Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yay Sam and Andrew!

This past weekend I got the supreme honor of going to Spokane! I know! The honor was actually getting to be a witness to the marriage of Sam and Andrew. The wedding was beautiful, the reception was great. All around a very happy day.

Other highlights:
Hanging out with Alex, Ryan and Daren. I had a hankering for some Tots and a Malt (yep, that meant Zips) they put up with it.
Getting to enjoy breakfast with Jessie! Congrats to her for her new ring! (and fiancee) (@Frank's)
Hanging out with my family, including two super cute dogs. Getting beat at Puerto Rico by one single coin. Checking out Citadels (something that may need to be added to my collection). (some of it @Downriver)

Getting to have lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Griffith! (@Rocky's)

On a side note: Family, have I ever won PR? I don't think I have... I am always crushed by Dad's stunning (and drunk) agrarian society (who apparently dipped in to slavery this last game).

It was super fun weekend. The flights, while annoyingly long, were fine. Nothing super eventful.

I walked in to the apartment to see that it was all decked out for Halloween (more so than when I left). I think pictures are in call for showing off the blood dripping from the walls, and the scary face that greets me every morning (no, it is not Gwyn's).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kickstarter(Board and Card Games) + Me = 6 Backed Games in 24 hours

I try my hardest to resist internet fads. I don't like them. They seem derived and silly. The only reason I am on Facebook is because Chelsea told me how cool it was... and then told me that I could not join for another year because I was in High School (those were the days....). I have avoided twitter (way too egotistical for me), I actively make fun of Gwyn and Pinterest (I was pronouncing it way wrong in my head for soooo long... she makes fun of me for that. All is fair in love and war), and I detest instagram (way to hippster for that).

I heard plenty of things about Kickstarter. About this e-ink watch, and this 3d printer and a bunch of video games. For those of you who do not know about 'crowd funding' or 'crowd sourcing' it is the idea that the internet brings people together. I know! It is all cute and cuddly. So some guy gets this great idea, but he needs money to do it. In this day and age, there are so many people who are awesomely creative that there are not outlets, not enough venture capitalists (good ones at least) or just simply enough people around them get the support the idea needs. This is where crowd sourcing comes in. Some people (dating back to the 1990's) decided that they would just appeal directly to fans/supporters/interested parties for funds. The idea is that one person giving you $10,000 is awesome, but convincing them to give you that money is kind of hard. But 10,000 people giving you $1 is not as hard (sometimes). This is where a plethora of websites come in. Kickstarter is one of them. Check out the previously mentioned projects to get a scope of how much money a group can raise... those up there, they are all in the millions of dollars. The Pebble, the watch, they had to stop letting people back, because the interest in their product was 10,000% greater than they expected. They were looking to build a modest 300 - 400 watches. Then the internet got hold of it and demanded more than 86,000 watches. Another awesome crowd sourced project was this tribute to a museum for a oft forgotten scientist (lol, Let's Build A Goddamn Museum).

Ok.. so I avoided all of the above for excusable reasons. But then I (unfortunately) found a link on Board Game Geek (another recent obsession) to a game called Zombicie. Turns out this sweet looking game had its humble beginnings at Kiskstarter. Until it raised $761,597 more than they planned on. So I decided to take a look around the 'Board and Card Games' section of the site. Oh. My. Goodness. What a wonderful thing.

So here is how I have gathered it works (specifically for the board and card game section).

A game designer gets an idea for a game. They build up the details, you know game mechanics, rules, balancing the gameplay, the story (if needed). Then the designer comes up with a rough business plan, including funding plans (more on that later), production plans (both publishing and artwork) and shipping/distributing plans. They then fold this all to a Kiskstarter page, most notably the pitch video where the creator lays out the game, basically a sales pitch.

At this point they know how much it is going to cost to publish and distribute the game. So they have an idea of how much funding they need to make the finished product. So they set a goal, give it a time (a month. normally) and let the internet in. People can back the project for whatever dollar amount they want. If you want to give a dollar to the project you are more than welcome to, but in most cases (and particularly in the game domain) after a certain point of backing, the designer will send you the product, in this case the game (or two or three depending on the pledge). Often times the designer will add incentives to get people to fun a little more, like if you back a certain amount, your likeness will be used in the game, or you will also receive the original art for the game... or the game designer will fly to you and play with you (if you really want to throw down the cash).

The most important thing about Kickstarter is that if the goal is not funded (which happens 56% for Kickstarter over all) then the money is not collected. Nothing happens. But if the goal is met, then the backers credit cards are charged, and the creator gets the money to start in to production. In a lot of cases, when funding is well over the goal, the designer will enhance the product because of the increased interest. This can take form in expanding the game. Or higher quality parts. Or another game altogether.

 Ok, so up there I said that I backed 6 game projects. That is very true. And they all look sweet. I cannot tell you about all of them, because some of them are going to be gifts! Take a look at some them for yourself:

With only 54 hours to go: Lost Valley
Well funded, already established game (this is a re-print for the US). This also means you get all of the stretch! But it is almost over, so get it now!

A very interesting looking logic style game, along the same vein as Clue, but much more involved, and based on the very historic Salem Witch Trials. One of the ones I am most excited about.
Mom, Chelsea, take a look. I think you will find it interesting.


A simple, yet amusing card game. And for a great price ($6 at the moment).
If you mention me when you back, I could get a free deck! And you know that I will just end up giving that to someone else!

I am sure that I will find more awesome looking games and post them here... it is inevitable at this point.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Second Ever

I witnessed my second earthquake today. It was unremarkable enough that Walking Dead, Dexter and the Debate got more attention from this apartment.

Gwyn and I were standing in our kitchen re-heating some enchiladas, having a detailed discussion about board games (I have been fixated on them recently, more on that later...), when there was a loud groan, and then rattling. Kind of like if Sasquatch was walking around upstairs. The plates shook a little, some glasses clinked... Gwyn got a little frightened, she asked what it was. As you could barely feel it with your body, I said it was probably an earthquake or an explosion. I then clarified that I hoped it was an earthquake, and no one got hurt.

Take that California. Unless the entire state of California ceded by natural tectonics from the continent, and we were just feeling the after shock. Then I feel really sorry for all of you, and I feel really bad for making a joke about it.

UPDATE: Check it out. Apparently this is the first sizable (4.0) earthquake in New England since 1940. Any yet still.... Walking Dead, Dexter and the Debate won over the interest.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Garden Box Stuffed Peppers

You have all seen my garden boxes. They have been doing great. But as the first freeze hits New England, these guys are going to have to be cleaned out. But, a while back we harvested some peppers! And what do you do with a bunch of peppers? Make stuffed peppers! Well apparently. This is kind of a big deal here (on the east coast), I saw them all the time in Pittsburgh, and they are popular here too. Gwyn said she had them growing up. I never did. This may just be my mother didn't make them on behalf of her two kids not really liking peppers when they were young... oh wait Chelsea still does not really like peppers. But I love them! So on to the recipe:

This was completely made up by me. I had only a little foreknowledge, and a lot of improvisation.

Garden Box Stuffed Peppers

Bake Time: 30 Mins +/- 20 mins depending on filling
Prep Time: 30 Mins

I am not going to add quantity to the ingredients, as the size of your peppers is the biggest constraint. If you have huge peppers you need a lot of filling. If you have small peppers, you don't need that much. Use your best judgement. Also, if you like a lot of meat, add a lot of meat, if you really like beans, add more beans.

Bell Peppers! Good Ones! You can get whatever level of ripeness you want (i.e. color)
Italian Sausage (or other savory sausage)
Sweet Onion
Black Beans (can)
Brown Rice (cooked)
Corn (from a can, or fresh)
Cheese (we always have mexican blend on hand)
Bread Crumbs

Tomato Sauce

Added Garden Herbs:

Pre Heat oven to ~375. A little higher if you have large peppers, and a little cooler if you have small guys.

First step is to open up and completely clean out the pepper. Be sure to Only cut enough to make an opening, you want to preserve the cup like nature of the pepper for the stuffing part. Clean out all of the white flesh and the seeds. Wash well.

Cook your sausage. You can get this 80% of the way done as the filling is going to cook while in the oven. You can cook it all the way if you want. Pull out cooked sausage.

In sausage grease, cook chopped up onion until translucent.

If you need to cook rice, you should have started a while ago.

In a large bowl mix your sausage, onions, beans, rice and corn. We went about equal part on all of it. We might have gone a little heavy on the sausage, but equal on the rest. Add cheese, bread crumbs and tomato sauce. This is completely up to the cook. If you want really cheesy stuffed peppers, you know what to do here. If the mixture is too solid, you can add more tomato sauce, if it is too liquidy, (drain if it is sitting in liquid) add some bread crumbs. You want it kind of the consistency of dough. Add your herbs and other seasoning if you want (Haha! Hot Peppers!)

In a baking dish, pour a generous layer of tomato sauce to the bottom. Then take each pepper and stuff! Using a spoon, get the inside mixture all up in the pepper. Top with a basil leaf, then a layer of tomato sauce, and then a generous layer of cheese. Arrange so that the peppers hold themselves up, if you need to you can make little foil support structures.

Bake for 10 - 40 minutes (lol, huge span I know). I think I baked ours for 20 minutes. You want it to go until the cheese on top is browning, or the insides are bubbling out.

Pull out, put it on a plate, pour some hot sauce from the bottom of the pan on top and serve.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gwyn got me sick

More realistically her students got her sick. Then she came home and got sick. And now I am sick.

Dang unhygienic kids.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Always Eating and Looking Good

Hello Again!

So a few weeks ago I was buying supplies for my photography class and came across sun printing.

Its this really cool paper that is light sensitive. Normally people place plants or small objects on top of them and then have a negative left on the paper. What's also cool is that the area touched by the sun turns a beautiful dark blue.

So I had a thought. What if I were to make negatives and then printed them on the sun paper? And the result? Beautiful new artwork for Scott and my kitchen.

I chose photos that showed us eating! So appropriate for a kitchen don't you think?

Anyway here are the pics.

Left of the window

Right of the window

this is Scotts favorite picture... needless to say it is not mine.

Turkey Leg!

I made the negatives on transparency paper. I reversed the image first so the photos would look "normal". Then put the negative on the sun paper and left it in direct sunlight for 2-3 minutes. Then I removed the transparency paper and soaked the image in cold water for a minute. Hang to dry and Viola! 

They make our little kitchen a bit snazzier don't you think?!