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  • I can! Yay!
    Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

    Daily updates on Facebook!


    • Today Frothy Monkey, a coffee, sandwich, liquor, breakfast, lunch, and dinner "hip hangout" had a donut muffin. Duffy loves donuts and so does my sister so I brought one home for him to taste. Of course, I couldn't leave Shellie May out (I love da bears equally), so I got her a green tea creme frappacino from Starbucks with extra creme, minus the classic sweetener.

      Shellie May was already halfway through her drink, slurping appreciatively, by the time Duffy unwrapped and tasted his.

      "They made a mistake. This is cinnamon on top like a thin glaze and it tastes like an apple muffin minus the apple pieces, just like apple juice was in the batter," he said. He liked it but he said I need to go back and try again! LOL!

      Then Duffy wanted to try Shellie May's "martian drink" (that's what he calls it) and so since da bears have a policy of share and share alike, they switched.



      • Oh, how funny about the donut muffin!

        Finally, I'll post our last day in California!

        There was a little rooftop place where you could see the ocean, too.

        We dropped my mom off at a quilting (?) store and just a mile or so away was a strip mall with a Japanese used book store AND a Japanese grocery store! Both of these places were much nicer than anything we saw in Little Tokyo (except the grocery store in Little Tokyo was nice).

        File photos taken at home months later, but look what I found!

        This is The Silver Chair, my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia, in a slipcase and in Japanese!

        And then I wanted something that I might have some chance of being able to read, so I got this cute little kids' book. They did have some Disney books, but either because the store is not that far from Disneyland, or just because Disney, they were pricier, and I didn't see any I needed.

        We got heading to home a bit later than I meant to, but we did manage to stop at TKB Bakery in Indio. They brag about being the 4th rated restaurant in the nation on They really do have probably the best sandwich I've ever had. But they are huge! My friend and I should have shared one. Even with Shellie May to help me eat this one, it was way too much food...

        And that was the end of our trip to California! I need to find somewhere else to go now, and probably bring Duffy too. Too bad it's roughly a million degrees here right now...
        Last edited by Eeee-va; 07-10-2017, 07:41 AM.
        Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

        Daily updates on Facebook!


        • Eeee-va, my bears said you have good taste in food. That sandwich IS huge!

          Do you read Japanese? I know a few words verbally because my Dad was born in 1926 and got drafted when he was 18 but he went to Europe, the war ended, and then he ended up in Japan for cleanup duty. He learned some Japanese and taught it to me (my parents had me and my sister later in life; I'm 50 now and my parents are both deceased), but I don't read any of the kanji.



          • Oh, wow, JillT, that's really neat! Sugoi desu! I read a LITTLE Japanese (I'm OK at katakana, which is used to spell English words and pretty bad at hiragana) and can recognize a few kanji. I'd probably do better with a book that has a few kanji characters because it doesn't help to sound out a word if you don't know what the word means! I took a bunch of online lessons through Mango through my library and those were really great. When I visited Tokyo Disney Resort, I even used some of what I learned! Though mostly I relied on pantomime.
            Last edited by Eeee-va; 07-11-2017, 07:50 PM.
            Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

            Daily updates on Facebook!


            • One month today until GenCon in Indianapolis, the longest running and largest attended board/card game convention (24/7 party/festival is more like it) in the WORLD!

              Zhu Xiong, and even now Duffy and Shellie May are picking out their clothes and are totally psyched!

              Last time I was there there was a band playing medieval and drinking songs and you could slingshot dollars at them for their tip. This time there are several roving entertainers including one band from Nashville!
              Canyon Spells

              Hailing from Nashville, TN, Canyon Spells is a rock band of nerds. Band members Jimmie and Daniel first became friends playing Halo, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons at a local hobby shop - now when they're off tour they play Hearthstone, Overwatch, and cover songs on a weekly twitch stream.

              "We were gamers before we were musicians," says lead singer Jimmie Linville, "We've stayed true to that through the years. And every year at Gen Con we get to play music and games for 4 days straight, so that helps."

              They've now shared the stage with Counting Crows, PHOX, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. Adam Duritz, of Counting Crows, tweeted of their album, Death Head, “it’s like suddenly remembering all these good things I never want to forget.” Come see them perform as a 5-piece at Gen Con, then game with them afterward!

              Also, badge fulfillment started but we're actually picking up our packet when we arrive as otherwise I'd have to be home to sign for it (or ship it to work). I did will call last time and it was fine; they are open 24/7 from 22 hours before the convention even starts.

              Badge Fulfillment Underway

              Gen Con 50 USPS packets began shipping on July 2. The Fulfillment Team is working hard to get THOUSANDS of badges and event tickets out the door!

              We are signed up to play some games, with alot of free time to be spontaneous (as there is alot of games you don't need a timeslot for anyway, like the dealer/vendor hall, all the game publishers/exhibit rooms, playtest an unpublished game, etc.). But just to look at it, there are 19,027 scheduled events (all sorts of stuff, not just tabletop games, although board/card games ARE > 50% of it).

              WOO HOO! Shellie May is most excited about the shopping opportunities, and this is also Zhu Xiong's first vacation EVER so she's excited about it all with GenCon being the highlight of course. Duffy just loves to travel and go on adventures in general; he'll go wherever and do whatever.
              Last edited by JillT; 07-17-2017, 05:50 PM.


              • "Owwww," said Duffy when he heard what Canyon Spell sound like (thrash rock). "Forget that!" he said as he covered his ears and elbow closed the itunes store.

                "Well, it frees up time for more gaming," Shellie May even agreed.


                • Eeee-va

                  It looks like your bears are having quite a fun summer!


                  • Da bears and I are back from Indiana, including GenCon. Wow, they sure went all out for their 50th anniversary. We had such a blast. Now the eclipse is happening tomorrow. Anyway, it might take some time to get all the pics up, and we did some general Indiana sights because we made a full week of the vacation, but just letting everyone know...they're coming.

                    Zhu Xiong had her 2 minutes of fame being queen of the games and people were snapping photos of her, both the booth hosts, the passersby, and even the parents with their children waiting for THEIR turn. She was beaming, but she did not let it go to her head.


                    • Da bears are ready for their trip to Indiana. We are calling it Hoosier Happenings including GenCon. Shellie May brought her purse for shopping, even though I told her GenCon wasn't until Thursday (although we can pick up our badge on Wednesday).

                      First we went to the Wilbur Wright birthplace in Hagerstown, IN. It was really out in the middle of nowhere, even all these years later!

                      Duffy was especially fascinated.

                      Shellie May let out a giggle for this one.

                      This is a replica of Kitty Hawk and Duffy listened to the narration.

                      Last edited by JillT; 08-26-2017, 04:13 AM.


                      • The first Build-a-Bear we went to on this trip is the one in Merrillville, IN, which is a far flung Indiana suburb of Chicago. Of course, we stopped at Portilllo's for lunch first.

                        Since Zhu Xiong is a Build-A-Bear, she got the pawsport stamped in honor of it being our first Build-A-Bear store we went to on this trip.

                        They have the new stamp that is HUGE and doesn't list the state, but she was still happy.

                        "This was fun!" she said.



                        • We went to the Indiana State Library, and I told Shellie May that it is a library open to the public but full of government records instead of FUN stuff like a regular PUBLIC library. She didn't quite "get it", until she read the sign. She just heard the word "library" and wanted to go. We got free parking for 90 minutes at Monument Circle so I humored her curiosity.

                          Da bears got their photo in front of a bison statue.

                          "I like the feather in your ear," said Shellie May, getting shopping ideas for Build-a-Bear. "It would make a nice change from bows for me," she told me."

                          Next we went to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, which also included a stamp for free parking in their underground garage. YAY!

                          Zhu Xiong enjoyed the outdoor art in the garden.

                          Duffy looked at the panoramic view of the Grand Canyon.

                          Shellie May looked closer.

                          All da bears enjoyed this museum immensely.

                          This one is called "Song of the Aspen" by Bert Geer Phillips.

                          Shellie May calls this a backwards waterfall. I explained it is castle geyser in Yellowstone National Park and I was there and saw it erupt. "WOW!" she said in awe with her mouth hanging open.

                          This figure is called a storyteller.

                          Da bears got into the stagecoach, and Shellie May looked out the window, causing the other museum goers to start snapping photos and posting them to.....wherever.

                          In the gift shop Shellie May noticed the CDs were on sale for $5 each. "We're trying to get rid of those because we're not going to carry CDs anymore," the proprietor told us.

                          "I bet we could help!" said Shellie May enthusiastically.

                          "A few were duplicates or didn't appeal to us but we can take these off your hands," said Shellie May as she made a sizeable pile.


                          Last edited by JillT; 09-05-2017, 09:17 AM.


                          • We went to the Castleton Mall in Fishers, IN, just northeast of the city.

                            Duffy got the pawsport stamped this time.

                            "This double pawsport is filling up! We had to start a fresh page." said Duffy.

                            Shellie May saw a unique ice cream place and asked to go in. It was called N7.

                            We could choose as many flavors as we like.

                            And we got one free mix-in. The small was a good size.

                            "Oh, yeah, this would probably appeal to Abominable!" said Shellie May.

                            We chose our cream (custard) and our flavors (huckleberry and marshmallow) and the lady poured them into a stainless steel bowl.

                            "OH!" said Shellie May startled. I would think over time this would give someone arthritis from how cold it is on the joints repeatedly.

                            "Ooo, I see it, it's frozen!" said Shellie May with excitement.

                            The lady asked if this met with Shellie May's approval. "Oh, yes, indeed!" said Shellie May.

                            Then it was time to add in the waffle cone pieces.

                            Of course, Shellie May shared.

                            Zhu Xiong was happy to get back to the hotel.

                            "Ah, home sweet home," she said. "Well, home for 9 days, anyway!" she said. This was her first vacation and her first time staying in a hotel and she really loved it!

                            The lobby had many areas to relax in, and many tables to visit, play games, which we saw throughout the week, and the restaurant had good food and was reasonably priced.

                            And of course, cookie happy hour was a hit with da bears!

                            Duffy doesn't mind being isolated because he can maintain control of the remote!



                            • Backwards darling! And that ice cream looks so delicious. Looks like you all are having a wonderful time!
                              Daily Duffy Archive! Adventures with Duffy, ShellieMay, or Gelatoni, updated regularly!

                              Daily updates on Facebook!


                              • Hi, Eeee-va, nice to hear from you again


                                • We went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Da bears got their picture taken in front of the gardens and fountain.

                                  There was a big sign saying that I would only be allowed to bring one small item of 15" x 11" x 4" inside. "What about us?" da bears asked. They were told they could not enter.

                                  "Har-UMPH!" said Shellie May.

                                  "Yeah, even in the Birmingham Art Museum we were allowed admittance. We just couldn't take pictures of us WITH the art," pleaded Duffy.

                                  The docent remained unimpressed by da bears' cuteness.

                                  "It's okay, we're REALLY just here for the GAMES!" said Zhu Xiong, putting a paw around each bear.

                                  "True dat, true dat," Duffy and Shellie May conceded.

                                  I was then able to GENTLY lead them back to the car to wait. Even if da bears could pass for 15" tall instead of 17" there is no way I would play favorites and only take ONE of them in!

                                  Shellie May was happy when we entered downtown Indianaplolis and she saw the PUBLIC library.

                                  Duffy got his picture with the skyline in the background. That obelisk is a war memorial.

                                  This artsgarden is actually one of many skywalks connecting hotels, Circle Center Mall/food court/theatre, and the convention center. Zhu Xiong was happy for the climate controlled comfort options.

                                  "Um, yeah, because it's August...and we have FUR!" said Duffy.

                                  We stopped at the South Bend Chocolate Company in Monument Circle. Today we can pick up our badge at noon, and customer service will stay open 24/7 until the convention ends Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.

                                  "Free samples, can't beat that!" said Duffy enthusiastically.

                                  Inside, Duffy gave their bear a high five.

                                  The bear made friends with Duffy and offered to hold him.

                                  I told da bears they could each pick out one thing.

                                  "I'd like this," said Zhu Xiong of monster pecan patties.

                                  "I'd like this monster cookie!" said Shellie May.

                                  "This basket would be enough to last the whole 4 day convention!" said Duffy, although I told him no, just pick out one thing for himself.

                                  Shellie May noticed there is a song about chocolate.

                                  Always in the mood for food, Duffy spotted a donut shop.

                                  Like me, he likes cake donuts way more than raised donuts so with the lure of eating lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, he decided we could leave without buying anything.

                                  "It's nice to feel welcome," said Zhu XIong.

                                  I have been up the Circle Center Monument for a view of the skyline twice, but it's only open Thursday-Sunday and we'll be having too much fun gaming to go this time.

                                  The door handle was too heavy for Shellie May to pull so I opened the door for us.

                                  Shellie May looked at the Top of the Rock guitar presented to Indianapolis in March 2012.

                                  I saw Bon Jovi in concert for free from work in 2010.

                                  Duffy admired the guitars from John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson, founders of Farm-Aid.

                                  John Mellencamp painted this.

                                  The flatbread was very flavorful.

                                  Last edited by JillT; 09-09-2017, 10:24 AM.


                                  • After lunch we could go get our badge.

                                    Zhu Xiong could hardly contain herself, and she was really happy we got our badge the day it went on sale considering this is the first year GenCon sold out! They target slightly over 60K individual attendees (and this year they had 207,000 turnstile counts (people going in and out)).

                                    Shellie May thought we should stop at the shop. I bought another t-shirt in a different design, and a badge holder, which turned into a holder for all our coupons and promotional cards and was a really wise purchase!

                                    We love the Empire Builder series of crayon rail games by Mayfair, headquartered in Skokie, IL, and we have several of their other games, too.

                                    Shellie May wanted me to carry a 300+ page program book for each of us. "I'll take TWO," I told her as my backpack became noticeably heavier.

                                    Shellie May counted 480 vendors.

                                    I have many games by Rio Grande, including the card game Dominion, which was popular in 2010 and still continues to have expansions published. This is a deck building living card game, which means you are not buying booster packs like in Magic: The Gathering, hoping for some rare card. When you buy the set you get everything and when you lay the cards out everyone has a chance to use them in the game. It's not a money pit, just FUN. We stopped buying expansions in 2013, though, because we feel what we have is now enough. Last time I was at GenCon Rio Grande Games had a room where you could play for free and I played Dominion each day. Zhu Xiong wants to go check it out NOW even though they're not open until tomorrow.

                                    Here is a sign for Mayfair games, showcasing their Empire Builder crayon rail series.

                                    "They need to make this festival a whole week!" said Duffy.

                                    "Free means we'll have more money to shop," said Shellie May.

                                    CoolStuffInc is where we buy alot of our games online.

                                    This is the logo for GenCon this year and their slogan is "making gaming history" since this is their 50th anniversary.

                                    "Cool cape," said Zhu Xiong. There is alot of cosplay and way cool costumes there. This is just the beginning.

                                    We're not fond of these games (Race for the Galaxy, Roll for the Galaxy, etc.) but Shellie May wanted to take another look anyway.

                                    Settlers of Catan is the first Euro game that came to the United States. It's fun but not something I like enough to own. However, being the climbers they are, da bears wanted to get on the sheep from the game.

                                    Zhu Xiong wanted to get a lay of the WHOLE land. A pedestrian tunnel connects the convention center with the stadium.

                                    I told Duffy the video game machines would be turned on tomorrow when the convention starts.

                                    Last edited by JillT; 09-17-2017, 06:53 AM.


                                    • Da bears didn't sleep well, they were so excited! They each wore themed clothes.

                                      Duffy wanted to be comfortable so he just wore street clothes in a pirate theme.

                                      Shellie May is a fortune teller and she sang, "We're going to have lots of fun and play TONS of games, I PREDICT" to the 1980s song by Sparks.

                                      Zhu Xiong's theme she told me was "cute and cozy" in her harajuku hugs ensemble. She lost one bow on the way and the other the first day, oh, well.

                                      Da bears went through the program book and coupon book just to make sure we didn't miss anything, although we were also scheduled to play 8 games over the 4 days. We can play alot of games spontaneously, either in the dealer/vendor/exhibit hall, or in the various rooms (like the ones by Rio Grande).

                                      Zhu Xiong tried on the badge holder.

                                      "It's time to parrrrr-teeeee," said da bears as they woke me up super early, organized all the coupons, and we were walking into the convention center at 6:08 a.m. The hotel was 35 minutes door to door, including parking time (13.2 miles) away.

                                      Last edited by JillT; 09-14-2017, 05:10 PM.


                                      • Okay, folks just to give you an idea of how much there is to do at GenCon, here is the first TWO HOURS of the FIRST DAY of the convention. You could walk around anytime, but it officially started at 7:00 a.m. Thursday and ran non-stop until Sunday 4 p.m.

                                        Duffy looked at the community art project, which was already complete.

                                        Shellie May admired more art.

                                        Okay, now we've been stopped since it is not quite 7:00 a.m. yet.

                                        "YAY!" exclaimed Zhu Xiong enthusiastically bouncing up and down.

                                        Zhu Xiong was able to look at the art closer now that the gate was up.

                                        We started the day at the Lucas Oil Stadium.

                                        In honor of it being GenCon's 50th anniversary, they recreated the entrance to Horticultural Hall, where the first GenCon was held, and then the inside was the same square footage, but instead turned into a museum.

                                        Gary Gygax, the founder of GenCon, is no longer alive.

                                        Zhu Xiong was absorbing everything in site with her big eyes.

                                        Duffy and Shellie May played a few old school video games in the hallway on the way back to the convention center.

                                        That didn't hold da bears' interest very long. "Old school games may only cost a quarter to play but they're kind of lame-oh," Duffy commented. I have to admit, I agree with him. When my sister and I go to Gameworks or Dave & Busters, I especially am done quickly. My sister plays a few more because she doesn't have any video games at home, and isn't really interested in acquiring them, even for her PC, much less a console!

                                        Cosplay is a big deal here. A pirate offered to pose with Duffy. Duffy was CHUFFED!

                                        "Let's check this out," said Zhu Xiong. It is free but you must commit to playing a game for 2 hours and you don't even know which game you're going to be assigned to, so we just walked through and looked.

                                        This game was just published.

                                        Duffy loves trains and we were looking forward to checking this game out at the convention.

                                        However, the components are very cheaply made, more like card stock (a little bit better) than a board game material. For $60 retail ($42.99 on CoolStuffInc) we decided to take a pass. You can see how thin it is.

                                        We were able to take these panda meeples, though. Meeples are playing pieces that look like little stick people instead of the old fashioned knob playing pieces of my childhood (Sorry).

                                        The panda laying down is in the shape of the meeple above.

                                        This game is coming out on kickstarter 9/19. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website, where anyone can put up a project (it doesn't have to be a game), with a price, and a deadline, and people pledge money. If the project raises enough money to fund, then it goes forward. If not, then it gets cancelled. If you are a pledger and it gets funded, then you wait a few months for the finished project to arrive at your door. I've purchased a few games from them.

                                        Da bears got their photo taken with more sheep from the Settlers of Catan game.

                                        "We have this game at home. Take my photo here, please," said Duffy. This was in the large area (halls A-H) where board and card games were played, and the person running the area gave Duffy a free button.

                                        Another area had miniatures and campaigns setup. Someone created a game called "Mutiny on the high Seas" and built a pirate ship.

                                        "Meh," said Shellie May of the collection of games in stock. "Internet shopping is better," she said.

                                        We discovered the game "Star Realms" (and "Hero Realms" (by the same person)) a few months ago. We're "cuckoo for cocoa puffs" about Star Realms. The creator just put up an expansion on kickstarter, looking to raise $100K. He had stretch goals every $30K up to a million dollars. Stretch goals are little bonuses you get if more money is raised than necessary (i.e., card upgrades (better quality), additional cards (not just in quantity, but in artwork, and gameplay/name/abilities), and guess how much he raised?

                                        $1,030,000! Yes, over a million dollars, 10x what he needed! Go Robert Dougherty (from Massachusetts) and Darwin Kastle (co-designer).

                                        We already have the base game and current expansions, and of course, we supported the kickstarter.

                                        "Another sheep from the Settlers of Catan," said Zhu Xiong as I took another picture.

                                        Last edited by JillT; 09-16-2017, 08:33 AM.


                                        • So here are pictures from the rest of the first day.

                                          It was still early in the morning, and the consignment shop opened at 9 a.m., but it was garage sale condition at collectible prices, and stuff was just stacked and shoved and not easy to look at or find. We were in and out before one song had even completed on the playlist.

                                          Then we went into the videopalooza 3 room arcade area. It was $6 per hour to play retro video games. Um, yeah, more like 32 minutes for us, but hey, it was worth a try.

                                          Shellie May didn't want to play any. She was looking forward to the dealer vendor hall opening at 10 a.m.

                                          Wow, 48 pictures. I might have to split this up. Okay, so here are the video games Duffy played.

                                          Duffy drives better in real life.

                                          Obviously, Duffy chose the beginner course.

                                          And automatic transmission.

                                          Duffy is in last place out of 40 vehicles!

                                          "I didn't do any better at this one," said Duffy, laughing along with Shellie May and Zhu Xiong.

                                          He decided to try something other than a racing game.

                                          "Meh," he said before our paid hour was even up...



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