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 »

Mar 122015
 
I‘ve shared some of my experiences with online dating here and there, and with this post I’ll wrap it up.  Like Peter Jackson with The Hobbit, I’m turning a small, silly thing into an overwrought trilogy and I’m not apologetic.  Okay, a little apologetic but catharsis is its own master it seems.  Even a good vent can follow an orc.

Sorry, arc. Continue reading »

Mar 082015
 
So International Women’s Day got me thinking.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that in recent months the raucous discussion of women’s issues has reached epic– or maybe epidemic— proportions.  Some of the heated discourse revolves around specific, male-dominated toxic issues, like GamerGate, but there’s also a general sense that men from all walks just don’t get how to approach women.  Especially those they don’t actually know.

Subsequently, I’ve noticed a lot of related angst prevalent among men, many of whom are intrinsically decent but often come across, inadvertently, as the very boors they endeavor not to be.  I should know.

On occasion, I’ve been one. Continue reading »

Mar 032015
 
The ever-acuminate Andrea Grimes of the Texas Observer indulged a poignant twitter lecture about social trolling today, and inspired me to switch topical tracks a bit and add my thoughts.  Context is easily lost on Twitter, especially since I want to drag in some related/supportive stuff, so we’ll do it here instead. Continue reading »

Mar 012015
 
I pounded out a little cathartic bit about my online dating tragicomedy recently, and after a bit more thought and experience realized the failures there aren’t entirely my own. It occurred to me that Match is missing an element critical to any online community.

That is, the community. Continue reading »

Feb 232015
 
In my blissful pre-Internet youth, weather was a local concern and climate was something you only worried about at epochal intersections.  Like the Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event, which really sucked for trilobites but became useful to first-year Geology students millions of years later.

Today’s electronic immediacy though means everything is local and instant.  Geographic boundaries have been replaced by ideological ones that realign our interests and attention.  Thanks to the Internet, I can be a better neighbor to Timo the programmer in Finland than what’s-his-name who lives across my street.

But knowing each other’s news doesn’t necessarily put us on the same page. 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 052015
 
With the recent rise of mobile assistants like Cortana, Siri and Google Now, we’re getting used to smartphones finally getting, well, smart.  I’m alerted by my Lumia 1020 when it’s time to quit annoying my dog and drive to work, and conversely, when it’s time to wake up and drive back home.

The Internet at large seems to believe I need more help than that.  Aside from ads trying to sell me what I’ve already purchased, I’m besieged by helpful spammers.  Every tweet, post or article I create is apparently just another vehicle for injecting my needs into some harvesting bot stream, and boy do they capitalize on it.  Reverse Tinnitus offers one email after I complained on Facebook.  Brain Power Without Limits promises another.

No idea what specifically triggered the second one.  It could just be my general content. 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 »

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