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Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Bourne Movies

Okay, well Bette wanted to see them. After seeing the previews I wasn't all that excited to see them. I knew the basic plots of the movies, or at least the story setups. Bourne is classic Cold War cloak and dagger pot boilers. I've never read the books, after seeing the first movie that will be something I need to remedy. Yes, I know the movies don't track to the books, but there that spark I can see, the burnt carpet that shows the ignition point that was the books.

So after viewing the first one, The Bourne Identity, we now own all three. If you like good stories, somewhat realistic stories, just watch the first one. If you're looking for big explosions and high drama, the Supremecy and Ultimatum will be more in line. Frankly, I like the first one most. Sure, the "action" isn't as big, the explosions not as explody, but there were fewer times when I made snarky comments. Like where did Jason get all that tech to read cell sim chips, international license plates, etc. What, is there a Spies R Us store with branches across the world. Two, even given the Cold War Black Ops paranoia that pervaded the first movie which came out in the portrayal of the Treadstone Assassins, there were very few plot coupons or stock happenings. One person who lost his memory, but not his kinetic memory (plausible with the training he supposedly received) versus someone trying to save their job.

Over all I liked the Identity the most out of the tree. To be fair, I liked the end graphics the most on Supremecy. But then I hated how they cleaned up the song by Moby in Ultimatum. I also wasn't fond of the overlap they portrayed in both and then tried to add to the Identity movie. Really, no need for it. At least some of the field craft stuff in all the movies was done well. No Q Branch high wizardry, no pithy remarks, no suddenly appearing tuxedoes. The high tech command rooms and notifications were also nicely subdued.

But for my money Identity is the better, the most believable, of the movies.

Hey Look

All around good guy and commenter tangentalist Nathan has got himself a blog. Cool.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Paging Nathan

Paging Nathan Gendzier, please pick up the courtesy phone (email in right hand column). You've got answers, I've got questions. Let's see if we have a match. Thanks.

And, if any of my other readers have experience in the Movie and Script Writing Area, I would also be greatly appreciative.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Joshua Palmatier is at it again

He's got a new contest running. This one sound very exciting. I've thought about joining OWW, and this would be a good way (first and second prize includes full membership for one and one-half year respectively), but for me it would be too much of a time sink. If you've never had real critiques of your work, or never had to critique someone else's work, a group like OWW might be the place to start. Even if you don't join they have excellent tips on how to review at their site.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Story Bones

(this is one of those "what you wake up with" pieces)

It's the fear he lives with, the horror he expects to find.

Story Bone

"It was amazing, he proved one equals one," he said.

"That's easy, that's an axiom," she said.

"Yeah, but you've never seen it proved like this before. It was like the Rube Goldberg of mathematic proofs. At one point one equaled two. Genius. Pure, unadulterated genius."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Less of Me

Since Adam (the dick spammer) was talking about diets in the previous comment thread, I thought I would just let you all know that yesterday I had another doctors appointment. Since September I've lost another nine pounds. As my doctor said, given that this is over the holidays he is damn glad to see I'm on track and continuing to lose weight (I was also worried). So, since I've been monitored (which started after I was losing weight, IMHO) I've lost 18 pounds since July. And it's only because I've been drinking less pop (Dr. Pepper is my preferred high fructose corn syrup ingestion device) and been using Metaformin. That means that if my insulin begins working well when I get far enough down in weight, there is very little chance I will yo-yo back when I go off the Metaformin (as there is no maintenance diet to keep to). I'm still north of 300 pounds (I carry my weight very well distributed, although I was getting a good sized middle, which is still the case as I've been losing my ass, which is normal with diets) so there's a long way to go. Also, my body is able to adapt to the slow weight loss. I don't crave anything, and I really don't deny myself much. This is the way to lose weight, if you can do it. Yes, I know, you all hate me. I'll deal with it.

Also, since it's the Holidays, Merry Christmas and Joyous Season of Lights everybody. My posting will be sporadic over the coming week. We've got all those aforementioned family things to do. I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the Solstice in your preferred manner/tradition. While I always give Bette the option to open one present on Solstice she so far has declined. So we will do the traditional Xmas time opening of our gifts.

Also, lots of driving will be done. Today Bette said she wanted to see The Golden Compass before it leaves the theaters. Going to a movie means driving 30+ minutes, so we make it a whole day event, so there will be some shopping (ugh, Xmas Tide, have I mentioned that I don't like crowds. I'm not agoraphobic, and if I was running I would want a crowd, but I don't like to go through them, too many targets and way to many idiots).

Speaking of idiots, Adam, do us all a favor, drop down a cyber-well and die.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Attend the Tale

Sweeny Todd (warning, site plays music at you, it's soft, but still) opens this weekend. Given the fact that in the past 48 hours I've heard several news stories on various programs, and interviews on media focused programs, the buzz is building. And as you all know, I'm very squee over the whole thing. What what I understand the irascible Steve Sondheim actually likes this rendition of his musical. However, the one part of the various critiques and reviews I've heard is that it is very bloody. I don't need to see that, especially at Xmas.

So, I probably won't see it in theaters unless it has a long run, but it will probably end up in my extensive DVD collection.

Yes, I know what the story is about (I've seen it on stage), I know that the kiddies loves the splatter, but that's not what the musical is about. It's not a gore story, it's a love/revenge story. It's a "do not screw with the small guy who isn't bolted together correctly" kind of story. Plus, the whole plot revolves around how the Demon Barber was able to conceal what he was actually doing, so big splattertings in the middle of a city (even as grimy as London was at the time, coal power anybody?) are likely to draw the wrong attentions.

Anyway, it sounds like it's going to be an excellent movie. Don't forget to get the Coke and Mrs. Lovett's meat pies before going in to the theater (and if nobody is doing that promotion, there are some marketing people who need to be fired). Shave?

Merry Solstice

The Old Year is dead. Long live the New Year (well, you know, except for being an election year, that part could go fast). Light fires, burn the Yule log, shout to the heavens, dance, feast, give life to the Sun. Bring in the holly and the ivy, the evergreens to remind us that life is and will be. Light the tree in honor of their everlasting presence. The Wheel has turned, light will return.

Whenever I hear people talking about "getting back to the good ol' religion," I'm always reminded of Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth. When Bill Moyer brought up the subject of fundamentalism, Prof. Campbell sang "Give me that Zarathustra, just like we use-ta, oh give me that ol' time religion."

It's winter, the Coyote sings.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coasting for the moment

In one of those "blah" kind of moods. To many whacks from the "This Is Life" stick right at the moment.

We have some sort of agreement for the Union on our new contract, but we aren't voting on it until the 5th (maybe, still only a rumor), won't get the new details of the plans until that week. Right now the rumors are flying. Some are okay, some sound like deal breakers. At least to me they do.

We have the first quotes for the water heater. Ick! Okay, well, on further research a 40 gallon hot-water tank with power vent is about $650. But full installation taking the overall price to twice that (well, in the mid $1300). The tankless heater was double what I expected on the low end and about half as much more as the high end (nearly $3000), and I don't think I would save that much in gas. The quotes also weren't itemized, nor was there a list of what services they would actually be providing. Why does it seem that contractors haven't realized they're no longer working in the 80s? Why must it always be a struggle?

The family is coming up to our house for the family Xmas. There's a whole bunch of stuff there that I don't want to get into right now, but lets just say that this is more draining than just the cleaning, finishing up projects, and prepping for the meal. Family.

And to add on top, I feel like I've been slacking off lately and am in the self-punishment mode of that whole process. Damn gremlins of the mind. Any one of these I could probably handle with good grace, but it's all coming together at once.

On the plus side, though, if that I have most of next week off from the day thing. Only have to work Wednesday.

Hope you all's holidays are going better.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Holiday Decorations

For your delight and amusement:

The relamped Xmas Tree. Yes, all those colored lights, it didn't have those last year. Again, if you ever get it in your head to redo all the lamps on a 9' Pre-lit Xmas Tree from White Incandescent Lamps to Multi-color LED lamps because, 1) it would save money and 2) your snuggle bunny would rather have multi-colored lights, resist this thought with all your might. But I do like how it turned out.


The inflatable snowman and his drunken little brothers. My neighbor across the street has an inflatable snowman and we set them up to be waving at each other. Seriously. I love my neighbors.


My magic mailbox which will one day soon hold the magic contract for publication. Oh yes, it's all magical. Well, if you saw it lit it would look more magical. Hmm, maybe I need to take another picture soon. For Halloween and Xmas I wrap this beauty in lights and she shines like a beacon in the night.


And here is the whole outdoor set up. Yeah, I should take more "gee it's awfully dark out here" photos. As you can tell this is also before we got all the snow. Hey, I've been busy. No really. See the Xmas Tree comment above.

And yes, my inside lights do dim when I turn on the outside lights. Why do you ask?

Dragon Soup? Where are we to get a Dragon at this hour?

Wild cat lover and all around nice person Mary Turzillo wants you to know about a small press for poetry and their latest release Dragon Soup. Yes, she's in it. Not the hot soup, the book.

I Hate Microsoft

Really and truly. I have to use their crappy products here at work all because of brain deadness.

So today, Entourage starts acting flaky. I immediately copy all email in the InBox (which I keep trimmed to just current items, maybe 10 or so emails) to a new folder, quit and try to find the InBox folder on my hard drive to delete it. This will force the mail program to recreate it (the wonkiness was in the InBox). But noooo, Entourage doesn't do things like that, they have a "database."

Okay, I'll export the contacts and mail, and then reinstall. Pain in the arse, but what the heck. But noooo, can't export the contact or email because there's an error in the database (no shit, that's why I need to do this). But at least now I get a message saying I need to run the Database Utility which is in my Office Folder.

But noooo, there is no such application in those folders.

So I relaunch Entourage to do a help search (like I ever do this). Same message, need to run the Database Utility which is in the Office Folder. No it's not, I reply. Well, in the next paragraph, which didn't relate to the DU, I find that you need to launch the Database Utility, which is a separate program, by launching Entrouage holding down the Option Key. WTF? They can't even get their help utility right? Hey, Microsoft, don't tell me to run an application that's supposed to be in the folder and then hide that they way you really run it is by launching another program holding a special key.

And now, as I'm running the Database Utility, I'm getting warnings that I'm running out of disk space. Oh excellent.

Edit The database is repaired, things look good except for now instead of saying my name it says, "Main Identity 2" at the top. I don't think this affects the actual function of the software or the addressing. And the database repair pulled back email that I deleted over a year ago. This makes me worry about what else has slipped in or out of it's memory. But at least now I can send and receive email.

Do Androids Dream of Ridley Scott?

Blade Runner is one of those movies that helped form my love of SF. It entered my juvenile mind and exploded several cells while I attempted to process it and left me altered and skewed toward the genre. First off, Daryl Hannah as Pris, if this isn't a teenaged boy's dream, I don't know teenage boys. Then there is Rutger Hauer as Roy, the philosophical, maniacal replicant with a soul. Somewhere, somehow, that scene on the rooftop, in the rain, will come back into my writing, I know it will.

I remember seeing the original movie, I think it was at a friend's house who had HBO, or maybe it was one of those free weekends they used to offer. But I do remember watching it when I was still in high school. I saw it on the big screen when I went to college, at the University third-run movie theater. It still blew me away. I think it was after this point that I found out it was based on a book by P.K. Dick.

Then Ridley recut the movie and rereleased it. I think I saw it again in the theaters as the Directors Cut. I guess the studio forced Ridley to put a happy ending on the original, so now he got to redo it being slightly darker. To tell you the truth, I don't think I remember the difference between the two.

And now Ridley has recut the movie again. I appreciate his fanaticism. Any story you write or tell is never truly finished. As a creator you always feel the need to adjust it, push it more, change some of the focus of the story, see if you can make it better. You should resist this impulse with all your will once you get the story into "final form" (read as rewritten, edited and polished). Sure, if it hasn't been published, what's the harm besides wasting time that you could be spending on writing the next new thing. At some point, though, you have to let it go.

Ridley, Mr. Scott, let it go. Don't be a George Lucas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Okay, Well, if I Could Get Two Weeks Together, Maybe

Just saw this link and thought I would pass it on. For those workshop minded individuals, the Taos ToolBox. Instructors will be Walter John Williams and Kelly Link (which is excellent enough), tuition is $2500, but that includes many meals, lodging, etc. The place looks wonderful, although I have a feeling that much of those wonderful activities they list will go unused. At least they would be by me. I would definitely go hiking and tromping around the cabin, maybe a few night hikes as well. Applications are now open for next summer. I don't think I'll be applying for the reason of getting two weeks together won't happen, and the money is a bit steep for me. And i've had my eye on Viable Paradise for a long while now.

I guess, considering the amount of time I would probably spend doing other things than writing at these things, I like that they have wonderful scenery, but it really could be held in Downtown Cleveland for all I cared. I remember the first time I went on a trip for a former employer and when I got back I was asked, "So, what is Chicago like?" I replied, "It looks like a window this big (hold hands out) and has a tree in front of it." For three days, except for the rest of the hotel where the conference I was producing materials for was held and the trip to and from the airport, that's all I saw other than work.

That Dang Water Heater

Well, in the middle of the snowstorms yesterday, the water heater decided it didn't want to work. The blower functions, the pilot is lit, but no burner action to be had. Today we're supposed to have someone out from the company that installed it. I'm thinking it's either the solenoid, the thermostat, or a blockage to the burner. While they're out I asked to get a quote for the tankless (all them, and we buy the unit). I haven't called home to see how it's going, so I'm kind of antsy about it. The emergency service was a little too expensive, and at the time I got a call back I could barely see my neighbor's house in the snow. So I figured it would be better for everybody to wait until today. Of course that meant this morning's shower was a quick and cold one. Well, okay, slightly below room temperature one, but we keep our house thermostat at 68 degrees. Chilly.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So that's where they've been keeping the weather!

The weather is here. Snow fell hard and fast yesterday afternoon, but fortunately didn't keep up the pace. This snow were micro pellets, like ice balls covered in frosting. I was in the Dollar General talking to a major about some dead trees on their lot, it was maybe half an hour when I came out to find my car covered. And it was slick. Only about an eight of an inch, but I could feel my tires slipping on the road as I did the rest of my errands (dropped off a get well card to a friend that suffered a stroke at the beginning of the month, bought flowers for my wife, dropped off some mail). It maybe made an inch of snow out there, before switching to sleet. I woke up twice last night to the sound of fairies throwing ice balls at my window. Fortunately they were the pixie sized fairies so the balls were really tiny, but there was a gaggle of them. This morning was freezing rain. And now we have the wind that sounds like thundering trains (or low flying C-130s, which we do get here from time to time).

So I think winter has finally come. I'm not so sure I like this one so far. Once we get to the good heavy-flake snow we'll be okay until we hit the very dry powder snow.

Today is back to cleaning and getting ready for Xmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Book Finishline crossed by Matt Mitchell

Cool new guy Matt Mitchell just finished up and he's posted an excerpt of his new book (warning, excerpt has graphic violence, not for the squeemish). You should go and congratuate him. The excerpt is nicely wrapped in a blue box so you can avoid it if you like, or just skip to it if you like.

Congrats on book number three, Matt. You sir, rock (and I'm not saying that staring at a green axe either).

Not exactly a meme, but what the heck

Since I did this at the begining of the year, I might as well update you all. Many authors have been posting their schedules online. I think it started with the hardest new weird working writer Jeff VanderMeer, canned heat Tobias Buckell, Mr. Mainspring himself Jay Lake, and the woman we all need Elizabeth Bear.

Here's my basic workweek schedule
5:10am Alarm goes off.
5:30am Steve drags his butt out of bed
6:15am (or so) Steve is on his way to the day job
7:00am (ish) Steve starts workin' for the man
(no lunch, union negotiated it away, eat around 11:30ish, shoveling food in while working)
3:00pm (ish) Steve hears standard eight-hour workday go whooshing by
(this is where the variable stuff starts kicking in)
4:30pm-6:30pm (or on Thursdays 8:30pm) Steve logs out, prints out time sheet, writes down overtime, and starts home
4:30pm-7:30pm Depending on night, running errands
5:30pm-8:30pm Steve arrives back in Orwell Village
6:00pm-9:30pm Depending on night, has meetings
6:15pm-9:30pm Depending on night, Steve sits on couch, eats dinner with wife, catches up on life, watches some TV
7:00pm-10:00pm Chores, freelance design, blog catching up, emails, editing and writing
10:00pm-11:00pm Writing, editing, reading, going to bed (hopefully around 10:00pm)

Sometimes things go horribly wrong and I'm awake until 1:00am, fewer times things go very right and I'm home by 4:30 and finished with everything else by 7:00pm.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Xmas Music

A number of bloggers seem to be posting their favorite Xmas Songs, and seeing that I just de-archived my extensive collection of off beat songs I thought I would share some of my most favorite ones. Edited to add links and correct spelling.

Susan Werner, "Thy People Are Good Enough" - this is a radio rip (I don't think it's out there on one of her CDs) of her performing a Rudyard Kiplings Poem. Excellent

Mary Gauthier, "Christmas in Paradise" - "Davey stole a Christmas Tree from Kmart last night..." what an excellent start to a song.

John McCutchen, "Christmas in the Trenches" - Christmas on the front line in WWI, during an undeclared truce.

Tish Hinjosa, "Arbolito" - talking to trees, doesn't get much better than this.

Peter Mayer, "Birthday Party" - the Buddha and the Prophet go to wish Christ a happy b-day. Peace on Earth.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Bells Are Ringing" - hard to find, but worth it.

And a few others from "Coventry Carol" to "O' Emmanuel" in English and Latin, an acoustical guitar take on Linus and Lucy, Mary's Lulliby (I forget who was the artist, but it's an excellent recording), some Juggernaught Jug Band, and Pat Donahue's "Christmas Blues."

There ain't no Mariah Carey or any other fluff to be found here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

(My Manuscript) Will Be Home for Xmas

Just got an email from Jude-Marie Green, Associate Editor over at Abyss & Apex regarding The Running of the Deer. She said "it was well received... but... decided not to accept it for publication." Fair cop, and the rejection letter doesn't really sound like a form (I think this is the first time I've submitted to Abyss & Apex, although I drank their hooch at World Fantasy) so pluses all around. I did send her a thank you email (still shaky on those). So now I have more market research to do.

Edit I'm liking the e-submission process, Running of the Deer is off to Electric Velocipede.

Edit redux Journey Haiku is off to Space and Time Magazine.

"What the hell was THAT?" - Krusty

This could also be filed under, "When the Universe Speaks (through the TV)" after my post yesterday.

Last night I got home from the meetings very late, so I ended up eating dinner after 9pm. My wife and I are sitting on the couch as I'm trying to wait until after I digest before going to bed, and I start flipping channels. That's when we hit the Family Channel (I forget who owns this now, if it's still ABC or not) which has been playing Xmas specials and there's one I haven't seen currently playing. And I've seen every holiday special, including "It's the Sounding of the Shofar, Charlie Brown."

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. It's a Rankin-Bass stop motion puppet feature, but there's some awfully weird things going on. My first thought is "WTF is Cernunnos doing in an Xmas special (he's called the Great Ak here)? And that's just the first of those moments. Puck (who is speaking Esperanto and a mix mesh of other languages), Bee Queen, Japanese Ogres, John Barlycorn, the Seeley Court, those 3 Fairy Mothers from Sleeping Beauty, those things from Dark Crystal... whose head trip is this? Well, I guess it's a Frank "We're off to see the Wizard" Baum's headtrip.

This was one of those mind exploding moments. The writing for the TV Special most truly and horribly sucks out the wazzoo. But the visuals and the "WTF is that doing in with the Santa Claus story" moments more than made up for it. Plus there were songs that weren't "tear out your hair" bad. I'll have to see if I have this thing on one of the DVDs I own (it might be there on some disk, unplayed, along with "Hestor the Long Eared Donkey" and "Rudolph Saves the New Year"). It was that strange.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cue the Goldfinger Music

Set phaser to stun before you shoot your own foot off and check this out (the photo there is just a rendering). Boeing, those wonderful people whose commercials on FOX (the only place I've seen them) give me creepy feelings, have repurposed their high-energy "We's gonna shoot us some ICBMs" laser to attack in atmosphere and ground targets.

Part of me is thinking, "woohoo, actual laser strikes" and the other half of me is thinking, "say, this might not really be such a good thing." Now, to be fair, this isn't the first time a laser system has been outfitted this way, but before it was for targeting and command purposes (I have a good memory of walking through the stripped down aeral combat command center at a Dayton Airshow with two good friends of mine and pointing out the equipment that was bogus replacements, what was missing, and who exactly the guards posted inside and out worked for, yeah, I have strange friends). This is a much more powerful laser.

So there it is, a weapon system that is so totally cool and stranger than fiction (almost) and also one that makes the inner me go, "eww."

Chomping at the Bit

Word count since October has been abysmal (and word count typed has been rarer than sightings of Bigfoot). Reading has been slightly better (I finished 20th Centruy Ghosts last night), but still not spectacular. Right now I feel at loose ends with myself.

At the day job we're in the holiday slump, so I have had time to catch up on the blogeroll. I can't write here. I wish I could. I could probably be pumping out a thousand words a day right at the moment, but there's no privacy, and even typing these blog posts gets more notice than it should. And we're not allowed to bring personal reading materials to work.

On the plus side, for the past few days I've been getting energy and feeling something I haven't felt for a long time. I felt the hunger to write. That deep gut need to write, write well, and get published (which are all different neesds and habits). For about the last half year I've been looking at writing as a job, as my third job. And I think that brought a coolness toward the actual writing part of it. The hunger includes those feelings like being up on stage, I want to write things that are entertaining, things that make people say, "Hey, that was pretty neat," get them to laugh, not just the competant stuff I've been cranking out. I have the need to prove something, to stand on the mountain craig, manuscript held tight in my hands, and shout my revelation in the mad scientist voice (laughter included). That same feeling other people get when they want to drive the cool car, wear the cool clothes, and flash the cool business card at the high school reunion.

I want to get really going on the book. I'm tired of the preliminary stuff I've been able to get done. I want to type it all out. I need to do edits and such on short stories. I want to get those done. Must carve out more time.

And then we have to get the house ready for the Holidays, so there will be time spent there. After tonight I'm hoping the Council Job (job number 2) will quiet down for a bit (after the New Year there will be a flurry of work).

I've been working on the time sink of internet surfing at home, but I've been replacing that with time watching TV (you know, it really sucks, I don't know why I'm watching it). Now I need to switch that back to getting words down on the computer.

Hah! There! I've thrown the gauntlet down for myself. There are flags on the snowy mountain calling me. Their cracking voices pray for my success; their brilliant colors excite my blood, the bull-roarer sound of flapping are my herald trumpets. Hear the world moving, feel the marching feet. It is winter, the trickster stalks in my mind, his track and spore show in the new snow. He is always hungry.

Happy Holidays from the Day Job

Okay, while I appear in this, I did not do the programing. So any snorting of drinks through your nose isn't my fault. Just warning you.

Need some ideas?

Via Jennifer Jackson's blog, her day job has some ideas/"what we're looking for." Her dayjob is at the Donald Maass agency.

Hot New Toy for Xmas, Tickle Me Jesus

Just, OMG. And I love the picture and some of the google links, because no boy would play with dolls. Actually I'm wondering how Jesus will hold up under the GI Joe/SNAKE Assault. Strap a handkerchief parachute to him and throw (wasn't that the First Last Temptation in the Desert?)! I wonder if he has King-Fu Grip? Well, at least they didn't make him blonde, but he looks awfully white for a middle-eastern man. And I want the Moses doll, what's not to like about an old-man doll (and if that doesn't creep you out).

OMG. I'm just laughing. I mean, plastic hair? I guess God doesn't need marketing data for what little girls like to play with. And didn't anybody really notice the forests of naked Barbies across the land? Didn't they think about that? Well, I'm sure he's not anatomically correct. I'm imagining Talk Jesuses (Jesusii?) across the land, naked in the snow banks, spouting Mathew, Luke and John. Although (fits of laughter) New! for next year, Talking Jesus Doll with Real Blood(tm) Wounds of the Cross (help your children get their stigmata righ!). And get all the accessories, "Just Friends" Mary Magdalene (oh, think of the clothing accessories for that one, before and after saved, and she would have to have Real Hair), the Garden of Gesthemane Play Set (ha ha ha ha), "True Wood of the Cross" Calvary, and Clearing Out the Moneychangers Temple, Empty Tomb Playset (Jesus not included).

Need to stop before I get hysterics. No, really, WalMart has sold out of these.

Friday, December 7, 2007

It's Begining to Look a Lot Like Xmas!

All around hoopy frood and fellow Hamster (the writers group I belong to), S. Andrew Swann just sold two books to Bantam. Woohoo! The one book we critiqued this past summer. You all are in for a treat, it was excellent. Congrats, Steve, you also rock. And congrats on the bigger advance, that is SO totally excellent (and it shows the confidence Bantam has in sellability of these books).

Hot Diggity, Dog Diggity, Boom What You Do (to me)!

Frequent commentor and very big ham (radio operator) Ken McConnell just sold another story to that fab editor, Eric Reynolds. You all should go and tell Ken what a great thing this is. Congrats, man, you rock!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Crash and Burn!

So, I'm trying to use a service form a big box store to help do a little thing I need done. Said big box store offers said service happily, as I am told in the actual big box of the store, only I need to call big box service 800 number.

I have some time at work so I call said number listed on big box website only to find it's not the correct number. Three numbers later (and some confusing phone tree tag – hint, use actual descriptions of what the number will connect me with, not marketing crap), five different operators, and a half an hour wasted only to find, that in my area code (of which all 5 operators asked me for) said big box store is unable to provide service.

I live 30 minutes from one store, actually 2 stores are that distant with another 4 stores in the 45-minute range. I drive passed either one or the other on my way home every day. And they don’t provide that service?

Needless to say, I am about to take a 2x4 and go through said big box store enlightening them to the joys of actual customer service. And the good thing is that I can pick one up at said big box store. Convenient that is.

I want to spend about $1500 with them, but nope, that ain't gonna happen because they can't get a good service. So now I'm left to trying to get someone I know in the business to help me out. This is not a viable or acceptable business model.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Scientist Report Slight Earth Orbital Anomaly!

World scientists are very concerned over new evidence that the Earth has developed an anomaly in it's orbit. Planetologists are agreed that this slight wobble is being created by the giant gyroscope effect from all the spin the Bush Administration is doing to paint the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) that says Iran abandoned their nuclear weapon programs back in 2003 as Good News(tm) and a justification for their past actions and for justifying continued belligerence against Iran.

"If this keeps up," says Fran Helprot, Doctor of World Spinning, Geneva University, "the Earth may soon leave it's standard orbital track and begin circling the Sun in a mobious type track."

More as it comes in.

Rejection for the Holidays

John Klima over at Electric Velocipede has rejected my haiku "Journey" in record time. He says it's not what he's looking for. Fair cop (but right now my mind is playing U2). Back to the drawing board of Story Pilot and Duotrope to see where I need to send it next. I'm still digging the e-submission thing.

Happy Hanukkah

To all my friends who are Jewish. Yes, I know it's one of the lesser festivals, but then, so was Xmas (at one time it was the Feast of St. Stephen). I think for the next week whenever someone accosts me with a "Merry/Happy Xmas" I'll reply by wishing them a Happy Hanukkah, said with all sincerity.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

SFWA (the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America) seems hell bent on leather to self destruct. Which is a pity because I had really determined that one of my first major goals would be qualifying to join. If you care, I'm sure you've read about it (Making Light, Whatever, Charlie's Diary, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Andrew Burt's response) and if not, you can skip to the next post.

Right now, if I would qualify, I would put my chances of joining at 20% or lower. Dave Kletcha pretty much nails it here. That 20% can be explained because one, I've wanted to join for so long and still consider it a goal marker (an early one, BTW), and two, Griefcom is still good. As others have pointed out there are now other resources to replace much of what SFWA was good for. Once there is another resource for Griefcom, SFWA will no longer be relevant.

For the SFWA leadership (and particularly Mr. A. Burt) you continue to tell us how intelligent you all are (particularly Mr. Burt). As the great axiom for writing goes, it's time to show, not tell. If Mr. Burt, as rumors say, does run for President and wins, my probability of joining SFWA will go somewhere south of Zero.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Whatever works, Babe, whatever works

The illustrious ebear is doling out more advice on writing. I agree with her 100% on this one. When somebody tells you that to write you must (write for only two hour a day, writin only in the morning/evening, outline, write in order, do indepth research before writing, create protognists/antagonists that are like..., write a story in order with no flashbacks, use only Word, blah blah blah) they're trying to kill your creativity. If any of those things work for you that's excellent. They may not work for others. Heck, even my golden rule (do NOT twart the will of the characters) doesn't work for everybody (and not everybody gets what I'm saying, some very successful authors claim the characters don't talk to them; mores the pity, IMHO).

Seriously, do whatever works for you to get the words out. It may not make sense in the generation of the work. Don't worry about that, that's what rewrite is for. Heck, some people claim they never have to rewrite (I personally don't believe them). Write however makes sense for you to write.

I'm a seat of the pants writer. I start from Story Bones (just like what I share here) and discover the story as I'm writing it. While I may know where I'm going before I end a story, I hardly every know where I'm going when I start. Hell, My Favority War Stories was supposed to me mainstream fiction, and it turned into a Lovecraftian Horror piece. Who knew? Well, the Characters new, that's who.

Xmas Decoration PSA (Public Service Announcement)

If you ever get a wild idea to relamp a nine-foot tall prelight Xmas Tree with lower energy use LED light (also changing to multi-color lights form all white) resist this idea with all your will. Just sayin'.

There goes a day of cursing little Chinese fingers. And I'm only half done. I still need to remove lights on the middle section and relamp it. It'll probably mean another $60 worth of LED lamps. My back hurts, I'm late for bed, and there are plastic pine needles everywhere. I'm sure it's a lot easier if you have the right equipment, table, and a diet of rice. I'm reminded that I never did well of those manual dexterity tests some of us took back in high-school. Good thing I can make my living mostly with my brain.

So the bottom and top sections are done. And that was most of the day with me and my wife. Take this as the warning it is.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rejection and right back out

Ann VanderMeer over at Weird Tales sent me an email today passing on Daddy's Little Girl as not what she's looking for. Fair cop. Also, I sent Ann a thank you note for her reply. I'm still a little shaky on that. So tonight it's off to OSC Intergalactic Medicine Show. In and out in a day, man I'm liking this electronic submissions thing.

Got the outside lights up. Also was able to re-caulk the flashing on the roof while it was sunny (well, I did that first, before the decorations). Tonight it's snowing, so we times it well. The tree is sitting on the floor, so tomorrow we'll put that up.

Busy Be(e) Me

Found the letter for Daddy's Little Girl, so I update the Braggin' Rights. In the middle of a lot of things getting the house ready for winter (a little too late, but maybe I can calk the one flashing today, but the temp is still below freezing) and Xmas (there's still outdoor decorations that need put out, and the tree needs to go up). Plus cleaning up from the shelves. Yes, I'm slow as molasses when it comes to that stuff. This is why I haven't been posting all that much.

Work has been busy. Even through the new process took my 6 hour job on Thursdays down to 3 hours (and halved the internal sales people's work as well) it was still a busy week (although not as busy as last January). On top of that everyday I was running errands. Next week isn't looking much better with meetings starting back up and several big projects at work.

Plus there's a new novel segment to read before next Sunday for the writers group (and probably a short story or two will come in this week). I want to get at least two of the stories in edits out by the end of the year and a poem (non SF/F) that wants to be written. When I think of poetry my head bings, so I'm guessing there's more there than "Affected Lake" (that poem I need to write, the first stanza of which came out when I was driving home last week).

NaNoWriMo is over. I hope everybody that was participating made it (I know some of you did and some of you didn't, but there's a lot of you I don't know about). And if you didn't make it at least you got something useful out of it.