Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Architecture is a challenge built on techno trends
And many tough decision upon which a system bends.
So when I’m asked for my advice by strangers and by friends,
I look them squarely in the eye and answer, “It depends!”

Depends on what app server’s hot,
What the last SVP bought,
The foresnics of this system’s rot,
And other stuff that I forgot.

This project’s benediction —
Is it real or is it fiction?
I can take no firm position.
I am not a geek magician
Blessed with techno-precognition.
So I have no ammunition
For your big Enterprise mission.
I am just a politician
Who, waffling, contends:
“It’s architecture – it depends!”

Depends on who’s been talking smack,
Who has lots and lots of cash,
On who’s been drinking sour mash
Or maybe even smoking crack.

You want to know if you should build a data access bus
Or buy a turnkey product to ameliorate your fuss
But if you ask me what a systems guru recommends,
I’ll look you squarely in the eye and answer, “It depends!”

Depends on what’s your IDE,
Your build procedures currently
And what the process wonks defend.
Let’s just say it all depends.

Those Accenture guys will never leave!  Their project never ends!
That code they wrote!  I’d like to kill them!  Them and all their friends!
You want me to clean up their mess, your disbelief suspends,
I’ll look you squarely in the eye and answer, “It depends!”

Will this pig scale?
It all depends!
This framework hale?
Dot NET the Holy Grail?
Executives in jail?

It just depends!
Production ready?
Well, I’ll tell you

That in my best projection
Based on thorough and professional
Analysis and code dissection,
Testing that’s regressional,

Interviews confessional,
Demos very sleek,
With ducky-horsey Visio,
And Power Point technique,
And thirty six page writeup
Which to reputation lends
I’ll look you boldly in the eye
And tell you, “It depends!”

Dan Marcus (with apologies to John Vorhaus and his excellent book “Killer Poker”)

(reposted from the sad ashes of Posterous)

Read Full Post »

I will be lurking about most of the weekend, but will be reading from new work at 4:30 PM on Friday in the Santa Rosa room.  See you there.

Read Full Post »

Fat City

Leonard Gardner’s proto-Cali-noir masterpiece.  I read this as a young man, loved it, and haven’t thought much about it since (along with the many other authors I read in my misspent youth that have slipped into my brain’s archival storage – Celine, Donleavy, Crews, others …).  Just stumbled across it paging through post-purchase Amazon recs, sucked it down, and was immediately immersed in its bleak poetry.  Highly recommended.

Read Full Post »

I’m always looking for good writing warmups.  They’re like scales and arpeggios for musicians.  They get me in the zone before diving into serious work and they’re fun just for standalone word play.  Lately, I’ve been doing 20 lines a day of iambic pentameter.  Not poetry, not even poultry, just setting to cadence the random-ass stream of muttering bullshit that passes for thought in my addled brain.  For those who have somehow missed a standard issue liberal arts education, iambic pentameter is (basically) just a 5-beat line:  DUM-ba-DUM-ba-DUM-ba-DUM-ba-DUM. That’s it!  Kind of.  A bit like saying learning the hook to The Standells’ “Dirty Water” makes you a badass post-proto-punk. It does!  But it also doesn’t.   Regardless, jamming all your thoughts into this template can make you crazy almost immediately, and has a kind of Neil-Diamond-lyrics brainworm effect — you can’t fucking get it out of your head.  No, you can’t get it out of your head.

Some ‘xamples:

Pass the salt; these eggs are really bland.

I’m going to the store; you still need milk?

The cat puked on the rug – I’ll get a rag.

The London data center just went down.
I didn’t get a fucking page — did you?
The customers will make a lot of noise
Until we fix it like we always do.
And something something something rhymes with clown.

I missed the fucking bus again today!
I’ll go back home and have another cup
Of coffee, maybe half a bagel, too.
My team will wonder where the hell I am.

I’m watching Season One of Game of Thrones
Again.  You’re dead.  You’re dead.  And so are you.

Read Full Post »

I’m reading new work at 10:30 AM, running a workshop at 1:30 PM and generally shmoozing about the rest of the weekend.

Read Full Post »

I love a loud, dumb, pop-genre romp with plenty of splosions and plot and stuff as much as the next guy.  Probably more than the next guy.  But the latest in the X-Men franchise was hollow as an empty can of Tab, dumb as a box of crabs,  nearly as self-referential as my narcissistic ex from grad school, not quite as loud as a Pixies concert, and flatter than day-old poori.    So the Magneto Gandalf dude is a good guy now.  But his younger self is still a little bitch.  But maybe not.  And Wolverine is supposed  to go back in time to save Peter Dinklage from the blue lady, who wants to kill him because he’s gonna have invented an army of mutant-killing robots for Richard Nixon. But first he has to rip Tony Soprano’s throat out.  After that, the story starts getting complicated.  This is not so much a review as a lament.  What the fuck did I just do for two hours?  I don’t even know!  I just know I’ll never get them back.  Unless I go back in time and kill Patrick Stewart. Looks like if I wanna enjoy a shitty movie any time soon, I’m gonna have to wait until Joss Whedon detoxes from the last Avengers to slam out another big budget E-ticket.

Read Full Post »

Boss cover

12 hours of unabridged fun. Wells’ Martian invasion as witnessed by various luminaries of the time, told by the likes of Connie Willis, Robert Silverberg, Walter Jon Williams, and yours truly in “Blue Period:” a young Picasso watches the tripods lay waste to Paris and works on his portfolio.

Read Full Post »

Here’s the syllabus:

Session Topic
#1 Introduction and Recap
A brief introduction to SFF 2, and a recapitulation of the elements of fiction discussed in SF1
#2 Suspension of DisbeliefIn which we discuss how to persuade your gentle readers to enter the fictive dream.
#3 The Story QuestionIn which we discuss this very important question that defines the heart of your story.
#4 Conflict
A great followup to the story question.  Conflict is the prevention of fulfillment and is the gasoline for your story’s engine.
#5 Narrative, Dialog, Action
In which we delve into using narrative, dialog, and action scenes to advance the story
#6 Exposition and Theory
In which we discuss paradigms for various forms of speculative fiction, and then get sane again with a discussion of exposition and how to introduce it into a story
#7 Story Logic
It’s one damn thing after another.
#8 Advanced Worldbuilding
More worldbuilding …
#9 Details
Sweating the small stuff
#10 Revision
This topic subject to change without notice

Read Full Post »

Speech to text poetry

Direct speech recognition transcription of a recent phone meeting:


All that big dear,

I want it and whatever

backing for a moment.

Don’t make me wait guys.

Love the ability that better –


okay —


You like refraction later.


Yet maybe that’s something


go to right now


Buddy, hope everything is well and you

Have a high resolution, will you

Read Full Post »

Friday, 4:30-5:45 PM, Contra Costa Ballroom:  Reading

Saturday, 3:00-4:15 PM, Sacramento:  Panel, Why Aren’t My Stories Selling?

Saturday, 4:30-5:45 PM, Salon A/B: Panel, Just because she’s a manic pixie in black leather, doesn’t stop her being The Angel in the House

Sunday, 1:30 – 2:45 PM, Salon A/B: Panel, Secrets in Science

Aside from the above, I will be generally about for most of the weekend, especially Friday Night Karaoke!



Read Full Post »

Older Posts »