Game Club

August 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm (Gaming & RPGs)

I’ve been putting a little thought into trying to start a local gaming club.
At least based on what Google can find, either the town (which has over 300,000 people, for heaven’s sake) doesn’t appear to have one yet, or if there are any they’re so small they managed to escape notice from the ole’ interwebs.

I’ve been playing several board games online, mostly in “e-mail me when it’s my turn” format, at sites such at Yucata.de, GamesByEmail.com, and YourTurnMyTurn.com, and while I suppose it’s better than not playing at all, it certainly can’t match playing over an actual board with actual people.

I’ve tried inviting friends over for a game night a couple of times in the past, and it always goes over like a lead balloon. They were quite happy to get together now and then to play an RPG, but for some reason board gaming just don’t fly, and I’m not sure why.
So, unless I can manage to talk friends into it, which doesn’t appear likely, I’m probably going to have to see if I can get together with random strangers for a game now and then.
I suppose if I really beg and plead, I might be able to get LabGirl and/or maybe my teenage nephew to attend a session or two as well.

I just know I’ve been seriously jonesing for some actual face time over a game. LabGirl’s family will play cheesy party games once in a while, and they’re not horrible, but it’s just not the same.

I need some serious time with some beer, some pretzels, and some Settlers of Catan. Or Carcassonne. Or Axis & Allies. Or Terra Nova. Or Wiz War. Or Zombie Plague. Or Roller Coaster Tycoon. Or Metro. Or Draco & Co. Or Before I Kill You, Mr Bond. Hell, I’d probably take friggin’ Risk or Monopoly at this point – I’m jonesin’ that bad!

Of course my main problem is – where the hek do I find the people? And what can I do to try to weed out really scary people? Ugh.

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Oh hey, it’s been over a month

August 22, 2009 at 12:56 pm (Uncategorized)

Yeah, I really do think micro-blogging is killing my main blog.

So what’s been going on?

Work:
I’m the least annoyed at my job than I have been in probably over a year. I’m back to doing what they hired me for in the first place, and have also been given additional responsibility in the form of double-checking the work of others, who are apparently much more prone to screwing up than I am. I am able to listen to my mp3 player again (thank God, as the days would actually drag like molasses if I wasn’t) and have been plowing through audio books like mad, starting with a large number of selections from Art of Manliness’ 100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library.

On the down side of the work situation, I’m still making about half of what I was making there a year ago, mostly due to lack of work. And when we get that work is absolutely random, so on any given week I may get sent home 3 hours early one day, and then have to stay 2 hours late two other days of the week, and there’s never knowing until the middle of the afternoon on any given day if it’s going to be a long or short day. That *really* sucks ass (and, of course, the long days almost *always* happen on days where I have plans after work).

The company went through a round of lay-offs a couple of weeks ago. I think this recent change of positions may have helped save me from that, because although it seemed like in my last position (the shitty making-phone-calls position that I hated more than I can even express) she felt I was borderline useless, in my new position I appear to suddenly be her favorite, to the point where she’s actually switched gears and seems to be all pleasant when talking to me, etc.
I am however torn on whether being saved from the lay-offs is a good or bad thing though.
See, thing is, if I was on unemployment, I would probably be making about $75/week more than I’m making now. That is not a typo.
The problem though is unemployment benefits are finite, and the job market is still pretty much non-existent, especially in my industry. Most companies in my industry are still laying off, not hiring.

I did however just send off paperwork to the US Dept of Ed regarding my school loan asking them to defer it for a year, based on how I’s all po’ now. Sent them copies of paychecks, trying to express that taking home a little over $500 for two weeks of work is *not* all that unusual lately. Hopefully it’ll go through smoothly and fall under their “We’ll defer it if you can show you make less than 150% of the national poverty standard” because, well, frankly this year I’m making less than 150% of the national poverty standard.

I’m also planning on going down to the local “Employment Security” office soon on one of my shortened work days to see if I qualify for “partial” unemployment – which means, from what I gather, that if you’re currently taking home less than you would qualify for if you were on unemployment, they’ll pay out the difference. I tried applying online and the system booted me, so I need to go down and actually talk to a human at the unemployment office (ugh) and see what’s up with that and what I need to do. It sounds like I have to have the company sign off on paperwork every single week that I don’t make much and take it down there to file it, which may be such a pain in the ass that it’s not worth the bother, but we’ll see.

Completely unrelated to money, when I got moved to the new position they moved me to another cubical again, this one is completely not adjusted right to my height, and they are refusing to call somebody in to fix it. The desk is actually up so high that I can’t raise my chair high enough to compensate for it. And my body is starting to pay for the super un-ergonomics of the whole thing. My wrists hurt, my hands hurt, my elbows hurt, my back hurts, and my knees hurt. I’m actually probably going to soon buy stuff like wrist braces just so my wrists & hands are forced to bend the right way while I’m typing all day.

Dating:
On the dating/girlfriend/relationship front, everything still seems to be going smoothly. We’ve settled down a bit to where we can handle having some weekends where we just hang out rather than having to have some kind of special date event every week, but I’m still trying to find stuff here and there (the last thing being Thursday’s RiffTrax Live event, which was, by the way, freakin’ awesome) while trying to balance out how a) we don’t live in an area that’s exactly overflowing with stuff to do and b) neither I nor LabGirl has a ton of extra cash to throw around.

Also in regards to LabGirl, it’s looking very strongly like we may be “shacking up” come October when my lease on the apartment ends. We’ve already had a few discussions, as well as a near-argument about how to split the bills (basically my view being that since she makes 2+ times as much as I do that she should take on a slightly larger blunt of the financial burden, like maybe a 60/40 split, while she is absolutely insistent that it has to be 50/50).

in regards to the possibility of moving, I really, really need to go through all the shit in my apartment and see what can be sold or donated. I have a ton of stuff laying around that I need to put on eBay, but selling stuff on eBay is frankly such a pain in the ass (or maybe I’m must so burned out on it from it being a side-business for a few years) that I haven’t had much ambition to actually do it.
I’ve got games, DVDs, pocket knives, women’s clothing and jewelry (stuff I bought for the girlie and ended up not fitting, etc), and heaven knows what else sitting down in storage that I could get rid of.
Although LabGirl does have a ranch house with a basement, it’s going to be VERY cramped if I don’t get rid of some stuff. As it is I’m probably going to have a bunch of “doubled up” furniture sitting down in the cellar for a few months (if not in a storage locker somewhere) while we go through our “trial period” of a few months to determine if we’re going to take the “getting hitched” path, or rather the “strangle each other” path that we’ve both been down before with others.

Health:
Last week I stepped on the scale and it has now crossed the 200 mark. I know I have several friends who haven’t seen that mark since they were kids, but still, at least for me, that is *not* healthy.
Actually, I knew I was entering a dangerous zone when LabGirl and I went to Home Depot a few weeks ago, and I, who doesn’t consider himself to be *that* heavy, nearly was over the load limit on the extension ladder we bought.
I seriously need to start exercising. My diet, although far from perfect, is not THAT bad right now, although I’m still fighting temptations such as the vending machine at work that has Hostess products (and man I LOVE cake…). My main problem is simply that I sit on my ass all day at work, and then when I get home, I feel so drained that all I want to do is sit on my ass for a while longer.
LabGirl and I are both hoping that if/when we move in together that we’ll work on motivating (or just getting on each other’s asses) each other about being healthier and more active.

My best idea on how to handle this is that we need to get involved into more outdoors games and sports.
There are however several problems with this.
Most if not all outdoor games require at least an initial purchase of equipment. We do not have spending money for this kind of stuff.
Most if not all outdoor games require a lack of rain or snow. That means that around here you can’t do them for about 8 months out of 12.
I do have both a stationary bike and a (very crappy) mountain bike, but my body doesn’t not seem to react at all to biking when it comes to losing weight – I could bike all week long and my weight won’t budge.
Walking *does* work, but it’s gotten so that it feels like such a bore and time-waster. LabGirl has expressed an interest in doing a walking routine with me, but I think there might be a problem in that in order for it to work for me, it has to be a fast walk, and she’s a good bit shorter than myself and thus probably would have problem keeping up with those shorter legs of hers.
That and I think there may be something wrong with one of my knees, it tries to give out on me if I put too much pressure on it in one session.
That will still probably be the best way to get started though, and hell you can walk through pretty much any weather, as long as you dress right, and as long as I throw some weight training in there it will be a more well-rounded program.

That, and part of me is thinking that more exercise and/or weight training may work as a sort of physical therapy towards fighting the damage that my crappy desk job is doing to my body every day (I’ve gained about 70lb since I stopped working retail and moved behind a desk, and all of the joint problems have come on in the last several years since I moved from a job where I was at a desk for a large portion of the day but still had to get off my ass and do something elsewhere on the campus now and then, to hardcore don’t leave your chair unless you have to pee work, which is what I’ve done since about 2005).

Investing/Stock Market:
Things are still a bit ugly in this area. I’ve been only “paper” (aka virtual) trading for over a month now, trying out different techniques and styles to determine which is better for me, as well as having discussions (sometimes heated and/or grumpy) with other traders about what I may be doing right or wrong.
Although the discussions frankly didn’t help that much (most of which was non-constructive criticism with occasional suggestions of other techniques to try with no explanation of how they’re any better than the techniques I’m already using) in doing further reading I came across a jem of information that was always right in front of me but that I had consciously or subconsciously chosen to ignore, probably to the cost of amazing amounts of lost time and money on my part.
That being this simple bit: pay attention to volume. Essentially, if there’s a move in a stock price, but there’s little volume (aka interest from traders) behind it, that move isn’t very likely to stick and will, more likely, just drop again shortly.

During my paper trading sessions, this appears to more often or not be the case. I mean, it’s not fool-proof, as I did have a couple of trades where I bought a stock because it went up with incredibly high volume, only to have a fall again the next day anyway, but by far the majority of times volume was taken into account, the stock continued to gain for some time after the initial trade.
In general my “paper” portfolios are now at around 20-ish percent gain in one month, and that was through the rocky “earnings season” where the market was all over the place for a while.
Still putting a little more “virtual” time into it to be sure, maybe another month or so, before trying to dip back into real money.

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