Saturday, December 31, 2016

I Deserve to Feel Good

Today at noon Pacific Standard Time, the #4 University of Washington Huskies play in their first ever playoff game*. They are playing the #1 team in the nation, Alabama, who are undefeated. The Huskies have a 12-1 record. The game will be on ESPN.

For other time zones that's 3:00 PM Eastern, 2:00 PM Central, 1:00 PM Mountain, and if you're in Alaska or Hawaii, check local listings.

And, to be honest, I'm am thoroughly enjoying myself. And I deserve to.

I have been a fan of the Huskies since I graduated from the University of Washington in 1994. But I didn't become a rabid, can't-miss-a-game fan of Husky football until later. I suspect it was 2006 when I went to a game in Husky Stadium against Arizona. I remember yelling with 50,000 other people for the Dawgs to win in overtime. And there's something about that experience that programs the brain to love what you're yelling about. The Huskies lost that game, by the way.

I was a fan of the Huskies in 2008 when they lost every single game. They are the only Pac-12 team
Husky Stadium after that Arizona game
to have a season with no wins (it was the Pac-10 back then). I remember celebrating first downs because they were rare and the only thing there was to celebrate. (That coach, who shall not be named, got fired at the end of that year.)

I stuck with them through the Sarkisian era when things got slightly better. At least we went to some bowl games. Then Sarkisian went to USC where he got fired for something that is being disputed in the courts. (Ironically, Sarkisian is now Alabama's Offensive Coordinator.)

And the University of Washington hired Chris Petersen from Boise State where he'd had great success. Three years ago. I don't think anyone expected Petersen to have this much success this early. Somehow it all came together this year.

I used to say I'd be happy if the Huskies record was 8-4 or better, they beat Oregon, they beat Washington State in the Apple Cup, and they went to a bowl and won it. So far this year, they've done all of that except for winning the bowl game. We'll find out later today if they can do that. They are the 15 and a half point underdogs in this game.

And the future? If Peterson stays at UW, I think we can expect continued success. Maybe not this good every year. But this good quite often. I'm hoping the Chris Petersen years will be like the halcyon Don James years.

Now excuse me while I get my game face on.

*The current playoff system is only in its third year. We'll see how long this lasts after the debacle that was the BCS system. I wish they'd just go to a playoff system with all the conference champions.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with K.J. Gillenwater and J.P. Robinson

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers K.J. Gillenwater and J.P. Robinson.

K.J. Gillenwater
K.J. Gillenwater

K.J. Gillenwater has a B.A. in English and Spanish from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. She worked as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Navy, spending time at the National Security Agency doing secret things. After six years of service, she ended up as a technical writer in the software industry. She has lived all over the U.S. and currently resides in Idaho with her family where she runs her own business writing government proposals and squeezes in fiction writing when she can. In the winter she likes to ski and snowshoe; in the summer she likes to garden with her husband, take walks with her dog, and try her hand at gold panning and huckleberry picking. She has written several paranormal suspense books and plans on writing more.

K.J.'s Books:



Acapulco Nights

K.J.'s Links:


J.P. Robinson
J.P. Robinson

J.P. Robinson is a writer, performer and video producer.  J.P.’s writing includes a myriad of formats, from radio commentary to hour-long storytelling shows, and screenplays to novels.  J.P. is a storyteller with and the founder of Better Said Than Done, Virginia’s premiere storytelling troupe, voted one of the “Best Performing Arts Companies in Virginia” by Virginia Living Magazine (2012 -15).  After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Film and TV Production, JP launched Capture Video, Inc., a corporate video production company. JP is currently working on Book 2 of the V to Z Trilogy. The first book in the series, Caged, is available for purchase here. J.P. has been a regular commentator on WAMU, DC’s NPR station. Publications include my true, personal story, “The Game,” in Sucker for Love, and, “What Are the Odds?” in The Northern Virginia Review, Volume 29.

J.P.'s works;


"What Are the Odds?" (short story not available online)

"The Game" (short story)

J.P.'s Links:

Website (personal)
Website (Fairfax, VA storytelling show)

From today's program: Largest Space Telescope Ready to Launch

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Social Media

It's time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is a little strange. It's "Social Media Phenomenon." I'm not sure what they are looking for.

In social media I blog (duh), I use Twitter, and I use Facebook, both personally and a Facebook page about my books and writing, appearances, etc. I have a Google+ account that I never use.

On my personal Facebook account I don't censor myself. I'll post about politics, or whatever comes to mind. Since I'm sort of a political junkie (less so this horrible year), I tend to post about politics a lot (probably too much).

At one time I had a "political" twitter account. I followed pundits and other people who had intelligent things to say. I'd occasionally try to join the conversation with a pithy tweet of my own. I once got retweeted by an editor of an opinion journal. Once.

I used to have a blog on which I didn't censor myself (as I do on this blog). I got very political. I once got linked to by a very popular blog. I got about 12,000 hits in one day. I got burned out on it in 2012 and simply stopped writing it. It's still out there on the interwebs.

On my Facebook page, I am never political or controversial. I post about my books, appearances, and things I find interesting about science or space exploration.

On Twitter I've gotten political twice when I tweeted a hashtag about the election we all just suffered through. Just a hashtag, with no comment.

I have noticed people are "braver" on social media. They are much more likely to argue (or troll) you than they would in real life. And sometimes anger flairs. I've been "unfriended" by relatives and friends who disagree with me.

I don't think I've even hinted at my politics on this blog. Well maybe once or twice.

So, that's about it for social media. How do you use social media in your life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rudolph's Reading 2016 Christmas GIveaway is Almost Over

It's almost over, Rudolph's Reading 2016 Christmas Giveaway. Be sure to enter for your chance at winning lots of prizes and a grand prize of $120 PayPal cash.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Tables have Turned.

The tables have been turned. Usually I'm the one doing the interviews on the Speculative Fiction Cantina. But today I'm interviewed at The Daily Author. Tune in at 4:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM PT to hear me read from Treasure of the Black Hole and try to answer questions intelligently.

Listen in the above embedded player or here. It will also be in archive after it plays.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Pamela K. Kinney and Randy Anderson

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Pamela K. Kinney and Randy Anderson.

Pamela K. Kinney
Pamela K. Kinney

Pamela K. Kinney gave up long ago trying not to listen to the voices in her head and writes bestselling horror, fantasy. science fiction, poetry, and nonfiction ghost books. Three of her nonfiction ghost books garnered Library of Virginia nominations and her horror short story, “Bottled Spirits,” was runner up for the 2013 WSFA Small Press Award.

Under the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, she writes erotic and regular paranormal, fantasy and science fiction romance. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar with a Witch was awarded the 2013 Prism awarded by the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Pamela and her husband live with one crazy black cat (who thinks she should take precedence over her mistress’s writing most days). Along with writing, Pamela has acted on stage and film, and done paranormal investigations (episodes of Paranormal World Seekers for AVA Productions), and is a member of both Horror Writers Association and Romance Writers of America. You can learn more about Pamela K. Kinney and her pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan at and

Pamela's Works:

Spectre Nightmares and Visitations (paperback, ebook)

"Give Me Something Good to Eat" (short story)

Pamela's Links:

Facebook (Pamela K. Kinney)
Facebook (Sapphire Phelan)

Randy Anderson
Randy Anderson

In 2011, Randy began his literary adventure when he published his first book, On Making Off: Misadventures off off Broadway, a memoir of making theatre in New York City. His second book, Careful, a coming-of-age tale set in Ecuador, was released in 2014. On October 11, 2016 he launched his time travel series Time Phantom. The next two books in the series will be released in 2017. He is also working on a literary trilogy where each book is a collection of short stories that tell the story of a disheartened pastry chef and his family. 

Before writing books, Randy ran a small New York theater company from 1999-2004. During this time he produced over three dozen productions and events. He was a co-producer of The Unconvention, a political theater festival during the 2004 Republican National Convention. Plays he's written include; New Year's Resolutions, Homelessness Homosexuals and Heretics, Testing Average, Kill The President, Armor of Wills, and The Dwelling.

Randy's Books:

Randy's Links:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Music of My Heart

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge and today's prompt is "Music of My Heart." Not quite sure what they mean by that.

I already did a blog post on music that had me put my iPhone on "shuffle" and write down the three songs that came up.

So, Music of My Heart. I guess I'll just name some favorite songs/pieces.

It's almost Christmas and one of my favorite bits of music is the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's The Messiah. Actually, ironically, The Messiah is probably more appropriate for Easter than Christmas as it follows all of Jesus's life, death, and Resurrection. But it is traditionally performed at Christmastime.

Another favorite piece of mine is the "Flower Duet" from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes. The link is to one of the best performances I've found of the duet. I just wish it didn't have French subtitles. The beauty of it is transcendental. If you don't like opera, give this a try. You'll change your mind.

But I have eclectic taste. Probably my favorite rock song is "We're an American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad. It's just a powerful, hard-hitting rock song. Also hard hitting is "The Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin. If you listen to the lyrics you realize it's about Vikings.

I usually don't like cover songs, but this version of The Immigrant Song is amazing.

Speaking of covers, did you know that Jimi Hendricks's "All Along the Watchtower" is a cover of a Bob Dylan song? Still one of my favorite songs from the 60s. Hendricks's "Foxy Lady" is amazing, too (I can't find a good version on YouTube).

And then there's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.

So that's some of my favorite music. What's your favorite music?

Monday, December 19, 2016

I Don't Believe It.

According to the Blogger stats on my blog (that you're now reading), I've had 236,991 lifetime page views. And I've had 244 of those today. And that's with a total of 14 followers.

I don't believe it.

Take a look at this:

That's a screen capture of the page views for my blog posts from a few days ago.

I really doubt 115 people looked at my post from 12/2/16. And the longer a post is up, the more fantastical the page views become. For example, my post for 11/13/16 supposedly has 279 page views as of now.

At first I thought it was referrer spam. But that's pretty easy to spot.

When I look at referring sites, it's mostly Google (this is from today):

So I don't get it. But I really doubt all those people are reading my blog. If they are, great. But it seems too good to be true.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

There are Still Nice People Out There.

Yesterday my wife and I were going to Pasco, Washington, to interview someone for a freelance story I am writing. About five miles north of Pasco on Highway 395, we got a flat tire. The outside temperature according to the car was 5 degrees and that was without the windchill. And the wind was blowing hard. I thought I didn't want to change a tire in below zero windchill. So I called AAA. They said it could take up to two hours for them to get there. I settled in for the wait.

About five minutes after getting off the phone with AAA, a small pickup stops in front of us, turns on his emergency flashers, and backs up. Out comes a young man dressed warmly carrying one of those crossed tire irons and a jack. He came up to the window and asked if we needed help. I said we did. I got out of the car and opened the trunk, got out the temporary spare and the lug wrench (none of the ones on his tire iron fit). He jacked up the car, took off the tire. I put the flat tire in the trunk and by then he had the spare on and was tightening the lug bolts. He lowered the car. I offered him money but he wouldn't take it. He got in his pickup and drove off. I never even got his name. It was too cold for conversation.

My wife took a picture of his pickup (above). I have no idea who this guy was. But I want to thank him for his help. There are still nice people out there.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Natalie Silk and Brian Pigg

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Natalie Silk and Brian Pigg.

Natalie Silk

Natalie had fantastic dreams about a girl and a special pendant when she was twelve and wrote them down. She turned those dreams into short stories during her years in junior high, high school, then college, and beyond. Some would call it tenacity—she would call it insanity—for never giving up her passion for sharing her stories with the world.

Natalie's Books:

Stars’ Fire

Snowfall’s Secret

"Synapse" (short story in Project 9 Vol. 2)

Natalie's Links:


Brian Pigg
Brian Pigg

I was raised in St. Louis, MO by teachers. I was an avid fantasy reader as a child and played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. I moved on to the Army, got two bachelor degrees, and worked for a time as a construction laborer. Now, I work in IT in Kansas City, MO.

Brian's Book: 

Metamorphosis by Decree

Brian's Links:


From today's show: Mysterious X-ray Blasts.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

One Million Dollars!

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is "Your biggest pet peeve." Well, I already discussed that here: slow drivers. Or I guess I should say drivers going slower than conditions require.

So the next prompt is "Oh, to win a million dollars."

I hate to tell you, a million dollars doesn't go very far these days. Now $10 million, I'll get excited.

If you put $1 million in investments and earn 5% per year, that's only 50,000 a year. Now that's not bad but you won't be living like a millionaire by any means. Of course, that maintains your principle.

If you decided to use up your principle over 20 years (let's say), at 5% interest you'd still only get $76,421.51 per year. And then what do you do when the 20 years is up, because now you're broke?

Now $10 million, at 5% interest, is $500,000 a year. Now you'll have a very nice lifestyle. Maybe not yacht-buying lifestyle, but still pretty nice.

If you decide to use up the principle over 20 years (why would you?) that'd be $764,215.12 (I am rather surprised that's almost exactly 10 times the million dollar figure). Again, after 20 years you'd be broke.

What you ought to do with $10 million, is invest it and try to live off of $250,000 year, re-investing the other $250,000 a year. Then if there's a bad year in the stock and bond market, you have some built-up principle to get through it.

If I won a million dollars, I'd probably stick it in the bank (or, actually, the stock and bond market) and let it grow so I have more principle when I want to finally retire. I know, I'm boring.

Maybe I'd buy a 2018 Corvette ZR1 first.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with W. Clark Boutwell and Matthew Graybosch

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers W. Clark Boutwell and Matthew Graybosch.

W. Clark Boutwell
W. Clark Boutwell

W. Clark Boutwell, although a long time resident in Alabama, was born in Chicago in 1948 and raised outside Philadelphia. An avid solo hiker and backpacker for over fifty years, he picked up mountain climbing in his forties. He obtained his MD from Northwestern University in 1972, and trained primarily at CHoP. He is a pediatrician and continues to provide intensive care for sick newborn infants in America and has done so on four continents and seven countries. Having seen the Southern Cross from Mukinge Hill, the sunset at Hale’iwa Bay from a seat on Jamieson’s porch, the midnight sun on Beaufort Sea ice, and moonrise over the Himalayas, he is finding that writing is quite an adventure.

Clark's Book:

Outland Exile: Book One of Old Men and Infidels

Clark's Links:


Matthew Graybosch
Matthew Graybosch

According to official records maintained by the state of New York, Matthew Graybosch was born on Long Island in 1978.

Urban legends suggest he might be Rosemary’s Baby or the result of top-secret DOD attempts to continue Nazi experiments combining human technology and black magic. The most outlandish tale suggests that he sprang fully grown from his father’s forehead with a sledgehammer in one hand and the second edition of The C Programming Language in the other—and has been giving the poor man headaches ever since.

The truth is more prosaic. Matthew Graybosch is an author from New York who lives with his wife and cats in central Pennsylvania. He is also an avid reader, a long-haired metalhead, and an unrepentant nerd who plays too many video games.

Without Bloodshed (2013) is his first published novel, and followed by Silent Clarion in 2016. He is currently working on Blackened Phoenix. He has also written several short stories, among them "The Milgram Battery", "Limited Liability", and "Tattoo Vampire".

His day job is software development, and we’re not sure how he remains sane. We could ask, but we suspect he’d say, “I’m not sane. I’m just high-functioning.”

Matthew's Works

Silent Clarion

Limited Liability” (short story)

Without Bloodshed

Matthew's Links:


From Today's Show: Waves in Uranus' Rings

Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Unforgettable Day

My 1999 Camaro SS (with aftermarket wheels)
Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "An unforgettable day in my live."

Well, I suppose I could talk about when my oldest son was born.

Or the day I got married.

Or the day I got left at the bus station. Oh, already talked about that.

But I'm going to talk about: my first day driving on a racetrack.

I signed up for a High Performance Driving School through the BMW club of Spokane. They didn't care what you drove, as long as it wasn't an SUV. I'd seen four-door BMW M5s driven on the track. Of course, M5s are screaming fast, especially for a sedan.

At the time I had a blue 1999 Camaro SS, stock. I had to rent a helmet from the driving school and I showed up bright and early on a Saturday morning. They put me in the "D" group (of four groups, A, B, C, and D) which were people who've never driven on a racetrack before. I was slightly insulted because I considered myself a pretty good driver. Then I got on the track with an instructor.

And it was both amazing and very difficult. The concentration required was overwhelming. One mistake at 130 mph could be fatal. But it was so much fun.

Then I was amazed to learn: it was a two-day event. I thought it was only one day. So I came back the second day. By about noon, the D class were lining up in order of speed. I was number two. A guy with a BMW roadster was number one; I had more horsepower than he, but he had more skill. On later driving days, I would be able to keep up with him. Also, the D-class had thinned out a lot as people got tired and went home.

It was the most fun I'd had with my clothes on. I was hooked. I went to a lot of those schools over the years, only stopping when I became a writer because of the costs involved. It wasn't the $300 fee. It was tires and brakes and keeping the car maintained. This got worse when I upgraded my car to a Corvette. Even though the Corvette has a lot more power than the Camaro, the Camaro was more fun to drive because you had to work to keep it going fast. The Corvette just went fast (sometimes too fast although I never put it off the track).

So that was an unforgettable day. Actually, two days. What was your unforgettable day?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Luke Cage

I finished watching all the episodes of Luke Cage last week. Luke Cage is one of the Marvel/Netflix series, after Jessica Jones and Daredevil. For some reason I went in assuming it was going to be a prequel, but it takes place after Jessica Jones and Daredevil (both of whom get mentioned, but not by name).

I really liked Luke Cage. While there was good action, the characters drive the story. And there were some very interesting characters from a corrupt politician (played by Alfre Woodard) whose cousin is a the head of a gang, to Cage himself, played by Mike Coulter, who exudes a quite calm and confidence. You immediately want to like the guy. And Rosario Dawson is back as Claire Temple, after playing that character in Jessica Jones and Daredevil.

Each episode built and built to a final climax. My biggest complaint was the last episode got a little preachy.

One thing I also enjoyed was how music was infused into nearly every episode. The action centers around a night club that has live music performances. Because I don't listen to Soul or R&B or Hip Hop, I don't know if the performers were actual famous performers, but the music was so good, I suspect they were. But it added another enjoyable dimension to the show. Here's a website that talks about the music in Luke Cage. But it doesn't seem to be complete.

The other two Marvel/Netflix series took place in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. Luke Cage takes place in Harlem (it's mentioned he moved there from Hell's Kitchen). I've never been to Harlem so I have no idea how accurate a portrayal of the area the show is. But you are dragged into it along with Luke.

Luke Cage is very good, very entertaining. If you have Netflix, I urge you to check it out. The first two episodes are a bit slow but after that, it's an amazingly good show.

The Netflix/Marvel series are in the same universe as the Avengers movies. But these series are so much better than the movies. They delve deep into the back story of the characters, and they have the time to let you get to know them well. And they tend to be a lot more serious than the movies. So please don't write them off as comic-book shows.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Washington Huskies are in the Playoffs.

Last night I checked on my DVR's program guide and saw that the CFP Rankings program on ESPN was scheduled for four hours starting at 9:00 AM PST. And I figured the CFP Committee's rankings would be put out in the last part of that fourth hour.

I was wrong. I just took a look and the rankings are out and the University of Washington Huskies are #4 and will play #1 Alabama in the Peach Bowl on New Years Eve.

(I'm sorry, the "Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl")

Which is going to be a very tough game. Hope Washington quarterback Jake Browning doesn't have another off night.

Apparently the time of and which network will broadcast the Peach Bowl aren't set, yet. I suspect it'll be on one of the four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox).

What a difference a year makes. Last year the Huskies had to win the Apple Cup to win their sixth game and be bowl eligible. They did and then played in the "Heart of Dallas" Bowl in front of a half-empty stadium.

This year they are back in national prominence, they are going to the playoffs, and they are the Pac-12 Champions.

Let's just hope Chris Petersen can keep it up over the years and turn the Dawgs into a dynasty again like they were under coach Don James.

Go Dawgs!

UPDATE: The Peach Bowl will be at 12:00 PM PST (3:00 PM EST) on ESPN.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The UW Huskies are the Pac-12 Champs!

Last night the University of Washington Huskies played the University of Colorado Buffaloes for the Pac-12 Championship. And the Huskies won by a score of 41-10. And that was with Washington Quarterback Jake Browning have an off night. Thank God for the running game.

The Huskies received the opening kickoff because Colorado won the toss and deferred (which is common these days in both college and pro football). This season no team has scored on its opening drive against the Colorado defense. Until last night. The Huskies marched down the field, helped by two 15-yard penalties, and scored.

But Colorado quickly came back to tie the game, 7-7. On the Buff's next possession, their quarterback got sacked and hurt. He was out for the rest of the first half.

As I said, the Husky's quarterback, Browning, was having one of his rare off games (the last one was
our loss to USC). But the running game and the defense saved us. Miles Gaskin pretty much carried the team for the rest of the game. By the end of the first half, the score was 14-7, Huskies in the lead.

Then in the third quarter, Colorado's leading quarterback returned. And threw three interceptions in the third quarter alone, one of which was ran in for a touchdown. All in all, those interceptions turned into 13 points for the Huskies.

Colorado did manage to get a field goal in the third quarter but were denied a touchdown by the Husky defense.

When there was about five minutes left in the game, the Huskies started putting in second-string players. In a championship game. That's how bad a blow-out it was. Final score was, as I said, 41-10. That's the tenth game (out of 13) this year they've scored at least 40 points.

So now what? The CFP Committee will announce their picks for the playoff tomorrow at twelve noon Eastern Time, or 9:00 AM Pacific Time. Some pundits and fans are saying Washington doesn't belong there. But Washington is the lowest-ranked team with a 12-1 record. Will the committee really bump Washington out of the playoffs for a 10-2 or 11-2 team?

Of course, if we go to the college football playoffs, we are most likely to play #1 Alabama (12-0 so far) in the Peach Bowl. That will be a brutal game. But if Jake doesn't have an off night . . .

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with William J. Jackson and Ray Chilensky

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers William J. Jackson and Ray Chilensky.

William J. Jackson
William J. Jackson

William J. Jackson lives in yesterday and tomorrow. He has only the vaguest awareness of the present, and when he does, he writes. As fan of history, nature, comics and science fiction, Jackson merges these hobbies into the Legacy Universe, his fictitious saga of the denizens of Railroad City, Missouri. When not writing, he travels through time, stares at birds, and works and lives in historic Salem, New Jersey with his darling wife and family.

William's Books:

Down Jersey Drive-shaft (in progress at Wattpad)

An Unsubstantiated Chamber

Cerulean Rust

William's Links:


Ray Chilensky
Ray Chilensky

Ray Chilensky lives in rural Tuscarwarus County, Ohio. He has worked briefly in law enforcement and for several years in private security. He has studied political science and history at Kent State University. Late in life he decided to pursue his passion for storytelling and combined that passion with lifelong interest in history, politics to seriously peruse a writing career. In his free time Ray’s interests include the martial arts., shooting sports, drawing and, of course reading good books.

Ray's Books:

The Fate of Nations: F.I.R.E. Team Alpha Book One

Blood and Treasure: F.I.R.E. Team Alpha Book Two

"The Engineer" (short story)

Ray's Links:


From Today's Show: Did Planet Nine Tip the Solar System?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Childhood Memories

And time now for more from the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is "Ten Years From Now." Well, not too long ago I did a blog on seven years from now. So I think I'll skip this one.

So the next one is "My Childhood Memories." That's pretty vague. There's good memories, there's bad memories, there's things I remember for some strange reason.

One time we packed up the Ford station wagon (it was brownish) and went to the bus station in Idaho
Like this, only brown
Falls, ID to pick up my grandmother. There were lots of us, including cousins visiting from Alaska. These days, with seat belt laws, you probably couldn't fit that many adults and kids in a station wagon. Probably need a large SUV like a Suburban.

Back then the bus station in Idaho Falls was white concrete or stucco. Here's how I described it in my novel, Agent of Artifice:

"The station was a white concrete building with a hardwood floor and wooden benches.  A pinball machine sat unused in one corner."

Anyway, I remember coming out of the bus station and seeing the family car drive away. I think I was about 8 when this happened. Maybe older. No more than 10.

Yes, I was "left alone." But this was a public place.

I stood on the sidewalk, waiting for them to realize their mistake and return. But they didn't return. From what I heard, they went to my grandmother's place and took her bags in and were talking when suddenly my cousin said, "Where's Evan?" Oops. They rushed (well maybe) back to the bus station.

I have no idea how long this took. It felt like forever. Finally they returned and got me. My mother was very apologetic.

I don't remember being particularly traumatized. I knew they'd come back eventually. I remember being embarrassed to be standing there waiting. I wondered what the people around me thought. That's a problem I still sometimes have today.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Washington Back in the Playoffs

The University of Washington Husky football team is back in the CFP playoffs. They were ranked #4 by the committee yesterday. Assuming they win the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday, they should still be ranked at least #4 come "decision day" on Sunday the 2nd.

Michigan, who was #3, played Ohio State who was and still is #2. Michigan lost so they dropped to #5 Clemson moved to #3 and the Huskies moved to #4.

Of the four teams in the playoffs, the Huskies have the hardest challenge going forward. Alabama (#1) plays #15 Florida on Saturday. And Clemson (#3) plays #23 Virginia Tech also on Saturday. And Michigan plays no one, apparently, before the bowl games. Meanwhile, Washington is playing #8 Colorado on Friday night at 6:00 PM PST, on Fox.

If the Huskies are #4 come Sunday, they will play Alabama probably in the "Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl" in Atlanta. If they are #3, they will play #2 probably in the "Playstation Fiesta Bowl" in Glendale, AZ (the same stadium the Arizona Cardinals play in). Both games are on New Years Eve.

The reason it's hard to predict where they will play is the game is held in the stadium closest to the top seeded team. Since Alabama will probably be #1, they will probably play in Atlanta. Where Washington will play depends on if they are #4 or #3 and who is #2.

Other Pac-12 teams in the CFP rankings are: Colorado at #8 (as said above), USC at #11, Stanford at #18, and Utah surprising at #20.

I would prefer that the Huskies be #3 as then they would play #2 in the semifinal game. If they are #4 like they are now, they have to play Alabama who will be a very tough opponent. But the Huskies may surprise everyone. They are playing very well these days.

Monday, November 28, 2016


When I heard that Hollyweird was remaking Ghostbusters, I thought why would anyone think they could capture lightning in a bottle twice and re-do the most sublime comedy of the 1980s? Then I heard it was going to be female cast and I thought, "You know, that might work." Perhaps having a female cast would separate it enough from the original that it could stand on its own.

(Full Disclosure: The original Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies ever.)

***Spoilers Ahead***

Then the first trailer came out on YouTube. I watched it. I hated it. I clicked dislike along with over 1 million people as of now.

Why did I hate the trailer? It wasn't funny. It was boring. It was dumb and gross. No, I didn't hate it because the women were women. I hated it because the women weren't funny. And I thought it showed that the Ghostbusters remake was going to be a dud. Probably due to bad writing, I thought, because Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are usually pretty funny (viz: Paul and Spy).

But I decided to reserve judgment on the entire movie until I saw it. Which I did last Wednesday.

The movie starts out slow with a plodding pace and zero humor (unless you think a hyper-PC tour guide is funny). It got more amusing and I remember my first chuckle was when a character turned on a proton pack and the other two characters backed off (like in the original Ghostbusters in the elevator). My first real laugh came about half-way through the movie when Ozzy Osborn, pretty much playing himself, thought a ghost was a bad trip.

And the scenes that weren't funny in the trailer were more amusing in context. But they still weren't very funny.

By the end of the movie I had a few laughs. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. And it could have been so much better if the writing had been crisper. The actors did their best with the material they were given.

And there were references to the original. Bill Murray played a paranormal skeptic, Dan Aykroyd played a taxi driver who quotes from the first film. Annie Potts is a desk clerk in a hotel. Ernie Hudson is one character's uncle. And Sigourney Weaver is a scientist. And the Stay Puft Marsh Mellow Man even shows up. Oh and Slimer, too. Too bad they could lure Rick Moranis out of retirement.

One thing the movie did was on my TV screen (and probably yours) it was letterboxed (black bars at the top and bottom of the screen to make the aspect ratio different from my TV). But often special effects would go over the black bars. This was amusing the first time but then you started watching for it. If they'd done it once in the climax, it would have been much more effective.

So I'll give Ghostbusters three stars on Netflix. It was amusing and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. But it took about half the movie to get there.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

End of the Regular College Football Season

Last night was the end of the regular season for college football. Most teams play 12 games over a 13 week schedule, having a bye one week. The last game played was Rice at Stanford (which Stanford won handily).

Now the post season starts first with conference championship games that some (not all) conferences have. The one I'm most interested in is, of course, the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday at 6:00 PM PST. The University of Washington Huskies will play the South Division champions The University of Colorado Buffaloes.

The Pac-12 just started playing a championship game in 2012, when it expanded to 12 teams (before
it was the Pac-10). Then they divided the conference into the North Division and the South Division.

The North Division has been won by only three teams: Oregon, Stanford, and now Washington.

The South Division has been won by five of the six teams in the division. I think only Utah hasn't won. They were in the running this year.

The North Division champion has won the championship game all four times it's been played.

This year, Oregon is in last place in the Pac-12 North after losing to Oregon State in their rivalry game. Because I loath Oregon, this makes me happy.

The worst team in the Pac-12 is Arizona.

But what about the College Football Playoffs? Currently Washington is #5 in those rankings. If they beat Colorado next Friday, they have a chance to move to #4 or perhaps #3. Michigan lost to Ohio State this weekend so it's hard to believe they'll put a 10-2 team above an 11-1 team such as Washington. We'll find out when the new rankings come out Tuesday. And the final rankings come out on "decision day" on Sunday, December 4th.

A clue to the CFP rankings are the AP top 25 poll rankings which come out at 1:00 PM EST (11:00 AM PST). And Washington is #4 in that poll after their Apple Cup victory. That's up 2 places.

Colorado is still at #9, USC at #10. And Stanford is back in the top 25 at #17. Utah and WSU have both dropped out of the top 25.

So we'll have to see what the CFP selection committee does Tuesday.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Huskies Win the Apple Cup and More!

The University of Washington Huskies beat the Washington State University Cougars yesterday in the Apple Cup: the annual cross-state rivalry game.

I was expecting a close, hard fought game like the Arizona or Utah games the Huskies played. The game was being played in Pullman so the Cougars had home-field advantage in front of their rabid fans. Also, the Cougars were, after a slow start to the season, playing very well with a 7-1 in conference record and 8-2 over all. They Huskies had a 7-1 in conference record and 10-1 overall (after their loss to USC). Plus this game was for all the marbles. The winner would be the Pac-12 North Division Champions and go on to play the South Division Champion (that will be determined today) in the Pac-12 Championship game next Friday. So I expected a close game.

Instead, it was a 45-17 blowout of the Cougars.

The Huskies could hardly do anything wrong. They did lose a fumble, but quarterback Jake Browning was playing the best he has so far this season. John Ross (who was the player who coughed up the fumble) was amazing, as was all the Husky running backs and receivers. The Huskies appear to be peaking right at the right time.

As I said, the Pac-12 South Division Champion will be determined today. It will either be Colorado or USC. It all hinges on the Colorado-Utah game. If Colorado wins, Colorado is the Pac-12 South Division Champ. If Utah wins, USC is the champ. I'm not sure who I'd rather play next Friday, Colorado or USC. We haven't played Colorado this year but we have played USC (and lost).

The AP poll rankings will come out tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see where the Huskies land (and how far the Cougars drop). The CFP rankings come out Tuesday. It will be interesting to see what happens there. And CFP "Decision Day" is next Sunday, the 4th. That's when we'll know who is in the college football playoffs. If the Huskies win the Pac-12 championship, they have a good shot at being #4 or #3 in the CFP. And that puts them in the playoffs.

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Speculative Fiction Cantina Replay with Richard Keller and Trey Dunham

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we feature a "best of" episode featuring writers Richard Keller and Trey Dunham.

Richard Keller
Richard Keller

Richard Keller is an author, speaker, talk show host, and owner of Wooden Pants Publishing. He started his life as an avid science fiction reader to the point he tried to get through Dune in one sitting while still a tween. His first writing experience was for his third grade teacher and his first short story, a terribly bad rip-off of Knight Rider was submitted when he was 12. Richard has written over two thousand pieces in newspapers, magazines, and online over the last several decades. His science fiction series, Saunders’ Savages, features an oversexed and wealthy CEO of an intergalactic corporation who moonlights as the leader of a pay-for-hire army.

Richard's books:

Coffee Cup Tales 2 – Extra Foam

Paradise Not Quite Lost

Authors, and the Zombies they Emulate

Richard's Links:


Trey Dunham
Trey Dunham

Trey Dunham is a writer, speaker and storyteller with a proven ability to attract and motivate audiences.

He is the author of several books including: From a Gun to the Plow (New Hope Publishers, forthcoming, with Steve Finn), Strangers and Aliens: Thoughts on 1 Peter (CreateSpace, 2013), We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This: A new Look at the Gospel of Mark (CreateSpace, 2014), The Meaning of Technology: A Theology of Technique in Jacques Ellul (CreateSpace, forthcoming), and Loophole: A Novel (CreateSpace, 2015, with Jason Hostetler, movie rights optioned by JC Films). He has been blogging on spiritual, family and personal topics at since 2009 His published poetry has won awards from literary groups at Denison University.

Dunham wrote and delivered sermons regularly to as many as 3,000 people, as a teaching pastor at one of West Virginia’s largest churches. He quadrupled the size of the church’s campus ministry to over 200 students in his eight years there. He opened a popular Fair Trade coffee house as a satellite ministry near the West Virginia University campus. The café became a hub for service projects and social-justice events Dunham organized, drawing hundreds of students into volunteer projects for local charities. In 2010, he led a team to plant CityChurch in Morgantown, WV.

For four years, Dunham told the story of SustainU, a maker and marketer of recycled, natural-fiber clothing manufactured exclusively at U.S. plants. As the startup’s marketing director, he helped drive a thirteen-fold sales increase to $2 million. He used Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and press releases to generate positive coverage for SustainU in The New York Times and other metropolitan and local media.

Dunham, who holds a doctoral degree in Technology Education, has taught and spoken before a wide variety of audiences. He has travelled and lived around the world, heading a mission in the jungles of New Guinea and overseeing a hospital-construction crew in the Himalayas of Nepal. He has presented his research at two international conferences of scholars in his field. And he has led hundreds of campus Bible study groups in deeply personal discussions about faith, and finding meaning. Over the years, he has counseled dozens of singles and dating, engaged, and married couples.

Dunham lives in Morgantown, WV.

Trey's Books:

Catch for Us the Foxes

Jesus and the City

The Beams of Our House

Trey's Links:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Favorite Holiday

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge and today's prompt is, fittingly, "My favorite holiday." I say "fittingly" because today is Thanksgiving, which is, I think my favorite holiday.

There's very little pressure on Thanksgiving. It's not like Valentines Day or Christmas where you have to find gifts and oh they have to be just right. No, all you do is show up. With my family, it's usually pretty calm and usually we joke and laugh.

And the food is usually really good. Sometimes there's a little work needed to get the food ready. Last Thanksgiving I went over to my mother's house early to help her get the turkey started.

Then there's the dishes, but my sister's husband (a lawyer) has always jumped in and done most of them. I like that guy.

So I guess today, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We'll see how today goes.

What's your favorite holiday? Comment below!