Miscellanea, plus Painting

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

I finally finished Alien: Bug Hunt. A few of the stories in this anthology really wowed me, including entries by Rachel Caine, Yvonne Navarro, and Larry Correia. I had to skip a couple, but thankfully, most are enjoyable and entertaining, which is exactly what I hoped for when I picked the book up.

Just started reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (the author’s preferred text). So far, so awesome, which is what I’ve come to expect from Gaiman.

Science and Technology

LUKE prosthetics. Sweet.

Science is a process, not rigid dogma. Witness: Two scientists’ calculations challenge a popular theory for the universe’s origins. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not, but this is what science is. I know a few scientists who could use a good reminder of that fact.

Speaking of, here’s a potent reminder that modern humans don’t know everything. We still can’t figure out exactly how the Romans made their concrete.

For Authors

I’m reading Chuck Wendig’s The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience. Get it, read it, laugh a lot because it’s hilarious as hell. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. There are some good nuggets inside.

Focus: Painting

It’s tourist season here in the Southern Appalachians. In light of that, I was going to write a rant about motorcyclists. More and more appear on the roads every year, and a larger percentage seem to be rather idiotic handlers of their vehicle. By “idiotic,” I mean they wear flipflops, tshirts, and shorts instead of safety gear, insist on riding in other vehicles’ blind spots, and tailgate. Of those, I’m not sure which is the most egregious. Or the most dangerous to the rider.

Whew, ok. That rant was about to spew out, so let me sum it up in two sentences:

  1. The vast majority of motorcycle accidents are single vehicle (involving only the motorcycle) and due to user error (i.e. the motorcyclist doesn’t know how to handle their vehicle or was riding while intoxicated).
  2. Take a friggin’ motorcycle safety course.

/rant

So, I’ve skipped a couple of weeks posting for a very good reason: Short stories. I completed three in June. One story is intended for the Romancing the Weird collection and will be sent to newsletter subscribers soon. I’m shopping the second story to magazines right now. The third needs a rewrite (minor scene adjustment) before being sent back to my editor, after which I’ll likely shop it to magazines, too.

I love writing short stories. They’re usually quick to plan and write, and provide a great break from writing longer stories.

But that’s not what this focus was supposed to be about, which was painting. Right. I got a little sidetracked.

In a former life, my editor, the Renaissance Man, was a painter. Officially, he’s now a lawyer, but the law hasn’t been a good place for him since his mother died a year ago (today, as a matter of fact) and his father became sick. The past two years have been an endless series of doctor’s appointments and visiting nurses, so when an interior decorator called Mr. RenMan and offered him an interior painting job, he jumped at the chance to take a break.

Short stories provide my breaks. Painting provides his. Different strokes, people.

Anywho, he needed an assistant to help him with menial tasks like spackling (also, he’s always wanted a minion), so I volunteered to help where I could. Which isn’t much. On Friday, I spent an hour or so removing the covers for light switches and electrical outlets. Yesterday, I spent twice that amount of time pulling nails and patching holes. I think I got more putty on me than on the walls, but it was an interesting experience.

Manual labor lends itself to rumination, so naturally, I had a couple of great ideas for short stories, although Mr. RenMan shot down a couple on the spot. (Party pooper.)

Don’t know if the ideas will pan out, but I will occasionally have updates of that sort. Eventually. Hey, magazine publishing is a slow business. It takes a lot of patience, fortitude, and perseverance, much like spackling.

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