Saturday, September 30, 2017

Television Review: iZombie

I have watched the first season (of three, so far, with a fourth coming) of the show iZombie.

The premise of the show is that a medical student is turned into a zombie and she has to eat brains to be high-functioning (my term). So she works in the medical examiners' office where she has access to the brains of the bodies brought in. As a side benefit, she sees visions from the dead person's life (not always a good thing) and helps the police solve the murders that way. Only her boss (at first) knows she's a zombie.

Here are my thoughts.

Old Seattle police car colors
First of all it's set in Seattle but filmed in Vancouver, B.C. (this is to save money). They get Seattle culture/geography down pretty well. although they use "U-Dub" for the University of Washington too much. At first I thought they messed up the police cars. Seattle police cars used to be blue. But apparently, Seattle has gone to traditional black and white and that's what the cars look like in the show.

New Seattle police car colors
The show is very well written. The writing is clever and delivered well by talented actors. The show started out sort of whimsical and then got darker as the season progressed. The last episode is really dark.

Rose McIver does a very good job in the lead role as Liv Moore (get it?). She takes on the personalities of the persons whose brains she eats, so each week she has to have a new personality. It's fun to watch.

My biggest complaint is I get so tired of the "evil corporation" trope. Why isn't there ever an evil welfare office, trapping people in poverty so the bureaucrats can keep their jobs?

I recommend this show despite my one complaint. The writing is superb, the acting well done, and the premise is interesting. I'll probably start watching season two on Monday since I'm busy this weekend.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Meg Hafdahl and Mark Wallace Maguire

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Meg Hafdahl and Mark Wallace Maguire.

Meg Hafdahl
Meg Hafdahl

Meg Hafdahl’s suspense and horror stories have appeared in several anthologies including Spider Road Press’ Eve’s Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery, and Horror. Her own short story series, Twisted Reveries, is published by Inklings Publishing. Her work has been produced for audio by the Wicked Library, and the screenplay for her original story “Guts” has recently been named an official selection of the Women in Horror Film Festival. Meg’s forthcoming debut novel, Her Dark Inheritance, will arrive soon. She is also the co-host of the popular podcast Horror Rewind, available on iTunes and iHeartRadio.

Meg's Works:

Twisted Reveries 1

Twisted Reveries 2

Her Dark Inheritance (coming March 2018)

Meg's Links:


Mark Wallace Maguire
Mark Wallace Maguire

As a preacher's son, Mark Wallace Maguire spent his childhood crisscrossing the South soaking in the lilting dialects, oral traditions and cultural idiosyncrasies. After a brief career in music, he settled behind the desk as a reporter at the Marietta Daily Journal and has spent the last 20 years as fixture in the metro Atlanta media scene. He currently serves as director of Cobb Life magazine and Cobb Business Journal. His writing has been published in many regional and national publications including Snake Nation Review, Reach of Song, Cobb Life magazine, neighbor newspapers and The Blood and Fire Review. He has been honored for his writing by several organizations including The Associated Press, The Society of Professional Journalists and The Georgia Poetry Society. In 2005, he was named the Berry College Outstanding Young Alumni of The Year. In 2017, he was nominated for Georgia Author of The Year for his first novel, Alexandria Rising which was described as "magical" and "phenomenal." Letters from Red Clay Country: Selected Columns was published in 2015 and features the best of his award-winning newspaper and magazine columns. When he's not writing, Maguire produces musical projects inspired by his favorite authors and books as well as painting, gardening and making Star Wars puns with his sons.

Mark's Books:

Alexandria Rising

Letters from Red Clay Country (nonfiction)

Mark's Links:


From Today's Program: Relativity Works Under Extreme Conditions.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Depression is a Disease, Not a Human Failing

I see these memes on Facebook every now and then. And they piss me off. Here's an example:

This comes from ignorance and the belief that depression is a human failing, not a disease. You might as well label the forest as "This is a cure for cancer" and chemotherapy drugs as "shit."

(Full disclosure: Prozac is not my favorite anti-depression drug. But it's been around for 30 years and better drugs have come along since.)

Now I try not to argue on Facebook (anymore). So I don't argue with the people. But next time I see one of these ignorant memes, I might post this (that I found Googleing to find the above meme):

Depression is a disease. That's why they call it "mental illness" not "mental weakness." Yes, you can have a bad day and be situationally depressed and a walk in a forest may help you. But if you are chronically depressed, you have a disease and you need drugs. There is no shame in it, there is no moral failing. You were born that way (probably inherited it from a parent or two).

I'm type 2 bipolar with dysthymia. Which means, without drugs, I'm depressed a lot (with occasional bursts of mania). The drugs literally saved my life.

So don't tell people to go for a walk when they have a disease. Including depression.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Huskies are 4-0!

(This is my 800th post on this blog since starting this blog September 19, 2012. Or five years and five days ago. How about that?)

Thanks to Facebook's "On this Day" feature, I was reminded this morning that last year the University of Washington Huskies struggled in their first conference game against Arizona. They still won that game, 35-28.

For their first conference (Pac-12) game this year, the Huskies had to play Colorado in Boulder. Colorado was looking for revenge for last year's Pac-12 Championship Game where the Huskies destroyed them. Also, while Husky Stadium is at probably 20 feet above sea level, Boulder is at 5,430 feet, or more than a mile high. I worried about our guys struggling with the altitude. How do you train for at at 20 feet altitude?

Yesterday, at least for the first half of the game, the Huskies struggled against Colorado. The Buffs received the first kickoff and marched 75 yards down the field to make a touchdown. The Huskies got the ball, struggled to get down the field, were stopped in the red zone, tried to make a field goal, but it missed. The first quarter ended 0-7, Buffaloes in the lead.

By the half, it was 10-7 Huskies, but they struggled to get those points. But they were looking better and the defense was stopping Colorado.

The second half was a blow-out. The Huskies out-scored Colorado by 27 to 3 in the second half to win the game 37-10. With nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, UW Coach Petersen took out our starting quarterback, Jake Browning, and put in the back up quarterback. That's how badly we were beating Colorado. While I worried about the Huskies getting winded at that altitude, it was the Buffs that were acting worn out and fatigued by the end of the third quarter.

Unfortunately, Donte Pettis didn't have a run back from a punt for a touchdown so he won't break the record of consecutive games with that accomplishment. But he can still break the NCAA record for career touchdowns from a punt return. He has at least 8 games to go.

The regular season is one-third done. In the Pac-12 only four teams are undefeated. In the Pac-12 South division, it's USC and Utah. In the Pac-12 North Division it's Washington and Washington State. Next week WSU plays USC (at home) so one of those teams will no longer be undefeated.

UW and WSU are tied for the number one spot in the North Division at 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference.

Washington visits Oregon State, a team that they should have no problem beating. And Utah as a bye next week. Their next game is against Stanford on October 7th. Stanford, who were supposed to be the Huskies' main rival in the Pac-12 North, are now 2-2 over all, 1-1 in conference.

The Polls

USC stayed at number 5 in the AP top 25 poll. Washington moved up one to #6. Washington State moved up to #16 (from 18) after beating hapless Nevada yesterday. Utah moved up to 20 from 23. And Oregon, who lost to Arizona St. dropped off the top 25 after one week at #24.

The problem is, USC and UW are running up against the top four teams in the country which, unless one of them loses, will not give up a spot. This may be, for a while, the highest they get in the AP poll.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Sherry Peters and James M. Corkill

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Sherry Peters and James M. Corkill.

Sherry Peters
Sherry Peters

Sherry Peters is a certified Success Coach for Writers. She graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2005 and earned her M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2009. She credits the year she spent in Northern Ireland as one of the best years of her life and a daily inspiration and motivation in her writing. Her debut YA Fantasy novel Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf placed First in the 2014 Writer's Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards in the Middle Grade / YA category. She is also the author of the non-fiction book Silencing Your Inner Saboteur is available. Both books are available in e-book and paperback formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, all major online e-book retailers. For more information on Sherry Peters, please visit her website at

Sherry's Books:

Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf (Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe Book 1)

Mabel the Mafioso Dwarf (Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe Book 2)

Mabel the Notorious Dwarf (Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe Book 3)

Sherry's Link:


James M. Corkill
James M. Corkill

Bestselling and award-winning author James M. Corkill, is a Veteran, and retired Federal Firefighter from Washington State, USA. He was an electronic technician and studied mechanical engineering in his spare time before eventually becoming a firefighter for 32-years and retiring. He began writing in 1997, and was fortunate to meet the famous horror writer Hugh B. Cave, who became his mentor. He now lives in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina.

James's Books:

Gravity: The Alex Cave Series Book 4

Pandora’s Eyes: The Alex Cave Series Book 5

DNA: The Alex Cave Series Book 6

James's' Links:


From Today's Program: Saturn's moon Titan has molecules to make cell membranes.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


When it comes to doing research for your writing, I say you can never do too much. What you shouldn't do is show off how much research you have done by putting in things you learned but don't advance the plot of your story.

And often, having done good research will enhance the story.

For example: in my novel Agent of Artifice, there was a scene at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco. This is a real hotel on Nob Hill.

When I first wrote the scene, my character, Michael Vaughn, escapes a battle between magical people that I call "adepts." He goes down an internal staircase to escape.

Then I had an opportunity to take a trip to San Francisco and my hotel was a block away from the Huntington. So I went and looked at the hotel and I found there is no internal staircase, but fire escapes on the outside of the building. I then knew I had to rewrite that scene.

However, it turned into one of the better scenes in the book and set up the climax. In the first draft, he simply escaped. Rather boring. But in the rewrite it became this scene:

Down the hall, on the left of the elevator, I found a window overlooking a very steep street more than two floors below.  The Huntington is on the edge of Nob Hill.  But here was the fire escape.

I hesitated.  On the fire escape, I'd be easy prey for that flying nightmare.  But it was busy eleven floors above me.  

I opened the window and it screeched as I did—a sound that seemed loud enough to summon a demon, or a pterodactyl.

Once it was open enough, I put a leg out, stepped on the painted metal of the fire escape, and then pulled the rest of my body through the window.  I was shocked at how cold it was and how far down it was to the steeply sloping street.  And I could see the lowest fire escape was far above the cement—farther than I wanted to jump.

Not knowing what else to do, I scurried down the steep stairs which vibrated under my feet until I reached the bottom platform.  Here I could see there was a ladder that reached lower than the platform so the jump wouldn't be so bad. I approached it and noticed it was in two pieces and it looked as if one piece would descend if I put my weight on it.  I was studying this, trying to determine how to work it when a rush of wind interrupted my thoughts.  I turned but too late: pterodactyl claws grabbed my torso, wrapped around my body like a fleshy vise, and pulled me skyward, the beating of the wings blowing down on me as the claws held me so tight I couldn't breathe.  I didn't know why it just didn't eat me.  I was sure it would hurt less than what its claws were doing to me and the way my head was hanging down with the blood rushing to it.  I tried beating its claws with my hands but it felt as if I might as well beat on hardened steel.

The beast swooped upward and I noticed people on the street looking up in horror.  It was amazing how well I could see their faces despite our gaining altitude.

The pterodactyl swung in a tight arch in the narrow space between buildings, and headed for the Huntington's roof.  It skimmed over the edge so close I thought it was going to smash me into the tiles of the sloped part of the roof that was around the flat top of the building.

Without warning the animal stopped in midair with a horrible sound of twisting metal and its painful screams.  It dropped me, luckily only a few feet to the roof, but I landed on my hip and the pain shot through me.  I looked up to see the pterodactyl entangled in the Huntington's neon sign and the metal supports holding it.  As I watched, the sign—broken glass tubes raining down—started tilting back on the beast.

I ran, ignoring pain in my chest and legs.  The animal and the metal crashed into the roof mere inches behind me it seemed and the pterodactyl screamed, answered by shattering glass in buildings near the hotel. Bells rang in the towers of the cathedral across the street in resonance with the unearthly sound.

And that was a much better scene.

So do your research!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Huskies are 3-0, Start Conference Play Next Week

Last night the University of Washington Huskies defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs by a score of 48-16 at Husky Stadium. This is the Huskies' last non-conference game.

Fresno State is an FBS team (in the Mountain West Conference) unlike last week's opponent, Montana.

Didn't seem to matter. For the first half, the Huskies dominated. Fresno was able to make a touchdown and the Dawg's place kicker missed a point after touchdown, but by the end of the half the score was 41-7. One of those touchdowns was a Dante Pettis punt return tying him for the NCAA record for punts returned for a touchdown and games in a row (three) with a punt return for a touchdown. If he can get a punt return to a touchdown next week, he'll break both records.

Early in the third quarter the Huskies scored again. It was the last time they would score as starting quarterback Jake Browning was taken out and second stringers went in. The Huskies never scored again. Fresno got three field goals for the rest of the game.

At one point it was 4th and goal for the Huskies and Coach Chris Petersen decided to go for it and the first stringer Bulldogs were able to stop the second stringer Huskies. If they'd simply done a field goal, instead, the Huskies would have had 51 points to end the game. Which, to me, would have been more impressive for the AP poll voters.

The game was pretty boring and not very exciting once the second-stringers were put in.

Next week the Huskies travel to Boulder to take on the University of Colorado Buffaloes. This is being billed as a replay of last year's Pac-12 championship game. But the Buffs aren't nearly as good as they were last year judging from the AP rankings. I think their star quarterback graduated and he carried the team a lot last year.

The Buff are 3-0, also, so one of these teams are going to come out of the game with their first loss. Let's hope it's Colorado.

And, ironically, right now the Washington State Cougars are on top of the Pac-12 North because they are the only team in the North Division with a conference win (they beat Oregon State last night). One sad thing about that game was the OSU quarterback, Jake Luton, took a big hit and was knocked unconscious. He was carted off the field and taken to a hospital. The latest news is that he was discharged from the hospital last night. No word on what injury he suffered. But it looked bad.

The Polls

The AP Top 25 Football poll comes out on Sunday morning at 2:00 PM Eastern Time (except for the first week of college football, it comes out on Tuesday after Labor Day).

Washington dropped one from #6 to #7 (should have gotten that field goal, I tell ya).

USC dropped one to #5 after their triple-overtime win over Texas.

Washington State climbed to #18.  Utah (#23) and Oregon (#24 and boo hiss) both made it onto the two 25 this week. That means five Pac-12 teams are ranked, or almost half the conference.

UCLA lost to Memphis yesterday and that dropped them out of the poll (they were #25 last week).

Stanford also dropped off the poll from #19 last week after losing to San Diego State (who are now at 22 after not being ranked).

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Brad Abraham and Susan Kite

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Brad Abraham and Susan Kite.

Brad Abraham

Brad Abraham is writer whose work includes the feature film Fresh Meat, the SyFy Channel thriller Stonehenge Apocalypse, and the miniseries Robocop Prime Directives. He is creator of the acclaimed comic book series Mixtape, and has written for such publications as Dreamwatch, Starburst, and Rue Morgue. A native of Ottawa Canada, he makes his home in NYC.

Brad's Works:

Magicians Impossible

Mixtape (comic book series)

Fresh Meat (film)

Brad's Links:


Susan Kite
Susan Kite

Susan Kite was born in Indiana, but moved extensively during her growing up years. The library was the first place she found after a move, avidly reading the works of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and many others. In her teens, she dabbled in writing, but with college and marriage, writing was mostly put on hold.

That changed about fifteen years ago when the writing bug bit again. A visit to the Mission San Luis Rey in California in 2001 and subsequent research became the catalyst to write her first novel, My House of Dreams.  Subsequently she began writing sci-fi stories and fantasy and The Mendel Experiment was published in 2014.

The author earned her degrees in English and Instructional Media at Utah State University. She worked in public school libraries for thirty-five years, and retired in May. Ms. Kite has been married to the love of her life, Dan, for almost 40 years. She has two children and 7 grandchildren and is still owned by the opinionated bossy cat and Chiweenie terrier.

Susan's Books:

The Mendel Experiment

Blue Fire

Power Stone of Alogol

Susan's Links:


From Today's Program: Cancer-fighting Research Happening in Space.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Time Hopping

A while back I tried to watch the Discovery Channel's docudrama on the Unabomber. I watched two episodes and gave up. Why? Because the thing time-hopped all over the place. It went from before the Unabomber was caught, to after he was caught, to trying to catch him, to trying to get him to plead guilty, etc. It was a confusing mess. Whoever green-lit it to be presented that way needs to have their head examined.

For me, in a narrative, you need to be careful about non-linear time hopping. I have done this once in a novel. In Forces, the novel is divided into three "books." Two of them, the first and the third, are in time order and close together. The middle book takes place 150 years prior. And, because of relativistic time dilation (travel close to the speed of light, time slows
down for you), there are many of the same characters in all three sections.

One beta reader said she found this confusing. But that was only one so I kept that structure. Haven't had any other complaints. 

In an early draft of Hammer of Thor, alternate chapters took place in 1932 and 1950. But I decided to change the structure and make it linear. The first section of the book is 1932, the second section is 1943, and the last section is 1950.

In my novel Agent of Artifice, the first chapter is set in 1963, then it goes back to 1959. There's one chapter in the middle in 1963 (just to update the reader on what's happening then), and the rest of the novel is linear, catching up to the events in 1963. Again, I've heard no complaints about this structure.

So if you're thinking of time hopping non-lineally, I suggest you really think about it and if it'll confuse the reader. As Nathaniel Hawthorn said, "Easy reading is damn hard writing." Make sure your reader can easily follow what you're doing.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Huskies are 2-0

Photo Credit: Lynn D. Townsend
Instead of my usual practice of watching my beloved University of Washington Huskies play football on television, I actually went to the game at Alaska Airline Field at Husky Stadium (yes, that is the full name). I hadn't been to Husky Stadium since its remodel in 2013 and wanted to see it. Plus I wanted to go to a game. I picked an early game (their first game at home) hoping the weather would be better than a  game later in the year.

We had very good seats on about the 35 yard line, 8 rows up from the field. I felt like I was within spiting distance of the visiting team's bench.

The distance between the 10-yard markers seems a lot shorter from that position than on television. Also, it was as if everything happened faster. I'd watch a play, take a moment to relax, and the next play would happen.

Getting to the game was a bit of a hassle. Construction on Snoqualmie Pass led to slow traffic. And then getting 68,491 people to the game caused stop and go traffic in Seattle. I was having Madras, Oregon flashbacks (although it was really not nearly that bad). We had to park about half a mile away from the stadium and walk there. They charged $40 for parking so the University probably made a killing on parking fees (there's really no near-by parking except on University property).

The Game

The Huskies were playing the University of Montana Grizzlies. The "Griz" are an FCS team (too small a school to be bowl eligible) so this
68,490 of my closest friends
was supposed to be a warm up game for the Huskies, apparently. (I have issues with FBS teams playing FCS teams but most of them do it.)

It turned out to be a complete mismatch. The Huskies dominated the Grizzlies and ended up winning 63-7. The two highlights for the Griz were an interception early in the first quarter that was run back in for a touchdown, and a blocked field goal attempt. The Griz often went for it on fourth down and only failed to convert twice out of five attempts. This surprised me. The Huskies went for it once on a fourth down late in the game and converted.

The Huskies looked much better than they did last week. Quarterback Jake Browning connected with his receivers and scrambled a couple of times to pick up yards, once getting a first down. Dante Pettis broke the Pac-12 record for punts returned for a touchdown by doing his seventh.

In the fourth quarter the Huskies put in backup players and even then scored two touchdowns. By then a lot of the people in attendance had left.

While rain was predicted, it only sprinkled a little and wasn't even very cold. I took my Husky pullover and never wore it.

After the Game

Traffic leaving the game wasn't nearly as bad. About like around the university at rush hour. A lot of people left early and by the time we got back to the car, the really bad traffic had mostly cleared out. As we we got to Highway 520 and the bridge over Lake Washington, there was almost no extra traffic.

For some reason that half-mile hike back to the car seemed longer than the same distance to the stadium. And we were gong downhill on the return.

The Polls

The AP top 25 poll came out yesterday. The Huskies moved up one to #6. Southern California (USC) moved from #6 to #4 after beating Stanford (who dropped to #19 from #14). Washington State, even after beating Boise State in triple overtime, dropped one spot to #21. And UCLA entered the poll at #25 after beating Hawaii.

Next week the Huskies take on the Fresno State Bulldogs. The Bulldogs lost this week to #1 ranked Alabama. Fresno is an FBS team so should be more of a challenge for the Huskies. That game is at 6:30 on Pac-12 Network. I'll be home in my recliner.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Lisa Diane Kastner and Rick Karlsruher

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Lisa Diane Kastner and Rick Karlsruher.

Lisa Diane Kaster
Lisa Diane Kastner

Lisa is a former journalist and instructor.  Her short stories have appeared in multiple magazines and journals. She is the founder of Running Wild Press.

Lisa presented at a TEDx in Seattle on The Power of Connecting. And presented at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) on the “You Sent Us What?” panel.

Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously encourage and engage in little sparks of anarchy.

Lisa's Books:

Lisa's Links:

Rick Karlsruher
Rick Karlsruher

I have led an usual life. Over the years I have managed and produced some music, created promotions, done international marketing and more.

Shortly after graduating from college I decided to be a writer. After several years of trying I thought I was on my way only to find it would lead to a Homeric odyssey.

The impact of those two years took me away from writing for more than twenty years. After much cajoling, I succumbed to literally hundreds of requests to write my story that became A Story Almost Told. 

Doing so has led me back to this passion.

Now comes Standoff, How the Cold War Really Ended. If you thought you knew, you were wrong. A simple detective story morphs into a spectacular satire on power and arrogance. 

Paying homage to Jonathan Swift, Dr, Strangelove, Rowan & Martin and Jon Stewart, Standoff will inform you and create laughter. 

I am a graduate of Wake Forest University.

Rick's Works:

Standoff, How the Cold War Really Ended (political satire)

Finding Home (film script- dramedy)

Rick's Links:

From today's program: Satellite Repair Service Coming.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

STEM Major

In college (at the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!)) I was a "STEM" major. STEM is, of course, "Science, technology, engineering, and math." I was an engineering major (pulp and paper engineer to be exact, which meant I took a lot of chemical engineering classes; never worked so hard for "C"s in my life). But when you take engineering, you take a lot of math (up through differential equations in my case), science (three years of chemistry), and, of course, engineering. You don't have a lot of time to learn about literature, art, history, etc. So I am the first to admit when subjects such as literature come up, I'm not the most educated person in that subject (doesn't help that I mostly read science fiction, too).

Now I have managed to learn some things along the way. When I was younger my brain was a sponge and picked up all sorts of things. Now days it's more like an old, dried out sponge that doesn't absorb very well. But, for instance, when I watch Jeopardy, art and poetry are usually my weakest subjects.

Now I do have this skill. For music from 1960 - 1990 I can "name that tune" quite often and usually identify the artist, too. I didn't try to learn them, my brain absorbed them. And slowly I learn more. I finally found out that his is what Nude Descending a Staircase looks like:
Meh, modern art.

The people who impress me are people who understand their STEM area of expertise, but also have knowledge of literature, art, humanities, etc. I'm not, at the moment, one of them.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Television Review: The Defenders

I have finished watching season one of Marvel's The Defenders on Netflix. And to get right to the point: it's very good. After Iron Fist season one's laconic pace, it was like a strong belt of whiskey.

The Defenders starts off reintroducing the characters, Daredevil/Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Coulter), and Iron Fist/Danny Rand (Finn Jones). Each one is dealing with that happened at the end of their individual series. Luke Cage is getting out of prison, Matt Murdock is doing pro bono lawyer work, And Jessica Jones is drinking a lot (big surprise). Only Danny Rand and his girlfriend/sidekick Colleen Wing are fighting the Hand, the big bad organization that Daredevil and Iron Fist both fought in their individual series.

But in their own way, each of the four are drawn into the web of deceit and lies of the Hand. I don't want to give anything away, but it was great to watch Luke Cage kick Danny Rand's ass.

The show is exciting, original, and fun to watch. Each of the four main characters stay true to their vision of the world as they reluctantly join to fight the Hand.

Lots of supporting players show up: I've already mentioned Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick). But there's also Clair Temple (Rosario Dawson), Foggy Nelson (Eldon Henson), Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), Trish Walker (Rachel Taylor), Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and even Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Ann Moss). This gives the show a feeling of continuity from the previous shows. There's a few more but I don't want to give anything away.

The acting is very good (I'm really starting to like Mike Coulter as a actor) and the action sequences are, for the most part, exciting and well done. And there's enough of them to keep you interested. The stakes are high and the interplay between the four main characters is done very well.

It helps to have seen all the previous shows (yes, even Iron Fist) for continuity's sake. But you probably don't have to. Watch The Defenders and enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Huskies Move Up in AP Poll

The AP Top 25 College Football Poll came out at about 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM PT. And it's (mostly) good news for the University of Washington Huskies.

The Huskies moved up to #7 from #8 even after their lackluster win against Rutgers. This surprises me a bit.

USC, the Huskies' main Pac-12 rival, dropped from #4 to #6.

Stanford, the Huskies' main Pac-12 North rival, stayed the same at #14.

And WSU, the Huskies' cross-state rival, made the biggest move in the Pac-12, going from 24 to 20.

Not a bad week.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Better than the Beach Giveaway Almost Over

The "Better than the Beach" summer giveaway is almost over. Get your entries in to win prizes and maybe $130 PayPal cash.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Huskies Win Their First Game of the Season

As I tweeted last night:

Last night the University of Washington Huskies took on the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights. The Huskies won, but for a while it looked like they might not.

Last year when the Huskies played Rutgers, it was a blow out. The Huskies put in second stringers in the second half of the game. Rutgers scored 3 points in the entire first half. The final score (with second and third stringers playing most of the second half) was 13-48. That game was at Husky Stadium so a friendly crowd and home-field advantage probably helped.

Last night's game at Rutgers was nothing like that. The Huskies' first series they went three and out. Then the Scarlet Knights scored a touchdown on their first possession. For most of the first half the Huskies struggled with missed throws and penalties. At the end of the first quarter, Rutgers led 7-3. The one highlight of the first half was a punt return by Dante Pettis that he ran in for a touchdown in the second quarter. That was his sixth career touchdown from a punt return, tying the Pac-12 record.

The Rutgers stadium was a hostile environment. The home crowd was mean. They would boo and hiss the Huskies and cheer when bad things happened to the Dawgs. They didn't applaud when an injured Husky walked off the field as would be the norm in college football and the NFL.

The second half was much better. Quarterback Jake Browning settled down and got into a rhythm. He made two touchdown throws. The final score was 30-14. It might have been less but the officials basically gave Rutgers a touchdown in the fourth quarter that they didn't earn (the player was down before the ball entered the end zone). Yes, they would have been on about the half-yard line and might have made a touchdown anyway. But they might not have.

The AP Poll doesn't come out until Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday. So we won't know until then how this will affect the Huskies' ranking. This was a prime-time Friday night game so probably more people were watching it than your typical Husky game.

Next week the Huskies play the Montana Grizzlies at Husky Stadium. The Grizzlies are an FCS team (too small to be bowl eligible). I'll be at that game on about the 40-yard line and 8 seats up from the field. I'm assuming the Huskies are going to do better than they did this week.

But at least they won last night and are 1-0 on the season.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with M.L Ruscsak and J. T. Bishop

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers M.L Ruscsak and J. T. Bishop.

M.L. Ruscsak
M.L Ruscsak

Born In 1982, a native to Lorain Ohio, M.L. "Melisa" Ruscsak grew up living with her grandparents Frances and James Lasure. She attended Clearview High School as well as Lorain County J.V.S. While in J.V.S she attended the Culinary Arts program graduating in 2001.

In 2011 near tragedy struck as Melisa's health began to decline. By summer of 2011 she would need to use a cane to get around. Suffering a stroke she required a craniotomy where she suffered her second stroke. Leaving her with a partial impairment of her speech, and weakness on her right side.  After surgery she would need to learn not only to walk again, but speak as well as recognize the alphabet.

In 2003 she welcomed the addition of her daughter Chyenne. Who inspired her to start to put her dreams to paper. A story she wrote after her daughter's birth, although not published, became the stepping stone to everything else she would eventually write.

Two years later in the fall of 2013 after a divorce, she would meet the man who would push her not only to fight to regain her physical strength  but to put her creative mind to work. No longer allowing her to dwell on what she could no longer do but what she could.

In December of 2014 they would marry. With determination Melisa would walk down the aisle without the need of a cane.

A year later she would begin to write the "Of Lite and Darke" series, dreaming to see this work through to publishing, even if she would need to publish it herself.

In 2016 she would see her dream come true. With her daughter as her editor "Of Lite and Darke" was born.

M.L.'s Book

The New Reign (Book One in the "Of Lite and Dark" series)

M.L.'s Links:


J.T. Biship
J. T. Bishop

Born and raised in Dallas, TX, J. T. Bishop began writing in 2012. Inspired by a video that theorized the meaning of the end of the Mayan calendar, J. T. began the "Red-Line" trilogy. The video surmised that the earth was the central hub of activity for extraterrestrials thousands of years ago. J.T. didn’t know whether that was true or not, but it did spawn an idea. What if those extraterrestrials were still here? Two years and a lot of work later, the first three "Red-Line" books were complete, but she’s not done. The "Red-Line" saga develops as she continues to write new books.

J.T.'s Books:

Curse Breaker

High Child

The "Red-Line" Trilogy Boxed Set

J.T.'s Links:


From today's program:  Solar Eclipses are Not Forever.