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August 31, 2005

Flew

A late night, 151 day, "close but no" rejection from the fine folks of Flytrap. Drat.

The Mongering Of Fear And Fuel

Price of gas at my local station this morning: $2.79/gallon.

Price of gas at my local station this afternoon: $2.99/gallon.

Highest price of gas I've seen personally today: $3.29/gallon.

Highest price I've seen on the local news: $4.99/gallon.

The lines are unbelievably long, and not helped by a rumor that went around mid-afternoon claiming that "they said on the TV that at five o'clock they're going to close all the gas stations! For two days! Gas up now before we're forced to walk everywhere like chumps!" Really? Did Bush nationalize my local RaceTrac while I was at lunch today?

On the bright side, if the higher prices don't get those Ford Gargantuans off the road, nothing will.

Aliens On Moon Of Saturn!

Well, maybe:

There is a hot spot on one of Saturn's moons which should not be there and has yet to be explained, scientists said on Tuesday.

It is located at the south pole of Enceladus, a moon with a diameter of just 500 km (310 miles) which orbits Saturn at a distance of around 238,000 km.

The hot spot is unusual because it occurs at the pole, scientists said. Usually, the hottest part of any planet or moon is around the equator, as is the case with the earth.

This suggests that the heat at Enceladus' southern pole is generated from within, said scientists from the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons.

But they acknowledged they had no idea how.

My favorite hypothesis is that they are the last remnants of an alien civilization, surviving by building themselves a Lost World. With dinosaurs! How B-movie pulp is that?

Reading: Aside from CNN and Google News? Murder of Angels, by Caitlín Kiernan.

August 30, 2005

Give 'Cuz They Hurt

In the words of our local morning news guy:

FEMA says CASH is the best aid for hurricane victims. Don't gather up water and rush to New Orleans or Gulfport yourself. Let the pros do it. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a list of agencies needing cash to assist victims:
  • American Red Cross, 800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English, 800-257-7575 Spanish.

  • Operation Blessing, 800-436-6348.

  • America's Second Harvest, 800-344-8070.

  • Adventist Community Services, 800-381-7171.

  • Catholic Charities, USA, 703-549-1390.

  • Christian Disaster Response, 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554.

  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, 800-848-5818.

  • Church World Service, 800-297-1516.

  • Convoy of Hope, 417-823-8998.

  • Lutheran Disaster Response, 800-638-3522.

  • Mennonite Disaster Service, 717-859-2210.

  • Nazarene Disaster Response, 888-256-5886.

  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, 800-872-3283.

  • Salvation Army, 800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).

  • Southern Baptist Convention — Disaster Relief, 800-462-8657, ext. 6440.

  • United Methodist Committee on Relief, 800-554-8583.
Better than I could say, anyhow.

August 25, 2005

Rant Averted

Oh, it's been a long day. As the new printing system on campus has been officially upgraded to a Baffling OrdealTM, it seemed likely that I'd take this time to gripe about it. But instead I got an email from the Lenox Avenue folks, declaring that they've set up a magazine blog and now I just don't care. They've even got links to excerpts to individual stories. Such as, well, mine. Jenn and Jay also have a story in there, and I must say, the clip's rather intriguing.

So, there you are. Safe from my whining for another day.

August 24, 2005

Praising My Lack Of A Straw

There is no experience quite so disappointing as going to a Waffle House, normally one of the fastest diners on the planet, only to discover that the fry cook working is, in fact, the slowest cook on the face of the planet. It took half an hour to get our food. We actually switched it to go after fifteen minutes, in some vain hope it might speed things up. Silly me. When the cook is busy making certain the plate is straight on the counter instead of, say, cooking, then nothing helps.

Also, there is nothing quite so disconcerting as taking the lid off a drink cup you thought held iced tea, only to learn it was actually filled with grits.

Reading: The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, the two sequels to Alexander McCall Smith's earlier Portuguese Irregular Verbs. But those were quick, and so currently it's Peter S. Beagle's A Fine and Private Place.

August 20, 2005

Mad Poet Disease

Sold "Universal Language," a poem that had been languishing helplessly in the bowels of the DNA Publishing Empire before being retrieved unacknowledged, to small press poetry mag Illumen. Now it will see print...seven years after I sold it the first time.

Truly, publishing is a maddening business.

Hot out there. Which is why I'm inside, with a houseful of properly conditioned air. Air conditioned to love me and treat me with respect, not make me pray for death. Or lemonade. Either, really.

August 19, 2005

Stupid Computer Tricks

Ah, the first day of classes. On a Friday, no less. I'm not sure why the Powers That Be decided that was a good idea, but who am I to question them?

A passing fancy: we've got a few old Dells lying about the workspace, what with some recent hardware switcheroos. As a result, I'm very tempted to try this out on one of them, just for laughs.

August 16, 2005

Add To Your Anticipating List

Toby's forthcoming book Crystal Rain now has the full listing up on Amazon.com. And Lordy, it do look cool.

Toby's also running a contest for anyone interested in designing a publicity website for the book. Prizes galore, and so forth.

The Time Traveller Reports In

My thanks to everyone for their congratulations. For those of you curious, the picture was taken at my brother's wedding in June (I shamelessly lifted it from Flickr). I'm pretty sure the wedding photographer took it, which is why it looks so good.

51 day rejection from Flashquake. Not so good, but I also got the money from Lenox Avenue for "Matilda." Much better.

Very little to report otherwise, except that we enjoyed our anniversary in fine fashion. Dinner out at lovely restaurant, etc. A woman from work told me that the 13th anniversary is the best. Not sure if she was trying to pay me a compliment or imply it's all downhill from here.

Reading: Oh, many things. Apocalypses, by R. A. Lafferty, and Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (really good, by the way. Reminded me of MAUS, but set in the early days of the Iranian Revolution. Oh, and no talking animals). But currently it's Portuguese Irregular Verbs, by Alexander McCall Smith.

August 15, 2005

Lucky Thirteen

Us


It's our anniversary today. Thirteen years, as well as the three and a half before then. A very long time that has passed by very quickly. Time does fly when you're having fun.

August 11, 2005

Tragedy Converted To Farce

So, I'm driving home today, taking a back road out of the school that avoids the parking lot the main drag becomes at five. This is a road they're starting to do some infrastructure work on, putting in sidewalks and such. At one intersection is a business that always seemed a little mysterious to me. I could never tell what they did. The name was fairly innocuous, and they had a fence that was just coated with kudzu, blocking out all within.

(Kudzu, if you're unfamiliar with it, is a Japanese plant known as kuzu that is currently eating the South alive. Seriously.)

Well, they must've sprayed it with Agent Orange, because as of this afternoon the vines were all gone. Nothing left but burned stalks. And now I could see through the fence inside. And the mystery was solved.

This mysterious company, it turns out, rents out giant inflatables. Huge rubbery things for small children climb on. Popular at large parties, Fall festivals, and school events. But what caught my eye was a large one they had inflated in the back: The Titanic Adventure Slide. Kids climb up it, then slide down the tilted deck, possibly into the frigid Atlantic.

I don't know why this surprises me, but it does. A tragedy that took the lives of over 1,500 people and made Celine Deion's career has been trivialized as an oversized jungle gym. Sigh. I can hardly wait for the next exciting example of this. Perhaps the Dachau Gas Chamber Bouncy Castle?

Recently Read: Dhampir, by Barb & J. C. Hendee.

August 07, 2005

The Memory Of Youth

Yesterday got a blue form from Realms of Fantasy. 62 days. Guess their new Slush Lord is filtering away. Nice to see.

Yesterday we also went over to Athens to have dinner out with the parentals. Hadn't seen 'em in about a month, so we thought it'd be nice. Afterwards Mom made me take a box of my old stuff out of the attic. Clearly she's making us clean up after ourselves. Opened it up and found it filled with lots of old RPG stuff, mostly D&D modules. The Tomb of Horrors. The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. Ravenloft. The City State of the Invincible Overlord. And lots and lots more.

Today, however, we're doing nothing more than the simple things. Laundry. Watching movies mailed from Blockbuster. Listening to it rain. Breathing in the smell of old paper and memories.

August 05, 2005

Thrilling! Exciting! Ouch!

101 day form reject from CRICKET on a poem. My first time testing the market.

Took the cats to the vet this morning, which is always a thrilling production. Just a checkup, and all is well. Our vet has started taking pictures of the animals as well, no doubt as an aid to recognizing them when treating them. Either that, or it's some obscure directive from the Department of Homeland Security. The amusing thing is, they take the pictures with one of those little webcams. You know the ones: small resolution, not great lighting. They consciensciously took pictures of each cat, usually three times, as they kept moving their heads just as the vet tech clicked the button. But the resolution is so crappy that Gus, Sylvia, and June could've all posed in each other's place. Ah, well.

And, I'd like to add, Andy got his. During his exam, he rolled over on his side and kicked me in the ribs. Back claws. Shirt doesn't tear, but the flesh underneath did. Ouch.

Reading: Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi. The Final Solution, by Michael Chabon (his Sherlock Holmes novella). And now The Hallowed Hunt, by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Meme It Up Big Time

(Via the intrepid Doug Lain.)

Describe the first story you ever sold to any publication. What was the title of the story? The name of the publication? The plot? The public reception to your work?

The first story I ever sold was called "Demonheart," to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, back when it was a going concern. It was set in a generic fantasy universe (no elves or dwarves, tho'). The hero was a young man who was a crewman on a merchant ship with a sorceress who was a passenger. Her power (and the title) was because she had a demon curled around her heart that whispered secrets to her. Constantly. Their relationship is one of fear (on his part), but she gives a magic whatsit to get him to calm down. During the voyage, the ship was attacked by pirates, who were led by a former apprentice/sorcerer-associate of the sorceress. He, unfortunately, had been driven mad (mad, I tell you!) by his own demon's mutterings and as a result, is out for revenge. The pirates take the vessel, the young man is badly wounded, and the sorceress and sorcerer have a throwdown on the deck. The sorceress is losing the duel when the young man intervenes by throwing a dagger at the sorcerer (with the magic whatsit wrapped around the handle). Sorceress wins, ship is saved, young man loses consciousness. He wakes up with the dead sorcerer's demon implanted in his chest, as that was the only way he could survive his wounds. Story ends with him becoming the new apprentice, hoping to learn enough to not go insane himself. Gosh, I'd forgotten how cheerful it all was.

To the best of my knowledge, there was no public reaction to my work, except for a review I saw in Tangent back when it was a print magazine. The review was generally positive, although it said the duel reminded them strongly of something from Magic: The Gathering. Ironically, I had never (and still haven't) played Magic; no, I was ripping off the duel scene in Deryni Rising.

I sold that ten years ago. Jesus, I feel old.

Happy Cinco De Ocho!

One of my favorite holidays, along with Festivus and Talk Like A Pirate Day. So far today I've celebrated by getting a slushie. Mmm, slush.

Update: There are some who object to my having an off-brand frozen carbonated drink deliciousness. Unfortunately, in order to have a Slurpee®, I'd have to go to a 7-Eleven, as they are the proud owners of the name. Unfortunately, 7-Elevens are thin on the ground in my neck of the woods; their store locator can't find any at all in Georgia. None. Zero, zip, bupkus.

So, what I had was called a Mindfreeze. I think slushie has a better ring to it.

August 02, 2005

Pick Up Sticks

Ah, such a day. Three presentions before lunch this morning (two by software vendors, who are a thrilling lot) and the afternoon spent trying to put machines back together. In writing news, an 89 day rejection from The New Yorker on a poem (a long shot it was, but whatthehell), but I got the contracts from Lenox Avenue for "Matilda." Lovely, lovely.

I was also quite distressed to see that my gmail account has gotten its first piece of spam: a phishing PayPal email; much more distressed to realize that, based on where the phish site's set up, there's only one email address that's like the source. I don't much like the implications of it, but hopefully I'm wrong, so I'll not say anything more at this point.

I also have a book review up at Mumpsimus on Joe R. Lansdale's Dead in the West. I appear to be guilty of excessive colon (:) use. A stylistic twitch I need to watch.

August 01, 2005

Hollywood Slash

Everyone have a nice weekend? Good. As did we.

Last night Lisa and I found ourselves watching Velvet Goldmine, a strange little movie that's basically a thinly veiled retelling of the boy-on-boy relationship of David Bowie and Iggy Pop. It's a bit kinky, to say the least, with a really good soundtrack (if you're a Glam Rock fan). Plus it's got two sci-fi geek culture icons, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Batman, getting hot and heavy in a scene should fuel the imaginations of thousands of slash fanfic writers, and the highly amusing Eddie Izzard playing a high-powered agent. It's slashtastic.

Reading: Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold.