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So, after a couple of entries that didn't speak much about recent goings-on, I offer a late-night catch-up post -- I can stay up late, you see, as tomorrow is my much-loved once-fortnightly day off.

I've been playing and enjoying Knights of the Old Republic II. It has the principal pleasure of all good sequels -- a return to a beloved imaginary landscape. It makes a number of small improvements in the mechanics from the first game, but is essentially not much different from the first in most ways (though it's a bit darker and more bleak than the original, which was pretty dark and bleak at times itself).

As for presents: You may have seen the haircut. Heather also gave me a lovely shirt, and Silent Hill 4: The Room for the Xbox. Whee! I'm reading The Knight by Gene Wolfe (thanks, Jenn!) And Greg sent us a trinity of coffee, which we have been grinding, brewing, and drinking with great gusto. There are brightly-wrapped boxes all over the place in our living room. The cats are going crazy, eating bows as fast as we can affix them to presents. All is well.

Last night I finished layout on Pook's Original Miscellany, our new holiday chapbook. I'll take it to be printed tomorrow. It's illustrated mostly with old alchemical symbols and woodcuts, with some tarot and danse macabre imagery included as necessary. It has three stories: Heather's "A Periodic Fable", which will also be part of the Exquisite Corpuscle project; my "Eros & Thanatos" (which is online elsewhere); and my otherwise-unpublished fantasy "Pages Torn from the Wanderer's Diary." As always, we'll be sending our chapbook out in lieu of holiday cards to some friends and family, and after the new year, if we have any left, we'll sell them online and at conventions for $3 a pop or something.

The actual day of my birthday was not so great. The predicted hedonism did not ensue. Heather was sick all day, culminating with a trip to the hospital in the afternoon. No fun! But, after taking Monday to recuperate, she's doing better now. Probably a virus, possibly food poisoning, not the flu. So we took a raincheck on birthday hedonism. So it goes.

I'm working on a Rangergirl spin-off story. It's proceeding. I hope to finish a draft tomorrow, but we'll see. I make myself no promises, though I do quietly set goals.

Now, assorted linkages! Matt Cheney reviews those batshit little zines, including our own Flytrap (which is, incidentally, perhaps the best holiday gift imaginable in this or any other possible world. Possibly.)

Go buy a copy of Amazing Stories #608, because it has Greg's story "Authorwerx", one of my favorites. At some point in the future, they're publishing his "Anywhere There's a Game", which is hands-down my favorite van Eekhout story. You might not know it from the magazine's media-oriented exterior, but they're publishing some first-rate fiction, and deserve support. If I couldn’t read it for free at work, I'd have to subscribe!

And go buy Rotten Relations, for Jenn Reese's "With A Face Only A Mother Could Love" (the best thing to happen to Grendel since John Gardner!).

I also hear Mike Jasper's collection Gunning for the Buddha is going to be available soon, and that's a must-have, too.

Why buy these things? Because of the holidays, my friend. Because this season, it is commonly held to be the season of giving, and I like telling you what to give.



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