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So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Books, Marvelous Books

Please sir, may I have some more...

Soitenly! <nyuk, nyuk>

I was remiss last week not to point out that y'all should check out Katy Popa's book To Dance in the Desert. It was part of the CFBA tour and I blew it. Check out the trailer, too.

(And don't miss this post at Katy's blog: Free the Jena Six. Makes me stinkin' mad...)

Book Two-oh to check out is Tony Hines' debut follow-up: The Dead Whisper On. On what do they whisper? Thursday? Empty stomachs? Marble ballroom floors? Guess you'll have to get the book.

And be sure to hunt down all the secrets in the hijacked Dead Whisper On website. (Very fun site, reminded me of the Lemony Snicket VFD conspiracy, but without the Baudelaire triplets.) Did I mention there were prizes? Well there are. Enjoy!

Book Three-oh is a graphic novel -- actually, a movie of a graphic novel. 300 is amazing to watch. Even if you're not the world's biggest Gerard Butler fan. (Hi Mir! Gotta admit, he sure is hunky.) Stylized and graphic violence and gore and sensuality and battle rhinos. But awesome (even if the battle rhino only gets a dozen seconds or so of screen time).

And if you've got a book recommendation, friend Angie's looking for 'em

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Mikesell : 5:39 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Getting in Touch with My Feminine Side

...and hopefully a 37" flat-panel LCD HDTV.

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away said goodie (courtesy Best Buy) to one lucky blog commenter.

Wanna lower my odds? Enter the contest.

(via Dee)

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Mikesell : 9:06 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Good Morning, Lebanonnnnnn!

Round-about 3:30 this morning I had my first blog visitor from Lebanon. He (or she) stopped by -- as many, many have lately -- to see this pic of Phil and his spider tat from two summers ago. Actually it's face paint on his arm, but still...

Statswise, this puts me at 111 countries, 49% of the world (as World66 counts countries/the world). I'll put up a map when I hit 50%.

(This is my first first-time country since May. The second since last August. Someone string some cable over to Madagascar so the lemurs can visit my blog, and really, what else do they have to do in Greenland? Greenlanders, visit my blog! Antigua and Barbuda, you're a two-fer; only need one of you to visit, but you should both feel free...)

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Mikesell : 8:23 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, July 30, 2007

Two-Week-Old Gas

Got a tankful of gas for the first time in two weeks today. With the Subaru and back and forth to town in Oregon it was more like two tanks per week.

During these past two weeks gas went up a dime and has since come back down. Yay! for good timing.

(And thanks again to Dina's folks for the car.)

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Mikesell : 4:35 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Free Samples at The Diner

Word on the street is that Coach's Midnight Diner hits the street next month. Good news if you've meant to pre-order, but haven't yet.

And if you've been standing across the street giving the joint sidelong glances, wondering what's inside -- or you've pre-ordered and are a free-samples-at-Costco junkie -- here's a complimentary taste: Free Appetizer Sampler.

The Sampler includes 2-12 pages of each story as well as bios on all the authors.

You were expecting potato skins, too? This is the Diner, child, not Bennigan's.

Sheesh!

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Mikesell : 7:21 AM : 4 snarky remarks

Friday, July 27, 2007

Choose Your Own Adventure

You are in a maze of twisted little text passages, all alike in their dissimilarity.

If you want to head north and read my post at the Misfits blog turn to page 169 by clicking here.

If you want to head southwest and see some pix from Phil's birthday weekend turn to page 97 by scrolling down a bit.









My sister Julia sent me a few more pictures from Phil's birthday weekend at the coast. Here are some of them:

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Mikesell : 10:22 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Back in the N.S.D.R.

After being out of the mix for six or so weeks, I've got another short in the Wittenburg Door Insider. This time around I look at the grade fixing scandal that erupted at a VBS in Tyler, Texas (a nice place, I drove through it several weeks ago). A sad, sad story.

The editors of the Insider were gracious and generous enough to highlight Coach's Midnight Diner, the short story anthology that includes several Door regulars and occasionals. If you haven't already have a copy on preorder, time's running out!

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Mikesell : 5:04 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Storytime: Moonshot

Dragons, Knights & Angels Magazine has published my short story "Moonshot." The story took first in their 2007 Fiction Contest. Both these facts continue to humble and astonish me. Thank you very much Selena and Bill and Mir and <band begins playing the Moonraker theme> the rest of the DKA gang.

(So much for dignified acceptance speeches.)

"Moonshot" is ... well, here's the promo blurb:
Pastor Clayton Bardell wins a childhood dream-vacation to the moon, much to the dismay of his church's elders. On the trip he discovers that while his elders' fears may be overstated, much more awaits him than he anticipated. And the new life he hopes to bring to his flock, will first have to flow through himself.

And a preview:
Clayton Bardell stared at the letter, cursing his good fortune. Five minutes peace they won’t leave me, he told himself. Five minutes—it might be enough, but they won’t give me even that. Already he could hear the creak of Elder Stinson’s buckboard approaching from the main road.

Bardell returned to the letter, determined to afford the dream as much life as possible. The paper was cream, heavy, the weave of pulp fibers fine, yet distinct. The company name—Branson–Plaxis Resorts—stood out, embossed in gold foil; the watermark, the BPR logo, subtly visible beneath his name and the word Congratulations. The matching envelope had been delivered unsealed.

Three hard raps cracked through the silent parsonage. Each blow to the front door, he knew, bore the full force of Elder Stinson’s knuckles and the meat of his right palm. How many times had he gone on “social calls” with the man? Where he, Bardell, might use a single knuckle to rap on the door ...
<band begins playing Blue Moon, up tempo>

So go read it, already. (And, seriously, Selena & Co.: Thanks!)


BTW: DKA also has a print version. The July Issue has all four prize-winning stories, plus more! (And don't be afraid to make a PayPal donation to the mag, either.)

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Mikesell : 8:24 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, July 23, 2007

Headshots

I need to select a headshot photograph for a banquet I'll be attending in September. If my novel opening is in the top three in its category my big ol' melon will be projected on the screen. Ya. Bring the Tums.

Anyhoo, to help spread the blame, I thought I'd post my pics here (courtesy Heather Goodman -- see, the blame game has already begun...).

Take your pick.
  1.           


  2.           


  3.           


Leave a comment, with your top 1-3 picks. (Photo 1b should be in the same maroonish color as the other two. Don't know what's up with that.) If none of them work -- and really, the subject matter's not going to get any better -- lemme know that, too. Gotta make a decision by Thursday evening, so there's time for retakes if necessary.

Thanks.

Mikesell : 8:29 PM : 11 snarky remarks

Free Al

First off, there's nothing free in this post. Well, maybe. We'll see how it goes and if you don't touch anything...

I believe I've mentioned Babylon 5 here a time or two. Best Sci-Fi series ever. (Yes, Firefly was awesome, but at a single season+feature film doesn't really count). J. Michael "Joe" Straczynski created Bab-5, plus Jermiah, plus some Spidey comics (among others), plus the new Twilight Zone in the 80s, plus some novels, plus quite a few episodes of Murder, She Wrote. The guy can storytell. It's what he does.

Apparently he wrote a series of twenty five-minute radio dramas for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio One division: "The Adventures of Apocalypse Al." CBCR1 isn't releasing the series nationally (and if/where it is being picked up locally isn't being shared). Lots of folks upset. Not all of them Canadian, even.

Lemme add my one-quarter Canadian voice to the chorus: Free Al! Free Al! Free Al! Free Al! (That counts as at least one "Free Al!")

He doesn't even have to be available at no cost. Just don't stifle him. Let the man breathe.

Let Joe tell his story. It's what he does.

(...and I saw you steal those fizzy lifting drinks, so you LOSE! Good day, sir.)

Hat Tip: Mir.

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Mikesell : 5:20 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2nd Place Story at DKA

The second place story in DKA's 2007 fiction contest is now up.

Read Immortal.

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Mikesell : 5:02 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, July 21, 2007

AquaPhil

Dina sent a few pictures of Phil out at the Oregon Coast and out on the lake.

Oregon Coast:
On the Lake

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Mikesell : 9:06 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Friday, July 20, 2007

Misfitting Today

Today's my day to post over at the Misfits blog. Little thing on not taking shortcuts.

So I don't expect I'll be posting anything here today.







D'oh!

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Mikesell : 12:30 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Save the Date: Moonshot

My short story "Moonshot" is slated for publication at Dragons, Knights & Angels July 24th.

Stay tuned.

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Mikesell : 10:31 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My New Piece of Serious Business Equipment

Today has been a joyful day of filling out employment paperwork at several school districts in the Dallas Metroplex area. Around 10am I had to sit down an catch my breath. And at 11 and 12 and ... you get the idea. Woo-hoo!

After completing one of the apps I received an email from the district inviting me to send resume and transcripts and other information via fax or email attachment. The resume was no problem to send as an attachment since I made it on my laptop to begin with. The rest though...

Sending a fax from the local Staples runs a buck a page. Sure, it'd only be $5 total, but if I had a document scanner I could save in the long run. (That's me, using my noggin.)

So I tore myself away from the thrill of the job hunt, and a low-end HP scanner has joined my workspace arsenal, which now consists of PowerBook, the aforementioned scanner, laser printer and several boxes of paper clips. I get me a box of rubber bands and you're gonna have to rethink messing with Texas.

And only 19 more job apps and we break even on the purchase. (Publishing contracts will also help defray the cost of the scanner, so lets see more of those.) I've also been told that a document scanner will come in very handy with stealing repurposing materials in my classroom once I do land a job. So now I'm set for that, too.

Since I really don't want my scanned transcripts all over the internet (because I don't want y'all to be jealous of my Intro to Bowling grade), here's a scan of Phil's Father's Day present to demonstrate the awesome might of the HP ScanJet G3010. (This isn't a toy, so don't expect to see scans of my naked posterior anytime soon, at least not until the company Christmas party.) Be very afraid.

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Mikesell : 4:58 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Award-Winning Fiction at DKA

The two Honorable Mention stories from this spring's DKA fiction contest have been posted at the magazine's site.
Speaking in Arms - A Beast Fable
by C. M. Huard

The Diary
by John Kuhn

Check 'em out!

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Mikesell : 4:14 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, July 16, 2007

Two Mo' in the Do'

I got word last week that my story about James Cameron’s next clueless religious expose (a la The Jesus Tomb) will be appearing in a future edition of the print mag (or as an online bonus or both).

And since I'm not (at the moment) spending my evenings making lesson plans and rehearsing my class notes, I took some time over the weekend and wrote a piece about the VBS grade fixing scandal that just broke over in East Texas. Yeah, that one. Cryin' shame. Should be in the end-of-the-month Door Insider. (Need to subscribe? There's still time!)

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Mikesell : 9:31 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Saturday, July 14, 2007

So This Is What That's Like

Yesterday marked the end of both summer school (where I was assistant teaching an English III class) and the summer Institute program run by Texas Teaching Fellows (to prepare me to full-time teach this fall). Yesterday was also the day I was supposed to find out my score on the TExES exam (the state exam you have to pass in your content area before you can get a teaching credential). Was supposed to, but actually found out on Thursday, instead. I passed, well ahead of the cut-off.

So now I've completed everything I need to in order to teach in September. Well, everything but find a job. Still...

Today, however, was a day of recuperating. Slept in. Then caught the webcast of Psych's season premiere. Hi-larious. Seriously. Here's a sample:
Detective "Mr. Bean/Tony Randall" Lassiter: We found something you didn't. We found prints."
("Psychic Detective") Shawn Spencer: Was he in a little red Corvette?
("Sidekick") Gus: Under the cherry moon?
Lassiter: Fingerprints!
Tim Curry and Gina Gershon guest star. Both will make you laugh out loud. A lot.

My brother, sister-in-law, and youngest nephew took me out to breakfast at Denny's. Had their new "Meat Cravers" breakfast. Yum! (On the way I stopped to deposit a check for one of the stories coming out later this month and drop a signed contract in the mail for another Wittenburg magazine piece to run in the next issue or two. Both the check and the contract surprised me yesterday.)

Then, after I got back from breakfast and watched Psych again (really folks, it's that funny), I took a nap.

The evening was spent tackling a chapter in my novel manuscript, the first time in far too long.

I worked on that at the main Half Price Books store in Dallas, and when the coffee jitters got to be too much (a cup and a half on top of all the Denny's coffee in the morning) I drove down the road to one of a dozen 7-11s in the U.S. that has been converted to a Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart. Was going to get a Squishee (cause nothing distracts from the caffeine overload like getting amped up on sugar), but with all the Grand Opening mayhem the machines were down. Took a few cellphone pix. These are what those are like:
Went to the NorthPark Center mall and wandered a bit. Stopped at the CrepeMaker for the first time and had the Chicken Cordon Bleu entree crepe. What was that like? De-freakin-licious.

I even got a new Washington state quarter in change somewhere along the way.

So what did you do new today?

Mikesell : 9:35 PM : 7 snarky remarks

Sunday, July 08, 2007

PhilTube

Dina sent me some video of Phil racing downhill on his pedal car the other day, which was followed by a victory dance. I put it to music and uploaded it to YouTube (my first upload).

Hopefully I've not turned him into the next Star Wars Kid.

(Music snips: "Hot Rod Lincoln" by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen; "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters.)

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Mikesell : 10:25 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Friday, July 06, 2007

What I Like About Texas #37

At most barbecue restaurants here foods are divided into three categories: meat, bread, vegetable. OK, and dessert. The point is anything that's not a meat or a bread is a veggie. Green beans, corn, and okra? Vegetables (obviously). But so are BBQ beans, mac 'n cheese, potatoes of all varieties. Why could these not have been offered as veggie choices when I was growing up.

Tonight I went to a new-to-me restaurant, Black-Eyed Pea. Had the chicken-fried steak with jalapeño gravy. My veggie choices? Mashed potatoes (with more jalapeño gravy) and deep-fried corn on the cob.

What's not to like?

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Mikesell : 8:06 PM : 4 snarky remarks

Thursday, July 05, 2007

B(u)y Me

Issue #212 of The Wittenburg Door is now on sale. $5 + s/h (or get 6/year for $30 with the shipping included).

Here's the snippet from the contents page for my "Brief History of Reality Programming":
Survivorman (Job Edition): Lacks adequate schadenfreude; audience tops out at three.

Schadenfreude is a funny word, but only when someone else says it...

The illustration at the bottom of the online contents page accompanies my story in the print edition. You can probably guess why the Daniel edition of Survivorman failed, but go ahead and buy the issue to check if your guess is right. (Buy a two year subscription -- 12/2year -- for only $50.)

Enjoy!

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Mikesell : 10:43 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Misfits Misalign!

That's the rallying cry of my writers group's Tuesday- and Friday-night online chat sessions. Sort of like "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate" only there are eight of us and, other than the power to handily split infinitives with a single adverb, our "wonder powers" lack the jaw-dropping awesomeness of, say, turning into a bucket of dingy mop water (yes, I mock you, Zan).

Not that we're powerless. We write; that's "mightier than the sword," they say. Someday we might (speaking for myself, at least) be able to wield such a power without stabbing ourselves in the foot. We laugh, and they (the coiners of aphorisms, if no one else) say that's "the best medicine." How can something with the might of the first bring the healing of the second? It's one of those Zen riddles like "if a tree in the lonesome forest falls on a one-handed clapping man what time does the train from Chicago get to Cincinnati?" Wonder powers, indeed.

Anyhoo, we've started a group blog: The Misfits. Each of us posts a different day (two alternate Sundays). I'm Friday. Blog topics are wide open; most are likely to be writing-related. But who knows? C'mon by and see.

(And if a tree should start to suddenly fall, step away from the man clapping single-handedly before checking your watch.)

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Mikesell : 9:01 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Monday, July 02, 2007

Birthday Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. Last week was Phil's. Here're some pix of Phil celebrating to get y'all in a festive mood for MetamucilFest '07 my dad's party.
Happy Birthday, Dad!!!

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Mikesell : 7:13 PM : 2 snarky remarks