Ashtray Chat

Ashtray Chat: Degausser, September, Site Hiatus, more


I’m holding the main coil of a gizmo I spent most of the day AVOIDING building, a degausser, which “removes unwanted magnetism from a television or monitor in order to correct color disturbance.” My big Sony Trinitron is so riot with magnetic energy that the damn thing crackles louder than Chernobyl; lean toward the unit, and every hair on one’s very human body stands at attention with unnerving combat readiness, it’s electric at my house, it’s haunted and magnetic. Today the picture on the Sony became so saturated with lethal rays that it just blipped out and didn’t come back, and I knew I’d have to build a damn degausser. I avoided it for hours. Not because I’m lazy—I am—but because I had a hard time accepting that the Sony couldn’t un-zap itself, that there wasn’t (imagine) a DEGAUS button, something. This is the 21st century. There should be an app for that. But no, no reset button, no DE – GAUS, man, so I built the simple little magnet out of copper and wire and tape, it was the same tech the British Navy had used seventy years ago to slip past German mines without tripping the mine’s electromagnetic sensors, long grey ships draped in cables humming with electricity to mask their magnetic signatures, ah, dreamy stuff. The British Navy’s stealth-tech helped win the war in the Atlantic, their degaussers worked. Mine merely blew the breakers on one side of my house, booomf, blackness. There was no magical dispelling of the bad, bad rays, the crackling fuzz that had stolen the picture. No, I would not be dreamy and suffused with electricity like a navy Destroyer. The big TV would not be working, not tonight. I had wired something wrong. I will try it again, tomorrow; I will talk to experts.


Happy September. It’s the morning of the second as I write this. September is (for me) the last month of the year with any semblance of traction against the spinning hands of time; once it’s October it’s all over, the remaining weeks of the year slide screaming down a trough into oblivion and vaporizing into the past at a pace I can never keep up with, and once it is December, oh my god, all is lost, all the way to HELL ON EARTH itself, CHRISTMAS DAY, DECEMBER 25, aka ABANDON ALL HOPE DAY—

But September is cool, isn’t it? It’s the sadder sibling of May, it’s still not getting dark too-early, not yet, and one can begin September while still entertaining the hope/delusion that the last quarter of the year still holds promise, that there’s still time to accomplish whatever it is that didn’t get done, there’s still time. It’s not Christmas, it’s not “another year gone,” not yet. So I greet September with the best short-breath enthusiasm I can muster, pushing up my sleeves and sharpening my crude blades for the final battles of 2012.


This site will be going on hiatus very soon, sometime during the week of Sept 3 — 7. I can’t say how long I’ll be offline. Last time it was nearly two months (Feb & March of this year in order to finish and publish the DESCENT eBook; prior to that, FOUR MONTHS last year to write a 19 page DOCTOR WHO book outline, mah gawd.) The need for a site shutdown always seems to arrive just as I’m in a good groove of regular posting and the daily number of site-visits are climbing; common sense (and vanity) would suggest that I not slow or stop, but rather, increase the site’s momentum. Yet despite overwhelming evidence (which I have supplied and reinforced in head-hurting quantities in these very pages), I am a writer first and blogger a distant, lower ranking, really. Sure, I have a blast posting pretty pictures, but the sigils are on the floor and the signs are in the sky: it is time to shutter this joint, time to go away and make something new, make something as fast and as best as I can, and then the crazy train will roll again. The science fiction writer M John Harrison said something on twitter the other day that really shook me up in a good way, he said, “Eat the fiction before it takes its chance & eats you. This is one of the meanings of Saturn eating his children.” I am always eaten by the freaky fuckwad babies I give birth to. This will be a conscious effort and experiment to eat the fictions and the fuckwads first.


2 fold: a new (really new) short story, and a definite decision regarding which Drax project will be self-published before the end of the year. I better hurry the fuck up. And there’s that other thing I won’t mention.


There a couple of high-octane posts I’ve taken way too long to assemble that I would very much like to run before the shutdown/hiatus. Here is a flashy teaser from the forthcoming epic ZALI KRISHNA’S GALACTIC EMPEROR BLUES.


DESCENT and DOOMTROOPERS are FREE ON SMASHWORDS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER. Other retailers soon. There will be a cool graphic which will hang in the window when I lock up the place. Coming soon. Tell your friends, of course.

And I bid you a good evening. Funny how time flies!


Mission accomplished with a modified version of the original device, now designated, with stunning originality, Ver 2.1. Victory!


One reply on “Ashtray Chat: Degausser, September, Site Hiatus, more”

I’m sure you’ll take it in the proper spirit when I say I’m very pleased about the hiatus. No, not because I don’t love the Draxblog–I do–but because I love having you turn out less ephemeral fiction even more.

Congrats on the Degausser, although you shouldn’t have had to do it.

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