20 December 2021

Fifty Feet of Rope

There is a question old sci-fi booksellers like to ask younger readers of the genre.

'What is the golden age of Science Fiction'?

 

In response, some people:

Give it a little thought then venture forth what they believe to be the approximate decade of the 'Golden Age'.

or

Don't answer and silently ask themselves 'Why is this dusty old fart talking to me'?

or

Secretly know the answer but play dumb to allow the seller a quippy moment.   

Now, if you fall for the trap and take a shot an answer it will be incorrect.

The seller will slyly state.

'The Golden Age of sci-fi is'.

Pausing briefly.

'12 years old'.


Or something reasonably close to that age, answers very from person to person.

I've always taken the answer to imply that it's an age, any age really, where one's imagination burns brightly at the input of new electric ideas, of forbidden knowledge attained or of fantastical images over saturated with color blazoned upon wrappers of pulps, books and magazines. Something that once seen cannot be unseen again and something that resonates so deeply in a person that it forever changes them and binds them tightly within its grasp creating a gleeful sojourner along a zealot's path.

An overly romantic take on the answer anyway.

 

 The question can be applied to a great many things.
'What is the golden age of 'fill in the blank'?

The answer is still the same, it's not a date.

 *

 

I belong to a certain alphabetic generation and because of that I was fortunate enough to have played my 3 favorite games; Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and World of Warcraft during what I believe were truly their chronological golden ages...though that's probably an arguable point.

But whether I was 12 or 26 or 39 mattered not as each affected me profoundly.
Each I played for a period of time and each I eventually stopped playing...for various reasons.
But, I never truly gave up on then and deep down I knew that I was simply taking a break rather than quitting.

Magic: The Gathering arrived in my world after a long hiatus from playing D&D.
To this day I cannot remember how or where I found it, it may have found me, but in late 1994 I was opening packs of Revised and Fallen Empires knowing full well I was addicted. 

Ultimately Magic got 10 years of my attention but by 2004 I was no longer enjoying it. Competitive play, which I willingly went into, had sucked all the fun out of the game and more matches of rage and anger took the place of casual joyful play.
After several months of soul searching I sold my collection and promised myself not to return until I had forgotten how to play and/or became excited about the game again, like I was in 1994.

And that, was that.

*

 

July 2021


I wasn't looking for it but once again Magic found me when I stumbled upon an article about the newest Magic set: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR) a Dungeons & Dragons themed expansion.
And just like that, Magic was back in my life.

The old obsessions returned immediately as I read the article, wanting to collect the entire set.
Just AFR, nothing else, just this one set...and any other subsequent D&D related expansions.

Things had changed since I last opened a pack and looking through the card list I needed to wrap my head around alternative art cards, full art, extended art, showcase and commander cards, which had a foil version and which did not, dungeon cards, art cards and...what the fring was a collector pack?

Mostly though I wanted to play, did it really have a D&D feel?

So I set off on my quest to discover the answers to my questions and now feel ready to offer up my modest insights and opinions about the cards and observations on play with a little hindsight and perspective from a 17 year break from the game.

And though this will not be timely subject matter as AFR was released 5 months ago, a veritable eternity, I feel a deeper dive is in order to explore the set, the game and myself I suppose as I return to a once loved the reviled game in my life.
 
This will take some time to work through.

For the time being, I will simply start with this post.



Now, what's next?

 

15 December 2021

Barrett's Privateers

 


Privateer:

A ship privately owned and crewed but authorized by a government during wartime to attack and capture enemy vessels.

The captain or a crew member of such a vessel.

*

Stan Roger's 1976 sea shanty 'Barrett's Privateers' has been in my head for days now, but not his fantastic rendition.
Instead, the catchy, fast moving 2011 cover by Alestorm has been trashing the crew quarters of my mind.     

A tragic tale of a young fisherman lured by easy riches to board the scummiest vessel he'd ever seen and soon be fated to become the last of Barrett's privateers.

What a tale Stan!

 

Barrett's Privateers

Stan Rogers
Fogarty's Cove
1976

Alestorm
Back Through Time
2011 

 

Oh, the year was 1778
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
A letter of marque came from the king
To the scummiest vessel I've ever seen
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

Oh, Elcid Barrett cried the town
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
For twenty brave men all fishermen who
Would make for him the Antelope's crew
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

The Antelope sloop was a sickening sight
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
She'd a list to the port and her sails in rags
And the cook in the scuppers with the staggers and jags
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

On the King's birthday we put to sea
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
We were 91 days to Montego Bay
Pumping like madmen all the way
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

On the 96th day we sailed again
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
When a bloody great Yankee hove in sight
With our cracked four pounders we made to fight
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

Now the Yankee lay low down with gold
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
She was broad and fat and loose in the stays
But to catch her took the Antelope two whole days
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers


Heri Joensen solo
Týr
\m/

 

Then at length we stood two cables away
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
Our cracked four pounders made an awful din
But with one fat ball, the Yank stove us in
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

The Antelope shook and pitched on her side
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs
And the Main truck carried off both me legs
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

So here I lay in my 23rd year
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
It's been 6 years since we sailed away
And I just made Halifax yesterday
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
But I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers

06 July 2021

Fishes n' Bitches

Briefly, an update.


A year ago today we arrived in Detroit Lakes, MN.
Everything on hold, nothing certain.
 

I continued to buy books and other assorted items throughout the year but my intake was a tenth of what I would have normally procured in Denver.
The rural 'pick' is a tough slog.
Though certain gems have presented themselves to me the quantity of the finds has been sparse.

*

We have yet to get Cibado up and running in any sense of the word.
The small amount of leather and tools we brought with us not to mention the lack of a space to work have made it difficult to create a one of a kind hand sewn bag. Cigdem's frustration with being removed from the creative process, the loss of her studio and work environment along with a rather abrupt change from urban to rural living has been a challenge.
I feel her pain.

*

We are living in a small studio in DL that we rent on a short term basis.
Nothing special but it's new, clean and mostly affordable.
While we live here we are actively looking at purchasing a house somewhere in the area.
A place where we can set up a proper studio for Cigdem as well as a place for all our stuff that we left in storage in CO.
Something with acreage and outbuildings would be nice.

*

I have been at a new, non-tech job for 4 months now. The hours are long and I'm on the road a lot.

 
'Thank God I'm only watching the game, controlling it.'

 
My employer graciously took me in when others would not and saved me from the seemingly only other options I had available which were line jobs at local manufacturing companies.
I'm not sure how I would have handled working the 3rd shift or something more...unfortunate.

 

Indeed


 
Walmart
 
 
I am very thankful to have the job and the benefits and perks are good. I haven't had a lot of free time to work on books, the website, this blog or to read.

Not complaining, just saying is all. 

*

Last year will be added to the origin stories of Cibado and Neutral Good Books...hell, maybe it's their true beginnings.

We are, still in this fight.



Thanks and gratitude to all our friends and family who have supported us in the last year...you damn well know who you are!


 
Thanks For All The Fishes!
 
 
 
A shout out to the following folks who played a very special part in making last year possible:
 
Bill, Sue, Dave and Lori
 
Without your short shortsightedness, cowardly actions and chickenshit decisions we may have never escaped the prison we were unknowingly trapped in.

 

 
11's Bitches!