All posts by cczernia

Wow, it has been a long time since I bothered to post to this blog. Since then the blog has crashed and I lost one or two posts and a bunch of images. I guess hosting your own content is just as troubling as hosting it somewhere else.

Funny enough one of the posts I lost was when I ran a 5k a few years ago called the Bootcamp Challenge. Since then I hadn’t really done much running; only a mile or two during the weekends. Well, when I found out a number of Stephanie’s friends were coming down to Orange County to run the TinkerBell 10k (a 10k through Disneyland) I had to sign up.

For the past five months I have been running with a group during lunch and building my endurance to a whopping 5 miles what most people train to get to a marathon. I wasn’t in any hurry.

The race came and went and was a lot of fun despite getting up at 3am. Also during the trip we went to Disneyland and California Adventure riding the rides and amusing ourselves in the themepark. This might sound special but Stephanie visits the park once a year and I’m there every 1 1/2 years.

Any, the main reason for this post is I spend $25 on the picture below. A lot, I know, but I felt there are no pictures of me exercising in anyway and I actually spend a lot of time doing this. It was this or another picture of me playing a roleplaying game.

Chris Running

The Desert

A few weeks ago I headed out to Ocotilla Wells/Anza Borrego Desert National Park for camping and activities. The desert isn’t really my idea of a good time but my friend Andy had invited me and I had been reluctant to participate in events he has suggested before (Las Vegas) which proved to be a great time.

I decided to go and head up on Saturday. I arrived around 1:30pm only to find out I was suppose to be there at 10am. On my way Andy called and told me to call him when I arrived. When I arrived at the general area I tried calling him but due to bad reception all I good do was send a text and hope for the best. I ended up at a bar called the Iron Door enjoying the local color. Turns out that Ocotilla Wells is a huge off-road park/community and those who partake in activities really like the Iron Door.

Andy picked up about an hour later and got me set up at the campsite. We then headed to enjoy the off-roading driving up sand-dunes and bumpy roads. We also looked at a hill with fossils and a natural spring. After that we returned to the campsite for good food and drink. I ended up having trouble sleeping and stay up about 2 hours after everyone went to bed but eventually went to sleep.

The next day it was windy but we all got some breakfast and packed up. We headed out to The Mud Caves which fit there description. I ended up scraping my arm and bonking my head not realizing I still had my sunglasses on when exploring the caves. We had lunch after and then head back to camp. However, we decided to take the hard off-road way. We took Diablo Drop-off which is a steep road that takes us from a mesa into an arroyo.  We then to proceed to drive through the arroyo over large rocks.

Holiday 2010

It has been a fun filled holiday. Starting with Thanksgiving Stephanie and I drove up to LA and spent some time with her dad. We then went and had Thanksgiving dinner with her aunt and hung out talking and playing games.

The next day we went and had some veggie burgers that were really good (I couldn’t taste the difference between the veggie burger and a real one) and then drove out to Temecula were we got a villa at SouthCoast Wineries for two nights. We got there around 3 but the villa wasn’t ready until 4 so we walked around and did some wine tasting. The room was amazing with a fireplace, jacuzzi bath and other extravagance (such as two shower heads, what up with that).

The next morning we headed to downtown Temecula and walked around the farmers market like we did almost a year ago. After that we stopped to get Stephanie’s favorite gas station coffee. From there we made our way back to the villa for some quiet reading until our tour of the winery.

The tour was great and as we walked around our guide was giving us full pours straight from the barrels. The end of the tour was a wine pairing with cheese, crackers and fruit. Stephanie and I got drunk and then went to get lunch at the winery restaurant and then passed out at the villa.

Christmas was a little different as Stephanie and I packed for Las Cruces. We left on her birthday which I gave her a coupon book with things like “Quiet Time” and “Foot rubs.”

Once in Las Cruces we got dinner at La Posta, a popular Mexican restaurant. The rest of the vacation consisted of lots of eating, then more eating. Maybe we would find time to see a movie (True Grit), visit Caos Bookstore, make tamales or play tennis in-between the eating.

Grooving Along

Not a whole lot has been going on. Everything has been pretty steady and dull. At my job we took over the office building next door and they moved all the Tech Support staff over including myself. I’m really shy at this job and don’t know many people but for some reason feel more comfortable around the tech support team than I did with engineering.

Gaming has been steady and I finished a game called “Colony” where the players take on members of the first people to ever colonize another planet. I describe it as “Lost” but in space, but not “Lost in Space.” It went really well and I plan on doing a follow up next year. We are now playing Dresden Files and up next is Dark Sun 4e.

D&D at the Library still goes strong and as chaotic as it can be things remain steady. I introduced a new mechanic in which I give the players poker chips if they are paying attention at the beginning of their turn. They can than spend the chips on extra actions, bonuses to their rolls or experience points. It has worked wonderfully.

A few months ago was Gateway 2010 up in LA and I got to play in games of Lady Blackbird, Unknown Armies and Apocalypse World. I also ran Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies. Stephanie picked me up early from the con and we headed up to a party some friends had.

I also got to see some fun plays including one a friend was in. One of the plays, “Gam3rs” I saw a few weeks ago. It is a play about a tech support guy who is obsessed with World of Warcraft. Me and some friends went to an October fest then the play so I was pretty drunk when we arrived. The play was great with lots of inside geek jokes including references to Star Wars and Homestarrunner. They also had a talk back with food and more booze.

Gencon 2010

First weekend in August I went with a few friends up to Indianapolis for the giant gaming convention, Gencon. We left early Wednesday morning with our flight taking off at 6:30. During the flight one of my friends passed out and had to be taken to the hospital during our layover in Denver. Luckily, he was ok and joined up with us the next day.

We arrived in Indianapolis around 3pm and another friend say we could take the economy shuttle. Not knowing what we were doing we hopped on the first shuttle which ended up taking us to long term parking. After a wonderful trip around the parking lot we hopped on the correct shuttle which took us down town.

We checked-in and then headed out and grabbed some food at the Steak-n-Shake; a staple of Gencon cuisine which I missed the year before. I had a burger, shake and fries. After we had some beers, later we had played some munchkin and had more beers.

On Thursday I grabbed some breakfast and headed to the convention center to walk around the dealers room. I picked up Hamlet’s Hitpoints, Blowback, Reign (lite), Smallville and Icons. I met up with my friends and had lunch at Buca Di Beppo. I then played in a 6 hour Amber Diceless game which was fun up until the GM had everyone second guessing each other and arguing. After that we grabbed some beer to finish the night.


Friday I started with a Maid game borrowing a ticket off a friend. It had too many players and the GM did not know the rules well enough. After that my friends and I did a D&D Delve where we all died in 30 minutes. I later played in an equally bad Eclipse Phase game with too many players and an uninterested GM. I grabbed some dinner with friends and as we finished up I got a message from the Fear the Boot community which sent out texts to anyone who signed up. I had been getting texts throughout the con and decided to try one out. I ended up playing in a Dread game based off the movie Inception which was a lot of fun and made up for the two bad games.

On Saturday I headed to the Games-on-Demand section and met up with Bill White who created Ganakagok and did a quick demo of his game. After that we met up with another guy who ran us in his game called Steampunk Crescendo and then InSpecters.

We then grabbed some dinner and after I sent out a text to get games of Dresden Files and Weird War II (for my friend) to the Fear the Boot network. We ran our game until midnight. We planned on grabbing some beers but some other friends wanted to go to the White Wolf party.

White Wolf Party

The White Wolf party has been a staple of Gencon for many years. I company called White Wolf creates game about Vampire and Werewolves. You have to get an invitation early. My friends and I left for the party but only had three invitations out of five people. A $20 bribe later and we were all in. The party was a techno-gothic dance floor with cages and techno-remixed music of popular rock/industrial songs. It was open bar and a lot of fun in a serial gothic way.

Sunday we slowed down and walked through artist alley and the dealers-room. We finished things up by learning how to play the boardgame Dominion and then heading back to catch our flight.

Comic Con 2010

A few weeks ago I attended Comic Con. Wednesday I picked up my badge which was efficient this year as I was able to walk right up and get my badge without waiting in a line. Given that two years ago I waited over an hour this was a huge improvement.

I then went to the dealers-room and headed straight to a gaming booth that is always there. I had actually mesmerized their location since I have been to this con so many times. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any great deals like they have in the past but I did pick up the Leverage Quick Start rules (RPG based off the TV show Leverage). I walked through a little more of the dealers room, picked up a gaming mat for minis and left.

Next day I didn’t attend because we were releasing a major part of our website at work. I did get to have dinner with Jonathan, Michelle plus Tom who I hadn’t seen in years.

On Friday I left work around 12pm and headed down to the con. I walked around the dealers-room and picked up a few comics. I didn’t have any panels and couldn’t find anyone so left to hang out with my friends who decided to skip the con and hang out in PB.

On Saturday I was down there around 10am. In the past I have always planned on spending time at the big media events at the ballrooms but in the last three years there has been an hour plus wait (last year it was almost two hours) just to get in. I didn’t want to do that this year and went to smaller panels. Around 10:30 I headed up and saw Gabriel Ba and Gerard Way talk about Umbrella Academy and rock-n-roll. Later Brian Michael Bendis talked comics. Both great panels and that pumped me up for the rest of the con.

I met up with some friends and we started to walk the hall. We ended up by the gaming booth I started at on Wednesday and I ran into Aldis Hodge who plays Alec Hardison in Leverage. I pulled out my copy of the Leverage Quick Start rules and had him sign his picture in the book and then got my picture with him. Finished up by walking around a little more and heading over to the Tilted Kilt to drink some beers.

The strange thing about this Comic Con is it stopped being special and is now something I just do every year. I still love it but it has lost that overwhelming affect of pure awesome it once had. That spot is now held by Gencon.

Slow June

Not a lot going on right now especially when you compare it to Japan. I did make it out to GameX in LA for some roleplaying fun for memorial day weekend. Having had bad luck with running games there before (no one showed up) I decided to just play and had a good time. I got to play “In a Wicked Age”, “Dresden Files RPG”, “Icons”, “World of Darkness WWII”, and “Warhammer 3rd ed.”

One of the groups running games at GameX decided to have a rpg day at a gamestore in LA so a friend and I drove up and played some “Savage World: Aliens” and “Serenity.”

I usually run a single session rpg for a meetup group once a month. I’ve recently started doing these at Gamers Torch which is a great new gaming store in Pacific Beach. He has the best selection of Indy games I’ve seen south of San Francisco and is supportive of the gaming community. They donated a bunch of prizes for hyphen-con and give us drinks during the game.

Other than gaming Stephanie and I have been following the Padres closer than we ever have before. I might know the name of 6 or 7 players and now have a bobble head on my desk.


I sit here recovering from jet lag after Stephanie and I went to Japan last week. We left on Monday morning flying out of LAX and arrived in Japan around 3pm. I immediately fell asleep when arrived at our hotel, The Shinigawa Prince Hotel, due to travel, jet lag, and not sleeping at all the night before but instead playing video games and watching King of the Hill thinking I could sleep on the plane. This did not happen as every time my head fell forward I woke up.

On Wednesday (having lost a day due to space warps) we got up around 4am, got some breakfast (curry) and hiked up to Tokyo Tower. From there we walked around the Imperial Palace. We then arrived on the Edo Museum and got caught up on our Tokyo history.

On Thursday we took a tour of Mt Fuji. It was raining that day so I was kind of bummed but as we headed up the mountain we got over the clouds and rain to a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. After the mountain we head to Hakone for lunch and then took a cable car up to the volcanic geysers and ate eggs that had been boiled and blacked in the geyser. We also took a misty boat ride on Lake Ashi which the boat had a silly pirate theme and would play what can only be described as pixie music when we arrived at a port (A lot of places in Tokyo had strange children’s music playing in the background.)  We finally took a bullet train back to our hotel.

Friday we continued our hiking of Tokyo first with the Sengakuji Buddhist temple where a bunch of samurai committed seppuku there. From there we went to the photography museum. Navigating Tokyo can be difficult as they don’t really have street names and we never figured out what they do use. When trying to get to the photography museum we were staying at a map a guy tried to help give us direction using his phone. He figured there was no one way to explain it to a couple of clueless foreigners so he walked us to the museum. I was amazed.

The museum was fun with original photographs of samurai during the meiji era. After we had a great Japanese lunch and then head over to Akihabara, the technology area of Tokyo. We walked up and down the street and peaked into a pachinko parlor and a grouping of Radioshack booths. I wasn’t satisfied when we finished so decided to check out the two multistory buildings of videogame/anime stuff. The first few stories were of the Sega store  had those game where you try and grab prizes with a clumsy crane. Prizes included all kinds of anime stuff including pillows shaped like anime girls where the poops were finely shaped. The next stories was an arcade with all kinds of video games.

I wanted to visit the other building because it had an anime cafe which I thought meant coffee and anime. We got pressed into visiting the third floor by a woman in a skimpy maid outfit. When we got to the third floor five women in skimpy maid outfoots all turned toward the door and said konichiwa. Stephanie firmly said, “no” and we continued our way up. The anime cafe turned out to be a place to check out the internet, grab a soda and read anime for an hourly fee.

All these places had a creepy vibe like an adult bookstore… I still kind of want to see what the anime maids were all about though.

On Saturday we went to the Shinto Shrine Asakusa and did some shopping, and watched a monkey dance. From there we went to the top of the Asahi building for some beer and city viewing. We then took a boat down the river to Odaiba, a popular location for the Japanese to shop.

Sunday it was raining but we took out the umbrellas and headed out to Shibuya (popular shopping area, think Time Square) and walked up to a park where there was a little festival. We tried some horrible fruit called durian that tasted like onion. We then went to the Meiji Temple where we alked around the gardens. We relaxed at the hotel for awhile and then went to Tokyo Dome to watch the Giants play the Buffaloes. Japanese baseball was a lot of fun as the crowds got excited and would chant and sing.

After all that we made it back now recovering and jet lagged.

Hyphen-Con VI

Strawberry Shortcake Post Apoc

Last weekend was the sixth annual hyphen-con. Hyphen-con (aka rpg-san-diego-games-day) is a games day that me and a group of friends started when we were trying to create a gaming con. This years was great and I got to play Post Apoc Strawberry Shortcake (as in the children’s cartoon). I also got to play the Dresden Files rpg. Both games were a lot of fun but for the first time we decided to do boardgames on Sunday so I also got to play Pandemic and Robo-Rally. It was possibly the best Hyphen-con yet.

I also attended Kingdom-con the weekend before which is another groups attempt to start a gaming convention in San Diego. They seemed fairly successful having two room for miniature game and one room for board/card games. I talked to the guy who ran it and hope to help him included rpgs next year.

Meeting with the Bros

All last week I got to hang out with a bunch of friends from high school/college in Las Cruces. It started with my friend Scott coming down to San Diego for Coast Card training. During a couple evenings when we were finished with work Scott and I would hang out at the Tilted Kilt (a place like Hooters only with good food and beer) or catch a movie. We got to do a lot of catching up and had a good time.

On Friday I flew out to Las Cruces and got picked up by my mom. It is my dad’s birthday next weekend so I decided to surprise him. My mom and I walked into his office and he was shocked. I spend some time with talking with my parents and then checked into my hotel.

Adam, my friend since the second grade, picked me up and we got some classic New Mexican food and then got some drinks. Adam tried a scotch and ended showering our hotels patio in puke. He instantly felt better. After we picked up Joe and went to Adam’s place to play board games.

The next day we went out to the town of Hatch and got chili cheese burgers at Sparkies. This was my first chili cheese burger and I liked it but I still have no need for green chili. After that we we went to Choas Bookstore and then Adam’s brother-in-law’s who later joined for a round of Munchkin the Boardgame.

We then grabbed dinner at El Sombrero and picked up another old friend, Shane, who I hadn’t seen in five years. We then went to the bar and finally ended up back at Adam’s to play more games. This time I started off with Zombie Cinema, a narrativist rpg, and while it was fun at first everyone quickly lost interest and we switched over to Pandemic.

Sunday was a lot of the same with New Mexican food, wondering around and games. Finally, I headed back to my parents for a great dinner of paella and Caliches frozen custard. On Monday I flew home early and went straight to work.

It was a great week and something I’ll have to do again but maybe in a different location.