“Enjoy your game”

Many many years ago, (before we had children, even) we had friends over for a day of GURPS IOU. At one point we ordered pizza, and as the delivery guy left he gave us a big knowing smile and said “Enjoy your game!” At the time, I thought “Wow, that’s amazing. How did he know we were gamers?!” It was only much later that I realized what he actually meant.

I’m running low on shrub!

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The last two times I’ve been to the Seattle Steampunk Exhibition, I’ve bought bottles of shrub from the Sage & Sea Farms booth in the vendor room.  Shrub, in this case, is a fruit flavored drinking vinegar that’s just as historical as all get-out, and the samples they hand out at the con are very seductive! Still, the bottles sat neglected on the shelf for a long time, until I discovered that it’s very good for settling my stomach. So I’ve been using a little bit of my stash every day. I mix it out with water and it’s really nice. Hooray for simple chemistry!

Now I’m getting low, I’m thinking I’ll make some of my own. It’s a very simple recipe, and I can experiment with different flavors. I’ll probably still pick up a couple of my favorites next year at the con, though! –Kaja

Music Night Happened!

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A while ago I backed this KickStarter for Strangely, a musician who is a friend of friends of friends. The reward was that Strangely would come to your house (or workplace, or whatever) and perform a song for you. Hooray! Carol over at Cheapass Games was also a backer, and we decided to combine our rewards into one event…and then things kind of snowballed.

Seriously, we just thought he’d come over, we’d give him some drinks, maybe feed him, and he’d play a song for each of us. Instead, we wound up having a full evening of music featuring Strangely, the Nathaniel Johnstone Band (Nathaniel, Kate and Dogwood), Sarah Shay, her brother Aaron Shay, and even Xanthea, an artist visiting all the way from Perth. It was so much fun! These people have incredible talent, and we were ridiculously lucky to be able to experience so much of it in our own living room.

January can be a hard time of year, when the twinkly lights go down but the nights are still long and dark.  I love the way everything looks, with the silver weather and the beautiful dark nights, but it still hits me hard emotionally. It’s probably chemical. I do a lot with full-spectrum lights. My point is, an evening of wild, cheerful, live music was so very much just the thing for a dark winter’s night. I had no idea. Clearly, I need to get out more.

All of these folks have websites, CDs and/or Patreons and do all kinds of traveling to festivals and events, and are well worth looking up online, and keeping an eye out for local sightings!

 

THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN…

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The Time of Judgement! That’s right, it’s nominating time for the Hugo Awards®, which is the big award given out by the World Science Fiction Convention every year. This year, Worldcon (as we world-weary sci-fi sophisticates call it) AKA MidAmericon 2, is being held August 17-21 in beautiful Kansas City, Missouri. If you’ve never been to a Worldcon, this should be a good one, so give it a shot. (http://midamericon2.org/) There will be barbeque!

If you are already signed up as a Worldcon member, then you can nominate for the Hugos. Naturally, we creative types expect you, the public, to take this very seriously, and to carefully look at everything before you make your all-important nominations…HA ha! I laugh. There is so much amazing stuff coming out in every conceivable medium that no one can possibly be expected to examine it all—but despair not! I am here to bring you up to speed on some worthy material in the highly-coveted and glamorous field of Best Graphic Story.

Now, I will admit that there are many fine comic books worthy of consideration that can be found in today’s comic book shops—but examining those would involve leaving my house. So I will deal with what I know, and talk about this year’s crop of science fiction/fantasywebcomics. This is where you will find some of the most interesting and different comics currently being made, and even better; they’re free!

In the following list, I’ll give you the name, the publisher (if known), the creators, and the website info, which should be all you need to go out and experience these works. Let me start with a completely random example—which just happens to be a webcomic I read almost every day—just to show you how it’s done:

1. Girl Genius: The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Book Two: The City of Lightning. Published by Airship Entertainment. Art & Story by Kaja and Phil Foglio, Colors by Cheyenne Wright. http://www.girlgeniusonline.com

See? Like that. Just as an example. To show how it’s done. Continuing the list:

2. Stand Still Stay Silent: Book One. Published by SSSSComic. Art & Story by Minna Sundberg.  http://www.sssscomic.com/

3. Drive: Book 3: Such A Lovely Species.  Art & Story by Dave Kellett. http://www.drivecomic.com/

Now, the examples above actually got a printed book out in 2015. There are many fine webcomics that did not get a physical, made-of-paper book onto the shelves, but I think they can still be nominated. It’s a bit of a grey area, actually, but Science demands that we experiment! At the very least, you’re in for some good reading;

4. Kill 6 Billion Demons. Art & Story by Abbadon.  http://killsixbilliondemons.com/

5. Prague Race. Art & Story by Petra Erika Nordlund.  http://www.praguerace.com/comic/start

6. Schlock Mercenary. Art & Story by Howard Taylor.  http://www.schlockmercenary.com/

7. Bird Boy. Art & Story by Anne Szabla.  http://bird-boy.com/

Well, there you go. Nominations close March 31. Happy reading!

Hamsters of Yore

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Yesterday I mentioned my love of black cats. Today I thought I’d show you this old picture of one of our poor departed hamsters whose name I can’t even remember. (It was a while ago.) When we had this hamster, we also had black goldfish. All our pets were black. It was very goth.

My favorite hamster was “Cow.” Cow was a black and white spotted hamster who did indeed look like a little Holstein, and my daughter named him when she was in kindergarten.  I actually hate having hamsters. I try to take good care of them, but they die, as such things do, and I wind up with a terrible sick guilty feeling that it’s all my fault. Every time. Fortunately, my daughter seems to have got the wanting of them out of her system.