Monthly Archives: September 2007

Disposable Computers

My younger daughter’s computer died earlier this week.  I finally tracked the problem down to the drive controller, which is on the motherboard.

There’s no way I’m buying a new motherboard.  Not for that computer.  So I went on eBay and bought a IBM NetVista with Pentium 4 – 1.6ghz yadda yadda yadda for a whole $20.  That’s cheaper than a hard drive, even with shipping.  And it’s nearly twice the computer as her old one.

Twenty bucks.  Wow.  Computers really are a commodity.

Me, On Stage, Panicking

If you’re in the Dallas area this coming weekend, come watch me stutter and turn red in front of a lot of people. I’m one of the writers featured at this year’s FENCON, a Sci-Fi & Fantasy convention.

Check out all the fun stuff I’ll be doing in front of an audience:

Friday 4:00 PM, “Short Stories Got No Reason…”
I and three other writers will be giving opinions, no doubt stated as fact, about whether or not short stories are still a viable medium.

Friday 5:00 PM, “Podcasts”
How to put together podcasts for fun, profit, promotion, and self-humiliation. Interesting that I’m on this panel. I guess the fact that I’ve kludged together a couple Podcasts makes me an expert at it.

Saturday 10:00 AM, “Roswell – 60 Years of UFOs”
I have never seen a UFO, but then again, I bet no one else on the panel has either.

Saturday 7:00 PM, “Futuretech Feasibility”
Could Warp Drive be invented? Anti-gravity? Twiddle38 (Bill, aka “Aaaaaaaaaaa Puffiboomboom”) and I will be two of the guys giving the bird’s eye low-down on this bit of crystal ball gazing.

Sunday 11:00 AM “Autographs”
Yes, you read that right. You can come get my autograph. Are you excited or what?

Sunday 1:00 PM, “Face-Off: The Difference Between Male and Female Writers”
This is going to be fun. Two guy writers, two gal writers, a big vat of pudding, and NERF weapons.

So come on down! After dark you’ll no doubt see me wandering around drunk off my ass.

Spam Email Subject Lines as Poetry

Fredric sent you a private message

Do you want Rolex?

I practically choked

My boyfriends’ putz keeps slipping out

Now it is possible to have sex more than ten times a day

See my penis pictures as proof

Join to society of real Men

Feel new sensations with your partner

This product is sooooooooo amazing

Just call the number below

With the advance in science…

You must be the Real Man with “huge dignity”

Be full of energy and fill your partner with it!

What is the dosage guideline for Wondercum?

I know you’ve thought about it.

AnimeFest and a Free Day

I’m going to drop my daughters off at the Anime Festival downtown and then have the entire day to wander around with nothing to do. I’ll probably take my laptop and go write in a coffee house somewhere. I actually thought about just handing the keys to my elder girl but that would leave me stranded all day.

No, I don’t want to go. I’m not that into Anime. I did consider putting on those cool cat ears and going “Neko” as they call it, and wander around answering “Meow,” to anything anyone said to me. But, no, I’d rather get some work done on my current short story.

I do understand why my kids like it, though. It’s all about getting attention, and extended family.

Nowhere else have I seen more bare-chested Samurai wielding paper-machete swords, or cardboard robot-suits, or willowy nymphs with kitten ears and swinging furry tales. I’ve seen old ladies dressed as pirates, and satyrs with seven foot legs. They pose and preen for dozens of cameras like stars on a red carpet.

People call out to each other — total strangers — and rush together to embrace like old friends. Like family. Which in a way they are.

For one thing, they share in a tightly knit little subculture. Anime fans are, in a way, soap-opera fans, because of the episodic nature of the art. The stories they are immersive and touch upon serious issues. They’re also sci-fi and fantasy fans, which makes them one step removed from the mundane world. They’re also computer gaming fans, which marks them as preferring interactive — not passive — entertainment. Finally they’re artistic, because Anime is more than just a way of cartooning — it’s a serious art form — and many fans are also creators. Add to this an underlying Eastern flavor, with a strong Buddhist undercurrent, and you end up with a subculture with one of the highest senses of identity since the “deadheads” of the Grateful Dead era.

Within this subculture you have clans based upon favorite shows and characters. These translate into instant families, instant friends.

That I am convinced is the main attraction for these events. This is also why I’m so supportive of my kid’s interest in it.