Monday, October 31, 2005


Every Halloween weekend (or at least as close as we can get it, since Halloween is actually today), Chicago area Mensa has their weekend-long Regional Gathering, called HalloweeM (Mensans like to put capital M's in where they don't necessarily belong). This was a weekend that was conditionally exquisite. I showed up about 9:15am on Friday and the hotel allowed me to check in early, so I proceeded to do so. Friday, I spent the bulk of the day playing the Dual Dungeon Duel, which was a D&D geekfest in which two competing teams played in the same dungeon, and then were magically transported into a massive arena and beat the snot out of each other. There were a few exceptional players, one of which was seven years old. Many (most of them on the other team, fortunately) you kind of wondered why the hell they were gaming in the first place. Y'know, some people just don't have the temperament/mindset for imaginative gaming, and get really confused about it, and subsequently really offended when you try to kill them.

After the festivities, I hung out for a bit around the free food and beer, and then went back to my room to get ready for the costume parade. Being as obsessed with pirates as I have been as of late, I wanted to have a clever pirate outfit (which, of course, included growing my hair out about six weeks longer than I usually do, and avoiding shaving for a very long time). But in Mensa, it is expected that not only do you have a clever costume, but you must also have a clever pun to go along with it. I generally don't think in puns, but I tried. During the parade, I had a sign saying "Corn $1," so I was a buccaneer. I sold it primarily because I was being Mr. high-energy actor at the time. Anyway, Heidi (who had just worked a 14 hour day), came in briefly, so she could see the costume, but she left really early. One thing though, my other eye was open under that eyepatch, and that sucked. I had double vision for several hours once I removed that thing.

Heidi spent the day with me on Saturday, and we didn't do a whole lot. We played a lot of games, went to one lectutre that was insanely boring (before she showed up, I went to an interesting presentation on Snowboarding, but this one, the guy just didn't know how to work an audience). We got a lot of good talking in, and and danced the night away (my friend Howard was DJ, and he was catering to us, I think). But we talked a LOT that day, and achieved a good turning point in our relationship. Actually, I guess a better phrasing of that would be: I achieved a good turning point in my insecurities. It was a little weird for her, though. She's used to marketing conferences where everybody is smooth and attractive, and in this place, everybody is quirky, and some people are lonely and weird and have no social graces at all. She, being an attractive young-looking Asian woman, got eyes from a lot of people and a number of comments that I'm very glad I was not in earshot of, otherwise there would have been trouble. That's the thing with Mensa. You meet a LOT of really cool, really unique people, many of which are fun as all hell. But with really unique comes the others, and there is a fairly high concentration of those.

Sunday, I left 'weeM early and Heidi and I hung out again and did a whole lot of nothing. We watched the best Singaporean movie ever, and that's not saying much. It was good, I enjoyed it, but it seemed like a really good student film. But in all, Heidi and I used this weekend wisely and got a lot closer. Life is good. Love is good. Mensa is weird, but I love so many people there, it kicks abundant ass.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Near-theft Experience

So I just went to Best Buy to pick up Civilization IV. They had a really cool set up of a PS2 and an Xbox side by side, and the picture was so good, I was thinking it might be an advance XBox360, so I checked it out. It was cool, and I left, with a warm fuzzy feeling. Then I started thinking about playing the game I had in my hand... wait, shouldn't there be a bag there? Yep, I was halfway to my car before I realized I had walked out of Best Buy without paying for my game. The "security" guy didn't notice, the alarm didn't sound, I effectively could have kept walking and had myself a free game. Now, I'm all for free software, but I feel like someone needs to pay for it, and no, I don't mean Best Buy. Having integrity means something, and I know I wouldn't have enjoyed the game if I knew it was stolen, and besides, it's just the right thing to do. What I thought was odd, though, was that the store staff didn't really care. They were surprised that I had come back in, and didn't particularly care that I had walked out with it. Maybe it was free Civ 4 day. Anyway, I went and paid, and I feel better about myself, and the game has finished installing, so I must finish my post.


The Sox Sweep the Series

OK, I'm not a big baseball fan. In fact, I didn't even watch the World Series. But I'm a resident of Chicago, and I dig this town a lot, and Chicago history was made last night. For the first time in 46 years, we had a team in the series, and for the first time a much longer time, we won it. Not only did we win it, we won it with style, with panache. The 3rd game ran on 14 innings, and the whole series was wrapped up in 4 games. Last night as I was going to bed, I heard fireworks going off. Kick ass.

Yes, this is dramatically different than my usual posts, so I'll leave everyone with this, just to know that I haven't gone off the deep end: Which Fantasy/Sci-Fi Character are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?You are Elrond
A stern yet benevolent organizer who often knows best, your wits are keenly fixed on aiding efforts you deem worthy.

Now at this last we must take a hard road, a road unforseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril to Mordor.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why I dig other people's blogs

I regularly read a select few blogs of people that I don't know personally. Some are celebrities, some are incredibly educational, all are well written (well, all of them that I read without knowing who they are). Wil Wheaton's blog is almost a forum, a centralized meeting place, for those of skewed minds. The Four Ninja Food Groups is just weird. But then there's people like the writer of The All-Grain Evangelist who are just SO damn knowledgeable and SO damn passionate about what they do, it's downright amazing. This is the post that inspired my post. The more I look at my current space, the more I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to get into homebrewing in this apartment (that's kind of a maybe), but damn, I need to have this guy's blog up for reference.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Talisman Ring

Heidi and I just saw The Talisman Ring at Lifeline Theatre yesterday. I wanted to see it because my friend Rob was in it, and I really dig his acting ability. This can't really be described as anything other than a rousing romp. It was a historical piece, placed during the French Revolution, but having been written in the mid-20th century. Therefore, all the women had minds of their own, and one woman even did fairly well in a fight, but there was still plenty of swoony romance (most of it made up in the show because the trashy-romance-obsessed younger character thought it should be that way), swordplay, secret chambers, devious plots, and clever wit to go around. If you're in the Chicago area, I highly recommend this show.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Meet David

This is David. He's this little seven year old guy down in Ecuador, who I'm sponsoring through Children International. I figured if I can spend $14 a month to play World of Warcraft, I can spend $18 a month to let this guy have better medicine and education. And I know I'm not going to stop playing World of Warcraft (or whatever follows it in my obssessive gaming mind) anytime soon. His biggest love in life is soccer, but he likes to sing, and is a good kid (well, he says he is, so take that with however many grains of salt). I just got my first letter from him, which was as incoherent as most 7-year-old writing, but really cool to get anyway.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Crap, now I gotta think again

Well, ever-faithful wikipedia (which has often been considered the reason the internet exists), has dashed my pseudo-hopes. Christopher Walken is not running for president. It was a good hoax/joke, but it's all over now. Owell, at least we have our perpetually successful two-party system to fall back on :P

More musings from a dedicated geek

So anyway, I've learned something. But first, backstory! Commander Adama in the old version of Battlestar Galactica was a very spiritual man. All the characters were very symbolic, and larger than life. The dialogue was stilted, and the acting was bad, because nobody was really a person, everybody was a symbol (that or it was just the '70's, and nobody cared about that sort of thing in Science Fiction in the '70's... to make my point, I'm going with the symbolism thing). Once all of humanity was destroyed, and Adama was responsible for the rest of the human race (which previously spanned twelve worlds), he went on a spiritual quest for the remaining "tribe" of humanity from the scriptures, in this mythical place called Earth. The updated Battlestar Galactica is much more realistic. It's a bunch of real people, filled with crap that real people go through (angst is very addictive in a TV show), but adding to it the fact that the entire human race has been wiped out and it's pretty much up to Commander William Adama (with the help of the previous Secretary of Education, who is the only living member of the cabinet, hence the new president) to get people off their collective asses and out somewhere, anywhere. Earth is also some mythical place from the scriptures that supposedly the 13th tribe of humanity went to eons ago, but the thing is, Bill Adama doesn't care about it. He's just making it up so he can get people moving and not sitting around waiting to be blown away. There's more, but it's not important right now. Watch the new series. It's good stuff. Anyway, I learned that Adamah (pronounced the same, and the h is optional) means ground or earth in Hebrew. Adama was named so in the original series, which was suppoed to parallel the Hebrew Exodus, as a symbol of the quest for Earth. It was a pretty thinly-veiled symbol, but it's kinda neato. Please note, the original Battlestar Galactica was pretty much an unwatchable show. I liked it as a kid, but I was also 8 years old. New one good, old one bad. But I still thought I'd share my new knowledge with you. Yes, I'm a geek.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wallace & Gromit

Heidi and I just saw the new Wallace & Gromit movie last night. Freakin' outstanding. Odd, but it used to be that all the good movies were out in the summer, and they waited for all the mediocre ones to come out at other times. Sometime around 10-15 years ago, the holidays became a good move time. Now, I'm liking the holidays movie time significantly more than summer (admittedly, I'm also older, so maybe it's a change in perspective). But regarding this particular movie, I didn't have very high hopes for it. I thought the third Wallace and Gromit short was nice, but nothing spectacular. But the characterizations in this show were better than most live-action actors. Gromit, especially. Admittedly, when you have a character that doesn't talk, he has to be expressive, but I've never seen an animated character be as expressive as he was, with or without dialogue. This was sweet, yet not sickening, it had action, yet I'd still bring my kids to it (if I had kids), it was hysterically funny to pretty much anyone who would watch it. I would venture that there's more humor that adults would catch than there is that kids would appreciate. Crap, I found myself practically doubled over with mirth every time a character showed up. And the movies they satirized! They did The Wolfman (of course), King Kong, Jaws, Omen, and countless others that I didn't quite get, but I knew were drawn from other sources. This here is a horrible movie review, but this was a fantastic movie. Watch it. You'll not be disappointed. Given the choice, see Serenity, but if you see two movies this month, see Serenity and this one.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I like a little chill

It's nice to be wearing a jacket again. I like a little bit of bite in the air. It just makes me happy. Also, a jacket is a convenient source of more pockets. I tend to carry around a lot of gadgets, and with the back problems, I shouldn't carry anything in my back pockets. With the exception of cargo pants (of which I should get more), I'm somewhat limited in pocket space with just the two front pockets and a possible shirt pocket. But with a jacket, ooooooo, the possibilities are much less limited.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Probably the most eloquent movie review ever

Orson Scott Card reviewed Serenity here. Read it. He's a little more move by it than I was, but I also only saw it the one time, and I've been thinking about it pretty much nonstop. So anyway check out the review. Like nealy everything Card does, it's well worth the read.

Monday, October 03, 2005


This weekend Heidi and I went up to Door County, Wisconsin. This was arguably the best vacation I ever took. The weather was perfect and vacationing with Heidi is far nicer than vacationing with certain control-freak members of my family. Anyway, here are some highlights of the weekend.

Friday we stopped by the Cave Point State Park and just stuck around and looked at nature stuff. Since this was our first jaunt into real nature after being in Chicago for a very long time, it was freakin' breathtaking. No pictures here are doing it justice, in part because I was just learning how to work the new camera. That night we went out to this place called the "hands on art studio," where we got all the materials and studio space to make our own arty stuff. We made this kick-ass picture frame. We had staff surprised at how cool it looked. Now, this was probably their job, but I wasn't hearing them say this to anybody else. So, I'll take the compliment.

Saturday we got a pleasant tour of a local winery, and a little bit of a wine tasting. They primarily grew apples and cherries, so their wines were all based off of apples and cherries. Kinda clever little stuff.

Each morning we saw the sun rise over the water out our window, and Saturday evening we saw the sun set over the water. At night we'd go out on the pier near our motel and look up at the stars which were freakin' brilliant. There were so many stars outside, the sky looked dirty! This was especially lovely because, coming from Chicago, you normally don't see more than five or six stars out at any one time.

Sunday we came home, and after a nap, we went and saw Serenity. It was a little confusing for the first half, but the second half tied everything up together, and it was really good. Not as kickass as I was expecting, but still the best Science Fiction movie out in a while. Joss Wheedon has this talent for making you really care about stellarly interesting characters, and then instantly, in a split second, turning the tables on you. He does things in his shows (I'm including TV on this) in a style that nobody else would ever do, and I don't know whether to love him or hate him for it. I'm going to see the show again, so I guess I love him for it. If you want to know what I'm talking about, see the show. For those who have seen it, "I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar."