Happy Birthday To Me.

Posted on August 18th, 2009 in notes to self

But I was interested in the real future that I could see approaching, and less in the invented future that science fiction preferred. The future, needless to say, is a dangerous area to enter, heavily mined and with a tendency to turn and bite your ankles as you stride forward. A correspondent recently pointed out to me that the poetry-writing computers in Vermilion Sands are powered by valves. And why don’t all those sleek people living in the future have PCs and pagers? I could only reply that Vermilion Sands isn’t set in the future at all, but in a kind of visionary present.

–J.G Ballard

And suddenly I realize:  It’s not about the future we didn’t get.  It’s not.  Today’s my birthday, and I’m old. I’m the age my childhood self thought would live in a world with daily moon shuttles and teleporters and food replicators and VR headsets and flying cars.  I’m the age my childhood self thought would be a best-selling science-fiction short-stories writer, making up a future even more amazing than daily moon shuttles and teleporters and food replicators and VR headsets and flying cars.

Only:

  • We haven’t been to the moon in years, and
  • Teleportation isn’t looking any more likely, and
  • People are starving in my own city, and
  • VR Headsets look LAME, and
  • I don’t even drive a non-flying car, and
  • There aren’t any best-selling science-fiction short-stories writers.

But I’m not sorry.  I’ve got no apologies to my childhood self that the future didn’t shake out the way the stories (especially the secret ones I told myself) said it would.  Because now that I’m old, I understand what my childhood self didn’t: The Future isn’t something to live for.  Shiny or apocalyptic, The Future isn’t a destination.  The Future isn’t some terminal where the last train puts you out and then there you are.  The things we plan for and look forward to are all well and good and necessary — but they aren’t the point.

The point is the visionary present.

The point is what we do with our dreams of the Future, Today. What would you do, if you lived on the Moon, and why can’t you do it here?  Where would you go with a teleporter, and why don’t you start walking there, now?  What would you imagine, in a Virtual Reality, and why can’t you start at Home Depot? 

What would you create, if you worked in The Future?  Who would you love, and how would you live?

Me?  I’m old, today.  And things didn’t work out the way I planned, not at all. This world and my life are a million miles away from what I expected.

Funny thing is, though: It’s a million times better than my childhood plans.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped dreaming just about tomorrow, and started dreaming about now.  I started dreaming about how to use the tools I’ve got to hand.  I started dreaming about the life and love I’m living now, and those dreams started leaking into reality, and making new and better dreams that come true every single day.

Oh, my life’s not perfect — far from — but it’s good, and getting better, every day.

My birthday gift to myself this year is this wonderful Present, and my visions of where I’m going right now, and forever.

And you, you in the back that just scoffed at this old woman waxing poetic on her birthday, you shush.  If what I’m saying seems too pretty to be true, you’ll understand it when you’re older. Live a little, first, and then get back to me.

January 15, 2010 via Cherie Priest

Friday January, 15 2010 07:17 AM UTC

Here are tonight’s stats on my second urban fantasy adventure — this time with my neurotic undead thief, her shady agent, a cigar box full of magical penis bones, a mentally ill former NASA engineer-turned-sorceress, and the continued fabulosity of a Cuban drag queen:

    Project: Hellbent
    Deadline: August 9, 2010
    New Words Written: 937
    Present Total Word Count: 10,397



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Gave some background on the kids, as well as the rest of the household regulars.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Day-job work this morning; got my hair done over lunch; drove out to the U-district to sign stuff for Duane at the University Book Store; had a moment of furious panic when the car’s engine began blowing smoke; came back down to earth when this proved to be an easy (free) fix; came home and worked on my Fort Freak rewrites.

    Other: I confess, I don’t really want to be working on this project right now. I’d rather wait until I have feedback from the editor on Bloodshot (since this is its sequel); but Hellbent is the only thing to which I am contracted at the moment, so we work on the work, is what we do. It’s fun — definitely lighter than my usual fare (excepting Bloodshot, of course) — and I’m treating it like a “break” from the hardboiled near-noir of Fort Freak. Which is due tomorrow. That due date is both horrifying and a great relief … horrifying because I still have work to do on it, but a relief because hey, after tomorrow I’m finished (for awhile).

    Total Official Word Count of 2010: 10,397 words

Wikiquote via Lee Barnett

Thursday January, 14 2010 11:57 PM UTC

While I'll sometimes look at the quotes on imDb.com, I rarely look on Wikiquote when it comes to tv series or movies..

However, I came across a cracker when looking at the quotes for the Tenth Doctor.

Someone listed the 'confrontation' between Sarah Jane Smith and Rose Tyler in School Reunion... and linked each line to the episode to which it refers. Hover over the links to see what I mean...
Sarah: I saw things you wouldn't believe!
Rose: Try me.
Sarah: Mummies.
Rose: I've met ghosts.
Sarah: Robots. Lots of robots.
Rose: Slitheen. In Downing Street.
Sarah: Daleks!
Rose: [smugly] Met the Emperor.
Sarah: Anti-matter monsters!
Rose: Gas-mask zombies!
Sarah: Real living dinosaurs!
Rose: Real living werewolf!
Sarah: [emphasising each word] The Loch Ness Monster!
Rose: [stunned] Seriously?

Links for 2010-01-14 via Warren Ellis

Thursday January, 14 2010 11:00 PM UTC

100 Words: Going to Hell Again via Dan Curtis Johnson

Thursday January, 14 2010 10:13 PM UTC

This may have been a terrible mistake.

The Duke comes at me again, preternatural lightning dancing on his arms, even brighter than the light reflecting from his saber. No mere ?palpable hit?: before I can even raise my own blade, he takes a dozen more bites out of my arm, shoulder, and chest. Then he steps back swiftly and I stagger even more.

?You?re starting to look like hamburger, my dear boy,? he says, a genuine note of concern in his voice. ?Ready to yield??

I look at the ground, where tiny red drops fall from me like rain: ?Maybe...??

------
For consideration: "Self-confidence leaks from a thousand wounds."

my god, it's full of futuremugs via Wil Wheaton

Thursday January, 14 2010 06:48 PM UTC

The Memories of the Futuremug makes an appearance in Stellar Cartography:

Wil Wheaton's Memories of the Futuremug at Flickr

Isn't the perspective of the mug and the projector cool?

(Thanks to dotsandlines for taking and sharing this picture at flickr)

Dream: Heeeeeeeeeeeere's...! via Dan Curtis Johnson

Thursday January, 14 2010 04:38 PM UTC

I dreamt that Conan O'Brien's final guest on The Tonight Show was Johnny Carson, perfectly digitally reconstructed. The two of them just cracked wise and reminisced about the show's history, and by extension, the history of television.

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For consideration: the technology is probably actually there to do it for real, even

Nnggrrrggg via Warren Ellis

Thursday January, 14 2010 02:23 PM UTC

Woke up late. I believe my new phone is downstairs. So I leave you with this wonderful quote from Brandon Graham as I check the package and then go to the pub. Morning.

I have a rule in KING CITY that is – anything I come up with that is fun but doesn’t advance the plot, I try to give more priority and pages than something that does advence the plot.

Podcastary Celebration via Kieron Gillen

Thursday January, 14 2010 09:48 AM UTC

I did a hefty interview with Ideology of Madness, wherein I talk my usual load of nonsense, in probably a more breathless way than usual. It’s part of my charm. At least, I hope it is.

Oh - and ifanboy has made SWORD 3 pick of the week, which means they’ll be yabbering about it on the show.

Oh Mr 2 - Review of SWORD 3 over at IGN, giving it an 8.4.

Hurrah for comics!

January 13 2010 (metrics) via Cherie Priest

Thursday January, 14 2010 06:36 AM UTC

(Just so you don’t think I’ve been skipping out on my resolution or anything…) Here are recent stats on my second urban fantasy adventure — this time with my neurotic undead thief, her shady agent, a cigar box full of magical penis bones, a mentally ill former NASA engineer-turned-sorceress, and the continued fabulosity of a Cuban drag queen:

    Project: Hellbent
    Deadline: August 9, 2010
    New Words Written: 1897
    Present Total Word Count: 9460



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Raylene brought home a drag queen of her very own to play dress-up with.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Over the last few days? Mostly I’ve just done day-job work (in the mornings) and worked on my Fort Freak segments in the afternoons. No, literally. That’s almost all I’ve done. (Though Sunday afternoon I went over to Ellen’s, where we were joined by Caitlin and Suezie and we totally had a girls’ night with Bruce Campbell which was EXACTLY as cool as it sounds.) Still averaging about 500 words a day which isn’t much, but will add up to much if I can keep it steady.

    Other: I’m four segments down in Fort Freak, with thirteen more to go before Friday. I’ve completed one major first pass, answering all the editor’s notes; and I’ve now gone back and answered all my own notes, and added all the content I think I was supposed to add. Now I’m on the final pass to make sure it hangs together, but it is a VERY THOROUGH final pass. Thus my horror at the fact it needs to go by Friday afternoon.

    Total Official Word Count of 2010: 9460 words

January 13, 2010 via Cherie Priest

Thursday January, 14 2010 03:31 AM UTC

I have been assured (to the point of being badgered) that I ought to do this, so here goes: I realize that the Hugo and Nebula awards are in their recommendation phases right now, so here’s what I had published in 2009 that might be eligible.


And I think that’s it, actually. Thanks so much to those who have asked, and to those who might consider my stuff worthy of recommending.

echoes beyond the infinite via Wil Wheaton

Thursday January, 14 2010 02:31 AM UTC

I found this video while putting together the show notes for today's Radio Free Burrito (wherein I perform yesterday's story for you, with music and puppets*) as I said on Twitter, it's not the same as syncing it up with a record and the laserdisc, but it's still pretty awesome if you have about 24 minutes to spend however you want.

Anyway, I'm very proud of today's RFB, and just wanted an excuse to mention it here, because not very many people seem to be hearing it over there.

So now you know, and can tell your friends! Yay!

*please note that RFB is audio-only, so you'll have to use your imagination to properly enjoy the puppet portion of the production.

Oh Lord, this cover is beautiful... via Lee Barnett

Wednesday January, 13 2010 11:41 PM UTC

From the forthcoming Phonogram #7



Due second week in February.

Phonogram is a comic book that simply never fails to deliver. If you're not reading it, you're missing out.

Crackhead via Dan Curtis Johnson

Wednesday January, 13 2010 11:03 PM UTC

I'm through with cashin' those checks that I worked to earn
It's like I made it big and I dunno what I learned
This life hasn't turned out to be all that interesting
(Tell me what you want)

I want some brand new pills that I can't resist
And head full of voices that don't exist
And a king-size bag to drag around all my things
(Yeah, so what you need?)

I need a beat-up coat that fell off a truck
And a cardboard sign that says "Spare a buck?"
Gonna join the local soup line and stand there mumbling
(Been there, done that)

I want a new syringe and a hacking cough
My own flop where I can go nod off
Somewhere between the freeway and river is fine for me
(So how you gonna do it?)

Gonna trade this life for illness and pain
I'll even cut my wrists to find more veins

Cause we all just wanna be big crack heads
Live in cardboard boxes cause we're off our meds
The food is garbage and our friends are creeps
We'll all be twitchy cause we just don't sleep

And we'll hang out and beg for change
On a cold street corner as we grow deranged
Every car we see we're gonna go harass
Every cop we see is gonna beat our ass

Hey hey, I wanna be a crack head.

I wanna be sick as a dog as I scratch my nuts
Know eight different dealers who hate my guts
Pick through the dumpster until I can find a meal
(Is that a quesadilla?)

I'm gonna wipe my ass with some old newspapers
And I'll stay warm thanks to the sewer vapors
Gonna break your window so that I can find some stuff to steal
(So how you gonna do it?)

Gonna trade this life for illness and pain
I'll even cut my wrists to find more veins

Cause we all just wanna be big crack heads
Live in cardboard boxes cause we're off our meds
The food is garbage and our friends are creeps
We'll all be twitchy cause we just don't sleep

And we'll hang out and beg for change
On a cold street corner as we grow deranged
Every car we see we're gonna go harass
Every cop we see is gonna beat our ass

Then we'll hide out and pick at scabs
With a handful of samples from today's fresh tabs
They'll tell you that it's good, it's the same old shit
But it doesn't really matter cause we need a hit

Hey hey, I wanna be a crack head.

------
For consideration: apologies to Nickelback

Phonogram 2.7 Cover via Kieron Gillen

Wednesday January, 13 2010 09:44 PM UTC

The release date, I’m told, is the 10th of February.

Sorry for the delay. It will almost certainly be worth it.

Speaker Circuit via Jamais Cascio

Wednesday January, 13 2010 09:32 PM UTC

My 2010 calendar is filling up already!

  • February 4: The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute's 2010 Annual Meeting (PDF). Morning keynote. San Francisco.
  • Also February 4: State of Green Business Forum -- "Hacking the Earth Without Voiding its Warranty." San Francisco (just down the street from the previous conference, fortunately).
  • February 13: Information Technology Senior Management Forum 2010 Symposium on Green IT. San Jose.
  • Mid-March: NASA-sponsored project on sustainability, coinciding with shuttle launch. Cape Canaveral, Florida. (No public link yet.)
  • April 19: Social Business Edge, Show 1. New York City.
  • April 26-27: Institute for the Future Ten-Year Forecast. San Francisco.
  • May 5-7: Lift10. Geneva.

    ...whew...