Welcome to our web site. For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

01/25/18: Lately I've been listening to Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, and found that I'm liking it more than I expected to. I first heard about it via a mention on Mark Evanier's blog, which is also highly recommended by me. Mark wrote that he was scheduled to be on the podcast soon, so I thought I'd check it out. To be honest, I didn't recognize a lot of the names of the guests, but once they were on the show, I found that I knew them. Gilbert and his co-host Frank Santopadre have a great affection for character actors, in both movies, TV, and the stage, and while some guests were not instantly recognizable, the conversations are fascinating, because they inevitably include many of the big names in entertainment of the past 50 or 60 years. One name that came up was Harry Dean Stanton, and I believe that I had a hand in his popularity. Let me explain...
     Until he passed away last year, Stanton was one of the more popular character actors, rarely a star but always making an impact in the films he was in. His career went back to 1954, but I first noticed him as the doomed engineer Brett on the star ship Nostromo in the original Alien film. After that, I noticed him in Escape from New York and Private Benjamin and other, earlier films. In 1982, he had a small part in a goofy comedy called Young Doctors in Love, which tried to capitalize on the "spoof" genre after Airplane became a big hit. Before the movie was release, I found myself walking through Evergreen Mall when I was approached by a cute girl holding a clipboard. She asked if I had some time to talk about some movie advertising, and since I had some time to kill, and she was cute, I agreed. She showed me several images and asked me whether each would entice me into a movie theater to see the film. As I was studying the posters, I noticed Harry Dean Stanton's name listed in the fine print of some of them. I mentioned that I liked him, and she asked me who he was. I told her that he was a solid actor who deserved more recognition, and that him being in the film could possibly be a factor in my wanting to see it.
     Weeks later the movie was released, and I was surprised to see Stanton's name listed on all the posters. I even remember his name specifically mentioned in most of the promotional material. After that, it seemed to me that he was everywhere, starring in Christine, Repo Man, Paris, Texas, and the original Red Dawn over the next few years. Suddenly, it seemed that Hollywood discovered what a great actor he was, after almost thirty years in the business. In that fantasy world that I live in, I like to think that my mentioning him to that influential ad executive who stopped me in Evergreen Mall while I was drinking my Orange Julius was instrumental in his success.

12/29/17: I saw on the Internet today that Sue Grafton passed away. She was best known for her Kinsey Millhone mysteries, the titles of which all started with a letter. Stephie had picked a few of them up at the sorely-missed Brandeis Book Sale that accounted for much of our book collection. She was immediately a fan, and we've picked up every volume since. We even met Ms. Grafton twice, once at a book signing in Skokie (coincidentally minutes from where the Brandeis sale was held) for 'J' is for Judgement, and again in 2013 for the release of 'W' is for Wasted.
     The latter was an amazing experience. A long line snaked through Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville, to a table in the back where she stood and greeted her fans. She was not a young woman by this time, but she stood by that table and greeted everyone warmly, taking a few minutes to chat with each of her fans while signing their books. I told her that I had written a few books by that time, and she was very encouraging. She even posed for this very nice picture with Stephie.
     It's a little unfortunate that she passed away after the publication of her 25th Kinsey Millhone novel, so she wasn't able to complete the alphabet, but she left behind an impressive body of work, and a strong impression in me of how to interact with fans should I ever be fortunate enough to have someone wait in line to speak to me like we did with her.

12/08/17: I just found out today that Dr. Jerry Pournelle passed away back in September. I don't think I've read any of his fiction (since I don't read much science fiction) but his column was one of the high points of my Byte magazine subscription back in the '90s when we used to get all our tech news on paper. A few years after the magazine folded, I found that he took his writings to the web, and I followed him there for a while, until it seemed to me that he started to write more about political issues rather than technical, and as my politics didn't line up with his, I stopped reading. I'd think about him from time to time, like when I used one of his favorite phrases "the day was eaten by locusts" to describe a non-productive work day, and I would check back every so often and pick through the digs at President Obama and other things Democratic to find out what he was up to tech-wise. I realized today that I hadn't checked there in a while, and going to his site, I found that he had passed away, and I'm kind of sad about that.

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