June 27, 2003

Off to NEARfest

In a couple of hours, I'll be on the road to Allentown, and thence to Trenton for NEARfest '03. Woot! I return Monday afternoon sometime, no doubt aweary and all progged up.

Too long since I've made this drive. It's one I enjoy. Except for the last time I went solo, in October, when it was raining like a motherfucker most of the way (though even then, rolling into Harrisburg in the rain, seeing the lights over the hill while "Bloodstreamruns" played on the stereo, was pretty cool in its own right).

And that's the week, kids. I'll file a report on my return.

June 25, 2003

New look for the blog as of today, and a new feature: Comments. Uh-oh.

Talked to the realtor last night, which was weird and scary but exciting too. Underlined, for me, how very not good I am about dealing with change, even changes I want; being a homeowner will be a Very Good thing, but all the factors of uncertainty about the process make me bloody nervous. Can't quite help myself; I suppose it's a natural reaction. And anything that involves my credit report fills me with anxious guilt anyway, so this just really piles on the hell for me. So it goes. I keep telling myself that it'll all be over, one way or another, before all that long - this fall at the latest if we can't break our lease. And possibly much, much sooner if we can.

Also brought home the fabulous new computer (with printer) on Saturday and got it up and running, and it rawks. We can now do miraculous things like print out stuff at home, and make CDs. Spent about an hour and a half last night putting all my King Crimson albums on one disc, and trying to figure out what felt weird about the whole thing until I realized it was because I wasn't getting that nagging vague sense of guilt from doing it at work. Odd what one gets used to.

Oh, and on a related subject - I'm goin' to NEARFest this year. Whoohoo! (Gods bless my brother and his connections in the Lehigh Valley community of musicians.) I was a bit bummed I missed it last year, but no one really fabulous was playing (except for Steve Hackett); this year's got Glass Hammer and the Flower Kings, and I am fuckin' psyched. I'd do a happy dance, but prog fans don't do that.

And speaking of music, last week brought us the Coolest Gift in Questionable Taste I think we've ever gotten, courtesy of Stacy's friend and classmate Sean Ryan. It's a CD of songs about fire in honor of our brush with disaster, and includes such indispensibles as "Burning Down the House" and "Burning for You." It's nice that the whole thing is nearly funny now. Burn, motherfucker, burn.

June 24, 2003

The Big Reveal

It's official.

I will be directing The Tempest this fall at the Chevy Chase Community Center.

I sent in the proposal for this sucker fully a year and a half ago when they had an open call for scripts, expecting nothing. So it was a big shock, to say the least, when the good folks there called me up last week to say they were interested. Wooch! I figured it had just gone the way of all slushpiles, but they were actually really excited about my ideas. I couldn't freakin' believe it.

I still can't. I'm walking on air.

So tonight was my first sit-down with the Committee, such as it is, to talk shop and air out my wacky plans for this thing. And I got to throw around phrases like "Prospero's ambivalent relationship with otherness" and not get a round of blank stares. I felt like a chocoholic with a hundred-dollar Lindt coupon. It was fabulous.

So I audition right before we go to Fiji. Opening night is Halloween. It hardly seems possible to be saying such things, but there you are.

I wonder if these people don't realize that they have just handed the speed-freak the keys to the meth lab, or somehow don't care. Either way, I'm not exactly complaining. I expect I'll be grinning like a moron for some time to come, and checking my conversations to see if they scan, but that's just par for the course. Me and Dirty Willy, together again at last.

And needless to say, I'll be updating as it seems fit.

Huzzah, indeed!

June 23, 2003

It occurs to me that it was exactly two months ago that I must have given a shout across the "wide gap of time" and sent out the dramaturgickal invocation that has apparently caused... certain events to come to pass. And that's all I'll say about that for now, except to note that I've tapped into a very Suppressed Transmission sort of energy these days. Though in all fairness, perhaps the qualifier "more so than normal" really belongs at the end of that sentence.

Tomorrow night, kids. Hopefully all will be revealed then. In the meantime, keep yer fingers crossed for me.

So Nobilis was frickin' awesome, much as I expected, and worth the trek down into the wilds of Manassas - without getting too much into let-me-tell-you-about-my-character nerdiness, I'm playing the Power of Alternatives, who has literary roots of a sort, even if those roots tap into a vein with an all-too-narrow audience thus far. (Consider me unwrapping a Mars bar and winking slyly in the direction of India.) It's all about the big coats and the World-Walker Gift, baby! We're doing it again in three weeks, which is a Good Thing indeed. And Fred, the Hollyhock God, reminds me of nothing so much as a sort of Venti-sized version of Steven Brust on a Skittles bender. How cool is that?

And Foucault's Pendulum kicks ass. It has the Comte de Saint-Germaine. Go, read it, right now.

We did manage to score a copy of the new Harry Potter this weekend as well. Stacy picked it up at Books-a-Million during her trip to Potomac Mills while I was off doing Simple Divinations and turning into crows and whatnot. It is one big-ass book, not that that's stopped Stacy from devouring three hundred-odd pages of it in the interim. Of course, some of us have had more of a head start than others, and still managed to find time to go have witty cocktail-party conversations with Mike Mignola and shit, but I'm sure we'll all be caught up by the time we make it to New York this summer. Don't think I can't fit my Beating Stick into a carry-on, you know.

And over it all, NEARfest looms. Huzzah!

June 19, 2003

I'm reading Foucault's Pendulum these days. Or rather, re-reading; I tried it on about eleven years ago (!!) and had to concede deafeat about a third of the way through to Eco's superior scholar-fu. Now I'm enjoying it immensely, not least because I've had some exposure in the interim to a lot of the weird coolness it deals with (thanks, Ken Hite!) and don't draw a mental blank on, f'rinstance, "gematria" or "Demiurge." It's a really, really fascinating book, and engaging, and frequently funny - though I have to wonder what it says about me that I know where to laugh in Foucault's Pendulum.

I'm about 500 words shy of finishing this month's column, only slightly behind schedule. Some pissing and moaning on the fora seems to have dampened my enthusiasm ever so slightly, though I'm sure it shouldn't. I'd like to think it's cuz I'm too clever for Joe Dungeon-Crawl, but I fear this would be a gross and unfair generalization, and not especially true anyway. But whatever.

Also got some good news of an impending big-project sort of thing this week, but I'll hold off actually talking about it till I have more details. Suffer, minions. :D

We got the first of our coupons for free Ben & Jerry's this week (courtesy of our new long-distance plan with Working Assets), and I fear it is a message: God Wants Me Round. I fear I am in no position to argue, either.

That is all.

June 11, 2003

I'll say this for the new Mountain Dew Live Wire: it tastes marginally less like the result of a mishap at the chemical plant than its predecessor Mountain Dew Code Red. So not too bad really, though I can't imagine feeling too sad when the time comes for its mayfly existence to be over at the end of Summer '03. Unlike the late lamented Shamrock Shake, which I miss all the time, and which tasted, as Andy once put it, "like Fiona Richie sounds."

Andy also once remarked that one of the hallmarks of getting older seems to be a trend in one's conversational subjects towards the increasingly banal. So I'll cut that out right now, lest I allow all wonder to fade from my life entirely, like a Changeling character studiously avoiding Bedlam.

Spent a couple of hours last weekend at the outlet mall in Hagerstown with my in-laws, which, if you've ever met the Laymans, is every bit as skewed and interesting as you'd imagine it to be. I love them dearly, and they have been kinder to me than I probably deserve, but it's always a challenge to not laugh at inappropriate times at the absurdity of it all (and if you don't believe me, you just try and get Carolyn Layman to give you a straight answer about where she'd like to go for lunch sometime; I'll lend you my thumbscrews, and wish you the best of luck). As a shopping trip, however, it was a grand and unequivocal success. I walked away with a new hat, a pair of black XXL Polo t-shirts (something one can never have too many of, for those of you making Christmas lists already) and a copy of Clive Barker's Undying PC game which I paid less than ten bucks for. Stacy's prize of the day was a genuine Waterford crystal lamp, the purchase of which ceased to distress me when I realized it absolved me from all future judgments concerning what I choose to spend money frivolously on. So that, should some future shopping orgy at Dream Wizards cause my wife's will to break, and her to say, "Jesus Christ, how many Exalted supplements do you need?" - I shall smile sweetly, and point, and say, "Honey? Waterford. Crystal. Lamp."

(It is a mighty classy-looking lamp, though.)

Speaking of getting my geek on, the first Nobilis session is a week from Saturday, on the Solstice. Somehow the thought of ringing in the summer by sitting around in Manassas with a couple of other pretentious mythic-minded gamers, building a Chancel and budgeting Miracle Points, seems more than a little fitting.

Oh, and I gave Matt Imajica for his birthday, speaking of things that seem fitting. Mind you, Imajica's one of those books everyone really ought to read, but I'm hoping he especially gets a lot out of it. Between the musings on gender and spirituality, the theme of wonder and strangeness versus the comfortable and mundane, and the sex-changing Eurhetemec mystif, I'm thinking he should be kept in philosophical crunchiness for a while.

June 04, 2003

So my CBLDF card came yesterday. It features a drawing by comics monolith Jim Lee in censorship-busting red, black and white. The same Jim Lee who, as I understand it, also recently drew a picture of Spyder which I still haven't fucking seen and don't make me come up to New York just to give you a beating because I will dammit so there.


The Marthas got married last weekend and it was great. (If all weddings were like Quaker weddings they wouldn't terrorize me so much. For that and general coolness - go Quakers.) If you weren't among the fortunate to attend, you can see the Marthas in all their bridal radiance, among other things, in the pictures Todd took here. Also, I didn't suck hardly at all playing the Interlude music, and that made me happy.

And it looks like I may be playing Nobilis soon, which is terribly, terribly exciting. I couldn't ask for a better return to doing some actual gaming after far too long a hiatus; Nobilis is so cool I can hardly stand it. And no, none of the character concepts I've been toying with have been the Power of Ambiguity, so don't even ask, you snarky fuckers.

And NEARfest is in just over three weeks. Wooch! I went two years ago and left a born-again proghead, without knowing who the hell anyone playing there was beforehand. Now I actually have coolness to look forward to, being all psyched up about the Flower Kings and Glass Hammer. Next time I may even know what the hell "aeolian scale" means. The goal, of course, is to fill my head entirely with useless things so that I'm completely unable to have a lucid conversation outside a few very select circles. Kinda like a philosophy major of geekdom.

First, though, I need food. So off I go.