Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Almost Out Of Here

Just one more day before taking off to Paris for a week, and the last thing I want to do is work.

Nevertheless, I have had a couple of very productive days in the last week. I have finished the layout for the Testament adventure finally, and all I need to do now is fix a few things here and there. What's even cooler, I have contracted Deborah Balsam of Dog Soul Publishing to create a series of covers for my product lines, which means the Testament adventure should have a nice cover to boast.

As an aside, I want to state publically that I think it's a crime that Dog Soul Publishing be relegated to The Edge. I think these folks should be at the main RPGNow.com site, and I hope that once the new year starts they will make the switch.

I have received a number of new Mythic Vistas adventure outlines, so I hope to have a good selection of those for next year. And of course, the new quarterly magazine, Targum, in support of Testament, though an official announcement still needs to be made (and no, this isn't it).

As far as NaNoWriMo goes, I have so given up for this year. There was too much other stuff to do, though I did get a good start on the ideas for the story I began. Maybe next year I'll be able to do the whole 50,000 words.

Lastly, Highmoon Media Productions has finally joined the EN World Game Store, though I have only uploaded one product. Once I get back from Paris, I'll put that storefront up to date.

I am so already in France in my mind. Now, all I need to do is finish this work day and finish packing up and get through tomorrow. Come Thursday, I'll be in Paris!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Head In The Clouds

This is where my mind is at today:

I can't wait to leave next week!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Damage From Wilma

Finally got around to posting the pictures I took on the day Wilma hit and afterwards.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Yoda Dog

This is hilarious! My wife forwarded it to me, and someone forwarded it to her, so we have no idea whose dog this is, but it rocks.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Trudging Along

Today's been one of those days where you do a hundred different things but don't really finish anything completely.

I have not written much lately in my NaNoWriMo project, though last night I did about 770 words and currently have a total word count of just over 6000. Not bad but not great either. I am not giving up on NaNo, though. I'll write as much as I can during the month and see what happens, though with the trip to Paris, the last seven days will be a total loss. At least I'm writing again, which is good. Tonight, however, I have not written anything, nor do I think I will, seeing how I'll be going to bed soon.

I received today four outlines for Mythic Vistas adventures, including one for the sequel of the finished Medieval Player's Manual one by Bret Boyd. I need to finish laying out the Testament adventure and get it out for sale already. I'm hoping to be able to do it before I leave in exactly two weeks, which also means I need to finish the press release for the new project in association with Green Ronin, so I can put an ad for it in the adventure to start drumming up interest. After the Testament adventure is done, I can move to the MPM adventure (as soon as GR sends me the graphics). I guess somewhere along the way I'll find some space and time to write something myself. One hopes.

Today we emailed the hotel in Paris where we hope to stay. The price is a little high, but it is centrally located in the Marais, right next to the Jewish Quarter, which means we'll have kosher eateries by the dozen, as well as synagogues to choose from, not to mention two Metro stations just a street away and one of the landmarks of Paris, the Centre Pompidou, one block behind. I'm now waiting for their confirmation. Now we are trying to arrange our itinerary so we make the most of our 6 days in Paris.

Lastly, and the only thing actually accomplished today, my wife and I (by which I mean really my wife, with me just helping out here and there) made some etrog and orange marmalade. Etrog is a citrus fruit, known sometimes as citron, which looks like a large, bumpy lemon, and which Jews use during the festival of Sukkot. After the holy day is done we normally save the etrogs and either plant the seeds later in the year (during the New Year for Trees), burn it right before Passover, or make candy, as we did. It is now cooling, though we had a small taste and it is very yummy, an interesting combination of sweet and tart.

Now to sleep, cause I gotta work tomorrow.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I Get To Be A Minion

I got this from the nice folks at TableTop Adventures, on the occasion of our companies' mutual first anniversary:

Pretty sweet, no? :-)

Israel Yields Two Archeological Treasures

It seems the land of Israel is starting to be a little more cooperative with us humans bent on figuring out what secrets it holds in its dusty depths.

First, from Aish.com, Reclaiming Biblical Jerusalem is an article about one of the, arguably, most important archeological discoveries in Jerusalem. Dr. Eilat Mazar has discovered what she thinks can be the outer wall of King David's palace in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the area known as Ir David (The City of David). While, as with any archeological finding, there is no 100% conclusive evidence, the circumstantial evidence, especially that of the finds in the same area in digs over the last few decades, leads Dr. Mazat to speculate with a good amount of confidence that the ruins excavated outline the sumptuous palace of the most famous of all Jewish Kings, David. It now remains to be seen what subsequent digs reveal, and how the obstinate groups that seek to deny any connection between Israel and the Jews react.
Link: http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jerusalem/Reclaiming_Biblical_Jerusalem.asp

Second, from CNN.com, Site Of Ancient Church Unveiled reports on a surprise discovery in the area of Meggido, believed by Christians to be the place where Armageddon, the final battle between good and evil, will be fought. Prisoners working on what will be the foundations for a new ward of the prison found two elaborate 3rd-century mosaics, one covered with fish--ancient symbol of the Christian faith--and one depicting the story of Roman officer and a woman named Aketous who donated money to build the church. The Vatican is happy about the discovery, as it would mean this is possibly the oldest Christian church in Israel, predating Constantine and the Council of Nicea.
Link: http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/11/06/israel.ancient.church.ap/index.html

MSNBC.com has better pictures of one of the mosaics.

And just think of all that the land of Israel has yet to reveal to us...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

[RPG] 652 Prestige Classes?!

Wizards posted a Prestige Class Index on their site today, covering only official D&D sources.

There are 652 Prestige Classes! Not quite, though, since there are 64 (more or less) classes repeated, so it's more like around 590 official prestige classes. That's a lot of PrCs! Funny thing is, as I look through the list, there's a lot of PrCs that I don't think should bear the name. D&D would be wise to introduce the concept of Advanced Classes, as found in d20 Modern. A PrC should not be something like the Tempest, which basically just turns you into a mobile food processor with two blades, but rather more like the Red Wizard of Thay, Disciple of [Insert Demon Lord Name Here], or Aglarondan Griffonrider, classes tied to prestigious organizations/situations that are demanding but rewarding in both mechanics and roleplaying aspects.

That's what I set out to do when I create/modify a PrC, and that's the reason why a product like Liber Sodalitas: The Blind Path is not just the Unsighted PrC, but rather a whole package of context for the class. I realize a lot of people just use the class by itself, which is why I named that one something rather generic, but it really is very tied to the context I gave it. With Liber Sodalitas: Scions of the Holy Triad I went all out with the concept, to the point where taking the PrC away from the context I gave it actually punishes the class and the character that takes it. It may hurt sales a little (Blind Path sells twice as much as Scions), but as a writer and publisher I need to take a stance. I believe the long-term effects will be much better for me.

Now, what I would really like to see, is that same PrC Index but with as many 3rd-party publisher sources added as possible. Now THAT would be a crapload of classes!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

[Travel] I'M GOING TO PARIS!!!

My wife and I are doing something out fiction, something only done in movies: we are going to Paris, France for a week, leaving the day before Thanksgiving.

Yes, we are dropping everything, saying to hell with everyone, and going to the City of Lights. We just purchased our tickets tonight, and now we are gathering info for hotels.

This is the kind of things we will tell our friends, especially those with kids, and they'll hate us for. But the way I see it, G-d willing we will have kids soon, and we won't be able to--literally-fly to Paris on a whim, so what the heck.

I am going to Paris!!!

Friday, November 04, 2005

[Travel/NaNoWriMo] Travel Dreams And Writing Realities

My travel dreams are soaring today, so here's a very nice slideshow on bella Italia.


Of note:

  • Picture 1 - Check out the beautiful lights they placed above the streets.
  • Picture 3 - The Duomo in Milan has reopened (it was closed during 2004-2005 for rennovations). Check out also about Carless Day. We should do that here in the States as well.
  • Picture 5 - Awesome view of Pompeii, ancient and modern.
  • Picture 8 - Check out that most interesting tidbit about the Mole Antonelliana dome! Seems Torino was a lot more Jew-friendly than I knew.
  • Picture 10 - Imagine waking up to that in the morning.

On the NaNoWriMo front, my total word count stands at 3031 as of this post. I am trying to squeeze in some writing time today, but work keeps stealing my precious time away. As it is, I am a little behind schedule, but not by much.

The same songs keep driving the story forward. It seems that what I really want to write is the story of a relationship, but I am looking to wrap it in a dark modern fantasy blanket. I am also trying to keep the story contained to a relatively small area (Miami), but already there has been a murder in Brooklyn, so there goes that. Don't know if the main characters will travel to NYC, but I do feel like they should travel at some point. We'll see what they tell me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

[NaNoWriMo] Music

There are two songs that are currently driving the forming story in my mind, though don't ask me why precisely these two, cause I don't know.

One is Damien Rice's "I Remember," though more the part sung by Laura Hannigan (below) than the part sung by Damien Rice (complete lyrics here).
I remember it well the first time that I saw
your head ‘round the door 'cause mine stopped working
I remember it well there was wet in your hair
you were stood in the stair and time stopped moving
I want you here tonight I want you here
'cause i can't believe what I found
I want you here tonight want you here
nothing is taking me down
I remember it well taxied out of a storm
to watch you perform and my ships were sailing
I remember it well I was stood in your line
and your mouth your mouth your mouth your mind
I want you here tonight I want you here
'cause i can't believe what I found
I want you here tonight want you
‘cause nothing is taking me down
‘cept you my love...

The other song is U2's "Bad," and this one is tied to a very traumatic death.

If you twist and turn away.
It you tear yourself in two again.
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would let it go.
Surrender, dislocate.

If I could throw this lifeless life-line to the wind.
Leave this heart of clay, see you walk, walk away
Into the night, and through the rain
Into the half light and through the flame.

If I could, through myself, set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away, see you break, break away
Into the light and to the day.

To let it go and so to find away.
To let it go and so find away.
I'm wide awake.
I'm wide awake, wide awake.
I'm not sleeping.

If you should ask, then maybe
They'd tell you what I would say
True colours fly in blue and black
Blue silken sky and burning flag.
Colours crash, collide in blood-shot eyes.

If I could, you know I would
If I could, I would let it go.

This desperation, dislocation
Separation, condemnation
Revelation, in temptation
Isolation, desolation
Let it go and so to find away
To let it go and so to find away
To let it go and so to find away

I'm wide awake, I'm wide awake, wide awake
I'm not sleeping
Oh no, no, no.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My Nephew's First Halloween

And he looks cute as hell!