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Showing posts from 2021

Serial Saturday #2.9: The Ashen Light

The station didn't have a name. The actual living space inside was relatively small and could fit two dozen people at most, comfortably. Its docking bays were big enough to handle space-faring ships. Its obsidian exterior bristled with top-of-the-line, military-grade stealth technology from Terra. At the top level of the station, a man sat behind a desk. He had his feet up on the desk, wearing stylish if informal shoes, jeans, a plain blue t-shirt, and a sports jacket. He had many names, but his current employers knew him only as Mr. Hastings. A large bank of windows dominated the westward-facing wall of the room. The northern and southern walls were lined with bookshelves that groaned with books. Bibliophilia was one of the few vices he allowed himself and the delight he felt at finding what appeared to be the first edition of Nietzche's works still filling him. He turned the book over in his hands, admiring its cover and feeling the weight and the heft of it- and trying to fi

Serial Saturday #2.8: The Medallion

Sarah was trying very hard not to cry. They were safe. Someone had rescued them. Alan extended a hand to her as she reached the edge of the lifeboat. "Thank you," she smiled. "You're welcome, miss," Alan grinned. "Told you we'd get some help." Two people were waiting for them in the cargo baby. One was a tall, lithe woman who was whispering something to a man standing slightly in front of her. He looked like the Captain: stocky, shaved head and an expression of world-weary irritation seemed to be etched on his face. Aboah was shaking his hand in gratitude. The woman behind him stepped forward.  "Is anyone hungry?" She jerked a thumb over her shoulder. "Injinia is cooking today and her yam soup is almost as good as the real thing." That was enough for the troubadours and the old man. They made a beeline for the galley and after a moment, Aboah joined them leaving Sarah alone.  "You don't want food?" The Captain aske

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: The Last President

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It's FINALLY HERE! I'm very excited and pleased to announce the release of my third book THE LAST PRESIDENT- it's available from multiple e-book retailers over here:  https://books2read.com/u/bwoAPY Or, if you'd prefer a physical copy you can head over here:  https://amzn.to/351PNLq (If you read it and are feeling especially generous with your time- and have hopefully enjoyed the book- please consider leaving an Amazon review or just a review anywhere would be great! Thanks in advance, dear reader!) ~~~ The last thing Zebulon Stanton ever wanted to be was President of the United States.  America's best days are centuries behind it. Nineteen states hide behind the Frontier Wall- an energy barrier of ancient technology controlled by The Order. Few people care for such an economic and political backwater. Yet enemies are on the march. A powerful General sweeps aside the fractured nations of North America. A dissident member of The Order stops at nothing to bring them d

Bookshot #144: The Way of Kings

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I figured if I liked Mistborn , I would probably like The Stormlight Archive , so without too much hesitation, I plunged into the first book of what's planned to be ten volumes (ten volumes? Dear God) of The Stormlight Archive and almost immediately regretted it. That's not to say it wasn't a good book. It was. And I'm sure- or at least I'm fairly sure- that once Sanderson has completed all ten volumes of this bad-boy then this series is probably going to give The Wheel of Time a run for it's money in terms of it's place on the Mount Rushmore of fantasy writing. Keeping in mind the epic nature of what I'm going to assume is a very, very, very, very long form story (and throw in a few more 'verys' since this first book is 1,024 pages long) I was willing to grade The Way of Kings on a curve. Sanderson's got a ton of groundwork to lay for the volumes ahead and it's pretty obvious that's what a large portion of this book was about- but

Goin' Dark

Y'all, We'll be hitting pause on YE OLDE BLOG for a couple of weeks to welcome a brand, shiny new baby this coming Monday. Regularly scheduled posts (like Serial Saturday, etc) will be coming back in June. Until then-- Don't add to the population. (Like I'm about to.) Don't subtract from the population. Stay out of the Hospital (See above. Kind of necessary for population addition), the newspaper, and jail. If you do end up in jail, establish dominance quickly. See you next month!

Serial Saturday #2.7: "You're A Terrible Pirate"

 Acho Harcourt was about to take a sip of his coffee when the "ping" echoed across the length of the ship. A second later, the ship's comm activated. " Onyeisi , we've got a new contact." With a sigh, he picked up his coffee and stepped over to the comm box. "Acknowledged. I'll be right there." Getting from the galley to the bridge took a while. The Enugu was technically a trading vessel, so it wasn't built for looks like pleasure cruisers. If it looked like anything, it was probably an elongated Terran submarine with various engines attached to it. He emerged onto the cramped bridge a minute or so later, having traversed his way past cargo bays, the crew quarters, and the ladder that lead down to engineering. "What do we have?" "Mayday," his first officer, Ema Okoro said. "Looks like a lifeboat." "Pirate attack?" Ema shrugged. "Who knows. Nothing we're picking up anyway." "Can we g

COVER REVEAL: The Last President

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  The last thing Zebulon Stanton ever wanted to be was the President of the United States. America's best days are centuries behind it. Nineteen states hide behind the Frontier Wall- an energy barrier of ancient technology controlled by The Order. Few people care for such an economic and political backwater. Yet enemies are on the march. A powerful General sweeps aside the fractured nations of North America. A dissident member of The Order stops at nothing to bring them down. Now, Stanton must find allies and convince an isolationist Congress of the increasing peril or he'll be: The Last President ~~~ I am so excited and pleased to reveal the cover of my third book, The Last President . This one has been a long time in coming and I am very, very happy to get this one over the finish line and out into the world. Right now, I'm planning on releasing e-book versions through multiple vendors on Draft2Digital and then doing a paperback edition through Amazon. With a little bit o

Bookshot #142: Creativity, Inc.

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I have no idea why I downloaded this book. I think I had some free credits on Audible and after picking up Extreme Ownership , I saw this and I think thought it may be about the business of creativity and how better to market your creativity? Maybe? But I couldn't have been more wrong. What this book was about is Pixar. Written by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmul and Amy Wallace (narrated by Peter Altschuller), Creativity Inc , is the story of the development of computer animation and the eventual founding of Pixar and how it grew and developed the creative culture that has brought it so much sustained success today. The early chapters of the book focus on Catmul's childhood love of early Disney animation and his desire to become a feature film animator-- by the time he made it to college, however, he ended up with a degree in physics and computer science from the University of Utah and encountered Ivan Sutherland who changed his interst to digital imaging and then set his sights on

Netflix & Chill #96: Zack Snyder's Justice League

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The theatrical cut of Justice League was okay... I thought it and Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice both suffered from the same odd problem: the characters were incredibly interesting. The plot of the movie wasn't really all that interesting at all. So, I was curious when The Snyder Cut was announced. Could this movie be made... better?  It turns out that the answer is, strangely, yes, it was better. It was also four hours long which a viewer could be forgiven for being a little scared of- but unlike say, The Irishman (another long movie) the Snyder Cut is long, but it doesn't feel long and ultimately, I think what results is a more complete movie that makes me care about more characters and the story itself. So in that sense: mission accomplished. I don't want to re-hash the plot of the movie again. (If you want that, here's my review of the Theatrical Cut ) but let's instead take a dive into the aspects that worked really well: First, Cyborg. Biggest differen

Serial Saturday #2.6: The Lifeboat

The alarm klaxon woke Sarah out of a dead sleep. "This is the Captain speaking," the overhead speaker blared. "Please form an orderly cue and make your way to the lifeboats. Unidentified ships are closing on our position." An electric jolt of fear ran through Sarah as the babble of alarm filled the cabin, but she stood, as did everyone else. The crew herded them down the staircase to the lower deck. Sarah darted through the crowd to grab her duffel bag off the luggage racks and then, the ship lurched to the left and they all felt the explosion. Panic erupted. People surged into the lifeboats. Sarah found herself shoved to the back of one. Red lights flashed. Another explosion. The doors slammed shut. A deep concussive thunk . Then they were falling.  Sarah sat down, took a few deep breaths to calm herself. She took stock of the other occupants of the lifeboat. One of the officers, Lt. Aboah, sat with a grizzled old man with one eye who didn't seem to have a name

100 Days In, How's Everyone Feeling?

You know what I like best so far: that I don't have to give a single solitary shit about what the President of the United States is doing at any given moment of the day. I don't have to wake up to huge, frothy spoonfuls of rage and screaming, ready to be forced upon me from every conceivable corner like a goose being fattened up to be foie gras. I noticed this weird energy almost immediately and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I assumed it was COVID: Biden took office in the depths of the pandemic and people (understandably) had other things on their mind. There might still be something to that, I suppose, but I really think that it's the fact that people aren't being screamed at 24/7/365. Cable news viewership has tanked. People might be remembering that there are other, more important things in life to deal with than "what dumb shit the President said today" and "what (usually turns out to be complete bullshit) scandal the media is raging abou

Serial Saturday #2.5: The Docks

Sarah followed Mendrika out of her apartment building. "I left so much behind." "Better to leave some stuff behind than your life," Mendrika said. He held up an arm and she stopped and waited as he whistled, sounding like a nightjar. From across the street, two figures emerged from the shadows. Sarah stiffened. "Relax," Mendrika told her. "They're friends." The two men were dressed in dark clothing. "This is Piet and Barau. They're going to watch our backs while we get you to the docks." "Which way are you we going?" Sarah asked. "The fastest way? Up to Toliara Avenue." Sarah shook her head. "That's too visible. Let me take you the back way." "We're kind of on a schedule here," Mendrika said. "That's why we don't have time to argue," Sarah replied. She started off in the opposite direction and after she heard some muttered curse words behind her, footsteps soon fo

The Rise and Fall of The Super League

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It was Dennis Bergkamp.  More specifically, this goal: I was fourteen. The World Cup was in France. England and Argentina had played one of the best matches I think I've ever seen- going at it hammer and tongs for ninety minutes plus the thirty minutes of sudden death overtime. (Which they should absolutely bring back!) Argentina had a man sent off. England had David Beckham sent off and it all came down to penalties and it ended as it inevitably did: England lost on penalties. At the time, European soccer viewing opportunities in America were few and far between. You could random La Liga matches on ESPN mid-week, and if you had Fox Soccer you could get more matches. (I seem to remember watching a random match between Aston Villa and Middlesborough at some point in high school.) But the ability to actually sit in America and watch a decent majority of one team's games? Pretty much impossible for the casual viewer. Everyone in high school at the time loved Manchester United,

Squawk Box: Collateral/Young Wallander

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The thing about Collateral that stands out is that it's four episodes and that's it. Less of a television series and more of a Limited Series, you don't worry about hanging plot threads or when the next season is coming out-- you get four episodes and that's it- and you know what? You're fine with that. You don't need more than that- because it allows the series to focus on the story and the mystery. Carey Mulligan stars as Kip Glaspie, who is assigned to investigate a murder of a pizza delivery man, Abdullah Asif who is gunned down on the street of a London suburb after delivering a pizza to Karen Mars (Billie Piper) the ex-wife of Shadow Cabinet Minister David Mars (John Simm.) Glaspie immediately starts questioning the motives of  Regal Pizza's manager, Laurie Stone (Hayley Squires) after she discovers that Abdullah wasn't meant to deliver the pizza and his colleague Mikey Gowans (Brian Vernel) was. The key witness to the shooting Linh Xuan Huy (Kae

Netflix & Chill #95: Godzilla vs. Kong

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I have not seen Godzilla: King of the Monsters or Kong: Skull Island. I think the last Godzilla movie I actually sat through was the 1998 one featuring Jean Reno and Matthew Broderick and that god-awful Diddy track that sampled from 'Kashmir.' I think I did sit through Peter Jackson's version of King Kong, which wasn't bad either- but in general, outside of Pacific Rim- which to me was cool because Voltron, giant robots, etc- these movies are not my jam, generally. I've got nothing against them. But when the Eldest Kiddo is hearing about Godzilla Vs Kong at school and we just got rid of cable, we figured why not give HBO Max awhirl and give it a watch. So, we did. Five years after the last movie, Kong is living in a giant dome on Skull Island being monitored by an organization called Monarch (I'm assuming this ties back to prior movies, but having not seen them, it meant nothing to me- but I just went with it, because you can't worry too much about plot wi

Serial Saturday #2.4: The Ghost

" Dadatoa ? Uncle Mendrika?" He spread his arms wide, grinning... " Zanak'anabavy! " ~ Blink. She was one hundred fifty million miles away and five years younger and someone was pounding on their front door. Sarah had been huddled on the couch for days now, glued to news reports coming in from all the fronts. Her mother rushed from the kitchen and lunged for the controller. "Turn that down!" "But, Neny-" "Turn it down," she repeated. "Iza io?" "Mendrika," came the reply. "Open the damn door." Her mother flung the door open and her uncle came in, uniform torn and dirty, rifle slung across his shoulders. "Uncle Mendrika, your eye!" Sarah said, noticing the eyepatch across his right eye. Her mother blanched. "What happened?" "Start packing." "What?" "Start packing," he repeated. "But-" "The Consolidation Fleet sailed sooner than we thought.

Mixology Monday: Malort Highball

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So, Malort. More specifically, Jeppson's Malort . (No, I don't know how to do the little umlaut thingies over the 'o' so just deal with it alright.) A future post will, of course, go into the full review of Jeppson's Malort- but since I've got a bottle of it now and it's Mixology Monday, I figured, why not have an adventure and see what it can do in cocktail form.  Shout out to r/cocktails for the inspirational post and since I had all of the ingredients for a Malort Highball, I decided to give it a whirl. Here's the recipe, by Paul McGee: 1 1/2 oz tequila 3/4 oz lime juice 3/4 oz orange juice 1/2 oz Jeppson's Malort 2 oz ginger beer Shake all ingredients except ginger beer and strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with crystallized ginger. So I did it and this is what it looked like: As you can see, I did not garnish it with crystallized ginger, but I included everything else and you know what? I think this might b

Serial Saturday #2.3: The Apartment

Sarah adjusted her lemba as she walked back down the avenue toward her apartment. It had been a perfect night. A hiragasy troupe from Terra had been touring all the cities of the diaspora on Venus, and New Toliara had been their final stop. The merchants had stayed open late. Someone- she suspected Andry- had shipped in kegs of Three Horses Beer. Everyone had come to the zocalo. Moments like this were rare in the diaspora, but when they happened, you learned to savor little slices of home. The women in their brightly colored lembas , matched by the men in their vivid suits. The brassy horns and drums of the hiragasy dancing. People laughing, talking, children running everywhere. Sarah stopped and sat on a bench under her favorite baobab tree. She slipped off her shoes- new ones that had given her a nice set of blisters. The street cleaners would have already been through, so on an impulse, she decided to go barefoot the rest of the way. She liked the feel of the vibrations of the c

The Future of Writing

If we combine enough publishers we get publishing Voltron. That’s just science. — Michael Mammay (@MichaelMammay) March 30, 2021 On the face of it, who the hell am I, right? I'm just some random dude with a blog. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of random dudes with blogs out there. It's not like I know much of anything at all. I'm just a random dude with a blog who likes to grapple with big, deep ideas sometimes. Sometimes that's not always pretty, but sometimes it's fun and you know what? After participating in a fascinating discussion about this very issue in one of My Friendly Neighborhood Discord Servers, I figured it might be fun to break out some ideas and look at... The Future of Writing! [Impressive Fanfare, Theme Music, etc] Initially, when considering this question, my brain went immediately to two points. First, the internet- if it hasn't already (see: music, movies, television, etc) will disrupt a lot of the standard creative art

Boozehound Unfiltered: Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or

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It's been a while since I've dipped into the Glenmorangie range. I know I've had the Quinta Ruban but I cannot for the life of me recall whether I've ever tasted the sweet goodness of the Nectar d'Or.  A quick check of the archives of this iteration of my blog reveals that I have not reviewed it since at least 2016. A quick check of my former (now retired) blog reveals that I have reviewed the Glenmorangie La Santa before. So this is shiny, it's new and man, it's delicious. In the world of single malts- I really do like Glenmorangie. Glenfiddich is widely available locally as well. I'll admit this: it's been a while, thanks to COVID since I've had the pleasure of hanging out with fans of single malt. But my experience is that a lot of them tend to love Islays. I love an Islay now and again- and while the beer metaphor may be inaccurate when it comes to the world of single malt- but if you don't want to sip on the whiskey equivalent of a high

Serial Saturday #2.2: The Power Converter

"How can you have the job you have and be afraid of heights?" "Shut up, Andry. What are you even doing here, anyway?" "This power converter feeds two of my largest berths and I want to see which cheap ass corporation made it so I can never do business with them ever again." The elevator rattled to a halt and Sarah clutched at the side to steady herself. "Why the hell do they put these things down here?" "That's easy," Andry said. "If we have to do major work, we can get maintenance rigs down here and if there's a fire, it's easier to contain." He extended a hand to her. "Come on." Sarah took a deep breath. He guided her out of the elevator to the railing of the gantry. They both reached down and clipped the carabiners attached to their safety harnesses onto the railing.  It had been a week since the walkway collapse and the power converter underneath Maromokotro was still causing problems. The anti-gravit