Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, December 31, 2007

library journal mentions my book

no star, though...

Library Journal

McDermott, J.M.. Last Dragon. Discoveries™: Wizards of the Coast. Feb. 2008. c.400p. ISBN 978-0-7869-4857-4. pap. $17.95. FANTASY

A journey focused on revenge becomes an odyssey of self-discovery and of the founding of an empire in blood and sacrifice. As Zhan searches for her grandfather, a creature no longer human that has killed his entire village, she travels in the company of Seth, a fire-breathing shaman; Korinyes, a gypsy who is more than she seems; and Adel, a paladin present at the slaying of the last dragon. McDermott's debut novel requires careful reading to piece together a story told in nonlinear form, as mercurial as memories and as visceral as death. This fantasy adventure belongs in libraries where literary fantasy in the tradition of Gene Wolf, A.A. Attanasio, and Gabriel García Márquez is popular.


Hey, they mention Richard Dansky's book, Firefly Rain!

I had the great pleasure of hanging out with Richard's wife at an airport in Saratoga Springs, as well as some of the Dansky conspirators, and I was most impressed with the overall awesomeness of everyone. Richard seemed like a nice guy on the phone, too. I'm looking forward to his book. It ain't easy to find decent southern gothic horror these days, and I've liked what I've seen of Richard's work elsewhere.

still no camera... drat!

a roadsign at the edge of a gated community where i have never, ever seen 1 child.

this sign has two silhouettes of children. one sits on the bottom of what appears to be a seesaw. the other sits at the top.

clearly, this means kids are catapulting each other into the road. one had best watch out for flying, catapulted children while driving.

either that, or the kids set up their seesaws in the middle of the street.

either way, i wish i had a camera for this hilarious road sign. i really need to snag that digital camera again for a little while...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pseudopod has gone live with "I Am Nature"

Want to hear my creepy little mood story read aloud by Ben Phillips of Pseudopod?

Sure ya do:

This one is most definitely r-rated. Most def.

a blurb for bicycle errands

i've been riding my awesome new bike - (thanks for the fantastic birthday gift mom and dad! you guys rock!) - to the grocery store and cafes and bookstores of late.

i have found this to be an excellent passtime, and recommend it to all impulsive shoppers of the world. resisting temptation only becomes easier when you realize you must haul whatever temptation you encounter home in a bag on your back.

even if you had the room for them, they will likely break!

speaking of which, my mom also got me this little device so you can carry a dozen eggs in your pack without any of them breaking.

this sucker is awesome. not a single egg broken in transit.

one problem, though:

whilst moving eggs from their carton to my container, i dropped one today on the concrete. it cracked. i had to toss it to the trash.

an egg libation to a bicycle goddess. blessings upon this journey, and may it continue for a long time.

if you're looking for a wonderful new year's resolution to improve your health, your wealth, and the awesomeness of your being, doing local errands on a bicycle instead of via car comes highly recommended by J M McDermott.

In fact, I'm an author, so I'm supposed to blurb things as if they are the most amazing thing in the universe, always. Here's a blurb:

"Experiencing your errands on a bicycle is a mind-blowing re-acquisition of true life in our helter-skelter post-modern condition! Two thumbs way up!"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

when people vote with bullets

everyone loses when people vote with bullets.

this bit of news threw me in such a black mood, i couldn't think of anything to post.

i wish people would stop voting with bullets. why do young men of pakistan swear revenge? don't take revenge with bullets. take your revenge with a vote, with due process, with uncorruptable law.

these monsters of chaos and pain deserve to be thwarted by justice and order.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

bees don't

bees don't see what glass is
what do we do when even air
betrays us?

bees don't know the bears
flattening the village like gojira
arrows glancing off fur like rain

bees don't know highways
fly what others show was safe
to splatter in a windy roar

bees don't know alone
when the veil drips over their geometric eyes
infinite points of darkness gaze back

bees don't know the devil
irrelevant of course since the devil
knows plenty of bees

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

gratuitious pictures of kitties

Merry Christmas, Ellen!

Here are your kitties, happy, healthy, and enjoying clam chowder for Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everyone out there. May your families be safe and happy and drunk.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

because i love my blog readers...

note: this is a notorious dance tune, yet there is no dancing in the video, merely strutting. And pointing. And some more strutting. And dramatic appearances in ruined windows. And some more strutting. And, then, a little bit more pointing. Finally, some strutting.

(Oh, and gazing off into the distance like the Brawny Paper Towel guy on LSD.)

Hm... My ears are bleeding. Let's chase the pain with something better.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve. Watch the fire as you grow old and stay alive out there.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Santa Claus is neither fat, nor red

i had the great pleasure of encountering Santa Claus after work, yesterday. he was gathering supplies at a liquor store for the post-christmas party.

i didn't know it was santa claus right away. he was actually quite thin, and hale. he was young-looking, too. he got carded immediately.

i struck up a conversation with him while we were in line. he introduced himself as Nick, and said he was throwing an after Christmas party.

we talked some more, and the truth came out.

you see, Santa is a fey of spring, not winter. in the summer, he grows thick, and heavy, and his beard whitens like snow, and his skin wrinkles up like death. his blood flows in sludgy ice and gets colder all summer until solstice, when he spends the whole long day stiff as death upon a hammock. he's a beached walrus with pale white skin and a long white beard and he's so cold that he has to smother himself in every blanket he can find.

but then solstice breaks, and the spellweather turns inside of him. winter comes down from the sky, and summer rises in nick's blood.

he drops weight. he wears bermuda shorts. his beard is a lustrous red, like a sunburst bobbing when he laughs - and he has the richest, halest laugh you've ever heard and it comes so easily to him.

when winter comes, santa claus is all summer, sun-bleached skin and warm, sweaty palms when he shakes your hand. i imagine a hug from him on a long winter's night would warm the coldest girl's heart. (and, of course, he's only married in the spring and summer, and in the autumn, the two fey drift apart. I didn't ask what his wife does all winter, because it didn't seem polite.)

a twinkle in his gleaming eye, and a sheen of warm sweat all over him, like a halo that smelled like curry and strawberries, santa claus wore only green, lustrous green. his hawaiin shirt was green and covered in blue flowers.

i asked him how come everyone kept seeing him fat and red, and he told me it was all because coca cola thought they'd take over the iconography. they'd wrap him in red like the soda, make him old, and fat like their CEO. They'd turn him into a creature of commerce, and greed.

and, he shrugged at me, because for the most part they did.

still, he's here, buying liquor for the post-Christmas party, when he'll bathe the hard-working elves and gnomes in mead. they'll burn a giant can effigy of a snow can, and dance around it like they used to do.

sometimes, they throw a delivery truck driver into the fire, if that one had been particularly bad to the ancients this year, but it's been a while since any delivery truck driver has had to be memorably bad to the ancients when everything's been so bad for so long.

still, santa claus assured me that times change, and soon a new company will snatch the icons from the soda company, and already signs of change fill the air with African drums and humanistic religious plurality.

Friday, December 21, 2007

CC and a link to Link

I'm getting to be more and more a fan of Creative Commons.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a Kelly Link anthology locally to browse?

This is wonderful, I tell you. Simply wonderful.

Over at AbsoluteWrite, the SF&F message board wants to put a list together of all the CC-Licensed writing we can find by authors like Cory Doctorow, Brandon Sanderson, Eric Flint, and Kelly Link. Please, feel free to drop a few links into the comments section.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

an older couple at a locked door

an older couple walked up to a locked door. the woman was a couple steps ahead of her limping husband. she pulled the door. she pushed the door. the door was clearly locked, and rattled and groaned and refused to open.

she stepped back from the door. "it's locked," she said.

her husband, reached out to the door, without saying a word, and pulled the door and pushed the door. he turned to follow his wife down another path.

what the fuck was that about? why did he try to open the door? he saw it was locked when his wife tried it. she turned around and told him it was locked. did he think she was trying to trick him? does he just distrust her in general?

perhaps he thinks his burly strength (something he hasn't had for quite some time, this withered old cornstalk of a man) will somehow bust open this door that his wife is just too weak to open.

she had this look in her face when he did that like it was just another slight in a long life of little slights. she turned away from him. she turned her back to him. she wrapped her face with a kind of sullen pride. it wasn't a large amount of pride. this wasn't a big thing, after all, but it was something, and it affected her as much as it affected me watching it happen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

she didn't tell him the answer, though

-hey want to hear a joke?
-what has four legs and one arm?
-a very happy pit bull.
-you've told me that joke before.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There's never a Camera around when you need one!

I just received, in the mail, hot off the presses, with that lovely new book smell, the very FIRST copy of my novel, exactly as it will be when you pick it up in the stores.

The digital camera is at my Mom's house right now, but let me describe the book for you.

It is approximately the same size as all the hardbacks next to it on the shelf on my mantel. It is, actually, printed on higher-quality paper than the ARCs, with much, much better binding - thank God: I didn't say anything, but I was worried about the ARC binding!

My name and the book's name on the spine are both utterly visible from across the room, on my couch. That's a good eight feet away. In fact, it really stands out among all the other books.

Also, it smells heavenly from here... Oh, wait, that's my birthday cake!

I got this book in my hands the day after my birthday.

Now, flashback a few years. I got the callback on this book, when Phil Athans first asked to get the full manuscript from me, the very day before my birthday. I was sitting in a car repair shop in the middle of a very unpleasant neighborhood. I had to step out to the repair shop because my car died while I was on my lunch break at an Automobile Tax and Title company. I had spent the last week doing odious data entry for a temp agency. I was mostly broke. I was single - I'm almost always single in December, don't know why - and I was in this repair shop dreading the bill I could barely afford.

I was watching Montel Williams on the grainy black and white, and looking at the most fly-riddled donuts you've ever seen in your life.

I was hating my life and everything about it. Another year of my life was about to close with no improvements, and no tangible hope for the future.

Then, in the middle of that waiting room in the skanky parts of Irving, Texas, my cellphone rang, and I didn't recognize the phone number, or the area code.

Today, the day after my birthday - and this one wasn't too bad, because my car didn't break down and I don't hate my job but I am single because this is December - this package shows up in the mail, and it's my book looking back at me.

I worked really fucking hard to get this book in my hands.

A lot of people, actually, worked really hard to make this happen.

There's never a camera around when you need one...

survived another birthday bender, and a poem

I think I survived another birthday bender just fine, though my stomach is a bit woogedy right now. Here's a little something I put together for yer reading pleasure. Tell me if it looks familiar to you.

I've accumulated some calories to burn and I need to go burn them, even if it makes me sick to do it.


Philly versus Dallas, Texas Stadium, December 25th 2006

just once i knew the way of all flesh
texas stadium was older than the players on the field.

the design was modern gladiator.
looking at the back, where huge concrete columns,
like stream-lined aquaducts, funneled the watery
beer and sewage hotdogs up and down
the coliseum stairs

the ceiling of the stadium was open,
but the sides had these wide curves to keep
the sound of the screaming fans from spilling
out onto the highways.

the sound was useful to the players on the field.
on the highways, fan noise was just more noise pollution.

the roof had this black sound-proofing sprayed all over it.
the black stuff had decayed beyond repair.
tiny torn fragments swam through the noise
to land on hooded sweatshirts

into plastic cups.

one piece as big as a black locust landed
on my leg, and i freaked.
i thought it was a bug.

my father picked thing on my leg.
he held it up. I told him that the sky
was falling.

just once i knew the way of all flesh

the black fibers sank in little strips
from the concave stadium roof
the stadium lights like noise
and the crowd still because the player
sank in little strips into their cups
of gatorade. (Philly kicked our
Cowboy asses that night)

a young woman held a sign
limp in her hand from the 30-yard line
an hour ago she was calling out to her own,
private celebrity an hour from now she'd
sit in her car in a muddy field and yawn
behind her headlights’ twin yawns.
her sign on the stadium floor
all the lights off
the little black ceiling fibers like black snow
and empty cups
and moonlight

just once i knew the way of all flesh

my father has trouble climbing stairs. he looks
up at the distance between the guard rail
and the row of seats. he has a look on his face
like he's an old man. he gets to the top just fine,
but i'm thinking about how in another ten years
i'm going to have to hold his arm. ten years ago
we were in martial arts together beating the shit
out of each other beneath kickboxing pads.

we climb over the legs of the people on our row.
we take a picture of the stadium for my mom.

he tells me about the last time he went to a football game.
he and my mom lived in denver (“This was 1975... 76?”)
and they went to a game between tampa bay and denver.
he couldn't remember the quarterbacks' names.
all anybody talks about
these days are star players, and he tells me
what he remembers about the snowy hooligans
in parking lots and the magic time
between weddings and children.

birds fly around the stadium lights, hunting
for the flies of winter.
black insulation from the roof
falls through the sky like moths. birds dive for the black strips
like taking bait.
the last time i was at a football game,
i was at a college game with a sousaphone on me
like an octopus in love.

a whistle blows.
i almost miss the kickoff.
and that's why the whistle blows:
everyone will stop talking, look up!


just once i knew the way of all flesh

some of the black bits are bigger, like large crickets.
most are just light black dandruff,
jarred loose from the stadium vibrations,
they drift into your cup of beer.

i recommend - until they build that new stadium –

drinking from the plastic bottles for sale all over.
or holding your hand over the cup
while microscopic flecks of your own skin
jarred loose in the vibrations of the screaming
blood inside of you falls into your cold beer

such tiny flecks,
you don’t even taste them

Monday, December 17, 2007

zombie and a twelve string

santa claus, will you bring me a twelve-string, the hat, the jacket, the pants...

oh, and about half that talent and cool?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Last Star" is up in the January(?) issue of "Coyote Wild Magazine"

Coyote Wild just went live with their January (?) issue.

New stories by Elizabeth Bear, Beth Bernobich, and... hey, some guy named J M McDermott!

Anywho, go check it out for your science fiction reading pleasure.

So, what will you do when the last star in the unvierse burns out? Will you be a Christian? A Nihilist? Will you turn your ship into the nearest black hole to die with the stars?

Or, will you drive into the long darkness, seeking a way to survive against all odds?

Me? I'll be playing guitar into the dark. My little sabbatical has already led to learning both "Look at Miss Ohio" and "Elvis Presley Blues" by Gillian Welch on my little stringy noisebox. Now, if only I had the talent of Gillian Welch, and the fingers of David Rawlins. Then I'd be worth a damn.

Anyway, I'm going back to the tequila and the Seagul S6 Folk Guitar I've been a-strummin and a-pickin and a-playin

must rest head

i'll truly return one day. one day, it will happen.
(i will return on an aeroplane that will curve gracefully around a volcano...)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

i miss my guitar

work picked up with the holidays, and a deadline or two reared their hoary heads, and i realize i haven't touched my guitar in about two weeks.

i'm going on sabbatical to do this (except on a guitar, not a ukelele, and totally without the talent).

Friday, December 14, 2007

aborted beginnings

My mother was pregnant.
The older women shook their heads and gathered round the rudder wheel. The engineers were busy making their calculations. Until then, my mother was locked up in the bilge. The ship’s crew and passengers gathered round the rudder wheel.
The pilot ignored all of it. He had to guide the ship through the jet streams, and had little patience for crowds clogging his viewports, thermometers, and turing engines. He pushed the elder women’s bodies away from the wheel lest one of them lean in a roll and push the wheel to our doom.
The crew and passengers waited for the engineers to return from their abacuses and papers and quills.
I abandoned them there. Nothing I did there mattered. I went down to the hold, to my mother. She sat on her haunches in the little cell. If they decided her crime was too much weight upon the helium,
“Will they throw you overboard this time?” I asked.
“Don’t be silly, Crumpet,” she said. “It’s all an act. The old birds are just trying to make a big show to scare all you children.”
“I’m scared.”
“Don’t be, Crumpet,” she said. She reached her fingers out from the cell bars. She ran her hands through my hair. “Everything’s going to be fine.”
First, the engineers measured the impact of the weight upon the hydrogen core. Then, they gave their numbers to the elder women that rationed food. The elder women made their recommendation based on a male or female child. The boys are bigger, with larger appetites. The women would set a weight limit for the new child that might be very high or very small. I had heard a rumor that once the weight limit was five pounds. When the baby was born, it was six pounds. It was thrown overboard immediately. No record exists in the logs because the child was never even given a name. It was just excess weight dumped into the endless sea.
All the people wait around the rudder wheel. They vote on their recommendation, and argue the numbers. The passengers and crew listen in utter silence as the women speak. There are no secrets on an airship, after all. Even I knew who my mother’s lover was, and I was only a child of nine.
When the elder women argued the number into a unanimous vote, they wrote their recommendation and amended it onto the form that would go to the Captain. They did this at the rudder wheel so their old legs wouldn’t have to travel far to the Captain’s tea room behind the bridge.
The bilge deck was at the lowest point on the ship, just below the bridge. I didn’t have many ladders to climb to abandon all the people crowded around the Elder women, cluttering up the ladder to the higher decks and the storage halls where the fishermen should have been busy on the calm day with their hundred yard twine and the gentle seas below their windows.
“How’s Jonathen doing?” she asked me. Jonathen was my little brother. I hadn’t seen him since my mother was taken to the bilge. The last I saw of him one of the elder women had carried him off.
“He’s fine,” I said.
“And what about Clarence?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “Shouldn’t he be here?”
“Of course not,” she said, “because he knows everything is going to be fine.”
Clarence was the engineer’s son that had done this to my mother. He was only ten years older than I was. The baby’s grandfather was right this second working the numbers to decide whether his family’s great shame was going to live or to be tossed into the sea.


okay, so I got the beginning down... Now I just need a middle, and end. Which don't seem to be happening at all worth a damn.

I suck.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

too tired for a real update

all i will say tonight is this. the kimbell art museum throws an amazing christmas party. i wish i had gotten more than four hours of sleep last night and hadn't spent all day working on my feet so i could appreciate it.

guten nacht, interwebheads.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

in case you hadn't heard about it:

banks are generally evil.

i won't tell you how i learned this today, but rest assured that if i thought a new bank would be less evil than the one i'm already stuck with, i'd switch banks.

banks are evil.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

and now for something completely different

with the writer strike going strong, will we have any new crops of celebrities to fill the reality television ranks? i hope not. that might be one good thing to come of the strike.

that said, i do hope hollywood bends to the will of the writers. the wga is absolutely correct with what they want, and they are getting unfairly cheated out of their hard-earned wages.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Face Your Book Day"

Today, in case you didn't know, is "Face Your Book Day", which is a highlight of "Take Back the Endcaps Week".

On this special day, December 10, we all must go to a bookstore, and choose our favorite, lesser-known author to help by facing their book cover-out, instead of spine-out on the bookstore shelves.

I chose to "Face-Out" Jim Hines' latest book, "Goblin War". I happen to think Jim is freakishly hilarious. He does things to epic fantasy both wildly inventive, and poignantly human. And, did I say, hilarious?

Jig is the funniest anti-hero I've encountered on fantasy shelves in a loooong time.

I highly recommend picking up any one of the fine Goblin Quest books. Though you may have trouble getting your hands on earlier titles (Rrr! Must promote Jim Hines!) you can easily jump into the adventure late with no difficulty.

As far as endcapping a book, I decided that because I live in the Bible Belt, and because nobody told me about the incredible work of Hal Duncan until I met the guy at World Fantasy Con, it was high time to get Hal some much-needed end-capping. I noticed an empty spot under "Staff Recomendations". I dropped off two copies of "Vellum" where some hideous self-help book used to be. Who, on earth, buys inspirational self-help books? Icky. I'd much rather people be reading cubist literature by a Spectrum Award winning author, who should be nominated for awards that don't require homosexuality soon, because he is a wildly inventive literary stylist. Can anyone nominate him for an Anti-Booker Prize?

Ah, lovely holidays. "Face Your Book Day" is every December 10. "Take Back the Endcaps Week" is every week of December 10.

Who did you help promote this week?

"The Lovesong of Jack McNally" sold to Atomjack Magazine

Atomjack Magazine picked up my little tale about an insurance agent/alien abductee and his hipster friend, Jack McNally.

They're going to publish this story in February, I hear.

If you don't want to read about devouring women to save the human race...

Let's review:
"Man in the Mountain" in December issue of New Myths,
"Last Star" in January issue of Coyote Wild Magazine,
"The Lovesong of Jack McNally" in February Issue of Atomjack Magazine

Story-riffic couple months ahead. I'll keep you posted with any more news on this front. I should have some more news soon.

(Oh, and LAST DRAGON lands in February - though it should be bleeding into your bookstores as the printers ship out. When your name is neither Stephen King nor J.K. Rowling, books will ship out as they're ready. Thus, keep an eye out. If you see it on the shelves of your bookstore, dear friends, do let me know. I want pictorial proof!)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

exerpts from an architecture textbook, a little longer

Modern Plumbing in Old Buildings

classic architecture is special.

but, if we can't put plumbing in it
toilets, sinks, locked doors
air conditioning and central heating

if we can't line the walls with copper piping and pvc
electric outlets
cable television
high-speed internet
proper insulation
level foundations
glass windows

if you can't do that,
just call it a ruin
and leave it the hell alone
or, if you must,
tear it down
from the inside
and rebuild it behind
the mask
of the outer walls
and closed front doors

take the mummy mask
off the bones. give it
to your child to wear
to halloween, and declare himself
the Pharaoh, the Boy King!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Again, Excerpts From An Architecture Textbook

2.3 On Elevators

Louis Kahn,
when he built his famous little museum
knew he must include
an elevator for the elderly,
the lazy, and the ruined

with just two stories
an elevator was for the people
that can't take stairs

3000 pounds is not
much for an elevator
if you think about it

fat people ride the elevator
and fat people ride electric wheelchairs
with other fat people and they all
they weigh lots

and in the future
the dead people will be in tubes
they'll roll around in big, glass and metal tubes
with all-terrain tires that cannot climb stairs
they will refuse to stay dead
in their skyscraping mortuary dormitories

Louis Kahn was a visionary
3000 pounds is not really that much for an elevator
if you are planning on the future
when dead people will drive around art museums
in metal and glass tubes

to look at all these beautiful
ancient things

Friday, December 7, 2007

Even Further Excerpts from an Architecture Textbook

4.4 Food Services
the health inspector likes to keep everything under his lens.

be sure to place lots of cameras.
and those mirrors that bend
around corners so the health inspector
can stand in line and watch the precise way the trash compactor
smokes and the busboy smokes and the chef smokes.

ashtrays are useful, too.
make room for them next to the fryers
where no one will notice the smoke.

a happy kitchen staff is a calm kitchen staff.
a calm kitchen staff is more likely to make lewd remarks.
lewd remarks lead to lewd actions.


a happy health inspector makes for an anxious staff.
an anxious staff looks – constantly –
at the ash tray that they cannot use
but need with every atom in their fingers and then

they are on edge.
they will yell and scream at everyone.

and the food will be fantastic.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Further Excerpts From an Architecture Textbook, Translated into English for Non-Architects

4.3 Restrooms
be sure to include enough room for more pipes.

women need more room than men.
they like to talk. fix their make-up. sit in the stalls and cry.
men don’t need to wash their hands much.
two sinks is plenty.
and the single soap dispenser isn’t important.
acoustics are not a concern at all because men never talk to each other.

make sure the lighting is bright, and clear, so everyone can see themselves in the mirror.
it’s the only time all night they’ll be able to feel like they’re somebody,
because they’re looking at themselves in the restroom and thinking about
where they are, how they got there, and what they will do when they leave with perfect,

perfect hair.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Excerpts from an Architecture Textbook, Translated into English for Non-Architects

4.2 Instructions for Hospitals
hospitals are special
because the doctor wants it precisely this way or else someone will die
and the respiratory therapist needs enough gases or someone will die
and the nurse’s station needs a decent ethernet outlet or someone will die
and the break room needs a microwave or someone will die
and the crash cart needs to be exactly one hundred paces
from the meeting area
where the doctors like to yell at each other
because a doctor is going to die

natural lighting helps, because everyone is stressed
let the sun shine in
or else read the obituaries
and wonder if that father of three had a heart-attack
because you killed him
with bad lighting

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

LAST DRAGON advance reading copy poetry contest redux

This time, i want you to send me a GLOSA.

Dig through this blog. Find something interesting to riff on. Write a glosa about it. Send it to me at j_m_mcdermott (:a:)

winner gets a free, personalized Advanced Reading Copy signed by me.

What is a Glosa, you ask? Well...

Let's see... Today is December 4th, so let's give you until January 5th to get your poem in to the contest.

No reason to rush things just for Christmas gifts.

Since the book comes out on February 5, you'll have a whole month to lord your awesome-ness over your friends and close relations before they can read even the first page! (Unless you let them...)

Monday, December 3, 2007

on world of warcraft

for various reasons too numerous to detail here, i downloaded the ten-day free trial of world of warcraft. it doesn't run well on this little computer of mine, but it ran well enough that i could check out what all the fuss about the mmorpg is about.

it was fun, sure. but, it wasn't really that much fun that i'd consider paying for it.

i tried one of each race, and one of each class.

the two most fun i had were with the hunter and the mage. more specifically a troll hunter and a gnome mage.

i leveled them up doing quests and slaughtering pixels both to level eleven.

the gnome mage was the most fun, i should say. he was a cute little death machine of fire and ice. his spells were the most fun. i had more success solo-ing this character than any other, though it isn't supposed to be the class that solos well (?) because it can't go toe-to-toe with anyone.

i had more success going toe-to-toe with beasties with my little gnome mage than i did the hulking brute paladin. mage spells do very, very much damage. you don't need to spend any time going toe-to-toe with beasties.

anyway, gameplay grew tiresome after an hour or two. how many times can you polymorph an ice troll to pull it from its group, then back up and wait twenty seconds for the sheep to turn back into a very pissed off troll that will now chase you over hill and dale alone while you blast it with fire and ice?

how many times can you pop guilds onto your ignore list? how many inane discussions can you listen to about football in a dwarven castle while you are trying to find just that one stupid idiot to finish your quest?

i should at least peek my head behind the curtain of an RP server just for the sake of completion. who knows? maybe the tauren and night elf quests won't be completely and disappointingly lame if teenagers aren't hitting on my female-shaped avatar?

hm. a strange thing. i'm glad i didn't pay for it.

also, it's not as much fun, or as awesome as books.

books like this one:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

i use sea-turtle imagery too much.

The eggs still haven’t hatched, yet. They aren’t even stirring in their shells. I think they’re long dead. It’s been almost three months since I dug up the eggs in the dark.
I was still in college in Houston, and I drove half an hour to Galveston to fly kites on the beach when I was stressed out. This was always at night. My kite was 8 feet long and I kept it coiled like a sea monster in the trunk of my car. It had a picture of an alien and a mushroom in the rounded tip, but you never saw that thing at night. At night, all you saw was the silvery tail against the black night sky, unless the kite was flying in front of a cloud. Then the tail was a black ribbon. Silver rippling ribbon. Black rippling ribbon. Then silver, again.
I walked down the shore barefoot in the dark at 11:30 pm, trying my best to keep the kite from smashing into the side of the hotels that had pushed against the beaches.
One night, just before I was moving out of the dorms I got stressed out about the future. One chunk of life was over, and I was going north to Dallas from college to be another corporate drone. I was shit scared. I drove down to Galveston as fast as I could. I was walking along the beach staring up at my kite, and I tripped over a fucking sea turtle.
The creature didn’t make a sound when I did it. I felt like I had tripped over a large chunk of driftwood. It wasn’t driftwood. It was a big fucking sea turtle with a long, black, leathery shell like a gladiator’s shield and four large paddle feet. If I had stepped three feet to the right, I’d have broken an ankle stepping into the nest with the eggs. As it stood, all I managed to do was stub my toe on a turtle.
My kite drifted off into the dark. When I fell, I let it loose from my hand. When I saw the turtle, I stopped thinking about kites.
The turtle was laying eggs. I listened to the squishy plopping of an egg emerging from the turtle, and falling into the hole.
The turtle looked straight at me. I looked straight at it. I didn’t move. The turtle kept laying eggs.
When it was done – still staring at me – it dragged its long body down the beach towards the water. It hadn’t buried the eggs it had laid. I had scared it off from burying its eggs.
I took off my shirt and gathered six damp eggs in a wad of sand. I buried the rest like I figured the mother would if she could. I went back to my car, and took my eggs back to the dorm room, and put them in an ice chest and a little lamp inside to create some heat.
My roommate had already moved out a few days ago. Nobody really noticed anything.
I took the eggs with me when I drove north to Dallas and my new apartment and my new job.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

my electric range exploded!

i was cooking my ramen noodle soup last night, and BOOM! the coil shorted out, and then the place where the metal coil bends down under the range BLEW UP and sparks flew everywhere and I dumped water on the counter to put them all out in case they actually caught something!

What the hell was that!

I have never seen a random explosion like that!

Anybody with technical expertise know what happened, or have any advice about how to prevent? I'm not cooking anything until I know why my kitchen exploded in smoke and flame.