Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: The One-Thousand's Year In Review

Just a quick rundown on writing progress made this year. Thirty-two stories closer to one-thousand! Son-of-who-cut-your-navel-string! Yes, I know that I've got to do a lot more than thrity-two a year to meet my goal. And yes, I know that something like fourteen of those stories were micro-fiction for Thaumatrope and a lot were flash fiction, but I did have a few longer dealies in there: Unit One, Maisy's Many Souls, The Guy Who Made Only McDonald's, Jim Sawgrass and the Family Bulbs. I consider 2008 a big win. In comparison, I only completed five stories in 2007 and four in 2006. So there. Yay, 2008!

I made ninety-three submissions in 2008, thirty-two in 2007 and fifty-seven in 2006. I have records going back to 1991 (sad, isn't it?), but I figure the last two years are good enough for our purposes.

Normally at this point, I'd discuss how well I did in relation to my writing goals for the year, but I didn't seem to have made any for 2008. Well, I can't strictly say that because in December of 2007 I planned out how I was going to turn my NaNoWriMo novel into a real novel which would have taken most of 2008. I abandoned that rather quickly. I generally suck with goals. I had no short story goals for the year and I did rather well. Goals take the piss out of me. I think just looking at them disheartens me and I quit before I start.

So here are my goals for 2009. I would like to write ninety stories and one novel in 2009. There's no way I'll do that, but that's my goal. Actually I could do the story part with really short stories. Hmmm. A really short novel? I'd like to make two-hundred submissions in 2009. That's possible.

What I'd like to do that's not quantifiable is become more of myself through my work. My writing life has been a struggle to find the essence of what I do. I don't know where that is, but it will be far enough from everything else to be distinguishable. I want to get closer to wherever that is.

Thaumatrope is temporarily closed to submissions but it looks like its Daddy, N.E. Lilly, has got a new flash thing going at Everyday Weirdness. I'll have to see if I have anything for him and if not, write something.

I might not be posting tomorrow, I don't know yet. If not, I wish all of you a wonderful New Year's Eve (The wife calls it Old Year's Night) and I hope everyone will have a wonderful 2009. Like my goals, I know it can't happen, but I'm hoping it just the same. Again, so there.

Friday, December 26, 2008


We got a ukulele in at the store a while ago that came with a book and extra strings. My son and I have been wanting one so I bought it for Christmas. It's crap. I suspected it might be, because it seemed on the cheap side. Not that I go around pricing ukuleles, but it seemed pretty cheap. So I got what I paid for. Tomorrow it gets returned. It needs a fret that it was never given. It sounded like ass when I tuned it by ear yesterday. Today I went online at Pineapple Pete's Uke School, which seems like a pretty handy site for a beginner, and tuned each string to the notes there and then it sounded a hell of a lot better. That is, until I tried a couple chords. As soon as you finger a note, it's out of tune with the open strings. What a mess. Now I'll look around music stores for a real uke.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Song Ever

Merry Christmas all. I probably won't be posting tomorrow, because I'll be in one of those mystery no-internet zones that are still sprinkled about the planet. So here's Christmas. My favorite ever Christmas song for your pleasure. Yes, I know it's from the eighties, shut up already. Billy Squier rocks! Enjoy the very unique Santa dance at 1:36.

Aural Delights Christmas Special!

Merry Christmas Eve, my plucky little elves!

The StarShipSofa is pleased to present a special Christmas episode of Aural Delights, featuring a gorgeous illustration of the China Miéville feature story by Skeet!

Aural Delights No 56 China Miéville

Editorial: Tony C Smith

Flash Fiction: A Christmas Tale by Davis Kopaska-Merkel

Flash Fiction: Robowassailing by Allen Steele

Fact: Sofa Art by Skeet

Main Fiction: 'Tis The Season by China Miéville

Narrators: Diane Severson, MCL, Amy H Sturgis


Monday, December 22, 2008

Two Exits, No Waiting

Food poisoning yesterday. Absolutely trashed me. As Robin Williams put it, "Your body says, 'Everybody out! Two exits, no waiting!'" Nine hours of that! And then I could barely move. The wife picked me up to take me to her house and take care of me. She had to help me get dressed. A Powerade did wonders for me. That and many, many hours of sleep. I still had to call out of work today, just walking the dog put me back in bed for hours. I'm feeling much better now and should be back at it tomorrow.

I just sent out The Dog Planet. That's number 88 of The One-Thousand. I'd write more, but I've got a bazillion things to catch up on and it wouldn't surprise me if more sleep was one of them.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Not the state of victory, not the Roman military procession, but the band. Watch Mike Levine channel Derek Smalls at the beginning:

Now, I'm not one of those guys who is stuck in the eighties. I love lots of new music, but I keep finding these wonderful gems from my misspent youth and now, in my misspent adulthood, I want to share them with all of you. Having said that:


And this is me just digging the video in my bedroom. I actually saw the guys on this tour (Sport of Kings) back in 1987, though it was in Worcester, Mass, not Halifax where this video was shot. Best concert ever! They were ten times better live than in the studio.

Here's a funny lighter story. I saw nearly every show I've ever seen in the eighties. I went to see Rush (That other godlike Canadian power trio) with my wife in 1996. Before the show I told her we had to get lighters.
"Why? We don't smoke," she sez.
"No," I sez, "It's for Closer to the Heart (I speak in italics like that sometimes). Everybody holds up their lighters at the beginning of Closer to the Heart."

Besides seeing this on their concert videos, I saw them twice in '87 on the Hold Your Fire Tour. So I knew whereof I spoke. We're at the concert, yay, song, song, song, then Alex starts up with the beginning of Closer to the Heart.
"Quick, get out your lighter!" I told my wife. We hold up our lighters and I look around this crowd of maybe 12,000 people and their are maybe ten lighters lit in the whole goddamned audience.
"Okay, put away your lighter," I said. Sheepishly would be the proper adverb here.

Enough of that crap. I achieved 87 today with Cranberry God. I think Thaumatrope is choking on submissions. My last one is set to run on July 3rd and I read a message after submitting Cranberry God that said, Please wait for a response to this submission before sending another. So that will slow me down. But it was bound to happen.

Call Me Butter, Cuz I Am On A Roll

85: The Song of the Modular Men

86: The South Rises Again

I told you it was going to get stupid. But I've got to get to some serious writing. Besides the story I'm working on, Fiction Crawler is long overdue.

But Sleepy Time now.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

Friday, December 19, 2008

83 And 84. And Socks

Sold my two Easter stories to Thaumatrope yesterday. That brings my total Thaumatrope sales to 6. The success is quite heady. I may have to lie down. My first rejection from them might be devastating! I sent two more stories last night: Political Flavors (83) and Tomorrow's Love Never Comes (84) These have no particular theme as there's no holiday call.

Outside of that, my writing has been stink city this week. Productivity has been low, low, low. As I said, Sunday was great, but between my funky schedule, errands and Christmas shopping (and screwing around here), I have been seriously slacky. And I had such high hopes on Sunday. Well, the nice thing about not being dead yet, is that you can say, "I'll do better in the future." You may not do better, but you can say it and that feels nice.

Last day of school today before Christmas break. Hooray! Aside from Christmas Day, I may not have to get up at 5 am for a couple of weeks. That's my Christmas present. And socks.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

They Shall Call Me A Visionary

Lookie here. The Boingers pointed to this story today about a bunch of freaks in Iowa who garlic salt their streets: Iowa Town's Roads Well Seasoned. Note the date of the story. December 17th, 2008.

Now, note the date of this post, A Season For All Seasonings: July 29th, 2007! That's right, bastards. I saw it coming nearly a year and a half before they did it. Nostradamus can suck it. I didn't even need to hide it in a quatrain! Think about it, Church, this cult has got it goin' on now! A leader with verifiable prophecies? Son of a gun!

New Flight Of The Conchords

This is what I had to say: Here's episode 1 of Season 2 of Flight of the Conchords from Funny or Die. I was on the fence about whether or not to post this, because it can only be seen in the U.S. apparently and it might only be viewable for a few days. Sorry to everyone who can't see it, but it may reach a few people who didn't know it was out there and who can enjoy it, so here it is. The season starts on January 18th.

Thought I Had More To Say

Sold my two St. Patrick's Day stories to Thaumatrope and sent two Easter stories: Out of One Basket (81) and Grass Monkey (82). Every day is a holiday at Thaumatrope submissions. It's the happiest place on the net.

I've decided to stick with The One-Thousand (the goal, I mean). If I meet the goal in a way I hadn't expected, then so be it. When it's done, I'll set another goal, that's all.

Man, I was certain I had more to say. Maybe I'll say something else later today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

StarShipSofa - Aural Delights No. 55

Nominations are over and the finalists are in! It's time for listeners to vote for their favorites for the first annual Sofanauts Awards! Voting is open until January 23rd. By the by, I'm a big fat finalist in the Best Fact Article Contributor category. Honestly, it won't bother me a bit if Amy or Jim wins, their stuff is great, but if you do like my goods the best, give me a vote. My "Sorry you didn't get in there"'s go out to all my fellow Sofa-sitters who didn't get in there. Sorry.

This Week, the StarShipSofa is proud to present a story by Ben Bova on Aural Delights No. 55. Blast Off!

Aural Delights No 55 Ben Bova

Editorial: Tony C Smith

Poetry: How I will Outwit the Time Thieves by Mike Allen

Flash Fiction: Magician by Jeff VanderMeer

Fact: Singularity by Cory Doctorow

The Process Diary by Paul Caggegi

The Sofanauts Awards: by Mark Bormann

Main Fiction: Inspiration by Ben Bova

Narrators: Chrispy, Mark Nelson, Annette Bowman

This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com. Download a free audiobook of your choice today at audiblepodcast.com/sofa


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Thaumatropic Orgy!

I sold my two stories to Thaumatrope today. Yay! One was a Valentine's Day story. My man Church sold one as well and I think they're giving Grant his own spinoff magazine. As an aside, Church doesn't seem to want to follow me. Is it my bottom? Because if it is, I'm perfectly fine with him following me from the front.

I just wrote and sent in two more stories. They're now calling for St. Patrick's Day stories. Now understand, I don't title the stories in my submissions. Those are precious characters I cannot spare (each of today's stories were precisely one-hundred and forty characters). But for the purpose of The One-Thousand, I have to title them. To tell them apart if for no other reason. I'm not going to call them something like: Untitled (The one about the guy with the thing). Today's stories were: Again With the Green Beer (79) and Unlucky (80).

Michael Swanwick shares a wonderful anecdote about Galileo's Finger. Scroll down a tad. It's there. And Diane turned me onto Nicola Griffith's interesting new project. Check it out, you might want to get involved.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Life's Goal Has Just Been Turned On Its Head

There's a new magazine in town called Thaumatrope and it publishes on Twitter. That's right, Twitter, the land where no post can exceed one-hundred and forty characters. I just learned about it a couple of days ago on John Scalzi's blog. He did an interview there. My compadre, Grant Stone, has pounced on this and asked me just an hour ago if I'd submitted. I checked into it and I've already submitted two stories.

Here's where it gets stupid.

Given my my rules at the onset of The One-Thousand, these stories count toward my goal. Hell, Thaumatrope is even a paying market! Given all this, I could conceivably meet my goal in a few months time, rather than ten years. By the way, for those of you keeping track: Bright Idea (Number 77) and Sweetheart (Number 78). This isn't exactly what I had in mind, but that was the goal. This changes everything. I'll have to rethink.

How does The Ten-Thousand sound to everyone?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Writey Write Write

I'm happy today. The house is a mess, I have a pile of things still to do and I stink like a fish, but I'm happy. That's because I wrote seven pages today. Some pros might think, "Seven pages? Big deal," but seven is a lot for me. I may be onto something good. I got worked up by this month's posts on Dean Wesley Smith(no relation)'s blog: http://deanwesleysmith.com/. He's been posting about writing goals all this month. If you're a writer, I strongly encourage you to check out everything on there from December of 2008. You'll want to read them in chronological order since each day builds upon the last.

Yesterday's post in particular kicked me into gear, because I was really able to throw down the numbers for what I want to do and figure out what I need to do to meet those numbers. About six and a half pages a day will get me where I want to go. That should seem like a lot to me and to be honest it often has in the past. But today I looked at it, and thought, "We're talking one and a half to two hours a day here. In the big scheme of my life, that's doable." Hell, I often waste that much time screwing around online. Today was easy, because I had a day off. Tomorrow might be harder. I want to get the writing out of the way as early as possible so it's done and I can get on with the business of real life like cleaning the toilet. Today, once I made my goals, I wrote before doing anything else and that equals happy. Tomorrow, I'd have to get up at 2:30 in the morning to get the writing out of the way and that probably isn't happening, so we'll see what I can do later in the day. But at the moment I'm optimistic.

Another thing I've found is how to get the writing done. You may recall the wonderful AlphaSmart I blogged about here:
It's a magnificent little machine, but I put it aside once I got my MacBook. It sat unwanted in its corner, looking pathetic for a year and a half. A few months ago I picked it back up and discovered that it rocks out for first drafts. Why? No goddamned Internet! No e-mail. No distractions. Just writing. I got huge chunks of my story, Maisy's Many Souls (75), done on the AlphaSmart and I picked it up again a few days ago. It's awesome. Alphasmart for first drafts, MacBook for editing. By the way, the AlphaSmart is still running strong on the three AA batteries I put in there Christmas day 2005! Battery strength is still a little over 50%! Did I mention it rocks?

So there you go. Everything's coming up roses. For today at least. We'll see what tomorrow brings but I'm going into it aware of the hump I'll have to overcome and I am so fore-armed. Cheers until the morrow good friends! What ho!

Where the hell did that come from?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Havin' A Reggae Christmas

Just throwing up a quick one before midnight so I'll have a post today. Another happy Christmas video from my youth. Rasta Wee:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dead Folks

Follow me! Yet another call for followers. Spice up the party for those four lonely people over to the left. Click the "follow this blog" clicky.

Question: What do these two people have in common? Van Johnson and Bettie Page

Answer: Had you asked me about them last week, I'd have been sure that they were already dead.

Do you guys have this problem? Are you certain that you heard a famous person was dead when they're actually still alive? Maybe they do die, but pop back into existence due to Hollywood magic or zombie dust. Two more names: Abe Vigoda and Nell Carter. I'm sure they died multiple times. I'm not talking about being resuscitated on the operating table. I'm talking dead and buried, formaldehyde in the veins, then getting back up for a couple of years, maybe doing a little work before checking out again.

I know it can't be just me. Who were you sure was dead that wasn't? Throw us a comment.

Okay, I'm not nuts. I just checked Wikipedia to confirm the spelling of Abe Vigoda's name and found this whole section on false reports of his death. Now, you know I have to check Nell Carter.

. . . (time passes)

No false reports listed there. But that woman had a crazy-ass life. Married a mathematician and lumber executive? Who does that?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gene Gene The Dancing Machine!

If you were alive in the seventies you know that the best part of the whole shitty decade was Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. Nothing could make you happy like Gene, especially if you danced along like I did. By the way, don't read that last line in his Wikipedia entry. It'll just bring you down again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Hard Rain On The Sofa

Woo-hoo! I've got a flash fiction story on the Sofa this week! A Hard Rain, as you might remember, first appeared on this very blog. Once again, if you haven't voted for The Sofanauts Awards nominations, do so now. There's less then a week to go.

This Week, StarShipSofa is pleased to present Aural Delights No. 54. Blast off!

Aural Delights No 54 Joan D Vinge

Editorial: Tony C Smith

Poetry: Light Across An Impossible Lake by Mark Rich

Flash Fiction: Hard Rain by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Fact: Arthur Gordon by Amy H Sturgis

The Sofanauts Awards: by Mark Bormann

Main Fiction: A View From A Height by Joan D Vinge

Narrators: Kate Baker, Julio Flavio, Diane Severson

Advertisement: This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com. Download a free audiobook of your choice today at audiblepodcast.com/sofa


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Greek Legacy

See, I can make fun of customers here because none of them will read this blog. Today while I was helping a customer, a second customer approached my fellow employee, Paula, and asked, "Do you have Suh-FAH-klis?" (I'm writing it the way she said it, emphasis on the middle syllable.) I was thinking it was some nutty New Age philosophy or twist on an eastern religion. I don't know what tipped Paula off, maybe the lady showed her what she wanted on a slip of paper as she said it, but Paula asked, "Sophocles?" and the lady said, "Yeah, that's it."

This reminded me of a phone call from about a month ago. A guy asked me if we had The Writings of Aristotle, Volume 1. While I was looking it up on the computer, he asked a someone who was with him, "Hey, who wrote that?"

Which in turn reminded me of a joke my dear friend, Aslan (No, he was not a lion), used to spout whenever the Greeks came up. He used to talk about the famous Greek philosopher, Testacles (You want to say it like he did, for that special Greeky flavor - TEST-uh-cleez). I like to think of old Testacles as the father of urology.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Just Skip To The Good Part

If you want to avoid all the crappy boring stuff, just skip to the video at the bottom. You've been warned.

The weekend. The wife was up at 4 am and I at 5 am to make breakfast for two-hundred people for the PTO's breakfast with Santa. Save for the part about getting three hours sleep, it was kind of fun. I had a brief Lileks moment. Understand that because of the way these meals had to be served, we had to package them individually, as if they would be purchased for take-out. The little packages of syrup we included were not labeled "maple syrup" but instead labeled "table syrup" and I pictured the stuff inside being refined from the sap of freshly squeezed tables.

Then a quick trip to the wife's house, walk the dogs, and off to the five hour parenting class, which made watching paint dry seem like downhill racing. Suddenly it was dark again and my daughter needed to get to my computer for a couple hours for a science project. Dropped her off, came back, started working on something for the Sofa. The wife called, this was like midnight now, and we had to talk out some stuff so I went over there, talked it out, got a couple hours sleep, went home, slept for another forty-five minutes before being called into work early.

You can imagine what a pleasant mood I was in by that time. I don't totally remember what happened last night (I know there was driving involved), but I had to go to the Dreaded Monday Morning Meeting today, and after errands and my quarterly visit with Dad (Who, as a veteran who fought at Pearl Harbor, was bumming because he received very little mention in yesterday's paper on the sixty-seventh anniversary of the attack), I went home and slept and slept. My son came home from school and after our post-school meet and greet I went back to sleep. Then supper, library with daughter, and now, at 10:20 pm, I'm thinking I'm going to sleep again. This is normally very early for me. It's partly about catching up on three night's of lost sleep, partly trying to wash the memory of the weekend away.

I'm posting this, because it's one of my favorites for Christmas. Hall and Oates got intentionally goofy here and the video is as much fun as the song:

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Classin' This Dump Up

I had the weekend from Heck. It gave weekends a bad name.

Welcome, Grant! Those followers are really rolling in now. To show Grant what a classy joint we run here at The One-Thousand, I present the following:

UPDATE: Damn it! NBC must have come down on youtube. Most versions are gone and embedding on this one is disabled. For some reason, I can still link to it. Well, we'll see how long the link lasts:

Friday, December 05, 2008

I Wanted You To Read It Here First

Thanks to Diane, for being follower number three and all the nice things she's said in my direction over the past year (including her comments here). If you haven't yet voted in the Sofanaut Awards nominations (and why haven't you?), then give Diane your love for "Best Narrator." Yes, we are a big mutual admiration society over at the Sofa. That's why we need your votes, so that it doesn't end in a fifty person tie for first place. Voting only lasts about twelve more days, so please have at it!

Tomorrow, I'm heading to the wife's school early on to help her with a Breakfast with Santa, the cooking and the clean-up. Then we're off to a parenting class which is a condition of the forthcoming divorce. That's at least twelve hours of my day between the two, so I'm not certain I'll be posting tomorrow, but I'll sure as heck try to get you your daily dose of Mattitude.

Oo. I just forgot. The class is near our good friend(Joel Kilmer, who first coined the word Mattitude)'s shop, Big Dog Comics. We'll have to stop by there for the latest issues of The Boys if we possibly can. Over the past month I've enjoyed the twentieth anniversary of meeting both Joel and my wife. Both meetings occured shortly after I moved to Florida. And I thought I wouldn't make new friends.

Of course, if Joel reads this, he might say, "What in the hell? I didn't know they were getting a divorce!" Well, all I can say, Joel, is that these things are best broken online, where I don't have to answer any questions!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Okay, Now Vote For Me

I don't know what I was thinking in that last post. Maybe I was trying to be self-effacing.


That's better. My name is in the hat for "Best Flash Fiction" (That would be for my story, Sunday Dinner) and "Best Fact Article Contributor" (For my regular Fiction Crawler series and my article, Jim Sawgrass and the Family Bulbs).

And by all means, whether you like my stuff or not, give a vote under "Best Narrator" for Kenny Park, my man over in "followers" to the left, for his FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC narration on the Adam Roberts story Remorse. You can listen to it on episode 30 (about three minutes in) here:

StarShipSofa - Aural Delights No. 53

The StarShipSofa is pleased to present Aural Delights No. 53. On this week's show notes there's a link to The Sofanauts Awards nominations, a listener poll for the best of the first year of Aural Delights. So click it and nominate all of your favorites from the past year. Blast off!

Aural Delights No 53 Ted Kosmatka

Editorial: Tony C Smith

Poetry: An Eccentric In Orbit by Laurel Winter

Flash Fiction: Conspiracy Of Dentists by Jay Lake

Fact: Movie Talk by Rod Barnett

The Sofanauts Awards: by Mark Bormann

Main Fiction: Deadnauts by Ted Kosmatka

Narrators: Kate Baker, Diane Severson, Paul Caggegi

THE SOFANAUTS: Click to vote!


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Have Two Mouths And Feel No Need To Scream At The Moment, Thank You Very Much

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

No sir, things are going great. My mouths are the lives of the party, I tell you. I can smooch two ladies at the same time. Who wouldn't want some of that?

I can eat twice as fast. Of course, you want to coordinate that chew. I can't tell you how many times my mother yelled at me when I was a wee and I'd shovel her gravy-laden chow into one maw just to have it plop out the other. I'd retire to my corner and suck both thumbs. It's all controlled now. Only happens at family gatherings, my version of the breathalizer. When half of my shirt is covered in beer, it's time to stop drinking.

I can whistle in harmony with myself. Same for kazooing and harmonicazing. I can sing while enjoying a juicy stick of gum. Yes, I know the juice is really just my spit, but did you ever stop to think that makes my gums twice as juicy? A-HA!

You think you're special? Let's see you put your hand through your face. Without bleeding, I mean. Yeah, yeah, screw your petty arguments. Twice the floss and twice the paste, twice the dental bills and twice the gingivitis. Try twice the smiles. Sixty-four shining, blinding pearlies. Two times the cheeses. Look at all those people taking my picture! I look twice as happy as you ever could. At you I stick out both my tongues. Or, if not directly at you, certainly to either side.

That's two two true. Twice the tongues. Oh, hear me, my cubby, when those lollipops reminisce with their kin up and to the left in Lolly Heaven, they'll know what it has been to be properly well sucked! And speaking of . . .

A C-cup to the left and another to the right. A Double-Bubble double suckle, "Two CCs, stat!" and after that every stand is a two-nighter. They love that deep Frenchy soul sucking kiss while sweet whispered nothings tickle their ears.

So you scream, little one mouth. You with both the ability and the reason to. With two sets of taste buds my life is just too sweet.

Title Of The Song

Stick with it, you'll appreciate it.

Title of the Song - Da Vincis Notebook

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tea at Rosemary's Cottage

Just saw Quantum of Solace with the family. I don't think any of us understood what the hell was going on but it was good Bondy fun. I didn't like the direction during the action scenes. The cuts were too fast. Otherwise, I did like the direction. We got to see snapshots of the civilians going about life or being affected by the craziness and violence going on around them. Not a lot, but enough to get a sense of people and place outside of Bond himself.

I found myself thinking outside the film a lot. I kept looking at the two-bit bodyguards that would go after Bond and I would think, "What are you, crazy, fellas? That's James fucking Bond! In the world of these films he is the deadliest man alive! To take a phrase from Michael Caine, why don't you just lie down?"

The other thing, and I know this is stupid, I started wrestling with the continuity. This Judi Dench M was around for his last adventures, but also his first, after the cold war but also before (or is it before?). Like I said I know it's stupid. These are movies, the land of make-believe, just shut up and watch.

There was a nice little Goldfinger nod in this one. And what's the matter with the title? Some dinks have complained about it. Who cares? You can have a James Bond movie that doesn't have "kill," "die" or "gold" in the title. It's not like it was called "Tea at Rosemary's Cottage." Stop being dumb.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Chase Is On!

I probably should mention that my ankle works again. It was fine after a good night's sleep. The boy and I just spent an hour and a half catching up with our cakewrecks posts and now I'm fried. It's 1:30 am and the boy is wired after much napping today. Joy.

And hey, big thanks to Cronan for being my one and only follower! You rock! Now please, everyone, click the little "follower" clicky to the left so he doesn't get lonely over there. You can hear the echo in this place.

I see this cover all the time at the job and I could just think, "Gee, that's pretty stupid," but what I always think is, "Holy shit! That's one hell of a chase!" I mean, if you're chasing someone underwater, in a train, with a steam engine - off the track! - then Jesus Christ, you've got yourself a chase! There ain't no stoppin' you my friend. That's sheer dogged determination. What the hell can't you do! I mean how the hell could Cussler possibly follow this up? A snake on a unicycle in outer space?

And the light on the engine is still working, which is nice. You know, so you don't hit a fish or anything.

Talk About

After introducing my son to Gary Numan's Cars, I spied this other gem from my youth:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Little Hunter

The boy and I spent Thanksgiving at the wife's house. She stuffed us magnificently as usual. I got in a little golf on the Wii and dragged my score down. I'm out of practice, but at least I'm still pro.

We watched the new Futurama movie, Bender's Game. I'm sure there'll be a lot of haters out there like for the last one, but I loved it. It had a Dungeons & Dragons theme as the ads made clear, but they didn't spend as much time in the fantasy setting as I thought they would. Lots of Lord of the Rings jokes, D&D jokes and an inordinate amount of dwarf-eating. The family mostly slept through it as I laughed.

After my nap, I got up to see that my wife and her dog were gone. My dog, Cutie (I didn't name her), was whining to go out so I took her out and she struggled to run as she always does. She's a hunter and I assumed that she was on the scent of my wife, daughter and their pug, Pepper. I figured we'd catch up fast so I jogged behind her (as best I could). They weren't to be found right away, but I knew the dog was on the case.

She's the kind of dog that can take care of herself if left to her own devices. Years ago, when we would let her run loose, I'd find pieces of rabbit in the front yard. She ate well. She's almost ten, but she's got a clean bill of health from the vet and she's young at heart. I trusted her. We searched.

My wife sometimes takes rather long walks, so I wasn't put off by the lengthening journey. I kept thinking that we were about to find them around the next corner and my wife would say, "How did you find us here?" and I'd point proudly to my dog and say, "She tracked you here!" My wife would say, "No way." And I would say, "Yeah way." And then my wife would be so impressed that she'd call her sister on the other side of the state and her mother in Brooklyn and tell them about my incredible dog and they would be equally impressed.

We probably got past the mile and a half mark when I realized that Cutie had brought us around in a small loop and into a new direction I didn't think my wife would take. I checked the next street sign, walked a little farther and looked down at the dog.

"Bitch, you don't know where the fuck you're going, do you?" I said. She sniffed and tried to keep on. "No, I'm taking over now," I said and we made our way back. It was dark, it was cold (yes, it was only Florida cold, but if you live here for twenty years, it's the same as regular cold), and all I was thinking was, They're all just going to laugh at us now. My wife, my daughter, her sister, her mother, maybe even the pug. Cutie had seemed so confident!

Finally we got back. My wife said she had just walked around the corner, sans daughter, maybe two blocks away and come back, surprised we were gone.

My little hunter.

Now I walk and walk and walk, it's been part of my job for years. I can walk for miles and it doesn't bother me. But on this excursion, I moved pretty quickly, using my muscles in a running way more than a walking way, so three miles or so have messed me up. For some reason my left ankle told me to go screw. It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't want to bend upwards any more, either. So I've been walking around like some sort moronic monster movie creature for the last four hours, having to lift my leg up more than normal to move my foot forward. My wife and daughter got good laughs. Not Futurama type laughs, but good just the same. Here's hoping I'll be closer to normal in the morning.

Bonk Bonk On The Head

If you know Star Trek, you know Miri. And if you know Miri, you know "Bonk Bonk on the Head." Here's a video by The No Kill I, a Star Trek punk band. Again, if you know, you know the Horta and if you know the Horta . . .

The vid was edited and posted on youtube by fellow sofanaught, Church H. Tucker. I had no idea he'd done it and found it quite by accident looking for my favorite Star Trek quote of all time, "No blah blah blah!" A great vid and a great song. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

StarShipSofa - Aural Delights No. 52

The StarShipSofa is proud to present an Elric story by . . . Well, the guy who writes Elric stories! Michael Moorcock on Aural Delights No. 52. Blast off!

Aural Delights No 52 MichaelMoorcock

Editorial: Tony C Smith

Poetry:Cabazon by Samantha Henderson

Flash Fiction: Godzilla’s 12 Step Program by Joe R Lansdale

Fact: Science News by JJ Campanella

SF ART: StarShipSofa Art Cover No 1 by Skeet

Main Fiction: Portrait in Ivory by Michael Moorcock

Narrators: Julie Davis, Larry Santoro, Grant Stone


Follow The Blog

Check out the new little clicky over to the left and follow this blog. Do it fast so I don't feel like that pathetic kid, all alone at his own birthday party.

And thank you.

Baby Steps

But in the right direction.

Florida Gay Adoption Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Friday, November 21, 2008

For Me To Know And For You To Find Out

Here's an odd little thing to heap atop the mountain of odd little things that make my psychology: For the past few months I've found that if I tell people what I'm working on (literarily speaking), I end up not doing it.

I used to be a self-help freak, reading all the books, stopping well short of actually doing anything, but I read again and once more that you should never tell people what you're going to do because it sucks all the energy out of it for you. Now I never bought into the magical aspects of the modern self-help movement, but I believed that a lot of the mumbo jumbo parts could easily be reinterpreted as the workings of the subconscious mind. Have I lost any of you yet? When did you give up on this post to check your e-mail for the hundredth time?

Anywho, I think that telling people what I'm working on might fill a psychological need for me that fulfills the same role as the need to show the work itself. If I want to write my story about the Jolly Green Giant and his penchant for wearing women's underwear, telling you that I'm doing it might satisfy my brain as much as actually writing it and showing it to you. So the thrill is gone and I am left a husk.

What I don't know is why this started happening only recently, or maybe it happened and I hadn't noticed it, hence my struggles with my archenemy, Process Five.

In summary I won't be telling you what I'm working on anymore. I'll just tell you when I've finished something, sent it out or had it published. We'll see how that works.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Only one of the best book titles ever! And you thought the title of this post referred to my life. It could, yes, but I didn't mean it that way.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ukulele

Morricone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly performed by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

StarShipSofa: Aural Delights No. 50

This week the StarShipSofa proudly presents Aural Delights No. 50. Blast off!

Aural Delights No 50 Paul di Filippo

Poem: Cinderella's Funeral by Samantha Henderson

Flash Fiction: Fork Bomb by Sebastien Cevey

Fact: Plot Part 2 Terry Edge

Article: SF Signal by John DeNardo

Main Fiction: Escape From New Austin by Paul di Filppo

Narrators: Amy H Sturgis Ray Sizemore Julie Davis


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We're not All Equal Yet

Obama's win was historic and uplifting and all that good stuff. When you look at the black experience in America today compared to fifty years ago, the progress is astounding. It's a great thing for America.

However . . .

What's not such a great thing is the ass-kicking that human rights in America took last night. Gay and lesbian marriage was banned in California, Arizona and Florida. In Arkansas it's no longer legal for same sex couples to adopt or take in foster children. That asterisk next to the word "free" in "the land of the free"? It's still there.

We grew up a little last night but we still have a lot of growing up to do. Please write to your people in Congress.

StarShipSofa: Aural Delights No. 48

StarShipSofa is proud to present the lost episode, Aural Delights No. 48! Blast off!

Aural Delights No 48 Gord Seller

Poem: Clockmakers Wife by Mikal Trimm

Flash Fiction: UFO by A Bertram Chandler

Book Review: Sean Keogh:

Fact: Arkham House Sample by Amy H Sturgis

Main Fiction: Dhuluma by Gord Seller

Narrators: Diane Serverson, David Munger Dale Manly

This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com. Download a free audiobook of your choice today at audiblepodcast.com/sofa


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Welcome to StarShipSofer!

That's my boy! Young Ian Alexander Sanborn Smith can be heard on the intro and the outro of StarShipSofa No. 101, the Bruce Sterling show. Give it a listen:

On the NaNoWriMo front, I'm currently at 5,444 words, most of them crap, but there have been a few good ideas peppered here and there. I'm hoping for at least one or two stories to come from it that I can really be proud of.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


By Matthew Sanborn Smith

Vic pelted onions at his enemies. His friends and family said:

"Hey, you shouldn't do that." And because they said that, they too became his enemies.

He pelted onions at them.

Did I mention there was a ghost?

76, Big Silly!

I'm a big silly. Number 76 has been off to the races for two weeks and I haven't even mention it. It's a little poem called A Spec Fiction Writer's Lament.

The last few months have been less than stellar, from a production standpoint. I've noticed that when I get on a roll, I get all cocky. Then I confront my arch-nemesis, Process Five, and I'm stopped dead in my tracks. I'll have to sneak up on that one and take it down bit by bit, beat it up in a long war of attrition.

November promises to be very productive of course, as it's NaNoWriMo. I'll keep you guys updated. Last year I e-mailed lots of friends regularly on my progress, and they cheered me on. This year, I'm just going to do it on my own. Friends are great but I don't want to treat them like a crutch. Besides, last year was the hard one. This year I already know I can do it and short stories come easily to me. Now whether or not I produce fifty pieces of flash fiction or five novelettes or something in between, we'll just have to see. But I'm going to have fun. I haven't been very creative for the last month and a half, so I imagine brilliance will just squirt out of me unbidden. Tomorrow night it begins!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

StarShipSofa: Aural Delights No. 49

Incredible news!

The StarShipSofa broken the light barrier! We are now moving so fast that we don't even know what happened to episode 48! Perhaps it was catapulted into the future. Perhaps it flew off with our left windshield wiper. At any rate, we are pleased to bring you Aural Delights 49 one week earlier than anyone could have expected it. Hold onto your slipcovers!

Aural Delights No 49 Gene Wolfe

Poetry: Hungry by Samantha Henderson

Flash Fiction: Tech Support by Ross E Lockhart

Fact: SF Is The Only Literature On The Internet People Care To Steal by Cory Doctorow

Audio Play: The Tree Is My Hat by Gene Wolfe and Lawrence Santoro

Narrators: Julie Davis, Paul Caggie, Dale Manley

Advertisement: This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com. Download a free audiobook of your choice today at audiblepodcast.com/sofa



Saturday, October 25, 2008


Wassup 2008

Saw this on HuffPo and Boing Boing. It's fucking awesome! First the original:

And now eight years later:

The best part isn't on the screen: Eight years ago all these guys were working to put money into Cindy McCain's bank accounts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why Obama is like Osama

Because the Republicans can't catch either one of them.

StarShipSofa: Aural Delights No. 47 . . . And 46!

Oops! I forgot to tell you guys about Aural Delights No. 46 last week. So below are links to both this week's and last week's shows. Enjoy!

Aural Delights No 47 F Paul Wilson

Poem: King’s Men by Samantha Henderson

Flash Fiction: Captain Ordinary by Terry Bisson

Review: Assam and Darjeeling review by Julie Davis

New titles: Sean Williams Gavin Smith

Fact: Science News October by JJ Campanella

Main Fiction: Faces by F Paul Wilson

Narrators: Diane Severson, Paul Caggie, David Lamb


AND . . .

Aural Delights No 46 Larry Santoro

Poem: Red Shifted Star by David Kopaska-Merkel

Flash Fiction: Faerie Husbandry by Church R Tucker

New titles: Ben Bova, Vernor Vinge, Kelly Armstrong, Ian Irvine

Fact: Julie Davis Reviews JJ Campanella

Main Fiction: Little Girl Down The Way by Lawrence Santoro

Narrators: Dale Manley, Julie Davis

Monday, October 13, 2008

Again With The NaNoWriMo!

It's taken many years, but I'm now so comfortable in my spazziness that changing gears every month doesn't bother me anymore. This is me. I'm a spaz. "So," you might be asking, "What now?" I'll tell you what now.

After spending most of the year certain that I wasn't going to do NaNoWriMo this year, I found a reason to do it. First, the reasons to not do it: 1) I didn't need another abomination of a first draft novel that would take untold effort to rein in. 2) I need to get some short stories written, damn it!

Well, one of the cats at StarShipSofa mentioned the Rebels forum on the NaNoWriMo site, for people who trash the rules and do their own thing. I decided last night to do my own thing. So I am going to do NaNoWriMo this year, but I'll be writing first drafts of short stories instead of a first draft of a novel. At fifty-thousand words in the month of November, this could give me anywhere from five to twenty short story first drafts, depending on the lengths of the stories. So there.

I'm in it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fiction Crawler 2 On The Sofa

Hey, everybody! Listen to my lilting voice once more on this week's Aural Delights. I'm quite the Paolo Bacigalupi fan and I'm very happy to have his story on the show as well. Blast off!

Aural Delights No 45 Paolo Bacigalupi

Flash Fiction: Reality 2.0 By Ian Creasy

Flash Fiction: I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Mack Reynolds

Fact: Fiction Crawler No 2 by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Main Fiction: Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupi

Narrators: MCL, Lawrence Santoro, Grant Stone


Monday, October 06, 2008

Did I Say War?

I take my lumps like a man. Two weeks ago I said I was going to kick Process Five's ass. That hasn't actually happened. Not even a little bit. I haven't given up, but that deadline will soon disappear in the rearview mirror. I was so full of fire, too! Feel free to harass me.

Did I mention I won Fantasy and Science Fiction's Competition #76? I don't think I did. Check out their October/November issue to see my entry. I just sent in six entries for Competition #77. You should too.

I sent Fiction Crawler 2 to Tony at StarShipSofa the other day, hopefully that will be on Wednesday's show, but we never know the future until it happens.

That's all for now, folks. Beddy-bye, as it's up for work in about four hours and some change. I wish you all a wonderful Monday.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Biden won. His answers were much more concrete and very knowledgeable. He didn't lose control of himself, which was the big fear among his people. No big blunders.

Palin made huge headway in just staunching the bleeding of her image and therefore staunching the blood loss of the Republican ticket, as much as she's responsible for anyway. She didn't come off like the utter moron we've been watching for the last week and a half. That in itself was a great win for her. However asking her to do all of that and win the debate was just far too much for almost anyone to do.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

StarShipSofa: Aural Delights No. 44

StarShipSofa is proud to present Aural Delights No. 44. Blast off!

Aural Delights No 44 Lucius Shepard

Poetry:Flesh Eating Alien Vampire Sex On The Moon by David Kopsaka Merkel

Flash Fiction: Man Of The Theatre By Norman Spinrad

Fact: Halloween by Amy H Sturgis

Book Review: Sean Keough

Main Fiction: Senor Voltro by Lucius Shepard

Narrators: Julie Davis, Mark Nelson, Paul Caggegi

This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com. Download a free audiobook of your choice today at audiblepodcast.com/sofa


Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Last Great Looting

I'm slow. I'll be the first to admit it. Only minutes ago did I realize that there's no real reason that this bailout has to happen. Only minutes ago did I realize that the entire thing, from at least last Wednesday, has been designed and sold to us by the Bushies. I'm sure many of you will just think that I'm being paranoid. I can't prove otherwise. Just days ago when I learned of section 8 of the White House's plan, wherein the Secretary of the Treasury (Paulson), is given unfettered control over the distribution of the 700 billion dollars, I thought the White House was merely taking advantage of the situation.

Now I recall that Ben Bernanke has been in lockstep with Paulson while speaking to Congress over the last two days and this entire concept of the big bailout has come from no one else but them. The Bushies sold us the Iraq war through fear and they are selling this bailout the same way. They say that we need to act on this by Friday, after that it will be too late. We're taking their word that can see the economic future past Friday. We're taking the word of the people who got us into this situation and got us into our world situation over the last eight years. Suddenly we accept that they know what they're talking about. The faster we have to act on this, the less time we'll have to think on it and the less time the Stock Market will have to naturally right itself. This is actually the last great looting of America by the Bush administration.

They say that if Wall Street goes down, the country will go with it. Have they mentioned what will happen when America has to pay the bill for the ungodly spending spree the "conservatives" have taken us on in the past eight years? Wouldn't we be better served if that $700 billion was paid directly on the mortgages of citizens who are struggling to keep their homes? Might that not stabilize housing prices and end the current crisis? What's the difference in damage to the country when it's destroyed financially from the bottom up rather than the top down? The difference is, the top down fix helps big business and government has always been in bed with big business.

I submit to you that the bailout is completely unnecessary. Unfortunately, even if anyone agreed with me, it wouldn't matter. The majority of people are not questioning its necessity, they are only questioning how it should be done. The White House has gotten one over on us once more. Maybe we deserve it. We are the rubes who have been taken in by the scams of the conman again and again and even when we know he's ripped us off in the past, we're reaching from our wallets one last time without hesitation.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

StarShipSofa: Aural Delights No. 43

This week StarShipSofa is happy to present Aural Delights No. 43. Blast off!

Aural Delights No 43 Michael Marshall Smith

Poetry: Heavy Weather by Bruce Boston

Flash Fiction: Like The First Morning by Cyril Simsa

Fact: September Science News by Jim Campanella

Main Fiction: The Seventeenth Kind by Michael Marshall Smith

Narrators: Paul Campbell, Julie Davis, Diane Severson


This Time It's War

Longtime readers of this blog may know that I have been struggling with a story for years now called Process Five (at least that's the working title. I have had enough pussyfooting (And I love those open-toed shoes you're wearing - George Carlin) around. I am, here and now, openly declaring war on that goddamned story. Over the next two weeks I will turn that son of a bitch into a real story and send it out into the world. You heard me. The gauntlet is there for all to see.