A Game Of Thrones: The Gathering

I would play this. I would play this so hard. Fair warning, this post isn’t going to make a lick of sense to you if you’re not a M:tG nerd. If you don’t know what that means, it’s already too late and you should probably read something else.

Normally, I look at fan-created Magic: the Gathering cards with a skeptically dismissive eyebrow. They’re usually undercosted or overpowered or unplayable or some ungodly combination of all three. Or they’re mechanically ridiculous or they look atrocious. Take a look at these, however.







These fan-created Game of Thrones cards look amazing! Not only do I want to play them, but I want to have discussions about them. Do you think Tyrion is White/Blue? Varys as Blue/Black is spot-on and Littlefinger as pure Black makes sense as well. Both Melisandre and Joffrey are Black/Red . . . interesting. 

Take a look at the article for some larger versions and tell me what you think. Awesome? Horribly nerdy? Some combination of the two?

Amy’s Bug Company

I originally titled this post “Amy’s Buggery Company” which I thought was a hilarious joke on the subject matter, but after about two seconds of thought, I realized I was making a very different joke from the one I intended. So there you go; enjoy the watered down version.

Speaking of watered down versions, have you heard the latest from the insanity cesspool that is Amy’s Baking Company?  Man, did you see that smooth rhetorical transition I just did there? This is why I get paid fat sacks of cash money absolutely nothing to write on the Internet.

The latest from Amy’s is that when you order a vodka martini, you’ll get dead flies added to your drink at no added cost. This is an incredible value. You have no idea how hard it is to find a restaurant willing to add insects to your drinks. Usually, they’re all “oh god, how did that get there, I’m so sorry, let me fix that for you.” Or worse, they don’t even serve insects with their drinks to begin with! How is that fair? I argue that it is not.

The best part is you also get an example of what really, really great customer service looks like:

When our meal at Pita Jungle was finished, we jokingly asked our waitress if she could go to Amy’s and buy us a slice of the chocolate mousse cake we had heard was so good, (and possibly not baked by Amy, according to several reports). To our surprise and delight, she agreed to walk over there and buy it for us. We gave her the money to do so. The slice of cake was $10.90.

How can you not love that? I hope the servers at Pita Jungle wear identifiable uniforms; it would really add to the punchline of this whole thing.

Men’s Rights Activists: A Follow-Up

I told myself I was going to write about something happier (or at least more whimsical) but I couldn’t let this one pass by. Chloe over at the Bodycrimes blog has some great posts on the topic of Men’s Rights Activism. I wanted to highlight one of her posts because it sums up my feelings on the topic perfectly:

These reactions are rarely about addressing imbalances. They’re about the dominant group trying to stay dominant. Let’s face it, the Men’s Rights movement is never going to get out and campaign for child care in their work place, so they can see more of their kids, or shorter hours for working fathers, or the right to paternity leave. They’re not going to be marching against the sexual abuse of children, or even putting programs in place to support men in prisons and the military who are victims of rape. That’s not what they really want. What they want is for equality to go away and for us to return to some idealised time that never really existed.Let’s face it. They just hate women.

I couldn’t have said it better. The entire post is worth your time. You should go take a look.

The Irony Of Men’s Rights Activists

It’s a generally accepted consensus by sane people on the Internet that, among all the various subcultures, there is no bigger group of douchebags than the Men’s Rights Activists.

A brief explanation, in case you’re not familiar with this particular breed of insanity. These are the guys who whine that the single white male is actually the most oppressed minority in the world today due to things like affirmative action, political correctness, and rules about workplace harassment. I don’t need to explain in any great detail about their position because their position is inane. Simply put, these are the guys who mistake the loss of privilege as persecution. They’re the spoiled brats who, when asked to share their toys, pitch a fit about how they’re being mistreated.

They imagine themselves as soldiers in some great war against feminism and/or political correctness and they imagine that they will use their superior maleness and alleged intellectual capabilities to browbeat the world into seeing the truth. Which, of course, is hilarious because the only thing they’re ever going to prove to the world is that they’re spoiled douchebags. They’re not going to affect the change they desire. They’re not going to stop the march towards equality anymore than any previous hate group has done. They’re not a barrier; they’re a speed bump, at best.

The reason why I mention them at all is because of a very poignant comment a friend of mine made on Facebook. He pointed out, correctly, that there is one group Men’s Rights Activists do harm, which is other men:

What’s bothersome is that there are certain areas where greater sensitivity towards men would be nice (like the relative absence of community support for stay-at-home dads) but the irrational fucknuttery of the “men’s rights activists” sours that Discussion quickly.

But of course, a manly man wouldn’t bother to be a stay-at-home dad, because that’s wimmen’s work, amirite? It couldn’t possibly be that there are real mans who would rise to the challenge and opportunity of being the primary caregiver to a child. An Alpha Male would never do such a thing! Only beta or gamma men would allow themselves to be pushed around in such a form. Pawns of the matriarchy, etc. etc., rabble rabble rabble.

The irony of the whole situation is that, barring a very few actual male-hating fringe-extremists, it’s probably the feminists who have the backs of all the stay-at-home-dads out there, not the so-called Men’s Rights Activists.

Just something to think about.

Phoenix ComiCon 2013 Recap

I decided I would write my recap post as soon as I woke up, because I’m sure that if I do not, I’ll procrastinate long past the point where anybody would be interested in this sort of thing. So, here you go. You’ll have to forgive any continuity errors on my part since I wasn’t exactly taken notes or anything.

If you’re actually curious about the convention itself and not interested in reading my inane travelogue, you may wish to skip Friday entirely.

This is also the longest blog post I’ve ever written. Ye be warned.

Friday: The convention technically started on Thursday, but since I wasn’t in Phoenix at any point on Thursday, I decided to omit that day entirely. Actually, there’s little reason for me to include Friday, since I missed this day as well due to having to go to work. My departure from Tucson was a little bit interesting, though.

I got home from work around 5:30 and packed my bag for the weekend. I had enough foresight to do laundry the night before so I would be the very freshest and clean smelling of nerds that weekend. It’s a point of pride for me. Here’s where things get a little bit interesting. You might have noticed references I’ve made to a “loaner cat” that I have with me. See, it’s actually my mom’s cat. The cat’s name is Cleo and she’s about fourteen years old; basically an octogenarian in cat form.

My mom was going on a camping trip for a week and needed somebody to watch her cat. My brother Chris couldn’t do it because he has two cats of his own and these cats don’t get along with Cleo. Actually, flip that around. Cleo doesn’t get along with those cats. So I agreed to take her, never doing the mental math with my dates and realizing that this meant I was agreeing to take care of an ancient cat while I was away on my own trip.

After packing my bags, filling up on gas and caffeine for the road, I drove over to  Chris’s apartment to give him my apartment key so that he could check in on Cleo while I was away. I’m very grateful for him for doing this and I know he reads this blog from time to time, so there you go. Thank you, little brother!

With all of that squared away, I took to the road. Tucson to Phoenix isn’t actually all that long of a drive, unless you’re driving it after working a full day. And you already had a long commute from Sahuarita to Tucson to begin with. Tucson to Phoenix isn’t a drive I usually make solo, either.

What this meant was in order to prevent boredom, there was car singing. Oh yes, there was car singing, to a degree and depravity that makes me cringe to recall it. There was also some reflection as I contemplated how long ago some of my favorite songs were actually released. I have come to the conclusion that there are two things that can be used for milestones regarding your own personal level of old: children and music.

I arrived in Phoenix and drove around aimlessly for a while because Phoenix is fucking confusing. With a combination of luck and smartphone GPS navigation, I made it to Tempe and met up with Mira. We wandered around Tempe’s Mill Avenue for a while, which is like a larger, more franchised version of Tucson’s Fourth Avenue. We had dinner at an Irish Pub called the Rula Bula. Actually, Mira had dinner while I enjoyed a very tasty red ale. Mira’s dad and brother joined us and we had a great time drinking and discussing all the various things. After that, it was back to Mira’s family’s house, where I fell asleep on the couch, exhausted even though I hadn’t actually done anything at the convention yet.

Saturday: I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, refreshed and ready to get my geek on. We fortified on coffee and then hoofed it a mile and a half back to Mill Avenue so we could catch the Tempe Light Rail to the convention center. We did this for two reasons: first, it meant saving a tremendous amount of money on parking close to the convention center. Center, it meant not having to worry about drinking too much at dinner since we’d be walking home. My later actions would cause this plan to unravel somewhat.

We made it to the convention center around 11:00am and went to get my badge. Mira had already checked in the day before and was sporting a very lovely “Professional” badge since she was going to be speaking on a panel on Sunday. Here’s where things got even cooler, though. I followed Mira to the “guests and professional” section of the registration hall where she flashed her badge to the woman working the desk and asked for a significant other badge. At that point, even before I could produce an ID of some sort to prove who I was, the woman just smiled and gave me a “full event” badge. That’s right: comped badge! I was thrilled, although I would have been more amused if the badge could have included something like “talent-less hanger-on” or something. Anyway, with that done, we skipped off to see a panel.

We made it to the second half of a panel called “Many Shades of Fae” which was being held by one of Mira’s friends Aprilynne Pike and our mutual friend Janni Lee Simner. By the time we arrived, they were doing the Q&A section of the panel. Not wanting to be that guy that asked a question that had already been covered in the first hour, I just listened in. It was a good panel, though, and especially interesting to me since I have a few fae characters in the novel I’m working on. We had a good time.

After that, we headed over to the “John Scalzi Spotlight” panel. This was one of the highlights of the weekend for me, because John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors of all time (and definitely my favorite science-fiction author). The panel was great; John puts on a wonderful show and did a reading of a blog post he wrote called Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be. During the Q&A section, I got called on to ask a question which was very gratifying. The question, incidentally, was “how do you pronounce the names of your alien species in your books?” and the answer was “I have no idea, I just write them and let the audiobook guys figure it out.” It was great.

We decided to split our time between going to panels and visiting the show floor, so after the Spotlight, we headed down to the cavernous belly of the Phoenix Convention Center to see how many different ways people would manage to extract money from us in exchange for nerdy goods.

The answer is: a lot. A lot of ways.

We each went in with a budget. I mostly blew mine on ale and whores books. By the end of the convention, I ended up with a stack of books, an awesome t-shirt, and a House Targaryen crest decal for my SUV.

The crazy thing about being on the show floor was how many times we ran into people that we knew from Tucson. Despite the fact that the convention center was absolutely packed with a population density that rivaled San Diego ComiCon, we found our friends Heather, Diana, and Jason who’d all come up from Tucson. That’s one of the things I love about the geek community in southern Arizona; we’re tight-knit like that.

Around 3pm, I decided to split off from the convention center because I wanted to go to John Scalzi’s book signing even that was taking place off-sight at a place called the Poisoned Pen. I wanted to go to the signing for a few reasons: first, because it was being hosted by my friend Sam Sykes who is totally awesome. Second, I knew wanted to get my copy of John’s latest book The Human Division from a local business and third, I figured it would be a lot less crowded than any event happening at the convention itself. These were all very good reasons for going to the signing and I was not disappointed in my choice. But getting to that signing was . . . interesting, to say the least.

I knew I’d have to leave the convention early to make it to the signing at 5pm. To give myself enough flexibility in case I got lost or missed the light rail, I left the convention at 3pm. I hiked over to the light rail and only mildly panicked until I figured out which train was going back to Tempe. I secured a place on the train and settled in for the thirty minute ride back to Tempe. Which is when things took a turn for the awry.

Shortly after we left the station, I became aware of a deranged transient man ranting about a conspiracy theory involving Jesus and the symbols of the cross and the fish and aluminum and brain signals. I tried to ignore it; none of my business, after all, and I really didn’t want to get into some kind of altercation that would derail my plans. I wanted to see John Scalzi!

However, the man’s ranting was punctuated by a tremendous amount of profanity and by tremendous, I mean he said fuck and shit and cunt more than he used any actual words. The problem with this idiosyncratic form of communication was that the train car we were in was filled with ComiCon attendees and about half of them were families. There were at least six or eight kids between 5 and 10 on the train. Two little girls in particular were with their moms and all four looked pretty scared by this crude, obviously disturbed homeless guy.

I kept waiting for somebody to tell the guy to shut up, but nobody was doing anything about it. That’s about the time when two different thoughts started going through my head. The practical thought was don’t get involved, you’ll regret it if you get involved and the foolish thought was you need to do something about this.

I went with the second one and shouted to the guy something to the extent of “there are children on this train, watch your language, show some class,” that kind of thing. I don’t really remember the exact specifics.

So, of course, the guy staggers over to my side of the train and gets in my face, ranting and spraying spittle with every word. He was a skinny guy but about my height, so we were pretty much eye to eye. The entire time my only thought was I really hope I don’t get stabbed.

We went through the usual “what the fuck did you say to me?” “I told you to shut your mouth” kind of routine. It escalated to the point where I told him “if you don’t watch your language, I’ll throw you off this train,” which was a threat I really had no idea how to follow up on, but it was the heat of the moment, so there you go.

The crazy part was that the guy stopped. He just stopped and looked at me. He stared at me and I stared at him. Nobody else said anything. An eternity later, but was probably only a minute or two, we get to the next stop and the guy leaves. Just shuffles out the door and goes.

At that point, the adrenaline rush I was on ended and I leaned back against the wall and tried to get my heartbeat under control. At the time, the only thing I was thinking was how much of an idiot I was for doing that and how lucky I was he didn’t take a swing at me. However, it did prove to be worth it in the end: when my stop arrived and I headed towards the exit, one of the mothers thanked me and the other one said, and I’m not exaggerating, that I was a hero. Embarrassed,  I said a quick thanks and left the train, but I will admit, I felt pretty cool for the rest of the day, even though I really was just lucky.

After that whole escapade, I hiked the mile and half in afternoon Phoenix heat to find my SUV. After a quick pit stop to fortify on powerade and water, I follow my smartphone GPS to the bookstore. I ended up being about forty minutes early, which was fine with me.

Rather than try to recap the discussion (this post is already insanely long), you can watch for yourself: Sam Sykes and John Scalzi discuss the Human Division. If you watch the video, you can hear my actual voice as I get to ask a couple of questions, which was awesome (asking questions, I mean, not you getting to hear my voice. My voice sucks).

After getting some books signed, I headed off to dinner with some more friends from Tucson that I’d run into: Ericc and Trish, whom I haven’t seen in years. The weirdest part was that we were both at the previous Spotlight panel but because the crowd was so large, we didn’t see one another. Anyway, after driving around in circles and getting lost (the restaurant was two miles away) and then getting lost again in a parking garage, I met up with them at a P.F. Chang’s and I had a beer and a bowl of vegetarian fried rice. I was going to be meeting back up with Mira, Heather, and Diana later that evening for dinner. Everything went well even though the small bowl of rice turned out to be enormous and I ate too much. Ah well.

I said goodbye to my friends and drove back towards the convention center. At this point, I realized that my smartphone battery was critically low even though I’d charged it that morning. Between the poor signal coverage in the center itself and the amount of GPS navigating I was doing, I’d burned through the thing pretty quickly. I was very, very worried I would run out of power before I found my friends, because that would mean getting lost since I have no idea how to navigate Phoenix. I kept turning my GPS on for a few seconds at a time to get my bearings before turning it off to save juice. Regardless, I got where I was going and ran into another friend from Tucson, Jennifer. We met up with Heather and Diana and some of their friends at a place called Angel’s Trumpet, a pizza and beer joint. Mira arrived shortly thereafter and we ate and drank and discussed until 11 or so. Good times.

After parting ways with our friends, Mira and I drove back to her family’s house in Tempe and I tried my best not to fall asleep while driving. I was exhausted from everything we’d done that day even though it wasn’t all that late. I managed to avoid killing us both and we arrived without a problem. I crashed on the couch again and fell asleep almost immediately.

Sunday: Sundays are normally the quiet, laid-back day of the convention. Everybody is usually exhausted from the previous few days of partying, drinking, etc., so you’ll see both fans and guests doing this sort of bleary I-can’t-believe-I’m-awake routine. We got an early start, took the Light Rail to the convention center and waited for the show floor to open. We did some shopping and hung out for a bit before it was time for Mira’s panel. We headed over to the room and met with the other guests who would be presenting.

At 10:30, nobody other than the guests and me were there and everybody was a little worried it would be a bust. However, in the tradition of Sunday mornings at convention, people did trickle in about 15 minutes after the start and there was soon a very respectable crowd of about 15 people listening to Mira and the other guests discuss their favorite YA books. It was a good panel, although it amused me that there was only one actual teenager in the crowd; the rest of us were all older. I mostly watched and listened and enjoying the fact that Mira gets to be on panels at Phoenix ComiCon, which is certainly not small beer, so to speak.

After her panel was done, we headed over to stand in line for the Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Super Happy Fun Time Hour. I predicted, correctly, that this panel would fill up quickly, so we got in line about 40 minutes early. I’m very, very glad that we did, because the room was packed to the gills and a lot of people, including Heather and Diana (sorry!) weren’t able to make it inside.

And that was a real shame because in my opinion, this panel was the best of the entire weekend. Wil and John are an awesome team and put on a really great show. Special recognition, however, goes out to one anonymous fan in the audience: at one point, with about twenty minutes left in the panel, the lights in the room flickered and then went out. Everything plunges into darkness and you can feel the collective well, shit expression going through everybody’s minds. And then, with the classic snap-hiss sound, a brilliant purple beam of light erupts from the center of the room as one fan ignites a plastic lightsaber to provide illumination. Everybody cheered and applauded.

The lights came back on shortly thereafter, but it was a really awesome moment.

After the panel, we decided to spend the rest of the day cruising the show floor, making a few final purchases. Mira wanted to meet Brandon Sanderson to invite him to the Tucson Festival of Books next year. We stopped by and chatted with John, Sam, Janni, and a few other notables. Everything was starting to wind down when . . . *gasp* the fire alarm went off.

At first, we all did this sort of “what?” shuffle. The prerecorded message told us to proceed to the nearest exit, but only a few people were moving. You could see the agony in the dealers’ faces at the thought of leaving so much valuable merchandise completely exposed, especially for what was almost certainly a false alarm.

That’s when a staff member came over the intercom and said, no, this was the real deal and we needed to haul ass (I am paraphrasing a little). That got us moving in a hurry, although I will note it was still a calm and orderly hurry. We trudged up the stairs and out into the oppressive afternoon sunlight. We found some shade and waited around, wondering what caused the alarm. Theories ranged from bomb threat to fire to false alarm. A few of us checked Twitter for updates while others sent messages to friends and family to let them know we were okay.

After about twenty minutes or so, the all-clear was given and the dealers went back in to secure their tables. In a show of absolute classiness, the ComiCon staff announced that in order to compensate for the interruption, they would be keeping the hall open for an extra hour and a half. This was very cool of them and we were grateful that they went the extra mile.

We went back in for a bit, made a few final buys, and stood in line to meet Brandon Sanderson who proved to be a very classy guy who came back to his table from his hotel room for some overtime when he found out there was a line of fans there.

After that, it was time to depart. We caught the Light Rail back to Tempe and walked back to Mira’s family’s house. We wound down, had a quick dinner there, and regaled everybody with the stories from our weekend. Since Mira had left for the convention on Thursday night, she had her own car with her, so we were going to be driving back separately. I decided I wanted to get started on the drive before it got too late, so I said my farewells, thanks Mira’s family for their hospitality, and packed up and hit the road.

The drive back was uneventful. I listened to Lev Grossman’s The Magicians on audiobook, which proved to be a very excellent choice. I stopped by my brother’s apartment to get my key and then headed home. I’d intended to get a few things done before going to bed, but after dropping my stuff and shelving all my shiny new signed books, I decided that sleep was a much better idea than doing stuff. I passed out while watching an episode of Castle.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend. I’m glad I was able to attend Phoenix ComiCon because it really soothed my craving for a big-league convention experience, especially since I wasn’t able to get a ticket for San Diego this year. I think Phoenix is turning into one of the premier venues and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it rival San Diego in a few more years, especially if more people who can’t get tickets to San Diego look for other conventions to spend their con dollars.

This post has run far, far longer than I intended; if you’ve stuck with me this long, I wanted to say thanks for reading. To all my friends and Mira especially, thanks for an awesome weekend. You guys are the best.

Phoenix ComiCon Report . . . Tomorrow!

When I walked into my apartment and set my bags down, I had every intention of writing my report from Phoenix ComiCon 2013 as soon as I sat down at my desk. Now that I’ve taken my shoes off, kicked the loaner cat out of my chair, had the loaner cat jump back into my lap, and taken a few moments to relax, I’m ready to say that I . . . will write that report tomorrow. It’s been an awesome couple of days, but also very, very tiring. After a long drive back to Tucson, I think I’m ready to turn off my brain for a while.

I’ll write up all the details tomorrow, including a gritty, firsthand account of where I was during the harrowing ComiCon Evacuation of 2013. Spoiler warning: it involved proceeding to the nearest exit in an orderly manner while making sure my friends were with me. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of this gripping tale!

But for now, I think I shall sleep.

Thoughts On “Star Trek Into Darkness”

It took a bit of doing after finding out that my favorite theater was closed, but we did manage to attend a showing of Star Trek Into Darkness last night. The problem was finding a showing that was “just right” and gave us enough time to get there but not so much time we’d be walking out of the theater at 2:00am on a work night. The answer turned out to be a 9:00pm show at the El Con theater which is clear across town from me, but whatever.

Harkins Theater, I miss you already.

Anyway, let’s talk about the movie. In fact, let’s talk about the movie after a page break, because there are going to be los spoilitos in this post. That’s Spanish for the spoilers, fyi.

Continue reading “Thoughts On “Star Trek Into Darkness””

I Knew This Would Happen

Just a quick update tonight before we head off to the movies to seek the new Star Trek. In fact, that’s part of the reason for my update: it turns out that the Harkins Theater in Marana, which has long been my favorite movie theater in Tucson, has closed down. This is sad news for me, although I did read that it looks like a Phoenix-based Harkins will buy the location and reopen. I certainly hope that’s the case.

The reason why I liked the Harkins in Marana is probably the reason why it’s closed: nobody went there. I’m sort of an introvert, as you may have noticed, and I really don’t like big crowds of people. I wouldn’t call it a phobia, exactly; I reserve my phobias for tight spaces and spiders, but I will go out of my way to avoid large crowds of people whenever possible.

I loved going to the Marana Harkins because whether you were there on a weekend opening or a Monday night, it seemed like there were always great seats. Twice, we went and had the entire theater to ourselves (the movies were the sixth Harry Potter and the 2009 Star Trek, interestingly). I knew it’s never a good sign to see an empty theater on what should be a busy night, but damn if that didn’t make me love them that much more. In fact, I go out of my way for that feature, since there are a few other theaters that are much closer to my apartment. I guess having a customer base purely of misanthropes like myself isn’t a sustainable business model, though.

Ah well. The Harkins is dead.  I’m very sad; I saw most of my movies over the past five years there. Alas.

Now we go from the sad to the hilarious. The zombie that is Amy’s Baking Company continues to stumble and lurch across the public opinion arena and shows neither signs of life nor intelligence. It’s still funny, although now it’s in more of a melancholy sort of way. I wonder how long it will last.

It’s Okay To Be Takei

George Takei might just be one of my most favorite people ever. You must realize; this is an august body of individuals we’re talking about here. Not just anybody makes it into the “most favorite people ever” club. You need to really stand out from the crowd. Notable members of the MFPE club include James Randi, Eva GreenJohn Scalzi, Nathan Fillion, Thomas Jefferson, Optimus Prime, and Sue. That’s just a short list of the club’s elite members. You’ll understand if I can’t tell you everybody on the list, for privacy reasons. You do understand, right?

After reviewing his application and considering the complete portfolio of his work, I think it’s time to extend club membership to a man who deserves to join these elite ranks: George Takei. He’s been in consideration for a while now but I think this latest submission really seals the deal.

You’re in, sir. For excellence of character and using charm, wit, and good humor to steer the course of human history to a better future. You know, little things like that.

This is a high honor. You get a certificate of appreciation that I made in MS Paint and I’ll tweet nice things about you to all ninety of my twitter followers. What more could you ask for?

Don’t actually answer that question.

Random Thoughts On Incense

You might be expecting a post laden with euphemism or thinly veiled drug references. This is not that post. Any post I could possibly write about drugs would be very short, unless I was able to draw from my extensive knowledge gleaned from marathons of Breaking Bad on Netflix and Requiem for a Dream.

No, instead, I’m thinking about actual incense.

Somehow, I managed to acquire a box of “Dragon’s Blood” incense sticks. Most likely, somebody left them in my apartment. I certainly didn’t buy them and weird shit appears all the time around here. For instance, I have a box of sparklers whose origin is dubious. I’ve been tempted to light one of the sparklers, but I can imagine all the ways that might end in horror, tragedy, and comedy, depending on whose face gets immolated and whose doesn’t.

Without further preamble, here are my random thoughts about the incense stick that is cheerfully smoking away on the desk beside me:

  • I had a roommate that used to burn a lot of incense because he smoked a tremendous amount of marijuana. This was one of my most poignant incense memories. In fact, he convinced me that everybody bought incense solely for this purpose.
  • My mom burned a lot of incense when she had her apartment. She does not smoke weed (as far as I know). There’s a funny story, though, about her neighbor who did assume the pot smoking, because of the previously mentioned usage rule.
  • I like watching the smoke drift around the room because it’s a pure writer trope to smoke and write. The problem is that I really like my lungs and don’t want to start smoking, but I’m also heavily influenced by media and pop culture depictions of writing.
  • I wonder how bad all this incense smoke is for my lungs. It can’t be good for my lungs. Smoke is smoke, right?
  • Why did they decide to call this particular scent “Dragon’s Blood?” It smells more herbal than sanguinary or reptilian, in my opinion. In my mind, real dragon’s blood would smell more coppery.
  • Even though it’s all emotionally cleansing and such, I’m sure this is not healthy. I should Google this. I’m going to Google this.
  • Yup, turns out that burning incense, as well as candles, “can be a significant source of indoor air pollution, including combustion products from candles, which can emit varying amounts of soot and pollutants.” So that’s  good news. I feel very relaxed now that I know this.

That’s all I’ve got tonight. Sorry. I’ll try to have something more substantial for my post tomorrow. Maybe something about the political spectrum, maybe.