dr_phil_physics: (canada-flag)
Happy (Day After) Canada Day

I did post good wishes on Facebook yesterday, but I was pretty busy yesterday and didn't do a blog post. So Happy! to all of you who are of the maple leaf persuasion.

Meanwhile, as we gear up to our own Fourth of July, gasoline prices dropped from $3.53.9/gal to briefly $3.29.9. Now on Monday it's surged back up to $3.55.9/gal for regular. And the beat goes on...

Endeavour

We were quite surprised to see that Endeavour on PBS' Masterpiece Mystery was, in fact, an Inspector`Morse prequel. The Morse series was so fine, and the sequel Inspector Lewis has been wonderful. Could they catch the magic a third time with a young Detective Constable Morse back in the 60s? Oh yes, they did. Don't know if this was a one-off film or a pilot, but they captured so many future echoes, even down to the variation on the classic Inspector`Morse theme music, culminating in the full theme as the credits began to roll.

This is now you do episodic television. This is how you twist plots. This is how you wound your main character.

Utterly brilliant. And next week we get more Lewis and Hathaway.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (apollo-saturn-v)
Second Publication Of The Month

Following close on the heals of my story "End Run" at GigaNotoSaurus (DW), my Third Prize winning story "Your First Real Rocket Ship" (DW) is now available online for 90 days at the Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest website.

You can jump directly to the story here.
The Merril Collection, originally the Spaced Out Library and later renamed for the late Judith Merril, is the foremost North American public assemblage of Speculative, SF and Fantasy Fiction and is an invaluable tool for enthusiasts, researchers and authors.

A Special Collection of the Toronto Public Library system, the Merril Collection houses a comprehensive array of over 72,000 (and growing) items. The reference stacks include hardcover and paperback fiction, first and rare editions, TPB graphic works and comic collections, pulp and later era magazines, fanzines, research material and critical essays/reference works and compendia – as well as donated original manuscripts from authors such as Phyllis Gottlieb and Guy Gavriel Kay.

As I've commented before, this is the first time "Your First Real Rocket Ship" has been available in English -- it had previously been published in Greek in the SF/comic newspaper supplement Εννέα (DW).

Enjoy!

Dr. Phil

A Satisfying Win

Tuesday, 27 March 2012 11:08
dr_phil_physics: (award-kate)
When Last We Met On This Topic...

One of my stories had been shortlisted in The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest (DW). I am pleased to now reveal that my story "Your First Real Rocket Ship" has won Third Prize in the contest and will soon be published on the Friends of the Merril website at the Toronto Public Library. In addition, I am very excited that I will eventually receive one of the five booklets to be created by an artist for the three authors, the artist and the Merril Collection.

When it is published, this will be the first time "Your First Real Rocket Ship" will be available in English. In 2009 it was translated into Greek and published in Εννέα (Nine) (DW) as "ΤΟ ΠΡΩΤΟ ΣΟΥ ΠΡΑΓΜΑΤΙΚΟ ΠΥΡΑΥΛΟΚΙΝΗΤΟ" ("THE ONE YOUR REAL ROCKET" according to Google Translation).

I am pretty pleased about this. "Your First Real Rocket Ship" is a story about a little boy and, well, his first real rocket ship ordered from the back of a cereal box. (grin) It's a story I've always liked, but I figured it was too light to outright win the contest. On the other hand, I thought it might make a strong candidate for Third Prize. Turns out I was right. (double-genius-grin)

Also a thanks and a hearty handshake to [livejournal.com profile] canadiansuzanne Suzanne Church, who had publicized this contest on her blog and whose story "Muffy and the Belfry" was also shortlisted as a Finalist.

This makes a total of three stories of mine which are going to be published Real Soon Now. Looks to be a real horserace as to what the order of publication is going to be. (third-place-grin)

Dr. Phil

Anticipation

Thursday, 1 March 2012 11:47
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-1-bw)
Still In The Hunt

One of my short stories has been shortlisted as one of the nine finalists to The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest. This contest is in support of The Merril Collection of the Toronto Public Library.
The Merril Collection, originally the Spaced Out Library and later renamed for the late Judith Merril, is the foremost North American public assemblage of Speculative, SF and Fantasy Fiction and is an invaluable tool for enthusiasts, researchers and authors.

A Special Collection of the Toronto Public Library system, the Merril Collection houses a comprehensive array of over 72,000 (and growing) items. The reference stacks include hardcover and paperback fiction, first and rare editions, TPB graphic works and comic collections, pulp and later era magazines, fanzines, research material and critical essays/reference works and compendia – as well as donated original manuscripts from authors such as Phyllis Gottlieb and Guy Gavriel Kay.

The prizes include C$350, C$100 and C$50 cash awards and publication on their website. But then there's this cool new addition/edition (grin):
The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest is adding a very limited edition (5 copies) hand crafted booklet, containing the stories of the 2011-2012 winning authors, to the prize pool. One copy will remain in the Merril Collection as part of the permanent archives. One copy will be retained by the artist producing the booklets, and the others will be distributed, one booklet each, among the winning authors. The details for the production of the booklet are not yet fixed as the design specifics are dependent on the length of the winning works, among other factors.

So good luck to all the nine finalists!

Dr. Phil

PS - a few of you might be able to figure out which story is mine when they list the nine finalist titles later today. Please respect the contest and don't say anything linking my name and the story title together until they have announced the winners. Thanks!
dr_phil_physics: (canada-flag)
Happy Canada Day!

It's July 1st and that begins a whole month of national holidays.

As For June... And May...

Oh yeah, I've been teaching. (grin) Teaching in the summer is like driving a race car instead of a suburban commute. All the material, half the time, half the weekends, all the quizzes -- every day in fact -- and it's a whirlwind.

So as for why I've been scarcer on LJ than I'd like, well, now you know. Of course this is now officially Grading Weekend. Because Tuesday was the Final Exam and yesterday, Thursday, I got the finals back from the grader. So we're down to grading two-and-a-half quizzes, the Topic 1 Science Literacy Book Reports and the Topic 2 Real World Driving Data Worksheets. Good news? Only 37 in the class.

But I Am Behind

Had composed a number of LJ posts in my head while driving to/fro K-zoo, but of course that doesn't count. Not until we get John Scalzi's BrainPals installed.

So... later.

Dr. Phil

July The First

Thursday, 1 July 2010 22:36
dr_phil_physics: (canada-flag)
It's July 1st!

That means it's the first day of classes for the WMU Summer-II Session and at noon, the first day of my PHYS-2070 University Physics II / Electricity & Magnetism (w/ calculus) class. Summer classes mean double-length 100 minutes, so we did the Introduction to Dr. Phil, the Good News / Bad News of going from student friendly first semester Mechanics to less previous experience E&M. (grin) Also the 14 page syllabus. And the tale of Electricity & Magnetism is the Triumph of 19th century Physics -- plus Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Yup, effectively the first two days of class. (summer-class-grin)

It's July 1st!

And Redstone Science Fiction is back open to submissions for fifteen days -- for those of you who care about such things.

It's July 1st!

And except for a few roof cap shingles -- or whatever they're called -- that they were short, we just about have a new roof on our house. Yay new roof. Details to follow.

It's July 1st!

And on the Tor.com email newsletter, they had this amusing comment:
Fun factoid: the epic Isner-Mahut tennis match at Wimbledon lasted longer than all three Lord of the Rings theatrical releases; by the time Isner won, after eleven hours and five minutes of play, they were just twenty minutes short of lasting as long as the special editions. That's some serious warrior spirit.

It's July 1st!

Oh, and it's Canada Day. Happy Canada Day, Canada!

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Olympic-Rings)
Meant To Be Doing This Earlier

After posting at the Opening Ceremonies, I thought I'd do updates every day or so. I kept little notes as I watched. But I just couldn't justify the time. So... I'm going to just minddump my notes in what will probably be a couple of entries. It'll be a mix of impressions and rundowns.

Yes, I am an Olympics junkie. Both Summer and Winter Games. Always have been. Opening and Closing Ceremonies... I endure somewhat. But there is something about seeing all (most of) the athletes arriving, the host country putting up a good show, and then the happy party when everyone is done. Because most of the athletes are not taking medals home. They are representing their country and their sport -- and they really are "just happy to be there". No matter how rah-rah the NBC America First coverage is.

It Begins Last Sunday

Pairs Ice Skating -- It's both Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year. A Chinese couple is using a violin orchestral version of "Do You Want To Live Forever?" from Highlander. Or perhaps Valeria's taunt in Conan The Barbarian. (grin)

Men's Luge Singles -- New Math in operation. Before the death during training, the Whistler luge run was ranked as the world's fastest, with top speeds in the 90-95 mph range. Starting at the lower Women's start, and modifying one curve, was said to knock off 5-10 mph. Lock wins gold at age 20, youngest gold medalist in luge. He topped out at 94 mph. Let's see... 95 - 10 = 94. Yup. New Math.

Ads on NBC -- Keep Coal. It's American Jobs. vs. Switch to Natural Gas. It'll be new American Jobs. Self serving political energy ads anyone?

Aerials -- The problem with Moguls is that it's a sport predicated on "Watch This!" Which of course we all know is always prelude to disaster.

Agree With Frank Duford's NPR Commentary last week -- Current figure skating scoring has sucked all the drama and joy out of the event. You could look at a string of 5.8s and 5.9s and know who was better. Hell, bring back the East German judges. At least you knew where they stood.

Curling -- Have watched 3 matches so far, all 3 had 11 Ends. Just as I love extra value free baseball, I gotta love this. CNBC, MSNBC and USA getting the curling coverage, and they're doing a good job of explaining the sport to people new to it. Each team gets 73 minutes for 10 Ends. 8 rocks per end. How'd they come up with 73?

Women's Skiing -- Lindsey Vonn using men's skis for downhill and Super G.

Short Track Speed Skating -- is so nerve-wracking to watch. Anything can happen and anyone can crash or fall down at any time. Though I'm sure the Koreans hate him, I really like Apolo Anton Ohno. Much like an earlier generations Indy 500 cars, short track skates are offset with blade tips bent to make maximum contact with the ice while leaning over and turning. Apolo's inside hand glove has gold sliding tips. Oooh.

Women's Curling -- Last Sunday, USA v Canada. Came in on 3rd End, huge mistake for USA "airball". Cheryl Bernard scores 4 to go 4-1. Having the last rock in an end is called the hammer, which usually alternates between teams. Ah, but if you blank an end, take the hammer and not score with it, you get to keep the hammer for the next end. So not like having innings in baseball where one team always go second. Canada steals 2 more in 5th End, 6-1. You are entitled to concede after the 6th End. USA offers handshakes after 7th End, loses 9-2.

Hello? Hello? Is This Thing On? -- This is the second damned weekend of the Olympics, and there's too little on all these vaunted NBC networks. Hell, CNBC is doing fucking infomercials in the afternoon. You know, in years past the host network would put a whole TV guide in the newspaper. But our local newspaper has cut back so much, they aren't even including the Olympics schedules in the weekly Sports TV listings. And I'm not fighting with their websites, I'm just not.

Men's 15K Biathlon Mass Start -- Curling and Biathlon are my two favorite winter sports at the Olympics. I mean, cross country skiing and target shooting? What's not to love? Stumbled onto this race on NBC in the first 57 seconds. Yes! Russia Gold, France Silver (one of two brothers, this one had THREE penalties), Slovakia gets first biathlon medal, a Bronze. The Russian and the Slovakian are the only two to get through the shooting clean. The expected winner? Out of 10 shots, had to take 7 penalty loops -- finished 27th of 30 skiers. Expectations are grand, but at some point you have to have the competition.

Women's Curling -- Since USA conceded to Canada, got bonus coverage of Denmark-Great Britain. Madeleine Dupont of Denmark wins, 6-5.

NBC Fail -- Why doesn't NBC put up screen bugs about what is starting on the other NBC networks? They put up bugs advertising every other damned thing.

Nordic Combined -- US men get both an individual and a team Silver? Yikes!

... more anon...

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Olympic-Rings)
The 21st Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver BC CANADA

It's 10:15pm EST and the U.S. is just entering the venue for the Opening Ceremonies. NBC's coverage started at 7:30, but we wandered away and came back for the 9pm start. NBC is already annoying me for (1) talking over some of the announcements to explain things we've already seen and (2) a really stupid discussion of the Sauna competition while introducing the Finnish team.

Of course some of the buzz late this afternoon focused on the athlete who died on the luge track today during training.

And then there was a split between those who thought British Columbia could've spent the money on better things, such as Vancouver's homeless problem, and those who feel the First Nation cosponsorship of the games didn't represent all the peoples and was a sell out to the big corporations and against the environment. Welcome to the modern Olympics games.

The Olympics are never truly perfect and the system is flawed for sure.

But I love the Olympics, both Winter and Summer, and will revel in two weeks of grand competition and controversy which, in the long run, will be perfect.

Dr. Phil

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