Saturday, January 30, 2010

NCIS Fan Fiction In The Dark is now complete

I wrote a fanfiction for NCIS called The People Out There, in which aliens transported the character of Mark Harmon into that of Gibbs, and vice versa. It was well received, and so I did a follow-up story called In The Dark.

It is now complete, in 12 chapters.

Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David switch places with Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo. Can they survive?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wordsworth's Adventures Continues

I've been writing a blog to help people (such as those taking their SATs, GREs, and ACTs) build their vocabulary.

Now, for $25 a year, that's right, $25 for a whole year!, I'll also be your online English language coach. Build your vocabulary, learn cultural references, learn how to better comprehend what you read, and so on. I'm available 16/7 (rather than the usual 24/7 claim, I'm available 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Of coures, just reading the Wordsworth blog is free.

To enroll in one year's worth of Online Language Tutoring, go to:

Those who don't wish to enroll in my service can also go to this site to download the free vocabulary sheets, which are uploaded as accompaniment to each Wordsworth blog entry.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordsworth and the Visitor From Planet X

If you're studying for the writing segment of the SAT, the ACT, or the GRE, there are plenty of study materials to help you.

One of the most enjoyable ways to do this - to increase your vocabulary, to increase your understanding of similes and metaphors and the usage of language - is to visit my new blog, Wordsworth and the Visitor From Planet X.

It's part of a growing method of study aids... the vocabulary is taught enjoyably by placing it in the context of an interesting story - a mystery novel or a science fiction novel.

Wordsworth and the Visitor From Planet X is a science fiction serial.

Here's the URL:

And to make it easier for you, if you've got a Kindle, subscribe to this blog and have each entry delivered to your Kindle. It's only $2 a month, or $24 a year.

So if you're studying for the SATs, ACTs, GREs, and need a study guide, check it out. (And of course, best to check it out a year before you actually have to take the tests, to make sure you pass with flying colors.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday on BBC Radio 7 (Tuesday, and available to listen to for 6 more days.)

Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards!
4/6. Captain Vimes tries tracking the dragon and the Librarian travels in time.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
2/5. Hyde is wanted for murder and disappears. But what is his connection to Dr Jekyll?

And that's it for Tuesday!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Girl Scientist Magazine: A Blogzine

So annoyed was I by the pap offered by such magazines as Girls Life and American Girl, which while it offers worthwhile articles written for 8 year olds to 14 year olds on friendship, also offers craft work like making clothes and how to style your hair, and not a single article on toy trains, sports, or career suggestions like getting into science, that I have created the Girl Scientist Magazine. Right now it's a blogzine, but I hope, eventually, to make it a real, paper magazine.

If you've got a Kindle, you can subscribe to it for $24 a *YEAR*, or $2 a month, to have my daily entries delivered right to your kindle. Otherwise, just bookmark this blog, and remember to visit it daily.

Conquest of Space (1955)

There's a space station orbiting the earth (complete with artificial gravity because the circular station revolves) and a space ship being constructed to rocket to Mars.

Got this DVD a oouple of days ago. It's a lot of fun.

No African-Americans in this space crew in 1955, but there is a Chinese American (played by Benson Fong).

The biggest star in the movie - although only a co-star at this time, is Ross Martin, of Wild, Wild West fame.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday on BBC Radio 7 (Chris Barrie, second from left, reader of the new Red Dwarf story)

For the benefit of newcomers to this blog... while radio drama ended in the US in 1961 (when Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Suspense aired their final episodes on the same day), it has been alive and well in England forever.

Anyone in the world can listen to archived BBC radio broadcasts, by tuning in to BBC Radio 7. The radio programs here are from several decades - the 50s, thre 60s, and up until the 00s. For example, Doctor Who productions are newly commissioned.

So, go to the link above, and take a look at what's on offer. Don't be put off by the times listed on the left hand side of the screen. Once a program is available to be listened to, you can listen to it at any time you want for seven days, when it drops off the screen.

So what's playing, in the science fiction arena, today, Sunday?

Last Days of Shandakor
2/2. Fear of his captors turns to admiration as Jon Ros learns more about this alien race.
This is based on a novella written by Leigh Brackett.

Red Dwarf
Better Than Life, Episode 1
1/6. Lister, Cat and Rimmer waste away in a computer fantasy. Can mechanoid Kryten rescue them?
This is read by Chris Barrie, who played Lister in Red Dwarf.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kindle News!

I'm going to be putting quite a few of my blogs on Kindle - so that people with Kindles can have these entries delivered to their Kindles every day, no muss and no fuss.

Costs is only $2 a month - you can't do better than that.

The two available right now are You Fly Girl, my women in aviation blog, and of course Daily Space.

The Ocean Report blog

I've started up a new blog, whch will eventually be a blogzine, called The Ocean Report. This blogzine will report news on the oceans, as well as information on marine science. If you're interested in what goes on in the 3/4ths of the Earth that is blue, please subscribe.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Teen angst is back again

Spiderman used to be my favorite comic book character. The first issue I ever picked up was #106 ... the Spidey vs Professor Smythe issue, and I kept reading until issue 200... I think... by the time I gave up on comics altogether because of the never ending rising prices (and I got upset when they went up to 75 cents, now you can't buy them for less than $3!) I had already given up on Spiderman because the angst and soap opera was just getting on my nerves.

And so although I went to see the first Spiderman movie, I've never bothered to watch it again because of all the angst displayed in it... Spiderman/Peter Parker trapped in the tragedy of his best friend thinking Spiderman has killed his father, who is in actual fact the Green Goblin. I just wanted to see a superhero adventure, not a soap opera.

But apparently the "powers that be" have decided otherwise.

According to Hollywood Reporter:

Spider-Man 4 dead, franchise rebooting
by Doc on Jan.12, 2010, under Movies

After Spider-Man 4 slipped in its release schedule due to an apparent impasse over the script and characters, Sony/Columbia have decided to jettison plans, along with Raimi and the cast, and instead go with a reboot of the franchise based on a script by James Vanderbilt, and getting back to the superpowers vs. teen angst angle. But if they already have the script, how long has the studio been planning this?

Meantime, I'm not sure if I want to go see Iron Man 2 or not. I enjoyed Iron Man 1, for the most part, but thought the ending was ridiculous, and now in Iron Man 2 the plot is that the goverment is going to try to take away his suit so they can mass produce it, and he refuses. Seems kind of dumb. He used to be a munitions manufacturer, selling arms to all who could pay for them, and now he won't sell his suit? (Or perhaps they want him to give it to them, rather than sell it..)

Then the villain, played by Mickey Rourke, with the exo-skeleton and the electrified whips, just looks so stupid. One long range shot from a bazooka, and he's history.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Word on Haiti

According to news at the IMDB, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have donated $1 million to Haiti quake relief.... that's about 1/5th of what one of them gets for *one* movie, eh?

On the other hand, according to news I read yesterday, China donated *$1 million* also. Well, China doesn't have much money, unless they force the US to start paying back the debt we owe them (they've bought up all our debt).

Other actors and actresses yesterday have urged their fans to make donations... I'm thinking all of their fans together could not donate as much as these actors and actresses could... yet its the little people who must donate?

It's not only the United States government that is sendng material and men to Haiti to help out, other governmets are also helping (some hopefully more generously than China...but on the other hand $1 mil is still a lot of money, obviously).

The question is... two years from now will Haiti still look like New Orleans, or will it look like a modern country at last....thanks to the money and building skills of other countries.

I'm surprised that there hasn't yet been a backlash on Pat Robertson - at least not that I've seen - for his comment that Haiti is so poor (80% of its people live below the poverty line, and that's before the earthquake and the destruction of their one city) because they "made a pact with the devil" 200 years ago... presumably when the slaves threw off the yoke with the help of the French?

He also said that the quake might turn out to be a blessing in disguise because the country would now be rebuilt and probably be better than it was before - that's undoubtedly true...but there will be no lasting improvement until their current government is ousted and one that actually cares about its people is put in its place. How's that going to happen, I wonder?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dean Jones sings

I'm watching Blackbeard's Ghost, a formulatic but enjoyable Disney film from 1968 that starred one of my favorite actors, Peter Ustinov. Dean Jones was a Disney leading man in this, The Horse In the Gray Flannel Suit, The Love Bug, etc.

I never knew Jones could sing, but giving it a bit more thought I think that probably every actor can sing - they have the vocal training and the necessary lung power.

So here's Dean Jones singing Being Alive from the musical Company, in 1970. He left the production after only two weeks (and after singing in the cast album) apparently because he was going through a painful divorce at the time.

(So, okay, its not science fiction, but he was in a lot of fantasy movies at Disney, so that counts).

What's happening at the space station?

NASA will hold a briefing for journalists with the next set of residents of the International Space Station at 1 p.m. CST Thursday, Jan. 21, from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The briefings will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site. Questions also will be taken from participating NASA

The briefing participants are:
- Expedition 23 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson
- Expedition 23 Flight Engineer and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov
- Expedition 23 Flight Engineer and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko

Following the briefing, the crew members will be available for individual round-robin interviews, in person or by phone. There also will be a photo opportunity.

On April 2, Skvortsov, Kornienko, and Caldwell Dyson will launch to the station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. They will dock to the space station on April 4, joining Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who arrived on the station in December as part of Expedition 22.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules, and downlink information,

For the latest information about Expedition 23 and its crew, visit:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Science Fiction on BBC Radio 7

Lots of good stuff on BBC Radio 7 this week.

Remember that the times listed don't mean anything, you can listen to each show for seven days, at any time you like.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Darker Side of the Border: Olalla
5 days left to listen
2/3. Robert Louis Stevenson's mysterious tale of a soldier who falls in love while convalescing

Last Days of Shandakor
Episode 1
5 days left to listen
1/2. Space adventure set on Mars. The proud inhabitants of a dying city want to go out in style

The Recall Man : Doctor Joe Aston Investigates
6 days left to listen
1/4. A scientist is suspected of murdering her boss. Dr Joe Aston helps the police investigate.

Wyrd Sisters (Terry Pratchett)
Episode 2
6 days left to listen
2/4. Can the three witches save the baby heir to the throne and the crown? With Sheila Hancock.

Slipstream , by Simon Bovey
Into the Wolf's Lair
6 days left to listen
1/5. It's 1945. The Allies are certain to win the war. Then a strange aircraft is spotted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Recall Man
Making Waves
7 days left to listen
2/4. When a man claims to have witnessed a murder, the police call in Dr Joe Aston.

Wyrd Sisters

Episode 3
7 days left to listen
3/4. A wife is on the warpath and after the three witches' blood. Stars Sheila Hancock.

Slipstream : The Eagle's Nest
7 days left to listen
2/5. Barton and his team head deep behind German lines, to track down a terrifying new weapon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Recall Man
Over the Border
3/4. Dr Joe Aston helps police probe a taxi driver who's their only witness to a murder.

Wyrd Sisters
Episode 4
4/4. Lancre's new ruler teeters on the edge of madness and the witches set to work.

The Tomorrow World
3/5. Barton and the team have found what they've been looking for.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Recall Man
Stepping Out
4/4. Dr Aston feels threatened when a rival psychologist investigates a series of attacks.

Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards!
Episode 1
1/6. Can a stolen library book lead to the reinvention of dragons? With Martin Jarvis.

This Island Earth
4/5. Things can't get much worse for Barton and his team. Or can they?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards!
Episode 2
2/6. Could a long-extinct beast have carried out recent crimes? With Martin Jarvis.

Fight for the Future
5/5. Jurgen and Kate are desperate to get the weapon away before all is lost.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Herge's The Adventures of Tintin
Series 2, Episode 4
4/6. The rocket countdown is on for the intrepid boy reporter and his dog Snowy

The Scarifyers
The Devil of Denge Marsh, Episode 2
2/3. Lionheart and Dunning's battle with an old adversary leads them to a strange village.

A Dream of Armageddon
Episode 2
2/2. War is declared and the hero of HG Wells' anti-war story escapes with his wife.

Sunday, June 17, 2010

The Darker Side of the Border : The Brownie of the Black Haggs
3/3. Bossy Lady Wheelhope becomes strangely obsessed with a mysterious servant.

Last Days of Shandakor
Episode 2
2/2. Fear of his captors turns to admiration as Jon Ros learns more about this alien race.

Red Dwarf : Better Than Life, Episode 1
1/6. Lister, Cat and Rimmer waste away in a computer fantasy. Can mechanoid Kryten rescue them?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I'm not a kid anymore, but...

I just got the January Lego calendar in the mail, and there's so much stuff in there I'd love to buy. The fact that these items are described as being for ages 3-12 or 6 to 16 are mere bagatelles. Did I but have the discretionary cash, I'd snap 'em up.

A lot of the issue is given over to what I assume is their new Atlantis line, undersea cities, shipwrecks, squid, manta rays, submarines, jetpacks.

Then theyve got some Toy Story stuff. Though I am not looking forward to Toy Story 3 - the "old family toys" have suddenly been abandoned in a daycare center - never happen! - Toy Story 1 and 2 are two of my favorite movies, and Buzz Lightyear is a favorite character. I wouldn'be be ashed to have a 7 inch tall Buzz LIghtyear Lego figurine sharing my bed!

Then there's some new Star Waes sets - from the original and good Star Wars trilogy as opposed to the newer things.Indeed, for $399 there's a Death Star with 24 minifigs and droids, working trash compactor, moving turrets, something that would be a real joy to have.

Well...perhaps if I ever win the lottery.

I share some of those items here, in case anyone wants to recapture the joyous and imaginative feelings of their childhood...while at the same time supporting The Thunder Child science fiction and fantasy webzine. ; )