Friday, December 19, 2008

Netflix FTW

We had put our Netflix account on hold for most of 2008, as we'd just stopped watching dvd's an had borrowed or were given a lot of movies that we hadn't caught up on yet. However, just a few weeks ago the X-Box Live interface was updated and we noticed it included a Netflix feature, which I was immediately skeptical of but it turns out it is almost exactly what it should be. You can now watch any movie or tv show that you can watch online via netflix through your x-box!

In the last few weeks, we've caught up on quite a lot of our viewing and are actually enjoying the dvd's from netflix again also! We've watched:

Ratatouille - 5 stars
Enchanted - 3 stars
The Devil's Advocate - 3 stars (Becky had never seen it, I had)
Mad Max - 3 stars (hadn't seen it all the way through before, classic but not great)
Finding Neverland - 4 stars
Love Actually - 5 stars
Juno - 4 stars

Next up is Wanted and the next chance we get via instant queue Rob Roy (we love Liam Neeson).

Monday, December 01, 2008

Post-Holiday Gaming

Thursday was Thanksgiving, Friday was "Black Friday", and so apparently Saturday was Board Gaming Saturday. I was sad to miss the TMBG Flood concert on Friday, less sad about the Dragonforce concert as I can see that becoming boring pretty fast for me, but we've pretty much decided $25 per ticket for concerts is outside of our budget for this year at least.

Saturday afternoon started with a 6 player game of Mall of Horror, which is a survival-diplomacy game that involves secret voting and random zombie placement with some tactics based on cards and movement. The first time I played this game I really enjoyed it, but this game was significantly worse. There are definitely some rules issues with the game as published, but we also ended up playing it not by the rules which isn't too unusual for us. I'm not sure if it was a result of the way the game played out (who was in each room, what was rolled, etc) or the people that were playing but there were almost no secret or surprise votes. I ended up actually being able to decide the game, which player one or leave it to a total tie which would lead to a random (die roll) winner. I opted for the die roll, because it's very rare but also a hilarious way for a 2 hour+ game to end. Also because I think subjectively picking a winner is a bad way to go in a game like that vs. leaving it to chance.

After that Dave, Dennis, Scott and myself sat down to try the new Battlestar Galactica board game which Dave purchased and was one of the main factors in us having a get together to begin with (Dennis requested it and was in town from Florida for Thanksgiving). I have to say I was very surprised by the game, it took over 3 hours in the end I think but that includes set up, rules teaching (none of us had played it before), and me ending up being a Cylon, being stupid, and not ending the game earlier when I could have. I really want to play this game with 6 players, as it looks to have some interesting mechanics if you have more players between being the President and Admiral as well as more chances of their being cylons. A pretty accurate depiction of the first season or two of the show at least in board game form. Also seems like Fantasy Flight tried to make this game more simple and quicker than their typical licensed game. We also played this game incorrectly, due to some mis-interpreted graphics that actually made it look a lot tougher for the humans despite them winning in the end. I'm just not a very frakkin' good toaster, I guess.

After the extra-long game of BSG, we played two rounds of the new game Dominion which Dave had been telling me about for the last year based on playtest/prototypes he'd played at the various gaming conventions. Finally it's out and published, and I loved playing it! It is a tabletop card game (not collectible) that manages to recreate the feeling of deckbuilding that comes from games like Magic: The Gathering but without the cost of a collectible game. I actually dominated the second game with an accidental tactic, but my deck worked really well and it paid off in the end. Plus the game only takes about 30-45 minutes to play so I can definitely see playing this a lot and will probably pick up a copy sometime before Christmas.

People who weren't playing in these games generally hung around the basement, watched TV, played Incan Gold, Classic Dungeon, or RockBand 2. The whole thing ended into the morning hours with Josh and I playing Left 4 Dead, which is hands down the most fun I've had in a multiplayer console game in a LONG time. Possibly since Goldeneye. It's eaten up a lot of my evenings/weekends lately and will probably do just that for a few more weeks to come at least.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chill of Winter

It's November 21st, and it's snowing here in Maryland. Considering the last few years this seems like a rare occurrence, to see flurries before Christmas is typical but before December from what I remember is pretty rare.

There's a certain primal joy that comes to most people's faces when they realize it's snowing. One of the little things in life that I enjoy observing in others.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All Along the Western Front

I'm very into the band MGMT right now, haven't listened to much of the alternative "psychadelic" music in a while. Becky says that it will most likely get on her nerves by the end of the week, but I tend to do that to her when it comes to electronic music that I like.

On a good note I am sketching a bit more these days, managing to get a few little things down either in off times at work or when I get home / on the weekends. Not quite every day, but I am missing two entire months (not consecutive) out of my sketchbook so far in 2008 and I view that as a bad thing. Will hopefully get to posting drawings on here sooner or later. Also I'm reading through The Dragon Reborn pretty well right now, ~450 pages through. Most people have told me to stop reading the Wheel of Time series somewhere around this book or book 4, but I've been alternating between WoT and a few other series so we'll see how far I get. Definitely picking up a bunch of Phillip K Dick after this book though. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is sitting on my desk right now, I made the mistake of reading the first few pages and so now I can't wait to get to it. There's a lot behind what inspired Blade Runner that I am really anxious to read.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fighting a Swarm

This short quiz is funny if not only for the premise and some interesting questions, find out hypothetically how many five year olds you'd be able to fight at once:


Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Finally Over

Already I'm noticing the lack of political vitriol that has been eating away at my cognizance for the last YEAR. A year, probably much more than a year really, and I already feel better. I didn't even really care that much which candidate won, so long as it was OVER. However, I do have to say that McCain's conceding speech and particularly Obama's acceptance speech really helped me feel better about the whole process.

Google, always impressing me at pretty much every turn (even with Google Ads lately), has election coverage added into their maps feature, I highly recommend it as you can look at the entire US split by votes, or at each individual state split by COUNTY. Very interesting to look at:

Why is it that cities are ALWAYS dominated by democrat votes? If you did voting by square miles of land owned, then it looks like Republicans would win 100% of the time. Is there something about the density of population, the proximity to other people? Does it boil down to the simple factors, like acceptance of varied cultures and how that relates to the democratic party core values? I'm not quite willing to accept that as the only influence, but it's the only big one I can think of right now...

Anyway, it's over, I'm happy with the result even though I may have been MORE happy if McCain had won simply because I believe that would have lead to lower taxes, and I feel lower taxes lead to a boon in the economy which is what I think most people would like the most right now. Somehow Obama's campaign values became associated with low gas prices, global warming, separation of church & state, pro-abortion legislation, and a better economy. I'm pretty sure most of those will not be directly affected by his decisions / presidency.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Writes more than just Sci-Fi

Orson Scott Card is a name that I've seen but not paid much attention to for YEARS. When a friend's father is a science fiction author with a last name that starts with "Ch", you quickly learn to find the spot between Orson Scott Card and C.J.Cherryl (another author I've seen for a long time but haven't read yet). Unfortunately lately the gap between those two has disappeared, hopefully someday the same last name will fill that space again.

I started to take serious note of Card when he jumped into (or was pulled into) comics to write the Ultimate IronMan series, which he chose to do as an origin story. Overall it was decent, but the writing itself was understandably fresh for comics, coming from a seasoned science fiction author of full-length novels. I still haven't picked up and read any of his books, right now I'm making good progress through The Dragon Reborn because Jordan has some mystical way of sucking me into his books that I really do want to finish the whole series someday. I'm sure I'll pick up a Card book within the next 5 years.

The reason I mention this is that my good friend Dennis e-mailed out a newspaper article that Card wrote about journalists today that really speaks to me. He goes hugely off in the direction of criticising democrats and Obama, but I haven't seen or heard ANYTHING to refute the points he makes other than what seems like misdirection and deflection so I can't begrudge him that TOO much. That said, he does a great job of calling out journalists today and how biased they almost all are.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.


I wouldn't go quite so far as saying all democrats are evil or that all republicans trying to stop the corruption, as his article implies, but it's definitely some food for thought.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Political Observations with Friends

A lot of political discussion has been going on via e-mail with friends. I'll call them my hometown friends, because we all met in Middle School / High School and have been a big group of gaming friends since, and thank god we all keep in pretty good touch via the internet and in person as frequently as possible.

So, hometown friends discussions, and it seems like ALL of the vocal ones are psuedo-conservative leaning towards libertarian, and they're all talking about how they think the mortgage bailout bill was a hugely terrible idea. They seem pretty furious about it passing, and are making sweeping statements that congress needs to be fixed because it passed. I try to keep pointing out that the bill was only voted down at first by a 52% majority, and was then passed with more money added on by a 56% majority. In my view neither of these is a huge majority, and I try not to assume which decision is right or wrong until the facts are all on the table and the results are in (when it comes to votes like this, thankfully we can make voting for congress decisions after seeing results most of the time), but I don't really see this as a necessity to clean out congress and change everything.

I'm on the fence if I feel the people in politics are the issue, or the systems. One can definitely fix the other, but which one is of the most importance / significant?

(oddity: I typically pronounce the word "significance" with a second 'g' - ie: signifigance - and I've been doing it for so long that it now sounds more correct to me)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I can't express how happy I am that all of the political stuff that's been going on for over a year now is coming to a close soon. There are people on both sides of politics that are insanely aggrivating, and the more they're in the spotlight the worse it gets.

One thing that Becky has pointed out very astutely is that Governer Palin looks an awful lot like Laura Roslyn from Battlestar Galactica. Hopefully she's not having fever dreams of prophecy about the colonies!

Still not drawing much, not sure why, more on that later when my brain meats are more coherent and awake.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One Week Later

Well Dave and I got back from GenCon in Indianapolis very late Sunday, so late that I ended up staying home from work on Monday to rest and because I was just completely spent from four days away from home and around so many other people.

GenCon was simply amazing, a really great experience and not just because I got to meet online friends like Phil, Yax, and the Stupid Ranger crew (all fellow RPG bloggers), but because of all the D&D I got to play, other games I got to check out, and just the general atmosphere of nerdiness that was pervasive throughout.

You can check out all of the coverage Dave and I did over at Critical Hits. We got to talk to a lot of Wizards of the Coast employees, as well as a few other publishers about tabletop / card games. It's all there, or will be in the next week or so.

I'm running adventure 4 of my ongoing D&D game on Sunday, and as usual I'm quite excited for that. Way too many games need to be played before the end of the year!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Off to Indy

Dave should be here in a little bit, then we're heading out to GenCon in Indianapolis! I'm very excited, not just for GenCon but also for the trip itself which hopefully proves to be quite fun. We're staying in Columbus, Ohio tonight and then heading to Indy tomorrow morning.

If you want to keep tabs on what we're doing, I'm delving into the realm that I won't dare enter alone and using Dave's Critical-Hits twitter account while we're at the con, so feel free to check it out and see what we're up to!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Damnit, it happened again!

I looked at Twitter for about a minute and immediately thought, "hey I should join this!"

It's almost being used as a sort of instant messaging service now, which shouldn't really surprise anyone but I still think it was an unexpected result.

In actual news, work (like, the paying job) is picking up this week and happens to coincide with the week where I have my 3rd Adventure of my D&D campaign to run this Friday. I'm actually doing really well with working plus overtime, sleeping at least 6 hours a night (never too difficult for me), doing other activities, AND planning for the adventure. Talking to Phil regularly seems to put me on the lookout for when I'm being overly paranoid, perfectionist, or worrisome for stupid reasons. How long does it take before you become paranoid about being paranoid?

Crap, already there.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

On Twitter - Brilliant!

In his comment to my last post asking opinions about Twitter, Jared shared this link with an excellent analysis of Twitter that rings pretty true with my feelings on it. Here's an excerpt of the beginning pretty elegantly sums up my feelings on the service:

Twitter scares me. For all its popularity, I see at least three issues: 1) it's a near-perfect example of the psychological principle of intermittent variable reward, the key addictive element of slot machines. 2) The strong "feeling of connectedness" Twitterers get can trick the brain into thinking its having a meaningful social interaction, while another (ancient) part of the brain "knows" something crucial to human survival is missing. 3) Twitter is yet another--potentially more dramatic--contribution to the problems of always-on multi-tasking... you can't be Twittering (or emailing or chatting, of course) and simultaneously be in deep thought and/or a flow state.
There's a lot more intelligent and insightful analysis of why Twitter can be simultaneously fascinating and really quite frightening. I'm pretty sure I will continue to avoid using it or even signing up for it, except I'll be using Dave's twitter while we're at GenCon so that we can torment those who aren't in attendence / aid those that are there in stalking us.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Such a Twit

Every now and then I contemplate using Twitter. Whenever I look at the site, see people (especially celebrity's) updates and realize that it unveils some insane magnifying glass into another person's life I get positively fascinated.

Part of me always stops before I sign up though, because I really can't justify it in any way whatsoever. At this point I think I'd much rather just use this blog to let people know what I'm doing. Any thoughts?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekly Quote

My small calendar on my desk at work (provided by the awesomest drywall company in Maryland) has a weekly quote on it that I often don't read until the end of the week.

Last week's quote:

"Love is a friendship set to music." - E. Joseph Cossman

Cossman lived from 1918 to 2002, was born in Pittsburgh, and is a famous salesman / entrepreneur. He's probably best known for selling things like shrunken heads and ant farms door-to-door.

Other quotes by Cossman:

"Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal."
"Drive-in banks were established so most of the cars today could see their real owners."
"The best way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Just Ridiculous

This is just ridiculous, a co-worker sent me this article today that talks about some new technology. What is this new technology? CO2 scrubbers.
Scientists at Columbia University are developing a carbon dioxide (CO2) scrubber device that removes one ton of CO2 from the air every day, says the Heartland Institute.

Wow! Sounds great doesn't it? Right now you might be expecting me to say something about how it's really a bad technology for some reason, or that it's a bad idea because of some other unseen facts. Nope! But some people are saying these things...
While some see the scrubber as an efficient and economical way to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, many environmentalists oppose the technology because it allows people to use fossil fuels and emit carbon in the first place.

Environmental activist groups such as Greenpeace have consistently opposed similar technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration, because they do not address what they see as the root of the problem, says the Heartland Institute.

That's what is ridiculous. Some people are actually trying to get us a few steps closer to the world of Demolition Man (sweet reference, I know!). This is why I've been growing more and more skeptical and pessimistic about the entire "green" movement and how it's gotten into every aspect of how we live. Most of the people who are really into it, really behind it, might as well have joined a cult and cut their own brains out with the way they act.

SURE creating CO2 scrubbers will encourage some people to keep using fossil fuels, or at least it gives them a reasonable excuse. However, if you're opposed to something like this that essentially does what you've been preaching for years except on a realistically feasible then you're the biggest hypocrite in the world. Everyone's going 'Green' these days, for all the wrong reasons.

(article: )

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Traffic Analysis

Just about a year go, I finally convinced Dave that we should be using Feedburner for the RSS feature of Critical Hits. I never really knew exactly why, but just from seeing other sites using it I could tell that we should have been using it for a while beforehand. Probably the big difference between using Feedburner and not using it is the metrics, you get excellent tracking of how many people you have reading your RSS feeds. These metrics also allow you to use great analysis tools to figure out traffic trends and history, and all that good stuff.

Running a website can make you fall in love with graphs. They're sexy.

August of last year we had 19 feed subscribers. That probably depressed me at the time, but not too much because I'm the kind of person who will face the reality rather than ignore it or try to convince myself that it's not true. Pretty much any given point in the history of Critical Hits I've looked at our traffic and thought, "Damn, we're doing well!" I remember late '06 I thought this and looking back at it our traffic it's very interesting to think about.

We started measuring our traffic with Google Analytics in October of 2006, and as I said I was happy at the end of that year and enjoying the site and according to Analytics we were getting ~35 visits a day. I'll have to go back and look at what kind of content we were putting up back then, just out of curiousity. Jump ahead to April of 2007 and we were starting to get a lot of google traffic (after more than a year of posting), so our traffic had jumped to ~200 visits a day.

Then in July of '07 almost all of our google traffic suddenly cut off, we're pretty sure due to updates in how Google indexed pages and just an overall cleaning up of their search system, which dropped us to about 100 visits a day on average. I remember being happy with any of those numbers, because it was just a site that Dave and I were running and we only really expected friends to pay much attention anyway. Through the end of 2007 we were still getting traffic of ~150 visits a day, and I definitely remember being happy with the website at the end of last year. Our traffic grew a little bit in early 2008, probably to about an average of 200 visits a day, then we hit some huge spikes for our coverage of the D&D Experience (thanks to Yax, and Wizards). By the end of March our numbers had grown to ~300 visits a day, which was awesome because this time it was not mostly random google traffic, it was a more quality kind of traffic.

These days, mid 2008, our average traffic is up to about 450-500 visits a day but any given day or week we'll see typical numbers up to even 800 a day with a few spikes higher than that. I'm extremely happy with how the site has been doing, and I'm still having a lot of fun with it, so thank you to any of you that are a part of that number!

I suppose the conclusion I can make, and it is something that I feel should always be kept close at hand, is that I enjoy doing this kind of thing no matter how many people are reading it. But the numbers sure do look pretty in a spiffy graph!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Late July, already?

The first time I heard the Flobots song, 'Handlebars' or whatever it's actually called, I thought it was very interesting and good. Now that it is on the radio at least 2-3 times a day, and I hear it on various stations, it is possibly one of the most annoying songs of the last few years. It's 10x worse than Linkin' Parks original CD became after months of overplaying on the radio, and in much less time too! Hands down, I no longer think it is a very good song because it cannot stand the test of repetition, it can't even stand the test of casual listening...

Not a whole hell of a lot going on these days, relaxing when I'm not at work, working when I am at work. Hopefully I'll be playing some more golf in the late summer, as I've only played once so far this year and been the driving range only a handful of times.

I've been telling myself that I'll start posting sketches here again...will I?

Monday, July 07, 2008


Our little trip to Ocean City, MD was amazing, it was Becky's first time out there because her family takes annual trips to Florida so they've never really had the hankering for closer beaches. She was expecting it to be a lot worse than FL, but she seemed to be very happy to find that it's pretty much the same except only about 3 hours away. Oh and the water is like 20 degrees colder! Once you get in it's not a big deal, but I imagine if you're used to Florida temperature oceans than this is a big shock.

It was a great trip, and I don't think either of us can believe we've been married for 2 years now. Most people joke about it feeling like longer, but it really doesn't. We're also just so extremely happy that the whole house-buying concern is behind us.

Just a short one for now, more updates coming soon!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer of Fun

Dave is at Origins this whole weekend, Becky and I are going to be celebrating our 2nd anniversary at the ocean, and it sounds like most of my co-workers are going on vacation in the next few weeks. I don't remember the vacation season starting in late June last year, is this a new thing? Typically it's late July / early August where all work seems to shut down and come to a grinding halt as random people are out from one week to another.

Oh, and then there's Gen Con in mid August which I am positively thrilled for!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Is regret a uniquely human emotion? Is it even an emotion at all?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time for some Politics?

I read an article in today's Washington Post about flak going between McCain's and Obama's campaigns (because they personally/specifically aren't saying some of the things) about terrorism and their respective stances. First it makes me curious when both sides use different stances to argue the same thing, both say their tactics will make America safer. I suppose they both could technically be correct, which would be the best case and a very good thing.

What really caught my interest is the write up about some specifics in Obama's anti-terrorism plans, which I've heard NOTHING of from him or any of the speeches I've heard of his, so I suppose we could say the media is failing to represent the democratic candidate (which is the opposite of the argument you usually hear), or Obama really hasn't said much about it. I'm not sure which is the case. I really like a lot of what was said, maybe even all of it, about Obama's plans to combat terrorism. I'm not sure where I stand on the debate between legal action against terrorists or military action against them, but if we legally pursue terrorists and it actually gets somewhere (which it seems to, vs. other types of cases that just don't go anywhere) then I can't argue too much with that. I don't buy the republican argument that arresting and imprisoning terrorists vs. just killing them outright is such a bad thing.

The other thing that really caught my attention was this paragraph:
But Obama has shown himself far more eager than Kerry and other Democrats to challenge the Republicans on the issue. He argues that the Bush administration's approach to fighting terrorism has been a failure, and he proposes an approach that mixes law enforcement, intelligence and military tools, including the possibility of invading Pakistan to pursue al-Qaeda if the Pakistani government does not cooperate.
How many people argue that the Iraq war is wrong simply because all war is wrong and any invasion of another country is bad and we're terrible human beings because we even thought about doing it? I hear way too many of those arguments, and see far too many bumperstickers about it, when it is such a completely naive and idiotic mind-set. Idealistic and happy, yes, but idiotic to think that such an ideal can ever be reached. But here you have Obama, the people's hero for saying he'll pull the US out of Iraq (would that be considered a defeat? what happens to nations that lose wars? how do other countries who want their resources view those countries?) saying that if Pakistan doesn't cooperate we'll invade them too! I wonder how that makes some people feel.

This should also make us wonder what the term "does not cooperate" really means, and if this is just a fake statement, ie - Pakistan could send us videos of terrorists partying in their capital and we would still give them more chances to cooperate, and what the quantitative factors are for cooperation. Did Iraq cooperate? Was Saddam within the realm of what Obama would consider "not cooperative"? Does this whole thing make Obama sounds like just another pushy, big-time American hypocrite?

Oh and also, Bush has called for a lift of the ban on drilling for oil around the US. What do people think of this move? I don't fully buy into his argument that the high gas prices are all the democrats' fault, but certainly if the war in Iraq was just for oil we really F-ed that part up by not taking much from there.

Monday, June 16, 2008


My friend Jared asked me these questions in comments a few posts back, I left them be back then because I was busy but now I should probably answer them:

You used to draw a lot right? As a kid, I'm talking elementary school here I drew a ton. My father was a Kobol programmer through all of my young life and would always bring home the old-school computer paper where each sheet was connected end-to-end and it had the holes punched in each side (which I just hated tearing off at the time). Several times I remember covering my bedroom floor from wall to wall with this paper that had drawings on it. Mostly Megaman characters, and stuff like that... Then I hit a lull, and even during I wasn't sure why. Until early highschool when I was re-inspired and actually started using a sketchbook and trying to draw each day in it. Even through highschool I probably only filled one sketchbook, then in college I filled another one/two sketchbooks. Now I'm about 1/4 through a newish one, I think I started it in january of '07? I'm behind on that one.

What made you draw? Typically I draw because the ideas just keep building up, and eventually I get one that I really just have to express on paper. I need to make it a habit and just start doing it every day even if I have nothing I conciously think I want to draw, and just start jamming / improvising with it.

How did you get in the right mode? Drawing, honestly. Once I start doing it and force myself to sit down and do it, after 5 minutes things typically start going pretty well and then I get in the mode. It'd be so easy if something ELSE got me in the mode, then I could do that and lead into drawing...but we all know I'd procrastinate that too!

What did you like to draw/ where'd you get your ideas from? Always videogames, if a D&D game is ongoing then that provides some iffy inspiration. Friends have always been throwing ideas at me they want me to draw, and I'm ashamed to say I probably only ever do 5% of them. As a child I remember that I was always drawing tanks, fighter planes, and a lot of stuff like that because my dad had a big influence in weapons of war with me.

Did you need a certain environment to get anything done? Paper, a pencil, and a little bit of patience. The patience is what always does me in, I think. Often I don't even make it to the paper or with a pencil in hand. Painting was a great thing because attacking a blank canvas with a brush was very liberating and new to me so it helped me overcome that hump. Maybe I should use more mediums than just a pencil? Even a pen intrigues me more, but I typically hate using them! (except at work I've been using pens a lot....hmmm)

what's changed to pull you away and what can you change to bring yourself back? It's always forefront that "I don't have enough time", but I don't think I buy that because you can always make time for what you really want to do, and you can always find money for what you really want to buy. It's crazy, how we are so broke and busy all the time but when you really want to do something, you find the time and/or money. My excuse before March 15th was that I didn't have my drawing desk at our apt, but now we're in the house and I have it set up (which I LOVE, having it set up now!) and I'm still not drawing much more. I'll have to ponder this question a bit more, me thinks.

Thanks Jared!!! These are awesome questions and I always kick myself because I pretty much never think of these important questions on my own, but they're crucial to the problem at hand. Any idea if you specifically learned these questions to ask in a case like this, or do they just come to mind as intuition?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So a co-worker sent out an e-mail about the Myers-Briggs personality test and all of that, which I'd taken a few times before but never paid too much attention to. In taking the short 72 question test, a few questions jump out at me as ones I change my mind on or am unsure of.

"You are more interested in a general idea than in the details of its realization"

"Strict observance of the established rules is likely to prevent a good outcome"

"You believe the best decision is one that can be easily changed"

"The process of searching for solution is moreimportant to you than the solution itself"

"You easily see the general principle behindspecific occurrences"

More on these when it's not late, and when I don't feel like passing out.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Owning the Nine Hells

Seems that we bought a house with a 4-5 year old Heat Pump (exterior unit that both heats and cools) that had a grand sum total of ZERO freon running through it. This is great, because it means when we've been running the unit through March for heating, thankfully April and most of May were cooler than usual, but now for half of May and June, for no reason! Not too bad really, just frustrating, except now the temperatures are up in the 90's and it sounds like this weekend could go above 100 (barely). Thankfully Becky's parents just bought a new window AC unit and lent us their old one, so we can stop sleeping in the basement and move back up to our bedroom. The basement is 90% underground with no stairs and very few windows, so it's a comfortable 70 degrees in there pretty much all the time! That's why we put the gaming down there, or at least that's my retro-reasoning for it.

4th Edition D&D is officially released today, can't wait to have the actual books in my hands!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Already Slacking?

And here it goes with the slacking, already! We went out and bought Mario Kart + extra wii wheel the other night. We'd borrowed it from Becky's sister, and so Becky was playing basically all weekend and then a lot this week. It really does a good job of capturing the feel of playing the more classic Mario Kart games, which Double Dash didn't really do for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved DD and it was crazy-fun, but the battle mode was crap compared to previous versions and that killed a lot of it for me. Admittedly, now that I've said that, I haven't even played the battle mode in MK wii yet, but we'll get to that. I suppose the simplest explanation is that they've included courses from all the previous games, which is something that I love and easily invokes nostalgia in an instant.

Drawing: going slow, if at all
Working out: have been riding my bike around quite a bit, but no lifting weights or running

Still excessively excited about running D&D starting in late June / early July.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Balticon 42

Went to Balticon yesterday from about 11:30 until 8pm. I've gone every year since early highschool but for the last couple of years I've only gone for a day or two and never stayed overnight, which admittedly loses some of the fun and feel of the whole con experience. It was incredibly fun though, because I got to run Keep on the Shadowfell for Dave, Richie, Ethan, and Scott - and we actually broke the second encounter mark! Finally! I've run those first two encounters three times now...and I've just started adding/changing things to make it more interesting for myself and the one or two players who've played them before. Dave played with the Tiefling Warlord character this time around and I'm very happy with how he works, though the Cleric's healing is definitely the best (as it should be) I'm still skeptical if a party can really manage just as well sans Cleric.

Balticon has gotten worse in the last few years, perhaps only in relation to what we like to do there, but I'd also say just in general worse. My desire to have a quality gaming convention that doesn't require driving to ohio (ie - east coast) is almost inspiring. Almost.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good news, everyone!

Wii : obtained

Only games are Wii Sports and Wii Play (the controller deal is for suckers, which we are). Mariokart is inevitable within the next few days, and hopefully Wii Fit at soonest availability. We found the Wii at Toys'R'Us, only the second place we went to looking for one. It's a shame because I lost a (stupid) bet with Becky that we'd be able to find a Wii Fit before finding the system itself.

As a couple, we used to bet money but it was ridiculous because we share all of it anyway. These days we don't even worry about what the bet includes, the simple act of winning it is enough for either of us.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Forming Habits

One of the big things I'm trying to improve in my life right now is forming some good habits that help me get the things done in everyday life that I always want to get done. One of the biggest objectives is to get in the habit of drawing, as that's one of the first goals that is always on my list is to become a better artist. I'm not sure where I got this idea, but it just happened that I've decided blogging more here will help me develop good habits. Naturally I hope it will enhance my writing for Critical Hits also (both content and frequency).

Does anyone have any formal or informal knowledge about habits? If so, please let me know! I haven't looked into educating myself about it yet, but flying by the seat of my pants is not something new so full speed ahead!

On a side note, I really need to get my oil painting stuff set up in the basement. Approaching a 3'x4' blank canvas for the first time in 3-4 years will be very liberating!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Home Owner's Association

Went to the annual / monthly meeting of our HOA last night, only Becky, myself, and one other resident attended (oh some guy showed up at the very end because of a complaint or two he had). As of next month (or really right now) I am the architectural review board member for my development. It's very much non-glamorous stuff, approving porch additions and re-painting and all that jazz, but it's something to be involved and hopefully help the community look better and work better as a nice place to live.

Oddly, it sounds like some of the other streets in our development are kind of crappy and have a lot of problems, whereas our street has been awesome so far and any nice day there are 5-15 kids outside playing around. I love it! Becky, on the other hand...

(she likes the kids, just not the noise they make most of the time)

Stormtrooper Lovin'

I am so mad that I missed this when Valentine's Day happened:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Home: The Improvening

Spent most of the day, from about noon until 8pm, installing new front windows in our house. We had to tear out the old ones, which actually ended up taking almost all of the time because they had flanges on all 4 sides nailed in, which meant we had to remove almost all of the wood from around them before even getting to the tearing them out part.

We special ordered "replacement" windows, the tearing out of the wood portions meant we really could have just bought regular old "new construction" windows and they'd be better, but hey they're in and almost completely sealed up and everything.

We upgraded from early 90's single pane windows, which could NOT be opened because they had been sitting for years without being opened. I eventually did crowbar them open, once I was sure we were trashing them in the process of removal. It's bad when a window must be broken (the frame) to be operable. Ironic, but bad.

PS - I now own a crowbar, so if you become a're pretty much F'ed

Friday, May 16, 2008

4th Edition

Going to be playing some 4th Edition tonight, man I can't wait!

Technically I'm running it, but it looks like that's one of the biggest changes with the new edition is that (at least to me) it looks way more fun to DM. Not that it was terrible before, but things that are good can always get better!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

D&D on the brain

If I could get paid to plan a D&D game, I would be extremely happy.

Here I am, one of the few people who already gets paid to do something they love, and I'm complaining! Sorry!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Workout 3-3-08

This is workout #1 of March and #17 of 2008.

Ran 1.5 Miles in 18 minutes

Shoulder Press - 0
Incline Press - 0
Bench Press - 0

Row - 0
Bicep Curl - 0

Butterfly - 60 lbs x 10 (down from x12)
Pull-down - 0
Tricep Pushdown - 50 lbs x 10

Leg Press - 90 lbs x 12
Calf Press - 0

Leg Extension - 40 lbs x 10
Hamstring curl - 30 lbs x 10 (up from 20 lbs x 12)
Sit Up x 20

Dumbbell Bicep Curls - 0

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

RPG Player Type Quiz

Law's Game Style
created with
You scored as Storyteller

You're more inclined toward the role playing side of the equation and less interested in numbers or experience points. You're quick to compromise if you can help move the story forward, and get bored when the game slows down for a long planning session. You want to play out a story that moves like it's orchestrated by a skilled novelist or film director.



Method Actor






Power Gamer


Casual Gamer




Found over at Dave's blog.

Workout 2-13-08

Yea so I realize right after I finally post my workout I stop doing it for 2 weeks plus, but we were house-shopping for a while and that got in the way. Good news is we got a house, and will be moving in (and finally owning one) in mid-march!

This is workout #1 of February and #16 of 2008.

Shoulder Press - 40 lbs x 10
Incline Press - 40 lbs x 10
Bench Press - 40 lbs x 10 (down from x12)

Row - 50 lbs x 10
Bicep Curl - 40 lbs x 10 (difficult)
Butterfly - 60 lbs x 12 (up from 50lbs x 12)
Pull-down - 60 lbs x 10
Tricep Pushdown - 50 lbs x 10 (up from 40lbs)

Leg Press - 90 lbs x 12
Calf Press - 90 lbs x 10
Leg Extension - 40 lbs x 10
Hamstring curl - 20 lbs x 12
Sit Up x 20 (down from 30)

Dumbbell Bicep Curls - 0

Need to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Anecdote by Dennis

My friend Dennis set this as his google status today, figured I'd share it:

While stretching in physical therapy today I noticed an older woman looking at me. I smiled politely and she said, "You have such long, handsome legs. They just go on forever. Do you play basketball?" Unaccustomed, to such attention I said, "I did, but I'm not good enough to play for UM." I took a moment to reflect on the constant objectification of women in our society and how that made me feel. Then I remembered that I'm not an object because I'm not a woman.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Workout 1-28-08

This is workout 15 (or close to it) of January and 2008.

Shoulder Press - 40 lbs x 10
Incline Press - 40 lbs x 10
Bench Press - 40 lbs x 12 (up from x10)

Row - 50 lbs x 10
Bicep Curl - 40 lbs x 10

Butterfly - 50 lbs x 12 (up from 40lbs x 10)
Pull-down - 60 lbs x 10
Tricep Pushdown - 40 lbs x 10

Leg Press - 90 lbs x 12 (up to 90lbs because that's what Becky does, and i felt like a pussy)
Calf Press - 90 lbs x 10 (ditto)

Leg Extension - 40 lbs x 10 (up from 30lbs)
Hamstring curl - 20 lbs x 12
Sit Up x 30 (up from 10 then 20)

Dumbbell Bicep Curls - 25 lbs x 10 (up from 15lbs)

Damn it feels good to be working out.