December catch-up

I had really intended to keep blogging right into December. Maybe not every day or anything, but at least a 3 times a week or so. But hey, you can obviously tell that didn’t happen, so no use dwelling on that.

So what is happening right now in this life that seems to be roaring on in an ever accelerating pace? Well the first week of December, I mainly remember for its theme of catch up time with friends. Monday I edited wedding photos for Katie, which was a fun project in figuring out what I can do in Photoshop and a chance to get nostalgic about a weekend that is already almost 6 months ago! Tuesday was spent going over a paper (which was so good!) for Jess, her big final for her penultimate semester of grad school. Wednesday and Thursday were spent having long overdue catch-up video sessions with Steph and Becca, respectively. I never seem to do as good a job as I would like in staying up to date with friends and seem to have gotten progressively worse at email over the past few years, so I am glad to take any chance I can to reconnect with friends I don’t see that often.

The next week was also pretty full on every week night, a chat with Jess, a visit to Alex’s house, book club, Pathfinder and a chat with my parents filled up Monday through Friday. And while this is veering into deep nerd territory, the Pathfinder session was especially memorable because I got one step closer to my dream of having my half-ling ranger character – Seda – become a wolf-rider. Our party was trudging through the forest on a our way back from a mission into the fey territory, when we encountered a dire wolf, who had just killed a she-wolf. My half-elf companion, Alana (aka Katie) made short work of the dire wolf (in fact, I think she crited on it?) and then low and behold the she-wolf had left behind a litter of 4 wolf pups! Now all I have to do is domesticate them and get to level four, then I can become of the wolf rider of my character’s dreams!

Thumbprint cookies

In other news, I am flummoxed completely by the idea that Christmas is a mere 9 days away. I feel like I kind of missed out on being very festive this year. Neither Alex or I ended up feeling like we had the energy to get a tree this year and when I tried to turn on our christmas lights (still up from last year in an attempt to “creatively light our living room”) only half of them would even turn on. So other than my spree of cookie baking from a week and half ago and my continuous playing of Christmas music since Dec 1st, I haven’t done much to celebrate the season. But on Friday (after Alex’s last day of student teaching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we have made plans to go look at other people’s Christmas decorations in a neighborhood known for its high electric bill in December, so maybe that will help me feel a bit less like this season of Advent has flown by unacknowledged.

Last day of NaBloPoMo

There we go, another November of daily blogging is gone. I am hoping that I manage not to completely fall of the wagon with this when December rolls in tomorrow. Although I think publishing a post every day, definitely brought down the quality of my posts. Maybe if I were to say just try to write part of a post every day, I could come up with more substantive posts. Either way, it was a fun excuse to get the blog dusted off and going again.

In other news, my deliciously lazy weekend continued today with finishing a book – The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, hanging out with Alex, eating a delicious leftover redux meal of ham, and going to see Catching Fire, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Err, as much as one can enjoy watching a film in which the characters suffer greatly in a dystopian future where children (and adults) are forced to kill each other for live entertainment.

As for the book, it is apparently the first in an expected 7 long series, which seems a bit long to me. It is set in a future dystopian world where magic (clairvoyance, specifically), exists but is persecuted and repressed. The main character lives a shadow world with her criminal friends in London, until she is kidnapped and set to an even more brutal existence serving vampire-like aliens with her power. Overall, it was a decent read, but it didn’t really stand out from the many many other young adult books in this same vein. That all said, I still remember enough of the plot when the next book comes out, I may give it a read.

Hamsgiving 2: Electric Boogaloo

Yesterday was so much fun, that Alex and decided to replicate much of it. However this round, we were much more productive and actually cleaned most of the apartment and cooked a Hamsgiving meal of spiral-cut ham, scalloped potatoes, stuffing, peas and salad.

The feast

Katie and Bryan came over a little after noon bringing with them a happy cornish hen for Katie and scrumptious pumpkin pie for dessert.

Alex carves the ham of Hamsgiving

After stuffing our faces we had a relaxing afternoon playing a new drinking related game that Katie and Bryan brought with them. I don’t remember the name, but basically you played a character with a unique deck and compete to try to get your fellow players to pass out from drinking. Very fun, luck based game, with a smidgeon of strategy thrown in.

Then we pulled out an old favorite – Elder Sign and worked to defeat Ithaqua, an ice monster who toke away one stamina from an investigator bold enough to use a spell or special item. While we did have two characters die, we managed to hold the monsters at bay for another few decades.

Getting ready to make some stuffing

I was also realizing that this 4 day break is the longest time I have had off of work AND been at home in probably close to 2 years. It is truly lovely to have two back to back relaxing lazy days and still have a whole weekend ahead of me.

Foggy locks on the way to Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving

Today started off incredibly lazy with computer games, coffee, books and general laying about the apartment. But then we decided we should actually do something today before feasting, so we put our brand new vacuum to use and discovered exactly how disgusting our carpet (that hadn’t been vacuumed in over a month) truly is. The vacuum got a truly impressive amount of dirt and dust out, for which I think both Alex and I will breathe a little easier.

Then we walked over to Alex’s great-aunt Wendie’s condo, which is right across from the Ballard locks and got to spend the next 6 hours eating, talking, and laughing with Alex’s family. It was a lovely dinner, full of all the traditional favorites and including an amazing pumpkin pie to finish it off.

So now I am going to take my very full self to bed, so that I can get up at a decent hour tomorrow and help Alex get our ham version of a Thanksgiving feast ready.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Yay! The three day week is over, let the relaxing, eating, cooking, baking, and sleeping in. Because I am lucky enough to get both Thursday AND Friday off, this will be the longest I have had off of work and been at home all year. So I plan on doing a lot of vegging out, going on walks, hopefully being at least a bit productive (we finally bought a new vacuum) and generally enjoying food and time with friends.

I hope you all get to do the same!

two nerdy nights in a row

Nerdy Thing 1

Last night I went to see the 10pm showing of the Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary “episode” of Doctor Who. While I had watched it already on Saturday night at Alex’s parents’ house (they have cable), I was excited to see it again on the big screen. Overall it was an enjoyable event, despite my dislike for one rather major plot point, which I will leave unsaid (spoilers, my dear!). But I think my enjoyment of this show is fairly fixed and perhaps with a slightly lower bar. In other words, I accept the fact that some episodes are far weaker than others. I also, don’t love the current Matt Smith doctor as much as David Tennant. I also don’t love that they went with a white British man for the 12th doctor, when they could have made more interesting choices such as you know Helen Mirren or Chiwetel Ejiofor*. Yet, in the end I keep watching because I find it to be a fun show, one that makes me laugh (can also freak me the heck out!) and every once in a while can take my breath away with its brilliance.

Nerdy Thing 2
You may not be able to tell at first glance, but this is an epic midnight battle pitting a cleric, a warrior and a half-ling against 5 gnolls and hyena.
We played Shadowrun again tonight. An RPG based in post apocalyptic Seattle where magic suddenly appeared in the world and has led to a fantasy/sci-fi mash-up society with an extensive underworld. Alex runs the game and the original three (Katie, Matt and Bryan) had been playing for over a year when I joined this past spring with my elfish character – Egg. Based strongly on River Tam, she kicks a lot of butt in conflict and can also easily talk her way out of most situations. However she also comes with the slight mental instability (so far Alex has skipped over my character’s flaw of flashbacks, but we’ll see what comes later down the line) and the baggage of being hunted by the secret spy/corporation school that she recently escaped from. Fun character on paper, but definitely one that I haven’t entirely figured out motivation for yet. In many ways her big conflict happened pre-game in the lead-up and successful attempt at escaping, now she is basically on the lam and getting quickly caught up in the nefarious dealings of the original gang. But as to what she really wants for her future, I have little idea.

However, in the end, my favorite part of playing an RPG game is the fun times spent with friends in a way that engages the imagination, usually involves much excitement and hilarity and all comes from a simple idea of rolling dice to decide your character’s fate.

*While I think both of these would have made interesting choices, I am mainly using them as examples to illustrate a point. I actually like the idea of using fairly unknown actors for Doctor Who, as opposed to actors who bring a large amount of work or presence into the role.

Katie and Bryan got married: the re-cap

This past summer my dear friends Katie and Bryan finally got hitched and it was wonderful. It was truly simple, elegant, a blend of traditional and modern, sincere and even a little bit nerdy (their processional music included Star Wars and Firefly nods!). And as added bonus Katie asked David and I to take the photos. Here are a few of my favorites:

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I like how the Sarah, the make-up artist frames Katie’s eyes in this shot. Sarah did an incredible job and Katie looked incredible.

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I love this moment of the bride and her sister enjoying some good old fashioned squeeing as they got ready.

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I really like it for two reasons. First, Katie looks lovely in this light and second, I managed to successfully edit out the TV in the upper right which you can see in the above photo.

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Another fun make-up application framing shot. I love Anna’s expression in this and way her face is perfectly in focus.

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Katie and her father squeezed in one last dance practice in the hotel room before the ceremony. While the lighting made it hard to get this shot completely in focus, I really liked how this turned out in black & white.

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Anna kind of steals the show a bit in this shot, making it another favorite of mine.

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This was taken not long before I literally filled up my camera card (even the extra one!) and discovered why you can never have too much memory when taking photos at a wedding.

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Bryan and Katie showed the flawless results of their dance lesson during the reception with a lovely waltz (Or at least I think it was a waltz? I don’t really know the names of dances…)

Want to see the rest? Check out these sets on Flickr.

old timey link bonanza

50 pictures in perfect timing – I think Charletta shared this on Facebook, but trust me this is a list worth browsing. I think 23 might be my favorite

Pharrell Williams has a new 24-hour music video called 24 Hours of Happy and I spent quite a browsing through various segments. Definitely worth a look.

31 GIFs That Will Make You Laugh Every Time – Several of these made both Alex and I laugh out loud in the literal sense.

Neville Longbottom is the Most Important Person in Harry Potter—And Here’s Why – I don’t know if I buy this author’s idea that all of the younger characters in Harry Potter mimic the previous generation, but it does make for a fascinating argument about the power of followers and how you can do more than your destiny.

A bad start to the day

Nothing puts a damper on your day like waking up to deal with a backed-up toilet. Starting with that horrible experience and including a frustrating stint at work, left me with in a bit of a bad mood for most of the day today. But baking cookies and watching the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who special helped immensely. Unfortunately when in a bad mood, I don’t tend to get as many productive things done like writing actual blog posts….

Long week

Well I had to set my alarm for 5:45am this morning in order to be at work by 6:45am for one of our biggest holiday food drives of the year. It went quite smoothly and apparently I was accidentally on TV*. So I will of course be retiring to sign autographs and move to Hawaii.

And the motorcade arrives! #FoodforAll

Additionally I finally completed and submitted the secret project, which feels really good and next week is Thanksgiving!

*I was taking photos and when a cameraman panned by the volunteers unloading bags of food, I ended up in the shot