Thursday, February 23, 2006

Solar Death Ray

Behold the Solar Death Ray! Using the power of 112 suns to burn, melt and destroy things.



Be sure to check out the gallery and the sub-divison, the Gravity Death Log.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Interview - The Aftermath

The interview went really well, at least from my perspective. I met with the firm's other partner (the one's whose name is not the company's) and had a nice chat. We spoke for about half an hour about the position of office manager and what that entails in this company. It's pretty much the usual office stuff, plus the opportunity to help out with the company's main job, that of appraising photographs (for insurance purposes, donation/deductions, etc.). The salary is not what you'd call incredible, but it is certainly better than what I'm making at the moment, so that's good enough for me right now. After a 6-month probational period they have the option to make it into a salaried full-time position with some minor benefits and a small raise. The position has a salary cap, but it does have the opportunity to earn more on the side via the appraisals. We'll see what happens.

On a side note, this was my first interview since becoming a Jew (meaning showing up wearing a kippa and with my full beard, though I left my tzitzit tucked in). For what it's worth, as I imagined, it didn't seem to make any difference.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Interview!

Just got a call from Penelope Dixon & Associates, one of the places I sent my resume about two weeks ago (see Feb. 7, 2006: Job Hunting), to schedule an interview for this coming Wednesday for their Office Manager position.

I must admit that I am a little freaked out about going on an interview for the first time in 4 years. The position entails the usual office stuff, plus helping out with other duties around the office, as the guy on the phone explained. It would be for a test period of 6 months, 40 hours a week for a per-week fee, with an option at the end of the test period to become a salaried employee.

The way I see it I don't lose anything by going to the interview. The only problems I could forsee are my specific time requirements as an observant Jew and the trip to Holland/Belgium we have coming up in June-July. All I can do is be honest and upfront and let G-d take care of the rest.

Funny thing is that this weekend I finished talking to this man (Yehuda) from our synagogue who runs his own web development/marketing company called Sites That Sell Network. Yehuda runs a small-but-profitable suit that right now is stuck because he can't handle more work. I am also in a test period with him, doing one site ahead so he can get a good handle on my abilities and I can get a good handle on the businesses he does development for.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out now. I like the flexibility that doing at-home web development brings, but I also like the certainty of a regular paycheck. Perhaps I can do both? Not sure; Highmoon would suffer and I'd probably end up with little time to do other things.

I'm not gonna worry about that now. My main concern right now is finding a place where I can have one of my nice dress shirts dry-cleaned in one day.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

My Space

I've joined MySpace.com, mainly because I have various friends there. I won't be using it to blog (I like Blogger too much), but I'll use for stuff from time to time.

MySpace - Highmoon

Edit: What I am going to do is mirror my blog over at MySpace

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Can We Even Call That A "Mini?"

From Figures.com and the New York Toy Fair, check out the full spread of D&D Miniatures size categories, as well as a sneak-peek at the Colossal ($75) Red Dragon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Unglamorous Side of Publishing

It is not until you are faced with a difficult submission that you truly and really treasure those writers that give you writeups that you can just give one look and approve.

I've been editing the submissions for Targum magazine and while I was able to do two in one day, I've been stuck for three days now in one adventure (and part 1, no less). The whole thing is not bad, but the whole thing is half in outline style, half in adventure style, and full of repetitive (or redundant) information or grammar errors like sentence fragments, typoes, etc. If it wasn't because I really need it for the magazine, I probably would have returned it. As it is, I'm almost done shaping it into something coherent though I am already dreading doing part 2 for next issue.

Back to it, then.

Matisyahu's New Album

Matisyahu has a new album, Youth, coming out March 7 and I am psyched about it. This guy is, without a doubt, the best thing happening to music right now, and it's all mind-blowing to me because the guy's a through-and-through Chabad chassid! It's crazy, but there he is, this Chabadnik on national TV, singing his reggae tunes about praising G-d and spreading love and Knowledge of G-d (we call it with the all-encompassing name of Torah) and everyone, Jews and non-Jews, is loving it.

Matis is my role-model for how to spread Torah to the world in a general, unobstrusive way that focuses more on the message than on the source. It is a constant goal in my mind as I work with Highmoon Media, and at the forefront especially these days as I prepare to launch a new line supporting Green Ronin's Testament.

Everyone, check out the Matisyahu Media Player and listen to samples form the new album, Youth, as well as the video for the new studio version of "King Without a Crown." Also check out www.Matisyahu.org and you can hear samples form his debut album, Shake Off the Dust...Arise! You won't regret it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bitchin'!


Now, this is a cool logo!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I Had A Dream Last Night

Quite a strange one, too.

I was observing the action unfold. There was a man, whom I knew to be an Academician. I can only describe him like a professor version of Ebenezer Scrooge, that whole Victorian look, with the small round glasses, and the black graduation-type gown professors still wear in Cambridge or Oxford. This man was incredibly angry, because of an argument he had had with a student, whom had proved him wrong in front of a great number of other professors (a Doctoral dissertation, perhaps?). In his anger, this man started erasing the young student from every single record he could get his hands on: tests, papers, class records, emails, even pictures around the room, using an eraser to simply remove this young man from existence.

Later on in the dream, I was heading to a house (the setting was a street I knew back in Puerto Rico). While in this house, I went to the restroom, and after washing my face, discovered that my face had become malleable, much like a thick candle that's been left near a fire, becoming soft enough to be shaped, but still hard enough to retain the shape given. I tried setting my face back to normal, but there were a few things off; I could tell my left eye was lower than normal, and my forehead was slanted where I had tried to push it back into its regular position. That freaked me out.

Even later on, I had arrived at a store which I was to manage. It had music and books, and people working that I knew from various periods in my life. As I was walking towards the back office, I passed a mirror wall, and looked at my reflection: I was faceless.

I could perceive the world--see, smell, and seemingly talk--but my face was completely featureless. There was a slight depression where my eye sockets would be, but that was it, no eyes, no nose, no mouth. What was weird was that this didn't freak me out (in fact, I was more freaked out about the malleable face than about the no face). I don't really remember much after that.

I know that dreams about a face deal with your self identity, so it would seem that I have issues with my identity dissapearing, but I don't feel like going beyond that. It has been the strangest dream I've had in a while, and trust me, weird dreams are normal for me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Hello, New Readers

Due to an unfortunate situation, RPGnow sent out with their current newsletter a list of several blogs belonging to various gaming industry folks, including this one. Problem is, most of those blogs have squat to do with gaming, other than being written by people in the industry. Most are like this one, a mixture of work and non-work related stuff, while others are strictly personal. The really sucky part is that the list was taken from a post in a private forum where another publisher asked for links to such sites, a post that was made by yours truly. I believe that no harm was intended on the part of RPGnow, but there's quite a few people out there rather pissed about the slip-up.

Well, in any case, if you are a new reader arriving here through the link on the RPGnow newsletter, welcome. This is my personal blog, where I talk about stuff that's relevant to me, including work stuff, Highmoon Media or otherwise, alongside post of a more general nature.

If you're looking for just RPG stuff info, then head over to my company's site at www.HighmoonMedia.com. If you want to stick around here as well, by all means feel free to do so.

The Winter Olympics



The 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy begin today and I am psyched! I really can't recall when was it that I started getting excited about the Olympics, but now I am. In these Winter games, I am very much looking forward to the snowboarding events; they're just so freaking wicked! And curling, who can forget about curling. I'll be taping the Opening Ceremonies tonight and watching them tomorrow after Shabbat ends.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Art Frustration

Though not on my part. I comissioned Jeremy Mohler to do an illustration for my newest Bardic Lore, which presents the warp spasms of Celtic lore. These are massive, body-altering, make-the-Hulk-look-like-a-wiry-teenager fits of rage that turn the warrior into a veritable avatar of destruction. The most famous one of these warped warriors is Cuchulainn, though fans of the Slaine comic/RPG will be familiar with them as well.

Jeremy did one piece already, and while good, it wasn't quite what I had in mind (though that was my fault since I wasn't as clear as I could have been in my art directions), so I splurged big time and comissioned a second piece showing the full effects of the warp spasm. Problem is, the very same realism I so admire in Jeremy's art is getting in the way of expressing the utter ridiculousness of a full warp spasm. Seriously, these guys when they warped had their legs turn backwards (like birds), their torsos bulge to immense proportions, blood spurt like a fountain from their heads, and skin that turned inside out. Not all, but it's a pattern.

I just saw a sketch Jeremy sent me, and while not as warped as it could be, it is certainly there and I just gave him some quick notes on small fixes. I'm not paying him a huge amount for these illustrations, and I don't want him to either spend too much time on a low-paying job when he could be doing some other higher-profit ones, or send me to hell because I'm just too damn picky for the price. I rather keep him happy because I have more illustrations I want him to do. :-)

Hopefully we'll have this Bardic Lore out soon, so I can then have another one ready for St. Patty's Day. Now back to writing about the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

We Are All Danes Now

Everyone should read this article from Aish.com: We Are All Danes Now.

I am sick of Islamic extremists and fundamentalists all over the world, period. You want to know why? Take a look at this picture here.

I sincerely feel bad for regular Muslim folk everywhere, cause they have these fuckwits representing them to the rest of humanity.

Oh, and about the cartoons? GET OVER IT!
Go ahead and protest, make your displeasure about the transgression to your religious laws known, but stop the whole rioting crap. It's a disgrace to Islam, to the Muslim population, and to the world.

Job Hunting

I'm back at the horrible and unenviable task of job hunting, as the job I currently have simply sucks and the torture must end. I've worked here for 3 years without a raise, and while it certainly has it's benefits in regards to flexibility of time, I just simply need more money to help out at home.

Did I mention I work for my father-in-law?

So I've been updating my resume and hitting the various job classified sections, both online and on paper. Monster, for all their hype, has yet to prove to me it actually works (I give it the benefit of the doubt because a friend of mine found a job here in Miami while living in Chicago), but I keep it active. Careerbuilder.com so far has been much better at giving me good leads, especially because the version I use has been customized for the South Florida market.

Just yesterday I sent out two resumes to two very interesting job postings, either of which would, I think, be very cool if they worked out. The first one is for a photography appraisal studio not far from my home in Miami Beach, and it involves both usual office tasks but also some creative work with Quark and their website. The other one is for an Office Manager at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, which would be so incredibly good if only because I would be amongst other Jews so it makes life easier for me in terms of food, time off for holidays, prayers, etc. We'll see what happens.

It occurs to me that job hunting (why do they call it hunting if you don't use a spear?) is very similar to dating. In both you have to scan the field for available prospects, take a risk and put yourself out there, find a way to sell yourself better than you are to attract a good prospect and then hope by the time they figure out the real you they have grown attached to you and let it slide, send out letters and calls that project your desire yet hide your desperation, then wait with baited breath for a call that may or may not ever come. One of the reasons I am very happy to be married is that I don't have to be a part of the dating world anymore, and the same goes for being employed. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

All I have to say, to end on a geeky note, is that job hunting proves to me that things would be so much easier if job postings and job applications were written in terms of character stats. This way I could go to the newspaper and see a classified ad like this one: Office Manager, Requirements: Desk Jockey level 3, Bluff or Diplomacy 4 ranks, Computer 4 ranks, Intimidate 2 ranks, Knowledge (corporate crap) 2 ranks, MS Office Suite Specialization feat, Track Management feat, GM (General Manager) has final arbitration on specific requirements and may waive some at his/her discretion.

Then I could go to my resume (character sheet) and see that I have 4 levels of Desk Jockey, Bluff +3, Diplomacy +3 (I could get away with it), Computer +5, Intimidate +2, no ranks in Knowledge (corporate crap) but I do have the English Major Bullshitter feat (Once per day you may apply your Bluff skill bonus towards any Knowledge skill check) along with the MS Office Suite Specialization feat. I don't have the Track Management feat, but I could make a case that I am an eager learned and will take it next time I level.

Wouldn't things be so much easier like that?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Yikes!

From Wizards of the Coast:
NEWS: Colossal Red Dragon

Sweet! I've been awaiting this figure for a while.
During development, the sculpture turned out so spectacular that we decided to really take it to the next level. The Colossal Red Dragon has more than 300 paint steps—that’s over twice what we've applied to any single figure—which provides unparalleled color and texture to accentuate the intricate details of the sculpture. Indeed, it has far surpassed our expectations.
Nice, very nice. But wait for it...
As a result of these developmental enhancements (believe me, we’ve pulled out
all the stops), we have reset the MSRP at $74.99.

And just like that I am not getting one. Hell, I was racking my brain trying to justify it at $50; at $75, I show up at my house with this fig, it will only be to gather my clothes so I can go move to the dingy hotel at the corner, my wife's shoeprint firmly etched on my ass.

Come on, Wizards, it's a toy!