Saturday, June 30, 2007

WTF is up with this cover?

Check out the cover of this Penguin Classic of Bram Stoker's Dracula. What is that all about? Interestingly the review from School Library Review says it's for seventh grade and up. Hmm...


A tiny love story inside a bigger love story

This is part of what I wrote today. Clive, my protagonist, is sitting in a cab looking out the window while his friend has a fight with the cab driver.

I tuned them out while I looked out the window. A very tall, thin man that looked as though he'd escaped from a mortuary, either as the proprietor or one of the cadavers, was standing just inside the opposite tiny alley. He was so still he was almost impossible to see, people walked right past him without noticing. At last a giantess of a woman with hips big enough to hold seven children came striding down the street. She carried what looked like an entire encyclopedia all bound up with red twine in one hand and a basket with a loaf of bread and an enormous cheese peeking out of the other. She was whistling while she walked, loud enough that I could hear her through the glass pane of the cab.

As she drew near she started singing and I rolled the window down so I could hear her. Poofter seemed enthralled by her, sticking his head out the window and looking at her longingly while wagging his tail furiously. She was singing a song about voles and how they pass the winter months. As she drew near the alley the thin man stepped out and blocked her path, putting his hand out as though he were seeking alms.

"You'd be wise not to block my way old man," she said to him.

"Wisdom has never taken root in my heart Bessie. You know that. Only love flowers there."

"You're a fool," she said. "A thousand times over."

"Aye, a fool for love. Let me just come and sit at your feet and watch you eat. Let me watch you read. Let me bask in your presence one more time, just once, light of my life."

She started to walk away. "With you once turns into a thousand times. I've got no patience for you old man. Get back to counting your money and leave me alone."

"I've hired someone to count it for me," he said. "I'm trying, the Good Lord knows I'm trying."

She laughed and stopped, turning back to him. "Oh yes, you're the most trying man I know. I'll share this one supper with you but the chocolate and the raspberries are for me. Agreed?"

He nodded and took the books, stumbling from the weight of them. "Don't worry," he said. "I can manage."


Friday, June 29, 2007

And two more

The second one is my arm after Neil autographed it. Cullen took all these pictures I believe.


Still more photes from Book Fest 2004

Here's Neil with a sinister beard.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

One last thing


More old pictures

Here are some pictures from when we saw One Ring Zero back in 2004. You can see the claviola, a totally awesome instrument. Michael and Josh are pretty awesome also. Oh and the thing that looks like a spike is part of the theremin. It looks like Michael is also playing a water bottle but he's not.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's not a bug, it's a feature!

From the Johns Hopkins Bariatric surgery page:

The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure discourages the intake of high-calorie sweets by producing nausea, diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms when these foods are eaten. This is known as "dumping syndrome."

I like how they make it sound like a good thing...

I'm at 19,700 or so words for the script. Half my column is done for tomorrow. I've done my writing for my book for the day. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Best line of the day

I'm reading Lisey's Story by Stephen King and there was a sentence I loved so much it leapt right off the page. I'm going to x out the person's name so as not to spoil anything, otherwise here it is as written:

She opened her arms to x and caught him like a fever.


Monday, June 25, 2007

I overdosed this week

Yep, I ODed. Guess what on? Carrots. That's right, I was eating two servings of carrots a day and I got for too much vitamin A for me. PTC patients have to beware of vitamin A as it all by itself can cause PTC. I'm taking a multi-vitamin as well with 50% of the RDA of A and throw in the carrots and I guess I got 700% of my A for the day, leading to all that sickness last week.

Kind of ironic really. Try to eat a little bit healthier and see what it gets you...


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Some old photos

I was looking for a picture today and I found this, they are from the Book Festival in DC in 2004. These are of Frederik Pohl. LOVE HIM!

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Holy cow, look at these fees

This article is about the new fee structures in Virginia for motor vehicle offenses.

Say you are driving 78 mph on the Capital Beltway and a state trooper tickets you for "reckless driving -- speeding 20 mph over." You will probably be fined $200 by the judge. But then you will receive a new, additional $1,050 fine from the Old Dominion, payable in three convenient installments. So convenient that you must pay the first one immediately, at the courthouse.

One person points out that the poor will be unduly punished by these fees and could end up losing their license since they can't pay then they'll lose their job and eventually their home.

I'm just wondering how many people will decide to move to Maryland or DC instead. Or West Virginia, already cheaper than the DC suburbs of Virginia. It's just that it's fairly easy to go 20 MPH over the speed limit because the limit changes all the time. Parts of one highway I drive are 55 and parts are 65. If you're going ten miles over the speed limit in the 65 mph zone and pass into the 55 you're suddenly 20 mph over. I'm just saying.

And I know ideally you'll always go the speed limit but sometimes that's a recipe for getting rearended by the crazy speeders around you.

Friday, June 22, 2007

WaPo's Series on Walter Reed

The most recent series about Walter Reed and the lack of psychiatric care is heartbreaking. The last two pieces I have read have specifically been about PTSD and the lack of care our wounded soldiers are getting when they return. What is particularly frustrating is that when I was at Balticon we had a small discussion at one panel about how effective the eye movement therapy (EMDR) is very promising. My own doctor told me about this several years ago. Why aren't our soldiers getting the option of this treatment?

Combat Studies Providing Full Treatment

Only one EMDR study has provided a full course of treatment for combat veterans with PTSD. Carlson et al. (1998) randomly assigned 35 Vietnam combat veterans to a wait list control, or to 12 treatment sessions of biofeedback relaxation, or EMDR. At post-treatment, the EMDR group had significantly lower scores on instruments measuring PTSD and depression than the wait list. At 3-month follow-up, EMDR had significantly lower scores than the biofeedback relaxation group on measures of PTSD and self-reported symptoms. Both treatment groups and the wait list control showed significant improvement on physiological measures with no differences between groups. This decrease in physiological arousal was maintained at 3 month follow-up. Nine of the ten EMDR subjects completed the 9 month follow-up which confirmed the maintenance of treatment effects. Seventy-eight percent of the EMDR subjects no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. This study controls for the often neglected variable of therapist allegiance (Hollon, 1999), as the non-EMDR subjects received the treatment to which the therapist had allegiance. Because biofeedback relaxation therapy has not been designated an efficacious treatment for PTSD, it could be argued that this study does not compare EMDR to another acknowledged effective treatment, but only controls for some of the nonspecific effects of treatment.

Emphasis mine.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Screnzy says

I have 15,423 words towards my 20,000 word goal for the month. Whoop.

I finally stopped throwing up. Supposedly I gained like three pounds this last week, despite throwing up so much I hurt my ribs. At this rate I'll start gaining 150 pounds a year...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Book Sales Really Must be Slow

This press release states that:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling's sixth Harry
Potter book, was released on July 16, 2005, and was the fastest-selling
book in history selling 6.9 copies in the first 24 hours

It's sad to think that the fastest selling book in history sold less than seven copies in the first 24 hours...

In other news I've still throwing up and downed with a horrible headache. Getting up to go to the bathroom is the best I can hope for. I can't even make it to the pharmacy to pick up my Diamox, which they ran out of last week.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Migraine, migraine, migraine

Day two of headache from hell. Last night I took some darvocet or maybe percocet, I get the two mixed up and it helped a little but I was awake all night long being miserable.

This morning I took a tramadol which didn't touch the headache but gave me horrible heartburn that hasn't let up yet. I was in so a lot of pain and weepy so my boss told me to go to sleep this afternoon. Tried that but only slept in snatches. It's extremely depressing. Maybe it is time for me to go on the Topomax after all.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pancakes, shipwreckes, horse colors

That's pretty much my day. That and we finally got the air conditioning fixed, thank goodness. It was 91 today and I ended up with a terrible headache and severe dizziness every time I sat up. I finally took Cullen and Leah out for pancakes, partly to get out of the heat of the house, and things were much cooler when we got back.

I'm still reading the shipwreck book, interspersed with No Good Deed by Lynn Hightower, the reason I was looking up horse colors. I find quite a few books that say chestnut when they mean dark bay or brown or even black. I think this confusion is because the nut chestnut is a glossy brown.

Up to 13,000 words in my script and no idea how this thing is going to end.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I am ur oceanz braking ur boatz

I'm reading a whole bunch of books about shipwrecks, kind of interspersing them in with my steady diet of fiction. Right now I'm reading a book called Ten Hours Until Dawn, about what happened to the Can Do in the blizzard of 1978. The author tells a number of smaller stories in the course of the large story.

The story of Howard Blackburn is simply amazing. Well worth reading the book just for Blackburn's story.

Here is a link that tell the bare bones of his story.

And here is one in his own words that tells of his terrible ordeal at sea.

The story is gruesome and graphic but it's also astounding. This man's will to not just survive but to go on to live a full life of adventure is astonishing.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Squirrel goes nuts

For me the best part of this story is the pensioner using his crutch to kill his attacker. That's tool using.

BERLIN (Reuters) - An aggressive squirrel attacked and injured three people in a German town before a 72-year-old pensioner dispatched the rampaging animal with his crutch.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Bubyes Cam

Cam left for Alaska this evening. He'll be flying out tomorrow and will be back in six weeks. Cullen will be joining him later in the summer and staying for three weeks or so.

Hopefully it will be good times for both of them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Halfway there

I hit ten thousand words today. I can't believe how quickly this story is going. It's going to turn out to be far too complicated to be a script I think


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Here's some crazy shit

Capital One, subprime credit card, auto loans and mortgage company, has a special healthcare finance option for those who want cosmetic surgery. How American is that? Get thin thighs and pay for it on time...

Monday, June 11, 2007

I wish galleycat had a comment section

This post is so stupifyingly awful I would love to leave a comment. It's called giving Google a taste of its own medicine and is about the dumbass move of Richard Charkin, the Macmillan CEO who stole two Google laptops and said that doing that is the same thing as what Google is doing to out of print books.

Charkin comments in his own blog (in a post called The Heist) and I quote:

I confess that a colleague and I simply picked up two computers from the Google stand and waited in close proximity until someone noticed. This took more than an hour.

Our justification for this appalling piece of criminal behaviour? The owner of the computer had not specifically told us not to steal it. If s/he had, we would not have done so. When s/he asked for its return, we did so. It is exactly what Google expects publishers to expect and accept in respect to intellectual property.

While galleycat pretends to offer up more than one perspective of the debacle their ridiculous headline proves that a) they're totally clueless and just don't get it or b) they think the CEO did the right thing.

Boingboing has a nice item up with a quote from Larry Lessig that I like very much.

(3) If the computer was not sitting at a market booth, but instead was in a trash dump (like, for example, the publishers out of print book list), or on a field, lost to everyone, then that fits the category of property that Google is dealing with. But again, Google doesn’t take possession of the property in any way that interferes with anyone else taking possession of the property. The publisher, for example, is perfectly free to decide to publish the book again. Instead, in this case, what Google does is more like posting an advertisement — “lost computer, here it is, is it yours?”

(4) Or again, imagine the computer was left after the conference. No easy way to identify who the owner was. No number to call. In that case, what would the “head honcho’s,” or anyone’s rights be? Well depending upon local law, the basic rule is finders keepers, loser weepers. There might be an obligation to advertise. There might be an obligation to turn the property over to some entity that holds it for some period of time. But after that time, the property would go to the “head honcho” — totally free of any obligation to Google. Compare copyright law: where the property can be lost for almost a century, and no one (according to the publishers at least) has any right to do anything with it. Once an orphan, the law of copyright says, you must be an orphan. No one is permitted to even help advertise your status through a technique like search engine.

(5) Or again, imagine the computer was a bank account in New York. And imagine, the bank lost track of the owner of the account. After 5 years, the money is forfeited to the state. Compare copyright: in New York state, a sound recording could be 100 years old, but no one has any freedom with respect to that sound recording unless the copyright owner can be discovered.

I would love for Google to add my work to their book project and in fact have decided not to join the Author's Guild because of their suit against Google.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cullen's graduation

Cullen's graduation was nice but it went on forever. We got there right around six pm and were still there after 11. I taught a boy how to tie his tie in the parking lot. That made me happy.

The ceremony was kind of weird and sexist. Girls wore white and boys wore blue. Boys took their hats of for the Star Spangled Banner and the moment of silence for the member of the graduating class who was killed in a car accident last year but girls kept theirs on. Boys sat on one side of the stadium girls on another. They walked in as couples even though there were more girls than boys so a bunch of girls came in by themselves all alone at the end.

They weren't allowed to throw their caps in the air and in fact couldn't get their diplomas if they didn't show their cap at the end, with their names written inside. Why? I have no idea. Throwing the caps is a lovely visual.

But all that aside it was still really nice and it was exciting to see so many IB kids wearing their gold thingies.


Saturday, June 09, 2007


Started the new book today - not sure if this what I'm actually going to be working. Could start the next Kitta book or could concentrate on the script or could even take a break. Maybe work on rewriting the Gabriel book. But anyway, here's the opening to the werewolf story. Oddly I keep thinking his name is Clive. Maybe I should change it soon.

My name is Owen and I'm a werewolf. I'm also a dentist. If you think people are afraid of the ordinary dentist you can imagine how they feel about one that turns into a ravening beast every month. I like to send out my bills just before the full moon. Guarantees payment every time.

I wasn't always a werewolf. I was born an ordinary boy who dreamt of being an astronaut or a fireman or a ballerina just like everyone else. But like many other people I fell in love with a girl and like many other people the course of love did not run smoothly. Instead of a broken heart and a drinking habit I wound up with a fear of silver bullets and a zest for chasing rabbits.


Friday, June 08, 2007

93 degrees today

With lots of humidity. Time to get the air conditioner fixed I think.

Cullen graduates tomorrow evening. I kind of wish I had a camera.

Finished the second Kitta book today.

And now, time for a cold bath.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Script Frenzy

I've been d0ing about 750 words a day for Script Frenzy. I'm on page 20 as of right this second. I've also been doing the thousand words a day for Kitta. The Kitta story is winding up, I'll probably finish this episode tomorrow or the next day. Then I might take a break and write a quick werewolf story that would be set in the Gabriel universe - the character shows up in the Gabriel book kind of briefly, this would be a chance for him to tell his story in more depth.

Watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind finally. It was good but a little too heartbreaking for me. Sometimes I think I'm too fragile to watch anything or read any books at all...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

House hunting

My current landlord wants to raise the rent so I've been sort of looking around and today I went and looked at an apartment that is bigger than where I live now (by 30 square feet! Whoop!) and about 120 bucks a month less per month. It's also all one level as compared to the condo we live in now where the sole bathroom is upstairs. When I'm feeling really sick I can't even go downstairs for fear of throwing up and not being able to get up the stairs to the bathroom. I think one level would work much better for me.

Of course there's some loss of prestige (how silly is that?) going from a condo to an apartment I suppose but that doesn't really bother me.

The walk to school for Cam will be longer and it's about two miles further from the store where we shop but it's closer to some friends so I don't know, I guess it's a wash. We go back to look at it with Cullen tomorrow to see what he thinks.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

This is kind of weird

Here is a link to eight articles I wrote for the Credit Union Journal several years ago. What's really odd is that I didn't even know they're been published online. Researching these stories was actually really fun. I spoke to a woman who was in the middle of Area 51. I don't think I've ever done an interview where I didn't find out something surprising and intriguing.


Friday, June 01, 2007



WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2007 (202) 514-2007

WWW.USDOJ.GOV TDD (202) 514-1888


Bristol-Myers Squibb to Pay $1 Million Criminal Fine;
Illegal Actions Threatened to Delay Generic Competition for Drug

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $1 million criminal fine for lying to the federal government about a patent deal involving a popular blood-thinning drug. The Department said that BMS’s illegal actions threatened to reduce competition for the drug Plavix that could have reduced the cost of blood-thinning drugs sold to heart attack, stroke and other patients.

According to the two-count criminal charge filed today in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in 2006, BMS and another company, Apotex Inc., were engaged in litigation over the validity of the patent for Plavix and were negotiating a settlement of that litigation. At the time, BMS was subject to a separate consent decree – for unrelated conduct – with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that required BMS to submit any proposed patent settlements for review and approval by the FTC. The FTC warned BMS that it would not approve a settlement of the Plavix litigation if BMS agreed not to launch its own generic version of Plavix that would compete against Apotex for generic sales. After nevertheless entering into such an agreement, BMS concealed it from and then lied about its existence to the FTC. The Department charged BMS with filing two false statements to the FTC as part of its effort to hide part of its agreement with Apotex.

“BMS is charged with both lying to the federal government and with taking steps to conceal its false statement – both serious felonies,” said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division. “The seriousness of the offenses is compounded by the fact that BMS’ obstructive conduct occurred in connection with the FTC’s review of a proposed patent settlement affecting the cost of a lifesaving drug sold to tens of millions of Americans.”

Plavix, a patented pharmaceutical, is the most widely prescribed blood-thinning drug in the world. Approximately 48 million Americans take Plavix daily to prevent potentially fatal blood clots. The drug was approved for sale in the United States in November 1997.

The Department alleges that, at a meeting in 2006, a former senior BMS executive made oral representations to Apotex with the purpose of causing Apotex to conclude that BMS would not launch its own generic version of Plavix in the event that the parties reached a final settlement agreement. The Department further alleges that these representations ultimately resulted in an understanding between BMS and Apotex that BMS would not launch its own generic version of Plavix. Finally, the Department charged that BMS took steps deliberately to mislead the FTC by first concealing and then later lying about the existence of its representations to and understanding with Apotex Inc.

BMS – an international pharmaceutical company headquartered in New York, N.Y – participates in the sale and marketing of Plavix in the United States through the Bristol-Myers Squibb Sanofi Pharmaceuticals Holding Partnership. In 2006, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Sanofi Pharmaceuticals Holding Partnership sold more than $3.5 billion of Plavix in the United States.

BMS has agreed to plead guilty to two violations of the federal False Statements Act and to pay a fine of $1 million – the maximum fine permitted for these violations by statute.

This case is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section with the assistance of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Anyone with information about this matter should contact the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section at 202-307-6694.