another misAdventure

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

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cue Weird Al !

Well we'll see if anything comes of it, but I took the "Jeopardy!" online contestant quiz last night. This is the second time I've even bothered trying to get on Jeopardy -- the first blocked by too many people registering for a tryout in Chicago so I couldn't even get to the "take the quiz" stage.

The quiz was fun and quick, and challenging. Since you only get 15 seconds per question, and no chance to go back even if you answer other questions faster, the main challenge on some of the questions was retrieving the answer from memory quick enough. I got stuck drawing a blank on Ted Williams' name, as well as Samuel L. Jackson. On one question it served me well, though, as I was trying to remember "Trotsky" and then realized that the answer was actually "Engels".

Overall, of the fifty questions I'd guess I got about 35 right. There were probably five or so I just didn't know, a couple I couldn't retrieve, and one for sure that I blew -- I typed "A Midsummer Night's Dream" when the answer was "The Tempest", which I realized about two seconds too late.

If I actually pass this stage the next step will be another quiz, in person this time, some time in Chicago. I hope I at least get that far -- it'd be fun to actually be interviewed as a potential contestant. I don't hold any illusions of Jennings-like abilities, but we'll see how I can do.

After all, I was judged one of the 50 smartest people in Chicago-land (puzzle contest in the Tribune) and I have been on the hot seat twice for Millionaire (granted, it was the Disney World version, but I did get to the 500,000 point question).

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ellen!

I've got to continue the trend and wish my lovely wife a Happy Birthday today. You can give her similar greetings on her blog: Penguinladi's Ponderings.

She is 31 today, no matter which way you count ...

... unless, of course, you insist on counting in monotone-increasing decimal whole numbers.

As for updates from me, well, I'll try to put up another one later today. Promise.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

OK, That Was Amusing

Amusing in a "What were they thinking?" way.

One of the websites I go visit pretty much every day is Mark Evanier's blog. Today, he's been playing with a new discovery, embedding videos from Google Video into the blog itself. He's got an old Bugs Bunny ad for war bonds, but the thing I was really amused by is the full version of William Shatner's rendition of "Rocket Man". What was he thinking!?! For that matter, what were the people who applauded thinking?

Anyway, hope over to to see it yourself.

Speaking of new discoveries, I now have some of the new internet capabilites on my Tivos, so I can listen to podcasts and internet radio through my Tivos/TVs. I know I'll start playing with that capability -- last night I put on the podcast of last week's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" as I fell asleep. Pretty cool stuff.

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Beware the Ides of March! (it came early)

OK, some may question why the Ides of March occurred on the 3rd through 5th of the month, rather than the proper 15th.

Well, this Ides of March is neither the Roman date nor the early '70's band. This was a game convention that has actually been held on or around the 15th, but the past couple of years has crept early in the month.

And I spent all weekend there, more or less.

OK, well the "less" part is that I skipped two slots. Ides, in an attempt to squeeze more gaming into a weekend, runs ten slots. That meant four slots on Saturday, starting at the ungodly (to this gamer) hour of 7:30 and ending Saturday actually in the wee hours of Sunday, at 1am. With the first Sunday slot at 8:00, that meant little time to sleep, especially since I had at least a half-hour drive each way from home.

So, I skipped the earliest slots on Saturday and Sunday. Ahhhh, sleep!

Anyway, of the eight remaining slots I was there, I judged in seven slots and played in the one remaining slot (Friday night).

Ah, I'd have been better off not playing, as my highest level character, "Joe", died.

Ah, but an adventurous death in D&D is a complication rather than a finality. If the body can be recovered and the proper fees paid, the character can be raised from the dead. Albeit at one level lower, but oh well. So "Joe" went from 9th level to 8th level, and a few thousand gold pieces poorer. It mainly just set his savings back in his quest to add the "holy" enhancement to his sword (to smack down evil creatures all the better).

The bigger obstacle was almost the "body recoverable" part, since of the six characters at the table, five of us died. Only the sixth (Ryan, as his sorceror, "Lucullan") was able to escape. That was facilitated by his recognition that a) he was pretty ineffective against the beasts we were fighting, so staying was futile, and b) he could take off at a full run while the rest of us kept the beasts busy (mainly ... chewing).

So, if you run into four spell-warped intelligent lions, in armor, remember you'd be best off running at first sight.

As for the rest of the convention, I had a blast judging. I started on Friday with a middle-level table of "Here Comes the Sun!", an investigative module which I'd run before. Then I had my first experience running "Minions of Shadow and Fire" for an APL 12 table, doing my best to scare them even through they had a PC with a very broken prestige class. I succeeded in scaring them a bit, too, since one of their characters was stunned for the entire final battle.

Saturday I ran the two-round module "Castle Estival", again at APL 12 (a bit higher level than I prefer). I'd played this module in a rush on Thursday night (played in two hours, perhaps a record!), but hadn't read it yet. It was fine to run that way, though, and supplied plenty of challenge for this higher-level group. They I ran the interactive "Dungeons of Castle Estival" for a low-level group (APL 2). I told them this was as close to an early first-edition dungeon crawl as anyone was likely to see -- it seemed to come straight from 1978 from the pen of Gygax. A lot of fun.

Sunday, I ran the other two modules that start the Verbobonc regional storyline for this year: "The Discontent of Our Winter" and "Delve the Wizard's Dungeon". I ran both at APL 2, the second one with a table that included Kalen, Kathy, and Ryan. Both are a lot of fun to run, especially the second one.

And that was it for the weekend. In addition to getting brought regular snacks at the table, all the judges were given nice new embroidered dice bags and a set of green dice (it's Ides of March, but they tend to have a leprechaun theme to their advertising even though both the Ides and St. Patrick's day are later in the month). So, in addition to the fun, I scored some nice swag. Oh, and a Red Bull vendor came and gave out free samples (my first taste of one -- yuck, the sugar-free Red Bull tastes like SweeTarts), and everyone on Sunday (that was there at the right time, anyway) got a free starter deck of "Hecatomb" cards and a Spider-man promo HeroClix.

And now, that's it!

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Happy Birthday, Kamie!

Well, if I can't get other updates up, I might as well wish my kids happy birthday! You can wish Kalen a happy birthday here, or leave a note on her LiveJournal page.

Ides of March update coming soon.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, Emperor Ryno!

Hey, that's all I really have to say right now. You could hop over to Ryan's Fortress of Cheese-itude and leave a comment on his most recent post wishing him a happy birthday.

That is all.

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