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A panel from Blankets, by Craig Thompson

A covering, a shield, a container

Last night, I met with a couple of old and new friends to talk about Craig Thompson’s Blankets. Blankets is a 500-page graphic novel that helped to establish the American graphic novel scene. It’s a memoir of the artist’s childhood and teen years, centering on his childhood relationship with his kid brother and his teen relationship with a girl. Disconnection and relationship form the book’s two major themes, which is fitting, considering […]

© Wizards of the Coast, D&D 3.5 Player's Guide

Azeroth is not Faerûn: MMO Minds in Tabletop RPGs

Cracked has an excellent article on 5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted. It’s not simple scare-mongering — though there’s certainly a hushed tone of passion in the article — and it sparked some neurons in my brain about mental models and tabletop role-playing. My first GMing experiences were spent with players themselves unfamiliar with tabletop role-playing. We mostly knew each other, and we […]

Spark Some Debate in your Book Club

My friend Nick graciously invited me to a short-lived book club: two sessions, this coming week, discussing Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets. Brilliant idea: debate one book, and we’re done. We can convene again if it goes well. Minimal pressure. I decided I wanted some ammunition besides my memories and my hand-written notes, so I just went online to find some awesome, inspiring, deep book club questions. […]

Tech is Complicated

As some of you may know, the classic arcade game cabinet that I built about a year ago died a while back.  Couldn’t even get to the BIOS. I asked around on Freecycle for anyone local willing to get rid of an older computer.  Unfortunately, the replies I received were from people trying to get rid of ancient computers, like 386s.  That wasn’t quite sufficient. Finally, on Wednesday, I broke down and bought a $200 desktop EeePC.  […]

Denial is a Form of Freedom

This week, I started a new role-playing game. I’m running it very differently than I run most games. It’s a D&D 4th edition game, created primarily to test out the classes and races in the new third Player’s Handbook. Since I’m already running two other games, which takes up much of my time, I decided to run this game using almost entirely pre-published materials. I bought a dungeon crawl-style adventure […]


A personal proposal: Physical Energy Maintenance: Every night: 5 minutes of Tai Chi, a 30-second push-up, a 30-second sit-up, and a few minutes of strength training with an infinite resistance machine. Three times a week: 20 minutes of running. Emotional Energy Maintenance: Every morning: 5 minutes of journaling. Spiritual Energy Maintenance: Every week: Church attendance, and helping out with church youth group Mental Energy Maintenance: Every night: […]


Ironic, how much of wise living consists of resisting one’s impulses.

All's Faire

All’s Faire

Imagine the cheesiest, cheapest Renaissance Faire possible.  Imagine the weird, driven employees of said Fair.  Imagine the Faire’s in danger of shutting down, and what those employees would do to keep “their” Faire going. That’s the premise of All’s Faire, a serial comedy showing on  I stumbled across this on my Roku a few months ago, and was hooked by, of all things, the acting. This show is full of impressive comedic performances. I’d […]

Ax, the protagonist


It’s rainy, and I have a sore mouth, and a sore arm.  But I’m excited, for two reasons: 1) I pulled all my old blog entries off the Internet Archive, wrote a quick Python script that converted them into an RSS feed, and imported them into this blog. I’m still cleaning them up, but for the first time in a decade I have my entire blog, all in one place.  All twelve years of it. […]

Greta Garbo playing Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

I finished reading Joel Carnegie’s translation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina a few days ago. This isn’t a review. What could I offer that thousands of other reviewers haven’t? However, I will point out three things that stuck out at me: 1) This was an eminently readable book.  This undoubtedly has much to do with Carmichael’s translation. For example, according to his notes, he spent a great deal of time […]

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