shannon_a: (Default)
Two Sundays in a row, Kimberly and I have bussed up to Tilden and hiked around, as part of her effort to get out and about more.

Last Sunday was very nice. We picnicked by Jewel Lake then hiked around the Loop Trail and up to the bus stop near Lake Anza along a very pleasant creekside trail that I love. We even stopped and wrote for a while at my favorite bench in Tilden, deep in the shade, near Wildcat Creek.

This Sunday was substantially less successful, because we're in a heat wave and today was apparently the hottest day of it. We picnicked by Jewel Lake again, and that was still very nice. But when we walked down the Wildcat Creek Canyon Trail we turned back almost immediately due to the heat. Then, when we were hiking through the Nature Area, Kimberly was getting increasingly overheated. When we stopped at the Little Farm she was very red-faced. After dousing her in some water, we headed back to the bus stop so that we could get her back to cooler places in the lowlands.

She still said she enjoyed the wildlife she saw, and we got smoothies when we returned to downtown Berkeley.

I actually made one other trip to Tilden in the last few days: Saturday, on my own, as part of my getting out and about on Saturdays, which I do while not gaming.

It was a fairly normative hike, from my house up to Lake Anza. Nine or ten miles. It was hot, but it certainly didn't feel as hot as Sunday.

I love being out on my own and just relaxing in nature.

I also did a lot of not-relaxing-in-nature in the last week. We had a BBQ scheduled for Thursday in advance of gaming, and that meant I had to get the backyard in order. So I spent about three-and-a-half hours between Monday and Tuesday, downing foliage in the backyard and filling our green bin. Twice.

I really don't understand how our teeny backyard gets so out of control. Our new neighbors behind us give just as little attention as we do to our (much huger) backyard. Last winter they grew clover up and over everything, totally covering their yard, but then spring came and it all died out. Now their backyard is certainly scraggly, but not particularly overgrown.

Meanwhile, we'd totally lost the entirety of our yard beneath ivy and bushes and purple flowers. It was probably an hour before the walkway leading from our fence to our back door was clear. And still the walkway around the back and side of our house are pretty impassable. (A problem for another day.)

But I definitely communed with nature. And fortunately my knee and ribs were mostly up to the task.

The BBQ that followed on Thursday was sadly less than successful. We could barely get any flames on the grill. The corn eventually got mostly cooked, but the various sausages went into the broiler, which did the job. (We think the grill was almost out of propane.)

The food was still quite tasty, despite the problems, but we did also have a less than successful game (the new Buffy co-op, which is flat-out a bad design).

Still, it was good company and that generally makes for good times.

And that was a week of communing with nature. Or at least a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday of such.
shannon_a: (Default)
The students are back! I largely forget what a sea change it is between summer and the rest of the year here in Berkeley, but I was reminded on the way back from Endgame on Wednesday night. I passed somewhere over a half-dozen bicyclists on my way home along Telegraph at around 10pm. In the months previous, I'd often be the only bike out on the street, but that's suddenly changed.

I was even more forceably reminded today when I went out for lunch and a visit to Moe's. Everywhere was packed. There were huge numbers of people and cars. The campus was alive again too. To a certain extent I go ugh to the increased people count, but on the bright side, when I got to Moe's there were also huge piles of new books. (Nothing I wanted though, alas.)

Besides that Wednesday Endgaming (which was an all d*building night, with two games of Ascension and one of Quarriors--probably my last game of the latter, as it's a poorly developed game that's gotten really astounding amounts of good press given its quality), I also had my Thursday review night.

No reviews this week, however, as Brody was visiting. He showed up a bit early and we got to chat and play a couple of games of Memoir '44. We then played three games of 7 Wonders, which he was excited to try out (and to continue playing afterward).

I've missed Brody in the last year, as he was one of the best and nicest gamers around. I figured he'd be swimming in games being over in Denmark now (which is much closer to Germany), but they're apparently pretty expensive over there, due to a combination of VAT, high minimum wages, and shipping costs. Ah well.

Sadly he was off again Friday morning to visit some other parts of the Americas before returning to the frozen North.

Amusingly Brody talked about enjoying the California weather while he was here. I think he got our only good week of consistently warm weather all year. As of yesterday it's cool and gray again. We had somewhere south of an hour of sun yesterday. Today it was more like two or three, but it's already gray and cool again.

Quiet weekend. It's the TellMe BBQ, so no RPGing. Instead I did the aforementioned Berkeley-trotting and things will be mostly restful other than that and groceries. Kimberly and I played The Rivals for Catan this afternoon, which I felt was a big improvement over the original Catan Card Game. Generally, I thought it was quite good. We're going to try out one of the more advanced scenarios soon ...
shannon_a: (games)
So we've learned that Cobweb has a kidney infection. Which isn't good, but isn't as terrible as it could be. We took her into the vet yesterday for a super antibiotic shot, and the vet tech also showed us how to administer subcutaneous fluid. Which basically involves hooking a needle up to an IV like tube and then feeding fluids to under her skin.

We did that today. Oh boy. Kimberly tried to hold Cobweb down while I administered the fluid, and as my subject says, the fur was flying. Cobweb was doing backflips to get away from Kimberly and great gouts of the poor kit's were coming out as a result.

We came to the conclusion that Kimberly was scruff-impaired. So I held Cobweb down and was able to largely paralyze her by holding the scruff of her neck. And Kimberly had no problem at all stabbing her with the needle.

I'm hoping as we continue this tomorrow it won't be quite as traumatic. Because I found it pretty traumatic today, the first time around at least. The idea is that we give her these subcutaneous fluids for a short time to help flush out her kidney. Hopefully it'll work like that and all will be well.

Tonight was also my regular Thursday gaming night and we had Doug O. visiting from Massachusetts. Which was really nice, as I hadn't seen Doug in many, many years. I went to Cal with him and he briefly played in some of our roleplaying games. Ars Magica, I'm pretty sure.

Another person that I wish were around for games.

Ironically, he now games with Aaron from Endgame, as Aaron also moved to the Boston area. (Another another person that I wish were around for games.)

Many Posts

Jul. 21st, 2010 12:33 am
shannon_a: (Default)
I just haven't been managing to write here lately. And here's another week gone by.

A Weird Saturday. An unusual Saturday this week, with gaming at my house because EndGame was having one of its mini-cons. Kind of nice as a change of pace, though I did miss getting my Saturday bike ride.

And our Saturday gaming's been going great. We've been on a 3-out-of-4 week schedule for 6 weeks in a row now. Much better than the one-game-a-month of the early year.

A Lost Weekend. I'm not even sure what I did the rest of the weekend. Some writing on various things on Sunday, I guess. K. and I had considered going to the dog park, but she ended up being too sick to go.

Much Coding. I'm at the starting point of my next coding project, which is Reiner Knizia's Kingdoms. I'm having more luck this time with not slacking off at the start of the project, but I'm also finding more code cleanup that I want to do, which is slowing things down. Still, hopefully continuing to improve the code. And, I'm making sure to hit some benchmarks week by week too. I hope to have a largely functional game, minus the AI, by the end of the month. Of course there are still other issues, like art ...

A Target Evening. Today K. and I biked down to Target to get some toothbrushes and new sheets. We marveled at the new grocery section that Target has. I think we browsed it for an hour. Very good selection and very cheap prices. Well, compared to the super-small and super-expensive grocery stores that proliferate in Berkeley like vermin. We're talking about maybe biking out there to get our groceries on occasion. It's only about 5 miles, but the trick will be carrying everything back. I'm going to look into options to make my bike better able to carry stuff.

Thursday Problems. We seem to have hit a bit of a problem with our Thursday games since John left. We missed critical mass last week and might this week too. I have a bit of a backload of reviews to write, so it's not a huge problem at present, but I'd like to fix it soon before we all get out of the habit. I probably need to give up on our newest person who'd said he wanted to game with us and to issue a new invite. I had a couple of people I'd love to see here on Thursdays ...
shannon_a: (games)
So this was John's last week of gaming. Brody brought him into our little Thursday night group a couple of years ago, and he was another great person to have around: always good-natured, great taste in games, and a serious opponent in most games.

He's moving on to London, which sounds totally cool to me. He thinks he'll probably be back in the area a couple of times a year, and I've told him I hope he comes by for Thursday games when he's here.

I made sure we played games of his request tonight, so the main affair was one of his favorites, Shadow Over Camelot. He came in saying that he hadn't won yet, and so we didn't use any of the nastiest stuff from the Merlin expansion ... but I ended up being the traitor and won the game with a 6-6 finale.

It was a nailbiter. I managed to waste a good chunk of the game for a few players at the Grail Quest, which somehow never quite got completed, and I was happy to suggest or go along with other things I thought were inefficient, but I never overtly showed my hand, so when the game ended 8-4, I got to flip two swords from white to black.

(Of course I also blew up two catapults in a game that had 10 catapults at the end and I played 5+ grail cards on a quest that got down to its last grail card at one point, so maybe I did more good than harm; it's sometimes hard to say in the kind of rickety old game that was largely the start of the whole traitor/co-op mechanic.)

There was also a Race for the Galaxy game, which I think I've finally learned how to play. (Last week I got what I expect was my all-time high score, with 69 points, while today I won again.)

So we're now down to 4 Thursday/review players. Christopher has suggested someone as a new player and we'll see if that works out. If not I have a few folks I'd like to invite.

I'm surprised at how many people have moved in and out of this group. Sure it's been 7 or 8 years, but still it's a pretty small group of people. Nonetheless, we've had Chris V., Mike C., Lance, Brody, and John all come and go. Heck, we've had Mike A. come, go, and return.
shannon_a: (games)
Today was Brody's last night at my regular Thursday night gathering dedicated to review games and other new games. We played a few shorts, then Oltre Mare, one of a few games that he'd listed when I pressed him for something that he wanted to play.

Brody is moving to Denmark. I always knew his time here was limited, since he was a grad student at Cal, and thus very likely to move on to another university when he completed his program. That he got an offer of a two-year job over in Denmark that combined his expertise in ecology (botany?) and computer science was a surprise though. I'm a bit jealous, as I hear that Denmark has some great bicycle highways that you can ride around. I'd love to visit while he's there and see them (and the country), but I suspect it is not to be.

I think I first gamed with Brody at EndGame, though I'm not certain. I know I ran into him on BART on the way home, and we chatted and I ended up inviting him to my Thursday gaming. We had room at the time because Chris V. was slowly flaking out of the Thursday games, I think, though I'm not entirely sure that timing's right. (It could have been Mike C., alternatively; we've had a bit of Thursday-night turnover over the years.) A few weeks ago, I briefly thought that it was a bit of a shame that I can't run into people on BART any more, since I almost always bike home, but then the chances of me actually talking to someone on BART were pretty slim in any case.

Brody said he'd been in Berkeley for 6 years, and that he'd gamed here for most of it, and that it was one of the highlights of him time here, which I appreciated. He's certainly been someone that I've always been thrilled to have in the group, as he's just the nicest guy you'd ever meet and also a very intelligent and skilled game player. I like having gamers that challenge me, and Brody was surely one of them.

So, he'll be missed. I've told him that he's very welcome any time he's in Berkeley on a Thursday, like Lance and Matt used to drop by. In the meantime, our group remains at 5, as Mike A. has already (re)joined us. We won't need to hunt up another member until John's company finally comes through on his international posting (and I've already got someone I've talked to about maybe joining us afterward ...)

September 2017

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