Alternate Reality

I  don’t know about you but life feels surreal right now.

Pretty much everything is cancelled. My daughters opera slated for next month is cancelled. All the schools here are online only until further notice.

No sports, of any kind, except . . . except Virtual Sports. Could this spark something new? All those out of work sports reporters need something to do.

cornonaprepper

I’m listening to Karl Schroeder‘s newest book, Stealing Worlds. People can disappear in the LARP game worlds, into the alternate economy of Notchcoin and blockchains. The people who build the games also program the surveillance networks. It’s s Deep State thriller that deals with a lot of virtual and mixed reality stuff. Combined with what is happening across the world right now it has really got me feeling like we are in the first stages of Schroeder’s world.

 

My imagination has been working overtime, and I can see a world where virtual sports really take off, online worlds thrive. Why? Because you can do it in the comfort of your fortress at home. I wonder about the implications of social distancing. If this virus threat continues for months and months it could have a lasting impact on how we live for years to come. If I had the money I would be investing in online ventures and delivery services.

I hope you are doing well. Keep washing your hands.

What the Fluxx?

FluxxMy eldest son has a degree in game design. (he is very talented and looking for work if you are hiring.) He loves games of all types. One of his coworkers introduced him to a game called Fluxx and he liked it enough to buy it. We played it Saturday night and I have to say it’s one of the funnest games I’ve played in years.

It’s a card game. The goals and rules change throughout the game, guaranteeing that every game will be distinctly different. The rules are on the cards so it only takes about 5 minutes to learn how to play, if that. It takes a little longer to get familiar with all the variations, but it’s not difficult and we played two games in less than an hour and had a blast.

The game is made by Looney Labs and has a bunch of themes, like Dr. Who or Firefly. We played the Star Trek: The Next Generation version and I loved it. I played with my three youngest children, ages 18-24, and they have never seen ST:TNG, but it didn’t make it any less fun.

We are always on the lookout for fun games. Do you have any suggestions?

 

#Pitmad

pitmadI recently finished a complete overhaul of my latest manuscript, after getting some great feedback. The story has changed drastically, so have a lot of the characters.

I noticed that PitMad was coming up so I decided to brush off the pitch and see if I got any bites. The event is sponsored by Pitchwars.org

Kurestin Armada (@kurestinarmada) an agent at Root Literary said this in a Tweet:There are so many pitch contests now that most of the agents I know are fatigued and sit out more than we join—so if you’re feeling like your pitches aren’t getting a lot of traction, it may very well be that the right agents for you just aren’t doing this round
So there’s that. And she’s not wrong. I applaud the efforts of those trying to support writers, and all of these pitch contests are free, except for the time the writer has spend preparing.
You only get to do three pitches and the contest goes between 8AM and 8PM, so you have to space them out for maximum effectiveness and hope you get some RTs and likes. The likes are supposed to be reserved for AGENTS. Anyway, here are my three Twitter pitches. Had to stay under the character count:

Cole’s life is in disarray after his memory is stripped in a brutal attack that destroys his neurochip. Now the centerpiece of a government cover-up, he must expose the truth behind hundreds of mysterious deaths before they shut him up for good. #PITMAD #A #S #SPF #SF

A brutal attack destroys Cole’s neurochip, strips his memory, and leaves his life in shambles. Now the centerpiece of a government cover-up, and unable to trust anyone, he must expose the truth behind hundreds of deaths before they shut him up for good. #PITMAD #A #S #SPF #SF

A brutal attack destroys Cole’s neurochip, strips his memory, and leaves his life in shambles. Deep state treachery and a manhunt make exposing the truth a daunting task. Blake Crouch’s Recursion meets William Gibson’s Zero History. #PITMAD #A #S #SPF #SF

 

I have the book out to a few Beta Readers and will be sending it out again on sub when I get their feedback. So far it has been positive.

Good luck to everyone out there trying to get some attention for their manuscripts!

 

I Don’t Do My Own Plumbing . . .

01 Jan 2000 --- Plumbers dilemma --- Image by © David Bentley/CORBISSo, I did something I said I would never do again. Plumbing.

And it bit me in the butt.

It was a simple task. Change out the faucet in the main floor bathroom. I figured I could manage that. How hard could it be?

 

I took pictures (Well, actually i forgot to take pictures, so my wife took a few and texted them to me) so I could match it. I went to Menard’s and found a similar new faucet and slotted the time for installation for the weekend.

Sunday afternoon I unboxed the faucet and started the removal. That’s where the first problem popped up. The new faucet had a pop-up drain, instead of a pop-up rod assembly. So I would have to remove the drain and install the new one. No problem.

Well…problem. The area under the sink was very tight. I couldn’t really get my head and arm in the same side without contorting my body. And I was unable to separate the top and bottom part of the drain and it would not pull out otherwise.

It was nasty in there too, fungus and hair and slime. I did manage to clean it up really well. There’s that. But I was missing something in taking out the drain and decided at that point to go ahead and call the plumber to install it all. Which I should have done from the beginning, since I said I would never do my own plumbing again.

So I commenced to put it all back together. It went fairly smoothly and I thought I was done. Did I say the area under the sink was tight? Getting the lines reconnected was a pain due to the lack of space. I couldn’t see very well (at all) without contorting my body again and getting up in there. But I’m not as young as I used to be and I was getting tired. I tried to do it without getting my whole upper body in there, but it all seemed to be back together. I turned the water and nothing was dripping that I noticed. The floor under the sink stayed dry.

Flash forward about eight hours.

My boys coming running up from the basement yelling, “There’s water pouring out of the ceiling!” (Thank God they are down there most of the time. I can’t imagine how this would have turned out otherwise.)

Water was pouring out of a light fixture in the ceiling and there were several places along seems in the drywall where water was pooling and starting to drip through. I ran back upstairs to try and figure out where it was coming from, but nothing was running. Our master bathroom toilet had just been flushed, so maybe something was leaking there and it was right above where it was leaking out of the light fixture. Was it a coincidence that I had tried to do some plumbing work earlier? All I had done was turn on and off the water below the sink.

I was out of my league, but it was 10 PM on Sunday.  I called the emergency number for the plumber and he was there about forty minutes later.

I’ll cut to the chase here; he did an amazing job of pinpointing the problem in fairly short order and had everything fixed by midnight.

Yep, it was my handiwork. I didn’t get the hot water line connected properly under the sink when I put it back together and the water had been trickling down along the line into the basement in a barely visible trail.

I now have some drywall to repair.

Lesson learned. Again. Never, ever, do my own plumbing.

Media Need to STOP Feeding the Coronavirus Fears

It has gotten completely out of hand. My wife visited the doctor yesterday and they were surprised when she didn’t ask them about the coronavirus; apparently everyone else had. Media, especially television “news” outlets have been feeding the frenzy using words like “Deadly” coronavirus. It is the second LEAST deadly of all the major virus’s that have been going around for the last decade.

It IS very contagious. But is has proven to be a fairly weak virus in comparison to others. Even the normal flu virus that we get shots for every year, (you get your flu shot right?) has nearly twice as much killing potential and yet we don’t have the media screaming about that.

Good news came out today that the Israelis are a few weeks away from having a vaccine. They had been working on one for years. Good timing? Providence? Who knows.

But the fear mongering has got to stop.

My local TV station played this last night: Context matters

Island Beauty in Blown Glass

IMG-0261

My wife and I recently took a trip to Hawaii and on the last day we found this amazing work of beauty. It is the same size as the conch shell it emulates, made by Emily Thomas. She is a native born Hawaiian and calls herself a glass artist. This is just one example of the beautiful pieces she creates. You can see more at her website: Emily’s Art Glass

Max Barry is Coming to America with a New Book

Providence cover

Max Barry is one of my favorite novelists. I can actually say I’ve read every book he has published. His new book, Providence is coming out on March 31st. He is coming to the United States for a book tour. Here are the details from his latest letter:

A lot has happened since I was last in the US. The world became a dark dystopia ruled by corrupt oligarchies. Data-driven marketing companies sucked up our fears and turned them into products. The book publishing industry fell into crisis.

Ha ha! I’m kidding. It was all like that already.

If you’ve never seen me in person, boy, are you missing out. I mean, the accent alone, you can’t even imagine. So what happens at these things is first I talk about whatever’s on my mind. I’ll be traveling with my daughter this time, so, you know, brace yourself for some insights on what it’s like to take a 14-year-old Australian around the US on book tour.

Then I read from the new book a little. But not for long, because, really, you can read it yourself. That’s why we printed all these copies.

Then comes my favorite part, where people ask questions about whatever. Writing, NationStates, why Australian Rules Football is the greatest sport in the world: you name it. This is really the bread and butter of the bookstore event for me. Any kind of situation where people will sit and listen to my opinion on things, that really works for me.

Come see me here:

  • San Diego, CA

7pm @ Wednesday April 1st, 2020

Mysterious Galaxy

  • Beaverton, OR

7pm @ Thursday April 2nd, 2020

Powell’s Books — Cedar Hill Crossing

  • Seattle, WA

7pm @ Friday April 3rd, 2020

Elliot Bay Book Company

  • San Francisco, CA

3pm @ Saturday April 4th, 2020

Borderlands Books

  • Mountain View, CA

2pm @ Sunday April 5th, 2020

Books, Inc.

  • Denver, CO

7pm @ Monday April 6th, 2020

Tattered Cover — Colfax Avenue

  • Chicago, IL

7pm @ Wednesday April 8th, 2020

The Book Cellar

  • Washington, DC

7pm @ Thursday April 9th, 2020

Politics & Prose — Union Market

I also sign books. The new book, older books, you name it. I will sign anything not nailed down. Although if all you want is a signed Providence, you can contact one of the bookstores and we’ll arrange that without you having to leave home. I mean, that’s not my preference. But I want you to know that option is available.

Max Barry
maxbarry.com

 

Maybe I’ll see you at one of these.

 

Coronavirus Fears are Out of Control

The media has created a fear of the Coronavirus (covid-19) that is out of proportion worldwide. All the talk of pandemic and global fears causing the DOW to drop more than a thousand points today, all on emotion.

According to medical sources, this season’s flu has a mortality rate of around 3%. The mortality rate of the Coronavirus is between 1-2%.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/flu-bigger-concern-wuhan-virus-grabs-headlines/5701932

Why aren’t we freaking out about the flu? It’s crazy.

There hasn’t been a single case in the United States resulting in death. Most of the deaths, and all but one so far have been in China, have been as a result of people already being in poor health when they contracted it.

The World Health Organization declined to declare the outbreak a pandemic today, as well.

Let’s not let fear get the better of us.