Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dresden Dolls Cover Neutral Milk Hotel

This is one of my favorite songs to listen to and watch in recent months. Two-Headed Boy:

Recommendation: The Cracked Podcast

If you like your assumptions about life to be regularly upended, you could do a lot worse than to listen to the Cracked Podcast. Many of its episodes explore things we accept as the-way-things-are-and-must-always-be that are actually social constructs, marketing strategies, or byproducts of some of the weird ways our brains work. I listened to the latest show today, Culture-Specific Things We Do That We Assume are Universal, which is self-explanatory, but besides shining light on our biases, it explores some mind-bending truths about human psychology.

If you're a science fiction or fact fan like I am, you're probably already familiar with swarm intelligence. If not, check out their episode Why We Can Improve Humanity With the Power of Bees, in which they discuss how a group of horse racing experts were able to use software that briefly turned them into a tiny hivemind which accurately predicted the superfecta at the Kentucky Derby (that's first, second, third, and fourth place, in order!).

And the social crusaders among you absolutely must listen to episode 94, Important Chunks of American History That Got Erased, about groups of people getting crushed by the system whom you very well may have never heard of.

There's much more over there that will expand your mind, but I'm going to bed. Go there and check it out!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What's Goin' On

Although I've done a bit of an update over at the Mango, I haven't done it in a while over here. Many of you know that I work seven days a week, with my time divvied up amongst two corporations. So the work I want to do happens at about the pace of digging a prison escape tunnel with a wooden spoon that I stole from the Italian ice guy. (It was nice of him to visit the prison.)

I still, still, still have fifteen regular episodes of Beware the Hairy Mango to go and two episodes of Beware the Donated Mango before I'm done with that forever. I've got decent chunks of every script written, and will put the shows out as I finish them.

I've pulled out a story I've been puttering around in for years with a working title of Red and Roxanne. It's weird, interpersonal, artsy science fiction story that still has to have some cliches extracted, and it may be another year before it's finished. For a couple three days in my meager amount of spare time I'm trying to fix some horrendous formatting issues. Last year Scrivener was on sale, so I gave it a try, using Red and Roxanne as the guinea pig. I got the scenes laid out and worked on it to a degree, when my little netbook choked on it and couldn't move. So that was the end of that.

I reopened the file yesterday and I'm slowly cutting and pasting its several thousand words section by section back into a Word document. Slowly, because the formatting is so fucked up there are different issues with each scene. I'm talking margins, tab settings, fonts, spacing, numbered lists where there should be none, all sorts of shit. And neither Word nor AbiWord will let me select the entire document and fix the formatting across the whole. What a waste of precious life.

Once that bullshit is done I'll have had a few days to recharge my Mango batteries and can get to work on putting more episodes out. What I'm shooting for is to wrap up the podcast so I can get more fiction done. I've got at least five short stories in various stages and a novel rewrite I'm looking forward to getting back to.

I'm going to try to do one draft of all of them before starting on the next set of drafts. I'm hoping that taking that much time between drafts on any one story will give it time to develop in my head, and give me some distance so I can make it better. My name is Matt and I suffer from what Bud Sparhawk calls Premature Submission Syndrome. I get so eager! But I must control myself.

mustmustmustmustmustmustmustmustmust . . .

Saturday, July 16, 2016


One of my favorite videos lately. I should really post this over at Beware the Hairy Mango. That crowd would love it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Coupla Sales

I should have mentioned these long before this, but I have a habit of neglecting this blog. Going forward, I'm going to try to spend a little more time here and a little less time on Facebook (though I will try to mention this blog on Facebook more).

So back in February, my story, The Wardrobe, (story 136 of The One-Thousand) was accepted by the folks at See the Elephant, a magazine by Metaphysical Circus Press. http://www.metaphysicalcircus.com/seetheelephant/ I haven't mentioned the story or the mag before now, because the contract hasn't been signed. But now I'm thinking, so what? In the event the deal falls through, I'll just say the deal fell through. Why sweat it? It'll be a while before this one sees the light of day, because it's going to be in issue 3 or 4. The Wardrobe is about a piece of furniture that's a lot like that famous literary wardrobe, but mine features a lot more clothing. It's also the creepiest and most surreal story I've had accepted so far.

The other sale happened about a month and a half ago. My story, "Rubble People," (143 of The One-Thousand) sold to Aliterate. https://www.aliterate.org/index.html Not only has the contract been signed, the money's been spent (Aliterate is fast that way, and so am I when it comes to spending). It will appear in either the Fall 2016 issue, or the Spring 2017 issue. Rubble People is about the wife of a soldier trying to cope with all the stresses that the homefront has to offer, namely raising a kid while dealing with poverty and isolation. Its science fictional ideas are a bit off the wall, but the realities it's tied to are too real.

These two sales meant a lot to me because I've shopped these stories around for years without any luck. Every few months I'd pull them out and reread them, wondering, "Okay, what's wrong here?" But then I'd realize nothing was wrong here, they were great stories and I just couldn't find the right editors. I feel vindicated and feel some hope for my future work.

I'll let you know when they're released into the wild. I think you guys will dig them.