Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The God Particle by Richard Cox

I went to a book signing this weekend. Richard Cox was signing copies of his new book The God Particle.

We managed to show up just as the signing was underway and was able to hang out and talk to Richard for a few minutes before his line started forming. I actually met him before the signing; we are both members of OSFW and attend monthly meetings. Not only is he a talented writer, he is a really great guy with whom to talk.

Now, we couldn’t very well make a trip to Barnes & Noble without perusing the shelves. As we drooled looked over the many books we still need to add to our library, I saw an extremely attractive woman walk passed us. It was none other than our very own
Chera Kimiko. She is an anchor for our local Fox affiliate. Her good looks and quick wit have made her quite the local celebrity.

We finish our shopping and give a final farewell to Richard on our way out the door. As we are walking to the car, I read, For Chera. Hmmm, I think and move on to the acknowledgements. There it is in black and white; Chera Kimiko, whom I met while scratching out the first draft, and whose influence can be found throughout this book.

Wait, let me get this straight…he is a talented writer with a great personality and dashing good looks, he has just had his second book released, he actually has a line at his book signing, and he is friends with the hottest anchor person to ever grace our airwaves? It’s official…I am now forced to hate you Richard Cox. Just kidding, I threw that in there in case you ran across this review (yes, I actually plan to talk about your book here). 

The book is great. It is fast paced and flows smoothly. I couldn’t put the damned thing down. I bought it yesterday afternoon and I was finished with it by late this morning. It has several different stories lines that dance and flirt across the page waiting for the moment that they will all intersect. It is a story filled with intrigue, betrayal, seemingly supernatural powers, aspects of science versus religion, physics, love and sex…lots of sex. Fear not, the sex scenes are tastefully done and quite pertinent to the story (as hard as that is to believe, as most sex scenes seem somehow gratuitous).

Take an American businessman (Steve Keeley), put him in Zurich and have him tossed from a third story building. For most people this would be the end of a bad day, but for Steve it is the beginning of an adventure. I have unofficially dubbed him Hal, but you will have to read the book to find out why.

Kelly Smith is Anchor for a local ABC affiliate (yes, I am fairly sure that he drew heavily from Chera for this character). She has a chance encounter with Mike McNair, a brilliant physicist and an unlikely romance threatens to blossom.

Mike McNair is “The Man” at a $12 billion facility that housed a super collider. You will never guess what he is searching for…oh, I guess you did, it is the God Particle. Some would say he is too young to lead this project, but…yeah, he has his hands full.

How do they all come together? Well, you are just going to have to read the book. I highly recommend it.

Tiny Kicks

Hiya!!!! My son had his first karate test Yesterday. You could tell he was nervous. He has been going over his form and all of the strikes/kicks/combos that he has learned so far. He has been practicing every spare moment for the last three days straight.

We show up for the test and there are fifteen other children testing. Their ranks were mostly orange (trying for green) and whites (trying for yellow). Their was one girl that was testing for her red belt and one boy testing for his camo belt (they didn’t have those the first time I went through).

All of the kids did wonderful, some were down right impressive. The whole process took a little over an hour. My son broke a board with a front kick as his final task. Yes, he passed them all and has officially moved up in rank to yellow belt. Yeah, for Tyler…

I would also like to give a giant congratulations to all of the other children that advanced as well. Good work you guys, I would have difficulty memorizing some of those forms.

On a side note, I had to take a brief hiatus from my training. My new project has pretty much guaranteed that I won’t have time to do anything but work, eat and sleep for a couple of months (I am sure I will manage to get a little writing in, but you know what I mean). I hope to resume my studies sometime in October.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Actions, words, and all that....

A couple had been debating the purchase of a new auto for weeks. He
wanted a new truck. She wanted a fast little sports car so she could
zip through traffic around town.
He would probably have settled on any beat up old truck, but everything
she seemed to like was way out of their price range.

"Look!" she said. "I want something that goes from 0 to 200 in 4
seconds or less. And my birthday is coming up. You could surprise me."

For her birthday, he bought her a brand new bathroom scale.

Services will be at Downing funeral home on Monday the 12th, due to the
condition of the body, this will be a closed casket service. Please
send your donations to the 'Think before you say things to your wife
foundation, Dallas, Texas

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Message to Anon (you know who you are)

Forget the dumb stuff. Learn to let the little things go. It is the little things that will eat you up inside. The big things come and go in a flash of glory. Though, it seems when you look back, most of them were not so much one big thing but the culmination of all the little things that have been percolating in the back of your mind. The little things irk us, but maybe not enough for us to do anything about them. Yet, if we don’t do something about them, they grow larger than life in our minds. Let ‘em go or address them, but don’t let them fester.

Understand that you are not in control of everything in your world. Hell, I would be surprised if you were in truly in control of anything. You may think you have it all under control (who among us doesn’t?), but that is rarely the case. Control is an illusion, like freedom or ownership.

Carry your fair share of the load. Carry more if you can shoulder it. Don’t rely on others to do your work for you. Share the load if you have to, but don’t just step back and let it be carried for you.

Keep your friends close and your enemies…well, I think you enemies should be kept as far away from you as humanly possible. Constantly watching your back because your enemy is always under your heels is no way to go through life.

Your decisions will come back to haunt you or bless you, depending on the spirit in which they were made. Take responsibility for your actions; be accountable and no matter how much shit you catch for it, you will still be able to sleep better at night.

Only you can make you happy. You can be given the world on a string, but if your mind isn’t right, not even an injection of pure bliss will make you smile. Hmm, perhaps happiness should be added to that list of illusions. Nah, emotions are truly our own. They may be interrupted or influenced, but they can never be taken away.

Utilize your time wisely. Don’t waste something so precious as your time. Make the most of everyday; you never know when it will be your last. More than that, don’t waste the time of others. You don’t want someone’s dieing thought to be: “If only I had back that two hours that I spent listening to so and so complain about the quality of the shirts she encountered at the Penny’s super clearance sale.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Too early for drama...

So…I escort my son into daycare this morning and as I am standing at the front desk signing him in, he starts to panic.

“Dad! I forgot my breakfast.”
“Well, I will buy you something from the counter.”
“I forgot my lunch too.”
“He has to have a lunch to go on the fieldtrip today,” the daycare teacher added.
“Dad, I don’t want to miss the fieldtrip. Will you please go get my lunch?”
“But, that will make me late for work.”
“Actually, you are dropping him off quite a bit earlier than you usually do,” helpy helperton added.
“Yeah, I had some work that I wanted to catch up on, so I was going in early.”
“Looks like was is the operable word there.”
“Evidently,” I look at my watch in disgust. “I’ll be back.”

I rush out to my car and fire it up. I only live two miles from the daycare. If I hurry, I can still get to work before the masses. So, I peel out of the parking lot and roar down the street. There is only one other car on the entire road and he is down by where I have to turn. It being “oh my god” early, there isn’t much traffic; I gun the engine and we zip along Garnett. Yep, that one other car was a police officer and yes, I received the flashing lights and wailer treatment. I pull over and wait for him to approach the car.

“I guess you know why I pulled you over.”
“Yes, sir. I was just dropping off my son at the daycare right over there and…”
“Yeah, I saw you whipping out of their parking lot. Do you realize that you were doing 67 in a 40?”
“Oh, my…no, I didn’t. I was just trying not to be late for work…”
“67 in a 40, sir; there are no excuses for that. How late will you be for work if you die in a high speed crash?”
“But there is no one out on these roads this early in the morning.”
I was out here this morning.”
“Yes, you were out here to protect and serve and you are doing a fine job of it.”
“Are you getting smart with me?”
“No, sir. I am being sincere. You have officially protected me from myself. I guarantee that I will not be speeding for the rest of the day.”
I paused as he began to laugh. “For today, huh?”
“Yes, sir. You get start your day knowing that, without a doubt, you have been a positive influence in someone’s life.”
He stared at me for what felt like an eternity, turned and looked at the empty road, and smiled back at me.
“If you promise to keep your foot out of this thing, I suppose we could call this a warning.”
“Ah, thank you so much, sir.” I extended my hand to shake his.
“Have a nice day.”
“You too.”

I guess sometimes, nice things do happen to nice people. It does make me wonder how the rest of the day is going to go though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Slippery Subject

WD-40... I had no idea that you could use it for so many things!!!!!

When you read the "shower door" part, try it. It's the first thing that has
cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well
as glass. It's a miracle! Then try it on your stovetop... Viola! It's now
shinier than it's ever been. You'll be amazed.

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and
degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three
technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from
the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound. They were
successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.

The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts.
The workers were so pleased with the product, they began smuggling (also
known as "shrinkage" or "stealing") it out to use at home. The executives
decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans.
The rest, as they say, is history.

It is a carefully guarded recipe known only to four people. Only one of them
is the "brew master." There are about 2.5 million gallons of the stuff
manufactured each year. It gets it's distinctive smell from a fragrance that
is added to the brew. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is
nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

Here are some of the uses:

Protects silver from tarnishing
Cleans and lubricates guitar strings
Gets oil spots off concrete driveways
Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery
Keeps flies off cows
Restores and cleans chalkboards
Removes lipstick stains
Loosens stubborn zippers
Untangles jewelry chains
Removes stains from stainless steel sinks
Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill
Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing
Removes tomato stains from clothing
Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots
Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors
Keeps scissors working smoothly
Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes
Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide
Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding
Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises
Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open
Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close
Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl
Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles
Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy
Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly
Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools
Removes splattered grease on stove
Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging
Lubricates prosthetic limbs
Keeps pigeo ns off the balcony (they hate the smell)
Removes all traces of duct tape
I have even heard of folks spraying it on their arms, hands, and knees to
relieve arthritis pain.

Florida's favorite use was "cleans and removes love bugs from grills and
The favorite use in the state of New York--WD-40 protects the Statue of
Liberty from the elements.
WD-40 attracts fish . Spray a LITTLE on live bait or lures and you will be
catching the big one in no time. Also it's a lot cheaper than the chemical
attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using
some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some
Use it for fire ant bites It takes the sting away immediately, and stops the
WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe
with a clean rag.
Also, if you've discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a
tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with
WD-40 and rewash. Presto! Lipstick is gone!
If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture
and allow the car to start.(If I knew what a distributor cap was, it might
WD-40, long known for its ability to remove leftover tape mung (sticky label
tape), is also a lovely perfume and air freshener! Sprayed liberally on
every hinge in the ho use, it leaves that distinctive clean fresh scent for
up to two days!
Seriously though, it removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor!
Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn't seem
to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them
Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly!
Use WD-40!

The applications appear to be endless...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Pigs in Space

Wow!!! I ran across the following fascinating little tidbit this morning and thought I would pass it along.
China is hoping to learn what, if any, effect cosmic rays have on sperm by sending pig semen into space, the BBC reports.
Around 40 grams of semen from high-pedigree pigs will accompany two astronauts on an October orbital mission, and will be kept both inside and outside the Shenzhou VI spacecraft.
Sperm that survives the voyage will be tested for effects of microgravity and used to fertilize eggs. The semen is from the Rongchang breed of pig, prized for its high quality of meat and physical characteristics.
China became the third nation to send a human into space, after the United States and Russia, two years ago.

How would you like to be on that project?

“Now, you see what we are gonna want you to do is take these bottles of pig semen with you into space. Well…I guess you will have to go collect some first. Yeah, we were gonna let you harvest it but PETA got involved, so you are going to have to get it the old-fashioned way.”
Envision the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher as she spoke to the class.
“Because we want to see what the effects of space are on the little swimmers.”
The murmur not quite understood.
“Oh…er…let’s see…uh, no your little swimmers should be fine. This is a test ensure that pigs will be able to propagate when we colonize other worlds.”
“Of course, I’m sure. Now, here are a pair of rubber gloves and some vials; go make me proud soldier.”

Something about when pigs fly comes to mind here, but I just can’t bring myself to put it on paper.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Angels & Demons

If I have been immersed in a world of hidden text, secret societies, symbologists, iambic pentameter and the near destruction of the Catholic Church. It is the story of one of the oldest rivalries known to priests and scientists man; the eternal conflict between science and religion. Both groups claim to be searching for the ultimate answer, er…wait that was an entirely different story. They are both in search of the ultimate…oh, who am I kidding, both of them are striving to be the first to say: “Nanner, nanner, I told you I was right. Your entire life as been for naught.” Which, if it were the scientist that were right, means that there were a whole lot of celibate people roaming around saving themselves for no apparent reason. But then again, if the church is right, then there are a whole lot of really smart people tumbling around in a sea of fire, playing naked twister with the devil.

When a humble professor from Harvard (is there a such thing?), receives a phone call in the wee hours, it could only mean that he is about to be launch on a whirlwind adventure. Robert Langdon faces dangers unimaginable. He is put in harm’s way by a society that any scholar worth his salt will tell you has been dead for centuries. I am referring to none other than the Illuminati. Their agent, an ancient Hassassin, will commit unthinkable acts against the most unlikely victims.

You have no idea what I am talking about, do you? Well…I guess you will just have to read the book. What book is that you might ask? I am referring to none other than Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.

Before we go any further, I want to make it perfectly clear that I really enjoyed this story. Having said that, his mechanics in this one were a little rough and in many places, it felt rushed (I prefer to be pulled into a story rather than pushed), but the overall effect was a fast paced story that was full of enough twists and turns to keep you turning pages. In my humble opinion, this book wasn’t as good as Digital Fortress but it was still a damn good story.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Here, Kitty Kitty...

One Sunday, in counting the money in the weekly offering, the pastor of
a small Florida church found a pink envelope containing $1000. It
happened again the next week. The following Sunday, he watched as the
was collected and saw a little old lady put the distinctive pink
envelope in the plate.

This went on for weeks until the pastor, overcome by curiosity,
approached her. "Ma'am, I couldn't help but notice that you put $1,000 a
week in the collection plate," he stated.

"Why yes," she replied, "every week my son sends me money, and I give
some of it to the church."

The pastor replied, "That's wonderful, how much does he send you?"

The old lady said, "$10,000 a week."

The pastor was amazed. "Your son is very successful; what does he do for
a living?"

"He is a veterinarian," she answered.

"That is an honorable profession," the pastor said. "Where does he

The old lady said proudly, "In Nevada. He has two cat houses in Las
Vegas and one in Reno."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

When I close my eyes...

I can’t sleep; my mind is willing, but my body keeps getting in the way.
Nothing seems to help tonight; I close my eyes, but my dreams are evasive.
Seems like it would be an easy thing to do; just stop being awake.
Out of nowhere the coughing fits begin; sickness in the summertime?
My mind is reeling; it longs for some rest.
NyQuil should be my best friend by now, but it’s not.
I am drowning in a see of mucus and self-pity; why did this happen to me?
Aerial assaults by an unseen enemy have brought me to me knees.

Oh well, there is always tomorrow…

Monday, July 18, 2005

A change of pace...

Ok, I have been catching a lot of flack lately about when I am going to finish The Dance. My normal response is something along the lines of “I only post a chapter a week, it could take a while. To help remedy that situation, I will be posting an extra chapter from time to time. I would like to say that I will be posting two a week from now on, but I just don’t know if that is going to happen; I am also working on the 3rd book in my Plains series (You know…my vampire stories).

I will try it for a while and see how it goes. Remember, it’s not too late for your comments to make a difference in how the story unfolds.

On a side note, I have also posted my 2nd KABBU interview. Drop by and let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Bring on the Noise...

Ah, utter silence, I had almost forgotten what this feels like. My son is spending the weekend with his Mema and my brother is spending the weekend with some friends. It is just my wife and me. She is burning her way through the pages of The Da Vinci Code, the T.V. is off and I…well, I am pushing buttons on my keyboard. It feels…almost…unnatural. I have become so accustomed to trying to write while answering questions or trying to ignore the sounds of the tube, stereo, life…whatever, that this just doesn’t feel right. I can’t tell you how many times that I have thought: What I wouldn’t give for some peace and quiet around here. Well, I have it and I guess I would have to say that it is overrated. Careful what you wish for…yeah, I guess that adage is true. Oh well, I am sure that the anarchy will resume in full force in about five hours.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Girls Night Out...

We met some friends for Happy Hour yesterday at the Fox & Hound. Believe me; I needed to be happy for at least an hour. It has been a whirlwind of a week.

I found out that I was going to have to finagle a way that I could support two fully operating plants simultaneously. They are only about twenty minutes apart, but both projects are rather time consuming. I am sure that I can pull it off (With some seriously extended hours) for a maybe a couple of months, but anything more than that I will be facing burnout in a hurry.

Recognizing that there is a potential problem there, Steve (Quite possibly the single best boss I have ever worked for) arranged to bring in another engineer to assist me. The only one that was available that would be of any help to me, just so happens to be my old supervisor. It is quite apparent that he wants to fall back into his old role of running my group. I have already had to remind him a couple of times that he is there to assist, not run the show. To tell the truth, I don’t know if he will be able to stay on the sidelines. It doesn’t seem to be in his nature. He sees a project and wants to run with it. Hopefully we can get it worked out between the two of us, because I could use his help on various aspects of the project and an intervention from the higher ups may remove him from the project completely. I guess only time will tell.

As if that wasn’t enough stress, two of my vehicle decided to go on the fritz, at the same time. I dropped my motorcycle off for service and took my Trailblazer back to the dealership this morning. Hopefully one or the other will be ready to go before Monday. If not, my wife will be lucky enough to drive me back and forth to work (on her way to work) until one of them is. Yeah, that sounds like fun (if you like getting up an hour earlier than you are used to).

I could go on about several other things that happened this week, but I don’t want this to turn into a complete rant about how sucky my week was. For the most part it was still a better week than some I have had in years gone by.

So, we were sitting in the pub having a few laughs and swapping horror stories. At last, I felt the pressures of the week start to slip away. It felt good. One of the ladies in the group (I was the only male for the biggest part of the evening) said that she was waiting on a guy to show up that she had been talking to on the phone. I am not sure how they met, but apparently, this was going to be there first face to face meeting.

One of my friends from work (the only other male to take part in last night’s revelries) showed up and we decided to move out to the patio where it was quiet enough to hold a civilized conversation.

We are all laughing and carrying on, when the lady in waiting looked down at her cell phone. “Oh, it’s him.” She tried not to look too excited. He stepped out onto the patio, took a look at our group, and froze like a deer in headlights. The lady, recognizing the look of discomfort, steps up and whisks him a way for a more private first encounter. Much to our surprise she returns to the table after a few minutes, alone.

“What happened?”
“He got a phone call while we were standing there. It was another woman.”
“Yeah, he tells her that he has to meet with me for a couple of minutes and that he will catch up with her soon.”
“Ouch…what a pig.”
“Yeah, then he looks at me and says: ‘Oh, I didn’t realize that you wore braces.’”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“I don’t know. So, I wanted to get my teeth straightened. What’s the big deal?”
“Is he still in there? I think I need to have a little chat with him.”
“There is no need for that. He isn’t worth the time.”
“But, he can’t just get away with saying shit like that. Let me at least go make him a little…uneasy.”
“No, I am pretty sure he is already gone.”
“That sucks…”
“Men are assholes…except for you, of course.”
“Of course…”
“I am going to move to Alaska and live in an igloo.”
“And I am going to be a part time lesbian.”
“Part time…”
“Yeah, when I need companionship I will just mush my doggies into town and find a nice woman to take care of me.”
“That doesn’t really make you a part time lesbian, that just…”
“And I am going to write a book.”
“About being a part time lesbian in Alaska? Are you going to call it me and my dogs?”
“No, it is going to be about why men suck,” she huffed. “No offense.”
“None taken.”

And thus, the rest of the evening was devoted to man bashing, with me not being offended of course.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Adventures of Jim and Bob

What did you think I would go a whole week without putting up a bad joke? That’s not bloody likely.

Here is today’s groaner:

Logic and a Weed-eater

Two Oklahoma farmers, Jim and Bob, are sitting at their favorite bar, drinking beer. Jim turns to Rob and says, "You know, I'm tired of going through life without an education. Tomorrow I think I'll go to the Community College and sign up for some classes." Bob thinks it's a
good idea, and the two leave.
The next day Jim goes down to the college and meets the dean of admissions, who signs him up for the four basic classes: math, English, history, and logic.
"Logic?" Jim says. "What's that?"
The dean says, "I'll show you. Do you own a weed-eater?"
"Then logically because you own a weed-eater, I think that you have a yard."
"That's true, I do have a yard."
"I'm not done," the dean says. "Because you have a yard, I think logically that you would have a house."
"Yes, I do have a house."
"And because you have a house, I think that you might logically have a family."
"I have a family."
"I'm not done yet. Because you have a family, then logically you must have a wife."
"Yes, I do have a wife."
"And because you have a wife, then logically you must be a heterosexual."
"I am a heterosexual. That's amazing; you were able to find out all
of that because I have a weed-eater." Excited to take the class now,
Jim shakes the dean's hand and leaves to meet Bob at the bar.
tells Bob about his classes, how he is signed up for math, English, history and logic.
"Logic?" Bob says, "What's that?"
Jim says, "I'll show you. Do you have a weed-eater?"
"Then you're gay."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Conestoga 9

I would like to remind everyone that Conestoga is this weekend (July 15-17). Please stop by if you have an opportunity.

Here are some of the specifics:

Guest of Honor: George R. R. Martin
Artist Guest of Honor: Brad Foster
Toastmaster: Bradley Denton
Fan Guests of Honor: Margene Bahm, Paula Helm Murray, and Jim Murray

Both Bradley Denton and Brad Foster have been nominated for the Hugo Awards this year. See the press release at WorldCon's site. Congratulations and good luck!
Sheraton Tulsa
10918 E. 41st Street
Tulsa, OK 74146

It's located just east of Highway 169 on 41st Street.
(alternatively go to Sheraton's website and search for Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Room rates are still $74.00 for 1-4 people. Call (918)627-5000 for room reservations. If you wish to be on the Party Floor let the hotel your request the send an email to Party Floor

Confirmed guests as of 7/11/2005 - Bill D. Allen, David Lee Anderson, Lou Antonelli, E.C. Apperson, Paul Batteiger, Marty Belsky, Maggie Bonham, Jayme Lynn Blaschke, Warren Brown, Taylor Brown, Carl Brune, james k. burk, Ann Chamberlin, Matt Champine, Glen Cook, Brenda Corbin, Richard Cox, Larry Dixon, Randi Eldevik, Suzette Haden Elgin, Rhonda Eudaly, Randy Farran, Melanie Fletcher, Tim Frayser, Amanda A. Gannon, Beverly Hale, James Halloran, Lance Hawvermale, Nikki Hartline, Brian A. Hopkins, Gary Jonas, Kay Kenyon, Lee Killough, Julia Blackshear Kosatka, Mercedes Lackey, Deborah LeBlanc, Greg Lower, Julia S. Mandala, Louise Marley, Deborah Millitello, C.J. Mills, Tracy S. Morris, Cary Osborne, Stephen Pagel, Dana Patillo Dusty Rainbolt, Beth Reiten, M.T. Reiten, Robin Roberts, Ray Roberts, Selina Rosen, The Royal Gauntlet, Charles Sasser, Susan Satterfield, Mark Shepherd, Jannie Shea, Sharon Shinn, Wm. Mark Simmons, Bradley H. Sinor, Susan P. Sinor, Glenn R. Sixbury, Warren Spector, Robert Spoo, Allison Stein, Keith Stokes, Mel Tatum, Mark W. Tiedemann, Tulsa School of Defense, Jeffrey Turner, Martin Wagner, Howard Waldrop, Steve Wedel, John Wooley, K.D. Wentworth, and Jim Yates.
(links added as they are discovered)
Registration:$35.00 at the door. Please make checks payable to Conestoga. Registration form here for download in pdf format.
Conestoga 9
440 S. Gary Ave.
Box 45
Tulsa, OK 74104

If you have questions about the convention please email Conestoga 9. If you have any questions about the website please email the Webmaster.
For dealer tables please email KD Wentworth.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Book Update

As most of you know, my first book Drums of the Nunne’hi is coming out this year. I received an update from my publisher last night and I thought I would pass it along. We had hoped that it would be ready for release by August, but (now, bear with me because I know this is unheard of) there have been a few snags. Though, it is not nearly as bad as some of the problems that I have heard of other authors having. We are now looking at a September release.

Not to shabby, if you ask me. I wrote the book this year and I will see it in print…this year. Who could ask for more?

I will let you know when I find out more.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Another way to get some writing in...

Well, it looks like I have landed another writing gig. I have been hired to be the new reporter for KABBU. By hired, of course I mean they let me post my articles and by reporter, I mean…maybe I should start over. Ok, there was no actual hiring, but I was invited to be part of a consortium of writers. By writers, I should probably be more specific and say bloggers (Yes, some of them are actually writers, but for the purpose of this post they are to be known as bloggers). So, I was sitting around trying to think of something original to post on the new blog. Then it hit me; I could go ask random people random questions and see where that takes me. If that sort of thing interests you at all or if you are just curious how it turned out, by all means stop by and check out my first interview.

Is it Monday already?

The rest of my weekend involved: Fireworks, volleyball, a swimming pool, backyard barbeques, 2 visits from a Rogers County Sheriff, boating, tubing, wakeboarding, emergency room visits, big crashes, little crashes, and a whole lot of laughs.

“Didn’t he just make a post Saturday morning?” Well, yes…yes, I did, but a lot can happen in a couple of days, apparently.

Let’s start off with the Saturday’s escapades. We went to My Brother-in-law (Tom) and Sister-in-law’s (Tracy) house for some fine food, friends and fireworks.

They have a mac daddy pool and we were encouraged to bring swimsuits as it was going to be hot. There was just shy of a gazillion kids there, and they were all just dieing for me to get in there with them. “You are just a giant plaything, what can I say?” My wife teased as they swarmed me. I finally agree and dive into the pool. This is the signal for all of the kids to line up to my left with chants of “Throw me!” fighting for space in my ears with the sounds of laughter. Man, I like doing that, but my arms get a little rubbery by the 400th time I launch one of them into the air. I will just have to get stronger so that I can throw them until sundown. Thankfully, the call for dinner drug me out of the pool.

They had quite a turnout of the festivities and we decide to break into groups of nine and attack each other on the volleyball court. My word, that was a blast. You haven’t lived until you have seen a group of women go after a 6FT + tall man that just spiked the ball into the head of a 4ft+ tall women. I almost felt bad for him, almost.

When the sun went down, it was time for the big fireworks show. “But 4th of July was last weekend..” Yeah, and I know that, but you see they were all working on that fundraiser last weekend, so they were having the celebration this weekend. It turns out that some of the neighbors didn’t like the fireworks coming in so late either. The sheriff came out twice to talk to us about common courtesy. You see, they live outside the city limits and it isn’t against the law to set off works, but it is rude, apparently. In the end, he just asked that the fireworks be wrapped up as soon as possible.

Sunday, we set out for the lake. I spot Tom and Tracy’s boat pulling away from the docks and we go to meet them. By the time I pull up beside them, Lauren (their oldest daughter) is just crying her heart out. They are trying desperately to figure out what is wrong, but she is just screaming that it burns. “What burns?” Finally they help her take off her life vest (she is 13, but when you are in pain it can be difficult to maneuver) and she has red blotches all over her skin. She jumps in the water (hoping that it will cool the burn) and when she gets out, she has little blisters starting to form. Tom and Tracy left the other three kids with us and rushed her to the emergency room. It turns out that she had some sort of chemical reaction to something that was in her life jacket. They gave her some antihistamines and she seemed to recover quickly.

While they were tending to the rash, we were taking turns beating each other up with the boat. Between the wakeboard, tube and kids (apparently throw me works from the back of the boat as well as the swimming pool) I felt like an old man by the time we got home.
Hell…I guess I am not exactly a spring chicken any more. But I sure did have a good time. How was your weekend?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Split, Hit, Stay & Pray

Ah, yeah…you know what time it is. It’s that time of the month where I regal you with tales of my wacky misadventures in our monthly Black Jack Tournament. It was a strange night for me, full of …well, the unexpected. Alas, I don’t really want to get into any of the not so cool shenanigans that occurred during the evening, but suffice it to say, the evening didn’t go off without a hitch. Fear not, the problem (and yes it boiled down to one problem), has been rectified and our normal fun loving, smack talking, but doing it all in the spirit of good times with good friends will resume next month. But enough of all that sordid business, let’s talk about the good stuff.

The first round of cards fell revealing some nice cards for all and a blackjack on a $40 (hypothetical of course) hand. Unfortunately, that hand didn’t belong to me. No, I was left holding a sixteen facing a king. The next round of cards wasn’t much better. I quickly found myself falling into my old routines, throwing wild bets at random and…losing them. Before long, I was down to $30 in chips. It is a familiar place for me, as every time we get together I find myself in this position before the end of the tournament.

Then something happened; I went “all in” and won. Then I won again and again. By the end of the tournament, I had over $600 in chips. I was the chip leader. The last round was dealt, we had to take a small break to sort out some issues, and then we finished the game. Wouldn’t you know it…I won! Yes, it is official; I have won my first Black Jack tournament.

I would like to thank everyone who made this moment possible. Without my fellow players, none of this would have happened. Thanks to the dealer who stood firm and threw Black Jacks like they were going out of style. Thanks to the hosts that set the scene for this amazing occurrence. And last but not least, I would like to thank Lady Luck for finally taking your foot off my throat and replacing it with a big ol’ sloppy kiss.

All kidding aside, it was a great time and I can’t wait for next month.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Book Review: Digital Fortress

I just finished reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. This is the first of his works that I have read. I know…I know…The Da Vinci Code is supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, but I just wasn’t buying into the hype. My wife on the hand, has been devouring his books like, pardon the cliché, they are going out of style. It was at her insistence that I picked up Digital Fortress.

I read the back of the book and let out a sigh.
“What?” my wife asked.
“I get it. The government let’s the NSA run unchecked and someone has decided that they are evil.”
“Evil, huh?”
“Yeah, you know…big brother and all that. They play a game of computer chess and in the end, it turns out that the NSA is ran by a team with a heart of gold and good intentions. Hooray for the heroes!” I laughed.
“You know what they say about judging books by their cover…”
“It wasn’t the cover it was the back.” I turned the book over in my hands a few times and then opened to a random page. I had estimated the page to be about 1/3 of the way into the story. Surely to god, by that point, the story ought to be in full swing. Page 162 caught my attention from the first line. His fat fingers groped every inch of her body. She fell on top of him and moaned and writhed in false ecstasy. As he rolled her over and climbed on top of her, she thought she would be crushed.

For the sake of this review, allow me to skip to another paragraph. Suddenly, without warning, the German’s body arched, stiffened, and almost immediately collapsed on top of her. THAT’S ALL? She thought, surprised and relieved.

I am sure that you are thinking, as was I, that it really wasn’t all and you wouldn’t be disappointed. I decided to give it a chance.

I absolutely devoured this book. I actually took away from my writing time so that I could read. Those of you who know me will realize the importance of that statement. I wouldn’t say that I am exactly OCD, but I do like to keep a fairly rigorous schedule. My routine allots so many hours a week for reading, so many for writing and so many for all other activities. It’s a good system, (for me at least).

Lies, betrayal, misdirection, mixed signals and not knowing what was going to happen next; this book gave me horrible flashbacks to my first marriage. All kidding aside, I loved this book. It hit the ground running and rarely stumbled at all. Dan Brown…you have a new fan. I can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on his other books. I guess every once in a while, the work does live up to the hype.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ding Dong

Quasimodo, the demented bell ringer of Notre Dame, put an ad in the papers for a assistant bell ringer. One man applied for the job but he had no arms.
"How are you going to assist me?" asked Quasimodo.
"That's easy!" replied the man and he ran at the bell and banged it with his head.
"That's amazing!" said Quasimodo. "Could you show me that again?"
"Sure!" said the man and he ran at the bell again but he missed the swinging bell and fell out of the bell tower. A crowd huddled around the hapless man lying in the street and a police office asked, "Does anyone know who he is?"
Quasimodo came out and said...
The day after the guy with no arms fell to his death, another fellow shows up and said that he was the brother of the man with no arms and he wanted to audition for the bell ringers job. Quasimodo takes him to the bell tower, the guy picks up the wooden mallet and starts to ring the bells. He took a huge swing, missed the bell and fell over the balcony to his death. Quasimodo runs outside and the policeman asks him who the fellow was. Quasimodo says,
"I never got his name but HE'S A DEAD RINGER FOR HIS BROTHER."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fire Mission

My God, what have I done? I asked myself in the split second it took for the rocket to change trajectories.

Wait, perhaps I should back up a little. My Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law run a firework stand every year. It’s a fundraiser to raise money for their children’s soccer teams to go to tournaments and what not. On Sunday, we went and loaded up on some big bad fireworks. We bought artillery shells, rockets, and a slew of multifunction sky displays, lots of lights, lots of boom and lots of ohs and ahs.

Several people from the neighborhood came out to watch, not just my fireworks, but those of nearly every other house in my edition. It is really quite an impressive display. One of the things I really love about my street is that everyone likes to celebrate the holidays.

I have strayed a bit, haven’t I? As I set up the fireworks in preparation of light off, my neighbors from across the street came out and set up some chairs in their driveway. I was just putting the finishing touches on my firing order when a few of my neighbors from up the street showed up. We were ready for the festivities.

I have a set order that I like to set off my fireworks. I always start with the smallest and work my way up to the grand finale. I grabbed up a rocket and strolled out to the launch zone that I had set up. I knelt down, lit the fuse and backed away. It went up about ten feet, turned around and crashed back into the yard.

“Well, that was exciting,” my wife teased as I doused it with a waterhose.
“Yeah, I don’t think that was what it was meant to do.”

I grabbed another rocket and lit the fuse. It soared high into the night and exploded with red, white and blue sparks showering down from where the rocket was last seen. Now that’s more like it, I told myself. I grabbed another rocket and it inspired another round of ohs and ahs. It wasn’t until I grabbed the fourth rocket that things went awry. I lit the fuse, stepped back and watched in horror as it only flew up about five feet before making a 90 degree turn. It flew straight towards my open-mouthed neighbors at the speed of…well, a rocket. Thankfully, it flew a little left of them and hit a tree that was between it and their front door. It didn’t seem to bother them at all. They just laughed it off, but it really freaked me out. I mean, if it were just a little more to the right, it would have hit one of them.

The rest of the night went off without a hitch. It was a lovely time had by all. Well, except for my dogs. They didn’t know what was going on, but they knew they didn’t like it.

Yeah, that was the end of the rockets. I think for next year, I will stick to the Artillery shells and big displays. It would be best for all concerned.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Weekend Rents

We managed to watch three movies this weekend. We picked up Cursed, Hitch, and >National Treasure

Let’s start with Cursed. This was a good old-fashioned werewolf movie. It was well written, had great special effects, and with the exception of a handful of almost too cheesy to bear moments, was a good flick.

A werewolf is on the loose in, now stay with me here…Los Angeles. A young T.V. producer (Christina Ricci) and her younger brother (Jesse Eisenberg) are attacked by a werewolf while trying to rescue Shannon Elizabeth from a horrible car wreck. The teenage boy instantly embraces what he has become, but the older, more levelheaded sibling doesn’t believe in werewolves.

It goes without saying that before the bite Jimmy (the younger brother) was an outcast at school. One of my favorite parts of the whole movie is an unexpected “outing” of a popular wrestler. The young man confesses his love for the newly transformed Jimmy. Jimmy responds with, “I’m not gay, not that there is anything wrong with that. I am happy for you. So, yeah…go gay and I’ll see ya! I would love to help you out with this, but I have my own problems right now. Ben, I’m not gay…I’m a werewolf.”

Anyhoo, this is not a movie that I will own, but it was definitely worth watching once.

Next on deck is Hitch. Wow, this movie was a complete and utter chick flick. It had all of the elements that would appeal to at least 75% of the women that I know. Boy meets girl. Boy gets heart broke. Boy becomes guarded. Boy meets new girl. Boy realizes that he never really new what real love was until he meets the new girl. Boy loses new girl, boy fights to win new girl back.

Have I lost anyone yet? I hope not, because I have something very important to say about this movie: I loved it. I laughed myself stupid. This movie was great. I normally don’t go for chick flicks (I know that sounds odd coming from a guy who likes all things horror), but watching Hitch (Will Smith) trying to teach Albert (Kevin James) how to be smooth was just too damn entertaining.

This one will be part of our collection and we will watch it over and over. If nothing else we will watch it again just for the dance scenes.

Our final selection for the weekend is National Treasure. You see, there is this treasure map and it is on the back of The Declaration of Independence. There is this family that has been searching for the treasure for generations. Nicholas Cage finds an investor that is crazy enough to go on this treasure hunt. Spoiler warning! The investor turns out to be a bad guy. Now the good guys are in a race to find the treasure before the bad guys can steal it.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good movie. The problem is that I was expecting a great movie. It had the potential to be one and it often came close, but in the end, it fell a little short of greatness. It’s worth watching, but I don’t think I will own this one.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Smells like bacon.

Once there were three little pigs. The first pig walked into a bar and asked the bartender, " How many beers do you sell?"
"We sell 5 beers."
"Can I have 6 beers please."
So the bartender gets the first little pig 6 beers.
The pig drinks all 6 and asks the bartender "Where is the bathroom?"
"Down the hall and to the left".
The next day the second little pig comes in and says "How many beers do you sell?"
"We sell 6 beers".
So, the little pig asks for 7 beers, he drinks them all and says "where's the bathroom?"
"Down the hall and to the left".
The next day the third little pig comes in and says "How many beers do you sell?" The bartender says "7", so the little pig asks for 8 beers.
He drinks them all and the bartender says "Let me guess, you're going to ask me where the bathroom is, right?"
"No because I'm the little piggy who goes wee wee wee wee all the way home!!!"

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Good Times

Well, we started the weekend off right. Last night I grilled up about twenty pounds of ribs (don’t worry I mixed up a little with baby backs, spare ribs, beef short ribs and rack of beef ribs) and served it to a few good friends and family. I also mixed up a batch of my world famous (in my mind at least) mac salad. Rob, introduced us to bacon wrapped mushrooms. Oh…my…god, they were fantastic.

After dinner, we decided to play horseshoes. Wouldn’t you know it, it was already dark by the time we went outside. What is a man to do? I grabbed a flashlight and we had our very first nighttime horseshoe match. It was fun, but I would go so far as to say that it replace normal horseshoes.

We shot a little pool up in my game room, but had to surrender to my little cousin Jimmy who kept darting out of nowhere to grab balls from the table or send them rolling everywhere.

We moved on to cards and agreed on Texas Hold ‘em. Just before midnight, Amy, Rob and Leslie went all in. Rob walked away with the whole shebang. The cards haven’t been kind to me in…ok, years. We sure had fun though.

And now, I know this is hard to believe, but we are off to the lake. It will be another fine day of wakeboarding and playing in the sun.

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