I know what I’m gonna do today

Posted on: June 16th, 2011 by Nathan E. Lilly

If you weren’t already aware of it, go watch Phineas & Ferb. I highly recommend it.

Here’s the intro, which sums up the show better than I can:

It’s smart, funny, witty, subversive (but not in a crass or mean-spirited way) and speaks to my inner geek. It also has great musical numbers:

Yesterday was the last day of school for my children; Today their summer vacation begins. Summer is a great time to be a kid and you shouldn’t waste any of it.

I know what I’m gonna do today.

Warrior Dash PA, 2011

Posted on: June 14th, 2011 by Nathan E. Lilly

This weekend I ran the Warrior Dash in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, on the Skirmish paintball fields. Warrior Dash is a 3½-mile run with a dozen obstacles (from mud pits to rope walls) placed along the route.

It was a dark, cloudy day, made even more so by the fact that a cloud bank covered the field by the time that my wave began at 3:30. Here’s a video of my run, though I imagine it’s only of interest of people who want to run the Warrior Dash.

[music for the video by Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band]

I was bib #33968, I came in 802nd place (out of 8,281 runners for the day), and took 105th place for my age group (out of 743 runners in the 35-39 male age group). My final race time was 40:33.80, which was an 11:35/mile pace, a little less than 4 minutes slower than the first place finish which paced 7:38/mile.

It was a great run, and a great time. I’ll likely do it again next year, but for now: I must get my head back into web development.

What killed Everyday Weirdness?

Posted on: June 10th, 2011 by Nathan E. Lilly

Everyday Weirdness languished then suffered a brief return from the dead in September 2010, before finally becoming inactive again in December 2010. What finally killed it, like Thaumatrope, was time and money.

In retrospect, again like Thaumatrope, I should have pulled the plug, tied up loose ends, and made changes to the website to reflect the fact long before now.

Like Thaumatrope, Everyday Weirdness may return in the future—my core focus at the moment, after paying outstanding debts, is to relaunch Space Westerns. Any other fiction market will have to wait until I’ve accomplished that.

What killed Thaumatrope?

Posted on: June 9th, 2011 by Nathan E. Lilly

This has been a hard post for me to write… All fiction markets die; every last one. It saddens me to (officially) announce the closure of what was the first Twitter fiction magazine. I’d like to thank all of the contributors who submitted to the market while it was open. It was fun while it lasted.

So what caused the demise of Thaumatrope?

  • Twitter API: OAuth
  • Time
  • Payments

I was feebly plugging along when Twitter changed their API, and I wasn’t able to make the site compatible with those changes. In order to truly relaunch the magazine I have to go back and completely rewrite the backend of the website (which included all of the code to receive submissions and send acceptances/rejections) to work with OAuth. Which leads to the second Thaumatrope killer: Time.

The time it takes to edit stories that are 140 characters long is minuscule. Not only does it just take about 5 seconds to know if your going to accept the story, it only takes 5 seconds to read the entire story: beginning, middle, and end. Unfortunately, it takes much more time to run the magazine (think marketing, advertising, development, and for the truly courageous, commerce) than what I was able to provide. Rewriting the back-end to really work with OAuth, and/or so that volunteers might be able to manage much of it in my stead, is time that I don’t have.

Which leads to the final reason that Thaumatrope closed: I got behind (WAY behind… embarrassingly behind) in my payments to authors. It reached the stage that I didn’t see the point in going further into the hole. My current goal is to address all outstanding payments before I launch (or re-launch) any additional fiction markets.

In retrospect, I should have pulled the plug and made changes to the website to reflect the fact long before now, but I didn’t have the time. As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t even really have the time to read and respond to e-mail, among a host of other things I didn’t have the time for. As I wind down my fitness regimen and get used to my schedule working on the house I’m finding more time to get back online and tie up loose ends. At some point Thaumatrope is likely to relaunch, and when it does you’ll hear it here first.

Why blog, why now?

Posted on: June 2nd, 2011 by Nathan E. Lilly

Blogging has been around at least since 1997. The actual term “blog” wasn’t coined until 1999. In 2004 it became Merriam-Webster’s #1 Word of the Year. I even took a stab at a journal on LiveJournal, mainly to keep in touch with friends and writers who were already on it, but I lacked the desire to continually publish entries and it has since become a place for people on LiveJournal to follow my various projects (including this personal blog). After having left this blog lie fallow for a short time I’ve decided to try to post more often, on no particular set schedule. So, why did I wait so long to create a personal online journal, let alone decide to publish regularly? I have a tremendous lack of ego.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted this space to be; why I needed to create it; why I should devote time to this rather than other projects that are continuing to languish.

When I was 12 years old, I was a young man with a certain fondness for science and science fiction. I don’t think I was your typical introvert, but it was a tremendous achievement for me to get past my shyness. When I did it, I attacked the problem in my usual fashion: I overcompensated. In my first year of high-school I joined band and drama club, and by the following year I had joined choir and ran for (and was elected) student council president (being the youngest student council president that anyone could remember). I made myself very outgoing, and this continued through my college years (DJing for WLHU, acting in stage plays).

So, now I’m doing the same thing for my humility. I’m being more aggresive in putting myself out there. I don’t believe that what I think is really going to change your life. I don’t believe that you really care about my opinions, my past, or my future hopes and dreams. This isn’t about you…

It’s all about me.

I’ll be posting what I feel needs to be posted. There probably won’t be any underlying theme to what you’ll find on this blog in the near future. What you’ll be treated to here is whatever frivolous, inane thoughts that cross my mind and occasional updates about what projects I’m working on. There will be no attempt to be entertaining for you. In fact, you will very likely be bored with the minutae of my life. If you get annoyed that I’m posting too much about fitness/health/diet or that I’m mucking around too much with one particular project—don’t complain, you’ve been warned.

Getting my house in order

Posted on: May 25th, 2011 by Nathan E. Lilly

You deserve an explanation. An explanation as to why I haven’t, among other things, answered an e-mail, called a friend, attended a convention, or updated any of the fiction markets that I operate (and/or other websites) in quite a long time… I bought a house.

This is a good thing! I haven’t died; I’m not sick; I’m not stuck in a major depression (just a little ennui). It’s just that I’ve become utterly unreliable for everything outside of my family, my day job, and the house. Overall my priorities shifted a bit and my fannish/freelance enjoyment took a back seat. Until this past weekend when I attended The Steampunk World’s Fair, I hadn’t been to a convention since Balticon 2010 (last Memorial Day). I haven’t played Dungeons & Dragons with my regular group, my childhood friends, in quite sometime. I haven’t kept up with my e-mail, often going weeks at a time avoiding it. I’ve got a long, long list of things I haven’t done or kept up with.

I have been working hard at a demanding job as a web developer at a major financial institution. I have been enjoying quality time with my family, including game nights, carnivals, birthdays, etc. I have been exercising regularly, eating right (probably not in the way that you think) and improving my health. So, personally, things have been going well for me. I almost wish I had a crushing depression so that I’d be able to excuse my utter neglect of everything else…

Thaumatrope is closed. Announcements to this effect and changes to the website will appear (when the stars are right). It is very likely to reopen in the future. Outstanding payments will be sent out. The site will remain online, and the stories will remain available. I’m planning on publishing an anthology.

Everyday Weirdness is closed. Announcements to this effect and changes to the website will appear (again, when the stars are right). It is somewhat likely to reopen in the future. Outstanding payments will be sent out. I’m planning on publishing an anthology.

Space Westerns is on hiatus. It will reopen. I still have big plans for it. The website redesign is stalled, but when it launches (soon, always soon) that will be the first sign that things are happening on that front. When it returns in full it will return with big guns.

Containment is being updated. If there are conventions in your area that you think should be on it, either add them or let the proper people know about the listing service so they can add their info.

So, I’m starting to be able to be active again. I’ll have more detailed posts about the markets soon, but if anyone has any questions, just let me know.

Pardon me, I fell off the face of the Earth

Posted on: May 21st, 2011 by Nathan E. Lilly

I was gone. People noticed. Things happened. Decisions were made. Stuff was purchased. Now I’m returning. Apologies are given. Explanations forthcoming.

It’s not like it’s the end of the World.

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Darrell Schweitzer on South Park?

Posted on: November 5th, 2010 by Nathan E. Lilly

Did Darrell Schweitzer, noted Fantasy author, Weird Tales editor, Lovecraft scholar, and Philadelphia native appear in the latest cthulhu/lovecraft themed episode of South Park?

Compare to this photo of Darrell by Kathryn Cramer:

Watch the episode “Mysterion Rises” and look for him at 16:27 and 18:52. I may be wrong, but they’re eerily similar.

I’m normal!

Posted on: October 8th, 2010 by Nathan E. Lilly

As of yesterday I’ve trimmed the final few pounds to hit a normal BMI (at 163 pounds)—I’m a size S again. It’s a royal pain to have to go out and buy an all new wardrobe, especially since I’m still trying to lose a bit more weight, but my XL clothes need to be retired. I’m handing many of them down to my 16-year-old nephew, and conversely he’s handing some of his old clothes down to me. The strangest part is that he just handed down to me a sweatshirt that I had handed down to him last year. Weird.