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Posts from September 2007

Halloween, to my wife and me, is the entire month of October. See, the holiday itself just isn't what it used to be...at least not around here. Trick-or-treating is limited mostly to places of business because people can't be trusted (rightly so) to be allowed to simply give candy to kids. Few actual Halloween costume parties take place. We ventured to Sleepy Hollow on Halloween two years ago and found it to be sleepy, indeed, and that it had opted not to use its literary reputation to play up the holiday. Sad, sad. Alas, Halloween just isn't what it used to be.

So we spread out the holiday and make it the whole month. We'll be visiting Salem, MA again in a couple of weeks. That's a town that embraces the holiday, that hosts festivities throughout the month.

So we really try our best to enjoy the month. This year has multiple conflicts: trying to rent out one of the apartments in our building to good people (a feat in itself). My mom is doing well. Thank you to you well-wishers out there. But it's all about how the longterm is when it comes to back surgery.

Coming soon this month: a special podcast hosted by Sidedown, but curated by myself and a couple others, with a horror theme.

Finally, I leave you with the Weather Gargoyle, this website's latest staff member. He complains a lot, but he claims to be a meteorologist...of sorts. His application for a job with the Weather Channel was rejected ("racism," he claims), but we figure he spends most of his time atop buildings so he's got to have some perspective on climate and weather conditions.

As a gargoyle, I know weather and I know it well. And now that it's October, I can tell you that today's 70 just isn't cutting it. I flew to London just yesterday, and it was 10 cooler. What gives?

posted on 09.30.2007

That's usually the word used, and it's more often than not followed by "warm" than "cold." It's all the sun's fault of course, which since the beginning of time, Man has yearned to destroy. Sadly, such efforts have slowed down over the years.

But, as Geddy Lee points out, we're "just between the ice ages anyway."

It's been a pretty stressful week/month, balancing work (the usual), home-related necessary hassles, visiting my mom in the hospital each day after work (she's in recovery mode now, an excruciating process)...all while brainstorming a new writing proposal. And this lousy New York heat and humidity really, really isn't helping. I'd like to look forward to October, arguably the coolest month of the year. It's one of our favorite months, and I'd like to avoid too many problems therein.

I hope everyone else is doing well, or at least getting by.

Right about now, Hudson Bay sure sounds pretty good. Today's temperature there is 35. Sounds just about right to me.

posted on 09.27.2007

So my company, as part of its 10th anniversary, has had three celebratory events. The third was to take place at the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY (which I've been to a few times before). Ultimately, it was canceled, presumably due to lack of interest among the employees. Disregarding such sticks-in-the-mud, our HR department offered to pay for the tickets of those families still interested in going on their own.

So we did. My wife and I, her parents, her brother Sam, and our nephew Matthew all attended for free. We had fun. It wasn't too hot. I was sadly unable to afford most of the cool stuff (like leather boots, which range from $250-$400, and various weapons and armor), but we still had fun. It was more crowded than previous years.

There's certainly some overlap between the kinds of people who attend a fantasy gaming convention like GenCon and a Ren Faire, but one thing that's different: Ren Faire people are generally more outgoing, and there are raunchier jokes made by the Faire's staff.

Here are some pictures.

Our nephew Matthew as Captain Jack Sparrow. Everyone loved him, but his mother has gotten it into his head that only girls have long hair and so he shunned the hat-and-hair quite a bit. I am to correct this blasphemy during these formative years.

posted on 09.17.2007

All right, then. Enough talk about LotRO. If fortune favors me, I won't have time for playing computer games anyway. October is coming, and historically that's always a big month for me, between Halloween festivities (Marisa and I tend to take a pilgrimage to Salem, MA each year now) and our anniversary on Halloween itself.

Moreover, it's the beginning of fall, a season whose virtues include a wash of amazing colors in the landscapes of New York and not being summer. Summer needs to end, and soon. The only good weather is jacket weather.

But before the craziness of October begins, we must conclude September. Toward the end of the month, my mother is going to have some major surgery, so really it's hard to think too far past that. So it's time to marshal myself for things to come, projects to work on, personal goals to achieve, and writing to continue.

In the meantime, don't forget to pre-order The Darkwood Mask! 6 months and counting.

Here's a final amusing bit: today's featured article on Wikipedia is Dungeons & Dragons! I like this excerpt.

"Players of D&D create characters that embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master (DM) serves as the game's referee and storyteller, while also maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur. During each game session, the players listen to descriptions of their character's surroundings, as well as additional information and potential choices from the DM, then describe their actions in response. The characters form a party that interacts with the setting's inhabitants (and each other), solves dilemmas, engages in battles and gathers treasure and knowledge. In the process the characters earn experience points to become increasingly powerful over a series of sessions. D&D departs from traditional wargaming by assigning each player a specific character to play, as opposed to a military formation."

posted on 09.14.2007

A few things of note:

  • For some good work-time ambiance, go here and download the mp3.
  • If you've got a few creative cells in your body, you might consider submitting to the Sidedown Monograph #2. The theme is Polyemma; that is, needing to choose between multiple, undesirable outcomes.
  • And for any of you who aren't yet sold on the idea of Lord of the Rings Online, you obviously haven't considered the following:

Here's the full-sized version of this one. Perfect for desktop wallpaper!

posted on 09.09.2007

Tolkien, like C.S. Lewis, is one of my greatest idols, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be crazy about the idea of Middle-Earth becoming a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that allows Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits to run around the realm with names like Sexycupid and Pimptastic.

But, my recent introduction to LOTRO has me hoping some small part of him would be okay with the idea that thousands of people would be able to revisit Middle-Earth in a way that he could never have allowed them. Moreover, to do so with friends in fellowships of their own. Silly as its players are, so far I've found that the designers of the game seem to care a whole lot and have been true to Tolkien's world within the limits of their license (they have license to use The Hobbit and the trilogy but curiously, and sadly, not The Silmarillion) and the needs of an MMORPG.

And my character? A Wood Elf hunter from Mirkwood named Ashlock. (On the Nimrodel server.)

Mostly I'll be experiencing this game along with my friend, and MMORPG expert, Richie Procopio. (He was never able to suck me into World of Warcraft; it just doesn't appeal to me.) Which is another thing such games are great for: gaming remotely. Neither the circumstances of Richie's life nor mine allow for getting together to enjoy our mutual hobby (fantasy gaming), but games like this make circumstances slightly better. For a few hours a week, anyway. I don't have the time to devote every day to this game.

posted on 09.04.2007
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