So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Other Side of the Tracks

A few Christmases back I ripped a bunch of CDs to iTunes and then transferred them to my iPod. For whatever reason the CDDB (the online database that gets disc info like song names) wasn't working, consequently everything loaded into iTunes/iPod as Track 01, Track 02, Track 03, etc. This hasn't been a problem until recently when I hit the Traxxx section during the A-Z exploration of my iPod.

After all, when listening to the Nat King Cole Christmas album you can tell pretty quickly that Track 01 is "The Christmas Song" or that Track 02 is "Deck the Halls." For Garrison Keillor's Now it Is Christmas Again it doesn't really matter what the tracks are titled. The Star Wars soundtrack albums (and John Williams' Greatest Hits) could use track names, but when just listening to the album it's not a big, big problem.

Fourteen consecutive "Track 01"s though ... big, big problem.

Anyhoo, today I reached the final Track track (Keillor's Track 25, aka "O Little Town of Bethlehem").

Still 600+ songs to go.

Getting there, though....

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Mikesell : 8:27 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, March 24, 2008

That "Thing About Spiders"

My short story "A Thing about Spiders" is now available online at Fear and Trembling magazine.

Here's the opening:
Roger woke from two hours’ sleep, listening. Footsteps? Engine ticking itself cool? Anything? He let out his breath long and slow. Only a dream.

Just to make sure, he grabbed his shotgun and removed the black-rubber knothole plug at the front of cabin. The road leading up from Santa Cruz was quiet. Peepholes in the windowless north and south walls showed more of the same, just a four-point black-tail buck fifty feet beyond the north wall begging to become a hatrack. The last thing Roger needed, though, was for a game warden to hear the blast and stop by to check permits.

There was no need to peek out the fourth wall, in the bedroom. He was pretty sure they weren’t sending frogmen after him.
Hmmmm ... intriguing.

And, c'mon, how can you resist a short story with a tagline like "Revenge is a dish best served with something other than pork and beans"?


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Mikesell : 7:54 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hinky Preview

My short story "Hinky Jenks" is the back-of-the-book freebie in Relief Quarterly 2.1. Later this year the story will appear in Coach's Midnight Diner II (Eclectic Boogaloo?), but you can read it -- and a bunch of other fine fiction, poetry, and creative non-fic -- now in Relief.

Here's the intro:
Hinky Jenks, Madelyn Argent and me, we could’ve changed the world. Now I’m here alone with the envelope from Maddy’s father, and the priest with a click-clack heel on one of his shoes is walking the cellblock toward me.

Damn you, Jenks.

My death warrant expires in nine hours. No chance of a reprieve.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Kind of a film noir meets The Twilight Zone wrapped up in a Hitchcockian undershirt sort of thing. How many other stories make that sort of claim?

Get your copy (or a whole year's worth) today!

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Mikesell : 3:24 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Phil's Story: A Battle

Writing bud Angie Poole mentioned the other day that it'd be cool to record readings of our stories that appeared in The Best of Relief and garner some publicity for our writing. (Angie's a non-practicing CPA -- she has a private accounting gig -- so I'm sure she's thinking "tax write-off" for any associated expenses)

Anyhoo, Phil wanted to record his own story. I told him he could if he wrote it down first. He called my bluff and wrote a radio play. He went ahead and read off the names of the speakers as he recorded the story (next time I'll have him think of ways to let the reader/listener know it's the mayor or the army without announcing it as he's done here), but he made up for that gaffe by creating the sound-effects himself.

Since Blogger won't allow you to upload a straight audio file I went ahead and made a multimedia presentation in iMovie.

Behold: "A Battle."

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Mikesell : 7:56 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Open House

It was Open House night at Phil's school. Spent about 45 minutes getting the tour of his classroom and the things he's been doing.

Such as...

Also got to see the special classrooms devoted to Art, Science, Music, as well as the Library and Gym. Nothing was going in any of those rooms, but it was nice to know that they're there.

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Mikesell : 8:13 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday Night Fights

Phil went to his first hockey game tonight, Stars vs. Avalanche, courtesy of a reading program at his school ($120 worth of tickets for completing the reading challenge -- Yay!). We took the DART train down to the arena, along with Nick and Jack, two of my nephews (cousins to Phil). Sat in the nosebleeds, four rows off the ceiling, but with a good view behind the visitor's net.

Decent hockey, though Colorado failed to score (and managed a only single shot on goal during the first period). A couple of fights mixed things up early on, but other than icing and offsides not a lot of calls got made (somehow the refs missed some egregious highsticking cheap shots in the final minutes of the game). The Bud Lite races (four fans dressed up in giant foam beer bottle costumes navigate obstacle course), "Finnish or Gibberish" (is the phrase proffered by Finnish player legit or nonsense?), and the Chipotle/Chili's remote-control blimps livened up the breaks between periods.

Final score 3:0 (BONUS! When the Stars get three-plus goals during a game everybody gets free chips and salsa at Chili's. Yay!)

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Mikesell : 11:14 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Christmas Spring Break?

My spring break starts tomorrow at 3:45. Or 3:40 if I decide, like most of my students, to start packing up five minutes before the bell. This afternoon, and once earlier this week, the weather decided that we couldn't break for spring if we'd never had winter.

Cue the snow clouds.

Yes, we're dreaming of a white Spring Break. Here're a few pix:

Phil's spring break is the week after mine. Maybe we'll have wacky triple-digit weather come mid-month.


Mikesell : 9:51 PM : 2 snarky remarks