Life, hike, (hopefully lack of a) rant, and foo

It’s the end of another four month period, so life (both stats and life) has been updated. Yay more life. There are also some photos up at photos.

Things have been funness lately. Today we took a bus and the T down to the Montour trail for a 10-mile hike. The original goal was to hike it for 10 miles, to Clairton, then continue upward to McKeesport (another 5 miles) to catch the 61C home. However, we didn’t get to Clairton until after 5:30 and I was feeling really unhappy by that point (due to the heat, humidity, and dehydration from my stupidity of not bringing drinking water), so we caught the Y46 bus to downtown, ate at the Golden Palace Buffet that wasn’t a buffet due to the dinner and weekendness, and came home to collapse.

I have also now surpassed 300,000 tagged photos. Photoshop album reports 300,951 photos tagged. This is lower than the actual number taken, since I now go through photos and delete many before saving the rest (for example, today’s trip was reduced from the 261 taken to 181 to keep). But it’s still a fun statistic. The 300,000th tagged photo was of New House (Stever?) getting ready for House Wars.
In another fun milestone, my D90 has broken 100,000 tagged photos (100,874 right now). It should overtake my D50 (105,067 tagged photos before it died, after being repaired once) at some point in the next few months.
I’ve also been noticing how more (most, even?) of my photos are now taken portrait style, rather than landscape style. I think this was prompted by the template redesign of People Wars (where card photos are portrait style now), but it’s spilled over into my general photography. Not a bad thing, just something that amuses me. (Even my portraits used to be landscape.)
Speaking of which, I released the next People Wars expansion a couple days ago, and also added a way to list cards by expansion (since the old card database was only useful for listing by type). I need a good “E” name for the next expansion. Any ideas?

I got a raise at work. Apparently I’m doing good work. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it and it feels like I don’t get nearly as much done as I should, or as other people do. But apparently that isn’t true. I’m trying to work better (9-5) hours, given my habit of just working from when I wake up until the evening. So far it’s kind of working out?

KoL continues. The new challenge path (Zombie Slayer AKA become a zombie and eat brains) has managed to get me addicted to the game again. Currently nearing the end of my second run (with good luck, I can be done tomorrow. But this is rather unlikely.) and it’s enjoyable in the same way Boris was enjoyable… less fiddlyness, more of a sense of success after each run, and more being able to push my normal character abilities. The new IotM looks amazing too. Perhaps it is time to break into the horde of Crimbo meat I have to get one.

Not much else is happening. Life continues. Life is good.

New music lately includes Alexandra Burke (sadly not available in MP3 format in the US), Josh Gracin, and Alanis Morissette (which was free after my $3 album credit and $5 coinstar credit). I have managed to keep myself from spending much more money on Kickstarter lately. This is a good thing.

Greg has convinced me to get a bike. Being the sort of “meh whatever” person I am, I will probably pick one up at Costco the next time we’re there for food. We shall see.

I kind of want to write a rant about how “social justice” and content warnings have been turned into these horrible (offensive, in a way?) concepts for me because of things that keep appearing in my (few remaining) social media feeds. But I will refrain from that for now because it will not do anything productive and probably just get me flamed by everyone.
I understand and sympathize… really, I do. I just feel like people take things way too far sometimes and overreact, which in turn makes the entire thing something I am more inclined to disagree with. And, as a concept taken too far, it really clashes with my “personal responsibility” (or lack thereof in current society) view of the world.

Perhaps this has much to do with what I consider my general movement towards being more moderate and generally trying to be more understanding of differing views. …something along the lines of, “People that disagree with you are not wrong and are not unreasonable. They just disagree with you.” Which I suppose is also dangerous because it’s an absolute (yes, sometimes people are actually just “wrong,” like if they’re arguing that the Earth is flat), but it’s closer to what I feel than the opposite.
That part is what I alluded to at the end of my last post, but I still haven’t really figured out a way to put my thoughts into coherent words, so they shall continue being unwritten.

I’ll leave you on a more positive note with photos from today’s hike because I like photos and I like hikes and I like posting. Yay hike.






Food, Kickstarter, cards, and thou (but not really)

Life goes. Yay life.

I’ve started cooking again, which I think is a sign that I am generally happier. This is a good thing. Here’s a couple of the things I’ve made in the past few days (when I, unfortunately, neglected to get pictures of any of it). I’m still using organic and local ingredients when possible, so I made it all with organic chicken, organic eggs, organic carrots, and locally-grown zucchini. I feel like I’m eating better that way. Yay.

Chicken “Parmesean”

2 chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
1 egg
1c breadcrumbs
1/2 jar pasta sauce
1/2 box whole wheat spaghetti
4 slices of cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar)

Dip chicken breasts in egg, then liberally coat with breadcrumbs. Brown both sides in a skillet over medium heat. Move to a baking pan, top with a little sauce (not enough to even cover each piece) and place cheese on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve over spaghetti with remaining sauce.

Chicken and rice and veggies

2 chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 package frozen mixed vegetables
1c dry rice
1/2 zucchini, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
Spices to taste (I used an Indian Curry blend from Giant Eagle)

Cover chicken in spices and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Add frozen vegetables to rice with 2c water. (You can also add some herbs and it comes out very tasty.) Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for ~20 minutes until done.
Put carrots and zucchini in a bowl, add a little water, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes on high.
Serve chicken with rice and vegetables.

They’re both really low effort to make (throw stuff together and surf the web while it all cooks) and are much healthier than eating out due to lack of added oil, salt, and sugar.

In other, non-food news, I have been exploring the awesomeness that is Kickstarter recently. I’ve already pledged to three board games (all of which succeeded), and am contemplating pledging a fourth.

  • Ground Floor looks kind of like Puerto Rico, except it has elements of placement like Agricola, which are two of my favorite games. It also looks like it has a good theme.
  • My Happy Farm is a *lot* of fun, and I’m sad it didn’t get more support. I already received and played the print-and-play version, and it’s a very cute, very entertaining game that is a good time-filler while you’re waiting for people to show up or finish other games.
  • Pixel Lincoln looks like a very interesting deck-building game. I tend to like deck-building games (Dominion is good, Rune Age is better, and Ascension is… interesting), and this looks like a very interesting twist on one.
  • Currently looking at Flash Point, which Greg has apparently played at Yubin’s before, and which has excellent reviews online. Still I don’t particularly need to spend another $65. We will see. The only cooperative board game I’ve played previously is Pandemic, and I find that to be a little too fiddly.

Each game also comes with a lot of awesome extras (like Ground Floor coming with an entire extra game, or Pixel Lincoln coming with a bunch of extra cards), which makes supporting through Kickstarter more than worthwhile.

Also been starting up on People Wars again, after a hiatus following Carnival (and the last expansion). I always like working on my card games, and always find it interesting to look back at my card game history and seeing how they’ve evolved.
In particular, since People Wars represents the fifth iteration of the same basic game, it’s interesting to see how it’s been refined over the years (8 years now!), and to look at how certain things have worked (dual characters, storage cards, working on GPA/tasks) and other things haven’t (trigger text, group nodes, division of characters into primary affiliations).
I suppose it’s kind of sad, but I still consider the PPA TCG/Student Wars/People Wars game series to be one of my most fulfilling accomplishments. Sometimes I wish I had the skill (or luck?) to work on card games as a career, but I also enjoy my current job, and my current job probably pays the bills far better. (Likewise with photography, although I haven’t felt urges to do that professionally for a while.)

So yeah. This post has gotten far too long and contains far too many words. Have a picture of My Happy Farm

and a card from the upcoming People Wars expansion

Automation, cards, yay

life has gotten an update that brings it up to present day. Yay life.

I’ve also posted Tartan photos at photos.

While I was batching photos today, it occurred to me that I should learn how to write Photoshop scripts to do the watermarking and resizing for me. (Previously I had been using the standard Image Processor to resize, then watermarking manually.)
The result is this script that opens the watermark files, then resizes and watermarks all jpg images in the selected directory.
Yay scripts. Maybe someone will find it useful.

In non-scripty-Photoshopy news, I’ve been working a bit on cards for the next People Wars expansion, Celebrations.


I mostly just like this image. Josh is over 6’5″ and Jen is shorter than 5′, and it’s amusing to see them together. (Yes, they’re both standing up. Here’s what happens when he kneels.)

Their individual cards are also interesting because of the effects I gave them.

I think it’ll be interesting to see how these work out in the game.

Yay things.

People Wars

I started work on People Wars’ Booooth expansion today. I redid the templates slightly to give more room to the photo. I think it looks much nicer this way.


Investigations has also had a few new additions. I went through and screencapped the first episode of Torchwood today, so Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, and the first episode case have been added to the game. I should actually playtest the thing at some point. Anyone interested in helping?

Yay card games. Maybe I’ll get unlazy at some point and continue work on RPG Get!, which has pretty much been on hiatus since last January.

In other life things, Ben moved away last week for Seattle and his new job at Sage. It’s kind of sad since I’ve known him since my Sophomore year of college, and so few old people are left in Pittsburgh. He had a going-away party where we drank his random booze and ate his random meat.

I’ve been taking more photos recently (as shown by my photo stats). Perhaps I should take fewer photos. Although more photos means that I’m actually doing things, which I guess is good. Photoshop album tells me I have taken 276,797 photos since September 2000. Yay photos.

I’m glad the semester is starting up again… for me, it means Tartan on weekends and awesome Tartan people around for games.

Happy New Year

So it’s 2012. That’s not allowed. How does such a year even exist? :(

life (both stats and life proper) have been updated. People didn’t change much in the last 3 months, so the stats update isn’t terribly interesting.

Life has been full of new music lately. My purchases over the past month have included Mylo Xyloto, Break the Spell, Own the Night, Redemption, Clear as Day, Don’t Waste the Pretty, and Kelly Clarkson’s iTunes Session.
I probably should branch away from American Idol contestants (especially since I haven’t watched the show since season 2, and don’t really follow it). There’s a lot of other great music out there.

Did some more work with the Investigations card game. I revamped the rules a bit (so it’s less like Memory now, with a grid of cards laid out), and hopefully it’ll be shorter to play now. A preliminary (and currently incomplete) website for the game is up at http://investigations.alanv.org. If you have some time, read over the rules and let me know if they make sense. :)

This break has been way too short. More time to vegetate needed. :(