Thursday, February 20, 2014

30 Facts About Me

1. The nurse at the hospital misspelled my name on the birth certificate.

2. When my nieces asked me which was cooler, Star Wars or Star Trek, I answered Babylon 5.

3. I got my first literary agent at 19. I published my first novel at 47. Perseverance rules.

4. My wife is smarter than I am, but I’m the one who always knows where her keys and cell phone are.

5. I believe Stargate Universe is the greatest television show ever.

6. I once managed a 1-900 dateline.

7. As much as I mock the French, when a three-year-old girl I’m reading a story to turns around in my lap and puts a beret on my head, I’m wearing it.

8. I moved across the country for a woman. We’re still married.

9. My first job out of college was working the phone lines for a mutual fund investment group. Six weeks later, the Crash of 1987 hit. Lucky me.

10. I was a child extra in the stands during Ned Braden’s championship-winning striptease at the end of Slap Shot. My mother had no idea this was the scene they would be filming and was absolutely mortified.

11. I have a degree in English Lit. That was a mistake.

12. I’ve lived with two different cats. Both tried to kill me.

13. My wife and I got married in a library, and we spent our honeymoon at San Diego Comic Con. We are that nerdy.

14. I’ve had a crush on Catherine Bell since Season 2 of JAG. (My wife knows.)

15. I believe Toto is the greatest band ever. I’m that middle-aged and uncool.

16. I had a milkshake with Hal Clement.

17. My favorite memory from 10 long, struggling years in Hollywood as an almost successful screenwriter involves an old Warsaw Pact assault rifle in each hand and my feet resting on a nuclear bomb. (The nuke was a prop; the rifles were real.)

18. I was unplanned.

19. My wife and I have differed on nearly every major political issue since the day we met. We’re still married.

20. Sometimes, I really relate to Brian the Dog.

21. I look exactly like my great-great-grandfather. I mean, exactly.

22. I was a communist in my teens, a liberal in my 20s, a sort-of conservative in my 30s, and now a sort-of libertarian in my 40s. I don’t even want to think what my 50s might bring.

23. Thirty years after I first read it, William Goldman’s The Color of Light is still my favorite novel.

24. I once kept my Christmas tree up for an entire year.

25. I believe Episodes is Hollywood’s personal apology to me for our 10 long and co-dependent years together.

26. For my senior thesis on science fiction in my high school AP English class, I personally wrote to every author whose work I discussed. Amazingly, all of them wrote back with their agreements, disagreements, and insights except for Robert Heinlein, whose wife Ginny wrote back instead to say that Mr. Heinlein would not be writing back to me because his time needed to be kept free for writing.

27. I’m all for global warming if it melts the special snowflakes.

28. In my younger days, I was a fire-breathing atheist. Richard Dawkins had nothing on me. In the end, though, it turned out I was more angry at God than I was disbelieving.

29. My wife is Penny, Bernadette, and Amy Farrah Fowler all rolled into one.

30. I am an extremely fortunate man.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On the Lack of Recent Politics in this Blog

Long story short, you need to have the mindset of a "Happy Warrior" to skewer and satirize all that's going on in Washington and the world these days. Only lately, it just makes me feel sad and cynical, watching the second Obama term following the tragic script so many of us predicted so early in the first term.

The "joy" of politics will come back at some point, I know, but I just don't have it now.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Passel of One-Sentence Reviews

Black Sails: Finally, pirates I can actually be afraid of and not spend the whole time wanting to smack upside the head for prancing around like a band of hipster LARPers.*

The Good Humor Man: The absolute strangest book I have ever read that I still wish I'd come up with myself.

Memories of the Abyss: Manages the near-impossible, setting a "cozy" in an insane asylum and then actually making the story work.

My Progress on the Next Many Earths Novel: I am ashamed.

47 Ronin: Everything that is wrong with Hollywood today.

The Last Valley: The best movie you've never even heard of.

Our New Verizon FiOS Service: Look at me surf/stream/download when I should be writing the next Many Earths novel!

Choosing, Buying, and Assembling a New Couch with My Wife Without Us Having a Single Argument: Priceless.

*I'm looking at you, Johnny Depp.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Conversation with the FiOS Guy

This is how my home office looked for most of a day last week:

And this is what convinced me it would be worth it:

Me: "So what Internet speed are we going to get, really?"

Him: "You'll get blah-de-blah-de-blah-blah-blah."

Me: "And that means what, exactly?"

Him: "Four guys playing HALO off the same router with no lag."

Me: "Well, damn. I'm going to need more friends."