September 26, 2002

Wooch. I'm giddy as a schoolgirl. The first installment of my column "The Last Dark Art" was accepted at RPGnet, and is up even now. Hurrah! See, Mom, I tried to tell you all those D&D books were gonna lead to something.

Anyway, it's here.

Over the weekend, as well as getting that written, I managed a thousand-odd words or so of THE VASTY DEEP, and kicked around a scene in THE RESIDENTS that's giving me trouble. Two rather different stories in the same milieu, giving me different kinds of grief. The good news is that I now have actual appearances by several characters who have just been cool ideas up until now.

Finished Burroughs' THE WESTERN LANDS sometime Friday. Fastest I've ever read one of his - obviously this was just the right time. It's given me a very new tack on the approach I might end up taking to NaNoWriMo, too, which is encouraging. Some new territory for me.

This week much better than last week. And boy am I glad.

September 19, 2002

More of the Week that Went All Wrong:

"O Gertrude, when sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions." And that's how it went in Parkersburg this week. Stacy's family dog, after a long life and several years of failing health, was put to sleep at around 7:30 last night. A terribly hard decision, and harder to go through with for everyone, but she'd finally come to the point where her pain was just too overwhelming to let her keep struggling with it. I'm very sad too. Skeeter was a bright little soul and a special dog who brought a lot of light into the lives of her family. The place isn't going to be the same without her. But she had a very good life while she was here - and if there's a Happy Hunting Ground for wonderful little doggies, it has just become a better place with her coming to it.

Sigh. It's been a fucked-up couple of days. Stacy just got in a little while ago and is trying to find out what's happening with her class tonight. I suspect I'll be going home and writing, which I haven't quite been able to bring myself to do for a couple of days. I need to. There's much to be done.

On a brighter note, Spyder's blog today ( has a very fun picture she did as a collaboration with some other artist dude, and features a rather wary-looking Jenny Haniver face-to-face with a guy who looks a bit like a renegade extra from Phil Foglio's GIRL GENIUS. And who also, to my warped sensibilities, looks enough like an incarnation of Berengar Moran that I more than half suspect he's saying, "Pull my finger."

September 17, 2002

So - wife outta town. House all to myself.

Do I head right from work to Big Planet Comics for my monthly fix at a 10% subscriber discount? Do I go home and light a huge malodorous cigar, put on HELLRAISER and watch it naked on a bed of porn, eating General Tso's Chicken with my fingers? Do I fill up five glasses of Kool-Aid and leave them sitting around without coasters, cranking the Current 93?

No. I stay late at work and image purchase orders, because I am a big, lame dumbass.

And this partially because I know I'd just go home and turn on Cooking 911 or the Disney Channel and sit watching with my lip quivering, holding Rabbie the Bear and feeling all lonely.

So it's official. I am truly and deeply 'whipped.

But I'm leaving now. I have been as useful as I can manage being today. Time to get the slack on. And perhaps I shall stop somewhere interesting after all.
Coffee kicking in now. It's about damn time.

Doing the bachelor thing for the next couple of days. Stacy left for Parkersburg this morning. We got a call before work yesterday that her grandfather had died in the middle of the night. He'd been sick for a long time, and passed back and forth between hospitals and nursing homes (some real horror stories there), and this was only a matter of time. Which doesn't make it less hard for the family, but the time may come that everyone will be comforted by knowing it's at least a mercy to have it all be over, and his suffering done.

From the very brief times I met him, and from everything I heard, he was a difficult, temperamental, irascible, stubborn old patriarch; he will, of course, be much missed. May he have safe passage into the Western Lands, and be at peace.

But I'm staying here while Stacy takes her three days' bereavement leave, holding down the household, making sure the laundry gets done and the squirrels don't invade. I'd enjoy the sudden wealth of personal space much more if it weren't for such an unhappy reason. I sure don't envy her the next couple of days, by any means.

We did, though, have a very nice vacation in Philly over the weekend. Philly rocks. I'm glad to be seeing so much of it this year.

More later, and hopefully happier too.

September 12, 2002

Last lunch of the week - tomorrow at this hour we'll be barrelling down the last stretch of road to Philly, if not fully arrived and jumping up and down on the queen-size. South Street - prepare yourself.

So last weekend was pretty damn good. SPXpo '02 was lovely, if packed - I look forward to seeing where they put it next year when it moves up to Bal'more. Somewhere roomy, one hopes. Anyway, I got to meet Eddie Campbell (very nice guy, in spite of his skill in drawing disembowelled prostitutes) and got close enough to Frank Miller I coulda hit him with a spitwad, though I opted to not do the standing-in-line thing to meet him; without a copy of DARK KNIGHT RETURNS or similar in my possession, it woulda just felt lame. I dig manage to get Keith Knight's new collection (he was as nice and funny as I remember him being two years ago, and sporting one of his "I'd Rather Be Masturbating" t-shirts) as well as Alan Moore's spoken-word CD and a weird collection called THE OVERLORDS OF GLEE that was just exactly my kind of bizarre and surreal. Not as much free stuff found its way home with me as last time around, but I wasn't really making an effort.

Jim's Big Ego was, of course, kickass, even in a one-set show. A sellout crowd turned up at Iota, presumably for Roger Cline & the Peacemakers, but I suspect one or two at least walked away new-minted JBE fans. Didn't get as much chance this time around to schmooze with the band like the nerdy fanboy I am, and I missed the Napkin Poetry you get with a full show, but it was pretty cool.

We met up with Patrick and Bernice (stress on the first syllable, rhymes with "furnace") outside their hotel before heading to Iota, where we got to count them and Caren among the new converts to Egomania. First, though, we had a very nice dinner at the club's annexed restaurant - highly recommended, by the way, if you're ever in Arlington; it's like bar food, only really really good. And we spent almost all of Sunday hanging out with them, which was as much fun as I've had in quite some time. We took a couple of hours to hit the flea market in Georgetown (you wouldn't think such a thing as an upscale flea market was possible until going to this one - I'll keep it in mind if I ever need a lot of secondhand silver, though) and wound up having a big pasta dinner back at the apartment. Pat & Bernice are good people in every meaningful way, and good fun to be around too. Kind of hard to believe they've been married for fourteen years when neither of them looks like they would've been legal to marry that long ago. It gives one much hope.

Half a day to go till Long Weekend #2. Hooray!

September 11, 2002

A short post for now - I'll recount the weekend's events at some later time, when time is what I have.

Spent a portion of the last two days doing my part for the Save FARSCAPE effort, trying to pull the best show on television up from the brink of cancellation. It's felt pretty good so far to have been part of such a loyal community of fans making a difference, even if that difference is only getting the network to sit up and pay attention.

Otherwise, it feels very weird today - a year ago I was home sick, watching horror after horror on the TV and hoping my friends and my wife were going to get out of the city. Now it all seems very strange, both far-off and like it was just last week. What a fucked-up year.

But writing goes well anyway. I'm considering, with some nervousness, signing up for NaNoWriMo this year. As if all this creativity business didn't make me nuts enough.

Anyway, sending out my love to all my friends near and far. Peace to all of you. Let's hope it all gets better from here.

September 06, 2002

Winning line from the Friday night cartoons this evening:

"Ah devoted mah life to peanuts, and now the little goobers are wreakin' havoc!" - George Washington Carver on TIME SQUAD

So tonight has all the charged stillness of a calm before the storm, and rightly so. Tomorrow we spring out of bed, do our last-minute cleaning, and pop over the hill to the Small Press Expo, where I get to walk around with my mouth hanging open for several hours and be a dribbling fanboy at all the cool people who do cool things in the world of alternative comics, and hopefully make it out with Keith Knight's new book and assorted goodies. And then we rest up in the time remaining before heading down to Iota and Jim's Big Ego, where I get to be a dribbling fanboy at them (again). Squeeee!

All of which is much more exciting than what I did last Saturday morning, which was get up and grind all my Pumpkin Spice coffee like a big pooftah.

So no Jeffrey this weekend after all - he is caught up in family obligations, and broke besides. This puts the onus of getting my friends stupid fucked-up back on me. Of course, I don't have the touch of genius that elevates it to art-form level when Jeff does it, but someone's got to take up the slack while he's going to and fro in the world and walking up and down in it. Though the truth is that there's never a lot of arm-twisting to that. "Hey Matt - c'mere. Crazy Uncle Dan's got somethin' for ya." I must remember to take pictures.

But for now, I am inexplicably tired. Wound up taking a nap for a good deal of the evening, and not doing anything either creative or productive, both of which were on the agenda (in addition to massive ripe handfuls of slack, which is not at all the same thing as wandering off and falling over on your futon for two hours). Meanwhile, Stacy tears through Anne McCaffrey novels like a gamer devouring full-sized bags of Doritos, and I look at where the bookmark has come to rest in PERDIDO STREET STATION for at least the last three weeks and am much ashamed.

A week from tonight we'll be in Philly, ourselves walking up and down on South Street and pondering how many cheesesteaks from Jim's a person can eat and still live with himself, mingling with all the lovely freaks in the rosy neon glow. Life is good. Maybe I'll see if I can almost get turned away from the Liberty Bell again for looking like an anarchist. Fun fun! And if we run out of cool things to look at downtown, there's always popping over and listening to the lemurs whoop at each other at the Zoo.

September 04, 2002

Quickly, quickly.

Not yet awake, really - up too late last night on a Writing High, then plagued with digestive unpleasantness in the wee hours. Coffee and Pop-Tart slowly working their alchemical goodness on me. Keeping fingers crossed the slow day it looks to be will indeed come to pass.

Weekend full of fun initials - SPXpo, and JBE, and hopefully becoming MIA by the end of it just to get over the DTs. Jeff arrives sometime in the next few days, to temporarily reclaim his post as Corruptor of All (and thus usurping me from it for a little while). And Pat and Bernice are supposed to be getting in sometime Saturday - huzzah! Life is good.

I've been remiss in my correspondence lately. I owe Spyder a letter. I owe Maya a long-overdue missive of some kind, or at least a progress report. Heaven knows I need to write Andrew. So much love to spread around, so little time.

Speaking of which - back to the Machine. More later.