Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Private Library...


This one's for Amy...

I've been thinking a lot lately about a dedicated space for all my creative endeavors - drawing, painting, print- and book-making, as well as writing. A few months back, I drew up a sketch for a proposed work space, but seeing this video, I think I have to reconsider my goals for the space:

Private Library from A Space In Time on Vimeo.

OK, so the design of this is lovely... but I think I might have problems with this space if it were mine.

As lovely as this is, I can't help but think about what Stephen King said about a writer and his writing space, which he documented in his wonderful book On Writing. For those that haven't read it, here's a paraphrase:

When King was a young writer, he worked basically anyplace he had space. Kitchen tables and cramped nooks... he was poor and worked long hours and wrote in the cracks of time he had available (sound familiar?) When he hit big, as a reward, he bought himself a big house with a writing studio, which he filled with a mammoth desk, set right in the center of a special, dedicated writing room.

Of course, King later fell prey to his rock-star lifestyle and became addicted to cocaine and other drugs. Later, King was struck by a car while out on his daily walk and was almost killed. This seemed to reset King's priorities, and as a result, he changed his opinion: push the desk in the corner, under the dormer eaves, he said, and let life dominate your living space.

In other words: write about life, don't make your life writing.

As someone that struggles with this particular balance, I've always found great comfort and, yes, strength in this perspective. As such, this "retreat" space, as cool as it is. has some peril, I think. While I love the "getting away" aspect of this, and the solitude is certainly appealing to ANY parent of small children, I think that this sort of space would work better as a loft area on an existing house or workshop, where the swirling chaos of everyday life can and will sometimes intrude.

What do you think? Perfection or too isolated?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

MINI Photos in 2009 Calendar!

Forgot to post this - I got two photographs in 2009's NorthAmericanMotoring.com's MINI Motoring calendar. I've been trying to get into this thing for three years now, and this year two of my images were selected.

You can see the winning entries HERE - my photos are July's and October's.



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OMG! New trailers!

Wow! It's looking like 2009 will be one of the best movie years in recent memory. Check these out!

The new Star Trek trailer...

Harry Pottter and the Half-Blood Prince... well the book was good anyway.

and... Watchmen!!!

I'm really trying to not get too "fanboi-ish", as I've been let down before, but... Dayum.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

RIP - Michael Crichton

Just saw on HuffPo that Michael Crichton, author of such books as the Andromeda Strain and the Jurassic Park series, as well as the creator of the TV show ER, has died to day at age 66. My condolences go out to his family - he'll be missed.

From the HuffPo article linked above:

"Michael's talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of `Jurassic Park,'" said "Jurassic Park" director Steven Spielberg, a friend of Crichton's for 40 years. "He was the greatest at blending science with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave credibility to dinosaurs again walking the Earth. ... Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place."

John Wells, executive producer of "ER" called the author "an extraordinary man. Brilliant, funny, erudite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and always thoughtful.

"No lunch with Michael lasted less than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical and scientific ethics, anthropology, archaeology, economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics, and molecular biology were all regular topics of conversation."

Monday, November 3, 2008

SNL Does Olbermann

Oh. My. God. Quite possibly the funniest thing I've seen come out of SNL all year (Tina Fey's amazing Sarah Palin included).


EDIT: OK, this was hilarious as well... I cannot believe that Tina Fey had the ginormous brass balls to hold up that "Palin 2012" shirt and talk about "goin' rogue" with McCain standing right there beside her. Amazing.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Just found my new motorcycle... (hopefully)


Steve "Carpy" Carpenter is an artist (there's no other word for it), living in SoCal. An ex-pat Brit, he's loved, and built, cafe racer-style bikes for decades.

I ran across his web site, cb750cafe.com the other day, and ever since then I've been daydreaming about buying, and riding, one of his bikes. They are, in a word, sexy.

I have no idea how I'll pay for one, but his rates are reasonable (if you're not looking for a full-bore show bike anyway) and he ships anywhere in the Lower 48 for only $600. Check out these photos!!

(Click the image for the full version - sorry about the funky formatting)

I've loved the cafe look and style (race-inspired dropped handlebars, cut-out gas tank, single seat, stripped-down instrumentation, etc.) since I saw my first modded CB750 at RPM Honda in Chicago, where I worked as a service writer in the late 80's. I had no idea that anyone was actually keeping the cafe style alive, and Carpy's not only doing so but improving on the look - many of his signature items like his tanks, seats, tail lights and handlebar hardware are custom made.

There are many, many more on his site - please do check it out. Carpy documents the rebuilds, start to finish, which is and of itself really something. So, so cool!


The douche-baggery of MoveOn.org...

Man, I'm pissed...

If the video is even still up, take a look at THIS.

According to the email I just got from MoveOn.org:

It's not like they hate voting. They want to do it. They know they should. And mostly, they intend to. But some of your friends won't get around to actually voting because they haven't been reminded vividly enough.

That's why we developed this funny, scary video. It shows people what it might look like if we lose the election by a single vote: theirs.

In the video (in case you can't see it), a fake news reporter tells the world how McCain won the election because I "forgot to vote". there's even a page after the video where you can list your unsuspecting friends' names and send them personalized copies, making them feel like shit too!

I'm sorry, but this is pure douche-baggery. I've heard other people tell me that they won't deal with MoveOn any more because they left a bad taste in their mouth. Guess I know why now, huh? Ever since I purchased a set of Obama campaign buttons from them, they've barraged me with daily emails, most of which I don't read. Now they send me this, a fear-mongering ad that tries to scare me into something I was going to do anyway??

I know emotions run high close to an election, but... damn. Seriously- whoever had this bright idea at MoveOn should help the Republicans next election - they're the people that have to reply on fear and guilt to get out the vote. What a bunch of nimrods ((shakes head)).

I've removed myself from their email lists and wrote them a scathing letter, denouncing their actions.

I also want to point out that the buttons I got from MoveOn were total pieces of shit - they fell apart within 10 minutes of being removed from the packaging and would have been lost if I hadn't took them home and filled the back of the button with silicone.

Bottom line - if you want to contribute to a campaign, do it direct through the candidates' web sites (copied below), and don't use MoveOn.org. Their stuff is crap, they'll barrage you with email, and they do crap like shame and guilt you instead of appealing to your better nature.

Candidate donation web sites:

John McCain For President

Barrack Obama For President


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"I say 'let your children die'..."

The Huffington Post has a piece up detailing some of the threatening and insulting voicemails they've received since the allegations of voter registration fraud came to light. Even though they're very upsetting, they're definitely worth listening to.


From the article:

"...Henderson-James also provided reporters with examples of emails sent to ACORN employees since the Republican barrage of allegations began. In one, an ACORN manager in Ohio is told that she is "going to have her life ended."

Another refers to "corrupt ni**er Muslims." A third, with the subject line "You blue gums," says, "You blue gums are not going to steal the election. All of you porch monkeys need to go back to Africa."

ACORN, a membership organization, works largely in lower-income and minority communities but engages in outreach to all demographics, including white, African-American, Hispanic, elderly, and college student groups."

For the record... I congratulate ACORN for their continued work to register voters in traditionally under-served and disenfranchised communities. You guys are doing good work and I see and acknowledge your... well I guess in light of this, the only word I can use for what you're showing is "bravery". Be safe and know that this American citizen applauds your efforts.

To anyone that's run across this as a result of a blind web spider search: ACORN does nothing but register voters. They don't sign up voters "for" a certain candidate and they definitely will not be in the voting booth with those folks when they go to pull the lever. Also, for those screaming "election fraud" - election fraud only occurs when someone appears at a voting location and attempts to submit a fraudulent ballot. Nobody's turned up at a polling station with a fake ID in the name of "Micky Mouse" or "Bart Simpson of Fumundamyballs Lane" that I know of. If you have such evidence, please let me know. Better let the FBI know, as that would indeed be a crime.

In other words:

"ACORN denies trying to falsify voter registrations and asserts that any falsified forms were submitted by dishonest employees trying to avoid work. The group also notes that fraudulent registrations seldom are used to cast actual ballots. Independent studies show that cases of actual vote fraud are extremely rare. For example, a report coauthored by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters found only four fraudulent votes out of 9 million cast in Ohio between 2002 and 2004. That report concluded that fraudulent voting was statistically rarer than being hit by lightning. This year, despite claiming widespread fraud, the only evidence Republican officials have been able to point to of fraudulent voting itself is one man whose allegedly ineligible early vote was caught by Ohio authorities last week. Late last week, G.O.P. representatives also claimed to have discovered evidence that 28 primarily Hispanic New Mexico voters had cast illegal votes in this year's primary election, but ACORN representatives on a conference call Monday morning claimed to have made contact with four of those voters, discovering that while all had registered for the first time this year (three were young voters and the fourth was an elderly immigrant who recently became a naturalized citizen), all had cast their votes legally. After learning of ACORN's findings, the RNC appeared to abandon its claim. " (Same source)

It seems obvious that some people listed joke nanes on registration rolls. And, seriously... it wasn't smart to pay people based on the number of signatures they turned in - obvoiusly that tempted some unscrupulous ACORN employees to pad their lists. Big mistake.

But that's no reason to threaten poeple's lives and call them "corrupt". That's the result of McCain's fear-mongering. Plus, keep in mind that in calmer, saner times, even McCain and other key Republican office holders supported ACORN as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Big Lie

Yep... it's the Big Lie alright. The good news: the media ARE starting to stand up and call Douche-baggery. Namely:

Oct. 13: Rachel Re: Even though a bi-partisan panel found that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power by firing former police commissioner Walt Monegan, she’s telling the media that she was cleared of any wrong doing? Really? Can this be true?


The bad news? Nobody seems to care.

Hello? Hello??? The best-case scenario here is that Palin's simply too delusional or feeble to understand clearly worded decision against her. This isn't a politician saying "Well, they had their opinion and I disagree and I'll be sure to appeal that, as is my right. Until then watch me shoot this wolf from a helicopter! Pew! Pew! Pew!" This is flat-out refusal to state the reality of the finding.

My take on it is that she's certainly smart enough to understand that she's lying. What's sad is that so few people seem to care that she has zero respect for the people she claims to want t0 lead. Such obvious falsehoods (unless they're inspired by insanity) bespeak an attitude that says "I know y'all are too stoopid to realize I'm lyin'".

E-book Update: Stanza!

Oh, Lordy... my crumbling resistance to the wiles of the iPhone have just crumbled away to nothing.

While I was researching the Kindle, I ran across something called Stanza.

What is it? It's basically an e-book reader application, available for free, for the iPhone and iPod Touch. According to the Lexcycle Stanza web site:

Featuring a clean, well-organized interface, Stanza is expressly designed for reading digital publications, including electronic books, newspapers, PDFs, and general web content. Stanza is built from the ground up to make reading on your Macintosh or Windows laptop or desktop an enjoyable and hassle-free experience. It gives special attention to details that are usually overlooked in other software readers such as hyphenation, text columnation, automatic text scrolling, and user-friendly page and chapter navigation. Lengthy content that can be tedious to read using a web browser or PDF viewer is easy and natural with Stanza.

Stanza features built-in support for HTML, PDF, Microsoft Word, and Rich Text Format reading, as well as all the major eBook standards: unprotected Amazon Kindle and Mobipocket, Microsoft LIT, Palm doc, and the International Digital Publishing Forum's new epub Open eBook standard. In addition to supporting a plethora of formats, Stanza features an open API that allows developers to implement support for their own document formats. Stanza is more than just a reader: it is a reading platform!

This is huge, huge news. As cool as the Kindle is (I love the "electronic paper" that makes it unique), it's still basically a dedicated device. Not so Stanza. It's an application, one that runs alongside the iPhone's other functions. With Stanza, I can (and will) listen to music while reading a book, and then hop onto a web site, all while sending and receiving text messages, for instance. And since I'm sure that I'll be carrying my iPhone with me everywhere, I'll also be carrying my books along with me at the same time, all in the shared device.


Even better, Stanza will export other files into Kindle's proprietary format. Again from the Lexcycle Stanza site:

Stanza is also the first program that has a built-in export feature especially for the Amazon Kindle. Your PDFs, Word documents, and other eBooks can all be exported to the Kindle's native format and copied over to the device using a USB cable. Get a paper-quality reading experience for all your electronic documents with this innovative new device!

..as well as other formats...

Last, but not least, Stanza has an experimental new feature that allows you to export your books to MP3 audiobooks. Your entire audiobook can then be added to iTunes and synchronized with your iPod or other digital music player. This technology enables the blind and visually impaired to enjoy a wealth of electronic documents.

For me, the ability to to word searches and to drop multiple bookmarks in a single text is a really sweet option - I know from experience that I'd use this all the time. I also like that text can be scaled in size, the fonts can be changed, and even the background color and text color can be changed on the fly.

Yep... I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this one.

Have any Kindle or Stanza stories to share (good or bad)? Be sure to leave a Comment below!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Publishing Can Learn From Music

As a writer, I follow discussions about e-books and digital distribution carefully. I want more people to read my book. Period. I'd like for people to pay me, so I can keep writing (or, at least, write faster, since currently my day job eats up 45-50 hours of my writing time each and every week), but it's the reading that's the thing.

I also was, and still am, a person that vehemently opposes DRM (basically, copy guard) on music. I begged and pleaded, along with tens of thousands of others, way back in the mid-90's, for the Sony's and BMI's and Virgin's of the world to grant users access to their master song files in digital format at a reasonable price (we suggested a quarter each). This was in the days when the only way to "share" music files was to search FTP directories in the (often vain) hope of finding a complete song, ripped at some horrendously low bitrate. The recording industry, knowing that "sharing" was beyind the technical capabilities of 99.99% of music consumers, basically laughed and mocked us and more or less dared us to scale the walls of their ivory towers.

Then came Napster, and, well... you know the rest. Who's laughing now?

Why am I telling you this? Because if you're a writer OR someone interested in intellectual property distribution via electronic channels, then I suggest reading this interesting article over on HufPo, titled "What Publishing Can Learn From Music". Good stuff, filled with many chewy links.


PS - Did I mention that my first novel, Blood Magic, is available in eBook format at Fictionwise.com? if you'd like to see Blood Magic or Nights of Sin on Amazon's Kindle, be sure to click on the links below and look for the "Request This Book On Kindle" links just below the main cover photo!

Blood Magic

Nights of Sin


"Nobody (BLEEPS!) With John McCain!"

See more Hayden Panettiere videos at Funny or Die

In a word: ROTFLMAO.

"I think there are three things all citizens should do: Smoke cigarettes. Vote for John McCain. And not wear seatbelts..."

NOTE: NSFW. The hawt chik uses the "F" word, like, 3 times. You have been warned.

One man's Mac story...

This one's for Amy...

Now, before you do anything, go HERE and watch this movie on the making and design philosophy of the new 13-inch Mac Book Air. Go on... I'll wait.



OK, so the mellow, hippy music aside, that's pretty effing sexy. A unibody shell machined from a solid brick of aluminum? Are you shitting me? Reduction in PVCs and other emitted gasses right down to the teensy-weenie internal cables used? Sensitivity to wasted space in shipping palettes, which led to increased capacity in cargo planes, hence a reduction in carbon footprint via less jet fuel used? Wow.

To say that's "drool-worthy" is an understatement, to put it mildly.

For those that don't know it, I've been a die-hard PC user for many, many years. I still think that gaming on the PC is the best... the truest... gaming experience, the one with the most flexibility and capacity to extend and empower a game's fan-based development as widely as possible.

All that aside, I admit that I recently purchased a Mac Book Air for my writing.

Even though I love my PCs, I positively adore the Mac. It's small. Sleek. Sexy. It goes to sleep and wakes up in about 3 seconds, tops. It's cool and smooth and metallic and I like to run my fingertips along its case, like one would touch an expensive Italian sports car.


I also have some complaints about the Mac, all of which revolve around their software and their OS's "quirks" (to put it mildly) and, at the end of the day, the more-or-less totalitarian control that Mac imposes on their users. In short, when one works on a Mac, one has to work within a set of pre-defined constraints.

It's not as if Mac is saying "it's our way or the highway" (although this is, in effect, what happens), but rather that they honestly and truly believe that you wouldn't want to work any other way than theirs. This is an idea alien to the PC world, where high-end users don't request but demand a host of customization options and the freedom to, in effect, develop whatever they want.

This "philosophy" bleeds into Mac users groups, where my honest questions and requests for customization advice or tips and tricks designed to streamline the pre-defined workflow of a Mac program were more often than not met with incomprehension if not outright hostility.

I ran into this, for example, when I tried synchronizing my MP3s between my Air and my iPod. My 30 gig 'Pod is modified, and is loaded with the non-Apple Rockbox operating system. Why? because I want it to be that way, and it's my iPod.

Of course, the player will not sync with the Air. Why? Because, according to the errors thrown by the computer, iTunes cannot "recognize" an iPod loaded with a non-Apple OS. Macs (or so I'm told) can interface with any other manufacturer's MP3 players, but it can't read its sister hardware after it's been violated with a replacement OS?


Stuck, I did what any good PC user would do: I hit the Mac users' forums. Of the few people on those boards that even understood what I was trying to do (and there weren't many), the ones that replied to me generally led with an honest and puzzled "why in the world would you want to do that? Just use iTunes."

"Because I have like 200 playlists I made in WinAmp that are stored in .M3U files, and iTunes diesn't like them the way I use them," I replied.

"So just use iTunes and remake them. It'll only take you an evening or two."

"But I don't want to spend hours remaking 200 playlists. I want to use what I have! They work great in Windows and Rockbox loads them flawlessly."

"Well you can't use a Mac for that. Mac's are easy."

"They're not easy in this case, are they?"


"But why do you want to do that anyway???"

...and around and around it went. to date, I still cannot use my "easy" Mac with my Rockboxed iPod. Sigh...

All that aside, I must admit that the quality of Apple's products and designs really are top-drawer. Sure I resent it when I have to pay more than $80 for a spare power adapter, or almost $100 for a keyboard (a keyboard? really????), but those really are secondary considerations when held up against things like an all-glass, LED backlit display and that sexy, sexy machined case.

So go ahead and drool. I know I was. And I plan to keep my Mac. I just don't think that, even as sexy and competently egineered as they are, that Macs are flawless.

And if I get really frustrated, I can always load Vista on it - that'll fix those pesky usability problems... "Easy" Mac, indeed... (( ducking ))...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

President Asshole...

Between the recent Rolling Stone expose on McCain's history of temper and nepotism and today's article on the Daily Beast, (hat tip: HuffPo), I'm wondering if I should get my passport in order and a plane ticket to, say, London pre-purchased in case of an election day upset. Seriously... is this the kind of guy you want sitting behind the highest-stress desk in thew world?

From the Daily Beast article, linked to in the first paragraph:

McCain’s game is craps. So is Jeff Dearth’s. Jeff was at the table when McCain showed up and happily made room for him. Apparently there is some kind of rule or tradition in craps that everyone’s hands are supposed to be above the table when the dice are about to be thrown. McCain—“very likely distracted by one of the many people who approached him that evening,” Jeff says charitably—apparently was violating this rule. A small middle-aged woman at the table, apparently a “regular,” reached out and pulled McCain’s arm away. I’ll let Jeff take over the story:

“McCain immediately turned to the woman and said between clenched teeth: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME.’ The woman started to explain...McCain interrupted her: ‘DON’T TOUCH ME,’ he repeated viciously. The woman again tried to explain. ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO?’ McCain continued, his voice rising and his hands now raised in the ‘bring it on’ position. He was red-faced. By this time all the action at the table had stopped. I was completely shocked. McCain had totally lost it, and in the space of about ten seconds. ‘Sir, you must be courteous to the other players at the table,’ the pit boss said to McCain. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? ASK ANYBODY AROUND HERE WHO I AM.”

This being Puerto Rico, the pit boss might not have known McCain. But the senator continued in full fury—“DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”—and crisis was avoided only when Jeff offered to change places and stand between McCain and the woman who had touched his arm.

Wow... He's quite the tough guy against a "small, middle-aged woman", ain't he? This sort of behavior is nothing new for McCain. According to McCain's own admission he does have a bit of an explosive temper. This is from the Rolling Stone article, titled "Make-Believe Maverick":

John Sidney McCain III has spent most of his life trying to escape the shadow of greater men. His grandfather Adm. John Sidney "Slew" McCain earned his four stars commanding a U.S. carrier force in World War II. His deeply ambitious father, Adm. "Junior" McCain, reached the same rank, commanding America's forces in the Pacific during Vietnam.

The youngest McCain was not cut from the same cloth. Even as a toddler, McCain recalls in Faith of My Fathers, his volcanic temper was on display. "At the smallest provocation," he would hold his breath until he passed out: "I would go off in a mad frenzy, and then, suddenly, crash to the floor unconscious." His parents cured him of this habit in a way only a CIA interrogator could appreciate: by dropping their blue-faced boy in a bathtub of ice-cold water.

Trailing his hard-charging, hard-drinking father from post to post, McCain didn't play well with others. Indeed, he concedes, his runty physique inspired a Napoleon complex: "My small stature motivated me to . . . fight the first kid who provoked me."

This behavior was not limited to his child years, however:

Over the years, John McCain has demonstrated a streak of anger so nasty that even his former flacks make no effort to spin it away. "If I tried to convince you he does not have a temper, you should hang up on me and ridicule me in print," says Dan Schnur, who served as McCain's press man during the 2000 campaign. Even McCain admits to an "immature and unprofessional reaction to slights" that is "little changed from the reactions to such provocations I had as a schoolboy."

McCain is sensitive about his physical appearance, especially his height. The candidate is only five-feet-nine, making him the shortest party nominee since Michael Dukakis. On the night he was elected senator in 1986, McCain exploded after discovering that the stage setup for his victory speech was too low; television viewers saw his head bobbing at the bottom of the screen, his chin frequently cropped from view. Enraged, McCain tracked down the young Republican who had set up the podium, prodding the volunteer in the chest while screaming that he was an "incompetent little shit." Jon Hinz, the director of the Arizona GOP, separated the senator from the young man, promising to get him a milk crate to stand on for his next public appearance.

Is this the kind of President you want? Someone will a well-documented Achilles' Heel, one that opposition world leaders can potentially manipulate? Plus, can you even begin to imagine what the GOP's flacks and spin-doctors would be doing with this same sort of material if Obama were as hot-blooded? They'd be playing the "angry black man" card every 15 seconds on Fox News from here until election day, just as they tried to do with Michelle Obama.

Now, to be perfectly fair... Bill Clinton was said to have a temper as well, and I think he was in many ways a fine President. But, he was obviously a man that allowed his passions to overcome his common sense as well, which led to his second term in office being dominated by discussions of spotted dresses and cigars.

Hotheaded President McCain? No thanks. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a passport to apply for - you know, before they seal the borders.

Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 4th!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Coolest Thing: Oct. 2008 Hellboy 4 Obama!

This has to be the coolest thing I've seen this month, hands-down. Thanks, Amy, for finding this on eBay. Too bad I can't afford it... (sigh).


Turns out, there's a whole web site, Comics Industry for Obama - find it HERE. While there, you can browse for one-of-a-kind art like the Hellboy image above, register to vote or donate to the campaign.

From their "Welcome" section:

Whether you’re an artist, a writer, a publisher, an editor, a retailer, a fan, or all of the above, this is the place to show your support. In the words of Senator Barack Obama, let’s bring about the change we need by helping to elect him as President of the United States this November!

Film studios, television networks, gaming companies, and more have long since turned to the graphic novels industry to find the hottest content and leverage influential comics fans to build buzz (we present the extensive growth of and exposure for Comic-Con International as Exhibit A). If we can make such an impact on Hollywood box office, network ratings, and merchandise sales, surely we can make a difference in this election as well!

HERE is another piece, this one from Tim Seely:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...

For those that don't know him, Jack Thompson is the douche bag... erm, I mean, the lawyer who often advises parents' groups and other would-be 1st Amendment squashers in lawsuits against the gaming industry. He's produced all kinds of "facts" about games and gamers, most suggesting that playing video games will turn you into a cross between Charles Manson and the Columbine kids. Well, turns out, people finally got tired of his bullshit, and he's on the fast track to being DISBARRED.

Here's a sample of the ruling:

Page Two details the extensive misconduct of respondent and his complete lack of remorse. In her report, the referee states: Over a very extended period of time involving a number of totally unrelated cases and individuals, [r]espondent has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes. He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior, but rather uses other means available to intimidate, harass, or bring public disrepute to those whom he perceives oppose him.

In other words, for those of you not up on lawyer-ese: he's lower than dog vomit and they're telling him he can't practice law any more.

The lovely Rachel Weisz said it best in The Mummy:

"You know, nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance. Always."


Spot Nights of Sin Contest!

OK, so Nights of Sin is officially on store shelves and on Amazon and other online retailers, so it's time for a contest! Here's how it works:

  1. Spot the book, and take a photo of yourself with it!
  2. Send it to me at imagox@yahoo.com
  3. I'll put it up in my Photobucket contest folder so everyone can see you with the book.
  4. Everyone that sends me a photo will be entered in a contest for a set of autographed cover flats for Nights of Sin and Blood Magic! Cover flats are the actual book covers, unfolded and uncut, and are great for framing or displayining on your wall, in your office cubicle or wherever.
The deadline for entries will be Dec. 31, 2008 and I'll pick the winner by the following Saturday. If you spot the book in multiple locations, please feel free to enter more than once - just please shoot your photo in such a way as to make it clear that you're in a new location. In order to maintain fairness, I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that seem fishy... not that anyone out there that reads this blog would ever do that (ahem!)

So, get out there and spot Nights of Sin! If you end up reading it and like what you see, I'd be forever in your debt if you took the time to write up a review, a blog post or even a mention of it on your MySpace or Facebook page.

If you do put up something, be sure to drop me a line, so I can cross-link to your entry on this site.

Thanks and good luck!!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

No... she won't go there...


Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

People are goin’ out and getting’ raped left and right… I can’t pay for all that! We had an arena to build. A hockey arena! That brings families joy... a lot more joy than rape!

(( Pinches bridge of nose ))

Oh... she did. Yow.

(More) You know it's bad when...

You know things are changing when Lamborghini decides to make their next car a hybrid.

So very, very cool. For more info, check out Wired's article here.


You know it's bad when...

..and that's in Austin Texas.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan (who smudged out the license plate, very likely sparing someone from a beating)...


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't Expect Fireworks On Palin Debate Night

Andrew Halcro, who has debated Sarah Palin several times in the past, says of his experience:

I've debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times. And she's a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. Against such charms there is little Senator Biden, or anyone, can do.

Source: Jed Lewison at HuffPo, who goes on to say (righfully I think, based on the past Palin n0n-speeches I've seen):

I don't think she'll display much in the way of specifics, but she will get the values-oriented language right, and that should be good enough at least for a draw, and that will mean she beats expectations.

(( Sigh ))... Looks like Dave will be right again. Damn you, Dave... hurry up and predict that NoS will sell 3 million copies, willya???


Amy with Nights of Sin

Here's Amy, reading Nights of Sin, taken late last week just before ConText (yes, a full report will be coming soon).

This makes me happy. When she finished the book, she cried. I, being the doofus I am, had already accidentally spilled the beans and given away the ending, and still it got to her. As a creative person, that's hands-down the best compliment she could have possibly given me. Evoking a pure, genuine emotion simply through some words on a piece of paper is better than anything else, and it's why I crawl (sometimes literally) out of bed 90 minutes early every morning to write.

Thanks, Amy.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Death Star Over San Francisco

For Scott, because he loves Star Wars...


Look what Grayson can do!


He can ride all the way down my long parking lot and he can get started all on his own now!

Now we just need to work on turning and stopping...



Just ran across Rebecca Traister's peice on Sarah Palin on Salon.com. In a word: scathing.

Great quote (but the rest is well worth reading):

Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.

When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude -- trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice -- well, then, I don't feel bad for you.

When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid -- or in Palin's case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling -- I don't feel bad for you.

When you don't take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don't support, I don't feel bad for you.

When you don't have enough regard for your country or its politics to cram effectively for the test -- a test that helps determine whether or not you get to run that country and participate in its politics -- I don't feel bad for you.

When your project is reliant on gaining the support of women whose reproductive rights you would limit, whose access to birth control and sex education you would curtail, whose healthcare options you would decrease, whose civil liberties you would take away and whose children and husbands and brothers (and sisters and daughters and friends) you would send to war in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and wherever else you saw fit without actually understanding international relations, I don't feel bad for you."

Me, neither. I can't wait for Thursday's debate.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Actually, Amy Poehler's Katie Couric is masterful as well. It must be a great time to be an SNL writer - this shit's practically writing itself at this point.

Oh, and before you leave a snarky comment about how I'm "scared" of a cute, spunky conservative woman candidate, just ask yourself if you agree with her on dinosaurs. Be sure to add your support in your comments, mmmmmkay?

(( More Snicker ))

"It's just the Bill of Rights, sir..."


Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'll be reading from Nights of Sin on Saturday

I just got offered an opportunity to read from Nights of Sin on Saturday the 27th at 2:00PM at ConText in Columbus.

(( Deep breath)).

I've never done a reading before. Ever. Can you tell I'm a mite nervous?

Just thinking about this brings up every time I've sat in a hotel room or convention room and listened to an author read aloud their work. I've listened to George R.R. Martin, Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, Mike Resnick and a slew of others, and now, at least in a very small way, it's my turn. This is one of those small, but significant things I always wanted to do with my life, and now I have the opportunity. Cheezy, I know, but for anyone that writes (or wants to write), I think you'll understand why I'm pumped.

So... what should I read? The opening chapter? Something else? If you've read the book and have a suggestion, email me or post a comment here and let me know. Please - no spoilers in your suggestion, if you'd be so kind.

See you at ConText this weekend I hope!


From Creampuff to Conan the Barbarian

I know I promised no more political stuff, but... da-yum.

Once again: I'm proven wrong about Campbell Brown. When I used to see her on CNN, I had to struggle to keep awake. "Softball" was the least offensive of the nicknames I had for her.

Now she's more like Conan the Frickin' Barbarian. Whatever the hell they're slipping into Ms. Brown's water, I want some. Grrrrrrrrrrroowl!

Hopefully, her reaction below (televised just before President Bush's speech last night) is the "tip of the spear" and represents the first real flood-tide of change in the way the media's been asleep at the switch until, oh, about this time last month. From then until now we've gone from "Lipstickgate" to actual, substantial challenging of the day's events. You gotta love the call for an open and honest debate. DEBATE. Love it.

Keep it up, Campbell!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On a lighter note...

Hmmm... so you will soon be able to play "Bejeweled" inside World of Warcraft.

Penny Arcade's Gabe calls this:

"...one of the world's most addictive games being embedded inside one of the world's most most addictive games. It's Chicken Cordon Meth, and there is no escaping the folds of its eternal midnight."

True 'dat. Oh, and don't forget that while you're "Bejeweling" in WoW, you're simultaneously paying $15/month for the privilege. For a five year-old game that you can get free almost anywhere.


Ah... for the days that gamers were actually smarter than the average bear. (( Pout ))

Enough is enough...

OK, so this will be my last post on politics, I promise. My stomach can't take the stress - between the book and my family life, I've got far more than enough shit to worry about, and I suspect that nobody comes around here to listen to my views on policy or the candidates.

Andrew Sullivan put up a freshly re-confirmed list of Sarah Palin's many lies today - read them all, with extensive links back to the corroborating sources HERE.

Honestly, the question in my mind now is not "why did she lie?" - that's obvious. She wants the power of the position and will do anything she needs to do to get it. I think she really believes that she will be doing good by keeping the Republicans in the White House, I really do, even as I'm terrified about what it says about her that she feels the best way to maintain that power is by bald-faced lies. That's a good enough moral position, Sarah? Really?

I'm also amazed on a daily basis that she chose to lie about things so easily fact-checked, and then continues to lie even when faced with her own deceptions. Keepin mind: I write bad guys that have to jump through a forest of hoops in order to mentally justify their own evil deeds for a living, and even to me Palin seems totally whacked (and I don't mean that as a compliment). Honestly, I don't know if I could convincingly write a villain as mentally screwed up as Palin seems to be. "The only difference between truth and fiction," I once read "is that fiction has to make sense". This proves that theory.

After all this, my real question is: what the hell is wrong with the American voter that they tolerate this? My good friend Dave said the most illuminating thing about Palin that I've ever heard. He said:

"The choice of Palin allows conservatives to feel better about a choice they've already made." Thereby, I assume, goading them to go out and vote, something they might not have done just for McCain.

Do we really as a nation have so little self-respect that we can stomach to turn a blind eye to this? Have we really become a nation of people so afraid of the future that we can glibly ignore the blatant disrespect for the American people shown by Palin and the McCain campaign?

Enough is enough. Vote this Republican ticket down, on pure moral outrage if nothing else. the fact that Obama seems to have a much better handle on what needs to be done, has a seemingly better and more "Presidential" temperament and is actually, you know, a unifying force for millions of Americans is just gravy at this point.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Matt will be at ConText 21 on Sept. 26-28!!

As mentioned in the previous post, I will be attending this year's ConText Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in my home town of Columbus, Ohio from Friday night, the 26th of September to Sunday the 28th. I'll be sitting in on panels and I'm going to ask them for an autograph session.

So... If you fancy a good writer's con, or have been wanting to meet me in the flesh, you really should try out ConText. Editors from all sorts of magazines and publishing houses tend to be there and are generally open and willing to talk business, as this is a "working con" for many of them.

Also note that my wonderful editor at Juno Books, Paula Guran, will be this year's Editor Guest of Honor. Be sure to catch any panels she's on - she's a real pro. If you've read Blood Magic and/or Nights of Sin and liked them, please track her down and let her know. She and Juno took a huge chance on my work (Kirin's story isn't really the tradtional "paranormal romance" tale that Juno's known for), and I figure the more people that ler her know her decision was a good one, the better.

Hope to meet a bunch of you this weekend!

Nights of Sin sold out at BN?

Went by a local Barnes and Noble's book store to hopefully grab a snap of the new book, only to find an empty shelf (they did have a copy of Blood Magic on-hand, which surprised me). When I asked at the counter, they said that they were "sold out" and expected more copies.


Keep looking at your local book retailer for Nights of Sin and send me a photo of yourself with the book when you find it! Everyone that sends me a photo will be entered in a drawing for a personally autographed cover flat set, featuring the uncut jackets for both books! Look for official contest details and a deadline later - I'm just waiting to actually see the book on shelves to set a cutoff date.

In the meantime, if you just can't wait, here are your options:

1. Get online and get a copy from Barnes and Noble, Amazon or another online retailer (the links go right to the book)


2. Attend ConText 21 2008, next week in Columbus. I'll be there all weekend sitting on panels and signing copies. If history is any indication, there will be vendors in the dealer room with copies. If you go to ConText, please be sure to find me and get your copy signed, and please let me know what you thought of it! Note that my editor, Paula Guran, will be the Editor Guest of Honor at ConText this year, so if you liked Blood Magic and Nights of Sin please let her know so, if you'd be so kind. Every little bit helps immensely.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nights of Sin ON SALE at Amazon,com

Book 2 of the Blood Magic trilogy is on sale at Amazon.com. CLICK HERE to order! After you've read it, please do me a huge favor and leave a review on Amazon - every little bit helps. If you write a longer review, or find one on a blog somewhere, please please please send me the link!!



(Click the pic for a bigger version.)

BRK is, of course, Big Red Kitty. If you understand this, well, just admit that you have a problem (like me). Props: Penny Arcade. You rulz0r my wurld.

Pew Pew! ( Heh.)


Greatest Batman Story Ever Told

Ran across this while browsing music blogs of all things... From 1949.

Maybe I'm a cheeseball, but this panel brought a tear to my eye.

God... Batman is so fucking naive, don't you think? I mean, what does he know?

Read the whole thing HERE.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Protesting the RNC

Some really disturbing (and powerful) photos and blogging from the protests at the RNC HERE. This one's my favorite, but many others are good.

From the blog article linked above:

By the time I realized I was at the center of the conflict it was too late. The bombs and tear gas were exploding all around me and cops were screaming at everyone to go south toward the bridge. I yelled to one cop "I'm media! Where do I go?!" but he pointed his rubber bullet gun at me and yelled "Go to the fucking bridge!" It was utter chaos. The police were throwing gas and bombs in between the bridge and people being told to go to the bridge. Poor aim? Amid the mayhem I managed to click away a few frames, but I couldn't help but notice what was going on. They had surrounded the area and were corralling what seemed like 300 people, including a large number of media and legal observers, onto the bridge for a mass arrest.

Palin Parody...

"Global Warming? It's PS." ((Snicker))

OK, so I gotta love this, but I have to admit that it would be even funnier without the sensation of creeping doom it invokes.

Niiiiiice boy-shorts though, I gotta admit. Gina Gershon - who knew?

See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die

Mental Health Break - the Mellowest Black Hole Sun.

That's all I can call this... Mental Health Break, fo'shizzle. And yes, I totally ripped off the term from Andrew Sullivan - sue me.

So... I was listening to The Hype Machine (Matt's official new "best Goddamn thing ever on the internet") today while banging my head against the desk... erm, I mean "while trying to figure out the new Expense Report system we implemented at work", when I heard this wonderfully surreal song.

Yes... you're not hallucinating. That's Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" performed by Paul Anka. Yeah, the guy that sang "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" and "Puppy Love". THAT Paul Anka.

About now, I bet you're wishing that you're on my "mix CD list", ain'tcha? Because you know this puppy's gonna make an appearance sooner rather than later.

Anyway, listen and enjoy.

(NOTE: There's an audio player imbedded in the web site - look for the triangular "play" button to the right of the song title - works on PC and Mac).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nights of Sin pages up at Juno/Wildside

Juno Books has the Nights of Sin page up here:


While there, you can sample chapters one and two!

If you can't wait for the book to his store shelves (it should be there any day now), you can go direct to Wildside Press - they have a page up for Nights of Sin here:


Also, be sure to send me photos of yourself next to the book when you see it in stores. I'm considering having a contest, actually... something like "Send Matt a photo of yourself next to Nights of Sin and get an autographed cover flat set of both books!" or something. Would you all like that? I have both the cover flats framed and hanging on the wall, and they look really fantastic.

Let me know!