I’ve been really excited about this upcoming anthology, and now I can finally share the gorgeous cover: (Cover artist: Ashley Walters) FIRE: Demons, Dragons & Djinns, published by...
E is for Evil is out in paperback and ebook! (Links at the bottom of this post.) It features my story “G”, a dark twilight-zone romp through the...
So you’re a Yog-Sothoth-worshipping cult fanatic, but you also care about your family. You want to bring forth a presence of an Elder God, since they technically...
One of video games’ most famed princesses, Princess Peach has been kidnapped at least 12 times and has likely developed Stockholm syndrome along with bipolar disorder (based...
In this illustration by Debbie Ha, we see the wonder of discovery through the eyes of Voltan, who has finally found a way to put his hyperactive...
I write science fiction and fantasy in an attempt to see the stars a few kilometers closer. I’ve tried putting a “Have Space Suit: Will Travel” ad on Kijiji, wearing a space suit for over 100 days, and shooting things with giant lasers. I graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2016.
The following is reposted from Lynda Williams’s Reality Skimming Blog, as the first in a series of posts leading up to the release of my novella, Shepherds of Sparrows!–
This fall will see the release of Shepherds of Sparrows by Hal Friesen, the first title from Reality Skimming Press, and the introduction of a new tradition called the multivision’d promo.
Hal’s stories about Nestor, the Nersallian who fell in love with a Nesak, have appeared in Okal Rel Legacies titles Opus 3, Opus 4 and Opus 5, from the Absolute Xpress imprint of Hades Publications. Reality Skimming Press is stepping in to expand the story of the Okal Rel Universe.
Visit this blog weekly, from now through the end of 2013, to find out more about Nestor’s harrowing adventures assisting Di Mon, Liege of Monitum, with an outbreak of rogue science and a murderous backlash, on Monitum.
And experience what we mean by multivision.
For the promo, it means we’ll be illustrating scenes from Shepherds of Sparrows using the talents of more than one artist.
For books it means we plan to offer a choice of covers: character-focused ones and a Jeff Doten set featuring settings, instead.
As a sample, the composite image on the right offers two versions of Hal’s teenage heroine, Olivia, getting refugees to board a ship. Maja Madeline LaValley is the cover artist for the 2013 release of the book. Debbie Ha will be assisting in the promo.
Richard Bartrop portrayed Hal’s character, The Caddy, in the Opus anthology where he is introduced. And Yukari Yamamoto recently did the character sketch, at the lower right, of the ordinary-looking Lorel mastermind Dartha, who appears both in Shephards of Sparrows and in the concluding volume of the Okal Rel Saga, Part 10: Unholy Science, forthcoming from Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Drop in to the Reality Skimming presence on facebook at http://facebook.com/relskim to ‘like’ our page and get involved. We love readers, tweeters, kibitzers, reveiwers, bloggers, SF organizers, filkers, fans, pros, artisans, writers, artists, lurkers, educators and kindred spirits of all kinds.
My race to space in the Axe Apollo Contest is finally over, after 167 days with the space suit. It will likely require fumigation at this point. The results aren’t in yet, but they’ll be announced on www.facebook.com/axecanada. There are way too many people to thank for their support, both in spirit and in practical matters like pie organization, but I’ll try here:
Debbie Ha for relentless support throughout the entire campaign. She’s the person not shown in almost every single picture and video. My family for rooting for me, recognizing the toll the campaign took on me, and supporting me in everything I do. Glen LaValley for his magnificent balloon art. Tyler Collins, Thanh, Linh, Jordana, for the balloon alien video. Tyler especially for his voice acting and sound editing skills (takes way longer than you can imagine). Michelle Lam for her inspiring Project 365 which sparked the idea in me. Kaitlyn Slump whose photography skills produced the featured Astro-Hal image at the end of every video (and at the beginning of this post). Jonny & J’Lyn at 92.5 Fresh FM for inviting me in for an interview. Ryan Jespersen for inviting me into an impromptu Breakfast TV appearance. Jason Halbauer for inviting me out for a subsequent later interview with the fabulous Bridget. Jordana Archer for taking pics of Astro-Hal throughout Europe, and for putting me in touch with the right people in Prince George. The folks at the TNRD in Kamloops for giving me such a warm welcome. Jennifer Stahn from InfoTel in Kamloops for a fantastic interview and article. Brittany (Zumba by Brittany) and many dancers who let me film a zumba class in an astro suit. Parson’s Shoe ReNu in Vancouver for fixing my astro boots, making them the closest to legitimate they’ll ever come. Edmonton Skydive for not only doing the skydive video, but putting me in touch with CTV afterward (Joey, you’re awesome!). Jesse Beyer for a fun interview on CTV morning, and Amanda for helping me get set up properly. My colleagues at work, especially Brian McPherson and his family. His daughter was probably tied for number one fan with my niece. Nick Rogers for donning the suit for a doppleganger shot. Jim Bauer and Dave Mailhot for doing a quadcopter scene. CFIS FM for a great interview long enough for me to really reflect on the journey. West Edmonton Mall for kicking me out before I got to walk anywhere in my space suit and space buggy (again made by the amazing Glen LaValley, who stayed up almost all night putting it together). City councellor Linda Sloan for being game to take a photo and video. Thomas McIntyre for showing up to countless events in support, including skydiving with Tyler, Natasha, and Laurelle. Brad OH Inc. (www.bradohinc.com) and Joe Wimberly for organizing the Bus Hijinx and Pie Hijnx, both of which were hilarious and awesome. The epic BBQ after the pie hijinx was a great time. Thanks to Kylie, the only person brave enough to be pied by an astronaut. The writing community in Edmonton for putting up with me and supporting me relentlessly, even when I show up at book launches unrelated to space in any way whatsoever : Billie Mulholland, Barb Galler-Smith, Eileen Bell, and all of the members of the Edmonton Writers Group. My favourite author, Robert J. Sawyer, for sharing and showing his support. EVERYONE who shared content and showed their support, for I’m sure I annoyed the news feeds of everyone within 3 or 4 degrees of separation. Thanks to @ReinventingBrad on Twitter, whom I never met but supported me nonetheless. Thanks to the lovely person who left me a note on my car saying “YOU ROCK!” Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who was willing to take a photo with a wacko in a space suit with a dream.
And thank you to the guy on Whyte Ave who called me Superman after I changed out of my suit in a public phone booth.
Yes. You can. Here’s how I did it:
1. Find one on Kijiji.
The one I got was a Free Spirit 302001, about 7-8 years old. Free Spirit is a good company for value treadmills without a lot of frills, and some other ones to keep in mind are True, Life Fitness, Pace Master, and Lifespan. I saw some Nordictrack treadmills in the $300 price range and most were willing to part with it for $250, but I’ve heard mixed reviews on their quality. I got mine for $180.
2. Buy wood & hardware.
-one 2 X 12 (for main support of monitor) : $20
-two 1 X 6s (for keyboard mount and platforms) : $10
-8 feet of corner trim (for the adjustable keyboard slots) : $10
-screws and nails: $5
-4 metal angle brackets: $12
-particle board for keyboard tray: $5
In total, I spent about $250. Assuming you have access to drills and saws, the rest is just putting in the time.
I built the monitor holder first, and decided to make it slightly shorter, since I could always pile up a few books to raise the monitor height but I’d have a hard time bringing it down. The height for my treadmill was 1.5 m. The width was 0.75 m.
The basic idea was a shelf with some support in the middle–you might have to modify depending on the shape of your treadmill.
For the keyboard tray, I drilled 2 holes into each arm of the treadmill, and bolted my pre-assembled 1X6s to the sides. Using that slightly-expensive corner trim (with small nails to avoid splitting) enabled me to make a keyboard tray suitable for a variety of heights!
It took a few nights and part of a weekend to finish, but now I write this post on my treadmill desk! So far I’ve only been able to go about 2.25 kph (1.5 mph) before I get too distracted by the movement to do anything productive. Hopefully that’ll get better in time.
Fun Facts about Treadmill Desks
Apparently people are 16% less productive (typing speed and accuracy) on treadmill desks, but that doesn’t necessarily take into account the increased levels of energy. Google, Microsoft and Evernote are some companies that are already using them in the workplace, although more in common areas that employees can use for a while before going back to their regular workstations. Apparently when employees were offered bikes as an alternative to desk chairs, only 19% kept using them after four weeks. We’ll see how I fare.
This week’s “What-if” post was a bit closer to reality than normal, but next week I should be up to my regular hijinks.
(The campaign is now officially over — thank you everyone for your support!)
Wearing a space suit everyday, reaching out to the community. Check out the Astro-HAL site for much more!
Community outreach is a huge part of being an astronaut, because astronauts are inspirational figures who show us the impossible is possible, that it’s not too far out of reach. Which is why, from this day forward until the end of the Apollo contest, I will be wearing an astronaut costume to capture one photograph with a new person every day. I will volunteer in various organizations and wear the suit where appropriate. I want to proveto the world that I care enough about humanity that you should care to send me into space. I hope to earn a bit of your trust, faith, and hopefully spark a little inspiration along the ride.