Thursday, October 26, 2006


Check out Merylinabarrel's Jack-O-Lantern. It passes the Turing Test. At least, A Turing Test.

Austen update: gave up on Mansfield Park, moved on to Emma. Emma herself isn't all that likeable, but she's at least amusing. Fanny was too passive and impressionable. Edmund was a pompous twit.

Also reading about elephants again--this time, Cynthia Moss's Elephant Memories--and thinking about the elephant novel. The reason I got stuck on it at first, I think, was that I got all these story ideas before I really knew anything about the animals. Now I've absorbed enough information and gotten enough distance from my original idea for the parts to start to rearrange to reflect fact, or at least possibility. Still want an arcology in there. Think I've got that figured out.

I keep forgetting to mention that one of my fave under-published authors, Eleanor Arnason, has a blog. She's also posting at a group blog started by her writer's group, the Wyrdsmiths. I particularly liked her post on her least favorite truism, "Show Don't Tell."

Moon Knight? Really? I'm so not clamoring for that one.

Finally, in case this post isn't random enough, have some classic A Tribe Called Quest. "Damn, Tip, what'd you drive so far for?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wenstrup House

Wenstrup House
Originally uploaded by Snurri.
"Few citizens realize nowadays that the large house at the corner of Boulder and Scott was once the Sanctum Sanctorum of longtime Sorceror Supreme, Walter Wenstrup, the inspiration for the Marvel Comics character Dr. Strange. It seems that artist Steve Ditko had read of Wenstrup's work in Prestidigitation Quarterly and began a correspondence with him . . . . Many of the comic adventures were loosely based on experiences Wenstrup related to Ditko. Their correspondence was truncated by the Banishing, in 1966, and it was about this time that Ditko quit the book. . . . Wenstrup lived for another twelve years, despite periodic assaults on his Sanctorum by various disgruntled sorcerors. He disappeared on May 17, 1978 (also known as the Day of Two Nights; see pages 414-433) while repelling an amphibious assault of unknown nature. After he was declared legally dead the occult authorities combed the premises of his home for some artifact or scrap of knowledge which might restore the city to the contours of the sundered earth. . . . Today the former place of power is home to a waste management consultant and her family. Wenstrup's belongings are housed in the city archives." (p.84)

In Which I Get Pissed Off by a Dumb TV Show

I am a Midwesterner. I was born here and I've always lived here. There's a decent chance I always will. The lazy dismissal of the citizens of "flyover country" is one way to quickly get on my bad side; in other words, if you use "Midwesterner" as shorthand for "ignorant and unimaginative" I will get ticked off. Not to say that we don't have a few of those folks here, sure. But I don't care where you live, you've got some of those folks living on your block. Don't try to pretend that sophistication is a regional attribute.

That's only one strike against last night's episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Aaron Sorkin, according to Wikipedia at least, was born in New York City, so perhaps he's never met anyone who admitted to being from the Midwest. I don't know. But from the moment that Tom mentioned that his parents were coming in from Columbus, Ohio for a visit, I was afraid there was badness coming. And Jesus Christ was there. Tom's mother goes out of her way to tell Simon, the show's only black cast member, how much she likes Halle Berry; his father doesn't give a crap about Tom's work and only expresses any emotion when he inexplicably blurts out a line about his younger son being in Afghanistan. Neither of Tom's parents has ever heard of Abbott and Costello or "Who's On First?" (for god's sake, if any of you reading this haven't heard of it, go watch this right now) and they are so dazed by the big city stage lights that they are unable to grasp their son's success.

Argh. I haven't spent much time in Columbus, but it's a big town. Three-quarters of a million people, nearly a quarter of whom are African-American. They have TV there. Cable TV, even. Lights, too. Fucking hell, Sorkin; seriously, are you smoking the crack again? I can't buy this as a character note, because although we're five episodes in, Tom is barely a character at this point, and I'd guess we won't be seeing his parents again. If you're trying to make some point about Middle America vs. Hollywood, then congratulations, you've just regurgitated every contemptuous dismissal of the audience as a bunch of clueless, reactionary rubes ever committed. The next time you get on a plane, try getting off somewhere that's not the coast. I'd offer to show you around, but I've got a problem with ignorant people who think they know a lot. They rub me wrong.

What with all the regional stereotyping, I hardly had the energy to get irritated with the mess Sorkin made of the race issues (apparently all black people come from the ghetto, and the "good" ones feel guilty for getting out of it) or his trademark civics-lesson-within-an-episode (the random appearance of a blacklisted sketch writer from the Sid Caesar era, held up as a mirror for us to better watch the continuing hagiography of Matt and Danny). Man. I just don't think I can watch this anymore.

Monday, October 23, 2006

And I'm the Cure for Any Disease, 'Cause Ain't Nobody Funky Like Me

Itsy Bitsy Spider-Man! Oh man do I want this. Maybe if I buy it for every kid I know I can sneak one for myself? Make sure to watch the video.

From another region of the Internet altogether comes this review of Rabid Transit: Long Voyages, Great Lies, pointed out by Mr. Barzak. Very thoughtful (and favorable, overall) look at that publication, with some kind words about my story "Shackles."

Not much news to report. Even though I spent far too much time slacking off this weekend for my liking, I still managed to get two chapters on paper. I had a period of a week or two where I wasn't sure what was going on with the new book; it's looking like it might be long, for one thing--perhaps even more-than-one-book long. I have misgivings about this, but then I'm the one who decided to take War and Peace as one of my models. Anyway, I like how it's shaping up so far, so I guess I'll just try not to worry and see how it goes.