Great News and Graphic Content

We’ll get to an upcoming nerd event in a second, but first I wanted to share something.  I posted a little while back about Spider Robinson’s daughter Terri Luanna and her fight against cancer.  Last week Spider took the time to drop by the site and pass on some great news:

Since you were kind enough to mention my daughter Terri da Silva’s breast cancer here, I wanted you to be among the first to hear the good news we got today. After her first round of chemo, her oncologist reports that all the metastases, the tumours in her lymph nodes and leg bones, ARE GONE, and that the original tumours in her breast have all shrunk by at least 50%, and the largest one shrank by more than 75%. She is still, and will always be, a Stage 4 cancer patient…but for the moment, she has kicked cancer’s ass. She will not, after all, need mastectomy or radiation, just a lifetime of very careful chemo. She and her husband attribute all this change (which stunned her doctors) to her positive attitude and lifestyle: to saying “Yes” rather than “No” as you say above. See her splendid blog for details. Thank you very much for helping to bring attention to Terri and her blog: I’m quite sure it helped. And thanks to all who took a moment to throw Terri a prayer or a few bucks for her huge medical bills.
Shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased. Please share my joy!

I am truly happy to share this joy!  I’ll add my meagre thanks to anyone reading this blog that took the time to donate or send good wishes.  You guys and dolls are the best!

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On that happy note, let’s look at the one and only nerd event on my radar.  Despite the weather’s attempt to force snow on us, it is way too beautiful out there to miss out on this….

Graphic Content: Ghost World

 The latest and greatest in the Graphic Content series at The Metro!  Starring Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson, Ghost World is one of the most highly regarded comic book movies ever made.  Screening is this Tuesday, April 17th at 9pm.  Looking at the Metro site this looks to be the last film in the current series, so I’ll be keen to see what the next series holds for us.  Update: There is a Graphic Content for both May and June, and then they take a break, starting the second series in September.  In the meantime, come check out a great movie with great people!

…and that’s it for now.  If there is a nerdy event happening that you aren’t telling me about, shame on you!  Let me know so I can let other folks know.  In general, if you are a comic book nerd you should keep your eyes open for Free Comic Book Day, coming up on May 5 (yes, the day after The Avengers opens).  I know for sure that Wizard’s Comics & Collectibles and Happy Harbor have events planned for FCBD, and I suspect other comic shops might as well.  So nose around…

That’s it for now.  Join me tomorrow for a bit of geek fitness wisdom.  Because spring is a good time to work on that “Dorito spread”…

Spider Robinson Needs Our Help

While many writers have given me ideas and inspiration, there are only a few authors that have shaped the way I think to any significant degree.  Spider Robinson is one of those authors.  Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon had the effect of jump-starting my emotional intelligence, and starting me to think about compassion in its many forms.  That development continued through the rest of the Callahan series, and as I branched out into his other non-Callahan works, like The Free Lunch, the Lifehouse Trilogy and the Stardance Trilogy (co-written with his wife Jeanne, now sadly gone from us).

I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that at their heart every Spider Robinson book is about compassion.  Often between and for specific characters, but just as often for the whole damn smelly, noisy human race.  They carry in them the idea that it is possible to nurture and also be strong, that there is no weakness in caring; indeed, there is a profound fortitude to be found in loving.

As flawed as I am I would not be even half that man without the Spider Robinson’s words.  His work has reached me and helped me at some of the darkest points in my life, and I don’t have the words to describe what that means to me.  There are simply some debts that can never be repayed in full.  But it doesn’t stop me from trying.

Simply put, Spider Robinson needs our help.  As I mentioned earlier, Spider’s wife Jeanne passed away in 2010, after fighting cancer to a draw.  Now, their only daughter Terri Luanna, has also been diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.  She is undergoing treatment and the odds, while not the desirable 100%, are good.  But she and her family could still use help, because of the myriad costs associated with the treatment and just…life.

If you have ever read and enjoyed a Spider Robinson novel, please donate what you can to help Terri Luanna.  If his work has in any way touched your life the way it has mine, please help.  Even if you’ve never read his work (and you should), trust me when I say that he is one of the most decent men among us and deserves our help and support.  Give what you can, because even the small amounts add up over time.  And even if you are totally skint and can’t donate take a moment to hit “Like” on her Facebook page and help get the word out on Facebook and Twitter.

And I highly recommend taking the time to read Terri Luanna’s blog, Graceful Woman Warrior.  It is funny and well-written and touching by turns, and well worth the time spent.

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Update:  Jan Schroeder has begun the Graceful Woman Warrior auction on eBay in support of this cause.  There are some wonderful items up for auction so please take a moment to check them out and spread the word.

Humpday Links for September 7

In honour of Random Acts of Publicity Week, I’ve decided to provide some links to my favourite books, games and authors.  Check them out, you may discover some really cool stuff.

– Let’s begin with Spider Robinson, one of my favourite authors of all time.  His writing in general and his Callahan books in particular, informed a lot of my attitudes towards matters of equality and equanimity.  I cannot recommend Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon enough, but track down Mindkiller, as well as the Stardance trilogy he co-wrote with his late wife, Jeanne Robinson.  Even if you don’t agree with everything he says, you may just find yourself enjoying the way he says it.

– And onto Charles de Lint, the author who was my introduction to the world of urban fantasy.  Before reading his novel Moonheart I had assumed that fantasy was firmly the province of made-up worlds filled with heroes and strange monsters.  Thanks to Mr. de Lint I know our world has heroes and strange monsters, too.

– Another of my favourite authors, though I discovered him later in my fantasy lit gestation, is Guy Gavriel Kay.  While he is best known for his Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, a wonderful blend of urban and high fantasy, he has also written a number of individual fantasy novels with the feel of historical fiction.  I recommend any of those works; Mr. Kay can do more with a single book than many authors manage with a trilogy or two.

– Moving away from literature and onto gaming.  Monte Cook has been my second favourite game author and designer even before he helped create the d20 version of Dungeons & Dragons.  Since then he has clinched that spot with Ptolus and (now looked after by Super Genius Games).  Getting to meet him was one of the high-points of my game-geek career, no question.

– So if the truly awesome Monte Cook is my second favourite, who is my favourite?  None other than the Canadian creator of The Forgotten Realms, Ed Greenwood of course!  The Forgotten Realms is my favourite published D&D campaign world; I’ve been in gamer-love with it since its inception in the pages of Dragon magazine.  I am angling to meet Mr. Greenwood soon, having just missed him the last time I was at Gen Con.

– Table-top RPGs have long been my geek passion, and D&D was at the forefront of that for many years.  Owing, however, to my various disagreements with the design of D&D 4E, the Pathfinder RPG became my new game de jour.  Besides the “D&D 3.75” aspect of the rules reboot, I have fallen in love with Golarion, the world that became the Pathfinder RPG’s default setting.  It is every bit as vibrant and mysterious as The Forgotten Realms were to me, and tops the list of my favourite published campaign worlds.  Add to that the fact that I respect Paizo’s attitude towards its fans a lot more than I do WotC/Hasbro’s, and I don’t think I’m ever going back to D&D.  If you ever want to check out the Pathfinder RPG, just drop me a line…

– We’ll end on a not-so-guilty pleasure, a little game I like to call Kobolds Ate My Baby! (mostly because that is what it is called).  It is an utterly ridiculous, loud and fun “beer and pretzels” game, wherein you play kobolds out to find the only food that matters: delicious babies!  Along the way, hilarity and carnage ensue.  If you can track down a copy, do it!  It is the perfect game for combining alcohol and friends.

That’s it for now.  Have any links you’d like to share, or comments on the above? Put them below…