Looking for Work

Posted on : 10-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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I haven’t exactly made this a secret, but I also haven’t explicitly stated it on my blog, and I feel that I would be remiss if I did not: I am looking for a job. I would prefer a full-time, permanent position, but I am also open to freelance projects, if you would like me to write for you.

If you follow this blog, you likely know what I’m good at already, at least in terms of the scope of this job. I should also mention that I have been a teacher for the last several years, which means that I am comfortable speaking in front of groups of people, and I am comfortable imparting knowledge to others. If you haven’t already, you can see my list of publications. If you’d like to see my resume, or a list of references, you can feel free to contact me either by commenting on this post, or by emailing me at engard at gmail dot com.

Thank you for your time.

Brian

Feedburner Un-Failed

Posted on : 16-11-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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I’ve solved my Feedburner issues, it seems. The short version is that my feed went too far back into my blogging history, so the size of the feed exceeded what Feedburner was willing to handle. I’ve fixed that, so we should be in business again.

Feedburner Fail

Posted on : 15-11-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’m having some issues with my feed updating. Feedburner as seriously dropped the ball as far as I’m concerned, and I’m looking into an alternative. I’ll let you know if anything changes as far as the feed goes, assuming those of you subscribed to the feed are even able to read this post.

Travel Log: Weta Cave

Posted on : 23-10-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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Today I made the pilgrimage to Weta Cave, the mini-museum set up in Wellington. I really wanted to visit Weta Workshop itself but, sadly, due to confidentiality issues, Weta doesn’t allow tours of their facilities. That’s what the Cave is for. The Cave does have a lot of cool things to see, though; props from Lord of the Rings, District 9, King Kong, and various other productions. At any rate, here are some photos:

Weta Cave
About to be eaten by an Uruk-Hai.

Weta Cave
Me, the wife, and Smeagol.

Weta Cave
Steampunk Rayguns.

Weta Cave
Balrog miniature (bigger than Orcus).

Weta Cave
Cave Trol miniature (also bigger than Orcus).

Weta Cave
A gentle warning.

Miscellany

Posted on : 26-09-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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I don’t have a cohesive theme for this post; it’s mostly just random news that I felt like sharing.

First off, you can now find me on 4EBlogs.com. Hopefully that means that this humble blog will reach a somewhat larger audience. We’ll see, I guess.

Second, I just got done recording an episode of The Tome Show with Jeff Greiner. Jeff was an awesome host, and it was a truly surreal experience to have the guy that I listen to in my car talking back at me when I say things, responding to what I say. At any rate, we talked about campaign building, specifically starting a new campaign. I don’t want to steal the show’s thunder, so I’ll likely revisit this topic after the show has aired and people have had a chance to listen to it. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

Third, some of you may know (but most of you don’t) that I’m going to New Zealand on October 19th. I’ll be there for roughly two weeks, taking in the sights and visiting various Jacksonian locations. I’m very excited, and I expect to come back charged with some imagery-inspired ideas. I will likely blog my travels again, like I did when I visited New Orleans and the South.

Finally, I have fully digested the wonder that is Mouse Guard, though I have yet to play it. I expect to talk about it a bit at some point.

That is all.

Nothing to report (sort of)

Posted on : 16-09-2010 | By : Brian | In : D&D, News

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Apologies for the dry spell. I’ve got a D&D game upcoming, and I feel that I always blog less coming up on a D&D game because my energies are focused on it. Speaking of which, I also realize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted a session report; this is because it’s been a while since we’ve gotten to play the campaign. Real life has interfered with the (clearly more important) gaming lives of a couple of my players, and I don’t like playing the campaign with two or more players absent. When the campaign resumes, I’ll continue posting session reports.

That actually brings me to another bit of news. I mentioned that I’m prepping for a D&D game this weekend; you may have surmised that this is not a game in the normal campaign. You would be correct. See, there will only be three players present (one of them Skyping in from California), rather than the customary five, so I’m not going to run the normal campaign. Instead, I’m going to start up an “off game” for situations just like this one, where we want to play D&D but don’t have enough of the regulars to do so. I’ve been fashioning up some pregens (though I’ll allow my players to make their own characters, should they choose), and I plan on running the Tomb of Horrors as my off game. There will likely only be three players on any given session of this, so it’ll likely be a bit on the difficult side. PC mortality may be high. For this reason, I’m actually going to start the PCs at level 11 instead of level 10 (where the adventure would normally start); I think that, given the difficulty of the adventure and the small group of PCs, it’ll still be difficult and deadly enough to live up to its name. I will post a session report on the wiki, probably in a separate section specifically for the off game.

Finally, I’m hoping to get my copy of the Red Box tomorrow. I’ll likely run the adventure within it at some point. I’d like to try it out solo, and I may run it for a group, as well. I’ll probably use the off game sessions for that. Again, expect a report of some type.

Off-Topic: Me, only undead

Posted on : 10-08-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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Plants vs. Zombies just updated to the Game of the Year edition on Steam, and one of the features it adds is the ability to make a Zombitar. Here’s mine.

Still Here

Posted on : 23-07-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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Hello, all. Just wanted to drop a line and let everyone know that I am, in fact, still alive. Also, I’d like to let you know what to expect in terms of near-future posts. In no particular order:

  • A session report. Last Sunday was game day, and it was a good one. I’ll be posting a session report soon.
  • My thoughts on Monster Manual 3, which I just got.
  • Post mortems on how things like my Grit and Last-Ditch Effort rules worked, as well as some other things I tried out.
  • Other stuff, quite possibly.

That’s all for now, folks. More to come.

Travel Logs: The last few days

Posted on : 18-06-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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Okay, where did I leave off? I believe I covered New Orleans, yes? We left New Orleans by car, the plan being that we’ll road-trip back home in order to see some of the South on the way. The driving has been pretty boring for the most part, although some of the early driving on the first day was nice. We took a scenic route along the coast, which allowed us to see some nice beaches and water, and some beach-town scenery.

Our first stop was Montgomery, Alabama. We got there too late to tour the inside of any of the buildings that we checked out, unfortunately. We saw the state capitol, the Baptist church where Dr. Martin Luther King was minister for a few years, the civil rights memorial, and the first White House of the Confederacy. Aside from that, there really wasn’t much to see in Montgomery, and there were even fewer places to eat. We wound up eating at a seafood place across the street from the hotel; it was effectively an Applebee’s or TGI Friday’s, but for seafood.

Our second stop was a lot more interesting: Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is a fairly large town, with lots to see and do, but it retains a lot of its small town charm. Things seem to move a bit slower there (though that might have been because we were on vacation). There are parks everywhere, lots of very beautiful churches, great architecture, and plenty of great restaurants. We saw the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the market square, Forsythe Park, and “The Book”, a souvenir store dedicated to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the novel that popularized Savannah. On the last day we stopped by Bonaventure Cemetery, which was pretty breathtaking.

We’re now in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is basically just a stop-over; there’s nothing specific that we came here to see. Our next stop will be in Williamsburg, Virginia (where I used to live), where we plan on seeing all the cool Colonial Williamsburg stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll have time to do Busch Gardens.

At any rate, if you’d like some pictures to go with these words (one being worth one thousand, and all), go check out my wife’s Flickr album dedicated to our road trip.

Travel Logs: Eating in New Orleans

Posted on : 15-06-2010 | By : Brian | In : News

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It should come as no surprise to anyone that there are lots of great places to eat (and drink) in New Orleans. I’d like to take this time to talk about some of the places we ate while here.

Palace Cafe
This was our first exposure to New Orleans cuisine. We went there for lunch, a time that was (unexpectedly, they say) very busy. We had to wait about fifteen minutes to be seated (and someone who came in after us got seated before us, which was a little irksome), but the food was well worth the wait. I had a very fancy version of pork and beans: pork tenderloin with a sort of sweet and spicy bean and slaw mix that was fantastic and both rich and light at the same time. The food was a little bit pricey, but very good.

Bourbon house tuna

Bourbon House
Situated right on Bourbon Street, right across from dive bars and sex shops, Bourbon House is an upscale restaurant with excellent food at reasonable prices. We followed a seafood motif, getting a dozen raw oysters (extremely fresh, and very good), a tuna sampler (the blackened tuna was the least impressive, though it was still good, while the tuna carpaccio was my favorite), and a couple of bowls of very good seafood gumbo. Bourbon House also, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a rather large selection of bourbons. I tried one (though I can’t remember the name), and have decided that I like bourbon quite a bit.

PJ’s Coffee
PJ’s was voted the best coffee in New Orleans, though I can’t for the life of me understand why. I ordered iced coffee–just simple iced coffee, no sweaters or flavors requested–and got hazelnut iced coffee. As someone who does not, as a rule, like flavored coffee, this was pretty disappointing. Not only that, but the coffee was extremely sour; I have a feeling that, even had the coffee not been flavored, it would not have been that good. PJ’s, to me, came off as a poor imitation of Starbucks.

Grand Isle
We went here for lunch on Saturday because it was very close to the hotel. It was also, luckily, very good. I got a crawfish etoufee that was fantastic. The service was also good, and our waitress was extremely friendly and helpful.

Crazy Lobster
This was our dinner spot after a long day of walking. I had jambalaya, and was impressed by it. The service was a little slow, and my wife was not that happy with her shrimp creole (I had it for lunch the next day, and enjoyed it).

River’s Edge
Right on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, River’s Edge is a bit of a dive whose main advantage is the fact that it’s right across the street from Cafe du Monde. I got blackened Cajun ribs which, while they tasted pretty good, were about as far from tender as ribs can get. The fries were interesting, but tasted a little like they might have been cooked in oil that should have been thrown out a few hours ago. My wife, however, said that the seafood gumbo she got there was the best gumbo she had during our trip here (she still thinks so).

Beignets & Cafe Au Lait

Cafe du Monde
Great coffee (much better than PJ’s), and beignets. What can I say about beignets? The closest analog we have up north is funnel cake, and there are some similarities; they are both effectively deep-fried dough with powdered sugar on top. If you come to New Orleans, you really need to end at least one day with a plate of beignets and a cafe au lait (both specialties of Cafe du Monde).

The World Famous Gumbo Pot
We both had gumbo here (surprise, surprise). My wife had seafood gumbo, while I had duck and andouille gumbo. Quick service, good gumbo, good prices. Not exceptional, but good.

Best mango sorbet

Stanley
Caddy-corner to the cathedral, Stanley was a fantastic find. They mostly have breakfasts and sandwiches, and the menu is concise, but what they do they do very, very well. I had a giant burger topped with bacon, mustard, and Stanley’s special sauce, and it was, perhaps, the best burger I’ve ever had. My wife had an omelet sandwich, and it was also fantastic. We topped it off with two scoops of mango sorbet (made on-site), which was, predictably, fantastic. If you come to New Orleans, eat here. You owe it to yourself.

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