HPB Tourism

Forty On Internet

HPB Tourism

This weekend was an extremely interesting one for a whole bunch of reasons.  Firstly instead of my wife flying home from her week grading AP exams in Kansas City I decided to go up and meet her.  KC is only a 3 1/2 hour drive, and the roads are great…  albeit travelling across Kansas is a boring mess with both spotty cell phone and radio coverage.  While travelling I played this game called “find the radio station with the least static”.  I have not joined the realm of paid radio, because around Tulsa I prefer to listen to our NPR station.  Once I got close to the KC Metro I thankfully found one located in Topeka that seemed to come in just fine, which oddly turned into a Classical Station in the metro proper.  I took a half day Friday and after piddling around the house and doing a few last minute chores I managed to leave around 2:30 which put me pulling into the hotel around 6 pm.  Firstly I have to say that we had never stayed in a Drury Inn before, but it is definitely a hotel chain I would be interested in within the near future.  Not that I partook of it but they offered a free dinner buffet each evening from 5pm to 7pm coupled with happy hour at the same time.  We did however hit up the free breakfast Saturday morning which consisted of biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage patties and a plethora of pastry options.  It seemed like a shame that quite literally we just slept there the one night, but I think when we go to Pax South next year we might see where the Drury Inn locations are in that town because it was pretty spiffy.

The other big thing that happened on Saturday other than running around Kansas City was the fact that I turned Forty.  Having a birthday on the internet is a really interesting thing and as we roamed around town, each time I stopped to check my phone I had another deluge of well wishers.  I cannot say enough how much I appreciate this, because wow it was just overwhelming in a good way.  There are times you wonder if you have much effect on other people, and then there are other times where they completely collapse upon you with feels.  This was one of the later times, and I thought about a proper way to represent this feeling on the blog but failed miserably.  The good is the warm fuzzies I felt all day long… the bad was the fact that my phone battery died at some point during the day before we got home from all the notifications.  Turning Forty feels so damned strange because in truth I don’t feel that much different than I did in my 20s.  I am maybe a little slower to anger, maybe a little less impulsive… but overall I think I am the same “Bel” I have always been.  The internet has been a strange equalizer, because I don’t feel nearly as out of touch as I thought my dad was when he turned Forty.  It feels like I am still very much on the first wave of memes, before they enter the public conscious.  The one place I feel like I am lagging behind horribly is in music, but namely because I don’t listen to a lot of it anymore.  I stumble onto new music via YouTube or google music, but I am not actively engaged in the indie scene the way I once was.


HPB Tourism

I would say that you could tell our ages by our activities, but then again we aren’t really do anything we have not always done.  When it comes to wandering around a town we have a pecking order of priorities.  The number one being hitting old bookstores, and namely finding out if a town has any Half Price Books locations.  It is extremely hard to describe this store to the uninitiated.  To call it a used book store is a bit of an understatement, and to call it anything else…  well I lack the proper words.  Essentially it is the best bookstore chain my wife and I have ever found, and namely because of the breadth of material they have within them…  that and the extremely high turnover rate.  We could easily hit the same HPB every single week and keep finding new stuff.  I personally go there for the SciFi, RPG, Comics and Software sections…  all of which are generally amazing, and my wife goes there for teaching materials which are also amazing. Then there are all of the little neat incidentals that they have like Doctor Who memorabilia, LEGO stuff, and a random assortment of cool action figures and other geek accouterments.  The highlight for me will always be the pen and paper section because I am constantly looking for gems.  When we were in St Louis I found a copy of the unofficial Headhunter expansion for Rifts, which I picked up because it was extremely cheap and also pretty.

This time around I mostly window shopped finding a neat Menzoberanzan boxed set, that was sadly incomplete missing several maps…  and an original “Cthulhu” version of the Deities and Demigods book.  The last bit would have been something I picked up… were it not $75.  It was cool but not that price tag worth of cool.  The thing I was a big shocked about was the lack of Palladium stuff, which makes me wonder if that system never really caught on in KC… or if it caught on so much that no one ever sold their books.  My friends however lacked onto the GURPS books when I tweeted out the pictures, which is a system that always seemed interesting but I never really got into.  I figured I only had room for a single one size fits all pen and paper system in my life, and I went down the Palladium route.  The truth is… we go to a lot of HPB locations.  There are none in the Tulsa area, but several times a year we head down the turnpike to Oklahoma City just to hit the three locations there.  We’ve been to most of the Half Price Book locations in the Dallas area, including the giant flag ship store downtown.  In addition to that we have been to Kansas City, St Louis MO, Every Location on the way to San Antonio TX, Madison WI, and if we make it to any of the other towns where they exist… you can bet we will go there as well.  Other than HPB I hit up a Micro Center…. which was way smaller than the St Louis store, and a few Targets and Toys R Us looking for the new Destiny Megablocks that are supposedly now out in the wild.  Then there was of course a trip to IKEA to try and find the one thing that was out of stock when we were in St Louis.  It was a great day and according to my Pebble Time we wound up walking around 14,000 steps.

The Homefront

HPB Tourism

On the home front, all of the animals missed my wife… and when she has not been outside partaking of the back patio… she has had two or three of them surrounding her.  On the flower front I regret to say that the heat claimed our first victim.  We had this hybrid mini petunia plant that was a mix of red and white flowers.  Several weeks ago when we were in St Louis the heat and potentially the change in watering habits claimed the red flower from that pot.  The white one however seemed to be holding on, and we had removed the dead red plant hoping that it would be able to spread out and claim the extra area for its own.  Life was going peachy until this week when the extreme temperatures had a serious effect on the plant.  When we got home Saturday night it was pretty crispy, and while I am still watering it hoping that maybe it will spring back… we’ve replaced it for the time being with the above pictured plant.  The greenhouse around the corner from our house is currently having a 20%-50% off sale on all plants, so we took that as a good sign that we should go ahead and replace it with something else.  So far it is happy, but the blue plant has only actually been seated in our back yard for less than 24 hours.  Like always I have no real clue what the plants are by name other than the made up names that I end up calling them.  My neighbors probably think I am absolutely insane because I talk to them while I water them.  I treat my flowers the same way I treat my other pets…. which might be odd or insane but screw it… it makes me happy.

All in all it was a great weekend, and I am thankful that I took today off to recuperate before heading back to work.  Other than the above… I have been spending a lot of time in Rift but that is a story for another day.  Thanks again for all of the Birthday wishes.  Each and every one of you out there are amazing and I am thankful to have you in my life.

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