Friday, October 15, 2010

ASLOK 2010 Final thoughts

I've been gaming for 35 years in both miniatures and boardgames. I've played competition miniatures events that wereso cutthroat and unpleasant I've lost friends and opponents and I was one of the less obnoxious competition players. The ASL community can be incredibly shitty online but over the tabletop they're some of the best people I've met.

I had an absolute blast at ASLOK. It was a real pleasure meeting so many good people and I made some good friends. I'm already hanging out for 2013 although I may get to Chicago for the Open before then. Thanks to everyone at ASLOK, but particularly to Bret for organising this, Bob Homstrom and Jim Burris for the jetlagged evenings, Fort for "That Game", Scott 'Tabby' Holst for being such a good sort. Oh hell, thanks to everyone I met and played. You made my first ASLOK one hell of a special memory!

Monday, October 11, 2010

ASLOK Sunday Day 10

Sunday 10th October - Bonus Mini: Tin Cans & Popguns#3

Steve Linton and I were paired up for the single elim game to find out who would play Nigel Blair for the plaque. We played SP186 Beaufort's Feast (Out damn' Schwerpunkt, out I say!) and I got so wound up worrying about interdicting the evil french infantry with my Panzer IIIs I left them in harms way of the Somuas. Of course that really didn't matter as I managed to critical hit one Somua and went ahead and diced Linton throughout the game despite losing my OBA without it even getting a chance to get radio contact.

I had to stay out of Linton's reach after the game, my dice weren't just smoking hot they were core-temp white as I went well past 60 snakes for ASLOk by the time I rolled a snakes in the last CC phase to sleaze out a win. OMFG I've won a game in a mini! 3 and 13 for ASLOK, 1 and 4 for minis.

On to the final against Nigel, who'd had a bad run at ASLOK until the Grofaz started where he went 2 and 0 to begin with and lost in a mini final. Nigel had already heard all about my dice, Linton hadn't exactly been backward about this although by this stage I was boring everybody with my dice stories as well, so he was hoping that my streak would have run dry now.

We played  AP53Far from Home, a scenario I think is a great one to finish ASLOK on a Sunday.
Not only did my streak not end it got even more obscene as I was just getting warmed up with 3 s and 4 helped by the odd snakes or five, and Nigel couldn't buy a roll less than 10! It got so bad I swapped dice, tried rolling in a cup as opposed to a dice tower, I even started using Nigel's unlucky dice which promptly rolled one 11 for me then picked up my karma again.

AP53 Far from Home, very apt really.
It came down to one final close combat roll almost in identical fashion to the game against Linton and sure enough, snakes! (later on Nigel realisedthat if only he'd moved one of his AFvs one more hex, he would have secured a VC hex.)

So here I am at my first ASLOK and I won a Mini! Okay it was an abbreviated one of two rounds duration and Linton reckons the plaque should be awarded to my dice not me, in which case I reckon it leaves me still eligible for the Biggest Loser mini in 2013 in that case.

Steve Linton and Nigel Blair

Well there had to be one more game of ASL in all three of us, so it came down to a winner takes all game of Dogs of War! I got picked on horribly by Blair and Linton but to be honest it was all great fun. Even traces of hot dice couldn't save my feral SS from dying in droves and Linton walked away as the partisan player with one last Mini plaque (Bret had scrounged another one that needed to be gotten rid of).

Dogs of War

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ASLOK Saturday Day 9

Saturday 9th October
Where the hell have the last 7 days gone? It's a Saturday morning I'm up ready to go straightaway and i get paired against Kevin Meyer again in the last PTO Mini - well at least i know this game is going to be fast and furious ...

2.5 hours later and I'm out of another mini, only this time Kevin goes on to win the whole thing! Seizing the Sittang Bridge, another Schwerpunkt design and it could be one of the last Schwerpunkt non-SK board scenarios I play (I bought that Rallypoint issue for a reason). Anyway i had a faint chance to win if I'd set up and executed the twin Banzais in the right order and with the right units...twasn't to be and Kevin deservedly won.

Great game, great opponent. So out of the four PTO minis I'd played, two of my first round opponents (Rich Domovic and Kevin Meyer) went on to win the mini and I played Kevin in consecutive minis. I don't feel I disgraced myself even though I was now 2 and 13 for ASLOK and 0 and 4 for minis.

Some more photos from ASLOK:

I was however totally gamed out, so I spent the rest of the day in a fugue state staring at the ASL crack I'd obtained from Alex Keys. The man is pure evil allowing me to buy all that stuff. Actually it wasn't so much gamed out as wondering how the hell I was going to get all the asl crack into my luggage.

Then Steve Linton came up with the idea of staging a Sunday mini for the those still jonesing for a plaque (Bret still had one left) but with entry limited to those with no outstanding minis games (which eliminated Cleavin from signing up and winning another plaque as he was still to play Matt Book) - for while we had JR Tracy on tap to play but in the event he went back to Noo Yawk...obviously the thought of facing the Dice of Doom had him running for cover.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

ASLOK XXV Friday Day 8

Friday 8th October

Now that Grofaz was a non-issue, I could just concentrate on the two remaining Minis. I was up nice and early once more back to my normal day to day waking routine of 5am. My scheduled opponent for the first round was AWOL so I paired up with Kevin Meyer for Schwerpunkt's SP65 Ayo Gurkhali!
It was a fairly tight game in the early and mid-part but I gradually lost focus and Kevin won pretty conclusively in the end. But it was a good, fast game. Even so I was starting to suffer burnout and my PML was starting to suffer as my ELR dropped to 2 for the day. Yesterday was really bugging me and I wasn't looking forward to the Saturday mini at all.
With all this weighing on me, I cut my losses and quit playing for the day. and got around to talking a few photos:

Went to Denny's with the Anzac crowd in the evening and retired to the bar chatting with Matt Book and Roger Whelan re potential modifications to the Biggest Loser mini (the idea is that only the actual scenario loser progresses and Kibitzing is encouraged and an official kibitzer is on hand so that people can't tank games - to deviate from the advice of the Kibitzer requires an NTC.

2-12 for ASLOK, 0 and 3 for the Minis - I suck at this game.

Friday, October 8, 2010

ASLOK Thursday Day 7

"I've checked into enbalming techniques for extremities...if you go before me, consider leaving your dice rolling hand to me, I've already picked out the walnut and silver stick on which to mount it."
- Gary Fortenberry, on Gamesquad after I posted my ASLOK AAR

This day has been the hardest one to write as my overall ASLOK experience was so overwhelmingly positive. I've hmmmed and hrrred over how to set down my feelings without coming across as a whiny bitch or being unconstructive. It helps that I've slept for 12 hours straight and finally killed the personal criticism is intended though it may come across that way and I'm aware that I'm no saint in this matter.

Thursday 7th October - Pacific
Up nice and early to get ready for the second Mini of ASLOK and perhaps a good start to the Grofaz. Paired off with Wai-Kwong Wang from Canada, one of John McDairmid's Canadian School in a playing of Schwerpunkt's SP125 Numshigum.

W-K was a great guy to play first up, and I was happy with the way I played although I contributed to my own misfortune in this game by forgetting to move my HMG in the backfield on one turn which left it out in the cold. I also missed a really significant LOS which cost me a 1st line squad at exactly the wrong time. I almost managed to pull victory from the ashes of defeat by rolling three snakes in three separate CCs over three turns, but in the end W-K won in the last turn so out of my second mini in the first round yet again. No disgrace as W-K went 2-0 for Grofaz on the Thursday anyway.

2 and 10 for ASLOK, 0 and 2 for the Minis , and I would need to get two more games in today to get to 2-0 for Grofaz (fat chance of winning both I know)
Got paired up with a very nice genuine gamer for my next game after lunch - I sort of stooged around after my game against W-K which finished in about 3 hours so I should have started before 1:30pm. We played WCW 10 Stand and Die from the Windy City Wargamers' pack as I was pretty confident I could knock this scenario off in about 4-6 hours max as it really isn't a complex OB.

Unfortunately after 3 hours we'd only managed to get through 1.5 turns and I was getting a little frustrated at the slow play. To cut a long and whiny story short I resigned the game despite being in a near impregnable position vis a vis the VCs at 9:30pm after only 5 turns. Yes I'd had a couple of smoke breaks but they were all of 5 minutes each. I lost it at the end and felt absolutely gutted about both my reaction and that I'd effectively crapped out of the Grofaz on the first game just as I was starting to play good ASL. Frankly the game was already a fait accompli and I offered my opponent the chance to resign to avoid needless continuance but stubborn intransigence and glacial play killed any spark of enjoyment for me.

2 and 11 for ASLOK, 0 and 1 and out of Grofaz
This is the bit I have to apologise for: I spent the rest of the night bitching and whining to fellow ASLERs about it. Frankly I needed to take some of my own advice and HTFU and get right into another game. Instead I moped. Sorry guys.
General thoughts: I'm a fastish player, to my own detriment most of the time, but I play on gut instinct and it gives me a good level of enjoyment in spite of the results. I can't do the whole paralysis by analysis thing at all, but I played some deliberate players at ASLOK who took their time to setup and plan yet were not molasses/treacle slow in their execution once play began. Frankly that pace of play is understandable and suits me as well. 

One hour to move 5 AFVs of which two failed Independent Movement NTCs and the other three were platoon moving is frankly unacceptable. I couldn't help feeling I should have cut my losses at about 4pm and said the game wasn't working at that point but IIRC I wasn't in nearly as dominant a position then as I was at say 6pm and I still held out hopes of a swift finish .

In this particular case, it didn't seem like the pace of play was caused by excessive care, just that the guy was just slow. I'll be honest, by the end of the game, I was pretty certain he was winding me up as well which is why I resigned in the end.

I ended up chatting to Glenn (GlennBo) Houseman of East Side Gamers, who had a few products out on display. Now I'll be the first to admit that I hadn't really seen or taken any of the Dezign paks seriously, but ever one to try something new, I grabbed a couple of scenario packs and Glenn through in an older one as a teaser. I'm really pleased I did buy the latest pack as it features a very good meaty tourney scenario - more on this later.

Not really in the mood for gaming, I actually had an early night.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

ASLOK Wednesday Day 6

Wednesday 6th October - The Emperor's Finest Mini

The first game of this mini was with Rich Domovic, another of the Chicago alumni and a genuine nice guy. We played what is probably my second favourite scenario from Journal 1, J09 A Stiff Fight (with J12 Jungle Fighters being my fave).

The Majordomo Hisself

I felt I was in the game right up until the last turn so I didn't disgrace myself although my weak spot seems to be handling armour in the early game - I am way too aggressive (as demonstrated later in ASLOK in two games against Linton).

So out after one round but as Rich went on to win the mini, I wasn't going to shed any tears over the result.

ASLOK 2 and 8

Because we'd finished by 11am (yay for fast players) I had enough time to arrange a rematch with Mark Pitcavage, this time playing what may have been acclaimed as the best new scenario at ASLOK - Schwepunkt's SP190 Bottcher's Corner. (although neither Mark nor myself saw it that way)

A few teething issues with setup, thanks to non-intuitive SSR defined terrain changes (these only work in VASL as far as I am concerned) and a misread of the setup area by Mark. Nothing that we couldn't fix quickly and no big deal for me.

Mark was a tad concerned about the dice, but even though I managed to stay moderately hot, I wasted no opportunity to show my bad rolls as well

I do need one of those larger Pleva towers though. Mark was too strong for me and I pretty much stayed in the game as long as I did due to the leader rolling well. I just couldn't get enough force there long enough to stick around. So The Pitman owns me 2 and 0 at ASLOK. Even Cleavin can't say that!

ASLOK 2 and 9

I took the rest of the day off to chat with people like Glennbo, Matt Book and Kevin Hill (sorry I ducked you all ASLOK Kevin, next time you're on my must play list) and wondered how long my dice would stay hot. I also got to meet JR and Steve Pleva so I'd pretty much accomplished my prime reason for attending ASLOK - meeting all these people I'd corresponded with on VASL, CSW, Gamesquad and the old mailing list.

They start rolling in

It's getting busy now - Joe Steadman in the Boonie Hat on the far right

173 ASLers don't leave much space

Oh yeah, I didn't forget to make my usual stop over to BP for more caffeine goodness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ASLOK Tuesday Day 5

Clarification: Previous instalments are slightly out for when I met people, due to the issue of jet lag and the days all merging into one.

Tuesday 5th October
I'd finally managed to get some sleep and gawd was it needed. I had breakfast with some of the ANZAC crew and the Euros. Feeling more alive, I thought it'd be good to ease myself into the day with a game against fellow Anzac Scott Byrne, who like me was feeling a little shellshocked after a run of bad results.

We played one of Murray McCloskey's new Break Contact pack (in final playtest) BC15 Bagging the Bago Bridge. I'm not a big fan of high leadership in smaller scenarios generally and this one just struck me as nothing special. Scott won, restored his Personal Morale Level and went back into the fray for the World Cup - Mission accomplished. I may have lost but I was okay about it as it was nice to play a game without the whole World vs USA thing.

ASLOK 1 and 6, World Cup still 1 and 3 (that second win might be a while coming)

I'd arranged to play Tabby at some point in the afternoon, but he was engrossed in a game that was going rather long so Fort moved our scheduled game forward. To be honest I was nervous as hell about playing - I wasn't even remotely up to speed in terms of playing quality and i just wanted to make sure I offered a little more than being a speed bump.

Before we played, I laughingly remarked that I would need to bring my "A" dice game just to keep it vaguely close. Prescience can be a bitch.

I'd bought a bunch of Dispatches from the Bunker the previous day along with the new Friendly Fire pack, Schwerpunkt 16 and Rallypoint 5 so it didn't take long for Gary to select DB083 Block to Bataan as our game.

Fort's initial defence require some tweaking due to Brush remaining Brush not going to bamboo and he ended up with a hedgehog defence with the Stuart behind the roadblock and the ATG propping up the flank away from the roadblock.

I took a left hand sweep with the middle force being slow and steady after Fort's firelanes made a shambles of my initial thrust. I had got hooked up on the wire, but then my dice went nuts and it continued for the rest of the game...

My 3 tank platoon went up the centre left, swung out to engage the infantry in front blocking my own approach route and up popped the 37LL ATG. The Stuart boxed its MA on the first shot and the ATG missed. I didn't. Snakes (Improb CH) folowed by a 2 on the CH check. Bye bye ATG. Fort blinks but continues on relentlessly. The Stuart repaired the MA on its first attempt later in the game when it had to be taken but I had a turn or two of breathing space.

My dice got even hotter when I generated a Japanese hero from a first line squad (I really didn't see this as exceptional until I went through the actual mods as I've created about 4 Japanese heroes previously) and I had my good leader, a squad with DC and hero next to his Stuart who had already IFed. It was then that the 60 mm mortar rescued the situation, the ROF tear was expected, the final non-rof shot did all the damage though, causing a K/4 on the stack - you guessed it I rolled yahtzee. So athough I rolled 11 snakes (several Heat of Pins admittedly) during the game, I still couldn't pull out a win for the World.

Gary was a joy to play, his equanimity in the face of the satanic dice o' doom was to be admired. I'm not sure how seriously to take his idea of mounting my severed hand on a stick and using it to roll his dice though. I came away with a lasting memory of a game that I could dine out on forever (and I will) and my ASLOK experience was set in stone as truly great.

1 and 7 for ASLOK, 1 and 4 for World Cup.

The evening game was against Tabby and would be my last game in the World Cup with the Minis due to start the following day. I was keen to play something Eastern Front before diving into the PTO for the next 4 days so Scott and I looked at DB079 Mga Station - I liked the board setup, I liked either side and I thought it looked like real smash-mouth in yer face ASL .

The Streak continued with my first Prepfire attack of 20FP up 1 being a snakes. The game continued along those lines pretty much with another 4 or so snakes as I waxed most of Scott's HTs early on, and paced myself to not trigger the reinforcements before the default turn. I felt Scott left me too many reasonable shots early on, even though I never used the 82 mortar (I couldn't figure out where and when to use it).

Tabby's a lot of fun to hang out with at ASLOK. The trashtalking and smart-ass remarks flew between our tables all week. I don't think I could have asked for a better roomie.

ASLOK 2 and 7, World Cup 2 and 4 (final)

Looking at who I played in the WC, I'm pleased to have managed 2 wins:

Fortenberry, Burris, Holmstrom, Goldman, Pitcavage and Holst. I'll take that as a solid looking PIS record anyday. It looks daunting for a first time ASLOK attendee even now.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ASLOK Monday Day 4

Monday 4th October
Finally able to play David Goldman (Mr ASL Open) from Chicago after a couple of failed attempts. I'm pretty wiped by this stage - it's been a long time since I had any real sleep.
David Goldman, Mr ASL Open and a man of exquisite musical taste.

David is one very nice gentleman and an absolute pleasure to play - personally I loved having Nina Simone as background music - it helped take the edge of my slightly manic stage. Poor Dave had to take a couple of work calls so the game was leisurely - this suited me quite nicely as I was starting to run on fumes now with Cherry Coke and more coffee being required.

David and I played Friendly Fire's FrF 51 Bite of the Bassotto where I was the Fallschirmjäger. I set up the Bassotto to make it last until the midgame as I'm shocking at keeping my AFVs alive past turn 2 (as demonstrated against Steve Linton in later games). This is the game where I start getting some good DRs together although Streetfighting a Staghound in the street with an ATMM pretty much contributed the best part of my game.

David felt the scenario may actually be a little tough on the FJs as he misread the VCs and so the game was over in the final NZ game turn. My first win in ASLOK and against the ASL Open TD! It was a memorable game with a memorable opponent. Thanks David.

ASLOK 1 and 3, World Cup 1 and 2.
Other than the game, I ended up thinking seriously about making the Chicago Open in 2012. If possible I can bring Kirsty and we can make a week of it seeing the sights. Having met so many of the Chicago crowd, I'm positive I'll enjoy it even more.
The loneliness of a long distance ASLer - Jim Burris, sans Holmstrom, is able to use his dice cup safe in the knowledge that there are no remains of rum in the glass (for now). I swear Jim hardly moved from that chair all week.
My second game of the day was against another nice guy, Jim Burris from St Louis. Jim's a very thoughtful, deliberate planner who's been out of mainstream ASL play for a year or so. All I can say is based on his ASLOK record this year, he's not that rusty at all. He's also no slouch once he's got his plan sorted. The actual game (AP52 Into Vienna Woods) moved very quickly once he had his set up sorted - it was over at the end of the SS turn 3 as I had caused only one HS casualty and Jim was ensconced on the 2nd level with nothing remaining of mine onboard - I got my head handed to me - it's a scenario I need to look at in more detail for a sov setup (forgetting my second lmg didn't help at all there).

ASLOK  1 and 4, World Cup 1 and 3

At this point I was toast both physically and mentally - I needed to get some sleep so I stayed up for a little bit, had some scotch and crashed after being coma'd on the couch.

Great day for meeting people again.

Monday, October 4, 2010

ASLOK Sunday Day 3

Sunday 3rd October

Met quite a few of the Gamesquad denizens today. Started off with breakfast with Jim Bishop (Sparafucil) and Gary Fortenberry (Fort) - great guys and very approachable - way out of my league as ASL players - I potentially have Fort, Gary Trezza (of Albany ASL infamy) and Steve "ASL World Tour" Linton in one of my PTO minis.

The morning continues to be eventful when I meet Scott Holst (Tabby) and Mark Pitcavage (Pitman) for the first time. Scott is kind enough enough to pass on the two AoO hard mounted boards I'm missing which means I'm complete except for the desert and Board 52. He's also my and Aaron's roomie for ASLOK. The ASL community could show the minis community quite a lot when it comes to what's really important.
Tabby and the Cleavinator: Scott looks a bit run down and it's only the Sunday.I have no sympathy, he got way more sleep than I did and he introduced me to the world of Hozan.
Meanwhile the BP coffee addiction branches out into English Toffee - I'm going to miss those 24oz caffeine fixes heaps. Probably the only thing that kept me going for the first 4 days.

Start my journey in the World Cup by playing Mark Pitcavage in Melee Pack MP17 Bagging Burcorps. I'd previously played Brits against Jay White via VASL but Mark hadn't played it as the Brits. I like this scenario quite a bit although my play in this was sub-optimal. I'm still feeling my way with the Japanese and my attacking game is woefully poor as I send 20% of my force away on the left flank to accomplish sweet FA. At one poiint towards the end I still had a good chance to swinge out a win but selected the wrong unit to do a CX move for the last building/huts.
Chris Doary, Steve Linton and Mark Pitcavage - A Canadian, an Australian and an American walked into a the background is the ANZAC Squad's very own Drop Bear, Dave Longworth (he of everlasting Australian 'Bidding' System glory).

ASLOK 0 and 3, World Cup 0 and 1.

Hooked up with Bob Holmstrom and Jim Burris for a while in the morning and played Bob Holmstrom in Out of the Attic OA29 The Amy H. I think I played an okay game again, but for forgetting all about my Armour Leader in the Matilda as I had several near misses by 1 spot against Bob's tanks. Just goes to show that I don't always have hot dice.
Nigel Blair (who had the rottenest of luck all ASLOK) and Bob Holmstrom (who managed to soak an SK board in Rum without lasting damage). In the background Dave 'picnic' Ginnard and Dave Longworth are getting into it.

Bob wrote an AAR on Gamesquad Rum-Sodomy-and-ASLOK...and-Zombies which mentioned our game:
"Game 4: Amy H

Next up was Pete Palmer, my aforementioned smoking compadre. We went with yet another OotA2 scenario which has some cool rules including exploding Brit trucks and a nearly invulnerable Matilda.

"Pete put up a spirited defense and had a possible game winning move, exploding one of those trucks next to 3 of my squads in melee with his troops and one of my leaders. Fortunately for me, Pete rolled a 9 and none of my squads broke, while one of his did and I cleaned up the rest in melee. Pete did a real nice job of snookering me with his dummies, but I managed to win. Good times."
Bob's one of the most enjoyable ASLers to be around and an excellent player to boot. I look forward to meeting up with him again at ASLOK XXVIII.

ASLOK 0 and 4, World Cup 0 and 2.

Spend the rest of the evening chatting and shooting the breeze but unable to sleep yet again so spend the night talking to the security guard and on Gamesquad. Coffee good.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ASLOK Saturday Day 2

Saturday 2nd October

Awake at 5:30am after 1 hours "sleep" (I think staring at ceiling counts). Discovered BP service station had 24oz coffee for $1.29 (Like Cleveland and venue for ASLOK already). Caught up with the other Anzacs and met Bill Hayward and Bret (I think - the first few days are a bit fused together) plus the Euros.
Ray Woloszyn (I think) second from left, Cleavinator staring out the window
Jim Burris on left getting settled in before Holmstrom comes along to spill rum over the mapboards, Ray W contemplating with equanimity that his subtle ambush may just have sprung perfectly. Either that or his opponent just generated two Japanese heroes and Ray's in shock.
Talk to Chris Doary and admire both the new dice and his Pleva tower. Blink at the cost of a tower but resolve to get one when and if another is available. Spend much of remaining cash on cool Battleschool precision dice including RS pair of dice and the ASL 25 anniversary set along with a Grofaz set (Aaron bitches about me owning Grofaz dice - I point out that I've beaten him twice now so I get to have a pair.
I managed to escape from Battleschool having bought only a gazillion dice plus some fancy suction cup tweezer thingymajig. I still want me one of them there Pleva Towers. Chris Doary (L) and Mike Faulkner (R).

The Dice of Doom: According to Fortenberry, Linton and Blair this was about as high as my dice rolled all week.

Play Chris Doary in an open game of OotA20 Revenge of the Greys. I get schooled like a borstal boy, but have a great time and find combo of precision dice and Pleva tower soothing in lack of aggravating noise (very useful if I intend to sample scotch in quantity later in the week).
I too can split my forces and fritter away any local advantsge in firepower. I suck at this game.

I'm not going to miss the hardboard maps as much as I thought.

Just out of shot, I'm holding a wicker basket that contains my head

The Blue one is staged, the Red is not.
So I'm 0 and 2 for ASLOK already and the World cup games are already underway. There seem to be a lot more gun US players turning up earlier according to Steve Linton and Aaron. Not really up to playing another game as too busy meeting and greeting ASLers. About 2am realise that sleep is not going to happen. Chat to security guard for a while and start getting stuff set up for Sunday gaming...

ASLOK Friday October 1

Friday October 1
Up at 6am to catch the 9am train to Sydney for the 2:35 pm flight to San Francisco. I was bringing my PTO boards, a folder of Action Pack scenarios and the AP6 boards, the rulebook, some dice, system counters and the Japanese, Chinese and Soviets along with some Red Barricades mapsheets.

Met up with Aaron Cleavin, Andy Rogers, Neil Andrews and David Longworth at Sydney. bought a couple of litres of single malt 12yo scotch at Duty Free only to have to get Aaron C to take one bottle with him due to duty free restrictions.

The flight to SF was pretty dire - I used to really like the window seat but I was hemmed in badly by two heffalumps and suffered mild clautrophobia for the whole flight. Not a great start as I managed to not sleep at all which is unknown for me while travelling.

Clearing Customs at SFO was pretty straightforward but getting through to domestic was a nightmare as the security alert had gone to Orange and the queues were horrific - ended up missing my flight to Denver and had to get placed on a flight to Chicago with a later arrival at Cleveland around 11:30pm.

Caught up with the Cleavinator at Chicago which was good. The Cleavinator had unfortunately dropped the ball and forgotten to transfer the Glenfiddich to his checked luggage before transiting through domestic which meant TSA got the benefit of a litre of scotch gratis. The day was only getting better.

Arrived Cleveland at around 11:25 and managed to get to the hotel by around 11;45 after much fluffing around on my part. Credit Cards are blocked by bank at home despite specific instructions to the contrary - some heads will roll. Pay hotel bill with spending cash

Aaron had me playing a scenario by 11:55pm so we could say we were playing on the Friday - as I was wired as by now, finishing at 4:30am was no hardship. Result as expected: a win to Cleavin.

Friday, October 1, 2010

ASLOK: Here We Go...

Bags packed, laptop, camera, phone all charged and US adaptor packed - ASL gear all sorted and ready to go. Now for a few hours sleep then the two hours commute to the airport...should be able to logon at there hopefully.

See you in Cleveland in approximately 36 hours!