Tuesday, October 30, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

I'm doing the nanowrimo thing in a couple of days (http://www.nanowrimo.org) which involves writing 50,000 words in the month of November. As some of you may know, I'm more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner in the field of writing, so this is definitely going to be a challenge for me. That's why I'm letting everyone know, so you can hold me to it. I'll post semi-regular updates on my blog. If you think of it, I'd appreciate a very short, "How's it going?" or "Keep it up" e-mail or comment from you sometime in the month of November to keep me guilted into my commitment once the mental chips are down. Thanks, and here's hoping you get a bunch of your favorite candy tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Juicing The Multiverse

When I first read this article:

Parallel Universes Exist http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=paUniverse_sun14_parallel_universes&show_article=1&cat=0

I thought, "Hey, that's pretty cool!" As I imagine a lot of other science fiction geeks did. But a couple of weeks ago, a thought struck me:

Where does all the energy come from?

I'm no physicist but something about this doesn't make sense to me. Maybe there's some answer that's obvious to physicists, somewhere in those heavy-duty scientific papers that I never read. Maybe they don't feel the need to mention it in articles geared toward the layman who might not question it. If anyone can tell me the answer, please, have at it. I encourage you to make me look foolish, because I'd like to know.

Where does all the energy come from for all those branching universes? How about those laws of thermodynamics? Do they still have those? Is reality not perturbed by the sudden energy drain needed to instantly create an entire universe every time I choose between the red M&M and the brown one?

With the amount of decisions being made by every human and who knows how many other intelligent (or even non-intelligent) life forms, and the amount of possible outcomes for every mundane act and molecular dance, there must be trillions of trillions of trillions of universes being created every picosecond. That's a lot of juice, my friends. According to my admittedly tenuous grasp of science, it's impossible for even the amount of energy needed to power my lawn mower for an hour to pop into existence out of nowhere. How do those other universes do it?

If parallel universes must exist, then there is a mechanism in place for creating energy out of nothing. If that's true, then maybe any one particular universe doesn't have to die a heat death at the end of its normal life cycle. If we, or any sufficiently advanced beings, figure out how to access those other universes, we can take some of their energy for ourselves. If we steal a lit candle from Dimension X, our universe will have more energy than it started with.

If you don't think quantum physics is some crazy shit, certainly, you've got to think this is. Somebody explain!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cheap Jenny

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Poor Jenny. She climbed inside a vending machine just to let people know she was available but found herself passed up for Ding Dongs and Lay’s the whole day. She lowered her price and wept, hoping her mother would never find out she could be had for the cost of a pack of Wrigley’s. Jenny pushed past the crinkly wrappers after quitting time and hoped she could get out as easily as she got in. Just then, two guys put their money in the machine and chose her. She was overjoyed.

Until, that is, they broke her in half and split her for the train ride home. She realized then she was too much for any one person. In truth, even half of her was too much for any one person, because after a few bites they left most of her on the floor of the train.

She pulled herself together, smoothed out her skirt and got off at the next stop. Jenny stepped from the train diminished, as any of us would be after such an episode. She considered the possibility that no one would ever have her in this state. But worse cases than her had found love and some better ones hadn’t. Love came unexpectedly if it came at all. Jenny would hand it over to fate and never vend herself again.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Every Easel A Rainbow

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

We’d been chosen as unwitting participants in a notorious Art Psychology study in the mid-seventies. Each five-year-old student received only one crayon per day for sixty-four days. By our sixty-fourth crayon gifting, our day one crayons sat puny and mangled upon our easels. Few of us had the idea of holding crayon one up against crayon sixty-four. Insights into the nature of our mortality inevitably followed. Gaudy Silver stood straight and tall against the crippled, bent Cyan.

I placed Cyan, once my favorite, at the bottom of my pencil box, sweeping it from my sight beneath a wide palette of other crayons and green drawing pencils. I felt it, buried at the bottom of that red plastic box and felt, too, a cold stab in my chest where the ribs nearly meet. I could no longer use old Cyan, nor could I throw it away, nor could I look at it. Early in November of my Kindergarten year, guilt, remorse, mourning overwhelmed me.

On day sixty-five, I arrived in class to find a single pink pastel sitting at my easel. I collapsed sobbing and had to be removed from class. A man and woman from the state visited me at my home. The study came to an end by the time I returned to class, every easel a rainbow polymorph of media. The students, the teacher, the man and the woman, they all looked at me and they expected.

We each went home that evening, empty and no wiser.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bidnez Pt. 1

Please note the new link over to the right for StarShipSofa. If you're a fan of literary science fiction you'll feel at home with this podcast and hosts Tony and Ciaran, two hardcore readers of science fiction. Each week they profile a different science fiction author or the occasional film, TV show, or this week, comic book hero. Their love for their subject comes through and even if you consider yourself well-read in the field, you'll learn all sorts of fascinating tidbits spanning the entire history of science fiction literature. It's a hell of a good time too. You'll find yourself wanting to throw back a couple of pints with the guys after just a couple of episodes. I highly recommend their show:

Improve your vocabulary while you help feed people who need it at FreeRice:

If you haven't done so already, please enjoy my story, Marissa, Marissa in the latest issue (#33) of Albedo One, Ireland's premier science fiction magazine. You can buy a print copy or a .pdf download here at their site:

Found On The Chalkboard In Mr. Massey's Room, 3rd Period

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Break into groups of three to five people. Today’s Scenario: What if everybody ejaculated condiments?

Topics for discussion

* Would there be more or less oral sex? Explain.

* Would people bring French fries to bed?

* What would relish feel like on the way out?

* If someone ran out of mustard on the Fourth of July and the stores were all closed, do you think Margo might send Sam to the bathroom with an empty squeeze bottle?

* Is that mayo on your leg?

Saturday, October 20, 2007


by Matthew Sanborn Smith

We all gelled in the elevator and by the time it stopped, none of us could step out. We just sort of flopped out onto the concrete parking lot at the airport; four gross, yellow, translucent, gelatinous blobs, blobbing around the crazed drivers beneath the low ceilings.

Bobby broke into a hundred little blobby chunks when he got whacked by a Jeep and it was gross and beautiful at the same time. Gross from my human point of view, beautiful from the gell, because what Bobby had done, was reproduce himself, ninety-nine times over. Ten tens of Bobby’s blobby babies skittered all over the painted lines beneath the pink-orange lights which fluoresced through the night.

Friday, October 19, 2007


There’s been some trash talk on-line concerning the new show Cavemen, but I actually saw the show and sent an e-mail to the good folks at SF Signal, which included the following:

“I'll just come right out and say it: I like Cavemen. I like many of the Geico commercials and I just saw the show for the first time last night, because I don't pay close attention to the airings of network shows and my wife and kids control the television sets. My wife and I loved the show. The comedy is character and dialogue driven, like the ads. It's not slapstick, it's not a laugh-track laden Friends type of show where you can feel the set-up and joke being written. It's good stuff, and I'm recommending it to you and everyone else.”

There. I said it and I’m not taking it back. The episode I saw revolved around the guys’ love for a yogurt shop and relationships with various women, including a gargantuan Über-bitch of a cavewoman who likes her sex rough and well, everything else rough for that matter. She also happens to work at the yogurt place, so we can see one caveman’s (I’m sorry, I don’t remember their names) progression from attraction to realization to terror and how the three of them balance their fear of this cavewoman against their love of the yogurt she serves. There’s a fun argument between one of the guys (who likes Fruity Pebbles on his yogurt) and his modern human girlfriend (called “smoothie” by the cavewoman for her lack of body hair). The modern girl figures his preference for Pebbles means he prefers cavewomen. He contends that Pebbles was just a cute little baby on the Flintstones. She counters that Pebbles was a hottie on the Pebbles and Bam-Bam show. He has the same argument at home with his fellow caveman.

If there are more of you out there that have seen the show and liked it, leave a comment. Maybe we can soften the stigma so the guy on the fence will jump down on our side and soon we’ll have a movement on our hands.

If you haven’t done it yet, watch the show, you’ll be glad you did. Either you’ll catch something fun before it goes off the air in a few weeks, or you’ll help keep the program on the air. I’m hoping for the second scenario.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Edward Scissor-Eyes

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

They call me Edward Scissor-Eyes. I can’t see anything. I bump into a lot of stuff all the time and end up stabbing that same stuff with my eyes. Yeah, it pretty much sucks. Who thought this was a good idea?

Maybe I’ll try some eye-drops.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Trees Play Ball

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

When the trees played ball generations passed as we humans watched a single play. They tried to play with less innings, cut it down to one out, then one strike and even had a funny hat day. None of it really worked. The game was too damn slow. It revitalized human baseball though. Those games seemed to rush by with fiery speed after watching an afternoon of tree ball. The only thing that saved tree ball was the inevitable scandal that occurred when the batter for the Manitoba Maples was revealed to be a cork tree.


by Matthew Sanborn Smith

All the instruments were in place. All the pretty colored dials and gauges, computer readouts; It all looked so high tech and it seemed like something important should be happening. But when Stot looked around and realized that he sat in the center chair and that everyone waited for him to push that important happening into motion, he knew that he and everyone else would be disappointed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jimmy Holds The Line

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Jimmy had been dipped in ketchup the previous night and by morning it had hardened into a dark and rubbery armor. An old tea-kettle was his shield and his only weapon was his harsh vocabulary. He’d spent many weekends down at the docks picking up naughty words from the merchant marines.

He stood at the border by himself and faced down the hordes of Canada. Two million men strong, they threatened Jimmy’s people with sameness. Overwhelming, unrelenting sameness. The guards had all fled, the army and air force were away on other business. Jimmy held the line. Indeed, not one of the two million was able to push him back, not one could best him in personal combat. Not one had tried. They all went around him.

Save for about thirty of them, they weren’t even aware he was there. As the Great White North swept over the Great Green South, as Washington, Montana, Michigan, New York and the rest fell, Jimmy swung his tea-kettle overhead and called those Canadians some of the filthiest names their pure red ears would have ever heard, had they been able to hear him. But they were far beyond his reach now and the ketchup solidified into a disgusting, blackened, cement-like gunk. Poor old Jimmy, the last man willing to fight for America was trapped forever because the rescue workers were too grossed out to touch him.

As for the fate of his country, no one had noticed the invasion and life went on as usual.

Inspiration: It's been one full, fat month since I've posted anything here, because I'm suddenly a busy guy. The only reason you're seeing this is because Rani keeps bringing it up. So if you're happy to see this, thank her for looking out for you dogs.