Category Archives: General

Once More With The Crew, This Time With The Boys

Two years ago, I went to My First Columbus Crew Match. Recently, I took my boys to their (and mine) first hockey game. At long last, I, thanks to help from my mother and step father, was able to deliver on a promise to take my kids to a professional soccer match… and what a near perfect day. Slightly cloudy, but no rain, humidity was relatively low for this time of year, as was the heat, which peaked in the upper 70s (F).

Columbus is a bit over a two hour drive from where I live, and the game started at 7:30 PM, so I was going to leave the house about 3 PM, put us there about 5-5:30, eat dinner then go to the Stadium about 7 to watch the game. At the last minute I decided to leave early, spend time at Easton Town Center, originally to eat and play games at KDB (sort of like a Dave and Busters, which I also considered up at Polaris). It was the LEGO Store at Easton that caused me to choose Easton over Polaris. With stuff to keep the boys entertained, we left town a bit after noon, stopped by Walmart, got some ice tea, oil for the car (thing uses over 3 quarts a month), gas (full tank was left with only quarter a tank by the time we got back… it’s not as efficient as it should be that’s for sure), and off we went. My youngest eventually went to sleep on the way down, the oldest played a little on the phone, then eventually rested himself.

We got to Easton, and I’m shocked at how huge the place is. Shocked. After wondering around, we eventually get into a parking garage, pass an EV charging station with a couple cars, then a whole line of Tesla‘s on their own stations… I’d forgotten there was a Tesla store in that mall. Anyhow we park, wonder past KDB as we want to look a bit first… the youngest needs to use a restroom, so we go out of the main mall, past the LEGO store, use them, then go back to the LEGO Store. We notice lots of families there with Columbus Crew shirts on… actually, we’ll see lots of Crew shirts throughout the day before we get to the stadium. We enjoy looking around a bit… here’s the oldest looking at the LEGO TECHNIC Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

We leave there, then we go to the Tesla store, because I like dreaming… (I’d love a Model 3 once it comes out… that or a Chevy Bolt, both the same price, same basic range… but I don’t have a way of charging them at home, so moot point).

We go back to KDB, look around, see the games, then leave, trying to decide where we want to eat. We look over the options at KDB, and around the mall, and decide to try Melt Bar and Grill, a grilled cheese shop, and make the mistake of walking all the way there, only to learn there is a trolley line that takes you all the way to that half of the mall. We are all impressed with the food (though my drink ended up empty… and could have been checked on perhaps once or twice more, still service was okay)… in fact I recommend trying Melt out if you are in Columbus (I’d guess their other locations around North East Ohio are good too).

From their menu, I had a Melt Cheeseburger.

My youngest had a French Bread Pizza

And my oldest had The Dude Abides “Homemade meatballs, fried mozzarella wedges, basil marinara, roasted garlic, provolone & romano”… he enjoys it, though notes he’d probably only do a half next time.

We all agree the fries were really good, as was the food. Most of my family are local to North East Ohio, so I’d say, find one near you, check them out…

We ride the trolley back to the main part of the mall, wonder into an area where there are fountains for the kids to play in, and the youngest of course had to play…

(other kids blurred because it seems the right thing to do).

We head out, and it’s late enough I figure it is time enough to go to the stadium, and after getting twisted around trying to exit the mall area, we get there.

Here the boys are with the city of Columbus in the background as we head up to our seats.

And the view from our seats:

Not a bad view considering we are as far up the stadium as you can get…


(I don’t recall why the youngest is doing the dabb here).

(selfie of me to appease others who wanted a picture of me in the stadium with a smile, showing teeth, and eyes open… all unnatural things for me, lol)

After some time, the Columbus Crew score the first goal of the game… then Montreal scores one in answer. First half ends, we try to look at food and drinks, but the lines are too long, and we got drinks in the car, so we’ll wait.

The second half works out much better for the Crew, as they’d score 3 more unanswered goals… I should point out that every time I’ve been to a Crew game they’ve won…shhh… never mind I’ve only been to them twice, and the Cleveland Monsters lost while we were there…

We get out, and wait in the parking lot what seems an overly long time, but eventually get on the road. The boys both sleep most of the way home (it was a bit after 10 when we left), get home, the oldest goes right to bed, the youngest eats a bit, then goes to bed (it’s near 1:10 AM by that point)…

We all had a really good time. So thanks again to my mother and step father for helping make it possible. Columbus still remains my favorite city, at least for this part of the US, and where I’d live, if I could live out of the area… I did think on the way home that I could perhaps move to Ashland, which would put me about halfway there… I already have to drive 40 minutes to get to the kids from where I am now, so it’d be about the same… and same for work… Something I might have to consider… Anyhow, there was our experience in the fine city of Columbus, with a rather great Columbus Crew game… thanks to the Crew for winning finally (they haven’t had a good year this year… or last year… and I don’t know enough to know if this is problems with coaching, players, or front office).

Well… At Least There Was a Fight

I’ve taken my children to their first professional, of any level, sporting event. While I had planned on that being a Columbus Crew game (MLS soccer), I decided, “Why not Zoidberg?” err… “Why not hockey?” I myself have never been to a hockey game, and the tickets for the game were cheap enough, especially for the seats… a bit cheaper than the soccer tickets will likely be later in the year. I’m a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and by extension and location, their AHL affiliate the Cleveland Monsters. The AHL, for those who may not know, is the American Hockey League, it is the professional league right below the NHL. The Cleveland Monsters won the AHL championship just last year, a short while before the Cavs brought back a major league win for Cleveland. The Monsters haven’t been as great this year…

Anyhow, the boys and I arrived in Cleveland, parked and made our way to the arena, a bit of a long walk, only to discover I didn’t have my wallet. I had left my wallet in the car when I paid parking. So back to the car, then back through the mall and the walkway to the arena. It was now a bit past 7, so we missed the introductions and the start, but it was still the first 5 minutes of the game.

I think our seats were actually pretty nice all things considered.

Our end was the end the Monsters came to first and third periods. Continue reading Well… At Least There Was a Fight

Apologies for Lack of Content Here

I’ve been busy with life, writing, playing games, watching Twitch and streaming on Twitch, work, trying to get a better full time job with benefits (I need that insurance you know)… so sorry I haven’t been active here as much as I should be. Generally this blog serves as a portal to my YouTube (not very active of late), Twitch (semi-active) and the like and has fallen behind on the content I’d like to push to it. I’m not saying I’m going to get back on the ball, as I probably won’t, but hopefully I can find something to get posted here. For now, check out my Twitch highlights.

Thoughts on What Makes a Good Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

Generally this is a gaming blog. Occasionally I stretch into political discourse, and I used to discuss faith and religion. However, I’ve tried to keep it largely focused on gaming of late. What follows probably would normally be something I’d just post to Facebook for my friends, perhaps open that post up to the public… but I figured why not push it here for a change of pace… and then share it to Facebook. 🙂

There’s a new TED Talk video called What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness | Robert Waldinger | TED Talks

So let’s talk about a few things. Some are already pointed out in the comments, others are fresh and my own… Continue reading Thoughts on What Makes a Good Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

My First Columbus Crew Match

I’ve wanted to go to a Columbus Crew game since they were formed in 1994, but it’s been the last two years as my interest in the sport itself has grown that I’ve really wanted to go, so I basically count the last two years or so of wanting to go as the real deal. Two years of wanting to go and not being able to for a variety of reasons, mostly work related. If I had the time off work, I had the kids and a two plus hour trip each way with young kids… If I didn’t have all those, it was normally really bad weather (as in thunderstorms in the area) or I just didn’t have the funds, and on occasion forgot or was busy with other things, a chance to to some board gaming with the local board game group, an important video game beta test, or whatever, including important things like spending time with loved ones. The point is, for a couple years I’ve really wanted to go but things didn’t work out.

I sadly can’t even really watch the games on TV as my TV doesn’t get that channel. I’d need a cable box for that, and I already spend enough extra on the cable for much needed Internet speed improvements. I can’t use the MLS Live app or anything like that either since I live in an area where the service is available, it is blacked out locally. I did recently find a site that often has the games showing live, though the quality leaves much to be desired. Still better than nothing.

Fast forward to recent events. On Reddit there is a sub-reddit called The Massive. There one of the users gives away extra tickets to the game, and as a bonus they are in the supporter’s section called The Nordecke (for fans of American Football, think of the Dawg Pound for the Browns). I entered, thinking there was little chance of winning, but in the end won anyhow. I finally was going to get to not only see a Columbus Crew match, but it was going to be perfect weather, there were going to be fireworks after the match as it was the 4th of July, and as an extra bonus I’d be in the Nordecke. Hopefully someday I’ll get to pay it forward, and help somebody else who wants to go.

So after spending some time with a loved one, if a bit too little time, I made the three and a half hour trek to Mapfre stadium… Continue reading My First Columbus Crew Match

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest LCG Comes to OCTGN

I’ve previously mentioned that Fantasy Flight Games has a new Living Card Game (LCG) coming out called Warhammer 40,000: Conquest. Needless to say I’m pretty excited about it… Perhaps not as overly geeked out as I am over Imperial Assault (see previous story), but it was one of the games I was most excited for prior to GenCon (since then Abyss has slid down a bit and Five Tribes has moved up to just below Conquest and Imperial Assault for the post GenCon stuff). Anyhow, I can’t wait for it to come out.

Sadly, I don’t have a play group to play it with. I’m sure plenty of people at the Boardgamers of Greater Akron will be playing it, but it is a bit of a drive to Akron from where I am, and I don’t know anyone local who’s into LCGs. So being able to play the game over the Internet is always a sweet deal. Sure one could use Skype and just put the webcam on the table, but that requires a playlist of people to play with a much larger table than my desk, and a few other complications. Lucky for us, there are methods of playing LCGs, TCGs, CCGs, and other games over the Internet. For card games the two main platforms seem to be OCTGN and LackyCCG. This post will focus on the OCTGN plugin, but I know there is development ongoing for a LackyCCG plugin as well (by another person than the one who did the Conquest one). OCTGN is presently Windows only (though they mention they would like to do a Mac version and touch screen version eventually), while LackyCCG is multiplatform including Windows, Mac, Linux and iPad.

Before we continue, let me note that I am in no way involved with this project, either the LCG itself (although, FFG, if you want me…lol), OCTGN or the plugin being discussed below.

So what do you need? Continue reading Warhammer 40,000: Conquest LCG Comes to OCTGN

ArcheAge NA Alpha – Shader Corruption and Fix

There is a known issue in the ArcheAge NA Alpha where some textures will appear black until their shaders are loaded properly.

This video shows an example of it when the character enters the home and appears all black with no textures.

The fix is to exit the ArcheAge client, then delete the shader texture cache in \Documents\ArcheAge\USER\shaders, delete the cache folder and its contents and restart the game client. When you relaunch the game, you may see the issue for the first few minutes as it loads the cache, but after that it should be set.

Heroes of the Storm PAX Pack 2014 Giveaway

Heroes Contest Pic Want to win lots of cool Heroes of the Storm gear? Like a signed Heroes poster, a Heroes T-Shirt, a Heroes Lanyard, A Blizzard Fuko Pop! toy. They will be giving 25 of these sweet prize pacs. All you have to to is follow this link here: http://splur.gy/r/kNDqX/r/2KMty6dNYSW.

It is one of those contests where you like the official page on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and all those sort of things to earn points.

Need to catch up to date on my Heroes coverage? Continue reading Heroes of the Storm PAX Pack 2014 Giveaway

Great Twitch Channel to Watch

I got to give a huge shout out to a Twitch channel I watch a lot, Docgotgame. He’s got great energy, tons of humor and is a great streamer who is very interactive with his viewers.

Watch live video from Docgotgame on www.twitch.tv

He streams, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays 3pm to 11pm Eastern, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6 pm with an occasional bonus stream of 7 to 11.

Here’s his website. http://docgotgame.com/.

In the interest of full disclosure I was a moderator on the channel as JonathanStrangeBT.

Resistance With Regular Playing Cards

The Resistance is one of the best games to play in a group. However sometimes you don’t have your deck with you but might have access to a deck of regular cards and the game is possible with a regular deck of cards. I’ll present some basic rule sets for playing the game with regular cards below…

The Resistance is a hidden role game for 5-10 players (it works best with 7-10). You can go over 10, but the rules presented here are for up to 10, and it becomes a bit more unwildy above 10, above 10 you are probably better moving to Werewolf, Mafia (a webcam version is popularized by Daily Mafia), Two Rooms and a Boom as they are better balanced for larger groups. Anyhow, as I was saying, it is a hidden role game. You are a member of the Resistance, fighting against an corrupt government. Each turn somebody becomes leader and decides who’s going on a mission to destroy the government. However, your group has been infiltrated by spies, who may sabotage the mission if they are on it. The number of spies depends on the number of players. If the Resistance makes 3 successful missions, they win, if the spies sabotage 3 missions they win. Continue reading Resistance With Regular Playing Cards

Christmas 2013 Shortlists

Time for Christmas Shortlists… Remember in all cases of Amazon Wishlists sort by priority as by default it is just order added…

My Christmas shortlist – Notes: Not much to add that isn’t already in the comments. The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords Base Set is probably the highest, followed by the two video games for the XBox 360 on that list… of course I’d rather have the XBox One versions, but that would require an XBox One which is $600… unless of course I was able to get it on my upcoming 25% off day… though my car has safety issues that need fixed at about $500… then again, a huge savings of 25% doesn’t come often…

The kid’s Christmas shortlist focuses on Disney Infinity stuff to go with the base set that they will have… and will be expanded after I hear back more on what they want… Not on the list are Call of Duty Mega Bloks, which sort of fills the Call of Duty itch… Each of the boys have their own Wishlists too… Ari’s Wishlist and Sidd’s Wishlist, like the shared list, I’ll probably expand this after I get in their full lists… In regards to the Disney Infinity store exlusives (some items are available only at certain locations… see New Disney Infinity exclusives and pre-orders – Frozen, Jack Skellington, Tron, Toy Story in Space and beyond as an example list), I don’t think the Crystal versions would appeal to the boys, I think they would rather have the full painted ones. The Disney Infinity stuff I’d most like to get, Phineas and Ferb stuff, in particular Agent P and Tron related items for them, but good luck on those stuff…

Present State of My Digital Card Game Playing

I’ve spoken before of the Digital LCGs, TCGs and the like that I’m wanting to play. A small update on some of those.

I am still not in the Hearthstone beta. Can’t comment too much on it outside of what I’ve seen. For the moment I’m digging Infinity Wars and Card Hunter until I can get in.

I actually got in the Infinity Wars beta after all. Very good game. However I’m stuck on one of the early missions (Warpath Campaign 2 for anyone interested in helping… if I’m still stuck when help comes). Here I am playing the game (the screen cap may say Offline Now, because I likely am offline from Twitch at the moment, but it was recorded there and rather than export it to YouTube I’ll leave it there for now, anyhow the video should work.):
Continue reading Present State of My Digital Card Game Playing

Digtial LCGs, TCGs and the Like of the Next Generation That I Want to Play

I’ve never been a Magic the Gathering player. I’ve had decks, but never really played.

Recently I’ve really gotten into Android Netrunner. In my opinion it is one of the best games for two people out there… but it isn’t digital… well not officially, you can play on a client called OCTGN, but for the most part you really need to be able to get to your local FLGS (favorite local game store) and play. My local FLGS in Akron, Underhill’s Games, has a weekly Netrunner event, but my car situation keeps me from making it like I would like…

Meanwhile I also have Lord of the Rings: LCG, which can be played solo… but again, not available digitally officially yet…

So digital card games are what I’ve been looking into.

The big one at the moment is Hearthstone, but that is in closed beta and I’m not in it yet, once I’m in I’ll report more and post up some videos. There are plenty of videos of it on YouTube and Twitch. Check it out. Blizzard, who made World of Warcraft, Diablo and the StarCraft (I need to get those for Ari) made this one. It seems very well done as one would expect from a first level developer like Blizzard… (Side note, I can’t wait to see Blizzard All Stars and Titan.) This is perhaps the big boy on the block, at least in the general public eye.

Infinity Wars is another big one out there in beta. I downloaded the client a few days ago, but didn’t make an account until today (Sept 1st), and sadly they just shut down beta invites… like had I signed up when I downloaded I probably could have got in, but now I’m on a 2-3 week wait. Again plenty of videos on YouTube and Twitch… to which I’ll be adding to for sure. As of the writing, they shut down new beta invites for 2-3 weeks. Had I tried to get in when I downloaded the client I probably would have been in already and making content for it…

Hex: Shards of Fate is perhaps one of the ones I’m most interested in seeing. It seems to be combining an MMO with a TCG. Yet again, closed alpha (not even beta yet). This one you can buy your way in, but I don’t know if I’m sold on the idea of buying in… I’m not clear yet on the MMO elements… what little I’ve seen seems to be just a next generation digital TCG, but I haven’t seen any of the PvE stuff yet. I’m very interested in the concept here at the very least.

SolForge I have on my iPad… I haven’t really used it yet though. I know lots of people are playing this while waiting to get in on the above.

There are a few others on the iPad that I’m not going to link to directly, but there’s Summoner Wars, Nightfall, and Ascension…

Of course Magic has its own digital version…

My Dream Business

If I could make a business of my own it would be a build a shopping plaza… okay that isn’t the dream, the plaza is there to support the primary business which is a Hybrid Family Entertainment Center. As to why a plaza I’ll get to after talking about the center itself.

What is a FEC? Imagine a bowling center, with a something like a Dave & Busters (large arcade area and dinning area, aimed at a slightly older audience than the next one), and a Chuck E. Cheese’s… some add indoor go carts, miniature golf, bumper cars, rock walls and more.

The bowling center is the centerpiece. 24-32+ lanes, plus some private lanes as well for smaller events. Continue reading My Dream Business

What I Would Have Done for the New Superman/Batman Movie

The way I imagined The Superman/Batman movie. Lex Luther (Bryan Cranston) reaches across the bay to Gothem’s richest citizen Bruce Wayne (now cast as Ben Affleck, though I didn’t have a casting choice in yet and I’m fine now with Affleck) in a voice of concern about this new caped crusader that nearly destroyed Metropolis in his battle with Zod (I didn’t mind the end of Man of Steel, Superman 2 had the same result, and in that one they laughed it off rather than Superman being upset about it). Batman comes over, they have a fight but they realize they are on the same time. Meanwhile Joker (no casting choices yet, I though about seeing if Mark Hamill would unretire his Joker, but this isn’t voice acting and Mark’s acting itself is what the question would be) along with my beloved Harley Quinn (also my beloved Katee Sackhoff ever since she started campaigning for it, though I might hold her off for a part in Justice League) starts causing havoc across both cities. Batman and Superman, not friends exactly, but working on the same side fight their common enemy, in the end finding that Luthor is the one pulling the strings and encouraged Joker, Luthor has something bigger planned… roll credits, tease Justice League (which is where Katee might be better cast as Wonder Woman, a tough roll to cast, Eliza Dushku would be possible, but doesn’t really fit the role as well physically, but perhaps that would be more the point).

This Is Water – Your Must Watch Video of the Moment

If you watch only one video anytime soon, then this is perhaps the one.

From the video description: In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.
We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested. However, we encourage everyone to seek out the full speech (because, in this case, the book is definitely better than the movie).
-The Glossary

Pondering Android Netrunner Must Haves

For people coming from a link to help, feel free to skip the intro, which is more for regular readers or those not familiar with Netrunner as much…

So I’ve been wanting to play Android Netrunner Living Card Game… I’ve played a couple times with Ari, but not any real serious games yet. I’ve listened to a couple of the Agenda 7 Podcast and a couple of the Breaking News Podcast, along with some of Team Covenant’s excellent video commentary series, and I’m ready to start playing some more serious games (if I can find people in my local area to play that is). I’ve got the following Data Packs (expansions for the game) so far, What Lies Ahead, Trace Amount, Cyber Exodus and A Study in Static, which are all there are at this point.

The challenge for me is that I’ve never played Magic: The Gathering, the original Netrunner game (on which this one is based), or any other games like it… my card game experience (beyond those using a regular deck of cards) is limited to games like Dominion and Elder Sign, both of which are far from the same category. Continue reading Pondering Android Netrunner Must Haves

The Hobbit At 48 FPS

I finally got to see The Hobbit today at the local theater in the High Frame Rate, 48fps 3D the way Peter Jackson filmed it and intended it to be seen. A bit about the movie… it’s a great movie and a must see, I’ll speak more about the movie in a bit.

The big news about the movie is that Peter Jackson filmed the movie at 48 frames per second…
Continue reading The Hobbit At 48 FPS

Christmas Wishlists Updating

I am going through the wishlists and updating them… In all cases remember to sort them by priority…

There is my Amazon Wishlist for Brian A. Thomas. Things not on that list include an iPad (prefer one with the Retina display, and prefer one with the new A6 processor, though a Mini or an older iPad 2 would do as well)… and obviously things that nobody could realistically afford, a place to live close to the boys, a new car (Volt would be first choice, then Subaru Outback, Honda Civic…) 🙂

Ari’s Wishlist is under heavy construction at the moment… missing from the list are some things he would like to have like Lego Technic kits…

Sidd’s Wishlist is also under heavy construction at the moment… but he’s 3, so fairly easy to please…

For both boys, figures for Spryo’s Skylanders or Skylanders Giants on the XBox 360 (the figures for the game should work on all platforms anyhow) could also be good since they got the main game coming to them…