weekend I played Dungeons and Dragons with my usual group, only this time we played at Alex's instead of at our place, which was nice. It's not that I mind having people over, I kind of like it, but it is nice to go to someone else's place every once in a while. Besides, it was fun seeing their new puppy running around. Here's what went down:

The adventure started with party in Winterhaven, enjoying the celebration that was going on in their honor. They had a drinking contest, which Nachi failed on the first drink. They also took advantage of Bairwin's good spirits and drunken state to buy a bunch of stuff at a big discount, although they did have to do a favor for him afterwards. After much carousing and quest gathering (stop the slavers and collect history for Valthrun), the party headed off to the Thunderspire Mountains.

They traveled along the main trade road without any ambushes, but tried to take a shortcut which ended up adding another day to the travels to Fallcrest. It was here that Hannibal decided to return to school. Since his school doesn't allow goblins, he left Splug in the capable hands of Saul. Nachi traded Aeris with a follower of the Platinum Dragon who could appreciate the power of the sword for an equally powerful weapon, but with less back story.

After a short rest, the new party headed into the mountains, all the while Nachi discussed with the party the beliefs of a follower of the Raven Queen and why his resurrection was still making him feel uneasy. He was cut short before he could explain to Sophana the intricacies of a particular ritual when a flash of lighting lit up the entrance to Saruun Khel (the ancient underground Minotaur city below Thunderspire Mountain), framed by two 50 foot tall minotaur statues. They cautiously entered and traveled down a massive hall lined with statues of demons holding burning torches. Tasil slipped from shadow to shadow while Splug cowered close to Allyria and Saul.

As they traveled deeper and further into the mountain, Tasil could make out some sounds coming from a small room in a side passage. “We could get 10 gold pieces for this halfling “That's a shame, I'm easily worth 20. I'll pay you myself.” The group ran to the halfling's rescue. They were met by a group of hobgoblins lead by a warcaster, who pulled Nachi into the middle of them. Tasil climbed up on to some empty casks and got behind them while Allyria and Saul picked the soldiers off. Sophana made sure Nachi didn't die. With these Bloodreaver gang members eradicated, they got to know Rendil Halfmoon a little more, a plucky little halfling who lives with his aunt, Erra, the owner of the Halfmoon Inn located in the Seven Pillar Hall, further into the mountain.

To show his graditude, Rendil gives them a quick tour of the Seven Pillar Hall, which is more of an underground village than a hall. They share a few ales and Erra sets them up with some lodging and delicious halfling home-cooking. Afterwards, everyone decides to make the delivery to Gendar, a drow shop owner, that Bairwin requested. They make the trade off and Gendar requests they keep an eye out for a scepter that was stolen from him. Next, they decide to do some snooping at the seedy Rothar's Taproom and get their first encounter of Brugg, the Ogre enforcer, and hear that Dwarf is upset over his lost pet.

They find Dwarf in his office at the Deepgem Mining Company and invite him to share an ale, which he promptly accepts. Over a few ales, he shares the story of missing Boar, named Bubbles, who was traveling with a group of his fellow miners when they were attacked. No one was killed, so Dwarf believes that his pet is still alive, some where in the labrynth.

After some discussion, Nachi and Tasil determine that the best route to take would be to go after the rest of the slavers. Rendil gladly gives them a map to the Bloodreaver's hideout, or at least where they're rumored to be. Sophana shows off her dungeoneering skills and gets them safely to their destination, an old temple dedicated to the evil god Torog.

The front door is locked and guarded from behind by some goblins. Tasil comes up with the plan to set Splug and Nachi up as trap, (the old Chewbacca-prisoner trick). Unfortunately, Splug was so nervous he couldn't pull it off very convincingly and the guards called an alarm. They opened the doors and out charged a Bugbear followed by a couple of goblins on a balcony to shoot arrows at them. With some teamwork, the party cleared their opponents and captured one of the goblins. Nachi tied him up, threw him over the banister, and with the help of Tasil, intimidated him into giving them the lay of the land as well as their numbers. When the goblin had given them all the information he knew, Tasil slit his throat and left him hanging there to bleed out. Allyria whispered a silent prayer for the goblin as Splug fought back the urge to throw up.

With their intimate knowledge of the area now, they made their plan of attack. Instead of coming in head on, they thought it would be smarter to attack from the sides. They sneaked down a side hall and opened the door to discover a couple of duergar's milling around a lit hearth. Everyone jumped into action, with the duergars calling for help and Nachi trying to take them out as fast as possible. Helped did appear, in the form of a warcaster and Krang, the leader of the Blodreaver Gang. Battle ensued and when the dust was all cleared only out heroes were left standing. They looted the bodies and ransacked the rooms, as they have done so many times in the past and discovered Krang's personal treasure chest containing some jewels and gold pieces.

Next it was off to the kitchen, where Sophana could hear some ruckus going on. The party set-up an ambush in an adjoining room and locked the door on their flank. It was up to Tasil to be the bait. He opened the door and viciously flung a dagger at the first creature he saw while shouting insults at them. This got the attention of everyone in the kitchen and they quickly chased after him. Half of the gang members ran directly into the room Tasil led them into, while the remaining members tried to circle around behind and one guy ran off to get reinforcements. As soon as the first hobgoblin entered the ambush, he was hit by Nachi, Splug, Tasil, and finished off by Saul.

The gang member looking for reinforcements stopped short when he entered the previous room our heroes cleaned out and saw the carnage and dead bodies littered on the ground. He quickly turned tail and ran out of the base, screaming to his comrades that Krang was dead. After hearing that, the rest of gang ran as fast as they could to get away, but Nachi and Tasil weren't about to let them get away that easily and chased down and cornered as many as they could, allowing only two to escape to safety.

The only room left was the empty slave holding room. The party split into two with Nachi and Splug covering a side entrance and the rest of the party entering through the main door. Tasil busts through the door and comes face to face to huge sleeping wolf. Instead of single handedly taking on such a beast, he decides to take care of one of the archers. The wolf isn't about to let such a tasty morsel get away and chases after. Nachi kicks in his door and almost knocks down a goblin archer in the process.

Nachi and Splug kept the rest of the Archers busy while Allyria and Sophana threw spells at the wolf and Saul created a fire warrior as well as a massive fireball to try and take down the beast. Once the giant dog was dead, it was long before they had cleared the room out. Again, the captured the last foe remaining and forced him to tell them everything he knew, before viciously ending his life.

With the hideout all cleaned out, the group takes one more look around. They find a few secret halls but no more Bloodreavers and no slaves either. They return to the Seven Pillar Hall and rest up before heading back to Winterhaven to deliver the package Gendar gave them for Bairwin.

This and That

I've been working on a post about last weekend, but it's getting kind of long. It's basically a recap of our D&D session. I'll post that when it's done. In the meantime, I've gotten a second job, again. I'm now the new cashier at Just Food. I've only started yesterday, so I can't really say how well it's going yet.

Our car is still working, so yea to that. We got a refund on that whole Paypal issue, though it hasn't transferred from Paypal to our Wells Fargo account yet, so I still have that battle to fight, but at least it's progressing along.

Games I'm interested in right now, of the video variety: Batman Arkham Asylum, Shadow Complex, Wheelman (because it was $20 at Target), Trials HD, Secret of Monkey Island, and Scribblenauts. (So little time, and now even littler)

Oh, game night at our place this Friday night. Say 7pm?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cuteness!!!!!

Here's a tasty tidbit. And yes I know it was on the Daily Show.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wounded

Yesterday, I was checking our bank accounts and discovered that Emily's Paypal had been hacked and some used it to purchase 8 internet security packages. Now we have a huge charge on our account that's creating all kinds of overdraft fees. We have contacted the internet website and are getting a refund and Emily's changed her Paypal password and questions and all. I called Wells Fargo to tell them of the problem and I was told that they can't do anything until the refund comes through, then they can adjust all the fees that occur from this, which I think is a little ridiculous. I can't really do anything about it though and have to hope that Wells Fargo is willing to help like they said when it comes in.

I also played paintball yesterday. It was a really hot day out and there was a lot of running around. I won a few rounds and lost a few rounds. I have a few momentos, one on my chest, a couple small ones on my arm, a gruesome one my thigh, and one on my neck. I have to say, I feel very sore right now

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Visitations

Our next D&D session is this Saturday and I still have quite a few things to do to get ready for it. Honestly, I don't have to do most of these things, but this is the curse of being the DM. You keep thinking of things that would make the game fun. Plus, we're starting a new module, so there's the whole getting-to-know-it thing. But I'm trying not to stress over it too much and realize that everyone will still have fun even if I don't get all of the prep done that I want.

Oh, I'm searching to see if there's a faster/easier way to track initiative and conditions then the way I have been doing it. I've been printing out monster blocks and attaching them to index cards and writing on them and using those to keep track of initiatives and conditions. It works out pretty well, but there are usually a few conditions that get by me every once in a while. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love hear them.

Emily is recovering very well. She has had some uncomfortableness, but nothing major. She apperciates all the well wishing. Melanie, Cherish (her sisters), and Colin (her our nephew) came down last night. We ate at The Tavern, which we haven't been to in a few years because it used to be fairly bland, especially for the prices they were charging. We learned that they got a new chef, and it shows. It's pretty good now, certainly a viable option now.

We also played Bang!, a cowboy card game. Colin played the sheriff and ended up winning (Emily won as well since she was playing the deputy). He seemed to really enjoy it, probably because you pretend to shoot people and he won. I died because I set-off some dynamite and it blew-up in my face. Once you know how to play, it can go pretty fast.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

All's Well, sort of

Emily had surgery yesterday. She got some work done on her women parts. It was a simple procedure and everything went smoothly. When she coming back out of her drugged stupor, she was saying some funny things, well, it was more like she was saying some things funnily. She resembled that kid on youtube. She kept asking about getting a kitten. It was cute. She's recovering well, she didn't start feeling any uncomfortableness until late last night, so we'll see how she's doing today.

Our car, however, isn't faring as well. I had to take it back in, it was doing the exact same thing, only more so now. I dropped it off again and they're going to have to replace the transmission again. Luckily they told me the last one was covered for 60 days, so there should be no extra cost. It is getting annoying though. It'd be nice to have a car that works.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Car Troubles

The car should be fixed, for reals, by the end of today. The problem was the transmission, which I was afraid of. The transmission would slip out when it idled and at times wouldn't quite catch when accelerating fast (something they caught). The total's going to be around $800, so not a cheap repair. Luckily I was able to work out a payment plan with them, so we'll be able to pay them for the repair.

I'm fed up with this car and wondering if it might be time to get a new one, but I also feel like with all the repairs and replacement parts we've added to it, maybe it'll run fine for a good long while now. It's hard to tell. Maybe, if we do get a new car, we'll keep this one as a back-up of sorts.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Difficulties

Damn it! The car wasn't fixed! It runs slightly better than before but the main problem, the reason we brought it in, is still there. Yesterday we thought we would drive to work for the first time in a few weeks, and it started acting up again. Not a happy drive. I took it back to Churchill and had Jeremy (one of the mechanics there, good people) ride with me to see what I was talking about. He thinks it might have to do with the fact that the car was idling a little low the pull of the vacuum that operates the brakes was stalling it. They looked over it all of yesterday, upped the idle RPM's and checked out the vacuum tubes. After that they were never able to get it to do it again. They tried three or four times throughout the day, but no luck. I drove it last night after work, but I couldn't get it to do it either. We decided to leave it there over night and they'll give it a try today and see if acts up again. Maybe they fixed the problem. It'd be odd if that's all it took, but as long as it's working again, I'll be happy.

Last night I finished Halo 3 for the first time with Alex, Dimitri, and Connor. Of course, they had all finished it before, so we skipped through the videos. Now I wonder if there's a way to just watch the videos, or does that not even matter? Is the story not really worth the trouble? Do the videos even explain what the hell was going on? I don't know. I don't understand the draw of Halo and never have. It's enjoyable, but I don't see the draw. Maybe I'm not skilled enough to see the cleverness of the level design, or ai, or gma edesign in general. I've heard that the game really shines once you play on a difficulty harder than normal, but I played that up to a point and then just kept dying. I didn't see how that was awesome. Is it the challenge and the excitment of overcoming such daunting odds?

Oh, we're going to have another game night tonight. I'm not saying we'll play Battlestar Galactica again, but I wouldn't be against it. I haven't told too many people about it, so we'll see who shows up.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Exciting Night

Last night we watched the most recent episode of True Blood. I can't get over Sookie, she's so aggravating. They seem to promote her as a spunky, strong woman. One of those princesses who rescues herself, but she's worse than a damsel in distress because they at least get into their predicaments unknowingly. Sookie is warned about the possible consequences and decides that nothing bad can happen and she can handle it (or even worse just runs her mouth off with no thought of who she's insulting). Then, of course, she gets into trouble and her response is to scream for help and wait for her rescue. In this last episode she was captive in this stockroom-like-cage, and one of her captures comes in to harass her and her human partner. To stop this obviously strong man she jumps on his back, instead of grabbing one of the many various items locked in there with her and smack him over the head. Unsurprisingly, he overpowers her and she starts screaming for help. If it wasn't for the side stories, we probably would have stopped watching by now. I wonder if her character is any better in the books?

We got our car repaired, with the help of our awesome neighbor Todd (who's trying to sell his house, for those looking to move to Northfield). He offered to go with me to Car Time to have them look at it, because he's been there before and can get a good deal with them. They checked it out (for $20) and discovered that the rotors were warped. The mechanic quoted us about $200 to fix it. We called Churchhill Tires, because I've been going to them lately, and they said that they could fix it for $156. That's a better deal so we figured we'd pay for the brake inspection and take it to Churchill. While we were in the process of paying them, the Car Time manager-type who was handling the payment process said that he hadn't had a chance to look over the mechanic's estimate (there were quite a few people coming in and out of there while we were there) and that the correct price is $165. Todd figured we might as well get it fixed at Car Time since we were already there, which made sense with what we knew at the time. I called Churchhill one more time, because the last time I had talked to them there was some talk about a warranty coverage possibility. After talking to them for a little bit they said they could cover it for free under the warranty. Todd had to hear this for himself, which they confirmed for him, but told us they couldn't cover anything that the Car Time people did. So we jumped up and had the Car Time people take the car down, paid the inspection fee (they said "We can't beat free"), and got it fixed at Churchhill. Since the replacement part and labor was covered, they upsaled us on better parts and it only ended up costing me about $50 ($70 if you count the inspection). Both places were curteous and I have no ill will against Car Time, but I think this just strengthed my loyalty to Churchhill.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Distractions

For some reason I've had the song "Leaving on a Jet Plane" in my head for a while now. It's a little odd.

Right now my computer is being very annoying, it keeps going slowly. I did a virus search and it came up clean, though it could be that I awoke the anti-virus programs and that's what's slowing it down now. Either way it's frustrating.

I was able to schedule the next D&D session. It's within the next 2 weeks, so I have a lot of reading to get done for this new module. There are definitely some interesting encounters later on in the module, but right now there a lot of NPCs to try and get right and remember, and a whole lot of side things to think up and take notes on. Plus I was thinking of printing up some maps and various other prop items. That reminds me, I need to get more ink for our printer.

Oh, another Emily gift: salad spinner, and she's into pretty dice as well (Yea!).

Monday, August 03, 2009

iTunes Tirade

Sometimes, iTunes really annoys me. I hear things like "Apple really takes care of their customers" or hear praise of their design choices, but I end up frustrated with them more often than not.

For instance, why do I have to manually add a new folder when I add more music? Oh, that's right, because iTunes doesn't have a "Search for new music" option because it assumes that you either purchased the music from them or ripped your cd with them. Heaven forbid you download someone's free album off the internet and want to add it to your music library easily.

And another thing, they have a nice display for album art, but shame on you if you got your music files before such things were commonplace. Now you have to hope you have the correct album, title, and artist information. If any of them are the slightest bit wrong, then iTunes can't help you find the art. And if you find something yourself, but later find something better, tough luck. You should have picked the perfect picture the first time. Now you have to do some crazy searching and hunting in the iTunes files to find that picture and remove it.

It's all very aggravating and doesn't make me an apple fan. I guess that makes me a PC.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Plans

Today looks like a busy day. We're going shopping at Costco and possibly Source Comics and Games with Alex. But first we plan on dropping off some stuff at my sister-in-laws to sell at their yard sale. Really it's just a good excuse to get rid of some of our stuff. Although we could use some extra cash.

I meant to go through our things yesterday, but I ended up getting sucked in to watching a Burn Notice marathon. I did get some laundry done and put away some clothes, so that's good right?

Well, anyways, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed because there always seems like so much that needs to get done. This is a little exacerbated by the fact that any "relaxing" activities usually end up just being another thing on my "things to do" list, so end up not feeling nearly as relaxing as I would like. I don't know when this happened. I used to just goof off and not feel as anxious as I do now. Is this just what it means to be a responsible adult? I didn't think so. Why is there always so much to do?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Battlestar Galactica play recap

Here's how it goes down. I was playing Bill Adama. Streetz played Gaius Baltar. Jessica played Kara "Starbuck" Thrace. Nathan played Chief Galen Tyrol. Scott played Saul Tigh. Alex played Lee "Apollo" Adama. So I started out as the Admiral and Gaius was the president.

When we started there was a basestar and some raiders. Starbuck and Apollo were flying out on vipers, protecting cilivian ships and shooting down the toasters. Tigh ordered our guns to attack as well. With the first crisis we discovered that there was a cylon in our midsts, and I knew it was either Gaius, Chief, or Apollo. We cleaned out most of the raiders just in time for another basestar and more raiders to show up. Galactica took two big hits before we were able to jump away (leaving a ship behind) to safety on a barren planet.

While there we repaired the ship, and dealt with food and water shortages. We also attempted a rescue mission as well. We were able to jump once again with too much trouble, but our fuel levels were now in the red.

Once we reached our new destination, empty space, Starbuck was thrown in the brig for being a cylon sympathizer. She learned her lesson, so her release was ordered. She had planned on fingering Chief as a cylon, but he revealed himself as cylon before and threw back in the brig before being sent to the resurrection ship. Soon after a basestar appeared and launched raiders and heavy raiders at us. We were able to protect the civilian ships but galactica was boarded because of it. In the scuffle, Tigh was accused of being a traitor and thrown in the brig. We finally were able to jump early out of the fight, avoiding some incoming nukes but still leaving some ships behind, and ended up in an asteriod field.

We had traveled a total distance of 7, (needing 8 to get to Kobol), but the recent appearance in an asteriod field cost us a fuel refinery ship and fuel levels were dangerously low, as well morale. Food and water were now in the red as well and we were faced with some tough decisions. Peaced was maintained and Tigh put up a protest to being locked in the brig but to no avail. With no support, he left to rot in his cell. Soon after he showed himself to be a cylon traitor and joined his kind on the ressurection ship. Humans were in a bad situation with fuel down to 1 and population down to 4. But a miracle arrived in the form of a legendary discovery, which took 1 step closer to our destination. All we needed was one more jump. Baltar rushed to the FTL control and jumped us early. We lost 2 more population in the rush, but had finally made to Kobol

Battlestar Galactica game




Last night I played the Battlestar Galactica boardgame with a group of friends. There were a total of 7 of us, but only 6 could play (plays 3-6), which was fine because Emily wasn't interested in playing for as long as she knew it would take. This is not to say that it's necessarily a long game, but it was the first time to play for all of us, so of course it would take some time before we got into the groove. I could see it taking around 2-3 hours if people are familair with the game.

The way it works is each player picks a character at the start. Then at the begining of their turn they draw the number of skill cards their character card says they can. They move to anywhere on the board they want, and complete one action (the action can be found on one of their skill cards, their current location, or their character card). After the action has been completed, they flip over a crisis card and everyone deals with the crisis. The interesting part is that someone (or someones) is a cylon (traitor) and they can attempt to sabotage the crisis and prevent everyone else from passing it. After this, Galactica may or may not move one step closer to jumping. When Galactica jumps a distance of 8 and completes one more jump, then the humans win. If they don't, for any reason, the cylons win.

It's not an overly complicated game, it just provides the players with a lot options and most of them aren't that helpful, which makes sense. Life was not fun on Galactica. It ends up being a lot of trying to choose the least awful option.

Most of the fun of this game is from the interaction between the players. All the accusations and double talk and insuations that get thrown around during the course of the game. The fun isn't really from the game mechanics (some is but not nearly as much). There is also some enjoyment from being a fan of the show, because you can make jokes about the characters you're playing and the actions they're taking.

Personally, I had fun playing it. I could see myself getting this game and playing it on various occassions. It has a lot of small pieces so it's hard to take anywhere (liek camping), but I think it's easy enough to set up where it doesn't take up a huge amount of table space to play.

If your a fan of the show and/or a fan of more social games where the fun is in large part from the people you're playing with, I would recomend this game.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fun Times.

Paintball was fun. We played a bunch of games and are still trying to equalize the field. I did get shot in the neck, which still stings a little this morning, but it was definitely a fun time.

Speaking of fun, tonight is game night, and I'm not sure how many people are showing up tonight at 7pm. It seems like there could be quite a few. It's possible that there'll be up to 10 people or so, all looking to play Battlestar Galactica, but it only plays up to 6 players. I guess I could set-up Rock Band, or have some other game going on the side. Scott said he could bring over Wii Sports Resort, which would be another fun option. Then again, how often is it that everyone shows up you said they would right?

Oh, I thought of another gift for emily, a sewing machine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kung Fu Panda



We finally watched Kung Fu Panda last night. I had heard good things about it and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. I thought it was a very good kung fu movie as well as a beautiful looking animated movie. It was pretty funny and I really enjoyed the action sequences. I did feel that they didn't really get into the personalities of the Furious Five, which made me wonder why they hired big celebrities to voice them. I guess that's what the extra dvd is for, which I believe I might have seen on television before this.

Oh, while I'm thinking about it, the drawn animation was gorgeous as well as the computer. They both convade the appropiate location and time frame. I especially liked the way they had the credits scroll sideways instead of from top-down. It was details like this that really showed how much care went into this movie. I would definitely recommend seeing this if you haven't yet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy-ness

Boy did my week fill up quick. Tonight is movie night with Emily, tomorrow I have paintball, then it's game night, and then its Friday (which, surprisingly is still open), and Saturday I've been invited to a friend's game night. Oh, and I also still need to read my book club book and go through our stuff to sell at my sister-in-laws yard sale she plans to have in 2 weeks. It's pretty crazy.

I came across an old friend's blog and I've been trying to catch up on old posts. I've finally done it and I'm all caught up. Yea!

Why does Tricksy feel the need to push things with her face? Really it's more like "Why does she feel the need to push things off the table/counter with her face?" because she doesn't seem to have the same face rubbing thing that Oscar has. It's annoying, especially when she breaks dishes we like, like bowls made by friends or family or glasses gifted to us. I wish I knew how to stop her. Although I think it might be due to the fact that David spoiled her with attention while he lived here.

Oh, David sent us some gifts in the mail recently. Totally unexpected! It was pretty awesome. That boy's not that bad of an egg.

Speaking of gifts, I'm going to list some gifts Emily would like so I have future reference: standing fan (preferably with remote), netbook, clothes dryer, new stove/oven, clothes washer, and that's all I have for now. Oh, no, wait, a composter as well.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Comic Con (Haiku)

Now it is over.
I did not go. Wish I had.
Hopefully next year?

Ramble on

Yesterday was fun, in a way. I vacuumed, washed some dishes, played through another chapter of Half Life (1 not 2), and had some wine and conversation with Chris and Hortensia. It was good. I did notice that I now have trouble relaxing during movies and conversations, not so much with games. I'm not sure why, but the whole time I was doing either, I kept thinking about doing other things, instead of just being in the moment, even though the moment was enjoyable. Hurm.

I have trouble sleeping. Wait, let me rephrase that. I have trouble waking. I feel like it could be that I don't get 8 hours of sleep, but if I want to wake up at 6am, I'd have to go to bed at, what?, 10pm. That means be asleep by then, and that just seems an impossibility. We usually end up getting ready for bed around then, so it's not all bad, but it's not a full 8 hours either. Maybe I should try to reschdeule the day instead. Make plans assuming that I wake up at 6:30 or even 7.

Ok, I'm calling it now: we're playing Battlestar Galactica on Thursday. Even if it is just Emily, Alex and myself. Even if, for some strange reason, 10 people show up (it says it plays from 3-6 players). We are playing it. We'll make it work some how.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Morning Pages

As I have mentioned before, I have trouble with mornings. In the book The Artist Way, they talk about morning pages to help clear your head each day. Basically you just write down whatever's in your head. It seems easy enough, so why not give it a go right? I'm not saying I'm going to do it everyday, but maybe. And it almost never will be the 2 pages it asks for either, but something's better than nothing.

Last night we played D&D. I'm the GM and we've been going through the Keep on the Shadowfell module. My players finished off the story, defeating Kalarel in the end which helped reseal the rift to the Shadow realm. I noticed I need to work on my storytelling skills. At some point they thought they had to travel to Thunderspire to stop him, but that was a hook to another adventure. Maybe they're not used to hooks popping up that lead to other stories while fighting in the middle of one. Anyways, it was a long battle but our heroes pervailed. Now I have to buy the next module to continue the story. I'll be honest, I think these early modules could have used a little more polish, at least this first one. I haven't checked out any of the more recent ones, but I hope that they're a little more fleshed out.

I know that yesterday would be considered a "fun" day and so that would make today a "work" day, but I want to play some video games. Although, I would also like to get the dishes done and vaccuum the living room. Kids can really make a mess. But then again, so can cats, so it's not like we're not used to it. You know I can probably get all of those done today without much strain.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Excitebots is here!

So, Excitebots: Trick Racing is finally out. It seems to have been recieved well. It's gotten some fairly good reviews, a couple of so-so reviews, and at least one interesting one (to me at least). This being my first game to have done any work on, I find it all very exciting. I'm glad to see that it has gone over as well as it has. Here's hoping the momentum keeps up (I'll also except it if the momentum picks-up as well).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Monsters vs Aliens

Emily and I went to see Monsters vs Aliens the other night. As an animated children's movie I thought it was ok. It's very silly and makes some off the wall jokes. The story's pretty predictable and easy to follow. It's no Pixar movie but it does provide an enjoyable time.

We didn't see it in 3D, but there were some scenes that were in there solely to take advantage of the 3D technology (a paddle ball coming towards you and things like that). Emily doesn't get any extra enjoyment out of 3D movies and they cost a bit more than their 2D counterparts.

Emily couldn't get over the fact that the main character's head (the 49 foot woman) was proportionally larger than her body and no one else had the same affliction. I chalked it up to the animators trying to make her look "cute." My favorite parts were the parts that included Stephen Colbert playing as the president personally.

All in all, if you're a big 3D fan then go see it for that; but purely for the movie, I'd say it's worth renting if you have kids, but you're not missing much if you skip it.