This has been a tough year. Late last year, my girlfriend’s aunt and uncle died within a short time of each other, and we started the year with a funeral for them. Our two elderly dogs got older and started to have accidents inside, unfortunately multiple times a day. They both had to be put down in the spring. My dad, suffering from radiation effects after going through surgery, chemo, and radiation for pancreatic cancer, wasn’t able to eat all year and steadily grew weaker and sicker. He had an open fistula (wound in his stomach) that my mom and I had to treat and change bandages for. This has included wound vacuums, regular bandages, ostomy bags, and all sorts of improvised ones in-between. I’ve cleaned up bile, diarrhea, vomit, vanilla tube feeds leaking out of his stomach, and various other bodily fluids I didn’t want to know existed. That’s on top of everything else we had to do to care for him during this time. This included administering medicine and nutrition through IV, injections, stomach pumps, tube feeds, and patches, all of which had different procedures we had to learn, some involving quite a few steps. He died in August from sepsis caused by complications from radiation damage, albeit cancer free. The day my dad went into the hospital, we were out of town on vacation. We had to end it early to rush to the hospital with my dad. However, my girlfriend had to leave to go home because our cat died that night. Shortly after my dad died, my brother had to put his dog down. To top it all off, one of our close family friends, someone I’ve known for almost 25 years, died a month and a half after my dad did, also from sepsis complications. I’m ready for the year to be over!
Edit: Another friend of my mothers, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around the same time as my dad was, just died as well, right after his daughter's wedding. I'm really ready for this year to be over!
Edit 2: the kitten we recently rescued from a friends back yard, whom Michele is very attached to, was diagnosed with feline leukemia today. She could live a long life or die suddenly. I'm ready for some easy days, but we have lots of practice getting through bad news this year.
Aside from board gaming, I have several other interests--including the usual movies and video games. I have recently been trying to catch up on some classic and foreign movies that I have either only seen parts of or have been on my need to watch list for a long time. Growing up in a small town I didn't have much exposure to cinema apart from the typical Hollywood blockbusters. Once in college I discovered that I enjoyed a lot of independent and foreign movies. When I play video games, I tend to gravitate heavily towards roleplaying games, but Civ building games are also high on that list.
Along with that, I am an avid reader. I am currently going back through the Sandman graphic novels again. I have also made a goal of reading one Pynchon book a year until I have read them all. It just sort of happened that for the last five years I have read one, so I thought I might as well keep it up. I'm currently rereading Inhering Vice right now.
When not consuming massive amounts of media or playing board games, I like to cook, which has led to a bit of a problem as I like to cook rich and heavy food since I like to eat rich and heavy food. I do like to eat healthy food as well, but just getting back into the habit of doing that. With the holidays coming up and my family's tendency to over bake at this time of year that is a challenge.
I work at State farm doing mundane work but it pays the bills. My degree is in Social Work but it is almost impossible to find a job in that where I live. I do tend to do a lot of "counseling" with my coworkers where I listen to a lot of venting and ranting. I’ll like to go back and get my Masters and work in counseling or rehab, but I don't have the money for that right now.
My prominent gaming partner is my girlfriend, Michele. Due to conflicting work schedules, we don't get to play too many games during the week. In a given week, I may get to play one or two games if I am lucky. Most of my gaming outside of that is in large spurts on the weekends or other days off. This may be one or two other people gaming, or as many as eight or nine. I have multiple groups that I may do this with, and each has its own preference for type of game. My roleplaying group tends towards ameritrash, one of my other game groups likes conflict heavy euro games, and another likes more economic and engine building, low conflict games.
I tend to like longer, more complex games myself but don't get a chance to play them much (something like Twilight Imperium 3 or Antiquity) When playing shorter games, I drift more towards euro games as they fill my need for thinking and analyzing. Usually my preference is long and epic, then euro, ameritrash, and at the very bottom is reserved for abstracts which I should like but rarely do. I also prefer engine building and worker placement games to area control games, but that may have been due to some very negative experiences early on with several area control games in a row. The wrong company makes a game unbearable, and playing El Grande with 3 is probably not the best idea either. I'm willing to try such games again though.
My top five mechanics would include: worker placement, pick up and deliver/route building, tableau building, deck building, and skill/power building (like in Goa or Hansa Teutonica.)
Michelle's top three would be: worker placement, deck building (during the game), and pick up and deliver/route building. She also really likes anything with lots of bits or pieces, particularly if they are small with fun shapes.
Santa, my wish list contains the games I'm keeping an eye on, but if you think I'll like something else, feel free to gift that instead. I'm always open to new games and experiences.