Spooky Speaks

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Life (To the Blog)

It's been a long time since I've updated the blog. It's really hard for me to update regularly... I've discovered that I really don't have that much to say. At least not regularly.

But with the arrival of a new project, I am re-inventing the Blog. In this space will be a Production Blog for the short animated film, "Switch," which I will attempt to have done by the end of the year.

This is partially to get my demo reel back into shape. I'm sick of putting my aspirations on the back-burner... it's time to follow through!

With that sentiment, I will begin work on what is hopefully the first of many additons to my demo reel. hopefully, I can put something together that is worthy of employment. This blog will chronicle my attempts. Someday, I'll look back on this to recall my successes and learn from my failures.

Here's to the future!


Friday, October 30, 2009

I helped an old man today...

Today I learned a lesson.

I usually try to learn a lesson every day, but lately I've felt like my mind has been shut. I guess I was overdue.

My wife I live out in the country, about 15 minutes from town. Across the creek (or crick if you prefer), there's a pretty big house with several dogs. Not that we'd ever been there, mind you, we could just hear the dogs barking in the wee hours of the morning. Anyway...

We were leaving the house today to head towards town when we spotted something unusual. A greyhound was sprinting around our yard at breakneck speed, followed by a gray old man. The man looked like he was pretty old, and there was no way he was going to catch this dog. There was a younger man who was helping him (his car was parked on the side of the road), but the two of them weren't making any progress. My wife and I were in a bit of a hurry, but we didn't have a place we had to be right away. It was more like, we wanted to be time-efficient. But it didn't seem right to let the poor old man chase this dog around, so I got out of the car to help him, and my wife followed me.

The four of us took about 20 minutes to catch this dog. We chased it all over the place. While we pursued it, I learned that the dog's name was Carrie, and that the old man lived across the creek, in the big house. He said he lived there with his daughter, and that the dog had escaped. He'd chased it all the way to our house, which was a pretty good distance for someone so elderly. Also, I had assumed the younger man was his grandson, but as it turns out, he was just a good samaritan.

Finally, we boxed the dog in, and my wife was able to get the dog still. The old man took off his belt and wrapped it around the dog's collar, making a makeshift leash. He thanked us over and over. The younger man waved at us and took off.

So this old man tells us that he's 90 years old, and that he's recently lost his wife. He's living with his daughter for two weeks at a time, during which he takes care of the animals. He says they have 6 dogs! He thanks us again and then mentions that he's got to take Carrie back to the house. I told him that it was too great a distance, and that I'd give him a ride. He smiled at us and accepted.

The dog didn't want to get in the car, but we were able to coax her, and the four of us went to the big house. Sure enough, the house was full of five yapping dogs, Carrie being the largest. They welcomed the old man but regarded us with suspicion. The old man was very nice to us, showed us his house, introduced the dogs, talked about his daughter, and gave us each a bottled coke from the fridge. He talked for a long time about his time when he was younger. As it turns out, he fought in WWII, as did his four brothers. He really lingered on his war stories, making sure we understood everything he said.

As he spoke, I remembered some advice my father gave me a long time ago. He told me that if I ever met someone who had fought for the US in WWII, or any war for that matter, I should thank them for their service.

Eventually, we looked at the time, and it was getting closer to 12:30pm. We had to get a move on. As we were leaving, we exchanged numbers, telling him that if he needed anything at all, he just had to ask. He smiled and thanked us for helping him with Carrie.

I told him that I was just repaying him, and then I thanked him for his service in the army.

For a moment, he stared at me with a soft expression, and then I noticed that he was tearing up. He told me I was good man and that I'd made an old man happy. In that moment, I felt like I'd done something very significant, and I admit, it felt nice.

As we got into the car to drive away, something occurred to me. I had helped the old man thinking that I was just performing a random act of kindness. But in a way, I was repaying him for something he had done for us, only he didn't know he was doing it for us at the time. I was repaying a sacrifice he had made, although the thing that I had done was very small and ultimately inconsequential.

I have learned a lesson about compassion today, and tonight, I will meditate on what I have learned. The Buddha said, "with our minds we make the world," and sure enough, my world has now changed for what I've discovered. From now on, the things I do will not mean the same to me. In the back of my mind, whenever I encounter someone, be they kind or angry, annoyed or patient, old or young, I will always wonder what thing they may have done for me, and if so, whether or not they know it, do I not owe them some favor in return?


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Legend of the Five Rings Kotei Report!

Well, this weekend I went to Charolette NC for an L5R Kotei!

(That means I dorked a cardgame about samurai.)

It was a ton of fun! This was my first Kotei, so I was sure to take a lot of pictures. Sadly, what I didn't take were notes...

The good news is I did pretty well. I took my Crane Courtier Trick deck and went 4-2. Next time, I'll try to make top 8.

I can forsee this will become a Tournament Report, so I'm not even going to fight it. Scroll down if all you want is pretty pictures.

The deck I took:
Stronghold Shizuka Toshi
Wind The Underhand
Tsuno Swamps
2x Bay of Green Coral
Naga Storm Mirumoto Mountain
A New Wall
Wanderers Revealed
The Shogun's Peace
The First Wedding
3x Marketplace
3x Yotsu Dojo
2x Governor's Court
Gifts and Favors
Arms Smugglers
Shrine to Fukurokujin
Shrine of the Sun
Court Chambers
Doji Nagori
Doji Jun'ai
Doji Domotai
Daidoji Kikaze
Doji Konishiko
Yoritomo Yashinko
2x Kakita Noriko
2x Doji Doukohito
3x Asahina Beniha
3x Doji Otoya
3x Doji Toshinobu
3x Silent Warriors
3x Abandoned
3x Cool Heads Prevail
3x Test of Honor
3x Fields of Foolish Pride
3x Heavily Engaged
3x To Do What We Must
3x Outer Walls
3x The Empress' Address
3x Honored Hostage
2x Allegiance to the Emperor
2x Reinforce the Gates
2x Peaceful Discourse
2x Strength of the Crane
Strength in Certainty
Sacrifice of Pawns

Game One: Vs. Scorpion (City of Lies Military)
Result: Loss
I wish I could remember the name of the fellow I first played against, but he was a very nice and polite opponent. The game was pretty close, and it even went to time, but in the end I had to give him the victory. I made an early play mistake that cost me 6 honor, and as I shook his hand and congratulated him on a well-earned victory, I privately promised myself that I would never forget to use Beniha's ability before playing Sacrifice of Pawns again.
MVP: Dashing to Honor Really Quickly. Reason I lost: Play mistake Record: 0-1

Game Two: Vs. Shadowlands (Big Oni Stomp)
Result: Win
I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated when I saw Sentei no Oni hit the table on turn 3-4, but luckily I had answers, and luckily my opponent had little unbow tech in play to call upon. My opponent for this game was Erika Crowell, a charming Shadowlands player who offered me (and others at the kotei) a tootsieroll pop before and after our game. The game was well fought, but in the end, I managed to pull off the win.
MVP: The honor dash, Honored Hostage and Konishiko Comboed together, Heavily Engaged. Record: 1-1

Game Three: Vs. Crab (Scouts and Blitzing)
Result: Win
Once again, I have foolishly forgotten the name of the fine player I was pitted against in round three, but he was a nice opponent and he had a really cool deck. I saw plenty of Hiruma scouts, and for most of the game, my provinces had strengths around 2 or 3. A novel approach... I'd never played a deck like that before, and I wasn't sure if I could pull off the win. Luckily for me... I did. If there's one thing this game proved to me, it was that Fields of Foolish Pride is always worth running. That card saved me two provinces. Also, I learned that Toku Butaka is a really good personality; there was very little I could do against that dude. Another great game!
MVP: Fields of Foolish Pride, Test of Honor. Record: 2-1

Game Four: Vs. Crab (Heroes and Smashing)
Result: Win
This game was against my buddy Evan, whom I play with all the time in my hometown. He's pretty new to this game, and I helped him make his deck, so I'm pretty sure I can beat him. He surprised me when he took two provinces with some wicked combo action, and I was forced to settle in for a serious game. It came pretty close (in fact, I had only one province left when I crossed 40), but I managed to pull off the win. Note to self: Kuon is a problem in a deck that prefers to bow the opponent. Evan is very graceful in defeat, and it was a fun game. We played again after the kotei with the same decks, and he beat me in another close game. Too bad that one wasn't a kotei-game. He's bound to be top Crab soon enough!
MVP: Test of Honor. Easily. Record: 3-1

Game Five: Vs. Dragon (High House of Light Satsu Stomp)
Result: Win
I knew I was in for wank when I saw Pan'ku. I thought he was running Satsu Bomb when I saw two versions of Satsu in his deck. I knew he was running desperate wager when I saw his stronghold. Everything I saw told me I was going to lose this game.... but I wasn't going to give up without a fight! It was a good game, but I managed to control Satsu the whole game, and Pan'ku, though frightening, was not as fast as Konishiko with a Honored Hostage as her action, or my To Do What We Must with Otoya and an Empress' Address + Beniha. I don't mean to brag, but I got some God Draws, and very lucky combos as well. Any other draw and he probably would have beaten me. He was a very good opponent, and very polite.
MVP: Konishiko, and Tsuno Swamps. Record: 4-1

Game Six: Vs. Phoenix (Lotsa Dragons)
Result: Loss
This was one of the closest, and best, games I've ever played. It came right down to the wire! I played Chris Adkins, the ONLY Phoenix player at the kotei, and it was a GREAT game. I'll paint the final few turns for you: It's my turn 5. I have Kikaze in play, 25 honor, and three provinces full of holdings. I have a great presenceless defense hand. He has a load of dragons on his side of the table. His void dragon has no text (Wanderers Revealed), but he stil has two different Fire Dragons, and a slew of phoenix-bordered dragons. ON my 5th turn, I turn up all holdings in my provinces. This makes me sad, but I have a good hand, so I figure I can hold him off. I play three honored hostages on Kikaze and gain 15 honor, putting me up to 40 honor on turn 5 (!!!). It's so beautiful, he has to call a judge to verify the move was legal. It was THAT sweet, you guys! On his turn, he attacks (he has to), and he divides his army up. I'm ready for him... at least, I thought I was. Two sneaks and a ranged 12 later, and I'm looking at three popped provinces in a single turn. Close game! He earned that victory, and I don't regret it! It's yet another example of how a well-timed Naga Storm would have won me the game... or if I had one of my Bay of Green Coral... or if I actually found some personalities in my provinces on turns 4 and 5. Oh well. Close game anyway.
MVP: Honored Hostage. Reason I lost: No Naga Storm makes Spooky a saaaaad panda. Record: 4-2

I had a GREAT time. Thanks to everyone I played against. I didn't meet a single bad player, a single jerk, or a single s.o.b. Class acts all the way! Max Kudos all around, and all that stuff. Thanks for making my first Kotei an excellent one. ^-^

Ok. Now for pictures:

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Here are my buddies Evan and Donald practicing before the Kotei. Yes, that is Spongebob on the T.V.

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Here's the room before it was filled to the brim with gamers.

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PLayers playing games! This is where the action is, my friends! FEEL the EXCITEMENT!!!

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Here's Teri. He ran the tourney. Also, he was Hiruma Todori on Winter Court, and it was awesome to finally meet him in real life. He's a really nice guy, and everyone should send him cookies.

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These guys I met at the Kotei are some of the coolest dudes I've met in a while. They remind me of my friends back home, actually. They're from Boone, NC, where my grandfolks live. Next time I'm up there, we've got to hang out!

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Here's a group pic of them, with myself strategically placed amongst them. Can you guess which one I am? Am I difficult to pick out? Yeah, I bet I am.
So from left to right: Morgan (who is either #1, or a unicorn player), the Doity Pirate Geoffrey, "Oni no Erika" (right below him), Myself, and fellow crane Handsome James. You guys rock!

My outfit perhaps requires explaination: in an attempt to gain a point of politics/spirit for the Crane, I decided to go in costume.

warning I am revealing my hideous visage to the whole of the internet for your viewing pleasure.
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This absolutely beautiful Yukata was hand-made by my grandmother specifically for this kotei. I picked up the fabric at a Jo-ann's and downloaded a pattern to sew it myself, but as it so happens my grandmother has sewn kimono before, and she made this absolutely beautiful one just for this event. I love it so much, I'm using it now as a bathrobe, and I intend to wear it to the next kotei, and Gencon. I'm also wearing Tabi socks, which I made from regular Dockers.
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Over this, I wore a blue Kimono and Obi, both sent to me by the player of Hitomi Vedau on Winter Court, also known as "Suburbiaknight" on the AEG forums. He's another great guy, and someday I hope to meet him in real life to personally thank him for such a wonderful kimono and obi. As you can see, it went really well with the rest of the outfit. The fan was won at the Kotei by myself (a winter court themed bounty).
In case you were wondering, it was common practice in feudal japan to wear the most colorful and patterned kimono under another, plain one, allowing for a kind of zen-like metaphor for complexity under calmness. I'm glad the sleeves showed out from the blue one, since the yukata has such an awesome pattern.
If I may comment about the kimono: in a lot of ways, this was the MOST practical outfit I've ever worn. Despite the heat (and two layers), I remained pretty cool and comfortable, and I had plenty of room to move about inside the outfit. It also stayed together pretty well, and even though I moved around alot, it didn't really wrinkle or come undone. It also looked very elegant. I was impressed. In other ways, however, it was not very practical at all. For instance: usinging the bathroom. How did japanese men pee in feudal times? Using the toilet was kind of a challenge... to reveal how I accomplished this task a grand total of 4 times without getting anything tragic on the kimono(s) is a feat best left untold. After all, why spoil the fun for you when you could try it yourself, right? ^-^

So yeah, back to the kotei:

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Myself and my buddy Evan, posing in our outfits. I was surprised there weren't more dressed up like us... especially given some of the pictures I had seen. A lot of people wore clan spirit, but Evan and I were amongst the only few that went all decked-out.

And then there was this guy:
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Jay Earle won Most Spirited, and who can deny him? The guy clearly loves our favorite cheese-eating squeekers. Gratz-gratz, Earle. May Tomorrow never catch you. Squeek!

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The Kotei Prizes! Check out that spread! Impressive, yes?

Partway through the Kotei, we were given a test, to prove our knowledge of Rokugan. The winner would earn a point in spirit for their clan. My friend Evan, who has onnly been playing for a short while, turned in a magnificent test:
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Well played, friend.

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Our only Phoenix player. What can I say that I haven't already? Kudos, man! Great game!

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Top Crane! Gratz Chris! You da Man!

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The prizes I walked away with (other then the cards that were given out, rares falling into my lap!). The fan was won as a bounty, and those two full-bleeds of Domotai were given to all the Crane players by the very generous Top Crane. A class act all the way! ^-^

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The final game! Oh the suspense!

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But in the end, it was David with the Lion Clan Ashigaru Deck! That's the first Kotei Lion have won in a Looooooong time. Great job Dave! Congratulations from your allies in the Crane Clan. ^-^

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And here we have David calling an apparently very drunk Ling on his cellphone to tell him about his victory. Little does Ling know, David has him on speakerphone, and we are all laughing at... err.. I mean... with him. ^-^

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A winter court pic. Here's Teri, Myself, and Randy... also known as Hiruma Todori, Doji Tanitsu, and Ikoma Yasuko. Next time I see you guys, you're signing copies of your cards, k?
Yashiniko's player was there as well, but left before we took this photo. Oh well.

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Teri, Me, and Randy in a sudden and uncomfortable man sandwich. Ladies, you like?

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3 out of the 5 crane representatives at the kotei. There's Warren, Chris, and myself. Blue was strong that day, my friends! The Crane walked away with many victories and favors owed. I am proud to be blue!

I have more pictures, but this entry is long enough as it is. Thanks again to everyone at the kotei! Utz! Utz! Banzai!


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Website Updated

A minor technical difficulty has been corrected, and a crisis averted. The website is back, and more powerful than ever!
There may still be a few things to iron out, but so far, so good.
New goal: have things to write about.
Yeah. I'll get right on that...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SpookyElectricOnline is Online!

After months of planning, procrastination, and sobbing into my lap, my online portfolio is finally UP! Of course, this is a good excuse to have a blog, so here I am.

... Not that I ever have anything to say.