Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

'Tis the Season

What with Halloween coming, I suppose we should have expected this.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Well, this should steam your shorts

Car rating site Edmunds.com hired a reporter, then immediately sent him out to sell cars, then write about it:
We hired Chandler Phillips, a veteran journalist, to go undercover by working at two new car dealerships in the Los Angeles area. First, he would work at a high-volume, high-pressure dealership selling Japanese cars. Then, he'd change over to a smaller car lot that sold domestic cars at "no haggle" prices.
Phillips, being a human being (as opposed to being a car salesman) had his misgivings about the whole thing:
Could I really do this? Could I really become a — a car salesman? Me, a law abiding middle-aged American. A — gasp — college graduate (well, barely). A writer. A person sometimes described as soft spoken and reserved? Why was I applying for a job in one of the most loathed professions in our society?
The story starts here. I got halfway into page 2 before becoming outraged at how they manipulate people, but I will finish the whole thing.

- via Making Light

Monday, September 27, 2004

And now, a brief note about the election

A new candidate has emerged.

- via Accordion Guy

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

From the Home Office, tonight's Top Ten list

I do not watch much TV, owing to my hobby of, well, making TV, so I didn't see Kerry on the Letterman show the other night. But this report caused me much glee this morning. Kerry's down in the polls at the moment, but it ain't over till it's over, folks.

I'll go back to work now.

Monday, September 20, 2004

If you all don’t lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes.

I looove musical theater.

I haaaaate any and all religious proslytizing, of any intensity. (I'm no big fan of any form of salesmanship, actually, but I'll just attribute that to my odd brain chemistry and move along.)

My hero for the day is Live Journal user Koaloha. She took a stand, in style.

- via Flutterby.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Timely Holiday Remindarrrr

It's Friday, me hearties, and I don't blog on the weekends, so let me just remind you scurvy dogs that Sunday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Why not make a weekend of it?

(And no fair discussin' the baseball situation in Pittsburgh or football in Tampa Bay).

And while we're on the subject, for a little light readin' between hurricanes, well-known Talk Like A Pirate Day publicizer Dave Barry (in the Hawaiian shirt and pirate hat in this picture) is on tour promoting a new novel which features a few of the bretheren of the coast. Haven't got it meself yet but it sounds like a hoot.

(Note. Most pirates do not say "hoot".)

Battening Hatches

It's not often you get hurricanes in Arizona, but it can happen.

Just looked at the latest predictions for Hurricane Javier, which is around Baja now.
The current map shows it blowing right over Arizona, though breaking up.

Gonna be wet tomorrow and Sunday. Fortunately I have all indoor activities. Unfortunately, one of those activities is supposed to be recording scratch tracks for Harmony Heifers, which won't be happening in a thunderstorm.

And of course, once it's past, we'll still be in a drought. If one hurricane can make up for a seven-year drought, I don't want to be anywhere near it. Javier isn't that big.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Job Change

The closest thing I have to a political bumper sticker on my car is the little "I voted today" sticker I got at the primary election. That's right, my car voted in the Democratic primary.

Lynne Gobbell of Moulton, Alabama has a John Kerry sticker on her car. It led to an interesting change of jobs.
The manager told her to go back to work, but he came back a few minutes later and said, "I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry".

Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. "He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.' I was just so shocked."
Of course, it is September already. Kos points out:
Of course, the Kerry campaign has a six week lifespan. Gobbell should look around for something a little more, er, permanent.
True, true. Maybe something at Alabama Democratic HQ?

I'm not currently in the market for insulation, but I will be soon - I'm building a recording studio - and you better believe I won't be buying Enviromate.

Monday, September 13, 2004

A Thousand Fires

Being silly, I am taking a cruise off Hawaii in mid-October. This is hurricane season in the central Pacific, so naturally I'm following all of the hurricane reports I can get my hands on.

In the process, Hurricane Ivan has made me nostalgic for an unfinished project.

I started to write a novel about fifteen years ago.

In A Thousand Fires, a powerful hurricane destroys a Chernobyl-styled nuclear plant on Cuba, then carries the fallout cloud up the Mississippi. Doing the research, I found out that there is one nuclear power plant in Cuba. It's in the southwest of the island at Cienfuegos (literally "a thousand fires"). It is not, repeat not the same design as Chernobyl - it's much safer - but for dramatic purposes I put a fictional Chernobyl-style plant at Cienfuegos and started work.

Then Cuba imploded financially. Russia all but pulled out and the economy tanked. The novel would have taken two to three years from start to publication, and I had no idea what Cuba would be like in three years. And the bottom began to fall out of the techno-thriller market. So I shelved the project and went on to other things. Time proved me right - there aren't as many technothrillers being published these days.

Hurricane Ivan is the hurricane from A Thousand Fires. It's category 5; it's passing near Cinfuegos - the latest maps I saw (before I disappeared last week) predicted the direct hit I had in the novel, but it's staying to the west. It's going due north across the gulf and it's staying strong.

And last week I read this interview with a Chernobyl survivor - this guy avoided death by inches because he happened to be blocking a door from closing.

In my book, Havana and Key West would be evacuated. The Cuban government would be in peril; the American government caught off guard - this was way before 9/11, but I wouldn't change too much today. Thousands would die in the panic alone. At the end, we get a final look at Havana - a ghost town forever, as America and Cuba are united by disaster.

In the meantime, I'm simply hoping for a light hurricane season in the mid-Pacific.

And some common sense about Cuba, which should no longer be our enemy.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Making the Heart Grow Fonder

Or: Where's Patrick been?
  • Finishing Footloose.
  • Helping the Girlfriend move into her new house.
  • Providing moral, immoral and logistical support during a trip to California to record vocals for her new CD.
Where will Patrick be?
  • Catching up on work abandoned in July when priorities shifted.
  • Away at a family emergency at least one day this week.
In the meantime, check for new stuff off in the sidebars and I'll see you when I can.