Dreaming of Writing

I dream of water I have to get up and use the bathroom…sheesh that was polite sounding, I have to get up to take a piss.

I dream a lot, often in color, and often about what is on my mind.

I dream a lot of writing. So much about writing that my characters are now visiting me in my dreams and telling me I should write about them. They are not polite about it at all. I wish they understood the current reality around here its not that I don’t want to write about them, I simply cannot.

There is a reason none of my characters have children, they prevent me from writing and characters from doing the things they want to do and I am not going to put children in my stories to pander to that ever so popular demographic, children. Isn’t that why Jar Jar Binks and Anakin as an emotionless child exist? I think so.

So here I am dreaming nightly of my characters unable to have the time or sanity to put them to paper or screen.  When the kids are in school, less than ten days and counting, I get something precious to me, my own time. Typically I fill my own time with some house work and a lot of writing. When the kids are at home I get enough my own time to bang out 500 words on whatever before the pestering starts.

Hardly enough time to craft a story. Thus they live in my dreams. Could be worse they could abandon me altogether. Hopefully my characters are more understanding of my writing process than my children are. Given that my characters do not interrupt me while I am writing I am thinking they do.

The other issue impeding writing is my writing space is currently home to two printers, a stack of papers…crap, just crap. In the process of getting the “last” room in the house in shape my library/game room/writing space became the holding room/junk room/wedon’tknowwhattodowiththis room. Meaning, if I want my writing space back and I do, I have to take the time to remake the room, making it the last room.


I count down the days, dreaming of my characters, writing in my notebook when I can, which is even funnier than trying to type. Typing it seems is a known activity. dad is typing, thus we should interrupt him. dad is using a pen in a notebook on paper…what do we do? At the start of summer I got a lot more pen and paper time than I do now; just enough to jot down a sentence or two before the pestering begins.


Just Doing My Thing…Whatever That Is

What can I say?

Not much.

Another doctor’s appointment where if I had taken off my boots and clothing I may have lost more than 2 pounds and maybe if the weigh-in nurse had entered the number in the right spot I would not have ended up with a 260 BMI and the two pounds back. Seems I need to enunciated a bit better than I thought. Oh well nothing lost and nothing gained.

I learned that I am unusual in yet another way in that while I am in a new age bracket I am not elderly and a recreational…sorry make that admitted recreational elderly drug user. Long story short I was asked if I used recreational drugs to which I said no. After a few other questions I stopped and backed up asking how many people said yes to the question. Because I was curious how many people said yes.

More people than I would have guessed.

Who knows.

I don’t.


We Have A Game Issue

I’m hoping this is a local problem. I hope in other parts of the States and World this problem does not exist. Keep in mind I made this sound big, but it’s not. What do gamers do when they have games they no longer want? My hope would be that they give them away, sell, them, or even better there is a store that takes unwanted games in trade or whathaveyou.

Around here there is nothing.

There are stores for DVD’s, music, video games, clothing, and so on. If you, like us, have board, role playing, and card games other than Magic the Gathering your recourse for unwanted games is to ask if friends want them, see if the local gaming group wants them, sell on Ebay or whatever sell site, or do like we have for a long time sit on them, watch them gather dust, and ponder how your back will be after another move.

Friends don’t want the games, the local gaming group is rather snobbish about games, Ebay is more a pain than a boon, and we are tired of sitting on them. After a move where a gaming cabinet ended up in the library we decided enough was enough and went through our games. We set up two and a half tables, brought out all of our games, and began sorting.

Each person was allotted a keep, go, and never played pile.

Surprisingly, we agreed on 98% of the go pile. A pile that kept growing and growing. There were games that everyone despised-Robotech RPG Tactics, Oregon Trail-there were games that were one off, meaning you play it one or two times and that is all there is to the game, and there were games that we liked a lot, but have not played for years because some other game came along and did the original game better.

The keep pile is an assortment of games that everyone agreed on such as Pandemic and games that one or more of us had to keep, for now, because cats. Yes, if a game involved cats it likely stayed, thankfully those are all small games. We have yet to find a large cat game.

What caught all of us off guard, the number of games that one or more, often all of us, have never played. How is it possible to own games that you have not played? If you are us, you buy games on sale or that you really find interesting, get home put them on the shelf and well…forget about them.

Which brings us to today and the next few weeks, maybe months. The go games are bagged up and heading to Good Will. Yes, Good Will. I have been on a “if nobody wants this and I cannot easily get value out of this, donate it kick.” If you happen to live where we are or nearby travel to Good Will in a few days for board games…that is if Good Will does anything with them.

Meanwhile, we have several stacks of games we have not played, which you will end up reading about, starting with the “Disease-friend or foe” a selection of games revolving around curing a disease or being a disease.

Games We Play: Imperial Settlers

A few months ago our boy picked out Imperial Settlers by Portal Games and we just played our first game. He picked out the game because you can play as the Egyptians, he has a big thing for ancient Egypt.

Imperial Settlers is a card game where each player plays as one of four civilizations-Barbarians, Romans, Egyptians, and Japanese. The goal to score the more victory points. Victory points are accumulated via card actions. Simple enough.

Each player has a center board that represents their civilization. Divided into three areas-production, features, and actions cards are played on either side of the board and represent the various actions a player can take or receives. Such as, cards in the production row produce goods at the beginning of a turn for use during the turn. Feature cards are long term such as storage of goods or do X and get X. Action cards require the player to do something to get something, such as pay X to get X.

Players have access to two types of cards, faction and common. Faction cards are specific to that faction and common cards are in a central draw pile for everyone. Fundamentally the only difference between the two is that most faction cards require you to discard a card in play to use. To put either type of card into play, a player pays the build cost, typically an amount of wood, stone, or people, then places the card in the appropriate row and has immediate access to the card unless a production card. Production cards activate at the beginning of a turn.

There are five rounds to a game. Players perform each of the phases together starting with drawing cards. At the start of each round players draw one faction card. Then the first player (first player token passes each round) draws common cards, laying them out for all to see. The first player chooses one, then the next, and so on. Then a second round of common cards is drawn, only the last player chooses first and the order is reversed.

Next up, gather resources from the faction card, production cards, and deals. Deals are an interesting mechanic. Pay a food to turn a card into your hand with the deal symbol into a permanent addition to your faction. For example, I have a card that has the deal, make one food. I pay the cost, one food, put the card underneath my faction card with the deal showing and at the beginning of each turn I get a food.

The action phase where players take turns performing one action. When a player passes they are done for the action phase. When all players pass the action phase is over. Actions are build, deals, raze (essentially sacrifice a card in your hand or ANOTHER player’s card that is in play to get resources), take an action on a card in play, trade people for goods (need a good or have excess people turn in two for any one resource or a card).

Our first game went fast. The biggest hiccup, our girl refused to listen to my advice (and the game’s advice) not to play the Japanese as they are the most complex out of the box. She had to work extra hard to get going, I feel if she had attacked she would have done better, but for our first game nobody wanted to attack, focus solely on seeing how the cards interacted.

The one thing all of us noticed was card draw determines the flow of the game. For our first game the cheap cards, did not appear until round 3. This made for a very non-productive first and second turn. With a better mix of drawn cards the game would have been exciting and interesting throughout.

Despite that we had enough fun to give it another try or two. Rules are easy. Play is easy. Overall a good first game.

My Sanity Needs To Go Back To School

The kids cannot go back to school soon enough. I know this is a partial reversal of my “I love having the kids home for summer because we are having so much fun” statement not so long ago. Since then things have changed.

I would love to say this is totally about me, in that for my own selfish reasons such as sanity, peace and quiet, writing, painting, and house cleaning I want them to go back to school; i.e. I miss 8 relatively quiet hours a day. And in part there is an element of selfishness to my desire for them to go back to school. I would like some peace and quiet, I would like some sanity, and I would like to clean the house with the mess following behind.

However, my desire has more to do with the kids seems to have had enough of each other. Arguments and fights are multi-part events stretching throughout the day often over nothing. I would be happier if they fought over anything of substance at least once. Nope! The last one, yesterday…

“I went to get the ball and he took it and told me he hated me.”

“She broke my bucket that I was going to throw the ball in.”

“I’m going to get even.”

The longer version, while playing toss a ball into a bucket, one of them broke the bucket, the other decided to keep the ball, and the more aggrieved vowed revenge. I would like to say this is a limited time event, but it is not. Peace and quiet are only lulls before the next dust up. Howler monkeys. When they hit fever pitch they sound like howler monkeys. My ears cannot take much more.

Outside of sleep, which they are getting more of as my sanity demands an earlier and earlier bedtime, plus they need to get back into the habit of sleeping for school, the only other times of peace and quiet are when they are bathing, playing Xbox-during which they are friendly towards each other for up to a half-hour-and when we play family games.

Family games are another issue, used to be that they would work as a team to take out the adults. Now old grudges and slights raise their heads far to frequently and get taken out over a game. This, as you may have guessed, leads to further fighting away from the game.

Playing outside used to be together and often starts that way, then the bickering starts, the constant in and out of the house to complain about one or the other. Once the bickeringslashconflict reaches a boiling point our girl gets out her bike and rides around. This is how I know where they are and what will happen when they come inside.

Going back to school will give them a break from each other. They can see their friends and make new friends. All of the things they really need and best of all I get some peace and quiet.

One Turn, Six Hours A Learning Experience

Build, paint, and play that was the plan for the weekend. Build, paint, and play Warhammer 40k. Our girl had a great idea for a girls vs boys game. Excellent, except for a few things.

  • The players with the most experience, myself and our boy would be on one side.
  • The players with the largest armies, again myself and our boy, on the same side.

Other than those things the only other issue, the same issue we keep running into because our printer/scanner is not the best we flip through the indexes when we need to refer to a unit’s stats. This happens often. For our boy and I this is less of an issue because we have played a lot of games with our respective armies. For everyone else, problematic.

Building and painting went well. I mean, I finished another unit of Death Guard and Nurgle demons. I even painted a Demon Prince for Barb’s army; that makes at least one unit painted by me for each player. Our boy painted a unit or two of orks. Everyone else, not so much. Barb did finish her Hell Drake and it looks great. I doubt there will be another Hell Drake. Watching her paint and assemble the model showed me that I don’t want to deal with hassle. Shannon worked on her Tau, fiddly models, that look great, but make me really glad I am not building an army of them.

Game Day: The table is a mix of buildings and deathworld forest. Objective and Twist cards drawn from Open War.

  • Boys Objective Card: Each side designates a figure that is the courier, kill the opposing courier and win.
  • Girls Objective: Turn 3 a meteor crashes into the warzone, control the meteor at the end of turn 5 and win.

The Twist cards were uninspiring as there were already two objectives (we play slightly differently with each team having an objective instead of one objective for both teams) and there was only one psyker.

Set up, as expected, took a while as there were five armies to deploy. However, as I watched I removed my army to make the sides closer to even. Plus this left me to flip through the books and offer advice to both sides. Having someone to flip through stat books did allow players to focus. Still our goal is to have an easier way to refer to stats during a game.

Boys Side: Our boy’s entire ork army minus his plane and helicopter.

Girls Side: An Imperial Guard force of a Leman Russ, Chimera, and 25 infantry. A Slaanesh force of a Demon Prince, Hell Drake, and 10 Chaos Space Marines. A Tau force of a Devilfish, a Stealth team, a Battlesuit Team, a Warlord, and 20 some Tau.

Based on appearances, our boy should win handily. Based on objectives he should lose because his courier was in the middle of the board; their behind a building. Opening turn, girls get first turn. Barb descends upon the unit covering our boy’s courier inflicting heavy damage; this was the best their side got during turn 1.

Our girl couldn’t see much and didn’t move much. In fact her Leman Russ was the only thing of hers that moved and then missed most of the time. Shannon’s Tau looked and sounded fearsome.  Unfortunately no matter how many troops you have, no matter how many bonuses to hit, and rerolls you get shitty die rolls are still shitty die rolls and Shannon saw more than anyone’s fair share.

At the end of their turn, roughly 20 orks were dead or fled the field. Then the green surge happened. Our boy tied up most of the Tau in hand to hand, which eliminated their ability to shoot, the demon prince was killed by his dreadnaught, and the Leman Russ locked down by a Battlewagon.

Then the game ended. Not because a courier had died, but for the simple reason 6 hours had passed from start to the end of turn 1. If everyone had more experience playing the game would have gone a lot faster and with time this will happen. Until then slower games, but much smaller. 🙂

The Economy Of Lawn Work

“Time for lawn work.”

Groans from children and adults alike.

We have almost two acres and most of it is covered in grass or weeds. Seems that weeds enjoy rain and no rain. I don’t get it, for three weeks there was no rain and the weeds flourished. Literally taking the place of grass in a few places in our yard. Looking tall and happy while the trees drooped and the grass turned brown and crunchy. Crunchy is not a grass adjective or should not be a grass adjective.

Then rain for close to a week, off and on, but rain none the less. My thought is that both the grass and weeds would enjoy the rain. They did, however the weeds enjoyed the rain less meaning we have or had grass and not so much weeds. Mowing the lawn to take care of grass is much better to all of us than mowing the lawn to knock down weeds. Much better is a scale from zero to can’t it wait another day.

Where is this going beyond an overview of our lawn and my thoughts upon rain, weeds, and grass? I do not want to mow all almost two acres. I did that last year for a few months and while I got in better shape there were a few times where I was positive I was going to die. This year I did not want to die and I wanted to give the children an opportunity to earn some money and learn a skill or two and keep me from dying.

They leapt at the earning money, because they want things, and they didn’t want me to keel over dead behind a mower. I am pretty sure our girl wants to best me in hand to hand combat for leadership, thus dying behind a mower would ruin her plans. They both wanted to learn a skill or two as well. Where things got interesting was how much lawn work they wanted to do.

Our girl loves being outdoors and has no problem with physical work. She is younger and smaller than her brother who likes being outdoors and has a problem with physical work. At first because of his size and eagerness he got the larger portion of lawn to mow and work to do. With each successive time he got a smaller and smaller portion of lawn work and money while his sister took over more and more.

Yesterday she mowed three times as much as he did in about half the time. He putzed around with his smaller section of lawn, which is hard to imagine let alone see as all he had to do was walk in an ever shrinking rectangle. When finished collapsed and announced he was done. His sister bounded over, grabbed his mower, and headed off to do another section of the lawn without complaint. In fact, her only complaint, gophers. Damn gopher trails and holes.

I know as soon as she is tall enough she will do the whole lawn on the riding mower wearing her favorite unicorn helmet. 🙂