07 September 2007

Only You Will Never Know

Some of you might have seen this before, but I wanted to post this again since some have not seen this, and it was one piece that really helped put a lot of my pain from long ago to rest.

I wrote this before I left for Australia the last time, but it is about what was left behind the first time I was in that country. A large part of my heart remains, no matter how many times I return and leave, and she will never know... but that's ok. On the other hand, I often wish she would read this, just so she would know the reasons she would never know.

'Only You Will Never Know

Are we happier now?

Our love the price I paid
In silence... In agony
Our love the cost of duty
To what? Home?

Am I stronger because?

Our joy was made incomplete
For reasons beyond the moment
Only now understood
But in the end?

Did we feel again?

Our hopes were reawakened
In the dreams of other days
Wondering... waiting
In the shadows of our memory.

Are you happier now?

Our love swept clean
In the fires of rebirth
Our life forgotten
Lost in the wake of time.

Would you care to know?

Who I am...
Is because of you.

I do not think you will ever know.


Crucible of Memory

Sometimes when you see the future, for whatever reason, it can feel like a dark place, especially as you reach deeper into the twilight of your life. This poem, a slight revision of an older one of the same name, captures that to my mind, for when we have forgotten everything, all seems lost, the universe still remembers... and loves.

'Crucible of Memory'

Night falls harshly on our lives,
Memories of the sun warm upon our face.
So dim in this chilling landscape,
A darkening form languishing, haunted
By an image... so sweet
Yet long forgotten,
Words frozen in the crucible of time.

Future's days slip away in shadow,
Twilight remembering all we have known.
So far from fantastic hopes and dreams,
A gentle heart suffering, distraught
By a love... so incredible
Though fading into solace,
Words occluded in the fragments of time.

Tomorrow dawns tenderly within our soul,
The sun once again warm upon our face.
So amazing to sense what was lost,
A welcome reminder returning, fueled
By a memory... so true
No longer forgotten,
Words emerging beyond the edge of time.


29 August 2007

For You

The title explains it all... for you.

'For You'


A memory of the unimagined
Lost in the wellspring of our hearts
A caress...
Brushing away our cares.
Your touch...
So passionate, so tender
A hope once lost...
Now found.


A pulse tempered from starlight
Enraptured within the crucible of desire
A word...
Ushering our joy onward.
Your breath...
So delicate, so warm
Moments unfulfilled...
Forever changed.


A dream of a word bound in an emotion
Enfolded in eternal memory
Made manifest in
Your touch...
Your breath...
Your kiss.


17 August 2007

Sometimes Words Fail You...

I admit it, for all my facility with words, they can fail me. Worse, when they fail me, it can have an adverse effect on others, and not the intended result. I suppose that is the irony of what I do and what I am. I can say so much with so little and so little with too much and maybe not enough at all. All I know is that I am better than those words, and should have known better; however, emotion often enters into these things and cause the failure of words. I know better now, but again, hindsight is the ultimate expression of a failure of communication, and as one who knows history, I should know the perils and pitfalls of hindsight.

Still, tomorrow brings hope as it often does... and that is always a good thing.


13 August 2007

Summer and Rebirth

Well, summer finally has arrived in North Texas two months late (thank goodness, really, our electric bill was half of last year's this time) and the whole past week and most of this one has shaped/is shaping up to be a scorcher (I think 105 today with heat indexes over 110). Not near as bad as last year, and it is even supposed to get into the mid 90's by Saturday (yay, since I have an outdoor LARP event that day). Even still, the world can surprise you and make the heat of summer fade into memory.


All that I have known...

Lost in the quiet of my mind yet
Reborn in tender starlight
Cast gently
From the edge of time
Made manifest in the
Warmth of your

All I can see...

Drifts upon currents of space
Revealed in passionate movements
Formed in the ebb and flow
Of the hearts of stars...
Connected by the
Light of your


All I am...

Waited at the edge of memory
Borne in the fires of the unimagined
Until these moments
Of wondrous anticipation
Fueled by the light of the universe
Within your

All we are...
Has yet to be written
But rests within the welcoming arms
Of love.


10 August 2007

For Thy Right...

I thought I would be posting on the lighter side thanks to doing a little more writing on other fronts, but I had a few thoughts and revisions about earlier essays, sooo... well, I guess I am entitled to change my agenda in the blog now and then :)

The title of the post comes from 'Sonnet #88' by the Bard (that would be Shakespeare, just in case :) and its ending lines, lines which are still my favorite lines from a poem ever: 'Such is my love, to thee I so belong, that for thy right myself will bear all wrong'. I have paraphrased it (and sometimes slightly misquoted it) over the years in essays and random moments, and every time I see it, I have to sit and think of it. I was thinking of those words earlier, thinking of other philosophical content, rummaging through past and realized I had no new spin on the matter. I had to smile a little, perhaps even wryly... maybe it means I finally understand what I had been trying to all along, what I understood instinctively when I read those words for the first time nearly twenty years ago.

I always thought Frodo's words in 'Return of the King' were rather poignant and alas, true: 'How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand, there is no going back?' Maybe, every now and then, you can go back... even if you do understand such things. I know I cannot physically be that person again (nor would I want to), but the person I am can learn a lot from someone I dismissed as far too romantic and hopelessly naive. Of course, he would think me too cynical and pragmatic, so I suspect it is a fair trade.

Have a great weekend,


08 August 2007

Top Ten Comic Stories

I just got through reading 'Earth X' again, and thought I would do something a little light in the blog, and might do so in the near future, since I have to crack down and get some writing done for the LARP, and perhaps even for my own sake. Most of these stories are self-contained mini series, and there are a couple of one shots and Elseworlds (naturally) hanging out in this as well.

Top Ten Comic Stories
1) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (1986): One can almost forgive Miller for trying to revive this story with The Dark Knight Strikes Again because this story is so good, and for its time, so completely different. It ushered in a renaissance in the comics field that lasted probably too long and died with Civil War.

2) Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross (1996): Such an incredible story of the coming Apocalypse weaved into the mythology of the DC universe. While the art was, as always, stunning, the writing by Waid is perhaps the best ever in a comics story.

3) Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross (1994): Aside from being a remarkable story, Ross' realistic art changed art in the comics medium and set the bar perhaps too high for the future.

4) 'The Trial of Reed Richards', Fantastic Four #262, by John Byrne (1983): Most current comic fans do not know this story since they were not even a glint in their parent's eye; however this remains one of the most cerebral comics stories ever, one that combines the nature of life and death with stark questions of philosophy.

5) Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson (2003): The ironies of this remarkable story about Superman were he a Soviet, not American hero are enough to contain several stories and it is an interesting look into the nature of power during the Cold War and beyond.

6) Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez (1986): Wolfman and Perez tried to fix the convoluted DC Universe and succeeded, giving rise to the current forms of Batman and Superman, plus it was a great story, even if constrained by typical plot and art structures of the mid-80's.

7) JLA: The Nail by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer (1998): A story inspired to some degree by the poem 'The Nail' and sets the tone of the story where the world has every hero and villain but one: Superman. The effects of the change are quite interesting, the art is astounding (as Alan Davis is one of my favorite artists), and the end result, well, you should read the story :)

8) Infinite Crisis by Johns, Perez, et al (2005-6): Shorter than the original 'Crisis', this story tried not to fix anything but cleverly expand the DC Universe and force the main characters of the DC pantheon: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, to make some hard choices about who and what they are and what they mean. Also some nice bits about Robin/Nightwing... very moving for one who grew up with the Batman/Robin dynamic.

9) Earth X by Alex Ross and Jim Kreuger (2000): Another dystopian world that imagined the Marvel Universe in the 'Kingdom Come' vein, but it was a world that saw the whole world 'mutate' and the major heroes of the Universe caught in the crossfire. The real story was far more complex and intriguing, though I did not care for the follow ups: Universe and Paradise X.

10) Civil War by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven (2006-7): While I enjoyed the series a great deal, I was angered by the after effects (and whether Marvel fixes this or not is irrelevant) and how it portrayed one of my favorite characters: Iron Man. Frankly, Marvel should bite the bullet and let what happened happen. But they will not leave well enough alone, as the history of comics shows.

Honorable Mentions: The Infinity Gauntlet; X-Men/Teen Titans; Gotham by Gaslight; The Killing Joke; Superman: Doomsday; X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga; The Watchmen; Green Lantern: Ganthet's Tale.


31 July 2007

In at the Death

Such a cheery title I know...

Well, while recovering from a little self-induced stomach issues (eating something I thought might cause some problems, typical), I was able to at least pick up the latest of my favorite author's books today: no, not JK Rowling for all you Lord of the Pre-Teen fans out there :) The author in question would be Harry Turtledove, and the book is the last of his Great War saga, called Settling Accounts: In at the Death. For those of you who do not know this author, Mr. Turtledove is one of the leading writers of counterfactual or alternate history. Most call it alternate history since counterfactuals tend to be non-fiction fiction, while alternate history is considered science fiction. The main difference is that he does not have to site his sources (though he could being a professor of Byzantine History at UCLA). Anyway, so far have been thrilled to read this final book in an 11 book saga spanning a world where the Confederates won the War of Northern Aggression in 1862 and went their own way causing a chain of events that leads to the CSA fighting the USA in the Great War, and in these last books a Second Great War (since the war is unnamed in the book, but for all practical purposes WWII).

While it is not my intent to actually review the book,(especially since I am not finished) I do recommend anything that Mr. Turtledove has written, especially his American History stuff. Indeed, one of his stand-alone books, Guns of the South is one of my favorite books of all time. All this being said, what actually got me to post about was the whole idea of alternate timelines, something I have written a little about and think of constantly. While it is nice to think that our hopes and dreams may not have been forlorn, that those we have lost might live on in another, parallel world, as many of those worlds might be a ruin of hell or the beauty of paradise itself. All it has taken is a misstep, a bullet gone awry or the wrong (or right) words said at the wrong time, and a world could have diverged with ease, creating?

Therein lies the question, this philosopher's search. I have wondered of their validity (and as a branch of history alternate histories are most valid) and of the possible dangers... of fragmenting worlds and souls. I suspect, due to the nature of quantum mechanics and my own philosophy I will have no answers in that accord. The best I can do is enjoy alternate worlds, perhaps write some counterfactuals myself in the hope of understanding the past through different futures.


26 July 2007

Twilight Struggle

As usual, time seems to ever catch up with me, even when I am resting. But with a Crossroads adventure day this weekend and another show the next (at least it is just in Houston), my ability to update (more my ability to remember) has faded some. Still, I had a little time last night in between discussions of the coming game to try out a new game called Twilight Struggle: The Cold War. For those of you interested in such genres and the time period in history, this is a worthy entry into the genre. First off, it plays like a board and card game, and I would call it a card-driven board game since the board also determines card strategy. It is also a game of hard choices. Sometimes, in order to influence one country you must sacrifice influence or another event in the other because you have to play most of your cards in the turn, especially in the early turns. The game plays fairly fast, is moderately easy to learn (after 1 turn we pretty much had it down), and is an excellent representation of the time period. Further, all the cards have events taken direct from the headlines of the Cold War, a Space Race component helps you dump bad cards, and if tensions get too high, well... Defcon 1 is not the best option and ends the game. And in a nod to the great Cold War classic 'Wargames', one gets a little advice from Joshua/WOPR in one card :) Finally, the game is also divided into three phases: Early, Mid and Late Cold War, allowing more cards (and more variety) into the game, and some cards do recycle, but some are removed from play after played.

The main downside is that you can only play with 2 players, though I might recommend playing in pairs (as we did) to assist in the strategy and management of the markers. The game is marker intensive, but by time turn 8 rolls around it is a splendid sight to see how the influence is spread around the board (in our game, Europe was more or less a draw, though I had the advantage; we were screwed in Africa; the Middle East was a toss up; Asia was slightly to my advantage, but SE Asia was firmly in the hands of the Communist scum; and Latin and South America, with the exception of Cuba, was a fine example of the Monroe Doctrine).

In the end, I thought this was a great game and a great break from the norm, and I intend to play it a great deal more. If you need more information, I might have a look at the latest Knights of the Dinner Table (#128) for it posts a fine review (and more detailed) of this game, one in my mind that is as entertaining as the Risks, Civilizations, and Axis and Allies of the genre.

I might or might not be able to post before the adventure day, but I will certainly have a report of it by Sunday or Monday.


17 July 2007

Wherever The Road Takes You...

Due to scheduling (and shipping) concerns, I have a one day reprieve before I head to Baltimore (which means we get there later and have less time to set up, but what can you do? We all bow to the whims of the Post Office and UPS :) While I am sure money is to be made, the show itself does not excite me as much as other shows... something about it just feels lame compared to others. And the city of Baltimore (at least the parts I have visited) have been alright, simply a general dissatisfaction with the con itself. Of course, if I sold more than just anime-related products we might skip this show and go to ComicCon in San Diego (and still might next year if the scheduling works out regardless), but I suppose we should take the guaranteed sales at Otakon over the toss-up (though likely) sales at ComicCon (I know I'd have more fun, not being a true anime fan anyways). At least the next three shows are in the same state, so a slight break from extensive traveling.

I know I have titled this blog, 'Walking the Long Road' but often times it feels like sprinting and wandering aimlessly combined. On the other hand, the road has allowed me to meet some unique people and I have been to some great places. And every now and then, I have even been inspired. For us types that depend on inspiration, that's not all bad :)

Have a great week and I'll see if I can update from Otakon. If not, the usual Egyptian blessing for the road :)


15 July 2007

An End to Love...

How odd that I would blog on the same weekend after not writing for so long. Well, one never knows when inspiration takes you, even if it is a moribund inspiration at best. I had just logged out of Lord of the Rings Online, looked for a moment at my blog, then just started writing. Perhaps I had been mulling over the thoughts of such things, how we sometimes linger on in love even when we should not. I know I am guilty of this, and the romantic part of my will always want to press on even though the reality stares me plain in the face. So maybe this poem is more about me recognising the traits in myself... or I could have just felt like writing... nah, that would be too simple.

'End of Love'

Warmth... the gentle calm of your caress
Betrays little and yet so much
Your eyes, pleasant though distant
A smile tender but waning...
Movements lost in requited passion
Forgotten if only for this moment,
Suppressing this ache of the soul.

Light... resplendent in the face of 'morn
Denies nothing but shields so much
Your words, welcome though trying
An embrace furtive yet unending...
Ecstasy enraptured within fragments of joy
Searing our hearts for but an instant,
Holding fast to this end of love.

Echoing across the void of time...
I am forever haunted by the memory of love.


13 July 2007

Making Sense of the Present... or the Future... or Something...

I just got back from my two week or so trip, coast to coast if you will, from Long Beach to Tampa, and getting ready to head to Otakon in Baltimore, at least that is the nominal plan. It has been a little tiring and sometimes fun :)

Of course, being on the road has given me a lot of time to think about the roads I have traveled literally, metaphorically and philosophically. I think I was too tired to really think about such things on the way back from Tampa, but every now and then a stray thought from the present, or was it the future, or the past jumped in? I always wonder about that... where my thoughts come from. Do I just formulate them from the ether of the void, or are they part of a collective past or future undiscovered, a cultural/racial memory if you preferl (actually, the term racial memory, at least in sci fi, was coined by Arthur C. Clarke in 'Childhood's End', which if you have not read, do). I admit sometimes I have no idea where the dreams, the memories and thoughts come from, maybe that is why I have to write them down or explore them in various mediums... admittedly, the blog has been suffering but I am still writing. On the other hand, I wonder if those thoughts are telling me not to ignore some of the things I do best for merely the things I enjoy. Is it selfish to want to write for enjoyment, though knowing my poetry or essays suffer in the short term? I presume it is, but do not care as much. I have thought about the matter, hence my actually writing these thoughts down now, and the odd fragment of a poem or two has rattled around in my brain, so I know what is still lingering, waiting to be explored, though suppressed for more immediate concerns.

I wish I were a better writer in that regard... I wish I could turn it on and off like some do. Usually, if I am writing in one style, the other lacks, and vice versa. I have been working to change that through integration in style, but the road, as many others is trying. Still, most of us writers have to walk such roads, so I guess I am not saying anything too new. As so many (and myself included) have pointed out, it's all been said before. It is just a matter of finding a way to say it in a unique manner. Maybe that is why these thoughts exist, drifting from moment to moment, future to present, past to... well, somewhere one hopes.

I will try and update when I get back from Baltimore, if not sooner.

Take care all,

21 June 2007

Not So Abandoned

I think I might be able to start updating some more soon, though I do leave for practically 2 weeks on Tuesday for AnimeExpo and Metrocon, sooo if I get the chance and I am not too tired. A lot of the game writing I was doing has finished up to some degree, though I have some other projects to do as well. Still, I have not forgotten about the blog... much :) though I fear I have forgotten too many of my former readers, and for that you do have my sincerest apologies. I will try and do what I can to make it up to y'all in the future and visit like I should have.

But, like I've said before, just expect me when you see me, prolly easier that way :)


03 June 2007

To The New, and Possibly Confused, Reader...

Though I have taken a bit of a leave of blog absence, I would like to take the time to welcome any new readers, since this is mostly an archival site of previous works and thoughts (but with some recent work as well, as is usually noted). I figured I would add this little addendum since I have been giving out this website address in some forums and in person.

As for the rest, A-kon just finished up and I am beat, physically and well, physically. Wound up spraining my knee a little when I decided to walk into a trailer hitch while unloading some product, but overall the con was great success.. High Five :) I am doing some writing for a LARP again (actually a new incarnation of one I wrote for before) and it is taking up a good amount of time, plus I have the summer con season to look forward to.

In any event, to any new readers, welcome and feel free to dig through the archives... for everyone else, I will do what I can when I can as things and time progress.


16 May 2007

All Good Things...

Thank goodness for episode titles to 'Star Trek' and the like :)

Seriously, since the convention season is starting to kick up, and I am involved in several new writing projects, I am taking a bit of a hiatus. My original intent with this blog was to save some information from being destroyed and I have accomplished the mission. Of course, I have been able to add some new material and that has been grand, and will do so when I can, but for the foreseeable future I am not going to be adding much. Again, not that I have added much lately anyways, but I wanted to let everyone know what was going on with me. So, I am still writing, just not in a format conducive to blogs, but I still encourage rummaging through the archives and such, since it is still some of the best part of me :)

Take care, and I guess y'all can expect me when you see me.


07 May 2007


I guess I have been so busy nerding out on Lord of the Rings Online that I forgot to update my blog. Well, I have not done a whole lot, alas, though some new doors have been opened in other ways. More on that another time. This week will be mostly getting ready for AnimeCentral, and I have to leave early Wednesday, so we have to go ahead and get ready tomorrow night. I might be adding a second blog soon, mostly for the purpose of posting some chapters from a book I have been intending to write (if I can get around to it). Needless to say, it will be a lot of reading, so I want to keep it separate from this space.

Though it does not look like it from the schedule, the convention season is warming up, and after June, I will have something like 6 or 7 shows in a row. The extra income will be nice, but it will be tiring, if even a little fun.

Have a great week everyone, and I will try and post as I get the chance.


01 May 2007

Spider-Week And Other Ramblings

Well, more and more people will be talking about 'Spider-Man 3' as the day draws near. I have to admit, even with the wimpy Topher Grace playing Eddie Brock, I am still looking forward to my favorite late 80's/early 90's bad guy, Venom. I think I am supposed to go see the film with my sister at a midnight showing but one never knows.

In further nerd news, I started playing the Lord Of The Rings Online game, and aside from some small hiccups that new games have, it is not too bad. I prefer it over Warcraft based on setting, though I am told the controls, quests and other details are similar. Well, go with what works, I suppose.

Everyone have a good week and enjoy the new month... I will try and post something with a little more substance soon.


28 April 2007

Shore Of A Midnight Sea

I actually wrote this on the way down to Houston, since at a busy show (as this one has been) I rarely have time to write. Still, considering what has been going on during the week, and the fact I had been writing about my thoughts and path in this life, I wound up writing a little, and wrote something of a metaphorical piece for all the roads I have traveled and certain influences in my life... nothing specific though. Simply the people and places I have known and perhaps will know.

'Shores of a Midnight Sea and Other Ponderings...'

My love waits upon the shore of a midnight sea...
In such resplendent dreams I never knew.
She yields to moments unremembered,
A time, a place that would never be.

My love rests in the quiet of seaside towns
Lost amid the solace of shifting tides.
She embraces the distant, fragile winds
A heart, a life forgotten without a sound.

My love suffers all I have known,
Wandering the sterile wastes at world's end.
She forgives the roads I have traveled,
A fate, a man yearning for the calling of home.

My love waits upon the shore of a midnight sea...


26 April 2007

Change Of Pace

Thankfully, I leave for Houston in an hour or so. The change of pace back to an anime show will be nice and I get to catch up with a few friends I have not seen in a bit. Still, I do have about 3000 pounds worth of anime swords that should be waiting for me at our hotel to be transported to the convention center. Fun, fun, fun. But it will be nice to get away for the weekend and perhaps even make some money :)

Oh, I should have wireless internet where I will be staying, so I should be able to at least check in (not sure about updating) this weekend some. But if not, have a great weekend all.


25 April 2007

Reckoning The Path I Have Chosen

The funeral was today, and the service was typical of what some might expect for my part of the world. A lot of Bible verses and praying, a fine eulogy from my father (who was the eldest son), and some uplifting but sad music. It was no less or more than I expected...

When you see the world in ways the general populace does not, cannot, or will not see, you have a different view on the traditional end of things, and by traditional, I suppose I mean solemn occasions, or at least the ones we have made as such. As time drifted and listened to the words of the chaplain, my father, and others, I felt myself removed from the outpouring of sadness and emotion. Sure, I could be comforting, and was so, but I felt so distant, detached. And I am fairly close to most of my relatives, though some I had not seen in some time, but it was not like before, though this event was expected, not sudden and thrust upon me. I even felt more emotional when my grandfather died, even though I knew him far less than my grandmother. I suppose perhaps, like I mentioned in the prior post, I have accepted things as they are, and can perceive something of the unimagined that awaits.

As one who understands their path is to seek to understand, to learn why we are the universe made manifest, I know now why few try and understand such things and simply live their life without questioning. To step outside of mortality is to step outside of passion, joy, pain, and fear. In some ways, understanding makes one leave emotion behind. I have seen it in some philosophers and academics, and wonder if some of my passion, something I thought I really needed in my life, has been altered... become the desire for truth and knowledge. But where has love gone? Has it faded?

I stood dispassionately amid the sorrow and realised how lonely the path I have chosen truly must be.


23 April 2007

Illusion Of Mortality

On a personal note, my grandmother, after a terribly long struggle with clear-cell cancer (forgive me, but I forget the actual name of it) passed away yesterday. While, of course, I am sad at her passing, I cannot help but be relieved that she is no longer suffering, for she had basically wasted away to nothing in the end. If I am unable to get to everyone this week, I do apologise in advance, for dealing with the funeral plus having to go out of town later in the week will make it busier than normal. I suppose, in that, it is good.

While the events of the preceding day helped urge this post onward, I had been thinking about this for other reasons, especially with the reminders of mortality in my home, art and photographs mostly, but a pervasive sense of such things seem to creep around this place. Maybe even around me. I often wonder if the illusion is our mortality and what awaits is the real journey, not that this is insightful at all, since so many before me (and I am sure after as well) have their views on afterlives. My thought is the wonder if it is all the extension of the same life... no before, no after, just differing fragments of the same soul, and perhaps we are just not evolved enough or perceptive enough yet to discern or handle the actual reality. I think that some might be able to perceive a little of it, some of us (like me) can perhaps imagine it, or at least explain an imagining, and some are so connected they seek to get to that reality as quick as possible.

I think that mortality is comforting in a way, too. We know that whatever we have experienced here will end, at least in the way we conceive it. And for some that is simply the way it is and always will be. For some, they must have the darkness of hell or the wonder of heaven. Others are simply reborn, sleep, or fade into dust. Others move on and take the next step, maybe even a necessary step to a higher consciousness. So much in this universe is unexplained and unexplored. It would be a shame to waste the knowledge, the material on an illusion of finality. Now, this does not mean I am excited or looking forward to my transitional stage, for I know the heartache that would be left behind, but I am comfortable with the inevitable. I may not be able to understand all aspects of the journeys I have undertaken beyond anything but fragments of dreams of worlds forgotten, but I still have time (as we understand it) perhaps to seek to understand, as I have always tried to do, or have done :)


19 April 2007

The Ever Popular Blame Game

I commented in the introduction to a poem once, 'We are all to blame for the world we have created' ('Kingdom of the Blind' for those that wish a reference). Of course, some are more to blame than others, since their job seems to be to deflect all responsibility toward others and not themselves. The worst offenders are, to my jaded eyes at least:

1) Hollywood: They manufacture 'entertainment' (some of it good) and raise otherwise troubled people (actors) to the level of small gods, and never accept responsibility for their conduct and perception they give off to the world. But they will buy you off if they can, especially if it is the crisis du jour or ribbon of the month.

2) Media: They create the news that is fit to print or report without clue or fact, instead reporting 'good facts' and making them sound like 'true facts' (Babylon 5 fans should get that reference :) Indeed, it is the modern world of parasitic journalism that skews perceptions so badly that one cannot even stomach watching, reading or listening to these modern courtiers begging for the leftover favors from kings.

3) Advertising Executives: What? They are only the messengers, proving to the world what really sells and what we really want to be sold. I mean, who wouldn't want a body spray that will cause dozens of hot women to assault you randomly on the street, in grocery stores, or secluded island locales? And they would still sell tobacco on the air if they could... heck, they would sell nukes for air time if it were legal. Me, I would rather have the nuke than body spray, but I am a war-mongering apocalyptic that way :)

4) People: We're idiots to consume all the hype we are fed, and we just love to watch it all fall apart. The average person would rather sit around and watch the latest celebrity scandal, 'Lost' (admittedly a good show at times), 'Grey's Anatomy', 'Desperate Housewives' (hmm, maybe ABC is to blame), 'Surviving Dancing With Surreal American Road Rage Real World White Rapper OC Idol'... and live coverage of people dying than face reality. Escapism, thou art our altar upon we prostrate ourselves... and I am as much to blame too. I would rather roll dice or write or game... anything but listen to the drone and buzz of what we have created.

Needless to say, some of this was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but far too much of it is sad and true. Call it a little of both and take it as what you will, and perhaps a preview of things to come (a very, very distilled version of some essays/writing for the future).


btw, I failed purposely to include governments... I didn't want to be too obvious :)

17 April 2007

Writing... Just Not Blogging

I know it has been a few days and I have been bad about checking on many of the blogs I frequent, and for that I do apologise (I should have some time later this week, though, since I am actually not going to be in Boston this weekend due to schedule changes). I have been writing a lot, finishing up a conversion and gaming materials for a D20 version of Robotech (a very cool 80's anime series for those that do not know), and while it is a simple home-brew version, I have taken great care to get the flavor and flow of the series, so that has been time consuming, though fun, especially when the playtest worked out pretty well, enough that I will make it a regular game. Also on the writing front, I have been working on a book/commentary idea, mostly in the formative stages, but I have written the introduction and much of the material in the book will be gleaned from many of my posts and essays, though expanded upon as I can. I really cannot say much more until I do the writing and the work will evolve as they often do. Suffice to say it will cover a spectrum of ideas and ideals, but my whole goal is to offer a path to understanding and solutions, whether far-fetched or not, but solutions nonetheless. We (people as a whole) complain about what is wrong so much and expect change from without, when it must start from within. This is what I intend to explore as best I can. I will be sure to let you all know how things go and perhaps post some excerpts as well. Anyway, that is the plan :)

Again, I hope to catch up more later this week and make my regular visits as I can.


12 April 2007

Near-Victory For The Weather Gods Of The West

Well, I am finally back from the long haul of the Seattle trip, though some of us will be turning around and heading to Boston next week for a similar experience, and I do not know if I will be headed that way yet; however, I promised some highlights (and lowlights) of the Sakura-Con/Seattle experience and so I offer them to you, dear readers :)

Five Interesting/Strange/ and Otherwise Odd Things From The Journey to and from the Pacific Northwest:
(man, some long titles today)

1) The Weather Gods doing their level best to annihilate me and Dave with the a variety of plagues:
In order: hail (on the way out), snow and sleet (Cascades), sand/dust storms (Central Washington/Eastern Oregon), snow storms/heavy blowing and drifting snow (Wyoming, the whole darn state), driving rain/thunderstorms (Kansas and Oklahoma), funnel cloud (Oklahoma), and Rainbow Death Beams (some of the most vibrant rainbows I have ever seen, looked like some sort of rainbow colored death ray, seriously).

2) Watching the failure of Testosterone at a local Mexican restaurant (Mama's I think the name was): Normally attractive women talk to my co-worker/friend Dave and this restaurant was filled with them, truly, but for some reason they all directed attention toward me and ignored him (this is not the norm, especially at the shows, he does get the lion's share of the attention, but such is the way of things). Then I noticed why... the place was filled with an intellectual vibe (or at least in the decoration of the place and the dress of the servers, so it only means so much I guess :) that was not lost on me. But the guacamole was very good, and I do know guacamole at least.

3) Link Master Shields (Zelda) are awesome and attract tons of attention (and sales :) Sometimes, you just get the right product. In our case, some nice shields and wooden swords that left our hand and went to the consumer in what seemed like seconds. We had 11 cases of swords shipped to us (about 250 total I guess) and sold every one... not what normally happens at an anime show.

4) Listening to 'Achilles: The Ecstasy and Agony in Eight Parts' by Manowar: I had never heard this song before until Dave played this quasi-speed metal band. Awesome, and totally appropriate. I am surprised more gamers are not Manowar fans, though they are late 80's, early 90's fare.

5) The 12 Egg Omelette at the Hurricane Cafe: Holy crap, that's a lot of omelette. And they cooked the bacon just right. Plus, we payed in the most unusual (or annoying depending on your point of view) way: 25 dollars in quarters and 5 dollars in half-dollars (someone paid for an item in 16 half dollars on Saturday).

Just another unique adventure to add to our annals of convention travels :) I will try and update some more this weekend and get back to some of my blog friends I have been missing. I still have a few things to take care of, and still a little worn from the trip (blast you, Wyoming :)


09 April 2007

The Way Back... Again

I might have used this for a blog title, at least the first part of it, before (hence the again), so this way I do not feel to repetitive. I will have some more substantial and interesting information when I get back, but this is just a little update letting everyone know a) I was not able to get anything up for Poetry Thursday even though I wanted to (I was soooo tired all weekend) and b) all went well this weekend and I am about to be on the road for a 34 hour drive back (includes the time change, gaining 2 hours to get to CST again :)

I will be sure to post some interesting tidbits about my Seattle/Sakura-Con experience on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning... 'till then, have a great next couple of days and I suppose you can expect me when you see me... er, hear from me.


03 April 2007

Emulating My Blog Title

Well, I am to soon be off, driving a long road (walking would be a little counter-productive) to Seattle, some 32 hours (give or take) away, about the longest drive in the US from Dallas (I am not sure if Dallas to the Maine-Canada border is longer, but perhaps close). So, my apologies in advance for not being in contact for about a week, though if I can find internet access I will be sure to check in and the like :)

Everyone take care, have a great week and a Happy Easter to those who celebrate it, or at least celebrate the break :)


01 April 2007


I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us. ~Walt Whitman

When I look at the word 'pastime', it has an echo to me. It is a word that makes me remember time and place that has never existed for me, hazy days of youth that millions experienced, but not me really. Still, as one who embraces the past as much as the present (or as much of the present I can stomach and hope the future is not as revolting :) I see myself where I ought to be in those memories. Perhaps I have watched 'Field of Dreams' too many times, maybe I have gone to far too many batting practices on a lazy summer day just to hear the crack of the bat, and almost making the game itself a denouement.

In our ever insanely fast paced lives, it is nice to be able to slow down and breathe a little of life in, see it for what it should be. I certainly do not mind a fast pace of course, but the thrill of wasting a summer or spring evening listening to the sounds of the game, enjoying the camaraderie of strangers I always knew, for the ballpark makes all equals, and perhaps equally young in it eyes. While I do not have a Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, nor even a Polo Grounds, the game is still played more or less the same way, we all sing during the seventh inning stretch, and sometimes, we all reach into that collective memory, live in the world of the pastime, and for a few moments forget the frenzy and pace of our modern lives.

Of course, one never really thinks of these things while at the ballpark, but I suspect that is the point. And baseball does not necessarily have to be your pastime, but whatever the endeavour, I hope it brings you the same thrill I get every time I walk into the ballpark with the hop in my step as if I were eternally ten.


31 March 2007

Coming To A Planet, er... City Near You

As the convention season is starting to spin up again, I thought I would add my list of shows where we will be recruiting... um, I mean selling fine anime products. We might be adding one in St. Louis, but I think it is too close to the date, and I might not be at the one in Boston, but should be at the others, and will most definitely be at Sakura-Con, Anime Matsuri, AnimeCentral, and A-kon. We are also doing a small show this weekend in Columbus, (Anime Punch), but the boss is handling that.

Anyway, if I disappear for a few days (aside from family concerns), these are the reasons why... nothing to do with the Rebel Alliance, nothing at all :)


29 March 2007

Matters Of Time

Again, sometimes you just have to write and let it all out... a little stream of consciousness, not quite a departure, but just a little something I was thinking about in relation to time and other things that seem to step outside of time every now and then.

'Memory... Moment...'

Fades with the instant
lost between seconds uncounted
Heralding calm that endures
yet drifts listless restless
So wondrous
This gift a spark never
yielding but fluid
elusive and constant...

Memory and moment brush
glance caress
yearn seek need...

delicate movement inured
beyond simple passion
though waits in words
brilliant enfolding
tenuous though tender
lost between seconds...

Future and moment collide
bespeak embrace
In memory of ecstasy...
Memory moment future
glance caress
yearn seek need.


27 March 2007

Books That Changed This Life

First off, I would like to thank M for inadvertently inspiring this post for while commenting on her most recent post I thought a little bit about books that inspired me/changed me for the better (worse could be for another time, I suppose, but I really can't think of too many books that have done that... depressed, sucked, needed to be used for toilet paper, yes, but not made me a worse person). So, I thought I would talk about a few books that have helped inspire the person I am, sort of made me think about some of the deeper things, and allowed me to really see. Of course, much of this change comes from within, but certain writings can show us the door that needs to be opened. Whether we open it or not is up to us.

1) Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter by Thomas Cahill: I did not read this until fall of 2005 (I think it came out in 2004 anyway), but since then, this excellent book, especially the first two chapters, have stayed with me. Cahill proposes that the Greeks showed us how to Fight, Feel, Think, and Party, and that is why they matter... for some, the bit on partying alone might make them matter. However, the chapters 'How to Fight' and 'How to Feel' deal with the Iliad and The Odyssey respectively (and shows the order, unlike many American high schools, in which they should be read), and the idea of such emotions in Western literature. From a philosophical point of view, the books are the thread of Homer's life, first as a young man reaching into the world and doing what young men do. The words and images of The Iliad are that of a young man, and you get a sense of hopefulness that is borne of youth throughout the poem/book, even as you know that most of the participants are doomed but a few.

Some of those few are chronicled in The Odyssey and I need not explain the tale for it is one of those books that we all know (or should know). The interesting thing about The Odyssey is the fact it seems more primitive (hence it being taught first) or not even written/composed by Homer. What Cahill proposes, and what seems to be the real sense after reading the book/poem again, is that The Odyssey is the work of an older man, one who has seen much, and one who simply longs for his rest, one who longs for home. The wanderer that is Odysseus, after so much travail, earns his rest and the horrors of war, the rage of Achilles is finally stilled in the land and woman he loved so much. In many ways, this is the essence of life, the journey that we all undertake and so many times falter, but we are always seeking, longing, and that emotion, that hope, was borne amid the waters of a wine-dark sea.

2) Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke: Fiction can do as much to alter the perceptions of the soul as non-fiction (especially if one feels holy books fiction more than non-fiction, but that is something we all must decide individually), and Arthur C. Clarke has been one of those authors that has continually made me question the ideas of time and memory, and the beauty of Childhood's End was that it was written 20 years before I was born. Clarke proposes the idea of racial memory for the past and the future and that things in our past that we fear are not necessarily borne of the evils of the past, but the tide of the future. The book also preys upon the fears of nuclear holocaust and ufos in general at the time, but it remains a classic for the questions it forces the reader to ask of itself and humanity in general.

3) Robots and Empire and Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov: I must discuss these books together for they are linked in plot and theme, and one is the direct inheritor of the other, finally linking Asimov's Robot novels with the Foundation series. As literature, it is masterful, as philosophy and ethics, the novels are examples of what we can be if we truly put our minds to it (in some cases literally). While these books were written in the 80's, they are borne of the mindset of the 50's and the novels from that time. In that, both books are classic science fiction, though a little updated. Still, they keep the feel of those fantastic stories of a generation past.

Asimov was the first science fiction author I read, and I think I read the first Foundation books initially, then I was swept up in the later books as they came out when I was a teenager. Asimov opened a door that already existed thanks to movies and tv shows like Star Wars and Star Trek, but it helped me realize a love affair with science fiction writing that has hardly abated even in the face of my love for non-fiction and history.

4) Timeline by Michael Crichton: I must mention this book for I would never have read the book that comes after this had I not read this book first. Timeline was a brilliantly executed piece of fiction (even if the movie was a poor imitation of the novel) that pushed the bounds of the ideas of 'time travel' but those of the common notions of the Middle Ages. At the time, I enjoyed Medieval History, but nothing like the hold it has over me now. Something about the clarity of discussion in the novel about Medieval society and the Hundred Years War clicked, and when I turned to his bibliography, it was clear he had done his research. Many of the books he recommended I have since used in papers and found them to be amazing books in their own right, and Crichton led me to another author that I might not have read otherwise, the eminent Medieval historian, Norman F. Cantor.

5) In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made by Norman F. Cantor: Dr. Cantor has been writing about the Middle Ages longer than I have been alive and has written several books I highly recommend for the casual historian and for those who study intellectual history (meaning the history of a history). His book Inventing the Middle Ages is a seminal work on Medieval intellectual history, though I recommend it only if you are serious about history. It is a tough read. As for as In the Wake of the Plague, this was a book that really cemented my love for the time period, not so much because it is a plague history, but because it treats the plague as the many things it was: a history altering event as much as it was a pandemic as it was a cultural shift. The plague caused many events that seemed little at the time but would shape the world as we knew it. One example is the migration of the European Jewry to Poland and Eastern Europe, which would have enormous ramifications to say the least in the 19th and 20th centuries. It altered the economy from one of predominantly agriculture to a wage and town economy thanks to the population shifts, and it created a reactionary thinking toward the Church, leading to works such as The Decamaron and the insight necessary for the Renaissance. Alas, it did not alter war as it only created a small hiccup in the Hundred Years War, but the plague had a subtle hand in creating the modern world, for good or ill. For me, this has always been important, this shift in understanding, for without such death and suffering the world we know might never have been.

Well, this has run longer than I thought, and five books should do, though I could list a couple of others, but it is not necessary. As I mentioned before, the books have helped illuminate the passageways. How I proceeded has always been up to me.


25 March 2007

A Quick Update

Why? A) The season finale of BSG... B) I am wiped out from the craziness of AggieCon, since I had to do everything solo this weekend (though many of my kind neighbours at the show helped out in a pinch) and C) I am wiped out mentally from so many awesome conversations about philosophy and LARPing and philosophy in LARPing... but more for another time. I owe y'all some comments of course, and I will get to them once I get some sleep :)


21 March 2007

On Writing

note: I thought I would leave you great folks with something a little more substantial than saying, 'see ya in a few days' since I will be mostly without Internet access while at A&M during AggieCon (that's Texas A&M for the unfamiliar :). Therefore, I thought I would wax philosophical or tangential about one of the subjects most dear to my heart: writing.

For some, this might be a little repetitive, especially if they have read my entry, 'The Poet', but this incorporates newer and perhaps more refined thoughts about the subject of writing as a whole and not just the art of poetry. Admittedly, most of my writing has been poetic, even when it has not been poetry. Even my non-fiction papers have been accused (is that the proper word?) of being poetic at times. I will also say, I do not write as much as some, and less than I would like, but even when I am not writing, I am thinking about writing. In my mind, it feels as natural as breathing. At times, I see the words and how they should form before I even question if the form is proper. To me, this is how it always was. That might sound a little arrogant, but it is not intended. It is really the best way for me to describe the process, a process that has always been so instinctive, once I knew it existed.

I often wonder what is so unique about humanity compared to the rest of the animal kingdom. Some might say language, the ability to communicate. Well, we are not unique in that regard. Many species can communicate with one another even if we do not understand them. Perhaps it is the ability to make tools. That certainly separates us from most, but not all species (some chimpanzees and other primates can make primitive tools, and I suspect cetaceans would be able if they had hands instead of flippers... or they do not care.). Some might even say that we build communities, and while our community building is complex and incredible, again, not unique. We are, however, the only species that can put our voice to page, or the only species that has shown the ability to do so. That, to me, is our uniqueness, and our incredible beauty. But what about the concept of the soul? Without writing, I think our sense of the divine, or of the soul would be primitive. The ability to create pictures, words, symbols and phrases upon stone, papyrus, clay, vellum, and paper has enhanced our ability to understand the soul and reach for the divine, however we interpret such things. Without writing, our divine spark, our connection to the universe as a whole, is diminished.

One might not care whether writing allowed us to create the words that might have enlightened or repressed us, depending on the view, but writing has allowed our species to grow, as it has allowed me to grow, as it has allowed anyone to grow who seeks such knowledge. When I write, it is not enough for me to simply put the words to page and be done. I have to know why I did it (and perhaps unfortunately tell everyone else why too :) as much as I am satisfied that I have created something. I have to be sure I created something from the divine part of myself, the part of the universe that is manifest in me (I was planning to work that in somehow :). Maybe I am a perfectionist in that regard, but it suits me fine. I cannot seek the divine through religion or nominal spiritual means. My path, while similar, does not lie along that road. It is not a road less traveled by any stretch, but it is my own. Of course, this does not mean that my writing is divinely inspired, hardly that. It means that in order for me to be satisfied with writing, I must reach back into the heart of the universe itself, or that is at least how I perceive it. Writing is as much an act of love for me as illuminating manuscripts was to monks in the Middle Ages. I would not call it sacrosanct, but it is the best part of me.

Even in something so small as a blog entry (or so large, since in essence I share it with the world, regardless of the number of people that see it), it is my intent to give my all to the words. Even still, I do have entries where obviously this is not so. Clearly, my lists and minor updates have little to do with my seeking the divine, the manifestation of the universe as a whole in myself and all of us. But for the most part, I mean it when I say in my little 'about me' blurb that all you really need to know about me is the words. They are what I know and what I can give to you, dear readers, and to the universe at large.

Everyone have a great weekend in advance,


20 March 2007

The Universe Made Manifest

We are the universe made manifest... to me, a simple, endearing truth. It is a thought borne from the cradle of all existence. Nothing so much in trying times gives me comfort. Knowing such things (as much as one can) allows me peace when all around me is complicated at best and falling apart at worst. Not that such things are occurring at the moment, though I am dealing with the same family issues as before, and I worry about the coming end of the week as I always do before a convention. Still, I can set it all aside, and call it meditation, thought, or something deeper... it washes away. It is what I can do to when life appears to fail and I can do nothing about it save this... let the knowledge of what we are, were, and will be comfort me. Perhaps that is my solace, if you will (since I asked the question about it some posts back).

I think if more of us understood this simplicity, we might be more peaceful about things to come, what we have suffered, and even the day to day that consumes us. Besides, I would rather write about something hopeful like this... melancholy has its place, I suppose. So long as I wonder about the beauty of the universe as a whole, I am not sure melancholy is needed. I realise how idealistic that sounds, but sometimes one has to be a little idealistic now and then.


16 March 2007


Sometimes I feel as if I have written as a young man, reaching toward all that should or could be. Others, as someone older, perhaps not so wiser, but yearning for the home that was. I think that is the curse of wanderers such as myself, and other more famous wanderers throughout history...

'Toward Ithaca Home'

A thought of gentle solace,
Grants so little respite
Within such unrelenting carnage,
Amid the pyres of the dead.

A brush of a delicate hand,
Yields a wealth of distant hope
Through desolation and fortune,
Beyond even the river of the damned.

A simple word or two remembered,
Quiets the thunder of rage
That set so much of a world alight,
Borne from the promises of the dead.

A memory of a life forgotten,
Gives way to present joy
Within the welcoming embrace of love,
That always rested...
Upon Ithaca's gleaming shores.


15 March 2007


Sometimes it is the waiting that gets you. Anyway, I thought I would update a little, so it does not appear I have dropped off the face of the planet entirely. I did manage to see '300' (excellent film... perhaps more on that another time) and got to see a friend I had not seen in awhile, but mostly, just wondering and waiting. One always hopes for the best, but time is ever our enemy, so to speak.

Anyway, I will try and get more composed over the weekend, as I do need to add something more substantial, no, I want to (if I treat it as a need, then what is the point of doing this?), especially before I head to AggieCon next week, where my contact will be limited, since I am the only one going and I do not have a laptop (I know, blasphemous, but I would rather have a better desktop :)

I hope everyone is having a good week.


10 March 2007


This is sort of a cop-out post, almost to take up space I suppose. What I was meaning to write needs to wait for reasons that will be explained in said post. I am sorry if I have not made my regular blog visits the past couple of days. Those, and the next few will be a little hectic, and it has nothing to do with conventions (for once). Simply a family issue that is taking place, and I will let everyone know as it becomes appropriate.

In the meantime, I looked back briefly at an older piece after writing the poem in the previous post and wondered about some edits. In the end, I changed the verse structure by turning parts of it into refrains, and I think, when reading, it gives the reader the pause they should get were I to speak it (as it should be, but alas, impossible in this medium, unless I podcast all my poetry... mmm, that would be fun :)

Anyway, I offer the link below for those that had read this piece and those that might still be interested... this is my cop-out, just an edit of an old poem... at least it's one I like:



08 March 2007

Poetry Thursday: Stains

This is written in response to Poetry Thursday: the prompt is red. This is the first time I have officially responded to the prompts, so here goes.


I see them... I see it...

Such a small, unassuming space...
to unleash a thousand kinds of hell.
So many places, why this?
when so many others might do.
So many deaths in a callous instant...
for nothing more than a... word.

I shout to them... I yell...

Such a shattered, terrible milieu...
as the madness consumes it all.
So many lost, for what?
when so many others should do.
So many histories fragmented in fury...
for nothing save we asked them to.

I reach...

Such a quiet, calm sound...
to end the horrors of the day.
So many forgotten, and now?
when no one else could do.
So much I needed to say...
for the stains shall never fade.


06 March 2007

Places I've Never Been

For those with a side interest in the normal goings on in my life... I have been gaming a little more lately and had a great game the other night, one of those epic sessions where the dice fall (for the players) in ways that they aren't meant to and the GM(that's me) groans, but everyone still has a great time. I have also been gaming with some people I had not seen in awhile, so that has been awesome too. A nice, refreshing change before my schedule gets really out of whack with conventions in the next couple of weeks.

This post is certainly not a philosophical wonderment of places I long for metaphysically, but a general entry about places I would like to see before the Apocalypse or we are all chasing each other across the landscape in Mad-max style vehicles or running around taking each other out with swords and bows. Seriously, for all my travels, a few places do hold a certain allure to me, and I would like to say, 'I've been there.'. Not much deeper than that :)

1) Fontevraud Abbey, Chinon, France: Not surprising, I suspect, considering my love for medieval history. I have written about this place before in my entry: Fontevraud Abbey. Really, almost all of the medieval sites in France I would love to visit, especially in Normandy, Poitou, Gascogne and the Aquitaine. Naturally, I would need to visit many sites in England as well, to get the full effect, but the final resting place of Richard I and Eleanor of Aquitaine tops my list.

2) Flanders Fields, Ypres, Belgium: I have wanted to visit Belgium for its medieval sites as well, considering its connection to England and France during the Hundred Years War, but at Ypres, several major battles of the Great War were fought, and one of the most famous poems in military history was written about the cost of the battles and the War. Of course, I would like to see other sites from one of the most terrible wars in history, but I would like to begin here.

3) South Africa: Going from the specific to the general, I simply have always wanted to visit the place, more or less Cape Town and the coast, eastward to Durban, but most of the rest of the country would do as well. I am not sure I want to go in 2010, since they are hosting the World Cup then, but perhaps before or after :)

4) Aix-la-Chappelle/Aachen, Westphalia, Germany: Not quite the place it was back in the days of Charlemagne, but, since it was nearly destroyed a couple of times, one can forgive. Again, the historian in me wants to see the ancient capital of the Frankish Empire, now the westermost city in Germany.

5) Japan: Again, not to specific here. I suppose Tokyo is a given, but because of anime, and to some extent history :) I would like to visit quite a few places in Japan, some for historical reasons, others not, but a general roaming about the country would be nice.

6) South Island, New Zealand: I never got to see the South Island, so I thought the next time I go to New Zealand I would make sure and go further south. I also mean to finally get to Wellington as well.

7) Alaska, Hawaii, Kentucky and Maine: No real reason, other than the fact I have been to or driven through every other state in the Union... might as well get to them before we add another state :)

8) Ilios, Asia Minor (modern Turkey): No time traveling (though that might be cool), but I would like to see the sites of the excavations of Troy and its surrounds, (as well as other sites in the Aegean) and perhaps have a chance to look back the millenia and see those fabled shores from a new perspective... one can dream.

9) Carthage, Tunisia: As long as we are on ancient historical sites, Carthage is another place I would like to see, or at least the ruins of said place. Also, a great deal of Operation Torch was fought in Tunis, and I would not mind seeing some of those sites as well.

10) Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia, Argentina: I figure if I go to Argentina, I might as well see the ends of the Earth while I am at it, and see the storm-tossed Strait of Magellan, and one of the more isolated regions on Earth.

Well, that's a few of the places I would like to see sometime... maybe I will get to a few of them. Hope you get to where you are going as well. We all deserve it, I think.


03 March 2007

Life, The Universe And Other Mundane Things That Might Or Might Not Equal 42....

With a title like that, expect some rambling :)

As I roam the blogsphere, -nation, -ville, etc, I am always struck by the infinite variety of the way things are said, though not necessarily what is said. In the end, most blogs I have read do boil down to the every days of life. This, of course, is not altogether bad, not by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, it makes me wonder about my writings from time to time. I see so many good people writing about what is good, bad or indifferent in their lives, and see it so often that I am concerned if I have a life at all. Of course, though I have become more and more ascetic (though not necessarily sedentary... so I suppose I would have been a great traveling monk) toward materialism and culture in general, I still commiserate with humanity from time to time; however, I do think about what I might be missing sometimes. On the other hand, I have done a lot of living in these 34 years, so that is not all bad, but so much is left to be understood and so many places yet to go, and secrets to uncover, so to speak.

When I started this blog, I intended to use it as an archive for my writings and poems, and to consider the deeper questions in life, some philosophical, some political, and some historical, these being areas of training and delight in my life. I probably meant to add less lists and data concerning my life and interests, but those simply evolved thanks to my mood and seeing different memes around the blog. It also gave me something to fill up some empty space. I think that I feel a little disappointed if I am not adding an entry at least every couple of days, unless (like two weeks ago) I am unable to for connection reasons. And yet, I keep hearkening back to what I yearn for, a seeking of understanding greater than this simple shell, and not understanding from a religious or spiritual point of view (though some might call my quest spiritual of a sort), but an understanding of the universe as itself, as we are to it, and as it, and we were meant to be. Philosophical and metaphysical, certainly, but less a desire to know a 'god' but a desire to 'know', so more of a gnosis as opposed to apotheosis. What this also does is fuse many of the things I love into a single understanding: science, science fiction, history, philosophy, and to some extent, theology, all these things combine into seeking the heart of the universe without and within our not so mundane lives as we imagine.

Perhaps some higher understanding of self exists within the mundane acts of everyday. Maybe to seek, one has to live, not just in understanding, but in the world around us. I suppose that has always been my concern with monasticism. Originally, monasteries were created to save civilization, and they did to some extent. Later, they existed to set themselves apart from it, to achieve a higher sense of the divine. Supposedly, it works for them, but I wonder if it cut themselves off from the divine, the higher purpose of self in the ebb and flow of life. They lived outside of life, but maybe failed to understand that to understand the life, one has to simply live it. Or at least live it, and open oneself to understanding it.

So, by reading others and the details of their life, I am experiencing a higher understanding? Truly, I do not know, but while I appreciate the idea of ascetics from time to time, it does lack for experiential learning. I admit, if I had to choose between my travels and what I learned from them, or my book learning, it would be a tough call, but I would choose my travels, for the experiences have made me a better man, far better than simple words on a page, or a lecture in a classroom (and I suppose I should clarify on book learning, let us say outside of high school since up through that point, the basics of learning are indeed important). Of course, the fusion of both has been the better path, so I would rather continue along it. Indeed, I have never been so much at my best when I have been on the road, wherever it has taken me and will take me. I suppose that means I should travel more... perhaps, so long as I am seeking the same understanding of the life, universe, and other mundane things as I apparently have always sought :) Or maybe I should answer '42' and be done with it.

I guess I did not ramble tangential as much as I thought. Funny, when I think I am going to ramble, I often do not, and vice versa.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, all.


01 March 2007

The Birthday Edition

The title sounds better than other things that advertise the art of getting older :) In any event, I thought about writing something longer, but I more or less covered the rant yesterday. I also started to write about birthdays past and weirder experiences, but nothing seemed right, or it just seemed too showy, I guess. Not that was the intention.

In any event, my body reminded me this morning that I had entered the mid-30's (34) with a bruise on my foot that keeps aggravating me, and the constant creaking and popping of my joints as I go up and down the stairs. Still, I feel young in mind and soul, and that's what matters... right? :)

Take care everyone, and enjoy my birthday for me :)


28 February 2007

Well, He's Terribly Mysterious...

Kudos to anyone who knows where the title comes from :)

Human action (or inaction) is something of a mystery to me... well, not so much a mystery, as I do understand the human condition to be rather simplistic sometimes, but calling us a mystery makes me feel a little better about it. In my many guises as seller of junk, writer, student, etc, I do have more opportunity to observe said human condition than most. Further, I have worked as a customer service representative, recruiter and waiter, so the tragedy and comedy of humanity has worked its magic before me in far, far too many ways.

Now, I do not consider myself too mysterious, or terribly mysterious for that matter, but compared to fellow humans I wonder, especially when witnessing their behavior in my soon to be 34 years of existence (granted, I doubt I was doing too much observing the first 10 or so, but...). I wonder if I am the mystery to them and not the other way around? To many who grace the entries of this blog, probably not so much, as many like-minded individuals do pay a visit. Probably just as well. While I like a lively discussion at times, all out flame wars leave everyone angry, or peeved at the least. Clearly, someone must wonder, I have a point somewhere. Usually I do, and mostly it is simple how amazed I am (though I should not be) at behavior in common situations, situations one would expect demand a little courtesy and civility. I admit, I can get ruffled at times, especially at those who have no good reason for doing the things they do (like utilities, phone companies, bureaucracy), but I do try to be as civil as possible. Otherwise, it simply causes us more grief than necessary. When others do such things, that is when the questions of mystery arise and make me wonder on what planed I have been marooned... then I realize the sad truth... blast.

A few days ago, I was in a local comic shop and having a typical gaming conversation, when a fellow started ranting to them about computer issues based on bumper stickers (PC supporters vs. Mac supporters... me I hardly care either side of the debate and is mostly irrelevant to the discussion). The conversation seemed fine, with neither side giving too much, and I added a comment or two about how both have their merits. The discussion abated, but the accuser uttered an f-bomb in the conversation when none was necessary. I understand the need to emphasize a point, but to me it seemed a little uncivil in a retail situation, even if it is in a comic shop, where sensibilities tend to soften some. No one acted offended, though unless I know the person across the table from me, it would be a rare thing for me to curse while selling my anime stuff. I am certainly not being a prude in this regard. I curse more than I should, though I feel being able to engage in conversation without resorting to such things is a lost art, and I often feel better the less I do curse. I will say, ten years ago, you would never hear 'damn' or 'shit' in a store, much less 'fuck'. (see, I can say 'fuck', even write 'fuck' too :) Well, maybe not ten, but certainly fifteen years ago. Either way, I suppose it is a personal thing mostly. But I am fine with being a little archaic now and then.

The second incident happened today, and involved a loud talker on a cell phone. I understand that Barnes and Noble is not a library of a sort, but people tend to talk softer in bookstores more often than not, especially in a reading area. Still, some shrill-voiced shrew decided she would discuss loudly the details of her day, her past day, who was in the hospital, how long she had been reading, and constantly reinforcing her lack of manners and grace. After a few moments, she submitted to mine and my fellow patrons caustic glares and shuffled off... loudly. I suppose it is the wireless culture, but I see more and more of this every day: courtesy being ignored for the convenience of blathering into a cell phone. In a culture of now, the cell phone is the biggest culprit in instant gratification at the expense of annoying the rest of us. When I am in a bookstore, I even turn my phone to vibrate or silent... most people I observed today let their phones ring as loud as possible. And I suppose I should not even rant about movie courtesy as well. Most of the time, people turn their phones off, though I recalled some people having a conversation on a phone when I was in Australia, just ignoring all of us in the theatre for their own enjoyment. In a world that is getting more crowded, our ideas of civility and courtesy seem to fade in the distance, as archaic as I feel sometimes.

So maybe I am the mysterious one, just not terribly mysterious :)


27 February 2007

Twilight's Curse

I had intended to write something more substantial, but I realised I am going to have a rather long post for my birthday (or couple of posts... I had meant to write something about courtesy, but I am letting that linger some, I think), so decided to add another older piece that I had thought forgotten. I came up with it while in Australia but never finished it until I got back to the States, mostly just editing of course. Really, I do not know who this is about, maybe someone or something evasive, just beyond my reach (it could certainly pass as a metaphor). Like I said in the prior post, sometimes I just write and let things sort themselves out later.

'Twilight's Curse'

She haunts me tho' I know her not,
Waiting in a realm unrevealed
Whilst this heart suffers
Between the shadows of day's fading might.

I see her in a so many waking dreams,
Calling me from the edge of dawn;
Yet we can never meet
'Twixt the glow of receding night.

We pass perhaps a thousand times,
Thoughts and souls meant for other days;
Whilst this mind regrets
Amid the caress of impending starlight.

She haunts me...
And still I do not wish to see,
For this heart cannot heal,
Occluded within the darkness and the light


25 February 2007

Toward the Broken Bay...

Some of you might be confused by the title, but it reference the entry and the poem, 'A Small Beach Outside of Sydney'. What follows is something that I have been meaning to write since I returned in 2004, but never really could I suppose... at least about that place and what it has meant to me most of my adult life. I have struggled with less meaningful poems about it, and one very nice work that handles what was lost very well, but nothing ever quite came to me about the simplicity of that time and how I thought I let it all go one evening in February 2004. To me, writing just happens, and when something is revealed to me, I write it (wow, sounds almost like how prophecy works :) If I really mull something over, it tends to sound and feel forced. So, today, I was thinking of age, as I am going to turn 34 on Thursday, and how far I have come and where I am going... the usual, I guess. Still, I simply sat down and wrote. For my part, it feels right. It is what I needed to say... so maybe it is an early birthday present to myself of a sort :)

'Toward the Broken Bay...'

Your gentle caress,
memory of what was forgotten
reborn in a breath, an instant
a glance...
Seeing once more.

Your tender smile,
hope of so many days
rekindled in sights, sounds
a scent...
Yearning amid the tides.

Your wondrous passion,
desire of too many nights
enveloped in emotion, a word
a kiss...
Feeling once again.

My life,
fragmenting for so long,
made manifest upon this shore
a place...
Reaching beyond the soul.

Our love,
Finally laid to rest.


23 February 2007

Everything I Know About Anime Conventions But Am Not Really Afraid To Tell You Since You Asked

Well, let us try this again... I love power surges in the middle of the night. Fun.

Anyway, I have had some requests (specifically from Phil, and questions from others) about things I do at anime shows or what they are like, so I figured I would let everyone know about the wonders of anime conventions. I figure I can say something about them since I have been to around 50 or so in the last 2 and a half years(including 4 cross-genre shows). And really, that has mostly been in the last 2 years and 2 months of this year... the first 6 months I only went to 2 shows. I have been to a couple already in the first months of this year, and have close to one a week starting the 22nd of March until sometime in July. It has certainly been a long strange ride... and now I hope to share some of the highlights (or lowlights depending on your view) with you fine folks from far and wide. And who knows, given the nature of these things, I might be in your town soon (though for my international friends, that is less likely considering costs and customs issues :)

I figured I would do this in list form since a) I love lists and b) it seems to be something of a signature of mine, sooo...

1) Age... it might surprise you: The average age of most anime fans is either 15-21 or 30-40ish... depending on when they started watching and their gender. Most of the younger fans tend to be girls. Many of the older fans tend to be guys. I leave the problems this can cause to your imagination.

2) Gender... it's not what you think: Gender-bending is terribly common in anime, and many, many fans dress up as alternate genders, more common for girls it seems, as they tend to dress more frequently as male characters than guys as female characters... thank goodness... All I can say is, the less 30 year old men dressing up in Sailor Moon outfits ('Sailor Man') the better... which brings me to...

3) Cosplay... it is what it sounds like: Dressing up as a favorite character is one of the reasons to go to the shows, aside from buying stuff from fine vendors like myself :) Indeed, more probably attend the cosplays than the dealers room. Cosplay is simply dressing up as a favorite character and doing it well. Or really badly, to make a point. Cosplay crosses gender and genre, as sci-fi and comic shows have their fair share of cosplay, though anime fans tend to do it best and have the most elaborate costumes... aside from the 501st legion, but I am partial to Stormtroopers/Clonetroopers.

4) Confunk... the smell that keeps on giving, and giving, etc...: Bathing is not a requirement at conventions (or in life apparently), but it should be. Please take a bath or a shower... while it will not deter me one iota from taking your money, it will make the experience more pleasant for both of us. This is another cross-genre issue as well, most prevalent at gaming conventions (though they deny it, but I know my benighted brethren too well), alas. And sadly, it is not always the guys, though they are the most common adherents to this practice. What it has caused me to do is become rather obsessive about being clean (not that I wasn't clean before) at these things, and wearing more cologne to block some of the smells.

5) Yaoi... or Yuri... or Hentai... ask and enjoy at your peril/pleasure: When I first found out I was confused, though I had actually seen a hentai years before I knew what the term meant. Once I found out, I remembered exactly what I had seen. Yaoi is boy/boy. Yuri is girl/girl... both genres tending to be written by women for women. Hentai is everything else, from standard methods of copulation to tentacles. What is also most common is Yaoi and Yuri doujinshi, which is Japanese fan art based on current anime characters in situations not ever (99% of the time) seen in the shows or manga. While this sounds like copyright infringement, it is actually considered a great honor in Japan to be made into a doujinshi of any kind. And yes, I sell the stuff, mostly Yaoi... but it sells well, really, really well.

6) Enthusiasm... catch it or it will most surely catch you: At most sci-fi/comic/gaming shows, most fans are rather sedate, but mix in a few thousand anime fans and even the most hardened dice slinger's facade will melt. It took a few shows to get to this hardened dice slinger, but I even succumbed to the rampant enthusiasm of anime fans. It is catching, truly. Most of them have the kind of energy to make you want to incredible things (no, not those things... perverts :) and still have time left over to discuss theirs favorite animes. Really, the best, nicest and most polite fans I have ever met have always been anime fans. They may smell a little funny at times, but they make up for it in their sheer love for anything at the show... even dealers who knock off a couple of bucks on product every now and then :)

7) Glomps... the by-product of enthusiasm: A glomp is a hug, if a hug was launched from a missile silo at point blank range. When done properly, it is quite fun and amusing. When not done properly, it, well... not so fun. Some tips about glomping I have learned: 1) make sure all parties involved can see you coming. A blindside glomp is no fun at all. 2) Glomping over the dealers table (one of the reasons I don't get many glomps) should be forbidden. It can break the glomper, the glompee, and the merchandise. 3) Size ratios should be considered. A person my size should not glomp very small people. It will not end well. The reverse is usually ok. I do have a bit of give to me :)

8) 24 hour video rooms... one of the reasons that confunk exists: Plus, you can go to Hentai/Yaoi/or Yuri Fest... I even sold glo-sticks at a Hentai Fest once (maybe they needed to see what they were doing... dunno). Still, 24 hour video rooms are a staple of conventions of all sorts, especially anime shows. And if you like going without sleep and watching 8 straight hours of Bleach, Naruto or Robotech, and then going to other con activities, then fine by me. It will make you all the more suggestive when I sell you that Naruto plush you've always wanted.

9) Plushes... I have them and everyone wants them, sometimes in three part harmony: You would be amazed to hear some of the squeals of delight I have heard when someone(or a series of someones) found out I had the latest plush/stuffed animal that they were so desiring, and at a reasonable price (and yes, all my prices are reasonable). Let us just say I have been witness to the kind of glee I thought normally reserved for other activities (and yes, that is what you are probably thinking... perverts :). My ears are still ringing from the last show.

10) Finally, fun... pure and simple for all involved, even us dealers... most of the time: Even though I go for the money, it is fun. I have made some great friends and had some wonderful conversations with the many people I meet at every show, and I see many of the same people at shows all over the country, especially the guests, artists and dealers (though some need to lighten up in my opinion. If they were half as nice as us, they might get more sales... but who am I to complain?). On the other hand, I have run into customers all over the country that travel to these shows for the same reason most people do... to have fun with like minded people. While I do have an ulterior motive, true, I do have a good time at these things overall, and it has been a great experience.

Well, I think this covers a good chunk of what I have learned and experienced at anime shows. It probably covers less than I would like, and I did not mention gaming much, as anime cons tend to not have as much gaming as other shows, though some of my best gaming experiences have been at anime cons, go figure. Still, this should be alright, and it is quite late.

'Til the next con,