Requiem for a backpack…
For the past eight or nine years I’ve been using a Targus PORT 3.1 laptop backpack for travel and work. It’s been a real trouper, having been with me through several vacations, E3 trade shows, and Midway media events. It even still has a security tag on it from the last E3 show I went to. Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point where it’s been beat up to hell and back, and really needs replacing. While the interior is still fine, the straps (especially the shoulder ones) are beat up and getting close to falling apart. I’ll miss it, but it’s time for me to move on.
So, a week ago, I ordered a new laptop bag: the backpack version of the ThinkGeek Bag of Holding. It’s a very sturdy bag, and my laptop plus all of my accessories fit in there nicely. There’s more space for books and papers than the original backpack had, and it comes with a shoulder strap so I don’t need to have it on my back. So far, I really like it, but the true test will come tomorrow, when I take it to work for the first time.
Something different in Houston cuisine…
It’s no secret that Jennifer and I like to patronize hole-in-the-wall type restaurants. They tend to be more unique and in a lot of cases the food tends to be better. That’s not always the case, of course; a friend and I both had bad experiences with local gourmet food trucks at a event called LaB 5555 a week ago. Still, we tend to prefer going to them than the chain places, especially where breakfast is concerned.
Recently, Jennifer’s parents tried a local place called Cafe Brussels, and absolutely loved it. We decided to join them for brunch there today, and it was absolutely delicious. They had a brunch buffet which had such choices as bacon and brats, pork in a dijon mustard sauce, authentic Belgian waffles, and mimosas. Jennifer and her mom were raving about how much it reminded them of being in Brussels, which makes sense as the owners are Belgian. We honestly can’t recommend this place enough, especially as they have a wonderful selection of Belgian beers for the dinner services. :-)
Dungeon crawls without the dungeon master…
My friend Sinc decided to come by and visit a couple of weeks ago. In honor of the visit, I decided to finally break out the Castle Ravenloft board game Jennifer got me some months back. (Sinc’s domain is named after his favorite Dungeons and Dragons module, Ravenloft.) We ended up playing it twice in one night, and I’m pretty sure it can be called a success.
What Castle Ravenloft (and other D&D board games) does is turn the dungeon crawling experience of a D&D game into a simplified board game experience that can be run without needing a single player to run as the Dungeon Master or the tons of advance preparation. The game comes with a booklet full of scenarios; once the game is prepared per the instructions from the scenario, it pretty much runs itself. All of the encounters are determined via decks of cards, and the enemies themselves are controlled by the players via the instructions on the cards. It definitely can’t be called an easy game, as we avoided death by a hair on more than one occasion while playing. It’s still a rewarding experience.
My advice to those wanting to try D&D would be to start with one of these board games first, as it provides a simplified but accurate experience of doing the original game’s quests. If you like that, then going to the full game is the natural next stepping block.