Games, drumming, juggling, home improvements, cooking, comics, dogs, macs, music, etc.

Squall - probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skval: useless chatter (Merriam-Webster)
It's my goal to have the LONGEST blog pages around. Kind of.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

PS3 and Cookie Fu!

I got my new PS3 today. I decided to utilize my travel points for something since we usually don't go anywhere, so I decided to make my home more vacation friendly with a new PlayStation 3 gaming console. And well, Marriott points can buy me stuff, so I look for what I want. I order the PS3 and it takes like 4 weeks to get to me. The whole time, there is a confusion in my order, one page says I got the 60 GB version, and one page says I got the 80 GB version. The newer one is the 80 GB version, and of course has the larger hard drive, so I'd prefer that one. The 60 GB version has the emulation chip for backwards compatibility for PS2 and PS1 game, so that wouldn't be too bad either. Turns out, the new PS3's still have compatibility, but it is software run, not a chip. So, I guess, less games are compatible. You can check out compatibility here. Anyway, I'm not overly concerned about compatibility, and back to the story, which was I going to get? the 60GB version on the order page? or the 80GB version that that my receipt shows? I'm leaning towards the 80GB version because it's what my receipt shows.. Plus, that's the one I want.

Delivery! I was trying to track it with a FedEx number Marriott customer support gave me, and it's not in the system - so I cannot track it via innurnet. So, I call FedEx, and they track the package using my address AND they WON'T give me the correct tracking number. so, I have to call to get any status on it's route.. how fricken' 80's. phones, people, dialing, talking.. sheesh. So, I call on the day it is supposed to be delivered, and ask to track it. And the lady says 'If it's supposed to be delivered today, it will be, we're working double hard to get it to you.'

It didn't get here.

So, I call the NEXT day (today) and get another dude who is more than happy to provide the service he's supposed to (unlike the ms. it-will-get-there-I-promise lady) and he tells me it's on a truck, and en-route.


About 2 hours later, I see the FedEx truck struggling to turn around in our driveway, and I go out to meet my package. Bliss. It's here!

Now for the unveiling.. will I get the 60GB or the 80GB version? Drumroll, please...

The 160GB uncharted limited edition! Wow! What a surprise!

All unpacked.. I had a running joke with a friend of mine. The deal was the PS3 was supposed to have a random bundled game and two controllers. I was always joking I would get Madden '08 or something - I hate sports games. Well, I got the Uncharted game as part of the bundle, and All-Pro Football 2k8. So, I was sorta right, I got a crap sports game. Oh well, I can trade it in for a game I really want... Like Guitar Hero 4!

Cookie Fu! This is a dice game introduced to me by my friend Dennis. We co-founded the Stumptown Bone Rollers Guild on It was mostly for Dragon Dice, but we play other dice games, too. Anyway, for $12 (with shipping) I got this haul of dice:

Games good! Now I just need someone to come over and play.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Portland Arctic Blast 08 - part duex

Meran decided to try out her cross-country skiis.. More pics of Arctic Blast '08 -- as the area news stations have dubbed it. I wonder if we'll get Shell Shock from the blast? Sorry, how non-PC of me. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Or is it Battle Fatigue? (okay, I'm done w/ my mini-tribute to George Carlin; R.I.P.)

First, a shot of our deck / hot tub from Saturday / Sunday ish
And, today:

Now for pics from Meran on the skiiiiiis.

Legwarmers.. how.. umm... 80's.
And some pics she took:

My truck! I don't want to dig it out. So I am not. I am staying home.
more carport.. err.. outside storage area destruction pics:

And, see how the doggies like it...

Okay, that's it. Really. Maybe.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Portland Artic Blast 08

Portland is getting snow. A LOT of snow. I know. I come from Colorado, where we got 4 foot snow storms every few years, and this is not that bad.. but for the PDX area, 18-24" is a lot of snow. And, we got our first casualty - the carport that is on the side of the house that we use for 'out-of-rain' storage of bikes, wood, mower, etc. It's annoying, to say the least.. Here are the photos:

From the back of the house, by the shed, it fell from the outside towards the house. It looks like minimal damage, but man is this going to be annoying.

My bike was not flipped. Now it is.. I wonder what got messed up. My riding mower was missed, yay!

View from the front side of the house.. fortunately, everything is mostly under the sides, not the middle. Anything in the middle would have gotten squashed.

My little red wagon looks sad. I might need to rescue it first.

Most of the support beams are okay, one got pulled out.. still, pretty minimal.. I shudder to think what COULD have happened..
Meran says "Whoever wished for a white Christmas, you got it. Stop wishing!"

There you go. Arctic Blast, 2008. Sheesh, and I thought all the rain sucked.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Muder At The Vulgar Unicorn - Act III

If you are just picking this up, I suggest reading the previous posts first!
Prelude : Characters : Act I : Act II

Act III - Venturing North

12th of Morothus – Shiprisday
After a few days of gathering supplies and finalizing of the loot from the Gem job, the group decides to head north, to the inn call the Brown Bear. This is where all of the recent clues have been pointing them, and perhaps they’ll finally find Paithas Meed. After a late start, the Group starts their march out to the Brown Bear.
On the way to the Inn, the Group hears the sounds of a fight, and when they rush up the path, they see a Feniath attacking 6 robed figures. The Group rushes in and kills the Feniath and earns the thanks of the robed figures. The Fenaith is a definite sign of interest, since they’ve encountered one before at Pace’s warehouse where he had kept Rosa. The party searches the Feniath and finds a note for Paithas Meed. This note is from Arion Swan and mentions money, boars, Erilissi, and a black temple to meet at in Sanctuary. This is definitely suspicious, and the Group starts asking the robed figures about what they are doing, and what might have caused this thing to attack them. The robed figures speak of a curse that is ravaging the area and encourages the Group to leave the area, go back to Sanctuary. The Group ignores the warnings of the robed figures and continues to the Brown Bear Inn, with the robed men following them.
Finally reaching their destination of the Inn, they are unexpectantly greeted by Paithas Meed himself, with another dozen and half of robed figures. The robed figures with the Group inform Pathias of the happening on the trail, and with enormous gratitude, Pathias invites the group inside for a drink. Inside the Inn, Pathias informs the group of the area’s troubles. He claims he’s seen the evidence of a plague or something in the local plants and animals. The robed figures are explained, by Pathias, as Apostles of Nature. They have been helping him with trying to track down the cause of the curse or plague. He continually is urging the Group to leave quickly, not to dawdle in the area – for their own health. His urgings quiet when the Group tells him that they are merely stopping for a rest before continuing on their way to the North.
Outside there is a ruckus, Paithas and Duncaen, the owner of the Brown Bear, go out to investigate it. The Group decides to discuss what they have learned in the Inn with Pathias’ absence. After a few minutes, the Group goes outside to see what is transpiring. They go outside and witness a number of local farmers who have come to the Inn for an impromptu area meeting. It seems the locals look up to Duncaen and come to regard him of a local leader of sorts. The locals have been complaining of local occurrences that they claim is not a plague or a curse, but vandalism and they claim the Apostles of Nature are behind it. Duncaen doesn’t want any trouble for his Inn, himself or his daughter, Engela. With his safety in mind, Duncaen aids Paithas in calming the villagers into complacency about the Apostles. The Group takes no sides, and merely watched the proceedings. After a long bout of talking and accusations, the villagers either go home or into the Inn for drink. Pathias offers the group to pay for their accommodations for the evening in repayment for their aid on the road early today.
In the morning, the Group decides to head back to Sanctuary, and 6 Apostles walk with them. When they are just outside of the village, the Group hears screaming from back at the Inn. As the Group rushes back, they see an Apostle on horseback ride off very quickly, and a group of Apostles are following on foot. Jack races to follow the horseman. The rest of the Group goes into the Brown Bear and Duncean tells them that the Apostles attacked the Inn and have taken his daughter. He pleas for them to get his daughter back. He gives them directions to the farm that everyone knows the Apostles are staying at.
The Group makes a quick exit and they head to the pig farm. Jack slows and eventually the Apostles eventually overtake him. He starts returning to the Inn when he meets up with the rest of the Group, already on their way to help. The Group scouts the farm, and sees that it is ready for an attack. The Group waits for an hour or so, and the camp eventually goes to ease. The attack is not a surprise, but the sneak attack is. Paithas shouts out warning from his watch point in the house when he seen Nicolas and Modig sneak out from the forest. The alarm is raised, and the battle ensues. The Apostles have a mage who starts casting some spells. Malkar hits the mage with 4 arrows when the shatter spell wrecks his bow. Kalima finishes off the mage in melee, and Paithas gets the upper hand on Kalima with a magic dazzle. Jack, Malkar, Modig and Nikolas all finish off the Apostles and Paithas. Searching the farmhouse, they find Engela tied up in a room, and go through the rest of the house to search for clues and possible loot.
Not a lot of outright clues, but Paithas had a note on him from Erilissi, which speaks of many things, but most importantly, of diseased animals. The Group inspects the pigs on the farm but even Malkar doesn’t find anything wrong with them. The Group kills all the pigs in the farm anyway, and they return to the Brown Bear with Engela. Duncaen thanks them with an offer of free rooms for whenever they like.
Back in Sanctuary, the Group reviews the past few days of events and armed with new information, they go to meet with the Magistrate. The Group presents the collected information so far, that there is a plot about bringing a plague into Sanctuary using animals of some sort. The final phase has been planned; a ship is coming to Sanctuary to deliver the plague. The Magistrate is concerned about this ship and is going to set up watch on the docks, with an emergency response always at the ready. The Group is invited to be part of the fighting force when the ship comes in.
What the group doesn’t tell the Magistrate is that there is also a group of cultists hiding in a black temple in Sanctuary somewhere, they follow Dyreela and that Arion Swan is leading them. He’s part of this plot so that he can produce the antidote and save the city. The plot is all about him trying to get the next appointment as Governor to this town.
The Group hits up Alton Stulwig for the ingredients for the cure to the plague. The Group provides coin, and Alton provides the elixirs. The group also starts looking for the Black Temple and Arion Swan, or his cohorts. After many bribes later, they locate the Black Temple of Dyreela underneath the old Heqt temple in the maze. The group scouts it out finding it guarded at all times. They make a plan for a raid, but it must wait until the next day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Recent gaming activity

Just thought it was time to chime in and put up a post, it's been a while. First of all, board games!
I played two new ones this week Dominion and Le Havre, and am looking forward to potentially playing an old one I haven't played in over a decade - BlackBeard!

Dominion is a card game that is pretty unique, each game uses 6 common decks. 3 are money, 3 are victory points. The other decks are 10 decks selected from 25 or so in the game. Each game has the potential to be different. during the game, each player has a deck of cards, you start with 10, 7 money and 3 VP cards. you deal 5 cards from your deck, and take one action and one buy. You buy cards that give you additional actions, and / or buys. It's pretty clever, and pretty easy, too. The first few hands are a learning curve, but by the time you are ready to play a second time, it should be well understood how to play. I recommend it as a light game to end the night with or for filler while waiting for a game to commence.

Le Havre, made by the same game designer who did Agricola. Three of us played it, and two of us were new to it, one of us had played a five player game of it before. It's a tight resource management game that has a lot of similarities to Agricola, but a different feel. You only get one action per turn, in which you can either take resources or take an action like building a building or utilizing a building. It's got a lock feature where only one person can utilize a building, and it can't be used by anyone else until the marker is moved, but we found this wasn't too limiting, there were always a lot of choices. It seemed to always be a struggle to keep your people fed, that is until you figured out a good food generation strategy. Ships definitely help to the regard. A fun game, and a pretty good thinker, too. Definitely want to be awake for this game when it comes to the table.

Also, for some interesting games I have found on the 'net via various sources:
Fantastic Contraption - a really neat game that takes some thinking!

Play Auditorium - interesting, thinking and soothing.

That's it for me, see you around the game table. Comment and tell me what games you've been playing lately!!