Wednesday, August 30, 2006


My brother-in-law, the dirty Provo-lover, reminded me that I had missed one of the best stories from the weekend. It turns out that he decided to pick up some dreamblade (I'm not sure if it was my tales of the hundreds of dollars I've spent, or seeing the picture of me in the Dreamblade Tournament and wanting to be that cool, perhaps we'll never know). In any event he mentioned it to me and my first question was, "What was your rare?" He replied without missing a beat, "Scarab Warcharm". Now that just happens to be the most valuable rare out there. It regularly sells for three times the cost of the next most valuable rare on Ebay, so I was sure that he was pulling my leg.

He assured me that he wasn't and I immediately offered him half my kingdom for it. Okay perhaps not half my kingdom, but several rares, a half dozen uncommons and numerous commons. The rational being that since he's going to be a fairly casual player, having a bunch of figures is going to be better than having one really nice rare. So on Saturday I drove up to Kaysville, and picked it up. I confess that I was suspicious right up until the moment I actually saw the piece. It would have been just like him to find out what the best rare was, and claim to have it, even go so far as to make me drive all the way up there and then say, "Did I say Scarab Warcharm? I really meant to say Prowling Leapordman..."


I got distracted and left yesterday without actually posting what I had written, so all the stuff above was written yesterday. I'm sure that I had more to write about, but at the moment nothing is coming to me... Anyway, so we're in the process of redesigning the webpage where I work. The marketing department is primarily in charge of it, and they want to go live on Tuesday. So we had a meeting about it and discussed some of the issues (of which there are legion). Afterwards in IT we talked about putting up a downtime notice for the transition on the website. I said I would do it, but I wasn't sure how far in advance it needed to go up, so we asked my boss. He eventually responded last night and said "7 days" by this time I was already home so I added the notice from there.

When the guy in marketing arrived this morning, he flipped. He called me up and demanded to know who had added the downtime notice. I said I did, not knowing what the deal was. Well apparently it didn't match the "style" of the website. He also felt that I was messing with his turf, that the homepage was his and I should never touch it. Since I'd been doing the downtime notices since time immemorial I didn't think anything of doing it, but apparently there had been some previous brohaha(sp?) while I was out of town, which no one had ever told me about, and so I was basically pouring salt in the wounds. In any case I made it clear I didn't care who put up the downtime notice as long as it was there, and after repeated assurances of this he finally calmed down.

Well, lest I make the same mistake today that I did yesterday I'll post this and get one with the rest of the day.

Adventures in workplace kung fu

Monday, August 28, 2006

Is it Friday yet?

On Thursday of last week, my boss (technically my boss' boss) was joking that he startes wishing it were Friday at 7:05 am on Monday. That's kind of the way I feel right now. Mostly because this coming weekend is the Labor Day weekend, and I'm going up to a condo for the weekend, so I expect it to be fun AND relaxing. Though to be fair things haven't been too bad, I mean I played Warcraft both Friday and Sunday nights and then did some mock Shadowrun battles on Saturday night (it was suppossed to be D&D, but we had a couple of people who couldn't come). But I'm about to start consulting again on the side, so I expect that such dalliances are endangered.

Friday night was the company party. We had it up at the Zoo. I felt like it was a big improvement over the normal custom of holding it in the parking lot. When it's in the parking lot most of my time is spent standing in line with the kids so they can go down the inflatable slide. The zoo on the other hand is, as they say, fun for young and old. The highlight, though, was definitely the bird show. But I told my wife that she could tell that story as part of a family letter. So if you're not on that list, tough! Actually I'll post it once I've given her a few days head start.

Still crazy

Friday, August 25, 2006

Provo sucks!

Okay, maybe it's unfair of me to make a generalized negative statement about an entire city, but I think you'd find I'm not alone in my generalized negativity towards Provo. The latest insult is an E-bayer from Provo. So last weekend I bought a bunch of dreamblade minis off of this guy (the one in Provo). His deal is the first mini you order from him is $2 to ship and every additional mini is $0.50. So I think I won four seperate auctions at around the same time, so I payed immediately and sent $3.50 for the shipping and handling. I think paying immediately may have been a mistake, who would have thought that being responsible would backfire?

Well a couple of days later I won another auction from this same dude in Provo. So I e-mailed him and said, hey if you haven't already shipped the other stuff, I'll only pay the $0.50, but if you have, then I'll pay the $2. He didn't respond he merely sent me an invoice for $2 in shipping. I figured that was his answer, so that's what I paid, assuming the first four minis were en route. Obviously $1.50 is not that big of a deal, it's not the money that annoys me it's the fact that I still haven't gotten the initial minis! As bad as USPS is there's no way it takes four days to ship something from Provo to Salt Lake. So he's not only taking his sweet time, but he hadn't mailed them at the time I asked him about it. I guess what will really be galling is if all the minis, even the one I ordered late show up in the same box sometime next week.

As far a sniping... Yeah sure I could do it, but it seems unethical for some reason (not to say that crochetfreak is unethical, in fact she's one of the most ethical people I know, it's just that I have so few ethics, that I really need to hold on to the ones I do have even if they're mostly in my head.) Plus the only way someone can truly snipe you is if they come along and bid X and you're reaction is, well I would have paid X... If that's the case then you should enter that in as your maximum bid. And in that case you have an advantage, because if two people are both willing to pay the same amount for an item the one who enters the bid first will win. In any event, I've probably blogged about Ebay enough, and even as annoyed as I am it's mostly swallowed up in my happiness that the weekend is almost here.

Dreamblade 95/96

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Godfather II

My busy summer has been hard on a lot of things, but of them all the thing that suffered the most was my Netflix queue. I've had the Godfather II sitting on my desk since mid-march I think. Well last night things had finally settled down to the point where I could watch it. I enjoyed the first Godfather, though perhaps not as much as some, and I had always heard that part II was even better. I really enjoy the flashback sequences with Vito, but the 1950's timeline is not quite as appealing, at least not so far. However it has already taught me a valuable lesson...

So I'm in the middle of watching it and one of my friends calls me up with a business problem. It seems that a couple of months ago he made a deal. He made the deal with another company specifically with a junior partner in that other company. So over the last few months he's fulfilled his end of the deal which basically amounted to doing a lot of work, without any money up front. So now the time has come to fulfill on the deal, and along comes a senior partner who knew about the deal from the beginning, but has suddenly decided that he wants to pay my friend less money. So the question is what does he do? (not what should he have done, the answer to that is so obvious it doesn't need to be mentioned)

And just like in "You Got Mail" the Godfather holds the answer. There's a scene early on where a senator tells Michael Corleone that he needs to give him $250,000 and 5% of the gross if he wants the gambling liscense for the casio he's about to take over, even though liscenses are normally only $20,000. He then says I'll need the answer and the money by tomorrow at noon. Michael says you can have your answer now. I'm not paying you anything, I'm not even going to pay the $20,000 I would normally owe, you're going to pay that. That's what we ended up deciding. This other company is small potatoes for my friend, and either they had the deal the agreed on 60 days ago or they have no deal. And if there's no deal then my friend is free to propose any deal he wants, even one that's worse than the original deal. And not only that but let the word go forth from this time and place that you better not try and screw him over either.

Make him a deal he can't refuse

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Well in an attempt to flesh out my Dreamblade collection I've turned into quite the E-bayer (is that a word?). I think I've done more transactions in the last two days then I've done the rest of the time I've been registered. Some of the stuff I've been picking up has been interesting. I know that sniping is apparently the best way to win auctions, but for those of us who can't sit in front of the computer 24/7 waiting for the last five minutes of the auction (or perhaps more accurately those who are in front of the computer 24/7 but are too busy playing video games). I've found that deciding what you're willing to pay and then entering that in as your maximum, while perhaps not quite as effective, nevertheless makes the whole experience far less stressful.

There's other lessons I've learned, but as I tried typing them out I discovered that blogging about E-bay tactics is soporific even for me, so I'll move on. My wife and I went out for dinner for our anniversary last night. We went to Tuscany, a high-end Italian resturant opened by a local sports star. It was quite good, though it's always difficult to know for sure if the $80 dollar meal you just had was really four times as good as the $20 meal you could have gotten from Crown Burger. Still the smoked salmon and cavier appetizer was quite tasty. Beyond that the ceaser salad seemed unimpressive, and while the entree was quite tasty it didn't quite come together like I expected. In other words the flavors of the different elements didn't mesh quite as cleanly as I would have liked. Still I was out on a date with the wife so that made the experience exceptionally pleasent.

Well after picking at this entry here and there for the last couple of hours I think it's time to take it off the grill and toss it to the dogs.

Dreamblade 90/96

Monday, August 21, 2006

Answering your questions

So Friday's blog got quite a few comments, many of them with questions, so I thought use today's blog to respond. First there was Geshin's question about what happened with my plan to shave my head and get temporary Dreamblade tatoos for the tournament. Well with the Family reunion the week before and everything else I had to deal with I decided that I didn't have the time or the energy to shave my head again and order the temporary tatoos. But I think the "lucky hat" idea for all of my dreamblade tournaments is going to be just as memorable, and easier to pull off. So yes, I guess the answer to your question would be that I did, in fact, wimp out again.

As far as the accusation that I'm obviously the oldest person there, while not actually a question it still deserves a response. As Rob pointed out I wasn't the oldest there (though I think it's fair to say that I was in the top quartile) there were clearly people older than me at the tournament, but none of them finished higher than me. Near the end of the 15-hour-no-meal-break tournament I started declaring that Dreamblade was a young man's game, at least the 15 hour version. So based on the fact that no one older than me finished higher than I did, I feel safe in saying that if they had a seniors division (which many sports do) I would have not only qualified to compete in that division, I would have won it. I'll just let that sink in...

Ed asked about the general buzz on Dreamblade. My take would be that it wasn't earth-shattering, but it was solid. The demo tables were always packed, and rumor is that they sold out of boosters on Thursday, before restocking later in the con. The after-con buzz also seems pretty solid. So yeah, it didn't launch with the same explosive interest that say MtG did, but I think it's got enough interest to be around for quite a while which is what most of the retailers are worried about. They don't want a repeat of Hecatomb.

Finally Rob's comment, yes there were a few girls there. One that I know from online, Amy, finished 12th (fortunately still young enough that she wouldn't threaten my hold on the seniors bracket). And I think you also have a point about slimming vertical stripes. Finally yes my son does wear a hat like that, though not as much as he used to. I think he felt that it made him look too young.

Is it Labor Day yet?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dreamblade 88/96

I neglected to blog yesterday. If I had I would have talked about opening up the Dreamblade cases I ordered. Actually I only opened two of the cases I saved one to open up with a co-worked who had also opened some cases. After opening two of the cases I was at 86 of 96 figures, and I was only missing rares (though there were several uncommons I only had 1 of). After opening another half a case with my co-worker yesterday I'm up to 88 of 96. I'm expecting that after I open the other half that I'll be at around 90 of 96. At which point it will be more cost effective to buy the remaining rares as singles. Of course I have a co-worker who bought two cases and even though he hasn't opened them all, he has a lot of the rares I don't have, so perhaps I'll be able to trade him.

I guess I should have warned readers before I launched into the big block of pure gamespeak. I'll do better next time. The car ended up being $351, ~$270 of which was the starter motor. Which seems high, but I guess if I was really worried about the money I should have done it myself. It's not really that hard of a job. I also had them do some preventative maintance as well, so there's the other $80. I was going to use my father-in-law's AAA membership to have the car towed, but the tow truck guy managed to get it to start by wacking the starter motor with a wrench while I cranked it, so it didn't have to be towed. In reality I'm surprised the van has gone that long without needing to go to the mechanic.

Tonight my wife finally gets her long standing wish and we're going to play "Werewolves of Miller's Hollow" We managed to scrape together 10 adults so we finally have enough people. I'm going to start out as the moderator, but I think if it goes long enough I may try and get someone else to take a shot at it since I could use the time between being lynched and the end of the game to help people with their Savage Tide characters. Regardless I think it will be a lot of fun.

One final Dreamblade comment. Wizards posted some pictures on their website and it turns out I'm in one, so you can see me and the massive size of the tournament. If you're having trouble picking me out the thumbnail of the image on this page only shows me.

I am not a werewolf!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Car problems

I'm just barely getting around to blogging today, because I had car problems. Or rather my wife had car problems. She called me in something of a panic around 1:00 and said that she had just emerged from Sam's Club with a plethora of groceries and the car wouldn't start. Almost immediately my worst case scenerio reflex kicked in and I thought, the car has no oil and the engine has seized. Normally it wouldn't have been so bad, but there had just been some evidence presented to my tortured guilt-ridden soul and of course I couldn't think about anything else.

You're of course wondering what this evidence was. Well when I arrived home the other night from a family gathering and walked from the garage to the house i noticed a line of fresh drips on the driveway. This concerned me, so I developed a plan, let the car sit in the garage for a few hours and then back it out and see if there's a puddle. Well there wasn't, though I wouldn't say that the area was entirely clean either. Now of course what I should have done is check all the fluid levels. Yeah... well I have a hard time doing things I should all the time, in fact I would say I have a hard time doing it even most of the time, so no, I didn't check the fluid levels. That would have deprived me of the experience of thinking I needed a new car this afternoon. And those are the kinds of experiences money can't buy.

It was the starter motor

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness

I'm not actually infinitely sad, but it is always a big let down when on realizes that GenCon is over, the fun times at an end. I've never had a hang-over, but I imagine that it must be similar to what I feel. The fun is over, and all I have left is a headache and a job to return to. I did miss the wife and kids quite a bit, so it's good to be back with them, but beyond that, the post-GenCon existance doesn't have much going for it.

I guess that's not entirely true, I did bring home some cool new RPG books that I can now read. Though I unfortunately left one of them on the plane and had to re-order a copy from Amazon. Also my big Dreamblade order should arrive tomorrow so obviously I'm looking forward to that. And summer is finally grinding to a halt and school is about to start, so things are starting to settle down. I'm probably just grumpy because I'm still really tired, and work is the same soul-crushing combination of tedium and fatuousness that I remembered.

Naps, the eighth wonder of the world

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Indy Airport sucks

Well I'm sittin in the airport with all sorts of time to kill so I thought I'd blog. I'm doing it on my PDA so I'm guessing that the quality will be even worse than the normally abysmal quality you've come to expect. I'm here so early because my friend's flight left an hour before mine and with the recent security issues he was pretty panicky which meant he wanted to be there two hours early which meant that I got here three hours early.

My trip though ticketing and security was at most a couple minutes longer than what I'm used to so as I mentioned I have a long time to wait. I was not selected for any additional security' nor was my carry on bag searched. But since passing through on my own I've wandered past security twice. The first time the had a guy who must have been a 70 year old grandpa spread eagle. And then as if to prove that that was nothing the next time I passed through it was an 80 year old grandma.

Also before I end my rant I feel something must be said about the fact that the Indy Airport rather than having one central security check point has three.

Leaving on a jet plane

Sunday, August 13, 2006

GenCon after action casualty report

This time I wisely decided to fly out Monday rather than Sunday night. This allowed me to stay to the bitter end of the con and hear the ragged cheer of the exhibitors when the announcement was made that the Con was over at 4 pm. In a really weird scheduling move the final match of the Dreamblade $1,000 constructed tournament was scheduled at 6:00 pm. The moved it up somewhat but the final game was still being played when I wandered over at 6:00 pm. After two hours of tear down it resembled that episode of Star Trek where the universe keeps collapsing around the enterprise. It was as if there was this one little bubble of the convention valiently holding out against the encroaching entropy. In any case it is the fact that I'm not leaving until tomorrow morning which allows me to make this post tonight, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

When last we left our con report I was play "Werewolves of Miller's Hollow" into the wee hours of the morning. Well I think that finally wrapped up around 3 am and I staggered back to bed. We played a bunch of games all of them were very fun. At one point my friend Wil was a wolf, and I suspected he might be and so I nominated him to be lynched. He pulled a masterful play and said, "Good I hope you do vote me out because I need to go to the bathroom." Well of course then they assumed that he was a villager, and they voted to keep him in. So convinving was this argument that even though I campaigned to get him lynched and managed to get him nominated 3 more times, he managed to stay alive and win.

The next morning the aforementioned Wil was running a D&D game at 9 am, which was suppossed to be a celebrity game of sorts. It had a big bunch of the luminaries from the ENWorld Messageboards, and me, apparently fortunately I knew all of them pretty well, and even though the D&D was only so-so the actual enjoyment was easily a nine or a ten. After that I got a quick bite to eat and hit the convention hall again. My object was to quickly walk the whole floor and make sure there was nothing which couldn't wait until Sunday, I did that, then had to come back to my hotel and fix another work problem, and then I took a nap for a few hours. That evening was another D&D game with some of Wil's friends. This time in an effort to make things run smooth for a convention session of D&D they had two DMs and they had choosen an adventure which was really light on combat, so that things would go faster, as a result we ended up with no combat, which perhaps swung the pendulum too far. I managed to last until midnight before I retired to the room to get some sleep before the big Dreamblade tournament.

Even though the Dreamblade $20,000 tournament didn't start until 10 am we showed up at 9 am to make sure there wouldn't be any problems. The tournament was 10 swiss rounds and lasted until a little after midnight which meant we were there for over 15 hours. There were no breaks. Okay that's not entirely true there were little breaks in between rounds while they tallied results, but the food vendor in the hall ran out of food by 4 pm. I had my lackey, Tyson, go and fetch me some food, but he horribly screwed up the order, I told him to get whatever from Subway, as long as it didn't have pickles or peppers on it. He misunderstood and got me a sandwich with only pickles and peppers. In any case you're probably wondering how I did. Well I went 7-3 and ended up in 21st place out of a field of 436. That was enough to get me $250 dollars. What was really interesting is that I was the very highest placed 7-3 finisher. They use a complicated tie-breaker system which is based on the record of the people you beat and the record of the people who beat you. Which means I had the toughest opponents of anyone that went 7-3.

In any case even though it was brutually long and by turns a mix of elation and despair. I really enjoyed the tournament. I was really worried about how well I would do, but I feel like I acquited myself well. Losing two in a row was probably the low point of the tournament, but having to play my friend Wil in round 3 was a very close second. After the tournament was over, we were famished. Wil and Tyson and I hooked up with one of the Wizards big-wigs and went in seach of food. I think coming in 21st and winning $250 and then going out and having a truly hilarious time with my friends and the guy from Wizards was the zenith of the convention for me. Sunday I got up in time to hit the exhibit hall shortly after it opened, and then went out to a farewell lunch with a big group of the guys, and in general wind down. And after that is when I started to get ahead of myself.

Filled with homesickness and meloncholy

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I was about halfway through the last post when Internet Explorer suddenly crashed for no apparent reason. (I hate Microsoft!!!) So I'm starting over and we'll see what happens. I always forget how wall-to-wall busy GenCon is, so I don't actually know if I'll be able to blog it in quite the way I envisioned. But I do have a minute of time here so I thought I'd put something down. Yesterday there wasn't much to blog about yesterday anyway. The majority of the day was spent on a plane, and all of the time when I wasn't on the plane I was on the phone with work trying to help the fix a problem with the employee photo directory. In the end I think they gave up, particularly after I pointed out that it couldn't possibly be a problem with my stuff.

After they gave up and after I had dinner we went over to the ENWorld gathering. I haven't actually posted on the forums in quite some time, but a lot of people at the gathering still recognized me so that was good. Often times these gatherings are the highlight of the convention. It's early so I can't quite say if that will be the case this year, but it was a ton of fun. After that we played "Category Five" until around 2:30, also a huge amount of fun.

Going to bed at 3:00 am when I wanted to be up around 9 am was not the brightest way to start out the convention, but I think it worked out okay. As it was I ended up spending about an hour in the convention hall before heading to lunch and then to the True Dungeon. I thought about trying to pick up all of the new Order of the Stick stuff, but it would have been a two hour wait. True Dungeon was a lot of fun, and they had made a lot of improvements, but I think I enjoyed last year's more, mostly just because I did a lot better (I ended up with 2 ultra-rare tokens and beat the final challenge).

After True Dungeon I went to a dinner for a messageboard I occasionally post to. There wasn't many people there, but the food was good, and the people who were there had a good time. Now I'm just about to leave for a HUGE "Werewolves of Miller's Hollow" game. I don't think I'll get much sleep tonight either.

Sleep is for the weak

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Well today was a blur of activity as I tried to wrap everything up so that I could leave for GenCon with a clear conscience. I spent the vast majority of the afternoon on the phone with the CMS (content management system) vendor. They had some custom work they'd done for us, but when we tried to move it to our server, the world broke. After a couple of hours of trying to fix it by hand we finally gave up and decided to go to our backup. We (not so much me, but others) were really hoping to get it up today, but that's not going to happen, so they're going to have to try and do it without me which could be interesting.

Generally I don't blog when my normal routine is interrupted, but I thought that this year I would try and blog GenCon as it happens. I'll have my laptop, and an internet connection, so we'll see how it goes. In any case I need to get home and start packing. I'm just waiting for one last thing here at work before I can leave.

I'm off to Indianapolis

Monday, August 07, 2006

Zero Fatalities

The final tally, for those that are curious, was 36 hours without power. In other words it came back on just in time to blend seamlessly into the next great challenge I had to face, the Family Reunion. Thursday was spent at a variety of stores purchasing $1600 worth of supplies. Friday was spent carting all of that up to Bear Lake. A feat mostly accomplished by my father and brothers since my van was so full already that each of my four children was buried under piles of coolers, pillows and sleeping bags, with just the narrowest of holes so they could be entertained by the DVD player.

As expected I worked like a whipped dog the entire time. And while I'm mostly just glad that it's over there were some pretty good moments. And of course I can't whine too much since my father and sister did a lot more work than I did. By my zero fatality standard of success we did really, well. But apparently even if you raise the bar a little bit most of the people who attended seemed to think that it went really well. As expected no one jumped up and volunteered to run the next reunion, so this may be the last we have at least for the descendents of my grandfather. Perhaps at some point I'll have to put together a more extensive reunion report. But for now I'm out of time.

GenCon Baby!!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

30 hours and still no power

Well as of this writing we've been without power for 30 hours, and there's no indication that that condition is going to change anytime soon. I really thought it would be back on by the time I woke up this morning, particularly after what happened last night.

As you can imagine rather than try and do much by the dim glow of the flashlight I decided to just go to bed early. I hadn't fallen asleep yet when I heard some voices in the back yard, so I quickly got dressed and went outside. A dude from the power company was there talking to the next door neighbor. I guess his job was to figure out what was wrong, and he had determined that the neighbors tree had grown into the power lines and that's what had caused the problem a week ago and that's what had caused the problem yesterday morning. This was at around 10:15 and he said he was calling in a tree crew.

The tree crew showed up around 1 am and the dulcet tones of the chain saw led me to believe that any moment now power would be restored. But then they left and then, nothing... I suppose there's a third team that actually replaces the transformer or something like that, and so far, 10 hours after the tree was cut back, there's been no sign of them. I'm not sure if they're busy with the storm damage or if the tree crew forgot to notify the power crew that they were done, or what, but I'll tell you it's getting pretty damn annoying.

I don't want to live like people used to!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Power? We don't need no stinking power!

Well our power went out again, this would make the second time in just a little over a week, and just like last time in turns out that the timing of the outage is horrible. Our power when out sometime shortly after 5 am, and as far as I can reconstruct, just as the crew was showing up to fix our power, a massive storm blew in and thousands of people lost power. I imagine at that point the crew was told, "Forget about those 19 houses! We've got entire municipalities that are without power!" At this point the estimate is 12 hours, which means if we're lucky we should have power sometime early next year.

My sister had a b-day party for her 1 year old daughter last night, so we went up to Ogden for that. It was a pretty good time. At one point my sister's other child, her son. Sat in my dad's chair, so my dad told him that if he didn't move he would sit on him. The kid didn't move so he got sat on by grandpa. Now obviously my dad wasn't putting an weight on the kid, but the kid freaked out anyway and started crying. We had just finished talking about horrible childhood stories, and we figured we had just seen one, which made everyone laugh. But don't worry we weren't laughing at the kid we were laughing at a future, psychologically unbalanced, version of the kid.

Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.