My 2013 is Going Out With a Bang!

awesome

Well, this has certainly been a pretty kickass year overall for Cat13, despite not writing too many new things — especially when factoring in the second half of the year! Is it a coincidence w/r/t the number 13 and its sheer awesomeness? The moon’s gravitational pull on the tides? Swamp gas? You’ll have to decide. . . .

I found out around June that my “collectio[novel]la” Shenanigans! was a Finalist for a Next Generation Indie Book Award.

My newest short story, “Now You See Me” was published over at Bartleby Snopes, which then managed to snag “Story of the Month” honors for October!

InDigest Magazine had a killer relaunch recently and “Mr. Twitchy,” a chapter excerpt from my forthcoming novel Human Services is featured in the latest issue (and live online).

There rumblings on the music front too. Without too much build up, here we go guys/gals: some remixes I did a long time ago (1999*) before it was easy to do using Traktor or Serato [yes, I know I'm old]: A Gravitaas Playlist: “SDK Sampler Ninety-Nine,” in all its (pseudo-)glory!

More news on the music front, the extraordinarily- and multi-talented Peter Tieryas Liu used a few of my tracks in some new video reviews, which is both awesome and humbling! I’ve listed two below:

HTML Giant featured Peter’s review of The Natural Dissolution of Fleeting Improvised Men by Gabriel Blackwell.

— And inspired by his review for The Lit Pub, Peter created a video for Janice Lee’s Damnation.

I’m working on a collaboration essay for The Good Men Project. More details to follow!

There is also some big news/a possible killer opportunity brewing for something on the horizon — but even I have to wait ’til Monday for more news.

Stay tuned (and bring on 2014!)!!

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Attn. Young Electronic Music Producers!

Ibiza

Though they might disagree — or think it’s silly/weird/etc. — all the young aspiring electronic music producers/DJs should definitely go back and listen to some of the artists that tilled the soil for their “new” EDM to take root (that is to say, electronic dance music has been a thing long before EDM became nearly synonymous with Dub-step and Trap). Too many kids are trying to create stuff that . . . isn’t very good, but a lot of that can be traced to a lack of familiarity with what came before [them] (not to mention a lack of some basic music theory, but that’s an entirely other thing for another post, altogether. . . ).

It’s probably important to remember that this isn’t a “Greatest of All Time” list or an eclectic list of hipster favorites no one’s ever heard of [though some of the artists are fairly strange (e.g. Aphex Twin)]. It’s a list of artists who were instrumental in making the EDM scene what it is today. It’s actually a list most people who are producing the best electronic music right now are already familiar with; I’m really just trying to get the new generation of producers and DJs up to speed on their music history. It’s character building! (or something*) Of course I won’t be offended if people don’t dig the stuff on the list, but the quality/talent level of the below artists in their respective genres has already long-since been established.

I suggest, first and foremost, listening to Orbital and The Prodigy (Fat of the Land, omfg…), then Paul Oakenfold and BT (especially from the 1990s — Ibiza, anyone?!); BT more or less invented the use of glitches in EDM); Photek to see where DnB hit a high-water mark with “Modus Operandi;” Future Sound of London’s “Papua New Guinea;” Kraftwerk (anything); Tricky (ibid); UNKLE, Portishead (especially Dummy), and Massive Attack to get an expert taste of Trip-Hop; the evolution of Beck’s music from “Odelay” onward; ALWAYS relevant are The Crystal Method; Dirty Vegas, if nothing else for the “Days Go By” video; Dan the Automator (who you’ll realize you’ve heard before even if you didn’t know it before); Imogen Heap just because; Justice; AND Underworld (just to list a place to begin).

The Chemical Brothers and Dust Brothers wouldn’t be bad picks for this list either, and I’d be remiss to not also include Paul Van Dyk, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, and NERO since they’ve all been around for a long time and have evolved their sound to stay relevant!

These are just a handful of artists who influenced me to start cobbling together beats in my basement in the late 90s. It’s never a bad idea to Know Your Roots!

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2001: A Space Odyssey and Also Possibly Acid

_Technics SL1200

Confession time: I had never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey until last week. It’s embarrassing and I feel like my only punishment is the humiliation that stems from admitting this publicly. The movie’s great (obvi.)! Here’s my other confession: I’ve never read the book either… [#DodgesStones] But I’m going to. Totally. Not just because i’m promising to do it on the Internet where “everyone” can see me, either. But because I need to see how Arthur C. Clark decided to write the ending to the book because, in the movie… I don’t even know. I live-tweeted it while I was watching, though. It went something like this:

@JoeMOwens: Dave gets to Jupiter & drops extremely high-grade acid. Trips for like 25 years. Wakes up in a sterile hotel suite.

@JoeMOwens: Old man Dave: “Fuck, I broke my favorite crystal goblet and even older me is dying in a bed over there!”

@JoeMOwens: Oldest Man Dave: “This monolith is totally tilted the wrong way & doesn’t have any good channels. Think I’ll turn into an embryo.”

@JoeMOwens: Embryo Dave: “I’m as big as the fkn Earth!” #StarChild

Can anyone confirm or deny my accuracy here? It was only like 26% tongue-in-cheek. Seriously…

Speaking of 2001:ASO, have you guys seen THE HAL PROJECT yet? It’s worth checking out for the awesome screensaver alone!

What’s the deal with the turntable pic above? Good question! I recently got my listening space set up in the new house and my Technics SL-1200 is basically the centerpiece. It’s by no means the most expensive record player you can buy, but it’s not necessarily cheap either. (And, historically, it’s been top DJs’ weapon of choice for as long as I can remember.*) I think I paid $599 for it in 2002. Little did I suspect that, 11 years later, the same model, used, would fetch about the same price as what I paid for it, brand new. Check the eBayz if you don’t believe me.

I’ve even seen some going for $1,000 or more; now that was a good investment!

Astronomers recently discovered an exo-planet that originated from a different galaxy, so that’s pretty freaking amazing!

Have you upgraded your iPhones to iOS 7 yet? No? Why not. It’s awesome! If you, or someone you know is having reservations about upgrading, Gizmodo has you covered: “How To Talk Your Friends and Family Through iOS 7.” Even my mom loves it! You can thank me later.

Also, I really need to talk to you guys about Breaking Bad, but I have to wrap my mind around where the narrative currently sits. It’s so incredible, I’m basically speechless. Last night’s episode, “Granite State,” was a perfect followup to the wild and emotionally-taxing ride viewers were taken on last week in arguably the series’ best episode, “Ozymandias.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to an episode of TV more than I am for the series finale this coming Sunday!

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Rededicating myself to something or another again

I’ve said this here a million times: I need to blog more. Three+ months is a LONG hiatus!

It’s not that I don’t like it: I do. It just gets shoved down the priority list more often than not.

Professionally, I’m still happily working at Metropolitan Community College’s Writing Center, but I’m also teaching English Comp. 1 and 2 at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. I’ve got some really smart kids, too!

On the writing front, I’ve got a brand new short story going live over at Bartleby-Snopes next month, which is awesome! Ever since I started trying to share my words with peeps, B. Snopes has been on my list of places I wanted to see my work published. I’ll probably make a huge deal about it when it’s actually available to read!

Have you seen this Breaking Bad thing? I guess it’s a pretty big deal. (OK, just kidding; I’ve been addicted to it for a while now and this season is insane!) I am, however, late to the Sons of Anarchy party. The show’s pretty great! I’m finally getting around to watching season 5!

I made a reading goal to myself this year. In addition to reading 60 books total — a paltry number compared to some — I decided I’d read both the entirety of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series (10 books) and Iain M. Banks’s Culture series (also 10 books). I think I’m on track.

Since writing a primer for the first 3 Malazan books over at HTML Giant, I’ve finished two more and have a decent start on the sixth book, The Bone Hunters. Here’s my one [long] sentence review of the series so far: It’s the best fantasy series I’ve ever read, including- but not limited to- both George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (even if you include The Hobbit).

Since I always like my fantasy fix with a side of sci-fi, I’m also currently reading my 7th book in the Culture series. Since these books aren’t exactly chronologically written, the order in which you read them isn’t quite as important as it is with the Malazan books. If I remember, I’ve read them so far in the following order — books: 1, 2, 4, 3, 5, 7, 6, i.e. I’m currently reading book 6, Inversions. My good friend Peter Tieryas Liu has reviewed the first two books in the series, Consider Phlebas and The Player of Games, both of which are excellent, but aren’t even as good as the series gets!

Oh, and speaking of, I’d like to put out an APB for George R.R. Martin: More specifically, book 6 in The Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. WTF, George?! Write faster!

Things are also simmering nicely on the “Pangaea project” front. More on that to come, so stay tuned for that too!

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Some Good News for Grey Sparrow Press

My publisher, Grey Sparrow Press, got some good news I definitely needed to share!
[n.b. line breaks mine]:

“We have received a request for subscription from Yale University for our journal.

“I owe a large debt of gratitude to our volunteer editors [all of whom survived a year with the Sparrow] Annam Manthiram, Joseph Michael Owens, Timothy Stobierski, Amanda Casolo, Townsend Walker, whom I have worked with since the beginning, our amazing writers and I can’t list them all but surely everyone here, Sita Bhaskar, Marko Fong, David Atkinson; Joe after he retired from the Sparrow, Samartha Vashishtha, Bhisma Upreti, Marie Williams, Thomas Smith, Angela Ellis, Julie Mark Cohentruly so many more, and our artists and photographers — BIG BIG Hugs. Love to you all.

“And Professor John Roche, thank you for that fabulous Snow Jewel issue that actually was the one that determined purchases… Incredible poetry and more.

“I don’t know how UC-Berkeley had a copy, but that was why they contacted Grey Sparrow!”

–Diane Smith Fuller

Also, this news is in addition to The University of California – Berekley Rare Books & Manuscripts requesting copies of all Snow Jewel and Grey Sparrow publications (including Shenanigans!), and the University of New York – Buffalo, which is taking our journals too!!

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peterbd says I am the G.o.a.T. — How could I not repost this?

Random things are random (obvi.), but they’re also often awesome. Tonight I got a random email from the elusive peterbd and it managed to redefine the term “awesomeness.”

There were/are “lols” aplenty!

20. joe is greater at creating electronic music than most people.

19. joe is better at creating electronic music than this guy: http://www.blackbookmag.com/polopoly_fs/1.54529.1352141269!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_411/image.png

18. joe became the g.o.a.t without selling out and moving to new york

17. joe michael owens > terrell owens and his relatives

16. joe’s writing can be found in multiple places and none of it sucks because it’s impossible for joe to write anything shitty as evidenced by his non shitty writing resume

15. joe is the only man on earth that could wear overalls and still look smooth

14. if you type ‘joe michael owens’ into netflix, a documentary titled g.o.a.t: the true story of joseph michael owens will be your only result. this is an unofficial documentary that chronicles joe’s life as a young prodigy on his way to being the g.o.a.t. interviews include his friends, family, and those who witnessed his incredible rise to fame. the documentary currently has 4 1/2 stars on netflix. it was directed by steven spielberg

13. joe wrote ‘we always trust each other, except for when we don’t’ which didn’t win a pulitzer prize, but when you’re as good a writer as joe and you wrote the awesomeness that is ‘we always trust each other, except for when we don’t’ you don’t need no goddamn pulitzer prize to validate your genius

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Game of Thrones: Season 3!

Game-of-Thrones-WallpaperSeason 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones kicked off awesomely, if you ask me! A Storm of Swords, book 3 of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time, regardless of genre. It goes without saying then that I was almost uncomfortably feverish anticipating the season 3 premier. I wasn’t sure how the show would deal with various ideas and plot threads, but if episode 1 was any indicator, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are making some savvy decisions.

Normally, Dustin Luke Nelson, Justin Daugherty, and I will be doing roundtable-like recaps (or some kind of feature) after each episode over on the Sundog Lit. blog, but I was too excited not to get started right away!

To begin with, starting with last week’s premier, I’m glad the producers and FX teams aren’t wasting time/effort on Tyrion’s nose. It sounds like a minor detail, but the littlest Lannister lost his nose at the Battle of Blackwater in the books (as well as sustaining even more aesthetic damage) and I wasn’t sure how the show would or could pull it off believably. I read somewhere recently that, for all intents and purposes, Peter Dinklage is the face of the show and the face must have a nose! His wicked scar is good enough for me.

I was also really wondering how the show would address Ser Barristan Selmy’s character and when they revealed him. In the books, he is introduced in Astapor as Arstan Whitebeard (book 2?), a servant of Strong Belwas, and only later is he identified as Ser Barristan. The suspension of disbelief is easier in the books, but it wouldn’t have made any sense at all for Ser Barristan’s true identity to go unnoticed, especially by Jorah Mormont.

Speaking of Strong Belwas, he’s noticeably absent from the show in season 3, which is a shame because I really like him in the books! He’s not scheduled to appear in the show this season (at least according to the chatter on the interwebbings), so it’s probably safe to assume he’ll remain MIA for the HBO series. This isn’t entirely surprising given how many characters populate Martin’s books — the number is kind of staggering.

Meera and Jojen Reed of Graywater — very notably absent in season 2, in my opinion — made their appearance in last night’s second episode of season 3, which is good because I honestly have no idea how Bran’s story arc could advance without them.

One thing that the show is acing as far as I’m concerned (that we were given hints of toward the end of season 2) is Margery Tyrell’s character. In the books, her cunning is evident from the time the idea is proposed of her marrying Joffrey. Like the Lannisters, she’s a highborn, and it’s crystal clear she’s got a mind for how the game of thrones is played! In fact, Lady Margery always seems to be just a step ahead of Cersei’s conniving, and you get a few inklings of this right away in the season 3′s premier.

Things are heating up!

5 Things About the Unicorn Apocalypse

unicorn_apocalypse1)    Glitter no longer is despised by men everywhere; it is instead manufactured by the Unicorns, given extreme hypnotically stimulating properties, and quickly takes the place of cocaine. Unsavory “gentlemen” snort lines of Glitter off strippers’ asses in shady club bathrooms the world over. The whole thing is still pretty unsanitary.

2)    Skittles become the currency by which nations measure their wealth. “Taste the Rainbow,” however, becomes a global sex act phenomenon, sparking the advent of the “Rainbow Orgy.”

3)    Due to the “Taste the Rainbow” global sex act phenomenon, Leprechauns in all corners of the world are ultimately forced, by necessity, to become extremely underpaid novelty sex workers. Pots of gold only spark genuine interest if the gold coins are the gold foil-wrapped chocolate kind (or the eponymous prophylactics). Regarding the latter, the Unicorns approve of the humans’ newfound concern for sexual safety and subsequent prevention of any future population explosions.

4)    Circumcision is soon considered grotesque and, thus, becomes taboo. Men desire a corporeal aesthetic look more akin to their new rulers’ most distinguishing physical characteristic. The unicorns are amused at the humans’ sheep-like mentality but still basically/ostensibly find them pesky and irksome. Between Glitter benders and Tasting the Rainbow, Humans can’t be bothered to worry about things like governing, working, or really anything that does not include Glitter benders and Rainbow orgies.

5)    Humans, amid their narcotic-infused bacchanalia—due primarily to the nearly infinite supply of Glitter—become truly useless to Earth’s new Unicorn overlords and, as a consequence of their lacking any real raison d’être, are swiftly eliminated. (Though, it should be noted, that in their altogether tweaked-out reveling in drugs and debauchery, mankind barely even noticed.) The sudden hostile power grab by Unicorns over the now-extinct human race almost immediately sparks the great “Hundred Years Unicorn-Pegasus War,” even dividing the once formidable union between Care Bears and My Little Ponies. Narwhals and Swordfish take the fight of one-horned creatures to the sea.

  1. The resulting war of Rainbows, Glitter, and Blood reduces the planet to rubble and among mammals, only the three-toed sloth survives to inherit the earth (who survived simply because they moved too slowly to join the conflict on either side. Their cries of victory, “The giant carnivorous Megatherium will rise again!” takes an entire millennia to disseminate among their kind.
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So Many Projects, So Little Time…

Weird clock DaliHow do I get myself into these things?

I can’t say no; that’s where the problems start.

It’s OK, I suppose. I’d rather be busy than bored, but by some recent tabulations, I’m averaging about 90 hrs. of work each week.

If something’s gotta give, then sleep is that something.

It’s O-K, but just barely.

Teaching four classes, working at the college’s writing center, training CPR & Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI) classes, writing grants and proposals (plus freelance editing etc.) — it sort of takes a toll on one’s “free time.”

Free time. Now there’s a novel concept. . .

Speaking of novel, time spent actually writing novel(s) and stories has really suffered. I mean, I want to write. I can even [occasionally] magick some time out of thin air that I could use to write. However, by the time any of this happens, my brain feels like it’s been submerged in a jar of molasses. Or maybe sorghum. I dunno, something dark and viscous.

I was whinging (ask a Canadian) the other night on Twitter about this predicament, saying something to the effect of “Having trouble just thinking about writing #LongDays…” and Justin Daugherty offered some simple advice but advice that was probably spot on nonetheless: “Do it. Writing is the most important thing.”

Fuck yeah it is!

I got a little bit scribbled into a notebook but it was better than nothing. It was better than putting it off until tomorrow and tomorrow became tomorrow became next week etc. &c.

Writing: Make like Nike and just do it!

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Happy New Book Day!

Books March-27-2013

Today’s been a really kickass book day!

First, a surprise arrived from my good friend David S. Atkinson (who’s easily the coolest guy I know) in the form of the rare(ish) white version of Adam Levin‘s THE INSTRUCTIONS (one of my two favorite books of all time)!!

Also, my ARC of Benjamin Percy‘s RED MOON showed up, ready for a through reading, skinning, analysis, drying/tanning, mounting and, ultimately, reviewing!!

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