Monthly Archives: January 2012

Are YOU More?

At each point in my life my perspective has changed a bit but the one question remains forever – am I more?  What is the point to existence, if any?

When I studied mathematics and science the underlying belief is that everything works according to laws which can be theorized, proven and recreated.  If a proof does not yet exist, it is simply a flaw in our understanding, but everything is predictable if we know all the laws.  In electronics, I learned impetus (voltage) and flow (amperage).  A short would increase flow dramatically, an open would stop flow.  Resisters slowed flow, capacitors stored flow, potentiometers adjusted flow, transducers change impetus, etc.  It explained things.

When I learned computer science, everything was input – processing – output – feedback loop.  It explained everything.  I began to see life in the same way.  When I did my post-graduate degree in finance and economics, it was the “Invisible Hand” of Adam Smith that explained all.  People maximize their “utils”.  If someone is charitable, it is not to help others, but because they get utils from helping.  If they really like cars, they spend cash on them to maximize their utils.  Everyone using cash as a means of barter to maximize their utils.  It all made sense.

In sociology and psychology, I learned nature vs. nurture.  You have genetic dispositions, inherited traits and animalistic instincts.  To that mix, you add nurture, your environment, your exposure to things impact you.  It explained it all.  When I was at the Capitol, it was all about 31, 16 and 1.  The number of votes needed to pass something through the House, Senate and the Governor.  It made sense to ignore the rest.

However, if it REALLY explains it all, then we are nothing more than a pre-determined system of actions.  We really have no control over ourselves or our actions and everything is simply a complex formula too difficult for us to see, but there nonetheless.  It makes life a meaningless process with inputs and outputs, a re-run so to speak that plays out with no change in the script possible.  To me, this explanation is somewhat terrifying.

At a young age I was exposed to another explanation – Christianity.   That we are not just animals, but we were created with an eternal soul, that this life serves as a testing bed.  We have free will and must choose service to God, or service to evil.  This also explains everything.  I choose to go with this explanation, because I want to believe I am MORE.

How about you?  Are you MORE?


Filed under Humor and Observations

Best Item Ever on Antiques Roadshow

I am not sure what they appraised this at, but I would pay a lot.  Unfortunately, it would be a bidding war between Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader and Princess Leia.  You know they all have more Imperial Credits than I do…

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I will be appearing at LepreCon!

The wonderful folks at LepreCon and Patti Hulstrand have included me in the schedule for the upcoming LepreCon!  Thanks to this wonderful bunch!  I hope you can all go and participate in this convention.  Here is a link:

I know, I have to get a new picture, but I haven’t settled on a look yet, in a wild stage now, shaving, growing beards, shaving, growing moustache, letting hair get long, cutting it all off…Second childhood I guess…

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Dogs Have Been Our Furry Friends for over 33,000 Years!

New bone remains show that our furry little critters have been with us all along.  They used to think that at some point some tribe decided to adopt some wolves and domesticate them.  Now they are coming to realize that as far as history goes back, Man’s Best Friend has been there, cuddly and begging for scraps from the latest kill.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

An ancient dog skull found in Siberia and dating back 33,000 years presents some of the oldest known evidence of dog domestication.

When combined with a similar find in Belgium, the two skulls indicate that the domestication of dogs by humans occurred repeatedly throughout early human history at different geographic locations — rather than at a single domestication event, as previously believed.

“Both the Belgian find and the Siberian find are domesticated species based on morphological characteristics,” said Greg Hodgins, a researcher at the University of Arizona’s Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and co-author of a study reporting the find.

“Essentially, wolves have long thin snouts and their teeth are not crowded, and domestication results in this shortening of the snout and widening of the jaws and crowding of the teeth.”

In homage to our dogs, I have a folder full of cute dog pics, but I won’t put them all in here at once, simply a couple, and maybe make this a weekly item.  If you have cute dog pics, and I know you do, feel free to post them under comments, or send me a reasonably sized file to and I will post it here.  But it has to be very cute to make the cut…

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals

Imperial Outpost Also Selling Hard Copies of My Book

Imperial Outpost in Glendale, Arizona has joined the list of folks selling hard copies of my book, The Travelers’ Club and The Ghost Ship.  They are a great group of people who sell a variety of gaming merchandise and regularly have live play at their store for fans.  I have also discussed having myself and some fellow sci-fi genre authors do a book signing at an upcoming event.  Here is their blogsite, and you can also friend them on Facebook:

Please support this store as there are too few cool places left in this economy.  Comic books, sci-fi and gaming don’t pay well, so let’s all look out for each other.  Also, please check out my Store, as I have new publications with my shorter work in them, including the latest Palo Verde Pages and the ConNotations NewZine.  I regularly update that location for newly published items.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Truth in Advertising

Hal C F Astell at told me at DarkCon that he liked the fact that my book was exactly what it advertised.  The cover reflects fun and adventure and the back flap description was accurate.  He enjoyed actually reading a book which was true to its own advertising.  I hope everyone will check out the Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship and it still has a 5 of 5-star average on Amazon reviews.  It is what it advertises to be.  Just for fun, I wanted to repost this to show how that is not always the case:


Filed under Humor and Observations


I was reflecting on brotherhood and thought I would share a few thoughts.  First, for the ladies out there, I know there is also a similar concept called Sisterhood, but despite being around women all my life, my understanding is limited to keeping me from inadvertently upsetting them as often as I used to.  I don’t know if Sisterhood is the same, similar or completely different, so I will leave that to someone else.  Brotherhood is a strong invisible bond felt between men, instanced by different situations.  The strongest is probably that of men who have fought side by side in battle, in situations where they leaned on each other, cried without shame, saw horrors, and saved each others lives.  All great generals know that soldiers fight for their brothers on the line, not for country, ideals, or concepts.  It is that deep comaraderie.

My best friend Scott and I met in 1989.  Throughout the years, any time we meet new people together or go to dinner, the movies, etc., we are usually asked if we are brothers.  We look a bit similar and maybe act a bit a like, but there has always been this kinship.  The minute we met, we were brothers from different mothers, and just clicked.  For us to play games like Taboo where we give clues to each other is almost cheating, as we think on the same wave length.  But why?  He has an entirely different past, present and future than I do.  We think alike, but we make totally different life choices.  We argue at times and mostly I annoy him, as I am annoying in general, but the relationship stays.

My own biological brother and I have no bond and nothing in common.  I think he is dead, but no one knows for sure.  About twenty years ago I had an address for him in Ocean City, California.  Hesitantly, I went to drive by his place with my wife.  If it did not look too bad, maybe even say hello.  We found his place.  You can’t make this up – it was surrounded by police cars and there was my brother on the hood being cuffed and arrested.  My wife and I figured maybe we could say hello later.  No one is my family has heard from him since.

I have had many close friends over the years that I felt the bond of brotherhood.  My friends George and Kevin in Hawaii, my great friend Frank Chow who now lives in California.  Growing up my friends Jerry and Mark.  I have been blessed with the bonds of brotherhood.  To my pleasant surprise, I now have that same bond with my own son – Alex, 24.  We will always be father and son as well, but now that he has grown to manhood, we can share our hopes and sorrows together, hang-out and support each other, and I feel that solid brotherhood connection.

Where does it come from?  Is it chemical?  Is it chosen by God?  Is it simple circumstance like a shared foxhole?  I wish I could distill and manufacture it for others because to experience it is very special.  We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

DarkCon was a Lot of Fun!

DarkCon just wrapped up at the Mesa Marriott Convention Center.  My reading went well on Saturday, but I was stuck in a room off from the regular part of the event, next to the hospitality suite, so I think a lot of people missed it.  Also, since I was a late addition, all it said in the program was – Michael Bradley – Reading.  Oh well, the people who showed up got a free signed copy of my book.  I also had the pleasure of meeting another person who had read my book and liked it, and his wife had liked it as well.  I did not think about it at the time, as a few of us talked for a good 90 minutes after my event ended, but one thing made me feel especially good.  The person who read the book and came to get his copy signed was from England.  Afterwards, I was glad I must have got my research correct because he mentioned the behavior of the English aristocracy in my book was very accurate.  Cool!

My wife and I are both fans as well as my writing steampunk, so we had fun hanging out as well.  We played two games, one was Time Renegades: Mission, which was new for her, but I had played the Time Renegades: Arena at Phoenix ComicCon.  You can find the game information here:

We also played Fortune and Glory, which was very fun and has you travel the globe as adventurers seeking lost treasures and fighting nazis, a zeppelin and monsters.  Both of the game masters were fun and did a good job.  You can find the game information here:

I had a very embarrassing moment.  As we were looking through the wares of the various vendors, we came across Ernie Hudson, who is famous of course as the fourth Ghostbuster.  I struck up a conversation with him and I think he was a bit bored as there were not that many people around at the time.  I don’t know why, but I asked if he was also on Designing Women, a show I have never watched, but somehow that dumb question left my lips with nary a thought.  Ernie Hudson rolled his eyes and informed me that was Meshach Taylor, a fellow actor that often got confused with him.  He said they had once taken a picture with each other and laughed about it.  I felt about one inch tall, made some awkward, thanks for talking to me small talk, and shrunk away.  Also at the event was actress Meg Foster, who my wife did not recognize, which made me laugh.  Later she saw some old screen shots of her in various roles and remembered her.  Both Meg and Ernie looked in great shape.

Thank you Stormcrow and all the other folks at the Dark Ones and DarkCon for inviting me to present.  I really appreciate it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Things You Think Exist – But They Don’t!

I was just channel surfing and saw my most hated cliche of all time – people sinking in quicksand.  How many times do people have to sink in quicksand for the world to step up in protest and say – Quicksand does NOT exist!  Not only is there no such thing as quicksand in nature, the show Mythbusters was unable to even manufacture such a substance.  Another one is the crime scene with a chalk mark outlining where the body was lying.  Again – never existed in history.  I have challenged people on both the quicksand and the chalk marks and they get angry.  But really, no one has ever given me an example of ANY police department outlining dead bodies in chalk.  They take photographs instead.  One last one, though I could go on  forever, is the movie binocular view.  When you look through the binoculars in a movie, you see two round circles connected like a figure 8.  In real life, you look through binoculars, and you see just like normal, only farther away.  Someone, who had maybe never used binoculars in their life, decided to put up that stupid figure 8 and black out the rest, and movie producers have copied it for all time.

I lied I guess, one more – Admiral Yamamoto never said, “I fear we have done nothing but awakened a sleeping giant from its slumber.”  This line was written for the movie Tora Tora Tora.  It has never been found in ANY of Yamamoto’s writings, notes, or heard by any of his colleagues.  And yet, now every Pearl Harbor film quotes him as saying, when they are really quoting some imaginative screen writer.  Sigh…


Filed under Humor and Observations

When You Feel Old…

I once saw a picture of Mother Teresa, it was in black and white and her face was covered in wrinkles.  The caption said, “How old would you think you are if you did not know how old you were?”  I used to think that people got older and became old people inside.  For the most part, that does not seem to be the case.  Most of my contemporaries and I are starting to have aches and pains, be slower, give up some sports and generally feel the wear and tear, and yet inside, we are very much the same.  It seems like we are in a time bubble where our shell ages but our core stays young.  I used to feel like I was 17 inside until I reached about 40.  Now that I am 48, I feel maybe 23.  I love to play video games, talk smack, play poker and basketball, chill with the friends, hang with the wife and the dogs.  Nothing seems to have changed.  Yet I look in the mirror and some old guy looks back at me with wrinkles and graying hair.

I think we all have this Dorian Grey thing going where we ignore the passage of time and still feel young until something reminds us, our own hidden portrait, of how old we are and how brief life can be.  One is talking to my son or daughter.  They are now 24 and 27 respectively.  How the heck am I old enough to have adult kids?  When did that happen?  I remember when I was growing up my parents listened to 50s music, and I liked it, but it sounded ancient.  I grew up listening to 80s music.  I know it is 30 years old now, but it still sounds fresh to me.  It must sound like old fogey music to kids today.  I am listening to parent music…and it used to be kid music…  I know of Rhianna, Adele, Lady Gaga, Usher, and so forth.  It’s not like I live in a cave, but my music still calls to me.

I listen to talk radio more than music.  I admit it.  I would rather read a book than read on a Kindle, though I have both.  I watch old movies that came out while I was younger, and everything looks so old, the buildings, the cars, the clothing.  I shout out at the screen – but I was alive then, and everything was modern back then.  What happened?  I remember thinking I would never see the year 2000, it was so far in the future.  Now it is 12 years in the past.  I watch old sci-fi movies that have robots taking over our space bases in 2004.  I guess they were wrong about that.

Last week I found out that the pain in my legs and hips is not from arthritis after all.  I have asceptic necrosis.  It is most likely caused by the steroids I was given for asthma earlier in life.  I meet with the surgeon in two days, but the only treatment I know of is hip replacment.  Everyone is telling me, hey it’s routine now, they do them all the time.  I would probably tell someone the same thing.  The problem is, I am 23 inside.  I don’t understand how I could possibly need a hip replacement.  Those are for old people aren’t they?  I am still in denial.  I have put off calling for the second and third opinions because it still surreal for me.  It seems like a lot of bone to be taken out and replaced with plastic and metal.

I once joked that when we are young and have to go to the hospital, we always say, “Wow, I sure am glad to get out of the hospital, glad I don’t have to go back.”  And…as we age, we go to the hospital and it is more like, “I wonder when I will have to go back…”  Aging kind of sucks all the way around, but the alternative – dying young – does not seem to have that much going for it either.  I will continue to be young at heart and try to ignore the fact that time flies by and my body is bearing nearly five decades of abuse now.  Hopefully, the surgery and recovery will go well, so I can be back to my self-delusions quickly.  🙂


Filed under Humor and Observations