Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Force Is With Them

NASA will take Luke Skywalker's lightsaber to space on the Discovery in October. No. Way.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


This picture looks like Hell to me:

The Greek wildfires are in danger of destroying ancient ruins, notably the Olympic sites. Here in Iowa, and elsewhere in the greater Midwest, it's water. Flooding has sunk many communities, including Waterloo. It's not too bad here, not as bad as Fort Dodge, but the Greenhill road folks are submerged, again.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Universe Has A Hole In It

Holy shit.

What the hell is it? My brain already is spinning with ideas about what it could be, or would be, in a story with a universe that has a hole in it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The Endeavour made it back safe earlier today, a day ahead of schedule due to the hurricane down in the south. NASA had been worried about it making landfall in Texas, which would have put the landing in jeporady.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Automatic do not stop go directly to Hall of Fame Space Picture:

Sounds like they're not going to attempt the repairs to the Endeavour, thinking them unnecessary. Excuse me if I don't jump up and down with relief.

Monday, August 13, 2007


So the Endeavour has a serious hole in its belly from a piece of foam - the same culprit in the demise of the Columbia. It appears to be fixable, but there's a little too much debate amongst NASA types about its seriousness which usually means it's pretty fucking serious. I had a weird flashback today to when I was a kid, in the months after Challenger. I carried around this shoebox of newspaper clippings and other artifacts from the tragedy, the investigation, anything to do with the shuttle. I even took it to school with me. It was a green shoebox. I wonder whatever happened to it; it seemed so important then, like it contained something priceless inside, beyond understanding.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Circle Has No Beginning

And no end. Flawless.

Astronomers have discovered the universe's largest planet - so far - in the constellation Hercules, about 1,400 light-years away. It's a gas giant nearly twice the size of Jupiter, which is stupefying, but even more weird is that it has half the density of Saturn, the lightest object in our solar system. Saturn would float in water if you found an ocean big enough.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Went to Loo Town's first annual Irish Fest this weekend. I had a blast. There was a U2 cover band that outdid themselves and of course, lots of beer. It made me think of my Irish buddies, many of whom I have not talked with in a long while.


I've long been a fan of The Great Gatsby, so I've always been interested in Fitzgerald's writing process, which was legendary. He never really stopped revising; he was even making changes to the page proofs of the novel at the printer. I feel a little bit of kinship with him. I'm an endless tinkerer. Maybe it's because I lack the clarity most writers possess; they arrive at solutions much faster than I do. I know when I get deep into my stories, as I certainly have with the Big Damn Epic, for years now, I'm not able to see the forest for the trees. The book has evolved as I have evolved as a writer; most other (sane) writers would have abandoned it as a first project, a failed project, but it's a work of passion and the story, as silly as it may sound, is sound; I haven't been, obviously.

My friend Sugu - who really needs to be update you with his site - could you tell you stories about the many revisions this thing has gone through. He's been in Japan for the last couple years, so he hasn't even been privy to the most recent; it's always been the first 100 pages. After that, the story works pretty well and has remain fundamentally unchanged since about 2003 (good lord! It's been that long?). I have never known who to start the story with. It has many characters, all worthy central protagonists, and many points of view; of course it has a central character, but starting explicitly with her has been difficult. She is alien, difficult to describe, and she's a child - the early drafts have a definite YA aspect. But she's the only place I can start. Part of the solution - one hopes - has been to make her a little older. She's actually a couple centuries old, but she appears and acts like a teenager, and was even younger before; the other part has just been to give in to the fact that I have to explain some things upfront. I like subtlety in writing, I like showing, not telling, but it's not a movie. I can't get away with visually expressing the exposition like I could in a film. I have to explain, right away, this is what she is. This is where they are and that is where they came from. This is why this stuff is happening and if I were a better writer, a Joyce or a Kurosawa, I would know how to do it without doing it.