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(If you'd like to read about my travels in Japan, China, or another location, check out the Travelogues page.)
(If you'd like to read more about Ink, check out the Ink section.)

Year 1: 8/11/2003 - 8/9/2004
Year 2: 8/11/2004 - 8/10/2005
Year 3: 8/11/2005 - 8/9/2006
Year 4: 8/11/2006 - 8/10/2007
Year 5: 8/13/2007 - 8/8/2008
Year 6: 8/11/2008 - 8/10/2009
Year 7: 8/12/2009 - 8/9/2010
Year 8: 8/11/2010 - 8/10/2011
Year 9: 8/12/2011 - 8/10/2012
Year 10: 8/13/2012 - 8/9/2013
Year 11: 8/12/2013 - 8/8/2014
Year 12: 8/11/2014 - 8/10/2015
Year 13: 8/12/2015 - 8/10/2016
Year 14: 8/12/2016 - 8/9/2017
Year 15: 8/11/2017 - 8/10/2018

9/17/2018 The high holy days continue

There will be no PV update this Wednesday due to Yom Kippur. And...that's about it. The storm was delayed and hasn't reached this area yet but it's supposed to hit today so we'll see what happens. That said, we're far enough away from the coast that I'm not expecting much. Though I may have to walk back and forth across campus in the rain, which isn't going to be a lot of fun.

Anyway, I've got a lot of work related stuff to do this week (grading and such), and Yom Kippur isn't leaving me with a lot of time to work on it so I'd better go.

Later!

Josiah

9/14/2018 Here comes the rain

As usual, you can use the TWC button to vote and see this week's new bonus comic.

You may heard the news about the big storm that's supposed to hit the east coast this weekend. It sounds like it could be really bad on the coast itself but, as Connie and I are several hours away, it's looking like we're just going to get some rain, and not even a really massive amount. Hopefully things will work out ok for those on the coast as well.

In other news, Connie, Zack and I went to the Natural Products Expo East yesterday. I wrote about it last year and don't really feel like it needs another travelogue entry, but we had a good time looking at different products (mainly food) and trying lots and lots of samples.

Well, have a good weekend and all the best to my readers who are in the hurricane's path.

Josiah

9/12/2018 Ren Fest

Well, it's a little late, but let's get that travelogue entry from Labor Day done.

September 3rd (Monday): The Maryland Renaissance Festival
I heard about the Maryland Renaissance Festival last year, but Connie and I never made it over. This year though, she reminded me about it and we decided to make a point of visiting. Why Maryland? Well, there's a Pennsylvania one, but it's around three hours away. And Virginia? I would assume there's at least one in Virginia, but I don't know when or where (I should probably Google that sometime). Maryland, on the other hand, is only an hour away so it's not a bad drive.
Anyway, we ended up going on Labor Day, pretty early on (the Festival started late August and goes through mid October). The most impressive Renaissance Festival I've been to in the past is the one in Phoenix. A big advantage the Phoenix Festival has over many others is that is has a large dedicated space, meaning that there's not only plenty of room, but that they can build permanent buildings, rather than having to put up tents and booths every year. Turns out that Maryland has a similar setup. It's also in a forest, which not only offers some shade, but also enhances the whole medieval fantasy feel a bit. It's probably not quite as big as Phoenix, but it's still the size of a small theme park and certainly has enough stuff to keep you busy for a few hours to a full day.
Since Connie and I had Zack with us, we didn't spend a lot of time watching shows (though it looked like they had a good variety, including a joust), but we did really appreciate that they had a playground in the back. There was also the usual selection of neat handmade crafts and medieval stuff, along with turkey legs, steaks on a stake, soup in a bread bowl, and a few more "exotic" foods as well (like Japanese). While I wish we could have stayed a bit longer, and watched a few more shows, we still had a fun several hours and Zack really enjoyed the playground and the bubble wand booth. I wasn't expecting to find a Renaissance Festival that could give Phoenix a run for its money, but I'm pretty happy to have one nearby and we'll certainly be going back next year.

Later!

Josiah

9/7/2018 This again?

Well, I was all set to have a new strip (not a Blooper Reel) and a travelogue entry up today. Unfortunately, Zack had other plans and, instead of getting those finished, I had to spend the time trying to get him to sleep. So they'll have to wait until next week. Wednesday to be precise since, because of Rosh Hashanah, there will be no update on Monday.

Sorry about that, but I'll see you Wednesday!

Josiah

9/5/2018 Between holidays

Labor Day is over, but I've actually got several Jewish holidays coming up over the next few weeks. As a result, I'll have to skip a few Pebble Version updates here and there, but I'll announce those as they come. It was a nice holiday weekend though, and I'll have a travelogue update related to it soon. But not today. Zack hasn't been sleeping the best lately, so neither have I.

Later!

Josiah

9/3/2018 Holiday weekend

You know, in my opinion, if you're going to have a holiday during the second week of the semester, you might as well just wait and start classes that week instead. Having a holiday so early really throws things off. That said, I'm certainly not going to complain about a day off. So far, this holiday weekend hasn't been too exciting though. I've been playing with Zack (fun, but not exciting), running errands, and getting assorted work and home related stuff done. Today though, Connie, Zack, and I are off to do something fun. Expect a travelogue entry sometime soon.

Happy Labor Day!

Josiah

8/31/2018 One week down...

Sigh... I really don't intend to make a habit of posting Blooper Reel Comics on the main page (you can also see today's by voting on TWC, of course). But the first week of school has been a bit busier than I expected. Not entirely because of the classes either. Partly them and partly all the assorted other stuff I've been trying to get done. Plus, I've been staying up late way to often and I really need to break that habit. Hopefully I'll be more or less caught up and back on track next week.

Later!

Josiah

8/29/2018 Exercise

The first floor is finally completely fixed so now I just need to put together a bunch of shelves and then I can get all my books, games, and the like put away. I also have my own desk again, which is great.

In other news, the first week of classes is going fine so far. However, they're tearing down one of the main buildings on campus so they can replace it with a new fancier one. That's all well and good, except that there's now a whole lot less classrooms available for the next few years. As a result, some classes that would normally be either in my building, or at least relatively close, are now on the opposite end of campus, so I'm going to have to do a lot of walking this semester. Good for exercise, I guess, but annoying when I've got back to back classes that are really far apart. Well, I'll just have to hope that there isn't any bad weather on those days...

Later!

Josiah

8/27/2018 Maze time

Well, back to work. Here's hoping for a good first week. Anyway, here's a travelogue update.

August 23rd (Thursday): Cherry Crest Farm's Amazing Maize Maze
Connie and I continued our annual tradition of going to Cherry Crest Farm's Amazing Maize Maze. This year, however, we needed to keep Zack entertained. Fortunately, the farm has a lot of activities besides the maze, many of which are well suited for kids of all ages. I never took a really close look at them before, but there was everything from playground equipment, to giant slides, to a play town, just to name a few. There was even a giant sandbox type thing filled with dried corn. Zack's favorite part though, was the goats. He hadn't really interacted with animals much in the past, aside from chasing pigeons in Italy, but he was moderately interested in watching the goats in the petting zoo area. We thought that would be it, but he saw some other kids feeding them and, unprompted, actually went and picked up some food and started feeding the goats himself. He loved it and we spent a while there. He tried to feed a pig too, but it was a little too eager and ended up licking him in the face.
After letting Zack play around for a couple of hours, we finally headed into the maze. This year's theme was board games and, to better fit, they swapped the usual crossword puzzle with some mini-games (dice, spinners, etc.), which made for an interesting twist. As usual, I made a point of fully clearing the maze and finding all the hidden map pieces. It was a pretty good design and a lot of fun to navigate. It took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish, though we had a pretty good run in terms of choosing the correct paths and such so I probably could have knocked 20 - 30 minutes off that time on my own.
We finished a little before the park was slated to close for the day so we drove over to Hershey Farm to let Zack play around a little more and then hit up the buffet, like we've done the past couple of years.
Cherry Crest Farm is always a fun outting and I'm looking forward to next year's maze.

Later!

Josiah

8/24/2018 A little more...

The bonus comic is up on TWC if you want to vote, but it's also here on the main page. Connie, Zack, and I went to the big corn maze on Wednesday (travelogue entry coming soon) and didn't get back till late and then yesterday just ended up being really busy and I didn't have time to get a comic done.

Today should finally mark the end of the various home repair and improvement projects that have been going on. Though I still have a ton to unpack downstairs.

Anyway, I'm off for now. Back to work on Monday, though things shouldn't get too busy for another couple weeks.

Later!

Josiah

8/22/2018 Prepped!

My classes are all ready to go! So what's planned for the rest of the week? A last couple of home improvement projects, some errands, and possibly a day trip (weather permitting). But first, I need to catch up on some sleep.

Later!

Josiah

8/20/2018 One week

Well, classes start in a week so I've got to finish prepping and finish the stuff on my to-do list (almost there). Hoping to have a little fun this week as well, but we'll get to that later. I've got things to do.

Later!

Josiah

8/17/2018 Otakon

You can vote to see the new Blooper Reel comic or just look right here. I'm running a bit late today so I decided to prioritize getting the travelogue entry for Otakon written. Why am I running late? Since Otakon, I've spent most of the week focusing on a whole bunch of assorted around the house type things. We've been here a bit over a month, but that doesn't mean everything is all set up yet. That said, I'm also trying to relax a little. It's been a really busy summer and work is starting up again pretty soon. So I've finally been able to get in a bit of game playing. But anyway, let's get to that travelogue entry.

August 10th - 12th (Friday - Saturday): Otakon 2018
This was Otakon's second year in Washington DC after moving from its long time home in Baltimore. While they handled the move pretty well last year, they smoothed out a few kinks this time around (faster bag check, for instance) for an all around solid experience. As usual, there were lots of panels and videos. Though Connie and I didn't get go to much in that regard. Last year, Zack wasn't doing much besides eating and sleeping. This year, he's down to one nap a day and doesn't like to sit still for too long, which limited our options a bit (that should change in a year or two). He did like looking at the cosplayers and playing with the escalators. Of course, we also spent some time in the dealers' hall and artist alley. So we were able to have some fun with him.
The video game hall was pretty great this year, with a lot of cool Japanese import arcade games. I went by myself Saturday night, so I had time to play around a bit and watch some AMVs.
The big highlight of this year though, was the concerts. I've been wanting to see an official Final Fantasy concert ever since I knew they existed (probably around 10 years or so), but I never managed to be in the right place at the right time. So I was thrilled to hear that Distant Worlds was coming to Otakon this year. And not just with one concert, but two. I would have been willing to spend half the day waiting in line, but fortunately they offered a limited number of VIP tickets a while back which, for a reasonable price, guaranteed a seat. They sold out in less than a day, but I grabbed mine the moment they went on sale so I was good. Connie isn't as into Final Fantasy as I am, and we weren't too sure Zack would sit through a concert, so she graciously offered to do other stuff with him when I went.
Friday's concert was the normal Distant Worlds show, which featured a full orchestra playing a diverse collection of music from Final Fantasy I - XV, along with full video accompaniment. It was amazing with a great set list. It didn't have all my favorites, of course, but I really don't have any complaints about the music selection or arrangements. It helps that Nobuo Uematsu is fairly heavily involved. In fact, here was there! He mainly just popped onto the stage a couple times to say hi, rather than playing any instruments himself, though he did join the orchestra at the end for One Winded Angel. Really, my only complaint about the concert was that, at one hour and fifteen minutes, I wish it were longer. It was awesome and very much worth it for any Final Fantasy fan, or anyone who enjoys good music for that matter.
Sunday's concert was titled A New World. Billed as a more intimate experience, it had only a handful of musicians, no video, and a smaller audience. It also had a mostly different set list (including a Tactics song). As such, it was a much different experience, but still excellent. The string quartet arrangements, for example, really stood out. While not quite as epic as Distant Worlds, I enjoyed it just as much and highly recommend it as well.
The VIP tickets actually offered more perks than a good seat and avoiding hours in line. After each concert, VIP ticket holders got a meet and great with Uematsu and the conductor (Arnie Roth for Distant Worlds and his son Eric for A New World). Basically, we got to say hi, get a photo, and an autograph. So that was pretty awesome as well. Now I've got my copy of Final Fantasy VII signed by both him and Sakaguchi, and I've got an art book signed by Amano. If I could just get Nomura's signature...
Anyway, while Zack kept Connie and I from getting quite as much out of Otakon as before, it was still fun and the concerts were fantastic. As always, I'm looking forward to next year.

Josiah

8/15/2018 It's about time

I haven't had a chance to go through my photos yet, so no Otakon write up today. Been getting a bunch of stuff done now that the con is finished. And today they're finally going to repair the water damage downstairs so I'll be able to get everything unpacked and set up down there.

In other news, poison ivy sucks. I knew that, but I hadn't gotten any since I was a kid, so I forgot just how annoying it could be. Definitely going to be more careful when doing yard work here in the future.

Later!

Josiah

8/13/2018 After the con

Otakon was fun, even though Zack limited what Connie and I could do a bit. Anyway, I'll sort my photos sorted and get the travelogue entry posted later this week.

For now, I've got plenty to do this week. The repairs for the water damage have finally been scheduled as well so, with any luck, I'll be able to finally start unpacking the rest of my stuff in a few days.

Later!

Josiah





Pokemon and all related images and trademarks are copyrighted by Nintendo, one of my favorite games companies who would certainly never waste their time by trying to sue me. Especially since I'm protected under the Fair Use Rule of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Aside from that the actual site content is copyrighted by me, Josiah Lebowitz 2003.