Monday, March 31, 2008

AI War Reversion Letter

I got my reversion letter from Bantam finally. I should have rights to the book back within a couple weeks. :-)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Stopping Point

Ran across this earlier this evening -- I moved to Linux, as I've mentioned, and was going through the grim but necessary task of weeding out all the crap my various hard drives have accumulated over the years. Ran across a pair of files I didn't remember -- "" and "". In one of them was this -- a pitch I made to Deep Space Nine twice, once before the show began, and another time after the fiasco with "Hard Time," in about 1996.

The Stopping Point

We open in Quark’s holosuite. Julian and O’Brien are fighting off Saxon invaders, and the Saxons are winning. They scramble up a hill together, bad guys coming after them, and then turn to make a stand. They’ve overwhelmed, and first O’Brien is killed, and then Bashir --

The holo simulation vanishes, and O’Brien gets to his feet, really annoyed. Julian was supposed to be covering his back, and if he had been, O’Brien wouldn’t have been killed -- he stops yelling at Julian when he realizes that Julian hasn’t moved. He looks at Julian and finds that Julian still has the wound in him from the sword -- he’s really dead.

Everyone is stunned, but there’s no question about it; they have his body. He’s been killed, by what malfunction nobody knows. O’Brien can’t get over it; he’s useless at his job, and even Quark is in shock. Preparations for a funeral commence. The morning of the funeral ... Bashir wakes up in his quarters. He’s slightly disoriented ... he remembers having died. He remembers being stabbed, seeing the sword enter him, and dying, quite painfully. That’s all he remembers—at least, all that he remembers clearly.

The others react with shock and amazement, naturally. They test him; but it is him, Bashir down to the DNA, by every test that they have available to them. At day’s end, they’ve postponed the funeral, and Benjamin Sisko has told Bashir that in the morning they’ll get in touch with Starfleet and have a team of researchers sent out to work Bashir over. Julian goes down to visit with O’Brien, who’s still utterly rattled by all of it. They’re working on a one of the docking bays -- the interlocks aren’t working correctly -- and while they’ve working on it, the lock opens, and Julian Bashir is blown out into space while O’Brien watches --

And the very next morning, awakens again with a shriek of rage.

Bashir goes down to the sickbay; and finds two of himself lying on the table awaiting an autopsy. He demands the right to perform the autopsy. He’s convinced that something else killed him—and he demands the right to try and figure out what before it happens again. Next time, he tells Sisko, “I might not wake up.” With Dax assisting, and Sisko looking on, Bashir begins the autopsy. He finds something interesting ... neurological damage that does not appear to be related to the stab wound in his heart ... and then, midway through the autopsy, a cutting laser, hanging over the body, turns itself on and slices into the back of Bashir’s head as he bends over his own corpse. He dies instantaneously.

Bashir awakens in his room, about six hours later. He’s holding up, bravely, but he’s very shaky now ... frightened, and obviously with good reason. He suggests to Odo that he be put in a holding cell, and they put him in one ... and the hours pass, with Bashir working on the computer to do searches through history to see if anything like this has ever happened before. He learns nothing, of course... and toward midnight, has a heart attack, and dies.

But this time they are prepared for it. Dax had instruments watching him, sensors planted on him, ultra-high-speed recordings of his death taken throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum. And they catch—something. Immediately before his death, Bashir’s neurological system went wild. An unprecedented surge of cortical activity—followed by a dissipative energy burst, as some energy source is released.

Bashir awakens in his quarters. The computer informs him that less than an hour has passed since he died. He lies in the bed, motionless, staring at the ceiling above him. A calmness has descended on him now. The fright that we saw earlier has abated; it’s done no good, and he’s weary of it. After a while he rises and heads down to sickbay, where his corpses are waiting. He looks at the one lying on the autopsy table, and shakes his head. He goes up to Ops, where Sisko and Dax are working. Dax tells him what they’ve observed, and tells him her theory—”I think,” she says, “that something is using you ... as an incubator.”

Bashir thinks it over, and makes what seems to him a logical suggestion. He has them put him onto total life support—machines help him breathe, help his heart beat, leach the poisons from his system, stabilize his neurological system. And the next time one of the energy sources enters Bashir, they’re prepared for it—Bashir dies—but his body doesn’t. And the energy source that has entered him is trapped inside him.

The creature, once trapped, is furious. Under duress, trapped in Bashir’s body, it explains to Sisko and Dax that they’ve been using Bashir as a portal—a gateway. They plant an egg within him, and when the egg is ready to be released, the egg kills the host and takes its life force to morph into the next stage of existence. Now that they know what they’re dealing with, they tune their sensors to hunt for them -- and sure enough, there are half a dozen of these creatures on DS9 -- and they’re converging on the medlab.

They do what you’d have done, in those circumstances -- they take the dead Bashir hostage. Harm any more of us, they tell the aliens, and we kill the dead dude. They learn that these aliens have not found such an ideal incubator in a very long time; usually an incubator can only be used once, or twice. The Bashir, they tell them, heals beautifully . . . and the dead Bashir says, in Bashir’s voice, “And I can heal you.”

There comes a time when species tend to abandon their bodies. To become like the Organians, or the Q . . . pure energy. But these aliens did this too soon, before they were ready, and ever since they’ve been struggling to survive. They are not well suited to their forms . . . and so Bashir proposes new forms. They return to the holosuites . . . and the aliens take on forms inside the holosuites, much like the Emergency Medical Holo, and after returning Bashir to life for the last time, set about building a new civilization … in the holosuite above Quark’s bar.

We end with an epilog set three months later. An old man dies on the table while Bashir is working on him. In the next moment everything around them vanishes ... the table, Sickbay, Deepspace Nine itself. They find themselves standing on a featureless black plain ... and in the far far distance is a great glow. The old man says, “I think I’m supposed to go ... that way.” And Bashir says, “Yes, I think you are. I’ll walk with you for a ways.” They take a few steps and the old man looks at him and says quite certainly, “You’re not supposed to be coming with me.” And Bashir nods and says, “Don’t worry. I know the way back.”


And then, of course, there's this, broadcast in 1997:

No further comment on my end.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Up on Ubuntu; new e-books ...

Couple weeks ago now my main system failed -- power supply burned out and appears to have taken the motherboard with it. So I went back to my notebook, which had been in a mostly inoperable state since I attempted to install Ubuntu on it a month or two back, and dug into the wireless driver problems I was having. (These are, by the way, apparently not uncommon, reading the Ubuntu support forums -- if there's a single technical problem jacking up people's installations, it's probably the failure to reasonably support wireless. Mostly this appears to be because wireless vendors don't offer open source drivers, and Linux (or Ubuntu, anyway) won't by default even enable closed source drivers ... this is a dumb decision.) In any event, after I told the Restricted Driver Manager to enable the Broadcom firmware, I got internet access fairly quickly.

From there things have gone, if not smoothly, fairly quickly considering I've completely swapped out every application I was running. In short form --

MS Office > OpenOffice (a wash, except for some formatting issues)

IE/Firefox > Opera/Firefox (slight improvement)

Photoshop > Gimp (inferior, and I'm running an old copy of PS)

iTunes > Amarok/Banshee/Rhythmbox ... all 3 are working, I think I like Amarok best, but it's the slowest of the 3 by a good bit on Gnome.

ACDsee image viewer > gThumb (inferior), hope to find something comparable to ACDsee, but not holding my breath

Command Prompt > Terminal, bash (probably superior, but the learning curve has been a pain. And at a bare minimum, DOS commands appear simpler than bash -- del *.tmp /s is a damn pain to write in bash. It is nice to have grep, though.)

XXcopy > ... nothing. This is a critical utility I use for synchronizing file systems ... if there's anything like it on linux, I don't know what it is. rsync & unison may get me there, but so far they're baffling me -- the simple task of making /media/750B/w an exact copy of /media/750A/w appears to be beyond me. I've gotten rsync to copy existing files from /media/750A/w to /media/750B/w ... but I can't get it to delete the files that are on 750B that aren't on 750A. (Digression -- I've always been completely dyslexic about the damn slashes -- for 25+ years / and \ have been indistinguishable to me. No idea why, I'm not dyslexic otherwise, but there's something genuinely neurological there -- to this day, typing an http address or navigating a dos directory tree, it's even money I pick the wrong slash on the first pass. So Ubuntu's default / for filesystem navigation, instead of \, isn't a big deal; I still have a 50/50 shot at getting it right ... there's no other character or word I have this problem with.)

Forte Agent > ... no idea yet. I'm not a big newsreader guy these days, so this one can probably wait.

VLC, Mplayer, zplayer > VLC, Mplayer ... I miss zplayer, but VLC and Mplayer are hard to argue with. No meaningful dropoff here.

Programming -- no point in discussing this. SQL Server/VB, my principle working toolset, aren't available on Linux. I have installed MySQL, and I can find my way around PHP OK, but I doubt I'm changing careers from Windows to Linux in the immediate future. (That said -- MySQL is grown up. It reminds me of SQL Server 2000, and I don't mean that dismissively; SQL Server 2000 was a fine product.)

I don't often burn disks anymore (or rip them) -- so no big hurry to figure out how to do that on Linux.

A few things I really like, and so far there's nothing I hate.

- The repository is cool.

- Opera is a really great mix of IE and Firefox when it comes to scaling up text and graphics. IE on Windows doesn't scale Wikipedia correctly; Firefox doesn't scale ESPN correctly. It's 50/50 either of them will correctly size up a given site (a big deal, for me, my vision is truly rotten these days.) But Opera scales up most sites correctly -- don't know if this is a Linux thing or Opera -- probably Opera, I imagine it uses the same rendering engine on both platforms. But it's a nice thing to find -- if I could get Opera to render flash -- currently it won't -- I wouldn't need Firefox at all.

- I like the filesystem a lot. /media/DriveName/Directory makes a ton of sense and is far more sensible than Windows A-B-C-D-E stuff. I have about 14 USB drives, ranging from 40GB to 750GB, that have various versions of programs and data on them -- pretty much all my work was on external USB drives, so losing the desktop wasn't a huge pain.

- Thank God for the ntfs read-write driver. I haven't converted any of my disks, and they were all ntfs. It's been rock solid.

- Linux itself is pretty stable -- no worse than XP so far, though also no better. Occasional apps have locked up, but the OS hasn't gone into guru meditation so far.

- USB support is much better than XP. XP has consistent problems mounting drives that think they're both Drive G, for example -- Ubuntu doesn't have a Drive G, so no problem. I did have drives with exactly the same names -- 750A and 750B were named "D750" under Windows -- so I renamed them with ntfslabel, which was baffling until I realized I needed to reboot after using it -- but with a reboot, no problems.

All in all, it's gone much better than I hoped. I haven't tried Terminal Services yet, but assuming it works and lets me terminal into Windows boxes, I'm close to golden here.

... one thing I did have to do was port all the damn e-books again. I'm about half done. Some of the margins didn't come through correctly in OpenOffice(appears to be completely random) and all of the vertically positioned pages broke. OpenOffice doesn't have an equivalent to vertical centering of a document section, but it does have the ability to frame a block of text, and position the frame centered vertically -- a pain, but functional. Otherwise the docs appear to be OK.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Freedom Of Speech

So I have this friend I've never met who thinks he's a liberal. Of course, I think I'm a conservative, and have explained why on a couple of occasions ... but getting away from arguments over language, my liberal friend Frank LoPinto over at the Cool Blue Blog is a modern conservative as I'm a modern liberal. I read his blog and I rarely agree with any given point he's arguing ... but here's something that we do agree on.

We, and by “we” I include any fellow traveler who believes that free expression battles bad ideas more effectively than suppression, are in conflict with people who are willing to wage war, to murder the innocent, to prevent you from seeing this cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

If freedom means anything, it means the right to speak your mind without fear of violence. We, me and Frank and anyone else who feels that this right is essential – myself, I think it's the very basis of civilization – we cannot permit this to stand.


Last week we got a new audiotape from Osama bin Laden on the subject of freedom of speech. (He's not in favor of it.) You can read his remarks in their entirety here, but in short form, Islam forbids depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, and bin Laden's really ticked off about the publication of cartoons like the one above that do, in fact, depict the Prophet.

If you have time after availing yourself of bin Laden's wisdom, you could take a gander at Das Kapital (a primitive, pseudo-scientific theory of economics and history) or the Communist Manifesto (more of the same, but blessedly shorter.) Or you can entertain yourself with Hitler's Mein Kampf or Mao's Little Red Book, or investigate one of the classic works of blood libel with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Or, if you like (and they're universally better reads, let me tell you) you can read Madison and Hamilton's Federalist Papers, or the Anti-Federalist Papers, or Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, or Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not A Christian, or even the best comic you've never heard of, Pibgorn.

Of course, you needn't take my word for which of these texts are worthwhile and which are tedious or in error: go read 'em. They're online and available to anyone who lives in a society where the internet is not censored ....


If you didn't actually click through on the link to bin Laden (and please do – when you can go to the source on controversial subjects, you should – trust, but verify, to quote either Runyon or Reagan) – if you didn't click through, here's what he said, on the subject of the evil cartoon:

“Although our tragedy in your killing of our women and children is a very great one, it paled when you went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquettes of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings. This is the greater and more serious tragedy, and reckoning for it will be more severe.”

OK, here are some more of the insulting cartoons.

I won't bother directly critiquing bin Laden's words. The only transaction with bin Laden that really interests me is the one that ends with him dead, and besides, an American critiquing Osama bin Laden is sort of like an American critiquing Hitler: not in fact a sign of great virtue, bravery, or perception. But I should say that I am not anti-Muslim, any more than I'm anti-Christian or anti-Scientologist or anti-Jew or anti any other particular religion. I think all codified religions are essentially superstitions, and Islam is no more foolish than any other at the level of pure theology.

I am, however, very much anti-Islam as this religion has come to be expressed in Iran, in Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia, in Syria, in Egypt, in Libya, in a myriad of locations around the globe. There's nothing intemperate about such a statement of opposition; I'm not advocating any one specific step to deal with these cultures, as much as I'm strongly advocating a specific attitude on our part, on behalf of those for whom freedom of speech is not merely a figure of speech: this is a conflict we have to win.

I am thoroughly fed up with the American media in general and all the cowards in particular who've run from this subject – including feminists and multicultural leftists for whom I might otherwise have considerable sympathy. Though deeply offensive to Muslims, these cartoons are important pieces of political expression. The fact that they're deeply offensive to some is both unfortunate – and meaningless: “offensive” speech is always the speech that's easiest to attack, the place where it's easiest for the enemies of free expression to move the line.

There needs to be a hard, bright line on this principle, and we must defend it to the death – because without it we are not civilized; at best we're the decadent remnants of a culture that once aspired to civilization. There are acts that ought not to be permitted (and some sorts of speech, fire in the movie theater and so on, are acts) – but speech itself, the right to take and argue a position without fear, is the core of all liberty, and the principle means whereby error can be discovered and corrected.

If this means permitting ignorant assholes to use the word “nigger” or “kike” or “fag” or what have you, if it means permitting the KKK to march in Skokie, if it means sick individuals get to post online about their rape fantasies, if it means the guys at NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association, get to publish the website I just linked to – and particularly if you're one of the people whose lives have been touched by these bigots, rapists, pedophiles: shit, folks, I'm really sorry.

But it is literally the price of freedom. It's non-negotiable. So we hang bin Laden when we get our hands on him; I'm good with that. I'm not a pacifist (immoral philosophy, that, asserting that the lives of the innocent are unworthy of defense), and I'm only against the death penalty because I think it executes the innocent – not a concern I have with bin Laden. But until then, when bin Laden wants to explain himself, fine: the callow quality of his thinking does him and his cause more harm than good. And this is universally the case ... because I trust people. We're obnoxious and self-centered and looking out for numero uno – but in the long run enlightened self-interest is vastly more trustworthy than any other motivation. And so that opportunity for enlightenment, for the chance to weigh all sides of a dispute and come to a reasoned conclusion, is ultimately the difference between freedom and repression.

Which brings me back to Frank LoPinto. He and I don't agree about much, when it comes to the emotional issues of the day, and that's OK. On most of the subjects I've argued with him, he, or I, or both of us, are in the wrong. I respect the fierceness of his conviction (much prefer it, in fact, to people who can't be bothered, which is probably why I have so many conservative friends) – and the inevitability of error on my part, and his, doesn't bother me. Because in addition to the freedom to argue our positions, time is on our side. Maybe not my side, exactly – it's taken my hair, one eye, and my jump shot so far – but ours. On the side of all those of us who believe that the truth will set you free. Because here's the thing: the gap between me and Frank is much smaller than the gap between us, and any civilized man of 1908. We agree that interbreeding among the races is fine and that generations of welfare are bad. The idea that women should vote is not a subject of controversy for us. In the election to come, Frank's not voting for the black man or the white woman – but it's because they're Democrats, not because they're black and female, respectively; he and virtually every Republican I know would enthusiastically vote for Condoleeza Rice, who's both black and female, before they'd vote for any Democrat. And that's progress, yes it is, a social consensus arrived at through generations of partisans and ideologs hammering away at each other in the public arena.


So I've made the distinction between Islam and Islam-As-It's-Practiced in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Certainly there are Muslims who are fervent fans of freedom of expression; I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the people who want to go to war to keep cartoons of their Prophet from being published.

And sweet Jesus (who-was-just-a-man) ... for the life of me, I don't understand why liberals and particularly feminists aren't more up in arms about Islam-As-It's-Practiced in Iran and Saudi Arabia and so forth. OK, you hate Bush. Me too. But does this prevent us from noticing that in Iran they execute gays and sexually active women and apostates? That in Saudi Arabia religious police sent 15 girls back into a burning building, to die, because they weren't wearing their fucking headscarves? That in Holland Theo Van Gogh was murdered for making a film that criticized Islam? That in general women in Islamic countries are abused, uneducated, virtually enslaved by their male relatives, are sometimes murdered by those relatives if they're raped?

The clash of cultures we're presently enmeshed in is real, and it's critical we win it. Yes, we have our flaws as a culture, and it's healthy that we examine those flaws, argue them, and work to improve ourselves. But we're better than they are, better than the Saudis, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Libyans. There are historical reasons for this, some of which have to do with us doing harm to them, and our ancestors doing harm to their ancestors; we're not angels and we're not blameless.

Not blameless: but better. Our culture is not merely different from theirs; it's superior. In the clash of cultures between fascist Germany, Imperial Japan, and communist Russia, America, for all our sins, was righteous. In the current conflict, for all our sins, we are again: we can argue our approach, our technique, how we persuade, who can be persuaded and who must be defeated. It may be that a military approach is counterproductive, as it would have been with the Soviet Union. That's an argument worth having. But for two generations Americans waged a Cold War with the Soviet Union, because the cost of a hot war was too great: at a minimum we can and should do the same again.

This is a winnable fight, and it's a fight we had better win.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favorite songs

I don't own an iPod and never have. I had a handheld I could have used as a music player, but never bothered. When I'm in the car (and I spend a lot of time in the car) I listen to talk radio -- sports, politics, NPR, occasionally the local "news" -- rather than music.

I do listen to music at my desk. Some years back I switched to iTunes -- which has ratings and play counts -- previously I'd been using a music player that lacked both. So I've got nearly 35 years of music ripped to disk at this point -- quite a few tracks actually off audiotape, most of it from CDs or directly off the internet. And over time I've rated most of it, certainly everything I listen to with any regularity. It ranges from stuff I fell for recently (Feist, Angie Aparo, Katie Melua, the amazing jaimi shuey) to American Pie, which is the first song I remember waiting for while listening to the radio, back long ago.

Here's the list of songs rated '5' in iTunes. It's a purely personal list with no respect for historical or musical importance. Sure, Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone is an amazing piece of work -- but it doesn't do for me what the songs I've listed have. Some years back Rolling Stone magazine did a Top 500 greatest rock and roll songs list -- only 3 of their top 15 songs (What's Going On, London Calling, and Smells Like Teen Spirit) appear on my list. And I'm fine with that.

The first ten are my ten favorite songs; after that they're in alphabetical order. (Making lists is fun, but also problematic; today's list isn't likely to exactly match tomorrow's, and so on. So this is a broadly accurate representation of what I like, and it's also a snapshot -- five years from now the list would surely be different. Twenty years ago this list would have had a lot more punk and metal on it ...)

Title ~~ Artist
Thunder Road (Live 75-85) ~~ Bruce Springsteen
Will You Love Me Tomorrow ~~ Shirelles
Don't Worry Baby ~~ The Beach Boys
The Heart Of The Matter ~~ Don Henley
O-o-h Child ~~ Five Stairsteps
Dreams ~~ Fleetwood Mac
Watching The Wheels ~~ John Lennon
Bat Out Of Hell ~~ Meat Loaf
You Used To Love To Dance ~~ Melissa Etheridge
Angel ~~ Sarah McLachlan

My oldest daughter says the above is a depressing list .... doesn't seem so to me, but maybe that's gender, or generation, or something....

Thunder Road (Live 75-85) ~~ Bruce Springsteen

I've had a few different favorite songs over the years. My first favorite song was American Pie. Sometime after that it was Dreams, by Fleetwood Mac -- the album Dreams comes off of, Rumors, would probably top my favorite albums list. Based on the results, more bands should make albums while everyone is sleeping around and getting divorced ... sometime after Dreams it was Atlantic City, by Bruce Springsteen. Over 20 years ago now, Springsteen released Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live 1975-1985. Springsteen's acoustic version of Thunder Road leapt up at me off that album, and since then there's no single piece of music I could honestly say has threatened it as my favorite song.

Well now I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow
Back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels

... and the conclusion:

so Mary climb in
It's town full of losers
And I'm pulling out of here to win

I don't suppose you have to be a poor homeless white boy from Pomona for this to resonate, but it sure doesn't hurt.

One thing iTunes told me about myself I hadn't quite known -- I'm a huge fan of Don Henley. While Sprinsteen's hit my favorite song button twice (maybe 3 times, The River is in there somewhere) -- Henley, solo and with the Eagles, has 12 entries on this list. Prior to iTunes and the Amazing Ratings Button, I'd have said Springsteen was my favorite artist -- it's probably Henley, really, certainly by volume of what I actually listen to.

Some comments on the rest of the Top 10 --

Will You Love Me Tomorrow ~~ Shirelles

When I was a teenager one of my favorite musicians was Jim Steinman (maestro behind Meatloaf's work) -- guy who did operatic teenage angst better than anyone. Pet Sounds- era Beach Boys on steroids. The passage of time and the presence of teenage children has, not surprisingly, distanced me from all that teenage angst. But "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" is a perfect song. No one's ever nailed down the core of a new relationship better.

Don't Worry Baby ~~ The Beach Boys

Not technically the best of the Beach Boys, certainly. But it's the song that means the most to me. When the Beach Boys sing "Everything will turn out all right," I believe it.

The Heart Of The Matter ~~ Don Henley

These times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
The trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They're the very things we kill I guess
Pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us
You know it doesn't keep me warm
Im learning to live without you now
But I miss you, baby
And the more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I'd figured out
I have to learn again

My first marriage was cracking up when this came out. The first time I heard it I was standing in my living room, and about halfway through it I realized I was crying, and I stood there crying while that song finished. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, or for that matter since.

O-o-h Child ~~ Five Stairsteps

The most optimistic song ever recorded. Whenever I'm feeling down I play this, and I feel better.

Dreams ~~ Fleetwood Mac

This song's 30 years old and I still can't help but stop what I'm doing and listen whenever it comes on. There are four or five scenes in AI War that come straight out of this song -- most likely I coined "Players" and "Crystal Wind" directly from this song.

Now here I go again
I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It's only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and
Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?

One of the last scenes in AI War is a straight lift of this song's chorus:

Thunder only happens when its raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Say women they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean you'll know

There aren't too many celebrities I've ever had meaningful attraction to -- Michelle Pfeiffer, Audrey Hepburn, and Stevie Nicks probably top the list. She was both achingly sexy and an amazing talent. Not many artists (practically none, or there would be a lot of albums like Rumours) could have recorded the breakup of their marriage the way she and Lindsey Buckingham did. Dreams, Silver Springs (the version from The Dance), Go Your Own Way, The Chain, Gold Dust Woman ... I don't know if any of this made either of them feel better, but if you have to suffer, this is the way to use your suffering. There haven't been many better examples of "It's all material."

Watching The Wheels ~~ John Lennon

I hope that by the time I'm in my 60s I can reach the degree of wisdom and acceptance John Lennon had reached before an insect killed him. The work Lennon would have done late in life is one of the great losses in the history of rock and roll. There have been a lot of artists lost young in this field -- there haven't been so many lost in their middle years, when they were plainly evolving toward a new style of work. Maybe Buddy Holly would have done remarkable work at 50; no one can say. But there's no doubt in my mind that Lennon would have recorded enduring classics had he lived.

Bat Out Of Hell ~~ Meat Loaf

Probably the only teenage song that I really loved that I still really love. I don't care how old you are, if Bat Out of Hell can't get your blood moving, it's time to start shopping for headstones. I wrote most of "All Possible Worlds" while listening to Warren Zevon -- and this.

You Used To Love To Dance ~~ Melissa Etheridge

It appears that I'm the only person who thinks Etheridge's second album was her best -- and it's almost a certainty I'm the only one who thinks this is her best song. But it's mature and wise and defiant and better than any ten tough guy songs about never backing down ...

I'm gonna go out tonight
I'm gonna drive up to the hill
I'm gonna dive on into those city lights
And I'm gonna dance, dance
Dance till I get my fill

Angel ~~ Sarah McLachlan

Theme music for my James Camber stories.

In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there

I'm completely unable to believe in the Christian God. But I could believe in angels. There are angels all over All Possible Worlds, which is about the Revolt of the Angels. (All of the songs used in the APW outline appear below: Season 1 ends with Mohammed's Radio. S2 opens with Amazing Grace and closes with Desperados Under the Eaves. S3 opens with Across the Border and ends with Accidentally Like a Martyr. S4 opens with For My Wedding and ends with Keep Me In Your Heart. And season 5 opens with Danny Boy.)

Here's the remainder:

50 Ways To Leave Your Lover ~~ Paul Simon
A Long December ~~ Counting Crows ("our song" -- mine and Amy's)

All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light
attaches to a girl

A Rock n Roll Fantasy ~~ The Kinks
Accidentally Like A Martyr ~~ Warren Zevon
Across The Border ~~ Bruce Springsteen (song I want played at my funeral)

We'll leave behind my dear
The pain and sadness we found here
And we'll drink from the Bravo's muddy waters
Where the sky grows grey and white
We'll meet on the other side
There across the border

Ain't No Sunshine ~~ Bill Withers
Amazing Grace ~~ Joan Baez (I have 25 versions of this -- this is the best, from the album From Every Stage.)
America ~~ Simon & Garfunkel
American Pie ~~ Don McClean
Atlantic City ~~ Bruce Springsteen

Now, I been lookin for a job, but it's hard to find
Down here its just winners and losers and don't
Get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well, Im tired of comin out on the losin end
So, honey, last night I met this guy and Im gonna
Do a little favor for him

Ball And Chain ~~ Social Distortion
Beach Baby ~~ First Class (one of the three songs I thought about using as theme music for APW -- I went with the much different Keep Me In Your Heart, by Zevon, but it was close. The third was Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.)
Boys Of Summer ~~ Don Henley
Chuck E.'s in Love ~~ Rickie Lee Jones
Comfortably Numb ~~ Pink Floyd
Coming Around Again ~~ Carly Simon
Common People (Feat. Joe Jackson) ~~ William Shatner (seriously, a great song, and I'm not talking novelty value)
Cum On Feel the Noize ~~ Quiet Riot
Danny Boy (the Derry air) ~~ Sinead O'Connor & Davy Spillane (14 copies of Danny Boy and this is the best -- hard Irish nationalist tint to it, so if that doesn't work for you, try another version)
Desperado ~~ The Eagles
Desperados Under The Eaves ~~ Warren Zevon
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes ~~ Paul Simon
Don't Give Up (with Kate Bush) ~~ Peter Gabriel
Down To The River To Pray ~~ Alison Krauss
Dust In The Wind ~~ Kansas
Enter Sandman ~~ Metallica
Everybody Knows ~~ Leonard Cohen (thanks to Robert Hansen for hooking me up)
For My Wedding ~~ Don Henley
Free Fallin' ~~ Tom Petty
Georgia on My Mind ~~ Ray Charles
Go Your Own Way ~~ Fleetwood Mac
Gold Dust Woman ~~ Fleetwood Mac
Goodbye California ~~ Jolie Holland (thanks to the guy on Lakerstalk who hooked me up)
Graceland ~~ Paul Simon
Hot For Teacher ~~ Van Halen
How You Remind Me ~~ Nickelback
I Love LA ~~ Randy Newman
I Will Never Be The Same ~~ Melissa Etheridge
If It Makes You Happy ~~ Sheryl Crow
If You Don't Know Me by Now ~~ Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
I'm Comin' ~~ Will Smith
Feel the Earth tremble see the skies turn red
Eclipses, shooting stars, turn ya head
Volcanoes erupting rage in the sea
Ain't the second coming of Christ
The first coming of me
They say if you damned up the Nile
It would throw off the rotation of the Earth
Well, messing with me is worse

Keep Me In Your Heart ~~ Warren Zevon
Kiss The Girl ~~ Samuel E. Wright
Landslide ~~ Fleetwood Mac
Leaving on a Jet Plane ~~ Chantal Kreviazuk
Live and Let Die ~~ Paul McCartney (though the Guns'n'Roses version may be better)
Lola ~~ The Kinks
London Calling ~~ The Clash
Love And Death And An American Guitar ~~ Jim Steinman
Loves Me Like a Rock ~~ Paul Simon
Mack The Knife ~~ Bobby Darin
Mama I'm Comin' Home ~~ Ozzy Osbourne
Me And Bobby McGee ~~ Janis Joplin
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) ~~ Marvin Gaye
Mohammed's Radio ~~ Warren Zevon
My Eyes Adored You ~~ Frankie Valli
Never Gonna Score Speech ~~ Beavis and Butthead (no better example of Zen clarity in existence)
New York Minute ~~ Don Henley
Nine Million Bicycles ~~ Katie Melua (this and Feist's Secret Heart are the songs I've listened to most in the last year)
No Souvenirs ~~ Melissa Etheridge
Not Ready To Make Nice ~~ Dixie Chicks (played this a hundred times when it came out, really loud)
Only the Strong Survive ~~ Jerry Butler
Part of Your World ~~ Jodi Benson
Push ~~ Matchbox Twenty
Rebel Yell ~~ Billy Idol
Revolution ~~ The Beatles
Right Through You ~~ Alanis Morissette
Science Fiction/Double Feature ~~ Richard O'Brien
Secret Heart ~~ Feist
Silent Legacy ~~ Melissa Etheridge
Silver Springs (The Dance) ~~ Fleetwood Mac
Slip Slidin' Away ~~ Paul Simon
Smells Like Teen Spirit ~~ Nirvana
Somebody To Love ~~ Queen
Spaceship ~~ Angie Aparo (song I've played the most in the last couple months)
Sunset Grill ~~ Don Henley
Suspicious Minds ~~ Elvis Presley
Take It to the Limit (Live Farewell) ~~ The Eagles
The Angels ~~ Melissa Etheridge
The Ballad of John and Yoko ~~ The Beatles
The Boy In The Bubble ~~ Paul Simon -- referenced this in all of the Trent cycle novels -- "lasers in the jungle" from Emerald Eyes; "bomb in the baby carriage," The Long Run; "age of miracles and wonder," Last Dancer. Crystal Wind quotes it directly:
It was a dry wind
And it swept across the desert
And it curled into the circle of birth
And the dead sand
Falling on the children
The mothers and the fathers
And the automatic earth

The Boys Of Summer ~~ Don Henley
The Chain ~~ Fleetwood Mac
The Devil Went Down to Georgia ~~ Charlie Daniels Band
The End Of The Innocence ~~ Don Henley
The First Cut Is The Deepest ~~ Rod Stewart
The Hotel California ~~ The Eagles
The River (Live 75-85) ~~ Bruce Springsteen
The Wrong Girl ~~ jaimi shuey (playing this Wednesday night at the Cinema on Sepulveda, in West won't get better music anywhere for free)
Under the Bridge ~~ Red Hot Chili Peppers
What's Going On ~~ Marvin Gaye
Who Wants to Live Forever ~~ Queen (possibly the saddest song I've ever heard)
Why Don't You Get a Job? ~~ Offspring
With a Little Luck ~~ Paul McCartney
Woman ~~ John Lennon
You Can Sleep While I Drive ~~ Melissa Etheridge
You Don't Know Me At All ~~ Don Henley