7 Day Book Challenge – Day 1

So my friend Jon challenged me to one of those stupid “post your  x favourite ____ and then tag bunch of your friends” chain letter spam things on Facebook recently. Normally I ignore them passionately because I personally hate the gullible sheep mentality they breed and I simply hate spam. This time however, I was intrigued. The challenge is thus:

Day 1: I have accepted a challenge to post the covers of 7 books I love — no explanation, no reviews, just the covers. Each time I’ll ask a friend to take up the challenge. Let’s promote literacy together. Today I challenge: ____

Pretty innocuous right? I mean it’s books! This was a challenge I was born to participate in. So I started thinking about it… then I thought about it some more and then today  I caved and took up the challenge.

I started rummaging around in my head for the books that I love. Books that have shaped my identity and my world views over the years and realized that I had way more than 7. The number might be closer to 700 truth be told. This might be harder to narrow down than I had originally thought.

On top if this, just posting without any explanation makes me twitch out. I’m the kind of person that needs to know why. I need to understand the reasons. The story behind the story if you will. I’m sure there’s more than a few of you out there that feel the same.

Now, so as to stick to the spirit of the rules, if not the letter, I’ve decided to post the original over on Facebook and then link each day to a new post here with the juicy details about why these seven books are so important to me.

Let’s begin.

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Good Idea, Bad Idea…

Or at least bad timing. I’m one of those creatives whose brain doesn’t shut off. I drive to work, I develop characters. I’m working on my staff’s schedules at work, I mentally run through 17-18 different permutations of an encounter that I’ve planned for my characters that I highly doubt they’ll even attempt. I watch tv, I tune out and start rewriting the plot. I go to bed, I wake up at 3 in the morning with the cheesiest pun of a title for an episode of my star wars campaign that I have to remember.

And there’s the rub. 90% of the time, these ideas pounce on me at the wrong time. Or in the wrong place. You’d think that by now, I’d have learned to carry a notebook with me. Nope. I did that for awhile, then kept leaving the notes around. Yes, I even had one of those silly little digital recorders with me in the car for awhile. Couldn’t stand talking to the thing. Like most people, I hate the sound of my own voice. Plus I found that the batteries were always dead when I actually did try to use the thing.

I’ve called myself and left voicemail. I’ve scribbled notes on napkins in restaurants. Most of the time I just let the thought rattle around in my head until pen finds paper, or fingers find keys. A lot of times these days, I even will just text random burbles to friends without context or anything more than the briefest explanation.

Thankfully, the couple of friends that I end up usually sending things to are creative enough to understand and humour me as I go daft in my old age.

Can’t stop… Clowns will eat me.

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the gloriously bad pun title for my Star Wars campaign

Wait for it.

Continue reading “Good Idea, Bad Idea…”

The Neil is coming!

I’m excited. I managed to get tickets to a speaking event with my all time favourite author. The one, the only, the infinitely estimable Neil Gaiman. It’s my birthday present to myself. I can’t wait!

I’m way more excited for this than knowing  that both David Tennant and Matt Smith will be at the comic con this weekend. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan but even that pales in comparison to The Neil.

I’ve never drank deeply from the kool-aid offered by the cult of celebrity. I understand that they’re just people and while I respect their work and it’s contribution to my imagination, I just feels off to me to idolize them.

All that being said, I am definitely doing just that with Neil and I  have with other authors. I remember meeting Guy Gavriel Kay just after he released Ysobel and was practically dumbstruck trying to articulate the profound effect his works had on me. I dont really have an explanation. I guess I’ll always be a bigger book nerd than tv nerd.

I’m okay with this.

A Problem Unwritten

Well, I just looked at my stats and as of this post, I’m sitting with more posts in the past three months than I have written in the past 9 years prior to that.

I’m somewhat proud of myself for this. I may not be posting daily, or even weekly, but I am posting and actually making time to write a post and to formulate ones in my head. In fact I know I had a post I wanted to write instead of this one, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what it was.

I am aware that not many people are reading this any more (an average daily visitor count of 2-3 tops) but this doesn’t overly bother me. I didn’t do this originally for other people’s entertainment. I did it as an outlet for my own creativity and as a personal catharsis. If you care to come along for the ride, you’re more than welcome. If not, it’s no big deal either.

I’ve noticed that a lot of my more recent posts (this one included) tend to be somewhat more introspective than those I posted in the past.  I don’t really have a solid answer as to why that is. Maybe it’s fatherhood. Maybe it’s the state of the world these days. Maybe it’s age. It’s certainly not wisdom (that’s a dump stat).

I can’t say why, but I’m not going to stop. The muse says write, and I write. If the words tumble out of my brain and turn introspective, I’m not going to say otherwise. I’m just the vessel. Along for the ride. Let’s see where we go.

Shameless Self-Promotion

In case the picture of a metal D20 in the top left corner didn’t clue you in, I’m a bit of a geek. Specifically, I’m a roleplayer and like all roleplayers I desire a place to roll my dice in style.

To that end, I’ve wanted a gaming table to set up in my place for some time (since I was like, 12). Last year, there was an amazing kickstarter called the Table of Ultimate Gaming that suited the bill just right. I backed without hesitation and it would have been glorious… except it was a bit more expensive than I would have liked and after some serious self-reflection and adult conversations with myself, I backed out and missed out. Part of me regrets that decision still.

However, the dream has not died. One day, I will have both the gaming room and the table to go in it. Because the nice folks over at Table of Ultimate gaming are mind readers and fellow geeks and they want to help me out, they decided to run a contest and another kickstarter for a new table style they’ve created. I figured I would enter and see if I could get lucky. If you’re a gamer yourself, I highly suggest you follow this link and enter for yourself.

“Dovie’andi se tovya sagain.”


Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and awhile, you may miss it.

Ferris Bueller… You’re my hero.

He’s not wrong.

My two girls started the new school year this week. Grade 7 for the eldest, grade 4 for the youngest. Like all parents who look at their kids at this moment as they head off to school or board the bus, I too got a dose of “Holy shit, my children have grown so much!”.

Time is a subtle bastard. He sneaks up on you when you least expect it and bumps you just hard enough to jostle your comfy rose coloured glasses off and as you look around in a daze, you catch a glimpse of reality in the harsh light of day and see your children, not as you always see them: as your little girls, but as the young women they are quickly becoming.

It can throw you for a pretty big loop because you’re not expecting it. One moment, you’re holding this tiny infant in your arms, bursting with love and the next they’re giving you the universal teenage brush-off to signify how uncool you are: “Whatever, dad.”

Thankfully the eldest hasn’t fully crossed to the dark side yet and five minutes later she’s back to “I love you daddy. Can we play Little Big Planet together?” One of these days though, I’ll blink and even that will be just a memory. Ahh, Time, you bastard. I hate you just a little bit in times like this, but at the same time, without that subtle jostling, I wouldn’t see the beauty right in front of me and cherish the moments I do have.

No. You shut up! I’m not crying. You’re crying….

Errr. Anyways. I’m just going to sit in the corner here clinging vainly to the false hope that they’ll always be my little girls. At least until the next time Time comes along and knocks me spinning…

Enjoy The Silence?

So, Tam and the girls went down to the states for a week to visit her mom on her birthday. Due to blackout restrictions at my work, I wasn’t able to make it.

While I was sad to not be going and enjoying some quality fam-jam time, the introverted nerdy recluse that lurks in the core of my being secretly reveled in a week without the wife or kids.

My week of bachelor life however started off to mixed results. I woke up on the Saturday and managed to pull a stupid: I locked myself out of the house. I knew I’d done it the second I closed the door behind me. Yay for having to climb in my kids bedroom window. Double yay for not having the neighbours call the cops on me.

Thankfully, the afternoon turned out somewhat better. Managed to have a few of the guys over and we played board games for most of the evening. Not something that I regularly get a chance to do, and the fact that we all had piles of shame we needed to work through was incentive. I would have liked to get through more, but we’re not as young as we used to be.

The rest of the week passed somewhat uneventfully. I mostly just worked and came home to an empty house. Too empty to be honest. When I’ve been alone in the past, I’ve thought nothing of it. It’s part of the background. This time though, there was definitely silence. Sure, the cats were racing about being shitheads, but the lack of people in the house was definitely noticable and once I noticed, it became somewhat disconcerting.

You know that feeling you get when you’re alone and your mind starts playing tricks on you and your imagination goes into overdrive? Yeah? Picture that amplified over a whole week. I’m not ashamed to admit that I slept with a light on. It didn’t help the silence, but as I’m a hardcore Doctor Who nerd nothing really does…


Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that as much as I’m a nerdy introvert, having a connection to the world is a necessity. The noise and chaos of my life has become part of who I am and without it, I don’t feel normal.  Who knew?!?!

A Night of Games & Geekery.

As an kid I dreamed that as an adult I would sit around a table with my friends every weekend and we’d roll dice, slay monsters, rescue princesses (metaphorically… cause as a nerd kid I had no idea what to do with a princess when I rescued them), and generally nerd out to our hearts content.

As an adult, that dream was dragged into an alley by reality and beaten senseless with responsibilities, jobs, honey-do lists, and life. I blame reality for the state of my adult life. I hold a grudge.

These days, my friends and I are lucky to get together once a month (or every other month) to roll our dice, slay our princesses and fly away in a facsimile millennium falcons. If we’re extra lucky, we’ll get together prior to our RPG sessions and play a couple of board games that we’ve collected.

Recently, my wife was taking the girls down to the states to see her mom and that left me all alone for a week. My inner child rejoiced. The perfect opportunity to go hardcore like we did back in the day. An all day game session? Why yes please.

Sadly, reality took one look at my glee and bitch slapped me sideways. Not everyone else’s schedules coincided. An all day RPG fest was off the table as not enough people were going to be around to make it worthwhile.

However, enough people were interested in an evening of boardgames so some fun would at least be had. Boardgames are not  something that I regularly get a chance to do, and the fact that we all had piles of shame we needed to work through was incentive.  We managed to get through 3 off my bucket list. Sakura, Deja Vu: Fragments of Memory, and Planetarium. I was kind of hoping we’d get through a few more of mine and perhaps even get a game of Bloodbowl or Necromunda in but alas, time was not on our side and we’re not as young as we used to be.

Of the six that we played, my personal favourite was Planetarium. I enjoyed the concept of trying to create a planet and (potentially) messing with other people’s planets as well. I didn’t win, but I definitely had the most fun with it and would gladly play again. My next favourite was Yokohama. It’s a Japanese take on a worker placement game and it plays really well. Enjoyable, simple to learn, hard to master with multiple victory paths. Again, I’d gladly play it again.

While we tried to keep to games we hadn’t played before, Tiny Epic Defenders snuck in because the 2nd Edition and the expansion, made it a much more compelling game to play. We did not win that one and while I enjoyed it and would play it again, it doesn’t jump out as a “go-to” game that I’d play. Definitely better than the 1st Edition though.

Sakura was an interesting, simple trick taking game that took a little bit to master, but once we understood the card effects, it became a little more fun and a whole lot easier. I’d definitely play it again with a few more people but overall it falls in my “was fun but not spectacular” category.

I have mixed feelings about El Dorado. It is a gorgeous looking game and is well designed, fun and with it being tile-based, it definitely has replayability but I felt there was something missing. It lacked something, and I’m not sure what exactly. Even though I won the game, it fell a little flat for me. It wasn’t the best game I’ve played. Either there was something we missed in the rules, or something that will be addressed in the forthcoming expansion. I don’t know. I’ll certainly give it a go again just to see though.

The final game on our list, Deja Vu, was visually very pretty with an anime-esque art style, but a frustrating game to play. A lot of that frustration stemmed from the rulebook not being concisely translated into English so there were paragraphs that didn’t make sense and then became contradicted two paragraphs on. Once we figured out the basics, it became a little more strategic and a little more fun, but I was definitely underwhelmed by the game itself. Oh well. Live and learn.

Next time the wife’s away, I’m going to take reality out back and shoot it. I needs me a nostalgic game night.