Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The delicate art of terraforming

James Oberg, a fascinating fellow I was fortunate enough to meet almost 20 years ago, has an extensive article on terraforming up at Space Daily. Rather, it appears to be either a comprehensive overview/introduction of Oberg's book New Earths, published in 1981 by Stackpole Books, or a reprint of the original book proposal/outline. In any event, it's a nifty read.

The introduction can be found here, New Earths: Transforming Other Planets for Humanity, but the really interesting bits are located in the extended essay. Unfortunately, the copyediting on the article is abyssmal--it reads badly in places, and it's obvious the editors merely scanned from Oberg's original hard copy and posted without bothering to proof read.

That's secondary, though. While Oberg begins with a rather dry recount of official, scientific appraisals of terraforming, he quickly refocuses on where the real innovation comes into play. Namely, science fiction. He properly credits the great Jack Williamson with coining "terrforming" in the first place, and references writings by Robert Heinlein and Carl Sagan on the subject. The concept of a "smoke ring" is sadly ignored by Oberg, but one 1976 NASA paper cited, "Creation of an Artificial Atmosphere on the Moon," is one I sincerely wish to get my hands on.

Oberg's article is entirely speculative in nature, and rather than pointing out any particular paths terraforming may take, serves as an effective overview of the various ambitious (and sometimes downright loopy or wrongheaded) ideas that have been proposed for Mars, Venus and practically every other body in the solar system at one time or another. I've always wanted to add New Earths to my library, and this article may just be the one to light a fire under me.

Now Playing: Fine Young Cannibals The Raw and the Cooked

Monday, March 29, 2004

Redundant order of fiction

Forgot to post the other day that there's new fiction up at RevSF. The mighty (mighty as in mighty prolific) Jay Lake has a piece of flash fiction (apparently, the is the new vogue term for stuff that's a really brief short-short. The Redundant Order of the Night is interesting and quirky, and takes a couple of reads to tease all the references out. Of course, we've also got new installments of Mark Finn's hilarious The Transformation of Lawrence Croft, in which Deej has a brush with Death, and another chapter of Don Webb's mind-twisting Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book.

I also popped open the first bottle of my cherry homebrew. Not bad at all, even though I must admit the cherry is more subtle than I was expecting. I enjoy home brewing, but tend to use the canned kits, as I don't have the patience for starting with the raw ingredient kits. This batch had an Australian Real Ale base, because I tend to favor the medium-bodied dark beers. It's a good combination. Cheers!

Now Playing: Colin James Hay Looking for Jack

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Aggiecon Lives!

I'm back from College Station and Aggiecon 35. What a weekend--I never even made it over to the Monkeyhouse. I must be getting old.

This was, I was startled to realize during the "Happy 35th Birthday, Aggiecon" panel earlier today, my 15th consecutive year in attendance. It seems like only yesterday I was a know-nothing freshman working dealers' room at AC20, utterly oblivious there was anything more to the convention than gaming. The birthday panel unfortunately devolved into a little bit of "This con doesn't compare to the Aggiecons of yore" complete with gripes about the film program being stolen by other committees and the lack of this or wrongheadedness of that. But as Joe Lansdale pointed out, we all keep coming back year in, year out. Aggiecon is fun. It's laid back and the program participants and guests of honor hang out and shoot the bull with fen until the wee hours of the morning. It's a convention that invited Harlan Ellison to come as guest of honor at the very first one way back at the height of the Vietnam war (Texas A&M is known for both it's conservative nature and the large Corps of Cadets on campus). It's a convention that saw a number of up-and-coming young writers--Bruce Sterling among them--style their hair in "honeybuns" and parade around announcing "I'm Princess Leia!" in 1978, with Damon Knight, the Guest of Honor, greatly disappointed that he'd missed the opportunity to participate in the stunt. Aggiecon may not have a bar, but by golly, it is fun.

All the more reason to celebrate this year. You see, the university pulled the plug last year, using the state budget crisis as an excuse to yank funding (the reasoning was bogus, but to explain why would take a lot more typing than I'm willing to do tonight as well as a brief course in creative accounting). But the students would not be denied. They raised money by cleaning Kyle Field after football games this year. They landed a generous grant from ALAMO, Inc. and another from a Houston chapter of the Association of Former Students. They scaled back on a lot of things, but boasted two solid GoHs in Jacqueline Carey and Todd McCaffrey (McCaffrey may not have attracted a large number of paying attendees, but he was great on panels and a great guy to have around). The art show was one of the biggest ever--in terms of both quality and quantity--despite the fact there was no artist GoH this year. The dealers' room was packed and very diverse. The costume contest had more entries than ever before, with some unusually elaborate outfits--and the traditional Miss Aggiecon contest was won by a nine-foot long paper mâché Jabba the Hutt complete with prehensile tongue. The after-contest gathering and general mingling was brought to an abrupt halt by the entrance of guest relations officer Jennifer Franz. Jennifer, it must be pointed out, arrived decked out as Trinity from The Matrix in all her glossy black glory, and the abrupt silence was broken by the sound of every single guy's jaw in the place hitting the floor at the same time. And I finally found a copy of the Farscape soundtrack in the dealers' room--this was a Good Thing for me, as I absolutely love all things Farscape.

Aggiecon even managed to increase attendance over last year's incarnation, which was headlined by Virginia Hey and Lani Tupu of Farscape fame. Since this year's con didn't have to pay those large appearance fees, the bottom line is looking quite healthy. After the bills are paid, they're splitting the remainder between an Aggiecon 36 operating fund for next year and an endowment fund for long-term growth. These students have the plan to get it done. I can't express how impressed I've been with them--especially since at this time last year I figured 2:1 odds against another Aggiecon ever happening. But they've pulled it off and look set for a long run to come. Which is good, because I like the idea of attending my 30th consecutive Aggiecon in 2019.

Now Playing: Subvision and Guy Gross Farscape Soundtrack

Friday, March 26, 2004

Jane Austen Doe rides again

Well, well, well. It appears that I'm not the only one who was unimpressed by Jane Austen Doe's exercise in self-pity. In fact, a lot of people came down on her a lot harder than I ever dreamed of. There are some truly scathing responses from authors, editors and readers you can read if you click on Responses to "Confessions of a Semi-Successful Author". Naturally enough, there are some gestures of sympathy, but these are decidedly in the minority.

I'll be at Aggiecon all weekend, and I don't know what kind of internet access I'll have, so if I don't post here, please don't panic and call the police. I'm certain I'm fine. Either that, or I'm passed out on the floor of Freebirds World Burrito moaning in blissful discomfort.

And I have finally activated site feeds and made this blog public. The results have been noticable. I even see where my sister's come in and looked around a couple of times. I imagine she'll turn up this weekend at Aggiecon at some time or other.

Now Playing: Billy Joel & Richard Joo Fantasies & Delusions

Thursday, March 25, 2004

My Aggiecon schedule

Aggiecon is this weekend, and true to form, the schedule arrives at the last minute. Actually, the sked is a bit early this year--traditionally you find out the panels you're on when you actually show up for the con. A quick perusal shows that I've got some interesting panels this year:

Print-On-Demand and E-Publishing, 1:45 p.m., Rudder 402
Autograph Session, 4:15 p.m., Rudder 404

Future Squared (the future of the future: genre trends), 10 a.m., Rudder 402
Comic Incarnations (strips, books and graphic novels), 12:30 p.m., Rudder 402
Reading: Dracosaur, 1:45 p.m., Rudder 407

Making Your Marks (an introduction to editing), 11:15 a.m., Rudder 402

I'll be reading the original prose short story of "Dracosaur" during my allotted time on Saturday, and will have a sneak peak of the comic adaptation coming out in July. I'll discuss the process of adaptation and collaborating with artist Lori Krell in bringing this to the sequential art medium. And maybe, just maybe, I'll have the sequel to that story with me: "Dracosaur: A Sound of Blunder!"

Now Playing: Violent Femmes The Blind Leading the Naked

On Mars, everyone can see you fart

Wow wow wow wow! This could be HUUUUGE! And I don't exaggerate. Science writer Bruce Moomaw was kind enough to point me to Oliver Morton's Mars blogsite.
Dick Kerr of Science magazine, who's been writing planetary science a good bit longer than most of us in this game, has a remarkable story up on the Science Now site -- something potentially far more striking than the crossbedding announcement. The team on the Mars Express Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) has announced the discovery of what look like methane absorption lines in the Martian atmosphere at 3.3 microns. Kerr quotes the PFS principal investigator, Vittorio Formisano saying it's "A very little amount," -- 10.5 parts per billion -- "but the result is clear." If this is indeed methane, then it's evidence that something is going on: either volcanic activity or life.

Methane is not a stable molecule in the Martian atmosphere. Left in the sun it will fairly quickly react with hydroxyl ions in the atmosphere; estimates suggest that it has an atmospheric lifetime of a few hundred years.

Run, don't walk, and read the rest of Morton's fascinating Methane (and thus life?) on Mars entry now!

Now Playing: Mike + The Mechanics Living Years

What do you do at work, Daddy?

I have always made a living off my writing, just not my freelance writing. I've worked almost a decade in the newspaper business, and when I've not been in newspapers, I've done media/public relations. Which for me mostly means writing press releases and editing newsletters, brochures, etc. At Texas State I get to write some of the most interesting press releases... well, that's not entirely accurate. Technically, they're press releases, in that they're intended to generate buzz about the university in area and state media. But in fact they're feature stories. I write them like feature stories, striving to keep them away from the dry-as-dust fact sheets or overblown hyperbole that characterized so many of the releases I saw when I was on the other side of the media aisle. And I've been rewarded for this approach by seeing many of my stories run verbatim in area papers, or mined heavily for information and quotes by larger, statewide or even international publications. That's quite gratifying.
New Clean Room opens doors for Texas State students

SAN MARCOS – The new clean room in the Mitte Complex at Texas State University-San Marcos hasn’t even been open a year, but already it’s making quite an impression.

In just a short period of time, both bipolar and metal oxide silicon transistors--the first complex electronic devices ever created on the campus--have been produced, proving the lab’s capabilities. Transistors, the workhorse within a computer’s circuitry, are a mere half-micron across. To put that in perspective, the diameter of a human hair is 75 microns.

All the more impressive once you realize the students working in the clean room are just as likely to be undergrads as they are graduate students.

Read the entire article here.

If you don't think it's hard to cram approximately 16 tons of technical jargon into an 800-word article while making it both comprehensible and accurate, well then, you're welcome to try it yourself. This release fought me every step of the way, but in the end it turned out to be a pretty good piece. And that's part of the fun and challenge that makes the job so appealing.

Now Playing: Jerry Harrison Casual Gods

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Snow falling on cypress

Some people love to work out. I'm not one of them. I loathe the physical exertion. But when your belly is so big you have to start worrying about being harpooned by Norwegian whalers, you gotta do something. Even if you would rather be doing something, anything else.

The good thing about it is that working out allows me to get out of the office and see the other side of campus. One thing today’s trip confirmed is that the students are indeed back from spring break. All 26,000 of them, significantly more tanned and presumably more sober than this time a week ago. And I’m glad they’re back. Seriously. Sure, parking and traffic are abysmal now, but last week was downright spooky on campus. The quad was deserted and silent, not a soul in sight. Eerily reminiscent of one of those ’80s end-of-the-world zombie flicks.

Going across campus also reaffirms that Texas State is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. Spring has sprung with a vengeance. Redbud trees are showing off their neon-pink blossoms everywhere. The mountain laurels, with their frosted-violet flowers, are coming down off their peak, but are still eye-catching. Oaks are leafing out, adding fresh green to the toasted-gold of the pollen tassels they sprouted last week. And even the bare-branched cypress trees are sprouting green sprigs like whiskers along their limbs.

The tower my office is in straddles the edge of the Balcones uplift. Because of its height and design, it catches any breeze coming in from the hill country and funnels it down to the ground, where it can swirl very strongly indeed. Ringing the building are a bunch of pear trees that up until a day or so ago looked for all the world like giant popcorn balls. White blossoms everywhere. Bees, too. Very pretty. Today, however, the pear trees are leafing out and looking much greener. And the blossoms are shedding their white petals. When these petals fall, they’re caught up by the building’s wind tunnel effect, and swirled around in the air for quite some time. The effect looks, for all the world, like fat, fluffy snowflakes. They’re even piling up in little drifts near the entrances. Fascinating.

Now Playing: Sheena Easton No Strings

And now for something completely different...

Yes, yes, yes! Now this is some good news coming out of Hollywood, and at no better time than now, when Gibson's Passion has got everyone's panties in a wad:
LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Coming back soon to a theater near you -- a controversial film about a Jewish guy from Nazareth who is worshiped as the Messiah and crucified by the Romans.

No, it's not Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." It's Monty Python's "Life of Brian."

Go ahead and read the whole story here.

If there's any justice in the world, Life of Brian will provoke mass hysteria and protests, propelling the film to the stratospheric take of $100 million or more at the domestic box office. It's easily my favorite Python film. Yes, I can quote Holy Grail line for line (mostly) like a true geek, but Life of Brian is just as funny--if somewhat less silly, with the exception of the alien joyride scene--and the film deals with some weighty subject matter.

And thus the filmgoing masses have spoken: We-Welease Bwian!

Now Playing: Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Ruineaux lives!

I have finally, upon penalty of death and my eternal shame, gotten my revisions for the final pages of Dracosaur to my artistic collaborator, Lori Krell. And damn, but those pages do look good. Even the screw-ups look good, and are invisible to the casual reader. And I'll be able to promote it at Aggiecon this coming weekend. Remember, kids, Dracosaur appears in Shooting Star Comics Anthology no. 5, coming this July!

Now Playing: The Police Message In a Box

Poor, pitiful me

The "Poor, pitiful me" tactic has worn very thin with me of late. So when The Confessions of a Semi-Successful Author over at Salon was brought up for discussion at the SFWA message boards, I had a predictable reaction:
I saw the link to the story on Gaiman's blog. And I was agog at the "poor, pitiful me" schtick this "writer" laid on heavy and thick. Discounting myself--since I have a day job I'm not about to quit any time soon--I know quite a few midlisters who the biz has treated far worse than this person. And if she's ready to hang up the old word processor after three books with mediocre sales (or was it five? She kept referring to proposals she was shopping, so I'm not clear) then she really wasn't in it for the long haul, anyway.

I mean really, come on. Look at Howard Waldrop for instance. This writer's living high on the hog in comparison. She don't know from suffering.

Of course, someone piped up not too long after that, suggesting that myself (along with others) who weren't moaning in sympathy for this poor victim of publishing's vagrancies were being dismissive of her cries of victimhood and spiteful out of envy. So I posted the following response:
Hey, if that had happened to me, I'd be frustrated, too. But I wasn't referring to me in my response to the article. I've seen a lot of promising writers' careers stopped dead in their tracks because of publishing crap far worse than Jane Austen Doe ever dreamed of. Reading her article, I'm struck by a sense of entitlement on her part. She expects everyone to do everything for her. Even when she's proactive, she hires publicists to promote her book for her.

Jane Austen Doe started from a strong position and didn't do anything with it. If her name is dragging her down, then by golly go with a pen name. Megan Lindholm didn't piss and moan when editors stopped returning her calls--she invented Robin Hobb and starting kicking ass and taking names. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller aren't sitting around waiting for Sharp Young Promoter to give them a choice between Good Morning America and the Today show. Joe Lansdale isn't the success he is today because he was handed a six-figure advance right off the bat--that man worked his tail off placing stories in obscure, poor-paying niche markets before building a rabid fanbase and parlaying that into increasing success. And Joe's never limited himself--he writes horror, mystery, westerns, fantasy, science fiction (okay, not much SF but still), comics, TV scripts... he works every angle, and presses the flesh at every manner of con imaginable, connecting with existing fans and making new ones along the way. The man never stops.

Yet Jane Doe Austen has to be told by her agent she needs to be working on a new proposal or book? Please. I'm not envious of her, I'm exasperated!

Now, to be completely fair, I don't know that Jane Austen Doe didn't attempt all the stratagems mentioned above in support of her book (almost certainly a non-fiction piece--it's highly unlikely early, unsuccessful novels would be generating the kinds of advances she's getting). But she never mentions doing those things, so I have to assume she didn't. And she's never suffered through her book becoming orphaned after her editor left the publisher, or her entire publishing line ceasing to exist after a corporate merger and restructuring. Or having an editor literally rewrite the entire book behind her back. Or having the publisher tell her she's got to write a share-crop novel for Big Name Author with no advance, otherwise your next contracted novel Will Not Be Published, sight unseen. True stories, one and all. Jane Austen Doe has no idea how good she's got it.

Now Playing: Genesis Abacab

Monday, March 22, 2004

Life's little challenges

Hoo boy. Driving in to work today, I'm stopped waiting for a train to pass. And the car I'm driving starts ringing warning bells. I look and there's no warning light flashing, so it takes me longer than it should to see that the water temperature is red-lining. Oh crap. Once I get moving the temperature eases down somewhat, and I manage to reach the university and park safely. A quick problem-check reveals that the fan isn't running. How ironic. Follow: about six months ago, this car was involved in a fender-bender. A relatively minor accident that resulted in the hood being banged up a little, and the front bumper scuffed convincingly. A side-effect of this manifested a few weeks later--the cooling fan wouldn't always turn off when I turned off the car. I learned this the hard way when I tried to start one afternoon and the battery was dead. So I've taken to carrying pliers around with me, so I can disconnect the battery when this happens.

The car in question is a '95 Plymouth Neon, which, before the affore-mentioned wreck, was worth maybe $6.72 in trade-in. We've already planned on replacing it--in 2005. The finances aren't there to pull the trigger this year. Hopefully, I'll get it home without too much problem--while driving on the highway, it's still cool enough out that the airflow helps the engine stay within acceptable temperature ranges. At least that's what I'm telling myself, since the alarm klaxons didn't start up until I hit stop-and-go traffic.

Now Playing: The Kinks Kink-Size Kingdom

Saturday, March 20, 2004

You could put an eye out with those things

Very tired now. Need to go to bed, but need to get a bit more work done. Way, way, way behind schedule on the Kage Baker interview. Should’ve had that one nailed down a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, my interest in interviews runs hot and cold. Sometimes they can become tedious and take away from my fiction writing. I’ve threatened to quit doing them before, but there always seems to be another fascinating author coming around that I just have to sit down with and have Important Discussions for an hour or so.

Today, I’m running pretty cold on interviews, and I know exactly why. I got an email from the University of Nebraska Press, the good folks who are putting out Cosmosis next February. They’ve decided to go without photographs of the interview subjects. Understand, I got myself into this, so it’s mostly my fault. In my initial pitch to Nebraska, I mentioned that I had photos of many of the interview subjects. Not all of them. But when they accepted my proposal, they wanted photos, too. Of everyone. Which I did not have. So I had to contact quite a few of the folks listed in the table of contents, begging for photos. In some cases, I ended up road tripping to take the pictures myself. I shelled out a few bucks to do this, and many hours of effort.

My scanner’s been dying a slow death ever since I unpacked it from the shipping crate however many years ago I bought it. The scans of the author pics that I sent Nebraska on disc were apparently streaked with tiny lines which looked like crap on the mockup pages. So Nebraska asked for all the original photos. Which, again, I didn’t have. Some authors had sent me their photos as email attachments. I sincerely didn’t want to bother them again. Plus--and I have to point out that my experience with Nebraska has been positive on the whole--they had those images on disc for more than four months before they decided they couldn’t use them, and wanted me to FedEx the original prints to them the next day so they could stay on schedule. Which, for the reasons listed above, I was unable to do.

The result of this sob story is that I got The Email. The production/editorial team at Nebraska has decided to drop the photos from the volume. Crap. Having photos of Gene Wolfe and Jack Williamson and Chip Delany and Robin Hobb in there would’ve been very classy, even if I’d not originally planned on it. I get fixated on stuff sometimes, and go into a funk when Change happens. It’s not Nebraska’s fault--I certainly don’t want the release pushed back another month or two, with no guarantee that I ever will be able to collect all the necessary prints. So it’s a good call on their part. Get the book done, get it to the masses. And it’s possible to have photos in a follow-up volume, should one be warranted, since I invariably take my own photos these days. But when I think of all that wasted effort on my part, and the out-of-pocket cost (even if it was incidental) I get grumpy.

Of course, when I get grumpy, there’s always my wife there, ready and willing to pelt me mercilessly with wine corks until the sheer absurdity of the situation overwhelms my self-pity. It’s hard to be properly pouty when under barrage.

Now Playing: Dave Davies Bug

Friday, March 19, 2004

Aye-Yai-Yai Robot!

There's a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster coming out on July 2 called I, Robot. Many of you will remember a book by that name, written by an obscure niche writer by the name of Isaac Asimov. This movie isn't an adaptation of that book. Sure, the filmmakers own the rights to Asimov's book and are calling the film an adaptation, but it isn't. Really. Confused? Read my article Aye-Yai-Yai Robot! now up over at RevolutionSF and all will be revealed.

And, seeing as how I'm fiction editor over at that same cyberzine, I would be remiss were I to not mention that new fiction is up as well. As the Wolf Turns is a fluffy, quirky sendup of werewolves and romance by Katherine Sanger. There are also new installments up in the serializations of The Transformation of Lawrence Croft by Mark Finn and Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book: Metamorphosis. I hope you'll enjoy them all.

Now Playing: Celtic Moods

Richard Hoagland is a moron

There. It had to be said, and I've said it. I feel so much better now. These people hyping up faces and giant glass worms on Mars have been bamboozling the gullible public for far too long. I should know. Back when I was a kid, I was a sucker for the whole von Daniken Chariots of the Gods schtick. I saw the "documentary" and read the book back in the day. My folks, who were absolutely not what anyone would consider critical thinkers, just nodded and said "Yeah, that makes sense!" Well, sorry, but Occam's razor applies to extraterrestrials just as much as it does to more earthly matters. Which is why I'm giddy that Philip Plait of Bad Astronomy is finally taking on Hoagland head-on: Scientist attacks alien claims on Mars.

Of course, one good link leads to another, and Space.com has lots and lots of them. The one that's really spiffy, is the composite image of comet Wild-2's surface. Maybe it looks a little like an Empire Strikes Back asteroid sporting a halo, maybe it doesn't. But one thing's for sure--it doesn't look like any comet we've seen up close before. Crazy Comet: 'Wild' surface seen up close

Now Playing: Native American Currents

Thursday, March 18, 2004

The coming of Dracosaur

Sweet, sweet tidings to share with the world. Scott McCullar, a long-time buddy of mine in online comic book land, has finished the coloring the cover of Shooting Star Comics Anthology no. 5. The pencils were done by artist Todd Nauck, perhaps best-known for his work on DC Comics' Young Justice series. Take a look at this beauty here:

Now, the reason for all the hoo-ha on my part is that this issue contains my sequential art scripting debut. The book is an anthology, after all, and my story Dracosaur is one of the featured tales contained within these august pages. Look on the cover. Can you pick out which character is mine? Subtle, ain't he? Old Scott's been bellyaching about how difficult this cover was to cover, and how the color mix doesn't work, and how he's ruined it for everyone and is going to wear a paper bag over his head for the rest of his life (hey, it worked for Charlie Brown!). Personally, I think he did a bang-up job. I'm going to have the cover blown up and framed on the wall of my office when the book comes out in July. Seriously. That dragon's description includes "metallic copper scales" and "an intricate diamondback pattern." Without blowing Shooting Star's annual budget on an embossed foil cover for me, I think he hit it pretty close to the mark.

Now Playing: Traveling Wilburys vol. 1

I had to buy stamps this morning

I didn't vote for the SFWA Nebula Awards last year. It's not that I didn't want to, it's just that I never do today what can be put off until tomorrow, and when tomorrow got here with regards to the Nebs, the voting deadline had already passed. The same thing would've happened this year if not for the SFWA online update. Whew!

So which among the 2003 Nebula Finalists did I vote for? I'm not telling, with two exceptions. In the novel category, Elizabeth Moon's Speed of Dark got my vote. Anyone who liked Flowers for Algernon should find this one an engrossing read. I was suitably impressed, obviously. The other vote I'll share was for best short story, in which I voted for Harlan Ellison's story Goodbye to All That. That probably won't be a popular choice among some SFWA circles--Ellison and David Gerrold spammed the membership with copies of the story when it made the final ballot. Oops. Ellison can be forgiven, because he's got no truck with this 21st Century online mumbo-jumbo, and doesn't know what's naughty or nice. Gerrold, on the other hand, should've known better. Still, that didn't make any difference to me. I'd read Goodbye to All That way back when, and Ellison had me with the Yak. "Death before dishonor." Yeah, you gotta love that yak.

So I take my ballot (not completely filled out--I didn't read all the entries in all the categories, so I didn't vote for everything), stuff it in an envelope... and have no stamp. Now, this thing has to go out this morning for the vote to count, so I stop in to the local HEB on the way to work, grabbing a book of stamps to mail the ballot off. I made it to the post office in one piece, so mission accomplished. My votes are on their way. But I also picked up a Diet Vanilla Coke, because I was thirsty. This is rare for me, since I burned myself out on Vanilla Coke when it first came out (regular Coke makes me gag--in fact, I'm not a fan of any cola). But I was thirsty and picked one up. And now that I want to drink it, I realize that like a dope I left it down in the car. So I'm going to go get it now. Later.

Now Playing: Creedence Clearwater Revival Chronicle vol. 2

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

In which this blog avoids becoming another one-post wonder

Gibberish is an interesting enough name for a web journal, right? That's what I thought, too. Harlan Ellison once told me, "Jayme, you're babbling." My wife tells me that, too. So Gibberish is apropos. I didn't expect the "gibberish" virtual domain to still be available on Blogspot, but I thought I'd check. Yup, it was taken. By a 16-year-old girl named Laura with an obsession for Saturday Night Live and MadTV. Who posted once. Back in 2001. Don't believe me? Look here Late Night TV. I wonder if they sang to her, and if she really did cry.

I'm not pinging anyone or doing the RSS feed yet. Gotta get the hang of this impulsive posting stuff, first.

In which a new blog enters the world

I feel like such a sellout, jumping onto the blog bandwagon. But it makes sense for me to do so, I'm afraid. Can't deny the fact any longer that updating a web journal is a lot simpler and quicker than a web page. I don't have FTP at work, you know. And I've got dial-up at home (pretty fast dial-up, but dial-up nonetheless). Also, this will let me comment on life in general as it happens and clever, witty ideas spring into my mind. I've got opinions on everything, you know.

One thing you'll notice is that this web journal is hosted on Blogspot. That's not intentional. I fully intended to have it as part of my personal pages... but I finally had to give up and admit defeat for now. After a week of trying (and failing) to generate a post to my pages, I finally said enough's enough. I spent a couple of hours on the phone and in chat with tech support trying to figure out the problem. It's one of those FTP quirks--I keep getting timeout errors. But I know Blogger was able to actually log into my server space, because it told me when I messed with the paths and folders at that end. It just refused to upload anything. Tech support has no clue--everything should be working fine. But it isn't. So now I'm at Blogspot. Enjoy.