Stones of Fate Contest

Stones of Fate Contest Graphic

Two of my brothers, Jeff and Nathan Cornelius, started a company called Cosmic Wombat Games. They publish tabletop games. They said their mission is to increase the amount of fun in the world. Right now they are working on a game called Stones of Fate. It’s a card game with beautiful artwork and simple play. If I can play it, anyone can. Just ask my brothers — I don’t normally like games, but I played this one and have been thinking about what strategy I am going to use when I play it next. So if it can keep me interested, it will keep anyone interested. It will definitely not be too boring or hard for you!

They plan to raise money to publish the game on Kickstarter. They will be launching their Kickstarter campaign later this month and as a sort of preview they are partnering with All Us Geeks to give away two signed prototype copies of Stones of Fate as well as one grand prize which will be a signed prototype copy of Stones of Fate, one 4-day badge to Gen Con 2014, and one deluxe mahogany box.

So head on over to All Us Geeks and enter the contest. It will close February 17. After you enter the contest there’s lots to do until the Kickstarter campaign opens February 20. You can check out the Kickstarter page and give the designers feedback on it. Then you can head over to Board Game Geeks to read posts from Jeff Cornelius about it and leave him more feedback. After that, you can watch a teaser video. Finally you can visit Cosmic Wombat Games site or Facebook page. Let the company and designers know what you think about the game! And don’t forget to enter the contest. I hope you win something!

Mr. Bones

When I was a child each October my mom would decorate our house for Halloween. By today’s standards she didn’t do much. There were some window clings and a few cardboard decorations, mostly of black cats, that she would hang up. But the one I remember the most was a small, cardboard skeleton. Even after we stopped celebrating Halloween (for religious reasons) we would still hang the skeleton up.

Why? Because we, my brothers and I, insisted on it. Why? We loved “Mr. Bones.”

You see, when I was quite small I was afraid of that skeleton. Skeletons were and are scary. They represent death and death is scary. As a preschooler I couldn’t verbalize that, but I didn’t need to. Such is hardwired into the human brain. Certain things are scary. And Halloween recognizes those things, and both mocks that fear but also celebrates human mastery over that which frightens us.

My mom didn’t want her children frightened of a simple Halloween decoration. So she gave it a name. She said, “This is nothing to be scared of. This is Mr. Bones. He’s a nice skeleton. He’s a friendly skeleton.” She personalized the cardboard skeleton, giving it a name, giving it a personality. He was posable, meaning his arms and legs move, and she let me play with it for a bit, moving its arms and legs, before she hung it up. At first I remember I didn’t like looking at it, but always, Mom reminded me that this was “Mr. Bones.” And a skeleton with a name couldn’t be as scary as one without, could it? Gradually I lost my fear. Mr. Bones was a friendly skeleton.

Each year I looked forward to getting Mr. Bones out and hanging him up. I delighted in introducing him to my brothers as they got old enough to be frightened of him and watched them overcome their fear and embrace the friendly skeleton decoration, Mr. Bones, as I had. For me, even though I would not have and could not articulate it, Mr. Bones was a symbol of overcoming fear, of the scary being made familiar, even friendly.

And so, this year, I decided that I would decorate my house for Halloween. I didn’t know what I would find, but I knew I wanted a skeleton if I could get one. A plastic one would be fine if I couldn’t find one like my childhood “Mr. Bones.” So I went to a Halloween store in my area, and I not only found a skeleton, but a cardboard, posable skeleton, just like Mr. Bones! Only my Mr. Bones is quite a bit larger than the original Mr. Bones.

He is now hanging proudly on a nail just by my front door where I can see him each time I come in. (He’s protected from the weather by a covered, glassed-in front porch, for those who were wondering. That’s the sort of thing I would wonder.) He still looks alarming, but I just remember he’s Mr. Bones. He’s a nice skeleton. He’s a friend.

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Converge SE

Don’t ask me what the SE stands for. And don’t ask me what Converge means either. All I know is that it is a web design conference being held right now in Columbia, SC at It-ology, a non-profit dedicated to advancing the IT profession by getting students to choose IT careers and also educating the public whether by classes or professional development opportunities such as conferences. My husband works there and was given the opportunity to attend the conference. So he’ll be unavailable for the next couple of days.

I think web design is interesting, so I checked out the website, but the topics listed are over my head. I think the website is cool, however. The mascot or logo of the conference is this cyborg Tyrannosaurus Rex. When you load the website you see him at the top of the page. As you scroll down he doesn’t scroll but appears to stay put, so that the information about the conference appears to scroll right over him and cover him up. Every so often, though, they have a “clear” section with a quote about the internet where you can see cyborg T. Rex. And he’s different every time he shows up. He goes from being a cyborg to an ordinary dinosaur T. Rex to a muscular dude that is being built into a cyborg to just dinosaur bones. I suppose if you read the website from bottom to top you could see the transformation of a dinosaur skeleton into a cyborg dinosaur. I think it’s really cool. I guess it’s good that a website about a conference devoted to web design has a cool website. It only makes good advertising sense.

You should check out the website even if you’re not interested in the conference or web design if for no other reason than to check out the transformation of the cyborg T. Rex. And if you are interested in the conference or in web design and couldn’t attend, the conference people will probably be posting about it. And I’m sure my husband will be posting about it at Just Jeremy when he gets a chance, so check that out too.

P.S. Ooh, they got a cyborg pterodactyl bird thing (it’s got feathers or fur — it’s hard to tell) on the other pages.

Partying with Pangolins and Penguins

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Today is the official release day of Ubuntu 12.04, also known as Precise Pangolin (a pangolin looks like a cross between an anteater and an armadillo). My husband is one of the developers, and he’s been working really hard on it. He’s been coming home from work and then working all evening and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning on it: fixing bugs, packaging, and writing documentation. I’m really proud of him.

So when he asked me last night to make a cake for his release party, I said I would. He wanted it white with orange frosting and white letters. Since I had no white cake mix in the house, but I did have cake making ingredients on hand, I decided to make it from scratch.

I think it turned out well. It was my first time separating egg whites from egg yokes (it’s the yokes that make cakes yellow — I didn’t know that before). I also made the icing from scratch — buttercream frosting is so yummy. This was also my first time decorating a cake with more than just words. The curled up pangolin, the logo of this release, was tricky, but it’s a tricky design. I’m proud of my accomplishment of this cake.

So Jeremy and I went to the party and had fun, and Jeremy helped some guys install the new release while we were there. So happy release day, Precise Pangolin! And bravo zulu (great job), Jeremy and the development team. Job well done!