Sunday, January 31, 2010

VerminCon, Chock Full of Goodness!

Well, another fun trip to VerminCon is behind me and many others now. What is VerminCon? Well, it is a perfectly wonderful game convention held in scenic, but never rustic, Vermillion, SD. Over 100 gamers showed up to play board, card, miniature, roleplaying and live action games. This year it was hosted at the brand spanking new Muenster University Center (affectionately nicknamed the MUC). In years past it has been at the Armory in Vermillion, which usually brought a new meaning to the word "cold".

This year, like last, I only got to spend one day at VerminCon and we always try to make sure we're at least there the same day as our favorite gamers, the Walsh family. So we made all the proper arrangements for Saturday and made the short journey northward bound. With the cost of the Convention only being $5, this is one of the cheapest weekend retreats you can make for a local convention. As usual fun was had!

First off, the new site is awesome. There is plenty of room and the MUC is just a phenomenal location. The lighting was excellent, acoustics were fine, the place was very comfortable. There weren't as many table as the con would have probably liked, but in the future that may be remedied. They opened up a few extra rooms when we got crowded. I understand there were a few problems with the University invoking last minute rules, including closing at 11pm instead of our usual midnight or 1am, but that was ok by us. In fact, it made sure we got back home to our babysitter on time as we only had her until midnight (thanks Mom!). The food that was available was pretty good, lots of nearby restaurants. Overall, couldn't have asked for better there. I hope they work out their problems with the University as I think this is a great site for gaming.

The next part, the people. I love the people at this convention. It's a smaller group than our normal MAGE Conventions ( for more info), but it is always a fun time catching up with friends. The smaller settings at VerminCon lead to a much more family feeling at this gatherings. You just feel that you are always amongst friends and that's a good thing. Steve Thum and Todd McCracken always put on a good convention for us and work hard to get it all together. They're a huge reason this con is a success. If it wasn't for them, there wouldn't be a VerminCon. Major thanks guys!

I have to mention the games as that's the main reason to come. I played several boardgames and a few of them were new to me. We started off by playing Ad Astra. It's kind of like Settlers of Catan in space with a bit more exploration feeling to it. It works very well, I enjoyed it. A little hard to figure out how to play your action cards at first, but a very simple but fun game. Production value, great as always.

Another game that I loved was Homesteaders. This is the first game produced by Tasty Minstrel Games and it is a good one! They had some production issues, so the quality isn't quite what it could be, but the game is wonderful. So many options in this game that I need to play it again to get a better feel for it. Won't get real in-depth here, but visit for information on these games.

I'm very glad I had the opportunity to attend this event again this year. It is my wife's favorite convention and I can't blame her. I really like it myself and is a Con I would hate to miss. At $5 for the whole weekend, it is an awesome bargain! You cannot go wrong with this convention. Like I mentioned earlier, has a listing for local conventions and game days. So check it out if you ever want to attend one of these events. Most Sioux City game days I work during or can't get a babysitter for, so there isn't much for boardgames there usually, which is too bad. You can also join the boardgame group at and I'll post local meet-ups there as well.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today's Paradise, Ditch all your Shopping Carts

It takes a lot for ME of all people to say this, but damn, some people are just plain lazy. The latest proof of this comes from an early Sunday morning visit to Target. My wife decided to sit in the car with Liam while Reed and I went in to purchase a present. During that point, several observations about laziness were made.

Apparently, if you're a perfectly able bodied person, it takes too much effort to put a cart into the aptly named cart corals. There must be something about them that pushes people away, like some sort of mosquito repellent theoretically, but never practically, repels said mosquitoes. What was observed on this perfectly normal Sunday morn? Mothers with teenage daughters unloading their cart and just pushing it into an open space nearby. One girl even let her cart roll into another car, as if the cart were no more than a leaf fluttering down into a gently flowing brook. Somehow, I would put money on the fact that if somebodies shopping cart hit their vehicle they would pitch a fit and want to file charges on the nearest heathen who could perpetuate such an act of gross negligence.

Note: This is not from actual said incidents. Just a brief example.

So what creates this situation? Do people believe that it's simply too off-putting to spend their time putting a cart into a coral? Are they truly that lazy? Do they just have no care for other people who now have to deal with this obstruction? Do they not have the slightest appreciation to the hard work that the cart pushers at this store have to do, especially in this cold, snow-packed winter wonderland in which we live? Is their time simply too valuable to waste two seconds putting something into it's proper place? Heck, I'm negligent on that last one, but at least I do that in my own home. My bet would simply be, a bit of all of the above.

To me this shows a general lack of awareness in one's world. These are the people who are probably oblivious to the plight of others around them. People who probably thought, boy, that Obama makes good speeches, I bet he'll do something. Or maybe they're the people who say they agree with Rush Limbaugh's view on Haiti simply because they can't see past their own small world. These people probably aren't that interested in politics though, as that requires too much thought and would make their brains hurt. See? Even I can bring two opposing points of politics into my blog! Heck, I managed to bring politics into a post that has NOTHING to do with them. Go me!

I really think that my main point of contention is this. Stop being so damned lazy! Put your shopping carts where they belong and make life easier on the employees who earn far too little so that you can buy your damned Revlon for 20 cents cheaper. If you can't manage something so small and simple, maybe we shouldn't trust you with any other decisions you make in your way too important lives.
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