Fencon Awaits!

Be there, or be an equilateral triangle. Or maybe a tesseract.

My schedule of panelesting, should anyone wish to locate me at a panel:

Friday  1:00 pm  Trinity 3
Critique Groups and Workshops

Description: Many writers make use of critique groups and workshops to hone their craft. Where can you find a good one, and how do you make the best use of them once they're found?

Manifest: Panelists will discuss the discovery and use of critique groups and workshops.

Friday  5:00 pm  Trinity 1/2
Non-Genre Shows We're Watching

Description: There are plenty of TV programs out there, and they don't all have to be space opera to be enjoyable. We'll discuss what else fans are watching these days.

Manifest: May discuss non-SF programs on television such as CSI, House, Bones, Boston Legal and the like.

Friday  8:00 pm  Trinity 3
SF Fictionary

Description: Two (or more) teams attempt to out-bluff each other with real and fake definitions and sources for F & SF terms, words, and phrases. Points are scored by either picking the correct source/definition or bluffing others into picking the fake definition.

Friday  9:00 pm  Trinity 3
I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Written That Way: The Femme Fatale in Literature

Description: These are the women we love to hate, or love in spite of our better natures. Are they really bad, or just misunderstood?

Friday  10:00 pm  Trinity 3
Liars Panel

Description: Round out your evening with tall tales from convention veterans. Once the door closes, don't believe anything you hear.

Manifest: Stories about things you've seen at conventions, but they have to be lies. Questions from the audience also need to be answered as lies, Your improv skills WILL be tested.

Saturday  10:00 am  Addison Lecture Hall
Talkin' About My Regeneration

Description: David Tennant is leaving the iconic role, and Matt Smith will take his place. Also, Steven Moffat will take the production reins. What's in store?

Saturday  1:00 pm  Trinity 3
Short Shorts - A Fiction Statement

Description: We're not talking about hot pants, but short, flash, and micro fiction is hot. Come see what it's all about! Friday  1:00 pm  Trinity 3
Critique Groups and Workshops

Description: Many writers make use of critique groups and workshops to hone their craft. Where can you find a good one, and how do you make the best use of them once they're found?

Manifest: Panelists will discuss the discovery and use of critique groups and workshops.

And then I'm off until I wind up being a judge at the Masq.

It's the Liars Panel that gets me. What can I possibly come up with to top some of the weird crap that's really happened? And who is on this panel with me?

  • Current Music
    Theme from the Wild Wild West. The original, non-Smithed version
  • Tags

Let the Reviews Begin!

 I've launched another LJ, based purely on entertainment reviews:

This is one to spread to folks if you wish. One day it may be a full blown website, but for now, LJ is my soapbox.

First up, District 9!

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of reviews of various forms of entertainment where the reviewer is any combination of the following: 
* Feels "critique" means "to point out all the bad stuff."
* Feels that they know better than the people who made the thing they're reviewing, and therefore treats every product with disdain. 
* Gets paid to present a review in a certain light.
* Doesn't actually pay attention to what they're reviewing...they get a few points right, but completely miss the point or actively get things wrong, because they weren't really paying attention. 
* A pratt. 

Given my background (see below), and the fact that I am a media and story addict, people are always asking me my opinion on films, or prying into my head for minutiae. ("I swear, it's like having IMDB on IM..." -Claudia T. Smith) So I decided to just start posting things, and pointing. What you'll see here is always the straight up and up, no BS. I don't get paid for this, and I don't have an axe to grind. I know the business better than your average outsider, and if I'm an insider on anything, I'll let you know, so you can judge if I'm being biased. 

Essentially, my point here is to be a reviewer who actually LIKES the things he's reviewing. That doesn't mean things won't get bad reviews. Snark will flow. But in general, I want things to succeed, and have no urge to tear into things to prove I'm better than they are. Subjects include films, TV shows, speculative fiction novels, the occasional game, maybe even a website or product, although the general theme here is Entertainment. I'll also be posting interesting news when I come across it.

Along the way, there will be assorted quirky weirdness, because that's just me. 

Most reviews going up at start will be for things already long out or that you may have heard of, but missed...or something recently out in theaters. I am not a professional reviewer and do not get invited to advance showings on a regular basis. Early reviews will be few and far between.

-Michael Ashleigh Finn 

I consider myself a vocal part of the peanut gallery. I'm a short fiction author working on breaking into novels, who graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in Radio/TV/Film and as BS in Anthropology (hence qualifying me to make films about people!) I'm also a Themantic Consultant for Dabel Brother's "The Dresden Files" graphic adaptations (for which we were nominated for a 2009 Hugo) and the upcoming Roger Zelazny's "Nine Princes in Amber" adaptation. I have experience in screenwriting, editing, cinematography, foley, acting and directing, although likely not in anything you've heard about, let alone seen. I'm also an old hand at conventions for the past twenty years, listening to writers and filmmakers spin tales of the Business. I've worked as a story editor for both fiction and review websites. It all adds up to making me well versed in the entertainment field, without being a major player. Hence...vocal peanut gallery.

I would like to wax philosophical about Old Man Coyote in American Indian folklore; how he was the type of trickster that, whether through foolish accident or the long con, revealed the inner truth about whatever he focused on, and that it seemed ideal for this LJ...but truth was, "Brain_in_a_Jar" was already taken, and "Coyote" is a name I've been using on the net since 1990.

  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished

Bodyswerve on the Hugo

So, the project I work on, DBPro's The Dresden Files, did not win the Hugo we were nominated for.  (the award's first year for best graphic story)

However, it went to the pFoglios for GIRL GENIUS, and honestly, they deserve it.* They're blazing a pioneering trail with their efforts, in so many ways, and Phil's work has been classic to the field for decades.

Go Team Airship!

*Seriously, even being NOMINATED for a Hugo blew all my socks out of this plane of existence, and I'm merely a consultant and quality control on the project, not one of the creators.

Proof My Girlfriend Iz Smart

"I would not subject anyone to a surprise party, let alone attempt to organize you one while living with you. You would either know immediately or think I was mad at you, GET me mad at you because of it, and thus creating the Mad At You Party Vibe where everyone is awkward and uncomfortable.
No thank you!"

Of course, now any time she gets mad at me, I'll have to sqint at her and ask, "Are you planning a surprise party?"
Long Day

One of the Nicest Guys I Ever Met Has Died.

Often, I have trouble crying. This isn't a macho, manly thing...I want to, I really want to, but it just doesn't come. It's not that I'm incapable, it's just really rare that it occurs.

I'm gushing now. At work.

From Meri at A-Kon:

This is something we rarely do, but the circumstances are rare as well. Tommie Dunnam was one of our old time fans, a volunteer, and dear friend.  He was active in various SF/F/Anime fandom from the late 70’s up until his passing after A-Kon 19 from stage 4 colon cancer which had spread to his spine. He had battled it for several years previously, but wrangled a day-pass release from his hospital in order to make A-Kon 19 (he’d never missed one and didn’t plan to then either). He was known to cosplay from time to time, and was caretaker to Stanley, a large German Steiff collectible bear who, even when Tommie could not attend a con (say, in another country), made the journey without him, returning with badges, photos, and trinkets from his adventures. Stanley is a personality all to his own, and sat badge checking  door duty on Security at A-Kon 1, and served as mascot to Registration at A-Kon 19. They were a well known and well liked pair, at whatever show they appeared at, always with a kind word or friendly hello. Many people, even if they didn’t remember his name, would remember him as ‘oh, Keeper of Stanley’.

      Tommie was also interested in, collected, and searched out, the most interesting things, amassing collections of rare music, video of all types, toys, models, costume pieces, bears, books, among other things. There was barely room for his bed in his treasure-trove of a bedroom.  A researcher by nature, and always up for a challenge, if you looked for a particular book or record, likely he’d be able to find it somewhere eventually.

       The family is now asking general fandom to come and see the fantastic collection Tommie held, and get some of it for your own. The money will go toward his funeral and other expenses.  Any help is appreciated and a link for more information is

     THE SALE WILL TAKE PLACE FROM THURDSAY JULY 16 THROUGH SUNDAY JULY 19 starting at 10am and ending at 6pm each day at the family residence at 4936 Vega ct west, Fort Worth, TX 76133

Questions and more info can be directed to Darrin at   

     We are deeply saddened by this loss, but the family can have more peace knowing that the items that were so dear to Tommie will end up with people who will appreciate and value them.

     Please pass the word to any other fans and groups whom we may not have touch with – including SF groups, Star Trek, SCA, anime, etc.



A Very Merry UnBirthday, to Me!

Tomorrow, I turn 19.

And at somepoint, I'll settle on a good webhosting company with decent software for us non-programming types to create good websites. Right now it's between SqareSpace, with top-notch, jawdrapping software that's expensive and has bandwidth limitations, or customer-friendly, very inexpensive Arixkiva (or whatever) that has great software but might not be as sharp or painless.

I'll Be Panelling Fencon this year!

No, not with fake wood and a nail gun. I'm not THAT irish. I'll leave that the the Learys.

Other news in my busy busy world:

Rewrite of Chapter One of Chessmen is finished, which contained a huge stumbling block that was messing up the feng shui of my amygdala.

Graham Young, husband of best friendling Claudia, sold his first horror story this week! It'll be appearing in a magazine called The Absent Willow Review the day before Fencon.

I actually like my job.

Night time CPAP breathing machine no longer sounds like Dark Vader with hiccups, and new mask is comfortable for a change.

Potential of being required to work from home soon. This is good, as it will get me away from the bloody florescent lights at work, and save me 90 mins a day in travel. Plus, with my constant urge to check email, I'll actually be ABLE to , as my machine will be at home.



TV Too Good for TV

A friend recently started watching Carnivale and fell in love with it. I started to respond to her post with other suggestions, decided just to do it here.

Some of these will have you going "Duh, that's popular now!" But it deserves to be on this list...which is in no particular order.

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Sour Fruit

Let me preface this by saying I like Apple. I love my Ipod Touch. I don't have a Mac because I like to game....and I like to have a variety of games. But I respect the hell out of OSX et al, and absolutely love multi-touch.

But it's always funny how The Computer of the People often doesn't understand the people:

"...when an analyst asked Cook about the chances Apple will sell a cheap netbook computer, he uncorked. "When I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, " Cook said. "Quite frankly it is not a space as it exists today that we are interested in, nor do we believe that customers will be interested in."

Translation: If you've bought one of these, you've been had.

Then he kept going. "People who want a small computer, so to speak, that does browsing and e-mail might want to buy an iPod Touch, they might want to buy an iPhone," Cook said, nothing that Apple has sold 21 million iPhones and 16 million iPod Touches."

Personally, I'd love to be able to do the things my little EEE Ninjatop netbook could do on my Itouch that fits in my pocket. LOVE. But the fact of the matter is, the keyboard on the Itouch/Iphone is MUCH more cramped than the EEE, the screen MUCH smaller, and you have no word processors. I can't MUSH from there either, because no one has gone through the hassle of making an app to allow this and go through the approval process for Itunes.

I bought the EEE because business finally figured out what I...and apparently a ton of others...have wanted for a decade: A small, no frills, easily portable laptop that lets you do basic computing. No singing and dancing, just wifi, browser, word processer et all. Cheap. (It was cheaper than my Itouch, btw.)

Now, if Apple will only figure out that people would kill for a multi-touch tablet PC. Folks have been screaming for one for years.

But then, Apple has a habbit of trash talking things until they release their own, hence the interesting kicker at the end of the above article:

"However, Cook implied, if Apple really wanted to build one, it would not suck, unlike all those other netbooks. "Of course, if we find a way where we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution then we'll do that, and we have some interesting ideas in this space."

Seriously. "The product pipeline looks fantastic for the Mac," Cook added.

Not that those notebooks could ever compare to a Mac, or even a computer. "These very low-priced netbook computers … are really propping up the unit numbers for the industry as a whole," Cook admitted.

So forget about that whole netbook thing, at least until June, or maybe September. Hey guys, we'll get back to you on that. These are not the droids you are looking for, got it? Did I mention we're about to hit more than 1 billion downloads for the iPhone's app store? Really something, ain't it?


Seriously, I miss Mac being the freedom loving rebels. They've morphed into Disney with a Stormtrooper color scheme.