Hey, whassup?

Long time, no write, I know. It's not just that I've been busy (although I have), but I've also been fighting off some depression and other issues, that, well, when combined have led to a decided lack of posting.

Well, I'm gonna try and buck that latest trend. Part of that is because I do enjoy writing somewhat, and part of it is my hope that getting some things out, even if it's just in here, will help improve the overall mindset.

And with that...on with the Bullet-Point-List-Of-Doom!
  • Me: Generally speaking, doing better than in my last post. Right now, I'm tired, but a lot of that has to do with the last 4 days or so (which I will explain later). I'd venture to say I'm losing some more weight based on the fact that I have to cinch my belt tighter of late. I also think I need to get back into my vitamin and supplement routine. It will help on a number of levels.
  • Family: The kids are doing well enough. They've been in school for a few weeks now and are more-or-less back in the routine of not wanting to get up or do homework. [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 and some of her friends are starting a "study group" which will meet at our place on occasional Saturdays. This was their idea, they came up with it, I'm just helping to implement. [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0, however, is a different story. Up until the 11th, the pain in her arm from the herniated discs in her neck had been generally under control. Sunday the 11th, however, brought with it pain equivalent to what she had been experiencing before. She saw the quack on Thursday, who jiggered around the meds. Now we have to wait and see if they work.
  • Work: Well, it is what it is. The contract ends Dec. 31. I will be surprised if my current company is signing my paychecks come Jan 1. I expect that most or all of us will be here then, however.
  • What we've been doing: Well, since Origins, we have:
    • F. spent a week at camp with the Cub Scouts
    • Hosted the Annual Independence Day Suburban Charred Meat Festival
    • Seen the Bowie Baysox
    • Shipped the kids to their grandparents for a week
    • Drafted multiple fantasy football teams.
    • Attended 2 back to school nights.
    • Helped run 2 conventions (and prepped for both on the nights of the aforementioned back to school activities).
    • Spent NFL Kickoff Sunday at [livejournal.com profile] stoooooooo & [livejournal.com profile] ginabeth's.
    • Spent way to much time dealing with repairing my car.
    • And too much $$$
    • Went out with old friends from college for dinner and drinks one night.
    • Moved a bunch of furniture that belonged to [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 from her brother's place into our condo or into storage.
    • Attended/helped with "Back to Scouting" night.

    Doesn't sound like much, especially over 2.5 months, but trust me, that layered onto the regular stuff is a lot.
  • What's coming up: Not a whole lot at the moment. We will be visiting Long Beach Island in mid-October. Bridget & her friends want to co-host a Hallowe'en party at at our condo. [livejournal.com profile] luvmomh's birthday is coming up, as are the birthdays of [livejournal.com profile] ginabeth, [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0, and Kelly. Football & gaming. Gotta decorate the outside of the condo for Hallowe'en. Fun stuff!
  • Das Auto: My fracking car. Since Origins, I have replaced the fuel pump (after it died on me while on the DC Beltway), had the gibbering baboons who fixed the pump fuck up the fueling neck and vent (which has yet to be repaired, although they allegedly have the parts in now), and had the ignition cylinder replaced after it was ripped out of the steering column. Lotta money dumped into that thing. Grrr.

That's all I got for right now.

I remind you all to have a good day. The very fact that you woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning makes it a great start to a good day.
Did you know that there's only 5 days left to pre-reg for TCEP 18?
$30 adult/$15 youth until 7/31! http://barkingmad.org

New this year at TCEP 18 : Official demo staff from AEG will be on hand to teach people Thunderstone, Nightfall, and others!

I'll be running the Arneson/Gygax Memorial Dungeon Crawl, as well as another RPG event for the younger guests! Our Game Room Staff has all kinds of stuff scheduled, including several "In It To Win It" events, where the winner gets the game! Combine all this with the best con suite around, good food & good people, & you have the best 4 days of gaming & fun in the DC Area!

So go now and register by Sun, 7/31 & get the pre-reg rate of $30 for adults, $15 youth

http://barkingmad.org

Tell your friends!
Another glorious day! Today, the kids & I had a 9 am session of the "D&D Boardgame Challenge". Our hope was to be able to play Wrath of Ashardalon, as we own Castle Ravenloft. We did get to play it, fortunately, but died as a result of Ashardalon, the big frikkin red dragon, finding us before we could complete our mission. We had fun, regardless.

After that, it was time for me to get into the annual Nuclear War game. It was fun to see a number of the same people playing again, picking up the fun where it left off. The tournament was decided in the final round at my table; it came down to one other player and myself. He had ~5 million more population than I did, and that made all the difference.

I had reserved Saturday afternoon for me to wander the dealers area and talk to companies to either thank them for their support of TCEP or to see if we could get demo reps or prize support for TCEP. I talked to some folks, but I don't think anything will come of it. That's life, i suppose. I met the rest of the family before they went to play in the last "Andy versus Everybody" event, then went to rest for a bit. Got up to meet the family for dinner, and [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 and I went off to play in our annual Mutants and Masterminds game.

As usual, we had a blast. [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 played Siren (Think Aquaman, but female and useful) while I again took on the role of Raven (Think Batman's daughter following in his footsteps). I played it again because I enjoy the character, I play "Batman" well, and I like figuring out how to use my talents and skills to take supers down. We've run with this GM before, and he always cautions the players that it can be tough to play the "Batman" and "Green Arrow" equivalents. OTOH, he loves it when I play Raven.

This time was to be no exception.

Without boring everyone by going into details, one of the high points for everyone was when Captain Thunder (think Captain Marvel with electrical powers added) and Raven snarled at each other for a good 5 minutes. If you can visualize the DCAU Superman (after having been depowered and spending 6 months in hard labor, watching the people he'd sworn to protect be transformed into faceless soldiers) and Batman (who has been leading the underground resistance for those same 6 months) snarling at each other, you've got what we had at the table. The GM was wishing that the designer of M&M, Steve Kenson, was there to watch this.

Long story short: we saved the day. With a lot of heroics along the way.

Well, after all was said and done, we went back to the room to hang out with everyone one last time this year. Another evening of fun and drinks was had by all.
Well, [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 and I had a session of Fury of Dracula at 0900, so we got up, scarfed some breakfast, and found our game. Sadly, we did not defeat Dracula, as he was able to evade us by one of his cards just as we had him pinned. [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 was getting a little bored by the end, but I think that everyone getting up for drinks or whatever near the end had as much to do with that as anything.

We ate some lunch, then [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 & [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 went off for their final Witch Hunter game, while F & I cruised the dealers room some more. He picked 2 booster boxes of Beyblade cards and some other stuff, while I found a box of Gregory Horror figure boosters and some possible adventures for the gaming group. Once we got tired of cruising the dealers room, we checked out the board game area to see if any demos were going on. Got to sit in on a demo of Thunderstone, which I had a blast with. F sat next to me, happily going through his cards.

The ladies finished their game long before the scheduled end, so they came over to say "Hi". They ended up going up to the room while I finished the demo. About the time I finished, it was time to head over to BD's Mongolian for dinner. And it was, as usual, delicious. Our server was a bit...surly. The bigger problem ended up being that one of the other MiB's lost his hat and bag while at dinner, which had, among other things, his glasses in it. This was not cool.

The rest of the evening was spent doing a little laundry and hanging out with people in our room. Not much to tell there, save that there was much laughter and fun to be had.
And so here we are at the end of day 2 of Origins 2011.
cut for probable length )
Yes, once again, I'll be trying to keep a nightly log of the day as I saw it. How successful will I be? Who knows...
Cut for probable length )

Howdy Hey!

Jun. 1st, 2011 03:53 pm
So, hi there!

Hope y'all haven't missed me too much. Yeah, I know I go through bursts of writing. Thing is, the number one place I'm used to writing at is work, and work has had the nerve to keep me busy of late. So anyway, here I am, fingers to keyboard, updating this silliness.

Me: Doing well, overall. I really need to go to bed earlier than I do. This is more a factor of my needing to put aside the fun things I'm doing and get some sleep. But they're fun, dammit! Starting to get psyched for Origins.

Family: [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 had her MRI last Friday, and had it interpreted today. Seems that there are 2 herniated discs in her upper spine, one much worse than the other. This is what is causing the pain in her arm. The doc wants to try cortisone shots first for pain management, but is thinking that surgery will probably need to happen at some point. Meanwhile, F is on a class field trip to St. Mary's City, MD today, and [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 is preparing for her end of year choral concert.

The Last Two Weeks: Well, lessee, Since I last update 2 weeks ago, there hasn't been too much going on. The kids & I went to NJ last weekend for the annual family Memorial Day picnic; [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 had to stay in MD for work. In a way, it may have been just as well, as she had a chance to relax somewhat without us being in her hair. It was good to see everyone, however.

Coming up: Well, it's the end of the school year, so things are getting busy. Have a cub scout pool party this Friday, maybe a Pathfinder session on Sunday, plus I'm stickin' by my cell phone in case a friend needs an ear to rant in or a shoulder to cry on. Yeah, I have someone specific in mind, and no, I'm not gonna mention a name, because they know who they are.

Monday is the final choral concert for [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1. The following Saturday, there's the Book Release Shindig for [livejournal.com profile] punkwalrus's book Trolley (which I will be at, [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 will be attending a friend's Bat Mitzvah in the AM, and then a party for the young lady that night at Shadowland in Gaithersburg. [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 will take her to that, and then she and F will see a movie. That Sunday is a Barking Mad/TCEP meeting. The kids are out of school on the 16th, and will come to work with me on the 17th for "NOAA Family Day". We may go to NJ to attend a graduation/birthday party on the 18th; this will depend greatly on available $$$, since we leave for Origins on the 22nd.

We come back from Origins on the 27th. On the 28th, there is the annual 4th of July shindig at my mother-in-law's country club, which we usually go to. On the 3rd, we take F. out to his Webelos scout camp, where he'll be for a week.

And the 4th is the Annual Independence Day Suburban Charred Meat Festival.

We're a bit busy.

Conventions: Well, I'll be at Origins, TCEP, and Intervention. I'm trying to make sure that [livejournal.com profile] mouseling1 & [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 get to Otakon.

I am, at the moment, a bit annoyed with Origins. For the next two years, they are going to hold the convention the weekend after Memorial Day. Now, I don't know what went into this decision, though I suspect a lot of it was financial. I do think that this is going to be a Very Bad Idea. Now, I know that there are some school districts that are already out, but a lot of them are in school until June, and that means that parents like myself are going to be unable to go. This has become a family vacation time for us, but I can't justify pulling them out of school for it. And I've seen a lot more people opposing those dates than approving of them (at least on the Facebook community). I have a bad feeling that this might sink them financially. We'll see.

We do have alternate vacation plans in the works, however. One that will have us visiting sunny Orlando, FL in the spring of 2012, and Indianapolis in the summer of 2013. heeheehee

Gaming: No tabletop since last I wrote, though I have gotten Ticket to ride for the iPad, as well as all available maps. And there goes days at a time... ;-) Done some WoW, I've managed to get my Archaeology skill maxed out. Turns out that it's a good skill to work on during Laundry night. Find bits, fly to new place, fold laundry while in flight. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I think that's all I got for now.

I remind you all to have a good day. The very fact that you woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning makes it a great start to a good day.

Peas. Out.

Convention Countdown
Origins: 20 Days!
TCEP 18: 124 Days!
Intervention: 138 Days!
Hey there! So, how the hell are ya?

I'm doing fairly well. Getting over a cold that my son brought home. I love my kids, and I'm so proud that they freely share. I just wish they'd stop sharing their mini-plagues with the family.

*sigh*

Anyway, here I am and there you are and here we are and isn't it a loooooooovely day! OK, no it's not, given that it's cool and rainy. But we need the rain here in the DC area, so I can live with it.

So, not much has happened since the last time I wrote in here. We went to AnimeUSA for Friday & Saturday. [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 & B had a good time wandering around and going to various panels. F & I kinda camped out with a bag of games and played them with each other and random passers-by. Played/Taught several rounds of Castle Ravenloft. Also played Ninja vs. Ninja, Munchkin Impossible, Frag! Gold, and one or two other things. Had lunch in the Maid Cafe. We left around 7 on Sat because I was really starting to feel run down.

I have to say that I saw only a minimal amount of body-inappropriate outfits at AnimeUSA. This is a good thing. I had a longer writeup, but decided to cut it because I know y'all don't need that. The only one that disturbed me a bit was the dude dressed as some anime chick who had long, dark, curly chest hair poppoing up over the top of his bra. Looked like some sort of cthuloid tentacle thing waving around in the breeze.

Watched the Sam Kinison Tribute on Comedy Central Sat night. The man still makes me laugh after nearly 25 years.

Watched my beloved Philadelphia Eagles lay the smackdown on the Redskins last night. It was...painful to watch at times. Loved Sonny Jurgenson's line "They were Vicked".

Need to finish up Thanksgiving shopping on Saturday. Need the fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and other stuff.

Actually, I need to put up a Do-List for myself. Get my shit together.

But, before I do that, I want to take a moment to remind all of you of why we do this. Yeah, the food is good and the pies better, but this is a time for family and to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. In all the hustle and bustle, let us not lose sight of that.

I remind you all to have a good day. The very fact that you woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning makes it a great start to a good day.

Peas. Out.
Yeah, I lost track again. Go me. :rolls eyes:

To be fair, I have been busy since last I wrote here. Like, wrote for real.

How busy? Well, I'll detail that...
under the cut )
Sorry, you warm weather lovers, but the summer is drawing to a close, and with it begins my favorite season of the year: Fall. YAY!!!

But hey, how are ya? Hopefully doing well, or at least reasonably so.

So, let's get this party started with some...
  • Administrivia: Please give a warm welcome to the three newest readers of this little slice of insanity: [livejournal.com profile] rusty_chevy, [livejournal.com profile] nyxalinth, and [livejournal.com profile] adelheid_p, all of whom honored me by choosing to follow me after reading last weeks rant. Pull up a chair and help yourself to somethin' to drink. I generally suggest that people read this post if they want to know more about me.
  • Me: Doing pretty well at the moment. I keep waking up in the morning, so I keep having a succession of good days. With the kids being in NJ last week, we managed to get a number of things done, even though we didn't get *everything* done we wanted to. Wouldn't mind a nap right now, though.
  • Family: Well, the kids aren't ready for summer vacation to be over. Yeah, who knew? They are ready, however, from a school supplies perspective. Have been since the end of July. [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 is doing pretty well as well. And the change in the eating regimen has definitely made a difference in our waistlines.
  • Work: Well, tomorrow is the Project Manager's last day...definitely a case (as [livejournal.com profile] stoooooooo put it) of "Addition by Subtraction". And we're in the middle of our re-accreditation (sp?). Plus our normal work. Busier than a one legged man in a ass kickin' contest, that's for sure.
  • What's happened since last we talked: Well, let me think. Got ready for 4 Fantasy football drafts, packed the games for TCEP 17, Cleaned, packed the car, watched The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, went to NJ, drafted one Fantasy football team, celebrated Dad's birthday (and F.'s 1/2 birthday), came back to MD, saw Great Big Sea, drafted a second Fantasy football team, started prepping materials for my two RPG's for TCEP 17...and here we are.
  • Ordered Castle Ravenloft Board Game; should hopefully be here in time for TCEP 17. Maybe play Friday night after dinner?
  • Starting to look at replacing the Trailblazer. In an ideal world, would replace with hybrid SUV, as [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 does a fair amount of driving for her job, and needs, at times, to haul largish and/or heavyish items to her buildings as well as be at them in bad weather. Hybrid to save gas $$$, SUV for everything else.
  • So, what do I need to do in the next few weeks?
    • Finish editing Marvel Super Heroes event for TCEP 17
    • Finish preparing Ghost Tow adventure for the 3rd Annual Gygax/Arneson Memorial Dungeon Crawl for TCEP 17
    • Make foldy name cards for both games
    • Get con bins sorted & repacked.
    • Pick up prize for Marvel Super Heroes event
    • Get bins over to storage
    • family photo on Saturday
    • get kids packed up for school
    • breathe
Think that's all I got for now.

Remember: You woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning. By definition, that makes today a good day.

Peas. Out.

Convention Countdown
TCEP 17: 11 Days!
Intervention: 18 Days!
Anime USA: 81 Days!
Oh yeah, this is gonna get ugly. Fast. Don't click if the language offends.

Icon and title are not directed at the f-list. I believe in you people, and your common decency.
Uncle Grayhawk on a rant )
So, I spent a day at GameCon 2010. It's a small game convention held in Aberdeen, MD. Website to be found here.

Hm. This got long )
Short version: People came, they played games, they ate fresh bread, they had fun. By any standard, this makes it a success.

Long version: This will be placed behind cuts.
Thursday )
Friday )
Saturday )
Sunday )
Monday )
Random thoughts about the Con and the games I played )
And that wraps it up. Hope to see everyone next year for TCEP 17: One Night In Laurel
Hi folks. How are ya.

Me, I've been busy.

So, let me drop this thing into the Bullet List of DOOM format
dropped behind the cut )
OK, I have things to do and people to beat. TTYL.

Remember: You woke up on the proper side of the grass this morning. By definition, that makes this a good day.

Peas. Out.

Convention Countdown
TCEP 16: 2 Days!
Yes, ladies and gents, we here at Barking Mad have just confirmed that we will be playing host to a Live Action Murder Mystery event at TCEP 16: Craig & Tad against the World Crime League!

For as long as there's been a New Orleans, there have been rumors about what lurks in it's shadows. Is that the baying of a werewolf? Did I see a glint of fang in that woman's smile? Come and be a part of our Murder Mystery and find out for yourself!

This event is for 20 players; signups will be in the game room at TCEP.
And the idea was inspired by today's Dork Tower:

I need to create a handle that one can attach to a 2 liter bottle.

I need to make it in 2 versions - a disposable version that uses an adhesive to hold the bottle, and a non-disposable version that straps onto the bottle and can be reused.

I could sell these by the case at conventions...

DAMMIT I need time to sketch these products out. I don't have any...
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! The time is drawing near for TCEP 16: Craig and Tad Against the World Crime League - now in it's 16th year of being the best 4 days of gaming, relaxation, and fun in the greater DC area!

Who are we? Just a bunch o' people who get together and share good food, good times, and loads of GAMING! It's a very relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of space for people to bring their own games and find others willing to play them!

On-Line Pre-Registration: Is back! Although the old web team was devoured by shoggoths last year, we have been able to retrieve their notes (don't ask how). The website is up and running at http://barkingmad.org

LARP: Well, we had one, but Life (tm) has found a way to sink it's hooks into the people running it, and so again, its being put on the back burner. We're in "negotiations" for another one. Information will be forthcoming if it happens.

Games: In addition to our usual wide variety of events, we will be running the E. Gary Gygax/Dave Arneson Memorial Dungeon Crawl. As always, we'll have plenty of space for pick-up games!

Saturday night will feature our 4th annual Charity Poker Tournament to benefit The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, The Center for Basic Cancer Research at Kansas State University, and The Mazzy Kaya Foundation.

We'll also be having a non-gamers area for those who prefer their relaxation to be more of the craft variety. Hosts & hostesses will be announced....when I have their permission. ;-)

Mix all of that in with the Friday night dinner (Bait Sushi at Asahi, or meat at Outback), our famous ConSuite (complete with fresh bread) and you have four days of fun that are not to be missed!

Here's the particulars:

TCEP 16: Craig and Tad Against the World Crime League
Sept. 4- Sept. 7, 2009 (Labor Day weekend)

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL (Through July 31, 2009)
$30 for the weekend either by Pre-reg or at the door for adults
$15 for the weekend either by Pre-reg or at the door for youth (12-17)
Under 12 admitted free with paid adult membership (Said adult to be responsible for the child)

After July 31, 2009 and at the door:
$40 for the weekend either by Pre-reg or at the door for adults
$20 for the weekend either by Pre-reg or at the door for youth (12-17)
Under 12 admitted free with paid adult membership (Said adult to be responsible for the child)

Hotel Information:
Holiday Inn Laurel West
15101 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707
Reserve by August 11 for group rate
Group name: Barking Mad
Group Rate: $105/night s/d/t/q occupancy
Note: To ensure you receive our special group rate, call the hotel directly at (301) 776-5300, and ask for an in-house reservation

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
So, with the passing of Mr. Gygax earlier this year, it was decided that we should have an "Old Skool Dungeon Crawl" this year at TCEP.  Being as no one else was stepping up to do it, I volunteered myself to run it.

I advertised it thusly:  The gaming world lost an icon this year when E. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, left this world for Outer Planes unknown. We will be hosting an “old-school” dungeon crawl in his memory. Bring your dice, bring your wits, forget “skills” and “feats”! This is gaming at its finest! And never forget, the magic number is 36,000 cubic feet.

I honestly wasn't sure what kind of attendance I would get.  We have plenty of gamers at TCEP, but they tend to be more board/card/strategy gamers at this point - not so much with the RPGs.  I hadn't chosen what adventure I was going to use until the week before - I was torn between Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl and White Plume Mountain.  In the end, I decided to go with WPM, since I had run that earlier this year for another EGG memorial event.

To my pleasant surprise, I ended up with 7 people.  What amused me was that of the 7, no less than 3 or 4 of the players were not even BORN when WPM was published.  Still, I handed out some pre-gen characters from the back of the Slavers (A1-4) series, let the players modify them, and away we went.

Side note:  While looking for copies of the 1st Ed. AD&D character sheets, I found a neat .pdf that someone had created.  Depending on which filters you had engaged, it would allow you to see (and print!) the different versions of the character sheet.  Unfortunately, I'm at work right now, and can't search for it (the web filters don't allow "games", which also blocks most gaming sites.  Foo.)  However, if you want a copy, let me know in the comments.  I'll be happy to email you a copy.
spoilery bits concealed within )
So, all in all, while the party failed in it's objective, I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  If I do this again (and I think I want to), a few things need to be done differently:
  • Character work needs to be done earlier in the weekend.  Maybe set up a time for people to come by and work on them.  I could even be running registration at that point.
  • Start earlier than 7 pm.
  • Try to make sure there's more than one copy of the 1st ed. PHB. 
Wonder what I should do next year.  I know I have one vote for Tomb of Horrors...

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Frank N. Huminski

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