Odds and Ends

Very odd.  For the end of the year.

Yes, this is very late.  Mostly because we were picking son up from airport, and apparently today is the most popular day of the year to pick someone up at the airport.  It was crawling SLOWLY towards arrivals.  Also, son didn’t wear a banana costume (family joke) so it took us a while to figure out where he was standing. And here we thought we’d taught them to always wear banana costumes while traveling.  Not only does it make it easier to fine you, no kind of crazy rando is going to mess with a man (or woman, should I be the one traveling) in banana costume.

Anyway, for lack of a banana costume, we did three passes before we found him, at which point we had to take him and lovely fiance to Pete’s Kitchen (what? you know I told you that’s the most likely place to find us on any random day of the week) to celebrate another victory against the demons of the air.  (Trips usually start and end with a visit to Pete’s. Yes, that does mean if you want to join us in the morning (usually) when we travel to Liberty con, you should go to Pete’s at unholy hours.)

So, it’s late and we’re now home, and I’m trying to render some covers… which is when it occurred to me I hadn’t posted (better late than never!)

So I thought I’d give you a running update and also remind those who bespoke books by email and said they’d send a check that they can’t actually BUY THEM unless they send the check (and it clears.)  Five (I think) of you said check was on the way, but we’ve so far got one, for 2 Dyce books.

It’s not a big deal, but I have the books set aside and other people waiting.  And I’d like to get done with this.

Oh, yeah, and also my most recent collection is on sale for 99c till the 31st.

So Little And So Light, containing, I THINK my most libertarian short story EVER.


From a parallel world where we have all the dreams of pulp writers, to a future where bioengineering kindles new hates and new heroes, to a different Tudor England, to the intricacies of time wars, this science fiction collection provides a glimpse of things undreamed… some from which we’ll gladly waken, and some we’d very much like to be true.
Contains the short stories: Wait Until The War Is Over, Only The Lonely, Lost, Neptune’s Orphans, After the Sabines, The Serpent’s Tail, Spinning Away, The Private Wound, Super Lamb Banana, To Learn To Forget, Things Remembered, The Bombs Bursting in Air, On A Far Distant Shore, So Little And So Light.




84 thoughts on “Odds and Ends

  1. How about a werewolf costume? Or would that be too furry? Stormtrooper – no, they have to be pretty common, as well as a Darth Vader costumes.

    Okay, banana seems sensible. Unless it can be mistaken for a minion costume.

    1. And there I was, the only one in a banana suit, surrounded by Grodds, Ceasars, and Grape Apes at a convention for primates in film and comics.

    2. Elf dresses like a desperado. Seriously, his cold weather gear is an insulated leather coat, and if it’s cold enough he has a matching, leather (australian) hat.

      On his last business trip, he got stopped on the street by a dude in an expensive car JUST to say “Dude, your coat is sweet! You look awesome!”

      It wasn’t a comicon weekend, either!

        1. More than once he’s dressed as “Dresden from the covers” and had folks strike up conversations based on “But Dresden in the books–“!!!
          It’s an AWESOME start-up!

          1. It is; and it was rather entertaining to me, as a fan and reader, that the covers are something of an ongoing joke/gag/friendly teasing argument between Jim Butcher and the artist.

            I prefer the look with the hat, myself. Completes the mental image of ‘you look like you stepped right off the set of El Dorado’ jibe that Harry gets rather often…

              1. If it’s Dresden-like you want, go with Jack Pumpkinhead!

                A banana in a Dresden-duster just looks awkward.

      1. I’m not the only one with insulated leather trench coat for cold weather gear?

        The problem being, the coat and liner are insulated enough to keep me warm in Alaska, and I moved to Texas. Even with the zip-in liner removed, the poor thing hangs folorn in the closet because it’s too hot all but a handful of days in the year.

  2. Glad you found him and his future wife. 😀

    Of course, they might have been easier to find if they dressed as elephants. 😈

    1. Good Lord, NO! They ought never travel in elephants! That’s just begging for trouble.

      Besides, most airlines fly sans peanuts nowadays.

      1. Pink elephants. Provided you don’t mind being the elephant in the room, since no one will admit to noticing pink elephants.

    1. How about Phosphoric Acid and Caustic Potash?
      Our former Texas shipping manager sent those ON THE SAME PALLET!
      And The Shipping Company Took It, and it got delivered up here.
      Not quite as much of a pucker factor as finding 1100 lbs of a product that all you know is, it gets unstable at temps above 45f and can spontaneously combust sitting outside on the ground . . . then finding out it had been there for 3 days. it was late fall and in the 50s possibly 60s

      1. The same pallet???

        (Was the other 70 percent hydrogen peroxide? Reminds me of a joke. Two chemists sat down in a restaurant. First one says, “I’d like some water.” Second chemist says, “I’d like some H 2 O too.” Second guy died.

        And yay for kinetics, cool breezes, and guardian angels!)

        1. There were two drums of H2O2 in the shipment but they were on another pallet, One drum of 32%, and one of 35%, but both were old so likely closer to 30% or so by then, still . . . I forget what the 3rd drum was that was shipped with the Peroxide, but it didn’t twig me or the chemical engineer who I work with.

          1. Drums of 30% Hydrogen Peroxide? That’s essentially the oxidizer used in the V2 and some of the other rockets (Me 163 Comet?) from that period. Amazingly caustic, Massively unstable, likely to precipitate out all sorts of nasty explosive crystals. One of the Grad students my wife worked with in grad school used stuff like that to push along certain inorganic reactions. The inorganic folks were considered most likely to destroy the building or kill its residents due to the materials and reagents (Including high purity peroxides) the used although the Organic chemists weren’t far behind.

            1. it is easy to get and store, up to 35%, anything over iirc 43% will cause spontaneous combustion of wood, paper etc and has special needs that drive the price up, and make shipping it a bit more complicated. Though all our suppliers deal often with stuff that cannot be on the same shipment.
              For a time I was playing with the 35% fairly regularly, and the 32% got ordered by the R&D lab when they didn’t realize I had some of the 35% on hand. I’ve gotten it on my hands a time or two. turns them dry and powdery quick, and burns a bit.
              Both were still strong enough we used it in making the one item I was using it in as a reagent. The Tolar has it in bulk on our property (they lease buildings from us), but some, I know isn’t full strength as it is in a white semitransparent drum. It breaks down fast that way. I don’t know if it is for heels or overflow/venting or what, but it sits out in the open without containment and is likely not very strong in a short period of time. I think it is labeled as 32%.

                1. *happy smile* I love reading that. I love re-reading it quite frequently. The following line never fails to make me chuckle, in a delighted, sadistic sort of way.

                  t is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water-with which it reacts explosively.

        2. “Sammy was a chemist
          Sammy is no more
          what Sammy thought was H2O
          was H2SO4…”

          Well, it’s funny in context…

      2. The… same… pallet? There’s a long trail of trouble from every single hand that accepted that pallet in transport! *shudders*

        1. at the least the load should have been marked for separation with panels (Powdered BTCA acid, Caustic soda and Acetic Acid were also on that load) , but it looks like nothing was done that way, The whole load may have been one truckload, so it would be narrowed to just he and the driver maybe, but if it came LTL, yeah, at the least, three truck drivers, two dispatchers and our manager, (I think he was loading by then as well but if not the loader too) all dropped the Haz Mat ball on that one.

          1. There has been much loss of knowledge about simple chemistry, knowledge that was once the province of every housewife.

            For example, do NOT mix cleaning ammonia and bleach.

            Mom accidentally fills home with deadly chlorine gas in attempt to unblock toilet
            A mom was forced to call the fire department after nearly gassing herself to death while attempting to unblock her toilet.


            The chlorine gas – used as a weapon in chemical warfare – was so toxic firefighters had to wear special breathing apparatus when they entered her property to ventilate it and wash away the chemicals.

            Heath, who had used two bottles of One Shot toilet unblocker, is eager to share her story to warn others who may not realize how toxic these household items can be when misused.

            After her first attempt at trying to clear the blockage at 4 p.m., she recalled: “I put the kids to bed at 8 p.m., ran a bath, then looked in the toilet and it was still blocked so I thought, ‘I’m not getting into the bath like this.’

            “I’ll put my three-liter tub of bleach down there, that should do it.”

            When the bleach combined with the toilet unblocker, it sparked a chemical reaction which released a plume of chlorine gas. …

              1. as you can tell. I didn’t see yours before replying
                It could be made so every time you picked one or the other up, lights flashed, announcements and warning were read aloud and flashed on screens, and still people would combine the things.
                you can’t fix stupid

                1. you can’t fix stupid

                  But left unhampered, stupid often fixes itself. A prime cause of trouble in our word arises from official efforts to fix stupid.

            1. and both items likely have that you should not mix them right on the label. RTFM RTFL
              I had a worker at one of my auto supply customers mix Whitewall cleaner (A caustic base) and Aluminum Brightener (Acid)
              It was accidental, but he was complaining about getting burned by the heat from the bottle, and it was somehow my fault he wasn’t reading the label of what he grabbed to fill the half full bottle.

            2. One industrial hygienist I knew online recounted how she was doing the safety presentation to a cleaning company, and went into knowing that it was going to be a bunch of women without high school diplomas who were going to look at her and think “This woman thinks she can tell me how to scrub a toilet because she’s got a fancy degree?” But it went well. Especially when she figured out they were getting the sniffles because they were mixing two cleaning products that should not be mixed. (Less impressive results than that, to be sure.)

              1. Considering I work as a cleaner, not too bad that I did take a few chemistry courses when I was still trying for that geology degree. And did some lab work too. 😀

        1. after Hurricane Rita, I was driven across DFW to get a Reefer truck as a tolar in Houston had maybe 80 pounds of this and lost power, and that massive amount was worth enough we put it on a 53 ft reefer and drove it up to DFW, so we could store it
          Truck driver said it was his smallest load ever . . . package and pallet was listed as 100 lbs.

        1. Nah, if we were still open there, he’d still be there. See, when they fired the old one (who just retired to take care of his wife when they pulled that bit of B.S.) having one of the guys with 15+ years experience do the job was a no go, see he certainly wasn’t qualified.
          No College Degree.
          Guy they hired was almost the same age as the guy who tried to move up into the job, and had just gotten some silly degree that really has nothing to do with shipping nationally and internationally. So, “shockingly” after just a few months, the first guy left to go work for one of the trucking lines (Old Dominion or R&L) for, it turns out, more money than he’d have gotten as Manager anyhow.

      1. In “Surely You’re Joking…” Richard Feynman talked about being sent from Los Alamos to Oak Ridge to investigate a radiation problem. All the important people were busy and he was the low man on the totem pole…

        Anyway, the problem turned out to be how warehousemen were storing pallets full of radioactive material. They had been given strict rules for spacing of the pallets, which they were scrupulously observing… but nobody had bothered to tell them that wooden walls and partitions didn’t count, so they had rooms full of pallets essentially butted up against pallets on the other wide of the wall…

        1. My Father spent his WWII service (after basic) at Oak Ridge. He told a number of stories, but my favorite is;

          The military wasn’t used to College boys. So when the Oak Ridge barracks were up they figured tomstart sending in the Physics majors they were collecting, in spite of the actual Plant not being ready, believing that the kids would fill time with the ususal soldier passtimes of cards, dice, or sniding off to town.

          Nuh-uh. The four guys first on the base knew they were doing SOMETHING having to do with Nuclear Physics and, being College boys, thought they should read up on the subject, seeing that they had time on their hands. So they went to the nearest bookstore and ordered a copy a piece of the three or four books on Nuclear Physics that were in English.

          The bookstore owner, who according to my Father was a first generation Japanese-American, immediately wrote to the FBI.

          Something along the lines of “I don’t know what’s going on at the Oak Ridge military base. I don’t WANT to know what’s going on at the Oak Ridge base. But I think you have a security problem.”

          1. Feynman’s wife was in poor health and was basically in hospice at Alamogordo. Feynman didn’t have a driver’s license, but nobody worried much about such things, and a friendly German chap who’d come over with the British Tube Alloys group would loan Feynman his car so he could go visit his wife on weekends.

            So, there was Feynman, slowly picking his way along unpaved and poorly-paved roads in the night, with six-volt headlights and blackout shields, trailed by an entire convoy of security guys who were wondering if he was going to contact any Soviet spies while he was in town… the friendly chap was Klaus Fuchs…

          2. Feynman recounts how the physicsts were told to buy their railway tickets all over, so no one would notice that they were all going to the same place. He choose to be the one from their actual station. Fortunately. That meant they realized there was a reason for all that equipment being shipped out.

      1. The one that looks like an identifiable nut – pecan, almond, Brazil nut* if you are aiming for minority points, chestnut for the hoary…

        *Seriously, how many do you ever find in a can of mixed nuts?

          1. Isn’t that what was sold out of something like a gum ball machine at the old John Deere place in town? Red shells? They were pretty good, to me.

            1. Yes, those were dyed pistachios, I used to think they were that color until later in my teens I learned the truth. Guess someone likes the Red and Green color combo, or was messing with the RG colorblind.

              1. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that dying pistachios red was some kind of import duty related dodge; that the red-dyed ones were supposedly for animal feed, and therefore cost less to import. This story seems to have vanished, and the new rcieved wisdom is that they were dyed to disguise discolored shells.

                Not sure what to believe. The internet is a dodgy source of information at best. I recently ran into a discussion of the nursery rhyme “Rub a dub dub” which claimed it was originally ‘three maids in atub’ and about a racy fair attraction. It com0letely failed to mention the explaination my mother (the history teacher) taught me, that the ‘three men in a tub’ were THE voters in a rotten borough that was notorious because erosion had caused it to sink into the sea, and so to legally vote in it the voters had to row out in a boat.

                Was my mother wrong? It seems unlikely to me, especially given the number of other nursery rhymes that were originally political commentary, intended to spread a ‘narrative’ for some political end.

                So, I’m marking both the stories about red pistachios ‘unproven’.

                1. > dodgy source of information

                  Oh, yesss… it has been interesting to see how “perceived truth” changes when enough people copy and paste…

                  Even better, how mutable internet information is. I wish I had screencapped BBC, CNN, etc. during the beginning of the “we finally got bin Laden” news cycle. Apparently they just made up stories from nothing; guided missiles, high altitude bombing, joint US/Saudi ground force with tanks… I’d click from site to site, seeing the different stories, and then back to the first ones, to see how they changed… over the course of an hour or so, they all converged on the Generally Accepted Narrative. The URLs were all changed without comment to reflect the new story. And we’ve always been at war with Eastasia…

                  The interesting thing was, even days later, NOBODY I talked to remembered that.

                  1. I remember the Heaven’s Gate suicides. Originally billed as men in their 20s — turns out it was more female than male and heavily 30s and 40s. It wasn’t even a political thing.

  3. I would note that the last time I flew anywhere (which was BEFORE 9/11 was used as an excuse to make the experience unendurable), a banana costume would have made sitting in even first class seats next to impossible. Also, banana costumes are probably prohibited in carry-on luggage, as the TSA likely believes them to be explosive.

          1. Sorry; my subilty module was never installed. My kids never went big for either one. I did like the Canadian import “Big Comfy Couch.”

            1. When you need the information– Guess with Jess is quite good. UK kid’s show, a kitten on a farm. “Educational” in a non-obnoxious way.

  4. Banana costume? That’s crazy — you’d be mobbed by minions!

    The new standard is to wear a Jack Pumpkinhead costume. I thought everybody knew that?

  5. and other people waiting
    *jumping up and down in seat and waving like Horseshack* Oh! Oh! Ooohhh!
    Yeah, I gotta request for a full trio of the Dyce books, if possible.

      1. Well, dang. But she’s already read the first one, so not as big a loss. (And maybe I can get it later.)

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