Sunday, December 30, 2012

meltdown!

Well, here I sit at my 9 year old computer typing today’s blog post.

Why?

Well, my new computer (4 years old) suffered a catastrophic failure - as in the CPU melted down.

My own personal mini Chernobyl.

Yeah, for me.

So, even though our official Christmas ended sometime in November, seems I’m getting a new rig for this Christmas after all.

And so this week has been pretty quiet with no Steam games played, or any games that is, and lots more reading taking place.

I know, you are shocked.

I’m hoping my new rig is ready for next week (parts are in already) - then comes the horrible task of loading all the stuff I had loaded on the last one.

Four years is a long time to accumulate programs you like to run.

And for those that don’t know anything about Steam, when you format you drive like I need to do, you lose all the games loaded on it - they all need to be downloaded again.

Let me tell you what a major pain in arse that is . . .

And no tennis this week at all - took the week off.

But I was out shovelling and will be out shortly again chiselling the frozen wave that the plow so graciously left for me this morning.

Well, back to the snow and my ereader - oh, and games with friends today too.

Looking forward to 2 out of 3 - can you guess which 2?

Until next Sunday . . . and from my new rig (fingers crossed)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

where is your Nibiru now?

No, I don’t need to expound on today’s title, do I . . .

Idiots - way too many of them.

So, the world did not end and X-Mas is looming large . . .

. . . well, for the minority or majority depending on perspective.

Christianity does top the world for most followed religion.

Thought it is well below one quarter of all people.

On a cheery note - we got some snow and it stuck to the ground and more is on the way which looks like it may also stick to the ground.

It’s nice to see some winter during winter . . . if you follow.

What am I doing for the holidays?

Watching Season 2 of the Walking Dead, of course.

What a fun and gritty series.

I was somewhat confused though by the opening episode . . . spoilers ahead . . .

Um, aren’t the dead supposed to be able to smell you and then come at you like a hungry dog?

Seems to me over half a dozen tasty unwashed live morsels hiding under cars just wouldn’t stop the zombie olfactory systems from kicking into overdrive and sniffing them out - and blood spraying out of a fresh arm wound not attracting like every one of them from a hundred yards plus?

Yeah, I’m nitpicking, but still . . .

Overall though, very tense good stuff with the odd added gore to just kick you in the heart once and a while.

And I’ve made the determination that my Kobo Glo battery is at the very best good for 35 to 40 hours before it dies.

Sorry, Kobo - your 70 hour battery life advertisement is utter bullshit.

And I read it 90 percent of the time with no light - and WiFi always off.

Still, 35 to 40 hours is quite enough for me . . . still.

Well, more Walking Dead to watch, more books to read, more end of the world predictions to scoff at . . .

Just saying . . .

Until Next Sunday . . .

Sunday, December 16, 2012

almost one hundred

No, not my age . . . well, maybe my relative age . . .

But what I speak of is the number of books I’ve read this year.

This past week I polished off numbers 97 and 98.

And with two weeks left before the end of the year, or six days to the end of the world (snort) - then I should easily crack the 100 mark for 2012.

Putting it into perspective this equates to a total of almost 28,000 pages so far this year with the hopes of reaching 30,000 which will blow my 20,000 goal clean out of the water.

Yes, I love my Kobo Glo and my local library with over 23,000 etitles.

I know, spouting a lot of numbers this post, but I was pretty stoked to see that I will read one hundred books this year. A first for me since keeping records starting in 1988 . . . er, yeah . . .

And not all of them were picture books (well, some Walking Dead Compilations. . .  sue me) in the list was A Game of Thrones as well as Hidden Empire, both pretty hefty reads.

Now, on to tennis.

I continue to struggle with my aging frame. I have a pain in my lower back which extends down my left leg during certain moves.

Oh, so fun.

My neck is pretty stiff as well and my left ankle just hurts most of the time. The joys of playing hard tennis when you are not twenty anymore.

I’ve been using the Max 200Gs again so my arm is in great shape as these rackets absorb all the vibration - I mean All!

On the mundane front - winter tires are on and the headlight (the left . . . hmm, a trend here) burned out of my ride. I’ll need to hit Can Tire today and get a replacement.

Oh, and the Christmas tree is up and glowing - I replaced the two old strings of mini lights with new led lights. Looks pretty good.

And looks sort of funny too with no presents underneath since we already did our Christmas gift exchange this year.

Still, there are assorted Christmas stuffies there to fill the space, so it looks okay.

Well, once more the page is full and my brain is empty.

Until next Sunday . . . if there is one (snort the second . . .)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

blowing and snowing

It really sucks to be down and out with a sore throat, stuffy head, cold - really sucks.

Still, I carry on with the aid of pharmaceuticals and am able to read - a lot.

I know this miserable cold is only temporary, but it just drains (no pun intended) the snot (okay, maybe intended now) right out of me.

But you didn’t come here to hear about my ailments . . . at least I hope you didn’t.

Looks like our first big (like, more than one inch) of snow is going to fall later today.

That is good.

And I hope it stays. I like my winter to be, you know, wintery.

Oh, and I wasn’t even going to mention it, but the world is NOT going to end Dec 21st. Please media and tards - grow a brain!

Yeah, hearing about it just makes me sad for the state of human global stupidity.

And back on the reading front - because it’s what I’m doing in my current sickly state - I’m pretty sure I’m going to exceed, or get awfully damn close, to hitting 30,000 pages read this year.

Yeah, that is a record for me for sure. My best previous year was almost 21,000, but that was way back in 1998.

My wife also is well over the 20,000 mark as well.

I attribute this huge reading boost to 2 things.

Goodreads and Ereaders.

As for tennis, I’m back on the twice or three times a week train.

Makes a big difference. But Friday I sucked again because I was just in the breaking out stage of my nasty cold. I was a wee bit cranky on the court and may have succumbed to ball abuse a couple of times . . . yeah, me bad.

This week was pretty quiet on game creation and writing as well since my offspring was home three days sick at the end of the week.

How better to transmit the virus to dear old dad?

Yeah, still cranky.

Well, I’m off to find some meds and maybe make a hot lemon tea and continue to rack up pages while I beat down this cold.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, December 02, 2012

mods and more

So, not content to have my Last Night on Earth game left stock, I had to start some game piece tweaking.

In the game there are various round tokens that, depending on certain events (being vague as to not give too much away), need to go under either the Hero or Zombie models. The issue is, when you move the models around with the tokens under them, it becomes a pain in the backside.

Solution.

Velcro.

Thank you space program, or Roswell . . . whichever.

Anyhow, I bought some sticky backed velcro and am going to apply a bit onto the tokens and the undersides of the plastic models. Problem solved when you need to put the tokens under the models and them move them around.

And speaking of game mods . . . wasn’t I? - I finally got the download working for Black Mesa which is a remodeling, using the Half Life 2 engine, on the original Half Life.

Confused?

Don’t be. All I’m saying is that now I can enjoy the original Half Life the way it should be enjoyed - in higher definition taking into account today’s better computing hardware.

It is going to be sweet. I think.

And no, I did not finish my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. Yes, I am a bad boy.

Still, I have close to 20,000 words, so hey, not all was in vain.

And it’s not because I’ve been reading like a fiend ever since I got my Kobo Glo . . . well, not really . . . okay, maybe a little bit . . .

Still, I just love the Kobo Glo and with over 22,000 titles available through my local library - I am and forever shall be . . . one damn happy reader.

As for tennis, things are much improved. I’ve started up on tennis aerobics again which is making a huge difference on how much better I’m hitting the ball.

I needed the extra ball hitting practice, and let’s face it, playing once a week was just not working. I was getting worse week by week through lack of practice.

Now I’m seeing a vast improvement. Another little niggling irritant scratched.

And my own board game is coming along. I have given myself until December 15th to get a working prototype in order so I can suck convince some of my friends to give it a try with me.

Well, once again the page fills up and I must away.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, November 25, 2012

food games mortality

I know I’m repeating myself endlessly here at the Twisted Mind - but mortality just plain sucks.

Seems my dad is having health issues, as yet unresolved, and is getting weaker as the days pass.

He was always so strong, so fit, so athletic right past retirement and beyond.

Until now.

He can’t even go on his daily walk without completely running out of breath. In fact he has stopped the last few days because of it.

It’s been weighing on my mind quite a bit lately, and moreso today with the latest news from the home front which is that his condition seems to be worsening.

So I say again - mortality just plain sucks.

I’m hopeful that whatever is causing his condition will be sorted soon and he can get back to normalcy for someone his age.

Fingers crossed.

Today is another game day for me, to change the subject to something more pleasant, and it appears as though there will be plenty of homemade food to boot.

That is a definite bonus as pretty much all of my gaming friends are awesome cooks.

I’ll be bringing a tube of Coke . . . er, and likely some chips.

Yeah, not exactly great stuff, but we do need some bad food to counteract all that homemade nutritious stuff.

We are currently playing an old Space RPG called Traveler . . . for you youngsters, this came out right about the same time as the "original" D&D - and it uses d12 dice for rolls.

That is cool. I’m using d12s myself for my own Space board game.

Which is still coming along and will get its first playtest this coming holiday season.

On a side note, my dice box is a bit too rigid and often times dice tossed into the box just rebound right out again.

So, solution - I got another layer of felt to put on to give a double cushion on the dice surface and a piece of semi-dense foam rubber to glue to the bottom to absorb some shock as well.

Once all is glued in place, I’m hoping the added dampening material will be enough to keep most dice tosses - well maybe not those totally energetic ones, you know the kind - inside the box where they belong.

And I did manage to read 5 novels this week . . . yeah, I guess my mind needed other things to occupy it - and my Kobo Glo is just awesome!

Well, my time has expired again, so I will leave off for this week.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2012

the after glo

Well, Christmas has come and gone here at the Darcy abode for 2012.

Yup, come and gone for me for sure.

Let me elaborate.

I’ve gotten myself a new ereader, and I am absolutely loving it - like frikin loving it to death!

I picked up the new Kobo Glo. You can google the unit if you want to know all the particulars, or just read a bit further for my thoughts on the device.

I’ve had an ancient ereader for about a year or more now, but it had many failings. One of which was the totally sucky battery life. I could not get through a 300 page book without the battery going dead.

Yes, I read slowly, but this thing would die after about six hours of reading. It has a darkish LCD screen too, like one of those old amber-chrome monitors, except in gray scale, from like the late eighties.

So, when I picked up and started using my new Kobo, man what a world of difference. First off, I’ve read with it for over six hours already and the battery has only dropped from 100 percent to 98 percent. It claims a life of 70 hours, and so far it looks like it will meet or exceed that easily. Of course I have the Wi-Fi turned off and only use the light when necessary, but still.

Just holy wow!

The other thing I absolutely love about the new Kobo Glo - the built in back light. I spend a lot of time taking my daughter to music events/practices and find myself in places with dodgy light. Well, I can read now in any light condition and this is so awesome I can’t really relay to you how excited this makes me.

And the light is so uniform, and adjustable too. Pure gold.

The e-paper text is super crisp at a 1024 x 758 resolution - and that packed into six inches of screen. Very crisp looking indeed. And talk about light, as in weight. I can hold it in one hand for over an hour and it’s no big deal. And the touch screen page turn works perfectly.

To add to the total awesome of this early, and I might add only, Christmas gift for me is the availability of just about anything I could ever want to read from my local library in ebook form.

Put it all together and I am one overjoyed camper.

So, if you are in need or want of a new ereader, and you are in Canada I might add where Kobo is king, take a good look at the Kobo Glo as one of your options. It is absolutely a great ereader that I can’t imagine being happier with.

And damn, but I’m out of space to talk about tennis and NaNoWriMo and Gaming . . . Okay, one sentence about each just to say I did.

Tennis - played well this week, even won my court but at the cost of abusing my body by trying the old playing like I’m twenty routine.

NaNoWriMo - hit a brick wall at 18,00 words with the tale in a tailspin driven flat into the ground with no heartbeat and likely no chance of resuscitation.

Gaming - off today to a friend’s place to enjoy a game or two of Last Night on Earth, which is pure zombie B-Movie gaming fun.

Well, I really overdid it this week, didn't I - now back to reading and gaming.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2012

winter is coming

So, I’m almost finished A Game Of Thrones, and it’s actually pretty darn good.

And the nice thing is our local library has the HBO series so I can watch season one now as soon as I finish up the last hundred or so pages.

I like libraries - a lot.

I’m also reading the entire - well so far - Walking Dead series from library. I also have season 1 on hold which should arrive in a few weeks.

I used to buy all my books new. That was way back before the GST was added in. After that I switched to used book stores for my vice.

My collection, though I’ve pared it down a lot in the last decade, is still somewhere around 1600 or so books. Still way too many. About half of them are still to be read.

But, I’m reading about 80 a year, of which about half come from the library. So, doing the math, if I live another 40 years (here’s hoping) and buy no more books (um, yeah), I should finish reading all the books I own just before turning 90 . . .

Yeah, that’s what I say. I still have way too many on my shelves.

And I get e-books from the library too.

You see, there really are ways to economize when income is not vast but appetite for the written word and cool TV series is high.

I’m seriously thinking of getting a KOBO this Christmas for myself. I have a cheap ereader already, but it can be flaky. Once the battery dies - if I don’t use if for a month or so - I need to charge it and hard boot it to get it working again.

Yeah, not fun, but functional.

So, Kobo may be my friend in the near future.

And my writing here is sounding, at least to my ears, pretty weak.

Could be because of NaNoWriMo which is sucking the creative juices out of me faster than I can replenish them. Not sure if I’m up to crossing that finish line again this year . . .

I will see, I suppose.

Well, not a lot left to relate except I really do need to organize a Last Night on Earth game day with friends.

It really is a damn fun game to play, and sorta co-op to boot which sits well with most of the people I game with.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, November 04, 2012

of work and play

As you can tell from last week's post I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I won it in 2007 and haven’t tackled it since.

I’m well on track to complete it this year again. I mean you only need to crank out 1667 words a day. Not really too tough, but you do need to keep at it for 30 days straight which is not as easy as it sounds.

And to keep myself on track I’ve devised a method of reward once my writing is done for the day.

I get to play games . . .

. . . um, well, yeah you say, I usually play games, but the twist here is my writing must be complete first.

Not always the case - so, see, all is not the same . . .

First off though I will say I’ve been reading through the Walking Dead graphic novels and holy hoo they are nasty. Plenty of violence, murder, zombie brains exploding, death, sex and F-bombs which, well, I’m not overly keen on in my graphic novels but here it all seems to work.

This series has a way of sucking you in and wanting you to find out more. I’m glad my library has all the collections so far. I’m likely starting on volume three today.

And I’ve also been chewing my way through a Game of Thrones. Hmm, what to say about that. It’s better than I thought it would be. My ultimate verdict is still out though until I finish the first book in the series, but so far I’m engaged enough to keep slogging my way through it.

Now on to the game part.

Two in particular.

The first is Half-Life 2. Yeah, I have been under a rock for years. Not a new game by any stretch but wow is it good - I mean really, really good.

It’s mostly a lot of physics problem solving and really cool effects once you figure things out. Oh, and plenty of killing things for those twitchy-fingerer teens that just need to kill things as well. Not as keen on that part, but it all makes sense in the game so I can live with it.

The second I’ve been really enjoying is Divine Divinity . . . I know, the name is so utterly lame it makes you want to hurl. However, the neat thing is this game is just plain awesome if you like fantasy RPGs.

It is the perfect love child between Baldur’s Gate and Diablo in every way. It has the quests and stop action (space bar) battle feel of Baldur’s Gate and the item sets and level up mechanics of Diablo. I can’t tell you how much it really is those two games mashed together, in a good way - if you liked either of those games then this is a must like.

It works on Win 7 too and the graphics are as clean and good looking as Fallout Tactics. Hey, it came out in 2002, what do you want.

Well, time has slipped away again and I’m off to do other things, like read or game.

Yes, sometimes my life is just plain hard . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, October 28, 2012

fifty pictures

Well, I told myself, I wasn’t ever going to do it again . . .

But here I am, about to do it again.

Last time I did it was in 2008.

That’s four years ago.

Oh, you probably want to know what the hell I’m talking about?

The title of this post should give you all the hint you need to figure it out, since a picture is worth 1000 words . . .

Get it - 50,000 words.

November . . .

Okay, here it is spelled out for you - NaNoWriMo 2012 . . .

I know, I must be crazy to shoot for this goal again.

It’s a brain sucking exercise for 30 days straight spewing words as fast as you can and trying to make them cogent.

Still, once it’s done I will have something to bring to our reading nights for the next four years.

And I know it can be done since I did it myself.

Call that a wee bit of inspiration for those up to the challenge this year.

I’m nyarlwriter over at the site if you feel like dropping me a note, or bomb, or word of whatever.

And I have no idea what I’ll be writing this year. I’ll just play it day by day and see where my twisted mind takes me.

That in itself should be pretty scary.

Well, I should get on to other things and let my subconscious start to form a 50,000 word tale, a tale of wonder, love, betrayal, horror, small furry things hiding in cupboards with poisonous bites . . .

Er, yeah. No problem coming up with words - the problem is making them make sense.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, October 21, 2012

just add colour

No, that is not a spelling error in the title - it’s how we spell colour in Canada, eh.

And speaking of colour - what a display I’m seeing from the maple trees in the local woods these days. Just spectacular!

Which can only mean one thing.

I’ve been spending time this past week making some colour pieces for my game. Home world hexes now have green, blue and red dots representing the three commodities in my game . . .

. . . and I realize that without a reference you have no bloody idea of what I speak.

Um, maybe at a later date I’ll add in some images and then you will have a better picture - in colour.

So I finally got to smack the tennis ball around again this week after a lull of almost a month.

Funny how the muscles I thought were in good tennis shape have been giving me pain the past two days - damn you old age, damn you to hell!

And I broke a string.

But I have two rackets, so no big deal except for the cost of string replacement.

So, I have finally been convinced (well almost) to give Martin a read - it seems many, and I mean many, people seem to enjoy his Song of Ice and Fire series . . .

I could go on a rant about how I don’t think it is necessary to write more than 1000 pages per novel - and never end the goddamn series - but I will just leave it there.

If I can find proof that Martin does indeed have a definitive END in mind, then I will pick up A Game of Thrones and get on with it.

If I find he is just another Erikson, Jordon or Goodkind . . . then, sorry, but I’m going to pass.

And did I mention that today is game day again?

Off to visit a friend and bring along a couple of board games to enjoy - Last Night on Earth (no, not because Tabletop featured it this week) and the Summoner Wars Master Set.

Both are fairly short and both, I find, are loads of fun.

And I must confess I have also been playing the PC version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown this week . . . and while it is not as good as XCOM: UFO Defense (from 1994) it is still a worthy successor and fun in its own right.

Well, as always happens Sunday mornings, I’m now out of space and time . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, October 14, 2012

cards of gray

WooHoo for me!

I’ve finished all 100 cards for my prototype Sci-Fi game . . .

. . . now for the hard part.

Which is - going over all 100 cards to make sure they make sense while you are playing the game. Nothing screws over a game more than ambiguous rules or poorly written card instructions causing players to argue about their interpretation. Nothing!

And I know that despite my best efforts and edits there will still be cards that just don’t cut it.

That’s where my gaming friends will come in - to hit me over the head with those fuzzy lines of text and make them clear.

So, with the cards actually written, it’s time for me to make the odd bits - but not too many.

I like counters and tokens and such in games, but there comes a point where there are just too damn many of them and you end up with ziplock bags full of stuff you may A) never use and/or B) never can find when you need them because there are too damn many ones you don’t need.

And I got to thinking my game could handle up to 8 players, but I don’t think it can. In reality I think it can handle up to 6 at the most with 4 likely the sweet spot.

I was happy with myself as well for thinking about how to make each card the same in the prototype card deck so you don’t know what is coming up next.

Index cards - with sticky labels of text stuck to the backs . . .

A short list of things I have left to do include making home system hexes, typing out the rules, making mine tokens, making matched pairs of number tokens - and colouring the playing board to satisfy my daughter . . .

And still no tennis for me this week - damn!

I was put on a waiting list and had to skip another week so, I had to do extra exercise on the torture device instead (elliptical trainer) which is not nearly as fun.

And this almost 50 crap is starting to rankle. I need to do a lot of exercise to stay in shape at this age, but boy do I seem to pay for it every morning waking up - which seems to be an exercise in pain all on its own.

Yes, I know I should do yoga and get messages and face east and inhale incense other assorted remedies people swear by to cure old age - but sorry, doesn’t work for me.

I’m more the work through the pain, stretch out as best I can and suck it up kinda guy. My issue is not the current old age so much as the what I did to my body in my young age.

Listen kids - do not abuse your young body - it will come back to bite you - hard!

And I finished 70 books so far this year - the most I think of any year I’ve been keeping records since 1988 . . . yeah, I am one of those.

Well, gotta go and do other things.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, October 07, 2012

the dice box

This past week, as well as almost finishing up the 100 cards for my board game (only 8 left to create), I got me an awesome dice box!

A dice box is one of those things every insane gamer needs when they find themselves with a mitt-full of dice to roll. You can see from the above image that I now have my very own.

The 6d12s and 1d6 you see inside the box are part of my new game. But you must be dying to know where I got this cool dice box from and where to get your own . . . right?

Well, I didn’t buy it - I made it!

Yup, a quick trip to Michael’s yesterday and I found myself a hinged box where the bottom part was the ideal size for my concept of a dice box.

All I needed next was a piece of felt, which was easily found at this craft store. I had my choice of any colour, and I mean any colour, but stuck with pool table green. I got the peel and stick felt to make my life easier - some cutting, but no gluing.

I had some stain left over from doing our fireplace mantle years ago which I applied to darken the raw light-coloured wood of the box bottom.

An hour or so later and - voila - dice box!

Now this is not necessary to play any games with dice, but it sure beats the heck out of searching under the table every few enthusiastic rolls that propel the dice from the playing surface.

So yes, as mentioned earlier, I am a hair away from completing my own board game. Well, the nuts and bolts part anyhow. I still have rules to type up and some tweaks to make to the board - plus a dozen or so counters to make.

But, I’m confident that soon (soon can mean different things to different people . . .) I will have a finished prototype to torture play with my friends.

See what happens when tennis is cancelled for a week?

And I did manage to get together earlier this week with a friend and have a go at Last Night On Earth. I must say, for me playing the Zombies, it was a hoot.

The game teetered back and forth as to who would win the scenario (save 4 townsfolk before the sun goes down) and it was not until the last heroes turn on the last heroes move that the outcome was known.

The heroes barely pulled it off by rescuing the last of 4 townsfolk in the very last move of the game - but it was not a sure thing at any point as I was almost always 1 wound away from killing a hero or two.

I have to add that at the end of the game, two turns before, the supermarket was taken over by a Zombie horde so the ending was doubly cool as my mass of supermarket Zombies were shambling towards the heroes at the very end game.

This game is so very thematic, so very fun and so very much going to be played again soon.

And yes, my new dice box will be coming along for that show.

Well, again, time slips away like a Dick novel, so I must away . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, September 30, 2012

could be your last night on earth

Going to talk a little bit about a fantastic Zombie board game today.

That game is Last Night on Earth by Flying Frog Productions.

First thing I need to say about the game is the components are second to none. I have never seen a game with thicker playing card stock - ever. And I’ve played dozens of games that use cards.

I just can’t say enough about how thick and tough they are.

The playing board itself, main square center and 6 L shaped outer sections, is also made from good quality non-warped stock.

The miniatures are made from a softer plastic than most other games I’ve played, but they are detailed if a bit misleading since a character portrait may have them holding a pistol when their miniature is holding a pump shotgun - but that is not too big a deal.

The player character cards are as thick and the same size, but much more glossy, than Defenders of the Realm. Same card stock is used for the Scenarios. Just great quality here.

And now we get to the artwork. What is unique about the graphics is they use live actors for every piece of artwork. And, well done to boot. B-Movie scenes one every card.

Now, the part that really makes the difference no matter how good the components are. How does it play?

That is where this game really shines. You can play from 2-6 people and must always have somebody play the zombies. The balance is almost perfect with the end games having you wondering who is going to win.

And what fun it is to play either side. The Heroes have better abilities (move faster and have guns!) than the zombies but are usually on the clock trying to complete a scenario objective before the sun goes down, but the zombies are way more plentiful.

There are 5 scenarios with the base game plus another 5 official ones you can download off the web. With the expansions and web supplements I think there are now around 20 scenarios - Holy wow! And, with a little creativity you can make up your own.

And these scenarios are all pretty different which makes any two games not the same. Even if you play the same scenario the variety of cards you might draw and Heroes you play with makes it different. And there are so many optional rules to make the game more interesting to boot - like barricades, special weapon-wielding zombies, and a whole raft of others.

The Heroes really do need to coordinate their activities or they will shortly find themselves overrun by zombies.

The Zombies move slowly but relentlessly. So much fun to play them and try to box the Heroes in, then go for those juicy brains.

If you can only buy one board game this year, and you like the B-Movie Zombie Horror theme - this is absolutely a must and truly awesome.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, September 23, 2012

today is game day

Yup, today I get to put on my Geek pants and head off to a local game convention.

There will be Call of Cthulhu.

There will be Mage Knight.

There will be Lords of Waterdeep.

There will be Last Night on Earth . . .

Yeah, I’m a Geek and I’m pretty excited to join fellow Geeks in this all day game session.

And it’s not that I’ve just jumped on the band wagon because of Tabletop . . . no, I’ve been a board and RPG gamer since high school . . . which was, um, a long time ago.

Speaking of games, I’m really getting close to completing my prototype Sci-Fi board game. In fact, I could play a session of it right now, but I have a few more cards to make and a few more tweaks to do on the board and rules.

My daughter is adamant that I MUST colour the game board before I allow anyone to test play it . . . um, okay.

Maybe I’ll get her to do it?

Then again, a space game with smiley faces and rainbows may not be the effect I’m looking for.

And just this past week a friend and I gave Star Trek: Fleet Captains a go . . . and it was, pretty anti-climactic. The game, while thematically excellent with totally awesome mini ships, suffers from a point system that pretty much sucks - IMO.

I’m thinking with some alterations the game may be made much more enjoyable with regards to point scoring. I will need to think on it.

Tennis? Yeah, I couldn’t leave out some tennis talk in a blog post, now could I?

I have been sucking pretty much. The new strings, grippy and springy, are causing me more grief than success. As per the week before, I ripped a few backhands, but my other shots still suffer.

I’m thinking I’ll need to play another dozen of so sessions to get the feel of the strings. And don’t even get me started on my aging body . . . all I can say is my patellar tendons (yes, both sides now) flair up pretty much regularly now and it’s a total pain in the . . . shins!

And I’m currently reading "The Last Wish" by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski.

I’m darn impressed. I’ve played some of The Witcher PC game which was based off of Andrezej’s novels and I’m intrigued by his character or Geralt.

Well worth a read if you can find it out there.

Now, I’ve got to go find some appropriate Geek wear and limber up my dice fingers for the day ahead.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2012

the kitchen sync

So I have this old SanDisk 512 Meg MP3 player, which also plays WMA files too.

This is great for me since early in my music ripping excitement days, I ripped my files to WMA format - I do MP3 now that I know better.

It also has a built in radio, which I didn’t realize until about a year ago . . . I’ve had it for about five.

Yeah, a bit slow on the technology uptake . . . but hey, we can’t all be boy geniuses.

It seems the weather is going to prohibit me from taking my long walks soon - yeah, I’m wimpy too . . . it’s just that my cane slips on the ice too much . . .

So, to combat the imminent winter flab I’m now the proud owner of a reciprocal trainer . . . or the rack, as I like to call it.

And, the cool thing? - you can plug an MP3 player directly into the self-torture device. It has a set of speakers so you can listen to what you want as you abuse yourself.

Sound fun?

It is.

Kinda . . . well, the music part anyhow.

I’m thinking that once my muscles get used to the strain of these workouts on the rack things will get a bit easier . . . why do I not believe myself? . . . maybe I lack credibility?

Anyhow, with regards to tennis . . . you know, that sport I like to play . . . well, I’m down to once a week, sometimes twice.

I’ve recently, just last week, changed the strings I’m using - and I’m sucking heavily at the moment because of it.

The new strings, Head’s Rip Control, have incredible grip on the ball, which I love. The not love part is when I spray balls around because the strings also have way more trampoline effect to them than the old Wilson Stamina strings I switched from.

Still, my backhand on Friday was downright scary. I nailed a half dozen or more rippers around 100 mph ala Federer . . . well, okay maybe 80 mph ala oldish guy. Anyway, for me it was awesome and in part due to the new strings.

However, my forehand sailed long 2 out of 3 times, my drop shots were like short lobs and my serve sucked pretty badly. In time, like a couple months, I’ll figure the stings out and then . . .

. . . I will suck less!

Well, I can see time slipping away this morning, so I’m heading out for my long walk while I sitll can before the snows fly . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

short story: the pickup

Well, here it is then, a short story with a bit of background on Morley Fenn - the protagonist of the novel I'm planning out at the moment though this scene does not appear in it. So, this is like a DVD extra . . . or something.

Hope you like it.

The Pickup
by Paul Darcy

Morley worked the hanky from side to side across the toe of his left shoe. He had it perched on the back bumper of a late model Lincoln Town car. About the only thing these newer cars were good for, Morley thought. He inspected his polish job with a critical eye. All traces of blood were gone. But, he chided himself, that was a long time ago, and another pair of shoes. About to begin polishing the heel, Morley noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. Folding the hanky up and placing it carefully into the inner breast pocket of his dark gray, three piece, pinstripe suit, Morley adjusted his black fedora to block out the sun and get a better look at the salesman heading his way through the maze of parked vehicles.

Hating to be in this situation, Morley had to face facts. His last ride, a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain, was well and truly dead, far beyond the skills of sane mechanic to bring back from the afterlife. The scrappers, for the metal content alone and no other reason, had given him five hundred for it. That old Pontiac had served him well. Still, in his current profession a truck would serve his purposes better. He wasn’t a young man anymore and lugging bodies in and out of the backseat or truck of a sedan was taking its toll on his back.

A slight breeze stirred the odors of rust, decaying vinyl and motor oil together. Despite the bright sunshine, it was relatively cool for late August. Behind the approaching salesman a sign, which looked like it was painted a decade ago then left to fend for itself, hung askew above the door of a trailer likely doubling as a home and office by the look. The trailer was far too small to house much in the way of occupants. Well, maybe one cat, or in this case, a weasel. A large white propane tank, streaked with rust, leaned crookedly up against the trailer. Gaudy streamers, which were strung around its edge displaying their red, white and blue metal foil triangles failed to add class to the joint. In fact, the overall effect was that of a traveling gypsy caravan, broken down, abandoned and left to decay in the elements.

The faded sign on the trailer read, "Bart’s Auto Mart" and the man flicking a cigarette away and making his way towards Morley wearing a five dollar suit and a two dollar smile was likely Bart himself. If Morley trusted his information, Bart’s was the cheapest used car dealership in the area and Morley didn’t have a lot to spend or a lot of time to shop around for a better deal. His work tended to pay him off in the coin of moral correctness but very little in cold hard cash. It was hard being humanities champion, a job he didn’t ask for, but one he had no choice in accepting and an even smaller chance of getting out of any time soon. Still it was his profession, and a life, a life he would otherwise not have.

The man raised his right hand as he walked up the side of the Lincoln and his grin added another two bits, revealing, of all things, one shining gold front tooth. "Hello friend," the man said offering his hand, "I’m Bart." Morley, doing his best imitation of cordiality while trying to ignore the odor of smoke from his breath mixed with cheap cologne, accepted the man’s hand. Instead of replying, Morley simply nodded his fedora by lowering and raising his head slightly. The man’s palm felt clammy and reptilian and Morley resisted the urge to retrieve his hanky and wipe his palm clean immediately afterwards. Before Morley could look the man straight in the eyes and see what was really there, the man started up his practiced spiel with gusto, and far too much body movement.

"I’ve got some fantastic deals today my friend, fantastic deals," the man orated with polished, if altogether phoney, enthusiasm. He patted the trunk of the Town Car and winked. "This baby is only five thousand my friend, five thousand, can you believe that, and only eighty thousand on the odometer my friend, only eighty thousand." Bart reminded Morley of a Monty Python character, and if he said "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" and elbowed him in the ribs, Morley may have to hurt him.

"Well," Morley said, using his all-business voice, "I’m actually looking for a pickup truck, older model mind you, and I don’t have a lot of cash." The man kept bobbing his head like he was ducking blows, had to pee, or contained pigeon DNA. Morley, despite two more attempts, couldn’t get a solid look into the man’s eyes long enough to know for sure what was what.

"Excellent my friend, excellent," Bart said, spun around and moved hurriedly through the rows of vehicles waving his hand for Morley to follow. Morley couldn’t understand why this man kept repeating everything he said. Did he think Morley slow or deaf? Morley’s shoulders stiffened. And this Bart certainly was no friend of Morley. The last person to claim Morley’s friendship wound up in several unidentifiable pieces in a state run forest in Oregon. Well, maybe this man could be Morley’s friend after all.

Smirking at his own morbid sense of humor, Morley trailed after Bart. Despite wanting nothing to do with this buffoon, human or otherwise, Morley was in desperate need of a vehicle and should play nice.

After a short while of weaving in and out of vehicles, Bart led Morley to the far side of the fenced compound. The fence here was clearly broken in several places. It could barely keep out the flora let alone any type of fauna. Up against the fence, overgrown with weeds and even more neglected than the rest of the lot, a few trucks and two more cars were parked. This part of the lot was apparently reserved for the less desirable rides.

What caught Morley’s attention, besides the four foot tall flowering thistles, was a vintage flat bed pickup truck. To any other observer the pickup would likely resemble some decomposing relic waiting to be swallowed up by time and vegetation. But to Morley, it was simply beautiful. Morley could see the man lick his lips, obviously cunning and adept in his slippery profession as used car salesman, giving away the fact that Bart knew Morley was interested in this one.

"A fine choice friend, a fine choice. And only one thousand dollars friend, one thousand, a steal for sure, a steal." The man stepped beside the vehicle and opened the driver’s side door for Morley which protested with a squeal of dry hinges. The left front tire was low and a good sized dent, about the size of Bart’s head, pushed in the engine cowling just in front of the driver’s door. The faded blue paint job reminding Morley of how the pigment washes out of a dead man’s eyes. The interior, actual leather and not vinyl, had few tears and was a sickly cow brown. Besides those minor defects Morley knew it was mechanically sound. It was part of his gift, the knowing. And it was at this moment that Bart, smiling his shark’s grin, remained still long enough for Morley to obtain the necessary look into his eyes and determine what he wanted to know.

Morley was startled by what he saw though his poker face never gave him away. Bart was definitely human, no doubt about that, but what made Morley start was the fact that this man was going to die in some horribly painful way, and within the hour. Morley, master of his outward emotions, took this in stride and almost felt pity for Bart, almost pity. Oh crap, now Morley was thinking the way this guy spoke. Morley knew better than to even drop a hint to Bart about his imminent demise. It may be Morley’s gift to know, but to share that information with another meant oblivion for Morley, and he was fond of the whole being alive thing even if it meant doing humanity a favor by thwarting the outsider’s plans. The price was steep, but it was one he was willing to pay. Morley consulted his time piece. Time was running out on him as well. He’d best seal the deal and get the hell out of Dodge, pronto.

"I’ll take it," Morley said. The man beamed like a road flare. "Excellent friend, excellent. Let me get some grease on those door hinges and fill that tire and ready the paperwork and get you the keys and a set of plates." Morley waited a second for the repeated phrases, but Bart, apparently so excited by a sale, must have forgotten to repeat himself. Morley also thought a dab of the oil from his hair and some of his hot air would fix both door and tire in an instant. But that was unkind of him, what with this man’s impending doom.

Poor sod, Morley thought taking a walk around the pickup pushing weeds out of the way and trying to avoid burrs and lacerations from some of the larger thistle spikes. Still, it was not up to him to judge or pass judgement. He was on a mission not of his choosing and had to play by the rules, even if they sometimes rankled.

Morley arrived back at his starting point. By his reckoning, the truck was a nineteen thirty six Ford pickup. All the lights and glass were intact with no appreciable rust marring the original, but faded, Washington Blue paint. It was a standard shift which didn’t bother Morley overmuch either. With a flat head V8 under the hood this truck should really haul ass when Morley needed it to, and the body metal was made from genuine quarter inch thick steel, not that crappy beer can thin stuff they used nowadays. Real steel was much better for deflecting, or even stopping, small arms fire. Gas mileage would suck, but Morley vowed years ago that he would never be caught dead in one of those hybrid gas-sipping sissy cars. This old Ford was perfect for his needs.

Almost running back to Morley, Bart, presumably eager to close the deal and so unaware of his doom, arrived back with papers on a clipboard, a set of keys, licence plates, bicycle pump and an oil can. "All I need is a deposit of two hundred dollars, your signature here, and it’s all your friend, all yours."

Taking the keys and the offered clipboard with a pen attached by a string, Morley scanned the papers. Though there was nothing wrong with the papers, Morley sensed a conflagration in their future. He signed them. So, Morley thought, this unfortunate shark would not expire from a heart attack caused by the sheer excitement of this sale. He could rule out natural causes for Bart’s demise then. Morley watched with pity as Bart, like a hyperactive four year old, quickly pumped up the truck’s low tire, greased the door hinges and attached the plates. Smiling back at Morley, Bart finished his work, retrieved the clipboard, Morley’s two hundred dollars, then tucked clipboard under his arm and pocketed the cash. Bart reached into his other pocket and handed Morley the ownership. Morley needed to fire up the old truck and get away from here before he became embroiled in some kind of time wasting investigation.

Quickly brushing off Bart who had sparked up a cigarette, Morley got into the truck and inserted the key into the dash. He crossed his fingers, hoping it would start the first time. Luck was on his side as the old Ford’s engine turned over twice and then on the third time it coughed to life. He depressed the clutch and got the truck into first gear. It hopped out of the ruts the tires had made from sitting so long, mowed down a few tall weeds and then he was on to the small road which snaked through the other parked vehicles.

Despite the truck’s outward appearance, she felt solid and Morley couldn’t be happier. Morley had just exited Bart’s when he felt, as much as heard, the whoosh of a huge fireball explosion. Morley didn’t need to look back to know the trailer was a blazing wreck, Bart dead inside or somewhere nearby. Morley always knew smoking was bad for your health. Any other time Morley would have stuck around, helped as best he could. But, checking his timepiece again, Morley shifted the truck into second gear and stepped on the gas. He had a rendezvous he could little afford to miss.

the end


Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, September 09, 2012

building new habits

As part of my new regiment of "doing more creative writing" I’ve been working on a way to build my writing habit back up to speed this past week.

No, I’m not building up to take on NaNoWriMo again this year - did it twice in years past - both times it burned me out of writing for months afterwards.

What I’m doing is getting up before the sun, making coffee, eating breakfast and then coming straight to my lair and doing nothing, and I mean noting, but writing for the first hour of the day.

That means no email.

That means no internet.

That means no games.

That means no going to the bathroom . . . er, wait . . . skip this one.

And just how did it go?

Fantastic. In fact I’m typing this up - yes, this is considered part of my writing session - without having goofed off one little bit.

I think I read somewhere, years ago, that to build a habit you need to do something for at least three weeks straight before it starts to gel.

True?

I’ll let you know in two more weeks . . .

And, as part of another of my fall objectives to stay in shape during the coming winter season, I have purchased an elliptical trainer. It’s a device that mashes stair climbing and cross country skiing into one piece of exercise, or should I say extermination equipment.

I believe the rack would be less torturous, but since I’ve never been on the rack I can’t give an honest direct comparison, though I imagine both having similar results.

Of course, its lingering painful aftereffects may have less to do with the device and more to do with the fact that I’m not "Mr. Twenty" anymore. It seems my body protests when confronted with having to strain muscles that have lain dormant for years, perhaps decades . . .

Well, suck it body! - You are getting into shape if it kills you . . . er, okay, maybe just makes you hurt a bit since I kind of need my body for day to day living . . .

And I finished a short story this week which, with a few minor content tweaks, I may sneak up hear before next Sunday - but I can’t promise.

Of course, you could leave comments demanding that I do so thus goading me into doing it - your choice.

And wow, where does the time and space go . . .

And do I get bonus points for using "thus" and "goading" in same sentence?

Didn't think so . . .

Until next Sunday . . . or I post that short story because of external pressures . . .

Sunday, September 02, 2012

on the treadmill

My projects have pretty much stumbled, staggered and ground to a halt this summer.

I am so looking forward to the start of the school year!

It means that the daylight hours will be mine again, all mine, my precious - all day, most every day, except weekends, holidays or when my family is home sick.

Call me selfish, but after this summer’s distractions, I really miss those hours where I can work on my projects in the quiet of my own home without external distractions of any sort - quiet time is Gold-Pressed Latinum!

And I know by saying "projects" I’m getting all cryptic and such, but trust me on this one.

Contrary to my usual autumn posts I’m not going to outline my personal goals. No, I’m keeping them to myself this time and will only reveal then once they are ready for general consumption - the good consumption, not the wasting disease of old . . .

And I’ve had a week and a half break from tennis as our club’s court has been under repairs. The club’s six clay courts have been re-clayed with new lines put down. I can’t relay to you how happy this makes me.

You see, the old lines were pretty much worn down to nothing and as slippery as ice. I may have mentioned my spill a few months back when I slipped on one of the old lines and went for an undignified tumble across the court - it only took six weeks for my ribs to stop hurting . . .

Also, having played this summer on hard courts - used to be my fav when I was a pup - I can tell you they are damn hard on my old knees. In fact I’m still suffering an aggravated patellar tendon because of them.

Huh.

The clay courts are so much better for avoiding this kind of injury. Guess I’ll stick to them for the duration of my tennis career to save my body any more issues.

I would like to be able to walk well into my 50s, thank you very much.

Some old guy advice - free - don’t abuse your body when you are in your late teens and early twenties like I did because you will pay for it when you get close to 50 . . . there, old guy advice ends.

And one last well wish for my good friend who’s mother passed away this past week - that just sucks dude - take care!

Well, I can, by the way my word processor just jumped to a new page, tell that I have taken up enough of your time this day.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, August 26, 2012

truncated days and extended nights

We all hate when it starts to happen - the end of summer.

I must say though that I am not going to miss the heat one bit. Not that I do well at 40 below, but anything over plus 25 and 90 percent humidity is just wrong for me.

Still, I’m noticing the sun coming up later and going down earlier - a sign that the school year is about to start and I can get back to somewhat of a regular schedule for myself.

Despite the various and numerous distractions this summer, I’ve done pretty well on my one major project - I’m closing in on finishing my prototype space-faring board game. My plan to have it ready for testing by Sept 1 may be delayed a week or two, but no more than that.

And my reading, though it slowed down, still progresses at a healthy pace.

I just finished "Dead Beat" a Dresden book, number 7 in the series, this week. I must say it was just as much fun as the others which preceded it.

Jim Butcher has something good going on here and, hell, it’s just plain fun to read.

And because it is the last Sunday of the month - it’s games day again today!

I like games day . . . maybe a bit too much, but hey we all have our evil vices.

Today I’m bringing along "Defenders of the Realm" and "Elder Sign." Nothing new to report on the game front this week as far as acquisitions go since I kinda blew all my budget money this summer on games already . . . um, yeah.

I did ditch five games though through auction a month back, so the new stock just replaced those ones I got rid of . . . my rational, and I’m sticking with it.

And I must be getting old - you see, I’m off to Canada’s Wonderland this week with my offspring and her friend - and I’m bringing a book . . .

Yeah, not going to go on those monster coasters that go 100 miles an hour and drop 2000 feet and loop backwards ten times while you are suspended by one foot . . . um, you get the picture.

My inner ear just can’t take that kind of abuse anymore. If I really feel the need to torture myself this late in the game all I need do is listen to a politician for a few minutes . . .

Still, I’m pretty excited about choosing a book to read for the day . . . my life, the thrills, the chills, the . . . hey, I saw that!

So, with the imminent arrival of Fall, I am gearing up to set some goals and objectives for myself with regards to board game creation, reading, writing, exercise and cleaning . . .

I won’t bore you with details . . . this week.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, August 19, 2012

busy crazy old guy fun

So, this week turned out to be a sort of vacation for me (yeah I pretty much slacked off) . . . and I’m tuckered out because of it.

You see, the girls were gone for the entire week leaving me to batch it like it’s 1999 . . . or something . . .

Did I party! . . . um, no.

Did I drink! . . . um, no.

Did I dance! . . . you have got to be kidding me, right?

No, what I did was game to excess. And finish book number 62 for the year.

Yeah, when you advance in age it’s all about the exciting intellectual pursuits because, well, the body does not want to play nice anymore with regards to the first three mentioned activities.

And wisdom tells one that doing any one of those three to excess when one is on the descending slope of life leads to a world of pain . . . for a long time afterwards. You know, when I was . . . OMG - not going there!

So (he said with glee), I got to play multiple games of Sentinels of the Multiverse, Zombie Dice, Star Trek the deck building game, Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon and Arkham Horror . . . Wil Wheaton - eat your Tabletop gaming heart right out with a melon ball scooper!

But all that sitting and concentrating and cussing (when we were getting out aching butts handed to us) took its toll and I still ache as I type this post up.

Still, I had a blast and would do it all again any week.

Oh, and another super cool highlight of my week - getting a new clock! . . .

Hey, old guy here - let me have my small joys.

Now you would think getting a new clock would be sort of boring, and for most it likely is.

But this is no ordinary clock.

You see, it’s linked via the ether to an atomic clock in Colorado and updates itself automatically . . .

What?

No squeal of excitement? - or, Paul, OMG?! - where can I get mine!

Okay, maybe it’s just me then . . .

I just thought it was so cool putting in the batteries and having it home in on the mothership’s signal and update itself. It even recognized my time zone and will automatically adjust for Daylight Savings Time - and is supposed to be accurate to within a fraction of a second . . .

Yes, I am amused and excited by things most are not.

And, by looking at said aforementioned clock, I see I have used up my allotted rambling time for this week . . . and so, I’ll tend to my aches and pains, and leave you to get on with your day.

Have a good one!

Until next Sunday . . .

Monday, August 13, 2012

two of two fiction snippets

Today’s post will be a the second of two short snippets of writing I read Friday night at our reading night gathering.

Today’s selection does contain some sexual innuendo and lip to lip contact . . . and black candles . . . you have been warned. Enjoy!

 
Fiction Snippet Two:

by Paul Darcy


It may have been the music.

It could have been the rum.

It may have been the alignment of stars . . . but I was pretty sure it was none of those factors except the one I didn’t want to think about.

Amy.

She was my latest girlfriend, but I was pretty sure dropping the second ‘r’ would be closer to the mark. The things she did, the way she walked, the way she handled my . . . red light!

Shit, I’d nearly driven straight through it.

I was sure she had, at the least, cast a spell on me. Even if I didn’t believe in such nonsense, what else could explain it?

Yes, she was pretty. Yes, she was sexy and the way she knew how to handle . . . holy shit! I’d just run a red and nearly gotten into a collision. That’s it. I was heading straight home and parking the car before I got into an accident.

Safely in the driveway, I got to the front door and couldn’t, for the life of me, recall if I’d locked the car or not. I pressed the key fob once more for good measure and registered the double beep from the car’s horn letting me know it was locked. Good, but did I lock my apartment before I went out tonight?

I tried the door. It was open. Damn, but I was pretty sure I’d locked it. Though, after last week and Amy, I was always a bit unsure of everything. I went inside. It was dark and I turned on the hall light.

I made double sure the door was locked behind me. Yup, locked. I even looked at the bolt mechanism to make sure.
Once in the small kitchen I threw my keys on the table and made for the fridge. My hand almost touched the handle when I heard, "heya, home so soon?"

What the - it was Amy? She was in my apartment. I wracked my brain but couldn’t recall giving her a key. Maybe I did. Maybe I . . . awe hell, I just couldn’t remember.

"Hiya," I called back feeling like my life was suddenly not my own.

She appeared, like a ghost, suddenly, all diaphanous, glowing, radiant even. She was wearing a see-through nightgown. Now, I knew for sure I did not have that in my wardrobe. She must have brought it with her.

"Um, hey," I replied feebly, swallowing reflexively.

Before I could gain my composure, or even pull my hand back from the fridge handle she was on me, in close, pressing her lips against my own. Like a sudden jolt from of a powerful drug, I was overcome. My god she tasted good, and the feel of her body was overwhelming.

Amy removed her lips from mine and I felt as though I might drop from fatigue at the sudden pain from the loss of her contact.

"So," she said, "are you ready for tonight?"

Amy said it like I was totally up to speed on what ‘tonight’ was supposed to mean for us.

Wanting to not appear idiotic I replied, "sure, of course," not having a single clue what I was supposed to be all prepared for.

"Good," Amy said, and smiled her radiant smile, "follow me."

I was unable to resist. The way she smelled, walked, smiled. I nearly dropped right there, but to do so would not have allowed me to follow and so, through some force of will, I remained erect and obeyed her command.

She led me to my bedroom where, on the floor, were set many lit black candles and some design drawn on his floor with what looked like chalk. What the hell was this? But, looking at her form underneath her garments, thoughts of sinister plots fled my mind.

I sat down across from her inside the drawn designs and she held out her hands to me. I took hold of her hands, and she smiled at me once more. "Hecate," she began, "here my call."

And that’s when my doorbell rang.

I looked at Amy, and she looked annoyed. "Damn," she said, releasing my hands. "Don’t go away, I’ll be right back."
I sat there, looking at candle flames and taking in a deep breath of Amy’s scent as I heard her answer the door. Hey, it was my door, wasn’t it? Shouldn’t I be the one answering it?

"Wil," I heard her say, "what are you doing her?"

"It’s Rack, he wants us . . . now!"

"Oh, um, hang on."

Amy’s footsteps grew louder until she was standing beside me as I sat cross legged in amidst candles and drawings.

"Um, Billy," she said looking a bit put out I thought, "I’ve got to go out for a while. Mind just keeping the candles lit? I should be back pretty soon."

"Sure," I heard myself reply, "no problem."

More footsteps, the door banging shut and I’m sitting in my bedroom looking at candles I didn’t even know I owned.

Weird.

The End.

 
Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, August 12, 2012

one of two fiction snippets

Today’s post will be the first of two short snippets of writing I orated last night at our reading night gathering. The second will appear tomorrow - Bonus?!

These shorts are what they are - created purely for entertainment - today’s selection does contain some profane words . . . and probe references . . . you have been warned.

Enjoy!


Fiction Snippet One:
by Paul Darcy

There was a moth banging into the window most of the night. At least, that’s what it appeared to be. Now, after regressive hypnosis, I know this to be untrue.

You see, what I thought was a moth was in fact, them. The Grays. Evil little bastards from another dimension using mind control and anal probes with abandon. Well, I’ve got their number now and tonight when they come calling they are in for a surprise. I’ve hired Morley Fenn, private eye and world savior. He’s camping out in my room right now with his infrared gear and shock sticks. Ha, are those little Gray bastards going to get a jolt when they try their mojo on my sleeping form.

Of course, what if they don’t come tonight? I never thought of that until just now. Well, I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

Suddenly there is a flash of light from outside my window.

What was that?

I wait for the rumble of thunder, but nothing. The silence continues, and even Morley makes not a sound. Maybe I imagined it. But, Morley assured me, they are real and I’m not going insane. Of course his reputation as a nutcase does not reassure me that he is correct, but I know what I’ve experienced the past few months. My butt still hurts when I go to the bathroom. I was not imagining the probing.

My last conscious thought is looking at the clock on my bedside table. Ten minutes to three in morning. It’s always three in the morning when they come, at least that’s what I recall. I’ll just stay awake another ten minutes and then . . . and then . . .

Suddenly I’m wide awake and looking into that little round gray egg head with wrap around eyes. Inside my mind I hear it telling me not to panic. Not panic - Are you fucking kidding me!

I’m paralyzed, unable to move. The little bastard has put the whammy on my and I’m powerless to move, talk. Shit, where is Morley! Did they incapacitate him as well? It leans over me, smelling of compost. I imagine that little slit of a mouth opening, giving me a french kiss. I want to scream, reach out and punch its lights out, but I can’t.

The little gray bastard is shrinking, then I realize that what is really happening is I’m starting to float. It’s pointing some wand or stick or something at me and I notice now another one on the other side of my bed. Just as suddenly as I’m starting to move across the bed I fall the few inches back onto the covers and I can move, think again.

I hear a voice yell across my room, "Okay punks, go ahead, make my night!"

Morley is here, and it’s payback time.

I jump up from my bed and am standing beside the little gray with the stick. I’m half asleep but my punch still lands with a sickening meaty smack. The gray goes down, its stick like body collapsing like a house of sticks . . . hey, I’m half asleep here.

The last thing I recall is Morley pointing something at the other gray, there is a bright flash of light, then nothing.

The End.

Until tomorrow when you get snippet number two . . .

Sunday, August 05, 2012

mid summer melt

Summer is just whizzing by . . . sort of.

We got a real dose of its cruelty yesterday with the temperatures approaching that of our sun’s chromosphere, and the humidity of a tropical rain forest to boot. Still, a whole bunch of loonies were out mowing their lawns . . . um, yeah.

I stayed in, watched a couple Buffy episodes with my daughter, did some quality reading and ate a popsicle, or two.

I’ve barely scraped past the 60 books read mark and need to pick up the pace a bit if I want to achieve my goal of 84 by year’s end.

I also created a few more cards for my board game. Woohoo for me - I passed the half way mark of the 100 I want to make.

And as you can tell the heat and humidity have adversely affected my grey matter . . . sorry about that.

I did manage a few days ago to load Skype on my machine though so now I can keep in contact with my family more easily . . . and cheaply.

And others out there that feel the urge to contact me via video/audio link now have the opportunity. Just search for Paul Darcy, same picture as here.

Stalkers need not apply though, or serial killers, rapists, spammers . . . the list could go on and on, but I’ll change the subject instead.

Tennis.

Been playing quite well the last two weeks. Even winning twice out of three times and coming a close second the third . . .

But my body is protesting the punishment. It gets no better with age - so say my elder counterparts in the club. Orthotic inserts, pain killers, physio, no fries or cheeseburgers beforehand . . . I can hardly wait!

Still loads of fun even though I’ve really tried to tone down my game from young guy eager to old guy relaxed.

Well today, with all the pending thunderstorms brewing, I may have to dive into a big board game with my daughter and maybe even convince my wife to play as well.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2012

fun with games

Yup, today is games day for our gaming group. We are taking a small summer breather from D&D and playing board games because this fits in better with vacation schedules.

To that end I’m bringing along "Defenders of the Realm" and "Elder Sign" today.

We should be able to get in one game of each as both games are not likely to run over two hours a piece.

My own board game construction is mired in the encounter card production stage. I’m trying hard to come up with creative and non-repetitive cards so the variety of any one game to another will be maintained.

It’s no easy task.

But I’m past the 1/3 mark and going, I hope, pretty strongly.

Still shooting to have a prototype ready by September for play testing.

And on the tennis front - I seem to have pulled something in the front of my left leg below the knee . . . I thought it was just a knock on the shin that was causing me twinges of pain.

But it appears to be something else. It will pass in time I’m sure, but it does irritate.

And just as I predicted, with the onset of nice weather my reading has been slowing down. I’ve only finished four books this month and that looks like about it.

I’m thinking that should pick up again sometime around October.

Still on track to meet or exceed my goal of 84 books read this year though - so that is good.

Oh, just one other thing with regards to games - I’ve had a look at the War of the Ring updated version in a tin box which upgrades the game to 2nd edition from 1st. Me wants it - me wants it a lot!

War of the Ring is a fine game, but the original version of the game (1st edition, which I own) has card text which is so small even my daughter has trouble reading it . . . yeah, it’s that bloody small.

But - the new updated version has cards which are about 1 ½ times bigger with correspondingly bigger text that us oldies will be able to read - maybe even without glasses. Yes, I will be getting the updated cards during my next visit to the game shop and revisiting this great game.

Well, not a whole bunch more left to report for the week so I’ll leave off, get some housework done, and pack up the games for today’s festivities.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

board again

I must say the dollar stores are a gold mine for aspiring board game prototype makers . . .

That’d be me, of course.

I have nearly everything I need now for my upcoming game - with the exception of the 100 encounter and world cards text I’m trying to crank out most every day.

And I will say that summer is the hardest time to crack down on in-the-house work. It’s just too darn nice outside most every day to be cooped up behind my computer typing.

But I do it anyway.

I have a major goal to have my prototype game ready for play testing by September . . . but, as I said, summer kicks the crap out of my sit and create mojo.

I am getting pretty excited about my game though, and I think it has a few cool mechanics that should add to a fun gaming experience.

More on that when the day of testing approaches. I may even include a few pictures as time goes by.

Oh, I am mostly recovered from last week’s kid minding too - if you were wondering.

Mostly.

Actually I played tennis yesterday and cleaned up. It was one of my "on" days and I missed few shots.

Feels good to be able to put the ball away more than once from skill and not just sheer luck.

I am using my Maxply McEnroe rackets too. They are really starting to work for me. Could be the two plus years of using them now and getting used to how they play. Still, nothing hits like my old Max 200Gs . . .

But I needed to move on from those 30 year old rackets, and I have.

I should be able to get a lot done this week as my family is away until next Sunday . . . then again, Steam did have a huge game sale . . . and I may have purchased a few cheap ones . . .

Oh dear, is that sunny weather outside my window as well?

As you may have guessed - discipline - is not my middle name.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 15, 2012

burnt at both ends

So, just got back from looking after a 5, 6 and 13 year old . . . for ten days!

Let’s just say my energy reserves are depleted to the point of near-death . . . and that would be putting it mildly.

Still, my good deed has been done for 2012 and now I can live like a sinner for the rest of the year to balance out my karma.

A spider just crawled out from under my keyboard and caused me a moment of panic.

It’ not that I have a phobia about spiders - it’s just sudden movement out of the corner of my eye near my left typing hand caused me to very rapidly live in the moment.

And after looking at all the cool online images of Comicon I, as always, want to be there sharing in this great big Geekfest . . . alas, it is not to be.

So, as I use some of my recovered energy to make a post I’ll talk a bit more about the board game I am making.

I have collected a bunch of components - maybe not quality grade - but functional in a visually cool way to enhance the gameplay.

Writing the encounter cards is taking me the longest time to do. You see I want to have 100 cards written up while the playing grid is only 61 tiles large.

This will allow variation in each game.

I like a mechanic like that. One where each game plays the same mechanically but there is an element of variation and variety that the game is fun to play each time and each time you never know exactly how it’s going to go.

And I haven’t touched a tennis racket in the past two weeks.

Huh.

This means I will either play very well this Tuesday - or suck like a black hole.

And I also need to start getting back into physical shape as the "babysitting" episode is now officially over.

Inertia is evil . . . but not nearly as evil as Steam.

If you ever use Steam to buy and play games then you know what I mean - they are having their HUGE summer sale right now and . . .

Ah hell - resistence is futile.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 08, 2012

elder signs

So, I had a couple more chances to set up and play mock games of Star Trek: Fleet Captains and here are my further thoughts.

It seems to me that a lot of victory points happen way too easily from random Encounters.

All you need to do, it would appear, is just explore as much space as possible as fast as possible and voila - lots of free victory points. And if you start the game with 4 ships vs your opponents 3 ships you have a pretty big edge.

Huh.

Maybe I’m playing it wrong? Which brings me to another niggling irritant of the game. The rule book and the rules in general are about the worst I’ve ever tried to decipher . . . ever. And yeah, I’ve played many board games - tons of many.

And the FAQ is little help. It’s almost as ambiguous and confused as the rules themselves. The game is still playable and pretty fun - but there are way to many instances of "can you do this?" with the response of "don’t know" then "what do the rules say" followed by, "not clear."

Looks like this game is going to get a lot of house rules applied and making up the logic of rules as you go along and run into situations not clearly described in the rule book.

One thing which makes no sense to me is - if you have a ship stat which is set to zero, you can still use it. But, if your opponent plays a card which reduces a stat to zero it is considered disabled and you can’t use it?

Again with the, huh? This is just one of many such examples.

Maybe with the Romulan expansion the new rule book will make most of the unclear rules clear. That’s my hope anyhow.

And speaking of elder signs . . . that was another game I picked up while game shopping. It was just over 20 bucks. Cheap.

I can best describe it as Arkham Horror lite.

Same characters, same spells, same items, but a much more watered down version of Arkham Horror - which is not to say it is not as good - just quite different.

Haven’t had a chance to really play much of it so can’t say how much I, or my gaming group, will like it.

And what is with my waking up stiff and aching most every day? Man, this getting older thing is starting to grate.

I exercise most every single day so it’s not like I’m just sitting on the couch in front of the tube every day atrophying. So, it must be the old age thing. Sheesh already.

I guess 48 is the new 80 . . .

Yes, I didn’t mention tennis this week . . . until now.

I’m only playing twice a week this summer and alternating between hard courts outdoor on Tuesdays and then clay courts indoor on Fridays.

It is as difficult to adjust as you can imagine, but I do it for my health . . .

Oh, and one last item. Star Trek: Birth of the Federation works on Windows 7 64 bit . . . just saying . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 01, 2012

new board game


What else?

As you have likely discovered if you’ve read my posts before, I have a fondness . . . okay, maybe a slight addiction, to board games and their ilk.

So my Birthday came and went this past week and I took a trip into The Big Smoke to check out a game store and spend my birthday coin on a board game.

And this store was absolutely a board gamers wet dream. The staff are all hard-core board gamers too and really know their stuff.

They had, at a guess, about 1,000 board games in stock. Now the best part. Their prices were incredible and when I say incredible, I mean incredible.

So I asked them how they do it. How do they meet or beat the other online store’s discounted game prices and stay in business.

And as you would suspect I got the standard, and legitimate, answer - Volume!

So, I know you are just dying to know what game I bought, right?

Well, I got "Star Trek: Fleet Captains."

I’ve had one chance so far to set it up and give it a whirl. What I’ve found I like a whole bunch.

There is exploration. There are an abundance of cool Star Trek themed encounters. And yes, there is combat. Included, mashed together, is TOS, TNG, DS9, Enterprise, Voyager and all the movies except for the last one released. That’s a ton of Star Trek lore stuffed into one game.

How does this work? Well, pretty well but it is a bit odd to be able to assign Kirk to the Voyager along with Wesley Crusher . . . but hey, this is not reality anyhow. Star Trek show purists will just have to suck it.

It is primarily a two player game though four can play as two teams of two. So far the base game, which is what this is, has two factions to play. The Federation and the Klingons. The Romulan expansion is coming in October I think . . . yeah, you know what is going to happen.

But back to this game, both factions work well and a bit differently.

And the heroclix ships are pretty spot on cool though the clix bases are very stiff and I can see snapping a ship right off its post if you play the game twisting the bases all the time. I solved that problem by just using an indicator on the ship cards themselves. Way less hassle.

Each Federation ship model is unique, but there are multiple duplicates on the Klingon side even though they have unique names and slightly different stats.

Overall impression - It’s a bit confusing on how the game works and how the rules work but after I scan and digest the FAQ online that should clear up a whole lot of the ambiguous issues and game flow questions.

It plays pretty quickly too. I would say under 2 hours for sure. And the game is scalable so you can make a smaller game (less tiles and fewer ships) or a longer game (more tiles and more ships) depending on what kind of time you have to dedicate to a session.

Very fun and I can’t wait to try it out with friends.

Oh, and I got a half dozen very nice 6 sided dice as well for my own game design - which is coming along well.

Geez, how the time flies here when I’m talking games.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, June 24, 2012

new designs


What have I been doing this past week?

Um, well, designing and creating a board game - what else!

As you may or may not know, I’m pretty much a game fanatic. I love games of all sorts - a lot.

Computer, Board, RPG, dice . . . you name it and I pretty much love it.

And lately, with Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop showing up on my computer every other week, I’ve been getting even more stoked about them.

So, I got to thinking, if I like games so much why don’t I design one and see if I can make it a good one.

I also like Science Fiction - a lot.

The natural course for me to take then is designing a Science Fiction themed board game.

That’s what I’m up to.

I’m trying to come up with a game that has elements of Twilight Imperium 3, but a much more easy to learn and play and finish game while retaining the exploration and surprise encounter elements I really like in a game.

I’m also mixing in some features from such games as Runebound, Arkham Horror and Defenders of the Realm.

And I’m having a blast doing it. It really is true that if you are doing something you really love to do the time just blows by before you know it.

So far I have the prototype board made, most of the game pieces made (though I’m still searching dollar stores for a few appropriate pieces on the cheap) and, well, I’m scamming the Twilight Imperium 3 board game ship pieces . . . A bit tough to "make", so thanks Fantasy Flight for already providing them for me.

Of course, when I hammer out the rules and get it all set up I will game test if with our gaming group and see how it flies.

It should work fine for 1 - 6 players. Oh, and it uses d12 dice . . . yeah, d12s . . . I like d12s . . .

Which reminds me that today is games day for our group. Woot!

We will be playing some Zombie Dice for sure and then Battling the four generals in Defenders fo the Realm.

Have I mentioned how much I like games? . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, June 17, 2012

night of the living dad


So, it’s daddy day.

Yup, I’m one of those. But I’m not the traditional dad - not anymore that is.

Most dads spent a good portion of their lives in the workplace slaving away earning coin.

Been there, done that.

I’m at home now keeping the domestic domain in working order. And if you think this is something that is not work - wow, are you deluded in a big way.

Just saying dads don’t need to be appreciated based solely on how much they earn in the workplace. Appreciating your dad goes far beyond that silly measure.

In fact, ask just about any kid what they most appreciate about their dad and you will find that it’s not their job - but what they do with them by the way of after work or weekend activities.

So enough on that topic - appreciate you dad for what he is, not what he does for a job.

Well, yesterday, I got to play "Defenders of the Realm" with others . . . okay, one other - and managed to get in two games.

In the first game we defeated the four generals thus winning the game. My friend was thinking - so, what’s so hard about beating this game?

It seemed like we had little difficulty and should be able to repeat the process with four different player characters.

Um, yeah, okay.

So, on to the second game. We did seem to have things well in hand once more with two of the four generals gone.

Then, a few detrimental card draws later and the tables had turned. We made two attempts to take down the Dragon General - we had little choice - which ended with a hearty smack down for our characters.

Suffice to say, while we were licking our wounds and trying to regain traction for another attempt at stopping the Dragon General he just marched, pretty well undeterred, into the city and crushed our hopes of a second victory.

We will be playing this one again. It’s challenging, but fun right to the end - and it takes, at most, about two hours to complete a game.

Well, since it’s my day, I should make something of it. Oh, and I need to call my dad as well.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, June 10, 2012

goodly deeds


After reading about the suffering of my good friend over on his blog I’ve decided to share in his pain today.

Yeah, I’ll be heading over to his place to help him repair and stain his deck . . . in the blistering sun with humidity hovering somewhere around 600 percent . . .

Misery loves company . . . and suckers.

That’d be me.

Still, he has helped me numerous times in the past and it’s long overdue that I lend him a hand and repay his repeated kindnesses.

Now, as you may have read here many a time, I am not Mr. Handy. Still, I can stain boards and swing a hammer and wield a drill, when the need arises.

So, I’ll give it my best shot today and hope I don’t melt in the sun.

Because, on the morrow . . . I’m playing a tennis match for our club. And the silly thing is I’ve been put in Men’s 1 . . . which means nothing to you until I explain.

There are three tiers of men’s doubles in the league. Yup, 1, 2 and 3 where 1 is supposed to be the top players . . . guess our head pro thinks I’m up to being slotted in the top spot . . . um, okay.

So, with this said, I will likely be a hurting unit after helping with the deck reconstruction today and then tomorrow I really, really need to beat down the lawn with my chopping device . . . I should be in prime physical form Monday night for the match.

But hey, what kind of guy would I be if I refused both of these challenges, these fellow human beings crying out for assistance . . . okay, my friend did not ask for my help, but the tennis pro did . . . still.

Okay, on to the writing scene. Which, right now, seems to be a wasteland of darkness devoid of inspiration and content. Last night I had the sum total of nothing to read for our monthly reading night gathering . . . but next month I vow to have something to read . . . something new.

Like the start of this new novel I’m plotting out right now. Going to get moving on it within the next few weeks and start cranking out word count.

Well, at least that’s the plan.

As for reading - well, I’m still burning through books, and I think I just hit the 50 read this week.

As for games - I’ve soloed Defenders of the Realm a few times to nail down the rules, but I have yet to come close to winning. Man, that is a hostile game to beat. May need to figure out how to tone down the difficulty level a notch . . .

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a truly fun, fantastic co-op game, but I can see players growing tired of getting their collective butts handed to them on a copper platter every time they play it.

Ooooh - and as for role-playing, one of our gaming group is whipping together a Traveler style Sci-Fi game and I’m looking forward to playing it. I’ve been running our D&D sessions for the past year so this will be a welcome opportunity for me to play a character instead of trying to crush them all the time.

Well, I see by the words on the page that I’ve rambled on long enough. Off to find my work wear and sun block for the day’s labours still ahead.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, June 03, 2012

board game weather


I love it when the weather sucks - as in too hot or too rainy.

Why?

Because it gives me the chance to do something I love to do.

Play board games with family and/or friends!

And it’s been rainy here the past two days which was a great excuse for pulling out a board game and giving it a go.

Been trying out a new version of Runebound, and it’s the best one so far - Mists of Zanaga.

Oh, if you are not interested in board games, then I apologize for this blog today which is primarily focused on them.

So, back to the bored . . . (I know - worst. pun. ever.)

Ahem . . .

Anyhow, the newest Runebound big board expansion (Zanaga) deals with completing rituals and awakening one of ten old gods - which are not happy to have their sleep disturbed. Very cool mechanic and fun to try and take the god down once it awakes though it is gosh-darn hard to do.

Another board game I just ordered for my B-Day is Defenders of the Realm. By all accounts it is just the kind of game I love playing.

Here are all the reasons.

It’s a fantasy themed board game. It takes, at most, about 2 hours to complete. Lots of cards. Lots of heroes (21 with the expansions). Lots of bits and tokens. Lots and lots of agonizing over the many choices your hero can take. It’s a co-op game of us vs the game. Lots of player interaction on every turn, even if it’s not yours. Boss battles. Magic gates . . . um, yeah, I am really excited about this one.

Oh, and I found out via the intertubes that both Runebound and Defenders can be played with a maximum of 6 players and not 4 as the boxes indicate.

This is a Huge plus for our gaming group which can be anywhere from 4 to 8 players depending on who is free on any given gaming day.

There - board game enthusiasm spent.

On to auctions.

No, I haven’t bought anything else this past week, but I did take a huge van load of stuff out to be auctioned off which puts cash back into my coffers for - what else - new board game purchases.

Now, do I get Battlestar Galactica . . . or . . . Elder Sign . . . or . . . Defenders of the Realm Dragon Expansion . . . or . . . yeah, I gots me a wee problem. ;)

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, May 27, 2012

cultural nuggets


So, Friday night, I went into the big city with friends and got a dose of culture . . .

Yeah, been a long time since I strolled the streets of the big city, ate at a posh restaurant, and took in a show - not sure I want to hurry back anytime soon though.

Not that I have anything against city folk - hell I was one for a decade and a half - it’s just that I don’t fit into that environment anymore. Could be the age thing, or maybe it’s the I don’t care to try and impress my fellow humans anymore - And yes, I was wearing shorts and a T.

However, the concert we saw was darn impressive. I’ve been a witness to many, I state MANY, an amateur orchestral performance and boy what a big difference it is to listen to real professionals do their thing.

A little Mendelson, and a little Beethoven and I was good to go.

So, to change the subject, I was at this auction last week and, well, um, I got myself another set of WWII encyclopedias for dirt cheap . . . because, one can’t ever have too much information on that era of world madness, can one?

They were published in 1972 and have colour and black and white plates inside - lots of them. The 25 volume set of visual encyclopedias tops out at over 4,000 pages of WWII goodness. It will, of course, take me a few months to polish them off. If they are worthy they will be kept - if not, they go back to the auctioneer for someone else to buy and enjoy.

Also this week we finished part 1 of 4 of the D&D campaign I have been running - for the past 11 months.

Funny how a 32 page module can take 8 sessions and 11 months to complete. Of course we only meet once a month when feasible, so it is understandable. However, the next few months will see us playing big box board games for those not on vacation and such.

Come the fall one of our group has volunteered to run a Sci Fi game, and yet another has a idea for a short session of Call of Cthulhu. So, that said, I’ll be getting a break from DMing for a bit and get a chance to play myself.

As well, I managed to squeak in a game of Dominion and also a game of Tikal in the past couple weeks - both quite enjoyable and not really long games either.

Looking forward to more of that kind of thing in the months ahead.

Tennis - just a short note here. I’m doing well at toning down my game and finding myself playing better if not harder or faster.

And with the weather being what it is lately - summery - I’ve been getting out pretty much every morning and going for a long walk.

Supposed to be good for me . . .

Well, that’s it for this week.

Until next Sunday . . .