A volunteer plant grew up in my back yard. It is quite large and easily tops nine feet. I always think of these flowers as mutant sunflowers. Which is not their proper name, of course. I suspect that they are in the family Asteraceae.
I am going to have to cut it down sometime with a hacksaw. But, before I do, I decided to commune with it by doing some sun salutations…
This time I was curious if separating the eggs and whipping the egg whites would make any difference. I had this idea of making a Soufflé. But reality set in. Melted chocolate + butter + sugar = a dense and grainy lump. It is impossible to fold this mixture into the egg whites. But all was not lost. I mixed it enough to make it homogeneous. And it rose in the oven.
It was interesting when I was reviewing the pictures. You could see the cake fall over the frames. This time I turned off the master flash on the camera and used a slave flash at the camera’s lower right hand side (against the Lowel light). This lit up the side of the cake and gave it more dimension.
I was going to Wilco this morning but decided to change my mind and went to the Rivery instead. I got a birdie on hole one and pared most of the rest of the course.
It looks like they stole a brick that was used for a bridge and instead used it for a sign that points to hole 12. Sigh. I wonder how the park officials feel about that tactic.
With the release of the fourth edition books, there has been a lot of interest in starting up a campaign. Well, the stars must have aligned or something because we actually played tonight. I dug my old D&D books out for nostalgia’s sake. I found out that I had a sixth printing of the Player’s Handbook and a fifth printing of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
I procrastinated as usual and did not create a character yet. So I arrived an hour early and worked with Mike to create one. I decided on a Tiefling Scourge Warlock named Hrothgar.
We had 5 players in the party: Jeff, a Devoted Cleric; Joe, a War Wizard; Jon, a Two Bladed Ranger; Mark, a Scourge Warlock; Susan, a Brawny Rogue.
Our first encounter was easy. It was on the road on the way to a city. All the minions needed was one hit and they died. But we had to hit them, of course.
We took the optional side quest. This was much harder for us. One of the special monsters escaped and ran off into the waterfall. There were a lot of minions. And they would hit for four hit points each. This added up. But we persevered and moved into the water fall.
When we entered the dungeon there were a lot more minions and a couple of higher level monsters. We were able to defeat them. And then a whole new set of monsters came at us. At the end, it came down to a die roll. The big, bad, treasure guarding monster was slowly being whittled down. But then he became bloodied and enraged and started dealing out some harsher spells. There was one other special monster. Jon was down. Susan was down. We finally killed one of the monsters. But, by now, Jon and Susan had failed two of their savings rolls vs. death. Both Joe and Jeff volunteered to save their lives. This left me alone with the bad guy. I finally have a clear line of sight to cast my big spell: Flames of Phlegethos. It hits for a lot of hit points. But its not enough. I have to kill the monster before people die for good. Jon is stabilized. Susan is not and bites the big one. I finally kill the monster.
But the DM retroactively made our unhelpful Gnome revive Susan…
For tonight, we had a good selection of games on the table. We decided to go with Tinners’ Trail.
Martin Wallace’s new game is out. This one is about mining Tin and Copper in Cornwall, England. While it is not as heavy as Age of Steam, it was an interesting game with hard trade offs. At the end of each round, you can convert money into victory points. The amount of victory points that you can buy for the same amount of money decreases as the rounds pass. At the end of the game (round 4), you get half as much victory points than you could have gotten on round one. Besides victory points, you use money to purchase new mines and to actually mine. These mines come with an amount of tin, copper, and water on them. The number of water cubes determine how much it costs to mine each cube of tin and copper. So you want to spend turns reducing the water on that spot. Keep in mind that each time you mine, more water comes back to haunt you.
Next, we tried another new game. This time you build “gardens” in order to collect tiles for victory points. The problem is that you are forced to pick up a card and you are forced to play it someone on your plot legally. This usually hoses your plans. I was going for two different sets. I was not that efficient in building either. But I was able to complete one set and pick up the bonus tile for that set for the win.
Another night of bridge. For my only hand, bidding was as follows (with my partner opening the bid):
My partner shows support for clubs. I don’t have any hearts for defense. So I decide to go for it. When the dummy shows his hand, I realize that there is only one remaining club out there! I believe that the Ace of diamonds was lead. And I lost that one. I was able to cross ruff between my hands and make my bid.
I needed to buy saffron and just couldn’t resist this package. It looks like something that the Japanese would do. I wonder if the case that these jars ship in is itself a glass container?
From a lighting standpoint, two big lights to either side and a reflector in the rear was not enough. The camera mounted flash could not be pointed at the scene. The reflection would be too bright. So I pointed it away from the camera and used it to control a hand-held slave flash. I should have turned the firing of the master flash off since it created a new shadow (even pointed backwards). But the slave flash relit the shadow.