How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I apologize for the lack of updates — I overslept.

Holy cow have we been busy! We just got back from Louisiana, where we visited family, celebrated Becky’s mom’s retiring, and went to Jeff and Gabe’s wedding.

The wedding was quite nice, and we are very happy for the both of them. It was also great seeing many people we hadn’t seen in quite some time – Martin, Sherry, Aeli, Sean, Joanna, and John (and John’s wife, Jeanette, who we had never met). We exchanged email addresses and I have promised to be better about staying in touch. We didn’t get to see as much of the wedding couple as we’d like to have, but that’s kind of par for the course for this sort of thing, and we know we’ll see them soon.

My sister, Carol, gave me a belated Christmas present which should be discussed. You see, two Christmasses ago, my …ahem… frugal father gave me a present. As I opened it, he said he didn’t know what it was, that it had come free with something else he had purchased. (I don’t remember what it was.) I remarked at the time that this wasn’t quite in the Christmas spirit: “Here, this is for you. It was free and I don’t know what it is.” but that’s my Dad, and I can’t say he hasn’t been more than generous in other respects than this one gift. In any case, it inspired Carol, and she decided that my gift would be everything free that she and George got the next year. So my present was a large box filled with free samples, pencils, business swag, and many, many AOL disks. A surprising amount of it was pretty good stuff! Loads of free coffee from various hotels George had been in, pens and pencils that are always welcome, a cool bag to put it all in, and a coffee maker! (George gets some pretty cool free stuff at his work.) It was quite funny. And it was capped off with a present from Dad — another free thing.

Throughout the visit there were many questions about our upcoming move, and not a little frustration about how little we seem to know about our future house. We’ve no idea what our closet space is or the dimensions of the rooms, or how wide the front door is. And no, we don’t know how much gas costs up there. But we did get the inspection report, and everything seems in good shape. Now we just have to get there.

While in Baton Rouge I stopped by Little Wars, the game shop I used to frequent back in those halcyon days of Champions and Talislanta at LSU. I remembered it is being cramped, dark, and not so welcoming — a typical game store, in other words — but this store was large, well-lit, clean, and friendly. It took me no time at all to find the Urban Arcana book (which I’ve just started looking over – very nice!) on the “New Releases” shelf (as opposed to my local game store, who hadn’t heard of this product.) Shame it’s about to be bulldozed to make room for a Super Wal-Mart.

Speaking of gaming, just before we left for Louisiana, the gaming group was finally able to meet again for another Arnheim adventure, which will be written up on the Arnheim page soon. And we welcomed a new addition to the group, Topher (short for Christopher), who has fit right in. I have handed over the Arnheim materials to Dave T., so they may continue with that campaign, with me helping out from Massachusetts, which will be nice. Also, Rob’s Wild West Adventure game will be starting up soon, and we’re all looking forward to that.

In other news, while on the trip I finally read the acclaimed graphic novel (long comic book), Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware. Man, was it good. It’s an unrelentingly bleak tale of an emotionally crippled man who meets his estranged father for the first time. Their absolute inability to connect with each other is displayed in minute detail, and parallels the story of Jimmy’s grandfather and great-grandfather. Normally this sort of semi-autobiographical navel-gazing in comics turns me off, specifically because it’s the sort of stuff everyone hauls out whenever they want to talk about how grown-up comics are (you can put Jimmy Corrigan on your bookshelf, unread, next to Art Speigelman’s Maus and Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World and your collection of Very Important Comic Books will be complete) but this really is a moving piece of work that is surprisingly humorous, given its barren landscape.

Finally, as a nice welcome back after my week in Louisiana, I received the Shriekback CDs I ordered a while back. Shriekback is one of my all-time favorite bands, and I was thrilled to stumble on Shriekback.com, where one such as myself could buy all sorts of things. I plunked down some coin and got six – count’em, six – new CDs, full-to-poppin’ with Shriekback stuff I haven’t heard before (and some old favorites such as the Jam Science album, which has never been released on CD!). So that’s very exciting. I should probably go catch up on work now. Photos of the trip and wedding will be uploaded soon!

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