Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A little Dickens is a great place to go to sharpen your financial acumen

Illustration for Nicholas Nickleby by Hablot Browne
With the holiday season almost upon us, I can't help but try to unite my two loves: writing and making money. So to bring these two worlds together in an article, I've decided to enlist the aid of Charles Dickens.

Now, I don't know much about Charles Dickens' personal life, but from having read several of his stories, the man must have been the equivalent of a C.P.A. because he understood the integral relation between a person and their money. To elaborate, lets look at how this famous writer used money to wreak havoc in the lives of characters. In Great Expectations, Dickens delivers a story where Pip receives a windfall from a mysterious benefactor who turns out to be a criminal. To contrast this with Nicholas Nickleby, the title character's troubles begin after his father loses his life savings in a bad investment (Bernie Madoff anyone?)

Now a question for you Dickens fans out there: have you ever wondered how often the plots in his written works turn on making bad financial decisions? How many of us wanted to save Pip from squandering his money? And poor Nickleby and his family could have been spared financial doom with just a little diversification, but that was probably an ugly word back then, right? Dickens is where many of us can get our first experience with the "Swindling Financier" character, and it would behoove us as critical readers to pay close attention because these "swindling financiers" are real people and they want nothing but to separate you from your hard-earned money. I can't help but think maybe a few people could have been spared financial ruin at the hands of Madoff if they'd just bothered to read a little Dickens.

Now, you may not agree with me (and that's fine) but I think money tends to dissolve concerns about a person's background and overall character. I'm not sure why this is, but I've just noticed it a lot in my life. Maybe the illusion of having money and wealth and not being a stinking poor person breeds "trust." And Dickens warns time and time again against this kind of thing: never ever judge a person by their appearance or by the things that they own.

And of course, any conversation about Dickens that centers around his view of money would not be complete without touching on Ebeneezer Scrooge. A Christmas Carol is the ultimate story that shows you a vast difference between "saving" and "hoarding." As many of you know (perhaps with first-hand experience) hoarding is dysfunctional and unhealthy. I wonder if they even had a DSM in Dickens' day. If they did, they could have used his thoughts on "hoarding" and put it in there as a  mental illness so that others who have this disorder could get help in order to pursue more productive lives.

In short, a little Dickens is a great place to go to sharpen your financial acumen, and that's all I've got to say about that. Have you noticed any nuggets of financial wisdom tucked away in the fiction you read? If so, please share in the comments.


I'm going to take a short blogging break. May you all have a great Thanksgiving, and I'll see you in December for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Gobble Gobble and all that :).

Monday, November 25, 2013

When the BBC decides to play Bill & Ted with three Doctors you're in for some campy fun

The 3-D oil painting of Gallifrey was really cool. Steven Moffatt has to be
insane to come up with this stuff.
I've decided that when the BBC decides to play Bill & Ted with three Doctors from different timelines, you're in for some campy fun. As a reminder, for those who have not seen Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in some time (pun intended), you may recall that they used time travel by leaving things that they needed (and telling themselves that) so that they could find it. Example: "In the future, I'll go back in the past and leave the keys over here behind this bush so I can find them right now. And look! Here they are!"

Well in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, we got some of that and I liked it. The first happened when they were breaking out of the prison in the Tower of London, and the second occasion happened near the end, when they used time to start a calculation that would take centuries in order to remove Gallifrey from space so that the Daleks would annihilate each other. Clever and very cool.
I guess the huge "chip" on the Doctor's shoulders is now gone, because
he never started a holocaust. All's well that ends well, I suppose. Next
season has got to be all about finding Gallifrey though: an entire lost planet
of Time Lords just sounds really cool. Maybe that's how they intend to address
The Doctor's regeneration issue.
So the Day of the Doctor by all accounts was a resounding worldwide success. Simultaneously broadcast in 94 countries and screened by millions of Whovians, it was a pretty epic event that lived up to all of its hype. I'm glad I participated, even if the pre-show was kind of lame.

It does leave me with some questions though. You Whovians out there know that "The Day of the Doctor" addressed the decision made by the Doctor to destroy the planet Gallifrey (wiping out his own people in the process) because the Daleks had to be stopped. Now that this episode is over, and those events are changed, is the Doctor different now? I mean he'd have to be, right? For example, being responsible for a holocaust gave The Doctor an added depth that should be missing now that the holocaust didn't technically happen.

The painting of Gallifrey though was really cool, and I wish I had that to hang in my house.

So, did any of you watch "The Day of the Doctor?" And if so, what did you think of it?

Friday, November 22, 2013

This week's American Horror Story brings up an idea that I find disturbing and wonder if it's true

Kathy Bates joined the cast of American Horror Story this season, and she's playing Madame LaLaurie, an actual woman from New Orleans history who did horrible things to her slaves. Transformed into an immortal through the magic of voodoo queen Marie LaVeau, Madame LaLaurie is a pretty despicable person. She's murdered babies for their blood to make a poultice to keep her young, mutilated people, and just in general expressed a lot of delight while others around her suffered.
Delphine LaLaurie and Queenie (in the back). Queenie's witch power
is to be a living voodoo doll. Basically anything she does to
herself can be inflicted on another person.
So in Wednesday night's episode, she's cutting some sandwich meat in the role of "maid" some 200 years removed from the actual time period that birthed her, and explains to Queenie (played by black actress Gabourey Sidibe) and states that she's trying to be good. She says, "I'm learning. That was a different time. I'm learning to be good from people like you."

Now, this episode had A LOT of things in it. We had our first undead threesome, we had one of the best "I'm a millennial and people assume we are all about entitlement and narcissism" speeches ever, and we saw that Marie LaVeau has a throne of alligators that outdoes Katy Perry's throne in the music video "Roar" (If you haven't watched "Roar" you should because it's full of awesome!) But the one thing that stuck in my mind was this line from Madame LaLaurie.
Marie LaVeau 1 Katy 0
Is she saying that "good" can actually be taught? If that's so, can "evil" actually be taught?

Guys, maybe I've grown up in a bubble, but I kind of believe that true evil just exists, and you don't have to be taught that. It just happens and those of us that aren't evil are left to pick up the pieces. The same way with good. If you are truly a "good" person, it just happens. There's not a cruel bone in your body. You feel compassion for others and you follow a moral compass that unabashedly points true. Someone that's "good" is the kind of person that would give someone the shirt off their back and make do without one. That's what "good" is.

So I guess I'm soliciting some opinions from you all on this. Can "good" actually be taught? Can "evil" actually be taught? Now just to be clear, I'm not talking about lawful or illegal behavior. I'm not talking about a person doing what's right because they make a choice based off of repercussions that might happen if they don't do what's right. I'm talking about actual goodness that goes down through all the layers and into the very center of who we are. Is that something that can be taught? Or is it something like blue eyes...you either have it or you don't.

I suppose that "teaching" is in line with this season's American Horror Story. After all, it takes place in a witch's school, and class is now in session.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Do Time Lords have control over their physical aging? Watch this 50th anniversary prequel and ponder it with me.

Below is a Doctor Who 50th anniversary prequel that confirms a secret of the Doctor's long-lived life. But after watching it, be ready to answer a question aimed at the serious Who fan.

Here it is: In the clip below, McGann clearly regenerates into a visually younger Hurt and we know he ages into angry old Hurt if you've followed the series. So, do Time Lords have control over their physical aging? Recall that Matt Smith's doctor took a long hiatus between the Ponds and meeting Clara but hadn't aged a day.

Yet for young Hurt to age to old Hurt that we're going to see in this weekend's Day of the Doctor, has a significant amount of time passed or did he just age himself into an old man? Seriously, this is the most important question you'll be asked this week.

If you do decide to take a stab at an answer, please provide supporting evidence.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sometimes the world's beauty is truly stunning.

Below is a picture of Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park. At a certain time of the year, it catches the sun just right and lights up like it's on fire.
Here's what it looks like to live in Dubai on a foggy morning.
Below is a picture of the Beijing Airport by night. It looks like something out of a sci-fi novel.
Below is a highway in Japan surrounded by 10 meters of snow.
Here is an aerial view of the undersea tunnel linking Sweden with Denmark.
Wonder what a lightning storm must be like over the Grand Canyon?
A table and chairs for a couple of giants. It's easily the coolest shelter
for horses I've ever seen and very artistic.
Below is a picture of a pathway in Ireland that lines up with the stars
once a year. Kind of wonderful.
The Rosa Moss Bridges in Ireland
Belgium's hanging restaurant.
A spiral cloud over the Himalayas.
A view of Infinite Cave in Vietnam.
And last but not least, a fireman giving a very thirsty koala a drink during
the Australian fire season.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Randomly I ask how does an egg get its shell? The answer is kind of surprising.

Diagram of the egg factory that is a chicken.
So the other day, I was standing at the stove making scrambled eggs when I wondered, how does a chicken get its shell? It seemed odd to me that a chicken could lay one of these large things every single day and that it could come out in its own package. So I asked Google and found a video that explains it. But here are some facts I also discovered about hens that I find kind of cool.

1) A hen's ovary contains all of the ova it will ever have when its hatched.
2) The ovary begins to convert ova to egg yolks when she is mature.
3) You need the right lighting conditions to get hormones to stimulate ova to develop into yolks.
4) Yolks are released from the ovary into the oviduct when they reach the right size and travel down the oviduct to acquire their whites, membranes, color, and shell.

Anyway, below is a short video that explains how the actual shell takes shape. I thought I'd share it in case any of you out there also wondered how an egg got its shell. If you are one of these curious people, watch and learn. :) It's actually pretty interesting.

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, November 18, 2013

47 Ronin is going to be everything that Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures wanted to be.

47 Ronin is the movie that brings everything in this book to life on the screen.
As all of you know, I'm a total nerd. I've been looking forward to the Desolation of Smaug just like every other guy in the world. But the more and more I see of 47 Ronin, the more I'm convinced that this is probably going to be the best fantasy movie of the year. And that's a tall order when the other fantasy movie is one that has a magical talking dragon and a plethora of wizards, elves, and dwarves.

This Christmas' 47 Ronin is what is called in Japan, a chūshingura. It's got the same story of 47 leaderless samurai and their quest for revenge after their master is murdered, but it is set in a fantastical world that has ki-rin, wizards, dragons, trolls, and even tengu.
Pirate Island. Click to Embiggen
It is often said of great projects that "the devil is in the details." 47 Ronin honors this by making every single detail count, and that's why I think it's going to be a mind-blowing motion picture. In the Lord of the Rings boxed set, I remember watching several of the dvd extras and sitting flabbergasted at the production values. For example, they made miles and miles of chain mail, crafted high-quality unique weapons, and spent hours fussing over costumes and language. The same can be said of 47 Ronin.
Click to Embiggen
According to those who have seen clips of this film, everything is stunning. When the lord of the samurai dies, there are so many cherry blossoms that every single gust of wind floats a flower across the screen. The main star of the film, Keanu Reeves, actually learned Japanese so that he could be more convincing in the role. Everyone gets costumes down to the guy that stands in the background with no speaking part. Even dogs that aren't important to the film have costumes! Pastoral shots contain supernatural tidbits: giant statues are carved into the country's horizons, a character doesn't live in a castle but in a fortress on the top of a snowy mountain, and the pirate ship island is an entire island of pirate ships all strung together to make a floating city on the ocean. Nothing is understated and even the tiniest of details matters. There's a scene with handmaidens wearing a cream kimono with an important tree on the back. If they all stand together, they are actually a Japanese screen with the tree spanning complete through each and every one. In other words, each of the girls has a piece of the tree.

In the clip below, a witch draws a man's hatred out of his body and turns it into a living spider. It's really interesting and gives you a sense of how strange and magical this movie is going to be. I think 47 Ronin is going to be everything that Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures wanted to be.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Will Jean-Claude Van Damme forever be known for his incredible splits? Yep

The question for this weekend, people, is will Jean-Claude Van Damme forever be known for his incredible splits? The short answer is ABSOLUTELY. This commercial by Volvo that reportedly only took one take is stunning. I grew up watching this guy kick other guys around the screen. But the movie was never quite finished unless you saw him do the splits at least once. I've missed you Jean-Claude; you're the man. Below is the complete commercial so that you can view it for yourself. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Flash and Nightwing are both coming to Arrow and that makes me excited

I am super excited that actor Grant Gustin is playing The Flash on this season's
Arrow. However, even more exciting is the fact that he's getting his own series.
The Flash totally deserves a series to make up for that awful one about twenty
years ago (yes it still haunts my dreams). Oh and he's Barry Allen. I like Barry
so that's a great choice. Wally West was always a little "meh" to me.
Marvel may be the undisputed ruler of the silver screen, but DC is really making a strong showing on the CW, and I've gotta say it's pretty cool. Sure, one could argue that DC's properties "The Dark Knight" and "Superman" are always money makers. But outside of those properties, I really can't think of any that are a success. In comparison, Marvel has Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, the Avengers, and will probably add Dr. Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy to that very soon. What does DC have? Ben Affleck playing yet another version of Batman only this time he gets to beat up on Superman. I'll go and see it, but I don't expect it to be spectacular in the same way that last year's The Avengers managed to be.

In contrast, however, Marvel has no showing on mainstream television that really grabs my attention. I've been watching Agents of Shield dutifully on Tuesday, but to be honest, I've almost fallen asleep twice during that show. I think I expected it to be more exciting, and it just has failed to live up to my perhaps "unrealistic expectations."

I suppose that the biggest surprise of all has been how much I love Arrow. I mean...I REALLY LOVE ARROW. I look forward to it every Wednesday, because the first season just blew me away. I never thought Oliver Queen could be so interesting. In Smallville he was some decent eye-candy and kind of/sort of was made interesting because of his association with random guests that showed up that happened to have a tie to the Justice League.

Since that time, the CW has reinvented Arrow as more than just a Batman clone. For one, he doesn't have nearly the extent of emotional baggage that Batman has. Ollie doesn't brood. He's a man of action and I love the flashbacks to his time on the island that became the crucible where all of his combat and survival skills were forged. Plus as Sarah Falen pointed out in a private conversation with me, it's cool when the hero gets beat up and Ollie gets smacked around a lot.
Nightwing is Robin all grown up. 
To add to this mix is a fully dynamic world that isn't afraid to introduce any and all elements of the DC Comics universe that make it super awesome. We've got the Birds of Prey in the form of Huntress and Black Canary! We have Raas al Ghul, perhaps Batman's most dangerous villain. If that isn't enough, the League of Shadows is everywhere and does that mean Bane is right around the corner? We've also got Flash being introduced in just a couple of episodes (and he's getting his own series soon thereafter) and I learned just last night that Nightwing is on his way into Arrow!
Actor Steven McQueen getting ready for his role as Nightwing on Arrow. I think
it's awesome that we live in a day and age where guys can actually have the bodies
of the superheroes that they play. I imagine it's pretty hard getting these roles. And
for those of you that don't know, this Steven McQueen is classic Steve McQueen's
grandson so good looks run in the family.
How awesome is that?!

For those of you who are at a complete loss as to who Nightwing is, he's Dick Grayson a.k.a. the first Robin who studied under Batman. He joined the New Titans where he fell in love with an outerspace princess by the name of Koriander (Starfire) and took the name Nightwing.

ZOMGAH! Seriously...this is so frickin' awesome. If they bring in Nightwing, they'll probably introduce Starfire at some point and then maybe we'll get Raven and some of the other New Titans. We could even be looking at a scenario where Batman shows up and that would be just...wow.

I think that the CW is my favorite network. They've done such a great job with DC that I absolutely can't wait for the series "Amazon" slated for 2014. And no, this isn't about the bookseller. It's about Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman, and I won't be surprised to see them introduce the title character in an episode of Arrow in 2014.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Peter Pan is a dead horse that really needs to be laid to rest

This wonderful painting of Peter Pan is done by creator, illustrator, and designer
Nicholas Jackson. You can find his website HERE to see more of his work. I
love Nicholas' art, but I'm getting tired of this story.
First off, I apologize to all the Peter Pan lovers out there. But this "little" rant of mine has to do with the fact that I'm actually sick of all things Peter Pan. I'm sick of Neverland. I'm sick of the Lost Boys. I'm sick of Captain Hook. The story has just been beaten to death.

We've had the original story by J.M. Barrie of course. And we've had a plethora of Peter Pan-ish adaptations and reboots. There was the awful Robin Williams/Dustin Hoffman matchup called Hook. And then there's the fact that Once Upon A Time is now doing an entire season on Peter Pan with Once Upon A Time in Neverland. This season is a real draaaagg, and it may just be the season that convinces me to stop watching Once Upon A Time completely. Oh and Peter Pan in the Once Upon A Time version is a real jerkface not to mention that the show completely rips off every bit of fiction there is. Nothing is sacred. This week's show had a whole bunch of the shadows flying around, and I swear that they looked just like the Dementors did in Harry Potter.

Yawn. Anyway, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I hear Hollywood is doing three Peter Pan movies. Seriously? I'm afraid so.

1) Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice) is making a Peter Pan origins movie.

2) Columbia is developing a Peter Pan movie.

3) And Disney (not to be outdone) is adapting Peter and the Starcatchers.

I really don't care for any of these. Can we just vote in a Peter Pan moratorium for the next four decades? Are there really that many people out there that, upon finishing one Peter Pan tale, turn around and go "Oh I wish we could see this again with different actors and maybe an origin or what happens after story!?"

Peter Pan is a dead horse that really needs to be laid to rest. And that, my friends, is something you can take to the bank.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The dreaded Infinity Gauntlet Easter Egg planted in Thor: the Dark World explained

Art by George Perez (yes he's my favorite comic book artist).
The Infinity Gauntlet has already appeared very briefly in the
movie, Thor (the original).
Warning: Nerd Alert Ahead.

So if you (like much of the rest of the movie going world) went and saw Thor: The Dark World in all its fabulousness, then you probably stayed for the scenes Marvel always embeds at the end of the credits. One of these had Thor's Asgardian friends Sif and Volstagg step cautiously through a room filled with all kinds of interesting artifacts from around the galaxy. They are delivering a box emitting a faint red glow to a being known as "The Collector," who was first introduced in the comics in "Avengers #28" back in 1966.

"The Collector" is one of the Elders of the Universe. These are aptly named because to be an "Elder" you must be one of the oldest living creatures in existence. "The Collector" is also aptly named as he spends his time hoarding archives of various treasures. He has filled up ten entire planets that have been converted into museums just to house all of his belongings.

So what's in the box? Well it's the aether (which you see in full force in Thor: The Dark World).  Since Asgard is already watching over "The Tesseract" (the blue cosmic cube in The Avengers movie) they Asgardians have chosen to separate these two things because its dangerous keeping them so close together.

The aether is one of six infinity stones. Sometimes these "stones" are referred to as "gems," so I'm letting you know that to avoid confusion. Anyway, in the Marvel universe there are six of these stones, and they are pictured mounted on the gauntlet above, which is being warn by Thanos (a super bad-ass villain that wants to destroy half the life in the universe because he wants to gain the affections of Death). Each of the Infinity stones are able to control a different element of the universe: mind, soul, time, power, space, and reality. If you have all of them, you could rule over or destroy all life in existence. Oh the power rush!

In the above series, Thanos defeats many of the universe's most powerful entities. They include Galactus, the Stranger, Kronus, and Eternity. Thanos only really gets defeated because he starts being stupid.

Here is what each of the stones can do in the comics:

1) Soul. Green in color, this one allows the user to steal, control, manipulate and alter souls. It is sentient and has a hunger for souls. It is the gateway to an idyllic pocket universe. This one is owned by Dr. Strange so we can expect it to appear in a Dr. Strange movie!

2) Time. Orange in color, this one allows the user total control over the past, present and future. The one wielding it can time travel, can age and youthen beings, and it can trap enemies or entire universes in a permanent loop of time (think Groundhog Day for everyone). It also grants omniscience.

3) Space. Purple in color, this stone allows the user to exist in any or all locations, move any object anywhere throughout reality and warp or rearrange space. It grants omnipresence.

4) Mind. Blue in color, this stone allows the user to greatly strengthen and enhance mental and psionic power and access the thoughts and dreams of other beings. Backed by the "power gem," the mind stone can access all minds in existence simultaneously.

5) Reality. Yellow in color, this stone allows the user to fulfill wishes, even if the wish is in direct contradiction to scientific laws.

6) Power. Red in color, the power jewel accesses all power and energy that ever has or ever will exist. It can boost the other gems' effects, and allows the user to duplicate almost any physical superhuman ability and grants omnipotence.

So there you have it: the dreaded Infinity Gauntlet Easter Egg planted in Thor: the Dark World explained. I know I just made your day now, didn't I?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Writers 4 Writers is featuring me today.

Today, Writers4Writers is featuring me and Nick Wilford. In case you are unaware of Writers4Writers, it is an initiative to promote authors and their books by harnessing the power of Twitter. It congregates the third Monday of every month to promote 1-3 authors. I got the email from Mary that said it was this Monday, however, so they must have just decided to do it a week early. It's all good even if there's some confusion.

If you have time, please visit the Hosts of this marketing brainchild. They are Mary Pax, Christine Rains, C.M. Brown, and Stephen Tremp.

So, if you are here for Writers4Writers, I first want to say thank you for helping to promote my book. Just copy and paste any tweet from below and send it off into the twitterverse:


Read a sample from Michael Offutt's "Slipstream." It's a sci-fi pulse pounding adventure. #YAOI #W4WS http://slckismet.blogspot.com/p/an-excerpt-from-slipstream.html

"Last night I died for the third time this week," the 17-year-old boy said. Read "Slipstream" on Kindle. #YAOI #W4WS http://www.amazon.com/Slipstream-Michael-Offutt-ebook/dp/B007R5DN8W/ref=tf_ssw?&linkCode=wss&tag=michoffu09-20

Download the free short story that starts A Crisis of Two Worlds. #W4WS http://www.amazon.com/The-Insanity-Zero-Michael-Offutt-ebook/dp/B009JF15FQ/ref=tf_ssw?&linkCode=wss&tag=michoffu09-20


Thanks again to all the Writers4Writers promoters and organizers. This is a great program that benefits everyone. I encourage those of you who follow my blog who have not signed up, to go and visit Stephen's website now and fix that.
Because it's Veteran's Day, I also want to send a big thank you to every veteran out there. You have my profound respect, and please remember to go by your friendly neighborhood Texas Roadhouse sometime today and get your free lunch. The program is nationwide. Get some baked beans, cornbread, and fall-off-the-bone ribs. Mmmm.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dragonfly Warrior is steampunk fantasy awesomeness like you've never seen before

This is the fantastic cover for Jay Noel's debut novel, Dragonfly Warrior. I think the art is incredible and captures the steampunk fantasy feel for the story. I've been reading an Advanced Reader Copy, and it's easily one of the best books I've come across this year. Now, here's a little more about this fine book that I hope all of you will mark "to read" on goodreads :).
Dragonfly Warrior Blurb:
The Mechanica Wars: Savage Machines Are Afoot...
At the age of sixteen, Kanze Zenjiro's bloody footprints mark the bodies of those who stood in his way to protect the throne of Nihon. Now, the tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and they send their steam-powered giants and iron spiders against him.
Zen embarks on a quest that takes him on the most dangerous journey of his life. To succeed, Zen must live up to his nickname, the Dragonfly Warrior, and kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six-guns. He is called upon to somehow survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.
Book Information: Dragonfly Warrior is a steampunk adventure like no other. It's a dynamic mix of Asian and European mythology, the Wild West, martial arts, traditional fantasy, and high powered steam action that will keep you turning the pages.
Dragonfly Warrior is the first book of The Mechanica Wars, and will debut on January 6, 2014.
Author Bio:
After doing some freelance writing and editing for more than a dozen years, Jay decided to stop procrastinating and pursue his dream of being a novelist. He's been blogging for over eight years, and even had a comedy podcast syndicated all over the internet. All of that was fun, but all the steampunk-inspired stories in his head just wouldn't leave him alone. Jay spends his days working in medical sales, but he can be found toiling over his laptop late at night when all is quiet.
He draws inspiration from all over: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, and Isaac Asimov.
And Jay loves cookies.
Jay Noel's website: www.jaynoel.com