Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of 2008 been a great year

Wow what a crazy year I publish a book and we get pretty good press Jean got interviewed by the New York times we where on ABC NEWS Now twice 1st 2nd Met some great people at Microsoft's in the know event in New york city and to cap it all off I got a story submission posted on slashdot and it happened to be by the same person who interviewed Jean
(I just thought it was a cool story jean was the one who pointed out the connection)
Well I hope we sell some books and it helps some people as that was the main reason we wrote it

I would like to wish every one a Happy new year!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So this morning I got to work early and there was an e-mail waiting from Steve an old friend from high school with a very cool photo of his brother from the early days of DC punk so looked through the whole set and was bummed that DC Space is a Starbucks now but it was a cool set. I never really played much with all the different things on facebook but I clicked on the link People you may know see all and wow crazy stuff I found another friend from high school and then a few more but one really stood out as she seemed to chronicle so much of her life on line with photos from around the world to the daily comings and goings of life. Jean calls this going down the rabbit hole of the internet you find one cool link that lead to another and before you know it 4 hours have gone by and your head is spinning. So check out her blog

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Book it is coming

So we just got the final proof of our new book Digitally Daunted it will be coming out soon for more info on all that stuff see www.DigitallyDaunted.com

Friday, November 16, 2007

Book Contract

On my 40th Birthday Jean shows up to meet me for lunch as she was "working" from home that day (just kidding she really does more work from home than I probably do all week) we went to The Sweetwater Tavern all the tables where full as it always is at lunch time so we went to the bar and jean pulls out a book contract for a proposal we had submitted a few weeks back and says "happy birthday". It was a great feeling to have a book deal (now I need to finish it). I do have to say it was an odd feeling sitting at a bar surrounded by professional looking business types reviewing the contract and even weirder was having my boss sign it as a witness.

So what is is about you say well .... I will put more on here about that later. Closer to it being in print. It was a spur of the moment type of thing an idea I had and Jean ran with it from idea to contract in about a month. You may also be saying judging from the writing on here HOW DID YOU GET A BOOK DEAL! I really don't know they just liked the idea I guess and Jean who is a way better writer than me put the proposal together. Oh yea she is co-writing it maybe that's why.

Yellow Belt

After 6 weeks of training and a very nervous test I got my yellow belt in Tae Kwo Do the test was extremely nerve racking as I have not been tested in any thing for like 15 years and their was an audience of mostly anxious parents wanting to see their kids preform. Part of the test is to preform your breaking technique and for this test it is hammer fist during practice I had broken 3 pine boards and thought it would be no big deal to try 4 after 6 tries I found I was wrong and went back to 3 and had to finish using my left hand as the right one was quite sore. I have promised my self to go to more practices before my green belt test so I can work on my confidence as I felt I could have done much better in this test.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Flight of the Conchords

Is/are awesome---and this song isn't why, but it is. And this one is kind of why--but really it is all about songs like this. And this is how they got their HBO gig, well probably stuff like that or this.

Doggy bounce (from www.hbo.com/conchords)

Oh yeah!

Doggy do’s and doggy don’ts

Doggy will’s and doggy won’ts

Do the Doggy Bounce

Do the Doggy Bounce

Doggy do’s and doggy don’ts

Doggy will’s and doggy won’ts

You know you want to do it

Do the Doggy Bounce

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jena 6 & The American Attention

A confluence of anniversaries and a reminder of how some things resist change are on my mind. This is the 50th anniversary of the forced desegregation of Little Rock schools. It is also the 50th anniversary of the Broadway debut of 'West Side Story'. Growing up as a Sesame Street kid, going to Head Start, singing along with the multiracial Coke chorus, learning I was free to be me and having my nightly TV show people beyond the white wash of previous years--this all led me to believe that we had made great strides in racial relations in this country. I lived in the 'virtuous' north, the 'ignorant' south had seen the errors of its ways and we were moving forward as a country. This was what I believed and what I was told was right and just. The civil rights movement was taught as history and Martin Luther King was someone in a poster hung in my classrooms.

When I was 9, we moved to South Florida---and I saw that the southern poverty that I thought was history, still existed in pockets--I thought the shacks and other decrepit housing were relics. Racial tensions were high in the elementary schools, the middle schools (the extent of my knowledge) but that things were working themselves out into new orders--nerdy kids v. cool kids whatever the color. I realized that the lack of this tension in the northern town I lived in was probably because people weren't living together. No black children attended our elementary school, but the town over the railroad tracks (too literal, I know) seemed to be entirely black. But as I said, the schools in south Florida were facing the new challenge of integrating English speaking kids with the kids from homes where Spanish was spoken. Racial enmity wasn't gone--but it simply entered the mix of all the other elements in the school community.

When Ronald Reagan was running for and then after he won--I noticed a real change in how America viewed itself. The nation was facing some bruising and withering states of affairs. The economy, the wars, pollution. The Reagan revolution was about making America feel better about itself by redefining what America was. If being a true American didn't include poor people, then America was rich. If America meant being 'past race', then the police profiling of black America had to be a result of criminality not bigotry in the police force. If we denied being concerned about the people of puppet states created in our cold war maneuvering, then America was a virtuous nation. If America was Christian, then we could feel good about excluding the godless or heathen among us. The right attacked the 'liberal' media, accusing it of bias by only reporting the 'bad news' and not representing the 'true America.' Any media that insisted on reporting on how we were failing either our own or those abroad was scrutinized, accused and eventually marginalized.

Perhaps it is this fear, this fear of being unpopular with the happy folks, that has led both the media and the majority American people from seeing that the demons wished away by the 'Morning in America' still lurk and have never ceased. Racism exists. It needs to be confronted. We cannot assume that we can put things in our past if they haven't ever been faced in the daylight. Nooses are threatening and carry a message of menace from white America to black America. The Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and a very effective messenger of fear and the assertion of power by the majority. Anti-immigrant bias is not just about taxes and national security--it is also about not wanting to hear foreign languages or expand our sense of what god is, what food is, what family is. The Ku Klux Klan may not be a powerful national movement, but the whispering of its existence is meant to keep people in fear.

The kids in Jena, Louisiana were treated differently by the court because of their race. Some of the white citizens of Jena have raised racist children. People need to be brave to speak unpopular but necessary truths. The media is responsible to tell the whole story, even if it doesn't fit in 30 second segments.

Life is complicated. Race should be meaningless--but our history denies that. We can work through these things. We will be a stronger nation. Heterogenity is what makes America great, not what we should fear. E pluribus Unum.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

TMBG have two amazing new videos

The latest video from They Might Be Giants features an evil moon, newspapers everywhere, evil Humvees and confusing road signs. It is just like life in Northern Virginia (except the evil moon part). Because you know, the Shadow Government lives across the Potomac from the ostensible Real Government.

The Shadow Government

And tackling similar themes, but in completely different imagery is the video for I'm Impressed. It is amazingly emotionally affective and even shocking. I'd hazard the dual meaning for the term "impressed" has to be intentional as our dear Johns are oh so clever and literate. Take the time, and watch and rewatch: I'm Impressed

Monday, September 10, 2007

A weekend visit to faire-y land

The Renaissance Faire's of the world (if extrapolated from the one in Crownesville, Maryland) are now inhabited by a world widened by fantasy gamers (which rather circularly are inhabited by the frequenters of Renaissance faires). The WOWs, the GuildWars, the Everquests have all added a sense of detachment from actual historical/ geographical descriptors and in stead have been liberalized to include fox tails for the young ladies, cutaway haremesque clothing and melanges of weaponry by the male types. More fun for all.

I, however, am a visitor to these realms--the observer. I'm more likely to read a book about these non-periods, watch a movie of the 'blood & mud' genre or be amused and impressed by my children's gaming. And Sean does look good in a kilt.

Friday, August 31, 2007

White Belt

After 2 classes I received my white belt in Tae Kwon Do with much help from my daughter and some of the other kids in the class. While not hard to do, under pressure it was hard to do them correctly and in the right order.Next I will learn my Kicking combination my forms as well as my Breaking technique to earn my Yellow belt most likely 2 months away. Having my daughter at the first two classes has made it much easier and I don't feel like a freak being the only adult. The other kids seem to see me as just a big kid. I guess I kinda am but I bet they don't hurt as much after class.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First day of Tae Kwon DO

My daughter has been doing TKD for a little over a year and I have wanted to try it but as I have had major knee problems and multiple surgeries so I have held out. After my last surgery I asked my Dr. if he thought it would be OK very quickly he said no problem might be good for me. Well I am still extremely nervous about it but I signed up last night and today is my first class I have no belt I should receive my white belt today during class if I don't kill my self.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer vacation Part 2

From the point of view of "Swords Anonymous" ha ha the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem.
OK back to the New York City Trip.
We stayed at the Hilton in the middle of all the City action very cool the lobby was like something out of the UN or something, being from Washington DC I have heard many conversations in languages I do not know but here I think I heard 15 different ones in about 1 minute It was a great experience and reminds me I need to learn at least one language that's not English (you could argue I don't know English but..)

Metropolitan Museum of Art Yes the old swords and armor where extremely cool even if it is assumed you know what most of this stuff is not really any history or explanations manly dates and who donated it. I found the Greek and Roman sculpture unbelievable how detailed it all was makes you think how long this skill was lost if it took until the Renaissance for it to be "rediscovered". You could easily spend many days here and I will be returning soon I hope.

The Natural History Museum Many Dioramas. I have been to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History more times than I can count there really is no comparison except the one in DC is free and way smaller. The Smithsonian has really been trying to get away from the dusty dioramas but to be fair the dioramas in NY are very well done and quite engaging.

The Mythic Creatures well what can I say it was only $7 more than the entrance cost we could have skipped it the Frog thing looked more interesting.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What we did on our summer vacation

So, when everyone deserts Dodge, where do we go. To the center of the universe of American culture--New York--to appreciate some of the world's culture, done up 'Merican-style.

I, being Jean, had a list. A list of fun things to do. My children were not impressed. In fact, I think one of them thought it was embarrassing. But I was prepared. Addresses, cross streets, URLs--and maps.

On my must-see list were the 1) Metropolitan Museum of Art--sold as 'go see the swords'--see previous post. 2)The Natural History Museum--to see what we could see. 3) Kinokuniya Bookstore. 4)John's Pizzeria--scoped out on a previous work visit. and 5) Midtown comics. The rest would be winged, wung?

So yes 1--awesome, of course, some grousing; 2)awesome but Mythical Creatures exhibit was, eh?; 3) must-see; 4) good enough for 2 visits and 5)exactly as expected. But of course, the happenstance things were some of the best. Sean in heaven with the Halal stands everywhere, and their cousin Mister Softee stands. Getting some last-minute obstructed views to Spamalot at not-crazy prices (my son did point out that it was roughly the price of Disney World--ever the analyst).

Except for one Starbucks fix on the last morning, we avoided things we could do at home. And my very hard to impress son even admitted to having a good time at Spamalot. Weirdest overheard conversation tidbits:

"Your nipples look so small!!!" -- said as a compliment
"I don't think I understood it, I guess I should have watched the movie"--who pays Broadway ticket prices for a show they know nothing about?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Swords Anonymous

The sad truth is that when you Google "Swords Anonymous", you find that there is no such organization.

There should be.

That is all.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter and the Infinite Sadness

I had some fun last Friday reliving good old bookselling days at Olsson's Courthouse location in Arlington, VA. It was great to see former colleagues, former customer/friends and a heck of a lot of excited people. Excited people excited about a book. Nothing better---anyone who attended or worked it got a bit of a contact high with all the excellent book nerdage. Long live fantasy, long live imagination, long live getting lost in a shared cultural experience.

It was even fun letting the occasional drunk but Harry-jonesing young people come in to buy a book after we had turned the key.

After barrelling through the book by Sunday morning, I relaxed, savored for a few days and then moved on. Something about reading an excellent book inspires you to find an equally enthralling book. I picked up an advanced copy of 'Redemption Falls' by Joseph O'Connor. He wrote one of favorite books--'Star of the Sea'. Find that book, buy that book, read that book.

And I end this little post with one thought that crept in quite naughtily. Picture this: Animated series about the adventures of little Teddy Lupin and all of his super-friends at Hogwarts. It will be better than the Animaniacs. Come on! Wouldn't that ruin it all quite brilliantly. They can do little paperback picture books with horrible dialog based on the tv show?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Eastwood Rocket

I got this a couple of days ago played it on my small fender practice amp and loved the sound I had to dig out my much bigger Peavey VT Classic 4 x 10 amp so I could really get a feel for it and of course it blew up. It was my fault when moving it I bashed the back and smashed the fuse holder and it shorted out on the back and I had to get it fixed. I found this great place near by Professional Technical Service (ProTech) in Maryland they fixed it in 4 days and oh man this is one sweet sounding gutiar.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ok, This is the Best Video Ever

Ok, take karate (correction--Kung Fu), cowboys, plasma guns, sexy heroines, mustaches, a unicorn, eagles and and . . . well, a kickass song.

Don't want to spoil it more--but man, oh man--brilliant!

Knights of Cydonia, by Muse

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Homegrown Terrorists Target Kids Who Read

Yea Jean and her fight against stupid people a story she found on the School Library Journal was just posted on a great Blog BoingBoing.net

See Boing Boing post here

See original Journal Post here

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rise of the Silver Surfer

I thought this movie was much better than the critics the ending was a bit week but over all I enjoyed it. If you are looking for a remake of the 1967 comic you will be disappointed but Stan Lee's cameo was great.
Over all it was a great way to spend the day with my kids.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dark Tower

Ok--I don't want to know how much it costs, really, I don't, but price be damned Sean got me the awesomest gift, a mint condition Dark Tower game. Way back in the 1980s, I played this board/electronic game as a teenager and was obsessed with it since then, my Rosebud if you will.

Basically, a way-scaled back version of D&D (playable in a little over an hour) but holding many of the charms without the creepy roleplay aspects. Loveably low-tech by today's standards, but not embarrassing to share with my tech-snob 11 & 14 year old kids.

2 years between posts, Have to work on improving that

I hope this will be a fun place for Jean and my self (Sean) to post rants and any thing we may find interesting, frustrating or completely mundane as the intro points out "guess what I just saw a duck Yes, a duck and a fly"

Thursday, May 19, 2005