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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
Well, actually, I'm off to bed, and then getting up at 2am and we're driving to Atlanta. We'll take turns driving and sleeping on the 13-15-hour trip, and we should get in around early evening tomorrow.

If you're going to Dragon Con, this is my schedule. Please come find me. If you're not going to Dragon Con, have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Given the insanity of my schedule, I suspect there won't be much by way of online updating aside from the occasional Facebook post and/or Tweet. For one thing, I want to try to make sure that I get a picture of my audience for each of my program items......


Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: still the Yankee game

I met Raymond Seavey at the Collingswood Book Festival last year. He was a fan of my Trek work, and we talked for a bit, and then he decided to buy the "Precinct" books.

Apparently, based on this very effusive blog post, he really really liked them. *happy smile*

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: the Yankees-Tigers game on YES

We're off to Dragon Con tomorrow, and I will have a ton of books with me for sale. I will have all of them with me at my three autographings (Saturday at noon and Monday at 10.30 at the SFWA table in the Hyatt, Saturday at 2.30 in the International Hall in the Marriott), my reading (Saturday at 1 in Vinings in the Hyatt), and my self-defense workshop (Friday at 2.30 also in Vinings), and appropriate stuff for my panels (e.g., the Farscape graphic novel at the Farscape panel Sunday at 11.30, the Trek stuff at my two Trek panels Friday at 7pm and Monday at 11.30am in Athens in the Sheraton).

I regret to say that Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution is not back from the printer yet, so I won't have any copies of that, though I will have bookmarks.

Here's the full list of what I'll have:

TV tie-ins:

Star Trek

The Klingon Art of War
Klingon Empire: A Burning House
A Time for War, a Time for Peace
Q & A
Corps of Engineers: Out of the Cocoon
Gateways: What Lay Beyond
New Worlds & New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics

Farscape graphic novels
Volume 7: The War for the Uncharted Territories

Bone Key

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda
Destruction of Illusions

Young Hercules
Cheiron's Warriors
The Ares Alliance

Gaming tie-ins

World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred
StarCraft:Ghost: Nova
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun: Under the Crimson Sun
Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars

Movie novelizations

Resident Evil: Genesis
Darkness Falls

Stuff I keep the copyright on:

the "Precinct" books

Dragon Precinct
Unicorn Precinct
Goblin Precinct
Gryphon Precinct
Tales from Dragon Precinct

Other stuff
Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet
SCPD: The Case of the Claw
Guilt in Innocence (A Tale of the Scattered Earth)

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Hurricane Eye" by Paul Simon

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Sacrifice of Angels"
What could have been a great episode, with some particularly fine moments for Kira, Rom, Quark, Ziyal, Weyoun, and especially Dukat, but it's ruined by a deus ex machina climax. The DS9 Rewatch makes a "Sacrifice of Angels."

An excerpt:
But the best moment is when the Defiant is the only ship to come through the wormhole while 200 Federation and Klingon ships are en route, and the weapons are down. Weyoun immediately says, “Time to start packing!” (still one of the best moments in the show’s entire history), and the female changeling just figures the war will take longer. This is a minor setback. Hell, for the Dominion, this whole war is a minor engagement. They have huge swaths of territory in a whole ’nother quadrant. This is a potentially useful expansion to them, but it’s hardly their only concern, and they’ve been taking the long view all along. Ultimately, neither Weyoun nor the female changeling have a huge amount invested in holding Deep Space 9/Terok Nor.

Dukat, though, has everything invested in it. He and Damar posturing about how they’ll eventually make Weyoun and the Founder pay for their insolence sounds pathetic at best, and more so when Dukat completely falls apart at having to again abandon the station. Cardassia is just part of the Dominion, and not even a very big part. Dukat keeps talking like they’re allies, and Weyoun goes along with it to keep the peace, but it’s never more evident than this episode that the Cardassians are not equals.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Born on the Bayou" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

An updated bibliography....

Stuff what I've written and edited and stuff behind the cut....Collapse )

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Get Over It" by the Eagles

Today I met up with my friend Amanda, who had never been to the Cloisters. I showed her there and the surrounding Fort Tryon Park, and then she handed over the luggage that she wants us to ferry down to Dragon Con for her, thus enabling her to take more stuff to the con without having to check any luggage.

When I got home, my mother's edits on "Streets of Fire" had come in. (It's really handy when both your mother and your fiancée are professional editors, lemme tell ya....) Once I incorporated her edits, I sent it off to Jonathan Maberry. Assuming Jonathan likes it, it'll be in Volume 3 of V-Wars.

Here's an excerpt:
Mia tumbled out of the back seat of the department-issue Chevy trying to get her bearings.

Giving Sullivan an accusatory look as he got out of the driver's seat, she then turned to Thorndike, who unfolded his massive frame from the passenger seat. "He always drive like that?"

Thorndike grinned, showing yellow teeth. "Nah, usually he's reckless."

Sullivan shrugged. "What? You gotta drive on the FDR like that."

They had taken the FDR Drive from 106th Street down to 34th Street, then travelled over to 1st Avenue and 30th Street, parking the car in a no-parking zone while placing their NYPD credentials in the dashboard. Mia had lost track of the sudden lane changes and the number of cars Sullivan had cut off by the time they passed 96th Street.

"My old man," Sullivan said as he headed toward the entrance, "he always said that you knew you'd be okay drivin' in New York if you could drive on the FDR without shittin' in your socks."

"In that case, I wanna see your socks," Mia said.

For those of you who read "The Ballad of Big Charlie" in the first V-Wars anthology, that's the same Mia Fitzsimmons who was in that story.

Next up on the ol' writing docket is my X-Files story, which is also for a Jonathan Maberry-edited, IDW-published anthology. Before I can start on it, though, I need to finish my rewatch of season 2 of the show. (I'm two episodes in so far and am mostly amused at how well they did shooting the pregnant Gillian Anderson from the chest up....) Probably won't start actually writing until after Dragon Con.

The next three days will be mostly Dragon Con prep, in fact. Since we're driving down, we're bringing a ton of stuff, including food and beverages, which will be cheaper than buying food at the con. In particular, we will be bringing coffee beans and a coffee maker, as four of the five people in the room are serious coffee hounds, and the coffee bill can seriously add up at DC if you're not careful. In addition, we have to get the car tuned up and inspected tomorrow, and we have to make sure we have all the supplies we need, both for ourselves, and for those we leave behind (Dale, Scooter, Kaylee, and Louie). In addition, I'm helping out at the dojo all three days this week that I'm here.....

We leave stupid early Thursday morning, and by "stupid early," I mean at, like, 2am or so.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers

The brilliant and talented Jaym Gates has composed a magnificent explanation of why creative people should not engage the trolls.

I have always endeavored to live my professional life by the code she enumerates, because you gain absolutely nothing by sinking to the level of those who would try to be your adversaries. Besides, most of them are bullies, and the best way to engage bullies is to not engage them at all, thus giving them nothing to bounce off of.

A few years ago, a Supernatural fan -- after ripping my novel Nevermore to pieces, which was fine, as I don't expect to please everyone -- accused me of maneuvering the gig in order to screw my ex-wife out of the gig. I could've gone medieval on this person's ass, but that would not have improved things. Instead I calmly explained that Marina was the one who introduced me to Supernatural, was too busy with grad school to even consider writing a tie-in novel, and, oh yeah, she was the primary beta reader for Nevermore. Marina came on and explained the same.

I went out of my way to be polite and not be inflammatory. A lot of folks thanked me for that, even other Supernatural fans who had the same lack of regard for Nevermore as the original poster. And when she apologized, I graciously accepted it.

And this wasn't an effort or a choice, this is the way you're supposed to behave when you're a professional. If only more professionals got that..........

(See also David Mack's recent response to an e-mail expressing disgust with Dave's use of a homosexual relationship in the Star Trek: Vanguard novels, which was picked up by io9. Dave gained a lot more by being polite and sensible than he would have shoving invective down the homophobe's throat.....)

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "The Glamour Boys" by Living Colour

my Firefly RPG module will be out this fall!
As announced in this blog post by Monica Valentinelli on Margaret Weis Productions' site, the Firefly role-playing game Echoes of War had its print release this past weekend at GenCon, along with the first supplement Thrillin' Heroics. Monica also confirms that the second supplement, delightfully entitled Things Don't Go Smooth, will include my adventure "Merciless." It's scheduled to be released this fall.

My first RPG module will finally be out! Yay!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: the Yankees-White Sox game on My9

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Favor the Bold"
Sisko wants his station back and has a huge-ass fleet to do it. Dukat and Weyoun don't want to give it up and they have a huger-ass fleet to meet it. Meanwhile Odo realizes he's been a bit of a douche, Quark can't figure out how to free his brother, Dukat and Ziyal have a falling out, and Kira beats the crap out of Damar. The DS9 Rewatch hopes that fortune will "Favor the Bold."

An excerpt:
We actually learn quite a bit about Damar. That celebratory kanar last time wasn’t an isolated incident. He comes out and says to Ziyal that he doesn’t trust the Dominion for a second when he urges her to help present a united front so that their new allies don’t smell weakness and strike. Damar generally carries the air of someone who doesn’t want to put up with anyone who gets in the way of his serving Dukat, whether it’s Weyoun, Kira, or Ziyal. Indeed, his head is so far up Dukat’s ass his nose is sticking out of Dukat’s belly button.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Boy Band" by the Arrogant Worms

The first draft of "Streets of Fire" is done. How-some-ever, it is definitely a draft, as the story came in at 10,628 words, and I have a very strict 10,000-word cap on this story. So I must slice 628 words (at least) out of it.

But that's a job for tomorrow. Tonight, I bask in the accomplishment with Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream and Stargate SG-1 DVDs. (Which is technically work, as I've got a couple of SG-1 proposals floating around Fandemonium right now....)

Here's a tease from the story, with the warning that it might have some of the 628 doomed words:
"Okay, first of all, did you not read the memo that says that I work for the News? That's the Post, which isn't so much a newspaper as something handy to line the litterbox with."

"Your deal says you can't reveal anything until the article's out, but that's only for the News."

Unable to believe what she was hearing, Mia just shook her head. "So I took it to my biggest competitor? On what planet does that make sense? Sergeant, let me be clear. I'd sooner drive a white-hot poker through my eyeball than give the Post an exclusive."

"So how the fuck did they find out about it?"

"Well, they do have reporters working for them, and I have it on good authority that some of them have even achieved sentience. It's possible that one of them figured it all out."

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Current Music: "Jesus's Brother Bob" by the Arrogant Worms

Brian Froud wants to read Bad-Ass Faeries
So apparently, at Faeriecon, the great Brian Froud was asked about the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series. I've contributed to two of the four volumes of BAF (a Dragon Precinct story in the first one, and a Cassie Zukav story in It's Elemental, the fourth one), and I've worked with Brian in the past, on the two Brian Froud's Faerielands novels published in the mid-1990s by Bantam by Charles de Lint (The Wild Wood) and Patricia A. McKillip (Something Rich and Strange), novels inspired by Brian's artwork,* so this was very cool.

Quoth Brian: "I have to get a copy because faeries are not all goodness and light."

Awesomecakes. :)

* There were actually four novels written, but the series fell apart due to craziness between my employer, the book packager Byron Preiss, and the folks at Bantam, at least in part due to Byron's general insanity, and in part due to editorial changes at Bantam, including the project's champion at Bantam leaving the company to take a job at another publisher. The other two books in the series, Midori Snyder's Hannah's Garden and Terri Windling's The Wood Wife, were released by other publishers, but without Brian's artwork accompanying them. I was pleased when Terri's book came out to see that she thanked me in the acknowledgments for my editorial letter, and that she incorporated many of my suggested changes.

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Excitable Boy" by Warren Zevon

What you see in this post should be my final schedule for Dragon Con 2014 over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta. This now has all my fellow panelists, all the proper room assignments (the Urban Fantasy track changed rooms on me since the schedule was first released), and which track each event is on, where applicable. (Edited to add: The Saturday morning BritTrack book swap was cancelled.)

10-11am: "Alien: For 35 Years No One Can Hear Us Scream." Celebrating this anniversary makes our chests burst with pride. American Sci-Fi Classics track, M303-M304 (Marriott). With Jason De la Torre, Jessa Phillips, and Geena Phillips.
11.30am-12.30pm: "Ask The Experts: Everything Doctor Who." Ever had a question about Doctor Who that you can't seem to get an answer for? This panel is a Q and A with expert fans, and they are here to help! BritTrack, Crystal Ballroom (Hilton). With R. Bowen, C. Brown, Rob Levy, and Dr. Scott Viguie.
2.30-3.30pm: Practical Self-Defense with Keith R.A. DeCandido. I provide a guide to some basic self-defense techniques that can be useful in difficult situations. Wear comfortable clothing & shoes. Workshops track, Vinings (Hyatt).
4-5pm: "Quantum Leap: 25th Anniversary? Oh, Boy." Every Scott Bakula show and movie is really Sam, still leaping. Discuss. American Sci-Fi Classics track, M303-M304 (Marriott). With Michael Falkner and Tegan Hendrickson.
7-8pm: "Star Trek Authors." Discuss Star Trek with our favorite authors. Trek Track, Athens (Sheraton). With Peter David, Jimmy Diggs, Christie Golden, and Thomas F. Zahler.
8.30-9.30pm: "Saving the World, One Season at a Time: Themes on Supernatural." A moderated fan-panel discussion of the various themes addressed on the long-running hit show. Urban Fantasy track, Chastain ED (Westin). With Fr. Bryan Small.

12-12.30pm: Autographing. SFWA table (Hyatt).
1-2pm: Reading. Vinings (Hyatt).
2.30-3.30pm: Autographing. International Hall South (Marriott). With Christopher Golden, Laurell K. Hamilton, and M.B. Weston.
5.30-6.30pm: "Barking up the Wrong Tree." Pets and their people...How to incorporate "pets" (dogs, dragons, demons) of all sorts into your novel in a believable way as realistic characters. Writer's Track, Embassy D-F (Hyatt). With Richard Lee Byers, Cinda Williams Chima, Bill Fawcett, Chandra Free, and Mari Mancusi.

10-11am: "British Crime Shows." From Law and Order UK to Luther to Broadchurch to Ripper Street, crime shows are on the rise again! A talk on all things British and Crime! BritTrack, Macon (Sheraton). With S. Burgess, Michael Gordon, Kim F. Holec, and Rox of Spazhouse.
11.30am-12.30pm: "Farscape 15th Anniversary Celebration." Join this Q&A and celebration of the show that's super-popular and much-missed. American Sci-Fi Classics track, Regency V (Hyatt). With Gigi Edgley and Lani John Tupu.
4-5pm: "Sleepy Hollow Fan Panel." A discussion of Fox's new incarnation of Ichabod (not the DJ) and the Headless Horseman mythos. Horror track, Peachtree 1-2 (Westin). With Kevin Bachelder, Erika Pratte, Catherine Scully, and Karen E. Taylor.
5.30-6.30pm: "Hitchhiker's 35th Anniversary Panel." HHGTTG has been around for 35 years since the release of the text based adventure game, here we discuss the entire wonderful world. BritTrack, Macon (Sheraton). With R. Bowen, Sacha Dzuba, Mike Faber, and Kim F. Holec.
7-8pm: "V-Wars: Vampires Everywhere!" Behind the scenes of Jonathan Maberry's V-Wars universe. Horror track, Peachtree 1-2 (Westin). With Jonathan Maberry, James A. Moore, and James R. Tuck.
8.30-9.30pm: "Angels, Demons, and Hunters: Characters on Supernatural." A moderated fan panel discussion about characters on the long-running hit show. Urban Fantasy track, Chastain ED (Westin). With Stuart Jaffe and Fr. Bryan Small.
10-11pm: "Marvel TV and Movies From Howard to Hasselhoff." Before Agents of SHIELD and zillion-dollar movies, Marvel Comics' fate belonged to a duck, a Hulk and a Hasselhoff. American Sci-Fi Classics track, M303-M304 (Marriott). With Joe Crowe, Kevin Eldridge, Geena Phillips, and Phillip Schweier.

10.30-11am: Autographing. SFWA table (Hyatt).
11.30am-12.30pm: "Klingon History." A look at the history of one of Star Trek's most enduring species. Trek Track, Athens (Sheraton). With Erika Figueroa, Christine Silver, and Morgan Skye.
2.30-3.30pm: "The Final Frontier of Fiction." What's new and upcoming? What's trending? How do I manage to get started in today's crazy market? Writer's Track, Embassy D-F (Hyatt). With Stephen L. Antczak, Chesya Burke, Kathryn Hinds, Nancy Knight, and James A. Moore.


Current Mood: anxious anxious
Current Music: "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles

Another one from the January 2000 Don't Quit Your Day Job Players retreat, this time of the entire band. From left to right: Steven Rosenhaus on guitar and mandolin, Tom Laubenthal (he's the head growing out of Steven's clavicle) on drums, the late great David Honigsberg on guitar, Pat O'Brien on bass, Alexandra Honigsberg on violin and viola, and me on percussion. Photo by Marina Frants.


Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "Just for a Thrill" by Jim Byrnes

Worte only 875 words of "Streets of Fire" today, but the day also included a very productive phone call regarding a tie-in project, helping teach two karate classes, taking a karate class, and probably some other stuff too, so that's not bad. And I'll get more done tomorrow, I hope.

For now, though, the Chubby Hubby ice cream in my freezer is calling my name.....

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Current Music: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Paul Simon

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Behind the Lines"
Odo gets seduced, Kira gets pissed, Sisko gets promoted, Dax gets a command, Quark gets drunk, and Rom gets arrested. The DS9 Rewatch goes "Behind the Lines."

An excerpt:
And we get it again this time with the female changeling—whose primary motivation is to get Odo to rejoin the link, screwing the resistance is just a fortuitous side effect—working on Odo to the point where he’s become as disconnected from the solids as the other Founders are. The female changeling’s methods are meticulous and perfect, playing on Odo’s heart’s desire (which we know from way back in “The Die is Cast” is to return to the link), as well as his growing frustration with how vulnerable his love for Kira makes him, especially since her own feelings in return are not the same. The Founder slowly seduces him away from his concerns with the solids in general and Kira in particular, to the point where he’s too busy getting down and gooey to take down the security field, thus leading to Rom’s capture.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel

So it was quite a busy weekend. So much so that instead of writing this blog post last night like I intended, I fell asleep for three hours, and when I woke up, I just kinda lay in bed and watched SG-1 DVDs. (I've been marathoning the show in preparation for the SG-1 projects I have in the hopper with Fandemonium, though none of them are actually approved or okayed yet, and so may fall through, but I've been enjoying going through the show in any case.)

Saturday we went to two parties: alorarose's birthday party at her house with her newly refurbished pool, then CJ-Con: the Afterlife Launch, a memorial party run semi-convention-style at C.J. Henderson's home in Brooklyn where his widow still lives. Both parties were fantastic, and we had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones. I'm really glad that we were able to put in appearances at both, and we had a fantastic day.

Sunday was the wedding of our friends Tara and Brad. I first met Tara at New York Comic-Con two years ago when she came over to The Chronic Rift booth and totally fangoobered me, as she was (and still is) a huge fan of my writing. We got to talking, her and me and Wrenn and also Laura Anne Gilman (who was hanging out at our booth), and we stayed in touch and became good friends. Brad had been with her at NYCC, initially standing about a foot behind her and rolling his eyes a lot at how goofy she was being, but eventually he realized that we actually enjoyed her company (and his once he started talking to us). We've hung out together, all five of us (the two of them and me, Wrenn, and Dale) any number of times since.

Yesterday, they got married at a Presbyterian church on Long Island, where the ceremony was jointly performed by two pastors who are also married to each other. Amusingly, though both have been ordained for a decade, this was the first wedding they'd done in tandem. I told them afterward that they should totally make it a thing, and they laughed and said they might.

In any case, it was a lovely ceremony, followed up by a delightful reception at an Italian restaurant elsewhere on Long Island, where we hung out with Geralyn and Danny, who are magnificent people, and a grand old time was had by all.

After crashing last night (it was quite a weekend), we got up this morning to have the car given a once-over for two reasons: 1) it's due for inspection and 2) we're driving it to Atlanta in ten days for Dragon Con. It needs some work, which will be duly taken care of.

Today I've got the rewatch to finish up (I've done all but the review, most of it accomplished in the diner across the street from the mechanic), more of "Streets of Fire" to write, plus I'm helping out at the dojo tonight. Actually, I'll be at the dojo a lot the next two weeks (at least until I'm off to Dragon Con), as Shihan is going on vacation starting tomorrow, and the rest of us black belts get to pick up the slack.

How was your weekend?

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "The Coast" by Paul Simon

I'm at 6174 words on "Streets of Fire," my story for V-Wars Volume 3, which includes something like 3000 words written yesterday and this morning. I like where the story's going.

Now, though, we're off to the first of three events for the weekend: a birthday party for alorarose and the memorial party for C.J. Henderson today. Tomorrow, it's Tara and Brad's weddding. Busy busy busy is us.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Current Music: "Doug at His Mom's" by Uncle Bonsai

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Sons and Daughters"
Alexander and Ziyal both return. This isn't necessarily a good thing. The DS9 Rewatch is reunited with some "Sons and Daughters."

An excerpt:
The hearts-and-bat’leths resolution is wholly unconvincing, as Alexander is still an incompetent dip, the crew still doesn’t take him seriously, and Worf is still the worst father ever. One successful battle against two Jem’Hadar ships (whose success was on the backs of Martok, Worf, and N’Garen in any case) should not have had the profound impact it did. This wasn’t like Worf and Martok’s fight in “Soldiers of the Empire,” it was just a routine battle that they won. Why does that change anything? Aside from showing off Martok’s battle prowess, and making us wish they’d gotten David Graf and Sandra Nelson back (Zeller in particular does decently, but both his Ch’Targh and Gabrielle Union’s N’Garen are pale imitations of Leskit and Tavana), the entire Rotarran plot just feels like a waste of time.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Cecilia" by Paul Simon

Living Colour's Vivid was always a favorite album of mine ever since it was released in 1988, when I was still in college. I think I played the tape endlessly throughout college. One of the songs on that album is "Which Way to America?" a song that is depressingly, heartbreakingly relevant 26 years after its release in light of what's been happening in Ferguson, Missouri this week.

Current Mood: depressed depressed
Current Music: "Which Way to America?" by Living Colour

I'm a Locus best-seller again!
I'm pleased to see that The Klingon Art of War debuted at #5 on the August Locus media tie-in best-seller list, which tallies books sold in May (the pub month for KAOW). I was behind only two other Trek books by good buddies of mine (Serpent in the Garden by Jeff Mariotte and the latest Lost Era book by David R. George III), as well as Ian Doescher's brilliant Shakespearean Star Wars parodies (William Shakespeare's Star Wars and William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back). Pretty good company, that....

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Something So Right" by Paul Simon

coming in October: The Kobold Guide to Combat with an essay by me!
In October of this year, the fine folks at Kobold Press will be publishing a collection of essays edited by the mighty Janna Silverstein (scarlettina) called The Kobold Guide to Combat. One of the essays is by me, and it's about the vicissitudes of writing gaming fiction as compared to how you construct/play a game. The book will be out in October and is available for preorder here.

And here's the super-spiffy cover!


Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Scarborough Fair" by Simon & Garfunkel

From January 2000, here's me percussing during the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players' annual retreat, which that year was held at my and my ex-wife marinarusalka's apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. Discovering these pictures (which I didn't realize I had) has been a huge nostalgia hit in more ways than one.....


Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "Why Don't Your Write Me?" by Simon & Garfunkel

Kaylee and Louie united in their love for watching a starling gad about on the front patio:


Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "The Coast" by Paul Simon

In 1994, Congress passed a law that allowed military surplus equipment to be given to local police forces. This probably seemed like a good idea 20 years ago, though the inability to think this through is pretty appalling, especially since nowhere in this was it mandated that the police forces in question be trained in how to use the stuff in a law-enforcement atmosphere.

Earlier this week, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, an unarmed teenager named Mike Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. It's certainly possible that an unarmed teenager was a credible threat to an armed police officer, but I'm sorry if you have to use deadly force on an unarmed teenager, you are not qualified to do your job and should be relieved of it. Most cops go their entire career without even unholstering their service weapon outside the firing range or for maintenance. Firearms are the last resort, and an unarmed teenager is not a threat where last resorts should be gone to.

Anyhow, Brown is also African-American in a town that is 70% black, and the locals were understandably cranky on the subject of an unarmed black teenager being shot and killed. There was some rioting, but yesterday there was a peaceful demonstration in protest of the shooting. There were children at this protest.

The St. Louis County Police's response to this outrageous display of the Constitutional right to assembly was to show up in full riot gear with assault rifles and APCs -- generously provided from military surplus thanks to that 1994 law -- and point them at the demonstrators. Several people on the ground reported that cops were telling people that they did have the right to assemble while the cop in question was pointing an assault rifle right at them.

Look, I'm no kind of gun nut. I'd be happy if guns were eliminated from the world. But I also am realistic enough to know that that isn't happening, and that the fetishization of firearms in this country will keep that from ever happening. But if you're gonna have a weapon, you should goddamn well be trained in how to use it, and if you're pointing your weapon at a person, you're intending to shoot them. That's basic firearms discipline, and either these cops a) didn't know that or b) didn't care, and either case is scary as fuck.

And it didn't stop there. They fired tear gas into people's back yards, two reporters were arrested (here's Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery's account of his warrantless arrest), as was a St. Louis alderman, and they were telling people standing in their front yards to go home. They also told the media to stop filming, which they have no right to do.

We're not talking about a major city here, we're talking about a town of approximately 21,000 -- to put it in perspective, more than twice that number of people live in my neighborhood in the Bronx -- that has an average of one murder per year, and they have access to APCs and assault rifles. Because of this, they get to turn their town into a police state.

All this because one of their own shot an unarmed teenager. Supposedly, Mike Brown was reaching for the cop's gun, though he was shot from 35 feet away, which puts that story in a bit of doubt. Even if true, there are other recourses for dealing with such behavior that don't involve discharging your weapon.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon this morning finally took power away from the St. Louis County Police in Ferguson and giving it to state and federal authorities. Let's hope this helps, but the damage has been done.

I close with this very prescient This Modern World strip from the great Tom Tomorrow, which sums it all up nicely.

Current Mood: discontent discontent
Current Music: "Slip Slidin' Away" by Simon & Garfunkel

One of my favorite songs by The Who.....

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "Join Together" by The Who

who is this guy?
Keith R.A. DeCandido
User: kradical
Name: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Website: DeCandido.net
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