Want to score a copy of Never Knew Another before anybody?
I got a bunch of them to spare. I'm giving away two right now.
Just tell me what you'd like written in your personalized copy, and the two I deem most fun to write score a free book, months before the release date.
Ready... Set... Go!
Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Want to score a copy of Never Knew Another before anybody?
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
One cannot curb the corporations' right to free speech; ergo, one cannot curb their right to bear arms.
How long until corporations have mightier armies than the governments that hold them -- loosely, gently, not-so-convincingly -- in check?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
There isn't enough time to pursue dreams. Even pondering them is a waste of time. Buddha teaches us to live our real life. Accept what is and what cannot be changed. Your word has bound you to industry, and family, and responsibility. What use are dreams when they do not answer your responsibility to the people of your life, whom you owe so much. And with the time we have on earth, there are starving children and unclean waters and the myth of omnipotent corporations.
I was thinking about this, how there is no point dreaming in the age of advertising while money and research are poured into making us want so much, so loud. Our dreams are polluted. We want but we do not know how our wants are crafted. Stop dreaming, then, and just work, meditate, and live your real life.
The dreams you have will only add to the smog that destroys the world for our grandchildren: tour buses burning oil, paper mills spewing pulp into rivers, and another company with another product to beat into our minds.
Instead of dreaming, garden. Fill your home and yard with local plants that can pull the toxins from the sky.
That is our real life, not art and not glory and never peace against and among the corporations that have become the shadows in our minds.
And, whatever you do, don't write another book!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Ever notice people keep talking about some mythical global warfare where nations clash against nations and billions die?
I was thinking about this while I was out for my morning walk, and it would seem like we have been quietly living in world war iii for some time, but no one realizes it.
The Haves (us) have been destroying the environment, raking whole impoverished nations for precious minerals, oils, and metals to the detriment of their nations, fueling the warlords that destroy the people of the world. Druglords and organized crime proliferate as the corrupted world feeds us, the Haves, with all the shiny plastic geegaws we desire. The environmental disasters that follow in that wake might as well be nuclear bombs, for the sudden deaths, and lingering pollution.
Don't tell me this isn't world war iii. Afghanistani Muslims hates us because they are in poverty, and we are "free". Iranians face sanctions of aspirin and medicine, but we sleep at night because none of our sons have died. China's bankers play tricks, and their party leaders sweep the internet, for any advantage of currency they can muster in the world economy, to the detriment of the people in the Rust Belt who don't even realize they're just casualties of a global war, far more dangerous than anything carrying a gun.
Bloodshed and conquest are done quickly in colonial wars of the past. 3 years, 4 or 5. This war, without bullets, extends for decades.
Blood for oil. Oil for blood.
Lone gunman, lone bombers, running through the dark, wanting for the open warfare that could resolve this slow, lumbering, ponderous combat in a lifetime, instead of century after century of economies acting selfishly instead of selflessly, taking when they ought to give, and relying on the backs of distant lands for the bread on the table, the table, and the bricks that build the house, the wealth that bought the house.
We are in a long, slow war. It is an economic one. We are Adam Smith's Invisible Army, raping and pillaging by proxy, through corporations and ambassadors, while few, if any, of our sons and daughters touch the guns.
And, there's very little I can do about it. I'm conscripted into it, for better or worse, with my family and everyone I know. Being aware of it only makes it harder to buy shoes, and stop at a restaurant for take-out after a long day's work. It only makes me angry, but I am impotent. One man can do nothing. There's nothing to do.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I remember reading this mid-grade/YA book back in my youth, though the title and author escape my memory. What I remember about it was that two young friends, both boys, die. One dies first by accident, then the other dies either by accident or suicide (can't remember). This happens right away. They talk before they die about a magical land everyone goes in death, where everything's cooler and better.
They end up there. The first one who died paves the way for the second. Once dead, they have magical adventures as young noble heroes or somesuch against demonic forces in the magical land. Then, when they've had their high adventure, and reach the end chapters, they talk about what happens when you die in this magical land. Apparently everyone knows you go on to some other magical land for another High Adventure.
So, they jump out a window together.
Ring any bells? Anyone remember this book?
It's been 20 years, thereabouts, since I read it, but I would like to find it again.
Also, I'm deathly curious if such a trope is acceptable at all in this day and age. Once, youth suicide was so unthinkable. Now, it is unthinkable to write about it as if it were a happy, joyful adventure into magical lands...
Morality changes fast in art, doesn't it? 20 years is a blink of a minnow in a rushing stream.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The aliens that live in the bellies of whales will definitely be either arsenophiles or meth-heads. Meth-head is the official scientific term for someone who subsists their sustenance and DNA structure from methane. They also do lots of methamphetamines from inside their whaley kingdom.
If a sufficiently advanced alien species had made planetfall, they wouldn't be in the sky. They'd be in the ground. Too many people looking at the sky. Too many people looking in the water. Unless this sufficiently advanced species could hide themselves from our technologies. I imagine, then, the water is the place to be. There are depths we could not peer upon casually.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I was thinking about December, and got to thinking about one of the first things I did that generated actual feedback from readers who were not people I know.
Don't know why I was thinking about it. Decaying cities, or vampire-overload, or perhaps a sense that the weather here resembles a little what is described in the piece.
Anyway, it's from 2007, which is practically a lifetime in our new internet era. It's like a relic from some dark tunnel.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Back in my dark past, when I was a starving artist, I was a temp through a staffing agency. I got a long-term position with a company in Dallas, doing data entry, light administrative stuff, reading contracts, and all that mind-numbing business. There's a moral to the story, and it's relevant to the politics of the moment.
I used to park my car at the far edge of the parking lot, so I could get just a little more walking in my day. The local head of the office, a vice-president in something-or-other, had a reserved parking spot right up as close to the door as one could get. Her spot was better than the handicapped parking. I walked past her very fancy Jaguar every day and wondered why anyone would pay so much money for such a silly thing as a car.
I still drive the same car. 2002 Hyundai Accent, my dad bought for me new in 2002 for about twelve grand (thanks, dad! It's been running like a champ!). I went in to be a long-term temporary employee. I was taunted with the specter of permanent employment, but this was all a tease. For whatever reason, the months ground on, and I was locked in a permanent temporary position.
I remember the day there was a fire in the office. A very small electrical fire, immediately caught by the fire alarm system and easily doused by the fire department once they arrived, caused all of us in the office to herd out of our little offices, into the street. Once there, we waited, cheerfully, for the fire department to arrive and put out the tiny fire long before it grew in size and danger into something real.
During the few minutes between the moment we fled the burning building and the fire department arrived, this same vice president of something-or-other said, and I quote, "What if the building explodes?" Her car is right there, where the shattered glass and mangled iron beams and reinforced concrete from the tiny electrical fire, might brace for impact.
Thus, while we were all standing there in the parking lot, about thirty of us in this small, one-story office, she got in her car, and pulled out of her special spot in her fancy car. She drove to the exact other side of the parking lot, and pulled in behind my car. My little car was all by itself, in an open space in the parking lot, where I could walk a little before my sedentary day. She thought it was appropriate to use my car as a blast shield in case the building exploded. Right in front of everyone.
I watched her do it, and thought about how I had been a perma-temp in limbo between employment and unemployment, with no benefits, moving paper from one side of the desk to the other, for months and months.
In a completely related note, she often called me "Jeff", if she spoke to me at all. This is not my name.
Needless to say, I am not employed there anymore.
There's a moral in there for the Rich/Poor Gap and the cancellation of Unemployment Benefits during this time of crisis. See if you can find it.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Farmville is not a fun game. But, I can't stop playing it, if you could call it playing. In my mind I use the autumnal landscape because I am a lone survivor of a nuclear war. I am growing my irradiated vegetables to feed them to a food processed that will rip out all the toxins, leaving me with a nebulous golden pellet of foodstuff that I can either eat, or fashion into noxious kitsch to keep me company in the absence of life on earth. I grow radioactive rainbow apples, more bioengineering than biology, and harvest my mutant chickens that need to have the edible tumors cut from their bodies every few days.
Oh, the kitsch! Imagine the stylized vault dweller of Fallout fame placed upon a farm and there is no mental dissonance between the big-headed, cheerful farmer and the post-apocalyptic icon in a blue jump suit. Farmville is like one's own Garden of Eden Creation Kit Interface, as if I am learning all the secrets and possibilities of the astonishing technology that will make life popular after the bombs have fallen.
That is my farm. I struggle on, isolated and alone in a vast field of decay, urging my kitschy, radioactive plant matter out of the stark earth. With what is left of the power grids if the world, and the pipes, I push goo through the pipes to distant survivors, with no other means of contact but the pasted pulp matter we harvest for our survival against the fading light if humanity.
To me, Farmville is a symptom of the end times.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Between the loud football game, and the sounds of Warcraft, and Bejeweled and all the conversation, I am holed up in a noisy, noisy place. I thought I'd be able to do homework. Right. I can't even think of anything to blog about.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I was thinking about ants today, and bees, and the movies made about them. You know, Jerry Seinfeld voiced a bee in "Bee Movie" (which I admit I did not witness for myself...), and Woody Allen played an ant once. The Bug's Life, as well, was about ants. All of these movies, naturally, feign innocence for the sake of the children. They have no interest in being deep or thoughtful, only in entertaining the children and their parents with simple morality tales.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
last night, discovered the strange tannic properties of an unripened persimmon. it forms a strange, dry-mouth-inducing paste in your mouth and throat, and down into your stomach. a particular tannin forms this strange paste. it tastes like a desert when it hits the mouth. It's dangerous, too. It could clump up in the stomach, form a bezoar that must be cut away.
It was like biting into a sweet, delicious membrane of honey-infused apples, and then tasting the poison on the back when you swallow. It is like a bad story, the sweet, rich beauty in the unfamiliar fruit, the initial burst of sweet and tart like pleasure. Then, the tannic paste, clinging against the mouth and tongue in the unformed, unenticing bitter and dry waste of fruitflesh.
Even now, the next day, I can feel it in my throat, that strange paste, unappetizing and unappealing.
Do not eat Persimmons before they are ripe. They are dangerous.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
There's a contest running on Twitter right now, for the inexpensive eBook of LAST DRAGON. Do you have two dollars and a Kindle?
If the Amazon sales rank of LAST DRAGON goes up above 1000 (last I checked it was 3,166) Apex books will give away a free eBook to lucky people. (I assume not of LAST DRAGON!)
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Is to put together some kind of handy list of mosaics and near-mosaics.
So, everyone please chime in. I'll start a list here as things turn up.
In the mean time, here's a full list of links to the different parts:
I'm working on a list of mosaics, and I'll certainly be doing a lot of reading of them once I finish up with the whole grad school thing. I like mosaics. I might as well become an advanced student of them.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010