Why The Puppies Did It

Originally posted on The Arts Mechanical:

I’m not a professional writer. I haven’t pursued the muse in the makings of the craft.  I’m an engineer and designer.  Because most of my work has been in rather eclectic things, the average person will not encounter what I create, but their lives will be enriched from them through better manufacturing methods and being able to detect toxins in foods.  I’m not sure what experiments have been run on the Free Electron Laser, but I imagine that something significant was learned.

In any case I’ve been asking myself why I’ve been devoting so much time to the Hugo Awards, science fiction and the future of  science fiction and fandom.  Then I saw this.


I think that each and every one of the puppies is to some extent the kid under the stairs.  We are the odds that instead of looking inward at our rage, try to look forward for…

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Welcome to Ask A Geek Anything, Issue 16


It was me. Guilty. I made it happen. Sorta.

Originally posted on Otherwhere Gazette:

Welcome to Ask A Geek Anything, Issue 16

This Sweet Sixteen episode is brought to you by a glitch in the Universal Prognosticator’s predictive formula. We were trying for the most entertaining possible combination of topics… and got this instead.  Fortunately, we will answer anything that won’t crush grain elevators in Gainesville.   There are clouds of confusion on smoking and its influence on SF and Fantasy, brought to you by Cirsova-  

Lately I’ve been collecting a lot of old sci-fi pulps and paperbacks, and have found a lot of great stuff crammed with shmancy cigarette ads (particularly Kent in MoF&SF and various Ace paperbacks); while I can chalk up spacemen smoking cigarettes to the fact that everyone smoked cigarettes back in 40s and 50s, I’ve begun to wonder how much influence tobacco had on the SF/F publishing industry; casual observation suggests they might have been bankrolling the industry at…

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The End of Religious Freedom


Hear, hear…

Originally posted on The Catholic Geeks:

The idea that gay marriage will endanger religious freedom is an old and common argument. So old and common, in fact, that it’s frequently dismissed on its face. After all, no one is forcing any religion to alter its practices. This is just about not imposing religious practices on secular society.

Of course, nearly every time I suggest to someone who fervently supports gay marriage that perhaps this argument would be best addressed by removing all state recognition of marriage from our society, I’m met with scorn, derision, and hatred. I was even, on one spectacular occasion, faced with a crowd of people who insisted that this proved I wanted to impose my religious beliefs on them. I’m not sure how the suggestion that state not dictate to religion meant religion dictating to state, but there you go.

The fact of the matter is that the inevitable result of this situation…

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Behind the Moon Door: Part 14


“You can’t have it.”

I blinked. His voice was sharp, when it had been so reasonable before. I opened my eyes to see if he was still the same man. I folded my arms and narrowed my eyes. I tried to read him– mostly as an experiment. The emotional equivalent of static burned my nerves, even causing physical pain. I willed the chaos to end. All was quiet, but I realized my new found senses were blocked. I sighed. Trajan looked like he’d just swatted away an annoying insect.
“Why? Need a fancy trinket for your collection?” I asked out of nowhere.
He flinched and his eyes narrowed, though his face was as bland and pleasant like vanilla pudding. The beard did not help.

“For your sake. For the sake of the universe I’m sworn to protect.” His voice had gotten a bit deeper like crunching gravel. Despite this shift I knew it to be true.

“I’m not just some damsel in trouble.” I snapped, exasperated.

“You are that, and you carry a weapon you do not understand. My lady, I don’t’ understand it. As a wizard that makes me highly uncomfortable.”

“I need more than that. The wizardly “because I said so” is not helping”

Because it is inimical to life– especially yours.. For another thing, your powers are rogue. We don’t’ know what would happen. As for walking the labyrinth, you are but a child. That… process quails– and kills — wizards more powerful than I. A slip of a girl like you with Deep reality changing magics? You could destroy the natural order, including this place you love so much.”

I frowned and flopped back on the ugly brown flowered couch in the apartment just over the carriage house. He would not come into the house proper, and wasn’t especially clear on why. My head was still bandaged, and hurt. The lights were low, but the wizard seemed to glow of his own subtle radiance. I leaned my head against the curved edge of the couch, squinted and looked away.

I stared at the strange yet humorously antique looking painting of what looked like a Sargent– if he’d ever painted one of his lovely brassy sea going vessels being attacked by a Kraken. I hadn’t noticed the strange disk shaped UFO figure in the clouds before. I wanted to laugh, but the hole in my heart was already aching too hard. The wound ached, seeming to suck all the hope out of my heart.

I pulled myself together and looked back.

“The drow said…”

“And why on earth did you believe her? The Drow have their own agendas, and it is not often you can trust them. The last time the Summer and Winter court worked together doesn’t bear thinking about. Trust me. I was young then, but I was there.”

“Did you or anyone else hear what she said?! I read her. She was speaking the truth. I could even feel her broken oath. She really wants to work for us now… or anyone who will stop this tihing.”

The wizard sighed. “Yes, we heard her story. She appears to belive every word, and indeed everything she describes, much has already come to pass. things even she does not know. But she still works for Drack. IT may be that she is doing his bidding even as she is fooled into thinking otherwise.”

“I know she hasn’t been tampered with. I can tell.” I said stubbornly.

The wizard cocked his head. “Could you? That is a rare talent. Cosciba had it… long ago. But he has passed in to the depths, and we are poorer for it.” he paused and looked at me pointedly.

“I’m sorry to hear that. But, okay?”

“He was killed by the winter court,” he said, voice low. “The house of Cerese are assassins for the king.”

I shook my head, both filing away the information and shoving aside my feelings about this. I turned to look at him. I knew what she said was true, I knew her version of things were accurate
… but I had no proof. I had to get the wand back. But I didn’t know how to go it when it was imprisoned for my own good.

“But I need to see that wand. Efen just visit it?” I asked.

He shook his head. “It appears we are at an impasse. Anything else before I go?”
“Yeah, okay. I guess.”

The wizard narrowed his eyes as I appeared to concede.

“What were the Rye wars?”

“That was the war over the ownership of the portals to this world. The winter court had a stronger claim, but the Summer court said that no one being should control them. So… we have this modern arrangement.
I blinked. “Which is?”

“Each portal is owned by the currently reighning monarch. In winter, it is the Winter court that controls the gate. in the Summer, it is the Summer court’s gate. In spring and fall, they are owned by no one, so as to satisfy the Summer court.”

“Lilly fought in them. She said I should ask you.”

“Lilly is the only Unicorn in that battle– in the whole war– that survived. yes, there are still unicorns, but none of those with ties to your world survived, save her. The rest went deep into the labrynth and haven’t been seen since.”

I was stunned.

“Unicorns were the first birth when the paths between worlds was established. It is their job to steward the magics of earth”

“That’s gotta be big job for one unicorn.” I said.

“Lilly tells me there are those who never fought, who stayed on Earth, who renounced Arcadia for attempting an invasion. But no tales of their works have come across into Arcadia– or even to the In Between. Lilly doesn’t even talk to me about them.”

I I shook my head. “My brain hurts.” I begged.

The wizard smiled, warm despite the words. “Do not attempt to read my thoughts. Blocking such is the first thing a wizard learns.”

I sighed. “you are exasperating.” I said.

“One could argue that is my job.”

I closed my eyelids, feeling their weight like irresistible gravity. Before long a blaze of light turned my inner darkness red. By the time I blinked my eyes open again, he was gone.

The lights were off and a light blanket I did not recognize was draped across my body. Though now it was night, and the porch light was on. I heard someone banging around in the kitchen.
I suddenly realized I had to feed the animals.. hours ago. Fortunately, most of the entourage that didn’t use the attic literboxes were already outside or paddocked. I still managed to fall on the floor instead of slip gracefully out of my impromptu bed.

Patrick appeared with a flashlight. He was even handsome in the half light.

“You shouldn’t be trying to move too quickly.” he advised. “Remember you have a concussion. Don’t worry about the animals, Grace. I took care of them that the help didn’t already tend.”
Hello Kitty slinked past Patrick and lept onto the edge of the couch arm rest. She sat regaly on the edge, tilted her head and looked at my pitifully. Then dangled her tail down just past my reach. I tried to grab it, and she yanked it away. She turned away haughtily, then turned back towards me, leaping to the cushion next to my head. There she crouched, as if to say, “you need someone to keep an eye on you.” In her crouch she looked very intent, but still at rest, with all four paws tucked under her body, like a white puddle. She was part Japanese bobtail, with the white coloring and a couple of black spots on her flank, but she actually had tail intact. The last third of it was black. But her face was more apple than wedge, and her body was rounder and her fur was denser. She had one yellowy green eye, and one deep blue eye, which in the wrong light made her look like a pirate. Her delicate pink collar with a bow competed the picture.

She watched me with incredulity as I attempted to get back on the couch. Patrick actually picked me up and carried me back to the couch, taking a bit longer than was strictly speaking necessary. I’m not skinny by any stretch, but I’m not fat, either. Just… a bit curvy in places. Mom would nag me into oblivion if I turned out like her sister Joelle. But I’m not light as a feather either. He seemed to have no trouble at all hefting me to chest height and swinging me over my sprawling distance from the couch. He set me down gently next to hello kitty, without disturbing her. Once it was clear I wasn’t moving, she padded closer, purred and nudged me with her pink nose.

“If you’d take care of yourself, I wouldn’t have to.” he said, but didn’t sound particularly displeased by it. My heart was screaming something, but I was too tired to hear. I drifted off while Patrick was still smiling.

Gata blanca con ojos de distinto color

Gata blanca con ojos de distinto color

Because, Awesome Beverage: The Spotted Cow (Adult Float)


So this is a rare as hen’s teeth food post. I know that hasn’t happened in a while but I discovered something amazing.

Because I don’t know much about the names of classic drinks, I’m going to call it: The Spotted Cow. You who are not cursed with dietary weirdness, take note.  This tastes so amazing you won’t care who can or can’t have it.  I’m pretty sure this has a fair amount of sugar in it, but… I didn’t die.  Probably because this was dinner.  (Bad me, I know…)

The Spotted Cow


1 bottle of Stella Artois Cidre

1 generous scoop of So Delicious Salted Carmel Cluster Ice Cream

Tools: A big spoon, a tall wide frosty glass, a sweet tooth, and a willingness to devour yummy things. Optional long dessert spoon and a wide straw.

Yes, the ice cream is made of cashews. Relax. Also, that texture is supposed to be “slightly more solid than soft serve.”  I found it at the local big box store by chance. (Meijers, if you are curious. Sorry you sad sack folks outside the Midwest. They don’t exist elsewhere. Though there is ONE in NY.  Not sure where. Probably somewhere like Rochester, which reminds me of Michigan in many ways.)

Directions:  Scoop ice cream to your preference in tall frostly glass. Pour your pompously pronounced cidre into the glass. Be a bit careful, as it will foam up if your bottle was freshly opened. (I left the bottle open for a little bit to let them subside, because cheating)  Stir if you dare. Devour lazily as if there is not a calorie in a truck load. I used glass housed cidre, so if the stuff from a can tastes different I can’t help you.

Variations: I bet a shot of apple pie would not be amiss. I could also see adding a few slices of crisp apple to the mix as a garnish. I don’t do that whole foofy garnish thing, unless the object really adds something. Like the olive in a martini.  It adds a fair amount of salt that you’d be amiss without.

Admission of blogfail: I did not stop long enough between creation and devouring long enough to take a picture. The one posted is a thing I found on the wikimedia that looks vaguely similar.  Call it a dramatic reenactment.  :)


Oh, dear. I’ll have to make this again to share it honest and true.

See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ARTICLE: America’s Supposedly Most Wanted Painting


I know it is pure mockery. But I like this painting. It reminds me of Max Ernst. I’d redo the proportions of things, but…

Originally posted on THE REMODERN REVIEW:


Komar and Melamid “America’s Most Wanted Painting”

CREATION BY FOCUS GROUP: A 1994 Article on a Postmodern Art Event

In 1994 two Russian painters had surveys conducted of what people liked in art, and made paintings based on the results. The article notes some of the data collected:

Having initially planned to produce different ideal pictures for various demographic groups, in the manner of localised ad campaigns, Komar and Melamid wound up painting only two canvasses: America’s Most Wanted Painting (1994) and America’s Most Unwanted Painting (1994). This decision was dictated by the results of the survey, which surprisingly painted a picture of an aesthetically unified society whose tastes cut across social lines. Thus even though the preference for blue (the favourite of 44% overall) diminishes with increased income and education, it’s still the colour preferred by the majority in every group; ditto for paintings of outdoor scenes (88% overall)…

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Announcement, continued.

Yep, more about my personal weirdness with hubby and cancer. I don’t really want to focus on the cancer here, and yet I’d like a soap box where I can talk about how the cancer stuff is actually going. I have decided to start a new blog, and just use this for “all the stuff I want to talk about that *isn’t* cancer.  Also, I would like my family to be able to go to that blog and see how things are going at a glance.  So, in the interests of doing that, I’ll leave my new blog link here.


I will still put up some art, and thoughts about that, and some links to the sad puppies things, and whatever updates about writing you may need to know.