Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: Full-On Geek Mode Edition

I already picked the Seahawks, so let's talk about something else.

The game Dungeons and Dragons turns forty years old this year, and to commemorate, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast are launching a new (5th) edition of the tabletop ruleset, a new set of multi-platform video games, and a new comics-style Event called the “Tyranny of Dragons.”  So far, I like what I’ve seen of the new ruleset, but really, I’m just mentioning this now because it is an awesome excuse to show the following piece of D&D promotional art, released last week.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Can't Miss Fantasy Novels for 2014

My daughter Emma and I both really like reading.  She just finished Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart while I am re-reading The Way of Kings as a prelude to this year's release of the second volume of the Stormlight Archives, Words of Radiance.

All of which got me thinking about books that I'm looking forward to in the coming year.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another Saying from the Wisdom of Loki

"There is nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to live for. Such a man also has nothing to lose."

   --- Pontius Auraelius, Sayings from the Wisdom of Loki

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Finally Wrote THE SCENE Today

When I first got the idea for "The Crown of Pluto", there were a couple of touchstone scenes that came to mind, and I finally got one of them down on the page today.

It's like that a lot for me, I'll see an image in my head and like it and start writing around it, trying to figure out why and how it happened.  That's part of the reason why, when I started writing, I started writing comics.  Because my imagination tends to be visual.  When I write prose, I'm therefore left trying to paint a picture in words of the crazy stuff I've already seen in detail in my head, and half the time (or more), I don't think I do it justice.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Training Log: 1/20 to 1/26 (Week 4)

As I've mentioned before, I usually train on a four week cycle--three working weeks, followed by one rest week.  But the year has started slow, so even though this week was theoretically a Rest Week, I just went ahead and worked through because I don't feel like I need the rest.  That said, it wasn't like a killer training week or anything.  I ran Monday, did squat Tuesday through Friday, and then tried my best to catch up on the weekend.  That isn't exactly good training practice.

Moreover, Connecticut has been a frozen wasteland all winter, which has been throwing me off big-time because I've been missing my commute-riding mileage.  But what can you do?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: Fitness is Walmart Edition

Happy Friday!

Let's get to it.

1.  Sally’s Gym Experience
My wife and I have a lot in common.  Like me, Sally is more generalist than specialist, which is to say that she’s a bilingual elementary education teacher who also teaches art and occasionally teaches fitness classes at one of the local gyms.  Sally has long been an athlete, but her career as an actual fitness instructor is new; she discovered this, her third or fourth career, via the wife of one of my classmates.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I took this picture at the National Gallery a couple of years ago and then filtered it this afternoon. Having nothing better to post today, this is it.

In the Greek pantheon, Hermes is the god of messengers, travelers, and thieves and is the closest thing to a trickster god that the ancient Greeks possessed. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pictures in the Snow

I took these on the walk to the train station and then while I was standing around waiting for the train to come.  I liked 'em much better after I filtered them through Instagram

66th and West End Ave, yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Most Important News Ever!

I totally wanted to put up some short fiction today, but everything I've written this week has been for "Crown of Pluto," and I'm just not ready to show it.  Even the Prologue has spoilers for the end of "Priest of Loki", and anyway, the entire project is very much a work-in-progress.  It's not that I don't want to show it to you so much as that I just don't think it's ready for the light of day just yet.

Are you guys interested in reading old comic scripts?  I could've totally put up something from back in the day that never got produced, but I'm under the impression that nobody would care.  So...

Anyway, without anything out of the archives to fall back on, I'm left with slapping something up today that may or may not catch your interest.  In this case, it's The Most Important News Ever.  Or, if you prefer, crap I found yesterday afternoon while flipping through Google News.

Starting with the most important thing ever:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Training Log: 1/13 to 1/19 (Week 3)

Finally, a decent week of training.  Not a great, world-class week or anything, but definitely the week I needed.  All things considered, this was probably about the hardest week of training that I could've reasonably handled at this point in the season, especially given how little I've done up to now.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rush, at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

The Foo Fighters are great on this intro, and then they blast into Tom Sawyer and Spirit of Radio.  I might've wished for Mission and Working Man, but there's no denying that these songs were their greatest hits, so I suppose that's okay.

Anyway, the video is 13 minutes long, and I wound up standing there transfixed for every second of it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: GQ vs. the Economist Edition

1.  GQ vs. the Economist
Hannah’s Girl Scout troop had a fundraiser a few weeks ago where they had to sell magazines.  Now, I hate these kinds of fundraisers--because, for example, the troop sold hundreds of dollars worth of magazines but only netted $15 for their efforts--but I still told them that I’d buy a magzine from them because I don’t want to constantly be the Grinch-Dad.  I figured, How hard can it be to find a magazine that’ll be at least somewhat entertaining?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This Week's Picks (Conference Championships)

I went 2-1-1 last week, which put me in second place to my friend Henry, who went 3-0-1. The Seahawks did a number on me late by letting the Saints back in the game. That meant they tied the line exactly, turning my 3-1 victory into a merely mediocre second-place performance.

Anyway, I could still pull out a playoff win (to match the one I had in the Regular Season), but it'll be tough with only three games left to play.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More Sayings from The a Wisdom of Loki

Not sure if I'm gonna actually use this one or not, but for the life of me, I can't come up with anything else to post today. So here goes:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fun Facts About Hades

Hades and Cerebus.
From Wikipedia Commons.
Was doing a little research today about Hades, the ancient Greek god of the Underworld.
  • Hades was the youngest brother of Zeus, and one of three--along with Zeus and Poseiden--to help overthrow the titan Cronus.
  • After Cronus's defeat, the brothers drew lots.  Zeus got the air, Poseiden the sea, and Hades the Underworld.  Their elder sister Gaia already held sway over the Earth itself, with the agreement that all three brothers could come and go as they wished.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Training Log: 1/6 - 1/12 (Week 2)

Between the Polar Vortex this week, the need to drive up to Albany once, and general bad weather even when that other stuff wasn't a factor, it was--again--not much of a training week this week.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Lovell Room

This is the oldest part of the Stratford Library, built in the mid- to late-1800s. We're here for the Children's Department's Volunteer Breakfast. Sally's being honored for her work with the children's art program.

The Lovell Room, looking out towards Main Street.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: Mostly Football Edition

Been awhile since we’ve done this, right?  

This week’s “Five Things on a Friday” is gonna be all about the Playoffs because if I’m being honest, I can’t think of anything else to write about.  Everything is either depressing or I’ve already talked about it or both.  So…
After dropping to third place following a spectacularly unsuccessful week in Albany at around the mid-season point, I rallied late, went 3-0 for both of the last two weeks of the season, and won our office pool by two full games.  I grant you that nothing was on the line, but I’m still the man in the office right now, and that has a certain charm all its own.
My friend Henry insisted that we start from scratch for the playoffs, and having no real choice in the matter, I magnanimously agreed.  But then everyone went 2-2 last week, so right now we’re all tied.
But being tied sucks, of course, so I’ll have to do better this week.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Rode in Today

Here's what I learned:

1. Riding in temperatures at or near 20-degrees isn't fun. But it doesn't appear to be actively hazardous, either. 

2.  Riding in temperatures in the lower teens is a different story.

Yesterday was such a monumentally frustrating day.

I'm about to break one of the cardinal rules of social media: You should never complain about your life on social media.


Don't fool yourself.  This blog is a carefully cultivated look at my life and the life I live with my family.  You get the version that Sally and I want you to get, and no other.  And that's fine, except that I think it tends to make things look a little too perfect, and yeah, most of the time, that's the point.  But I got a letter from one of my classmates a few weeks back that made me think that sometimes the effort is a little too successful, which is why...

Well, look.  I'm not trying to make you feel better about yourself by telling you that I had a bad day.  Odds are that you don't care, and anyway, whatever I have to say about my life won't actually impact yours one way or another.  That said, I still wanna talk about it because, bottom line, sometimes writing about it is the best way to get it out of my system.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Comic Book Movie Hype

I got both of these from Major Spoilers.

First, a new poster for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The view from the hotel room that Sally and I got for our anniversary in Times Square looked very much like this.  To the point where I actually said to Sally, "Wow.  I'll bet this is the way Spider-Man sees the City most of the time."

Monday, January 6, 2014

A New Start

I swear, figuring out how to start a story must be the hardest part of writing one. I started working on "The Crown of Pluto" today, and for all that I managed to somehow put down about 1,500 words, it felt like it was a struggle every step of the way. 

I finished the draft of "Sneakatara Boatman and the Priest of Loki" about six weeks ago. After that, I spent some time rewriting a couple of older stories and then going back through "Priest" in an effort to clean it up before Christmas. That went pretty well, so I followed it up by dashing off a quick 5,000 words of "Elaina Emboo: A Wizard of Wanderhaven," and by the end of that, I felt like I was in the zone.  But by then I was dreaming about this stuff pretty much every night; it felt like literally the only thing I ever thought about. So I forced myself to take maybe two weeks off from writing--completely--and that was great, but now coming back feels like working a muscle that's atrophied away to nothing. 

I'm a big believer in offseasons, but I'm getting to the point where I see what Jerry Rice was driving at with his constant training regime. I mean, I know that both body and mind need rest, but man, coming back from that rest is never easy. 

Well. I got something down today, and if the words themselves aren't worth anything, I think the structure of the scenes, the way the story's started, is (hopefully, maybe) worth something. But I guess time will tell. 

Training Log: 12/29 to 1/5 (Week 1)

I won't pretend that this was some great training week.  But.  The holidays are over, and thus the offseason is over, and I therefore think it's time to start at least talking about how training is going.  Even if the training in question isn't going particularly well.

My goal all during the offseason has been to run three time per week and finish my writing projects.  The good news is that writing went well.  Running, meanwhile, has been all over the place.  Sometimes it's great, and sometimes I'm stiff, and my ankle hurts.

I don't know what to say about that except that I've had more than one doctor tell me that sometimes a guy in his forties needs to take ibuprofen before workouts to control swelling.  That's true for me, no question, but I don't always remember, so...  Well, I've been all over the place.  When I take time to stretch properly and warm up slowly, I've been at least decent.  When I'm rushed or running on a treadmill or something, it's been more of a struggle.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

All this cold, dark weather...

... is getting in my head.  Argh.

Planning to go for a long run today, but we have to go to church first.  And between now and then, I've got to keep from going insane.  Right now, that feels like quite a challenge.


Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Movie Calendar

I cribbed most of the data for this list from Newsrama. They listed ten movies to watch in 2014. I'm only giving you nine.

February 12 - Robocop
This may not need a remake, but the remake we're getting looks pretty good. I'm psyched.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Smoke a Chicken (or Turkey) on Your Grill

I've done this twice now, and both times it's come out well.  So now I'm sharing the recipe, and we'll see what you guys think.

You will need:
  • A chicken or turkey, between 8 & 12 lbs.
  • A kettle grill
  • Lots of charcoal, preferably lump wood
  • Cherry or hickory wood chips
  • A disposable roasting pan
  • One large carrot
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • Half an onion
  • Several cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 to 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of pepper

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goals for 2014

It's a New Year, which means it's time to set new goals.  Here are mine.

1.  Average under 8:30/mile for a half-marathon.
I've been enjoying running this year.  I'm not great at it, but maybe that's why I've liked doing it.  I don't try to hold myself to standards when I run, I just run.  Anyway, I don't know how much triathlon I'm gonna do this year, but I would really like to put together a decent half-marathon.  And while I'm not sure what a decent half would actually look like, averaging under 8:30/mile for early two hours seems like a good goal.