Friday, February 27, 2004

Well, there you go. I'm single again. I completely understand why it happened. I do. But it still sucks and it still bothers me.

Maybe it has something to do with this time of year. A similar thing happened with Cyndi last February.

Man, this stinks.

I'm gonna go watch a movie or something.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

I spent Wednesday night and Thursday night at work until about midnight. This is an anomally lately, but it reminds me how much I don't like to do this. It's not too bad, though, because I've gotten a lot done and I won't have to do it more than these two nights -- and maybe a bit over the weekend.

I was chatting with Jen briefly tonight and she wants to talk tomorrow because she feels like she hasn't been paying enough attention to me. We're going to get together and talk, but honestly I have no idea if this will be a conversation about how she just doesn't have time to date, or if we'll have to back off a bit, or if she just has to vent and get on with things as they've been -- but without her feeling guitly for not being around as much as she feels she should. Gotta admit, it would suck to break up because she feels like she's doing me a disservice by not being able to date me "enough".

Hopefully things will go well and I can allay her fears.

I have to sleep now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I just wanted to say that I'm excited to see my blog will hit 10,000 visits sometime today. That's not a huge number for some sites, but it's cool to me.

I wrote a bit last Thursday about how bad a day it was, but luckily the weekend worked out pretty well. Friday was a fine day at work. We had our monthly "Game Day" and I ended up mostly talking to people and doing some work, but I enjoyed the free pizza and a brief break. A bit later in the day I went to see The Return of the King down at Cinerama with a couple of guys from work. It ended around 7:30 and I have no clue what I did the rest of the night, but I think it may have involved dinner and a couple of games of Magic.

Saturday I made it to the gym for the first time in three weeks. I'll just let that sink in. Then I picked up comics, did laundry, got a haircut -- and, since I hadn't shaved in a week I did that. I even decided to keep a goatee again. I'd been thinking about it for a while and my lazy shaving habits helped me to decide. After all that I went with Jen to a party that (another) Jen and Hayes were throwing to celebrate Shane's return, Hayes' return, and whatever else people had to celebrate. It was a good time.

Sunday I got in touch with Matt and ended up playing some Magic with him and taking a walk around Bellevue instead of going to the gym. It wasn't quite as much activity as I would want out of something that was replacing a visit to the gym, but it was a beautiful day. Later on Sunday I got in touch with Jen and we went over to Katie, Kate, and Beth's for a cookout -- and then over to a Seattle bar to meet some of Jen's friends from work for drinks and dancing, although we did little of both.

Monday had me hard at work again, except for a couple of meetings, because I have to work on a new set of characters for my game line. I spent much of my available time on Monday and Tuesday clearing the way for real work the rest of the week. I should be able to start in earnest on the new set tomorrow. My plan is to put my headphones on and work like a madman to get everything done.

Monday evening Jen and I went to dinner with Shane, Cathy, Ethan, Shana, and Kian to an excellent sushi place and had a blast. It's a small restaurant and we were the only ones there, so we had a great time talking and joking and eating some of the best sushi I've found in the area. Ah, so fun. We all really have a great time together.

Today, Tuesday, I did the work mentioned above, had a long lunch meeting, and then for our weekly playtest session, played the Legend of the five Rings card game (I have a Ratling deck). I still have to figure out how to use the deck properly, but it's interesting -- if a bit frustrating. Those games ran long, so I finished some proofing at work, talked to Shane and Cathy for a bit, then came home, made dinner, watched the rest of The Gamers, and by "the rest of", I mean I finally finished watching all of the commentary tracks. Now I think I'm going to start on Comic Book: The Movie. I have no idea how it will be, but it could be fun.

Okay, I'm going to talk to Seth and start on the movie.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Ah, what a wonderfully stressful day at work. I just returned from my trip to New York and had to be part of an online chat today to talk about a recent change to some of our policies. Overall the session went well, but the second-guessing, misinformation, and venom spewed by the fans on the forums afterwards is just draining. So here I am at 1:00 at night reading through posts by people insisting that I don't read their posts and calling me a liar for saying I do. What fun! Really, I wish I didn't care, but I do.

What I particularly like is that they "quote" things and post "facts" that simply weren't said or aren't true. It's a lot of supposition and guesswork -- not all of it, but a lot of it. Again, draining to read through because I'd like to correct them, but that just leads to more crap. And I just don't have the time to correct everyone on the forums all the time. I have work to do.

The trip to New York was good. Very quick, but good. I flew out Monday, slept, went to some meetings on Tuesday that all went very well. Went to dinner in Queens to someplace that Jason had been to before (for Greek food. It was good.). Wednesday I slept in, then flew home.

Tonight I played in a Riddle of Steel game. I'm still withholding judgment on the system, but it strikes me as a powergame for roleplayers. One of the big selling points for the game is the combat system, or so I hear, and it really just seems like a way to make combat more important and more difficult while masking it behind a smokescreen that goes something like "yes it's complicated, but this combat system is realistic without being all about die rolls". Yippee. Now it's about how many dice you roll. Eh, I'll see how it goes, but so far I'd rather play something else. The story is interesting, though, so that makes it enjoyable for me.

More later. Now I must sleep so I can go to work and be called a liar some more by the fans.

Monday, February 16, 2004

I really ought to be in bed because I have to get up in about six hours so I can make the plane for my trip to NYC. Don't worry, I'll be going to bed soon. After I write up todays adventures.

Today, well today was fun but frustrating. I was able to sleep in, which was nice. Then I lazed around the house until about noon, when I called Jen because we were supposed to spend the day doing touristy thing with her friend Allison and her new boyfriend, but Jen hadn't heard from them yet. We talked and she decided to help another friend move for a bit while I got some things ready for my trip -- then we'd meet at her place around two o'clock. All went as planned and I showed up at her place around two. We talked for a bit, looked through photos of her trip last Easter to Spain and Italy, and waited.

Our only definite plan was to go to the Thunderbirds' hockey game at five o'clock -- and Allison and beau didn't show up until quarter to. Ugh, off we went. Arrived at the game late (only by a couple of minutes) and watched them win the game. Then we drove home.

It was frustrating because I had a lot of things I wanted to do today, but about five hours were eaten up waiting for someone else. It's not a huge deal, but I hate to waste time. I could have gotten a lot of things done in that time.

Done now.

After I dropped Jen off so she could spend some time with her dad, I drove down to Blue C Sushi in Fremont to have a late dinner with Garth, Laina, Shana, Jen, Hayes, Cathy and Shane. It was odd because Laina was back in town for a wedding and is leaving tomorrow to live in San Francisco, Hayes just left a company he was working for in Corvalis and had just moved back to town on Friday, and Shane had just returned from South Africa. Lots of big events. We had a good time and it was nice to talk with Shane again. When I get back from my trip I'm going to have to set up a night out with Shane, Cathy, Jen and I. Jen and Shane haven't met and I'd really like them too. Jen felt bad that she couldn't come tonight.

I'll update while I'm gone if I get the chance, but if I don't, you'll hear from me on Wednesday night or Thursday.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Leave it to the people at work to come through for a friend and co-worker. As I reported in my last post, Shane has returned. He came in on a fligt today at about 12:30 and about 20 people from work turned out to welcome him back -- most of us wearing our Free Shane clothes. Vic printed out a huge banner that everyone at work signed, Liz and Madalyn made a sign that said "Lesbians Love Shane", and Cathy, Jen, and Shana made a commemorative CD (with a very cool cover, track list, and foldout picture of Shane wrapped in a flag. I absolutely have to get my hands on one of those disks.

So, he's tan, happy, tired, and most importantly, back.

Last night was the Red Dress Party. For most of the evening I was the only guy to actually wear a red dress, or any dress, for that matter. It's funny how funny everyone thought it was for me to actually wear a dress, but it really cracked some of the girls up. I didn't even have the thing on backwards, like the first time I tried it on. I should have remembered, the zipper goes in the back. Ah, well, I don't wear too many dresses.

Overall the party was good, but it started out very, very slowly, with only a handful of us as guests for the first couple of hours. It was fun to hang out and talk with everyone, regardless.

I'm pretty much set for my trip to New York on Monday. I even managed to design a game in about a day as well as get one of the artists to mock up some cards (he did a great job). I'll be taking those and a few other things on the trip with me. I'm hoping to get by with two carry-ons, including the few bulky things I have to take for work. That would make things so much easier.

Valentine's Day for me consisted of welcoming Shane home (mentioned earlier), then grabbing late breakfast with Kelly, Vic, Kian, and Shana at the Original Pancake House in Kirkland (it's like a slice of Madison for me). After that I hung out at work with Kian and played some Magic. I had some time to kill, so I ran over to the game store with Matt, then went to dinner with Shana and Beth at the restaurant Jen works at, so we got to see her, too.

And that's about all. Now I'm hanging out, listening to the Dave Mathews' CD Some Devil that Jen gave me for Valentine's Day along with a gift certificate to a restaurant downtown, a card, and a graphic novel created to memorialize the 9/11/01 attack.

Okay, I'm done now.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

WOOOHOOO! That's all I gotta say!

After work tonight a handful of us went to Cathy's to hang out with her and offer moral support for her as she waited to hear the results of Shane's meeting with the consulate in South Africa. And, as I said, WOOOHOOO!

Just as Jen and I were about to leave the phone rang and Cathy answered it. They talked for a couple seconds, then she kinda collapsed on the bed and none of us were sure what was up. She let us know that everything was fine and he'd been grilled (nicely) by the people at the consulate, but he'd be able to return to the States right away!

The company had already purchased a ticket for him, so he'll be back on Saturday afternoon.

Phil, THANK YOU for all you did. Can you send me some contact info for Barbara and the Chief of Staff?

I am so freaking happy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I've gone round and round on this topic before, but I really need to rededicate to taking care of myself. I've been slacking on going to the gym and on eating right. And it's been going on for a long time. I don't know what happened, but I have to force myself to get back into it. Every day that I don't do this is another day farther from my goal. More than that really, because everyday sets be back a bit as well as is a day I don't make progress.

Anyway, I will do better. Especially since this year I'll be doing a lot more traveling, so it will be harder than normal to stay at the weight and in the shape I currently am. I may try walking more, simply because the gym has lost a lot of its luster for me. I don't think I'll cut it out completely, but I have to try something different and walking is very healthy.

This week -- or what's left of it -- should be pretty exciting; by Thursday we should know is Shane is coming back, Friday is the Red Dress party, and Saturday Shane will return (assuming everything goes as we think it will) and it's Valentine's Day. Jen has to work, it turns out, but we'll still do something that day. Then Sunday we're to go to a hockey game, and Monday I leave for a couple days in New York.

Monday, February 09, 2004

I have to update quickly so I can get to bed soon.

The weekend was great. I found out Friday morning that I'd be going to New York next week, so I had to figure out when I could leave and what meetings I'd be taking while I was there. I made a number of calls and I now have flight plans, a room, and everything else I need to go. (Sorry, Mom, I forgot to tell you that on the phone yesterday).

After I finished up those calls I had to get out of the office and pack my things for the trip to Whidbey Island with Jen and Milo (her dog). I got ready, she showed up, we loaded the car and off we went. The ride was reasonable and we chatted and listened to music. At Everett we waited in line, then got on the ferry to Whidbey. That trip was only about 15 minutes, but it was interesting. I figured that there must have been around 110 cars on-board, so probably about 50 or 60 tons of vehicles (depends a lot on the weight of the cars). Yeah, I know; "Why bother figuring that out?" I have no idea. It's something to do.

We drove for a bit on the island -- not far -- and reached her house about a half hour before the sun set, so we threw our stuff inside and took the dog for a walk on the beach before it was dark. We all appreciated the effort. The setting sun and the water was great. And it was a nice change of pace from the ride in the car.

The beach was interesting. It was covered -- covered! -- in driftwood of all shapes and sizes. From branches to trees to telephone poles to boards to pieces of stairs to just about anything else. We had to step over all of it to get to the water. It was interesting to add this beach's personality to all of the other beaches I've seen. They're all very different and I'd never realized it before now.

Friday we went for dinner in Langley at a bar...the Dog House maybe...then walked around town for a bit. Saturday we slept in then Jen made some breakfast before we spent most of the day sightseeing. We'd planned to go to the farmers' market, but it wasn't there (or we'd missed it) so we drove to Langley, had some coffee and did some shopping at the various stores. I even managed to pick up a dress for the red dress party this Friday. Three dollars buys a lot in the right places. After shopping we drove to another town (where they filmed the movie Practical Magic (I can't remember the city's name) and we walked around and window shopped. Nothing major, although Jen picked up a small Japanese storage box for tea. There were a number of great stores. Afterwards, we drove back to the house and relaxed for the rest of the evening, watched the Eddie Izzard DVD that Brian lent me, and Jen napped a bit.

Sunday we were up early. Got the house in order and left. We caught the noon ferry back and I was home by about one o'clock. Jen had to get to an event, so she dropped me off, we talked for a bit about what a nice, relaxing, great time we'd had, and then she was on her way.

I spent the rest of the day running downtown to get comics, grocery shopping, reading comics, and playing Magic with Matt. Now my day is done.

I'm sure this will get around quickly in comic circles, but I just read on Jeff's blog that Julius Schwartz died. That saddens me, but he did some great things in his life, so he leaves a great legacy.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I noticed that none of my fair readers have ordered any of the fine Free Shane merchandise. You should...all the cool kids are doing it.

Changing gears, Wednesday night I went with Jen to ToST (pronounced like toast) to see The Fading Collection. We met her friend Alistair there, but he was in and out a couple of times, so we didn't get to talk with him much. The band was excellent and I picked up their CD before I left. You can check out some of the A band called Mercir opened for them, along with a beatbox guy named B-Shorty. He was excellent. Check out some of the samples on his site.

It was almost 1:00am by the time we left, so we went back to her place, said good night, then I drove back to my place.

The last couple of days we've been talking about going to her house on Whidbey Island and it looks like that will happen this weekend. That should be fun. I've never been to any of the islands and I've never ridden one of the ferries, so I get to do both this weekend.

I've been trying to come up with something fun to do for Valentine's Day, but I've never been dating anyone during Valentine's, so I'm sorta at a loss for what to do. Shana had the excellent idea of going to see Teatro Zinzanni...but it's sold out for the weekend already. I still may get gift certificates for it, but that doesn't really take the place of a good Valentine's date. I'll give it more thought.

Tonight I managed to get back over to the Thursday game that I've missed for about the past two months, which is pretty inexcusable. I hate being the guy that only shows up now and again, but work is always crazy and I haven't trained myself to make time for gaming lately. It's hard to beleive that I'm not in one or more role-playing groups right now, especially considered that two used to be my minimum. Hopefully I'll be able to maintain this and have a good time with it. Tonight we played a game called Wushu. It was fun. Very freeform and it gives the players an unusual amount of control over the plot, characters, setting, and action. I don't think it's the type of game I'd enjoy longterm, but for a one or two-shot game, it was good.

Okay, now I have to finish some laundry so I have things to take this weekend. I'll update when I return.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I just happened to recall the SETI at home project, so I went and downloaded it. It's amazing to see that it's logged about 1.7 million years'-worth of processing time. Very cool.

Monday, February 02, 2004

I've really enjoyed a couple of the names listed as the senders of some spam I've recieved lately. Here are my two favorites:

Saltpetre H. Communisms
Bellicosity O. Swordsmen

Aren't those great?

Who designs the programs to randomly generate these names?

You know how sometimes you just need to take a break?

That's tonight for me. I know I should go to the gym, but I left work, did some grocery shopping, had some dinner, and now I'm sitting in front of the computer thinking about what I should do next. Like I said, I should go to the gym, but instead I'm going to relax, read, and try to get to bed early. Is that so wrong? I don't think so, but I'll still feel guilty about it. I just need to recharge a bit.

Hopefully I won't get food poisoning from the burrito left over from yesterday that I just ate. That would be bad.

A friend at work chided me for not updating often enough. I'll try to be more reliable.

Oh, remember my friend Shane who's been deported back to South Africa because of some SNAFU regarding his visa and possport? Well, he has some great friends here and they all got together and put together a "Free Shane" store on CafePress. I'd love it if you went there and bought something -- especially if you wore it on February 12th because that's the day he's meeting the people at the consulate about clearing up the problem. The various designs were created by some of the graphic designers at work. Let me know if you buy something, please! I'd love to know who's wearing this stuff and where you are. No one (except hopefully CafePress) is making any money on this, so don't feel like you're donating money to anything, just know you're adding positive vibes to the world -- I'm sure that will help Shane return to his girlfriend, the rest of his friends here, and to his work.

Oh, the shirt with the green area on it has a self-portrait of Shane on it, the design on the shirt was designed by Cathy. The shirt with the caricature of Shane saying "Liberty is oosome" is by Vic (yes, Shane talks like that; he's a dirty foreigner). Finally, the picture of Shane with the caption "Libertad Siempre" was designed by the fiancee of the photographer at work. We'd like this shirt to replace all those old, tired Che Guevara shirts. It has the same feel, but is more modern and hip. I think you'll be pleased with the looks you'll get when you wear this. I've already ordered a few of the shirts listed above.

Wow, staying home tonight is a really good idea. I'm definitely sticking around.

I still have all my gift certificates to use at Best Buy and I'm really looking forward to that spending spree. That will be fun. Maybe I'll do that some time this week.

I wish I could tell you what I did Thursday and Friday, but I'm having a heck of a time remembering. Oh, right. Thursday night Jen and I had dinner with Tim at Chantanee then, because he had to get to bed early, Jen and I stopped by Toys 'R' Us and then watched a movie at my place. Friday I worked -- and when I say worked, I mean I tried to write some rules for a new project that's particularly rules light. You'd think that would be simple, but the fewer rules, the harder it is for me to get into it. There's just not much internal consistency needed and that's what makes it fun to write rules; for me, at least. So, because the rules are simple, it's taking me a long time to write them.

Friday night, I stayed at work late playing Magic, then met up with Jen for a late dinner after she got done with work. She went home immediately afterwards because she was going cross-country skiing with her mom and cousin in the morning.

Saturday for me was spent sleeping in a bit, going to the gym, then doing some clothes shopping. Jen's dad was singing in an operatta in the evening and I didn't want to wear the same thing I'd worn to Carmen. The fact of the matter is; I rarely have to get dressed up, so I just don't have nice, dressy clothes. Luckily we found a store nearby with some things for me, so I picked up some nice charcoal slacks, a new tie, and black and white dress shirts -- all of which will work with my blue sportcoat. I spent more than I probaby should have, but, like I said, I really needed some dressier clothes. I'm really happy to have the dress shirts.

That evening was the operetta. It was very good. There were no sets other than chairs and only a couple of props. I heard someone comment that they really liked the staging because it was very "intimate". It was certainly the opposite end of the spectrum from Carmen.

After the show, a bunch of the cast and Jen's family and I went to a bar at the top of a local hotel for some drinks. There was a piano player and he was playing something that many of the members of our party recognized, so they started singing. Loudly. At the end of the song the piano player was over by our table welcoming us all and asking if anyone would like to sing. Almost everyone wanted to. So, throughout the course of the evening he cycled through songs and one or two people got up to sing. The did a number of show tunes from West Side Story and Oklahoma as well as songs like Oh, Danny Boy and many others. Jen wanted to sing because I'd never heard her before, so after many of the others had taken their turn, she got up and sang I Could Write A Book, and since everyone was incredibly impressed, someone asked her to sing something else, so she did Witchcraft. She'd never sung it before, so she didn't know the words, but the pianist had a songbook handy, so she faked it and it sounded great. I was incredibly impressed. She has an amazing voice. The pianist even asked for her contact info.

Oh, this was also the first night that I met Jen's parents. They were very nice. I don't know what more to say. They seem like good people.

Sunday we went to Jen and Hays' house to watch the Super Bowl. Beforehand, we stopped at Gordito's to pick up some food because it was a "Mexican Fiesta Super Bowl Party". The food was excellent. I even ran around the corner to a nearby comic shop to pick up this week's books.

After the party we stopped by Jen's, spoke with her parents a while, and then watched Whale Rider on their envy-worthy HD TV with 5.1 Surround Sound. It was cool. The movie was excellent. Well paced, well filmed, well acted, and even though the plot is an old one, it was still very impressive and interesting.

I received a number of choice comments from people about "Ryan's" email last week, but I don't really feel like spending more time on "him". Thanks for your kind words everyone.

I forgot to mention that I saw The Cooler about a week and a half ago. It's a movie starring Willaim H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. Baldwin has even been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role. The only reason I mention the movie now is to say that it was very, very good. It was scary, sad, romantic, funny, and hopeful. I was a little put off by some of the more violent scenes (and they're pretty violent), but over all it was an excellent movie that I'll probably watch again. Hopefully soon.