January 7th, 2013


my Sunday feeling

Wrenn, Dale, and I ran around like crazy people for the latter half of this week to get the apartment ready for our Twelfth Night party. I must confess -- half the reason why we throw the party is because it forces us to clean the fucking apartment. This was particularly useful for the bedroom and the dining room, which tend to get cluttered the fastest. The dining room because the dining room table is right by the door and it's so easy to just drop shit on the table and forget about it, and then it piles up.... *sigh*

As for the bedroom, that was always where we threw stuff that we didn't know where else to put it and then we'd close it off when people came over. But our RSVP list was sufficiently high that we needed to have the entire apartment available, so we had to tidy up the bedroom, too. Which was way overdue and also is AWESOME, especially since this is my workspace, too.....

Anyhow, the party started officially at 3. We weren't done getting the place ready until almost 4 -- and the first guests *waves to scifantasy* didn't get there until 3.45. Sigh.

Having said that, it was an excellent party. We had about a dozen last-minute cancellations, the vast majority of which were because the people in question were sick. 'Tis the season to be flu-y, and all that. Even with that, though, 23 guests came -- and they were from all aspects of our lives. Fellow publishing folks, fellow Tor.com bloggers, fellow karateka, fellow baseball enthusiasts, fellow fannish folk, and on and on and on. It was fantastic.

Food-wise, we made meatballs in tomato sauce (Wrenn made the meatballs, I made the sauce, both were incredibly yummy), cevapi sausage in tzatziki sauce with pita bread, and baked brie (Dale made both of those). We also had a wide assortment of cold cuts (dried sausage, sopresatta, proscuitto -- with melon provided for the latter), cheeses (fontina, Jarlsberg, cheddar, fresh mozzarella, and some others I'm forgetting), Italian bread, and then later fresh fruit and homemade whipped cream (made about three minutes before we put out the fruit). Plus there was a very wide-ranging selection of red and white wine, sake, champagne, beer, cider, and Scotch, as well as various sodas and such.

The last guests finally departed a bit after midnight, and we cleaned up and collapsed. Today was a day of sleeping in and not really doing anything. Tomorrow, I dive into the revision of the proposal for The Project That Cannot Be Named (Yet), and in general this week I have to a) write the final story for Ragnarok and Roll b) work on four editorial projects that are at various stages, and c) write a comics script or two.
  • Current Music
    "Budapest" by Jethro Tull

attention fellow authors: scam alert!

I'm just going to go ahead and reprint this post that the Mighty John Scalzi posted on Whatever, because, as usual, he sums it up better than most....
Short version: If you’re a science fiction/fantasy writer who got an invitation to speak from Bexley College in the UK, someone’s trying to scam you.

Longer version:

Here’s an e-mail in my box today:
Greetings John Scalzi,

I am Prof. Arthur Peterson from Bexley College (Holly Hill Campus) here in London UK. We are officially writing to invite you and confirm your booking as our guest Speaker at this Year Bexley college Seminar which will take place here at the campus ground.

Bexley College (Holly Hill Campus).

The Venue as follows:

VENUE: Upper Holly Hill Road Belvedere, Kent
London, United Kingdom
Expected audience: 450 people(mainly students & invited guest). Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
Name of Organization: Bexley College Campus.
Topic: ”Mystery of Life and Death”
Date: 18th February 2013

We reached your profile at http:// www.aboutsf.com// and we say it’s up to standard. The College will be so glad to have such an outstanding personality as you in our midst for these overwhelming gathering. Arrangements to welcome you here will be discussed as soon as you honor our invitation. If you have any more publicity material you wish to share with us, please do not hesitate to contact me.

An Official Formal Letter of invitation and Contract agreement would be sent to you from the College as soon as you honor our Invitation. The College have also promised to be taking care of all your travel and Hotel Accommodation expenses including your Speaking Fee.

If you are available for this date, include your speaking fees in your reply for it to be included in the DOCUMENTATIONS.

Stay Blessed
Prof. Arthur Peterson
Bexley College (Holly Hill Campus).
Tel: + 44 702 xxx xxx

The reason I know this is a scam:

1. The grammar and composition of this letter OH DEAR LORD.

2. Bexley College is a general further education college (i.e., a vocational school), not a university, and while a school that teaches people to be hair dressers and to work in construction probably might want the occasional speaker, those speakers are not likely to be science fiction authors from the United States, speaking on the subject of the mysteries of life and death.

3. The e-mail came from a GMail account, not an e-mail account using the school’s address (I’ve already reported it to Google as a phishing attempt).

4. The phone number attached to the letter not only does not match the numbers for Bexley College on the Web site, but I learn that UK numbers that start with “+44 70″ are very often used for scam attempts (scroll down a bit for the info).

5. “Prof. Arthur Peterson” doesn’t exist, at least not in the context of Bexley College.

And so on.

Clearly the plan is to get me to call the phone number or to respond to the e-mail, grab some pertinent information about me from my own excitable self, and then go from there. Nice try, but no.

The fact the letter mentions my speaker listing at AboutSF suggests that whoever is doing it has copied out that site’s speaker list contact information and is probably contacting other folks listed there. So this is to raise a general alarm. Note that I suspect most science fiction/fantasy writers are smart enough to recognize a scam with they see one, but on the other hand better safe than sorry.

Bear in mind this particular letter uses Bexley College but it’s entirely possible the scammers will change it up and use other educational institutions. They’re crafty, these scammers.

So: Science fiction and fantasy writers: Beware.

What he said..............
  • Current Music
    "Midnight Rambler" by the Rolling Stones

Monday music: "'Til the Money Runs Out"

I first picked up the CD of Tom Waits's 1980 album Heartattack and Vine because it had "'Til the Money Runs Out" on it. I'd first heard the song when it was used on the Homicide: Life on the Street episode "Bad Medicine," one of the Luther Mahony episodes, and also the one that introduced the character of Terri Stivers. As sometimes happen, you buy an album for one song and you fall in love with the whole thing -- the album has some phenomenal songs on it, like "Mr. Siegal" and "Downtown" and "Ruby's Arms" and "On the Nickel" and especially the title track (from which derives my favorite sig line: "Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk").

Here's an amazing live performance of "'Til the Money Runs Out" from some time around when the album came out apparently from French TV. It's a superb performance, and I love that he's just chain-smoking through the whole damn thing....

  • Current Music
    "'Til the Money Runs Out" by Tom Waits