Thursday, April 14, 2016

Through the Rift

 Three months can pass in the blink of an eye, and along with it a lot of things can happen. I read back through my last blog post and see that I was quite full of hope and ambition. Actually, I'm quite jealous of that post, what with the feelings and all. A lot has come to pass within the past few months, and now I find myself on the fast track to getting back to normal. Well, at least I'm praying it's towards normal anyway.

Through this post I'll try to sum up what's been going on, what's currently happening, and what I've got planned for the future. To start I'll give a little back story. Almost a year ago my wife and I made an important decision that would change our lives forever. We decided we would have another child enter our family. Long story short, I planned to adopt my niece and raise her as my own. We made the decision together and started planning on how things would change. We set up a timeline and decided to move back to Indiana with this being a big reason why, among other things. Fast forward to February and we're states away. We decided to travel to my hometown and stay a while to set up the acclimation. Things were going great for a while and we were happy to be a family of four.

A few weeks down the road and we hit a huge speed bump. It turns out that my niece decided that she didn't, in fact, want to become a part of our family. She wanted to stay where she was and just like that, the adoption was off. We found ourselves in a place we very much didn't want to be in. Things were quite difficult for some time until we patched up our bruises and decided to carry on. With focus on our immediate family we put a lot of effort into the move back to Bloomington and my wife's work at the new tattoo shop.

Fast forward to the now. What you see above is my wife and her fellow artists working in the new tattoo shop, Crimson Breed Tattoo Studio. I've been spending a lot of time in the shop and it's become a labor of love, all without me getting the permission to let it. Once my wife started working again I decided to take it upon myself to sit in the "shop lackie" position of handling appointments and managing things. I figured that, since I would be in the shop while she's working, I might as well make myself useful and make the artist's job easier by handling paperwork, organizing, and helping clean up the shop. You know what? I actually love doing it. Dustin (seated to the left in the photo), the shop's owner, is actually behind me and supports the work I've been doing. Together we're all getting the shop to the standard that we know it should attain, and I look forward to going there each day. I've even been working more on my art, and there's talks of me continuing the apprenticeship I started.

It's good that I can share something with my wife, especially when it's a dream of hers. This is big item number two that brought us back to Indiana from Texas. I'm finding myself falling more in love with tattooing and the shop each time I walk in there. Currently we're working to help spread the word about the place and get it nice and organized. There's plenty of work to do!

Finally, let's focus on our plans for the future. When it comes down to it, my wife and I really desire getting things back to normal. Normal, for us, basically means that we're back on our own, budgeting, focusing on Initiative : Tabletop, and playing games. The good news is that we've been looking at and have decided on a house, which we're currently in the process of getting. Things are looking really good on that front. The second thing is a stable work environment, which I've also got in the works. I'm going to need a day job, and I'm waiting to hear back on a promising position. If everything falls into place we'll hopefully be moved within no more than 3-4 weeks. I can't wait to get back to reviewing and playing games.

Honestly I just want to play some games. We're already planning the layout of the new house, and the first thing I'm focused on is the office/game room. There's a lot for us to get reviewing, and with us returning to our friends and family in Bloomington we'll be able to get the player numbers we need to allow us to review those games. More than that, however, is the fact that we'll be able to play games again with more than just each other (which, by the way, I don't mind, dear). We've been able to still write a post here and there for I:T, and I'm still quite hopeful and happy for the site. In fact, we're still planning for Gen Con this year. It's going to be one hell of a ramp to get us financially set for the convention, but damn it, we're going.

To be totally honest, I'm just happy I'm excited about gaming again. For the first time in a long time I backed a game on Kickstarter that I'm super pumped about. It's called Rail Raiders Infinite from Soda Pop Miniatures. I finally got a copy of Super Dungeon Explore (Thanks Bryan!) and boy, do I enjoy that game! Soda Pop is doing a great job handling their Kickstarters, and their stretch goals are fantastic on this campaign. I think I feel an addiction coming...

Aside from all this, we're continuing to set plans in motion to get our finances under control so we can move and plan for Gen Con. It's all coming along, even if it's not in the way we imagined. You have to take the bad with the good and play the hand you're dealt. There's no mulliganing on this one.

I'm quite hopeful of the coming weeks. I can't wait to get back to doing what I love and I can't wait to continue working in my newfound loves.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

And So It Begins - Prepping for Gen Con and the New Year


Each year I end up writing a post talking about arguably the most exciting time of the year for me - the summer when Gen Con takes place. Gen Con has become more than a tradition to me, and it's a part of my life that I severely look forward to. Just thinking about seeing all of the people - friends and family alike - as well as check out all the excitement on the floor just fills me with tons of happy. Since it's the beginning of the year, the countdown to the convention has already started. So, with it being a new year and all I decided that I would really take a moment to sit down and analyze the things I wanted to accomplish in 2016. I really feel that I've let myself down - as well as the things I manage - in the past year and that needs to change drastically.

Towards the end of 2015 I feel like I started heading in the right direction. I had a lot of things going for me: I put more attention into I:T, I was playing games again, I started my own line of beard oil that was showing signs of success, and I started looking to the future. Even with all that, I regretted that it took me almost a full year to get it going. Now, with last year behind me, I am pledging to change things going forward. This year I’m looking forward to upgrading my life like it’s never been before. I am looking forward to motivating myself to work harder on my website, gaming, reviews, writing, finances, and much more. There’s something better out there, and this year I’m going to find it.

That’s why I’m already planning for Gen Con. I mean, we’ve already decided that Texas just isn’t the place for us, so we’ll be moving back to Indiana at some point this year. Originally we planned for February, but some things have come up to push that date back. So for now we’re looking toward getting things in order to move as soon as we can, and in the interim we’re planning for positive things. This is where Gen Con comes up. Of course we look forward to the convention at the start of the year, but this year we’re actively going to plan things out straight up to the first day of the con. In the past couple of years we’ve focused on getting a hotel room attached to the convention center. Of course it hasn’t happened yet, but we put so much focus on it that other things slip through the cracks. Last year we devoted more time to checking things out on the exhibit hall floor instead of interview after interview and it worked out for us. I even pledged some time to volunteer at the Shadows of Esteren and Harebrained Schemes booths. We had a blast, even with some mitigating circumstances, and this year we’re going to ensure it blows all the other years out of the water. I think that, with everything we have going on, putting focus on just enjoying the con as a priority will do us well. Of course we’ll spend time talking with some publishers, but this year we’ll be getting news up as we get it instead of scrambling like in the past.

Honestly, I still want to get a hotel room attached to the convention center, but this year I’m feeling like I need to let that notion go in favor of other things. If we book a room out of block, even 6 miles away from the convention center (which is still somewhat close) we’ll end up saving a lot of money in the long run and we won’t be so stammered with other planning. Once that’s out of the way we can even work on better coverage leading up to the convention. Earlier I wrote a small piece on the fact that pre-registration dates are already posted, and, in fact, they are just under a couple of weeks out. We’ll also be able to focus more on what games are debuting at the con as well as what publishers are bringing to the event. Ultimately I feel like this is a much better take on planning than with previous years. It will also help us budget things better so we can grab that one big game that we’ve been eyeing for a while since we’ll save some money by not worrying about the hotel.

Really, I just want to have a good time this year. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our friends and catching up with people. I’m also unusually excited for the prospect of meeting brand new gamers at the convention. While I’ve struggled a bit with anxiety this past year I’m pumped now more than ever to meet new people and interact with them.

With all that being said, I’m hopeful for 2016. I’m pledging to write more, post more, breathe more, and enjoy more. I’ve already played some great games in the first few days of the year and I’m raising a glass to many more. I might even finally pick up a copy of Star Wars: Imperial Assault! Until then I look forward to reviews, interacting with people, getting some beard oil out the door, and turning things around for the better.