Tag: subscriptions

Scientific American and American Express

The May 2007 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN was waiting for me when I got home this evening and it looks like a particularly juicy one with articles on space science, medicine, energy, paleontology, information science, neuroscience and physics. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

Also in the mail was an application for a Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card. I have only one credit card that I use and I’ve had it forever, my United Mileage Plus Visa. I have never had an American Express Card, however, and some of the Starwood benefits it comes with are particularly useful, considering the fact I will be staying at three separate Starwood properties while on vacation in Europe this summer. So I think I’m going to sign up for it.

Scientific American and American Express: it was a patriotic day for the mails.

Mail call

Some interesting mail today. I got two of the books I ordered, including Barry Malzberg’s Breakfast in the Ruins, which turns out to be The Engines of the Night, expanded to twice it’s original length. That’s fine since, although I’ve read Engines of the Night twice before, it is one of those rare books which receives 5-stars from me. I look forward to reading what has been added.

I got my temporary AARP card in the mail today and that sounds like a joke, but unless someone put my name in for me, it is no joke. The accompanying letter indicated that I am eligible to join the AARP and all I have to do is mail in a check for $25. Granted I have reached mid-life. But I have by no means retired! I’ll send them $25 once I retire. (Of course, by then, I’ll need to send in $250, what with inflation.)

I received the June issue of ASIMOV’S today as well.

There was an email from my tax preparer with several questions she needs answers to in order to complete my returns. For instance, while I had $650 in charitable donations last year, I listed none this year. Did I forget to include them? The truth is, no. I’m embarrassed to say that my donations this year fell far short of my goal. Mostly out of laziness too. I donated small sums here and there, but nothing worth reporting. I feel guilty about having to respond in the negative to this. My feeling is that I should be donating more and more each year. Over time, I’d like to be donating about 10% of my income to charity, but I took a step backwards in 2006 and will work to correct it this year. (What’s worse, my income went up, and I bought lots of stuff that wastes my time and contributes little else to my life–the money would have been much better spend on various charities.)

The other question was about any writing expenses I incurred in 2006. I feel that now that I have sold a story, I can legitimately write off some of my writing expenses as business expenses, but to be honest, those expenses are minimal. There is the cost of paper, which I would purchase even if I didn’t write. And there is postage which, while it adds up, still does not seem like it’s a sum worth reporting. Other than that, I can think of any other writing expenses.

Anyway, I’ll send her my answers tomorrow and will hopefully have my taxes completed soon so that I can mail out my payment to Uncle Sam.

I should have been in bed almost an hour ago. I’m finishing up the chapter that I am reading in In Memory Yet Green (through 75 pages) and then it’s lights-out!

Wrap up

Another long day. When I got home, I had the latest issue of mental_floss in the mail. I also received the April/May 2007 issue of ASIMOV’S which also happens to be the 30th anniversary issue! There is a great retrospective editorial with snippets of editorials from all the Asimov’s editors, including Isaac Asimov’s first editorial for the magazine. And of retrospective by Robert Silverberg in his “Reflections” column. There are a couple of novellas, a novelette, and nine short stories, which I think is terrific!

I’m off to bed. I’ve got to be up at 4:30 for the gym, and I have a busy day tomorrow. I’m already looking forward to happy hour after work.


I think I’ll be going into work tomorrow. I participated in two meetings from home today and my alarm is set for 4:30 AM. It will also be the first time since Tuesday that I will get to the gym.

I got a call from Trevor tonight. I hadn’t talked to him in a while and I was really glad he called and we had a little time to catch up. I could hear thepopeswife say hello in the background and it was nice to hear from her as well.

I’m a little more than halfway through The Winds of Change and Other Stories. I’m anxious to finish up the story that I started writing earlier today, “4005 B.C” and if I am lucky, I will finish it up in time to get it in the mail next week.

I watched Smallville this evening (another good episode). And for the first time, I used the DVR in my bedroom to record The Office (which is on at the same time as Smallville) and I just finished watching that too.

I received my last issue of THE NEW YORKER in the mail today. I didn’t renew my subscription because I already have more than I can possibly read and that magazine was one that was going completely unread, except by Dad who would read the cartoons when he came out for ball games during the summer. I also received a refund check from Verizon in the amount of $36. I have to mail that into the bank at some point.

Post script

I received the March 2007 issue of ASIMOV’S in the mail today and Robert Silverberg had a nice memorial essay to Jack Williamson.

Just before heading off to bed, I turned on the TV because TiVo was recording something and I was curious what it was. It was Jay Leno. I don’t watch Jay or Dave, except in very rare circumstances. But I’m glad TiVo recorded it because Jay’s guest was one person who will always get me to tune in, Don Rickles. He is one of the funniest men I have ever seen in my life and I just spent about 20 minutes laughing so hard my sides hurt. That’s a good way to wrap up the evening.

Good magazine day!

I got home from work today to find four magazines waiting for me: THE NEW YORKER, the Jan-Feb 2007 issue of mental_floss, the February 2007 issue of FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, and the February 2007 issue of ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION.

This is one of my last issues of THE NEW YORKER. I like the magazine but I canceled my subscription because I never have time to read it. It literally collects dust. The other magazines are staples. ASIMOV’S looks particularly good this month with a lead novella by Kris Rusch, “Recovering Apollo 8”. And F&SF has the first of a 2-part serial. Maybe serials are making a comeback. It seems like I’ve been seeing more of them lately. mental_floss is always packed with tasty information, and of course, there is Ken Jennings’ “Six Degrees” column.

I love these magazines, but in a way it is a burden. I have too much to read, especially now that I have officially started to go back and read all of my SCIENCE FICTION AGE magazines, cover-to-cover. More on this later.


I got he January issues of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN and F&SF in the mail today and both look like good issues. F&SF has stories by Bruce Sterling, Neil Gaiman, and David Gerrold. SCIAM’s cover story is “A Robot in Every Home” by Bill Gates (yes, that Bill Gates. There is also an article called “What Is a Planet?” which discusses the new definition of “planet” that has dethroned Pluto (mabfan might be interested in this one if he hasn’t already seen it).

Getting back on the wagon

I think my nadir of laziness has passed this weekend, as I suspected it might. I am turning things around. While Sunday’s are my day to just veg, I have spent this morning planning how to get back on the exercise wagon and stay there. I have set a personal goal for myself, and I’ve started to plan out my daily routine in great detail. This is something that helped me turn things around back in college, where my first 2 years I performed mediocre, and my last 2 years, I got nearly straight A’s while working almost full-time. I haven’t gone back to this detailed type of planning in 12 years, but maybe it’s time now. I will post the details in a future post, as soon as I have them more or less finalized. My goal is to be in the best possible physical condition I could be in (and the best condition I’ve been in in my life) by July 1, 2007. This gives me roughly 7 months. I have an idea of how I want to look and how I want to feel. So I’ll go from there.

I have a lot of errands to run today. I want to get some new gym shoes so I don’t always have to lug an extra bag of stuff to the gym with me–I can leave the spare shoes at work. I need a new gym bag as well, since mine is starting to fall apart. I need new shoe laces for my regular shoes. I’ve got grocery shopping to do. For the gym shoes I’m going to DSW and that’s in Silver Spring, so I figured that while I am there, I might as well catch Deja Vu. I got a ticket for the 12:30 showing, and I can take care of just about all of the rest of my errands on the way back home.

In other news, I finally canceled my subscription to THE NEW YORKER yesterday. My last issue will be in late January. It was tough to do, as I have been receiving the magazine for several years, but in these last months, they have been piling up unread and although I tell myself I’ll get to them, I never do. There are other magazines that are higher priority for me and I am having trouble keeping up with those.

I noticed on my most recent Visa bill that the APR went up once again. I called VIsa and asked what they could do about lowering it so that it was more competitive with everyone else. They lowered it back into a competitive range right there on the phone. I guess if you don’t stay on top of these things and pay attention, you get nailed.

I’m probably one of the only people out there actually looking forward to Rocky Balboa, which comes out later this month. Yesterday, I went out to buy season 4 of Lois & Clark and also picked up the Rocky anthology. I watched the first two movies last night.

I went to cancel my Verizon phone and DSL service, now that my cable and internet service is working well. Turns out Verizon is closed on the weekends and I have to wait until tomorrow to do this.

And if all of that isn’t exciting enough, tonight is trash night, here in Riverdale, Maryland!

Loose ends

Just a few miscellaneous items before I head off to bed.

I’m up late because I got sucked into watching the Barbara Walters special “30 mistakes in 30 years”. The second part is on tomorrow night, but I’m TiVoing it so I don’t have to stay up for it. I did catch Smallville, which was great, and Gray’s Anatomy, which was eh.

I started an amusing email thread at work today by referring to that song from Sesame Street: “There’s a Hole In the Bucket.” I’m told that after my email, people in our Pittsburgh office were singing the song in the hallways.

I worked out with Bernard this afternoon, but I’m too tired to put the info on the journal. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

I got the December 2006 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today. The cover had come off, which annoys me. I need to find time to read it, which also annoys me.

Speaking of reading, I’m at one of those low points where I simply don’t know what to read. I read nearly 400,000 words of Lunar Prospector before stalling. I just spent 30 minutes skimming the 1,070 books on my shelves and came up empty-handed, which is always a bad sign. However…

William Gibson has finished writing his new novel, Spook Country. I saw something that said it was slated for an August 2007 publication. Clearly, I’ll have to find something to read in the meantime.

I listened to Bing Crosby most of the day today, and will probably do so again tomorrow. A couple times a year I get into this Bing Crosby kind of mood where I wish I had been born in the 1920s instead of the 1970s. (I could have lived through the Golden Years of Bing Crosby and the Golden Age of science fiction!)

I head to Seattle one week from today to spend Thanksgiving at Doug and Rachel’s house.

It’s Lisa’s birthday tomorrow. I chatted via IM with Denisse this evening. She wanted to ask if I could record Gray’s Anatomy for AJ. I did and told her he could come by this weekend to watch it if he wanted. Denisse is now in Switzerland so while it was 6 PM here when I was chatting with her, it was midnight there. I think that represents the most number of time zones I have crossed in an instant message chat.

I have a long list of things that need to get done and no idea where to get started. The list is in my head right now and perhaps the best way to get started is to get the list from my head on to paper. But that’s just another thing on the list to do.

And I’m almost ready to start writing a new story.

mental_floss and bluish hues

Ever since I subscribed to mental_floss magazine last month, I’ve been anxiously awaiting my first copy. But I haven’t received anything, even though my account status indicates that I should have. So this morning, I reported the problem and shortly thereafter, got a response from one of their people saying that the Nov-Dec 2006 issue was just sent out, but that I should have gotten the Sep-Oct issue already. I haven’t and I let her know. She was very helpful and said she’d sent another one out right away. This evening, when I arrived home, the Nov-Dec 2006 issue was here waiting for me. Skimming it’s contents and looking at it’s format, I know it’s going to be a magazine I’m going to enjoy. For one thing, there is a regular column by Ken Jennings. This month also has a feature on Gary Larson, creator of The Far Side. I can’t wait to dig in!

In a classic example of You Should Know Better Than That, I threw in some white sox with my gym shorts and shirt when I washed them last night. I never do this and always wash whites separately, but this time, I figured I’d save some time and kill two birds with one stone. The socks came out of the washing machine with a slight bluish hue to them–the same bluish hue that, I imagine, is supposed to be caused by taking Viagra. Now I’ve got to wash them all over again, by themselves, with bleach in order get things back to normal. This is why I don’t believe in shortcuts.

I wasn’t able to get much reading done today. I’m through 346 pages of Lunar Prospector and I’m totally into it. It’s just that I had a busy day today and I didn’t get home this evening until just before 8 PM (just in time to see Smallville, which was great). But now I’m going to shower and head off to bed, and I should have a few spare minutes to read before dozing off.

The question is what do I read: Lunar Prospector or mental_floss?

December 2006 Asimov’s

When I got home from work this evening, I saw a science fiction magazine in my pile of mail and got excited because I thought perhaps it was the December 2006 ANALOG. I am very anxious to read Part III of Robert J. Sawyers, “Rollback”. It turned out to be the December 2006 ASIMOV’S. It’s not that I am disappointed in the magazine, but I was really hoping it was ANALOG!

A new! Carl Sagan book!?

I receieved the October 2006 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today and while skimming through it, I came across a short review for a new book by Carl Sagan (who died nearly 10 years ago). Edited by his widow, Ann Druyan, the name of the book is The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.

I loved every Sagan book I ever read, but especially relished his last two books, which debunked a lot of nonsense and were beacons of reason in an often irrational world. The new book comes out on November 2, according to Amazon.com, and I look forward to reading it.

Incidentally, the cover story of this month’s SCIAM is on the mystery of supernovae, and I look forward to reading it sometime this weekend, between the Yankee/Red Sox games.