Author Archives: Tao23

It’s Gargoyle Laundry Day…

…at the old homestead. Hard to find a quiet moment.

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Whale, Whale, Whale, What Do We Have Here?

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What do we have here? Opportunity for both whale prosperity and human fatness. Check it out:

I mean, isn’t it obvious?

Cultured meat has great potential; satisfying people who want to eat endangered animals is only a small, small part of that.

I have posted about it here before. And I’ve written several stories in which cultured meat is either a feature of the setting or actually important to the plot.

It’s fascinating to me. And I am an adventurous eater myself. I’d love to taste some no-harpoon, no-death, no-harm whale. But not otherwise.

I Am S.A. Barton And I Approve This Political Message

BONUS: read the tags on this one. Read them any way you want.

Is there some reason banana slices turn purple in a banana upside down cake?

Because I really wanna know.

Writing What You Know Is Not A Path

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It’s a gate. It’s a place to start, whether you’re describing a character or a place or an action. And you know more than you think.

Especially if you write science fiction or fantasy. Because then you’re free to make up the things you know from whole cloth in a few spots, maybe many. That’s a privilege other genres don’t have like we get in SFFPHM (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Magical realism). Other writers might make up a town or something, but their worlds are expected to act totally like the real world.

Settings aside, writing what you know also doesn’t mean every character has to be a writer or a retail person or a middle manager or whatever variety of things it might be that you do with your lifetime. Doesn’t mean all your aliens need to know what it’s like to poop or vomit. Doesn’t mean that your orcs need to be the orcs you know from all those movies with the really short dudes and a jewelry fetish.

Write what you know is great for writing the human bit of your story, though it’s a damn good thing to remember that if you’re writing about a culture or subculture you’re not familiar with, it’s best to consult members of that culture. Unless it’s elves. You’re not going to find any real elves to consult about your fictional ones, I’m afraid. HOWEVER that said if you’re going to base your elves’ culture strongly on the culture of southern Spain, you’d better be familiar with southern Spain in some significant way.

’nuff said. I’ve already harped on that enough and I hope you were listening.

Write what you know means the practical simple things around you, sure. Do use your memories, your pain, your joy, things that happened to you, places and people you’ve met (though tread lightly when writing a person who’s close to you lest ye complicate yer relationship).

Use the things that made you grieve. Use the things that made you weep with joy. You can choose not to reveal that those things came from within yourself if that’s what you want or need to do. Do use your writerly skills to file the serial numbers off them.

Write things you know you can feel. Because feeling (Hemingway would say, did say, bleeding) on the page speaks to readers. It can reach into your readers’ hearts where mere skill can only titillate their minds.

There are plenty of successful authors who do the latter. But the stories that do the former are remembered. They change minds and sometimes lives.

Don’t think it’s easy, though. No author succeeds at that every time. In fact, I think it’s an ideal that is rarely reached.

Do reach for it.

Baby Schnitzel

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Pixabay always has the best public domain stuff even if this one came without a background. The poor thing.

To begin let me clear up some ambiguity in the title: this is about making small schnitzel, not about how to make schnitzel out of babies. If you’re here for the latter, I’m sorry you have to leave disappointed.

So: I discovered today why my mom and grandma always made these little bitty schnitzel barely big enough to cover a store brand hamburger bun (which happens because cold leftover schnitzel makes AMAZING sandwiches).

I discovered today instead of the last time I made schnitzel because I am stubborn, stubborn, oh so stubborn.

When I usually make schnitzel, I aim to create something that will cover at least half of a dinner plate. I cut nice thick slabs of loin or tenderloin and carefully beat it into a nice big floppy pork blanket. If I’m working with tenderloin, which is a slender muscle that doesn’t make big thick slices, I at least make the schnitzel big enough to cover a large hamburger bun with some hanging out the sides.

Last time, I broke out the tenderloin and went for the meat hammer… but we’d lost it in the move. Okay, fine. I have a decent rolling pin… oh, also lost in the move.

Wanna guess where my last resort, a large stone pestle, went?

You got it.

So that’s when I learned an alternate method of making schnitzel without pounding it outHAHAHAHA no. I am far too stubborn to learn so quickly when I’m not learning on purpose.

Guess what I did.

Go ahead. Guess.

You’re probably wrong because I BEAT THE PORK TENDERLOIN SLICES FLAT WITH MY FISTS. I made schnitzel in a savage, unreasonable, beastly way.

I have German friends. I expect they will have me assassinated in reprisal for my crimes against schnitzelmanity.

But today, today! Today I learned.

And the learning made me realize why my mom and grandmom made little bitty baby schnitzel.

There have been Germans knocking around my mother’s side of the family line for at least a century and maybe two (family history is, sadly, not my strength).

Perhaps grandma’s mom or grandma said to themselves, eh, this Old Country business with hitting the meat with a hammer forever is for the birds. If I just cut the pork thin enough, I can work smarter instead of harder or whatever that dumbass ’90s business cliche was.

Maybe grandma was the one who took laziness to its logical conclusion and stopped hitting the pork with a hammer altogether. Maybe it was mom. Maybe it was great-grandpa, who motivated them to stop hitting the pork with a hammer out of spite because he was a fanatic about hitting the pork with a hammer the proper way, dammit, and would yell at you about it like a jerk.

But someone stopped hitting the pork with a hammer and just cut thin pieces of pork off a tenderloin.

Which is what I learned to do today so I didn’t have to beat my this post is over goodbye.

13 Word Story: Pyrrhus Would Be Proud

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Things are already getting worse climate-wise. We’ve had a string of hottest years ever. The average global temperature is rising. Polar ice and mountain glaciers are waning. Tundra is melting, and releasing more greenhouse gases. The complex weather systems of Earth are becoming chaotic and less predictable–as climate change theory predicts (a theory is a evidence-supported premise and proposed set of conditions and results to be tested and changed according to new results, not a wild-assed guess as the “climate change is a Chinese hoax” crowd would have it).

Maybe the world will find the will to take the drastic action needed to keep things from getting much worse, or out of control forever leading to a greenhouse Earth that looks like a second Venus.

And maybe it won’t and Earth is already dead–we just don’t know it.

The next 500 years will tell the tale.

But, if the option is to flee, settling the Solar System WILL NOT save the bulk of humanity, though it may save the species.

Barring totally amazing technological developments like Blish’s “spindizzy” in his Cities in Flight series that can lift whole cities off the planet, there’s not a way to evacuate billions of people.

More likely is a The Expanse-type world in which there are settlements all across the Solar System, but they’re limited in carrying capacity and reproducing on their own. There won’t be a hell of a lot of room for Earthers.

Most of them, if things go badly wrong, will die desperate deaths.

Agitate for climate action if you want to avert that future.

(This post appeared on my Patreon 10 days before it posted here. If you’d like to see posts early too, and maybe even pick up some free ebooks and paperbacks, please come on over and join. I need all the support I can get–so do pretty much all authors who aren’t giant huge names, so please support some smaller names whether you support me or not!)

 

Don’t Eat The Yellow eSnow

Seriously, y’all.

13 Word Story: Infamous Leaders

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I bet you can guess who the reality show POTUS is. Hopefully this won’t come to pass–but let’s not underestimate the foolishness of our leadership at the moment.

If it does happen, I bet the first communication from the hiding-from-disaster presidential bunker will include a brag about his war having the best ratings ever.

(This post appeared on my Patreon page 10 days before it appeared here. If you’d like to see microfiction and blog posts early, and maybe take advantage of occasional free ebooks and short stories, and maybe even get signed hard copies once in a while, PLEASE DO BECOME A PATRON! Every little bit helps.)

And if you don’t become my patron, kindly consider becoming the patron of another up and coming writer, or of a science fiction magazine or ezine. Or read something by an indie or new-ish writer and leave a review. If you enjoy science fiction, please support it so there are more stories for us all in the future–hopefully even more than we have available now!

ALSO: please feel free to save the image and share it however you wish. The attribution is on the image and it is meant to be shared!

A Future Of Eroding Privacy And Intense Self-Monitoring. YAY!

 

(This post does not appear on my Patreon page because I can’t effectively post tweet links there. But I’ll take this opportunity to mention that I could really use your support for reasons I lay out in the About section which is the first thing you see there, and I’m super grateful for any support I receive. In fact, a comment here or on Twitter would be cool, too.)

This tweet was a prequel, if you will. If we’re at all active online, our privacy is undermined far more than most of us are comfortable with, even Millennials. Maybe even post-Millenials.

But eventually, the complex of tracking browsing habits and posts and images and our online friends and where we shop online and what we buy and what we share with our apps will tell.

There will come a generation that is comfortable with all this. That accepts it as casually as we accept the automobile and television.

This tweet inspired a thread about one way privacy will be compromised more than many of us dream: we will monitor our own bodies more closely than ever before, and that information will be shared with “our advertising partners” as they often put it.

Here’s the thread:

 

Sorry about the repetition at the end, but the links post both a tweet and the tweet it was in response to, and there’s not an option to suppress it. Which would be a very specific feature, so I kind of understand why it’s not there.

Anyway, this is a privacy-destroying vision that I think it very likely in the future. And it will probably be more than just capsules recording your insides. Your clothing and jewelry will also have options to record your health information.

If it becomes popular enough, it may become difficult to find clothing and jewelry that don’t monitor your health and report it to an app or manufacturer or both. Have you ever tried to find a cellphone without a camera? I live in a military town and it’s a requirement for some secure areas that your phone has no camera, and I’ve heard lots of complaining about how hard they are to find.

But, you say, you can just turn the monitoring off.

Well, that speaks to my point.

Eventually, a generation will come who just doesn’t care and they’ll think anyone who gives much thought to online privacy is weird.

Maybe weird enough to diagnose with a mental illness.

The future will be very strange to us. But isn’t that the way of the world? Change is.