Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Sam's Dot Update

I recently finished uploading all of the June updates for Sam's Dot. I don't think we've ever had a bigger Tyree fell behind and didn't get me everything I needed until late. We're going to have to work on that before I go back to the hell job, because I won't be able to devote this much time all at once to it.

This month, we have new issues of The Fifth Di..., Aoife's Kiss, KidVisions, Between Kisses, and Expressions. It also didn't help that we got a few last minute votes that actually changed the outcomes in the story and poem competitions...after I'd already updated the Wondrous Web Worlds page.

Still, I'm not bitching, because as rough as it was trying to get all of this done last minute, I still know it was better than what the "real" job will put me through next week!

Featured author at Rational Atheist

I'm currently listed as a featured author at Rational Atheist. If you click on the title of this entry, it will take you right over there. At the moment, I'm pictured right after Richard Dawkins...not bad company indeed!

I found it amusing that they listed a link to a guys blog or something who was pissed off because my short story (the one Opium was based off of) was accepted, whereas his radical right story wasn't. I read his story, and there was some potential in it, but he needed to do a lot of re-writing. I think the editor made a mistake in his rejection by making it political. He should have just told the writer he didn't enjoy the story. It would have avoided the mess that was created.

So, I guess I am now a rational atheist. The people who know me might not agree with the rational part...but that's just them...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

WorldCon rates

For those of you planning on attending WorldCon here in Denver in 2008, the rates are going up on June 1st, and it's already pretty you might want to buy now.

I just purchased my membership...saved $75 over what I would have had to pay next week!

Denvention 3 - the 66th Worldcon - Denver Worldcon in 2008

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Page 99 Test

A while back, I did the Page 69 test. Now, the Page 99 test seems all the rage, and since I'm not one to pass up any opportunity to promote my book, I will of course do this as well.

As a preamble to this section...this is actually the last page of a chapter, so it's a bit short. In this scene, Dominick finds himself facing some difficult choices. He has always been a Christian, and has a very strong belief in God, but he's beginning to see that his belief in God and his belief in the Grand Patriarchs may not be the same thing. He's recently found out that his best friend has been aiding the resistance, and since his best friend is also one of the Charismatics (think Christian Gestapo), the task of killing him falls on Dominick...

Once he no longer heard her footsteps, he went and knelt before the altar. “Lord,” he said, “I need you more now than I ever have. One of your commandments states that we’re not to kill, but the Bible is filled with murder. My life is filled with it. Is killing ever acceptable? When?”
He stared at the crucifix for several seconds. Was he really expecting a response? “I believe in you. I believe in the Grand Patriarchs, but I’m confused. Please, Lord, give me guidance. Give me strength.” He thought about his task for the next day. “Yes, Lord, please give me strength so that I may kill my best friend in your name. Amen.”
He stood up and headed for bed. As he was leaving, he stared back at the crucifix. The words from his speech came back to him. Was it a sign, or just a trick of memory? Why can’t it be like the old days? Dominick would give his life for a burning bush, but God no longer worked that way. Dominick shook his head and began to climb the stairs. Maybe guidance would come in a dream. Maybe God would speak to him as he did to Daniel in the realms of the unconscious. More likely, he’d just see Martin’s face, and he wouldn’t sleep at all.

Order from Amazon

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Swallowing my pride

Reality can be a cold-hearted bitch! The simple fact is that I have to be able to eat and pay my rent, as well as feed the little demon that lives with me, and I simply can't do it for what most jobs are willing to pay I have to go back to Subway. Effective June 4th, I will be the assistant manager at the store I used to manage. I can't say that I'm happy about the situation, but it's better than some of the other alternatives...and at least the guy who owns the franchise is an incredible person. The benefits are better than what are offered by most companies, and the pay isn't reality, if I wanted to make this much from most other places, it would require a 45+ hour work week. This will be 37-40.

Still, it is Subway...I keep leaving and saying that I'll never go back, but because of reality I have no choice.

I guess I can always hope to get hit by a bus on my way into work my first day...................................

Friday, May 25, 2007

30 years ago today

I'm sure this is going to be the hottest blog topic today among geeks, but I wanted to get my say in as well. 30 years ago today in 32 theaters across America, a little film called Star Wars opened. I was seven at the time, and I can honestly say that I don't remember hearing about the opening.

However, once the film got big, I had certainly heard about it. As a kid, I was a card collector, baseball, football, hockey, and yes, Star Wars cards. I hadn't even seen the movie yet, but I had almost every card Topps had put out. I remember the original set had blue borders, and for some reason, the card that most sticks out in my head was the scene with Vader pointing at Leia when he's accusing her of being part of the Rebel Alliance. After collecting all of the cards, I couldn't wait to see the movie.

Then one night my dad took me to see it. I seem to remember that he had pop cans or something...I think they were for use as discount tickets. Keep in mind that a full price adult ticket cost about $3 at that time. At that price, it's still hard to believe that Star Wars is the number two movie of all times. That's why it still kind of annoys me when people talk about the great openings modern movies have. If you were compare those openings in absolute dollars to what The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi did, I'm sure there'd be no comparison.

The movie blew me away, to say the least. By that age, I had already become obsessed with space and science fiction, and this just took me to a whole new place. I went on to collect all of the action figures, and generally lived for Star Wars for years. Even now, 30 years later, I still love that movie, and the rest of the original trilogy (Empire was the best of the three), and I have no idea how many times I've watched them, and I know that I will watch them quite a few more times in the decades to come.

Who would have thought that a little space western would go on to have such a huge effect on so many people...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I love the post office

Last Monday I ordered some things on-line, and they shipped via priority mail on Thursday. Here we are, a week later, and I still don't have my order...and all the tracking tells me is that the post office has received the shipping information.

Now, what makes this really pathetic is that the order was for stamps placed with the post office. It should not take more than a week for a priority package from the post office to get here.

I suppose if it's not with tomorrow's mail, I'll have to start raising that really does any good with government employees...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

War Pigs-The Iraq version

As I mentioned in my last post, I've always been a bit of a metal head, and of course one of the founders of metal was Black Sabbath, and I've always loved their music. They're not exactly great musicians, but they were ground breakers, and they were a huge influence on the genre. It's kind of like Isaac Asimov to science fiction. He wasn't the greatest of writers, but where would any of us be without him (and before anybody has a hissy fit, I love Asimov's stories, but he wasn't the greatest "writer" and that's ok.)

One of my favorite Sabbath songs was War Pigs, which was written about the Vietnam War, but can easily be applied to today's war...which is just what someone has done with this YouTube video...

I thought I'd seen it all

I'm taking a break from my usual ranting and self-promotion for a bit of a laugh.

I'm getting to that age where I don't think there is anything that can surprise me, and then I learn about a new metal band. For those of you that weren't aware, I am a bit of a metal head (as if the long hair didn't give it away.) But this band isn't like most metal bands. Yes, they do play that annoying metal with the lyricist who could never sing if he wanted to, but still they're different than most.

Why? It's a Klingon metal band...that's right, the haters of tribbles now have their own band. If you click on the title of this entry, it will take you to their MySpace page. The music's not much to listen to, but the pictures are certainly amusing...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A story idea

Here's an idea for a story. Yes, it's been done several times, but bare with me on this one...

Imagine a country at war, a country that is slowly losing its civil liberties, a country run by a man (or group) more interested in his own political career and his own religious agenda. Now imagine that this man is slowly losing his power to a disgruntled electorate. What can he do? There has to be some way for him to grab more power. Here's an idea, what if the man implemented a policy where he could take control of the government if there is some kind of emergency...say a natural disaster or a terrorist attack?

Sounds like a pretty good idea for a story to me...or maybe it sounds like something the White House is actually planning to implement. Read here for more information.

In the document, it basically says that in the event of a disaster, the President would be able to take control of the government, basically to make sure that things continue to run the way they're supposed to, and to make sure that the Constitution is upheld. But I have to ask, when has this President ever put the Constitution ahead of his own personal agenda?

I wonder what's going to happen now that I've linked to this document and ranted about it in this I end up on some watch list? If I'm not already on one...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Toning down evidence on global climate change

These days, talking about global climate change is like talking about the existence of God. Everyone has their beliefs, and there's not much that can sway one from their views.

However, this article discusses the fact that the Smithsonian toned down information in a recent display to appease the Bush administration and Congress. No matter what side of the debate you're on, you have to agree that it's wrong to suppress scientific data in order to please politicians!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Odd stats

A while back, my novel The Opium of the People was added to the search inside feature at I was just over there, and it gives these odd little statistical breakdowns for the word usage in the book. I thought it was kind of a fun little feature, but I'm not sure how helpful it really would be to a potential buyer. About the only thing I think you can really draw from it is that my writing style is very approachable. I don't try to overwrite. More often than not, I'll use simple sentences and words as opposed to trying to impress people with my vocabulary. I often think of myself more as a story teller than a writer..but that's for all of you to decide.

So, since I found this neat little feature, I decided I would compare my book to the two books I bought last night, Rollback by Robert Sawyer and Everfree by Nick Sagan. Both of these writers are what I would consider very approachable. So, here goes...

For readability, they have three categories: Fog Index, Flesch Index, and Flesch-Kincaid Index. The Fog Index is supposed to tell you how many years of formal education you need to have in order to understand the book. The Flesch Index gives a score between 1 and 100. The higher the score, the easier it is to read. The Flesch-Kincaid Index tells you what U.S. grade level you need to have in order to understand the text.

Fog Index:
Opium: 8.0
Rollback: 8.2
Everfree: 8.5

Flesch Index:
Opium: 74.7
Rollback: 71.6
Everfree: 69.6

Flesch-Kincaid Index:
Opium: 5.7
Rollback: 6.2
Everfree: 6.4

Complexity is broken into three categories: Percentage of complex words, syllables per word, and words per sentence.

Complex Words:
Opium: 9%
Rollback: 8%
Everfree: 10%

Syllables per word:
Opium: 1.4
Rollback: 1.5
Everfree: 1.5

Words Per Sentence:
Opium: 11.4
Rollback: 12.0
Everfree: 11.3

Again, I don't think these numbers really mean anything. It's just kind of fun to look at.

Order a copy of The Opium of the People

More on Sawyer

I did make it Robert Sawyer's signing last night, and I have to say that he is one of the classiest guys in the field today. He showed up early and went through the crowd introducing himself and talking to people for a while. He remembered me, not by name, but by face, and even had to snap a picture. I hate pictures, and I'm sure it showed, but we'll know for sure when he posts it on his blog...

He did a brief reading of Rollback, and then took a lot of time to answer questions. One thing he addressed was the shrinking SF field, and what he had to say made a lot of sense. I can't put it as well as he can, but here is basically what he had to say.

1) It's Arthur C. Clarke's fault. Not really, but he did point out that the future imagined in 2001 didn't come true, and a lot of other things predicted by SF haven't come true. Also, science fiction failed to predict the world wide web. To those of us in the field, it doesn't really matter because we read the fiction because we love it, but to people outside of the field, there's the idea that science fiction is a predictive fiction, and when it fails to accurately predict the future, then it's no different than fantasy.

2) Science fiction is basically a fiction that revolves around evolution. I won't go into his argument on that point, but I think most of you would agree with that. The problem with that is that evolution has become more or less a taboo subject, especially in America. Therefore, when it's just glossed over in science class, people don't learn enough about it to understand what SF is trying to do.

3) People can now get their SF fix from a lot of different places, and this is a lot different than it was in the 40's, 50's, and 60's.

All in all, it was quite a good time. I got my book signed, which I usually don't do, but I figured it was worth it for him. I also met another Denver author, Warren Hammond, whose first book will be released by Tor next month.

And, even though I'm pretty much broke, I also had to pick up a copy of Nick Sagan's Everfree. It's the final book in his first trilogy, and I've really been looking forward to getting my hands on it since it came out in trade paperback.

They also had a bargain price on Asimov's Guide to the Bible, which I've always wanted to have, but I decided to pass on it. Maybe once I get a job, I'll head back down there and pick that up!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Robert Sawyer

Assuming these ominous thunder heads pass over, I will be going to the Tattered Cover in Denver tonight to see Robert Sawyer read and sign his newest book Rollback. I've done two conventions with Robert, CopperCon in 2005 and MileHiCon in 2006, but I've never had the chance to hear him read. There was always a conflict of interest.

I first read his work just before CopperCon and I was very impressed. At the convention I was doing a signing, or at least I was sitting in the dealers room with no one else in there, when he came in. He took the time to come over and introduce himself and then talked to me for a couple of minutes. He didn't have to do that, but he's just a nice guy. I've done conventions where the guests of honor didn't even like to talk to the other writers unless they had major book deals. To them, it seemed like it was some kind of contest..."Just how big is your book deal?" Not Robert Sawyer. He always seemed to have time for the fans, and I respect that a the guy is an amazing writer.

Hopefully, that will be where I am tonight...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bias in media

Recently Don Imus was fired for making what could best be called stupid comments. Recently an on-air personality here in Denver made the comment that all Muslims in this country, even citizens, should be forced to wear tracking devices. Here's an article about the incident.

This guy still has a job. Why? Because he's a conservative, plain and simple. I don't necessarily think the guy deserves to lose his job, just like I don't think Imus deserved to lose his, but the simple fact is that in our "liberal" media, any conservative can pretty much get away with saying whatever they want. Limbaugh once told an African-American caller to take the bone out of his nose and call him back. And we don't even need to begin to go into the things O'Reilly says on his show. But if a liberal says something controversial, then they usually lose their jobs. That to me is bias, and clearly shows that the idea of a liberal media is no longer true. Let's face it, Rupert Murdoch is now one of the most powerful people out there, and he's no liberal, folks.

The idea of tracking citizens probably sounds like a good idea to Bush and the other neo-cons as they continue to try to establish a fascist state here in America, and this guy just made the mistake of actually voicing those interests. To those of us that read, it's starting to sound like 1984. Believe me when I say that if they were to implement a policy like this, it wouldn't be long before tracking devices were put on other people...especially those that oppose the current regime.

Having said this, why don't I think the guy should lose his job? Simple, I do tend to agree with people that say we're too PC anymore. Although I do think we need to be respectful of other people, I think that we should still be allowed to express our opinions, even when they differ from common sense. As long as you're not preaching hate, and I do think there is a difference from what this guy said and true hate, I don't think you should be censored. Of course, I didn't hear the entire broadcast, so I don't know if there was more to it, and I also don't know if this guy preaches this kind of stuff on a regular basis. But no matter what he says or does, we as citizens have the right to not listen to him, or to boycott products, or to boycott stations.

John Scalzi has declared himself Writing Dictator

For any of you that are writers, John Scalzi's latest blog entry is a must read. If you're not familiar with his blogging style, you should know that he likes to be a bit sarcastic as he tries to get his point across...but you should be used to that if you've been reading my blog for very long.

Simply click on the subject line of this entry to go and read...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why am I an Atheist?

I seem to get this question a lot, and my answer that the whole idea of a supreme being doesn't make sense to me is never accepted as an answer. It's generally assumed that I was brought up in a very religious family, and that I'm somehow rebelling against that, which also doesn't make sense to me. Although that is true for some Atheists, it can't be applied to all of them. That would be like saying someone is religious because they were brought up in a very Atheistic household.

That argument, to me, makes as much sense as saying gay people should not be allowed to have kids because then they would be gay as well. First of all, I see nothing wrong with being gay. Second of all this would imply that straight people would only have straight kids. If that's true, then how do you explain Ronald Regan's son or Dick Cheney's daughter? I won't get into's a whole different rant.

So, why am I an Atheist?

Neither of my parents were religious, but I did have religious grand-parents, and I even went to church quite a bit as a youngster. However, when I was at church, I would listen to the stories the preacher would tell, and they didn't make sense to me. I was one of those kids that always asked why, and apparently that never went over well in church.

When I was seven or eight, I started reading a lot of books on science, especially astronomy. I was fascinated by the stuff. I couldn't get enough of it. Not much of a surprise that I would become a science fiction writer!

When I read those books, they made sense to me, and in a lot of ways they seemed to contradict what I was hearing in church, and what I'd read in the Bible. Yes, I first read the Bible when I was in 2nd grade...and it was the real Bible, not one designed for kids. Let me tell you, the Bible is not good reading for kids...I can remember some nightmares that book caused for me.

When I was ten, everything came together for me. PBS ran a series by Carl Sagan called Cosmos. I was a bright enough kid that I understood most of what he was saying, and the best part was that it all made sense to me. Here was a guy that was telling me what sounded like truth, or as close to truth as any of us can ever hope to be.

It was at that point that I realized it didn't make any sense for there to be a supreme being, and from that moment on, I was an Atheist.

More on the job hunt

I'm now to the point where I'm going to start applying to some of the retail places around me. My plan was to start on this yesterday, but my shower broke...and by the time maintenance fixed it, it was too late to go out. And this morning I woke up feeling like death warmed over...

I'm still hopeful that my old boss might be able to "create" a position for me. He was such a great guy to work for, I almost hate the idea of having to put up with some unknown boss.

In other news, I was just reading that gas prices hit another record today. I'm so glad that gas boycott yesterday helped!

Jerry Falwell died yesterday. I find myself almost wishing there was a God, because I'd love to be able to see what Falwell's response would be when he finds out just how misguided and screwed up his attitudes had been in life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Con Panel ideas

One of the things I love about MileHiCon is that they often ask the panelists for ideas about what kind of panels they'd like to do. This gives those of us that are going to be panelists even more of a chance to participate.

And since I'm going to be there again this year, I thought I'd open it up to discussion...if you were going to an SF convention, what kind of panels would you like to see? Yes, Keith, I know you had kind of a bad experience the one time you went to a Con, but only some of the people are that scary...

Most of the panels I do are literary, but I'll occasionally do one about the other aspects of the field...or I'll let someone embarrass the hell out of me on an Alien Archaeology panel...

Monday, May 14, 2007

More on postal rates

For those of us that send out manuscripts via snail-mail, and a lot of markets still require that, there's a bit of sticker shock with the new rates.

For oversized envelopes, it used to be 63 cents for the first ounce and then 24 cents for each additional ounce. They've now changed that. It's now 90 cents for the first ounce and 17 cents for each additional ounce. So, if you're sending off a novel synopsis and the first three chapters, you probably will save some money, but for shorter manuscripts, it's going to cost more, and for the first couple of ounces, it's pretty significant.

One other thing, the post office doesn't have a 90 cent stamp yet. It would require some weird combinations to make it work. It used to be that you could stick a first class stamp and a post card stamp on the envelope and you'd have 63 cents, but that's no longer the case.

Couldn't they have come up with a more logical way to make this work?

Still, all things being equal, I am looking forward to the new Star Wars stamps. What can I say? I'm a geek!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My problem with the Bible

I realize that a lot of people are religious, even some of the people that visit this page are religious, and I'm okay with that. You're free to worship Jehovah, Allah, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster for all I care. I just ask that you don't push your beliefs on me.

And that's where my problem with the Bible begins. There's a small percentage of Christians that believe that they have to convert all of us heathens to their way of seeing the world. In fact, the Bible even tells them they're supposed to. I have a lot of friends that are religious, and basically, they don't try to convert me, and I don't try to convert them to atheism...and we get along just fine. There are some heated debates, but they're debates and not friends are generally smart enough to know the difference.

However, the second that someone I don't know, or barely knows, tries to convert me, I get a little hot under the collar...especially when they try to tell me that the Bible is the literal word of God, and that the events in the Bible all really happened. At that point, it's war!

So, today I'm going to refute two of the most popular stories in the Bible, and by that I mean that I'm going to show they can not be the literal word of God. For starters, I'm going to ignore the heinous contradiction of the fact that thousands upon thousands of people are murdered in the Bible at God's will, even when he's preaching, "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Let's just leave that glaring contradiction to one side for now. Instead, I'm going to pick a story from each of the testaments and refute it, as it's told by the Bible.

Let's start with the New Testament and the resurrection of Christ, and I'm only going to use one source to refute this...the Bible itself. When I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the other chapters of the Apostles, two questions quickly come to mind...

1) Where did Christ appear?

2) To whom did he appear?

Now remember, I'm trying to refute the people who believe that every word of the Bible is the literal truth. Why do I ask these two questions? It's simple. These chapters of the Bible contradict one another. Some say he appeared in his tomb, others say that he appeared outside of his tomb, and still others say that he appeared in a nearby town. Some say he appeared to one or more of the apostles, some say that he appeared to Mary, and others say that he appeared to Mary and Mary Magdalene.

If every word of the Bible is literal truth, how can these contradictions be possible? If I wrote these kinds of contradictions into a novel, the book would never appear.

The second story is the easiest to refute, and the most ridiculous story in the Bible (again if you accept it as literal truth.) This is the Old Testament story of Noah's Ark. I'm sure you all know the story, so I won't repeat it, but here are the problems...

1) Assuming that it rained for 40 days, and that on that 40th day, Mt. Everest was covered with water, it would have to rain one inch every 10 seconds. Have you ever had an inch of rain dump on you in a ten minute period? It's miserable, can you imagine a inch every ten seconds for 40 days? Also, who in the hell is bailing out this boat as it fills with water?

2) There simply isn't enough water on and in the Earth to flood that much.

3) The water vapor created by this kind of rain would raise the atmospheric pressure on Earth to the point that it would crush Noah's lungs.

4) Where did the other ethnic groups come from. There's clear evidence that they existed before the floods, so how did the all die off and then come back?

5) There is clear evidence of habitation all throughout the world before, during, and after the flood...and in the same structure. That kind of rainfall could pretty much destroy most of the man-made structures of the time.

6) The flood does not appear in other religions of the world at the exact same time. There are stories of floods, but they don't coincide with the Biblical flood.

7) There is no geological evidence to support a world-wide flood. There is evidence of a massive flood in Turkey at roughly the same time as the Biblical flood. There is also clear evidence world-wide of the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs...and that was long before the flood. It should have left some geological evidence.

8) There is no evidence of New World and Australian animals living in the Middle East at the time of the flood. How did the spider monkeys and other new world monkeys, as well as the marsupials of Australia get on this boat?

9) Speaking of the Ark...just how big was this thing? In order to get two of each animal on this thing, it would have to be huge!!! Again, how did one family bail the water out as it was falling at an inch every ten seconds?

This picture claims to show the Ark on Mt. Ararat. Further studies have show this isn't the Ark. In fact, this is such a highly glacial area that any wood remains that might have ended up here would have been destroyed.

The story of Noah is basically an exaggeration by Jewish priests of the story of Gilgamesh and other pre-Judeo Christian stories. Much of the Old Testament was borrowed from earlier religions.

If you want to believe that the Bible is a great source for moral guidance, that's your right. And in fact, once you strip away the death, mayhem, and destruction that proliferate the Bible, there are some good moral lessons...but please don't try to tell me that it's the literal word of God, and that these things really happened...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Let's go to Mars

Since I was nine or ten, I've been passionate about Mars. More than any other body in the universe, it's always been Mars that's held my attention. For any of you that have read my fiction, that's probably pretty obvious, since Mars is a setting for many of my stories.

Using the ideas set forth by Robert Zubrin, we can go to Mars...not in twenty years, but now. With the money we spend in a day or two on the War on Terror, we could fund a crewed mission to Mars...a mission that would stay there for more than a year.

I don't know if the Science Channel will be showing Mars Underground again any time soon, but if they do, you should definitely watch it. For those of you who might be interested in a more detailed explanation of Zubrin's plan, I would strongly recommend his book The Case for Mars. This book has influenced not only my own writing, but many of the bigger hard science fiction writers out there.

There's no reason for us not to go, so let's do it!

The count

I've gotten several e-mails in the last month asking how many stories I've sold, so I figured I'd post the count here. I've also been asked a couple of times what genres I've been published in, so I'll break it down here.

Keep in mind, this is just original sales. There are no re-prints in this list (I've lost track of those a long time ago)...

38 science fiction
1 dark fantasy
1 children's fantasy
1 horror

And the novel, The Opium of the People is science fiction.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My day at the airport

I had to get up early today so that my friend Josh and I could take our friend Vik to the airport. She's going to Russia for a little over six weeks.

This was only the second time that I've been out to Denver International Airport, and when I say out, I mean out. It feels like you're driving half way to Kansas when you go out there, and then all of a sudden, rising up from the plains, is what looks like a bunch of circus tents. I really think our airport is one of the ugliest I've ever seen. It looks like Bozo the Clown was on acid and decided to just throw up some tents. They say that it's supposed to represent the mountains, but it doesn't look like it to me.

The area where they built this airport is highly prone to tornadoes (they had one almost touch down the first week it was open), and since it's built on the plains, when it snows and the wind blows, it's almost impossible to reach. Great planning, Denver!

This was also the first time I'd been to any airport since 9/11, and I have to admit, I was really tempted to scream "Jihad," but I decided not to. We got their insanely early, which you pretty much have to do with international flights, and got jerked around by some moron from United, basically telling us we couldn't go to the international ticketing line even when we'd already been told we were supposed to go there. Some people get to wear a uniform and they think it somehow makes them special.

The one thing I found most amusing is that while we were at the counter, I was watching the two, yes, two, baggage handlers that moved stuff on the conveyor belts. I would guess that there was maybe one bag every two minutes that got loaded onto the belt. One person would make sure the bag would go through the little hole into the "automated" system, and the other would grab a little carrier to put the bag in if it was soft. Yes, it takes two people to do this job...and they probably get paid very well.

Overall, I was very unimpressed with the airport and the airlines, and definitely with the security. It doesn't seem that much better than it was before 9/11. Sure they have that little puffer machine that's supposed to be able to detect explosives, but from what I've heard, the thing really doesn't even work.

Very unimpressed.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My Meez

I saw that Jim Van Pelt had made one of these on his LiveJournal, and it really does kind of look like I just had to try it for myself.

Surprisingly, it does kind of look like me...

The horror of it

I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine about horror, and why I don't read it. It's not that I don't like horror, it's just that it doesn't really scare me...which I think is the point. I'm much more terrified by what I see on the nightly news than what I read in a horror novel. And vampires, serial killers, and zombies don't scare me anywhere near as much as George Dubya Bush and the neocons.

Still, if a writer can touch something that does actually scare me, it sticks with me. To this day, the drowned zombie from Dan Simmons' Song of Kali haunts me, and the reason is that I'm hydrophobic. The idea of drowning scares the hell out of me, so he was able to tap into that personal fear. The idea of something being under the bed or in the dark doesn't scare me, so those horror tropes don't seem to work for me.

Horror, I think, works more on people who have lots of fears...I guess I'm just not one of them.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wondrous Web Worlds

I've just delivered the final edited version of Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 7 to Tyree. This collection features work from regular visitors Keith Graham and Marva Dasef, as well as from occasional visitor s.c. virtes. It's hard to say when the book will actually be released. We still have to design the cover and find a place to put it into the publication schedule. These collections are usually put wherever we can find room because they're not big money makers. We mostly do them as a tribute to our contributors and as a tribute to James Baker who, along with me, got this ball rolling many years ago.

I'll keep you updated as I learn more.

A cycling detour

Yeah, I'm going back to being a cycling geek for the day. On Saturday, the Giro d'Italia starts. This is a three week race, and next to the Tour de France, it's the biggest thing in cycling. This year, however, the winner of last year's race won't be there. Ivan Basso who dominated the race in 2006 and then was thrown out of the Tour before it even started because of his connection to a blood doping scandal won't be riding. Since early July, he's been denying any involvement with the blood doping scandal called Operacion Puerto, but this week he admitted that yes, he was involved, but he didn't actually dope. He was only planning on it. So, he'll probably be suspended for a couple of years, and I don't see anything wrong with that.

But it really makes me wonder if you have to cheat in life to get ahead. Athletes do it, politicians do it, I've even heard of some writers trying it. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned honesty?

Before anyone asks, the writers cheating thing I'm talking about is the fact that some writers (usually small names) will try to post bad reviews about other writers' books...I'm assuming in the hope that it will make them look better. Sadly, it does happen...

Monday, May 07, 2007

It's becoming clear

I think I'm starting to realize that if I want a job that I can use my writing and editing skills at, I'm going to have to go back and finish my second degree. The other option would be to get a lot of professional credits, but school would probably be easier and take less time. Still, even with professional credits, I probably wouldn't have much of a chance because they'd be in science fiction, and that's just looked down on...

Maybe it would be a good idea for me to just settle for a crappy job for the next few months, and then start taking classes. Not really sure what I'm going to do, but I suppose this is an option I should consider.

In general, I don't hate the idea of going back to school, but I do hate the fact that I'd have to have a minor, even though I already have a BA. If you ask me, it's just the school's attempt at trying to get more money out of me.

Decisions, I have to get back to work...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

My Story at Science Fiction Story of the Day

My "cyberpunk" story "A Chronic Mistake" is up at Science Fiction Story of the Day for May 6th. Click on the title of this post to read it...

Thanks Keith!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The new postal rates

I'm not sure if any of you have checked out these new changes the USPS is making to their rates. It's pretty absurd. Now different sized packages have different rates, and reading through the rate lists is about like those stupid word problems I hated so much in algebra. If Johnny wants to ship a package to Cleveland that's 8X11 and Suzy wants to ship a package to Seattle that's 14X12, what's the square of the hypotenuse?

For writers and small press publishers, this is going to be a major hit in the wallet. I would imagine some of the smaller publishers will actually be pushed out of business by this, and some writers will limit themselves to only submitting on-line, which greatly hurts their chances of ever making it.

But, this is the cross we must bear, so I guess I should just shut up and deal with it...

The Imperial March

I have a music player on my MySpace page that holds 75 songs (when it works right), and one of those songs is The Imperial March from Star Wars. I was wondering if anyone hears that piece whenever Bush is walking to the podium to speak? I know I sometimes do...

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Problems with the May 15th Gas Boycott

This has been circulating for quite a while now, and I think everyone needs to realize that the entire boycott is based on a faulty paradigm.

Here's why...

1) The idea that this worked in 1997 is actually an urban myth. From the reading I've done, there seems to be no evidence to back up this idea.

2) The oil industry isn't effected by something like this as other industries might be. Even if you boycott on the 15th, you're still going to buy gas on the 14th or the 16th, and the oil industry will just make back the money they lose on the 15th.

3) The oil industry does not work on a daily profit and loss schedule. Although it is true that they will raise their prices if there is a terrorist attack, hurricane, or something else that might effect their production, they're not going to lower prices just because people don't buy. They know you're going to have to at some point. They work more on a weekly and monthly basis, as do most corporations, and one day's losses are not going to mean much to them.

4) The major gas stations will not be hurt by this as much as the small mom and pop stores. A day of boycott could hurt a small store, and if we lose those, it's just that much easier for the big boys to charge whatever they want.

If you really want to make a difference, take mass transit, or if you have to go to the store and it's just a couple of blocks away, walk instead of driving...and don't just do this on the 15th. Do it on a regular basis.

My trip to hell

One of the things I like about freelancing is that I can sleep in. I'm a chronic insomniac, so I can get a little extra sleep if I can sleep in. Maybe that was one of the reasons my last job almost killed me. I usually had to get there between 5 and 6 a.m.

So, rarely in the last ten months have I gotten up fact, I think the last time I did was Christmas, but today I had to get up early...because I had to go to hell. That's right, I had to go to the DMV!!!!!!

I've been needing to get a new ID for a while, because let's face it, who really wants to go to the DMV. I went a while back, and after waiting something like three hours, I was told that my documentation wasn't adequate because I had a county issued birth certificate instead of a state issued one. This was after the woman at the door reviewed my documents and said they were ok. So, I had to send off to Ohio to get a new birth certificate...and of course, they raised their prices while my check was on its I had to do the whole thing all over again.

Today I was going to be smart. I got up early, walked the 45 minutes to get there, arriving just before they opened...and there was a long line. So, I got my number sat down and waited. It didn't take too long, but the woman who recorded my information entered it wrong, so it ended up taking even longer.

Still, I was only there for an hour, which is not bad for a trip to the DMV.

I was surprised that I had to give a fingerprint. I guess it's just one more way for the government to keep track of us. Another strange thing is that here in Colorado, you don't get your ID right away. They mail it to you after 2-6 weeks. They claim that it's because of the Patriot Act, but I know other states where you get the ID the same day, including Florida...

The bees!!!

Jim's been mentioning the bees disappearing in America quite a bit lately on his site, so I thought I'd post this link I found through Jay Lake's page. Click on the title of this entry to check it out. I especially like the last theory!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

There's really not much going on...

It's kind of a boring day today. Still looking for a job...still having trouble finding one. I seem to be either overqualified or under qualified for whatever I'm looking for.

Still, there's really not much to talk about, so feel free to ask me questions...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


The "Authors of MySpace" page has done a brief interview with me. They're interviewing a lot of the people on their "friends" list, but it's still pretty cool answering questions about writing. You can read the interview by clicking on the title of this entry, and then going to their May 2nd blog.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Future Syndicate reviewed again

SFRevu has reviewed
Future Syndicate. It's not a glowing review, but the reviewer didn't hate the book, so I guess that's a good thing. It seems, and this is just opinion on my part, that the reviewer went in expecting something else, which always taints how you really feel about a book.

As Jay Lake always says, at least they spelled the names right...

A New Story

It's been a few months since I posted a new story on my website, so today I posted "A Chronic Mistake." This story was my first, and so far only, foray into Cyberpunk. I only occasionally read cyberpunk, but I usually enjoy it, and so this was my big experiment in that sub-genre. Some day, I'm sure I'll go back and write's kind of fun...

Just for Jim

I saw this video, and it made me think of Jim's rant on his blog, so I just had to post it...