NaBloPoMo Conclusion

Well, I tried.

November was too much for me. With the Melanoma Walk, several family birthdays, a huge project launch at work, and Thanksgiving tomfoolery… I wasn’t able to pull off my goal.

I blogged on 10/30 days. Well, that’s if you count this post. I guess, I’ll challenge myself to write more in December.


Cheesy Joke

Last time we ordered pizza, we requested they write a joke on the box.





Yesterday evening, my wife pointed out our kids quietly playing Xbox together – beautifully – on the couch.

I thought I could sneak over and grab a photo or two… turned into this goofiness.


I live for moments like this.

(Apologies for the tiny image… had to make it small to keep the filesize down.)


Honest Taglines

Famous brands updated with honest taglines


Amazon Makes Me Smile

You shop. Amazon gives.

Sounds good to me! My family has enjoyed an Amazon Prime membership for several years now. It just seems to make a ton of sense for our needs. Although, it’s still strange that I can go to the same place to get coffee delivered on a regular schedule (Subscribe & Save FTW!), garage door opener parts, clothing, Christmas gifts, and streamed movies. Needless to say, we do a decent amount of shopping at Amazon.

This showed up in my inbox the other day:


After getting a few questions answered through their FAQ, it really sounds like a no-brainer. I realize that each donation Amazon contributes is only 0.5% of the purchase price of the item… but, I’d imagine the benefiting organizations will be smiling.

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

I quickly signed up and selected the charity: water project to donate to. Feels good.


King of Tokyo: Halloween

At its heart, Richard Garfield’s King of Tokyo is a push your luck dice game that’s really similar to Yahtzee. However, he’s wrapped it in a really fun Japanese monster king-of-the-hill battle full of amusing ridiculousness. And, well, it’s got a special place in my heart.


King of Tokyo is a game that seems to appeal to all ages. I’ve had a ton of fun playing it with my kids and it’s gotten a decent amount of play at Dice & Decks nights at Cartel (adult game nights at local coffee shop/bar).

What’s New?


So what’s new in the Halloween expansion? King of Tokyo: Halloween adds:

  • 2 new monsters: Pumpkin Jack and Boogie Woogie.
  • New card type — Costumes
  • New set of oversized dice — orange, of course
  • There’s one more item in the box, but I’ll get to that later.



My daughter and I gave it a test run this evening. It’s really fascinating to watch her play. Which die results does she keep? Which does she choose to re-roll? What makes a card interesting enough to buy? Her decision-making process is something I get to see in concentrated form during games like this and as a dad — I love it.

She ended up jumping into an early lead and despite trying, I couldn’t catch her. She was the first monster to occupy Tokyo and I couldn’t deal damage quickly enough to ‘convince’ her to leave. So, she was earning 2 points each turn in addition to whatever she gained through dice rolls. She proved to be the superior monster. 🙂


I won’t dare call myself enough of a critic to conduct a formal review of the expansion. I will say this. The costumes are definitely a fun sub-theme addition to a game with a really fun main theme. While the new expansion doesn’t add a ton of new features or a huge new mechanic, it definitely notches up the charm of the game.

One More Item

As mentioned earlier, there’s another item in this box that’s new. They’ve included a promo card for King of New York. I guess we’ll be stomping around amongst the Big Apple’s skyscrapers soon! I’ll place my wager now that the dice in that box will be colored red. 😉

Monster Dice

NOTE: The dice in King of Tokyo are oversized… It makes sense. You’re huge monsters, after all. This makes it hard for someone with small hands to sufficiently shake and roll all six dice in one throw. We’ve found that having younger monsters shake and roll with a cup (and preferably into a dice tray of some sort) really makes it easier for them.


Friendly Phone Format

5205552381 is hard to read

I’ve been building a new version of my employer’s Intranet. One of the new features I added is an Employee Directory (Goodbye ridiculous Excel file w/ 5 tabs and the headache it was to maintain it!). Unfortunately, in demoing it to a few folks, the common complaint was that the phone numbers were displayed in a format that was difficult to read — especially when looking at row after row of them.

I really wasn’t looking forward to touching each record in the db to correct the phone number format. I wondered if I could fake it w/ some javascript after the page loaded.

jQuery("table.gf_directory td[title*='Direct']").each(function() {
    var phoneString = jQuery(this).text();

With jQuery, I search for table cells w/ the title attribute containing “Direct”… and for each one, I filter the text of the cell through a new nicePhone() function.

function nicePhone(direct) {
    if (direct != "" && direct != null) {
        return direct.replace(
            "($1) $2-$3"

It works!

Sweet! 5205552381 gets turned into (520) 555-2381.


Then, of course, I run across this today: formatter.js



Melanoma Walk 2013 Photos


We had a great turnout this year and all told, it sounds like all the teams raised a total of $50,000 for local melanoma research.

More photos

Say no to tans and wear your sunscreen, people.


Melanoma Walk 2013

Today’s the day.

While it’s been really rough at some points in this roller coaster ride since Martha’s diagnosis in 2009, we’ve been covered by the grace of God and surrounded the the love of many. Over the last four years, it’s really overwhelming anytime I think of the hugs, meals, gift cards, rides, emergency kid coverage, hugs, hangout sessions during Martha’s surgeries, shirts, car repair assistance, hugs, support from co-workers, laundry, house cleaning, more hugs, phone calls, texts, emails and other acts I’m a terrible person and failing to recall… It’s wonderful doing life with you friends and family. You take us out of the dips in our roller coaster.


At last year’s walk, Team Mela-NO-MAS! had more than 70 people walking. That was awesome. This year, at last count, we’re up above 100 (even a few in other parts of the world! Long distance hugs, Semmens family!) We’re so encouraged.

In a few hours, my family will head down to The University of Arizona Cancer Center – North Campus to join hundreds of other people in an effort to raise money for local melanoma research – Melanoma Walk ’13.

Melanoma really is a black beast. Say no to tans and wear your sunscreen, people.


NaBloPoMo 2013

Well, here’s a kick in the pants: 30 Days, 30 Posts: NaBloPoMo is here!

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an entry. I’m honestly overwhelmed by all that’s gone on since the last entry in late-July. Looking ahead, November is a really fun month for me. Both my wife and I celebrate birthdays this month. We have the Melanoma Walk 2013 coming up tomorrow! Thanksgiving is always a good time…

Apparently, November is National Novel Writing Month. Thankfully, it’s also National Blog Posting Month. I’m no novel writer… but a blog post every day? That’s a challenge I’m up for.

I’m on board. I’m aiming to post at least once a day. I’m going to give myself the freedom to post an interesting image from time to time and let that count as my post. But for the most part, I’m planning to write.

We’ll see what comes of it.