Monthly Archives: December 2009

New Orleans

Nick and Steph

Since I was driving out to Houston for Lone Star, I decided to head out to New Orleans for a vacation. Nick and Stephanie were in Lafayette, Louisiana at the time, so I stopped and ate lunch with them at Julien’s Famous Cajun Style Poboys Store No 1. Unfortunately, the store closed early for the holidays. So we all headed over to Olde Tyme Grocery.

Gumbo Shop New Orleans

I arrived at the Sheraton on Canal Street later during the day. Unfortunately, it was Christmas Eve and many restaurants were closed. But, I stumbled upon the Gumbo Shop. The line was down the street at 6:30! But I lucked out when they were asking for two people or less and everyone else was in a group with more than that.

Hotel window view

The hotel was situated on the edge of the French Quarter and close to the river. And the view from the window was not so bad.

More details after the cut…

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Disc Golf 12/19/2009

Stuck disc

We played at Old Settler’s Park today. The ground was not wet enough to be muddy but it was was still damp enough for discs to stick in the ground.

New mandos

With all of the trees being removed, it looks like they moved hole 7 slightly to the right. The new mandos make it much harder…

Christmas signs

And the Christmas signs are back up at the park.

Tiny stream

As well as the tiny river which Chapel’s disc found.

Game Day 12/16/2009

Game #1


Wow, its been a while since I have played Imperial. And, what is surprising, is that three of the people at the game have never played it before! In my opinion, this is the best of the rondel games. You just have to get out of the mindset that your goal is to run a country and win the game.

I was a little worried with how everyone else would play the game. It is hard to bet on countries and then watch as they are mismanaged. But it seems that everyone caught on and did well. I was able to reinvest my money often enough to jump out in the lead. I definitely had the most stocks. But this is not always a good thing. You want a lot of shares in the winning country and the second-most shares in the second-place country. But I was a little too spread out and had shares in every country. I did make one mistake at the end in buying a share in Austria. I should have instead bought another share in England and get a better multiplier (2x versus 1x). Oh well. I still one handily though.

Austin Photo meetup

Capitol ceiling

Not one, but two different Austin Photographers meetups are scheduled for this weekend. One is on Saturday and one is on Sunday. How odd.

I started off in the Capitol Building. Which I have never been in before. So sad.

Christmas ornament bokeh

A few Christmas ornaments on a scraggly tree turn a little more interesting with a thin depth of field and Christmas lights bokeh.

Guitar sculpture

There are these customized art sculptures of guitars around the streets of Austin. I played around with killing the background with my one 580EXII flash set on full manual power. I dialed the exposure down two more stops in post-production to almost kill boring urban background.

neon lights

I also played around with a slow shutter speed (1/10 second) and dragging the camera downward. One neon light can turn into many…


It also works when you change the zoom as the picture is being taken…

capitol building

We also played chicken with traffic while we took a picture of the Capitol building.

Joseph's Frost Bank

An urban mural turned more interesting with a picture of Frost Bank in the background.

Foggy Christmas Tree

The night was rather foggy out. Which was sad. What can you do? I still had a fun time though. And I also learned not to use the flash when taking a picture of something in the distance. The fog really reflected the light!

Game Day 12/09/2009

Game #1

Hansa Teutonica

Big surprise, another game of Hansa Teutonica. This game was different from the start. On both sides of the “gain extra action” building, we placed different cubes. Which I think was a mistake. It takes two different attacks to finally be able to gain control of one of those roads. This is just too costly. If you only have to attack once, then it is not so bad. So no one was able to increase their actions that way in the beginning of the game (until someone finally moved away).

Wayne also was able to gain control of the top road in the game. This meant he was getting points whenever people were “popping” any of the three buildings to improve your abilities. I was behind and saw no way out of it. I needed to increase my color ability before I could place another person in the point building, but that would end the game since Wayne was too close to the game ending condition. Sigh. Still an interesting game though.

Game Day 12/02/2009


Before we could play games tonight, we had to displace the cat. But not before we took pictures of it…

Game #1

Hansa Teutonica

This is the new hot game. It was discovered late during BGG (on the last day of the con). It is definitely my favorite new Essen game. Unfortunately, it is rather expensive because they had to air-ship it from Essen to BGG.con. This tacks on an extra $12 per game. And I didn’t know about it then so I would have to pay an extra shipping charge to buy it now. So I will wait until the reprint…

I was able to win this game by creating a large network. Unfortunately, I did not have enough action points to end it immediately. So I set up an obvious game ending move and finished my turn. Jeff, ended the game before it got back around to me (which cost me like 12 points). But it didn’t matter since no one was able to catch up to me.

I did notice that Jeff was trying to connect across the board. But I was able to stop him by taking a bottle-neck point. He should have built there first rather than from the other side…

Game #2

Roll Through The Ages

We ended the night with a light game of Roll Through The Ages…