Steampunked

Anybody remember that silly story I wrote last month for that writing contest at Kyle Cassidy’s blog? Well, that bad news is that I didn’t win the contest. The good news is that Kyle has compiled all the stories into a pdf e-book for people to download and enjoy all the cool steampunky goodness. You can find the link to download the stories at Kyle Cassidy’s blog here. It’s not really that big of a deal but it’s still cool that my little story is in there.

Not much else is new other than chasing the kids around all day. Oh, I also got a refill packet for my Mr. Beer brewing system from my sister and her husband and started the brewing process tonight. Can’t wait to try it (in a month).

Still Alive

Hope everybody had a great Christmas. We certainly did. Now we’re just relaxing, or relaxing as much as two people with kids under the age of four can. In other words, not at all 🙂

I plan on posting soon my writing goals for the upcoming year. Hint. This is the year I finally finish a novel.

Anyhow, have a good one!

Snoopy and The Red Baron and Peace

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron. Christmas.  I loved hearing this song on the radio as kid and I just think it’s so cool I can hear it any time I want thanks to the Internet.  This is my favorite part of the song.

The Baron made Snoopy fly to the Rhine
And forced him to land behind the enemy lines
Snoopy was certain that this was the end
When the Baron cried out, “Merry Christmas, my friend”

The Baron then offered a holiday toast
And Snoopy, our hero, saluted his host
And then with a roar they were both on their way
Each knowing they’d meet on some other day.

I find it amazing that there are kids nine years old who have not yet lived in a time in which the United States was not at war. Just think of that for a moment. Makes me want to cry. And yet, that is our reality and will most likely be our reality for the foreseeable future.

It is a good song, though.

I Love Improv Everywhere

First of all, here’s a snowman I created in Photoshop around this time last year.  He’s so cute I had to post him again.

Next, have you heard of Improv Everywhere? According to their website “Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.” I have been a big fan of their for a long time. For their latest project they got a 13 member handbell choir to accompany an unwitting Salvation Army bell ringer.  Their stated goal for this project in their own words:

“Our goal with this mission wasn’t to make any sort of statement about the Salvation Army (an organization that I’m sure does lots of great charitable work, but also is not without controversy), but to create an awesome moment for one bell ringer and the random New Yorkers and tourists who happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Check out a small video of their stunt here and then head over to their blog post for a more thorough description of the event. This brought a big smile to my face and hopefully it will bring one to yours as well.

What Up?

Let’s see. What’s up with me lately? Well…

On the writing front, not a lot is going on. I have worked on some short fiction, but have not tried to get back into the novel swing. Soon, though. I hope.

We put up the Christmas tree last weekend, which we weren’t sure we were going to be able to do. We were worried the human tornado, aka our 9 month old son, would knock it over. He has been good so far. I guess he’s only interested in pulling my books and  his books of our bookshelves and throwing them on the ground.

Politically, I am upset. I knew Obama wasn’t all that liberal when I voted for him, but it seems like progressives don’t have his ear at all. Meanwhile, we’re ramping up war and getting watered down “change” in  health care and the likes of Joe Lieberman are running the show. In that vein, this made me smile.

Right On Target – Flash Fiction

Kyle Cassidy held a flash fiction contest over the weekend for a copy of Cherie Priest’s steampunk novel Boneshaker. Below are the rules and following that my entry to the contest. I am very happy with my story, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too.

To win this book, mailed to your door, write a short story in 350 words or less that involves Roswell (Kyle’s cat) and any mix of the following:

a) airships
b) mysterious deadly fog
c) zombies (they’re called “rotters” in Cherie’s book)
d) mysterious mad masked scientists
e) tunnels under Seattle
f) gas masks

Right On Target

“I’ve done it,” exclaimed The Thinker, throwing open the solid oak door to his lab, his monocle flying off his eye. Startled, his assistant to dropped his nearly completed model dirigible to the floor.

“What have you done?” said the assistant through his gas mask. “Destroyed a month of my work?”

“Your work?” laughed The Thinker. “Let us not forget who is the assistant here. I have, in fact, solved all our problems. And take that ridiculous thing off your face.”

The assistant removed his mask and took a breath of unfiltered air. “Not bad,” he said. “What have you done?”

“Follow me,” said The Thinker, replacing his eye-piece. He walked back through the door and into the study. “There,” he said, pointing at a rectangular wooden box connected through a series of tubes to a small coal burning stove and filled with sand-like gravel.

“What’s it do?” said the assistant, bending down to get a better look.

“Isn’t it obvious?” said The Thinker, with a sneer. “The beast…”

“You mean Roswell,” interrupted the assistant.

“Apparently,” said The Thinker with a glare. “The creature, Roswell, steps inside this box, which detects its weight through the counterweight system here, causing one lump of coal to drop into the stove there. This balloon over here stores the resultant steam until the creature exits the device, causing the balloon to rise and the metal comb to siphon the waste material into this air-tight chamber.”

“I don’t understand,” said the assistant.

“You really are simple,” said The Thinker. “The cat sits, the cat does what it does, and then the cat gets up and the device seals it away. Foul odor eliminated.”

“I know what you designed it to do,” said the assistant,trying his hardest to sound humble. “I wonder, with my deepest respect, why you didn’t just buy one at Target. They’re only $19.95.”

The assistant spent the remainder of his day cleaning up the remains of his trampled dirigible and searching for a new job.

Muppets Rule!

I said this on twitter earlier, but will repeat it here. I dare you to watch the above video of the Muppets (yay Beaker and Animal) and not smile. Simply impossible, I say. In fact, I can’t wait to go home and watch it again with my daughter.

This should be a really fun weekend for me. First, Saturday morning we are attending something called the Festival of Trees on campus. We went last year and had a lot of fun. I predict this year will be even better.

Saturday afternoon is the annual Victorian homes tour. I have posted about previous homes tours with pictures here and here. It’s always really cool getting to walk inside these old homes and just admire the architecture.

Finally, about this time last year I wrote a short story for a local contest. I didn’t win, but I was pretty happy with my story. So, if you have a chance why not check out my story The Innovator. As always, I’d love to hear you thoughts/criticisms/praise.

Brett Dennen – The Holidays Are Here & We’re Still At War

Say a prayer for the less fortunate
Prisoners and soldiers you never have met
Understand what it is they’re fighting for
Say a prayer for your enemies
Say a prayer for the victims and their families
The holidays are here and we’re still at war — Brett Dennen

This is a song that has hit a spot in my heart for the past few years, so I figured I’d share it with all of you. It’s by an singer/songwriter named Brett Dennen. As much as I enjoy this song, let’s hope I won’t have to listen to it next year.