Hastings

Did you know Hastings is still in business and has actual, factual, brick and mortar stores?  Most of the Hastings in Albuquerque have closed their doors forever and only sell things during their annual transformation into Spirit Halloween stores.  Kind of like caterpillars to moths, except the moths are decorated in skulls and sexy nurses.

Anyway, I was at the Hastings here in town last night and got to experience their new philosophy of shoving old CDs, books, DVDs and VHS tapes into the back of the store and calling it good.  It’s a bunch of monolithic shelves packed full of all the music you thought was cool in the 90s and a whole slew of bands you’ve never heard of.  Ditto for the book, DVD, and VHS sections.  If your dream is to own a vintage copy of Corky and the Mongoloids’ debut album, this is the place for you.  You can also find multiple copies of The Cranberries Everyone Else Is Doing It.  You know, that album with that one song that you liked?  I counted seven copies and there were probably more.

The book section is less chock full of treasures, unless you consider Rush Limbaugh’s eponymous “See I Told You So” a masterful work of scathing insight.  Personally, I find more insight on the backs of cereal boxes, but to each their own.

While I was perusing the book section two things dawned on me.  First, this is where old books go to die.  How much would it suck, as an author, to walk through a store and see rows of your book on the shelf with $.99 closeout stickers on them and realize that even though your book was selling for less than a dollar, people still wouldn’t buy it?  This immediately led to my second revelation: there will only ever be exactly ZERO copies of my book lining the shelves of the closeout bin, because it never even made it to print.

Which begs the question: If the closeout rack is where old books go to die, what does that make the Amazon Kindle store?  It must be some kind of strange Purgatory for books, a place where they are neither alive nor dead.  Maybe it would be better to think of the Kindle store in quantum terms.  In the Kindle Store, a book is both alive and dead until someone buys it or an author deletes it, either way the quantum wave form collapses and the book becomes real for a time.

In the end, I’ll leave you with this thought.  While we were browsing the closeout section my wife asked what future civilizations would think of us if all that survived was the Hastings closeout section.  I think they would learn to shake their booties to all the butt shaking CDs back there, they would learn to Polka and they would think we worshiped The Cranberries since there were so many of their albums back there.  I also like to that future civilizations would learn to think, much like we do now, that Rush Limbaugh is an idiot.

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Radula

Back when I was still working for New Horizons I used to regularly teach night classes.  Normally this meant hanging out around the house most of the day, studying up for whatever class I was teaching that night.  My classes ranged from SQL and .NET programming through Windows Network administration and network security design to various and sundry other certification classes.  I forget what I was supposed to be teaching that night, but this nearly ten years ago, so it’s completely excusable.

Anyway, one day I decided, rather than spend my time prepping, I’d go see a movie.  In this case, the movie was Hellboy and I caught it at the dollar theater in Albuquerque.  The movie was fun.  By now, I’m sure you’ve either seen it or decided you have no interest in seeing it, so there’s no real point in giving you a review at this late date, so I’ll just leave it at “the movie was fun.”

When it ended, I still had some time before I need to be at work so I went wandering around the area, as I am wont to do.  I like to look around, see what’s out there, and poke my nose into places it’s probably best to keep it out of.  Around back of the movie theatre, there’s a tiny industrial park with lots of nondescript buildings.  Coming off Hellboy, this immediately piqued my already fertile imagination and I wondered what all these companies did.  One, in particular, was a nondescript building surrounded with barbed wire with signs on the fences that read “Use of deadly force is authorized to protect this facility against intruders.”

WTF?

Smack dab in the middle of Albuquerque is a place with a sign like that.  It’s still there, you can it view on Google Earth.  The picture isn’t fantastic, but you can make out the “Use of deadly force line” on the sign in the picture.

This got me wondering what was going on in there and my mind made up all kinds of crazy stories ranging from weapons testing to reverse engineering crashed UFOs.  It turns out the real company does networking and, if I’d been smart, I would have walked up and asked for a job.

In Henchmen, Radula is a contractor company working on figuring out how to weaponize a sleeping god.  As with all times when someone tries to weaponize a sleeping god, things go terribly wrong and that, ultimately, kicks off a lot of the events in the book.  I should also point out that I like the word weaponize, even if Chrome thinks it’s not a real word.  In case you’re wondering, it means turning something into a weapon.

So, Radula, as a real place, doesn’t actually exist anywhere but in my head, but it is based on an actual physical place.  The truth of the matter is there are all sorts of random places doing actual classified work, but they’re usually smart enough to not advertise it with signs authorizing the use of deadly force.  I seriously doubt any of them are weaponizing gods or protecting their buildings with multiple pounds of C4.

The name, Radula, came from a less likely place.  I like to weave paracord and one of the books I used (Lanzen’s “Paracord Fusion Ties”) to learn how to do it named one of the bracelets “The Radula.”  Radula, in real life, are feeding structures for some mollusks.

So, there you have it.  A little bit of background.

First blog post in many, many years

In the summer of 2013, I decided I needed to write a book.  Like most lazy people, I’d had the idea rattling around in my skull for at least five years.  For whatever reason, July of 2013 seemed like a good time to start writing.

I wrote up the first six pages, haphazardly introducing characters that would become friends over the next few months while I hammered away at writing.  The scariest part of all of it was handing those first six pages to my wife to take a look at.  To my surprise, not only did my writing not give her a tumor, she actually thought it was pretty good.

I had the story in mind, but not the details.  I don’t know if it was just because the story was straightforward or if everyone does this, but the details came as I wrote it.  When I got to a point at the end that tied up the plot, I actually surprised myself.  Still not sure how I managed make it all make some sort of sense, but I’m also not complaining.

The second hardest part of writing Henchmen (see link below) was one of the final scenes where everyone went their separate ways.  It honestly felt like saying goodbye to friends.

I’m working on the sequel now, which will answer most of the questions the few people who have been kind enough to read it have asked me.

Damn, that was a convoluted sentence.

Anyway, this is the first post.  I’m not sure where this blog is going, but I believe in Zen navigation: I might not get where I want to go, but I’ll definitely get where I need to go.

If you’re interested, Henchmen is story about super villainy brought somewhat closer to ground.  I tried to make the story fit within a realistic framework and brought in some of the things I’ve learned from working in security.  It’s a fun read.  It’s got everything you really need in a book: fights with Yakuza, a demi-goddess, government secrets best left alone, scary villains and an ancient god, who may or may not be what he claims to be.

You can purchase a copy of Henchmen for the low, low, crazy low price of $2.99 at Amazon by going  to http://www.amazon.com/Henchmen-Eric-Lahti-ebook/dp/B00GRXB5IK/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389754387&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=hencmen

Trust me, it won’t change your life, but you’ll get an entertaining story.