Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.
Showing posts with label RL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RL. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Out of the Loop

Greetings Traveler,

It seems like I've done little other than travel, myself, over the past couple months. As you may have gleaned from reading this blog in the past, my job takes me all sorts of places. But from the beginning of September until today, I've been out of the loop for half the season. And it won't really get any better in the coming months. The computer I built earlier this year has proven to be less portable than I would like. And even when I do bring it with me, I run into technical issues like the hotel TV not producing sound from the HDMI connection. Which means no big time gaming for me. Not really much table-topping either. After having played MMOs for so long, I am spoiled by not having to worry about the arcane dice rolls that are at the forefront of Pathfinder and similar pen and paper endeavors.

I should think this would be the perfect opportunity to get some fiction writing done—no need for sound to type in Scrivener—but my muse has proven elusive on that front of late. The inertia of not blogging has taken its toll as well. It's not a superhuman effort to post, but since I'm not gaming much, I don't really seem to have much to post. Nor am I involved in group efforts like MMOGC posting updates with the Battlebards.

I am considering a tablet in order to read and write in more informal settings. My phone is really too small to comfortably read for very long, and so I am halfway through two books that really interested me, because I am reluctant to read them on that tiny screen. But then, I am caught between getting an Android that would be compatible with said phone or a Windows tablet that would be compatible with my PC.

Anyway, hopefully this breaks the non-posting funk I've been in for the past few months.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

From the Desk of Rowan Blaze

Greetings, Traveler!

For the past couple weekends, I have been traveling around, myself—usually with Scooter along—gathering materials to craft a proper place for my trusty gaming rig. You may have seen some of these on Instagram or Twitter, but I figured I should share them here.

The frame holding up the desktop is made from 3/4-inch pipe held together with structural fittings (allen-wrench driven screw clamps). I bought all the metal hardware from Lowes. In the picture below, the frame is upside-down and back-to-front, as well as missing two of the flanges I used for feet.
The double braces about a foot from the bottom are probably overkill structurally, but provide a place for a shelf. In the end, I moved the long cross bars further back to provide more foot room. The long lines seem out of square in person, but I checked and rechecked the level. The desktop itself is from Ikea, both light and sturdy.
Below, you see my almost-finished setup. I have swing-arm monitor stands clamped to the back, but I need to get a DVI cable for my slightly obsolete HP monitor (shown on the left). I plan to use it mostly for holding open browsers and other programs while gaming on my newer one. I also dug out (well, Scooter did) a set of self-powered speakers (including a subwoofer, just visible below my keyboard) that have better quality than the on-board output of my monitor. (While I like Viewsonic OK, getting the one with speakers was a complete waste of money.) I also plan to get a cord hammock from Ikea the next time we're down there.
All told, the dimensions are 59" x 29½" x 40" (150cm x 75cm x 102cm). It's high enough for me to stand at the desk if I want to, but I got a bar stool with a tractor saddle for when I want to sit. You may have noticed the bare concrete floor. The house suffered a minor flood in April, and the carpet had to go. The room needs to be repainted before we put down a new floor, when Scooter and I get a chance for another home improvement project. Which (lol) will involve dismantling both my new desk and the repurposed kitchen table I took apart in order to get it into the Game Room in the first place.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Unplugged

Greetings Traveler,

Syp has a post up about the new gear grind of Secret World Legends. It got me thinking. First, I am perceiving less and less reason to make the jump from TSW, which itself lost a bit of luster for me years ago. I loved the classless Ability Wheel, even if enterprising individuals found “perfect” builds and the game itself encouraged other builds through the outfit system. I loved the complex, mature story; though the unrelenting grimdark became tiresome. I've said it before, but it would be nice to have a similar underlying system in a different setting. I guess that is the appeal—such as it is—of game systems like GURPS, where the basic mechanics are the same, but many different settings and scenarios can overlay the dice rolls.

But I never got Panoptic Core in TSW. That is probably the result of my SLC with Scooter, not to mention my innate altoholism. Maybe between the experience points on my three characters, I could have gotten all the abilities on the Wheel. As far as I know, I could always go back and finish if I want to. Funcom hasn't actually shut down the original TSW completely; they've just decided to develop the game in a different direction. What if Blizzard had done that on at least a few servers for each expansion of WoW, enabling players to return to those older versions of the game if they prefer?

On the other hand, it's become a habit for me to lose interest in an MMO before ever really reaching endgame. Despite playing MMOs fairly consistently for over a decade, I think its been at least a couple years since Scooter or I have hit max level and the "end of the story." It's been almost a month since either of us logged into WoW, on characters that are nowhere near max-level. Part of that is Real Life intruding on our game time. Just when all of the kids are out of the house (sort of), it seems that both of us are busier than ever with job duties. And more of our time off is spent completely unplugging than jacking in to whatever our favorite matrix is at the moment.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Playing Catch-Up

HELLO! It's funny how being required to write a dull report for work gets my creative writing itch going.
I'm back from the future! Looks a lot like Chicago.
It's been just a bit since we've "talked," Dear Reader, and a lot has been going on in my real life. Unfortunately, not nearly so much in my gaming life. I just returned from a three-week trip to Chicago that included working 10- to 12-hour days and one of the two full weekends I was there. Needless to say, coming back to the hotel after each long day, I was mostly ready to veg out. And the set-up in my room was not exactly conducive to sitting down and playing WoW. I doubt I'll even take my gaming rig on my next trip. I don't know, I'll have to see how I feel about it when I'm closer to the date.

But, as I said, a sort of creative bug has stirred my desire to write. The trouble is, I don't have any solid ideas right now, just a couple of vague notions. I think I need a good fantasy novel to get my imagination really going again. And not some murder/torture-fest like A Song of Ice and Fire or The Sword of Truth.

I'd love to spend some time in the Black.
Along that line, I've also had the urge to do some table-top pen & paper gaming of late. But I'm a bit stymied as to the best way to go about it. I've had some excellent suggestions about online P&P venues, but I feel like, until I am more experienced with P&P in general, doing it online would not be the best way to get involved. Scooter has experience from her youth, as do both my daughters from college groups, interestingly enough. But it's something I never really got into when I was younger.

Yesterday, I was sorely tempted to stop by a games shop or even Barnes & Noble on the way home from work, looking for guides and playbooks. I was also eyeing a Firefly RPG core book a few months ago at the now defunct Hastings in our town. Don't be surprised if I report back about a weekend adventure on Monday.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What's Rowan Watching?

World of Warcraft took a back seat to nominally more passive video viewing this week. I say "nominally" because the show Scooter and I spent the most time on was actually a pretty engaging mystery.

Where TX 95 hits US 290 from the northBut first: We haven't spent our entire week sitting in front of the boob toob. On Saturday, we got out and went on a little road adventure that involved quite a few country roads and a tour through some model homes we'll never be able to afford, nor that we truly need. (I'd like a bigger place, but it's really only the two of us and the puppernauts. We don't need a house three times the size of our current one at four times the price.) After a very roundabout journey, we ended up at the oldest barbecue joint in Texas. Hands down, Southside Market and BBQ in Elgin has the best smoked brisket and turkey I have had in almost two decades eating Texas barbecue. Normally, I find smoked brisket to be a bit too dry, preferring the cut as the perhaps more familiar slow-cooked corned beef. Smoked turkey breast also tends toward the dry side, but usually has a good flavor.Delicious, though not my pic The folks at Southside have managed to keep their meats moist and tender and flavorful, perfection. I also had the pork, which is very well done, but not a stand-out. And their sausage is delicious; though again, not my favorite thing to eat. The sides are typical BBQ fare, I had potato salad and mac & cheese (with real cheese, not Kraft powder), while Scooter sampled the pinto beans as well as the potato salad. They did have salads available (for an upcharge), but the lack of fresh veggies or fruit has always disappointed me when going to places like this. In any event, I highly recommend that you try this place out if you're driving between Austin and Houston. Or just out for a little weekend adventure in Central Texas.
"No one's neck is incredibly thick as Gaston."
A rare phenomenon, Scooter and I stayed up late Saturday evening to attend a 10 pm showing of Beauty and the Beast. You don't generally come here for movie reviews, Dear Reader (or restaurant reviews either, come to think of it), so suffice it to say we really enjoyed this new live-action version of "a tale as old as time." If you enjoyed the animated classic when you were younger, I think you'll like this version. My only complaint was that Luke Evans, while performing admirably in the role of Gaston, just didn't have the stature/bulk of the animated character. I feel that there are actors in Hollywood that could have pulled it off both the look and the performance.
"Cut a branch and another grows in its place."
Lastly, for the past several evenings, Scooter and I have been watching Frequency on Netflix. The show was running on the CW here in the U.S. this past fall, playing out roughly in real time during the course of the short season. Apparently, it has not done well in the ratings, so they pushed it to Netflix along with another CW program in hopes that it might generate more interest. As far as I can tell from the news, that effort has not been successful. However, I think the show is a worthy successor to the 2000 film of the same name that starred Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. In the show, Peyton List and Riley Smith star as a New York City police detective and her father (also a cop), separated by 20 years and communicating with each other through a quantum entangled (magic) ham radio. If you've seen the movie, the concept is generally the same, though it plays out differently over the course of the 13-episode series. I recommend it be watched on a binge over a few nights as I did. Unfortunately, I fear the premise of the show—with its time jumps and "butterfly effect" timeline—did not play well in weekly installments. Still worth a watch though, which is saying a lot since I hardly watch any television anymore.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, December 19, 2016

And Then There Were Five . . .

I did not expect to have such a long break between posts. It's been a momentous couple of months, what with the unexpected election results, the breakdown of my gaming computer, and finally the loss of a family member this weekend.

Our Pack at Its Peak
This is from a couple years ago, before he lost weight.
Thank you to all who expressed condolences for the loss of our sweet old dachshund Dexter. He had developed congestive heart failure, which became acute over the last week. We took him to the vet on Saturday. Sadly, while he could have been treated temporarily, his prognosis even in the short term was not good at all. So Scooter and I made the decision to be with him in his final moments and say goodbye together, rather than risk him passing away while we were at work, struggling to breathe, essentially alone.

I thought I had prepared for this, especially after we lost Zane so unexpectedly. But that didn't make Dexter's passing any easier. There's an empty space at the foot of the bed where he belongs, softly snoozing under a blanket or obsessively licking his forepaws. And there's an empty space in our hearts, where Dexter has left his paw prints on his way across the bridge to play with Zane and Ginger and Didi, his mate.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.
Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rambling

Something about February makes it a blogging slow-mover for me. Most Februaries have been below average for posting for the year in which they fell, as well as below the overall monthly average (about 11 posts per month). I didn't even post once during February of 2015. On the other hand, February tends to be slightly busier job-wise, and this month in particular, I've been sick enough to require medical attention for the first time in over a decade.

And it's not that I don't have ideas. A recent debate on MMoGames about the "Unholy Trinity" roles made me want to write something up (again). I've downloaded Jeff Kurtenacker's SoundCloud repertoire and made a WildStar OST out of it (completely for my personal use, don't ask, get your own). For all that I have a hard time really getting into the game, the soundtrack is phenomenal. I've been kicking around the idea of starting a tabletop game that Scooter and I can play as a duo (because I honestly don't see us forming or joining a local group). We saw Deadpool on Monday; and even though I loved the movie, I'm not sure how much I have to say about it.

No, the real problem right now is finding the time and energy to really gather my thoughts and type this stuff out. By the time I get home and deal with the dogs and have dinner with Scooter—or maybe do something out of the house with one or more of our grown children—all I want to do settle in to a nice relaxing gaming session. Right now, that's SWTOR, of course. But I don't know how long that will last. Despite enjoying the character stories, and going all the way through KotFE Ch.9 with my Sith Warrior, Morrenia, I have little desire to build my alliance, and haven't even done Chapter X which came out last week. (A buncha whingers going on about how their headstart was foreshortened by server issues didn't help.)

KotFE is a single player game. Scooter and I have to go through each chapter twice. Once for her and once for me. On each character we want to take through. A monthly subscription seems like a lot for such a game, but playing for free is not an option given the punitive system EA/BioWare has in place. I wish there were a game like Dragon Age, but that could be played co-op with one other player. That's kind of what I want from that tabletop idea I'm kicking around.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

PAX Pox

So about Wednesday following PAX South weekend, I became so congested overnight that an infection developed in my right ear. Various complications ensued over the following week (thankfully, none life-threatening, but I will spare you the photos), and I ended up going to the doctor this past Thursday afternoon. He prescribed antibiotics (which I promise to take faithfully until they are gone), and I hope to feel well enough by tomorrow that Scooter and I can celebrate Valentine's Day properly (by going to see Deadpool).
This all to say that neither gaming nor blogging have been priorities, even staying home both Monday and Friday (and suffering through twenty-one and a half hours at the office). Scooter and I did get a few hours of SWTOR in here and there, and I've even dipped a toe into Wildstar. But mostly it's been veggin' on the couch, watching Netflix or Hulu, or just plain sleeping to escape the pain on the right side of my face. From the looks of my Twitter stream, I am far from the only one with the February sniffles. Here's hoping we all get better soon.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

PAX Riparia

Scooter enjoying the view (of her phone)
Having gotten up very early to drive to San Antonio, then walked around PAX for something like seven hours, Scooter and I were ready to head to our hotel. Thanks to my job, I have accumulated a lot of points with the International Hotel Group (which includes Holiday Inn), enabling me to book free rooms every so often. For PAX weekend, I splurged and got us a reservation at the Hotel Indigo Riverwalk, an excellent "boutique" hotel north of the main downtown area. I did see a few other folks that had PAX badges, which was cool.
Dusk on the Riverfront
The hotel overlooks the San Antonio River from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts (the building on the left in the pictures). After checking in, we relaxed on the balcony and enjoyed the early evening (relative) quiet. Having eaten a heavy lunch, we decided to keep dinner simple and went to a local market to get sandwich stuff and fruit for dinner.
Morning Coffee (bad compositing)
Had I realized Bel was leaving on Sunday morning instead of going back to the convention center, I would have made a bigger effort to hang out with him and the others on Saturday. But, finding out fairly early that he wouldn't be there, I was in no hurry to get back myself. Scooter and I enjoyed a leisurely morning and checked out of the hotel before walking along the river to find lunch and then check out the PAX tabletop games hall. Scooter introduced me to her favorite place on the Riverwalk, Casa Rio, located right under the Commerce Street bridge. It was delicious.
Lunch on the Riverwalk
After lunch, we made our way over to the convention center and headed into PAX. I convinced Scooter to see if we could get more time on the Intel PCs. We got in at just the right time, with only a 10 minute wait and almost the full 45 minutes of promised playtime. When we left, the wait was back up to about 40 minutes. We went through the DOTA2 tutorial. I decided that I don't like the isomorphic view and click-to-move mechanics of DOTA. If all MOBAs are like this, I'd avoid them even if they didn't have a reputation for toxic communities. I got in a little more time playing Rocket League as well, deciding that I would need to get a controller if I want to buy it and play regularly.

Leaving the PC Room, we wanted to explore the PAX tabletop gaming hall, which we had skipped the previous day. Much to our surprise, the hall was actually mostly tables with folks playing various games. The exhibit booths were only a couple rows deep, and we could have explored them the evening before. That's not to say they weren't interesting. There were quite a few developer reps explaining/demonstrating their games to convention guests, and others had tabletop accessories on display. Scooter has a history of playing tabletop RPGs that I missed out on as a teenager. But it's been decades since she played, and I have been interested in trying it out. At one booth, we were looking seriously at the Pathfinder Beginner Box because it supports 2-player games, but we couldn't make a decision right then.

All in all, I had a great time at PAX. If we get the chance to go again, I think we will try to head down Friday night, and attend just the one day on Saturday before spending Sunday relaxing in San Antonio. At least this time around, neither of us was really interested in any of the scheduled panels, leaving only the exhibits and chance to try out some games. Still, a ton of stuff to see and do. I'd like to meet and hang out with people more, as well, and not being exhausted by 5 p.m.—13 hours after waking up—would help.

Thanks again to the anonymous person who gave us tickets, and to Belghast for arranging such a wonderful gift. We need to find a way to get together again soon, without thousands of people milling about. LOL
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

PAX Populi

Continued . . .
Beware the ghostly gamers!

The Aggronaut navigated his way through a maze of electronics and humanity with Scooter and me in tow. The apparent star of the exhibition floor was literally a Dreadnought. Meatbags were willing to wait for hours for the chance to sit down and play the latest blockbuster before it is released. Our companion was more focused on the smaller independent developers and their wares. Meeting up with several others in Bel's orbit, I joined in a game of Ultimate Chicken Horse—a fun little game of cooperative competition played on the XBox. Unfortunately, that was the last time we would see and recognize any of the Candy Van Crüe except another quick visit with Bel.
PAX Pox Incubator
Scooter and I spent hours weaving through the milling sea of humanity in the PAX exhibition hall, checking out everything from fancy anti-glare glasses and fancy leather hats to luxury gaming tables. There was plenty of merchandise to drool over from folks like WeLoveFine (the booth under the floating unicorn, above), and also demos from big-name and indy game developers. There were even charities like a "Gamers for Jesus" group and a veteran's organization. Despite packing well for our excursion, I completely forgot I was toting victuals and found myself famished by about 1 o'clock. We were headed out to find some grub when Bel caught up with us again for just a minute before heading off in a different direction.
And then all the Formics were wiped out.
After a delicious lunch on the nearby Riverwalk, the highlight of our afternoon was an opportunity to play some games in the PC Room (brought to you by Intel!). After our fifteen minute wait stretched into thirty, we were ushered to the computers, told we had thirty-five minutes to play (instead of forty-five), and left to our own devices. After a warm-up on Peggle Nights, I played several rounds of Rocket League against bots with names like Iceman and Goose. The game is hella fun. In case you don't know, it's a soccer-like game played with cars and trucks. All too soon, our twenty-seven minutes was over, and we were unceremoniously frogmarched from the venue (not really).

After wandering about for a bit, I checked the Candy Van group texts and discovered that Belghast, who had worn himself out, had headed off to meet his wife and her friend for dinner. We decided we would check out the tabletop side of the exhibition hall the next morning and left the convention center for our hotel.

To be concluded . . .
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

PAX Belana

(I have more to say about the show. But things are really busy right now, and I wanted to get this out, mostly to express my gratitude to Belghast and the person who gave his tickets to PAX South. So, THANK YOU!)

A couple weeks ago, as I came to the realization that Belghast was planning to go to San Antonio for PAX South 2016, I suggested that we could meet up, either for a meal on his way down (he and his wife and friend passed within about fifteen minutes of our house), or for a meal down in S.A. (well within driving distance for Scooter and me). Given the late date, we had no plans to actually attend the gaming conference. As it happened, Bel knew someone who had purchased two passes but would be unable to attend. Because I met certain specified criteria, he gave the badges to Bel to pass along to Scooter and me.

And so on Saturday morning, with many thanks to Belghast and and our Anonymous Benefactor, we found ourselves traveling to San Antonio not merely to meet with Bel and Co., but to actually attend the gaming convention. After navigating the parking headache (during which I managed to hurt Scooter's feelings when she was only trying to help) and trekking to the Convention Center, we met up with Bel and headed into the show.
We're going on an adventure!
To be continued . . .
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rowan l'Artiste

Have you ever heard of Painting With a Twist? I have been aware of the company for a while, but had never really looked into attending a class until a few weeks ago when my stepson suggested that we go try it out. So there we were, Scooter and I, along with her sons, about to have an adventure in pigments. The "Twist" is optional of course; and in fact, our class was full of kids, due to a soccer team post-season event.
Of course, we started with a blank canvas. So much potential.
If you've ever watched Bob Ross, you know that you never paint details onto a blank canvas, there s always a base coat. In our case, that background was black.
Using chalk, the outline of the project begins to take shape. Unfortunately, at this point, we got so busy actually painting that I neglected to take any more in-progress photos and only have the finished art below.
Hooray for Star Wars! I was tempted to add a crossguard to the Sith blade, but went for something a little more classic. I saw one lady use purple and green, and I considered green for my Jedi blade, but thought that might look too Christmas-y. On the other hand, Christmas-y would have been perfect for this time of year.
I hesitate to show the original model painting, but here it is. Scooter and I decided that when we go next time, we'll study the model a bit more closely, so we have a better idea of what we're aiming for.
Eventually, when our game room is up and running, our lightsaber paintings will be hung in a place of honor. But for now, I brought mine to work, where I can show it off above the jolly roger hanging in my office.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Different Kind of Game

In a bit of a departure—OK, a massive departure—from our typical weekend gaming, Scooter and I had the opportunity to attend a sport almost unheard of on these storied pages: American Football. A local high school we have an interest in made it to the 6A (school size) area playoffs, meaning a trip to AT&T Stadium, the home field of the Dallas Cowboys.
How exciting it was for these young athletes to storm the field in a major sports arena. The stadium will hold 80,000 rabid football fans. Not so many showed up for this high school tournament, but there were still plenty of fans on both sides.
We were rooting for the Greywolves to beat the Stallions. Both teams had dominated their respective local leagues and now were coming together for the first time to compete.
Like many sporting events, American Football (especially in Texas) is steeped in ritual and tradition. Every game begins with playing the national anthem and honoring the American flag, as well as those who defend it. Usually, this ceremony is handled by members of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC).
Scooter and I got prime seats (we'd never normally be able to afford) in the mezzanine right on the 50-Yard line. We also got a parking spot (normally reserved for VIPs) as close as you can get to the stadium entrance without having disability license plates. Unfortunately, I didn't think to snap a picture of that.
I ended up spending half the game watching spectacular plays like this one on the "Jumbotron" view-screen that sat above the field (also visible in the flag ceremony picture). The only bigger screen in Texas belongs to a nearby NASCAR track, Texas Motor Speedway.
Not only the football teams, but also other organizations like the marching bands, got the thrill of a lifetime performing at Cowboy Stadium.
The Greywolves defense kept the normally high-scoring Stallions to a single touchdown, and the teams were tied at the end of regulation play.
Unfortunately, after a round of overtime, the Stallions came out ahead by a point. The final score was 14-13. Congratulations to the Stallions on their victory. And also congratulations to the Greywolves on their spectacular run this year. They had the best football season in the history of the decade-old high school.


IntPiPoMo is here! Chestnut has details, but the TL;DR is 50 pics in 30 days. Get to it! And let Chestnut know in the comments on her post.
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