Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It hurts in my brainmeats

It hurts when I see that there's a German re-working of Yahtzee. It's called To Court The King.

I'd say more, but I need to put Alex to bed again.

Sometime between Friday and Monday...

Two games of Blue Moon City with Larry.

My 2007 games: 18 plays of 12 unique games, including 4 new ones I learned, and 4 I taught. Okay, do I open up a blog post "Games Played 2007," then edit it every time I play something this year? That seems unwieldy.

Molly Ivins is dead

I dunno. Between Molly dying and Art Buchwald dying, it's been a hell of a month for humorists. I hope Dave Barry's buckling his seat belt.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Google AdSense Preview Tool testing

It occurred to me to check and see what my blog's ads were; at least one of the times I looked, there was some stupid ad for a soul-mate calculation tool.

Here's a tip: if you're dumb enough to use a computerized tool to look for your soul-mate, you can safely avoid looking for your soul-mate inside, say, a MENSA meeting, a library, or a bookstore.

I loaded the Google AdSense Ad Preview Tool, which adds a context-sensitive item when you right-click on things. You know, in Internet Explorer.

I'm using Firefox 2.0, so that does me a fat lot of good, people.

By the way, the soul-mate-calculator is served up using multiple URLs, so I turned off the obvious ones and will try and eliminate the rest.

If you've added Google AdSense to your pages, definitely read through the help files. It's an interesting program with lots of cool options, definitely.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday night: Caylus without me

Bobby and Emily came over for Thursday gaming, and brought the copy of Caylus that Emily gave Bobby for Christmas. Larry's got a copy, and Lee and I played it once, one hojillion years ago.

Caylus is hardcore. Oh, and it supports 5 people. Final roster tonight:
  1. Emily
  2. Bobby
  3. Tim
  4. R.J.
  5. Chris
I got to be the gracious host, and had printed extra rules and summary player aids from BoardGameGeek. However, Caylus takes two hours under the best of circumstances.

As it happened, during the game of Caylus, Lee emptied and filled the dishwasher and did at least one load of laundry. I did at least 8 months worth of filing, maybe 10. Scary.

I did get to do most of the explanations and only bobbled one or two rules. Caylus is rough stuff. I'm proud of the group - everyone stayed lucid, even as the game wrapped up around 11:40 p.m.

Bobby ended up a few points ahead of Emily, who was a few points ahead of Chris, who was a few points ahead of R.J. and Tim. A close game, and open for anyone to win up until the very end. Pretty impressive, really.

It was a cool evening; I needed a little down-time to chill out and be an observer. Work has ramped up with many different small tasks needing to be done, and I was feeling under the weather enough that multiple people in the office were calling me out on looking like dog vomit.

While filing paperwork tonight, I found my offer letter. I had forgotten that I actually earn sick days. Since it's a startup, I haven't seen anyone take a sick day, ever. It also isn't a mentally-toxic environment, so people don't get sick merely because they hate their jobs. Our CEO brought in kolaches, and man, that chicken/cheese on wheat combo is great.

Tonight Chris also borrowed my copy of Bohnanza, since it's an excellent gateway game.

Lee finished her Bradley homework and now needs to package it up, make copies, and send it out. It's encouraging to see her succeed on her projects!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Last Thursday's El Grande summary

Dang it, I'm behind. I gave blood on Tuesday, Lee's finishing up her Bradley paperwork, and the kids are adorable, so the only game I got to play was El Grande on Thursday.

I meant to get to the Houston Gamers, but it was cold and rainy. I stayed home and watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Totally Better Than The Reviews with my wife instead.

Anyway, I put Alex to bed last Thursday and let Lee play El Grande. I jumped in for Roxanne when she had to go, and finished in last, last, last, way last place. Roxanne left early in turn 4, so the loss was totally, absolutely my fault, and everyone had fun anyway.

My 2007 games: 16 plays of 12 unique games, including 4 new ones I learned, and 4 I taught. Shoot. This is unwieldy, and I gotta think about it.

Tonight is Caylus night, plus I still gotta figure out those stickers, plus I gotta track down my Cheapass Games prize pack for next month's convention.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Project Wonderful?

I notice that Jeffrey Rowland has added Project Wonderful ads to, and so I started researching and calculating.

There are 5 ads showing on the main page, each paying an average of about 80 cents. Basically, if you want your ad on a page, you bid higher than the current cost of the ad. The price is per-day; as long as you're the high bidder, you pay that cost until someone bids higher.

Project Wonderful takes 25% of the cost, so that's a gross profit for Jeffrey of 60 cents times 5 ads times 365 days a year is a cool grand, give or take.

Huh. Bear in mind here that Jeffrey's website rocks, and he's been drawing good, snarky webcomics since the internet was a pup. I know it's important to get all monetized and stuff, but... geez.

I realize the ads fluctuate up and down. Also, Project Wonderful pays out at $10, whereas Google AdSense pays out at $100. I believe I can't give out my exact Google AdSense revenues, but suffice it to say, I am not exactly rolling around in a Scrooge McDuck money bin.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Awwww, geek love

The guy who does WEBSNARK proposes to a wonderful woman.

I'm in your oceans,

I got the pack of stickers.

Photo and Google Checkout link to be posted tomorrow. Say, did you know Google Checkout is giving people $10 credit when they sign up?

Why, if you signed up for Google Checkout, you could click on a link I will provide tomorrow, and buy a pack of classy 8" x 1.5" stickers that say, "I am ready for a black president." You'd be spending Google's free money! It's the high-flying late 1990's again!

One of my co-workers is in South America somewhere on a honeymoon and sent the office some pictures of his hot wife and the resort. It was a very large email and took a non-zero amount of time to pull down from the Exchange server.

Anyway, I cleaned up the image a little, compressing it and making it easier to load:

Of course, it's not done until it's, y'know, labeled correctly:

This is my own, original composition, by me, Todd D.; please include attribution and link to me if you use it somewhere else. The very long cat's name is longcat. He lives in the internet, and by some accounts is more than 10,000 feet tall.

All my love goes out to Paint.NET, a college kid's senior project that's turned into a good drawing program that's free, decent, and fun to use. It's not Corel Graphics Suite X3, but it launches quickly and doesn't cost $400.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Redbox Free DVD code altruism

I love giving out Redbox free rental codes to people. There's a McDonald's down the street from work, and it's got a Redbox, so anytime there's someone about to jump in, I ask them if they have a promo code.

If not, I try out one, prefacing it with, "Let's see if it still gets a free day's rental..." It always has so far.

Those codes are brilliant. They've got me watching the box, trying to spread the love. It's not like I'm standing outside and pirating the codes for a quarter a pop; I'm saving people a dollar.

Even when I have HAD extra physical coupons worth a dollar off, I certainly never did that.

If any of you were Googling for codes, try DVDONME and COINSTAR. They worked for me during the first week of January 2007 in Houston, Texas. APPLE did not work. Now you know.

A giant pack of stickers is headed my way...

When it arrives, oh, such rejoicing and posting of images as there will be.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I count up my games, so you don't have to!

Here's a giant summary post to keep me from losing track of everything done so far. Okay:

That's a lotta games, namely 15 plays of 11 unique games, including 4 new ones I learned, and 4 I taught.

My introduction of Ra to Steve, Steve, and Larry at the Houston Gamers was the only one of the four I explained that I didn't bobble.

I was getting slap-happy on Thursday, and practically keeled over during our game of Pizarro & Co.; I heard from Lee that Tim was enthusiastic about it at work the next day. I'm also eager to play again... most auction games improve after a few plays as everyone's strategies begin to emerge.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bought some domain names...

I bought some domain names last night.

As I did so, I reflected on the number of ways you can spell my name incorrectly. There are those that advise the purchase of badly-spelled names, so other people can't buy the domain names, and mis-use them. Most of this advice comes from domain-name sales companies.

There are 2 D's in my name, so certainly one of them is optional. I never had this problem until I worked at The Very Authoritarian Software Company. One of my managers was named Tod and had worked there since Apple was still a gleam in Steve Jobs' eye, so it was understandable when people bobbled my first name. My last name was still misspelled on numerous occasions, in spite of the readily-available company directory and the MS Outlook auto-complete feature.

My last name is Derscheid. My wife went from having an easy maiden name (Watson) to a terrible name (Derscheid). She did go from having a terrible middle name to a kick-ass one, so it was basically a wash.

Ways my name has been incorrectly spelled:
  • Derschied
  • Dersheid
  • Dersheid
  • Dershild
  • Dershilde
  • Dersheild
  • Dershfeld
  • Deersheld
  • Dershowitz
When I do board game demonstrations, I like to go ahead and get people's names up front, so I can use them on the fly. It keeps people from saying, "I rob Blue Shirt Guy" and fosters a certain level of common decency with my players.

To quote Dale Carnegie, "Cops/come and try to snatch my crops." Wait. That was Cypress Hill.

Carnegie actually said, "Remember that a man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language," which has been Bowdlerized into "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language." Someday, Strunk and White will rise as undead lich-kings, and drink the brain-meats of the subhuman filth that watered down Carnegie's classic manual for How to Win Friends and Influence People. I like how the cringe-inducing "Arouse in the other person an eager want," hasn't been adjusted yet.

More news on the domain names as I get the pages usable...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm number one

Aww, yeah. See that? That's Google juice, baby.

As of this moment, my humble project to sell an "I am ready for a black president" sticker to anyone who needs one is #1 on Google for very, very specific search requests regarding stickers and black presidents.

I was inspired to check on this after reading about Mike Davidson (of Mike Industries) and his quest to become the number one Google response for "Mike."

Good titles are everything.

Monday, January 01, 2007

529 Plan Comparisons

Ooh, look! The "Guaranteed Option" offers a guaranteed 3% interest per year! AWESOME.

Horrible. You people at TIAA-CREF Insurance Life Insurance Company should be ashamed of yourselves, provided you're not already.

(Update: I went with the New York plan, which has a .56% fee, and has good funds in it.)