Monday, November 29


Goodbye, Ganky.

Wednesday afternoon while in Lexington we received the sad news of Heather's grandmother passing away the previous night. Apparently she'd been fine, although nursing a broken foot for several months. The day before she'd been doing yardwork and perhaps had stroke in her sleep. Regardless, it was sudden and very jarring.

This had us traveling east to Morehead for the funeral Saturday morning in lieu of our return to Maryland. The service was simple and sweet, delivered by a preacher who knew her personally as his former English teacher and later as his neighbor. This was a dearly loved and respected woman in this small Kentucky town. The funeral procession was lead by police escort and traffic stopped in mid-lane as we passed.

Afterward, we regrouped at on aunt's cabin for some food and conversation. The silver lining in all this was finally getting to meet this side of the family who couldn't make the trek to our wedding three years prior. They were very kind and very welcoming to me, in particular, her five other female cousins .

I was glad I had a chance to meet Ganky last January. We drove out for the afternoon, chatting and hearing stories about my wife when she was younger. She was very kind and very sweet, and I could definitely see the bright and irreverent streak that carries on to her granddaughter.

Goodbye, Calia.

Wednesday, November 24


How y'all doin'?

So it was about ten hours in the car. I'd been through worse. But, after a beer and dinner, I was completely whipped.

Highlights from the drive includde --- who am I kidding? I drove through Western Maryland and West Virginia* most of the day yesterday, fer turkeysakes! I saw a lot of bare trees, haulin'-ass tractor trailers and possibly some of the worst public bathrooms in the (alleged) first world.

But, once here in Lexington, the welcome was warm, the beer was cold, and the bed extremely welcoming.

*Same difference, really.

Tuesday, November 23


Y.A.F.A.H., A.Y., B.?

We're off to Kentucky for the rest of the week. I hope near to nine hours in the car doesn't break me, and above all I hope the car doesn't break down in West Virginia.

Thanks for stopping in and enjoy your Nationally sanctioned day of Gluttony!

Monday, November 22


What's with all the short people?

Saturday evening/night we barged in on Nate, Kristen and Stellan. We sealed the deal with Heather making one mean clam chowder. Nate's sister Lindsay was visiting for Thanksgiving and to meet her near four-month-old nephew. She also destroyed her brother and I at Scrabble* while we hung out, watched cable, and did our damnedest to entertain a cute, but fussy, little boy.

We stayed out a bit past our usual bedtime, so the weary drive home left me a bit unsharp at the McHenry Tunnel. I paid the toll and realised I got eight dollars back from a twenty dollar bill. (The ATM's don't spit out tens, do they?) So, I'm a little cheesed-off. I've learned my lesson: only small bills at the toll booth from now on, mmkay?

Sunday left us lazy and nappy. Athough I made plans to visit Frank at his homestead out in the wilds of Churchville. He's on a few quiet acres in a sprawling 1950's brick split-level with a copious addition.**

His twins daughters came home wondering who the strange man was at the table. Once we broke out the crayons, we bonded over drawing bug pictures. Then we were off to the races. The duo of three-and-a-half-year-olds dragged me around the house to meet all the plush toys. Then there was a 'performance' on the electric organ. Then they dragged me, their folks and grandpa all over the kitchen re-enacting the Pledge of Allegiance they learned at pre-school.

By the end of the day, I was regular family 'cause as I was sitting for a spell they literally buried me in all their toys.

*101 points for a well-place JACK.

**It even has a bomb shelter off the garage.

Friday, November 19



So I actually work with a guy under the age of thirty who knows absolutely nothing about rock music.*

Let me back up a bit. For a few months, we've been working on an extra-curricular game design of his that is based in what this post LOTR-trilogy world is referred to as 'medieval fantasy'. Yes, that's right,kids, dig out the Jethro Tull back catalog and strap on your mead goblet. We're knee deep in Orcs, Dwarves, and Elves.

So, with that out of the way, my cohort describes a character wearing a long robe and carrying a lantern. This makes me chuckle, 'cause any half-halfling in a 3/4 sleeve baseball jersey worth his weight in gold pieces knows that's The Hermit from the gatefold in Zeppelin IV.

Non-rock guy is confused. So, off to Google for a search on 'Zeppelin Stairway' and I find this.

It's true: Fantasy gaming, Prog Rock and SATAN! Run for your lives, you fools!

*For real. I once made a random comment saying it was "...all about Keith, not Mick," and he had to ask me exactly which band I was referring to.

Wednesday, November 17



Not sure whether to rent a comedy, drama, musical, or action flick? Well, why not find the perfect movie with everybody's favorite setting: prison!

Tuesday, November 16


Virginia II

Our weekend trip continued with an outing to Short Pump Town Center, another new gleaming beacon of consumer satisfaction in the Western suburbs of Richmond. We were told Clara likes to ride the train there.

The train, it turns out, is a specialised electric tram for the kiddies to ride around the promenade; no track, no steam, no whistle either. It has a horn, so Clara calls the train 'Beep-beep'.

Then after a few rides on the escalator, the wives took a solo shopping run as Jon and I entertained the toddler. Peeling her away from the moving staircases caused a flare-up, but a visit to the indoor playground hit the spot.

Then we saddled up back at the ranch, said our goodbyes, and drove North.

Monday, November 15


Hey, thanks.

The e-mail I sent companywide first thing this morning:

Whoever left a cup of coffee on my desk,

I usually take it fresh and black, not cold with creamer and a spoon
hanging out of it.

And, by the way, if you're gonna use somebody's desktop when they're
not here, I have some advice:

Clean up after yourself.

Love and kisses,



As of this post, nobody has owned-up to it yet.

Sunday, November 14


Live from Virginia

Here I sit at a borrowed Mac while in the midst of 'quiet time'.

We left the house yesterday morning due to bad weather and general malaise that follows a week of work. Hitting the road at ten-til-eight we made it here to the 'burbs west of Richmond near eleven.

Jon and Maria have got themselves quite a home; four bedrooms, attic office, den, attached garage and a fenced yard. Little Clara is well-aclimated to her new surroundings in just under two months.

We really haven't done much, which is fine with me, quite frankly. We're here mostly for the companionship. We did mobilize to the nearest Ukrops for the World's best fried chicken from a Baptist grocer. Later that day we hit the vital arty shopping district of Careytown for boutique browsing, good coffee and a visit to Plan 9 Music. Then it was a family-friendly dinner at an Asian Fusion joint called Sticky Rice for sushi, noodles and potstickers.*

After a night of TiVo and Ween DVD viewing over ice cream, we awoke for random breakfast delicacies this Sunday morn. Over coffee, I assisted the resident budding abstract expressionist in her continuing series of mixed media on construction paper. Then it was off in the car for a walk around the 'Fashion Park' and a late-morning snack from Panera. (We're all eating like Hobbits lately.)

Whew! That wiped us all out. I napped for about an hour and I'm currently the only stirring creature. We'll see what our afternoon holds once the house is awake.

*Clara ventured away from her hot dogs and tater tots for an impromptu sample of spicy tuna sushi. Unusual form from one a month away from her second birthday.

Thursday, November 11



Well, it looks like we're headed to Richmond this weekend.

Our dear friends Maria and Jon relocated to Virginia in October with their little daughter Clara in tow. Heather firmed-up plans and we're driving after work tomorrow.

That means I have to put a dent in the mountain of laundry tonight.

Wednesday, November 10


Face news.

I'd been considering it for some time now, and with it looking more and more like a nose hair gone awry, I shaved the damn mustache off this morning.

I call it my "new old look". I'm down to the chin shrub I rocked through most of my art college career.*

So, if you see me on the street, it is me, not some guy that looks like me, okay?

*mostly due to the fact I couldn't grow a proper mustache at the time.

Tuesday, November 9


Five before the hour.

From today's N.P.R. Morning Edition, here's a report on the Serious Games Summit.

The description of the non-violent coflict trainer is the project I've been working on for more than a year.


Stupid Blog Tricks

Stolen from the F.O.I.B.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal…along with these instructions.

"Initially Viewed as an elective to train those individuals without plans for college, it proved to be a salvation for countless kids who harbored childhood dreams of building a car that looked hot and ran fast."

Cruisin' - Car Culture in America, Michael Karl Witzel and Kent Bash

Since I was here at work, my collection of art, car and alt.culture books lives on my second shelf. This book happenned to have the spine with the largest type face and was sticking out the furthest.

Monday, November 8


!no gnikcuf thgiR

Since I got home late Friday, Heather and I hit The Chameleon to get our bistro swerve on. We showed up just as a table opened in teh packed dining room. The buzz of conversation was at a decent level. Until the table of six Republicans a few rows over began discussing politics. On top of that, Matt, Liberal server extraordinaire* was waiting on them, and getting more annoyed by the minute.

We also noticed a freshly unbandaged tattoo on his forearm just below the elbow. During a break I asked him what it was. It looked like backwards writing, but I had difficulty making it out.

Taking us to the nearest mirror, he revealed "fuck fascist America" in a beautiful cursive.

*and independent filmmaker.

Saturday, November 6


Viva La Labs!

Last night my evening began with a few pints at Padonia Station. I wasn't there for the atmosphere, mind you, but for the impromptu Microprose reunion.

A rougue e-mail circulated among the survivors scattered about the game development populace of Hunt Valley earlier tis week. The turn-out was decent; about a fifteen people, some I knew, some I didn't. Since I left in 1996, there was seven years of folks carrying the torch whom I never met.

However a lot of the 'old guard' was there. It was real nice to see folks I hadn't seen since I couldn't recall. We caught-up on where we are now, the rumours about those not in attendance, and how old we're all becoming.

Thursday, November 4


Tired of the ugly.

We're considering wainscoting on the top half of the walls in our bathroom. The plan is to give a 'homey' touch in our Twenties Bungalow-inspired cottage, and, to be honest, hide the crumbling, moldering wallboard over the sink. Perhaps not the best solution, but, much like our electoral process, it's the best one we've got.

Due to my complete inexperience with woodworking, I've asked his Billness to do me a solid and drop in this weekend for a consult. He'd redone the head in his previous Canton home and is going like gangbusters at his current place in Catonsville.

By the way, he's using a snap of my sweet Sallie Jayne on his title page. Just refresh until you see the angled grille shot on a dusty pink Ford.

Wednesday, November 3


Rumours on the Internets.

I don't usually rant on politics or use blue language here at the 'Signal'. But today I'm feeling a little unusual. So this is dedicated to all the Bush supporters out there, who will never see this.

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Job loss, floundering economy plus an unfixable war in Iraq... yeah, let's have four more years of the same. Brilliant fucking plan.

Let's give the go-ahead to the alcoholic faux-religious zealot moron who's still looking for Daddy's approval. Swell.

Let's really strip this country of any credibility on a world stage.

Let's whip our dick out and pee all over the middle-east, shall we? Diplomacy is for pussies, right? We got the oil this time, right?

Let's have a draft.

Let's re-accomplish the mission.

Let's have more arrogant stupidity.

Let's have more "Aww, shucks. I'm just folksy-folks," and a lot more stammering. The 'Security Moms' love that shit.

Let's keep the fear-mongering at a fever pitch.

Let's sink lower and drop harder for another four years.

Let's divide the country a little more.

Yeah, brilliant plan.

Thanks. I'll be back to my usual fluffy self later.

Tuesday, November 2


First things first.

Heather and I went to our polling place just after seven.

Our usually sleepy church basement out on Harford Road was a-buzzin' with activity. There was a line out the door, plus the local FOX affiliate had a news truck out front with a correspondent doing a live report.

At the cut-away, she interviewed some folks behind us. We got to overhear one young, well-spoken African-American man tell of reading two books recently that helped "shape his anger" over the current administration. Nice!

Things were moving a bit slow, but smoothly. We were both done about twnety-five minutes later.

I hope things go well in your local district.

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