Archive

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Q&A with Christopher L. Bennett

Here’s a Q&A I did for ANALOG’s blog in conjunction with the release of “…And He Built a Crooked Hub” in the current issue.

The Astounding Analog Companion

The latest in Christopher L. Bennett’s Hub series is featured in our current issue [on sale now]. Below, he explains the origins of the series as well as the origins of his writing career and interest in science fiction.


Analog Editors: Is this piece part of a greater universe of stories?

Chrisopher L. Bennett: “. . . And He Built a Crooked Hub” is the fifth novelette in the Hub series of comedy SF stories, which have been appearing intermittently in Analog since 2010, and whose first three installments are collected in revised and expanded form in Hub Space: Tales from the Greater Galaxy, available from Mystique Press as an e-book or trade paperback. It’s also the middle of a loose trilogy of stories which began with “Hubpoint of No Return” in the May/June 2018 issue and will conclude with “Hub-stitute Creatures” in an upcoming issue.

AE:…

View original post 1,404 more words

Categories: Uncategorized

Car followup

I got the call that my car was fixed about 45 minutes before the garage closed. I had to decide whether to walk there while it was still raining and thundering — and I was still under the weather — or wait to get it back until Monday. I don’t have any plans for it on the weekend, but I figured it was better to get it back just in case, so I braved the rain, which fortunately was letting up, the thunder off in the distance. Although I did almost get run over in a crosswalk by someone who didn’t understand the rules of right of way. Well, that’s an overstatement, but it was still unnerving.

The car is fixed okay, and the new light control lever is almost indistinguishable from the old one, except it sounds a bit different. The lights seem to work okay now. But I noticed something odd. When checking the rear-view mirror, I noticed that the fabric lining the top of the car’s interior — which apparently is called the headliner, an incongruous name for such an obscure and generally overlooked component — was sagging in the rear corners, blocking a bit of the top of the rear window. I could swear it wasn’t like that before, but the garage guy couldn’t figure out how it could’ve just happened. I don’t know, maybe it was like that before and I just didn’t notice because the mirror angle was too low or something. He suggested using a staple gun, which he didn’t have and neither do I. So I’m not sure what to do about it at the moment.

But at least I have a working car again, and I managed to make the shopping trip I wanted to make this morning, and I’m just now having dinner with some corn chips I bought there. So hopefully everything’s okay now. I know, don’t jinx it…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

More car woes

Even though I was feeling a little under the weather this morning, and even though we had actual rainy weather this morning, I decided to take a quick shopping trip during the lull in the rain, to visit a local store I haven’t been to in a while and need one or two things from now that I have some money again. Imagine my surprise when my car wouldn’t start. I just got a new battery a few weeks ago!! Luckily the building maintenance guys were right there, and they gave me a jump start and determined that the battery was still holding a charge; it had just been drained by something. I realized my headlights were reflecting off their truck, and when I tried to turn them off, nothing happened. Somehow, they were stuck in high-beam mode.

So I drove straight to the garage, and the guy there told me he had a lot of jobs and couldn’t get to me until Tuesday. I was just about resigned to driving back home and getting another jump start on Tuesday, but he decided to take a quick look at the problem, and in trying to force the lever on the steering column to turn off the lights, he managed to break the lever altogether. So now I had to leave it in the shop. (Is it even street legal to drive without working lights or turn signals? I guess I could’ve stuck my hand out the window and signalled turns manually the old-fashioned way.) But to his credit, the guy tried harder to find a solution and promised me he could get a new part delivered and installed by tonight.

But I wasn’t up to walking home in my condition, and it had started to rain again, and I’d forgotten my umbrella. Not to worry, though; the guy offered to arrange a ride for me, on the garage’s dime. So I’ve now taken my first ever Uber ride. There was an Uber driver just a minute or two away at the university, so I didn’t have to wait long at all. So that was handy, although it meant I had to skip my shopping trip. Hopefully I’ll be up to walking to the garage to pick the car up whenever they’re done with it.

I think there may have been a harbinger of this problem on my recent Shore Leave trip. On the way back, I was returning to my car at a rest stop when I noticed the high beams were on. It took me a while to remember how to turn them off, and when I determined it was by pulling the lever toward me, I figured I must’ve accidentally done so at some point. But maybe it happened spontaneously and was a warning sign of the problem. But because I’d had that problem before, I was extra-careful the last time I used the car to make sure the lights were off when I was done with it. But it looks like there’s a problem with the internal switch, so that didn’t make a difference after all.

It’s always the way, isn’t it? As soon as you get money, new expenses crop up. Well, I guess it’s better than having it happen before you get money.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Smoothies solve everything

I just got back from a trip to the grocery store (on foot) and discovered that the bananas I bought had been packed right against the bottle of apple juice, so that both bananas on one side of the bunch (i.e. 2 out of 4) were crushed along one side. At first, I was afraid at least one of the bananas would be nearly a total loss, since I know how quickly a crushed part of a banana becomes rotten. But then I realized — it would still take time. So if I had at least the more badly crushed one right away, it would still be edible, if underripe for my tastes.

So I put it in a smoothie, along with other stuff I happened to have on hand — some canned tropical fruit chunks, honey, and some all-natural coffee creamer (since I’m out of yogurt — this was a necessities-only grocery trip). I guess the sweetness of all those ingredients helped cancel out the tartness of the underripe banana, since it’s not bad. Not one of the better smoothies I’ve had, but more edible than I expected. Maybe I’ll deal with the other damaged banana the same way later on, although it has less extensive damage.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

My good deed for the day (with help)

I was just out for a walk at the local park, processing some good news I received yesterday and the extent to which it will improve my current financial situation (markedly but not completely, and I can’t say anything more yet). On my way out of the park, I noticed something anomalous about a young, recently planted tree, maybe close to twice my height. It and several others had those cylindrical wire-mesh cages around the trunks, the sort of thing that I guess are there to keep the flimsy saplings from blowing over or being knocked over or whatever. But someone had apparently lifted the wire cage up around its branches, and it was stuck there. It was probably someone’s drunken prank, judging from the beer bottle lying by the base of the tree. After a moment’s thought, I decided I couldn’t leave the poor tree in that condition, so I tried to see if I could work the cage free of the branches and lower it back down without hurting any of the branches too much. It proved tricky, though, with too many places where it was hooked in. I noticed that there was a seam in the cage where one end was hooked to the other, and I realized that if I could undo the hooks, I could unwrap the cage and then re-wrap it around the base.

But the cage was just a bit too high on the tree for me to reach the top hook, and I’d need to start at the top for best results. So I was on the verge of giving up when I noticed a jogger, apparently a college student from the bookstore logo on his sweatshirt, and asked him to give me a hand. I explained the situation and suggested that we could work together to unhook the seam, but he was convinced it would be simpler just to lift the whole thing up and over. So we gave that a try (after he threw away the beer bottle), and it turned out we were underestimating the height of the tree, or overestimating our own. We’d just made matters worse, making the whole thing more top-heavy and more likely to topple the tree.

At this point, I remembered that I’d seen some loose chairs in another part of the park, evidently left there by some recent visitors. So I hurried over to get one while the jogger held the cage up. Once I got back, he stood on the chair (my balance isn’t great these days — I got dizzy just looking up while trying to free the cage) and eventually managed to lift and rotate the cage free of the branches, with a little gentle bending of the upper portion of the tree on my part. Then it was just a matter of unhooking the freed cage and wrapping it back around the trunk where it belonged. I thanked the jogger, we talked a bit about our respective past experiences with other people’s tree vandalism, and we went our separate ways.

So this was our good deed for the day: straightening up someone else’s mesh.

Categories: Uncategorized

COVER REVEAL – AMONG THE WILD CYBERS (CHRISTOPHER L. BENNETT)

Reblogging the cover reveal from eSpec Books:

eSpec Books

We have had a lot of these lately. That justs means we have a lot of great titles coming up for your reading enjoyment. This book is by an author new to eSpec, but by no means a rookie. We hope you look forward to Among the Wild Cybers as much as we do.

Proof-WildCybers (Robot and Cover Design by Mike McPhail, McP Digital Graphics)


Tales Beyond the Superhuman

When the line between life and technology blurs, humanity must adjust their understanding of the universe. From bestselling author Christopher L. Bennett comes Among the Wild Cybers, eight tales portraying a future of challenge and conflict, but also of hope born from the courage and idealism of those heroes willing to stand up for what is right.

  • An intrepid naturalist risks her future to save a new form of life that few consider worth saving.
  • An apprentice superhero must stand alone against…

View original post 264 more words

Categories: Uncategorized

Laptop followup: No joy

I just got back from a trip to Best Buy (through whom I ordered my refurbished laptop) to see if they could help me get my headphone/speaker jack working. I would’ve done it days ago, but I’ve been a bit under the weather. According to the tech guy there, the fact that the laptop doesn’t shut down its own speakers when a device is plugged into the jack means it’s not even reading the jack, which is a hardware problem rather than a software problem. Which is very bizarre, because it’s a huge coincidence that a hardware malfunction would happen at the same time I swapped out the hard drive for a new one. Unless I jarred something loose during all the flipping over of the laptop to get to the underside, or something.

Anyway, they said they’d have to send it out for a week or more to get it repaired, and I can’t afford to be without it that long. There is another place about a half-hour’s drive north of me that might have the parts in stock, but the guy suggested (I think, if I understood him right) that I could also get an RCA-to-USB adapter and plug my speakers into the USB port, which seems simpler. Unfortunately the guy said they didn’t sell them there, which seems odd. I looked around when I got home to see if, by lucky chance, I already had one, but I don’t appear to. So I guess I need to get hold of one. That probably shouldn’t be too hard.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,