You Deserve A Break Today

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday,* I am posting this video of a McDonald’s commercial from 1971 that stars a pre-Happy Days Anson Williams (“Potsie” Weber), a pre-M*A*S*H Johnny Haymer (Sgt. Zale), and a pre-Good Times John Amos (John Evans).

You can tell this is from the early 1970s because there are seven adult men in this commercial who seem to work full time jobs at McDonald’s and are happy enough to sing and dance about it.

* I didn’t post this on a Thursday. If you happen to be reading this on a Thursday, reward yourself with a cookie.

Back To The Future, Too?

bttf2-fluxHappy New Year! 2015 is here, and as everyone knows, by October 21st of this year we’ll have hoverboards, flying cars, dehydrated pizza, fax machine mailboxes, Jaws 19, and huge flat screen TVs. Well, one out six isn’t too bad.

Back to the Future 2 references aside, I’m optimistic about this year. I’ll be continuing to enjoy watching my granddaughter as she grows from a helpless infant to an inquisitive toddler. I plan on reading both fiction and non-fiction of varying lengths and continuing to document them here. I’ve also decided to attempt to keep track of my recreational watching and listening, although I’m not quite sure what form that will take quite yet.

In any event, whatever 2015 is ready to throw at me, I’m going to try to keep track of some of it here. In the mean time, I sincerely hope that anyone who comes across this note has a wonderfully happy and healthy New Year!

As The Years Go Passing By

KaleighThis year will always be remembered by my wife & I as “The Year of the Grandchild.” From waking up in the middle of a cold January night and getting to the hospital just before she was born, to watching all of her firsts over the course of the last twelve months, to getting ready for her first birthday in a few weeks, it’s pretty much been “all Kayleigh, all the time!”.

Not all the highlights of the past year had something to do with our granddaughter, however. We managed to finally pay off the mortgage, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and I celebrated 30 years working for the same company. I attended the 2014 Philcon, a local science fiction conference, and met quite a few interesting people. I was also able to spend more time (and money) cultivating my newest hobby, listening to the Blues.

The year hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns, though. I slipped and fell on the ice in my driveway early in the year causing some permanent damage to my ulnar nerve. I was in an accident over Memorial Day weekend that totaled my car; thankfully I only suffered a scrape or two. I also lost one of my dear cousins to cancer at 50; he was the first in my generation of the family to pass.

On a much less important note, my recreational reading took a bit of a downturn this year and I’ve only written about half the number posts this year than I did in 2013. I’m going to adjust my reading goals for 2015, mostly so that the number of books I read next year isn’t my main focus. As far as writing goes, I’ll have a few thinks about it and decide what, if anything, I want to do.

So 2014 has had plenty of ups and downs, just like all the years before it and all the ones that are on their way. As always, the key isn’t what happens to you during the year, it’s how you handle both the good and the bad that really matters.

Here’s hoping you have a great 2015 on your horizon!

My September Reads, 2014

Book StackThe Hugo Awards were presented at this year’s Worldcon in London on August 17, 2014. As a supporting member of Loncon3, I was eligible to receive a copy of most of the nominated works. Thanks to my spring/summer reading slump, I didn’t get around to reading any of the packet until last month.

I also read the September issue of Clarkesworld Magazine. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to much short fiction reading at all after that. Hopefully, October will see me getting through more of my To Read stacks.

Hugo Nominees: Short Stories

  • The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu [Winner] (9/1/14)
  • Selkie Stories Are for Losers by Sofia Samatar (9/1/14)
  • If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky (9/1/14)
  • The Ink Readers of Doi Saket by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (9/1/14)

Hugo Nominees: Novelettes

  • The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal [Winner] (9/14/13)
  • The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang (9/1/14)
  • The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard (9/1/14)
  • The Exchange Officers by Brad Torgersen (9/1/14)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 96, Edited by Neil Clarke

  • Weather by Susan Palwick (9/2/14)
  • Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points by JY Yang (9/2/14)
  • Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy by Xia Jia (9/2/14)
  • Falling Star by Brendan DuBois (9/2/14)
  • Her Furry Face by Leigh Kennedy (9/2/14)
  • Giants by Peter Watts (9/2/14)

That’s it for now. Now to settle in with a nice Pumpkin Spice… Something. It’s that time of year, after all!


Happy Birthday Bluesday

Since today is B. B. King’s 89th birthday, here’s a YouTube clip of his song Happy Birthday Blues from the 1979 album Take It Home.

And just because, here he is performing on his 85th birthday at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in September of 2010.

The B. B. King/Eric Clapton collaboration Riding with The King came out in 2000, which is about the time I started to add some blues to my otherwise uninspired listening habits.

Happy Birthday, B. B.!

The Bluesday Brothers

Thanks to Saturday Night Live and the comedy genius of both Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, my awareness of the blues increased with the release of the movie “The Blues Brothers” in 1980. While Jake and Elwood were on a mission from God to save the orphanage where they were raised, Belushi and Aykroyd were on a mission to bring their love of the blues to a wider audience while making one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the movie, with Ray Charles and the Blues Brothers Band jamming to Shake Your Tailfeather.

My August Reads, 2014

Book StackI have definitely been in catch-up mode this past month. In addition to falling behind with all of my reading, I actually let my Clarkesworld subscription lapse! Once I took care of that oversight I’ve been spending time bringing myself up to speed with the latest issues.

Now the question is whether or not I’ll be able to meet my goals of reading 52 books and 200 short stories this year. I suspect that I’ll be sneaking in an anthology or two before the year is out in an effort to maximize my reading efficiency!

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 91, Edited by Neil Clarke

I read the first two stories of this issue back in April and finished it in August.

  • Water in Springtime by Kali Wallace (8/11/14)
  • The Cuckoo by Sean Williams (8/11/14)
  • Going After Bobo by Susan Palwick (8/11/14)
  • Shining Armor by Dominic Green (8/11/14)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 92, Edited by Neil Clarke

  • The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye by Matthew Kressel (8/12/14)
  • A Gift in Time by Maggie Clark (8/12/14)
  • Migratory Patterns of Underground Birds by E. Catherine Tobler (8/12/14)
  • Night of the Cooters by Howard Waldrop (8/13/14)
  • Beluthahatchie by Andy Duncan (8/13/14)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 93, Edited by Neil Clarke

  • wHole by Robert Reed (8/14/14)
  • Pepe by Tang Fei (8/14/14)
  • Communion by Mary Anne Mohanraj (8/15/14)
  • Lambing Season by Molly Gloss (8/18/14)
  • Have Not Have by Geoff Ryman (8/19/14)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 94, Edited by Neil Clarke

  • The Contemporary Foxwife by Yoon Ha Lee (8/19/14)
  • Stone Hunger by N. K. Jemisin (8/22/14)
  • Soul’s Bargain by Juliette Wade (8/22/14)
  • The Halfway House at the Heart of Darkness by William Browning Spencer (8/22/14)
  • Gold Mountain by Chris Roberson (8/22/14)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 95, Edited by Neil Clarke

  • Five Stages of Grief After the Alien Invasion by Caroline M. Yoachim (8/30/14)
  • Bonfires in Anacostia by Joseph Tomaras (8/30/14)
  • The Saint of the Sidewalks by Kat Howard (8/30/14)
  • The Rose Witch by James Patrick Kelly (8/30/14)
  • Seven Years from Home by Naomi Novik (8/31/14)
  • Nevermore by Ian R. MacLeod (8/31/14)

That’s it for August’s short fiction. I’m looking forward to reading much more in September!