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Thursday, August 28, 2014

DragonCon Day 0

Back again - went off to World Of Coca-Cola and Hard Rock, figuring that today would be the time to do so.

Hard Rock - okay, the food is good, but it is way overpriced, IMHO.

World Of Coca-Cola is reasonably priced and entertaining; we spent an enjoyable two hours there. Regular admission is $16 but a kind Boise State fan had a text that allowed us to get in for $25/2, which was considerably better.

So here's a few pictures:

Panoramic in Hard Rock Atlanta


Not sure what this thing is

I wanted these as chef pants but, alas...

Another panoramic

Bet you didn't know vampires drank Coke! 

So. Santa is a product of the Coca-Col company

A dark era in Coke


DragonCon Day -1

Day -1?

Yes, or perhaps Day 0 - Registration Day.

Now, we haven't done DC lots - but I can tell you this: Today was the FASTEST line to pick up badges that we have seen (or are ever likely to see).  From the time we entered 'the line' to having the shiny badges fresh off the printer(!) it ended up taking less than five minutes. Yes. FIVE. Most of that time was taken rolling through the Mickey Mouse Maze (right behind John Ringo - who I recognized from the back with the ponytail and the Cruxshadows t-shirt, and managed to say hello to).

Anyway, five minutes. Maybe less.

We're in a new hotel - got a great rate six months ago, and we're all of two blocks away from the con.

Got all sorts of things going on - perhaps tonight is the beginning of Day 0 and we're still in Day -1. There's a DragonCon get-together for the hotel, and also a BAEN book launch.

TOMORROW, the insanity begins.

And one more photo - THE most awesome Fourth Doctor scarf we've seen so far!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Complete Insanity

Welcome to a look into my life today!

With some luck (and a bit of planning) this will mark a return to my more-or-less regular blogging, something that I have neglected for far, far too long and for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, O Faithful Reader! I won't promise it won't happen again, but let's see what I can do, eh?

Right. I think some explanation is in order.

When last we checked in, I was living in a little two-bedroom apartment in rural Maine, my partner was still stuck across the border, and yet my life was relative uncomplicated.


First step into insanity: she was able to get across the border on a more-or-less permanent basis AND find a house that she liked.

Here's a picture of it:

Excellent, right? Pied-a-terre? Yes indeed, most excellent - and a serious lump of complexity! Let me ask you, have you ever moved? Yes, of course you have. You remember the chaos involved in moving, trying to coordinate the truck and your friends to help unload; turning on utilities; sorting the boxes, arranging furniture, hanging paintings...
Now multiply that by Border Crossing And Customs Declaration.
And then add in the fact that she has returned to school to update her training. Head spinning yet?

So then I moved in - somewhat simpler, as it was only a couple towns away, but still not fun. Then there was the inevitable Clean The Apartment struggle. But, eventually, finally, we were settled.

Then we figured we needed pets.

See, we had ALWAYS had animals, of one sort or another, through our childhoods and adulthoods as well. Not having a furry member of the family just wasn't right.

A friend of hers mentioned the local animal shelter as a good place to find pets that need homes. That's like saying to a chocoholic, oh look I have some fudge that needs eating! (Just to spread the joy, here's their web site: GAHS )


A perusal of their web page and we found one six-month-old kitten who desperately needed a home: a black cat named Berry who had been in the shelter for five months, on and off. She'd been adopted and returned three times in that period, because she was semi-feral and really didn't want anything to do with people. Well, challenge accepted! We had both rescued cats from a feral state and thought, oh yeah, we can do this again. Thus armed with confidence we marched off claim our cat.

Once there, the staff informed us that they thought Berry (what an unfortunate name for cat!) would do best in a home with another cat. No problem, we thought. We don't have a cat to take her home to, but that's easy enough. There's lots of cats here; we'll just pick another one out.

Now who were the suckers? Right.

First cat didn't want anything to do with us or Berry. Second cat was actively hostile to Berry - bad idea cat; we're sold on her not you! Finally I spotted a scraggly, matted grey-and-black striped tabby named Bruno. He was pressed hard against the glass, doing his best to be forlorn and yet appealing simultaneously.

Fortunately for him, he and Berry got along well enough that we decided he would work.

The ride home - Berry terrified in the cardboard carrier, Bruno carsick *phew* in the one carrier we had brought - was a slice of eternity measured in odorosity (yes I know it's not a word yet dammit but it ought to be!). At last, we arrived and got them out into their cat condo - where Berry crouched for the next two days.

Bruno, after having the worst of the mats shaved off at the vet, became quite the people-cat, never getting enough attention, always burring and buzzing at us, never happier than when he was being fussed over. However...

Berry (now renamed Shadow) wanted nothing to do with us. NOTHING. When we approached her, she would flee. If we moved past her, she would flee. When we looked at her - flee. Tiresome, to say the least.

Bruno, she loved, couldn't get enough of him. Followed him around, rubbed against him, wrestled with him.

Eventually we decided that we had ONE cat, and that he, too, had a cat. But that left us short a pet, though we didn't admit this to ourselves just yet.

Backtrack a bit here: the house came a chicken coop and run, which the previous owners had actually used to keep chickens. We had cleaned it out, repaired the floor (rotten through in a couple places), added windows and back doors, and reinforced the wire around the run, all with the intent of raising chickens for eggs ourselves. So when a couple friends of ours offered us some nearly-feathered chicks, we jumped at it!

A hour drive to their house and back and we had a half-dozen chicks in a large plastic tote. They were installed upstairs, with a sturdy wire cat-resistant cover on top. Now the house was filled with a constant 'cheep-cheep', punctuated by occasional squawks as the pecking order was sorted out.

Still, chickens are not the most cuddly pets, and definitely resistant to house- or litter-training, so our thoughts turned back to other animals.

Goat? No.

Monkey? HELL no!

Well, what about a dog?

A dog would be nice. It would have to be spayed/neutered - we didn't need either a marker or a breeder! Probably a female; despite being snipped, male dogs still mark. And it would have to get along with cats. Oh, and a little bit older might be ideal, a dog that's already trained, or at least house-broken - DEFINITELY not a puppy!

We got a puppy.

Not only did we get a puppy, we waited in line outside the humane society for FOUR HOURS to get this particular puppy, a cute Labrador/Rottweiler mix who came with the unfortunate name of Pancake. Big brown eyes, floppy ears, and a wagging tail that couldn't be stopped - she stole our hearts as soon as she came scampering into the 'meeting' room.

Here she is:

Then came the scramble to get all the puppy gear.

Bruno didn't care for the new addition, but was more-or-less patient with her. A few hisses, some claws-in cuffing, and the now-Charlie had learned who the boss was: Bruno.

However, that left a dilemma: a puppy who desperately needed a companion to play with in the full-bore, rambunctious manner which typifies puppies who definitely lacked a suitable, well, shall we just say 'target'?

Back to the humane society. There was one puppy we had sort-of selected from their mug shots, but when we met here there just wasn't any chemistry. The next puppy, a giant ball of fluff named Buffy (who promised to get even larger), was seriously afraid and cowered under a chair for most of the visit.

Then they brought in a dog named Rado (and what the devil is a RADO?), a shepherd/husky mix. Big ball of fluff, with hints of patterns and colors in his fur that had a long way to go to be defined, but friendly and happy and we were sold.

We got a shock when we were doing the paperwork - this dog, already easily the size of Charlie (four months), was only NINE WEEKS OLD.

That suggested THOR, THE THUNDERDOG would be a good name, but then he showed his true colors: he was a SnugglePuppy (TM). And, since I am of a certain age to remember fondly Saturday morning cartoons, specifically Looney Toons, I immediately thought of George. Specifically, THIS. (And just for you folks who are suddenly nostalgic for more cartoon craziness, here's a link to four HOURS of it: Merrie Melodies).

So now we have a cat (who has a cat), two puppies, five chickens (one flew the coop), and a severe sleep deficiency.


I hope you've enjoyed this brief look into what's been going. We now return you to our regular programming.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Interview With Lee Ryder

So tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a stay at home mom who loves to write in her spare time. That is when I’m not juggling my kids busy schedules hehehe I love music and vampires and am an avid fan of the walking dead. I also love musicals and am an accomplished musician and I love singing at the top of my lungs while driving. I also love to craft and make gifts for my family and friends.
Tell us about your book:
This is my debut book and has been a long time coming. This is my first foray into my own storyline and characters. I am a huge writer of fan fiction and poetry and my passion for writing sort of morphed from them. My story is about a girl named Jess who has survived a viral apocalypse that has claimed her entire family. It’s set in a world where everyone over 25 was killed by this virus that was brought on by heavy industrialization. Jess is surviving alone in a city where life on the street is made dangerous by rival gangs who are vying for control.
What is your favorite genre to write in?
When I started writing I thought I might write children’s stories, but I can’t draw and illustrators are expensive. So what happened was as my children grew I very much wanted to write stories for them. My kids like many of the books that I enjoy so I thought why not write a book for them. That’s when I decided to write in the Young Adult Genre.
Are any of your characters in the books like you?
Mollie is very much like me, however I’m not Irish. I have a bard’s heart and a poetic tongue just like Mollie. I also have a fiery temper and a wicked sense of humor like her.
What is your next book?
My next book will be the continuance of Jess’ journey. Right now I’m playing with titles and covers but I’ll be using the amazing cover artist I used for my first book. That is one thing I know for sure!
Can we get a sneak peek?
For each book in the series I’m going to start it with a bible verse that describes the state of affairs in the lives of our characters. The verse for Broken Earth is "The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, and the earth is moved exceedingly. Isaiah 24:19 I liked this verse because the Earth has changed so much everything is broken down, there’s no governments and no fight for control like times are today. The verse I chose for book 2: But understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficult Timothy Verse 3 I liked this verse because things are going to become more difficult as the journey goes on. While the books are started with bible verses they are not religious centered, this is after the end of days and there is no organized religion.
Do you need special conditions to write?
With 2 teenagers and a preteen in the house NOPE I thrive on the chaos they create.
Are you a typer or longhand writer?
 I do both, whatever is handy at the time.
Who inspires you?
My kids, my mom, princess Diana, Mother Teresa, people fighting cancer, kids overcoming incredible odds. These are dear to my heart. There are so many nay sayers and negative people in the world. If we all took a minute and gave some love our world and humanity would be so very different.
Favorite authors?
Dean Koontz, John Saul, Hans Holzer, Daniel Cohen, John Jakes, Christy Sloat, Raebeth Mcgee-Buda There’s just so many. One of my favorite series is the species intervention series by JK Accinni
Authors who influence your writing?
There’s many authors who influence my writing. I’m touched by each book I read.
Quick Fires:
Favorite Holiday tradition?
Christmas eve with my parents going to church. Spending time with my family going “home for the holidays”
Is your christmas tree up?
Oh you mean the ball of tinsel and lights in my living room, yes the kids and I put up our Christmas tree and it is GLORIOUS!
Favorite color?
Favorite food?
Cheesecake, Swedish fish, chocolate ice cream, oreos, and those white middle caramels made by goetze’s But not all together that would be gross hehehe
Favorite writing snack?
Ritz club crackers
Favorite Song?
I have so many, Lady Gaga’s music, Doreen Taylor, John Lennon, Garth Brooks, The beatles, dr demento, I just have so many, I love all kinds of music except rap and metal.
Favorite vacation spot?
San Diego, California
Favorite beverage?
Sweet tea
Favorite Holiday song?
'I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas' and 'Dominic the Donkey'
Favorite Holiday?
Halloween and Christmas in that order
If you were a supernatural creature who would you be and why?I
Big fan of vampires, movies like twilight brought so many awesome people into my life.
Favorite books?
The Missing Persons League, The Brown House Series, The Light in the Attic (Shel Silverstein) The Tribe A New World, The North and South Series and Flowers in the Attic series.
Favorite Movies?
Twilight, Pirate Movie, North and South Movies any movie musical. If I had a list of them it would take up 2 or 3 days on your blog
Favorite TV Show?
The Blacklist, Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS – Both NCIS serie,s Vampire Diaries, Reign, Ghost Adventures, Hawaii 5-0, Survivor, Walking Dead

Lee Ryder

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ender's Game: First Reactions

Ender's Game: How Does It Stack Up?

WARNING: SPOILERS! Read on at your own risk!

Okay, so I will admit that I was one of the great unwashed. I didn't pick up, and read, Ender's Game until a month or so before the movie came out. Of course, I had a copy – it was a classic, right? - but I hadn't actually read it.

Then I did, finally. And it was good. The development of Ender, the progression from game to game with higher and higher stakes, was well-presented and logical.

Of course, being a political junkie, I also enjoyed the subplot with Val and Peter and their web alter-egos – and wasn't Card prescient in his imagining of the internet and the anonymity it would bring?

I admit, too, that when it was revealed that the final games were actual battles I was quite surprised. Okay, okay, I hadn't seen it coming, I get it. I probably should have, yeah, but I didn't. That speaks to the skill with which Card drew me into his universe.

Moving on, I had the opportunity to go see the movie tonight, at one of the eight o'clock showings. First time I had ever gone to an 'opening' – I usually avoid them like the plague – but this one called to me.

I'm not going to critique the movie, minute by minute; there are many more qualified than I who will be jumping in to do that. Instead, I'm going to just make a few observations.

First, there were only a dozen or so of us in the theatre. Disappointing, to say the least, but given that it was cold, raining, and Halloween night, not entirely surprising.

Second, while the bulk of the book takes place over about a six year period (yes yes, I know, the book continues for many decades after the climactic battle scenes, but most of the meat of the book is Ender's training on Earth, in Battle School and then in Command School), the movie gives the impression that it was about a six-month period. Yes, I get it, it would difficult, even in this CGI era, to start with a six-year-old and progress through to a near-teenager. But by compressing the action to the shorter period much of the depth of the book is lost. Enough is conveyed that my partner stated that she was 'totally carried along with the movie', but by comparison the movie lacked a bit.

Third, the punch of the plot was actually stronger in the movie. Being able to see and hear, instead of reading and imagining, adds so much to the power of the story. A potent message the movie conveys is summed up neatly by Ender after wiping out the enemy:

How you make war is as important as why you make war.

(No, I'm NOT going to go into this. If it resonates with you, then you understand and don't need me to elaborate; if it doesn't resonate, then nothing I say will make a difference. No flame wars here!)

I did appreciate in both the book and the movie the homage to Heinlein's classic Stranger In A Strange Land, that to understand your enemy means you have to know them and in knowing them you will come to love them as they love themselves – and it is only in that moment that you can defeat them.

A wholly worthwhile movie. Thoughtful, but with enough action and motion through the plot to satisfy most.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Have Fun!

A link here for a quiz - what Star Trek character are YOU? Just classic and TNG, though.

I took it, ended up Geordi. What about you? Comment below!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Doctor Who/Amazing Stories cross-pollination

Hey Dan, could you help Lewis out with his radio show that airs on Fridays at 8 PM? He's looking for people to record audio responses to three questions about Doctor Who and email him the mp3 files for an upcoming segment. Thanks. I know he'd appreciate it if you and a few of your scifi lovin' friends helped him out with this.

What do you think of Peter Capaldi, the actor chosen to play the new Doctor?

What would you like to see happen on Doctor Who this upcoming season?

The Doctor has almost used up all of his regenerations. What do you think will happen when he's used up the very last one?

Get your answers in by October 7 at midnight Eastern Time. 


Get in touch with Dan Berger from Foes of Reality if you are interested -