Monday, September 29, 2008

Blatant Plug Dept.

This Wednesday will see the release of Issue #4 of Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons with the wrap up of my adaptation of "Elminster at the Mage Fair" and a new story by Stan!.

PLUS, I just got my copies of Worlds of Their Own, from Paizo. And they even sent a copy signed by the guys at GenCon. Coolness!

More later,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Out-Of-Towner

I spent the last half of this past week in New York, amazingly sealed off from the rest of the world - this despite the fact that the seat back ahead of me on the plane out was equipped with a TV set (small charge for earphones - one more advantage to learning to read lips).

Anyway, I was pretty much in isolation for a few days, so I spent much of yesterday figuring out what happened while I was gone. Here's what happened.

- WaMu went under and was picked up by the government in the largest bank failure in history. The government then turned around and sold the banking end of the business to JPMorgan Chase. So your money is safe - its just been moved to another town, like your basketball team.
- It turns out we still have a president, who spoke the country on the dangers faced by the current economic situation, and asks that everyone open their hearts and wallets to an unsupervised money wallow on the behalf of Wall Street.
- Candidate McCain declared that in light of the crisis, he had to go back to Washington and suspend campaigning. Apparently when he went back to the capitol, he had to wear a name tag so they would recognize him.
- Apparently in announcing he would have to go back to Washington, but not leaving immediately, he cheesed off Dave Letterman. Not a good thing, that.
- And McCain wanted to cancel the debates in light of the fact that Republicans don't look so good right now. When it became clear that this was a bad idea, he flipped again.
- I'm not quite sure if he's running for president or not right now.
- McCain's VP choice apparently screwed up another interview and has been sent to be tutored by Prof. Henry Higgins, who has promised to turn her into a proper political candidate by the time of the Embassy Ball.
- Meanwhile, Obama was merely campaigning and talking to people, which as everyone knows, is bad television.
- The debates did occur, and either Obama won or it was a tie, depending on who you support. Then again, maybe the debates were not held, and they just ran a rerun of the Nixon/JFK debate, remastered for HDTV.
- There were debates for the Washington State Governor's race as well, in which both candidates told us what they would do about a deficit the state currently doesn't have. The big panic, however, is that we WILL have a massive shortfall soon, since most of our tax money comes from things like the Sales Tax, a regressive little monster that produces less funds in times when people stop buying things. Like, um, now.
- And while Washington State has been more insulated from the economic disasters in the rest of the county, the fall of WaMu has brought it to our doorstep. I'm starting to see "flash car lots" more now, on my return.
- And while all eyes have been on the fall of the Western Markets, the Chinese managed their first space-walk. And of all of the above, that may be the most important thing that's happened in the past week.

More later,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thought for the Day

Never get into an argument with a fool. Folk may not be able to tell the difference.

More later,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brian Thomsen

Editor and good friend Brian Thomsen passed away this past weekend, of an apparent heart attack, in his home in Brooklyn.

The news went out, by emails, then announcements on SF sites, then phones calls, then the blogs. By mojo wire and jungle drum, the news passed from hand to hand, voice to ear, person to person in our community. Brian had a wide-spread network of friends, co-workers, fellow strugglers, allies and associates, and the wires of those links sigh and cry with the man's passing

Brian had been an editor for Warner's Questar line, TSR Books, and most recently Tor, but a mere listing of his many works and positions does not do justice to his ability and talent. Brian had the singular ability as an enabler for books, He had the ability to pull together diverse elements into a functioning whole, to create a "reason for being" for each book he worked on. Author, subject, artist, theme, cover, blurbs, schedules, release dates, all combined into a single functioning piece of a hundred components. This was considering the book as a mechanism, and Brian was did it best.

Those seeking Brian's editorial chops should check out The American Fantasy Tradition. Those looking for his more trenchant writing should take a look at Pasta Fazool for the Wiseguy's Soul.

I knew of Brian initially through his Questar ads, and met him when he came to TSR some fifteen years ago. I re-taught the New York City native how to drive so he could survive in Wisconsin. We had lunch almost every Tuesday at the local Chinese restaurant in Lake Geneva (which used to be a Dog 'N Suds), and played Magic, and argued about publishing. For the past ten years, we were on the phone at least once a week. trading gossip and arguing about publishing. I spoke with him last on Friday, and he talked about two new books he was about to begin next year, his most recent turnovers, and his plans for the future.

He always had several plans for the future, several irons in the fire, several projects he was wrapping up, and several more he wanted to launch. The list of writers he has aided over the years is prodigious and includes much of the modern fantasy genre. He was always straightforward and direct in his dealings. He had his own code, and made his position clear. You knew where he was coming from, and what he was looking for. He would begin conversations with "Hello, Great Man!" and end them with "God Bless America and Larry Flynt". He was a constant, a fixture, a rock that many of us were fortunate enough able to anchor alongside.

I will miss him horribly, and express my deepest sympathies to his wife, Donna, and his family and friends.

God bless America and Larry Flynt.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


So the more conservative Seattle Times has endorsed Barack Obama. Actually, they state that the re-endorse him, though the previous endorsement was back in the primary, and then for the Democrats.

The Times is Seattle's more conservative paper, which usually means that they give careful consideration, make thoughtful noises, and then tend to go Republican in their endorsements. They will embrace Democratic values only when the wheels seem to be coming off the bus for the GOP, which has been the case for the past couple weeks on the Straight Talk Express. Indeed, the punditry in general seems to be recasting themselves as "Well, once we believed in McCain. He used to be cool. But he's changed, man."

And that is one of the problems I see for the Progressive wing of American politics. You only get a shot, or even attention, when the other side has completely screwed everything up. We've been muddling through with bad advice and worse choices for nearly eight years now, and only now are people willing to vaguely admit that conservative doctrine may not be the best way to run a country. The right side of the aisle now only has to crash, but crash harder than it has ever crashed before to merit reconsideration.

In fact, the unusual thing about the past week of horrible economic news is that it happened right now. The efforts of the Administration has been pretty much to try to put off the catastrophe until after the election, to leave it as a fire burning in the Oval Office for the next tenant to discover. And still it could have been worse - it could have been your Social Security there in the bonfire as well.

In any event, the Times praises Obama with a few faint damns, but has to admit that on the issues, he has been correct, correct when others were wrong, and correct in the face of opposition. It will be interesting to see where the other endorsements go, and if we're going to see the Times try to lead a true sea change in conservative thought.

More later,

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Already?

Wow, this week went fast. Haven't had much a chance to post due to (pick one).

a) Prepping for an upcoming project
b) Mild head cold
c) Several things I want to talk about, all of which will be long and none of which have been easy to write
d) Playing a variety of games

The answer is: e) All of the Above.

In the meantime, I strongly recommend you check out Bruce Cordell's blog on the situation on the local animal shelters and the frustrating tragedy of "no kill" shelters.

You should also touch base with Colin for a reminder that while Ike has passed, its devastation is still with us, and is being horribly underreported. My contacts in Texas are getting back to normal, but Galveston is still a mess and not ready for habitation yet.

And finally, a friend sent me this scene from an Obama HQ, which made me tear up in a good way.

More later,

Update: Oh, and since it IS Talk Like A Pirate Day, I provide this from Dork Tower, for all the folks back home.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Placemat Maze in My Mind

Q: Jeff lives in Renton and works in Bellevue. Can you get him to work without hitting a mind-numbing Construction Jam?

A: NO, you can't!

Friday, September 12, 2008

World Of My Own

Alas, the LHC did not destroy the universe earlier in the week, so you're stuck with me.

However, since we're all still alive, now's a good moment to point out that the short story collection Worlds of Their Own, is now on sale. Here's the list of contents:

# Contents: Introduction: "The Last Word Matters" by James Lowder
# "Mather’s Blood" by R.A. Salvatore
# "Keeping Score" by Michael A. Stackpole
# "The Oaths of Gods" by Nancy Virginia Varian
# "The Doom of Swords" by Greg Stolze
# "Catch of the Day" by Jeff Grubb
# "Ghosts of Love" by Steven Savile
# "The Wisdom of Nightingales" by Richard E. Dansky
# "The Guardian of the Dawn" by William King
# "How Fear Came to Ornath" by Ed Greenwood
# "The Admiral’s Reckoning" by J. Robert King
# "Memories and Ghosts" by Monte Cook
# "Three Impossible Things" by Lisa Smedman
# "Near the End of the World" by Greg Stafford
# "Confession" by Paul S. Kemp
# "Lorelei" by Elaine Cunningham
# "The Unquiet Dreams of Cingris the Stout" by James Lowder
# "On the Off-Ramp of the Intergalactic Superhighway" by Will McDermott
# "Twistbuck’s Game" by Gary Gygax

So if we blow up this universe, at least we have other universes to go to.

More later,

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It has been seven years now, and what I wrote two years ago is still applicable, sadly.

Now, each fall, we hear the distant thunder, the stories about predator drones in Pakistan, gunships dancing over barren hillsides, and collateral damage destroying the people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And all with it the faint promise of finding the guy responsible, while showing his work, a snuff film on the jumbotron, to justify our latest folly.

More later,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Play: All Go Lightly

The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane, Directed by Fracaswell Hyman, INTIMAN Theatre, Through 13 September.

All in all, a nicely wrapped, neatly written, well performed play about characters that are simultaneously kind and cruel, wise and stupid, tightly wound and out of control. Deeply overlaid with rifts from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it is a story about ambition and relationships and getting what you want as opposed to what you think you want.

The proceedings are narrated by Hollywood agent Diane (Christa Scott-Reed), who is the native guide through the processes of dealmaking and stardom. Her main client is Mitchell Green (A Clooney-esque Neal Bledsoe) a rising star with a “recurring case of homosexuality” which up to now has been kept in the closet. Mitchell falls in love with rent-boy Alex (Quinian Corbett) who is in turn living with gal-pal/ sex partner Ellen (Megan Hill). Mitchell chooses to endanger his career in the name of his newfound love, and mad havoc ensues on all sides.

This is a good play from a writer’s angle, and a tough one from an actor’s. All these characters lie. To themselves, to each other, and to outsiders (there are number of marvelous one-sided conversations, particularly with an unseen playwright identified as He (meaning Him) which are just pure therapy for a writer). However, lacking clear villains and heroes (everyone gets a chance at both), the challenge as an actor is to ground your character to the point that the audience will forgive your transgressions later. And these four actors pull it off marvelously.

The set consists of Mitchell’s trysting hotel room, with a movable ring surrounding it for all the rest of the scenes. Pieces and vignettes move smoothly on and off, allowing internal monologues, one-sided conversations, and Diane’s direct-to-the-audience narration. It matches the clockwork precision of the play itself.

Nits, a couple. In the writing, there is a lot of people about to leave the room, which they never do (since that would end the scene). And the bicoastal theme is missing a bit in the accents - the Californians don't seem particularly Californian, the New Yorkers not too New York. Sort of blanched for the Seattle audience.

And if this is a modern Breakfast, then who is Hepburn's character - Holly Golightly? All of them, each in their own way.

A good play. Worth checking out.

More later,

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Astrologers, Theater, Gwen

For a supposedly sedentary blogger, I do altogether too much moving around. I mean, the day job is writing and the after-school job is writing - how can I be that active? But I seem to have stuff going on daily that keeps me from just sitting on my back deck with an fruit-flavored alcoholic beverage, and while that is not bad at all, it just seems to be my lot in life.

Yesterday the Lovely Bride and I had theater tickets up at the INTIMAN, up at the Seattle Center north of town. She also had Tai Chi class in the International district. Drawing lines and making schedules resulted in me going with her, so we could keep going north to the play.

I dropped her off and went to the coffee shop beneath the Elliot Bay Bookstore near Pioneer square. Large area, relatively quiet that early in the morning. I'm reading Crucible of War by Fred Anderson for about a half hour, when the regular Astrology Club comes in and settles at the table next to me. They talk at length about how the opposition of Saturn and Uranus makes the coming election dire, then segue into discussing the housing market.

Pick up the lovely bride and head to Racha up near Seattle Center for a Thai appetizer lunch. Tried Panda Beer, a strange concoction darker than Guiness but with a lighter taste. Then a walk around the fountain, watching families and small children splashing in the central fountain. Beautiful day.

The INTIMAN was doing "The Little Dog Laughed", which was excellent and I should write about it at length. Short form - it was very, very good, and I would recommend it since it wraps up this week.

Back to the house and then south, now, to GwenCon, a yearly gaming event hosted by friends Andy and Gwen. Only did a small bit of gaming, but did a lot of chatting with and schmoozing with friends that I have not seen in forever.

And then everything caught up with me, and I made my goodbyes. I didn't realize how wiped out I was until I drove past my own street on the way home and had to double back. And even now I'm a little worn around the edges, and am planning on doing nothing more than settling into a general position of collapse.

OK, and maybe some writing. In the meantime, I blame the Panda Beer.

More later,

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Crisis of Infinite Secret Invasions

So, enough with politics. Back to the safety of comic book realities.

I’ve been tracking the convoluted continuities of the DC and Marvel Universes for years, and find that they run hot and cold, one ascendant while the other stumbles. Both make heavy use of “Crisis Events” – big things that happen in the core universe which are supposed to have ramifications through all the other books. The modern manifestation of these in the books is a "core" limited series, along with various one-shots and tie-ins through existing books (usually the less-popular ones).

And both companies have been hard at this for the past few years, with crisis upon crisis, until the reader suffers crisis fatigue. DC is unspooling the “Final Crisis” while Marvel is presenting a “Secret Invasion”. And I’m finding myself reading the FC books first, just to get them out of the way, while I’m saving the SI books for last, since I'm really enjoying them.

Final Crisis is about … well, I’m not quite sure. The evil Darkseid takes over the world, finally, and the good guys lose. I think. They’re about three issues in on the core comic, and they are still mired in Act 1.

(Basic dramatic framework in three sentences:
Act 1 – Chase the hero up a tree.
Act 2 – Throw rocks a him.
Act 3 – Get him down.).*

And the supporting books aren’t much help, either. There isn’t that much co-ordination going on this multiverse, so if you pay too much attention, you can’t figure out if the story takes place before one of the major stories, after it, or both simultaneously.

Worse yet, DC has to juggle its ponderous multiverse of infinite earths, but it does not seem to have a master list. The main DC universe is sometimes Earth 1, sometimes New Earth, and there is an Earth-0 hanging around. So there are 52 Earths or 53? And how many times has Earth 51 been destroyed?

And then there is terminology. The current DC crisis has embraced technobabble to a degree that would make the engineering department on the Enterprise blush, flavored by pseudo philosophy and sociology.

And lastly, there is some metatextural level going on. The idea of additional levels of reality have been evolving here, going way back to the age when Silver Age writer Gardner Fox created the Silver Age Barry Allen Flash, based on Barry reading the Golden Age Flash’s comic book when he was a boy. But the Russian dolls of reality within reality has gone berserk. Who is reading who?

Oh, and add time travel to the plot as well.

The end result is a hash, a dog’s breakfast. I am assured that there will be much heartbreak and destruction of heroes which will in the end make their triumph even better, but right now it is a complete mess.

Marvel, on the other hand, has raised phoenix-like from its ashes with its Secret Invasion. Not too long ago, the universe was all crisised out, and if you want a full recap, they did a free giveaway comic summarizing all of it (out last week – may still be in the local shop – recommended).

But the concept of the SI is neat and discrete. The Skrulls, shapechanging pace invaders from the days when Marvel’s big book was “Where Monsters Dwell”, are back, and they have infiltrated the earth with undetectable duplicates.

And they’ve been following the classic three act series. In act 1, they chased everyone up a tree (the Skrulls are revealed! The powerful members of the superhero community are neutralized! The invasion fleet arrives!). We are now in the midst of Act 2 (Heroes face their dopplegangers! Friends prove to be foes!) and just verging into Act 3 (The powerful heroes escape! Vengeances are at hand!).

It’s that simple – a good comic story. And, what they’ve done with the supporting books is pretty smart as well. The Avengers books are actually back-story, revealing how the Skrulls infiltrated in the first place (big problem – the duplicates are SO good they think they are the real heroes), and a lot more of their culture. The smaller books in the line get to deal with particular small nuances of the invasion. "Hercules" gets to do a God story. "She-Hulk" and "X-Factor" gets to play with another piece of the religious puzzle. The improbably named "Captain Britain and the MI-13" deals with the invasion of England and the restoration of British Magic (Oh, and skrull version of John Lennon, who rebels against his establishment). All of these have been, at their hearts, well-written stories which build off the central crisis without invalidating it.

And it fits with continuity. The entire operation fits in a very small space in the time of the universe, doesn’t revise the entire universe between panels, and most of all, makes a modicum of sense. I mean, it’s a comic book universe where people in long underwear fly, but internally it makes sense.

And the characters feel right. After the weirdness of Marvel's Civil War, where everyone had to pick sides and characters you liked were justifying really stupid things, they have brought them all back together without declaring too many of them to really be Skrulls. AND they even redeemed Tony (Iron Man) Stark, which given his movie has become a must-do.

So, Secret Invasion – so far, so good. Final Crisis – Nod and smile and hope that they make sense of it eventually.

More later,
*Clarification: This is not an original thought. I wrote this entry, went to a play, and they USED this line in the play. However, an original cite would be appreciated, if anyone knows it.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Sauce for the goose. Here’s the Republican week in comparison

(Mind you, I had to spread out my sources here a little more. The Stranger continued to do good posting, but, come on, they're to the left of most of the Democratic party to start with, so there's the whole "stranger in a strange land" vibe going for it. Scarlett also put in some bits as they were happening real time. I ended up watching a lot of YouTube)

Veep Pick – Tina Fey! Yeah, I'm the last person in the America to make this joke. Apparently the new veep won her position in an essay contest.

From the initial descriptions over the weekend, Ms. Palin sounded like the next gen Phyllis Schlafly. The general media take is that she’s a token, a trophy veep, a gimmick, and that McCain really wanted Lieberman. Because, you know, running with the opposing VP from the last election is not a gimmick.

The Democratic convention was compared to the recent Olympics because more people watched Obama’s speech than the opening ceremonies. The GOP Convention gets compared to the recent Olympics by the fact that the local government rounded up all the dissidents.

Those of you who has “Monday” in the pool of “how soon before the cops start macing and arresting journalists”, pleased come to the window to pick up your winnings.

Gustav, a storm with a sufficiently foreign-sounding name, bore down on New Orleans. Now, while you and I might think this is a bad thing for the GOP, evoking memories of Katrina, instead the Reps chose to use it as the mother of all backdrops to show that they are active and dynamic and presidential – unlike those Dems who just had a boring, everyday convention.

Because when life gives you hurricanes, you make hurricane drinks

By Monday, Gustav landed but was only (ONLY) Cat 2, which is like being hit with a slightly SMALLER baseball bat. This was not dodging a bullet – the damage to the south is devastating, and while the good news is that evacuations were better this time and the levees have for the most part held, the damage was severe and widespread.

But it did give the extremely unpopular president an excuse to miss Monday at the convention that should be a celebration of his achievements, and to phone in his bit on Tuesday, like he was congratulating returning astronauts. Man, they really threw the president under the bus on this one. May historians treat him better than his own party did this week.

Prepared for Gustav, the GOP got slammed instead with a northern storm of bad news about its own VP Selection, which ranged from the minor to the serious to the completely bizarro. Suddenly the gulf coast was old news.

Apparently the theme of the convention is Country First* (*Offer invalid in Alaska)

A lot of politicians are MIA at this convention. Unlike the DNC, where you couldn’t throw a dead cat without hitting Jim McDermott posing with a blogger, Name Republicans with jobs are staying away in droves. Bush is in Washington, Cheney is in Georgia. Riechert had to wash his hair. Dino Rossi failed to show (and is trying run as an Obama Democrat, now). From the WA delegation, AG McKenna was there and Slade Gorton was floating around, but in general, this has all the drawing power of the Springfield BiMonSciFiCon.

Also staying away: The television audience, right up to the Palin speech.

OK, I’m ALSO officially sick of the “If the Democratic Candidate had (Insert latest GOP gaffe, policy, talking point, or personal failing), then the election would be OVER. You're right, it would be. We hold Dems to a higher standard. Which is why we should put them in office.

Apparently, the Republican nominee was some sort of prisoner during a recent war. I’m surprised we haven’t heard about this before.

Good News - The Seattle Times' David Postman has a good bit on his Alaskan politics - his home state. Bad News - David Postman is leave the Times.

And the high point was presenting the already-overexposed VP choice to the world. I think Palin’s segment was very good. Of course, the expectations for the GOP is lower than the Dems. Republicans don’t do speeches well – they do sound bytes. ("Axis of Evil", “Tear down this wall”, “I am not a crook”). So if you can read a teleprompter and hit your marks, you’re Fred Thompson!

But this was a ladling out of the old school Republican tropes - red meat for the crowd. The great tradition of "Lie, Deny, and Defy" was in full force here. And the delegates, forced to wade through painful boilerplate for so long, came alive in what could be honestly called enthusiasm.

But it wasn't a speech. It was a routine, a stringing together of attacks, asides, and slurs. Triumph the Insult Comedy Dog must be crying in his little paws.

And since the GOP has gotten no traction on the “mean, mean, Dems” meme, they have fallen back on the “mean, mean media” meme. Oh, and media? Those catcalls and hearty boos when she gave you that shout-out? That's the sound of a mob, and your BFF the GOP is leading the assault.

And apparently the culture wars are back. Good thing I didn't throw out those flared pants and thin ties I wore in the 80s.

But the Palin did something long-thought impossible - it raised expectations on the McCain acceptance speech. The stage was set for Sen. McCain to close the deal, to include America, and, having subdued the monster that is his party's radical wing, blossom as a leader.

Instead we got Les Nesman. Wow, this was a frankenspeech. Not horrible, but stitched together of bits and pieces. When speaking of his personal experiences, McCain was solid and on-target. The rest? Not so much.

Apparently, the Republicans now love change. Sweet, sweet change. Changee change change. One set of brown shoes for another set of brown shoes.

And he got interrupted by protesters. What the freaking hay? Obama has a celebration in a freaking stadium with 75,000 of his new best friends without an outburst, and you get interrupted a couple of times? Who was put in charge of your security, your vetting team? Update: The protesting vet was a Ron Paul supporter.

Oh, and the war porn before the speech? Showing the planes hit WTC for your adoring audience? Class act. I forget, whatever happened to the guy who did that?

Modern conventions serve two purposes. To rally the base and to show the competence of the party for the general election by throwing a decent party. I think they've finally unified the base. Unfortunately, it's the Democratic base. Everything else had a badly hashed, thrown-together look that took some serious turns into "not-ready-for-prime-time" land.

So, after a week, a hurricane, a scandal-prone Veep pick, large protests and arrests, Amnesia about having a Republican President for the last eight years. I get the general feeling that, Palin aside, Reps are done, spent, worn out. On the other hand, they’ve gotten people to stop talking about how good Obama was at the Dem convention.

Mission Accomplished!

More later,

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Missed Phone Messages

Apparently, this is all my fault.

Remember last week, when I rolled that kayak (um, three times)? Well, I had my cell phone in my shirt pocket, and it shorted out from immersion in Lake Washington. And once I dried it out (household tip – Hair dryer on low and patience), I didn’t check for messages.

Turns out I had three of them. Here’s the first – Wednesday, 9 AM:
Hey, Jeff, this is, um, John McCain. Running for president, you know? And the boys and I were talking and they really like some of the things you’ve written – Manual of the Planes and all that. Visionary stuff. And I was thinking, well, we were thinking, that this was the fresh outlook that we’re looking for in the Republican Party. So, if you’re interested, you might want to join the ticket and become my vice president.

So get back to me when you have a chance. Ciao!
Second Message – Wednesday, 11 AM
Jeff, John again. I haven’t heard from you. Look, is it the D&D thing? I know we’ve been talking smack about that pro-Obama D&D crowd, but if you want, I can fire the guy saying that. Bang, he's gone. No, really, he creeps me out. And the base will understand. They’ll take whatever we give them. I can dig up Saddam’s body and make it my running mate and FOX will declare that it’s a game-changing, mavericky decision.

OK, that came out wrong. I don’t mean to compare you to a dead dictator. The point is, we can do whatever we want. Our party has screwed up the Federal Government for eight years and now we're running as reformers, and no one even blinks. I think we have good synergy, you and me. I really want you consider this and get back to me, soonest.

Really like your stuff. Hope to hear from you. B’bye.
Third Message – Wednesday, 1 PM.
Fine. You don’t want the (deleted) job. At least you’d have the (deleted) to tell me to my (deleted) face. I don’t need you. I don’t need ANY of you (unintelligible) . No, I haven’t been drinking. I’m just hurt. I THOUGHT you’d care about your country, but I can see you’re just like the others.

Hate you. Hate your (deleted) books. I’m going to go find somebody who will answer my calls. Is that an Alaska phone book? Throw it over here. (mutters) I'll show you all.

Oh, and don’t bother to call back. Bozo.
What can I say? I could have spared the nation all this.

More later,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Other People's News

Busy at the moment, so here's some news for a very limited audience.

First off, my eldest niece's boyfriend has proposed (about time, Eric). No, they haven't set a date yet - one thing at a time. Congrats to the couple!

Second off, former TSR/WotC Alum and former next door neighbor Steven Schend has his new book out.

It has been out for a while, but the amazing Stan! has helped launch Super Genius Games with a couple of cool Call of Cthulhu pdf projects (print version is on the way)!. Go check him out.

And lastly, WotC designer Andy Collins gets a name-check from the PVP comic. And yeah, we ALL worry about Andy.

More later,

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Labor Day Gaming

Woof, I'm tired today.

Yesterday the Lovely Bride and I hosted our "annual impromptu Labor Day open house and gaming session", where we invited friends over for about 8 hours of gaming, mixing the streams on no less than three different game groups that the LB and I are part of. And everyone had a great time, but I am a little worn out.

We had about a dozen people over, which stretched the limits of our horseshoe-driveway to its max. We warmed up with bocce (which forced me to the wikipedia to determine the difference between bocce and lawn bowls). We played (in no particular order and in various combinations of players - Last Night on Earth, Ticket to Ride, Citadels, Formula De, Tikal, and Carcasonne: Hunters and Gatherers (Odd that so many of these games were in The Top 100 Hobby Games volume).

We had pizza and watermelon and way too many snacks. We loved hanging out with the gang. We had a fine old time. But this morning, I am just beat.

More later,

Monday, September 01, 2008

Masters of Fantasy

Many (many) years ago, I had the opportunity to work with some of the best fantasy artists in the business - Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, and the late (and missed) Keith Parkinson. They were part of the TSR art department, an on-site bullpen that included Clyde Caldwell, Brom, Paul Jaquays, and Fred Fields. And at the time, I said that their work would be hanging in a museum someday, and there would be polite laughter.

But Larry, Jeff, and Keith have a show, at the Kendall Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from now until the 20th of September. Larry Elmore will be on campus September 15-17 for talks and discussions. The show includes some of the work that I watched being created, all those years ago.

I am incredibly pleased that the great fantasy artists of my early years are getting the attention they deserve. While at the time the work was considered "commercial art", it has stayed with us, and gotten beyond its commercial origins, much as Parish shilled for Jello, Mucha did ads for JOB rolling paper, Toulouse-Lautrec did posters, and Rockwell created covers for the Saturday Evening Post. Art can transcend purpose, which is what makes it art.

On the other hand, I now have to admit that I'm as old as a group of Old Masters.

Oh, well. More later,

Rainfall on Grubb Street for the month of August: Three inches and a scootch.