Category Archives: Parenting

Working Out GenCon

Another challenger arises!

Tomorrow morning my son and I head north to GenCon, the largest gaming convention in the country.  This is a very good thing and I’ve been looking forward to it all year.  (Next year, depending on how this workout thing goes, I might even do some costuming.)    I’ve been going to GenCon for mucho years.  I’m no stranger to what I like to call “the hallowed halls.”  For the event coming up, I’ll be posting pics and commentary over on my game blog.  Feel free to wander over there if you want to see more.

However, because I know this arena, I know where the pitfalls lie and what dangers lurk!  The challenge comes in the fact that I have three workouts to get done over those four days.  My son, who is also in a workout program, has four workouts to get done.  “No problem!” you might say,  “Get those workouts done at the hotel either before or afterwards.”

This is a true statement and exactly what we are going to do.  However, it’s easier said than done.  Here are the details.

  • Our hotel is not close and we have about a 20 minute drive.
  • We need to be downtown by no later than 9 AM to stand any chance at all of decent parking.  The real deadline is 8 AM.
  • Most nights we will not be returning to the hotel until around Midnight and we will be wiped out from lots of walking and enjoying ourselves.
  • We each have 30 to 45 minute workouts.   We also need to shower afterwards and clean-up.
  • We absolutely have to get a good breakfast before hitting the convention floor.

You should be able to see where this is headed?  It would appear that we are looking at around a 5:30 or 6:00 AM wake-up time for us to get those in, get cleaned in the hotel room, get breakfast AND make the downtown parking garages in time.


Tomorrow is somewhat easier.  My son has a rest day and I plan on hitting my strength/calisthenics first thing in the morning.  It will be tomorrow and the weekend where the real test will happen!

The secondary challenge comes in the fact that it could be a struggle to find healthy food in this haven for dice, food trucks, board games and soda.  Oh, it can be done but it will not be easy.  We’re packing our own snacks and protein bars for back-up.  Though I am not placing myself on any kind of strict diet just yet, I’ve been trying very hard to watch my sugars and any kind of fried foods, etc.  My son is on a very regulated diet with his program.  We are going to have to dig deep in our creative convention exploring skills to find what he needs.  I’ve scouted out at least one vegetarian option for him and I’m sure we will just have to be creative when the time comes.  (Or walk a butt load of city blocks to find a good food place.)

Will we have the skill rankings and the fortitude scores to succeed?  Will we succumb to the seduction of late night gaming and an inability to hear our alarms in the morning?

There’s only one way to know for sure!



Cheeseburger Day

Today is Cheeseburger Day!

The story of Cheeseburger Day starts with a very special dog that passed 5 years ago.  I wrote about him originally on another blog I had going.  The post was lengthy and, let me tell ya, it’s a real tear jerker.  I’m not going that route.   (I may re-post the other one later to have it in these archives.)


The dog’s name? Pooka Grasskiller.  He earned the last name due to a weird thing he would do when he became really excited.  He would kill grass, tearing into it and tossing it into the air.  He’d then look at you with that stupid, tongue hanging out doggie smile.

Pooka was my best friend for eleven years.  We were inseparable.

So much so that when I took over my old job of managing a game store he was allowed to come with me.  Every day he would come into work and hang out.  Of course, customers loved him.  He was, quite simply, “the best dog ever.”  Pooka began to earn quite the following and nearly every week (every day?) we would have customers come in just to see him.  He loved everyone and he loved the attention.

He also loved cheeseburgers.

This is from the previous post.  It sums up Pooka and cheeseburgers pretty well.

“He loved cheeseburgers.   It came about when we were on the road.  I once stopped for lunch at a burger place when he was in the car with me and he went nuts when I opened the bag.  Being a buddy, I ripped off a piece and gave it to him.  It sealed the deal for him and from then forward he’d get excited about the promise of another “snack.”

Then, there’s this story that sealed the connection between Pooka and Cheeseburgers.

“I once found out that a friend of mine had stopped at a fast food place and picked up a cheeseburger just for Pooka.  They knew I was, at this point, cutting Pooka back from “people food.”  As he aged enough was, after all, enough.  However,  Pooka’s subliminal mastery of the human mind was too much for some people.

Knowing my stance, my friend called me over to a shelf of product and distracted me.  While I was talking to him and not looking he motioned to Pooka with the cheeseburger.  I’m told Pooka hesitated at first but then seemed to realize what was going on.  Pooka came up behind us and snagged half the offered burger from behind the friend’s back.  My friend thought it was hilarious.  Later, I found out this had happened more than once and Pooka was “in the know” quite a bit.  Like I said, a trickster.”


When he passed I received condolences from people I barely knew.  By being in that store for so many years he had gained a huge following.  I had left the job before he passed but still, two years after he passed, I was stopped on the street by an old customer who wanted to tell me they thought Pooka was amazing.  Even now I can mention his name to people and it never fails to bring a smile.  “Damn, that was a good dog.”

Pooka003On the first Anniversary of his passing, I was still grieving and my family created Cheeseburger Day as a way to celebrate him and to never forget him.  We went to a cheeseburger place and piled them high.  When I announced it over social media with a picture I didn’t expect anything.  I just thought it would be nice to remember him this way.  What happened next was a wonderful surprise.   I was amazed at the outpouring of love that came back and of friends posting pics of cheeseburgers.

It became a thing.  Flash forward to now.  For some reason, Cheeseburger Day got jostled around in my addled brain and I thought it was next week.  Besides, after 5 years, it was just a family thing, right?  Oh, nothing more powerful than the wash of time to ease the pain of grieving.  Out of nowhere, a friend sent me a message on Facebook and gleefully reminded my friends and I that we can’t forget the 28th is Cheeseburger Day!  I have to admit, I got a bit teary when I saw it.

So, lest none forget, today is Cheeseburger Day!  For me, it will always be about him and our connection, a once in a life time thing.  It’s about the people who knew him celebrating one of the most amazing shop dogs they ever had the pleasure to work, game, or hang out with.

Maybe you didn’t know Pooka?  It’s ok.   If you’re a dog lover than maybe you know a dog, or knew a dog, like Pooka?  If that’s the case then how cool would it be if Cheeseburger Day could be for them as well?   It’s about that connection with a gentle soul that always wants to be by your side, who always wants to follow you out the door no matter the weather or the time.  If you’re lucky, you could share a piece of that cheeseburger with your pal?

Regardless, for my family, friends and I, today is Cheeseburger Day.

Pile it high for my friend and your friend.  For the gentlest of souls and the laziest guardian of all gamer geeks everywhere!   For the Grasskiller!  For the Lord of Belly Scritches!   For the sneaky Cheeseburger Thief!  Pile it high and feast upon the burgers of cheese!

Pictures of said glorious feast to come…  😉