Thanksgiving Thanks

I enjoyed Thanksgiving this year.  I don’t mean more than any other year, I suppose, but it was a little different and nice for that difference.  We didn’t travel this year.  Black Friday was kind of a pleasant surprise.  Thanksgiving dinner was still traditional and delicious (good job, honey), but only with the immediate family – plus one.  We were busy, but it was not to a point of being miserable.  It was simple, and I enjoyed it all.

Black Friday was surprisingly not as chaotic as I thought it would be.  I suppose there were a couple of factors that helped with that.  One was the fact that stores were doing stuff like door busters on Thanksgiving evening.  That is not something I would participate in, so I thankfully missed that.  The other factor was that the weather in DFW was horrendous; 8 inches of rain fell over the course of 3-4 days.  It was raining cats and dogs and very cool all day Friday.  I think those two reasons allowed for Friday to be far less crowded and thus, less chaotic.

Christmas came early for me this year.  I got to upgrade my PC.  It was time for a new processor, and that led to upgrading other parts.  I kinda ended up with all new guts :-).  I will definitely have a much better iRacing experience for my money and effort.  Thanks for that, honey.

We did a lot of running around on Friday and over the weekend taking advantage of sales and getting things we needed in preparation for the next holiday.  We also got the inside Christmas decorations up.  Next weekend is outside decorations, so long as the swamp dries up.

I really did enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and all it entailed (or didn’t entail in this case).  Got some family coming down for Christmas instead of us traveling.  I’m thinking that’s not a bad thing, either.  It’s a little busy around the house, but I don’t have to try and prep for a long trip.  I won’t get to hang out with my best friend this year, and I will definitely miss that.  But we’re best friends, and I can say that distance and time has not hurt our friendship.  I won’t get to see all of my family for the holiday, either.  That’s not ideal, but I’ll catch up with them next time I journey Home.  There are definitely trade offs for either path, but I can’t say I have a problem with the way the holidays are working out this year.

So, thanks for a good Thanksgiving.  Here’s to hoping for a nice Christmas.


Hump Day…

Huh… where to start?

Sunday (November 15th)

The “Garage Project” progressed nicely that day.  I’m rehabbing my garage.  I was originally trying to make it a “man-cave”, but that vision has had REALITY poured all over it.  So, I’m trying to get a bit more climate… resistance… out there, some more efficiency in storage and, as a result, some more floor space for a workshop-like area.  Ultimately, I need some more space for working on my bikes and handling the home projects that pop up.

The evening brought me to “race day” with the Pacific Majors league in which I compete on iRacing.  We ran our version of the Brazilian Grand Prix.  iRacing has the 2k8/2k9′ ish Williams Toyota Formula 1 car.  I had a lot of fun.  The race was even professionally “broadcast” on YouTube by the Global SimRacing Channel.  I got a few moments of fame, too.  Go here to catch my time on TV.  This simracing stuff is getting “real”.  There are real sponsors and professional broadcasts.  I heard or read somewhere that there’s even an actual motor sports channel in Europe that broadcasts races from one or two of the European racing leagues that are run on iRacing.  Crazy… but cool

Monday, Tuesday, Hump Day

Work, work, work…  pick up the kid, pick up the kid, pick up the kid 😉  My daughter is in a pit orchestra for a high school play, and rehearsals have been going late into the evening after school.  Those kids are busting their asses.  Can’t say I’m not proud of what she has done playing music.  She’s pretty good from what I’ve heard myself and been told by instructors, directors, etc.

Aside from that, I’ve still had gaming on my mind.  So, with downtime at work and free time at home, I find myself perusing blogs and articles about tabletop gaming.  I miss it.  I miss, at least, what it was to me “back in the day”; heh, heh, heh.  Anyway, I ran across a blog post today by a guy named Michael “Stargazer” Wolf.  In his blog post, he talks about Alternity.  Alternity is/was a sci-fi tabletop role playing game that was created and published by TSR (now Wizards of the Coast), the folks that created many versions of the greatest (in my opinion) tabletop RPG ever, Dungeons & Dragons.  Unfortunately, Wizards quite supporting Alternity, but before they did, I had a ton of fun playing.  In fact, I ran a campaign with my group at the time that lasted over 18 months.  I believe we all had fun.  Reading that blog post made me think of running that campaign and how much fun I had then.  Again, it made me miss gaming.  Nonetheless, click those links up there for Michael Wolf and his blog post.  He’s a pretty cool gamer guy with some good ideas.

Okay, enough jibberish…

Hey, audience, hit me back.  Comment on these posts.  Say nice things. Bitch at me.  Rip on my fledgling story, Mind the Shadows.  TALK TO ME 0_O

Later 😉

Thank You… No, Really. Thanks!

So, I just noticed that I’m getting some views on this site.  Thanks!  I really appreciate it.  I really, REALLY appreciate that someone took a look at Mind The Shadows.  Please, keep it up.  And, hey, let me know what you think.  It doesn’t matter if you love it or hate it.  I’d like to know.  I like to write.  I do it for me, but I also like to know that other are taking a look, and feedback helps learn to be better at it.  As a tabletop gamer, I like to spin a yarn.  I like to talk about my thoughts.  I also like to hear back from the readers.

Anyway, I wanted to make sure those out there paying attention to what I put here are appreciated.  🙂

Game Night…

I’ve been thinking about gaming again quite a bit.

Game Dice

Anyway, here’s a little insight about how I became a tabletop gamer geek. I wrote this a while back, but it still holds true for me.

What Brought Me to the Table

I have been gaming since I was about thirteen years old.  My friend Jason showed me a red box one day when I was at his house.  He said he had read some of it and it sounded cool.  It was the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Boxed Set.  That little red box was awesome.  I could play an elf that could swing a sword and cast magic spells.  I could slay evil monsters and take their treasure.  Oh, my imagination went nuts.  So Jason and I took turns reading the two little books.  We made some characters as outlined by the game rules, and we went through the tutorial adventure that was in one of the two books.  After that, we got a couple more of our friends together and the rest was history.

At first, Jason ran the games as the dungeon master, but with more players involved and no “ego to bruise” and a desire to play a character over running the game, he decided to ask me if I would take over.  He thought some of the ideas I had for the game were great, and he knew I was into it enough to work hard at making a good adventure for him and the rest. The other guys had no problem with that; they just wanted to play.  This was cool, but I needed a red box of my own so I could work on my adventure ideas without borrowing Jason’s books all the time.

So I begged Mom to buy the red box for me.  I showed her Jason’s red box and told her what it was for.  Mom said okay to getting it for me; I found out later that she was just impressed with the fact that I wanted something that involved a lot of reading.  We went to Checkered Flag (a local hobby store).  When we got there, I quickly found out that there was much more to this Dungeons and Dragons thing than just the red box.  Sitting there in front of me on the shelf among a bunch of other books and boxes with D&D logos on them were a blue box, an aqua-colored box, and a black box.  Oh yeah, they had a few of the red boxes, too.  The picture on the blue box was even cooler than the one on the red box.  I went crazy.  I begged my mom to get the blue box, too.  She was not happy about spending the money on something she wasn’t sure I was going to play with for more than a week, but she gave in and I went home one up on Jason.  I had the red box, AND I had the blue box, too.

I can remember almost puking in the car on the way home.  I got motion sickness if I tried to read in a moving car.  It didn’t slow me down much, though.  When we got home, I was out of the car, in the house, and on the phone with Jason before my mom got the key out of the ignition.  He came down with his red box after a couple of excruciating minutes – I told him I would wait to open the blue box until he got there…

Role-playing games… a gift to this world.  RPG’s have had a major and positive impact on my life.  Many years have passed since I picked up that red box.  My collection of role-playing games has grown considerably.  I’m still a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons.  I have had some serious fun with D&D – with all of my RPG’s, in fact.  I have made some great friends because of gaming.  I’m also certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that gaming improved my reading and writing skills beyond the measure that my public school education could have done by itself.

The fun has been far more than just fun, though.  Gaming has been an escape from the stresses of reality.  I could leave work and go home – or to a buddy’s place, hook up with the group and whale on some orcs or some kind of horrific alien.  Since I ran many of the games as game master – or dungeon master – I was the one dealing out the baddies and then “living” vicariously through the group as they had their characters crush, maim, and kill things.  It was a hell of a way to take out the anger from a rough day at work.

It has been a creative outlet that I, personally, have needed.  I’ve always had a good imagination.  Gaming set that imagination free.  As I said, I have been a DM or GM (dungeon master or game master) for most of the time I have been gaming.  I’m the one who has had to make up the stories and adventures through which the players role-play their characters.

I also like to entertain people.  I have no aspirations to be a big celebrity (but the paycheck would be nice).  I have truly enjoyed making up the adventures, stories, and scenarios in which my gaming friends have played their characters.  I have gotten to play the parts of “everybody else”.  I have been able to be funny, mean, pitiful, and heroic; it’s been great.  It’s a great feeling when the gamers around the table give praise to the DM for a good adventure.  That is what brought me to the table…

I have been missing game night lately.  It’s just I’m not sure about trying to start it up again.  I really love iRacing, and that takes a considerable amount of my free time.  I don’t want to give that up.  Plus, I’ll admit, there is some trepidation about trying to bring a group back to the table.  I think I may have unrealistic (no pun intended… much) expectations for what I want out of a gaming group now.  It can be difficult to find a group of tabletop gamers that are like-minded and compatible with each other.  We’re gamer geeks, and personality quirks, including a lack of maturity in some cases, is kinda par for the course.

I wouldn’t mind some outside perspective on this…

Starbucks? Really? (Warning Explicit Verbiage)


“Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus,” was posted on Facebook post by some ass-hat named Joshua. (Time news article)  Of all the horrible crap going on in this world, this turd felt compelled to crab about a company not putting Christmas-related decorations on their coffee cups.  Apparently, what he said went viral.  And it wasn’t just him that got all bent out of shape because there aren’t snowflakes or a Christmas tree on the Starbucks cups.  I mean, even Donald Trump got into the act and made a crack about nixing the Starbucks store in the Trump Tower.

Is this what our world is coming to?  People are offended by a LACK of symbols on a coffee cup?

Who gives a shit?  Starbucks didn’t put something Christmas-like on their cups for the holiday season this year?  So what?  You people are so twisted up in your religious beliefs that a coffee company changing their cups offends you?  Really?  Don’t you people have something better to do with your time and energy?  Why don’t you take that Christian-fueled ire over coffee cup and direct it toward something like homelessness?  Do something about that, ya fucktards!

Can’t these people see how completely asinine they are for getting twisted over a coffee cup?  What would be the difference if Quiktrip decided to take the “Q” off their cups.  They way these losers are acting over Starbucks, I would have to speculate they would think the end of the world was coming for ‘Killing the Q’ – Yeah I made that up right there; good, huh? 😉

Anyway, I just needed to get that off my chest.  I witness a lot of stupidity every day, but this just really burnt my ass.  With all the bad shit going on in the world, these “people of faith” were offended by a dumb-ass coffee cup.  That tells me they are either really that stupid and don’t know any better, or they are so arrogant and self-righteous that something so trivial rankles them.  If it’s the former, I feel for you and hope that stupidity of that level might someday get fixed (I’m not making that bet).  If it’s the latter, you should be the first people that Jesus smacks when or IF you make it to where you think you might be going some day.

Monday Morning Dump

Not a bad weekend to be had.  I got a short bike ride in on Saturday.  I got some work done in my garage.  I competed in the iRacing World Cup tournament.  Now I sit here on Monday morning in not such a bad mood o_0  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’ll take it over being miserable on a Monday morning.

I’ll admit it.  I’m a chunk.  I’ve gained some of the weight back that I lost over the past couple of years.  I like to mountain bike.  I like cycling, but especially off road.  I just have not been deeply interested in it this year like I have in the past, so any excuse (not really excuses, per se) has been a “good” excuse not to get myself together and go for a ride.  That is going to have to change.  My blood pressure is up again, and I simply need to be in a little better shape.  Tonight, I go for a 30-minute walk.  I have decided to simply do some form of exercise at least 3 times a week.  Wish me luck…

I did get some work done on my crappy garage.  I tore it down to the studs a few months ago.  I finally got some insulation up on a couple of walls Saturday in an effort to bring about better climate control.  I have a little way to go, but it felt kinda good to make some progress.  My intent is a place for some storage and a work space to work on bikes and my sim rig for iRacing.  I intend to get all the insulation up before Christmas, so I’m not doing too bad on that progress.  Electrical, drywall and garage door to go.

The World Cup tournament for iRacing was less than stellar this year for my Texas Club compatriots.  We were eliminated this year for many reasons.  The biggest reason was lack of participation by those that have been there in the past few years.  We’ve got some pretty good drivers.  They just weren’t around this year to help keep a dog in the fight.  Unfortunately, real life has to take precedence over our virtual racing careers.  What a shame.  😉  Maybe next year.

What does it cost you?

Everything we do or gain has a cost.  There is something that we must spend or give up to perform an action or make an acquisition. The catch is, though, what are you willing to spend? The question of whether the expenditure is easy or not is based solely on the value that you have placed on what you spent. Even things given to you or done for you have a cost; you must, at the very least, spend the time to receive it.

#justathought #foodforthought