General Blog

General Blog

August 19, 2011

The ninth life

My brother just got some sad, sad news. His cat PD has cancer and will probably go to the great sun-warmed spot in the sky soon. I thought about that a lot on my ride home the other night. Came into the driveway and Mookie was looking out the window. I suppose it’s the realization of my brother’s pending loss that made me like Rutger Hauer watching Harrison Ford dangle from the end of a rain-wet girder in “Blade Runner” – I suddenly realized how precious life was. So after dinner, I paid special attention to my little girl, petting […]
August 17, 2011

Long wait for the StarWars sequel

After a quarter decade of not reffing, I was asked by a niece to ref an adventure for her college-bound friends, as detailed HERE. It was weird, it was confusing, and it was a lot of fun. The location: A recently-opened Imperial settlement called Communication Post Alpha (or “Compost”) – located on an otherwise inhospitable planet, at the bottom of a sheer 25km canyon, there lay an old republic colony transport crashed 2000 years ago. Its colonists, because of the local fungus forest and damaged reactors, have “regressed” somewhat apishly. The Imperials, finding a ready-made city in the grounded transport, […]
August 15, 2011

Twenty-five years after the dice fell…

I was a pretty good ref a quarter century ago. I’d run D&D, Top Secret, Paranoia, and Superhero 44. But my favorite was StarWars, run off the old Star Patrol rules. Really liked that set – it was open-ended so I could fling out whatever throws and saves I felt like, without players tossing tables back in my face. I reffed it pretty much on a weekly basis through college and beyond, adventures which started on my custom world of Naolo and spread across the universe. My players and I went into some unlikely places in these games. I remembered […]
August 14, 2011

Tyre map

Michael Metcalf (who did the wonderful cover art for my soon-to-be-out novel Early ReTyrement, also finished up the map two weeks ago. It was like a Hollywood movie – I managed to close the deal and get the print safe on my aux drive before my entire computer went down. Anyway, have a look. The guy was nice enough that when best-buddy Jesse came up with beyond-last-minute-changes (i.e. after I’d paid and the the arrangement was closed) he added these changes in gratis. As always, he was a pleasure to work with and really came up with some very nice […]
August 13, 2011

Back in Byte

In my last posting, I mentioned my computer had been violated and that even with all my efforts, it was running too slow and had been irreparably damaged. Took it over to Refresh Computers to have a look. They ran the full registry check and found evidence of hosts of bad programmers (all sorts of snarls and snags down there from years of installs and uninstalls). Still, even with all that cleanup, it wasn’t enough. I gave the order, turned and walked out (like someone dropping their pet off to be euthanized). However, got it back and she’s running as […]
August 7, 2011

Killing my old friend

Well, this has been a long and hard struggle. I’ve picked up a nasty virus, once that hammers performance, respawns, and redirects all web searches. God knows what else its doing. The other day, I contacted the highest-rated Orlando tech firm. How that rating (on was determined, I don’t know. The guy said they were experts at virus removal, that they could make it all better, that they would tune everything and my computer would be “like new”. Elated, I gave them my old laptop and left with a glow of hope. False hope, it would seem. When I […]
July 23, 2011


To the horror of my parents, I’ve always been a socialist of sorts, a wandering spirit looking for the government supporting its members as members, where people don’t die under bridges or in shabby nursing homes. Before everyone trots out their tea party rhetoric and Fox and Friends viewpoints, let me say that this is pretty much a one-man debate, a personal deliberation. I’ll occasionally discuss the matter with my libertarian friend Jesse Markowitz, if only because he is one of the few people left who openly discusses things on merit rather than what passes for Yankee debates these days […]
July 22, 2011


“The Semantic Web works beautifully, by the way. It’s not like your foul litter Internet – so full of spam and crime.” -Black Swan Bruce Sterling Tuesday night I was working on cleaning up Early ReTyrement. My pal Mike Krzos had come up with all sorts of observations everyone had missed and I wanted to get them in. However, in the time travel section where Mason vanishes from Daytona Beach and ends up in Tyre, I stated that he fell thirty feet into the water (the idea being that he’d move to a different location on the globe and a […]
July 10, 2011

Fuzzy History

My dad once gave me a picture that said, “Cats do not tell all they know.” That’s very true. Had cats while growing up, but as an adult I’ve had three special cats. The first, Scud East, a little English shorthair, I picked up from the VPI swine barn. He was my pal through college and those years following, always at my side and never straying (even when we went for walks). Having grown up amidst dorm room D&D games where he charmed the players, he always considered himself a small human, seeing no difference in what we did and […]
July 3, 2011

Early ReTyrement – the working cover

So here is the final working cover art for Early ReTyrement. Michael Metcalf, who I commission off Elance, did a stellar job through all my little changes. He actually researched Persian dress and foot ware for the time, to get the illustration right. This has been the cover I’ve envisioned since 2002, when I was ready to go to print (the publishing industry, it seemed, wasn’t quite as ready as I). I’d long dreaded that they would muck this cover up, perhaps with something silly or stupid or simplistic. No, I wanted nice-guy Mason, the ranks of soldiers, the crowding […]