LibertyCon AAR 2018

So there I was, driving to Chattanooga with Peter and Dorothy Grant, when the skies turned as dark as the Earl of Hell’s riding boots, and frog-strangling rain cut loose. Not exactly an auspicious start to the weekend, although I don’t object to rain. I do object to rain so heavy the wipers can’t keep the windscreen clear, however. Turns out we managed to arrive with the worst weather of the day, and it moved through relatively quickly. By the time I could check into my hotel, it was just cool and damp. Cool is good in the south in late June. Continue reading


Maybe more Ducktape?

Howdy, Instapunderati! Thanks for dropping by. And for those who are wondering, I deliberately used the brand name (Ducktape), not the specific kind (duct tape).

Half-timbered (Fachwerk) buildings in Germany.

The above is what everyone thinks about when you talk about the quaint half-timbered buildings in Europe. Below are some of the fixer-upper versions. Continue reading

Above the Clouds

My astigmatism occasionally gives me problems and causes something a bit like vertigo. Bifocals plus twisting vision plus motion don’t work so well together at times. However, I did not expect to get unsteady on my pins while standing on hiking stairs on the flank of Schauinsland! Apparently being on the ground looking down at clouds bothers my inner ear.

The Rhine River, and France, are down there. Below the clouds.

Continue reading

Walls and Freedom

“Don’t fence me in.”

Freedom today means freedom of movement, at least for a lot of people. Walls are a rejection of that. They constrain people, keeping some out who want (or should be?) in, and lock in those who really want to be out and about. The Berlin Wall was an outward and visible sign of the failings of the East German Communist system. Activists decry talk of a border wall between the US and Mexico, and hurl epithets at the new walls and fences between Hungary and other places.

Five hundred years ago, without a wall, you were not free. You had no independence. Walls meant freedom. Continue reading

Once More Onto the Road

So, I’m on my way to Chattanooga via a few other intermediate stops. I will be at LibertyCon along with a bunch of the other Unusual Suspects. I’m not presenting or on a panel *taps wood*, just hanging out and learning stuff. And trying to convince Sarah Hoyt that I’m not really an American Exotic Shorthair cat. She’s seen me in purrson before but is still not convinced. *flicks tail*

I don’t think this will be on the menu during the trip, alas (it wasn’t my dinner. I had eggplant.)

The Poseidon Plate at a Greek place in Bacharach. There really are jumbo shrimp.

Once upon a time, there was a gate in a wall… (Goslar, Germany)

Travel and Stories

Several times, observations and things from the road have generated stories, books, and in one case, a book series. I’m not certain I’ve ever sat down with malice aforethought and said, “I’m going to write a set of novels based on _______.” They just sort of happen, for good and ill. On the gripping hand, more than once I’ve thumped my head gently against a wall when I realized that the written descriptions of a place do not match the reality at all, and I had to gut and re-write large scenes. Continue reading