Geeky Christmas Vacation 2014

Christmas Vacation is finally here. After long days and longer nights of working to make sure everything got done before I left the office, it’s Christmas Eve, the college is closed, and I think I can relax.

I’m off from December 24 through January 4, and we’ve got all manner of family fun planned, including watching Guardians of the Galaxy with my parents (something the kids are eager to do) and some family skiing (which I’m eager to do). I’m also hoping to introduce my family to some new board games, namely Pandemic and Power Grid.

Between all the family visits though, I’m hoping to get some downtime to play with my new toys. First and foremost there’s my Winter Vacation Reading List , which I started on last night with Willful Child by Steven Erikson. I’ve got two new audio books queued up, The King’s Blood by Daniel Abraham (a low-magic sword and sorcery book, and the second in the Dagger and Coin series) and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

I’ve also got a sizable stack of comic books to get through thanks to Marvel’s Axis storyline, in which the Red Skull attempts to take over the world, and the Avengers and X-Men have to come together to stop him. It’s the natural counterpoint to the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline from a few years ago, and I’m looking forward to cracking a beer, sitting on the couch, and seeing the A+X teams kick some Red Skull ass.

When I’m not reading, I’m planning on working on my Dungeons & Dragons campaigns and continue reading through the Dungeon Master’s Guide. I got the DMG a few weeks ago and even having only read a few dozen pages, it blew me away with its art, random tables, and useful content. I’m looking forward into delving into it more deeply … and rolling up as many random encounters, dungeons, and plot lines as possible. To say the book has me inspired is an understatement.

Speaking of rolling stuff up, I also intend to put my new Dungeonmorph dice to good use rolling up abandoned castles, crypts, and caverns for my aforementioned D&D campaign. These are oversized dice inspired by the Dungeon Geomorphs of old. Each side has a few rooms or special features on it; throw the dice and you get a new dungeon! I got two sets for my birthday, “Spellunker” (which focuses on caverns) and “Explorer” (which is a conventional dungeon). They are expensive, but oh so cool.

I also intend to work on the next episode of my Weird Pulp campaign for Savage Worlds. The heroes are just about to board the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul. Once in Turkey they intend to hunt down The Teacher, an enigmatic villain who killed one of the PCs parents in an insane attempt to shape his life. I’ve never written a train adventure before, and I admit I was stumped on where to go with it, but I think I’ve got a solid idea now … and enough time to write it down.

The last thing I want to do is play around with my new iPhone 6. It arrived yesterday, and I got it up and running with my phone number this morning. It’s significantly larger than my old iPhone 5S, but so far I’m finding that I’m really liking it. Now mind you, I got the regular iPhone 6 — not the Plus — so it’s not that much bigger, but it’s big enough that I find myself needing to use two hands more frequently than with the smaller phone. I’m already familiar with most of its features since my old phone also ran iOS 8, but I do want to put the camera through its paces. As is my tradition whenever I buy new hardware, I also got a new game for it — Tales from the Borderlands, which is Telltale Games’ take on the Borderlands video game.

It’s a big list, and I know I’m not going to get through everything on it, but I’m sure as hell going to try. It has been an exceedingly long year and while it ended well, I very much need this time off to relax, recharge, and geek out.

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