Thursday, November 18, 2010

Computers: Taming the octopus

There is a significant gap of space between my desk and the table that holds my four printers (yes, I actually use three of them on a regular basis, and keep the fourth for printing CD/DVD labels). Also, the cable TV connections are on that wall, so needless to say, i have a big mess of cables in the corner of the room.

Today I actually decided to at least tuck them along the baseboards (not tack them there, just shove them over). I was a little surprised to find that I had five unnecessary cables in all that mess: Network, phone, USB, an unused power cord, etc.

I'm amazed now that there's actually carpet under all that mess! It's still not clean, but at least it's tidy.

I feel empowered now to tackle the comic books and magazines that have exploded all through my guest room (I've been unpacking, sorting, and rearranging in there and ran out of steam about halfway through the project).

I'm also going to finally address my networking and printer sharing issues.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

D&D: I wonder... do I have any great adventures left before me?

The cat was raising a ruckus in the other room down the hall, so I went in to investigate. Miss Kitka was up to an unusual shenanigan (at least for her) and was knocking over a stack of DVDs, which had fallen on her water dish, which had splashed the side of a box full of magazines.

It was one of those white boxes you get at comic shops in which to store oversize comics and magazines. Naturally, I opened it to make sure it wasn't wet enough to seep through and damage anything inside the box. This particular box was a mishmash of things: Comics, gaming magazines, graphic novels, old MAD Magazines, Doctor Who Magazines, etc. And a few oddities, including some of my old game journals, nestled right up against my copy of Snarf Quest.

I'm a prolific note taker when it comes to gaming. Back in the day, I was lucky enough to play in campaigns that ran for years. Every Saturday, like clockwork, I'd be over at Murphy's house or at his barracks in the day room, slinging dice and slaying monsters.

Those were some of the heydays of my gaming life. I was working, married, then returned to school, and was having a blast. Then I looked at the date and realized that those adventures were from 1994!  That was 16 years ago!

Wow. The time has flown. Yes, I've gamed since those days... and had some great times (both with Gutshot and with other games). But I don't wax nostalgic for them. When I think of my other games, I remember the friends and a few exciting highlights (perhaps that's because I was GMing in those later games, not running a character).  Whatever the reason, when I look through these old notes and mementos, I feel like an old adventurer -- who has long since settled down -- and is going through one of his old trunks only to find a haversack with some of his old gear, tucked away... mostly forgotten.

Most of it came rushing back when I read the pages: The epic details of the haunted island, our role in the war to the south, but it was the little things that I recall best: (the cold camps, the bandits we fought on the road and executed,the widow whose solider son had come back from the war and we used our healing gifts to save his life in exchange for a warm barn to sleep in, and the nightmare when we washed up on the shore of that haunted island, only to realize that one of my bottles of whiskey didn't make it). It's all there, like a forgotten life. Parts of it were crystal clear (Lena, Airth and Rikus), but for the life of me, It took me a moment to remember who Dargon was. It came back to me, but it took longer than it should have.

Maybe it's the beer that's made me a little wistful tonight, but this journey down the pathless trail of my past heroic adventures in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons made me wonder, do I have any great adventures left before me? Will I ever again sit at a table, dice in hand, ready to go in search of the unknown? Are there any giants left to kill, or ghosts to quiet? Or have do my best days of gaming lie behind me now?

And what about you, fellow dice slingers? Are there any dragons left in your future, or are you like me, a tired ex-adventurer sitting on a backside that's broader than it used to be, sipping a brew and thinking of his gaming glory days?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day -- We remember

Spent much of the day with the History Channel watching Battlefield 360 focus on the WWII invasion of Sicily. Then I started to work on updating a new Memorial Day image for the Hawgleg Websites… and then -- a few beers in me -- I read "In Flanders Fields." Must admit, there are a few tears in my eyes.

Earlier, I had thought of my grand dad. We weren't particularly close (he'd left my dad when he was a kid -- started a new family and all that). But I do remember his stories of WWII. He wasn't allowed to serve. He worked on the railroad in El Paso and, as a member of "essential industry," he was not allowed to enlist. He had tried, but was flat out denied. I remember his stories of the troop trains that passed through in the middle of the night. That he would catch a few winks in a boxcar, pulling a 48-hour shift, and had some of the hobos wake him when the next train went through. He talked about the USO girls who were there, brewing coffee and handing it up in buckets (a few tin cups attached by long strings) through the windows to the thirsty GIs shipping out to the West Coast. There was no passenger station in the yards, so the women had to make do with open fires and what supplies they could muster. The men weren't allowed off the trains (although the "porters," corporals in charge of the cars, I think, would let some of them off on the side opposite the women so they could go relieve themselves before the train got underway again.

Anyway, I suppose I'm just a bit sentimental tonight… thinking about people who "gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God…, shall not perish from the earth."

God bless everyone -- past, present, and future -- who has fallen in the name of justice and liberty.