Friday, November 21, 2008

BGG.CON 2008 Day 1

OK - so it's now 4:36 AM and we're winding down Day 1 of BGG.CON 2008... I'm in the Rock Band room, chillin', trying to stay awake while I write this. I think I officially missed a day yesterday, but my goodness, there's just too much happening here. I've been having fun with the webcam, talking to people all over the con (when my aircard and the website will cooperate).

If you're bored at work tomorrow, make sure you tune in! I think I'm only "planning" on webcasting around noon (or whenever I get downstairs) and then later at 11 PM before the drawing. That's CST! And we'll do the midnight drawing and then later, Ca$h'n Guns Live and maybe Time's Up? I'm not sure how popular the Werewolf was last night. The website crapped out and probably dropped the feed before they finished. I have no idea.

So far, it's been a blast. I'm still not fully recovered and I've been talking all day and I'm starting to lose my voice. I really need to try to get some sleep and take it easy.

I only played one "real" game last night and that was After the Flood, the new Martin Wallace game. It was fun and I think that if you like Martin Wallace games, you'll probably enjoy this one. It's really tight with resources and you really need to manage everything, planning both your short-term and long-term goals. I definitely need to play it again to grasp a basic strategy fully. I played with Michael Weston (delta1119) and Janna. Janna schooled us! It was awesome!

Other than that, I think I just played Time's Up! and Title Recall. I got to see Davebo act out all the works of Mark Twain in 30 seconds - white washing a fence, cajoling someone else into doing the white washing, a trip down the Mississippi River, burning at the stake(?) and other stuff. If I do stream Time's Up! tomorrow night, I will do my best to get Davebo in that game. He's so good at the third round (AKA: the no-words round).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BGG Application for the iPhone

So I haven't caved and bought one of the fancy iPhones (not yet at least), but I did see the BoardGameGeek application created by Ryan Christianson (BGG ID: ryanch) for the iPhone tonight.

It's similar to MiniBGG in that you can search on BGG and download information as well as record plays. Click here to link to the Apple iTunes store if you're interested... the best part is that it's FREE!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Twittering from BGG.CON 2008

Do you want to know what everyone's up to at BGG.CON 2008? You can find out by checking out this link:

Set it up now on your RSS feeder or or whatever you use to keep up wtiht he latest and greatest... We've already started posting and I don't expect it to stop until Sunday night!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gift-free Christmas

I've been discussing this with several of my friends. The concept of a gift-free Christmas. And I think we're in agreement. We're going gift-free!

I mean, really... do I need more stuff? I've been slowly working on getting RID of stuff. I really don't need more books, CDs, games, clothes, or anything else.

Shane suggested regifting as a possibility and I think I might do that. I already sent her home with a bag of clothes and have something else I could possibly send her way for Christmas.

The couple exceptions will be children. I have a few kids in my life that I want to buy a gift for. Nothing extravagant, just a little something. And probably Greg too.

More than anything, I just want to spend time with everyone! I'm in Dallas for BGG.CON, then off to Athens for Thanksgiving plus some and then back in LA on December 4th. And then I'm in town for one more month!! And looking forward to seeing everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Random Stuff

I'm feeling better. I have a cough, but in general, I'm feeling much better as of this morning... I'm going to get lots of sleep the next couple days and I'm packing cough drops and Dayquil for the trip, JUST IN CASE. Maybe going to Texas tomorrow will help because the fires are making the air so gross and it is NOT helping my cough. At. All.

I'm not sure how much time I'll have from blogging... hmmm... maybe some live blogging from the con? Anyway, I think I'm going to schedule some posts in advance of the con so that I am not worrying about the whole posting every day in November. Actually, I think it's just 30 posts in November, so I guess in theory I could post twice in one day to make up for a missing day!

I'm pretty much all packed up for BGG.CON, just going to stop by Trader Joe's in the morning to pick up a few snacks to take with me to the con and then to Greg's afterwards.

The couch surfer is leaving tomorrow morning. She seemed nice enough, but I can't imagine living so loose the way she does. More power to her, but living gig to gig is definitely not for me!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Modern Long Distance Dating

Because my boyfriend lives across the country... Georgia, more specifically... We don't have the "typical" dates that people who live in the same city might have. It usually consists of late night chats when we can squeeze them in and silly text messages to say "hi" or some such.

What we've been doing lately is setting up "date nights," which usually go like this:
He comes home from work, eats something, takes a nap and then calls me so we can get caught up on each others' week and hang out. Last time, we played some Dominion on BSW (a German website where you can play all kinds of Euro games).

I'm waiting for him to call so we can commence with our date tonight and tonight it'll be a little different. I bought him a webcam from Amazon and had it shipped to his house. He hasn't yet opened the box and he doesn't know what's in it, so I hope that he actually likes it. I picked out one with good reviews (4.5 stars with 402 reviews), so I hope it installs nicely and doesn't give him any trouble. As much as I love our date nights, I think I'll like them even more if I can see his smile!

And really, webcams are quickly becoming the norm. I was chatting about this with my waxer and a customer in the salon overheard us and said, "Oh, are you going to talk to your child with it?" Apparently, her son is in Japan and she just shipped him a webcam so she can see him when they talk via Skype. She loves it.

In fact, Google has just released video chatting! I can't wait to try this tonight. I guess we'll find out!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Couchsurfer #3

I'm hosting my third couchsurfer. This one is a different from previous surfers in that (a) she's a woman - both of my other surfers were male and (b) she's not from out-of-town. She's an actress/set decorator/industry person who lives in LA and is apparently in between homes at the moment. So, she's crashing here for three nights. So far, it's going fine and I have no reason to believe that won't continue. Jason was over here when she arrived and he was asking her some questions about her experience with couchsurfing (as a host and surfer) and he seemed very skeptical of the whole idea. She said that typically men are more suspicious of it. I wonder why that is?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh no! I'm sick!

I felt fine when I woke up and then halfway through the day, my throat started hurting. And then I started coughing. And now, I'm going to take Nyquil and crawl into bed and turn off my phones. UGH. Why is this happening right before BGG.CON? BOOOOOOO...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Countdown to BGG.CON

Only nine more days until BGG.CON! I can't wait!!

I'm really excited because I know even MORE people from the SoCal area that are going and I get to see some of my favorite gamers that weekend! I can't wait! I'm going to have to stock up on sleep beforehand and sweet tea during the convention!

I'm going to bring my laptop with me and camera and I'm hoping to post pictures up on my Flickr account and maybe some videos up on YouTube while we're at the con... Just to keep everyone who isn't there in the loop somewhat while it's happening!

Live blogging from the event? Maybe!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I bought a DIFFERENT car!

This afternoon, I took my car back to CarMax because it was scraping on my driveway every time I drove in and out of my garage. I showed the mechanic in their service department where it was hitting on the driveway and asked if I should be concerned. He said, "Well, it isn't good..." and so I returned the car. CarMax has a policy that allows you to return a car within five days for any reason. THANK GOODNESS!!

So, I came back this afternoon and drove some more cars and I must be a Honda person because I ended up with another Honda. Specifically, I got a 2005 Honda Accord EX. It's awesome!!! I'm in the waiting room right now, waiting to drive it home. The only slight negative is that it's silver. I'm not sure about the color, but I think I can live with that. My other color choices weren't fabulous, so I'm OK with that.

It has leather seats, seat warmers(!!), a six CD changer, 6 cylinder, 240 HP, dual AC and roomy inside without being too big. Most importantly, it's QUIET inside! That was the biggest complaint with my Civic. The road noise while driving was a bit annoying, especially while driving on the freeway and trying to chat on my cell phone. So, I'm looking forward to driving it home.

Also, I do have to add that my experience with CarMax has been VERY positive. Especially with regards to the sales people. They have a no haggle pricing policy, so you just see what the price is. They try to upsell you on their CarMax Full Protection policy and LoJack, but they don't put the hard sell on which is cool. I might have been able to pay less if I had gone somewhere else or bought from a private party, but I wouldn't have been able to return the car, which really gave me peace of mind. In addition, I don't have to worry about the past of the car as much since they do a thorough examination of the car before taking them in to sell.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I bought a car!

I'm not really a "car person," so I went to CarMax in Burbank today to just look at cars to see what's out there. Well, I ended up leaving with a 2003 Infiniti G35! And it's this burgundy/red color, which is very different from the black cars I've had for the last 10 years... Once I take a picture, I'll post it here.

I have five days to return it if I change my mind... When I drove home tonight, the bottom scrapes on my driveway. I'm not sure if that's a huge problem? Any opinions on that? It's a moderate scrape, not tooooo bad, but it definitely scrapes. Plus, I smelled something that smelled like burning plastic or some kind of chemical. I'm going to see if Jason can look at it for me.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The idea behind the Mime

I talked to Evan today and I was asking him how he came up with the idea for the mime costume. There's a downloadable PS3 game called Pain that is essentially VGA Bomb meets Tony Hawk. You put a person on a ramp and shoot them out into the city and try to make combos by exploding yourself and destroying stuff. It's totally over-the-top gross-ness, but really, really fun. And hey, you get to learn about physics while you're at it. Anyway, there's a mime that you get points for hitting in the game. Here's a slo-mo video of the PS3 mime...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Evan's Homemade Halloween Costume 2008

My sister always does an awesome job with Evan's costumes... I think this year was mainly handled by my brother-in-law, who did a great job! My sister is a hard act to follow after the first homemade costume in 2006 and 2007. After those gems, I waited with baited breath to see what Evan would be for Halloween this year....

And the verdict was...

A sad, sad mime...

I can safely say that I handed out candy to 1,000 children on Halloween night and did not see a single kid dressed up as a mime... My nephew is unique and I love him!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Personal Assistant

I've been contemplating the idea of hiring a personal assistant for a while. I even kinda softa offered the job to my former co-worker, but that didn't really work out. I've been really busy with work and as a result, some of my personal matters have just fallen by the wayside.

A couple weeks ago, I bit the bullet and put an ad on Craigslist for a personal assistant. I didn't want to pay a ton, so I put an ad out to pay $10 an hour thinking that I might get a few responses. Imagine my surprise when I received a dozen replies in less than eight hours, from people as far away as Culver City and Northridge! I turned those people down immediately just because it doesn't make sense that someone would drive 30-45 minutes to make $10 an hour for a few hours.

When I saw that someone applied and they lived right around the corner from me, I called her immediately and scheduled an interview. She came over, was fabulous and I hired her on the spot! I had her file all my bills that have been piled up for the last six months, call the vet to make an appointment for Evie, make a few phone calls that I'd been putting off to insurance companies and had her drive with me over to the body shop to take my car.

When we were at the body shop, I asked her if I could move some stuff from my car to her car because I thought I'd be leaving my car there so they could fix it.

When I moved a big bag of games I had in my car from the games day the past weekend, she asked if I liked board games and I said, "Yes!"

She said, "I have some friends who are really into that too..."
I said, "Oh really? Who are they? Maybe I know them..."
and then she said, "Do you know Lincoln & Nikki?"

I said, "Seriously!?!?!" I guess that's my one-in-a-million for this quarter... Turns out she worked with Nikki for two years at the hellhole company and she's still friends with them!

Her name is Danielle and she's working out great. I think the next project I have for her is to rearrange my game closet! It needs it!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

White Water Rafting Update

I never gave a recap of the white water rafting... In one very short sentence: It was awesome! It was freezing cold, but awesome.

Saturday was Bridge Day, which happens every third Saturday in October and it's the only day that base jumping is legal in the US. We rafted down the New River and that was OK, not too exciting. However it was great to watch people jump off a bridge over a gorge that's 876 ft above the river and freefall or flip and then toss their parachute into the air. It only takes eight seconds from bridge to river, so they don't even bother packing the chute because there just isn't enough time for it to deploy!!

Sunday was the best. There are two entries in the book "1,000 places to see before you die" for West Virginia and I've now hit one of them. We did the Gauley Marathon, which is the entire Gauley River - covering 23 miles and eight class five rapids. It's impossible to describe, but I'm hoping to get a picture posted soon. I haven't developed my film yet. On the way down to the river, the guides kept saying, "Be nice to us! Today's the last day of the season, so just remember.... we can't get fired!!!" And then the bus erupted into laughter! There was a lot of rubber cock talk going around too because one of the guides carries around a rubber chicken to be his boat mascot. It was hilarious!

I should add that when we woke up on Sunday, it was 30 degrees and we had to melt the ice off of our windshield. Yes, COLD. FREAKIN' COLD. Here's what I was wearing... under my wetsuit!!!
I know it's hard to tell, but I'm wearing TWO layers of long underwear, topped with a SmartWool sweater, wool socks and later, a cap under my helmet! Did I mention it was chilly? On top of all that, I put a farmer John wetsuit and a neoprene jacket & booties. Brrrrrr!

Here are a few more pictures from the trip:
With our river guide for the Gauley Marathon.... Leif!
And with our crazy, enthusiastic kayak-happy videographer... John Petro

BTW - I'd highly recommend our rafting company... If you're looking to do some beautiful white water rafting in West Virginia, call Ace Rafting. They were fabulous! All the guides were cool and had a lot of experience. When they sent me the online survey, I was only too happy to fill it out with glowing reviews. I'm not sure if it was that OR the tip that prompted this note from our guide...

I was completely surprised that he wrote that note and touched. I had a great time hanging out with him all day and you could tell that he had a great heart.

I hope some of the pictures I took on the Lower Gauley turn out well because I took pictures of the fall foilage. It was gorgeous!! I've never seen anything like it!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Boyfriend Update

Greg came out to visit last month and we had a good visit... Much too short, but fun. We've both been really busy over the last month, so since that visit, we haven't been talking as much as we were a couple months ago. In theory, he'll be finished with one major obligation after this weekend and that should free up his weekend time quite a bit, at least compared to the last month!

Maybe then we'll be able to talk about something other than how tired we are and how busy we are! We still have our book of questions to go through and I feel like there's much more to learn about each other. It's as if this last month of dating doesn't even really count because it seems like we've talked SO little. Ah, well... He told me more than once while visiting that he's working on changing his schedule so he won't be so busy and he'll have more time to spend with me and I believe him, otherwise, we wouldn't still be dating.

I'm currently planning to go see him for Thanksgiving... I'll be heading there straight from BGG.CON. Once I come back from that, I'm not sure when I'll see him again. There's been talk of me going to see him for Christmas, but since we've hardly been talking, I want to see how everything is going before & after Thanksgiving before buying a ticket for Christmas.

We have very different communication needs. I could talk to him pretty much every day, even multiple times a day (which I know is probably overkill and not for everyone), while I think he could get by with a couple times a week. He's been making an effort to call more often, which I really appreciate because it says to me "I want to make you happy," a message I am glad he's sending. As a result, I've been patient about these last few insanely crazy weeks. Which I've taken as an opportunity to grow because God knows that patience is NOT my strong suit!! But I swear, I'm getting better.

I think the biggest challenge for me is that it's hard for me to feel connected to someone with whom I have very little contact (without having a pre-established super-strong connection like I do with some of my friends who I don't talk to for years at a time and then we do and it's just on...). So, an unfortunate side effect of all this non-contact over the last month has me feeling less connected to him now than I did when we first started dating. Not exactly the trend I want to see in my relationship, you know? It feels like we're going the wrong way. However, I'm doubt he feels that way, based on our very different communication needs. I've been trying to be optimistic about the future though and I hope that we can continue to tweak this so that we're both happy with how much communication we have. We were doing better before the last few weeks when he's been super-busy.

I'm very happy that we have a "date" scheduled for this Thursday night! I'll have him all to myself and get to talk to him about everything I've been saving up over the last week. He is a wonderful person and I love and admire many, many things about him. I want to feel a stronger connection to him, so I hope that once things settle down, we can get back to talking more often and hopefully, growing our relationship. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Poor Car...

Greg came to visit the second weekend of October and while he was here, we went to see Davebo's son in a play out in Thousand Oaks. When we were done, I asked Greg what he'd like to do and he said, "Let's go to the beach!" Well, he didn't have to suggest that to me twice! I love the beach and have been out of town so much, I haven't really had the opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful natural wonder that is the Pacific Ocean.

So, we headed down the 101 freeway and exited on 23 and headed south going through the canyon. We were meandering, taking our time because we had about an hour or so to go before the sunset and we were enjoying the views. I commented on how the road had a speed limit of 25 because it was so curvy! I think I was even going below 25 as to not make us both car sick!!

As we approached one leftish turn, a car from the opposite direction came screeching over the line and while I swerved to get away from him (but not too much as we are on a frickin' mountain), he hit me. And my poor car. He hit my driver's side back door and quarter panel. This is my poor car...

Last week, my new personal assistant (that deserves a post too) Danielle took me over to a body shop (finally!) to have an estimate done. They estimated it would cost $4,500 to fix, not including any possible suspension damage that there may be.

I got a call this morning from State Farm's Total Loss Unit. Yep, my car is a total loss. We reviewed the condition of my car and she's going to get back to me with updated numbers, but the preliminary numbers are:

If I want to keep the car, they'll cut me a check for $5,244.04. If I want to get rid of the car, they'll cut me a check for $6,599.58. Choices, choices... I think I'll probably keep the car while I figure out if I ultimately want to keep the car. My sister really needs a car, so I could give her the car and let her fix it. She works for a school district and her office is on the same campus as their continuation high school, so they have a body shop on campus and they'd probably fix it for her cheap! Or, I could keep the money and keep the car and just drive it around with a big dent in it.

The real question is, what kind of car would I want to get? I'll probably just stick with that for now while I decide what to do.

So, State Farm called back and the new numbers are:
If I want to keep the car, they'll cut me a check for $6,323.32. If I want to get rid of the car, they'll cut me a check for $7,678.86.

I'm definitely going to keep the car, it's just a matter of what I do after that.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Financial War Within

I try to be good. Really I do. I want to save money. Heck, I do save money. But I know I could be saving more. Much more. If I was more disciplined... If I didn't travel to see friends... If I didn't have a boyfriend that lived across the country... If I didn't get talked into eating out all the time...

The problem? I haven't been disciplined enough about money. I've been thinking for months that I should make a budget and stick to it so I can save more money than I am now. That's why I'm happy to be focused for November with Ramit's "Save $1,000 in 30 days."

I am going to BGG.CON this month, so what I'm focusing on this week is not going out to eat. I go hiking almost every Tuesday and we usually go out to eat afterwards, so I'll probably do that, but other than that, I'm going to reduce how much I go out to eat. I haven't decided if I should pick a dollar amount to stay under or adjust the frequency? I think I'll aim for less than $40 this week. We'll see if that's doable! I think it should be. I don't have any plans to go out for lunch this week and other than hiking, so far, I don't have any set plans to go out for dinner, but I'm sure something will pop up on Friday or Saturday...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo 2008?

I will try, but with my schedule lately, I don't know if I can guarantee a post every day, but it's a worthy goal. I've been meaning to post anyway. It should be interesting because I'm also trying to do Ramit's "Save $1,000 in a month" challenge! So, if nothing else, I can post about how that is coming along.

I encourage you all to check out his posts on the topic. If you haven't read his blog, it's definitely one of the more enjoyable personal finance blogs out there. Speaking of, I should probably update my blog roll...