Escape Pod #242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake

The story I read for Escape Pod, The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snake Cake by Robert T. Jeshonek, is now up for your auditory delight. It contains innuendo as thick and heavy as cream pie flesh with a drizzle of sociopathy on top, but no actual naughtiness.

From now on, I shall be known as SNACKY CAKE.

For her entire adolescent and adult life up until three weeks ago, Lynda had been the queen of junk food. Aside from the briefest blips of non-junk spending due to occasional failed diets, she had purchased only the most fattening, high-cholesterol, chemical-soaked foods available from grocery stores, restaurants, vending machines, and mail order websites.

In short, she was the perfect woman. Though she was on a diet that day, she had eaten non-nutritious foods in great quantities all her life. Though her last purchases had been salad greens and bottled water, her 250-pound body told the true story.

I knew she was just waiting for someone like me to come along.

Balticon, again? I need a drink…

BaltiCon 2009 The Culprit, cc by-nc-nd image by sheiladeeisme on Flickr
BaltiCon 2009 The Culprit, cc by-nc-nd image by sheiladeeisme on Flickr

As is my wont, I will be attending Balticon this coming weekend. I have been pulled bodily into the following events:

  • Lessons From the Influenza Pandemic of 2009 (Saturday, 6pm, Salon A) – While it seems that the recent influenza pandemic is long past us, the truth is that we’re in the midst of post-outbreak data analysis, and new insights are hitting the news almost daily as a result of research being done on the 2009 pandemic. I’ll be changing this presentation up a bit from what I’ve given over the last few months, so even if you’ve heard me talk about this recently, be sure to stop by. (Note that this was just moved from it’s original timeslot of Sunday at 6pm.)
  • Baltimore Fan Culture (Saturday, 9pm, Derby) – I… really have no idea. Whatever we talk about, I’m sure it will be entertaining. And, perhaps, involve “refined libations.”
  • The TRUTH About the Universe (Sunday, 2pm, Chesapeake) – In which myself and Jared Axelrod will speak the truth, and nothing but the truth, for an hour, with the audio-visual assistance of Laura Burns and J. R. Blackwell. No lie. Except for the stuff we make up… which, uh, we won’t.
  • Story Improv (Sunday, 5pm, Chesapeake) – There will be authors, and me with a mic, and stories will be created on the fly. ’nuff said.

Laura has her own plate full as well…

  • Explorers: NASA’s Small and Medium Class Missions (Saturday, 2pm, Salon A) – Lo, there will be a discussion of space SCIENCE.
  • Podcasting Science (Saturday, 4pm, Derby) – Lo, there will be a discussion of SCIENCE and how to podcast it.
  • Baltimore Fan Culture (Saturday, 9pm, Derby) – The more I think about this, the more I’m sure “refined libations” may be required.
  • The TRUTH About the Universe (Sunday, 2pm, Chesapeake) – All truth. No lies. We swear.
  • Astronomy Cast Live! (Sunday, 3pm, Chesapeake) – Lo, there will be a discussion of space SCIENCE and it will be podcasted.
  • The Heinlein Panel (Sunday, 4pm, Belmont) – Lo, there will be a discussion of, uh, HEINLEIN.

When not participating in the above, I’ll be wandering about and checking out some of the other excellent events going down. A sampling of the awesome on tap – the live recording of the final episode of Variant Frequencies (Sunday, 9pm, Chesapeake), the live I Should Be Writing with guests wondrous and plentiful (Sunday, 8pm, Chesapeake), the launch of Jared Axelrod’s Fables of the Flying City (Saturday, 2pm, Chesapeake), and a talk by Julia Lunetta of the Ig Nobel Prizes (Friday, 7pm, Salon B). As always, I’ll be offering random thoughts on the proceedings, and I look forward to seeing you there!

The Secret Lair #35, and other machinations

The Secret Lair

The latest episode of The Secret Lair is up, in which Overlords Johnson and Miller discuss the recently-exacerbated philosophical conundrum of what, exactly, is art? Let’s just say that the extensive discussion goes into some… interesting… places.

Also, therein lies my latest report as the Lair’s CMO, in which I address three burning questions, one of which may also have something to do with art. It bears noting that Overlord Johnson appears not to be aware that we have established two speculum farms in New Zealand, only one of which is what he thinks it is.

Go here and listen, else when the Overlords’ time comes, you will be the first into servitude.


It has been awhile since I’ve mentioned the goings-on at the Lair, so it is only proper that I remind you of the excellent articles that the Overlords have been churning out of late.

As to recent audio emanations, topics have included the utility of content creators giving their work away for free, an examination of Charlie Stross’s The Atrocity Archives, reminiscences of programs of years gone by, and various and sundry geekery.

Recent illustrative transmissions have included an examination of the process behind the creation of The Secret Lair comic, as well as Episode 022: The Sparring.

fortnightly rounds

Janet Biggs: Nobody Rides for Free, via Janet Biggs on Facebook
Janet Biggs: Nobody Rides for Free, via Janet Biggs on Facebook
  • Laura and I had the chance to meet up with my never-before-met cousin Bob and his wife Janet last weekend, among other Cmar relations. Janet has a damn cool solo video and photography exhibit at Connor Contemporary Art in Washington DC entitled Nobody Rides For Free. From the announcement:

    Conner Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Janet Biggs’ first solo exhibition with the gallery, Nobody Rides for Free.

    In new video and photographs, Biggs delves into the desire to explore remote lands. To create this work, the artist embarked on an expedition in the high Arctic, traveling aboard an ice-class, 2-masted schooner, built in 1910. During the voyage, Biggs filmed Fade to White, focusing on a crew member as he navigated the ship through iceberg filled seas, and paddled a kayak past glacier walls and polar bears.

    As she photographed the explorer, Biggs tested her own will and endurance. The visual tension of her uncompromising imagery bespeaks their mutual struggle to maintain balance and purpose. Yet, the video also reveals the use of extensive rigging, exposing the myth of the solitary white male explorer. Biggs explains, “The desire to hold onto the notion of the ‘great white north’ as a blank space awaiting interpretation only reinforces the idea of the colonial polar hero. The ‘virgin’ north has now been mapped, surveyed, and mined, but increased knowledge has not replaced endless fantasies of discovery.”

    Loss and change are implicit in the video’s title, Fade to White, which refers to an editing technique used to evoke death or transcendence. Biggs integrated her Arctic imagery with sound and video footage of counter tenor John Kelly, whose age, androgyny, and mournful voice parallel the vanishing Arctic landscape and signal the waning of male dominance.

    Vanishing Point, the artist’s recent video featuring biker Leslie Porterfield and the Harlem Addicts Rehabilitation Center Choir, will be on view in the media room.

    The exhibit will run through July 30, so if you are in the DC area, be sure to swing by Connor and check it out.

  • Balticon approacheth this weekend. You have been warned. And will likely be warned again in more detail, within the next couple of days.
  • Over on the GLF, I note two soon-to-open beer establishments in the area – the Biergarten Haus, DC’s first traditional German beer garden, and De Kleine Duivel, a “classic Belgian brasseire” in Baltimore.
  • weekly rounds

    • This weekend I discovered that there is such a thing as gothic tribal bellydancing, and my life is enriched. Trust me on this. And if you somehow find yourself with a chance to check Naimah out live, just do it.
    Naimah, cc by-nc-nd image by Chad VanPelt on Flickr
    Naimah, cc by-nc-nd image by Chad VanPelt on Flickr
    • My catching Iron Man 2 this weekend was pretty much a given. It retained alot of the things that made the first movie great, while falling a bit short of the greatness of the first. That said, it was a thoroughly enjoyable flick, and still better than most “superhero” movie fare. Had they ditched most of the shoehorned-in Avengers movie setup to give Mickey Rourke‘s excellent Ivan Vanko more scenery to chew, as well as dropping some of the penultimate mass action sequences to extend the final battle, it might have been a near home run.