Archive for June, 2006

Vincent is dead right now…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28th, 2006

Two Saturdays ago, whilst coming home from getting some music gear, Vincent’s engine temp needle started acting weird, jumping all the way to the red and the dummy light started beeping. WTF? Two months in, and i’m already having car problems?

I took Vincent in to our local reputable mechanic (Royal Auto Repair on Lincoln) on Monday morning. They weren’t able to get working on it until Tuesday afternoon. At first, it was suspected that the non-functioning thermostat was the source of the problem. Yay- easy fix, inexpensive parts. No problem. I can pick it up Wednesday. Except that the mechanic discovered that a new thermostat *didn’t* solve the problem, that coolant wasn’t getting to the engine, and it was still overheating. Uh oh. More bumming of rides ensues. Fretting over what may be wrong with Vincent. I get another call Thursday from the shop, saying that they think they’ve figured out what the problem is- another bum sensor in the car. A $12 part, but they’ve got to order it. Crap.

Then Thursday morning, another call- MY HEAD GASKET IS BLOWN AND NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. $1200+ price tag for this repair work, am not getting car back until some time later this week.

AAaaahhHHAAh!!!

However, i remain calm (except for that short outburst). Why? Because the entire thing, except $100 for deductible and $63 for a new timing belt, will be covered by the extended warranty i was smart enough to get when buying the car. Even the towing. Even the rental car i have (just procured today).

Still, i worry. What if this isn’t the last of it? Is this the reason why it was used? I bought it from a dealer, so i shouldn’t have to worry…right? But now i’ve got that seed of doubt in my head. I hate that.

Black Snake Moan- Blake’s, Berkeley, CA – 6.17.06

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23rd, 2006

Car trouble not withstanding, this was a pretty smooth show. I must give a hat tip to Aki for giving myself and my gear a ride to the gig, as my car was mysteriously “overheating” (i suspect it’s really not, but that’s what the idiot light said). We arrived in plenty of time, hauled our gear in, checked in, etc. Usual routine. There was a lot more space in the side area than last time, due to the fact that there were four bands that night instead of five. I quite enjoyed that- none of us felt rushed to get on or off the stage, which is how it typically goes.

It was very nice to see my friend Eric show up- he’s seen me through every single band i’ve been in, and tonight was his first chance to check out BSM. He dug it a lot, and says that he’ll definitely be back for more (he conspicuously never said that when i was in SIFT ;) ). Having him there, and sharing HWB war stories with Steph, Paige, and others was a treat. A weird synchronicity going on, that.

There were less people that night, but those who were there were really into it. People dancing, headbanging…i even couple a couple people who i didn’t recognize singing some of the words. “Tension” got a nice cheer when we started it. The new songs are going over well, too. I didn’t play my best, which pissed me off, and i was slightly out of tune for a couple of songs with my low D string, but i was told after that nobody could notice. I think we got the technical issues licked (although Aki was having some guitar problems as we were starting, but he was able to solve them, so nothing serious).

A Band Called Pain was on after us, and this time i was able to catch their set. Man, those guys are fookin’ good. Really nice people too. I got to chat with a couple of their members, Bryan and Alan, before and after their set. They dug us a lot- i could see all of them watching our set from the side, getting into it. We had some serious talk about doing another show with them, and i hope it happens. They also get bonus points due to their bass player being left-handed too. ;)

All in all, a good night.

Catching up on Memorial Day weekend

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10th, 2006

Had a busy busy busy weekend over Memorial Day. Hookers and blow and martians and bricks and jam…no, wait. That was something else.

WARNING: here be a lot of game geekery talk. Feel free to skip from Friday to Monday if you’re worried your eyes might glaze over.

Friday: Spent the morning doing Con weekend prep- packing, sorting supplies, etc. Then it was off to meet Fergie at Chaosium at around noon. There was already an SUV waiting for us, so i loaded it up with boxes of books and other such goodies whilst Fergie took care of some other stuff. Couple hours later, we arrived at the hotel, unpacked the truck, and got to work at setting the booth up. This time out, we had two large tables- very nice. We ended up using all that space, too.

Now that i’ve been helping out with Chaosium’s booth for the past 2 years or so, i’ve really gotten a sense of the camaraderie that exists between most of the dealers there. You get to know familiar faces, and there’s (by and large) none of the backbiting and petty squabbling that exists in, say, Corporate Slavestate #34. Everyone is working together two common goals: make some money (duh), but more importantly, Have A Fun Time.

At any rate, after about 4pm i took off for home- time to get ready for the Ministry/RevCo show! Dinner and a change, and we were ready. We got to the Fillmore at around 8, parked, and walked in. Not a lot of people when we showed up, but the venue filled up quickly. We met up with a few of our friends there, and at one point saw Jello Biafra walking around! I thought of going up to him and saying something, but at the time the opening band was playing, so i figured we wouldn’t be able to hear each other anyway. Still, i had hopes that he would get on stage at some point, since he’d appeared on both the new Ministry and RC albums, but alas, it was not to be.

RevCo was swell. Al didn’t sing, just played guitar, and had three guest singers join him- one was Luc Van Acker, not sure who the other two were. They put on a great set, though it was mostly comprised of older material- “Beers, Steers, and Queers”, “Let’s Get Physical”, etc.

Ministry was plain brutal. Better than when they played in ’04. Getting Tommy Victor to play lead was a damn smart move on Al’s part- the guy can still shred with the best of ‘em. A good number of songs off the latest album, some from House of the Mole, and some old classics like Stigmata, So What, Pslam 69. I didn’t go into the pit this time- just wasn’t feeling it. I did stay at the edge for part of it, and saw a couple guys go down pretty hard. Ben came away with a swollen jaw and a limp, so it must have been good. And man am i damn glad i remembered to bring my earplugs. Holy FUCK were they loud. Afterwards we hit the “Official After Party” at the DNA…hmmm, sleep?

Saturday: ACK! FUCK! SLEEP! Getting up at 7 to be at KublaCon at 8:30 after not getting to bed until 3am means…uh, 4 hours. Ouch. But dammit, there was a game starting at 9am i wanted to hit, so i dragged myself out of bed, and got to the hotel in plenty of time. Mike Siverling always runs a fun game, and this one was no different. I usually don’t play Traveller anymore- in fact, i never play it except when Mike is GMing one at a Con. Next up was Duane’s “Shambles” RPG game at 3:30. Shambles is essentially a game where you play the part of zombies, and it’s quite a lot of fun. I managed to squick Duane pretty well (he doesn’t have the stomach for most horror movies, yet he writes a game about zombies. Go figure) by taking out some high school cheerleader in a particularly gruesome manner. Once that game finished, i was thoroughly wiped, so i checked into my hotel, wandered around for a bit, and then passed out.

Sunday: Next day was booth duty for me. Fergie was as mellow and as congenial as ever. Lots and lots of people, all of them very nice and…well, they’re gamers. Rare that you’ll meet an asshole amoung them (although they do exist). Tons of t-shirts sold this time around. We had almost 15 different designs to choose from- very popular. I was happy to see many people picking up Secrets of San Francisco (the book i just finished working on). Hell, i even had a few people ask for autographs. Okay, one of them was Damon, but i didn’t know the others, honest!

Once the dealer room closed up at 6, i had time to kill before Duane’s ParanoiaXP session at 8, so i tried a demo of a new board game called Redneck Life. Quite a fun little game, i gotta say. Object of the game is to have the most teeth at the end, as you end up losing teeth through your life path of graduating from school (you could get as much as a high school education, or be as dumb as a 4th grader), geting hitched, divorced, hitched again, spawning multiple kids named Daryl or Bettie Sue, and buying an atrocious car (complete with pix of real vehicles!). Couldn’t finish the game due to time constraints, so i zoomed off to Paranoia. I think about 14 of us were there waiting for him to show up- when he did, he was dressed in lab coat, goggles, the works, completely in character from the start. There was some mass confusion as to who could be allowed in the game- keep in mind that games at cons cap at 8 players per session, and even that is stretching things for a GM. But Duane, ever the trooper, decided that he would forge ahead with 13 of us (kicking one guy out for lying about which order he showed up). Even with some players with no prior Paranoia experience had a grand time. I can’t remember the total number of clone kills, but i believe it was in the neighborhood of 46. Zap!

Finally…sleep, blessed slee- aw shit! Have to get to the dealer room to help Fergie again. Bad night of sleep, so i think i was running on 3 hours. Oooof. Thankfully it was a short shift, as the room closed at noon. Packed up, and just like that, another KublaCon was over and done with. And again, i was left with the feeling that there was so much more i wanted to do, but i just didn’t have the time. One of the reasons why i keep on coming back to KublaCon (and the other two cons that happen locally). Plus it’s fun.

But wait! The weekend STILL isn’t over! Zoomed home, unpacked my crap, then it was off to S.F. to get my left arm filled in by Idexa. Went well, and my forearms are now complete! At the end of the session, i found myself wanting to schedule another session, even though one wasn’t needed. Weird. With that the weekend finally came to a close. And a damn good one it was. I didn’t end up spending that much money at the con- mostly food and hotel. I bought one book (and that was discounted), and one new card game.

Next time, though- no damn show before a con (or in the middle of one, like the last DunDraCon!!)