NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Friday, November 30, 2007


50,014/50,000
Words

I'm going home, and I may not write a single damn word for the next two days. Ha! I have triumphed, crossed the finish line!

I ended up padding some things to hit the word count. And the above is the official "validator" word count: the word count that OpenOffice came up with is actually slightly higher (I think there's a difference in how hyphens are treated, at least that's my theory).

No matter: by either count, I win! I get the pony. Or whatever. No, seriously: the next step will be printing out a copy and editing. That's something that must wait, however--you gotta try to get a little of that "perspective" thingie.

Anyway, can I get a "Hell Yeah!"?




Read more...

Based on the novel by...

Cracked has a list of eight kick-ass movies you didn't know were based on books. Actually, I knew all of these were originally books, and actually had read two of them (Robert Bloch's Psycho and the novella "Who Goes There" by John W. Campbell, if you care). Not that I didn't learn anything: I had no idea that Die Hard was a sequel to a book that was turned into a Frank Sinatra movie.

But the main reason I pass this article along is because the authors feverishly postulate the ultimate parallel universe in the final paragraph, a universe in which the author of Nothing Lasts Forever, the book that became Die Hard, meets with the stars of two movie adaptations of his work, and as a result produce the greatest movie ever made:

A later book the guy [Roderick Thorp] wrote, Rainbow Drive, got turned into a 1990 movie starring Peter Weller ... the guy who played RoboCop. That movie isn't as well known, because the title made it sound like a film about a gay resort.

In some alternate universe, we like to think this connection led Mr. Thorp, Bruce Willis and Peter Weller to sit down for drinks one day. The three would walk away from this meeting in our alternate 1991 with an agreement to make Die Hard vs. RoboCop. In this alternate universe, the 1993 Academy Awards had to be canceled, because one film won every single award.

That. Would. Have. Been. Freaking. Awesome.




Read more...

Habeas corpus

A man in England who was accused of flashing six women over the course of several years attempted to use his "underdeveloped" genitalia as a defense--going as far as bringing photographs of the offending member to court and publishing them to the judge and jury. (No mention in the article as to whether the photographs had to be enlarged or enhanced in any way.) It doesn't appear that the man actually "produced the body in court."

Surprisingly, his "I have a small penis" defense failed to work. And, unfortunately, it appears we all know whether he'll be "catching" or "pitching" if he receives active time, as the judge suggested he might.




Read more...

Here In The Mountains

>> Thursday, November 29, 2007

If I had a camera, I could post a picture but I probably wouldn't. The hotel where I'm attending a conference doesn't have a brilliant view, unless you're into golf courses and parking lots--in which case this is the place for you if you're ever in Asheville, NC.

I'm actually going to be fairly restrained for two reasons. First, because I really don't want this to be a blog about work. If I wanted to write about work.... I can't even finish the thought, tell you the truth. It's not that I don't like my job--there are days and there are days, but I'm mostly happy with it; it's just that I write so I don't have to think about my job. My job can be stressful and bring you into contact with all sorts of nastiness: I'd rather write about vampires or aliens or something. Escapism. I make no bones about that. I have no interest whatsoever in writing about the gritty awfulness of modern life or something like that.

The second reason I'm not going to say much is that you certainly don't want to be in the position of saying something that leads to employment nastiness.

So let's just say that this conference isn't at the best hotel in Asheville, and the included lunch was not the best lunch, and the program maybe isn't the perfect program, and an intelligent reader can run it through a universal translator.

Anyway, that's where I am, and sort of what I'm doing or pretending to do. Hope you're having a fun Thursday, wherever you might be and whatever you might be doing today.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2007

45,371/50,000
Words

No, there wasn't an update yesterday. Yes, at the time of this writing, I'm behind. Some internal struggles going on, and I'm fishing for the last 4,629 words. But that number is, in and of itself, a nice little number: 4,629 is eminently doable in the next 48 hours or so.




Read more...

Cloverfield

>> Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Okay, I've been skeptical about some of the vague rumors concerning J.J. Abrams' Cloverfield, mostly because it's, you know, J.J. Abrams. But this trailer is pretty freakin' cool.


Get More CloverField Trailers at TerrorFeed.com




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Monday, November 26, 2007

43,505/50,000
Words

Not much writing tonight. I may have a problem: while I'm still on schedule, I might be finished with the book. That's part of why I'm quitting early tonight, aside from the fact I'm a little tired: I think I'd like to ruminate, maybe figure out where I can add substance and not just padding. The bits I added tonight felt like padding, which is okay for NaNoWriMo purposes but not for any long-term health this thing might have.

I did a couple of little ficlets tonight before I hit Cream And Bastards, not sure if that was good or not, but it was hard to resist. The first little piece was in response to a challenge: write a vampire story. That's not a challenge for me: I have a vampire book on the back burner during NaNoWriMo (and might leave it there for a little bit thanks to another idea I had during NaNoWriMo). But it was fun to do, anyway: it's called "Eternal Monologue" and it's inspired by all those Hammer Films where someone accidentally resurrects Dracula by yanking the stake out of his ribcage--because if you found a skeleton in a coffin with a wooden stake through its heart, that's what you would do, right? But, more importantly, what the hell does Dracula think about when he's waiting for someone to come by? He probably wonders whether he left the iron plugged in, but once he's decided he's not going to burn down Castle Dracula, then what? So I wrote this:

Eternal Monologue


It takes three things to kill a vampire.

Yes, I know.

Of course you do.

Then why are we talking about it?

Because you have nothing else to do for a very long time. The odds of someone just happening to visit the tower, descending into the crypt, opening the coffin, then pulling the stake from your chest are very slim.

I’d rather think about how much time has passed.

It could be seconds, minutes, years, centuries.

I don’t think it would be seconds. That would be pretty daft of them.

Yes, but these are the same people who didn’t decapitate you and place a holy communion wafer in your mouth. Now, as I was saying, there are three ways—

You just said that.

What?

Stake, decapitation, wafer-in-mouth. You covered it.

I did?

Yes.

Hm. Well. What do we talk about now?

Favorite book?

We did that one.

A long time ago.

You don’t know that. It might have been seconds.

You just said that would be daft of them.

Oh. Right. Bleak House.

What?

My favorite book. Bleak House. Dickens.

No it’s not...


Anyway, there's your daily update. G'night. See you tomorrow.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Sunday, November 25, 2007

42,310/50,000
Words

I'd hoped to get a full day or more ahead today, but that's all I can do right now. I have a conference to go to Wednesday, and I'd love to be done when I head up there. As things stand, the official account according to No Plot, No Problem is that I'm supposed to have 41, 675 words on the 25th and 43,342 on the 26th, so you can see where I am. About half a day ahead, basically, and 7,690 words away from the ending.

Our Hero had a number of revelations sitting on the john this evening. I really need to figure out how to stitch that up. I think I could probably finish what I have in 5,000 words--if necessary, I could potentially go back and add some character descriptions. (I don't think I have too much of that at this point, which is a weakness.)

This is a little dispiriting insofar as I've gone from, "Oh yeah, this could totally be more than 50,000 words!" to "Well, I can hit 50k if I pad out some earlier portions of the book." But, see, what I really need to do when I get to that point is rewrite it anyway.

I think I'm finally figuring out, as I get older, that the tricky part of writing is rewriting and editing. I'll need to sit down with a printout and a pen and probably some alcohol and go through things over the course of several nights and scratch, scratch, scratch.

But it's been a good month. I've felt like a writer this month. And that, frankly, has rocked. So it'll be a win, regardless.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Saturday, November 24, 2007

40,322/50,000
Words

And now I'm just ahead, again. And I think I know where I'm going, maybe.

This is the last stretch, the last 1/5 of the story. 9,678 words left to do--eminently doable.

I'm thinking this book is shorter than I thought it would be, but that's okay. The journey can be interesting for that sort of reason.

One question that remains is whether I should give Our Hero another kick to the crotch or not--I could. There's one "episode" I never got to use that could be stuck in right here. On the other hand, it wouldn't add much to the story and might take something away from it. So, we'll see, we'll see.

Anyway, there we are: I am now, technically speaking, ahead. Again. I rock.



Read more...

Yeah, yeah it is a...

Today at Engrish Of The Day, we find:



What did the baby do, you ask? What didn't it do? Sure, they all look so innocent....

Read more...

Seventeen years isn't too long to wait....

My Bloody Valentine is scheduled to go back into the studio next year, to record the follow-up to Loveless, the best album nobody's ever heard. (Actually, the friends and family who stop by here probably have heard Loveless, but I'm hoping a stranger drifts through.)

Of course, MBV was "going back into the studio" for about ten years before the pretense was dropped; still, this time it sounds like it's going to happen.

Courtesy of YouTube, the video for "Only Shallow" that introduced me to MBV back in the day, one late night on 120 Minutes (nostalgia!):







No, it's not that much visually, and it shouldn't be--but oh that sound, that epic, swooshing wall of sound. Come back, MBV! We've missed you!



Read more...

Wait... what?!

>> Friday, November 23, 2007

Well, it looks like there is something good that can be said about the Creation Museum in Kentucky: unlike real science, it's not killing the universe, since Creationists never actually observe anything.

Damn you, Heisenberg! First cats, now the entire universe! Does your perfidy known no bounds? (Or are those bounds changing because we're watching...? No!!!



Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

37,793/50,000
Words

Still behind at the end of my likely output for Friday? Yep. But at the end of day 23 I should have 38,341, so this puts me a mere 548 words behind. And, perhaps more importantly, I think I see how things end.

Whether this holds together or not may be something to figure out during editing. I probably jump too quickly to the disintegration part of the story (there may be things to add, there). And it may be less funny than it is ugly or sad, tho' I'm not sure that's a problem. The main character is turning out to be a bit more of a shit in the final act, and if that's a problem it's only because I might not be establishing he's a shit early enough in the story.

A harder question is whether he gets rehabilitated or not. Maybe, maybe not. I don't necessarily want a happy ending, but I'm also not sure an unhappy ending is palatable: I do want to end up with something that someone might enjoy reading if hypothetically given the opportunity.

The good news, the best news, is that I think I'm at a point where I can not only make up my deficit and get ahead again.

Anyway, that's the daily update.




Read more...

Black Friday, nerd style.

Fantasy Flight Games has started their annual holiday sale. Just thought you might like to know. It's a good chance to grab some goodies for cheap, and the company has what appears to be their entire Midnight RPG line on sale. (This is a good deal, tho' disconcerting for anyone who might be concerned that Midnight is being completely supplanted by their ANIMA line--and while I like anime and RPGs and the idea of anime-based RPGs, and while it's obvious that Guardians Of Order's implosion left a BESM-shaped void in the gaming market--it's also hard not to feel a little wounded by the "WOTCiness" of ANIMA: "If you really want to enjoy our RPG, you should also buy the special minis and collectible card game, too! MWAH-HA-HA! Suckers!")

Anyway, Midnight is a great d20 fantasy setting. The premise can be summed up as "What if Sauron had won the War Of The Ring?" Of course all the places and names are changed, copyrights being what they are and all, but that's the soul of the game, down to hobbits ahem halflings being at the bottom of the food chain. (Literally: orcs sometimes eat them.) Gnomes, always underutilized in D&D type games, get to be the WWII French (la resistance, smugglers, or maybe collaborators) while the elves and dwarves face extinction and humans cringe under tyranny's yoke. It's fun stuff; I've never had a chance to run a campaign, but it'll almost certainly be the next fantasy game I run if I ever have the chance to get a group together.

But, anyway, if you're a gamer, you might hit the sale site and look around. While you won't see any flagship games up on the block--are you kidding?--five dollars for anything by Reiner Knizia is a bargain. You might see something you like. Go on. You know you want to....



Read more...

Three of my mother's victims were delicious last night when the bodies were mashed with gouda...







Read more...

Happy Thanksgiving!

>> Thursday, November 22, 2007

Here's something funny from McSweeney's Internet Tendency. I think the author has truly nailed the experience of the first European settlers arriving in the new world.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Wednesday, November 21, 2007

33,789/50,000
Words

This puts me one full day behind, and we're going to roll like that: I have friends in town this evening and family in town tomorrow--we'll work on the 5,000 word deficit on Friday, which is when I expect the earliest next update.

Have a happy Thanksgiving! (Or, if you're dropping in from outside the States, have a happy 22nd of November!)




Read more...

To boldly kick the ass of things... the asses of which... um... haven't been kicked... before!

Wired presents a list of "Star Trek's 10 Cheesiest Classic Creatures." No, Wesley Crusher isn't on the list: this is classic Trek, or "ST:TOS" as we geeks like to say. ("Star Trek: The Original Series," for the non-nerds in my family who might drop by.)

The list includes some of the usual suspects, though it strikes me as slightly unfair that The Gorn is on the list. I like Gorn. Yeah, I know: listen to me. Well it gets worse: one reason I like Gorn is that they were one of the coolest races in Starfleet Command. Yes, I have now defended a Star Trek preference by making reference to a Star Trek computer game--you might want to see a doctor now; I can't promise it's not contagious.

The other thought I had going through the list was something I hadn't picked up on before. Wired's fifth choice is "Redjac" from the episode "Wolf In The Fold." What is Redjac, and why is Redjac so cheesy, you ask? Because:

As it turns out, Jack the Ripper was actually a swirling pool of colorful clouds that traveled with humanity into space, killing ever more women and taking on ever more stupid names. It takes control of the Enterprise's computers, and is defeated by a combination of Bones injecting everyone with happy juice and Spock telling the computer to calculate π to the last digit.


Hey, yeah, I remember that episode! But I'd forgotten the part where Redjac turns out to be a "swirling pool of colorful clouds." What I did remember about "Wolf," that isn't mentioned in the Wired article, is that the episode was written by a man named Robert Bloch....

Oh, now I'm being coy. Who the hell do I think I'm kidding? Robert Bloch is only a horror/fantasy/SF legend. He's only the guy who wrote Psycho, after all. (I think Alfred Hitchcock may have made a movie out of it... dammit, there's that faux "coy" gimmick again.)

And here's the interesting connection I made that I hadn't before: anyone who's seen "Wolf" and is familiar with Bloch's work knows that Bloch had a thing for Jack The Ripper--one of Bloch's most famous short stories is "Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper," itself a tale that's been adapted into several TV and movie versions. But it's also a well-known fact that Bloch was one of H.P. Lovecraft's protégés--Bloch and Lovecraft even killed each other in a pair of short stories (Lovecraft's killing of Bloch, by means of an avatar of Nyarlathotep, can be read here, among other places.)

And one of HPL's most famous stories is, of course... "The Colour Out Of Space," in which an amorphous pool of extraterrestrial color crashes in New England and kills a farmer's family....

Well I'll be damned. How did I miss that for so many years? Nice one, Mr. Bloch.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Tuesday, November 20, 2007

32,365/50,000
Words

At the end of today, I'm supposed to have 33,340 words. So I'm what? 975 words behind? About half a day, then. Roughly. Not bad, considering I didn't get around to writing until around 10:30 p.m. or so. Not sure what the delay was.

I wasn't feeling too funny. This may be another day of stuff that needs to be deleted, although I probably have saved myself some trouble by shunting a character off to the side.

For some reason, when Our Hero got on the bus to go on tour, his girlfriend got on the bus with him. I'm not sure why she did that, except that she wanted to. The problem, or a problem, is that she didn't really need to be there. In fact, she was kind of an extra dangly piece at that point. She's a good character and all, so it's nothing personal: but she's secondary to the roadshow part of the story, and as long as she's there with the other characters her whereabouts sort of have to be accounted for and her presence reckoned with. If Our Hero is in a motel room, or goes to dinner, or gets hassled by cops, where's Zoë (the girlfriend)?

So tonight she went home. Which was something I think she was likely to do anyway. Hopefully, it was an organic thing. It got a little complicated, though, because she and Stewart had a fight, and I didn't want that to become a major complication--she couldn't really dump him at this stage. I mean, she could, but that takes the story off somewhere else it doesn't need to go.

Another complication is the realization that I've now exhausted my "page of funny bits that can happen to the hero." When I started this, I wrote up a page of things that could happen in the story, little one-liners for a little story. It doesn't sound like much, but it seemed like more than enough for a story that verges on novella-length. I even worried it might be "too much" to happen to one guy, too much Spinal Tap redux. I didn't want to get too over the top. But I've scratched some scenes, and others seem improbable, and so I find my list is now... done. Oops.

We'll see, though. I'm still telling myself it has promise, and that I'm not going to chicken out with this the way I have with other pieces... assuming it doesn't suck.

I think my dad recently started looking at the blog, and other people may be drifting in. When I first started posting NaNoWriMo updates, I included a link to the excerpt of the first chunk--that link has probably gotten hard to find, so here it is again, just in case you want to look. It's still the first section: I thought about updating it with the masturbation scene, which I finally wrote the other day--I think the masturbation scene might be kinda funny. But I'm leaving the original excerpt for now.

Anyway, that's your NaNoWriMo update for the day....



Read more...

Hey, maybe this explains all that foot-tapping they do in men's rooms!

Blogger Accordion Guy (Joey deVilla) has an interesting observation about the ten most-viewed pages on Conservapedia, the right-wing "answer" to wikipedia. He seems to think there's a... um... theme evident.

This actually reminds me of a piece Christopher Hitchens did (an article! I'm talking about an article!) three months ago in Slate, in which he noted that research done for a 1970 doctoral thesis found that many men who sought out sexual encounters with other men in "tearooms" "compensated for their conduct by adopting extreme conservative postures in public."

In any case, based on the specific subjects the conservatives seem to be interested in, I can't help thinking Conservapedia probably doesn't offer what they need: they probably ought to visit some different websites, not that it's really any of my business. It's just a suggestion, is all.






Read more...

Mr. Whipple? Not Mr. Whipple!

Mr. Whipple is dead. Or, to be more precise, Dick Wilson, who portrayed Mr. Whipple in several million television commercials for Charmin™ toilet paper, has passed away. (True fact: the first TV commercial for Charmin™ toilet paper aired during the very first television broadcast on June 13, 1872, immediately before President Ulysses S. Grant gave the first televised Presidential speech in American history! The President was even sober for this momentous occasion, at considerable personal sacrifice!)

The essentially surreal nature of the Charmin™ campaign is captured, I think, in this comment from Associated Press:

Wilson made more than 500 commercials as Mr. George Whipple, a man consumed with keeping bubbly housewives from fondling toilet paper. The punch line of most spots was that Whipple himself was a closeted Charmin-squeezer.

Think about it: what traumatic event in Mr. George Whipple's life led to his undeniable obsession--no, paranoia--with preventing the "fondling" of a consumer paper product intended to clean the nether regions of offending residues? Or was he merely a concerned retailer, worried that over-excited housewives might somehow damage the toilet paper rolls inside the plastic packaging? Perhaps at some point, early in his career, an angry customer returned to his store demanding a partial refund because the Charmin™ rolls she purchased earlier in the day would not properly unspool when placed on the roller beside the toilet. Concerned, Mr. Whipple returned the woman her money, but then began to research the problem. After much thought, having gone through piles of legal pads and scores of pens, he came upon a testable hypothesis: what if the spooling problem was caused by lopsided cardboard cores at the centers of the toilet paper rolls? But what could cause that? He must have made a personal visit to the Charmin™ factory, assuring himself that it wasn't a manufacturing problem. From there, he rode in the delivery trucks, satisfying himself that the men who delivered Charmin™ from the factory to the store exercised the greatest diligence and caution imaginable. So, at last, he reluctantly set up a blind near the Charmin™ display--only to discover that many of his own customers squeezed the Charmin™! (Customers? No doubt some of the miscreants came into his store and squeezed the Charmin™ without even making a purchase! Not even a pack of gum!)

But there was more to Mr. Wilson than Mr. Whipple, evidently. A scroll down his IMDB page reveals that he played an insurance adjuster in the classic Twilight Zone episode "Escape Clause." I would love, at this point in the blog entry, to include a YouTube or Google Video link to the episode--it really is a good one. But the most you can find on either site is a two-minute clip, and while it's an entertaining clip, it's doesn't have Mr. Wilson in it, so what's the point of sharing it here? (A third site had the whole episode at some point, but pulled it when someone--Viacom, presumably--sent them angry law-talking letters. Not to begrudge Carol Serling or the Serling kids anything, but it's a fifty year-old TV episode we're talking about here. And I suspect they don't see a whole lot from it anyway, once Viacom takes its piece out.)

So, I suppose you'll just have to remember Mr. Wilson as Mr. Whipple, and have to think uneasy thoughts about the latter's toilet paper fetish. Did the fictional character ever bleed into the actor's life, one wonders? Did Mr. Wilson stand alone in his bathroom sometimes, squeezing the Charmin™, only to remind himself with a start that he was Dick Wilson, not George Whipple?

I guess it's too late to ask him.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Monday, November 19, 2007

30,218/50,000
Words

So, I remain a day behind.

That part's not good, but I did have my day brightened when I opened the latest junk mail from NaNoWriMo HQ. They send you updates and things, you see, and most of them really aren't that useful or impressive--they're cheerleading messages, really. "Ra! You can do it! Yes, you can!" Which is no more than what you expect from them.

The latest cheerleading message was from Neil Gaiman, and I didn't read it until this morning even though it entered my mailbox Saturday. I didn't expect too much. "You can do it! Ra!" was pretty much what I expected, you know. And that's what the message was, matter of fact. But then I came to this, in particular:

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"

I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"

"You don't remember?"

"Not really."

"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."

I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.

Now see, that was a very nice thing for Mr. Gaiman to say. Yes, I know he literally said to everyone, or everyone on the NaNoWriMo mailing list. But so what? He's right. I know that. Should have known it when I was bitching and moaning the other day about how stuck I was. So, I'm feeling a lot better now. Or a little better. I'm still behind, but not seriously behind, and every book has these kinds of problems; I probably had them when I did that awful children's novel years ago, and--like Mr. Gaiman--I forgot all about it when the damn thing was done.

So, there we are.



Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Sunday, November 18, 2007

28,272/50,000
Words

Shit. Well, this ain't good. I've written as much as I think I can do today, pulling the words like teeth, and I'm around 1,800 words behind. Still, I have time this week. I should be able to get things caught up, although I'm now about a day behind.

I'm still not sure I'm hitting the notes I want to hit. The idea was that this book would be kinda funny, and I'm afraid it's kinda not. Maybe it's something I should scale back after I hit 50,000--maybe it would be better as a novella.

Doubting the work is natural and inevitable. Part of the onsite risk when you're doing this. And it's something you should try to excise. The doubt doesn't help anybody in any way at all.

So, anyway, I'm a day behind. And that's where I'm going to have to leave it today. I just don't think I can throw anything else up there. And despite doing two ficlets and a couple of blog comments, you'll notice I'm slightly neglecting Giant Midgets today, with this one blog entry being my sum contribution to the online void.

Oh well, as the song goes, whatever, nevermind.




Read more...

Quelle horreur!

>> Saturday, November 17, 2007

When I got up this morning, I'd been booted out of the matrix, and no red pill. When I'd gone to bed last night, the internet was just fine. I'd left DownThemAll! sucking down a bunch of old Pseudopod podcasts--I only recently discovered the site, and I thought it might be fun to listen to a couple of them when I drive up to the mountains for a conference at the end of the month (and the rest I might eventually listen to at the office during lunch). But when I got up--stalled? Snagged? What? How can this be?

So I did the usual things you do when you're trying to fix a computer problem. Here's an old joke:

A mechanic, an electrician, and an IT professional are in a car, riding down the road. Suddenly, the car sputters and stalls out; they manage to pull over to the side of the road, pop the hood, and gather around.

"It's probably the transmission," the mechanic says.

"You have no idea what you're talking about," the electrician says, "it's obviously the alternator."

"You're both nuts," the IT pro says. "All we do is jump in, put the key in the ignition, and keep trying to restart it until it works...."
So, yeah, when I can't find a software solution, I unplug and replug the Westell modem BellSouth sent me when I got DSL. Not that I'm an IT guy, I just know how these things work: there are invisible gnomes inside them.

Eventually I'm so desperate that I actually call the AT&T helpline. (BellSouth is now AT&T again. Thank the venality and/or stupidity of our friends at the FCC.) After convincing them that I've already rebooted the modem, they lead me through all sorts of useless procedures before they figure out they can't help me. The lady on the phone is surprisingly nice, but useless. They decide they have to send a guy out.

The guy is incredibly nice, but he can't get anything to work, either. And it turns out--how does AT&T make any money? Oh yeah, monopoly--it turns out that the professional internet repair guy has to call the exact same help desk I called. You'd think the field guy would have the top-secret phone number to AT&T's hidden mountain fortress headquarters, or maybe (at the very least) some kind of Theora Jones sitting back at AT&T HQ in front of a computer terminal, talking him through it as he wades through the crap, but no.

Eventually, he discovers (to nobody's real surprise) that the problem is outside the house. It's a bad DSL port. So now I'm online again, and hopefully we're fixed. And I gotta confess: I'm useless without the damn internet. I know it's pathetic, but I pretty much have to have a browser open or I feel... urgsghahgs, or something. (Feel free to drop that word into your casual conversations.) I don't use cell phones, I don't have cable--the interwebs is my news/communications/entertainment one-stop solution.

However, the whole thing has set me back a bit. I'm not sure I'm going to get any writing done today. If you don't see a NaNoWriMo daily update today, consider this to be it. Meanwhile, I'm off to do some of the errands I was going to do earlier today, before I got jacked back in.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Friday, November 16, 2007

Meh, I'm on vacation
this coming week.


Yeah, I think I'm taking tonight off and planning on working extra hard over the next week. We'll see how well that works.




Read more...

Did he use his Jedi powers to see the future, or what?


Prescient quote of the day:


If it wasn't for this last film which casts a dark shadow retrospectively over the other, I would heap praise on Star Wars. The first two films really were astonishingly good, even subtle sometimes—and that is unusual in this sort of area. The famous scene in the bar in the first film, for instance, was a beautifully understated film clip. (I think Lucas listened too much to the praise on this scene. If a few aliens are good, he must have thought, then a lot will be better. Hence all those damn muppets in the last film. Someone should have told him that aliens are like salt on your fish and chips. A few grains makes them tasty. A salt cellar full makes them inedible.)

I recently saw the first two films as a double feature, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I would be happy to repeat the experience. For all their faults, they do have a magic about them. But the last film is tired, and the magic isn't there. If Lucas ever makes the other films in the series, I hope that he can revitalise his ideas. If he doesn't, then all we will end up with is a repeat of the 1950s B-picture. Only this time in colour instead of black and white. Cinemascope and surround-sound instead of gloomyscope and flicker-vision. And that will be a shame. Lucas has already proved that he can do it. The question is, will he?

--Alan Robson, reviewing Return Of The Jedi in 1984.
"Everything Happens In Threes"
(First published in Warp 39, March 1984.)


Oh, and here's something else: if you go read the review, note that Robson refers to Jedi as completing "the middle trilogy of the project." But wait! How is that possible? Lucas has said that he never intended for there to be nine movies! There were always only going to be six! Six! Only six! Why on Earth would a writer in 1984 seem to think that "Episode IV" through "Episode VI" constituted a "middle trilogy"? Who could have given him such an idea?

Hm. Who indeed, I wonder?

He must have imagined it....




Read more...

Note to self...

>> Thursday, November 15, 2007

...if you ever build a time machine, go back in time to rob a lost tomb, and accidentally meet up with yourself, do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, get into a fight with yourself and knock yourself unconscious.

It leads to having a really bad beard.



P.S.

Try to increase your chemico-electroid output, dude. Have you taken a good look at it lately?




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

25,364/50,000
Words

Oh hell yeah! I didn't think I had enough words in me to catch up, but I'm now slightly ahead!

Thirty days in November, 50,000 words to write--do the math: yeah, I'm just over the halfway mark, right on schedule. Rock on!

It's a little bit of a mess, actually: I started with the band on the bus, then jumped back to the band before the bus. The logical thing, probably, will be to go back in editing and move some sections around. Simple enough, though.

Stewart had a good gig, but there was a plant, and Stewart used his own name during the show. That may burn.

I'm worried, tho' that I may not be getting the surreal tone I really want. It ties back to the "domestic focus" problem I mentioned yesterday. The situation in the book is utterly ridiculous--it's supposed to be. If that doesn't come off, this may be a trunk novel yet, which isn't really what I hoped I might pull off when the idea for this one came to me. I hope this might be a turd that, once polished, is worth passing around. Well, we'll see.

Halfway, baby! As teh kidz say, "Woot!"

Addendum:

As if my current mood couldn't get any better, CVB's "Take The Skinheads Bowling" just came up on the shuffle play. Double woot!





Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2007

22,734/50,000
Words

Still behind, thanks to the Tori show and this blog; I didn't write Cream And Bastards last night, but I did get to bed late doing my cruddy little review of the show. No regrets, just the reality that I've got a 604-word deficit at the end of day 14.

But that's not really that bad. Most days, I've had a 200-word surplus. I think (I hope) I can get 604 words caught up in a really good weekend. And while there will be some family time impinging on my writing--and family's more important, don't get me wrong--there will also be some vacation time I'm taking next week. Write! Write! (I imagine these last two words being shouted by Bela Lugosi in lieu of "Pull the strings!" in Glen Or Glenda.)

A bigger problem is closure. I can see this book being longer than 50,000 words when I'm done. I'll consider myself a winner even if the book is "incomplete" at 50k words at the month's end. The problem, though, is that I still don't really have an ending. Actually, that's only part of the problem. The other facet of the problem is that I've gotten so bogged down in the hero's domestic situation that I'm not quite sure how to get him back on the road (which is where all the good stuff ought to happen).

One temporary solution may be to "cheat" by simply having the character on the road and going back and writing anything that needs to fill the gap after November 30th. There's a good chance that that's exactly what I'll do, actually, but it's not quite satisfying.

Anyway, that's the daily update.




Read more...

Gettin' in tune...

Gibson is introducing a guitar that will tune itself, and that will retune to alternate tunings with the selection of a switch.

As far as the latter part goes, the only novel thing is that the guitar physically retunes: players using gear like the Roland VG-88 have effectively had this capability via MIDI for years now.

Apparently, and not surprisingly, there are guitar players complaining about the thing. Most guitar players are pretty conservative when it comes to the instrument, and that's why this isn't the least bit surprising. My thoughts, as someone who has dabbled in guitar for half my life, is that this thing is basically a toy. Not because it's a bad idea, but because I expect that a machine with that many fine moving parts isn't going to like being knocked about in the case on the way to gigs, then pulled out and rattled around under the hot lights while a guitarist sweats all over it. And gigs strike me as the one place where this thing might be useful to a serious guitarist--I'm not sure the ability to instantly change tunings has as much application in a studio, where it might be just as effective to switch guitars not just for the tuning but the tone.

The argument that this will just make new players lazy isn't one I can take seriously: the difficult art of turning a knob until a string is at pitch (once the exclusive domain of monks in a remote Tibetan monastery only accessible to those who carried an exquisite and rare blue flower from the mountain's base to the top... no, wait that's how you become Batman, not how you tune a guitar, never mind...) ... as I was saying, this fine and rare art of guitar tuning has survived the transition from pitch pipes to affordable digital and strobe tuners. It's not really the most essential part of the art, you know, more like a brief inconvenience at startup. (And you realize, don't you, that pianists don't even tune their own instruments themselves at all, right? Wusses!)

But given that the first generation of this thing will probably spend all its time in the shop, and that guitarists in general have been loathe to adopt all sorts on innovations (there are still guitar players who treat digital delay the same way the Amish treat automobiles), I don't expect this thing to ever become cost-effective enough to be ubiquitous. It'll be a cute parlor trick for people with lots of money who occasionally play guitar, pulled out to impress friends with the "neat guitar I just got; see it's tuning itself, look at the knobs!" And that's as far as it'll go.

I think. Hey, I've probably been wrong more often than I've been right....




Read more...

Tori! Tori! Tori!

>> Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tori Amos played at Ovens Auditorium tonight. It was at least the third time I've seen her play live: I caught her the last time she was at Ovens, on the tour for Scarlet's Walk and in Atlanta a year or two after that when she was on the road with Ben Folds.

I have to admit I wasn't exactly psyched for this one. I love Amos, have for years. But there was something about American Doll Posse, her latest album, that left me a little underwhelmed. It might be that Amos seems to have spent way too much time lately trying to get away from herself when herself is perfectly wonderful: ADP continues up on a conceit that worked poorly on her covers album, Strange Little Girls, in which she assumes several alter egos to perform the various songs. (There are hints of an alter ego on Scarlet's Walk, but the fact that the alter ego appears to be a traveling, musically-inclined redhead means that the "concept," such that it is lasts about as long as The Beatles' pretense that they're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on that album.)

Or it may have suffered in comparison: the same day I bought ADP I also bought another album infused with an American singer's disappointment in his country and rage at his leaders and their sanctimony, Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero. Both albums have songs targeted squarely at the current regime, but where "Yo George" sounds a bit too precious ("I salute to you Commander/and I sneeze/'Cause I have Now/an Allergy/To your policies it seems"), "Capital G" sneers in a way that possibly hasn't been heard since Johnny Rotten first took the piss out of Queen Elizabeth ("I pushed a button and elected him to office and a/he pushed a button and it dropped a bomb," Reznor hiccups). Listening to the two songs, it's hard not to remember that Amos has expatriated herself to Ireland for at least a decade now, while Reznor had (at one point) a residence and recording studio in New Orleans, the domestic poster child for the Bush administration's utter incompetence and callousness.

But the show!

The opening act was a guitar soloist from South Africa who goes by "Yoav" (his EP, on sale during the intermission, has an informative sticker on the front saying, "yo-ahv"). He played five songs, four originals and a somber but effective cover of The Pixies "Where Is My Mind." Yoav's big gimmick--and I'm utterly jealous at how well he makes it work for himself--is to use an echo box to create percussive loops that he plays over. Years ago, I saw the late, great Warren Zevon do a roof-blowing version of "Boom Boom Mancini" on the acoustic guitar using a similar technical trick, but Zevon had nothing on this Yoav character. For one thing, Yoav played his guitar as a percussion instrument more than he played it as a stringed instrument, a trick I've dabbled with but never gotten to sound half as good. The result is a sound that's (yes, you can punch me in the arm for saying this) synthetic and organic at once. The harshly rhythmic, percussive loops might sound at home on Black Celebration even though they're initiated on a classical acoustic, and then there's his real-time strumming and thwacking over it. I picked up the EP, and if it lives up to the live version, I'm looking forward to his full-length debut in January.

Tori came out to "Bouncing Off Clouds," from ADP, and went into a first set that I most enjoyed for it's inclusion of Lloyd Cole's "Rattlesnakes," by far the strongest track off Strange Little Girls. She's backed by three musicians on this tour, the usual suspects Matt Chamberlain and Jon Evans, joined by guitarist Dan Phelps. Based on the lightshow she's brought with her this time, the addition of a guitarist to her usual tour lineup is no doubt intended to "rock" more, or at least add a few bricks to what is presumably meant to be a wall of sound. Unfortunately--and this is through no fault of Phelps'--I'm not sure there's room for the guitar in Amos' sound: this is, after all, a woman who's referenced the fact that she plays piano like it's lead guitar in interviews and in song. I thought Amos' piano got a bit lost during the first set, and--again, no insult intended against Phelps--I didn't go to see Dan Phelps play guitar.

I also found myself worrying about a lack of warmth: Amos went straight through the songs of the first set without a pause; no banter, no flirting. Which was disheartening because Amos spent part of her childhood in North Carolina and has relatives in this area: on the Scarlet's Walk tour, she chatted about visiting cousins between songs and played like it was a triumphant homecoming. Which it was, of course.

It's a conceit of this tour that Amos goes backstage at the end of what I'm referring to as the "first set" and changes into one of the characters from ADP while the rest of the band keeps playing a raucous version of "Professional Widow" based on the remix included on Tales Of A Librarian while the lighting system went into seizure-induction mode. It was only fitting, seeing how she had family in the audience, that she came back out as "Tori," red-headed and in purple lamé. At least I think she was Tori. She didn't look like "Clyde," the next closest match. (This is an example of the problem with the whole alter-ego concept. The truth is, it didn't entirely work when David Bowie did it, either: musically speaking, Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke were still David Bowie, and as far as I know, when David Bowie goes on tour now, he doesn't run back stage and pop a red mullet wig on his head when he wants to sing "Rebel Rebel.")

This part of the show kicked it into high gear, with an appreciative crowd spending most of this set on their feet. There was, however, a bit of a hitch during "Big Wheel" when Amos appeared to get pissed at a fan in the front row: I believe the phrase was, "get the fuck off my stage." Whether this was part of the "Tori" character, a joke, teasing a local friend or family member, or Amos getting bitchy and nearly pulling a Roger Waters I can't say. If it was the latter, she quickly caught herself and flirted with the audience, telling the crowd that she knew North Carolinians would shake their asses and picking the song back up. I hope she was having a good time; the crowd certainly seemed to be.

She did slow it down and play a couple of songs solo, just her and the piano. Most notable was her cover of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat," a fan favorite that's shown up in her sets for years now. She also played part of the second set as a trio, with Phelps disappearing offstage for several songs; I hate to sound like I'm dissing Mr. Phelps, who was a decent guitarist, but this was possibly the most effective part of the show. It's really not his fault that he's backing a virtuoso pianist whose leads are one of the main things people came to see.

The first encore consisted of "Precious Things" and "Tear In Your Hand." The band barely left the stage before coming back out to play "Hey Jupiter." The band truly did come together as a quartet on this last number, with everything coming together for the finale.

It was a good show. Not the best Tori Amos show I've ever seen, but well worth the price of admission. I wouldn't mind, though, if the next time she hits the road she remembers that she's Tori Amos, asskicking pianist and vocalist, and that she doesn't need a huge lightshow, extra musicians, or a costume change to blow away a crowd. Hey, I'm a Pink Floyd fan--I can totally dig the lights and theatrics. But tonight the music ended up in the backseat when it really should have been driving. Still, don't get me wrong--I had a good time and I hope Amos did, too.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Monday, November 12, 2007

20,627/50,000
Words

Still ahead, but that's going to change tomorrow. Tomorrow night I'm seeing Tori Amos play, and won't be writing. So there won't be an update tomorrow. (Whether or not there will be a blog entry may depend on what time I get home; if I'm not out too late, I'll hopefully be able to throw up some kind of review/impression of the Tori show.)

The bad thing with NaNoWriMo, I'm finding, is that there's a certain level of writing just to be writing that may not be helping the actual story along. This, Bruce, is why we edit.

(I think Linus Roache should be hired to do an entire series of self-improvement tapes/CDs/podcasts in the voice of Thomas Wayne. I would totally buy those, and I hate those things. "And why do we invest in a stable-growth retirement funds, Bruce? That's right, Bruce--so we can continue to live on a stable income after we're no longer able to work." Those things would be awesome. I can only hope Mr. Roache continues to use his patient, fatherly voice for good. Can you imagine him as a serial killer: "And why does it rub the lotion on its skin, Bruce? That's right, Bruce--so it doesn't get the hose again.")

Anyway, the fact that I just went onto a tangential riff about what Linus Roache could be doing with the best dad-voice since Hugh Beaumont ruled the Cleaver household without ever letting on that he secretly wished his eldest would run away to enlist and his youngest would drink bleach again so he could start tapping Barbara Billingsley on the dining room table again (not that any good came of the last two times he'd done that, but how do you resist?)... the fact that I just went on two hugely unnecessary and run-on riffs only proves that it's time to play Neverwinter Nights for a little while and then go upstairs to watch Big O on DVD and then to bed, because tomorrow is a work day and I need my sleep so I can think normal thoughts until Tori takes the stage. Phwew!




Read more...

It's awesome when that happens...

The last two tracks to come up on shuffle play* were:

"Because The Night" - Patti Smith, live 5/13/1979 (Philadelphia bootleg)
"Because The Night" - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, (Live 1975-1985)

That was freakin' awesome.



*Winamp on the Gateway/Windows machine hooked up to a huge hard drive with my audio files, from a selection of tracks "never-played" since Winamp was reinstalled on the machine--7,371 "unplayed" tracks in all. Somewhat long odds, if you ask me.


Read more...

It's a really cool machine

One Laptop Per Child has started their "Give One Get One" sale today: $400 gets you one XO laptop for yourself and one laptop for a child in a developing country.

This is a really, really cool machine. It's rugged. It uses flash memory instead of a moving-parts hard drive. The monitor is designed to conserve power and to be visible under variable-light conditions (i.e. it can be set to be viewable in direct sunlight--a problem for LCD screens--as well as indoor conditions). The Linux distro used has been given a child-friendly and network-friendly interface (the XO can automatically detect nearby XO laptops and create a mesh network with them). It can be recharged with a hand-crank. It's a really, really cool machine.

Anyway, I thought I'd pass the word along....




Read more...

John Scalzi suffers for your sins...

Writer John Scalzi finally (after months of promises) went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. This was something he agreed to do if he could get a minimal donation from his readers to Americans United for Separation of Church and State; somewhat to Scalzi's chagrin, his readers donated in droves to get him to go-- he asked for $250 and got $5,118.36. (I regret to confess that I was not one of the readers who contributed to the trip.)

After seeing the photos, I'm thinking maybe the poor bastard should have held out for more money. It's... stunning.

Scalzi's photoessay on Flickr can be found here. His account on Whatever, his blog, can be found here. It's funny, and you should look at the photos and read the essay--just be forewarned that some of the photos in the photoessay will cause your brain to hurt. This is quite an accomplishment on the part of the Creation Museum in and of itself: as you may be aware, the brain has no pain receptors, which is why they can use local anesthesia when performing brain surgery. For a placard at the Creation Museum to cause your brain to hurt, then, must be a miracle, and possible evidence that God exists. (This last assertion is at least as logical as the plaque depicted in this picture, which is an example of brain-hurtery at its finest, or worst, or something.)

If you don't have the time for the photoessay, at least read his blog entry, please. The Creation Museum is exactly the kind of thing that any rational person trying to understand what's wrong with America right now should be familiar with--but if everybody forks over their own $19.95, well, that will just encourage them. Then they'll end up opening Creation Museum Land in Anaheim and Creation World Resort Paris in France... and nobody should hate the French that much. The French helped liberate us from the British. Also, the French have nuclear weapons and a healthy rocketry program, I'm just saying. World opinion would totally be on their side.

Scalzi ultimately concludes the Museum isn't a front in the culture war. I hope he's right. But I also can't help feeling that the so-called culture is an asymmetric war. We get the good writers, musicians and filmmakers; they get the Left Behind books, the movies based on the Left Behind books, and... are there any songs about the Left Behind books? But that doesn't keep hordes of otherwise reasonable people from believing "evolution is just a theory" or from signing petitions favoring Constitutional amendments defining marriage as "one man + one woman" or voting someone like Bush back into office a second time. An asymmetric war doesn't have fronts. If I'm right, I have to worry that Scalzi's hopeful observation is meaningless: does the Creation Museum really aspire to be a front, or does it aspire to be a training camp for the cultural jihadists of the Christian literalist right? They might not ever beat us on the battlefield (to steal a famous line from Col. Harry Summers), but that may be irrelevant.

Anyway, go read Scalzi's thoughts. He only suffered through the Creation Museum for your sins. Show a little gratitude, eh?




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Sunday, November 11, 2007

18,541/50,000
Words

I think this actually brings me up to where I ought to be at the end of the day. Probably won't get much more done, because the caffeine in my coffee is catching up to me and making me a little jittery.

Had an excellent brunch at Boudreaux's--a shrimp and tasso omelet--then came over to Smelly Cat and got some solid work done (I hope). Some of it's kind of funny, at least (I hope).

It wasn't a great start, but when I got rolling, things came pretty smoothly. Our Hero has his new band, and they've had a good jam session. I just need to get him on the road now so that things can start going all wrong for him again.

After months of abnormally high temperatures, things are finally getting chilly around here. The widget in my KDE panel says it's 48°F out at the airport. It's about damn time, tho' it would have been nice to have a fall this year--it seems like we pretty much went from a raging summer to winter without anything in between.

I'm crossing the street to have a burger or something, and I'll be back tomorrow to say something clever. No, wait: I shouldn't promise that. The clever bit, I mean. I'll be back tomorrow. Clever, though? Mm. Maybe. Maybe not.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Saturday, November 10, 2007

14,795/50,000
Words

Technically, I'm still a day behind. Sunday is normally my "big writing day," though, even when I'm not doing NaNoWriMo. By which I mean that, budget permitting, I walk down the street to Boudreaux's for brunch and then across the street to Smelly Cat and spend the day there drinking coffee or chai lattes or whatever. A chai latte is much better for focusing--probably all in my head, I know--but the coffee is cheaper. (And, at Smelly Cat, better than the chai lattes, which taste alright but come from a powder. But good luck finding a "real" chai latte in Charlotte, as far as I know.) Typically, but not always, I'll end up doing dinner down there, too, usually at the Solstice Tavern, which apparently doesn't have a website. Solstice isn't terribly special--just a neighborhood sports bar--but they have pretty good bar food and some cute waitresses.

Tomorrow I'll be doing the hangout thing for sure just because it's a three-day weekend for me. The budget shall permit it, and no other way around it! Take that, finances! Whether I'll be productive or not remains to be seen.




Read more...

Don't bother reading it, just wait for her to explain it to you later....

J.K. Rowling has apparently finished her first post-Harry Potter book, a charity volume of short stories called The Tales Of Beedle The Bard. Apparently only seven handwritten copies have been made, one of which will be sold to raise money for a children's charity, the rest to be given away as gifts.

I just hope she remembered this time to actually write down any crucial subplots that might define the characters and justify their actions.




Read more...

One tough bastard

Norman Mailer is dead. (Perhaps they should double check that; it's possible he's merely taking a light nap.) I can only assume Death snuck upon him from behind, possibly hiding behind furniture so as not to be seen and have his ass kicked.

Seriously, though--I respected Mailer. Not sure I could put my finger on why--I think the only novel-length piece of his I've read was The Executioner's Song. I've read a number of shorter pieces and interviews in places like Playboy (in fact, there's an interview with Mailer in the current December issue that I haven't gotten around to reading yet). And while I had to admire the pugnacity of Mailer's style, I can't necessarily say that I thought the work was good. I'd usually end up disagreeing with him, or deciding his arguments were horribly facile, or finding some other deep flaw in his perceptions. Take, for instance, Executioner's Song, wherein (as far as I recall, it's been years since I read it) a shallow, sad, manipulative man who murdered two people is turned into some kind of nihilistic hero who shows some kind of existential bravery for trying to goad his girlfriend into suicide and getting the state of Utah to shoot him. Or at least that's what Mailer tries to do--the discerning reader wonders what the hell is wrong with Norman Mailer?

But the man could write. And he was tough as hell. And I respected his work even when I didn't like it. Maybe it's time I got around to giving The Naked And The Dead a shot.




Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Friday, November 09, 2007

No words for you!

I just can't do it tonight. My brain is a mess. Anything I wrote would be for the grinder anyway. Tonight is a night that my brain needs videogames or a DVD or maybe even both. Also, possibly, alcohol.

Which means I'll be playing catch-up, and possibly falling behind since I'm concerned about falling behind Tuesday as-is. But when you don't got it, you don't got it. And I don't got it.

It is, however, a three-day weekend for me. I have the 12th off because Veteran's Day falls on a Sunday. So, hopefully (fingers crossed) I'll be able to crank out some words this weekend. And I still have a handy page of "episodes"--it's not really an outline, but a list of things that I think would happen in the story. So, there's that.

If not.... If not, I may be pounding the hell out of these keys as the deadline approaches.

Instead of dwelling on that, however, watch this demonstration of why it sucks to work for Darth Vader instead:






Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Thursday, November 08, 2007

13,727/50,000
Words

The goal tonight was 13,336. I wrote just to be writing. I'm sorta tired, and I think what I ended up adding to the thicket was (a) unnecessary and should be deleted, (b) in the wrong part of the book, or (c) both.

The idea was that Stewart goes to see his old band play--they're still using his name, remember--and he thinks they suck. But then he sees all these reviews and they're rave reviews of the show. At first he thinks the reviewers are all crazy, but the positive reviews keep coming, even from fans.

There were two other rock anecdotes that I sort of wanted to work in, both Pink Floyd stories. The first is the one about how Syd Barrett would show up at Floyd gigs, back in '68 after he got kicked out of the band, and would stand in the front row, glaring at his replacement, David Gilmour. Which is a kind of funny and sad image, if you think about it. "Hi. You replaced me. You suck. I hate you." In Cream And Bastards the joke would be that Stewart thinks he's studying Brian Weldon's playing--Weldon being the band's other guitarist, the junkie who was going to be fired--and then Weldon goes and tells a rock journalist about how Stewart would pathetically show up at gigs and give him the evil eye. The joke being, at least partly, about how history is the interpretation of events, not the events themselves. Stewart stares at Brian: that's the underlying incident. But in his head, he's studying Brian's screw-ups, and in Brian's head he's glaring at him and wishing he would die.

(As far as the inspirational reality goes, who knows what Barrett was thinking when he showed up at Pink Floyd gigs; probably hateful things, but he'd kinda gone crazy at that point, so who knows....)

The second anecdote would simply be Roger Waters' description of the post-'86 Floyd as being "a pretty fair forgery." I'd love to have Stewart say the same thing about the touring Stewart Spalding Situation, but I think it would be just too obvious a reference. Still, I find a certain amount of humor in it--not in the words themselves, but in the circumstances. Waters' comment might be an accurate or inaccurate critique coming from anyone else (depending on whether you agreed with it), but coming from Waters, it's just such obvious sour grapes as to be laughable. It's like when Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth go after each other--who the hell do they think they're kidding? They're just pissed about who's in or out of Van Halen at the particular moment.

So, anyway, that's where I am--with some additional text that will probably get cut. I'm especially concerned with my word count right now because I've realized that I probably be doing any real writing this coming Tuesday--I'm seeing Tori Amos (hooray!), so I either need to be a day ahead come Wednesday, or I'm going to have to catch up. I'd rather be ahead.

Why did I do this to myself, again?

Oh yeah: because, as the old joke goes, it will feel so good when I stop. Heh.




Read more...

Of babes....

Apropos of nothing, I thought I'd post a semi-random entry to note that I needed to double-check the Wikipedia entry on Jefferson Airplane while I was working on Cream And Bastards Rise tonight, and I was reminded of the well-known fact that Grace Slick in her prime was a total babe. Not sure why I needed to share this, but I did. Maybe it's procrastination. Or maybe it's that babe-ness, the ephemeral quality of being a babe, should be celebrated whenever possible.

I also discovered she's almost 70, which is kinda depressing for some reason.

And now back to your previously scheduled program, already in progress....




Read more...

Could it be the hole truth at last?

Italian scientists believe they've traced the origins of a Siberian lake to a 30'-diameter fragment of whatever caused the 1908 Tunguska blast. They plan on going back and checking the lake bottom for extraterrestrial sediments: I can only hope (for all our sakes) that they consult experts from Miskatonic University or at least have one team member whose eyes and mouth have been sewn shut, just in case.




Read more...

Ironic, sort of?

I found myself on YouTube, and a random link led me to House Of 1000 Muppets, a surreal mashup of Rob Zombie and Jim Henson. Which led to Pulp Muppets, an even more surreal mashup of Quentin Tarantino and Jim Henson. Which, in turn, led me to a clip of the Muppets doing "Mah Nà Mah Nà" (from the soundtrack of an Italian porno, no lie) on The Muppet Show.

Guess which one of those three videos cracked me up the most?

Yeah, even after all these years... the winner, if it hasn't been pulled as a "terms of use violation":





Read more...

NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Wednesday, November 07, 2007

11,820/50,000

“If Bowie can be Ziggy Stardust and Robert Zimmerman can be Bob Dylan and Prince Rogers Nelson can be... Prince... I can fucking be... I can be... I can.... Fuck it. I'm going to make up a name,” he said, “and I'm going to fucking record a new album and hit the road. Fuck them. They don't get to win. I'm not letting them win. Fuck them.”

They fired him from his own band and told him he couldn't use his own name as a performer--they took his name, the bastards took his name. But Stewart Spalding has decided to fight back.

A decision I'm going to make him regret.

Heh.

Anyway, at day seven, I should have 11,669 words; as you can see, I'm still staying just ahead of goals. This puts me at a mere 26 pages of double-spaced, 10-pt. text. (MgOpen Canonica, a nice, simple font based on Times Roman. A font may seem like a trivial thing, but it can help... I don't know if "inspire" is the right word. You're looking at all these words, it doesn't help if you don't like looking at them. It's purely an aesthetic decision, and irrelevant, but whatever.)

Anyway, that's my quota for the night. Not sure if I'm going to watch a DVD or play video games now. Probably the DVD, I'm not totally compos mentis at the moment. Something has been slowly taxing me this week--I'm not sure if it's work or just the inevitable result of the time change. (It may even be the time change combined with a fact that a certain small, furry member of the household still thinks that 6:30 my time is feeding time and makes piteous meowrrrl-ing noises to wake me before I actually have to get up to get ready for work. He's lucky he's cute, is all I can say.)




Read more...

Another proud member of the UCF...

Another proud member of the UCF...
UCF logo ©2008 Michelle Klishis

...an international gang of...

...an international gang of...
смерть шпионам!

...Frank Gorshin-obsessed bikers.

...Frank Gorshin-obsessed bikers.
GorshOn! ©2009 Jeff Hentosz

  © Blogger template Werd by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP