Friday, April 29, 2005

Looking Ahead

April 30th: Going to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Heard lots of good reviews on the flick, even from hardcore fans of the book. Undecided as to whether or not I should wear a bath towel over my shoulders while going to see it.

May 1st: River Readings in Brockville. Apparently, only about eight of the thirty six authors who are attending will be doing readings, so I've got that monkey off my back. Nothing for me to do but sit around and, hopefully, engage in conversation with people who won't scoff at a self-published book.

May 3rd: Road test. I've been driving with a learner's permit for the last four years and 40,000 kilometers of my life, so it's time to get my full license. Of course, if I don't get it by the end of August, my permit expires and I get bumped all the way down to a G1 class license, meaning I need a licensed driver in the car....so, I'd better not fail the test.

May 9th: First day of summer classes. Because, clearly, I haven't had enough school yet.

June: I didn't do anything for the Blurred Line Blog's first anniversary (which was on April 1st, by the way). So, to make up for things, I'll be celebrating throughout June - my birthday is on the 15th, so the choice of June isn't completely arbitrary. Anyhow, after seeing Dave at Blogography give away a ton of cool prizes, I thought, wouldn't it be cool to do that? Unfortunately, I'm a poor university student. So, here's what I'll be doing instead: since this blog is (somewhat) book/SF themed, I'll be giving away books I've picked up over the years that are now cluttering up my shelves. Most of it will be science fiction, but I'll be throwing in a few "literature with a capital L" type books as well. More on this as June approaches.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ned Kelly

A decent movie, but nothing special. Notable mostly for the fact that Orlando Bloom manages, finally, to deliver an acting performance that's not painful to watch. My grade: C+

Synopsis: Ned Kelly and his brother Dan, sons of an Irish pig thief exiled to the Australian penal colony in 1843, formed the core of the Kelly Gang (with two other men), an outlaw gang that roamed across Australia for over two wild years. Kelly was a clever bandit, making his own homemade armor, including steel chest plates and helmets, to stop bullets from stopping him. Kelly was first arrested at 16 for horse stealing, but he became an outlaw when he killed a police officer who was harrassing his brother. (via Yahoo)

Director: Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers)
Writer: John M. McDonagh based on the novel by Robert Drewe
Stars: Heath Ledger (A Knight's Tale), Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean), Naomi Watts (The Ring), Laurence Kinlan (An Everlasting Piece), Phil Barantini (The Boys and Girl From County Clare)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Progress Bars

If you scroll down a little, you'll notice that I've put up some progress bars for my works in progress. Two blog posts gave me the motivation to go and figure out how to get one of these things on my blog: Ali's post about making a goal to hit 1000 words a day and John Scalzi's dismissal of the whole progress bar trend. Actually, I'd never even seen one of these on a writer's blog before, but thanks to Scalzi's pointing them out and Ali's self-motivational techniques, I guess I was somewhat inspired, too.

I'm a slow writer. On top of that, I don't always manage to sit down and write once a day. What I do manage to do once a day, though, is load up my blog (I have an obsession with checking my hit counter, kind of like I do with checking my Amazon ranking). As a result, sticking these bars on my blog will remind me where I'm at every day and, with any luck, they'll motivate me to write at least a little each day.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Final Exam

Yes, my very last exam of the school year is tomorrow morning. After finishing the movie, I've been doing a little studying, but probably not as much as I should be. That's pretty typical for me. Generally, by the time the end of the year rolls around, I just don't care anymore. Now that I'm in my third year, though, I have a pretty decent handle on what profs are expecting out of you during an exam. The nice thing about Lit classes is that they have a lot less to do with what specifics you can remember than they do with your ability to think critically about the writing itself.

Of course, if you haven't actually read some of the stuff you were supposed to, you're lacking some necessary context, so maybe I should go get on that...

The Final Cut

Interesting concept, poor execution. On the upside, Robin Williams turns in an excellent performance and rescues an otherwise mediocre film. My grade: C

Synopsis: In the future, microchips implanted in your brain record everything you see and here. Then when you die, a "cutter" assembles the footage into a memorial video for your funeral, editing out all of the unpleasantness. The most sought-after cutter is Alan Hakman, a detached man who believes his work can absolve the dead of their sins. While editing the memories a high-profile lawyer, he uncovers a disturbing piece of his own past which leads him to question the way he's lived his life. (via Yahoo)

Writer and Director: Omar Naim
Stars: Robin Williams (Patch Adams), Mira Sorvino (The Replacement Killers), James Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Another GERA Preview

Actually, a bunch of little tiny previews, mostly of interest to those who have read Blurred Line.

Rodney likes gardening. Takes his mind off things for a while, makes him feel normal. He used to drive around a lot, after a job. He’s out of the city now, though, and when he drives home he’s filled with anxiety. Always looking over his shoulder. Always making sure no one’s followed him. He used to sleep in hotels every night when he was working, in worse places when he wasn’t. Now he’s got a place. Things are different. Can’t have people following him home. Sometimes, when he’s gone about half the distance, he’ll pull off to the side of the road, shut off the car for a while. Just sit. He’ll wait for an hour, maybe two, then get out of his car and walk a mile in the direction he came. Just to be sure.

Kat nodded and pressed forward. When she looked around, Malcolm was already gone. Big Ten soldiers and the androids were swelling to the northeast, just as he said. She ran to catch up, firing whenever she caught sight of the dark blue Natural Life uniform. Bullets whizzed past her and she flung herself to the ground, landing between a pair of Big Ten soldiers. The one on her left was in command of a large energy rifle, one of the few salvaged when the Big Ten were pushed back into the compound years ago. He was doing a rather large amount of damage with it, rocking the Natural Life line with explosions that sent soldiers flying up into the air. The one on her right might have been dead, but she saw the hands twitching slightly, clutching at his gun.

Charlie wakes up. Feels herself being pushed back down. All she sees is black. She can’t breathe. Charlie claws at the thing covering her face, but it won’t come off. She flails her arms in all directions, hoping to hit something. Her left hand slams into something hard. She hears a deep grunt and, momentarily, the pressure of the thing on her face slackens. Gulps in a breath of air, but something smashes down into her face and she gasps. She swings wildly in the direction she made contact before, but only finds air.

Nakato hangs up. Calls Room 212 to make sure the plane tickets are in order. When she’s confident everything is running smoothly, she’s alone in her room again. Staring at Frankenstein. Tapping her fingernails on the desk. She reaches down to the bottom drawer. It’s protected by a fingerprint combination lock. She presses her finger against the pad on the back of the lock, watches the seal retract from the dial. Spins it to the right numbers, watches it click open. Worth its weight in gold these days.
Pulls her flatscreen from the drawer. Worth more than its weight in gold. Nakato powers up. Touches the image of a chrome apple.

But I thought I had enough. Figured three things had sparked Natural Life’s takeover. The android rally, the rise of a sentient net and the assassination of their leader. Figured it was simple, really. Just one group taking power from another.
I never saw all the blank spaces.
Let me show you what I mean.
//EXECUTE FILE(B) TRANSFER

Saturday, April 23, 2005

SF Read of the Week

The nights were growing longer, and Vinnie wasn't getting any younger. He bent his flat head and striped thorax, tumbled sideways with an effort, then clambered to his long, hooked feet. He'd reached full size for a firefly, and the grueling effort of his nightly displays had cost him a lot of weight. He felt light-headed, giddy, and possessed by a frustrated lust.

This week's read is "Luciferase" from cyberpunk master Bruce Sterling, who clearly felt that literature these days was lacking stories narrated by insects.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Gibsonia

From deep within the CBC archives, circa September 4, 1967.

If Haight-Ashbury is the centre of the American hippie world, then Yorkville is Canada's hippie heartland. Full of coffeehouses, boutiques, long hairs, draft dodgers, and freaks, Yorkville is a tourist attraction – one where the tourists prefer to watch the excitement from the safety of their cars. A 19-year-old draft dodger named William Gibson conducts CBC TV on a tour of the village, where Beatle-haired kids, drugs, and free love are rampant.

If you're not familiar with Gibson - seventeen years later, he'd take home Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards (the grand slam of the SF world) for the novel in which he coined the term "cyberspace", Neuromancer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Apodis Publishing

PageFree appears to have stopped distributing Blurred Line, so I figure that this is a good time to announce my intentions for the book and, by extension, some other significant plans.

Blurred Line will be re-published by Apodis Publishing, a publishing company I've been busy setting up over the past few months. It will also be made available as a free download in PDF form to anyone who wants a copy. Glistening Edges and Right Angles will go the same route, with a free electronic version and a $10-$12 paperback. After both books have been published, I'm planning to release a dust-jacket hardcover which will contain both stories.

This is all made possible by the recent incorporation of Apodis Publishing. However, I won't just be using the company to publish my own books. Apodis will be a subsidy publisher using print-on-demand technology, just like PageFree, iUniverse, etc. However, I will be publishing only science fiction stories and will have much higher quality standards.

The company's website isn't up yet, but will be accessible at www.apodispublishing.com

If you'd like to be notified when the site goes live or have any other comments/questions, you can send an email to: info AT apodispublishing.com

Exam #2

Wrote my exam at 2:00 PM today (well, yesterday I suppose, it's two in the morning now) and spent every last minute of the three hours writing, but what do they expect when you have to write five long answer responses and a pair of essays? Actually, I was surprised that there were only six of us who stayed for the entire time.

Anyhow, I've got a bit of a break before my next exam, so I hope that I'll be able to get some writing done.

The Village

Downright bad. Shyamalan's twist is an interesting one and could make a decent basis for another movie, but it doesn't work at all in this one. Dialogue is irritating, at the least, even more so when you've figured out the twist. My Grade: D+

Synopsis: In a quiet, isolated village in olde Pennsylvania, there lies a pact between the people of the village and the creatures who reside in the surrounding woods: the townspeople do not enter the woods, and the creatures do not enter the village. The pact stays true for many years, but when Lucius Hunt seeks medical supplies from the towns beyond the wood, the pact is challenged. Animal carcasses, devoid of fur, begin to appear around the village, causing the council of elders to fear for the safety of the village, the pact, and so much more. (via Imdb)

Director and Writer: M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense)
Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator), Adrien Brody (The Pianist), William Hurt (Dark City), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Brendan Gleeson (28 Days Later), Judy Greer (Jawbreaker)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Carlito's Way

An excellent gangster film that's not quite at the level of the genre's classics. Top-notch acting all around. My grade: B+

Synopsis: Story about the Puerto Rican Mafia during the 1970s. An ex-con tries to retire from his life of crime but old ties seem to make it impossible. (via Yahoo)

Director: Brian De Palma (The Untouchables)
Writer: David Koepp (Jurassic Park) based on the novel by Edwin Torres
Stars: Al Pacino (Scarface), Sean Penn (Mystic River), Penelope Ann Miller (Kindergarten Cop), John Leguizamo (Summer of Sam), Luis Guzman (Confidence), Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings)

My Eyes Are Bleeding!

Went to a TV Preview thing last night, where a bunch of market researchers heard you and 150 of your closest friends into a room to watch a couple TV pilots. One was a sitcom filled in the early to mid-nineties and they were wondering whether the lead actress would still be entertaining. It was a decent show and, surprisingly, even made me laugh a few times, unlike most of the new sitcoms running these days. The other show, unfortunately, was one of the most awful things I've ever had to sit through. A drama about soulmates who were connected in past lives. It was so bad that I considered gouging my own eyes out with the pens they'd given us. Instead, I simply wrote down on the comment sheet that "this show made my eyes bleed".

Speaking of things that make part of me bleed - my wallet, in this case - I took my car into the garage this morning because my muffler's been awfully loud and there's some sort of unidentified rattling under the hood. End result: the entire exhaust system has to be replaced, to the tune of $600. Argh! Fortunately, my Dad gave me a nice car repair gift, so that should cover most of it. Guess I'll have to get him a really nice Father's Day present.

After The Sunset

A silly, mindless heist movie that uses just about every cliche in the book. Thanks to some comedic turns from Brosnan and Harrelson and shots that center largely around Salma Hayek's body, it makes for a pretty decent popcorn movie. My grade: B-

Synopsis: After a successful last score, a master thief retires to an island paradise. His lifelong nemesis, a crafty FBI agent, washes ashore to ensure he's making good on his promise. The pair soon enters into a new game of cat-and-mouse. (via Yahoo)

Director: Brett Ratner (Rush Hour)
Writers: Paul Zbyszewski and Craig Rosenberg
Stars: Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day), Salma Hayek (Frida), Woody Harrelson (Play It To The Bone), Don Cheadle (Ocean's Eleven), Naomie Harris (28 Days Later)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Hitchhiking

I finally finished reading Cryptonomicon last night (which is now the longest book I've read cover to cover), and felt good enough about it to give it my seal of approval. A lot of Amazon reviewers have suggested that about five hundred pages could have been excised from the book without taking away from the basic plot. Well, that's true, but then it would have sucked. Taking away Stephenson's random tangents, like the maintenance of his grandmother's Lincoln or the proper method of eating Cap'n Crunch (which are some of the best passages in the book) would just make this another run of the mill thriller. So, I'm going to go ahead and give Stephenson a big thumbs up for writing something this long and an even bigger thumbs up to the publisher for letting it go to market.

Anyhow, this means I'm on to reading something else - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams. Or, the second book in his trilogy of five Hitchhiker's Guide books. I read the original last month, figuring that it was important to know how good the book was so that I could adequately trash the movie (should it be, as most Hollywood adaptations of SF are, horrible). I picked up the surprisingly affordable Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, which contains all five books plus a bonus short story, while I was in Chapters, selling one of my own books (Ironic? I think so - my book, after all, would never be stocked by Chapters, and there I was standing in the middle of the science fiction section, selling it, while other customers milled around slowly, flipping through the latest John Ringo title and sighing).

Saturday, April 16, 2005

SF Read of the Week

Jenna retrieved four poems memorized in third grade, the capitols of the fifty-four states, and the molecular structure of hydrogen. She dumped them in the recycle bin, shuffled around her free memory and recategorized the Townsend project as High Priority.

This week's story, "Better Sweets to Prove Than Sleep" by Lisa Mantchev, comes from Futurismic. An interesting concept she's come up with makes a great story.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

BL Article

Now that the article has disappeared off the newspaper's site, I decided it would be alright for me to upload a version to my website. Through multiple cut and paste operations, I now present to you Blurred Line's first newspaper article. (Sorry about the text size, you might have to squint a little.)

Note: I'm not a Calreton student. Or a Carleton student for that matter. Just have to make sure I'm not associated with Ottawa's "other" university.

Click here to have a read.

Rejection #2

Rejection letter from Strange Horizons today, so "Smoke and Mirrors" is off to another market, this one not quite so established as SH, but they still pay, which is nice.

Working on a take home exam that has to be turned in from six to seven this evening, so I have a little under three hours left to work on it. Mmmm, stress.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Pimping My Radio Station

I generally talk at length about movies I've seen and books I've read on my blog, but ever since I've moved my blog over from Bravejournal and lost the "music" entry space, I haven't really had much chance to mention the music I listen to.

As a result, I'm going to grace you with the what my Launchcast radio station has been playing for the last hour or so. You can listen by clicking the right spot in the columns to your right. And please do, because if you're one of those people lapping up the latest Simple Plan track, well, you need help.

Audiovent - "Energy"
Jellyfish - "That Is Why"
Mustard Plug - "You"
Sahara Hotnights - "Rockaway Beach" (Yes, it's a cover, and they do a great job.)
Owsley - "Oh No The Radio"
The Darkness - "Stuck In A Rut"
The Donnas - "Get You Alone"
The Toasters - "Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down"
Jet - "Radio Song"
Reel Big Fish - "The Set Up"
Franz Ferdinand - "Darts of Pleasure"
Blind Melon - "No Rain"
Jack Johnson - "Banana Pancakes"
Pernice Brothers - "The Weakest Shade of Blue"
Metric - "Combat Baby"
Green Day - "Jesus of Suburbia"
Better Than Ezra - "Rosealia"

Friday Night Lights

I figured that, after seeing Remember The Titans years ago, no other football movie would be able to reach such lofty heights. Boy, was I ever wrong. Brilliant performances all around on this one. If you pick up the DVD, be sure to watch the "Story of the 1988 Permian Panthers" featurette for footage of the actual 1988 team and interesting interviews with team members. My grade: B+

Synopsis: Based on the book about high school football by H.G. Bissinger, Friday Night Lights chronicles the entire 1988 season of the Permian High Panthers of Odessa, Texas, with football players, coaches, mothers, fathers, boosters, fans and families struggling with ongoing personal conflicts while the team fights for a state championship. In depicting the daily grind of coach Gary Gaines' winning team and the potential destinies of its individual players, the story paints a vivid portrait of Odessa (and places like it all across America) where, once a week during the fall, the town and its dreams come alive beneath the dazzling and disorienting Friday night lights...when the Panthers take to the field. Friday Night Lights illuminates the hopes and dreams of Odessa's townsfolk, who ardently fill Ratliff Stadium's 20,000 seats every Friday night. For the young men of the team, every moment, every play is a chance to transcend their small town and the fleeting fulfillment of a gridiron stardom whose pinnacle may be reached by the time they turn 18. (via Yahoo)

Director: Peter Berg (The Rundown)
Writers: Peter Berg (Very Bad Things) and David Aaron Cohen (The Devil's Own) based on the book by H.G. Bissinger
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa), Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher), Lucas Black (Ghosts of Mississippi), Garrett Hedlund (Troy), Jay Hernandez (Crazy/Beautiful), Lee Jackson, Tim McGraw

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Pure Geekdom

As a science fiction writer, I always have to be mindful of that ever present threat of losing touch with reality and becoming mired in a world of pure and utter geekdom.

So, where exactly is the line between regular geek and über-geek?

Well, I'm not sure. But if you own a fondue pot that plugs into your USB port, I'm pretty confident you've crossed that line.

BL in the News

A couple of months ago I had an interview with a community paper. However, after three weeks desperately scanning each week's edition of the paper, I assumed that they'd decided not to run an article.

Well, turns out I was wrong. I got a phone call today from someone in town who wanted to buy a copy of my book. I met him downtown and asked where he'd heard of it. Turns out Nepean This Week did indeed run an article on me, but not until the April 8th edition of their paper.

For all those interested in reading the article, a PDF edition of the paper can be found here.

Monday, April 11, 2005

New Look Amazon

Amazon has a new look, at least as far as individual book screens go. The most notable change is the giant picture of the book cover that's been put up on the screen. Before, there was a little itty-bitty cover shot that you could click on if you wanted to see it in a bigger size. Now, with the cover being in such a bold position, it's really impossible to ignore.

So, what's the point of mentioning this? Well, it has something to do with the fact the covers of most POD books are absolutely atrocious. Now that, on Amazon at least, they're impossible to ignore, I think this could have an impact on sales of POD books. For example, you're browsing Amazon and come across this or this. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd be running in the opposite direction before I'd even scroll down to see what the reviews have to say. Not because covers, per se, are important to me, but because if the publisher is producing books with such shoddy covers, why should I expect the content to be any better?

Of course, if this does have an impact, it won't be huge. After all, most POD books are sold to family and friends, or not at all. If you're a POD author and have any ambitions beyond that, though, at least make an effort to get a decent cover on your book.

Last Day of Class

Yes, another year of classes complete. Of course, my first exam is in three days and by the time exams are over and done with (the 26th) I only have ten days of rest and relaxation before summer semester kicks into gear.

You'd think, then, like any normal university student, I'd be taking full advantage of the rest of the day by committing various acts of debauchery. No such luck, though. A killer headache and the fact that I have to be up early tomorrow for an appointment with the oral surgeon does wonders for getting one out of the party mood.

Instead, I'll be in bed early, dreaming of cackling dentists who brandish pairs of enormous rusty pliers, grin maniacally and say, "Yes, Mr. Terrill, those wisdom teeth will most certainly have to be removed."

Sunday, April 10, 2005

SF Read of the Week

I'm not sure if this even qualifies as SF, but it's certainly an odd little read.

"The day that Caleb signed the record contract, the first thing his brother told him was not to fly in planes. Rock stars die in plane crashes, he said."

"Burn Here With Me" by Amy Hembree, via the Strange Horizons archive.

Friday, April 08, 2005

End of the (Blurred) Line

At some point within the next couple of months, Blurred Line will no longer be available through PageFree Publishing. Assuming that no one picks up a copy via Amazon, etc., before then, there will only be about 85 copies of this edition in circulation. Of course, if I happen to become famous, these could end up being worth the paper they're printed on (maybe more if I'm really famous, like Guinness Book record holder for longest sneezing streak kind of famous). As a result, you might want to get your hands on a copy while you can, just in case.

Interestingly, if you happen to be a member of the Forbes Book Club (I didn't even know they had one), you can do it here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Muse Strikes!

"The Ninth District Penitentiary is nestled between a Burger King and a hair salon. When you walk into the place, you take a good long look at that Burger King. You know that you’ll be able to pick up a nice combo tonight. Something with two beef patties and a big carton of fries. Problem is, tonight’s years away."

I came up with an idea for the little beginning of a story I posted here a few days back and managed to get down roughly 1000 words. That's impressive for me, since I'm a habitually slow writer and, generally, 300 words in an hour is a decent output. The juices were flowing today, though, which is nice, since it's been awhile.

Started on my first "recreational" read of the summer, Neal Stephenson's monster of a book, Cryptonomicon. It clocks in at over 900 pages (though the mass market edition almost hits 1200), so I imagine I'll be reading it for a relatively long stretch. So far, I've been somewhat alienated by all the math and computer programming stuff but, fortunately, Stephenson's writing is miles above the ordinary and relentlessly funny to boot.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Good Bye Lenin!

Yes, my last movie for the moment - I'll promise I'll get back to writing something else soon. This German flick took home European Film Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. It's a comedy that's only occasionally funny, but it works better as a drama. My Grade: B-

Move Info

Synopsis: When his mother, a steadfast Communist, has a heart attack and falls into a coma while watching him being arrested during a protest in Berlin in 1989, a young East German man becomes concerned that when she wakes up, the excitement of the fall of the Berlin Wall may be too much for her. So eight months later, as she is returning home from the hospital, he sets about recreating the era of Communist era East Germany in the area around her apartment, but with everyone being so caught up in their new-found democracy, the illusion of depressing Iron Curtain malaise is difficult to maintain.

Director: Wolfgang Becker
Writers: Wolfgang Becker and Bernd Lichtenberg
Stars: Daniel Bruhl (Deeply), Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon (Luther), Florian Lukas

The Kid Stays In The Picture

Yes, another movie (and there's still one more to come today), thanks to all the free rental coupons I used up at the end of March. An interesting documentary about Hollywood, especially if you're a fan of 60s and 70s era films. The high point? A circa 1976 Dustin Hoffman doing an impression of what Robert Evans would be like twenty years later - it runs during the credits, so don't turn this one off too quickly. My grade: B

Movie Info

Synopsis: This documentary captures the life story of legendary Hollywood producer and studio chief Robert Evans. The first actor to ever to run a film studio, Robert Evans' film career started in 1956, poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel. His good looks, charm and overwhelming confidence captured the eye of screen legend Norma Shearer, who offered him a film role. After a glamorous--but short-lived--career as a movie star, Evans tried out producing. At the age of 34, with no producing credits to his name, he landed a job as chief of production at Paramount Pictures. Evans ran the studio from 1966-1974. During his tenure, he was responsible for such revolutionary films as The Godfather, Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, The Odd Couple, Harold and Maude and Chinatown. By the early '80s, the Golden Boy of Hollywood was losing his luster. After a failed marriage to Ali MacGraw, a cocaine bust and rumored involvement with the Cotton Club murder, he disappeared into near-obscurity. Only through tremendous will and uncanny luck did he once again rise as the kid who stays in the picture. (via Imdb)

Stross = Posthuman

"In fact, I can hardly wait for my own personal nerd apocalypse."

Humour for the extraordinarily geeky science fiction reader at Locus.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Sin City

So. Much. Violence. Nonetheless, this movie was one of the most visually stunning films I've ever seen. It was a babe and blood fest, all done up in groovy noir. Highly recommended. As a side note, Mickey Rourke delivers his best performance since...well, ever. The huge number of familiar faces in this film all turn in decent performances, but Rourke, Willis, Owen and Dawson are particularly good. Grade: A-

Movie Info

Synopsis: Sin City is a violent city where the police department is as corrupt as the streets are deadly. In this movie, we follow three stories, the central of which is Marv, a tough-as-nails and nearly impossible to kill street fighter who goes on a rampage of vengeance when a beautiful woman, Goldie, he sleeps with for only one night is killed while lying in bed with him. (via Yahoo)

Co-Directors: Robert Rodriguez (Desperado) and Frank Miller, with special guest director Quentin Tarantion (Pulp Fiction)
Writer: Robert Rodriguez (Desperado) based on the comics of Frank Miller
Stars: Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Mickey Rourke (White Sands), Clive Owen (Closer), Jessica Alba ("Dark Angel"), Nick Stahl (Terminator 3), Rosario Dawson (Men In Black 2), Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), Devon Aoki (2 Fast 2 Furious), Benicio Del Toro (21 Grams), Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk), Michael Madsen (Kill Bill), Brittany Murphy (Just Married), Alexis Bledel ("Gilmore Girls"), Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbour), Carla Gugino (Spy Kids), Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile)

The End of the School Blahs

That's right - no more that horrible feeling of having essays to do hanging over my head. I'm finished! Of course, now all I have to do is go to my last four days of classes and prep for exams. Actually, exams don't bother me nearly as much as essays do, so I probably won't be as stressed out as I was this morning for another seven or eight months, when the end of next year's first semester rolls around.

To celebrate, I'm going to see Sin City tonight. I love my noir, so of course I've got to go see it. As an added bonus, one of the stars is Jessica "The Most Beautiful Woman In The World" Alba. (Disclaimer: My girlfriend, of course, being a goddess, can't really be compared to a mere human such as Miss Alba.)

Finally, I registered all my courses for next year. I'm only taking four per semester, since five gets entirely too stressful. Besides, with the two courses I'm taking this summer, it all adds up. My schedule looks a little something like this...

Fall Semester: Canadian Lit, Elizabethan Lit and the Metaphysicals, Modern British Lit, Chaucer
Winter Semester: Canadian Lit II, Rise of the Novel, Restoration Lit, Romantic Lit

Yep, it'll be lit-tastic alright...

The Agony of the Blinking Cursor

It's not something that's ever really bothered me much. When I'm sitting down to write a story, I'll either be on the ball or I won't. Some days, the groove just isn't there, but that's alright. Since many of the random thoughts I have throughout the day pertain to whatever I'm writing at the moment, I'm always relatively confident that some inspiration will pop up at some point or another.

Of course, things are a little different when you're on a deadline. And when what you need isn't inspiration, but logic and a bunch of other people's ideas that might support the logical argument you're trying to make.

That's right, I'm working on an essay. Being the final essay of the entire school year, of course, it's the one that's giving me the most trouble. In fact, I don't think I've had this rough a time with a single paper since my first year of university. Nothing's coming together, so I've taken to procrastinating.

That, at least, is one activity where I'm always on the ball.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Jersey Girl

Yes, my second movie of the night. My girlfriend and I had a ton of free rental coupons that expired on the 31st, so we used a bunch of them. Since we have wildly differing taste in movies, this one seemed like a good compromise - romantic comedy for her, Kevin Smith for me. It turned out to be a slightly better than average chick flick. My grade: C+

Movie Info

Synopsis: Ollie Trinke is at the top of his game. A smooth, Manhattan music publicist, Ollie has just married the love of his life and has a child on the way. It's a perfect life that is tragically upended when he suddenly finds himself a single father unqualified for his new role. Before long Ollie's big city lifestyle clashes head on with fatherhood. After losing his job, he's forced to move back in with his father in the New Jersey Suburb where he was raised. With the help of a beautiful young friend who opens him up to love again, and the daughter who gives him the courage to keep going, he begins to realize that sometimes, you have to forget about what you thought you were and just accept who you are. (via Yahoo)

Director and Writer: Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Stars: Ben Affleck (Daredevil), Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings), George Carlin (Dogma), Raquel Castro, Jennifer Lopez (Maid in Manhattan), Jason Biggs (American Pie)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Igby Goes Down

An amazing movie. Be sure to check this one out at the video store. My Grade: A

Movie Info

Synopsis: Igby Slocumb, a rebellious, sarcastic seventeen-year-old boy, is at war with the stifling world of "old money" privelege he was born into. With a schizophrenic father, a self-absorbed mother and a shark-like Young Republican big brother, Igby figures there must be a better life out there, and he sets about finding it. Happily flunking out of yet another prep school, Igby is sent off to a military academy in the dreaded Midwest. With the aid of his mother's pilfered credit card, he goes on the lam. His voyage eventually lands him in New York, where he hides out at his godfather's weekend pied-a-terre. There, he encounters a deviant cast of characters, including his godfather's trophy choreographer girlfriend and the terminally bored Sookie Sapperstein. In his quest to free himself, Igby's struggles veer from comic to tragic in an ultimately noble attempt to keep himself from "going down." (via Yahoo)

Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days)
Stars: Kieran Culkin (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys), Claire Danes (Terminator 3), Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day), Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards), Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions), Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise), Bill Pullman (Independence Day)

SF Read of the Week

It wasn't a great reading week for me as I was busy with schoolwork. Nonetheless, I took some time the over the past couple days to scour the net for the best SF reads. I managed to find a bunch of 'decent' stories, but nothing that really spoke to me.

So, I've decided to post something I read quite a while ago at Futurismic (these guys, by the way, consistently post the best SF short stories on the net). This week's story is "Shibuya no Love" by Hannu Rajaniemi. Starbucks, love and Japanese gadgetry. What else do you need in a story?

Friday, April 01, 2005

Writing News

I haven't posted any writing related stuff since the blog moved, so I figured it was about time. Well, the news is, unfortunately, that there's no news. Blurred Line hasn't moved a copy in about two weeks and "Smoke and Mirrors" is still out in submission land at Strange Horizons. All the time I usually spend writing has been taken up by essays over the past few weeks, though my last paper of the semester is due Monday, so hopefully I'll be able to make up for lost time next week.

No work on Glistening Edges and Right Angles, I'm afraid, save for a few sentences and a bit of editing. The untitled Regular's story has stalled due to the fact that the plot simply hasn't been working itself out for me. Usually, as I write, I come up with directions I want to take the story in and then, how to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, I've only got vague ambitions at this point.

I did manage to sketch out some ideas for another short story and got down about a hundred words for it in a quick half hour session about a week back (yes, that's how slow a writer I am). Just for kicks, here are all 136 words of it (you can thank me later):

And everything was just perfectly there.

The coffee shop beside the train station. The tall clock in the middle of the square, its face smashed and smeared with graffiti. Random groups of kids playing at dice games. Scuffles that broke out when someone lost. The disoriented tourist, accidentally treading off the main drag. Users collecting at the corners of the train platform, the square, the darkened shops. A place full of corners.

And Morgan, waiting for me in front of everything, superimposed on a moving background of what we’d lived.

“You look like a convict,” he says.

“Glad I look the part.”

“So, how was it?”

“I can think of better ways to spend an afternoon,” I answer. “For some reason, I didn’t expect any of this to be here when I got out.”

Morgan laughs.

R.I.P. Mitch

Mitch Hedberg, who I considered to be the funniest man on the planet, has just passed away at the age of 37.

His routine pretty much consisted of mumbling a bunch of one-liners while appearing to have just smoked a lot of weed. It was fantastic.

These quotes are great as sig files on message boards and stuff like that.

Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. “Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic!” “Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupus!” One of those two doesn't sound right.

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut. I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut to some skeptical friend. “Don’t even act like I didn't buy a doughnut, I've got the documentation right here!"

I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That's a bad place for an argument, because then I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap. How are you supposed to express your anger in this situation? Zip it up real quick?

I had a bag of Fritos, they were Texas grilled Fritos. These Fritos had grill marks on them. Hell yeah, reminds me of when we used to fire up the barbeque and throw down some Fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on, “better flip that Frito, dad, you know how I like mine.”

I hate flossing; I wish I just had one long curvy tooth.

I like refried beans. I wanna try fried beans, because maybe they're just as good and we're just wasting time.

I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something.

Best. Prank. Ever.

Seeing as how it's April 1st and all, the blogosphere is awash in stories of various pranks and April Fool's jokes.

Scalzi has a pretty good one on By The Way. Not only is it funny, but he gets bonus points for a relatively off-the-cuff setup.

But Dave over at Blogography has truly been the victim of one of the best pranks of all time.

I didn't get the chance to do anything for April Fool's since I had to be at work at 7:30 in the morning and we don't get much chance to interact with other people. I did think about calling in sick and then showing up the next day saying "April Fool's" but...well...I'd only get to laugh for about a minute because I'm sure it'd get me fired.