Monday, October 11, 2021

HASO - Galactic Superweapon

Copied from the Reddit sub r/humansarespaceorcs. Formatted for clarity. Reddit. 'Nuff said on that.

Testsubject276

Human Communication Officer: Emergency frequency opened with the captain of the Kalthorian army, sir.

Human Captain: Let it through.

Alien: HUMANS. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Human Captain: Calm down buddy, what's wrong?

Alien: We recently scanned the storm of the sol system planet Jupiter and found an ancient civilization ending weapon at its center!

Human Captain: Ohh you mean Crosshair Station.

Alien: You... Named it?

Human Captain: Yeah, we've been trying to destroy it for a LONG time, thanks to advanced tech from some of our galactic collaborators we were able to blast the thing with an EMP so powerful that the AI core fried.

Alien: You WHAT.

Human Captain: Relax, we pulled the AI out and plugged in our own, we call her Cammie. We've been upkeeping it ever since, scrubbing away alien code and substituting our own. It now serves as our central solar system defense.

Alien: You do realize you managed to commandeer an ancient superweapon that has plagued outer galaxies for millennia?

Human Captain: ... Would you like to purchase some of our electromag nukes?

Alien: We'll take twenty.

Friday, October 8, 2021

HASO - Food Temperature

A Tumblr thread that has been circulating as a screen shot/image. Formatting is preserved from the original posts except where I simply can't stand what they did.

artaline

human: *is heating up food*

alien: why are you doing that?

human: you see I want the particles in my food to vibrate at just the right frequency

dannydanuselessstuff

Human: *is eating ice cream*

alien: wait you forgot to make that one vibrate!

human: well, you see, not with this food

cardozza

This one is already vibrating at the desired frequency, but if it starts to vibrate at a higher frequency I lock it back in the cold box

asgardreid

Human: *just reheated pizza in the oven*

Other human: *is eating a slice of the same pizza, but cold*

Alien: *exasperated sputtering*

Monday, September 20, 2021

GenCon 2021


Instead of doing a day-by-day series of posts I decided to do a single summary post for this convention. I'm far less invested in this one and I'm literally only here to shop. I will try to get pictures of the con itself as much as I can.

Day 0

Day 0 is the travel day. For the 2nd time I misjudged the timing and got to the airport late enough it was a frantic scramble to the gate. I can't even blame the lack of travel for so long for my mistake since I didn't travel any more before the pandemic. This trip had a full plane and I was wedged in a front row seat that has fixed seat separators. Good for my seat mate since I'm wide. Bad for me because I'm wide. The flight was 2.5 hours so it wasn't overly unpleasant and a learning lesson on planning my airport arrival time better.

I said 2nd time because I did the same stupid thing on my trip home from ReaperCon.

I brought my walker this time and it seems to help. Being at the con itself will be a true test. I had my duffel over my shoulder as well as my new-to-me backpack so this wasn't a true experience. I did find people seem to be more considerate and helpful when you use one. Nice to know.

They do have an official Block Party as a kickoff event tonight but I didn't go. I don't get a rental car for this trip and didn't see the value in a pair of Lyft rides when I don't know anyone here. I'll have access to the food trucks when I am there.

My hotel is NOT the one I stayed at last year. I was able to get the nicer one that faces it for a good room rate. My room overlooks the old one which I find amusing.

I can see my old room from here!

The hotel has an airport shuttle for a nominal fee so that saves me one Lyft. The shuttle driver ignored me trying to get his attention until one of the people waiting for their Uber/Lyft saw it and quite emphatically got his attention for me. Yay walker.

No hot breakfast as advertised as a hotel amenity. That's common these days if disappointing since I like to load up on the hot breakfast included in the room stay. Instead they offer a sack version that I'll get to discover in the morning.

The room is nice enough. Spacious and only a few things to show it's not that great. A few carpet stains. Some wear to the furniture. That general feel of an inexpensive hotel. Still, it's tidy and has a good bed. We'll see how the shower is in the morning - the true test.



I took the room pictures the morning after I arrived because I forgot to take them earlier. I'm allowed. It's spacious and decent enough. I booked a 2 star hotel, I got a 2 star hotel.

I did spend far too much time having to talk to my boss today, both texts and calls. I knew there would be some due to things that were put into motion Monday but I had to cut him off in the evening. It's my vacation.

As expected this will be a delivery food trip. Even if there were restaurants in what most people would consider walking distance that wouldn't work for me. Tonight was a Rueben sandwich which was quite tasty. Thank goodness I'm not on a tight budget this year tho.

I brought my Chromebook and a thumb drive of movies for my evening enjoyment. Tonight was The Mummy with Brendan Frasier. I think I need to buy some overpriced movie snacks from the hotel shop for the next movie night.

I split the difference between Eastern and Mountain time for when I went to bed. As expected the bed was comfy and I'm pleased to say the curtains blocked the light. That's not always the case.

I set my alarm to get me up in time to get breakfast and take it back up to my room. Then I have a few hours before heading out.

Vacation, remember? 

Day 1

3 snooze alarms later I dragged myself out of bed, put on my 'should never be seen in public' comfy clothes, and got my breakfast sack.

A small muffin, a mini peach yogurt, and a Jimmy Dean microwavable egg and cheese breakfast sandwich the approximate size and density of a hockey puck. Those went in the room fridge for later and I went back to the warm comfy bed.

As I was getting ready to leave my room the fire alarm went off. Really? Again? I didn't smell smoke and didn't hear anyone rushing about so I finished getting ready and left my room. Housekeeping was doing their business and said it was a false alarm. But honestly it wasn't what I wanted on this trip.

Lyft to the convention center and the day began. I specifically decided to show up well after the doors opened to avoid the worst of the crowding. I succeeded.




The halls were darn near empty. I was probably between events but the number of people was low. I've seen other pictures showing the crowd I was trying to avoid. It was when they were waiting for the vendor hall to be opened. I've got a picture like that from 2019 and sadly the crowding seemed similar this year.




As you can see the vendor hall was not overly crowded. More people showed up later in the day but still it was lightly populated with some congestion points.

I won't say I shopped too much but I did walk too much. My original plan was to walk half the vendor hall today, then the rest tomorrow doing any buying that I missed. When I reached aisle 1300 out of 2600 I was there. Half way through. So of course I kept going.

I quite stupidly walked the entire vendor hall. The walker helps more than I could have expected but I still had a tough time of it.


It wasn't all walking and doom. There was just doom at times. The bolter is a very nice piece and I couldn't loot it. The chainsword needs two hands for me to decently lift it much less mock-wield. From what I heard it's a resin cast and I could see it had already been dropped and broken once. There was another weapon and a thunder hammer available for pictures but this was enough. I think the sparkly cat ears set it off nicely.


The sparkly cat ears get their own mention. I got them at GenCon 2019 from the Exploding Kittens human vending machine. Not only are they darn cute they work to keep my hair off my face. Considering how warm things got in there that's a huge consideration. It also styled my hair into beach waves, as I found out later that night. No one got to see the beach waves.

My impulse purchase for the convention was a hand turned pen set. I'm trying to do more hand writing (per the other posts) and figured not only would I get a nice pen set with both ball point and nib options I'd help one of the small vendors who took a space in the hall. They only had two thinner pens that fit my hand and both were in the sets. Therefore I bought a set.

Talking to some of the vendors I found out that people were canceling right up through the week before. That explains why I couldn't find some and the empty spaces. There were empty spaces even with a good chunk of the vendor hall closed off. In a way it's a good thing for the smaller vendors who were able to get in and hopefully they did well.

I ended my convention day by picking through dice sets. Technically these are sets you take or leave as packaged but this is the reason I'm at the convention. I very much dislike buying swirly sets without picking them myself if at all possible. I'm friendly enough with the booths that they cut me slack and let me dump out the dice to pick them over.

This is where I found out just how much the day had taken out of me. I was far too close to dropping and by that I mean literally dropping. I got about 2/3 of my dice picking done before I accepted that I couldn't do more. Then I crept to the convention hall entrance, stopping when I could find a place to sit for a bit. I still don't like having to use the walker but being able to use it made the difference.

I was tired when I got back to the hotel. I decided on Chinese food and was mostly disappointed. How can a restaurant that completely nailed crab rangoon make fried rice that bad? A question for the ages I guess.

I slept very well on the huge bed. I forgot just how big a king size bed can be for one person.

Day 2

Today I ate the breakfast I got yesterday. Of course the cheese melted so that most of it ended up not being on the muffin at all. They do that. And the density comparison was correct for the muffin. Very dense. But it was food and that's what I needed.

Technically this hotel is 'housekeeping on request' per the sign on the mirror but it turns out they're doing it every day unless you opt out. OK... I opted out because I don't need someone to tidy up the bed and take away towels every day. I do take all the food garbage out of the room and dump it in the lobby trash bin that's on the way out. I dislike having food garbage sitting around.

Lyft to the convention and off I went. Today should be far less strenuous because it's all shopping, no browsing.






More photos showing that the crowds weren't really crowds when observed. There were clumps of people who seemed to be there together and then singles. In general it's the best that could be expected from the convention. Later I'll look up their stated attendance and get a feel for just how many people were there. Today is when I think more people start showing up to spend the main days at the convention. This is why I leave after today. Smart, right?

I was still dragging from the previous day and took it slow to buy the rest of my dice. I picked over more sets and bought what I wanted. Then I bought a few more things that I didn't expect to buy. But hey, dice.

After hauling myself to the convention entrance I fired up Lyft and experienced their little joke called 'surge pricing'. I will say it was prime time on a Friday so it is somewhat my fault for wanting to use the service then. But seeing that the ride was more than twice the price of the previous day was frustrating. I didn't have Uber loaded so I could compare and of course the yellow cab company uses an app to schedule pickups (the local taxi was a suggestion from a local sharing the stone seat outside). After grumbling and waiting the price dropped a few bucks and I accepted that I was going to have to pay the higher price.

Once again I surfed through Uber Eats to find what I wanted for dinner. I finally settled on what seemed to be a local Mexican restaurant. I was trying to avoid chains because, well, I can get that anywhere. I had a really good coupon for UE and used it to get what I hoped would be tasty food.

My delivery driver called and said they couldn't get into the hotel. The police had it blocked off. Really? Again? What now? After taking some pictures from the window I headed to the lobby to find out what was going on and to try to find a way to get my dinner.





Another guest was nice enough to meet my driver in the parking lot behind the hotel and get my food for me. The walker did its magic again. I increased the driver tip for this delivery.

This time it was a suspicious package. Someone else who had been taking video had some of the bomb disposal crew wandering around. After chatting with the nice police officers in the lobby for a while and seeing the desk team fielding the situation I went back to my room to eat. Eventually it all cleared out without any loud 'boom' noises.

The food was excellent.

Day 3

Today was packing up, checking out, and meeting up with a friend who was driving in to have lunch with me and take me to the airport. They live far enough away that I felt bad for them to make the trip for such a short visit but they insisted. I hadn't seen them since I attended their wedding and they were quite insistent.

We found a couple places to shop while we talked then had a leisurely lunch before heading to the airport. They were a bit confused since it's a small airport and they're used to a very large airport. But it all worked out and THIS TIME I was there well in advance of my flight.

The flight itself was just bumpy enough not to allow for beverage service. That was disappointing because I wanted to see if my gift of chocolate to the flight crew would 'buy' me a full can of soda again. Not that I needed one. I just wanted to see if it would. But nope. This time I did get more of a choice in seating and took an aisle that wasn't in the front row. My thinking was that the aisle would give me more room to spread out than the window seat I always took before. I was mostly right. If the person next to me hadn't had a solid suitcase under the seat in front of them it would have been much better. But I can't complain.

The neighbors took good care of the cat and she showed up from under the bed when I set my duffel bag down. Then she was cuddly for the evening. My adventure was over.

Summary

If I figure in the cost of the trip those are some stupid expensive dice I brought home. Mind you they're test sets and may never get into production but still. Stupid expensive. The 2019 trip had me filling in big gaps in my collection so that was more reasonable but this time it was pretty much all test sets and one other one I happen to like. I also got to see two people I don't get to see. The third is a local and it's funny that we spend more time together there than here. But that's life.

I'm very glad I took extra time off work after this trip because the cumulative effect of this one and the one before are hitting me hard. I'll recover.

Will I go again next year? That's an excellent question. As of writing this post I'm going to say I won't be going back. If there are new test sets I want cherry picked I can ask one of the people I know who work at the dice booths to do it. If there aren't new sets I want then I would have no reason to be going. Of course this is all assuming I'm not in a heavy relationship with someone who wants to go.

I fully expect not to be going again.

I'm glad I was able to go before the pandemic and get the real feel for a huge convention. I'm glad I during what may be considered a lull in the pandemic because I got the feel for what things may be like in the future. That and I had the experience of travel and being around people again.

I can't talk about the games, panels, and other convention events since I never had any intention of attending them. Those make up the bulk of the reason people tend to go to these. I go to shop. It turns out I don't want most of what they sell.

The vendor room is more than just sales. It's game companies doing demo play. It's showing off new products. It's a way to see the wares and experience them in a way that can't be done. It's huge. After shopping those hundreds of booths I still ended up buying nothing from them except that one thing I could get at almost any vendor fair. That's kind of sad and shows me how much I don't need to spend my time and money.

That's my 2021 GenCon trip.

Monday, September 6, 2021

ReaperCon 2021 - Day 4 and Wrapup

 


Day 4 barely exists for me now as a convention experience. I say goodbye to people and fly home. There's a few classes and until this year the biggest Sunday attraction was the auction where you could use your ReaperBucks. Way in the early days I was part of the auction (it was fun and informal) but that changed and I didn't see a reason to stick around.

The last few years they started having prize drawings and you could buy additional tickets with ReaperBucks. This worked out well for people who weren't there for the entire convention.

This year there was no auction and no raffles. They did a straight up booth to buy stuff with convention money. I heard the prices ran the gamut from reasonable to not so much without much sense in how they were assigned. I don't need anything so I ended up handing over mine to someone buying up discontinued terrain tiles.

I did pick up my painting contest entries and got my medal since I wasn't at the award ceremony to get it then. I'll do another post to talk about my personal experience with the painting contest now that I sold out and entered one.

After that is was all packing and travel back home.

My ribbon collection isn't impressive but it pleases me. I don't try to accumulate them on purpose so if I get them I get them. This is the final result for 2021. Notice that "Bronze" ribbon in the lower left because you don't get those until you pick up your entries so they're hardly noticed at all at the convention itself.

I'll hang this on the corner of the bookshelf with all the previous passes. It's quite colorful over there.

As I have for many years now I wonder if the convention was worth the time and money. I do ask myself that every year. And so far the answers have weighed towards going again.

I'm thinking about it this year and the balance has shifted again. Some rumors about next year are making me hesitate but since they're rumors and the convention is almost a year away I can set those aside. My class experiences are making me wonder if I've learned all they have to teach me, given my interests. Then I wonder if maybe it's time to try teaching again. I know very few people at the convention now and it's fewer every year so the social aspect has dwindled to almost nothing. The main swag was purchased online by anyone and the convention swag will hit the store anyway. There's a lot to drop into the hopper as I put this one behind me and think of next year.

One thing that never changes is my hate for Texas weather. I could accept it more before my move but now the whole concept of 'humidity' is unpleasant in the extreme.

Reading back over the daily posts to correct stuff (I typed them on my phone for reasons that made sense at the time) I noticed a generally negative tone to them. Some of that I'll put down to being in pain. It comes through in my writing. Some of that I'll put down to be just stupid tired due to travel and socializing after so much time being alone. The rest? That's because my convention experiences just aren't all that light and fluffy. I go there expecting to have fun and then rediscover that the events and general activities aren't what I enjoy very much. 

Don't think the convention isn't fun if you like painting, gaming, hanging out, etc. ReaperCon is still the nicest and friendliest convention I've ever attended. Where else do you feel people could set up their large paint stations in the main hall on Thursday and leave them there until Sunday, unattended at times? No one gives that a second thought. Overall people are friendly and there's plenty of things to do. I think my personal experiences come from having been to so many of them and seeing the changes in the convention, the attendees, and the company. I accept that things change. My question is whether I want to be there for them.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

ReaperCon 2021 - Day 3

  

Day 3 should be a shorter post. It was my 'day off' as it were. No classes, no obligations, etc.

I spent the morning hanging out. I would have liked to have shopped the small selection of vendors but on my first pass through on Thursday to get the punch card done I saw there weren't many that interested me. So that was out.

Because I entered the paint competition I was eligible to vote for Best in Show. I made a pass through the entries and didn't find anything I really liked so no one got my vote. I'm harsh on that kind of judging.

My Best in Show choice has to 'catch' me. It doesn't need to be the best paint job or anything. There has to be something that makes me want to take it home. I didn't see anything like that this year so I abstained.

I made good on my promise to myself to at least do a Paint and Take. That's where you sit down, pick a mini, and paint it. It's a nice way to introduce people and get them started - free mini and they provide brushes and paint.


I painted a bit on this one and realized a few things. I really dislike painting direct on their 'these minis don't need primer' models because they do need primer unless you want to wait forever and have to keep throwing paint on until it covers. I also didn't like the strangers who don't understand painting etiquette. The person who I think was supposed to be keeping an eye on things seemed more inattentive than they should have been. So I stopped after that bit of paint on her thorax. 

That experience let me cross off all the scheduled paint events from my list.

I physically overdid it when I took the factory tour. Walking isn't my best thing and by this point I was in bad shape. Even after being here so many times I enjoy the tour. This year they included new areas that they bought and/or built out since the last convention so I was excited to see them.

Unfortunately my knees were not of the same opinion. I expected to have to skip the upstairs portion. I did the last few conventions. I didn't expect to have to miss other sections. The owner giving the tour was nice enough to ferry me over to the new buildings in the company golf cart tho.

One new building will be warehouse. That makes sense. The other is mostly for their streaming stuff and that didn't interest me. I may blog about that later.

In the building with the studio is a wall of names. We were asked during their last Kickstarter if we wanted our names painted on the new building. I certainly did. Instead they put them on an inside wall so they wouldn't be exposed to the elements so our names will last a lot longer.


It was nice to find my name in there. It was even nicer they're in alphabetical order.

The studio areas were efficient and they find them useful. The other areas are still being made less industrial, except the room where they make their newest type of plastic minis. I'm still not sure of that process or material. I'm also not interested enough to ask.

After a brief look at a couple of specific vendors I cleaned up what I had at the paint table and took it back to my room to pack. I still have the gift certificate that came with our VIP ticket to spend. They didn't have what I wanted in stock but they should be refilled tomorrow. 

Finally there's the paint contest results. I never go to the awards ceremony and didn't see why this year shod be any different. I got a text that I won a bronze medal for this dude


Not too shabby for the amount of work I put in. I did spend time replacing the broken dagger. I also think he looks better with the replacement.

So that's day 3. Tomorrow there's more going on but I leave before the official end of the convention. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

ReaperCon 2021 - Day 2

 


Yup. Still ReaperCon.

Yesterday we got a note from the hotel giving us coupons for breakfast. I guess people who weren't staying here were taking advantage. It's a nice idea but not very practical. They took the coupon at the official entrance but everyone would go back for refills using the 'exit' and no one was checking anything.

No biggie. Brought the coupon and had a nice breakfast.




I took some pictures of the main room again. I will admit to these being carefully framed to look like there was a good crowd. In fact there were sparsely occupied areas to be found as well as dense ones.

My first class was on weathering. Even I admit this looks pretty darn good for a class mini. However the instructor did a LOT of prep work for us. The bulk of the darker rust areas were from them sponge painting rust, using a product to mask areas that would be rusty, then spraying on the main color. Our part was rubbing off the paint/mask to reveal the rust.

We did do the streaks and scratches.

As always I like this instructor and after seeing how well it works I may buy the product depending on price.

My second class was a mistake. I was too advanced for the material. The instructor was also reading off their handout like it was a PowerPoint presentation. No pictures because I didn't feel it warranted any.

I chatted with the instructor after class and found out they learned all this from someone I learned it from before they every started painting.

I demurred about going to the second class that was supposedly more advanced material. They even gave me a copy of the handout to help me make my decision. My decision was to give away my ticket.

If you're going to read off the handout for your class there's isn't a lot of incentive to sit and listen to it. 

A lot of people would find inspiration in that class. I'm not one of them.

I did finish painting the dagger. I remembered paint dries a lot slower here than at home and planned accordingly. With that done I could enter them into the contest.

I pre-registered even though I was on-site. They seemed to be trying to speed up the process by having us enter the bulk of the information online rather than filling out paper forms someone else would enter into the computer. I found out that was the way to get the special coin anyway so it's all good.

I chose to gave them take the display pictures. There was a self service photo booth but there wasn't a line and I'd rather have a good picture from a good camera that someone other than me took.

Toxic Blue

Hangry Dwarf

Appearances are not always deceiving 

These are much better. I had to come up with entry names and since I'm not vested in the results I picked what came to mind.

The rest of the evening was spent socializing.

I mentioned I'm wearing my old convention shirts as a flex on the majority of attendees. Someone else I know is wearing the same range of shirts for the same reason. We never said we were nice.

ReaperCon 2021 - Day 0 and Day 1


OK. Days 0 and 1 get a single post since Day 0 isn't very picture worthy in my opinion.

Day 0

Day 0 was travel, more travel, hotel stuff, shopping, convention check-in, and a 'Meet & Greet' dinner.

There was nothing special about any of that. We got our convention welcome pack then went to our room to start the process of making big piles of stuff.



There's also a gift certificate usable only at their convention booth and convention money (Reaper Bucks). They said each hotel got different special minis and I'll be checking into that when I go shopping.

We snuck in a day early to do our metal-by-weight shopping. We've always set aside Thursday for that but it seems the company only wanted it to happen Friday and Saturday. Our bad. We did our shopping anyway. There's some advantages to being old timers.

The factory, looking back towards the store entrance. This is all product storage now.

The mold racks. They have a lot of molds. Casting is done in a room behind these.

Way in the back are the unpackaged minis you buy by weight, either with cash or trade in metal value.

I'll have better pictures when I take the official factory tour Saturday. 

The pizza Meet and Greet was burgers and hot dogs this year. That was a welcome change since I think the pizza the hotel serves is vile. The last couple of years I've resorted to scraping off and eating the toppings. They also had cake.

Food and food serving stations are not picture worthy to me.


These have been the standard type of badges the last few years. The ribbons are given out both by the convention and attendees who bought their own. Some people try to get them all and end up with huge tails that hit the floor. I take the ones that I earn at the con and the ones that I happen to acquire. This will grow throughout the weekend.

I'm going against my nature to enter minis in the painting competition. I'm only doing it for the Reaper Bucks. The minis are ones I grabbed from my dungeon crawl case. I have no interest in being judged which takes all the stress of competition away.

One of them broke in transit. His fragile dagger finally succumbed to my casual handling. Since I feel it's the best of the bunch I felt the need to fix it. My attempt to sculpt a replacement was a dismal failure. I found a suitable dagger on the pile of returned metal and pinned it in place. That's acceptable and will be easy enough to paint.

I pre-registered for the competition to get the special coin. I was mistaken in what I thought it would be. All Resper Bucks are cardboard coins and you get a 'special' silver one for doing that. It's still cardboard.

These are the terrible pictures I took to pre-register. They'll take better ones when I submit them. I hope.




The day ended with me chatting while I fixed the mini and my weekend table buddy painted.

Tomorrow will be much busier.