Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
*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
*I am about to explode from a massive, unresolved case of Spring Fever. Oh, and did I mention that it might snow tomorrow?
Sunday, March 27, 2011
*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
*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
*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
Monday, January 31, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
*"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
*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
*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.