Sunday, March 18, 2018


Today my interview with the Horrible Writing podcast goes live. If you want to hear it, it's here. I talk about writing and my struggles with bipolar. I'm very honest and open about it. And I talk about some horrible writing. Yes, horrible writing that I did.

So check it out on the Horrible Writing podcast.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Miss...

Driving on the Racetrack
Time once again for the thirty-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in about thirty weeks. Getting close to the end. And today's prompt is: "Something/someone that you miss."

There was this barista at Starbucks who quit...

Oh never mind.

My maternal grandmother died in the 1980s (I don't remember the exact year, but I'm thinking 1985, "the year of funerals" because that's also the year my mother-in-law died). But I think about her every day, nearly. We were very close. I named my oldest son "Owen" because her maiden name was Owen (her father was Owen Jones Owen).

When I get out of the shower, I turn off the light in the shower even though I'm still pretty wet. I can hear my grandma saying "don't do that!" She was always worried about electricity. I wondered if that was because she didn't have it when she was growing up so it was novel to her. I don't know. I should ask my mother about that. My mother has told me that when she was a little girl their phone number was "7."

My grandma wasn't physically affectionate. I'd sort of have to insist on hugs. But we were still close. She lived with us for a time when I was almost a teenager. She would sit by the window for hours, just looking out. My mother said she was praying.

So I miss grandma, still.

Something I miss? I miss driving on the racetrack. I would do it except for the expense and I don't think it would be good with my health issues.

What do you miss? Comment below.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Television Review: The Americans

I have just watched the first season of The Americans on Blu-Ray from Netflix. And my first impression is that it is a very well-made program.

The Americans is about KGB spies in the United States in the eighties. They pose as a married couple (so much so they have children together) who work at a travel agency. But they spend most of their time trying to gather intelligence or turn people to spy for them. Keri Russell, who is always gorgeous, plays the woman and Matthew Ryes plays her "husband."

The show is interesting in that it has you rooting for the bad guys, sort of like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad did. You don't want these Soviet spies to get caught. But then again, you don't want them to succeed. Since it's set in the 80s, you know that they don't.

Their neighbor is an FBI agent who, ironically, is looking for Soviet spies. That adds a bit of tension. He also turns a Russian who works in the Soviet Embassy in D.C. That doesn't go exactly as he planned.

One thing I'm surprised about is how often they use sex to get what they want. But I suspect that's pretty accurate. It's also interesting to see the reactions of the spies to events. For example, when President Reagan was shot, they thought it might be a coup. At times you have to remind yourself that you're watching fiction, not a documentary.

One thing that does bother me is they talk about the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or "Star Wars") too early, in my opinion. Long before Reagan gave his speech about it, in any case.

The Americans is fast-paced, interesting, and often exciting. If you like watching the cat and mouse games of intelligence rivals (and apparently, I do), you'll enjoy this show.  Its final (and sixth) season starts March 28th. I'm really looking forward to watching all of it.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

Back to the thirty day blogging challenge that I'm doing over about thirty weeks (because I've skipped some).

Today's prompt is: "If you could have any super power, what would it be?"

Well, as I explained here, I'd really like to be able to fly. Like Superman. Up, up, and away!

I've never been a big fan of superheros (despite my watching the Netflix/Marvel series) and never been a fan of comics. But, boy, would I like to fly.

It's interesting. When I was a kid, I would dream about flying. It was like swimming through the air (and just as slow). But I could float in the air and move as if I was swimming under water. I would also swoop down toward the ground then fly upward at the last moment. I think I last had those dreams when I was in junior high school (what they now call "middle school"). So I would have been 12 or 13. And then I stopped having those dreams. I don't know why.

But I'd really like to be able to fly. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot. By my bad eyesight ruined that. Then it was no money, then it was no time. Now I have no motivation to learn the complexities of flying privately.

But if I were an eagle....

What superpower would you like to have. Comment below.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Lily Sleeping on My Arm
Back to the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing over 30 (about) weeks.

The next prompt is "Weird things you do when alone."

Well, the reason I do them when I'm alone is because I want to keep them private. Seems logical.

When I'm alone, I talk to my son's cat, Lily. But I do that when I'm not alone, too. We discuss metaphysical subjects, like if a rattly ball is as fun as my iPhone earbuds to play with.

I google random stuff to see what comes up. This is sort of like when I was a kid and I read the encyclopedia for fun.

Probably the weirdest thing I do when I'm alone is writing. I know, I know, as Robert Heinlein said:
"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."
So those are the weird things I do when alone. How about you? Anything you'll admit to? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Speculative Fiction Cantina is Over

The Speculative Fiction Cantina is finished. The company, Writestream Radio, that paid the bills has gone out of business. Last week's show was the last one.

The Speculative Fiction Cantina started on October 10, 2014. Since then we've done 177 episiodes, 165 of them live. I estimate we've had about 300 authors as guests. Hard numbers are difficult to come up with because occasionally guests wouldn't show up.

We had four special episodes. One with author/rocket scientist, one with an academic expert on science fiction, and one with a literary agent.

I even had a man who had written two books about how science fiction affected World War II.

It was usually a lot of fun, but every now and then guests would be talk too little or too much, have boring readings and/or read poorly. Or sometimes guests couldn't or wouldn't follow simple instructions.

While I'll miss the show, I won't miss the work it took to produce and host it. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all my new free time.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

If I Were an Animal

Time once again for the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm dong over (about) thirty weeks
(depending on how many I skip).

Today's prompt is: "If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?"

So years and years ago when I was in grade school in Idaho Falls, Idaho (Theresa Bunker Elementary) a teacher asked the same question. And I said, "An eagle." Some boy piped up, "That's not an animal, that's a bird." I replied, "Birds are animals." (Even then I was insufferable.) I was, of course, right.

So, what's my answer now, some 50 years or so later?

Same answer: an eagle. For two reasons.

One: I've never had good eyesight. Well, a short time (couple of years) after I got LASIK my eyesight was pretty good. Then it started deteriorating. Turns out I had Kerataconus (read more here). Since then, even though I underwent an experimental treatment to fix it, my eyesight has always been marginal.

Eagles are reputed to have excellent eyesight. I would love that.

Two: I want to fly. Not on a plane, but to fly like an eagle. I think that would be the most fun thing in the world. I envy birds that ability, especially the big ones such as eagles.

The one downside: eating raw mice and fish. I think I could get used to that.

So, I want to fly like an eagle.

What animal would you like to be? Tell me in the comments below.