Magic in OKC

It was so late by the time we got in last night that I put the blog on hold for a day. So here’s yesterdays grind:

I wasn’t feeling horrible today, but the rain kind of put me in a downer mood. Hot breakfast and coffee at the hotel helped, but I was still bleh by the time we got to the convention center. I knew I was in a touchy mood when an offhand comment made me mad. Eventually I pulled out of it and resolved the issue enough to enjoy the rest of the tournament. I tend to dwell on things, even minor things, and it’s one of the things I’m working to “let go” of as I get older.

The tournament was sealed, which means we opened six packs of cards, sorted and recorded them, then passed them to someone else while we got the cards sorted and recorded by another player. Then we used those cards to build a deck to play with for the rest of the tournament.  An important concept in MtG is synergy. With 30 minutes to build a deck, my mind wasn’t ready to build a synergized deck. I went aggro (attack-based) and hoped for the best.

This is only a small percentage of the 1000+ people that attended GP OKC.
This is only a small percentage of the 1000+ people that attended GP OKC. I swear that guy in the lower corner looks just like my dad!

I lost my first match 1-2. In my second match, my opponent dropped late to play in side events, thus conceding and giving me the win.  While normally I would be bummed to not get to play, it worked out because it gave me time to grab something to eat. MtG time doesn’t seem to work like regular time. It felt like I’d just eaten breakfast, when it had actually been about six hours.

The rest of the day consisted of two legitimate wins, another win due to my opponent not showing up, and a bunch of losses. I knew I was going to stay in it until the end. We didn’t budget for side events, and I really do like playing the format, even when I’m not winning.

One of the best parts about today was making “tourney” friends (which is my term, not one in some player lexicon to my knowledge). Tourney friends are the people you’ve just met who you then keep seeing and talking to throughout the day. I made a couple tourney friends, including one guy who actually remembered Jon and I from the modern tourney in KC (we remembered him too, but he actually picked us out in the crowd, which was pretty awesome).

The tourney friends were awesome, but I have to be honest: even though I had fun, it wasn’t the same as KC, which was a really good time for me. I thought about dropping early and leaving a few times, but I hung in there, partially because I said I would and partially because Drew and his friend were playing in side events and I couldn’t really leave them.  I think a lot of it was the comfort level. When we did the Modern tournament, I had a deck I was comfortable with and had fun playing.  With sealed, it was a deck I wasn’t familiar with and because I couldn’t change it, I was stuck with the same thing all day, even though it wasn’t as fun for me to play.

At the end if the day, we were super exhausted and hungry.  We left the convention center and grabbed some food from the McD’s next to our hotel, then headed back to the room, showered, and crashed.  Everyone else was sleeping by the time I got done showering, so I went lights out instead of updating the blog.

Which is again why you’re getting a bonus today. 


Back in the City Again

We didn’t get up as early as we were planning, but I think I needed the sleep. Last night after we got settled in at the in-laws, my throat started hurting and I started feeling kind of crappy overall.  My dad-in-law was awesome and picked me up some throat lozenges, and I went to bed relatively early. When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t in any hurry to get out of bed, but when I finally did, I felt much better. My throat has been feeling a little scratchy on and off all day, but I haven’t felt bad, so we still went out and did stuff.

We went out geocaching and found six finds before leaving town, including one that we didn’t find the first time around. After Drew got home, we picked up him, then went to Derby to pick his friend up and headed towards OKC, stopping at the rest stop for some lunch and gas.

The drive was fairly quick and uneventful. My pocket query didn’t show any caches along the route, but I think that was probably due to the settings I chose when I generated it. No big deal, since we decided to get into the city first and then do some caching after we checked into our hotel and mapped our route to the convention center.

Check-in was quick, and we headed right back out, decidingo to beat rush hour and haul it to the Cox Center to check-in (we pre-registered) to make sure we knew where we were going. We forgot about the possibility of having to pay for parking, so that was a bummer, but it worked out okay since I’d miscalculated the hotel room charge in our favor.

Checking in was super fast. The original plan had been to drop Drew and his friend off to play some early events while we went back out hunting. With parking having a fee, we didn’t want to go back out and have to pay again, so we decided to get our exercise by walking around the area. Originally we were going to try to get to Bricktown, but a nearby cache led us to the botanical gardens, and that’s where we spent the majority of our time, finding two geocaches in the process.

I’d been to the gardens once when I lived in OKC, but we were in a part that I didn’t remember. It was so pretty and the day was beautiful.

100_1968 100_1978 100_1980 100_1981 100_1990 100_1992

We definitely got our walking in, meeting our step goals and wearing ourselves out. Before heading back to pick up the guys, we took a walk around the block and found a Subway shop for dinner.  The walk felt good, and we only took a couple breaks.  The first break was after we decided to take the stairs. I believe the ones we took had about 30 steps, and in keeping with my goal, I went up all of them without using the railing. I did walk a little slower after that, and I was tired by the time we got back to the center, but it was so worth it. My back didn’t even start hurting until I sat down for the final time, and then it seized up a bit, but nothing major (though I am pretty stiff right now).

Now we’re back at the hotel. I’m blogging and everyone else is watching Storage Wars. Once I’m done here, I’ll be taking a nice hot shower and laying down for the night. We’re aiming to be at the Cox Center around 9am to get good parking, and since the hotel has hot breakfast, we’re planning on getting up way early. I’m tired. My throat doesn’t hurt at the moment, but I am sore and I’m hoping the shower will help loosen up the areas that are seizing up (I suppose some stretching might help too).

Onward to the GP!




Tengaicon 2013 – I’m Calling it a Sucess!

It’s just after midnight, so I guess technically I missed my daily blog deadline, but I’m still awake, so it counts. We just got home a little bit ago, and I was tempted to put off yet another post so I could crash. But I wanted to get something out about today, so here goes, with apologies if anything sounds off or wonky…I’m really tired.

I don’t think I’ve talked much about Tengaicon, so here’s some back story. It’s a local, one day gaming convention in MHK that’s been going on for close to a decade. It’s had its ups and downs, and last year it had a streak of bad luck.  In an effort to help get it back on track, I headed the committee for this year’s event. At the time I volunteered, I was in what I like to call “crazy planning mode.”  I figured I’d eventually burn out, but the goal was to make sure everything was ready before that burn out happened.  I wanted the end goal to be a plan of action that could be followed and built upon the following years.

For the last year, our committee has been organizing and getting things in place. There were several meetings at the beginning of the planning period, but eventually, as things came together, they tapered off. By the time we were a week away from the con, I felt that everything was on track. Sure, I let the ball drop a little bit. We could have done more marketing and PR, and there were a few details regarding food that missed the mark. But that was really all in hindsight, and I was cautiously optimistic that we’d have a good convention (and by cautiously optimistic, I was worried and stressed that no one would show up).

For our crew, the con stuff started last night when we met at the hall to set up.  Set up was quick, as we had a good volunteer crew. This morning we were back at 8 to put the finishing touches on the hall and to pick up some last minute things at the grocery store.  From the time the doors opened at 9:30 to sometime in the afternoon, we seemed to have a steady stream of people.

The day was fun! We had several local gaming groups attend, and they each brought in a good number of players. We also had casual gamers show up who found something that interested them. We had Tab Creations, a local game maker/company, come and demo a new game that’s going to be a Kickstarter project. We had our dice table, our silent auction to raise money for Child’s Play, paint and take, local artists, and concessions.  Everyone I talked to seemed to be having a good time. We got a lot of positive feedback and everyone was really nice.

Besides the demo, I didn’t do any gaming since I was trying to make sure everything was going well. I wanted to make sure all my volunteers had breaks, that all of our vendors and GMs  were thanked, and that the gamers were having a positive experience. I’m not sure if I was able to really talk to everyone, and I think I accidentally let a few people go a little long without a break, but I think things were okay and nobody seemed burned out by the end of the day (I did have a few flashbacks of my days as lead cashier at Glens, though).

Jon and I made it out by 11, sticking around to make sure the last few groups made it out okay and doing last minute hall cleaning. I’m grateful to everyone who helped and played. In the final counts, we ended up making a profit and I believe we had over 100 attendees. For a small convention, this was pretty awesome.

We still have a few things to do, like contact the silent auction winners who weren’t there to pick up their stuff when it ended, and set up a post-con meeting to recap and make a plan for moving forward. I also want to email everyone with thanks and put some notes and schedules down on paper to pass on to whoever my successor is going to be.  Because seriously, I’m so happy with how this turned out, and I want any future convention to continue to improve on what we accomplished today.

But those things can wait for tomorrow. I’m falling asleep typing this, so I think it’s time for much needed rest. I don’t think our double day of working out is going to happen tomorrow, as my back is killing me tonight. But we’ll see. And while I realize I’ve failed on pictures for this post, I think I’ve persuaded Terry to give me some of the pictures he got today in hopes of putting together a special Tengaicon picture post.



Crabby and Crashing

The day was busy but not as intense as I expected it to be, at least not in my corner of the office.  However, the day as a whole was pretty boring.

Jon registered us for the MtG tourney in OKC at the beginning of October, so I’m committed now. It’ll be fun.

The night took a turn for the lazy when we went against our previous plans and called tonight a rest night. So no gym. Which would have been okay, except Domino’s messed up my pizza and gave me cheese, not ham like I ordered. They credited us for two free larges next time we order.

Doesn’t make tonight’s dinner any less disappointing. I know, I’m being bratty about it. I’ll get over it like I’ve gotten over all my other recent disappointing meals.

I’d better go to bed and sleep off some of this crabbiness.


Gen Con 2013: Day 0 – Will Call and Exploration

I always call the Wednesday of Gen Con week Day 0, because there are still things going on, but the convention doesn’t technically start until Thursday.  Day 0 is the day we use to pick up our badges, have our annual lunch at The Ram, and get our rest in before the walk-a-thon that the next few days brings. At least that’s how it’s been in the past. This year was a bit different in that we didn’t use it as our day of rest. Instead, we kicked the walk-a-thon off early and then hoped that it didn’t haunt us the rest of the weekend.

The night before we decided that if we got up earlier we’d try to find a couple of local geocaches.  I was awake an hour before the alarm, and I woke Jon up too (poor guy). We grabbed breakfast, an event which showcased my first time ever using a waffle iron at a continental breakfast. It was kind of cool and tasted okay. Unfortunately, it fell short of protein, but it was also early and my stomach wasn’t up for a big meal.
Over the next hour, we found five geocaches. They were all park and grabs, but it was fun finding them! We were able to give our trackable a new home, and we found the tiniest cache yet on our adventures.
So tiny...only a small slip of paper fit in there.
So tiny…only a small slip of paper fit in there.
Writing on the tiny paper in there was a challenge, but I did it!
After the fifth one, we decided to head to the convention center. One-way streets in downtown Indy make me nervous, but we finally found parking. The walk from the parking garage to the convention center seemed much shorter this year, probably due to the distinct lack of rest stops I had to take. We hung out and met up with Terry and Erica (our trip mates who gave me permission to use their names in the blog…the mystery is solved). We got in line a little before 11 for will call with the hope that it might open early. It did, but only by about 10 minutes. The line was fast though. I think we only waited for about 15 minutes from the time the line opened to the time we got our badges.
From there, we walked to The Ram for our annual lunch. We were seated right away, and service was super fast. As we were sitting down,  Jon said, “Hey, turn around and look at the booth behind you.” I figured he was showing me a cool decoration or someone in costume. Turns out, Wil Wheaton was sitting in one of the booths behind us. I managed to keep the fan-girling to a minimum. The guy was eating lunch and I don’t want to be one of those people who hound and bother cool, well-known people in the wrong setting. So I just basked in the excitement of being near a celebrity and did nothing more than send a casual Tweet about it.
The food was delicious. Sticking with my goals of keeping it healthy this week, I got a side salad and a cup of fruit to go with my burger.
2013-08-14 12.44.48
The vinaigrette on that salad was so good. I didn’t feel like I was forcing myself to eat the healthy stuff either. I was actually craving a salad and I always love fruit, so this wasn’t a hardship at all.
Jon and I got some down time while Terry and Erica were in the VIG orientation, so we people-watched and found a good 3G spot to check the internet on our phone. Once they were done, we headed toward their hotel room. The original plan at that point was to head to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. After talking about it though, we decided it would be a pain to pay parking and then pay again to come back to the area for some evening stuff. We talked about taking a cab, but by the time we got there, we would have only had a couple hours to walk through the museum.
Instead, we opted to stay in the area and walk to the Indiana State Museum which was close to their hotel. We dropped some stuff at their room and headed over.  Jon and I got to make use of our Flint Hills Discovery Center membership perks. We talked about doing the Star Wars exhibit but decided against the 20 dollar per person cost. Instead, we walked around the regular exhibits and took a ton of pictures. I will note that it was about this time that I started losing steam. However, this was about 3 in the afternoon. That was a long period of sustained steam.
Erica got a game in her VIG swag bag, so we decided to go back to their hotel and play. We ended up sitting in the lounge area of the JW Marriott for a few hours. We met another con-goer who we invited to play. Since the game was only for four players, I sat out and just enjoyed the ambience of the area. The staff was super friendly, I got to people-watch and check the internet again, and later I had some really tasty coffee while sitting in a chair that was more like a comfy throne.
Jon and I eventually headed out to find some food and hit a MtG party at one of the local bars. We were going to check out some food trucks but ended up getting Steak and Shake. It was cheap, we didn’t have to wait long, and I love their food. Not so healthy this time…I had the fries and enjoyed every minute of them. Still managed to avoid soda, though I was craving a coke. I might have had one too, but I didn’t feel like dealing with the side effects.
We didn’t stay at the bar party long. We were both tired and bars aren’t really my thing. I did have a little bit of social anxiety, but I think it was due to the claustrophobia. There were a lot of people, and at one point, I didn’t have a way out. However, we both got hand drawn tokens from Eric Klug.
From there, it was back to the parking garage and back to the hotel room.
So much walking, but so much fun, and that was all before the convention even started…a successful kick-off.

Parties and Animals

I’m doing a phone draft because I have a feeling that by the time I get home, I’m not going to want to get on the computer. I’m currently at a get together…some may call it a party. I’ve had one glass of wine and some not-so-healthy food, and I think it’s going to be water for the rest of the night.

The wine has taken the edge off being around a group of people. I’m not feeling social anxiety. I’m feeling slight annoyance with people who I’ve learned in the past do not mesh well with me.

That’s right. It’s not me. It’s them.

The day as a whole was good. We had planned to get up early but didn’t leave the house until after noon. I was exhausted, so the extra sleep was good. The weather was cool and rainy, so even though it was the middle of the day, we went to the zoo.

It was a good zoo day. We got to see a young chimp get disciplined by one of the older chimps for picking on the baby chimp. Spanking is still very much accepted in the primate world. We watched the hyenas eye young children like they would make delicious snacks. We saw a baby bobcat.

Jon played spoons with a stranger and we got rained on. It was a blast.

Being rained on later meant that I was pretty chilled. I’m sure that will come back to haunt me.

We spent a couple hours at the library reading. I checked out another sizzler. It looked good, but 100 pages in it’s a little boring. Going to finish it, though. It’s slow, but I want to see where it goes.

Then it was a quick trip to the liquor store and then the party where I’m getting ready to draft some MtG. I’m going to lose. I always lose. But I’m hoping it’s a fun time anyway.


The Road to Texas – Vacation Day Zero and One

We’ve been trying to get to Texas for several months, but the timing wasn’t right. We finally made it happen with an extended weekend vacation south while J. Felbs was on Spring Break. We left after work on a Tuesday, heading to Wichita to stay the night and break the long drive up a bit.
On the way, we listened to The More You Nerd which was like reconnecting with old friends. It’s one of our favorite podcasts, but due to technical issues with computers, internets, and iPods, I hadn’t been able to upload in a long time.  Wichita brought a trip to Braum’s and a couple games of MtG, where I learned the importance of taking my brother-in-law out in a match as soon as possible.
Besides the weather being nice, we got a little adventurous on the road trip the next day. First, we stopped at a small BBQ joint called Stevenson BBQ. The hearse in the parking lot was a little unsettling, as were the scary bathrooms. But the smell of BBQ was wonderful and the food ended up being delicious.
Pretty sure this used to be a Braum's
Pretty sure this used to be a Braum’s
Order up at the front counter
Brisket sandwich and fries
We decided to go off the beaten path and have an adventure, so we drove into Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma and visited The Toy & Action Figure Museum. It was so cool. There were, of course, action figures of all kinds, including some horror figures from some of my favorite movie franchises. There was a neat playroom where people (mostly kids, but there were some adult costumes too) could dress up and act like a superhero for awhile. There was a Bat Cave that had everything Batman and a corner that featured Oklahoma cartoon artists. It was fun to geek out on all the displays. 
One of my faves! It was kept behind a glass case. This was probably good.
One of my faves! It was kept behind a glass case. This was probably good.
This was only part of the many TMNT memorabilia
This was only part of the many TMNT memorabilia


Our side trip, road work, and rush hour traffic put our arrival time a little later, but not too late. We got in, visited with Grandma L, then ate dinner at The Porch, a local homestyle restaurant in Burleson.


We ended the night watching Duck Dynasty (which cracked me up) and Bates Motel (which intrigued me and made me sad I don’t have cable).  All in all, a successful first day of vacation.