Píše Harlequinky?

6/28/01: It's been a good week for Risus! While I'll be sad to see the original artwork go, I know it's going to a good home, and there are fun new things to distract, in the meantime: "LittleLi" from the Czech Republic has translated Risus into Czech (hosted locally), and once again I'm tempted to dedicate a webpage to learning new languages by reading the translated sample cliché lists! It's good to know, in particular, that the word "bimbo" is universal, but I really need to learn the word "harlequinky," because it sounds like something I can use a lot. Risus! The Rosetta's Stone for the new millenium. Or somesuch!

Finally, David Masad, a newcomer to the Risus Mailing List, has expanded the online Risus world with his rules for Risus: Illuminati and Risus: The Matrix. His clever "advanced Illuminati" rules have already had a profound impact on my personal paranoia levels. Well done!

Blackout

6/25/01: The fellows over at Illuminati Online (home of the Blue Room since the summer of 1998, and my main email home since 1993) got some new digs over the weekend, and moved their offices and all the computers across town. If only it had occurred to them to email a warning before doing so!

If you tried to log on over the weekend and got a dead-server result, that was why - io.com was a hole in the internet from late Saturday evening 'til just about an hour ago. Now, everything seems okay, but be prepared for a relapse or two in the next 24 hours as they work the kinks out.

In the meantime, I'm using this window of upload opportunity to say hi and upload the latest weekly font. And now, after a hot-but-fun weekend, I'm rarin' to get back to work! Hope this finds everybody well.

Point, Click, Cliché

6/22/01: Little Risus is really growing up, thanks in large part to the efforts of fans. As if spiffy new "illustrated" PDF weren't enough, Risus Mailing List regular Hollis McCray has posted a really nifty little Windows character generation program to his website. He's got lots of amusing things for other games on there, too (I'm eagerly awaiting the next version of his Big Eyes, Small Mouth program)!

The Latest

6/18/01: Sandra and I went to see a new print of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Paramount yesterday, capping off a nice weekend with one of the most swellerific films of all time! I still remember seeing it eight times at the theater when it opened . . . twenty years ago! Gah. I'm old. I'm almost thirty! When I was ten, though, I wanted to be an archaeologist! That is, until I went to the library and looked it up. Bah. Hardly any gunfights at all, it turns out.

Yikes. Well, anyway, hope all you dads out there had a happy Father's Day!

There's been a lot of Cumberland Games related activity over at RPG.net, including the inclusion of Risus in their latest "generic/universal" RPG poll, and a mirror of the Cumberland homepage in the "Eye of RPGnet." The funny thing about the mirror is that it was pasted directly onto a white background, so the "secret" subliminal message at the top of the page (which I've used as the basis for contests in the past, to reward overly-nosy readers) was anything but secret! Good clean fun.

On the subject of online gaming spots, give Cybercon a look. I'm still not sure what to make of it, but they invited me, so I'll be there (including chatting on a panel with Jolly Roger Games, and others, this coming Sunday).

Free Russian Mice

6/12/01: While browsing through my hard drive this morning, it occurs to me that I have lots of original fonts I've accumulated that I've not shared yet, including some created in collaboration with Blue Room visitors! Back in February, when I was developing the technique I use for Cumberland's Custom Font services, I held a quick contest on the Cumberland mailing list to test my methods. One of the entries is this week's free font, Mice, by Russian gamer and mouse-doodler Maxim Belankov! More of the contest entries will appear in the coming weeks.

I'll keep the weekly font feature active for as long as there's interest (that means feedback!) and the most popular fonts will be archived permanently on the Fontworks. However, I won't be keeping a general online archive of the weeklies, so snag 'em as they pass by!

And as long as I'm committing myself to more regular site updates, I've decided to jump back in to the fun over at eBay, too! I've added an "eBay Auctions" link to the little links-bar just below; click on it to see what oddness I'm selling on any given day. I'll try to keep at least one auction going at all times.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

6/9/01: In a universe of stressed poster fonts with sharp edges, I needed a stressed poster font with slightly blotted edges, so I added a new one (and a free one) to the Fontworks: Dirty Headline!

But what's a headline font without a headline? How about the triumphant arrival of the new version of Risus? I'm pleased as punch with this newer, even purpler incarnation of my little freeware game, because now it's illustrated! Er, sort of. Enjoy, and have a good weekend!

More Evil, and Books

6/7/01: First up is an overdue update to the Pages from the Pokénomicon, with eight new thulhu added (and a cultist) from the warped minds of Dana Graves and the sinister (and prolific) Craig Griswold! After a good deal of nudging from Craig (which I needed and appreciate), I finally pulled myself away from the dozen or so projects I'm swimming in to get those things on the web where they belong!

Most of the work this week has been on the Fief layout, but I've also been dabbling in other arenas. To get myself back to speed on page-design, I've been working on the new PDF incarnation of Risus! It's currently in the proofing stage; I'll have it up for download sometime next week at the latest. I've also been busy writing chunks of Points in Space 2, which is turning into a lot of fun.

Back in the real world, Sandra and I were up at the Northcross Mall last night helping with the final stages of setup for Literacy Austin's big weekend bookfest. I was helping to "proof" the genre categories, to make sure the SF was in SF, the Fantasy was in Fantasy, the Crime/Mystery was in Crime/Mystery, the Horror was in Horror, and all the other random things scattered through those sections were wherever they needed to be. Sandra had a more physical role, both helping me with what I was doing and scooting around the entire site putting up category signs! If you're in Austin, be sure to visit the sale this weekend! Clear off some shelf-space at home and bring money! We'll be working the sale, too; if you spot us, say hi!

I Didn't Write The Dialogue!

5/30/01: Okay, I may as well get this over with! The potentially-fun news is that there's a new spy/conspiracy RPG on the way called Series Archer. I don't have anything to do with the game, but it sounds fun. I do have a small part to do with the "Audio Serial" promotion, however, as the voice of Senator Guinness . . .

It's . . . it's cheesy. But if you've got a six-pack handy (or at least a gaming group that hasn't been sleeping well), I'm sure it can be a rollicking good time. My favorite bit that I'm involved with is where the Senator asks Jack if he's worried that his invitation to London is a trap, setting him up for the ultra-clichéd "I'm counting on it" line . . . But a few seconds later, we hear Jack musing: "Still can't get past the feeling that this is a trap." Maybe he was just trying to put the Senator's mind at ease? Yikes.

Anyway, I have no idea what it's actually about, but it was fun making it!

It was also amusing making The Glyphs of Insanity (Windows TrueType font, 33k ZIPped), and I may put it up permanently on the Fontworks at some point. It's junky but playful! I doodled it during pre-game chat for the D&D game I ran recently. Today, I've got a space-opera Risus game scheduled, so maybe I'll draw something even goofier . . .

Flashbacks

5/21/01: I've been wandering through time, it seems! This past thursday, I "donned the mantle of Dungeon Master" for the first time in a long while. I've been curious about the new incarnation of D&D for a while, and so began at the beginning with a couple of gamers with 1st-level characters, a village with a monster threatening, and a hole in the ground.

It felt wierd to carry a dice-bag again! I've had my bag of dice forever, but in recent years it's just sat on the shelf storing excess dice and Button Men and Sparks bases and things. I never actually carry it to games, since most of the games I play just use a couple of d10s or a small handful of d6's or somesuch. I hadn't touched a d4 since the last time I played D&D!

So that part was cool, and the game went nicely. The new edition really does recapture the feel of 1st Edition in many ways, right down to the scatterbrained index (you'd think that a game about delving into underground tunnels would have an entry in the index for "darkness") - but I mean that in a good way. At least, I'm almost certain I do.

Another flashback came in the form of an unexpected celebrity meeting, of sorts. As a former SJ Games staffer, I'm used to the kind of upsetting stories that drift out whenever two or more of us get together to talk, but one of the odd things about living in Austin is the chance to run into such people at random, including folks that go back to years before my involvement with the company. That happened this past Saturday:

Sandra and I were just wandering the campus area after enjoying a used-book sale, and we got to chatting with a street vendor, a woman selling handcrafted jewelry and tie-dyes. While discussing the pros and cons of the street-vendor gig, she let slip that she'd been an SJ Games staffer! Turns out it was none other than C. Mara Lee, a name I instantly recognized from the credits of pretty much every SJ Games title on the shelves back in the company's heyday - the height of the popularity of Car Wars and the very early days of GURPS. An icon from my teen years, really. Quite a trip.

Wandering and Dabbling

5/14/01: The less said about the loss of Douglas Adams, the better off I'll be. I blacked out the homepage in memorial and I'm still not entirely past it. Those of you who know me know what his work meant to me. That was a rough time. But, one of the very excellent things about having a great wife is that even sad news like that can't bring the weekend down. Sandra's dealing with some icky allergies right now, to boot, but we had a very good weekend.

On Saturday, we wandered out to enjoy some of the great weather we've been having, exploring the Convict Hill area (a quiet suburb on the outer southwestern end of Austin). I got some strategy-game testing pieces at a hardware store (funky-shaped metal pawns, cheap at seven cents apiece!) and we found big foam rubber dice at a little rural-style grocery store, so there was even a gaming theme! We had pizza for lunch at one of those pizza places designed for kid's birthday parties, and curled up on the same side of the booth engaging in our usual "oh, get a room" PDA behavior, so it was a mellow afternoon. Then we came home early and fed Sandra's Babylon 5 addiction (we got the Shadow War out of the way this weekend)!

Yesterday was a mix of work and play, but it didn't feel much like work at all. I'm incorporating watercolors into the page design of Lisa Steele's Fief, so Sandra and I found a spot on the grass in one of the little park areas along the southeast side of the river. It was a beautiful day, with people nearby playing volleyball, flying kites with their kids, dipping a fishing line into the water, or just lunching and napping. Sandra did some napping, herself, while I scraped a brush across paper painting trees and water and hillsides and things. Then we went north to the Spider House and settled in for coffee before heading home.

Sandra's back at the office today, and I'm heading out to brave the wilds of Austin on my own again, but I wanted to share about the good side of the weekend since it's much nicer than the crummy side! With thanks and love to my sweetie, as ever, and thanks to you guys for continuing to visit the Blue Room. More soon.

Back From the Dead

5/07/01: Many apologies for the lack of recent updates, but last Friday, the computer died a sudden and ugly death. The hard drive managed to get itself irretrievably corrupted (couldn't even re-format it), and I was left in techno-limbo for several days. Fortunately, the thing was still under warranty, and Hewlett-Packard made good by shipping out a replacement. I've finally got the replacement back to a sketchy semblance full functionality, so here I am.

The crash couldn't have come at a worse time. I was three days from my "drop-deadline" for Guardians of Order, a deadline I was determined not to miss. So, I scrambled around to several branches of the Austin Public Library, finishing the book in half-hour signup shifts on the public computers, doing some additional writing at home by running an old copy of XyWrite from DOS booted from a floppy disk. Quite a couple of days, I can tell you - but the book is in and everything is settling back to normal around here.

The Pokethulhu Adventure Game is doing well. So well, in fact, that the first print run sold out in about a day! A second printing seems very likely at this point, but if you don't have it and you want it, pester your local game shop to make sure they order it for you.

Anyway, back to work with me: Fief is the next big thing on my plate, and I'm also working on Fly From Evil and Points in Space 2: Spacecraft, as well as some font projects and a couple of articles. Busy busy! More soon here, too.

Islands and Madness!

4/20/01: I'm still running to catch up with myself, but life is good, anyway. The weather in Austin has morphed from a steady unpleasant heat to a steady pleasant cool, with lots of clouds and breezes . . . the NHL playoffs are on, which means Sandra is excited (the Leafs are still in!) . . . and in a few minutes (it's 8AM as I write this) I'll be out in it with notebook in hand, writing and proofreading and generally avoiding the distractions of the computer. In the meantime, I've got a couple of things to share:

The first is Archipelago, a silly-but-fun freeware font added to the Cumberland Fontworks this morning. It's a letters-and-numerals font made to look like clusters of islands (solid and hollow are each included). Goofy, fun, and easily worth the price! On a more serious (and cool) note, Sparks: The Dungeoneers is up to Version 2.0, now, a fresh build from the ground up, now scaled to the "Standard 3" scaling I introduced in the Sunburned & Rusty set, where 28pt = 28mm scale, and so on. Much easier to use. Sparks rule!

And, as promised, to celebrate the arrival of the Dork Storm edition of the Pokethulhu Adventure Game (it's printed, it's shipped, it'll be on shelves any day now, literally) I've finally built a permanent home on the web for Pages from the Pokénomicon, proof-positive that members of the Blue Room Mailing List are smarter (and more warped) than the average bear. Terrific stuff. And of course, the doors remain open for new submissions, complete with rewards in the form of free CG&D goodies. Grab the game, grab a pen, and be open to the madness.

Speaking of which, the wilds of Austin call. More soon.

Greetings from San Diablo

4/10/01: Sorry the updates have been slow over the past few weeks; I've been swamped! The clouds will break soon, though, and I'll get back to stocking the Blue Room with new pages and fonts and other things to scrape a friendly mouse-click on, including a silly new mapping freeware mapping font and the long-awaited Pokénomicon page, presenting all the entries in last year's Pokethulhu Design Contest (from the Blue Room Mailing List) to celebrate the release of the new Dork Storm edition to game shops everywhere (look for it in a shop near you by next week at the latest)!

Sandra and I had a really nice weekend. In addition to taking advantage of the warm weather with lots of walking-and-exploring, we attended a gospel brunch at Stubb's BBQ, downtown, and had a good bit of clapping and foot-thumping served up with migas and brisket and other good things. If you're anywhere near Austin and haven't gone yet; phone 'em up for reservations. Entirely inspirational stuff, in every way.

Speaking of Austin, seeing Spy Kids included a few surreal moments for me on top of the surreal moments provided for general audiences. I do a lot of writing at a coffeehouse in the warehouse district called Ruta Maya, and a while back, there was a new shop being built across from it - "Machete Spy Shop," the logo said. I figured it was one of those yuppie toy stores, a sort of miniature Sharper Image. Then one day, they tore the sign down. "Oh, well," I thought. "Guess they lost their backers or whatever." Now, I know the truth: Machete packed up go work with his family fighting surreal evil. When they take off from the roof, you can even see the Ruta Maya sign briefly. Pleasantly jarring!

Servers and Masters

3/27/01: There are lots of little items tucked away in the corners around here that even long-time visitors never stumble onto, but that a few regular fans take a real shine to. One of those is Mastery, my "fantasy alternate to Chess" where your own pieces are deadlier in the hands of your opponent. Armin Sykes made an excellent Windows program for playing Mastery live over the internet (complete with a built-in chat client), and now Bas Snabilie has put up a fresh server for it, complete with a super-snazzy logo. Read the rules, snag the software, use the server! It's all free, it's all cool, and if you ever want to play, drop me a line and let me know!

Pigeons & Pokethulhu

3/19/01: The sun is almost up here in Austin (it's just after 7:30), and it's cloudy, cool, and quiet. A pleasant, introspective kind of morning. After a cheery St. Paddy's Day weekend, Sandra and I are back to work.

Of course, game writers don't really have regular hours! Over the weekend, I was doing a fair bit of last-minute proofreading and email-tagging with John Kovalic, Phil Reed and Russell Godwin, getting the Pokethulhu Adventure Game snugly into its warm little bed. Phil has been swamped and stressed (he works for SJ Games), so Russell (who recently left SJ Games), Phil's sometimes-silent Squishy Brain Games partner, stepped forward in our hour of need to finish the production and graphic assembly duties in time for Phil to deliver a preview to John at GAMA, and in time for John to hand it over to the printers. It'll be on shelves sometime in April. Huzzah!

A few updates around here: A new logo isn't all that's new on the Secret Library page; I've also added a link to a new Russian translation of the RPGs as Beverages post; the first, hopefully, of many Russian translations to appear at Rolemancer. There's also a new freeware font at the Fontworks, a playful little thing called Pigeon Street.

Beastly!

3/11/01: Wow. It seems like only yesterday that Sparks was just an experiment Dan Smith and I were yakking about in email, and now we're up to half-a-dozen sets (not even counting the freebies and PDF interiors sets). The newest is Sparks: Critters, a very cool set of animals and monsters that will go well with The Dungeoneers. The art is by the Smif man, and the rest is by me. Give it a looksee (and snag that sheet of big bugs!)

Early Rising

3/8/01: I just had one of those "Yikes - no Blue Desk update in over a week!" moments. It's just after 6AM here in Austin, and I'm scrambling to get my work-bag stuffed and out the door before the Mean Old Sun comes poking into the window to tell me I'm running late. This part of writing is a bit like being one of those people who hikes the Appalachian Trail - I pack with a stern eye towards trimming out every stray ounce of extra material. I wouldn't have believed it two years ago, but even a few sheets of paper in a folder can, over the course of a day, make a noticeable difference in how comfortable the bag is on my shoulder, especially when I'm doing a lot of long stretches of walking! And of course, a big part of the point is to do long stretches of walking.

Despite my absence here at the front desk, I've been doing lots of little "invisible" updates to the Blue Room again - tweaks and so on. The initial success of Points in Space has made it possible to invest in a little offsite file space, for example, so I'm slowly updating and relocating some of the Cumberland downloads. I've even got the beginnings of a webpage up for the new Custom Fontmaking service (it needs a little expansion and some friendly illustrations, though). There's also a new Sparks set completed and ready to go; I'll probably try to build a webpage for it this weekend (those of you on the CG&D mailing list already know what I'm talking about)!

Anyway, the wild trails of downtown Austin beckon, so I need to heft my sack and go wandering. I need to see if I can do five or six thousand words before the day is out. Wish me luck - and here's hoping that your day goes as planned, too!

What's a Shrove, Anyway?

2/27/01: Tonight is the big night of Mardi Gras, and Sandra and I just got home from narrowly avoiding it. Instead of joining the revelers on Sixth Street, we did some walking in the dark streets northeast of the capitol (an atmospheric maze of oddly-lit buildings and parking lots, made extra-surreal by the warm fog) and wound up at Kerbey Lane Cafe (the one nearest the campus) where Sandra could engage in her Shrove Tuesday tradition with a nice yummy blackberry pancake the size and thickness of a frisbee (as the party diabetic, I had the chicken soup instead). With that and some backgammon under our belts, we headed home, checking out the revelry as we passed.

We didn't skip the party entirely; we did it Saturday, when the crowds were just as large (100,000 souls or thereabouts) and even more rowdy. As some of you may have heard, there was a minor "riot" on Sixth Street late Saturday night - about three hours after Sandra and I left, fortunately. It was apparently an ugly scene, with fingers of blame jumping in every direction in the aftermath.

I doubt tonight will be any kind of repeat performance, but there's a certain damper on the mood, and twice as many cops walking the borders of the big do, so a lot of the fun is bound to be muted. I'm happy that we got to enjoy it properly on Saturday before things went sour, when the party was just noisy and jam-packed and fun, with appropriate doses of bare skin, loud music and colorful beads.

On a more indoorsy note, we finally caught both Chocolat and O Brother, Where Art Thou? over the past few days, and both were immensely cool. Chocolat is your basic character comedy about pagan integration (with a dash of chile pepper); O Brother is your basic Prime Example of Why The Coen Brothers Are Gods. I love all the Coens' work, but only three caught my fancy 100% with the first sitting, and this is one of them (the other two are Miller's Crossing and Raising Arizona).

Here on the site, I've added a couple more free fonts to the Fontworks: Deco Freehand and Gravel. Snag and install!

Hope your Mardi Gras has been as fun as ours . . . and here's hoping things go peacefully downtown tonight. Have fun, and play safe, wherever you are!

"Computer?"

2/18/01: As most of you know, I write all my books longhand, first, nowadays, and then type the second draft into the computer. The advantages of this method are so numerous that it's difficult to sum it up (my personal favorite is that my "office" is frequently the streets of Austin, a great city to write in). The disadvantage list is shorter but simple: I have writing days (whoopee!) and typing days (argh).

So, Sandra and I decided it would be fun to try out some dictation software. I can use it as an alternate entry method for work (theoretically) and Sandra can have fun teaching the computer to understand Newfie slang (even more theoretically).

We've been very impressed so far. The software isn't too expensive ($50-ish, with headset included, at OfficeMax) and it really sort of works . . . While it took it a while to teach it to recognize words like "Cthulhu" with any degree of consistent success, it learned dozens of made-up fantasy words from my current BESM2 project without even asking me to read them aloud (just by examining a document or two) and they worked right off the bat. Clearly, the technology has advanced a bit over the past few years. It's even making baby steps into the world of Newfie, thanks to Sandra's insistent coaching!

So, that's been kind of cool . . . And on the same front, I'm going to start doing some days at the public library, typing stuff on a good old fashioned typewriter, too (since I can OCR that easily enough). Using technology against istelf, as it were.

On the fresh-air-and-sunshine front, Sandra and I got a fair bit of that this afternoon, exploring a nook of soutwest Austin we had overlooked before and trying out a new Pho Cong Ly location. Sandra had an upset tummy, so the Pho Ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup!) was a good choice. Now we're home, settled in, and I'm gearing up to talk to the computer some more (eek)! Hope this finds you all well.

Visiting the Outpost

2/10/01: Nick LaLone, the editor of Gaming Outpost, moved to Austin recently, so we hooked up on Thursday afternoon so I could show him a few of the local amusments and talk about gaming 'zines in general (and GO in particular) and swap funny stories about our colleagues. Along the way, we figured out a number of ways that GO and I might develop a working relationship, so I may have more to report on that sometime soon.

In the meantime, I created a special preview version of Points in Space. It features two locations not included in the regular freebie, and it's exclusive to Gaming Outpost. Go unto them and download, and have a look around while you're there!

I've also created a new mailing list: GamePress. It's for gamers who like to read press releases from game companies, and for game companies to post press releases! Like austingamers and most of my other lists, it's 100% moderated to be spam-and-chatter free. You can visit the list's page here, or subscribe directly by sending a blank email here.

Blue in Green

2/6/01: That's the name of my favorite track on Kind of Blue, probably the quintessential Miles Davis album. I've got that in the CD player right now (it's on "Freddie Freeloader") and the dishwasher is churning away in the background. After scrubbing a few pots and filing a few glasses, I'm settling in to soak up what's already been a really nice evening.

Those who know me well know this: I love it when the weather changes. I love seasons. If I ever move to a place without noticeable seasons, I'll lose touch with one of the things that energizes me. Austin is having a very nice night tonight - soft, warm breezes. The earth started to unfreeze and smell like earth again a few weeks ago, and now it's all the scent of life again. This reminds me of some mild summer nights back in Virginia, when I'd sit up all night next to an open window, tapping away at the keyboard.

That a night in February reminds me of summer tells you a little about Texas, but it's nice.

Anyway, there's plenty of tapping to be done, and the glass door to our little balcony is wide open. So, with dogs barking, dishwasher gurgling, and jazz playing, it's time for me to get into the keyboard-thing for keeps. Just wanted to drop in and say hi, first.

From the Trenches

2/2/01: Work has been keeping me swamped, lately - alternating between "madly typing here at home" days (like today) and "madly scribbling away in cafés" days (like yesterday, and probably the rest of today, since I need a typing break)! Hence the Radio Silence around here over the past week. Eek.

The work is bearing good fruit, though, and I'm riding a wave of encouragement from Points in Space's first month. It's doing better than I'd hoped, and the warm responses of the readers has just been incredibly good for my writing mood. Thanks, very much, to you guys for making Cumberland possible.

This weekend, I'm going to try to not work, but we'll see how that goes. Wish me luck! In the meantime, I've updated the Secret Library with a copy of the long-lost "WEDGE Interview" published online just before West End Games went foom. Yikes!

Frequently Asked Questions

1/23/01: It's still not complete yet, but this morning, the Blue Room FAQ grew another few questions and expanded a section. I've added links to the game-writing bits, and a section on the advantages of electronic publishing (my inbox has been overflowing with questions about that since Points in Space hit the virtual shelves a few weeks ago)!

Now, I just need to find the time to type in all those sourdough questions ... Yeek! Hope this finds everybody well.

The Once and Future Antunes

1/15/01: Back when I was the editor at Pyramid Magazine, I often referred to RPG.net as "the best gaming magazine on the net," and not just to annoy Steve Jackson, either! Under the mighty guidance of webmaster Sandy Antunes, RPG.net created a hobby-wide addiction the likes of which remains unmatched, even though the site went straight to the unholy pit when Sandy left.

If you hurry, you can take one last look at the unholy pit version, because as of early this morning, Sandy's back. Over the next day or so (Tuesday night is traditionally the Time of Updates) we can watch RPG.net wake up again, and get re-acquainted with (wait for it) the best gaming magazine on the net. Bookmark it! When you see an article on game-writing by Yours Truly, you'll know that the re-launch is underway! Welcome back, Sandy. You were missed.

Foggy Night

1/14/01: It was rainy today in Austin, but not too cold, so Sandra and I went wandering and exploring, having adventures with everything from muddy side-roads to trying to ship a parcel late on a weekend afternoon. Saw some familiar faces, too: We ran into Russell Godwin (an SJ Games staffer, and co-editor of Pokethulhu) at a craft store on Brodie Lane, and one of my old coworkers from Book People at the Dobie theater! We were at the craft store shopping for some friends, and at the theater to catch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the new Ang Lee picture. Both were a good time!

Austin was foggy tonight. Walking downtown from the campus, we saw the top of the capitol building floating in a sea of illuminated grey, and folds of mist pouring over rooftops. The twisted, wacked-out "haunted trees" that so disturbed our friend Chris when he visited looked especially atmospheric visibly draped in . . . atmosphere, as it were. On Congress Avenue, a couple in a rented horse-and-carriage were taking advantage of the fog to . . . Well, suffice it to say we were grinning at the carriage-driver's very professional restraint. Ah, Austin.

Now I'm up late fiddling on tomorrow's session of the fantasy campaign, and it occurred to me that the Blue Room needed an update! Watch this space carefully; I've been holding back a secret for several days and I get to spill soon. Good news for gamers; I'll say no more. Yet!

The Mothman Cometh

1/7/01: Along with some stickmen and a snakeman and Sandra's debut as a game writer/artist (everybody's gotta start someplace)! There's a new free font on the Cumberland Games pages, the pleasantly-fannish Sparks Scrapbook: paper miniatures drawn by fans (and me), for fans (and me). Snag it and introduce your friends to the special thrill of facing down a horde of a hundred "Brian the Gamer" miniatures! Click here to see more, then grab a pen and join us for next year's update.

Here at home, we've got rain and warm weather, right on the heels of that impressive cold snap. I don't want spring to show up this quickly, but it felt really nice walking along Lamar Boulevard by the park yesterday. Sandra and I watched the frisbee-golf players and explored neighborhoods and generally had a nice day out.

Some potentially interesting news: I've received an invitation to a con back East. Nothing is final yet, but I may get to see a lot of my old friends in a couple of months! Watch this space for updates.

Also Sprach Zarathustra

1/1/01: I'm very, very proud to announce that Cumberland Games is finally on its way. Points in Space is now a reality (and there's a 20-page free version ready for a gentle click of the mouse, so by all means, indulge). Sparks Interiors 2, too! A Space Odyssey, indeed. This wouldn't be remotely possible without the continued support of the Blue Room readership. Thank you all very much for giving me this chance. Happy (very happy) New Year, everybody.


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