Zombies! In Austin!

Those of you who know me should know why I appreciate this story about some folks who hacked into the roadside information signs to display some important information. For example:




So, if you’re driving in Austin… Be careful. And remember to aim for the head.

(Sometimes I wonder if, at the age of 41, I’m too old to be into this sort of thing. Can you ever be too old for zombies or pirates? Or zombie pirates?)

A new online story

Just a quick note to mention that I’ve put a new story up on my website: “The Afghan Code” is my little spoof of The Da Vinci Code, which I loathed. I found it pretentious, pedantic, and fundamentally absurd; honestly, it was like looking into a mirror.

I was inspired to write “The Afghan Code” one day after my wife told me a story about a scandal involving a knitting store in a nearby town. Because I’m always inspired by the dark underbellies of the most banal activities (think David Lynch but with more quilting bees), I had to wonder what espionages and conspiracies could be found in the dark underbelly of the knitting community. And since I had just recently finished teaching a class at my church on “The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code”, this story just seemed to come out of thin air.

Sadly, though, I was never able to get past the prologue. A spoof like this can only go so far as a spoof; at some point it has to have its own story, and I was never able to develop one. I’m open to suggestions.

“The Afghan Code” is not one of my Stories of the Week. It’s just a bit of flash I cooked up a few years ago.


21 hours to go, and counting

As of this moment, there are about twenty-one hours until 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time on January 21, 2009, when this guy will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States:

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

And for the first time in nearly a decade, I’m finally going to be able to say, “I’m an American” without cringing. I’m sick of BushCorp, an administration more corrupt and more beholden to corporate interests than any we’ve seen in a very long time. While Bush may not have been the very worst President in the history of the United States of America (I personally believe that honor belongs to James Buchanan, under whose administration the nation quite literally fell apart), Bush’s role in the mess that our country is in now simply cannot be denied. I’m looking forward to a President and an administration which values the rule of law, and places at least some value on the Constitution and the values that made our nation great in the first place. I’m sick of a President whose interest in political promotion and whose grandstanding and pandering to right-wing special interest groups overshadowed any progress he could have made for our nation, both at home and abroad. I’m also just sick of a President who wouldn’t hesitate to fling our nation into wars which are unaffordable, morally unjustified, and politically disastrous.

I’m looking forward to a President who seems to act with integrity, and who understands the seriousness and the gravity of the position that he holds. Bush, for all his talk of how he was a “uniter” and “the decider” never quite grasped, in my opinion, just what it meant to be President. Obama hasn’t even been sworn in yet, but already he’s done more to restore the integrity and dignity of an office which got drowned in cowboy diplomacy and a President more suited to the frat house than to the White House.

Barack Obama won’t be the perfect President. From time to time, those of us who voted for him with the highest of hopes will be disappointed, and that disappointment will hurt. Some of us may even end up feeling betrayed.

Honestly, though, after what we’ve been through since Bush “won” the election in 2000, it’s hard to imagine that we could end up with anything worse.

An infrequent joy

Today I received the galley copy of the Spring 2009  issue of Shimmer, where my short story, “The Bride Price” will be published. Reviewing galleys of published stories is always a joy, one that I don’t get to experience very often. In this case, they did a great job, and I didn’t encounter a single typo or other error, besides some minor confusion regarding the title. The editor has been a delight to work with, as always. Shimmer is a market I highly recommend to my writer friends. And since their submission process includes an anonymizing procedure, I’m not just saying that to suck up to their editorial staff.

At any rate. Here’s hoping I get to experience that joy more often in 2009. I imagine the process of reviewing galleys will become tedious at some point in my writing career; for now, I’m simply going to enjoy it.