Posts Tagged fun times

Card Kingdom and Cafe Mox

There is a mecca of gaming in the Seattle area. It arrived about a year and a half ago now, I think, and it is truly outstanding. This haven is Card Kingdom’s store in Ballard, just north of Seattle, and their attached “gamer bar” Cafe Mox. I went there yesterday with some awesome co-workers to play games for like 6 hours and (as always) enjoyed every minute of it.

Card Kingdom’s store space is laid out in a somewhat unusual way for a game store. Rather than packing as many games as possible into as little space as possible, and leaving play/demo space to a minimum, there are large aisles, well organized and categorized sections of product, and many tables on which to play. There’s even an entire three rooms devoted to card games, miniature games and roleplaying games respectively, each with their own appropriate table space! It’s really amazing.

But the reason I keep returning there is actually Cafe Mox, the bar right next door owned and operated by the same folk. In this bar, there are a large variety of beers, wines, mead and even food – sandwiches, salads, some delicious fried stuff. You can check games out from Card Kingdom and play them in Mox, plus there are even two large rooms off the bar you can book for long sessions with big groups (I’ve done so for day-long drafting, for example.)

I highly recommend anyone in town who has any inclination toward playing ANY games at all (and honestly, that means everyone who reads this AT LEAST) to visit and relax there for a few hours. If you come visit me, let me know and I’ll be sure to set up a trip!

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Philosophy of Mixology

Tonight I’m co-hosting a party with the amazing Paul Barclay and Erin Alexander, whereby they will make delicious tapas-style food and I will recommend and mix drink pairings for guests. It’s super exciting, and I am woefully underprepared! Just now I am sitting down to take a look at the menu (this stuff looks frickin’ delicious) and wondering about:

  • whether I’ll have access to the appropriate mixers
  • whether I should be pre-determining components rather than full drinks, to better suggest a pairing for the individual
  • what sort of drinkers will be at the party (I’m best at hard liquor mixing, pretty bad at recommending beers and wines)

My general philosophy with mixing drinks for friends is to ask simple questions that help determine taste. For example, do you like drinks on the fruitier side? Or more “fresh”/”clean” tasting (like a martini)? Using a series of these questions (usually no more than three), I can find a tasty drink for the person. Doing pairings will be trickier, since I want to recommend a good drink to go with the dish but I don’t want to be giving tequila-based stuff to a rum drinker. Haven’t quite cracked that chestnut yet.

One thing I know for sure – after about two drinks, everyone’s going to love the third, so that takes the pressure off. :) Also, I’ll probably be taste-testing my creations, so I’m sure I’ll de-stress pretty quickly too! 😮

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Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday

Wow today was busy.  I wish I was exaggerating when I say this is the first time today where I feel like I can really sit down and write a blog, but it’s basically true.  I guess I could have not socialized at lunch, but other than that brief period of time, I was booked up.

It began with an early morning and work on this new website, trying to get it ready to look at by this afternoon’s meeting.  The website, of course, is launching essentially Thursday and hasn’t had any QA eyeballs on it at all.  Fun!  In the midst of that, I had some design pow-wow with Ken, Brian and Mark, and then a chat with a different Mark about long-term job thoughts.  Pile on the second project, another website, in the last throes of bug zaps before it gets sent out the door, and you can see why I wanted a break for foods.

Post-lunch was a blessedly short Magic R&D update meeting, which dovetailed nicely into my back-to-back-to-back meetings on Gatherer imports, the afternoon meeting for the to-be-launched website (at which we did not look at said website, merely talked about it), and then rushing to home with carpool buddy Peter to feed Max, and getting over to Bellevue just in time to play cards with the Community Cup participants in town this week.

Whew!

I did not have time to look up places to eat for Friday’s date, nor did I have time to do my soon-to-be-overdue expense report.  There’s always tomorrow!

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Event Journalism

When I was in high school, one of my English teachers convinced me to go join the journalism class, which was responsible for our newspaper The Flagship.  I had a great time working on it, so much so that I took on editor-in-chief at Caltech as a freshman.  Oops!  It was tons and tons of work for very little payoff… but I still had fun.  So when I joined Wizards and realized I still had a desire to write about things happening, I talked with Greg, the events coverage coordinator, and he agreed to let me try.

I am now at my fourth Pro Tour doing coverage, and it’s awesome!  It’s a lot of work, and the hours are a little… weird.  And the particular context in which I am doing event coverage – of Magic, and of Magic players – can sometimes be frustrating (Magic players are very opinionated, for example, and not very hygienic sometimes).  But it’s still awesome, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to write.

Writing about Magic games is an interesting balance between play-by-play and story.  It’s pretty important to have a narrative thread to keep the reader’s attention, and except for the very best players, you don’t want to flood readers with game states.  I have found it is way easier to write down the play-by-play while sitting there watching them play, and then revise into a real story afterward if I can.  Oftentimes, when you look back to do a first and second edit of your work, you can feel themes emerging.

Maybe it’s silly to think this way about specifically articles about Magic games, since they are so inaccessible to an uninformed audience, but I have definitely appreciated seeing my writing in new light from doing event coverage.

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Associates’ Tea

This weekend, I was down in the Los Angeles area visiting lots of friends – it ended up being even more friends, because this weekend happened to *also* be the yearly alum event for my college’s “house,” Blacker, called the Associates’ Tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing old friends, and I also kind of enjoy meeting some new younger people (the next generation of Techers)… but I do sometimes feel the strain of reconnecting with folks that I knew but with whom I made a clean break. I know I can’t really even think about staying in touch with more than my Dunbar’s Number (150) worth of friends. And because of the way I connect emotionally with friends, I feel some psychological pain when I’m kind of at my limit but feel sort of obligated to

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The Spice Must Flow

I am slightly (okay, maybe muchly) inebriated, sitting here with a ton of awesome folk – Todd, Tory, Sam, Kirsten, Nate and Nick – remembering I have to write a blog! I have been having quite a bit of chocolate porto, so this might be a litkktke slurrrred. :)

We had a blind taste test of sugar cookie recipes earlier (thanks Tory!) and I found out that one of the recipes had pepper in it! I am highly intolerant of spices in most cases, even up to black pepper, so I was mildly concerned. Turned out to be great thought!

I have been trying to get myself more resilient to spice intent, but other than garlic and wasabe, but my mouth is bit agreeable. It is sometimes hilarious when I go out to restaurants and the waitstaff is sort of unbelieving of my intolerance. But it’s true – despite my love of Indian food’s taste, for example, I can’t handle the “hotness” spicing.

Now, onward to the excellent video series Drunk History!

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Ditch Day 2002

It’s about four in the morning, and I am listening to some Dave Matthews song with a beat on repeat.  Wedge is there, trying to help me finish clues, but I am so spaced out I am unable to give her sufficient direction.  The hours seem to be accelerating by.  How ironic, considering the time-manipulation and futurism themes of Hyperion, the novel series on which we are basing our puzzles.

It’s about six, and Todd is rushing me out of the room with the clues.  I think I have all of them – check my clipboard again, yeah, think this is all of them – and we take the truck around campus.  Since Ditch Day is literally in two hours, it’s not like anyone minds us just riding roughshod in the truck around campus.

It’s about seven, and I’m checking on the breakfast for our two groups.  Sure, doing two full sets of stuff for a past- and future- themed group was rough, but I’m hoping it’ll all turn out okay.  In about thirty minutes, I will change my tune on that.

It’s a few minutes to eight, and all Seniors need to be off-campus or the duct-taping-to-trees tradition (every underclassman’s favorite) will commence.  I can’t find my clipboard, which means I can’t be sure everything is where it is supposed to be.

Wedge, great friend she is, begins to laugh at me as the clock strikes 8 and some relatively quick underclassmen see me standing there.  They rush me, she shouts she’ll meet up with me later, and I take off.  I was in shape.  They were not sprinters.  I wasn’t even loaded down with my clipboard.  I escape.

I haven’t slept in roughly 40 hours.  I finally make it back to our house’s off-campus place and collapse on the couch.  Plenty of phone calls asking where the heck some of the clues are reach me over the course of the day.

Despite all the craziness, people love it and I think it turned out great.  The lesson, of course, is sometimes you just have to stop worrying and let go – generally speaking, life moves on with or without you.  When you are in the moment, without the perspective of looking back, it can be hard to accept that despite setbacks, things are going to turn out alright.

(EDIT: Here’s the picture from Nate:

Exhausted

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Date Night

No, not the movie.  Although I hope to see it (and review it) one day soon!

So I spent a lot of the day anxious.  This was for many reasons, but above all it was my date with Emily.  It was difficult to get work done!  As the day drew to a close and my nervousness increased hojillion-fold, I ran into Mike and he gave me two good pieces of advice: she’ll probably be as nervous as you are (yeah, right!) and if you think of anything, just say it (ah, I hope I can do that!).  I successfully made my way over to our dinner and — shocking! — had a great time.

Facts:

  • We have the same birthday (day and month).  What!
  • We had a great discussion about maturity, and then some good chats about philosophy, rulebreaking and Wine for Dummies.
  • We had a lot to talk about, and I didn’t mess anything up.  Woot!
  • We will go on another date. *fingers crossed*

(Okay, maybe that last part belongs in the lower section.)

Feelings:

  • YESYESYES I didn’t mess anything up!  Woooooooo
  • I was super worried I wouldn’t know “how” to do the date thing (it has been a long long time) but everything seemed to work out.  When my head isn’t messing things up with overanalysis, I’m a pretty good person to be around, if I do say so myself.
  • I got a good sense that she likes me. 😀 😀 😀

Alright, I figured being so high-minded all the time with craziness about time travel and justice and identity, I can be a little silly in some posts.

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Conference Craziness

Back in high school, I was part of student leadership but (as I also described a bit in Life Raft) I also did some work as part of the regional student leadership group as part of CASC.

We put on a fall conference that was sort of your standard team building / workshop / motivational speaker kind of thing. As the resident graphic design guy for the group (from my journalism experience), I spent the evening with my buddy Mike making some nice name tags for all the attendees but it was about 2am before we were able to drive down with them to Monterey, where the conference was. We were tired, and hoping to get to sleep quickly.

So when we pulled up and saw most of the team screaming at each other outside the hotel, we were like, “what the shit?”. Over the next hour or so, hotel staff, the motivational speaker and other previously sleeping members of our group continued to yell and grumble while Mike and I maintained our incredulity.

In the end, the conference got done regardless. I had no sleep, but some very interesting and enlightening conversations with people in highly emotional states, trying to both understand them and kind of talk them down.

It was a good lession about control – even if I had been there, the interpersonal forces at work were too powerful to have any measure of introduced control be effective. It’s something I struggle to apply in my life sometimes – understanding that despite my best efforts, some things are outside my control.

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Sushi Rolling

I’m here (reporting live) from Madison, getting tours from the lovely, amazing Amanda, and also some Magic nerds. (sorry, I mean “intellectual badasses”). Last night, though, rather than go out for food, Danner convinced us to roll our own sushi.

It was awesome that he already knew what the pieces to the puzzle were: what materials we needed, where to get high-grade fish, and things like great avocados and rice cookers. Other than once hanging out at Ralph and Ayeh’s and there being sushi making going on, I never really felt motivated to make sushi on my own, so having Danner leading the charge was great.

Amanda and I were discussing how cooking/preparing food can often feel like a chore (albeit one resulting in deliciousness!) but social cooking does not. Time to start thinking about ways to involve friends more in my trying-to-cook process… 😉

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