Dead Distributor
Afternoon watch, 5 bells (2:47 pm)

My wife's car died yesterday while she was driving it. I got it towed to a mechanic and they found that the distributor was bad. That is the same distributor we had replaced last year around this time.

Since she'd driven less than a thousand miles (in a year!), it was still under warranty. That's great news because we put a lot of money into that car (and mine, too) last year and I wasn't looking forward to a do-over. Still, it's a hassle to go without that second car.

EDIT: Well I guess I blogged too soon. The fuel pump acted up just after she left the mechanic's and we need to replace that now.

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Welding Class, Day One
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:26 am)

Last night I attended my first welding class at Gizmo Cd'A, our local makerspace. We started out with safety discussion and an overview of what we were going to do, then we jumped in to plasma cutting practice on some scrap steel. I quickly realized how difficult it can be to cut a straight line, but started to get the hang of it after a while. I also practiced plunge cuts (as opposed to starting at the edge of the material). It amazed me how fast a plasma cutter can cut through steel.

We had a short break and got answers to several questions (there were six of us in the class). Then the instructor taught us more about different types of welding and the pros and cons of each. We went back into the shop, watched some demonstrations, learned the parts of the welders, and got started practicing with a MIG wire feed welder. That's where I learned how much welding is a skill as much as an art, neither of which I'm very good at yet. But it was great to practice, and get the feel for how fast or slow to go. Practice took up the rest of the class.

I had a great time, and learned a bunch of new things. I can hardly wait for the next class!

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Learning a New Skill
Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:32 pm)

Tomorrow night I start taking a welding class. Because I don't have enough hobbies.

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Shadows of Brimstone
Posted in Reviews
First watch, 7 bells (11:53 pm)

Tonight, for the first time, my wife and I played Shadows of Brimstone City of the Ancients. Since we were only two players, and were playing the introductory adventure A Fistful of Dark Stone, we only faced low threat enemies. Until the end, where it spiraled out of control. We entered the mine, tried to scavenge with little success at first, and as we delved deeper my wife was real good at passing the Holding Back the Darkness rolls for the most part. We found our first clue in the room right past the mine entrance, but didn't find the second (objective room) until we were seven rooms in. We had several encounters, where we lucked out and missed taking damage every time, or got a good result instead. We had one early skirmish with 6 Void Spiders, and Lorien took out four of them by tossing dynamite into their midst. We quickly won that fight, and she received dynamite as a reward!

So the rest of the encounters were lucky as I mentioned, up until we got to the objective room. This is where either the game balance is off or we were extremely unlucky—or both. It appears that no matter how many players are in the game, you draw a red High Threat card to face off against in the objective room. Ours had us draw two Medium Threat cards. One of those cards had us draw two Low Threat cards. Our final fight was the Marshall and the Saloon Girl versus (in descending order of nastiness) three Night Terrors, three Stranglers, and nine Void Spiders. Most of them targeted my wife, who was stuck a bit behind me. The Void Spiders had the highest initiative and attacked first, quickly surrounding us and cutting off any hope of escape. Lorien faced two of them, and I faced four. The Stranglers couldn't reach either of us, so were sitting out the fight watching from the bleachers. Then we attacked, killed a couple of spiders, and then the Night Terrors shoved everyone out of the way and came to attack. Unluckily for her, they all chose to target Lorien first. She almost got KO'd that first round but had some luck dodging damage. The next round I managed to heal her, but they beat her like an old punching bag when their turn came up again.

So we used our one-and-only Revive token and she popped right back up. She threw dynamite again, took out a handful of spiders, wounded a few more, and even wounded two of the Night Terrors. I hit one several times with my shotgun but also had some bad luck rolls. In the end I managed to take two of them down, but not before they beat the lunch money out of Lorien again, KO'd in one round.

There was nothing left for me to do as I was surrounded on my next turn by Void Spiders and the final remaining Night Terror and pounded unconscious after surviving one round on my own.

So like I said, I may have been really unlucky, but it felt like the odds were too stacked against us at the final fight. Especially considering we'd have faced the same enemies if we had six players instead of just two…

All that said, this game kicks serious pigu. Way to go, Flying Frog!

Unfortunately we'd already cleared off the board when I finally took a picture, but here it is anyway.
My first Shadows of Brimstone game

I need a bigger game table!

PS I painted all the miniatures myself. Normally they come as grey plastic, so don't be disappointed if that's what you get.

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Time To Get Serious
Posted in General
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:06 pm)

I guess it's finally time to get serious about taming this thing…
Beardbrand care products

Beardbrand is semi-local to me (Spokane, WA), so it's good to support the local guy.

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Need A Cheap, Great Wireless Router?
Posted in Advice, Tech
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:15 pm)

I work in IT, and I use two of these at home. Buy yourself a TP-Link WR-841N for $19.99 and flash the DD-WRT firmware on it. You'll need to do some serious reading through their documentation, but once you are done you have a router with features from hardware ten times the price. I personally set up WDS (wireless roaming) and it's incredibly cool to have for $40 and some of my precious time.

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Fajita Spice Mix
Posted in Recipes
Last dog watch, 8 bells (8:29 pm)

Tonight I made fajitas. I had vacuum-sealed and frozen some chicken with a cilantro and lime marinade a while back, so all we needed was some fresh onions and peppers. Anyway, I was looking for some extra spice and found a "fajita seasoning mix" but ended up not using it after perusing the ingredient list, which contained corn syrup solids (first on the list!), caramel color, and silicon dioxide (to stop clumping maybe?). Anyway, I didn't want to put that on my food, so I poked around the 'net after dinner and read several recipes before setting out and crafting one of my own. And here is the result:

Fajita Spice Mix
2 parts salt
2 parts pepper
4 parts paprika
4 parts oregano
1 part cayenne pepper, or more, to taste
4 parts garlic powder
2 parts celery salt
2 parts basil
1 part nutmeg
4 parts cumin
1 part marjoram
1 part thyme
1 part rosemary

Blend it all up in a mortar and pestle, then enjoy!

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