Irene and How-Your-Social-Life-Can-Survives-a-New-Game Guide

This is why I love Halolz.com.

This is why I love Halolz.com.

So D.C. took another round of natural disasters with Irene. Granted, Irene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after making landfall, but she still inflicted some damage on homes and infrastructure. It was worse than the quake, but we’ll make do.

While the storm hit, I spent the weekend at a friend’s place for a hurricane party. We brewed pumpkin pie ale and enjoyed pizza, guacamole and good beer while chatting and playing a card game of Would You Rather…

Games like that are always interesting, because on one hand you want to say what you would do and on the other hand you have to think in the shoes of the person who asked the question. There’s no real win or lose either, and such games like Apples to Apples are meant to curb any competition for a social aspect. You don’t have to speak to one another for chess. But Would You Rather… is all about conversation.

Cool thing though was that at the party, I got to know a gent I had met before. As it turns out, he and I had a lot in common, including both being Team Fortress 2 advocates as well as Warhammer enthusiasts. If you haven’t got Team Fortress 2, get it. It’s free on Steam and upgrading your account is a one time cost of $1 if you find yourself liking it. Anyway, this guy collected a Warhammer Fantasy army of Dwarves. I’ve considered a Fantasy army, but would want something I can use in the 40k universe as well. You can use feral Orcs or crazed Marauders in 40k in some capacity, but not Astartes in the fantasy setting.

Moving along, Space Marine is due out in 7 days. On one hand, I might want to make a crew of the Bolthole gang. On the other, my buddy will probably want to do an Angry Marines clan. I’ll figure out which soon enough. Now, if you want your social life to survive a new game that you will probably have to make for some preparations.

  1. Clean your house. Because you’re not going to be doing this for a while.
  2. Pay your bills. Too easy to forget to do this, so do not procrastinate.
  3. Stock up on quick meals. If you’re like me, you may want to consider some healthy food options if you’re watching your waist. But quick meals save time, and save money that would otherwise be blown on expensive pizza deliveries.
  4. Hang out with the friends who don’t play. You’re going to disappear for one, possibly two weeks. So hit the happy hours, buy them a round, laugh, smile. Be a good wing man. Make the most of it.
  5. Treat the girlfriend nice. Make or take her to dinner, be romantic. Do something wonderful. Or she won’t be around when you get back.
  6. Work out like a champ. Alright, your body is going to suffer from a wee bit of atrophy from sitting there for a few days. To prevent this, you may want to work out hard core so your body actually needs you to rest. What’s that, body of mine? You want me to take it easy? I can do that…
  7. Get a list of who is playing. Find your friends, get them together. At least they know where you’ve been, because they’ve been playing themselves.
  8. Figure out your time off. You would have had to prepare for this ahead of time, but a day or two can really make a weekend rock. If you have flexible hours, consider taking a few hours off a day for a week, so 6 hours work days for a week while using 10 hours of time off. Play it right and you can beat traffic home, giving you even more free time to play. However, I do not advocate working from home because you wouldn’t actually be working.

This is probably the most eclectic batch of tags I have ever posted.

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Thorpe? In my Neighborhood?

The dude himself.

The dude himself.

It’s more likely than you think.

So a little birdie on the Black Library Twitter feed mentioned that one Gavin Thorpe will be near Washington D.C. for the NOVA Open. Whether or not this has anything to do with the earthquake we got remains to be seen, but the amazing stories he writes do tend to shake things up. Thorpe is the writer of Shadow King, Path of the Seer and one of my favorites, The Last Chancers.

Here is the flier.

I would love to walk into the convention, find him and over eagerly shove my battered and over-read copy of The Last Chancers omnibus into his hands for him to sign. But sadly (or fortunately if you’re Thorpe), time and finances are a bit tight for me to afford the $35 entry ticket.

But for those of you who can and want to make it, reserve your ticket at the NOVA Open and enjoy the conventions painting and gaming. The convention starts tomorrow and goes all weekend, and is taking place at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, just off of the Ronald Reagan National Airport metro stop.

Quakin’

I wish it was that kinda Quake...

Quake II wasn't bad, but Quake D.C. kind of sucked.

Alright, so yours truly was temporarily delayed yesterday thanks to tremors that struck the east coast of the United States.

The rumbling started while I was at my desk at work. For a moment, I wondered if someone was jumping around or intentionally shaking my cubicle, but when other people mentioned it as well I realized it was quake tremors. I imagine that explosives, like some people guessed, are more likely to be a powerful shake and then done. That is unless they were placed to demolish a building, where proper placement and timed detonations would collapse a building. Hence when it started going down, I acted on my elementary school training and threw myself under my desk should anything fall. About five seconds later,  I was told we were to evacuate the building. So I snatched my bag and joined everyone else in orderly but hasty departure.

Everyone dashed outside after swamping the staircases. We assembled in the parking lot, laughing about it. My Facebook news feed was abuzz with news about it, and during the jog down ten flights of stairs I even managed to squeeze out a message via my phone. Everyone was fine, just shook up by the experience. Unlike the west coast, we don’t get many earth jiggles in these parts. Still, we slowly began to laugh and take it easy about the news. 5.8 in Virginia. Could have been worse than a few broken bottles and minor scraps. Phone signals were weakened by traffic of people calling but still got through to make sure my family was alright after a few tries.

Still, you can’t go through a mid-sized earthquake without some collateral damage. The news later said that the Washington Monument and National Cathedral both took some structural damage. The Cathedral definitely got it worse, with three of the four pinnacles falling. Those tops are the highest in all of D.C., so repairing them will be a pain. Still, anyone who has attended the church on a Sunday knows that they’re good for it, either now or soon enough.

Also of interest, certain animals at the Washington Zoo started acted erratically a full fifteen minutes before the tremors ever struck. Taken from the Washington Post’s article:

The first warnings of the earthquake may have occurred at the National Zoo, where officials said some animals seemed to feel it coming before people did. The red ruffed lemurs began “alarm calling” a full 15 minutes before the quake hit, zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson said. In the Great Ape House, Iris, an orangutan, let out a guttural holler 10 seconds before keepers felt the quake. The flamingos huddled together in the water seconds before people felt the rumbling. The rheas got excited. And the hooded mergansers — a kind of duck — dashed for the safety of the water.

We WILL persevere!

We WILL persevere!

So we’re fine over here. Let go early, so we jetted on home. Some people were a little shook up over it, but we’ll be alright.

My plans to see Conan the Barbarian tonight got canceled however as traffic flooded the streets, so I parked myself at my favorite bar and chatted with my bartender, and backlogged a review for C.L. Werner’s Blood for the Blood God.

So that’s all the news for now. Working on a few reviews and am considering a musing piece about Khorne that may rock your socks off. Might try to line up another 10 songs for writing, probably looking for more ambient tunes and music. Then I’ll be hitting up the rest of my piece for September. Got to stay focused, earthquakes be damned.