Sunday, July 31, 2011

Going Viral

The writing deadline crept up on me quicker than I thought, so Going Viral ended up not being done. 1400 words out of maybe 2000. We'll see. Read and give me an opinion.

Going Viral

Finn had sworn he would never be in New York in July. 104 fucking degrees, and enough humidity to make the air tighten around his head like a vice. He had a throbbing heat headache to go with his stomach ache, and he was on a nice mix of Modafinil E, Seroquel, Enki inhibitors and Advil. He hadn't slept since he got to the city.
For four days Finn just drifted around. He rode the subway for hours and hours and walked aimlessly through the Village, down streets lined with trees and tattoo parlors. Drank shit coffee in small diners and ate falafel from Turkish street vendors. The Enki virus made his stomach churn despite the inhibitors, but he needed sustenance.
He bought a prepaid phone to replace the iPhone he had slipped into the pocket of a truck driver outside Boston, and a .357 Smith & Wesson from a pawn shop in Brooklyn. Finn didn’t know jack about handguns, but the revolver appealed to him in a vaguely Dirty Harry kind of way, and he did need protection.
There was no direct evidence that LookingGlass were closing in, but he knew it was only a matter of time. They wanted the virus and would stop at nothing to get it back from him. The morons thought he simply carried it around.
Phelps, the director of LookingGlass' security division, was ex-NSA and Finn was certain he still had friends there. Echelon, KH-12 satellites and God knew what else Phelps could get access to would have found him in hours if he hadn't taken precautions.
The store was on 44th Street. ”Internet access inside” a sign over the door said in failing neon letters, ”1 hour photo” next to it. Inside was a cramped space filled with I heart NY tshirts, bags of M&M and racks of cheap cigarettes. In the back on a table sat two aging PCs held together with duct tape and prayers, surrounded by a labyrinth of cables, empty coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays. Finn never saw anyone else use them.
”Hello, boss,” the Persian proprietor always said as Finn walked in. He called everyone boss and smoked constantly.
Finn went to the store every night to check his email. He went through two different anonymizing services and a desktop machine he had set up years ago, hidden in a abandoned warehouse in downtown Boston, leeching off a wide open WiFi connection in a nearby hotel. Paranoia had been his close friends for years. The Seroquel helped.
One email a day from Connor, his supervisor at LookingGlass, and one from Patterson, the company shrink. Finn always deleted them without opening them. The first day there had been a panicked message from his ex-wife Mary, after LookingGlass goons posing as FBI agents had searched her house on a fake warrant, but since then nothing.
The fourth day Finn needed to sleep, however reluctantly, and took a room at the Y, paying in cash. He tried to go to the bathroom, but nothing came out. The virus ate whatever he put in him. He lay down on the bed, fully clothed, the revolver on the nightstand, and set his alarm for six hours. Sleep, and then it was time to leave New York. Keep moving.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bright lights, big city

It's 1 AM and I'm on my hotel bed at The Mansfield, a really nice hotel on West 44th Street. I managed a few hours of walking and shopping today.

I found the Boomtown dvd box, an excellent police show that was sadly cancelled after only one season, and a bunch of stuff at Nintendo World, for myself, Miss Red and my niece. Tomorrow I will go to the new Lego concept store, Midtown comics, an Army/Navy store and a bunch of other places. My wallet is already screaming in panic...

Times Square. The Virgin Megastore is gone!

Best. Street name. Ever!

Me and my buddy Optimus at Toys R Us.

If they'd had this in the right size my niece would have been
set up for Halloween. And if they'd had it even bigger, so would I.

I have a writing deadline tomorrow, since Meta, Peeko, Alaska, Palin and I decided to submit a story to each other, to keep the momentum from Odyssey going. I went the insane route and started a new story. Today. It's called "Going Viral", and I will post it here as well once it's done.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One night in Gainesville . . .

. . . and the world's your oyster!

The buffet.

Cymbals and his Woman.

TK behind my good friend Mr Macallan.

No, Cymbals is not smiling at
boobies in this pic. He's just smiling.

Woman and Devil Dog.

Room Mate appeared after a while.

Posing with Devil Dog.

The Late Night Groovers

Kiss, kiss, Devil Dog

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back in VA

My plane from Montreal to DC didn't exist anymore. It wasn't cancelled. It did not exist. I made the classic mistake of not checking my flight, which is crucial if you book the tickets months and months in advance, like I did.

So anyway. I got to spend five extra hours at the airport in Montreal. Yay... I spent it writing and reading and people-watching, which was kind of cool.

TK, my friend from high school, picked me up at the airport in DC and we went to his place in Clifton, VA. I haven't been in the vicinity since the mid-90's, when I was in high school here. My plan is to spend a few days here doing basically nothing. Just hanging out, writing and going out to eat.

TK's cat Link (yeah, that Link) hanging
out on TK's media system. Nice and warm.
He will be my inspiration for the next few days.

Quote of the day, from TK, about Swedes:
"You guys sure know how to press wood together with glue better than anyone."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Last day in MTL

Last night in Montreal. Sad, because these few days have been amazing. Sure, I have stumbled over several things that have enhanced my Montreal experience, but from the feel of the city and the people here it would have been amazing anyway. So much going on all the time.

I began my day by walking over to Labyrinthe, to see if they had the Dillinger Escape Plan tee they had listed on their site. They did not. Bummer.

My plan for the day was to go up onto Mount Royal to get a nice view of the city and do something touristy. I walked towards the mountain/hill, determined to take a bus to the top. My first stop was a Converse/Dr Martens store, just sitting there, waiting for me.

About a third of one wall of Converse. There were
two walls, and though the second one wasn't
as big, it still held a hell of a lot of shoes.

I walked away with a pair of Batman Converse. Wohoo!

As I came closer to Mount Royal I walked into a nice part of the Plateau with narrow streets lined with trees, small shops and cafés.

Made for strolling down.

I decided to keep walking. Then I came to Parc Jeanne-Mance, which is at the base of Mount Royal. Thousands of people were about, playing soccer, frisbee or tennis, or just hanging out. Soon I heard the familiar sound of a djembe.

Playing capoeira. Very cool to watch.

Onward, up to the Parc Jeanne-Marie, where I found the Tam-Tams, something Meta had told me about. It was like an urban voodoo mass. So hypnotic to hear all those drums flowing back and forth between different rhythms and soundscapes.

Urban ritual in progress.

In the end I decided to walk up the mountain. Up and up I went until I was at the main observation spot. Tiring but a very nice walk.

Walking through the Plateau I saw some posters for comedy shows. Among them, The Ethnic Show, hosted by Maz Jobrani. I like Maz, so I figured what the hell, I'll see if they have tickets. Turned out they had three left for an otherwise completely sold out show. So I bought a ticket, and I went, and I laughed, and I met three nice Italian people who poured drinks into me because I got them good seats.

So now I'm on my hotel bed, a little drunk, writing this. Tomorrow, off to DC to hang out with my old high school classmate Rob. So far this trip has been mind-blowing. Here's hoping it continues that way.

Festival the way it should be done

A Canadian festival.

Two days, in the middle of a major city.
Eleven million Disturbed tshirts.
Two Meshuggah shirts, mine being one of them.
Blistering heat (I burned one side of my neck).
Security guys pretty much everywhere.
Water everywhere, barely any lines (live and learn, Metaltown).
Two large stages next to each other, with maybe three minutes between each band.
A smaller stage for smaller bands a short way away through woods that effectively blocked the roar from the larger stages.
Beer cost 5 dollars (approx 35 kronor) and could be carried around on the grounds.
Jägermeister girls with the logo shaved into the back of their heads walked around and offered Jägermeister shots for 4 dollars (approx 30 SEK):

I saw some bands:
Bearded. Groovy. Awesome. 4/5.
Best banter ever:
"This is a song about seafood."
"We've got some more songs. Then we don't have any more songs."

Intense. Heavy. 3/5.
Jamey Jasta is an awesome frontman. The Beard of Doom (a.k.a. Kirk Windstein of Crowbar and Down) had a microphone with the sound turned way down, which sucked.

Usually gods live. 3/5.
Only played five songs. It's only a matter of taste, but the two from "The Blackening" and the new tune "Locust" are boring to the point of exhaustion. These three were bracketed by "Imperium" and "Davidian", which saved the day.

Killer live band. 4/5.
Really not my thing, but gods what a frontman they have in Anders Fridén, gods what a voice he has, and gods what a razor sharp band they are live.

In all the festival was the best I've been too in terms of organisation and logistics, and I had a great time.

On the way back I ran into some people from Metal Blade and Roadrunner, and we spent time ranting about a world in which Disturbed draws bigger crowds than Machine Head and Red Fang, which we all agreed was the best band of the night.

Had some drinks with said label people, then off to bed.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Malls and madmen

Friday was Shopping and Circus Day.

I walked downtown to where all the malls are. They're all connected through the Underground City and offer pretty much any kind of shopping. I finally found a memory card for my phone (curse you Sony Ericsson, or rather, curse you Martin Larsson for using an old phone!) and went wild at a t-shirt/merch store called Labyrinthe. Best tshirt assortment I've seen in a long, long time. I walked away with one Watchmen, one A Perfect Circle, one White Zombie and one Tea Party (the band, not the political movement). Now I shall have to restrain myself from buying tees in New York. Yeah...right.

Having shopped and walked around downtown for a while, I took a breather at the hotel before Circus picked me up. Circus is Moonfish's beau, Moonfish being one of my classmates from Odyssey.

We went by their place, a glorious apartment with hardwood floors, a brick bathroom and a small courtyard with a spiral staircase covered in ivy, and then on to a really good vegetarian Asian restaurant. The best part was the banana fritters. Banana fritters are standard desserts at Chinese restaurant in Sweden, but they tend to be rather soggy sad little things. These were fried to perfection. Nom nom nom.

Then on to the circus.

The big top

We saw the circus troupe Rasposo do their show La Chant Du Dindon. It was very funny and felt like just as much theatre as circus. It was like staring into some demented family's living room.

Note how close the audience is to the action.

It was all acrobatics and aerials, without any fancy machines or effects. They utilised the scene brilliantly, modifying it to suit their needs. It was all done in a single flow and seemed improvised. Very nicely done.

Then snacks and hanging out with some circus people. Then back to the hotel for sleep.

Hello Montreal!

A bit out of synch with the blog posts, but I shall try to rectify that.
On Thursday I flew from Boston to Montreal. I slept the whole way, all 45 minutes of it. I didn't even feel the plane touch down, just slept right through it. Very nice.

At Montreal's airport I had to go through not only customs but also immigration. They had all sorts of questions, wanted to see my credit card, asked repeatedly what I was doing in Canada, etc. It wasn't rude or anything, but it actually felt like more scrutiny then I've gone through whenever I've traveled to the US, which I find interesting.

Then I took a bus into the city. On the way I noticed a poster for a metal festival. Kiss as headliner, and I was about to dismiss it when my eyes caught some more bands further down. Machine Head. In Flames. Etc. Cool.

My hotel is OK. Somewhat old and worn, and my bathroom, which isn't shared, is across the hall. Building layout planning at its best. But the place is charming and placed well between downtown Montreal and the Old Port.

Thursday I went exploring down towards Old Montreal and the Old Port. Old Montreal itself turned out to be just like most of Gamla Stan in Stockholm. One giant tourist trap. I found a nice café that had all organic food, where I got a very nice soup and a chicken curry that was really good.

Blog-posing in front of Cirque de Soleil's tent
setup for their show Totem, down at the Old Port.

I walked over to the Notre-Dame Basilica and took the brief tour.

The altar space in the Basilica.

My way back was through Chinatown, which also screamed Tourist Trap in big garish neon letters, surrounded by small plastic cats waving with one paw. There was a small street market with all kinds of knick-knacks and cheap crap on display. Much to my surprise they had a stand of bokken. I was not surprised they were all crooked, unlike the one I have that I assume was whittled out of a hundred foot oak by a small old Japanese man using nothing but his eye-lashes (thanks again for that gift, bro).

Then the heat got to me, so I had a quick meal at a Chinese place and then went to the hotel to hug the AC.

Friday, July 22, 2011

She turned me into a newt!

Having left Backstage, I once again took the US1, south towards Boston. The weather was better so I figured I would maybe see something more interesting this time around.

It was quite a scenic drive, both right along the ocean and a bit further inland through Smalltown America. The only gripe I have is that there is no real warning when turns and off-ramps turn up, unless you're on a major highway. Driving through the smaller cities I had to double back several times because I was in the wrong lane when my turn popped up out of nowhere and the local school bus was right next to me.

Anywho. I managed to not get lost, and this without a GPS. Wonder of wonders. I had a massive stack of scrumptous pancakes at a mom and pop place in the middle of nowhere and then to the left. And I looked at the ocean some more.

Standard blog pose. Check.

Then I decided to go to Salem, where the infamous witch trials were held in 1692, since it was sort of on the way. I visited two museums and wandered around town a bit. Verdict? Utter crap. The Salem Witch Museum did have an interesting timeline of the phenomenon of witches and how they have been persecuted throughout the ages, but other than that nothing much. The main presentation was done by a recorded voice speaking in a pompous, "evil" tone, while spotlights highlighted scenes he was describing. The dummies in the scenes had cobwebs hanging from arms and farm implements and such. On the whole, a very unconvincing spectacle.

The funniest and at the same time most insulting piece of faulty information was this (paraphrased): "During the Salem Witch Trials 16 people were executed. In Europe, during the Spanish Inquisition and the Medieval Inquisition, millions were executed."

Millions? Really? In the middle of the 14th century, the plague struck Europe and severely decimated it's population, which was approx 70 million people, down to as little as 30 million, if some accounts are to be believed. The Spanish Inquisition began in the late 1400s, when Europe was far from recovered from the plague.

Let's say the population was 50 million at this time. "millions" implies several million. Let's say 3 million, half at the feet of the Medieval Inquisition (even though they believed executing a heretic was to admit defeat) and half at the feet of the Spanish Inquisition. So the Spanish Inquisition killed three percent of Europe's population? I had no idea.

I looked at different sources today, and the consensus seems to be that the Spanish Inquisition executed less than 10 000 people over it's entire course. A far cry from "millions". If I find the time and the energy I will put together something more serious than this, run it by a historian or two, and then send it to the frikkin' museum.

Wow. Researching and ranting can really keep me from going to bed. 0030 now. Tomorrow shopping and the circus!

Backstage America, part 2

Oh. I forgot. On the way north to Shapleigh, Maine (home of EGE and other mysterious creatures), I turned off the I-95 and took the smaller US1 up the coast. I had a lot of time and figured I wanted to see something other than a boring interstate highway.

What I did see were some people on some beaches.

I did try to smile. Really. I did.
Note Decepticons logo on hat. Win!

Evidently, these people hadn't listened to the weather report and seemed to possess no ability to turn their heads 180 degrees and look at the horizon, in the direction I am looking in the pic. Huge, and I do mean huge, storm clouds rolled in. I got in my car and rolled out of there before the panicked exodus began.

When the rain started I had to stop and wait for 20 minutes. I couldn't even see the road, because it rained so hard. Around me, throughout the small touristy coastal communities, people in bathing clothes scrambled for shelter and tried to keep towels and toys and boom boxes and whatever they were carrying dry. Not likely that happened.

So. Back to Shapleigh. We passed a church with a sign that said "Heaven and Hell are real places." Fire and brimstone, right there. EGE told me what it had said earlier. Dust on your bible will doom your poor soul. Ponder on that one for a while. Not only while it doom your soul. It will doom your poor soul.

We also passed a road called Big Ass Truck Drive. Funny.

Finally, we went to a place called Mulligan's where everything costs five dollars or less. I had a 4.69 dollar club sandwich, which was really good. EGE had a sallad. In a very small bowl. That refused to be eaten.

First quote of the day, about the fork:
It's not a bad sallad. It's just a bad delivery system.

Eventually, the food was consumed, and we went on to dessert. EGE's birthday was coming up so I figured we'd have a birthday dinner kind of thing. Chocolate cake and strawberry short cake was devoured.

Outside the restaurant, there was a big old clock on the ground, probably once the top of the tower it sat next to.

Cool clock next to Swede trying to look cool.

For some reason, EGE had the brilliant idea that we should go for ice cream afterwards. Now, as you know, we all have a second stomach for ice cream, so naturally I said yes. I figured two scoops would be enough. Then I saw the size of the scoops. Each was larger than my fist. But I persevered! Death to the ice cream!

The best of many a during
ice cream eating pics of EGE.

We basically rolled to the car. On the way back to the house a slight degree of road rage was expressed as a person, who shall remain nameless, said of the car in front:

Person 1: Move it!
Person 2: He's not in a hurry.
Person 3: But I am, because I'm full and I want to get home so I can get out of these pants.

That is all. I am in Montreal right now, which will be documented in future posts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Backstage America, part 1

Back in 2008, I had a blog. I wrote about all sorts of things and thought I was funny at times.

June 28th, 2008, I clicked "show a random blog" (or whatever the function was called) and ended up here. I started reading and found the blog both funny and interesting.

The second comment I posted was:
Your life is like...not a sit-com, but some sort of TV show where awkward moments are legion and you're not really sure if you laugh with the characters or at them. And I mean that in the best possible way.

As it turned out, EGE found my blog interesting enough to read too. We started commenting back and forth. Then Facebook came along. So we kept commenting there. We talked about The Big Questions or just spent time being snarky. Mostly she calls me a big girl. Which isn't far from the truth.

EGE lives in Maine, about an hour and a half from Boston. My class was outside Boston. So I figured what the hell. I'll swing by and get a chance to see parts of the States I haven't seen yet. And so we made plans.

So on Monday I drove my rental car north, aiming for Bentley's Saloon where she works. She had forbidden me from calling because she wanted to hear my accent face to face. She was sorely disappointed I didn't sound like the Swedish Chef.

It's odd meeting someone you've only spoken to in text, but it felt totally natural. We went to her house:

Insert appropriate Stephen King reference here.

We talked and made burgers and tried to keep her dog Charlie out of the kitchen.

Great dane/lab mix, and quite the character.

The next day, EGE went off to work. I slept in. Wrote some. Took a nap. Facebooked. Wrote some more. Took a nap. I had been sleepy all of week six of Odyssey, even nodding off in class a few times, and the days after too. After this sleepathon, I am out of the woods and back to being the energetic, cheerful Beardonaut you have come to know and love. Well . . . maybe not energetic. Or cheerful. But you get the point.

We drove around a lot that day. A tour of the roads of Backstage America. This is a place I've only passed through shortly, and often on far bigger roads than this:

EGE's 250 dollar car in the distance.

I have to board a plane for Montreal now, so that's it for now. More later.

Solid men of Boston

After Readercon, I poked around the area around my hotel. Which by the way is The Most Depressing Building Ever:

Somehow a building from East Berlin in the
80s had been teleported to downtown Boston

I found some interesting shopping, most of it closed, and a movie theatre were I sat down to watch Transformers 3. Far far better than the second one, and worthy of an insane amount of popcorn. Which I don't eat anymore. But, you know, the whole Big Movie Where Things Explode thing doesn't work without some reference to popcorn.

The next day we braved the horrid heat and went out. We walked down towards the water and met some interesting people:

Wool? Really? In 30+ degrees? And they are able to look
enthusiastic at the same time. Surely that deserves some sort of medal.

Down towards the docks we found a sort of open mall thing, which looked interesting but turned out to be filled with tourist traps of the worst kind.

I took a picture of the street, and since I've learned that pics are more interesting with some people you recognize in them:

Dundee failed spectacularly in his
attempt to stealth out of the picture.

Then we laughed about him failing spectacularly, and I
decided to take another pic where I don't look so frikkin' serious.

Having abandoned the open air mall, we went to an actual mall and did some shopping. I picked up a little something for my brother's spawn and bought a Decepticons cap (will be seen on pics in later posts) for myself.

The mall had a Cheesecake Factory, and since Dundee is a fan of The Big Bang Theory he wanted to go, and having partaken of their cheesecake on several previous trips to the US, I was easy to convince. I may, in fact, have suggested it . . .

Some kind of brownie cheesecake, apple strudel cheesecake and
pineapple upside down cheesecake, surrounding the kick-ass Mojito I had.
Needless to say, we walked away full and on a major sugar-rush.

Later, after yet another movie - Super 8, which I had seen but Dundee hadn't, and it was just as awesome the second time - we went for lobster. Because you have to eat lobster when you're in Boston.

Grilled lobster. Nom nom nom.

And that was two days in Boston. On Monday morning I got into a rental car and headed north to Maine. Which will be covered in another post.


On Saturday, Dundee, Barbecue Man and I got on a bus bound for Boston. Barbecue Man was flying home, to Texas, while Dundee and I would spend a few days in Boston.

While checking into my hotel I noticed my Swedish cell phone was gone. Most likely it fell out of my pocket on the bus or in the taxi to the hotel. D'oh. So I had to deal with that, without any luck (still gone gone without a trace), and then check in before Dundee and I went to Readercon.

Our intention was to sit in on a number of panels, look around and then hook up with a bunch of OdFellows. We missed the Urban (Fantasy) Renewal panel, which could have been interesting, and sat in on Location as Character with Djinni, a panel that turned out to be mindnumbingly boring.

After that, Dundee left for something else, which was his loss because the Cities, Real and Imaginary turned out to be really good.

The subject of the panel was:
Great stories have been set in cities both real and imagined. Does a real city require different writing techniques from an imagined one? How well do you need to know (and research) an actual city? If you're making one up, how do you apply your knowledge of real cities? When can you "cheat"? When do you have to?

The first panel member to speak (I think it was Lila Garrott) has some sort of academic background in analysing cities (I didn't catch what exactly) and opened by saying that whatever strange cities we come up, few if any will rival the strangeness to be found in the cities of this world.

She used Tokyo as an example. The city was built as a spiral, moving out from the Imperial Palace, with those closest to the Emperor and the most powerful living closest to the palace. The form came about because everyone wanted to be as close as their status allowed them to be. This is an example of organic growth of a city, something which the panel concluded is lacking in fictional cities, which are constructed rather than organic.

Personally I would love to create a fictional city and set a series of stories in it, especially if I could start from zero and have it grow along a timeline.

The panel leader, Leah Bobet, went on to say that cities in fiction don't break. There are no subway problems, unless it's important to move the plot forward, and the city doesn't feel like the ecosystem it should be. Because of this, a fictional rarely feels lived in, but comes off as a stage, a backdrop to the story being told instead of an integral part of it.

During the panel, China Miéville's city New Crobuzon was brought up over and over again as an example of a working fictional city. I agree that New Crobuzon has texture, almost as if the smog and dirt and drone of the city leaps up from the page, but as he does so may other times, Miéville takes it one step too far and crams one thing too many in there. Just like Ben & Jerry's. If only those frikkin' chocolate fish weren't there in Phish Food . . .

Back to the panel. They argued that a city of one thing, such as a City of Flowers, where everything is tied to flowers, is one neighborhood in a major metropolis like New York City, and not plausible as a concept for a whole city. Instead of looking at the city and applying Weird to the whole thing, authors should apply Weird to individual neighborhoods. This is something that Miéville does really well in Perdido Street Station (we all agreed), and that more authors should strive for.

As to real cities, it was quickly agreed that the author should spend time in any city he or she wishes to set a story in. This goes without saying, I think, but at the same time there is much to be said for Google Earth and other internet resources. Combined with an actual visit an author can get a clear image of the city.

Lots more was said, but this was all the notes I took.

During the coming year I will work on short stories but also see if it's plausible to set a novel in a fantastic version of Constantinople (Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it's Istanbul. Not Constantinople. Been a long time gone, Constantinople) in the 11th century. If I come to the conclusion that it can and should be done, I will probably go there next year.

Outside the panels, I bought too many books (as in more than none), found a ninja rubber duckie for a friend, talked for a while with John Joseph Adams who lectured for us at Odyssey a few days earlier, and sat down with a dozen or so OdFellows and talked about this and that.

Then we fled, Dundee and I, because the post-Odyssey exhaustion crashed down on us.

Monday, July 18, 2011

That last day

We had no real lectures on our final day of Odyssey. Evil Overlord spent some time talking about our six weeks and went on to tell us that she is convinced each and every one of us has the abolity to become a published and professional author.

I can't get that into my head. Someone with that much experience from the publishing industry believes I could be published.

That evening we gave Overlord and the Commodore their presents. Overlord got a scepter, an evil claw-like thing topped with a crystal, that she can use to subjugate her minions next year. The Commodore got a gift certificate at a comic book store, and a small plush moose with a goat's head taped on to feed to her dragon.

Then there was a mixer with OdFellows of years past, who were participating in TNEO - The Neverending Odyssey, a one-week critique-intensive week open only to OdFellows). Lemonade, cookies and geeks galore. We all went around the room and let the others know our goals for the coming year.

My goals: polish and send out one short story per month. Start research for a novel. Write a short story over the next two weeks to send to some people in the class for crit.

As people started leaving, the tears came. I managed to avoid them, though it was hard, especially when saying goodbye to Evil Overlord.

Later, we ended up in Barbecue Man and Dundee's apartment. Out came the guitar and the beer and the smiles and the cherry bourbon and the laughs. Around 0100 we took a nightly walk, around the campus, to the graveyard, to the Giant Head, to the haunted house. It took an hour and a half, and I know we all dragged out feet because we didn't want the night to end. The whole walk had a surreal quality, almost dreamlike, and for a moment it did feel like the night would go on forever.

I went to sleep at 0330, after having spent 40 minutes writing. I got up at 0700 the next morning, to get ready to board the buss to Boston.

More on that and some other stuff some other time. Tomorrow I leave for Maine to hang out EGE for a few days, so if I don't post stuff don't freak out. It's perfectually natural.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Geekiest curses ever

Meta coined what may well be the geekiest curse words ever.

Spock you!

This is said while using an inverted Vulcan salute to flip off the victim of the curse, preferably in the Italian fashion from under the chin.

In response to this, the following geek curses were created:

Beam off.


Eat shatner and die.

I think it is safe to say the geekometer burned out while this was being said.

Pics galore 3

So weird to wake up somewhere else than the dorm room today. Below, pics from the last week or so of Odyssey.

The farewell barbecue for author in residence
Gary Braunbeck. Too many people to name.

Gary Braunbeck, Darth Harp and the Commodore.

Djinni, Meta and Sister, at the Indian restuarant.
Best place we went to. Just thinking about it now makes
my stomach go "Go back there, you fool!"

Meta, Sister, Harp, Narcomancer and Alaska, enjoying Indian food.

When OdFellows fight with foam swords, which was a
recurring theme, blood is not spilled. But candy is.

Arts and crafts night preparing gifts for Evil
Overlord and the Commodore goes horribly wrong.

"We're bored."
"Let's braid his beard!"
Not a new concept, but the look was new.

The last nightly walk. Saying goodbye to The Giant Head.

All of a sudden we were in third grade as stalks of grass
simulated insects. As if the real insects weren't enough.

Party Planner and Alaska enjoying a popsicle after the walk.

From the late night get-together on the last night:

Peeko filming away. Alaska trying to avoid being in pics.

Peeko assaulted by lots and lots of beard.

Meta looking for tabs. There was much guitar playing.

The Head had to be touched. Rough and soft at the same time.

Desk Fairy, as I came to be called, and Party Planner.

Alright. I'll say it. Attention whore.

Barbecue man strumming away. Djinni, Party
Planner and the Commodore in the background.