Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Beware the Future Making Your Unpublished Stories Anachronistic

On Monday, the very day my story "Love, Anger, and Pity; or Fuck Everyone in the Entire History of Humanity" was published, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling that made a plot point in the story an anachronism ("Supreme Court rules: Offensive trademarks must be allowed").

(Well, not perfectly. The ruling [pdf] invalidated the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure §1203.03(b)(i), and my story refers to §1203.01. But close enough.)

This is not the first time that U.S. Supreme Court affected that story, although the first time didn't cause an anachronism. My first version of this story was written in 2012. Originally Eddie called Tom his partner, and in 2015 after the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage to be legal, I changed the story to have Eddie call Tom his husband.

(And gay marriage has changed what used to be non-ambiguous phrases into ambiguous phrases. Ten years ago, "Before Tom and Peter got married..." would be interpreted as two separate weddings where Tom and Peter married their wives. Now you need to make it non-ambiguous by writing something like, "Before Tom and Peter married each other..." or "Before Tom and Peter married their wives...")

There are a number of unpublished or unfinished stories sitting on my computer's drive. I can think of two of them that now have anachronisms since I first started them:

1) Some characters get to the International Space Station on the Space Shuttle. And since the last Shuttle flight was in 2011, when I get around to finishing that story, I'll have to choose another means of getting them to the ISS. With luck, I'll be able to get it published before 2024 when the ISS is scheduled to be retired.

2) A woman is checking her calendar to determine the best date to break up with her boyfriend. Original story: the calendar is a Day-Timer, a small notebook. Updated story: She uses the calendar app on her phone.

Of course, the you can avoid the future causing anachronisms in your stories if they take place at a certain time in the past. But then, you have to worry about inadvertently putting anachronisms in stories from the start. (I imagine in a hundred years there will be stories written where 1970s punk rockers use email).

You can take this post as a plea to writers (and myself!) to finish their stories and get them published. Don't let your unfinished stories remain unfinished, and your finished stories unpublished.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

This year's sacrifice to Cthulhu is sponsored by…

In my story “Who Weeps for Cthulhu?”, the old gods have returned, but perhaps there is a greater horror. Featuring Trader Joe’s tequila and turkey kielbasa, plus mariachi music. Published on Literally Stories. (#SFWApro)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Spinach Tomato Chorizo Soup - Quick, Easy and Hearty

Winter is over, but there have been plenty of cold days that can bring on a craving for thick and hearty soups. This soup (or is it chili?) is delicious and can be made in about 30 minutes. You can make it with only the four main ingredients (spinach, tomatoes, onion and chorizo) or embellish it with corn, beans and/or peppers.

Friday, February 26, 2016

NTSB report of In-Flight Breakup During Test Flight in Magnuson Park, Seattle, WA

NTSB Identification: WH34ATEV3R

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Sunday, September 27, 2015 in Magnuson Park, Seattle, WA

Aircraft: Unknown make constructed of expanded polystyrene

 Injuries: None.

Executive Summary

On September 27, 2015 at 1501 PDT, an experimentally modified aircraft suffered catastrophic structural failure, losing its left wing and the underside of its tail, impacting terrain at Magnuson Park, Seattle. The aircraft, composed of expanded polystyrene ("Styrofoam") was purchased at the Dollar Tree, located at 7816 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 on August 20, 2015 for $1.10 including tax. The aircraft manufacturer and model are unknown as the original packaging was immediately disposed of and the Dollar Tree no longer had any similar aircraft in stock. It is considered highly probable that the country of origin of the aircraft was China, due the large number of other novelty items sold at the Dollar Tree that have a Chinese origin.
1. The aircraft after breakup on September 27, 2015. Note the cricket game in progress in the background. The author of this report first witnessed a game of cricket in 1995 while on vacation in England with his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend Amy. While watching the cricket game, the author was somewhat confused as he could not quite figure out its rules.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An Utter Abomination of a Cake I Will Never Bake Again

I present Caramelized Onion and Mango Upside-Down Cake: 

Sometimes when you improvise when you cook it comes out well (e.g. this previous post). Sometimes, unfortunately, you end up with something you regret making.

It was supposed to be a rhubarb upside-down cake, but mutated into the unpleasant-looking caramelized onion and mango upside-down cake you see here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Quick and Lazy Write-Up of a Quick and Lazy Recipe: Chinese BBQ Pork in Orange Quinoa With Peas

A while back, after purchasing packaged Chinese BBQ pork at CostCo, the idea for this recipe came to me. It's easy and takes about 20 minutes. The last time I made it, I thought about adding toasted sliced almonds for flavor and texture, but the market where I was shopping didn't have any in the bulk section, but they did have spicy pepitas. The pepitas added an extra spicy seasoning and texture, but I would are completely optional.

1 cup quinoa, washed
1 cup chicken stock (low sodium)
1 cup orange juice
¼ tsp salt
1 medium onion, sliced
1 Tbsp oil
¾ to a 1 pound of Chinese BBQ pork (char siu), sliced into ¼" wide sticks
1 cup frozen peas
spicy pepitas (optional)
  1. Heat the oil in a pot on medium-high, then add the onion. Cook until onion browns (5 to 6 minutes).
  2. Add the quinoa. Stir while toasting it for 1 minute.
  3. Add orange juice, chicken stock and salt, turn heat to high until boiling, then turn down to low and cover pot. Set timer to 6 minutes.
  4. After timer goes off, uncover, add the frozen peas and turn up heat to high. When boiling again, cover pot and turn down heat to low. Set timer to 6 minutes.
  5. After timer goes off, check to see if the quinoa is done with the liquid absorbed. If not cook it covered until liquid is absorbed.
  6. Stir in sticks of BBQ pork and leave on heat for 1 minute.
  7. Serve in bowls and sprinkle spiced pepitas on top (or maybe stir them in before serving).