Tuesday, August 28, 2007

GenCon 07 - Day 4

Sunday at GenCon has a certain duality. Even though you're tired, you hate for it to end. By now you've been running on adrenaline, caffeine and sugar for three or four days, but part of you wishes it could go for another three or four days.

Some folks opt out of Sunday or make it a short day. I didn't do either.

I needed the final touches for Operation Swag, namely dice. While there were a couple of dice in there, I wanted to get a set of commemorative dice and some gaming dice. You can never have too many dice and I knew Nicole would appreciate additons to her collection, even if they were jinxed by the Oz-Curse.*

The big event for the day was the only media a-lister, Hayden Panettiere, the cheerleader from Heroes. The lines were stupid long and the security staff kept people from congregating in the aisles around her. The only way to take a picture was by "drive-by", something my camera was not well suited for (not to mention the photographer).

I cruised the XH for most of the day, looking for any last minute bargains and picking up a few things I had made mental notes to buy and snapping a few more pictures. In the course of my wanderings I spotted Aria and gave her a card with the blog address and my e-mail, explaining that since she was nice enough to pose with me the least I could do was give her the opportunity to get copies of the pictures. If nothing else, she seemed to appreciate the gesture.

I had decided to leave before closing, stopping along the way to snap a couple of pics of the "life-sized" troll in the RPGA room (the close-up is what your character would see if the troll was in an adjacent square on the map).

I made a mental excuse after dropping everything off at the car to head back into the Convention Center and found myself wandering the XH, trying to soak in the last little bit of the shared world created at GenCon. Finally the closing announcement came accompanied by a cheer from the various vendors.

A call from another friend kept my at the CC, and I met up with her and another friend and we hung out while the Con was being disassembled. Finally, rumbling stomachs and CC staff demanded that we go elsewhere, so I left geek-gestalt that is GenCon behind for another year.


Read the rest!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fanboy by Luke Ski

GenCon 07 - Day 3

Saturday is about the costumes. Even though most of the folks do not enter the costume contest, Saturday is the most common day to dress up, and I am no exception. I donned my traditional (as in my tradition) Ren Faire outfit and headed downtown. I was running later than I liked, as I knew Saturday was also the busiest day of the Con. I knew I was in trouble when the gate was down and the "Full" sign lit at Circle Center. And of course my favorite garage was full as well. As I circled, I noticed a vehicle leave the same garage and I thought occurred to me.

They don't literally check to see if it's still full.

I drove around the Full sign, deciding it would be worth the $1.50 gamble to see if I could find a space in my favored garage. I was rewarded with a prime parking spot near the walkway entrance. If this was an omen for the day, it was good.

I headed for the Exhibition Hall (XH). I had no plans for games or seminars, just the Costume Contest (which meant arriving very early) and the Black & White Ball (which would require a wardrobe change). I ran into Mike on the way (or in the garage... I ran into him in the garage one of the days), who had also wore his Ren Faire outfit. Since we both got our doublets from Journeyman Leather and had matching hats, we had several pictures taken of us.

This one was by the photog for the Dell Extreme Gaming Tour. The sad part is that it is better than the pic taken with the photog's camera. You'd think someone being paid to take pics would be better (especially with their own camera), then again Dell's big retail outlet is Wal-Mart. Two names I don't associate with quality.

Note to self... the arm(s) behind the back pose doesn't do anything to de-emphasize the gut.

I spent the afternoon cruising the XH, taking pictures and finding a few things that I'd missed the last two days. I was also keeping an eye open for "Aria", because it had occurred to me that I should have given her contact info so that if nothing else she could get copies of the pictures.

The camera continued to serve as good excuse to talk to women. I also snapped some pics of painted minis and other cool stuff, like the Dwarven Dungeon tiles I wish I could justify.

I decided to head over and catch the showing of Call of Cthulhu, which conveniently took place in the same place as the Costume Contest. I figured watch the movie, have a seat for the CC, and read the final issue of Dragon in between. Unfortunately, the DVD player crapped out on them (shouldn't have used a Phillips), then they decided to kick us out and have us queue up for the CC. After spending 20 - 30 minutes in line (where I found out about the 4th Ed Ennies announcement), we were herded back in and seated. I figured if nothing else I'd be in the center section, close to the front, so I'd have a decent view.

The Different Drummer dancers came out for the pre-show. I set my camera for sports mode and tried shooting around the melon in fromt on me. Not only was it problematic aiming by trying to hold the camera in the air, his noggin also threw off the autofocus at times. Oh yeah, and there's the whole part about a crap photog having a crap camera. So I didn't have much to show in the way of pics.

Note to GenCon: Get a bigger space for this event and a higher stage.

There was no flash photography during the CC, then again I figured that's what Google and Flickr are for. But I wish I'd taken a pic or two of the Emcee "Princess Leia" (no, not Slave Leia)... she was kinda hot.

At some point I realized that I had left my cell phone at home, so there was no easy rendezvous for dinner. Mike and I met up and tried the Ram, which was packed, and ended up making our way back to Champs. The wait was the same, but we could sit in the air-conditioned hotel across from the True Tavern and wait. Mike decided to opt out of the BWB, so we parted ways.

After changing, I stopped by the Auction Store and ran into some co-workers. One had seen me earlier, but now I was wearing a black dress shirt, black tie and black jeans.

"Weren't you a pirate an hour ago?" he asked.

"That was an hour ago, at GenCon you gotta keep up."

The B&W Ball was better than the Ruckus. I ran into a friend, who shortly left, and hung out with a developer from Everquest II, having a cool conversation regarding different conventions and the MMO market. He noted two things about GenCon... gamers were the most hardcore of con attendees he had seen, and also the friendliest.

I eventually got bored at the dance. I'm not the kind just to jump on the dance floor by myself, and by the time I'd decided I'd ask someone to dance during a slow song the DJ had stopped playing them (he p;ayed two the whole time I was there...). One kind of squirrelly looking guy had no lack of partners because he was *good* at dancing. Made me wish I'd taken some swing or ballroom lessons through the gym or something (a notion I've chewed on and never gotten around to following through on).

I decided to try crashing the White Wolf Party. I'd asked about the party earlier in the day when I won a t-shirt for Operation Swag and was told they were out of tickets. I figured worst case scenario they tell me no at the door. And unlike when we crashed it last year right before it ended, I knew where it would be.

I got in without a hitch. The bar was free... yes free booze. Alas, I knew I had to drive home, so I moderated myself. The club that the party was in is an "industrial" club and includes elevated cages on the dance floor. These were populated by booth babes, gamer girls, and a couple of ringers (at least I think so... I never saw them at the Con and they danced like strippers).

I ran into and talked to a few people such as Mikita and the couple Nicole and I crashed last year's party with. There was a fire-baton act, I saved some girl from walking into the men's room, free booze (did I mention free booze?), but no goth dodgeball this year. Finally last call was made and I decided to call it a night.

Labels: , ,

Read the rest!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

GenCon 07 - Day 2

Before heading downtown, I decided to upload the pics from Wednesday and Thursday to both check them out and so that if I suffered a camera tragedy at least I wouldn't lose those pics. Then I saw how bad my shots were from the previous day.

It was time to break out the instruction manual.

I had taken some shots the of one of the belly dancers from Different Drummers and this was the best of them (cropped). So part of my mission was to try to replace the shots I had messed up the day before. My second mission was to complete Operation Swag. My third was to get in some gaming.

I had decided to wear my costume from last year's Firefly LARP. That particular LARP didn't return this year, and I was too late to get in the other FF LARPs, but I was going to get some use out of the outfit dammit. I was just glad it wasn't 98 degrees outside like it'd been the previous week.

The first part and second part meant returning to the Exhibition Hall (XH). The first stop was Starwind Design's booth, where they gave my not only one of the embroidered canvas bags for the Stink but also an embroidered dice bag, the most generous of the donations I received for Operation Swag.

Pictures were still proving slightly problematic as I had to get used to aiming the camera, press the button and move it slightly to trigger auto-focus and auto-exposure, recenter it, and hope no one walked into the path.

I had picked out a couple of games to try to get into and found that to check availability. Unfortunately this meant going through the event registration line. And I did that only to find out they were full. So I picked one and decided to gamble with generics... as many problems as there had been with locations of the games, it seemed pretty good odds someone wouldn't make it. And often GMs would let an extra person or two slip in with generics.

The game had been moved twice and I was the first generic vulture. Unfortunately all of 8 of the players eventually showed (and the GM didn't want any extras) so I was out of luck.

Back to the XH, as my friend TheStormKing was going to present one of his "You Are Not Hardcore" shirts to one of the devs from Lord of the Rings Online, and I was going to photo the event. To get the significance of the shirt, you'd have to be a regular on the LOTRO forums. I ended up getting a LOTRO shirt from him (and yes, I have a Hardcore shirt).

While there I spotted... I'll call her Aria (yes, I know her real name, I just don't know that she'd appreciate some strange guy posting it). I'd seen her over the past few years and the encounter is detailed in my mini-update. This is the other picture, reduced in size. Here's the thing that impressed me about Aria... when you take a picture of a booth babe, you expect them to be nice because that's what they are paid to do*, but Aria went out of her way to be nice to me, a total stranger that interrupted her to take a picture. Even though she won't remember me I was glad I got to meet her.

After the XH closed, Mike, TSK and I rendezvoused for dinner. My post dinner plans was the Friday Night Concert, though I had been weighing cutting out early to hit the Ennies. The first act, the Brobdingnagian Bards got a standing ovation for their sound check. They had been taking requests from the crowd, which mostly consisted of popular theme songs, when someone shouted out "Freebird!"

I never knew Freebird could be played so well on autoharp, mandolin and recorder. Too bad I put off my (would be) purchase from them until late Sunday... they left early. Tom Smith and Luke Ski were also both very entertaining.

No offense to the later acts, but I wish I had jetted after these three and hit the Ennies. They made the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons announcement and evidently gave out copies of the 4th Ed character sheet on thumb drives. I'd love to compare what they are doing to my D&D mod rules under construction.

I did pick up a copies of Tom Smith's Last Hero On Earth before I called it a night and headed home.

* however, because they are being paid to be polite to you does *not* entitle you to be a jerk or a creep. Just remember, at a convention mace could be a big metal club.

Labels: , ,

Read the rest!


I guess all of that walking at GenCon paid off. As I sort through my GenCon pictures I'll have to see if any come close to the angle of my "before" picture.

The closest is this:

I had been bouncing between 210 and 212 during GenCon, but since the Con ended it's been falling. That'd be a nice trend, I'd love to go in to the new year under 200.


Read the rest!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

GenCon 07 - Day 1

I was up and heading downtown pretty early, not wanting to get stuck parking somewhere distant. Since it was Thursday, that meant it was kilt day for me. Kilts seem to becoming more popular among gamers; I see more of them every year.

I took in a couple of writing seminars early, wanting to avoid the crush at the opening of the Exhibition Hall (XH). I chose wisely. From what I heard it was a real crowd scene as a lot of folks didn't realize that instead of opening at 10am, this year the XH was opening at 11am on Thursday so that they could have a 40th anniversary ceremony with Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the creator's of D&D.

I hit the XH around 11:30, allowing time for the initial crowd to filter in. One of my concerns regarding this year was the increased presence of the electronic (mostly computer) gaming industry in the XH. The XH was expanded by 33% (my rough guesstimate), and some of the partitions were left in place to help cut off the electronic area. Overall, it worked pretty good and I liked it better than in the past when computer gaming booths were scattered around the XH, with the attendant crowds and noise.

The Age of Conan booth proved popular for some reason.

I set about gathering swag also. Since Nicole couldn't make it to GenCon, I figured I could take a bit of it to her. Then I hit on the notion of actively seeking additional swag for her. I began going to booths, telling her story and hitting them up for swag for her. It was like gamer trick-or-treat.

I met up with Greg and Mike for dinner at Champs and to kill some time before the Ruckus on the Roof. The Ruckus, which took the place of the Party on the Plaza, was at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. I had never been there before and it's actually a cool looking event venue.

We got there early, and I decided that the stage would be a good place to park, leaning up against it. This proved to be an amusing choice, as we were mistaken for security, roadies, and the band. At one point I decided to ask one of the booth babes, Mikita, if I could take her picture. Greg interceded, taking my camera so that he could take my picture with her (see the top pic). Of course, we were both wearing black in a dark room, so even with enhancement was dark. And my badge got caught between us and half wrapped around me, so I look huge (insert Jabba impersonation).

The first band took the stage (Lazy Eye?). They were generic and loud. The booth babes were corralled up to the VIG balcony. We became bored and decided to explore our options. The doorman told us of a "speak-easy" that was set up for the espionage game running at the con, giving us a card, directions, and the password to get in. We found it, it was in the basement of Union Station. It was kind of neat, but not really exciting. Greg called it a night, Mike and I headed back to the Ruckus to see if the second band was better or if the meager crowd had grown.

The answer to both questions was "not really". We ran into a few people we knew, including Jason, the second band, Bayside, was loud and generic, and the crowd was still about 150 people. I spoke to one of the bartenders and he said they had prepared for 1500 people. Needless to say, it sucked to be them, as gamers tend to be cheap to begin with they had 1/10th the crowd they were staffed to handle. The high points were that Mike caught a blue dodgeball that earned him a case of BlueBawls (sp?) energy drink, and Mikita talked to me for a bit. After she left I turned to Mike and said "you are my witness, she came up and talked to me".

Things began to wind down and what was left of the crowd began dispersing. I noticed one of the booth babes pull out a card for the speakeasy.

"Mike we're leaving; back to the bar. It's not stalking if I'm there first."

By the time Mikita got there, we were already at a table. She was looking for her friends, standing behind me, when I turned around and said "Are you following me?"

* I don't normally make it a habit of stalking booth babes... but it was amusing. That and I'm careful not to wear out my welcome. After all, they're only paid so much to be nice to us.

Labels: , ,

Read the rest!

GenCon 07 - Day 0

Day 0? Yes, that's how I referred to Wednesday, which kicked off GenCon for me. Early afternoon I arrived downtown to help in preparation for the Forum Stink put together by the Indy Mavens. The biggest task was packing the swag bags... lots of swag and lots of bags.

After the swag pack was finished, I swung over to the Convention Center to pick up my swag bag. There were already a lot of people there for early registration and folks were already populating the usual locations in the center (anywhere with seating that was open) to go through there swag bags. Since they marked your badge once you oicked up your swag, my notion of grabbing an extra bag for Nicole was shot down.

My assignment for the night was the raffle prize station. Since we pre-drew most of the winners and posted them at the station this meant folks had to come over to see if they won, which meant that I got to talk to a lot more people than if I had been sitting at a table somewhere among 500 people.

There was a cash bar, but it was only there until 8pm and I think that I had time for 2 beers. This would set the pattern for much of my GenCon spending... parking and cash bar. Expensive cash bars are a great way to reign in any notions of over indulging, because once I factor in my usual $1 per beer tip, it gets pricey quick.

After the Nordic Dice Toss wound down, I headed for home so that I could be up early for Thursday, Day 1.

Labels: , ,

Read the rest!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kristen Bell joins Heroes

Kristen Bell, of the late Veronica Mars, has been announced as an addition to the Heroes cast. Check out the news here.

Very cool. This *almost* makes up for VM being cancelled. Almost.

Labels: ,

Read the rest!

Dancing Stormtrooper

Hopefully I'll get my GenCon posts up in a day or two.


Read the rest!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Congrats Nicole

A message from Lancelot and Arthur at GenCon.

I'm sure Nicole will be more enlightening on her blog when she gets a chance.

Labels: ,

Read the rest!

Friday, August 17, 2007

GenCon 07 mini-update

I plan to do a day-by-day, but I had to put up this picture. I spotted this young lady, who has appeared in the past as a winged elf (that costume is stunning... look here, and asked if I could take her picture. She asked if I wanted to be in the picture, and I'm never one to pass up having my picture taken with a pretty woman. After I handed off my camera to a volunteer, she surprised me by dropping to the pose in the picture. The pleading look on her face was very convincing, I didn't know whether to laugh or be embarrassed (and as you can see by the pic, it was a bit of both).

So the good news is that I actually remembered to take my picture to the Con. The bad news is that the pictures from the first two days mostly suck because I didn't read the instructions. And I'm still getting used to the thing, so I lose a lot to camera shake, but hopefully I'll have enough decent pics to make a small collection.

Labels: ,

Read the rest!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Movie review: Stardust

Stardust is the "The Princess Bride" and "Legend" for this generation. This is the first thing that I thought leaving the theater after an impulse of movie roulette hit me (my original intent was to see The Bourne Ultimatum). But Stardust was the next movie up, I'd heard that it was good, and I really enjoyed Neil Gaiman's "American Gods", so I decided to see it.

I'm glad I did.

This is a fantasy movie that doesn't rely on hordes of CGI armies, it relies on story and character. I could certainly empathize with Tristan, having pined over a fair number of unattainable girls in my youth. And the whole "Wall" analogy is a very apt one. While I'm certain that this movie would have been even better with a date (it is a love story at its core), I still enjoyed it immensely.

While it doesn't have the comedic take full of one-liners like Princess Bride, I still think that people who love that movie will love this one. I will certainly be adding it to my DVD collection and if the theater in Circle Center had any sense they'd promote this movie at GenCon. Because like Tristan, a lot of gamers would love to be able to cross over to a magical realm, save beautiful girls that happen to be celestial beings, fly with lightning pirates, duel back-stabbing princes and uppity bullies and battle evil witches.

Speaking of which,I am also fascinated by the tidbits we get of the Kingdom of Stormhold, the fantastic realm beyond the Wall. Part of my mind immediately set to game conversion. Once I got the magic rules down, it would be easy.

While it earns its PG-13 rating with princely brothers bumping each other off almost as a family sport and wicked witches wanting to carve the living heart out of a fallen star and eat it, it should be fine for kids that aren't too sensitive.

I give Stardust 5 out of 5 flying lightning-pirate monkeys.


Read the rest!

You cannot pass

This is the wallpaper on my notebook.


Read the rest!

Indiana Jones teaser poster

Found this on usemycomputer.com.


Read the rest!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Vacation + GenCon = :)

w00t! It's that time of year, time for me to take a week off work for the nerd prom that is GenCon.

One disappointment this year is that my regular "GenCon buddy" Nicole won't make it this year (some trifling conflict of schedule), and she's the one that usually gets me to get out to the more social events.

I'm a little more involved than usual, as I've joined the Mavens and working at the Stink on Wednesday, which means GenCon is a 5 day event for me.

I plan on actually taking my camera out of the box and taking pictures this year, especially since my camera phone sucks.

Labels: ,

Read the rest!

I am a game

I went into my local Burger King, as I've been doing almost every Saturday for the last few years. I get a newspaper, read it while I have lunch, then go do my grocery shopping.

Since I order the same thing every time, some of the employees know what I want. It's not uncommon for me not to have to say anything other than "thank you" and "have a nice day". Yes, I'm a very polite customer, I used to work in food. And I find it especially gratifying when so slow-thinking person that took forever to order watches in dismay as my order is ready almost immediately while they have to wait for theirs.

But on to the game.

When I went in yesterday, the women working the counter literally rushed to have my order rung up and waiting by the time I walked through the line to the counter (there was no one in front of me).

From the sounds of it (it was around a corner and in Spanish), it amuses them as much as it amuses me and has become a game to see how quick they can get my order ready.

Now if only I could get the grocery store to play the "have my cart of groceries waiting at the checkout" game.


Read the rest!

Happy... Halloween?

I was in the grocery store yesterday and they already had the Halloween candy out. Not just extra-large bags of regular candy, but actual Halloween-themed candy.

Almost 3 bloody months before the holiday. Which means I should expect to see Christmas stuff the beginning of October. Oh, wait... I will.

There should be a rule:
No Halloween stuff until October 1.
No Thanksgiving stuff until after Halloween.
No Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving.

And no Valentine's Day stuff.


Read the rest!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Butter floor revenge

NSFW - language

You know, that has to be a bitch to clean up.


Read the rest!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Emo crayons

Found this via usemycomputer.com.


Read the rest!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

What color is your aura?

What Color Is Your Aura?

Your aura shines Orange!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Can't say that I'm a fan of the color, but the description doesn't seem far off the mark.


Read the rest!

I am Linear B

Your Score: Linear B

You scored

You are Linear B. Even those who can follow you think you're all Greek to them. Which, after all, is true - Linear B being the first known text for written Greek. To most people, you're incomprehensible. But what do you care? You're tough, hard, long-enduring and have greater nobility than most. Naturally, you don't admit to borrowing extensively from your brother Linear A.

Link: The Which Ancient Language Are You Test written by imipak on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Got this from Jeani.

Yes, it would have been cooler to "be" Ogham, being a druid and all.


Read the rest!


I had two "big rocks" to go after when I started actually trying to lose weight. One was to get down to 200 pounds, which even though I've made a lot of progress since I started, I seemed to be stalled just under 210.

The other was to get down to a 36 waist.

Last year I needed a pair of grey jeans for my Firefly LARP costume and I bought a comfortable pair of 40s. Yesterday I was shopping and on a lark decided to buy a pair of 36 jeans, as my 38s had been getting loose. I didn't expect to be able to wear them, at least not comfortably, but it would give me a goal to shoot for and hopefully motivate me.

They fit fine and I wore them out. Granted, they are relaxed fit and may shrink a little when I was them, but if anything, it has motivated me more because I was feeling like I've made so little progress the past couple of months.


Read the rest!

Evil alien prank

These guys are evil. Funny as hell, but evil. All I did was make my sister think she was adopted, but then again we didn't have nightvision camcorders and YouTube back in the early 80s.

And even though it's just a mannequin, mannequins are creepy, right up there with big dolls with those big staring eyes. I remember having childhood nightmares about that kind of shit, including headless mannequins turning people into headless mannequins. And when I woke up the first thing I saw was my dad's suits hanging in the (doorless) closet with those big old wooden hangers designed to help them keep their shape, so it looked like a closet full of headless mannequins. I was probably two at the time.

Labels: ,

Read the rest!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Star Wars: Clone Wars trailer

Not sure if I posted this before or not... Ozheimer's.

Labels: ,

Read the rest!

Futurama returns

Now if only the new morons would bring back Firefly.


Read the rest!

Showbiz Pizza plays the hits

Remember Showbiz Pizza? I didn't even know these things were still around. They rank right up there with Chucky Cheese (my idea of Hell).

These videos feature the Showbiz animatronic bands "updating" their repertoire.

Am I the only one that finds these thing vaguely creepy?


Read the rest!

Pwned by Kevin Smith

The video you are being linked to is not safe for work. Not. Safe. For. Work. NSFW.

It features Kevin Smith tearing some asshole who thought it'd be funny to get up on the mike at ComicCon and slam Kevin Smith.

View the reprisal here.

I bet this guy thought he was being really clever... until Smith replied.

Wear black. And wear layers.


Read the rest!