Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What I've been up to lately

It’s been a reasonably good week so far:

Last Thursday jendaby and I brought the kids in for Take Your Children to Work Day. They had a blast—our daughter pretty much took charge of everyone (and immediately claimed one of the two volunteers as her own personal attendant) and our son charmed every female in the area and accidentally bullied most of the other boys (including ones twice his size). I was working, of course, but went over to see them when I could and joined them for lunch. After the activities ended jendaby took them over to MOMA, where our son slept while our daughter pronounced criticisms on several famous artists (for more on that see Jendaby’s recap of the day). Then we all went out for dinner and dessert before heading home. Crazy busy, exhausting, but fun.

Friday was quiet at work, and then we hung out with xochitl42, slothshaman, and Mook—dinner and supposedly gaming but we just round up sitting around talking and laughing instead.

Saturday jendaby and xochitl42 went into Manhattan to do some shopping so I manned the parental battle stations solo for the day. The kids were fine, actually. Jendaby was back in time for dinner, and afterward she and I watched In the Name of the King, which was predictably awful but amused us, particularly the Ray Liotta-Matthew Lillard “No, I can chew more scenery!” competition.

Sunday was an “at-home” day—the kids were a bit more difficult so it took both of us to keep up with them. In between we did a whole lot of laundry, cleaned up here and there, read a bit, took a nice walk in the evening, etc. And that night jendaby and I watched the latest Dr. Who ep., which was a lot of fun.

Monday I had my annual job performance review, which went as expected: “You’re performing to your usual high standards, so thank you. For next year—more of the same, please!” Always nice to know your bosses recognize that you’re doing good work. That night feiran kindly watched the kids for us so jendaby could meet me after work—we had dinner (Dallas BBQ—okay, not great) and went to a movie (Forbidden Kingdom—much fun!) and had a very nice time.

Tuesday night I headed home right after work so jendaby could go out—we’re going to be alternating Tuesdays as a “go have fun!” night (and sometimes if feiran accedes we’ll—gasp!—go out together!)—and go dancing in the city. I got the kids dinner and put them to bed, then dorked around on the computer for a while, cleaned up a bit, etc.

This coming weekend we’re off to NJ for our new cousin’s christening and to see jendaby’s grandmother, as well as to catch up with an old buddy of mine. Should be fun!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I ache all over

It’s been an . . . interesting week.

On Wednesday I found out that my cousin Bob had died. Bob was a really, really great guy: smart and funny and charming and considerate, a great kidder and a huge flirt but also incredibly sharp and wonderfully supportive. He and my grandfather looked and acted a great deal alike, so it was always strange to remember that in fact it was Bob’s wife Sylvia who was my grandfather’s oldest sister’s daughter. Yes, if you’re doing the math, Bob was of the previous generation, or perhaps even the one before that—he served in World War II (on bomber planes) before returning, marrying Sylvia, and going back into the family fur business before eventually leaving that for public school teaching. He and Sylvia were the first family members jendaby got to meet, many many years ago, and they made her feel welcome right from the start. We last saw him a little over a year ago, when my dad was visiting and we all went out for dinner at our favorite diner. A few weeks later Bob and Sylvia headed down to their winter home in Florida, and a short while after that Bob had a massive stroke. He never regained consciousness. But I’ll always remember him laughing and smiling that impish little grin and clasping me on the shoulder even as he ribbed me and flirted with jendaby and charmed our children.

Friday I went to NYComicCon after work for my book signing. That went well—we gave away copies of Tides of Darkness (Beyond the Dark Portal isn’t out for another month or two) and ran out within twenty minutes so I signed a bunch of Creative Couplings for them (they were going to give those away on Saturday) and then headed home to catch up with jendaby, xochitl42 and Mook. We hung out until around midnight or so, then I worked until 4am to finish up something I had to get in that night—not a work project but something for a volunteer position, so it was my own damn fault.

Saturday I went back to the con to wander around a bit. It was jam-packed, of course, but I still managed to make it to most of the publishers and see a lot of the rest of the floor as well. I ran into a bunch of friends, including Glenn, Bob G., Dave, Keith, and Alan, spoke to several editors I knew, and made a few new contacts as well. Then I headed back home.

Sunday I was going over to two friends’ apartment—luckily for me only a few blocks away—to game with them and a few others. That was starting at 2:30. At 2 jendaby and I discovered the laundry room was full of water. We traced the problem back to the toilet but plunging didn’t help any so we simply bailed it out, sopped everything up, and left it alone for a while. I went to the game and hung out there until around 10, when I headed home. My youngest sister and her newly minted fiancé—who were coming up for the funeral and were staying the night with us—got in maybe twenty minutes after I did and we hung out a little bit before all going to sleep.

Monday was Bob’s funeral. The service was nice, though the kids decided to act up a bit and we had to take them out before the end. Then we all formed a funeral procession and drove out to the cemetery, somewhere in Suffolk. After the graveside service we headed back to Sylvia’s apartment and stayed there for a while before going home. That night I realized that my allergies were too severe and too constant to just be allergies—I had apparently caught a cold. jendaby convinced me to take some cold medicine and I went to sleep.

Yesterday my cold was worse instead of better, but I suffered through it and went to work anyway. On the way home I picked up an auger—also known as a drain snake—and last night after the kids were in bed and after I’d taken a nap I went down and used it to unstop the toilet. Yay! We also did the use trash/recycling/changing the cat litter, though jendaby kindly helped with them because the cold was kicking my butt. Then I went upstairs, took more cold medicine, and went back to sleep.

I’m feeling a little better today—still crappy, still plugged-up, but managing. Hopefully it’ll pass soon. Tomorrow is Take Your Children to Work Day here, and we’re bringing both of the kids in for it, which should be fun but could be utter chaos.

And that’s about all the news here for now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I-Con report

Wow, it’s already Thursday and I haven’t posted my I-Con report yet! So, without further ado:

I-Con 27 Report

My buddy Dave and I headed up Friday afternoon—I took my daughter to preschool first, and then we drove out. Traffic wasn’t too bad and we got to I-Con around 4:30. Picked up our badges, met up with Glenn, and the three of us headed out for dinner with Glenn’s dad at Tara’s. If you’re ever out in Port Jefferson, I heartily recommend this place! It’s a bar-restaurant, very casual and no-frills, and the food is excellent! And cheap—I had homemade soup, salad, fries, onion rings, and an excellent T-bone for $15. And the hot wings, oh, the hot wings. . . . .

After dinner we stopped off at 7-Eleven for Slurpees—they have Iron Man helmet Slurpee cups! Awesome! Glenn and I had to get them, of course. Dave laughed at us—his loss. Then we headed back to I-Con for my first panel. Kradical and I were the only two of the four listed panelists to show up, so Glenn sat in to keep us company as we talked about writing tie-ins and particularly how to find something you could call your own even in a licensed property. It went reasonably well. Then we bummed around the dealers’ room and the green room for a little bit before heading off to the Destinies radio show for their special I-Con edition. Always fun. After that Glenn, Dave, their friend Audrey and I went to a diner for dessert. Then it was back to Glenn’s mom’s house—she was graciously putting us up for the weekend, though at least since she was out of town she didn’t have to put up with us—where we stayed up talking until 4 before finally calling it quits.

Saturday Dave and I decided to speak with Russian accents all day, both to annoy Glenn and for our own amusement. I think it worked. We got up at 8:30—was supposed to be 8 but oh well—and all got ready quickly before hitting the con and the green room for some breakfast. Another quick jaunt through the dealers’ room and then it was off to my second panel, on Gems from the Slushpile. That was fun—it was half entertainment (“Here are some of the things we’ve seen submitted over the years”) and half education (“Don’t ever submit something like this!”).

Back to the green room for food and then over to True Tales of the Comic Book Industry, which was cool (and the only panel I went to purely as a spectator). That was immediately followed by Bob’s Film Previews, which is always great—we got trailers for Iron Man, Get Smart, Forbidden Kingdom, and others. Dave and I went looking for some of his other friends after that, and finally found them over by the Art Show—we all hung out for a bit and then headed out for dinner. Tip: If a restaurant was closed due to a fire, check to see if it’s open again before going back. Tip Two: Corsets and laughing hysterically are not a good combination, not if you want to ever breathe normally again.

After dinner we hit the cabaret, which had some really great performances (like the Boogie Knights, who I had never actually seen perform before) and some really bad ones (horrible, horrible filk!). Glenn and Alan and Lisa hadn’t really eaten any dinner, so after the Boogie Knights performed we five fled and wound up back at Tara’s for food. Ah, more hot wings! We got to bed around 2, which was better than the night before.

Sunday we got up around 8 again, got ready, packed up, and Dave and I headed out to the LIRR station to pick up jendaby. Yay! The three of us traipsed over to the con, got her badge (thanks to a very good friend), went to the green room and had breakfast. I had a signing at 11 so I went there while jendaby and Dave perused the dealers’ room and the art show.

The signing was good—I was paired with Sarah Beth Durst, a very cool YA fantasy author I’d met briefly at LunaCon, and we had a great time chatting in between signing things. Then it was back to the green room for lunch—yes, my life revolves around food—before my 2pm panel on Lies and Myths About Publishing. This was by far the best of the three panels I did that weekend—we had a ton of people in the audience, everyone on the panel had a lot of interesting things to say, we all had a lot of fun and the audience seemed really pleased as well.

Jendaby had ditched me for the Boogie Knights concert so Dave and I caught up with her down there, and the three of us wandered the dealers’ room and the green room one more time, catching up with a few friends, before calling it a day. We headed out and got home around 5, where deltagrl and the kids were waiting moderately patiently for us. Ordered pizza, caught up, chilled out, and then I gave both Dave and deltagrl rides home before going home myself and collapsing.

All in all, it was a really good weekend. I got to hang out with some old friends, made a few new friends, improved a few industry contacts, was on several good panels, and had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Signing at ComicCon

Expect an update on I-Con soon, but before I forget:

I will be signing at the New York Comic Con next Friday (April 18) at 6pm at the Pocket Books booth. If you're around, stop by and say hi!