Archive for August 2008

Yes, Virginia, there is a difference

August 29, 2008

I am adamantly opposed to gender roles. I believe that, in any situation, the role a person adopts–should it be *necessary* to adopt a role at all–should be determined by aptitudes and inclinations, not a person’s role in the reproductive process. As a parent, I have worked hard to give my children as gender-neutral an upbringing as possible, and to imbue them with the attitude that any path for which they have the ability is open to them. As a small child Daniel had and loved toys supposedly intended for children of both genders; Rachael has always been just as interested in playing some game involving mayhem and death as any of her male friends.

But it is an inescapable truth that certain things do lurk on our sex chromosomes that are different from things on the other flavor. And some of them are funny as hell. Here’s my new favorite:

Last night my mother sent this joke to all the women in our family (a group which is understood to include my brothers’ wives):


Jennifer’s wedding day was fast approaching. Nothing could dampen her excitement — not even her parents’ nasty divorce.

Her mother had found the PERFECT dress to wear and would be the best dressed mother-of-the- bride ever! A week later, Jennifer was horrified to learn that her father’s new young wife had bought the exact same dress as her mother! Jennifer asked her step mom to exchange it, but she refused.

‘Absolutely not. I look like a million bucks in this dress, and I’m wearing it,’ she replied.

Jennifer told her mother, who graciously said, ‘Never mind, sweetheart. I’ll get another dress. After all, it’s your special day.’

A few days later, they went shopping and did find another gorgeous dress.

When they stopped for lunch, Jennifer asked her mother, ‘Aren’t you going to return the other dress? You really don’t have another occasion where you could wear it.’

Her mother just smiled and replied, ‘Of course I do, dear. I’m wearing it to the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding.’

When I read the joke, I laughed so hard that both kids came in from the living room to see what was so funny. I pulled back from the monitor to let them read. Rachael (who is 13) HOWLED. Daniel (one of the most perceptive people I know, particularly for that late-teens demographic) just looked bewildered.

“So where’s the punchline?” he said.

And that is today’s lesson in the real differences between men and women. 🙂

Must make time for knitting

August 26, 2008

It’s the Anticraft. I’m in love.


August 24, 2008
This little bit of synchronicity amused me greatly… It’s Yet Another Internet Quiz:

What Planet Are You From?

this quiz was made by The Autist Formerly Known As Tim

Robot Russ vs Robot Zach! It’s AWESOME!!!

August 19, 2008

Here it is, at last, with the gracious permission of Chris Hamer, concept artist extraordinaire.


There is a linkable version of the image on Mercury Retrograde’s Flickr photostream. Go here.

And definitely check out Chris’s Myspace. Thanks for letting me share this, Chris!

The Biggest Robot Event EVER

August 16, 2008

With apologies to Zach Steele, I’ve gotta say it one more time: last night at Wordsmiths, Night One of the Save our Bookstore weekend at Wordsmiths, was AWESOME.

As Zach points out on the Wordsmiths blog, everybody who was there is a bit beyond the word, which we beat to death (including the infamous Pee-Wee’s Playhouse wave that Alice instigated every time Jack Pendarvis read the word). But in typical Wordsmiths style, everything about the event was just fantastic! Jack Pendarvis gave the best reading I can recall attending, ever, period. It transcended *reading*. It was more like “performance art with books”. Unforgettable and hilarious, which does not explain why both Tim Frederick from Baby Got Books and I look so bizarrely quizzical as we listen in this photo.

There was a way cool silent auction of Robot Items, some of which I tried and failed to win, as I generally do at silent auctions. (If one of you knows some secret of Silent Auction Winning, please tell me. Uh, privately. If you put it as a comment on the blog, well, then it won’t be a secret anymore, will it?) But I still got the Big Score of the night: one of the infamous Robot Sketches which Chris Hamer, Ted Murphy and Andrew Bellury so graciously drew at their crowd-pleasing table at the back of the room. I asked for (and received!) a — Say it with me, now — AWESOME sketch of Zach & Russ as robots, which Chris drew and titled:

Russ VS Zack
Wordsmiths 4 EVER!!!

I am in the process of (I hope!) getting permission from Chris to publish the sketch here and in my other usual web haunts. I’ll share it here ASAP–or else you’ll have to come to my house to see it.

Wordsmiths 4 EVER!!!

A friend in need

August 4, 2008
If you’ve been hanging out here at all, you know how I love Wordsmiths–and with good reason. Wordsmiths is a rare gem among bookstores. Many of us are finding interesting ways to keep things going right now–but the little bits (or, in some cases, the generous donations) we can afford to share can make a huge difference. Please click through to Wordsmiths and hit their DONATE button, which will take you to PayPal. Be as generous as you can.

Thanks. Everyone who loves books and the independent arts scene thanks you.

Wordsmiths Books

We need your help to save
our bookstore.

Beginning today, August 4th, and leading through a weekend fundraising event August 15th-August 17th, I am opening myself to your assistance. It doesn’t matter how small your contribution is–with enough help it will all add up in the end. If you want to offer $25, $50, $100, $200, anything at all, it can help. My greatest hope is to not only save our bookstore now, but to offer in return for your help some sense of benefit when we are once again stabilized.

The fact is that Wordsmiths Books is, as an idea and in execution, a great bookstore and it can be so much more given the chance. We are not fighting declining sales, nor are we fighting customer apathy, or even a lagging book market. We are fighting only the debt created by starting in the wrong location. Despite the depths of our need, despite the fact that it leaves me no alternative but to seek your help, we still see the opportunity that lies before us here, on the Square and in the welcoming home of Decatur. We wish to have the opportunity to survive here, to grow and continue to bring to you the same level of entertainment and literary merit that you have come to expect from us. We just need help to get there. We need your help to survive today. If you are willing to help, you can call the store at (404) 378-7166, you can stop by or you can visit and click on the Donation button on our home page. If you prefer to utilize the mail, then our address is: 545 N. McDonough Street, Decatur Georgia 30030.

There are questions that you have, I am sure. Please ask them. Email me at, call the store (404-378-7166) or stop by. I am not averse to discussing the matter on any level to anybody. Simply put, we–the entire Wordsmiths Books family–are at your mercy. I will be blogging daily (or as close to daily as is possible) with updates and further information. Again, no amount is too small. We want nothing more than the opportunity to continue to be the bookstore we have been all along. Your help is greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten.

Thank you,

Zachary Steele, Owner/Operator Wordsmiths Books

The Breaking Dawn Prom at Wordsmiths

August 2, 2008

I’ve been a blogging delinquent since the Shorn launch. Same old story: when I’m getting ready to be away from the office for a sustained period, the period leading up to the trip becomes a frenzied attempt to prepare the world for my absence. And when I come out the other end of something that requires all my attention (frex: launch party, hosting a mini-track at a con, the publication of a book, etc.) then my return to the office becomes a huge exercise in catching up. So basically what I did between the Shorn launch and today was (a) catch up on stuff that got shouldered aside by the all-encompassing launch event and (b) prepare to be gone again, for my writing retreat.

But last night, between the frenzy to stay on top of things and the impending bliss of time alone with the muse, I got to go to a party. A way cool party. Doubtless the coolest of its kind on this side of the Mason-Dixon. (Hey, gotta give the launch party Stephanie Meyer attended the Coolest ranking, right? I just wonder whether they had Crepuscular Cookies.)

The Breaking Dawn Prom at Wordsmiths: what a blast! I can’t remember the last time I was in the same room with so many female people and so few males. Nobody seemed to mind–especially not the males. 🙂 Ferosha Akoustika was awesome, as one might expect. And there was no hair-pulling in the line while all those fans waited to buy the book.

Now I just have to wait for Rachael to finish reading our copy.


August 1, 2008

Last week I had a really amusing talk with Phil Kloer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was working, but for me it was just an opportunity to chat about Stephanie Meyer’s books and why females of all ages are obsessed with them. Phil also talked to Rachael, and to a significant percentage of the literate female population of Atlanta, it seems. Fortunately he seems to enjoy Ms. Meyer’s books as much as the rest of us…

After he talked to everyone, Phil wrote an article about the Stephanie Meyer Phenomenon and all the Breaking Dawn parties taking place tonight. Yes, I’m in the article. Rachael looks so cute in the picture!

We’ll be at a Breaking Dawn party tonight, with the Cool Kids at Wordsmiths. If you’re local, stop by. We’ll be looking very Goth and pulling for Team Edward.