Strange Encounters are coming TOMORROW!

Well, it’s almost here: this special show I’ve been working on all month. 3 hours long. 5 interesting people to talk to, 5 hosts, call-ins, tweet-chat, Facebook chat.. INSANE! ūüôā

Tomorrow night, tune in to CHSR-FM 97.9 in Fredericton or¬†the online stream at¬†to hear the show! We’ll give out the call-in number during the show, but if you want to phone in your Strange Encounter call 206-203-2292 and leave a message, or email weirdshow[at] with your story.

As a result of this being on Friday night, I’m not likely to have time for a regular CAFFEEN episode for Saturday morning. I might, but no guarantees.

You see, this isn’t¬†just¬†about doing a great show. Sure, that’s what I’m intending to do, but this is also about raising money for my adopted home, the campus/community radio station CHSR-FM. I’ve been a volunteer here for over a dozen years, and now work here every day. I believe in the power of radio, and the great role in the community that we play as a hub of communication. If you’ve enjoyed my show, give a good portion of the credit to the station that allowed me to create it, and¬†donate to our station’s Fundrive. Thank you.

See you on Friday night! 8pm AST/GMT-4, 7pm EST

If “Life is what you make it”, what are we making it into?

Contemplation of the ancient and the new, all at once..

Every once and a while, I seem to sit up straight, cast off the blanket of “normal life”, and look around with fresh eyes. During those times, I start to wonder: “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?”

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not entirely unhappy with my life. I doubt this is any real sort of “mid-life crisis”-induced thinking. Granted, the phenomenon is common enough to be a clich√©, and one of the most astonishing things one realizes about one’s life is how many of those are true, even without consciously being molded into them..

No, it’s not entirely about any form of dissatisfaction in life that I put that question to myself. Rather, it is the strange notion of “age” and “age appropriateness” which I’ve never entirely cottoned on to.

(Er.. “to which I’ve never entirely cottoned”? Let’s not let grammar get in the way of meaning, shall we?)

I’ve always felt that age was really just a label, and really not meaningful. When I was a kid, I got along better with adults than other kids. As an adult, I’ve always related to university-age “kids” better than contemporaries. I’ve always bristled at the notion that I had “to grow up” or “grow out of childish things”.

I don’t think I fall into the clich√© of “man-boy” — I’m plenty mature. Actually, in some ways I think it’s the prime of my life: I’m old enough, mature enough and experienced enough to have self-control, reflection, insight, intelligence, appreciate hard work and so forth, yet still young enough to appreciate fun things and allow my mind and heart to wander. I don’t have the phenomenal disposable income someone of my age typically gets from work, but that’s less typical these days for the majority of people anyway.

I think I’m caught in the in-between generation, the generation that started when the world worked one way — let’s call that the standard model¬†— and a brand-new way, which we’ll call the new model. Continue reading

Facing one’s limited Faces

Becoming someone else is hard.

I don’t mean changing who you actually¬†are, but rather, the process of putting on a role, such as what an actor or a gamer does.

I’m not really an actor — I’ve done some audio drama and one stage play in high school — but I am¬†a gamer. I love to game, but have a very hard time truly inhabiting a character. To do that requires, I think, a certain sense of empathy and imagination, which I have when I’m writing, but when it comes to gaming I’m often just a bit too tired to focus and summon that skill.

I should clarify for the newbs: when I¬†say “gaming”, I’m not referring to video games, I’m referring to old-school, table-top, pen-and-paper, dice-and-character-sheets, game-master-and-players kind of gaming. I’ve been doing that since about 1991, playing in dozens of games — perhaps hundreds by now? I’ve probably run a dozen or two games, with varying success, and I’ve written game skeletons, fictions and even a few very bad game systems.

When I¬†say “gaming”, I¬†mean gaming.

And it’s hard to do.

At least for me.. Continue reading

Chestnuts roasting over an open memory

I don’t have a lot of rituals. I have a few patterns, like my morning routine, but they aren’t filled with any meaning. They are functional patterns, designed to take me from initial State A to End State B with an efficient number of steps, established through many years of practice and slow, gradual, mostly subconscious modification.

But tonight I picked up chestnuts. Honest-to-God, 100% edible, roastable-just-like-the-song chestnuts. And I will roast them, probably Thursday night, and I will eat them. And it will be ritual, a welcoming sign of the Christmas season approaching. Continue reading

Decembeard 6, 2011: Burger-Shaped Emptiness

To the 'stache, I'm adding a soul patch, goatee and sideburns (not yet visible).

What is it about the late-night craving that is so intense?

I’ve already had my supper. I ate lunch. I had a bagel for breakfast. Sure, the meals weren’t grand and huge, but they were tasty. Ok, maybe I didn’t entirely feel satisfied after each meal, but that’s normal, right? You’re not supposed to feel full, right?

But later that night, I’m feeling peckish. That is to say, stark raving hungry. I could eat a horse (provided you could cook it), or at least a small flock of birds. Someone mentions running out for a late-night burger, and suddenly: I’m ravenous.

So, I try to satiate the beast. I have a bun. A bagel is unfrozen. Maybe a cookie.

Nothing works. Continue reading