Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I e-mailed James Lileks today. With any luck, he just read this sentence.
Yes, I will buy the dang books. Soon. I promise.
I’ve been getting bolder about that lately. I asked my old college if they wanted me to speak on winning the Kepler Prize, and they were very interested until they realized I wasn’t currently a student. I think eventually I’ll hear back from them, but I’m not counting the days by any stretch. I know them too well.
I also e-mailed the publisher of Apogee Press to ask when On To Mars Volume 2 would be ready, and anyone reading this could finally see my Kepler-prize winning design. He said he’d rattle Zubrin’s cage on it. I also asked if he’d be interested in me doing one of two book ideas. No reply yet.
I have to get this ambivalence to rejection thing to an art before I go writing novels.
Then again…

Halloweem 29
The Chicago Mensa convention was great, as usual, at least at a personal level. Friday my wife and I were in the stagefighting/swordfighting class and learned to make big scenes in restaurants. I suppose there is some practical knowledge in how to swordfight with one hand or throw a punch with nastiest effect. We have only been trained in medieval swordfighting, and that several years ago.
Saturday morning was a Mystery Novel Writing Workshop, which was hosted by Kathleen Anne Fleming. When we read our samples aloud, she loved mine, and really fell in love with the passage below, which was to follow a passage from another novel saying that the scents of the south and the warm starlight were not like the cold distant stars where the writer came from.

So I wrote:
“In the Manitoba winters of my boyhood, stars shown like ice and moonlit ice crystals in the omnipresent pines shown like stars, to the point where one could not tell fire from ice, impenetrable distance from frozen encirclement. In Manitoba, if you went far enough in any direction, it would be warmer. So the day he left school, he aimed his stride for the nearest railroad track, then kept the north wind at his back until the relentless howl fell silent, until the celebration of crickets replaced the distant mourning of wolves.”

I ended up buying one of her books (Demands of the Dead), and learned her style was similarly thick with imagery.

That morning, later, I did a lecture on the current and future state of space exploration, with a lot of good interaction with my audience of fifty. That afternoon we were to host a live MST3K style interactive riff on a bad movie, which I found out about only that week. I picked up a collection of bad movies, and settled on Star Odyssey, which was like a spaghetti western version of Star Wars with less talent than an elementary school play and a writer who either hated science fiction or needs to start doing so. The Mecha-Teletubbies were particularly horrifying. We had a lot of good interaction with the crowd, which is great, because I had so little time and energy to prepare. I'll have to photoblog this Lileks-style some other time.

That night, pretentious drinking – yes, that’s the name of it. We are limited to four shots, so I had seven, because people kept buying me shots. Someone frantically asked me a question on the molecular basis for magnetism in iron, during which I smiled with great intoxication at the fact that he thought I knew. Being Mensa, the next person whom he asked actually did know.

We entered a raffle to win one collection of wines and an auction to win another prize, which included a day with a local semi-famous French chief. We won both, so we had a lot of expensive wine making its way to the basement on our return.

Millie Stevens won a long term service award. This was significant here because Millie has a form of ALS and until the day before the award, we weren’t even sure she was alive. It turned out she moved, and my wife went to her house Sunday morning to get her and her wheelchair. Millie’s always been attracted to me, which is cute because she’s basically over sixty and five feet tall, and once looked up at me after I hugged her to say “Call me when your wife’s dead”. If you tell that story to a woman under fifty she thinks it’s horrifying; if you tell it to a woman over sixty she will laugh her head off, as my mom did last year. I suppose this is a common pickup line in the geriatric set. My mom, on hearing this, went to her collection of scrap writings to a poem called Life Begins at Eighty, about how nice it is to flirt with absolutely anyone at that age and get away with it.
Never a slouch at this, I found out later from my wife that Millie had commented on my cute butt at the award presentation breakfast. No comment on her standing ovation, her seeing her old friends and haunts when she thought this would be the first time in fifteen years she couldn’t come to this convention… just my butt. That’d be Millie.
And no, I don’t work out.

Just Curious... Do you read this?
On the off chance you actually read this and this blog is more than a diary I can get at from work, please e-mail me at knebergall at Ameritech.net, with the appropriate @ sign in place of the word. My efforts to find a counter to embed in the page haven’t come to fruition as yet, so I’m curious as to who reads this. Just a note, please. C sharp, perhaps?

And no, I won't send you pictures of my butt, even if you ARE a woman over sixty.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day
My wife and I voted on the way into work today, content in the knowledge we'd just cancelled out the votes of two outspoken Democrats at our respective places of work.
Currently, there is speculation that OBL will launch a terrorist attack, minutes after Bush wins, in a red state.
Does anyone honestly believe he'd call it off if Kerry won?
They might delay it. Or possibly move it. But cancel something they put that much work in? One last shot at the great satan?

Iraqi Insanity
Doonesbury was claiming Republicans are basically insane for thinking there are WMD in Iraq, still.
This ignores the fact that we've detonated two Hiroshima bombs' worth of conventional high explosives outside Baghdad Airport, a little at a time, every day at Noon.
And we have another A-bomb's worth on site waiting for detonation.
And we have seven more A-bomb's worth in other ammo dumps around the country waiting for detonation.
And these very same critics claimed we let HE ordinance used for making nukes slip out to the tune of 377 tons, give or take ninety percent.
And that THIS is dangerous if it gets in the hands of terrorists. Even though it's less than a tenth of one percent of what we've already detonated.

And did we mention the ten chemical warfare shells that were found? One doesn't build chemical munitions factories to create ten shells, then destroy the factory.

Or the missles that were banned? Or the mass graves?

FDR went into Germany looking for a nuclear program, found a missile program, and also found mass graves of ethnic minorities. Bush's only mistake was emphasizing one over the other two. I wished he'd admit to it, because it would call attention where it needs to be.

Back to OBL's Endorsement
And now, OBL is threatening us with destruction again, and offering a truce if we vote for Kerry, an attack if we vote for Bush. Because, you know, making OBL happy is what we really should care about.

I'm guessing at what an OBL attack would look like.
Gotta be an economic target in a red state.
Maybe a borderline one, such as Minnesota or Florida or Ohio, that may give Bush the win in the election, in an effort to push them back like in Spain. What would be an economic target in each? Mall of America? Disneyland? Not much in Ohio to compare to that - maybe King's Island? Maybe the latter is too low density a target for a truck bomb.
Alternatively, if it's a solid red state, and has a port, one could detonate an entire ship's worth of Iraqi explosives. Most ports are in blue states, so New Orleans? An oil facility? Then again, any coastal state from Texas to Virginia is solidly red, with the exception of Florida, and time will tell on that one.
Then again, in the school bombing in Russia they filled the building with explosives over a six month period, so any large building could be a target. I'd be running an explosive sniffing dog or two up and down the Dallas and Houston skylines, looking for front companies on lower floors.

Sorry - no comfort on this thread. It appears the terrorists may have worked out that attacking Democratic areas such as cities may not be in their long term best interest, since these are the very areas most interested in sucking up to terrorists. Unfortunately, we'll probably find out one way or another soon.

Incidentally, Michael Moore and OBL are pretty much sixty-nining each other in their respective statements these past few days. The Death To America/Vote For Kerry crowd has spoken in no small degree of unison. And let's not forget the Communists, who have killed over 120 million worldwide and stated that they would bury us. And the Iranians, who chanted Death to America while voting to enrich uranium, tried to lobby against Bush's reelection by quoting Michael Moore, and - wait, oh that's right - Kerry wants to send them MORE uranium. And cancel the only program, the nuclear bunker buster, that can possibly destroy their mountain nuclear factory without a massive American invasion, and thus take our only leverage away in negotiations.

Perhaps Moore would be wise - scratch that - shouldn't be in the same sentence - would be less foolish if he were to remember that Islam is Hell on Western Film Directors. Will someone PLEASE offer him a wafer thin mint? Or at least inform him that Yassar Arafat in a Fat Bastard costume is not a great look. I suppose he'll spend the $100 million from his last film on paternity suits from co-eds on his college tour.

I think part of our purpose as Americans is making life as miserable as possible for these mass murderers and those who cheer for them. Appeasement has never worked - it has only made the blackmailer stronger and the victim weaker. Show me one instance in history where it has not been so.

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