Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Progress bars

Current progress on outstanding projects, small and large:

Computer hardware rearranging:
  1. Move hard drives appropriately - 90% - removed father-in-law's old hard drives to swap for new one, finished formatting 2nd drive on media PC upstairs but still need to share out.
  2. Still haven't decided what to do about intermittent wireless connection from the media PC. Will either get another wireless card, get a USB hard drive for sneaker-netting files, or both.
  3. Window-shopped at refurbished computer dealer in the area, saw some excellent prices on nice Dell refurbs.
  4. considering upgrading digital camera, will have to see what's in the budget.
  5. considering buying larger flat-screen monitor, but don't want to have to upgrade video card to do it.
  6. vaguely considering buying a drawing tablet, but have no real use for one.
Burn backups of photos, etc.:
  1. Back up and delete archive from Lee's old computer from my computer. - 100% - Freed 2 gigs easily.
  2. Install DVD burner - 50% done, installed and burned CDs, haven't tested with DVD yet.
  3. Move files appropriately - 40% done. Still have to figure out what on Lee's computer should be moved over.
  4. Burn backup - 0% done.
  5. Use Ghost to make an image of my hard drive - 20% - have been cleaning it up. That partition used to be almost full, need to clean out another ~50 gig or so of miscellaneous.
  6. Get files from videocamera and make video CD - 100% - done.
  7. Get files from videocamera and make DVD - 25% - files are moved, still need to figure out DVD creation.

List of print-and-play boardgame projects:

  1. 18AL - 95% - tiles, map, trains, and all certificates mounted and complete, rules printed and complete, have printed stock market and still need to mount it on heavy cardboard.
  2. 18GA - 60% - tiles and map mounted, certificates, stock market, and trains printed but not mounted, rules printed.
  3. Buy poker chips - 10% - researched but shipping was too high on the ones I liked. Will ask locally and see if anyone has any recommendations.
  4. Funkenschlag Atolla Modulis (a.k.a Power Grid Modular Atolls) - 20% - have it printed, still haven't mounted due to lack of heavy cardboard - I'm using cereal boxes and spray adhesive.

Board game design projects:

  1. 18IA - 25% - need to rework map to include off-board areas and reprint. Have a basic tile set chosen. Probably not going to have reworking done in time for Kevin's party on Sunday. Thinking of adding an auction mechanic similar to Atlantic Star/Showmanager for corporation special powers. Also considering making board even larger and adding more towns for better replayability. Right now, game is playable but fairly introductory/boring. Also need to re-write rules again.
  2. The farm game, a.k.a "Winter 1981" - 10% - have a theme and implementation, still hate how the numbers work, still have no clear idea of number of cards required. On hiatus. A hand management/action cards game.
  3. Hippie commune game - 10% - have a theme, have discarded two implementations. Central mechanic needs work. On hiatus. Quasi-realtime/programmed move game.
  4. Congress Fat Cats - 15% - have horrible first draft - still have no clear idea of number of action cards required. Know basic mechanism, perhaps needs to re-theme. Also "Fat Cats" is already an existing game. On hiatus. Sort of like a programmed-move game.
  5. Cyberpunk game - 0% - vaguely considering something, maybe the hippie game will get re-themed here. I liked watching Tim's game evolve but am considering something that evolves in a different direction. Hand management will be a factor.

Financial big-picture:

  1. Mortgage crossed $34,000 mark. Current estimated payoff is January 2016.
  2. Home equity loan crossed $10,000 mark. Current estimated payoff is December 2009. Not sure if we are going to cash out any of my Apache stock grant or options to make that come a little sooner. Short-term capital gains will overshadow any interest saved, if my mental math is correct.
  3. Started credit union savings account for Alex (age 4).
  4. Still need to start 529 plan for Daria (age 4.5 months).
  5. Have started researching tax issues of stock grants/options so I understand the implications of sales. Not fun but have to know how it works.
  6. When we get our tax rebate, we'll be buying Kroger gift cards, to get the 10% bonus. Planning on turning $1200 into $1320 of grocery money for the next few months. Boring but the right thing to do.

Personal fun-money:

  1. I posted to Houston Gamers a couple of games for sale/trade. Will probably expand that list further. Ray counter-offered that he's selling #3 and #4 on my wantlist - including the 1825 stuff that I'd otherwise order from England sometime in the next 12 months. Negotiations to follow, certainly.
  2. Agricola pre-order charge went through, so that will get printed soon. Moderately-excited, but trying to stay calm in case it gets delayed at the printer.
  3. Also selling off Iron Dragon, since I have played it once pre-kids, and never again after that. I can always pick up any of the Empire Builder games if I decide to revisit the crayon-rail genre.
  4. Made a couple of computer-fixit ads on Craigslist. No takers yet. Will re-post.
  5. Did half-hearted Craigslist trade attempt on old computer, got a couple of nibbles but nothing substantial. Will repost with pictures and firm price quote this time.
  6. Got several credit cards and made single minimum purchase for each. Still need to get reward programs back. Will get between $50 and $100 per card, then will cancel them.
  7. Sell off old RPGs - 0% - Bleah. Don't think I'll get more than $20 out of the giant stack of horrible crap. Might be better off seeing if Midnight Comics will take these in trade.
  8. Sell or trade off all unplayed games. Seems harsh, but if I've had it more than a year and it hasn't hit the table yet, seeya buh-bye. There's another math trade just starting on BGG right now, so I put 3 games in that.

Household improvements:

  1. Thinking about buying a dehumidifier - still have to figure out where to put it. House just isn't that big, after all. Really liking the look of a $229 one from Lowe's. Alan says theirs has reduced A/C running substantially by raising the comfortable temperature by 4 degrees. Texas has a tax-free weekend for Energy Star appliances coming up, so now would be the time...
  2. We priced putting aluminum reflective coating in the attic. Would love to do this now, probably will wait until the home equity loan is paid off. Any drop in the summer cooling bill would be welcome. Would probably take 2-5 years before it paid for itself, but after that, it's free money.
  3. Bought a folding table and love it. Old square folding table still serviceable but ugly. Also considering picking up another 4 folding chairs, but don't tell Lee that.
  4. Rearrange patio shed - 0% - Actually a negative percentage because the new folding table's going to go in there, too.
  5. Rearrange downstairs tool closet. - 0% - a source of constant irritation.
  6. Rearrange desk downstairs - 25% - bought and installed hanging file folders, have made some progress.
  7. Grow something edible outside - 10% - have four pots and some potting soil that I bought last fall, still haven't done anything with it.
  8. Replace all windows - waiting for home equity loan to be paid off.
  9. Replace kitchen counters - waiting for home equity loan to be paid off.


  1. Thursday Next series - enjoyed the first one, less so the second, still working up the nerve to tackle the other two.
  2. Various collections from McSweeney's - have been sniffing around, trying to find a point of entry. Tough to find time to read at night, and have been studying 18AL maps instead.
  3. Strongly considering re-subscribing to Esquire.
  4. Huge pile of Isaac Asimov Science Fiction magazine back-issues I got from a friend. Hopeless, not making any progress. Have verbally committed to give these to my young friend Chris, who is as avid a consumer of the stuff as I was at his age, but still need to drop them off or get him to pick them up.
  5. Amazon has a They Might Be Giants new "Here Comes The 1-2-3's" combination CD/DVD pack for $13.99. The girls love the first DVD, so this is a must-buy.
  6. Everything else: meh, no time.

Boardgames on the wishlist:

  1. Mogul - a vicious auction game. I love it, just haven't managed to get it ordered before.
  2. Hamsterrolle - Lee likes it, only it's an import and the exchange rate sucks these days. A dexterity game, so it's hard to justify the cost.
  3. 1825 Units 1, 2, or 3 - supposedly good as 2-player 18XX train games.
  4. Goa - Lee has played and enjoyed this.
  5. Factory Fun - just sounds cool.
  6. 1889 - supposedly a good 2-player 18xx train game, also available from Deep Thought Games in the U.S.
  7. Ubongo - a speed game, vaguely like head-to-head Tetris. Recently reprinted in the U.S., so probably available for $25 rather than the original $45+.

My websites:

  1. This one. Fun to update, have been enjoying it a lot.
  2. Squidoo sites. Huh, not so hot on these, they need love.
  3. Other personal/family sites. Meh, on hiatus. Shaky situation with laptop being used as web host makes me uneasy about putting a lot of data on there.


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