Sunday Afternoon Gaming Cancelled

The Sunday afternoon regularly scheduled gaming session that was due to take place today has been cancelled.

Tammy and I spoke yesterday (Saturday), and with Ottawa being a current hot spot and red zone for the coronavirus pandemic, she felt it best and prudent that we take gaming off today (Sunday). I agreed with her for the most part, though in part that was due to the fact that I'm still feeling under the weather myself. SteveR is feeling pretty tired at the moment from his work week, so he agreed as well. So today's gaming session is off.

This means that I won't be running the scheduled session of the Sunday afternoon Zorro: The Roleplaying Game campaign this afternoon. I'm looking forward to running the next session of the Sunday campaign whenever that happens, hopefully in the next two weeks.

No idea what I'm going to do this afternoon, but it will likely involve some reading, perhaps a bit of DVD watching, and definitely some napping/sleeping. That, and hydrate and stay warm.

Friday Evening Gaming Session Cancelled

Tonight's game session with the Friday night group has been cancelled.

With the coronavirus pandemic surging here in the Ottawa area, the Friday night players have decided that the social circles with five people, six including the GM (that's me), is just too large to take the risk gaming this evening. Add to that the fact that a couple of the players have cases of the sniffles (likely due to the cold weather, hopefully not flu) and don't want to spread that around... And I'll admit that I've been feeling under the weather the last few days, with body aches, a bit of a cough and feeling out of sorts. So tonight's gaming session is off.

This means that I won't be running the scheduled session of the Friday night Zorro: The Roleplaying Game campaign this evening. I'm looking forward to running the game session when the Friday nighters meet again in two weeks, health willing.

In the meantime, I'm just going back to hydrating, staying warm, and taking it easy for the evening.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #238

Here's another comic entry for the Legion of Super-Heroes classic re-reads, this time a reprint of a classic story from back in the Adventure Comics days... Enjoy!





Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #238
April, 1978

Cover: Jim Starlin (wraparound) (signed)
Editor: Allen Milgrom

“The End of the Legion!”
Writer: Jim Shooter
Layouts: Jim Shooter
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: George Klein
Letterer: Milton Snapinn
Colourist: Uncredited
Cover: Curt Swan (pencils) and George Klein (inks)
Editor: Mort Weisinger

Mission Monitor Board:
Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, Superboy, Invisible Kid, Sun Boy, Element Lad, Colossal Boy, Duo Damsel, Dream Girl, Star Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, Light Lass, Princess Projectra, Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Supergirl

Opposition:
The people of Earth

This story is reprinted from Adventure Comics Vol 1 #359.


“The Legion Chain Gang!”
Writer: Jim Shooter
Layouts: Jim Shooter
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: George Klein
Letterer: Milton Snapinn
Colourist: Uncredited
Cover: Curt Swan (pencils) and George Klein (inks)
Editor: Mort Weisinger

Mission Monitor Board:
Karate Kid, Invisible Kid, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Phantom Girl, Brainiac 5, Star Boy, Superboy, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Duo Damsel, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Sun Boy, Element Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Colossal Boy, Saturn Girl, Dream Girl, Princess Projectra (cameo)

Guest:
Rond Vidar

Opposition:
"President Boltax"


This story is reprinted from Adventure Comics Vol 1 #360.


Commentary:
This issue of the comic is a reprint. This is the first time since the Legion had returned to cover billing, some 40 issues prior, that there was no new Legion tale this month. The issue is a 46-page tale, with no advertisements that reprints Adventure Comics Vol 1 #359-360.

On the inside front cover, Allen Milgrom apologized to the readers for the deadline crunch, and how in order to catch up with it somewhat, a reprint of a classic story was offered. What the issue did have going for it was a magnificent wrap-around cover by Jim Starlin that recreated the Adventure Comics Vol 1 #360 cover by Curt Swan and George Klein. At this time, Starlin was most famous for working at Marvel Comics, so Legion fans were quite surprised to see this glorious piece of art. The good news is that there was more Starlin goodness to come in the near future.


Final Notes:

The inside back cover of the issue features another Legion Outpost Extra, "More Time Paradox Syndromes" written by Jay L. Zilber, and taken from an issue of The Legion Outpost (though which one is not identified here).





Next Issue: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #239

Karate Kid Vol 1 #13

Haven't posted a comic blog entry in some time, so... Here's another of the Legion of Super-Heroes classic comics, this time out another issue of the Karate Kid series. Enjoy! :)





Karate Kid Vol 1 #13
(March-April) April, 1978
“Tomorrow’s Battle... Yesterday!”
Writer: Bob Rozakis
Penciller: Juan Ortiz
Inker: Bop McLeod
Letterer: Milton Snapinn
Colourist: Anthony Tollin
Cover: Rich Buckler (pencils) and Bob McLeod (inks) (signed)
Editor: Allen Milgrom

Featuring:
Karate Kid

Guest Star:
Superboy

Mission Monitor Board:
Lightning Lad, Sun Boy, Superboy, Colossal Boy, Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy

Opposition:
Major Disaster; The Lord of Time; Diamondeth (cameo)


Synopsis:
This story continues from where the previous issue left off. In the false Smallville constructed by Superboy where Karate Kid has the Teen of Steel in a vicelike grip, Lightning Lad tells the Kid to release Superboy or they'll take him apart. Karate Kid tries to tell him that this is a fake Superboy, but Lightning Lad blast him with a bolt of electricity. Fortunately, Karate Kid has Superboy as a shield, so is unharmed. However, when Sun Boy adds his heat attack to the mix, Karate Kid finds Superboy getting too hot to handle. He uses a maneuver he learned on the planet of Parikan and sends Superboy spinning like a top, knocking the Legionnaires down like ten pins. As Karate Kid uses the distraction to get away, he is grabbed by the leg by the giant Colossal Boy. He kicks Colossal Boy in the face, sending the giant Legionnaire down and reeling. When Lightning Lad fires another bolt at him, Karate Kid dodges, and the bolt strikes Saturn Girl, much to Lightning Lad's anguish. Chameleon Boy grabs Karate Kid in a straitjacket-like grip, but the Kid is able to break free, barely. He thinks he’s doing a great job against the Legionnaires, but can't figure out why Major Disaster used these fakes - heck, they’re even wearing the old costumes. Karate Kid demands answers of the Legionnaires, but they greet him with a metal "body prison" fashioned by Sun Boy and Cosmic Boy. Cosmic Boy polarizes Karate Kid's body, and the metal prison is attracted to him, and seals him up. When Karate Kid says that they now plan to kill him, Cosmic Boy is shocked as that goes against the Legion code. Karate Kid is surprised by this, and when the Legionnaires ask why he attacked Superboy, learn that he claims to be a member of the Legion. Saturn Girl confirms this telepathically, and the fact that he will be a Legionnaire in their future. Superboy frees the Kid from the "body prison," and Karate Kid realizes they truly *are* the Legion and that Superboy is the real mccoy. They compare notes and realize that Karate Kid was taken off the streets of New York, 1977, while the Legionnaires were grabbed from their headquarters during a Legion meeting.

Elsewhere in their secret base, Major Disaster's partner says it’s most unfortunate that the heroes have discovered the truth before any of them died, and his partner is revealed as The Lord of Time, who was responsible for transporting Karate Kid and the Legionnaires through time to Superboy's period. However, they have a multi-faceted plan, and Major Disaster puts it into motion.

Back in the false Smallville, Superboy's super-hearing picks up three distress signals. A tornado of fire is sweeping Metropolis, it's hailing boulders in Midvale, and a volcano has erupted in Smallville, spewing forth a flood of water. The Legionnaires split into three teams to handle the disasters, while Karate Kid and Saturn Girl make up a fourth team to find the source of them (aka Major Disaster). As Saturn Girl and Karate Kid take to the air via her flight belt, Karate Kid thanks her for bailing him out with the Legionnaires, but she replies that's what the Legion is all about. Her mind probe of him told her everything she needed to know, including why they've got to home in on Major Disaster.

In Midvale, the team of Superboy and Cosmic Boy work together on the hail of boulders. Superboy smashes a few of them and Cosmic Boy repels some more of them, but that's not a real solution. Superboy uses his super-cape, hooking it to the four corners of the town, and creates the world’s largest umbrella to shield the town from the boulders. In Metropolis, Lightning Lad's electrical bolts prove ineffective against the fiery tornado, but Chameleon Boy's switch to Chameleon fan gives Lightning Lad an idea. He has Chameleon Boy use the fan to blow the tornado out over the harbour and into the water, turning it to a cloud of steam. In Smallville, Colossal Boy works to save people threatened by the flood, telling them that they're pinch-hitting for Superboy, while Sun Boy tries to ineffectively transform the water at the volcano site into steam, but having little luck containing it. He has Colossal Boy make like the little Dutch boy, using his fist to plug the volcano, and then he proceeds to melt the base of it, turning it into a permanent plug.

Meanwhile, at S.T.A.R. Labs test facility in New York, Iris Jacobs receives another injection of a hydrocarbon serum to see if it's possible to adapt the human body to the increasing amounts of pollution in the atmosphere. She tells him that when she volunteered for the "adaptability" study, she didn't know it would be such a painful experience (due to all the injections). As she goes to bed that night in the lab, Iris hopes that Karate Kid will understand why she did this, so as to prove herself worthier than Princess Projectra. As she sleeps, Iris is struck by an energy beam that penetrates her body, radically changing the effects of the hydrocarbon serum...

Elsewhere, Karate Kid and Saturn Girl track down Major Disaster and the Lord of Time, the Kid busting into their secret base. Dodging the Lord of Time's blaster fire, the Kid strikes him hard, and takes him down. He also takes Major Diaster out with a single martial art boot to the face. He tells Saturn Girl that the machinery around them must be responsible for the various disasters, but rather than turn them off, the Kid destroys them utterly. The Legionnaires arrive to find the matter seemingly well in hand, but the Lord of Time was merely stunned. He transports the Legionnaires back to their proper place in the timestream, and before Karate Kid can strike him again, sends him back to 1977 New York. As Superboy lunges for him, the Lord of Time and Major Disaster depart as well, the former not wishing to outstay his welcome.

Elsewhere, back in 20th Century New York, Karate Kid appears on the street to find a scene of disaster. There is a creature going berserk, attacking everything in sight. It is Iris Jacobs, her body now made of solid diamond! The story continues in the next issue.


Commentary:
This issue continues from the previous tale, and is a pretty good story on the part of writer Bob Rozakis. The story starts with action, then has more action, and then finishes with a relatively simple denouement that ends with a danger from a most unexpected source back in the 20th Century. The writing is pretty good on the author’s part, right down to some of the humour and puns the 1960's Legionnaires used to make while on missions. The scene breakdowns are quite good, and move the story along, though I thought the fight sequence with Karate Kid vs. the Legionnaires was perhaps a bit long in the tooth. Once again, the Kid is able to use non-powered martial arts to fight the Legionnaires effectively until the end of the sequence, but that seems to be a bit of a return to a more Jim Shooter-ish faithful use of the Karate Kid character. Loose ends are somewhat tied up, notably the Legionnaires being returned to their own time with no memory of the events they just experienced, and the story comes to a natural conclusion, though it seems that Major Disaster and the Lord of Time are not finished with the Kid yet.

The story begins as one would expect, with Karate Kid facing off against the Legionnaires, and while he manages to hold his own (he's held his own against Superboy for the last issue, too!) eventually the Legionnaires get the better of him. The revelation that these are not a fake Superboy and Legionnaires, but rather from a time in the past before Karate Kid became a member of the Legion is no surprise to most readers (or perhaps it was, but not to me on my first reading). I had actually thought that Karate Kid would have figured it out, but he seems to have been too focused on Major Disaster being responsible for what had been happening, though perhaps that made sense to the character at the time. Once Saturn Girl has cleared up the confusion, author Rozakis keeps the action coming with the three disasters. This is quite fitting for the Legion style and feel of this period, and with the sheer number of Legionnaires in the story it made sense to split them up.

The revelation of Major Disaster's partner-in-crime, the Lord of Time, comes at this point and is one that answers several questions about how Major Disaster has been able to temporally shift Karate Kid and where he's been getting his super-advanced technology. That said, this is not their story, and both Major Disaster and the Lord of Time play very minor roles in the story and are not developed as villains, per sé, though it seems they both escape Superboy and the Legionnaires at the end of the story.

Karate Kid's return to the 20th Century to find that Iris Jacobs is now villainous and dangerous in nature, makes for a great cliffhanger to the issue. On the subject of Iris Jacobs, the character has been somewhat boring and predictable (too "stale and crummy," as noted in a letter in this issue), but that is about to change. Iris's motivation for becoming a S.T.A.R. Labs test subject was a bit iffy to begin with, but I suppose love does make people do strange and dangerous things at times. We'll just have to wait and see where this leads.

The artwork this issue, by penciller Juan Ortiz and inker Boy McLeod, is quite good. Their style together reminds me somewhat of a modern Curt Swan, though the sharpness of some of the pencil lines and the inking is not quite of Swan level. The action scenes (and there are quite a few of them here) are very well rendered, with a sense of motion and vitality given to them all. All the "sound effects" of noises and action effects are rendered in large red or purple letters, and make them stand out on the page. There are backgrounds in pretty much every panel, a credit to penciller Ortiz, and these gave the story more appeal for me as a reader.

Overall, this was a good issue of Karate Kid's own title, one of the best of the series so far, and gave the reader a little bit of everything, with a good cliffhanger to whet the appetite.


Final Notes:

It is never stated when the Legionnaires who show up in this story are from. The fact that they do not know who Karate Kid is and that they wear their 1960's costumes means the Legionnaires come from before Adventure Comics Vol 1 #346, in which Karate Kid joined the Legion. However, the fact that they use flight belts, rather than the later flight rings, means that the story definitely takes place before the events of Adventure Comics Vol 1 #329, when the flight ring made its debut...

While Lightning Lad is giving the orders, either Cosmic Boy or Saturn Girl would have been the Legion Leader at this time. However, since there's no specific clue given in the story as to when the Legionnaires were plucked out of time by the Lord of Time, we may never know for sure. (But see the previous notation.)...

The Lord of Time is a Justice League of America villain who made his first appearance in Justice League of America Vol 1 #11 and then reappeared in issue #50...

Karate Kid's last encounter with Major Disaster came in Karate Kid Vol 1 #11.





Next Issue: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #238

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Canada!

It's a somewhat cool day outside at the moment here for Thanksgiving Day in the Ottawa valley. Chilly for October, though I guess that's to be expected at this time of year. I want to wish all my Canadian friends a very good day, and one that is filled with all sorts of reasons for being thankful. To honour this day, I thought I would just share a bit of Canadian music from Nova Scotia musician Melanie Doane...





To all my Canadian friends and peeps, here's wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Friday Evening Game Report - Zorro: The Roleplaying Game, Session 3

Last night, the Friday night gaming group continued their game campaign of the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game RPG. You can read about the previous game session by following the link. This post is extremely long, so I've put it behind a cut for those who don't want to read about my roleplaying game campaigns.


1_Zorro_RPG-cover.jpg


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Friday night's game session of the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game campaign went very well, with the players finally gaining an understanding of what is going on and what is to happen, and realizing they are the ones who must deal with the devious plans of Captain Pasquale. There was no fighting this session, much to Mark's dismay, as he wanted to "bash some soldado heads" with his club, but Kathy pointed out that he will get the chance next session in a big way. The players enjoyed themselves tremendously, every one of them getting chance to interact with the others and several NPCs in the pueblo, and their masked identities will be on full display in the next session.

Overall, an enjoyable game session of the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game game, and I'm looking forward to the next session of the game.

Books Read in September, 2020

As is my standard usage of my blog space at or near the beginning of the month, I present the listing of my September, 2020 reads.


*****
Books Read in September, 2020

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Knight's Dawn by Kim Hunter (r)

Ring of Swords by Eleanor Arnason (r)

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #6-8 (Comics)

Lady Zorro Vol 1 #1 (Comic)

Amethyst Vol 4 #3-5 (Comics)

Zorro: Timeless Tales #1-2 (Comics)

Dejah Thoris Vol 3 #5-7 (Comics)

DC Cybernetic Summer #1 (Comic)

Action Comics #1024 (Comic)

Robert Asprin's Myth-Fits by Jody Lynne Nye

September, 2020 Reader's Digest

Zorro: The Complete Pulp Adventures, Vol. 2 by Johnston McCulley

S.P.Q.R. XII: Oracle of the Dead by John Maddox Roberts

Pompeii: A Tale of Murder in Ancient Rome by Robert Colton

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (r)
*****

And that was reading that I did in September of this year. This was a pretty good month of reading on my part, both in terms of the quality and quantity (just a touch above my monthly average) of the books read, and there were three re-reads in September. The variety of reading this past month was pretty good, but needless to say, my bookcases are still stacked with a pretty large To Read Queue (TRQ). The books I enjoyed the most were:

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad - Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There, the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population - except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar. But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield. This first novel by the author has a cover that is as beautiful as the content, and I have to admit that I enjoyed reading the detailed descriptions of the city of Noor as the novel went on. It is an incredibly marvellous, beautifully crafted story of magic, religion, food, adventure, strong women, and mythology. The world building by the author in the book is truly sublime, and I must admit tht I got very hungry reading the descriptions of food and the smells of the market. I'm not going to spoil the plot of the story for anyone, but will say that Fatima is a very neat, very strong female character who holds her own throughout the tale, even when she doesn't seem to be doing so. The romance in this novel is a very nicely handled one, that has some interesting twists as well, and that also held my interest. My only criticism of the novel is that the timeline seems a bit confusing. A week has passed for one of the characters and only a night for another. Perhaps the scene that I'm talking about here is out of order in the book, as it would make more sense if the latter had occurred before the former. Other than that, this novel is a superb book, an excellent read, and I highly recommend it. Arabian fantasy at its best.

Robert Asprin's Myth-Fits by Jody Lynne Nye - This is the 21st novel in the Myth series about wizard Skeeve and his mentor Aazh, begun by Robert Asprin, continued by him and Jody Lynne Nye, and the second book by Nye on her own. Business is slow for M.Y.T.H., Inc., and its president, Bunny, is getting nervous that the company might not meet its quarterly goal. So when a job comes in that's worth an absurd amount of gold - and also happens to take them to Winslow, the most luxurious vacation resort in any dimension - the team jumps at the opportunity to recoup some cash and maybe catch some R&R. Only, magician Skeeve has an unsettling feeling that this mission might be trickier than it seems. Someone in Winslow is messing with the magic lines and working hard to ensure that the M.Y.T.H. crew gets nowhere near the powerful relic that they've been hired to find. And as the mysterious manipulation turns deadly, Skeeve, Bunny, Aahz, and the rest of their partners find themselves in a race not only to finish the job but also to escape paradise alive. The first book by Jody Lynne Nye, Myth-Quoted, made me hope that she would continue the series with the same humour and vigour that Bob Asprin and later she and Asprin had brought to the earlier novels, and this second book by the author has certainly cemented this hope. Like its predecessor, Robert Asprin's Myth-Fits is more focused, shows a good deal of character progression and feels more like the books published during the series' heyday in the 1980s, rather than the books co-written by the two authors. What helps here is that the entire gang of characters is together again, and that the book is written from Skeeve's perspective. The M.Y.T.H. Inc. crew is hired to help find the Loving Cup, a magical cup that makes people agree and come to accord with each other. Aahz is hired by an ambassador who needs it for peace talks in his dimension, and their quest takes them to a resort dimension where, for only three gold pieces a day, they can have anything they want. Early on, they realize they can just ask customer assistance for the Loving Cup, but of course it can't be that easy. That said, I have to say that the book is an improvement, but it's still not perfect. There's a lengthy dimensional aside near the beginning of the book that's significant, but not revisited except in passing near the end of the book. Perhaps this dimension will be significant in future books (hints dropped in Myth-Quoted are realized in Myth-Fits, so there's a precedent), but it felt a little out of place. It fits the part of the story at first, but given how important it felt to the characters and story, I kept expecting it to play into the larger plot. These last two books in the series have felt rather good, and Myth-Fits doesn't feel like a final book in a series. So I will await another Myth book when it comes. In the meantime, I recommend this one if you want to have a smile on your face for the whole read of a book. :)

Zorro: The Complete Pulp Adventures, Vol. 2 by Johnston McCulley - What can I say about this one? I've been a fan of Zorro since...well, to be honest, I can't remember when, but with the release of the new Zorro: The Roleplaying Game from Gallant Knight Games, I figured it was time to re-read the stories. So I have been doing so gradually, and this is the second volume in the series from the folks at Bold Ventures. This lovely volume from Bold Venture Press contains three tales about the masked hero. The first is "The Further Adventures of Zorro," a full-length story that takes the Fox to the high seas when pirates arrive on the shores of Alta California, and decide to claim the pueblo of Los Angeles as their spoils. The second story, the 30-page "Zorro Deals With Treason," has Zorro having to deal with a masked imposter! Finally, "The Mysterious Don Miguel" is a 70-page tale where the title character creates much confusion in Reina de Los Angeles. Is he Zorro's enemy - or Don Diego Vega's friend? The book is led off by an essay on Johnston McCulley and what led him to write the Zorro stories, and reveals a few things I didn't really know. The stories here are very good, featuring swordplay with some humour thrown in. What is notable in these three stories is the sheer amount of violence, notably in the tale with the pirates, but there is also the constant dedication of the hero to his cause, even if sometimes it seems that all is lost for Zorro. Each story has very nice illustrations that are really marvellous, and bring across who and what Zorro is. Highly recommended for folks who have an interest in such swashbuckling genres.

S.P.Q.R. XII: Oracle of the Dead by John Maddox Roberts - The twelfth book in the S.P.Q.R. series by the author. Decius Caecilius Metellus, this year's magistrate for cases involving foreigners, is living the good life in southern Italy, happy to be away from Rome, a city suffering war jitters over Caesar's impending actions. He thinks he is merely visiting one of the local sights when he takes a party to visit the Oracle of the Dead, a pre-Roman cult site located at the end of a tunnel dug beneath a temple of Apollo. He quickly learns that there is a bitter rivalry between the priests of Apollo and those of Hecate, who guard the oracle. When the priests of Apollo are all killed, the countryside looks to explode in violence as Greeks, Romans and native Italians of several conquered nations bring out old enmities. Decius is caught squarely in the middle, desperate to find a way out that will pacify the district and, incidentally, save his own skin. I love Roman historical Fiction. When it involves a mystery, I like it even more. In this tale, Decius Caecilius Metellus is now middle-aged and serving as Rome's praetor peregrinus, the magistrate who administers justice for foreigners. The story is told from his point of view (as all of the series' tales have been) as he is now retired and writing his memoirs having lived through the momentous years that resulted in the end of the Roman Republic. He has known all of the major players including Julius Caesar, his wife's cousin, and Pompey Maximus, Caesar's main opponent. He does his writing with both a sense of irony and humour, which makes for excellent reading. Decius is staying in Campania where he is hearing cases and dispensing justice. On his day off, he visits the shrine of the goddess Hecate and consults her Oracle. Unfortunately, the predictions are interrupted when a dead body shows up. It is that of the Head Priest of the next-door temple to Apollo. When he visits that temple the dead bodies of all the priests are found. Other murders keep happening and there is an attempt on Decius's life also, upping the stakes. After his recovery from his wounds, Decius works hard to find out what is going on. He eventually, of course, figures it out and brings the miscreants to justice. One of the things I love about the series is that author Roberts is so meticulous in describing both the characters, but also the culture of the late Roman Republic. His extensive research is evident in this book. Decius is a flawed hero but that fact makes him all the more real. I have really enjoyed the series to this point, and am quite saddened that the next volume is the end of the series (or so it would seem). Roberts has created a lovely character in the flawed hero of this series, and I will sorely miss him after the next book. Highly recommended.

I pretty much enjoyed all the books that I read in September, but these are the ones that stuck out in my mind.

Overall, I managed to read 8 novels, 0 RPG and RPG products, 1 magazine, 14 comics, and 0 graphic novels in September. This brings the year total for 2020 to a set of numbers that look like this: 73 books, 16 RPGs and RPG products, 16 magazines, 95 comics, and 2 graphic novels.

Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)

Getting Ready for Friday Night Gaming

Gaming this evening with the Friday gaming group is on.

There was some concern tonight that the Friday night group wouldn't game this evening due to the resurgent coronavirus pandemic that is ongoing in Ottawa at the moment, but after a mid- to late afternoon discussion with the players, it was decided by all concerned that gaming would go ahead tonight.

I'll be continuing on with the Friday night Zorro: The Roleplaying Game campaign this evening, and am looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I need to scoot upstairs and make myself some supper. Couple of hamburgers, I think, with some rice on the side and some grilled zucchini.

Have a good evening, folks. :)

Happy Birthday, Ciarán McMenamin

There's a birthday in the Primeval tv series family today.

Happy Birthday to Ciarán McMenamin today!

Ciarán is the talented actor who played Matt Anderson in Series 4 and 5 of the Primeval tv series. Ciarán, who turns 44 years of age today, has a pretty decent set of credits in both television and film (see the link above).

It took me a few episodes of watching Primeval UK Series 4 to come to like the character of Matt, who had all manner of secrets (but don't most of the characters in the series?), and the last moment of Series 5 made me desperately want to see more of Matt (both of him). Sorry that the series is gone, to be honest, as I'd really come to like his character.

So here's wishing Ciarán McMenamin a terrific birthday today!

October Is a New Month

It's the start of October. A new month.

To be honest, I'm really happy to see the rear end of September. I suspect that most people are.

While there were a few good moments in the month, September was a month that I will remember because of two things (not including the other stuff I've had to deal with). First, the pain that I'm in. Second for the bed bug infestation in my house.

Most of the pain is in my left leg, my feet, my left shoulder, and my abdomen. The abdominal pain is on my left side, and is consistent with a hernia. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, my doctor won't see me until after I get the results of the blood tests that I finally got done four weeks ago. But due to the pandemic, the labs are backed up on all tests except emergency cases because of the COVID-19 testing being done. Even if it is a hernia, elective surgeries have been postponed, so I've been living with the abdominal pain, and have limited mobility, carrying capacity, reaching capacity, and pretty much can't bend down. I'm hoping that October finally gets me into the doctor's office.

Then there's the bed bugs. There's no knowing when the bed bugs came into the house, spread here by my mother from her place, but I'd noticed stuff was strange and the bite marks on my body some six weeks ago. After an aborted attempt to get a company to come in and treat the house and clean everything, I finally switched to Orkin Canada, and they were here a week ago today to get the job done. In the meantime, I went into a hotel for four days while the process was being done. I came back into the house on Monday, and now have to hope that the bed bugs are gone. But I'm having what I call bed bug PTSD (and have been having it since I started being bitten): I afraid to sleep in the bed, and when I do I get at most 3 hours of rest; I have to keep the light on at night in the bedroom; I keep "feeling" creepy crawlies on me; have persistent bed bug and other insect nightmares all night long; and I keep seeing bugs where there may not be any. Apparently, these symptoms are typical of a lot of people who suffer from bed bugs. To be honest, there have been times when I feel like I'm going insane. Or am insane. (But part of that also stems from the feelings of isolation, loneliness, and helplessness during the pandemic the last seven months.) October will hopefully be a month where the bed bug problem is resolved if it hasn't already been, and I can try to get back to a sense of normality.

And when I say normality above, I'm talking for me in the house. The coronavirus pandemic continues unabated as the second wave is upon us, and it's looking like it's going to be even more devastating than the first wave when the virus started. Especially when combined with the flu season, and the similarity of symptoms between the two. Part of me thinks that the governmen will have to put into play another full isolation and lockdown set-up, but I'm hoping that's not the case.

Anyway, here's hoping that October is a better, more comfortable month, and that winter doesn't strike too early or too hard at all. ::knock on wood::

In the meantime, let pumpkin madness strike. :)