One of my favorite books of 2012. A fascinating premise — the rotation of the planet begins to slow, causing at first minor inconveniences and then, increasingly, more dire environmental and psychological damage as the days grow longer and longer — is the backdrop for a classic coming-of-age story about a young girl named Julia whose world is literally and figuratively changing. You don’t often see “end of days” stories told from the POV of an eleven-year-old girl in suburbia. It’s even rarer to see such a story told with such grace, skill, and subtlety. A nearly perfect book. I didn’t want to put it down.
On Tuesday night, Penny made a special “ABC” dinner (apple pie, bread, chicken, and carrots) to help Ethan get excited for his first day of school ever—note the awesome crown—and then on Wednesday morning, Ethan, Penny, and I went to orientation. Which I’m pretty sure he loved. There were toys, kids, story time, and snack. What’s not to like? I left thinking orientation day was as much for the parents as it was for the kids.
Today I dropped him off for his first full day. He did great, just ran right in and started playing. No hesitation whatsoever. What a big boy.
Possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on YouTube EweTube.
This is a re-post from something I put up on Facebook. Here goes!
1. My friends called me Indiana Josh in elementary school because I was (and, yes, I still am) a huge Indiana Jones fan.
2. My first job out of college was as an intern/editorial assistant for Chris Claremont at Marvel Comics in New York City.
3. I met my wife at a high school gym show. She was annoyed because I kept talking to her and she really wanted to flirt with someone else. Good thing I’m persistent!
4. My top five favorite hiking trips of all time are: Scottish Highlands (2000), Icelandic Backcountry (2006), Tour du Mont Blanc – Italy, Switzlerland, and France (2003), England’s Pennine Way (2003), and Chile’s Atacama Desert (2005).
5. I only have one kidney.
6. I was raised in a very Republican family. Now I often, but not always, vote Democrat, because I agree with liberals on most social issues.
7. I went to a Catholic college, despite not being Catholic.
8. My top five favorite TV shows of all time are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Chuck, Doctor Who, and The Amazing Race.
9. I have written more than 25 published travel articles that have appeared in the Boston Globe, USA Today, and SmarterTravel.com, among others. Lately I’ve become more interested in travel photography, however.
10. My top five movies of all time are: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Princess Bride, The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, and Highlander. I could (and often do) watch each of them over and over again.
11. I fully acknowledge that most of my top five movies are kind of cheesy.
12. I entered college as a computer science major. I graduated with degrees in English Literature and Imperial Russian History. I’m sure my parents were thrilled.
13. I’ve been at my current job longer than high school and college *combined.* That blows my mind.
14. A lot of people think I’m outgoing, but inside I’m actually like borderline social anxiety disorder.
15. I still think Bryan Adams’ “Reckless” is one of the best CDs *ever.* What, you think your taste in music is so much better?
16. When I first published this list I accidentally skipped # 16.
17. My son is awesome.
18. My top five favorite cities I’ve visited: London, England; Edinburgh, Scotand; Santiago, Chile; Panama City, Panama; and Valetta, Malta.
19. Most surprisingly tasty thing I’ve ever eaten: Live termites directly from the nest. They taste like squirmy little carrots. (Yes, really.)
20. I’d like to get at least one of my novels published before I die (but I’ll settle for posthumous accolades, if I must).
21. I still get a chill whenever I think about the 2004 Red Sox.
22. I actually kind of like romantic comedies. (Just not any of the ones starring Meg Ryan.)
23. My least favorite city in the world is Las Vegas. So, naturally, I’ve been there three times.
24. Penny and I have been together for almost 16 years!
25. People think this is weird, but I don’t really like the summer. Too hot! Give me a nice, brisk fall day any time.
44,586 – words written in my young adult novel, The Witches of Coven Hill
300 – hours wasted watching/listening to the Red Sox (estimated)
218 – blog posts
128 – frames of animation finalized in my adventure game, Rise of the Hidden Sun: A ‘Rattlesnake’ Jake Dawson Adventure
112 – people friended on Facebook
18 – novels read
14 – novels read that do not feature Indiana Jones
4 – various types of physical therapy
3 – vacations
2 – continents visited
1 – new computer
It takes a real chicken to run away from a turkey.
Every once in a while I stumble across a little gem of an adventure game that reminds me of the genre’s golden age (circa 1988-1994), when 2-D point ’n’ click adventures like King’s Quest and The Secret of Monkey Island ruled the gaming charts.
As regular readers of this blog probably know, I’ve always wanted to make just such a game myself: one with retro-cartoonish graphics and wacky puzzles that require a slightly outside-the-box approach to solve. While my game remains on hold until I finish the first draft of my Coven Hill manuscript, I did take a little time this week to play someone else’s—and I really enjoyed it.
Developer: BugFactory Games
My thoughts: You play as Tombrant Driftwood, a fisherman’s son on a mission to rescue the princess from an evil wizard and his henchman. If that sounds clichéd, don’t worry: Like the classic adventure games it emulates, Tales of Bingwood takes these genre conventions and winks knowingly at the audience as our hero completes the various elements of his quest in totally irreverent fashion.
It’s pleasantly Monkey Island-esque without being completely derivitive. The old-school graphics reminded me that 320×200 pixels can still look gorgeous with the right art design, and the puzzles are clever but fair (only a few really stumped me for more than a few minutes). Oh, and the quest itself is just plain fun.
I finished the game in just under three hours, so it’s not a huge time commitment, but it still feels “big enough” to justify the relatively cheap $10 price tag. Download the free demo here.