The Mystery of the Missing Boardgame

This past fall I went to OmegaCon, a small convention that takes place in central Wisconsin and mostly involves a lot of pajama wearing and gameboard playing. About a month after the con I was in my office and noticed that I was missing my copy of Lords of Waterdeep. This made me very sad. I assumed that I must have left it at the convention, even though games very rarely end up missing at that particular con. With a shrug and a c’est la vie, I put it aside and figured I’d try to track it down or pick up a new copy at some point.

Come Christmas morning:

An board game box with fantasy warrior artwork and "Lords of Waterdeep" text across the top of the box. The lid is lifted up so a few unpunched game pieces are visible..

A open Lords of Waterdeep game. Not lost at OmegaCon after all! Quizzical look at the Hubby. “Hubby – why did you take my Lords of Waterdeep game off of my shelf and wrap it up as a gift for me?”

“No, that’s a new game.” He doesn’t offer any other explanations, so I deftly further the interview, “Why?”

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Christmas in Maryland

Catch-up travel blogging from Christmas week.

After work on Tuesday night, the Hubby and I boarded a flight from Minneapolis to Baltimore, Maryland. My mom picked us up at BWI at 11:00pm (My mom is pretty awesome) and drove us to Hagerstown through some seriously thick fog; I kept my eyes shut for quite a few parts of the the hour-long trip. We made it home without incident and hit the sack almost before the front door was locked.

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Holiday Office Party

Hi everybody!drnick


The days and nights have been just packed. I’ve had no time for catching up on current events or really having much of a life, and so no blogging. It’s been a whirlwind of holiday cooking, shopping, wrapping, and decorating.

Today is the office holiday potluck! Last night I diced 10 tomatoes, eight limes, two onions, chopped two bunches of cilantro, smashed an entire bulb of garlic, and slow-cooked eight pounds of carnitas overnight. The house smelled really good this morning.

The four of us who share an office have decorated it to the nines for the cube decorating contest. Live tree and all, yo. People are really getting in to it this year. I spent an hour on Sunday making ornaments (images of our company’s products taped onto ornaments), my officemate made garland out of expired plastic labware over the weekend, we saw one of our coworkers carrying a surge protector to his cube, and another guy brought in a working electric train set. Unfortunately I can’t post photos of the cube decorations because there’s too much confidential paperwork in the background of all the shots, but believe me when I say that it is a fabulously festive office environment this year.

I can share this photo:

Ugly Sweater ContestMy “Ugly Sweater Contest” entry. Once seen, it can never be unseen.

Happy holidays to those of you who celebrate!

Christmas Is Not Your Birthday

Today’s photo was submitted by Louise Kellar.

In a message designed to speak out against the crass commercialism of the holiday season, Smith Valley United Methodist Church in Indiana would like to remind you that Christmas is not your birthday. It would have added an extra layer of meaningfulismness if they had written “Christmas is not your birthday”, but maybe they couldn’t find italicized sign letters. That’s cool. No judgment. We work with what we have, as I and Sigourney Weaver always say.

But if they had italicized “your”, they’d be implying that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday, which would, of course, be taking HUGE historical license because everyone knows that if Jesus existed he was not born on December 25th, which is – I’m going to assume – the date that Smith Valley United Methodist Church assigns to Christmas.

I do have two mortal, non-supernatural entity friends who were born on December 25th and who both bitch about having their birthdays on Christmas, so I hope they never see this sign because I’d hate for them to get confused.

Gangland Turkey Killing

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate the holiday! I have a few odds and ends for today’s post, and then I’m getting back to the party!

Things are all a-flurry in the Bilyeu-Hubby family households. Over the past two days I have made gluten-free mincemeat pie, Mom’s made cranberry sauce, many board games have been played, and much 12-year Glenlivet has been drunkified.

I’m hosting Atheists Talk on Sunday. You can listen live at 9am CST when we interview Dr. Ivan R. Schwab about his new book Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved.  I can already tell this interview is going to be a blast; in 2006 Dr. Schwab won an Ig Nobel award in ornithology and he wore a giant, red woodpecker hat for his acceptance speech! Silly + Science Talk sounds like a good reason to wake up early on a Sunday to me! If you listen live, remember that you can always call or email us with questions during the show. We love that. Doooo eeet!

Here’s a little holiday-themed stupidness that my brain did when I was glancing at the newspaper yesterday:

Of course, the image is associated with the article beneath it, but at first glance I thought Thanskgiving had gotten really weird this year. Considering the seriousness of the first story, I have to say that’s some odd article formatting, Star Tribune.

Here are links to the first, very not-funny story about a gang feud in St. Paul, and to the second story about the weird not-really-a-pardon-more-of-a-stay-of-execution for the turkey named Bipartisan. 

And with that I’m back to the holiday chaos!  Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend!

Ellen’s Squishy Pumpkin Halloween Extravaganza!

As you may know, Ellen Bulger – a regular guest blogger here at Biodork, was in the path of Hurricane Sandy. She asked that I let you all know that she is fine, and that Sandy for her city was no worse than being a beagle in Mitt Romney’s carpool.

Because of hurricane preparations, the reveal for PPA 9 will be a few days coming, but Ellen did pass along a collection of squishy, soggy pumpkin photos for Halloween.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Used and Abused Pumpkins © Ellen Bulger

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Ohio STARS 2012 Costume Campaign

Woo-hoo! Halloween is just around the corner! What are you dressing up as? A witch? A pirate? A clown? A nun? An inappropriately sexy fairy tale character?

There are a lot of options for playing dress up during Halloween. While you’re thinking about your costume, the Ohio STARS – Students Teaching About Racism in Society – asks you to think before you settle on a costume. For the past two years they have launched a poster campaign aimed at bringing awareness to racially and culturally insensitive and offensive costumes.

I’d also say have a second thought about woman- and gay-bashing costumes. Maybe leave the ditzy blonde, the dirty hooker and flaming queer costumes at home this year?

These are three of the posters from the “We’re a culture, not a costume” campaign. This year’s theme is “You wear the costume for one night. I wear the stigma for life.” You can click on any of the images to be redirected to the STARS webpage, which includes all six of this year’s posters as well as those from the 2011 campaign, “This is not who I am, and this is not okay.”

.         Asian Stereotype Costume African Stereotype Costume Black Stereotype Costume

I think this campaign is targeted to people who may be unaware of the implicit racism that is prevalent in so many Halloween costumes. Hell, the costume companies do a great job at perpetuating racial and cultural stereotypes in their manufactured, packaged ensembles, and if they say it’s okay… Last weekend I stopped in to one of the temporary Halloween stores that pop up at this time of year and saw getups for a drunk Mexican, a ghetto pimp, and a hillbilly hick. Srsly?

Have fun, dress up as whatever you like. Only you know the company and context in which you and your costume will be seen, and this does play a role in appropriateness. Or maybe you’re going for inappropriate. *shrugs*

No one’s telling you what to wear, just asking you to be aware of what message you and your costume will be sending. Are you cool with it? Cool. Does it make you uncomfortable? Go change.

Vote No: Halloween Edition

This lovely household in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis has taken the Minnesota Vote No to Marriage Inequality campaign down a wonderfully thematic path:

Photo shows a front yard with Halloween decorations: spray-painted foam/cardboard/wood gravestones, plastic pumpkin trick-or-treat buckets. The centerpiece is two life-size skeleton ghouls dressed in white under a “wedding” trellis, with two ghouls as attendants. In front of them is the Minnesotans United for All Families orange “Vote No: Don’t Limit The Freedom To Marry” yard sign. In the background is a huge hand-made sign that says “VOTE NO” in string lighting on a wood frame.

Don’t limit the freedom of ghouls to marry!

Photo shows the entire front yard in all of it’s Halloweened glory.

The idea that this amendment might pass makes for a very scary story, indeed.

Hey – he just woke up!

Jesus is getting his butt kicked in Mario Kart this morning. He must be feeling a little groggy, what with that dying and getting resurrected and all.

On a completely unrelated note: Does anyone know why Google doesn’t have a Doodle for Easter today? The only thing I found on the About section of Google Doodles is “The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love of innovation.” They doodle based on location (different doodles for different countries), so I would have though US Google would create something for the Christians in the audience. They have done non-religious Christmas Doodles. Trust me, I’m not complaining, just pleasantly surprised to find godiness quietly absent from the Google front page.

Cross-Country Connections: Together

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Together.

This week is a little bit different. First – it’s late. Last Friday the Hubby and I left on holiday and didn’t get home until Tuesday. I started editting photos yesterday, and finally have my #$%@ together for CCC today.

This year we drove down to Woodstock, Illinois for the third annual Christmas Gathering At Aunt Leigh’s House. Aunt Leigh has a beautiful house with lots of rooms – enough to put up 14 of us on our busiest night!

Second, Mom, Erin and I didn’t take photos. Instead, we had the Hubby take a group photo of the three of us. We brought the CCC gang to one living room in a completely new location.

From Mom, me and Erin in Woodstock, Illinois:

Mom, me and Erin in front of the Christmas tree in Aunt Leigh’s living room.

And one more bonus shot. I was pleased to have remembered my tripod (I’d be more pleased if I hadn’t forgotten it in Woodstock when we came home to Minneapolis). We were able to take a group shot of everyone who made it to Christmas this year.

First Row: Aunt Leigh, Cousin Haley, Uncle-in-Law Greg, Cousin Sidney, Aunt Diane, Grandma Betty, Mom
Second Row: Me, the Hubby Aaron, Brother-in-Law Ralph, Sister Erin

Leigh, Haley and Greg live in Woodstock. Sidney and Diane came up from Springfield, Illinois. Grandma Betty is from Vienna, Illinois. Mom is from Carbondale, Illinois. Me and the Hubby are from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ralph and Erin are from Bellingham, Washington.

Hooray for family, and for making these Cross-Country Connections in person.

Happy Holidays.