Apr 082015
 
According to my mother, I’ve been an avid reader since age two.  Apparently, I had memorized from an old TV soda commercial that P-E-P-S-I spelled the name of a tingly, tangy drink that I could only have in occasional sips.  The way she tells it, she almost wrecked her car when I saw a billboard and shouted, “Look mama!  P-E-P-S-I!  That spells Pepsi!”

On a whim, she decided right then to start teaching me to read, and in short order unleashed the hack writer before you now. Continue reading »

Apr 012015
 
I‘ve mentioned before that I’m working to open up life possibilities.  Career and home location are the two big ones: family obligations limited options for the past two decades but they’re steadily dwindling as a factor.  My house needs a great deal of rehabilitation before I could get rid of it, but let’s assume I get to that point.

Where would I go? Continue reading »

Mar 282015
 
This isn’t the article I expected to write.

I wasn’t even planning on driving down to Austin for South by Southwest this year.  I’d been to the event in 2011 and 2012, and the second time was largely an exercise in frustration.  One year seemed to make a huge difference in the number of cars and degree of chaos.  So I swore off returning for that particular reason.  But certain things came together recently to compel me anyway, especially the invitation of a friend from Finland, so down I ventured. In some respects, I wish I hadn’t. Continue reading »

Mar 162015
 
As I write this, it’s early Monday I’m just returning from my second night of an exhausting but rewarding South by Southwest event here in Austin.  Not drunk, but certainly feeling the reduced inhibition brought on by alcohol and in the mood to continue where I left off with ramblings on dating and rebooting. Continue reading »

Feb 192015
 

V_2_rocket

I recently posted a preview of a novelette in progress, Downtime.  What I didn’t say and maybe should have is that the story was inspired by one of my favorite writers, Ray Bradbury.  Two of his works factor in: Rocket Summer from The Martian Chronicles, and the immortal Fahrenheit 451.

Bradbury’s evocative visuals in Rocket Summer led me as a twelve-year old to imagine that anyone could assemble a space-worthy vehicle with the right parts and know-how.  Like many in the 1970s who got caught up in the great Space Race, I had a reasonable understanding of propulsion and was not remotely dissuaded by the fact that all of my homemade missiles had exploded on the launchpad.

Surely I just needed the proper materials; Mom’s rich assortment of household chemicals labeled Flammable!  Danger!  Explosive! just weren’t doing the trick, no matter how many I mixed together. Continue reading »

Feb 172015
 
After several years feeling mostly unmotivated, I’m getting back into fiction writing.  Fortunately I have many (too many) aborted attempts to finish, so no shortage of material.  I’m finally feeling inspired so I’ve been devoting lunch and evening time to working on a particular few.

I intend to start by publishing ebooks on Amazon, and from there who knows.  I anticipate that the first release will be Downtime, a dystopic tale about survivors of a destructive planetary shift in the future.

I’m presenting a draft of Downtime’s introduction here for your critical pleasure.  Feedback is welcome; note that this portion is mostly solidified but subject to tweaking and tightening (some passive voice needs attention, for one).

I will be sharing the full version with a select few after completion of the first draft.  I will especially be needing guidance on Finnish culture and dialog. Continue reading »

Feb 032015
 
Being a family guy, as many of you I’m sure know well, means ego sacrifices.  So many over time that a husband/father begins to feel like a component in a machine.  A critical one, sure, but a component nonetheless.

Speaking of machines… one of the toughest concessions I made due to marriage was choosing automotive practicality over preference.  I’ve always been a utility or sports vehicle guy.  But there’s nothing remotely sporty about the white, under-powered 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass I drove with gritted teeth during the halcyon years of married life.  The idiot who eventually stole it removed a huge albatross from my pack-animal neck. Continue reading »

Jan 282015
 
I keep running into this term “life hacking” without actually knowing what it’s supposed to mean, but on the surface it sure seems to fit what I’m embarking on this year: a personal reboot.  That includes an overdue divorce.

I haven’t started the actual divorce process yet– been very busy preparing to prepare for it though.  I envy any couples who are able to walk away from each other without any major difficulty.  My adult sons aren’t a factor, but years of accumulated crap has sure become one.  Hopefully the fact that I want free of it all, including our house, will help. Continue reading »

Jan 232015
 
The last time I assembled a home-built PC was over ten years ago.  I’d won an Opteron CPU at an AMD event at a time when those babies were very expensive and among the most powerful workstation options, so I decided to begin there.

Impatient and lacking in funds, I got real resourceful at finding deals.  Many items were of their previous generation; new enough to work for me but often heavily discounted.  Ebay was, unsurprisingly, a great place to shop.  So was Pricewatch. Continue reading »

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