Friday, June 24, 2005

Serifs of God

My font has changed, and I don't know why. I'm not even certain what font the blog was in before, but now it appears to be in Courier or Courier New.

Any ideas?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Bad News

My laptop is just about dead, I'm afraid. This happened last year at about the same time of the year, which makes me think it doesn't like the humidity. That, and the fact that its hard drive is brimming with music files, leaving almost no room for anything else. Time for a new plan.

So: a new desktop is on its way, one with five times the hard drive capacity and a snazzy flatscreen. It's not very street--I remember the days when my buddies Chris Miller and Evil Doug would build my computers for me out of parts--but it should last a good long time, and allow me to play some games and other sorts of things. (And when the new Pirates of the Caribbean MMORPG comes out, I might actually take the plunge.) Also on the way: an external hard drive for backups, and for transferring info between the laptop and the desktop assuming that I can get the former back in working order again. My plan is to strip it down to the essentials, no music files, no Internet stuff, just my writing files. Hopefully I can get another year or two out of it that way.

Now I just have to hope I can manage to do all this in the ninety-degree heat . . .

Belated Scholarship

Anyone remember when I did that survey on copyright, and asked for a bunch of you folks to help me out? Well, I'm finally getting around to posting it online (as a .PDF file, so you'll need Acrobat), for those who are interested. It was only a B paper, though, so keep that in mind as you read. Heh.

I won't go into the details of the paper, as I hope it will be more or less self-explanatory, but if anyone has questions feel free to ask. For more background on the development of copyright (which is not extensively covered in this paper), I'd recommend checking out Lawrence Lessig's book Free Culture (available as a .PDF download at the preceding link) and/or Siva Vaidhyanathan's book Copyrights and Copywrongs. These guys are the rock stars of the copyright debate right now, and both books are readable, illuminating, and opinionated (but well-reasoned, in my opinion).

Go here for my paper.

Sort of a m.

I'd been meaning to answer Steph's question, and Tim reminded me.

So, here is my list of things that I think are fun in a book. It got long:

1. Loveable rogues, of any species or gender, preferably when it's not clear if they're good or bad guys.

2. Ships--sailing or space.

3. Straightforward dialogue. Manners, for the most part, are boring. (Also, comic dialogue--but not banter. Watching Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell banter is a delight. Reading banter is a chore.)

4. Castles big enough to lose a civilization in (blame Mr. Peake).

5. Unexpected (but believable) reversals.

6. Gods and immortals walking among us (except for American Gods, sorry). Particularly if they're working stiffs. C'mon, who wouldn't like to see Sobek crunching numbers at a CPA's office?

7. Magic grounded in real-world traditions, not hand-wavy D&D crap. (Also, religions--note the plural--which are grounded in things which actually resonate, whether pulled from real traditions or invented out of whole cloth. Really, this one boils down to "Books where the author has done the f&*%ing work.")

8. Misplaced objects of great power, which are subtly different from lost objects of great power. As in, "I could have sworn I set the Orb of Maximus on top of the credenza . . ."

9. Eccentric inventors.

10. Animals that are smarter than the humans (or other dominant life form). They can talk, but only if they don't talk to the humans.

11. Secret histories.

12. Mountains, caves, tunnels, hidden chambers--think the Morlocks of the X-Men, or the underground London in The Anubis Gates.*

I could go on, but better to stop at a dozen, I think.

*Really, Powers--and Blaylock too--have most of this list covered.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Wedding©

You are cordially invited
to witness the union of
Marta Stuyvesant-Brown
To Godzilla, King of the Monsters
3 O'Clock P.M.
Saturday, June 18

The ceremony took place on the exclusive island resort where Mr. Godzilla and several of his sometime co-stars have taken up residence. It was fine weather, clear and warm, with a pleasing breeze which carried the scent of sandalwood and sulphur. The night before had been an unbroken torrent of wind, rain, and lightning, but by dawn all that remained of this was a light fog which burned off quickly under the sun's gentle insistence.

The ceremony took place on Godzilla's private beach, where a tasteful arrangement of massive flowers framed the altar. I was informed that the blossoms came from Madame Mothra's own garden. How she manages to act, produce, direct, raise hundreds of larvae and keep a garden, I can't imagine. She was in attendance, of course, wearing a stunning Bob Mackie gown that served to assure the skeptics that yes, she has indeed taken off the lingering weight of her last pregnancy. Others in attendance included Rodan, Anguirus, Gorosaurus, Gigan and Megalon (their own union having been made official earlier this year in Massachussetts), and David and Courtney Cox-Arquette. Godzilla's ex-wife Madame White Snake was noticeably absent, though their sons served as ushers. I have it on good authority that King Kong had been invited but was unable to attend as he is back at Hazelden after a relapse.

Matthew Broderick served as best man; he and Godzilla have been good friends since they toured together on The Producers. (During the toast later, Broderick garnered big laughs by saying that he had been certain that he and Godzilla had worked on a film together in the late nineties, but the stage lights were far more forgiving than the camera.)

The bride wore Vera Wang, and looked positively stunning for a woman who survived a massive dose of radiation as an infant. This is her first marriage, but if she was concerned by the fact that Godzilla has been twice divorced she gave no sign. Her father walked her down the aisle, waved rather nervously up at Godzilla, and scurried back to his seat.

King Ghidorah performed the service; it seems that back in the seventies he answered an ad in the back of Rolling Stone and became a minister in the Church of the Cosmic Lotus. He appeared to have begun celebrating a bit early, as his second head snored throughout the ceremony and the third ogled all the eligible women in the congregation. The bride and groom had written their own vows, and they were so heartfelt and elegant that Gigan sobbed openly, inadvertently igniting the hair-piece of the man in front of him with his eye-beams.

Following the brief ceremony, the guests adjourned to the valley where the couple will be making their home. Conversation was a challenge, as the photographers kept the bridal party moving from one picturesque spot to another, and the groom's footfalls dislodged many a stray boulder from the canyons above the footpaths. Nonetheless, I had an engaging chat with several of my fellow guests, including Mrs. Rodan, a distressingly small woman with a rather ribald sense of humor. Drinks in hand, we discussed pesto recipes, the decline of Radiohead, and the resurgence of tokusatsu kaiju until Mr. and Mrs. Godzilla rejoined us.

After a dinner of light pasta salad and heavy quiche--the couple are both vegetarian--the music began. The most recent lineup of Blue Öyster Cult played the reception, though they were at times difficult to hear over the stomping of the guests. For the first dance they played "Return to Me," a favorite of the bride, and from there the music got faster and louder, with a break every third or fourth song for a slow dance. I briefly tripped the lights fantastic with King Ghidorah, but fled the dance floor when he tried to rest one of his heads on my shoulder.

The evening was marred only by the sudden and unexpected appearance of Gamera, who was both drunk and uninvited. He made some comments about the bride (it seems they used to date) which sent Godzilla into a rage. Rodan and Gorosaurus were drawn into the dispute, and a number of guests were killed in the ensuing melee, despite the efforts of Madame Mothra and her brood. But for the survivors, as well as for the happy couple, it was a day not to be forgotten.

(Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Anguirus, Gorosaurus, Minya, Gigan, Megalon, Madame White Snake, and King Ghidorah are all property of Toho Studios. King Kong is property of Universal Pictures. Gamera is property of Daiei Motion Picture Company. Matthew Broderick is property of Sarah Jessica Parker.)

Delirium Tremens

Scientists are using seismic sensors to track elephants. Aren't they just the cutest things?

The scientists, I mean.

In other elephant news, Karen points to this shirt which threadless is not currently producing. Want. Everybody request one, so they start making them again. Then someone can buy it for me.

I saw a pink elephant on my travels. It was standing next to a gas station. According to Roadside America this is not at all uncommon. (But I now have a sticker on my poseur Moleskine notebook.)