Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Part IV of the Trip . . . 3rd Anniversary

It's very weird to think that it's been three years, but it has been. Enjoy the last part of the epic saga!


SEPTEMBER 30 - rest stop, Idaho (mileage unknown)

I drove all morning, determined to make it all the way across the panhandle of Idaho before I turn the wheel over to Jon. But nature calls, and high in the mountains I pull over into a rest stop to make use of the facilities.

I say without reservation that western Montana and northern Idaho are some of the most beautiful territory it's ever been my privilege to pass through. But it's also completely isolated. Those snow gates that can be dropped across the interstate ("Road blocked ahead. Go back to Missoula.") are there for a reason, and you'd have to be pretty hardy to live out here. The price of beauty, I suppose. We'll see if I can't afford it.

Coming out of the bathroom I see that a man walking his dog is wearing a baseball cap with Bucky Badger embroidered on it. We talk for a minute and it turns out he's from Madison, out here visiting relatives. Strange to find a piece of home about as far away from it as you can get.

SEPTEMBER 30 -- Couer D'Lane, Idaho (1,705 miles)

A quick stop for lunch in the late afternoon. Jon's cel phone is finally back in range of the system, and he checks his messages while I try to call home and wish my mom a happy birthday on a nearby payphone. Couer D'Lane is the Wisconsin Dells of Idaho, with a population that seems fifty percent tourist and a waterslide on every block. It also increases the number of people we've seen in Idaho by about a bazillion percent, unless you count the other moving trucks. Maybe its just because we're traveling in a U-Haul, but everyone and their brother seems to be moving-usually in the opposite direction, but that's probably because anyone behind us can't catch up to us and we can't catch anyone ahead. As the days have passed I've found a strange feeling of brotherhood with these other travelers; if our horn worked I would beep it when I saw them, but have to settle for a jaunty wave they probably never see. Oh well.

For all the 'friends', we've also found our nemesis. First spotted in South Dakota, a couple times each day we've been passed by what I've named the Luxury RV, a glossy black bus-like RV pulling a high-priced black SUV, like Puff Daddy going on walkabout. Ostentatious, faster than us-the reasons to be annoyed go on and on. But though I've been watching, the LRV's shiny prow has yet to glide past our port windows. I decide to remain vigilant as Jon takes the wheel.

SEPTEMBER 30 - MOFN, Washington (1,786 miles)

I gave this town its name, as it is in the middle of nowhere and didn't even have the dignity to give itself a name for its highway exit. Though we didn't have time to stop in Spokane and see my grandparents (although we did see a giant inflatable gorilla, prompting Jon to properly bemoan the trip's lack of monkeys), we had to stop here for gas-and that's nearly all this place has to offer. That, an RV park (despite the "Don't park RV signs here" signs that seem to be tacked to every post), a collection of construction equipment working and otherwise, and a concrete pipe capped with a metal plate jutting out of the ground. My theory is that it's the entrance to a secret underground government base, but that woman back in Montana probably didn't shoot anyone, either.

SEPTEMBER 30 - Roslyn, Washington (1,932 miles)

We're almost there, but fannish interest (you can take the geeks out of Wisconsin, know the rest) made us get off the interstate and make our way up a county highway to Roslyn, where they filmed the exteriors for the TV series Northern Exposure. All the shops are closed this late on a Sunday evening, so no T-shirts for us. But the KBHR radio station is still there and we get to peek into the now-dusty interior. We also see Roslyn's Café, the building that was supposed to be Dr. Fleischman's office, and the Brick, where we stop to grab dinner.While waiting for dinner, I wander back across the street and finally get ahold of my mom. While eating dinner, I watch a gorgeous nearby woman, who eventually notices me and subtly flashes her wedding ring. As of this writing, the jury is still out on whether I'm happy or sad to have been caught being potentially prurient.Then it's back to the road, with only Snoqualimie Pass between us and Seattle.

SEPTEMBER 30 - Bellevue, Washington (2,015 miles)

It's not Seattle, but it's close enough. We make our way through the dark streets and eventually find the house Jon will be staying at. We have some problems finding the key that supposed to be hidden outside, but luckily one of the other roomers is home-and turns out to also be a WizKids employee named Dave. Dave shows us Jon's (surprisingly tiny!) room, and we unload what we can from the truck. It's almost ten, and too late to find a storage space; Jon will have to do that tomorrow after I leave. Dave does help us move the U-Haul and trailer to the WizKids parking lot (including taking the wheel for the particularly tricky job of turning the truck around in the narrow parking lot), and takes us over to the nearby mall and an all-night grocery store so I can get some cash for the trip back.

Then bedtime and up in time to run to the airport in the morning.


There's the whole tale. I hope you've had as much fun reading it as Seth and I did driving it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Part III of the Trip . . . 3rd Anniversary

Part III on the day of. I'll get you tomorrow's tomorrow!


SEPTEMBER 29 - Sundance, Wyoming (911 miles)

Another gas stop, this time in the town where the Sundance Kid got his name. A pretty small place, and my stay is marked mainly by the three guys in the gas station buying hunting licenses-and swearing that the rifle on the wall being raffled off is the same one that was there last year. They're putting together the pieces of the conspiracy as I wander back out to the truck.

SEPTEMBER 29 - Sheridan, Wyoming (1058 miles)

We've made it over the thousand-mile mark, so we celebrate by stopping for food and gas. Again. Jon also needs to pick up a new address book, so we make our way downtown and find a Wal-Mart Plus-a Wal-Mart with a grocery store. Jon quickly finds the address book and we make our way across the parking lot for a quick lunch at Taco Bell. (For those keeping score at home--number of days on the road: 3; stops at a Taco Bell: 3. Make your investments appropriately.)

Our quick lunch turns out to be anything but. It takes ten minutes to even order, and when we sit down to wait we realize that the dining room is full not of people eating but of people waiting. Oh yeah, and they're out of chicken. The situation is so absurd that Jon and I begin making fun of the restaurant and its employees-apparently in an increasingly vocal manner, as Jon later reports that a cute girl ten feet away was laughing. (Sadly, she was probably of high-school age, so no missed opportunity there, faithful reader. But thank you for thinking of Jon and I.)

SEPTEMBER 29 - Big Timber, Montana (1,273 miles)

After a morning of climbing the foothills of the Rockies and blasting through Billings (a competitor with Toledo for Ugliest City in America), the Little U-Haul That Could has to pull off in western Montana for gas. As we come out from paying, there's a woman hanging around near the corner of the building smoking and leaving one hand suspiciously inside her purse. Our schedule demands that we get back on the road, but let's pretend that she was waiting to shoot someone, okay?

SEPTEMBER 29 - Missoula, Montana (1,541 miles)

Jon handles late night driving up into the mountains and across the Continental Divide, and around 11:30 we pull into Missoula. Less prepared than previous days, we haven't picked out a specific hotel from the AAA guidebook. But I see a billboard for one I remember. Unfortunately, I direct Jon off the highway an exit too early and we wander through town a bit before getting to the right area.

Of further surprise is that the hotel we stop at is full. Not just that, but so are the next two. Luckily, we find a Best Western with a room and crash. Our wake-up call comes right on time, and we make our way downstairs just in time to enjoy the continental breakfast-which actually is pretty continental, reminding me of the breakfast buffet at the hotel I stayed at in London (which itself is not Continental, but you get my Ugly American point, right?)

Then it's time to gas up, and get back on the road.


Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!

Part II of the Trip . . . 3rd Anniversary

I'm posting part two now and following it immediately with part three (mostly so you can read part III on the day it happened instead of the day after).



SEPTEMBER 28 - Blue Earth, Minnesota (333 miles)

I'd like to say that it was the fifty-foot tall statue of the Jolly Green Giant that made us get off the highway, but we just decided to stop for gas and snacks.

The gas station used to have a Taco Bell Express, but it has gone out of business-recently, apparently. As I stand waiting to get into the restroom, two couples who are part of Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation enter. The woman in the lead walks up to the darkened corner and says, "What? No tacos?" For some reason it strikes me as odd; I guess I'm just accustomed to the preteens overrunning the Taco Bells in Madison.

SEPTEMBER 28 - Mitchell, South Dakota (521 miles)

Stopping for gas again, we also stop for lunch, grabbing sandwiches at Subway and then making our way through a maze of surface-street construction to the world famous Mitchell Corn Palace. The last time I was here was a quarter-century ago, and while the Palace is pretty neat, my picture-augmented memory held it up as much neater. I don't remember it being in the middle of downtown, for one thing; I guess I always thought it was a building out in the middle of the fields. And the colors are much more subdued-the pictures I've seen were taken in 1976, and I guess they fancied it up for the Bicentennial. This year's themes are pretty straight-forward nature themes done in straight-forward corn colors. Jon and I do find a display across the street showing how the decoration is done, and I do have to respect the process. It seems like an awful lot of work, beginning with laying out the design on the building and cutting a whole hell of a lot of corn cobs in half in preparation for mounting them.

Though downtown Mitchell seems to get a lot of its income from tourists, most of the other tourist shops are closed down for the season and there's not much else to see. So after a quick picture of Jon in front of the Corn Palace, and a seemingly interminable wait at a train crossing, we're back on I-90 and headed west.

SEPTEMBER 28 - Kadoka, South Dakota (705 miles)

Only two things are amusing about our stop in Kadoka. One: Jon makes a series of funny jokes about people who were too dumb to spell the name of their own state right, and end up naming their town Kadoka. Two: At the gas station, I wait in line to buy my Diet Coke behind a group of guys loudly planning that evening's visit to a strip club. I'm not quite certain they ever caught on that I was laughing at them and not with them. (Okay, now that time has passed, I'm not certain that either of those items are amusing in retrospect. But then, we were back on the road within fifteen minutes-it didn't leave much time to be amused, and I have to take my amusement where I can get it.)

SEPTEMBER 28 - Wall, South Dakota (758 miles)

Sadly, we arrive in Wall too late to partake of the joys of Wall Drug. But we settle for eating dinner across the street in the Cactus Café, the very restaurant where I had dinner with folks from work on the way back from E3 in May. If you had told me then that I would be eating in that restaurant again just four months later, I don't think I would have believed you. But there we are. The menu isn't quite as cosmopolitan as Burlington's famous White Fox Den, but it goes a little bit beyond bar food, so I enjoy a good French Dip sandwich and a bowl of clam chowder.

On the way out of town, we stop at a gas station-not for gas, but so that I can prove after much frustration at lunch that Sobe Wisdom is unavailable in the state of South Dakota. Like many things in life, I am quickly proven utterly incorrect and come out with a Sobe and a box of Whoppers. Jon is laughing when I come back and points out a truck-driving future redneck who has hung up his truck on the concrete and steel base of an enormous sign, hooking his bumper over the five-inch lug nuts that hold the whole thing upright. We're tempted to stay and watch, but we're behind schedule... so we press on.

SEPTEMBER 28 - Spearfish, South Dakota (856 miles)

With 700 miles under our belt for the day, we stop just short of the Wyoming border. Happily, the hotel we stay at has a pool, so while Jon deals with some unfinished paperwork I go for a swim and read in the hot tub for a while. I have some weird flashes back to a family trip 25 years ago (the same one that took me to Mitchell) and wonder if we stayed here.

Our 8:30 AM wakeup call never comes, and we wake up just past 9:00. Still, even with a trip to a nearby grocery store for water, fruit and road snacks we manage to get back on I-90 by ten, and I pop yet another CD into the Rio as we turn west.


End Part II. Scroll up to see Part III!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Cross Country for the 3rd Time

Presented for your enjoyment! The 3rd Annual re-posting of the trip Seth and I took to move me out here. (Which Seth would eventually retake when he moved out here.)

I'm sure I'll distill some thoughts about this in the next few days and present them here. Right now I mostly can't beleive it's been three years.

Thanks again for writing up all those years ago Seth!


SEPTEMBER 27 - Madison, Wisconsin (0 miles)

We haven't left town yet, and we're already running late. It's nobody's fault, really: packing up the truck took a bit longer than planned, but we still could have made it out of town with time for plenty of progress . . . until it came time to go back to U-Haul to hook up a trailer for Jon's car.

"Looks kinda heavy," says the guy at the shop, and suggests we go across the street to the recycling center and use the truck scale. Driving the 17-foot truck directly across four busy lanes of traffic is a bit daunting, but I brave the task while Jon starts to deal with the trailer.

Pulling up onto the truck scale just as the recycling center just as they prepare to close the gates, I jump out and read the label on the side of truck: 'LIMIT 11,000 LBS. GROSS'. Then I look over at the digital readout on the side of the building: 14568.

I take the truck back across the street and deliver the bad news. The garage is closing, so there's no time to come back for the trailer. Instead we hook up the car and trailer, then return to Jon's house and spend a couple hours unloading two tons of books and comics that will have to go down to Jon's parents in Burlington for storage.

SEPTEMBER 27 - La Crosse, Wisconsin (161 miles)

We made a quick stop at a gas station and a Taco Bell in Tomah, but it's here that we decide to stop for the night. It's 11:30, and there's no point in burning ourselves out on the first leg of the trip. The AAA guidebook lists a Hampton Inn that offers a discount, so that's where we crash. Uh, sleep.

We're up by 8:30, pack up, partake of the free breakfast, stop by a nearby Woodman's grocery store so I can mail off a birthday card to my mom, and then we hit the road.


More tomorrow!

Double Duty

I didn't get a chance to update over the weekend, which is odd actually because I don't feel like I was all that busy, but I must have been.

Friday night I stuck around late at work and played City of Heroes with Seth and Shane. When we finished we decided to get some dinner. Seth was tired from working too hard (you can tell he's working hard because he hasn't been updating Ober Dicta), so he ditched out while Shane, Cathy, Shana and I went to eat at Coastal Kitchen. Coastal Kitchen apparently lacks a Website, but that's okay because they spend a lot of time on their restaurant. Every year or so they gut the place and redecorate it in a new style and change their menus to match that style. Their previous themes have included Jamaican, Cajun, French, Vietnamese, and more. Their current theme is Moroccan. Good stuff. It's on 15th in Capitol Hill if you're interested in going sometime.

Saturday I slept late -- and so did everyone I know. I think I was up earliest and that was about 11:15. Typical things Saturday; picked up comics with Seth, Shane, and Cathy, drove back to Bellevue, did some cleaning up at home, then went to Jason's to watch Shaun of the Dead. I'm not a big zombie-movie fan (not at all), but this was an excellent film. At least as good as many very good major studio releases. Definitley worth picking up if you see it. It surprised me how well-written and executed it was, with excellent moments of comedy and tragedy.

Sunday I had to be up early to meet Matt at work so we could carpool over to Ethan's to help him move to Renton. Yippee! I hate moving. But I can't leave a friend to suffer through moving without help, so I was there mostly on time. Actually the move went very smoothly. Ethan had almost everything taken care of already, so we were done and gone within four hours. Nice.

I spent the afternoon doing laundry and then met Matt and Seth back at work to play some City of Heroes as a group. When we finished up I went home and started on the editing I have to do for a new freelance project. I've been having a hard time diving into it, but now that I've started I'm actually really enjoying it. It's something different to do with my brain for a while. I have plenty more work to do on it in the next month, so it's a good thing I'm enjoying it. Some day I'd like to write some of this stuff. Unfortunately that isn't possible given my current position.

Oh, this was kind of fun. I was putting away laundry Sunday night and started absently going through some of my clothes and picking out things I haven't seen or worn in years; some of it since the early 90's. It was very rewarding to see that a lot of it was much too large for me (XXXXL stuff) and that some of it was just on the cusp of fitting very nicely (XXL). Cripes. Apparently this thing is working. Plus, I weighed myself Saturday morning and found I was 300 pounds -- 80 pounds less than when I started trying to get into shape. Pretty cool. Now I only have 55 pounds to go!*

If you look on the right you'll notice that Kevin has started a blog of his own. Go check it out. Kevin's one of my best and longest-known friends from college. He lives a very different life from mine, but he's still a bit of a geek, so he's good people.

This is the 3rd Anniversary of my move from Madison to Seattle. As usual, I will repost the log that Seth kept on our trip. Look for that post immediately above this one . . . and for the next three days.

* My excitement there is mostly to fool myself into thinking I'm excited by the prospect of losing 55 more pounds. Really it just sort of intimidates me, but I'm not going to admit that openly.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ripoffs and Guard Dogs

Wednesday was a heck of a day.

Good thing: Work pays for all of us to ge see movies every now and again. Usually about once a month and usually for a pretty geeky movie that somehow applies to work . . . in some way. Anyway, we saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. A lot of its trappings are very similar to Crimson Skies, but the end result was very different. The movie itself was good enough, but it really bothered me that there was nothing original in the movie. Everything was either an "homage" to the old serials or was ripped off completely from non-serial sources and presented as original. That annoyed me. It's not a movie I'll buy.

Bad thing: Since my boss is gone -- and this happens every time he's gone -- people feel like they can get me to do things or make decisions in his absence that I have no business making. He's the Vice President, not me. If something requires his sign-off, then get it from him, not me. It's much more in-depth than that, but I don't want to go into specifics other than to say it annoyed me and stressed me out. Of course at the same time, I have absolutely telling people no, especially when they should know better.

Chris Farley isn't funny. Never was. (Sorry, an ad just came on with his new DVD being advertised and I had to mention that.) I just don't think he's funny.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

One successful game later.

I ran the first session of Savage Worlds in the Savage TV setting that John developed. (For those back home, John is one of the guys in the Thursday game.) I only had three players, but we wrote up characters in almost exactly an hour and then they were treated to an eXtreme dungeon-delving experience using the 3D dungeon tiles WizKids makes. The whole thing looked very cool and was a lot of fun. The players were very into it and really enjoyed the game system and the game. You may be onto something here, John.

Next week we'll get back to The World's Largest Dungeon. Which is a good thing, because Nothing Good has been getting a lot of hits based on the title of the Dungeon and I hate to dissapoint. I'm going to try to use the 3D dungeon tiles as much as I can in the games I run. They're fun to play with and are fairly labor unintensive.

I'm still not sleeping on time. Kind of weird because I'm very tired in the morning, but not so much at 1:25 at night. Weird. Time to sleep anyway.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Not an insomniac.

I swear, I'm not an insomniac. But for some reason, every now and again I get in these moods/patterns in which I don't want to go to bed. I know if I layed down I could fall asleep, I just don't feel like it. Is that insomnia?

Shane and Cathy like to go out for sushi Monday nights and they asked me to go with them tonight, just to eat and chat. I hate that I couldn't go with them because of my diet. I love sushi, but I haven't made any progress in a while on the diet, so I really have to watch what I'm eating. I figure it will pay off in the long run.

I think I'll go read for a while, then go to bed. I think.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Do me a favor...

Sign in.

Seriously, go to the comments thread for this post and sign your name. I'm curious about who reads this blog on a semi-regular basis. You don't have to register with blogger, just hit "anonymous" and type your name (first name with a hint of who you are is good if you're paranoid about listing your full name). Thanks!

You'll notice that the upper right-hand portion of the blog has a new green square with my profile. I put that up because I wanted easy access to the stats that blogger tracks (number of words, number of posts, etc.) not because I think you want to know more about me. It's interesting to note that I've written about 130,000 words here so far and with an average of only two posts a week. I think I need to increase that number, but I can tell my posts have definitely become more infrequent. Maybe because I'm spending more time out and about and less in front of the computer -- or maybe because I'm spending more time in front of the computer playing City of Heroes. Who can say for certain?

The weekend you ask? It went well. I was particularly bad about getting good sleep last week so I'd hoped to sleep in a bit and recover. That sort of worked out.

Friday during the day we had our regular, monthly game day. Matt, Jason, Leslie, and I played a very entertaining game of HeroClix (Battle Royal format -- meaning, basically, four random figures). We also found out Friday that we're going to go see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow this week. I signed up for Wednesday. It's great to work someplace that insists you keep up with pop culture. And it'll be interesting to see how closely this movie is to Crimson Skies.

Friday evening I hung around work for a while and played City of Heroes with some of the guys, then got a call from Katie, Kate, and Beth. They wanted me to meet them for drinks, so I met them at Cha Cha. After a while we went to the Honey Hole because Katie and Kate wanted the artichoke dip they make. Finally we went to Linda's to round out the evening. It's amazing that we talked to almost no one but each other for hours and hours, but we still had a great time. After the bars I drove the girls back to their place (the neighbors have finally had their house torn down -- nine months after it was destroyed by the fire -- that was weird to see) and made some pizza for them. They're apparently very hungry girls. While the pizza was cooking Kate talked on the phone and Katie played her guitar and sang. She's amazingly talented.

The fact that I slept until a bit after eleven Saturday should be mitigated somewhat by the knowledge that I didn't get to bed until 3:30 Friday night. Saturday continued to be a pretty lazy day. I had breakfast, picked up comics with Seth, did laundry, had dinner with Kevin and Kim for her birthday (a note on that in a moment), and then went back over to Katie, Kate, and Beth's to watch some DVDs with them and Shana. We watched Along Came Polly and Foxfire. The first was better than I would have thought. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is very funny in it. The latter was, um, nostalgia for the girls. They half-remembered it from when they were younger and now I think they wished they hadn't seen it again. Oh, and for those playing at homw, this movie starred a young Angelina Jolie and she takes off her shirt! Quick! Run out and rent it! (Um, does the mocking tone come through clearly enough there? I'm not sure.)

As we watched the movies I read through some Unknown Armies books and jotted down ideas for a game I may run of it. I'm having a difficult time with it because I have a number of ideas, but I'm not sure how the players will accept them. I'll keep working on it. No rush.

Sunday I managed to get some work done. I did more laundry (it'd been a while) cleaned some stuff out of a closet, cleaned out a ton of stuff from work and loaded it all into the car with the intention of taking it to storage. That didn't work, though, because I had to meet Shana, Jen, Hays, Liz, Madalyn, Matt S., and Kate at the Guild on 45th to see Garden State. Excellent movie, although it seems like a lot of movies lately are trying to tell you that life is the journey, not the destination; it's all about the ride, not the end, etc. The cool thing about this movie -- and I'd like to see it again to try to notice more of these things -- is that it's a classic quest and it's loaded with symbolism that's effective and somewhat unobtrusive. I especially liked the addition of the knight, the abyss, and Natalie Portman's character (I forget her name, but she was basically Una/Faith). Very good stuff.

By the way, if anyone knows Nick Harmer (the bassist in the band Death Cab for Cutie) tell him I know Volvo Girl and he should contact me if he'd like to meet her.

Oh, Jason started a blog of our run through the World's Largest Dungeon, you can check it out here. Fun.

More soon.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Let me take you back.

To the days when you were carefree, young, and single. You had a social life, you had fun that didn't include the word family, you could read a book or a magazine at your leisure, you could sleep late and not have to make excuses for it.

And you could go out with a friend you hadn't spent much time with -- at her suggestion, because you hadn't hung out in a while -- and even though you'd previously asked this person out, she would insist on telling you all about the cute boys she met recently and how badly she wanted to make out with them.

So you see, it's not all footloose and fancy free.

Anyway, yeah, that was fun. What a great way to spend a free evening.

I haven't felt much like writing here this week and I don't know why. Nothing has really happended to put me off blogging, I just haven't felt the urge.

Monday evening I met with some old co-workers down at a bar in Seattle called Axis. It was a very cool place. Nice decor, good drinks, tasty snacks, and plenty of room to sit with people and chat. I left work a little after five and didn't get home until a bit after ten, so I must have had a good time.

Tuesday was session two of The Worlds Largest Dungeon. We ventured into a section of the dungeon we shouldn't have and were nearly killed before Seth, the GM, said "You will die if you proceed this way. Let's jump back and go from there." Ultimately that was probably a good idea, but it really broke the flow of the game. It was a very weird feeling for me. It was like we'd broken the fourth wall in the game -- something I've never experienced quite as sharply before. Remarkable considering how long I've been playing games, and especially considering there is no fourth wall and players are constantly bantering about one thing or another that has nothing to do with the game during the game. Like I said, it was weird and I didn't much care for it. Happily, once we "restarted" things went very well and we all had a good time. Next week we'll skip that game in favor of something else, then I'll run a few sessions of the Dungeon so Seth can play.

I have a new assignment from the people I did some editing for back in December/January. (Hey, I should get a check for that soon! Woohoo!) I received the file this week and I have to dig into it soon. It looks like an awfully fun book.

Wednesday was the deadline for the next expansion for my game line. And I'm already starting on the next two releases because we've reworked some of the schedules to give us a bit more development time. It makes me pretty crunched right now, but it will pay off in the long run. Luckily this weekend I have a fair amount of freetime, so I can clean up my desk and get some work done that I can't do while everyone is around.

I read a news snippet today about: A new system of sign language developed by deaf children in Nicaragua that may hold clues about the evolution of languages.

The world is a fascinating place.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Weddings and Ferries

Jen and Hays' wedding was this weekend. We had to take to ferry because they had a cookout on Saturday on Bainbridge Island that I went to with Shane, Garth, and Seth. That was fun, but low-key. The best moments were:

1) Walking down the beach looking at the amazing collection of wood, trees, and debris that wash up on and cover it. It's possible to step from one large piece of wood to the next the entire length of the beach. Mom would love to get some of that driftwood -- if they were smaller than a car.

2) Jen's parents' friends singing her an updated version of a song that he wrote for her when she was a little girl. It was very, very cute. Lots of tears from the crowd.

Sunday Matt, Garth, Seth and I took the ferry back over to Bainbridge (this time we parked the car in a lot and walked on) for the ceremony. The weather was lovely. A bit rainy and gray in the morning, but it warmed up and got to be pretty sunny by four or five when the service started. The event was at the Kiana Lodge and I have to say, it's a beautiful place to have a wedding. The buildings were spacious, interesting-looking, and surrounded by some great gardens with water just a few feet away. We were even treated to a bald eagle flying over during the ceremony.

Afterwards was dinner, toasts, talking, and dancing. An all around good time. Especially since a number of fun people from work were there as well as a number of other friends and acquaintances. It was a bit disappointing that all of the cute, available women were people I already knew. Disappointing because I know nothing's happening there and there wasn't anyone new to meet. Nonetheless, it was one of the more fun weddings I've ever been to and Jen and Hays (and everyone involved) did a great job.

Best of luck to them.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Regular Update

Tuesday night a number of us from work started to run through the Worlds Largest Dungeon. It's a 800 and some page book with maps enough to cover an entire wall that AEG put out at GenCon this year. Seth is running for the first few sessions, then I'll take over for a while, back and forth, there you do. That way we each get a chance at some of the fun. Who knows how long before we get killed or find the way out, but I'm betting the latter will be a while.

I'm feeling pretty good about the last couple day's work. Especially Wednesday. I managed to clean up a bunch of old issues and start in on wrapping up some things that really need to be wrapped up. Hopefully I'll make more progress tomorrow, but I've been having a ton of meetings lately, so we see how that goes.

This weekend I have a cookout and wedding to attend for Jen and Hays. It should be fun.

I just realized that I never got anything for my older sister for her birthday while I was back in town. Mom, any suggestions? I'm a bad brother.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Canada for the First Time

I spent the weekend in Vancouver, which is (and I only say this because you were most likely brought up in the U.S. educational system) in Canada.

Despite how close I've always lived to our neighbors to the North, I've never actually been to Canada before. I'm actually kind of amazed it took me 35 years to get there. And it adds another country to my list of places that I've visited for at least a night. Lemme think:

Cyprus (Greek and Turkish sides)
China (and Hong Kong)

I need to add to that list.

Anyway, the weekend away was for Hays' bachelor party. The party was fun, but not so much as you'd think. Bachelor parties always seem to be a bit of a let-down. Mostly it was nice to get away for a few days again. I could get used to vacation every week or so.

Friday night I went to dinner with my ex-girlfriend, Jen. She's leaving for L.A. soon, so we thought we'd get together for dinner before she left. It was good to see her. We had dinner at Julia's and then as we were driving back Katie called and invited us to drinks with her, Kate, Beth, Pat, and Angel. So, we did. It was pretty laid back, a short stop at the Honey Hole, then to a pub I forget the name of, then over to the Capitol Club. We picked up Seth, Chris, Andy (who's in town visiting Seth for a couple of days), and Amber (a friend of Jen's who was leaving for Italy on Sunday). Lots of visiting and talking. Fun.

Okay, so this thing with Jen: we had fun, but at one point we talked about what we'd done this summer and she mentioned her recent ex-boyfriend. She said they dated for four or five months before they broke up in August. My mind figures things out quickly when she mentions this: We broke up in the second month of the year. They broke up in the eighth. So that means she broke up with me, saying that she didn't have time to see anyone and that she was moving anyway, so there wasn't much point to it, and then started dating someone new within a month or so.

That bugged me a bit. Made me feel like she lied to me when she broke up with me, etc, etc. But ultimately I know she made the decisions she felt were the right ones. I think she told me the truth, but then she met someone and decided dating wasn't such a bad idea. Regardless, I just can't be angry about it because it doesn't really matter. If she wants to be friends, fine by me. She's fun, nice, pretty, and talented.

Okay, that's all the serious talk for now. It's time for me to go read some comics and go to bed.

Friday, September 03, 2004

$190.35 Later . . .

. . . and I have new brakes.

My car was making lots of noise before I left, so I figured I should get the brakes taken care of -- especially before heading up to Vancouver with a handful of people in tow. Tomorrow it's time to get an oil change. Then maybe I'll get my driver's side seat fixed. And the stereo. I hate cars.

for part of the day I visited a company we've begun doing some work with lately. It was interesting. Their building was part unfinished workshop, part attic, part disorganized office. Not particularly professional looking, but they seem to do good work.

Tomorrow I get to meet the guy who did a lot of the concept work with me on Creepy Freaks. He's also the guy who's responsible for the script and overall production the the DVD that went along with that game. It'll be nice to finally meet him. Gotta get to work early for that.

I just returned from an evening of gaming with the Thursday crew. The game was a cross between the X-Crawl setting and the old Smash TV videogame. It used the Savage Worlds game system and it was excellent. John (the GM) did a great job of (re)conceiving the setting and coming up with some very, very cool ideas. I'm looking forward to more games.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

"How many corns d'ya got?"

I'm sorry to say I actually heard someone at the grocery store say that tonight. See, he was working the register and someone walked up with some bags full of corn, so he wanted to know "how many corns" he had. It caused me pain, so I thought I'd share.

The news tonight had lots of coverage on the STORMS that rocked the area tonight -- there were three cracks of thunder and some small hail nearby, oh, and some "heavy rain" that lasted about fifteen minutes and caused flooding. Lordy these people and their city's infrastructure can't handle real weather! Just sayin'.

When I showed up at work today after two weeks away I had a small pile of things waiting for me. The coolest of which was a copy of The Cooler on DVD. Woohoo for me and thanks to Jason for the gift! It's good to have connections.

Backing up two weeks. I went to GenCon in Indianapolis and then followed it up with a trip home to Burlington (with a nice sidetrip to Madison). I could go into a blow-by-blow of how vacation went, but I don't think anyone wants that (and besides, I'm tired).

The high points of the different parts of the trip were picking up lots of fun games at GenCon, including Matt's Prime Time Adventures, the rerelease of Vampire, and the World's Largest Dungeon. In Madison the high points were seeing Becca and Doug's new baby. Seeing Scott for the first time in well over a year -- maybe over a year and a half. And pretty much seeing everyone in Madison. Finally, the high points at home were seeing my parents, grandma, and sisters and their families. Plus, I played a bunch of games with my nephews. That was a lot of fun. It's funny how different they all are.

Wow, my writing tonight is awful, but I'm still very much on Central time, so I'm very sleepy.

I'm going to bed so I can get up and figure out where and when I can get my brakes fixed in the next day or so. I figure it would be nice to have brakes that work if I'm going to drive a bunch of people to Vancouver Saturday.

Oh, and somehow I lost about 10 pounds over vacation (isn't that against the rules?), so I'm at the lightest I've been since I started this whole "getting in shape" thing.

Sleepy time.