Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert

The annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert (or as we call them around here Mo Tab) is tonight (and the rest of the weekend). I personally think they peaked with Sissel, but it still should be really good. We're not going to have as big of a group as we normally do from my family. My dad is busy with school so he can't make it and my sister and her husband bailed at that last minute with sick kids. But I expect to still have a really good time. One of the highlights is going to Crown Burger before the concert. Which won't be the same without my brother-in-law who currently holds the record for the most consecutive days eating at Crown burger, but I'll try and keep my uncontrollable weeping from disturbing the other diners.

I'll let you know how it was tomorrow.

It's my steak sandwich and I'll cry if I want to

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fantasy Football

Well we've finally reached the playoffs for Fantasy Football. Which of course start before the actual NFL playoffs so that all the players are still available. Last week was the first single elimination game and I managed to squeak out a victory- 72.3 to 70.9. This week I'll be up against the #2 seed (I was the #3 seed) and if I can win that game I'll be in the "Fantasy Bowl". I'm feeling pretty good about this week's game I've outscored her every week since week 7 which was the week she and I played and she beat me. Let's hope that it's not some kind of weird cycle...

I'm not sure if I've ever told this story in my blog, but several years ago I had the idea to take up wine-collecting. See I don't drink and I figured that because of that I would be the ideal collector, I would never drink up my profits. My wife was opposed to it for obvious reasons, and I was only half serious, but it was my Dad who put an end to what little seriousness the idea had when he pointed out that since I didn't drink I would never have the "gut feel" for what was a good wine, or more particularly which wines were undervalued or which had a good potential to appreciate in value.

You may wonder what this has to do with fantasy football. Well my wife made the point that maybe fantasy football was like wine, that I would never have the "gut" to be truly great at it. I suspect that's true. I think I've made one or two good "gut" moves but mostly I've just read Roto's columns over at ESPN, follow his advice and hope for the best. Of course like many things it's surprising how few people actually take the time to just read what's available.

Literacy for the win!!

Monday, December 08, 2008


As I look out my window it's really coming down. The snow blowing through the gap between my building and the Custom Closet next door is nearly horizontal. It's been snowing for several hours, but it's only just barely started to stick to the grass. This isn't the first snow fall of the season but the previous snow we've gotten had long ago melted and wasn't that impressive in the first place. Of course there's been snow in the mountains all this time, but even that has been pretty pathetic. Some of the ski resorts are opened, but I believe they had to supplement the natural snow with additional snow making.

Some people don't like the snow. I'm not sure why those people live in Utah, though I confess that we don't have the harshest winters in the world, so for those people the storm is bad news, for me it's great news. Not only do I love the first snowfall of the season (so pretty...) but I go on a ski vacation every year between Christmas and New Year and as of yesterday the ski resort I use was not open yet. It's still a few weeks between now and skiing, and one storm does not a season make, but it's nevertheless a good sign.

Happy until the shoveling starts

Friday, December 05, 2008


Well I dropped $900 and change on car repairs today. Not my favorite thing in the word to do, but I'm confident that I'm still ahead money ahead with my used car vs. a new car, though sometimes I wonder. It'd be tough to do the math because you're never sure how many repairs a new car would need. But I think even if you assume that a new car would have needed zero repairs we're ahead, but probably not as much as I would like. Of course there's also the intangible benefits of having a new car. We had to buy a portable DVD player for the van, whereas they all come with them these days. And of course other kids that ride in the van can't understand why the doors on our van don't close by themselves like all the other vans they've been in.

When I went to pick up my car I talked to the mechanic about how his business was doing. I figured this was one job that might do better in an economic downturn. Since people wouldn't be buying new cars but rather trying to keep the ones they already had running. He said people were just paying for the bare minimum, which makes a certain amount of sense. He then went on to talk about the "Big Three" bailout. He was basically in favor of it, he mentioned all the jobs that would be lost because of all the secondary industries which rely on the automakers. That's the problem really, no matter the issue no matter the industry or the amount of money you'll find someone who regardless of their other convictions will firmly beleive that their personal case is different. And I'm not saying that maybe it isn't, but I think this is how we got the gigantic government we currently have.

Anyway back to the van. Apparently it was leaking oil in a fairly dramatic fashion and it was about 30 minutes from of driving from seizing all together. And the water pump was shot as well and there was a rusty pipe, etc. etc. But the car does have nearly 200,000 miles, so when you think about it, it's kind of amazing that there wasn't more wrong. I'm not sure how much longer it's going to last, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

New car? What's that?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

WotC Layoffs

Aozora requested a blog about the Wizards of the Coast layoffs. It is an interesting situation. They're infamous for their pre-christmas layoffs so it shouldn't be too surprising. What is surprising is some of the people they laid off. Jonathan Tweet was probably the biggest name. He was the only person left at WotC from the core design team and he was the lead designer for DreamBlade. I assume they were paying him a pretty penny at this point, but I have a hard time understanding even then why they'd let him go. I mean you can build a whole company around someone as talented as that, and I'm guessing someone will, and when they do, my prediction will be that WotC will have a pretty serious competitor on it's hands, which can't be very good business. But perhaps I'll be wrong and Tweet will become a political pundit, the guy has some interesting and unique opinions.

The other big name, at least for me, was Dave Noonan. I remember meeting him right when 3E was launched. For me that was when Wizards become a company I could actually like rather than a faceless giant that had taken over for TSR. I saw him at every GenCon after that, sometime he'd be DMing a Dungeon Delve, or sitting on a panel, a couple of times I talked to him at some length. I know he's married with kids, and I know how big of a difference that makes when you're laid off as opposed to being single. In any case hopefully he'll land on his feet with some high paying video game gig. Based on the economic conditions, I'm guessing that's unlikely, but I'll keep hoping...

The final name on the list that jumped out at me was Randy Buehler. I've never met him (not like the other two) and I have no particular affection for him. He was the VP of Digital Gaming, and if anyone deserved to be laid off I think it was him. The whole Gleemax thing was a fiasco from the beginning. The whole digital initiative has been a joke. I'm still cautiously optimistic about D&D online, but as a whole their online and digital strategy has been appalling. An appalling over reach which is different from the vast majority of people who half-ass it, but still appalling. I'm still trying to decide whether to signup for DDI. It's less than what I was paying for a paper version of DUNGEON and DRAGON back in the day, but I'm still on the fence...

I know I didn't warn you it was a gaming post... sorry

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My Uncle's Old Volvo

My uncle bought a Volvo back in oh, '79 or '80, and drove it forever. He ended up racking up a lot of miles, but he really wanted to hit 300k miles. The problem was that the car had what might be termed "multiple organ failure" right around 290k miles. So those last 10k ended up being disproportionately expensive. I don't believe he ever made it to 300k, but he could have, I'll have to find out. Anyway the reason I bring this up is that I just looked and I have 480 blog posts (not counting the old system, which reminds me I really need to get those into some tangible format) and perhaps the problem I've had with blogging recently is similar to my Uncle's car. Actually that's a really poor analogy and the two have almost nothing to do with one another, but that's one whole paragraph made out of nothing, at this rate I'll hit 500 easy...

Last week I went to Canada on Monday and Tuesday. Let me describe the schedule:

Monday- Wake up at 4:00, 4:30 drive to airport, 5:00 weird "Breach" experience in security line, 6:00 plane leaves, 11:00 arrive in Canada, 20 minutes of really intense questioning while going through customs for a 2 day trip, 11:30-6:00 Meeting with clients and another development studio, 6:00-8:30 Dinner meeting (great steak) w/ clients, 9:00 collapse into bed.

Tuesday- Wake up at 5:30, 6:00 Put all the notes from yesterday's meeting into a flow chart, 8:00-1:00 Meeting at Denny's (we sat at the same table and had breakfast and lunch there) 1:30-3:30 another meeting with development studio, 3:30-4:00 phone meeting on way to airport with clients, 4:00-6:00 waiting at airport, 6:00 plane leaves, 11:15 arrive back in Utah, 12:30 bedtime...

I have a lot more sympathy for my Dad at this point, traveling as a consultant is brutal.

Other than that last week consisted of Thanksgiving, rabbit hunting, and being sick. There you go, all caught up...

England expects that every man will do his duty.