The Science of Sex -Homosexual Necrophilia in Ducks and a Haunted Scrotum

My apologies for not posting a Science of Sex post last week. Balticon really had me wiped out. Since I missed last week, I have two goodies for you this week. No, I said goodies, not boobies. Yes, I realize for some of you they are the same thing. Okay, for a lot of you they are the same thing. Can we move on, please?

These lovely scientific tidbits come from Improbable Research, research that makes people laugh and the think. I met Julia Lunetta, the webmaster for Improbable Research, at Balticon and was thrilled to hear about this site. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Improbable Research looks at all sorts of things you won’t find in the regular science news, including my picks for this week…

Homosexual Necrophila in the Mallard Duck and the Case of the Haunted Scrotum. The first item includes a video about the researcher who saw the ducks in action, and the second includes a link to the article with a picture of said haunted scrotum.

No, I am not making these up. Seriously, click on the links and go see for yourself!

Here’s my thoughts on these two items. First, I have seen mallard ducks in action during mating season, and it is not a pretty sight. Male mallards mate violently with females and I’ve seen some males rape a female to death. So I would believe that a male mallard duck would commit such an act on a fellow dead duck. But why should the mating habits of mallard ducks, however bizarre, matter? As the video mentions, seeing such behavior enacted in the wild ought to make us think about the sexual behavior of all species. At Balticon, I talked to someone about the Science of Sex post I did on how male antelopes trick female antelopes into sticking close during their mating season. One of the things we both noticed is that this behavior is not just limited to antelopes. We’d both seen it acted out by human men. In other words, we’re not as removed from wild animal behavior as we think, and maybe studying unusual animal behavior might clue us in on how we work as well.

As for the scrotum, I have no frikkin’ clue. I mean, seriously? That’s one scary testicle, but I have no idea what it means right now. But there’s got to be a killer story in there somewhere, and remember, that’s what Science of Sex is all about; looking at science for inspiration to write really good erotica!

Take some time to look through the Improbably Research website. Julia was great to talk to, and the website is fantastic!

Treed’s take on Balticon 44

My dear friend Treed created a bitstrip about his Balticon experience that I thought I would share with you, just so you could compare and contrast the two points of view. His comic is here –

By the way, if you’re a fan of podcasting and podcast books, Treed’s bitstrips offer some very funny insight into that realm. He’s a funny guy. Really 😉

ACW Episode 70 – Oh Balticon!

Sorry today’s cartoon is late. As you can see from the image above, there was a reason.

Balticon is the biggest convention I go to every year. I love it. I love seeing everybody I know from writing and podcasting and webcomics. I love attending the panels and learning new things. I love doing and attending readings. And yes, I love the parties.

The best party at Balticon is the one hosted by Chooch and Viv of the “Into the Blender” podcast. This year’s theme was Sci Fi Prom. I just happened to come across an old costume of mine in the closet while I was packing last Thursday and I decided to bring it to the prom. The outfit had been in storage for 9 years or so, and I’d only worn it once because I got pregnant soon after that, so it seemed like it was time to wear it again. I was rather surprised at people’s reactions to my outfit (all of which were overwhelmingly positive), especially since a) it’s an old costume that’s been in storage all these years and b) there were some really killer costumes at the prom. But I guess I must still have my costuming mojo because yours truly was crowned queen of the Sci Fi Prom. I promised Viv I’d crown next year’s queen, just as soon as someone pried my tiara from my cold dead fingers.

All in all, I had a great time. Here are a few quick photos from the con. Like me, there are a bit skewed and out of focus. Hopefully I will recover from such conditions even if the photos won’t.

My best friend, Mary, lacing me into my flame-print corset. She had way too much fun doing this.

My reading on Saturday night. I bought the corset at Farpoint earlier this year. It’s a good thing I decided to wear a shirt under it. I didn’t realize how low the corset would settle once I was strapped in, and even with the shirt I worried about being “over-exposed.”

Kim, the Comic Book Godess. She’s got a fantastic voice and writes and performs wonderful songs. She’s also the founder of the Secret Society for Delayed World Conquest.

My partner in crime, Nobilis Reed, at his book launch for Scouts on Saturday night. He hosted a fake orgasm contest and a massage contest. And yes, that was as intersting as it sounds. Find out more about Scouts and Nobilis at

Me and DDog at the Sci Fi Prom. DDog was probably one of the neatest, most fashionable people there, and by fashionable I mean he does his own thing and does it very well. He’s dressed in this picture as the latest incarnation of the Doctor. I was dressed as the Empress Xena. And yes, I do get satellite TV on that headdress I’m wearing. To get OnStar, I just push the big red jewel at the top.

The woman I would have voted for, for Sci Fi Prom Queen, the lovely J.R. Blackwell, who is probably one of the most creative and talented people I know. Photography, costuming, writing… She does it all.

Mr. Snacky Cake, aka John Cmar, and Jared Axelrod, J.R.’s equally talented husband. Jared has a graphic novel coming out called “Fables of the Flying City” that I am very much looking forward to seeing. Meanwhile, Dr. John Cmar performs the best medical procedures, including the boob flattening he did on me the moment I arrived at Balticon. It was a very professional job, I tell you.

My prom king, Dave Slusher of the Evil Genius Chronicles. I couldn’t have been paired with a better guy.

Vivid Muse, the hostess with the mostest at the Sci Fi Prom…

And here’s Viv’s stud-boy, Chooch. He plays a mean bass!

A dear friend of mine, Elf, whom I’ve known since college, and who’s shown up at every event I’ve done in Maryland in the last three years. Love you, Elf!

And last but far from least, podcaster and prolific author Nathan Lowell who’s book “Quarter Share” is now out and is a must read. In this pic, Nathan is demonstrating his “Second Life He-Man” pose. Oy! Muy macho, Nate!

I wish I’d had the chance to take more pictures, because this is just a small sampling of what went on this weekend. However the con goes by so fast! Maybe next year I’ll be a little quicker with the camera.

Move It Mama Monday! Suck it up, cupcake, part deux

Remember how I said that this was the season of “Suck it up, cupcake?” And remember how I said that I was going to do what I needed to do fitness-wise even if I didn’t want to do it because I had to do it?

Well that little promise I made has already been put to the test.

I’m at Balticon right now. I’ve been in a hotel since Friday, at the biggest science fiction convention I attend all year long. And the question that always presents itself to me at cons has once again reared its ugly head.

Do I exercise at the con, or do I just blow it off until the con is over?

Balticon is an endurance event no matter how you slice it. There are always at least three panels going on at the same time that you want to be at, and in between panels it’s non-stop meet-and-greet, hand out the hugs, sell books, make connections, chat with friends, party-hardy for four days straight. Adding exercise into that mix is a bit daunting, and usually I don’t bother. But I’m happy to report that this weekend has been different.

For starters, Mary and Patricia, two of my best friends, were here for the first half of the con. They’ve got karate belt tests coming up. I’ve got a karate belt test coming up. We agreed we would get together at least once for a practice session to go over some katas. So I made sure to pack sweats and sneakers and not stay up too late on Friday night, and lo and behold, not only did I get in the karate practice Saturday morning, I also managed to do a 20-minute run before hand.

And then I was dead tired the rest of the day. So naturally, I thought I’d skip the whole workout thing on Sunday because a)Mary and Patricia wouldn’t be there to spur me on and b) my ass was too worn out to get up and move. And yet, somehow, I managed to get up and get my rear in gear and I headed out the door for another morning session of running and karate practice.

Did I want to do it? No, not in the least. Therefore I did it anyway. And that’s the whole point of “Suck it up, cupcake!” There are lots of times when I just don’t want to do what I know I should do, and I’ve got to do it anyway. So I do it, through the miraculous technique of shutting down my brain and not thinking about what it is I’m going to do until I’m actually doing it and then it’s too frikkin’ late to do anything but go through with it.

Seriously, I did not even consider where I was going to run or how long I was going to be out on Sunday morning. I did not think about what katas I needed to practice. I did not even think the word “run” until I got out the front door of the hotel and then I let my feet do there thing and yeah, I cursed and swore at myself a bit for putting my body through the torture of another early morning workout, but I did it anyway.

I will not be doing an early morning workout this Monday morning, I know, because I’ll need time to pack the car and get ready to head home. However, I do know I will be back in the dojo on Tuesday no matter how tired I am from the weekend because my instructor told me I would be there and Patricia and Mary told me I would be there and because I know that when my inner whiner kicks in with a resounding chorus of “I don’t wanna!” I’m just going to shut down my brain again and do it anyway. Like I said, the season of “Suck it up, cupcake!” is here, and yours truly plans to do just that for as long as she can keep her brain completely turned off.

Really, how hard can that be?

Have fun exercising!

Sunday Contentments – Con-tentment

It’s Sunday morning, late, and instead of watching the bird feeder while sitting at my dining room table with my cup of joe and my soft-boiled egg on toast, I am sitting in the lobby of the Hunt Valley Inn at Balticon, watching the people go by. I’ve had my morning run, my breakfast, some good conversation and two cups of coffee and I actually feel halfway human in spite of the fact I’ve been up late the last two nights in a row. This is good.

I don’t get out much, being a work-at-home mom, so events like Balticon are a big deal for me. I spent all day Thursday packing, trying to pick just the right outfits for the weekend, and making sure I had enough books to sell, enough promo to hand out. This is one of those rare times I actually get to see whether or not my hard work pays off. I’m happy to say this it looks like it has. I’ve had some wonderful people come up to me and say, “Hey, I read your Science of Sex/Move It Mama Monday post last week!” or “Hey! I love your web comic!” or best of all, “Hey! I read your book, Future Perfect! It was great!”

The moments when you realize you’re really a write with an audience can be few and far between, but they are very, very worth it when they come. So this weekend I’m happy to know that no matter how often I feel like I’m laboring alone in my tiny little office, no matter how often I feel like I’m just shouting into the void, I know I’m not. And that’s one of the the best feelings ever.

Enjoy your Sunday, folks. I’m going to go hit the con.