Monday, December 31, 2007

Good-Bye 2007

This year has been a really fun year. I've met so many people, went to so many gaming conventions (2007 was officially knighted the "Year of Cons" months ago!), and traveled more than I thought would be possible in one year.

My job has been great, but a little too busy for me...

The love life hasn't been wonderful (I'm still single!), but more than one friend has pointed out... at least I've been putting myself out there and trying. Not just sitting at home waiting for Mr. Right to come find me. Which, when I'm feeling down about not having someone special in my life, is what I have to remind myself. Plus, it's encouraging that 2008 is starting out with high hopes!

But I think the thing I have come back to again and again is that I really love my friends. I love spending time with them and going on crazy adventures. Thank you for being a friend (cue Golden Girls music here!)...

Resolutions for 2008 to come!

The Big Date

The big date this weekend went well. We had a really good time together, got along great, the kissing was good and I think we'll be seeing each other again. At least, that's how it looks right now. No definite plans have been set, but we did speak about it briefly. Also, at my questioning and his request and keeping with the numbers theme, he's officially dubbed "42." Ahhhh, you gotta love geeks! :-)

The real question is, is he my 42?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dating Update

It's been a while since I've done any kind of dating update. There's been a lot of activity, but nothing that I want to go into great detail about just yet.

I can say that I have a big date this weekend and I'm very much looking forward to it. We've been talking A LOT for the last week and all I can say is that he's awesome (and cute!)! So we'll see how it pans out in person after talking so much this last week. I'm optimistic that things will go well because when I met him the first time, I immediately felt the "click" that I like to have, which is always a good sign! (Warning: A wee bit of gushiness coming...) To me, he is perfect. He's the perfect mix of introvert and extrovert. (I always am drawn to the quiet ones, but then wish they were more out-going!) He's super-smart, loves games, funny and hates musicals (big +)! Even better, we communicate REALLY well and he has the sweetness factor that I adore. (Unlike #5, this one does know about the blog, so just in case he reads this: Hi honey!)

In other dating news, there are quite a few eHarmony guys that I'm going through the process with. One in particular looks pretty cool, seems very out-going and is pretty cute to boot, but we just haven't had a chance to meet yet. All the other prospects are in the back-and-forth question stage at this point. I've also been emailing this other guy from a different dating site and he seems nice, but again, the holidays have kept me (and him) too busy to meet up yet.

I should know better by this weekend if I even need to bother with either of these other guys. Keep your fingers crossed that things go well!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Festive Weekend

This weekend has been quite festive so far. On Friday, after working 12 long hours, I went to Erin & Liz's holiday party and had a good time. I had another party to go to, but after stopping by there, I was too tired to think about driving over the hill and finding parking to boot. Erin made queso - YUM and Liz made some gingerbread cookies that were delicious!! I usually don't like gingerbread cookies, but these were so yummy that I happily took a few home with me when she offered them!

On Saturday, eight of us celebrated Shannon's birthday by piling into a rental mini-van and stopping at seven different restaurants for various courses throughout the day! I overslept and didn't make it to the "bacon of the month" tasting & champagne cocktails at the house before hitting the first restaurant. Boo to me! I don't have the mental energy right now to make the list of all the places we went, but all of them were highly recommended by Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer prize winning food critic of the LA Weekly. It was a stomach crawl through the best of LA!

Today, I slept in (finally!!), went to church, and then came home and watched some football and finally finished decorating my Christmas tree. I've also been slowly working on straightening up the apartment because I'm having people over for a bit on Christmas Eve and for gaming later in the week. Also, I'm hosting a New Year's Eve party, but decided to take a trip next weekend since I'm not working, so I need to make sure my apartment is cleaned and ready for the party before I leave on Friday. Especially since I have to work on New Year's Eve during the day, specifically at 7 AM! In Orange County. Fun! Not.

I'm supposed to go out dancing tonight, but at the moment, I'm really not feeling like going. Hopefully, in the next few hours, I get a bit more peppy! The Spazmatics go on at 10 PM! This is the super-cool 80s cover band we saw at the Mandalay Bay House of Blues last January in Vegas and then at Universal City Walk one time over the summer.

I'm looking forward to going to Providence for their special dinner for Christmas Eve tomorrow night. Providence, a fabulous fancy French restaurant, hosts a very Italian "Feast of the Seven Fishes" on Christmas Eve each year. I was talking to an Italian guy I know and he said that his family does that every year. It should be tasty and fun! I need to decide what to wear too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Football Pool: Only Two More Weeks!

My friend Ron invited me to join a football pool last year and I ended up doing pretty well, placing second and securing 200 credits, which combined with winning 1st or 2nd place several times put me up a total of 270 credits. The entrance fee each year has been 60.

There are two more weeks left in this season and as it stands, I'm currently in first place out of 31 people. I've already won back 50 of my 60 credits and if I can hang onto first place for the next two weeks, I could be the lucky recipient of 400 credits! That would be awesome! Second place wins 200 credits, but I'm hoping I'll be able to hang onto the lead. I'm ahead by about 26 points right now, but if I tank and someone does really well, I could easy fall down to 2nd or 3rd. But I'm remaining positive that I will be able to push forward and pick the right ones.

If I do win, I will most likely use that money to pay for my (potential) birthday Vegas trip!

Rock Band Humor

Why is this webcomic so cute?!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Guitar Hero III Career Update

Travis came over last night and we finally finished up our Co-op Career on Expert! We had some trouble with "One" by Metallica and "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour, but with some practice on those runs and some very strategic use of star power, we managed to pass them!

We unlocked the Pendulaxe! It's mean and tough looking, fitting for an Expert player! Next up, I need to work on my solo career on Expert. I just haven't been devoting much time to it lately. I'm hoping to remedy that with the 11 days I have off starting Saturday!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bakefest 2007 has wrapped up

It started early this afternoon and after everything was said, done and baked, we'd gone through...
  • almost 10 lbs. of flour
  • 5+ lbs of butter
  • 3+ lbs. of sugar
  • 2 lbs. of bacon
Bacon? Why would you need two pounds of bacon? Because, we had to try BACON chocolate chip cookies. Wow, they are pretty darn tasty! We left off the maple cinnamon glaze and hunk of bacon on top. We made some with only semi-sweet chocolate chips and some with both semi-sweet and white and the combo chips tasted much better.

It was a full house! Chris came early and helped me take some old games to Goodwill and pick out/up a Christmas tree. I'm in LOVE with the one we picked. It's beautiful and perfect. I started decorating it while cookies were in the oven and let me say, Brian and I did a fabulous job at proper light distribution! It is one good looking tree.

Travis and Shane stopped by to bake and play some Guitar Hero. Brian and his girlfriend Martha came over and brought Cynthia, a co-worker/friend of Martha's. She's German and has lived here for two years. She seemed to have a lot of fun baking the cookies. They were here most of the day.

In total we made:
  • Bacon chocolate chip cookies - 4 dozen
  • Snickerdoodles - 4-5 dozen
  • Almond Crescents - 10 dozen
  • Oatmeal Scotchies with chocolate chips - 4 dozen
  • Sugar cookies (some iced and decorated!) - 3 dozen (more dough to roll)
  • Jam Thumbprints - 4 dozen
  • Snowball cookies (pecan shortbread balls coated with powdered sugar) - 8 dozen
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to bake the chocolate rads that I adore from last year, but there's still time. I may make them tomorrow if I can squeeze it in after church, gaming, a cookie exchange and a holiday party.

Some photos:
Brian getting ready to stir in the bacon

Jam Thumbprints

Almond Crescents, Snowball Cookies and a lone Bacon Chocolate Chip cookie

The Sugar Cookie inspired by Dexter!!

It was tiring, but fun. Now I have plenty of cookies for my bosses' and co-workers' cookie baskets on Monday. I'm definitely ready to go to sleep!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

First Politics, Now Religion

First it was politics, now religion... what's next? Sex? Lemme answer that for you... "no."

I've been meaning to post about this since before BGG.CON, but I think I've found a church I like! I've only been twice, but I think I fell in love during my first visit. I felt a real connection with the church and the pastor. It's a Four Square church, but it seems, doctrine-wise and the feel of it, to be very similar to a Baptist church. Seeing how I grew up in Baptist churches, I feel very "at home" in a church like that.

The congregation has a really great vibe, like everyone is there, present and ready to worship. It was really great! I also like that it has a great age range too. And even better, I didn't feel bored one single time during the sermon! I'll admit sometimes my mind starts wandering, but this time it didn't. This pastor does a really good job keeping the sermon very relate-able so it's easy to focus on what he's saying!

I am going to attend a while longer to make sure it's a church that I like before I make any decisions about becoming a member. I don't think I've ever felt so drawn to a church, which is a really great feeling! It comes highly recommended by a couple people I know too, so that's a good sign!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ron Paul in 2008

Have you started thinking about next year's presidential election? I hadn't, but then my friend Carolyn blogged about her support for Ron Paul, a candidate I'd never even heard of. Carolyn & I have fairly similar political leanings, so I went to his website to see what his views were.

He's a Republican. I live in Los Angeles. I know how unpopular the Republican party is in liberal L.A. However, don't dismiss him just because he's a Republican. He is a candidate that advocates smaller government, lower taxes, immediate withdrawal from Iraq and personal freedom.

I encourage you to check out his website that lays out his stances on all the major issues to see if he is the candidate for you!! He is incredibly popular on the internet and has many, many videos on YouTube.com. I've never been very involved in politics, but when I found out about him, I joined my local MeetUp group and plan on helping them get the word out in 2008! I also plan on donating to his campaign, something I've never done before. Not being one of the "top" candidates, he needs support to garner coverage in the main media.

Here's one of the popular videos of him on YouTube:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Working for the Weekend

I've never tried to make it seem any other way. My job used to be a pretty cushy one! This week has been crazy! With the promotion has come more work!! I'm hoping it's more of a transitional thing, but I can't be sure for a few months. Now I'm just working on the more money aspect... I apologize for not being in more contact with my friends. Work has been using more than its fair share of energy out of me!

However, I had recently been thinking that my job wasn't challenging enough. I guess this is the answer to my ponderings! It's been stressful, but I'm hoping it will be challenging, fun and a great learning experience. The CEO of the new parent company came out yesterday for a "town hall" meeting. It was pretty informative and the atmosphere they endorse is a good one. So far, my experience in dealing with several other people out-of-state is that the intent seems to be the actuality with regard to helpfulness, lack of politics and teamwork. It might turn out to be better than I had hoped!

That said, I have worked WAAAAAY too much this week, so I can't wait to escape from here this afternoon and run down to LAX to hop on a plane and visit with my sister and nephew this weekend! My nephew turns 8 next week, but he's having a birthday party on Sunday. I'm also going to a holiday party with my sister on Saturday night. I haven't been out to visit them in a while! It's supposed to be downright cold too. My sister called to warn me that the high for Sunday would be in the 20s!! I'm definitely taking the wool/fur coat and the long underwear! Not to mention, gloves, scarf and hat! It'll be nice for a change of pace. Speaking of, I need to run home at lunch and pack!

Game-wise, I borrowed Apples to Apples Jr. for the birthday party. Since it'll be 20 degrees outside, I doubt we'll be turning the kids loose outside!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

BGG Secret Santa 2007

I'm participating in BoardGameGeek's Secret Santa gift exchange this year and all I can say is "WOW!!!!!"

I received an email from my Secret Santa last week that said:
You have been very good this year and your Secret Santa has sent you a package from Thoughthammer. They don't wrap their SS gifts, so your Santa insists that you open your package when you get it and not wait until Christmas. Your Secret Santa wants you to play, play, play right away.

Your Secret Santa lives in Massachusetts.
So, when the box arrived today, imagine my absolute happy dance-i-ness when I saw that my Secret Santa did not send me ONE game, but THREE!!! How generous!! WOW!!

I received: Antike, Gang of Four AND the New Moon expansion deck for Werewolf!!

So to my Secret Santa: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I need a man with social skills

This guy with a FULL beard started communication with me on eHarmony the other day. I like my men on the clean-shaven side, but I went ahead and answered his questions and started the process because I figured I should try to be open-minded about the facial hair. Then we got to the second stage where we exchange our "Must Haves/Can't Stands".

One of his Must Haves was: "I must have a partner who mainly enjoys staying in together and having quiet evenings alone or with close friends."

I could not click "CLOSE MATCH" fast enough! Wow, that really is a sore spot for me. I don't want to be in a relationship where I feel trapped and feel like I have to spend all my time with my partner. I naturally tend to lean that way, but the fact that he's listing it as one of his Must Haves means he must really want that alone time or time with close friends. I was feeling smothered just READING that statement. Ick, ugh, and yuck! Part of it is reactionary from my marriage, but one thing I know is that I do not want a repeat of that aspect of my marriage!

That's why one of my Must Haves is: I must have a partner who loves to socialize with lots of different people.

I have a core group of friends, but I have a wide circle at the same time! I need someone that can hang with them and be at least open to spending time with them. Spending time alone is great, but I don't want to get caught in that rut of spending ALL our time together. It's not healthy. And more importantly, I don't want a life like that.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Plans for the Weekend

I did nothing productive tonight except clearing out some memory on my TiVo by catching up on Heroes! The season has improved.

I'm really feeling the urge to purge! I stopped by an open house last Sunday after church because I've been gettin' the itch to buy a house. I chatted with the owner/seller for about an hour and during the course of the hour, we talked about living a simpler life. She said she listened to a book on CD where the guy (Wayne Dyer maybe?) said that you only use about 20% of your stuff. It's true. I was already feeling the need to purge the closets and shelves, but even more so now!!

The plan is to clear out some space in my drawers and be ruthless about the game closet. Some of them have never even been opened, especially the old "American" style ones. Those are definitely going to the Goodwill so I can free up some precious shelf space! I'll probably do that while I'm waiting for the cable guy to show up. Yes, you heard correctly. By 4 PM tomorrow afternoon, I will have clear television reception! Yea! I have plans to hang out with Travis tomorrow night, though I'm not sure yet what we'll be doing.

Sunday morning is church (oh, that requires a post!) with Shane and then maybe some band practice? I need to email my bandmates to see if they're free... For a weekend that I tried NOT to plan, I haven't been very successful. At least I have all day tomorrow at home!

Other to do items I need to squeeze into this weekend:
  • Birthday gift for my nephew
  • Make Christmas list
  • Decide about Christmas cards
  • Bake cookies
  • Buy shelves for my kitchen pantry
Man, I better get to bed!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Work Update

My company was purchased by another company yesterday. They bought us and two other companies in the Southern California area. I think it will be a good change for me. The good news for me is that they want me to be in charge of the accounting for the three companies, which would be a promotion for me. The upside potential is unknown at this point. They gave me a decent raise in my salary, but it's not as much as I thought it would be, but is it ever?? Additionally, it looks like I'll probably switch out of the current bonus pool for all employees at my current company and participate in one for the management of the corporation. My new boss said the "new" bonus pool will pay me more than I'm getting now in the general bonus pool. The other perks I have are staying the same.

Making a lot of money is great, but I have a pretty rich life outside of work and I really don't want to feel like I'm sacrificing that just for more money. For me, life is about more than money. I have no problem working hard. I just don't want to be stuck at the office for 50-60 hours a week and driving all over Southern California and being so exhausted from work that I can't enjoy my real life. If it's for short bursts, fine. But if it was consistently like that, I'd have to look elsewhere. The good news is that I have been working with a woman who works for another company owned by the same corporation and she really likes the corporation and my/our boss. She also seems very together and is a great worker. I enjoyed the last couple days she was in the office. So the signs are good that I will like working for them. But since it's an unknown, I've been considering all possibilities.

The big question is what the change in my workload and responsibilities will be. That can only be really assessed over the next few months. So my plan is to see how the next 90 days go and go from there.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Changes at Work

I seldom talk about work on my blog. Mainly because it's a pretty low-stress, good place to work and I get paid well. I have worked here since 1995. It used to be privately owned until the owners decided to sell it to an investment group in 2004. The sale of the company didn't bring about any changes. However, there are some changes brewing that may bring about real change. BIG change. I don't know whether that will be good or bad for me, but all signs indicate that they will be good. I think the new owners will be a good fit for the company and I am thankful for that. I'll post more details once I find out what they are!

It's been very comforting to know that if they're bad, I can always leave and find another job. Thankfully, since I don't live paycheck-to-paycheck, I have the freedom to have options. If I had to, I could take my time finding a different job. I doubt I'd have any trouble landing a new job, but I realize that it's been a long time since I've looked for a job and the job market is tough. I know more than a few people who were out of work for over six months!! That said, I'm certainly not looking to jump ship because I genuinely like my company and my co-workers.

I should have a much better idea of what the general plan is by the end of the week. Until then...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Werewolf T-shirt

If it's not a Guitar Hero or B-52's t-shirt, I usually don't pay much attention... but how can I pass up *this* shirt? It's so darn cute and offered by Game Ink!! Pre-orders are due by 11/30!!



They offer free shipping if you order 3 or more shirts... Who's in? There's also a very cute "That's How I Roll" t-shirt and "Your Place or Mine?"

Monday, November 26, 2007

eHarmony Date #8.2

We met at the golf course to hit some balls at the driving range and on the putting green. I could get really good at golf if I put in the effort. I can definitely see why people enjoy it. We made a bet on the putting green which cost him a beer.

We went to dinner and the food was fine. At the start of dinner, I brought up a topic that had come up during our first date and really kinda stuck with me. It's too long to go into here, but I asked him more about it and the additional information he gave me didn't really help me feel any better about what he had done. He asked me out for a third date and I said that I'd think about it. After further thought last night, I think the answer is "no." So I'll be sending him an email to let him know.

Snippets of the conversation I had with him needs to be put in a completely different post called "The Top 5 Reasons You Should Be Judgmental." It certainly has been an active topic of conversation lately!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Plans

I'm up earlier than I'd like to be considering I went to bed pretty late last night. I'm going to finally go visit a nearby church that I've been meaning to go to for a year! Finding a church can be tough! Making the TIME to find a church has been tough. I really need to try to get less busy. I say that every few months and then I get busier and busier and then feel overwhelmed. I need to do a better job managing that. I will have to if some changes happen at work. More on that if it actually happens. Hopefully I'll know this week.

I also have a second date with eHarmony guy #8 today. To be honest, I am just so-so looking forward to it. I probably shouldn't have found this annoying, but I did. I'm playing games on Friday and he texts me around 5 PM to ask what I'm doing at the moment and later that night. Answer to both questions? "Playing games." Then he asks me out for a movie that night. I was like, "I can't, I'm BUSY." I guess most non-gamers might find it odd that I'd be gaming instead of going out to do "normal" stuff, but I was annoyed because I clearly said I was doing something that night. If I was free, I would've said so. I think most women know that if they wanna go out with a guy, when he asks, "What are you doing tonight?" You indicate that you're free. Not a big deal, but still kinda annoying.

I'm trying to keep an open mind though, so I'll go. But if I'm not feelin' it by the end of this date, I think I'm done.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rock Band Tryouts

It's been out for less than a week and already my eyeballs feel like they're going to fall out. We had band practice all day and even band tryouts because we had more than four people who want to be in the band. We're still testing everyone's skillz to see who's going to make the cut. Travis is trying out Monday night! Tryouts in Glendale!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Rock Band is awesome!

Everyone knows how much I love Guitar Hero, right? Well, I think I might be a Rock Band convert. And here's why...
  1. Rock Band has an awesome song list, mostly done by original artists.
  2. The drums are so much fun!! And challenging in a whole new way.
  3. The way the crowd sings along!
  4. You can make your very own customized rocker.
  5. The "photo" action shots of band members as they go on stage right before a gig!
My downstairs neighbor's mom is in town and she called me around 11:30 AM to ask me to turn down the music. It's the middle of the day! And it wasn't that loud. Next time I might not turn it down. Later they called (and I had the TV turned down) and they said, "The music's fine, but can you be careful about the foot banging..." because someone was playing the drums.

Some of the guys can be a bit energetic while playing. Man, I really need to just bite the bullet and buy a house.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am pretty much ready for dinner now. The turkey is picked up and ready to be cooked, butter is softening, cranberry dishes are made and everything is cut and ready for stuffing and squash casserole!

Now I just need to make a list of the stuff I'm thankful for. The #1 thing would have to be my friends. More than anything else, life would be meaningless without them.

Have a great day! Enjoy the time you have with your friends and family. Time is the most precious commodity we have. Use it wisely!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rock Band

My package of Rock Band from Amazon.com is "Out for Delivery"! It should be here any moment... Ah, no plans on Saturday means plenty of Rock Band! Who's with me?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cash'n Guns Live at BGG.CON

I took a video of a group of us playing Ca$h'n Gun$ Live. When I tried to upload it to YouTube, it was WAY too big. After some searching on the FAQs, I found an uploader tool they have for big, giant files. Now let's see if they work properly!!

OK, after someone who's never played C'n'G Live pointed out, what the heck is going on? Here's how you play...

You split up into gangs. The object is to get the most money. There are five rounds. The gang leader looks at the available cards and distributes them among the gang. If you get shot with a gun (not a shotgun), it takes two shots to "kill" you. A shotgun or grenade will kill you instantly. Whoever's left standing at the end of it gets a share of the loot!

These are the available "weapon" cards:
  • Bang, bang, bang - you have a single gun (your hand) and you get one shot
  • Double guns - You get to use double guns (BOTH your hands!)
  • Shotgun - Make a shotgun motion with your hands, the person you kill gets to take one step backwards and spread their arms out. Whoever they can touch gets wounded (like one shot from a gun)
These are the available "click" cards. If you have one of these, you make motions like you have a "weapon" card, but you don't actually get to shoot anyone.
  • Grenade - if you get shot, you can take one jump in any direction and spin around a la Wonder Woman and whoever you touch is killed.
  • Backstab - if you are wounded/killed, you can backstab someone with your left hand (if you can reach them)
  • Kevlar - you can ignore your first shot/wound. This doesn't protect against shotguns or grenades.
Once it's clear who everyone is shooting at, people have the option of chickening out. If you chicken out, you move out of the line of sight while the rest of it gets sorted out and you're back in for the next round. If you don't chicken out, you are killed, go to the hospital and sit out for a whole round.

So this first video is people running around getting position. The second video is the chickening out of one Mr. Rubbo and the resolution of the rest!

The Set-up


The Resolution

Monday, November 19, 2007

Signed up for cable AGAIN

Last year I had cable for about six months because they were running a special for about $40 for basic cable. Then it jumped back up to the regular price of $66 a month, so I canceled it. I just got a flyer in the mail about the cable company offering a package deal: Internet, phone service and cable for $90 plus taxes. I already spend $60 (including taxes) on my phone plus DSL, so I signed up for it. I figure it'll be nice to have Food Network again and be able to watch Heroes without the extreme fuzzies. Plus, if I stay home to watch TV, I could easily save the extra $40 a month it'll cost me. I just hope I can make sure my TiVo is all in line and ready to go.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Home from BGG.CON 2007

I just got home from BGG.CON 2007. I will have to go back and clean up previous blog posts sent from my phone (it doesn't like apostrophes for some reason), but the short of it is that we had a pretty fun time! I will also have to blog in more detail about events at the con.

It's late though and I really need some sleep. Zzzzzzz...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

BGG.CON Day 2

I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday. The con is so much fun. We rocked the puzzle hunt! We came in 6th but that was pretty good considering a few teams are practically professionals! We placed ahead of one of them. More imprtantly, we came in ahead of Erin and her team.

I ended up staying awake til 8 AM. I was pretty tired. Tonight is the game show and I am looking forward to it. I am actually helping not participating. :-)

We just had Baby Back Shak today. I have pictures and they will be posted when I get home.


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Friday, November 16, 2007

BGG.CON

We barely made our flight yesterday morning. I had to RUN from security to make it on time. Once we got here, we ate some fried chicken at Babes Chicken Dinner House. The fried chicken was pretty good, but no Mrs. Whites!!

We got here and helped setup the library and then headed out to Thee Forks for dinner. It was awesome. I will give more detail when I get home and I am not posting from my Treo!

I already played Agricola once today! I was interviewed by StarTelegram.com today! The videographer said it would be posted Friday afternoon. I will have to check for it tomorrow.

More to post later! Tomorrow is the puzzle hunt. Oh and the Mavs KILLED the Spurs!


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

BGG.CON

We barely made our flight yesterday morning. I had to RUN from security to make it on time. Once we got here, we ate some fried chicken at Babes Chicken Dinner House. The fried chicken was pretty good, but no Mrs. Whites!!

We got here and helped setup the library and then headed out to Thee Forks for dinner. It was awesome. I will give more detail when I get home and I am not posting from my Treo!

I already played Agricola once today! I was interviewed by StarTelegram.com today! The videographer said it would be posted Friday afternoon. I will have to check for it tomorrow.

More to post later! Tomorrow is the puzzle hunt. Oh and the Mavs KILLED the Spurs!


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Weekend so far

I was at So Cal Games Day all day today & managed to play Agricola two times!! We played the easy version with only the E cards and it was awesome. It must've been for me to be willing to play a second game with FIVE players. Our five player game took about 3:15 to play. The rules added another 20-30 minutes. The replayability is so awesome. We could play that game for the rest of our lives & never play the same game twice!

I also played Cuba and Ubongo Extrem. Those were OK, but not the best, especially compared to Agricola. The running joke was Dave walking by asking, "Are you *still* playing that?"

Tomorrow, I'm planning on going to church, Din Tai Fung & then MORE gaming!! And more Agricola!! I'm totally looking forward to it!

Oh and one more date tomorrow nigt. The third of the week.


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Pretty much packed

I am pretty much packed (less toiletries) and am getting ready to head out. Something funny happened yesterday... I got a text message from eHarmony #8 and turns out we're on the same flight this morning. He's transferring in Dallas to go to Ft. Lauderdale for a guys weekend. How crazy is that? I told him to quit stalking me already!! So, we'll see how seeing him after two hours of sleep goes.

We got to bed SUPER-late last night, partially due to another "quick" game of Agricola that was started around 10:30 PM. On a gaming note, we used the E & I decks and what else? It was awesome... That game just keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to play it every day!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Leaving for BGG.CON tomorrow!

Wow, today has just FLOWN by! I've been trying to get everything done, but didn't succeed. At least the stuff that got left is stuff that's OK to wait until my return on Monday.

And, for the record, Agricola is like gamer gold. I've received more than a few requests from my long distance gamer friends for me to teach them how to play Agricola. And I will be happy to. I feel like I'll be able to recite it in my sleep by the end of the weekend!

My Coolio BGG.CON schedule thus far...
Wednesday: Going for a fancy steak dinner, then setting up
Thursday: Gaming and going to the Spurs vs. Mavericks game
Friday: Puzzle hunt with my hand-picked, totally awesome, smarty-pants team!, Transamerica tournament
Saturday: Game show and more gaming!
Sunday: Gaming plus going to the Redskins vs. Cowboys game

It's going to be a packed weekend. I want to play Agricola once a day if possible while there, eat lots of BBQ and play lotsa Time's Up and Werewolf! OOOOoooo... Ultimate Werewolf!!!

Oh, I feel sorry for everyone NOT going. It's going to be a blast!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hypothetical Situation

It's often interesting, but almost pointless to talk about hypothetical situations. I say it's pointless because so many times, people say they'd handle a situation a certain way, but then don't actually follow through. How many people think or say they wouldn't put up with a cheating spouse and yet don't dump them when it actually happens? Probably more than you'd think.

During all three dates I had this past week, the topic of cheating on a spouse came up in one fashion or another. A couple were stories about friends and how things were handled and one was a hypothetical situation.

The question was, "If you found out one of your friends was dating a married man, would that affect your friendship?" To me, the answer to that is a slam dunk. It absolutely would affect how I thought of that friend and if it was clear to me that it was going to continue, I certainly would not make an effort to keep up a friendship with that person. Someone who would knowingly contribute to the downfall of another person's marriage is not a friend I want to have around. I know there are always circumstances, but in the basic sense of that hypothetical situation, that was my answer.

Then came the "What if"s... And then more what-ifs, which I totally understand on a certain conversational level. But then on another, why so many questions about that particular topic? I'll have to ask him the next time I see him.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Busy Sunday

I got up on time, made it to church, got to dumplings and played Agricola AGAIN!!! I officially am smitten with that game. I then had a date with eHarmony #9 and it was good. He already asked about a second date and I think going will be a good idea. I worry though that he has too much morally gray area for me. I am not completely black and white, but I definitely have fewer shades of gray when it comes to right and wrong than a lot of people. After dinner we started talking about all types of hypothetical situations and he seems to have lots of wiggle room. But it's late and that will have to wait for another evening.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weekend so far

I was at So Cal Games Day all day today & managed to play Agricola two times!! We played the easy version with only the E cards and it was awesome. It must've been for me to be willing to play a second game with FIVE players. Our five player game took about 3:15 to play. The rules added another 20-30 minutes. The replay-ability is so awesome. We could play that game for the rest of our lives & never play the same game twice!

I also played Cuba and Ubongo Extrem. Those were OK, but not the best, especially compared to Agricola. The running joke was Dave walking by asking, "Are you *still* playing that?"

Tomorrow, I'm planning on going to church, Din Tai Fung & then MORE gaming!! And more Agricola!! I'm totally looking forward to it!

Oh and one more date tomorrow night. The third of the week.

Friday, November 09, 2007

eHarmony Date #8

I went out last night with eHarmony date #8. It's hard to believe that he's only the eighth guy I've dated from that site. It seems like there have been more. Maybe I haven't cataloged them properly!

We met for sushi and he looked basically like his picture. He was late due to ungodly traffic last night (it took me 30 minutes to get to Encino!), but he called to let me know beforehand that he was stuck and I had a book with me, so I didn't mind.

Basics: He seems pretty nice and we never ran out of stuff to talk about. He's from New Jersey originally so he is on the sarcastic side, which he had warned me about beforehand. I had a really good time and I think one of the highlights of the evening was our Yankees discussion.

Somehow we got on the topic of baseball and he mentioned that he's a big Yankees fan. I scrunched up my nose and said, "Ew, I hate the Yankees!" He was like, "WHAT?! Maybe we should end this date right now! Do you follow baseball?" I said, "No I don't, but I follow it enough to know that I hate the Yankees!"

I hated to break the news to him, but I said, "Dude, EVERYONE except Yankees fans hates the Yankees!" He tried to deny it, but I said, "Really? How much money ya got?" He decided we'd do a token bet and we each put up a dollar. The bet was that we'd ask 10 people and give them the option of (a) love 'em, (b) hate 'em, or (c) don't care.

Results? 40% of people polled hate the Yankees! He wanted to find SOMEONE, ANY-one who liked the Yankees so we polled a few more people passing by our table about it and finally found one who did say that the Yankees are in his top 10 favorite baseball teams. So, I revised my statement to: "80% of people polled who had an opinion, HATE the Yankees!" And I put his dollar in my purse.

He asked me out for our second date before we even left the restaurant. He's into golf and I told him I like the driving range, so we're going to do that. He said that he'd call me sometime after Thanksgiving to set-up plans for the weekend and I strongly suggested that he not wait that long because the weekends get booked up quickly! He took the advice and emailed me today to set-up the date. So, we'll try one more and see if there's a spark. I wouldn't have said "yes" to a second date if I thought there was no hope for a spark, so the next date will be the tell-tale one.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Freezepop Concert

The Freezepop concert last night was pretty good. Much better than I was expecting, but not as good as Chris thought they'd be. He said the sound was messed up. But according to Liz Enthusiasm, she said that this was the best LA show they've had because the sound has been F-ed up at other shows.

The surprise highlight of the show was Ming & Ping! The music was interesting and good. I kept LAUGHING though because there was a guy dancer on stage with him who was dressed up in an organ grinder monkey outfit!! It was pretty funny!

OH! I almost forgot... I was talking with the Duke after the show and he said that they have a song on this new game that just got released for the iPod called Phase. So, all you iPod users, check it out!! It's supposed to be like Frequency or Amplitude, but not quite as difficult!

After the show, the band was downstairs signing CDs, so I had them sign the newest one that has "Less Talk More Rokk" on it! Here are some pictures! I love the Duke's shirt!!

Liz Enthusiasm and me

Me and the other Sean Drinkwater

Me and the Duke

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Christmas Shopping

It's now November. Usually by now I've purchased at least a few Christmas gifts. I hadn't made any progress, but last weekend I bought my first official Christmas gift! I need to start making progress, like now!!

Here's a not-so-shocking confession: I have too much stuff. I have too many cookbooks, too many books, too much clothes/shoes, and in general just too much stuff. I need to spend some time purging it bit by bit.

Therefore, anyone who is interested in doing the "no-buy" agreement for Christmas, please let me know! I'm perfectly happy to have our gifts to each other be to spend time together, which is much more valuable to me than anything material.

That being said, I'm going to start making my Christmas list and budget today. Which means, I will start buying stuff soon. This is a friendly reminder to those of us out there with Amazon wish lists, please take a few (or several) minutes and update them!! Delete items you've received (maybe for your birthday in June!) and add other things that have popped up on your radar since then. Even more importantly, please double check the priority of the gifts. Is the thing you added to your list five years ago STILL the "highest" priority? Take the time and review it!

Who's on the list? How much to budget? I have lots of friends and clearly, I can't go around spending $50 on each of them, as much as I'd love to! I have to pare down the list. Most likely, besides my family and a couple co-workers, I'm only buying gifts for friends I see on a very regular basis... And then pick a reasonable amount for each of them. I hate picking an "amount" because I love finding the perfect gift and thinking "THAT'S the gift for ________!" Sometimes it might be $10 or $30.

What are you planning on doing for gifts this year? How much do you plan on spending?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vacation Time

I was working on updating and reconciling the vacation time for all the employees at work and reviewed my own account.

I have been on vacation for 33 days this year (so far!), with another 3 days scheduled off for BGG.CON. Plus, I'll get another week off between Christmas and New Year's because my company is shut down. We have the option of using vacation time to cover two of those days, but I probably won't. I have been off of work for almost two months this year and that's not including holidays.

WOW! And of those days, 20 were paid, so that means, by the end of the year, I'll have 18 days off without pay. I didn't realize it was so high. That's almost a month's worth! I knew I had taken a lot of days off, but putting a number on it like that was shocking!

The breakdown: I earn 10 hours a month of vacation (three weeks a year) and I started the year with about 9 days of vacation. So, I still actually have a day or two on the books. But I think I better save them up because I'm already starting to plan the trips I want to take next year!! I might have to consider taking less vacation time though... or not. Life is for living, right?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Domestic Gaming Goodness

I spent most of this evening doing six loads of laundry, catching up on my overflowing TiVo and discussing Thanksgiving with Chris. Meanwhile, he cut and started sleeving Agricola. The reason? So we can play it this Saturday at So-Cal Games Day! There are 360 cards and we finished about half of them. He did most of the work, but I helped by cutting a chunk of them at the end. He took home the rest to finish them up by Saturday. It's taking a TON of time!! I'm going to be very picky about who I let play my game. Even better, Chris and I have an Agricola wager. We'll have to wait til the end of the day Saturday to see who wins!

Also, my original plan for Wednesday night was to go to the Guitar Hero Bar, but once I was told Freezepop ("Less Talk, More Rokk" anybody??) is playing Wednesday night at the Key Club, I rescheduled and made plans for that instead! I wonder if they'll be any good in person! We'll find out!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Weekend Recap

Friday started out with a Guitar Hero par-tay that rocked all night. Saturday brought us yummy carnitas tacos and lots of fun conversations. I also went to Best Buy to return the extra copy of Guitar Hero III that I had pre-ordered. It didn't show up until October 31st!!! It should've been here Monday, but UPS sucks.

I went to see Before the Devil Knows You're Dead with some friends last night at the Encino Town Center. OMG, there were so many OLD people at that theater! It was weird! The movie itself was pretty good. Slow paced, but intense. And, Marisa Tomei is smokin' hot. Geez. How old is she? (IMDB says she's almost 43!! WOW!) She has the body of a 20-something year old!

Then we went to the Maui Sugar Mill Shack and again, it was filled with old people! There was a decent band playing though so we had fun watching them. Then we stayed up way too late talking. I don't think I got to bed before 5 AM all weekend long!

Today was filled with shopping with Nikki. I got a SUPER cute dress from Banana Republic for about $15. It's awesome. I can't wait to wear it! I also got a bunch of other stuff. It's really been a while since I've gone clothes shopping. I need to do that more often. But before I do that, I need to clear out some space in my closet. I have perfectly good clothes that I just never wear. I need to just purge all that stuff.

I didn't get some stuff done (like LAUNDRY) that was on the original plan, but I will do that tomorrow night. I also need to sleeve Agricola with the English translations of all the cards. That should pretty much take up all of Monday evening. For a pretty busy weekend, it was actually relaxing and fun.

Coming up this week: laundry, hiking, GH bar, and two dates! One with an eHarmony guy and the other with #5.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Guitar Hero Achievements

I had a Guitar Hero party last night and we rocked the house!! Til 4:30 AM! My downstairs neighbor loooooves me! I did warn him though. What else can I do? I did also turn it down after midnight.

Luckily, Pearl had never played so she watched all the tutorials for me, scoring one of the achievements. We scored some of the others too like the 500 note streak! I'll post a link to my progress later.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Guitar Hero III: Online!

On Wednesday, I decided to try playing Guitar Hero III online. Since I was playing online, I hooked up the headset to my guitar. I played a quick match, but I couldn't hear anything through the headset and since I've never played any console video game online, I wasn't sure if it was even working or I had it hooked up correctly. So, after I beat the first person (on hard, I should've gone to expert), I created a match and hosted it. When it got to song selection, I was talking to Chris and we decided I should try "Evenflow" since we haven't unlocked that one yet and thus, haven't had a chance to play it.

I played that on expert and I ended up losing by about 7K points, which isn't much. So I say to Chris, "Hey, not too bad considering I've never played it before." All of a sudden, in my earpiece I hear, "You've never played that song before?" The other guy could hear me talking the whole time!! It was pretty funny!

I also played a couple matches on Thursday and got friended by a couple guys. Soon I'll have a whole Guitar Hero gang online! The online play is so cool. I love it because it gives me the chance to play against people that can beat me by double my score, which is a great challenge. I love it!! I seriously could hang out in my apartment for the next month straight busy with all the Guitar Hero, reading, cooking, TV, movies and oh yeah, board games.

I was joking with Chris the other night and told him, "Any hope I had of finding a boyfriend who doesn't already live in my apartment has just flown out the window!" because the online play is that cool!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Evan's Homemade Costume 2007

I am sure all of you remember Evan's costume from last Halloween... how could you not? It was an awesome homemade Lego-Man!!

Whenever I have kids, I want to make homemade costumes for them. I think that would be so much fun! And way better than some canned costume from Target!! I know I'll never be as handy as my sister is, but you have to admire the handiwork!!

As you know, I am a big fan of food (hence all the photos of what I've eaten or cooked!), but really it's a family thing. We all love food! Including my 7 year old nephew who apparently has watched one episode too many of Rachel Ray's show and goes around asking if we're going to use EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil for those non-foodie types out there). He's not your "normal" 7 year old in some respects. So, they started doing research on what food costume ideas they could use for Halloween and narrowed it down to a California roll or the winning costume...

I present to you, my nephew Evan, the Lipton tea bag. Yes, you read correctly...



Oh, isn't that adorable!?!

NaBloPoMo 2007

I tried this last year and it didn't work so well, but that isn't stopping me from trying it again this year! It should be easier now that I have web access on my cell phone! That way, when I'm out of town for BGG.CON, I can still post!

The way I see it, between my new Xbox, a new GH, Rock Band coming out later this month, dating, cooking, and catching up on posting about Essen/Europe, I should have PLENTY to write about. Now let's just see if I can be remotely disciplined about it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I have a new baby!

It's white, weighs a few pounds and hopefully will bring me hours of joy! Not that kind of baby!

It's my new Xbox 360! I also signed up for Xbox Live and my gamertag is CraftyBeans, so hit me up if you use the 360 and play online.

So far the only games I have are Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (of course!!), Halo 3, Gears of War and some Marvel Alliance combo game that came with it.

I went back and forth about getting one for a couple weeks. The ability to play GH online was a little too great. Also, Lincoln mentioned some issues they were having, so I made sure I got one made after August 28th.

Another draw was that Ted told me my Xbox can blog for itself! So, I signed up for that and put a link on my page. Enjoy! You can see what I've been up to! I think it'll become more active tomorrow.

As Ted told me in Essen, "Money's only temporary!" How right he is! Especially with a 360 in the house!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, for the Love of Bacon!!

I've posted this a couple times and the video keeps getting yanked from Youtube. If you love bacon like I do, do yourself a favor and google: Jim Gaffigan bacon and watch his comedy bit on bacon. It's about three minutes and HI-larious!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Look what I have!

This is me at 1 AM when I got home from Best Buy with my new toy! I've been toying with and resisting the urge to buy a 360 lately. It's been a daily struggle! Today alone I've changed my mind about four times!!

I picked out my favorite GH shirt and headed down to the store! Luckily I got there just in time!

Me and GH3!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Essen 2007 - Thursday

Somehow I managed to take an expired ATM card with me on vacation, so I had to get money from Ron all throughout France and Belgium. We kept doing the Avenue Q "Bad Idea Bear" voice, "We should get more mo-ney!" everyday. It's amazing how fast you can burn through cash in Paris. Hardly anywhere takes credit cards in Europe, so it's pretty much cash-and-carry.

Why do I mention this? Because Thursday morning was spent trying to find a bank to give me an advance on my Visa. While I did this, Ron met up with a friend of ours who had obtained a couple of exhibitors' passes for us. So, we didn't have to buy tickets and the exhibitor passes give the holders free subway and bus usage during the time of the show! That saved us a bundle of money, which of course, was just spent on games!

There is only one bank in Essen that can do cash advances on a Visa card. It is the Reise Bank at the main station in Essen. It's upstairs right next to the Burger King. Burger King has a new product in Germany... a Whopper topped with jalopenos and onions and apparently, it's very "angry"! I had to take a picture!

Angry Whopper

I took out 600 Euros and then headed back to the Messe to continue the buying spree!

I went in and watched a group play In the Year of the Dragon, a new Alea game. Then I wandered about, picking up the new Settlers scenario from Kosmos and other tidbits.

We ran into Eric who was sent to Essen by Doug Garrett and I think the shirt speaks for itself!

Eric

We walked around, browsing booths, stopped by to say "hi" to Ted and Jeremiah. Ted was there selling his Age of Steam maps, his brand new Ultimate Werewolf (I *had* to buy a copy of this!) and his CCG Start Player. Here's the guys, hanging at the booth!

Ted and Jeremiah at the Bezier Games booth

We then stopped by the Bambus Spiele booth and played Down Under. Gunter Cornett, the designer, taught us how to play. Unfortunately for Dale, he had only preliminary copies. It is currently in production.

Me, Gunter Cornett, Ron and Dale

We went by the Ystari booth to check out the Caylus in 3D that we had heard about. It was SUPER cute!!

The whole game board

Close-up of the castle

Close-up of Buildings

We stopped by another game booth that had Liebe & Intrige, a game with a very cute theme (you're trying to marry off your three Victorian daughters!), but just a so-so game. We had more fun hamming it up than with the actual gameplay. I liked it, but not enough to shell out the cash for it.

We ran into Scott & Nataline and I played a quick game of Carcassonne with Scott. Before we started, he asked, "So just how many hours have you spent playing Guitar Hero?" I replied, "A LOT!"

We walked around more and then soon joined a big group to go eat Egyptian food for dinner. I had never had it before and it was pretty tasty. It's pretty typical food from that region of the world: grilled marinated meats, rice, veggies. The food was pretty good, but the service was not so friendly.

I should preface the next paragraph with the following information: The conversion rate while we were in Europe was about $1.42=1 Euro AND you don't "tip" in Europe. It's included in the price of the meal. So the higher the bill, the more the server will make automatically, whether they're fabulous or terrible. OK, with that in mind...

One thing that was SO annoying in Europe was that it's almost impossible to get a free glass of water in a restaurant. They will almost NEVER bring you tap water to drink, even if you specify that's what you want. At this restaurant, I did manage to squeeze one glass of water out of our server, but when I asked for a refill, they brought me a bottle of water that costs 2.50 Euros (about $3.50 for a small bottle) and when I asked again for tap water, they pretended like they couldn't speak English and didn't understand me. Soda is about 3 Euros and it's non-refillable. Beer at the hotel was about 1.75 Euros! I ended up drinking a lot of beer while we were in Europe because it was cheaper than drinking water or soda! I suppose that's enough of a rant about that!

Our Egyptian Dinner Group

The Appetizer Plate

Mixed plate with sausage, shrimp, chicken and lamb

After dinner, we headed back over to the Savoy for some gaming! Ron and I played Giganten der Luft with Brian and Jim. Ron liked it better than I did. It's okay, but I think for a dice-rolling, upgrading-to-more-better-dice game of the sort, I'd rather play To Court the King.

By this time, it was getting late, so we booked out of there and luckily caught the very last subway to get home! When we got back to the hotel, we were tired, so we just went to bed. At least I don't remember staying up to play anything.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pre-Essen 2007

Essen is a gamer's mecca! When I got more into gaming, I thought, "That is where I need to go!" It helps too that I love traveling and immediately decided that I could extend the trip to more than just those four days. I mean, really! Who wants to take a 12 hour plane ride just to turn around 4 days later and come home? Not me! So I found a traveling partner (Ron, at the moment, my favorite person to travel with!) and we narrowed our trip down to France or Italy and then decided on Paris, France.

Tuesday
We met up with Ward in Amsterdam on Monday and traveled with him on Tuesday to Essen. Once we got him settled in, we ran into Dale & Brian and hung out and went out to the Curryhaus and had sausages with this like curried ketchup sauce on them. It wasn't as gross as it sounds and even better, it was CHEAP! I can't remember what we did after that, I think just hung out and played a game probably!

Wednesday
We had to do laundry when got up and ended up (due to having trouble finding the hotel) being late to the Agricola demo that we had signed up for. By the time we got there, they had already started. But luckily Curt & Anne were there playing, so we got to catch up with them! Then I think we ran into Dale, Greg & Ward. Plus, this started the game buying spree! I bought a copy of Agricola and the Fan Bohnanza which has different artwork for each card. I had all of them autographed by Uwe Rosenberg, the designer of the games.

Curt and Anne playing Agricola

We then walked around and I bought more games (mainly the ones I was worried would sell out) and we went back to our hotel to drop them off. Meanwhile, it started raining! When we got everything up to the room, we headed down to the bar of the restaurant because we had seen some people with games on the table and thought we could maybe meet some people to play a game with. So we headed down and stopped at the first table. They were playing a game I'd never seen before and with good reason! We discovered after sitting there a little bit that these guys were pitching their prototypes to Kosmos! It was interesting to hear the comments from the Kosmos guy. We talked to the designer guys and found out that they were from Italy and work together. They were: Leo Colovini, Carlo A. Rossi, Alfredo Berni, Dario de Toffoli and Alessandro Zucchini (AKA: Alex). I never really spoke to Leo or Dario, but we did end up hanging out with Alfredo, Carlo and Alex a few times.

Here are a few pics of the Italian guys:

Carlo in black & Alex in white

Me and Alfredo

Ron, Alfredo and Leo

Later in the evening, we met up with Ted, Patrick and Jeremiah to play Jamaica with people who helped make the game - Laurent and Malcolm. We were later joined by Sebastien Pauchon, designer of Yspahan and Jamaica. We had fun and I got a chance to chat with Sebastien and tell him how much I love Yspahan!!

Sebastien with Jamaica box

Malcolm and Laurent

Meanwhile Dale & Brian showed up and I played Jamaica with them while Ron moved over to play Parys, a prototype of the new Ystari game coming out. He liked it quite a bit. I never did get a chance to play it.

Then the Italian guys showed up and we decided to bust out my new copy of Master of Rules and try that out. It's pretty good!

Carlo, Ron, Tim and Alfredo

BTW - Tim is from Edmonton and was on his honeymoon and happened to notice that Essen was happening. He was super nice. His wife Jocelyn was too!

Alfredo and me being goofy

Wow! I am realizing that ALL this happened BEFORE the show even started!! Yikes. This is going to have to be broken up. So there you go. The pre-Essen breakdown!

Lots of stuff to do tonight

Yesterday, I made a coffee date for tonight with a guy I met online. Other than that, I have a TON of stuff to do tonight. My apartment is loaded with games and I am terribly behind on blogging about the trip. I'm so tempted to get a laptop sometimes. Is there a way to rent them? That would've been great to have one with me. I could've written about stuff while on the train and then just posted it later when I got to an internet cafe.

I arrived home on Sunday with almost nothing to do for the next week and now I have five straight days of gaming lined up! It seems that having games from Essen can make me a very popular girl! :-)

I started writing up some posts about my trip and I think what's going to happen is that they are going to be posted out of order. I'm starting with Essen since that's freshest in my mind. But it's somewhat slow going because work is really busy right now. I'm hoping to get something posted tonight in between cleaning and laundry. And I really want to post pictures with the posts. I haven't even looked through all 627 pictures yet! I'm getting on it though. I have to, because Wednesday starts the game fest that is my life.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Safely back home

I made it back home last night, went straightaway to get some yummy carnitas tacos at Las Fuentes. Ron and I had to get back to my apartment to sort out our bags because we had clothes stuffed all over the place. I downloaded my 627 pictures I took while on vacation too, but it will just take me some time to sort them out and recap our adventures.

Overall, we had a great time and it feels like I was gone for months, not just two weeks! Luckily, I hit the "I'm ready to go home now" on Saturday, the day before we did come home!

I'm back at work, sorting through my hundreds of email and trying to make sure nothing went horribly wrong while I was gone. I'll try to post this week about our trip!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Partying like Rock Stars

While we were in Paris we did all the cultural stuff - you know, nice dinners and checking out the museums and churches...

Since we've been in Belgium, we've been partying like rock stars. My friend Reinhold hasn't changed a bit! He's full of fire and imagination. An artist that can't be bottled up. And as Ron says, "He'd lose his head if it wasn't attached!"

So far we're having a blast! We drank (plus some) last night and I drank, um, a little too much!! I won't let that happen tonight! Tomorrow should be pretty mellow as I'm sure we'll be recovering from our evening. Might get some home cookin' though from Reinhold's mom!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And still MORE Paris photos

Here are even more photos from Paris...

We're heading off to Belgium tomorrow and I'm not sure we'll be online much after today.

Enjoy the photos! These are like raw data. I will clean them up when I get home.

A bientot!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More photos from Paris

Here's what happens when you go to lots of museums... you get lots of photos!

Enjoy!!

(I'm tired & not really feeling like wrestling with a French keyboard at the moment!)

But I will add that I DO NOT get modern art. I just don't.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bonjour from Paris

Bonjour! Wow, today has been a long day! We left Los Angeles around noon on Saturday and had a layover at JFK. While we were there, we stopped by the Palm store to see if they could help us format my SD card. While the guy was finishing up, they made a final boarding call for our flight to Paris and we RAN to make it on time!! Whew!

We're doing okay jetlag-wise because we decided to stay awake during the LA-NYC flight and sleep during the NYC-Paris flight which worked out beautifully! We arrived here at 11 AM, rested and ready to go!

We first went to our B&B to meet our host. She's actually in the country this weekend, so her 20 year old son was here to greet us. We dropped off our stuff, then headed for a bakery recommended in Ron's tour book.

I was hoping to write more but can't right now. How about some pictures?

Here ya go!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Funny post

I read some personal finance blogs and saw this post this morning called "Treating Marriage as a Business Relationship." It's hilarious!! Craigslist... what did we do without you?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

This is what one bag looks like

I pretty much got packed tonight! And amazingly, all my stuff fit in the bag with room to spare!!! SHOCK! I only need to pack up minor toiletries that I'll be using over the next day or so, but that's last minute stuff.

The actual method I used to pack was the "bundling" method as described on OneBag.com. In fact, if you scroll down to the outlined blue-ish box, there's actually a link to an awesome diagram that shows you exactly how to do it. It works like a charm!!!

Here's what the bag looks like when it's unzipped...



And when it's all zipped up:



The bag is also a back pack, so I'm going to look like I'm traveling Amazing Race style! I'm going to be wearing jeans, shirt, hoodie and my black shoes. I'm strapping my warm coat on the outside of my bag, but worst case scenario, I can put it on.

Other than what I'm wearing, I packed:
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • Jean skirt (this is what the tights are for!)
  • Shirts: 2 long-sleeve, 1 medium sleeve, 1 BGG t-shirt (I'm a geek I know!), 1 dressier shirt for lunch, 1 sleeveless. Total: 6 shirts
  • 3 pairs of panties
  • 2 bras
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of tights
  • PJs
  • Long johns
  • Scarf
  • Cap
  • Gloves
  • Toiletries
  • Paperwork (Hotel, train, airline confirmations... Essen preview)
  • 2 books - Lonesome Dove and Talk Nerdy to Me (c'mon... I had to buy it with that title!)
  • Chargers - camera and phone
  • Earphones
In the Trader Joe's bag, I'm lugging the Mexican wrestling masks and my purse. So, it looks like I may be pretty much set! Now I can go see Avenue Q tomorrow night without worrying about my packing!

Europe Trip Itinerary

We finally have nailed down some critical elements of our trip, like let's say, hmmm... where we're going to sleep while in Paris! Unfortunately, the couch surfing didn't pan out as I had hoped, but we found a very reasonable B&B through Good Morning Paris. We are staying with Marie-Christine, her daughter and doggie in her apartment in the Latin Quarter! The room looks cozy, we'll be sharing a double bed while we're there. She'll prepare a traditional French breakfast for us everyday and it will cost about 74 Euros a night, which is very reasonable. We're not too far from the metro, so I think we're in a good location! We'll see if that's accurate when we get there.

So far, our schedule is looking somewhat like this:
  • Sunday: Arriving, stopping by Marie-Christine's to drop off stuff, maybe going to Versailles?
  • Monday - Tuesday: Traditional sightseeing, hitting major stuff like Eiffel Tower, L'Arc de Triomphe, the Seine, cafes, museums...
  • Wednesday: Reservations for the fixed price lunch at Taillevent, recommended by a friend and this place has its own entry in "1,000 Places to See Before You Die." Unfortunately, just this year, they were downgraded from 3 stars on the Michelin guide to 2 stars, but I bet it's still fabulous. We'll also do more sightseeing and probably a walking tour of the center of Paris.
  • Thursday: I'm taking a three hour cooking class at Olivier Berte's school at 10:30 AM. We're preparing a starter, main course and dessert and then we get to eat it with wine. I've never been to a cooking class before, so I thought this would be a good one to try. Probably hit up a lot of museums too. We're buying a museum pass, so we'll be able to get into all of them!
  • Friday: Last minute sightseeing and then catching a train to Belgium!
We'll be in Belgium from Friday night through maybe Tuesday morning(?) and the only real "plans" we have are going to a psytrance party on Saturday night and then going to Amsterdam on Monday to meet up with some other gamers that will be in town.

And then by Tuesday, we'll be somewhere in Germany and by Wednesday, in Essen! We're scheduled to attend an English demo of Agricola at 2 PM on Wednesday before the fair actually opens. Meeting James at noon on Thursday at the fair and already planning to eat LOTS of meat with my favorite doctor and the Warfrog guys when I get there! I can't wait! I am really starting to get excited about the trip now!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Guitar Hero 3 Song List Released

Oh yeah... the song list for Guitar Hero III has been released!! OK, I was hopeful about GH80s, but that one really wasn't good. The song selection sucked. This one? This one is gonna ROCK!! Notice too that many of these songs are BY the artists, not "as made famous by"... so a lot more original songs instead of covers! Woo-hoo!

·
Same Old Song and Dance (by Aerosmith)
· Helicopter (by Bloc Party)
· Stricken (by Disturbed)
· Monsters (by Matchbook Romance)
· Before I Forget (by Slipknot)
· Kool Thing (by Sonic Youth)
· When You Were Young (by The Killers)
· Devil Went Down to Georgia (as made famous by Charlie Daniels Band)
· Sunshine of Your Love (as made famous by Cream)
· Holiday in Cambodia (as made famous by Dead Kennedys)
· Cliffs of Dover (as made famous by Eric Johnson)
· Hit Me with Your Best Shot (as made famous by Pat Benetar)
· Black Magic Woman (as made famous by Santana)
· Story of My Life (as made famous by Social Distortion)
· Pride and Joy (as made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughn)
· The Seeker (as made famous by The Who)
· Black Sunshine (as made famous by White Zombie)

In addition to the newly announced tracks, previously announced songs in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock include:

· Miss Murder (by AFI)
· Minus Celsius (by Backyard Babies)
· Sabotage (by Beastie Boys)
· Hier Kommt Alex (by Die Toten Hosen)
· Through Fire and Flames (by Dragonforce)
· In the Belly of a Shark (by Gallows)
· Welcome to The Jungle (by Guns N' Roses)
· Avalancha (by Heroes Del Silencio)
· Take This Life (by In Flames)
· Number of the Beast (by Iron Maiden)
· Ruby (by Kaiser Chiefs)
· Closer (by Lacuna Coil)
· Cult of Personality (by Living Colour)
· One (by Metallica)
· Knights of Cydonia (by Muse)
· Mauvais Garcon (by NAAST)
· Even Flow (by Pearl Jam)
· Lay Down (by Priestess)
· Bulls on Parade (by Rage Against the Machine)
· 3's and 7's (by Queens of the Stone Age)
· Suck My Kiss (by Red Hot Chili Peppers)
· Generation Rock (by Revolverheld)
· Raining Blood (by Slayer)
· Cherub Rock (by Smashing Pumpkins)
· Radio Song (by Superbus)
· The Metal (by Tenacious D)
· I'm in the Band (by The Hellacopters)
· Anarchy in the U.K. (by The Sex Pistols)
· Reptillia (by The Strokes)
· Paint It Black (by The Rolling Stones)
· My Name is Jonas (by Weezer)
· Slash's Original Boss Battle Recording
· Tom Morello's Original Boss Battle Recording
· School's Out (as made famous by Alice Cooper)
· Paranoid (as made famous by Black Sabbath)
· Cities on Flame (as made famous by Blue Oyster Cult)
· Slow Ride (as made famous by Foghat)
· Barracuda (as made famous by Heart)
· Rock and Roll All Nite (as made famous by Kiss)
· Mississippi Queen (as made famous by Mountain)
· Rock You Like a Hurricane (as made famous by Scorpions)
· La Grange (as made famous by ZZ Top)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One Bag to Europe: Can it be done?

Ron recommended when we made our reservations to go to Europe that we follow the advice on OneBag.com and take one carry-on bag for our two week vacation. One. As in single. And not a big bag, but a CARRY-ON bag! I was like, "You're crazy!!" But then I've traveled more than ever this year and have been able to streamline the packing a bit. Every time I take a trip, I take less stuff. In fact, I counted, I've taken eight plane trips this year, with three more planned by the end of the year.

But two weeks? And one bag? Can it be done?

We ordered the bag recommended on the website. It's called a Voyageur and they should be arriving today or tomorrow. Here's a pic of it from the OneBag website.



Doesn't look too big does it? I've started making a list of what I'm taking. And then I'll probably need to cut it. Those Mexican wrestling masks for Reinhold are going to take up a lot of room. I'll probably need to carry them separately.

Speaking of, Reinhold also asked me for oldskool pin-up girl stickers... does anyone know where to find those? I tried Aahs, to no avail. Oh wait, I need to call Hot Topic too. I don't have time to order online unfortunately.

Oh, and for all you gamers out there wondering how I'm going to bring all those games back, I think I'm going one of two different routes... either getting a box or suitcase there and bring it back with me, or shipping it back. Depends on what I pick up while I'm there.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Dating update

Well, I saw my mystery man and we had our dates and things went really well, but there was a spark missing... so we're just going to be friends. It totally sucks because I really like him and am attracted to him and was really hoping that there would be something more. I guess things could develop, but that has never happened for me, so I'm not sure if my brain (or heart) works that way. I halfway wonder if the spark was missing because we were both just nervous, but who knows. I'll see him again soon and if we were wrong, I'm sure we'd both be willing to admit that! But for now... just friends.

As for #5, he called on Wednesday to say "hi" and catch up, but no plans to see each other before I leave on Saturday.

I'm still technically on eHarmony, but I had turned my matches off. I think I'll turn them back on and see what happens. Or maybe I should just turn it off until January. I'm paid up til 10/12, so I might as well turn them on for now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Couch Surfer #2 Update

Sebastian, my couch surfer #2, arrived last Friday night, just after midnight. I was out dancing at Clockwork Orange and he called and then texted me to let me know that he would meet me at my apartment. So, I left the club, drove home to meet him and then we chatted for quite a while. Shane & Ron showed up around 2 AM and Ron got a chance to practice some of that German he's been studying on a live person!! Those podcasts have really paid off because Sebastian said that he could understand everything Ron was saying and apparently Ron was understanding what Sebastian was saying too! So, it looks like we'll be set in both France and Germany as far as languages go!

On Saturday, I cooked a HUGE breakfast for me, Shane and Sebastian - bacon, eggs, potatoes with onions cooked in bacon grease, YUM! And then Sebastian headed out to Hollywood & Highland to do some shopping. Apparently, the jeans in Germany are very expensive, so he wanted to buy some while he was here. He also went to Venice and Santa Monica. Meanwhile, Shane & I listened to the rain and watched the last five episodes of Heroes Season 1 so she'd be all caught up for the premiere on Monday. Sebastian met up with us over at L&N's for their movie party later that evening. We ended up watching "Support Your Local Sheriff" and "The Sting." Both were really good! He showed up in time to play Loopin' Louie and sleep through "The Sting." Poor thing, he was still trying to adjust to US time.


On Sunday, he was already gone by the time I woke up which was nice because it gave me a chance to clean up the kitchen and watch some football. He went again to Hollywood & Highland and then 3rd Street Promenade and then drove up PCH to Malibu. It was gorgeous weather on Sunday, so it was perfect for that!! He met me back at my place to go out to dinner with me and Travis. We ended up going to Colombo's, a place that I'd been wanting to try FOREVER! It was OK. Has that really old school feel to it and they have a piano guy singing the standards with a crazy lookin' chick playing a bass. Then we headed over to Barnes & Noble in Old Town Pasadena because Sebastian wanted to get a book about California to figure out where to stop as he drove up to San Jose on Monday. After that, we picked up a piece of Godiva chocolate cheesecake and walked to Lucky Baldwin's for a couple beers.

It was really cool hanging out with him and comparing notes about the differences between Germany and the US. Things he mentioned were: he likes that retailers are nice to you even if you don't buy anything! Also, people in Germany don't call dates "dates." It's just going to dinner with someone. They don't have a different way to indicate that it's a romantic relationship like we do. And people in Germany don't own guns, I guess they're not allowed to.

Steph and Sebastian