Thursday, November 30, 2006

No Fear of the Future

No Fear of the Future

I've got a new blog. "Great," you're thinking. "What else is new?" Ah, but this one is different. It's called No Fear of the Future and it's one of those ultra-hip group blogs all the cool kids have. "Really? Who's slumming with you?" you say, still skeptical. How about Zoran Živković, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Alexis Glynn Latner, Jess Nevins and Stephen Dedman--each one of them far more lovely and talented than I can ever hope to be. Chris already has one great post up, and I've heard what Jess has planned, so I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to have to bust my hump to keep up with these folks!

Now Playing: Pink Floyd Delicate Sound of Thunder

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sometimes the magic works

I do a lot of writing in my day job at Texas State. Actually, that's pretty much the gist of my job--that and editing and riding herd on a handful of graduate assistants and interns. A lot of what I do is routine, but every so often I get a challenging project.

Currently, we're doing a revamp/relaunch of the alumni/university magazine, Hillviews. The copy deadline was Nov. 1, and I got everything in on time--all my stories, plus the intern/grad assistant assignments I was in charge of editing. Except. There was one article I didn't get done. Using the recent production of The Rocky Horror Show as a kind of framing device, I was to put together a feature on the theatre department. I interviewed the department chair for about an hour, and the director of Rocky Horror and the actors as well. I did considerably more research on this one than I normally would for a Hillviews story, but during the revamp discussions, Texas Monthly came up repeatedly as a model for us to emulate (among others). So that's the kind of story I was envisioning.

But I had World Fantasy to attend in Austin, so that knocked out several days. Then immediately after I got back we had a major press conference to prepare for and staff. Then there were the interns and grad assistants to work with, not to mention the everyday press releases and media requests to deal with. Suddenly, it's the middle of the month. Ouch. Okay, well my plate's now cleared, and I can knock this sucker out. Except my G5's hard drive goes belly-up. Ouch. Then it's Thanksgiving and that knocks out the better part of last week (and as of this writing my hard drive remains dead). But today I was able to snag the computer of a co-worker out ill, and finally polished that monster off.

It's War and Peace, folks. I turned it into the Hillviews editor, who just about choked when she ran the word count. Topped out at 2,700 words. I know--that's short for me, if we're talking fiction. But consider that Hillviews rarely runs articles even approaching 500 word, historically speaking. So about an hour later she comes into my office: "I hate you," sez she. "Why? What's the problem?" asks I. "It's too long. But it's too good. I can't cut any of it," sez she. They're now reworking the page budget to accommodate my gargantuan eruption of prosaic genius.

Hey, it's not the Pulitzer, but occasional egoboo of this nature is a very welcome thing.

Now Playing: Various Sentimental Journey: Great Ladies of Song

How to fix HEROES: Canada's greatest aluminum crimefighter!

I've just realized that all of the metahumans on Heroes hail from the good ol' U.S. of A. Sure, there's a multiethnic mix, and a great Oedipal storyline imported from the Indian subcontinent, but really--all of the supers are American? So I've got a fix that will correct this improbable oversight, while keeping the character mix "plausible" and "real world" as well. I present to you, Mr. Canoehead!

Now Playing: Donal Hinely Midwinter Carols: Fourteen Selections on Glass Harmonica

Heroes: Six Months Earlier

I know a lot of folks are going ga-ga over this episode, especially Harry over at Ain't It Cool since Hiro referenced the Alamo Drafthouse showing Yojimbo, but for me it felt like the episode didn't add up to the sum of its parts. This was a flashback episode, and so felt very LOST-y, but it was a flashback only because Hiro accidentally teleported himself back that far, rather than the 24 hours he'd intended in order to save the cute waitress. And so the writers used the opportunity to give us a heck of a lot of "Secret Origins." The origin of psychotic hero-killer Stryker Sylar was interesting and apropos. It worked for me and filled in a bunch of gaps. However, there's such a thing as too much of a good thing--the writers crammed in the origins of half the cast's super powers this time out, and to me that's overkill. It's stretching the borders of credibility well past the breaking point that everyone discovers (or at least starts to manifest) at the exact same point in time. Dr. Suresh's list of names of potential meta-humans is just too convenient. Sure, we now know how Stryker Sylar is hunting them all down, but how did someone who's never manifested any ability previously (such as the Cheerleader) get on that list? It's cut from whole cloth. And the Petrellis... hoo boy. I know this is comic book logic, but for a series touting itself as a "real world" take on super heroes, doesn't it seem like a fast turnaround for Nathan Petrelli to go from an unknown assistant prosecutor working on bringing a organized crime kingpin to trial to a serious congressional candidate in just six months? And he just happens to discover his flight powers at the instant his wife is paralyzed in an accident.

I'm serious. That's as sloppy as Indiana Jones discovering his fear of snakes, scarring his chin, picking up a bull whip and wearing a fedora all in one two-minute sequence aboard a circus train. Would that all of life's formative experiences happen with such a flip-of-the-switch immediacy.

But what annoys me the most about this episode is the ultimate pointlessness of it. Hiro falls in love with his waitress but fails to kiss her and fails to save her. Fails to change the future. That's treading water in a narrative sense. Particularly since we've already seen that Hiro can change the future, and has already done so, in fact. I'm still holding out hope that his actions have somehow subtley altered the timestream in ways that aren't yet apparent, and that the waitress has indeed survived. But despite their overall cleverness thus far, I'm not convinced that the writers have that degree of wheels-within-wheels plot deviousness going on. We shall see.

Now Playing: nothing

James Gunn named Grand Master by SFWA

After consulting with the Board of Directors and participating past presidents, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) President Robin Wayne Bailey has announced that James Gunn will be honored as the next SFWA Grand Master at the Nebula Award Weekend® in New York City.

Gunn started writing science fiction in 1948, was a full-time freelance writer for four years, and has had nearly 100 stories published in magazines and books. He is the author of 26 books and the editor of 10; his master's thesis was serialized in a pulp magazine. Four of his stories were dramatized over NBC radio's "X Minus One"; "The Cave of Night" was dramatized on television's Desilu Playhouse in 1959 as "Man in Orbit"; and The Immortals was dramatized as an ABC-TV "Movie of the Week" in 1969 as "The Immortal" and became an hour-long series in 1970-71. Following a career at the University of Kansas he is presently professor emeritus of English and director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction.

James Gunn is the 24th writer recognized by SFWA as a Grand Master. He joins Robert A. Heinlein (1974), Jack Williamson (1975), Clifford D. Simak (1976), L. Sprague de Camp (1978), Fritz Leiber (1981), Andre Norton (1983), Arthur C. Clarke (1985), Isaac Asimov (1986), Alfred Bester (1987), Ray Bradbury (1988), Lester del Rey (1990), Frederik Pohl (1992), Damon Knight (1994), A. E. van Vogt (1995), Jack Vance (1996), Poul Anderson (1997), Hal Clement (1998), Brian Aldiss (1999), Philip Jose Farmer (2000), Ursula K. Le Guin (2003), Robert Silverberg (2004), Anne McCaffrey (2005) and Harlan Ellison (2006).

Until 2002 the title was simply "Grand Master." In 2002 it was renamed in honor of SFWA's founder, Damon Knight, who died that year.

The 2007 Nebula Awards Weekend will be May 11-13, 2007, at the Mariott in the Financial Center, 85 West Street, New York, NY 10006. Room rates are set at $219 a night (single through quad), not including taxes, and hotel reservations may be made by phone at (800) 547-8705 or at (480) 894-1400 (online reservations are unavailable at this time).

More details about the Nebula Awards Weekend are available at

About SFWA

Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world.

Since its inception, SFWA® has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers' organizations in existence, boasting a membership of approximately 1,500 science fiction and fantasy writers as well as artists, editors and allied professionals. Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards® for the year’s best literary and dramatic works of speculative fiction.

Now Playing: Queen Greatest Hits

Friday, November 24, 2006


I feel my son, Orion, is particularly blessed to live in a world in which the Aggies have never lost to the tea-sips during his lifetime. That may change next year, but I sure hope not.

I'm still basking in the glow of today's 12-7 win in Austin, so I won't complain about Coach Fran's play calling too much. When the defense you're playing is as porous against the pass as the sips are, one would think that the offensive game plan would call for mixing it up a little by, I dunno, throwing downfield once in a while. Still, it's damn hard to argue with 244 rushing yards against the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. And the Aggie defense showed signs of the Wrecking Crew of old.

One ugly spot I'd be remiss if I didn't address. A&M defensive tackle Kellen Heard blindsided t.u. QB Colt McCoy late in the fourth quarter following an interception. The play was completely over, and McCoy--I kid you not--was taking off his helmet when Heard nailed him from behind. Even if the play was still live, that'd be an illegal hit. Heard was responsible for several other penalties during the day, and it's pretty obvious he was out of control out there. No only did that nonsense damn near cost A&M a shot at the win, but more importantly it could've really hurt someone. I'm glad the refs ejected Heard, but now Fran needs to show that crap won't be tolerated by suspending him, and leave him sitting at home while the team flies off to sunny San Diego for the Holiday Bowl.

Now Playing: Pink Floyd Delicate Sound of Thunder

Friday Night Videos

We were driving home from dinner tonight, and Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue came on. This one was a staple of the old Friday Night Videos as well as WTBS' Night Tracks. It ran constantly, never going out of style. Calista started singing along, only she changed the words to "Election Anna Do." Whatever that means. Didn't matter to her when Lisa told her the real lyrics. So that's how this week's video was selected. Enjoy.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Dire Straits.

Now Playing: Pink Floyd Delicate Sound of Thunder

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Eloise: Little Miss Christmas

Last month Anchor Bay sent me a number of discs to review. I got around to reviewing Me, Eloise right away, but was delayed a bit on my other reviews. Well, you may fret no more, as I'm presenting for your amusement my take on Eloise: Little Miss Christmas. Hopefully, my third and final review will get finished sometime over the looming Thanksgiving weekend.
Eloise: Little Miss Christmas
Reviewed by Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Format: Movie
Genre: Animation
Released: October 10, 2006 (DVD release)

Back in October, I reviewed Me, Eloise, the first installment of a new animated series based on the books by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. In general, I thought it a fairly charming effort all around. Ken Lipman's script was amusing and age-appropriate without being cloying, and Wes Archer's direction gave it a look and feel not at all dissimilar to the great animated series King of the Hill. With such a strong introduction, I was looking forward to Eloise: Little Miss Christmas.

What is it they say about great expectations? Little Miss Christmas doesn't live up to them. The problem is pretty obvious from the get-go: Steven Goldman's script, instead of being the latter-day holiday classic it strives to be is in all actuality a parade of threadbare cliches. The plot, such as it is, will be familiar to anyone with the Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts from the 1920s and 30s. A snide, well-off kid brags to the other children about the sold-out holiday spectacular stage show he's going to, so Eloise in true plucky fashion decides that she and her gang are going to put on their own Christmas pageant in the Plaza Hotel. Cue the multiethnic parade of token characters who each explain in turn how they celebrate their culture's winter festivals--the Jewish twins who tell Eloise about Hannukah, the Central American Latina who speaks glowingly of fireworks, the Japanese girl... I was actually suprised when the African American boy didn't wax poetic about Kwanzaa. I've nothing against multicultural awareness, and in fact encourage it among my own children, but the clunky, ham-fisted approach of Goldman's script set my teeth on edge. And as if that weren't enough, Eloise then promises all the children that Santa Clause will be a surprise guest at the pageant, followed by the cranky hotel manager cancelling the event entirely because the ballroom has been rented out. Gosh, I didn't seen any of that coming--I wonder how things turn out?

The pedestrian approach of Little Miss Christmas is particularly frustrating because while Me, Eloise was relentlessly cute, it avoided schmaltz. When Eloise writes her Christmas list and asks for nothing for herself, instead begging for Santa to appear at the now-cancelled pageant "for the other children," the story overshoots schmaltz by a huge margin and lands knee-deep in saccharine. It certainly doesn't help that the narrative is downright dull. Whereas Me, Eloise clocked in at a reasonable 45 minutes, Little Miss Christmas is a head-scratching 66 minutes long. Why? The padding is obvious early on, with an extended and unfunny Mission Impossible-style attempt by Eloise and her friends to sneek peeks at Christmas presents in a storeroom. Sequences that go on far longer than strictly necessary from a dramatic perspective are peppered throughout the show, presumably to pad the narrative out and convince viewers they're getting their money's worth. Unfortunatley, less is more. Were this tightened down to a 45 minute run time, it might very well be snappy and engaging. As it is, the show's merely flabby.


The special features included here are run-of-the-mill for children's releases, but the filmmakers can be commended for resisting the urge to dump this on the market as a bare-bones release. The movie comes with full-frame and widescreen viewing options, which will be welcomed but more and more people as the switch over to large-screen televisions takes hold. The sing-along songs are merely indexed scenes from the show, but as children can obsessively watch certain scenes repeatedly (and I speak from experience, witness the "Whoop-De-Dooper, Loop-De-Looper, Alley-Opper Bounce" song from The Tigger Movie) this could actually prove to be a useful option in some households. The Gift Wrapped Kids DVD game is the exact same hide-and-seek-style play found on almost every other kid video, and Plaza Pals is a run through of the main characters in the show. Like Me, Eloise, the Little Miss Christmas DVD uses a split screen format in the From Paper to Movie option to compare the show's storyboards to the finished product through an extended sequence. This is entertaining and informative for curious children interested in how animation is created, but isn't likely to be watched more than once.

Overall, Little Miss Christmas is a swing and a miss. My daughters were captivated by Me, Eloise, but their attention wandered repeatedly during this one, at one point my youngest asking to watch Zathura instead. It's an inoffensive show that has occasional cute moments, but if you want a holiday favorite the whole family will be entertained by, you're better off looking to A Charlie Brown Christmas or A Christmas Story.

The Movie Itself: 4 out of 10
The DVD Features: 6 out of 10

Now Playing: Whitesnake Whitesnake's Greatest Hits

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Well, the game's in the bag then...

Bad news for Bill Crider and his tea-sippin' buddies: Student Bonfire burned last night and early reports have it that the centerpole was still standing as of 3 a.m.
The tradition that started in 1909 was banned from the College Station campus after 11 students and one former student were killed when the bonfire collapsed while under construction seven years ago Saturday. Several bonfires of various sizes - none sanctioned by the school - popped up across the region the first two years, but since then the effort has consolidated into one major event. It's now off campus, still not A&M-approved, and it doesn't necessarily get built at the same site each year.

For those of you unacquainted in arcane and Byzantine Aggie lore, tradition has it that if the stack falls before midnight, the Aggies will be outscored/run out of time, but if it stays up past midnight, A&M will prevail over t.u. So there.

Also, here are links to pics of stack before burn and during burn. In a few years, I'm packing up the family and we're going to Student Bonfire. The girls loved the Comal A&M Club event, but it's not the same as the real deal.

Now Playing: nothing

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since the Aggie Bonfire collapsed in '99, killing 11 students and one former student. What's even more frustrating is that Bonfire has yet to burn again on campus. I won't express my ire at administrators too cowardly to actually make a permanent decision on Bonfire's status here, because that's a rant for another time. Suffice to say that Bonfire's a wonderful experience I've hoped to take my children to someday.

Thanks to the Comal County A&M Club, Lisa ('94) and I ('92) were able to do just that last night. After work we packed up the kids and headed over to the Newks Tennis Ranch for a fajita dinner and bonfire (note the lowercase "b"). The evening was fantastic. We ran into far more people than we expected to know, and were amazed at how many folks turned out. The club officers were overwhelmed by the turnout, and happily reported that more than 200 people attended. A cross-section of the Centerpole cut from last year's Student Bonfire was auctioned off to help raise money for that noble cause, and went for an eye-popping $300. I wish I'd had that kind of money, because those students are doing a great job of keeping the tradition alive in the face of the university administration's opposition. Someday, when the kids are a little older, we'll attend the Student Bonfire in College Station if it hasn't returned to campus by then (Student Bonfire burns tonight, by the way).

But last night we reveled in our own, miniature bonfire. It didn't compare to the monstrous Bonfire stacks of old to be sure, but as the work of a handful of dedicated former students, it was glorious. And it burned real pretty, too. Below, you can see Keela and myself as well as Lisa and Orion bundled up against the chill of the night, waiting for burn to start.


The stack itself was maybe 15 feet tall, and even had a miniature orange "t.u. frat house" perched on top. No "Austin City Limits" sign, though. Naturally, the whole Blaschke clan had to gather to document the children's first bonfire experience.


Remeber those 200 folks I said turned out participate in Yell Practice and watch the stack burn? Here's some of them. The crowd pretty much ringed the stack, and it was somewhat startling to realize that there were more Texans here than there were fighting at the battle of the Alamo. A pointless observation to be sure, but an odd one nonetheless.


Eventually, they lit the stack. That dry cedar burned like nobody's business, let me tell you! The ring of spectators pulled way back as the heat increased, and pretty much everyone shed their coats and started the rotisserie dance, as the side of the body facing the fire got over-heated while the side facing away got quite chilled. Calista and Keela chased falling ash, trying to catch it like snowflakes (although not on their tongues, thank goodness).


The concurrent Yell Practice even had a volunteer Yell Leader who did a solid job of running the crowd through its paces, although he couldn't tell a Grode Story to save his life (remember--it's not simply an Aggie joke. It's an Aggie joke that casts the opposing team in an embarassing light). Sure, there was no Aggie Band, but the CD playing over the sound system was an acceptable substitute. It was great to hump it for "Farmer's Fight," "Military" and "Locomotive" once again. We sang the War Hymn and the Spirit, and I sent a ripple of laughter through the crowd when I shouted out "Off the wood!" (It's a Kyle Field thing). "The Last Corps Trip" was read and quite affecting. This was one improvement over my college days, as the guy reading the poem wasn't drunk, and therefore the words were intelligible. My proudest moment, though, was watching Calista hump it along with everyone else, yelling at the top of her lungs. The girl is loud-- she's going to be a great addition to the 12th Man in another 10 years or so.


Beat the hell outta t.u.!


Now Playing: nothing

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bilbo, we hardly knew ye...

Okay, this does not bode well for a future feature film of The Hobbit.
Several years ago, Mark Ordesky told us that New Line have rights to make not just The Hobbit but a second "LOTR prequel", covering the events leading up to those depicted in LOTR. Since then, we've always assumed that we would be asked to make The Hobbit and possibly this second film, back to back, as we did the original movies. We assumed that our lawsuit with the studio would come to a natural conclusion and we would then be free to discuss our ideas with the studio, get excited and jump on board. We've assumed that we would possibly get started on development and design next year, whilst filming The Lovely Bones. We even had a meeting planned with MGM executives to talk through our schedule.

However last week, Mark Ordesky called Ken and told him that New Line would no longer be requiring our services on the Hobbit and the LOTR 'prequel'. This was a courtesy call to let us know that the studio was now actively looking to hire another filmmaker for both projects.

Ordesky said that New Line has a limited time option on the film rights they have obtained from Saul Zaentz (this has never been conveyed to us before), and because we won't discuss making the movies until the lawsuit is resolved, the studio is going to have to hire another director.

And what's this crap about a "second prequel"? I could see some killer flicks being made from the various epic stories contained within the pages of The Silmarillion, but this reference doesn't sound like that at all.

Now Playing: nothing

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Night Videos

Remember how last week I said I didn't like it when a follow-up video completely supplanted an original video for a song? Well, Dire Straits' Walk of Life is a great example of a good video being buried by a crappy one. Seriously, people-- sports bloopers? A bigger load of crap I've seldom seen. I much prefer the "busker in the tubes" video, and now I share it with you:

Previously on Friday Night Videos... George Harrison.

Now Playing: Christina Aguilera Stripped

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm cited in the LA Times

From the Los Angeles Times' obituary of Jack Williamson:
"I've never written bestsellers or made a great deal of money at it, but when I look back, I've been able to spend most of my life doing something I enjoyed," Williamson said in an interview in a 1999 issue of Interzone. "It's an exciting time to be alive. I wish I could live another century."

Jack spoke those elegant words, and I merely wrote them down. Nevertheless, it makes me think that perhaps my efforts are worthwhile endeavors, after all.

Now Playing: nothing

Boobies are EEEEEVIL revisited


You know, sometimes fighting the good fight only results in headaches. Remember the jerkwad theatre owner who kicked a mother out of "Flushed Away" because she was nursing her child? Well, KENS 5 did a story on the incident, and it didn't take two seconds for the jerkwad to start portraying himself as the victim:
"To me, you can breast feed any place, that's fine. They thought she should use more modesty doing that," said Rick Uhlhorn, manager of the theater.

Uhlhorn said Barthollemew was making a scene, and offending other customers and their children by not covering up.

"One of the concession girls asked her to cover up with a blanket because customers were complaining," he said.

Liar, liar, pants on fire, Mr. Uhlhorn. Uhlhorn, aka Jerkwad, has pretty much changed his story with each retelling, painting himself more and more as a breastfeeding champion. He doesn't mention that he originally identified himself as the owner of the theater, nor does he seem to remember that he called the police to have the mother arrested for "indecent exposure." Nor does he address the witnesses that contradict his version of events. Big surprise there.

The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise also did a story on the incident, as well, discussing the possiblity of a "nurse-in":
In response to the nurse-in planned for 7 p.m., Friday, in front of the theater, Watson said the mothers have a right to peaceably assemble and make their beliefs known.

“But they cannot impede the flow of business,” Watson said. “People have to be able to come and go freely. If the demonstration is on [Uhlhorn’s] property and he calls and asks them to be removed, they will have to move or be subject to criminal trespass charges.”

Of course, the suddenly pro-breastfeeding Jerkwad welcomes nursing mothers to his establishment-- as long as they buy a ticket. Needless to say, the nurse-in has been cancelled. It'd be more than a little anti-climactic at this point, and none of the breastfeeding mothers who'd planned to participate (of which my wife is one) have any desire to give this Jerkwad any money. Ultimately, I suppose this is a victory for the forces of light, since Jerkwad has backpedaled furiously and it's doubtful he'll harass any breastfeeding mothers again any time soon. It's just disheartening, though, that's he's been able to play the media so effectively. Looking at the message boards on the various news sites that carried this story, and maybe 40 percent of the comments are blaming the mother for being "indecent" and "confrontational." She wasn't being confrontational when she called Lisa close to tears last week, but I guess that kind of stuff is easily overlooked.

Now Playing: nothing

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Science fiction double feature

The Texas State theatre department is currently staging a production of The Rocky Horror Show, and so I took Lisa. She'd never seen the film, and I'd never seen an actual stage show (as opposed to those performing in tandem with the film) so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Holy moley! If you're only familiar with the infamous movie, you don't know what you're missing. Granted, all stage plays interpret things a bit differently, but this one was a great deal of fun. You know something's up when the stage play's production values far outstrip the feature film's! The costumes were amazing--it was as if Las Vegas exploded and all the tacky glitz landed in San Marcos. There was a limited degree of audience participation, ie "Asshole!" and "Slut!" but not nearly as much as you'd expect, since--gasp!--the audience was paying attention to the performances rather than counting the seconds to the catcall cues. The real revelation was the Narrator, who came off as a cross between the Jim Carrey character from A Series of Unfortunate Events and Cain from DC Comics' House of Mystery/House of Secrets. He was frellin' hilarious.

There were only two real shortcomings. Firstly, it was clear in some sequences where the choreography suffered in having students rather than professional dancers in the production. Several parts looked over-simplified where the narrative buildup called for more dazzle, and some numbers (such as "Sword of Damocles") seemed downright static. The other problem was technical. There was a live band playing, which was great, but all of the actors had headphone mics on to amplify their voices. The system cut out several times during the show, and there was one ugly feedback incident early on, which made it very hard to hear anything they were saying/singing.

Still, overall it was a fantastic experience. The show was clever and inventive, reinterpreting the well-worn Rocky Horror experience into something both familiar and new. The colors were dazzling and the entire show was far funnier than the movie ever managed to be. If you get a chance, check this one out before the end of its run.

Now Playing: Andrew Lloyd Webber The Phantom of the Opera: The Original Cast Recording

Friday, November 10, 2006


Jack Williamson died today. I'm not going to pretend I knew Jack as well as others, and I don't have the hubris to claim we were close friends, but I ran into him several times over the years--including the Writers of the Future workshop in '98--and he always bent over backwards for me. He was a great guy, humble as all get-out. I had the honor of interviewing him back at the '97 Worldcon, and I'll never forget him pulling out a stack of trading cards with the covers of all the publications he'd appeared in. He wasn't traveling as much in recent years and our paths weren't likely to cross soon, so when Voices of Visions came out with his interview he graciously autographed a copy and mailed it to me. There's a reason his interview closes out the book, fer cryin' out loud. He was inspirational to me and many others. We exchanged occasional emails over the years, and he had a wonderfully dry wit about him. I almost fell out of my chair laughing the time he told me he knew L. Ron Hubbard "before he was a guru." He headed west in a covered wagon and saw men walk on the moon. He was brilliant and magnificent. Not very profound words, I know. All I can say is that we are all diminished by his passing. The world is a less joyful place now. Goodbye Jack, you will be missed.


Jack Williamson 1908-2006

Now Playing: nothing

Boot to the head

Because sometimes you just need a little bit of the Frantics to liven up a Friday afternoon:

Now Playing: Derek & the Dominoes Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Beast feeding law in Texas

Here is the actual wording of Texas law governing breastfeeding:
Tex. Health & Safety Code § 165.001 et seq.

1995 Tex. ALS 600; 1995 Tex. Gen. Laws 600; 1995 Tex. Ch 600; 1995 Tex. HB 359

Chapter 165. Breast-Feeding

Subchapter A. Breast-Feeding Rights and Policies

Sec. 165.001. Legislative Finding

The legislature finds that breast-feeding a baby is an important and basic act of nurture that must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values. In compliance with the breast-feeding promotion program established under the Federal Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. section 1771 et seq.), the Legislature recognizes breast-feeding as the best method of infant nutrition.

Sec. 165.002. Right to Breast-Feed

A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.

Sec. 165.003 Business Designation as "Mother-Friendly".

(a) A business may use the designation "mother-friendly" in its promotional materials if the business develops a policy supporting the practice of worksite breast-feeding that addresses the following:

(1) Work schedule flexibility, including scheduling breaks and work patterns to provide time for expression of milk;

(2) The provision of accessible locations allowing privacy;

(3) Access nearby to a clean, safe water source and a sink for washing hands and rinsing out any needed breast-pumping equipment; and

(4) Access to hygienic storage alternatives in the workplace for the mother's breast milk.

(b) The business shall submit its breast-feeding policy to the department. The department shall maintain a list of "mother-friendly" businesses covered under this section and shall make the list available for public inspection.

Section 165.004. Services Provided by State Agencies.

Any state agency that administers a program providing maternal or child health services shall provide information that encourages breast-feeding to program participants who are pregnant women or mothers with infants.

Subchapter B. Demonstration Project.

Section 165.031. Legislative Recognition.

The legislature recognizes a mother's responsibility to both her job and her child when she returns to work and acknowledges that a woman's choice to breast-feed benefits the family, the employer, and society.

Section 165.032. Demonstration Project.

(a) The Department shall establish a demonstration project in Travis County to provide access to worksite breast-feeding for department employees who are mothers with infants.

(b) The department shall administer the demonstration project and shall determine the benefits of, potential barriers to, and potential costs of implementing worksite breast-feeding support policies for state employees.

Section 165.033. Breast-Feeding Policy.

The Department shall develop recommendations supporting the practice of worksite breast-feeding that address the following:

(1) Work schedule flexibility, including scheduling breaks and work patterns to provide time for expression of milk;

(2) The provision of accessible locations allowing privacy;

(3) Access nearby to a clean, safe water source and a sink for washing hands and rinsing out any needed breast-pumping equipment; and

(4) Access to hygienic storage alternatives in the workplace for the mother's breast milk.

Now Playing: The Beatles Abbey Road

Because boobies are EEEEEVIL!

A nursing mother was thrown out of King Ranger Theatre in Seguin last night. Because she was nursing her child. Under Texas law, breastfeeding is protected and encouraged--it is a natural act. This mother actually had a card with the law printed on it, but the owner--an arrogant jerk if ever there was one--dismissed it saying "That doesn't mean anything to me. Anyone can print anything up." The police were called, but ultimately refused to get involved, ie enforce the law.

The theatre is located at 1373 E. Walnut Street in Seguin, Texas. Their phone number is (830) 379-8425 and their fax line is (830) 379-8421, if anyone's interested. This isn't over. Not by a long shot.

Now Playing: The Beatles Abbey Road

Friday Night Videos

During the Golden Age of MTV, back in the mid- to late-80s, videos were such a hot commodity that the curious phenomenon arose of artists producing multiple videos in support of a single. Often times the second video would utterly supplant the first. George Harrison's "I Got My Mind Set On You" is a perfect example. Yeah, the penny arcade is simplistic and repetitious, but so's the song. I feel there's an innocent goofiness to it that serves the song well. The follow-up video of George singing and dancing in a sort of haunted lodge filled with the singing heads of wall-mount animal trophies is amusing, too, in its own way, but the fact that the penny arcade utterly disappeared once the animal heads arrived on the scene has always annoyed me.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Jill Sobule.

Now Playing: The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

World Fantasy postmortem 4

Saturday was a whirlwind. I realized late Friday that I'd been spending much of my time with many of the folks I see at Armadillocon and Turkey City, which somewhat defeated the entire purpose of World Fantasy. I vowed to do better, with mixed results.


Who was the first person I ran into in the morning? Elizabeth Moon, who I'd given two large maypop passion fruit to on Thursday (did I not mention that?) so she could plant the seed on her famous "80 Acres." This time she had chocolate--rich, dark chocolate--and was sharing with Peter Beagle and Esther Friesner. It's here that I have to point out that I suspect a number of photos have gone missing from my little digital camera. I can't find any I took of Wendy Wheeler, Robin Hobb, Lou Anders or several other folks I'm certain I shot over the four days. So there's a bit of puzzlement over that, but it could just be that I'm a crummy photographer.


Remember what I said about hanging out with new folks? Right. Strike that. Because Steve Wilson showed up with the latest issue of Space Squid which I just had to have, because, come on! It's Space Squid fer cryin' out loud! Copyeditor to the stars Deana Hoak was quite taken with the issue as well. Where exactly it was she was taken isn't known, but I'm certain it was somewhere interesting. I saw Deana throughout the convention, but only spoke with her briefly a few times, to my regret. Deana hooked me up with some upscale cloth diapers about a month back (I kid you not) and I wanted to treat her to dinner or something for her efforts, but it was not to be. Alas, as Gordon Van Gelder would say.


Next up is a shot of Stephen Dedman and Scott Edelman chatting. I got Scott to sign his interview in Voices of Visions, so now I've got most of the editors down. Stephen and I met online years ago via the Eidolon mailing list, and after passing several times during the previous two days, finally got a chance to talk for a few minutes. Robin Hobb joined us shortly therafter, and the conversation turned to Seattle, her fantastic book Wizard of the Pigeons, and how that book shares a very similar vibe with Mike Grell's The Longbow Hunters. Stephen agreed with my observation. I've always wondered if Mike had read Wizard of the Pigeons while writing Longbow Hunters, and now Hobb is intrigued as well. After that group broke up, I ran into Ted Chiang, who I've never met before. I expressed admiration for his short fiction (awesome stuff, that) and also regret that I missed his appearance at Turkey City the year before--particularly since I was I who suggested bringing him (this is a habit with me. I also campaigned for Andy Duncan two years back, but couldn't make it due to a scheduling conflict). Ted's a nice guy, and here he's talking with F. Brett Cox.


Steve Gould's been a friend for years--he was an instructor in the very first writers workshop I ever attended back in '88--and it's fantastic that his profoundly spiffy novel Jumper is being made into a movie with Samuel L. Jackson. He introduced me to David Smeds (above left), who I've exchanged comments with online, but never had the pleasure of meeting in person before. We talked a bit about the Jumper film, and also Steve's new group blog, Eat Our Brains, which he's doing with Rory Harper, Maureen McHugh, Brad Denton and some other folks I don't know that well. Maureen dropped by, and I have to sympathize with her as she sandwiches World Fantasy in between moving out of her old home in Ohio and into her new one in Austin.

By this time folks were gearing up for the World Fantasy Awards and banquet. I wasn't attending the banquet, because I have a hard time justifying spending $50 for hotel food (although I'm told that this time around the fare was pretty good). In the run up to this I got to meet and chat with Sheila Williams from Asimov's for a bit, then settled in at the bar with Chris Nakashima-Brown and a writer from Alabama who I can't recall for the life of me. Since Texas A&M was playing Oklahoma on ABC, I had this crazy idea that I'd watch some of the game then head in for the awards when the dinner was over. Silly me. The first sign of trouble came when Chris tried to buy me a Shiner Bock and the bartender gave us Ziegenbocks. Any true Texan knows that's just wrong, so we rejected them in favor of Bass Ale, despite the bartender's grumbles that they were all the same. Hey man, it's the principle of the matter. So we're talking football, and gametime draws upon us. There's two big screen televisions in the bar, and they're both showing the tea-sips (Longhorns to you non-Texans) beating the crap out of Oklahoma State. There's a few fans watching the game on the TV on the opposite end of the bar, but we're the only ones watching the one beside the bar. "Can you change it to ABC?" I ask the bartender, a greasy-haired kid who's barely 21, if that. "Naw," he mutters. I laugh at his joke. "Come on, change the channel. Nobody else is watching this screen." He turns and outright snarls at me, "This is TEXAS, baby! The only games on these TVs are the LONGHORNS!" That arrogant shit pissed me off so much I got up and walked out. Drove about a mile down the road and found a sports bar in a Holiday Inn showing the game. Now those folks ran a classy establishment. The buffalo wings were a little on the scrawny side, but they didn't try to pass of Ziegenbock as Shiner and a bunch of the Longhorn fans there were actually pulling for A&M against the Sooners. It was a close game, and I abandoned my plan to leave at the half and return for the World Fantasy Awards.

Instead, I watched Coach Franchione purge all remnants of testosterone from his system by opting to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 2 late in the fourth when he needed a touchdown to tie the game. Idiot. And then I get back to the convention to hear that Brad Denton gave what was probably the greatest toastmaster speech in history. Me and my stupid football obsession. Yes, there was much grumbling about the award winners, with most feeling the eventual winners constituted a slight to the Robert E. Howard Centennial theme (which was resisted early on by certain parties, who lobbied strongly to award the con to Australia). The fact that John Crowley--a respected writer who is nevertheless in the prime of his career--was given a Lifetime Achievement Award didn't go down particularly well, but the biggest rub was that most of the winners weren't in attendance. As I wasn't familiar with any but a handful of the nominees, I find it difficult to form an opinion one way or the other.


Fully intent to drown my sorrows, I made my way to the Three Toreadors party, orchestrated by Jeff VanderMeer, Jay Lake and Daniel Abraham. I was supposed to bring some bottles of my mead to the festivities at VanderMeer's request, but early Saturday I'd realized what it was that I'd forgotten in my rush to leave on Friday. Oops. Jay Lake quickly let bygones be bygones by drafting me to be a judge in some of their wacy, ongoing contests. The first was to identify which contestants could really sell the "Tastes great! Less filling!" chant. Then they held a Conan impersonation contest, which the above left individual won going away. His competition was Darrell Schweitzer, above right, who simply had on too many layers to do the famous barbarian justice.


I also had the good fortune to run into Ken Scholes, who's incredible story Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk I had the great fortune of accepting for publication at RevolutionSF. We talked for a long time, but the beer was kicking in, so I don't recall all that much about what was said. The other pic above is Jay Lake himself, preparing a particularly fiendish doom for Chris Nakashima-Brown.


Chris Nakashima-Brown, you see, was tabbed by Lake to play the role of "Bond, James Bond," circa Goldfinger (ie strapped to a table awaiting a laser to slice and dice him). The contestants' job was to play the role of the maniacal super-villain, and devise perilous ways in which to do Bond in. The winner threatened to feed him nothing but McDonald's Happy Meals, forcing his arteries to clog and provoking acid reflux. Let's just say out super-villains need work. Down the hall there was a publisher party going on, and I ran into Edelman again (left) and Ellen Datlow (center right). Back down in the lobby, I ran into Kasey Lansdale, a budding country & western music superstar, who'd opened for Ray Price at the Paramount earlier that night. She proudly announced that she'd earned a standing ovation from the crowd, and was on her way to crash in her room. Proud poppa Joe R. Lansdale (Hisownself) followed shortly thereafter, and he and I wound up talking politics in the lobby unti the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday was a rush, like it always is at the end of a con. The 19th Century Fiction Heroes panel was a great deal of fun, and thanks to Bill Crider, I know now that literature begins and ends with James Fenimore Cooper. The later Pirates panel was a bit of a dud--I hear there were more than a few duds this year--but Robin Hobb told a great story about a piratical relation of hers running contraband washing machines in the waters off Alaska. Great stuff.

Quite unexpectedly, Alexis Glynn Latner invited me along to lunch with her and her editor, Lou Anders. Lou and I have met in passing at previous cons, but never said more than a few words to each other. The short walk over to Thundercloud Subs afforded us a chance to get to know each other a bit. Then, once back at the hotel, I run smack dab into Sharyn November and stopped her to say "Hi." We'd met at the Corpus WFC, but I was taken aback when she said she read my blog on occasion. She was heading to the smoker's balcony and asked if there was something specific I wanted to discuss, ie pitch. Once again I kicked myself for not having Wetsilver finished as originally planned. So I declined, rather than make a fool of myself with some half-assed impromptu pitch, but she reminded me she's editor GoH at Armadillocon next fall and wants to talk then. Wetsilver will not only be finished and polished by then, but I expect I'll be well into the first draft of Sailing Venus, so I'll have plenty to talk about.

On my way out of the con to head home, I passed David Drake and stopped to touch base with him. Again, he was another person I'd seen a bunch but not had a chance to chat with. He bemoaned the fact that I was saddled with such a horrific cover for Voices of Vision and seemed pleased at my plans to include him in the follow-up volume, Voices of Wonder, should I ever get around to finishing the introductions to that one. A very nice guy, that Drake, and ferociously intelligent.

At that point, I was pretty much conventioned out. I headed home, stopping at Freebirds on the way out to pick up a bunch of Monster burritos for the family's dinner. This WFC wasn't as productive, businessly speaking, as I'd hoped--mainly since Tekno Books wasn't there as I'd erroneously thought they would be (antho pitches, don'tcha know) but I do believe I made some good contacts and laid some decent groundwork for professional relationships that could pay off down the line. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Now Playing: Andean Fusion Spirit of the Incas--Andean Symphony II

This is new

I just got an invitation to participate in the Best Southwest Bookfest 2007, which is kind of a traveling satellite incarnation of the Texas Book Festival. I'm jazzed about the invite, since it comes from outside my usual spec fic writing network. Unfortunately, it's scheduled for the same weekend as Aggiecon 38, to which I've a longstanding commitment. So I've regretfully declined (graciously, I hope) and sincerely asked to be kept in mind for future events.

Now Playing: Electric Light Orchestra Balance of Power

Home improvement

We've bought a new couch. It was delivered yesterday, and is quite nice. But after moving the old sectional away from the wall in anticipation of the new arrival, we realized a new paint job was in order, as the new couch is shorter than the old, and the wall was sporting some serious scuff marks as well as general wear and tear. The wall was painted white (the only color the builder offered) but after thinking about it, we opted to go instead with a tan color for the new coat, as that would match the new couch while complimenting the adjacent maroon wall.

Big mistake, that one.

No, it doesn't look bad. On the contrary, it looks great. So great, in fact, that the project has ballooned to include the entire living room. And now we're rearranging the whole shebang--Lisa's piano moves to the opposite wall, the desk and shelves going upstair into our bedroom... The long and short of it is, what was supposed to be a paint job lasting a couple of hours, max, is now entereing Day 3. At least it looks good.

Now Playing: ZZ Top Tejas

World Fantasy postmortem 3

Mark Finn bugged out of the mass autographing around 9 p.m. in order to get ready for his big book release party. I slipped away from the table to try and get my modest stack of books signed by Joe Haldeman, Charles de Lint, Nina Kiriki Hoffman and Lisa Tuttle. I had my copy of Lone Star Universe for her to sign, since she's now living in Scotland and not readily available to us Texas folk these days. Only no luck--she'd apparently slipped out around the same time as Finn. Drat. Ah well, time to check out the parties.


So what's the first thing I see at Finn's party? Pretty much what I expected to see--Mark Finn holding court, a bottle of the special beer in one hand and a warhammer in the other. I'd like to point out that Finn had placed a cover flat of Blood and Thunder on the door of the party room, which I have on good authority was generously supplied by Monkeybrain Book co-head honcho Chris Roberson. The book flat that is, not the room. I also spotted RevolutionSF co-fiction editor Matthew Bey sucking down one of the magical brews himself. He tells me he hasn't gone blind yet, but we'll see.


The other RevolutionSF fiction co-editor, Steve Wilson was there as well, apparently intent on documenting the depravity rather than getting schnookered. Then Tim Powers arrived, and engaged the cowboy-hat wearing Darrel Schweitzer in conversation as some dude I don't know listened in between them.


Shortly thereafter, Tim and his lovely wife Serena discovered the delights of Finn's colorfully-labled beer. Finn started geeking out an unseemly degree--even for Finn--so I jaunted over to the Del Rey party. John Joseph Adams, aka the Slush God is there in all his bald glory (above right) along with writer Blake Charlton, also in all his bald glory. The Del Rey party, oddly enough, seemed to be running on autopilot, as nobody seemed to know who or where the host was.


It wouldn't be a party in Austin without the usual suspects, so here are Chris Roberson and John Picacio at the Del Rey party. Jeff VanderMeer showed up as well, somewhat recovered (apparently) from Turkey City of some months back. He said he was decked out as he was after coming from a soiree thrown by his publisher. Yeah, like he doesn't dress up for all his party-going excursions.


Sara Felix, she of button-making fame, along with artist GoH John Jude Palencar put in an appearance as well. Then the beer started running out, and partygoers started scattering--many heading down to the lobby bar (which was also running out of drinkables. Poor planning, methinks). I was fortunate to catch this triumverate of literary illuminati on the smoking balcony just before calling it a night: John Ford, John Klima and Chris Roberson. Ford and Klima I hadn't met prior to the convention, and while I didn't get to spend as much time with them as I'd like, they both struck me as funny and thoughtful. I'm looking forward to talking more with them at future cons.

Now Playing: ZZ Top ZZ Top's First Album

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NASFiC 2007

I heard a rumor at World Fantasy that the host hotel for Archon 31, the 2007 NASFiC, has been more than a little difficult and uncooperative with reservations, and as a result the overflow hotels have been filling up extremely quickly. I just jaunted over to their website to take a look, and boy howdy are they filling up. Unbelievable!

Anyhoo, to make a long story short, the Blaschke clan now has reservations for the Collinsville Days Inn for the duration. It comes with free WIFI and an indoor pool. My kids'll be in heaven.

Now Playing: Altan The Best of Altan

World Fantasy postmortem 2

For dinner on Friday Allen Varney, Steve Wilson, Chris Nakashima-Brown and I walked over to Fire Wok. Varney's a big fan, and truth to tell, the fare wasn't half bad. I picked whatever items on the menu had the most "temperature flames" beside them, and the end result was moderately spicy (as opposed to most "spicy" restaurants, which have food that ranges from bland to somewhat-less-bland). Then it was time to head back and get ready for the mass autographing session.


At the 2000 WFC in Corpus, I basically sat around and watched everyone else sign things during the scrum, since I didn't have anything out. That wasn't the case this time around, since everyone at the con had received a copy of Cross Plains Universe. All of the contributors available were seated together, making it easy for autograph seekers. I must've signed 200 copies--I was scribbling my illegible John Hancock continuously all evening. I even signed a couple of copies of Voices of Vision if you can believe that. Above are Cross Plains Universe contributors James Reasoner and Scott Cupp, with Carrie Richerson's disembodied arm for good measure.


"Joe Is My Co-Pilot" became a running joke after our chaotic attempts to reach the Rudy's Barbecue dinner on Thursday night. Fortunately, Joe recovered in time to sign a heck of a lot of books and talk mass market rights with Del Rey, Tor and the Science Fiction Book Club. Howard Waldrop simply thinks the guy with the camera is seedy-looking.


For a minute, I thought Gordon Van Gelder and Brad Denton were going to rumble, but they ended up sharing a few drinks and yukking it up together.


Joe Haldeman is, as always, awesome. I actually spent more time talking with his charming wife, Gay, during the convention. Wonderful woman. Unfortunately, I missed Joe at the Shimmer Magazine Pirate Party because, well, I missed the Shimmer Magazine Pirate Party. Oh well.

Now Playing: Altan The Best of Altan

Monday, November 06, 2006

World Fantasy postmortem 1

World Fantasy proved to be an interesting experience this year. Not as productive businessly-speaking as I'd hopes, mainly because my Wetsilver novel project jumped the tracks a while back, but a positive four days overall.


To tell the truth, I have no idea which day the above photo was taken. Thursday? Friday? In any event, it was quite chilly on the smokers' terrace, but that was the best place to catch World Fantasy Award nominated Chris Roberson (left) and his wife Allison Baker, co-owners of Monkeybrain Books. That guy on the right is the groovy John Picacio. Allison works for a firm that I'm going to say specializes in political consultation, even though that's probably off the mark. What's cool is that she'd just finished up working on Chet Edwards' campaign. Chet is the absolute best U.S. Rep working today. Seriously. He's become infamous for overcoming every dirty trick the Republicans have thrown at him to boot him from office. Crawford is in his district, which means he is Dubya's rep, which I find far too amusing. Allison and I had a great big ol' sloppy Chet Love Fest, and lamented the fact that the environment wasn't one that was conducive to Chet seeking higher or statewide office, because given the proper resources, he could win going away. He's that great.

Because of various circumstance, I didn't spend Thursday night in Austin. That's right--I drove back to New Braunfels. So I'm pretty ragged out and ready for bed, but about this time Orion wakes up with nasty congestion, so we break out the Vick's Vapo Rub and I get to walk him 'til 3 a.m. And then get up bright and early to take the girls to school. Ouch.


Suffice to say, more than one person asked if I was doing okay at the con on Friday, since I looked somewhat worse for the wear. No matter, I had a good time anyway. Around noon I connected with Patrick O'Leary, Rodger Turner and Victoria Strauss (pictured above) for Rodger's annual SFSite lunch. Great conversation and fun. We walked over to Serrano's, a local Tex-Mex chain, and we all ate to our heart's content, although service was very, very slow.


I was zoning out in the hotel lobby due to sleep deprivation in the afternoon, and Peter Beagle saw me and came over. I'd sent his interview off to Brutariana while back and we talked about that briefly until the conversation turned to beer. I mentioned that I'd brewed up three cases of nut brown ale for Mark Finn's book release party that night, and Peter was quite interested. We talked about beer for two hours, as I've mentioned. One of the things that's fun about talking with Peter Beagle for two hours is all the interesting folks that stop by to join the conversation, such as editor David Hartwell above...


...or Bill Crider, Neal Barrett, Jr. and the lovely Ruth Barrett. What really give a schmuck like me a good jolt of egoboo is being able to introduce those good folks above to Beagle, and vice versa. About this time, the conversation veered away from beer and became more about strange and silly songs. I enlightened them all to the existence of "Sneaky Pete" Rizzo and his classic tunes such as "Booger On My Beer Mug" and "Tie Me Tallywack Down"...


...Michael and Linda Moorcock were already well-acquainted with Beagle and didn't need my introductory services. They also didn't need me to enlighten them about questionable musical entertainment. I do believe I attended a panel or two during the day, but for the life of me can't remember what the topics were.

Now Playing: Ray Davies Other People's Lives


Friday at World Fantasy I spent two hours talking beer with Peter Beagle in the hotel lobby. Not drinking it, mind you, but talking it. The man has excellent taste. During the chat, I mentioned "1554: Enlightenment Black Ale" from the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins Colorado. Peter was very interested in it. I first was introduced to it by Bruce Sterling at a Turkey City party some years back. Black, rich and smoky, with a dry, chocolaty finish.

While at the local H-E-B picking up some groceries this evening, I saw that they had 1554 in stock. I picked it up without a second thought, and boy, am I glad I did. It's even better than I remember. I'm drinking some now, so feel free to be jealous. Yum.

Now Playing: Ray Davies Other People's Lives

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vote Native!

I'll have posts and pics related to World Fantasy galore starting tomorrow. Maybe. But for now I hope you will content yourselves with this little piece of fiction I call "Coyote for President." It went live over at RevolutionSF Friday, I believe, but this is the first chance I've had to tell anyone about it.

This a record for me--coupled with "Prince Koindrindra Escapes" in Cross Plains Universe, that's two brand-spanking new pieces of fiction published in the same weekend. Groovy.

I go sleepy now.

Now Playing: nothing

Friday, November 03, 2006

World Fantasy day one

World Fantasy's in full swing. I met up with Amy Sterling Casil (an old Writers of the Future classmate), John Joseph Adams, Deanna Hoak (my ace diaper supplier) and a bunch of other folk I don't normally see at the various local cons I hit every year. Since I have to get back to the convention, I'll save the story about how Joe Lansdale lost the map and how I was drafted into a panel about Texas fantasy and regaled the audience with stories about deer-themed necrophilia. Instead, I'll share a few pics instead:


Mark Finn responds favorably to his promotional beer. Which tastes almost as good as his book!


Stina Leicht and Charles de Lint chat in the lobby before scattering for dinner.


MaryAnn Harris pimps a book that is not by her husband, Charles de Lint. About this time she asks "Where's that beer I keep hearing about?" That's famed editor Ellen Datlow behind her.


Austin writerly reprobates and RevSF contributors Steve Wilson and Chris Nakashima-Brown plot world domination. Most likely of a variety involving right-wing neocon space squid conspiracies.


The contributors to Cross Plains Universe gathered at Rudy's Barbecue for a book release celebration. Pictured left-to-right are Jessica Reisman (who apparently didn't need that ride from me after all), Stina, Rick "Don't Call Me Shirley" Klaw and Paul O. Miles.


And here we have Mark Finn, Peggy Hailey, unknown white female person, Bill "Boom-Boom" Crider and Judy "Long-Suffering-Wife" Crider.

Okay, that's it for now. It's back to the con for me.

Now Playing: The Kinks Greatest Hits