On the outside they may be masters of business or politics. But here, they are only courtiers vying for her favors.
       She doesn’t care about talent, persistence or personalities. Her only interest; those who were interested in her, self-absorbed to the point where other people were either accessories, or irrelevant.
       The source of her power? Control of the clipboard and the microphone.
       “Excuse me?” one of the plebeians asks, “I signed the list thirty minutes ago and I’m sure the last three singers signed up after me.”
       “You don’t understand”, she condescends to explain, “we have a system here…”

©opyleft 2004 Tone Milazzo

Dedicated to the woman who runs Karaoke at The Ould Sod.

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Junior Software EngineerEntitech is looking for someone with 5+ years of experience and dual PhD’s in Computer Science and EE.
Qualified candidates should not apply, this position has been outsource to India for $11,000 a year providing the CEO with a large enough bonus to buy himself another boat.


Software Engineer IWe are building a team to aid in the initial release of Selident2004. Qualified candidates will possess at least ten years of experience with Selident2004.


Computer ProgrammerRequires fifteen years of experience with sentient computers that won’t be invented until the 28th century. Might consider candidates who are experienced with technology salvaged from alien spacecraft if sufficiently advanced.
Required technologies: Indistinguishable from Magic. Full of Stars.
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Who needs girls?

and I conducted a 12 hour Xbox marathon on Saturday, including our first experience with Halo.

Halo can be played in head-to-head deathmatchs. Two men enter, one man leaves. The other man is a red stain on the floor.
I’m a little too accurate with the grenades for Dan’s taste so we stuck to story mode, where we team up to fight off an alien race called the “Covenant”.
At one point in the second chapter Command provided us with a Warthog all-terrain-vehicle.
But they didn’t provide us with driving lessons. It’s a good thing the Warthog doesn’t take damage from running into the scenery. Sometimes it seemed like the driver was a blind man who had to feel his way around the valley with the bumper.
As usual, Dan drove and I manned the 50 caliber machine gun. Just like real life. When Dan can’t tailgate he gets a little confused, at one point we careened past two alien soldiers and into a creek, under a waterfall and jammed behind a couple of rocks.
Dan tried to get the Warthog unstuck while the aliens up on the bank pelted us with plasma beams, taunted us and otherwise reminded us that they were the superior race. And I couldn’t raise the 50 cal high enough to return fire.
Eventually, Dan’s maneuvering somehow flipped the Warthog and we spilled out of the vehicle. I used this opportunity to take out the aliens with a couple of grenades while Dan set to righting the Warthog, crushing me in the process.
“Hey, buddy! I think the Warthog is leaking oil. Why don’t you take a closer look at the undercarriage?”
On another occasion, I had jumped out of the Warthog to investigate some rocks. As I was returning to the vehicle Dan asked aloud, “I wonder if I can run you over?” This preceded a short but decisive chase that answered Dan’s question in the affirmative.
Later, I managed to lose the Warthog for good, by driving it off a cliff. After dying under it’s wheels twice, I consider this self-defense.

Halo’s a fun game and the Xbox rocks. But after 12 hours, I’m ready to go outside or something…

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I'ma get mine.

Tone: I can't commit to anything until I get a job. I mean, I might wind up on the night shift at Kinko's or something.
Dan:  Oh come on. Your sense of entitlement wouldn't allow you to work that late...

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I have an account on MySpace, which is like Friendster, LiveJournal, and Hot or Not all rolled into one. I use MySpace like I use Friendster, to promote tonemilazzo.com and try and connect with other comic book hopefuls.
A few weeks ago I had someone named “Christine” request to be my friend on MySpace. I don’t take the word “friend” lightly so I didn’t think that someone who’d never met me would want to friend my account so I just assumed that it was a Christine that I knew in college. It seems that some people out there throw the word friend around with abandon.
This put me in the awkward position of being friended with a 20yr old girl from the east coast with whom I had nothing in common and had nothing to say except that my picture weirded her out.
She was dull. And I didn’t know how to de-friend her without seeming rude. I have a harder time being rude to stranger than I do being rude to friends. On a related note, fuck you Dan.
The weeks passed by and eventually one of her inane postings was a petition to get Bonsai Kitten taken down. Being the enemy of ignorance that I am I messaged Christine and told her “I hope you realize that Bonsai Kitten is satire and they’re not really growing cats in jars.”
Her response, “i hope you realize you are a sick fuck that is no longer on my friend list….. kitty torturer!!!!! “
Problem solved.
For once, my innate ability to alienate women with a trivial application of reason has worked to my advantage.

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I am the greatest!

Tone: ...and you know how I hold a grudge.
Dan: You are the Muhammad Ali of holding a grudge.
    [does impression of Muhammad Ali]
    You cause me trouble
    you cause me strife
    I'll hold it against you
    for the rest of your life!

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“…my standard advice to people who want to write fantasy: Stop reading fantasy” – Michael Moorcock.

I’m not about to give up comics but it is a fact; comics tend to be hackneyed and creatively inbred. Fanboys writing stories for fanboys.

So I’ve been reading some of the superlative novels of the last fifty years. Books I wouldn’t normally read since they’re not about monsters, spaceships or magic. Here’s what I’ve read so far and the empirical knowledge gained.

Toni Morrison’s Beloved
I wanted to start with a book that is as far from a sci-fi as possible, the flagship of the Oprah Book Club.
Holy Fucking Shit this book intense! Turns out, it’s not that different from what I usually read. This book shows what a damaging experience American slavery was. Most of the characters in this book were driven insane by the experience. It shows that the African-American background is different then other ethnic groups. I have a number of black characters in Seize Him! and a separate novel that’s stewing in the back of my mind. I need to keep Beloved in mind when developing their personalities.

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22
My favorite so far. I love Heller’s style. He refers to &#147the dead man in Yossarian’s tent&#148 every couple of chapters but doesn’t explain who the dead man is, how he died and what he’s doing in Yossarian’s tent until the book is almost over. It’s like the self-referential humor of The Simpsons, except backwards.
I’ll be reading more Heller.

John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces
I didn’t find this novel as funny as everyone else told me it’d be. Probably because I kept looking for signs of the author’s pending suicide in the narrative and prose.
I don’t think that I learned anything about writing from this book, but it did remind me that you can write a truly great book, but it won’t matter if you don’t get it to market.

Julies Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The only science fiction novel on this list and the dullest book I’ve read in a long time. (I’m also reading the books that inspired The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) It’s about traveling around under the world’s oceans looking at fish and eating them. Yeah, that’s exciting.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake
This one was weird. The original Timequake was giving Vonnegut trouble. He just couldn’t make it work. So he kept the best parts and interlaced them with stories from his life.
This alternation between life and fiction almost puts you in the space Vonnegut was in while he was writing the original Timequake.
I learned that creativity doesn’t have to end in one’s late forties, and that you don’t have to be Jewish to be quippy.

At Xanadu in 2001, I asked Kilgore Trout for his ballpark opinion of John Wilkes Booth. He said Booth's performance in Ford's Theater in Washington D.C., on the night of Good Friday, April 14th, 1865, when he shot Lincoln and then jumped from a theater box to the stage, breaking his leg, was “the sort of thing which is bound to happen whenever an actor creates his own material.”

I’m about to read an Ian Flemming collection. I think it’ll be an good influence for Seize Him! and I read in the Aleister Crowley biography Do What Thou Wilt that Flemming knew Crowley during WWII and based the bad guy in Casino Royale off of him. Then I’ll move on to other authors with styles that I think I’ll like; Dorothy Parker, Philip K Dick and Ernest Hemingway.

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I have a utility that tells me some basic information about who is visiting tonemilazzo.com. Operating systems, web browsers, most popular pages, country codes (21 page hits from the Netherlands!), etc.
One of my favorites is Search Keyphrases. This tells me what people put into their search engine to find my site. These are some of the top phrases that bring people to tonemilazzo.com.

  • crimes in the 1300s
  • jared lindenberg (At number two!?!)
  • darkhold chthon
  • church bishop during plague
  • milazzo job (yeah, I’ve been searching for that one too)
  • tone milazzo
  • the plague and church involvement
  • dante inferno reformation 1300s
  • how the church handled the plague europe
  • infernal signs
  • bar (How badly was this guy looking for a ‘bar’?)
  • gurps cabal jesuits
  • 7th comm okinawa japan
  • plague and the church
  • crusade wars between rival religious groups
  • religious wars in the 1700s
  • execution and plague
  • it’s dot com
  • horned god dianus
  • malleas maleficarum
  • denying religion through black plague

Most of these are from the 7000 word proposal for GURPS Black Magic, which explains why I’m so popular in the Netherlands…

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The flu…

…I don’t recommend it.

At least the symptoms this year were fairly easy to live with. No coughing, no sore throat (mostly, I feel like I have one on the way) and only a little vomiting (that peach yogurt never had a chance…)

I was feeling better most of today (day 11) but I feel myself coming down again and I think I should head home for some more rest.

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      “You’re breaking up with me?”
      “It’s Game Theory, Laura. If we stay together while you’re gone that’s one point. But, if one of us finds somebody else then there is betrayal and pain. No points.
      “But, if we break up now and one of us hooks up, we can still be friends. Half point. And maybe get back together when you return. One point.
      “The average value of staying together is point five, while the average value of splitting up is point seven five.
      “See? This is the better strategy.”
      “But I’m only going away for a month, you idiot.”

©opyleft 2003 Tone Milazzo
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