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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity

A Hundred Years Hence

February 14th, 2010 by Steven Gould

I’ve heard that SFWA Grandmaster James Gunn will give a keynote speech for the Cushing Library’s Exhibit above. I wish I could be there. After all, for the last 35 years I’ve witnessed some of that “SF & Fantasy” at TAMU. I remember the first time I ever met Jim Gunn–he came down for something and Dr. Kroiter brought him to the SF as Literature class to talk to us. I hadn’t read much of his work at that time but I was a big fan of the TV series The Immortal.

Since then I’ve learned usual lesson. The source material is almost always better.

Brad Denton was a graduate student under him, writing some of his early short fiction in the program. Read his post about meeting Dr. Gunn back in college, “First Contact with a Grand Master.”

Posted in Fantasy, Pop. Culture, Science Fiction, Steve, Writing | 1 Comment »

My Biggest Fan

September 13th, 2009 by Steven Gould


Gardner Dozois pointed out the impeccable good taste demonstrated above.  Fifth Book From the Left. Yes, the Wind in the Willows is good too.

Posted in Pop. Culture, Steve | 2 Comments »

Stand By Me — Around the World

April 29th, 2009 by Rory Harper

This is a transcendant piece of video- and music-making. Sean e-mailed me the link, suggesting that we might enjoy it.

At least in my case, he was absolutely correct in his surmise. It’s a version of Ben E. King’s classic ‘Stand By Me’. It starts out small and personal, then quickly achieves orbital velocity as it goes global.



It’s too late for us to be among the earliest adopters on this song. But, if you haven’t alrady seen it, you have my heartiest encouragement to click the pic. It’s uplifting. And it rocks.


Posted in Music, Pop. Culture, Rory | 2 Comments »

Changing All Those Changes

February 5th, 2009 by Bradley Denton

 Here They Played, and Still Play, Rock and Roll

At midday on Friday, June 19th, 1987, while en route to a convention in Minnesota, Barb and I stopped in Clear Lake, Iowa. I had just started writing my second novel, Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede, and Clear Lake was a logical place to take some pictures and do a little research. It was the town where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson had played their last concert on February 2, 1959.

At the Clear Lake Public Library, a helpful librarian told me a story about Buddy’s glasses. It seems that someone (the county coroner?) from Mason City (the county seat) had taken the glasses from the site of the plane crash . . . and as far as the librarian knew, they were still locked up in a desk at the courthouse. Buddy’s widow, Maria Elena Holly, had even asked for them – and had been refused. The county, for some odd reason, thought they should hang on to them . . .

Read More »

Posted in Barb, Bob Y., Brad, Fun, History, Maureen, Music, People, Personal History, Pop. Culture | 10 Comments »

Twitter as a Real-Time Community Space

November 24th, 2008 by Morgan J. Locke


This’ll be short, but Eat Our Brains has been Looking At Me, Ma! So I’d better give it just a dab of attention.

I dipped my toe into twittering the other day, and had an epiphany. I think I figured out one reason Twitter is way cooler than it seems at first glance.

As most folks know by now, Twitter is a sort of web-based IM’ing thing. You sign up, and you type in what you are doing, whenever you feel like it. You can only type in a certain number of characters (120? something like that). At first read, it seems no different than some form of instant messaging, but it’s more than that. It creates community spaces. It’s transformative. Because of its simplicity and accessibility.

You can tap in by web or by mobile phone and follow a person’s activities. Other people follow your activities. It creates this fluid, shifting web of connectivity. It really feels very river-like. Because the messages are so short, it is easy to just slip into the stream of words, go for a swim, and slip back out again. It feels… seamless.

Here’s something else, though. I am an introvert. I need lots of islands of quiet space and room for reflection in my life. And with all my commitments, adding another way to connect exerts a limited pull, despite the fact that Twitter definitely has some fascinating elements.

The web is all about connectivity and community. But I sometimes wish that more tools were built for us introverts…

Still, I may do more investigation of Twitter. I find how it works interesting, from a sociological perspective.


PS  My Twitter name is feralsapient. What’s yours?

Posted in Morgan, Pop. Culture, Technology | 2 Comments »

Many Bothans died to bring us this information…

November 14th, 2008 by Steven Gould

…but more stuffies died to make this!

If these stuffies can come together to make a greater whole, then we Americans–nay, we humans planet wide!–should be able to as well.

(The dismembering and sewing together thing–it will hurt at first.)

(Art by Noble Girl.)

Posted in Labor Relations, Noble Girl, Politics, Pop. Culture, Science Fiction, Steve | 6 Comments »

Obama vs. McCain – The Conspiracy

November 11th, 2008 by Rory Harper

I suspect that you’ve all already seen this one, but just in case…

It’s South Park’s  take on the recent election, revealing what was really going on. I think they got it just about right.

Click the pic and go to Season 12, the next-to-last ep, named ‘About Last Night…’. The full episode is on tap.



Posted in Politics, Pop. Culture, Rory | 3 Comments »

Noble Girl Kills Time (and others)

October 31st, 2008 by Steven Gould

Altair (pronounced with all three syllables–Al-ta-ir) is the protagonist of the video game Assassin’s Creed.  Both Noble Girl and Twilight Nija play it (have completed it also) on the Xbox-360.  Noble Girl thought it was interesting enough that she is going the extra mile.

Read More »

Posted in Fantasy, Noble Girl, Pop. Culture, Steve, Twilight Ninja Girl | 5 Comments »

Obama, Lama, Duck

October 30th, 2008 by Steven Gould

So, if you aren’t familiar with the original (like Noble Girl and Twilight Ninja are) you won’t appreciate this as much, but I think it’s wonderful.  However, you can stop after the first repetition cause it repeats several times.

Posted in Art, Dammit!, Music, Noble Girl, Pop. Culture, Steve, Twilight Ninja Girl | 4 Comments »

SNL – Bush Endorses McCain

October 25th, 2008 by Rory Harper

I haven’t actually watched SNL since the Belushi-Ackroyd glory days. But, as we know, they’ve been experiencing a resurgence with their take on the upcoming election.



This sketch is further evidence that something is badly broken inside my head.

I’ve watched Sarah Palin speak and she gives me the creeps. She’s such a blatantly obvious sociopath that I have the same instinctive, uncontrollable reaction to her that I’ve always had to GWB. I’m absolutely nonplussed that some people think that she’s a VPILF.

But I also instinctively react in exactly the oppposite way to Tina Fey. Dude, she is one hot, juicy babe.

And I can’t tell them apart visually.


Posted in Dammit!, Politics, Pop. Culture, Rory | 13 Comments »

Reimagined Book Titles

October 21st, 2008 by Steven Gould

Click the pic for more over at Mighty God King.

Now, really guys, what could you do with my books? I’d love to see my first book, Hates Air Travel or my second book, Teens Get Gold (and Laid).

Posted in Fantasy, Fun, Pop. Culture, Science Fiction, Steve | 5 Comments »

Dismember-Me Plush Zombie

October 9th, 2008 by Steven Gould

My buddy Linda (frequent commenter lda) sent this to me. It is reassuring that in a world where the candidate to nowhere gets preferential press for just winking, we can come home and, over and over again, rip the limbs from a beloved toy.

Click the pic to go to the product page at ThinkGeek.  Watch the video.

Posted in Politics, Pop. Culture, Steve, Zombies | 4 Comments »

Liquid Art

August 12th, 2008 by Morgan J. Locke

I’m finishing the denouement of my book and expect to be done tomorrow. What a long, hard trip it’s been.

Meanwhile, something delectable for your enjoyment — sent to me by our own LDA. Ferrous sculptures, created by Japanese artist Sachiko Kodama:

Here is more on the artist and her work.

Posted in Art, Feral Sapiens, Morgan, Pop. Culture, Technology | 4 Comments »

Interesting Nice Friendly Jellybrain

June 8th, 2008 by Rory Harper

I haven’t written here much for quite some time, and feel nauseous guilt about it. I’ve failed in my commitment to my fellow Brainiacs. (Not that they’ve done much better lately. Hah! ….Wait….That wasn’t nice…Or friendly….)

Not Actually Doing It behavior is a constant theme in my life. I often ponder and perfectionize, rather than acting. I go through periods where I just soak up info and rest and am practically inert socially. I’m frequently abstracted and divorced from daily reality. I don’t answer e-mail or return phone calls or seek out companionship. This can go on for months. I call this my Hermit Phase. Until a few weeks ago, I was convinced that this was a serious personality flaw on my part.

But now I know better. I’m not bad, I’m just INFJ. We do those things.

A significant part of the work I did with clients when I was a counselor involved normalizing their behavior. They’d come in feeling damaged and inadequate, blaming themselves and thinking that no one else was like them or had reacted like them to the trials and opportunities that life commonly hands out to us all.

So, you have trouble sustaining long-term intimate relationships? Other people do, too! You hate your job? Everybody hates their job! Methamphetamines? Its a goddam epidemic!

Once you get past those feelings of having unique and insoluble problems or defects that no one else has experienced, you can start looking at ways other people like you have found to cope, overcome, change, mitigate, or even accept them.

But it’s really, really, really difficult to accept your quirks and perceived failings, after a lifetime of internalizing that there’s something inexplicably wrong with you.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on Jungian theory, and is extremely popular these days in corporate settings. The idea is to fit people and teams together to match their inner needs and compatibilities. Which, uh, is a bunch of bullshit, as far as I’m concerned.

People love the test and feel that it describes them well. It’s enticing that it’s a no-shame no-blame test. It just tells you in what ways you’re wonderful and that you’re okay. It’s great at helping you to accept yourself and not feel weird.

There are areas that you might want to examine, of course….

The MBTI is a for-cost test, but there are a lot of copycat versions floating around out there on the InterWebs for free. A popular one is at HumanMetrics and another is at Similar Minds.

I get almost identical results from both, and a few others out there. Sometimes I show as having a razor-thin INTJ classification, by about 1%, rather than INFJ. I’m sorta okay about that. INTJs are pretty cool, too, though not as cool as INFJs.

The MBTI correlates, some, with the Big Five test, which supposedly accurately addresses the best, most current psychological theories. But I don’t like the Big Five so much, because it says I’m neurotic. And that the MBTI is flawed. To Hell with them evil Big Five people.


Read More »

Posted in People, Personal History, Pop. Culture, Rory, Science, You | 11 Comments »

Who Do You Love?

June 5th, 2008 by Bradley Denton

What Mr. McDaniel Made 

On Tuesday, I had lunch at my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in the world, which happens to be located five minutes from my house. My favorite barbecue joint is maybe another minute beyond that. There’s a terrific pizza-and-burger joint nearby as well. Manchaca, Texas is a near-paradise in this regard. And we just got a deli, so I’ll have to check that out. If it’s any good, I may never leave this ZIP code again.

In the booth next to mine at the Tex-Mex joint, two gentlemen were having an animated conversation in Russian. One of them sounded pissed-off about something, but I could be wrong about that. Anyone speaking Russian always sounds a little pissed-off to me. (Ditto if they’re speaking German.) (Or English.)

I had never heard anyone in Manchaca conversing in Russian before. Our two most common languages around here are Spanish and GoodOlBoy. So as I was leaving, I thought about pausing beside the two gentlemen and welcoming them to Central Texas, since they obviously weren’t from around here. But at the moment when I might have done that, one of them was gesturing with a crushed quesadilla. So I kept walking.

Now, if I had actually stopped and spoken with them, what would I have said after welcoming them to this small chunk of the world?

Well, I might have asked the same question the restaurant host had asked as he’d seated me. He’d seen that I was carrying the new issue of Rolling Stone with B.B. King, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy, and a few others on the cover — and he’d asked me:

“You know what happened yesterday, right?”

Oh, yeah. I knew. So he and I commiserated over it for a few minutes.

And later, as I left the restaurant, I found myself profoundly satisfied to live where I live.

It ain’t perfect, and there are too many born-again churches and Bush/Cheney bumper stickers for my personal taste. But on the other hand —

It’s a place with tremendous brisket and chimichangas. It’s a place that now has at least three conversational languages (four, if you count Baptist). It’s a place where the veterinarian knows the names of all your dogs, both living and passed-on, and buys your books to boot. It’s a place where harp legend James Cotton sometimes shows up at the local bar just to jam with whoever’s playing that night. It’s a place where black buzzards stand guard on cell-phone towers, protecting the community from the Evil Dead. It’s a place where the volunteer fire department serves breakfast five days a week.

It’s a place where we’re glad there was a Bo Diddley.

You know what happened Monday, right?

And if you answered “Yes” to that question, here’s another one to answer just for yourself:

“Who Do You Love?”

Posted in Brad, Daily Life, History, Music, People, Personal History, Pop. Culture, You | 6 Comments »

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