2016-12-31

2016

Fire: Burning toastily.

Sausage, apple, and sage meat pie: Cooked to perfection.

“The Force Awakens”: Queued.

Feet: Up.

2016: Dying painfully, moment by moment.



Happy New Year all.

Radio Free Isheridar

Radio Free Isheridar.

The “Fuck 2016” edition.

“Though nothing will drive them away
  We can beat them
  Just for one day…”

David Bowie — Heroes — Live Aid 1985

2016-12-29

Computer!

[Me, every time I’ve had a chance to respond to the existence of Siri since its inception on the iPhone 4S:] “What a complete waste of time. Fake AI draining my battery with bad voice recognition? What kind of loser installs this crap, anyway?”

[Me, after the first time I use Siri to do a completely hands-free, voice-activated music playlist change while driving:] “MY VOICE IS POWER! I LIVE IN THE FUTURE! COMPUTER! FULL AHEAD, WARP 9!”

2016-05-09

Twenty-Five

So, twenty-five years ago today (or, technically, twenty-five years ago tonight), it was May 9, 1991, and a Thursday, which was the day after final production day at the Georgia Straight, where I toiled at the time. The Straight was (and remains) an alt-weekly paper, meaning that every Thursday was the day after production day, which meant that Thursdays were the days where you tried to get all the crap done that you hadn’t had time to do on the production days that had just passed. And though I have no memory of what those things might have been on that particular week and day, I know the list of them must have been as endless as usual, because on this particular Thursday it was 7 p.m. or so, and I was at the now-defunct Bread Garden at Robson and Bute getting something to eat, which meant I hadn’t gone home yet and must have been planning on going back to work.

I didn’t make it back to work that night. Because as I was sitting and eating by myself, a redhead caught my attention by asking if she could take the empty seat across from me, because the Bread Garden was packed to the rafters as it often was. I said words to the effect of “Help yourself,” and we exchanged some pleasantries, and I remember my thoughts wandering vaguely toward wondering why people always insisted on “being sociable” and “talking to me” when all I typically wanted when I was out in public was to be left alone.

But the redhead who sat down across from at the Bread Garden that night didn’t leave me alone.

The redhead and I started talking. Then we kept talking. And while we talked, we ended up walking around Stanley Park. When we were done walking around Stanley Park, we came up Denman Street and she asked me to come into Shoppers Drug Mart with her so she could buy nylons for a job interview she had the next morning. I remember thinking about how that had never happened to me before as we exchanged numbers, and then she got on a bus, and the redhead who wouldn’t leave me alone vanished into the night.

At the moment earlier that night when the redhead had asked me if she could share my table at the Bread Garden, I had been pretty happy sitting alone. At that point in my life, I was pretty happy being alone, because up to that point in my life, I’d gotten used to the idea of being alone. I’d gotten used to a sense that a lot of things I had wanted once out of life had already passed by me, and were going to keep on passing by me. I’d gotten comfortable with that feeling. Without really understanding how, I’d figured out a way to not let it bother me anymore. Over the course of a number of years of the usual degrees of lingering adolescent emotional upheaval that make up so much of our lives (or my life, anyway), I’d gotten used to the idea that being alone was maybe the one thing I was really good at.

That night, even as I watched the redhead and her bus disappear up Denman Street, a part of me understood that being alone was something I was never going to be good at again.

The redhead and I got in touch with each other over the few days after that. And even though we didn’t see each other face to face again for a full week or so, over every single day of the twenty-five years since the night I met Colleen Craig in 1991, I’ve never been alone.

Colleen, you are my life, and I love you. You are my light, and my sanity, and my muse, and the core and heart and foundation of every good and amazing thing that’s ever happened to me. I worship you for the person you are, and for the person you’ve helped me become. Because if it wasn’t for you, I’d be nothing.

If it wasn’t for you, I’d be alone.

And I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to show you what that means to me, and what you mean to me, and to thank you for sitting down across from me that night.

To thank you for not just walking past me, like everything and everyone else before that night had done.

To thank you for giving me this day, as I have every year for the past twenty-five years.

May 9.

The day my life began.

2016-04-28

More Strange, Less Familiar

“One of the dualities that has fascinated me all my life is how the past can be both utterly strange and startlingly familiar. I like to try to work with both of these in the novels, and to carry themes from one setting to another. So, for example, in “Children [of Earth and Sky”], the motif of how society curtails the scope for women to shape or control their own lives is present (as it was present) in both medieval China and Renaissance Europe…"

I love Guy Gavriel Kay, and this piece is a really nice interview. But I swear to freaking god, I am so tired of this “Well, gosh, the world was sexist in them old days, so I’m just striving for accuracy” apologist bullshit from way too many fantasy authors. You’re spending a year doing research to reinvent an entire historical period as the basis for your novel? Then shunt some of that imaginative process into coming up with ways to make that world more strange and less familiar by leaving the bullshit cultural baggage behind.

2016-04-24

Style

Exciting finale of campaign complete! Three and a half years (though that includes interruptions for other campaigns). An even fifty sessions (though there’ll likely be another final session of mop-up in a couple of weeks). 160-odd hours of play. Three PCs killed in action at various points.

Climactic encounter: A flying mind flayer sorcerer with no spells left and a stunned PC mage in its arms. It calls for the adventurers’ submission or the mage dies. Instead, it’s lassoed from the ground, lightning bolted, dragged down to earth, flank attacked, then death-touched.

This is a party that does things in style.

2016-03-11

Events

“Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.”

— Michel de Montaigne

2016-03-09

All the Lonely People

The weirdest connection running through the confusion between the late Sir George Martin and George R.R. Martin this morning, is that George R.R. Martin actually performs a devastatingly good cover of “Eleanor Rigby” at many of his live readings.*



* This is absolutely not true, but I’d love to see how far this rumor can get.

2016-02-14

Remembrance

I think it’s good to generally refrain from the desire to take joy in another’s demise, but I make an exception for Antonin Scalia because Scalia was evil. Not in the “I disagree with you, therefore you’re evil” sense, but in the “Knowingly committed acts that caused others to suffer” sense. When Charles Manson finally dies, I’m not going to spend a lot of time thinking about the hardship being experienced by his friends and family. I’ll be thinking about his victims, and about whether they might be sleeping slightly better tonight.

2016-02-08

Rule of Thumb

My rule of thumb for interaction online is that when I read something that makes me go, “How fucking stupid can that person possibly be?”, I then remind myself that I don’t have enough free time in my life to want to engage with people of the “fucking stupid” variety.

Your mileage may vary.

2016-01-30

Jedi School

Someone asked me what I know about Jedi school.

I replied that all ll I know is when I went to Jedi school, the girls all ignored me and were into Kylo Ren, because he’s got that whole “bad boy” thing going for him. You never saw me hacking up the lunchroom with a lightsaber, but apparently playing by the rules and following the light side just doesn’t make you boyfriend material!

Sorry. I’m still bitter.

2016-01-15

The Lighter Side

I have this awesome dragon t-shirt that I wear all the time, and which I’ve owned for, like, six years, and I only just realized the other night that it glows in the dark. The process by which I discovered this was a matter of me stumbling through the bedroom with the lights out so as to not wake Colleen, seeing the ethereal shape of a dragon staring back at me from the darkened mirror, and going “Aaaaaaaagggggghhhh!”

Alternatively, I guess it’s possible that it actually didn’t glow in the dark before and the depleted-uranium laundry detergent I’ve been using is to blame.

Alternatively to that, maybe it never glowed before because it’s actually a magic shirt, and it’s only glowing now because orcs are near. I should probably make sure my doors are locked.

2016-01-07

I Find Your Lack of Angst Disturbing

Spoiler warning for “The Force Awakens”:

There’s a statistic I read years ago (and which I can’t find now, but which I’m pretty sure is accurate) that talked about the amount of money that goes into the training and experience of the highest-level military commanders. When you look at a general or an admiral and sum up the total cost of paying them for the long years they’ve spent in military service, plus the cost of the training and support that goes into creating a qualified, experienced, and effective top-level combat soldier, the number I read back in the day places it in the millions of dollars. The highest-grade military leaders represent a huge investment in military infrastructure, in other words, so that the loss of a high-ranking commander in action is a pretty big deal.

In reaction to The Force Awakens, some people are doing a lot of moaning about how Kylo Ren is this whiny, emo goth boy because of how he deals with his anger management issues by going all medieval on computer consoles and other equipment. Many of these people are unfavorably comparing Kylo Ren to Darth Vader, who by comparison is supposedly all cool and detached and malevolent, yo, like a villain should be. Except that in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader deals with his own anger management issues by killing high-ranking Imperial officers every time they annoy or disappoint him — and it always seemed pretty clear to me that in Star Wars, Vader would have choked Admiral Motti to death if Tarkin hadn’t warned him off it, so it seems a safe bet that this is kind of Vader’s thing.

To me, destroying the most valuable human assets in your military — and presumably creating massive rank-upheaval and morale issues in the chain of command below those now-dead assets — seems much more of a petulant, emotionally unhinged act than doing an impromptu light-saber reno on an interrogation room. But clearly, I think about this shit way too much.

2016-01-06

Anonymity

Working primarily (like, let’s say 60 percent/40 percent) as an editor means that for the most part, even people who love stuff that I’ve worked on have absolutely no idea who I am or what I do.

And sometimes I think it would be nice to try to change that, if only to be able to engage a little more directly with the wider world of fans and gamers and readers who partake in the creative arenas I’m involved with.

And then other times, I see the unending tsunami of toxic bullshit that many of the better-known and higher-profile designer/writer friends of mine have to deal with on a daily basis in reaction to their own work, and I think to myself, “You know what? A little bit of anonymity might not be such a bad thing…"