Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Obsessing About Rani

He's on my desktop at work, and he'll be on my desktop (along with the other Mâvarin characters) when I get home tonight. He's Rani Fost, the protagonist of Mages of Mâvarin, beautifully drawn by the well-known sf/fantasy artist Sherlock. Read about Rani (and see a bigger version of the picture!) at http://www.mavarin.com/ranifost.html.


Thought for the Day

A propos of a large number of George W Bush's policies, I offer this quotation from my old literary hero and acquaintance, Harlan Ellison:

<<...After all, there was a war on.
But wasn't there always?>>

from "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman,"
Paingod and Other Delusions

More quotes on my recommended authors page: http://www.mavarin.com/authors.html

and my favorite quotes page:



Friday, March 26, 2004

Mavarin, Illustrated

(note updated picture of Del/Carli above)

Woo-hoo! Suddenly I've got text controls! Maybe I can go back and do my Otherworld entries in color now.

Above are a couple of preliminary versions of Mavarin character portraits I commissioned sf/fantasy artist Sherlock (Sherry Watson) to do for http://www.mavarin.com/. I just got them by email today.

In other news, I learned today that Sarah Kishler, one of the froodiest people on the Prodigy Hitchhiker's Guide boards a decade ago, has a short story collection on i-Universe, called Spark Stories. I ordered it on Amazon today, because I like Amazon and they have my address already.


Otherworld Journal Entry #3 - Crel

Crel Merden's Journal, entry #2

Del's gone. He galloped off into the forest tonight on Pandar, along with Shela the selmun Wanderer and the tengrem that supposedly killed Rani. I'm sure Del had a reason for doing it--not a good reason, maybe, but a reason. It's hard to figure out, though, what that reason could be. The note he left on Uncle Jamek's desk said that he and Shela were going to find Rani and help him. How are they going to do that, when Uncle Jamek and Jord and Bil and Shela and the others already looked everywhere, and found no trace of him except his pocket knife? And why, in Thale's name, would they keep company with a half-sentient monster? I would have thought that maybe Del and Shela were chasing the tengrem to try to make it tell them where Rani is or what happened to him, but it didn't look like that. The tengrem called to Del, and Del followed it. The tengrem *wanted* them to accompany it. Why? Did it promise to take them to Rani? If so, why didn't Del pause long enough to tell us that? Instead he just turned and galloped away, as if *we* were his enemy and the tengrem was his family!

Del's note said that he and Shela would probably be gone for several days, so I'm not surprised that he's not back yet. It's nearly dawn, so he's been gone all night, in dangerous company. Where did they go? Odamas? Thalemar? Some dark, secret place where the tengrem could kill them without the bodies ever being found?

If Del gets himself killed, I'll never speak to him again.

Otherworld Journal Entry #2 - Fayubi the Seer

From Fayubi's Journal of Music and Prophecy:

Words spoken long ago to a lost King
Now are echoed by life - and that's a good thing.

[Automatic writing. Questions in brackets written in later for record-keeping purposes.]

[So I'm coming north because of Jor's children?]
[Will I meet them in Thalemar?]
No. Before.
[Where am I going, then?]
[I won't be welcome there.]
Don't be Fayubi too soon.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Otherworld Journal Entry #1 - Crel Merden

I've been saying for years that I ought to start a journal, so today, in honor of our 16th birthday, I'm finally going to do it. I don't promise to write in it every day, but if something interesting happens I'll try to remember to get it on paper.

Maybe I should start by saying something about myself, not for the sake of anyone else who might read this (Del already knows who I am), but so that I can come back to it when I'm older and remember what it was like to be me at this age. My name is Crel Merden. I'm an orphan, but that doesn't matter. I live with my Uncle Jamek and my twin brother, Del. Uncle Jamek is a stablemaster and the part-time mayor of Liftlabeth, about three days south of Thâlemar on horseback. Del and I help out in the stables, which makes us apprentice stablemasters, I suppose.

In a few minutes Uncle Jamek will give us our birthday horses. I'll be very surprised if I don't get Molin, and Del is counting on getting Pandar. I won't say he deserves the best horse Uncle Jamek has, but Del needs all the good news he can get today. His best friend, Rani Fost, has been missing since yesterday afternoon. Uncle Jamek thinks a tengrem killed him. I'm not sure that's true, but he definitely didn't come home yesterday, and at least one person was killed where Shela last saw Rani.

More later.


Late night at the office

Okay, I admit it. I'm posting this now just so I can truthfully say I'm listening to a Buffy CD instead of no music at all.

I'm just at the office for a bit because my class let out early. Schoolwork has cut into my office time, so I've been making up for a little of it. That's the end of Intermediate Accounting, and not a moment too soon. I can do this...I can do this...!

Time to go home.


Googling for Dollars (sort of)

I spend a lot of my time at work - such as now - looking up contact info and such on Google. Usually it's clients or vendors, but not always...

A week or so ago I took a call from a newspaper reporter, who wanted to know the correct spelling of a place mentioned by one of our agents in connection with a classical music package. The agent wasn't there, so I pulled up Google. The place was Ile Ste-Hélène. The reporter evidently had Google in front of her also, but couldn't make sense of what she saw. In sans serif lettering, it looked like lle Ste Helene. She couldn't figure out what "LLE" stood for.

"It's Ile Ste-Hélène," I told her, and spelled it (without the accents). "It means St. Helen's Island." She thanked me and hung up.

Is it unreasonable of me to feel that a newspaper reporter should have been able to figure this out without consulting a travel agency bookkeeper?


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Quick Rundown of Miscellaneous Opinions

Top reason I'll never vote for George W Bush: I disagree with virtually everything he says, does, or believes.

My opinion of gay marriage: the marriage of two men or two women does not in any way invalidate, impair or cheapen more traditional pairings. So how does forbidding same sex marriage "defend" the institution?  It doesn't.  This is a civil rights issue, fought against more for emotional reasons than ethical ones.

On the Middle East: "an eye for an eye" is the worst possible approach to solving the many problems over there, as evidenced by the constant retaliation and terrorism.  So why is that pretty much the only alternative ever tried?

On religion: if you think you have all the answers, you probably haven't asked all the questions. You may think one answer (e.g. "There is no God" or "It's in the Bible, so it's true") covers the lot.  I respectfully disagree.

On Buffy: Spike's much more fun than Angel, but Angel clearly wins over Spike in the "Buffy's True Love" contest.



This is to test the IM/Buddy List feature of this journal. Here goes nothin'!

I've looked over the team homework, eaten dinner, updated the Mavarin home page, and listened to two Dick Van Dyke episodes while doing the other stuff (same ones I watched last night). Now to do some actual homework!

(The answer is: it's not a full-featured entry, but can be edited after the fact. Big deal.)

Googling Mavarin

I check the site statistics on www.mavarin.com often.  It's interesting what I find.  Traffic isn't heavy (nor do I expect it to be), but certain pages get a fair number of hits. A lot of people find the recommended authors page, either by looking for that kind of page or by searching for literary quotes and/or for specific writers.  The tribute page for my mom gets people looking for people named Funk or Johnson, or for psychologists.  At least one person got there Googling WW II parody songs.  Mom wrote parody songs, and I mention WW II, but the two references don't go together in this case.  Google doesn't care whether such juxtapositions are accidental or intended, so people find themselves on plenty of unlikely or unhelpful pages!

I was a little nervous writing pages about the magic system in my Mavarin books, and about the variety of religious beliefs reflected in that fictional world.  People have found those pages looking for "immoral magic" and for "sample real magic spells." So far, I haven't received any hate male from either end of that spectrum, for which I'm grateful.



Growing up Catholic, I was used to the concept of "giving up something for Lent." As an adult Episcopalian, I don't always do it that way. Sometimes I add things rather than take things away. Or do both.

This year, pretty much everything I've tried to "give up" for Lent, such as cheating on my diet, hasn't worked out well. I'm doing better with the additions than the subtractions. I'm working my way through the Gospels (and probably Acts), and reading a book called Girl Meets God. A schedule of three chapters a night on the Gospels tends to make me rush a little,cutting down on comprehension when I'm already tired (I do this at bedtime). Funny how much of it seems a little unfamiliar, even after all these years, partly because I read New American Bible at home, NRSV at church.


Hi there!

See what you started, Shelly? This is just a quick hello and placeholder. Tonight I have to look over some team homework, do individual homework and start on a take-home final, all in Intermediate Accounting. I'd much rather be reading a Buffy/Angel novel, watching Season 3 of Dick Van Dyke and eating the turkey roll that's got another hour to cook. Chances are I'll do all of those things before the night is over.