More Doodles From The Underground

While pulling notes and collating notes, I came across these…damn awfully rude of me to say see “these,” and “these” things are actually down below. So lets change that to, I came across these images which you will find below…not as catchy, but honest. Beyond awesome. Our boy likes to design games, he has a problem with follow through, rules, and playing fairly, but he likes to design games. He has a card game with…wait let me count 1, 2, 3 expansions that I know of…he routinely breaks out his box of card stock squares with images and numbers on each one and plays a few games with his sister or one of us before declaring some new rule that allows him to win or one of our cards to be nullified. Then he disappears to his room where he works on the rules and designs another expansion.

Best part of his games are the doodles that he puts on each card. I have learned to ignore the spelling, although his spelling has gotten a lot better. I have learned to ignore the numbers as their meaning is variable, based primarily on if he is winning or not. I have learned to ignore the game text, as that is often related to a thought he had at the moment or a show he just watched. The doodles are where it is at for me.

What I found was not from his card game though, these are from Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Before there was a card creating application on Drive Thruwhatever, you had to make your own cards. Like me, our boy wanted to make some his own cards for…if I remember correctly, a spider themed pirate adventure. He really did like the look of Skulls and Shackles, but in his words, “not enough pirates, sharks, and spiders.” Then he got on a kick about cannibals…no clue, but it remains amusing to this day.

With my help, he designed the following cards, but because he couldn’t or wouldn’t work on them more they got abandoned. Luckily, I saved them, put them in a file where I forgot them until I found them today, along with a whole bunch of my doodles and maps.

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As you can see he was chock full of ideas and doodles. My favorite are the Shipwreck where I giant crab is destroying the ship, followed by the Shipwrecker Crab. No idea how big a crab would have to be to sink a pirate ship, but the idea sounds pretty cool to me. Much better than a lame old kraken.

My pile of doodles and notes is not a fun looking as our boy’s, but just as important to me. A map of a corner of Lower Stroud, some designs for vehicles, and animals. All of which will be entered into the compilation of notes. Not a bad way to spend a rain, cloudy (although the weather is improving) day, walking down memory lane and finding a way to put old work together with new skills to make a new thing.





Rivet Wars Wok

Rivet 7The Allied march continues on, although opposition has gotten tougher. Another day of unpacking and playing Rivet Wars. And, the first Woking. Not bad for another day of moving and settling in. There was a brief setback when I discovered that the kids had not unpacked as asked, but instead had “unpacked” the toys they wanted to play with and dump the rest around the room. Think, giant box of Cracker Jacks, where the Cracker Jacks are Legos and the toy prize is whatever the kids thought was cool or fun. Suffice to say, time was spent unpacking for them.

Rivet 1I promised the kids more games of Rivet Wars, so they could get “revenge” on me for winning. This time instead of working as a “team” they decided to play me one at a time using the same scenario. Whoops of joy from them when they learned they were getting 6 deployment points and a rivet a turn (a rivet is a special resource used to purchase heroes and larger units, like tanks). The last game they had six deployment points and a rivet, they as a “team” attempted to overwhelm me with Dragoons (mono-wheel things) and infantry until they could deploy their tank and forgot to play for the objectives.

Rivet 3This time our boy played for one objective and played well for it, but that left the other two mostly unopposed which netted me the win. I cannot take complete credit for the win as this was our first game with secret mission cards. Secret Mission cards are a way to score victory points by completing tasks during the game. The net effect, to make an already quick game quicker. Half of my victory points came from secret mission cards. End score 3 to 10.

Rivet 4Our girl had a plan and if not for a few lucky rolls might have done a lot better. She flooded one half of the board with infantry and followed that up with a blitz of mono-wheel Dragoons. Caught me off guard as I deployed to take as many objectives as I could. This worked out for me in the end, but for a few turns it was touch and go. I had to abandon one-third of the map to her tank (yes, every game both of them save up to drop a tank), Dragoons, and masses of infantry. End score 7 to 10.

Rivet 6Two games down, back to work unpacking and organizing. Laundry is coming along…although if you listen to Barb, laundry will never get done unless we all stop wearing clothes for a week. While I do not have a problem with this, other people might.

Drum roll please….and I wokked last night and it felt great. Read that how you want. Cut up some chicken, bell pepper, and onion into the wok. Add some hoisin, soy, sugar, Sichuan peppercorns and first wok meal in at least a few years. Did I mention how much fun I had tossing ingredients around in the wok? No, I did. Years of cooking Chinese in a pan pay off in a wok big time. Quick mix, quicker cook, equals delicious.

Can I Be A Critic? Reviews By Our Boy

Yesterday, our boy wanted to know what was required to become a restaurant critic. After a long talk about the responsibilities, obligations, dangers, and need to write he decided to give writing a restaurant review a try. Today, we went to Ju in Grand Rapids to celebrate Barb’s birthday. Ju is a small sushi restaurant that we have frequented many times. That is what you get from me for now. Here is our boy’s review along with photos we took. Enjoy. 🙂

“I found the décor tranquil. The colors and decorations were tranquil. The server was nice, he had a good attitude. The food was OK, compared to last time. The chicken was good and the sauce that came with my meal tasted like a sweet soy sauce. The restroom was clean with an interesting lighting. The desert was OK, I did not like the ice cream.” -D. Richmond

So, that was his first review. As you can see from the photos alone there was a bit more to Ju than he had to say. 🙂

The décor is a modern version of a sushi bar and lounge. Nothing new or special, but done right. The atmosphere is relaxing, encouraging conversation, and taking time to enjoy the food. The music is not loud enough to be distracting, the tables spaced far enough apart to move around and not to have to listen to neighboring tables (unless they are loud).

The server was AWESOME! He, like every other server we have had at Ju, saw to our every need in a professional way. In addition, he took the time to talk to our children about sushi, share his sushi experiences (they made a philly steak and cheese roll), wish Barb happy birthday and brought out her desert. Her desert was mango ice cream with whipped cream and a starburst pattern of butterscotch pudding. I lack words to describe the experience of the desert.

Here is where Ju shines for us, we go for lunch where they have a 2 for $9 or 3 for $12 special. The choices are not limited to sushi rolls, our boy’s tempura chicken, the dumplings, and the edamame came from the 3 for $12. In addition, there are four roll combos which come with choice of miso soup or ginger dressing salad (pictured). We have yet to have OK food. The food is always top-notch, in portion sizes that fill up the belly without empting the wallet. The roll is a wavy pattern is an Akai-Roll. Yes, that is jalapeño peppers on top. I love this roll and because of the spice level, do not have to share with anyone. 🙂

The bathrooms are clean, with interesting lighting, but other than that they are bathrooms. Although, I have it from a reliable source, our girl, that the women’s room has mouth wash. I did not find any mouth wash in the men’s room, only towels for the hands and a faucet that had more controls than I thought necessary. 🙂

If you are in Grand Rapids, want sushi, hit up Ju for lunch.


I Could Have Melted Out There

101 HeatThat is a picture from our car today. Triple digits. So hot out that a friend had to apologize to our boy because she burned her fingers on her car after telling our boy that a car could not get that hot. I believe the conversation was around cooking eggs on a car, but the apology was given none-the-less. 🙂

Apologies given what do you do when it is the second blistering hot day out and you have no air conditioning? If you are us you look for places that have air conditioning. If you are us and you live here, you know that you will be spending at least an hour in the car with the air conditioning. This is one of those times where being an hour away from everything is a good thing. Two hours in an air conditioned car, sign me up…yesterday and today only.

Because Barb has to work on her birthday we celebrated her birthday yesterday and today. She wanted sushi and I found sushi in Mount Pleasant: Midori Sushi and Martini Bar. If you like sushi, avoid Midori. If you have a date that you want to impress because your date is:

  • impressed by wasteful spending
  • average sushi
  • overpriced rolls
  • bland flavors
  • rolls that look large, but are actually overstuffed with rice
  • “fancy” looking dinnerware (I have most of what they use to serve, I bought it at Meijers, just in case you want some)

Then I highly recommend Midori. The silver lining, Barb got some sushi. The gold lining, we will be taking her for better sushi later. I would make sushi, but everything I need to use is packed up. 😦

Walking to Midori, hell (ha) walking anywhere, was an exercise in darting from shade to shade, standing in other people’s shadows, and praying for a stiff breeze or a torrential downpour to strike us as we walked. The craziest sight, an outdoor yoga class. Yes, outdoor yoga class. I love yoga, but as much as I love yoga and as excited as the instructor sounded over the PA system, even I would not be caught dead in this heat yogaing.

Tired of the heat we headed to Target, because surely they have air conditioning. They did, but it seemed to be struggling mightily to keep the building cool. Wandering around slowly I kept finding things we will need for the new place, such as a microwave. If I am to have a hated microwave, it will be a good one. Good as defined by powerful enough to actually “cook” stuff like the package says instead of having to multiply the time by 1.5 and hoping it all works out. Never did.

While looking at microwaves I stumbled across clearance copies of Munchkin Legends and Wizard of Oz. With most of the games packed, Munchkin has been our go-to game. Cart filled with Munchkin and another box fan, I could create a windstorm in here if I set them up right, we headed out. The cashier was excited to see us, “her people” as she kept calling us. A recent transplant from Traverse City, her and her husband play a lot of Munchkin and was excited to meet other people who played. I imagine the gamer quotient in Target lines is small. We chatted for a bit before heading out into the heat. Thankfully the car had not melted. That car ride home was bliss.

Now I sweat with fans blowing on me.


Another Day Of Being Patient

Another day of being patient with the process. While being patient I cleaned out one room from top to bottom. Might as well get some work done while being patient. Are you aware of how much stuff accumulates underneath a kid’s bed? I thought I was, until I lifted up the bed. I am positive that underneath each child’s bed is an extra-dimensional space specifically designed to hold toys. Lots of toys. Way more toys than should fit in the space available.

Even better than a Doctor Who like predicament, there were toys under the bed that based on sheer size alone should have caused some very uncomfortable nights sleep or had the potential to flip the bed over if nothing heavy, such as a child or a whole shit ton of other toys were not on top. It is a miracle that the bed did not slam into the ceiling from the stuff underneath or collapse from the shit on top of it.

Simply, amazing.

Floors cleaned, which I do believe is a first in a year or more. Try as we might we have never been able to get either child to pick up everything. Something always lingers and then is joined by something else and before you know it a toy party and parental foot trap has filled the floor. Any way, floors cleaned I took a look at the walls…

…one there was a lot of dirt on the walls and one mysterious stain on the ceiling. The wall dirt, easy enough. The mysterious stain, no clue until the children came into the room to reminisce about all of the fun they had over the last five years. And to tell me about the stain I was staring at, seems that a juicy drop (the really sour candy that has a liquid and solid component) container if squeezed hard enough, will hit the ceiling leaving a very mysterious stain.

Then I noticed the glow-in-the-dark stars. There is a lot of stuff I am willing to leave behind, but anything glow-in-the dark is getting moved one way or another. So out comes the step-ladder. Why the step-ladder, because I am not that tall and I had flipped up the beds. Standing there scraping glow-in-the-dark stars and the sticky shit that held them in place for five years off of the ceiling.

But the gist of the story, is that after a few hours of work one room is completely clean. I may be able to get one or two rooms completely clean before move out. But I’m not counting on it. I will have rooms filled with boxes and bags ready to go.

Now if this move will only happen soon.

Plans, Puke…What Else Begins With P?


I like to make plans.

I am one of those type-something people.

What is the type-something who likes to make plans and watch them get blown out of the water and then scramble to make new plans? Whatever type-something that is, I am that one. Just don’t label me. 🙂

When you know that you will have multiple days in a row to do stuff, say your wife has three days off, what do you do? I know what we did, we made plans to do stuff. Nothing major, just some local fun stuff (local as defined by the pre-established fact that most things are an hour away in any direction). Stupid stuff to brighten our moods after yet another week of “please be patient with the process” while the university and rightly so has been “please get out soon.”

So we planned last night. Yesterday was supposed to be day one, but that quickly got blown out of the water as we had to reassure the university that we are going to leave and please don’t kick us out, deal with the bank…suffice to say that conversation went no where because “it’s a process”…take back bottles (normally our summer money, this time a pain in the ass because who wants to move $40 in cans, not us) and finally deal with some packing around here. On that end, PROGRESS multiple bags and boxes from the kids. WOOT WOOT…did I just write that? Maybe I am not dealing with the stress…crap.

Did I mention the university turned off the internet? Not our internet, but all internet to fix it. Awesome good for them and that was the other reason we wanted to get out and have some fun. Back to the plan: go to bed early, get up early, get ready, and go. How hard could it be?

Another stress induced nightmare has me up at 6 am. There is get up early and then there is that. I haven’t gotten up from a stress induced nightmare that early since college…fine around 60 days ago, but my point being I got up too early. However, since the internet was working at that time I did some internet stuff. And finally, I feel asleep on the couch…

…to be woken up by early wake up; i.e. 9:30am when everyone was supposed to wake up, but I was not awake. I did that already and was not ready for this second wake up. Showers start. I start to wake up. Then trouble begins. It was a subtle trouble, at first I thought the feeling in the air was my foul mood due to double early wake up, but it wasn’t.

Our girl came down from her shower first, but she took hers second…huh? Where was the boy? Call up to him, “Almost” “Be done in a second” “Blah blah” and so on until I Dad Voiced Him to come downstairs so we could get going (at this point the interwebs had been turned off). He shows up in the living room, turns paper white, and bolts for the bathroom where he pukes up everything.


Being a good dad and not wanting to waste the plans, I volunteer to stay home with the puking child, not something even remotely new to me, and everyone else go out. Some assurances that I don’t mind, I don’t other than the stank of puke (turned up the air fresheners) and everyone took off for what I hope has been a day of fun. Me, while the interwebs were out and between pukes, I wrote and slept.



Mysteries of Battleborn Lore & PvP

A crow flies overhead squawking.

A strange feeling that something is going to happen.

I want to find a copy of the original Ghostbusters for $5.

All signs, to me, that there is more to life than what is in front of me and what I am told. Yes, I am one of those people who believe in the mysterious, not everything, but enough strange things have happened around me that I have a healthy respect for that which I cannot see.

Why am I bringing this up? Because our boy, as the crow flew overhead, expressed that he knew what a crow meant. This lead to a long conversation on the meanings of signs and whether he believed or not. Personally, he is too young to believe, but he already has a healthy understanding of signs and personal experience with strange things happening around him.

Such as stopping at a store I hate to look for a cheap copy of Ghostbusters because I was in the mood. After pawing through a huge bin of movies turning around and seeing Ghostbusters on top of another bin, for $5. Strange things indeed.

Because life is not a straight line, I move onto Battleborn. Due to the nature of the character system, I needed to hop onto player versus player to attempt to complete a lore challenge. Let it be known, while I enjoy Battleborn, love the lore idea, I cannot stand Battleborn’s PvP. Not a single mode. Perhaps if all of the characters were balanced for PvP, but they are not. Not even close. This works great in story mode, where everyone gets a chance to shine. In PvP, some characters are only there to die…a lot.

This would be fine with me, because from time to time I can see the fun in playing a character you like, even if they are at a disadvantage. However, toss in the lore challenge system, where you complete X task to unlock one piece of a character’s lore. Unlock all of a character’s lore and get a cool piece of equipment. There are some lore challenges that have to be completed in PvP. That doesn’t sound too bad…

except when you must play and win on a certain map that never sees play time, in two hours of PvP, the map I needed almost got played once. That one time the server timed out and we got dumped into another map. Or when you have to kill X character X times, but that character is never played. But, what about private matches? Yes, you can play private matches, but nothing you do counts towards anything.

I could understand private matches did not count if you got anything like you do in Call of Dooty or Battlefield series as far as upgrades. In Battleborn you do not get anything cool like that. Oh well, they changed the matchmaking system today. Not that it will fix another glaring PvP issue.

Battleborn is not PvP in the assumed sense of kill all of the other players. It is PvP in the sense that there are two teams of players on objective filled maps. Yes, objective…kill this or protect this or escort that…killing other players is actually secondary to the overall objective. Is that how the game is played? Nope. Kill other players and screw the objectives unless the objective is in your way. I will give Battleborn this, the maps are interesting to look at, wander around in, and there is rarely a dull moment because even when the players aren’t trying to kill each other there are robots and other things doing their “thing.”

Still, it is frustrating to have to play in a mode that, I do not find that entertaining, to complete something that I do find entertaining. I am hoping that Battleborn adjusts the lore challenge system some how soon or my days of playing are going to go down.