Monthly Archives: March 2008

AggieCon Report

4 people showed up at 9:00 in the morning, on Saturday to listen to a reading. I would have been even more impressed and amazed if they had any idea who I was before they showed up. Still, it made me happy to see that people wanted to listen to me read stuff.

I read two short stories, and one poem.

First, I read the story “Dedalus and the Labyrinth” coming out from Weird Tales. Then, I read “Last Star” from the special December issue of Coyote Wild Magazine. Then I read “Robert Shirtliffe” from Issue #4 of the Tipton Poetry Journal.

It was strange to look out into an audience and actually see a reaction. Usually, when I read a story, the cats wander off for food when they realize I won’t be giving them a treat for listening.

How did the reading go, you ask? All four people who showed up to check out some new writer picked up the book in the dealer’s room and had me sign their copies.

Also, I want to give a big shout out to Jaime who showed me where Rumour’s Deli was after attending one of my panels wherein neither one of the writers involved were “stars” so to speak. Two other folks came with us who seemed quite nice, but I can’t remember their names… Business cards peple. Get business cards.

Also Robert did a great job picking up the pieces in the Convention. The story went like this: the head of the shindig was chugging along fine until her husband was killed a month or two before the convention. (All our condolences, to her… She’s young, too. She’s a college student.) Then, everything fell apart. Robert stepped in and saved the day, and did a great job holding this event together by force of will.

Trey set up the first-ever AggieCon podcast, with the lovely and talented con volunteer Judi and myself, and I hope he lets me know when he goes live with the podcast.

Met lots of nice people. John Ringo, Tom Knowles, the always-lovely Rachel Caine, her main squeeze Cat Conrad, the nice folks at the monkey house whose names I’d remember if tequila wasn’t involved, Scott Cupp… Well, I’m about to list out all the guests. Seriously, just go check out Cepheid Variable for yourself, and you’ll know who I met. Everyone was nice.

And, now I get to do my taxes. Hooray. Kind of. Also, I get to deal with insurance companies because I was in a small fender bender (no one was hurt, and it was literally just fenders involved) Saturday night during the convention, and this will be a long, boring, paperwork-y day.



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I just spent the last three days at AggieCon.

There’s this place off site called the “Monkey House”, wherein they smuggle all the guests to go drink tequila and bullshit away from the convention. this house was home to authors Stephen J. Gould and Howard Waldrip at some point in the past.

I’ll tell you more when I can. Right now, I’ve got a three hour drive to get home, and my laptop battery is about to die in this little place I’m on-line.

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Guy in a suit talks about down’s syndrome

Two guys in line for coffee, one in a suit and the other in business casual.

Suit says these words:

“…My sister’s kid has down’s syndrome. You know they all look the same. I mean, you look at someone with down’s syndrome and they all look the same and you know they have down’s syndrome.

You know, it’s strange. You take the kid fishing, and he catches a fish, and he’s done. He puts his tackle up, and gets ready to go. Doesn’t matter how many people are there with you. he catches a fish; he’s done.

He’s got the IQ of a four year old, but there’s more to it. There’s something else there. He’s not just a four-year-old forever. There’s something…

Just a tall coffee, whatever you got freshly brewed.”

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John wins a button

Says John about these photos:

“I’m sending you the “best” pictures from my ant escapade. I tried two different ant mounts, yeilding two very different results. You’ll find that the common red fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) were very active and interested in the book, attacking it en masse. These I found in the backyard, and only sustained minimal bites. The others I traveled down the street into a vacant lot for. They were red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus), larger but more docile ants, and I thought were going to be the best for shooting. However, they did not find the book to be all that interesting and instead focused their attempts on keeping the entrance/exit into the subterrainian mound secure. Respecting their reserve from my nuisance, and their unoffical protection status, I abated. I sustained no bites from these ants whose venom is the most potent of any ants species”

You want a button now, party people, you gots to top the guy who braves fire ants to take a memorable photo. I want Japanese Huntsman Spiders!

Good job, John!

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quick little info about healthcare

america already has socialized healthcare.

insurance companies are “socialized” by their very definition. they spread risk and cost out among large groups of people.

anyone, anywhere, of any nationality, can acquire healthcare whether they are able to pay for it or not. that is actually quite close to what it means to have “socialized medicine”.

yet, for some reason, we like to believe we don’t have socialized healthcare. we like to believe that governments don’t already have their bureaucratic fingers in every layer and office and cubicle and operating room. we like to live in some fancy dreamworld where we have freemarket, liberated, patriotic healthcare.

we don’t. it’s already socialized. it’s been that way for years.

our political and cultural fear of saying the word “socialized” means we get all these guys in positions of authority building the system contrary to the reality, under the delusion that we don’t have socialized healthcare.

thus, insurance companies don’t caver what we really need, don’t cover nearly enough people, and muck up businesses and business-owners with their employee benefit programs.

stop calling something what it ain’t. embrace the socialism. it’s already here. the sooner we allow ourselves to speak of the reality, we will be able build a better socialized system than what we have.

anyway, i was feeling ranty, and this is my megaphone – after all – and i will stop here, though i could continue to rant for quite a bit longer.

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7th floor library blues

Do you remember the seventh floor of the university library?

I do.

I used to go up there to study. Actually, I think I went to the fifth or sixth a lot. The seventh was too crowded with people thinking the same damn thing I was thinking.

But, I was thinking how I used to go up to the seventh floor, where musty, old academic tomes gathered dust and there was this rumor about a weird crazy guy that would stop people in the stacks and ask to see their feet.

(He’d touch those feet lovingly. He’d kiss them. He never asked to see my grotesque hooves, mind, so this is all hearsay. Another rumor running rampant across a campus that might be real or not. Still, our crazy guy in the library was into feet.)

I used to go up there and just stare at these rows and stacks and walls overflowing with books. What was the point of one more in all that mass of words on paper?

I was sitting here, trying to write another book, and I smelled something in the air between mold and air conditioning and seventy-year-old bindings and rampant glues and dirty metal and bleach and dust and it recalled to me that place, where I was sitting among the stacks, all by myself.

In Vancouver, I found a spot on the top floor, where the whole downtown into the bay spread out before me rippling in sunlight like the most beautiful city view you ever wish you had.

In Houston, I found a corner where I had never seen one person pass my stall. I sat among old engineering texts and wondered how come engineers never came to libraries to study the old manuals and tomes that built the city and the streets and all the contraptions inside of them.

In Arlington, the books were so crammed in, that the less-popular sections were kept on rolling shelves. One had to push open the stacks like walking through a portal. One had to be careful not to crush anyone else in the stacks. Undoubtedly, someone found their true love, once, by pushing open the stacks, and startling at the sudden shout from someone being crushed.

I’m working on another book, and I can think only of how awful it is right now. Worst book ever. Will take close to forever to make this one not sucky.

My consolation? ‘Twill be lost in the stacks, for good or ill. ‘Twill melt into dust, and no one will worry about one more book either way.

So, I work. I do the best I can. And it will all fade when the glue loses its grip and the paper crumbles and the ink acidity eats the letters through the page, and the mildew reaches bruised fingers through the cover. For good or ill, everything will dwindle down to dust.

And that’s fine.

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3 things

1) I’m off to Highland Park today to do a signing at a Barnes and Noble there. So, if you’re in Highland Park, come on by and buy a book or get one signed or some combination of the two. *Link to Info*

2) I am still chasing after my parent’s new puppy, trying to prevent household accidents. I have cleaned this entire house one small puddle at a time. Totally not housebroken yet. She’s still cute. I’m not mad, yet. (I get to leave tomorrow, so her housetraining will no longer be my problem… Hey, where’d she go? Hm. I think I smell poop.)

3) Ever see Dokaka doing his thing? He’s like some geek-nerdcore-awesome combination of Rahzel and Weird Al.

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no title

looking back just a few years before my own birth is like looking back into an alien world. the music, the values, the motion of bodies through space, all locked in a mystery that might as well be a foreign language.

i don’t like the books about the factory, i like the period films. how can anyone talk about a movement that was all about a moment of bliss among the ruins?

the flower in the mouth of Baudalaire’s corpse; the drug joy in the broken bodies.

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work extended hours at the museum because upper management – who still go home at their regular hours, anyway – decide that the musem should stay open a bit extra during the last two weeks of the biblical exhibit.

then, drive to apartment in benbrook. check in with cats. they are still alive. they are still stinky. they are still pooping in the box.

drive to the other side of dallas/fort worth, for over an hour in rush hour traffic to take care of dogs.

spend four hours chasing after puppy in vain effort of encouraging outside bathroom activities, and to discourage things like chewing on electrical wires, chewing on furniture, chewing on walls, chewing on me, etc.

come to blog. try to think of something witty to say.

all i can think of is gzblk.


good-night, everybody.

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all this week with the dogsitting

The other morning, at 3:30 in the morning, I am awoken to the sound of a dog crying in the night.

I get up. I go downstairs. I take the dog out of her crate, and into the yard so she can do her doggy thing. Little puppy does her doggy thing in the yard. She’s running and playing in the yard with her big sister, and I figure now is a great time to do my person thing.

I’m gone not one minute doing my person thing, and come out of the bathroom to discover poo all over the stairs. Not just a little poo. I think the little puppy dropped half her body weight all over the stairs. The big dog looks up at me like, “WTF? Don’t look at me! I’m not related to that little monster! I was perfectly happy by myself and y’all went and got another puppy and now you’re looking at me when it unloads the dump truck all over your stairs? Consider yourself fortunate I don’t do the same.” (Dogs, as any owner will tell you, have very expressive looks on their faces, constantly. Whole paragraphs can be summed up with a cocked head and just one kind of whimper. Seriously.)

I start to clean up the puppy poo. The little puppy decides this is a game, and commences to attack the paper towels and the spray bottles and the spray cans, while I am trying to clean up the little one’s poo.

Now I have to bathe the puppy.

At 3:30 in the morning.

Which I did, cheerfully. Because if you were this cute, I’d do the same for you.

Crap, did that dog just run upstairs! I must stop it!

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