Four posts in one month?! What is this madness?

I got a bear. His name is Bob. He’s ridiculously cute, and also rather large and very cuddly. He makes a reasonable spouse-substitute while I am by myself.

I spent a large part of the day re-reading old journal posts, and as seems to happen every time I do this, I keep feeling a sense of nostalgia for things that are no longer a thing. So here is a list of things that I wish still happened or miss or generally am thinking about.

  • I wish people still wrote long-form journal posts.
    I don’t really follow Facebook, but the few times I do sign in (mostly to send messages to people) and see stuff… it’s never in-depth and interesting the same way LiveJournal or Xanga or individual blogs were. I still read LiveJornal daily, and it’s still nice to see some people posting there, but it’s not nearly the same quantity or level of engagement it used to be. See also: I *can* go back and read through everything again years in the future. I don’t really think the quantity-to-quality ratio on Facebook is nearly good enough for that (even if you display just your own posts… if that’s even a thing you can do), and even if it was, you’re contending with the horribleness of Facebook around you just trying to read years into the past. (Also, I like being able to go back and read past years of other people’s journals. Really wish people still kept those.)
  • I miss the college environment.
    Not the classes, but the general “people are around and you can go to a friend’s room for board games any time.” I guess I’m super fortunate in that I have a lot of awesome friends around and we play board games a lot (every Sunday and Thursday for the last 3 weeks! :D), but it still feels somewhat different to have to schedule things. But board games are still awesome. (Photos from the last month of gaming have been posted to photos.)
  • I love being married.
    It’s amazing to have someone always around with you, even if you’re just sitting at your respective computers watching YouTube, or sitting next to each other reading. A lot of my older unhappy posts seem to involve feeling lonely, or wishing someone was around just so someone was *there*. And it’s really nice to not have to worry about that anymore. (Well, except for when one of us is on a business trip… like right now.)
  • I used to take much better photos than I do now.
    This is true of both portraits, and more abstract photography. I look back at things I’ve posted on my journal, and I just wonder how I’ve managed to get so much worse at photography, while being significantly more technically knowledgeable now. I guess I also miss college campuses for the ability to sit and watch (and photograph) the world… some of my best shots have been random outdoor things with (sometimes random, unknown) people, and that doesn’t really happen anymore in the world of 9-5, see-people-on-weekends, gaming-in-the-evenings adulthood. (For one, the lighting is much worse.) I wonder if I take photos more now out of some sense of responsibility, or fear of missing something important, rather than actually enjoying photography.
  • My laptop is 5 years old.
    And it has never had a reformat or reinstall of Windows. I’m actually really amazed it’s still running so well, all things considered.
  • I should work on card games again.
    RPG Get! still remains one of my more interesting concepts (especially the latest constructed-deck variant that has never gotten beyond some conceptual index-card cards), and I wish I had the motivation or time to dedicate to it that it deserves. But with life being what it is, I find I’d rather spend free time either relaxing with mindless things to destress from work, or with people doing things like board gaming.
  • Adulthood is weird.
    I guess I’ve been an adult for a while now. But it’s still really weird to me that my friends are all going to start turning 30 soon, and that we’re allowed (and have) so much responsibility. Sometimes it feels like I should still have someone excusing me to the bathroom… and it’s really weird when I start looking at things like buying a house, or booking plane tickets, or deciding to take vacation time. I guess I really like the freedom, but at times I miss the balance of freedom and decisions provided by college.
  • I miss #cslounge and SF people.
    It’s been a long time since I’ve really seen SF people outside the core gaming group that meets up with me every SF trip. Part of it seems to be that they’ve gotten so difficult to reach (no one seems to really use email anymore?), and part of it is that I”m never there long enough to have time for south bay. But there was a nice sense of connection and togetherness that came both in-person with clusterness and after-college with #cslounge that I guess I’ve stopped being as interested in, but still miss?
  • I used to play more video games.
    Primarily PSO, but also some random Gamecube and Dreamcast games. Video games have gotten so weird nowadays, I don’t think I’d be interested in them anymore, but I still feel some sense of nostalgia for the games I did play. I guess Kingdom of Loathing, at this point, is really the only thing I have time for though.

I don’t know. We’re closing on a house in less than a month, so I guess that’s a new chapter of my life. And while I think my life is awesome and I am super fortunate to be where I am with things the way they are, I still feel a sense of longing for some of the past.

This was a wall of text, so let’s close with some more photos from this month’s gaming.

All tokens on the same space in Trajan.

Steampunk Rallying. (I finished the game with a 1-card contraption, and was extremely close to blowing up. Yay bad planning.)

Immediately blocked from building where I wanted to in Kingdom Builder. Was trying to connect tiles for points, but other players got the terrain types and immediately played where I’d wanted to play. So that was sadness.

Waterrr, Photo Firsts (Maja, Russell, Ryan, Kartik), People Wars

So we’re watching Austin’s apartment over the summer while he’s gone, and as I am alone for a couple weeks, it falls to me to make sure things haven’t exploded and to move his car a bit so it isn’t unhappy.

So I go to do that today, notice his kitchen sink is smelling a little funky again, and run some water down it and run the disposal to clean it out. And… water everywhere! (I guess the drain pipe somewhere under the sink leaks…?)
Which would be bad enough on its own, except there’s apparently some water sensor under his kitchen cabinetry that started going off. Loudly. Loud enough to hear from the elevators with his door closed. So that was clearly not going to work.
Of course, given that Austin is currently in Japan, calling him was not an option. (Called Max and asked him to poke Austin on IM for me, but no luck there either. Sorry for waking you, Max. D:) Checked downstairs in case there was a maintenance dude or some office or something, but no luck there.
I tried finding the source for a while, and unplugging every plug I could see in case that helped. No luck, so I started tripping his circuit breaker circuits to see if that would do anything. Still no luck.
I managed to isolate the sound to a specific area of the cabinets, which happened to have a little access panel cut out, so I went to ask a neighbor for a screwdriver, got it open, and found the alarm. (And dried it off to shut it up.)

So that was my morning, which was rather “fun” for some sense of the word. I’m just glad Austin wasn’t super upset about it… apparently it’s done this before to him, and he was never able to identify why. But I guess I’m not running the kitchen sink again. (He gets back in a week and a half anyway, so that’s not an issue.)

Anyway, in entirely unrelated news, I figured photo stats needed more people I interact with regularly, so here’s photo firsts of four new peoples. Stats has been updated with them as well.

First photo of Maja: July 26, 2013 at the climbing wall, with Michael.

First photo of Russell: September 5, 2013 at Max and Yubin’s (for board games).

First photo of Ryan: September 24, 2013 at our apartment (for board games), with Austin.

First photo of Kartik: December 6, 2013 at the climbing wall.

In other other news, I’ve started some preliminary work on the next People Wars expansion: Juxtapositions. (It’s getting weird to come up with good expansion names for letters…)
The expansion is themed around “Dream” cards, which play for free (with no limit) and act like characters once in play, but are discarded at the end of the turn. They’re intended as powerful one-shot things, with more powerful attacks and more traits, with the tradeoff of taking up deck and hand space for a single turn’s benefit. Of course, there are effects that let them stay around and such too.
(Conceptually, they’re supposed to be alternate universe versions of people, if they had gone on entirely different career paths, taken different paths through life, or generally had different personalities.)

Here’s a sample card. Since it’s a new template (for a new card type), let me know if you have any opinions on it.

Ant Man, House, Life

I once again find myself on my own (this time for 2.5 weeks), and Max and Yubin once again rescued me from isolation by inviting me along to dinner and a movie.

Dinner was once again at Mitchell’s Fish Market, where my mussels didn’t taste quite as fresh as last time, but where one came with a surprise tiny crab inside it instead of a mussel.

(Apologies for the terrible photo. I think Yubin has a better one?)

Then we went to see Ant Man. I thought it was a pretty good movie (and only $10 this time since it wasn’t IMAX 3D). I haven’t really seen any superhero movies in a long time (I think the last one was Batman Begins or something like that), so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I guess they tied in to the rest of the Marvel universe pretty well?
But the movie itself was enjoyable, if a bit predictable. I liked though that the movie was mostly plot instead of the explody fighty scenes that I it seems movies these days have a bit too much of. And even the big fight scenes were done very well, and amusingly, because of the small scale of things. They also did a lot of comedic parts very well. Overall, a reasonably good way to spend a few hours. :)

On the house front, things are pretty much done other than the loan. Our “inspection response” was accepted, and since the sellers are not in the country and aren’t able to do any corrective work, appropriate credit was given. The house is now empty and ready for us to fill it with things as soon as we close.

So that’ll be fun adventures in October. We need to get some rewiring and brickwork done before we move in, so if anyone has recommendations for either of those things, that would be most excellent.

Life otherwise has been fairly uneventful. Work has settled down, and although we’re rather behind on the feature front due to a recent influx of bugs and security issues, it’s not being crazy like it was a few months ago. Board games continue to happen, which is awesome. I’ve gotten a bit back into Kickstarter again, although I’m trying to be more selective about what things I back.

Yay life and things.

House :)

life has been updated, since it’s again the end of a 4-month period. Yay life.

House is happening, slowly. We’re in the contingency period through next Monday, and it’s been a whirlwind of phone calls and appointments and papers to sign. I’m really glad I had last week off of work, because even then, I didn’t have a chance to go and do non-house related things until Thursday afternoon. (I guess a day and a half off when you take a week off isn’t too bad, when the rest of the week is buying a house. :P)

Today was the home inspection with the awesome Russ Kowalik, who I would totally recommend to everyone looking at buying a house. It was basically a 5-hour careful tour of the house, examining everything that could be wrong or problematic (inside and out) and pointing out the things that could, should, and must be fixed so we have things to ask the sellers for. He was really good at pointing things out and talking to us and giving us information, and was also extremely thorough.

The good news is that there are no structural issues or other huge dealbreakers. The inspector commented a lot, actually, about the great shape the house was in. Of the issues, I think the biggest ones for us are the lack of grounded outlets on the second floor (which we’ll need to fix if I’m going to work from home and plug lots of computer equipment in), and the potential mold in the walls from when the roof had previously leaked (which, yeah, needs to be dealt with).
Amusingly, the things that would be the most expensive to fix (third-floor air conditioner is dying, and chimneys need repointing) are things that probably would affect our day-to-day lives less, even though they probably do need to be done soon as well. (You certainly don’t want chimney bricks falling on the roof shingles…)

So yeah. House! With luck, the sellers will be reasonable about things and give us some credit so we can get things fixed. Closing is in October. Then we shall have an awesome dwelling and we can start filling it with things.

San Francisco, House!!!

I had a trip to San Francisco, with the usual week in Phoenix afterward. It was a nice trip.

The flight out connected through Dallas. Apparently it was the first Pittsburgh-to-Dallas direct flight (after the Wright Amendment expired and let Southwest fly the route direct), so Southwest did their usual awesomeness and decorated the gate, and handed out Texas-shaped cookies to everyone:

The trip itself involved the usual meeting up with people, and also an unusually high number of meetings. I was going from meeting to meeting to meeting most days, with a small break for lunch (with team members). But I think we got a lot of planning done, which was the entire point of the trip, so that was great.

Also there were randomly puppies at work one day, so that was cute.

The San Francisco to Phoenix leg of the flight hit a snag though. Apparently Las Vegas was having lots of rain and flooding and unhappiness, so the flight was delayed more than 5 hours. So that was fun. Vegas seems to always cause problems… the delay brought back unhappy memories of being stuck in Vegas for 12 hours.

More photos of the trip are here and here.

In any case, the big happy news is that we probably have a house! Our offer was accepted this evening on an awesome 5-bedroom house a couple blocks from where we live now, so assuming the inspection doesn’t turn up terribleness… we have a house!

This makes two houses that we’ve made offers on while I was not in Pittsburgh. At least this one didn’t involve trying to sign legal paperwork while boarding a plane and while on the BART from the airport…