define('WP_CACHE', true); define( 'WPCACHEHOME', '/home/parroomnet/' ); Distractions | Parroom Times Despatch


Here are a few of the things that are, like the title says, distractions from “serious business.” They, nonetheless, occupy some few of my brain cells.



Dinosaurs are a long time fascination for me, something that I did NOT grow out of as various “grown-ups” in my life insisted I would.

I’ve visited exhibit collections in Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, New Haven, Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, Edmonton, Drumheller, Vernal, London, Los Angeles, and managed to catch the traveling exhibit on the Chinese-Canadian Dinosaur project in Vancouver.

I don’t collect the real thing (as a small part in discouraging the destruction of scientific information by callous and/or ignorant collectors) but I am on file as having found a micro-site (with dino teeth) at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. I have a growing collection of photos and slides from museum trips, replica castings, and toys (most of the “museum quality” type) as well as several shelves worth of books ranging from kiddie books (with cool pictures) to general interest books to hard core textbooks.

The picture is a restored Albertosaur caught outside the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta.


La Belle Compagnie is a non-profit educational organization for dedicated amateurs studying daily life and material during the period of the Hundred Years War (1337-1453).

For over 20 years we have presented the results of our work through Living History presentations and classroom-style talks.

Over the years I have collected a sometimes appalling array of reproduction artifacts of all sorts suitable for use with late fourteenth and, more recently, early fifteenth century portrayals.  I have also made a variety of items in wood (chests and boxes primarily) and leather (purses, cases, sheaths, and shoes) with occasional forays into metalwork.  Military history has always been a strong interest and my focus of late has been re-constructing the fighting styles of the period from surviving books on the subject. See next item.

We have also produced a photographic essay on a year in the life of a knight and his household, with additional material on the knight’s military company and life on campaign called 1381: the Peel Affinity which is available from Shumaker Press.


Historical European Martial Arts

I have always had a interest in how knights and other soldiers might have fought in the Middle Ages.  Over the last ten years or so, that interest has solidified into an intense focus on the surviving information relating to fighting skills, particularly of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries with a special interest in the armizare (the art of arms) as presented in the work of Fiore die Liberi, an Italian sword master who wrote a book (or books) around 1409. His illustrated work is the earliest surviving work covering all of the knightly weapons and is a masterpiece of organizing an instruction. I recently published an introductory analysis of the structure with Freelance Academy Press (Fiore deie Liberi’s Armizare, the Chivalric Martial Arts System of Il Fiore di Battaglia).

nippon buttonNippon

Medieval Japan is another fascination. which mostly began with reading James Clavell’s SHOGUN. The name for this page, Nippon, is a variation on the name for Japan, is the one chosen by my co-author and me for our Role Playing Game set in a fantastic medieval Japan: BUSHIDO.

I don’t play RPGs much any more, but the culture and details of the physical environment still fascinate (as proven by the groaning shelves of books related to the subject.)

fantastique buttonLa Fantastique

This is a catch-all category for items of interest that are things fantastic (certainly such things that catch my interest anyway), mostly in films, books and other media. Rather than burble about particular ones (which I reserve the right to do at a later date) I’ll leave you with a partial annotated list of works that have caught and sometimes sustained my interest.
  • Babylon 5: The mostly succesful experiment in novelized television. The ships were especially cool and I have a full set of the ships that appeared in the series and its spin-offs as white metal miniatures (formerly sold by Agents of Gaming).
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: An unusual comic book mini-series and its sequel mini-series authored by Alan Moore.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: It’s not just for teenage girls. This show has some of the wittiest writing on television and a wonderful fidelity to the consequences of the actions the characters undertake.
  • “Literary” influences: (mostly encountered as a pup and in no particular order: J.R.R.Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Moorcock, “Dray Prescot”, H. P. Lovecraft, Poul Anderson, Keith Laumer, A. Conan Doyle, Fritz Leiber, Fred Saberhagen, Clark Ashton Smith.
  • The Lord of the Rings and The Lord of the Rings The first is, of course, the original by J.R.R. Tolkien. The second is the film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. The second follows the first in an excellent adaptation of story, concept and setting from one medium to another. Both reward repeated exposure.
  • Harry Dresden: The book series by Jim Butcher, although the short-lived SciFi series had its charms.
  • Firefly / Serenity: Joss Wheson’s space frontiers tale that was truncated well before its time.

gaming buttonGaming

And as you can see elsewhere on this site, I’ve been involved in the creation of several RPGs and I’ve sculpted quite a few miniatures and done my bit to add to Fasa’s Shadowrun and BattleTech universes.

I’ve played a lot more games (RPGs, board games, and miniature games) through the years, though these days my pleasure is miniature battle games when I get the chance.

I’m not a strictly by the book type, especially when it comes to figure selection. I like what I like, and I play with what I like. Being a sculptor gives me something of an advantage since if the figure is not available, I can make it myself (assuming I have the time available.) The picture hints at some armies and areas of interest and maybe sometime I’ll get around to restoring some of the army pictures and notes from the old website.