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 )
Dungeons & Dragons Soda

Magic: The Gathering Soda

I'm tempted to buy both to do a taste report.

[Poll #1458398]

Vote early, vote often!
Check out this article on
Topless Robot:

The 10 Reasons Why Star Blazers Is Unbelievably Awesome Beyond Words
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...
My little Goth Cthulhu Dark Edition

Edit: Link corrected.

Note to [livejournal.com profile] fragbert: Thanks for the heads up. However, let's see how strong your HTML-fu is after 1.5 days of Microsoft info dump... Think day 2 or 3 of PMSD training... ;-)
So, for today and the next two days, I'll primarily be in a conference room attending a class on Microsoft Active Directory, the potential risks in our environment, and how they can be mitigated.

I'm a-gonna need TCEP this weekend just to have my brain untangle.

Still, I was included.  I've often had the feeling around here that I've been kinda been seen by middle and upper management as the Windows team fifth wheel - that I'm part of the team because the image is built on Windows, but "Really, what else could he know?"  Now, whether it's because of the last few projects I've worked on or because someone on the gov't side pushed it (or maybe both), I seem to be included in more of the Windows stuff.  This is good.

And it's free.  I like free.

Kids go back to school today.  I still question the wisdom of this.  In for 4 days, then off for 3.  How about starting the day after Labor Day? 

Oh wait.  Logic.  I uses it.

On the plus side, it looks like my request to change work schedule has been approved.  So it looks like I'll be moving to either a 6a - 2:30p or 7a - 3:30p shift.  Mornings and I are not "perfect together", but at least I'll be home to get the kids off the bus.  I won't feel like I'm losing so much of my day, either.  This thing of not getting home until 6:45-7p stinks on ice.

Been trying to catch up with Paul Tevis' podcast Have Games, Will Travel. I don't remember how I got hooked on his show, but I haven't listened to it in far too long.  So, I started downloading and listening again.  A couple of the review highlights that I caught were:
He does board and card games as well, but these are the few that really stuck out for me.  Also, if you're a Kenneth Hite junkie (like I am), he usually does a sit -down interview with hime at least once a year. 

OK, I gotta be back downstairs in ~20 min.  I trust that you will all have a fantastic day, and I hope that many of you will be at TCEP this weekend!

You will be there, right? Details under cut... )
Peas. Out.
Hey folks, I promised information on TCEP 15 - and here it is!

Still the best 4 days of gaming, relaxation, and fun in the greater DC area!

Yep, we're running a bit behind this year, but I think that more than ever, we all need a weekend to relax and unwind! And so, here we are, ready to plunge tentacle-first into TCEP 15: The Elder Party!

Unfortunately, we will *not* be able to offer online registration this year. And when we find out who sicced the Shoggoths on our web team, they will be dutifully flogged.

In the meantime, our flier is available in .pdf format! The flier can be downloaded here! Please note the change in mailing address! Get 'em in as early as possible folks!

Update! The flyer is also now available at the main site: http://www.barkingmad.org/tcep15/TCEP-15-flyer.pdf

LARP: Well, we had one, but the evil gods of employment have decided to laugh evilly (what else) at us, and so that one is being put on the back burner. We're in "negotiations" for another one. Information will be forthcoming if it happens.

Games: In addition to a number of Cthuloid and politically-themed events, we hope to have at least one "Old Skool" Dungeon crawl in memory of "The Grand Dungeon Master" himself, E. Gary Gygax. As always, we'll have plenty of space for pick-up games!

Saturday night will feature our third 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 15: The Elder Party
Aug. 29- Sept. 1, 2008 (Labor Day weekend)
$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
Group name: Barking Mad
Group Rate: $104/night s/d/t/q occupancy
Note: To receive our special group rate, you MUST CALL the hotel at (301) 776-5300. Do not let them transfer you to the national reservation number!

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
Hi everyone, just a quick note to let everyone know that yes, we *WILL* be having TCEP 15 this year.

Unfortunately, due to events beyond our control, it does not look like online registration will be happening this year. The flyer is just about done, and will have all necessary information.

Because it's Monday morning, and I haven't had NEARLY enough coffee, I'm not going to try and post the details.

But please, keep that time blocked out. We will be there, and we can't wait to see YOU there.

TCEP 15: The Elder Party is ramping up to bring you the best 4 days in Relaxicons in the DC area!

Hope to see you there!

(x-posted to the [livejournal.com profile] tcep community)
Interesting take on my earlier poll. Yeah, I thought about making it multiple choice, then decided not to. In any case, my response to her was that since she didn't want to get involved, that she should probably delete it and forget about it.

Pleased to see that most of y'all ain't pervy enough to save them for yourself for later...

Anyway, enough about that.

Time for something resembling an update. I think that it shall be in convenient bullet-point format.
  • Me: I am doing...ok. The usual late winter/early spring depression seems to be gone, or at least beaten into submission. If I can be said to be having any problems right now, it's a lack of sleep. Too many extraordinarily vivid (and strange) dreams, which aren't allowing me to stay asleep. Strange like being in a NJ diner with [livejournal.com profile] tth, [livejournal.com profile] aylinn and [livejournal.com profile] gypsy_sylvin, sitting in a booth talking, then the ladies go off somewhere and [livejournal.com profile] tth and I go back to their apartment, located behind the diner, and we go up the exterior stairs and clamber over a short section of roof to get to their landing. Yeah.
  • [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0: She's still looking for a new job. It's not the best time to be job hunting. Otherwise in reasonably good health. Gets depressed sometimes over the job thing. I try to be supportive and smiley. Sometimes, it even helps.
  • Da kids: I'll have more of a report on this in a few hours. Report cards come home today. I anticipate good ones, especially since I know B. got an "A" on her big project this quarter. B is not as enthralled with violin as she was, still loves the chorus. I don't think we'll be continuing violin lessons next year, but we shall see.
  • Work: Work is work is work. Had a meeting with all engineers last week where they basically said "We think work is it's own reward! Expect to be rewarded twice as much in the coming months!" They keep calling it a "Dynamic Environment." What that translates to is that there are more changed minds and changed policies on a daily basis than Cher has wardrobe changes in a week of concerts. So, I spent last night updating online resumes at various sites.
  • Geek weekend: Spent the better part of Saturday at Games & Stuff in Glen Burnie for their Gary Gygax memorial day (which, I might add, they're doing again on April 26 from 12-8 pm; see this post for details.) It was a lot of fun; started off by playing in a run Against the Giants, then when enough people showed up (including [livejournal.com profile] webqatch and family), I broke off to run White Plume Mountain. They recovered 2 of the weapons (Wave & Whelm), but time ran out before they could rescue BlackRazor. After Sunday brunch with my mother-in-law, we sat down and watched Star Wars: A New Hope & Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. What a great weekend.
  • WoW: Franush, my dwarf Paladin has hit 70. Now, am working on my mage, Gunsnbutter to level him. He's only at about 53 or so. Got into a real good PUG for a Zul'Farrak run last week, cleared all quests with only 1 death. I'll run with those guys anytime.
  • Cons: Origins is still a bit iffy. A lot depends on whether or not [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 gets a job by then. If she does...then she may not be able to go. And if she can't go, I have to seriously reevaluate whether or not I want to take B. Kinda playing it by ear for the moment.

And that's it for now.

Remember, if you woke up today, it's a good day. Somewhere, someone didn't wake up today.

Peas. Out.
For all you comic book geeks out there, EW.com has a "First Look" at the new comic "Secret Invasion".

You can find it here: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20185202,00.html

I get a chill down my spine anytime Luke Cage says anything to the effect of "You guys ready to piss off everyone?"

Does my heart good...
Well, I'll be attending at least two, and maybe three this year.

Of course, I'll be at TCEP 15 over Labor Day Weekend 2008. After all, I help run that.

I'll also be at Origins this year as well. Again, a good thing since I'm the liason for the SJG demo team. The current plan is to have [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 and B. come with me.

And yes, [livejournal.com profile] rileybear67, we can do lunch or dinner. With or without others. You and I shall make the time.

The one that's a little up in the air right now is Balticon. I may have to bail on that one due to finances. I'll know better after I talk to [livejournal.com profile] tth this weekend. I have a few options that may work, but they needs be discussed.

Conventions. I love them so. Big ones and small ones, each has their strong points and attractions to me. Both let me hang out, play games, talk to new and interesting people and catch up with old friends. Sometimes the games are good, sometimes the games are Astrobirdzturkeys.

At least I'm not working ConSecurity anymore. Oh, the stories I have of those days...

I keep thinking we ought to compile a book of these stories. Problem is, they come across much better in person when we tell them than I think they would in print. The facial expressions and vocal intonations get lost.

I mean, really, how do you describe the look on someone's face when they open the door to the stairwell to see a LOT of superballs bouncing their way down the stairway from the top floor?
"I'd never cry if I did find a blue whale in my soup.
Nor would I mind a porcupine inside a chicken coop.
Yes life is fine when things combine, like ham in beef chow mein.
But Lord, this time I think I mind:  They've put acid in my rain.
--Milo Bloom, Bloom County

Yes, ladies and gentlemints, it's another cool, gray, rainy day in the greater DC area.  And even though this is weather that the firefighters in CA would kill for, it doesn't do wonders for my mood.  The fact that local drivers are being even greater idiots than normal isn't helping.
Thoughts on DC drivers )
WoW thoughts )

In other news, F & I have been reading John Bellairs' The House With A Clock in its Walls as his nightly reading.  He's starting to get into it - it does start off a little slow.  I remember the first time I heard of this book was actually on a TV show.  I must have been 9 or 10 years old at the time; it was a Hallowe'en special that dramatized parts of three books.  This was the only one that stuck with me. 

I think that's all I've got for the moment.  TTYL.
So it was Saturday morning when [livejournal.com profile] heptadecagram  pointed me at an article that told of JK Rowling's "outing" of Albus Dumbledore.

As I told him, my first thought was "Eh, whatever", as one's sexual preferences and proclivities generally have little to no influence on me (assuming, of course, that all parties are willing participants)

My second thought was "Oh great, just what the ignorant fundies need:  More ammo."

My third thought, however, was the imagined voices of millions (and millions) of slashfic writers shouting out  in gleeful unison "HAHAHA!  We were right!  We are VINDICATED!"

Great.  More grist for the slashfic mills.  More crap to ignore.

For the record:  No, I do not like the vast majority of fanfic for a variety of reasons.  There are some good pieces out there (the Naked Quidditch Match one comes to mind), but I have little to no patience for sifting through the mountains of bad grammar, worse storytelling, and horrific characterization.  That said, no one ever got better at something without practice.  People are welcome to write all they want.

Doesn't mean I have to read it.
So, [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 B. & I just watched the Iron Man Trailer.

While I have seen the footage before (from the pirated footage from SDCC), it was exceedingly cool to see it again, even better that it wasn't grainy and all that.

So, when I finished, as I was having a geek-gasm, B. said: "Movie OK, music great!"

The music? Black Sabbath, of course. Iron Man.



Aug. 9th, 2007 10:25 am
Because I had a previous engagement on Saturday afternoon/evening, I had to beg off a MSD meeting. So, in the morning, I took B. to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the Uptown theater.

I love that place.

We got seats in the balcony in the front row in the center. Where all you see is the screen. No other seats, no other patrons, just 40+ linear feet of screen, right in front of you. A great experience.

As far as the movie goes
cut for possible spoilers )
Will hopefully be taking F. to see Transformers on Sat. I thnk there's a 2:50 matinee at the Regal in ROckville.
It came in yesterday.

I am currently rereading HP4. I anticipate finishing 4, 5, & 6 by the end of the weekend, and starting on 7 immediately thereafter.

(Yes, I do read that fast, and with 95%+ comprehension. No classes, just my gift/curse.)

But I couldn't resist. I looked at the last page, and I was right!

I've been saying for weeks I knew how HP7 ended! AND I WAS RIGHT
It ends with a PERIOD!

(Grinning, Ducking, and Running)

And not only is it hump day, but I'm 2 hrs from leaving for the day.

Why I am leaving a bit early shall remain a sekrit for now, though a scant few of you know why. More on that later.

It's kinda hard to believe that in 7 days from now, I will be motoring thru the wilds of eastern Ohio en route to Columbus, OH, The GCCC, and Origins! (Assuming I get going on time)

And yet, it seems like an eternity. ([livejournal.com profile] blackpaladin, I'm sure you can relate)

In the meantime, here I am, trying to remain productive in the few days left before I go away for a while. A quick bullet list should suffice:
  • Battling a minor case of the sniffles.
  • Kids are enjoying their summer camp
  • Packing and prepping for vacation has begun, but has not completed.
  • Franush, my Dwarf Paladin on WoW has hit 55. Still trying to complete Sunken Temple. Need time and a decent group. Learned the other day that he can effectively solo Stockades. Will lead a group through soon, including one of [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0's alts.
  • Have finally found/altered and implemented a solution to a problem that has plagued me and the HellDesk since last January. Go me!
  • Got the old laptop up and running again!
  • The quote I had up on Monday was crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] techsupport. It has since been added to the Memories section over there! WOO!!

That's all I got at the moment. Well, I gots two shoutouts, but I'll do those as seperate entries.

Peas. Out.

Convention Countdown
Origins: 7 Days!
TCEP 14: 65 Days!
Doctor Who to get axe in 2008

Deputy Showbiz Editor
May 31, 2007

HIT show Doctor Who will be EXTERMINATED next year — after the fourth series.

Boss Russell T. Davies has decided to axe the BBC1 sci-fi drama and concentrate on other projects.

Sad me be...
Good day to all, and welcome to day three of the "New & improved" DST (if you're in the US...if you have the good fortune to not have to deal with this idiocy, more power to you!)

It's been a bit since updating. And I suppose it's worth running through the last little while to get through it all.

I guess there were essentially 3 days to talk about in the last 10 or so. The first, of course, would be March 7, which was B.'s birthday. We took her out for dinner to Silver Diner, where she had a blast. She got some shirts from us, as well as Pokemon Red Rescue team for her GBA. Frankie gave her a set of My Little Ponies and a mix for her E-Z bake oven, and the cat gave her some pokemon cards. My in-laws also gave her clothing. The only problem is that my mother-in-law either can't remember or can't accept that her granddaughter is big for her age.

Yes, some of that is her being overweight. Some is also her having a frame that some linebackers would kill for. Some of it is also the current idiotic trend in girls fashion that everything is skin-tight and low/high cut. But I digress...

The upshot, of course, is that the vast majority of the clothes that they got her do not fit. So, we'll take it back and get stuff that does. Hey, when I picked out shirts, I got her shirts with Orange Crush labels and Thundercats logos on them.

What wonderful iconoclastic kids we're raising. She loves her Barbies and My Little Ponies, but also watches Godzilla movies with me and wants to play Creepy Freaks again. F loves playing on the computer, playing football catch with me, and playing against me in Godzilla: Save the Earth!


OK, so on Friday night, we watched Godzilla vs. Hedorah (also marketed in the US as Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster). Time (and the merciful powers of the brain) had erased/blocked/repressed just how wonderfully cheesy this movie really is. Aside from the ham-handed delivery of the message "POLLUTION IS BAD! OMG!!!111!ELEVENTY-ONE!", there were just so many moments, we were howling with laughter during the final, climactic batttle.

Saturday was the combined birthday party for B. & [livejournal.com profile] matt3485, which was kindly, generously, and graciously hosted by [livejournal.com profile] stoooooooo & [livejournal.com profile] ginabeth. Much food was consumed (including some of [livejournal.com profile] stoooooooo's famous pulled pork), many presents were opened, and a good time was had by all. By the time we got home, it was well past bedtime for the kids, and time for me to relax for a bit before calling it a night. I did, fortunately, have the presence of mind to set my alarm clock ahead an hour before doing so.

(An aside: I'm sitting here at work listening to Ultimate Alabama: 20 #1 hits and reflecting on how closely I associate this album with my treks to Origins. "Roll On" reminds me of driving through Western PA, "There's No Way" with Columbus itself, "40 Hour Week" with driving through WV & eastern OH, and so on. Makes me wish it was July...)

Sunday, B. & I got up and tuned her Green Cyclone deck in preparation for the Pokemon State championships that were being held at Dream Wizards. I'm going to hold off on talking much about that right now, as my mom has sent B. an email asking how the day went, and I think it might be neat to see what B. has to say first. I may post that seperately later.

Otherwise, life continues apace at The GrayMouse Inn. [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 has started another 2 week gig with the same pharmaceutical company. IKEA didn't pan out, unfortunately. While they were willing to hire her, it was part time hours only. We took a close look at it, and realized that after taxes and fuel, it wasn't worth it. So she continues to look.

Speaking of Origins, right now, I'm saying that we're going. And by "We", I mean [livejournal.com profile] mousecat0 & myself. Earlier this year, I wasn't sure we'd be going due to the potential of the bariatric surgery. However, given that Aetna doesn't seem to want to cover the procedure, and I don't seem to have the several grand laying around, the process is on hold. To be fair, even if I hit the lottery tomorrow, it would be several months before I had the procedure, due to the numerous tests, specialist visits, and counseling sessions, it would be several months before I had the procedure. So why not go to Origins? We have a reservation at the Hampton Inn & Suites; I'm just not going to demo as many games.

I finished reading Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, which I believe is the 7th book of The Dresden Files. All I have to say is: I'm hooked. I want them all. I want them all NOW. Then too, I have a liking for modern/urban fantasy. I liked the Diana Tregarde books by Mercedes Lackey, as well as the earlier works of Laurell K. Hamilton (before they stopped being good supernatural action/mystery books and began revolving around the "Crotch of Doom"). Oh yes, and Charles DeLint. Looks like I have a new author addiction...

Oh yeah, last thing. HEY [livejournal.com profile] aynne_witch! I'm in. I'll do Hagrid. Last time. Do you still have the shirts? I have the vest.

I think that's enough for now. I'll catch up with y'all later.

Peas. Out.


Frank N. Huminski

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