A day away

2014-Mar-11, Tuesday 11:48 pm
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I got up this morning about as early as I ever do apart from when I'm heading to work; about an hour later I was at a friends place to help with some stuff. I didn't get home again until more than 12 hours had passed thanks to heading to SAGA from there and I've spent the past hour and a bit catching up on stuff that happened while I was out. Tomorrow I'll be leaving at a similar time, but for nowhere near as long.

I headed to church late on Sunday, moving back out to the foyer not long after getting there. A while after that I found myself back in crèche spending time with the children of my ex and others. It's still a little weird spending time there and there's going to be mornings I just don't want to stick around (at church at all), but I'm not as inclined to leave as I was over the past month. There is still some other stuff that needs to be dealt with in some way however, I'm not sure how soon I'm going to get to that.

My intention to get "Long" games played through/at SAGA hasn't been as simple as I expected. There's already an event early in April, coinciding with TableTop day (although not related) and then Easter a couple of weeks later. I had thought I would get the first session in the weekend between those two but I have been invited to a thing in Hanmer Springs that weekend and I'm somewhat inclined to attend. If I try and arrange Eclipse, which seems like the best first choice, for the last weekend of March it might work. But that only three weeks now, and the day of party I'm going to in the evening. A party that at least one of the most likely players is already going to be late to due to other plans that day.

Camp in some detail

2014-Jan-09, Thursday 02:16 am
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Saturday )

Sunday )

Monday )

Tuesday:
I was, as expected, not feeling great when I woke on the final day, knowing I was going to be travelling again soon enough left me with no appetite. As such I didn't bother with breakfast, spent a while vacuuming where I'd been asked to, and mostly just walked around with the little one once she'd been fed.

2014 begins

2014-Jan-07, Tuesday 09:56 pm
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I went out last Tuesday night to a New Years Eve gathering somewhere new to me, but with a group of people that I know well enough that I felt almost completely at ease. I didn't get hugs the way I did a year prior, and I didn't drink this time which probably led to me being less talkative than I might have been. I'm still glad to have gone out, and to have people that wanted me around. I would do well to remember that more often.

Both of the first days of 2014 I went out gaming, at an easily walked to location on Wednesday, and a significantly farther walk on Thursday. While out I was able to play some new games that I hope to play again, and a couple of older games that I was glad to get more plays of after not playing much last year. That was a contributing factor in me missing out on at least a few hours of sleep compared to what I should have got. Having no (consistent) internet connection was also a factor I believe, as it led to me playing more FTL than I otherwise would have and being up until early morning instead of sleeping from not much after midnight.

This morning I returned from what was about 72 hours of a camp with some of those that attend RBC and others involved other ways. I came back from the time away (and actually spent my time there this morning) feeling down, which I can understand to some extent because being here again is less interesting, and I need to cook my own food now. The extent to which I came down seems disproportionate though, it happens every time I return back to my flat from time away with friends but it seems to have been getting worse the past few months.

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.

Weekends

2013-Aug-27, Tuesday 11:46 pm
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I had a busy, long weekend, in which I did very little. Epic Escape 2 took place in Hanmer Springs over the weekend, starting on Thursday and finishing Sunday. I say busy as I spent much of my time there playing games of some sort, but I also did very little as I spent most of my time sitting playing games or using my laptop. We had a minor issue getting there, one of the tyres was aberrant and making noise. We got a spare from one of the others going up and spent the time waiting for it on the side of the road, with the others playing games. I stayed in the vehicle for most of the wait, playing games on the owners iPad.
Once up there though things went well apart from the lack of snow, not an issue for me but many of the others had wanted to ski. Most of us stayed up much later than is wise, especially for me when I don't seem to be able to sleep in while on holiday. I got about four hours sleep each of the three days we were there. My expectations for the weekend were all pretty much met, although I would have liked to play Agricola one more time than I managed. Not getting to play after I started drinking means I don't have interesting anecdotes about such behaviour.
I was surprised at how well Hanabi went down with the majority of the group though, I taught it about 10pm Thursday and games were still happening at 4am Friday. Then it got played a lot more.

Because of the weekend away I wasn't available for work at the end of last week and decided to work on the Wednesday instead of helping with Mainly Music. Which would have prevented me spending an afternoon with a friend apart from illness keeping her from showing up anyway. This week I took Monday off as it was obvious on Friday that I wouldn't be sleeping enough over the weekend but I did work today. Leaving me free to go along to Mainly Music tomorrow and spend time with the children, and hopefully get to have an afternoon with my friend.

This coming weekend is Mini-Con 2 so I'm expecting to spend most of both Saturday and Sunday at the Kirkwood Village, playing board games and not moving or eating a lot. I am curious as to how well attended it's going to be, there seems to have been a large drop off in attendance at the regular Tuesday/Thursday night sessions and while I hope it's attributable to the holidays and such at the Uni it could be other things.

Things are looking up.

2013-Aug-20, Tuesday 11:09 pm
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I am soon having a long weekend away, starting in 36 hours and lasting until Sunday night. This has led to me choosing to work tomorrow instead of what I know would be more fun; Mainly Music and hopefully spending time with a friend. After I finish at work I'll be home only briefly and then I'm going to head out for another walk to go collect Guitars for the PS2 Guitar Hero game. Which should lead me to spend at least some time using my PS2 again after not having it plugged in for most of the past year.
This also means that tomorrow would have almost no time to just sit and relax if I went out to games in the evening. As I'll need to sort things for my time away I'm definitely missing game night again. Which isn't actually a surprise or anything, I'm just not sure how I feel about missing so many Wednesday nights.

The possibility of having company again has led to me tidying up the place a little more. Probably not enough that it would be noticed by anyone else but I've been making slow progress to removing the accumulated debris. It remains an annoyance that I require the external motivation to actually make improvements to my life. I remain very content in the status quo.

My spending habits remain less controlled than would be best. I spent about $75 on Saturday when I went out to get bread, finally buying a couple of DVDs I'd wanted for a while, and getting some others that I knew I'd enjoy. That's led to even more time in front of the TV here, watching through DVDs that I hadn't seen in a long time as well as some of the new ones. Next week I expect to watch through Dark Angel which was the biggest spend.

I was nudged.

2011-Jan-13, Thursday 04:17 pm
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I have received my first 'nudge' and as I was thinking about posting anyway, here goes.

First up is the fact that yesterday was seven years since I first signed up at LiveJournal. That's a long time to have a record of anything, although I do have financial records going back further. I've also got five years worth of board-game plays recorded at BGG. I'm sure I've commented before about the vast change in how prolific I am now compared to the first few months but I still wonder how I had the motivation back then to post nearly every day. Posting twice within a month has been uncommon for the past couple of years if not longer.

This month is not quite half over and I've been out of my flat on all but two of the evenings so far, a ratio that is unprecedented for me, especially with SAGA not running at the moment. Tuesday night I went to see Tron: Legacy and the most recent weekend I was at Wainui with a little over 50 of my Church family. Most of those nights have been various Board Gaming sessions, at five different locations (including Wainui). While I may be out again tonight I expect that the rest of the month will be a couple of nights a week, maybe three. Although there are reports indicating I'll be thiefed one night next week.

When I was at the cinema I was stopped by a couple, neither of whom I recognised. When he spoke, asking if I recognised who he was, I remembered them from my time at polytech. The disconnect kept me from talking much, not that I normally talk much anyway. It was good to see them both though, there weren't many others I felt closer to during the time I was there, largely because I spent a lot of time with them thanks to my living situation that first year. The movie itself was good, a lot like the original which is what it should have been in my opinion.

I discovered something odd during my time at the camp in Wainui. For some reason I shoot arrows better left handed than right. After about 5 rounds trying right handed (which is how I should best manage) and managing only once to get close to the bulls-eye, I tried my last three shots with the left-handed bow and two of the three were in the bulls-eye with the other in the next ring out. That was the only time I did any damage to my arm as well, so poorer posture may have been helpful.
I also got the opportunity to play a few games of Carcassonne after one of the youth remembered playing it at Teapot Valley a year earlier and the two of us attracted a small crowd asking about it. There was also a short discussion about Agricola after the couple that knew me way back when got introduced to it by relatives of theirs recently. I don't think I would have wanted to make the step up they did, from Catan to Agricola, but they both seem to enjoy it so it worked for them.
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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.

Change is continuing

2009-Apr-06, Monday 06:05 pm
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I have had six days off work in a row (10 counting weekends), thankfully that ends tomorrow although I'm not looking forward to the getting up early and walking in the cold (ETA 2315 Or not, while I was out getting SubWay there was a call to say one of the machines was behind so I don't have work.). Even with half of those days being my choosing to not work, it seems that there is a definite slow down at work and I'm going to be much better off working whenever I get the chance to do so.

Monday night I went to R18 again and, like has been the case for quite some time, I spent a lot of the time distracted by the baby/toddler. For the most part the group seems constant, which is probably a good thing as being used to and knowing the others there is going to mean each of us is more open. And I might start contributing more than just when I'm asked questions.

Tuesday and Thursday nights I went and played games with Steve, three games of Stone Age each night and it seems obvious that when the two of us play whoever has the first move in the game is going to win. I haven't played enough (especially recently) with more than two to have noticed a similar tendency. If there is such a tendency though I think it's going to sour me on the game.

Wednesday morning I went and helped with Mainly Music again, for some reason I tend to be a focus of attention for a few of the children, I'm getting used to having them come over to me and offer toys.
Games for the evening were cancelled (not an April Fools thing like I wondered initially) and so I was free to head to church and attend the Prayer and Praise meeting. I'm not likely to go back to them, especially at the expense of playing games.

Friday I got up early (for a day off) and caught a bus to the Beach, where I walked out on the pier and took photographs. In between getting those loaded onto my laptop and continuing to clear out some of the mess that I'd accumulated over the prior months/year I also made a start at getting my desktop PC working properly again (I had been unable to access the internet). As the cooling fan of my laptop no longer operational I'm unable to use it for more than an hour at a stretch. With me having recently uninstalled almost all the "essential" security programs as I wasn't intending to use the desktop for anything but data storage and games I wanted to get XP SP3 installed and had trouble due to prerequisites. Once the evening got nearer I headed to church again and spent a couple of hours helping children with their craft evening.

After I got up on Saturday I continued to make inroads on the mess that is my room and proceeded to actually get stuff installed on this computer. Shortly after 6 I headed to the Dux de Lux for the first time (in the evening anyway, NaNoWriMo TGIO get-togethers have previously been held there in the afternoons) and have decided I am unlikely to go back, the "music" was far too loud in my opinion. Not knowing anyone else of the organisers friends probably didn't help at all either.

Yesterday morning I spent some time in the local park as children hunted for rocks, and distracted one nearly 2 year old by pushing her on a swing while her grandfather was was minding the older kids. I also discovered that I"m no longer able to hang from my feet the way I used to. Or, at the very least, will require practise to become good at it again.
The afternoon saw me catching up with three friends I hadn't seen for a long time, a couple that went to Auckland when they got married a couple of years back, and another guy I probably hadn't seen since we left High School. If not for the coincidental timing I'd have been able to play Wii games as well. Facebook has been very good in getting me in contact with people again, not that I'm actually doing much in the way of talking to others in any way.

Changes of plans

2009-Mar-30, Monday 10:37 pm
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It would seem that I'm not going to be travelling to Australia anytime soon. I don't have anywhere near as much money as I did last week after finally getting myself square as far as tithing is concerned. (I really thought I'd given money more recently than I actually had.) As such I'm unlikely to be taking random days off in the same way that I have been and I may consider working Thursdays again so I can (occasionally at least) manage 5 day weeks again. That isn't particularly likely though, I'm going to continue to be out late on Wednesday nights. It does however mean I am unlikely to start taking two days off on a regular basis like I had begun to think I would a week ago.

After playing Guitar Hero again on Saturday night, with friends out in Halswall (and having yet another person think I'm dating someone I'm not), I'm thinking that it could be my next big purchase. Slightly more likely is the chance I'll save the extra money required to get Rock Band, which I had thought was unavailable for PS2. If I get more tidying done around my room and the lounge here there will even be room for it. I am not sure I would actually end up playing it lots though, after first getting the PS2 I played often for about a month and then I ceased using it much. If people were wanting to come by and play however that could be enough to up my use significantly.

It feels like my time has been spent with people far more than normal for the past couple of weeks. (Especially discounting work, which I discount as much as possible.) That seems to be largely over as of the end of this coming week although it's quite possible that more things will be added to my calender. Birthday season is also largely over for another year, April is quiet again before things pick up again a little in May.

I didn't go to the Armageddon Expo this year, not because I decided I didn't want to spend the admission fee, but because I had mixed up which month it was happening in. For some reason I thought it was ANZAC day weekend and so I spent Saturday afternoon killing time before heading out to fun times with Guitar Hero. If I'd known the correct information I would probably have gone in the morning, first seeing if certain others were wanting to go, and then come back to my flat to kill time before going out in the evening. I saved $15 at least, quite possibly more, but I'm disappointed that I didn't get to see things there again.

avron: (dooky)

I spent a portion of today cleaning up the mess that my room has become over the past few months, mainly vacuuming the floor and behind my bed and bookcases. I've also made a small effort to clean up the pile of clothes that had accumulated on the bags at the foot of my bed. The hopeful upshot of which is that after another similar effort (or two) I'll be able to shift back the chair and TV I put in the lounge a year or so ago. Since I last sorted out my books I've accumulated quite a few more so I think I'm going to have to reorganise some of those as well. Probably only to the extent of putting a lot in boxes I'm not currently using and storing them under my bed or with the others that are under the table.

I only did a couple of days of work last week, I wanted an extra day off on Wednesday (having been working for the woman I'd rather not be around a lot more than normal over the prior two weeks) and then there was no work available on Friday (or today). I expect that the next couple of months will be more of the same due to economic conditions and so I'm beginning to question the wisdom of a holiday to Oz in the next few months, even if I don't have to pay accommodation costs I'll still be spending about as much as Hillsong ended up costing me if I go visit both my sister and the friend I want to go see.

By taking the Wednesday off I was able to go and help at Mainly Music the way I'd intended to the fortnight before. I felt somewhat out of place (being the only male above the age of three (?), in a room of mothers and children, will have that effect on a person) but I'll gladly go along to help again the next time I have a Wednesday off.

Games happened a lot for me this week been, Wednesday and Thursday nights and then on Saturday afternoon.
Race for the Galaxy is still not a game I "want" to play but I think that each time I get roped into a game I'll be able to do a little better. Drinking alcohol does impair my performance at games at least a little as well, my ability to build ships quickly in Galaxy Trucker was nowhere near as problematic for my opponents as it has previously been.
The other host seems a little hesitant to get a full game of Stone Age in, during what was going to be his first full game someone else showed up and he was quite keen to quit playing so she could also be involved in a game. We ended up playing a couple of games of Cities & Knights, the first of which I won by a single point, the second of which she that had arrived late won before either of us other two were looking even potentially competitive.
Saturday afternoon I played in my first game of Agricola for the year and while I was confident I wouldn't be losing a lot of points early on I didn't do as well as I'd thought I would. I also got to play Le Havre for the first time and while the rules were confusing the actual game play seems simple enough. It will again be one of 'those' games where I always feel I can't do everything I want to.

My sleep habits are still causing some problems I think, I missed church again yesterday, having left early three times already this year I didn't go at all yesterday. It was due in part, I think, to the fact I'd only slept for about six hours before I woke up. I don't know why that isn't a problem before work more often though. Maybe I'm just less inclined to skip work when it's my only source of income.

Change, again

2009-Feb-15, Sunday 09:08 pm
avron: (Survive)

This week has been the first week since November that I worked all four days that I am "available" to each week. Most of it doing what I now prefer to do (after asking to be taken off the machine with the operator I don't like) so that aspect of it was good, the sheer monotony of it wasn't. Having the extra money come in will be good as well. The staff change around that has been happening (partly because of holidays) has me wondering who is actually going to be there some days. One casual was back for about six months after nearly 2 years away and left again at the end of January, another casual has just come back after about 8 months (or more) away and has mentioned possibly being there long enough to get taken on as a company temp.

With yesterday being Valentines I celebrated the same way I always have, grateful to be under no obligation to be spending any money on a manufactured holiday.
In the afternoon I was made aware of the Twilight Cinema that's happening in North Hagley Park over the current month and had thought I might go watch "Breakfast at Tiffanys" up until about 6 when I decided I would just head out for a walk instead. Foolishly I headed in the direction of the Warehouse and ended up there for nearly an hour looking at DVDs, books, boardgames, kids toys and junk food. I came out with seasons 2 and 4 of Monk, WALL-E, United 93 and a Victor Borge performance from 1979, all on DVD. I was also given a fake rose as the staff were trying to get rid of the oversupply they had.
Church this morning was better than the past couple of weeks had been for me, I actually felt well enough to stay and help with the Children's Ministry. I don't think it was simply more sleep, as I was still later to bed last night than I should have been and that had been the case almost all week. My diet may have improved enough of late to have an impact though, I'm actually eating fruit again.
After the service it was revealed that someone had brought a little motor-bike to the church and at least half-a-dozen of us that were still there took turns riding it in the carpark. I was told (and this may be a misquote) "I rode it as though I had ridden a motor-bike before", odd when I've avoided being in control of mechanised transport of almost all sorts besides dodgem cars most of my life.

Over the next few weeks I seem to have quite a few out of the ordinary plans.

  • I'll be helping with child minding twice this week besides during the Sunday morning service; Mainly Music on Wednesday morning and (maybe) a school thing for a friend on Thursday at some point.
  • A party of some sort on Saturday, the reason for which is currently shrouded in mystery.
  • I've been told I can host the start of the games night on the Wednesday 10 days from now as the hosts are going to go to the Twenty-20 cricket that's happening that evening.
  • I have also been invited to the KAOS first party and am unsure whether or not I should bother heading along. I won't really know most of the people there, even discounting the new (potential) recruits and it's not really the sort of gathering that I'll ever fit in well at.
  • The weekend before my birthday I'll be playing poker again, hopefully lasting longer before getting knocked out this time.
  • The day before my birthday I'm going bowling with whomever else comes along (1 confirmed, 6 potentials). I hope to go more often over 2009 than just twice like I did last year, I enjoy bowling but didn't get around to going much last year due to laziness.
  • At some point I also need to make bookings about air travel to Melbourne (and then Brisbane?) so I can visit my sister and brother-in-law (and maybe another friend I haven't seen enough of for a very long time).

Overspending

2009-Jan-22, Thursday 10:04 pm
avron: (initial)

I went out last Thursday to buy compressed air for the purposes of cleaning the keyboard on my laptop (and my desktop when I get to it) and ended up spending just short of $400 over the course of the day.
After selling off my Farscape DVDs (which I purchased in 2003/2005) since shifting into this flat I have now bought the entire series run again, at a relative profit of about $30. I have also purchased a digital camera which should see me taking more photos as long as I remember to take the camera with me and feel the inclination to use it. With a resolution of 8.1 megapixels it will be taking pictures approximately 9 times larger on each side than the previous digital camera I had.

Last night was gaming, and for a change I decided ahead of time to drink alcohol instead of water or fizzy while there so I arrived with a bottle of Scrumpy. Whether or not the drinking affected my first game is hard to assess as it was only the second game most of us had played (with one person having watched the first game but not played) but at the very least I think I was taking longer to assess the turns than I should have been. The three of us that had played ended at 23, 22, 21 (me) though so I don't mind being third of those scores. I'm fairly sure drinking did have an impact in the second game I played however, at least one mistake was easily spotted in my play and I expect there were more. He that won was way out in front of the rest of us though (210, 168 (me), 164, 161), so again, not winning wasn't a big deal. Spending a good portion of the game advising the new person may also have distracted me. With almost everyone leaving a little earlier than is normal the few of us that were left played Buzz on the PS3, flasher than the PS2 version I remember but still a good time.
The week before was much better as far as results go, winning the first two games I played and coming 2nd equal of 4 in the third game. One year in and I have no idea how I am actually doing as far as winning percentages are concerned. With so few games getting played more than a handful of times it's probably not that worthwhile to be concerned at all anyway. Not that it would matter even if I was playing the same games week in week out.
With me not being inclined to go watch the Twenty-20 cricket on the upcoming evening it conflicts with games I've been told that I can host games that evening if I want to. A very surprising offer although having been left to house sit three times means they obviously trust me.

Work has been a little scarce recently, compared to last January I seem to be managing about half as many days. Only partly because I'm no longer available Thursdays. With me not needing to save for Hillsong this year that's nowhere near as much of an issue as it might have been. On the other hand, I'm wanting to go visit my Sister and Brother-in-Law this year so I will be needing a cash reserve. Having spent most of the past few months away from the machine run by the woman that I came to dislike working for has left me happier at work, even if I am still bored a lot of the time.

  • I am not who I think I am. (That individual is a memory at best.)
  • I am not who other people perceive me to be. (Seeing only a part doesn't allow one to know the whole.)
  • I am not who I want to be. (There's always more to aspire to.)
  • I am not who I sometimes fear I am. (Having friends proves that.)

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: (dooky)
Obviously this took longer than I'd intended, mainly because I wasn't really able to remember much of anything that seems worth recording, even in this medium. The Monday section was written about a week ago and the rest tonight while I watched "The Bourne Supremacy"

Monday
Arriving at the conference in the afternoon meant we had to park in the far away car park and walk into the meeting area. This year there was no need to go line up and collect our tickets though, they had been sent to us previously. Once again (like last year) we had been assigned seats in the middle level (with all the other groups) and there right at the side of the stage so we looking down on the musicians/speakers from an angle the others didn't like. I decided early on in the week that I preferred it location wise as I was closer to the stage than sitting straight on would have been and the lights/sound weren't as distracting to me.
Robert Barriger was the speaker at the 1630 rally and (with the assistance of the internet) I remember him talking about how we should continue to do 'good' things even without being thanked for them. Doing things to help others and then getting no thanks can lead to disinclination to help again later.
Filming for the Church (RBC) video news happened between sessions and as I was eating I managed to not be a part of it. Apart from the fact lighting wasn't good and it was filmed as though it was the end of the week it turned out well if reactions on Sunday morning are anything to go by.
Judah Smith was the speaker in the 1900 rally and what I remember of what he spoke about is how if we really see God/Jesus then we'll have to respond by giving our all to serving him. An important issue when so many Christians are like me in that we only seem to serve when it's convenient.

The rest of the week
I don't really remember any specifics about any of the sessions, either morning or night, and the Children's Ministry elective I went to was seemingly focussed on selling their (Hillsong church) resources to delegates. Some of what I heard said was worth hearing, and I took notes on my Palm Pilot, but most of it had no bearing on me that I could tell. The rest of the afternoons between Morning sessions and Evening rallies I spent mostly alone, largely walking around or sitting somewhere reading. Around an hour before the first of the evening rallies were to start again I would find myself joined by the others and we'd wait to be allowed into the arena again. Once inside the other's headed elsewhere to our assigned seating so they could get 'better' seats and I sat with strangers. The same thing happened when we went into the second rally each evening although a couple of times we didn't meet up between sessions.
I did sit with the others on a couple of occasions in the evenings but decided that I wasn't interested in going to the effort of sitting elsewhere when I didn't consider the other seats they wanted to sit 'better'. I also found myself less self-concious when I wasn't with them, which led to me doing more than just singing more of the time the 'Worship' was taking place.

After the Thursday elective I ended up heading north from the main conference area, partway to the pier that we'd only realised was near Olympic Park on the Sunday beforehand. After heading back to the conference through another car park I decided that I'd probably go for a walk all the way to the pier on Friday. That changed when I was told that Judah Smith was going to be talking at one of the other electives and one of the others in the group was going to go. He was so popular however that the people already in line when the two of us got there were numerous enough it seemed obvious we wouldn't get in. As such the two of us went elsewhere, so she could possibly get some food or coffee. After deciding that those lines were to long as well we ended up on nearby lawn reading books until we figured that the other two would have finished in their session. Not to long after that point the four of us met back at the pillar we'd been meeting at for the week. It seems that everyone besides me gets a lot out of the "Moving in the Spirit" sessions that happen on Friday afternoons.
The second of those evening sessions was the one that normally goes later than expected and because it was the one I'd been least comfortable at the previous year I left when the first speaker came up. With the way things went later that evening I ended up waiting for about an hour in the cold for the other three to come out before we headed back to the motel for our last night in Australia.

Saturday morning we were all ready to go earlier than we needed to be even after sleeping in later than intended and so after getting all our stuff back in the car we headed to the DFO that we'd been driving past all week. After our first walk around we had lunch and I stayed back at the car to finish my last book and then try to sleep. After about another two hours shopping the others returned and we headed to Koorong at which the others purchased a number of other things.
By the time we were done there, there wasn't really time for us to do anything more than head back to the airport and get ourselves back to NZ. It was about 30 minutes into our time at the airport that I started feeling ill again. There wasn't any singing on the flight back this year, probably because there weren't as many from Hillsong heading back to Christchurch as there had been last year.


As I said in each of the past two posts, I'm not going back next year. There's two main reasons, the first being that the changes to how the conference will be run mean that I don't think it will provide as much benefit to me and when I'm not really aware of benefit anyway lessening what there is seems like a very bad idea. The second reason is that I'd rather spend the approximately $1500 that the trip ends up costing on other things, like visiting my sister and brother-in-law for instance. Unlike how things would have been previously it's not an issue of travel anymore, while I still don't travel as well as would be nice I don't get sick like I used to.
avron: (hanging)
I think I'd be wanting to leave a little later in the morning next time I went to Australia if I was going back to Hillsong. With my persistent tendency to stay up later than I know I should, early flights start my trips on a bad footing. Getting up at 3:30 to get a lift to the airport, an then needing to wait around for about an hour after getting checked in and stuff wasn't good. I do admit that arriving in Sydney around 7am and being out of the airport by not much after 8 was good though, we had plenty of time to do things during the day.

Saturday
The first thing was to head to the Hotel we'd be staying in the first couple of nights so we didn't need to keep carrying bags around, particularly important for she that didn't have a bag with wheels. We actually made more use of the public transport to get to the Hotel this year, no walking for ages because we didn't know how far it actually was. Once we'd stored our bags we headed into Darling Harbour and after a short walk around some of it decided to go to the Maritime Museum. I have now been on another warship, this time the HMAS Vampire, and while I don't remember any real details of the tour I'm happy to have spent the time being shown around it. Just after that the four of also went through the HMAS Onslow which is a submarine from the same time period. All of us agreed that serving on the ship would have been preferable.
After getting lunch the other three decided that they would go to the IMAX and see the "Grand Canyon" experience. Instead of that I went for a walk to the two game stores I was wanting to visit and ended up getting the 1910 expansion for Ticket to Ride and the Abbey & Mayor expansion for Carcassonne. Once we all met up again we went and checked in properly to the Hotel before going back to the museum to look over the Endeavour replica they have there. I don't know where from, but I'd picked up more info about the time time period than the other three seemed to have over the course of our respective lives, not to surprising when I'm older than each of them. I'm not much taller than a person would have had to have been to walk around the middle deck at the stern comfortably.
We went out in the evening to eat, at the "Blackbird Cafe" again. This time everyone but me ate Kangaroo, I had another pizza. Once we'd all finished eating we took a slow walk back to the Hotel and ended up spending about 90 minutes in the gym/pool. I should have taken shorts with me, exercising in trousers isn't really comfortable. I did spend some time on an uncomfortable exercise bike though, and I proved myself weak as far as lifting weights is concerned. I was also told I have no "core" strength when I was unable to hold myself stable on one of those large squishy balls. I did go swimming, sort of, when the others did, something I hadn't really expected to do even though I made the effort to pack togs.

Sunday
Pancakes on the Rocks for breakfast, I'm sure I ate more than I did last year but still felt wasteful. Once we'd finished eating we heading across to The Rocks and walked through the market that was operating on one of the streets. I have a new wooden gift for my parents, a castle that expands out when shaken the right way.
Once done with the market we found the ferry that would take us to Manly and ended up spending about an hour on that beach, with the two younger members of our group fighting over their individual sandcastles and then working together on a third. It seems that I've mostly got over the issues I had with travel, the ferry ride was calm and I felt fine, as was the actual flights.
That evening the three I was with headed out to the nearby casino buffet for their evening meal while I stayed in the Hotel eating my leftovers and watching TV after I finished the first of the four books I took over with me. I saw the new Doctor Who episode that I had thought I was going to miss, as well as most of a program about cars and the need for renewable energy for them.
That evening most of us went to the gym/pool again and while I didn't spend any time on the gym equipment I did swim a little again and spent some time in the spa.

Monday
After getting up later in the morning than we intended we checked out of the room and left bags in the storage area like we had before checking in. After making our way into the main city area again from the Hotel we went and rented a car which we then proceeded to leave on the side of a street while we went walking. The court house that we went into is quite old, and has original sewer pipes visible in a couple of places through clear flooring. We also went into a rather large church, that I think is significantly bigger than the Christchurch Cathedral, maybe 2 or 3 times the size.
Getting back to the Hotel in the car proved to be a little difficult as the map reader had a little trouble working out where we were, but mostly because there are a large number of intersections that don't permit right hand turns and those weren't shown on the map we had. I think we ended up at Bondi beach (it was the one I kept hearing had signs up saying "No Fun") before we actually got back to the Hotel, collected our bags and headed out to get checked in at our Motel. That ended up being a little difficult as well, none of could remember the street name the motel was on. After getting past the turn-off we should have taken the street was remembered, directions were found and we made our way to where we were going.
There wasn't really anything else before the Conference began besides us deciding that the room was bigger than what we'd had last year and I think it was then we realised that we weren't given enough towels, 3 for the 4 of us.

Part 2 of this should be up tomorrow I expect, there isn't much to it as I wasn't as aware of things this year as I was last year.

Impending departure

2008-Jul-04, Friday 07:00 pm
avron: (Default)
There's been something of a change in my plans regarding travel. I will be leaving my flat at some point very early tomorrow morning instead of around now like I'd been intending to. (Helpful when I delayed my packing longer than I should have and don't yet have everything sorted.) After that I'll be away for just under eight days, hopefully enjoying the warmer weather that Sydney is supposed to have this coming week (highs of about 19 compared to 6 here).
After paying my phone bill this afternoon I went and purchased a new piece of luggage, that has wheels, so I won't be required to carry all my stuff the way I was last year. It is also smaller than the bag I took with me last year but with the small backpack I'm taking as well I've still got more room than I need (and should be able to buy a game or two). I hope I haven't forgotten anything important, only starting to pack a few hours before one leaves makes that a higher probability. (Anything important like a Passport for example, which I only remembered I'd need to find while writing this entry.)

Over the past couple of weeks I have been able to talk online (Skype is good) with a friend I no longer get to see, she has been very busy and I don't leave the house much apart from work and church and Wednesday night gaming. After getting used to thinking that I might get to see her again soonish I've been informed that she may be moving to Auckland. Why do so many people want to move to Auckland? It's crowded, the traffic is exceedingly unpleasant a lot of the time and things are more expensive up there.

Games on Wednesday this week was good, I got to play five different games, all but the last were six player (a couple of whom were young women, which is almost never a bad thing). Once again I was called on for rules explanations which still strikes me as odd, especially when the host was playing as well and it was him wanting me to explain things. The shorter games were definitely better (for that night) than longer ones would have been, but now I'm wondering if I'd prefer to play one long game at the start of the evening and then a couple of short ones. There's no pleasing some people.

It seems unlikely that there will be any phone posts this year, the Australian access number that I used last year has been removed from the list.

House-sitting

2008-Jun-10, Tuesday 10:30 pm
avron: (Play)
I spent almost all weekend away from my home, house-sitting for friends. I even took yesterday off work, only partly because it would have been difficult to get to work from where I was staying without inconveniencing someone. Over the nearly three days I was there I managed to start and finish "Ratchet and Clark: Tools of Destruction" although I hadn't managed to obtain all the extras. I also watched four movies, two of which are on the IMDB top 250 and one that I'm sure used to be. On Sunday morning I watched season one of "The Big Bang Theory" instead of sleeping before church and hope it will be broadcast by one of the networks here.

Last night I realised that it was only going to be four weeks until I'm in Australia again. We still need to organise a few things I think although the most important aspects have been taken care of. Basically, decisions about how we're going to spend Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning could do with more thought. Apart from actually visiting the Opera House and Harbour Bridge this year I don't think anyone has specific plans. Although one of us wants to swim in the Hotel pool this year after missing out last time because she flew in nearly 12 hours later than the rest of us, and I want to go visit the game shop I got Wits and Wagers from last year.

I won't be getting a credit card, my income is insufficient for the bank to allow me a card. Which makes me wonder why my previous bank was sending me application forms every few months (my income now is almost double what it was then, if not more). This is probably a good thing, I'll be less likely to spend money if I can't buy things online with ease.
avron: (hanging)
Three months from now I will be in Australia, probably as part of a crowd of 20,000 or so if my memory of last year is accurate. Hillsong conference is coming up again and I'll have spent much of the prior two days in central Sydney, maybe even looking at the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and other similar 'sights'. This year there is only four of us going over from my church, and while I'm going to be the oldest of us I don't have much to do with the organisation, which I'm grateful for.

I have now watched the entire 5 season run of Babylon 5 and the five tele-movies, over the rest of this week I'll watch the Crusade series and then may stop watching DVDs for a while. The DVD player on my desktop PC has started having a little problem with sound though, about halfway through the fifth season the sound became corrupted with what seemed like static to me. Having just purchased the first season of Monk as well as the Back to the Future movies and Superman Returns it won't surprise me if I do continue watching DVDs though.
I started bidding on PS2s which (assuming I can connect a PS2 to one of the TVs here at this flat) means I'll be able to watch DVDs on a decent sized screen as well. If that doesn't work out, and I do actually get a PS2, I may also look around for a LCD of some sort as well.

As to where else my money is going, I'm going to try and remember to ask Mr B. (the host of the board game group I started attending in January) what prices I'd be able to get particular, various games for so I can know ahead of time whether I should pick them up at Armageddon. And then I'll probably wait until my time in Oz is up and I've had a chance to look around the game stores there.

Thank you to the friends that have been there for me recently, looking out for me, asking about changes, answering questions and all the rest. It's good to know that people care even (especially) when I hide myself away.

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