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I am home from Origins, having had a darn good time. My passenger was a guy I knew in passing from games down at Pet Shop, and he turned out to be a great guy to have for a long drive. Lots of good easy conversation on the drive to and from Columbus, and we became each others' convention buddy pretty quickly.

Origins is a very different convention experience from GenCon. GenCon can be sometimes draconian in its policies, especially regarding exhibitors, but it's very organized, very effective, very efficient - Shit Gets Done. Origins, on the other hand, plays a lot looser, and feels antiquated in some ways. Where GenCon has a very friendly search engine for events, Origins uses a ginormous spreadsheet that doesn't see any kind of grammar or spelling check, so if a GM registers, say, a Shadorwun game, then that's what goes into the spreadsheet. And the time/date fields aren't standardized, which leads to some messy formatting - in the convention event book provided onsite, games that were scheduled at, say, 3:00PM are under one heading and those scheduled at 3:00:00 appear under another. The print file seems to pull from a weirdly sorted output, as we found headings in an order like Friday 1:00 PM -> Friday 10:00 AM -> 11:00 AM -> 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM. So, that was a mess. And a LOT of our events scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just didn't show up in the printed event guide. They were in the spreadsheet and whatever form the online guide took, but if you were just looking for a game to get into during that period, you had no indication that something was going on. 

Columbus was mercifully free of the occasional sewer gas smell that plagues downtown Indy, so points to Origins on that front. Our hotel, the Downtown Westin was very nice, if a bit of a hike from the convention center - about 1.25 miles. Sure found plenty of Pokemon candy on those treks! The Pride Parade was on Saturday, running (or strutting, or sashaying) down High Street, and that made for some great entertainment on my way back to the hotel to meet up with Ben P.

I got to spend several hours with Rebecca and Ben that afternoon. Saw their gorgeous house, some parts of Marysville, had excellent brisket for dinner. Some of my favorite folks.

So, games and other stuff. Lots of good times, the good gamers far outnumbered the bad. Ken Hite signed my replacement copy of Trail of Cthulhu, and I got to chat with John Wick for a few minutes. Picked up a 6'x3' mat for X-Wing Epic and Armada games. Saw Ray Forsythe and a couple of Louisville people. Talked with Jim Searcy for a little while.

The Mariner ran very well, if thirstier than I like. Not much to be done there. Some good meals, and good times at them. Met and spent time with some very fun people. It's good to be home, though. The closer I got to Louisville, the more I liked the thought of sleeping in my own bed. There's some laundry to start, and once that's well underway, I'm hitting the sack and hopefully sleeping for at least ten hours.

I think I'd sooner go back to Origins than GenCon, the gripes above considered. Far fewer people, just a different vibe, plenty to recommend it. I think I'd like to try it as a civilian, and probably not for the entire five days - more like a three-day weekend. For someone like me, who is primarily a role-playing gamer, three days of Origins is just about enough. So, we'll see where things are in nine months or so.
tracker7: (SPHIS)
Last semester, and maybe more so this one, I have had some straight-up panic attacks over the amount of work (particularly large papers and projects) required in this program. These have been mostly self-created, if I'm being honest with myself. I can handle the work; I just have to remember to handle it in chunks instead of looking at the entirety of the project. What I also have had to remember is, when I'm piddling around and procrastinating, is ... I like doing this stuff. I like diving into existing literature on the subject. I like figuring out how to pull relevant data out of different reports and studies and synthesizing something out of it. I like putting the words down. 

I have to do a lot of it in the next few days. This is what's still outstanding: Integration final exam tonight. Policy presentation Wednesday. Evaluation presentation Thursday morning. Policy report Friday afternoon. Practicum presentation on the 24th. Social Determinants group paper and presentation on the 25th. And that is it. One way or another, my grad school run is over in eight days. Long nights ahead.

I'm trying to stop griping about this final semester. There is nothing to be done, as Kim Stanley Robinson wrote. Just have to deal with the problems, hit the markers, and get out into the field. Put PhD and other considerations aside and focus on the local, the immediate, the things I can affect. Talk, seriously, with the faculty members who have contacts and experience, and can point me down paths I don't know exist.

In the wider world, there's a lot going on. Under Lord Dampnut's direction, the US is pushing for North Korea to be "handled." There's some reason for concern here - remember, of course, that Dampnut is unstable and aggressive and not very smart, and he's already attacked a Syrian airbase with a shitload of cruise missiles. (He also misnamed the nation the missiles' target was located in, while apparently focusing on the quality and size of the cake he was eating at the time. These fucking people.) North Korea tested a ballistic missile yesterday, but the launch failed; there was talk of a nuclear test (April 15 being a national holiday there), but it seems that nothing came of it.

After seeing the Spycraft 1 game at Conglomeration, and a talk with Erin about it, I've had a hankering for an espionage game start to rear it's head. Despite my love of Spycraft, I don't know that I'd use it. I feel like that's ground I've covered comfortably. There's the 007 clone, Classified, and something else I picked up along the way. Merle Rasmussen and some other folks bought the Top Secret name and product rights from WotC, and are launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund Top Secret: New World Order sometime soon. Always good to have options.

I need to go somewhere. Just go. Driving up to a truckstop 15 miles inside Indiana a couple of weeks ago was, I think, the first time I've left Kentucky since GenCon. Christ, I can't recall traveling anywhere besides my routes to Liberty since Thanksgiving. There's a day or weekend trip coming soon, either to celebrate or deal with the end of the semester.
tracker7: (Default)
Relevant to the previous entry's overdose discussion, Thursday afternoon, I saw a LFD engine and two LMPD cruisers roll onto Gray Street and stop in front of LMPHW. The engine crew dismounted, no turnout gear, and to my shame, I thought, "Just an OD case, then, no big deal." This is now normal, I guess. And this is not right.

Wednesday was my 45th birthday. Nothing exciting, really. Had a short meeting at Shawnee Academy for one of my classes.

Friday, time at LMPHW, planning for ICS instruction in May, then a couple hours in the Cave to close out the day. A staffer in OEP is retiring in a couple of weeks, and my mentor suggested I apply for her position. I'm applying for a position with CHE, too, so hopefully things will start moving on that front. After practicum time, I went to Crescent Springs for Erin's birthday dinner. Met her boyfriend (who is a heck of a good guy) and other folks. Pretty good evening.

Including last night's round trip, I think I can count the number of times I've driven I-71 between I-265 and the I-75 merger on two hands. I've never had much need to travel that way, and that stretch of Interstate is strange to me. Lots of grades and curves, and there are markers for the Carrollton bus crash way back when. It's a little bit spooky. And I'll be making the drive again a couple of weeks, when I head to CincyCon.

Going out with Mom&Dad in a little while, and probably with some friends tonight. And if they bail, I can just as easily go to a movie on my own. Have to schedule my Corellian Conflict game sometime. Prep for SYR and my regular SW game. Do homework, research, search for jobs. Keeping moving.

81 days.

Add it Up

Aug. 21st, 2014 05:44 pm
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GenCon ended on a pretty good note. There was the usual flurry of last-minute sales, and I contributed by picking up a copy of Last Night on Earth. Looking forward to playing it with The Niece sometime soon. Fastest booth breakdown we've ever done - about 20 minutes, and Ben and I skipped out when we determined that there were too many people doing things and we had a drive ahead of us.

So, the drive. Man, sometimes, just screw Indiana, alright? Road construction on I-65 Southbound, down to one lane for only a few miles, but enough of a traffic bottleneck to make our trip from Indy to Louisville take just shy of three hours. Less than 100 miles. And then the rain hit, just as we cleared the backup. Drove Ben to Elizabethtown to link up with his fiancee, and for a few miles south of Shepherdsville, I swear to Cantore, the sky was purple-pink and brightly-lit and downright unsettling. Got home, decided that laundry would wait for Pants-Free Monday, and slept in a bed for the first night since Wednesday. My bed, even. Very comfy.

TLGS Colin got his game prototype into Alderac's hands. We got his buddy's games in front of some publishers who will have a better chance of getting the game manufactured than us. We sold a lot of books. All of the problems were resolved. And next year's going to rock.

Bought a non-powered reel mower. It was unfortunately insufficient to the needs of the yard, so it went back to be replaced by a gas-burner. Much better.

Holy cow, today. Day 1 of my SPHIS orientation. Met some classmates, met the SPHIS dean (who looks like Donald Sutherland). Had an impromptu talk with said dean, and he introduced me to the CEO of KentuckyOne Health - possible internship! And in a couple of years, possible posting with the University's next overseas campus. All very very tentative. But I am excited. Oh sweet mercy, am I excited. I've got to get through this semester, show what I'm capable of, and then things look like they're really going to get exciting.

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It's Halloween!

I went to Lexington's Halloween celebration last night, mostly to see Space Madness on the Planet of the Apes by the March Madness Marching Band - and yes, they did "Rock Me, Doctor Zaius." Lots of people there, some good costumes, and the parade was a joy to behold.

I'd planned on driving to Florida this evening to see Space Shuttle Discovery's final launch, but that's pushed back until Wednesday afternoon, and I can't make that and be back in time for my flight to Las Vegas for NeonCon. I'll settle for CNN coverage, I guess. Only three missions left, and then the US is reduced to hitching rides on somebody else's spacecraft until at least 2015.

I'm looking forward to NeonCon, for the most part. The flight's going to be a hassle, what with all the TSA circus acts, but I can deal. The Fantasycraft adventure I'm scheduled to run (twice) is ... well, I really really don't like it. The Spycraft mission is a good one, though, and it looks like there will be a lot of opportunity for pickup games. And, well, I'll be in Las Vegas.

I'm reading Jacqueline Carey's Naamah's Kiss at present. Liking it rather a lot, unsurprisingly. Looking forward to Amexica, sometime after I get back.

Pulling for the Texas Rangers to win the World Series. Pleasantly surprised that the Oakland Raiders are 4-4. And stunned at the disintegration of the Dallas Cowboys.
tracker7: (Reading)
I've really picked up the pace in my reading over the past couple of weeks. Spin and Axis, by Robert Charles Wilson, The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, by Jack Campbell, The Steel Remains, by Charles Stross. Started in on Hominids, by Robert J. Sawyer, tonight. I haven't done much in the way of writing in the same time span, but that'll come around. For now, I'm happy enough consuming lots of words.

On the gaming front, I'm still immersing myself (har-har) in Blue Planet. I've gotten a good handle on what I want to do with the one-off, I think. Now it's a matter of building characters and making sure that I've got a good adventure for them to play in.

Maybe going to Las Vegas in November. More on this story as it develops.


Jun. 7th, 2009 08:07 pm
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So, I went to Florida last week. The original plan for the time off was to go to Diecon again, but my enthusiasm completely evaporated in early May, so I extended my time off from work and decided to head somewhere.

I left Lexington around 4:30 Wednesday morning. Made an impulse side trip to Savannah, Georgia, and Tybee Island, both of which were utterly beautiful, but in totally different ways. Spent a few hours at each place, then pressed on to Daytona Beach and spent the night.

Saw Daytona International Speedway, walked around the beach a bit, then headed south to Kennedy Space Center. Holy ground for a space geek like me. Saw Endeavour out on 39-A. Nice long tour of KSC. The astronaut memorial is beautiful. Drove to West Palm Beach and spent the night.

The Shell convenience store where I refuelled in West Palm Beach had a good-sized wine rack, about 20 varieties on hand, with a recommended pairings list. Man, it's a whole other planet sometimes.

Friday was Key West. Got there around noon. Saw the Hemingway House, the end of US1, and met some fun folks from Maryland. Left Key West around 8 p.m., and decided to try driving straight home. Took 22 hours, but I did it. Stops every four hours or so for fuel and drinks, and one real meal along the way.

Lots and lots of time to think while driving. Made some decisions; now to see if I can stick with them.

tracker7: (Default)
This was a pretty intense week at the office, what with the launch of a new product and all. Overtime was made available, but I opted for comp time instead. Yay for getting to sleep in.

Swine flu panic! Apocalypse! The End! Load up the car, head to Boulder or Las Vegas!

Not going to Diecon after all. Will be roaming other places instead.

Done with the War Machine comic, I think. Can't even give it one more issue.
tracker7: (Ego)
Short version:  GenCon was a terrific time.

Long version?  Well, since you asked...

I left Lexington around noon on Wednesday.  I tried a different route to Indianapolis this time around, and I'm sold on it.  I-75 to I-275 to I-74.  Avoids any poorly-designed interchanges completely.  Got to the hotel around 3:15 or so, unloaded, met with the first of the suitemates, goofed around.  Went to airport to pick up Pat and Alex (two of the Crafty Games partners).  Met with rest of the Crafty demo team at our hotel (Embassy Suites, in case you were wondering) at 10:30, divided up game lines, got to know each other, split up for the night.

Thursday morning started with the hotel's pretty good free breakfast.  Important lesson learned, and this worked really well for this disgusting morning person who's set to Eastern Time, is to get there as early as possible, before the ravening hordes of gamers arrive.  Over to the ICC to get our badges and swag bags.  Goodies this year were a little sparse - most of mine went directly into the recycling bins, but I kept the dice, of course.  Once crowds died down, I braved the Exhibitors Hall and beelined for the Play Collective booth.  Got copies of Cold City and Hot War, and spent a few minutes talking to Malcolm Craig, the writer of said games.  This was the first of our encounters over the weekend, as he was staying on the same hotel floor as me.  Very nice guy, and an imaginative designer.  Check out his stuff at Contested Ground Studios.  Then, it was time for my first game - a World on Fire mission.  It went well.  The six players got into the game quickly, and the mission went off quite well.  Grabbed some food, and headed for the live-action game meeting.  I can't reveal too terribly much about it, since it was a preview of an upcoming setting book for Mastercraft (Spycraft's descendant), but the slogan is pretty cool - "Black Ops versus the Black Arts."

Friday started with a minor scheduling question, but it was quickly hashed out.  Today's game was not quite as successful, as there were only four players and two were kids - I'd guess one maybe 9 and the other 12 or so.  Not bad, but it required a lot of shifting of mental gears for me.  Afterwards, off to the RAM for lunch (not bad, but nothing remarkable, either) and back to buyin' stuff.  Hunter: the Vigil looks quite good, and Legend of the Burning Sands does as well.  The credits of LBS established that I'm clearly Old.  One of the writers is a kid I taught to play the 7th Sea card game back during the Red Rock Big-Ass Game Night time.  Crafty seminar that evening, then off to the Weber Grill for dinner.  Dear friends, a 24oz. Porterhouse cut pork chop is humongous.  And delicious.  As we weren't done with the talking when we left there at about midnight, it was off to Steak 'n' Shake for dessert.  Back to the hotel around 2 a.m.

Saturday looked to be the busiest of days - two sessions scheduled, the first from 2-6 p.m., the second from 8 p.m. to midnight.  The 2 p.m. session was awesome.  Eight players, split between four experienced Spycraft players who had played this mission at a previous convention, and four enthusiastic newcomers to Spycraft.  The former group and I wound up conniving a bit - they were great at keeping their player knowledge separate from character knowledge, and each one managed to team up with a new guy and really make it a great time for them.  This game was a blast, and a reminder of why it is that I'm a gamer.  Got lucky for the later session, too - one of the "backup" team members came by and asked if I would mind if he ran the game.  I didn't at all.  Bailed out for the Steampunk Dance, ogled, danced, split for another party.  This was the meet-and-greet, conveniently held in my hotel.  Met a lot of folks, was made an honorary Mod for bringing in three cases of drinks, watched a little Monsterpocalypse (check it out at Privateer Press), had a ball.  Bedtime was ... sometime.  Did not go to White Wolf party.

Sunday, packing up and prepping to go home.  Pat's plane was an early departure, Alex's less so.  We got Suitemate D checked out, and Alex, Suitemate M, and I decided to kill the rest of the afternoon at the Exhibitors Hall, since nothing else was really going on.  We happened to be near the Titan Games booth when they announced that everything there was going to be selling for $2 each.  The wave of gamers was spectacular.  Alex loaded himself up.  We roamed more.  I bought shirts (Robin and Alan Scott Green Lantern t-shirts from Stylin' Online and a truly bitchin' work shirt from ... somebody), and found Arc Dream's booth, where I got the Delta Green Eyes Only collection.  WotC still hadn't sufficiently restocked the Knights of the Old Republic book, so I struck out there.  Hit the White Wolf area again, but stayed my hand.  Got Alex out to the airport around 6, and turned Hephaestus towards home.  Returned to Lexington at nine, dispensed the items I'd purchased for other folks, went home and unpacked, and slept in my own bed.

For those of you I got to meet face-to-face, it was a real pleasure.  You folks helped make this a great great vacation.

Important things learned:  Matt Howes and I have a disturbingly similar sense of humor.  Seriously.  [personal profile] tegyrius, he could be the missing brother-from-another.  Gamers who talk the most often have the least to actually say - and two in particular need to learn the lesson of not crapping in the place where they eat.  Mongoose's booth guys are pretty darn cool (happily exchanged my bad-binding copy of World on Fire for a new one).  The Crowne Plaza at Union Station is gorgeous, and that ballroom and attached bar are The Sex.  Indy likes having us there.

Barring catastrophe, I'll be back next year.  The demo game plan may change radically - instead of full-length games out in the con hotels, I may be running quick scenes at the Mongoose booth throughout the show.  Besides Spycraft 2.0 and World on Fire, there will be two more books to play with.

I needed this trip.  Like last year, I'm recharged.

For today, though, no gaming.  I'm going to rest up, read a lot, maybe write a little bit, and just have a day to myself.
tracker7: (Default)
This weekend was the first family reunion that I know of on my mom's side.

I left Lexington around 8 Saturday morning, and the drive was terrific.  Filled up in Cannonsburg (maneuvering through the construction there), and took the crazy-ass state road out of Huntington.  It was much much more fun in the Mustang than in the Explorer.  Stopped briefly about halfway to Logan and dropped the roof.  Got to Chief Logan State Park and started helping one cousin with the cooking - a whole damn pig.

Lots of relatives in the afternoon and evening.  Catching up with many, avoiding some.  Lots of food and hiking.  The park is located in an old mine valley, and the trails are great.  It's a beautiful place, and a great example of how to reclaim an old industrial site.

A little more goofing around and whatnot on Sunday morning.  Left out around noon, and took the longer-but-faster route out.  Sporadic conversations with Erin (not a whole lot of cell coverage unless you've got line-of-sight to a tower).  Detoured to Berea to pick her up and get some steaks and shrimp to grill at [personal profile] elalyr and [personal profile] tegyrius' house.

I was exhausted when I got home last night.  Stayed online to talk with Erin for a little while, but decided it was bedtime when I tipped over on the couch.  Today, it's back to work, where I'll be flying solo for the first three days of the week.

Spider-Man 3 opens Friday.  Hoping to catch it over the weekend.


tracker7: (Default)

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