Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

That's about it, aside from the fact that I hope you all gain the measure of comfort due you in the new year, and every measure of success and happiness you care to achieve.

Now, get drinking (if that's your thing), and stay safe.

Oh, and it's been seven years since I quit smoking.

Josh Brolin?

Goonies. I sit watching Goonies, and who should I recognize? Josh Brolin... Of No Country for Old Men and now True Grit, is the older brother?


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Songs I Dug as A Young Man...

And still do:

Siousxie & The Banshees:

and this:

Love & Rockets:

and this:

The Stone Roses:

Still more Stone Roses:

At about 4:51 in, it gets quite sick, then again at 8:35 or so:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My, But I've Been A Lucky Man

Several of my friends have recently, merely by striving to overcome the shit circumstances they find themselves in, proven to me how lucky I am. Not just in my family and friends, but in life in general:

The Coolness had a very tough year, and came through healthier than she went into it. She's working as a teaching assistant at my daughter's school, and doing so well that the principal made statements indicating her great confidence in The Coolness' abilities.

My kid kicks ass, and I am blessed with the opportunities to observe and coach her and her young friends at soccer, something few get the chance to do. She is also very sharp at school, reasonably well-mannnered, and the apple of her daddy's eye. Not bad for my simple, fervent wish of almost eight years ago that she simply be born healthy and whole.

I have a job to whine about. This is certainly not to be taken for granted, though I know I too often focus too much on the tiny negatives in the workplace (like asshats and their asshattery). It is, however, sure motivation for the next thing I have to feel lucky about.

I was published this last year, and paid near a thousand dollars for my work. That's pretty damn cool. It was confirmation I have a modicum of talent for this writing thing that might lead to a second career.

I survived a thankfully minor accident on the motorbike, and was even able to make my daughter's soccer dinner that very night.

I had the opportunity to reconnect with a friend of mine of 28 years. Not only did we manage to meet in a city neither of us live in, we had an incredible time and made a number of new friends (WFC was the shit! If you missed it, you need not do so again. If you write or read fantasy, go.) Among those new amigos were some guys who have consistently taken care of me, and been great fun to shoot the shit with.

I am thankful for all the experiences this undeserving, loud-mouthed, Ranting Griffin has had in the last year, and hope that if your year was less than stellar, that it is only because the stars were aligning for your future, and you need only endure this brief while.

I certainly hope to be there to help and encourage every one of the people that have proven me so very lucky in my friends and life.

Thank you.

For now, my lovely daughter is smiling at me, and I go to join her and The Coolness...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Fifth Element & Heavy Metal

I have been a Heavy Metal fan since I was about twelve. I am not referring to the music, though I am a fan of most metal. I instead refer to the magazine loaded with the offerings of artists like Moebius and Serpieri. The magazines come out quarterly, and are full of fantastic, beautiful artwork. On occasion the stories also attempt different narrative forms and push the envelope.

Some might remember the movie Heavy Metal, which came out in the 80s, and was a fantastic film with an amazing soundtrack and cast of voice-actors. Later, there was Fakk2, a less successful (and less worthy) offering.

Why do I bring this up?

Because The Fifth Element, one of the most successful science fiction movies ever produced, is on just now, and the art direction is entirely inspired by and rendered by the artists that graced the pages of Heavy Metal.

If you have not seen the film, do so. If you have not read the magazine, give it a look. Both are worth watching.

Monday, December 27, 2010

True Grit on Christmas Eve

I friend of mine has had more than his share of troubles of late, so I invited him to see a movie on Christmas Eve while The Coolness watched our kids.

He and I are both fans of John Wayne, and the original film True Grit is one of my absolute favorite movies ever. I loved the language and smartass child of the original.

The old anti-hero with little to lose and not much to live for being forced to see his faults (and his strengths) through the eyes of a child not his own is a sobering, effective humanization of a character that would otherwise not develop as cleanly.

John Wayne won an Oscar for the role. I worried that Jeff Bridges had some massive boots to fill, and might not be up to the task.

Even so, I had high expectations.

Without getting into so much detail that I ruin it for folks who have yet to see the remake True Grit should garner more than one or two Oscars.

The screenplay is far better than the original: the dialogue is far better, the annoying instances of the female lead minimized, and the characters better presented (flaws and all).

The cinematography is stellar. The depictions of violence pull no punches, as it should be.

Bridges reaches right past the inestimable John Wayne and reaches Rooster Cogburn, making the character come alive. I forgot who was playing the role, and just focused on the mythic man's story.

Then there is the Texas Ranger. I thought the role the weakest in the original, and also played rather poorly in that instance. Damon corrects these errors and thrills, his interactions with the girl and even Cogburn incredibly well performed.

Pepper is utterly believable as Pepper, as Brolin is as Cheney.

The ending is magnificent. They didn't try to present the "Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!" moment as a John Wayne moment, rather they made it Rooster's moment.

A fine film, and well worth the price of entry.

Is This...

A Good Ick or a Bad Ick?

Most decidedly a Bad Ick.

I just got over being sick, and here I am again, snot-locker full of wonderfully colorful excreta dribbling forth in frothy wonder to form a mass upon the upper lip.

Sleep is the sought-after distraction, the holy grail, not of healing, but of relief from care about whether the boogerjuice flow will ever stop. I sought it with such fervor last night that I do believe I suffered a slight overdose: I feel even more stupid than usual this morning.

Seriously, didn't I just get over a bout of Ick? WTF, over? In my opinion, there is little worse than being sick through the holidays, aside from being sick and in hospital and or without friends and family about you...

Ok, I suppose there is quite a bit worse than having a severe head cold through the holidays. And yes, The Coolness is right, men do revert to big babies when ill.

Pass me my binkie, would you?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. I've been blessed this year, and hope to have time and opportunity to reflect on the many blessings this year has visited on my family.

I hope the same for you and yours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Communication for Asshats

As I believe I promised a rant yesterday, I feel I must deliver.

If you are not an asshat, then it's unlikely you need this guidance, but as there is so much asshattery in the world and so very few people believe themselves capable of asshattery, let alone with enough frequency to deserve the appellation, I recommend that you read on, just in case.

If you are entering foreign lands, it might behoove you to come prepared. If it's a hot desert you plan to go to, a canteen or even camel back might be a plan, if it's the arctic, wear a fucking jacket and you might even wish to consider some gloves, asshat.

Regardless of the weather or terrain, you might want to learn a bit of the language or culture, or at least learn to keep your mouth shut and eyes open so as to avoid offending the locals so much that you end up a sacrifice to their gods.

Asshats like you are especially pleasing sacrifices to the gods.

I am fairly certain that last little bit is the reason my parents felt so strongly that children should be seen and and not heard: kids who keep their mouths shut and ears open in adult company are more likely to learn something from their elders (and thereby avoid being dropped in the stew).

Because children are all little asshats, waiting to be trained out of that state (or not, if the parenting skills of those responsible for a little asshat are found wanting.)

These rules hold for places and situations not all that foreign to one's culture. Unfamiliar situations such as being in court, trying to get a new job, dating, all carry a degree of risk where keeping your mouth shut, at least to a degree, might gain something for you, asshat.

As my agent once told me, the more you like someone or their work, the less effusive you should be about it when speaking to them. There are few places a conversation can go when a stranger walks up to another and starts the conversation with, "I love you and your work."

The opposite also holds true. If one is a cross-burning racist asshat, one will rarely be best served by starting conversations with, "I hate you and your kind."

Asshats who pull this kind of shit deserve whatever they get.

If you arrive late to whatever foreign place you find yourself, do not go on the attack. Do not think that just because you are concerned about whether you've fucked yourself, that others should give a rat's ass about your self-inflcited doom or, for that matter, feel the need to bow down and sacrifice the least bit of their time for you to engage in any kind of asshattery.

If you are asking what you think is a reasonable question, ask yourself first, "Has this target, this person I wish to ask the question of, have they already answered this question and I was just so late/caught up in my own bullshit that I missed it?"

If the answer is yes, best not fucking ask the question, you asshat.

If the answer is no, then consider asking the question with genuine politeness.

For a moment I forgot I was writing this for true asshats, and almost didn't explain it clearly: by genuine politeness, I mean speech that is not obsequious pandering to what you believe the questioned might want to hear, such as "Hey Boss, what's up with my ____?"

The preceding fails the litmus test for politeness and, further, if the person is not your boss or a horse, now you've gone and labeled them as someone:

a) who is an animal that prefers hay


b) who should run the show, and is therefore somehow capable of fixing your malfunction.

Sorry, no one can do that but you, asshat.

So. Ask politely. Perhaps something along the lines of, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm late, could you possibly tell me what to do?"

Then, and this is critically important, you fucking asshat: wait for the full answer. Wait longer than you think an old lady in need of hip replacement would take to cross a particularly wide street.

Now, when the answer begins, give it your full attention. You asked for that answer, and, while I know respect of any kind comes hard to asshats, you need to show some now. This is especially true of complex questions or ones that require a multi-part answer. Process each part of the answer as it is given, and do not respond until the speaker is done.

Do not give in to the instinct to believe your inner asshat, and that the person answering your very important question is as much an asshat as you are, and might either lie to you just to see you get worked up, or doesn't know what they are talking about and failing to give you the very best answer.

This is especially true if that answer contains negative news for you, asshat. No one is willing to help an asshat who, when given bad news, decides to disrupt things further by engaging in further asshattery. Do not think that by getting louder, waxing tearful, pulling an angry face, or bemoaning the fact that you are being treated unfairly, that you are doing anything more than drawing further attention to your asshattery.

Do not repeat the question over and over again to different people hoping to find a better answer, it only proves you an asshat.

Oh, and if your friends have, in the past, proven themselves asshats, don't bring them along. Anywhere. No matter how much they might whine and complain. Their asshattery can only drag you in and keep you treading the shit-filled water.

In short, try very hard not to be an infantile, whining child, you clueless asshat. Try damned hard to follow these rules, and perhaps you will go unidentified as such.

Still, I know it is sometimes very hard to avoid showing your asshattery. For my part, if you are being an asshat, but you're sweating and gritting your teeth in attempt to restrain your natural inclination to such asshattery, I might take pity on you.

No promises, but I might.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Sleepy, and tired. Woke at 0450hrs this morning, for no other reason than I did. Might be the big unknowns staring at me over the horison, I don't know.

Not much to say on things, otherwise. Perhaps tomorrow I'll be up for a rant. Today, well, I just need a nap.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ten Things I've Seen I Shall Never Be Rid Of

Yesterday's post, provoked by Scalzi, also sparked a quick correspondence between myself and a friend. This friend indicated they didn't think they could keep it positive enough to warrant doing it. I understood that, as several events I have witnessed sought to worm their way forward in yesterday's list. I didn't let them, not for that list, at any rate. It did get me thinking, though.

Some that have spoken with me in person might recall I a saying I have about Ocular Herpes. I don't mean, of course, to refer to a strain of real herpes that affects the eyes. No, what I refer to is the things one sees once and will never be rid of. Things that, when I close my eyes, return unbidden.

I am not trying to gross people out, or make them feel for me with this list. Indeed, most of what I have seen was much harder on the viewed than the viewer. All of them are a part of me now, and will remain so until memory fails. Most are not positive, or funny, but some sparked the gallows humor that is a survival mechanism for emergency workers, cops, and soldiers.

Baptiste, a character from my book, The Last Captain has a thought, 'Work Starfall, age in dog years.' That is a direct translation of my reality into my fiction; I have been heard to say, "Work the Mission, age in dog years."

Anyway, on with the list:

1) Responding to a call of an excessively loud party behind an apartment building. We are making our way through the top floor apartment when the officer in front of me walks through a beaded curtain and turns off his flashlight (the power was off in the apartment). He then starts to dance, chanting, "La cucaracha, la cucaracha," a pound and shuffle to his footwork like the best of a flamenco dancer. His partner clears the curtain, gasps, and laughs, shutting his light down as well. I entered, the carpet of the kitchen was alive. Cockroaches, millions of them, covered the floor, and hardly moved under the flashlight.

2) A pretty girl, breathing her last, the right half of her skull behind the forehead pressed upward from the bullet meant for her girlfriend's boyfriend, who had been flipping gang signs at the corner from the backseat of her car.

Blood has a distinct thickness, an aerated look when it passes through the skull and hair. The flashing lights of the emergency vehicles didn't help.

3) The entire front bumper of a minivan, perfectly balanced in the middle, hanging from a low, impossibly thin branch of a tree. The block looked like a bomb had gone off when the suspect, trying to escape police, hit the minivan (containing a newborn and his parents). The family was alright. The suspect too.

4) Smoke dribbling from the mouth and opened skull of a young moron who had been playing Russian roulette a few minutes prior. His blood and pulped brains literally dripped from the vaulted ceiling of the room.

5) A man who looked like Ichabod Crane, all fleshless limbs, running from me. He catches his foot on the chain meant to stop cars from entering the parking lot and flies through the air, arms windmilling, appearing to fall in slow motion.

"Oh, Shhiiiiiiiiitt!" he groaned as he fell to land on his chest and belly, knocking the remaining wind from him. I laughed so hard I had a hard time cuffing him.

6) A fat man trying to get home after being shot, dying on his neighbor's front stoop, asking everyone piteously why his mother wouldn't open the door when he knocked. He expired before his mother could be summoned.

7) An attractive young woman who'd run off the bus into traffic to catch the next one, her leg bent in too many places so that her ankle was next to her head, asking me, "Why can't I get up, officer?"

8) The end of a plastic bindle of dope poking from the anus of a very large Samoan. Him, naked, daring me to come get it. That fight was less than epic.

9) A twelve year old prostitute running to her pimp to escape us. Him trying to get away. Later finding the methamphetamine he was using to enslave her.

10) An elder suffering from dementia, her hair and pillow filthy, her indoor toilet unemptied, asking what she was to do, now we had removed her friends from the apartment. Her 'friends' were Sureños, part of MS13, and had been doing drugs, eating her food, and practicing her signature in order to steal her identity. She was so confused that she did not recall being shot by the same gang ten years prior for being a witness against the gang and its depredations.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

10 Things I Have Done That You Probably Have Not

Inspired by Scalzi, I decided to cobble this together:

1) Stood inside The Great Pyramid At Giza.

2) Walked in the shadow of the Parthenon

3) With ram and body, battered down the doors to suspect's homes.

4) Learned two languages foreign to me

5) Fired a drum-fed Thompson submachinegun till dry, reloaded and done it again

6) Arrested a murderer, for murder

7) Drank where Lenin did when in exile.

8) Been paid for something I wrote, and had said material published.

9) Had Walter Payton put his arm about my shoulders

10) Saved a life

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Things Fall Apart

As I have seen more than my share of urban decay in San Francisco, the images caught by this man's eyes sing to me.

Sad? Some of them.

Interesting? All of them:

Timothy Neesom's Detroit sildeshow

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Night

The weather is supposed to be horrendous this weekend, so I hurried home last night, got on the roof, and cleared out the gutters in preparation for the torrential rains expected mañana.

This process involves my electric leaf blower, catalpa tree bean cases, a few hundred pounds of leaf litter, and the tiny gravel of my composite roof decomposing into a syrupy, black stew of rather odious character. Howling red poodles are also involved. The dog loves to run through the leaves I send flying into the back yard, barking insanely at the howling creature stalking the rooftop and scattering litter in his territory.

So, as darkness fell, I nearly fell from the roof. I then set about trying to clean the filth from my person, the dog sniffing me like I was ome portion of this thick black ichor usually spatters back into my face and lodges under the nails, giving me a pleasing (Or at least entertaining?) smell.

That task completed, it was discovered that the batteries in the camera were dead and that none remained charged the house (Damn you, Wii). I jumped on the moto, got said batteries, then rushed to the church, where I claimed seating for the Coolness, My Girl, and The Mother-In-Law.

An hour later my daughter's christmas pageant began. For the most part it was about as exciting as that sounds, but oh so wonderful to see her, face shining, singing along with her classmates.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is It Only Wednesday?

Had a rather startling offer of a new position yesterday at the day job. I have, after consulting with The Coolness, decided to take it, though it still has to be approved at the very highest levels in the department.

My schedule will change, in that I will be working entirely days, but weekends will still be off, for the most part... I will be doing a lot more real work, but dealing less with the asshattery of the public. All this is set to begin (hopefully) with the New Year.

I think my writing schedule will be a bit thrown for a few days, at least the every day portion, until I become acclimated to the requirements of the new position.

I am almost -dare I say it? excited about this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Liars and Scissors

Damn, but this is something else! Thanks to Shawn C Baker for bringing it to my attention. The song is disturbing, the video like the best episodes of Twilight Zone:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chameleon thru Ex-Pat thru Cop And Into Writing

No, I am not referring to having been an androgynous Pat, but rather having lived abroad. This post was started as a reply to the lovely Carolina Valdez-Miller's wonderfully evocative post 'Pieces'.

She writes freely and well of the pain and pleasures of living abroad as an adult, but didn't relate those feelings and that experience to writing overmuch. Here is my reply to that missing portion. As usual, I might have taken it too far.

Having lived in foreign lands for more than a bit of my younger days, I have to say that this does inform and relate to my writing: I think I understand what it is to be the outsider, to be the one who doesn't understand that which seems so clear everyone else.

I also know first hand the what opportunity moving elsewhere is to reinvent yourself. No one knows you; the fact that you might have been held back in third grade, or that your older brother beat up so many of his schoolmates you'll never have to fight, that the vip-vip sound of your corduroy pants accompanied you through much of your childhood, that you are no longer solely defined by the sports you participated in.

I believe such experiences make it easier for me to step into character. I know what it is to assemble a character: what is needed for it to be believable, what they might sound like, how they look, what they might feel about certain things in life.

I will always be from Peoria, Illinois. I will also always be the guy from Peoria who lived in Spain and Switzerland, and came back different. I suppose it is much like going off to university for those that have not lived abroad.

Entering my day job was an experience of this: Aware of how different I was from the men and women of most police departments and families, I made myself over. I adapted, trained, reached a point where the culture of cop is my own, all the while aware (and in a bit of pain) over the fact that it will never really be my culture. Working informants, interrogating people, walking a beat, even the little undercover work I've done have all benefitted from the learning experiences of my youth. Of trying to communicate with the unknown.

If this seems odd or false of me, I suppose I cannot argue save to say that, like all the most successful of survival mechanisms, it knows little of morality.

No matter where you go, there you are.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Getting Cool Things

A few weeks ago, I posted a video by The Forest Children and commented on the awesome of both video for and song itself, Cold Blooded. Friday, thanks to Shawn C Barker, half the Forest Children duo, I got their 2007 album, PsychoAngelic Crypt in the mail.

I have listened to it straight through twice already, playing several of the songs more than that. Conjure The Nomad is my favorite, but the whole album is certainly worthy of your attention if you're at all into dark rituals, demons, killers, and the imagining of said things.

Very good stuff, and I wonder at why I am the recipient of such generosity. Which leads me to the next cool thing I will be receiving:

Some of you may know that I participate fairly regularly in two or three chats on Twitter. One of those is the friendly, thoughtful crew at #UFChat, the subject of which is Urban Fantasy. I stumbled into it one day a few months back and really enjoyed the lively discussions and friendly atmosphere.

I come back to the friendly because there is so very little geek snobbery going on, something I cannot say about some of the other chats I have attended. Indeed, while I do not write UF, and have limited plans to ever do so, they possess an energy I find enticing. So much so that I have even asked the UFGirlz to attend, with limited success. They are, after all, a busy, busy gang (I am told it is hard being the awesome all the time).

So, enough of why I like to attend. Yesterday was the first time I had been on while a guest author answered the moderator's questions. The author, Merrie Destefano, authored Afterlife a book published by Eos/Harper Collins. The book, as described by Destefano, sounds like an SF novel with romance elements, yet has garnered a following among Urban Fantasy fans. The author is an intelligent and witty sort, open about her work. The chat went very well, and I came away interested in reading the book. There was, lucky for poor me, a drawing of participants at the end of the chat to see who might win a signed copy of Afterlife.

I won. I will be getting my signed book in a week or so.

I do no win things. I do not. In fact, I'm one of those bitter sorts who only grudgingly says, "Congratulations," when the loot is handed out.

But there it is.

And I didn't have to go down on anyone for either of these cool things.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bridge of The Broken Excerpt

Schrader, stuck in stop-and-go traffic, was bored out of her mind. Gone were the days of flitting from scene to scene in an AFV, her people ready to do violence on her behalf. Now she had to drive herself, and since the government had yet to fully define her position, she had relatively few police powers, including the fact her car had no siren she could use to bull her way through dense afternoon traffic.

Her passenger was not all that great a conversationalist, despite being a relatively good guy. She supposed that, like her, he was working outside his training, and therefore his comfort zone.

The boredom was shattered by the explosion. Debris shot skyward less than ten car lengths ahead, closely followed by the teeth-rattling sound of the detonation.

She slewed the car sideways, dropped it into park and had her handgun out before her passenger could even ask, “What the hell?”

Larissa didn’t answer the doctor, just forced his head down and scanned for threats.

A smoke trail drew a faint line from the second story of a building ahead into the line of cars she’d just occupied. The silence which followed the detonation was eerie.

The usual screaming cut through the silence as people slowly began to react to the incident. Smoke began to billow, drifting back across the vehicles stopped by the sudden violence unfolding before them. The smell of burning plastics and hot metal drifting in through her open windows made her nose twitch, put her in the zone like nothing else.

Moments slid by without a second strike, which meant either the ambushers were out of missiles, had destroyed their target, or were displacing for another shot.

It went against all her trained instinct to stay put while an ambush went on, but the more time went by, the more certain she was that she wasn’t the target, ‘And you’re certainly not geared up for combat,’ she thought, trying to reinforce the sensible notion she shelter in place.

A coilgun went off. From her front. She couldn’t see the shooter.

Another shot, this one sounding like a handgun.

A man appeared out of the smoke ahead, firing a carbine into the line of parked cars as fast as he could pull the trigger. More screams. People were starting to flee their vehicles, fleeing the sudden war zone that had erupted in their midst.

Schrader ignored them, kept her eyes on the gunman, who stopped shooting, gestured in the direction of the parked cars, then turning his hand to point in Schrader’s direction.

Another gunman darted into view between the first one and Schrader’s car, the launch tube on his back explaining the lack of additional missile fire. He read his comrade’s hand signal, began sprinting her direction.

‘Shit,’ Schrader thought, ‘Their target is moving this way.’

“Stay down, Doc,” she said.

“Where the hell you going?” Doctor Z asked, raising his head.

“Nowhere, just don’t want you getting plugged ‘cause someone mistook you for a threat,” Schrader whispered, pushing him down again.

Only two cars in front of hers the gunman slowed and turned into the line of parked cars, weapon at the ready. The first gunman reared into view in the background, mounting the hood of a car.

The nearer gunman fired once as he reached the far side of the line, his shot drawing a flurry of return fire. One round got lucky, spreading a thick red mist for near a meter from the back of his head. Brain dead, the man collapsed like string-cut puppet.

Schrader blinked, saw the gunman atop of the car aim, fire. She heard a pair of shots that must not have come close, as the gunman didn’t even flinch. In fact he reloaded and sauntered closer, still using the cars for his path.

It was the casual, careless nature of his walk more than anything else that engaged Schrader’s rage, ‘Ambushing- No, murdering people in the street like it’s nothing? Fuck that!’

Fighting the loss of control the anger tried to drive, she dragged her attention from the man to look for any further accomplices. Seeing none, Schrader pulled her upper body atop her passenger to poke the barrel of her sidearm out the window. She settled her sights on the man’s head as he stopped moving.

She drew a breath, the smell of Zoltan’s cologne registering even as she released the air through her nose.
Empty, she squeezed the trigger.

Her sidearm discharging just centimeters outside the vehicle jabbed needles of pain in her ears. She ignored it, gave a feral smile as her target dropped lifeless atop of the car he’d been standing on.

Again she checked for further targets. Still none.

“Who’d you kill?” the archeologist asked from beneath her.

She noticed he didn’t try and raise his head to check for himself, “Damned if I know, Zoltan.”
“You mean you actually shot someone? Across my back?” his voice was high. Not panicked, but not happy either.

Sirens began to wail, adding their noise to that of the screaming bystanders.

She chuckled, the archeologist wasn’t a bad guy, just very civilian, “Yes. Thanks for staying still. Stay here. Call the police.”

Schrader checked again for shooters before sitting up. Still seeing no threats, she popped the door and exited the car in a fast crouch, ‘I know the gunmen are dead. Now to check on their target.’

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blarg, But I Want To Be Done

Being sick is not a pastime I at all recommend. I have written a few hundred words over the last three days, but fear I will have to go back through and edit the shit out of it in order for it to make sense. Today I feel more human than I have all week, but I still have a fever.

Fuck, but I have things to do!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Feeling A Bit Better...

Listening to this. You might have heard this first one in any number of movies, namely Snatch.

And this second one, is the title track to House:

and this

The Doghouse

A Fever In The Blood

Still wrestling with the nine hundred pound trucker of illness, and losing handily. Now we've added fever to the mix. I am not well. I am not happy. I want to be done with this fast so I can; write, enjoy my family, return to work, make pithy-if-unread statements about society and my place in it on the blog, and generally get on with things.

Some good news on The Last Captain: End of January for word, either negative with notes or "I need some more time to dig deeper."

We shall see. Meanwhile, I shall try and squirm out from under the beast that's beating me down...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Ick Overtook The Theraflu

Not much juice for my squeeze today. Came home early from work, slept a few hours, need more. The Ick has me in its grip.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Ick At Bay, Sort Of

Theraflu is the shit, and has kept my symptoms locked down, for the most part. Of course I still feel as though I'm thinking through fog, so my posts (and my writing) may be a bit slow and disjoi-

Monday, December 6, 2010

Asterix and Obelix

My mother in law, going through some things left behind at her place, found several of my Asterix And Obelix books. If you aren't familiar, these large comics are about the adventures of two Gaulish warriors whose village is surrounded by the Roman legions who are only kept at bay through the village Druid's secret recipe for a strength potion.

They are some of the oddest, funniest comics ever written. Even re-reading them as an adult, I found many things that made me laugh out loud.

Just the names of the characters are often funny: The village druid is named Getafix, the talentless bard's Cacofonix. In Asterix and Cleopatra, the architect for Julius Caesar's Palace is named Edifis. In Asterix and the Cauldron, the sly Gaulish chief is Whosemoralsarelastix.

The artwork is brilliant, the stories engaging, and there is even some good history and even some latin in among the gags. The books are much loved in Europe, having been translated into numerous languages, but have had little success here.

I started reading them to my daughter on Saturday. Her delight was a joy to watch. That is the best critical review I could hope for, and perhaps I can use the books to stave off the time when I won't be needed for her to read a good tale.

Perhaps I will buy more in the collection, to try and stave off that day...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Ick Hath Settled In

Sweating. Writing.

On a bright note, I just watched this:

I can't wait. George RR Martin writes fearlessly. The coolest characters are not safe, nor are those who show the greatest moral rectitude. It reads like an insanely rich history, and I hope that he writes ten more in the series.


I haven't been following Mixed Martial Arts as much as I used to, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was watching the Last Emperor's defeat. Perhaps it was watching Jake Shields leave StrikeForce for the UFC and perform less well than I'd hoped.

I still appreciate the fights, just don't feel the enthusiasm I used to. Perhaps I just need to find a fighter I can get behind. I like watching Gegard Mousasi.

This morning I am watching StrikeForce Henderson vs Sobral II, which I recorded last night. The fact I recorded it and am watching it while I write this is an indication of my lack of attention. The one fight I look forward to is Scott Smith, who I enjoy watching fight. Hands of Steel is a man's fighter, with a chin to match. He's up now, so I log off.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Effective Mixing of Old & New

There is some very cool mixing going on in here...

This one might be less known, and the origin track less accomplished, but the dancing is sick...

And this kid is a genius-

Friday, December 3, 2010

Long Week

I'm not feeling myself today; waking with a bit of scratch in the throat and snot-packed head. I do so love the onset of the ick. I think I might curl up and finish reading the anthology I started some time ago. I hope to get some writing done, but the Ick and writing don't mix all that well...

Today's SciFiChat on Twitter was about the best of the decade in Fantasy.

I hammered my opinion into the heads of those listening. Namely: Peter V Brett's Demon Cycle, which started with the novel The Warded Man, is the bee's knees, and my pick for the best fantasy of the last decade.

Now, many might have a strong argument for George RR Martin's series, but Game of Thrones came out in 1999, so there...

I also plugged the shit out of Myke Cole, Sam Sykes, and Tim Akers, all of whom I have met and found cool cats Cole's books are not on the market yet, but Tim and Sam both have books available: Tim's most recent offering is Horns of Ruin and Sam's is Tome of the Undergates .

I didn't get to participate in Litchat as much as I might have liked, as work intruded. It was about a book, Writers Behaving Badly, which sounded quite interesting. Alas, so little time, so many books.

Last night, while corresponding with my agent, he spurred an idea in my head. I think it has legs. We shall see... First, however, to finish Bridge of The Broken and keep our fingers crossed about The Last Captain.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Asshats and Their Asshattery

My patience has melted away to vapor under the heat-friction created when reality meets the willful stupidity of certain members of the public. I am done with the bullshit of people who should know better, but refuse to allow reality any bearing in their lives.

To be more fair than they deserve: Natural selection among American civilians has, for the most part ended. We have a great number of safety devices, medicine, and even legislation that have, when combined, crushed Darwin's theory 'neath their weight.

It seems to me that back in the day, if you were taking stupid risks, then you were less likely to survive. A simple if/then statement: reality hitting stupid in the face and cleaning the gene pool of mess.

See, I'm at low ebb right now-

I didn't get this far gone when working the streets, because there would always be some guy who thought they could run or fight and get away with it. Their criminal activity would allow the occasional opening of the cage on my inner gorilla, allowing some of the pressure to escape in an orgy of high-order physical and mental activity.

Now I'm a house-cat. Most days, that's a good thing. Others, like this last week, it weighs on me like a millstone.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Posting Around The Things I Can't Talk About...

Well, last night at work was an exercise in insanity involving buckets, puke, children under five, and a mother acting as if she never matured past eight.

Needless to say, I'm looking for distraction:

The only superhero movie I've ever seen in the theater was the original Batman. I think I am going to have to see this one. I love the schlub-as-hero.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This Is One Woman Got Some Pipes...

And the band, at times, sounds like the very best of seventies rock:

You might wonder why all the videos and so little commentary. If so, all I can say is; I'm busy and very, very hopeful.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Thought Cubicle Farms Like Prisons-

I just didn't know that office workers were like inmates, developing weapons for self-defense and the eventual break-out:

This site is insane! They even did ballistic gel tests of the penetrating power of their projectiles:

And MPS velocity:

Do check it out, just don't shoot anyone: Office Guns

Friday, November 26, 2010

What I've Been About, And Mad Chortles

I only just realized I hadn't posted a thing yesterday and had yet to do anything today. So, here goes:

Isabelle and I went to see Tangled, and both enjoyed it immensely. It was also the first movie using modern 3-D techniques I've seen. Quite remarkable. I don't feel it was a requirement for the film, which quite stood on its own without such gimmicks. Then again, Isabelle stretched out her hands many times to touch things, which was a joy to watch. My heart swells each time Isabelle reaches out that way to take my hand.

The rest of Thanksgiving was quite nice, with friends and family about. The meal was excellent, as usual. I think next year I will get to frying turkeys again. I had a request for one, and wish I could have filled that order.

Today was sit around, nap, put the brain in neutral and enjoy leftovers and my daughter's company. Tonight, more of the same. Tomorrow, dare I hope, even more.

As part of today's fun, I also watched a movie I never expected to watch, let alone enjoy: Bandslam. It stayed with tropes, but the characters were well performed, and the character motivations seemed much more keenly adhered to and different from those of the average teen movie.

The only thing, aside from this post, that I've done that was close to writing was downloading the new version of Scrivener and attending #litchat and #scifichat in the twitterverse.

I might write some tonight, but ideas for Bridge of The Broken and Eyes of The Alley are currently percolating in the back of my mind. While they are edging toward the front, they don't yet feel quite ready to flee out through the fingertips.

Part of what drives this desire to let things percolate is, having written a solid section for Bridge of the Broken, I found that while I intend to keep it, its proper place is not in the book. I will instead use it as my guide to 'what really happened'.

I will enjoy reading, polishing,tweaking, even chortling madly over it. Those of you I've run roleplaying games for will surely know what my mad chortle means, and fear for the characters...

Speaking of which, tomorrow night The Greedy Little Bastards will be getting together at my place again. I plan to bring the pain. Indeed, I actually have a plan this time. Yes, there was a mad chortle there... You just might not have heard it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amon Tobin

This song is not only pretty cool, it's also been useful as I write something a bit odd... And the video is amazing:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sent, My Thanks

Sent The Last Captain off. Now to obsess over what will happen with it.

In between bouts of sweat-soaked and tearful trepidation, I'll try and get on with writing the short story, Eyes of The Alley, as well as crank more pages on Bridge of The Broken and my quasi-daily rants here.

I want to thank everyone who read and followed my blog over the last year and a bit; your feedback and encouragement have been very helpful. I know the content has been uneven, even odd at times, but it has been a useful place to put my thoughts and comments on the general asshattery I see loose in the world.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Things I've Been Told About The Last Captain

Things my first readers have told me, aside from the invaluable editorial assistance:

"Pretty cool."

"Ohhh, she's a cold one, isn't she?"

"I didn't know that was why officers did that."

"Damn, but I developed a cramp in my arm after I read that."

"It's clear you know what the fuck you're talking about."

"Those two sound an awful lot alike, but then they're partners, so I guess it flies."

"I keep thinking the partners are likely Laurel and Hardy, except the one is big and the other bigger, huh?"

"He's clearly a sociopath, but I can sooo see why, and as an added bonus, he's fuckin' awesome."

"When I finished it, I had to go back and read the first fifty pages and see what I missed! It's all there, you asshole!"

It feels rather amazing to know readers get what I'm putting down.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Purpose Of The Internet Revealed

This is disgusting, and the true reason the internet exists. Indeed, it makes me wonder what a poor asshat would have to do to get reincarnated as that frog:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Damn, Shit Can Change When You Ain't Looking

As my earlier post indicated, I had a rather foul ass-lick of a working day. I came home, plugged my phone in and forgot about checking email for a while, concentrating on enjoying time spent with my daughter.

Isabelle and I watched Mythbusters (Repeating arrow launchers are freakin' cool). When the second episode started I fired up the laptop and checked email. There were eight fresh ones.

One was from my agent, advising me of the phone number of one of the two readers he'd given my MS to, and that he'd had positive feedback for me as well as finding some issues that needed clearing up. I called my agent and we discovered that we are still having email issues (I send them, he doesn't get them).

I then hung up, called his reader and left a message. I then checked the rest of the emails.

One was from a well-respected author friend of mine, introducing me to an editor working on an anthology. Totally unexpected. Totally appreciated. I shouted with glee and emailed back a thank you, already working some ideas over.

As I was writing the first few lines I got a call back from the reader, who gave me quite a bit to think on. At the end of the conversation he said two things that made my head explode in a supernova of pride, "I will buy your book when it comes out, and when will the next one be done? I want to read it before anyone else gets to."

The Stupid Is Rising

Patience drained, anger sharks swimming in my head, Gorilla rattling the bars.

Sorry, that's all I got today.

That's it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Working on Bridge of The Broken while my agent's readers finish off The Last Captain. My enjoyment of the new is tempered by ever-present concern over what will happen, whether I met the bar with The Last Captain.

When I submitted A Friend to The Watch, my first novel, I was more excited than nervous, thinking I had conquered all. I tried to be clever about making my protagonists, members of the watch, act like modern police officers. I tried to be clever about a lot of things. In the end, I overestimated the quality of both my cleverness and my work. Needless to say, it didn't turn out; deservedly so.

It took me some time to recover from the failure of it.

An incident at WFC 2009 thrust home for me just how much I had invested in A Friend To The Watch working out for me. Like most useful lessons, it was painful.

That sharp lesson in mind, I at last acted on the sound advice of my agent, putting A Friend to The Watch away and concentrating on The Last Captain.

I threw the kitchen sink into it; many of the experiences I've had, more of the thoughts and feelings those experiences gave rise to, I put in. It wasn't easy, and like the lessons I spoke of, it was even a bit painful at times. In the end I produced something that certainly feels better, more true -something I hope will succeed where the first effort failed.

The wait will be all the more grinding for the hope I have in it.

I will write on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Things You Must Watch

One of those blogs I have along the edge there is infrequently posted to by Shawn C. Baker, who put up this video of his band, the Forest Children. I not only love the song, I like the video a great deal as well! I can't wait to hear more, and am informed they will have an album available on iTunes soon:

On a not entirely different note, this morning I watched the video below. I couldn't help but think of all my writer friends (and specifically the UFGirlz), and wonder if they hadn't pulled similar stunts:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More Bad Girl Music I Write To

I can only think the following woman is possessed. There can be no other explanation for such sounds issuing from such a tiny a package:

Just stumbled upon this band...

Nightwish is a Euro-metal (read: hair band-ish) group of some popularity. Their videos have a bit of steampunk flair...

And though she doesn't do the lead vocals on this, the visuals are pretty damn cool:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bridge of The Broken

‘Some days I fuckin’ love my job,’ Venkman thought, returning the breacher to his belt and hefting the ram in one hand. There were few things he enjoyed more than taking doors; savoring the moment just before cracking a door, when all was in readiness against the unknown, but what lay beyond remained part of an unformed future.

Their informant claimed the target door was under two centimeters thick and bolted about a handspan above the handle. It certainly looked like solid alloy construction; not all that unusual in Starfall, with its high crime rate.

‘I wonder if the shot-callers don’t order a burg or two simply to make it easier to make the security on their labs and stash houses blend in better,’ he thought, keying his mic and saying simply, “Up.”

“Up,” Étienne’s voice, quietly confident. The back was covered.

“Copy that. When ready, Venkman, I’ll start the notice,” DuPlaissance said.

Venkman checked the stack, got all thumbs up. Sergeant Trudeau met his eye, smiled and nodded. He clicked his mic in the all-up signal.

“Police! Search Warrant! Police du Nouvelle Genève! Mandat de perquisition!” the lieutenant’s voice, blaring from the loudspeakers mounted on the body armor of all the officers.

Raising the ram, Venkman took a practice swing, lining up on the sweet spot. Satisfied, he drew it back until it was nearly touching the shoulder of the officer behind him. Pivoting the weight of hips into it, Venkman reversed the ram’s direction of travel, triggering the charges only as it gained forward momentum. The trio of tiny explosions cracked the heavy door loose in the instant before he brought the ram home.

The door didn’t fall as expected, instead sending the ram back the way it had come and Venkman lurching off-balance. He almost hit Trudeau with the rear of the heavy length of metal, the rebound was so unexpectedly hard.

The arrest team stalled, lots of wide eyes under helmet brims indicating their surprise.

“Shit, Venkman,” Baptiste muttered from his place two down in the file.

‘Motherfucker, no door takes two hits!’ Venkman thought, embarrassment spiking anger.

He quickly re-set his feet and launched another. This time the door thumped inward with the sharp report of snapping metal. Venkman stepped aside and dropped the ram as the door toppled into the hallway.

The stack hammered past, a shouting blue freight train of meat and aggression.

Venkman drew his sidearm. As door-cracker on a small building, he’d been given no specific assignment beyond getting the main door open, so he followed in their wake, ready to offer help should anyone need it.

Stepping off the fallen door, his boot clipped something that clattered down the hall. A broken stretch of metal about four centimeters on a side spun to a halt against the wall, the broken end the off white of shattered metal. The door hadn’t just been bolted, but also barred across the middle. He bent and picked up the piece, found it still warm from the breaking stress.

Bruised ego somewhat soothed, Venkman put the piece in his cargo pocket and followed the noise of the rest of the team.

“Resistor, front room left,” Baptiste said over the radio right as Venkman looked into the very room.

Probably a living room at one time, the place looked like a bedroom decorated by crazed and colorblind electronics technicians vomiting forth all the spare parts left behind in their labors. Wires went in and out of walls and stacks of archaic monitors, more modern displays, input ports, printers, cortex-cases, and other, less recognizable accoutrements of a sick mind far too interested in the internal workings of such devices. Speed did that to a body; motoring that long and that high gave lots of time to pick things apart.

Baptiste, his recruit, and a half-naked man were struggling on a narrow bed in the center of the disaster of a room. Venkman hesitated, wanting to help but also knowing Bap wouldn’t thank him for fucking up a training opportunity. The struggle looked low-grade, and Bap had already complained of a lack of opportunities to address his recruit’s lack of experience with the shit hitting the fan.

As Venkman dithered the suspect flexed, sending the young officer flying. She fetched up against a battery of monitors, waded back in with a snarl. Venkman admired her spirit, if not her technique: the charge ended on the point of one of the suspect’s knees, sending the air whiffing out of her in a high almost-whistle. She slumped to the ground in the narrow space beside the bed.

Decision made for him, the big man moved. He reached the foot of the bed as Baptiste managed to wrench one of the suspect’s sweat-slick arms back and into handcuffs. Grabbing an ankle, Venkman yanked the leg straight even as Caron began to climb the man’s arm from the floor.

Trying to avoid having his arm dislocated at the shoulder, the suspect rolled toward Caron, giving Venkman his first full exposure to the resister. Venkman didn’t recognize him, but from his thinner than-humanly-possible frame and the rank stench of burnt-out humanity he exuded, the man must also have been responsible for the decor.

Caron used the suspect’s movement in her direction to her advantage, bending his arm at the elbow to present the wrist to Bap for cuffing.

Never one to ignore an opportunity, Jean snapped the cuffs on. He rolled the man on his belly, pinning him to the bed under one knee. Realizing Baptiste was after something, Venkman stepped back to give his partner space and time. Caron didn’t. She took hold of the man’s arm, started to pull him upright.

“Don’t,” Baptiste said, hands diving into the bedding.

The pretty redhead either didn’t hear or was too amped to process her training officer’s words, either way, she continued to haul on his arm.

“Mawg!” the suspect moaned, wrenched between Baptiste’s knee in the small of his back and the upward pull of the recruit.

“Recrue Caron! Stop! He’s got something!” Jean shouted, hands busy.

That got through. Caron let go. The suspect fell flat again.

Baptiste yanked a short-barreled pistol from the prisoner’s filthy underwear. Holding it up and safely away, he bounced off his knee to his feet, coincidentally pressing the suspect hard into the mattress, forcing another groan.

Venkman keyed his mic, “One in custody, front room.”

A bit of shouting from the back of the house, the discharge of a stick closely followed by the all-clear over the radio from Trudeau.

“Vilnius, what were you gonna do with this?” Baptiste asked.

Memory clicked into place, ‘Vilnius, liked to think himself a gangster of the old school- never thought he’d be one to go with the sauce.’ Venkman glanced at the tiny coilgun in Baptiste’s hand, ‘Civilian weapon, a round that missed armor would still ruin anyone’s day. Hell, even a round caught in armor would make for a lot of crying and hair-pulling.’

“What?” Vilnius said without turning his head to look, “You planted that shit on me!”

“Yeah, I’ve got nothing better to do than risk my career on nailing your petty ass with a crime, asshat,” Baptiste muttered.

“No, man, you got nothing on me! I know how the NGPD works; framing us off-worlders for your dirt. I was just sleeping when you jumped me!”

Caron shook her head, “I’ve been on this job like two seconds, and even I don’t think that bullshit will fly, Vilnius.”

Venkman laughed, “Got that right, Caron.”

Bap snorted, slipped the weapon into the back of his gun belt, “Right, let’s get him up.”

“Lieutenant, two in custody, quite a bit of dope, lab fixings,” Trudeau’s voice on the radio, "Something else.  It's a bit odd."

“I ain’t got shit to do with that,” Vilnius hissed as Venkman dragged him to his feet.

“Of course you don’t, you were asleep while all that money and dope was passing back and forth right in front of you,” Bap said, rolling his eyes.

"Go fuck yourself."

"With all due respect, I refuse to fuck myself."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Magickal Pharts

I found it interesting that my girl asked me the same question at least two of the UFGirlz also hit me with:  What's with the weird faces?

As you can see, my daughter is not only creative, she can also be a real stinker!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honor Them

In 2008 my friend was in Afghanistan with the US Army. This was before the troop surge there, when Afghanistan was the backwater conflict mainly prosecuted by Special Forces and the units tasked with supporting them. My friend was attached to one such team.

My brother, having been in a similar position in Bosnia, had one bit of advice for my friend before he left, "No matter what you've done, you haven't done what these guys do. Be humble, be respectful, and don't push it. They may come to accept you, but it'll be on their terms."

I was in my car, driving home when the phone rang.

It was my friend, calling me from the sandbox. He was upset. A friend of his had been killed; An SF operator liked by all the troops, one who had made that connection with my friend, mostly on the range set up to keep their skills sharp.

My friend told me what he could, which wasn't much. It was only later, when the information became public that he could talk a bit more about it and piece it together for me:

A HUMINT collector, my friend had been listening in on the tactical net as Staff Sergeant Robert Miller reported his twenty-two man recon team ambushed and taken under fire by well over a hundred insurgents. He listened as Robbie ordered his men, caught in an exposed valley floor, back. While they fell back, Robbie advanced, drawing fire so his command could withdraw to cover.

Robbie called for fire missions, engaging the enemy himself with rifle and grenade.

At the base, my friend heard the increasingly frantic calls of the soldier tasked with coordinating assets in support of Robbie's team, his own hands twitching with desire to do something. My friend was trained as a forward observer and wanted, with all his heart, to take the mic from the coordinator and rain death upon those trying to take the life of his friend. He couldn't, knew everything was being done to bring all the men back safely.

Robbie was shot. Still he called missions and fired, giving his mixed force of Afghan and US soldiers the time and distance needed to maneuver into a stronger tactical position. Seven hours the firefight raged.

Robbie fell silent.

Eventually the valley in Northern Afghanistan where he fell was cleared of the foe.

Robbie was brought home, posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor.

My friend, who just wished he could have done something more, needed to talk about the things going on inside. I listened. I spoke very little. I think I did the right thing. When asked a question, I answered to the best of my ability. My friend settled, I heard the resolve growing in him.

Eventually my friend came home too. We don't talk about that conversation. We don't have to.

Thank you, veterans. Your blood and sweat on the battlefield are not the only things you offer for the freedoms your countrymen enjoy. Your sacrifice of tears is of no less value for being offered later, away from the altar of war.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Cool, She Continues...

Last night I commented to my wife and daughter how lucky I am. My life at home makes all other things possible, including my semi-sanity. But I don't think my wife will appreciate me getting all sappy on her here, so I will instead talk about The Cool, and how She continues to roll through my life of late...

I have been blessed in recent weeks with old friends and new who kept to the promise they showed me, both making my life easier and filling it with experiences that rank among the best I could imagine.

No, I did not say promises, as in something one might utter.

Instead I refer to the promise I felt in them; of good things, deep conversation, deeper laughter, shared moments of time that etch themselves in memory. The promise of friendships renewed and fresh-grown is what I speak of.

I set out to make this a post that allowed the unleashing of my inner fanboi, but found I couldn't go there. You see, I am a fan of all my friends, and wish the best for them, always. I moved, through conversation and correspondence, into the friendzone with a number of the people I have long admired in the field of speculative fiction.

So I can't very well brag about who I've spoken with, can I?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Congratulations, Myke Cole

Myke Cole has just announced he's inked a deal with Penguin Putnam for his military fantasy in three books, Latent! Publication slated for, "around 2012."

Readers might remember that Myke has recently had mention here as a man who gets things done. Now he shows the proof of it.

I look forward to the books, and wish him every success!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Get away from me kid, ya bother me...

I'm a busy man.

Until I return, please enjoy this commentary on soccer moms, shitty drivers, SUVs, and the sense of entitlement:

And for those of you underwater on your mortgage:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bill, A Man of His Word, Must Want Someone Dead

I am a recovering bibliophile, mainly because I refused to torture myself with desire for limited edition books I can't afford. Today I fell off the wagon, big time. Rather, I got kicked off by a man of his word.

You might remember me mentioning I wore my most offensive shirt the first night at WFC. I had a great time, met a presidential candidate's cousin, and also spoke with and entertained Bill.

Now, I had no idea who Bill was on meeting him; just a guy in a band t-shirt and bad attitude Kyle and I had a blast shooting the shit with. Partway through the evening Bill said that the more we entertained him, the more books we would get. Uncertain what that meant, we gave him some shit. He then told me to email him with my home address.

Subterranean Press was in the email addy...

Oh!  Snap!

Like I need that much encouragement to act the fool.

He emailed me the next day to inform me he'd sent the goods along. I gave him another ration of shit. Bill gave as he got.

When I got home, still no books on the doorstep. More shit ration email.

Today I was trying to get some writing done before the end of season meal with my Pink Pixies. Leaving at the last moment, I jumped on the motorbike. As I rolled by the front door, I saw two cardboard boxes. Cursing my lack of time, I sped off.

Needless to say, when I got home the boxes were torn open within two minutes. Inside, I found these treasures:

Now, there are some signed, limited editions in there.   I haven't owned a limited edition anything, let alone ones as valuable as these.

As some would kill to have these books, I can only conclude that Bill wants someone dead.  Be afraid, people. Bill's a man of his word, and he's got the currency to purchase willing bibliophile slaves.

Be very afraid.

Have to Write Today

So I will only leave you with two videos from an artist I thoroughly enjoy.

I have previously told my readers I listen to French rap. Caroline is the song that attracted my interest in MC Solaar. The Concubine of Hemoglobin is simply a great song.

Take it away, MC Solaar:

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Pink Pixie

Isabelle gives her father much to be proud of.  The best things in life are, unlike Conan's claims, the hugs of a happy daughter and the pride of watching her angle across the field to smoothly steal the ball from the opposing team and dribble downfield, passing or taking the shot herself, as the situation warrants.

It has been my distinct pleasure to coach her and six other girls this year.  The team, dubbed the Pink Pixies, had a shaky start, but showed what training and a desire to learn can bring.

As you can see, she's here to score goals and chew bubblegum, and she's all out of bubblegum:

And don't get me started on her academics.  I about blubbered in the parent-teacher conference this year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother (Video)

I am writing, or will be once I have put my little one to bed, so no lengthy post tonight.  Just a cool video and great music:

White is some trippy mo-fo and this is the third band he has been in that I have found worthy of my dollars.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank you, L.E. Modesitt

Sunday, the last night of WFC, I was lucky enough to go out dinner with Mark Van Name, L.E. Modesitt, and Eric Flint.

What I'm working on came up.  I suppose it was simply the kind thing to do, you know, ask the kid what he's doing and all that.   At any rate, they were informed of what I was working on and what I do for a living.

We then talked about that old saw of 'writing what you know'.

L.E. Modesitt said two very interesting things on this point; the first of which was about his worst-selling book (He has 56 novels out there.  That's right, FIFTY-SIX!).  The poor-selling novel was based on his experiences in DC.  The tale he told was quite funny in hindsight: the book sold less than three hundred copies in hardback. Not funny at the time, I'm sure.

The second thing L.E. talked about was the difference between his experience and spy thrillers.  Namely, how boring the reality of DC was: no political killings, no international assassins, just a lot of suicides when people were discovered to have sold themselves or accused of crimes they could not live with.

Riding home today, I was trying to figure out what the hell to do about the character that has been giving me a headache for the last few months.

Like a thunderbolt, L.E.'s words came back to me!  I was screaming into my helmet like an idiot at 70 miles an hour.

Thank you, L.E.

Plot problem solved.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Circles of a Social Nature

This World Fantasy Convention was a new, greater experience for me...

Don't get me wrong, last year's WFC was a very special one as well:

I had the pleasure of meeting a number of the writers from Baen Books, some of whom I have read since my teens. David Drake is a font of information and very willing to inform and educate, at least before the asteroid takes him out.

One, a man whose work I was not familiar with before the convention, has become something of a mentor for me.  I mention him quite often here.  Thank you, Mark Van Name.

Peter V Brett, who is not a Baen writer, is a phenomenal fantasy writer I had not read before the convention.  He and his friends are the New Yorkers those of us who are not from that city never hear about; they are uniformly kind and generous. Then again, that might be a product of the man they call friend. I returned home and read his work, posting about it immediately after.

I briefly spoke with several editors, discovering that, despite my cringing desire to bow and scrape before them, they are people too, with all that means.

Last year I was in a bad place at the end of the con, and came away upset yet lit up by the experience.

So, 2010 rolls around, and I know I have to go.

This year was exceptional:  Despite my behavior, I am not a true extrovert.  I must run up a charge to fully engage. It is far easier to do this from a place of comfort, such as surrounded or at least in the company of friends.  Casting about for such a network at the con, I asked my friends, all of them, if they would be able to come and share the experience with me.

All but one couldn't make it.  Kyle is my oldest friend.  We've known one another for 28 years. We hadn't seen each other in about three years, when another of our friends was leaving for Afghanistan.  Holding my breath that he, too would somehow be prevented from coming at the last moment, I planned my attendance.

I began the con with a small circle.

This year I attended a few panels, being both educated and enjoying them.

The first one, Fantasy Gun Control, was moderated by Chuck Gannon and had as one of its participants Walter Jon Williams, a writer both Kyle and I have been reading since we were fifteen.  Gannon was an excellent moderator, and the panel exceptional despite one audience member failing to show common courtesy and eat his breakfast elsewhere.  Another member of the audience, Alistair Kimble, displayed a similar mindset to my own in his questions to the panel.  After the panel I had an opportunity to speak to Chuck Gannon, Kimble, and Walter Jon Williams.

I will not bore you with a further list of who I met and where, but instead present to you why these panels and the minor events that spring from them have significance.

Kimble was the gentleman I mentioned in an earlier post who, based on my t-shirt the night prior, believed me an asshat. Why his low opinion of me improved over the next few minutes, I am not sure.  He is also a writer with works out to publishers and high hopes for the future.  We spoke at length to a british gentleman and literary agent, then went to another panel or two together.  We also discovered common intersection in our day jobs.

My circle grew.

I used my familiarity with the few writers I know to make introductions for both Kyle and Alistair to authors of my acquaintance.  Much of this was transacted at the bar, but some was after panels or in elevators and the parties each night.

Myke Cole, one of Peter V Brett's inner circle of friends, is also a writer of fantasy.  He is a man who gets things done.  Many think him an extrovert reveling in the attention of the convention-goers.  Like all things, it is more complicated than that:  I believe I know the what it costs him to do as he does, feeling many of those costs myself.  I bring him up because he too acts as the social lubricant for his friends and acquaintances at these events.

Indeed Myke introduced me to many new friends at the event, including the beautiful and talented Sara McClung, Carolina Valdez-Miller, and Karen Hooper, whom I have collectively dubbed the UFGirlz.  They are all on the verge of great things, and it was their first World Fantasy.

My circle expanded.

Later, the UFGirlz introduced me to their friends, Gina Penney, a horror writer and Ricki Schultz a contemporary young adult writer.  In turn I introduced them to others of my acquaintance, Mark Van Name, and others I knew or had been introduced to.

My circle expanded yet again, as did theirs.

I look about at our forebears in the field, and see that many knew each other.  Many were friends.  Many talk of those that have gone before as their idols, much as I speak of them.

These circles, these connections, will be the grand avenues down which great things reach us and we are carried on to our futures.  I love the idea that I might have helped to spread the gravel at the base of such a roadway, not only for the things it might bring me, but everyone in the varied circles of our lives.

We pay forward all things.

The good.

The bad.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Character at WFC

Some things loom large in my mind and heart both before and after an event; some bring home pain, others an affirmation of the positive image of one's place in the world.

WFC is one of the few events that has become both for me.

Last year I had been in a hard place, desperate.  This year I came with experience, a bit of a strategy and a desire to have as much fun as I could while keeping true to myself.

I have a few t-shirts that are rather offensive. I wore all of them at WFC.

Thursday evening I went to the bar wearing one of the more offensive.  I drank a bit, and made a new friend through coarse humor and a careful restraint:  I say much that can offend, but try very hard to avoid ever giving a person reason to feel the victim of my humor.

I, perhaps too often, joke that I am the Evil One.

Certainly Friday night I did so at great length and with delicious pleasure:  I found myself a nexus of dark, ribald humor, the laughter of friends old and new caressing my ego with a lover's touch.  I was, for lack of a better term, on.

My old friend was with me, riffing a sweet counterpoint and chorus to my shenanigans.

One of the new friends, having seen me the night prior, confessed that he'd pegged me as an asshole on seeing me.  I brought him into my orbit, discovering a like-mindedness.  We wended our way through the evening with a rather odd but successful coordination of humor.

Another, a young man of particularly solemn mien, watched my act with the horrified agony of one being forced to observe the slow-motion wreck of a train carrying his valuables.  Earlier in the day I had asked if he only smiled when he came, and he'd startled me by pulling an hilarious face I can only describe as the very incarnation of the male orgasm face.  Later, I saw him walking through and called out to him, putting on my own version of the expression.  Stopping dead, he shook his head.  Later he approached, watched shook his head in wonder at the nonsense I was spewing.  It seemed he was unable to depart my orbit for more than a few minutes despite my repellent behavior.

Later it became a running gag between us to call out to the other and flip the bird.

There were many points where the people seated with me laughed hard and long.  My friends and I brought them that, allowed them the grace to chuckle and laugh at themselves and me.

I myself developed quite a headache from laughing till I deprived my brain of oxygen.

Why, you may ask yourself, did I act in this fashion?

I did it for a number of reasons:

I did it because I love engaging all my faculties in the exercise of what little wit I possess, thoroughly enjoying the interplay of mine with that of others, the observing of rapid changes of expression as the patter of my sickness slides into their brains and registers on their minds.

I did it to prove to myself that I can be fearless; that nothing but the moment is important, if you can make it so.

I did it to see the blush of rose bloom on the cheek of a beautiful woman who would not otherwise look at me twice; to be able to say:  I made that happen.

I did it to sear an image of me into the brains of these artists, these people that I so desperately wish to be welcomed and accepted by, even if only as their court jester.

I did it because I cannot, not ever, do it at my day job.  Like many others, I am refused the right to say what I think.  It wears on me; the heavy load of words unspoken, of anger and humor unspent, making of me an unhappy and irritable soul.

I do it because I am,

The Ranting Griffin

Thursday, October 28, 2010

9 Fuckin' 99? Really?

Got in yesterday, late.  Here's the high points of how it went:

United yanked a row of seats so each individual could have more leg room, and the first leg was pleasant. I had a toddler of 22 months and his mother seated next to me. The child was quite a treat, and the mother seemed nice and very polite, except for one small event I found strangely irritating:

I was dozing in the aisle seat, waiting for the steward to pick up the empty can and drink cup from my tray. I woke to the gently tic of a plastic cup against the tray in front of me. The mother next to me was returning her tray to the upright, and all her and her child's garbage had migrated to my tray. The smell of spent milk carton and whatever had been in the tiny take-away box hit my nose, making my anus twitch.

She was no longer on my buddy list.

I arrived in Denver nearly an hour ahead of schedule. About forty-five minutes before we were due to leave, the big departure board was updated with a new gate sans announcement for those who'd waited like cattle for their turn at slaughter. The display above the gate we had been waiting for still had Columbus as it's departure, but now read 5:24.

Lip curling, I travelled to the next gate. There I informed the ticket agent, a cougar if ever there was one, about the lack of information given to the cattle remaining at the old gate. To her credit, the cougar spooked the remaining cattle in the proper direction.

In the new cattle pen I had a seat next to a large woman of about my age. Next to her was a small man with a beard. We all confirmed the fucked-upness of our present predicament and lowed over it a moment, then talked motorcycles, Columbus, and cougars for the next two hours. Yes, the flight was delayed.

 Oh, and they changed gates on us again.

The second flight is pretty quick, and I have a pair of seats to myself, but I've been up since 0345hrs Cali time, so I'm not happy.

I get off the plain, get my shit, and roll out to the shuttles, expecting the hotel, which charges an arm and a leg, to be doing the rounds. I call my buddy, who arrived earlier and ask him what to expect. I discover that there is no big, proper shuttle.

"It's a mininvan driven by a dude named Matt," the Big K tells me.

"Can you call them for me, get them rolling?" I even sound like a whiny bitch to me.

"Sure. I'll call you right back."

I wait less than five, and get the call at 6:55.

"He'll be there by 7:20."

"7:20? What the fuck?"



"Yeah, brown minivan. the driver, guy named Matt, says he'll be no later than a half hour or so."


I waited a half hour, during which time a brown minivan shows up. Marked with Arch transportation, whatever the fuck that is. Guy driving is either Pakistani or Afghan, so I'm not thinking Matt is his name. Guess that's me profiling, but hey, my eyes feel like someone's been at them with sandpaper.

The van sits for a long while.

At about 7:18 I text my buddy, "Any markings on the van?"

"Arch transportation."


I get a ride. I'm in the back, having had to climb over the seats. Costs me sixteen bucks.

I walk up to check in at the hotel, dragging my own bags. The very attractive young woman at reception takes my credit card, "We'll need to charge you the full amount for the room."

"Even though my roomie also put his card up?"

"Yes, unless you want to bring him down and sort it."

I feel like saying something smartass like, "I'm a poor writer wannabe, not a rockstar," but I'm too tired to work my way though it, instead saying, "Never mind, we'll take care of it later."

I get my key and go up to the room, seeing my friend for the first time in three years. We chat for a few while I unpack. The room is fairly well decorated, has a shitty TV, and the bathroom doesn't even have a fart fan.

We leave the room to get some nibbles and booze. We have a pleasant time, catching up and planning our attack on the weekend. We return to the room, where I figure to check email and otherwise do maintenance on my internet addiction. There is no internet included in the room charge.

$9.99 a fuckin' day?!

I have all of an average of 20 readers daily for my blog, I can't be off that long! People are counting on me...

That cuts into the beer budget, but maybe that's not a bad thing...

My outrage lasts some time.

Rationalizations aside, I gotta have my internet fix, even at WFC.

I snarl again, but pay it.

I gotta get my fix.