Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Connor's favorite music

So like most young babies, Connor is not to wild about going to sleep. From the stories I have heard though, Abigail and I can not complain. Connor is a great sleeper, and overall goes to sleep well. However, sometimes it is a struggle. We have been using music to help soothe Connor a good deal, and have found it fairly effective. There are three songs specifically that he seems to respond to better than most. I don't know why, but these three songs really calm Connor so I guess they are his favorite.

1. Be Thou My Vision

It is not the recording in the video, but it is as close as I could find. Connor loves this tune, we have a sung version but he responds best to a "Celtic Hymns "version that is all instrumental.

2. You Raise Me Up

This one makes Connor's mom happy. He really likes You Raise Me Up as sung by Celtic Woman. We have tried some other Celtic Woman music, and he seems to like it, but like the other two songs this one puts him right to sleep.

3. Halo theme: Corpomix

This one makes Connor's dad happy. :) I played this specific recording of the Halo theme song a couple of days to go, to see how he would react and he fell asleep half way through the song. Abigail did not believe me, so we tried using it on a night when he was a little cranky about going to sleep. By the third play through he was out. Today, Abigail broke down and played Connor Halo music on her own, and again he went right to sleep. I like to think he is dreaming of getting a killtacular.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What I want to Do this year update

So two months ago (has it really been that long?) I blogged about four things I wanted to do this year. The year is only a few days away from being 1/4th over, so here is an update on how things are going.

One of the things I want to do this year is get good at disc golf. With the nice weather, I have been to play once, and I did well. I played with a couple of youth and I won. I played with the same youth last Summer/Fall and I only won once. The two things I need to work on in disc golf are my drives and consistency. Even when I throw it really well, my drives are a little short. When I watch the people who know what they are doing, they consistently go further on their drives than I do. Their are moments when I throw it just about perfect. I almost holed in one a Par three on my first outing, so I can do it, but I need to work on consistency. For every perfect throw, there are three complete failures.

I have not read a history book yet, or even thought about it. I do know that I will eventually read Scottish Battles. I bought it five years ago in Scotland (five years. .. really?), but then moved and started seminary. I read the first three chapters five years ago, but I will start over and finish it. I have not gotten to this yet because I have been busy reading fiction books. Since January 1st I have read Star Wars Dark Troopers (Star Wars Zombies!!!), Halo Evolutions (short stories in the Halo universe), Plague of the Dead (More Zombies!!!), and EVE: The Empyrean Age (Sci-fi book that I bought at half price because it had an awesome cover). I still have four more fiction books I want to get through (another Halo novel, a Mass Effect Novel, historical fiction, and Ender's Game). After those four books I will read my history book.

I have not even attempted to get published yet, but I am going to soon. When it comes to church work, Friday is my catch up, and "get'er done" day (did I really just use that phrase?!?) Since Connor has been born I have been perpetually behind, BUT the first Friday I am caught up then I plan on writing for publication. I have several items that I have thought that I can submit to Group Magazine, the magazine I got published in previously. I have also book marked the submission page of some other youth ministry sources as well as some Christian devotional sources.

The project I have put the most thought and effort into is creating a game. I actually started working on a prototype of a starship combat game. The idea was to create a game that was all about Space Opera style, large scale capitol ship battles. Basically a game that captured the feel of this:

I think I had some really solid ideas, but the scope was to big. To work the game required some really solid, clear artwork. . .which I can not do. Plus it required A LOT of pieces and cards,so realistically I could never make it well.

I do have several other ideas though. My experience with the space ship game has me thinking that I should start small and simple. I do have a couple of ideas along those lines. Back in September, I wrote rules for a game. There was a fairly big contest for creating a new 2 player rummy game. Whoever won the contest would get a contract to get their game published. I wrote these rules for a game that could have been a possible entry. However, I put my effort into making my failed Zombie game instead. I am thinking of revisiting this concept. We can begin play testing the game using card we already have from other games, and if it works I have some visual design ideas that I could actually pull off and make the game look good. The problem is that I tend not to like Rummy games, and Abigail tends not to like games about fighting. This is a rummy game about fighting. . .

I also have a game idea about gladiator combat, that I created several years ago. I still think the idea is sound and some of the concepts unique. Abigail and I played a rough prototype a couple of times and there are some kinks to work out, but it is a card/dice game so it would be easier to make than some other ideas.

I have also had two VERY vivid dreams about playing games that do not exist. The first was a card game based off a comic book series I am reading called Victorian Undead. This mini-series is about Sherlock Holmes and Zombies. In the game I dreamed of, cards were layed out to make a board of London. It is a two player game, one plays Sherlock Holmes/police and the other plays Moriarty. Each player has a deck of cards. The good deck is used to remove zombie cubes from London, and narrow down the location of Moriarty. The evil deck is used to put zombie cubes on London cards and move Moriarty. Holmes wins if the Zombies are cleared from the board or Moriarty is caught. Moriarty wins if London is over-run by Zombies or so many turns pass. In the dream playing the game was very vivid and I can still picture the components in detail, but not all of the rules are clear.

The other vivid game dream is very exciting. In this dream, I played a board game version of Race for the Galaxy. Race for the Galaxy is the most played game for Abigail and I. I remember in detail how to play this game from my dream, and I began writing down the rules. I think it would be a very fun and solid game, but this has the same problem of my starship game idea, in that it is a much bigger game to produce. Component wise the game requires 56 planet discs, 40 cards, a board, player boards, VP counters, and a lot of wood cubes. Abigail is very excited about the possibility of this game, but in the interest of fulfilling my goal of creating a game from start to finished, "professional-ish" product then I should start off small, and put this more ambitious idea on the back burner.

What do you think?

Friday, March 05, 2010

My Latest Posession Obsession

From time to time, I get a little obsessive about obtaining something. When this happens, I spend a lot of time researching, looking up stuff about it, and generally thinking about it a lot. It tends that these possession obsession are always for periphery wants, stuff that may be a flop. Some times these wants are huge successes. Then other times. . . not so much.

So the latest thing that has caught my eye is this:

The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with toy soldiers, ships, and planes, is a book that basically a book that allows for just about any toys to become a war game. Pictures of people playing with rules from this book just confirms how awesome I think it is:



Typically the reason why I obsess over getting things like this instead of just buying them, is I am unsure if I will actually get to enjoy them. For example, I am not sure if Abigial will EVER play a game using the rules from this book. She will play a complex Hex and Counter Sci-fi war game and like it, but miniatures even when simple and quick is a road she is hesitant to travel down. Though, while it would be nice I do not want this book to play with Abigail. My desire for wanting to get this, was really prompted by my dad.

You see for Christmas, my dad got Connor a set of bowling balls and pins. The thing is that these bowling pins are like three times his current size. They are gigantic. The recommend age on the is three, and even if he uses them early, it will still be years. Under Connor's crib there are toys still in boxes that he is all to young to play with. Some of them will sit in boxes for up to 12 months as well.

I want this book, because I want to use it to play with Connor. The idea of going to the dollar store, buying some army men, and then going to the park with some dice and a day of warfare sounds great :)

Of course there are couple of issues with this. First, it will be years seven or eight minimum, before this book can be used to its full effect. Plus there is the issue, of there is no guarantee that he would even like to do something like play a miniatures war game.

I know it is kind of like counting eggs before they hatch, putting the cart before the horse, etc but it can not be helped to think about it. I have thought of several things that I am looking forward to do with Connor.

I am looking forward to playing catch with him. I really do not care what kind of ball he prefers (I am personally pulling for frisbee but I know because of his grand parents he will have a baseball glove at a very early age).

I am looking forward to taking martial arts lessons with him.

I am looking forward to reading comic books with him. The added bonus of this is that comics have been shown to increase literacy, but I like the idea of going to the comic book store together, then reading them together and talking about the latest adventures of Batman or Spiderman or Green Lantern or Captain America or whoever.

Along the same lines, I am excited about reading the Chronicles of Narnia to him.

Even though his mom isn't signed on to this yet, I am really looking forward to some day getting him a go-kart.

This doesn't include the hundreds of little things, like catching fireflies with him on a summer day, or building a tent with sheets and chairs.

I know that some of these things that I am hoping will be "us" things may never happen, and that is ok. If just one of them comes to pass that will be great. I know it is possible that he turns out having exactly opposite interest of me, and that is fine. Right now, just seeing him smile pretty much makes my day, so doing something with him that he finds joy in will probably make my week. And I can't wait to do that, no matter what it is.

But anyway back to this book that is my current possession obsession. I have read everything there is to read about it on boardgamegeek as well as . I even read the entire first chapter on google books. It is really to the point that I am going to have to fulfill my possession obsession or let it go. On the one hand, $26 does seem sort of expensive for something that just might get used several years down the road. Of course on the other hand, this book is essentially self published and in limited print so most likely it will not be available down the road. I know that Abigail will just role her eyes, but I imagine gratifying a hope of what may happen eventually is why "blow money" exist in the first place. . .