another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My Voice on the Interwebs!

As mentioned in my Gencon report, I read at this year's Knights of the Dinner Table live reading. A snippet of that performance, as well as other highlights of the live reading, is available on the Kenzer web site in the "Radio Free KODT" section. Go to this link, scroll down to Podcast .75 for the live reading. My part starts at 22:29 (I'm the first voice after that point, reading B.A.'s part (the DM)), and it's only about a minute long. Too bad, because the whole thing was probably 10 or 15 minutes long, but they squeezed the 2.5 hour session into a half-hour podcast.

Other than that, other stuff has also been happening. Follow the "Read More" link for other miscellaneous stuff.

I went to two Cubs games games in a row, Sunday and Monday, with my brother Bob. Sunday was a close game for most of it, then the Cubs scored eight runs in the bottom of the seventh to blow it open - 14-3. Monday was the opposite, the Cubs gave up six runs in the second and two more in the third, so it felt like a blow-out throughout, even though the Cubs scored a few runs scattered through the game and actually got the tying run up to bat. They lost 9-6, and it didn't feel that close.

Tuesday night I ran the Living Kalamar module "Hide and Go Seek" online. It went pretty well for most of it, but the ending frustrates the hell out of every player I've talked to about it, and there's a cert virtually guaranteed to screw one player at each table. I did tweak the mod a little bit, and the players said they liked my tweak, but I can't do anything about the ending.

Tonight, I got my weekly comics then went for an eye exam and ordered new glasses, since Matt and Ellen both thought I should get smaller lenses to fit better with my new shaved look. I needed new glasses anyway because my current ones are scratched and pitted a bit, and it's been 20 months since I had an exam. I think these old glasses are nearly 3 years old anyway, as after my last exam I just bought sunglasses.

I then filled my gas tank with $3.099/gallon gas at Citgo. The BP across the street was the same price, but the Jewel down the block was only $2.95 (for crap gas). But Meijer had the price listed as $3.30!

I expect the price will get higher for a while until they figure out and work around the loss of production caused by Hurricane Katrina. Having seen the pictures and heard the stories from New Orleans and Biloxi, we're getting off very, very easy, so I can't even begin to complain about gas prices.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Song Meme, via Norton

I'm waiting for a compile, so in the meantime I got this meme from Mike Norton's "Miraclo Miles". From the 100 top pop songs of the year you graduated high school, which do you like, which do you not like? You can see Mike's list from 1979, and where he got the meme from at his blog site (find the link to "Miraclo Miles" on the right).

My list, from 1976, is in the "Read More!" section.

Here's the instructions:

First, go to

Enter the year you graduated high school into the search engine. (In my case 1976)

Click on the "Top 100 Hits of XXXX" link, and copy the list.

Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't care about, and I italicized the one I don't remember. I also added my own comments in the list in red.

And now, the 100 top hits of 1976:

1. Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney and Wings
2. Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Elton John and Kiki Dee
3. Disco Lady, Johnnie Taylor
4. December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night), Four Seasons
5. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry - only as intro to Craig Kilbourne
6. Kiss And Say Goodbye, Manhattans
7. Love Machine (Part 1), The Miracles
8. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon - one of the very few Paul Simon solo songs i don't much care about
9. Love Is Alive, Gary Wright
10. A Fifth Of Beethoven, Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band
11. Sara Smile, Daryl Hall and John Oates
12. Afternoon Delight, Starland Vocal Band - Oh God, the pain! But the "Arrested Development" episode by the same name is hilarious and oh so wrong!
13. I Write The Songs, Barry Manilow - Surprisingly, no strike-through
14. Fly, Robin, Fly, Silver Convention
15. Love Hangover, Diana Ross
16. Get Close, Seals and Crofts
17. More, More, More, Andrea True Connection
18. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
19. Misty Blue, Dorothy Moore
20. Boogie Fever, Sylvers
21. I'd Really Love To See You Tonight, England Dan and John Ford Coley
22. You Sexy Thing, Hot Chocolate
23. Love Hurts, Nazareth
24. Get Up And Boogie, Silver Convention
25. Take It To The Limit, Eagles
26. (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, K.C. and The Sunshine Band
27. Sweet Love, Commodores
28. Right Back Where We Started From, Maxine Nightingale
29. Theme From "S.W.A.T", Rhythm Heritage
30. Love Rollercoaster, Ohio Players
31. You Should Be Dancing, Bee Gees
32. You'll Never Find Antoher Love Like Mine, Lou Rawls
33. Golden Years, David Bowie
34. Moonlight Feels Right, Starbuck
35. Only Sixteen, Dr. Hook
36. Let Your Love Flow, Bellamy Brothers
37. Dreamweaver, Gary Wright
38. Turn The Beat Around, Vicki Sue Robinson
39. Lonely Night (Angel Face), The Captain and Tennille
40. All By Myself, Eric Carmen - Make it stop!
41. Love To Love You Baby, Donna Summer
42. Deep Purple, Donny and Marie Osmond - Some things I'm sure are better forgotten
43. Theme From "Mahogany", Diana Ross
44. Sweet Thing, Rufus
45. That's The Way I Like It, K.C. and The Sunshine Band
46. A Little Bit More, Dr. Hook
47. Shannon, Henry Gross
48. If You Leave Me Now, Chicago
49. Lowdown, Boz Scaggs - This is awfully close to being marked bold, but not quite
50. Show Me The Way, Peter Frampton
51. Dream On, Aerosmith
52. I Love Music (Pt. 1), O'Jays
53. Say You Love Me, Fleetwood Mac
54. Times Of Your Life, Paul Anka
55. Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
56. Fooled Around And Fell In Love, Elvin Bishop
57. Convoy, C.W. McCall - Omaha-area advertisements for Old Home Bread were the basis for this. The ads were funny. Convoy I could live without.
58. Welcome Back, John Sebastian - Kotter theme
59. Sing A Song, Earth, Wind and Fire
60. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, Tavares
61. I'll Be Good To You, Brothers Johnson
63. Shop Around, The Captain and Tennille - I actually like a lot of Captain and Tennille, and this is a good cover
64. Saturday Night, Bay City Rollers
65. Island Girl, Elton John - One of Elton's lesser efforts
66. Let's Do It Again, Staple Singers
67. Let 'Em In, Paul McCartney and Wings - One of McCartney's lesser efforts, including pretty much everything from this year onward, but I still like Wings enough to overcome
68. Baby Face, Wing and A Prayer Fife and Drum Corps
69. This Masquerade, George Benson
70. Evil Woman, Electric Light Orchestra
71. Wham Bam, Silver
72. I'm Easy, Keith Carradine
73. Wake Up Everybody (Pt. 1), Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes
74. Summer, War
75. Let Her In, John Travolta - What was I saying about thankfully forgotten. Travolta's entire singing career should be in that category.
76. Fox On The Run, Sweet - Everything from The Sweet was either love it or hate it, for me.
77. Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
78. Got To Get You Into My Life, Beatles - This is, of course, the re-release of this single.
79. Fanny (Be Tender With My Love), Bee Gees
80. Getaway, Earth, Wind and Fire
81. She's Gone, Daryl Hall and John Oates
82. Rock And Roll Music, Beach Boys
82. Still The One, Orleans
83. You're My Best Friend, Queen
84. With Your Love, Jefferson Starship
85. Slow Ride, Foghat
86. Who'd She Coo, Ohio Players
88. Walk Away From Love, David Ruffin
89. Baby, I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton
90. Young Hearts Sun Free, Candi Staton - Is this a typo? Should it be "Young Hearts Run Free"? I remember that as a Rod Stewart song. (90% of Rod Stewart's output would be a strike-through)
91. Breaking Up's Hard To Do, Neil Sedaka - The ballad remake, not the "Come-a Come-a Down Doobie-Do" version.
92. Money Honey, Bay City Rollers
93. Tear The Roof Off The Sucker, Parliament - I'm sure I should remember this, as with all the other italic'ed songs.
94. Junk Food Junkie, Larry Groce
95. Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again, Barry Manilow - I certainly can't spare all the Manilow from the strike-through.
96. Rock And Roll All Nite, Kiss... and party every third day.
97. Disco Duck, Rick Dees - you may kill me now
97. The Boys Are Back In Town, Thin Lizzy
98. Take The Money And Run, Steve Miller Band
99. Squeeze Box, The Who - My least favorite Who song - maybe the only one that wouldn't get bolded
100. Country Boy (You Got Your Feet In L.A.), Glen Campbell

Oh, man, the radio must have played "Afternoon Delight" and "Disco Duck" every 10 minutes my freshman year of college!

I think it would be cheating to pick "Got to Get You Into My Life" as my favorite of 1976, since it's at least 10 years older. So, I went with "Bohemian Rhapsody" (always a head nodder) in a close call over "Golden Years" and "Sing a Song".

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Let's Do the Time Warp Again

Hey, a book I ordered from Amazon back in May finally shipped. The book was listed as being released on June 1, but apparently was delayed and delayed. Today, I see that the book was shipped (listed as shipping August 28 - why, yes, that is today).

The delivery estimate is Jun 10, 2005 - Jun 13, 2005. Yep, they never updated that after the order.

The book, by the way is "The Imagineering Field Guide to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World". So, I'll be able to peruse the book prior to our WDW vacation, which starts October 2 - just over a month from now!

Book Description:
The first in a series of pocket-sized paperbacks will answer the question, "What would it be like to walk through the Disney Theme Parks with an Imagineer by your side?" The Imagineering Field Guide to The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World provides that experience: pointing out details and telling stories, back stories, and Imagineering insights never before heard, condensed into a portable, easily-referenced park guide. You'll never spend time at Walt Disney World the same way again.

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

My Profile Picture - now out of date

Shaved my head today.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Has Kathy Got Milk?

Kathy now has a Gencon report up at her blog.

There's not really more to read, so don't click "Read More". No, don't, I swear there's no more!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gencon summary

The Gencon trip report:

Lessons learned:

  1. Don't volunteer to marshall

  2. (Possibly) Don't volunteer to judge

  3. Pre-arrange team for D&D Open, and maybe True Dungeon

  4. Buy a token pack for True Dungeon

  5. Kalen can take care of herself, and should be forced to.

I only ran the Living Kalamar module once, rather than the four time I was scheduled. Mostly because I volunteered to marshal those slots as well, and so to get things moving I sent out tables with judges earlier and then I stayed to deal with any stragglers. But there were no stragglers. So, the only table I judged was Thursday night when it was clear that there would only be one table, so I released my other judges as early as I could.

Sunday morning I was determined to judge the mod again and give other judges a break. Unfortunately, no players showed up in that slot for that module.

Next year I won't marshall, or if I do it will be for a larger event. Next year I may not judge at all for Gencon proper. The reward really isn't there to just judge four slots, and judging seven slots to get a room and more swag means that I would see or do little else.

On the other hand, I did quite enjoy judging for the Verbobonc Pre-Gencon Madness on Wednesday. I judged all three modules in the "Fools" series. The first two I had the same table and the players were great. We all stayed together so we could get through those two mods quickly, as one player needed to go help set up the Gencon RPGA area. That gave me a long break, from 4-8pm, and that worked out great as I could check in at RPGA headquarters, get my stuff moved into the hotel, have dinner with Matt at Hard Times Cafe, go to the boring RPGA meeting, stay for the marshall's meeting (stuff I already knew) and still get back just slightly late for the third Verbobonc slot.

Because I was slightly late for that third slot, Kalen stole my table of players and I got a table of lesser experienced players at APL 2. I could have been mean and wiped them all out in the first fight, but I didn't target two of them at the same time as I could have, and I didn't press every advantage, so they managed to survive that. Then actually did well in the final, supposedly tougher, fight. I did give them a bit of a break on that, though, too, as I gave them use of a couple Pearls of Power. Otherwise they went into the final battle with no spell abilty and I would have killed them all. Which isn't really all that cool when one of the players is a 12-year-old girl.

Then I started panicking, because Kalen was apparently done with her table. It was midnight, she hadn't gotten her stuff from my car, and she wasn't answering her phone. That persisted for about an hour, at which point I was really worried. Then she called -- she went for a beer with her table of player (which had been my table of players) and couldn't hear her phone in the bar. Which would all have been fine, except that she wouldn't have been able to get her suitcase out of my car without at least meeting up with me to get keys. If I'd know what was going on I could have a) given her my keys, b) stopped worrying, or/and c) joined them for a beer.

Thursday morning Matt and I played in the first round of the D&D Open tournament. We grabbed onto the first players that we came across to make a team, and we might have actually been a bit more selective, but we didn't care that much. The players we teamed with had played D&D a reasonable amount, it was clear, but weren't really great players and didn't know Eberron much at all (where the Open was set). We had a husband and wife from England, and a mother and her teenaged son. We also got a judge who was apparently an old hand at running the Open, but that was probably with 2nd edition or 3.0 rules as he didn't have the 3.5 rules down very well. If you don't understand the basic movement rules you really don't have any business judging the Open (or any RPGA event at Gencon, for that matter). He also didn't know the rules for poison, which is more understandable, but the way he was ruling was going to screw over Matt's character since Matt knew the rules and how he was going to resolve getting poisoned. Fortunately that got corrected, but it took a few minutes.

Anyway, we got our asses handed to us, as the first combat killed our Favored Soul (our main healer) about 10 minutes into the competition. Then, in the second battle, our party's sorceror (the only source of healing for my Warforged) dropped just before I did, leaving zero healing in the party except for what Matt's Kalashtar could do for himself. The third battle finished off the remainder of the group. We never even looked to see if we advanced, knowing we couldn't possibly have.

Then it was time for True Heroes. It was a decent game, but I wish they would change the combat system (not least of all because our best target thrower, Ryan, couldn't make it this year). The combat system is throwing magnetic balls at targets, with smaller targets for tougher opponents and three levels of distance based on the combat values of the characters. In the reduced light, though, the balls get lost after some throws, and not every on-target throw actually sticks. The story also wasn't quite as coherent as lst year, but they did throw in some interesting new puzzles and challenges.

Thursday night was the one time I ran the Kalamar mod. We got done early, so I could get to sleep early. Yay.

Friday morning: True Dungeon. Really good puzzles this year and good special effecnts, and the last puzzle was particularly tough. We got through to the last room, but couldn't actually solve the puzzle in time so we didn't win the challenge. Well worth the time, though. The other problem is that, even though I had treasure tokens from last year, the economy of the game was ramped up a bit so my old tokens didn't really get me what I needed to equip myself. Those who bought taken bags this year had an easier time bargaining in the town. Next year: buy a token bag for that year!

Friday afternoon: marshalled Kalamar then was released and played a Mark of Heroes module with Matt. It was a good time and suited my character. I got to escape with the item we were after while most of the others tried to explain themselves away. The only problem with that slot was we had a couple guys that constantly second and third guessed the team strategy, so it took forever to just say "OK, we're doing this ...". I'll try to avoid them in the future.

Friday evening: Matt and I played the Mark of Heroes special. It was a well written module and we had a good group. We survived, but just barely, mostly because the final battle allowed Matt's character to do what it was built to do best.

Saturday morning: marshalled another Kalamar module, then helped a father and daughter get set up to play a Living Geyhawk module. I don't think they knew what they were getting into, but I got them set up with characters to play and then made sure the rest of the table knew they were beginners and just make sure they had a good time. Then I wandered the dealer hall for the remainder of that slot and the next, in which I had nothing scheduled.

Saturday evening: marshalled Kalamar again, but I wasn't signed up to judge that slot so was able to leave quickly. Matt and I grabbed dinner at a little place on the ground floor of the Hyatt which had good food and not many customer (as opposed to the nearby McDonalds, where there was a line for their crap). Where we ate was more like a diner, and I got a Pork Tenderloin sandwhich (always a good choice) and Matt had a Chili Burger that was swimming in chili. Place noted and recommended for next year.

Then, Matt, Kalen and I went to the "Knights of the Dinner Table" live reading. I got to read for one of the strips, and Brian Jelke even gave me some props as I was reading B.A.'s part (the DM in the comic strip) and Brian noted that it was appropriate as I DM a lot of Living Kalamar. He did butcher my name, though, and I gave him a had time about that (we joked about it a bit the next day at the Kenzer booth). The strip I read, though, had a lot of dialog for B.A., so it worked out real well for me.

(Brian, by the way, is V.P. at Kenzer, the publisher of "KoDT" and also the Kalamar campaign setting, and he was emcee that night for the reading. We've met a few times before, including a couple of mods I judged that he played).

The KoDT live reading is supposed to become available as a podcast sometime, maybe it already is. I'll link when I find out.

LATE Saturday night (aka Sunday early morning) we played the other True Dungeon adventure that they had (they had "Battle Beneath Castle Greyhawk" and "Assault Atop Castle Greyhawk", with the teams from each adventure actually co-operating at the end. The late night version was a hard-core version, with damage from monsters and traps amped way up and puzzles a bit harder (or fewer clues). In this one I only made it into the fourth room and was killed by the puzzle/trap. Matt cheated death by tossing a natural 20 against Death himself, then returned to Kalen and a couple others from our group to get two rooms further along (out of the eight, so none of us could finish this one).

Sunday morning I marshalled Kalamar one more time and failed to have any players when I wanted to judge. I wound up doing some clean up in the RPGA hall, collecting some swag as a reward for volunteering, then wandered the dealer hall again. Matt, Kalen and I got lunch, then got a call from the Gencon information booth that Kathy had lost Kalen's phone and that they had it. It turned out that Kathy figured that out and was able to claim it before I got over there. We all then went to the True Heroes riddle reveal, and then drove home. End of weekend. End of freakishly long blogpost. Collapse.

Kalen and Kathy will probably tell about their version of Gencon in their Livejournals. Matt will probably neglect to do so entirely.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Why I won't be blogging much (until next week?)

Basically, Gencon. Read more for details.
Tonight, I have a Youth Advisory Council meeting, and Legends to assemble, and packing for Gencon, including getting minis ready, making sure I have all mods, printing some extra Kalamar log sheets, etc.

Tuesday (16th): Mail Legends, work, and drive to Champaign to meet girls before Gencon. Drive most of the way to Indianapolis.

Wednesday (17th): Pre-Gencon Verbobonc Madness. Regional Living Greyhawk games. Matt, Kalen and I volunteered to judge. All day. Kalen and I are each judging all three modules in what is called the “Fools” series . How appropiate.

Thursday (18th) through Sunday (21st): Gencon. I’m judging one module four different times, once each day. Most other times I’m playing games - D&D Open, True Heroes, two different slots of True Dungeon, Eberron Mark of Heroes Special. It'd be nice to also squeeze in the Greyhawk Special in the slot that I now have open, especially since that's Saturday afternoon so the dealer's room will be particularly crowded. If not, maybe another Greyhawk mod or just crash for a while. "Knights of the Dinner Table" live reading on Saturday night, after I marshall the Kalamar game (oh, yeah, I'm marshalling all the slots I'm running, plus the one slot).

Sunday night: Drive back to Champaign, drop girls at their car so they can go back to Normal, and drive home.

Monday 22nd: Ryan, Kalen, and Kathy will start classes at Illinois State. Matt will move into his apartment in Urbana. I have Cubs tickets with Bob.

Tuesday 23rd: If I’m not dead by then, I’ll go to sleep. Serenity Now!

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Why I haven't been blogging much

It’s been an insanely busy August. For details, follow the "Read More" link!

Starting at the tail end of July. I took a trip with Matt and Ryan back to Iowa to see my mom the last weekend of July, returning the first of August. Then I was getting the house cleaned up a bit for Tjarkseque (cookout for APA friends) on the 5th and Matt and I fit in a Dungeons & Dragons game on Wednesday of that week ("Shedding Scales").

Then was Wizard World Chicago on the weekend, including the cookout on Friday night. I cut the con-going short on Sunday, as we sqeezed in a game of D&D on Sunday night ("Fool's Gold"), as Kalen needed a chance play that module before she judges that same module this coming week.

Monday the 8th I had tickets to the Cubs game previously described in this blog.

Tuesday the 9th the Tjarks family met the Gerdes family downtown at the Giordano’s on Rush street. Great pizza had by all , then a walk around a bit of the north end of downtown and ice cream.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I played D&D online. All of these were games meant to prepare judges for Gencon. I only needed the game on Friday, since that’s the module I’m running at Gencon (Living Kalamar, "Hide and Go Seek"), but I was helping fill out the tables on those other days, making sure others could play the games they were judging. Wednesday's game ran ‘til 3am, Thursday ‘til just short of 2am. I would have loved to avoid playing on Thursday, but if I didn't the game didn't happen for others.

Friday was the quickest game as we got done about 12:30am. Matt ran that for us, and was wanting to get through it quickly. It really works better face to face, but I do like playing a mod before judging it. Unfortunately, the only cert I got was bad for my character, so from the character's point of view I should have just eaten the mod.

Saturday the 13th we had tickets for the Cubs game for the whole family, as well as my brother. Nice lunch at the stadium club, but there was a three hour rain delay and we were planning to play D&D one more time that night (the module "Finding the Way", retires on August 15, so it was our last chance to play). We left the ball game after four innings. The Cubs lost anyway.

Sunday, everyone except Matt helped the girls move into their apartment in Normal. At least I got to sleep a little longer that morning. Got them moved in and much of their technology enabled – internet works, wireless networks work and Tivo set up, but their cable TV hadn’t yet been enabled.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bad game, "Good Times"

I went to the Cubs game last night with my pal Steve, and met my brother Bob and three friends for dinner beforehand. At least dinner and company were good.

Jimmy "JJ" Walker led the seventh inning stretch. After singing, he cheered, "Lets get TWO grand slams!".

Nice thought, Jimmy. It's just too bad the Cubs were already down by nine at that point.

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Stupid Test Memes

Now what the hell am I supposed to make of this result?
I blame Kathy and Kalen for spreading this.

I am apparently:
Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Granted, the INTP matches what I always test as.

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