Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nature's Reset Button

Amazing how the writing mind can bounce back with a little time away, and some exposure to nature.  The last two days have been great.  Here are a few pix I took of, and around, Quechee Gorge in Vermont.

That bridge you see way down is Vermont Rt. 4, but was originally the bridge for the Woodstock Railroad. 

Downstream of the gorge. 

Another shot downstream, but this one with accursed Japanese bamboo weed in the foreground.  I hope it hasn't taken over by the next time I visit. 

Forest along the gorge.

This sculpture replicates the movement of an eagle's wings when maneuvering in a steep bank prior to diving.   If you walk between the two bars and glide your hands along the metal with arms outstretched, your arms move in a reproduction of the eagle's wing motion.

A cool wind sculpture near the nature center, caught in three different positions. 

And now I head home, with hopes that I can keep some of this lodged in my forebrain for a while.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

After Bread Loaf, a Retreat

The New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf was a tremendous success. It always is, but I'd been away from it for five years, and felt pretty rusty going in. Though I arrived frazzled, and was exhausted most of the time (we had a very busy workshop schedule), it was an enormously rewarding experience. This conference selects over two hundred talented and motivated high school-aged writers, and they were a wonderful bunch of kids. One of my students came all the way from Paris for the workshop—a half-French girl with an Aussie accent and a great sense of humor. Another turned out to be the son of a horror writer I once did a bunch of book signings with. As always in the past, I enjoyed getting to know the other writer-teachers (there were about twenty of us), who were of all stripes and genres, but all very friendly. And my reading of an excerpt from Neptune Crossing to the whole conference was very well received.

Allysen, meanwhile, put her foot down and said she wasn't letting me come home until I'd taken a few days for myself. Thanks to her diligent research, I am now holed up at an inn near Woodstock, Vermont and Quechee Gorge. First goal, to rest and decompress. Second goal: start wrapping my head around The Reefs of Time again, and start finishing that sucker.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Off to Bread Loaf!

I'm leaving shortly for Vermont and the New England Young Writers Conference, where I'll be one of a couple dozen writers of all types and genres working with high-school student writers. I'm returning after a five-year hiatus, and I'm hoping for it to be a good time.

We finished moving everything out of Allysen's mother's condo this week, and the closing for the sale went off yesterday. So that big job is behind us. Fay herself will arrive while I'm at the conference, and should be moved into her new place at the retirement village by the time I'm back.

See you next week!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

More Star Trek Fun

With a new Star Trek movie about to open, why not sharpen our critical faculties with a look back at the last movie, in Everything Wrong With Star Trek (2009) In 5 Minutes Or Less:

Almost makes me feel like a character in Big Bang Theory.

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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Star Trek Fun

This came to my attention from SyFy's Blastr site.

A new car ad from Audi features dueling Spock actors. Zachary Quinto (new Spock) challenges Leonard Nimoy (old Spock) to a little competition in "The Challenge":

The Audi-o is a little low, so you might have to turn up the volume.

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The Yin-Yang of Technological Advance

Lots of interesting stuff has passed across my desktop since I got back from P.R., but the contrast of these stories really struck me:

First, we have a micro-satellite from Tartu University in Estonia, just launched into space on a European Vega rocket, designed to test an innovative new design to harness solar protons for propulsion, by repelling them. It's interesting to see something like this come from a first-time space-faring country like Estonia. It'll be even more interesting if it works. The concept might help us explore the solar system.

If we don't kill ourselves first, that is. Our second, and definitely yang entry, is a plastic handgun made almost entirely in a 3D printer. Just what we need, handguns that may be undetectable by existing screening methods.

But then again, let's cheer ourselves up with news that the flying car continues to approach reality (if not affordability). In fact, Terrafugia, creators of the soon-to-be-released Transition flying car, announced recently that they're now working on a vertical takeoff and landing model, so you could theoretically take off in your driveway and land in a parking lot. Whee!


Okay, I'm Back!

Actually, I've been back for about a week—from Puerto Rico, that is. I flew down a few weeks ago (my last post was actually from P.R.) to help Allysen's mom with the final packing, and—I thought—her move up to her new place here in Massachusetts. Well, the schedule was optimistic, so I returned, not with my mother-in-law, but with my dog-in-law, Diego. (Seen here meeting a Roomba for the first time.)

Diego and Captain Jack don't get along too well (both see themselves very much as alpha dogs), but they've settled into an uneasy truce. Diego's ward Fay now plans to move up in another week or so, which is how much longer Diego and Jack must get along. Meanwhile, Fay's little condo here in Arlington sold quickly, so a more or less essential piece of this move has fallen into place. And we and the Landshark have been kept very busy moving stuff!