dorchadas: (Blue Rose)
Last weekend [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I took a vacation, sort of! We went out to Portland for [twitter.com profile] faylynne and [twitter.com profile] ntcomplete's wedding, and unlike the last time we were there in 2015, the weather cooperated. For Portland, anyway. It was cool and cloudy--just the way I liked it--and being next to the Willamette meant that sometimes there were passing boaters, though at least they cut the motor when they noticed that there was a ceremony happening. But everything else was lovely. I especially liked the sling that the maid of honor, [twitter.com profile] faylynne's eldest sister, had rigged up to allow her new baby to participate in the ceremony.


I also loved how most of the wedding party entered to the main hobbit theme from The Fellowship of the Ring, while the bride and groom entered to an instrumental cover of the Legend of Zelda fairy fountain theme.Link smilie photo lhappy.gif

The ceremony was extremely short and to the point. After a brief opening, the couple gave their vows--almost inaudible to us sitting in the back, but from what I could tell a variation on the traditional ones--and then exchanged rings, soldiering through [twitter.com profile] ntcomplete dropping them when the best man handed them to him and [twitter.com profile] faylynne initially trying to put the ring on his right hand. Then they kissed, the ceremony was over, and the guests all went back to the hall for drinks and snacks before the reception. I drank red wine and gin, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd drank white wine and cider, and our friend [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek does not drink, but we were all united in our love for the snacks. Caprese skewers and grilled cheese shooters, with a tiny bit of grilled-cheese sandwich stuck in the top of an ounce or so of tomato-basil soup in a shotglass. It was delicious and I'm amazed that I haven't seen it anywhere else.

Inside, we took our seat at the labeled tables, each themed after a specific fantasy setting. The three of us were seated at the Tortall table, which immediately made [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek text his girlfriend. She was unable to attend due to a family emergency, but despite not really being geeky at all, she's read the Song of the Lioness books and would have instantly recognized the table title.

Then was a buffet dinner and dancing. I was initially a bit worried that no dinner preference had been specified, but [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd correctly pointed out that it was almost certainly a buffet. And it was, with nothing that we can't eat. The salmon and asparagus were especially tasty.  photo wheeeeee_emote_by_seiorai.gif

We did not dance, at least for my part because none of the songs being played are the kind I like to dance to, but the dance floor wasn't particularly well attended. There were a lot of people chatting and eating, and then speeches and cake.


I don't like most cakes, but they did look wonderful. And they were made by the maid of honor. I heard a couple people asking [twitter.com profile] faylynne if her sister was a chef, and her reply was that she took a pastry class one summer.

As we left, we got a bit of a chance to chat with both of them. [twitter.com profile] ntcomplete tried to sell [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek on attending PAX and mostly succeeded and both of them told us about their honeymoon in Japan and how they wanted us all to go back in 2020 when the new Ghibli Theme Park will be opened. I mentioned that was also when the Nintendo Theme Park would be open and that's in Ōsaka, far away from the Tokyo crowds. [facebook.com profile] aaron.hosek suggested making the Japan trip a biannual thing and you know, that sounds like a great idea.  photo Emot-chocobo.gif

[twitter.com profile] faylynne also mentioned that she had been practicing Japanese on DuoLingo and how shocked she was when the writing suddenly changed and she realized she had to learn another syllabary. All I could do was nod, half sagely, half sympathetically. I've been there.

She wants to get to conversational Japanese in time for 2020. I wish her good luck. She will need it.  photo japan001.gif

Other things I did in Portland!:
  • Stayed with my sister, who kindly put us up in her apartment's spare room!
  • Went to House of Ramen, which featured build-your-own ramen so [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I could have porkless ramen. We got a small size bowl, also known as "the size ramen is served in Japan." My sister and her boyfriend split a regular.
  • Went to the farmer's market and bought a bunch of cheese and smoked salmon. They also had delicious macaroon cookies but we were too full to eat them.
  • Bought some Edo Jidai-era lacquerware at the going-out-of-business sale at Shogun's Gallery.
  • Went to Moonstruck chocolate, which I obliquely wrote about here.
It was a lovely way to spend a weekend.
dorchadas: (In America)
I was a bit surprised that Deathcare passed yesterday, but not as much as I once would have been. There is no depths of evil to which the Republicans can sink that would surprise me anymore. Especially after reading all the testimonies from Republicans who voted for it without reading it and then were astonished to learn they voted to murder hundreds of thousands of their own constituents slowly with bankruptcy along the way.  photo stab.gif I was a little mollified to hear that the Senate won't even be considering the bill until it's CBO scored, and possibly not at all, but since all Republicans are human garbage I have no faith they won't also vote to murder their constituents.

I think there's an important lesson to be taken from their behavior as well. Real evil isn't charismatic, visionary, or commanding. It's smug, banal, hypocritical, and kind of stupid. We need more depictions of realistic evil in fiction.
"We have to live with people as they are, and people are dangerous."
-Rabbi Joshua Haberman, Foundation for Jewish Studies podcast
I have excellent health insurance through work and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is a public employee, so while I spent most of yesterday in a state of pure rage I at least don't have to be afraid. Instead, I spent it wasting my time debating a libertarian crypto-Confederate on [facebook.com profile] jmenda's Facebook wall about the necessity of taxation, especially as it relates to allowing an expansive government with the capability to enforce the rights of the oppressed--the Slavers' Rebellion, the Civil Rights Act, Obergefell v. Hodges, etc. As it so often is, it was a complete waste of time and I should have just played Majora's Mask all night instead of constantly tabbing over to answer questions. I'm halfway done--just beat Snowhead Temple on Wednesday--and I want to finish this weekend if I can.

Tonight is [facebook.com profile] kelley.christensen1's emoji-themed karaoke birthday party and it's without walking distance from our apartment, so I'll have something else to concentrate on. It's box karaoke, and while I'm not going to link the website because I just went there and they've been hacked (thank you NoScript  photo la.gif), but it looks promising. I'm not sure they'll have all the songs that I sang in karaoke korokke or karaoke U-style or karaokekan, but hopefully they'll have something. And [facebook.com profile] kelley.christensen1 is bringing cake!

Alright, back to mucking around in databases.

ACEN 2016

May. 22nd, 2016 03:31 pm
dorchadas: (Perfection)
This is the 11th year since I started going to ACEN and the 10th year since I started going with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd. She couldn't make the first year because of a small convention she was running at Knox College, but she came the year after and every year we've gone since, which is all of them except 2009-2011 (when we were in Japan) and 2013 (when we had no money). A couple years ago I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep going but thought it was nice to see friends, and last year I had a great time. This year was somewhere in between, but weighted more toward a great time than toward not bothering.

A full accounting follows.

Read more... )

I was surprised how much I liked cosplaying. I haven't done it since before we moved to Japan--I haven't even worn a Hallowe'en costume for years--but I was looking forward to it this year and it was a lot of fun, especially doing a joint one with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd. We've already started planning for next year, when we're going to do another non-anime cosplay with me as Mairon and her as Melkor. Often it's couples with a man playing Melkor and a woman playing Mairon, but [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd wanted to switch things around, and also if you do a google image search for Mairon, you'll understand why that's my role--examples here, here, or here. That'll probably take a while, so we're planning it early.

We didn't do as much participating in the actual convention this time, so I can see why some of our friends don't bother buying badges and just show up to meet with other friends. But buying earlier means badges aren't that expensive, and while the massive explosion of the internet and the way that nerds have taken over popular culture means that the dealer's room is no longer the only place to find a lot of the things we want, it's still worthwhile for telling us that those things exist, as well as letting us try on any clothing before we buy it, though there's more shops catering to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's taste in clothing than to mine. And I did go to a couple panels, and had a couple more on the schedule that I didn't make it to.

Looking forward to next year!

ACEN 2015!

May. 18th, 2015 06:18 pm
dorchadas: (Enter the Samurai)
I mentioned before that I was a bit worried about going to ACEN this year. Last year had been a bit disappointing, and I was worried that this year was going to be a waste of time and money. It turned out to be a completely unfounded fear, and I had a blast. Read on for a recounting of our time at the con in nauseating detail.

Read more... )
dorchadas: (Kirby sweatdrop)
I feel like I've made that joke before even though it's definitely hyperbole. But the truth is, I tend to use weekends as decompression time and I usually get nervous about even having one event scheduled. More than one and I'll probably turn down anything I get after the first event. It's not that I don't want to go, it's that I don't want to stretch my nerves too thin.

This weekend I had four, and I made three of them. What's more, I had two events on the same night back to back. I've never been a party-hopper and I'll usually choose the first event and stay there for the duration, but this time I went to a barbecue, a birthday party that required walking around six miles to get to (barbecue -> walk to mass transit -> take L -> walk from mass transit -> birthday), and then to dim sum the next morning. That might have been a bad idea, because we walked to and from the restaurant and while it wasn't nearly as far as I walked on Saturday, it was all in the sun, and my threshold for getting tired from being in the sun is pretty low. I spent most of Sunday sitting inside in the dark, drinking tea with a headache and dreading the evening when [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and I were scheduled to clean the apartment.

But it all went well! I'd never had dim sum before and it was amazing, and even if there was a lot that I wouldn't eat there was plenty that I would. It was good to see people at both the parties I went to, and I'm happy I went to both instead of picking one and staying there or going to neither, as I was tempted to do. [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou told me she was proud of me, because I rarely to events that she's not also going to. Which is true. And mostly I'm fine with that, but this time I'm glad it turned out differently.

On Decor

Sep. 21st, 2014 05:26 pm
dorchadas: (Jealous)
When I was younger, I never would have considered myself to have good style or aesthetic sense. Or rather, I wouldn't have considered my style as something that the average person would think of as good. It helped that until our current apartment, I never really had the opportunity to actually decorate to my satisfaction, but I'm also pretty sure that if you had given free range to the me from, say, ten years ago, it would be all black paint on the walls and black curtains and H. P. Lovecraft posters on the walls and so on. And that's not objectively a bad aesthetic, but I don't think it would age well.

These thoughts were prompted by finding a large table at Scout in Andersonville that has maybe 1.5 square meters of space, a few drawers in it including one that we could use as a silverware drawer, and is made of wood. [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou really liked it, and it's true that much of our apartment is furnished in antique wood or wood built by my father. We decided that we should think about it, and anyway we needed to go home and measure the kitchen to make sure that it would actually fit there, and then I started having second thoughts. It's true that the crappy IKEA flärke bookcase we currently have in there doesn't fit at all and has no additional space...but on the other hand, I wasn't sure if the new table would fit either. It was more weathered wood, like something out of a log cabin. And there's nothing wrong with that--I actually quite like that style--but since the rest of our decor is all polished wood, it wouldn't have fit in.

It's also $800, which admittedly did figure into our decision, but the real problem for me was the appearance. I think what I want is something like this. Maybe a bit darker wood, and with a slightly different configuration of drawers. As [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou mentioned, for that amount of money we should hold out for osmething that makes both of us happy.

I'm actually surprised at myself. We had a housewarming party last night and got a lot of compliments on our apartment, and [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou was quick to mention to people that it was mostly the results of my aesthetics. Which is true, yes, but...I'm a good decorator? I can coordinate things to the degree that people compliment us on it? It's not a goal I would have aspired to only because I didn't realize that it could happen. I was just setting things up the way I liked them.

Maybe that's the secret.
dorchadas: (Cherry Blossoms)
I'm not going to write a blow-by-blow account of it, but [livejournal.com profile] melishus_b came to visit us this weekend! We went to the Field Museum's biomechanics exhibit, a party a friend had on the beach, the Art Institute of Chicago with the goal of seeking out their arms and armor collection, a bunch of great restaurants, we walked around Andersonville and went to a bunch of shops, and test-drove [livejournal.com profile] melishus_b's Game of Thrones hack of the Guillotine card game, which I think is actually a lot better than the regular Guillotine game and would be amazing if IP issues wouldn't shut it down any attempt to sell it in seconds. There's a lot more card interactions, for one, and ways for the players to affect each other instead of mostly just rearranging the order of the line.

Huh, looking on the Art Institute's website to find the page for the shoji screens that we saw and there's a lot of stuff we missed that I really want to go see. When the Greeks Ruled Egypt? Chicagoisms? I need to see those!

Nothing else at the moment, just a quick entry after a nice weekend. (^_^)v

ACEN 2014!

May. 19th, 2014 09:38 pm
dorchadas: (Enter the Samurai)
Last weekend was ACEN, which I've been going for nine years at this point, though admittedly not consistently. My interests have changed at this point so that I'm not really all that into anime anymore and barely know what's coming out and what's popular, but ACEN is still a great place to catch up with friends that are scattered around the country (or just out of our non-car-owning transit radius) but meet up for a weekend. Several of the people I saw actually didn't even buy con badges, they just came for the company. Honestly I might be getting to that point myself based on the panel content, but I like wandering around the dealer's room too much to just give up on officially attending. The selection is often more interesting than you can find online, probably because there's a lack of IP lawyers standing around like hawks.

And now, the daily breakdown.

Friday
I took only a half-day off from work, because I didn't think that there would be much I wanted to see in the morning and because the AMA started it's summer half-day program on the day ACEN started, fortunately. I expected that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I would arrive at about the same time, but literally as she was walking out the door a student came in who needed immediate attention and she ended up staying much longer than she intended and not arriving at the hotel until around 5:45. Since I had assumed she would be coming around the same time as I did and because I didn't want to haul a lunchbag to and from the con and because I'm really cheap, I didn't have lunch with me and so I ended up mostly just lounging around the room Friday afternoon. I did wander down to the dealer's room and over to [livejournal.com profile] redpikachu's booth (Natural Pop! Made with love) to buy another cute stuffed animal. Last time it was a frog, and this time it was a corgi, and when [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd finally arrived I gave it to her, and, well:



We both ate a ton of food, because [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd hadn't gotten to eat lunch either with all the chaos at her school so we stuffed ourselves on apples, bananas, Syrian cheese, olives, almonds, homemade beef jerky, and dark chocolate. Then we went and met [personal profile] fiendishfanfares's husband, who had kindly offered to let us borrow his work laptop to give our panel on Saturday, for info about which see the Saturday section. Then we went back to our room again, powered up the laptop and transferred the presentation over, and ran through it once to make sure that we would be able to pull it off. Having done that successfully and confidently, we headed down to the AMV room.

Watching the AMV contest entries is somewhat of a tradition for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I, though it was most prevalent in 2005-2008, when we were attending multiple cons per year and could see AMVs riffing off of AMVs we had seen at previous cons (like this Azumanga Daioh AMV, made as a parody of this Evangelion AMV which aired six months previous). In 2012 ACEN didn't have any AMV Contest because of some leadership kerfuffle, and since we didn't attend in 2013, and since we hadn't gone from 2009-2011 at all due to the whole living in Japan thing, so I was curious what had become of it and...well, there was barely anything to it. I remember at Otakon they'd have the AMV Contest entry viewings in one of the auditoriums, but this year at ACEN it was in one of the small video rooms and there were never more than a couple dozen people in there at a time. We didn't even get a sheet with the AMVs listed to vote on them like I remember previously. I was glad I managed to identify a VNV Nation just by the style (it was Control, set to a racing anime called Redline), but otherwise the contest was kind of sad, and we only stayed for a bit because a friend had invited us to go to Anime Hell.

We headed over to the place where Anime Hell was supposed to play, but they weren't letting anyone stand in line yet, so we headed up to our room for a bit to wait for the signal. When we got a text, we immediately took the stairs down and walked over to the ballroom, followed the enormous line that had somehow sprung up in the last 15 minutes, and at the very moment that we reached the end of the line, staff announced that the line was closed. While standing off to the side and trying to decide what to do, we ran into [livejournal.com profile] stephen_poon and some other people we knew, and after a brief chat, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, [livejournal.com profile] stephen_poon, and I headed over to the Hyatt's lobby bar for a drink and a chat. We were there for maybe five minutes before they called last call, so after some conversation we headed over to Red Bar for a while.

After a lovely conversation about [livejournal.com profile] stephen_poon's trip to Spain, and about Japan with another friend who had come to visit us in 2011, and then [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd said our farewells and headed off to Let's Play Oregon Trail, which we'd been to previously and had a lot of fun watching. It was about an hour in, and while the players this year had done better than last time (where the panicked players had forgotten to buy any weapons and were only able to hunt because the organizers took pity on them and let them buy a pistol), they still kept trying to hunt fast-moving birds with shotguns and not having much luck. After basically everyone starved to death within 30 miles of Independence, Missouri due to chronic incompetence, we succumbed to our tiredness, went back to the room, and slept.

Saturday
We were planning to go to a panel on Chicago's Anime Scene, but we thought that it would be best if we didn't set an alarm, and we woke up just a bit too late to go, so instead we went down to the dealer's room again since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd had arrived too late on Friday to go before it closed. I had seen that Do Bats Eat Cats had a space in the Artists' Alley, and after seeing their jewelry at a store near us, and now that Japan paid us and we have money, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd wanted some new earrings.

After getting those, we looked around for a booth selling Japanese tableware to replace the ones we had that have broken over the year, but couldn't find anything. I had figured that somewhere would have chopsticks, or tea cups, or something, but no. The most we found some was kitschy anime mugs. I know we'll be able to get them at the Ginza Festival in August, but it would have been nice to do it now.

Then it was time for our presentation: "Seifuku and Bunkasai: Japanese Education in Anime," which was about the differences in our experience of the Japanese education system vs. how we've seen it portrayed in anime. You can download our slides here if you didn't or couldn't attend, and we have plenty of stories to tell if you want. It's always hard to judge these things, but I think it went well. A few people came up and thanked us afterward, including a guy who had just been shortlisted for JET and was leaving in July, who hadn't been sure he would learn anything in the panel and actually learned a lot, and a woman who asked us about Keion. Also, not many people left during the panel, which is a good sign.

After a break back to our room for lunch (more homemade beef jerky, apples, olives, nuts, and cheese), we went back down to the AMV room and parked in there while waiting on word from one of our friends, and then when we got a text and he was in the General Gaming room, we headed over there and played Once Upon a Time, about which you can read a review I wrote here. A few games of that finished, we went back to the dealer's room again because I wanted an 8-bit Legend of Zelda heart keychain, but while we couldn't find one of those, we found this set of magnets:




On the way back from the dealer's room to the Hyatt, we ran into [personal profile] fiendishfanfares and her family, and while we had missed her daughter's cosplay, we did get to see video of her doing a kamehameha as only a toddler can. Then it was back to the AMV room to catch the re-airing of the contest videos, and while this time the freestyle videos were playing instead of the drama ones, we didn't stay that long because we hadn't eaten lunch in favor of a very large brunch, and they hadn't even handed out a voting card for the AMVs.

Dinner was at the Hyatt's restaurant, which intially looked incredibly expensive for average food, except it turned out that they had a "teriyaki buffet" for $22 that, well:



I was pleasant surprised, considering how much of a hipster foodie snob I am. They also had a dessert bar with cheesecake, which is an excellent way to my heart.

After another brief rest in the room, we headed out to a succession of room parties that lasted the rest of the night, though with one nice interruption. A friend I met in elementary school and have talked to sporadically in the years since then messaged me to let me know that he'd be in Red Bar meeting with some people he knew, and having picked up that I was at ACEN based on my Facebook posts, he asked if we wanted to meet up for a drink.

And we did, and despite all the comments I make about being aloof and having trouble with small talk and blah blah blah, we had no trouble keeping a conversation going despite not really talking in depth since middle school. He also sold us on Wizard World, and while I'm not sure we're going to make it this year due to its proximity, though we might go for the day on Saturday, but we'll certainly try to get there in the future. I've been leery of going to comic conventions, just because I know so little about comics--I had to ask [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd who the Avengers were--but since so much of ACEN was us talking to friends, Wizard World or the various other cons in Chicago could easily be the same thing. And maybe I'd learn something and no longer be a comic Fake Geek Guy.

After a nice conversation and a following succession of room parties and meeting with friends, we elected to skip the rave and the various events happening late at night and went to bed at 12:30.

Sunday
We woke up late and missed the panels we wanted to go to again, including one called "ACEN over 30," which I suspect was placed at 9:15 a.m. because all of us old-timers can't stay up raving until 5 a.m. like the kiddies can. But we slept past it, and after cleaning our room and checking out, we headed down to the dealer's room for one last look around and I managed to find an 8-bit heart keychain. Then we went back to the AMV room, found it was closed, and with nothing further to do and feeling pretty tired, we headed out to the Blue Line and went home.


I'm not sure I'm really the audience for ACEN anymore. I think in the last year we've watched...maybe a dozen episodes of anime, and quite possibly less, because I don't remember when we finished Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It's not that I dislike it or anything, it's just that there's so many things competing for my attention that it tends to fall into a lower tier. I didn't even attend any panels this year other than the one that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I presented.

Despite that, I'm probably going to still keep coming, because it's a great excuse to see people and catch up. Even if I'm not happily going to the various panels and dancing for hours, there's enough there to keep me interested. Maybe we'll even do more panels. I don't care about all the fan panels that take up a big chunk of the schedule, but living in Japan for years does give us a perspective that I suspect a lot of the attendees for ACEN wish they had.

Oh, and cosplay I liked:


Probably the most accurate Sephiroth I've ever seen. Ah, those early Playstation graphics.


Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite games, and this is one of my favorite cosplays.


I'm [personal profile] dorchadas and this is my favorite Mass Effect cosplay at ACEN.


I didn't actually see this guy, I just grabbed the photo from Twitter. But that's awesome.
dorchadas: (Gendowned)


I've read plenty of articles lately about how being busy isn't really that great, and how people will complain about they have too much to do as a humblebrag to show how important they are and how much people like them and want to associate with them, and while I am slightly worried that this will come off that way, anyone who's interacted with me will know that being busy and having lots of stuff going on are pretty much complete anathema to me. I value free time really highly, but this week, for the first time in a long time, I ended up with something to do every night this week.

I'll provide them in handy list form.

  • Monday: First Seder. This one ran long, and I was sitting next to someone who...shall we say, tested my patience. I almost pulled a kirby and flipped the table, but we eventually escaped and went home, and then I had to go straight to bed in order to get up for work in the morning. So that set a bad tone for the week already.

  • Tuesday: Second Seder. It was much more subdued than First Seder and didn't fray my nerves nearly as much, but--in a tone that continues through this list--it was another full night taken up by an event. Still, after this one we got home and I had half an hour to rest before I had to go to bed, so that was nice.

  • Wednesday: Dinner at Sunshine Cafe with a friend who's leaving Chicago at the beginning of next month. This was nice and relaxing, but took up most of the night since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I walked to the restaurant and walked back, which took a while. The weather's getting better, at least.

  • Thursday: My ORE Fallout game I'm running for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and a friend. They looted a hospital west of Wrigleyville and found a bunch of unspoiled drugs and stimpaks, which they're planning to haul back and use for bargaining material. If they can get them back with no complications... >_> That took up the whole night.

  • Friday: [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I had a friend over for dinner. Again, in isolation it was great, but after every night previously being taken up by something happening it added fuel to the fire.

  • Saturday: Third Seder. Not an official event, but this was when [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, some other friends we know from her grad school, and I all had a seder together. At least I got some time to rest earlier in the day before we went over for the Seder, though [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd didn't really because she had to spend a lot of time cooking. We also had to turn down another invitation from some other friends to a housewarming due to the conflict, and by the time the Seder was over, we were too full of dessert, wine, and brisket to make it out again.

  • Sunday: Easter brunch at another friend's house. It was a bit difficult to get to, and then i decided to walk home because I needed to get the steps in. I ended up super-tired after I got home, and almost fell asleep lying on the floor, which is really unusual for me. It's why we had to turn down an invitation from [livejournal.com profile] tropicanaomega to attend an Easter dinner and egg-painting at her house.

All of those were fine in isolation, but stacking them all together like that... I was wondering why I was so incredibly tired today, and it might be because I walked for an hour home from Easter brunch in the sunlight--sunlight tends to leave me drained if I spend too much time in it--but it might just because I didn't really have much time to myself this week.

Next week looks to be much better on that score, though. Date night with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd on Monday, and dinner with friends on Wednesday, and a VNV Nation concert on Saturday, but so far that's it. That's a bit more like what I'm used to.
dorchadas: (Perfection)
That was the hashtag that was apparently decided on by the participants.

Yesterday was [livejournal.com profile] tropicanaomega and her fiance's wedding. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I arrived late thanks to having failed to correctly predict traffic and, not being sportsball fans, not realizing there was a Cubs game that would foul things up. Also, a bus was late, which added ten minutes to our arrival time right there. We assumed that it would be like most social events and start slightly late due to last-minute difficulties that would crop up before hand and have to be fixed, but it was much better-planned than I was expecting and started apparently a little early. When we arrived, there were some people waiting out in the hallway who mentioned that the door opened almost directly onto the front of the auditorium. After a brief argument with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd about the propriety of just barging in, I just barged in--well, barged in quietly--and came in during the solemnization, so at least we didn't miss the important part!

The ceremony was quite short. We were only maybe five minutes late, and it was over a few minutes after we arrived.

The bridesmaid/groomsmen speeches were a nice insight into the past, because [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I were in Japan for quite a while and missed a lot of the context for [livejournal.com profile] tropicanaomega and her S.O. meeting. Apparently, he was originally spoken of as "that jerk at work," and it turned into one of those situations where everyone else is just waiting for the...whatever the happy version of "for the hammer to fall" is. For the rocket to take off? That would fit the wedding's theme. Anyway, by the time we moved back, when we came into Chicago looking for an apartment and called [livejournal.com profile] tropicanaomega to see if she wanted to get dinner while we were in the city, she asked us if it was okay for her to bring her new boyfriend. And, well, it all worked out wonderfully.

The reception was in the same building, with a great view of the Chicago skyline as the sun set behind us after we moved upstairs from the wedding area to the reception hall. The reception was nice, with a lot of small cozy tables that were sci-fi ship themed:


I haven't played Final Fantasy VII, but I can't complain too much about that one. If I had a complaint at all, it'd be that I didn't get sat at the Epoch.

Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] tropicanaomega's dress was fantastic. It had a high collar that made her look like a space princess, and having seen it now I'm pretty sure there was nothing else that would have been more suitable. Edit: Now with pictoral evidence!:


In more personal news, I revealed to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd another one of the secrets I've been keeping for a while. I posted on Facebook that "If I can kill Super Mutants to it, I can dance to it," but I hadn't told [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd that I had taken swing dance lessons a long, long time ago, back when the swing craze was in full swing. Not very many, it's true, and not for very long, and at this point it was almost 20 years ago, but I at least remember enough not to fall over and to be able to keep my feet in place and swing [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd around. I pulled off a dip, too, though not as gracefully as I might have liked. And it was fun. Maybe I should give in and attend those dance lessons.

[personal profile] fiendishfanfares and her husband were there too, which caught me by surprise even though in retrospect it was totally obvious that they would come. It was nice to see them again, now that we're all old and scattered to the winds and only unite for major social events like this.

So yay. Mazel tov!
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to a games party at a friend's today, and because we showed up late, everyone was already involved in a game by the time we got there. Well, everyone but us and our host that is, so while I poured myself a drink, she and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd picked out some game called Sanitarium that our host had backed on Kickstarter.

The basic premise is that everyone plays a person who wakes up in an insane asylum in the middle of a psychotic break, and thus with no idea of who they are or how they got there, and has to regain their senses and find their Safe Items (number determined by the number of players) to get out of the asylum. The asylum is built out of a deck as the game is played, and each card that's not a room is both a hallway and an item or event--players who are in the hallway can search them to pick up the card and then replace it with a new hallway from the deck.


There are various scenario cards that set the starting conditions, how quickly new rooms and hallways come out of the deck, what the players have to do to win (co-op vs. competitive, individual vs. group escape), and so on. Each player has a character card that lists the actions they can perform (move, search rooms, place a new room, try to shake off their madness, and so on), with one side for when they're suffering from hallucinations and the other side for when they're in their right mind. Meanwhile, there are Shadows that are spawned in the Dark Hallways that seek out the players and attack them. Well, sometimes, because a Shadow coming into contact with a player just requires a Horror check (2d6, beat a number). The uncertainty is probably supposed to represent the moments in horror films where the protagonists start panicking as they think they're about to be attacked but it turns out that they're jumping at...well, at shadows.

Okay, one thing I have to say after this is that my review may or may not be useful or even correct because we found the rules to be incredibly confusing. For example, the actual rule for Shadows and horror checks is apparently that the difficulty of the Horror check is based on the total number of Dark Hallways in the game, but I believe that the scenario card we started with (co-op, individual escape) specified a difficulty, so we went with that until we found another rule in the rulebooks. Yes, rulebooks--there was the original rulebook and scenario card that came with the game, and then there was a v1.1 that was sent out the kickstarter backers, but they didn't cover all the same subjects and weren't organized the same and it was quite difficult to tell what parts of the original rules we were supposed to replace with the new ones and which ones could remain as is.

Another example of how we screwed up was with the placing of rooms. Originally, we were only placing down new rooms if we were specifically doing the Expand action, but then we learned that we were supposed to place a room before each player took one of their turns, which would have made it significantly easier to run from the Shadows at the beginning of the game even though we also missed an rule that on an each players turn all Shadows moved two spaces toward them. Constantly referencing different rules books and the scenario card to try to figure out how things worked was probably a quarter of our game time, and I think Sanitarium would really benefit from a unified v1.2 rules or someone writing a single rules reference sheet.

Once we figured those rules out, though, the game started to hum. The Shadows moving toward the active player and the necessity of us to find our Safe Items caused us to resort to the classic horror cliche of everyone splitting up even though we wanted to stick together--though that's another example of a confusing rule. The original scenario card said that Shadows can't hurt a player in the same room as another player, but the revised one said that the player whose turn it is picks one of the players to be attacked. That was another rule we missed for a bit.

Sanitarium was pretty fun even with all the confusion, but unfortunately I can't provide an accurate review. I'm not even sure if we were playing it correctly after we figured out the rules, and the ending was even more confusing than the beginning. When the draw deck runs out, then every time a card should be drawn, one of the hallways or rooms is removed from the board, and any player who has no way to get back to the foyer is trapped forever in the Sanitarium. There were other rules that were supposed to take place too, based on switching to the Desperation side of the scenario card...but the original scenario card didn't have a Desperation side, and some of the new scenario card's rules were an odd fit with the other mechanics we thought we were supposed to be using (edit: As an example of the problems with the rules layout, there was nothing to distinguish the new rules from the old ones, so half the time I don't know which set of rules we were using). I'm not sure if that's the reason we easily won was because we had properly planned before the Desperation phase and were able to pull through or because we didn't correctly ramp up the danger. There was some reference to Shadows attacking more often or collecting Shadow tokens or something, but there wasn't anything like that in the revised rules I had, and we only had two Desperation phase turns anyway.

Also, a lot of the strategy and Event cards seemed based on screwing over the other players, as does the fact that people can choose where to move the Shadows on their turn after the initial Shadow movement toward them, but since we were playing co-op none of that came up and we just ended up trading in Thief and Dazed and Stunned cards in to recover our sanity, which made the game a lot easier. I suspect if we had been saving those cards to play on each other, then the game would have come a lot closer to the wire and the Desperation phase might actually have been desperate. If you play it, I suggest you spend a bit more pre-game time trying to read and integrate the rules into a coherent whole and play a competitive scenario so you get the full range of what the game has to offer.
dorchadas: (Not the Tale)
Let's talk about the last year!

I guess the biggest change from the perspective of this blog is that I started actually posting here again. I got inspired by RPGs--as is often the case, I admit--and started my Dungeons & Design series, and I think it was mostly the fact of posting those that got me into the habit of posting about other subjects. There are other factors too, like how I have enough down time here and there at work that I can write posts in notepad, send them home, and then post them. I also stopped friend-locking everything and started defaulting to public posts, even when they're about my life. It's essentially security through apathy--I can see how many people visit my blog, and on an average day it's a couple dozen. I post all these updates to Facebook and Twitter and the truth is that most people don't care. That may be a little sad, but it certainly tells me that the excessive care I was taking about talking about anything remotely personal is unwarranted. Whatever I say will mostly just get lost in the flow of the internet anyway, unless people are specifically looking to read it.

I was hoping that we'd be paid back by at least one of the people who owed us money this year, but it didn't happen. Aggressively didn't happen, in the case of the Japanese Pension Office. Or perhaps passive-aggressively? Regardless, it led to some tight moments at times, especially during the summer, though I do admit that some of that is because I refuse to touch the principal. Now that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has a steady paycheck from her internship everything is okay, though I admit my grasping miserliness does mean I'm less happy with our finances that their absolute quality should lead me to be, but overall it's been on an upward trend. And maybe someone will actually pay us this year. A man can dream.

Work continues much the same as it has been. I had my annual review and did better than I did last year, and my job's bureaucracy and policies means that I'll get an automatic raise and a yearly bonus commensurate with my performance. It's theoretically possible that we won't get the bonus, since the amount and whether it occurs at all is based on the AMA's overall performance during the year, but I haven't heard of anything that would indicate that it's not coming. Even if it doesn't, I'll still get the raise. The benefits of working for a non-profit with no shareholders!

In terms of personal improvement, I took up programming! I originally thought about doing it back in May and was given a lot of resources, and later took a Coursera course that I wrote all about. I've even seen found an implementation of Python for the iPad, and since I have my iPad with me all the time at work, I can get that and then have time to bash my head against programs at work as well as at home! Indeed, during my interview for the job I was asked if I knew anything about HTML or programming and I had to say that I did not, so if I can actually learn programming to a useful level I can hopefully get a promotion. The end project was an implementation of Asteroids, and I'd love to do a lot more to work on it than I had to do for the class to keep my hand in, but what I did accomplish is reasonably impressive, I think.

Also, studied Japanese, but on that subject I'm less confident. I maintained my ability, and that's about it.

Last year, I told myself that if I maintained the weight I had reached in August (~77 kg) for a whole year, I'd go get my wedding ring resized because it's rather large now and I'm kind of worried that it will slip off at some point. Well...I did maintain my weight, but I didn't actually get the ring resized--see the above-mentioned grasping miserliness. I also linked up my new iPhone's M7 chip with LoseIt and started tracking my steps and apparently my average number of steps per day is...5,218. Out of the 10K that's recommended. Exercise is healthy basically no matter what, and getting that number up is something I'd like to improve on in the future, but so far I'm doing pretty well on that front.

Oh, also I'm Jewish now. That's pretty big, I guess. I wrote a lot more about my feelings at the time at the linked blogpost, and since then...yeah. It was the right decision.

I made much more of an effort to be social in 2013. In 2012, I think I had the tendency to hermit a lot more, turning down people's invitations and not really inviting anyone over to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and my apartment. I'm not sure what exactly it was. It might have been some remaining difficulty with adjusting to the pace of social life in America vs. what it had been like in Japan, maybe some Anxiety Cat--there's a really old one that I thought fit me really well that said something like "too nervous to talk to people, come off as arrogant or standoffish"--maybe just my typical introverted personality, but this year I tried to avoid falling into the trap of staying home all the time. I like to think I succeeded, or at least reasonably well. And it turns out that traveling out to other places isn't really that bad, even on a work night. I tend to apply the maxim "past performance is no indication of future results" to social events if I'm not careful, in the sense that sure I had fun the last time I went to a party, and the time before that, and probably the time before that...but what about this time!?!? That's not a productive attitude to take, honestly. So this year, I made sure to try to shut that off at the pass. Once I get out of the house, then inertia takes over and I'm not exactly going to turn around halfway there. And it turns out that my friends are awesome people and fun to be around to an extent that far outweighs the annoyance of having to change my physical location. Who would have thought, right? Obviously, this has always been true, but it's convincing that little voice that's the trick, and in 2013 I beat it into submission. Or at least, I inflicted grevious wounds.

All in all, it's been a pretty fantastic year, and I'm looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

I realize that posting song lyrics is incredibly emo and so early-2000s as to be aggressively unhip, but it's pseudo-tradition for me, so:

A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin'
Now the days go by so fast
And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven...I wish you would
The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl
And it's one more day up in the canyons
And it's one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California...I think you should
Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her
And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean...I guess I should...
dorchadas: (Great Old Ones)
Last weekend I went to a board game night at Cori's place, and most of it was spent either playing Fluxx or Mansions of Madness.

Fluxx was Fluxx. If you've played it, you know what I mean. Whoever brought it had all the expansions, so there were some things that I hadn't really dealt with before--the "Radioactive Potato" card that bans its owner from winning was new to me--but the basic concept wasn't any different, and it's still just as ridiculous and random as it ever was.

Mansions of Madness was a game I've heard about but hadn't played before, and also I keep confusing it with Maniac Mansion and expecting there to be evil plants and microwaving hamsters, but it's actually a more straightforward Cthulhu-esque game. It's a bit like a combination of Betrayal at the House on the Hill in that there are scenarios and the board is assembled beforehand, but it's different in that there are only a handful of scenarios. I think they said it was four in the main game, plus they had an expansion that was drawing material from Dreams in the Witch House, which is the one we played. Note that we did not get through the scenario.

I wrote a while back about playing Elder Sign, and my problem there was that it all felt way too random. That game's structure was "Move to node, roll dice, pray, repeat," which didn't leave me feeling like there was much I could do to affect the course of the game. Mansions of Madness has a map instead of a series of nodes, which already increases the need for tactical thinking, and it also has all the interesting item locations revealed before the game begins. Scenarios have a series of "clues" that need to be discovered, and there's a time limit imposed by the actions the Keeper takes and the counter that counts down to various events that occur, leading to a need to strategize your movements and making splitting up vs. staying together an actual choice.

I actually suspect the Keeper is a lot of the reason I thought Mansions of Madness was better, for much the same reason that human opponents are better than computer opponents at providing a challenge in computer games. Relying entirely on randomness can be a lot of fun if you have a good content generator, as the myriad of roguelikes can attest to, but it can also feel random, unfair, and pointless, as the myriad of roguelikes can attest to.

As I said, we didn't finish, but I could kind of see where it was going. The Keeper used his Threat tokens to summon cultists who sacrificed themselves to summon Hounds of Tindalos, each of which required multiple actions from the investigators to kill. Once those started popping up, the clock started ticking as we began running around looking for other clues while fighting monsters.

It is kind of a parody of a Call of Cthulhu game, though. Investigators hurl themselves at a ton of monsters in a Mythos hoe-down, and dead investigators are replaced by random bystanders who happen to show up at the haunted mansion at the most opportune time. In an RPG I'd be annoyed if I hadn't signed up for it, but as a limited focus for a board game it works pretty well.

Unfortunately, since we only got through part of the scenario--it's one of those games that takes a long time to set up, plus it has to be explained, and the human opponent means the Keeper often took a bit to contemplate his actions--I can't really speak to the totality of the pacing and how well the race works all the way to the ending nor whether tactics get thrown out the window at any point. I would definitely play it again, though, and that puts it one up on Elder Sign for me. However, I still think Betrayal at the House on the Hill is better. Betrayal is perfect at emulating the feel of a horror movie, where a bunch of people break into a haunted house and start exploring and running into creepy things until all of a sudden all hell breaks loose and they frantically have to fix things. Mansions of Madness isn't really that good at emulating a Lovecraft story, though I suppose it's not that bad at emulating a Call of Cthulhu story, like John Tynes' fun adventure I talked about here. Maybe it's more Derlethian. If one of the scenarios ends with nuking Cthuhlu...

Man, I write a lot of reviews lately. It is a good way to stay writing even though my life is more routine than it once was, I suppose.

Labor Day

Sep. 2nd, 2013 09:56 pm
dorchadas: (For the Horde!)
Our landlord's wife randomly invited us to a Labor Day barbeque when she stopped by to pick up the rent, which caught me by surprise. I've already written about how odd I find it that people from work friend each other on Facebook, and going to a social event with the landlord strikes me as that times ten or more. As it turns out, though, it's probably just social anxiety and paranoia, because we went and it was fine. [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou did more talking than I did, but that was less an artifact of the situation and more an artifact of our personalities. It's just risk aversion and overvaluing the familiar. I always think that the risk of going out is worse than staying inside and having less fun than I would have by going out, and it happens time and time again even when experience proves it wrong, because human beings are incapable of rationality.

Anyway, we chatted with people and it was fun.

One notable thing that happened: I tried sauerkraut for the first time. Yes, despite living in or near Chicago for the majority of my life, I'd never had it before. My landlord made a bunch, so I'm not sure how close his recipe is to anything considered traditional, but the strangest thing to me is that it was sweet. I'd always expected it to be sour, as the name would imply, but not this time. So while I thought it was quite tasty, maybe I can't say whether I like sauerkraut after all.

I'll have more tomorrow about the trip I took to the suburbs this weekend. I have a few entries in the pipeline, actually, but I haven't started one and I'm having a hard time thinking of of how to write the other one.
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
So, last weekend [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and had another party finally! And true to form, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd couldn't decide on a day to hold it, and so I picked the weekend, and then it rained. Of course. If we had had the party on Sunday, it would have been a brilliant sunny day, and then we could have gone on our two-hour-long walk to get a new keyboard on Saturday instead, when it was probably ~8 degrees cooler and cloudy. Then again, maybe I wouldn't have spilled chrysanthemum liqueur on my keyboard if we had it on Sunday and we wouldn't have had to go for a walk at all on Saturday, which if you notice, would have been anticausal anyway.

I missed out on playing Betrayal at the House on the Hill, but I did get to try Elder Sign and...I thought it was pretty terrible, honestly. It was pure Ameritrash--a very strong theme, of investigators trapped in a museum and hurling themselves at the terrible horror from beyond the stars (the King in Yellow, in our case), but with mechanics that are kind of forced through the round hole to fit the theme. I mean, I suppose all of your actions being at the whim of the pitiless hand of the RNG does fit Lovecraft's uncaring universe and the lack of any special place for mankind, but I felt like there was very little I could do that would actually affect the outcome of the game other than occasionally add a couple more dice into the pool. And even that wasn't always good, because those dice were supposed to be more favorable results, and thus didn't have the tentacles "Terror" icon, but sometimes there were locations that required multiple Terror results and the extra dice didn't do any good. The strategy relied on determining where to allocate the results of dice after they were rolled, which is strategic, yes, but it wasn't very satisfying.

It was described to me as Arkham Horror-lite, which if that's true, makes me glad I've never played Arkham Horror. I'll stick to games like Android.

Unfortunately, as I said, I managed to spill alcohol on my keyboard, and despite [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's heroic and nearly-successful attempts to repair it, it was too far gone. She managed to get some of the keys to work again, but there were still about half of them that were broken, including both enter keys, and the second attempt to fix all those caused it to give up the ghost completely. Fortunately, in a burst of foresight two years ago, I had deliberately bought a $19.99 keyboard, reasoning that before mechanically failure hit I would spill something on it and ruin it. And what do you know...

Anyway, we ended up going on a two-hour walk trying to find a new keyboard. First to Target, which had a spot for the wired keyboards but nothing actually in stock, and then to Radio Shack, except Google Maps listed them as seven blocks south of where they actually were, so we had to walk that distance and then all the way back home. On the other hand, we did pass by Golden Pacific, which is good because we needed another bag of rice, and because I got to walk through Little Saigon around Argyle Street. As I told my father when I called him for Father's Day, I was walking through a place where I looked different than the average person, I couldn't understand most of what people were saying, and I couldn't read half the signs. I felt right at home.

We'll have to go back. There were a ton of restaurants I didn't know were there that we have to try.
dorchadas: (Default)
We spent Christmas with [livejournal.com profile] libbymae and her husband down on Innoshima, which looks nearly the same as Chiyoda if you ignore the ocean. After forgetting my laptop back in Hiroshima, returning to get it, coming back and nearly falling asleep on the bus and ending up in Shikoku, the rest of the weekend proceeded quite smoothly. Christmas dinner especially was excellent--my favorite part was the vegetable quiche-like dish, though I don't remember its actual ingredients so I can't really give any hint of how to replicate it here. The chicken was good as well, stuffed with lemon but otherwise unseasoned. There was some kind of cheesy cauliflower dish, but I'm not a fan of cauliflower so I didn't eat it. The gluten-free lemon cheesecake was also amazing, and I kind of regretted eating so much chicken because I couldn't eat any more than a single slice of cheesecake.

We also watched a couple movies. One was Miracle on 34th Street, which I had never seen, and I guess technically I still haven't because I was starving halfway through (dinner was at about 3 p..m) so I walked out to the conbini to get some food. As it was a 20 minute walk, I missed everything after the Santa guy gets committed. The other movie we saw was Muppet Christmas Carol, which is probably my favorite Christmas movie (if I could be said to have one) of all time.

Maybe the most memorable part was on the way back from getting my laptop. I had gotten off at the first stop, 10 minutes from the bus center, and ridden the subway back. The problem was, the ticket to Innoshima cost \2000, and I didn't want to buy another one after I had barely used the one I had. So what did I do? Well...I gaijin smashed it. When the guy on the next bus stepped off, I stepped forward (about a head taller than him) and thrust the ticket at him. He took it reflexively, with a somewhat dazed look on his face, and stamped it, so I bowed slightly to him and got on the bus. Of course, due to the aforementioned nearly missing my stop, it didn't all turn out so smooth in the end, but that's 2000円 I can spent on buta kimchi cup noodles instead of another ticket.
dorchadas: (Ping Kills)
Redneck gifts? )

Intra-Ivy League snobbery? )

It's snowing now. Theoretically, anyway. I got a warning of 2-4 inches by tonight, but while the sky is the color of impending snow there's nothing falling as of yet. I hope it stays that way, since I have to go teach EFL tonight.

On Sunday, [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou will have been married for six months. Time flies. ^_^
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
And I'm sure some of my friends will start posting wedding pictures soon enough with fun captions, like "u has a flavor *num num num*" for the kiss and "noooo, they be stealin' my cake!" for when [livejournal.com profile] t3chnomag3 ganked a huge piece of my cheesecake.

For those of you who weren't there, the wedding went off with only one hitch--the rabbi was late. He gave an excellent ceremony though, and managed to slip in a comment about having red-haired children during his address to the couple at the end. The weather was perfect. No cicadas, totally blue sky (leading to a couple sunburns, though) and no wind, so none of the problems that we had all the rest of this week. And even though we were unmiked and the guests were a ways away, everyone could hear us.

Our vows, for those who missed them )

The reception always went really well, and thank you for everyone who came and also, thank you for everyone who left a gift. More specific thank yous will be going out after we get back from our honeymoon :)
dorchadas: (Gendowned)
This is partially an update and partially a test of my new userpic :-p

We've picked out a time and a place for the wedding. We should be sending out invitations within the next month or so. It depends entirely on how much of my/our time is taken up with NaNoing and filling out our JET applications. Speaking of which, I need to work on my essay...

NaNo is going well. Up to 13K words on day 6. I'll be done with plenty of time to spare if I keep my current pace. I might even finish my novel, which would be amazing.

Life is good. I like it that way.
dorchadas: (For the Horde!)
It's been a while since I updated, but really, "Hi, here's more of the same" isn't that interesting. At least now I have stuff to say.

Tonight was my sister's 21st birthday. She didn't do anything real exciting for it, though. She got four purses, including two Kate Spade bags. I guess it's useful for accessorizing...but four? Plus all the purses she already has? Ah well, it's not my presents, so she can do what she wants. We went out to Don Manuel's, an upscale Mexican restaurant in Batavia. The spinach enchiladas were soooooo good. Mostly cheese, but still good. Actually, that's probably why they were so good.

The Fourth of July was awesome. No swimming this year (the pool was mostly filled with children), but I hung out in the hot tub AND, for the first year ever, actually managed to get some of the shish-kebobs. And, as I heard, they were excellent. I've got to learn how to make them myself--it doesn't seem that hard.

One month left until Otakon. Woo!
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
LARP stuff )

I like Knox parties. Party with a Heart On was fun--they played more than the profusion of R&B that they had on last time, so I enjoyed dancing more, and even though I felt sickish and sleepy at the end, I still went home happy. Yay! I just have one question: where does the phrase "hug dancing" come from?

Killing zombies is always politically correct. This is what Resident Evil has taught me. Also, none of the malls around here have single gloves. Maybe people only lose gloves in pairs?

I had a lot more to write, but now I can't remember it. Maybe it will come back later.
dorchadas: (Ping Kills)
Well, his name may not have been Steve, but he certainly stabbed the guy. Here's the backstory.

On Saturday night, [livejournal.com profile] sephimb, [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou, myself and a whole bunch of people I barely know went out for [livejournal.com profile] ashiri_chan's birthday to Joe's, the bar right next to her apartment. We all stuck around for a while, until eventually [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and I decided to head back. We went back to Ash's apartment, and [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou ran the key back and I let her in. About 45 minutes later, [livejournal.com profile] sephimb came back, and about 10 minutes after that, everyone came back. Apparently, there had been a barfight, someone got stabbed, and they threw everyone out. O_o That is about all I know, though. I wasn't there and it's pretty hard to get facts out of drunk people.

The weekend was fun, though! The only problem with writing about my weekends is that they don't tend to consist of anything that observers would find fun to read.

Except the stabbing, of course.

Also, this is interesting. Though it also looks kind of old.
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
That's one of the lines from Reefer Madness: the Musical, which I watched with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and a bunch of her suitemates on Saturday. It was hilarious. I liked it enough that I'm seriously considering getting a copy myself. It follows the original pretty closely, even using the same lines in some cases, but also manages to incorporate a Jesus dance number, zombies, Communism, and, of course, music. If you get the chance, watch it!

I beat Xenosaga. It was, perhaps, the most non-final ending ever. I leave the game only slightly less confused as I started, so don't ask me to explain the plot to you. And from what I hear, Xenosaga II doesn't do much to clear up all that confusion. I'll still play it, but...

I was invited to go watch Neverending Story at two of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's friends' apartment on Friday night. We created a drinking game--any time anyone said "Bastion," "The Nothing," "Atreiyu," "The [Childlike] Empress," or there was a transition between the real world and Fantasia. Needless to say, we stopped playing about halfway through the movie :-p We also had chips, which were really good. Thanks for inviting me (even though the people who did aren't reading this)!

LARP was slow. I showed up late and left early, though the leaving early was due to in-game reasons (raid/recon on Sabbat house). Ciarán is getting much more interesting now that he's actually involved in the plot. It almost makes me not want to switch over to that Assamite Sorcerer. Almost. Anyway, there's a new Prince, and in true Ciarán fashion, he already doesn't trust him due to a comment about 99% of a vampire's life being manipulation. It's true, but the fact that the Prince was willing to say it outright was a mark against him. I also got involved in a discussion about the nature of vampirism (rising above the Beast vs. always remembering you're a predator). It was pretty interesting, and I wish it happened like that more often.

Next weekend--Stepmania at DDR night!

Edit: Oh, an anonymous caller called into the Beacon today and said they really liked my columns. Yay fans!
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
I cleaned my room! There is nothing on the floor anymore, my bookshelves are neat and tidy and everything is visible (no more two-rows deep to hold all the books). Now I just have to vacuum and dust more. The shelves and the dresser are dusted, but there are probably other places that need it.

My visit with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was quite long (eight days), and a lot of stuff happened that isn't that exciting to recount, as is usual. Mostly just playing games, her knitting while I played games, me reading while she played games, and so on, so I will recount the highlights here.

The first highlight--and the one that made me feel kind of bad--is that her family got me Christmas/Chanukah presents. Several of them, actually. A wok set, including four rice bowls and four sets of chopsticks, four miso bowls, and a metric fuckload of candy, including neat stuff like ginger candy and muscat gummies (whatever the hell those are). Oh, and gelt. The reason I felt bad is because I wasn't expecting nearly that much (and it's not counting what [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd got me). I got them Frango mints, which were worth perhaps a bit more than usual due to Marshall Field's being bought by Macy's, but still--it's just mints. Then again, they probably didn't expect anything, so...

I beat Halo. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's brother owns an X-box, so I figured it was my chance. I can see why people liked it so much (and I do want to go back and try it on Legendary now...), but it wasn't the BEST FPS EVAR like I've heard. The quotes from the Covenant were hilarious, though, and I now have a better background on Red vs. Blue. Slightly. One more gamer milestone down.

As my previous post mentioned, I managed to avoid getting horribly burned on New Year's. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to one of her friend's family farm for a party, and when midnight rolled around, we decided to set off fireworks. Unfortunately, one of the fireworks did not go up before it exploded. No one was seriously hurt, and only one person was even hit, and it was only a glancing blow that led to a scorched jacket and singed hair. An enormous green spark went by about six inches from my head, though. It was very exciting, for a moment.

We played Karaoke Revolution, too! I have discovered I'm pretty good, as long as I don't sing funk. I totally lack any ability to sing funk, which I guess should not be that surprising.

We saw Memoirs of a Geisha in the theatre...which was okay. I didn't like it that much. It was incredibly pretty (and Zhang Zi Yi is hot), but...that's all it was. I didn't get any sort of feeling of emotion from the movie, no matter what happened on the screen. The book was much better at evoking emotion, at least from me.

And we watched a bunch of anime and hung out. It was wonderful ^_^

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