• Stephen Kellogg Concert
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Maybe one of them will understand me

    Looking forward to a Stephen Kellogg concert later today, in Novato. This will take me close to the area I grew up in, which, in ways, still feels like home.

    I’ve succeeded in finding two Shutterstock images to purchase and combine as cover art for when I post my short story Extinguishing Eternity. Still struggling to find something for A Way Out – nothing is close to what I imagine.

    To make sure this post doesn’t get lost with the concert and all, I decided to get it done early. This First Sentence is inspired by thoughts related to Extinguishing Eternity and the Star Trek: Voyager episode I watched last night:

    “I don’t understand. Why are you making them live forever?”

    “Because then maybe, someday, one of them will understand me.”

  • Custom virtual reality code
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    An interesting murder request

    Adulting has taken most of my Saturday.  Non-adulting highlights include Star Trek: Voyager, Jamba Juice, listening to a dystopian fiction audiobook, and furbutts of the dog and cat variety.

    Early this month I purchased a 30-day 10-image subscription to Shutterstock as a source of images in my blog and website redesign and for my stories. I’d intended to use most of them in my blog redesign, thinking I could rotate through several of them. In practice, however, most of them don’t work due to how responsive design resizes images. Unfortunately, unused credits expire so I have two days to decide how to use my remaining six. While I have many beautiful favorites, there are few I imagine having any use for. Alas.

    As a nice break from my adulting, today’s First Sentence was written just now:

    “Focus on the user.” The advice exasperates me. Users are banal and tedious. It’s all sex and action hero fantasies, hardly any interest in scenarios that require complex theorizing. Occasionally, an interesting murder request comes along, and those help break the monotony, but the sameness of most of the “custom” programs is wearing on me. Sometimes I think of slipping in a jack-in-the-box and turning a standard secret agent gig into a parallel universe time travel escapade but, well, I have to do what pays the bills and “focus on the” bloody “user.”

  • Nothing but choices
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    Better. Worse. Different.

    After a couple weeks of me being fairly moody and easy to annoy, I’m introspective tonight. I’m facing some decisions that feel large to me, but when I sit back and compare them to the decisions of others – Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s decision to testify at the Senate hearing, for example – they’re not. They’re medium sized, probably edging in the direction of small, when stacked against the sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and other difficulties that many people in this country face on a daily basis.  Adults having to work two or more jobs to survive, families one medical-emergency away from bankruptcy, one prolonged illness away from not having a reliable paycheck, there are just so many serious struggles that so many people are in the middle of even as I write these words.

    My story is still my own though, and my decisions are important to me. I won’t minimize how they impact me but I have to allow the above comparisons to make me grateful for all that I have, for the ease of contemplating medium-small dilemmas instead of cliff edged ordeals.

    So, today, the beginning of a story about choices and changes and the days that define the courses our lives will take. From 1/26/09, back when I used to write about actual romantic relationships in more than just the background:

    Things never turn out the way you expect them to. Better. Worse. Different. But never the same. Today is no exception. I imagined a

  • Stack of storyboard index cards
    Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    Until or unless

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the presumption of innocence and how it applies to rape allegations. The obvious application is toward the person (usually a man) the allegations are made against. The less obvious one, or at least less talked about one, is toward the person (usually a woman) who is making the allegations. In this case, the presumption of innocence would be the presumption that she’s not lying.

    But how does that work, presuming both parties are innocent unless one of them is proved guilty (or rape or of lying)? How does it work during the time of #metoo when women are coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment, assault, and rape? How do statistics impact who we favor with the presumption of innocence? When I’ve Googled it I’ve found the estimates of false rape accusations are between 2% and 10%.

    Let me be clear: I’m happy women are telling their stories and I tend to believe allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Not all women are raped (thank goodness) but all women are harassed at some point, at the very least. It’s happened to me. I’ve heard all the excuses. What was she wearing? How much did she have to drink? Did she flirt with him? Did she say no? Was she clear? Why couldn’t she take it as a compliment? He just asked for a smile. Why wasn’t she nicer when she turned him down? Doesn’t she know how much guts it takes to

  • Not Human
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Not human, not well

    I enjoyed a lovely evening visiting with friends. Music came up, and I played them a few songs, including Time Bomb by the Dave Matthews Band. These are my favorite lyrics from that song:

    If martians fell from the sky
    What would that do to god?
    Would we put the weapon down
    Or aim it up at the sky?
    No one would believe it
    Except the fucking nut jobs
    They’d laugh and cry we told you so

    I love science fiction for the questions it asks and for the creative ways it showcases our own societal prejudices and weaknesses. I think that’s why I love these lyrics.

    I went to college in Fresno, a city I would describe as fairly conservative and religious. After growing up in the Bay Area, it was an eye-opening and shocking change. I’d never realized that there are a lot of people who believe I will go to hell because I’m not Christian. I’d never realized people thought anyone would go to hell for believing the “wrong” thing, or that so many people would act like they knew the truth about life and god, and knew what would happen to me since I disagreed with them.

    I had a friend the first year and half of college who was Catholic, but not like any Catholic I’d met. I remember telling her I wanted to believe in reincarnation and she said, “Then do.” That was so unlike the religious certainly I’d met with from others in

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    If I saw you I never noticed

    Very little of my day has gone as planned. Amidst a world and life of uncertainty and constant change, it would be nice to occasionally have a day that goes exactly the way you intended. Just once in a while. For a change of pace.

    To make my point, I was interrupted between writing the previous paragraph and this one. A pleasant interruption, though, which I probably can’t say for most of the others today.

    Today’s First Sentence is from 09/09/2008, and I have the strange feeling I’ve already posted it, though I can’t find evidence of that.

    It’s funny how things work out. I never saw you before graduation. Or if I saw you I never noticed. Yet somehow, even though I don’t know your name and I have friends that are waiting for me, there’s a connection that makes me listen when you approach me after the ceremony.

    “I’ll remember you.” That’s it. You don’t say ‘hi,’ don’t introduce yourself.

  • To boldly go where no Elf has gone before
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    To boldly go where no Elf has gone before?

    I had an interesting dream last night. In the dream, I was talking about a story idea – a Stark Trek / fantasy Elves crossover. In it, a spaceship with faster than light-speed capabilities crashes on a remote planet, far from where anyone would think to look for it. The technology is damaged so they can’t get home for reasons.

    The planet they’ve crashed on is populated by Elves, who are ruled by an ultra wealthy upper class. The vast majority of the Elves are poor. There are enormous amounts of classism and racist at play, though my dream didn’t elucidate on the racism front.

    The spaceship people decide to share their surviving technology with the poor oppressed Elves, who use it to overthrow the rich ruling class and transform the society to one that isn’t driven by increasing the wealth of a few at the expense of everyone else.

    One of the clearest memories I have in the dream is of musing to a friend that I probably wouldn’t be able to actually use Star Trek characters for the spaceship people.

    In retrospect, the dream is both amusing and very telling about my thoughts and feelings about the current political situation in the United States, and my wish for some kind of magical fix.

    And how about the complete lack of a Prime Directive for my Star Trek like spacegoers?

    Here’s an imagined possible intro to this story, written right now:

    “There’s nothing I can do! We’re doing down.”

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    There will be pain

    Today our day’s been made of IHOP, CPK, and a lot more Yahtzee. I feel silly. I realized after several games that I was giving myself 45 points for a Long Straight instead of 40. Eeep. I’ve played Yahtzee a lot so I don’t know what my brain was doing there.

    She’s leaving tomorrow but it’s been a lot of fun. I’m glad she came to visit.

    Today’s first sentence is from an imagined dystopia that I’ll maybe someday write. I don’t know when I wrote this First Sentence:

    One day I will have a world. And on this world there will be pain.

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    My Words Just Break and Melt

    My mom and I have enjoyed Chipotle, Thai food, and several games of Yahtzee. My luck was strong for the first two games, but has completely turned around. I’ve gotten sad, pathetic little scores.

    She’s on the phone at the moment so I thought I’d take advantage of the break and post. This is the first paragraph of a story called My Words Just Break and Melt. The title is taken from a song by Snow Patrol. I wrote the story on 2/12/2008.

    I can fix this. I know I can fix this. If I could just say the right thing, you’d understand. You’d know. You’d see. You’d stay. I made a mistake. I screwed up. I won’t deny it. I haven’t denied it. My action seems incomprehensible to you. But it’s not. There was a reason. It’s not a good reason, maybe not even a valid reason, but a reason. A reason you’d accept, if I could just give it to you.

  • First Sentences,  Story Excerpts

    Mundane furniture surrounded by gaping holes

    What to write when your mom is visiting and you just got a new iPhone so your mind isn’t anywhere near the process of crafting words and sentences? Hmm. I really don’t know. So, moving on to a First Sentence from 6/17/2010:

    It’s been three weeks since she moved out and the living room still feels half-empty every time I enter the apartment. Mundane furniture surrounded by gaping holes, solitary hollowness where her ordinary things once stood. I walk through quickly, don’t let my eyes linger on the areas I need to fill, and am grateful her bedroom door is shut. It’s easier that way.