Friday, December 13, 2013

Whispering Forest, part one: The Recruits

If you read last week's post, you might be wondering how D&D went this week. The real test would be to ask my friends that had to deal with my first attempt at DMing, but from the sounds of things, it went all right!

So far, I've successfully thrown in obvious Welcome to Night Vale references -- one of them being the theme of the first overall adventure (The Whispering Forest) -- and have plans to reference other things as well. It's fun learning to think on your feet when you're making things up as you go along with the input of crazy people.

Speaking of crazy, it has been brought to my attention that I didn't mention ALL OF THE THINGS of gray importance about Steev's character. Not only is he a minotaur named Dave, but he's a minotaur BARD named Dave... and he really loves killing Fey creatures.

It's beyond awesome having someone who actually plays music playing a bard character, because at one point, Steev was playing and singing "Lolth, I lift your name on high". Lolth is his character's goddess, who loves killing elves.

On top of that, we've got a Gnoll fighter (Gnoll are 7' tall and eat flesh), an Elf assassin with a mysterious secret, and a Warforged Swordmage (Warforged are sort of like constructs with a personality) just looking at them all like they're crazy.

I didn't even go the old route of having them all be friends. I just had them all recruited, so... maybe they'll go player-vs-player, and I'll get to moderate the Ultimate Showdown of D&D Destiny. :P

Anyway, less nerdy stuff is coming soon... Maybe.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I have become Death, destroyer of worlds

Greetings, adventurers! Welcome to another post of the Keeping The Bar Low blog.

Hopefully the folks over at Geekly Inc won't mind me blatantly ripping off the intro of their Drunks and Dragons podcast (which is awesome, as far as I'm concerned. You should really give it a listen), but it felt right! Yes, folks, it is finally happening... I'm about to become a Dungeon Master!

I've got the start of a set-up going, for my first night behind the Dungeon Master screen: borrowing Steev's DM screen, and I've got a notebook with Super Secret stuff, as well as less Super Secret reference material (level goals, treasure parcel recommendations, etc). It's truly time to step in to a new level of geek... and that's coming from someone who listens to podcasts about Doctor Who and D&D, and writes a blog about an obscure comic book character from the 80s.

Monday night is going to be "kick-off" for my campaign, which is going to have all kinds of fun references for my players to figure out. Sounds like we'll be playing two days in a row, since Tony is leaving the state later this month. My hours after work until Monday are going to be spent working on new ideas, and prepping myself to be completely thrown off if my friends go completely off-the-rails on my story -- which would not be surprising, since most DMs seem to have that happen.

Still, if all else fails, this could happen....

Dungeon Master Cat
What will happen? Will I be an utter failure as a DM? Will the players follow the storyline? Will DAVE THE MINOTAUR start a bandcamp page? Find out next time on KEEPING THE BAR LOW!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I'm taking a day off from the internet. Today (RIGHT NOW!) is the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who. And I don't get to watch it until after work (at the soonest).

So, no Twitter, Facebook or Reddit until I've watched it. Possibly no rss feeds, because I don't know who will post about it before I've seen it. Aaaargh!

For now, I leave you with a picture of David Tennant wearing a fez. Perhaps geeking out on here will happen afterwards. Allons-y!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Been A Long Time...

If the evidence laid out before me is any indication, it's not been nearly as long as I thought it had, though. Sure, I haven't blogged in a month and a half, but it feels like it's been faaaaar longer than that. To be honest, I expected something a bit more like this when I came back:

Imagine the surprise when I see that I had visited more recently, and hey.... I still haven't died in Dungeons and Dragons! Avoiding death in the real world, the D&D world, and the internet world? Hot damn, I am doing way better than I thought! So, want the short, short version of the last almost-two-months? Here they be:

  • I'm going to be seeing Jynni and her daughter in the days before Thanksgiving!
  • We have a TARDIS in our D&D campaign... sort of.
  • Money stuff still sucks. No surprise when you're a wage slave.
  • I'm still alive, despite my body's attempts to drown in illness!
Starting with the least awesome: Money sucks. Well, no, the lack of money sucks because people want money, for some strange reason. And I've had minor medical issues since blogging last, including a trip to the hospital to have an infection taken care of... again. Argh.

Now, for the good stuff: we have a PYRAMID that can travel through space and time! I didn't get the significance of what Steev was doing at first, until Daniel put it in words that I care about, and have wanted to hear for so very, very long -- "We have a TARDIS". Our time-space machine can't fly, but it can otherwise travel through space and time, so I'm actually okay with us not getting out of the pyramid. It looks like we'll be traveling back in time to try and save Bahamut from being killed as a baby dragon... which is sort of confusing in retrospect, since the dragon who gave us her eggs to protect called herself a wife of Bahamut. Timey-wimey?

What beats a way to travel through time and space in this fictional world? What could possibly be better than that?

Well, it might not be as cool to some of you, but Tony and I are going to be road-tripping to see Jynni, as part of my attempts to find (more?) lucrative employment over in her part of the state. We'll be there the three days before Thanksgiving, which means that I get to have a mini-Thanksgiving with my future wife and future in-laws, and that I'll hopefully come back from this trip to put in my two weeks' notice at my current job.

As much as I'd love to type more, and regale you with detailed stories of my adventures over the last month+, it will have to wait, dear friends. It's 2am, and my typos are getting more and more frequent as I get more and more tired. Additionally, there's that whole "work" thing tomorrow. You know, the one where I have to put on a stupid work uniform and pretend to like people for 8-ish hours. Bah humbug!

See you soon, internet!

Monday, September 16, 2013

When does "addiction" cross over in to "serious problem"?

Wherever that line is, there's a very good chance that my D&D habit is approaching it, if not leaving it choking on it's own dust miles ago. Here's a warning for you: this post will feature a lot of geekspeak. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here....


For over a year now, I've been part of a D&D group with a mostly-continuous membership. We have Steev as the DM, and the only original players left are his fiancée Megan, and me. When we started, there was another guy, but his girlfriend's joining-and-then-getting-pissed-about-the-rules caused him to leave. Still, they have a statue of an auguste clown that kind of looks like him, so it's like he's still in the group!

I've mentioned them before, but our other two current players are Beau (someone I didn't know initially, but who joined at the same time as the departed player's girlfriend) and Daniel (an old friend who is probably a little more nerdy than me), and that's been our group for a while now. Close to half a year, I think. Our quest is going awesome, even if our players have been in the same area FOREVER -- part of that because we didn't play for a couple months.

If you're a D&D player, especially if you know much about 4e (fourth edition), here is our character layout:

  • Megan: Githzerai Psion, Time Bender paragon path. Her whole idea behind the character was wanting to go all "timey-wimey". She's sort of become an adoptive mother to what might be a five-headed killer dragon goddess.
  • Me: Longtooth Shifter Avenger, Hammer of Judgment paragon path. I've always liked wolves/werewolves in fiction, and longtooth shifters are descended from them. Plus, Avengers are like a (more) violent version of paladins. They exist to smite their god's enemies. My character worships Bahamut, but Bahamut might have died during our adventure so far. I'm not 100% sure.
  • Conrad (the lost player): Dragonborn Paladin of Bahamut. Our DM threw in a variant of his character as an NPC since we all miss him, but he's been gone for a while now.
  • Beau: Tiefling Swordmage, and I don't remember what he went for with his paragon. Tieflings are descended from demons, and so Beau's character is similar to mine: high HP, and some pretty significant damage potential. We refer to ourselves as the tanks of the group.
  • Daniel: Razorclaw Shifter Monk, hasn't hit paragon yet. His kind of shifter is descended from werecats, so we have some fun like throwing him in to large bodies of water. And while his monk is very much of the "must be up close" type, he still gets some pretty decent damage in. Plus, he forces enemies to move a lot.
That's what is in store for me tonight. We are working our way through the Pyramid of Shadows adventure that Wizards of the Coast put out, and having a lot of fun on a regular basis. We always keep in mind the essentials for a fun D&D session: we bring/make food and snacks, we keep it light between players and serious between characters, and Steev makes sure to remind everyone of the most basic rule of D&D: "You can always kill Justin."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Attack of the Laundry!

This is my day today.

Well, this and a mountain of laundry. Yes, folks, as has become the norm, I am blogging from the laundromat! And, since I'm working on there being less clutter and junk in my personal environment, these notebooks came with me today. I've ripped out the pages that have things written on them, and today is all about putting them in to my laptop.

Did I mention that I have a new one? Probably not, since I haven't written on this blog since getting it. It's another Acer, and because I'm affectionately continuing my trend of naming computers after fictional technology, I'm naming it the "Holly-Hop-Drive". Now, the question is if any of you will get the reference!

Things finally came to the point with my old netbook where I could no longer tolerate how badly it was falling apart. When the wrong button-press bluescreens it, and tilting the display wrong renders it gray until a restart, you can only do so much -- and there was the unreliable WLAN, which would sometimes stay connected for two hours, and other times for two minutes. So when I saw a good deal on a better one on Amazon, I couldn't pass it up.

Now it's time to swap out to the dryer, and get to work on typing up all this crap. Hopefully I'll put up more uselessness soon! I've got a few post ideas that I'm working on, so the next post might suck less than this one does!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Be awesome

I think I've started close to a dozen different posts in the just-over-a-month since I posted last. There's always been an issue, whether it just feels wrong, or I'm trying to blog from my phone and lose my train of thought, things like that. There's been a theme popping through a few different things I've watched/listened to/read lately, and that is this: Do what you want to do. Or, to put it how the 'book' I read yesterday said, "if you want to be awesome, do awesome shit".

Maybe not an exact quote, but it'll be pretty close. You can thank my soon-to-be brother-in-law for that one, as he's been telling everyone on his Facebook to read the free 15-page book, The Universe Doesn't Give A Flying Fuck About You. The author likens existence in the universe to the existence of a beetle in Times Square. Nobody is out to get that beetle, but nobody is out to help it out either -- because the universe doesn't care, and if you want to do something, just do it.

It kind of kicked me in to "why the fuck am I putting off my writing" overdrive, so last night I started re-plotting Project: SAMSON. Heck, I even brought it to the laundromat with me today, so I have no excuse to work on it when my laptop's dwindling battery reaches 1% and I still have time left on the dryer.

Speaking of my rapidly dying craptop, I decided to give Linux a shot, and I think I might switch over entirely. I'm enjoying the feel of Linux Mint, and the whole command-line aspect isn't nearly as frightening as I thought it would be.

Time to switch out the laundry now. I'll try to not take another freaking month to put a too-long spiel of uselessness up again. :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Happily Ever How?

Since announcing the engagement, I've noticed a few questions that I get asked a lot:

  1. How did you guys meet?
  2. When is the wedding?
  3. How did you propose? Did she see it coming?
Well, today, I've got internet access while I'm doing my laundry, and this is as good a time and place as any to put answers to those questions all in one post! Sure, it could be that I want to post something and am drawing a blank on anything else to post, but... I doubt that.... =D

How did you guys meet?
      Actually, it's all Jim and Wendy's fault. Jim and I used to work together out at The Hotel, and formed a pretty solid friendship. When he moved away to live with Wendy, we maintained our friendship by hanging out at least once every few months -- whenever I could get up to their area for a day or three.

      Some time during all of this, Jim and Jynni started talking again, after a long time apart. In May of last year, one of my visits coincided with one of her visits, and I got to meet her and her then-roommate. We exchanged Facebook info and numbers since we got along, and then Jynni and I proceeded to talk as often as possible for almost two months. I fell hard, that's for sure. We were talking before we went to sleep, with me calling to wake her up for her graveyard shift job before I went to sleep, and her calling to wake me up for my swing shift job before she went to sleep.

      Then, I took the plunge. We arranged to both take a vacation and spend the week with Jim and Wendy (her dad and his wife), and began dating at the end of July. After an awesome week together, we both went to our separate homes, knowing we were committing to a long-term, long-distance relationship.

When is the wedding?
      July 19, 2014. When we started planning, she asked if I wanted a July wedding or a December wedding. I said December, and she promptly told me I was wrong. After a logical explanation on her part, we agreed to a Saturday in July, and due to family birthdays/occasions on my side, we decided that the 19th was the best Saturday to have it.

How did you propose? Did she see it coming?
      She didn't see it coming, and I proposed in a wholly nerdy way. I bought the ring almost a month before I went over there, and spent the whole time trying to think of a clever way to do it. We'd both talked about wanting to get married and have a life together before, so I knew that this trip over there would be the perfect time to do it.

      I was hanging out with her while she was smoking (and her daughter was asleep in the house), and she was talking about ideas she had for when we "eventually get married". I excused myself, went back in the house, and got the ring out of my laptop bag before coming back outside to join her. She raised an eyebrow at my quick trip in to the house, and I sat down on the couch (in the carport) in front of her.

      "Jynni, I've been trying to think of how and when to do this for weeks. I want to make it memorable and didn't know how, and realized today that there was no time like the present." Following that line, I got off the couch, got down on one knee in front of her, and pulled the ring out of my pocket. "I can't imagine my life without you and your daughter, and I would love for you to be my companion as we travel through time and space. Will you marry me?"

      Like I said -- pretty nerdy, right? She came close to tearing up and was completely surprised by it, and said yes. I know I'm a spaz for referencing Doctor Who in my proposal, but I got her addicted to the show, and for us... it made sense. Now, we're planning a Doctor Who-influenced wedding, complete with TARDIS blue as our main color.

All of time and space is ours, and I can't think of anyone I'd rather explore it with than her. I love you, Jynni. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thoughts on Father's Day

This morning, I woke up to a Facebook notification from my future mother-in-law, wishing me a happy Father's Day, and telling me I'll be great at being a dad.

I hadn't thought about it until yesterday, but by the act of proposing to Jynni and really making her and her daughter the start of my own family, Father's Day now applies to me.

This holiday has always been a bit weird for me, as has it's counterpart last month. I was raised by my grandparents (on mom's side), and for whatever reasons, my parents weren't always active. They had split up when I was very young, and while I don't fault them for it now, they weren't always the most reliable when I was growing up. Sure, my sister and I would go spend a couple weeks in the summer with my dad, and there was one summer we went to Missouri to meet the rest of the Barlow side. But, for the most part, my grandparents were the only parents I needed. Sometimes it hurt when mom or dad made plans to visit and then flaked, but I had grandma and grandpa to get me through. All was well.

I miss you, Grandpa David. And to my biological dad, I forgive whatever grudges I might have from my youth. You both did the best you could. Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oooh, shiny!

Hello, internet. It's been a while since we talked, you know?

Trust me, it's not you. It's all on me, and the fact that I've been slacking on the blogging front. Between the lack of home internet, a data cap on my phone, and the fact that my brain kind of goes THPPPPPPPP (the "raspberry" sound, if we're not on the same wavelength) after work and on my days off... it's completely on me.

I have been having some fun, though! It's not all work and work and work and wo -- you get the point. Once a week, most weeks, I've still been having D&D sessions with Steev and Megan (and Beau and old-friend-also-new-recruit Daniel), which are going awesome. There'll be a post on that soon, but let's just say... my character is awesome. And he might smite you.

This past few days have been the best in a while. I took my vacation time and got a pair of Greyhound tickets to come and visit Jynni, which was amazing after a long time apart. So amazing, in fact, that I took the opportunity to do something that I've been thinking about -- I'll let her explain it with this picture from Facebook:

Yeah, it's official: I found her. The one that makes every day better, even from a few hundred miles away. As the saying has gone for a very long time, I liked it, so I put a ring on it. Her family has welcomed me with open arms, pretty similarly to how the other side of her family (Jim and Wendy) has treated me. That's not the best picture of the ring, though... here's another one:

She thinks diamonds are lifeless, and sapphires are her favorite gemstone. She doesn't like how yellow gold looks against her skin, and loves sterling silver. Between this and the decorative false stargazer lilies (her favorite) I brought her... she was a happy camper. With the distance, it's not every day that I get to spoil her, so I wanted to make the visit special.

So that's how this last few days have been: Proposing on Thursday, date night on Friday to see Star Trek Into Darkness and grab some grub at Sonic, I cooked dinner for her and her family (daughter, mom, stepdad, sister, brother-in-law) on Saturday, and then we went to a wedding on Sunday.

Now, it's time to call it a night. I'm going to try and suck at this blogging thing less, especially while I have Hens McCluckin with me. But, you know, more on him later.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Free Comic Book Day!

(... was last week. And I wrote this then, but this is the first chance I've gotten to put it up. So, enjoy!)

This was the first year since I started reading comics that I went out for FCBD! My friends Megan and Steev were planning a morning trip to Olympia for Free Comic Book Day and invited me along. On top of that, it was a gorgeous 80° day... so I spent most of it inside like a good nerd should.

We went to the two comic book stores in Oly: Danger Room and Olympic Cards and Comics. Danger Room is my preferred shop, I have a file there full of Image titles, and they have been a HUUUGE help with my Blue Devil blog, but Olympic Cards and Comics is a gigantic store by comparison -- I couldn't not go there, too.

They were having three events in one: FCBD, storewide sale, and a signing with four big names in comics. Since there were so many things at 20% off, I picked up the 13-issue hardcover of Invincible (vol. 1) for almost $5 off the price, after taxes and everything. We had to be back in town by a certain time, or we'd have stayed for the signing and gotten Greg Rucka to sign something. Oh, well. Another time -- maybe when I actually own some of Rucka's work. That'd probably be a good idea for a signing.

All in all, it was a great day. We got a ton of free comics, and then Steev and I came back and laughed our asses off to some Brian Posehn stand-up. Did any of you got out for FCBD? Let's hear some stories!

Megan: "I wanted to give the nerds something to look at!"
Steev: "There will be so many awkward boners at the comic book shop."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"I shut up that part of my brain and just started writing it."

It's been a while since I talked about Who Killed Hermes?, my Greek mythology novel. That's not just because I haven't been blogging, it's also because I had a little bit of a block.
The downside of spending over a month researching and another month world-building with all of the little details, and my plotting wall with string and post-it notes, is this: There is so much stuff. For a little while, it was a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how I wanted it all to connect together -- things with the Greek gods themselves, things with the mortals and how the world developed with the pantheon being the real deal.
I broke out of my block a few days ago, and that quote is from a post that I made in /r/writing whem someone was having a similar problem to mine. Just shut up that part of your brain and start writing. I'd forgotten how it felt to write that way, having tried outlining and planning everything first with WKH?, and that was where my block came from. My writing has never really been the whole "outline everything, write to the outline". For me, it's a discovery.
So, now I'm going to go write some more. Over the last few days, I've written 1000+ words. It's a start!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


You guys, I have a confession to make.

I'm a smoothie addict.

Lately, my freezer has been filled with those bags of frozen mixed berries, and my fridge full of juices, bananas, and carrots. I've been trying to eat healthier, but carrots are so boring. My solution? Toss them into a smoothie with stronger-flavored things, and get that Vitamin A the delicious way.

Today is something new. Today is the day my smoothies are enhanced by my new favorite source of non-coffee caffeine: V8 V-FUSION +ENERGY drinks! 8 glorious ounces of peach and mango flavored awesome, with 50% juice and almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Allow me to present my newest smoothie, jam-packed with awesome stuff:

Justin's Get-Up-and-Mango Smoothie

--7 oz. V8 V-Fusion +Energy peach mango
--1 medium carrot, broken into pieces
--1 medium banana, cut into slices
--5 strawberries, frozen
--2 handfuls of frozen blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
--2 spoonfuls honey-flavored Greek yogurt (I used Oikos brand)

I have one of those Magic Bullet single-serve blenders, so adjust accordingly if you're using a bigger blender. Just toss it all in and blend until it's all smoothified, and enjoy the hell out of the awesome flavor. There is a lot of good stuff in here to boost it: Vitamin A from the carrot, potassium from the banana, protein from the Greek yogurt, lots of B vitamins, and a lot more.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go whisper sweet nothings to my smoothie until I devour it. I would expect you all to do the same.

The Elephant In The Room

Maybe it's because I work at a convenience store with firearm keychains, and also because of some of the people in my life (both digital and real), but the gun issue still hasn't really gotten dropped from my sphere of influence. Now, I figure I might as well put my attitude about artillery out there for the world to see -- address the gun-shaped elephant in the room, I guess.

A quick browse shows that this probably isn't a site I'd be interested in,
but here is the source anyway....

I don't want a gun. As far as I'm concerned, the only purpose for a gun is to hurt or kill something, and I have no desire to own one.

That being said, I also don't give a shit if you want to own one. More power to you, own a hunting rifle or handgun. My attitude, though, is that there is no need for a civilian to own a semi-automatic or fully-automatic weapon. People will bring up the Second Amendment, but the gun-crazy folks don't think about part of the problem with that: the Constitution was written in the time of muskets, bayonets, hunting knives and the like. By all means, I support your right to a musket.

When the Second Amendment was written, our war for independence was still fresh in the minds of lawmakers who had either experienced it, or had family who did. The Second Amendment was written when the weapons with which we killed each other were far less efficient.

Really, I just wanted to get that off of my chest. The rare customers that agree with me and thinks our keychains are ridiculous makes me feel a little bit better.

Do any of you want to own guns? I've got no problem with it, I'm just curious to hear other peoples' reasons why they do or don't want to own one (or more). :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Would you change things?

I know it's been a while since I was able to blog, and I'll get in to that in another post. Today's post is about the dream I woke from this morning, which is still pretty clear in my mind. It's sort of a dream with time travel -- big surprise there, right?

One of the things that I don't remember is how I time-traveled. It was some wholly ridiculous thing, I'm sure, and I don't remember the TARDIS being involved. I guess dream-Justin isn't Gallifreyan?

This was not involved. Sadface.
What I do remember is that, somehow, I time-traveled to the early 2000s. Or my mind traveled. Something like that. It was kind of like getting a "Game Over" screen and starting from a way-earlier point. You know what's going to happen, but you're otherwise the same as you were then. I was the physically-awkward teenager that didn't weigh nearly as much as I do now, and was still of the mind that I was too big. The only thing that was different was my mind.

Some parts of the dream were a lot harder than the others. I still feel the emotion that dream-me felt on seeing my Grandpa alive again, and my mom and step-dad happy again. The determination to change some things, but keep some things the same. In the dream, I had resolved to still work at the hotel, so I could meet Jim and eventually Jynni, but I also decided that I wanted to try and get my grandpa and step-dad to quit smoking in hopes of preventing their deaths.

I also remember wanting to fix my education fuck-ups, and actually graduate with my class instead of getting my diploma a year later. Some of the stuff that I wanted to do in the dream is unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and some of it could possibly change my life so much.

The part that really got me thinking was dream-Justin's insistence on working at the hotel so that I could befriend Jim, and eventually meet Jynni. I'm very happy being with her, and even if I could go back and change these things, unimportant and important both, I don't know if things would have worked the same way. Maybe I wouldn't have gotten hired at the hotel, and would've ended up never meeting Jynni, but still having the knowledge of how happy I am with her.

I guess the point of this post is a question: if you could go back and relive your life with knowledge of how events had gone, would you change things? Or would you suffer through the same issues that made you want to change things in the first place?

As for me, I think I'm good with how things are. Sure, I'd love for Jynni and her daughter to be able to meet my grandpa, and for my mom and step-dad to have been able to be together still. But the potential cost is too much. It's not worth maybe sacrificing the love I have now, even if the life I have now isn't my ideal life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grays Harbor Transit, you never disappoint...

I'm on the bus to Olympia to have lunch with Wendy, because Jim's new job doesn't give him a long enough lunch to join us. Afterwards, I'm off to Danger Room to pick up my too-long-neglected pull list (a month and a half).

Currently, I'm listening to a woman with facial injuries that is apparently in need of mental help or something. She is claiming police brutality from Hoquiam PD, and is on her way to Montesano to press charges against HPD. She also claims to be an American citizen from Canada, who has $10million that she is going to get from Canada, and bring to the US to help our economy.

Oh, and she says she's blind, but is also talking about having seen someone at the Aberdeen bus station with facial boils all over.


I feel odd, hearing all of this. This woman isn't the only person on the Harbor with a variety of issues, whether any of them are genuine, or a delusion brought on by mental illness. Often, experiences like this make me wish that I could help those that need it, in some way.

But, for now, I'm going to conserve phone battery and quit using it. If you need me, I'll be reading on my Kindle and trying to tune out the rest of this crowded, crowded bus.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I think that my foot should start paying rent to my mouth. Sometimes, I make such an ass out of myself that I think my attempts to learn languages will just mean I can do it with more people, more often. On another note, though....

It's been over a month since I blogged, either here or at Sympathy For The Devil, but that's not entirely for lack of effort. 2013 has not been a good year for my devices. Just in the seven weeks that it's been around, this year has killed (or tried to kill) most of the technology I own. Let's go for a rundown:

While taking pictures at Jim and Wendy's wedding last month, the screen on my camera decided to shit on itself. The camera itself still works and takes pictures, but because I don't have a working screen, I can't preview the images or switch it to video capture. The only good thing is that, if I keep using it, it might improve my "eye for pictures". Sure, it's stuck on the current settings from the last time I changed them, but being unable to rely on the screen to check the picture before taking it means relying on myself.

Then, my laptop decided that it has taken enough abuse. It's been my primary computer for... three years now? Sounds right. It's an Acer netbook with a 250 GB hard drive and 2 GB of RAM (1 GB that I bought and was shown how to install by Ralph). When I tell people that an Acer netbook has been my mostly-reliable primary computer for that long, they're usually surprised. Nowadays, the zero key is missing and both Shift keys are unreliable. Moving it too abruptly sometimes causes the screen to go ass-up, and the WLAN is going out -- sometimes it'll lose connection after an hour or two, other times after five minutes. Restarting it fixes it, but only temporarily.

Lastly, the Kindle. It got knocked out of my hand (by accident) because someone on the bus bumped into me while I was reading it. Half of the screen doesn't work anymore, but because it was only barely out of warranty, the customer support guy gave me a discount toward my next one. All in all, it cost me half of what I paid for my first Kindle to replace it.

The only regularly-used piece of tech that hasn't really had issues is my phone. So, that's why you're getting a 3AM blog from the phone. And if it has shitty formatting, I'll fix it when I can get on a real computer. :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goodbye, 2012! Hellooooo, 2013!

2012 was a much better year than I expected it to be, when it started! Most years, I've felt pretty "meh" at the end, and describing it as a crap year, hoping for better from the upcoming year. This year, sticking with the whole "hope for better", but... 2012 was a good year for me!

Buckle in, because this post might get a bit long. Here's a breakdown of 2012 in my corner of the world:

I took part in Karaoke Ring of Death for the first (and, so far, only) time!
That same month, I decided to review an album
because I kind of missed writing review posts. 

Then, at the beginning of February, I decided that I wanted to blog every day
for an entire year. It only took about two months to fail....

For a little while, burritos were king. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
I was the burrito king, making a few dozen at a time, then freezing/reheating.

Gay marriage was legalized in Washington -- by lawmakers, and later by voters!
I still stand by my offer to officiate ceremonies whenever needed, too -- for all couples,
gay, straight, and anything else that Washington state allows.

I started working on Project: SAMSON, which got shelved a little while ago.
Still plan on putting it out, but I'm working on other things soon. It had an artist, and
then I lost touch with that artist. Someone else took an interest, and I haven't
really heard from her since. So, you know... shelving it made sense.

The ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE STARTED... or not. The tastebud apocalypse
definitely happened, though -- the idea for the 5-Alarm Fire Burger was born!

The Wall of Geek started small in March(left),
and has gotten much bigger now (right)!
Now, it's got one of my autographed HEROES pictures, two Doctor Who posters,
the box from my Kindle, a framed panel of Parallax beating Superman from DC's
Zero Hour (I think), a dreamcatcher that I've had for years, and 
the koi that Jynni drew for my birthday, just before we started dating.

I took a blog meme from The Tsaritsa Sez, one of my favorite People From The Internet!

Some random artist on the bus to Olympia sketched me.
We talked for a bit, he let me take a picture of the sketch
because I liked it, and I told him that I was looking for
an artist. Unfortunately, I didn't have a card, and he didn't
reach out, here on the site.

Also, I might have made a Thing. But, you know, probably not.
I did find out that wrong numbers can be fun, and had a 

With help from the Hogabooms, I even got to peer into space
and take pictures of Saturn through a telescope. Even now,
looking back at the blurry pictures of a planet that is an
unimaginable distance away, it's humbling. The universe is amazing.

I've become part of a regular D&D group, too! We've been meeting at least once
or twice a month since this summer, and have a pretty good storyline going!

I came in to my own as a pretty great cook this year, too.
With recipes and without, I made some excellent stuff -- even
baking, which is something I thought I was incapable of doing well.
Behold, the collage of deliciousness!

1) Two-cheese baked chicken
2) Steak breakfast burritos
3) Sweet and sour steak
4) Banana bread
5) Sun Chip chicken
6) Sweet chili & garlic steak cuts
7) Coconut chicken curry tacos
Not pictured: Pepperoni pizza

And I got my writing out there, too! I started writing the occasional post for 
about realty in a local free monthly newspaper, working with a realtor friend.
I wrote a "memorial" for an online community that abruptly disappeared, and started
WHO KILLED HERMES?, a novel that I'm always excited to write about
Lastly, I joined the world of comic book blogging with a Blue Devil blog!

The most important thing that happened this year, though, was that I fell in love. I met Jynni in May after having known her dad for years. We started dating at the end of July, and even though it's long-distance, we're closer every day. Four days in, her 8 year old brother asked if Jynni was going to get me an engagement ring.

It's been nine months since we started talking daily, and seven months since we started dating. Some people might consider it a bit early to be as confident as I am, but I can see this relationship lasting for a while. Her daughter adores me, and we want so many of the same things out of life. Considering everything this relationship has going for it, I can overlook the fact that she thinks Michelangelo is a more awesome Ninja Turtle than Donatello.

THAT was my 2012. I'm excited for 2013! There are already plans in the works, like being the minister for Jim and Wendy's wedding in a few days!

What do you have planned for 2013?