Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nearly Two Weeks

Yes, it's been a while, but I was out of town for two weeks and then getting settled again for the past few days. I posted a bit last time about all the goodies I picked up at GenCon, but what I didn't post about was what a great time I had.

On the business side of things it was successful because I met with a lot of people about upcoming work and I got a lot done for the new endeavor; much of which is filling my time now, so that's good. but apart from that I had a great time seeing Rob, John, and Scott again. It's been a year and a half since I've seen Rob and Scott, which is pretty unbeleivable to me. I mean, I used to live with them and now I only see them every year or so. Ridiculous. Clearly they need to move to Seattle -- or wherever I happen to live. Next year Seth and I hope to get a few more people to the show, so we can hang out together.

After the show I went to Burlington and visited with family for a few days before Julia came to town. Then we spent a lot of time introducing her to everyone and everyone to her. The introductions included a weekend in Madison where we managed to get together with a good dozen or so my my friends for lunch at the Nitty Gritty. The whole trip was a whirlwind of social activity, but overall I think we weathered it well and had a very good time. Julia really enjoyed hanging out at Kim's place and she can't wait to see her and John again.

The trip home went flawlessly and we even managed to bring a fair amount of Fiestaware back in our carryon bags. It's unpacked and waiting on the dining room table for me to wash it and put it in the cupboards. I just have to remember not to eat off the orange pieces due to radioactivity.

Julia had a show on Saturday, so I helped her set that up and then met with Seth to check out the Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX) 2006. It looked like a very successful show, but it also looked like they needed to find a larger place because it was wall-to-wall people. And I've been to many conventions before and this one was packed. Way too full for my comfort, or Seth's, so we walked the floor once and then got the hell out. I hope next year they'll find someplace with about twice as much space, because they need it badly. I was happy that Seth and I were both able to mooch badges off the show. It would have ticked me off to pay money for a badge and then only stay for an hour.

I came up with a few game ideas while I was away, so I've been mocking up one of those for the past few days. It looks like it'll be pretty cool, but I'll have to let you know how it looks once it's completely designed.

It's funny, now that I'm not at WizKids and not as constrained by coming up with something that will be collectable (or more accurately, that will make enough money to support the overhead represented by an office of 50 people) I'm coming up with some really good stuff. Admittedly, it's all stuff WizKids couldn't do because it wouldn't make them money, but it's very liberating to be able to work on anything I want to. Hopefully some of them will make me some money.

Congrats to Glenn on a year of Photos of the Day. I love that he's doing this and it's one of the things I check on every morning. Now if we could just get him to write a little more often...

Okay, that's enough for now. I'll post more soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Week That Was

GenCon was great. I had a very full calendar between walking the floor to find the cool new things, talking with Jim, testing some new games he brought with him, going to meetings, and hanging out with friends.

First on the agenda; cool, new things. I picked up roleplaying games exclusively, but I was interested in a couple of boardgames that I'll have to find at some point. Here's what I got:

Agon: A competitive roleplaying game that centers on Greek heroes that are trying to complete quests and become legends. I used to game with the author (and I wish I still did) and he did a great job of pulling together bits and pieces of other games in very interesting ways that I'd like to try. And since Harper's a graphic designer, the game looks great.

Burning Empires: I loved the comics by Christopher Moeller and I really enjoyed The Burning Wheel game, so I figure I'll like this combination of them. The book is beautiful, but I haven't dun into it yet.

Faery's Tale: Ostensibly a roleplaying game for kids, but it seems much too wordy and complicated. Certainly the goal is to make the rules clear to adults who will be running the game for kids, but I think they may have gone a bit too far in defining how the game plays. Kids rarely stick to the rules when they're so specific.

Hollow Earth Expedition: A very cool-looking pulp adventure game with some interesting mechanics. The rules are pretty simple (dice pools similar with those used by White Wolf), but the designer put some thinktime in and came up with some good ideas to make things flow a bit better than a lot of other games.

City of Heroes Primer: An updated and printed copy (as opposed to the pdf they had originally) of the City of Heroes rpg. I'll read through it, but I'm hoping to see the game soon.

The other things I liked were Ticket to Ride (I've played it and liked it, but I haven't picked it up yet. Yet.), Shadows Over Camelot (which I haven't played, but I've heard a lot of good things about), and Desert Bazaar (which I demoed and liked). I was most curious about Desert Bazaar because it looks like Mattel is the publisher and they're targeting the "adventure gaming industry." Which I thought was interesting to say the least.

Since GenCon I've been spending time with my family. Visiting with my nephews, seeing my grandma, and running lots of errands. I've also been working on making a new game that came to me at GenCon. I'll update again, but now I have to call Julia.

More later.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Photos Away!

I added a link in the right-hand sidebar to my sparsely populated Flickr photo stream. Enjoy them. I'll try to add more soon so you can enjoy my life a little bit more.

Actually Pretty Busy

Jim's been in town since last week, so I've been busy with him going to meetings, setting up assignments with people, playing games, and checking out some places around town. Right now I'm waiting for him to show up so we can go grab some breakfast over in Kirkland.

Julia was awesome about my birthday and kept trying to make it "more special" even though I was okay with putting things off until we get back from Wisconsin. So, we had a nice dinner on Wednesday with her parents, then she and I had dinner on Friday at 13 Coins, and she told me that my gift was in the mail (should arrive Monday). It's a mic and amplifier so I can try my hand at podcasting. I'm very excited. Now I have to decide what sort of show I can do. At the very least I'll be able to post some voice comments. I just wish I didn't have to wait a couple of weeks to do it!

Sunday I played poker at Chott's. I had a single $10 buy-in and walked away with $71. That was pretty cool. The cards definitely fell my way. Julia had a class on running a craft business which she absolutely loved. She was very excited and it was fun for me to see her like that.

I'm very seriously considering the whole laptop thing. Considering how much time I spend away from my desktop and how much work I have to do, I think the laptop is coming soon. And really, I have to remember that the computer I have now is almost three years old and only cost $800 at the time, so I've gotten pretty good use out of it. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

You got it. It's my birthday, so I thought I'd tell the world!

Or at least everyone who reads this.

I went to dinner with the Tuesday night gamers at Crossroads and I found a copy of the Dune roleplaying game at Half-Price Books. How awesomely cool is that? I'm sure if you're a game geek you're drooling and if you're not, you don't care, but beleive me, that's pretty cool.

Send gifts.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bad Habit

I have this bad habit. Now that I'm unemployed (oh, agony!) I spend a lot of time in front of my computer working on my new writing project. Right now I'm writing up characters, so it's mostly constructive time as I get familiar with the game system again, but I find that I feel obligated to keep working instead of updating my blog. So even though I could update at pretty much any time, I don't. It's very strange to me that I updated a lot more often when I was working full-time. So, I've been writing and working on these characters instead of updating -- wait, that's not really a bad habit, is it?

I'm thinking very seriously about getting a laptop. It would be so nice to be able to type directly into a document while at Julia's instead of writing everything out by hand and then copying into the computer later. I imagine I'll wait until after I return from GenCon and some vacation, but I think I see a new computer in my future. Of course if I get the computer I'll have to reconfigure my desk a bit so that I can more easily transfer files. Ah, we'll see how it goes.

Tim sent me a copy of Human Head's new game, Prey. I haven't had a chance to load and play it, but I'm looking forward to seeing what they've done in the past five years. They've been getting some good press for it, so I know Tim is pretty happy with how it's been received.

I'm especially excited to learn that Rob and John will also be at GenCon this year. Seth and I are trying to convince Phil that he has to bring Scott, which would be awesome. It would be amazing to have most of my best friends in one place again. I think the last time that happened was two years ago at Christmastime at John and Lisa's last place in Madison. Admittedly, I'll be pretty busy at the show, but I'll make some time to hang out and have fun since everyone will be there. I'm really looking forward to it.

So, what have I been up to lately? Well, the weekend before last Julia was an invited artist at the Renton Annual Art Show at Renton River Days, so we spent the Wednesday and Thursday beforehand pricing and doing inventory for all of her stuff, then set it up Thursday afternoon. There was an opening party that night that we attended (which was surprisingly nice) and then we tried to stay cool for most of the rest of the weekend. We checked in on her stuff a couple times, went to the River Days with her family, and then packed everything up Sunday. It was very hot (yes, it was actually hot) and busy.

Then, this last weekend, Julia was showing her stuff at the Capitol Hill Block Party. The block party was pretty good, but people were in a drinking and listening to music mood, not really a mood to buy jewelry, but even so she did all right. What was most exciting about this show was that we used her brand-spankin' new tent. So now she can do other outside shows that require a tent. That was Friday and Saturday, then Sunday we walked around the Bellevue Art Fair and did some research on whether or not she can get into that next year.

I've also been watching a lot of DVDs via Netflix (in reverse order):

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
The Aristocrats
Teen Titans: Season 2
Teen Titans: Season 1
The 4400: Season 1
Deadwood: Season 2
Brokeback Mountain
March of the Penguins

Julia and I have pretty much enjoyed all of them, although The Aristocrats wasn't at all to Julia's liking, and I watched the Teen Titans pretty much solo. The 4400 has an interesting premise, but the writing really isn't as good as it needs to be. Deadwood is flat-out excellent, I think Julia likes it more than I do, which is saying something. Anyway, lots of movies.

Okay, that's enough for now. Jim's in town this week, so I need to get ready to meet with him today, then we have gaming or a movie tonight. Woohoo!

Oh yeah, tomorrow's my birthday! Double woohoo!