Category Archives: Personal

Indecision 2004

I saw the second presidential debate the other night, and it really solidified a few things in my mind. First of all, I really feel cut off from the political process — I don’t feel that either major party represents my interests at all.

Traditionally, I’ve voted Republican. Despite my agreement with some of the socially progressive ideas of the Democratic party, I feel that the fiscal responsibility traditionally championed by the Republicans was more important. I don’t care how good an idea is, if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. I also tend to favor the “smaller government” idea — I think that people are capable of running their own lives, and the government should stay out of that as much as possible.

However, the current administration has showcased the worst excesses of the Republican party (at least, in my opinion), and I don’t feel comfortable voting for them again. Kerry, on the other hand, I am familair with as a long-time Massachusetts resident (18 years). I don’t trust him, and I don’t trust his politics. Despite all the talk that’s been going around the last couple of weeks, I have yet to hear any real plan that will effect the changes he’s talking about.

So, for the first time ever in my political career, I am adrift. A man without a party (though, based on what I’ve heard from other people, hardly the only one). I’ll try and watch the last debate (this coming Wednesday), but I’m really expecting more of the same.

I’m not sure yet, but I’m pretty sure that I will vote for a third party candidate (to increase the percentage of the vote they receive — in Maine it helps ensure they’re on the ballot next time around).

There really needs to be some kind of change in the political dynamic in this country. It seems a shame that my generation seems to not care enough to get involved.

Well, a little under a month and it will be over (for this cycle, anyhow). I don’t care who you vote for, but I urge you to get out and vote. Get involved in the process, learn what you can about the candidates (locally and nationally), and make a choice.

Still plugging away…

Once again, there are no significant updates to the material on the website, but once again, there is a reason for that — and it doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking off!

First of all, at my “day job” we’ve spent the last couple of weeks training for the new contract we’re servicing. The training was kind of easy, because 90% of the stuff they were teaching us we already knew… but the training ran from 7am to 3pm. Since I’ve been working 2pm to 10pm the last three years (or so) my whole schedule was thrown out of whack.

It can be tough to update a website when you’re desperately needing sleep.

I’ve been continuing my work on the Workings of Magic chapter for the Earthdawn Classic Player’s Compendium. I’ve been in semi-regular contact with James Flowers (current line developer) and Lou Prosperi (former line developer) to make sure that everything is up to snuff. It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work.

Hopefully, we’ll be playing Earthdawn tonight… but at this particular moment whether we will or not remains to be seen… the lovely wife was put through the paces in her first week back at school, and may choose to sit out and get some homework done instead of gaming. She also has an 8am class, so it’s likely to be an early night.

Which is cool — your real life should take priority over fantasy life. It’s good to relax and blow off steam with an RPG, but when your real life suffers… you should take a step back and examine why you feel the need to shirk your responsibilities.

That about does it for now. See you ’round the net!

Observations made while travelling in northern Maine…

Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, my wife I drove up to Lincoln, Maine (about an hour north of Bangor, where we live) to have dinner with her family. This is odd, because all of her family either lives in the Bangor/Brewer area, or lives south of the Bangor/Brewer area.

Anyway, the reason for the northward trek was to have dinner at a particular chinese restaurant that my mother-in-law wanted to go to. The food was okay — certainly nothing spectacular in my opinion, but that’s beside the point. There are a couple of amusing things I noticed during the trip — things you’re only likely to see in northern Maine (or perhaps a similarly rural area)…

There was a self-serve car wash (which are scattered across the countryside like dandelions up here) that had a bay large enough for the tractor part of a tractor-trailer (I’d never personally seen anything like that before). And it was in use at the time for just that purpose.

The other thing I found really amusing (and this is almost certainly a pure Maine thing), the restaurant we went to was having a buffet (as most chinese restaurants in the area do at one time or another). One of the items in the buffet was fried clams.

Yes, that’s right… not some kind of clever chinese-food take on this Maine dietary staple, but breaded and fried clams just like you can get at any roadside stand down on the coast.

I mean, I like seafood as much as the next guy (at least, the next guy who likes seafood), but when I go to a chinese buffet… I don’t expect to see something like that.

And they weren’t even the good fried clams — you know, whole clams with the belly intact — but the less appealing (but more tourist friendly) clam strips.

You just have to wonder sometimes.

Vacation’s all I ever wanted…

After several weeks of tough, tough life, I have a paid week to loaf around.

Well, not really. My lovely wife has plans to tear up and redo our front garden this week, as well as clean out from under the porch (no telling what we’ll find — we haven’t looked under there since we moved into the house nearly two years ago).

I also hope to get some work done on my Earthdawn adventure Pilgrimage, as well as a serious read-through/critique/edit of the current incarnation of the Earthdawn Player’s Compendium. (Coming later this year! Ask for it by name!) Actually, the priority on those two will probably be flipped — the EDC will be out later this year, while Pilgrimage won’t be out until ’05 sometime (depending on how soon I get the manuscript finished and the various publishing schedule).

Oh yeah, I want to catch up on some sleep as well… though somehow that always seems to slip my mind when I’m working for that next level in Final Fantasy XI.

I’ve been reading the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Seven books and counting (I just finished Burnt Offerings about five minutes ago). I don’t think I’ve ever encontered a series I could work through that quickly, without getting burnt out on it and needing a break (except perhaps Terry Pratchett).

If you haven’t read these books, and you’re a fan of dark action-adventure with vampires, werewolves, zombies, and a host of other preternatural beasites, this series rocks on toast. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer if it were on HBO or something.

These books are what I wish the new World of Darkness was going to be like… *sigh*.

Other stuff… hmm….

Visit Yes, Wil Wheaton. Wesley from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He’s got a great blog, and is a self-professed geek with a book out (and another on the way). He’s been a guest (or guest host) on Tech TV several times, and he’s been a joy to watch. Visit, enjoy.

While you’re at it, visit another blog, maintained by an acquaintance (I hesitate to call him a friend, even if we did game together and he ran the early stages of what was sure to be a kick ass Ars Magica saga). His name is Mike Daisey, and come to think of it, he’s been on Tech TV a couple times himself. He made a bit of a splash last year (or the year before — time blurs when you start pushing 30) for his one-man show (and accompanying book) 21 Dog Years — about his time working at

(I haven’t read the book yet, Mike, but I will, I swear!)

Anyhow, you can visit his blog at Read. Enjoy.

Final thought: Despite all the plans I have for this upcoming *paid* *week* *off* (Woot!) I’m probably going to spend most of it playing Final Fantasy XI.

There is more to tell, but I’ve been more verbose than usual, which is a sure sign that I need food and/or sleep. I need both in fact, and I’m not sure what order to tackle them in. So until next time…


So… here’s the latest round of headaches with regards to our stolen car.

The police were done with it, so we called the local dealership, where we have all our repair work done. They were going to send a wrecker down to Winterport to pick up the lady and bring her back to Bangor. However, the garage where it is currently being held will not release it until his bill is paid — for towing and storage, nearly $500. The dealer won’t cover it for us… until that gets paid, we can’t get the car fixed.

Not having that kind of cash, I got on the horn to our insurance company. Our adjuster (April) spent the better part of the afternoon on the phone with the dealership, and the garage in Winterport. The final fall-out was, she is overnighting a check to Winterport (which will arrive Monday). When he gets the check, he releases the car, and we have to have it transported up to the dealership that day… or we’ll get another day’s worth of storage that needs to be paid before we can transport it again… *sigh*

Anyhow, this is all in the midst of overtime at work, and all the other regular day-to-day stresses of life.

And there’s still no sign of my keys. What a pain.

In an amusing note, one of my wife’s co-workers made the ludicrous insinuation that we faked the whole thing in an affort to get a new car.

Yeah… we intentionally drove our car into a gravel pit, called it in as stolen, and are now dealing with the headaches of police and insurance reports, not to mention the rest of this delightful saga — all in order to get a new car, which will replace the car we bought new last summer, and had just over 6000 miles on it when it was stolen.

I’m amazed the police haven’t exposed our brilliant scam by now.

The Saga Continues…

They found our car!

Yesterday evening, we got a call from the Bangor Police Department that our lady had been found about a mile off into the woods on a snowmobile trail by Waldo County Sheriffs. They couldn’t pull it out that night, but it was towed out this morning, and we took the opportunity to drive down to Winterport and see the damage.

It wasn’t as bad as we had feared. When you learn that your car has been abandoned so far out in the woods that they couldn’t get a wrecker out there until they got a logging skidder to widen the trail… the worst goes through your mind.

The damage…? Well, the passenger side mirror was taken off, but it was recovered, and there are a few superficial scratches, but no serious (or even moderate) body damage was apparent. We don’t know what sort of condition the undercarriage is in — that’ll have to wait until we get it to the repair shop and up on the lift.

Anyhow… the perp left a baseball cap in the back seat, so there is some hope that other evidence was left behind. Also — in what may be a classic insight into the lunacies of the criminal mind — the burned CD-Rs we had in the car were taken. Real CDs? Sure — you can pawn those for cash or something. But CD-Rs? I don’t know of any pawn shop or second-hand store that will deal with them, and our musical tastes are… eclectic to say the least.

I guess they wanted mix discs of Wierd Al Yankovic, ’80s Hair Metal, and They Might be Giants.

Anyhow, I took some pictures, but lacking a digital camera, I need to get the film developed and scanned in before I can share them with you. Stay tuned!

Quick update…

On the car thing, some good news from this past weekend. While picking up in preparation for our Sunday night Earthdawn game, I found our leather CD case — which we thought was in the car. It turns out it had been taken out a couple weeks back, and had gotten buried under a pile of papers on my desk.

In the end, we only lost a couple of actual CDs — everything else that was in the car was burned CD-Rs, and those are easily replaced.

I’m still bummed about my keys, though.

Bad news…

My car was stolen this morning.

I woke up and noticed it was gone, along with my key ring — it appears the thief got into our house in the wee hours of the morning, grabbed my keys, and made off with our car. We haven’t even had it a year yet.

What I find most annoying about this, oddly enough, is not that my car was stolen, but rather that my keys were stolen along with it. Not only did I need to replace the locks on my front door, but the spare key to my grandmother’s house, the key to my locker at work (which I fortunately do not keep locked), the key to my bike lock, my steamer trunk, our luggage… all of these keys are gone (unless, through some miracle, the car and keys are found). Also, those convenient little key-ring tags from the video store and whatnot are gone as well.

Oh yeah, I should mention that our 30-disc CD wallet, full of CDs, was in the car as well. So now, we have to replace that gap in our collection (naturally, it was the stuff we liked, otherwise it wouldn’t have been in the car).

It’s a pain in the ass, and it’s generally not cool. So if, through some bizarre quirk of fate you see a black, 2003 4-door Chevy Cavalier with Maine lcense plate 5470 KC, tail it and give me a call. We’ll call in a strike force and take the lady back.

The first post…

It’s funny — last week, before I set this whole thing up, I had a whole bunch of ideas about things that I wanted to write about. Now that I have an easier way to update my site (particularly with small bits of news)… all the ideas seem to have vanished.

We played Earthdawn tonight. In our group of five, we have three players who are new to the setting and the system. It’s fascinating — I’m getting a new perspective on the game through their eyes. Concepts and ideas that I take for granted are being met with wonder and amazement. It kind of reminds me of my early days with the game, when all was fresh and new.

They’re on to their third adventure now. The first one was created as an introductory adventure, and it went pretty well. My original plans for the second adventure were aborted as they chased off after phantoms. After a quick web search, I found a nice little side trek in the archives of the Earthdawn Journal, which they wrapped up tonight.

After some downtime (where some of the PCs advanced to second circle), I sent them off to Parlainth, and the beginnings of Mists of Betrayal. I haven’t run the adventure for many years, and I’m looking forward to their first real encounter with a Horror.

In other news, Mary (my lovely wife) got a letter yesterday letting her know that she’s been accepted into college. It’s a tremendous boost for her — she’s been feeling rather frustrated with her career in retail management. She’s going to study Biology Education, and plans to become a high school teacher. I’m proud of her.

That does it for now. Hopefully my brain will kick back into action, and you’ll get more from me than just the latest news items from my life.