Archive for June, 2011

Film Crew Wants to Shoot My Bees

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

I received a request for a film crew to come and briefly shoot some footage of my bees for a TV movie. They want to have a couple who give away honey as favors at their wedding look at the hives. I would have the people on my property for about an hour one morning. I guess I would have a frame with honey ready for them to taste after they film the bees. They have a contract that I would have to sign, but I am still worried a little about the liability. If anyone gets stung, then I might be responsible.

The positive side would be that the girls would be on television. There might be a location fee, too, although I doubt it would be very much.


Don’s story is up at Hamilton Stone Review

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

You can read my cousin Don’s story, Sweaty Girls, at the Hamilton Stone Review.

Hamilton Stone Review #24 Nonfiction.

My Brother Larry, Jamming with Bobby

Monday, June 27th, 2011

I used to go to these Jams and play harp. This is from Bobby’s myspace page. That’s James White playing drums.


Neil Gaiman, Author supports an Onion Pulitzer

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Here is a Neil Gaiman, a very good writer, demanding that the Onion be given a Pulitzer Prize.

YouTube – Neil Gaiman, Author supports an #OnionPulitzer.

Cousin Len’s Wonderful Adjective Cellar – Jack Finney

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Here is a nice short story by jack Finney. It is about a magical salt cellar or adjective cellar that lifts off the adverbs and adjectives from his stories and what was left was “the most crisp, sharp writing you’ve ever seen”.

The story is very short, only 1000 words.

I could use an adjective cellar. I’ll check eBay.

Jack Finney: (Cousin Len’s Wonderful Adjective Cellar.

Space Math

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

I updated my Space Math page. This is a bunch of calculators written in JavaScript. I wrote these about 8 years ago, when I was still learning how to code in JavaScript. Since then the site has been reorganized and the code has broken for mysterious reasons.

Yesterday I updated some of the procedures. It is very convoluted code that grew, much as an ivy bush, curving around in strange loops, that looked clever at the time, but made the code difficult to maintain. I added a new feature, fixed a few broken parts, and then I tested everything several times.

I think it is good for a while.

This is one of my more popular pages. Users are always making good suggestions. Users find bugs or ask for features frequently.

I need to add some more of these calculators. There is a particularly good formula for spaceflight that involves how a spacecraft behaves as it uses up fuel. The mass of the spacecraft changes during the trip so it useful for calculating how far a ship can travel starting with a full tank. It is a complicated formula, but well within the capabilities of JavaScript.

I really like JavaScript and I have thought of writing a short story using it that has branches and loops, much like an adventure game. I think it would be fun.

Space Math | Resources for Science Fiction Writers.

Fred Pohl Mention

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

One of my favorite SF writers, Frederik Pohl, has a nice blog which I check every day. I asked him recently about the The Trap Door Spiders, a New York City luncheon club for sf writers in the 1950s. Fred was supposed to have belonged. Members included Isaac Asimov, Fletcher Pratt, and Lester del Ray.

Today, he wrote about his limited involvement with the club. His webmaster was nice enough to include a link to my website in the post. This is very nice.  Since I spend time writing for this website, it is nice to be read occasionally. A link from pagerank 6 website like Fred’s is a big deal. It more valuable than jewels.

Thank you, Mr. Pohl.

As of this morning at 9:40AM, I have received exactly on click through into this site. I’ll watch and see how many I get by this time tomorrow.

Follow Up:
As of 9AM the day after, about 30 hours after Mr. Pohl’s post, I have received 8 click-throughs from his website. One was me. One, undoubtedly, was the webmaster. That means that a Page-Rank 6 website, winner of a Hugo award, is worth 6 clicks. It increased my traffic about 1% for one day. This is very disappointing.

The Way the Future Blogs, an online memoir by science fiction writer Frederik Pohl.

Cooper Union Engineering Building being torn down

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

I spent two very bad years in the engineering program at Cooper Union. It was not such a good time in my life. I spent the next 10 years recovering from this time. I eventually got a degree somewhere else, taught myself to program and made a good living in spite of my experiences at this hellhole of a school.

The Engineering Building, where I suffered those two years, is being torn down. I would like to go down and spit on the rubble.


EV Grieve: 5 developments to watch (and worry about!) this summer.

Heating with Wood vrs Natural Gas

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

I heat my house with natural gas, but I augment that with wood.

I can’t remember how much wood costs per cord, I think more than $200. I thought that it might be nice to compare that with heating with gas.

There are a great many variables here. One is the number of BTUs released by burning wood and the efficiency of the woodstove that I use.

A seasoned cord of wood contains about 24 million BTU, but when we order a cord, they usually drop off about a half cord so I will say that we get about 12 million BTU for our $200. This comes to about .0016 cents per BTU.

Around here natural gas costs about $12 per 1,000 cubic feet. There are 103,000 BTUs in 100 cubic feet of gas, or 1030 BTU per cubic feet.

A BTU of gas costs about .0012 cents per BTU. Natural gas is cheap around here because the infrastructure is mature and we are near distribution pipelines.

For comparison, a BTU of oil costs about .0026 cents a BTU.

My wood-stove is very old and relatively inefficient. My boiler (when it works) is much more efficient.The cost of wood is roughly the same as gas and it could be cheaper if I had an efficient stove. My stove might make 60% efficiency on a good night, but my high tech boiler (not working right now) is rated for 92%.

I have to fix up the boiler this summer because it looks like the wood cost 2 or 3 times to heat the house than using natural gas.

South Cape

Friday, June 10th, 2011

We did not catch anything. Nothing was biting. It was beautiful. No sunburn, this year.

Vacation: New England Guitar Stores

Friday, June 10th, 2011

So we would have something interesting to do on vacation, I googled vintage guitar stores that were near our path to Cape Cod.

Of the 5 stores that we stopped at, 3 were closed. One was out of business and the other two were locked up.

One of the closed stores had a music equipment repair shop next door to it and we were let in by a real strange character who let Larry root around in his parts boxes. That stop was full of story ideas to go with the weird guy who ran the place. (very much like the Finn in Neuromancer).

Another store was a commercial music store with no vintage stuff, but Larry was able to talk them into giving him a part for the Ibanez guitar that he was repairing. I bought the guitar with the head stock snapped off at a garage sale. Larry has already repaired the head stock (I learned that glue is stronger than wood). He put the little piece of plastic he got in place at the top of the neck, and put on strings. The guitar has a nice sound to it. Next week it will be on eBay.

Last night we had dinner at Spanky’s, which is one of the better restaurants on the Cape. I had the “Lazy Man’s Lobster” and it was good. I did not like the desert.

We are going to go out for breakfast. For months I have wanted to try waffles and maple syrup. Today I will get my chance.

We are going to go to South Cape Beach, which is a beach we found accidentally once. The beach is empty and you can swim or fish there. I hope to have some pictures when I get back.

I have a bad cold and I passed out last night when we got in from dinner. My nose is running like a faucet. My sore throat is gone. I hope that the cold is gone before I get home.

Contest -The Robot Felt…

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

There’s a story contest. The rules are” start with the words “The Robot Felt” and end with “In the end, the robot felt nothing. He wasn’t programmed to.”

Limit 2,000 words. No pay, as far as I can see, but your story will appear in a Simon & Schuster paperback. I have a story that can be shoehorned into the concept, but I am not sure it can be shortened that much. (Title of my story is Killer Zombie Robots Don’t Cry. It is about half done, so perhaps this is my chance to finish a story that I don’t think was going too well.)

It ends July 4th, so I’ll think about it.

Contest |

Free – L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories eBook

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Amazon has LA Noire, a collection of classic Noire stories by some of the best writers of dark and detective fiction. (This is not Science Fiction).

Grab it now for your Kindle. L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories eBook: Rockstar Games: Kindle Store.

Gone Fishing

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

My brother Larry and I are going for our annual “pretending to fish” tour of Cape Cod. I will be blogging from the road when I get a chance. Of course, it looks like rain.

We go fishing on a nearly desolate beach on the south west corner of the cape. It’s only us, sand, the sea, and some topless sunbathers.

Larry has been inventing fishing lures out of old parts, chunks of wood, and anything odd that he has kicking around. I don’t want to catch the thing that might bite on one of Larry’s hooks.