Not my normal November

2015-Nov-10, Tuesday 11:54 pm
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I shifted into this flat at the start of 2007 and just under a year after that I started gaming on Wednesday nights on a very regular basis. At the end of that second year I headed to Hanmer Springs over Canterbury Show Weekend with many of the group to play board games for nearly three days straight. Six years total I went up with the group, each year slightly more people went and we gradually expanded the rented house count, having four the last year I went. Last year SAGA hosted a charity event over the weekend, and I'd been short on work for a while so didn't really feel like spending the $200 or so for the time away. This year I'd been feeling money would be tight well before this month, and then October hit with me not getting offered any shifts for a four week period. As such I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't be going for another year, even with people asking me a few times if they could make it easier for me to go. A somewhat recent increase in negative feelings while traveling also had some impact on that decision.

Shortly after I shifted into my prior flat (August 2003) I was introduced to NaNoWriMo and while I thought it was interesting made no effort to join up. While walking to work at the start of November 2004 I had an idea for a story and started writing that day, eventually using a 3B1 to write in during my lunch breaks. I never got around to typing it all into my computer so I don't know what my word count for that year was but I've felt it was about 5,000 of the 50,000 word target. The year after I actually went along to the kick-off meeting in the Arts Centre, largely as I knew one of the others that would be there and figured I'd not have quite the same issues I normally did (and still do) with new situations. The ML at the time had been taking part since the third event and after finding out I'd failed the prior year suggested I make bets with people about my ability to finish. I never got around to that, gambling isn't my thing, and as he pointed out after I won that year I missed my chance (who'd bet against someone that had managed it before?). All up I finished/won six times in a row, and then started failing. 2011 and 2012 I only managed a bit over 30% of target, and 2013 I passed half way, last year I barely managed one days quota over the entire month. This year I didn't even go to the website until a couple of days ago, looking to see how a friend was doing. It was apparent to me a while back that I wouldn't be getting to spend much time with the friends I made over the prior years, one is in Auckland this month.

48 hours of charity

2014-Nov-18, Tuesday 11:08 pm
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Over the long weekend that has just been I took part in what seems likely to have been the first annual charity event run by SAGA. The plan was to have people start gaming at 1000 Friday and continue playing games (board and RP) continuously until 1000 Sunday, with sponsorship for those taking part. As we started there was at least 20 people present and attendance didn't fluctuate a great deal until early Saturday evening, with about half a dozen making it until 1000 Sunday. I personally made it until mid Saturday evening before I realised I wasn't going to be able to stay awake for the full 48 hours and should leave. I had been short tempered with someone earlier during a game and decided I shouldn't keep playing as that would get worse. I figure that 35 hours of playing isn't bad for someone of my age and general sleep deprivation, but I would have liked to stay longer.
There has already been talk of a repeat for next year, possibly at a different long weekend to increase attendance. If it happens again I'll be taking part, aiming to get to at least as many hours of play, and making more effort to get sponsorship. If it does happen at a different weekend I'll probably (hopefully) be able to go along to the Gamesfest '15 weekend.

NaNoWriMo basically died days after it started for me. I haven't even opened the file over the past week. My word count got to not quite 1500 words and I've not felt inclined to write more instead of playing games, or watching YouTube, or reading blogs.

NaNoWriMo take 11

2014-Nov-04, Tuesday 11:22 pm
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I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo again this year, after failing for the prior three attempts. An idea was had on Wednesday or Thursday that should, in theory, be able to allow me to write at least as much as I did last year (half target). I have written 162 words so far, all on Saturday. I've had a couple of realisations about me failing over the past years. SAGA has been running throughout the Novembers I've failed, the last year I won was my first year in SAGA but by the time November came around the earthquakes had ended the weekly meetings. I was also ML (municipal liaison) for the last couple of years I won, and decided that I might stop taking part so stood down as ML and probably had less motive to win because of that.

NaNo got half done

2013-Dec-03, Tuesday 11:31 pm
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NaNoWriMo was again a failure this year. I did however get to the halfway point as a revised goal, which isn't bad considering that there was a 10 day stretch through the middle of the month that I didn't write anything at all. After 10 years taking part it's become very, very clear to me that I do so now for the fact it occupies time and gives me a reason to spend time with certain specific people. I'm never going to feel that what I get written is worth editing or even putting on-line to let others cannibalise, so why should I keep taking part when I am no longer stuck at home the way I was when I first started taking part?

My gaming last month was the highest it's been this year, but only just. Which indicates I didn't game anywhere near as much away from Hanmer as had been normal in prior years. Part of that will have been the Monday nights with the NaNo people, but it's also (I think) going to be due to me playing longer games of late and not as many short 'filler' games. More than half of the recorded plays occurred during the Wednesday to Sunday that I was in Hanmer, leaving just 37 plays for the rest of the month. Looking at the records on BGG it doesn't look wrong at all, but that must have been a comparative drop for the rest of the month.

My work situation hasn't picked up at all, I got only five shifts total during November and turned down maybe three due to the weekend away and other personal matters. There should have been work at least three days a week based on prior years.

Last Sunday was a good day, and may have helped pull me at least somewhat out of the hole I was in. I got up late and headed to church, for what was the last 10-15 minutes of the service and then stuck around to spend time with a few of the young ones. When most of the people had cleared out I started heading into the central city, walking through South City for a while (finally finding foam core) and then detoured around ReStart before going to the Stray Dog Board Games that had been mentioned on Facebook, with people I didn't know at all. I played a couple of games I knew and a short one that was new to me, winning the co-op (Pandemic) and the new thing (Dungeon Roll), and coming second in Ticket to Ride: Marklin. After that I headed south to the NaNoWriMo TGIO and spent another three hours with friends there, if the seating had been different I might have been able to fall asleep on a friends shoulder.

Blergh

2013-Nov-26, Tuesday 10:44 pm
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NaNoWriMo has again been an almost complete non-event for the middle of this month, I did okay for the first 11 days but as soon as the Gamesfest weekend started to really occupy my time progress died. Starting again this afternoon (minutes before heading to SAGA) means I may have enough momentum to get to 25,000. Half way would still better than the 17,000 I was at when I got up this morning. I am again vacillating on whether or not to take part next year and my likelihood to attend next years Gamesfest.

I feel like the come down from Hanmer Springs has been worse than normal, probably due to having been somewhat down beforehand and thus having an even more "up" period while away, and for an extra day. Not working a great deal for quite a while is also going to be factoring into how I feel right now, even with my attitude to work in general knowing I'm not getting enough to deal with my bills on a long term basis is probably bringing me down. I get the feeling I'm getting messed around by the new company as well, my supervisor has indicated there is enough work that I should be getting shifts, and I was told that there isn't work for me tomorrow.

via tumblr, nuke map. I was surprised at the actual size of the blast.

Gamesfest '13

2013-Nov-19, Tuesday 11:26 pm
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Hanmer Springs was nice and warm most of the time I was there, not that it really mattered to me apart from walking between houses and sitting in the sun for breakfast. We also had to deal with sand flies for the first time I remember over the past six years, many of us getting bitten although some were bitten much more than me.
As I did last year (and most of the prior years) I made a geeklist upon returning to Christchurch. As I'd hoped we got a lot more games played this year than last, easily passing 100. I recorded 110 games and that didn't include most of the Magic: the Gathering games that got played or everything that was played in houses other than the "main" one that I slept in and most of the games were stored at. Six of the games I played were new to me, some completely so, and one was a variation on a game I myself own. Very few of the games played over the weekend had no-one learning, often if I was involved it was me that was teaching. I didn't come across anything that I'd be desperate to own but there wasn't anything I'll refuse to play in the future.

NaNoWriMo went almost nowhere over my weekend, I haven't actually checked but I doubt I even got 1000 words while away. That is still probably more than I managed last year or the one before unless I actually spent time writing in the mornings then that I don't remember. Before I left for Hanmer however I had reached a word count of about what my total was for the past couple of years, so I've improved on recent efforts and will probably spend some more time writing over the rest of the month, I think I'll aim for 25,000 this year and see what happens.

Tomorrow night I'll be heading to the Wednesday night games early, spending 30 minutes or so trying to teach at least four others how to play Terra Mystica before the others show up and I get to play something I'd be more interested in. I have no idea what that something would be though, which is the one problem with most game nights, enthusiasm for particular games wanes at times, and having no idea what I'll be playing isn't a good thing.

Games, very soon.

2013-Nov-12, Tuesday 11:33 pm
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This time tomorrow I will be in Hanmer Springs, hopefully having played a few games already and will probably be involved in a late game. I had considered not going this year, after five years of attending, so I could instead spend the weekend with NaNo people. It seems almost certain that next year I won't be heading up, unless I finally stop taking part in NaNo. This year I have been more inclined to write than I was either of the past two years.
This year we are starting a day earlier than we have in prior years, I don't remember why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. With the extra day, and the slightly higher attendance, I am thinking we might, as a group, get 100 games played over the time we are away. At the very least I want to get to 2010/2011 levels of about 80 games played instead of the not quite 60 that we had last year.

NaNoWriMo is progressing, albeit at less than ideal rates. Then again, I've surpassed my total from 2011, and if I was to spend any time writing tonight I'd probably also surpass my total from last year. I'm also ahead of all but one year I won for this stage of the month. At just over 16,000 words I have got eight chapters down, four lines into the song I'm using as inspiration. If I do continue to make the effort, which will probably be difficult this weekend, I should manage to get at least close to finishing.
I haven't had a lot of work recently, this isn't good for my bank balance, but it did lead to a lot of free time last week, probably part of why NaNo has progressed better this year than the past two. I've also found more free time by ceasing to attend church, so far this month it's been to attend to attend NaNo write-ins (and this weekend for the game weekend) but at least so far I've not missed it.

Sunday afternoon/evening I was with friends at a goodbye party for a friend that's heading overseas for an extended holiday. I failed to prepare for the weather/temperature as I should have done, not really paying attention to the forecast I walked over in jeans. I also didn't take togs, which will surprise few people, but because I was wearing jeans I didn't really get in the pool at all which I regretted. The majority of my time there was good though, other people had fun in the pool, we played a couple of games of the Resistance, and had some interesting discussions.

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NaNoWriMo has begun again, and five days in I currently have my best ever word count for this stage of the month. I'm actually managing to keep at about where I 'ought' to be for each day. After nine years this is a big change, what's weirder is the fact the extent of my planning is hearing a song on Thursday while I was at work and thinking the lyrics could be used as chapter titles. So far I'm nearly 7500 words in and I've only got to the third line of the song.
During this month I've decided I'll likely be going to write-ins when I don't have games or work instead, to the extent that I'll skip church. This had led to some people getting a little out of shape about me leaving the church, as far as I'm concerned the reaction was excessive.

In just over a week I'm heading to Hanmer Springs with many of the Wednesday night game group. It's going to be an extra day compared to the past five years and I'm not sure how much of it I want to game this year. I'm also thinking I'll actually sleep more than I have in the prior years, mainly as I have tended to sleep more over the course of the time away as I fall further behind on sleep.

A couple of friends hosted a post Halloween party on Saturday night, once again my costume was very limited in scope and effort. This time it was less obvious what I was supposed to be, I think one person at the party got it without being told. I had thoughts about other costumes, and may use one of them next year if I end up dressing up again.
While there I spent most of my time sitting on a couch, listening to others talk about things, watching people dance, and briefly getting hugs. Near the end of the night though I ended up spending about 30 minutes talking with a friend I haven't seen much recently. It was good to see her again, even with it reinforcing the fact that we won't get to see each other much.

Musings on mood shift

2012-Nov-04, Sunday 11:09 pm
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It is at times amazing to me how easily my mood can shift.
Last night was good for me, more so than people looking at me would have thought I expect. Silly games (including Twister and WereWolf), friendly company, and alcohol enough that the reserve I keep up dropped somewhat. I stayed until nearly 3am because I was enjoying myself and would likely have slept on a couch if not for wanting to sleep in my own bed before going to Church this morning.
Today, I only woke up as Church was beginning (after sleeping through my alarm), spent the service at the back of the hall like I normally do if I'm not helping with the children's ministry, and spoke with few people after the service. I then headed to the Street Party that was organised by RCC and upon failing to find anyone I feel I know well enough to hang around for any length of time I headed back home, already losing the relative high. I got back to my flat and caught up on the things online I'd missed seeing before church. After a while I decided to head along to the supposed meetup for NaNo that was happening nearby, with my laptop so I could write without the distractions that exist here. No-one else showed up though, probably largely due to the conflicting meetup in the central library. On the upside though it allowed me a chance to write, distraction free for a while and I managed to get a reasonable amount done in the time I was there, until the wind was chilling me too much.
Since coming home I've played games, and generally avoided the things that I "should" be doing. I don't have work tomorrow and so I'll likely still be up well past midnight, I won't wake until 10 or later. Then I'll spend most of my day doing nothing constructive until I head to another writing meetup before gaming in the evening. At which it's almost certain my mood will jump again due to the presence of gamers and hopefully a baby.

NaNoWriMo FAIL

2011-Nov-30, Wednesday 05:37 pm
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For the first time since the first year I took part I have failed to reach the 50,000 word target that is the point of NaNoWriMo. Like last year I didn't start at the beginning of the month, unlike last year my idea came on the 4th, and was far less developed at the beginning. I also found myself even more inclined to play games this year while in Hanmer Springs and didn't spend at least an hour a day writing while there the way I managed last year. Having thought for three years now that I might not take part it seems almost certain that next year will be a complete non-event for me. I was happy to spend time with many of the others taking part but I didn't feel at all inclined to write for most of the month.

SAGA didn't finish when I'd previously indicated it would; this year the club was able to book right up until Christmas for the first time. As such I've still got another 7 sessions I can (and almost certainly will) attend. Which also means it will likely be next year before I end up gaming with Steve again, with me having a regular group for the first half of the week he hasn't been asking if I want to play for a while now.
That regular gaming has left me in the position of already playing twice as many games this year as I did last year. And with another month to go it's going to be bettered by more. It has also led to last night seeing me record game play 1800 (or perhaps 1796 depending on where I'm getting the figure) since I started keeping track at the beginning of 2006. 100 plays in a month, September and November, helps put the figure way up compared to that first year. Which had a total of just over 100 for the entire year.

Christmas seems likely to be, largely, a non-issue for me again this year. I'll hopefully spend a little more time with my parents between now and then, talk to my sister for a while on (or near) the day, and have no work for a week or two. Apart from that I'll probably spend the day itself with a family from church as I have the past few years. Since I'm no longer really interested in stuff (having too much already) and find the consumerism of the month unpleasant there's little to the time that I find special, and most of that I will get in the morning service at my church.

My hair is very short right now, less than a week ago it was shorn for FunRazor, raising about $250 and getting rid of the pink that certain individuals were very happy to see the end of.

Halloween, oh yay.

2011-Oct-31, Monday 05:42 pm
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October is (practically) done and so tomorrow marks the start of NaNoWriMo for another year. I went to the first meet-up on Saturday, and was able to keep the ML company for a couple of hours; the only two others that showed up had already left when I arrived. If I hadn't been offered work for tomorrow I'd probably have headed to the morning meetup that's happening at the Hornby Library. All this interest is a little surprising when I currently don't intend to take part in the writing this year. Of course that was how I felt last year, right up until I was at work on the 2nd and had my first lines come to mind.
If I'd been doing more than just thinking about NaNo this year, and was expecting to take part, I'd have spent the past week (or more) with my keyboard set to DVORAK layout instead of the typical QWERTY. I have wanted to get myself able to touch-type with DVORAK for years, and it was suggested last year that a different keyboard layout would increase the challenge for me. After all, when only the first year was a failure, it's no longer something that seems difficult to me. Of course, the real challenge would be to write something that I'd be happy showing other people, but that's not really the point of the exercise.

SAGA is almost done with for the year, this week and the next are the last with scheduled evening meetings. The very last of which I'll be missing due to the Hanmer Springs GamesFest so I won't complain about missing games. My understanding is that it won't be starting up again until (almost?) March so I'm going to have three months without regular plans on Tuesday and Thursday nights. That could allow me extra time to write during the latter half of November compared to the first half. After that I'm expecting to spend more time watching TV, spending money at United Video (after finding my member card 6? months after it went missing in my wallet), and probably, mostly, spending even more time with my laptop.
With the two gaming weekends last month (Mini-Con and SAN-con) I managed to play 106 games during September. About half of those games were no more than 30 minutes so it's not as impressive a count as it might seem. This month I might break 70, but I'm expecting that I'll get to play a game of Agricola and that could be it for the evening (leaving me at 68).

I have decided that I will be taking part in FunRazor this year. So there is just under a month until I no longer have hair enough to wash when I shower. I'll possibly set up an online page at http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/fundraise/topathletes-funrazor.aspx?e=826&c=315 but mostly I'm hoping to get sponsorships in person. With me knowing that I'd be getting my hair shaved off later I've once agian gone and got my hair dyed. The intention was initially just to bleach it but then I decided to get it blue. When the first bleach didn't get rid of enough colour and I couldn't be bothered sitting through another bleach I decided to go red instead. With the first wash at the hairdresser getting rid of more colour than I wanted it's already turned pinkish. I'm still getting used to seeing abnormal coloured strands of hair at the edges of my vision.
avron: (long hair)

From the last Monday of August until Thursday (11 days in a row) I was able to go out and game every day and for most of those days I either had work or something else for a portion of the rest of my day. Yesterday I had work in the morning so half my day was occupied, but today I had no plans at all. Of course, I could have done another load of washing (one yesterday), I could have vacuumed etc., I could have gone to the supermarket. Instead, I've sat on my recliner, watched another 5 hours or so of MacGyver and wasted time while I wait for the others in my Boite a Jeux games to take turns.
Mini-Con ended up being better for games played than I would have expected, 22 over the two days (and maybe 15 hours) I was there). My expectation is that SAN-CON will be similar because while there is more time available for the gaming I could end up teaching more games over the weekend. I signed on to help teach new people if there was a need for it and that tends to slow things down. I'll also be wanting to go out of the Board Game room on occasion to look at what else is happening around the building.
Starting this Monday I should be having another nearly two weeks of gaming, with Friday probably being a day off as I'm not as likely to head to Avonside for the gaming happening there as I was last time. In theory that means I'll be about as busy over the next two weeks as I was the prior two and may need to ensure I nap in the afternoons. Something I found much easier at my prior flat as I could do so in the sun with far greater ease.

I vacillate about my interest in NaNoWriMo this year each time I think about it. On the one hand, I've enjoyed taking part for the past six years I've won (and even the year I failed). On the other hand, it's become easy for me and short of teaching myself to use a DVORAK keyboard during November I don't see it being hard to make quota. At the very least I'll likely go along to a meeting or two (assuming the schedule works out) as I miss some of the other regulars.

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Work
This year there continued to be less available than I'd have liked for most of the year, but I think there was a little more available than 2009 so that's some improvement. An improvement that I should admit was partly due to choosing work over helping with Mainly Music this year. I don't feel any more inclined to find a better job than I did a year or two ago so I'm likely to still be there for quite a while yet.
Somewhere in management there was a decision made to pay for any of the staff wanting to take part in this years City to Surf and as I'd wanted to take part again and see if I could do it in less than two hours I signed up with the rest of them. I didn't quite manage that time but I figure that the hold-ups crossing bridges were enough to slow me down a lot. I also spoke for a while early on in the walk with one of the operators and his wife about Settlers of Catan, which they'd recently been playing with another couple they knew.

NaNoWriMo
Since finishing last year I'd been intending to skip this year but still helped organise the first Christchurch meet up and got to meet a few people that I otherwise wouldn't have. After having an idea on the second day I started writing but, as in most other years, what I ended up writing was crap. I won't be showing anyone any of it apart from the first chapter or so that I sent one friend when she complained about being bored. After now finishing six years in a row I'm thinking that I need some other challenge and have been told that using a DVORAK layout on my keyboard would provide such a challenge. One other suggestion was to aim for more than the 50,000 words. Thanks to the effort of one of the other regulars we had a "Night of Writing Furiously" this year, which I managed a couple of thousand words at. A total vastly overshadowed by one of the attendees, she managed about 1000 in each of the 5 (?) ten-minute sprints. I would no doubt have managed more words if I hadn't been playing "Race for the Galaxy" and "Dominion" on my laptop instead while not doing the sprints.

Gaming
I became a little less concerned about attending the Wednesday night game sessions for the maximum time possible somewhere through the year. Probably due to a combination of things, one of which was the fact I stopped refusing to work Thursday mornings. Signing up as a member of SAGA at the University also would have had a hand in me being more willing to leave early on Wednesday nights. From May I was going to the University most Tuesday nights and most of the nights I was there I got to play at least one game I liked. Especially after one of the regulars got a copy of Endeavor and the club got a copy of Power Grid. Even with the Thursday night group being far more inclined to role-play I went along to some of those nights as well and got to game a little then. SAGA nights came to an end in September however with the quake disrupting things and the previously booked rooms being claimed for study areas. At the start of July I'd agreed to go down to Geraldine and try teaching some home school children how to play some of the games I like to play as part of a group from Christchurch. With the travel and unfamiliar situation I ended up feeling unwell for most of that night but I did get to play "Hey! That's My Fish!" a couple of times, correcting the woman that was teaching it as far as at least one rule was concerned.
November saw GamesFest '10 in Hanmer Springs and contrary to the prior couple of years I didn't really game until late on the first night. Nothing that the others started was of interest to me on that first afternoon so I ended up sitting with my laptop and typing for a while before playing games and then going back to writing. The first couple of nights I managed about 3 hours sleep and was thus one of the last to bed and first to rise, leaving me plenty of time to game over the weekend, and time to write as well.
All up this year I learnt 21 games, played about 60 different games and recorded in excess of 320 total game plays. 91 of which was Agricola after Steve got a copy at the end of last year and the two of us started playing it a couple of times a night once a week or so for most of the year. I also managed 41 games of Dominion (combining all expansions to a single 'family' group), largely because of how quick it is and the mass of people that know how to play, both at SAGA and the Wednesday night sessions. Stone Age dropped from 67 plays last year to 29 this year, mostly because Agricola took over, but partly because I lost interest after the mass of games last year.
My Friendless stats for the year (friendless is the chosen username of an individual at BoardGameGeek that has a statistical bent).

Church
I went elsewhere for one service at the start of the year after having thought that I was spending to much time in the Children's ministry and not enough in the main service. That service ended up being about Fellowship and the need to connect with people, which led to me thinking I should stay at RBC. I've missed a few sessions since then due to feeling ill (and the City-to-Surf) but for the most part I've been there helping every week since with an occasional week in the main service.
In July I started going along to the Community Lunch, partly to spend time with a couple of people in particular, partly to get out of the house. That led to me spending a bit more time with a new friend and her son, including playing in the nearby park. After a while I even started eating while there, something that I hadn't really expected to do, especially when I was typically getting up an hour earlier and having breakfast before leaving my place.
Mainly Music continued throughout the year, with me going along any day I hadn't agreed to work. I still don't see that what I do is particularly useful but the leader was happy when I showed up, which is nice to hear. I heard mention they may be starting sessions on a second day through the week, if true that could leave me better able to attend as Wednesdays seem to be the most consistent as far as work.

Random stuff
I headed to Cave Stream during the "church" trip this year but didn't go through the cave. Time away from my flat, and with actual people was my main reason for going out there but I did think there that it might be good to go through.
The September quake was enough to wake me and get me out of bed but I would have been back in bed for much of the morning after it apart from a friend being scared and wanting company. I ended up spending most of my day with her and the others that showed for her son's birthday party (unfortunate timing). Only one of the subsequent shakes was big enough, where I was, to get me to move again. One night I was out gaming and my opponent went to a doorway while I continued to look over the board as I was shaken.
At the end of October I had to clear out my room (and the lounge) so new carpet could be put down. As a result of that I got rid of a portion of my accumulated stuff but still have boxes that I haven't found a good place for again.
After not taking part last year I had my head shaved for the FunRazor event again this year, meaning I don't find my head getting as hot as it had been on the sunny days.
In the final couple of weeks before Christmas I watched all five seasons of Babylon 5, and then in a few days after I watched the movies and Crusade. Obviously free time is not something I'm short of.

GamesFest '10

2010-Nov-20, Saturday 02:14 pm
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A week ago I was in Hanmer Springs, with more than a dozen others, after having headed up on the Thursday with the express intention of playing board games for most of the weekend. Events of my weekend )

In other news,

  • I am taking part in FunRazor this year, so I have less than two weeks of hair now. Sponser me? I probably should get a better hat at some point as the caps I have aren't going to help keep most of my head out of the sun.
  • I am taking part in NaNoWriMo as mentioned in the write-up of GamesFest '10. I had an idea while at work on the second and have been writing since. I've been to meet-ups as well and met some new people, as well as a few of the prior regulars.

Spring

2010-Sep-04, Saturday 12:05 am
avron: (Bald)
I have again become annoyed with people thinking things about me with no good reason. This time there's even more to how badly people have interpreted the situation and I've actually been a little angry instead of just frustrated or amused as has been the case in most prior situations. Happily though, the individual concerned and I are continuing to get on fine which hasn't always been the case.

I'm hopeful that the slowly improving weather will have a positive impact on the sleep I get as well as my general mood. Spending time with people apart from at work (partly because there's been so little work) is also going to help I think. With me gaming three nights most weeks (and sometimes a fourth), and various church things as well, I'm not spending as much time home (effectively) alone as I had become used to. I might also find that I sleep better with the heat pump working properly again.

Renting Final Fantasy X this week was somewhat unwise, I have been out most evenings, will be away most of the weekend with Mini-Con 2, and then have work on Monday, maybe even Tuesday. Leaving far less time to play compared to the week just been where I'd rented Lego: Batman and could have had far more time to play it if I hadn't spent so much time at my PC.

I continue to feel more and more sure that I will again be nearly bald at the start of December. I missed spending summer without (much) hair and I don't want to try dealing with my hair in any other way either. With the number of people new in my life over the past year or so I'm also interested in how many of them will react. Prior to that I'll also have to make a decision about NaNo, after taking part six years and winning all but the first of those I'm not sure there's much challenge any more. Especially if there isn't work or other things putting a massive claim on my time.

I've been thinking

2009-Dec-01, Tuesday 11:25 pm
avron: (red face)
Don't worry about it though, I made sure to rest up afterwards.

For quite a while now, especially over the past year, I've been spending a lot of time with young children (of that time I'm not alone anyway), usually minding them to some extent while their parents are doing other things. Quite often as they are getting taken away to go home or wherever the child is told to thank me for playing with them. That leads to two thoughts about why they're getting told to thank me. Either I missed something growing up and I should be thanking everyone I spend time with in a 'fun' way, whether it's playing games, watching DVDs or whatever. Or the children might start thinking that they need to thank me for doing something that I otherwise wouldn't and that adults won't be playing with them just for fun.

November finished yesterday (which you know if you've looked at a calender today) and like I have in each of the previous four Novembers I wrote a 50,000 word 'novel' that will remain hidden on my PC and other digital backup. This year saw a significant change from past years efforts in that I was ahead of 'quota' for a third of the month, including finishing with three days spare. Self enforced time pressure was a big help in how much I got written.
ML duties won't be my issue again though, I'm going to work out how to get myself off the list when things seem to settle down at the website. That way I won't get set as in charge if I do decide to sign in again next year, which was the main reason I took part this year.

If I had gone out on Sunday night to play games like I was given the chance to I might have made it to 40 played games during November. I still managed more than any other month since I started keeping track though, 37 total with 21 of that during my weekend in Hanmer Springs. I'm wondering if I'll do even better this month, hopefully I'll be playing quite a few on Boxing Day and I hope to get at least a game or two played each day while I'm away on camp with others from my Church.

After a month in which I did only four days work I've started December with a 12 hour day. I doubt it will be repeated, if only because I was getting eager to leave almost as soon as the rest of the morning shift went home. During the mini breaks today I was reading through a conspiracy magazine the operator had, if I was the sort to get paranoid I wouldn't be leaving my home for a while.
avron: (long hair)
One of the machines at work broke down and with it not operating there was less need for casual employees. Something that has partly contributed to my sleep schedule becoming even worse than normal again. Which means getting up tomorrow for will probably be even harder than normal, as will actually getting to sleep tonight.
In addition to not working I've had a very empty week plan-wise so I spent almost no time anywhere other than my room this week. Small group on Monday, games on Wednesday and Church this morning were about it for me leaving the flat apart from buying food. Quite a change from the prior week when I had only two evenings at home and had been out most mornings as well (with work, church or Mainly Music). The sheer amount of time with people would have caused problems for me a few years ago I think, now, I miss it.

Gaming without the normal hosts present went very well for me while I was there; I played four games and bet two people in each of those games. Three of them were 3-player and the other was 4-player so I don't expect to do that well again anytime soon. I hadn't played one of the games there for more than six months so it was a welcome change. The smaller turnout may have contributed to my better than expected scores, it would have been quieter than normal and obviously less crowded. This week will apparently see RoboRally getting a play which I'll be happy about, I quite enjoyed it the other time I played it. I think I should be more willing to play what others suggest this week though, I think I refused to play nearly half a dozen games last week.

Mini-golf may have lost some of it's appeal for me, I played during the busy week and didn't really seem to enjoy myself the way I think I used to. Having spent 20 minutes in a car to get there may have affected things though. Somewhat related is the fact I still haven't done anything about bowling or climbing the way I had intended back in April.

With the NaNoWriMo website relaunching a couple of days ago I signed in again and it seems I've committed myself to taking part again. Even if only to try and organise meetings for those in Christchurch. That takes care of one of the decisions I mentioned in my last post, the hair issue is not going to be resolved as soon, at least a month away I think.

With my paid-account here lapsing I'm going to have used to the ads and stuff that I didn't need to see for most of the past two years. I won't be paying again though, there's been to many changes to the company for me to want to support it anymore.
avron: (long hair)
Important Decision: I have had someone new tell me that I should be working with children as a career. And whether it's a result of the number of people saying similar things or the length of time I've been hearing those comments or something else it does actually seem like something I'll look into this time. Knowing people that have studied (or are studying) in that area helps, as did an offer of contacts at the Uni.

Unimportant decision 1: NaNoWriMo is coming up again in just over a month and if I take part it will be my sixth attempt. I am however, for the first time since having won it, unsure of whether or not I want to take part this year. Each year I enjoy the writing, but only after I've been sitting down and writing for a while. I like meeting up with people, after the first week when I don't know any of them.

Unimportant decision 2: For the past three years I've taken part in FunRazor and then allowed my hair to grow for the subsequent 12 months without even a trim. This year I don't feel as inclined to take part again, in part because of the number of people that tell me I look better with hair. I also think it might be wise to not be bald during the Church Camp as I'll probably spend at least a couple of hours each day out in the sun.
Related to that issue is whether I go back on my word of last years experiment being a one time only thing. I've been told by one person that I should dye my hair blue and I'm not sure if I'd be willing without the knowledge it was going to be gone a few weeks later.

Not a decision: Games last night was good for me, even without the specifics of what I played. I managed to not be involved in a game that had been going four hours when I was given a lift home and which all involved seemed to be playing for the sake of finishing, not because they were still having fun. As to what I did play; first was a four-player game of Stone Age that had me a little unsure of best actions due to the changes brought about by two more opponents than I'm used to. The second game I played was El Capitan and I taught the two I played against. Depressingly for me it ended up being my worst ever game of it (after six plays), so bad I had to take a loan on my last turn (I'm convinced needing to take a loan in the last (3rd) round means you can't win). Third and last for the evening was another game of Blue Moon City which I'd taught last week. This time around I did far better, possibly because of the help brought about by the partial co-operation in a four-player game.
I think I could have played my 700th game since I started keeping records if not for the teaching game of El Capitan, or if the three of us that were deciding on what to play had come to quicker decisions.
avron: (Bald)
In that time I have
  • Written another 50,000 word novel. That I was putting online and let some people know the web address.
  • Spent a long weekend away in Hanmer Springs playing board games and not going to the Hot Pools.
  • Had my head shaved again
  • Read only one book
  • Spent Halloween evening at my Church, mostly watching a movie to provide adult supervision in the room.
  • Watched two separate elections
  • Got sick with a sore throat, cough and head cold
  • Had a tooth extracted, after it had been annoying me for more than a year
First up was the alternate Halloween evening that I think is going to be an annual event. I went along a little early to help and found most of the stuff had already been done, or it wasn't things I could help with. So I spent much of the evening walking around doing little things to help and then watched the movie before again walking around helping in small ways.

I had stayed up that night thinking I might start writing this years NaNoWriMo novel but I when it got to midnight I was yawning a lot and still had no idea what I wanted to write. So I posted well wishes to those on the NaNo forum and went to bed. When I woke up I had come to the conclusion that I'd write a prequel to the very first novel I tried to write (the one that may have reached 5,000 words) and almost managed the required quota that day. Then, on the second, I met up with the others in Christchurch that wanted to come to meetings and we talked for a while about how we were doing so far and then started talking about other things.

With both the US and NZ elections happening within days of each other I ended up spending most of both those days at the home of the Wednesday night games. After seeing Barack Obama give his speech I ended up playing five games, most of which I ended up teaching to some of the others playing. Before results started coming in from the NZ election I played one game of Alhambra.
The night before the NZ election I went out to play games at the home I'd been playing at previous years and got my second game of Carcassonne with the Abbey and Mayor expansion, along with the two other expansions I own. I lost by a large margin but did win the game of Ticket to Ride we played after.

Getting my tooth pulled was a little unexpected. I'd gone in to talk to the dentist and while he was looking at the tooth in question he decided he could probably get it out for me then, so I said yes. Instead of going for a new tool the way I thought he was the second time he pulled the pliers he had been using out of my mouth he took the tooth. Dentistry seems to have come a long way in the past 12 years, that was far less noticeable than when I had teeth out at the age of 14.

Over my time at the holiday home in Hanmer Springs I managed to play 15 games, 6 of them new to me (and most of them new to the others as well) and only 4 of those plays were repeats of games I'd already played while there. I even explained some of them, one after having read the rules that morning (making me the expert) and another that I learnt with another guy as our first game.
My feet are harder than I'd have expected, I walked to the shops and back twice, without footwear and didn't really suffer for it at all. No blisters or anything. Of course the company on those walks probably distracted me from the pain I might have felt.
Getting back I ended up being the one with an ability to remember details of the weekend, practically everyone else ended up suffering from a "mystery illness" that I'm almost guaranteed to not suffer from at any point. I'd also been making notes of things as the weekend went on and could refer to those to leave details of the games that were played.

I did manage to keep writing a little while I was away there after having chosen to take my laptop computer with me. But it wasn't much and the following week was no better. I was 8,000 behind previous years on the 21st and it took quite a bit of effort to catch up. Being away from my home for most of those first three days back didn't help much, especially when most of my writing tends to happen in the evenings. I suppose suffering from the slump that is supposedly normal for NaNoWriMo writers is a good thing; it means I'll understand other peoples difficulty in that week next year.

Being ill in the last week of the month gave me more time to write, but I'd rather have been well and busier. I had the worst cough I can ever remember having and my ability to think was worse than is normal after barely any sleep. I ended up working the Monday and Tuesday and staying at home for the rest of the week, mostly huddled under a blanket and trying to motivate myself to write. Saturday 29 I ended up writing nearly 7500 words which was just as well, I didn't manage to write as much on the Sunday as I'd been expecting to and would have failed without the exceptional output of the Saturday. My ability to come from behind the way I did surprised most of the others at the meetings, having seen my word count the weekend before they had been expecting me to fail.

Last night I ended up teaching three games (one of which I'd only played twice before, six months ago) and did better as the night wore on, crushed in the first, slightly better than middle in the second game and a come from behind victory in the third. I really want a copy of Stone Age, maybe even above the other games I've wanted since playing in Harewood this year.

Today was the sixth annual FunRazor, and my third year participating. I haven't raised as much as I did last year, largely because I didn't make the effort to get sponsorship from the office staff at work, but also because the form only arrived a couple of weeks ago instead of almost a month early like last years did.
avron: (NaNoWriMo 2008)

And when I don't recall saying that before it's obvious I don't say it anywhere near enough.

Games last Wednesday night was about as well attended as seems normal. Only two tables instead of the three that were needed the week before.
The first game I played was Manila which may be my new hot favourite. Luck mitigation seems to be the single biggest issue, but, in theory, the 'best' player will win most games.
Game 2 for the evening was Carcassonne with the first two expansions, against only a couple of people so there were a lot of turns each. I won convincingly but was very lucky with my tile draws, often getting the last tile that would fit a particular spot that scored me a lot of points, or allowed me to muscle in to one of my opponents cities.
My last game of the evening was Race for the Galaxy which I may enjoy more after another play or two but it isn't currently a game that I"m going to suggest. Probably because how to play well isn't at all obvious from rules explanation or having played once.

Saturday evening I went out to play games with the hosts of Wednesday night games, a different experience to playing on Wednesdays as the only real decision is what to play, there's no issue of who to play with.
The first game we played was Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries which was new to all of us. With all of us having played other versions though it was fairly quick to learn, although there were a couple of things we missed in the rules that might have made a few differences to what we each chose to do at various points. The 3-player limit was also a little strange but understandable with the more limited connections available.
After finishing that they got me to reteach them Manila, I don't think I missed anything as I skimmed through the rules. With only 3 (instead of the 4 from my first game) everyone gets an extra action before the first lot of dice rolls which I found hard to remember initially.
The last game I played in the evening was Lost Cities which has been touted as "the" couple game on BGG because of.. well I'm not really sure. It doesn't require any communication, there's a lot of math and it seems that it would be very easy to withhold things your opponent would want so as to limit their score. I like it though.

I was almost late to church on Sunday after staying up later than I should have, partly because the internet wasn't almost unusable after midnight like it had been for a few weeks. Since Friday we've been with a different ISP in my flat and so far I've noticed speeds at least 10x what was normal previously. I don't seem to have much of a role to play during Children's Church besides getting the VCR setup and running it at the right time but I'm happy with that. I get to help in small ways and I'm spending time with people I like. I do get to help 'lead' groups on occasion as well though, probably good for me in some ways.

Sunday afternoon I headed to the Arts Centre for the first NaNoWriMo meetup and was spotted almost immediately by the guy that was already there. Having my hair this colour has obviously had one of the effects intended. With the weather the way it was early in the day a few people that had been intending to come pulled out but we still ended up with four writers. The guy that spotted me initially only found out about NaNo a matter of weeks ago, one of last year's newbies is back after winning last year, the only woman to show up is the flatmate of last year's newbie and is going to actually try this year, and of course the fourth was me. Being "in charge" wasn't actually difficult but I was constantly aware of the fact that I wasn't doing as good a job as AJ did over the past few years.

Monday I was up only a little before noon and spent most of the immediate 2 hours after that with breakfast and various cleaning needs. A little later than I'd initially expected (which allowed for more time-wasting online) I got picked up and taken to Shirley for another games day. Only four games got played (unless people were playing elsewhere that I didn't realise) and I was the only one to play in all of them.
While waiting for everyone to show up someone decided that we'd play Manila, and I've since decided that five people is to many for it, to few choices during the last round of placements.
The next game played was one of Mall of Horror wherein the idea is to not get eaten by zombies. After a couple of rounds it seemed that I would be free to go elsewhere very soon as I'd lost two of my three characters, the third lasted until the third from final round. To some extent it's a game that doesn't reward good play so much as personality as there's a lot of voting for who gets eaten. The rest of the people playing all seemed to agree it's better with more people (6 like we had instead of 3), something I can easily see the sense of.
The third game was one of Vikings, teaching the host as the Wednesday night host thought it would be enjoyed. As per normal I ended with insufficient Fishermen but it wasn't as bad as I normally manage. I can't decide how many people I prefer to play against with this game, maybe that's a good thing.
The last game of the evening was Thurn and Taxis which I hadn't played for 3 months. By that stage of the evening the sun was no longer shining on the back yard so we went inside and crowded the living room. It's a little odd to play a game when 'surrounded' by people that aren't playing, especially when they want to have conversations with those that are.

I was given a lift home with more than sufficient time before I should have gone to bed. But, a few minutes before I would have shut down my laptop I started chatting with a friend about how I've thought I might have Asperger Syndrome. Four and a bit hours later she'd gone through the list I posted here a little over a year ago and basically shown that my interpretation of the indicators was often wrong as was my interpretation of my own abilities/traits.
With only 90 minutes before I'd have been getting up for work anyway I just stayed online doing random things and headed to work without sleeping. Not the best day for it as I ended up working with bundles of magazines that would easily have been a couple of kilograms and large enough that I was only just able to grab the bundle. I ended up napping at lunch time on a pile of pallets so the afternoon was a little easier on my but I'd told the boss when I arrived that I thought taking today off would be a very good idea.

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