Baseball Anyone?

I’ve seen several of you lamenting the elimination of your favorite teams. Another one was unhappy with coming in at the bottom of the division. (You know who you are.)

My team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, came in dead last. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. This was a season of injury for Arizona. While I don’t think they were contenders, they should have fared better than this.

I’ve written before about the firing of the General Manager, and why I think this was a great move. He built a team of middle of the road players, and prayed they would all exceed their histories.

Now they’ve parted ways with Kirk Gibson, the on field manager. I’m pretty indifferent to this move. I don’t think his style was great, but he can only play the men they give him. Every manager does odd things, but Gibson baffled me sometimes. Still, I don’t see this as entirely his fault.

When a team hoses out the management, the infield manager has to go. That’s part of the game.

They hired a new General Manager to build the team of the future. I loved Dave Stewart as a pitcher, but question his qualifications as a GM. I think it’s cool that he was a player agent, and he ought to know his way around a negotiation. If things bog down, he can always give them that stare from his playing days. I also don’t think it hurts to have access to a great old pitcher. Some of them can be pretty helpful to the rookies.

A big part of baseball is that tomorrow is another day. The Diamondbacks get first pick when the draft comes around. They plan on making some trades during the off season, and I don’t think they need a whole lot.

The next big thing for me to watch is who they hire as the on field manager. We’ll get ‘em next year. (Or the one after that.)

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The Idea Mill # 5

For newer readers, I save articles I find in a folder. These are articles that make me scratch my head and think about the fiction I write. When I have enough, I post another idea mill article. Let’s all speculate, shall we.

The first one is based on the eyesight of the mantis shrimp. This is a beautiful, but strange ocean creature with no real value to humans, beyond the esthetic. This story shows why the world’s odd creatures should be protected, and what might be lost when a species goes extinct.

It seems the mantis shrimp sees the world a bit differently than humans. It has to do with the way his eyes interpret polarizing light. Using this special skill, the mantis shrimp is capable of seeing human cancers. Cool, but how useful is that?

Scientists have built a camera that replicates shrimp vision. Rather than create another $10,000 procedure for insurance to pay, they seem to think it can become a smart phone app. This restores my faith in humanity, to a degree. Part of the article said shrimpie sees neurons. Since I’m a speculative fiction writer, this trips my trigger.

What about an app that goes down the police state path. Check someone out with your camera, and know whether they are a child abuser, rapist, or terrorist. Can you imagine picking your girl up for a date, and having to pass muster for her father under these circumstances? What if dating became more like qualifying for a loan. “Sorry bud, you have a predisposition for osteoporosis. I can’t inflict that on my future children.”

Read about the mantis shrimp here.

Our next story is something that could add some spice to a science fiction story. In fact, I may redesign this and include it in my current manuscript. Someone has designed, and built, a tiny camera drone. This one can snap around your wrist, like a bracelet. Read the article here, then we’ll speculate.

The design seems to indicate availability to the general public. What might happen if a pervert gets one of these? What if they start clusters of these on a pattern through our malls, schools, and airports? Maybe your amateur girl detective needs one of these to get herself into trouble. Could these cruise our workplaces and watch over our shoulders at every move we make? Maybe your bad guys want these locked in a safety deposit box, only to deploy after closing time. What would you write about these?

Next, it seems the U.S. Navy has built, and is about to deploy, a rail gun. This gun fires a projectile at seven times the speed of sound using an electro magnetic pulse. It has a considerable range and appears to be capable of pinpoint accuracy. This will allow replacement of million dollar missiles with $25,000 projectiles. Good news or bad news depends upon which end of the gun you happen to be on. Read the article here.

I recall a failed attempt to build a space gun. I may have posted this article in a previous Idea Mill. The U.S. tried for years to build a gun capable of launching items into orbit. The original is scrapped and rusting somewhere. The rail gun might see this become reality. What if we could launch a satellite for $25,000? Even a relatively small business could have a satellite in space. Could this mark the end of the cellular network? Would we all get satellite phones? What would this do to the Internet?

What if organized crime had its own satellite network? Would there be multiple internets forcing us to subscribe to several, like cable TV?

I have one of my Macabre Macaroni stories coming soon that references a space gun, only mine is a mortar.

The last one today is about Ebola. This one includes charts to show just how fast this disease spreads. Read about it here.

Ebola could become the Black Death of our era. Others have written about this, but if you write about a zombie virus or any kind of dystopian settings, you really ought to be watching this unfold. How is the world reacting and responding? Is anyone making money here? Does anyone want it to spread? Are the terrorists watching? Are we watching celebrities as the world crumbles?

PS: I changed my background early. I’m off to Coeur d’Alene for a week, and wanted access to my Mac for this.

Speculate with me people, what would you write?

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Food fight

coldhandboyack:

Doobster’s blog is one of my absolutes to read, every time he posts. We had a fun exchange last night, and he posted about it today. Give him a visit, and consider following him.

Originally posted on Mindful Digressions:

Say no to pumpkinsI got a lot of grief from a lot of people when I mentioned in passing on a recent post that I love fried calf’s liver and onions. A few of you said you like (or at least don’t mind) liver and onions. But most of you said “eww,” or words to that effect.

So then today I see this Daily Prompt, which is all about “favorite food quirks.” The more exotic, the prompt suggests, the better.

I can honestly say that I’m not a picky eater. I’ll eat just about anything, from red meat to pork to chicken to pretty much any kind of fish. Even raw fish, as in sushi. And raw clams and oysters, too. And I love Maryland blue crabs, which, sadly, I can’t get here in San Francisco.

I don’t consider any of the foods I consume to be “exotic.” In fact, I don’t…

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My favorite time of year

I love Fall. The weather changes, but still provides glimpses of Summer and Winter. The occasional 90 degree day could be in the same week as the first frost. (Note: I can’t wait for the first frost, so we can get rid of these flies.)

Leaves start changing, and we’re getting the first hints in the Boise area. Geese are forming into huge flocks. Rumor has it they’re supposed to fly south, but many stay here all year. The neighbors’ sunflowers all died and drooped. The local squirrel has been having a great time with them.

I can usually find a few cheesy movies to watch this time of year. I like the really dumb ones. Watching for you, Little Shop of Horrors, and tell Young Frankenstein he’s on deck.

One of the best new things about Fall is pumpkin – everything. We’ve already worked our way through a bag of pumpkin M & Ms. My wife bought me a bag of pumpkin Oreos, and they’re pretty good. Today I had a pumpkin spice latte. I never drink fancy coffee, but pumpkin spice was enough to draw me in.

We went to the Boise Co-Op so I could look for pumpkin beers. Pumpkin beers are one of my favorites, and I’ve been enjoying them for weeks already. The Co-Op always has a broad selection of things, so we drove downtown.

I wound up with about five different ones. My beer palate is in the neighborhood of porters and stouts; those black thick beers that use roasted grains. Lo and behold, I bought a pumpkin porter and a pumpkin stout. If someone ever brews a pumpkin dopplebock I’ll buy several cases and move to the mountains for a week.

My wife hasn’t even started baking yet. She usually whips up a pumpkin goodie or two, and she’s an outstanding cook.

Maybe a bowl of pumpkin soup, a pumpkin porter, with pumpkin bread for dessert. Then I can watch an old Bruce Campbell movie as the evening entertainment.

What’s your favorite season? What’s your favorite thing about Fall?

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A wrap on this week

This week seemed to drag on. I managed to get off a few hours early today for my critique group. I’m really glad to get this week over with.

Critique group went well this time. Everyone had some good information for me. I plan on giving myself some time to digest it all before making any big changes. Overall, my story Will ‘O the Wisp is pretty well received. There are a couple of members who don’t read this genre, and they enjoy it too. I think it’s a good sign.

My flash fiction story went over really well with bloggers. I had a large number of views (for me) and the comments were all pretty positive. I’m looking forward to posting another one next Thursday. I decided to call these stories Macabre Macaroni. I’m not fiercely possessive of the name, so feel free to steal it.

When it comes to my new story, I’m at a crossroads. I want to forge ahead, but I also want to edit what I have already. I always edit as I write, and never feel bad about it. I may not know what I’m going to do until I do it.

Tonight, I’ll probably do another word search on my fantasy story, The Cock of the South. It isn’t going to edit itself, and the fairies stopped coming long ago.

I have to go on a work trip next week, but I’m going to take my iPad. It’s easier to type on than my phone, and I need to get the next Macabre Macaroni story up on Thursday.

I hope you all have wonderful weekend plans. Catch you tomorrow.

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The Bluebell Co-Op

The Bluebell Co-Op

I poured my coffee into a plastic cup, grabbed my old cap and headed for the fields. I love walking around before the sun comes up. Sometimes you see a deer before she runs into the woods or hear a fox. It’s a magical time of day.

Besides, I’d have my ass parked in a Co-op truck for the next twelve hours. I was the new guy, so my fields got harvested last.

I waited many years to get into the Co-op. Members never leave, and someone about has to die before a new guy gets a chance.

I rounded the corner and stepped off into the first field. The wheat was tall and golden. All it had to do was stay that way for a couple more weeks. There’s always something for a farmer to worry about. This time of year it was hail, wind, or fire. Birds were another problem. If the geese came early, they’d get more grain than I would.

The Co-op gave me a chance to sell off my old equipment. I used the money to send my son to Bluebell Community College. Says he’s gonna show me how to convert this old place into a big time agribusiness. More power to him I say.

He brought his whole lacrosse team over last weekend and sat out the plastic owls and scarecrows. Seems old school these days, but they could buy me a couple of weeks. That’s all it would take, then the starlings and crows could have whatever fell on the ground.

I stopped off at the first scarecrow and pulled a pack of Camels and an old lighter from his pocket. I grabbed two smokes and lit one. My wife thinks I quit, and this is just between me and the scarecrow.

Everything looked good around the first field. I finished my first cigarette and made sure the butt was completely out. I lit my second one and headed for the second field. It looked good too. Poor old Ben Carver said the Martians landed in his fields and left some of them crop circles. We all told him it was probably kids from over to the community college.

Ben didn’t see it that way, said afterward that his dairy cows started trying to kill him. He sold them all off, quit the Co-op, and hasn’t planted in two years. That’s how I got my membership. Bad deal for old Ben; good deal for me.

I dropped off the lighter with the scarecrow and headed for the Co-op. This time of year it was always the same thing. Walk the fields, drive truck all day, come home dog tired and butt sore. The next day, do it all again.

A week went by and we started harvesting the Millers’ crop. I started my day with another walk. This time it was going to be bad. The wind blew overhead from the west and really shook the shutters. There was no way some of my crop didn’t blow down. There was distant lightning too. It really lit our room up and it didn’t flash either. It came on for long periods before going dark again; almost like a truck driving by. After the storm the winds came back from the east. I listened for the tornado sirens, but they never came. Wind going every direction and we’re probably lucky to still have a house.

It didn’t smell like fire, so the lightning must have passed without trouble. The first field was still standing. The scarecrow was bent over, but my cigarettes were still there. I stood him back up and headed for the second field.

There it was, and it was no surprise. The blowdown was about six hundred feet wide. I walked around it and tried to calculate the loss. It made a big circle, and there was another circle inside it. Those damned kids were gonna cost me a big chunk of my profits this year.

I decided to walk back and call the sheriff. Good thing I don’t keep any cows, I suppose. They’d be picking me out a rocking chair like old Ben.

I turned around and looked right into the fiery eyes of five scarecrows. They were less than four feet from me. The one with my cigarettes reached out and grabbed my collar and smiled with a glowing pumpkin grin.

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Let’s Shake this Blog Up

I never committed to a specific posting schedule. I just kind of fell into one. I don’t know what my problem with schedules is, but there you have it.

For the next month or so, I’m going to add posts on Thursdays. Here’s how I got to this point. Other writers post excerpts of their work. Some serialize one of their books, while many of the others post a bit of poetry.

I came up with the “writing cabin” as a way to post some original work. It’s been pretty well received and will stick around.

I’ve always enjoyed what’s commonly called micro fiction. I’ve just never written any. (Until now) The style is dramatically different than writing novels. I was introduced to these under a specific name.

I ran two of the pieces past my writing buddy, Mari Wells. She cautioned me that someone registered a website under that name, and are a bit protective about it.

More power to them, I say. I want to call them something besides micro fiction, so I’m going with Macabre Macaroni.

I wrote seven of these things, because I love Halloween. I’m going to post one every Thursday from now to the end of October. There are enough to get to the first Thursday in November. I don’t know if the final one measures up, but I might improve it a bit by then.

On October 30th, Mari Wells and I will both post supporting stories. This goes with her October theme of Witch Month. You might want to check her blog out. She’s an amazing researcher, and I know she’ll have some cool stuff planed. Our stories will be linked and to get the most out of them, you should read them both.

Watch for my first Macabre Macaroni post tomorrow. When, depends on iOS 8 and how copy and paste is going to work. I assume there will be a formatting problem, so it could be after work.

I’ll post them under the “Short Stories & Vignettes” category if you think you missed one.

I’ve never done this before, so feel free to offer your micro fiction tips in the comments.

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