Archive for February, 2011

OtherSpace: “Warm Impermanence” post mortem

February 27, 2011 1 comment

This event represented another effort on my part to take a known trope from science fiction and flip it.

In this case, I was thinking about the premise of Logan’s Run, in which people reach a certain age before answering the call to Carousel, where they’re promptly blown up so that they don’t use any more resources.

In “Warm Impermanence,” I introduced the Hekayti colony world of Ashkodt, settled by descendants of the Konterbeid caste – primarily bureaucrats and fussy organizers. On this world, once every twenty years, a new generation specifically programmed to fill very exact roles is released from a generation management facility in a ceremony known as the Emergence. Read more…


Oscars 2011 – My picks. How about yours?

February 26, 2011 4 comments

Okay, we’re about a day away from the live broadcast of the 2011 Academy Awards, but I’ve been to the future long enough to get the results and bring them back to you, the good people of today.

All right, so that’s a load of crap. I don’t have a time machine. It’s in the shop. Instead, I’m winging it. Hell, I haven’t even seen all of the movies that have been nominated. It’s safe to say that I’ve seen half of them. Maybe less.

In cases where I haven’t seen the movie, I am using a highly scientific mathematical formula based on a combination of star quality, car chases, and liberal application of the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices to come up with the winner.

Before I get to the picks, though, let me just say this: Dear Academy, what the hell?! Ten best picture nominees? Everyone’s a winner? You’re going to have to show clips from all of them during your already too-long awards show. You may even try to make dance numbers out of them. I cannot wait to see what you come up with for Winter’s Bone – hillbillies bouncing on trampolines around a bubbling meth lab, maybe?

Read more…

The Road to World Conquest: Write, monkey!

February 20, 2011 1 comment

I admire a lot of things about Catherine, not the least of which is her desire to perpetuate the ancient art of writing letters by hand.

It calls back to a more complicated time, when communication wasn’t as easy as point-type-click. It encourages more thought and deliberation as the words are going from pen to paper.

She’s great at it. So far, I’ve received two letters from her. She has received one from me, and that was only after a week or so of (sometimes) subtle nudging.

Why do I suck so badly at it? “You’re a writer,” she reminded me. “It ought to be easy!”

For a moment, I wanted to bring up that Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s dating a masseuse, but she won’t give him a massage because it’s her job. However, that wouldn’t quite be true.

The truth lies somewhere else: Lack of time, or at least the perception of it. An overblown sense that whatever I write on paper requires intense concentration results in too much pressure.

However, if I look past that foolishness, I realize that in the time it takes to craft this blog entry, I could put down a few random thoughts to let Catherine know I’m thinking of her. I could put those thoughts in a letter, slap a stamp on the envelope, and send it off in the mail.

It’s really pretty simple.

So, I’ll try to be better about that. She deserves it.

OtherSpace: Recommended viewing, playing, and reading!

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

If you’re playing OtherSpace – or just thinking about it – it can be a little daunting.

Assuming the role of a character in an original-theme space opera universe that doesn’t have hundreds of fansites online isn’t always easy. However, making yourself familiar with the genre in general can go a long way toward preparing you for what to expect.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of movies, TV shows, video games, and books that could help get you in the right mood for a successful experience on the MUSH.

Read more…

Case closed?

February 13, 2011 1 comment

The Huntsville Police have changed their minds.

They say the 49-year-old woman found dead outside an apartment not far from mine took her own life.

Forensic results apparently led to the determination that Joan Markley committed suicide. I don’t know what the evidence was, but I suspect it must have been gunpowder residue on her hands.

I’d heard that a small pink gun had been found near her body, but her relatives insisted that she didn’t have a gun.

Regardless, I’m still perplexed and saddened. Some observers remain skeptical about the incident, suggesting that the cops might be letting a killer go free because they don’t want to continue the investigation. Others just think it’s a pity that a woman might have suffered so much distress that she found it necessary to shoot herself on the step outside her apartment.

I want to be relieved, to a certain extent, because a suicide is an isolated incident. But I’m still puzzled, if she killed herself, why she did it so publicly.

We’ll probably never get that answer.

Again, my condolences to her family and friends.

The Road to World Conquest: Dog crap

February 13, 2011 1 comment

“You’re supposed to clean that up.”

Less than a year ago, I was still in Cary, living in an apartment complex with a small scattering of dog poop receptacles/bag dispensers. I would walk Huck primarily down the grassy hillside that ran between my side of the complex and the main office/clubhouse. Most of the time, the poop stations were well-stocked with bags so that I could easily clean up after the dog. Sometimes, though, they ran empty and didn’t get refilled quickly enough.

That was the case this particular morning, when a man on the porch of his apartment watched Huck conclude his business, saw that I wasn’t cleaning up the deposit. So, he reminded me of my obligation.

“I know,” I said, gesturing at the poop station. “No bags. Sorry.”

That didn’t satisfy him: “You’re supposed to clean it up.”

“Yes,” I said, “we’ve established that.” I walked away, embarrassed, but determined not to let it happen again.

So, for future walks, I made sure to bring a spare plastic grocery bag along just in case the poop stations ran empty. No one ever had reason to call me out for letting the dog’s crap stay in their de facto back yard again.

Fast forward to last week, when I returned from a trip to see Catherine in Durham. I arrived at the new apartment in Huntsville to find a folded note stuck in my door, printed on plain white paper:

Dear Resident,

You have been reported at the office for not picking up after your pet. Numerous pet stations are located around the property to make it more convenient for our pet owners to pick up after their pets. This is a warning and if you are turned in to the office again for not picking up after your pet, you will be fined $50 per occurrence. We try very hard to keep our community clean and clutter free. Thank you in advance for your prompt cooperation.

Your Springs Team

Something I’ve bragged on about The Springs at Huntsville since I arrived here last month is the abundance of dog poop stations. So far, they are always stocked properly with bags. I have brought spare bags along, just in case, but I’ve never required them. I’ve also never failed to clean up after Huck since I got here. I do see lots of little (and some not so little) piles of crap in the grass when I walk him, but I’ve never had occasion to spot someone in the act of not doing their part to keep the parking area free of poop and none of those piles left for days are my dog’s.

I immediately called the apartment office, asking to talk to the author of the “citation.” For some reason, I found it galling that they didn’t bother to put it on official apartment stationery. As it was, it seemed to be a document that any resident with Notepad and a printer could generate. More irritating, though, was the assumption of guilt and the assurance of a “fine” if someone so much as accused me one more time.

The woman who answered the phone explained that the manager who wrote the memo had left on vacation for two weeks.

“Two weeks?” I laughed. “So, between now and the time she gets back, someone might lodge another phony complaint against me and I’ll end up fined?”

No, the woman said. Nothing further would be addressed until the manager’s return.

I can’t seem to shake this urge to start saving all the bags, labeling them with the date as I collect them, so I can deliver them as proof that I’m regularly cleaning up after my dog.

Think that’d go over well?