Space Opera and the Siege of Vienna: the Archetypal Perspective 5

In their 2003 article How Shit Became Shinola: Definition and Redefinition of Space Opera, David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer defined modern space opera as “colorful, dramatic, large scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character, and plot action … and usually set in the relatively […]

The Battle of Alexander at Issus

I’m working on a very interesting project: creating an operations manual for a small private water treatment and distribution system up here in the Santa Cruz mountains. We’re going to be using Adobe Acrobat X to enable multiple stakeholders to comment on the document as it evolves and the finished PDF will, we hope, incorporate live video feeds from surveillance cameras monitoring various locations, tanks, and gauges.

Perhaps I’ll also be able to get an article out of this for a magazine. Even if that doesn’t work out, the project will make a great blog post.

This project actually started back in 2008, but was delayed for various reasons until just recently. At that time I started thinking about building a practice around creating such manuals. Very few small systems have good documentation, and although state regulations on this seem to be laxly enforced right now, that could change. As a first step, in 2009 I got a California Water Treatment Operator’s License (T1), and have been thinking about eventually going for a T2, and maybe adding a distribution license at some point. I also assist the water system operator at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond.

However, if the re-launch of Exordium goes well and we start writing more novels in that world, I probably won’t have time for water system manuals. So I’m not rushing into the T2, which would require a good bit of studying.


The publication date for  Ruler of Naught, the second volume of our Exordium space opera, just got moved to July 19th. That gives us two more weeks to stuff even more skiffy into it.

Yesterday I lost half my workday to the Win 7 Total Security virus—the first time I’ve ever gotten a computer virus. I still don’t know where I picked it up (I’m not going to go looking for the site!), but it went right through my McAfee protection suite and shut down all my Internet access via browser; except, of course, the “Activate Now” link that would have really screwed me over. Continue reading

Back in the saddle 2

I’m up and blogging again, to support both my return to science fiction with the revision and re-release of Exordium, and my freelance writing and editing service, Creative Impact. It’s going to be interesting, trying to serve both audiences (although at times it feels like there’s more commonality between science fiction and high-tech marketing than […]

In the middle of a move… 2

Welcome. I’m in the process of changing over to the new Laughing Squid cloud hosting service, so my website is going to look a bit different until I’ve done some housecleaning. In the meantime, if you’re looking for information on my marketing and technical writing services, go to About in the site menu. For information […]

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Obama has spoken: “The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.” There is so much that you can do with this statement. The hypocrite in speech is invoking an argument that he himself so blatantly ignores and will continue […]

The Monstrous Anger of the Guns

I’ve long thought that what is called Memorial Day would be better recast as Revisionist History Day. The state inculcates an unquestioning faith in its war-making by associating it with patriotism, heroism, and the defense of “our freedoms.” This strategy builds in its own defense against any criticism of the government’s policies. Anyone who questions […]

Right On

The way to tell an ideologue from a realist, and the reason realists are not simply ideologues posing as something else, is that the ideologue will persist in a course of action long after it has failed and long after everyone knows it has failed because he thinks that his “values” demand it. Instead of […]

Proportionality 2

Once again: Throw a shoe at your country’s occupier and miss — jail. Invade another country, unleash cluster bombs and chemical weapons, torture, help incite bloody sectarian war using domestic death squads and foreign mercenaries, the death toll somewhere around a million — retire in material comfort, guarded ’round the clock. Dennis Perrin

The Last Refuge 6

To the extent that people conventionally define patriotism as collectively denying national responsibility and exulting in national pride, it is not surprising that it should wax and wane with electoral fortunes of different factions. It is telling that this discussion was prompted by the argument currrently circulating that there can now be an unabashed left-patriotism […]

On The Way To Anarchism

It is time to think differently…to think of liberty in terms of self-government; to consider that freedom is best preserved when institutions are smaller and less concentrated with destructive power; to live within the means that nature affords, without seeking its pillage or mutilation; to act with stewardship and responsibility in the world and toward […]

A Government of Men

There’s much rejoicing in the pwogosphere about Obama’s executive order “banning” torture. But I use scare quotes around “banning” for two reasons. First, as Greg Sargent notes, the president left wiggle room in the order for a future redefinition of torture, by establishing a special Task Force to …study and evaluate whether the interrogation practices […]

Of Sauce and Geese

There is something striking about how rigorously theocons apply Vatican teaching to questions of private individuals’ sexual and emotional relationships and how loosely they apply it when it comes to tempering right-wing governments from embracing torture, economic inequality, the death penalty and pre-emptive war. Andrew Sullivan

Seasons Greetings

That covers everyone, including my non-theist friends. For a glimpse of Christmas and Hanukkah at the Trowbridge-Ross household, check out Deborah’s Journal. For a bit of comic relief, a solemn liturgical procession with an unexpected participant: H/T Making Light And at the other end of the spectrum, a carpenter’s story. H/T The Sideshow

False Community

Modern nation-states which masquerade as embodiments of community are always to be resisted. The modern nation-state, in whatever guise, is a dangerous and unmanageable institution, presenting itself on the one hand as a bureaucratic supplier of goods and services, which is always about to, but never actually does, give its clients value for money, and […]

American Conservatism

The regnant strain of “conservativism” in America uses a rhetoric of “personal responsibility” in order to denigrate and scapegoat the less privileged and more marginal members of our society because it is not conservativism: it’s conservativism’s tatooed ex-con brother-in-law: white ethnic nationalism. Its fundamental ethos is a hastily constructed set of cultural resentments. Its commitment […]

A Potpourri for November 2nd, 2008 through November 21st, 2008

Links of interest for November 2nd, 2008 through November 21st, 2008: The Book of Sarah (Palin) – Village Voice – The myth of Sarah Palin, reformer, withers under inspection. Democracy Now! | Ex-CIA Officials Tied to Rendition Program and Faulty Iraq Intel Tapped to Head Obama’s Intelligence Transition Team – Brennan has supported warrantless wiretapping […]

My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma

Kevin Drum outlines the karmic payback for Republican identity politics: There will always be plenty of votes for a culturally conservative party. That’s not the problem. The problem is the venomous, spittle-flecked, hardcore cultural conservatism that’s become the public face of the evangelical wing of the GOP. It’s the wing that doesn’t just support more […]