Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Dog Thing

Wendy the Dog arrived for a sleepover with Bosco and Smooch. I was sure the circumstances would be fodder for a long and entertaining blog entry. What a let down.

Shortly after Brenden and Sarah left Wendy behind, it was as if Wendy had lived here for months. She paced around at first and barked when she thought she heard a car coming to pick her up. That was about the extent of the fuss. My doggies went about their normal business with Wendy stepping right in.

Dog protocol was used to work through a few issues without human intervention.

It doesn't matter anymore that the Golden Retriever, Wendy outweighs each of our Tibetan Spaniels fourfold. Smooch let it quickly be known that this was her house. She flopped down on Wendy's bed and hogged it up for a good hour or two before allowing Wendy to claim it for the night.

Bosco was guarding me and growled when Wendy got too close. But later, Wendy and Bosco played chase and the incident was forgotten. Smooch ate Wendy's food. Wendy ate Smooch's food. Wendy helped herself to Bosco's toys with Bosco's blessing. They had a real mi casa es su casa arrangement going. Treats all around with no stealing. No malicious peeing from Bosco. No power barking from Smooch. Wendy was the perfect house guest.

Good dogs, all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Geting Drunk In a Sluggish Economy

An ad for Payless Liquors caught my eye in today's paper. I'm always looking for a good buy on Patron Silver or Chivas Regal . Not bad. Patron was $39.95 and Chivas was priced at $54.99 for 1.75 litres. Among the extensive menu of spirits, one item popped right off the page. The big 1.75 litre bottle of Kamchatka Vodka was going for $8.95.

Eight Dollars and ninety-five cents! That has to be the cheapest buzz / blitz in town. You could drink yourself to death for a mere nine bucks. For the sophisticate, Crane Lake Wines are selling for $2.99 for a 750 ml dose. Hardly the punch of the Siberian delight, but if you can't invest wisely and don't have enough money for the vodka, it might do in a pinch.

Ketel One Vodka is listed at $32.99. Perhaps it is overpriced. I'm sure it tastes better and goes down easier than the $8.95 elixir, but I'm confident that a government agency has some standard in place that first, allows Kamchatka to be labeled as vodka and second, has determined it to have an acceptably low percentage of blinded drinkers to be considered safe. So, if you're on a budget or are planning on an extensive bender, go with Kamchatka.

I pass this on as a service to college students, bums, and anyone buying liquor for their son's wedding.

In my youth, Mogen David 20/20 (a.k.a. Mad Dog 20/20) was my broke-and-lonely-on-a-Friday-night drink of choice. It went for about a buck a bottle and it took a day or two to completely wear off.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Tables - Let the Games Begin

How to play games requiring more space than a card table and keep the round or oval shaped and cumbersome dining room table open for its designed purpose of presenting and eating food?

Problem solved. Four of these sale priced tables at Sam's Club They are light and fold up to a 2 x2 package complete with carrying handle. Our sprawling 36 x 36 inch combination coffee table storage cabinet, dog sanctuary fits under two of the tables which provide a comfortable 4' x 4' (actually 120 x 120 cm) gaming surface. With four, a big 8' x 4' layout provides enough room for naval battles.

They have other uses, but keeping the kitchen / dining area in full operation while playing a game is very desirable. The storage requirements are minimal (2'w x 2' h x 16" deep for all) and I can set them all up in under 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Today's Primetime Pissers - Technology

In no particular order:

Mail-in Rebates
Divining the true price of the item (after rebate), stuffing the envelope with proofs of purchase, and the unexplained 6-8 week wait hardly makes it worth the effort. While I'm at it, entering codes for Pepsi and Coke bottle caps translates to about 75 cents per hour of my time for crap I wouldn't buy at a yard sale.

Symantec - Norton
The protection is worse than the virus. A swap of mobos has necessitated a removal and reinstall.

Live Updates
Norton, Adobe, Apple, Java, and others seem to always pop up when I'm trying to get some real work done. And NO! I do not want Google Tool Bar!

HD Channel Counts
I do not get all the promised 100 buttzillion HD channels. Many are only available in certain regions and many that are HD channels show nothing but poorly converted SD.

Blister Packs
Still cutting the poop out of my hands. Shooting shoplifters on the spot is a safer method of dealing with pilfered USB cables.

Convoluted Service Plans
Can't we just say what we want or don't want and get a price? I'm tired of paying for Jesus channels, shopping channels, and redundant showings of Law & Order. I'm still not sure what I'm getting from my wireless service. Give me a true ala carte price or give me the works.

MLB Blackout Rules
More baffling than the concept of dark matter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

GenCon 2008

It's over - four days of walking, parking garages , eating overpriced junk food, and being detached from the real world. It was almost like one of my Vegas poker trips. I awaken the day after and find a pile of unread newspapers , a full inbox, uncut grass, and a refer devoid of everything except condiments and a small ball of wilting lettuce. It will take me all day to right the ship and maybe a day or two before I can enjoy the spoils of my Gen Con quest.

So here's the recap:

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Blasphemy, The Race for the Cross!. This is a game that you had to see to believe. Don't just glance at the web site, as the theme is not sacrilegious, nor is it a fundamental Ned Flanders presentation. I didn't plunk down the $90 for it despite the highest quality components primarily because my credit card had yet to cool off from earlier purchases.

Another item of interest was a $10,000 gaming table. See for yourself. It looks like something Goldfinger might own.

The place was packed. I think there were more people there than last year. The free stuff was in shorter supply (I'm told it's called swag.) and the celebs were of little interest to me. Compare The Mythbusters from an earlier Gen Con to this year's "Bud" from the old Married with Children show. The hot female models were in shorter supply too. Maybe the number of salivating Geeks became a problem or perhaps the slow economy had something to do with it. The celebs I could do with out, but a few more well constructed ladies in skimpy outfits would be appreciated.

New additions to our game library:

Moto Grand Prix
Conflict of Heroes

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gen Con - One Year Later

Last year's post was no more than an observation that Gen Con turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be. I spent a part of each day walking around the exhibits simply surveying the available games. I added a few titles since then to my game library which, at the time, consisted primarily of Monopoly, Scrabble, and a checkerboard.

The much anticipated 2009 edition of Gen Con has already provided two full days of action. Besides running around the exhibition hall and picking up the items on my shopping list, I have actually played in organized game sessions. I played in a 6 man game of Fantasy Flight's Wings of War which is a WW I combat with miniature airplanes. I had a personal play through of Memoir '44 with one of the game reps of Days of Wonder. This is a game I acquired last December that offers a relatively simple way to play WW II combat game. Some of the rules were clarified for me. The dim light in my head was jacked up to its full wattage and I now fully appreciate the subtle strategies. The game's designer, Richard Borg dropped by and a I had a brief chat with him about his games. How good is that?!

Today I was allowed to get in a long session of naval mini play with veteran tabletop admirals. The ships were German and British dreadnoughts from World War I. The fun came from a discussion of the technology of the day, how the ships were given their names, and working with my British team in repelling a German raid. Very little detail was sparred , but Harry Pratt, the game master made it easy to grasp the battle system. The experience lent itself well to cementing the information I've picked up from my recent reading of many books on the subject.

Tomorrow brings Patti to the event. She's going to play Ticket to Ride and join me for some more Memoir '44 and BattleLore action. Patti wants to look at the game art on display as well as just seeing what all the fuss is about. I secretly hope she gets the bug too. A night of gaming each week would provide a "cheap date" for us in the face of this sluggish economy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Book of Follicles 3:16

Show me a study. I want to know what the connection is between hair and religion. From what I've seen, the wackier the leader; the bigger the hair. The Dalai Lama exists in bald serenity. Popes go with a conservative - what-nature-gave-me look. Islam and Jewish hair is often defined by the sect. Rastafarians . . . OK. Then you have these guys. They look like they've all entered a Conway Twitty look alike contest. Every one of them looking so much like retired rock-a-billy stars.

Why? Did market research show that potential flock members dig the look? Is it mandated by an obscure Old Testament verse? Does it hide their pointed heads?

Are guys with thinning hair inferior? Is the Antichrist as bald as a Babylonian baby's butt?

Although I never miss a chance to take a shot at the fraudulent and potentially dangerous glut of preachers with political and financial agendas, this is a genuine query. Hair like that can't be considered flattering and the maintenance expense must be crushing. Why?

Simply making fun of big assed preacher hair is like shooting paralysed fish in a very small barrel. It's this easy.

Things To Do: Make a To Do List

I consider my personal organization effort to be stellar. Yet my productivity does not always measure up for one whose affairs in such fine order. This was eludicated today to the point of becoming a tweak to my lifestyle.

The list said: Change light bulb in bathroom ceiling light. It said it yesterday and the day before that. Today, I go to change the bulb. Snapping open the cover, and tapping the bulb reveals that it is just loose and not burned out. I rinse out the dusty cover and snap it back in to place. This took all of 15-20 seconds. This is about the time taken to list the task for three days running. Add in the time spent futilely flicking the switch and the annoyance of peeing in low light, and I come out behind on the deal.

Next time, I fix it right away. Lists will no longer include things that can be done immediately.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pulleth my string.

I'm not making this up.

Who can argue with this?

1. Fact: Older people are concerned with short term memory loss.

2. Fact: People in Iceland live longer and happier lives than Americans

Conclusion: A gel cap named Iceland Advanced Memory Formula will help your memory.