Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Month: May 2009 Page 1 of 2

STORY: The Fundamental Things Apply

Well, the votes came in, and I actually ended up winning the flash contest I mentioned in my last post. I’m really pleased, because this is the first complete (albeit short) fiction I’ve written in some time.

If you’re interested, the story I wrote is

Aphelion Flash Contest: May ’09

Every month in its forum, Aphelion Webzine has a flash fiction contest, run by Nate Kailhofer. I’ve meant every month to try and take a run at it, but never got the right idea, but this month, I finally did.

The voting just opened and runs for a week. Anyone can vote, as long as they register on the forum. If anyone wants to participate in the judging, just click the link below.

I’m not interested in “stuffing the ballot box”, so I’m obviously not going to tell you which story is mine. So do feel free to participate.

Protected: A bit of a meme…

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The only thing we have to fear…

While Andrew Sullivan is on vacation this week, he’s turned over his Atlantic Monthly blog to a series of guest writers. Today contained a post by Lane Wallace which really struck me as being tasty thoughtfood:

In the course of the past 20 years, I’ve flown small aircraft on five continents. I’ve been stranded alone on a glacier in shorts and tennis shoes. I’ve found myself in the middle of rapidly destabilizing situations in African countries. And I’ve started two businesses and navigated a career that, more often than not, has lacked a stable paycheck. Do I love all the uncertainty that comes with that? No. But I’ve learned how to survive it, and even embrace the possibilities it offers. (I’ve even written a book on the subject.) Not every lesson translates to surviving uncertainty in everyday life, but a surprising number do. A few big ones:

1. Don’t panic. Self-explanatory. Panic and fear never helped anyone think their way clearly out of a tight spot.

But how do you control panic and fear?

2. Focus on the present. Fear is almost always related to something we’re afraid will or might happen in the future, not what’s actually happening in the present. In the present, we get busy with the business of coping. It’s our fears of amorphous monster threats down the road … realistic or not … that tend to paralyze us. Ask yourself, “Am I okay right now?” If the answer is yes, take a deep breath and relax a little bit. You can figure the rest out as you go.

3. Keep perspective. Ask yourself, “what’s the worst thing that happens here? Does anybody die?” Sometimes, in an adventure setting, the answer to that is yes. But that’s rarely true in everyday life. And keeping that fact in perspective helps ratchet the fear and worry down a notch or two. As long as you’re alive, you can regroup to fight another day.

4. Separate what you can’t control from what you can, and then focus on taking action on those items you can control. In an airplane, I can’t control whether the weather is going to deteriorate or something mechanical is going to break. But I can make sure I at least have enough fuel to look for a second airport, a flashlight in the cockpit in case the electrical system goes out, and a plan of what I’m going to do next if Plan A doesn’t work out.

5. Learn to prioritize what’s essential, and loadshed everything else.

6. Stay flexible. Be open to innovative options that pop up unexpectedly, or aren’t along the path you initially planned to follow. Sometimes those out-of-the-way places you end up diverting to end up way better than your original destination.

7. Remember to look at and enjoy the scenery, even when things get challenging. Few experiences are without any moments of beauty or grace. And these days … “good old” or otherwise … will pass all too quickly. You may have more money or safety down the road, but you’ll never be this young again.

Stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait? Only if we choose to be.

Oh, that’s *perfect*

Along with parodies, which I’ve always been fond of, I’m also a collector of odd covers and mashups. So I was delighted this morning to see this, courtesy of gridlore

Out of Context Quote of the Day

“But you get the same level of consideration, trust, and respect. And you didn’t even have to take your clothes off.”

Spam Subject Line of the Day

This was a random ED pharm spam, nothing to really distinguish itself from any of the other few that manage to slip past my defences. But the subject line of this one did catch me before I deleted it:

“How Can You Tell If Your Girl Is Satisfied (Sexually)?”

My immediate, somewhat bemused reaction: “Uh….she tells me?”

Seriously, maybe I’ve just been lucky with my partners, but it’s not that hard to tell that you’ve done a good job. Especially if your partner is someone you, y’know, have conversations with that feature polysyllabic words.

Aphelion – May 2009 issue

The latest version of Aphelion Webzine has gone online. I really ought to do a better job of pimping it here, because i know there’s a lot of folks reading this who would probably enjoy it.

  • What is Aphelion?
    Aphelion is an original fiction fanzine that has been published on the web since 1997. It was started by Dan Hollifield (vila_resthal) when the webzine he’d been contributing to went dark, and has been published mostly monthly ever since. I have been involved with the technical direction of Aphelion since it’s inception, have written semi-regularly for it, served a tenure as the Serials editor, and currently serve as its Features editor. Aphelion is entirely fan-run and self-funded. Because it is unable to be a paying market, it also has no advertising nor requires any subscription.

  • What kinds of things will I find there?
    Aphelion publishes original science-fiction, fantasy, and horror, along with poetry and filk lyrics and non-fiction articles and essays of interest to its principle audience. In an average issue, you will find 2-3 pieces of long fiction, a dozen or so short stories, 6-10 poems, and a couple of book reviews, film reviews, essays or other non-fiction material.

  • When does it come out?
    Like many fan-produced periodicals, deadlines tend to be honoured more in the breach than the observance, but the new issue generally hits the net sometime around the first Sunday of the month. It is rarely as late as the second Sunday of the month. Currently, Aphelion publishes 11 issues a year. There is no new issue in January, but Feburary features the editors choices of the best of the previous year.

    Livejournal users can be alerted to new issues at aphelionfeed, or you can subscribe to our RSS feed with your favourite RSS reader.

  • So what is it for?
    The primary purpose of the zine is to give writers a chance to flex their imaginations, put their work in front of an audience, and hopefully get feedback. There is a forum where we encourage people to comment on the stories and features in that month’s issue, and try to foster a dialogue between the writers and their readers (most of whom tend to be fellow writers). It is the fondest wish of Aphelion’s editors to lose their best contributors to paying markets.

    So please drop by and give it a look. And if you read something that you like – or something that you didn’t – drop by the forum and leave a comment. Everyone who puts their stuff on the line there wants to hear from you.

Georgia Renfaire 2009 Birthday Expedition

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is….tradition!

IMG_0997It has been our custom, in recent years, to celebrate kitanzi‘s birthday with a trip to the Georgia Renaissance Festival, though we missed it last year (ultimately getting our ren-fix at King Richard’s Faire in Massachusetts). There were solid reasons to consider not going this weekend (I’ve been having some trouble with my hip and the faire involves a lot of walking), but I’m tired of coming up with reasons not to do enjoyable things, so I elected to uphold the tradition. Besides, late April really is the best time to go for Georgia’s faire — it’s early enough in the season that the weather tends to be a bit cooler. This year we were graced with nearly perfect conditions — slightly cloudy, breezy and warm but not hot.

We took off early from home, aiming to hit the gates at opening. We detoured by Ikea to pick up our friend Alice, who was spending the day with us, and headed south…down the wrong interstate. This is what happens when you don’t take the GPS because you know where you’re going, but the conversation in the car is more interesting than navigation. *blush*

IMG_0912The crowds were noticeably thinner this year than in the past; I have no doubt the economy is biting luxury entertainment like RenFaires pretty hard. We wandered in and out of shops, picked up some brunch from one of the food vendors, and sat and watched people go by for a while while we contemplated what shows we wanted to see. There was some new stuff at the Faire this year, and some people noticeably missing. Most conspicuous in their absence were The Lost Boys; in fact, there were very few musical acts on the grounds this year. Three Quarter Ale and Groghat shared the tavern stage, and besides them, there were none of the more traditional musical acts there.

There was, however, one rather astonishing non-traditional musical act. Cast In Bronze featured a single performer playing a four ton carillon which was simply awesome to behold. Most of his act featured recorded backing tracks, onto which he’d add a dizzying array of bells and chimes. When he started into “Tubular Bells”, I nearly fell off my bench. Great stuff.

kitanzi: Can you imagine playing something like that?
autographedcat: Hard to set up in the filkroom, though.

The other event which was new to us was All The Kings Horses, an absolutely stunning display of dressage featuring a trio of stallions (one Lipizzan, one Andalusian, and a black beauty whose lineage I am unsure of — plus an American-bred miniature named “Goliath”). The performance was a wonderful combination of artistry and horsemanship, and I wish I’d had time to go back and catch their show again before we left that day.

We stayed until after 3pm, which was later than we’d originally thought we might, and headed back to the car just as the rain started to roll in. After dropping Alice off at Ikea, we headed home for a relaxing evening with takeout from the Greek place on the corner and a couple of episodes of QI.

Not a bad way to spend the weekend, if’n I do say so myself.

Conversations with #437

From today’s random lunchtime conversation with eloren:


Shall we go?


Nah, let’s stay here for the rest of the day.


I agree with you in prinicple. In reality…


Reality bites.


Yes, it does


Reality bites. Sounds like an appetiser. <announcer voice> New, Reality Bites. Small nuggets of reality, breaded and deep fried, and served with a dipping sauce.


I’m not sure what you’re selling, but I don’t want any.


But the sauce is awesomesauce.


I was hoping it would be the tears of my enemies.


The tears of our enemies is one of the primary ingredients of awesomesauce.


Oh, well, that’s ok then.


If you didn’t mix in the tears of our enemies, it would be awesomepaste.


And that’s not appetising at all.

I adore eloren. Just sayin’

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