Julie drove me to the airport this afternoon for my flight to Denver / Dallas for BGG.CON. This was very nice - I don't think I've had a ride like this in ages! It allowed me some extra time to prepare, which is good because I needed every spare minute to finish Jacob's football team end-of-year DVD. My external 300GB drive (Firewire 800 enclosure plus a Maxtor drive inside) has been giving me all sorts of fits lately, with the latest issue being corrupt movie clip files for the DVD that resulted in some artifacts in the final DVD that made my product unshippable. I had to do a repair on the drive (it claimed to be unsuccessful, but I got enough recovered to fix the problem) and was burning the master DVD in the final 5 minutes before we departed for the airport. The DVD is a mixture of still photos with the Ken Burns effect, title slides, season highlight video clips, and a soundtrack. For those curious, here are the tools I used:
- iMovie '08 for the video clips, still photos, and titles. I love iMovie and it does the job very nicely once you get a handle on the interface. The only big negative here is that you can't easily manage chapter markers in iMovie.
- GarageBand '08 for the soundtrack. This is cool - you bring the exported movie from iMovie into GarageBand then overlay the soundtrack onto the movie. Great editing tools, individual track control, plus all the other cool GarageBand effects that I COULD use if I wanted. In this case I only needed to handle sequencing songs and transitions. By the way, projects like this make you appreciate Amazon.com's MP3 music service - it sure is nice to be able to embed those songs into videos like this for personal use, something I can't do with protected iTunes downloads.
- iDVD '08 for the final DVD production. I'm not a huge fan of iDVD (it crashes too often and the interface is obtuse) but it gets the job done for me.
Anyway, back to travel. After averaging over 100,000 miles per year on United for the past 4 years, this was my first flight since August. I like going places, but I don't miss the travel process. PDX was virtually empty and check-in was a breeze, but seeing all of the tired execs standing around chatting on their phones brought back memories of a life I prefer not to return to. My Red Carpet club membership expires this month, and my 1K status with United next month, so soon it will be back the world of the mortal cattle-car traveler for me.
I'll land about 10:30 tonight Dallas time and hop on the shuttle to the (thankfully close!) hotel for BGG.CON. I'm excited - very little structured play established so far and I hope to play quite a few of the new Essen releases. Tomorrow morning I'm likely to play Roads and Boats, Friday afternoon I'll run a prototype play-testing session, and Friday or Saturday evening I plan to try an 18xx game with Tim. Here are some goals and plans for the weekend:
- Play Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. I'd love to have someone teach me so I can come back and play with Jacob.
- Meet some new people and establish new friendships. I should know about 20-25 people at the show, but I'd like to spend some time outside that circle of friends and experience some new interactions.
- Teach and play Brass again. I enjoy teaching new releases that others are hoping to play so maybe I can make myself available for this.
- Take lots of quality photographs of the happenings and publish them in a timely manner.
- Post a few blog entries while I'm there.
- Go running at least twice. I've fallen off the wagon since rolling my ankle a few weekends ago playing basketball with the boys and need to start again. Jim Ginn says he'll run with me so hopefully we can get out Fri and Sun mornings. My ankle is still swollen but I think it will hold up.
See you in Dallas.