Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Book Review: This is My Blood

I just finished reading This is My Blood by David Niall Wilson.

This is a great story. It chronicles the birth of the vampire from a very unique angle, the temptation of the Christ. It takes place in the time that Jesus walked the earth and yes the religious references are plentiful. Don’t worry though, the experience is nothing like sitting in church and reading the bible. Maybe more akin to being in the basement of a church on a Tuesday night, scanning the dusty bookshelves. You select a book, cough as you disturb its resting place. The light from your flashlight bounces as you hold it between your cheek and shoulder. Your journey begins. You discover Christianity’s dirty little secrets and you are…entertained.

I appeal to the devout among you not to fall upon this book in a rage, calling blasphemy at the mere mention of the Christ in a vampire story. Mr. Wilson does your Lord no disrespect in this story. If anything, he supports the image of Christ as the true son of God.

I appeal to the heathens among you not to fall upon this book with the clucking of your tongues, calling Zealot at any story where the life of Christ is threaded into the plot. If he had created a fictional messiah on a fictional planet, this story would still be as powerful.

Yes, the story is about the first vampire, but I wouldn’t call it a horror story. Are there horrific elements in it? Of course there is, but no more so than you would find in say Lord of the Flies or well…The Bible.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys delving into the mystery of human nature and the forces that drive us.

Rating: 4 stars.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Raining Revolution

The sweet sensation of water cascading down the back of a man oppressed gives off the fragrance of freedom. For that one glorious moment he forgets where he is as the rain pounds out a steady rhythm, beating his mind into a trance. He is free to ponder the plights of his life. The rolling thunder instills the feeling that the rain will eventually wash away the sins of the world, making it a new place, a safe place, a place of opportunity. Freedom is a fragile thing. Never do anything that will allow someone take it away from you.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. Do you want fries with that?

The felonious antics of two fast-food managers ended tragically when their robbery cover-up scheme went up in smoke. Lisa, 22 year-old night manager of Burger King, conspired with the 34-year-old day manager to heist over $4000 from the restaurant.
They staged an elaborate fake robbery/arson, in which Lisa acted the part of the victim bound with duct tape and trapped in the walk-in cooler, while her co-conspirator started a small fire and walked off with a duffel bag of cash. A key part of their plan was a quick "rescue" of Lisa by the local fire department.
Unfortunately the wastebasket fire went unnoticed until the morning shift arrived to find a slow-burning smolder that had never erupted into the desired blaze. The air from the open door caused the smolder to burst into flames, and firefighters were summoned. They found Lisa in the freezer, chilled and semi-conscious, and rushed her to a hospital where she died from hypothermia.
When police nabbed her bungling 34-year-old accomplice with the cash stashed in a Burger King bag, she tearfully confessed the details of the crime, implicating Lisa in her own death. Her account was verified by the fact that Lisa's body showed no signs of forced restraint, the duct tape was loose, and she could have easily freed herself from her bindings and escaped from the unlocked refrigerator.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Do I know you?

I stole this from Lime. You can upload your picture and it has a program that uses face recognition to match you up with celebrities you most closely resemble. It (mercifully in some cases) also tells you what percentage match you share with their picks.

This is the pic I used:


Image hosting by Photobucket

First up was Roman Abramovich. (66%)
Roman Arkadievich Abramovich (born October 24, 1966 in Saratov, Russian SFSR, USSR) is a Russian oil billionaire, referred to as one of the Russian oligarchs. In March 2006 he was listed by Forbes Magazine as the richest Russian and the 11th richest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $18.2 billion. Everyone above him in the list was at least ten years older. Abramovich is most famous outside of Russia as the owner of Chelsea F.C., an English Premiership football club, his wider involvement in European football, and for his contributions to Jewish enterprises in Israel and elsewhere, reflecting his Jewish origins.


Next we have, excuse me for a minute…(WTF), … is Sinead O’connor (62%)

Sinéad O'Connor was born in Dublin, Ireland on December 8th 1967. She moved to London in 1985 where she wrote and produced her first album The Lion and the Cobra. Sinéad signed to Ensign Records and the album was released in 1987. She spent the next year touring extensively throughout Europe and the USA. A long-form video entitled The Value of Ignorance was released in 1989. Directed by John Maybury, it was filmed at Sinéad's June 1988 concert at the Dominion Theatre in London.



Then we have Prince (62%).
Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson June 7, 1958) is a popular musician. His music bas expanded the vocabulary of myriad styles including funk, rhythm and blues, psychedelia and rock and roll. Prince is generally considered a brilliant guitarist, songwriter and composer; many critics refer to the quality of his work and its versatility as being indicative of musical genius.


Next up is Natalie Portman (62%) I feel pretty, oh so pretty, lol.

Natalie Portman was born on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. The daughter of an infertility specialist and an artist, Natalie (who uses her grandmother's maiden name in order to protect her privacy) left Israel at the age of 3 and relocated with her family to Maryland, Connecticut, and finally to Long Island, New York, where her parents still reside.



Next we have Winona Ryder (61%) I suddenly have “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction running through my mind.

Ryder was born in Olmsted County, Minnesota to Cindy Istas and Michael Horowitz, the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Romania. She was named for the nearby city of Winona. Her father's family was originally named 'Tomchin', however Ryder has stated that they were wrongly assigned the name of the family that they were travelling with when they arrived at Ellis Island, in 1906. She has a younger brother Yuri (named after Yuri Gagarin), an older half-brother Jubal and an older half-sister Sunyata. Notable family friends included her godfather Timothy Leary and beat poet Allen Ginsberg.


The next one, may just get a song stuck in your mind, Chaka Khan (61%)

Chaka Khan (born March 23, 1953) is the stage name of the African-American singer Yvette Marie Stevens.
Khan first came to the attention of the music world as the singer of the funk band Rufus in the mid-1970s and with the help of Stevie Wonder, broke into both the pop music and R&B charts in 1974 with the hit "Tell Me Something Good". Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the band had a number of R&B hits, including "Tell Me Something Good", "Masterjam", "Sweet Thing", "Do You Love What You Feel?", and "Once You Get Started".


What is with all the women in me list? Next up is Beyonce Knowles (59%)

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas) is an African-American R&B singer, actress, and chief songwriter and producer in the group Destiny's Child. In a Universal Music poll conducted earlier this year, Beyonce beat out Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to be crowned the Princess of Pop.



Then we come to John Entwistle (58%)

John Alec Entwistle (October 9, 1944 – June 27, 2002) was the bass guitar player for The Who. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential bassists of all time, creating an aggressive lead sound that helped influence contemporary and later bassists such as Noel Redding, Chris Squire, Les Claypool, Geddy Lee, Steve Harris and Billy Sheehan.



And last but, the farthest from actually resembling me is Alicia Silverstone (58%)

Alicia Silverstone was born on October 4, 1976, in San Francisco, California as the youngest of three children to parents Monty Silverstone, a real-estate investor, and Didi Silverstone, a former flight attendant. Alicia's career began at the tender age of six when her dad, Monty, took some photos of his young daughter. The photos allowed her to get some modeling gigs which then led to television commercials.



I must say that I’m a little disappointed that Mike Hampton didn’t make the list as that is the person I’ve been told I resemble the most, but hey who can complain when Chaka Kahn made the list of my look alikes, lol.

So go on, be brave; try it and let me know the results.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Vampires Suck...If you're lucky

I just finished reading The Bitten by L. A. Banks.

L. A. Banks really captures the sensuality of the vampire in this book. Don’t get me wrong, there is still tons of action outside of the bedroom, but sex, love, desire, lust…these are the driving forces behind the storyline. The abundant sex scenes were almost enough to ruin the story, but she manages to maintain a balance between the sex and the struggle of her characters that will keep the reader turning the pages.

She does a fantastic job of forming images of demons and assorted were-creatures. She creates an almost believable world of vampires, demons and the hunters who protect us from them…even if it means slipping over to the dark side to do it.

The forces of Light and Dark square off as a biblical key containing the blood of Christ falls into the hands of a Master Vampire. Damali, the huntress, and her crew of guardians must stop him before he locates the seal and unleashes Armageddon.

Carlos is the man she loves and he is also a council level vampire master. His love for her forces him to betray his dark masters and serve the light. Complications arise when in a fit of passion he turns her into the creature she has dedicated her life to destroying…a vampire.

Will she be forced to lead a life of darkness? We she be able to harness the dark power to save the world? Will the Dark finally overpower the Light? I guess you will have to read the book to find out. All in all, this was a good read.

Rating: 3 stars.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Coming Home

My son is finally coming home today. He spent spring break with one of his grandmothers. I have missed him dearly, but he’s having a blast. He did say he was a little homesick, but that may have been for my benefit, lol.

We have some additional celebrating to do when he gets back. He received his report card right before he left. Yes, my little genius made straight As. He even received a little certificate and will be eating donuts with the principal (and the other straight A achievers) next week.

We’re going to take him to Incredible Pizza to celebrate. We bandied around the idea of going today after we pick him up, but I’m sure at this point he is just ready to come home. Besides with a place like that, one generally wants to have a good three or more hours to spend playing. Yes, I play nearly as hard as he does when we go there. They have so much to do there, it’s almost impossible not to unleash your inner child.

I hope everyone’s weekend has been memorable.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Better Lucky Than Good...

Yesterday was...eventful. We went out to eat at a new Mexican restaurant by our house, El Tequila. It was quite tasty. Mexican food is kind of hit and miss with me as I don’t like the frijoles, but this place was well worth the trip.

Afterwards, we slipped downtown and met up with a few friends at McNealy’s Pub. Libations were flowing and laughter filled the room. It’s good to blow off a little steam on a Friday. Exercise the demons of the workweek and prepare yourself for a relaxing weekend. After the roller coaster week I had at work…yeah, I definitely needed to blow off a little steam.

We decided to move the party out to Million Dollar Elm Casino. I love to play Black Jack. Unfortunately, last night was one of those times when I couldn’t buy a decent hand. So, I decided to play slots. I played some nickel slots with some moderate success. I played some quarter slots with even more success. Then I let my wife talk me into playing in the high stakes area. I tried my luck with a several $5 machines with varying degrees of success and failure. Then I saw it, the mac-daddy of all slot machines, the $25 Ruby Red and Money Bags. They only have four of these in the entire casino.

“Come on, baby.” My wife urged. “Just try it. What have you got to lose?”
“I’m thinking a hundred dollar bill, Yo. You only get four spins for that.”
“So? Come on…you only live once.”
“Fine, but don’t be upset when this turns into an early evening.”

So, I fed the machine, hit the button and a cherry rolled onto the payline, but wait…the little status screen above the reels goes beet red. Little numbers light up and the machine begins to spin of it’s own accord. I was still blinking rapidly when they brought out the paperwork for me to sign. I had won a number that was high enough I had to pay taxes on it.

I gathered up all my friends and we proceeded to the little blues bar that’s in the casino. “Drink up! I’m buying.” There was a band (which I never did catch the name of ) playing some damn good music up on a little stage in the corner. So, we hung for a while and did quite a bit of dancing. Then, we did the unthinkable and went back to gambling. Yes, fools are we. Everyone knows you should leave when you win like that. Well, we played and played and dwindled the winnings down to just about what we walked in with, winning enough to keep us playing, but losing more than we won. Dumbass…

“Oh well, at least we’re having fun,” my wife shrugged.
“What the hell…I’m going try the $25 machine again,” I laughed.

I fed the machine, hit the button…yep, it turned red and spun. Can you believe that I hit almost two and a half times the original win? I filled out the paper work for the taxes and sat there dumbfounded while we waited for them to bring me the money.

All I can say is…wow. So, how’s your weekend going?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Agent Vs. Publisher

Ok, there are two definitive camps when it comes to road to getting published by a major house. 1) The easiest way to get published is get an agent. 2) The easiest way to get an agent is to get an offer. It poses a bit of a dilemma, doesn’t it?

I have had the wonderful fortune to spend some time with Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden about a year or so ago. We talked about everything from Civil War memorials to scam agents. Teresa even invited me to speak on a panel with them on the last day of the conference to help spread the word that anyone is vulnerable to such scoundrels.

Sadly, I had just days before realized how truly awful my writing was at that point in my writing life, so I tried to steer clear of the topic of the manuscript I had submitted to them. Though it hadn’t made it through the slushkiller process yet, I knew my first rendition of Darkness on the Plains was a lost cause.

I can almost hear some of you now, “What you had the opportunity to pick the minds of two editors from a major house and you squandered it?”
I think one of the reasons it was such a wonderful time was the fact that I didn’t inundate them with the same questions I’m sure they get at 90% of the functions they attend.

One of the things I did take away from them was the idea that nothing makes you more attractive to an agent than having a deal in hand.

I’ve read accounts at Storytellers Unplugged that support both camps.

I have several writer friends that swear the only way to advance your career is to get an agent. “Even most of the small presses are closing to open submissions. If you don’t already have a track record, your only hope is to get an agent.”

Of course, even if you do get an agent, you’re not guaranteed to get published. David Niall Wilson wrote a very informative post about having a good agent. He makes a good closing argument of, “Don’t obsess over getting an agent. Obsess over your writing,”

Getting published doesn’t automatically land you an agent either. As I’m sure most of you know, I have a book coming out at the end of the year. I started the agent query process for my latest book The Dance and I must admit, my rejection rate is starting to climb. Now granted, my publisher for Drums of the Nunne’hi is a very small press, but it is still a publishing credit, is it not? But then…one sale doesn’t exactly constitute a track record, does it?

Have I queried far and wide? Not yet, I started out with a small list and add to it with every rejection. Perhaps, I should quit trying so hard to find an agent and seek out a publisher. I hate to do both, as I’m sure Miss Snark can attest, agents hate to take on a project only to find out it’s already been shopped to death.

So, which camp do you follow?

Feel free to toss out other options if you don’t feel like you side with either of the above.

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. Man, some weeks I wished I was making this stuff up.

(27 May 2004, Italy) When Peraldo found sticks of old dynamite in an abandoned stable on the hill above his vineyard, he decided to bury the problem. Some might think that burying unstable dynamite would be...unwise. But not Peraldo, a 67-year-old retired entrepreneur, who had been an explosives expert in the army. He had also worked as a licensed "fuochino" in charge of explosives at construction sites prior to his retirement. He knew the ways of things that go boom.

This dynamite had been sitting around for some time, decaying and sweating highly unstable nitroglycerin. Peraldo carefully placed the high explosives in a hole thirty meters away from the stable, and gently covered them with loose earth. Apparently the mound was a little too high to be aesthetically attractive, so Peraldo began patting it down with his hands...

The massive blast rocked the entire town of Chiavenna. Police rushed to the vineyard to investigate. Peraldo was found torn to shreds, but miraculously, still alive and able to explain what had happened before he died from internal injuries.

Il mio Dio. Che l'idiota.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Book News

Ok, boys and girls, guys and gals. I have some news that may disappoint some of you and may have others of you saying, “Thank God! I didn’t think the day would come soon enough.”

I won’t be posting any more chapters of Darkness on the Plains. Yes, I realize that for those of you who have been following along faithfully, I’m leaving you hanging. If you feel that way, drop me an email and I may be able work something out for you on an individual basis.

I have several reasons for the abrupt end to the posts, but first and foremost, I’ve completed, polished and said a few Hail Mary’s over the final MSS and have sent it off to a potential publisher.

I’m still working on another story that I have to complete soon as I have my first deadline. After I get it complete, I may work up something else to post on Fridays, but it will be awhile. Until then…

Monday, March 20, 2006

Geek Humor

My wife is a chemist (and yes, several of my friends are too) and I thought they would get a kick out of this. I hope you do to…

Sung to the tune of Monty Python's "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay."

CHEMIST CHORUS

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I sleep al night and I work all day. He sleeps all night and he works
all day.
I clean my flasks, I read my JACS, He cleans his flasks, he reads
his JACS,
I do reactions well. He does reactions well.
Someday I'll be unlucky Some day we'll all be lucky
And blow my self to Hell. And watch him blown to Hell.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I prowl the library all day. He prowls the library all day.
The articles that I could use The articles that he could use
Are gone when they're in need. Are gone when they're in need.
If I were a bookbinder, If he were a bookbinder,
I'd have them all to read! He'd have to learn to read.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I sleep all night and I sleep all day. He sleeps all night and he
sleeps all day.
I like my work, I like my profs, He hates his work, he hates his
profs,
I go to seminars. He sleeps through seminars.
When I do any research The Boss can take his research
I just wind up with tars. And shove it up his arse.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I work all night and I work all day. He works all night and he works
all day.
I rotovap, distill it off, He rotovaps, distills it off,
Do chromatography. Does chromatography.
I think that by tomorrow We think that by tomorrow
I'll have some THC. He'll have some LSD.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I work all night and I sleep all day. He works all night and he
sleeps all day.
I do my work, I teach a class, He does his work, he teaches class,
I earn another buck. He earns another buck.
There's one girl in my section There's one girl in his section
I'd surely like to fail. He's never gonna fail.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I sleep all night and I work all day. He sleeps all night and he
works all day.
I used up all the ethanol, He used up all the ethanol,
I don't know where it went. He don't know where it went.
Now I can't work for six weeks, Now he can't work for six weeks,
The stockroom's closed for Lent. He's drying out in Trent.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I work all night and I sleep all day. He works all night and he
sleeps all day.
I make bad smells, I produce tar, He makes bad smells, produces tar,
I spend the bosses grant. And spends the boss's grant.
I tell him I'll make progress He tells him he'll make progress
And work so hard I'll pant. Although he really can't.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I sleep all night and I sleep all day. He sleeps all night and he
sleeps al day.
I work with nasty chemicals, He works with nasty chemicals
They really make a stink. That really make a stink.
I use the waste containers To clear a room is easy,
And never use the sink. He pours them down a sink.

I'm in chemistry and I'm okay, He's in chemistry and he's okay,
I phone all night and I phone all day. He phones all night and he
phones all day.
I buy up stocks, invest in bonds, He buys up stocks, invests in
bonds,
And sell commodities. And sells commodities.
And when the Market's slumping, And when the Market's slumping,
I live in poverty! He does his chemistry!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gripe Post

I am swiping this from LimeList ten things you want to say to people you know but you never will, for whatever reason, don't say who they are, use each person only once.

1. You are a conniving, subversive, back-stabbing bastard and if you don’t quit trying to undermine my authority, I’m going to rip your balls off and shove them up your nostrils. (Ok, so I might actually have to say this one, but I will try my best not to).

2. Trust must be earned not given and quite frankly…I just don’t have that kind of time.

3. What the hell were you thinking?

4. Bite me.

5. Don’t worry…the acne outbreak just makes you look younger.

6. Could you be any dumber?

7. Get over yourself, nobody cares and we all talk about what a dumb ass you are as soon as you leave the room.

8. I’m sorry, you must have mistaken me for your whipping boy.

9. You’re not from this planet are you?

10. Geesh, I’d love for you to stay in my office and visit with my, but I really don’t want you to.

Go ahead and vent in the comments. You know you’ll feel better if you do.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kill 'em all! Let God sort 'em out

We watched Kingdom of Heaven the other night. It wasn’t what I expected…it was better. I knew (yeah, I watched the previews) there would be epic battles, but I figured the movie would put a lot more emphasis on the knights religious devotion and the fact that they fought for Christ. In truth, the opposite seemed to be the case.

This movie provided a wonderful view of the mentalities and turmoil that led to (one instance) the fall of Jerusalem. The story is told primarily from the view of a blacksmith turned murderer turned Baron turned defender of the people. They did a wonderful job of conveying the arrogance and ignorance of the day.

I enjoyed this movie and I think it is worth the rent. I’m glad I didn’t watch it in the theater, but I am glad I watched it.

Rating: 3 Stars




Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. If at first you don’t succeed…

(27 July 2005, California) Robert, 35, was eager to hang out with the nudists at the Palm Springs campground, in a part of Death Valley where temperatures reached 136 degrees. The track was rough but passable until he was lured into the Saline Mud Flats by the deceptively dry appearance of its crackled surface, radiating heat in the baking sun. Within a few feet, the wheels of his VW microbus sunk deep into the muck that lay hidden beneath the crust.
Robert was miles from nowhere, surrounded by the bleached skulls of other animals that had become trapped in the mire. But he had plenty of water, so he waited for help to find him on the remote dirt track. After six days, he abandoned the microbus and began walking to a less deserted location where someone was more likely to pass.
Luck was with him! As he was shaking the last drop of water from his bottle, help arrived in the form of 14-year-old British lads from the League of Venturers, who were training in search-and-rescue techniques. "He was crying and completely hysterical. I don't think he expected to last the day," said the unit leader. They gave him a lift to the nearest ranger station, 80 miles away, where he kissed the ground in gratitude.
Robert had cheated death once, but that didn't stop him from tempting fate again.
In nearby Bishop, he found someone to tow the microbus out of the mudflats. Alas, it had two flat tires and other mechanical problems, so he returned to Bishop for automotive supplies. He snagged another ride into Death Valley, this time with a couple who took an unfamiliar route from the north, and dropped him off at a washout in the road about 15 miles from the Palm Springs campground.
His plan was to locate the campground and enlist help fixing his vehicle. He stashed his supplies and began walking. His body was found three days later, without a map, a GPS, or even water. Authorities estimated that he had walked along the road for 10 miles before heading into the open desert, seeking water.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Saturday was a good time

My son made three free throws yesterday during his basketball game. The boys played their little hearts out, but in the end…they came up short. They lost 26 to 17. I’m still proud as punch of them. They only have one game left to finish up the season.

Last night was my friend Amy’s birthday. A group of us got together to celebrate. We had a marvelous dinner at PF Chang’s. I can’t say enough good things about their food. If you are a fan of Chinese cuisine, this bistro is a must.

We moved on to fill the rest of the evening with spirits, laughter and yes…a little gambling. It was a good time had by all.

So how’s your weekend going?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Men Vs. Women

Men vs. Women vs. the Short Story
spacer
Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? Well, here's a prime example offered by an English professor at Southern Methodist University:

In-class Assignment for Wednesday:

Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his other immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached. The following was actually turned in by two of my English students, Rebecca [last name deleted] and Gary [last name deleted.] "

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Au'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow'em out of the sky!"

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.

Asshole.

Bitch.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I shot a man in Reno...

Walk the Line is the story of Johnny Cash. I’ve gotta tell you…I actually enjoyed this movie. I didn’t think I would as I am not exactly what you call a country music fan. This will of course disappoint several members of my family, a couple of which are fairly active (or have been at some point in their life) in the country music scene. No, I’m not mentioning names and no, I don’t plan to at this point.

The fact that Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon actually sang in this movie is amazing. They both do an outstanding job at recreating the sounds. Now, don’t go into this movie expecting an in depth Bio of Johnny Cash or June Carter for that matter. That’s just not the case, but the movie is very entertaining.

This movie works like socks on a tall rooster. I’m glad my wife insisted on watching it. I have officially added it to my collection.

There were a few parts that seemed to drag for me, but then this isn’t an action/adventure and I didn’t go into it looking for such.

Rating: Three Stars.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

You guessed it…it’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. This one is a personal account(not my personal account, mind you but a story another reader sent it in).


(Spring 1992, Bowling Green, Kentucky) The Society for Creative Anachronism was re-creating medieval life at Beech Bend Park, nestled in a woody curve of the Barren River. Two female friends had pitched their tents with other sword-wielding, baggy-pants celebrants. They invited me and "Adam" to join them for one evening's campout. Since both were lovely blondes, as well as charming companions, we readily agreed. They provided us with faux-medieval garb that would enable us to blend into the crowd. A tabard and baggy pants were enough for me, but Adam wanted something more.

Every SCAdian practices a skill, be it cooking, singing, craft, or energetically whacking each other with duct-tape-covered swords. Adam wanted to go all the way. He can juggle, which was a start, but not quite impressive enough. He decided to breathe fire. Adam had seen this stunt performed with pure grain alcohol. But he'd never done it, he was too young to buy alcohol, and the liquor stores closed at 11 pm. Still determined to blaze with glory, he went looking for a substitute.

Let's see... what flammable liquids can a young man buy in a Kentucky Wal-mart at 11:30 pm? There were several choices, none good. Adam settled on Coleman stove fuel. It was clear, and didn't smell too bad. He could pour it into an empty wine bottle for period realism. Adam decided it was close enough.
Back at camp. "C'mere, I've got something to show you," Adam told one blonde friend, and led her behind a large cloth tent. Nearby stood a group of men in chain mail armor, warming themselves around a fire. They could see Adam, but I couldn't.

Seconds later, a deep "WHOOOM!" burst from behind the tent, accompanied by a gout of orange flame. "Whoa!" cried all the guys around the campfire, turning to applaud. But their applause died. Through a double layer of tent fabric I could see this... afterglow. "Holy shit! He's on fire!" the mail-clad men yelled, and ran over to pound out the flames blazing around Adam's head.

What Adam hadn't realized was that unlike grain alcohol, stove fuel gives off copious fumes. As he swigged the fuel, some trickled down his chin. Fortunately, he'd shaved off his goatee the day before. As it was, fumes wreathed his head and fuel trickled down his throat. In the ensuing conflagration, he managed to scorch his eyebrows and the hair off the back of his head, while hardly touching that on top. Rivulets of flame ran down his neck, and he suffered chemical burns in his throat.

Adam was still standing, and at first thought he was not seriously hurt. But the burns started to sting, and I led him to the chirurgeon's tent. They quickly ascertained that neither medieval technology nor modern first aid would suffice, and I drove Adam to the hospital in a horseless carriage. The burns on his neck healed without serious scarring, his hair re-grew, and the octave he lost off his voice came back in about six months.

Five years later I went to another SCA gathering in a different city, accompanying the same female friends. A long and entertaining day concluded with a belly-dancing demonstration around a bonfire, accompanied by throbbing drums. I turned to the stranger standing next to me and commented on how exciting the event was.

"Aw, this is nothin', man," he replied. "If you think this is exciting, you shoulda been here five years ago. Some crazy dude set his head on fire!"

Monday, March 06, 2006

Fun With Tarot

I blatantly stole this from Sandra Who blatantly stole it from James

You Are The Lovers

You represent ideal love: innocence, trust, exhilaration and joy.
You demonstrate the harmony of opposites, two sides coming together.
At times, you also represent the struggle between what is right and what is tempting.
Control is an issue for you, especially when you don't know your reasons for choosing something.

Your fortune:

You have an important choice you need to make about love, and it will be a difficult choice to make.
You are likely struggling between the love you crave and the love that is right.
In the end, you will choose what you crave, even if it's bad for you.
Because without what you crave, you will feel empty and incomplete.

CIA Tales

A few months ago, there was an opening with the CIA for an assassin. These highly classified positions are hard to fill, and there's a lot of testing and background checks involved before you can even be considered for the position. After sending some applicants through the background checks, training and testing, they narrowed the possible choices down to two men and a woman, but only one position was available.

The day came for the final test to see which peson would get the extremely secretive job. The CIA men administering the test took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow our instructions whatever the circumstances," they explained. "Inside this room, you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The man looked horrified and said, "You can't be serious! I could never shoot my wife!" "Well," said the CIA man, "you're definitely not the right man for this job then."

So they brought the second man to the same door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances," they explained to the second man. "Inside you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The second man looked a bit shocked, but nevertheless took the gun and went in the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes; then the door opened. The man came out of the room with tears in his eyes. "I tried to shoot her; I just couldn't pull the trigger and shoot my wife. I guess I'm not the right man for the job."
"No," the CIA man replied, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."

Now they only had the woman left to test. They led her to the same door to the same room and handed her the same gun. "We must be sure that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances; this is your final test. Inside you will find your husband sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill him." The woman took the gun and opened the door. Before the door even closed all the way, the CIA men heard the gun start firing, one shot after another for 13 shots. Then all hell broke loose in the room. They heard screaming, rashing, and banging on the walls. This went on for several minutes; then all went quiet.

The door opened slowly, and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, "You guys didn't tell me the gun was loaded with blanks. I had to beat the son of a bitch to death with the chair!"

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Good Times...

My son’s Basketball team played one heck of a game yesterday. It was a close game, the final score 19-16, but they managed to pull it out. They only have a few games left, but I have to tell you, they have done a great job all season. I’m proud of each and every one of them.

In other news, we seem to be over the giant nasty plague that descended on our house the last couple of weeks. I haven’t been that sick since college. My freshman year, I caught some virus that probably mutated a thousand times before it infected me and that was very similar to the sickness that took me (and my family) a this time.

Well, I’m off to finish watching the first season of Lost. Yes, it is a seven DVD set and yes, it is totally worth the hours of mind-numbing sitting in front of the television to watch it.

I hope everyone is having a glorious weekend.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Green Eggs and Spam

I ran across this the other day and thought it was too cute not to pass on. Enjoy…

Dr. Seuss as Technical Writer
If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.
If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!
If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Book News

I spoke with my Publisher about the release of Drums of the Nunne’hi. We are going to postpone it one final time, but I do have a firm release date now. December 1st my baby will be available for purchase. As we draw closer, there will be an opportunity for pre-orders. I will let you know when the time comes.

There are still several things to complete before the actual release and I will keep you posted as they occur.

Thanks for playing…

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

Yes, it’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. If at first we don’t succeed…

(31 July 2005, Darwin, Australia) A 30-year-old resident of this aptly named town of 60,000, nestled in the Northern Territories on the Sea of Timor, just wanted to go home. But he was thwarted by two circumstances. First, he lived in an upper-level unit in a high-rise apartment building, and second, he had locked his keys in the apartment.
It was 4am. Some people do their best thinking in the wee hours of the morning, but our protagonist was not one of them. He concluded that his best course of action was to scale the outside of the building. He managed to climb a short distance before he slipped.
Luckily, a parked car was beneath him to cushion the fall. He pulled himself off the shattered windshield and, unwilling to give up after one small setback, again set out to scale the wall. This time he reached the third floor before he slipped.
He was less fortunate than before, as he landed on his head, yet also more fortunate, as this knocked him unconscious and saved him from a third attempt. He survived the fall, and was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital for treatment.
Lest outsiders get the wrong idea of Darwin, Australia, we include a comment from a sergeant on the Darwin Police force: "It doesn't happen every day," he said.

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