Killing a Book

Writing a book is a labor, sometimes of love, other times of persistence, occasionally of obligation, rarely (one hopes) out of sheer sadism or masochism, depending on who exactly the writer wishes to punish. Regardless of motivation, it is work. And like most jobs, time off can be a necessity during the whole process. Sometimes it’s a holiday, and in some cases in can be an entire leave of absence for months or years until the desire to resume overcomes the reluctance to dive back into the thing that made you walk away altogether.

And sometimes, you just need to tell the book to shove it.

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Reblog: Cancer Feelings: Fear

I haven’t had much to say here of late, obviously. I entertain notions of doing so, but time and circumstance and lack of anything meaningful or interesting or funny that I want to say (ed: Never stopped you before.) (Shutup.) has prevented it. Someone who HAS things that are not only meaningful and interesting and funny to say is my wife. She’s writing a series on the feelings that cancer causes from her own perspective. She just posted about Fear, and… let’s just say that it’s deep and insightful and entertaining as hell, because she can write better than I. See for yourself:

Speaking of our house, that’s probably been the hardest and scariest thing. We bought a house in September and I was scared to death of it for the first month. I didn’t want to be alone in it, and I still won’t go into the basement when Alan’s not home (that may be more because basements in general are scary and I’m a child). It definitely helped to get all the furnishings of the old, religious couple who lived here before out (multiple. cherub. switch plates. I shit you not.), but I would still go through the house with a golf club or a sword a lot of the time when I got home alone. I’d ask Alan to draw the curtains at night because I would jump at the movement of the reflections. I couldn’t shake this feeling that something was hiding in our house waiting to attack me. I told my cancer shrink (yup, I have a cancer shrink. She’s a stage 3 breast cancer survivor, 22 years in remission, and she rocks) and she made a very good point. “Of course you’re scared there’s something lurking in your house trying to kill you. There was something hiding in your body for 10 years that just tried to kill you.” And just like that, Carol exploded my brain.

Go here to read the rest of it. Say hi to her when you do. She’s really nice.

Top Ten Inexplicable Names Rich People Give Their Sons Which Are Jobs They’d Never Allow Them to Do for a Living

In order of pretension:

1. Tanner (leather maker)

1. Chandler (candle-maker)

1. Baxter (Baker)

1. Fletcher (arrow maker)

1. Brewster (Brewer, often a female brewer)

1. Carter (one who moves things from place to place, in a cart or as if they are a cart)

1. Hunter (self-explanatory)

1. Cooper (barrel maker)

1. Harper (one who plays a harp)

1. Mason (stoneworker)

And the most horrible name no one should give their son but would probably expect him to do for a living:

Wexler (money-lender)

What I imagine everyone named these things sees in their mirror every day.

What I imagine everyone named these things sees in their mirror every day.

Don’t name your children like this.

5 Things That Made Daredevil So Awesome

When I heard that Marvel was planning on making a Daredevil series on Netflix, I was skeptical. I didn’t know if they could do a Daredevil live-action story right, I wasn’t sure Netflix was a good place for it, I was afraid they were overextending themselves and by seeking too hard to spread the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe, in case you’ve just gotten out of a bunker Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-style, which by the way if you haven’t watched that show yet you really, really should, because it is seriously excellent) beyond the big screen and the not-the-greatest ABC shows (they are very solid shows that manage to not completely capture my interest enough to watch them week-to-week – more on that later) Marvel would risk their run of success by producing a bunch of mediocre stuff that would jeopardize the entire endeavor.

Now, that might happen someday, but Daredevil made me look like the idiot I am for doubting them.

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Way-Too-Late Movie Reviews: Interstellar

I watch a lot of movies, but usually well after they’ve been released. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about them, because I am an asshole (that’s what that old saying means, right?). Based on those two facts, I am introducing a semi-regular feature called Way-Too-Late Movie Reviews, since the review comes well after everyone else in the world has already seen it. The first movie is one I just saw over Easter weekend: Interstellar. Maybe soon I’ll do Avatar or Titanic next!

Oh, and by the way, there are spoilers here, because no shit there are spoilers in a movie review that’s been out for months.

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Iron Crown Enterprises, Rolemaster, and MERP: A Love Letter

Last night, I finally got around to watching the Season 2 episode of Community where the group plays Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (I know, I’m way behind the times, see this post for why). It was great, of course, presenting it in a funny way that still showed a love for the whole concept of table-top role-playing underneath (similar to how the movie Role Models approached LARPing – an endeavor silly and ridiculous like the movie shows, but worthwhile and a kick-ass time anyway). Ever since I watched it I’ve been thinking about tabletopping, something I haven’t done in a few years now, and growing up surrounded by the very books that were in the episode (and that still take up several boxes in the back room). I remember the Satanic backlash and having to explain to my mother that I was aware of the fact that magic wasn’t real and that raising an army of the dead wasn’t something I could actually do – a fun conversation, lemme tell you – and all that Jack Chick nonsense. Growing up with that stuff had a huge impact on my life. Without it, my two books don’t exist, I never would have written my own multi-volume system, and I never would have gotten so interested in rules systems that I probably never would have ended up an accountant.

I actually kinda have been invited to join a coven, but it wasn't nearly as awesome as this one.

I actually kinda have been invited to join a coven, but it wasn’t nearly as awesome as this one.

You know, maybe Jack was right. That shit has ruined my life.

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My Top Eight Favorite Fantasy Authors of All Time

I love fantasy stories. I had to make a choice early in my life as to whether I’d be a sci-fi buff or a fantasy geek, and Conan the Barbarian beat Star Wars for the primacy of my heart (sorry, Christian). I do love sci-fi as well, but I think most people lean a bit one way or the other, and I for one lean towards the Ian McKellan in a wizard hat versus the Patrick Stewart in a onesie. My own writing has generally geared towards fantasy (the other times it’s horror, or a mashup like Troius – one day I’ll do this post about horror writers), so I decided I would list my favorite fantasy authors of all time, those folks who have been influential and aspirational to me not only as a writer but as a human being.

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The Members of the Fellowship of the Ring, Ranked

I love The Lord of the Rings more than any other collection of slaughtered tree corpses that have been smashed flat and sliced thin and then stained with runic symbols made from dyes and solvents. You probably knew that already. One day, I was pondering who the most useful members of the Fellowship were, as one does, and decided to write this here post.

So here is the definitive ranking of the members of the Fellowship from the books only, from best to worst. This list is based on the following criteria:

Contribution to the quest relative of power: Gandalf is an immortal spirit with a level of power basically equivalent to Sauron (it’s complicated, I know, since much of the strength of the Dark Lord is tied to Middle-Earth itself, but from a base level, it’s like comparing one Elf to another). Sam is a short fat gardener. One should expect Gandalf to be more useful than Sam, so I try to weigh a character’s potential impact to their actual impact.

Notable achievements during the quest (Pros): pretty self-explanatory.

Bone-headed dumb shit done during the quest (Cons): How badly the character Pippined things up. (Or should it be Pippinned? I feel grammatically it should be Pippinned, but I’m going with Pippined because I like it better.)

Intangibles: The little things the character does that make their impact greater than the sum of their actions that may not be obvious on the surface, which sounds a hell of a lot better than “how I justify ranking someone higher than they might deserve because I am biased in one way or another” which is what this actually factors in.

I will also provide the ranking I would assign if this were based on the movies. Here we go!

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5 Things That Make Me Happy and Giggly Like a Newborn with Gas

The original intent for this post was very different. It was entitled “5 Things That Make Me Mind-Numbingly Furious” and I was planning on writing it because I was in a foul mood for a variety of reasons. I felt tired and petulant and my inner child was drumming his heels on the floor and screaming at the top of his lungs about how life was unfair and throwing breakfast around and the rest of the conclave that makes up the ownership of my brain wanted to beat the living shit out of him, although they were on the verge of conceding that life really is pretty goddamn unfair and the wailing toddler was making a lot of sense and maybe the only solution was to lash out at everyone and everything and maybe mix in a little turd-throwing and so on until one part of my brain was like “Hey, let’s write a blog post about shit that makes us honest-to-fucking-god pissed, not fake pissed” and the rest of me was like “good idea” and so I wrote the preamble and was about to list the things when I stopped and realized that maybe, just maybe, thinking about things that actually make me mad would probably do the opposite thing of making me less mad and only more mad and it probably wouldn’t be funny so my Inner Adult finally put his coffee cup down, told everyone to shut the fuck up, table the blog idea, and just fucking think about something else before Inner Adult took Inner Gaggle of Whiners to the woodshed and tanned some asses.

Side note: If you want to wake up angry, watch “Too Big to Fail” just before going to bed. It’ll take an effort to resist waking up, getting into your car, driving to New York, and indiscriminately driving up and down the sidewalk on Wall Street in an attempt to rid the world of “bankers” one thump-reverse-thump-drive-thump-reverse-for-good-measure-thump-and-what-the-hell-one-last-time-thump-reverse-better-be-sure-thump at a time. Or maybe that’s just me.



Anyway, short story more succinctly put – I didn’t write that post.

Instead, it was suggested by a nightingale near-and-dear to me that instead of frothy anger blog, try writing “5 Things That Make Me Smile-Til-My-Face-Hurts Happy”. After blinking several times as my brain tried to process the concept of “happy” mixed with “my blog” I decided to give it a shot. So here we go – 5 things that make me happy as shit on a day where I’d normally rant about the inconsistency of hotel waffles.

I know, I know – this is new to me too.

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What It Would Take to Get Me To Pay $4k a Night for a Hotel

I am not unfamiliar with the concept of a luxury hotel. I am also aware that hotels on the beach in Florida are pricey as all hell. I am not entirely a beautiful naive sophisticated newborn baby (despite what my betrothed would say), so the fact that there are incredibly expensive hotel rooms out there is not a shock or unfathomable or anything. It does make me feel a little ill, to be honest, or at least the concept of paying for such a hotel does – I am an accountant, after all, and cost/benefit analysis is as hard-wired into my psyche (accountants are born, not made – if someone likes to learn about rules and is the first one to read them when a new boardgame is brought out, you’d probably make an excellent accountant. Which after reading that makes accountants sound boring as hell, which isn’t always true, but accounting itself really is pretty boring when you get right down to it.) as love of steak and distrust of yellow squash. I can’t wrap my head around paying 10 times as much for something simply for the fact that I can afford it when a suitable alternative provides the same function. I get nauseous.

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