Monday, December 24, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Twelve

On the twelfth day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
twelve talking bedsheets ("Something something Timeless Child"),
a P'Ting with the munchies ("Nom Nom Nom"),
a very lonely froggy ("Join the dead wives club. We're having jackets made!"),
nine reformed assassins("Eye Eye Eye Eye Witnesses"),
eight giant spiders ("Yes, I would prefer a prolonged death due to asphyxiation to a mercy killing. Thanks for asking, Doctor."),
seven wooden witches (It could be witches/ Some evil witches/ Which is ridiculous 'cause witches they were persecuted/Wicca good and love the earth and women power and I'll be over here.)
six rubbish robots (You, gentlemen, are no K-9. “K-9, K-9, Beep Deep Boop, K-9.”) ,
CURSED BUBBLE WRAP! (“Once you pop, you just can't stop"),
four lines for Yaz (“…”),
a king crying, "Satan!" ("Excuse me, where does the queue for the fiddle contest begin?")
a time-traveling racist ("But the real villain is racism")
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face! ("You can’t handle the tooth!" )

Thank you for reading!

A couple things:

1. I know it’s spelled Chibnall. Chinball is just funnier to say.
2. I really did like the season. It had a few episodes that were not my particular cup of tea, but I enjoyed what we got and want more of it.
3. Yaz didn’t have enough to do.
4. The adversaries were not great, but I can understand why they did it, and I think introducing new monsters is preferable to strip mining older material for ideas, even if the end result didn’t quite hit the mark.

Have a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Eleven

On the eleventh day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
a P'Ting with the munchies,
a very lonely froggy ("It's not easy being green"),
nine reformed assassins,
eight giant spiders,
seven wooden witches ("Ah, but can you not also make bridges out of stone?"),
six rubbish robots,
four lines for Yaz,
a king crying, "Satan!",
a time-traveling racist (In his Brando cosplay!)
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face! ("I won an award for sticking teeth to my face. It's a little plaque." )

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Ten

On the tenth day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
a very lonely froggy,
nine reformed assassins ("So many eyes!"),
eight giant spiders ("So many eyes!"),
seven wooden witches,
six rubbish robots,
four lines for Yaz,
a king crying, "Satan!"("Satan!"),
a time-traveling racist
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Nine

On the ninth day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
nine reformed assassins,
eight giant spiders ("So many legs!"),
seven wooden witches,
six rubbish robots (D84 wept),
four lines for Yaz ("Can we go back to Punjab? I had lines in that story."),
a king crying, "Satan!",
a time-traveling racist
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Eight

On the eighth day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
eight giant spiders,
seven wooden witches ("How do we tell if she is made of wood?" "Build a bridge out of her."),
six rubbish robots,
four lines for Yaz,
a king crying, "Satan!",
a time-traveling racist ("Has anyone seen my razor?")
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Seven

On the seventh day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
seven wooden witches,
six rubbish robots,
four lines for Yaz ("I'm still here!" ,
a king crying, "Satan!",
a time-traveling racist  (Like the Meddling Monk...but racist!")
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Six

On the sixth day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
six rubbish robots,
four lines for Yaz ,
a king crying, "Satan!" ("Satan!"),
a time-traveling racist
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face! ("Son, be a dentist!")

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Five

On the fifth day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
four lines for Yaz ("I'm the Tin Dog"),
a king crying, "Satan!",
a time-traveling racist ("Do you like my toothpick?")
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Four

On the fourth day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
four lines for Yasmin,
a king crying, "Satan!",
a time-traveling racist
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Three

On the third day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
A king crying, "Satan!",
a time-travelling racist,
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: Two

On the second day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
A time-traveling racist,
and a guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Twelve Days of Who-mas: One

On the first day of Who-mas Chris Chinball gave to me
A guy with teeth stuck to his face!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bittersweet Symphony: New Hamster Edition

We had a bittersweet trip up to New Hampshire two weeks ago.  My best friend Tim moved up there at the end of fifth grade. At the time, it seemed like the end of the world, because he would be living three hundred miles away and I would only ever see him when he came down to visit his dad in the summer.  But we bucked the odds and stayed friends over the years. We kept in touch through letters and later by email. When we grew old enough to drive, I visited him when I could and he returned the favor.  He was the best man at my wedding.

Now Tim is moving away again, this time to Georgia, which is certainly out of the range of a weekend trip. I’m quite happy that he’s going to get out of the lovely but stifling life in small-town New England, but I am quite sad that we won’t be seeing him nearly as much.

We departed on Thursday night and stayed in a motel with wood panel walls. Wood paneling is the best. Anyone who says different is selling something. (This means you, Jennifer)

Tim would be working until 5 pm that evening, so we took our time and meandered our way across Vermont. We stopped at a roadside attraction to pick up some maple sugar candy for our neighbors. (Don’t get your hopes up if you’re reading this, Nicole. It was too delicious and we eated it all up. Nom nom nom!) We also stopped by the museum in their basement. Jen was interested, I was ambivalent. I was expecting a Mystery Shack type scam,
but hey, we had time to kill and we were in tourist mode, so I was expecting to be fleeced like the punter I am.

However, the museum at  Hogsback Mountain was just tremendous. Great staff, fun and informative. It had a hologram of a T-Rex. What’s not to love?

We continued meandering and eventually found our way to the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. This was another delight. I found it through a google search for stuff to do in Keene and wasn’t expecting much from it except a reduction in the time I’d have to wait before I saw my friend. Two exhibits really stood out.

The beautifully handcrafted quilts featured in And Still We Rise were created by an international group of artists from the Women of Color Quilters Network and narrate the history of the African American experience, capturing the stories of freedom’s heroes and engaging visitors to reflect on and respond to significant national events over the past 400 years. The exhibition’s resonant theme is the triumph of the human spirit within African American culture.


The Biggest Book in the World about Peace: The product of twelve years of work by members of a middle school writers’ club in Groton, MA, this project was born from the simple conviction that young people CAN make a difference in helping to create a more peaceful world.

The quilts were inspiring. The book was grand.  The lady who ran the place was so friendly and informed.  Also, there was a dress made out of books. How cool is that?!

Then it was on to Keene to meet Tim!

We didn’t do a huge amount that first evening. Tim was house sitting, so I stayed with him and Jen and Lily stayed elsewhere. Then we met up and drove out to Funspot, the largest arcade in the world. Lily played Hercules, the oversized pinball game that uses billiard balls.

She played a bunch of redemption games too.  I played Cliffhanger, which is like Dragon’s Lair, but with the Castle of Cagliostro.

Jen played Burger Time. We were hoping for Yie Ar Kung-Fu, but they didn’t have it.

We stopped for Thai food and it was super delicious. Tim and I bought and played Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition. It was on sale for $4.79. We had played it previously, but it was fun to play it again. We enjoyed it more this time because we played the DLC and spent a lot of time punching hopping vampires in the face.

We ate brunch together the next morning and then we drove home. It was a lovely visit. Bittersweet, as I’ve said. I’m glad we had the chance to see Tim before he starts his big adventure.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Which are better, spiders or dogs?

I was discussing the most recent episode of Doctor Who with a friend.  The episode was titled Arachnids in the UK and featured a bunch of spiders, as one might expect. She enjoyed it, but found it unsettling, because she does not like spiders.

I can’t imagine why. Spiders are pretty great.

I will put aside my personal feelings and go into this exercise entirely without bias of any kind. With sober, dispassionate objectivity I will compare spiders to dogs in ten categories, and we’ll see just exactly who is man’s best friend.


Look at these randomly selected pictures selected completely at random. They are perfectly representative of the critters in question.

So dapper! So earnest!


Average dog

Harry Potter appearances

Aragog: Voiced by Julian Glover and therefore awesome!

My dear, no one could be as stupid as he seems. 

Outsmarted by children. Terrible watchdog. Drooly and disgusting.

You had one job!

Odor when wet

Dog: Smells like wet dog.

Spider: Does not smell like wet dog.

Anthropomorphized appearance 

Spiders: Far and wide her lesser broods, bastards of the miserable mates, her own offspring, that she slew, spread from glen to glen, from the Ephel Dúath to the eastern hills, to Dol Guldur and the fastnesses of Mirkwood. But none could rival her, Shelob the Great, last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world.

Shelob looks pretty great in that Middle Earth game.



Spiders eat insects. Spiders eat 880 million tons of insects every year. That’s a lot of creepy-crawlies not biting you.

Dogs eat their own poop. I don’t know how much of it, but I doubt it’s 880 million tons worth.

Charlotte's Web

Would not make sense with dogs. They can’t spin webs and their spelling is atrocious.

Fighting the Red Baron

We’re coming up on the centennial of the armistice that ended WWI. Snoopy has had a hundred years to defeat the Red Baron and he still hasn’t managed to do it. Put a dog-sized spider in the cockpit of that Sopwith Camel and Richthofen will be limping back home by sunset.


Dogs always want to hump my leg or lick my hand and it’s disgusting. Spiders do neither of these things.

Substances produced out of rear ends

Spiders: Spider silk! Spider silk is absolutely bonkers. A given weight of spider silk is five times as strong as the same weight of steel. Dragline silks can hold their strength below −40 and up to 428 °F. Silks are about a sixth of the density of steel. As a result, a strand long enough to circle the Earth would weigh less than 500 grams. Spider silk is incredible!

Dogs: Poop. Again with the poop. Get it together, doggos!   Dogs don’t produce any marvelous materials out of their hindquarters. I’m sure that the prospect of more poop is enticing to the other dogs who want to eat it, but it’s less appealing to the world at large.

Consequences of bite

Spider:  Muscle tone,


 male enhancement.

Dog: Rabies.

In conclusion, Spiders are better than dogs. Sorry, spider-hating friend. It's just science.

A word from Lily: Also, side-note, people eat spiders more often than dogs, and they let dogs play the victims? Shame on you, spider haters. SHAAAAME.

Image result for kawaii spider

Image result for dogs are terrible

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 31st

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Silver bullets. Puns.
Fetched wands. Sacred earth. All that
and nursery rhymes too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 30th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Tying up loose ends.
Snuff lays out the story. Does
some howling, also.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 29th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

  Bat Gossips. Vicar 
 attacks. Holmes to the rescue. 
Monumental day.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 28th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Some exposition
at the end. In case you don't
understand the plot.

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 27th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

The Good Doctor is
gone. Bubo's charade is done.
Pattern makes sense now.

Friday, October 26, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 26th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Detective disguised
as a wolf, but he can't bluff
our boy Snuff. Good dog!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 25th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Silver nails in
the soul of the squirrel. Kindness
from the cat and dog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 24th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

When Things Attack! They
got loose. Unsurprisingly. 
Manumission spell.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 23rd

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

 Black tornado.  Dzzp!    
“I’ve come for my dog." Starlight.
Jack knows how to cut.

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 22nd

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

This fucking chapter.
Ugh. The Dream-Quest of Unknown
pain in my Kad-ass.

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 21st

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Drunk Russians often
become philosophers. Holmes
cuts loose at the camp.

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 20th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Nightwind talks and the
Body Parts Man makes friends with
Gray. Pret-ty kit-ty.

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 19th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Headscarves. Crisp morning.
Graymalk informs Snuff that the
Vicar done the deed.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 18th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Black Mass at the church
of Nyarlathotep. Help
from a friendly wolf.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 17th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

New Moon. The ghouls all
came from their humble abodes.
Twas a Graveyard Smash.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 16th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Questioning players.
Investigating the crime.
Moon dies tomorrow.

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 15th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Continuing gray and
drizzling. Help from Larry. 
Disguised detective.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 14th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

A dead man in the 
field. Better start dragging
his body, old boy.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 13th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

The Vicar attacks!
Jack offers a peach to the 
Living Blasphemy.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 12th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Lazy Day. Snuff does
his duties. Jack smokes his pipe
and drinks his sherry.

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 11th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

The keen eyes of the
Great Detective miss nothing.
Holmes makes friends with Snuff.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 10th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Another attempted
jailbreak. These Things are just a
huge pain in the ass.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 9th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

The Great Detective
and Jack converse in the fog.
That’s England for you.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 8th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

Meet Larry Talbot.
His own best friend. Thing escapes.
Werewolf Bar Mitzvah!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 7th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

A cat, a rat, and
faithful hound Snuff. Nothing much
else astir. Peaceful.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 6th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

The mirror crack’d from 
side to side.  Jailbreak! Snuff saves
the day. Good Boy, Snuff! 

With apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Friday, October 5, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 5th

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

The Good Doctor's house 
is not far, as the owl flies.
Good work, wise Nightwind.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 3rd

Summarizing each day of A Night in the Lonesome October, in verse!

A cat, a bat, and
faithful hound Snuff. Nothing much
else astir. Peaceful.

This is a riff on a passage from The Hand of Oberon

 "Good evening. Lord Corwin," said the lean, cadaverous figure who rested against a storage rack, smoking his pipe, grinning around it.
    "Good evening, Roger. How are things in the nether world?"
    "A rat, a bat, a spider. Nothing much else astir. Peaceful." 

It seems to want to be a haiku, but it doesn't quite get there. I've fixed that part.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

A Verse in the Lonesome October: October 1st

Combining two of my favorite gimmicks, I will be summarizing a chapter a day of A Night in the Lonesome poetry!

Tireless Watcher.
Ever Vigilant. Jack’s dog
Snuff is a good boy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mazeworks Recruitment Drive

Once upon a time, in the misty recesses of 2001, I started a Play-By-Email Game. I ran it for fifteen years and then decided to wrap it up on a high note. The players liked the world, so the game went on under new management. That GM passed away unexpectedly, but we didn't want to end the game under those circumstances, so another player picked up the GM duties. Real life has caught up with him, so I am once again taking reins of a Zelazny-influenced play-by-post. Please drop me a line if you're interested.

The Mazeworks Play By Email

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

These Mortal Mountains

I came across this gif comparing Everest to Olympus Mons on Mars and it made me think of the Gray Sister from This Mortal Mountain.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Doctor Who Book Review: Rose by Russell T Davies

I listened to the Rose audiobook, narrated by Camille Coduri. I like Jackie Tyler okay, but I dearly love Camille. She just seems to have an authenticity not always found in actors.

I watched the episode prior to listening to the book. When it originally aired I thought it was a very solid (re)introduction to the world of Doctor Who. I realize now how wholly inadequate that assessment was. Watching it now, I find it nothing short of iconic. (I think it came squarely in the middle of the most recent DWM episode poll I saw, which is a crime!) Frank Cottrell-Boyce claims that Davies' greatest contribution to British television drama was saving it from extinction and watching Rose again, I can understand what he means.

Writers are often told to “kill their darlings”, but RTD could never bring himself to do that. He loves them too much. He’s not the most technically gifted scribe to ever write for Doctor Who, but that surpassing affection he holds for his creations is the core of this book. He makes me feel for Rose Tyler how he feels for her. And that is a triumph.

For me, one of the central messages of Doctor Who is that the strong have to stand up for the powerless, and that is the engine that drives the story. There are dozens of tiny details like the Doctor instinctively protecting Rose from shards of broken glass, or Clive sacrificing himself Autons so his family will have time to flee. Mickey comes off particularly well in the book. “The first thing he did when granted the keys to #90 was to prop that door open and make others welcome.”

I had read that the book featured a transgender character, but I thought that things would be written so that the character’s status was only inferred. Nope. “Sally Salter, born Stephen Salter…” She has a safe place in Mickey’s flat, and that makes me love Mickey. He’s not the hero of the book, but we get a little more of his background and it makes sense why he would be reluctant to leave his home, which he sees as a safe place and a refuge.

Also, ”We can't all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by.”

Clive gets a larger role as well. His death was technically off-screen in the television episode, and I was dearly hoping that he survived through some improbable twist of fate.

Spoiler: He doesn’t

He gets the same treatment as Mickey and Rose. He manages to stub his toe on his own front door and it’s just so endearing.

For the first time ever, the Autons seem like a real threat. The attack is genuinely unsettling, in part because we’ve been given a chance to know those people threatened by it.

Things that seemed odd in the original episode (the poorly photoshopped picture, why the Nestene kept Mickey alive, Rose’s failure to notice that Mickey was made of plastic) are called and recontextualized until they make sense. Sometimes the “this mistake isn’t really a mistake” can lead to a very clumsy retcon, but Davies handles everything with a deft hand.

Davies has been given a profound gift in this book. He has the opportunity to reframe and refine his seminal work. Rose (the episode) was brilliant, but not flawless, and Davies does not merely transcribe the events of the book, but instead draws on ten years of personal growth and ten additional years of Doctor Who mythology (Clive says of the Doctor “Clever. Isn’t he? Or she.”) to expand and enrich what we saw back then.

I really enjoyed it. Eccleston’s run was my favorite era of New Who, and it’s great to have a chance to go back and rediscover it.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Almost Perfect

I adore everything about this sign...

except for that Oxford comma at the end, or, as it will be known going forward, the Cthulhu Comma!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Today I learned about gold records

I was reading about the Voyager Golden Record recently and was struck by Jimmy Carter's official statement

We cast this message into the cosmos ... Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some – perhaps many – may have inhabited planets and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts, and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.

It seems like the 1970s are the only time in American history (except for maybe the very beginning of Obama's presidency) that our president would have expressed this sentiment in such a way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Zelazny: Real Life Ghostwheel

I'm not the biggest fan of the Merlin series, but I do like some of the concepts introduced therein, and chief among them is Ghostwheel.

"It riffles through Shadow like the pages of a book-or a deck of cards," I said. "Program it for whatever you want checked out and it will keep an eye on it for you. I was planning it as a surprise. You could, say, use it to determine whether any of our potential enemies are mobilizing, or to follow the progress of Shadow-storms, or-"

      "Wait a minute," he said, raising a hand. "How? How does it flip through shadows that way? What makes it work?"

      "In effect," I explained, "it creates the equivalent of multitudes of Trumps in an instant, then-"

Someone wrote a program to procedurally generate Tarot cards. Can Ghostwheel be far behind?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"We need to stop Cthulhu - right meow!"

As hard as it is to believe now, Dungeons & Dragons was once a mainstream activity. It’s what the kids were playing in E.T. and I’m old enough to remember D&D clubs in my grade school. Someone once remarked that President Obama probably tried it at least once as an undergrad. Its ascendance was due to a confluence of circumstances that are never going to be repeated, but for a while it was HUGE.

D&D’s Golden Age is over, but role-playing still persists. The internet has been the perfect medium for Indie RPG projects and while none of them have a fraction of the market penetration that early Dungeons & Dragons did, the variety of games out there is mind-bogglingly staggeringly bonkers, and I for one am pleased beyond words that I live in a world where I can choose from several independently developed games where I can play as a cat fighting the forces of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Incredibles Debate: Meet the speakers

Good evening. I'm Josh, the super-great owner of this blog. Over the next several days, I will be debating the merits of the Incredibles 2 with my daughter Lily. I will present my argument and then Lily will have the opportunity for a rebuttal. There may be a little bit of further back and forth if we think it's funny.

Lily's replies are in CYAN

The Debaters! 


Chiefly known for failing to be incredibly wise and awesome. Weaknesses: Too modest. Has bad grammar because GREEK STATUES don't go to SCHOOL. 


Hobbies: Falling over. Being wrong about things. Being cute and great and right forever and always.

Also, is better than Josh because this candidate...
  • Can change facial expressions (That's just the way my face looks!)
  • (Only recently became potty trained) 
  • Understands that the statement above is both untrue and irrelevant
  • Once ran face-first into a wall. It was hilarious. 
  • It was pretty hilarious...Hey! Stop interfering!
  • Is not made of marble
  • Is SMRT
  • Was the captain of a debate team
  • Even falls down adorably
  • Just made you look :)

Cuter than this face?

I think not!
Lily, at the end of this debate

Image result for whiny baby

Josh, 100% of the time.
Like, absolutely ALWAYS
Right now, actually

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Coming Soon: Josh and Lily debate The Incredibles 2

Who is right about the movie?


Or Lily? 

Stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A dream about a Zelazny post

I woke up from a dream last night where I was ranking all of the characters named John or Jack in Zelazny's writing. I feel that I need to make this post now.

Monday, June 11, 2018

My trip to the zoo, in verse

Spring Afternoon. Pow!
A monkey punched another
monkey in the face.

 The Wilford Brimley
Monkey was such a jerk. He
Got his comeuppance.

My best friend fat-shamed 
the donkeys at the zoo. Boo!
Have you no shame, sir?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

TV Review: The Good Doctor

I watched The Good Doctor with my mom at her request. I was on the fence after the pilot, but I tend to give shows a mulligan on the pilot, as they're still finding their feet.

Holy shit, what an awful show. We open with a doctor defining autism for another doctor. I understand that you need to give some exposition to the audience, but that was just about the clumsiest and worst possible way to do it.

The baddies think that dumping an autistic doctor into a patient-facing role with no effort to accommodate his needs is a bad idea. The goodies roll out the "You hate autistic peoples! They said the same thing about women and blacks in the workplace!!11" chestnut almost immediately.

It's simple-minded, preachy and mawkish. It perpetuates the myth of people on the spectrum as savants. I hates it so much.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Z is for Zahn: Zelazny A to Z

Roger Zelazny isn’t the only author I read, but he’s certainly my favorite and he’s the first I seek out when I enter a bookstore. This task is made easier by virtue of his name. I go to the end of the bookshelf and tilt my head sideways and read the names on the spines. Most chain bookstores organize the sci-fi/fantasy section alphabetically by author, but then they include series that have many different authors after those.

So I would see Tad Williams and Timothy Zahn and I knew that if I saw those guys and got to the Star Wars books that this particular bookstore wouldn’t have anything by Zelazny. I like Zahn’s work quite a bit, but I still bear him a tiny bit of resentment for the crime of not being Roger Zelazny.

Thus concludes my Zelazny A to Z. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Y is for Yok: Zelazny A to Z

The "...And Call Me Roger" biography segment of NEFSA's Collected Stories has to be my favorite part of a very strong collection.

The monster monarchs from the Great Slow Kings are no doubt similar to ones Zelazny had written as a kid with lifelong friend Carl Yoke about their namesake monsters Yok and Zlaz.

Friday, May 11, 2018

X is for X-Division, Xenagogue, Xenium, Xenization, Xenodochium and Xyresic: Zelazny A to Z

I wanted to do something different with this post, seeing as most A to Z lists fall back on X-ray or xylophone. I consulted this handy list of 40 words that begin with X and came up with a few contenders.

 X-DIVISION: Victorian slang for criminals or pickpockets, or people who make a living by some underhand means: This could work, seeing as many of Zelazny’s characters operate within the underworld.

XENAGOGUE: Derived from the same root as xenophobia, a xenagogue is someone whose job it is to conduct strangers or to act as a guide: Roger Zelazny is our xenagogue to his fantastic worlds.

XENIUM:  A xenium is a gift or offering given to a stranger, which in its native Ancient Greece would once have been a lavish feast or a refreshing spread of food and fruit. In the 19th century art world, however, xenium came to refer to a still-life painting depicting something like a extravagant display of food or a bowl of fruit: It doesn’t map exactly, but I could imagine the word evolving to apply to the Star-Stone in Doorways in the Sand.

XENIZATION: A 19th-century word meaning “the act of traveling as a stranger.”: Yeah, this list is kind of a cheat because they all have the same root word, but this is another theme common to Zelazny’s work.

XENODOCHIUM: A guesthouse or hostel, or any similar stopping place for travelers or pilgrims. Such as The Sign of the Burning Pestle, which lay upon a coach road near the ocean.
"My name is Jack, and I've traveled far to reach this place, Haric," he replied. "I seek an old woman who was coming here to spend her final days. Her name is Rosalie. Tell me what you know of her."
Haric creased his brow, lowered his head and squinted.
"Bide a moment," he said. "There was an old hag . . . Yes. She died some time ago."
"Oh," said Jack. "Tell me then where she is buried, that I might visit her grave."
Haric snorted and quaffed his wine. He then he began to laugh. He wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, then raised it to wipe his eyes with his sleeve.
"Buried?" he said. "She was worthless. We only kept her here for charity's sake, and because she knew somewhat of healing."
Tiny bulges of muscle appeared at the hinges of Jack's jaws.
"Then what did you do with her?" he inquired.
"Why we threw her carcass into the ocean.- Small pickings there for fishes, though."
Jack left the Sign of the Burning Pestle burning at his back, there on the coach road by the ocean.

XYRESIC: Means “razor-sharp.” That is a pretty great word. Zelazny’s writing is always pretty xyresic.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

W is for Walpurgisnacht: Zelazny A to Z

Walpurgis Night, an abbreviation of Saint Walpurgis Night (from the German Sankt Walpurgisnacht [saŋkt valˈpʊʁɡɪsˌnaχt]), also known as Saint Walpurga's Eve (alternatively spelled Saint Walburga's Eve), is the eve of Christian feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Francia, and is celebrated on night of 30 April and the day of 1 May. This feast commemorates the canonization of Saint Walpurga and the movement of her relics to Eichstätt, both of which occurred on 1 May in the year 870.

You'd think Walpurgisnacht would be an Amber story, as it's an unusual word that Merlin employs several times in Trumps of Doom, but it's a story about a computerized tombstone and a curmudgeonly uncle.

From the same article:

30 April is pálení čarodějnic ("burning of the witches") or čarodějnice ("the witches") in the Czech Republic. Huge bonfires—up to 8 metres (26 ft) tall—are built and burnt in the evening, preferably on top of hills. Young people gather around. Sudden black and dense smoke formations are cheered as "a witch flying away". An effigy of a witch is held up and thrown into a bonfire to burn.As evening advances to midnight and fire is on the wane, it is time to go search for a cherry tree in blossom. Young women should be kissed past midnight (and during the following day) under a cherry tree. They "will not dry up" for an entire year. The First of May is celebrated then as "the day of those in love".

My last name is Czech. Now I finally understand why I feel the urge to set Merlin on fire every April 30th.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Convention Report: East Coast Comic Con

I’ve attended so many good conventions lately that I tend to forget how lousy the bad ones are.

Con was a bit of a bust. Here's the thing. I reviewed the weapon policy before I set out and the umbrella seemed to be in compliance. It didn't look like a weapon, it was light-weight and had a plastic tip. They confiscated it anyway. Which is shitty, but their con, their rules.

But then I didn't have a satisfactory explanation when Lily asked why other people had knives, crowbars and yes, umbrellas as part of their costumes. That set the tone for the early part of the trip, but she eventually got over it.

The con itself wasn't so great, but there were some very nice moments surrounding it. It was nice working on a costume together with Lily and there were some nice quiet moments when we sat outside the convention center just talking.

V is for Vending Machine: Zelazny A to Z

When he reached the Circle of the Fountain, the prince halted. Several dozen people stood in a shifting line before the Temple of Varuna, most stern and august of all the deities. These people were not preparing to enter the Temple, but rather were engaged in some occupation that required waiting and taking turns. He heard the rattling of coins and he wandered nearer.

It was a machine, gleaming and metallic, before which they moved.

A man inserted a coin into the mouth of a steel tiger. The machine began to purr. He pressed buttons cast in the likenesses of animals and demons. There came then a flashing of lights along the lengths of the Nagas, the two holy serpents who twisted about the transparent face of the machine.

He edged closer.

The man drew down upon the lever that grew from the side of the machine cast in the likeness of the tail of a fish.

A holy blue light filled the interior of the machine; the serpents pulsed redly; and there, in the midst of the light and a soft music that had begun to play, a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.

The man wore a beatific expression. After several minutes, the machine shut itself off. He inserted another coin and pulled the lever once more, causing several of those nearer to the end of the line to grumble audibly, remarking to the effect that that was his seventh coin, it was a warm day, there were other people waiting to get some praying done and why did he not go inside and render such a large donation directly to the priests? Someone replied that the little man obviously had much atoning to do. There then began some speculation as to the possible nature of his sins. This was accompanied by considerable laughter.

I learned about Hero of Alexandria early last month. He was a scientist in the first century AD.  From Wikipedia: The first vending machine was also one of his constructions; when a coin was introduced via a slot on the top of the machine, a set amount of holy water was dispensed. This was included in his list of inventions in his book Mechanics and Optics. When the coin was deposited, it fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened up a valve which let some water flow out. The pan continued to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, at which point a counter-weight would snap the lever back up and turn off the valve

Also, I never realized until reading the story for this post, but Sam seems to have coined the phrase “pray-o-mat”.

“Tell me, I saw a machine this morning which I think may best be described as a pray-o-mat, are they very common?"

It’s unlikely the gods would employ such a blasphemous name for the device. (At least, not to outsiders. I could absolutely believe they would call it a pray-o-mat internally.)

It would seem he used in conversation and it caught on after his departure. Of course, it’s possible that the phrase could have arisen independently from several sources, but since it seems to be derived from automat and only Sam or another of the First would have that knowledge, I’m leaning towards it being a phrase of Sam’s invention.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

U is for Unicorn: Zelazny A to Z



 A mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.

Unicorns aren’t overrepresented in Zelazny’s work (I’d suspect a rigorous analysis would show more dragons than unicorns, for instance), but they do feature prominently in two of his best-known works, so I’d go so far as to say that they are the mythical creatures most associated with his writing.
And the packet bore a device which caused me to stiffen where I knelt, perspiration suddenly wetting my brow and my breath coming rapidly.
    It bore a white unicorn on a grass field, rampant, facing to the dexter.
    And I knew that device and it hurt me that I could not name it.

I love the meter of that passage. It seems so dreamlike.

A bizarrerie of fires, cunabulum of light, it moved with a deft, almost dainty deliberation, phasing into and out of existence like a storm-shot piece of evening; or perhaps the darkness between the flares was more akin to its truest nature—swirl of black ashes assembled in prancing cadence to the lowing note of desert wind down the arroyo behind buildings as empty yet filled as the pages of unread books or stillnesses between the notes of a song.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

T is for Tyrannosaurus: Zelazny A to Z

Tyrannosaurus is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning "king" in Latin) is one of the most well-represented of the large theropods. Tyrannosaurus lived throughout what is now western North America, on what was then an island continent known as Laramidia. Tyrannosaurus had a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 68 to 66 million years ago.It was the last known member of the tyrannosaurids, and among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction.

- "The death of Chadwick! By Tyrannosaurus rex! Under the direction of the Marquis de Sade!"

Monday, April 30, 2018

S is for Sam: Zelazny A to Z

His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit. Silence, though, could.
I’m certainly getting a lot of mileage out of Lord of Light for this series of posts, but I’m not going to apologize for that. It’s a brilliant work and that opening line is one of the best in genre literature.

For this post, I’m going to offer up another quote to take a closer look at Sam the holy con man.

I barely paid any attention to Cliff’s play. I spent most of it thinking about Tommy’s eerie behavior. Why was he always so secretive about everything? why did he get so angry that Cliff rang my doorbell? Maybe, I thought, we weren’t friends. Maybe Tommy had somehow conned me the whole time. That’s the thing with con artists. They never tell you their story. They give you pieces of it and let you fill in the rest. They let you work out the contradictions and discrepancies. they let you believe that the things that don’t add up are what makes them interesting or special. they let you believe that in those gaps are the things that hurt and wounded them. But maybe there’s nothing in those gaps. Nothing but your stupid willingness to assume the best of someone.

---from The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell.

Sam understands the value of allowing his followers to fill his silence.

R is for Romance: Zelazny A to Z


[rōˈmans, ˈrōˌmans]

 A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

Zelazny’s stories seldom featured romance as it’s commonly understood as primary focus. However, it’s worth noting that there are several definitions that apply to his writing.

  1. A quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. (synonyms: mystery · glamour · excitement · colourfulness · color · exoticism )
  2. A medieval tale dealing with a hero of chivalry, of the kind common in the Romance languages. "The Arthurian romances"
  3. A work of fiction dealing with events remote from real life, especially one of a kind popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. "Elizabethan pastoral romances"

But yes, traditional romantic attraction seldom played a large role in Zelazny’s writing. I think that’s largely attributable to the period in which he wrote. Those were simply the kind of story that publishers wanted. As he progressed and the times changed, so too did his writing, and 24 Views in Particular deliberately bucks this trend.

Zelazny was a prodigious talent and he was learning and evolving right up to the end of his career. I’d stop short of saying that it would become a prevalent theme in his works had he lived longer, but it’s an addition to his armory of traits I'll not disparage.

Zelazny, Interrupted.

Sorry for the break in posting! Something came up. We now resume with the regularly scheduled series of posts. If I had planned this out better I probably could have configured it to post W for Walpurgisnacht on April 30th.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Q is for Qwibbian Qwibbian Kel : Zelazny A to Z

The lock began cycling closed and Dorphy was already raising the torch to burn through the welds.

"My vocabulary is still incomplete. What does 'qwibbian' mean in your language?"

The cycling lock struck the cable and severed it as she spoke, so she did not know whether it heard her say the word "berserker."

From Itself Surprised

"I got the story from Qwib-qwib in pieces," she began. "I had to fill in some gaps with conjectures, but they seemed to follow. Ages ago, the Builders apparently fought a war with the Red Race, who proved tougher than they thought. So they hit them with their ultimate weapon—the self-replicating killing machines we call berserkers."

"That seems the standard story," Wade said.

"The Red Race went under," she continued. "They were totally destroyed—but only after a terrific struggle. In the final days of the war they tried all sorts of things, but by then it was a case of too little too late. They were overwhelmed. They actually even tried something I had always wondered about—something no Earth-descended world would now dare to attempt, with ail the restrictions on research along those lines, with all the paranoia…"

Monday, April 23, 2018

P is for Pride (of a Prince): Zelazny A to Z



  1. The consciousness of one's own dignity.
  2. Tthe quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance.
Two passages on pride from Nine Princes in Amber

"Look, I said I'm sorry," I told him. "What do you want me to do? Nobody got hurt and there was no damage."
    "They shouldn't turn goddamn drivers like you loose on die road!" he yelled. "You're a friggin' menace!"
    Random got out of the car then and said, "Mister, you'd better move along!" and he had a gun in his hand.
    "Put that away," I told him, but he flipped the safety catch off and pointed.
    The guy turned around and started to run, a look of fear widening his eyes and loosening his jaw.
    Random raised the pistol and took careful aim at the man's back, and I managed to knock his arm to the side
just as he pulled the trigger.
    It scored the pavement and ricocheted away.
    Random turned toward me and his face was almost white.
    "You bloody fool!" he said. "That shot could have hit the tank!"
    "It could also have hit the guy you were aiming at."
    "So who the hell cares? We'll never pass this way again, in this generation. That bastard dared to insult a Prince of
Amber! It was your honor I was thinking about."
    "I can take care of my own honor," I told him, and something cold and powerful suddenly gripped me and answered, "for he was mine to kill, not yours, had I chosen," and a sense of outrage filled me.
    He bowed his head then, as the cab door slammed and the truck took off down the road.
    "I'm sorry, brother," he said. "I did not mean to presume. But it offended me to hear one of them speak to you in such a manner. I know I should have waited to let you dispose of him as you saw fit, or at least have consulted with you."


    "Wait!" he cried out. "I spoke hastily. I don't want to lose your counsel, if nothing else. Stay with me, please. I will even apologize."
    "That is not necessary," I said, knowing what this thing means to a prince of Amber. "I'll stay. I think I can help you."

The overweening pride of the royal family is largely a characterization that was abandoned in later books, but I think it's interesting to examine how it informs the first one.

Friday, April 20, 2018

O is for Orangutan: Zelazny A to Z



A large mainly solitary arboreal ape with long reddish hair, long arms, and hooked hands and feet, native to Borneo and Sumatra. The mature male develops fleshy cheek pads and a throat pouch.

The Black Throne isn't my favorite story by Roger Zelazny. It's not even my favorite collaboration of his with Fred Saberhagen. It's a Poe pastiche, but there is something there, and I'm glad I live in a world of where it exists.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

N is for Night: Zelazny A to Z

Night, Thing that Cried in the

In the days when I reigned
as Lord of Life and Death,
          says the Prince Who Was A Thousand,
in those days, at Man’s request,
did I lay the Middle Worlds within a sea of power,
tidal, turning thing,
thing to work with peaceful sea change
the birth,
designs upon them;

then all this gave
to Angels ministrant,
their Stations bordering Midworlds,
their hands to stir the tides.
And for many ages did we rule so,
elaborating the life,
tempering the death,
promoting the growth,
the shores of that great, great sea,
as more and more of the Outworlds
were washed by the curling,
crowned by creation's foam.

Then one day,
brooding on the vast abyss
of such a world, brave,
though dead, barren,
not then touched by the life,
         I roused some sleeping thing
with the kiss of the tide I rode.

M is for Merlin: Zelazny A to Z



1.) Son of Corwin and Dara and the protagonist in the second chronicles of Amber.
2.) A contemptibly obnoxious person.
3.) A stupid, irritating, or contemptible man.
4.) Paste-eater

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

L is for Lokapalas: Zelazny A to Z

Lokapāla, Sanskrit and Pāli for "guardian of the world", has different uses depending on whether it is found in a Hindu or Buddhist context.

In Hinduism, lokapāla refers to the Guardians of the Directions associated with the eight, nine and ten cardinal directions.

In Buddhism, lokapāla refers to the Four Heavenly Kings, and to other protector spirits, whereas the Guardians of the Directions are referred to as the 'dikpālas'.

The girl sat on the floor, a heap of various objects before her. She was scarcely more than a child, and she hugged a brown and white puppy and looked at Kubera with wide, frightened eyes, until he gestured and she smiled.
"Kubera," said Yama.
"Koo-bra," said the girl.
"She is my daughter," said Yama. "Her name is Murga."
"I never knew you had a daughter."
"She is retarded. She suffered some brain damage."
"Congenital, or transfer effect?" asked Kubera.
"Transfer effect."
"I see."
"She is my daughter," repeated Yama, "Murga."
"Yes," said Kubera.
Yama dropped to his knees at her side and picked up a block.
"Block," he said.
"Block," said the girl.
He held up a spoon. "Spoon," he said.
"Spoon," said the girl.
He picked up a ball and held it before her. "Ball," he said.
"Ball," said the girl.
He picked up the block and held it before her again. "Ball,"  she repeated.
Yama dropped it.
"Help me, Kubera," he said.
"I will, Yama. If there is a way, we will find it."
He sat down beside him and raised his hands. The spoon came alive with spoon-ness and the ball with ball-ness and the block with block-ness, and the girl laughed. Even the puppy seemed to study the objects.
"The Lokapalas are never defeated," said Kubera, and the girl picked up the block and stared at it for a long time before she named it.

Friday, April 13, 2018

J is for Jacobian: Zelazny A to Z

"I am Vindici! The son of Death! Bred in the Senecan twilight of Jacobian demigods, and punctual as death!

Roger Zelazny's education was in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and his Master's thesis was an analysis of The Revenger's Tragedy, a seminal work of the era. It was titled Two traditions and Cyril Tourneur: an examination of morality and humor comedy conventions in The Revenger's Tragedy and interestingly, authorship of the piece was reassessed since Zelazny's piece and it is now generally held that Thomas Middleton was the author rather than Cyril Tourneur.

Tourneur did write The Atheist's Tragedy, or the Honest Man's Revenge, which is something of a subversion of the tropes of the revenge play, to the extent that the ghost of the murder victim shows up to tell his son, "Naw, it's all good. No need to seek revenge." I could absolutely imagine Zelazny writing such a twist.

Three hallmarks of the era are metatheatricality, madness and murder, traits we can agree Zelazny's work has in abundance. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I is for Immortality: Zelazny A to Z



The ability to live forever; eternal life.
Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.
Even more than car accidents, green eyes or the span of three days, the concept of immortality pervades Roger Zelazny’s work.   Most of his supernatural characters tend also to be immortal or very long-lived.  Of the protagonists of his major novels, only Nameless (from My Name is Legion), Pol (of Changeling/Madwand), Fred Cassidy (Doorways in the Sand) and Hell Tanner (Damnation Alley) spring to mind as those who have not lived beyond their natural lifespans.

Both the Krulik biography and the Call Me Roger segments of the Collected Stories touch on this in greater detail, but the aspect of immortality as it relates to Zelazny’s writing that I find most interesting is the question Corwin raises in the Chronicles. Do people really change, or do changed circumstances bring out characteristics that have been there all along? Long-lived characters allow an author to dig into such questions.

H is for Home and Hangman: Zelazny A to Z



The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.



 An executioner who hangs condemned people.

I've always had difficulty with titles. I'm very happy with my Doctor Who story "Forever Fallen", but I feel like I could have done better with the title. It’s not bad; it’s just not the best title for the work.

It's tricky encapsulating a work in a single phrase. There are only so many pithy epigrams to go around in the English language, and consequently you occasionally this leads to two books with the same title.

Richard Laymon’s A Night in the Lonesome October is probably fairly well-known to fans of Zelazny’s work. I’ve personally encountered it on bookshelves, and first I was elated to find a version of the classic with a new cover and then quickly dashed when I realized what was going on.

Now both books take their name from Poe’s Ulalume, so it’s not as huge a coincidence as it may seem.
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:

Chris DeVito brought another book with the same name to my attention. Home is the Hangman, by Richard Sale. I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to do so once I wrap up April’s posts and I’ll report back it if the book contains any parallels with Zelazny’s story of the same name or if it’s just one of those coincidences that occurs from time to time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

G is for Ganelon: Zelazny A to Z

In the Matter of France, Ganelon is the knight who betrayed Charlemagne's army to the Muslims, leading to the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. His name is said to derive from the Italian word inganno, meaning fraud or deception. He is based upon the historical Wenilo, the archbishop of Sens who betrayed King Charles the Bald in 858.

Dr. Kovacs asked if I’d be doing “Green Eyes” for this installment, but I changed my mind. What can I say? I’m a rebel.

This post will have spoilers (albeit for a very well-known 40-year-old book on a website dedicated to the works of that author), so proceed at your own peril.

Ganelon undergoes an interesting evolution over the course of the chronicles.  He was a friend to Ganelon Corwin, then an enemy, and progressed through foil, ally and back to friend again.

Of course, that’s not true. The real Ganelon is long dead by the time the Chronicles begin, and the character is Oberon in the likeness of Ganelon, guiding and judging Corwin.

I’m pleased that we never got any stories delving into the backstory of Oberon.(Shut up! There were no prequels) I prefer an ancient and unknowable monarch of Amber. That said, I like to think he grew and changed a little bit alongside his son.