Vir's Archive

Friday, August 20, 2010

Babies, Names and Trains

Time to talk about life.

I met with my buddy Keeton last night and his wonderful wife, Jamie. They are cool people with a nifty new house (and nicely cut lawn, I do declare) up in Denton. A lot of my life was spent with Keeton in it, and it was great to see him again. We grabbed some beers, made a run to Sonic and watched a show I had never heard of called "Archer." Good times.

Holy crap, Archer was awesome. If you like dry humor, and know what I refer to whan I spell out: ATHF. Go see it if you haven't.



Aisha Taylor is the voice of Lana. Win.

My discussion with Keeton and Jamie (who have a beautiful little 5-year old girl) got me to thinking about stuff. Baby stuff. One, when asked if I was excited about the baby, I really wasn't. I was a little alarmed by that and thought rather than deal with my emotions - I'll post here (I am sure there is a psych evaluation just waiting to happen with that sort of narcissism). Two, its about time I posted my slightly curmudgeonly view on names.

Lets start with Excitement.

As many of you know, I am about to be a dad. The baby is due Sept 20. I get asked a lot about how excited I am. My answer is normally "meh." That response gets a lot of raised eyebrows.

Honestly, I am "meh" -- at least most of the time. I have been excited on and off throughout the last eight months, especially near the beginning when I was reading my daddy books and coming to grips with the changes that are to come. So why am I "meh" now? Because its hard to keep up that excitement for nine months. At some point along the way, I came to grips with my current situation - which is basically constantly in waiting with imperfect knowledge about a radically different future. I'm waiting for baby. I'm waiting to catch back up with Tracie. So, I am "meh" until the next stage, the birth, when I will get excited again.

I mean, all you hear as expectant parents is how much your life is going to change and how you can't prepare for the demands of the child. Okay. Fair enough. If I can't prepare, I am going to go into "meh" mode, preserve my energy and anticipation for the baby, and accept that I can't even imagine the changes. I'll listen to the advice, take what sounds reasonable, make preparations from that reasonable advice, and just stay as emotionally neutral as much as I can.

So, I'm "meh" for the time being. Once I am with Tracie, once the baby is on the way, thats when I will get excited. 'till then, I wait. Even then, a little "meh" to help keep us grounded and calm is probably a good idea.


Names and Blissful Ignorance.

People ask us if we have a name yet and what we will name the baby. I dont give the name. Why? Because if I give someone the name then they might tell me about how they had this jerk boyfriend or horrible girlfriend in high school and he/she sucked so bad. I dont want to know he/she sucked so bad and that they have lingering baggage with the name. Ignorance is bliss since I dont want to even have a hint of an idea that we should change the name -- no matter how horrible the person was. Tracie and I have finally found a name we like, and we are going to stick to it, come hell or high water -- and I figure its easier to keep it a secret now and avoid all the horrible stories that certainly exist with the name we chose. I know Tracie and me, if we hear the bad stories, we may actually change the name.

So, we keep the name to ourselves until after the birth (when, not coincidentally, I will get excited. see above). Tracie and I figure after the birth, when the baby has the name once and for all, its too late to make the change.


Trains.

When you have a baby on the way, you look at stores and what they have on the shelves differently. I notice strolers now - never did before. I see wet-wipes on the impulse buy shelf and think we should stock up. Yeesh.

I went to Toys R Us yesterday to buy a couple waterguns for the upcoming barbecue at my Dad's lake house tomorrow (win). What did I see there?



Holy crap! Baby needs that.

Hm. Now that I think about it, baby also needs one of these:





Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vacations are Exhausting


My break from the blog took longer than I liked - mostly because I have needed some time to detox. Its one of those truisms to life - vacations take work and can often be exhausting. Last night I went to a movie with my sister (Scott Pilgrim, go see it if you like 8-bit games) and when I got home, I basically passed out into a coma because my body was finally telling me to take a break. I woke after 11am.


Tracie is my Romona - with less funky hair.

Why am I so busy, you ask? Well, since coming home to Texas I am running between my Dad's house in Grapevine and my Aunt's house in Carrollton - trying to split time and spend quality hours with each. This means going out to eat a lot and generally having wonderfully long discussions on whatever. Oh and shoping. From Half-Price Books to Best Buy to JC Penny - I've been watching the bank account, but trying to the things that need to be bought (like Star Craft 2). I've also been catching up with my sister, who lives in Dallas (and is good enough to drive into the mid-cities), and playing on my new gaming laptop - and oh yeah, trying to find extra time to read the books I bought at GenCon. My mind is in vacation mode - so its having difficulty reconciling my constants state of tiredness.

So, yeah, tired on the vacation. Suck.

...

Lets talk sports. I had my second fantasy football draft this weekend. I got my college buddy, Rizwan, who lives in the area, to come over and sit across from me as we drafted - yelling jibes and smack at one another. I like to think I am okay at fantasy football, not dominant, but I routinely get into the playoffs in whatever league I participate. That said, I killed the draft last weekend. I know a good draft when I see it (usually, its not mine), but this last draft for our "Highway 82" League was sweet. Its a 16 person league, so talent is usually thin - but I got talent at each position.

QBs - Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez

RB - Michael Bush, Ahmad Bradshaw and Chester Taylor

WR - Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin, Josh Cribbs, Jacoby Jones, Michael Crabtree

K - Rob Bironas

Def - Johnathan Vilma and Barett Rudd


I expect to reap the rewards of a lot of this...

Okay, not so hot, right? Let me break it down for ya. Its a 16 person league, almost everyone has glaring deficiencies. My team (called the Gulf of Guinea Fail Whales) is moderately weak only in one spot - one "moderate" weakness is something I can certainly live with (and consider a major victory). The Fail Whale's nagging problem is RB, and I still have a solid amount of points to count on. Bradshaw will start, Taylor will get a number of carries, and Bush is a great upside player. My QB and WR corps is second-to-none... and my WRs are especially sexy because we reward special teams points (I am salivating at those punt/kick returns from Cribbs and Jones). Bonus -- the league is WR-friendly since you can start up to 5 WR (but only a max of 2 RBs). Plus, this is a QB-emphasized league (6 pnts per TD). Having one good QB guarantees at least a couple wins (and is absolutely essential to being competitive) - but I got insurance even if Romo gets hurt, which is normally the death-knell for a team because QBs become very scarce by week three in the league. To top it off, my core Def is awesome, with assured points for tackles and the possibility of some really big games mixed in.

I'm going to toot my own horn - in a 16-man (and woman) league, that is a very good draft. The thing that is going to trip me up is another very canny player (Andy) shocked the league and landed both Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson through an impressive trade for1st round draft picks. His problem? The rest of his team is either average or just plain bad. The last series of champions in the league all have had elite QBs - reinforcing my belief you have to have a good QB (not just an average one) to win. The guy with AP and CJ? He has Matt Ryan as his starter. Not bad, but certainly not great. His best WR? Anthony Gonzalez (and it gets a lot worse from there). Will two hoss RBs be enough to buck the trend and lead his team to victory despite having a middling QB (and in a league that de-emphasizes RBs)? I doubt it.


A bonus from the field museum trip - rodents back in the day had horns. Horns! How sweet is that? Gophers back then were metal. We totally got conned with horn-less gophers in the modern age. I mean, really, WTF?

...

Last Thurs my sister, Katie, totally got the hookup and managed to get us into a suite at the Cowboys preseason game against the Oakland Raiders (see how Michael Bush is now on my team?). The suite was, well, sweet. The game was good (though the Cowboys 3rd string lost to the Raiders 3rd string).

I love football. American (and Canadian) football. Here are some pics to express my love in pixels.


Apparently, Cowboy's stadium is known as the Death Star locally. It really is just about as big. Though I like to think of it as the"temple to football."



That's no moon!


Trying to give a sense of just how enormous that jumbotron is - and how large a stadium that can seat 100,000 in a comfortable 72 deg looks like.


Thats Tashard Choice in the backfield. He is quite good.


What is best in life? All-you-can-drink Dr Pepper, a ticket to use a suite, and a Cowboys game.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cowboys!

Taking a break today and tomorrow from the blog. I'm going to the Cowboys preseason game tonight and am hanging with my Aunt tomorrow - I'll try to take pics.

To tide you, my loyal readers, over I am going to add a 6th point to the things I miss while overseas:

6) Radio in the car. Man, its great. Just being able to listen and hear new music is such a treat - even the ads are fun for the first week or so.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GenCon AAR3: Texas Edition


Lets start with life stuff before gaming today, shall we?

Made it to Dallas yesterday eve. My dad was there to pick me up, and despite some wonkiness with plane changes, the luggage made it. My Sabol bag is starting to rip -- its over 10 years old, and has been used heavily the last few weeks, so I am not surprisecd. I am a little concerned, though. I think I might need to buy a new bag before I go back to Canada. The shoulder strap ripping in an airport is about the worst thing that could happen to the army. Ugh.

I got to play with Kali last night and today. Kail is my dog from Bangladesh -- I should take a pic of her. My dad takes care of her, so I guess she really isnt my dog anymore. Shes great, though.

Tonight is dinner with the rest of my family. Mexican at Abuelos. Sweetness.


So, as I have been reflecting on life in the States I thought I should add the top five things that I miss about the U.S. that I forgot about:

1) Pepperoni. Its nigh impossible to find American-style pepperoni overseas.

2) Convienance store drink selections. 'Cause, really. Its the greatest physical example of decadence. Lurv it.

3) Fast food. McDonalds, Burger Street, Taco Bueno, Burger King. It wins.

4) Television channels. Even basic cable is great stuff. If you think nothing is on with 65 channels, you have no soul.

5) English. Yeah, I usually like the challenge of operating entirely in a foreign language -- but coming home and reverting to English is a nice treat.


Okay, now to gaming. Here are some pics I have left-over from Privateer Press at GenCon. Thought you guys might like to see what the affinity jacks look like built and painted.


Affinity 'jack for Menoth.

Towards the left is Torch, the affinity 'jack for Khador.

Affinity 'jack for Cygnar = Kara sloan's new BFF.

Affinity 'jack for Cryx.

'Nother pic of Cygnar's affinity 'jack.

The Ret's affinity jack. (boo!)

More Menoth affinity 'jack. Two melee weapons looks nasty.

Torch. Chainsaw, AP fist, and a template. I'm happy. Plus, he looks badass.

Ret showcase.

Big Red showcase.

Cryx showcase.

Blue Goose showcase.

Bonus pic of the PP booth at GenCon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blood of the Exile

Here are some pics from the scenario games. The campaign was called "Blood of the Exile" and involved three parts. Apollo put together the scenarios and we are hoping to forward them to Privateer Press so that we can share them with the rest of the Warmahordes community.

Until then; here are some more pics from the campaign.


I'll post more pics from the con later this week.

GenCon AAR2: Chicago Edition



A quick panorama of one of our monster Warmachine games.

GenCon was a blast this year. My frinds and I started Nerdapalooza on Weds night and gamed through until Sunday. We had two rooms in the Westin, one of which was a suite, which made sure the number of people sleeping on the floor was kept to a bare minimum. Besides meeting the cool people I mentioned in the previous post, we got some great games in...

Heres a quick pic of the guys I call friends:


The Nerdapoalooza Posse: Apollo up front, Jacob tripping over him, Andy on the left with the sword, Jason is hiding behind Andy, Brad is the guy in back with the helmet, and I am the one in red on the right. Great bunch of guys, even if I do say so myself.



Jason, on the ride to glorious Indy.

On the gaming hit parade were:

The Aeon Mall game. You can see designer extraordinaire Ben Baugh in the back.

Aeon Mall (new Wild Talents setting of suiperheroics meets Paul Blart Mall Cop by Ben Baugh)


Go Go Monster Force Zeta!

Monsters and Other Childish Things (kids and their imaginary monsters save the world!)


The estimable Jerry Grayson giving us a turn at Hellas.

Hellas (epic Greek storytelling using science fiction trappings -- think Greek Legend meets Star Wars)


Brad and Andy playing one of our epic late-night scenarios. This was Brad's first go at Warmachine and he handled it like a pro.

The Great Vinter Escape! (a series of lined Warmachine/Hordes scenarios played over three nights). One cool things is that because of this blog, many of the Privateer Press people and Warmahordes gamers already knew who we were. "Oh! You are that guy from Africa!" or "Yeah, I saw the blog, that terrain looks amazing."

I usually try to limit my gaming and commitments during GenCon simply because having to run around means I miss other opportunities. This process has served me well. it let me concentrate on a few games, while still getting ample time in the dealers room, auction room, and eating.

The Krewe at our now-annual Sunday Breakfast to hand out awards and recount the Con. Apollo took the Master of ALL(!) coin because of his extra effort to make our Warmachine games great - he tutored Brad through the process, made all that fabu terrain, and generally kept things moving. When (not if) he becomes a Press Ganger, you will be well-served to play in one of his games. Jacob got the Loser McLosey Lose coin for not having a completely painted army (boo!).

Which brings me to my top five things to do to ensure a good GenCon:

1) Take a multi-vitamin every day.
Why? Because you are not going to get enough sleep and will eat like crap. A multi vitamin helps keep your body going and fight off the many sicknesses that other Con goers are carrying.

2) Wash your hands -- a lot.
Why? Again, its a hygiene/health thing. Gamers are not known to be particularly fastidious about their hygiene, so its up to you to protect yourself. Plus, getting sick during GenCon is a time-tested tradition for some gamers, dont be that guy.

3) No more than two scheduled events during working hours.
Why? You will never make more than two events and still have fun. Rather than run around and try to force in a bunch of events, slow down a bit, enjoy the con. Its worth it. Extra games late at night or maybe a seminar or two wont break you, but just schedule in time not committed to specific events.

4) Get a hotel near the convention center.
Why? Its so much happier to be able to go to the hotel and drop things off or pick things up right away.

5) Go with a friend.
Why? Like watching crappy Ed Wood movies, GenCon is best experienced with people you like.

***

As this blog is about things other then GenCon (say it aint so!) I should talk a little about my time in Chicago. First off, Chicago is a great city - especially during the summer. Lots to do and see. Great food. Nice mixture of humanity to watch and marvel at. Chicago is horrible during winter, but this is summer, so I could enjoy all that it has to offer.

Bonus Dinosaur Pics for those of you that made it this far. If you know me at all, you know I love dinosaurs (still). On the Monday after the Con, Jason, his wife Katherine, and I went to the Field Museum in downtown Chicago. Here are some of the results:

Before and after.

Paleontology as art.

Sue!

Chicago, on the steps of the Field Museum - it was a beautiful day.


Its more fun to push revolving doors with your face, as this young gentleman shows us.


Me, with the iconic ceratopsian.

I fly out from O'Hare later today. That means, by this evening I will be in Dallas with my family. I cant wait to see them. Burger Street, Abuelos, Taco Bueno, Krispy Kreme, and Sonic? Oh, gods, yes!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

GenCon AAR1 : Wrath Preview

GenCon was an amazing success. I am tired, but safely back in Chicago with Brad and Jason. Hanging out with my gaming buddies was a blast. It was great to see Apollo, Andy and Jacob again. The Westin was a good place to stay, and the food was reasonable. All in all, a great week.

The epic Warmachine campaign got lots of positive attention. Happily, I represented my fellow Khadorians well - playing with Karchev, Vlad and Irusk to victories. Many, many pics to come.

I did a lot of networking and got in some good games with people like Shane Ivery, Jerry Grayson, James Knevitt, and Ben Baugh... good stuff. Ben Baugh is as amazing a GM as you might expect. On Sunday I had a nice (quick) talk with Brennan Taylor (who, I discovered, sold of Indie Press Revolution). I also met Matt Wilson, Jason Soles and Simon Berman of Privateer Press who were all amazingly cool and supportive of our Skorne vs Western Immoren campaign.

With luck I drummed up a couple gigs to do some freelance rpg writing. I think its time to return to the fold.

By urgent request -- here are some pics for the Warmachine supplement previewed Saturday morning (on 3 hours of sleep). The book is due in "spring" of 2011 and will be called Wrath. The new affinity jack models were already for sale (I picked up Torch for Khador). Looks like we are all getting some very large models (yay!). Though the new Khador caster looks like he has a furry hat (boo!). I am holding out that the warwago will be pulled by bears. C'mon, PP, I need me some Khadorian war-bears of some type!

Without further comment:















Sexy, neh?