At the beginning of the year I resolved to a number of goals, the biggest of these being a change in career. I have partially succeeded. I’ve move over to a new school, which has helped tremendously. And while this is not a complete career change, I feel it is a significant step.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Okay, Santa is huge. No, I’m not talking about his belly. Mythologically, he is many people. The name Santa Claus derives from the Dutch figure Sinterklaas. But stories of gift-givers are throughout Europe (and even other locations, but they aren’t attributed to being part of Santa). There is Saint Nicholas, Odin, Krampus (a kind of opposite who gives bad gifts and frightens people on the naughty list into behaving), Ded Moroz (from Russia), and still more in Austria, Hungary, with variations on the story.
Friday, December 25, 2015
She roped me into it. I could ask how, but that didn’t matter. Never mind that Nikki could bench press a small car, I was trapped in one of the last permissible gender stereotypes: the man carries the packages.
On Christmas Eve, no less.
“Matthew, you’re beginning to lag behind. Come, we have one more important store to stop at. I think you’ll appreciate this one: intimate apparel.”
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Every holiday, I get asked by friends and neighbors if I have any big holiday plans. Nine times out of ten, I don’t. Mostly it’s because of a lack of resources. There have been some lean times, no joke. But more than that, I just don’t want the bother when it comes to holiday travel.
I don’t need big plans to enjoy a holiday. So I will enjoy my holiday with some good movies, conversations with good friends, and maybe by going out to eat locally.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Okay, our next stop on the list is the manger. We have to examine this because there is a misconception about this particular part of the story. Many people have actually already written on this subject, but they usually take an approach that is linguistic or archaeological. I’m going to look from a more cultural perspective.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Today is my mother’s birthday. She’s been here for 77 years, now. And I’m glad for every one of those days. I know she’s not going to be around forever, but I celebrate all the time she has had, and all the time she’s still going to have.
Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Well, okay, now, the birth of Christ. This is some big stuff. And it’s important to get it right, starting with the Christmas decorations!
Yeah, I know, that made no sense. But this is where we have to start. You see, that Nativity scene you put out, it’s wrong. Yeah, the three guys holding the gifts, they weren’t there.
Friday, December 11, 2015
Natalie sat on the cloud with me as we looked north, eyeing the swirling mass of air that would collide with the clouds.
“The air mass will trigger a snowfall, and then swirl into the clouds.”
We had been playing this game since winter began, and so far I had been right every single time.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Another NaNo down. I finished my word count. The title of this post isn’t referring to that. No, it’s referring to last year’s NaNo novel. I started a Matt Allen book, and still have not finished it. Usually over the course of the year I will finish out a draft of my NaNo book, but that didn’t happen this time. Throughout the year I got sidetracked by other projects (Matt included), and just could not get back to it.
Monday, December 7, 2015
Friday, December 4, 2015
I missed the subway. Even with the crowds, the subway was a civilized way to move people. But even though I didn’t own a card, I missed cars, too. I had always been a beat cop, on my feet. That wasn’t a problem, but my beat had gotten significantly bigger. And a squad car wasn’t an option in the Fairy Tale Realms.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
It’s kind of a universal human condition. When we see the finish line, we slow down or get complacent. Psychologically something is going on in our heads that when a goal is in sight, we can begin to rest. Now, every runner knows this isn’t true, but there’s still a flood of relief when that goal comes in sight. Obviously, the trick is to look past the line to make sure that you still cross the goal at full speed.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Yeah, you thought we were done with Eden, didn’t you. One last bit.
Okay, we’ve been through all of four chapters of Genesis and a smidgen of the Talmud to talk about Lilith. All told, we haven’t been through that much material, but it’s densely packed with story metaphors, and implications. And that was just separately. Now let’s tackle them together.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Thanksgivings had become harder since Paul and Connie died. I did my best to join Ma, Dad, and Cassie in Florida, but financial realities often got in the way. And when I did, I did my best to keep myself upbeat for Cassie. It was hardest on her. But alone in my house on Thanksgiving with only a deli-prepared turkey dinner as comfort, I was left to introspective thoughts.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
It’s a curious thing about books and stories: within the first few lines or paragraphs, readers implicitly know the mood of the story. They know what kind of story it’s going to be. But if asked, the reader would not be able to identify anything concretely as an indicator of the mood. The word choices and sentence structures indicate mood, but usually only other writers can pick up on it.
I’ve noticed the same thing when it comes to speaking in public or teaching. The room has a mood. Stand-up comics know this because they must “read the room” or remark that it’s a “tough room.”
Monday, November 23, 2015
The consequences of Adam and Eve are tough for most people. There have been centuries of interpretations of this story, but tradition alone doesn’t mean that a given interpretation is correct. There are other considerations such as translation, but, more importantly, how the story is read.
God is often interpreted as being stern and a punisher. Adam and Eve disobeyed, so he will take out his divine wrath upon them. Pronouncements about their death, their cursings, and even the fate of the serpent all lend themselves to this interpretation.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Haral Braithwaite looked skeptically at the design, but shrugged and set to work. He had to stop several times while he smithed the steel, not because the design was overly complicated, but because it was terribly simple: a long, round piece of steel intersected by a handle sticking out at a right angle. A small dome of steel prevented slipping, and the handle was curved to allow it to fit comfortably in the hand. Small lines in the steel would provide a little grip without sacrificing strength.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Monday, November 16, 2015
It’s clear that Eve is soaking this up. But then, why wouldn’t she? Eve is not a rube. She’s not completely clueless. She’s intelligent, but unexperienced. This can lead people into thinking that she’s naïve, and well, in a way, she is. But, factually, she’s never had any dealings with someone of a duplicitous nature. There’s no reason for Eve not to believe the serpent. She’s spoken to God and she’s spoken to Adam, and neither of them have been duplicitous for any reason, so she has no way to gauge that.
Friday, November 13, 2015
I did my best to stay calm, but my skin crawled with the energy of the day. I clutched at my pendant to Tyche through my shirt, and stayed firmly under the covers of my bed. The bed was as safe as anywhere else in the house, maybe safer.
The phone rang, and I jumped. I let it go to the machine.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
In the States we celebrate Veterans’ Day, a kind of catch-all to remember those who have served in the military, especially those who have been in conflict. I can get behind this idea. I have deep respect for the military. In trying to write Peter Flynn, I wanted to get the details of the lifestyle as correct as possible (while projecting it several hundred years into the future, of course).
Monday, November 9, 2015
So, now we’re moving into this. Our first stop is that Eve is approached by the serpent. As said last week, the serpent is clever. This doesn’t adequately convey the serpent’s abilities. The serpent could have a blindfolded chess match with Odysseus and win.
We’re not sure where that cleverness comes from. It’s easy to attribute the serpent as being someone else in disguise, but as discussed last week, we’re not doing that. We just don’t have the evidence for it. However, it could just as easily be a reference to how serpents (snakes) are able to insinuate themselves into places where they can strike. They are cunning hunters, and very stealthy, so it could be these attributes that are referenced.
Friday, November 6, 2015
The long night had ended. Alex smiled again as he looked at the announcement that Carl was retiring. At long last the man’s oppressive and downward spiral policies for the history department would be over.
Alex looked up at the knock on his door. Rebecca Pullman stood there with a grin on her face.
“You did it,” she said.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
I’ve waffled about doing NaNoWriMo for the past couple of years, but done it anyway. Now I’m back on board and writing. I’ve got the project, I’ve got the will, but whether or not I can find the time with a full load of classes is up for grabs. I’m going for it, though. I’ve even done a lot of prep work on this story, more than I’ve ever done for past books. I’ve got semi-detailed chapter outlines and have done some world building for this one.
It also helps that I watched a lot of movies in preparation for this. What? It’s for research. Honest!
Monday, November 2, 2015
Like with Creation, get ready, this is going to be a wild ride.
We’re all familiar with how it goes. Life in the garden is good, there are two trees, but don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Stop. That’s important. It’s not the Tree of Knowledge. It’s the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It’s quite specific on that point. I’ve looked at half a dozen translations, twice that number of commentaries, and that point is never abridged: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Again, it’s very important.
Friday, October 30, 2015
My plans for Halloween were always the same: to stay locked in my house and away from the supernatural crazies unleashed for the night. Unfortunately, for the past few years, Nikki always came by to upset those plans. She would come by dressed up, and drag me to her Halloween party or some other celebration. And, I had to admit, I didn’t mind so much with some of her costume choices. The dancing was fun, too.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
So a couple of months back, a couple of teacher friends wanted to go out to lunch. The one literally asked, “What dates do you prefer?” Me, being me, jumped immediately on the internet to research different varieties of dates, so I could happily reply “I like Halawys, though Medjools will do in a pinch. I'm not much for Deglet Noors.”
Monday, October 26, 2015
I’ve been doing some of the more familiar witches fairy tales as a segue between the fairy tales and Halloween, but now we’re here, the big dog itself. So, definitively, is Halloween a pagan or a Christian holiday? Yes.
What, you want more? Okay, you asked for it.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Peter Flynn had been through marketplaces on dozens of stations and worlds, but he had never seen anything like a Consortium bazaar. Organized chaos was the only thing that came to mind. Thousands of people milled about. Instead of stalls, there were pits, each one surrounded by a pressing mass of people all wanting to purchase their goods. But instead of physical goods, they bought markers, representations of those goods.
“Explain it to me again,” Flynn asked Reese as they made their way to a pit promising the sale of cloth.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015
Alex dressed in his period costume, complete with curled wig and tricorn hat, and walked into the classroom. The students knew that the midterm was going to focus on the Revolutionary War and the Constitutional Convention, but they hadn’t been informed as to the format of the test. However, they were used to their professor dressing up and being eccentric, so none batted an eye at his appearance.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
I can’t speak for other writers, but I suspect many of them feel this way. By the way, the whole reason for this post was in thinking about the idea transplant rejection and the film Inside Out. See, writers have little people running around inside their heads, but we call them characters. And I’ve got a whole weird cast. And they keep getting weirder.
Monday, October 12, 2015
Friday, October 9, 2015
My stomach growled, hopefully lost in the midst of everyone else’s growl. I just barely stopped from holding it. I wondered how those poker players on TV managed to go for so long without even budging. Trying to keep a straight face while starving was tough. After all, I had skipped breakfast.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Ideas are like transplant organs. No, hear me out. I think I’m on to something, here. So we all know about Inception as a way to inspire someone to create an idea, but what about giving a fully formed idea to someone else, and having it take?
Monday, October 5, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
“The Battle of Phantomhead is the standout moment in hostilities between the Imperium and the Alliance. Even for a space battle, the hostilities lasted for weeks as new ships kept arriving and ground forces were deployed. In the end, the Alliance triumphed, and with grateful thanks to all of the forces who served in that battle, but a few names always rise to the top when discussing Phantomhead: General Thaddeus Carter, Colonel Sonya Lyons, Colonel Lee Shen of the marines and Captain Aarushi Banik, Captain Pyotr Moscovich, Captain Peter Flynn of the navy.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
Friday, September 25, 2015
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
This is the second half of the information I gave at my conference presentation. I felt weird for not putting it up before, but Mondays are reserved for going over myths, not writing or modifying them. But here’s that info now, forever preserved online. Or at least until the servers lose it.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Next on our list of tales to destroy, one of my personal favorites: Sleeping Beauty. First, I have a confession. The reason I really like this story is because of the Disney version. Maleficent rules! Not the later live action version, the original animated version.
And here we go. I am going to look at the Little Brier-Rose version of the story. I generally prefer the Grimms to Perrault (Perrault gets preachy and has to include some kind of moral to the story. I’d rather derive my own from reading the story.).
Friday, September 18, 2015
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Fiction Fest was a success, and I'm not just talking overall, which it was, but my end of it. My presentation/Q&A went very well. I fulfilled my promise of ruining childhood fairy tales for everyone, but we all had a good time doing it (heh).
Monday, September 14, 2015
I chose Red for our first foray because she’s well known, and there have been some recent film interpretations that have left people scratching their heads, especially regarding the sexual under(and over)tones. Each of these analyses will be relatively short since I don’t want to spend one full post on each of the interpretation (though I could do that if asked nicely). So here we go.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
I’m in Boston (about to go to Connecticut), enjoying a break from summer. Yes, it’s September, but in Arizona, summer can last until November. Triple digits will persist throughout the entire month, so I am really digging the cool of Boston right now (though it could be cooler still for my tastes).
Monday, September 7, 2015
I need to preface this by talking about analyzing myths (though it applies to lots of different kinds of literature). Most myths have a lot of specific information. The characters are more fleshed out and definite. The setting is established, rooted in the particular culture that created the myth, and so by careful analysis it’s possible to derive specific messages of intent and find patterns that help establish what the myth is to be about and any hidden messages underneath.
Friday, September 4, 2015
Kate and I watched in satisfaction as the storm delivered its payload over Belport. The sweltering heat had helped the storm’s convection cycle faster, dropping copious amounts of rain over the city, but it didn’t develop into a full thunderstorm, which was perfect for what we wanted.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
So I’m off to Boston where I’ll visit some dear friends before relocating to Connecticut for CTRWA’s Fictionfest, where I’ll be presenting on Fairy Tales. I just need to make sure I pack all the right stuff: magic beans, glass slipper, spinning wheel, apples, basket of goodies, fairy dust, leprechaun . . . nope, that’s the wrong kind of faerie. Get out of here, you!
Monday, August 31, 2015
I'm presenting a bit on fairy tales at the CTRWA's Fictionfest conference in September, so I thought I would talk a little bit about it here. This is the first half of the same handout I will be giving out at the conference (the second half is about adapting them to fiction). I will follow-up with more detailed information, and even an examination of some popular tales, presenting some unorthodox (and disturbing) interpretations.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
I’ve been invited to speak at a conference next month, so I need to go through my prep work. Not so much the speaking. Since my day job entails me standing in front of people every day and presenting material to them, I’ve got a handle on that part.
No, it’s the packing and preparation to fly across the country that I need to get a handle on. Even though I’ve got my various lists all sorted out and have the method down, it is just an ordeal at times.
Maybe I should have tried to speak at a local conference. . . .
Monday, August 24, 2015
So, I alluded to her, and now we’re going to take an in-depth look at her. I have scoured the web, and looked at many, many, many people’s interpretations of Lilith, but very few have any kind of original text. I will offer caution to anyone looking for deeper information about Lilith that the false information vastly outnumbers the truth.
Friday, August 21, 2015
I struggled to focus on not letting my mind wander, but business was slow. Check that, business was dead. Jen sat in her office typing away at some old case files, but I had nothing to do. I had surfed the web numerous times, avoided Nikki’s calls, and made an attempt to read up on the mythology of gremlins.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
I’m trying something a little new with my teaching this semester, which should not come as any surprise. Last semester, I was able to make a connection with my students in a way that I hadn’t previously. It came from not talking about the course material.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Friday, August 14, 2015
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Here it is again, the semester about to begin. I’m ready. I’ve been ready since May, but I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve. Hopefully they’ll take.
I wonder at which point a teacher qualifies as a magician. We all have our acts, we all come up with our signature tricks to try and wow the audience. And we have to keep coming up with new ones all the time as the audience will grow bored with the old ones.
Monday, August 10, 2015
As I said last week, the creation takes place over several days. The breakdown of the creation into individual steps shows off the great organization involved. No other creation story I’ve come across (and I’ve read a lot of them) is as organized as that as the Genesis story. Each day is broken down with separate creative steps that move everything forward.
Friday, August 7, 2015
I glided the last four hundred miles to the Pacific coast, not because I enjoyed the free fall—It’s okay, I guess—but because there were no clouds. That’s the kind of condition that almost never occurred in the Pacific Northwest. Hell, they even had a condition, Seasonal Affective Disorder, to describe how depressing it was not to see the sun.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Have you ever noticed that when your brain gets overtired that you begin to struggle remembering _____? I mean, I know I know the words, but they just become _____ and slip away. It’s _____ and leaves me ____! And I’m not talking about not being able to identify (those people that appear in movies in front of the camera [I know there’s a word for this]). I can look up who they are. But when I know I know words that ____ what I’m thinking but I can’t come up with them, I know I need to step away; my brain has reached its limit.
Monday, August 3, 2015
The Creation moves forward as a series of days witch each day devoted to a particular set of agenda items, after which God declares it all good, then moves on. Two important ideas stand out in this.
First, a day is not defined. The text goes about declaring “evening and morning” make up a day, which seems backwards to most people. Morning should come first, but that’s not how it’s stated. And an examination of the Jewish calendar and their holy days reveal that they follow the same pattern. What can we truly make of this? Should we all reverse our thinking and adopt this same procedure in order to understand the timeline? No, not at all.
Friday, July 31, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
I’ve been trying to go through my stuff to get rid of what really isn’t needed any more. I just have too much stuff. But there’s a problem. A big one. Yes I have time to do that cleaning since the semester is over, but the ability to clean is curtailed by the weather.
When the mercury regularly hits between 115-118, you really have to be careful about doing anything outside. The work tends to come in fits and stages simply because the health risks are too great, and it’s not like I want to be out in the heat, anyway.
I guess this is why most places do the cleaning in the spring.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Those expecting more about vampires, well, I’m taking a short break. Most of the remaining weaknesses are tied directly to Christianity, so I thought we’d take a foray into the Bible.
Okay, this is it. The big one. The Biblical creation is one of the most well-known stories of all time. Or is it? Maybe there are some nuggets of information we can get out of this previously untapped.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
I don’t read much anymore. I know, I know. This is like a cardinal sin for a writer. But I do have a good excuse. Recreation reading was replaced by grading. And grading saps brain power. It saps attention span. It saps the will. I still love the idea of stories. I want to read. I want to immerse myself in new worlds and characters and escape.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Like garlic, running water is more universally applicable than to just vampires. Running water is believed to be a barrier to the supernatural. The origins of this idea come from many different cultures.
The Greeks widely held that rivers such as the Styx served as the passageway from the land of the living to the underworld. Most Greek myths that have a hero traversing to the underworld (Odysseus, Hercules, Orpheus, etc.) have them traveling the Styx. The ferryman Charon takes spirits to the land of the dead via his boat on the Styx. So rivers, not unlike crossroads (but that’s another post) were often seen as powerful passages.
Friday, July 17, 2015
A heatwave had come to Belport. The mercury climbed nearly to 100 degrees; combined with the humidity from the ocean, this mean life was miserable for all involved. Everyone tried to use their air conditioners at the same time, which the power grid wasn’t prepared to handle, so the utilities instituted brownouts.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
It’s the middle of July. It’s hot, unbearably so. But of more concern is the fact that the summer is more than half over, and it doesn’t feel like it should be. It’s yet another one of the weird time compression things that are all too common to teachers. Parts of the semester crawl by, others fly. The same things happen during off times. Sometimes the time is sufficient, and goes by at a leisurely pace. Other times it feels like we don’t have a chance to even catch our breaths.
I guess the only thing to do is make the most of the time that’s left. It’s time to start crossing projects off my list. I’ve been working on a lot of them simultaneously, so I haven’t been idle. Maybe completing a few will make the time better spent.
Monday, July 13, 2015
The mirror idea goes back to the idea that a reflection reveals a person’s soul, which is why many indigenous people believed that cameras would steal a person’s sole, also. So the idea is that vampires possess no souls for the mirror to reflect. Unlike the other apotropaics, mirrors do not actually ward vampires away. There is nothing preventing a vampire from standing in a hall of mirrors and attacking someone. Vampires avoid mirrors simply because they would stand revealed to the people.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
This is an interesting summer, one in which I’ve been pouring on some extra mythology work, a good part because of a former student emailing me asking some detailed and interesting questions. Since I’m a sucker for mythology, of course I’m going to answer and get into a very detailed conversation about myths.
Monday, July 6, 2015
Friday, July 3, 2015
Flynn huffed and puffed, trying to catch his breath as he leaned against the bulkhead. His muscles felt watery, and he could swear that the gravity had been increased to almost twice what was standard for all that he wanted to sink to the deck.
Beside him, Lt. Stephanie Kimball, whom he usually referred to as Eltie, jogged in place beside him. She hardly broke a sweat, and had that infuriating grin on her face.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The more I teach, write, research, and learn, the more I come to understand about myself during these processes. And what I’ve come to understand is that I’m not interested in answers as I am in questions. Sure, answers come into it, eventually, but that’s not what drives me. I’m not content to simply be told an answer or even to find an answer.
Monday, June 29, 2015
The concept of the threshold as a barrier to evil is popular in many mythologies, though the Judeo-Christian story of the Passover is probably the most prominent of these. The Hebrews were told to mark the lintel and posts of their doorways, the very definition of the threshold, so that the angel might pass over them.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Yes, I’m on a break from school, but that’s not exactly the same as taking a vacation. Once again money is the determining factor. I’m still planning (hoping) on taking a jaunt to the east coast in September, so that has neatly curtailed any other plans I might have.
But oh how I long to leave the heated desert, especially in the next two months when the temperatures reach meltdown. I shall have to avoid going into the oven that is known as “outside” during that time.
A perfect excuse to redouble my efforts in revising an older book, and to get done some much needed reading.
Monday, June 22, 2015
As stated before, mirrors are not a weakness, but an apotropaic . . . okay, even that is a stretch. At best a vampire confronted with a mirror will only be mildly uncomfortable. The real value in a mirror is that it can be used to reveal a vampire as the mythology goes that vampires do not cast a reflection.
Friday, June 19, 2015
Eva went first, carefully slipping fingers into the coat, extracting coins and keys with skill, barely rustling the coat and its assortment of bells; all with her left hand. However, once she got to the wallets, her fingers failed her. Either she would jostle a bell or lose her grip on the thick leather with delicate fingers.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
I’ve been on a kick of self-improvement, adding new skills to my portfolio. Specifically, I’ve been dabbling in web design. It all started with an ill-conceived attempt at app creation for my teaching, but it did teach me quite a bit about HTML, and I’ve been expanding on that ever since. I’m planning to overhaul this site, but haven’t quite decided on what design elements to change, but there will be change coming.
I’ve enjoyed this foray, even going so far as to download an html editor and putting it to good use. I remember the early days of HTML, which were completely coded in a featureless text editor such as notepad. Many purists still rely on these kinds of text editors to hone their skills, but I admit no shame to say that I want some bells and whistles when it comes to my text editor, just as I want them in my word processor and spreadsheet.
Best of all, my new skills are translating into new opportunities, which I hope to capitalize on this summer.
Monday, June 15, 2015
As discussed briefly before, most vampire weaknesses (at least for Western vampires) are associated with Christianity. Those that aren’t are largely fatal to, well, just about anything. Fire, for instance, is quite universal in its ability to destroy humans and vampires alike. The same holds true with decapitation. Stakes, interestingly enough, are not destructive to vampires (more on this later), but are quite deadly to human beings.
Friday, June 12, 2015
The optical sensors had no problem processing the images, but Flynn wished they had been wrong. Massive solar flare, estimated by Calypso’s computers as Z5 events, and accompanying solar ejections, streamed towards the inner planets. Each planet had its own such flare and ejection.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Monday, June 8, 2015
The classical transformations of a vampire are threefold. First is the iconic bat. It’s easy to understand the connection as bats are nocturnal and a species of bat is vampiric. Enough said. The less we dwell on ideas such as the conservation of matter, the better.
Friday, June 5, 2015
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
I’ve alluded to it in previous posts, talking about the malaise that accompanies the end of the semester; however, now I’ve come up with a clever name that seems to most accurately capture the idea.
I’m not trying to belittle those who suffer from PTSD with this name; if anything, I’m trying to draw a very real comparison to how the end of the semester affects me and other teachers.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Though vampires excel at blending in, they still are outsiders to society in general. They are somewhat reclusive, seeking not to attract too much attention. They never seek or stay in the limelight because that would risk discovery of what they truly are. Not only do most vampires have a reclusive personality, but they locate themselves on the periphery. Whether this is a villa or mansion on the outskirts of a city or an exclusive penthouse apartment, the vampire remains apart in order to protect her identity.
Friday, May 29, 2015
I looked hard at the circled day on the calendar. It was hard to believe another year had gone by. It didn’t seem that long ago.
The painter scraped a blade along the glass, taking away the names.
“This is it, Matt.” Max said, pouring me a shot of his disgusting vodka. “We are no longer Stein & Allen. I go back to being plain old Max Stein Investigations.”
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Okay, really, this is the end (for now) I have been giving a lot of thought to women within noir stories, and there are two major camps. The one side claims that women are further objectified, relegated to sex objects when not pursuing criminal activities.
The other camp is firmly entrenched in the camp that says women are empowered by allowing them to have power over men and act as agents for themselves. A woman as a criminal has agency and pursues her own goals.
Monday, May 25, 2015
The vampire’s charisma, which branches out to mesmerization and even telepathy, is a staple of the mythos. Nearly every vampire story will make mention of a vampire’s eyes, and how the gaze is inescapable. This charisma is part of what makes them attractive and romantic figures, but its roots are in the vampire’s predator nature.
Friday, May 22, 2015
It was July in Tornado Alley, and I was bored. I wasn’t hot because I kept myself at altitude in the clouds most of the time. And today was a particular scorcher over Garnett, Kansas, southwest of Topeka.
I had cloud surfed to the top of the cumulonimbus anvil, and now gathered up the cloud material, condensing it on itself and using a modest wind to keep it aloft as it transformed from cloud, with minute ice crystals, to snowflakes. I gathered all that snow together in a circulating flurry until I had enough.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
Immortality is a trait usually reserved for the gods. This trait is a statement as to the vampires’ overall level of power within the mythological pantheon. However, immortality for a vampire is not the same as it is for the gods. There are a number of fine print clauses that have been attached to this status.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Flynn watched the processed visual feed on the main display. The ship’s computers filtered the incoming light and updated every couple of seconds in order to give an approximation of what occurred, and that was a consequence of travelling at two point four light years per hour. The amount of light information was staggering. Without the processed feed, it would be nothing but white light in front of them and impenetrable darkness behind.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
I won’t rehash the last four characters with their destructive chain of events. But the other major (and one minor) character deserve the same treatment, and they are every bit (if not more) the noir characters as those of Sam Spade’s supporting cast.
Monday, May 11, 2015
The idea of temptation and sin leads naturally to the idea of corruption, which captures the true essence of a vampire more than any other word, and in more ways than one. Vampires tip the scale at anywhere between four to all seven of the Seven Deadly Sins, making them as close to pure as evil as a creature can be.
Friday, May 8, 2015
I did my best to remain conscious through the soul-deadening music and occasional pert voice instructing me to use the company’s website, but after half an hour, I had difficulty maintaining.
“Thank you for holding, how may I help you?” a monotone man’s voice said.
“Wow, an actual person. My name’s Matt Allen, and I’m a current customer. I’d like to increase my insurance coverage.”
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Like The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep is replete with unsavory characters. I think these characters are even more depraved in Chandler’s book than in Hammett’s. I’ll get into the rest of the characters in another post, but I wanted to highlight four characters that Chandler gives. They chain together, responsible for the destruction of the next character, and themselves. This is only tangentially related to the central premise of the book. Their plots and lives simply intersect with what is ultimately the mystery of who killed Rusty Regan.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Vampires are a worldwide phenomenon, but the Western vampire, based out of Eastern European myth and legend and popularized by authors like Bram Stoker, is predominant, and the one people most typically think of when they hear the word. The Western vampire is also tied inextricably to religion, namely, Christianity.
Friday, May 1, 2015
“Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” Maleficent’s husky voice drew the attention of every eye in the court room. “My client has been wronged and suffered grievous harm. She was promised her Prince Charming after a grand ball. What did she receive instead? Shoddy workmanship. The glass slipper, instead of bearing her weight, shattered, lacerating her foot.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Like Sam Spade, Marlowe is a great hard-boiled detective, but I think the main difference is that he has a deep humanity that Sam has lost. He feels. Sometimes he’s afraid, such as when facing off against Eddie Mars, and sometimes he’s lusty, such as with Vivian Regan. The most Sam managed to convey in terms of feeling was his annoyance at characters like Cairo and Wilmer.
Monday, April 27, 2015
The connection between vampires and sexuality is easy to make primarily because of the physical act of penetration in order to get at a victim’s blood. It’s also not a coincidence that vampires bite on the neck, a well-established erogenous zone. Other common feeding points include the wrist and the inner thigh. Furthermore, it’s not hard to imagine a correlation between a vampire’s fangs and legends of vagina dentata.
Friday, April 24, 2015
After joining the Society, I was able to find steady work and resume my magical studies. Though I didn’t have Windy to teach me any longer, I was able to make my own way and performed minor enchantments for people, mostly to enhance their senses, which became very popular with those in my Faction.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
I looked at Sam Spade last time, but now it’s time to turn to the characters he deals with.
Miles, though only seen briefly, seems to fulfill Otto Penzler’s definition of a noir protagonist. Immediately he flirts with Brigid O’Shaughnessy (still going by Miss Wonderly at this point), and it is only after his death that readers and audience learn that he was married.
Monday, April 20, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
I’m going to look at the guy who got me into PI/Noir in the first place: Sam Spade. I have always loved this character. The tough-talking, no nonsense, epitome of hard-boiled PI set the bar for detective fiction. For me. I never was able to identify as well with Nick Charles or the Continental Op. For me it’s always been Sam Spade.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Prince Vlad Dracula (1431-1476/7)
Famous for the character of the same name in Bram Stoker’s book, Vlad Dracula was a Romanian prince who repulsed the Ottoman Turks from his country. He earned the moniker Impaler (Tepes in Romanian) for his bloodthirsty practice of impaling his enemies, erecting whole “forests” of impaled—alive—enemies.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
According to Otto Penzler, noir stories focus on losers, on the people that will ultimately doom themselves by their own immoral choices. He cites Nef as a perfect example from Double Indemnity. I’m on board with Nef’s story as one of noir, but, conversely, Otto declares the PI story is not noir as it is one filled with hope, focused on a moral character standing up and doing what is right in an immoral world. Even the premise itself is hopeful as other characters seek out the PI to solve their problems.
Monday, April 6, 2015
Friday, April 3, 2015
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I’ve always been fascinated by the Noir genre. The film genre speaks to me with its stark black and whites and use of shadows and light. The world, especially, is fascinating. I love watching a good noir gangster movie or Walter Neff get played by Phyllis Deitrichson. And boy do I love me some Sam Spade. That movie put noir on the map for me. Bogey, Greenstreet, and Lorre together conspire over a bird that turns out to be lead. Can it get more noir than that?
Monday, March 30, 2015
First, before all the science people start screaming for me to be burned as a witch, I need to clarify a little piece of terminology. Contrary to the popular show Mythbusters (which I dearly love), a myth is not something to be proven true or false.
Friday, March 27, 2015
Flynn watched as they crossed the empty expanse of space. Somewhere, a few minutes away, was the line of demarcation: the imaginary barrier that separated Alliance Space from Consortium Space. When he was an Alliance Fleet Officer, he couldn’t cross that border except by invitation or for the occasional border skirmish.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Monday, March 23, 2015
I would say I really like the Hindu creation more than the others, but the fact is that I really enjoy all of these myths. I will say that the Hindu creation is unique in my experience.
It begins with Brahma off by himself. And then he has a random thought. And that thought becomes reality. And so it continues. His very thoughts give birth to reality; however, what’s most interesting is that he cannot control these thoughts. Unbidden, he’ll have an evil thought, and it creates something evil, even though he does not wish for that to be created. This is a sharp contrast to other creation myths, which sought to consciously create the world and everything. Brahma, though, is at the mercies of his own random thoughts.
Friday, March 20, 2015
As a Storm Rider, I’m still a complete newbie.
“Reilly, you need to be focusin’ ” Delphine told me in her thick Creole accent.
I tried, pushing the charge in my body out of my finger and into a rotating spherical pattern. It didn’t work. No matter how I pushed, prodded, guided, or yelled in frustration, I couldn’t get the lightning to do what I wanted. At best I would shoot out a normal bolt of lightning. At worst I triggered some kind of weird feedback that knocked me on my ass.
This just happened.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
I’ve been revising my science fiction book, and I’ve endeavored to make the scientifically verifiable elements as correct as possible. Unfortunately this means I’ve had to activate the evil part of my brain, that enemy of creativity, math. And it’s been a bear for me.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Sorry. I can’t do the Celtic creation. It would have been great to do given the proximity to St. Patrick’s Day, but not a lot of their mythology actually survived. What are out there are recreations based on fragments or speculation. We just don’t have enough surviving text for a complete picture.
Friday, March 13, 2015
Though my bouts of good luck were balanced by the bad—I actually charted them on a spreadsheet to an error rate of +/- 2%—I still viewed my luck as a curse. It didn’t matter that my favorite bar had put up a plaque declaring “Don Iverson, Luckiest man in Belport,” the luck was still a curse. It was the knowing. Knowing that the other side of Fortune’s Wheel lay in my future.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I’m still processing everything. I’ve learned that conventions and conferences—the good ones, anyway—bombard you with so much energy, information, and emotion, that it takes a while to come down and make sense of it all. First, I’m tired. That’s to be expected. Two days (we missed out on tickets for the third day) of tromping around from the wee hours of the morning until midnight take their toll. Second, I’m hooked. These events are a blast and a great way to expose myself to fresh, current ideas about a variety of industries.
If I had the means, I think I would do nothing but travel around the country to various conventions and conferences in a variety of disciplines. I intend to look locally to see what I’ve been missing. I’m particularly interested in attending an event with astrophysicists. Perhaps I can even get in a few words with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Monday, March 9, 2015
The Iranian Creation myth is fascinating for an approach that somehow bridges several different cultures. It is the Zoroastrian story of Ormazd and Ahriman. Incidentally, fans of the latest Prince of Persia game on the PS3 and Xbox360 got a taste of this myth from that game. While not completely accurate, it’s still entertaining and fun.
Friday, March 6, 2015
Though jump engines were the preferred way of moving the Alliance Fleet, they still maintained a large number of sailers since those were the preferred ships of pirates and smugglers, who frequently established bases with rogue planets and asteroids off trade routes. So Ensign Peter Flynn was not surprised that his first posting on a ship, the Bridgeton, was on a sailer.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor dark of red-eye flight shall keep me from the appointed convention.
So I am departing for Boston to indulge in a celebration of gaming, video and otherwise. It’s going to be a blast if last year was any indication. I’m really looking forward to some of the panels, and the awesome Indie games, which were easily my favorite thing about last year.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Zeus, while not a love god, engages in more love making than any other of the Greek gods. And the main problem with Zeus is that he has no respect for the concept of no. Ever. While there is no direct evidence that all of Zeus’s encounters were non-consensual, there are a disturbing number of them that couldn’t be interpreted in any other way. Zeus is relentless and very creative in his sexual encounters. With the powers of a god able to transform himself—not to mention his raw strength and power—he fully takes advantage of his gifts in securing women.
Friday, February 27, 2015
I squared off with Jack, Wally, Natalie, Anna Marie, and half a dozen others. We had a rare moment when the weather was relatively quiet, so we all gathered for the race. Evidently it had been established when the Jules Verne book had come out. Storm Riders had been circling the planet for ages before, but when that book came out, wagers were placed.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Last week I talked about thought provoking discussions. I think, now more than nearly any time in history, that it’s important to realize that our problems are not black and white. There are no easy and all-encompassing solutions, nor is one side of the argument definitively right and the other definitively wrong despite the yelling by radicals and politicians.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Okay, yes, she’s not technically a goddess of love. She, somewhat, inherits fertility from her mother Demeter. I include her in this list because of the desires she exhibits and the feud she had with Aphrodite over Adonis. She is also unique on this list because of her status as queen of the underworld. The marriage to Hades—as a result of her kidnaping and eating of pomegranate seeds—gives her a duality in both the underworld and on earth.
Friday, February 20, 2015
One of the highlights of Peter Flynn’s life aboard an Alliance Fleet ship was dinner with the officers. It was a time when they could relax somewhat and enjoy what the cooks had prepared, and the SuppO would often get something a little more palatable for the senior officers. But it was still a military vessel, and protocols were observed. Inevitably, ship’s business would come out, too, but it was still a highlight of the day.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I love programs, books, and articles that make me think, that actively attempt to start a discussion rather than conclude or sidestep one. There are a lot of complex issues out there worthy of discussion in order to deal with the myriad variables and points of view worthy of including into the debate.
Monday, February 16, 2015
I once did a piece on Cupid (the Roman name) already, which you can still read over at Criminal Element, portraying Eros as Aphrodite’s hit man and enforcer. I stand by this characterization as Eros is an embodiment of lust among the Erotes. The Erotes are a group of Aphrodite’s sons with similar appearances (young, virile men with wings and equipped with bows and a quiver of arrows). Each of the Erotes has a specialization, and Eros is all about lust and desire.
Friday, February 13, 2015
We were in the back of the limo, one Nikki actually owned, not a rental, surrounded by its expensive amenities. I sat relaxed but nervous thanks to the shiatsu-style massagers built into the seat while Nikki finished her phone call about our reservations. She had made every effort to impress with the restaurant and getting the art-house movie theater to screen Rush Week Vampires for us afterwards. At some point I expected her to spring the idea of dancing on me, but hoped she wouldn’t as I had no desire to go to a ball on Valentine’s.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Monday, February 9, 2015
In honor of the month celebrating Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be good to examine the Greek gods and goddesses responsible and with strong connections to love.
First up, everyone’s most well-known Greek goddess of love: Aphrodite. Aphrodite is a surprisingly complex. Certainly she had numerous affairs, almost as many as her (adopted) father Zeus. Like many of the Greek gods, there are multiple stories regarding her birth (a result of so many different regions having their own worship and stories).
Friday, February 6, 2015
Ever since the enthralled henchmen of a succubus had ransacked my home and office, I had obsessively kept go bags throughout the city and in my car. I knew it was a bit paranoid and reminiscent of something out of a spy movie, but I had needed to fall back on them from time-to-time. Unlike spies, though, I didn’t keep stores of munitions and passports with wads of cash.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Monday, February 2, 2015
Okay, so this is it, the big finale. Why did Zeus do all these weird things? It’s actually pretty complicated. Or at least, it’s shrouded in mystery because Zeus wants it that way. To understand it all, we need to take a closer look at what Zeus did.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Peter Flynn looked at the viewscreen, interpreting the sensor data for Genus Prime. Two different groups of ships faced one another, represented by the colored triangles. The blue belonged to the Alliance whereas the red belonged to Constantine’s forces. Constantine outnumbered the Alliance almost two to one, but numbers alone didn’t decide battles. Then again, the superior technology of the Alliance wouldn’t decide the battle, either.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
First, the misconception: It wasn’t a box. It was a jar. The ancient Greeks were fond of sealing things into jars. They were masters of pottery and pottery was a water-tight, air-tight vessel suitable for storing food, wine, water, scrolls, and more.
Friday, January 23, 2015
I considered the finned aluminum box carefully. According to Max’s notes, inside was a stone which gave off heat. At various times the stone grew to burning temperatures, but most of the time it was the same as a hot cup of coffee, pleasant at first, but uncomfortable the longer you held onto it.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I like to think I’m pretty open-minded, and that I can embrace new ideas. But there is still something to be said for tradition. But after many attempts to preserve tradition, after many attempts to modify into something new but hold onto the spirit of the old, it’s time to do something radical.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Pandora often gets a bad reputation, similar to Eve in the Old Testament, but it’s really an undeserved reputation. To clear things up, we have to examine how she was made. Zeus asked for each of the gods to contribute a gift as part of her creation. In fact, the etymology of her name literally means “all-gifted” in Greek. So every god and goddess in Olympus contributed something to her make up, and not a flaw among them.
Friday, January 16, 2015
I watched her skip out from the village wearing her red hood and carrying a basket in both hands. She was perhaps eight years old, humming away some happy tune like most of the people in the Fairy Tale Realms. Fortunately she didn’t see me on my porch as she skipped by my house in the edge of the forest, so I wouldn’t have to talk to her. I could tell she would be one of these syrupy sweet, cheerful, and talkative people.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Monday, January 12, 2015
To better understand Prometheus’s crime, we first have to understand the nature of the prize itself: fire. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal to us, since we can summon up fire with the strike of a match or the flick of a Zippo. But to ancient people’s, fire is the difference between a caveman existence with rough furs and the height of democracy and cool togas. No, I’m not exaggerating.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Storm Riders don’t get vacation time. It’s just not going to happen. I can’t ask a storm to hold off for a few days while I do some travelling or just decide to veg out. There are times when I can get another person to cover my area, but that’s always short-lived and the favor has to be repaid. That said, there are times when the weather is fairly calm, and I can slip away.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Monday, January 5, 2015
Introducing Myth Manifest Monday! What can I say? I had to keep the cubed theme going. This will be a new, regular feature wherein I explain a myth (from actual mythology, not a Mythbusters type thing). Hopefully, this will be a little insightful resource for readers and writers out there.
Since most myths are actually very complex, I plan to tackle the myths a little at a time, breaking up one myth over the course of a few (or even several) posts. And we begin with: Prometheus
Friday, January 2, 2015
On Earth, the calendar had been refined to absolute precision throughout antiquity and the medieval period, but even then different states and cultures kept to their own calendars. The result, however, was always the same, marking the time it took the Earth to move around the sun.
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