The Amazon Fire Phone

FirephonebookHey, I wrote another book! This one, as you might suspect from the title, is all about the Amazon Fire Phone.

The phone didn't get rave reviews from the tech press, but I think it is a pretty nifty device (I may be biased). It has a bunch of neat features, the OS is pretty clear and easy to use, and it makes getting your Amazon content (books, movies, and music) very simple. Also, can I tell you how much I love browsing the Kindle book store in a native app? Because I do (you can't do that on the iPhone because Amazon won't give Apple the 30% that they charge for in app purchasing).

Anyway, buy my book if you have a Fire Phone. Or if you want a Fire Phone. Or if you want to support my writing career. Or if you're bored. You know, just buy the dang book!

Note: Some people will wonder why I wrote a book about the Fire when my every day phone is an iPhone (a 6 plus to be precise). I wrote about why I really can't switch from an iPhone before but it boils down to: unlimited data and iMessages.

U.S.S. Reliant

It is no secret that I'm a big Star Trek fan. I mean, I host a podcast devoted to Star Trek for goodness sake!

It follows that one of my favorite (if not the favorite) movies is Star Trek II: The Wraith of Khan. I can watch this movie over and over again.

One of the pivotal ships in the movie is the U.S.S. Reliant (which seems to have a B Team crew, as discussed in this episode of the Incomparable). Khan manages to takeover the ship rather easily and hijinks ensue.

The people at QMx have put together an amazing model (or as they're calling it "artisan replica") of the ship. Here are just a few pictures:




Of course such high levels of detail and high quality build construction translates to a $9,995 price tag. A little too rich for my blood (though honestly, I'd probably buy one if I were single. I don't think Marisa would agree that this is a good use of the money, and it isn't really).

Though if you have $10,000 you don't need and an unusual amount of like for me you now know what to get me for my birthday.

Staff Retreat

Staff retreat aftermath

I have an interesting (and fun) job. This year I was tasked with organizing our Staff Retreat. Brainstorming with some colleagues of mine we came up with a great idea: building model rockets.

It was lots of fun (though I must admit I forgot just how high those damn rockets go, and how sometimes they don't go up but rather go towards a large group of people).

I was busy attending to details of the event so I didn't remember to take any pictures of rockets! Here's some of the aftermath though.

New (to me) Books

I was on vacation, and so I bought some books. Well, I bought about 28 books or so. Hey, most of them were used (and the new ones were from independent bookstores, so that's cool.. right?).

10 of those books cost me $2. Marisa and I went into Bull Moose Music and saw a bunch of mystery bags filled with themed books. I had to pick up a sci-fi and Star Trek bag because I'm me!


The Star Trek bag had:


If you'd like to buy them for yourself here are some links to Amazon:

And here's the sci-fi haul (which included a bonus Star Trek novel!):


I've read a few of these (noted with asterisks) still, $1:

And here's a picture of all the books I bought in my travels. I'm not going to bother linking to all these books because I'm a lazy, lazy man.


Vermont and Maine

Over the last two weeks I've been on vacation (hurrah for working at a University!). Since Marisa had some book events scheduled in Vermont and Maine she suggested I come along, and a vacation was born!

Sadly, over those two weeks I also had to finish the draft of my latest book (details, details). However, it worked out well since while Marisa was out being famous I could write, write, write (also, thanks to my trusty laptop I could write and edit while we were driving).

Our first stop was the Ben and Jerry's Factory tour:



I like this motto:



The Flavor Graveyard is where late lamented flavors go to die.



The spoils of the tour! Honestly, the tour was fun but it lasts about 15 minutes and you don't see much. But they do give you a free sample.

Then it was off to Montpellier to visit the Vermont State House:


Ethan Allen, famed for his fine furniture.


Lincoln. Our tour was lead by a Vermont State representative. Who knew?



Every governor gets his portrait on the wall of the State House. When this one of Howard Dean was unveiled it was dubbed "L.L. Dean":

L.L. Dean

Back to the Bed and Breakfast which was right on the water:


Then we scoped out Brunswick, ME and visited an indie bookstore:


And Bull Moose where I bought two mystery packages of books (one marked Sci-Fi and the other marked Star Trek) and got 10 books for $2:


Returned to the Bed and Breakfast. This place was great, and we had lovely conversations at breakfast. Two old ladies who have been friends for over 50 years have vacationed together here for the last 12 years. Crazy!


Our dinner views:



Lobster dip:


I could have gotten a lobster roll here, or two full lobsters but I opted for the lazy lobster tails. They were great:


I couldn't resist:


The next morning included delicious donuts from Frosty's:


Then it was off to Portland. As we drove to our hotel we passed this place:


I thought to myself, I wouldn't want to eat there! But Yelp told me that Three Buoys had a great lobster roll so we went there for lunch. Yelp was not wrong:

We went to Eventide Oyster Company for a much more upscale dinner:

The lobster roll was fine, but this ice cream sandwich was really good:


When in Portland you're super close to L.L. Bean's flagship store which is gigantic and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We decided to check it out around 10pm:



I purchased both of these items.


I did not purchase this:

When in Portland you have to see a lighthouse. On our way to the lighthouse I had my first Tim Horton's doughnut. It was fine.

This is Fort Williams Park:









A great time was had by all, and I kind of want to move to a cove in Maine or anywhere in Vermont.