The Rainy Season

Tsuyu, the Japanese summer rain is here. Warm downpours that happen throughout the day until the end of July. Coming here from dry Southern California is a serious change of pace. Growing up we got our annual week of rain and considered anything over that a Storm of the Century. Rainy

This week was unproductive on the writing front. Last weekend’s unfortunate circumstances put a damper on my mood and my work week was long and difficult. I avoided the internet as much as possible and I ended up spending most of this weekend playing Battlefield 1. Sometimes I feel the overwhelming need for mindless twitchy entertainment.

With the rainy season finally, in full force, I think I will be able to knock out a few stories and work on some of my unfinished ones. I’m putting the final touches on a submission for Storyhack 1 that I really like, and I’m giving my 21st Century Pulp submission two weeks or so to breathe before I work on the fantastic edits all the contributors sent me. There’s also a piece I sent to Writers of the Future that should get a response any day now.

But…The Crash Bandicoot collection is coming out on the 30th.. so I dunno..

USS Fitzgerald DDG-62

 

Fitz

RIP

  • Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia

  • Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California
  • Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut
  • Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas
  • Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California
  • Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland
  • Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

Fitzsailors

 

Memorial Day 2017

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – President Thomas Jefferson

3rdBN1stMar

3rd Battalion 1st Marines

Reading, Writing, and Keeping up with the Revolution.

It’s Sunday morning here in Japan. There is a slight spring drizzle outside so I’m sitting here listening to the rain and enjoying my second cup of French Pressed coffee. I was supposed to run a 5k yesterday but it got axed due to rain, so instead, the organizers led an hour-long yoga flow class that kicked my ass. I need to start putting more emphasis on mobility and balance because I don’t want to turn into one of those stiff old guys, walking around with a limp. laptopcoffee

I took a few days off of work this week, some old friends are visiting Tokyo and I’m going to show them around, take them to Kamakura, etc. I’m pretty excited to spend time with them and also avoid work. They lucked out and will be here with the Sakura in full bloom so it should be a great time for sightseeing.

The Webz

It’s an exciting time in the reading, blogging, writing world. The Pulp Revolution seems to growing and growing every day. I can barely keep up with all the blog posts, podcasts, and new indy releases. I have Geek Gab and JimFears podcast standing by. I also took a bunch of notes while reading the first two Leiber collections that will eventually go into an opinion article I plan on writing. So much stuff so little time.

Writing

Last week I finished my latest story. A Musket&Magic piece that was inspired by Howard’s horror writing. I sent it off to WotF for shits and giggles, but I think it will make a great addition to my upcoming collection. I then started putting together ideas for my submission for the 21st Century Pulp anthology. Gotta admit I’m not much for coming up with ideas in the present, but I’m enjoying the challenge. Hopefully, I make the deadline. Unfortunately, my writing got a bit stalled due to binge watching Breaking Bad for the first time.

Reading and Reviews

Awhile back I decided that I will no longer write individual book reviews unless the book blows me away or I want to bring up a certain point for discussion. I’m not a book reviewer and have no intention becoming one.  But the whole point of this blog is reading and writing so I’m going to start doing a monthly review, combining everything I read into one post. I’m going to have the first done sometime tonight.

 

Pathetic Lawnscaping Project

It seems that talking about lawns, yards, and grass is a popular topic discussed by writers on the blogosphere. Being a self-described writer I figured I should get in on the lawnscaping discussion, or else not be taken seriously.

I grew up in apartments and condominiums so I never had a backyard. Never had a lawn to mow or any of that cool suburban stuff. As a matter of fact, I have never lived in a house in the United States.

My current residence is my first ever house. Of course being a Japanese house it’s a bit different than you typical American domicile. But I finally have a yard. Well, sort of, I have a strip of weed infested dirt that I have no idea what to do with.

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My majestic yard, envy me.

 

Today I decided to actually get proactive on the whole yard maintenance thing. Mostly because I was embarrassed by the jungle of weeds covering the whole thing. In some places, it was several feet tall and unknown species of mammals lived underneath the lush canopy. I’m pretty sure the neighbors loved it. (I messed up and didn’t think about taking pictures before I murdered the weeds)

So after a bit of weed whacking, dirt scraping, and raking, the dirt strip looks presentable. I need to do some reading and figure out if I can spray some weed killer to get rid of the rest of them. But, my main goal is to make this area a presentable spot to read and relax. I need to do some self-teaching on the whole thing but my goal is to maybe drop some rocks on the ground, put up a nice outdoor table, and two chairs.

Then I can sit, drink tea, and be completely paranoid about poisonous centipedes crawling up my legs.

Cave Farming Dwarves with Caverna: The Cave Farmers by Uwe Rosenberg

20170226_213235.jpgFinally in bed after a relaxing but a somewhat unique weekend. I went to work for one day on Friday, caught up on hundreds of emails, and figured out my schedule for the next couple of weeks. Then I spent the rest of the weekend housesitting our friend’s dog with my Judy. It was actually rather fun, laid back, and allowed us to lay off spending after our Taiwan vacation.

The coolest part was that my copy of Caverna: The Cave Farmers arrived way ahead of schedule, so we got to play it all weekend.

Playing a few games of Lords of Waterdeep the other week really got me itching for some worker placement type games. Judy really loves Waterdeep and I like the idea of non-confrontational play and have always wanted to try a true complex Eurogame. We played Dominant Species, which I somewhat liked but found a bit frustrating and tiring, so I wanted to try one with a more friendly vibe.

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My Dwarf Farm

Caverna was exactly what I wanted. A complex game with a great Fantasy theme, Dwarves need to come back IMHO, that is easy to learn but will take a long time for me to solve. Judy and I liked it so much we actually played four games this weekend and are sitting at a 2-2 record.  Neither of us has gotten close to breaking 100 points yet.

I’m raising sheep, milking cows, growing pumpkins, and wheat, meanwhile, Judy is out there mining rubies and stockpiling ore. It’s quite fun.

I definitely get why Uwe Rosenberg is considered one of the best game designers. Caverna is a fantastic game. It makes me want to try out more of his games.

In other news, I finished Lyonesse: Suldrun’s Garden a few days ago. I loved it. Now I’m reading through the first Fritz Leiber collection, excellent writing.

 

Home from Taiwan

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Last night we got back from Taiwan. Reunited with our beast Quinn and passed out. The trip was fantastic. Taipei is an excellent city, filled with so much stuff to see and do. I wish we had more time.

Taipei has to be one of the coolest places I have ever visited. It has this great feel of Japan and China combined, with a dash of Los Angeles. Great public transportation, clean streets, and very friendly people.

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We tried to explore as much as possible in the three full days we had. On our first day, we walked over 20 miles, just wandering through the city, taking in sights, stopping for beers. At night we hit one of the famous night markets where Judy ate the famous stinky tofu.

On day two, we went up to the hills above the city and hiked through tea farms. We ended being escorted around by a stray dog that followed us the whole time, showing us where the trail was.

On day three we went East to the old town of Jiufen. It’s this old village built on the side of the hills overlooking the Ocean. Tea houses, street markets, and food stands, all lining narrow streets. Supposedly it was the inspiration for Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, but he denies it. I see the resemblance. The highlight of this area was drinking tea at a famous teahouse that used to be a hub for artists and writers.

It was a fantastic trip. I ate a bunch, drank booze, smoked cigarettes, listened to some great music, and got to experience a taste of a great country. 20170214_104138

Today I unpacked, ate some Japanese Denny’s, and tidied up the house a bit. Now I’m sitting here catching up on blogs. Tonight I might go out for a few drinks, being that I am still on vacation. 20170214_101757.jpg

Judy used her nice camera and she took a bunch of excellent pictures. Much cooler than my cell phone pics. I’ll share those when she gets them edited.

 

Taiwan is amazing.

Taiwan is fantastic. Taipei is an amazing city. I’m enjoying myself a bit too much to do a real update. Right now I’m drinking a bunch and listening to the Eagles in one of the coolest bars I have ever been. Cheers. 

At the airport.

Went through customs, drank a beer, and scoping out our plane. Narita airport is always a great experience.