Inkslinger

A collection of writing by Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson

Inside the government sh#tdown: Eleven days that shook Colorado River rafting

Road_to_Lees_FerryCheck out my new article about how the government shutdown rocked the Colorado River rafting industry. The story is both journalistic and personal in nature. I snuck into the Grand Canyon to meet my father’s 70th-birthday Colorado River rafting trip.

 

Photo credit:
Ceiba Adventures

It’s April. Where did all this powder come from?

Some mornings you wake up expecting to ski in the rain and find something wonderfully different waiting for you. Like ten inches of new snow and no one on the mountain.

All footage shot on April 8 at The Canyons, Utah.
 

 

Zombielanche

I’ve got a movie concept in the works: Zombielanche is a zombie/climate change mashup. Think An Inconvenient Truth + Quarantine + Alien.

To support this effort and as a way of better understanding both the zombie and climate change communities, I’ve started a new blog at Zombielanche.com. Check it out.

“Lovers’ Balk” published in Spitball

My short story, “Lovers’ Balk,” has been published in the latest issue (#67) of Spitball, which was mailed out today. “Lovers’ Balk” is the story of a fantasy baseball geek who uses his player forecasting algorithm to find himself the perfect woman on the Internet.

Lovers’ Balk

Stephen Schtingenshreif, or Stevie Baseball as he was known to his loyal bloggers at welovethebrewcrew.com, had developed the perfect sabermetric model for forecasting the fortunes of major league hitters. He called it OPSMOPP: Official Prognostic Statistical Model of Outstanding Player Performance. Stevie Baseball had used OPSMOPP to successfully predict breakout seasons by several Major League talents. Starting in 2003, he’d ridden his superior statistical knowledge to three consecutive titles in the BBL (Blogosphere Baseball League—the fantasy baseball league of all fantasy baseball leagues, populated exclusively by baseball blogmasters).

The 2006 season, though, was different.

Stevie Baseball was a paranoid sort, prone to winning-streak socks. When he started loosing he went looking for a cause. He had prepared for the league in the same manner as the prior years but there was one significant personal difference in his life. In 2006, he had been without the good luck that seemed to follow his quietly contemptuous X. She had never expressed interest in baseball, never entered the room as he sat in his den with his back to the door, absorbed in Excel worksheets. Had her presence somehow contributed to his three-year winning streak? She’d moved out in March and he hadn’t sniffed .500 all season.

The way he was losing made it worse. A new owner, Rodney Estrogini, had stolen all of Stevie’s sleeper picks during their online draft. Estrogini had followed with a series of bold trades, creating a juggernaut the likes of which the BBL had never seen. Stevie found himself in uncomfortable territory: Last place, hoping for statistically impossible results from a crop of injured arms and underachieving bats.

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Retroblognovel

I have sacrificed my first novel, Rabble Rouser, in the name of science. Retroblognovel–an interactive digital novel–is the result. This is the story of a young man from California who goes to Mississippi to investigate his family’s involvement in a civil rights murder. Retroblognovel lets you navigate this story in whatever chronology suits you.

“Island Nation” published on Writers’ Billboard

“Island Nation” is the winner of this month’s Writers Billboard short story contest. Here is the story in its entirety.

Island Nation

When Stephen got home that night he found Daisy passed out on the antique couch. The living room was littered with another Arab Street haul. Colorful paper bags from mall fashion outlets and street vendors speckled the condo floor. Daisy had unwound a swath of pink bejeweled silk; it ran between the front door to the far wall and window.

Stephen wondered how Daisy managed to get all of it home. He imagined a moving truck following her down Singapore’s streets, gathering a payload of silks, scarves, and soaps.

“I’m home,” Stephen said, closing the front door and setting his briefcase there by the door. He was not quite handsome, but always presentable. Always clad in a nice suit and capable of tying a Windsor that didn’t loosen up over the day. He could play the part of banker.

Daisy stirred awake. Her Prada top bunched up, showing her midriff. Her beauty still startled him, especially when she was least aware of it: sleeping or cooking or too drunk on apple martinis to notice. They had been married a year, following a blitzkrieg courtship.

“How was your day?” Daisy yawned.

“Interesting,” Stephen said, picking his way across the living room to kiss her. Her mouth was warm and tasted of mottled gin. He noted the empty hi-ball glass beside the couch, its melted-ice remains.

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New post up on The Health Care Blog

Sometimes my day job is more interesting than others. Today, in conjunction with an event we’re hosting at Seattle’s Town Hall, I’ve got a post up at the Health Care Blog: “Fact or fiction: Electronic medical records save money.”

“Wasting Away in Karaokeville”

The Seattle Weekly today published my article, “Wasting Away in Karaokeville,” the result of several months of exhaustive karaoke research. Here’s an excerpt:

Once a fad embraced only by the supremely talented or obscenely drunk, karaoke has crossed over to the big time in Seattle, drawing crowds from Ballard to the ID.

“Whoever invented karaoke should get the Nobel Peace Prize,” says Garnett Brooks, who bartends at the Crescent Lounge, also on Capitol Hill. “People feel like a million dollars coming off that stage.” (As a matter of fact, Osaka-born Daisuke Inoue, who invented karaoke in 1971, was awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 by the Annals of Improbable Research.)

Homeland insecurity run amok in “Wiseguy”

My second novel, Wiseguy, is available here. A quick synopsis: In the wake of a another terrorist attack, the United States has developed an invasive supercomputer called Wiseguy that’s going to help beat the terrorists once and for all.

As the birthplace of Wiseguy, Seattle is now a target. Aramaic-speaking terrorists are plotting to take down the Emerald City.

Cody Fitzgerald doesn’t trust Wiseguy. He’s used to catching terrorists the old-fashioned way, using his own sweat and guile. He is bent on saving Seattle from an imminent attack. He’s up to the task, but can he keep from getting fired?

Wiseguy is a techno-thriller with dissident roots. It suggests near future consequences for America’s endless war on terror.

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