Duck!!!, Renaissance wedding, games, race, Tartan, People Wars, and macarons (phew)

Life has been full of lots of awesome things recently.

In probably the biggest (ha ha) thing, a giant rubber duck is in Pittsburgh! It is super cute.

Greg, Eric, and I went to see it on the night it arrived, at which time they were throwing a huge bridge party for the duck.

Yay duck! I was actually expecting it to be much bigger (not having read anything about it beforehand), but apparently it’s only 30 by 40 feet. It’s still extremely awesome.

I think downtown is enjoying the attention the duck is bringing. Here’s Noodles & Co at Market Square that evening. It’s significantly more packed than usual. (The soda machine was constantly out of ice as well as many kinds of soda. And it’s one of those newer ones that has hundreds of varieties of soda and that makes its own ice.)

So yeah. Greg’s undergrad friends Eric and Dan were in town for the wedding celebration of Vicki and Brett. It was held at the Pittsburgh renaissance fair, which was an interesting venue.

Besides the usual wedding food and things, we had access to the fair with things like jousting (which turned into an “attack the good guy and force a ‘joust to the death’ tournament” thing), strength testing, hatchet throwing, arrow shooting, and fire manipulating.

Naturally, there were also board games.

In other recent board game funness, I acquired the Leaders, Cities, and Wonders pack expansions for the game 7 wonders. I also printed the official Catan board, the “official” Cupertino board, the official Stevie and Esteban and Louis leaders, and some boards from the fan-made Empires expansion. The result is an awesomely complex, awesomely large, awesomely 23-wonder-ful game that I am really enjoying.
(More photos of this, and other board gaming adventures in September, can be found here.)

This morning was also the Pittsburgh Great Race. Eric, Dan, and I went to watch Greg run.

The best outfit was a guy running in full Penguins ice hockey gear. Yes, including ice skates. (Word on the internet is that this is actually Tom7, who I actually know [but only in the ‘I have met him once or twice’ sense], so that’s awesome.)

There were also people with awesome signs cheering on the runners. (My favorites were “Worst parade ever” and “Why do all the cute ones run away?”.) They also cheered on the ambulance, police car, and bus at the end of the long line of runners, which was awesome.

There was also Tartan production today. The situation there is rapidly improving, which is awesome. Swathi is doing a good job as the new layout manager and leading a good group of layout staffers. The section editors have started getting their shit together (well, mostly). Papers are slowly (and sometimes painfully) becoming longer than 8 pages. Let’s keep going like that.

But in fun Tartan things, there was also a Kate tree constructed, which rapidly turned into a Tartan ed staff tree. It’s pretty awesome. (More photos of it, as well as general Tartan stuff from September, can be found here.)

I’ve finally started working on the next People Wars expansion, Flashback. It’s themed around PPA students (and general effects that look at the discard pile or add traits), and should be fairly interesting… but what’s getting me in making it is how amazingly young everyone looks.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised given I’ve been tracking this stuff on my photo stats page for years, but it’s still kind of weird whenever I actually go back and start looking through high school photos. Baby friends! ZMONGS!

Speaking of photos, June 28, 2014 will be the date when I’ll have been taking (digital) photos for exactly half my life. It’s kind of awesome that, in about 9 months, I will have over half my life documented in photos. I plan to keep up with my photo journal, so it should be an interesting adventure.

Last, but not least, a nice new French bakery opened in Squirrel Hill by Greg’s work. I stopped by and couldn’t resist getting some macarons. They’re a bit pricey at $2.25 each, but so very worth it. Their French bread is also very, very good.

Yay awesomeness.


I guess summer is coming to an end.

It’s been a fairly quiet summer, except for the trip out West. I didn’t really pay attention to the freshmen moving in this year, and didn’t bother with Playfair or House War photos. Meh.

I also kind of ragequit The Tartan (at least its senior staff) recently because I was unhappy about the way things were (or, I suppose, weren’t) getting done. Not much to discuss there. We’ll see if things improve.

I’ve been playing a lot of board games lately, which has been awesome. We recently got 7 Wonders (during a board game sale on Amazon), and I’m really wanting the Cities expansion now.
All the board games!

Ground Floor




7 Wonders


Thurn and Taxis

The basil plant cutting Yubin gave us has grown into a full plant, and yielded some tasty results.

Also the burgers finally happened. They taste disgusting, although they’re also a few months expired so that might be a contribution. Chris tried eating one of the french fries and had an unhappy stomach that night. (Whether those things are related are not, who knows?)

In sad news, Anna moved away this past weekend to start a job at the York Dispatch in York, PA. She’s doing copy and pagination for the sports section there, which is awesome for her. She had a going-away party where there was lots of Nertz and also Cranium.

Yay for life and people and games and things.

Wine, Tartan, Celïdiluh, and fun

life has gotten an update bringing it up to the beginning of this month. I had quite an eventful last month, it seems. But it’s also been an eventful last week.
(Also, because I was sick of referring to the sections as “stats” and “life proper”, they are now called “photo stats” and “photo journal”, which hopefully will be easier to refer to. So yeah… the photo journal has been updated.)

Besides the usual Thursday board games, we went to Yubin’s this week for a wine tasting (with 5 different cheeses and 4 different kinds of crackers), and it was pretty awesome. Yubin really knows her wines.

This weekend was also Cèilidh Weekend (AKA Homecoming) and so there was the usual chili cookoff. I wasn’t able to enjoy it as fully this year (had to work starting at noon, so I just grabbed a bowl of chili and a burger and went upstairs to work), but I got my mug, so I continue my streak of having every year’s mug.

Yesterday was also the opening of Vincent’s exhibit of photographs at the Trinity Gallery. It was kind of awesome to see… yay gallery shows by people we know!
(Photo kind of related… it’s bblum biking home on the way to the opening.)

Today was Tartan production. I had done a crossword for the paper last week, but it was a really crappy one. This week, Greg helped me and (after one failed attempt and a couple times of giving up) we ended up with a reasonable crossword that is reasonably dense and rotationally symmetric. Hopefully we’ll do even better next week with finding more common words.

Earlier in the week was a 66th monthiversary and an associated dinner at Point Brugge which has really tasty mussels (and reasonably good, but very oily, fries).

Life continues to be good. :)

I really should be pursuing more personal side projects, but I’m kind of a fan of this whole “fill my life with friends and events with friends”, so I suppose it’s not all bad.

Yay life

Life has been full of nice things lately.

I went out with Allison to the Brew Gentlemen and took photos, one of which was used as the front-page photo for one of the sections of the paper. (They used one of the ones where the people were out of focus though, so meh.) But yay for my first Pillbox cover photo.

We got some nice new glass tupperware to replace our random collection of plastic stuff. I feel much better about putting food into these and sending Greg off with lunch in them.

We got a new Carcassonne expansion that came with “giant meeples”. However, the meeples weren’t easily distinguishable from the regular ones, so we added smiley faces to them. Yay happy meeples.

We went to Dave and Buster’s with Yubin and Max to play Pump It Up. It was a lot of fun and good exercise (especially given that the ITG machine has been out of commission for a while). I also got my first full-perfect combo in any dancing game. The accuracy ratings in PIU are much, much more forgiving than ITG or DDR.

I’ve also been cooking more, which is generally an indicator that I’m happier. I made a huge pot of curry over the weekend, and have been making things like burgers, quesadillas, pasta, and salmon throughout the week. Nice things there include a nice hunk of romano cheese to freshly grate over pasta and lots of fresh vegetables (in salad or steamed).

I’ve also been eating a lot this week, which is a good thing. Food is tasty.

Tomorrow is (supposedly) the usual board games with Yubin and Max. Board games are awesome and playing them with awesome people is even more awesome.

I’ve been feeling like rewriting CMU adventures lately and continuing to build it. I just need to get motivated to write code outside of work again.

Yay life. :D

Tartan, games, People Wars, photo firsts (Owen, Charles, Mark, Justin)

Today was Tartan production. I was supposed to do layout for sports. What this meant, in practice, was staring at the intranet and its distinct lack of sports articles that were ready for layout. I did manage to get the first broadsheet page to copy though, but that’s because it was a page 3/4 full of ads, so I just filled the remaining 1/4 with a sports commentary and submitted it. Instead, I did some copy and some photography and did some early layout for the special section. Because, oh yeah, the TOC is this week. (I’m not going, thankfully… but this means that some awesome people are back in town and hopefully I will get to see some of them again.)

Afterward, Keith, Dan, Marina, and Owen came over and we played games.

I won the game of Ingenious against Owen in a tiebreaker… up until my last play, we were completely tied (lowest color at 9, next at 11, next at 12, next at 14, and two maxed out). I ended the game with a play that increased my third-lowest color by one and won the game. It was amusing.

Won the (very short) game of CMU Chrononauts when other people patched the timeline to my character’s desired state. It lasted less than four times around.

Lost the game of 6 nimmt to Dan by one point (16 to 17, with Greg in third place at 34).

Then I won the game of Bohnanza by tiebreaker (cards in hand). Dan, Marina, and I all had 14 gold and Owen had 13 gold.

So it was a night with many (very) close games, which was a lot of fun. Friends are awesome, and games are awesome, and I’m glad that games with friends are becoming a regular part of my life.
(There was also an awesome gaming marathon with people last weekend.)

There was interesting funness Friday night when there was a party celebrating Patrick’s successful thesis defense. There will likely never be photos posted from that, because yeah. It’s amusing to me how much grad students can act like undergrads when it comes to alcohol and partying. But there were board games at that too, so I have played lots and lots of board games this month (plus the usual Thursday board games at Yubin’s), and it’s not even 1/3 of the way through the month.

I’ve been working more on People Wars’ new expansion set: Exchanges. The theme of the set is effects that hurt you but grant some larger benefit (like reducing your hand size to 1 but letting you play more items each turn, or reducing work on tasks by 1 but not working when exhausted and letting other players use the character to play cards). I’ve been really happy with how People Wars is coming along… as a game, it feels more mature than its previous variants (PPA TCG, Student Wars), and I also feel like each expansion set has a distinct theme and feel.

In any case, it occurs to me that I never bothered posting the first photo I took of Owen, Charles, Mark, or Justin even though I added them to photo stats, so I should remedy this.

First photo of Owen:

November 2, 2007 in Scotland Yard (with Sully, Sam, and Josh)

First photo of Charles and Mark:

April 27, 2006 at the SCS BBQ (this was before I knew them; can you find them both?)
My first photos of them after actually meeting them were in San Francisco on July 12, 2009 and August 4, 2009, respectively.

First photo of Justin

August 31, 2008 in front of my apartment building (when he was coming over for games)