Sunday, August 26, 2007

Well, Crap!

Back in fifth grade, my teacher had a rewards program. Every Monday he gave us a $50 in play money, and if we still had it at the end of the week, we could use the play money to buy a candy bar, soda, or other small toy. We could lose our $50 bills by not behaving, being late, or the kicker, not following directions on assignments. That's the one that always tripped me up - following directions. I maybe had 10 $50 that I could turn in all year due to my habitual scanning of paragraphs of directions and eventual missing of some of the finer points of the directions.

Seventeen years later, I haven't learned a damned thing and skim paragraph-like directions. I found out the hard way just a few minutes ago when I realized that the past 22 rows of the Feather and Fan shawl have been knitted incorrectly. Rather than alternating chart 2A and 2B within a row, I read it as work chart 2A once then chart 2B once and repeat that progression 7 times. Many curses were thrown, direct threats for burning of said shawl were made, and a nice temper flare erupted. Twenty-two rows may not sound like a lot, but there are 624 stitches on the needle now and I haven't used a lifeline for that stretch either since it was the easy-peasy section of the shawl.

This happens literally 24 hours after I had to frog a Waving Lace sock that was down to the gusset for being too enormous. Not sure what kind of screw up I had on gauge, but it was roughly properly sized for Kris' size 13 foot. Don't think he'd wear a lacy, pink sock though.

What a waste of a weekend's worth of knitting. I'm going back to reading my Dresden Files books, I've never had any horrid feeling of defeat from reading! :(

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gencon: It's Over

First off, a big D&D announcement was made on Friday night, D&D 4.0 comes in 2008. For more details, see these announcement videos.

The last two days of Gencon can best be summed up with a picture.

Swag and Purchase Haul

All the new board game purchases were made with the lens of "How well do we think this will go over at Game Night?" and "Can it be played in the time of a Game Night gathering?". Not too long, no cumbersome rules, and heavy on the strategy and light on luck. New board games include from the top of the stack on down:
  • Anathema from Ape Games. Kris won a copy for winning a Order of the Stick: The Shortening event. Haven't played nor demoed.
  • Condottiere from Fantasy Flight Games. A bidding style Euro-game for taking control of Italian cities. We played this in an event Saturday night, but lost to the demo team.
  • Patrician from Mayfair Games. A building themed Euro-game for building towers and gaining fame. We demoed this on Saturday.
  • Cavetroll from Fantasy Flight Games. Haven't played or demoed, but small games are like potato chips, can't have just one!
  • Domaine from Mayfair Games. And another Euro-game. This one's all about land, city, and resource control. We demoed this game today, and I actually won! I think this ranks up there as my favorite game that we played at Gencon.
  • Fury of Dracula from Fantasy Flight Games. Partially a co-op game for up to 5 players - 4 players are vampire hunters and the fifth controls Dracula. I've been very curious about this game for some time, but no demos or events for it were being offered. :-( Went out on a limb and bought it anyway after reading the Boardgame Geek write-ups for it.
  • Pirate's Cove from Days of Wonder. Build up a pirate ship, battle other players and famous pirates, and gain fame. Played this game in an event Friday, and it was a lot of fun!
  • Monster Mayhem from White Wolf. Now, don't let the rather "meh" rating on BGG run you off. We demoed this on Thursday morning and had a lot of fun. Compared to the other games we purchased, it is fairly light on strategy, but the theme is engaging.
By far the highlight of Gencon 2007 for Kris was winning a spot in the Warhammer Online beta yesterday afternoon. Hard to believe it's all over for another year!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Gencon Day Two: Electric Boogaloo

Today was our event heavy day. It started out with two painting related classes, Painting Beyond the Basics and Miniature Photography. The techniques we learned in the Basics and Beyond class got us motivated to improve our miniature painting, so we picked up seven Reaper minis to practice painting. The mini photography class was very informative, and we got the chance to try our hand at using better lighting options and a diffuser box.

Anath from our old World's Largest Dungeon D&D campaign in a diffuser box
Painted by yours truly in 2005

This photo of a dryder (defnitely NOT painted by me!) made the guys with the big expensive cameras jealous of my new wee Lumix point and shoot camera. Mwahaha!

After the fab painting and photography classes, we booked it to a 2pm game of a new Reiner Knizia game, Gravediggers. To say the game was a bit of a fiasco would be an understatement. Two guys from the publishers were at the table, yet the game was being demoed by a kid who couldn't have been more than 11 years old. Add into that mix an elderly lady who didn't "get" the mechanics of the game nor the way it was being taught, and it was a train wreck. After having played many of Reiner Knizia's games and several bidding style games, Hubs and I wound up teaching the game mechanics. It was very similar to Amun Re, but you didn't know the exact contents of the graves for which you were bidding. I won by a landslide, but my rewarded $10 off coupon at the publisher's booth won't be redeemed. I thought it was very unprofessional that they let the kid to flounder through the demo that we all had paid to play, so none of our Gencon budget for them. Monthly gaming nights hosted by Phollower and Sylvia have really improved our gaming "s|<1llz". Between the two of us, we've won 4 our of 5 games we've demoed/played. :)

Unopened box at home tonight

Sample of the 1000, 100, 10, and 1 gold denomination coins

Now, let me tell you, it got down right chilly in the dealer hall today with the AC set to "sub Arctic". I was prepared today and pulled on my trusty Jayne Hat. Ooof, the reactions the hat received just blew me away! Lots of compliments, some questions, and one eardrum nearly burst by someone scaring the beejesus out of me by loudly shrieking in my ear that I was wearing a Jayne Hat. Yeah, I know I was wearing a Jayne hat. >.< But I tell you one Gencon secret that I found for all the gamer ladies. Personally, I get tired of being treated like I'm only shopping for Hubs when I go into a game store. I wandered off through the dealer hall after leaving Hubs on a video game demo at one point this afternoon when I was wearing my Jayne hat. The level of attentiveness of exhibitors to a lone female wandering through the dealer wearing a tell-tale sign of geekhood was astounding! Wonder if it would work the same way in Best Buy...

To scale troll in the RPG room

Big ass dragon in RPG room

Tonight, we played Order of the Stick: The Shortening expansion that's due out roughly by the end of this year. With this expansion, there will be more options for gaining points, new schticks and monsters, and Xykon has the ability to invade the upper levels of the dungeon if it's taking too long for players to reach him. After two hours of play, Kris had the most points and won a copy of Anathema.

The final event of the evening was the Friday Night Live concert. After seeing that the Brobdignagian Bards were playing, I had to go. I've listened to their podcast for over a year and absolutely love their version of "Jayne's Theme" from Firefly. After their performance, we bought one of their CDs. I saw them while waiting in line and let them know that I really enjoy their podcast. Hubs was surprised that I didn't ask for them to sign my cd, but I didn't want to look all scary fangirl-ish nor did I have a silver Sharpie. :)

The Brobdignagian Bards during their set

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's Gencon Day!!

Be forewarned, only 1% passively mentioned knitting will be mentioned in this post with the other 99% dedicated to my other all consuming hobby, gaming.

This year was a bit of a departure for Hubs and me. Usually, we're in the first hundred or so to get through the doors to rush the Order of the Stick booth for limited swag items and books. Since OOTS didn't come this year and we didn't have another pressing reason to be in the doors quickly, we were able to make our way over to the new electronics gaming area first thing. This year, the miniatures hall which would be a partitioned section of the dealer hall was opened up for electronic gaming companies. For the first time since my very first Gencon, I was taken aback by the sheer size of the hall. One other layout change that I liked is that the huge, traffic clogging Wizards of the Coast booth has been moved from the front and center entrance of the hall to a less conspicuous back corner thus keeping the flow of people manageable. Hurray for less crowding! Also, one choice that Hubs and I made was to not participate in True Dungeon this year. Although it is a very immersing experience, it's also pricey and not as much fun with random strangers in your party.

Overview of new electronic games area

Never thought there would be enough room for an annoyingly loud tour bus in the Dealer Hall

First stop of the day was at the EA/Mythic booth for Warhammer Online. Hubs has been vying for a beta spot for quite some time. His attempts at schmoozing out a beta invite with his 3+ years of playing and beta testing another Mythic game, Dark Age of Camelot, and working as an web code monkey for a big fan site was rebuffed. We both registered for a raffle for an open spot of 25 beta testers. Alas, neither of our names was called, but one of Hubs' friends received an invite from the raffle. The green convention center carpet lent a nice shade of green to his face to match the jealousy, lol. :) Still, 75 more beta invites will be raffled off before the end of Gencon, so we're hopeful.

"I want a beta invite; look how well I play Warhammer Online!"

After meandering out of the electronic gaming area, we came across the White Wolf booth. We sat down to play a demo of Monster Mayhem. As we were settling in, who should sit down for the same demo than one of my old co-workers. It's a small con after all! :) Hubs and I had a blast playing Monster Mayhem and picked up a copy of our own. It's a very quick to pick up, every man monster for himself, fun game. We think this has some definite potential for game nights. As we were checking out, my eye was caught by a display of White Wolf pins. I got the last Gangrel clan pin, and we picked up one for our favorite Vampire storyteller, too. :) (Pssttt! BP, that's you!)

Spacious White Wolf booth and some random person who walked in front of me :/

After a few hours of strolling though the dealer hall, we came across a small booth offering a very cool new product, Campaign Coins. One of the best things about D&D adventuring is the loot. Kill a nasty, badass monster then get their stuff and money. Usually, gold is doled out and managed by tracking it on your paper character sheet or a journal. About as fun as balancing a checkbook :) The Campaign Coins set is ~70,000 gold pieces worth of copper, silver, and gold pieces made out of metal. Stab a kobold? *chink, chink* Get a few copper pieces. Suffocate a rakshasa and the rogue can dive into a real pile of gold and platinum. After an evening call to our DM, Phollower, we'll be picking up a set tomorrow. :)

This evening, we played a game of Pirate's Cove by Days of Wonder. They published our most requested board game purchase from last year's Gencon, Shadows Over Camelot. Each player captains a pirate ship and navigates to island's through 12 rounds to boost his/her ship's guns, crew, hull, and mast. Battles amongst pirate ships occur when more than one pirate ship navigates to the same island fighting for gold, treasure, bonus action cards, and fame. The pirate with the most fame at the end of 12 rounds wins.

That's Kris' "Haha, I smashed your hull and stole your treasure!" smile. :)

I've been running low on energy reserves lately, and the day finally caught up to me when we sat down for dinner. No way around it, I was spent. We ditched our 8pm-midnight game of Britannia and headed home.

Tomorrow will only have two hours of dealer hall time and lots of events.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's Gencon time! Hubs and I are celebrating the best four days of gaming starting tomorrow with tons of board games, miniature painting and photo classes, and dealer hall shopping. In honor of our annual geeky retreat, we got a new digital camera last night. It's a wee Panasonic Lumix point and shoot camera. I've been eyeballing the Lumix cameras for a few months after reading an online review. Hopefully this will equal out to lots of Gencon photos to share. In the mean time, I've been screwing around with Picnik this evening with a shot Hubs took of me while we were impatiently waiting on hold with our DSL provider. If using Photoshop gives you hives like it does to me, Picnik is a very user-friendly alternative.

Slightly touched up original - fixed red eye, cropped, and auto fixed colors

Same shot with Lomo-ish effect applied. Like how vivid my hair color looks.

Evil Christina in Duo Tone - mwwahahaha!

Right, this is a knitting blog. There has been sock knitting afoot. Hehe..get it! Sock knitting afoot! Eh... I haven't forgotten about my Knitty Sock Swap pals, PixieRiot and KnitChick07. In fact, I finished and blocked the last sock earlier this week. I'm really pleased with the finished products - just hope they like them, too! Hope to get them out in the post next Friday. I knitted an entire 3 rows of the Feather and Fan Shawl Monday night. Only 76 rows into it and it takes for-friggin'-ever to finish a single row. Definitely a long-term project. I started a pair of birthday socks for my mom last night that I've been planning since this spring. I'll be carrying around my Gryffindor Stripe sock that I started at the Deathly Hallows release night through Gencon. Lots of lines to wait through equate to lots of opportunity to knit plain ol' stockinette.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why Can't I Stay Away From These?

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Personality quizzes are like crack to me, especially Myers-Briggs tests. I always receive the INFJ result, so it's not like I change, but I still like to check every now and then. I must say, this is the first time I've ever scored completely on the Introverted side. Guess I am turning into a hermit!

Click to view my Personality Profile page

As I sat down to start the Multiple Intelligences test, I was whistling a song that was stuck in my head. First question was "Do you have a song running through your head rarely, sometimes, or usually?" Spoooooooky!