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I won't be hosting a gaming night on Monday - Tom may or may not be around, I suppose he'd like company but he doesn't seem to be interested in playing games much these days! (pansy!)

I'll be up in Waltham reading script for an audiodrama. Woo!
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And so, the tri-state birthday tour is complete. Three birthdays in 30 hours across 300+ miles, two of which were 30th birthday parties.

The milk bar was fun, I got to meet several of my sisters' NYC friends, and they're a really cool bunch. The bar had these milkshake drinks that had a few shots of booze in them - extraordinarily tasty, and horrifically bad for me. My sister-in-law got hammered, and I stupidly left my debit card at the bar (thanks to my sis for getting that back for me after my parents and I had left the city).

Stayed overnight in Connecticut with the folks, and then got to help them clean out their garage some more by taking some lawn chairs, a cube fridge, an ice cream maker, and a couple of other miscellaneous items back to Worcester with me. I then cleaned up around the house for a couple hours, and set out for Christina and Jim's chorale concert at the Holliston congregational church. The chorale rocked the house, even though the orchestra was a little flaky. Recordings should be available soon...

There was an after concert party a couple of houses away where we had cake for Christina (carvel ice cream cake!) and good gravy, was it ever an awesome party. HUGE spread of scrumptious food, beautiful house, very nice people. I'm actually considering joining the New England Chorale now just so I can go to the rockin' parties.

Around 11:30pm, I got a text message from Justin responding to my "happy birthday" text message of several hours before (brak: txt msgs r GR8 buD!). I slogged my way back to Worcester and ended up hanging out at his place until around 3am or so, delivering good humor and foot massages to the masses.

Tonight - Bijou-y goodness!
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I'll be in the city sometime in the early evening... not sure what the plans are exactly - only that I'll be in Milk Bar by the evening. Show up and surprise me! :)
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Come to my place tonight, 630pm - midnight, and play some games!

If you need directions, email or IM me. Get dinner beforehand; I can make some nachos, but I don't have any more appetizers to cook. Go up the back stairs, parking is very limited.
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Who would like to come with me to my sister in law's 30th birthday party in NYC? They're having it at the Korova Milk Bar. It'll be on Friday, March 28th. I'm not sure if I'll be staying overnight or not...

Also, it can stop snowing any time now.
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Due to popular demand, I'm moving the weekly gaming night at my place to Monday instead of Tuesday. Gaming starts at 6:30 pm and goes until Midnight. Bring the games you own but haven't had a chance to play! We have tons of board and card games, and we also have an Xbox, Gamecube, and Dreamcast with Nester DC.

Email me for directions to my place - come up the back entrance, parking is extremely limited in the area.
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Gaming night this Tuesday, 6:30 pm until 1 am. Definitely going to try "You Need Drew's Truck" and "Trailer Park Gods".

Maybe I'll break out my "Mob War" game and see if people get into that...
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If you want to come by for late night gaming this evening (9:30pm until 1am), I'll be at my apartment after I finish with my networking.

I received "Sunda To Sahul" in the mail yesterday, and I have just started messing around with it - I wouldn't mind getting a game or two of that in, as I'm supposed to be demonstrating it at a couple of upcoming cons...
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I woke up at around 1:15 pm today. I woke up pretty early on Saturday and had a damn full day - I was expecting guests for breakfast, but didn't receive any. I had roused at about 7 am in order to clean up the house and get the kitchen ready for some cooking; I frantically cleaned the kitchen, dining, and living rooms. When no one had arrived by about 10:30 am, I figured I wouldn't see anyone for a while, so I started cleaning the shelves in my pantry (to make space for dishes and pans and such that were all over the counters).

I got the kitchen into a pretty nice state - it's really solid now, all the appliances are in the right places, and I've made some good prep areas, and I cleaned off the little shelf between the windows and put spices, oils, and hot sauces on it. Around 1:30 pm I decided to make breakfast for myself... I made a ham and cheese omlette on my brand new electric griddle, and I slowly cooked a pound of bacon in my cast iron pan on the stove (I didn't eat it all of course - I'll have a nice BLT or two for lunch this week). The round table against the windows is now a little breakfast nook - coffee machine, hot pot, toaster, sandwich press, and the big griddle when I want to set it up.

On the opposite side of the kitchen, I have my Kitchenaid mixer, the microwave, and the nice stainless steel scale I got for my housewarming. I can also set up the bread machine on that table if I don't need it for prep area.

The pantry is about halfway ready. All the open shelves are clean, but I have to finish cleaning up the cabinets. Once I finish washing more pots and pans, I can put those away on the shelves...

I'm really starting to like living in my apartment now. I'm at the point where I can just kind of sit around and feel good about the way things look. I'm getting comfy. It feels very, very nice.

Oh, and since I completely digressed... the other portion of my day was the Gweepnet tenth anniversary party. From 6pm to 2am, I hung out with 80 of the folks on gweep.net and had a great, great time. Lots of people I haven't seen in person in a long while. I was so damn tired when I got home though... just slept for eleven freaking hours.

And I hear tomorrow is supposed to be another foot of snow. Freaking a... at least there won't be any drought this year.
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Despite being dissed by a number of people who said they would stop by, a good time was had by all. Android and I played "Tigris and Euphrates" - my first game of it, and I managed to win by one point on the secondary tiebreaker score (Android had 12/12/12/15, and I had 12/12/13/14). Zss showed up a little while later, and we played a quick round of "Zendo" and then a quick game of "Cartegena" where Android sailed away with his six red pirates. Lastly, we played a three player game of "Carcassone" which I happened to win by a bit of a landslide (98 points, a good 15 or 20 points ahead of second and third place).

I'm eager to try playing T&E with more people to see how the dynamic changes; it was very neat with two players, and it seems to work well as a two player game, so I'm having a hard time imagining what happens with more players. One of these weekends I'd also like to get folks in on a big "Advanced Civilization" game...

Game Night

Jan. 31st, 2003 12:27 pm
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This past Tuesday Android, Zss, and Creatrixx participated in game night. We played "Phantoms of the Ice", an Alan Moon / White Wind game left to me by Chris J., and as Android brought his satchel o' gaming doom, we played "Shaufenster".

"Phantoms" was great - I won! Woo! It's a hockey game with forwards, defenders, and goalies; they are valued from 0 to 11 and when you play a game against someone else's team, you play them off of one another kind of like war. The idea is to win nine games, and then have a multi-game playoff with the second highest scoring team to determine the champion. You also get to draft new players by pulling them off of replacement decks or trade with other teams by randomly taking cards from other people's hands. It's a fun little game.

I also won at "Shaufenster"... it was a good night for me! The idea of Shaufenster (or "shop window", in German) is to collect sets of cheesy jewelry and cash them in for money. The objective is to get the most money, of course. You collect sets of jewelry in your safe, and then put jewelry up for sale in your shop window. Every turn, people get to choose whether or not they will add to their safe or whether to pick up the "purchase turn" card which determines his or her priority in purchasing from shop windows. It takes a little bit to really figure out good strategies for this game, as the value of your collection changes according to what you have in your safe (more incomplete collections devalues items) and selling to other people also nets you money... it's a little difficult to explain without demonstrating with the cards.

Anyhow, much fun was had by all. Are you coming next Tuesday??
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I can't believe I fit almost forty people in my apartment.

I am quite happy that people took sandwiches home with them.

Having parties is the best possible excuse to clean. My apartment looks really nice now after picking up from the party, and I put my nice new kitchen scale housewarming gift out in the kitchen, along with my other shiny appliances... yay clean kitchen!

Yuehrmah makes really amazing cookies. I will surely gain weight because of them.

Tomorrow night is game night!

Success!

Jan. 22nd, 2003 10:03 pm
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Game Night went great! We had a small group, but that was perfectly cool. We played Halo for a while, then we played Survive! (a fun little board game from MB) and Cathedral and Igel Agern (a.k.a. Humping Humping Hedgehogs)!

Next game night, next Tuesday - same bat-time, same bat-channel.
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From here on out, I'm going to be hosting game night at my and Tom's place in Worcester on Tuesday nights. It may not be quite every week, because I know I'll have the occasional networking event on a Tuesday night, but Tom may get into it enough that he can be here on the nights that I'm not.

Tomorrow night will be the first night - starting at 6:30pm (email me if you don't know how to get to my place). It's very easy to find but parking can be very, very limited.

I have all manner of games - board games, card games, video games. We don't have a LAN set up yet, but we can do multiplayer on Xbox and Gamecube. There are a lot of board and card games I haven't tried yet, but I'll leave it up to the folks that come what they'd like to play. Also, please bring your own snacks and drinks - there will also probably be a take out order placed before 8pm.

Oh, and...

Dec. 27th, 2002 10:26 pm
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Hot water is coming on Monday. Running water should be coming tomorrow. Parents might be coming on Sunday. New computer is coming some time next week. A new year is coming. I should be making my final moving arrangements for Monday, as long as there is hot water and a working toilet.

Things seem to be doing the opposite of falling apart. For a change.

I would like to announce that there will be a housewarming in January. More details on this later, but it will be a combination housewarming / super bowl party, so it will be taking place on the day of January 26th, 2003. Save the date if you want to come!
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This holiday week was pretty memorable - I actually went to three Thanksgiving celebrations over the course of seven days.

First up was the Sunday D&D session, where my housemate prepared the meal for the gaming group that comes to their house on a biweekly basis. She made turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and canned cranberry sauce. The stuffing was a modified version of the Caprio family stuffing recipe that I had at all my childhood Thanksgiving dinners. It was a good repast, and it was fun having a meal with all those folks (even though the nine of us were just kind of standing around in the kitchen). Apple pie and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Second was the journey to Connecticut and Thanksgiving, Caprio style. My mom and dad made dinner for us and my paternal grandmother and maternal great-grandmother. A small dinner, since my sisters went to Indiana to visit in-laws for the holiday. Mom did a great job with the stuffing - she went with the traditional recipe using Arnold's cornbread stuffing, thyme, sage, and browned hamburger instead of sausage. The first course, naturally, was homemade manicotti... man, I love those. They come out so thick and tasty... I'd never order manicotti, even in the best Italian restaurant, because I know my folks make it better. Mom also made my Aunt Millie's stuffed yams (a recipe I have to add to the online archive) and they came out deliciously. Oh, and lest I forget - the stuffed artichokes?? Man, those rocked. So we had manicotti, stuffed artichokes, stuffing, stuffed yams, turkey & gravy, canned cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls and italian bread. Homemade cheesecake for dessert. Phew!

Last, but not even remotely least, Saturday night's dinner and holiday crafts party at lionlady's! What an awesome awesome time we had - fourteen of us, I think. lionlady and buddhagrrl were the cooks (with help from lionlady's sister), and they prepared an incredible, amazing meal. The turkey and gravy were completely phenomenal, with stuffing prepared inside and outside of the turkey (everyone ate the stuffing that was inside, of course).

I can never stay out of the kitchen, so I made my own contribution by preparing the mashed potatoes. They were a hit - but all I really did was salt and pepper the potatoes (always season!) and add ten tablespoons of butter, three quarters of a cup of milk, and a whole lot of mashing action. There were easily four quarts of mashed potatoes for fourteen people, but they got reduced to about a cup or two, even with all that other food! *proud*

Third Thanksgiving was composed of turkey and gravy, stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, steamed kale with garlic, and asparagus (but no cranberry sauce this time! oh well). Apple, blueberry, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

I'm going to have to be real good with my caloric intake this week. :)


Unrelated side note: I'm still not moved into my new apartment in Worcester yet. The heating oil company is giving the landlord a hard time, they apparently missed three appointments with him all last week. Hopefully they'll pick up the ball and set things up Monday or Tuesday... as soon as that's all set, I'll have heat and hot water. Next step will be updating my bedroom!
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Journal update time! Lots and lots of good things happening.

I made a bunch of new friends and connected with another new-ish friend. I had such a busy weekend - had a night on the town on Friday, then spent the day doing house stuff on Saturday, then in the evening went out to have a fantastic gift certificate subsidized meal at the 111 Chop House (a wonderful gift from a wonderful friend). After that scrumptious dinner, I made my way to a comfort food pot luck gathering of friends and family and had a very amusing and silly time shooting nerf darts at people for several hours. Several of them made very funny noises! hee.

I should have stayed over though. I regret wussing out. Breakfast would have been a great way to start Sunday, especially if telkella were cooking! Alas, it was not in the cards for me... instead I had to manage a bit of a financial crisis for most of the day on Sunday. But I put my time to good use, filing away all my bills and records and finishing up some consulting work that had to be done.

It was a karma thing, I'm sure of it. So many good things happened all at once, something had to come along and balance it out a little. But the cool thing is that I am turning negative things into positive ones. I think I've almost figured that trick out now.

I found out today that I have really good credit. It's not utterly spectacular, but a couple of small steps like closing out an unused credit card account and paying down my balance a little will in fact make it utterly spectacular (in the category of 98% good risk in the eyes of lenders).

Oh, and also today I helped make fireworks a little bit safer by participating in a non-profit research study. Someone will watch me on videotape and use the data to make safer fireworks. Yay!

And I finally had a chance to get some good chinese food at lunch today. Golden treasure and sesame chicken! Woo hoo!

That is all.
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Last night Annika threw a send-off party for Harrison - next Wednesday he's going to be flying off to Fort Knox for nine or so weeks of army basic training as part of his National Guard requirements.

They've really done a great job fixing up their house. It's got a very lived in feel now, even though some bits still need to be cleaned up here and there. They don't have a stove, but their kitchen is practically together and they make do with a toaster oven and a couple of individual plug-in burners. And their kitties (Mia and Pia) are adorable. Nutty, but adorable.

The party actually ended up being two parties; the early part of the evening was a cookout and pot luck type dinner. A lot of folks brought yummy desserts: julz's infamous cookies, and Kim brought a great tart and some delectable pumpkin bread. The first party was all adult and wine-and-cheese... but after about 9pm, most folks left to go back East - and Harrison's sister Becca came out from Boston. This is when party number two started, because Becca's mission was to get Harrison wasted. Anni's friends are all totally party people, so we played a bunch of drinking games (organized by Becca - she's so awesome) and had an incredible time. I got pretty darn tipsy, almost enough to get the room spinning. Becca completely accomplished her mission, getting herself totally wasted in the process. A good time had by all. Woo!

Anni and I got to chat a little in the morning today... which was nice because I don't get to see her often enough to do that. She said I got the award for being "super mingler" by hanging out with all her friends from her previous job for most of the night. They're a really fun and open bunch though, so it was just a pretty natural thing to hang out and laugh with them. She and I also had a discussion about how "adult" some of our friends are getting, and how it's completely a mental thing - people just get comfortable in their routines and don't want to get wild and crazy any more.

I have to say, for myself... I hope I never get like that. I mean - barring physical reasons like having a bad stomach or otherwise not being able to handle getting a little crazy once in a while... why the hell shouldn't one enjoy life to the fullest? Why not throw it all to the wind once in a while, especially on a special occasion? In my mind, the minute you stop living is the minute you start dying.

When I thought about it, I wondered aloud if maybe the reason why I feel like that is because I find myself comfortable in chaos. I'd almost say that I need chaos in my life because I also feel like I need to be constantly making order out of it. I find myself compelled to finish puzzles and sort things; writing and coding are anal retentive activities for me. I fidget. I tinker. I can't help it!

I also find myself wishing Harrison the best of luck on this venture. I love him like a brother, and I feel quite a bit of trepidation about the whole thing. But I also know this is something he really needs to do. Please be good man. I don't know what I would do if anything ever happened to you.
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So, for those not aware - Big Blue turned 30 on 9/10/2002. I took it upon myself to help him celebrate his birthday in grand style, and we had a day of delight throughout the city of Boston this past Friday.

Tom showed up at my place a little after Noon; after I downed my lunch, we set off for Waltham and hit Danger Planet, a rather nice little game store off Moody Street. Tom dropped off his car, and we carpooled into Beantown.

After parking near a Mormon church off Brattle Street, we made our way towards the Adrenaline Zone, a PC arcade establishment. MickD caught up with us a little while after we arrived, and the three of us got to blow each other up a lot a lot. Much fun... Tom got to snipe my head into little bits, and I got to blow him and a lot of bots into a bunch of luscious gibs.

Moving on, we found ourselves at the L.A. Burdick's cafe right up the street. The sign advertised "Iced Chocolate", so we stepped up to the counter and ordered two of those, and two slices of chocolate mousse cake. We were served, and Tom sampled his sweets... and declared that he no longer needed women in his life, as long as he had his precious, precious mousse cake. The drinks and cakes were exceedingly scrumptious (but maybe not quite that scrumptious).

Our next stop was The Garage in Harvard Square, where we hit Pandemonium and Tokyo Kid, as well as another new Japanese toy store and the "All Your Game" retro video game mini-store in the stairwell. At this point, our good buddy Jski hooked up with us, and we continued onward.

We walked to the extreme end of Harvard all the way down to The Games People Play (are you seeing a theme yet?) and chatted with Joseph, one of the merchants, about various games and their pros and cons. Jski bought 1870, and I bought Humping Humping Hedgehogs! Okay, that's not really the name, but I can't remember the name because it's a German game. On the way back, we hit the Harvard Coop bookstore and Wordsworth... and at wordsworth, I bought Tom his own copy of "I'm Just Here For The Food", Alton Brown's (host of Good Eats) new book. Tom has trouble boiling water - but I believe Alton's book will be Tom's introduction to the wonderful and exciting world of food preparation.

We next went by car out to Copely Square and hit The Compleat Strategist. On the way, Jski ran into one of the three people he knows in Boston - Agthorr's sister. She's a real cutie, a very sweet girl... but she sadly couldn't come along, as she had frozen chicken and ice cream in her shopping bags. At the game store, Jski and I bought Tom a bunch of game books he really wanted. We next went by T to dinner...

Which was had at the wonderful Sunset Grill & Tap. I ran into Jen Johnson as we entered; she was just leaving with some co-workers, but we got a quick hug in before we parted ways.

That evening, the Sunset had 112 beers on tap... but the clear winner at our table was the Kopparberg Pear Cider, a Product of Sweden. Tom's got a taste for sweet drinks, and the Kopparberg was his own find - but Jski and I both loved it, and when Drak and Lee joined us later at night, they too found themselves ensorceled by the bodacious brew. Drak ended up drinking a yard of beer, and I had a couple of nice Beertails (chocolate covered cherry and fruit cocktail). Dinner was awesome... Tom and Jski hadn't eaten much all day, between the three of us, we packed away a full basket of sour cream and chive fries and fried calamari; I had a delicious tuna melt, Tom had a salmon dinner, and Jski had a mondo half pound burger (Drak and Lee had their own food when they joined later, but I can only remember that Lee got the Mahi Mahi).

All in all, a very exhausting day out on the town. But we had a very happy Tom at the end of it all! 30 years down - and many, many more to go, huzzah!
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About 25 of us spent the evening at Medieval Manor in Boston last night, celebrating a friend's 21st birthday. A great night out, organized by Sir Ray and princess_muffin, to whom we owe much thanks! There's just something about eating great gobs of meat and bread with bare hands that brings out the animal in me... The food was decent too - though some of it was too spicy for poor kadath's tender tongue.

The entertainment was also amusing - King Dominic of Kramden went from table to table telling lounge jokes, and the serving girls all sang nicely (mmm, Cloei). Though perhaps the best entertainment of the evening was watching lucasthegray perform the Teapot Song with the birthday girl. Yes, the "I'm a little teapot, short and stout" song. Which was oddly appropriate, considering birthday girl was short and lucasthegray was stout...

And I must remember that I owe stillking a modest and expensive drink. :)

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