Aethan, a.k.a. Aethanbear, a.k.a. GGG, a.k.a. Andy French talks about life, the universe, and everything. Expect photos, writings, random musings, recipes, and more.

Piratz Tavern - Long May It Live!

Okay, so while I was home sick yesterday, I watched an episode of Bar Rescue. Most of the time, these shows feature a bar or restaurant that is awful and in need of help. In this case, however, it was a bar called Piratz Tavern. It looked like so much fun.

As the show progressed, it was clear the host had no intention of helping them maintain their current theme. He savaged the place and turned it into the “Corporate Bar & Grill”. It was hideous, and I felt my heart break a little.

I was thrilled to read during the end piece that they only left it like that a few weeks before turning it back into Piratz.

A check on the website told me some shocking things about the shoddiness of the new “Construction”, expensive machines that were put in without licenses and had to be surrendered, expensively leased bar tech that had been handed off to them.

I think this is shocking, and I would think that the staff of Piratz was just being grumbly if I hadn’t read many similar complaints about this show and shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant Impossible.

I thought a lot about why the story of Piratz hit home for me so strongly. There were a couple of points that made sense to me. One of the servers was trying to learn how to behave in a non-theme restaurant. When he came over, he kept greeting the “customers” with a good evening, a welcome, and then he’d ask, “What brings you here this evening?” The person teaching server etiquette kept criticizing him and finally said, “Try to talk like the people who walk by your bar.”

Given that the bar is awkwardly located in the middle of multiple corporate highrises, it was clear what she meant. “I hate those people,” the server groaned.

"Those people are going to make you money," she replied.

It was then that I knew what the problem was. For the folks hosting the show, the only possible measure of success was wealth. For the people running the bar, the only possible measure of success was being happy and doing something they loved.

This dichotomy, between the traditional measure of success and the way some people (including myself) measure success, is sort of at the core of living in the society we live in. I am, by most measures, successful. I own a house, am married to a great guy, have an okay amount of money, a job I enjoy, etc. But that’s *my* success.

I wouldn’t be happy wearing a tie and schlepping to work in a business office. Instead, I work at home, often in my pajamas, and talk to people on the phone, helping to make their travel dreams come true. It can be stressful and miserable at times, but, overall, I love what I do. I’ll never be rich, but I get by.

And for me, and the people at Piratz, I suspect, getting by is just fine.

I have the power!

Thanks to the awesomeness of Disney cookbooks, I just made a massive pot of Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup, a la Epcot’s Le Cellier. Creamy, chock-full of bacon, onion, cheese, and butter and made rich with chicken stock, milk, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and beer. We had it with crusty bread, and I played Canada, You’re a Lifetime Journey. No need to go to Le Cellier on our trip later this month, now. ;)

New Year’s Resolutions

Hullo, Gentle Readers. Welcome, those of you who jumped over here from GeeksDreamGirl (you know who you are).

Well, we’ve said goodbye to 2013. A lot of people seemed to have really disliked it, but I’m not one of them. Sure, some bad things happened, but that happens every year. I try not to blame the year itself for them. But now we’re into 2014. It’s a chance to look back, see how we did with our 2013 resolutions, see about making new ones for 2014. So let me look back at what I resolved in the article I wrote at the end of 2013 for GDG.

"I Wanna Try a New RPG"

Well…I *sort* of did this. I started playing in a new LARP called Cottington Woods, a Dark Faerie Tale LARP. But since the original module day was in 2012, and it wasn’t a tabletop RPG, I don’t think this qualifies.

And I did get to play one session of Pathfinder, but that’s so very D&D 3.5, that I don’t think it counts, either.

I do have a group that wants to try The One Ring, and the husband wants to run Edge of Empire, so this is hopefully something I’ll accomplish in 2014.

"I Want to Participate in the D&D Next Playtest"

Yes, completely did this. I’ve run a handful of sessions of D&D Next for folks. Yay!

"I Want to Game with Some New Folks"

Ish? I have a friend who is playing the D&D Next Playtest with us. I invited him to play when we started a Call of Cthulhu game, and that had a new person in my gaming group as well. So that’s 2 new folks. Unfortunately, the other player moved to CA, but still…

"I Want to Play a Game"

Well, Steve ran a little Star Wars Saga Edition, and I played in the above mentioned Cottington Woods and Pathfinder stuff, but I don’t feel like I’m really doing it. Hopefully, Steve will get Edge of Empire going soon, and that’ll be a regular thing.

"I Want to Read More of the History of Middle-Earth Books"

Total fail. Having finished the first one, I’ve not touched any of the others. Will I jump in for 2014? Not sure. That’s some dry reading.

"I Want to Attend GenCon"

Nope. Due to my trip to Australia and the restrictions on taking vacation a number of weeks before or after, this didn’t work out. This year? I don’t know. No current plans, but who knows?

"Get in on the Ultima Forever Beta"

Not exactly, but the game came out, so who cares?

So that covers last year, but what about anything new for this year?

"I Want to Lose a Significant Amount of Weight"

With the holidays now behind me, I’m putting my foot down. I was doing really well in weight loss, and now I’ve slacked off terribly. So it’s time to get serious again. My goal is to lose 50 lbs this year. That’s less than 1 lb a week. If I lose more, awesome, but I am going to fight to make this happen.

"I Want to Visit a Country or State I’ve Never Been to Before"

The former is less likely, but I think some weekend or week-long tripping is in order. I want to get out and see more of America.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Stay tuned, and we’ll see what we can turn up.

In the meantime, I’m looking for things to write about. Feel free to ask me questions about favorite books, movies, restaurants, places to travel, etc.

I actually remember that Steve and I watched this incessantly for a while in ye early days of flash animation. It’s ridiculous, but part of me still has a lot of affection for it.



Guys, I know it’s Monday, but look at this baby bat. (via)

Floof blagh om….I can’t…

Gah! So cute!



Guys, I know it’s Monday, but look at this baby bat. (via)

Floof blagh om….I can’t…

Gah! So cute!





Gimme a full series of this please okay thank you.

This is fantastic!

With crazy huge apologies to @geeksdreamgirl for its lateness, here’s my latest (literally) article.