The year is winding down, Christmas is almost here and the last couple of weeks have streaked by and hyper speed. Work, Christmas shopping and lots of errands before Gala and I head to Edmonton have made things even more chaotic than usual.

Gala and I were actually able to get away for 2 days to my parent’s cottage, which was a much needed breather and a chance for her and I to spend some time one-on-one. That kind of time has been preciously small lately, so we both pushed to make the cottage trip a reality. When it was all done, we were both really glad we’d done it. It was a nice drive, some hiking and just hanging out with a roaring fire. Good memories built there and conversation like we haven’t had in many months.

Back home, work has been a bit of a scramble, but now seems finally under control. A couple big projects will be starting right around the same time I start teaching, which should make things positively frantic, but always an adventure. 2004 is looking to be just as wild as this year was, and that’s saying quite a bit.

The Udon Christmas party is tonight and it looks like it’ll be a good way to touch base with almost all the artists. Food, drink and some business conversation will creep in there. It’s really rare to get so many of the artists together because we’re all working from home, so it’s important to have these types of get togethers.

My brother, Gal and I got my Dad a neat Christmas present. He opened it yesterday so he could see it before I left on my trip. We snuck out his favorite album of Russian orchestral music and had it digitized as a high quality CD. You can’t buy that album on CD (trust me I looked) and him being able to always have it without it degrading any further really surprised him. He actually got weepy when he played it, which is always the sign of an important gift. It’s getting harder and harder to buy gifts for my parents, so finding unique things like that is a plus.

The books and projects I worked on over the summer and fall are finally seeing print. The latest issue of Dungeon Magazine (#106) is out with my collaborative cover image and a few pieces inside too. The Exalted RPG book “Kingdom Of Halta” is out as well, with interiors by me and other Udon members. An Everquest RPG book, as well as a Warcraft one should be out any time now and more magazine stuff next month as well. Before the summer, 6-7 more books will be out. Strange and wonderful times indeed… if you’d have told me a year ago I’d be doing this, I’d have told you that you should be committed. Now, I’m just riding the roller coaster and trying not to lose my lunch.

Saw a pile of people downtown at Dave’s new LARP game; A strange mix of old and new players getting into a new game. It was a bit surreal, but quite fun as well. If my schedule holds up, I should be able to attend the sessions once per month. Unlike the old game, we’re all far too busy to get together every two weeks.

That’s the rundown. Christmas loot and a recap of the Edmonton trip should be in your In-Boxes before New Year’s Eve. To all my friends and family on this crazy list: Happy Holidays and good cheer.

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