name: Andrew "Aethan" French
I have a small passel. My Dad passed away a few
years back. My Mom is around, along with a guy
I introduce as "one of my fathers" who she was
romantically involved with before and after her
relationship with my Dad. I have a half-sister
and half-brother, though I donˇt think of
them as "halfs". My brother is married and has
a son, my awesome nephew Tim (taking him to Disney
World this fall. Woot!) And Iˇm married to
a wonderful guy, Steve, who is my favorite person
in the world. My best friend, as well as my husband.
41 (so far)
Two doves, named Leon and Noel (and no, we
didnˇt name them)
Went to High School in Woburn MA (nothing
like being a closeted homosexual, gamer, geek,
chorus singer, and drama club member in a
jock school). For college, I went to Emerson
in Boston. What an eye-opener!
Cooking, Movies, Music (I sing at a local
Renn Faire), Reading, Travel
to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived,
or are you currently living, in your parents'
basement? Never ever. Though when I
was still living with my Mom, I turned my
closet into a computer room. It was a pretty
big walk in closet, and I was able to assemble
a small computer desk in there. I had my Commodore
128 in there, all my games, and I decorated
the walls with fun, geeky posters. It was
my place to really cutmyself off from the
is your favorite way to spend a weekend? This
is a really
I love going to Disney World, but I donˇt
think Iˇve ever
gone just for the weekend. Iˇd have to
say that my favorite thing to do is to
head to Gloucester, MA. My Mom bought a beach
house there - itˇs a little
cabin about 100 yards from the actual beach.
Gloucester is up on Cape
Ann,which is far superior to the overly touristy
Cape Cod in my humble
opinion. There are great restaurants, great
little shops, beaches to comb,
an island to swim out to, and just the pleasant
relaxation of breaking up
the norm of location and schedule. Thatˇs
something I truly enjoy.
is the most frightening thing you've ever done?
I make light of it a lot, and it was awesome
at the same time, but I once jumped out of a
plane. In retrospect, though I was too much
in awe of the experience to really be scared,
thatˇs actually some scary stuff! Heck,
just to get up there to jump, I rode in a plane
the size of a VW Bugthat was scary allon
What is your favorite word? Fustigate,
which means "to beat with a stick."
I was taught that by a college history teacher
of mine who felt that America's collective vocabulary
had suffered greatly. He used to include vocabulary
terms on his tests. Bless you, Rev. John Coffee!
is your favorite time of year, and why?
I actually really love all the seasons, which
is why I prefer to live in New England. When
all's said and done here, there's a time every
year in Autumn?the leaves have changed, and
they're beautiful. It's still warm, but crisp
in the evening. The foods of that time of year
are things like turkey, apples, stews and soups
- all manner of soul food for me. And people
have just started to light fireplaces, so there's
a smoky scent on the air. That's my favorite
time of year. Also, there's Halloween!
you have a useless talent that no one else that
you know can do? Yes! I can smell when
milk is going bad, about two days before anyone
else around me. I think I have a bear nose.
you could be one superhero, which hero would
you be? Superman. Hands down. Not for
the powers, though those are cool, too. But
because Superman always tries to do what he
thinks is right. And he never gives up, no matter
how badly he's being beaten, no matter how rough
the odds are. Although he's an outsider, although
he could do anything with his powers, he chooses
to help people, and to protect them. In a way,
he's the quintessential chivalrous romantic
knight in the modern age, and I admire the nature
of the character greatly.
did you want to be when you grew up?
If I recall right, when I was little, I wanted
to either be an archaeologist or an astronaut.
Then I wanted to be an actor in musical theater.
Now, I just want to be happy. And I am.
is your favorite mode of transportation?
This may sound a little kooky, but I love traveling
by bus. When we travel from Boston to New York,
we take the Bolt Bus - free wifi, electrical
outlets to recharge cell phones, laptops, etc.,
comfy seats, and usually a stop at an amazing,
huge truck stop. Every kind of jerky one could
want! I love snuggling down in the comfy seat
with my laptop or a book, a bag of jerky, and
a soda. Knowing that I don't have to think about
driving just makes me not care how long it takes
to get there.
is one thing that you regret that you would
go back and change if you could? When
I was little, my Dad and I traveled a lot, camping,
going to Disney World, and so on. Before he
passed, my Dad was ill for a long time. During
that time, we talked a lot about traveling together,
this time in Europe, when he felt better. I
wish now that we had gone to Europe earlier.
He died never having left the North American
continent his whole life, but he had the heart
of an adventurer. Sadly, he had the finances
of a guy who can't NOT spend money on the latest
is the one thing you want to do before you die?
Ever since he was little, my husband has wanted
to go to Australia. I work in the travel industry.
For every ten years I last at my company, I
get a free trip for myself and a companion.
When I hit the 10 year mark, I was restricted
to a number of trips. New Zealand was available,
but Australia wasn't. So we
went to New Zealand, and it was amazing, but
I know Steve still wants to go to Australia.
I only have about 7.5 years to go before I hit
20 years, and then I get to pick any trip my
company offers. There's a trip to Australia,
New Zealand, and Fiji, and I'd really like to
take him on that
just purchased a small island off the coast
of any continent of your choosing, and you are
preparing to start your own country there. What
does your flag look like? Let's make
it a blue bear, rampant, on a white field. Underneath
will be a Latin motto for 'If thou canst read
this, thou art too close.'
us about your favorite RPG character that you've
ever played. I'm almost always the
DM, so my actual characters tend to stick out
in my mind, and there's no contest who my favorite
is. Scott Little, aka Skittle, is a 10 year
old mouse pooka in my friend Whitt's Changeling:the
Dreaming (Revised) game. In his mortal
life, he was this scared, awkward kid who was
dealing with the loss of a father (long before
I lost my own), a
vulnerable mother, a harsh step-father (who
wanted him to go to military
school), and a bratty half-sister. In his Changeling
seeming, he was a brave,
witty faerie sorcerer of great power (after
the campaign progressed for a
while). His friends soon to learn the value
of listening to Skittle's plans,
even if they occasionally vetoed the bits I
had put in "because that will be
of the big story arcs of the campaign involved
the young knight, Sir Fane, who, with his unseelie
mother's help, wanted to become heir to the
County we lived in. I've often joked that the
evil Countess had spent years putting all her
pieces into place, but it only took us a weekend
to rescue her husband, the good, Seelie Count,
find the artifact that she'd been searching
for to keep it away from her, rescue Skittle's
mother, defeat the dragon the Countess had set
to guard Skittle's mom, rescue Skittle's girlfriend
(an unseelie cat pooka who worked for Fane that
Skittle had completely subverted), and capture
Sir Fane. That was a damn good weekend - in
real time, those sessions took months, but only
a weekend went by in the game - it was a breakneck
pace, and I felt exhausted when it was over.
are your favorite RPGs? Dungeons
& Dragons (started playing with the
original blue box version of Basic D&D
- chits instead of dice and B1: In Search
of the Unknown. I've tried every version,
and yes, I *love* 4E), Call of Cthulhu,
& Changeling the Dreaming. After
that, in no particular order, I also love Pendragon,
Star Wars Saga Edition, Ars Magica,
Deadlands, Skyrealms of Jorune
(the world; not the system), & Gamma
World (psyched for a new edition).
was your first RPG session like? That
was a game of blue box basic D&D.
It was my copy, and I was the DM. I had taught
myself and then my friends to play. We had absolutely
no idea what we were doing, and we had a blast.
That was played at my Mom's house, around the
kitchen table. My Mom was stunningly tolerant.
She liked the games at our house, because then
she knew where I was.
was your WORST RPG session like? Ah,
yes. I remember it well. It was a game of Star
Wars (the WotC version just before Saga).
A friend of mine liked to run marathon sessions,
and he asked to run it at our house, so there
was no "Oh, I have to get home" excuses
to be made. My husband Steve and I were asked
to join a group of three characters that had
already been playing together. My friend Neil's
character was a tusken raider, and he played
up his primitive nature to hilarious effect.
But that couldn't counteract the fact that the
DM made almost the entire game about the other
two characters, one of whom was a
Jedi (very broken character who ignored all
the Dark Side rules, used the Force openly in
public during the Rebellion era, etc.) and the
other was a soldier played by the DM's girlfriend
(intensely broken in all ways character. At
one point, we had to point out that the E-WEB
rifle she was using in one hand was actually
a huge gun that needs a team of three and a
tripod mount to be used.)
in the middle, he trotted out a droid that was,
essentially, a Terminator, which made us roll
our eyes a lot. Even though Steve's character
was mainly a starfighter pilot, and I was a
transport pilot, because that's what he told
us his game had been lacking, there was only
one brief (less than 30 minutes in an 8 hour
session) space battle, and the rest of the time,
we were just sort of along for the ride. We
tried to engage the others in RPing, but basically
only Neil's tusken raider would talk to us.
It was a miserable experience, and one I hope
never to duplicate.
is your all-time favorite person to game with?
This is a total no-contest. Not only
is Steve a fun guy to be around in general,
he's a great role-player, a very funny guy,
and he thrives on cinematic action in his gaming,
just like me. I adore being in the same game
with him as a player, I love the curve balls
he tosses to me when I'm DMing, and I love when
he runs Star Wars games, because of his massive
passion for the genre and the props he makes.
(There's a Tatooine city on one of our worktables,
complete with billboards, domes, and interior
decorations. I can't wait til he runs that game!)
you have anything gaming-related to plug?
Indirectly, yes. I run a website called BloopWatch.org
which is related to Call of Cthulhu
and Lovecraft in general. Also, I'm working
with some other local D&D players
to put together a local community site called
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