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Archive for "Personal"

October 23, 2010

A Toast to the Healers

On the occasion of my wife’s graduation from nursing school…

A toast to you, the healers:
you fixers of men,
and women, and children;
you soothers of the aged.

You body mechanics,
you protectors of life,
you guardians of spirit.

You shepherds of the bowel.

You ushers of the soul
(coming in,
and going out)
and of nourishment
(going in,
and coming out).

May you wear your pins with pride.
May you sleep soundly in daylight.
May your skin glow under fluorescent light.
And may you never need to take
the peerless service that you give.

Na zdrowie! To your health.

December 24, 2009

Repost: And to All, a Good Night

I know I’ve been neglecting you terribly, friends. And I hope to remedy that soon, even if it means posting whatever comes off the top of my head in snippets barely longer than a Twitter post.

But until then, I’d like to once again share this story about Christmas in my house. Here’s hoping your holidays are every bit as wonderful as they can be.


 

christmas-W540

I grew up in a very large family: I’m the youngest of ten kids. Yeah, you read that right. I have five older sisters and four older brothers — an even 5/5 split. To make things even more surreal, there was an eight-year gap between my youngest sister and my youngest brother, so most of my siblings are at least ten years older than me, with the difference in age between me and my oldest brother clocking in at ten days short of an even twenty years. So even in my earliest memories, my siblings had significant others, and very shortly thereafter, kids. (I now have a niece and two nephews who are married. But I’m not a great-uncle, yet.)

In addition to that, my dad’s biological mother died shortly after he was born, and his father got remarried, which made for five separate and distinct branches of the family tree just two generations back, counting the families of my maternal grandmother and grandfather, paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, and paternal step-grandmother. And many of them came from big families. (We’re talking about turn-of-the-century reproduction statistics here, mostly for recent immigrants to the country; this was not at all abnormal.)

Anyway, to sum up: we’re a big family. So the holidays were always a fairly substantial production.

Continue reading “Repost: And to All, a Good Night” »

August 25, 2009

Now It Can Be Told

guitarsmall-540I’ve been hinting at a big project for months now, and it’s finally done. Well, by “done” I guess I mean “begun” — I’ve just launched a new website: Plastic Axe.

See, I love music games. I mean, I really love them. This is in part because I love music in an embarrassingly wide variety of genres, and in part because I’m a musician myself (I sing and play bass, guitar, and drums, in case you didn’t know). So these games sort of hit me right in the sweet spot.

Anyway, I’ve been spending the last few months putting this site together. This is a solo project; I’m doing all the writing, design, coding, PR, administration… Suddenly I’m very tired. Where was I? Oh yes: This site is all me. But I’m also hoping it’ll be useful to other fans of music games, who can keep up with the latest news and releases, and find lots of new music in The Vault.

So there it is, my Big Secret Project: Plastic Axe — Music games for music fans. Go have yourself a look around, and let me know what you think in the comments (over there rather than here, please).

July 13, 2009

Crisis Averted!

It has recently come to my attention that I have been blatantly disregarding one of the key Commandments of Blogging:

Thou shalt post pictures of thy cats.

Clearly this is a profoundly impactful omission, which must be rectified immediately. And so, I give you: Fiona.fiona

Now don’t we all feel better? Oh, fine, here’s one more to ensure that balance in the universe is maintained.

Continue reading “Crisis Averted!” »

July 10, 2009

Can’t Talk, Busy

Sorry for the major lapse in updates over here. I’m in the middle of a very big, very brain-melting project that I’m hoping to have wrapped up within the next couple of weeks. No, I can’t tell you about it yet, but it’s something I’m pretty excited to share when the time comes.

OK, I’ll give you a hint: It has something to do with plastic. And that’s all you’re getting.

Anyway, please bear with the lack of updates here for a little while longer, OK?

May 21, 2009

Can’t Talk, Preparing for E3

I hate when blogs go dormant. So just to make sure no one thinks this one has suffered such a fate, I’m still alive! It’s just that I’ve found myself rather suddenly going to E3 (that would be the big game show in LA, for those of you outside the industry), and having to do a bit of scrambling to ensure I’m ready.

So please forgive me if this place goes dark for a bit. I expect to be back in the regular swing of things by mid-June.

Well, as regular as it gets around here.

May 4, 2009

Personal Recommendations, From Me to You

I’m kind of slow sometimes.

People often ask me for recommendations for things like games and books and music and other things we humans need to survive. So a couple weeks back, I spent an afternoon putting together a huge collection of lists of my favorite games, music, movies, books, and even food…and then promptly forgot to mention it here on the main page.

So, hey, lookie there in the left-hand sidebar! It’s a Favorites page! It has all sorts of recommendations of stuff I happen to enjoy a whole lot. I hope you’ll find them useful. If not, feel free to leave a comment on that page. As long as you’re okay with me telling you how wrong you are.

April 16, 2009

Quick Note re: E-mail

So, apparently Gmail has been having issues for the last four hours or so. And most of my various e-mail accounts rely on Gmail. So if you’ve been trying to reach me with anything urgent, please be patient — I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.

March 10, 2009

A Ziff-trospective, Part III: Oakbrook Terrors

West of Chicago, there’s a spot where interstates 294, 290, and 88 all come together. Just west of that interchange, on I-88, is a toll plaza. If you look to the south as you’re driving by, you’ll see an extended-stay corporate hotel. And behind that hotel you’ll see a low, sprawling orange building with a glass canopy over the entrance.

If I were to estimate the amount of time I spent in that building…well, let’s do it now. I went to work there every day for almost four years. Call it 7500 normal working hours. Now add an extra 40 to 60 hours a month to account for deadlines, for around 44 months. Yeah, that’s about what I expected: ten thousand hours is a pretty fair estimate. To do that all at once you’d have to work for about 14 months straight. Without stopping to sleep.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. Some of my fondest memories happened in and around that building. I made some dear friends. I learned some important lessons. I met my wife during this time. I laughed a lot. I ate some really spectacular take-out.

But you stay in any place long enough, you’re gonna get a little crazy.

Continue reading “A Ziff-trospective, Part III: Oakbrook Terrors” »

February 26, 2009

“Used to be so deep…”

This amuses me.

I was doing a search for statistics on the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises for my weekly music-game column over at Green Pixels, and for some reason stumbled on this article about late-’80s/early-’90s punk band Pennywise. I was pleased (if a bit surprised) to learn that the band is still together and performing, but the part of the article that really amused me goes like this:

The band’s punk credibility was boosted by some Sex Pistols-like antics. During an appearance on the syndicated call-in radio show “Loveline,” [guitarist Fletcher] Dragge intentionally vomited on strait-laced co-host Dr. Drew. The interview took place at alternative rock station KROQ-FM in Los Angeles in 1995.

What the article does not tell you is that a day or two later the band played a show at Peabody’s Down Under in Cleveland, Ohio. I happened to be in Peabody’s legendary green room while they were telling the story to a friend of mine — it’s possible my band was actually opening that night, but I honestly don’t remember — and was as aghast as you probably were the first time you heard this story. But then Fletcher did something that in some ways is even worse.

Continue reading ““Used to be so deep…”” »