Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Book Buys

So I've got a reasonably long list of books that I want to buy and read someday. Some books, like The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, have been on the list for a year or more. But did I buy that, or The Confusion, or The Prestige, or Ghost Band by my friend John Wooley?

Nope, I ended up getting two books about dragons. Throne of Jade, second in the Temeraire series, and Bitterwood by James Maxey. I've never met James, but he's a member of my on-line writing group and beat me out in a short story competition earlier this year. I'm looking forward to reading his novel. I also plan to hunt down an earlier book of his, titled Nobody Gets the Girl, a superhero novel recommended by my friend M.T. Reiten.

I don't think it has dragons in it.

So I'm currently reading a history of Britain (just hit the Magna Carta), and I'm following it up with two dragon novels. Is there a fantasy novel in my future?

One never knows.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bad Vibes

I don't talk much on teh politics (and how has 'teh' become such a big deal? every time I mistype 'the,' without exception, it's the other way around--'hte'), but this comment about the current immigration controversy strikes me as just right.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Random Odds and Ends

Had a car accident on Saturday and traveled to Muskogee last night to visit my father in the hospital, so the story I was planning to enter in Writers of the Future is still unfinished. At least that's my current excuse. It's been an extraordinarily hard story to write, which is weird, because on the surface, it seems very simple and straightforward.

I've been listening to a lot of old radio lately, and I'm debating putting together a new podcast about it.

Saw one of weathermen at work give his seven-day forecast a couple of weeks ago. All seven days were virtually identical: similar temperatures with a 50% chance of rain. Is there any clearer way for a weatherman to say, "Hell, your guess is as good as mine. Just flip a coin already."

And just for fun, here are clips of intricate and clever Rube Goldberg-style devices featuring rolling marbles and thread spools, with an addictive little jingle at the end of each.

Friday, June 22, 2007

New T-Shirt, Maybe?

So I've got Conestoga coming up, and I'm thinking it's time for new Digger T-shirts. I've got two more Digger stories set for publication later this year, so I figure I'll do one of each. Professor Pierce for one, maybe. For the other, I'm not sure. Either something from "Out of His League" (the story that's been set to publish in the Daikaiju follow-up for over two years now), or maybe something with the Digger Family Super Power Hour.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Superhero Weekend

It was a superhero weekend here. City of Heroes/Villains has had a double xp event going all weekend, so I got my main guy, Metatronic, to level 50 (as high as the game goes) finally. After 677 hours of gameplay, and there wasn't even a fireworks display or anything. That was Friday night and Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon, I took Metatronic's evil twin, Dark Meta, up to level 25.

Then on Saturday evening, I wrote the first draft of a new Digger short story. There's some good stuff in there, but the ending is weak, I think, so I may have to redo it.

This morning, Sunday, I took my evil mastermind, Metalord, to level 18. Then The Girl took me out for Father's Day. We went to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

It wasn't bad, as comic book movies go. As I've said before, I wasn't fond of the first one; I thought it was too goofy, and I hated what they did with Doctor Doom.

Well, Doom comes back in this one, and I don't like him any better this time around. But the adventure works a little better this time around, although the Fantasticar flies way too fast for something without a windshield. Then again, not only do the comedy bits work better in this movie, but the climactic shout-outs to the original comic and the classic villain, the Super Skrull, are pretty cool.

Then it was back home to squeeze a little bit more out of double xp weekend, leveling up both Doctor Jolt (a City of Heroes character based on one of my Hero Go Home guys) and MC Square (a hero who's set to appear in the sequel to Hero Go Home).

Oh yeah, and in between I watched cartoons. So yeah, it was pretty non-stop superhero action for me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

History of the British People

I have come, haltingly and not without much trepidation, to love history. Which is to say, in my youth, I did not seek out knowledge of older times and older ways. That stuff was old, and not nearly as cool as television, and even less cool than what was on television, like Space Ghost.

As I grew older, I discovered that ignorance of history was not an entirely good thing, so I began to read a little, and liking it, read some more. I'm not what you could call well-versed in history, by any means, but I know a bit of this and that, and on occasion, I get in the mood to be educated rather than entertained.

Which is an awfully long prelude to the story of a party I went to on Saturday night. I didn't know the lady whose party it was very well, and I knew very few of the guests. And as a sat down, I noticed a small stack of antique books on the table next to me. Curious, I picked up the top one. Green's History of the English People Vol. II.

Hmmm. Well, having nothing better to do, I picked it up to read a few pages, and ended up immersing myself in the book for the rest of the evening. It was fascinating. And when I was done, I decided to read a book that had been sitting around my house for ages, waiting for me to decide to read it. That book was Rebecca Fraser's The Story of Britain. So that's what I'm reading now.

But since it tries to handle a longer period of time that Green's book, it has to skim where Green's book dealt in depth with the rule of folks like Edward the Second. So I may end up going back to the Green volumes when I'm done with this.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Podcast Ep. 2

Yes, I continue to give the world's cheapest microphone a workout. I'm getting better at this, although I'm spending way too much time on each show. If it continues to be this much effort, I won't keep it up for long, at least not regularly. So here's the show. (25MB, 27:15)

Show Notes:

Backward masking (actually "backmasking" according to Wikipedia) started with a hoax.

Discussion of bands purposely inserting backmasked messages in songs: examples include ELO, Weird Al Yankovic and Oingo Boingo. Yes, I misquoted Al: he said "Wow," I said "Boy."

Accusations of hidden satanic messages in reversed speech. Examples include: Cheap Trick, Popeye(!), and a random guy from the BBC.

Why does this happen? Three reasons discussed in some detail, with digressions into military radio procedures, Stairway to Heaven (Robert Plant backwards sounds like Brak, BTW), classified coded messages from North Korea, and more Oingo Boingo. Along with shocking revelations from the first podtest two weeks ago!

Most examples taken from backmaskonline.com and reversespeech.com. Theme music by Partners in Rhyme.

I need a new theme song, and a topic for next week. Let me know if you like this one, and if you'd like to hear more.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Official Episode 1

So I did another podcast. The link is here. (21 MB, 22:34)

Show notes:

Show was recorded late at night, so I'm speaking very quietly. Try not to fall asleep.

Comments on the Tomorrow show referenced last week.

Theme songs from 60's Hanna-Barbera cartoons, with a special surprise.

Theme music from Partners in Rhyme.

Have fun. We're still getting better.