Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Out of Hairpic experience

Monday, August 27, 2007

Some kind of cycle, ending

Well, got official word that my story "The Algorithm" will be appearing in Interzone 212. That's the last story I've sold, and there aren't any more in the hopper. So a moment of introspection, if you don't mind.

In a lot of ways I feel like the early Veridon stories were experimental. I had this idea of a place in my head, and I wanted to bang around in that place for a while and see what came out. While all of those stories sold and are published, I don't necessarily think of them as being the canonical texts of Veridon. What I wanted the place for, what I wanted it to do and say and be, has changed in the three years (I had to go look that up) since I first started writing it. A lot of thrashing about in the narrative, for me. But I think it's settled down.

Anyway. I hope you all enjoy 212 when it comes out. I hope the world enjoys it. These stories have been appearing for a year and a half, now, and I don't feel like they're making much of a psychic impact on the genre. It's like dropping water through a net, sometimes. Just another hurdle to get by. Another hole to fill.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Blah blah rain

So, yeah. Weather. Ahem.

I think yesterday was the worst weather I've seen here. Probably. It's a little hard to remember, because once it gets to a certain point of badness I generally go away from windows and wait for it to pass. So maybe this is the worst weather I've had the opportunity to observe.

Around 2:30 I caught on that it was about to be bad. We were under Severe T'storm watch, but cycling west there were Tornado Warnings in the next county. I emailed my wife at home to let her know it was coming, so she had time to shut down her computer and do whatever else she had to do.

The view out my window was something. A near cloudline of black, backed up by a sick green cloudbank. Lots of movement in the clouds. My window is obviously westfacing, and looks out over a reservoir and then some factory roofs, so I can see a long way.

About then the sirens went off. Glanced outside again and saw a rolling wall of cloud, right over the building. I walked around the office, telling people the sirens were going off - no one else could hear them because they were, I don't know...talking or listening to music or whatever. But no one else heard it. Time after time I stuck my head into someone's office, said "Sirens are going off" and they'd look at me with faint amusement until they got quiet and sure enough...sirens. I went back into production and yelled out "Tornado sirens, folks. Turn off your machines please." And again, people thought I was joking, until they went out to shut the truck bay. So yeah. Sirens.

We all stood around the shop wall, pretty much the most secure place in the building. I suppose that if we had heard the "roar" I would have hopped into the shop closet or something. But it was a good place. Nice thing about it was you could peer through the break room and see the window onto the parking lot. There's a little tree right outside the window, then the lot, then some more trees. Serious wind, black wind. We lost sight of the trees across the lot pretty fast, just from the downpour. Then we couldn't really see the tree right outside the window. Couldn't have been more than five feet away. Fun.

Took me an hour to drive home. Lots of closed roads, flooded roads, trees down and signals out. And there was a second wave coming through. I was about ready to park and shelter in a Denny's when I got to some backroads that were clearer and got home. No power, but that's okay for now.

So yeah. Annoying day. And more rain today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Well. I hear they're hiring.

So, it's been a complicated week. In conveying the details of the last couple days to my parents, my wife, etc, the word that I've been using most frequently is "delusional." Oh, and "horrific" but in a slightly different way.

The thing with the buyout has resolved, sort of. The final closing is Sept 20, but everything is on track. We ended up with the better of two uncomfortable choices. Going to be a stressful month because the guy who got bought out is still in the building.

Here's what surprised me. The announcement was yesterday. The buyee seriously thought, up until the buyer handed him the letter of intent, that he was going to get the company. Now, it was pretty obvious to everyone else that the company wasn't going to him, but he didn't see it coming. I talked to him at the end of the day yesterday and asked him "So, what have you planned for the next thing. Where are you going from here." And he said "Oh, uh. Nothing. Hadn't really planned anything."

Really? You went into this 90 days ago, every indication was that the company wasn't going to you, and you didn't even *consider* your next step? Nothing at all?

You know what he's going to do? He's going to sell his house, the house that he had built for his family three years ago, because he can't afford it even if he had kept the company and certainly can't afford it now that he doesn't have a job. "I'm thinking about just getting a job at Lowes," he says. "For the insurance."

He's going to go from owning his own company to straight retail slub because he didn't think through the transaction. You see why I didn't want this guy to win?

Anyway. One more month, at the most, and then it's just business. There are going to be a lot of complications built into that as well, but they're active problems, problems that I can engage and overcome. Rather than problems that I have to just sit and stew about.

How you?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Really, only an effort at posting.

Oh bah. Postiness be damned.

I spent the majority of last week painting my kitchen. It looks nice, and it makes me feel more at home than I did previously. Before we could paint, we had to take down the wallpaper. Wallpapering a room, btw, is one of the basic indicators of sociopathy. It takes a complete disregard for the health and well-being of future homeowners to wallpaper a room. It's a fundamentally selfish act. And evil. Fucking wallpaper.

I came back to work to find the word "embezzelment" being thrown around. Probably prematurely, but you never know. Things will have to be resolved by Wednesday. So. Stress. Also? You can not drink enough beer to not worry about Rex Grossman. I am trying.

Monday, August 06, 2007


The second half of that last post shows as having been posted on Thursday, the 2nd. It actually posted on Monday the 6th. Blogger's weird.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Better and better and better and utopia (if the current standards apply, of course)

See, I knew that if I delayed writing this it would get stuck in some kind of Zone of Intent, where I keep meaning to get to it but never do. So here it is, almost unchanged, from late last week.


While in Baltimore, we went down to DC one day to the Smithsonian. I used to live in DC, and did the whole Smithsonian thing. But the thing I did most was the Air and Space Museum. We must have gone once a month while I was living there, at least. I love that place. So, since we only had the one day, we of course went to the Air and Space Museum. I haven't been in 22 (my god I'm old) years and I was anxious to see how things were different.

Fundamentally it was the same place. Displays had changed, and things had been updated, and some stuff had been added. Space Ship One, for example, now hangs in the main atrium. That was cool. But what had changed most drastically, obviously, was me. I used to spend a lot of time in the space bit of the museum, there and the jets. And while I still enjoyed those sections, this time around I found myself most pleased by the Early Flight and Golden Age (that's the 20s and 30s) displays. And that got me thinking about Steampunk, and what about it appeals to me over science fiction, and how that relates to my writing. I haven't written a thing in about two weeks, btw, and I'm totally comfortable with that. Kind of. Anyway.

Here's what's unrolled in my head. What's the difference between cyberpunk and steampunk? They're both punk, right? There are some obvious answers, especially the cyber- and the steam-, differences in what powers the technology presented, differences in time period, stuff like that. But, as usual, I think that those are only superficial answers that are endemic of a much deeper difference. Here's the easy roundup: Cyberpunk is about progress. Steampunk is about Progress. Get it? In one the technology is a dehumanizing oppressotron, grinding people into units of consumption until we end up with dystopia or apocalypse or, you know, something equally dreadful and soaked in rain and neon. Steampunk, however, is all about science rampant. Science triumphing over the world, over disease, seizing the earth and reimagining it in the will of man. Nifty, huh?

Seems to be that the current Singularity movement is more similiar to steam than cyber. The whole idea of the Upload is persistently optimistic, a sort of upotia for the unathletic. Reminds me a lot of Postmillenialism.

This is nice, but tomorrow's post is going to be AWESOME!!!

I have returned from Baltimore. You did not know I was in Baltimore? That is because I did not tell you. I'm still not entirely comfortable with broadcasting my movements internettally, especially when it means that I'm going to be out of the house for a week or so. Probably old fashioned of me.

Yes, so, I was in Baltimore. Visiting my brother-in-law. A number of things came of this. I got a cold, though I don't know that that had anything to do with the trip specifically. I do tend to get colds when I travel. It didn't come on full until I got home, thankfully, because there's nothing worse than being ill in a strange house, full of noise and completely lacking kleenex. So I got to sleep in my bed for one night before transferring to the Sick Bed downstairs. Hooray!

I also read a lot when I travel. Especially if I'm visiting relatives. It's just a good way of not having to watch television, and it's something to do when, say, everyone else is at football practice or swimming in the pool. This time I read Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell. I recommend. There are some little things I would have done differently, but that's largely because I'm a different writer than Toby, and have a different way of approaching narrative and theme. As a reader I was perfectly content. The only real niggle I had was the name. Crystal Rain. I didn't know what to expect from it, based on the name, and it wasn't until 3/4 of the way through the book before I saw where the name came from. It won't be spoiling anything to tell you that some small portion of the story happens in the "Northland" which is largely uninhabited and snowy and all that. And since that's not where most of the characters live, snow is a bit of rarity, and when one of the characters is trying to describe it to someone else using a non-native language, he calls it crystal rain. And that's where the title comes from. Nothing to do with the themes of the book, or really even the plot. It's more of a throw-away commentary on a brief bit of the setting. So yeah.

Let me stick my neck out and suggest a title. Too late, I realize, but I'm going to kick this one to Toby and see what he thinks. The Eagle Stone. Read the book, it'll make sense.

Lastly. God, this is a long post. Do I keep going, or should I stop here and try to use my third thought tomorrow. Yeah, I'll do that. Don't want to bore you completely.