Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Powering Through

I've seriously overproduced on two of the chapters I'm writing freelance, which is making me seriously late. And I don't like it. It's funny, because I'm not trying to "over" write, but there's just so much to say that I run over the requested wordcount. I'll finish the second chapter soon, then start on the third chapter. As of this moment I'm about 14K words from finishing the whole thing, which should be doable in my off hours over the next couple of weeks.

I've finished reading Drops of Corruption (mentioned a couple of posts ago) and I've also finished (just this morning) Storm Front, which is a Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher. If you've seen The Dresden Files on the Sci-Fi Channel, this is the first book of the series of novels on which the show is based. Oddly, I've never seen the show. I'd placed this in my "to-read" stack a while ago and it just happned to come up now.

I enjoyed it. For a first novel I think Butcher did a very good job. He style is solid and flows easily--which is one of the reasons I was able to read it so quickly. If you're looking for another take on modern-day magic and/or another take on the prototypical down-on-his-luck detective, give this novel a look. Note to gamers: If you didn't know, Butcher is a big geek (see his bio) and you can definitely tell he's played some Mage or something in the past.

Okay, that's all for now.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I've been buried under my writing assignment, so I haven't taken time to write here. Sorry about that. I'm bothered by how the writing has gone. I wrote about 2,000 more words than I needed to in one section and the section I'm working on now might run as much as 5,000 words over. That sucks, because I could have used that time to whittle down the 12,000 word section I have to start soon . . . and finish by the 15th. Ugh.

I took a couple of hours off this weekend, however. Saturday night was a Haloween party at Jordan's house. He always throws a big to-do for Halloween and it was fun. This year everyone had to show up as a dead celebrity. Everyone from Indira Ghandi, Steve Erwin, Jon-Benet Ramsey, Sharon Tate, Mr. Rogers, and Katherine Hepburn showed up, but I have to say that my favorite was Seth's Bob Ross -- the guy who painted "happy little trees" on PBS. Oh, I chuckled. And it was fun to see Seth with a giant afro.

Sunday, after a loooong break, we finally played D&D again. We didn't get a lot done, but we laughed a lot, so that made it all worth while.

The next couple of days will be spent writing, but then the end of the week will be a wash due to my day job.

Speaking of jobs, I had an interview last week that went well and I should find out their decision this week.

More soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Rome Season 1 and Season 2: Julia and I watched this series over the last couple of months via Netflix. We both really enjoyed it. I loved seeing history played out before us (even if it wasn't wholly acurate (it's not like I'd know anyway)) and I loved the arcs of the two Legionnaires. I wasn't sure what to think of the series before I starting watching it, but now that I've seen it I think I'd recommend it to almost anyone; the stories and setting are great. Gamers would especailly enjoy it.

Alias Season 1: I only saw portions of a couple episodes of this when it was on TV, but Julia was a big fan of it, so we added it to the Netflix queue (and thanks be to Netflix for exposing the correct spelling and usage of the word queue to a much wider portion of the population!) and have watched the first couple of disks in the last couple of weeks. It's fun and I can't get over the breakneck pacing -- especailly when compared to J.J. Abrams pace on Lost. Again, I recommend this for gamers who want to learn a thing or three about pacing and the proper use of MacGuffins.

Mad Men: Thanks to the capabilities of Comcasts' On Demand service we've been watching Mad Men. For some reason we always miss it when a new episoe airs, but On Demand has saved us. We both like this show and I find myself really wanting to know more about the characters. They're not all "good guys" by any stretch, but they're all interesting. There have been a number of interviews about how they tried to make the show as "realistic" as possible with regards to how an office in Manhattan in the 1950s was, but I really can't get over the amount of smoking, racism, sexism, and sexual abuse. Seeing how the gay characters deal with their place in society has been a bit heartbreaking as well.

Flashman by George MacDonald Frazer: I read this during breaks at work and at night before going to bed over the past couple of weeks. If I'd read this as a teenager I think I might have been a bigger history buff. Some of the people I've talked to absolutely love these books and others can't get past the racism, classism, sexism, and rape. I think I'm more in the first camp than the latter, but mostly because Flashman always gets his comeuppance (at least to some extent). As a novel the book is paced wonderfully and each chapter feels like an important part of the whole. I may read another book from this series soon.

Drops of Corruption, a Shadowrun novel by Jason M. Hardy: This is what I'm currently reading. I wanted a bit of mindless fiction and this fit the bill. The writer doesn't quite have his style down and he repeats a motif a couple of times without realizing it, but it's enough fun that I'm going to stick it out. I also like that it's a standalone novel instead of part of a trilogy or continuing story. I'm already 100 pages in, so I think I'll finish pretty quickly. I'm discovering that 250-page novels go pretty quickly after you've spent some time reading a bunch of 600+ page novels.

More later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Strange Visitors

Okay, not so strange visitors, but last Thursday my mom and grandma arrived from Wisconsin. The pair of them were last hear in November of 2002 and they were excited to see the new house and meet Julia's parents.

Thursday after they arrived we went straight to the Thai place near our house and had a late lunch. Mom and Gram both liked Thai food the last time they were here and they don't really get much of it in Burlington. They particularly enjoyed the Thai iced tea . . . but who doesn't? After lunch we went home and showed them the house, which they loved, and then we relaxed for the evening and chatted.

Friday I had to be up and moving early to meet with a guy who'd come to give us a quote on redoing our chimney (which is in pretty bad shape). That went well, but another guy was due to come on Tuesday and we haven't made a decision on anything yet. I'm sure we did something Friday during the day, but I can't remember what it was. In the afternoon we dressed up and headed down to Julia's parents' place so they could all meet. Julia's dad had picked up tickets to see the Seattle Symphony perform Mozart's Magic Flute, Clarinet Concerto, and his Requiem. It was great and Mom and Gram both said it was one of the best things they'd ever seen. Over the course of the evening we also learned that they'd never seen Amadeus, so we made plans to watch that later in the weekend.

Saturday we were all up and in the car by 9am to head up to Bellingham. We were there by around 11:30 and spent the rest of the day on Julia's mom and dad's boat. We anchored in a little inlet and enjoyed a day of grilling in the sun -- although it was particularly nice because Julia's mom and dad did all the grilling and all we had to do was enjoy it. Everyone enjoyed sitting in the sun and enjoying the wildlife. We saw a blue heron chase off another blue heron, an eagle flew by overhead, and a bunch of very loud seagulls. Oh, and we saw a dog exploring the waterfront and panic a bit when he'd managed to get himself stuck in a little cave in the small waterfront cliff. The trip back that night was long due to traffic, so by the time we'd made it back to town we were all ready for dinner, so we stopped by burgers at Burgermaster. I'd never been there before, and it was really good.

Sunday was a day of relaxation. We went out for breakfast at Lola, then we watched Amadeus and hung, talked, and watched TV. It was great to get a chance to just hang out and visit for a while.

Monday we had dinner, then drove around to Alki Beach, Fremont, the Zoo, Queen Anne (where we tried to see the view from Carry (sp?) Park, but it was too foggy), then went home so I could meet with Dylan. He Spent most of the afternoon with me and told me what I needed to upgrade my computer. After a quick trip to Fry's we'd picked up a couple gigs of RAM and a new video card. Now the computer is much faster and I am happy.

Finally, this morning Mom and Gram said goodbye to Julia when she headed to work and I took them to the airport. They should be getting back right around now. It was a great visit and I hope they can come back sometime. It was really nice of them to visit since I won't make it back home this year.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Buying and Selling

Well, my eBay auctions are going well. Actually they're going a bit better than I would have thought so early in their listing. I can' wait to see how things wind up next week. I'll be using the money from the auctions to buy Jason's big-screen TV before he takes off for London and it looks like I'll be able to do that without any problems.

Jumping back in time a bit; Sunday I finished the first chapter (about 10,000 words) of my freelance assignment. It was mid-evening and Julia was bored, so we decided to do some shopping. She wanted some new clothes now that she's got a new job and I figured it couldn't hurt to look for some things for me; especially some warmer stuff since we're trying not to go broke heating our house. (With oil. Ugh.)

Julia found a number of nice outfits, but not by the designer she was specifically looking for. And I was surprised to find some things that fit me and looked great. When I say I was suprised, I really mean it. I haven't purchased new clothes outside of socks and underwear at a "normal" store in, um, ever really. I was always so big that I had to go to a big and tall store or TSC. (That's the Tractor Supply Company for the unknowing. Which, by the way, carries jeans and slothing that go up to absolutely enormous sizes.) And here I was at Target trying on XXL clothes and fitting in them. That was pretty cool. I was wearing 4XL not so long ago. So, I picked up a cool new jacket, dark grey sweatshirt, four thermal shirts in cool muted colors, a black polo, and some new socks. Can't forget the socks. I've been wearing new stuff all weak and I love it. They're all very comfy and and warm . . . and I think they look pretty good, too. Awesome.

As for the rest of the week: Tuesday night we played REIGN (also now available in softcover) which was a lot of fun. We tried to circumvent the normal investigation of the mystery portion of the game by posing as Imperial investigators and were mostly successful, but by the end of the game one of the PCs (Seth's "bard") had been locked in the basement with . . . something, while the rest of us were tied up with the guards. I felt bad for a couple of the other players who weren't involed in that part of the game because they ended up sitting and doing very little while the rest of us got into trouble. I've always felt that balance and equal time at center stage is important in a game, but I didn't realize how out-of-whack the game was until I thought about it on the way down the stairs at the end of the night.

Wednesday and Thursday I wrote, and really it's generous of me to call it that. I think I wrote 200 words Wednesday night. I just couldn't get in the groove, probably because it was the start of a new chapter. Thursday night I did much better, putting about at least three to five times that amount on paper, which is good. I'm still a bit nervous about the deadline for the whole thing, so I may have to talk to the developer about a small extension.

Oh, last week Seth and I received a file with the completed and layed out Iron Age book from Hal at Green Ronin. We had to proofread it and give him feedback. We did that, but mostly we were excited to see that project in it's next-to-final form. It was great to see all the artwork (which I hope some samples of which will be posted to the Green Ronin site soon). It's supposed to release in November and I hope everyone likes it as much as I do.

Okay, enough for now. Talk more soon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rambling Guy

I've noticed, and this should come as no surprise to anyone who's read this blog over time, that I tend to write rambling posts that offer a recap of activities as opposed to posting about a specific item, signing off, then posting about another specific item.

Of course, considering that I started this as a way for people to keep up with what I was doing with my life after I moved to Seattle, I suppose my "recap" posts are understandable. Even so, maybe it's time to move beyond the recaps and start posting about, I don't know, other things.

So, my question for you dozen or two readers is this: Would you rather have me break my posts down into bite-sized snippets, a single topic at a time, or would you rather read my normal, unfettered, ramblings? Leave me some comments or email me directly.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Everybody Wants Some!

Julia and I put together another batch of stuff to liston eBay, so go take a look and bid on something! I know you want it! Whatever 'it' is!