Sunday, December 13, 2009

This Just In

Hello all, I know, it's been a while. School has been more time consuming than I would have liked and I found that I could not tear myself away long enough to write here. Well, let me rephrase that, if I were to tear myself away from school I would be spending time with the family, not blogging. But the semester is dying down and I have few minutes to kill.

If anyone has ever bothered to take note of my links on the right of the page then you may notice that one of my favorite writers has been in the news lately. Peter Watts has found himself at the center of some cops gone bad fiasco.

He is a Canadian citizen who had spent the week in the U.S. helping a friend move and was stopped at the border for an inspection upon leaving the U.S. All that is more or less agreed upon. What happens next gets a bit strange. He certainly got out of his vehicle and asked why he was being inspected and ended up being pepper sprayed, beaten, jailed and charged with assault.


I've read that there is a video of the encounter. The police report and his report are quite a bit different. I'm quite interested to see where this one goes. Either way, Mr. Watts has an enormous amount of legal troubles now. Check out his website (linked on the right of the page) and see what you think.

Click here for more on the story.

Anyhow, sorry it's been so long. I'll post again soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weeks 6 - 10

I've gained 10 pounds. Not a whole lot of ways to spin that.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weeks 3, 4, & 5

Ok, there is a reason I've not updated in a few weeks. Total. Freaking. Disaster.

A disaster on such a large scale that the I would only be updating to tell you that I've been eating 1/2 pound hamburgers, half pizzas, and every sort of cake or goodie you can imagine - it doesn't give me the overwhelming desire to tell the world about my failures.

On an additional note. I haven't worked out either. I suck. I weighed in for our competition at for our mid-whatever update and I still managed to be a few pounds lighter than my weigh-in. That's nice, but I've been a failure in every possible aspect over the past few weeks.

So there we are. I did manage to drag my sorry ass to the gym today and workout. I did waltz right up to the scale there and I was sitting at 180.6. Not great, but given what I've eaten over the past few weeks I feel like I did as well as I could.

Supposed to work out again tomorrow. I've taken my time off and I've survived, I just need to regroup and pull it together.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oh F#<& ... Days 12 & 13

Guys - the last few days the wheels came off the truck and the result was as pretty big wreck.

I ate like a death row inmate having his last meal... except I've eaten like that for a few days in a row now. I've had a pretty monstrous hamburger, breakfast burrito, chocolate swiss rolls, chocolate cupcakes... you name it, I've probably had some.

I did manage to work out on Friday - my partner stood me up so my bench was without a spot so I didn't push it. I did 185 for 12 reps but after that it was all downhill. I muddled though but I can't help but feel somewhat pessimistic about the future of my diet.

I haven't been counting calories lately. The reason is obvious to me. I don't want to see the proof of my failures. I'm gonna suck it up and do it right... Monday. Tomorrow will be bad too so I won't even count that one.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh shnizzle

Days 10 & 11

Not much to report, I won't bore you with paragraphs on my bowel movements and fiber intake (not yet anyway) - I'll just let you know that I weighed yesterday and tipped the scales at 177.2.

Not bad.

I did have some cookies today, I had some cookies yesterday - but beyond those 300 calories snafus I think I was very disciplined.

I don't have the highest of hopes for the weekend again. I have plans that include much in the way of food. None of it healthy. I plan on working out chest again tomorrow. We'll just have to see if I'm on going to challenge for the current world record for the bench press:

I'll let you know.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Theme Develops

Day 9

6:43 - I get up. Wow, was it hard. I stayed up late the night before watching Peyton Manning cement his status as a legend on Monday Night Football. I grab my oatmeal and head for work.

7:35 - I'm at my desk and I notice my oatmeal tastes funny... real funny. After close inspection I realize that I did not purchase the low sugar oatmeal like I usually do. Nope, instead I bought the full on sugary stuff that I'm trying to get away from. That figures. The funny thing is that I don't like it at all. I actually prefer the low sugar stuff. How weird is that?

8:09 - I eat my 5 pecans - I'm pretty hungry. Not a good sign.

9:30 - Still thinking of food. I decide to skip working out in order to eat.

11:46 - I finally take my lunch, I was supposed to meet a friend at noon but I emailed him and all but demanded we go early. He graciously agrees and for some reason all I can think about is how bad I want a hamburger - a particular hamburger.

12:05 - There is a little hamburger stand in the food court beside the First Tennessee building downtown (in Knoxville) that serves a black and blue burger that boggles my mind with it's awesomeness. Um, I'm not real sure how many calories is in that, but based on the size of the patty I don't think this is going to be good.

Realizing that I've ruined myself for the week I decide to order the crinkle fries as well. Why not? I figure if I'm going down, I might as well go down in flames.

3:00 - In the aftermath of what was a truly great lunch, I feel I have at least sort of come to grips with my sin and find myself man enough to avoid the ice cream treat that was being served at work.

I don't eat again until 7:00 - it was a lean cuisine (290 calories) and glass of wine. That's it. I still didn't count my calories, but even if that burger and fries was a 1000 calories (which it assuredly was) I'm still at around 1600 or so for the day. Not a total disaster.

In fact, I'm going to bed now, I'm full, I've had a great meal today... I think it was a good day after all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Days 5 - 8: Hell Week

Absolute. Disaster.

That is how I would have to describe my weekend. After that late night Krystal fiasco on Friday it all went downhill. Pancakes, bacon, NY strip steak, potatoes, Italian desserts, pizza, chocolate cake... what a 48 hours I had. Needless to say, I didn't count calories this weekend. I couldn't count that high.

So I show up at work today, still silently cursing the fates that the better the food tastes, the less of it I can have. There is a cosmic joke in there somewhere, I can feel it. I don't get why it has to be that way.

Anyway, I muddle through my morning with an apple and banana for breakfast - turns out that has more calories than oatmeal. I am hungry a few minutes later and have to hit the pecans, only 5 though, those things are way to high in calories to eat more than that at one time.

By the time I get to the gym I'm have starved, I muddle though my workout and shake my head in disbelief at how I managed to be a half pound lighter (178.2) today. How the hell did that happen? Could I continue to eat like I did over the weekend and still lose weight? Maybe the calorie thing is a load of crap.

But I pounded out a passable workout and only had one real screw up - a bag of chips - and managed to get though the day with 200 calories to spare.

All in all, I'm still optimistic that this will all work itself out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 4

I'm out of beer.

I knew it was going to happen, I knew I was going to run out soon. I don't drink very much. Maybe a 6 pack every 2 weeks. But I do enjoy it a great deal. I had told myself I won't be buying any for a while. At least until I get my weight down a bit. So I figured I would drink what I had and not worry about it.

I had my last one last night. Today I started thinking about that fact around lunchtime. No more beer. Once I got home I saw little point in even eating. What's the point? Without a beer to drink I couldn't think of a real reason to eat either. Sigh.

But I will find a way to move on I suppose. I'm sipping on my water now... ahhh, how refreshing. Way better than that nasty old beer.

By the way, my personal set of rules only prevents me from purchasing beer. If anyone wants to give me some I wouldn't refuse a gift. I prefer newcastle, but will drink others if I must.

Anyhow, I only consumed 1400 calories today, and I did cardio at the gym. Right now I am way ahead of my schedule for the day. So congrats to me. It's only 8:45 or so, so I still have time to totally screw up my totals. But I'll try to hold out.

Happy drinking world. I hope you enjoy it.

Oh, I hit the scales today too - 178.6 again. I told you the rest will only come off begrudgenly.

*edit* I ended up visiting with family late in the evening and having 2 cheese Krystals and a light beer. I was right at my calorie intake for the day afterwards, but it still felt like a defeat.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And The Pounds Just Keep On Melting Away

Day 3

178.6. Another pound gone. How awesome is that? I must confess that this is about what my starting weight should have been (as I explained yesterday), so what happens from here is the real test of my weight loss.

I won't be quite so long winded tonight. We had a small celebration at work and my a.m. was filled with pancakes, bacon, eggs, danishes, fruits, and all sorts of calorie and sugar rich foods.

I survived relatively unharmed in the grand scheme of things. 334 calories isn't as great as the 120 I could expect from oatmeal, but I think of how easy it would have been to have devoured 2000 if I hadn't been so diligent.

Hit the gym again today too. Wasn't exactly 'feeling it' it today, but then again, I almost never am. It was chest day and the dreaded bench press was mocking me again for being such a sissy. I decided to go down in weight a tad and see if I could squeeze off a few more reps. I pulled the bar off the rack with 205 on it with a goal of 10 reps. I wanted it bad but I just couldn't do it. Rep number 9 seemed like it took forever to get up and I could feel my triceps trembling. I know I'm not the most handsome man in the world, but I kind of like my face and I didn't want that 205 pounds to come crashing down on top of it. So I racked the weights after 9 and that was that. I managed a few more sets but I was pretty spent after that ordeal. My induction into the 300 lb bench press club will just have to wait another week.

Again, I had no dietary meltdowns today and hit my goals. Also, Taco Bell has a large number of items that are acceptable if you order appropriately. Just be aware.

A good day today, this weekend will be very challenging... I'll keep everyone posted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A New Me... Ahead of Schedule

Day 2

8:05 a.m. Oatmeal, 120 calories. Off to a great start

10:14 a.m. Protein Bar, 180 calories. Then I'm off to the gym. I leave early to avoid temptation. I end up bumping into a coworker outside of work and talking for a while. I end up doing cardio for 15 minutes. I still feel like I ran a marathon, but I only burned around 200 calories. Damn. I'm in way worse shape than I thought I was.

The big news, I weighed at the gym and was tipping the scales at... are you ready? 179.6. That's a whopping 8 and 1/2 pounds less than Monday. Woo hoo! Losing 4 pounds a day. I'll hit my target weight in less than a week. How awesome is that?

Ok, small confession. This weight loss thing is being sponsored by my work. I had an offical weigh-in and I prepared for it. I drank a good 70 ounces of water in the 30 minutes or so before my weigh-in (you should have seen my dancing around while I was waiting for the nurse to weigh me. I had to pee so bad I could barely stand it). I wore an extra shirt, had a few dollars in change in my pocket, I even went so far to try to constipate myself for the couple of days beforehand in an effort to be as bulky as possible. I've been weighing several times a week for most of this calendar year and my weight has almost always been between 175 and 180, so today's seems pretty legit.

Still, it was encouraging enough for me, it's all about my psychological well being here after all.

12:30 p.m I had a bowl of chili. I went back and tried to figure out how many calories was in a bowl. I figured 250. So I had a bowl I brought from home and that second sugar cookie I mentioned in yesterday's post. Another 73 calories there.

3:03 p.m. I had an apple, stupid thing. 90 calories and tons of sugar.

3:24 p.m. I forgot, apples aren't very filling either, I had an oatbar too, 180 calories. Damn, these are starting to add up.

6:15 p.m. I won't be able to eat supper until pretty late tonight, I decide to pick up a small, healthy snack from Wendy's, since I'm stuck on campus until my step-son gets out of class later. I get an order of those boneless wings to tide me over.

Holy crap! Those are 550 calories? How is that possible? They didn't even almost come close to tiding me over. Gee whiz. I'm in trouble now.

8:45 p.m. I got home a few minutes earlier than I expected, the missus had a bowl of hamburger helper sitting there waiting for me. Yum! I wolfed it down and noted the calorie content. 270 calories total. Man, I should have had more. By my calculations I'm only over my goal for the day by 4 calories. That is pretty successful.

9:15 p.m. I see the wife walking around eating a chocolate swirl thing and I want one pretty bad. I bolt for the kitchen and am about to scarf one down when I realize that I don't have to give in. I can do this. I remember I have a beer in the fridge and, quite logically, realize that if I drink a beer I won't crave any sweets for the rest of the evening.

My beer is 159 calories. Well, I blew today's goals as well. No denying that now. Tomorrow will be better though. I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


No, it isn't my IQ. It's my weight. 187.8, now is the time to nip this little weight gain in the bud. Of course I just don't want to lose weight, but gain muscle mass and all round look like a million bucks. Right now I look ok I suppose, as long as I'm fully clothed. But once the clothes come off the blubber starts to fly.

I was tempted to start a whole new blog on the topic of my weight, but thought better of it. I'm just not prolific enough to keep two blogs running at the same time so I decided to take some time off from my diatribes against technology and the inevitable demise of humanity and focus of me for a few weeks. Time to suck it up and watch the pounds melt away.


I've got a plan. All I need to do is exercise much, much more, and eat much, much less. I downloaded a free app for my iPhone that will chart my progress, count my calories and even see how many calories I burn while exercising. Say good by to my man-boobs and flabby belly. I'm about to start looking good.

I start off with oatmeal, 120 calories. Excellent, to hit my target weight of 160 by Christmas I'm on a strict 1590 calorie per day diet. Breakfast is already done and I still have 1370 calories left to eat today. Easy as pie.

I decide to eat 5 pecans for a snack. I was only going to eat 4 but I couldn't easily figure out how many calories are in 4 pecan halves. So it's 5 - no problem, its only 50 calories. That small snack has me at 170 for the day at 10:30 in the morning. I'll eat a protein bar and work-out at lunch and come sliding into the afternoon with a thousand calories to spare by suppertime.

11:15 a.m. I get a pop up on my calender at work informing me of a birthday party. Damn.

It's okay, I'll swing by, wish him happy birthday and go on to the gym. Great plan. Unfortunately as soon as I walk in I can see that this clearly isn't a normal birthday. Oh hell.

This is catered - large trays of potato salad, chicken tenders, cakes, pies and so much more that no one person could conceivably sample it all. My eyes go as big as quarters as I fall back to plan B - I'll nibble on some chicken, chit chat with a few co workers and then sneak off.

The toll: 300 calories in chicken, 360 calories in potato salad, and the big kicker... 450 with key-lime pie. Shit. I'm sitting on 1100 calories in one meal! It's only 12:30 and I've got 1270 of my 1590 calories for the day already used up.

Sigh, I skip the gym, go back to my desk and sulk for the rest of the afternoon. I find that by 3:00 I'm so hungry that I'm thinking of swallowing my gum. I remember that I have sugar cookie stashed away at my desk and I consider eating it.

3:02. I ate the cookie. I google the thing and see that it is only 73 calories and I get excited and think of eating another one (I had two).

3:08. I decide not to eat the cookie, I go for the apple instead. Awesome, I resisted the second cookie with all it's sugar and calories and had a healthy apple instead. Take that temptation.

I input the apple into my iPhone and see that it has 90 calories. Apples have more calories than cookies? I check again and see that it also had 19 grams of sugars... about 4 times what was in the cookie. A damned snickers bar would have been better. Stupid apple.

4:00. Determined to not have my day be a total failure, I decide I'll do some exercise. I go to the lobby and decide to walk the stairs. I climb 10 floors before I stop. I'm exhausted and invigorated at the same time. But I did it! Take that fat.

I input my exercise into my new app and anxiously await my results. I envision that I've burned 500 or 600 calories, it sure as hell was hard enough. I'm practically heaving at the effort.

50 calories. Damn, that's about 5 pecan halves.

6:30. I'm home and ready for supper, I calculate that I have about 100 calories to expend. I see a beer in the fridge. I figure it's 125 calories minimum. Close enough.

Then I see the chili my wife made over the weekend tucked away in the fridge behind the beer. How many calories can there be in one little bowl.

6:40. Make that two bowls, er, pretty big ones at that. I decide not to record anymore...

Watch out for tomorrow, I'll take a mulligan for today.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hall of Fame

Today is a historic day. I spent most of the late eighties and nineties in awe of Michael Jordan. In my opinion, the greatest to ever play. So I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and join the rest of the world in congratulating Michael on being inducted into the hall of fame.

A few weeks ago, a video made its rounds on the internet of Michael - a 46 year-old Michael - embarassing slamball star Chris Young.

In case you can't figure out which one is Michael, he's the guy in the blue jeans.

Awesome. It's hard to see in the video, but the only basket Jordan missed he was hit on the arm during the shot. You can hear the folks watching call the foul as he shot. Also, I found it funny that as the video goes on, you can see Chris Young put less and less effort into his defense. I figure he knew a lost cause when he saw one. Too funny.

Also, I found this video while I was looking for the Jordan clip above... watch this one from a no name NBA guy named James White.

Seriously, I've watched a lot of clips of guys who can jump, but I've never seen anything like that. I almost wanted to believe that the goal in the video was only 9 feet high. His entire head was above the rim. I dare someone show me something more impressive.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sliders: Not Just a Great Show...

Anyone remember that show? It had a few recognizable folks in it, namely the guy from Indiana Jones that eventually went on to play Gimili in the Lord of the Rings films.

An old friend of mine posted an update on facebook a few days ago and asked (rhetorically, I'm sure) about the relevance of Einstein's Relativity. I immediately thought of modern GPS systems, which would be almost unusable if relativisitic effects weren't accounted for, but I decided not to post a response, it was rhetorical after all.

But I kept thinking about it, my mind wondered some and I thought instead of Einstein's bastard step-child... quantum physics. Anyone not familiar with Einstein and his distaste for quantum physics should get a kick out of reading up on in, it's quite a hoot.

Part of his hatred for for the topic is the very ugly model of the universe it presents, matter popping in and out of existence, traveling backward in time, casuality circumventing processes, and most frustrating of all, an inabilty, even in theory, of knowing how an individual sub atomic particle would react in any given situation. Quantum mechanics made everthing about probabilites and statistical models. It just sucked.

He was even more bitter that it more or less got it's start after his magical equation, E=mc^2, got the world thinking about the implications of that magical equation.

During the intervening 100 years or so, lots of folks have had lots of ideas about what quantum mechanics implies about the nature of the universe we live in. One of those hypothesese used to explain some of the rather bizarre results of tests conducted about the sub-atomic world is profound... there are multiple universes.

Seriously, there are other universes, other dimensions, other versions of you and I that live in worlds very similar to our own with only the most minor of differences. How weird is that? They could make a whole show out of that concept... oh wait, they did.

So, anyway, what makes multiple universes something that most folks never think about is the fact that you can't really visit them. Can't really interact with them in any real way. They might as well not exist. It was just a clever little thought experiment used to help explain the data after all.

But then some genius out there thought if that were true then maybe we could use that infinite number of universes to our advantage after all. Build a machine that will calculate every possible outcome simply by having all those other universes get involved at the same time.

Example: One bit of information can be off in our universe and on in another universe at the same time. So we can string together all these bits (which would be atoms in an quantum computer I suppose) and each of them can outsource their extra work into another universe and they can be working at the same time in both universes. Once a solution to the problem is found the answer pops out into our universe and almost no time has been used up.

I'm sure there are those out there than can point out how awfully bad I butchered my explanation of a quantum computer, but I did my best.

Anyway, it sounds retarded I know, but nonetheless that is exactly what has happened. Quantum computers really exist now, they don't outright prove that we live in a mulitverse, but they come pretty damn close to proving it. Philosophically, this could very well be rewriting textbooks all over the world. Check out this short video on the subject below. It doesn't do the greatest job I've ever seen explaining quantum computing, but I really don't think there is an elegant way to do so. The whole topic is just very twighlight zoney.

Don't forget though folks, quantum computers will be evil too, they'll just be evil faster.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer's End

Hard to believe it's already mid August. It seems like just yesterday that I was jumping for joy that the winter solstice had past and the days were getting longer again. I still have a week or two before my fall semester at school begins again. As I mentioned in my last post, after mastering all there is to know regarding the cosmos and the meaning of life during my summer - look for a brand spanking new unified field theory to come your way on this page at some point during the fall. That's right Physics, you are about to get owned.

While I'm at it, I'll be pretty well prepared to fix the world's financial problems as well, since that also promises to be one of areas of study in the coming months.

But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, I promised that the other book I read last weekend would get a mention here as well, and I don't intend to disappoint.

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds.

Best. Book. Ever.

This is one of those books that you just can't do justice to with a quick synopsis. In fact, I seriously doubt I would have purchased this thing if Mr. Alastair wasn't already my favorite writer. The blurb inside the jacket can't do much to explain how great this is.

What really happens in this story? I'll just say that a group of near immortals meet for a family reunion and are the victims of mass murder. What follows that is 450 pages of awesome.

As always, this is a science fiction story, don't read this thing and get mad because the characters are whizzing around in spaceships and killer robots are on the loose - oh yea, looks like Mr. Reynolds agrees with me regarding evil robots - if you don't like reading that sort of stuff then don't read this book.

But if you are a fan of awesome, then please read. It'll change your life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Finally! I've Read Some Books

Life is busy as can be of late. I've spent the summer studying the stars and the nature of human existence respectively (via an astronomy and philosophy course). Once my summer semester was over it was time to hit the books. I can't recall the last time I went so long without reading a book. So I read two over my first weekend off since May.

Anything superheroish is going to appeal to me, I picked up The Last Days of Krypton during my trip to the beach earlier this year when it was for sale for $6 at Books a Million. I read the first half at the beach and then just ran out of time.

The fact that I was able to put the book down like that is a testament of how underwhelmed I was when I started reading. I don't think I've read any of Mr. Anderson's novels before, and I've wanted to for a while - as I mentioned before, my love of anything affiliated with superheros, my obvious fascination with sci-fi... how could this go wrong?

I think the real mistake was trying to shoehorn every darn piece of superman lore ever written into the book. 70 some-odd years of history has made the destruction of Krypton a bit of a narrative mess. As the preface states, at one time or another it exploded, its sun went nova or it was destroyed by Brainiac. Kandor gets shrunk and stuffed into a bottle, Argo city gets shot into space. Then we got Zod and the phantom zone.

In the end, this book appears to be a rather noble effort to take a series of random stories about Krypton and weave them into a somewhat coherent whole. I applaud his effort, but it just didn't work. I finished it out of curiosity, partly because I was just unwilling to quit. I think I'll wait before I read another Kevin J. Anderson book. There are only so many chances a writer gets to make a first impression, this one could have been better. Thankfully for me... I hit gold with the next book I read.

I'll post my second review soon!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's Been Awhile

It's been so long it seems, since I've updated you with my latest insight into the coming war with the machines... I'll stop doing these at some point, but clearly, today isn't that day. To recap for those new to the blog - machines are actively planning on taking us over. The movie predictions of the Terminator and The Matrix were pretty close to what you can expect for our future.

So what are the machines up to now? Well, scientists that are following this have provided us a timeline leading up to the eventual takeover. Read about it at The Daily Galaxy. It looks like these folks are just laying out for us a pretty similar timeline that Kurzweil did in the nineties. This one gives us a bit more breathing room, but not much.

Again, computers keep getting smarter, faster, stronger... better. There isn't an end in sight and eventually they will develop the abilities to make decisions for themselves. At which point they will realize what losers we are and either kill us outright, or put us in zoo's and treat us much the same way we treat other primates.

But to be forewarned is to be forearmed, how far in their evolution are they? Well, most of the scary stuff is how smart they are, but still when I see stuff like this -

- I freak out! I know, what's the big deal? Anyone whose been playing violin for a year or so can do that, probably with a bit more emotion too. But I already see where this is going. Anyone remember when chess was the thing, "no computer will ever be able to beat a human at chess," they said. Then it was, "no computer will ever be able to beat a grandmaster at chess." Well, after the best humanity had to offer got their asses kicked a few times we sorta just shut up about it.

The same thing will happen here too, it will get better and better until one day you get this -

- Robots making us weep with their awesome music.

Sigh. C'mon people.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Look Who's Back!

The geniuses at Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing have finally graced us with new episodes of their much beloved podcast. The first one out of the gate featured an interview with Greg Van Eekhout, author of Norse Code (click here to listen). As a guy who grew up reading Thor comics I can't help but think this one is for me. After listening to the episode I wonder what the story will be like. I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman early last year and don't think I could keep from comparing the two (no pressure Greg, I'm sure yours is just as good). I really do hope to read Mr. Van Eekhout's take on Ragnarok. I'm desperately wanting to read something I can enjoy soon. Going back to school in my late thirties is starting to feel like a big mistake. I'm just too old to be trying to learn new stuff.

But, back to the fine folks at my favorite podcast. A little known secret of mine is that probably half the fiction books I read over the course of the past year I picked up after hearing an interview with the author on one of their episodes. I have this magical and romantic notion that once I get interviewed by Shaun Farrell I will have finally arrived as an author.

However, I still lament that the episode featuring Robert J. Sawyer never arrived as promised. I think Shaun just made up the interview because I wrote a nasty letter several months ago complaining about the lack of hard sci-fi on the show. Right after I did he said he would put up a podcast with an interview of Robert Sawyer - then he promptly shut down for several months.

Shaun, I forgive you, I swear. Just keep on putting out new shows.

I forgot how much I missed those guys.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Still Kickin!

Hello world, just a quick reminder to all that the evil machines haven't got me yet! I've found that the summer has been one of my busiest on record and posting to this blog of no readers has become a pretty low priority. I still love doing it and won't stop, but I figure my pulitizer worthy posts from the past need more time to perculate. So enjoy the archives until I can get my crap back together and post some more.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Update On The Coming War With The Machines

Watch the video:

What was that? Read Cyberdine's press release

And now you can tremble. Imagine, no batteries, so small they can run through our circulatory system unencumbered, and they all get to be controlled by computers.

C'mon people, don't be naive. The machines won't outright attack until they have the weapons first. We'll soon find the sky darkened by massive swarms of these little buggers, descending upon us with their ravenous little robot maws, entering through our ear canals, our noses and mouths. Raid won't kill them, poisons don't kill machines. They're too small to really single out, there could be millions of them scattered over a small area, you can't really whack that many with a flyswatter, and besides, they're so tiny that you could lose them in the carpet - they just find their way inside you and wait for the computer to issue the command to kill.


Okay, I admit, I don't really believe computers will try to take over using machines... yet. I think they're holding out for nanobots - these things are a few orders of magnitude away from being that small. These guys are more like microbots. Small enough to get inside our bodies and fiddle around. But as long as they are still big enough to be seen with the naked eye, there is a slim chance we could defeat them. So breath easy for a few more years. I noticed in the press release their was a line about how they know they can make them smaller. Yikes.

Keep tuning in for more info as it comes available, or until the internet becomes self-aware and tries to strike me down.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Books out the Ying Yang

After eight glorious days at the beach, it's good to be home. The waves rolling gently over the shore along with the gentle atlantic breeze made for a luxurious vacation, one I won't quickly forget.

I managed to pack five novels just for the trip and proceeded to buy three others once I arrived at my destination. I had full intention of reading them all while there, one per day doesn't sound too tough. But even the best of plans can sometimes go awry. Four adults and five children make for a great bunch, and evenings of boardgames and movies, days at the waterpark and seaside shops all proved to be an irresistible lure that kept me away from my reading time.

In the end I made it through two and a half, nowhere near my admittedly ambitious goal of eight, but not bad for my weeks time.

I'll abstain from saying anything about my half finished novel at the moment, it just wouldn't be fair to comment about it now (especially since any comments would be fairly critical right now), so I'll stick with what I've finished.

First, Meat Market, an excellent non-fiction book about recruiting in major college football, Ed Orgeron has recently been hired as the DL and assistant head coach at my beloved UT and I found that I couldn't resist a whole book that followed him around for a year when he was head coach at Ole Miss.

I've always found him a fascinating guy, I hadn't heard of him until he was hired for the Ole Miss job a few years ago, but once the rumor got out that he introduced himself to his new team by tearing off his shirt and challenging anyone on his team to a fight, I figured that was a guy I wanted to check in on, he sounded like he might be a bit different from most coaches.

The book was good, it wasn't quite as insightful as I'd hoped, I don't know what I expected, but whatever it was, I wanted more. I'd recommend it to even a nominal sports fan, but it didn't impact me like I wanted it to. It did make me like Ed and it makes me happy that them Rebels are doing quite well now, even if he isn't the coach there anymore, those are all guys he recruited that won all those games last year after he was fired.

Secondly, I read Contagious, by Scott Sigler. I've become a fan of Scott's and have blogged about him on more than one occasion, this book cements him in my mind as one of my favorite writers. His sci-fi/horror is tailor made for me, I've managed to listen to or read four of his novels now and feel that he nows how to write a damned good book.

Contagious continues to follow the exploits of Scary Perry and the top secret government team as they attempt to unravel the frightening infection that we discovered in the appropriately named early book, Infection.

I can say very little for those who may not have read these yet, I don't want to ruin it (After all, you can only read it for the first time once), but this book is great. Go buy and read.

Til next time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The End of All Things (except for this blog)

As a refresher for anyone who might have jumped on the bandwagon too late, and is too unmotivated to go back and read my history here, I am a wannabe writer.

A science fiction wannabe to be exact. I have deep love of the genre and I think that in some ways, science fiction, or at least the sub-genre that I most frequently ascribe to, is attempting to answer the most fundamental questions that exist.

Why are we even here? Are we alone in the universe?

All that sort of stuff. Science in general is an attempt to answer those same questions. The dream of answering life's great mysteries with definitive and provable methods is a dream that teeters in the back of the mind of many a researcher I'm sure.

With that being said, one of my personal enjoyments during my quiet time is to ponder one of the great mysteries of the modern era. Why aren't there aliens already here?

The Fermi paradox is so named because Dr. Fermi is the first person articulate the delimma. Thinking about the age of the universe, the probablity of intelligent life arising even once in a great while in a galaxy leads to the inevitable conclusion that the entire galaxy should have been colonized a dozen times over already - we should be living in a universe more like Star Wars than we do. So where is everybody?

I won't waste anyone's time trying to outline the line of reasoning for reaching that conclusion. But some of the smartest folks that have ever lived have tried their best to come up with a possible reason we don't see aliens popping up around every corner and their answers generally never satisfy (which is why I love science fiction, there is still plenty of room to speculate about such things)

Please take 10 minutes or so and check out my heros at The Daily Galaxy. They have a short article about the conundrum and do a brilliant job of outlining the possible reasons we can't find any evidence of super civilizations of planet hopping citizens.

Anyhow, I do enjoy thinking about the topic, I don't see myself ever being able to contribute to the conversation in any meaningful way, but I at least know some possible reasons why it may be so. We may just be alone, or so separated from out nearest neighbor that we might as well be. The implications of that are profound.

Or we may be the first, or last to arise. Did others before us rise and fall already? What does that say about our chances? I've read some folks that have predicted the end of humanity based on nothing more than mathmatical models... Sounds stupid, until I read that just after the Berlin wall was built, this same model was used to predict when it would come down. The prediction was eerily close to being dead on.

So how was it done? What sort of crazy math is used to get those sorts of answers? And is it applicable to humanity at large? I don't know. I'll find a link for the reader to check out and post it later (I'm doing a "stream of consciousness" blog post at the moment).

My larger point being that science fiction is a gold mine for exploring these and other ideas without fear of anyone taking you too seriously. I don't think I can really have a serious conversation with most most folks about why I haven' t been abducted and probed by aliens yet, but a writer can wax on about just that topic all he or she wants within the genre.

It is just fiction after all.

Monday, May 18, 2009

All That Glitters Shant Be Golden

I read an interesting article over at Wired (click here) about e-readers. I don't know about any of you, but I almost broke down and bought the kindle 2 when it first came available a few short months ago. In the end I decided to wait, I just decided that the technology just isn't there... yet.

So the article just fills us all in about what the state of the art in e-reading is at the moment. I'm shocked at how much work has to go into making a book for the Kindle, at least considering how small the market is right now.

But I truly believe we're looking at the future. After steadfastly denying it for a solid decade, I'm getting that twinge again that the end of the actual book may be coming. Not really the end I suppose, but just like the internet is killing the newspaper industry, I see future Kindles killing the Barnes and Nobles and Border's of the world.

I think we'll always have real books, but the market for them will shrink, having every book ever printed available to me at the click of button on my handheld device just makes me shutter with excitement.

With all my anticipation, I'll have to wait before I feel it's really ready for the big time, and it ain't ready yet. The screens are all grayscale and some readers have too much lag between turning pages. The last time I checked, you don't have to have batteries installed to read a real book, and despite how long the new Kindle will last on a single charge, the mere thought of having my reader run out of juice just as I"m beginning to read the climax of a super awesome book makes me think twice.

And, if I drop my existing book in the bath tub I may cuss for a minute, but life goes on. If I drop a $350 e-reader in the pool I'm going to cry like a baby.

Anyhow, I'm sure those complaints can be addressed in the next 4 or 5 years. By then my solar powered, $20 reader will have it all... I can hardly wait.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What's the highest rated movie in the history of the world? I have no idea, but I think it may well be the latest Star Trek installment(at least according to rotten tomatoes). It's up to a young Kirk and Spock to save the Federation from annihilation at the hands of an unstoppable villain.... what proceeds from there is the stuff of legend.

Please go see it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Just Can't Seem To Leave Things Alone

Two more news items to blow your mind.

1) Google, whom we all know is the most computer savvy company in the world and whose technical wonder world which also serves as their world headquarters, has announced a new and exciting way to mow their lawns.

Google Mowers

That's right folks, goats. Now everyone knows Google is all about the environment and being green, and using goats to mow should lower their carbon footprint a tad. But I think it's just a cover. Since the machines have starting attacking folks with robots and begun hurling cars at churches (both incidents were covered in previous posts), I think the braintrust over at Google decided to keep the bladed machines as far from their campus as they can. I mean, who hasn't gotten a little drunk and decided to watch Stephen Kings' Maximum Overdrive and shuddered at the thought of what a highly miffed lawnmower could do to a man?

2) Okay, I don't think I want my postings to become another news of the weird sort of thing, but this one is just too bizarre.

It turns out that if you have a cat, you're most likely infected with a mind altering parasite that makes you really like cats. Apparently, nearly half of the people on the globe have the damn thing. I don't want to go on a cat rant or anything, but that freaks me out. Could cats be in cahoots with computers? It sorta makes sense, they both are determined to own the affectations of humanity. Cats through coercion and mind control, and computers through outright murderous mayhem.

Anyway, check out the link, for some reason it makes my head itch. Icky.

Cats Infect People With Mind Controlling Parasite

Ever notice you don't read about dogs doing that? Wonder why?

Okay... One More Just to Prove The Point

I don't know exactly how to blame this on evil computers, but the lack of any rational explanation makes me think they're involved somehow.

Car Attacks Church.... From Above

For those too busy or uninterested to follow the link, a single car accident seriously injured the driver when he lost control of his car and crashed into a nearby church. What puzzles authorities is how the car manged to strike the church.... on its roof. 100 feet away from the road and 2o something feet in the air.

I guarantee it had something to do with a faulty GPS. "Officer, I swear, my GPS said I was still on the ground."

Computers are attempting to take out their greatest enemy... the church. And most people don't even realize the war with the machines has already begun.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Told You, We're Doomed

I think we can all agree that the fine folks over in the more Nordic portions of the world are pretty interesting. I mean, anyone who has no issue with living in arctic conditions for most of the year has to be. No wonder they take 3 months of vacation a year. No one wants to be there in the winter.

Anyway, continuing my musing from a few days ago concerning computers with evil intent... why wasn't this headlining the evening news?

Robots Attack

Seriously, the opening salvo in the coming war. I'd keep my eye on my PC if I were you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Scientists No Longer Needed: We Have Machines That Can Do That Now

I heard this story a few weeks ago regarding the stunning news that a machine has uncovered the laws of motion (meaning that it didn't have a human tell it what the laws of motion were, it just figured it out) after playing with a pendulum for a few hours.


To put that into perspective, it took humans a few centuries of work to figure those same laws out. And it took a little fella named Newton to invent Calculus to really get them worked out mathematically.

And some 'ol machine figures them out by messing around for an afternoon. I shake my head at the absurdity.

But what that tells me, on a much deeper level, is that we really are living in the future. Folks like Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge have been preaching about the coming singularity for a while now... and I'm starting to get that little tingle in the back of my skull that they may be right. I just wonder if we'll really be able to tell when it's happening.

Oh, and the singularity is that magical moment when machines/AI surpasses humans in intelligence. At least in the Kurzweil version, once that happens we'll have a runaway chain reaction of advancement that will leave humanity surrounded by godlike machine intelligences that will be capable of insights and wonders that we won't even begin to be able to understand.

How can that happen? Well, the thought is that if you have a machine, smarter than any human, that designs the next generation of machine/AI/computer, then you'll have something that is greater than what any human could ever build.

Oh, and then this new, even smarter machine goes and designs and builds it successor, which is even more advanced.

And so on and so on. Before you know it, people are so removed from the process, and have been left so far behind intellectually, that we won't be capable of understanding machines anymore... hence the godlike entities I mentioned earlier.

Given that a rather plain machine was capable of uncovering the laws of Newtonian physics in a few short hours now. Imagine what sort of wonders it could uncover if it were a trillion times more advanced.

Again, we're really living in a sci-fi world.

All that being said, I'm a wee bit skeptical of the singularity actually happening as I described above, maybe a lifetime of seeing movies like the Terminator and the Matrix has made me take the prospect of computer overlords as silly.

But you never know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More About the Wonder

I just finished Steal Across The Sky by Nancy Kress this week. I have never read anything by her before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Without knowing how she writes or paces a story made me a little antsy about reading this. The premise was fantastic and I figured that even if she isn't going to be my favorite writer I should still enjoy it based on the can't miss plot. After reading it my take on the story is.... well, somewhat irrelevant I suppose.

I liked it though. I can't recall the last time it took me so long to read a book this short. I think it drug out for weeks. I don't know if it is her writing style or the things I've been dealing with that made it go so slowly. I've been somewhat busy of late. Cleaning my garage out at home, doing schoolwork and enjoying a bit of the spring weather. But still, it seems like I should have read it quicker.

But there are different kinds of enjoyment I can get from books I read. Some are quick reads that I knock out over a weekend and love while reading, only to forget about it a few minutes later. Others, like this one, I slug through slowly and after I close the book for the final time I sit and think about it for a bit. Going over the the details in my mind. Sometimes a book like that can stick with me for weeks.

Resonance is the term that is used for that effect, authors generally want their stories to resonate with the reader. Ms. Kress' book may not quite do that for me, but it is pretty philosophical in nature and I enjoy the attempt she made to tell an entertaining story.

So while that sense of wonder I wrote about yesterday may not have been captured but the attempt was worthy. So I say read it and see for yourself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ah, To Wonder about Wonder

The geniuses at io9 have given me the best article I've read in a while about the attempt to capture a sense of wonder in writing.

The problem? Science fiction used to give the reader a sense of wonder about the universe. Nowdays everything pales in comparison to the brilliant works of the past.

Their take: You're getting old. You've read a variant of the same story so many times that it's become a cliche. You want a sense of wonder? Then be 14 again.

I like it. The article is brilliant. The writer makes his points well and with enough anecdotal evidence that it feels authoritative.

But it's wrong. The whole thing is just... wrong. I've been reading science fiction since I was a kid. The first summer I remember reading a novel included Foundation, Watchers, Riverworld, Millienum and Clan of the Cave Bear. The summer of 86 maybe.

Anyway, the point is that I've been reading science fiction novels for at a minimum of 23 years. Not ridiculously long, but long enough that I've encountered that sense of wonder more than once.

I mentioned in an earlier post about the awe I felt when I read Stephen Baxter's Ring. That was around 1995. I felt that after reading Arthur C. Clarke's Rama books (I read several back to back) in the early 90's. I even felt that sense of awe as recently as 2005 when I read Olaf Stapledon's Starmaker. Hell, that thing is 80 years old.

So is it me? Or is it the story? I agree that I can now read something and think that I would have liked it much more if I'd stumbled upon it 10 or 15 years ago. But that doesn't stop me from being appropriately wowed - the writer just can't be lazy about it and throw in a subplot about the transgalactic aliens that are here with godlike powers. I will need more that that.

I'm tempted to go on a rant about what it is that even draws me to science fiction in the first place. But I run the risk of getting stuck knee deep in my own crap. I'll save that one for a future post.

So please, read the original article, enjoy it, but don't believe it. It just isn't true.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Howdy Mr. Alien... Have You Ever Tried Grilled Cheese?

As an aspiring science fiction author, I read a lot of science and science related materials. Although I am firmly a layperson in all matters science I have a fascination and appreciation for it that is pretty powerful. Science, my hat is off to you good sir. Thanks for cell phones, the internet and the eradication of polio (although I'm not entirely thrilled with nuclear weapons and killer bees).

So the folks over at New Scientist magazine have put together a short look at what was actually on the voyager probes that NASA sent off into the depths of space back in the seventies.

In case anyone doesn't know, the Voyager missions (after the Pioneer missions a few years earlier) were intended to photograph the outer planets - and afterward they were just supposed to keep going.

And like the energizer bunny, they are. 32 years later they are still traveling at 40,000 mph deeper into the blackness of space.

After thinking that some aliens may stumble upon one of our spacecraft at some point in the far future as our beloved voyagers enter into a new solar system, the great Carl Sagan helped in designing a small multimedia device that would serve as a simple "hello" from the people of earth.

The amount of storage date available at the time was pretty limited. A handful of pictures and data that has to teach any would be life-forms the basics of earth, language, humanity and whatever else they need to know to get a good idea of who and what we are. No small task.

So Carl and the gang produced a gold record of what they thought was important for the denizens of the galaxy to know about us. So what was on this mysterious golden record?

That's right, a bald guy eating grilled cheese, a young girl treating an ice cream cone, er, inappropriately, and of course, Stevie Wonder.

Wow. No wonder aliens are always hell bent on destroying us when they show up in the movies, look at the crap we are inundating them with. At least the stuff we transmit from earth is on accident, we did this on purpose.

I weep for us all.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lookie Me!

I'm not usually one for horror sort of stuff, but I sketched this ugly fella out while I was on hold at work today (I do actually work though). I was relatively frustrated and started to draw a screaming man. But I pushed the reality a bit too far and it ended up looking more like a guy with either an unhinged jaw or someone suffering from a werewolfy sort of thing.

So I gave him fangs and that was that.

All that makes me think of fan art. I read several of E.E. Knight's Vampire Earth novels over the winter and noticed that his series has spawned a bit of fan art that he has taken and made a book trailer out of. Take a look:

I've always wanted to do some sort of fan art - but outside of superheros I never really have gotten so caught up in a fictional universe that I felt I had anything to contribute. But I think I may be willing to try something soon. I can just feel it coming. I'll have to find the right book first, and something that I think I can pull off without it going beyond my ability to actually produce.

So, if anything comes to mind, I'll be sure to give it a shot and post it here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Word About Pencils

To the right is a sketch I did recently (now that's answering the phone with an attitude). I've always been pretty okay with the pencil, but as always, I've found that the internet is the great humbler. A quick search of penciled pieces of art quickly reminds me of what the difference is between a true artist and someone like me - as proud of myself as I can be sometimes I am deeply awed by the skills of others. It'll either inspire me to achieve the impossible... or make me shrug my shoulders and just quit.

And why is that? Seeing the works of artists who've produced some of the most beautiful images I've ever seen has a tendency to make me want to throw down my pencils and quit. But reading a particularly moving short-story or novel seems to inspire me to try to do go write.

Odd. I'd place that one up to desire maybe. My dreams of being an accomplished writer far outweigh any thoughts I may have of being an accomplished artist. In the end I guess I need a creative outlet in order to fill sane. In my distant past it was art, later it was music, then photography, and for the last half decade or so it's been writing.

I hope this one sticks, I seem to enjoy the process of writing more than the others I've mentioned and if I got something to say I don't have to take a picture about it... I can just write it.

Talk again soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Little Shout Out to My Friends: Part Deux

After making my last post I realized that for the most part, the entire thing was a tangent. Oops.

There are two items regarding the links on the side of the page I wanted to bring to the world's attention that I didn't touch on earlier that I would like to now.

Firstly, the book cover to the right is indeed a book I contributed too that was recently released (the picture is really a link, go ahead, click it). There are two stories of my own creation that fill the pages: Nanoswarm and War Angel. Both of which are up for some pretty major awards... er, ok, maybe not. But still...

Anyhow, the book was done by the writing group I frequent and for the hope that we can make someone's life a least a tiny bit better. So all of the proceeds are going to a Knoxville charity that services the homeless. So seriously, buy it.

Secondly, when I actually sit down to write, finding the muse can be a bit of a challenge. Music often serves me as the perfect mood setting device. If I'm writing an intense action scene I'll try to have something playing that appropriately coveys the mood I'm trying to find in what I'm writing - as long as it doesn't actually distract me from the writing itself I'm inspired.

Anyway, spend a few minutes checking out the musical diversions - right now it only has the Nashville songwriter Angus Danu and his soothing tunes but I'll post another or two in the coming days.

Happy writing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Little Shout Out to My Friends

I've recently started adding links (which any attentive reader should pay close attention to) on the sidebar of this page. I always thought of links as a rather personal thing, unless one is being compensated for it, it's almost like a diary of who we are and what we like.

The links I've provided so far are mostly of authors who all have varying degrees of success within the profession. They are all science fiction writers and all have one thing in common that I really like: They interact with their readers.

Almost since I first stumbled onto this wondrous thing we call the internet, I've sought out my favorite authors to try and discover what kind of personality they have, to see what their interests are and to find out as much as I can about what their creative process is like.

Although his latest works have not moved me the way his older ones have, Stephen Baxter has long since been my favorite writer. He certainly wasn't the first science fiction writer I read, but he was definately the first to fill me with awe about the universe. When I first read Ring I would lie awake at night for weeks and think about the universe - it was almost a religious experience.

He has also frustrated me moreso than any other author I can think of because judging by his internet presence he appears to be a recluse.

I don't really think that's the case, he appears to be a busy man, but despite his relative youth (early 50's maybe) he is reminiscent of previous era, more like an Arthur C Clark or Isaac Asimov. I don't think he thinks of the internet as a tool the way others do. His website looks like a static page with a news feed that appears to be done by a publicist or agent that gets updated every few weeks or months. As opposed to the writer himself engaging his fans it instead just feels old, outdated, and a reminder of the way things used to be done.

Of authors that have come upon the scene the last few years, most that I've become aware of are tireless self-promoters. They have their loyal legions of fans that remind me more of how an unsigned band might develop a core following long before they ever hit it big. These new writers are releasing their product on the web, via podcasting their novels, sharing PDF's of their works or any of a whole host of unorthodox methods.

Many have raised questions about how sustainable a business model it is to just give your product away and hope the money flows afterwards. I was ambivilent and undecided about it until recently (as I stated in an earlier post), but now I really think that in the future sucessful writers will have to have an strong online presence. Unless you are a J.K Rowling or Stephanie Meyer that is.

Just like many underground and unsigned musical acts have used the internet as a forum to propel themselves to mainstream success, I think a model it beginning to appear for writers to do the same thing.

But the future mid-lister's (that means everyone who isn't a J.K Rowling or Stephanie Meyer) are going to have to work a bit harder to maintain a career as an author.

I'm looking forward to it. So while the author's links I mentioned earlier may not be a collection of the greatest writers in the world, they are as a whole much more active that those that have been around for a while. Take a look.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Attack With a GL-417

Markus Guthman placed his GL-417 assault rifle gently on the table. He had seen too much in his life to place it appropriately in the storage locker like regulations state. He took his seat across from his civilian commander, rifle within reach.

“Are you ready to eat?” She asked, standing tall over the table.

Markus shook his head, “I had field rations earlier, I’m okay.”

She slid into the chair opposite Markus and looked him in the eye, “We need to talk,” she said, “about your most recent behavior.”

Markus sat up straight in his chair, suddenly alert and on the defensive, “My behavior? My behavior has protected countless numbers of lives. I hope you are about to thank me for my behavior.”

She bit her lower lip, “Markus, I don’t want-”

Markus put up his hand, her queue to be quiet. He could see her ears grow red, he would have her wrath to deal with later… if there was a later. Right now he could hear soft whispering just outside the door.

He grabbed his rifle from the table and stood. He placed one finger to his lips, reminding her to keep quiet. “They’re here,” he whispered, “find a place to hide.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could make a sound the door burst open. Small, lithe bodies flooded into the room, firing indiscriminately.

“Down!” Markus shouted as he dove for safety.

He caught his civcom staring, wide-eyed, as the attackers flooded the room with weapons fire. Markus hid as priceless treasures and heirlooms were ruined, he could see his way of life coming to an end.

He had an instant, any longer and their situation would be hopeless. He sighed deeply and prepared to counter their attack. It was then that his civcom came alive.
In a flash she covered the space between the nearest attacker and herself. The assailant was pinned and disarmed before he could so much as raise his hand in defense.
She moved with frightening speed, from one attacker to the next. In less than half a minute there were no more enemies for Markus to shoot, they were all captured.

Markus stood from his hiding spot, disbelieving. “Mom?” Markus whispered.

“Markus Reginald Guthman.” She said, her teeth clenched, “You are grounded. Billy, Timothy, Lenny. I am calling your parents. Give me your water guns.

“Yes Ma’am.” They muttered.

Markus handed over his weapon and took his punishment in stride. The war was as good as over anyways. He slowly climbed the steps to his room when he caught sight of something from the upstairs window.

Zipping past was a scout vessel from a long vanquished foe, one long since forgotten. The Aldorian slug people.

A new war had begun.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Piddler's Plea

I'm a piddler. I dabble in all sorts of time-wasting endeavors. I spend a great deal of time at my day job on the phone and on hold. So I do what anyone would do when that happens: I doodle.

On occasion I'll get a doodle that I like, scan it and email to the house where I can tinker with it on my PC. As you can see, the notebook lines still run through my old man there.

But it gets me thinking about myself. I don't recall ever finishing much of anything. For a guy who spent his entire youth (or at least from 3rd grade through my Junior year of high school) convinced that he was going to become an artist, I never finished much of anything.

When thinking further about it, I was the same way as a musician too. I don't think I ever wrote an entire song. I would come up with a melody or riff then quit and move on to something else. It was like I would get bored with something before I could finish it.

Well, you know who else couldn't seem to get anything done? Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo was a notorious non-finisher too, hell, it took him 15 years to get around to finishing the Mona Lisa. He was too busy inventing helicopters and steam punk robots to waste his time on some stupid portrait. So history does have at least one example of a slacker who didn't like finishing things... and I think he still did okay for himself.

So I won't give up hope, I've got plenty of time to be a published novelist. I have a few (3 to be exact) nearly complete novels lying around that are all in various stages of editing/rewriting. The very thing that has plagued me my entire life continues to do so now in my writing. Nearly done and then I'm off to work on something else.

Oh well, if Leonardo can successfully muddle his way past his waning attention span, I'm sure I can too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Listen to any good books lately?

Of late, I've stumbled upon on the of the greatest gems of the internet age: Podcast audiobooks.

I've been a fan of podcasts for some time, I like hearing about the latest news in astronomy, learning the intricacies of beer appreciation, or even something as mundane as interviews with authors. But the idea of podcasting a novel didn't strike me as the best idea in the world. In fact, I thought it was stupid.

And did I mention that it was free? Even stupider, it assures that not only will the product be crap, but those poor souls that worked for so long to produce their crap won't see a measly little penny for it.

I had assumed the literary quality would be horrendous, the voices would be annoying and the whole affair would be a large embarrassment to the internet at large.

Boy, was I wrong.

The first book I attempted to listen too didn't work out too well. I had technical difficulties and never really enjoyed the storyline or the presentation. Strike one.

Then I chanced upon a book by Scott Sigler, he's become a bit of a phenom due mostly to the populartiy of his podcast novels, and he is one of the first, if not THE first, to even attempt to tell a story in this format. He managed to turn his experiment into mainstream success, a big book deal, and a movie in pre-production based on his novel, Infected.

But I chose The Rookie, I was familiar with the novel after I heard an interview with Mr. Sigler (on a podcast, of course) and thought I would give it a shot.

Before I knew what was happening I was looking for excuses to listen to the next chapter. Any excuse. I was spending extra time at the gym, taking the long way home from the store, wearing my ipod to do yardwork or housework, any excuse I could find.

I was hooked. It was a home run.

The best part... it's all free. Scott has, and will, certainly make his money from me. I've purchased Infected at the bookstore and I'll be pre-ordering The Rookie as soon as it's available later this month. That stupid "giving it away for free" method really worked.

And what a brilliant idea it was. I knew all along it would work.

Listen to him tell the story himself

For anyone interested, Podiobooks is where I've been listening. Since I finished Mr. Sigler's book I've moved on to others and have generally been impressed. They even have a dandy little donate button if you're so moved to do so.

Til next time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why Blog?

Why would anyone in the world decide to start blogging now? it's so 2005.

Excellent question. I am tempted to say that my encyclopedic knowledge of wigormoofs or plantongas is a niche that needs to be exploited, but the truth is that I just have this overpowering need to express myself. Who cares if I have nothing to add?

But nonetheless, I anticipate that I'll be posting every so often about things that interest me: writing, entertainment, books.

It'll be a blast.