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Posts from May 2007

I feel anxious and floundering if I don't have a good book to read at any given time. Taking my subway commute through the bowels of NYC each day to and from work would be near unbearable without something to occupy my mind as only a novel can.

I just finished reading F. Paul Wilson's The Keep, and I will recommend it to anyone who've ever enjoyed even a single horror novel. It was written in the early 80s and somehow that shows, but it's still a very fresh story and a very cool twist on traditional vampire folklore (none of that Buffy nonsense).

The setup: It is WWII and a contingent of Germans have been ordered to take command of a seemingly empty keep in the Carpathian Mountains. Two officers, each with a squad of soldiers beneath him. One squad are Nazis, the other are not. Then something starts killing the soldiers, one man per night. Add in a couple of Jews whose help they need (and demand), a mysterious newcomer, and very freaky antagonist, and you've got a good book. It's so much more than horror; you get to get into the head of a Nazi officer, a German officer who does not like Hitler and the movement overtaking his country, and the Jews who fear them.

Only now that I'm finished with it have I learned that there's a cult movie made after the book that evidently is pretty bad (yet with an all-star cast). Huh. I'd like to track that thing down.

posted on 05.24.2007

Our three-day weekend to Vermont involved a lot of driving, some really good food, and a heck of a lot of clean country air. We're city-dwelling folks here, but both Marisa and I yearn for greener places. Having passed through Vermont on our honeymoon 2.5 years ago, we desired to return again. And so we have.

Marisa goes for the farms. I go for the maple-flavored everything. We were such tourists, it's mildly embarrassing. But damn, those maple cream cookies are good, not to mention the Grade B pure maple syrup...

Anyway, here is a brief pictorial "tour" of the trip. Just hover your cursor over the images.

posted on 05.20.2007

Today Marisa Monica LoPrete LaSala celebrates, under orders from her husband, the anniversary of her birth on the planet Earth. While today won't see any significant changes to their daily routines (aside from the inclusion of a handful of presents) Marisa and her husband intend to take Friday off for a 3-day weekend to visit Vermont locales: farms, trails, any purveyors of maple syrup, and a nice restaurant or two.

Secretly, her husband hopes to meanwhile scan the Vermontian horizon for the biggest mountains, mentally planning next winter's skiing trip.

posted on 05.15.2007

The last few days consisted of Mother's Day observances, belated birthday observances, and funerals. And notably, a senior art show at Moore College, where my friend, fellow gamer, and artist Ruth Lampi, one half of the Five Wits, has just graduated. Today, in fact, is the ceremony. The images here are just a tiny snapshot of the amazing things she's made.

I know lots of artsy people They're all pretty cool.

posted on 05.14.2007

Here is something I'm nervous, but mostly excited about. The resurrection of the Ravenloft line of novels. The actual D&D sourcebooks were abandoned by TSR/WotC some years ago, then were picked up by White Wolf (who actually did some very cool things with it), then it was abandoned again. Ravenloft is the proverbial undead setting.

WotC then went and republished some of the Ravenloft novels whose authors are bigger names now than they were when they wrote these books. That seemed to be the end of it, but now new novels. For anyone who's a Ravenloft fan, that's a really big deal.

The first book will be coming out in March of 2008, written by Ari Marmell (who's done some excellent sourcebooks for Eberron, among others), and will actually involve Earth. That's a new direction for Ravenloft.

posted on 05.11.2007

In music stores, most of the time you have categories of such as Country, R&B, Religious/Gospel, or the ever-specific Rock/Pop. Well, I think there should be different categories that look more like this:

  • Music For Driving (Daytime)
  • Music For Driving (At Night)
  • Music For When You're Angry
  • Music To Cheer You Up

Or, one of my favorites:

  • Music That's Good For When It's Raining Out

See, music is mood-inducing to me, and I like a great deal of it. Some of it is obscure to the common man (Bel Canto), some of it is older than my generation can appreciate (Yes), some of it Americans just don't know or understand (Mike Oldfield), and some of it's pretty close to mainstream but not really (U2). Also, some of it is just downright amazing (Rush).

With that said, I want to recommend the music of my friend Josh Wentz, a lot of whose music fits squarely into the last category I listed above. It's mellow, often driven, and very...I don't know what to call it. I'm a musical layman, so I think in terms of moods and temperaments. Call it...diaphanous? If you've ever heard Passengers: Original Soundtracks (i.e. U2 and Brian Eno), which you probably haven't, it's something on par with that.

Josh has like a million mp3s available on INDISTR right now that you can buy for $1 per song or $24 for the whole lot of them (but not for much longer). Now I know a lot of people visiting this website don't know who he is, so why spend that money on that? So I can recommend a couple of choice songs worthy of a measely greenback or two (and you can use PayPal). I certainly wouldn't recommend these if I hadn't listened to them endlessly myself.

  • "My New Suit" - The means and specifics of Josh ruling the world.
  • "The Exurbian" - Quintessential Jw, in my opinion.
  • "Deep Dark Sea" - I don't know why, I just dig this one. The lyrics are thoughtful, even though you don't really know the story.

If you'd like to sample some of his stuff first, go here. Josh will probably think my favorites are his least favorites (after all, he's got later, more mature stuff in recency). But I don't care, since this is my website. Go to Sidedown if you want his opinion on anything.

posted on 05.06.2007

The stars are aligned (though the gods are decidedly not maligned). Today sees a cosmic conjuction anticipated for a considerable amount of time: The Canadian trio known as Rush, hailing from the planet Earth (a place not entirely disimilar to Eternia) releases their new album Snakes and Arrows. While the name and album cover are certainly...intriguing, this Cosmic Enforcer knows it won't disappoint. How it fares against the rest of their impressive body of work I cannot yet say. I will, no doubt, provide a review of some kind in the days to come.

posted on 04.30.2007
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