Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I figure there are at least 5 of you reading this blog. :)


Monday, October 20, 2008

Me, at Mile Hi Con

I'll be at Mile Hi Con in Denver this coming weekend. I've got a busy panel schedule this time, but it's always a fun con. :)

Barring schedule changes, here's where I'll be:

Friday, Oct. 24
3:00pm Grand Mesa B-C: Dystopias or Utopias: Where is our future headed?
5:00pm Wind River B: Author Reading (I'll be reading from Irreconcilable Differences)

Saturday, Oct. 25
2:00pm Wind River B: Sympathy for the Hero (I'm moderating this one)
4:00pm Wind River B: Writing Strong Women without Ticking Off the Men
5:00pm Autograph Schedule

I'm looking forward to this con. It'll be my third this year, and my second as a participant since the publication of Irreconcilable Differences.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yet another prediction in Irreconcilable Differences turns out to be

Hey, this one's even benign. In Irreconcilable Differences, I assert that wind generators, having been obsoleted by increased size by later models for utilities, will come into the hands of farmers. I figured they'd pass through the surplus market, after seeing that happen once or twice in the back of Home Power magazine, but now there appears to be a corporate initiative to do so. Neat. :)

I'm a city kid. So when, one spring break in college, I went home with a friend of mine to the family farm to be put to work instead of flying home, the experience is one I remember. Goedtke's farm (yes, I re-used their surname in Irreconcilable Differences was, and probably still is, a smallish corn farm in rural Minnesota. I remember the drive there, how there was at least half an hour of driving on private gravel roads among fields. I remember how very, very dark it was, and how the house came up out of the darkness almost as a shock. It was spring in Minnesota, coldish still. The house was warm and I remember smelling grain and humidity once we were inside.

Morning came early, and, after being outfitted with a set of the elder Mr. Goedke's coveralls, I went to work. I found out later the chores I was doing - mostly hauling corn out of the field behind a 1940s vintage John Deere A - were normally the jobs assigned to my friend's younger brother, who was probably 9 or 10 at the time. I went home with Dave several times. Attended a wedding with his family, at which I learned to polka (which I've subsequently forgotten). Just a little slice of their lives, but it stuck with me. Things like the people, the family, and also (nerd that I am) the family junk pile, a storage place for machines that are too broken to use, but which might be worth fixing later. And the fact that there were two or three other tractors on the property, apparently parked where they stopped or were towed out of the way, likewise being saved in case they or their parts were needed later. Then there was the equipment the family was using. The 1940s John Deere A, which was my personal soul mate, and whose diesel counterpart makes an appearance in Irreconcilable Differences, a pair of 1960s John Deere 4020s - more modern diesel tractors, and a 60s vintage 5 row (I think) corn combine. These folks were not ones to pursue the newest and flashiest equipment. It still worked, it was durable, and they had the skills to repair it, so they kept it, kept it up, and kept using it.

And yet (remember this was sometime between 1986 and 1990, so this was unusual) they also had a family computer, which they were using to plan crops, as I recall. The radio was always on (all polka all the time), but there was tv, a vcr (again, remember this was the 80s) and all the usual things you'd expect in a modern home. That collision of technologies, and the recycling and repurposing and improvisation of equipment, and the overall mindset on the use of technologies made a huge impression. A lot of that impression, I hope, made it into Irreconcilable Differences. And I'm happy that these refurbished wind turbines will find their way toward farmers. I think it's an excellent idea.


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