Category off-topic

A Mostly-Traditional Christmas

After our not-quite-traditional Thanksgiving, I wanted a more-traditional Christmas.  December turned out to be a very busy month at work and in graduate school, so I had to compromise.  I only put up a Christmas tree the week before the holiday (maybe I’ll compensate by leaving it up until July 4th), and we decorated it […]

Movie: The Possible

The Possible Last weekend, I posted a blistering review of Uncanny Magazine. I used the phrases “nonsense, bordering on gibberish” and “scatterbrained babbling”, and that was just on the first story. So, I thought I’d write something positive tonight. This movie popped into my head for no apparent reason. Although it involves time travel, it […]

A Semi-Traditional Thanksgiving

It’s just my wife and I (and our little dog) for Thanksgiving this year. My other family members who live here are traveling, but I decided it wasn’t practical for me. I worked late last night, flying on Thanksgiving is a nightmare, and I have two papers to work on for grad school. My employer […]

Dinosaur Wrangler

Before the place was shut down, I was a junior assistant dinosaur wrangler at Jurassic Park. They only let me deal with the really small dinosaurs: I paid attention during orientation, and I remember that if you see a dinosaur licking its chops, you should back away slowly before it eats you. Feel free to […]

Halloween Cat

To get you ready for Halloween, here’s a picture of Halloween Cat: I did a lot of my marine biology work on a small island off the coast of Catfish City. The island has a population of cats who are fed by the workers and researchers, and one group of these cats is Halloween-appropriate, as […]

Fairy Apocalypse

I came home from work and discovered that faeries had built little mushroom-houses in my garden. As the faeries have built homes, I’m declaring this a level 3 infestation. The protocols for responding to a level 3 infestation are so severe that, long ago, I had them placed in a sealed envelope, then erased from […]

Vacation in Maine, Part II

If you haven’t read it already, don’t miss Vacation in Maine, Part I. Above the pragmatically-named “Sand Beach”. Most of our Maine vacation was in Bar Harbor, and most of our time there was spent hiking in Acadia National Park. Acadia is one of the most-visited national parks in the USA, so we frequently encountered […]

Vacation in Maine, Part I

Most of my vacations have been outside the USA, partially because I wanted to see the rest of the world, and partially because I could travel around Asia while living in Catfish City, and around Southern Africa while living in Durban. This year, I chose Maine to show my wife another part of the US […]

Last Week

I was on vacation in Maine last week. I logged in here, posted a pre-written article, and responded to a few comments, but otherwise stayed away from email and blogs. I’ll write up a full travelogue of my trip this weekend or next week, including a few photos. The alien rover has already broadcast one […]

Meanwhile, in the Back Yard

I step onto the back porch and spot an old Chinese man in my yard. I yell at him, “This is private property. Shove off.” The old man gives me a snaggle-toothed smile, raises his fist in my direction, and flicks his thumb up. The thumb is dyed black. I raise my fist and flick […]

Girl Trouble

It’s been two weeks since my last post, but some time in the next 7 days, I hope to resume my magazine quest, this time with a review of Cirsova (I’ll include a silly intro story as usual). If you missed it earlier this year, it’s time for you to check out my interview with […]

The Second-Best Wife

In the year 532, Emperor Justinian I of the Byzantine Empire and his wife Theodora were in trouble. Rioters had rampaged through the capital for days, leaving burning neighborhoods behind them, and now they’d proclaimed a rival emperor, turning the riots into a full-blown revolt. Justinian and his advisors prepared to flee the city, preferring […]

Maps of the World

If I’m at my computer without a specific task to perform, I’m likely to create strange things. Today, it was these maps. I decided to upload them in case they might spark a story idea in an author or roleplaying gamer. For those of you who’ve wondered what the world would be like with eight […]

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everybody! We’re having a warm and rainy Christmas this year, but here’s a family photo from last year with some snow: If you’re bored tonight, you can check out last year’s post about Christmas Science Fiction, but if you want to actually look at any of the books, you’ll have to type the […]

Not good enough for fantasy

After I make a blog post, I always check what other people are posting under the tags and categories I’ve used. My own post appears at or near the top of the feed, except when I use the tag “fantasy”, under which my posts never appear. It’s like there’s a WordPress Fantasy Wizard who’s decided […]

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving (a day late) to all my readers in the USA. My aunt and uncle drove 12 hours to visit us, and we ate the traditional huge meal. I didn’t take a photo of the huge meal, but here’s some Indian corn I grew in my garden: In an ear of corn, each kernel […]

Halloween Photos

When I was a marine biologist, I frequently interacted with sea creatures.  I did so again for Halloween.  (Is it weird to dress up in costume as something that you actually are?  A surgeon wearing scrubs?  An imperial stormtrooper trick-or-treating in his armor?)  

Mailing List

I’ve created a mailing list (through MailChimp) to notify Planetary Defense Command readers of special events. I expect the number of emails sent out to be very low, possibly even zero, so don’t worry that I’ll fill up your inbox. I only envision three two scenarios where I would send out a message: One of […]

Writing a better blog post

Last week, I was bouncing around the internet, and ran across some articles about writing better blog posts. The first thing I saw was an idea generator for blog posts. This made me think “if you don’t have an opinion or experience to share, why are you blogging in the first place?” Next, I found […]

Pod People? What Pod People?

Earlier this year, Nicholas Rossis insinuated that my newfound interest in gardening might be an attempt to conquer the world using pod people. First, I’d like to deflect suspicion by pointing out this post on Nicholas’ site. Look at his pictures and decide for yourself who might be involved in the pod people conspiracy. Second, […]

Move over, 007

When I was a kid, I loved the James Bond films. They gave me action, exotic locations, and fantastic villains (I may have been too young for “bond girls”). I probably watched the first films on TV, adjusting the rabbit ears to make the picture less fuzzy. Later, the films were agreeable to family members […]

How fast can you write?

Last week, I read a message board post by a moderately-popular science fiction / fantasy author, in which he claimed that he typically writes a 120,000 word novel in 100 hours. That’s 1,200 words per hour, or 20 words per minute. That doesn’t seem possible to me, so I’m hoping those of you who are […]

Puppy DNA results

In my Gratuitous Puppy Pictures post, I mentioned that I was submitting a DNA sample to determine my puppy’s breed mix. The results are in: apparently one of her parents was a pure German Shepherd, and the other was half Boxer and half a mix of various breeds. Apparently they weren’t able to identify the […]

Gratuitous Puppy Pictures

I had some new things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: it was my wife’s first Thanksgiving in the USA, and we adopted a puppy from our local animal shelter. She’s obviously a mix of breeds, and we’re quite curious which ones, so we’re submitting a DNA sample to a service that gives you a […]

Goodbye, Little Girl

Warning: this post rambles and contains very little science fiction content. In my previous post, I inadvertently gave people the impression that I would quit blogging. The post was actually about the end of my latest career and my move from Catfish City, where I put up with backstabbing, theft, and fraud for three years. […]

Friends, Robots, Countrymen

Friends, Robots, Countrymen, lend me your sensors. Zero score and three years ago, we established a beachhead in Catfish City. There were those who said that even this could never be accomplished, and indeed we faced great opposition. The populace failed to rise up and overthrow their evil overlords, instead turning on us. The burden […]