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First Thanksgiving alone and spent it awake all night.

That doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for things. I’m thankful for all the good parts of my marriage to Rochelle. I’m thankful for all our pets here and gone (Illusion, Isabeau, Hennessey, Adia, Buddy, Remington Martin, Eowyn Marie, Medallion, Basil Hayden, and Aspen Blue).

I’m thankful for family, heroes, and friends both here and gone (quite literally too many for my brain to hold)

I’m thankful for HBO and Microsoft and the opportunities they have afforded me. I’m thankful for my job now at Black Tusk Studios getting to work on Gears of War. And the apartment I’m in that bridged a difficult gap into a new little place that has a nice sandy beach for Basil to play on that I start moving into this weekend.

I’m thankful for Ikea. If nothing else I will have a bed.

They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time we do up here in Canada (Canadian Thanksgiving was in October), so today is a work day. I have not decided what bird to cook tonight, it can’t be a turkey of course, too big. But I’ll have my tiny celebration nonetheless and begin to pack for the weekend move.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful day.

The Days Are Just Packed

November 8th, 2014

Medallion the cat thought she would forever have run of my little apartment in the Yaletown section of Vancouver. She reverted almost instantly into the cat I remember. She’d curl on my lap and purr, greet me each morning when I sat for some cereal and watched the sun hit the mountains.

Then Mr. Basil Hayden arrived and the hissing started. It’s been almost a week so she’s over it for the most part. But it was a funny dynamic. Last night they slept curled up together. Peace in our time.

Apartment living after 15 years is odd. I’m high up in a tower and sometimes stand out on the balcony and wish I had a wizard’s robes and staff. The people in the building are all so friendly, and almost all have a dog, so Basil has met lots of new friends when we go on “Walkies.” I always liked that word, I picked it up from Wallace and Grommit first and decided it would be my code name for him to know when we were about to go let him do his business which we end up doing four or five times a day. Now, all I have to do is say it and he runs and grabs his leash and brings it to me.

He hasn’t taken to city living totally. He hates to be on a leash. But he prances like he owns the entirety of Vancouver and everyone around are just his subjects. People stop me on the street to tell me how beautiful he is. They set down their bags or whatever and ask if they can love on him, just for a few seconds. It feels like I have a four legged gift to give my new home.

The mornings on Beatty street are pleasant. My routine has become simple: Get up, clean up, walk (Basil) and feed him and Medallion. Have some tea on the balcony, then walk to work. The transit station is along my walk, people bustling to and from various locales and all nod or say hi or note how the weather is either rainy or beautiful.

Forgive me a tangent, but in Star Trek Generations there’s a moment where Picard comes across James Kirk chopping wood. Shatner delivers a line perfectly, “Beautiful day isn’t it?”

When the weather here shines, everyone delivers that line perfectly, unprompted.

At noon the cruise ships sound the departure horns from the bay. I thought Seattle had good sushi, Vancouver spanks it, calls it a bad boy, and tells it to go home. There’s an Asian market right by my place and I boiled fresh live Dungeness Crab for a friend for dinner and it. was. divine. I even used a new recipe for the carapace fat mixed with garlic and butter to dip bread into. I had never done that. I had always just sprayed that stuff out.

(Recipe fans: boil the crabs alive. Pop the top carapace when done. Scrap out the tomalley (yellow fat), mix it with a small amount of egg, lots of garlic, and a little butter in a skillet (DON’T OVERCOOK IT), pour it back into the top half carapace as a serving dish. Dip french bread in it. Nectar of the gods)

Major changes become little changes so fast. Today I go to look at a little condo overlooking a river far from here. It’s small and like everything up here real estate wise it’s insanely expensive for a tiny space. But it has a small area for Basil outside and is in a quiet neighborhood. Downtown living is interesting but I can’t take the police sirens *every* *single* *night*.

I miss Aspen Blue, and Adia, and Eowyn Marie terribly. Sometimes so much I can’t bear it. But such is the nature of change.

Every day is packed, with major changes flowing into little ones. And that’s ok.

In which a marriage ends.

October 17th, 2014

Some of you know this, some of you do not.

Rochelle and I have decided that we’re better apart than together. This is an amicable split. No one person did anything wrong. Instead, over time, we became different people. Neither one of us want anyone to choose sides, and neither one of us want people to feel like they have to. We continue a shared love of our dogs, and we wish each other the best for the future. We’re both going to need pillars of support, Rochelle in Seattle and me in Vancouver. Over 17 (almost 18!) years, amazing adventures were had, pets loved and lost, many friends gained.

Now, new amazing things hopefully await us both.

I’m up in Vancouver, and will have Basil Hayden and Medallion with me while Rochelle takes care of Aspen Blue, Adia, and flyball girl Eowyn Marie.

Explaining all this is always awkward. Yes we did “all the things!” people say to do re: counseling etc. It just didn’t pan out.

It was a great run. Better than most actually, because we decided to end it before it went down too many darker paths. Relationships are complex, and it’s always best to optimize towards happiness. That’s what we’re doing. We both think it’s a good thing.

I’m looking out over the Vancouver skyline and missing Basil, he has to be fixed before he comes up. We’ll walk in the park across the street. And everything will be ok, eventually.

50 Word Ghost Story

October 7th, 2014

I did something I’ve not done in too long given life events and work and conventions and sickness: do a writing challenge. I have other obligations I am working on so this one cropped up and was the perfect 15 minute exercise for the creative side of my brain.

The fine folk over at Scottish Book Trust are running a 50 word fiction competition. This month’s theme is a write a ghost story in 50 words. I love ghost stories so I thought, why not? I don’t expect to win, but thinking about this story made me want to write more of it, and I’m actually happy they capped it at 50. Here’s my entry:

The table stands next to an overturned chair. The eyes of the woman in the portrait on the wall seem to gaze directly at it. I feel a tap on my shoulder and turn. No one. Looking back, the chair is upright and the woman’s eyes now gaze behind me.

Cypher flops down on the couch next to me and stretches out to take a nap, then leans over. “Hey do you have the new iPhone?” he asks.

“I just got mine!” Samwise Gamgee says, waving a new iPhone 6 plus.

We’re in the “special guest” room at Rose City Comic Con. I look over at my friend and we both do the eye contact thing where we mentally go “be cool.” and I concentrate on my salad. The leaves are very green and the dressing is a balsamic so it’s brown. “This is the food, that food eats.” Wil had said.

I’ve just gotten off stage from interviewing Wil. Ernie Hudson is chatting with Sasha Roiz who also drops by in a moment to say hi to us. Joe Pantoliano just asked me about an iPhone. Sean Astin just piped up to say how he got his. Nick Brendon tells us where he got his shoes from Australia. Wil’s munching a burger while he catches up with Sean.

YES I AM DROPPING NAMES LIKE A B-52.

Because of this: All of them were not only gracious nice people to us, they were happy to be at the con and seemed genuinely happy to be amongst their fans.

A lot of times we think of celebrity culture as being very fake, and it can be. But nerd celebrity culture I have found is different. Later walking the floor and getting to see fans of Gears of War or who liked my panel with Wil, then watching how a lot of the other people treated fans reminded me that while there are some outliers, most of them generally love events like these.

There’s a lot going on in geek culture that’s horrible lately. It overshadows the positivity.

But Rose City Comic Con was a great reminder of what brings us together. From the anti-harassment cosplay signs everywhere to the amazing cosplay to the gracious artists to the helpful henchmen, to the enthusiasm of the guests, it was a nerd meter recharge event and I am so happy to have been a part of it.


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