Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Whatever Post

Well I couldn't decide what to blog this is just a hodgepodge of thoughts.

Coming up on the 7 week mark of no smoking. Quite pleased about that. Wish I could say that I have no craving at all but that's not the case yet. Hopefully it will be soon...

Writing: Fallen off on my writing a bit. Not doing as well as I would like to at the moment. Just haven't felt the urge much lately. I do owe a short story for an anthology which I have started but haven't finished. Waiting on the return of the witch story--Coven of Deceit, from a private editor so I can start the marketing process on that novel. I imagine that Operation Immortral Sevitude will be showing up to proof one last time before it goes to print. Also should be starting the editing process on book II of the Sf story-Alien Revelation. And I need to finish up my edits of book II of the vampire series which will be due in the Spring to the publisher. Plenty to do there:)

School is kicking my butt. I will never teach this many classes again. I have very little free time at all this semester which contributes to the writing scenario above.

Conventions coming up, Denver, CO. the end of October and Rochester, NY in November. Not 100% sure about attending them yet. Wil probably skip PHILCON this year. Be the first time in three years that I have not gone. Too much going on to fit it all in.

However even with all of the above, still hopefull. Surprised? Yeah me too. With some help, I have managed to keep some of the demons (not all by any means) at bay at least for a while. Still with several months remaining, 2006 has been a year of incredible highs and dreaded lows. As the half century mark nears, the canvas of my own Dorian Gray painting is beginning to form and even I haven't a clue what it will look like.

Sometimes you just hate surprises...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Holy Grail of Coffee

The cup of coffee became one with the universe…I don’t know how else to explain it except that it well…never gave up and certainly never surrendered (sorry—there’s a personal joke in there).

It was a day like any other day. There I was, minding my own business killing some time between classes, walking along in the mall sipping on a freshly purchased cup of coffee. It’s what I do—drink way too much coffee—but we’re working on one addiction at a time (42 days nicotine free I might add).

Anyway as I was saying, there I was walking along when suddenly this huge earthquake struck the state of Virginia…well maybe not the state but at least the city of Norfolk. Well maybe it was more localized then that and just the mall itself. Okay…okay so maybe it was just the area I was standing in. Oh—forget it, I was just clumsy and dropped my cup of coffee. But that was when things got weird.

Everything came to me in slow motion as I watched the cup of coffee (my precious—my precious) make its way toward the highly polished floor. This is going to be messy I thought and I will probably be splattered with coffee all over my pants—won’t that make for interesting conversation with my highly motivated students. But alas…that did not happen.

That cup of coffee landed on its bottom in a perfectly upright position. The lid came flying off and the coffee erupted from it in typical geyser-like fashion—a straight up torrent of hot liquid. This is where I get nailed with scorching hot coffee I think—but that was not the case.

Apparently the moon aligned with Jupiter or the Earth was in some form of spatial agreement with something, but about 9/10 of the coffee...are you ready for this...returned to that perfectly upright cup on the floor. Yes…you heard me correctly. Not even I am that crazy to make something like this up. Now if I said that the ostrich appeared and did something to make that happen—then you can call me crazy. But this time—there was no ostrich.

About 1/10 of the coffee, an ounce or two at the most, went elsewhere, I think I ended up with about three drops on me. I stared in fascination at that cup of coffee sitting on the floor. Perhaps not in fascination but maybe more in awe, I bent down and picked up that cup of precious liquid, (think in terms of the Holy Grail made out of a Starbucks paper cup) and raised it to my lips and drank from its glory in the hope that whatever spiritual or physical qualities it possessed would get passed on.

It tasted like a cup of coffee—but I guess they have to make things taste like normal stuff so that we think it hasn’t changed us or anything. Yet, the entire world appears differently to me now. There is a symmetry that holds the molecules of everything together and even the fabric of life itself. Now don’t be jealous—not everyone can have this type of fortune literally dumped in front of them. It’s just the way it is.

I guess there are those of us who were meant for greater things—or perhaps the chosen few is another way to look at it. Some get their start by seeing something in the sky or even in the landscape around us. For me, it just began with a cup of coffee.

Next time it will be a double cappuccino for me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Batteries Not Included (Potential Short Story)

Note: This is more of a short story concept rather than a social commentary before anyone throws anything at me.

I’m being completely hypothetical here…well as much as I can be anyway in my own world. So imagine if you can—a store where you can go to buy a person.

Yes I said person.

This could be a friend, a lover, a companion…whatever. What would it be like…would there be options like when you buy a car? Do you have to pay extra for a certain personality? Would they have blue light specials? Do they come with an extended warranty? Are there sporty and more conservative models? Can they be returned? Ohhhh….now there’s an interesting concept…don’t like what you have so then you return it…or maybe even sell it on ebay? This is getting a little too weird even for me.

But one of the most important questions is do they come with an operator’s manual?

An operator’s manual, if read, would enlighten the reader/purchaser of the capabilities of the purchased item would it not? Once read the user would completely understand what the purchased person can do and what it cannot. It would know what it likes and dislikes are. The owner would know how to please the purchased person and vice versa. There would be no petty bickering of not understanding or knowing someone. There would be no dirty laundry left hanging over the back of the sofa—no dirty dishes in the sink—no toilet seats left in the upright position and no bras hanging in the shower. We would understand the proper and correct deliverance of affection. Pet peeves would be avoided. Maintenance level factors would be understood before committing to any relationship. The examples go on and on.

Sound like a little Assimov here maybe?

So in this ideal world…all of the trouble of relationships would be eliminated and the perfect world would descend upon us. Or would it be a disaster? Would the joy of experiencing an individual and learning by trial and error be more of a loss rather than a gain? But a form of social order would be maintained would it not? Things would would you say...less messier perhaps.

But where is the fun in that?

Some might suggest or ask:where are the little surprises that cause the slight chuckle or the pleasant thoughts when we are at work? The surprise note/card left on the table or perhaps the rose given when it was not a overcommercialized holiday? The voice mail left that...well is only for your ears only:)

So some days you just have to ask yourself: are you bringing the batteries or are they included?

Side note: 40 Days. I recounted.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Interesting Personal Ad


Middle Aged and Fun Loving Vampire seeks meaningful relationship with living female for undetermined length of time.

Physical description: Five foot eight inches in height. Weight: approximately eighty to one hundred sixty pounds dependent on available food supply. Skin tone: Dark olive to pale. Facial features range from European Slavic to animalistic. Has slight to extended protrusion of incisors when excited. Hair is black and long…always. Eyes: dark brown to a bright red.

(If item(s) above not agreeable, hypnotic capability helps alleviate)

Food tastes: Very specific.

Origin/Family History: European origin-descendent of aristocratic family. Anything else you don't want to know.

Dress: Generic dark clothes with cape on special occasions.

Activities/hobbies: Enjoys cultural events and has very prolific and deep historical bent in education and leisure activities. Enjoys nighttime walks in the moonlight, scaling walls, entering windows of women (when invited), visiting cemeteries and blood banks, and going to late night movies. Great conversationalist.

Habits: Sleeps very late not waking to dusk and hates being disturbed. Likes sleeping on hard slabs (supplies own bedding) and prefers funeral parlor décor. Enjoys Victorian era garb and red corsets. Has a nibbling disorder and requires continual manicures. Does not share well—very jealous type. Likes continual attention and is considered high maintenance.

Seeking woman who works during the daytime at home and can keep pesky religious fanatics away at all times. Women of Italian descent must be willing to forego garlic in all food preparation. Prefers home environments which lack religious artifacts, mirrors, windows without darkening capability and sky lights. Earthy décor a must. Has aversion to sharp wooden stakes and religious crosses. Dislikes snarky women, a.k.a. Veronica Mars types, however will accept a challenge but cannot guarantee living status will remain intact.

First date suggestion: Strolling through a rose garden late at night with woman who has not told anyione where she is going.

Favorite flower: Blood rose.

Favorite car: Buick (large trunk space)

Favorite Song: Meatloaf - You Took the Words Right Out of my Mouth...

Favorite/least favorite movie: Love at First Bite/Interview with a Vampire (turned down for lead role)

Preferences: All ethnic, racial, and blood types considered.

Photograph: Only picture available is from the early 1900’s.

Outlook: Not time concious and will try anything once.

Email to was that kind of night...DAY 41.

Hope this brings a smile to all those who had a less than desirable evening:)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Need Ideas for Cover Art

Need some help in developing the cover for Operation Immortal Servitude.

If anyone has any ideas that would be great. Examples would even be better. What we are trying to do is get a SF/Fantasy feel to the cover art. The story is basically about vampires being used by the military...the time is present day so tying in the SF element is a little diffcult. My webpage has the original cover from Team of Darkness but as much as I like the screams dark fantasy--or at least I think so.

So if you have any ideas...please let me know.


Just in Case....

This is one of those just in case blogs...just in case I am never heard from again. I'm up in New Jersey and I am staying at a hotel that well...if Norman was here--he would feel right at home. Now before you ask--I did not book this hotel--its where a family relative is dong their wedding thingy...etc.

Anyway...I show up at the front desk to check in and the man does not even look up to see who has come in but just recites the litany..."fill out the white card." Okay so I do all that and hand him the card...and of course asks the question..." that Italian?" Then smiles and looks at me through a pair of very dirty glasses and laughs..."only kidding," he adds. Of course he says this while he guessed it...painting by the numbers.

They do not have coffee pots in the room. I don't know about you but I have a hard time remembering staying in a hotel room that did not have a coffee pot in it. Maybe they just want you to go down to the office and visit with...well you know who.

Cell phones don't work in the room. As soon as you go out the door they work, but not in the room. Nope--Nada--(insert your favorite no word here).

I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight? I would say that there is a short story here to be written, but I think I covered that one already. See if you can guess which one and you win a prize.

I should have brought the guard ostrich with me...I need my snark. Its like going into a fairy ring without iron...

Oh BTW...38 DAYS...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Part IV Monday at the Dragon

The last day at DragonCon. I have never stayed the entire last day at the con so this was a first. Of course shopping was a must in search of those last deals to be had. Money flowed and many T-shirts were purchased along with a sundry of other knick nacks.

In addition to shopping there was also a reading which I performed of which there were actual warm bodies in attendance...yes and I have witnesses. I read two short stories, Operator and An Amuseing Tale both of which they appeared to enjoy...i.e nobody fell asleep.

Shopping completed and reading performed the traveling duo explored Atlanta in search of the underground...well we never made it...the navigator was directionally challenged, but we had a nice dinner. After which we walked into the main hotel for dessert. What a difference with the crowd thinned considerably. For the first time that weekend we could actually see the floor of the hotel:) Still, there were many folks not wanting the con to end as evidenced by their costumed apparel refusing to give up until the bitter end. The evening comes to a early end with the anticipation of the early morning flight and back to the world of the mundanes.

The Trip Home.
Amazingly enough the flight was on time and fairly smooth...thus leaving the armrests of the seat intact. Landing safely in Richmond, Dragon 2006 came to an end with a very memorable time had by all:)

Sidenote: for all those folks that were at DragonCon and we did not get a chance to meet up with, apologies and best wishes and hope to see you at another con in the future.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

28 Days-Still Not Wanted For Murder

Yes its been 28 days now and still smoke free. How I managed not to smoke over the long Labor Day Weekend due to tropical storms, airplanes, liquor, rude people, snarky ostriches, walking through clouds of cigarette smoke or the long hours of DragonCon will be one of those feats to go down in history as the prevention of World War III.

Personal note: no hard liquor...this seems to ramp up the craving for nicotine about tenfold.

Amazingly enough my trunk is not full of dead bodies of snarky individuals, although I could fit quite a few in there--consider yourself warned! I have even managed to watch many episodes of Veronica Mars...well you see I have to its one of those family things where a relative...well never mind that I'm not supposed to talk about that. Anyway, when I'm feeling really bad...I watch movies like Silent Running and everything looks so much better:)

Part III: Sunday at the Dragon…

There was no rest to be had this day. Breakfast with friends, at the bakery across from the Hilton--highly recommended--and then off to the convention!

Dealers room, Exhibitors Hall, Exhibitor's Hall 2, and the Art show to be explored. Miles and miles are walked as our travelers ooh and ahh their way through various sundries of everything imaginable. The best thing is that the crowds are manageable in the earlier hours of the convention, prior to say 4PM or so. After that its gets very crowded and if you are a people phobic type person, this is not the con for you.

Very weary feet! After a rather scarce autographing session, although still fun chatting with some folks, naptime comes quickly as aching ankles are screaming. At DragonCon naptime is a fundamental rule of thumb regardless of how late you stay up or not, it's just a tiring convention due to the hiking required across three hotels to get anywhere and of course the one thing you do want to see always requires you to go across the hotels to get to which includes the dreadful and steep stairs of the Hilton.

Sleep time and weird dreams.
One of the travelers reported an unusual dream sequence involving glass elevators. Glass elevators abound in the DragonCon hotels which no doubt account for the formulation in the dream. Although the events which occurred in the dream were a bit bizarre even for DragonCon. Fortunately awoken by their own talking in their sleep before the rendition could go too far, the details are thankfully omitted from this report, however bribery I am told works wonders...

Anyway, Sunday evening meet up with friends, both old and new. Drinks and socializing while catching up on the latest events in the world of certain authors. Good dinner at one of the few places where the wait is less than one hour. Back to the con and more costume watching. From tuxedos and Victorian dresses to duct tape and school girls, to the apes from Planet of the Apes, the costumes never cease to amaze. Although there was much disappointment this year of not seeing the Victorian woman...everyone knows who we mean although nobody remebers her name, but her victorian outfits are works of beauty and were truly missed this year.

Addinmg to the bill of fare is a well deserved dessert and of course a cup of coffee and then a relaxing late evening back at the hotel in the courtyard sipping wine and enjoying good company of more friends and enduring conversation from spiders to ostriches. It doesn't get much better than that.

Sleep comes easy--no doubt thanks to the wine as the final day of Dragon approaches.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Part II Saturday at the Dragon…

Continuing with our coverage of is part 2. Part 1, Terrible Travel and Tropical Storms, can be found here.

Now the purpose of this tale is not to expound on the horrors of travel or the terrible things that can happen to the unwary. For that, read the Canterbury tales. But there is one more terrible thing to mention. Breakfast at a hotel can be REALLY scary. There were more scrambled eggs in the trash can than all other forms combined on Saturday morning. The hotel denizens fled in terror- no surprise if that even included the cooks. We later learned of the bakery right across the street from the Hilton, 1 of the 3 hotels used for the convention, which had must better fare and reasonable prices…

The day really started with registration and the parade. It’s great to be the guest or in the company of one. What took us less than 10 minutes to do must have taken any regular folks attending the convention well over an hour (conservative guess) which included a wait in the outside line BEFORE wrapping around the interior of the basement of one of the hotels.

So it’s on to the parade, passing the line moat of bodies (preregistration is HIGHLY recommended-Hint-Hint!)

Not enough can be said about the parade, according to our traveling sources. Legions of Stormtroopers, Klingons on choppers, Belly dancers, Harry Potter galore, the Darth Cooper, and to top it all off, Kolchak the Night Stalker and a slew of others that we weren't sure of. It was fabulous. More fabulous than the Queer Eye Guys. Utterly fan-TABulous and something for the entire family.

However, at this point, the wandering duo began to wonder, “What, exactly, does Mickey Rooney, one of the many guests, have to do with Science Fiction and Fantasy?” Dear readers, please inform us.

Seeking a distraction, our intrepid duo disappeared down the block, escaping to the alternate chaos of the Georgia Aquarium...when in Atlanta…and all that jazz. This was entirely worthwhile, despite the high price of tickets, simply for the taunt factor for a certain woman’s sibling. Peals of joy! Whale sharks!!

(Side Note 1 to traveling companion: Running commentary from traveling companion about evil has already been heard from numerous other sources. Your additions are unnecessary--so hush!)

(Side Note 2 from traveling companion: Who could live in the US and not know Calvin and Hobbes?? It’s just… NOT driving a Buick!)

After a few hours of acquatic delight, it’s back to the convention. Wandering for a while through the Dealer’s Room. Keep in mind, this is not to be confused with the Exhibit Hall, or the Exhibit Hall 2, or the Walk of Fame, or the Art Show. This is the Dealer’s Room, and a more wretched basement of scum and villainy will be hard to find. Well not quite that harsh, but seriously, some of it was insane so hold onto your money...

Rounding out the day was a visit to a panel to see Lilith Saintcrow and the Ghost Hunters, and a short story panel boasting one of our travelers who had many things to say about nicotine withdraw symptoms which added some humor to the discussion. All in all—a good panel. No ostriches were reported.

Dinner and back to the convention for the costumes to be seen which in itself is reason enough to usually attend DragonCon. Description cannot do justice to the good and bad of the costume mayhem at DragonCon. Although the majority of the costumes are fantastic—there are still some that…well never mind. Still there seemed to be a slight gap in the costume uniqueness and creativity this year as compared to the past—so noted by many past attendees. Yet the usual creative uses of caution and duct tape were present as always.

All in all, a pleasant day--evening comes quickly in Atlanta and the bell tolls midnight to two weary travellers who seek shelter from the night. So it’s back to the hotel and safe haven from the con-mania of the Dragon.

Next time: Odd dreams and well other things…

Part III, Sunday, will be done soon.