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Sinus Infections

Oct. 18th, 2010 | 11:18 am
location: Work
mood: annoyedannoyed

Every year, almost like clockwork, I get a sinus infection. I'm not exactly sure how it happens, but it usually comes after I get a cold (however, it has happened on its own at times). As a result, I feel perfectly healthy, except for a constant tickle at the base of my neck as my sinuses drain into my trachea. So, without any other symptoms, I get a cough that just won't go away. Untreated, it can last for months. :-(

So, I'm starting the 3rd week of infection, after spending all of last week taking a powerful antibiotic that was supposed to get rid of it. Lo and behold, I am still coughing, and my chest is starting to get sore.

SIGH... Back to the doctor tomorrow.

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Get a CLUE

Aug. 30th, 2010 | 11:12 am
location: Work
mood: sillysilly

For those of you who have played/loved that old board game CLUE, I had the chance to play it with a new twist this weekend. Parker Brothers has updated it with the Harry Potter license, changing the mansion to Hogwarts school, the murder weapons to spells and potions, and the suspects to the baddies that you find in the Harry Potter stories. In addition, there are a number of events that occur periodically, and you must acquire spells, items, and allies in order to defend yourself, otherwise you lose 'house points' and eventually will be eliminated from the game.

I know how to play CLUE. I've enjoyed it very much in the past. And I was even intrigued by the new additions to the game, and was happy to play it with my family yesterday. I got so caught up in the new details, though, that I forgot one aspect of the basic game: always pay attention and remember what you have in your own hand of cards!

At one point in the game, all of the players were repeatedly entering the Great Hall and making guesses at who the suspect was. Suspects were proven wrong, nefarious items/spells were proven wrong, but the Great Hall itself was never proven wrong. Natually, I came to the conclusion that the Great Hall must be the scene of the crime. That is, until I remembered about ten turns later that I myself was holding the Great Hall card!

My wife made a final accusation (which turned out to be wrong), and she was eliminated from the game. Then my son Bryce made a final accusation, and was also wrong! It was only then that I discovered that I was holding the Great Hall card, and I admitted to my family that I had made a game-ruining mistake.


We still had a lot of fun, though, and it was good to finally get to spend some time with my family (after spending two weeks working until midnight or later). I don't know if I'm ever going to live this down, though.

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Fun Weekend

Aug. 9th, 2010 | 10:42 am
mood: busybusy

My wife's cousins are in town, so we all went to Laguna beach on Saturday. It's been a while since I've been to the beach, and even longer since I've been to the beach on such a beautiful day as it was last Saturday. The sun was out, it was nice and warm, but not too hot, and the water was cold but not so frigid that it was unpleasant.

For the first time since I was a child, I went romping through the waves again, nearly getting knocked over by the water as it flowed up and down from the beach. And, for the first time, my son Bryce went romping with me. For the first few waves, he screamed like a little girl, and we both had a good laugh. For each wave after that, the screaming continued, but I think at that point he was screaming more because it was fun than out of fear. Even so, I held on to one of his arms so he wouldn't get knocked over--a nine year old boy at just over 40 pounds has very little mass to hold him steady when the waves hit.

I had a truly fun time with my family; something, I'm ashamed to admit, I haven't done in a while.

Yesterday during church, Bryce was playing with one of the baby's toys that can bend into different shapes. He bent it into a heart shape, pointed at it, then pointed at me. He did this several times, trying to make absolutely sure that I understood that he loves me.

This week at work, we have a milestone due to submit to our publisher. As is usually the case right before deadlines, it is now CRUNCH time, and I get to spend the next few days staying late at night trying to get everything done. *sigh* Such is the gaming industry.

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Jun. 8th, 2010 | 12:44 pm

I believe I've mentioned Jon Ponkivar in some of my previous posts--he creates the comic 'Peter and Company.' Well, Jon has recently had a case of pancreatitis, and hasn't been able to draw his comic due to shaky hands. So, a couple of weeks ago, Jon put out a request for fan art so that his comic website wouldn't be so static while he was recovering.

I took the challenge, and drew a single-panel comic using two of his characters. Imagine my delight when this morning, I got a note from Jon saying that he had posted my work on the front page of his website!

Take a look here. He even put a link back to the page where I post my artwork!

Here's what he said on the site:

Continuing with the guest updates, today’s piece of artwork was drawn by Teric, a longtime fan and supporter of my artwork. He has also drawn several pieces of guest art for me in the past, but this one in particular really means a lot to me simply because of the subject matter. Seeing as how I write myself into Peter’s character, this piece really hits the mark with what I’m going through right now.

Okay — technically, I write my 12-year-old experiences into Peter’s character, and I never had to deal with pancreatitis as a kid — but still, the subject matter rings true regardless. Peter just needs some time to recover.

It put me into a fit of giggling glee to see MY work posted on a well-known webcomic artist's site.

In other news, I've completed another strip for my own comic and am currently in the middle of the next.

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Can't cry over spilled milk

Jun. 2nd, 2010 | 10:40 am
mood: chipperchipper

This morning, like most school mornings, I sat with my boys as they ate breakfast before school. Carter (who is nearly 5 months old) can now sit in a Bumbo seat (for those of you who don't know what that is, take a look here). I had Carter in the middle of the table in his seat, so that he could look around and enjoy the company as we had breakfast.

Carter quickly got interested in the cereal boxes around him, and reached out his little hands to grasp them. I thought it was cute, so I moved one of the cereal boxes next to him so he could try to grab it. Not two seconds later, he flung his arm out and knocked the box over, sending it plummeting onto my cereal bowl, which overturned and spilled milk and cereal all over the table. Smooooooooooth.

The boys and I got a good laugh out of it as I cleaned up the mess.

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Professionally Recorded

May. 19th, 2010 | 10:33 am
mood: cheerfulcheerful

Last week, I was asked to take part in a professional recording of a song written by a local songwriter. She wanted me to be one of the backup singers.

SO, for the first time ever, I went into an actual professional recording studio, with the huge microphone, headphones, and everything. The sound pro sat in a different room, talked to me over the headphones, it was the real deal! Pretty exciting to be included in something like that.

I honestly didn't think I sounded all that good, but I did my best. Then, the guy with the magic mixing board and computer-assisted track sequencer was able to mix everything together and actually make the whole thing sound pretty good!

I asked Alese (the song's composer) if I could post a copy online for everyone to hear, but she says she doesn't feel comfortable allowing that because it's not officially copyrighted quite yet. She's working on that. She also informed me last night that she wants to continue using me for recording future songs.

Pretty exciting!

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May. 17th, 2010 | 11:44 am
location: Work
mood: chipperchipper

This past saturday was the annual Scout-O-Rama here in Orange County. Thousands of boy scouts, cub scouts, and their families gather in Santiago Canyon for a day of scouting activities. Our boys spent the day climbing rock walls, crossing monkey bridges, making their own ropes, shooting rubber bands at targets, spraying out fires, and the like.

One of the events was a watermelon eating contest. Nathan (age 5) and Bryce (age 8) decided to participate. Just as they were preparing to start, a woman carrying a hefty-looking camera came over and started snapping their pictures. One look at the camera bag she carried plus the extra (and equally hefty) camera she had at her side told me that she must have been a professional photographer. After snapping a few photos, she told me she was with the Orange County Register newspaper, and asked me for permission to submit their photos. I agreed, and gave her their names and ages.

Our whole family was quite surprised to see Bryce's crazed face on the front page of the local section of the paper the following morning! We all had a great laugh, and Bryce was tickled pink to have his 15 minutes of fame.

The caption in the paper read as follows:

Bryce Wilson, 8, is poised to begin the watermelon-eating contest at Scout-O-Rama, the annual trade show of Scouting in Orange County. About 30,000 people took part at Oak Canyon Park in Santiago Canyon on Saturday.


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EPIC Grocery Shopping

May. 12th, 2010 | 10:53 am
location: Work
mood: crazyAmazed

For a few years now, my wife has been participating in 'The Grocery Game.' Essentially, the lady who runs the website digs through all of the sales at various grocery stores, as well as the current coupons available from major newspapers, and puts two and two together to get fantastic deals on groceries. For a small monthly fee, you can filter her information by store and product type, resulting in a shopping list that you can use for your own trips to the store.

The game does require you to search for and clip the coupons, but she tells you right where to find them and which ones to use on which products. Normally, this results in a grocery shopping trip with huge savings, often 40%-70% off.

Most of the time, my wife clips the coupons and does the shopping trips herself, but she occasionally asks me to go in her place because she's tired or busy with other important things. Last night was one of those nights. Kimberly handed me a stack of coupons and a shopping list, and sent me to the local Ralph's.

In about an hour, I gathered more than $100 worth of groceries and brought it to the checkout counter. Since Kimberly had given me a number of 'free item' and 'final price reduction' coupons (i.e. $10 off an order of $75 or more), I expected some big savings on the lot.

The price before coupons came out to $112. I handed her the stack of coupons and watched the final price begin to fall... $90... $80... $65... $50... When it hit $40, my jaw began to drop--she wasn't done with the stack yet! $25... $15...

The final price? $2.16.

I bought a whole week's worth of groceries for just over two dollars. Both the cashier and I were astounded--neither one of us had seen anything like it before! Thanks to the diligent work of my wife and the Grocery Game, I was able to walk out of Ralph's with a cartload of groceries that I purchased for essentially nothing.

EPIC work, Kimberly!

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My Artwork, My Comic

Apr. 27th, 2010 | 05:34 pm
location: work
mood: giddygiddy

I love web comics. I have a large list of them that I visit each day. For a couple of years now, I have wanted to put together my own web comic, but I have always felt a lack of confidence in my own talent.

With the ease of the internet, comics have become much more common--anyone who wants to throw together a few scribbles with some hastily worded speech bubbles can post them online and call it a web comic. You can tell how much effort they put into their work when every frame is nearly an exact copy-and-paste of each other. Blech.

I didn't want to be 'just another web comic' that is quickly ignored and forgotten. I want to rise above the no-effort comics out there and be something that is half-way decent. Though it would be nice to be a popular web comic artist, I'm more interested in actually producing one and telling my own story in a way that doesn't look like it was drawn by a five year old.

Recently, gen, one of my favorite web comic artists, posted some advice for those who would like to start their own webcomic, and it made me think.

"If you have to choose between getting the comic out there and having it be a masterpiece, choose the former. If it's hard for you, then change your schedule to accommodate. People would rather a comic update one day a week on a regular basis rather than update randomly while the artist finishes their awesome looking page."

I've recently come to realize that I was falling into this trap. I wanted so much for my artwork to look good, that I was preventing myself from actually getting my work out there. I kept holding myself back from producing comic strips because I felt that I wasn't quite good enough yet.

Once I realized this, I took a look at some of the really popular web comic artists out there, and compared their first comic strips to what they have today. In a lot of cases, there is an enormous difference! These folks didn't wait until they were highly accomplished and respected artists before they started up their comic. They just started, and they were consistent. And, as time passed, they got much better.

That's what I've got to do. Stop worrying about looking terrible, and just start producing. If I am consistent, and I strive to improve as I continue, then the progress will come.

So, on that note, I give you the second in (hopefully) a long series of comic strips in which I get to tell a story of my own.

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Sad News

Apr. 16th, 2010 | 10:51 am
location: Work
mood: pensivepensive
music: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King soundtrack

Yesterday I received an email from my wife saying that two friends of ours are getting a divorce.

I am deeply saddened to hear this. I was here when the two of them were dating, and I attended their wedding (and later temple sealing). We would attend church together, and we had them over at our home for dinner & games from time to time, until they moved to a different town. I always thought they were a promising, talented young couple.

And now this.

It would be easy to say that I'm angry that this happened, that they made stupid mistakes that could have easily been prevented, but I'm not angry. I'm worried, honestly. I sincerely hope that they can get some help and counseling, and perhaps save their marriage. But the larger picture is what it says to me about how easily a good marriage can be screwed up.

Love, kindness, understanding, devotion, hard work, faithfulness, sacrifice: these are the hallmarks of a good marriage. I'm sure that the vast majority of marriages start with these in place. However, I see how easy it is to slip into complacency and routine, to let little things fall by the wayside as a couple becomes "comfortable" in their marriage. Then, something slips in, be it boredom with routine, annoyance with little things your spouse does/doesn't do, pressures of life/finances/work, or whatever it may be.

These aren't marriage-killers, to be certain. But they are things that tend to fester over time. If these things aren't discussed and addressed by the couple, then that festering can eventually turn into one or both seeking happiness/relief from someone or something other than their spouse.

In the words of Dr. Phil, everyone needs a "soft place to fall." A place where it's okay to let down your guard, to be vulnerable, to be able to discuss/vent feelings where you know you won't be ridiculed or attacked. I sincerely believe that 'soft place' should be your spouse.

I step back and ask myself: Am I that soft place to fall for my wife? Do I sincerely listen and make myself available to her?

Just my thoughts.

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