I’ve returned from my vacation, which came just in the nick of time. As a writer/editor by trade, I’d reached a point at which I was really sick and tired of the writing process and very much needed a break. It was tough enough to meet my paid professional commitments; as for the “hobby” stuff, I couldn’t even think about this blog without wanting to throw up.

It’s been a hectic last two weeks. I took a week off and spent most of it down the road in Baltimore. I love that city; it was my “second home” when I was a blues musician in Canton and Fells Point back in the late 1980’s. The second week was spent trying to get back in the swing of cranking out two articles and two videos a week, plus finishing the editing of an eBook; I didn’t get anywhere near the “side” editing and game design stuff. Maybe I’m trying to do too much, or maybe I’m just getting lazier in my old age.

Back to vacation: we spent a half-day in Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, the coolest place in the known Multiverse. It’s jammed full of comics, toys, and other pop culture items from the last 100 years – you can’t possibly look at it all. The displays are awesome, the friendly staff is first rate, and admission is ultra-affordable (it’s the parking fees that’ll kill ya, since the museum building is right next door to Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles). If you’re a comic book fan, you have to visit Geppi’s at least once; it’s like dying and going to Geek Heaven. I’ll post some pics later, as soon as I get the full set uploaded onto my hard drive.

The second best thing about vacation was spending two evenings doing absolutely nothing but relaxing in the lobby of a luxury hotel (located within a short spit of Camden Yards) while swilling down black coffee and playing Vs System (collectible card game) with some other guys who were taking the games “card sharp” seriously. I played respectably, and my “Dr. Doom” and “Ra’s al-Ghul” decks were way better than I’d thought. And as I sat there playing, drinking dark roast, looking out the window at Camden Yards, flipping through back issues of Legend of the Shield and Airboy when it wasn’t my turn, doing loud imitations of Ricardo Montelban in Freakazoid (“Take that, my friend! And I call you my friend even though you are not my friend – you are in fact my enemy. But I love the delicious irony of calling one who is not my friend ‘my friend’ when he knows he is not my friend and is instead my enemy…my friend”), and laughing at the weird looks we were getting from other patrons of the hotel, I remember thinking, “Man, what’s cooler than this?” They were two full evenings of knowing that there’s no place on earth I’d rather have been.

I’ve got to give a Baltimore tavern a major plug here: if you’re ever in Fells Point, you MUST stop at Lil Phil’s (on S. Broadway at Aliceanna St.) for a burger. Phil is one hell of a great guy and his double burger (two 1/3 lb. Patties!!) with onion is awesome! You can play free pool on Saturday afternoons, too (with a 2 drink minimum, but the prices won’t break the bank – I had a double burger, fries, chips, and a Sam Adams beer for about ten bucks). If I was still spending a ton of time in Charm City, I’d practically be living at Lil’ Phil’s.

Now that I’m rested up a bit, I might be ready to tackle the whole “Hideouts & Hoodlums module” thing. I can’t decide between three different adventures I’d like to write up, plus I’m wrestling with mapmaking. I’ve tried a couple of software solutions for making hideout maps, but I’m thinking that ye olde graph paper, ruler, pen, and scanner might be the way to go.

Have fun! – Steve

Copyright 2011, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.