Revland has coalesced in New York City for a couple weeks. First impression: crap, Seattle really is a podunk little town after all. You could plop the Seattle downtown core down on top of Soho and still leave the rest of Manhattan untouched.

All my life I’ve been hearing people from the northeast whine about how you can’t get good sandwiches anywhere else. I always said bunk to that. The City Deli in Snohomish, WA, makes my favorite sandwiches. Or at least they did until today, when I had a pastrami on rye at Katz’s Delicatessen. And damn if it wasn’t far, far and away the best pastrami sandwich I’ve ever had. It’s pointless to even describe it further. It’s just the best, and I hang my head in shame at the thought of pastrami sandwiches I’ve eaten in the past.

It’s not all good, though. The city’s primary industry seems to be creating grime. As we spent the day walking around Soho and the lower east side, I found myself washing my hands at every opportunity–unusual behavior, I assure you, but necessary when you find them quickly acquiring an unpleasant glaze of population residue. It’s still no match for the awe-inspiring free-roaming airborne slime of New Orleans during street parties, but it is impressive.

A slight backtrack: before leaving town last night, I spent the afternoon at Wizards of the Coast signing copies of their new Call of Cthulhu D20 rulebook. Also signing were authors Monte Cook, John Rateliff, and Scott Glancy, and artists Heather Hudson, Ann Koi, and Jason Soles. The books look great, and I’m very happy with the work. WotC is going to sell these signed copies, with a Darkest of the Hillside Thickets compilation CD included, through their online store. You can place a pre-order for it now, though the page doesn’t yet talk about the special nature of these copies. I believe we signed 200 copies, though it might have been a little more. If you’re interested in getting the signed copy with the CD, I’d suggest you place your pre-order now.

While I was there, a friend of mine told me WotC was making layoffs on Thursday, followed by (remaining) employee bonuses on Friday. Sure enough, today WotC laid off about 200 people, including folks I know. One of them is Brian, the editor and guardian of the CoC D20 project. He signed my copy of the book on Wednesday, and the next day got the sack. The hits apparently came all over the company, rather than just cutting a couple departments. It sucks, but it’s no surprise: Hasbro is run by morons, and while their buyout of WotC was great for WotC shareholders it’s proving to be the ruination of the company. I doubt they’re going to cancel D&D or anything, but they’re beating everything WotC was into submission until the staff whines like a whipped dog. It’s a sad, sad thing. I’m sure Brian takes it as cold comfort, but he did great work on CoC D20 and I’m glad he was there to shepherd it to what proved to be the very end. Fortunately, he’s a talented guy with a proven track record and should land on his feet.

Hell, this is the second time WotC has laid him off . . .

Mike and Jean-Michele are living in a cute little apartment in a Brooklyn brownstone. Over pastrami we made plans for the video shoot, and we leap right in tomorrow morning with bits in Times Square, Central Park, and the steps of the Public Library–your basic landmarks. Should be fun.

Haven’t been to the financial district to see the 9/11 site yet. The spotlights were up and running this evening as we walked through Soho, and the glorious Empire State had brilliant blue neon on the zeppelin mooring tower. Past and future in collision, demarcated with light.