Monthly Archives: May 2009

I meant to post most of this Tuesday. Eh, oh well. Currently, I’m trying to ward off an impending migraine and it’s really not working. Ow.

Trying to get back into the habit of being productive. I seem to have contracted a severe case of lazy and full recovery has been elusive. Mostly took Monday off since it was a holiday. On Tuesday, Eric and I had a meeting about Divine Fire.  Very good meeting.  We hashed out the end of the book, something that had required distance to see clearly.  It’s still a pretty complex book and there are quite a few rounds of writing to go, but seeing that ending finally fall into place is an exciting thing.  Today, I need to rework an existing scene to be more needed and less water-treading fluff.

Finally went to see Wolverine on Tuesday.  It was better than I expected; unfortunately, my expectations had been lowered by reviews.  While still a flawed film, I liked it better than Star Trek.  There were fewer instances when Eric and I traded incredulous looks (in the dark theater).

Women’s league draft was last night.  After much hemming and hawing, I registered on Saturday.  I’m on Lexi’s team and it looks  pretty good with Haydon, Marlena, and Stephanie Ritok in addition to Lexi.  Definitely some targets in that bunch.  My only wince-moment?  Learning our shirt color.  Salmon.  It’ll probably be a really great shirt design too.  

Do Girls Dream of ‘Geeky Dreamboats’? – Cinematical
I think geek needs to be defined. Is it a look (not “handsome”? wears glasses?)? Should it just be based on the roles these guys play? Or is it a state of being? I’d argue the latter. Vin Diesel? Geek. Wil Wheaton? Geek. Joss Wheadon? Geek. And I’m guessing that there are girls out there somewhere that would consider each of these guys “dreamboat” worthy.

A couple other links:
Dopamine Neurons: Reward, Aversion, or Both? : Neurotopia
The “Bitch” Evolved: Why Girls Are So Cruel to Each Other: Scientific American

Forward

Not to put a premature nail in its coffin, but here I am, surprised that its the last week of May. I got Pas de Chat out to a couple places this month and I’ve dinked around with the Weordan novels.

We’re about two and a half weeks out from our trip to Nebraska.  I’m beginning to deal with those associated stresses.  It would be a good thing to get some work done on Fuel Eaters or Divine Fire before then.  Probably that later.  I always intend to get some work done while in Nebraska, but it never really works.  But, who knows?  There’s a first time for everything.

Also a month away from Fiesta Con. The selection of lit panels looks pretty good. I hope the sections on fictional religions make the final cut.  It might behoove me to read a few things:

Primary:

Secondary:

Tertiary:

  • Lovecraft (I own some Lovecraft, I think.)

The weather is finally catching up with me, I think. I was creaky and tired yesterday and the trend seems to be continuing. I’d like to play some disc today, but I’m not sure if that would be a good idea.

May weather, More movies

After two full weeks of 100+ temperatures, we finally received a much needed reprieve on Wednesday.  I do believe 14 days in a row is a record for May.  On Monday night, there was some wind, dust, and lightning, but nothing came of it.  Wednesday started pleasant with clouds that lasted pretty much through Wednesday disc.  It cleared up a little in the afternoon, but it was too late to get uber hot.  Since yesterday morning it’s been cool and cloudy with occasional persistent sprinkles.  Would I appreciate these days as much if not for the 14 AC-inducing days that preceded it?

Eric and I have been having a hard time getting much work done.  He did quite well this past semester and we’ve been celebrating a bit.  We went to Efes, a Turkish restaurant, yesterday to cap it off.  Today, I really need to get a few things including a mountain of laundry I’ve been ignoring.

Movies watched:

American Gangster as part of a loose Ridley Scott double feature.  It was alright, though nothing special.  We’ve been spoiled by The Wire; the unsophisticated nature of 70s crime pales in comparison to the challenges of modern crime.  One thing that struck me while watching American Gangster and Body of Lies is that both movies suffer from some of the same problems that Blade Runner has.  Mainly, the occasional plot jump or a setting change that is disconcerting to the viewer.  The viewer has to spend a moment considering what they seem to have missed instead of paying attention to what is going on.  That’s a big problem in Blade Runner and that’s why the voice over is sometimes necessary. Scott’s gotten better though and it’s a shame that Blade Runner didn’t come along later in his career.

The Changeling (2008). For a Clint Eastwood film, it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be.  The acting was solid and the look of the fim was great, but the structure was somewhat disjointed.  I wonder if cuts had been made for the sake of run time, and it does run long with maybe one ending too many.  For me, this was a very difficult movie to watch, probably second only to Black Hawk Down.  Both have a certain quality to them, a feeling of dreadful inevitability.  You know that whatever steps a character is taking to make things better, it’s only going to make things worse.

Exercise, Movies, How much should an ebook cost?

Had a good workout this morning that left me energized instead of wiped out.  I also took my measurements again, for the first time in a few weeks.  I had noticed that about 2-3 months ago that I had gained some weight.  Nothing major, but instead of being at the low end of my +/- 2 weight range, I was staying at the high end.  My clothes weren’t fitting differently as far as I could tell and I wondered whether the extra couple pounds could be muscle.  Before league finals since about January, I had been doing more weight training.  Eric suggested I measure myself, though that was of limited value since I had no baseline.  Well, after a few weeks of doing little in the way of weights (or much else), I’m down to my base weight and I’ve lost some arm and leg circumference.  Now that my back is feeling pretty good, it’s back to rowing and weights for me.

Set up and started registration for women’s league over the past week. I’m considering playing if only to become familiar with all the new ladies that are signing up.  And I could really use the second game in my week.  I will miss two games due to our trip to Omaha that’s coming up in June.  I’ll probably hold off until the end of registration to see how numbers fall out.

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Recently watched a couple of movies of note:

Body of Lies
: A very overlooked film from last year.  A political thriller with Russel Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott, directing.  Very well written and good looking too.

Next: Nicolas Cage is a man that can see two minutes into the future (based on a Philip K Dick story, obviously).  The movie is flawed in some areas, but I have to give the filmmakers credit for ambition.  Plus, it’s just a fun movie.

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How Much Should an E-Book Cost? – NYTimes.com
Fleshing out The Times’s ebook story of May 17 – The Shatzkin Files
Ebooks, Prices, Consumers, Choices. Again. | Booksquare

Ahead of the reread. Fancy that.

Book #10 – The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Yes, yes. I *know*. The Lord of the Rings is meant to be one book. I’m a slow reader and not above padding my numbers. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m following along with a reread of the series that’s being blogged at Tor.com, but this is my first reading. Again, as a kid, fantasy was the red-headed step-child in my otherwise heavy reading household. I never touched The Hobbit until some time after the first Peter Jackson movie came out. I attempted to read LotR a while after that, but bogged down somewhere on the way to Bree. Tolkien does go on about geography and sometimes not in a way that is immersive for the reader. Honestly, the writing isn’t always the best, and part of that is due to the age of the work. Language and storytelling pace has changed in the past 50 years.

One thing that has struck me, especially when compared to the movies, Tolkien is very subtle in establishing peril. It’s a very long time before we get a look at the nazgul and subsequent fights are handled quickly. It does give a firmer impression of the drudgery that "adventuring" would be. Lots of walking, bad food.

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All I need now is a Dune series reread. Maybe then I’d get through God Emperor.

I’ve signed up for review copies through LibraryThing. I doubt if anything will come of it, but I wouldn’t mind writing an occasional review in exchange for a free book.

May tribbles eat your kibbles…

So, what has been going on lately in Katherine-land?  A bit of this, a bit of that.

Spent Monday whittling down Pas de Chat‘s synopsis to one page (and then shorter than one page to accommodate formatting), and by Tuesday afternoon sent her out to six more agents.  As usual, there was much moaning and fretting about guidelines. This was somewhat defused by serendipitously timed blog post by Nathan Bransford and by the longest, kindest form rejection letter I have ever received. (Three of my six submissions were by email; two of which I quickly received responses to.) The agent had obviously taken time and put forth effort in its crafting.  I try not to be grumpy at agents when all I get back is a three line email or a poorly photocopied half sheet of paper. It’s easy to forget there are people, busy people on the other end of my query letters. But it is nice to get a response (even a negative one) that acknowledges that there’s a busy person on this side of the query too.

Tuesday afternoon, we went to see Star Trek. (Over Wolverine, in fact.  I got curious.) I will confess, I am a Star Trek fan.  My mom was a big fan.  I’ve met William Shatner and I’ve accidentally tripped Walter Koenig.  I own a stuffed tribble and a small titanium insignia magnet.  I’m not a rabid fan, but fan, I am.  I had very low expectations for the movie.  A younger Star Trek.  A “reboot” of the franchise.  Directed by JJ Abrams of all people.  How could this manage to be good?  It does and doesn’t.

The science and the extension of technology from the present to future, is terrible.  Granted, if you’re staying true to the setting of Star Trek as put forth in the original series, the science and the extension of technology will be terrible.  Unfortunately, it didn’t seem particularly consistent with the original series level of technology either.  But really, I didn’t expect this aspect of the film to be any good.  The call backs and nods to the original series were somewhat poorly handled in my opinion. Those things were done for the fans, but should have been done much more subtly. There were also some joke-y aspects that I could have done without.  Often, it felt as though the writers were trying too hard to wink at and nudge the audience.  Also too many things that just struck me as incredulous.  Prime example: where exactly *is* the canyon in Iowa?

Ultimately and surprisingly, what I did appreciate the movie is the “reboot” quality.  Restarts happen often in comics, often in tabletop gaming.  I’ve even sort of done one between two novel drafts.  Essentially, you want to keep the things that are good, but tweak those things, shake them up, make relationships different. To pull this off, they had to be gutsy about it.  To the credit of Abrams and his writers, they were. They offer fans a way of excepting this new Star Trek and maybe even look forward to more stories being told in this universe.

Yesterday kind of devolved into a goof-off day.  We went out and played disc, grocery shopped, and finished watching The Wire.  If I were to be balanced, I would now go on for three paragraphs about how good this show is.  Alas, there’s usually less to say when something is good.  We watched all five seasons over the past couple of months.  I picked it from Netflix because it was an HBO show that I hadn’t heard much about.  It is very good.  It’s well written, well acted, well produced.  At its base is the crime in Baltimore, MD.  Over five seasons, the stories are told from the POV of the cops, the criminals, the lawyers, the politicians, the school system, and the media.  It gives an excellent view of the criminal organizations and the non-forensic procedural aspects.  It’s further proof that television at its best could be better than movies.

Other links of interest:

Whether ‘Terminator’ or ‘Angels and Demons,’ Films Feel the Call of Boycotters – NYTimes.com
My guess is that neither of those two films will be affected, though one might content that Angels and Demons is less reliant on the American market.

NeuroLogica Blog takes a look at something I’ve always found curious: Spontaneous Human Combustion

Amazon.com is becoming a reprint publisher.

Totally Addicted… reviews Wired passion fruit with calcium. Better known as the only palatable low-calorie “energy” drink I have left. It also mixes very well with UV Cherry vodka.

Cereal And Milk Is The New Sports Supplement
*After* exercise isn’t really what sports drinks were made for. Sports drinks are for during prolonged exercise when an athlete’s stomach wouldn’t really appreciate a bowl of cereal.

Reading, Not-Writing, and Dora

I’m enjoying the read-throughs that have been popping up online.  Currently I’m doing Tor’s read-through of The Lord of the Rings (and their “watch”-through of original series Star Trek). Yesterday, I stumbled across a “real-time” read-through of Dracula and I’m considering reading David Copperfield in the manner which it was published: as “19 monthly one-shilling installments, containing 32 pages of text“.  Apparently, I need tricks to get me to reading on a regular basis.

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Last Friday, I started playing Mafia Wars on Facebook. Which set off an idea in Eric. Wouldn’t a Weordan-based Facebook game be an interesting idea, and maybe a good tertiary project for the summer? So, I’m doing a bit of research on the ins and outs of Facebook “RPGs” and application development.

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Via you’re reading too much into it:
About the Dora the Explorer “make-over” which, having no children, I knew nothing about: Why Mattel & Nick have it wrong

It seems that in an effort to extend the target demographic of the Dora brand, they’re aging her to about ten years old. In effect, kids can grow up with Dora. And there was a bit of a kerfuffle about whether this Dora was too sexualized or what-not, but really I think the problem comes down to this:

…the shoes. Yes, they are cute, but they are not adventurous shoes. Nancy Drew wore loafers. Sally Brown wore tennis shoes.

Okay, it doesn’t entirely come down to *just* the shoes, but it’s a starting point.  I don’t see anything about this character that makes me think “Dora the Explorer.” I mean shouldn’t Dora the Explorer have some adventuring gear? Can’t a little girl be cute and…girly…and still have her backpack of essential gear?

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Summer is here.  I remember that I am not a fan.