Saturday, May 21, 2011

Made With 100% Preservatives

*My brain does not seem to be in gear at all. Hashi is completely eluding me. Crosswords may as well be in another language. Even the random background noise isn't really interesting. Don't know if I slept too much or not enough. Didn't exercise, which certainly doesn't help. Probably should have skipped the pizza rolls as well.
*Nope. Last I checked, weren't no rapture 'round here. Crap. I guess that means that the looting parties are off for tonight. And I had my torches all ready to go, too.
*Baby birds are a definite exception to the 'all baby animals are cute' rule.
*It was supposed to rain today. Vigorously. It didn't. I postponed the washing of the dogs due to this incorrect forecast. That means that if I wash them tomorrow, that's when it will rain. Vigorously. Now, if I were to go and get the grass seed for the back yard and put that in, it may well never rain here again. Therefore, it would seem that I should put the grass seed in and THEN wash the dogs.
*Almost sliced off the end of my thumb while chopping mint today. That is something that will sure get your attention in a hurry. Fortunately I just lost a hunk of thumbnail and a flap of dead skin, neither one of which found their way into the lentil salad.
*It just seems ethically wrong to load my bike into the car and drive somewhere so I can then take the bike out and ride it around.
*I don't think it's the quantity of the pizza that's a problem. It's more like the power that's causing an issue. But, you can't downgrade the value so much that the pizza becomes worthless. Maybe it just needs to be potent but scarce. I may also need to reign in the swag as well. And friends need to serve a purpose that makes it worthwhile to spend pie to get them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not Quite Like Meringue

*Been at least a couple of months since I posted, as I was recently reminded by someone in a none-too-subtle manner. In that span of time, I aged another year and spent some time in Vegas. I'm sure there were some other things that went on, but right at the moment, I can't really recall too many of them. Must not have been all that important.

*Summer-like weather seems to be finally easing back into the NI area. Got the window cracked as I sit here, and the fresh, cool breeze is a nice compliment to the beer I'm currently drinking. The screen is up in front of the garage, and so the summer studio season has officially kicked off as well. As a side bonus, there have been no mosquito encounters yet this season. Not that I believe that will last for too much longer.

*Team Horrible all the way, baby!

*Had my first decent score at the local Goodwill store in quite a long time on Wednesday. Walked out with 7 new (to me) games and a nice Hawaiian shirt. All for 22 bucks. I'm such a cheap date sometimes. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised to find the games I've checked to be complete and in good shape. Guess this means I'll have to start hanging around with the DeKalb gamer's group again so I can start getting some table time in.

*Thus far, Baby Monkey has no plans for the upcoming 3 day holiday weekend. Although, a road trip to Peoria isn't out of the question. But I would not be returning with a desk, FYI.

*The Blue Moai Room is now officially closed for the summer (except for the odd special invite event here and there). Figured it was time to take a break from the monthly thing while people were on summer vacation, the kids were out of school, and other things of that sort. Plus, attendance has been sliding, so that figures in as well. There might actually be some remodeling going on there this summer as well. I will stress the word 'might'. As much as I would like to do some work, there are other home projects that need to be considered, and the overall budget picture is starting to tighten up. So, I'm thinking that may just end up on hold for a while. After the summer and flea market season settles down, we may switch over to doing a 3X a year thing, or something like that. Or not. Don't really know just yet. Not like I've even managed to get any of the display items shuffled around at all.

*From the looks of the trailer I saw on Yahoo!, the remake of "Fright Night" looks like it's really gonna be lousy. Given, I understand that the original wasn't anywhere near the greatest film of all time, but I still really like it. So, it kinda blows when someone has to go and mess it all up. Why couldn't they remake something like "Steel Magnolias", for cripes sake? And while I'm on the topic of remakes/sequels, I will not be running out to see the newest POC movie. I still haven't gotten all the stink out of my nose from the last one.

*"The Expendables": I really wasn't expecting much from this movie, and I actually ended up getting quite a bit less than the little that I was expecting. It was pretty visually slick for the most part, and had some good one liners, but that just wasn't enough to make much of anything out of it. Luckily, I had chips and dip to keep me distracted from just how bad it was.

*Bike commuting season starts next Monday for me, and the boss has re-expressed her yearly list of dislikes surrounding this activity. It's not like I would actually enjoy getting squished by a car or anything. I really should find my headlight before I hit the road at night, though.

*Wish I had thought of this method for 'erasing' playing cards when I was working on my first game. Would have saved me from all the time I spent making my own. Now I just have to see if I can get this new game pulled together in time for Ohana. Like I really need something else to be working on for Ohana. Still, I would like to get it done. Get my name known around the FOM for something other than my tiny primate companion. Fingers crossed.

*I have little to no interest in doing any gardening this season, but I also have no desire to have a huge weed patch growing right next to the front door. Again. Therefore, some minimal degree of planting /weeding/watering is going to be in my future. Plus, I promised Mel that I'd buy some seed packets from her. Maybe I can get all the perennials set this year. Of course I think I said that last year. Same goes for the dead zone around the maple in back. The boss has hinted that I should consider doing something about it. Soon. When I tell her that all I'd need to do to fix it would be to cut down all the trees in the neighbors' yards she gets all cranky. Don't know why. It's a perfectly reasonable solution.

*Need to check and see if the eggs in the robin's nest atop our backyard floodlight have hatched yet. Neat experience to watch, but any baby birds that can't make that first flight successfully will most likely end up as dog snacks.

*"Black Swan": Watched it, was intrigued and occasionally disturbed by it, but still don't completely get it. I kinda like that in a movie.

*Zero luck in our first run at garage sales this season. Plus, as a general rule, garage sales in more affluent neighborhoods tend to suck. I'm thinking that I should just stick with estate sales, and maybe an auction or two here and there.

*Ideas for Da Munky Hut continue to percolate around in my brain. Unfortunately, I have no thatching.

*Washing the dogs, paying the bills, and doing paperwork. That's a sucky way to start the weekend.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Asthmatic Weasels

(originally written 3-10-11)

*I am about to explode from a massive, unresolved case of Spring Fever. Oh, and did I mention that it might snow tomorrow?
*Closing in on one week left till I need to have the St. Mary's tiki completed. Need to wander over to Menard's and find the stain I want to use. Something low odor would be nice, since I won't be able to work on it in the garage. Maybe a gloss. Haven't decided yet. Could just slap a coat of tung oil on it, for that matter. May also have to scratch the necklace idea unless I have a sudden burst of insight on how I can do it.
*Sheri's newest addiction: 'The Closer'. Seems like every few days a new season's worth of episodes getting delivered to the house.
*Will I be able to master the technique of the Tiki of the Twelve Cuts? Only time will tell....
*Ginger brandy: disappointing. Applejack: disappointing. Getting another dud bottle of Xtabentun: disappointing. Having to retool your cocktail list mere days before a party: disappointing.
*I need a MAME cabinet like I need multiple parasitic infections and open weeping sores. Doesn't keep me from wanting one though.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grumpy Sponge Finger Stuffing

*After Sheri told me that Al had cut down part of a tree in his yard, I found myself compelled to pay him a visit. I managed to walk off with a nice pile of freshly cut maple logs for my efforts. More than likely gonna be more than I can possibly carve before they dry out, but there's nothing like working with wet stock. Chisels breeze right through it and it smells pretty darn good too. Plus, I managed to hack out a complete, if simple, tiki in a mere 2 hours. May just do the same thing again on Tuesday.

*I should try to find some stropping compound.

*Almost time for the next gathering in the Blue Moai Room. I don't know why this one seems to have snuck up on me. And, as usual, there's another FOM related event on the same weekend. Oh, well. Guess I'll have to go to Racine some other time. Wound up with more than one cocktail list this time around, so I just need to decide which one to use this time. I still think that putting an actual cocktail on the list might not work. Still, never know until you try it. Got a couple of drinks that may fall off the list just because I can't find the ingredients locally. Ginger brandy, cherry brandy, and falernum are at the top of that ingredient list right now. Xtabentun is also becoming an iffy thing, since we actually got a bad bottle last time around. There is a place in the 'burbs that I can buy it by the case, though. Be just my luck that I'd but a case of it and then they'd stop making BLL. Not that I have any problem with drinking it straight.

*Tax appointment tomorrow. Blech and double blech. Maybe we'll go out for lunch afterwards and I'll make the enchiladas for lunch on Tuesday.

*Vegas trip is booked. At the moment, I find myself oddly unexcited about going. The on and off spring weather is doing an excellent job at dampening my spirits. Need to get some more sunshine into my diet and get my brain functioning again. I am also thinking I may need to carve a travelling tiki to take with. Kinda like the gnome in the commercials. Something that I can take pictures of next to the general weirdness that is Vegas. Maybe I just need to take Baby Monkey with me. I bet the TSA would hassle him though.

*Beer bottle lights. Not a very original thought, but it could be a fun project.

*Still no official word from the dermatologist. A nurse at the office told me that she thought she remembered seeing the report and that it came back benign. Still, I think something a little more concrete would be a tad more comforting to hear.

*Carving styrofoam is proving to be a bit more challenging than I thought it would be. I still don't have quite the right blade for it. Maybe I do have the right blade, but my technique is all wrong. Either way, something just isn't quite right. Cut depth is another issue as well. But, since I have a basically unlimited supply of the stuff thru work, I'll keep working with it. To what end, I have no idea.

*Artificial sun is now installed in the studio. 160 watts of 6450K light with a CRI of 94.1. If that doesn't help, nothing will.

*Am I the only one who still writes things longhand anymore?

Monday, March 21, 2011

No Creamy Filling

*Found out while browsing around on the computer last night that if we stay at the Mirage when we go to Vegas, there's a tattoo parlor right in the hotel. Mind you, it's a big, fancy world renowned one (supposedly), which in my book translates into ridiculously high prices. Still, the thought of getting some more work done has a degree of appeal to it. But, at the same time, you're wearing someone else's art until you die. It may be your idea, but it's their technique and execution. So, I'm on the fence about whether or not I'm going to get another one while I'm there. Then again, I'm on the fence as to whether or not I'll be getting another one at all. Especially depending on what I hear from the dermatologist. But, now that I mentioned getting another one at all, Sheri was asking if that was what I wanted for my birthday. So, if I say no, I have to figure out what else to have her get for my birthday. But that's another story. Another good thing about the Mirage that I discovered was that the pool(s) are heated. Yippee! Of course the definition of 'heated' can vary greatly. Still, I'm hoping to spend some time splashing around in the water under the desert sun. I should probably see what the average temp is there for that time of year. Found out that tickets for the original Cirque production are $183. Per person. Sheri was not happy to hear that. Don't know if she's still going to want to see it, though. Nothing really on my radar as far as shows go this time around. Should probably check and see what's playing, just in case. And, as usual, our visit just misses a slew of other events that we'd be interested in. Lewis Black, Steve Martin, burlesque weekend, and the rockabilly festival will be things that we're gonna miss by anywhere from a day to a week on either end of our trip. Mind you, that won't stop me from going to Frankie's. I may need to drown my sorrows and round out my mug collection a bit, you know.

*Had another good 3rd Saturday at the Chef! The band was great, once they managed to get the sound levels evened out so we could hear the vocals. We got there early to eat, and the parking lot was full. The place stayed pretty full until we left shortly before closing time. Also had the added entertainment of an intoxicated Mexican dancer during the second set. They only had to throw her out twice before it took. The hot and sour soup was way more hot than it was sour this time around, proving once again that it's never the never the same thing twice in a row. It was also nice to be part of surprising everyone with the unannounced appearance of the Tagalongs. And even though we managed to get pretty much everyone in the same place, we seem to have ended up with very little new information about our travel plans for Ohana. But we're going to go ahead and get our passports, just in case we end up returning via the northern route. Most of the rest of it is still up in the air.

*You would think by now that I would have learned to wear a dust mask while sanding. Which reminds me that I need to do my yearly respirator fit test for work pretty soon. Really want to move back out into the garage to work, but I know the second I do that we'll end up with snow on the ground again. So, the coat of dust in the winter studio will continue to grow thicker until the summer studio season starts up.

*I am still waiting to hear back from the dermatologist. Went and got the stitch out today, but the nurse I saw wasn't sure if my report had come back yet. Now it's well past closing time for the office, so I get to sit and wait for at least another day.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Break time's over, boy...

*I am neither Irish nor catholic. I do not need a 'holiday' to officially sanction my drinking. I do not believe that the Irish invented the color green. I don't believe in saints any more than I believe in leprechauns. And I most certainly do not think that Guinness is worth drinking. Therefore, St. Patrick's day is not something I acknowledge.

*The snow may all be gone, but the bolt is nowhere to be found. Luckily, I have zip ties.

*From the window in my kitchen, I can see 3 houses that are for sale in the subdivision that adjoins my property. There is another one I can see that was on the market for over a year and is just now sitting empty. Of those four properties, two of them have pink water shut-off notices taped to the door. Now, if I had to guess, I'd say there are more than a dozen homes total within a 2 block radius of my house that are either for sale or empty. I can practically hear my home value dropping on a daily basis. The only upside is that my next tax assessment should be considerably lower than my previous ones.

*Sure, he may scuba dive and collect guns and like Harry Potter, but can he return a topspin serve? Guess we'll have to find out.

*The last get together at the Blue Moai Room was, in my humble opinion, a rousing success. Of course, that was after the layout of the room underwent a near complete overhaul under the direction of Sheri. It was a much needed revamp, and it proved to make a huge amount of difference in the way the room was used. Aside from me needing a garbage can and a fridge behind or near the bar I think the only thing I really need in the new configuration is a bigger bar. Oddly enough, this is wholeheartedly supported by Sheri. Thus far, finding a commercially made product that will fill this need without busting our bank account has proven impossible. So, it looks like custom construction is on the agenda. And since the bar area has moved to the other end of the room, the plans I had originally drawn up are now pretty much useless. But that's something that most likely won't be happening anytime soon. Even with the small bar, the drinks were good, the crowd was good, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next month. There were some of our regulars that didn't make it, but there were also some new faces in the crowd, so it looks like this event may be starting to gain some traction.

*Out with the gray, in with the blue.

*A recent perusal of eBay has confirmed the fact that I am no closer today to being able to afford a pinball machine than I was 5 years ago.

*Had a 6mm chunk taken out of my face because the dermatologist didn't like the way a mole on my cheek was looking. Now I just have to wait for the path report to come back to find out what the hell it was. Until then, I'm gonna pretend the C word doesn't exist. Apparently 40 is starting to disagree with me.

*As always, before you act, ask yourself, 'What would Baby Monkey do?'

*Take out the tree, or live with the mud? Between the dogs and the shade, grass just refuses to grow under that tree in back. Unfortunately, the rest of the yard is starting to thin out as well. Odd to see an article in Atomic Ranch dealing with that same issue right when we're trying to figure out what to do with the backyard ourselves.

*Skin slips, splinters, and a nose fulla dust? Must be sanding time in the studio. On the plus side, I do seem to be on schedule for getting the St Mary's project done. Then I'll need to get back to work on the Ohana project. I need to do the 80 pass on the back and sides of the St Mary's, and then it will be time to step up a grit or two. I know what the necklace is gonna consist of, but the stain color I'm not sure of yet. May have to go lighter than I usually do.

*Do we take the bed off it's frame so it's easier for the oldest dog to get on and off? Probably.

*Vegas in April? Looks that way. Gotta get moving on those arrangements, though. At the head of the pack for accommodations thus far is the Mirage. On my to-do list for this trip-Frankie's Tiki Room (duh...), the Pinball Hall of Fame, and hopefully some time in the pool. I am also not ruling out getting some ink while I'm there. Sheri wants to see one of the Cirque du Soleil shows and there's a speakeasy in the downtown area she wants to find. Other than that, it would be nice to just be warm for a few days.

*Why the hell are the laces on New Balance shoes always so damn long?

*Got our tix for Ohana in June. I need to decide where, when, and what I want to volunteer for and get signed up for those slots. Also need to touch base with Mel, Dave and the Tag-Alongs to firm up our travel arrangements and accommodations. Depending on the route we take to get there, we may also need to get passports. Some putting practice may be in order, too.

*What to do about Indianapolis.... Is bold and stupid the way to go? Sleeping dogs? Do good things come to those who wait, or does the day need to be seized? Have I missed the boat, or do I head it off at the pass?

*I have crossed over the official BMI index threshold into the 'overweight' category. Yet another example of how 40 isn't agreeing with me. Time to get the bike down and get moving again, I guess.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Eggs? What Eggs?

*The band stuck in heavy rotation on my iPod right now? Bowling For Soup.

*The Blue Moai Room was a bit on the dead side this time around. Had people out with illnesses, folks who had to work, and a whole boatload of no-shows. But, I was glad that Cromag made the trek up from Peoria and that Mel and Rog found their way out from Aurora. After the post-event analysis, the main thing that I took away from this particular event was that the layout of the room needs a major overhaul. The flow in the old layout basically sucked, but it took me until now to really realize that. So, I started moving things around on Sunday night. Maybe when March rolls around (supposing that I have an event in March), the room will work better. If not, I just plan to drink more.

*Not at all looking forward to a multi-day stretch of sub-zero temps.

*It was never my intention to have my hair cut in a salon. But, if it helps keep the peace in the house, that's fine with me.

*Less than two weeks until my return to the Chef!! Of course that also means that I only have 12 days or so to get my raffle donation done. Hey, what's one more deadline to throw on the pile, eh?

*Off to Vegas in late April? Sure. Why not? The question of where to stay in Lake George in June is still hanging overhead, though.

*The wood chips are just flying all over the studio lately. Really surprising to me how good a job that 30 is doing on that plank. The St. Mary's tiki is underway, as is the Ohana tiki, and the usual pile of side projects is demanding attention. But with the short timeline for the St Mary's project, and now having to repair accidental damage done to the Ohana tiki, carving activities are front and center on the agenda. I am also rediscovering just how much I like working with chalk. No great inspirational flashes lately, so the greatest share of my time is spent carving and reworking old images that never quite came out the way I wanted them to.

*How much stuff can I pack into a two day stretch of time? Is it possible that I can go out Thursday night with the work folks, and then roll out of bed early enough on Friday to be in Niles by 10 or so? And, if I manage to pull that off, what are the odds that I can then make it through a day at the Art Institute in Chicago, winding up at Trader Vic's with the Lodges? Seems like this type of schedule may be pushing it just a bit for someone of my advanced years.


Monday, January 31, 2011

How Does the Pizza Figure In??

*I find that I am not overly fond of Denis Leary's early stand-up work. Robin Williams' latest special was lacking, too. Bobby Collins just amuses the hell out of me though. Ditto for Jeff Dunham.
*Convert an old workbench into the new bar? Now that's a pretty interesting idea the wife had. A fairly expensive idea, true, especially when you're looking at old woodworking benches in antiques stores. Still, building one from scratch could easily run into a decent amount of money, especially given my tendency to measure once and cut twice. Along those same lines, I had also been thinking about adding more seating downstairs, just to make that space between the bar and the game table more useable. Went out to Menard's and Lowe's, just to take a quick peek to see if they had any patio furniture that I happened to like. Of course, I did find one at Lowe's that would work well. Of course, it's a special order item. And, of course, it was expensive enough to make my stomach roll over when I saw the price. So, I have no idea what direction to go in at the moment.

*The next step in the 'mass' production of my first game is going to be taking place shortly. Mostly it involves taking another long drive and writing out another huge check. Would have been heading in to take care of it on Tuesday, if not for the 'blizzard' that is supposed to be taking shape. Think I may just lay low until that blows through.

*Beginning to think I should look into having that split fingernail removed.

*Thus far, my second effort at creating a game is not moving along quite as fluidly as the first did. So far I've completely scrapped two versions and resorted back to using cards as the primary mechanism of play. I'm trying to not consider that a bad thing, but I don't want to end up recycling Fezquest and just slapping a new theme on it. So, I think I'll end up using the cards as the base mechanism, and then figure out some other way to give it more of the flavor I'm looking for. Maybe that's where I can work in my modular board ideas.

*It's filed under the heading of 'construction lumber', and I can get it at Menard's. Nice thing to know.

*Had quite a lot of fun out at Twins with Lil P and JJ last week. Would have been even nicer if it wasn't so damn cold and I didn't have to drive home. But it was interesting to find out just how universally popular a color blue is.

*It's rarely a good thing when your doctor's office calls you at home out of the blue. Worse yet is when they say 'Hey, we haven't seen you for a while, so we're not gonna refill your meds until the doc can see you'. Oh, yippee. That means I get to have a conversation with Mike that's going to go something like, 'Yeah, I'm gonna need that scrip refilled, and by the way, can you bump the dosage a couple of notches so it's easier for me to stay on the happy bubble and I'm less likely to get fired? And by the way, just out of curiosity, what is the technical definition of 'suicidal thoughts'?' Yup, that's gonna be a fun morning...

*I have recently witnessed the single greatest usage of the word 'meager'. Ever.

*I'm having a hard time trying to get pictures uploaded onto the FOM website. Looks like I may have to post everything to my Flickr account and then back link those images to my posts. Seems like it will be quite a pain in the ass to do it that way, but that 2MB file size limit is just killing me.

*Yes, I know the 5th is the day before the Super Bowl. Yes, I know I live somewhere close to the ass end of civilization. But why would either one of those facts make less likely to want to have some folks over for a good time? If I put those two factors aside, the big wild card this time around may be the weather. Not sure how the upcoming storm will affect the turnout. If it ends up keeping people away, I guess that just means more cocktails for me. Low attendance could also be an indicator that it's time to put this event on the shelf for a few months.

*One big carving is already in the works for Ohana in June. Now, I've been asked to contribute to M3's school fundraiser again. That's going to be in April. Two months is a much tighter timeline for me to work in, especially when I'll be starting from scratch, so I need to get some materials into the house and get going on that one right quick. And, on top of that, I want to have something to kick in at this month's gathering at the Chef. Damn. That means I'm going to be quite busy. Might have to put in a big order with Fire Mountain. And Budweiser.

*I am now the proud owner of not one, but two, vintage Travel Bars. That means I have one to use, and one to trick out! It is also highly suggestive that the signature Blue Moai cocktail will be composed of three ingredients. Possibly three and a mixer. Or maybe six ingredients. Or maybe not.

*Having a hard time figuring out when we can get down to Springfield to see the boys. It's not terribly surprising that S and I can't manage to get our schedules to sync up, but I can't even figure out when I can make a solo trip down to Peoria or over to Indiana by myself. Really kinda sucks.

* "Surrogates"-Not a bad movie. Not a great movie, either. A very light treatment of something that could have been explored on more interesting levels that were only hinted at in the movie.

* "1409"-This is a movie we had seen before, but Sheri really liked it, so I stuck it back in our queue. What I didn't realize when I did that was what I put into our queue was the unrated director's cut of the film. Furthermore, I didn't know that this version of the film had a different ending than the theatrical version. The ending of the theatrical version was the part that Sheri really liked. So, this difference in content led to a rather heated and prolonged discussion at 2 in the morning regarding which was the better version and why. In the end, we were able to grudgingly acknowledge each other's points and then agree to disagree.

* "Candyman"-A horror movie from the late 80'/early 90's that sucked. Go figure. Aside from the unique choice of setting in this film, it was pretty much just another yawn inducing low grade slasher film. I read a couple of the reviews that people had written of the movie, and was amazed by the number people who said that they were 'scared to go into the bathroom' after seeing this movie. Boggles the mind.

* "Deadgirl"-A movie with a creepy theme and a very dark storyline. Definitely not for your average to less-than-squeamish crowd. I am hesitant to say I liked it due to the subject matter, but it is a brain-twisting movie with lots of arguable points embedded throughout. Watch at your own risk.

* "Deadwatch"-War is not a clean or pretty affair. The trench warfare of WWI is a example of how bad it can be. The mud and muck of an anonymous trench is the setting for this subtly creepy film, which saves it's biggest punch until the very end of the film. Well worth watching, just mind the rats.

* "Session 9"-Great setting, interesting story, and just the right amount of creep factor. All you have to do to really enjoy it is pretend that you have no idea who David Caruso is.

*Why is the paperwork NEVER done!?!?

*Didn't really need a $50 tool case. It's not like I get a lot of calls to do on-site tiki carving. Moving from the garage to the studio and back again is something I should be able to accomplish without any expensive accessories. Much like the $100 chisel set that I know is sitting in the antique mall in Creston. Not something I really need at this juncture. The $75 hand adze I saw in the catalog I may just end up getting though.

*I have found the base liquor for the Blue Moai Room's signature drink! Now I just need to figure out the rest of what's going to be in it...


Monday, January 10, 2011

Foam Rubber Vertebra

* 3-5" of snow tonight?? I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. So far, aint nothing going on out there.

*"Shutter Island"- Loved the cinematography and the settings. Thought the story was really good until the very end. Not that it was bad, I was just hoping for something a bit spookier.

*Meanwhile, back at Pegasus Bridge this past Sunday, the Allies carried the day 2-0.

*The Giftmas decorations are finally all back in the hobbit hole. With all of that stuff put away, I realize how desperately the carpet needs to be cleaned.

*"The Ice Limit"- OK, it was a Preston/Child book so I read it. This one didn't really grab me though. Not bad, just not as good as I was hoping for it to be.

*Having a hard time trying to find a good weekend to make our way down to Springfield. The Boss seems to think we can do it in two days, but that just seems like it would be really tiring. So, the debate continues. In the meantime, it will be yet another month before I have an opportunity to meet up with any of the Red Palms folks again.

*There can be a great many downsides to manscaping, not the least of which is annoyingly sharp stubble in sensitive places.

*"Kick-Ass"- A decent popcorn film. Nothing really different or striking. The characters of the two best friends of the lead guy were quite enjoyable, though.

*We all had a good time at the Swordsmen! on Saturday. Even managed to find a Mexican restaurant that Bart and Steph gave a passing grade. Plus, I had no idea that Beck's made tallboy cans.

*Still trying to figure out what to do about production of my game. A run of 50 copies comes in at a higher cost, but I'm pretty sure I can move all of them in a reasonable amount of time. If I were to have 100 made, even though the cost is lower, I'm pretty sure that I'd end up with a lot of leftovers. And, since there's some graphics work yet to be done, I think I'll have to eat all of that cost myself in order to keep the price down. And then there's the issue of needing to make 400 playing pieces. This is proving to be quite a task. At least I will have learned some things should I manage to complete the other game I'm working on in time for Ohana.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Avocado Earrings

*The SIL and the N have returned to the frozen tundra. Once GD returns to the Motor City, things may just settle back onto a more even keel around here.

*The last thing I need to do is get involved in yet another new hobby. So, tempting as it sounds, I am going to leave the home brewing to others and just enjoy being able to sample their efforts.

*I simply have to agree. Being over 400 right before bed is not a good thing. Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do about it.

*I can't believe that someone busted one of my vintage rattan chairs and didn't say anything. Now I need to go out to Menard's and get the post kits to fix the frame, and then check the springs to see if they're broken beyond repair. Not real happy about the whole situation. But, if nothing else, it will be a good lesson in antique restoration.

*Got up earlier than I usually do on Tuesday morning and headed out to Niles to meet with Jack from Chicago Game and Card Co. The drive on 90 wasn't too bad and took us less time than we expected, which was a good start. Unfortunately, between us arriving early and Jack running late with another client, we wound up parked in a chilly waiting room with a stack of printing/advertising trade magazines. When Jack did get there, we got down to business pretty quickly. I showed him the game, gave him the files from LePrint, and then we talked some options. One of the major expenses would be making the 2 custom cutting dies to stamp out all the island pieces. The rest (not counting in the playing pieces), should be fairly routine. He said he'd get back to me in a day or two with an estimate. Wednesday came, and I opened my e-mails to find a note from Jack. For a run of 50 copies, the price was going to be around $90 per copy. Better than LePrint could have done, but only by $10 or so. Now, If I wanted to jump up to 250 copies, the price would be roughly cut in half. I don't think there would be any way on Earth for me to move 250 copies, and ain't no one in their right mind gonna pay $90 per copy. So, if the custom dies were at the heart of the problem, they needed to be removed from the equation. I sent a note back saying that the island boards could be printed on whatever size piece of square/rectangular chipboard would work, if that would help cut the cost. The Tourist island would need to have it's graphics merged in the computer and then be printed on a bifold board. So now I'm just waiting to hear back, and hoping that I can knock that price down to a point where people would be willing to pay it.

*The Christmas decorations are still up, and the dogs need a bath. Gee, I wonder what I'll be doing this weekend...

*A blast from the past has wandered back onto the periphery of my general situation. Fewer zippers so far, but quite refreshing none the less.

*Off to Pheasant Run this Saturday with Bart and Steph to see the Swordsmen! Been a couple of years since I've seen them, but it was a pretty good show then, and I'm hoping everyone enjoys it this time around. Will definitely have to make sure I have my flask handy for this trip into burbland, though.

*To get me to talk in my sleep, all you need to do is fill me full of gin and pizza rolls and then let me stay up till 3AM watching Shutter Island and Ghost Ship. Why has no one thought of that before?


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Antelope Elopement Atonement

*The general confusion surrounding the holidays and the weird way they fell this year, coupled with a really bad call as far as the weather went has really put a dent in the time I have gotten to spend with my fellow Red Palms over the past month. That in and of itself is pretty annoying, but it seems that I missed a big announcement at the NYE event. Mind you, I haven't had the chance to confirm this at the highest levels yet, but it seems that a shift in the owner's family could result in the end of the Chef as we know it. More news on this rather depressing development as it becomes available.

*I may have been fairly correct in stating that it would seem to be really difficult to lose a game of Forbidden Island. I should add the clarification that that statement was made based on starting on the 'novice' level. I doubt this would be the case on the 'epic' level.

*OK, I am still having right around zero luck in getting the printer/game developer guy the types of files he needs in order to give me an estimate on doing a production run of Fezquest. So, I may end up physically going to Niles on Tuesday so I can meet with this guy face to face. Maybe then he can get the scans he needs, I can tell him about the edits I want, and I can get this thing moving more towards actually getting into the hands of people so they can play it. If not, then I'll have to start looking around for someone else.

*It had never crossed my mind that I should look on E-Bay for bamboo flats and canes. But now that I know those types of things are on there, when I get to that point of the downstairs remodel (yeah, right), I will have to compare those prices against others that offer the same thing.

*Another month, another fun event. Survivor's Day was a pretty good time. Had a lot of the usual faces and a couple of new ones to boot. Had some call-offs and some no shows, but that's to be expected. The obvious downside to having a party on NYD is that a lot of people have done a good amount of drinking on NYE, so things weren't quite as lively as they could have been. I was really glad that Steve could make it up for the event this time around. I have also decided that there was too much rum in the Miami Snowmen, so I need to tweak that recipe. I think I actually have some mai tai mix left, and I don't even think that I made one for myself last night. The area between the bar and the green chair continues to be a dead space, which I'm hoping that the new bar design (should it ever come to pass), will help eliminate. It also looks like it's time to dig into the stored boxes and rotate the items on display out in the main room. And while you're at it, Fear my spaghetti arm!!

*No, I do not want any more cookies. If you try to give me a plate of homemade fudge, I may well punch you right in the nose. The next person to offer me any type of consumable with a >80% sugar content will get a boot to the ass. Repeatedly. My pancreas is frickin exhausted. No. More. Sweets. Got that? As it is, I doubt I'll be able to eat anything sweet until well into March of next year, and quite possibly later than that. Not to mention that I will have to spend considerable time and resources trying to unload the sugary treats I have already been given by others. Got curry? Hand it over. Salsa? Likewise. Chili? I'll take that too. But, if it's something dipped in chocolate that you're trying to pawn off on me, you just might end up finding it crammed in your ear.

*After a recent vet visit, all three of the Thundering Herd have been given clean bills of health and ideal body scores. I, however almost needed CPR after finding out how much it cost me to get that report from the vet. On the up side, we did discover that getting the beasts in and out of the Element is easier than any other car that we've had so far. Little bastards may just actually get to go more places with us in that case.

*Did I make any resolutions for the new year? No, not really. Never really found them to be anything that really sticks. I mean, if you already have the discipline to stick to a resolution, odds are that you don't really need to make any resolutions in the first place. I'm just going to make sure that I keep doing the things I know I need to be doing. Which, is kinda funny, considering I haven't worked out in a few days, and I'm pretty sure that I didn't take my meds today. But I need to start working out, since I've had a yen to watch The Matrix for like the forty bazillionth time. Plus, all that beer is starting to make it's presence known in ways I am not fond of.

*Almost all the snow that had been deposited around the area disappeared after we had a rather unseasonal stretch of days above freezing, a couple of which approached the 50 degree mark. I think I can also say that this has been the foggiest December that I can ever remember. Luckily, or not, all the mud generated by the sudden thaw froze solid when a 20+ degree temperature drop hit the area overnight. So, it's back to winter for the next five months or so. Did I forget to say wheeee?

*Managed to complete 4 new pieces this week, which was really nice. Not that any of those pieces were anything that I needed to get done, but it was good to just let instinct run and do whatever I wanted to. Didn't really like having to do all the blending when I was using the colored pencils, and the resulting shiny finish isn't quite what I was looking for. Liked doing the pastel piece, but it does make a lot of dust, and that piece will have to be sealed before it can be handled. What's next? I just may do another pastel. Got some black paper I've been waiting to do something with, and this may be a good media to use on it. Want to drag out the tempra again, too. I doubt either of those will be something that goes out for any of the charity auctions I know I'll be getting calls for soon, which means that I need to get to carving.