Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

"In the Morning, in the Sudden Glow ..." is now available for free at Smashwords and for 99c at Amazon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sneak Preview

Above is a sneak glimpse of the probable cover for the sequel to Bubbles, called Jasmines.
Look for it at the end of this year or early the next.

Free Stuff

"The Rose of Desire" and "Bubbles" anthologies are available for free on Amazon right now!
You know you want them. Go get them.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Astronaut Poem

A long time ago
Men landed on the moon
Some said, "What's the point?"
But they were too soon

To say that those men
In their white and gray suits
Shouldn't have gone there
To stomp around in their big boots

No, to complete the mission
There is one last thing to do
We need to summon our forces

She will need the correct toys
Buzz Lightyear or such-like
She'll need a white space-suit
To get around she'll need a bike

She'll go to astronaut school
Learn science and rocket-ships
How to bounce around in zero gee
Deal with space-chapped lips

Yes, to be a space girl would be
Lonely and glorious too
To plant a flag and look back
At Earth, that little stone of blue

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I've uploaded another anthology to Amazon and Smashwords - Bubbles, two stories set in my Shoal Wars universe.

Bubbles - after the Earth has been destroyed by enigmatic aliens the remnants of humanity spiral towards civil war.

Jasmine – a pre-pubescent astronaut discovers the truth about her mission and vows revenge.

Available here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Rose of Desire Anthology

I've uploaded a short e-anthology to Amazon and Smashwords.

Three science fiction stories by Kenneth Burstall

Sea of Dreams - a deadly race for a weapon of enormous power aboard a dying starship

The Rose of Desire - vignettes of desire and transformation in the near to far future

RED - a nightmarish journey across a transformed Europe

It's free on Smashwords so I suggest that if you want it (and why wouldn't you?) click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scary Book Poem

There's a hippo in a tree
Looking down at you

There are cats on legs like buses
That want to chase you

There are bees like ferrets
That can barely buzz around you

There's a giant sea dog
It wants to grab and eat you

But they are afraid
Of you, with your green hair
Of you, with your red horns
Of you, with your sixteen legs
Of you, size of the moon

With your scary books in your arms

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Golden Tractate of Hermes Trismegistus #13



Know ye then, O Sons of Science, there are seven bodies, of which gold is the first, the most perfect, the king of them, and their head, which neither the earth can corrupt nor fire devastate, nor the water change, for its complexion is equalised, and its nature regulated with respect to heat, cold, and moisture; nor is there anything in it which is superfluous, therefore the philosophers do buoy up and magnify themselves init saying that this gold, in relation of other bodies. is, as the sun amongst the stars, more splendid in Light; and as, by the power of God, every vegetable and all the fruits of the earth are perfected, so gold by the same power sustainneth all.
For as dough without a ferment cannot be fermented so when thou sublimest the body and purifiest it, separating the uncleanness from it, thou wilt then conjoin and mix them together, and put in the ferment confecting the earth and water. Then will the Ixir ferment even as dough doth ferment. Think of this, and see how the ferment in this case doth change the former natures to another thing. Observe, also, that there is no ferment otherwise than from the dough itself.
Observe, moreover, that the ferment whitens the confection and hinders it from turning, and holds the tincture lest it should fly, and rejoice the bodies, and makes them intimately to join and to enter one into another, and this is the key of the philosophers and the end of their work: and by this science, bodies are meliorated, and the operation of them, God assisting, is consummate.
But, through negligence and a false opinion of the matter, the operation may be perverted, as a mass of leaven growing corrupt, or milk turned with rennet for cheese, and musk among aromatics.
The sure colour of the golden matter for the red, and the nature thereof, is not sweetness; therefore we make of them sericum - ie Ixir; and of them we make the enamel of which we have already without and with the king's seal we have tinged the clay, and in that have set the colour of heaven, which augments the sight of them that see.
The Stone, therefore is the most precious gold without spots, evenly tempered, which neither fire nor air, nor water, nor earth is able to corrupt for it is the Universal Ferment rectifying all things in a medium composition, whose complexion is yellow and a true citrine colour.
The gold of the wise, boiled and well digested with a fiery water, makes Ixir; for the gold of the wise is more heavy than lead, which in a temperate composition is a ferment Ixir, and contrariwise, in our intemperate composition, is the confusion of the whole. For the work begins from the vegetable, next from the animal, as in a hen's egg, in which is the greatest help, and our earth is gold, of all which we make sericum, which is the ferment Ixir.


Latin Noun
sēricum (genitive sēricī); n, second declension
  1. Chinese goods, but especially silk 

                   ...the fever came,
          A punctual visitant, to shake this man,
          Disarmed his voice and fanned his yellow cheek
          Into a thousand colours; while he read,
          Or mused, his sword was haunted by his touch
          Continually, like an uneasy place                          160
          In his own body. 'Twas in truth an hour
          Of universal ferment; mildest men
          Were agitated, and commotions, strife
          Of passion and opinion, filled the walls
          Of peaceful houses with unquiet sounds.
          The soil of common life was, at that time,
          Too hot to tread upon. Oft said I then,
          And not then only, "What a mockery this
          Of history, the past and that to come!
          Now do I feel how all men are deceived,                    170
          Reading of nations and their works, in faith,
          Faith given to vanity and emptiness;
          Oh! laughter for the page that would reflect
          To future times the face of what now is!"




William Wordsworth

Star Poem

Summer, Tabby on a star
It's very hot, it's very far

From Mother Earth, a little blue dot
Getting home would cost a lot

From there a bus would take years
A rocket faster, but then who steers?

So Tabby, Summer on a star
Collect stardust in a jar

Build a house with a huge aircon
A big yard, they felt they'd won

Look up at night, you'll see them there
House of stardust, look close,a stair

Of moondust. Go up, be quiet, they may be asleep
It's a long way, it's very steep

Look, there in a bed, see you must
Girls made of stars like diamond dust

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Connect" takes off!

Yesterday morning I got an email from the wonderful Phoenix Sullivan, editor of the e-anthology Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever in which my story Connect appeared. As an experiment Phoenix had uploaded Connect as a stand-alone story for free download to the Amazon kindle store. To my astonishment her email informed me that the story was being downloaded like crazy and was at number 600 and something in the free/kindle charts.
As of writing this, it is at #228.

If you are reading this post as a result of looking up my name after reading Connect, welcome!
I've uploaded three more stories to Amazon (see my author page, here,) at 99c each - however, both RED and The Rose of Desire are available on this blog if you do a quick search (in fact, The Rose of Desire is the post below this one).
If you enjoyed Connect (or if you didn't!) feel free to leave a comment or email me at the address below my picture to the right.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Summer Poem

When blue was red and orange pink
No-one here knew what to think

But Summer ran as fast as gray
To the King of Colour, she went to say

"You silly King, you over-slept, you
Better get up, red turned to blue!"

Bopped with a balloon he got out of bed
Had a shower, demanded to be fed

So Summer made an omlette with fuchsia eggs
Ran it to the King on orange legs

He ate, touched a finger to some toast
It turned pink to brown, it was the most

Amazing thing Summer had ever seen
Until she saw him turn purple back to green

Summer saved the day, all was mellow
But she kept a piece of sky that still was yellow

Saturday, September 17, 2011

thatwhichfalls #13

Theus v. United States, 611 F.3d 441, 446 (8th Cir. 2010). "Deficient performance is that which falls below the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases." Id. (quotation omitted). 
BASS v. U.S.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Golden Tractate of Hermes Trismegistus #12


It behoves thee to give thanks to God who has bestowed liberally of his bounty to the wise, who delivers us from misery and poverty. I am tempted and proven with the fullness of his substance and his probable wonders, and humbly pray God that whilst we live we may come to him. Remove thence, O Sons of Science, the unguents which we extract from fats, hair, verdigrease, tragacanth, and bones, which are written in the books of our fathers. But concerning the ointments which contain the tincture coagulate the fugitive, and adorn the sulphurs it behooves us to explain their disposition more at large ! and to unveil the Form, which is buried and hidden from other unguents; which is seen in disposition, but dwells in his own body, as fire in trees and stones, which by the most subtle art and ingenuity it behoves to extract without burning. And know that the Heaven is to be joined mediately with the Earth - but the Form is in a middle nature between tie heaven and earth, which is our water. But the water holds of all the first place which goes forth from this stone; but the second is gold; and the third is gold, only in a mean which is more noble than the water and the faeces. But in these are the smoke, the blackness and the death. It behoves us, therefore, to dry away the vapour from the water, to expel the blackness from the unguent, and death from the feces, and this by dissolution. By Which means we attain to the highest philosophy and secret of all hidden things.

Tragacanth is a natural gum obtained from the dried sap of several species of Middle Eastern legumes of the genus Astragalus, including A. adscendens, A. gummifer, A. brachycalyx,[1][2] and A. tragacanthus. Some of these species are known collectively under the common names "goat's thorn" and "locoweed". The gum is sometimes called "shiraz gum" , "gum elect" or gum dragon. The name derives from tragos and akantha, which means in Greek "goat" and "thorn", respectively. Iran is the biggest producer of the best quality of this gum.
The gum is used in veg-tanned leatherworking as an edge slicking and burnishing compound and is occasionally used as a stiffener in textiles. It contains an alkaloid that has historically been used as a herbal remedy for such conditions as cough and diarrhea. As a mucilage or paste it has been used as a topical treatment for burns. It is used in pharmaceuticals and foods as an emulsifier, thickener, stabilizer, and texturant additive (code E413). Also, it is the traditional binder used in the making of artists' pastels,[3] as it does not adhere to itself the same way other gums (such as gum arabic) do when dry. Gum tragacanth is also used to make a paste used in floral sugarcraft to create life-like flowers on wires used as decorations for cakes. It makes a paste which dries brittle in the air and can take colorings. It enables users to get a very fine, delicate finish to their work. Additionally, it has traditionally been used as an adhesive in the cigar rolling process used to secure the cap or "flag" leaf to the finished cigar body.[4]

Pierre: (gloomily, sternly) It can only mean that our fair France will be driven to the blackness and the death of defeat bv the two-headed hawk of Prussia! Oh, curse these barbarians! Athalie, thou too must curse them, and it shall be as if the Virgin herself cursed!
Athalie: Ah, father, I who have been taught by my pere Arnot to love everything the sun shines upon—can I curse even Prussians? God's justice and His mercy do not need men's curses to sway the scales

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rigs I Have Worked On #12 - Rowan Gorila IV

Rig Name: Rowan Gorilla IV
Rig Manager: Rowan
Rig Owner: Rowan
Competitive Rig: Yes
Rig Type: Jackup
Jackup Type: Independent Leg Cantilever
Rig Design: LeTourneau Class 200-C Gorilla
Rated Water Depth: 450 ft
Drilling Depth: 30,000 ft

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Golden Tractate of Hermes Trismegistus #11


MY SON, that which is born of the crow is the beginning of Art. Behold, how I have obscured matter treated of, by circumlocution, depriving thee of the light. Yet this dissolved, this joined, this nearest and furtherest off I have named to thee. Roast those things, therefore, and boil them in that which comes from the horse's belly for seven, fourteen, or twenty-one days. Then will the Dragon eat his own wings and destroy himself; this being done, let it be put into a fiery furnace, which lute diligently, and observe that none of the spirit may escape.
And know that the periods of the earth are in the water, which let it be as long as until thou puttest the same upon it. The matter being thus melted and burned take the brain thereof and triturate it in most sharp vinegar, till it becomes obscured. This done, it lives in the putrefaction, let the dark clouds which were in it before it was killed be converted into its own body. Let this process be repeated, as I have described, let it again die, as I before said, and then it lives.
In the life and death thereof we work with the spirits, for as it dies by the taking away of the spirit, so it lives in the return and is revived and rejoices therein. Being arrived then at this knowledge, that which thou hast been searching for is made in the Affirmation, I have even related to thee the joyful signs, even that which doth fix the body. But these things, and how they attained to the knowledge of this secret, are given by our ancestors in figures and types; behold, they are dead; I have opened the riddle, and the book of knowledge is revealed, the hidden things I have uncovered, and have brought together the scattered truths within their boundary, and have conjoined many various forms -even I have associated the spirit. Take it as the gift of God.

Alsop 1964

Alsop, L.E., 1964: Spheroidal free periods of the Earth observed at eight stations around the world. Bull. Seismol. Soc. America, 54, 755-776.
Spectral peaks corresponding to the spheroidal free periods of oscillation of the earth exist in the spectra of eight seismograms written at stations in different, parts of the world shortly after the great Chilean earthquake of 22 May l960. These data have been combined with those previously reported by various authors to obtain a very precise phase velocity vs period curve for Rialeigh waves in the period range of 200 to 3200 seconds. The observed spectral amplitudes lend sonic support to the assumption of a moving source, but, they also indicate that the present theory is not accurate. The vertical motion is found to be symmetric with respect to reflections through the pole.

trit·u·rate  (trch-rt)
tr.v. trit·u·rat·ed, trit·u·rat·ing, trit·u·rates
To rub, crush, grind, or pound into fine particles or a powder; pulverize.
n. (-r-t)
A triturated substance, especially a powdered drug.

[Late Latin trtrre, trtrt-, to thresh, from Latin trtra, a threshing, from trtus, past participle of terere, to thresh; see ter-1 in Indo-European roots.]

tritu·ra·ble adj.
tritu·rator n.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Rigs I Have Worked On #11 - Maersk Vinlander

The GSF Grand Banks is an Aker H3.2 semisubmerisble drill rig currently owned by Transocean (though the GSF refers to GlobalSanteFe). It was built in 1984 by St. John Shipbuilding, Canada. It was originally known as the Bow Drill 3 (1984-1988), which changed to Maersk Vinlander (1988-1998) and Glomar Grand Banks (1998-2004) before its' current moniker.
It has particular importance to the Newfoundland offshore industry, where it drills alongside the Henry Goodridge. It had drilled and located oil in the Hebron field in 1998, and more recently in the White Rose field. Currently, it is drilling for Husky on the North Amethyst project[1]

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

"Connect" now available for free!

My story "Connect", originally part of the e-anthology "Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever", is now available on its own for free from Smashwords.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Connection #16 - Emperor John VIII Palaiologos to Vittore Pisano

John VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus (Greek: Ίωάννης Η' Παλαιολόγος, Iōannēs VIII Palaiologos, 18 December 1392 – 31 October 1448), was the penultimate reigning Byzantine Emperor, ruling from 1425 to 1448.

Repeatedly the court had discussed the question of making their cause a universal one by reuniting their church with the Roman Catholic. Preliminary negotiations had already taken place. Greek ambassadors had appeared at (he Council of Constance. Emperor Manuel had shown a certain zeal in the cause of union, but chiefly from political motives. Now John VIII. (Figs. 88 and 89) returned to the matter with the honest purpose of bringing it to a satisfactory conclusion. The emperor himself and a large retinue of clerics and theologians sailed to Venice, in 1438. Thence they went to Ferrara, where the anti-council of Eugenius IV. was sitting. But here no conclusion was reached. In Florence, however, whither the pope transferred the council on account of pestilence, the cause of union was furthered somewhat. Still, the nature of the case excluded a real understanding. The best that could be done was to set up a theological formula, which gave at least the appearance of unity by the scope it left for individual interpretation. On July 6, 1439, the solemn conclusion of the negotiations took place in the cathedral of Florence. In the
Fig. 88 —Copper medal of John VIII. Palaeologus. made by the Florentine artist, Vittore Pisano (1380-14.">5). (Berlin.) Legend, translated: "John, king and emperor of the Romans, the Palaeologus." 

presence of Emperor John VIII. and Pope Eugenius IV., a formula agreed upon by the dignitaries of both churches was read in Greek and Latin and signed by all present. Mark, Bishop of Ephesus, alone objected to it. On his return to Constantinople, he found the zealous support of the fanatic population. Consequently, the compromise was not acknowledged and had no effect. 
The age of the renaissance By Hans Prutz

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Golden Tractate of Hermes Trismegistus #10



Understand, then, O Son of Wisdom, what the Stone declares; Protect me, and I will protect thee; increase my strength that I may help thee ! My Sol and my beams are most inward and secretly in me my own Luna, also, my light, exceeding every light, and my good things are better than all other good things. I give freely, and reward the intelligent with joy and gladness, glory, riches, and delights; and them that seek after me I make to know and understand, and to possess divine things. Behold, that which the philosophers has concealed is written with seven letters; for Alpha and Yda follow two; and Sol, in like manner, follows the book; nevertheless, if thou art willing that he should have Dominion, observe the Art, and join the son to the daughter of the water, which, Jupiter and a hidden secret.
Auditor, understand, let us use our Reason; consider all with the most accurate investigation, which in the contemplative part I have demonstrated to thee, the whole matter I know to be the one only thing. But who is he that understands the true investigation and enquires rationally into this matter? It is not from man, nor from anything like him or akin to him, nor from the ox or bullock, and if any creature conjoins with one of another species, that which is brought forth is neutral from either.
Thus saith Venus: I beget light, nor is the darkness of my nature, and if my metal be not dried all bodies desire me, for I liquefy them and wipe away their rust, even I extract their substance. Nothing therefore is better or more venerable than I, my brother also being conjoined.
But the King, the ruler, to his brethren, testifying of him, saith: I am crowned, and I am adorned with a royal diadem: I am clothed with the royal garment, and I bring Joy and gladness of heart; for being chained, I caused my substance to lay hold of, and to rest within the arms and breast of my mother, and to fasten upon her substance; making that which was invisible to become visible, and the occult matter to appear. And everything which the philosophers have hidden is generated by us. Hear, then, these words, and understand them; keep them, and meditate thereon, and seek for nothing more. Man in the beginning is generated of nature, whose inward substance is fleshy, and not from anything else. Meditate on these plain things, and reject what is superfluous.
Thus saith the philosopher: Botri is made from the citrine which is extracted out of the Red Root, and from nothing else; and if it be citrine and nothing else, Wisdom was with thee: it was not gotten by the care, nor, if it be freed from redness, by thy study. Behold, I have circumscribed nothing; if thou hast understanding, there be but few things unopened. Ye Sons of Wisdom ! turn then the Breym Body with an exceeding great fire; and it will yield gratefully what you desire. And see that you make that which is volatile, so that it cannot fly, and by means of that which flies not. And that which yet rests upon the fire, as it were itself a fiery flame, and that which in the heat of a boiling fire is corrupted, is cambar.
And know ye that the Art of this permanent water is our brass, and the colourings of its tincture and blackness is then changed into the true red.
I declare that, by the help of God I have spoken nothing but the truth. That which is destroyed is renovated, and hence the corruption is made manifest in the matter to be renewed, and hence the melioration will appear, and on either side it is a signal of Art.

Apparently Halfdene had invaded the territories of Botri, pursued him to Ireland, and there met his fate. Botri. returning to Wales, must have been slain by Saxons who were in league with the Danes; for the year of his fall was that in which fortune began to turn in Alfred's favour, two years before he succeeded in delivering his dominions from the presence of the invaders; and the battle of Conwy, in which, according to the Annals of Cambria, Botri's death was avenged, three years later, seems to correspond with Alfred's engagement with a Danish squadron, recorded in our Chronicle under A.n. 882 (881). 
Archaeologia aeliana, or, Miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity By Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne

In other myths She is Athene, daughter of the water, born of Lake Triton in West Africa. She was Mother Goddess of Wisdom and protector of Her people. When the Sahara dried up and the great migration occurred, Athene was brought to Crete by the Africans. Her connection of water/wisdom stay with her today.
Goddess Athena

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rigs I Have Worked On #10 - Henry Goodrich

The HENRY GOODRICH is a Sonat/Mitsui SES 5000 design propulsion assisted semi-submersible drilling unit capable of operating in harsh environments and water depths up to 2,000 ft using 18¾in 15,000 psi BOP and 21in OD marine drilling riser. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ley Lines #4

"Imagine a fairy chain stretched from mountain peak to mountain peak, as far as the eye could reach, and paid out until it reached the 'high places' of the earth at a number of ridges, banks, and knowls. Then visualise a mound, circular earthwork, or clump of trees, planted on these high points, and in low points in the valley other mounds ringed around with water to be seen from a distance. Then great standing stones brought to mark the way at intervals, and on a bank leading up to a mountain ridge or down to a ford the track cut deep so as to form a guiding notch on the skyline as you come up.... Here and there, at two ends of the way, a beacon fire used to lay out the track. With ponds dug on the line, or streams banked up into 'flashes' to form reflecting points on the beacon track so that it might be checked when at least once a year the beacon was fired on the traditional day. All these works exactly on the sighting line."
Alfred Watkins, The Old Straight Track, 1925


Places States Engines of Desire  

ExplanationsIf I were still there I could explain to you who I really wasFearThere's nothing here for me, just the dull roar of the engines winding down at the end of the day

Frustrated LovetearsovertheTwin Turntablesspin like rotors



roarHelicopterssound like deep trance


An oil riga return from


an escape fromthe clarity  of work












and I awake
to the sound
of fuel being dumpedto the watery mountains

to the grey lightreflectingin the North Sea