Thursday, October 14, 2021

Armadillocon off the port bow!

Heh. I never get tired of that blog post title.

Armadillocon returns to in-person festivities for the 2021 after the COVID disruption of 2020, and I will be in attendence. They have a rigorous health and safety protocol in place, so I feel comfortable that it won't be a breeding ground for COVID infections. I'm quite looking forward to seeing folks who've been absent from my radar for quite some time.

On Friday I'll be one of the instructors in the writers workshop. I haven't been an instructor for several years and am jazzed to get back into the saddle. I feel I can often see the potential in others' fiction where my own work just leaves me stymied. Hopefully I'll impart some good advice this weekend. My other panels include:

  • Saturday 1-2 p.m. Conventions from a Con-Runner’s and Participant’s POV
    J. L. Blaschke, D. Chang, R. Eudaly*, B. Foster, S. Felix
    What does it take to run a good convention? What are the con-runners hoping to achieve? What do the participants want out of a convention? How to we get these two perspectives to line up to make the perfect con?
  • Saturday 7-8 p.m. Cli-Fi
    C. Brown, J. L. Blaschke, S. Kern, A. Latner*
    Climate fiction, or cli-fi, features a changed or changing climate as a major plot element. We dicuss pioneering and current writers and works, along with suggestions on writing in the genre.
  • Sunday 11 a.m.-noon Writing YA Fiction
    K. Baldwin, J. L. Blaschke*, D. A. Durham
    How to craft stories that capture the interest of tweens and teens.
  • Sunday 2-3 p.m. Autographing
    J. L. Blaschke, S. Leicht, A. Royer

Drop in and say hi if you're in the area. Hope to see you there!

Now Playing: Aerosmith Nine Lives
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Friday, October 08, 2021

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

It's a shame Men At Work didn't enjoy more success than they did, because they were a fun band and Colin Hay was (is) a talented performer. I quite like his solo work, although that never enjoyed a fraction of the success Men At Work did. They always had a healthy sense of humor in their music, which often took a skewed view of society. Case in point: "Who Can It Be Now? which is infectious and probably the group's second-most popular song.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Whitehorse.

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Monday, October 04, 2021

A Moment of Tiki: Witco Rescue and Oceanic Arts

A Moment of Tiki Episode 33: Witco Rescue
Once again, I'm cramming two months' worth of A Moment of Tiki into one blog post. Earlier this summer, Secrets By Miss Lisa and I embarked on a road trip out west to take in as much tiki as humanly possible. These two episodes are a direct result of that trip. First up is Episode 33: Witco Rescue, my October installment which is now live on the YouTubes! Whilst killing time in Tuscon as we waited for the venerable Kon-Tiki to open, we stopped into a Goodwill. There, on the shelves, was a pile of lumber marked "carved wood" for an insanely low price. I've heard stories of folks happening upon vintage Witco pieces at garage sales and thrift stores before, but never has such a thing happened to me. Until now. Spoiler alert: I take it home, restore it and make it a centerpiece in our home.

The other video I have for you is my installment for September, Episode 32: Oceanic Arts, in which I pay a visit to the No. 1 supplier of all things tiki worldwide. Located in Whittier, California, Oceanic Arts was founded in 1956 by LeRoy Schmaltz and Bob Van Oosting and has had a hand in pretty much every major tropical build that has happened since that time. They supplied materials to Walt Disney for the construction of the Enchanted Tiki Room, as well as to the Thornton family for the build-out of the famed Mai Kai. Oceanic Arts is everywhere, and a visit there is an experience in sensory overload.

Now Playing: Robert Drasnin Voodoo III
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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Chicken Ranch Anniversary: Happy birthday Sheriff Flournoy!

On this date in 1902, Thomas James Flournoy was born to Tom and Etta Flournoy on a ranch near Rock Island. He would grow up to work as a ranch hand on the famous King Ranch, a Texas Ranger patrolling the Big Bend region during World War II and--most famously--as the long-serving sheriff of Fayette County. Sheriff Jim famously defied political and media pressure to close down the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel outside of La Grange in 1973 before acquiescing to a direct order from Governor Dolph Briscoe. A year later, Sheriff Flournoy confronted Marvin Zindler on the town square, ripping off the reporter's hairpiece and throwing it in the street. The resulting lawsuits and counter suits were eventually settled out of court with a large donation to the Shriner's Children's Hospital.

Sheriff Flournoy died on October 27, 1982, from heart problems. He would've been 119 years old today.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is available from both and It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Whitehorse is back with a new album, and that's always a reason to celebrate. Here's their video for "Sometimes Amy," which emulates the late 80s/early 90s pop/rock radio sounds I listened to so much back in the day to near perfection.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... MonaLisa Twins.

Now Playing: Arthur Lyman Bwana A
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Friday, September 10, 2021

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

The MonaLisa Twins have a new song and video out, "I Bought Myself a Politician." If you're familiar with these talented ladies, you'll already know they're heavily influenced by the Beatles. There's some of that in this song, but there's also the wry satire and English music hall influences that were prevalent in Ray Davies' late 60s work with the Kinks. So that's cool. Also, the song is apropos for our times.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Tessa Violet.

Now Playing: Arthur Lyman The Leis of Jazz
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Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Until about 5 mintues ago I'd never heard of Tessa Violet, and I still don't know much about her, but I stumbled across her video for "I Like (the Idea of) You" and kinda fell in love with its retro, Nancy Sinatra vibes. More like this, please.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Cyndi Lauper.

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