So it's Sunday, and it's the last day of Youmacon, which means lots of people checking out and rushing around to get wrapped up.

Even though we were up late last night, I managed to wake up around 7:30.  We hung out in the hotel room for awhile, listening to local news and some crappy national shows about Halloween while munching on our tasty breakfast provisions.

I checked out via the TV, which is a first. Usually you can just leave your key in hotel room and that's it, but this was cool too.

The hallways of the Renaissance Center weren't quite as full at 10am, but there was still a pretty decent line for the Potter Puppet Pals event. We skipped that and stopped by to see Adam and Comfort briefly before heading out to Novi.

Chris and I had plans to have lunch with his father in Novi.  We hit the area on the early side, so we swung by a Borders (which we do not have in Grand Rapids) and Chris was able to snag a cute plushie of Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).

We had a lovely lunch with Chris's father at Olive Garden.  It was nice to meet him and watch them interact.  I can definitely see the family resemblance.

When we arrived back home we were met with a lot of political flyers tossed all over the hallway. Leki, as you can see, was super excited to see us when we got home.  So excited he forgot that he doesn't fit on my shoulder and kept trying to crawl all over to get the best perch.

Anyway, here's a slideshow of the weekend's events at Youmacon. It was a great time.  I really enjoy the format of the convention being built into the hotel, as opposed to most conventions where the convention center is separate from the hotel.  It certainly gives it a very social feel.  I really hope that they're able to maintain that atmosphere, although honestly it felt like the convention was nearly busting at the seams at the Detroit Renaissance Center, which is a VERY large hotel (and, consequently, the largest building in Michigan).

Day two is the first full day at the convention, since we did not arrive Thursday night. I started off the day by whacking my skull into the wall and getting a large lump on my forehead.  That's what I get for walking blindly in the dark.

The hotel had a pretty decent view of the Ambassador Bridge, and near the Wintergardens you can see the casino in Windsor, Caesars.  I miss the area so I was excited to see little things like these while were were in Detroit.

We headed down to the con floor in the morning and youmacon was in full swing already.  There were a lot of people on the floor, checking out the dealer room, playing video games, and enjoying random carmelldansen in the hallway.

We stopped up in the hotel room briefly to check out the opening to Rally to Restore Sanity.  With great 3G coverage we were able to tether the laptop to the phone and stream the live event.

In the early afternoon we watched Live Action Mario Party.  I've caught this 3 of the 4 years I've attended Youmacon and it's just really amusing to me. My little brother and I used to play Mario Party when it first came out, so who wouldn't want to see mini-games acted out on a dance floor that's converted to a gameboard? Chris has some great video of the event he put together.

We also swung by the Anime Whose Line is it Anyway? panel which was amusing, but a little difficult to hear.  Its been years since I've watched the show so it was cool to see the different bits acted out.  I always enjoyed scenes from the a hat bit, so I recorded a bit of the anime version.

In the late evening (or I suppose EARLY morning as it was midnight) Chris, Adam, Comfort, and I headed over to watch Live Action Mario Party: After Dark.  It's an 18+ show and every year I've meant to attend but was really too wimpy to stay up that late.  In times past with the time change it would start at 2am or 3am I believe and really, with the time change, it felt more like 3am or 4am. 

It was an amusing show, but more PG 13 than really 18+ plus on most things. Still, I'm glad to have watched it.  And it was good to spend time with Adam and Comfort.  We really don't get to see them enough. 

Day two of youmacon was great!  With the great hotel room location we ran into no issues with the elevators like most of the attendees had (despite 12 elevators, a full hotel with Otaku riding up and down in large cosplay makes for a long wait). 

Chris and I arrived in the mid afternoon to the Detroit Renaissance Center for Youmacon 2010.  I figured since check-in wasn't until 3pm there wasn't a huge rush to get there super early. Perhaps that was a mistake.

After we got settled in with the hotel room, we headed down to pick up our registration badges. The last several years the wait has been non-existent if you pre-register. Apparently not this year. See that purple hair? Yeah, it wraps around the escalator and wall to that very distant line/balcony you see just to the left of the purple hair. The wait was about an hour. I heard from other people that the wait was even longer just an hour that's something to be grateful for I suppose. We saw an awesome Doctor Who and Rose cosplay as well as my favorite anime character, Vash, so it was a good time. Here's a short video Chris shot of the line.

After snagging our registration badges, we immediately headed up to Artist Alley to stop by and say hi to Adam and Comfort.  As always, they have a nice booth setup with all their awesome work.  This time I was able to see the much talked about Omnibus, which is all 9 issues of The Uniques in one. It's massive and awesome. If you see it, get it.

Since it was close to dinner time when we got over to them, we were able to have tasty dinner together in the food court, which has an impressive array of choices.

As I've done for the last several years, I wanted to watch the Anime Amateur Stand-up Comedy. So Chris and I headed over and watched that. There was an awesome, absolutely amazing Old Spice cosplayer that did a great bit in that Old Spice dude voice. Chris got a small snapshot of his routine and you should totally watch the video.

After the show, we wandered around a bit, stopped by to see Adam and Comfort, and watched a few random videos.

We did see several sleepy Otaku in random places, such as hallway floors, artist alley tables, etc. So the night was definitely winding down for some people, but not for others. Lots of long lines to get into the dance concert, autograph signing, and much, much more.

So day one was interesting and I'm looking forward to using my SLR to capture all the great costumes on day two of youmacon.

Testing out the posterous app & Hipstamatic photo app.
Looks like it posts fine!

So after getting Chris an iPod Touch for his birthday I was struck with envy.  My old one works intermittently and honesty, there are a lot of cool applications on iOS.  Since my android device is only 1.6 and there isn't viable option to run the newer android options (that are reasonably priced without a monthly subscription cost) I decided to try another apple device.

Lovely little device but it's reminded me why I absolutely hate, HATE itunes.  What a horrendeous bloated piece of software.

I liked Monday's lunch so much I ditched the one I brought with me and snagged another delicious gyro for lunch.

I brought the netbook as well to test out the tethering.  Still works great with the palm pre, so all should be good for this weekend at youmacon.  Since I'd forgotten to charge the netbook, however, it was nearly dead.  But, never fear. since I have a plethora of gadgets in my bag, I just pulled out the kindle to do some reading.

It was a peaceful lunch and nice to get out of the office.  A little chilly, but still enjoyable.

All weather predictions from the local news was that today was going to be a crazy windy, tornado-laced day.  There was even twitter hash-tag calling it #GreatLakesCycloneofDoom.

There were tornado sirens around noon, but the majority of the Grand Rapids area was spared from anything other than fast winds.

The evening has been fairly windy and as you can see, there are plenty of clouds still in the sky. But the rain has moved on and, it appears, tornado warnings as well.

Lori and I decided to change it up a bit and since we were both busy in the later half of this week - we met for lunch today.

It was great to catch up and hear how things are going, and to take advantage of the nicer weather.  It's only a matter of time before it's cold and snowy outside.

Lunch was delicious and from the Pita House.  I definitely ate way too fast and too much - I was stuffed all afternoon and evening.

Happy Birthday to the man I love! Chris is a year older today, so that means celebrating with tasty cake and presents!

I'm really fortunate to have met Chris.  He's intelligent, funny, rational, and calming when I'm flustered and high strung (which can be a lot of the time).  He's incredibly good natured and well loved by all the pets, including the parakeet who has hated everyone until now.  I try really hard not to get too cheesy, so I'll just say that I love him and I'm really happy to be celebrating another of his birthday with him.

We got up early in the morning and did presents.  Then we dashed out to K-Mart to see what actions figures they had on sale for the DC 75th Anniversary sale.  We did miss the rush - the figures were mostly picked over. Who knew K-Mart opened at 8am every day?

Chris spent a chunk of the afternoon enjoying his new iPod Touch, taking multiple videos including a cool compilation of different parts of a fall walk around the neighborhood.  The iPod Touch has a lot of different photo options, so he played a bit with the hipstamatic program as well.

We attempted to get the marsmallow fondant onto the cake with disastrous results.  I was having difficulty with the fondant sticking to when Chris and I went to transfer it to the cake and it wouldn't let go of the aluminum foil we were using (attempts with wax paper were equally unsuccessful).  Still, it's tasty.

Anyway, here's a slideshow of the day's festivities for your enjoyment, complete with crazy fondant cake ablaze with candles.

So tomorrow is Chris's birthday, which means today is the last day to do any preparations.  I got up early and baked his cake, then set about to creating fondant.  My intention is to create a green cake with a green lantern logo.  The first batch I made was regular rolled fondant with shortening.  When I wasn't impressed with the taste or texture, I decided to try marshmallow fondant. We'll see how that goes.

We also ran over to do some laundry so we're all set for next weekend at youmacon.

Like so many others, Guild Wars is ramping up for the Halloween season.  Here's a shot from the main city in the Nightfall game, complete with a cardboard cutout spooky house decoration.

My intent was to login briefly to check out the festivities.  Two hours later I was still playing part of the Eyes of the North campaign quest line.  I forgot how fun the game can be!

Like I mentioned yesterday, there's been a training seminar at work.  Really it's more for the sales people, but I went to a few classes yesterday.  Well, today before the classes resumed two of the sales people stopped by the office to show their appreciation to everyone in my department.  They gave us each a lovely bottle of Broke Ass, a red wine from Argentina.  The bottle is very amusing and I'm looking forward to trying it soon.
Thursday evening was amusing and relaxing. I prepped a cornish hen for some home made chicken soup ala crock pot tomorrow, and ran around a bit in World of Warcraft.  This is the time of year that I really enjoy playing a bit more of an MMO - when the halloween themed events kick in.  I'll have to log into Guild Wars soon as well to see what they've got going on.

The day was very busy at work. There's a two day training session going on and I have a few classes that I was bouncing in and out of all day.  And in the evening I headed out to a local bar briefly for an after work party. (There were a ton of things I could have taken photos of but honestly, I forgot.)

After all the festivities of the evening were over Chris and I logged into Lord of the Rings Online briefly to check out their fall festival.  Most MMOs have some sort of event around the halloween time, and LOTRO's is a newly added Haunted Burrow, which is essentially the basement of Bag End.

So here's the only photo I managed to take today - a screenshot of my character and Chris's right before we were done for the evening. We're sitting outside of Bag End.

Our original plan for the evening was to head over to the Wealthy Theatre and enjoy dinner and a movie out.  But neither one of us really cared about seeing Poltergeist, so we scrapped that idea early in the evening.  But that left us both hungry and uninterested in cooking at home.

So we took a drive around town and stumbled across Mirandes, a pizza joint where Chris has had delicious pizza before.  It was very tasty!

The weather is slowly getting colder and colder in Grand Rapids.  Today it was only 48 degrees out at the time when I normally take lunch.  That is somewhat disappointing, because the days of having to stay indoors for lunch is rapidly approaching.

But not today. Today, I'm having lunch outside anyway, in spite of 48 degrees.

This afternoon we headed out to run some errands around town.  Grocery shopping, pet provisions, and other such things.  The weather was nice outdoors, which was an added bonus.

 In the evening, we played a little bit of Lord of the Rings Online.  We managed to snag some horses for faster travel while questing across Middle Earth.

So after a week of obsessing and ignoring all other things in my quest to get dualboxing working, I think I have it right.  Originally the setup I was going with was two physically separate computers running two separate instances of World of Warcraft.  I blew through a number of free software options to see if I could get the setup right.

Finally though, I decided to give ISBoxer a try.  I spent all evening Friday and all morning today getting the software set up to launch across two computer. Unfortunately, the key mapping I have setup has to be wrong, and I haven't been able to figure it out.  So Chris asked me why I wasn't using one computer to run two copies of the game.

Huh. Why wasn't I indeed?

So I set up the software to launch both instances on one computer. And everything worked. The next step is to tweak some key mapping and macros but so far, I'm able to control two characters reasonably well and the like.

Here's what it looks like on my desktop (since I have dual monitors). The weird lower right hand corner is just part of my background wallpaper on the second monitor.

It's been a pretty breakfast heavy day.  Bagels and doughnuts appeared shortly after I arrived at work, and it's hard to resist either when they're sitting out right in front of your desk.  So when I left for lunch to meet Lori, I was pretty full.

We met up at San Chez to try something from their lunch menu.  It has a cute interior, and decent menu.  They were still serving breakfast when we arrived, which was a bonus since I was more or less confused and intimidated by some other foods on their menu (like items with onions, sauces, etc).

So I ate another round of breakfast foods for lunch, and had plenty of leftovers from then to eat for dinner.

Friday was definitely a breakfast kind of day.

Leki has slowly been working on the automatic cat feeder we got awhile back. While eating dinner tonight we watched him bang at the feeder and even go so far as to shove a paw up the chute and get some food to come out.

I suspect the reason why he hasn't been loosing weight is that he's figured out a way to get the machine to feed him...

After work today I swung by the Grand Rapids airport to pick Chris up.  Apparently this is what the airport looks like during the daylight hours!

Between 4 and 4:30am Chris and I headed out so I could drop him off at the airport.  He had an early flight to Pennsylvania for work.

Getting up so early meant a lot of extra time in the morning before work.  So I did a little bit of cleaning and played a little bit of Lord of the Rings Online.  Not a bad way to start the day.

With the magic of Skype, Chris and I caught up on the happenings of each others day.  Even the cat stopped by while we were chatting to say "hi."

Dual-boxing (controlling two characters at once in a game) is one of those things I've always kind of been interested in but never really explored.  It always seemed like a really complicated setup and I never felt like I had a decent way to do it.   Well, no more.  Yesterday I did some reading at (which has a nice wiki) and downloaded some software to try.  I didn't have much success but I didn't spend much time. Today was better, though admittedly I need to research some more before really being successful at it.

As you can see, I'm using World of Warcraft for this experiment since I know the game well and there are a lot of tutorials geared toward it.  Eventually it think it would be fun to try this on other games, but first I have to try to get it working in one I know. So far I've got the keystrokes passing from one computer to the other, but I still have to figure out combat. That's alright through - World of Warcraft trials are 10 days long.

GVSU has, apparently, an annual Renaissance Festival on campus.  It's completely free and run by the student organization. So in the morning Chris and I haded over to Allendale to see the event.  It's an interesting mix, seeing students in renaissance garb mixed with a modern campus.

We ran into Amanda, who was working the event and is a part of the student organization.  Her outfit was very cool, right down to a neat make-up job.

Anyway, here is a slideshow of a few shots I took while we were there.

Originally we started out the day with plans to hit both the local Renaissance Festival at GVSU and Robinette's Cider Mill.  Plans to visit the festival at GVSU were quickly scrapped after noticing they were having a home game for football.  I'm not a fan of football and I'm not interested in fighting to pay for parking when it's normally free.

So we headed over to Robinettes for some tasty cider and to partake of the obligatory fall cider mill festivities. I was pretty hungry when we arrived, so a quick doughnut and cider were scrapped for a full blown sandwich.

There were lots of people around, and tons of children enjoying the warm weather and all the various structures Robinettes has play on.

I thought about the corn maze briefly, until I remembered my horrible sense of direction and quite frankly, the area had too many people for me to be relaxed.  I took a few photos of the area, and we headed home (where I promptly took a several hour nap).

It was a good day and I'm looking forward to checking out the Renaissance Festival at GVSU tomorrow.

The whole Chris being on vacation thing this week is really working out for me. Dinner is cooked every night, brownies, clean apartment - everything! Well, everything except the cat being more calm in the evening, but I attribute that more to being hungry due to the diet than anything else.

So this evening Chris whipped up a tasty quesadilla and some refried beans. Yum! He even bought a rice cooker earlier this week so he made a small batch of rice as well.

Fantastic Friday!

After another tasty dinner Chris cooked we took a short stroll around the neighborhood.  There's one part, a little in from the 44th street, that looks like it might have been an older portion of Kent Trails.  Chris went over to check it out while I hung back and tried to snap a quick shot of him.

Other than that it was a pretty quiet day, which is always a nice thing.

After the delicious steak dinner Chris cooked for me, we took a stroll down Kent Trails to enjoy the nice fall weather.  The leaves are turning so the trees are even more colorful than in the middle of the summer.  Plus, the light coat of recently fallen leaves really makes the ground quite vibrant as well.

As an added bonus, weather is still warm enough that it's comfortable to take a stroll without having to bundle up tightly.  Hoodie weather is great weather indeed.

We'd spotted deer a few different times earlier, so I decided to bring my camera. Fortunately there were some deer and other critter along the path that I could snap a quick shot of in the fading light.

Of course, with the sun setting and the trees heavily shading the path, I had to bump the ISO up to the max my camera does, 1600, which means a lot of noise on the pictures.

Chris is on vacation all this week, which means there's been a plethora of food cooked and baked so far this week.  Chili yesterday, brownies today (plus he picked up all the provisions to make Sundaes!).  And it's only Tuesday!  Today he swung by my work and picked me up for lunch.  We headed out to Little Mexico Cafe, which was tasty.

And then there's the tasty brownies.  After eating a tasty dinner he prepared, out came this massive plate of brownie and ice cream. So tasty!

It's been a good day!

Ok, so it's not EXACTLY a fall color tour when you just walk a bit down Kent Trails...but you do get a range this time of year none the less.  Greens, yellows, oranges, reds - all mostly still hanging on to their respective branches.

Anyway, while we were walking down the trail a little critter appeared and began following us - or should I say following Chris.  I'm not sure why I didn't get video of it, but she basically followed him from one side of the trail to the other for a good stretch before finally giving up and waiting for the next passerby who might give her more attention.

My parents came out today to check out ArtPrize in Grand Rapids and celebrate some birthdays with family.  So we all spent a few hours walking up and down the streets of downtown, checking out the various art exhibits.  We spent most of the time walking outdoors since the weather was relatively nice.

It was good to spend some time with my parents and little brother, catching up on little things here and there.  Plus I was able to show them downtown Grand Rapids on foot, which was nice. 

I took a lot of pictures, but I'm not happy how a lot turned out.  Still, I've uploaded a few from the various places we stopped at.  I'm sure I'll add a few more to the ArtPrize set I have on flickr but here's a slideshow in the mean time.