Saturday, June 17, 2006

Why I love D&D Miniatures, part 17 (with visual aids)

My parents are getting ready to sell their house. If you can believe it, I still have some stuff in their house, including some really old roleplaying stuff. Well, I got a package with some miscellaneous stuff in it, including some of my very old D&D miniatures. And so, without further ado, I present the c. 1980 version of a black dragon, Demogorgon, and hobgoblins, alongside their contemporary equivalents.

I never could get that black dragon to hold together.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Here it is, June

May was pretty much a blur—spending two weeks of it in bed certainly contributed. I'm coming up on my 13th wedding anniversary (Monday), it's the last day of school for my son, and Origins starts in 3 weeks (I'm not going this year). So why's it still gray and rainy out?

It strikes me that a truly responsible blogger would take an entry like this and split it into four or five entries, to which it would then be possible to assign relevant categories. I'd have a "Writing" category, a "Books I've Read" category, and then some "Theological Musings," a new "Site News" category, and a "Conventions" entry. Would you like to pretend that we live in such a neatly organized world?

I'm the new custodian of the games library at work. I landed the job, in part, because I organized Rob Heinsoo's CDs while riding in his car. At least, that's how he tells the story. My version is that I took a CD out of the player, looked for the right case to put it in, finally found it, and had to remove another CD to put it in there. So then I started looking for the right case for that CD, and that's about when the mocking started. Anyway, the truth is that I am actually a pretty organized person. (For "pretty organized," you may choose to substitute "anal-retentive," as long as you're careful to write it out in full, with the hyphen.) 

Just not here.

OK, on to the topics of the day:

It's Here!
Not there, yet, but here:

I walked into Tuesday's department meeting, and the book department art director had a copy in front of him (along with other books, including our reprint of Laurell K. Hamilton's Death of a Darklord). I was pretty excited that meeting. I called it my Precious. Then I brought it home. And now my wife is (re-)reading it.

As far as I know, the official release date is still July 11. Hey, Amazon (or someone...) has decided to pair this book with Book 1 of The Belgariad. Buy them both, get 5% off. Wacky and zany, simultaneously!

Last night I finished Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, which I enjoyed a great deal. It was not exactly a fast-paced thrill ride of a book, but it was filled with likable, intelligent characters. It's not exactly a fresh take on the Dracula legend, but a very engaging immersion in it. And I had absolutely no qualms about her writing, as long as you can forgive her the deliberate pace of the 642-page book. Considering that it includes a fictional article from a historical journal, it at least reads like engaging history, not boring history.

Speaking of really long books, that was something clever I said about Dean Koontz's book I read a couple of weeks ago: I felt like he had written a 150-page book, and his editor had said, "This is great, but it needs to be twice as long."

Day of the Beast
6-6-06 has come and gone. I was going to write something pithy and clever on the day, but it went by too quickly. I read a sensible article on about the weight some people (marketers, mostly) were hanging on the date. I'm amused by the release of The Omen remake on that date, though I can't help wondering if it helped or hurt ticket sales to open on a Tuesday. (I also hear it's not a very good remake.) Nonplussed by the release of the latest Left Behind book on that date, and kinda disgusted by the release of Ann Coulter's book on that date.

All right, I have to share this, from SoMA: A Review of Religion and Culture:

Today is June 6, 2006—6-6-6—the day when the Antichrist, the very incarnation of Evil, will rise up, projectile vomiting green slime and bringing death, destruction, and decay to all the world. I'm referring, of course, to Ann Coulter. Today, the conservative commentator releases her latest foray into lunacy, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” She chose the book’s pub date specifically. "It's my little tribute to liberals to have it come out on six, six, six," said the Bad Seed in USA Today, confused about whom the joke is really on.

Da Vinci Code Movie
So I had reservations about seeing the movie after reading the book. My first misgivings occurred while I was reading the whole, flawed discourse by Teabing and Langdon, thinking I might freak out in the movie theater if I had to sit through it a second time. My second was reading Monte Cook's opinion of the movie: "a movie which proves that yes, both Tom Hanks and Ron Howard can indeed do wrong." Despite those misgivings, my wife and I went to see if last Friday. Our son had a sleepover at school (how cool is that?), and we had the night to ourselves and a movie gift card from her sister...

and we wasted it on that movie.

So, you know I had issues with the book. So what does it say about the movie that I felt compelled to defend the book? Not good things, my friends. Not good things. 

Ian McKellen was the movie's only saving grace, and he could not buoy it from absolute suckage. 

Google Ads
You'll notice I took 'em off. They bugged me, and there was no upside. Not for a site this size, with my small but faithful bunch of readers. 

Hey, I'm going to GenCon this year. I had last year entirely off from conventions, after going to four the year before (Winter Fantasy, Origins, GenCon, and Spring Revel Down Under), largely because of my involvement with Eberron. It'll be good to be back. I don't yet know what my work schedule is going to be, but I'm also planning on doing a book signing and, at every available opportunity, promoting the heck out of my novel. Be forewarned. Better yet, be forearmed, and carry a copy of it with you when you come talk to me at the show. :)

Say, have I mentioned that I wrote a novel?

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Connection and engagement

This feels good. All this reading, and blogging, and thinking. Perhaps the thinking most of all.

I listened to the Scientific American podcast this afternoon. They played an excerpt from the commencement address given by New York City's mayor to the graduates of Johns Hopkins medical school. It was a strongly pro-science speech, but what I found amusing is that he had trouble with some of the words. I mentioned this to my wife this afternoon, and we agreed that he clearly didn't write the speech. Just funny. 

Which was intended as an illustration, however lame, of thinking about things. There was a time in my life when I would have sworn by Socrates' assertion, "The unexamined life is not worth living." But I sometimes feel as though much of my life is passing unexamined these days, which has sort of vaguely troubled me for a while. Suddenly I find my mind coming alive again, engaging with the world around me, examining everything.

Maybe I'm manic-depressive.

Song of the day: "I'm about to come alive," by Train.

Hey, you might notice I've added some advertising to the site. I'm thinking of it as the flip side to writing more here. I'm spending time that I could be using to make money writing here, so I'd like to expand the possibility of recovering some of that theoretical lost income. (Heck, it's more than theoretical. I owe the Wizards web site two articles I still haven't written...) Sorry if it bugs you; I've tried to keep it out of the way.