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Heavens. I can’t believe I let this sit for 10 months. A quick run-down of the things that have happened since my last update:

  • I won the 2012 Laine Cunningham Novel Award from The Blotter with my novel Perishables. It’s three connected stories about various experiences of a zombie apocalypse. In one of them, a vampire is at a meeting of his homeowners’ association when the dead rise. It’s a little silly and a little funny and a little serious and it has terrible recipes in it.
  • I published Perishables via Smashwords and Kindle and then decided to edit and publish the sequel, called Tooth & Nail. It’s built on a heavily edited NaNoWriMo I did some years ago about the same vampire.
  • I worked the partisan primary runoff election and my staff never mentioned the O’Keefe video. I’m sure they had seen it, but no one brought it up. I was intensely grateful.
  • I worked the general election in November. Jesus H. Christ on a platinum surfboard, what a day. I’ve never been so busy. It was busier than the partisan primary but the county gave me lots of staff and we all survived. There were partisan observers from both major parties in my precinct but they were very kind to me and to one another. Again, I’m sure lots of those people had seen the video but no one said anything. I was at least ten times as grateful because I had plenty more to think about that day. I also passed the election without any major run-ins with campaigners though I did have a couple of really amusing conversations with them.
  • I spent much of last autumn thinking about Tooth & Nail while I did a few promotional activities for Perishables: interviews on blogs and podcasts, for instance, and a few Google Hangouts with a group devoted to zombie fiction fandom. It was nice, after all the stupid bullshit of a year ago, to have a fictional world in which I could curl up and forget reality.
  • I ran my first 5K fun-run last October and my friend who is 6’7″ and ex-Army Airborne had trouble keeping up with me.
  • I spent November, December and January editing Tooth & Nail and dealing with my next-to-last class in the graduate certificate program I’ve been pursuing. I was kind of a stress ball.
  • I’ve spent the spring semester dealing with my last class and I still am kind of a stress ball.
  • I tried to play in two games of Call of Cthulhu at Dragon*Con last year, both of which were disastrous busts. I ended up running a one-shot for the Scourge of Nibelheim (aka “the Vampire group”) a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it but it ran too long and I didn’t get to include like half the stuff I came up with for it because I am just terrible at managing a game and remembering, you know, the poignant bits.
  • I had Shadowrun pretty much ruined for me, and for all my friends, by one really terrible game of it at Dragon*Con. Way to stay classy, totally-separate-and-self-isolating-and-aggressively-dickishly-insular Shadowrun Dragon*Con gaming track.
  • I ran my first timed 5K a few weeks ago and on a cloudy, rainy morning of running uphill at ~40F I clocked in at 25:13.6, 7th out of 46. I am extremely happy with that!
  • I’ve learned to love Twitter. Seriously, I used to say it was the diametric opposite of what I wanted the Internet to grow up to be but it is pretty great.
  • I gave a five-minute lightning talk at the #cc10 get-together celebrating 10 years of Creative Commons:

  • I’m approximately two years behind on reading comics. I plan to catch up as soon as I finish this graduate certificate program next month.
  • I’ve been asked to contribute a short story to an anthology built around the theme of “invasion” and am currently mulling some ideas. I am super-excited!
  • I attended my twenty year high school reunion and survived it and even reconnected majorly with some really wonderful people I knew back in the day. Facebook and life in general have gotten a lot more entertaining as a result.
  • I’ve joined a queer softball league.
  • I’m going to be a guest at ConCarolinas in Charlotte the weekend of 5/31 through 6/2!
  • I want the word “marriage” and I want to win the Supreme Court cases, absolutely, but I am also a little bit afraid that the queer communities will be divided into “normals” and “freaks” if we win and that the Right will use our victory as an opportunity to draw a line between those of us who are already primed for idle conformity: relatively moneyed, adhering more closely to rigid gender roles and identities, white, middle-class, “safe”. It will be vital, if we win this, to remember that it still must be okay to be different. Difference is what has given us the culture we create and celebrate together and difference has given us the advantages we are afforded by outsider status in the larger culture around us. We must continue to value people who have different families, different identities, different relationships (or none at all), different goals, different priorities and different beliefs. We do not all have to settle down into quiet, monogamous, dom/sub, top/bottom dichotomies defined by doggy day care and dinner parties. We have to stay freaks somehow.
  • My house is ruled by my cats and sometimes I find that really frustrating but mostly I am thrilled beyond measure at their benevolent dictatorship.
  • I’ve been watching Star Trek: Deep Space 9 while at the gym and it is really fucking good.
  • Last year I skipped NaNoWriMo – what would have been my tenth – to focus on editing Tooth & Nail. This summer I’m doing My Own Private NaNo to work on the first draft of a science fiction novel, the setting for which was developed in a two-session game of Microscope played by Scourge of Nibelheim.
  • We tried Fiasco this year and it is so. Freaking. Fun.
  • I bought a new camera – an Olympus – and I loooooove it.

Is that everything? I think that’s everything. A year of blogging in a single post. Heavens, indeed.

Note: I’m not sure I’d view either of these images while trying to eat.

This hilarious waste of perfectly good paint got linked from a comment thread on Unfogged sometime in the last few days. It’s well worth spending some time zooming around with one’s mouse and reading the explanatory text. Money quote: “Some stars shine brighter than others,” said of the stars on the American flag. My other favorite thing is probably the note that the little white boy represents both boys and girls and children of all races. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

At any rate, tengu was chatting with me the other night and asked if I had seen the response piece, “One Nation Under Cthulhu” and sent me the link when I said I had not. I’m impressed! It’s got buckets of blood, Great Old Ones, Deep Ones, some critters that could arguably be Mi-Go and/or Star-Spawn of Cthulhu and Satan wearing an expression somewhere between perplexed and pleasantly surprised. No Shoggoths, but I guess they would tend to crowd others out. The arm-stump Elder Sign being drawn on the Constitution is the crowning touch of class.

Best comment from the Wonkette thread on the response piece had to be, “If he passes out loaves and fishes, tell him you already ate.”

Finally, because the Internet is nothing if not a space that encourages creativity, this animated GIF. If you don’t get it, watch They Live sometime. It’s a classic.

Stay classy, John C. Wright.

Tonight while I was searching the YouTubernets for this, I found this.

So awesome.

I am closing in on Akismet having caught 100,000 spam comments on my behalf. Sweet.

NaNo thus far: 38,495 words.

I created a Wordle word cloud of the text so far. Hell yeah.

mrh has started what is basically the coolest thing ever: a blog that tracks pundit predictions in order to gauge the (in)correctness of pundits. Today he lines up a couple of posts about Apple’s now-present-future and some older political predictions we can now properly measure.

Do you want peace of mind?

Then don’t randomly look up your nephew’s MySpace page on a whim.

Just FYI.

Watch this.

But don’t watch it at work, or at least wear headphones if you do.

(Oh shit!  It’s Dr. Tran!)

I can’t remember where I first saw it, but I really enjoyed reading a Lovecraftian response to a 419 scammer.  Little did a realize it’s a bit of a cottage industry in its own right…

These four things are the keys to happiness, I think. Oh, and high-speed Internet access. Oh, and books.

And gaming.  Kittens, too!  OK, so I have a lot of needs.

Saturday afternoon we rolled over to Bascha & Kath‘s place to start off the grilling season in style. Bascha’s enormo-grill was in full effect (she has mastered the use of a chimney to get it going quickly, something I should learn to do at some point) and Kath had a spread going before we’d even gotten there. We cracked open some wine, The Boyf marinaded some ribeyes for me to grill, and several pounds of meat (I’m not exaggerating, really) later I was laid up on their couch while the rest of the party got their fun on. One nap and a few Tums later, I was well into my second wind.

You know you are in good hands when one of your hostesses tells you that the other hostess has Advil in her bathroom and when you go check said bathroom there are both Advil and Tums sitting out, ready to be used by those who need them. Gods yes. They have great grilling parties, I am here to tell you.

Speaking of good friends and fun times, those of you who know fiend must check his new digs: Geek Nanny (FYI – fixed the link; that was weird). It’s good reading. Follow along as he twists young minds to his evil purposes!

I’m from the mountains, so I am well-accustomed to the sort of things that happen deep in shadowed hollows where the same genes have mixed and mixed again for generations. But when MAC alerted me to this story, even I was surprised. From Haywood County News:

WAYNESVILLE – At least six men traveled from across the nation and South America to have their genitals mutilated in what Haywood County authorities described as a sadomasochistic dungeon.

Three Haywood County men are now in jail on felony charges of castration without malice and practicing medicine without a license.

OK, um, wow. I didn’t even know “castration without malice” was a crime. I mean, wow. Some legislator, somewhere, must have had a fun time hearing about it in the cafeteria after they proposed that one.

Also, you really must visit the link for the mug shots. Damnation. No one, and I mean no one, in their right minds would walk into that house, drop their pants and hope someone produces a knife. Additionally, you have to respect a media outlet that captions the photo with “CASTRATION HOUSE,” then helpfully provides a map to the place in the same story.

They asked a neighbor about the guys, and got this:

Kurtz said the men kept to themselves, rarely waved and never spoke.

I hate to say this, but in the mountains that is every bit as good as putting a sign at the end of the drive that reads WE ARE DOING SOMETHING FREAKY HERE. It shouldn’t be that way – people should have a right to ignore each other all they damn well want, and I remember well when a neighbor accused a gay couple in my neighborhood, back in the ’80s (no, really), of being “drug dealers, or something,” because they didn’t talk to others in the neighborhood and occasionally had out-of-town guests. Still, if the allegations are true, maybe it turns out that even a stopped social clock like that one can be right once in a while. And I find it somewhat heartening that her suspicions were not raised by more than one unmarried man living together, but about their lack of neighborly ways.

My favorite part of the whole article, though?

The victims met the men through a locally produced Web site that published photographs of men engaging in sadomasochistic behavior.

Of course there was a website.

Yahoo! shut down the site in December 2004. The castrations took place last year beginning in March and continued through November, according to police documents.

The case is the first involving willing castration in the county and could be the first in North Carolina.

“This right here beats everything I have ever seen,” the sheriff said.

That’s the mountains, for you.

Are you reading Achewood? If not, you totally should. It is a webcomic about the hard lives of animals who live in the secret underworld of a California suburb. It’s not like Gaiman, it’s not like Disney, it’s like if John Steinbeck and Joss Whedon had gotten together to write Six Degrees of Separation and it had starred cats and stuffed animals.

The current storyline is basically my favorite ever. Start here, and read forward. It is awesome.

I sleep on my stomach. I awoke at one point very early this morning to find that Didi & Gogo were sitting on my butt – square in the middle – wrestling each other. I peeked over one shoulder and there they were. They noticed me looking at them, paused briefly to stare at me, then went back to wrestling.

Kittens are so weird.

Also, I am never reading Penny Arcade late at night again. Last night I dreamt that Patrick Swayze was conned into marrying a morbidly obese midget. The Boyf and I had to make the case to free him from this unwilling matrimony.

You see this guide right here? This is how Setherax, my level 31 Dwarven Hunter in WoW, is going to get to 225 Enchanting in a night. An expensive night, potentially, but a night well worth it.

Then I’ll turn into one of the channel-spammers who stands around in Iron Forge wasting four lines of text explaining that they can do all the same enchants as everyone else. And I’ll get rich doing it.

Is this what had Bush, er, I mean, Dear Leader so worked up about human-animal (manimal to those in the scene) hybrids?

It’s worth noting, because I haven’t yet worked out a good color for links and also because it is so fun to say it: by “this” I mean “that the characters depicted on DHS’s own ‘readiness’ page for kids are in fact human-animal hybrids.”

You know that shrill whinnying you hear in the distance? That’s me laughing my ass off at this.

Or is it…? After all, it could be a maniacal manimal!


(First pointed out by the totally-worth-reading Overcompensating.)

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