Tuesday, November 06, 2007
This year I was able to really introduce my oldest son to the pleasures of Halloween. He was here for the last two, but was far too young to really appreciate them (even though last year's costume - a little devil - embodied the holiday in a way that seemed more appropriate). In addition to an amazing trip to the pumpkin patch at Cox Farms, we allowed Finley to pick out his own costume. Of course, being absolutely bat-shit horse crazy (thanks to pony rides at the Maryland Renaissance Festival) he picked a horse costume where he is both horse and rider. Cool costume, though way to cumbersome for my tastes. Still it was a big hit and he had a ball trick-or-treating. His brother, appropriately enough, was a cow. Here are some pictures:
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Where was I?
I yes, it's been a while since I blogged. In my last post, I mentioned that we had another double gaming session coming up. Well, we had it and it was fabulous. My Dragonspire game was good, but Greg's season finale of Slaying Solomon was amazing. I simply can't recall ever having such a powerful gaming experience as a player. Emotions we running high in Nazi world. I was starting to tear up when I mentioned that Erik would be showing up at Juanita's door with flowers at the end of the episode. Slaying Solomon is one of those special games where the characters take on a life of their own. They go waaaay beyond the combat stats you see in most games. The characters are defined by their quirks and relationships. Powers and abilities are definitely secondary. I can't wait for the upcoming 5th season. Greg's running the main arc, but I will definitely be directing several episodes.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
That being said, I'm also taking the opportunity to catch up on some personal stuff. Last Saturday, we had a double gaming session with Dragonspire in the afternoon and Slaying Solomon in the evening. We'll repeat this extraordinarily rare full day of gaming next Saturday as well. It's good to be gaming again, though I do wish I had yet more time to devote to it. I had high hopes for lots of down-time to plan future adventures and campaigns. Alas, with all my other activities, that ain't gonna happen.
One of those other activities is assembling my new basement office and adjusting to a new computer. Yes, I just ordered a new iMac today. Hopefully, it will arrive in time for me to play around with it before the family gets home. It sure is a beautiful machine. And with Boot Camp, I should have no loss of PC functionality. I'm hoping to high heaven that I can get the sucker online with minimal fuss, as I still need to spend time on getting our web photo gallery working as well. Sigh... I'm not looking forward to that mess.
Finally, I had hoped to get a lot of gym time in. Alas, Finley gifted me with yet another nasty cold just as I returned to Virginia. Now that I seem to be on the mend, I'll try to resume my workouts tomorrow.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Fortunately, we managed to spend some quality time with Professor Pope and his family on the way back. Unfortunately, my wife, oldest son, and myself all came down with seriously nasty colds on the final leg of the drive. We're still recovering right now. Thank goodness that the infant was spared.
So here I am trying to adjust to going back to work after not really having much of a vacation. And instead of focusing on work, I'm thinking about what computer to buy after events have forced me into purchasing a new one about 3 months earlier than I anticipated. I had previously stated that I had had it with Dells. My current Inspiron laptop has been nothing but problems. But the more I price out options, the more I am leaning towards a new Inspiron model. They are highly rated, they are the right price, and they have all the specs that I need. I had considered switching teams to buy a Mac, but I'm having a hard time convincing myself that the added expense and hassle of installing Boot Camp will be worth it. I haven't ruled it out yet, but it's looking less and less likely.
Update: friends have been giving me more reasons to select a Mac (the fact that I already own a license of Windows XP is one). We'll see...
I know it's probably stupid, but the proposed D&D 4e Game Table is kind of driving my decision. The few games that I want to play are generally available on the Mac. I wouldn't have to retain my ties to the PC world if it weren't for the fact that I think that Game Table has the potential to be a sweet tool. Of course, it could easily blow chunks and leave me afflicted with bad case of buyers remorse (the most likely scenario).
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Ok, I've totally been on an anti-bottled water kick lately. I must have reach some kind of tipping point because I'm now kind of sickened by the wastefulness of buying something that is essentially free in a package that seriously harms the environment. My wife and I have certainly been guilty of the wastefulness (especially on car trips and such). Part of simply came down to the convenience of having an container available to drink the stuff. Sure, I have a Nalgene bottle for hiking in my basement somewhere. But I don't like drinking out of it, mostly because the opening is too big and I imagine the water tasting differently when it has been sitting in plastic for a while.
So I was very pleased to discover these totally awesome reusable aluminum water bottles. I'm hoping that having a practical and stylish water bottle will help me kick the plastic bottle habit AND drink more water (something I desperately need to do anyway).
Friday, August 17, 2007
Actually, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the new edition. I wasn't much of a D&D fan until Third Edition came along. But I've got over my anti-D&D bias and have learned welcome our Munchkin overlords. Fourth Edition may improve the game. It may even introduce some really kick-ass tools to facilitate player over the Internet. The economics of it bother me a bit, and I'm a bit annoyed at the prospect of shelling out for yet another set of rulebooks.
Anyway, I suspect I'll be blogging more on 4e in the future.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
My weekday schedule is such that I wake up (bleary eyed), throw on workout clothes, get Finn dressed and washed, and pop him in the car. After dropping him off at day care, I head to the gym for a brief workout and then get home with barely enough time to catch a shower before work. Breakfast is luxury and I've been forced to rely on energy bars to get me through the morning. After work, I need to pick up Finn from daycare and fight the parkway traffic to get us home for dinner by 6:30ish. By the time we eat and get the kids ready for bed, it is now 9:00 and I'm too exhausted to even turn on my computer. Mostly I just settle down and read a few chapters in a book before I conk out. Not much luck on weekends either, mostly because the kids still demands too much attention.
My weekend schedule is little better, though for different reasons. I suppose I could steal away for a few hours here and there for small projects. The problem is that weekends are prime time for spending time with my boys (which I'm not about to give up). I suppose I could steal an hour or two here or there, but lately it has been impossible due to a backlog of house projects. I still need to paint Liam's room, for example...
Anyway, I hate to complain too much. I'm starting to settle in to the new lifestyle. I'm too happy being a father of two awesome boys to be bitter about my missing personal time. Instead of complaining, I'm going to try to work within the confines of my tight schedule to work on things that really matter. Whereas I'd usually start a new project on a whim, I now find myself critically examining potential endeavors for how much joy they can bring me. And fortunately, it does look like I'll be resuming gaming in a few weeks. I'm going let other direct episodes of Slaying Solomon until I feel that I can find enough time to write new episodes and I do hope to restart Dragonspire in September.
Where does that leave the blog? Well, my hope is that I can find time to blog more often (and about topics other than my tight schedule). I'm crossing my fingers. At the top of my priority list, however, is getting my photo album running again. I'm experiencing some technical difficulties which would normally take several hours to resolve (if I had several hours to dedicate to the problem). Once that is accomplished, I have a mess of new photos of the kids to post.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The latest trailer really fills me with hope that this will be the next Lord of the Rings.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Christy's water broke at around 4:00 last Friday morning. Bleary eyed, I wondered why she was making so much noise. She casually explained that she was getting her stuff together to go to the hospital. Whoa! Of course, I hadn't packed my pack yet and I started to panic. We also had our first-born to deal with. Thankfully, Christy's mother is in town and we were able to have her watch the boy most of the day.
We arrived at the hospital just after 7:00 and were expecting to have an easy delivery like last time. We ordered up the epidural and things were progressing just fine. Then, after the epidural and after a high dose of Patosin... things really kicked up. Bad news: Christy's meds didn't work at all and she was in enormous pain. Good news: it was all over by 10:33.
Stats: 7 lbs 11 oz, 20.5 inches long, red hair, blue eyes, and a perfect 10 on his APGAR. Mommy and baby are doing fine. Baby's big brother is a little confused but not nearly so confused as he's going to be in the coming weeks. Daddy's still trying to kick a cold that he's had for two weeks (the lack of sleep won't be helping).
Friday, May 18, 2007
The concert was fantastic, though I have mixed feeling about the Birchmere as a venue for this particular show. On the plus side: my pregnant wife could keep off her feet during the show, the view was great, and there was no smoking. On the minus side: the road-house atmosphere detracted (slightly) from Lisa's otherworldly appeal. As as for Lisa herself... wow, fantastic as always. Though I must say I was surprised how meek her speaking voice is (especially when compared to the power of her singing voice).
Friday, April 27, 2007
Unfortunately, I don't know how to remedy the situation. Family life and family budgets both conspire to keep me from purchasing a new computer or gaming console. While I could probably squeeze it into the budget, other priorities would suffer. And even if I did buy a new gaming platform, when would I use it? The reality is simply that all my free time is spoken for. My only hope is that I'll be playing a lot more games when my boys are old enough to play them with me.
In other news, I've noticed some particularly interesting news from the world of science and technology...
Practical Holographic Video: By the time I start playing computer games again, this technology may be a reality. Not every game would benefit from such a display, but the idea of playing something like R2, 3PO, and Chewbacca played in the original Star Wars seem too cool for words.
Earthlike Planet Found: Space.com has an article about a possible habitable exoplanet found orbiting Gliese 581 C. It's only 4 times as large as Earth and seems to be in the narrow zone where liquid water is possible. The fact that is orbits a red dwarf is especially exciting because there are so many more red giants than yellow suns like our own. It dramatically opens up the possibility of aliens life existing somewhere out there.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
As for the race itself... well, it was humbling. The night before, with every sign that we'd be blasted by severe rains, biting cold, and impossible headwinds, I resolved to just enjoy myself and treat it as a race against mother nature. This continued to be my attitude throughout the long and uncomfortable pre-race period. But when it came time for the race, conditions improved enough to fool me into thinking that I could approach it with my seemingly realistic training goal of coming close to a 3 hour marathon.
Boy, was I in for a world of hurt.
My difficulties started with an extremely restless night of "sleep". I'm not sure why I was so nervous when I had resolved to take it easy, but I guess that I was just apprehensive about how painful the experience of running in these conditions could be. All night long, I heard the driving wind and pounding rain against the window. In the morning, I awoke to cold and damp. The bus ride out was comfortable and I was lucky enough to get a spot inside the high-school gym to keep dry. But their was limited space inside the gym and I didn't venture out to eat a proper pre-race meal. I'm certain that contributed to my difficulties.
There was also the issue of deciding on what to wear. Still feeling the morning's chill, I opted for tights and several layers of wicking long-sleeve shirts. I suspect that I was over-dressed, though it was probably the least of my problems. And after I stumbled across the finish line, I wished I had access to even warmed clothes right away.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the course, the race is a point-to-point race, starting in the western town of Hopkinton and descending for a good part of the race until a series of nasty hills starting around mile 16. This also proved to be my undoing. Running downhill fills one with a tremendous sense of overconfidence. Yes, I had heard all the pre-race advice to take it easy in the first half. But as the race started and I felt comfortable with an aggressive pace, I failed to consider how badly my leg muscles would be taking the strain of down-hill running. By the time time the uphill section it, my legs were already locking up.
So how did I do? I finished 5,776th among some 20,000 or so competitors. My time was 3:31:00, just over 16 minutes slower than my Richmond time. After the race, I felt bad about this. But then I saw that even the winner -- Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya was about 7 minutes off his winning time from last year. Lots of people were seriously impacted by the conditions and I am belatedly proud to note that I beat my expected finish (as indicated by my bib number) by 785. So, I'll take it. I finished in grueling conditions. And I am glad that I can move on to other challenges.
(what those challenges are remain undefined... I need to get through the birth of our second child before setting any more aggressive goals)
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Speaking of Lent... it is kind of weird that I keep the tradition. The wife and I were raised Catholic, but neither of us attend Catholic mass unless we are home for the holidays with the extended family (and for me, I only do it because of social pressure). My wife has moved firmly into the liberal Episcopal camp. And while I like the liberal Episcopal politics, I'm still too agnostic to completely swallow the cool-aid. We'll be raising our sons in the Episcopal Church, but only by default. If I were religious, I think I'd prefer something with better rituals and traditions. The Catholic Church was great for that. As is Wicca, but I think that train has long since left on its last run to Hogwarts.
Since it's bee a while, I suppose an update is order.
On Monday, I am scheduled to run the Boston Marathon. I'm both excited and nervous. This is my third (and likely last) marathon training cycle. The first ended in injury before I could run. The second ended in bronchitis, but I still managed a good race anyway. This time, I've had no such ill-luck (knock on wood). I feel like I'm in great shape and I can't imagine being more prepared. Of course, anything could happen. I'm a little nervous since my little boy is going through his second bout of strep in three weeks. But I haven't got it yet, so perhaps I'll luck out and miss it.
Work is crazy. But I'm actually getting paid for the extra hours I work, so I can't complain too much. And I like the occasional crunch time. It makes me work more efficiently. I just wish that this crunch time was not at the same time as my race, my wife's travel season, and my little boy's illness.
Haven't done much gaming lately. We had a Dragonspire game... geez, over a month ago. I'm ready for the next one but finding time in the schedule's the hard part. Slaying Solomon is still going and I'm happy that other folks have taken over the director's chair while my schedule is so crazy. I wish I could be doing more gaming, but life is getting in the way. I can't wait until my boys are old enough for it, because I can use family time as an excuse for gaming (assuming the are interested). On that note, I can't wait until they start playing video games for much the same reason. I can't remember the last time I played a video game. Sigh.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Check it out here: http://www.themovieblog.com/archives/2007/03/best_lightsaber_fight_ever.html
In other news, we saw 300 this weekend. Good movie. If I could sum it up in one word, that would be... "Nipples". The director obviously had nipples on the mind.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Not much else going on. The weather's been hell on my marathon training, but it does look were heading for a melt soon.
Friday, February 02, 2007
In other news, I've been going through old gaming books and I discovered some amazing tools in Grim Tales . I'm convinced that this book is the best set of D20 rules in existence. I'm looking forward to testing out vehicular combat in the next story arc and hope to include the excellent mass combat system from Slavelords of Cydonia at some point down the line.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
In related news, check out this item over at the Sci Fi Wire. Looks like HBO may make A Song Of Ice And Fire the next Deadwood. They are also making a series out of Vertigo's Preacher. Yippee. I can't wait to see how they turn out. Right now, my wife an I use most of our Netflix rentals on HBO series (and Battlestar Galactica). The quality is consistently better than most movies and we don't have to find more than 45 minutes of our busy schedule to watch an episode.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
But it was fantastic to see friends and family again. Our son spent the first half of the trip in Faerie with a screaming Changeling in his place. But once he returned, he had a fine time with his cousins. He also got on well with the children of my high school friends. I can't wait for the inevitable (hopefully) father and child outings in the future.
Now, with the New Year here, I can start focusing on my resolutions. Besides training for the 2007 Boston Marathon (my last marathon, I swear), I hope to get on top of my schedule in preparation for th arrival of our second child. Learning to get by on less sleep with help. Also I'm trying to figure out how I can get more time for gaming. That's face-to-face gaming ( Slaying Solomon and Dragonspire for a start), as well as computer gaming (haven't bought a computer game in ages).
Also high on the list: staying in touch with distant friends, eating better, and getting emergency preparation kits assembled for the house and car.
Oh yeah, I'd also like to return to my Chinese lessons and start a martial arts class. Something different from the whole focus on running.