Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fly. Away. Home.

As the title says, I flew back to Burlington, was there for a while, then came back home.

Well, last Monday I found out that I had both Thursday and Friday off and when I told Julia she suggested we try to find some tickets back to Wisconsin to see my family. See, the only thing holding us back from making the trip was time off. In my current position I don't have any vacation time, so every hour I take off costs me money I can't afford to not have. Since I was going to be off for two days anyway we figured it might be our best chance to get there.

We foudn some tickets. Bought them Monday afternoon and flew out Wednesday morning.

I told my sisters what was up and they clued Dad in, too, but decided to surprise Mom and Grandma. We arrived late Wednesday night, stayed with my older sister, and showed up at my parents' place the next morning. I can say for certain that Mom was very surprised; she kept making little screamy noises and shook for about an hour afterward.

After some visiting we went to see Grandma. When we walked in she was in one of the back rooms and when she came out her jaw dropped and she couldn't beleive we were there. We couldn't spend much time there because she had to go to Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's, so we cleared out so she could get ready.

We had thanksgiving at Jean's place (where we were staying) and it was very nice. My whole family was there; sisters, their husbands, all seven nephews, Mom, Dad, Grandma, and my sweetie. That was a first and I liked it.

Just before dinner, I took Julia out for a walk and found a good spot nearby and proposed. Happily, that went well! When we walked back in the house she showed off the ring and everyone stopped what they were doing to wish us well and give us hugs. It was great and I was so happy to be able to do that back with my family instead of telling them over the phone. It was such good timing. (I say that because I'd planned to propose this weekend, even before we decided to go back home.)

It was so nice to see everyone. It's been too long (a few weeks short of two years).

The rest of the time at home was spent with my family, so I don't have too much to say about that. It was just a good visit home.

We flew back Saturday morning and arrived in Seattle in the afternoon, very tired and ready to be in our own house again.

As for the last few days; it's mostly been housekeeping, working on some projects that languished while we were gone, and settling back into our routine. Tonight I think Julia's going to work on jewelry and I'm going to Seth's to play D&D, so you know things are good.

Okay, enough for now. I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Computer Woes

The long delay in posting an update is mostly due to computer problems on my home computer. Plus I've been busy enough at work that I couldn't really take time to update.

Now, however, my home computer is all fixed and running smoothly, so no excuses! I still have to load a game on it and see how it runs, but I'll get a chance to do that over the next few days since I'm off for Thanksgiving. Actually, I was pretty surprised to learn that I have both Thursday and Friday off. It'll put a strain on my wallet, but it'll be nice to have some time off. I should be able to get some things done around the house, too, which will definitely be a good thing.

Okay, I suppose I should make some attempt to fill you in on what's been going on lately. I won't go into a lot of detail since it's been a week and a half since my last update, but here goes:

I received a new bulb for the TV. The big TV stopped working a while ago and I figured out how to fix it. After waiting a few days for UPS to find my address, I plugged the bulb in and the TV fired up, but there seems to now be a problem with the color. I'm still working that out, but it either requried a replacement for the bulb I just bought or another fix of some sort. Bummer.

I spent way too many nights updating my computer. Dylan really helped me out. Like really a lot. There was no way I could have figured it out on my own, but he happened to know what the issue was and exactly how to fix it. Which was great. I had many nights of frustration surrounding this supposedly simple task. The only drawback is that I forgot to save two files containing all my freelance stuff. Luckily they were only older projects, so I should have copies of almost everything in email somewhere.

This past weekend was a gem show, so I acted as Julia's beast of burden for most of Saturday and for a short trip on Sunday to pick up some things we missed the first day. It was actually pretty funny because Julia usually plans for this show ahead of time, but for some reason we missed the postcards that were sent out and only happened to hear about the show from her mom the day before. Luckily we didn't really have anything planned, so we were able to make it (a little later than usual) to the show. If you ever get the chance to go to one of these shows, do it. The tables are full of gorgeous stones, silver, and jewelry. It's very sparkly and pretty.

Gaming has been going on as normal. Last week I played In a Wicked Age on Tuesday and we made characters for a post-apocalyptic game on Sunday. That's all I'll say here. I'll update my gaming blog about both of those games soon.

Monday night we had dinner with Ethan and Shiv at a Mongolian grill near our house. It was yummy and we had a good time. By chance, I ran into Ethan again today over at Smith & Tinker. Our friend Kian, his wife, and their new baby Carrine were in town for Thanksgiving and we met up there to visit. I didn't have time to go to lunch with everyone because I had to get back to work, but it was nice to see everyone.

I still wish I could get a job there. Dang.

And that brings us to now. I'm headed over to Seth's in a few minutes to play D&D. I'll update a bit more regularyly now that my computer's up and running. Sorry for the long interruption.

And happy Thanksgiving if I don't get a chance to update tomorrow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lots of Running

Friday night we took it easy and hung out around the house. Julia was preparing for a jewelry show that started at 9:00am Saturday, which meant she had to have everything boxed up and ready to load in the car by the time we went to bed. I mostly stayed out of her way and watched TV and worked on some Green Ronin stuff.

Saturday we were up early, loaded the car, and drove the ten(?) minutes to the church the show was being held at. It was a quick trip and Julia was ready to go by the time the doors opened at nine. I spent the day working on more for Green Ronin and trying to figure out why my computer keeps telling me it doesn't have a hard drive when I try to re-install Windows. I'm sure it's some setting that's not correct, but I can't figure it out. Regardless, I had a good day watching a couple of shows (including the first episode of the new Brave and the Bold cartoon) and working on my projects.

I picked Julia up at 3:00, packed everything up, picked up a late lunch and went home. She was wiped out from the show and the week or so of prep work that goes into them, so she relaxed and spent the evening in. I pretty much did the same, although I left around 7:00 to go to ACME Bowling to meet up with the crew that was out to celebrate Shana's birthday. I didn't recognize some of the people, but the old crew from WizKids was there, so I had a blast talking with them and just generally catching up. I took off around 10:00, just as the bowlers were starting their third game of the night. I would have bowled, but my elbow wouldn't handle it at all.

Sunday morning we were up and out early again. This time to try a new coffeehouse near our place that served breakfast. They had tasty sandwiches and yogurt for a reasonable price, so we'll probably go there again. Plus, Julia said the coffee was pretty good, too. After breakfast we went to check out Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Ross, Nordstrom Rack because we want to get some bedding for the guest room and because Julia had some gift cards to use. We found some good things, but we didn't buy much because we want to check for better prices online. The big score were some new shoes for Julia; comfy and cool.

I went to Dylan's in the afternoon for gaming, but we didn't have anything planned, so we talked about what to do next week, played a board game, and left early.

Despite all of our running around, Julia and I didn't really get to spend much time together this weekend, so we spent the evening hanging out around the house. It was nice and relaxing.

So, there you go. That's the last few days for me.

Oh, on the WizKids front, I've now heard of two companies that are trying to acquire the licenses/rights to their games. I'd like to do that same, but we need money/investors to pull that off.

My computer's going to run out of power, so I'm signing off. Later.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hard Time

I've been having a hard time lately. Mostly it's been invisible, but I've been spending a lot of my time thinking about things. My weight. My health in general. My current job. My career. And my inability to get those things worked out.

I've been dieting, but pretty unsuccessfully in the last year. And the past couple of weeks have really stood out. I eat what I'm supposed to, but I'm not sticking to things as closely as I should; substituting meals here and there as well as having snacks that aren't on the list. And I can't seem to stop it. I tell myself, "Don't do that." And the next thing I know I'm snacking. It sucks. I hate it. I don't think of myself as a stress eater, but maybe I am. I just don't know.

Work-wise, I'm stymied. I love the Green Ronin stuff, but my computer issues at home have really put a dent in getting my work done. (Thankfully I can use my laptop for some of that.) But my dayjob is so-so. I like the few people I talk to, but it's not like my previous workplaces. The work isn't really catering to my strengths and I find I'm filling more and more of my time with busywork from other people. It's fine and all, but I have a hard time keeping track of all the disparate requests so it's frustrating for me.

I'd like to find a full-time (not contract) job and I'm concerned that in the current market that it might take a long time. With my current contract ending in July, I have time to look, but they're saying finding something new will take about 8 months in this economy, so that makes me worry.

And it's not like I can just jump to any position, either. I have to make a certain amount of money in order to survive and it's not a small amount. So that concerns me too.

Anyway, that's all the crap that's been swirling around in my head lately and it's really depressing me. In a very real sense. I'm sad. I'm bummed. I'm sensitive about things that I shouldn't be. And it doesn't help when one person in a relationship is feeling that way.

I don't take the good things for granted, but all this other stuff is really affecting me negatively. I hate it. I want to feel better about my life, y'know?

Heh, I probably shouldn't write about this stuff here, but hey, it's my personal journal and it's important to me that my friends and family know where I'm at. Plus, it helps me to put this "on paper."

Gotta run.

Monday, November 10, 2008

WizKids: The End

I just had this announcement from Topps/WizKids passed along to me be Seth.

This makes me so very, very sad.

I wish I had some ability to do something about it. I'd love to take over some of those lines and turn it into a viable business again.

But, at the same time I'm thankful for the time I spent there. It changed my life. I moved to the Seattle area for that job. I loved working on the games. I loved the people I worked with. I advanced my career significantly. And I met my girlfriend.

I knew when I left two-plus years ago that it was the right time to get out. I knew I didn't want to be there for the (not-so-)long slide to failure, but it's still very sad to see it go away completely.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Started Last Night

I actually sat down to start writing this post last night, but then Julia and I decided to go rent some movies from the Hollywood Video near our home. They'd sent us a coupon for three free rentals, otherwise we'd never have done it. We ended up renting the newest Indiana Jones movie, which neither of us had seen, Sweeney Todd, and Baby Mama. (I may be wrong about the last one, but I know we talked about getting that because we both like Tina Fey.) When we returned home we watched the Indy movie. It was good and it would have been fun to see in the theatre.

As for the last few days, Friday night (Halloween) we wound up having Julia's parents over to watch a movie and take turns answering the door for trick-or-treaters. I think we had about five groups. The funniest part of the night was watching Shaun of the Dead with them. Julia suggested it because she (and I) love it, but once we were about 15 minutes in we were regretting it because of some of the language and the gore. It's funny how much of that we'd forgotten because we like the movie so well. Her mom couldn't handle it and started puttering around the house, but her dad stayed and watched the whole thing with me and even laughed a few times.

Saturday we ran some errands, including some shopping for the dinner later that night. Julia had a bunch of coupons from a "welcome to the neighborhood" kit, so we managed to get some really good deals. I think we saved about $40, maybe more.

I spent the afternoon working on a test for a potential new job. It was actually a lot of fun and I hope something comes of it. I mostly finished it on Saturday, but I kept thinking of things I wanted to change on Sunday, so it wasn't really done until I turned it in Monday morning.

Saturday night all of Julia's family came over for dinner. We'd planned to do something else with them that night, but it was cancelled a day or so beforehand, so Julia offered up our place for tacos and lemonade. Which is exactly what we had, then we played Uno a few times before everyone took off.

Oh, my games Saturday and Sunday were both cancelled, too, so no gaming for me this weekend -- except for Uno.

Sunday morning we tried a new dim sum place near Factoria Mall called Top Gun. Seth recommended it to me and we were excited to try it out since it's closer than the other places we like. It was a little chilly, but the service was fast, and the food was about as good as the other places we like. I'm sure we'll go again.

After breakfast we thought about buying a new phone for Julia, but ended up getting one from her brother that will work great. Since we were at the mall, Julia did a little more shopping, but didn't really find anything she liked, so we went home and relaxed for the afternoon.

And there you go. That was my weekend.

Now I'm getting set to head over to Seth's to run my superhero game tonight.

More soon.