April 29, 2003

Against all odds and good sense, I am at work today. Yesterday I was not, having contracted some kind of Spring-type bug that, vampire-like, sapped my strength and will to be a productive member of society. Feh. So here I am, listening to Current 93's Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God, pondering what kind of minimal productivity I can get away with and call the day a marginal success.

Stacy, however, is home today, it being her turn in the game of Invalid Tag. Though the truth is we've both been feeling iffy since the weekend, not that that stopped us from having our long-awaited pajama cocktail party with Caren and the Marthas and Matt and the Mysterious T---. Which goes to show you just how much we won't let good old-fashioned sense get in the way of having a fabulous time with some vodka and brie.

(As an aside, it's more fun than I'd suspected to have an anonymous new member of our circle; being able to drop a half-veiled reference to T--- makes me feel all Victorian, like a chronicler of some properly spooky Sheridan le Fanu weirdness. I may continue to do so even should the necessity disappear. It seems a fitting welcome to Matt's lovely consort, who is also, in his own right, delightful. [/James Lipton])

Frighteningly enough, "The Ballad of Bobby Sunshine" is almost exactly capturing my current mood. Beausoleil, soleil soleil soleil Beausoleil, Beausoleil... Like a Woodstock revival staged on the outskirts of Hell. Brilliant.

Don't mind me, folks.

I ought to buckle down again tonight and do some serious work on the second part of "The Pagurus Game," since Part the First met with such acclaim on the List, even among those who balked at the bits that earned it a full-on PG-13 rating. (I may have to take that ball and run. These young pups have no idea how much I was holding back, not having had the pleasure of the dubiously-tasteful softcore in A Thousand Thrones. Sigh. It's probably sick of me to take such delight in pushing the buttons of such folk, but, y'know, someone's got to set to cleaning up the damn mess that sanctimonious reformed-whore C.S. Lewis made. Or maybe it's just that my inner Spider Jerusalem has been awakened and is even now clamoring for cigarettes and a bucket of Long Pig. Whatever; I'm having too much fun to care.) It's been interesting turning back the clock from the time of 1KT and seeing what kind of trouble Jenny got up to with hunting down qlippoth back in the day, and it's very cool to have Murdoch playing a part in things again. Not to mention that it's just hard to go too wrong with nasty toothy monsters from the Abyss, which is certainly a suitable in-genre substitute for the "two men with guns" formula for those when-in-doubt moments that threaten to hang up the plot on some convoluted conversation or other. (And for all those who I haven't completely lost yet, Pagurus, in case you were wondering, is the name of the genus of arthropods to which hermit crabs belong; "qlippoth" is Hebrew for "shells." And that's all I'll say at this point.)

Not much else to say. It was a good weekend aside from all the getting-sick nonsense; Jim's Big Ego gave good show, as usual, on Friday night (and Jim said afterwards that the crowd at Jammin' Java was bigger than they'd expected, which is certainly potential good news for us Beltway Egomaniacs); I hope they made it okay to Tennessee or whatever godsforsaken place they were off to the next day. And Spyder and Vishal and I managed our first IM menage-a-trois on Sunday morning, which was about as surreal as you'd expect; Elephant Porn was sort of the top of the downward spiral, if that gives you any indication. 'S good to have friends who are at least in the same ballpark of fucked-up as you are.

Urk. Buffalo Chicken Wrap for lunch was possibly not a choice made in wisdom. Some disagreement going on in there even now. I'll sign off on that note, and let you all know how it works out.

April 25, 2003

So the first part of my new Jenny Haniver story (working-titled "The Pagurus Game" for a number of reasons that seemed appropriate at the late hour I settled on it) went up on Fantasybits the other night, and nobody asked what the hell I was thinking writing that crap, so that's good. It marks the beginning of a new phase of working in this setting, namely one where I'm settling on the first-person voice I probably should have been using all along. And if the JH canon starts to feel a bit more "Vlad Taltos" for it, well, so much the better.

I'm taking Matt's story about finding his student reading my column the other day as a very good sign indeed, not only of the We-Are-Everywhere syndrome I'm starting to notice these days, but also of the possibilities of a future where the truly geeky are rising to positions of influence. I'm thinking that a tomorrow where people in government would rather be playing Mage or similar is probably an excellent alternative to the mess we've got now. (Incidentally, I never thought to ask if Matt found out what he'd written for the Wolf. I suppose Clanbook: Ventrue would be too great an irony to hope for from an up-and-coming student of diplomacy, but you never know.) [/gamerspeak]

Back in the mundane world, all and sundry should send warm and fuzzy thoughts to Spyder, who's having her wisdom teeth out tomorrow. The words "dry socket" will not be mentioned here. (Especially not when you can find out all you'd want to know, and more, elsewhere.) OTOH, I am just evil enough to regret that I'll be missing another round of amusing speech patterns courtesy of a friend in distress. Having ridden home on the post-dental-work Short Bus myself, it's hard not to take some small amount of schaudenfreude satisfaction in that sort of thing, in a loving sort of way. Or maybe I've just been friends with Jeff too long. But at least I'll have some good company in Hell.

April 23, 2003

Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves,
And ye that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him
When he comes back; you demi-puppets that
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe not bites, and you whose pastime
Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice
To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid,
Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimm'd
The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault
Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder
Have I given fire and rifted Jove's stout oak
With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory
Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up
The pine and cedar: graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth
By my so potent art. But this rough magic
I here abjure, and, when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

Happy birthday, Will Shakespeare. (Probably.)

So we made it back on Sunday, and did not drop out of the sky except in the accepted non-lethal fashion, nor were we swallowed by the great sprawling wilderness that is northern NY. All was well, both there and in transit, save that wee Nicholas was a bit sick and so spent the time we were around being angelically subdued. (I've never seen a sick kid be so bloody happy. It'd be downright unsettling if he wasn't so damn cute. If my own offspring turns out half as delightful as my cousinlet on an off-day, I'll be a lucky da indeed.)

Back at the homestead, I've spent the last two evenings churning out the first 1K words or so of a new Jenny Haniver story, which I hope to post to The List tonight. It's looking like a sequel of sorts to both "The Invitation" (which went up like a year ago) and The Vasty Deep (which is not yet actually finished), so that'll be fun. Especially since there's now a whole new crop of FB neophytes who have yet to be exposed to my quirky brand of Gothy Urban Fantasy. I have to wonder how some of them young'ns will cope with a story that got no elves in it, but with Savant out on sabbatical these days, I sort of feel it's up to me.

"Thoughtless, that I am, I am pretentious"

And there's a new Last Dark Art hot off the e-presses today. I have sort of mixed feelings about this one, to be honest; I don't think it's my best work in the series, despite having spent more time than usual fussing with it. Enh. Sometimes what sounds like a good idea in my head isn't half as clever when it's out on the page, and I end up flailing madly around in my attempt to flesh it out. Whatever. I didn't have another concept ready, and the alternative was to cheat and just write "A system is a language of story. Discuss" and let the posters run with it. This way, if I've said something grossly stupid, at least there'll be some activity in the Forum.

Dip me in d20s and toss me to the geeks. I'm ready. I'll take 'em all on.

April 17, 2003

I sort of dropped out of all circles of correspondence this week, partially out of short-week syndrome, partially due to working on The Last Dark Art #6 (which, contrary to last week's post, will run next week if the gods are good), and partially out of sheer fatigued slackitude. So if I owe you a hello, or an email, or some IM time, or a nod that I'm not dead, and you're feeling slighted - don't. I will spread the love to each as time allows.

Tomorrow we get up bright and frickin' early to go to BWI and fly to fair Buffalo, New York, from whence we'll drive almost immediately to Rochester for Easter-weekend fun with my cousins. It'll be my first time on a plane in, oh, twelve years. And then I get to do it again in a couple of weeks when we go to the Big Easy, and hopefully again in the fall, to Ireland; suddenly my life has more flying in it than a Miyazaki film. I don't have any particular irrational fear of flying, other than a sort of deep-seated primordial twinge at the wrongness of being so far disconnected from the earth, but it's sort of weird to be doing so much of something all in the space of a few months that's been not at all a part of my life for over a decade. But whatever. I move only haltingly and with difficulty from my comfort zone, which is probably the biggest key to understanding my essential nature I can offer anyone.

In any case, I've been preparing myself for harassment-by-security-for-looking-like-an-anarchist, and reducing the number of metal things on my person to that which can be scooped up in one hand and put in a little basket. Thus I do my part to keep the world, if not safer, at least running more efficiently. (Can't win 'em all.) I only hope that the airport officials don't consider having a copy of Exalted in your shoulder-bag as marking you out as some sort of dangerous weirdo deviant in need of a frisking; not that I'm paranoid, just that you never know.

In other news, both Matt and Caren now have blogs as of this past week, thus expanding the Circle of Exhibitionism in the Greater DC Area. Which already long included Martha (the Good), to whom I linked a couple of weeks ago without giving the attention or notice she is properly due - a thing I remedy now.

I was sure all hopped up on caffeine this morning ("oneoneoneoneAH! oneoneoneone TWO!"), but it's sort of passed now. Sigh. I'm just hoping that not having to go to work tomorrow will compensate for having to get up at an ungodly fucking hour anyway; I'm sure I'll need to be having teh java by the time we hit Buffalo, if not long before. Braaaaiiiiiiin!

And that's all I got. More when I return.

April 11, 2003

Not much going on here, other than it's been a sad wet cold week in Our Fair City, and I'm ready for spring now, please.

Spent much slack this week tooling around the forums at RPGnet, which are like unto crack and have cost the University no small amount of my personal man-hours in the handful of days since I signed up there. The only thing I'm close to as addicted to these days is my portable Walkman MP3 player, which rocks my socks just because I can carry around my entire King Crimson library without having to worry about the hundreds of dollars I'd be out if I sat on my CD case. Perhaps someday the novelty of both will wear off, but for now I lack perspective.

I've spent the last week intending like hell to get some real writing done, and it has failed to manifest. Perhaps it's a result of overextension. I've brewed up all these excellent projects for myself, and what I really need to do is knuckle down and turn The Vasty Deep into a publishable (and, well, finished) manuscript in the interest of being able to spend all my time in my pajamas someday. And I think once I at least have a complete work there, all of the rest will flow.

Also I need to write this month's Last Dark Art to run next week, but that's another slice of pie entirely.

Going to be a busy run of weekends for a bit, too. Not that that's bad, just... busy. So it goes.

But for now, I shall retire to the sofa and catch as much of the midnight showing of Farscape as my daily fatigue allots me. I am a-weary, and require unwinding and sexy space opera. Too little of either on a regular basis makes Dan a sad panda indeed, it seems. And in the interest of avoiding further incoherencies, adieu.

(Oh, yeah, Maija: I did get your pictures, which were lovely, and haven't sent you my regular fanboy commentary because I had the notion I shouldn't until I set aside time to give them the attention they deserve yadda yadda and wound up procrastinating that just like every other damn thing in my life. Which is all shorthand for "because I'm a big lame idiot." I send you my apologies now, and assurances that I shall make amends soon. When I make it to Finland someday, you can kick me in the shins and I will not resist even a little.)

April 03, 2003

I spent about the last two days being depressed something awful, for reasons I can't quite explain. Possibly this week has had too much of the mundane in it. And I'm just feeling tired and burned-out and needing some kind of change in my life that I have control over. Enh.

I was so bummed out that by the time I walked to my appointment with TheRapist this afternoon, I barely even registered the plentiful eye-candy that Spring has populated our fair campus with, which seems a telling enough yardstick of having things in my head be fucked up pretty good. A helpful session this time, though, and I had a much better trip back. Ah, college. One of these days I'm going to have to sift back through the last couple of years and figure out exactly when it was I became a dirty old man.

Tonight Stacy's gone up to see an Orioles game with Greg and Charles, giving me a coupla hours of comics-and-spooky-music to burn. Not bad, and worth giving up the nachos and Boog sandwich for, even though it might nearly have been worth it to go and watch Greg get his geek on for the Great Game. Nearly. But, dammit, I got the new Lucifer waiting for me.

In other wow-cool news, I learned last night that ex-Crim bassist and Chapman stick god Tony "Papa Bear" Levin was at the DC peace march last month, which makes me even prouder to be a big old proghead than ever. And he took pictures. Wow - I remember a lot of those signs. That makes a second time I've been within a mile or two of Tony Levin, counting NEARfest '01, though I wonder if I'd've registered it was him at the march. Probably not - in all likelihood, my brain would've processed something like "Wow, that guy looks like Tony Levin" and moved on. A shame - that had the potential to be nearly as cool an encounter as Martha L. getting to shake hands with Jeanine Garofalo the week before.

Oh, it's past five. Time to go the fuck home.