I’m in the middle of bouncing between four cities and three states. So today, I’m going to tell you about the things I currently keep in my suitcase that keep me sane. And by sane, I mean not succumbing to TravelRage (TM.)
[Pictured: Season one of Haven on DVD, The Lake House on DVD, Things We Think About Games, tin of dice, laptop, underside of suitcase. Not pictured: flask, cell phone, Kindle, camera.]
1. Haven: Season One.
If setting the show in Maine, and having the presence of a newspaper and a murder mystery in the plot counts as “based on,” then yes, the SyFy show Haven is based on the mystery novel/small town character study by Stephen King, “The Colorado Kid.”
FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker, orphan and dedicated member of law enforcement, winds up in the small town of Haven, Maine during a case. Brought in to close the case and staying for the chance to discover secrets of her past, Haven is one part supernatural crime show, one part study of familial and interpersonal relationships. Audrey, played by Emily Rose, is a solid protagonist who clings to compassion and reason in the face of extraordinary events. The dialog in season one is snappy, and in some respects, I prefer the acting in much of season one to season two. The pacing of the first season in particular is a great lesson to both writers and GMs on how to unfold mystery and character development at a reasonable speed.
2. The Lake House.
I find it hard to resist movies with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Call it a holdover from junior high when Speed came out.
The Lake House has a fairly simple premise: two people live in the same house at different times, and through a fluke with their mail, wind up meeting each other by letter. Twist: they find out they not only lived in the house at different times, but are literally from different times, living their lives in different years from the other. Again, something I watch both for how relationships are built as much as I do for the supernatural themes.
3. Things We Think About Games.
I just bought this earlier in the month at Endgame, which is likely the sweetest gaming store that can be found on the west coast. Things We Think About Games is the second book I own from Gameplaywright, and absolutely worth it.
Aside: The first book I have that’s published by Gameplaywright is The Bones.
There’s likely no better description of the book than the one Robin D. Laws gives in his foreword. “This is a Pandora’s box of full of rampaging gamer koans. It explodes in your hands when you open it.” It’s as genius as it is infuriating, which means for me the ratio is proclaiming brilliance, and then cursing vociferously every few pages.
4. My dice.
50/50 gifts from friends/sets I bought on my own. My fudge dice aren’t in here, because they don’t fit, and I’ve yet to play a game while traveling that required me to have them. The pair of strange red dice are Daniel Solis’s Writer’s Dice. The tin is from a tea shop in Oakland. Unless I buy a bag from Dragon Chow, I will likely never use a dice bag again.
5. My laptop.
Aside from needing it for twitter fixes that don’t involve my phone, my laptop is my only computer. It’s my social media home, where all my work lives, what I use to edit a magazine and write freelance assignments on, as well as regularly abuse whenever possible to run G+ hangouts and Skype calls, connecting with friends, coworkers and loved ones I can’t see on a daily basis.
There are only three stickers on the bottom of my suitcase, but I keep intending on adding more. The large cat sticker has the Neil Gaiman quote “Cats don’t need names…we know who we are” on it, and comes from a package with a Camilla d’Errico print in it that a dear friend sent me. The controller sticker came with a t-shirt I bought at PAX (Shadow Moses Nuclear Facility), and the This Just In From GenCon sticker was a spontaneous present from Daniel Perez last year.
As a kid, I always thought traveling with a steamer trunk covered in destination stickers would be glamorous. As an adult, it’s to cheer me up and entertain me on the road. For bonus points, it helps with picking it out at the airport in baggage claim.
Feel free to talk about your favorite geek travel items and beloved gamer hot spots you’ve found on the road in the comments.