Wednesday, May 28, 2003

I can't beleive I haven't updated since Sunday night. The last few days have been very busy.

Monday I went to the gym and then had a cookout to go to. One of my friends from work invited some of us from work as well as some of his girlfriend's friends over for the holiday. We had a very good time -- talking, playing video games, sampling a veritable smorgasbord of foodstuffs (heh, I just like that way that sounds), and just generally being social. Her friends were a lot of fun and it's nice to meet people not related (directly) to work. I arrived about three o'clock and left at midnight, so it must have been fun.

Tuesday was work, then I went out to dinner with some English distributors that were in town. That was fun because one of the pair was a very lovely young woman that I'd met at a convention a while ago. After dinner I took them into Seattle to their hotel and ended up having drinks with them until around midnight. It was a good time.

Today I've been very demotivated -- but luckily I'm pretty much caught up on work and tomorrow I leave for a convention until next Tuesday. I probably won't update until I return, so have a good week everyone. Now, I'm going to grab some dinner and go to the gym and do some laundry and pack and then go to bed.


Sunday, May 25, 2003

I just returned from seeing Bruce Almighty. Apparently it was a popular time to take the family out to see a movie, because the place was overrun with people. I guess with tomorrow being a holiday, it's easier to get everyone together and go out. From the perspective of someone who's used to being able to walk right into a movie, it sucked. I think all those people should stay home.

Changing gears entirely, everything out here is in bloom now. The tulips came up quite a while ago, but now a lot of the bushes and flowering trees are showing their colors. It's very pretty. Here's something I thought was funny. Okay, because Seattle has a year-round growing season, there are plants to take advantage of that -- moss being the most prolific. Anyway, the other day I woke up to the sound of a pump running and weird swishing sound. The place I live had hired a service that climbs up on your roof and scrubs all the moss out from between the roofing tiles and washes it off the roof. Weird. Sure it makes sense, the stuff is insidious. As a plus to this service, they also clean out the gutters, which, after a year of rain, tend to get pretty full of twigs and leaves.

Another thing they do is -- and this really surprised me when I walked out of my apartment and said, "Why does the sidewalk look so white?" -- blast the sidewalks with high-pressure water to clean all the moss off. It was really funky to see it all clean and pristine. And it's very weird that there are services that do this. Sure, it makes sense, but, come on, that's weird.

"Hey, Bill. Pleased to meet you. What did you say you do for a living?"

"Oh, I'm a moss blaster. I blast moss."

Wouldn't that be a weird conversation?

Anyway, that just struck me as odd.


Hmm, I thought I'd posted some things the other day, but apparenlty they were lost. Sorry for the unintentional lack of postings in the last week.

A brief recap; Monday I had my last meeting with the trainer at the gym. She and I had a good talk and we went over a number of things that I do correctly and things that I can improve on. She also ran through a work out that we'd done a while ago and explained it again because I'd forgotten exactly how to do it. Does that sound weird? Probably, but it was a work out that involved a lot of different weights at changing levels -- I hadn't done it for a while and I forgot how. It turns out that even though I haven't lost any weight lately (actually, I've gained a little) I have lost about 5% body fat, which is good. The whole time we talked was good. She gave me some pointers on how to change things up and increase the effectiveness of my workouts. It included adivce like; eat more often, eat foods that your body needs to run as opposed to what you want, and sleep more. Ugh, sleep. But apparently your body needs it...especially when you're working out because it uses that time to repair all the damage you do while working out. Anyway, all that talking got me fired up to get serious again.

As soon as I finished with her I had to run down to the birthday celebration of the daughter of some friends from work. Their daughter is a sweety and I love seeing her. She turned 5 and a lot of people from work were there to celebrate. It was fun. After dinner I went to see The Matrix Reloaded. It was good, probably about a 6 or so. I grew a little tired of the: fight scene, someone explains how the world works, fight scene, someone explains how the world works, fight scene, someone explains how the world works, and so on, but over all it was interesting and fun. I espeically liked the end of the movie when we and the characters are in completely new territory because of the choice that the main character made.

Tuesday I ran my Mutants & Masterminds game and the PCs managed to figure something out before I had to come out and tell them about it (like I'd planned to do next game). That was very cool I love when the players actually pay attention and put things together. Anyway, their decisions will have definite implications on how I run the rest of the game. I like that.

Wednesday I worked out. Thursday was a free night and I relaxed and went to see Identity with one of the guys from work. I liked the movie. I even figured out the twist about 25 minutes in, so it was interesting to watch it and see if my theory was correct. It was.

The last couple of days at work we had some annoying things happen with one of the women here, but there wasn't anything we could be about it except complain to the management. It was a big deal and I hope they now recognize that. It's left a lot of people with a very bad attitude and really sucked the life and enthusiasm out of a handful of people.

Friday night I went to see The Blues at the Seattle Int'l Film Festival, oddly enough, I went to see it with the same guy I'd gone to see Identity with the night before -- and we don't usually hang out all that much. It was an interesting film. It was a sampler of five fims that are part of a seven-part series about the Blues that Martin Scorsese produced. I'm not sure where or when the whole series will be playing, but I think some of them would definitely be worth seeing the whole way through.

Saturday I was up early to hit the gym, then I tried to get down to the Film Festival to see Owning Mahowny starring Phillip Seymor Hoffman, but the directions I had were bad, so by the time I arrived I couldn't get in to see the movie. Bummer, but as I was leaving I noticed a storefront for the Film Festival and went in to buy a couple of tickets for movies showing in a couple of weeks -- so now I won't have to worry about them being sold out. That night I met up with a couple of people to have dinner and try to see Bubba Ho Tepstarring Bruce Campbell. Unfortunately, this was not the day for me to see movies at the Film Festival, because one of the workers came out and said they were way oversold and there was almost no chance that we'd get in to see it -- but! it would start playing at a nearby theatre in a couple of weeks, so we could see it then. We left. And since one of the guys I was with wanted to see The Matrix Reloaded again, we went to see that.

Today I slept in, went to the gym for a couple of hours and I'm happy to report I've lost some weight due to the change in my workouts. Then I came to work and since I have nothing I really want to do, I think I'll go see a movie. And the longer I type this, the more likely it will be Bruce Almighty instead of Bend it Like Beckham. That's about all. Talk to you soon.

Maybe more later.

Monday, May 19, 2003

I thought I was going to go to the gym Thursday night, to make up for the fact that I didn't go on Wednesday, but instead I ran some errands and then was treated to dinner by my boss because we had a contractor in the office. He wanted to go for seafood since he's from the Midwest and wanted to try some seafood from the Northwest. I think we had about ten of us go. It was fun and it was good to get a chance to talk to the guy a bit more before we start working with him. We finished up pretty late, so I decided to go to bed instead of going to the gym so late.

Sometime in the last couple of days a started watching Metropolis. I've owned it on video for years and haven't watched it before now. I've been watching a bit when I get up in the mornings and a little in the evenings before going to bed. It's interesting that you can communicate so much story with so few words. Obviously the pictures help, but even so. I think movie-makers nowadays rely too much on the words to carry the story instead of really communicating with the images they have to work with. But I digress...

Friday we had Game Day at work. One Friday of every month we try to get everyone to put their work on hold and either play one of our games or some other game. For me and my department it's a chance to be exposed to mechanics and ideas we may not have considered and for everyone else it's a chance to familiarize themselves with other things that are available. Generally, I think people appreciate it and have a good time. Plus, there's the free pizza. And the not working for two hours.

My boss and I walked over to the nearby Toys R Us and had a talk about some work things while he picked up a gift (and we checked out some of the toys) and we each picked up a bunch of Peeps for 10 cents per package of 15 Peeps. I like them when they get stale and chewy. Mmmm, artificially-colored sugar.

After gameday and the Peeps excursion my day was pretty well shot and I had zero motivation to continue working, so I faked it for a while and actually got some things done before leaving early to get to the gym. I had to get to the gym at a reasonable hour because one of the guys at work was having me and a couple other people over for dinner. I wrapped up at the gym and made my way to his place. It was a nice evening. There were only six of us; five of us from work and the other, his next door neighbor. We talked for quite a while, ate some dinner and then watched a tape of a comedian whose name I forget. His neighbor is cuter than I remember, but young and leaving to study in the U.K. soon.

Saturday I was up early (read: 6:30) so Matt could pick me up for a trek up to Everett to a Magic: The Gathering prerelease event for their newest expansion. I'd never been to one before, but Matt had. It was interesting. We left around 8 AM, and got lost on the way, so we didn't arrive until about 9 AM. By the time we got there, there were already three "flights" of 64 people signed up to play, so we were in flight 4 (throughout the course of the day they had 6 flights). We paid our $25, just like everyone else (let's see, 64 people times 6 flights times 25 dollars comes out to $9,600. Not bad.) and eventually played. It was run so that you played best two out of three against each of four other players. I ended up splitting my rounds 50/50. I didn't mind since I was really there to see what the new cards were like and just to see what one of these things was like. Overall, I think it was very cool. Plus I ended up winning 4 packs of the new expansion in addition to the three I received to build my deck for the day. There was a lot of really good stuff in those packs. Matt and I wrapped up around 3 PM and headed back. We grabbed some food as soon as we were back in Bellevue. We were starving because we hadn't eaten since very early in the morning.

We stopped by work briefly to drop off some things and one of the women who was in invited me to a bar-be-que.

Let me step in here; this is one of those regional things. A BBQ in the Northwest isn't cooking food with a tangy sauce, it's a cookout. For some reason, all cookouts are referred to as bar-be-ques, and let me tell you, it really bugs me. A bar-be-que is something very specific to me and it isn't a noun, it's a verb. One bar-be-ques, one doesn't go to a bar-be-que. Rather, one goes to a cookout in order to bar-be-que. In addition, it's the act of doing something specific to food (cooking it with the aforementioned tangy sauce), it's not just cooking the food in whatever old way you choose. Again, I digress...

Anyway, I knew a number of other people were going to this thing, so I said, sure. I went home, went to the gym (since I hadn't gone yet), showered and drove to Golden Gardens park on the far western side of Seattle. Much like Green Lake, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this place was overrun with people -- and it wasn't even that nice out. I can't help but think that people around here only pay lip service to the fact that they like to get out and do things in the great outdoors when what they really mean is that they like to go to the parks and turn them into the worst that that term has to offer; overcrowded, overused, dirty, unattractive places that would really benefit from more parking. Apparently Golden Gardens is a very hippy-friendly place, but I couldn't tell given all the homeless, drunks, tour groups, and yuppies. Hmm, maybe I'm being harsher than I should be. I guess, what I mean to say is, I wouldn't go there again without a reason. It holds no draw for me.

Oddly, a lot of the friends of the woman that invited me were from Wisconsin. Many of them had gone to school in Madison. There were all eight or so years younger than me, but it was funny to be 2000 miles from home and talking to people about Rhinelander and the UW, while eating brats. I had a good time. There were five or six others from work as well. Most of them trickled off early because it was a little cool, but I and another guy (actually, the guy who'd had me over for dinner on Friday) stayed until about 10 PM.

Sunday, I slept in! Hooray! Then I went to the gym, showered, did laundry, and came to work. I've been here since about, maybe three o'clock. Earlier I did some actual work, but then I ran the first session of a D&D game for some of the people here. I'm not going overboard in terms of the time I spend on this, so I'm just running some premade adventures until I can tell how serious they are about gaming. I don't want to waste time on a game if it's going to be full of silliness. It's the first time I've gamed with any of them, so I'm still getting a feel for them. If they prove to be into it, I'll get more serious about it, but so far it's been only a fair experience. Hopefully things will improve. Happily, they're all very nice people. I just don't know if we're expecting the same thing from the game yet.

Now I'm headed out. Groceries, as usual, then bed.

Oh, happy anniversary to Doug and Becca. Sometime in the last week, a year ago, they were married and came to visit me. All the best, guys!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I had a frustrating day at work. One of the people here is...not working out as well as we'd like and it's really difficult for the rest of us to trust that person's work. I think it's resolved for now, but we'll see if it remains corrected.

We were all invited over to Microsoft to play the upcoming Xbox Crimson Skies game. It was fun, but, man do I suck at computer games. Wow. I died a lot.

Greg is back from his trip and he's updating again, so I am happy to hear about his travels and family life again.

I think I'm going to go and hit the gym for at least a little while, then get to bed at a reasonable hour. I've been really tired and I think it might be because I don't sleep enough.


Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Hey look, the Seattle International Film Festival is starting soon. Wow there are a lot of good movies. I just glanced through the listings and came up with 11 that I'd like to see and I'm going to try my hardest to actually get to some.

Monday, May 12, 2003

The past few days have been pretty darn good. I wrapped up a lot of the big projects I had going on at work and now I can play catch up on some of the things that fell by the wayside while I was concentrating on the other things. This weekend I haven't been at work much, mostly just part of today to write an article due tomorrow.

The rest of the weekend was filled with gym-going, laundry and a party yesterday evening for one of my co-workers to celebrate 13 years of being clean and sober. I compeletely agree that that's a cool thing to celebrate, but it seems odd to me to have a party like that and include lots of alcohol. He didn't mind, but it still seems odd. Not that if he had a party for some other reason that people wouldn't drink, but this seemed an inappropriate choice considering why we were all there. We all had a good time, though. A handful of people from work that he and I work closely with and other friends of he and his fiance's that I haven't seen for a while.

Today I slept in, then went to my old boss' to play a new game from Mayfair called Domaine. I highly recommend it. It's by the same guy that made Settlers of Cataan and I think it's actually a better game. We played twice and it's amazing how differently we played the two games. That first game we learned a lot of things that came into play in the second game. Anyway, it's very balanced, very cool, plays quickly after you have the basics and has some cool mechanics that will keep you interested throughout.

After the game I went to the gym, then came to work to do the aforementioned article. It was only about a thousand words long, but when you couple that with time spent surfing the net, chatting with Seth, and listening to music...well, it's easy to see why I'm still here at midnight, isn't it.

I miss Greg and I wish he'd get home from his trip so he can update me on what's going on in his life.

I picked up some CDs yesterday, The Beatles, the 200 Cigarettes soundtrack (mostly for a copy of Nick Lowe's Cruel to be Kind) and Jack Johnson's new CD, on and on. Excellent stuff. I'm also planning on picking up Fischerspooner's #1 and The Postal Service's Give Up. I've heard selections from both recently on KEXP, and I really liked them. By the way, KEXP is a Seattle-based station supported by the public and affiliated with the University of Washington and the Experience Music Project. It's very good. Check it out online if you like. Seth also introduced me to DJ Format. If you likes yourself some hip-hop, well, you could definitely find worse.

If you check out the EMP site, be sure to click through to learn more about the SFX (Science Fiction Experience) being brought to life by the same people responsible for the EMP. They have some interesting names associated with it already.

Okay, I'm headed out to do some shopping and go to bed. I'll update soon.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

I'm still alive, but just barely. This week has been a reall killer. The last couple of week's worth of deadlines have really been taxing.

I did get to see the X-Men 2movie yesterday with all the folks from work. That was nice. It was also about the only break I've had for the last couple of weeks. Luckily the stuff I'm doing at work is turning out very, very well, so I'm happy about that.

I'll write more when I have time.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Seth was nice enough to work some of his Web magic to get these pictures ready for me to post. They're from the baseball game my department went to a couple weeks ago. Enjoy!

The whole design department. In case you don't know me, I'm the only one that's really into the whole experience, standing with arms raised. (Actually I was about to sit down when Vic took the picture, so I tried to act like I was the only one having a really good time...I may have been considering what everyone else is doing.)

I thought this was a prett funny sign, so here it is.

A view of the very cool, new SafeCo Field.


Sunday, May 04, 2003

The weekend flew by. Friday night I ducked out of work early (for me) and went to the Seattle Sounders' (soccer) opening game with two of my co-workers. The game was good. I haven't watched soccer in forever, but it slowly came back to me. Oddly enough, I saw someone I know at the game -- and sitting with him was two other people I know! Pretty funky. Only about a thousand people there and I know 5 of them.

Saturday I went to the gym, did laundry, and came to work. Oh, man! Did I get some good stuff done yesterday! I rewrote a bunch of things for one of my lines that should really clear up some problems for it. It was great. I was able to spend hours going over everything and really thinking it through. It's impossible to do that during the workweek...too much noise, distraction, and people wanting you to do this or that. It was a good thing to get done. That was about all for yesterday, although I did go out for dinner with a bunch of people from work who live in the area.

Sunday I did pretty much the same as Saturday, although I slept in later and didn't do any laundry. I also want to report that I made some progress at the gym. It looks like I've dropped about six pounds in the last couple of days. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new period of progress. I could use it. It's been hard to keep motivated. I feel like I'm on autopilot at the gym lately and that's not a good thing.

After the gym, I came to work and wrote up some things to get ready for a new Mutants & Masterminds game I'm running on alternating Sunday evenings. Tonight we wrote up characters and that was about all. A couple of the players came up with ideas that were particularly difficult to write up in the system -- a random magical spell caster and a character that can duplicate the powers of animals. I hate when people come up with ideas that are hard to create because I hate to tell people that they can't play the character they want. Oh, and the other two characters are...lame. One's a big strong guy who works as the caretaker of a graveyard. The other is, honestly and unfortunately, the best character so far: The Ferrous Fox. He's a genius 17-year old who built a battlesuit. Please save me.

When we wrapped up the character creation for that I did a bit of surfing on the Web and now I'm going back, watching a movie (maybe) and going to bed.

I'll update soon.