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State of the Justin
Haven't written a personal update in a fair while, so it seems time. In no particular order:

The main focus of life these days has been Kate: we've been dating for most of a year now, and have found ourselves in Deep Schmoop. It's really quite delightful, and we've been spending the bulk of our time together. I took last week off from work to straighten out my head, so we basically spent the whole week together, and wound up mostly wanting to spend *more* time together -- one of the better signs of a strong relationship.

(And we've recently discovered that we very much like gaming together. But I need to find a good card-shuffler for Dominion: Kate's wrists can't tolerate the constant shuffling that the game demands. There seem to be a lot of automated shufflers around, but mostly intended for 2-6 full decks; I need one that does a decent job with as few as 20 cards. Recommendations welcomed.)

Work has been so-so. The company is doing extremely well -- indeed, I'd say that it has finally completely hit its stride, and is moving from strength to strength -- but suffice it to say there was a management decision that affected me personally, that I am cranky about. (Hence the head-straightening week.) Haven't decided yet whether it's time for me to move on -- there are still projects I'd like to accomplish at Memento, but it really isn't a startup any more, and I'm a startup guy at heart.

Jedi is well, if occasionally a bit cross at how much time I am spending at Kate's. I'm trying to make sure he gets as much quality time as I can give him.

Still don't know who won the Baronial election, and getting asked about it quite frequently. Hopefully Kingdom will get us an answer soon.

Spent yesterday pretty sick, with fairly ordinary stomach-flu symptoms plus what seems to be called "sulfurous belching". Seem to be okay today -- quite weak and stiff, but no more diarrhea or vomiting -- but kept myself largely quarantined in case I'm still contagious. That one really just qualifies as a minor annoyance, I think.

Intercon was solidly fun -- I played one game and AGM'ed two, which seems to suit me well. The one I played was Dog's Tales from the Securemarket, which proved to be a complete hoot. I was "cast" -- essentially horde, but with a primary character that I played for about half the game. That primary was basically the local archaeology professor; I didn't have anything for costume, so I focused on body and voice instead, playing him as the dotty old kook who is *way* too fond of Cool Old Stuff, with no sense of self-preservation. ("There's been a ghost sighted? How *delightful*! Here's is my card -- please give me a call if he comes back, so I can interview him about local history!") My horde characters ranged from a local hoodlum trying to vandalize the market, to the lich father of one of the characters. ("Look at you -- barely making anything of your life! You are descended from a long line of evil sorcerers, and you aren't even *management*!")

Friday evening, I AGM'ed Viv's Nonary Game. Fascinating little game, but definitely one for people who like puzzles more than I do: some of them were viciously complicated, and I was astonished that the players managed to work through them -- I would have been just plain stuck most of the time.

And Sunday morning, I AGM'ed tpau's re-run of my old game, Panel: The LARP. That was somewhat undersubscribed -- it was designed for 30 or so players, and only had about 15 -- but I was pleased to see that it went well anyway. With fewer players, there was less of people waiting for the right opportunity to pull in their character, and more sheer chaos of everyone just jumping in. (It was actually twice as loud with half as many players -- interesting dynamic.) Since everyone was playing so hard, we simply did it more traditionally horde-style, letting folks exchange characters when they were tired or when the GM's wanting to inject some new and different craziness. After this run, I'm concluding that the game "boxes" extremely well -- I really should write some GM material and release it into the wild.

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Shuffling: I don't know the game in question, but is a "mud pie" shuffle out of the question? That's when you spread the cards out in a, say, 1' zone of randomness (faces down) and move them around a bit like finger-painting so they get quite random, then you gently shove them back together to be a stack.

I expect my sister and I weren't the only ones to invent this technique as children, so there may well be a real name for this technique which I don't know.

The official name for that technique is "Washing the Deck." It does do a fine job and is used sometimes in casinos as it does give an excellent randomization of the cards. But it takes a lot of table space and is more time consuming to do, so it's generally only used when a new deck is opened. Given the number of times you have to reshuffle in Dominion and the fact that you've got other stuff on the table you wouldn't want to bump into, it wouldn't wor for this particular situation.

Possible, but it's relatively slow, and this game requires a *lot* of shuffling. So in practice it's less practical than what we currently do. (Which is that I mostly shuffle her deck.)

Everyday I'm Shufflin'

No surprise, there's a website devoted to the multitude of ways that decks of cards can be shuffled... http://www.howtoshuffle.com/ there's also a good overview of various techniques at: http://www.rummy-games.com/faq/HowToShuffleCards

The site above doesn't recommend buying any of the inexpensive card shufflers as they have a tendency to damage cards by chewing the edges or wearing grooves into them (I've seen this happen). That's not a problem in a home poker game where a standard deck of cards is cheap, but I wouldn't put collectible or Dominion cards in one as those are harder to replace.

Pile Shuffling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuffling#Pile_shuffle) might be easier on her wrists. It's not used in tournaments as it's easy to set up a pattern and cheat with, but in a casual game with friends it should work fine (and the wiki article gives a tip on how to improve the randomization of it, assuming you're not trying to stack the deck).

Amusingly, there's an article I found through Reddit specifically on the problems with shuffling Dominion cards: http://boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/2594/what-is-a-safe-and-accurate-technique-for-shuffling-cards

Re: Everyday I'm Shufflin'

Hmm. Slightly frustrating that the machines are so hard on the cards, but not entirely surprising, and useful to know. And the instructional sites are rather fun -- thanks!

Re: Everyday I'm Shufflin'

I have a base set of Dominion made into wooden discs instead of cards. Instead of shuffling you just drop everything back into a bag, shake it a bit, and draw... I'm willing to hand it over to you as I'm not using it, and it is only the base set...

Edited at 2012-03-15 02:02 am (UTC)

Re: Everyday I'm Shufflin'

... huh. That's a neat idea. Kind of labor-intensive to construct, but it does solve the problem elegantly. I might be interested in at least borrowing that to try it out, and we can decide whether we want to play with the idea more...

*blink blink* Stack Exchange has a boardgames section now? Neat!

Yup. (In beta.) When I saw Justin's question I searched there but didn't find that link somehow. (I wonder if I searched for "shuffler" rather than "shuffle".)

This is the first I've seen Stack Exchange. I assume it's related to StackOverflow in some way?

Yup. It's Stacks for damn near everything, with a similar code of conduct and operations.

Yep - same Q/A engine applied to other domains. Possibly in a "propose your own" kind of way? I'm not sure how the process works.

Yup. There are, I think, 84 of 'em now, on all sorts of topics. I came in via judaism.SE, for instance (which I found out about because Joel Spolsky blogged about it. There's one for music (beta), one for English language/usage, one for cooking... lots more too, of course.

Sites start life as proposals, and the ones that gather enough steam (including enough of a community around them to stand a chance of being viable) go into beta for a while. The successful ones launch "for real", but spending a year or more in beta apparently is not uncommon.

Indeed. I'm semi-regular there, but I'm frequently found on the rpg.stack under this handle.

I am so happy for you and Kate! It sounds like what I'm going through as well. (Like the 6 hour date that only ended because I'd made dinner plans with other people.)

I'll take Jedi whenever you're ready. If he needs a home with steady humans, I have that to give, and they want him to come as much as I do.

Glad to hear that your long date went well! Fingers crossed that that continues to work out.

As for Jedi -- thanks. I'm keeping an eye on that, and let's continue to talk. I suspect it's likely sooner or later; the question is probably mostly when.

Well at this point I'm dating multiple people, casually to see what works best for me in the long run. I'm spending friday-sat with one and Sunday with the other in very different sorts of dates and spending all next weekend (and part of the week) with a third. Though the 3rd is a secondary only. I don't know if I'm looking for permenance. Right now its all about having fun and seeing what fits in my life... which as you know is constantly changing. Its also about what they want they want in theirs and we're still working that out.
The best part is that two are expected to be monogamous should either continue well and the 3rd has already agreed to change the parameters of the relationship if that were to happen.

I am so excited about my future, both professionally and romanticly. And I'm excited about your too. :)

Keep me posted about jedi.

eldrad plays Dominion online, with people he knows and people he doesn't. Might that be a shuffling solution, at least for the interim?

Unfortunately, the computer is in some ways even harder on my wrists.

Not really the same thing, but: you might like Quarriors, which is like Dominion with dice instead of cards. No shuffling; just pull dice from your bag six at a time. I like it a lot better than Dominion.

Ah -- hadn't realized it was out. I saw it at Origins, and looked over peoples' shoulders as they played. I'll probably pick up a set.

I think the only time I saw you at Intercon was at con wrap! It seemed to be that kind of con.

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