Journal Entry

Feels like old times….

Today, I came home from work, sat down at the computer and logged into WoW, and that was my whole evening. For more than a year, I did that pretty much every weekday. Then I hadn’t really played WoW at all for more than three months.

I’m not relapsing. I’m just working a special project, and that ends tomorrow night. Tomorrow night will probably be a lot like tonight was, though. I made some excellent progress tonight.

Then, yes, I did go for my walk. A little early, even, because I need to get to bed early tonight. I’ve been missing out on sleep lately, and I’m tired of waking up tired. Hopefully this will help.

I did get another six pages of KJW done over lunch. I’ve only got one segment left before I’m in the final portion of the book (it’s divided into three big chunks), and I’ve already got that last segment laid out, so I should be able to get it done tomorrow during lunch. That would be pretty exciting.

Okay, I’m heading to bed. Later.

Journal Entry: July 8, 2007

Saturday, July 7th
Today was a long day.

First, in spite of my insistence that I should go to bed instead of writing last night, I did stay up late. I didn’t write, though. I was up until nearly 3:00 finishing this week’s Civ game. It was a monumental victory, but probably not worth the late hour.

I’m not sure exactly when I got up this morning. It was between eight and nine. I spent a couple hours working on our finances, plotting out a general budget through December, and then I watched AB for a couple hours while T– went to try to find someone interested in a free kitten. She found no one.

When she got back, we discussed what we should do about the kittens, and I ended up finally checking out Craigslist. I’d heard and read a lot about it, but I hadn’t actually visited before. We placed an add for the kittens on there for free (the cheapest ad in the Daily Oklahoman is $60). We’re going to see what kind of results we get before spending money on it.

Speaking of which…is anyone interested in a free kitten? They’re adorable and friendly, and litter box trained. What more could you want? Eh?

Around noon K– showed up to help me with a couple projects I’d been waiting on for a while. We were going to put a faceplate in the wall for my rear speakers (they’re already wired through the attic, but the wires were just hanging out of a hole in the wall), and then T– also wanted me to hang an outdoor swing for AB. The best tree for that required a much taller ladder than I have, thus the need for K–‘s help.

Also, he’s got this wood saw he’s been bragging about for three weeks, so I asked me to bring that along to clear some of the deadwood out of our big tree out back while he was up on the ladder.

Everything but the swing ended up being a lot more work than it sounded like it should have been, based on the descriptions I just gave.

We had some…difficulties installing the faceplate for the speakers. For a while, I thought I was going to have to call an electrician, or possibly spend a whole Saturday working up in the attic to fix the problem. In the end (for very odd reasons), it ended up being a lot less painful than that, but what should have been a 10-minute job ended up taking over an hour as we tracked down and resolved that extra problem.

Then we went out back. I have tons of overgrowth among the various trees and bushes in the backyard. While K– started climbing his way-too-tall ladder like a little monkey (meaning “without fear”), I stayed on the ground and worked on the yard. He started on the deadwood, to get that cleared out before we hung the swing. While he was sawing away, I got out the power hedge trimmers and set to work on the mess along out back fence.

Then he took a break, and I took up the saw to cut some trunks too thick for the hedge trimmers. I fell in love.

Okay, that’s a little over dramatic, but it was an amazing wood saw. It cut through live wood like nothing. We piled up all the limbs and trees (I cut down whole trees along the back of our house, to keep their roots from damaging the foundation) in a big bunch on a muddy, grassless area in my back yard, to wait for Big Trash Day (now a month away). That pile came out about five feet tall, twelve feed wide, and six feet deep. That should give you an idea how much work we did.

The difference was amazing. It opened up the yard a lot, and it’s going to make ongoing maintenance a lot easier. It also gave us a clean, clear place to hang the swing, which K– did really quickly and easily. AB’s already taken a ride in it, and she seemed to have a pretty good time. There’ll probably be pictures on T–‘s blog any day now.

After that, our friend Julie and her man came over for the evening. We had chicken soft tacos and played Wii. They’d never played before, so we got to show off all the Wii Sports games, and then Carlos asked me to show him Zelda. Between us (after a couple hours of trying) we figured out how to catch a fish, and progressed through the puzzles pretty quickly from there. It was so funny seeing how much fun he had using the remote like a sword to control the character’s sword fighting. That really was pretty cool.

And that stretched on, even after T– went to bed, we were still playing Zelda. Fun stuff. Around 11:30 they decided to call it a night, and I reluctantly convinced myself to go for a walk (even after all that work this afternoon!). I’m home now, and my water’s gone, and I’ve got church in the morning. No Civ 4 this time, really. No writing, either. I’m off to bed.


Journal Entry: July 5, 2007

Tuesday, July 3
On Tuesday, I finished my second novel. I wrote the epilogue to Josh’s story, the first volume in the Sleeping Kings trilogy. Nobody needed that amount of detail (if you’re reading this blog, that event was nothing like a surprise), but it’s a dramatic enough thing for me that I wanted to spell it out.

Really, the rest of the day is just a blur. On Tuesday, I finished my second novel!

Work sucked. It was a bad day. Shouldn’t have been — a lot of people were gone because of the holiday (turning a day off into a five day weekend, through clever use of leave), and I usually really enjoy days like that (I never have enough leave saved up). There was just a lot of unpleasant work to do on Tuesday, though, and I wanted to be elsewhere.

I did get off work an hour early, and then for the evening K– and N– came over, and N–‘s mom, who is in town visiting, and we watched the Season Finale of Stargate Atlantis and the Series Finale of Stargate SG-1. That was kind of a big deal, too. We’ve all been watching SG-1 for years now, and it’s easily the best long-running sci-fi TV show I’ve ever seen. Watching it with K– and N– was a lot of fun.

Oh, and I had three 7-and-7s, because they were there.

They stayed kind of late, but since I didn’t have to work the next morning, I didn’t really have any excuse to skip my evening walk, so around 9:45 I headed out. When I got home, I found T– chatting with D– (he’d tried to reach me on my cell phone, but I hadn’t taken it with me). I checked in to see why he was trying to reach me, and he wanted to go see Live Free or Die Hard. There was an 11:20 showing.

I knew better than to take him up on that offer. But I did anyway. I called K– and B– both (it was nearly 11:00 at that point) to see if either of them wanted to join us, but they were wiser men than I. D– picked me up, and we went to the mall.

I guess because it was the night before the holiday, they were closing showings (probably based on the sales during the day). So when we got to the ticket booth there were no showings of Die Hard, but there was an 11:20 of Transformers. I pointed out that I would get in a lot of trouble for going to see Transformers first, without… well, really, anyone whose initials I use on this blog. So we agreed not to tell anybody, and asked for two tickets.

And, would you believe it, they were sold out. So we decided to go to Hudsons for a few drinks. But when we got there, it turned out it was karaoke night. Loud karaoke night. Bad karaoke night. And the place was packed. We finally found a couple seats, waited ten minutes without hearing from the waitress, and then left without placing an order.

From there, we went to Fox and Hound Pub, and it was a much more pleasant environment. I had nachos and a Jack and Coke and Long Island Iced Tea (and around the first sip of the Tea, I was thinking, “Man, I shouldn’t feel this tipsy…” and then I remembered the tree 7-and-7s from earlier and said, “Ohhhh…”). We talked for a couple hours. Good times. I finally got to bed around 2:30.

Wednesday, July 4
At 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00 in the morning, AB woke up (and made sure we knew about it). T–, generous, loving wife that she is, handled it. Still, it was not a lot of sleep even for me. I ended up getting up for real around 7:00, because she needed me to take care of some stuff around the house before our guests came over. Meanwhile, she went to a parade up in Edmond with N– et al.

Wednesday was N–‘s birthday, and it being the 4th, that always means some pretty dedicated celebration. This year was no exception. I spent a significant portion of the morning at Wal-Mart, buying needed goods, and then came home just as D– showed up with the meat for a cookout. I started the chicken marinading, made up two batches of salsa (Mild, which I was told by experts was still too spicy, and Extra Super Hot, which K– said was, “actually hot this time,” meaning it was probably pretty close to Extra Super Hot).

On a whim, I mowed the back yard real fast, realizing we’d be cooking out on the back porch, and possibly playing K–‘s yard game (backyard bolo, or golf horseshoes, or whatever you want to call it), so short grass would help. It’s not a terribly big back yard, but it had gotten hot, so I was already at a simmer by the time guests started arriving. I took a Benadryl, too, because of the mowing.

Guests started showing up around 1:00. K– and N– with her mom, my little sister with her whole family, B– and E–, D– was there…all told, we had 13 people in our house, not counting the zygotes. Considering that, the whole afternoon went amazingly well.

We grilled burgers and chicken and brats, and a selection of vegetables N– had brought, and everyone said it was all delicious. We had two extravagant desserts, by way of birthday cake, and some delicious ice cream by way of Blue Bell. We invested a significant portion of the afternoon in eating, and of course there was chitchat throughout that, and as people started falling asleep standing up, we realized it was about time to split up. My sister’s family left to get the kids some rest, and B– and E– left to get themselves some rest, and those of us who stayed mostly crashed out on couches. We turned on the Wii and showed N–‘s mom how to bowl, and wasted a couple hours that way.

Then, around evening-time, we headed out to Bethany for a big Independence Day carnival they were throwing, with the expectation (of course) of fireworks at the end of the evening. This year, for reasons having to do with the penultimate scenes in Sleeping Kings, I was looking forward to the fireworks more than at any point in the last two decades. We picked a good show, too, and I was not disappointed.

Before that, though, we had to find parking. They’d set aside a big field for parking, but when we got there we learned it had been closed off because of all the recent rains (and the risk of getting stuck in the mud as a result). So, instead of a parking spot within sight of the Live Music stand, we had to find a place somewhere in town. And everywhere within a couple miles was off-limits, as clearly indicated by the “Road Closed” and “Towaway Zone” signs posted everywhere.

It turns out, though, that by simply ignoring those signs and slipping down a street we weren’t legally allowed to be on at all, it became quite simple to find a really fantastic parking spot. So that solved that problem.

Then there were the long hours waiting for the fireworks to begin. We walked around the carnival, but couldn’t convince ourselves to spend money on any of the mediocre attractions there. We did buy some of the mediocre fried foods, and delighted in it the way one does in such a scenario, but that quickly passed. Oh! I tried out a 1920’s door-to-door salesman voice that worked out pretty well, so that was something accomplished.

S–‘s family showed up about an hour after we got there (so 7:30-ish, but that’s just a guess) and B– and E– showed up shortly before the fireworks (so, two hours later). Figuring out landmarks to meet up with B– was an adventure in itself, but we managed to rendez-vous behind the port-a-potties, and all was well.

The fireworks show was spectacular.

We got home around 11:00. D– had stayed at our house all evening watching AB for us (he’s not a big fan of fireworks). I invited him to go for a walk with me, so we did the usual route and talked of life and things. It was fun. Afterward, he went home, and I got to bed around 12:30.

Thursday, July 5th
Today, significantly less happened. Oh! I mentioned earlier that I never have leave saved up to supplement a holiday, but I do get a regular day off every pay period. I was able to move mine for this week (that should have been Friday) back a day, so I could recover from the merriment of Wednesday.

To take full advantage of that (and much in need of it), I’d vowed to sleep until noon. Instead, I ended up getting up around 8:30 so I could watch AB while T– went to the chiropractor. I played Civ 4 all morning, and had a couple leftover burgers for lunch. At 1:00 we headed over to K– and N–‘s place, because N–‘s mom had invited T– to go see a movie with them (“them” being the girls — it wasn’t the sort of movie that guys go to). I took AB with me and hung out at K–‘s place for the afternoon.

We downloaded a game from XBox Live Arcade called “Band of Bugs.” I’d heard favorable discussion of it in a Penny Arcade newspost, so we decided to try it out. It’s a surprisingly fun game. It’s a combat strategy game, that simple to play but has a surprising level of complexity to it. Could be a lot of fun. We had just started trying the multiplayer out when the girls got back, and T– and I came home.

I spent most of the evening playing Civ. D– came over to pick up his iPhone, which he’d had delivered here, and he hung out all evening getting it set up. T– and I watched some TV, and had a frozen pizza, and…I dunno. She probably did a lot of work. I just played my game.

At 8:45, I did the dishes so T– wouldn’t have to (after yesterday’s party, some had piled up). Then, a little after 9:00, I decided to go ahead and go for a walk. I’m glad I did. At this point, I’ve only missed once. I want to see how long I can keep that up. I spent most of the walk working on an Afterword for Josh’s story, which I hope to get typed up and posted tomorrow, but will do sometime in the next week. Just to let people know where the story stands, really, and that it’ll be a while before I start posting Sarah’s story.

And then I came home, and typed up a ridiculously long blog post. That was my holiday weekend, in the middle of the week. Now I’ve got a Friday that’ll probably be pretty quiet, and then another weekend that I actually get to spend at home. I’m excited about that.

I’m going to bed. Later.


Journal Entry: June 18, 2007

Hmm…okay, I’m only four days behind, so far. So today’s will be a long one.

Friday, June 15th
I took off work last Friday, because I get one day per pay period, and my regular day off (this coming Friday, the 22nd) I’m going to be busy with work, so I took it early.

Thursday night, I agreed to spend my Friday keeping an eye on K– (who’d just had surgery), but I got a call from N– early early Friday morning saying she could take care of it, so I could just stay in bed. Unfortunately, by the time I learned this, I was already out of bed. Alas.

T– and I went to Sears, and I finally got repair parts for my week-dead lawnmower (that died mid-mow, so my front yard had been weird looking). I also did go over to K–‘s for a few hours in the afternoon, and we beat Gears of War on his new XBox 360. Sweet.

‘Round about 4:00, “B and E” (as they like to be known) were closing on their house, so we threw a housewarming party for them. D– brought the wine, I ordered pizza, and toward the end of the evening K– and N– bought us all gellato. Oh, and we watched Ghost Rider and ridiculed it without mercy. Again, alas for what might have been.

Saturday, June 16th
Saturday was awful. B– kept insisting he would need no help moving their boxes to the new house (and I was getting the feeling he wouldn’t accept any, anyway), so after I repaired my lawnmower (I say “repaired” because it sounds a lot more impressive than “replaced the air filter and spark plug for the first time in five years”), I decided to go ahead and mow. And while I was at that, I pulled out the ol’ power hedge trimmers to clean up the overgrown clutter along our front fence, and to chop down the unpleasant shrubs growing along our front walk. Chainsaw work, but I did it with hedge trimmers. In the hot and humid. For a couple hours.

What I’m getting at, is I fully wore myself out working on the yard, then went inside and crashed on the couch, only to have D– call me lazy and instruct me to go help him start loading up B–‘s stuff. Which I did, because I don’t like being called lazy in spite of the fact that I’m amazingly lazy. Kinda like Back to the Future 2, when you think about it….

Anyway, D–‘s a vicious taskmaster anyway, so we sprinted through getting B–‘s stuff loaded, then sprinted through getting it unloaded so I could be back at the house in time for T– to leave for an evening of scrapbooking. I’d promised to watch A–b–. Daniel was kind enough to watch her for a couple hours while I went to dinner with T– and K– and N– mid-crop, and other than that she slept for most of the evening, so that was a relief. I played a pretty amazing game of Civ, and then went to bed when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, around 2:30.

Sunday, June 17th
Okay, Saturday morning and midday I used myself up, and then spent the whole evening and night folded into an extremely soft couch, so my options for Sunday were extremely limited before it ever began. I woke with an extraordinarily sore back. In addition, all A–b–‘s good sleep Saturday evening meant that she wasn’t as tired as she should’ve been during the night, so she kept T– awake late and woke her up early. Between the two of us, we were a pretty sad sight for most of the day.

It was my first Father’s Day, though, and T– gave me an awesome book of pictures of A–b–. She made the book, and picked such cute pictures. I brought it to work this morning, and naturally it was a big hit.

We managed to make a trip to the grocery store, and T– made some delicious Amish Friendship Bread. I fiddled around with stuff on my computer (some WoW, some Civ, lots of just fiddling). T– watched half a dozen episodes of Numb3rs. We’d intended to go over to B– and E–‘s new place sometime in the afternoon, but they were overcome with the many demands of new homeownership, and so that was postponed. We ended up meeting K– and N– for dinner at Jersey Mike’s Subs, and then crashing for the evening.

All told, we accomplished very little. I finished Saturday’s Civ game with the option of winning in any of 4 different victory paths within the last 5 turns. That was pretty cool. We went to bed early and I slept the sleep of the dead.


I think I’m going to start posting on this blog as a blog. Well, more like a journal, or diary. I first started it with the intention of putting down on paper all my many diatribes, in essay form, but that didn’t take as long as I thought it would, and wasn’t nearly as interesting as I hoped.

I’m not exactly done with that, but as I haven’t posted an essay in about a year, I’m clearly not sticking to it consistently.

One thing I think I’d like to do, is start writing more mundanely, posting daily-ish what’s going on in my life, what I’m working on, that sort of thing. From some stuff I’ve read, it’s extremely valuable to have that sort of a record, to look back on years later. I recently went through all my old scribble books, and got sort of that effect.

So, y’know, most of the stuff I’ll post up here won’t be very interesting. I’ll try to include details whenever interesting things happen, for friends and family to keep up, but mostly I’m hoping to track on my major projects, and self-improvement-type goals.

Here’s a quick list of the big projects I’m working on now:
Taming Fire was rejected a couple months ago. I’d like to get a new submission sent out before July.

From a personal publishing point of view, I think I’m going to let the NewMyth project die.

Sleeping Kings and King Jason’s War are both nearly finished, but completely stalled. I hope to get back in gear on SK, at least.

Dan and I are also cooking up a fascinating fantasy series, based on the conventions of old comic books. To my knowledge, we don’t have a name for the series yet, but we’ve done two or three months of prewriting work so far, and I think we’ll start on the first pages of the first novel sometime late summer or early fall.

Toby suggested reviving our old Magic: The Gathering project as something more manageable, based on a game he’d recently played. I’m excited about this project, too. Around the same time he suggested it, I was reading a series of articles about adding compelling storyline to video games, so I decided to put that in practice, in what could easily have been a story-less game.

I think the story I’ve come up with is pretty cool. As I was trying to develop a very rudimentary model of the map that would allow for symmetrical gameplay (no matter which starting character you choose), I ended up developing the board game I listed below.

One thing I think is really cool about that: I’ve always wanted to make up a game for characters within a fantasy story to play (in the same sort of way that we play Chess or Monopoly), that would make sense within the fantasy world’s history. Every time I tried, though (and most of the times I’ve read other writers who tried), it comes off either as way too close to a real-world equivalent, or completely cheesy (or both). So generally I gave up on the idea.

In this case, it makes perfect sense. The game board is based on the real map simplified, and the abstracted gameplay represents a historical challenge that fits within the culture. Woohoo!

I really want to start teaching/leading a college-level Creative Writing class, modeled after the ones I had, for friends and family. Obviously, it wouldn’t be good for any credit, but it seems like I know half a dozen people who really want to start writing, and basically what they need is a good CW class.

I’ve been making plans for this for the last month, that all revolved around using intended (but not yet implemented) functionality within the NewMyth project. Now, I’m starting to make the decision to cancel the NewMyth project, and I’m not sure what impact that will have on the writing classes. We’ll have to see.

My Boardgame

Okay, it’s basically a pentagon-shaped game of Risk, mixed with Othello (or, if you’re Japanese, Go), mixed with Pente, mixed with, I dunno, Chinese Checkers and darts.

It’s for 1-5 players. It can be played with flat-sided beads (like the ones used as counters by many Magic players, but I’m sure they’re sold for some more common purpose), or marbles, but would require a special tabletop or board to play marbles, since otherwise they’d roll off. It could probably be played with Risk tokens. I believe there are 53 infantry.

Okay, having written out an overview of the game (which is probably called Tirnoval, but maybe I’ll come up with something else…like “Pentagon”), it turns out it’s a very long and complicated walkthrough of the game and its rules. If you’ve already heard most of that info, or if you don’t care that much but are mildly interested, here are the 3 pictures I’ll be using as illustrations. You can skip everything else.

Empty game board: Game board ready to play: Green player quick win:

The Very Long and Complicated Walkthrough of the Game and its Rules
The basic board is a pentagon divided into concentric…pentagons. You start at one of the outside corners, and the goal of the game is to be the first player to reach the center. If you’re playing solitaire,you’re playing for points (which are scored based on the number of marbles you own, the number of marbles you’ve displaced, and the number of turns it took to get to the center).

Here’s a completely empty game board:

As I said, you start at one of the corners. You can see the starting tokens at each of the corners. When you first start the game, you choose which color you want to play. As you can see, every tile on the board is marked with small notches (3-7 notches per tile, increasing as you approach the center) of various colors. These notches indicate the initial marble value of the tile. At the beginning of the game, each tile gets one marble of the appropriate color per notch on it (for a total of 53 marbles of each color, not counting player tokens).

Here’s a table that has been set up, with all of the marbles in place. In the rest of this post, I’m going to describe a playthrough as the green player, which starts at the big green token on the left side of the image.

In the first turn, you can choose to move into one of the two tiles that touch your corner. You goal for the turn is to capture the tile, which requires eliminating all the marbles on that tile that aren’t your color. There are 2 ways to play the game. The method I’m going to describe here uses a single 6-sided die.

In your first turn, you have no marbles (the starter token doesn’t count), and you’re trying to move into a tile that has 3. You first choose which tile you want to move into (in this case, you either take top-left or bottom-left — for our example, we’ll go bottom-left). If there are any marbles of your color in that tile, you immediately capture them (this is a military simulation game, so generally it’s said that they join your army). Then you roll the die to find out your score.

Your score on the die determines how well you do. Ideally, it should be greater than the number of marbles left in the tile you’re moving into. Whatever your roll, you can immediately remove up to that number of marbles from the tile (they go to the starter area for their respective colors). After that, you can (and must) remove one marble from the tile for every marble in your army (on the first turn, there are no marbles in your army). If there are STILL marbles in the tile, then you can choose to remove one more (but you don’t have to) and your player token returns to the starting spot.

That’s a little complicated, so I’ll list it out in bullet points.

Tile Capture Process:
1. Choose a target tile
2. Any same-color marbles in that tile join your army (move to your currently occupied tile)
3. Proceed through the following steps until there are no more marbles on the target tile:
A. Roll the die, and remove up to that number of marbles from the target tile.
B. Sacrifice marbles in your army (marbles in the same tile as your player token) to remove marbles from the target tile.
C. Sacrifice your own token to remove one more token from the target tile. You may choose not to remove the token, but if you have not already captured the tile, you MUST return your token to the starting tile.
4. If you have successfully emptied the target tile (without sacrificing your player token), move your token into the new tile. Take with you as many marbles as you want from the tile you’re leaving (it’s recommended to leave one in each tile except the starting spot).

Every turn, you repeat this process until you reach the center of the map. As you can see, there are some tiles that have a LOT of your color tokens(which would increase the size of your army, which increases your odds of capturing the next tile). Usually, you have to move a significant distance to reach these tiles, though, so you must choose whether you want to build up your army, or rush toward the center.

At the center, there will be a significant stack of marbles (not shown on any of the pictures). I’m not sure how many, but I’m thinking 10-20, and none of them join you. Generally, you either have to take multiple attempts, or spend time building up your army (or, in multiplayer, get lucky timing) to capture the center.

I mentioned multiplayer.The game is designed for multiplayer. In a multiplayer contest, your goal is to be the first to capture the center tile, but there are various ways to do this. Any player can move into an empty tile, but once a tile has been captured by a player if that player leaves even one marble to claim it, another player cannot move through that tile UNLESS the tile’s starting colors match the invading player’s color. Does that make sense? In our example, we’re playing through as green.Well, if Blue had already captured a tile, then instead of the starting marbles on it, it would just have one blue marble. But we couldn’t move into that tile (and displace the blue marble) unless one of the colored notches on the tile was green.

So, one of the ways of winning(like Othello or Go) is to create a path that makes it impossible for your opponent to reach the center. Given the number of tiles that match each color, this will be a pretty rare victory condition, but it’s certainly a possibility.

Another way is to be the first to capture the center tile. As I said, this will usually require multiple attempts (and after a failed attempt, your token moves all the way back to the starting area, which takes a minimum of 6 turns to return). If you are the first to attack the center and you don’t win, you will leave it considerably weakened, which only helps your opponent. In the same way, if another player tries to take the center and fails (but, say, gets a really lucky roll of the die), he may leave it weak enough that you can easily take it in one attempt.

This image shows a quick win (that is, a fairly direct charge from the starting spot to the center) for a Green player playing solitaire. It’s safe to assume that he lost his first attempt to take the center, which sent him back to the start where he was able to take all of the green marbles he’d lost along the way with him as he followed his own path back to the center, and then won this time (although still taking some losses).

(It may also be possible to win by moving into the same tile an opponent is occupying, in which case you would play it out the same way as normal,but if you win, your opponent is removed from the game. Of course, if you lose that fight, you probably lose the game, too.)

I think that sums up everything you need to know to play. Some additional rules I’m considering:

*With the exception of the very first move (out of the starter spot), you can only capture tiles that share a SIDE with your current tile,not a corner (or, in other words, you can’t move diagonally).
* Each turn, if you have an unbroken chain of occupied tiles that leads from your current tile back to the starting point, you can add one marble from anywhere in the chain (including the starting area) to your current army.
* If an opponent chooses to enter a tile you posses (which, remember, he can only do if that tile is his color), you may choose to defend that tile, in which case you move your player token and as many marbles as you want from your current tile back to the tile he’s attacking.This would play out just like the attacking-to-win battle described earlier.
*Possibly, instead of direct player-vs-player encounters resolving the game, it just sends the losing player back to his starting spot. Or, possibly, that is only true for the attacking player (the defending player must defend successfully or he is completely destroyed).

Additional notes:
*I mentioned two ways to play, and described using a 6-sided die in this description. The other would involve direct comparisons of army size, rather than including an initial set of free points (the roll of the die). In this case, the game would probably start with the outside ring(the 3-point tiles) empty, and each starting token would have its 3 marbles already available in its army.
* For reference purposes, I’m naming each of the tiles in clockwise sequence, from outside in, using a numeral to indicate which ring, and a letter to indicate the tile’s position within its ring. Clockwise, as I said, starting at the 12 o’clock position. Given that, the win path in the above image would be described as 1D-2N-2M-2L-3I-4F-4E-5C-6(center).

Journal Entry: January 22, 2007

I probably ought to do a post on the birthing class that we’re taking, but I don’t feel up to it at the moment. I’m in a good mood, is why.

It’s not an unpleasant class…it’s just not much fun to spend nine hours at work, come home for an hour, and then spend three hours at a class. That pretty much counts as a day-not-had. Know what I mean? It’s certainly been a useful class — I’ve learned a lot, and I’m a lot less scared of the big day — but I wish it came in pill form, is what I’m trying to say. I guess.

Anyway, no, I’m going to do another snow-day movies post. Because we had another weekend like the last, except a lot more dramatic. In fact, it barely snowed at all. It rained, but it didn’t much snow. Even so, the weathermen had been predicting catastrophic levels of snow, and I don’t like to embarrass them, so I decided to stay locked up in my house all weekend anyway, and pretend.

So, once again, a lot of WoW and a lot of movies. Here’s your review:

Coneheads is pretty good. I’ve seen SNL movies before, but never one with this scale of participation. It seemed like they had three generations of the SNL cast (the whole cast) in that movie. Good stuff.
Employee of the Month is very good. That’s the Dane Cook movie. I’m a Dane Cook fan, but the movie was still better than I expected. Not amazing, not art — in fact, not anything new — but they did a good job with the genre.
John Tucker Must Die is very good. Same as above, but without Dane Cook. It’s basically Mean Girls and 10 Things I Hate About You. But they did a good job of it, and the sleezy guy is one of the most interesting variations on the sleezy guy character I’ve seen in one of these types.
Nanny McPhee is good. Trish told me I would like it, and I believed her. Still, ugly chick. It was an interesting Cinderella with a Series of Unfortunate Events feel. Maybe that was just the British kids, though.
Night Shift is awful. Don’t see it. 80s Michael Keaton movie (feat. the Fonz as well) about…umm…pimps working out of a morgue. Really not very good.
That Thing You Do is pretty good. Really the only non-Meg Ryan movie that I like Tom Hanks in. Fun, uplifting, and that was back when whatsername was cute.
The Devil Wears Prada is pretty okay. I kinda hated her boyfriend, and he’s supposed to be the touchstone of goodness in the movie, so whatcha gonna do?
The Dukes of Hazzard is okay. Meh. I never watched the show. The movie was fun, but it was 2 AM and I’d had half a cup of vodka, so I’m not really recommending.
Jarhead does a good job of what it’s trying to do. Don’t watch it. As a piece of art, it was impressively realized, but I can’t think of anyone I like who I would recommend this movie to.
Say It Isn’t So is not good. Heather Graham’s pretty hot, but not really worth watching the movie for. I probably should have known that from the synopsis, but it seemed like it could be funny.
Mallrats is pretty good. Watched it in high school, and missed a lot of the storyline. It was fun watching it again after seeing Clerks, so I had a better idea what to expect. Better than I remembered.

Journal Entry: January 17, 2007

Did I talk about Christmas? I really didn’t. I don’t really need to. Christmas this year was everything it’s supposed to be, and nothing it’s not. Which is, you must agree, pretty dang good.

New Year’s Eve was fun. We went to the Austins’, and watched old movies, and snacked and drank. And got a promise of a visit from the Gordons, which made everyone present smile and, to a real extent, cheer. Actually cheer. I will not speak of further developments on that topic.

Since then, we’ve had a snow day. Well, not quite. I mean, I didn’t get to miss any work for free, because the Friday was my Regular Day Off, and the Monday was a federal holiday. So, shucks. But we were trapped in the house for a four-day weekend, so that’s the sort of thing that leads to blog posts.

Well, yes, of course you’re wondering why it didn’t lead to a blog post during my prolonged confinement, but the answer to that is simple: I had an XBox available. Played a lot of WoW, and a lot of Madden ’07, and watched a lot of movies.

Let me review, in brief (and in chronological order, if I remember correctly):

Reality Bites is very good. I would have loved it ten years ago. Also: people smoked a lot ten years ago.
Down Periscope is very good. I can’t believe I’ve only watched it twice. Stupid, yes. Funny, yes.
The Longest Yard (2005) is pretty good. As Kris says, too serious a subject matter to make a comedy out of it. But they did their best.
Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys is okay. It’s not great. I like Dave Barry as a writer, but his deadpan works better on paper than film.
Domino is okay. It wasn’t awful to watch, but I’ll never watch it again.
Boondock Saints is fantastic. I recommend it to everyone who likes movies. Gory action flick. Awesome.
Idiocracy is not very good. It’s got it’s moments, but…meh. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Wedding Crashers is raunchy but hilarious. Take that analysis seriously. I enjoyed it for a second time.
Accepted is pretty good. It’s not as raunchy as I expected, and it’s actually a pretty good story. It’s an old plot (Revenge of the Nerds, Animal House, PCU and probably countless others), but they did a good job with it.

I know I watched at least one more (and possibly as many as four), but I can’t remember it at the moment. If I do, I’ll post a review.

That was the weekend. Then they made me go in to work on Tuesday, in spite of it being the release date for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade — the much anticipated WoW expansion. My darling wife went and waited in line at Best Buy for me, though, so I was able to install the game over lunch, and play it last night. Awesome. So awesome. The best thing about it, is that everyone is so excited about it. Everyone you encounter in-game, and everyone you know who plays it, is just running around like a kid in a candy store. That’s brings a lot of joy to the experience.

Also, and this deserves a whole post rather than being a passing comment at the end, but I submitted three novels to Tor last week. Tor is one of the leading publishers in the Fantasy industry, and I sent them Taming Fire, King Jason’s War, and Sleeping Kings (to their mainstream editor). Of course, I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything. It’ll be six to eight months. Meanwhile, keep that in your prayers, if you would. It’s…unbelievably important to me.

I hope everyone’s well. Find something to smile about. I’m heading home to play some WoW.

Journal Entry: December 5, 2006

I’m starting on the Bible again. Wish me luck.

I’m starting on my Meaning of Life book again. Wish me luck.

I’m starting on Sleeping Kings again. Wish me luck.

I’m starting on the SK website again. Wish me luck.

I’m starting on Neverwinter Nights module development again (after a five year break). Wish me luck.

I’m starting on the Remnant game again (part of that last one). Wish me luck.

Also, I’m thinking about picking up King Jason’s War again, y’know, to fill some of my spare time. Oh yeah, and I’m about to have a baby.

Wish me luck.