Thursday, June 24, 2021

Survivor Welcome Video

 Check out the following video to get a better sense of what to expect at Backyard Survivor!

Can't blame you for checking, but did you really think we'd hide a clue to an immunity idol in the same place twice?

That said, keen eyes will benefit you after the first immunity challenge, regardless of whether you win or lose...

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Gathering

Round 1

Mary - 🧠🧠💜💜💜💜

  • Plays Prepared for the Worst. Draws nothing.
  • Plays First Aid.
  • Heals 1 damage.

Rex - 🧠🧠💜💜💜

  • Plays Trench Coat.
  • Plays Guided by the Unseen.
  • Investigates (assisted by Guided by the Unseen). Discovers 2 clues.
Round 2

Ravenous Ghoul engages Mary.
* Swarm of Rats engages Rex.

 Mary - 🧠🧠💜💜💜

  • Plays Spectral Razor. Defeats Ravenous Ghoul.
  • Heals 1 damage.
  • Plays Prepared for the Worst. Draws Timeworn Brand.

Rex - 🧠🧠💜💜💜
  • Attacks Swarm of Rats (assisted by Inquiring Mind). Defeats Swarm of Rats.
  • Gains 1 resource.
  • Investigates (assisted by second copy of Inquiring Mind). Discovers 2 clues.
*** Act 1 advances. 
Round 3

* Mary draws Rotting Remains. No effect.
Ghoul Minion engages Rex.

Rex - 🧠🧠💜💜💜
  • Plays The Necronomicon - Petrus de Dacia Translation, triggering an attack of opportunity from Ghoul Minion.
  • Spends 4 secrets on The Necronomicon. Defeats Ghoul Minion.
  • Moves to the cellar.
Mary - 🧠🧠💜💜

  • Plays Emergency Cache. Gains 3 resources.
  • Gains 1 resource.
  • Plays Timeworn Brand.
Round 4

*** Agenda 1 advances. Both investigators discard 1 card from hand at random.
* Mary draws Crypt Chill. Mary fails the test, discards First Aid, and takes 1 horror.
* Flesh-Eater spawns in the attic.

Rex - 🧠🧠🧠💜💜💜💜
  • Investigates (assisted by Deduction, The Necronomicon, and a blessed token). Finds 3 clues.
  • Investigates (assisted by The Necronomicon). Fails!
  • Investigates (assisted by Guided by the Unseen). Fails!

Mary - 🧠🧠🧠💜💜
  • Moves to the attic. Flesh-Eater engages.
  • Attacks Flesh-Eater with Timeworn Brand (assisted by a blessed token). Hits!
  • Attacks Flesh-Eater with Timeworn Brand (assisted by a blessed token). Defeats Flesh-Eater.
Round 5

* Ghoul Minion engages Rex.

Rex - 🧠🧠🧠💜💜💜💜
  • Plays Anatomical Diagrams (Fast).
  • Evades Ghoul Minion.
  • Moves to the hallway.
  • Moves to the attic.

* Mary draws Frozen in Fear.

Mary - 🧠🧠🧠🧠💜💜
  • Gains 1 resource.
  • Gains 1 resource.
  • Plays Flesh Ward.
  • Successfully discards Frozen in Fear.
* Mary draws Crisis of Faith during Upkeep Phase.
Round 6

* Mary draws Grasping Hands. Assisted by a blessed token, she takes no damage.
* Rex draws Ancient Evils (hence the rumbling).

Rex - 🧠🧠🧠💜💜💜💜
  • Plays Magnifying Glass.
  • Investigates. Discovers 2 clues.
  • Investigates. Discovers 2 clues.
Mary - 🧠🧠🧠🧠💜💜
  • Gains 1 resource.
  • Moves to the hallway.
  • Plays Guard Dog.
Round 7

* Mary draws Ancient Evils.
* Rex draws Grasping Hands. Assisted by a blessed token, he takes no damage.

Rex - 🧠🧠🧠💜💜💜💜
  • Moves to the hallway.
  • Draws Rex's Curse.
  • Draws Crack the Case.
Mary - 🧠🧠🧠🧠💜💜
  • Draws Enchant Weapon.
  • Gains 1 resource.
  • Gains 1 resource.
*** Act 2 advances. 
Round 8

* Mary draws Dissonant Voices, which stinks because she really wanted to enchant her weapon.
* Rex draws Ancient Evils.
Mary - 🧠🧠🧠🧠💜💜
  • Attacks Ghoul Priest with Timeworn Brand. Draws auto-fail token, triggering retaliation from the Ghoul Priest, which then activates Guard Dog, dealing the Ghoul Priest 1/10 damage.
  • Attacks Ghoul Priest with Timeworn Brand. Hits! Ghoul Priest has been dealt 3/10 damage.
  • Attacks Ghoul Priest with Timeworn Brand. Hits! Ghoul Priest has been dealt 5/10 damage.
Rex - 🧠🧠🧠💜💜💜💜
  • Moves to the parlor.
  • Parleys with Lita Chantler. Success, in spite of Rex's Curse.
  • Moves to the hallway.
* Ghoul Priest attacks Mary during Enemy Phase, activating Guard Dog for another attack. Ghoul Priest has been dealt 6/10 damage.

Round 9

* Rex draws Rotting Remains. Takes no horror, in spite of Rex's Curse.
Icy Ghoul spawns in the cellar.

Mary - 🧠🧠🧠🧠🧠🧠🧠💜💜💜💜
  • Exhausts Timeworn Brand and attacks, assisted by Lita Chantler's effect. Defeats Ghoul Priest. 
*** Act 3 advances. Opt not to burn the house down.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Chamberlains

            (Audio accompaniment.  WARNING: May cause tears!)

Six years ago, I met Mike and Lisa.  That evening, I recall being so extremely nervous that I accidentally got off the Far West Bus at the wrong stop and had to walk an extra mile or so to reach their home, which was on Old Quarry Lane at the time.  (Enter comment from Mel about how I have a penchant for getting off at the wrong stop on all forms of public transportation HERE.) When I finally arrived at their house, sweat was pouring from my brow and my shirt was soaked through thanks to my unplanned, little stroll in the lovely Texas heat.  This was not how I wanted to meet Mel’s sister and brother-in-law for the first time!  To make matters worse, M&L made their delicious homemade curry, which I LOVE now but at the time was WAY TOO SPICY for me, and so the red cheeks and excessive sweating continued.  I remember M&L stifling a lot of laughter from the kitchen, which I assumed was directed at how much redder I became with each spoonful of curry.  I would discover much later that all the laughter was actually due to the fact that they kept almost accidentally calling me “Patrick”, Mel’s previous boyfriend’s name!  I don’t remember too much about what happened later that first evening together, probably because I assumed that I’d already ruined everything and would never see them again.  Thankfully, that wasn’t the case!
Mike and Lisa opened their home to me.  Mel and I would eat at least one delicious, homemade meal with them every week it seemed and I very quickly developed a tolerance for the curry which, as I said,  became one of my favorite dishes!  We would share stories about our days at school/work, our families, about how much stuff we knew, whether we had showered regularly…the usual.  I think I recognized it at the time but definitely looking back now I am in awe of how much hospitality and love they showed me straight away with no questions asked.  It was unconditional and I quickly came to count them as members of my immediate family.  For the first time in my life, I had older siblings, Mike and Lisa, looking out for me! (And Indie too, of course!)

Three and a half years ago, Luke was born.  Luke and I hit it off from the get go!  While he was still a little chunky monkey, confined to a baby carrier, I would make faces at him and get him going on these HILARIOUS giggle fits!  The sound of Baby Luke cracking up would get everyone else laughing and before long the whole house was in stitches!  Mel and I were there the night Luke took his first steps.  In fact, I think Mel still has video of it somewhere.  There was something about that night, being present for such a momentous part of Luke’s life that really resonated with me.  Luke was the first person who, as an adult, I’d watched grow from a baby, to a toddler, to a little boy.  Mike and Lisa took care of all the hard parts that go along with raising a child and I just got to be present for the fun stuff!  It was an experience like no other!

(First Halloween!)

(Looking quite dapper in our suits, if I do say so myself!)

 (At the Guthrie wedding.  One of my favorite pictures.)

(San Diego preview!  Mike, where's your beard!??!)

(Halloween Part Deaux!)

(Assembling the Kite of Death for The Zilker Kite Festival.)

 (Hanging out by The Riverwalk in San Antonio.)

(I couldn't find a picture of it but this is basically how Luke and I hang out on a typical evening while Mike and Lisa prepare dinner.)
Austin won’t be the same without these guys and San Diego has no idea what good things are in store for them now that The Chamberlains are heading that way!  Although I expect the frequency with which I will be able to attend our weekly dinners will decrease in comparison to what it’s been over the past six years I know this isn’t the end and I want all three of you to know that I’ll think of you often.  I owe you so much for everything you’ve given me and while I may never be able to repay your kindness please know that I love you all as much as it’s possible to love another person!  Y’all are my family and that’s a bond that spans both distance and time.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Epic Poker Night

This past Tuesday, Johnny and I were texting back and forth, trying to think of something to do later that evening.  We had tentatively planned on playing Poker with some guys but when a key member of that circle of friends backed out we decided to adjust our plans.  We finally settled NOT on poker but instead on another card game, Munchkin, which is essentially a simplified version of Dungeons & Dragons. (Every bit as nerdy as it sounds but LOTS of fun!)

Or so I thought...

You see, while I believed that we were going to play Munchkin, Johnny somehow was still under the impression that we were going to play Poker.  And to make matters worse, he and I decided to invite everyone separately, with Johnny inviting half the group and me the other half. (Don't ask me why we didn't just do a group text; hindsight is 20/20...) Fast forward to that evening and now we've got half the party showing up ready to play Poker and the other half of them expecting to play Munchkin.  Quite the pickle!

Anywho, everyone agreed it was a pretty funny situation!  Everyone that is except for Johnny, who was clearly perturbed.  He'd recently returned from Vegas and was in the mood to gamble so when we decided to play Munchkin instead of Poker he decided to let me know just how unhappy he was...and thus began the most epic game of Munchkin EVER...

In Munchkin, all the players begin the game together in a monster-filled dungeon where the goal is to defeat monsters in order to level up your character and win the game.  As you go along, you collect weapons, pickup new races (elf, dwarf, orc, etc...) and work together with or against the other players in order to be the first player to reach Level 10! Well, from the very beginning my biggest challenge was not the monsters lurking behind every corner of the dungeon but instead...Johnny Pham.

Early on in the game, I became a dwarf and drew all sorts of useful cards, equipping me with some pretty sweet weapons and armor.  Johnny, still sore about not playing Poker (And further enraged by the "sex change" spell I hit her with early in the game), quickly built up an alliance with the other players and turned them against me.  Johnny, AKA The Elven Queen B***, sat on a throne of LIES, and one by one deceived the other players into joining her evil alliance.  Our friend Justin, AKA Justin Dogpile, joined her because they were both the same race: Asian Elf.  Johnny turned Darien, AKA Darien the 1/4 Elf, 1/4 Dwarf, 1/4 Human, 1/4 Halfling, against me by promising him all the treasure she found.  At this point, Johnny had little hope of winning the game; every fiber of her being was bent solely on ensuring that I didn't win.  Our friend Dave, AKA Dave the Late Comer, AKA Father WTFAmIDoingHereIThoughtWeWerePlayingPoker, eventually sided with Johnny and used his clerical magic to prevent me from achieving Level 10 on a number of occasions.  Only Tucker, sweet Tucker, AKA Tucker the Young, stuck by my side.  Together, we almost overcame Johnny and her evil alliance but alas, someone drew a "Divine Intervention" card and gave Justin the points he needed to reach Level 10, thus ending the game and sealing my fate as a loser.  The Elven Queen Johnny had achieved her wretched goal...I, Thomas, AKA Thomas the Just, was defeated.

Afterwards, we played a quick game of Hold 'Em, which was also fun but not nearly as epic.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013