MileHiCon 47

Hmmm … it’s gotten to the point where the main thing I use my blog for is posting MileHiCon schedules. I need to change that. There are a lot of changes afoot, and my blog can be much better utilized than it is.

Anyway, MileHiCon is around the corner again, running October 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency DTC, as usual. Here’s my preliminary schedule:

Friday, October 23, 2015, 5:00 pm
Gained in Translation — Mesa Verde C

What genre novels originally written in other languages have seen success when translated into English? This seems like a fun and fascinating panel; I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2015, 2:00 pm
MHC Poetry Reading — Mesa Verde A

David Lee Summers is back as moderator for this year’s poetry panel. I will read a few of my older SF poems and hopefully I will have something new to share, as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 1:00 pm
Strange Stars: How SF&F Transformed Popular Music — Wind River A
This should be a fun panel. I’ve participated on panels like this before at MHC, and they were always a blast. There is a surprising amount of crossover influence between SF and music.

I will also be participating in the Texas Hold ‘Em tournament on Saturday night at 9pm, so if you’re a poker player, come join the game!

MileHiCon 46

It’s that time of year again! MileHiCon 46 is just around the corner, taking place from October 24th through the 26th, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver, CO  80237. Here’s my panel schedule:

Saturday, October 25, 2014, 4 pm
Poetry Fantastique — Mesa Verde A

I will be moderating the poetry panel this year, as David Lee Summers won’t be able to make it to the convention. I will do my best, and with a panel including Laura Deal, Gail Barton, and the energetic Dr. Rob S. Rice, it should be an easy job.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 11:00 am
Dark Net/Net Neutrality — Wind River A

This is a tech panel about current Internet privacy trends moderated by Arlen Feldman, with panelists Margaret Alia Denny, Deena Larsen, Marc MacYoung, and yours truly.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 4:00 pm
Privacy, Facebook, and Other Social Media — Wind River B

In a similar vein, this is another tech panel focusing on privacy rights in relation to Facebook and other social media platforms. Arlen Feldman is again the moderator (sorry, Arlen, you only get one link), with panelists John Barnes, Kronda Seibert, the mysterious T. Simpson, and myself.

I hope to see some of you there!


Poker Can Help the Economy

I got a note today from the Poker Player’s Alliance (of which I am a member), urging me to support legalization of online poker on, the website that Obama’s administration is using to take the pulse of the American public on issues relating to government.

Okay, before anyone jumps on me for having my priorities out of whack, yes, I do think there are much higher priorities than legalizing online poker, namely ending the war in Iraq, closing Guantanamo Bay, fixing a drastically broken health care system, and bolstering an economy that’s currently flying without a net. However, legalizing and regulating online poker could conceivably have a positive effect on the economy.

Here’s what I had to say in the topic contents at

As an accomplished poker player himself, I hope that President Obama recognizes that online poker is more a game of skill than a game of luck, and that legalizing and regulating online poker is just one more way that people can infuse money into the flagging economy. Millions of Americans play online poker already, and the money that could be made from taxing those online games is a staggering amount.

As I write this on a Wednesday afternoon, just one of the online poker sites is hosting nearly 175,000 people on over 42,000 virtual tables. Imagine if those 42,000 tables were hosted by an American company and taxed at $1 (for round numbers), along with any other tables that are generated on that site each day. Then consider that numerous American companies would be in this business space and the number of Americans playing online poker would easily increase with the repeal of the UIGEA, and it’s easy to see how regulation and taxation of online poker could generate millions of dollars *per day* to benefit the economy.

Or, we could keep the current system, continue to force banks to reject transactions that they could be making money on, continue to stigmatize skillful online poker players while honoring much more random Internet gambling systems, and continue to encourage an offshore shadow industry with no oversight.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

What do you think?

I am not a poker pro, but I am a writer

I played in the Inaugural PokerStars Blogger Championship Sunday, and I sucked. I finished in 1193rd place out of 1473. By comparison, Wil Wheaton finished 328th! (Congrats, Wil!)

The long and short of it is that I got impatient. The hand that killed me was a hand on which I should never have bet hard (AQ that turned into a pair of queens) and I got beat by a straight (AK with QJ on the flop and a 10 on the turn.) If you know anything about No Limit Hold-Em, you will know that I should have folded after the flop, rather than raising based on my paired queen. Oh well.

However, I had a blast at MileHiCon 37, both Saturday and Sunday. The panel discussions I participated in were fun, I met some cool people (both fans and participants), and hopefully I made some good impressions. I look forward to participating in the convention next year, assuming they ask me back.

My apologies for the lapse in domain name registration over the last few days. One of the disadvantages of being unemployed is that things like domain name registrations, no matter how crucial they are to supporting a budding writing career, are less important than things like mortgages and car payments.

PokerStars Blogger Championship

Well, it’s official. Ryan from PokerStars support says he has confirmed that the PokerStars registration number is on my site, and I’m registered to play in the inaugural Blogger Championship on October 23, 2005.

If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be playing in a blog-related online Hold ‘Em tournament, I wouldn’t have believed them. I didn’t even know how to play Hold ‘Em back then. Poker being what it is, I may get knocked out early on. Or, I may hang on and do pretty well. Hopefully I will at least make the top 10% of players, especially since the field will be made up of other bloggers, many of whom may not know much about poker. Usually, when I play in the big play money tournaments, I make it to at least the top 20%. My best showing was 205th place out of 5807 players in a satellite tournament, which works out to be the top 3.5% of all players.

Tonight, I played three Sit’N’Go tournaments. I finished 4th in a 9 player tourney, 11th in a 27 player tourney, and then 1st in another 9 player game. The last game was interesting, because when it got down to a head-to-head game, I was significantly behind in chips (about 2,500 to the other player’s 10,500.) An observer came into the room to chat with the other player, and the following conversation occurred. (The other people’s names have been changed, irrelevant comments have been edited out, and I’m paraphrasing the observer’s comments because the PokerStars Instant Hand History doesn’t record observer chat.)

Observer (to other player): So, when you get done taking this guy’s chips, what are you going to do?

Player: i’m going home

Lytspeed: Thanks for the vote of confidence. LOL!

Observer: No offense, it’s just that you don’t have a chance. She’s a pro, and she’ll probably kick your butt.

Lytspeed: Probably true, but I’m going to try anyway. 🙂

I won every hand that went all the way to a showdown after that. There were several hands where one or the other of us folded, which is very common in heads-up games, but every showdown belonged to me, and I won the tournament. In the end, I had about 2,000 more chips in my play money account than I had at the beginning of the night, so I consider the evening a success.

I find it interesting that I’m motivated to blog about this. It’s been a while since I was interested in blogging. I can thank PokerStars for that, at least. 🙂