Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fan Memories of the Crickets

Those of you who've been following me for a long time know I'm a big Beatles fan. Beatles fans often have other Beatles fans as friends, and they tend to enjoy other classic rock bands. One of my Beatles friends is Kristi Phillips Zanker, and she enjoys many other classic bands and television shows. Her memories about meeting the rock band The Crickets (Buddy Holly's group) are included in the recently published work The Crickets: Six Decades of Rock'n'Roll Memories. The Crickets influenced many other music groups, so if you'd like to learn more about The Crickets, you can purchase this book through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Congrats to Kristi on her first publications. As the Beatles would say, "Gear!"

Monday, May 23, 2016

WisCon Schedule

It's hard to believe WisCon starts this week! This year, I'm running the Broad Universe table, so I'll be driving up Friday morning to get it set up. I expect to spend more time than usual working the table, but I'm also part of the following panels:

Friday (5/27), 2:30-3:45--The Fandom Awakens: Everything is Star Wars and nothing hurts! Let's talk about the importance of casting a woman and two men of color as the leading characters in this major movie franchise. Let's talk about how no one in the cast wants to gender BB-8. Let's talk about General Leia. Let's talk The Force Awakens until episode 8 comes out or we all run out of breath…
(I'm moderating this panel)

Saturday (5/28), 1:00-2:15--Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading (I'll be reading from Chaos Season)

Sunday (5/29), 8:30-9:45--Why Did We Have To Fight For Rey Star Wars Toys: First they left out Black Widow, then they left out Gamora, and then Disney launched their Star Wars: The Force Awakens toy line with nary a hint of Rey, one of the movie's leads. Disney and toymaker Hasbro responded to the outrage expressed in the #WheresRey hashtag with facile explanations and no real apologies, but did finally unveil some Rey action figures and other merchandise at ToyFair. Why did it have to go down this way? Why couldn't Disney have made Rey as prominent on all the merch from the start as they did Finn and Kylo Ren? Why do we still have to fight for women in the "boy toys" aisle and why is there still a divide between "boys" and "girls" toys at all?

Monday (5/30), 11:30-12:45--The SignOut 

Add in seeing local and WisCon friends and celebrating my son's 9th birthday on Monday, and I expect to be a trifle busy.

What are your Memorial Day weekend plans? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Science of the Week, 5/20/16

Happy release day to the eBook version of Chaos Season! To celebrate, here's Sting with "Desert Rose," a song I associate with Jenna, the heroine of this installment:

Anyway, here are some of the most interesting science news articles I read this week:

NASA directly observes fundamental process of nature for 1st time

How light is detected affects the atom that emits it

Scientists use astronomical software to date 2,500-year old lyric poem

Artificial intelligent replaces physicists

Your friends have more friends than you do

Photonics advances have major implications for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Have a good weekend, everyone, and I'll see you on Monday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Do You Value the Goal or the Process?

Yesterday, I read an article called, "The Most Important Question of Your Life." According to the author, you shouldn't ask yourself what you want out of life, but rather what you choose to suffer to achieve your goals. No goal worth achieving can be reached without effort, often requiring more effort than is apparent when someone first chooses to pursue a goal. There can be physical or psychological pain experienced over and over before someone succeeds. Even then, you may be required to put in effort to maintain your goal, whether that goal is staying at a healthy weight or keeping a relationship strong. I think the author makes some valid points, but I think there's more to reaching a goal than enduring pain and suffering. The bumps are part of the journey, and while it's always important to keep a goal in mind, one has to accept the journey, even learn to enjoy it, to reach the goal.

One of my favorite all-time books is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There's a passage in there where the author talks about trying to climb a mountain but giving up due to exhaustion. Physical strength and intellectual motivation weren't enough. To quote at length:

He didn't think he had been arrogant but thought he was undertaking the pilgrimage to broaden his experience, to gain understanding for himself. He was trying to use the mountain for his own purposes and the pilgrimage too. He regarded himself as the fixed entity, not the pilgrimage or the mountain, and thus wasn't ready for it. He speculated that the other pilgrims, the ones who reached the mountain, probably sensed the holiness of the mountain so intensely that each footstep was an act of devotion, an act of submission to this holiness. The holiness of the mountain infused into their own spirits enabled them to endure far more than anything he, with his greater physical strength, could take....[The ego-climber] rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be further up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be "here." What he's looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn't want that because it is all around him. Every step's an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.

In other words, if you want to write a book, earn a degree, or accomplish something, you have to value getting there as much as achieving the end goal. Of course, different people have different tolerances and so may therefore need to take different journeys. I don't enjoy running so would never set out to run a marathon. However, I do enjoy the process of researching stories, developing plots and characters, and putting in a day's work on a manuscript, so I can achieve my goal of writing a book. Someone else may be able to run a marathon but loathe having to sit at a computer and write all day.

  What do you think? Does success in reaching a goal depend on accepting setbacks along the way, recognizing the value of the journey, both, or something else? Do you think this could be part of the reason why so many books include a journey as part of reaching a goal? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Chaos Season on LibraryThing

I'm giving away up to fifty e-books (MOBI, EPUB, or PDF) of Chaos Season through LibraryThing. In return, I'm hoping readers will leave honest reviews on Amazon or elsewhere. If you're a member of LibraryThing and would like to enter the giveaway, please click on this link and scroll down until you find  Chaos Season. The giveaway runs through June 4th, but don't leave it until the last minute. Thanks!

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