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.


I had a Christmas. It was awesome. It was filled with lots of board game playing, as I’d ordered Zooloretto, Love Letter, and Viticulture: Tuscany and they arrived over the break. There was also plenty of Bohnanza, Bananagrams, Carcassonne, 6 Nimmt, Uno, and Ingenious. For Christmas we got 7 Wonders (to replace our old water-damaged set), the 7 Wonders Babel expansion, and Splendor, which was added to the mix of games.

There was, of course, the usual cookie decorating. Channing and I made poop cookies. Here’s my two:

I also did some rather untraditional present wrapping:

So it was a nice, relaxing week. More photos are at photos.

We also made some progress on wedding things. We went with the awesome Chris and found our bridesmaids’ dresses.

We’ll be spending the next week working on our invitations and doing more wedding things. So whee.

Thanksgiving, KoL, wedding

KoL goes interestingly. The challenge path that ended the middle of last month was Heavy Rains, which I found to be a very interesting challenge path. I hit my first non-BIG 3 day runs, got my first sub-700 turn hardcore run, and generally was doing well with the path. Then, when I discovered I was actually on the leaderboard for path dedication, it became somewhat of an obsession. I chained 3-day runs repeatedly, so I was ascending every 2 days. I kept it up even while I was in Chicago for Ben’s wedding. It got to the point where I was no longer ascending because I enjoyed it, but because I felt like I had a responsibility to keep doing so.
I guess I get a little overly obsessive at times.
On the plus side, the 34 Heavy Rains runs I ended up finishing netted me a ton of Beautiful Rainbows, many millions of meat, and a ton of karma such that I have now permed every Accordion Thief, Disco Bandit, and Sauceror skill, with plenty left over.
I’ve already completed two of the new challenge path, Picky. I didn’t find it as annoying as I was expecting, even though I definitely felt the lack of skills at times. I think the skills I should always take are
Advanced Saucecrafting, Pastamastery, Transcendent Olfaction, Cannelloni Cocoon, Smooth Movements, Saucemaven, Phat Loot Lyric, and Sonata of Sneakiness. The other stuff depends on the class you’re running; you can buy a lot of useful skills in-run.
Max has also started playing, so it’s really nice to have someone I can talk with about the game. Hopefully he will stick with it.

I’ve been watching House ever since Amazon had a sale on the complete series ($60!). I’m currently on season 6, and while the show has gotten a bit formulaic, I can see why it won so many awards. It’s one of the most well-written shows I’ve ever watched with awesome characterization. It does a good job of blending the mystery-of-the-week in with the storylines of the main characters and holding viewers’ interest while doing so. Highly recommended, if you haven’t seen the series and are considering doing so.

I had a Thanksgiving. It was nice, both because of the lack of work and the abundance of people, food, and board games.

Thanksgiving was followed by Black Friday, which we avoided. But it meant lots of nice online sales, so we were able to buy board games and custom cards for our wedding for cheap. We ventured out on Saturday when the stores had calmed down a bit and also got some more supplies for our wedding invitations. Also picked up some TV shows on DVD I’d been eyeing for a while. Spent a good $300 or so, but it was all stuff I had been wanting or needing anyway, so that’s good.

Wedding planning is going. We got all of the save the dates sent out, and have received some responses already from people (despite not having sent out formal invites or having an RSVP system set up yet). It looks like it will be fun times. We’ll start work on the actual formal invitations soon, so that will be lots of fun.

ITG, 7 Blunders, BBQ, and Keith Manor

Life has been full of stuff recently. In roughly reverse order:

The ITG machine at the storage facility in the South Side exists, and it is awesomely full of charts I love. In the year-ish absence from ITG, it seems my reading has not suffered at all but my stamina is gone. I can’t even make it to the jacks in Perfect Cherry Storm anymore, and probably generally can no longer pass an 11 (although I didn’t try). The fact that the place is a small, enclosed space with no cooling other than fans probably doesn’t help either.
It’s good to have ITG machine access again, even if it means a bit more work than previously to access.

7 Wonders is one of my favorite board games, and it gets played around once a week. I already have the Leaders and Cities expansions, as well as the promo leaders, wonders expansion, and extra fan-made boards from board game geek (for a total of 23 wonder boards). We decided to try a variant of it last games night that Max affectionately titled “7 Blunders”. The goal is to get the lowest score possible, but you’re subject to the 2-player-style rules where you can’t sell a card unless you are forced to, cannot buy resources if you could make them yourself in some way, and must build for free if you can. It makes for a very interesting game, especially depending on whether your wonder gives you lots of points or not… do you save the wonder stages for burying large-point-value age 3 cards, or do you take care of them early so building is harder for you due to lack of resources?
We’ll certainly play it again and see how that goes.

Chris and Rob hosted a last-minute Memorial Day BBQ, and it was tasty.

In other other things, Keith’s kitchen is sad. His ceiling had been cracking (I guess one of the screws holding the ceiling up came out or something…?), so we spent a Saturday helping him remove his kitchen appliances and stripping the wallpaper from the room (which ended up being quite the experience due to the painted double layers of wallpaper, going as far as 4 layers deep at the top where there was trim). Apparently his ceiling came crashing down on Monday (which was the alternate day for wallpaper removal), so it was a good thing we did it when we did.

Also here’s us being crazy after midnight at IHOP, attempting to recreate various bad stock photo scenes.

Emily, Card games, Kickstarter games

Emily has complained that I don’t post photos of her anymore, so here are Emilies. Lots of Emilies. Alllll the Emilies! Bouncing Emilies (assuming your browser supports the good old <marquee> tag)!

Click them… if you can. They get bigger.

Life goes. Not much else has been happening. Photos from my San Francisco trip have been posted to photos. It was really good to see Patrick again (in a context that wasn’t the formality of his wedding).

Before I left for SF, I’d ordered some card games for myself (kind of as a belated birthday present), so it may be time to update this list of card games I own. Key is the same as before.

  • Game of Thrones TCG
  • Lord of the Rings TCG
  • MegaMan TCG (Yes) (C)
  • Sonic X TCG (Yes+)
  • Star Wars: Young Jedi CCG
  • World of Warcraft TCG (Yes)

I’m finding it harder and harder to find rulebooks online for many of the games I have, including .hack, the X-Files TCG, and the Fullmetal Alchemist TCG. I’m wondering if it makes sense to enhance my TCG site to compile information on some older games I play as well… things like rulebook scans, starter deck card listings, and general game info. Meh. I can’t really be the only person who still plays some of these CCGs, can I?

Stonemaier games came out with with an expansion to Viticulture called Tuscany. It’s on Kickstarter now, and if you’re into board gaming, I recommend it.
Unfortunately, this means I’ve been dragged back into Kickstarter. In addition to the recently ended character meeple campaign (adorable Dargon the Dragon meeples!), I also found an awesome card game named POOP (yeah, perfect game for me :P) and an interesting dinosaur-based deckbuilding game called Apex Theropod. Still not quite sure what to do about the last one, as it’s reasonably-priced at $38, but my gaming group (and Greg in particular) tends to shy away from deck-building games. But it’s so, so pretty.

I haven’t really made any progress on People Wars lately, since I’ve been doing things 3-4 evenings a week during the week, and Saturday has been declared computer-free day in an effort to do something other than stare at a screen. (I spent most of last Saturday reading books, which was dubbed “cheating” by Greg, so I suppose future Saturdays will involve more things outside the apartment.)
In any case, I’ve reworked the newest set, Hijinks, to be themed around Rock Climbing instead. And similar to how lots of interesting conversations happen and people from different fields mix and mingle, the “Climbing” faction in the game will be themed around “Route” cards (similar to Kiltie characters and Cheer cards) that boot task scoring. We shall see how that works out.

Yay life.