Thursday, June 9, 2022

Graduation Gift

Greetings from the unending rain-drenched Pacific Northwest.

Batgirl's youngest is graduating high school. Last night, she was awarded a couple of awards for a high grade point average, and for another thing that I sadly can't recall and am unable to find in the moment. Let's say it was for saving puppies! Here she is going up to accept her award.

The actual graduation ceremony is Saturday. She's attending UW and even has a small scholarship for the business school. 

When I graduated high school, one of my relatives got me a $50 dollar savings bond. I'd like to continue that tradition, but these days, it's difficult to get paper bonds except under specific circumstances. Much easier to get electronic bonds. But you can only do that if you set yourself up with an electronic account, and I can't do that for her. So I've decided to give her a check for sweet cash instead. Free and clear, BUT if she uses that to open and fund a Roth IRA (which I'll offer to walk her through), I'll match the size of the first check, doubling the amount, all to go into a no-load S&P 500 index fund, of course. I'm hoping that she's going to business school, she'll be open to experimenting herself with how the magic of compound interest grows wealth over the years. 

But if not, she'll have some extra money :).

Friday, May 6, 2022

Dreamrider in the Nightland, scene 1

Hello Earthlings! 

Guess what? It's Bruce Day! On this day some number of decades ago, Sharon Mack gave birth to her firstborn. Thank you, Mom.

To celebrate, I'm posting the first scene from the first chapter of my first new novel (...since the last one I finished). I'm super excited to be making daily, if gradual, progress on the new hotness:

A patron-only post featuring an excerpt from Dreamrider in the Nightland.

[Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash]

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The New Scheme

Is this real or the Nightland?

Hello friends, family, and all you aliens listening in from the dark energy network. 

Guess what? I've just made a design turnover of draft 1 of The Planar Bestiary to the managing editor (Teri Litorco) at MCG. You know, my day job. The bestiary is a trove of monsters gathered from across the planes of existence. Hear that pleasant birdsong outside the window at the inn? Maybe it’s a warbler. But maybe it’s an abolisher of sorrow, a songbird out of the Feywild whose pleasant faerie melodies erase character memories so pleasantly they don’t realize they’re dying.

Anyhow, I'm going to take a few days away from the MCG campus to relax. Although you know what I'm also going to do? Spend the not inconsiderable time necessary to find, prep, and send out The Ark of Broken Dreams to three new prospective agents.

But as importantly, and a lot more fun, I'm going to keep working on my next novel, Dreamrider in the Nightland.

All of which is to say, I'm going to start up my Patreon again in May, posting first draft scenes from the novel as I finish them there. If you're game, I'd very much appreciate your support there. If you've already supported me, or are still supporting me, thank you so much!

[Photo by Duncan Adler on Unsplash]

Friday, November 12, 2021

This Week Is Almost Over

It's been a week for me. Starting with interrupted travel when Sun Country decided it didn't want to fly a half-empty jet back to Seattle on Sunday (following our attendance of my brother's wedding reception). So we spent a night in Minneapolis we hadn't planned for. Thankfully, all's well that ends well, and we made it home Monday evening, as did our dog Tesla, who stayed an extra night in the nearby doggie lodge in our absence.

On Wednesday evening, I ran a Planebreaker demo for the wonderful folks at Cypher Unlimited and MCG community manager LaTia Bryant. It was great fun, as you can see here:

Then on Thursday evening (last night), I participated in an online seminar focussed on WORLDBUILDING, hosted by the folks who've long run Gen Con's Writer's Symposium track. Elizabeth Vaughan moderated, and participants included me, Marc Tassin, Melanie Meadors, and Marty and Matt Forbeck. It was also great fun, as you can see here:

However, the week definitely took it out of me. So I'm looking forward to a peaceful Friday where all I have to do is sit at my desk and write.

Anyway, enjoy this amazing art for the Plenbreaker by Dan Watson called the Tomb of Tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Planebreaker Arrives on the WebDM Show

Yo, people of the multiverse!

The kind folks at WebDM were gracious enough to have me on their show to talk about the Planebreaker!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Following the Path of the Planebreaker

Greetings people of Earth!

It's been a busy few weeks for me as MCG prepares for our upcoming Planebreaker crowdfunding campaign. (It's "go time" at the end of next week!)

Since I have the honor of being the lead on the design, I've been putting daily thought into all things extradimensional from a 5E perspective. In addition to brainstorming all sorts of interesting player character options—like the Chaos Blade subclass that draws weapons from the Elemental Chaos—I've also of course been generating seeds for interesting planar locations. Places like Ethergaurd, a city that prowls the Border Ethereal. And the Planebreaker itself, a "moon" fleeing a disaster that predates the multiverse...

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Rainy but Vaccinated

What's up, my friends?

Here, it's all about what's coming down: the rain! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to see the rainy season return after a particularly dry and fiery summer in Washington state. And guess what? I'm wearing a sweater. I also wore a hoodie—my new Planetary Society Lightsail Hoodie!—for several days already. Sometime within the next few weeks, I suppose the furnace might even come on. Then we'll know for sure. 

The cooler weather also means more functions happening inside rather than outside. Here in WA state, you'll soon have to show your proof of vaccination. I checked my state records to make sure they were up to date. Lo and behold, according to the state, I've received FOUR doses of Pfizer's jab. What the what? Well, I guess that's probably good enough to get in anywhere, though it's doubled my actual number of jabs. At this point, I'm not even sure it's worth trying to fix.

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Fall is Nigh!

Hey everyone,

Welcome to the Fall! The season, not the end of civilization; we still have time to go buy some pumpkin spice whatever. Personally, I'm happy to finally welcome some rain back to a dryer-than-normal year here south of Seattle. Speaking of changes from what used to be normal, I'm not sure Batgirl and I are up for a big Halloween masquerade party this year, even though by default, everyone is of course masked. But I'm pretty sure a gorilla mask doesn't offer as powerful protection as an N95 ;).

[Photo by Kerstin Wrba on Unsplash]

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Gen Con In the Time of Covid

Guess what's just around the corner? Why, it's Gen Con 2021! A slimmed-down, mask-wearing, and I hope mostly vaccinated best four days in gaming, to be sure. But next week I head east to Indianapolis, helping MCG put on its game face for all and sundry. (btw, If you're heading up that way, we could use a few more GMs.)

Given the pandemic situation, I bet it's going to be weird. 

On the other hand, recent analysis indicates that the actual chance of a breakthrough infection for a fully vaccinated person is about one in 5,000. Or maybe one in 10,000. The human mind is ill-equipped to truly comprehend such low odds. Let's just say it's equivalent to the same risk of injury we face every time we drive a vehicle (i.e., very low).

This picture was from a few years and a couple booth builds ago. I've attended almost every Gen Con since 1996. I'm guessing that will make 2021 my 24th Gen Con. I'll be sure to snap a few pics this time, too.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Ear Shows for Everyone

Hey Earthlings,

If you know anything about me, you know that I've been on a podcast kick since about the time 'podcast' was coined as a term. In that time, various podcasts have come onto and fallen off my regular rotation. I used to be pretty thick with science and tech podcasts. Some of those have fallen off my regular rotation, and new ones have come on. This weekend I was enjoying the new-to-me tech-n-talk SMR Podcast, an interview-style show called People I Mostly Admire, and an EV-enthusiast show called Kilowatt. So far I'm liking what I'm hearing.

Any podcasts you come back to time and again?

Monday, August 2, 2021

Ambiguous Knight

Howdy Earthlings!

So we saw the Green Knight this weekend at the theater. The thing about seeing this movie is that you should probably go in with the advice "embrace ambiguity" echoing in your ears (as Batgirl had just told me). That way, over the subsequent few days as you try to make sense of the movie with your partner, while arguing the fine points of what's Arthurian "canon" and what's folderal, you're able to deepen your appreciation of the film. I suspect we'll watch it again, if not soon, at least when it comes to streaming.

Did you do anything that challenged you lately that you then came to appreciate later?

[Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash]

Monday, June 28, 2021

Testing the EV Charging Infrastructure

Last week I tested the EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure along a route stretching between Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and all the way across South Dakota. Then back. 

The good news: I made it both ways! Thanks to the car's self-planning feature (it decides which charging stations to stop at, and how long I need to charge there), planning the trip was a cinch. Overall, I enjoyed a lot of alone time, during which I listened to audiobooks galore. It was sweet. And wonderful to see my family, many of whom drove in from their own distant points to be there at the same time.

But that's not to say there weren't a few odd glitches. At one point, about 30 minutes out of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, my car suddenly told me the charging station I was making for was "closed" and my only option was to return to Coeur d'Alene, get a bigger charge, then come back once more with enough charge to make it to the next farther charging station. Well, that whole process added about 3 hours to my trip. All to find that the "closed" charging station was open all along. Some sort of lapse of cell communication in the middle of Idaho was probably to blame.

On the way back toward Washington, I stopped in Mitchell SD, only to discover that every one of the chargers would only let me charge for about 1 minute before stopping, then starting up again 20 or so seconds later, then stop, rinse, and repeat. Luckily I had a really big charge left, and so despite this herky-jerky situation, I was able to gather just enough energy to move on after about 20 minutes of worry.

A few other weirdnesses plagued me. About an hour and a half before I reached my initial destination in SD, the car freaked out, telling me there was no charge to be found at my destination, and that I should GO BACK. It helpfully tried to re-route me. (What it didn't know was that my parents had installed a charging plug in their garage, and that I was going to be fine.) Then, with too little information to go on, it decided that Highway 25 was actually the speed limit, and kept trying to limit my speed to 25 miles per hour.  Easy enough to fix: stop relying on the autopilot function and just drive the car like normal.

So, long story short: I had a great time on the drive (and an even better time seeing family in the middle). And I learned a lot, thanks to the events I've just described. So much that I might try to do it again next year.