Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I’m at a loss for words.

One of my closest friends, David Honigsberg, died this morning.

David was only forty-eight. He was a writer, a gamer and game designer, a musician, a computer whiz, and a rabbi. But first and foremost he was a wonderful person: smart and funny and friendly and low-key and incredibly loyal and supportive.

He and I met eight years ago through mutual friends and immediately clicked. His wife Alexandra often joked that David and I shared the same brain, and it’s true that when together we would think along the same lines, so much so that we could often talk and even joke in verbal shorthand. There was a long stretch where we had lunch together once a week, and it was always one of the highlights of my week.

For those of you who were at my and jendaby’s wedding, David was our rabbi. He also officiated at the baby-namings of both our children. We couldn’t even imagine asking anyone else.

I last saw David at LunaCon, and I’m so glad we had the chance to have lunch and catch up. We hadn’t seen much of each recently, because he was busy with schoolwork (he was getting a graduate degree) and we were both busy with family and work, but we kept in touch. We were working on a comic-book project together, which I will do my damnedest to see published in his honor.

Six months ago David suffered a heart attack. It was unexpected, and he recovered beautifully. He recently posted on his LJ that he’d had his six-month review and the doctor was very pleased with how he was doing. But early this morning he had a massive coronary. The EMTs arrived promptly but couldn’t revive him.

Funeral and memorial details will be posted as soon as I know them.

I can’t think of anything else to say. My friend is gone. I miss him already.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Weekend rundown

First off, though it wasn’t actually the weekend—last Wednesday I got together with friends (including deltagrl and justcomeinalone) for dinner and then to go see 300—xochitl42 and several others joined us after dinner for the movie. 300 was excellent—I really enjoyed it. It’s exactly what you expect, basically: visually stunning, amazing action scenes, lots of rousing speeches. Good stuff. A few of us chatted for a little bit afterward, then deltagrl and justcomeinalone and I headed to the subway together—which involved an amusing escalator incident—and deltagrl and I (plus her spontaneous admirer) took the 7 back together. I haven’t had the chance to just go out and hang out with friends in quite a while and I really enjoyed it—thanks, jendaby, for minding the kids alone for a night so I could go!

Friday the lovely wife and I had qadgop and another friend over for a pre-St. Pat’s Day dinner: corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, Irish soda bread, and both chocolate-oatmeal cookies and Grasshopper pie for dessert, all created by the talented jendaby. Good stuff! We hung out for a while before our two guests figured they’d best head out to brave the horrible weather (it had been snowing/raining freezing rain for something like 20 hours straight at that point).

I was supposed to go to LunaCon this weekend, and wasn’t sure on Friday if I’d make it. But Saturday was clear and cold and the roads didn’t look too bad, so I braved it. I had to trek over to the car first, because the night before I’d simply left it near the mechanic’s (ten or so blocks away), and then I had to dig it out and clear it off with nothing but my gloves for shoveling and scraping tools, but once I did that and managed to get it out of its snowed-in space everything was fine. I misread a direction and wound up losing twenty-thirty minutes getting back on track, but otherwise the drive was okay.

LunaCon: I missed my first panel because of digging out and the driving error, which I felt bad about. Had lunch with dochyel and his charming wife, which was nice. Then I wound up helping run the Time Management for Writers panel, which went well, and sat in on the Editors Roundtable, which was interesting and informative. The Game Designers Roundtable was excellent, the Trek panel less so if only because I had nothing to contribute, and then I went out to dinner with jon_chance, kradical, and several other friends, where we had excellent barbeque and good conversation. Got back, hung out a little, and then drove home, where I managed to maneuver the car into a space right across the street from our house (where it will sit until the snow melts or this weekend, whichever comes first). I left home at 9:30am and got back around 11pm. It was a good day, and I plan to go again next year, though I may actually bring the family and get a hotel room next time so we can hang out at night more.

Yesterday was quieter. I shoved the walk and the sidewalk, which was a challenge—the snow was on top of solid ice so I ditched the snow shovel in favor of jendaby’s real shovel and wound up basically breaking up and then tossing aside large blocks of the stuff. Worked well but today I can’t put pressure on my left palm. This too shall pass.

After shoveling and lunch I went upstairs and finished the first draft of my third Warhammer novel. Yay! That goes off to the publisher today, and then it’s on to the next project.

Also spent time with the wife and kids, gave my daughter a bath, etc. Stayed up way too late, which I attribute to the protein drink I got last time we went to the store—it’s very tasty but it’s a cappuccino thing made with, well, coffee, and I was drinking it after dinner. Silly me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

LunaCon schedule

I keep forgetting to post this. Gah!
Anyway, I'll be at LunaCon this weekend. Well, this Saturday and maybe Sunday--haven't decided about the latter yet. But if you're there and you care, here are the panels I'm on:

Saturday, March 17th
Superman Returns vs. Batman Begins
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Description: These two films both reinvigorated and relaunched their respective series on the big screen. Compare and contrast their approaches and results. BB started over while SR picked up old threads; did one work better than the other? Are the new leads (Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Brandon Routh as Superman/Clark Kent) right for their roles?
Participants: Jeanne Cavelos, Brandy Hauman, David Mack, Aaron Rosenberg, Michael A. Ventrella

Game Designers' Roundtable
4:00-5:00 PM
Elija Budd
Game designers of various RPGs talk about particular challenges of design and worldbuilding.
Participants: Phil Brucato, Leigh Grossman, Jess Hartley, David Honigsberg[M], Aaron Rosenberg

Trek Literary Spinoffs
5:00-6:00 PM
Description: Writers and editors tell you the process they went through to develop literary spinoff series based on "Star Trek," including the Klingon themed Gorkon books, the S.C.E. eBooks, the Titan series, New Frontier, Stargazer and Vanguard.
Participants: Keith DeCandido, Bob Greenberger, David Mack[M], Aaron Rosenberg, Josepha Sherman

The State of Small Press Publishing
6:00-7:00 PM
Description: Are the small mammals nipping at the heels of the dinosaurs?
Participants: Aaron Rosenberg, Michael Walsh, Diane Weinstein, Ben Yalow

I also intend to sit in on this one, because, well, it amuses me:
Time Management for Writers
2:00-3:00 PM
Gazebo C
Description: One of the most common excuses would-be writers give for not writing is that they don't have time. Busy writers sit down and tell you how they juggle full-time jobs, part-time jobs, families, and multiple deadlines.
Participants: Jonathan Maberry, David Mack

And I may check this one out as well, to see if I can learn anything useful:
Book Editors' Roundtable
3:00-4:00 PM
Grand South
Description: What are editors looking for, what are they seeing to much of, what annoys them, and what makes some writers a pleasure to work with.
Participants: Ginjer Buchanan[M], Liz Gorinsky, Jennifer Heddle, Anne Sowards

The rest of the time I'll be wandering around and hopefully hanging out with friends. If you can read this and you're going, I hope that includes you. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Warhammer Archie Bunker?

So last night I was falling asleep at the computer again—curse you, caffeine withdrawal! And since I was busy writing at the time, I found myself writing strange things and having to delete them when I woke up again. I’d fall asleep, write something bizarre, wake up enough to realize it, delete it, start writing again, and fall back asleep. I know at one point I put something about “she has to make the morning meeting” and another time there was something about going to an ATM—this while finishing up my Warhammer fantasy novel, mind you. But the winner was the paragraph I somehow ignored three or four times, before finally reading it and realizing what I had written:

"Alaric found three things about this figure disturbing.
"First off, the man was wearing nothing but a wife-beater and boxer shorts—no armour or weapons of any kind. Yet he seemed confident, even cocky, as if he were daring people to attack him."

The man Alaric is looking at, btw, is a Chaos Champion, a massive warrior dedicated to the forces of Chaos. Here’s the description of him from elsewhere in the novel:

"He was tall and broad, this man, powerfully built, and his strides were those of a warrior, heavy yet lithe. His armour was thick, red plates warring with bronze and black for dominance, and every possible surface was covered with barbs and hooks or decorated with runes and with tiny screaming skulls. Chains hung everywhere, barbs at their ends, and the links themselves seemed sharp. His helm was high-crested and bore at its top a plume of some dark, coarse fur that seemed almost to writhe of its own accord, and in his hands he held a massive battle-axe, its twin blades stained a permanent crimson that seemed to shimmer somehow."

So now I have this image of this horrifying, overpowering figure, in full armor—with a wife-beater and a pair of Hawaiian boxer shorts *over* that.

And probably flip-flops. Or fuzzy bunny slippers.

I really need to start saving these outtakes in a separate file. I could probably get a decent comedy novel out of them. Or at least solid proof in case anyone ever accuses me of being sane.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Seeing double?

It’s been a long weekend, and mostly a good one, but strange.

Friday night the game group came over as usual. That was fun. We played, and ate (the lovely wife had made chili the night before and we had some left—yum!), and hung out. Got to bed around 2am or so, I think.

My middle sister (we’ll call her MS) came to visit the next morning. She and my youngest sister (who we’ll call YS from here on out) were going to Paris on vacation (along with YS’s friend), but wound up taking different flights, so MS got one from Florida up to here in the morning and then another from JFK to Paris that night. Jendaby was off to hang out with friends for lunch, so we all went to LaGuardia, picked up MS (whose plane was half an hour late), and then drove Jendaby out to Weehawken—there was an accident on the highway that seriously slowed us down but we still got her there on time.

Then we drove back home, put my son in his stroller, and walked to downtown Woodside (with my daughter helping to push her little brother in his stroller) to get lunch and pick up a few last-minute items for MS’s flight.

Ah, but now things got interesting. YS and her friend were supposed to leave D.C. at 3pm. But they didn’t—not because they missed anything but because their plane didn’t take off. Nor did it go at 4. Or 5. They had to catch a 6:30 flight from Newark, and it was starting to look like that wasn’t going to happen. MS was panicking, since she doesn’t speak French or know anybody over there (they were all going to stay with YS’s friend who lives there). I drove her to JFK (the kids were in back), pointing out that if nothing else YS and her friend would catch the flight the next night and meet up with her a day late.

Got MS to the airport on time for her flight and drove home—jendaby had gotten home in the meantime and helped me carry the two now-sleeping children inside. Then I got a call from YS—they were in Newark and it looked like they were stuck until tomorrow. Could they crash with us? Of course, I said. But they called back a little later—the airline had gotten them a hotel room and they were too tired to trek all the way out from Newark. Instead they decided to come see us the next day (Sunday).

Also that night, the curse of Daylight Savings struck. I was up writing and, when finishing up, glanced at the clock and thought, “Oh, it’s only 1:30—that’s not so bad.” Until I passed the bedroom and realized my error. Apparently the computer’s clock doesn’t reset until it restarts. Yep, it was 2:30 instead.

Today (Sunday) MS and her friend came out. They didn’t get to us until after 1pm, though—the curse of Daylight Savings again, and having to make their way here from Newark. I picked up some lunch beforehand (bagels, cheese and meats, cannoli), we ate and hung out for a while, and then my daughter and I drove them to Newark Airport. Which would have been fine if not for the logjam getting into Lincoln Tunnel. We got there on time, though, and they got to their gate without a problem. Then I headed back and hit more ugly traffic—we had left home around 4pm, and I didn’t get home until 7. Ugh.

After that, not too much. Ate some dinner, washed up, gave my daughter a bath, put her to bed, did a little writing, fell asleep at the computer, woke up and wrote a little more, and now I’m getting ready to sign off and sleep myself. I’ve been falling asleep at the computer more often lately, and today a possible reason occurred to me—I’ve switched back to decaf iced tea instead of the caffeinated version. Interesting. I guess caffeine does still affect me after all.

It was great to see both my sisters this weekend, and unexpected. My daughter knew MS was coming Saturday but seeing YS Sunday was a complete surprise and she was thrilled. I did get some work done, though not as much as I’d have liked. I walked a bit and drove a whole lot more. And tomorrow it’s back to work.