Archive for the ‘God To Verse’ Category

National Poetry Month

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Yep, it’s National Poetry Month. I am once again taking the 30/30 Challenge to write a poem a day all month long. If that’s not enough poetry for you, you can read my newsman’s ode to the esteemed Dr. Seuss in a column I call Headline Seuss. And later this month I’ll be giving a presentation on From God To Verse through a local Jewish group. National poetry month is the perfect time to buy my rhyming translation of the Torah/Pentateuch.

The other day Debbie made lamb and potatoes, which was delicious. I love potatoes cooked in lamb fat, which I have affectionately termed “lambtaters”, which* in turn led me to wonder what a good example of a lambtater would be. Muttonleany?

My 4th Thursday Comedy Open Mic nights continue at the Parlor Cafe; anyone who finds themselves local during the appropriate time should stop by for free laughs and reasonably priced food and drink. Non-locals can content themselves with my ranting in written form. Last month the Williams Alumni Fund sent me half a dozen emails of solicitation within a 2-week period, prompting me to write this column about The Alumni Fund. If that sounds too bitter, maybe I just need some Hobbies**.

And I have finally started using Twitter. Don’t worry though, I’m not really joining the 21st century, I still don’t have a cell phone or ipad or car or anything like that. I recently joined a local boardgaming meetup group, so I’ll just be hanging out doing some old-fashioned analog Luddite gaming***

*When shall we three meet again?

**Like measuring temperature from absolute zero. Everyone loves Kelvin & Hobbies.

***Amish pair o’ dice.

Hooray for Big Annual Events!

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

As mentioned in the previous post, this August was the wonderful week of the annual WordXWord Festival, which was, as always, a delight. As not mentioned in the previous post, I managed to win the big poetry slam this year, which was admittedly very nice, but mainly I was just delighted to get to hang out with so many amazing poets, hear amazing poems, and perform for an appreciative audience. I also made it to the finals of the Story Slam, where I told a slightly lengthier version of this story about going on a job interview.

Then we had our annual Labor Day Reunion with a number of old college friends, where we had silly and serious conversations on various horrible topics*, and I was reminded of why I enjoyed college so much in spite of not enjoying the structure.**

Last week’s big event*** was the 7th annual Alphabetic Boardgaming Challenge, where although Debbie got off to an early lead and a very strong start, I managed to fight my way back to win the event again. I recently posted a boardgame review for our final game of the event, a longtime favorite of mine named Scepter of Zavandor.

Next week will be Rosh Hashannah, a doubly important event which marks both the Jewish New Year, and an excellent time for people to buy copies of my rhyming Torah to give as gifts to your Jewish friends.

And in just over three months, it will be time for the 8th annual Heathen Hullabaloo. In the meantime, my column runs slightly more frequently than once a year, so perhaps you will enjoy Crazy Uncle Seth’s Back To School Tips. If you aren’t familiar with the season’s biggest headlines in the Berkshires, you may be less interested in Berkshire Headlines from an Alternate Dimension.

*How to get away with murder by not urinating on corpses, how long to grill your baby, etc.

**Prospect, the dorm I lived in, was an incredibly stupid structure.

***For me. Not, obviously, for Scotland.

And in review…

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Sorry, I meant my boardgame reviews on BGG, which are conveniently gathered on one page for you to peruse. (My older reviews for About.com are, alas, not so conveniently organized.) As expected, finally got a review up for Asgard’s Chosen, as well as two others. Maybe next year I’ll get around to reviewing Twilight Struggle*. And speaking of awesome board games my partner really dislikes, I read that 1960:TMotP** is now out of print, so maybe someone wants to buy my copy. My shelves are still filled with wonderful games that are never going to get played here, and my wallet is empty. Heck, I don’t even have business cards in there. I really need to fix that; I am not good at the networking thing.

Which is probably why social networking is hard for me, but at least last weekend I was social. Some of my dear college friends were in town for Homecoming, so even if they’ve all had children in the past few years and refused to use my ultimate baby-naming algorithm, I was still very happy to get to see them and hang out briefly. Coambulation*** is a wonderful thing.

Coagulation is a wonderful thing too. My visiting college friends joined me for dinner at two of my favorite local restaurants: Sushi House and Espana. There’s nothing that cheers me like the combination of good food and good friends. And tasty desserts; as the A-Team’s Hannibal often said, “I love it when a flan comes together.”

Thanksgivukah is only a few weeks away. And if (you/your friends) were doing any holiday shopping for people of the Judeo-Christian persuasion, I’d certes be thankful if you decided you wanted to (gift a copy of/share the link for) God To Verse.

*Or maybe nyet.

**The Mellower of twilight Permutations*

***meaning “to walk together”, a favored word and pasttime of mine.

It’s a great time to be alive

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

To be fair, given that the only readily-accessible* option is usually death, it’s always a great time to be alive. But I have to say, I really enjoy living in the era of the free and open Internet. Obviously, previous generations didn’t have Internet at all, and between Verizon and SOPA and various other things threatening Net Neutrality and free access for all, it’s unclear whether the next few generations will share what we have now.

But just a minute ago I was thinking, the old green-eyed monster has reared its ugly head, and I wonder what would best fight it, and after discarding the Yankees**, I settled on a yellow power ring, and a quick search for “yellow power ring green lantern” brought me to the Wikipedia page for Sinestro, and then I link-hopped for a while until I reflected that it’s a glorious time to be alive.

Granted, I also enjoy the Internet because it lets me tell you that my comedy show on Friday went well, and point you to my latest boardgame review (Downfall of Pompeii), and my latest column which is about bus-riding veterans, and hey we’re approaching the holidays so it’s never too early to buy gift copies of From God To Verse.

But basically, I enjoy having the Internet, and so I think it’s a great time*** to be alive.


*Dude, Where’s My DeLorean?

**Who fight the Green Monster.

***2:04am

2012 Presidential Debate…in Rhyme

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Yes, once again I decided to stay up all night after the debates and translate the entire thing into rhyme. I guess to some people that might seem like a ridiculous task, but honestly after spending a decade writing From God To Verse, an all-nighter spent translating a presidential debate is pretty much a lark for me. Granted, unlike GTV, this one is a summary and not a line-by-line translation, but I feel like I still hit all the important points.

Editor Bob Whitcomb, of the Providence Journal, was kind enough to post it on their New England blog, so I present:

2012 First Presidential Debate in Rhyme

Meanwhile, if you’re sick of politics even in rhyme, unlike the past few weeks, this week my column doesn’t mention anything political even once. It does, however, contain many bad jokes. So come receive your Punnish Mint.

Also, you may notice a new addition to my Books page. I’ll post a little more about that in a few weeks, since it’s not technically available for purchase yet, although there is currently a pre-order discount through that link for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing.

On the board game front, I’ve been chatting with some folks putting together a hip-hop-themed card game. As I’m joining their team somewhat belatedly, it’s unclear whether I will have a strong hand in redesigning the game, or simply wheedle my way into getting my own card, but either way I’m clearly the target demographic.

Time of the Sines

Monday, July 30th, 2012

What can I say, when it comes to bad pun titles for blogposts, I just have an itchy trig finger.

For me, freelancing often feels like a sine wave, as the projects tend to come in “boom” and “bust” cycles.* A few months ago was a nice boom, when I wrote the rough draft of my next book, and also did some work for Fodor’s Travel Guides travelling the Berkshires. Then I had a bust cycle, and I re-discovered that I am addicted to video games between Steam and a ceaseless torrent of indie bundles.

Now, it is boom time once again, with the page proofs for my book having literally just arrived a few minutes before I wrote this post. This means I basically get to re-read my book and fail to find typos because I am so familiar with the material that my mind will probably miss them. But the good news is, I am pleased to announce that before the end of the year, my next book It Happened In Rhode Island will be available for purchase. More information in coming months.

Meanwhile, the most exciting new development for me is that I have been hired on to help with an educational project. This is still in the early stages, so details will have to wait for later, but suffice to say I am finally able to both put my talents to use and have the result be educational in addition to entertaining, and to get paid for that is pretty much what I want to do with my life.**

Oh right, my life. Well, I am Still Not Dead, albeit no thanks to my parents’ pantry, and continue to enjoy each day. My partner, whose office you may recall was closed down a few months back, has decided to take up knitting as a career, and has been cranking out socks that look pretty awesome. Once these are in sufficient quantity to be for sale, I will let you know. I can tell you from personal experience last winter, these are much, much better than normal socks for making your feet happy.

Meanwhile, an increase in knitting*** means a decrease in boardgaming, both due to time constraints, and table covered in knitting stuff. We’ve still played a few games, like Vikings and Ascension, but with everything else taking up time and space I may have to — *gasp* — sell some of my board games. Not my favorite ones, of course, but just some of the others. I guess that’s a bit of a tangent.

* Or as we refer to them in the biz, “holy crap I have a ton of work to do in the next three weeks” and “no wonder my parents don’t think I can make a living as a writer”.

** Which reminds me, with Rosh Hashanah coming up, it’s the perfect time to buy a copy of From God To Verse.

*** If I were a knitter, I’d have some clever pun about increases and decreases here. For once, I’m sad not to be a knit-wit. Maybe a joke about clutching your purls? I don’t understand knitting.

In the very merry month of May

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

It’s a shame I was out of town for Spring. See, I’d gone to visit some friends on Friday, and it was suddenly a beautiful Spring day, after many months of winter and then a week of rain. And then when we returned two days later, it was 86 degrees outside and blazing hot summer sun. Basically, the Berkshires only gets a few days of Spring each year, and I’m sorry to have missed them. But no matter; enjoying the month anyway.

So tonight we’re sitting on the couch watching an action-packed movie with various things exploding and heavy gunfire in the middle of what is supposed to be a tense action sequence, and I realize that my partner and I are having a conversation about Spanish etymology.* This is indicative of something, which I had initially suspected might be the lack of acting talent** in the film we were watching, but which I eventually decided was simply the fact that my life is awesome.

Case in point: I’m now officially a Board Game Reviewer for About.com. For those of you keeping track, that means I now am a professional reviewer of board games, books, and restaurants. All I have to do is wait for someone to pay me to review my friends, and I will officially be a professional reviewer of everything I love.

Sure, it may not pay very well, but there’s something to be said for job satisfaction. I enjoy having a humor column where I can write about Tolstoy and truth if I feel like it. Or, if I’m feeling sillier, I can write about my propensity to consume questionable food. I’m pretty much living the dream***.

When I was young, I told myself one day I’d be fabulously wealthy and live in a house with a big room filled with food, and a big room filled with games. Well, here I am in a tiny victorian house, but it does have a pantry filled with food, and I do have a room filled with many, many boardgames. And heck, if one considers my friends rather than my finances, I would even account myself wealthy.

Of course, that kind of wealth doesn’t pay the bills, so don’t forget to buy my books.

****

*”Fuego” meaning fire, not only as in the sense of burning flame, but also in the sense of “to fire a gun”. This seemed like an odd coincidence to us. But the word “droit” in French means not only “right” as in the opposite of left, but also human rights. So maybe these bizarre connections are the same between languages sometimes. Then again, “watch” in French is “montre”, which means “show”, which is the opposite. So who knows. I suppose it’s possible the movie just used a crappy not-in-context translation. Or maybe fuego is like droit. I don’t know.

**Sylvester Stallone is probably not someone who springs to mind as a good actor. But then again, he did a quite decent job in comparison to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I guess when you’re making a film where the budget all went towards explosions and car chases, acting talent and non-sucky endings fall in the category of the Expendables.

***And not that one where you’re late for your final exam and also you forgot your pants.

****This footnote isn’t related to the entry, just closes it, but I wonder if all blogs have to either end up self-absorbed or talking about politics. Maybe next month I’ll write about politics. I suppose I could share rejected jokes with you, like my friend who talks about anime all the time who I call “The Last Earbender”.

Ides Wide Shut

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Well, we’re past the Ides of March. But I still had three or four Caesar salads* in the past two weeks, which were delicious. And unlike most other delicious things I’ve made of late (such as greek meatloaf), with the salads I even feel like I’m eating something healthy.**

Anyway, I have to say, this March has been a fairly eventful month for me. First, I mean that literally — March has been full of events. I did another presentation at a temple for God To Verse, attended a few different birthday parties for good friends, had the usual bunch of gaming events and random gathers. And I also had an enjoyably busy weekend where each day, I was quickly trying to create something to perform that night. Third Fridays of each month are now Comedy Night at Main Street Stage, and March’s edition saw me in the role of both stand-up comedian and improv comedy performer. I love improv because it’s made up on the spot, but I was still honing my stand-up act right before the show.

The next day was a poetry slam, and even though I was only going to be reading two poems, I always feel I should perform at least one new piece whenever I attend a slam. I’d had a vague idea for a while, but hadn’t managed to write anything new. But right before the event was scheduled to start, a bolt of inspiration suddenly struck me, and I realized what I wanted to do with my poem. Sure, I couldn’t figure out how to do it, but I could at least write about what I wanted to do, and thus managed to finish and print my poem and still arrive in time to enter the slam.

Sunday after some logistical snafus, I was slated to attend a friend’s birthday party, and suddenly had the idea that I should bake and bring something interesting. So once again, although it made me late, I did arrive bearing freshly-baked wasabi-sesame-ginger cookies.***

March has just been filled with things. I traveled to Boston and then Rhode Island, doing some research for another RI book. I decided that I have too much stuff, and need to stop acquiring random stuff. Then I ordered another box of board games, because they were on sale, and I’d wanted At the Gates of Loyang for a long time. (Perhaps I can justify that as research too, as I may soon be writing About Boardgames.) Before the month is out, I may go see a poetry reading by Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Taylor Mali, or even go on a bizarre expedition that combines RPGs with speed dating.

Suffice to say, March may only be three days longer than February, but it has certainly felt very full.

*Oddly, the only popular dictator food. Nobody ever orders a Hitler sandwich. I suppose you could argue that the Earl of Sandwich should count, but he wasn’t really a dictator. Although now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps they should make dictator tots.

**Which of course isn’t entirely the case given the copious dressing and cheese. But I guess since there’s some lettuce, I am technically eating something healthy.

***My own recipe, of course. Where by “recipe” I mean “vague idea of three ingredients I wanted together in cookies”.

Qualm Before the Storm

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

For those of us with logistical difficulties, there’s always plenty of worries to go around before any large-scale event. The annual New Years Bash* is as always one of the events I most look forward to each year**, but as usual, roughly nothing seems to be going as planned in terms of who will be where when. I just hope my friend who is supposed to arrive in 12 hours or so still manages to show up then with no difficulty.

But I am skipping over too much. Perhaps I should mention things that have occurred between my previous post and now. For example, I wrote a column about how I’m trying to overcome my addiction to the bottle. And speaking of addictions, I bought some board games from Fantasy Flight during their annual Holiday sale. They are all currently sitting on my couch, as I was already out of shelf space before this purchase. But so far we’ve played Age of Conan (decent), Atlanteon (constant ties are lame), and the World of Warcraft Adventure Game (fun, if more simplistic than WOW:TBG)

Then it was Christmastime, and so it was off to the local Oriental Buffet for my traditional meal. I also wrote some new TSA Christmas songs which you might enjoy. And then the holidays were mostly over, although you should still feel free to peruse my previous post for potential presents to proffer your preferred people.

Of course, chief among said potential presents is From God To Verse, about which I was recently interviewed. There were more things I wanted to say, I am sure, but I am off to prepare to revel in some New Years revelry***, so I hope you all enjoy the dwindling remainder of 2010.

*Hit 2011 with a stick! HIT IT!

**The other being the Alphabetic Boardgaming Challenge.

***“Revel Revel!” (said in Hamburglar voice)

An Uptick In Vulgarity

Monday, November 8th, 2010

I am, generally speaking, not a vulgar person. However.

Longtime readers or even those just familiar with the tale of my disastrous email application know that when I start getting behind on my to-do list, the amount of self-directed vulgarity in my life increases proportionately. Well, since it’s now a week into November, and I haven’t posted here since September, you might guess that I’ve been a little busy. And indeed, I’ve noted that various creatively vulgar epithets have begun creeping onto my to-do list.

Sadly, every vulgarity accompanies a task, which means that until the tasks are completed, the vulgarity must also remain. Writing this blog post will, once it is done, allow me to remove a line from my to-do list, but it is not a vulgarity-laden line. Only certain tasks merit such treatment. Currently, the highest priority self-directed vulgarity* accompanies an all-caps admonition to pay the bills. Thankfully, this is a simple enough task, so that self-directed vulgarity can be disappeared** in short order.

Unintelligible vulgarity has also been on the rise for me in the past month, quietly mumbled in a half-asleep state as I stumble out the door to whatever event I’ve foolishly agreed to attend hours before I normally wake up. Last month, this was a poetry presentation for a National Day on Writing at a local school, where I got to open for the esteemed Taylor Mali****. This month, I’ve already been up slightly early to spend time with old college friends in from out of town, and will have to wake up obscenely early***** this Saturday, when I’ll be selling and signing copies of my new book in Pittsfield at Chin Bo Jok’s annual one-day holiday sale.

And, naturally, there is vulgarity in gaming. For me, this is largely confined to video gaming, as naturally one swears whenever one is killed.****** Conversely, in spite of always playing to win, I do not take my board gaming too seriously. So while I may be an addict who has already acquired another half-dozen new games in the past two months (Favorite so far: Louis XIV), I rarely swear at a board game. Even if I may utter a vulgarity when I see how much I’ve spent on shipping.

Speaking of shipping and shopping, within the next few weeks I hope to post a Holiday Gift Guide here for you all. And no, it will not just be a plug for my books*******. It will have a slightly larger variety of interesting items that make wonderful gifts. In fact, I should go add that to my to-do list right now. But I’m going to leave off the vulgarity.

* An insult that states that I have a tendency to copulate with certain non-human members of the animal kingdom

** I recently was linked to this lovely Stephen Fry speech on language that talked about the love of language as appreciation of the living nature of language, and especially in support of the verbing of nouns. I enjoy new permutations of words when their meaning is instantly clear, and I think using “disappeared” in the object-taking form falls into that category for me. It’s succinct***, and clear.

*** I mean, obviously not when I use it in this blog, which is rarely what would be called succinct. But it could be, is my point.

**** A fine fellow who is also quite interested in language, as you might expect.

***** By which I mean, more vulgarity is almost assured.

****** Those “Famous Last Words” books are probably wildly inaccurate, as I imagine a high percentage of people’s last words would be unprintable.

******* Although “From God To Verse” is pretty much the perfect Chanukah or Christmas present.