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Three years ago today, I dressed up as a spoon. Some sort of tinfoil baking pan was attached to my head and the rest of me was covered up in duct tape. The reason? Well, in high school, we had an activity day with something called "Celebrity Volleyball" where you got together a team, created some sort of theme and dressed up. Ours? Strawberry-Banana (Strawnana, actually) split. Everyone else dressed up in red and yellow and I was the all important spoon (the duct tape, by the way, limited my mobility and made me even more useless than usual when playing volleyball).
And, as with most silly things done by males (in a state of sobriety, at least), I did it to impress a girl. One I'd admired from afar for about a year and had just gotten up the courage to ask out. So, I dressed up as a spoon for her volleyball team and, after getting destroyed by nearly every team we played, finally had my first date with her.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Cavan blogged at 6:54 AM | 5 comments
The June book giveaway is ready to go...so stay tuned if you want to get yourself a free copy of any of the following books:
Week 1: Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card, Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Week 2: Dervish Is Digital by Pat Cadigan, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear, Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Week 3: Nightfall by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, Year's Best SF 6 ed. by David Hartwell, The Silent City by Elisabeth Vonarburg, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Week 4: Signal To Noise by Eric Nylund, Future On Ice ed. by Orson Scott Card, We Can Build You by Philip K. Dick, Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
More info to come...
Cavan blogged at 1:03 PM | 2 comments
(Or Why Blogging Is Just Another Way To Go Straight To Hell In A Handbasket)
Pretty much every blogger who keeps at it for a while makes the inevitable "Why I blog" post. I figure, now that I've been blogging for over a year, my own motives have become sufficiently clear to me. When I first started this blog, back in April 2004 (the original incarnation, believe it or not, is still alive) I'd intended it to be a description of hilarious anecdotes about the writing life. Then, briefly, it became a linkdump combined with spectacularly unfunny anecdotes about the writing life. Then, it went through all sorts of phases and changes before reaching the present state you see here before you. The reasons I've ended up where I am (blog-wise, at least) are rather varied, but of great importance, nonetheless.
So, for what it's worth, here are the motivations behind this blog. This is why I blog:
Cavan blogged at 6:51 AM | 9 comments
I didn't have a chance to read many short stories this week, so I've decided to recycle a pre-Blogger Read of the Week that deserves another mention. (Cory Doctorow + updated "I Robot" = pleasure overload for the nerd set.)
Read Doctorow's take on the classic here.
Cavan blogged at 4:34 PM | 0 comments
Smart, funny and perfectly acted. Highly recommended. My grade: A-
Synopsis: Set against the bright lights of Manhattan, a tale which takes a comic, urbane look at the modern male ego at war in the singles scene trenches. Roger Swanson is a hopelessly cynical advertising copywriter with a razor-sharp wit who believes he has mastered the art of manipulating women. But Roger's seemingly foolproof world of smooth talk and casual sex begins to unravel when he is paid a surprise visit by his teenager nephew, Nick. Hoping to settle, once and for all, the issue of his virginity, Nick begs Roger to school him in the art of seducing women. Welcoming the challenge, Roger guides Nick through the city's wild nightlife for an all-night crash course, only to realize that he--the adult--still has something to learn about what women, and men, really want. (via Imdb)
Director and Writer: Dylan Kidd (P.S.)
Stars: Campbell Scott (The Spanish Prisoner), Jesse Eisenberg (The Emperor's Club), Isabella Rossellini (Fearless), Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls), Jennifer Beals (Flashdance), Ben Shenkman ("Angels In America")
Cavan blogged at 6:54 AM | 2 comments
Ever wonder what the magazines of today will have on their covers in 2105? Of course you do.
See the gallery here. (via Futurismic)
Cavan blogged at 4:55 PM | 1 comments
(Or How To Make Cavan Take A Second Look At Your Blog)
Inspired by this post at Beaver Tales, I've been thinking about what make me stick around and read a blog, especially when I'm surfing on Blog Explosion.
Here's what will make me run screaming in the other direction (or, in BE's case, yearn for the 30 second minimum to end):
Things I like:
So, what does everyone else think?
Cavan blogged at 11:18 PM | 18 comments
Famed playwright David Mamet (the guy who wrote Glengarry Glenross) delivers another great film. This kidnapping film has enough twists and turns for the suspense junkies and is so well-written that it even manages to make Val Kilmer look good. My grade: B+
Synopsis: Robert Scott is a career military officer working in a highly secretive special operations force. A man hardened by years of brutal service, he is respected by his peers and elders in the world of espionage. When Scott is recruited to find Laura Newton, the daughter of a high-ranking government official, he is paired with novice Curtis, who becomes his protégé. Working with a special task force comprised of Presidential Advisors, the Secret Service, FBI and CIA, Scott and Derek stumble upon a white slavery ring, which may have some connection to Laura's disappearance. (via Yahoo)
Director and Writer: David Mamet (Heist)
Stars: Val Kilmer (Heat), Derek Luke (Friday Night Lights), William H. Macy (Jurassic Park 3), Ed O'Neill ("Married...With Children"), Tia Texada ("Third Watch"), Clark Gregg (In Good Company), Kristen Bell ("Veronica Mars")
Cavan blogged at 11:07 PM | 1 comments
My girlfriend is participating in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay For Life, so if you'd like to help out the Canadian Cancer Society, send some cash her way by clicking here.
Actually, even if you live outside Canada, how can you turn down a girl like this?
Cavan blogged at 5:35 PM | 0 comments
Some updates from writing world: My untitled story is progressing, albeit slowly. After 3000 words, I've finally managed to get around to the main conflict although I haven't entirely decided where I want to go with it. "Razor Blade Wilderness" is sitting on the shelf, waiting for some kind of plot to drip down from the little intro I posted here the other day. Glistening Edges and Right Angles is also languishing on the shelf - I won't be returning to it until I've finished this short story.
Apodis News: I've been doing a ton of work in finalizing the company's setup. In the last week, bank accounts have been opened, the publisher/author contract has been (mostly) completed, the website is also (almost) completed (I'm just waiting for some logo files to arrive). The most exciting development, however, is that I've started to hire my staff of cover designers. Two are already confirmed onboard and I have a number of others interested as well. All of these individuals are incredibly talented artists and graphic designers and I'm very much looking forward to working with them.
Blurred Line: The tentative re-release date for the new BL paperback (as well as the free electronic version that'll be available at BlurredLine.com) has been set for my birthday, June 15th. Stay tuned.
Cavan blogged at 11:14 AM | 0 comments
Manages to combine crude jokes with an intelligent political critique. Result: Hilarity. My grade: B-
Synopsis: This politcally-minded comedy action adventure tells the story of Team America, a group of superhero-style adventurers who travel the world fighting terrorism and other evils. Specifically, the story focuses on a typical "action hero" who is recruited to join Team America for a special mission, as a satire of the typical Hollywood action movie, using a combination of wood marionette-driven action sequences and stirring tongue-in-cheek musical numbers. (via Yahoo)
Director: Trey Parker ("South Park")
Writers: Trey Parker ("South Park"), Matt Stone ("South Park") and Pam Brady (South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut)
Stars: voices of Trey Parker ("South Park), Matt Stone (guess what? "South Park"), Kristen Miller (Cherry Falls), Masasa, Daran Norris ("Star Wars: Clone Wars")
Cavan blogged at 12:43 PM | 0 comments
George Lucas' writing and most of the acting: bad. Rest of the movie: Amazing. This film is imbued with the same stuff that made the original trilogy so much fun. Oh, and if you like lightsaber duels, and thought Phantom's Darth Maul battle and Clones' Yoda/Dooku battle were cool, you ain't seen nothin yet. My grade: B
Synopsis: If I have to give you a synopsis, you've got more pressing things to worry about, because clearly you've been living under a rock in the middle of the desert for many, many years.
Director and writer: George Lucas (Star Wars)
Stars: Hayden Christensen (Shattered Glass), Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting), Natalie Portman (Closer), Ian McDiarmid (Sleepy Hollow), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings), Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue")
Cavan blogged at 7:11 PM | 0 comments
My face is nowhere in the reflection. My hands, my clothing, everything else but the face matches. Wrinkled and worn beyond comprehension, the visage in the mirror looks many hundred years old.
Science Fiction? Fantasy? Horror? It's hard to say - but it makes for an entertaining read.
Reflecting House, by Samuel Minier at Three-Lobed Burning Eye.
Cavan blogged at 7:00 PM | 1 comments
Well, a new story idea, really. One that came to me during work this morning and looks to be something that will fulfill my desire for writing a story that's exceedingly dark, bizarre and more than a little disturbing. I won't start working on it for a while, at least not until I've finished up my short story in progress. Why do I want to write something like that? Well, partly to see if I can. Blurred Line and GERA are both somewhat dark, but in very much of a "lite" variety. I've always enjoyed reading stuff that's dark and a little off the beaten path of regular human existence.
Plus, I've always enjoyed having my mind screwed with. And I sincerely hope that I'll one day be able to effectively screw with yours, too.
So, just for kicks, I give you my writing in its roughest form - the few words I managed to scratch out on my fifteen minute afternoon break and, hopefully, the beginning of "Razor Blade Wilderness". (Bonus points for you if you know the song I'm referring to.)
Warning: Profanity ensues.
Push-pull heartache in a nest of Cheerios. But don't you worry. I'll be fine. See, all the Cheerios, they lower my cholesterol. So my heart can go on living forever while I stare at the wall. I'll be a healthy vegetable.
But now that you're here -
Why don't I catch you up?
This is me three days ago: In front of the Board. Asleep. My mouth doing all the talking. They're displaying "Happy" movements. Smiles, nods. My profit report is good. When my mouth stops moving, they execute "Happy" meeting finale; a round of applause.
While my mouth ejaculates perfunctory responses (smiles, nods, thank yous, etc.) in every direction, I'm thinking of a song. One that told me I was nothing but a spineless fuck. That all I could do was hold on desperately. To anything. Anything at all that would keep me suspended above a wilderness of razor blades. And if everything went wrong, well, then I was fucked for good. Pure and simple.
One thing you should know about me: I live to get fucked.
Cavan blogged at 1:01 AM | 3 comments
I'm taking a few moments off from writing my essay to reflect on the fact that it's significantly more depressing to write essays in summer.
I have to be up for work in seven hours, but here I am psychoanalyzing the speaker in a Lucille Clifton poem ("forgiving my father" if you're interested, though I'm more partial to a new critical reading than a psychoanalytical one).
I've decided that I need to become one of those people who can get by on five or six hours of sleep each night without any ill effects. I've always liked to have eight, but it's really been cutting down on the amount of time I have to, you know, do things.
Alternatively, Mountain Dew "energy drink" just came out here in Canada. For all you folks in the States, Canadian Mountain Dew doesn't have caffeine in it - we've got some crazy law that doesn't allow anything but Pepsi-coloured pop (that's our word for soda, by the way) to have caffeine in it. So, cola, root beer, Dr. Pepper are all fair game, but not Mountain Dew. Of course, this new Mountain Dew "energy drink" is just loaded up with the stuff and has a bunch of medical directions plastered over the side of the box. Next essay I think I'll try some.
Cavan blogged at 11:17 PM | 2 comments
Let it never be said that my favour can't be swayed. So, accordingly, this week's story comes from Byzarium. Fracture, by David McGillveray.
Besides, who doesn't like a good story about social upheaval?
Cavan blogged at 12:33 PM | 0 comments
People generally love or hate Wes Anderson movies. I figured I'd be in the former category, since the only other movie of his I've seen, Rushmore, is one of my all-time faves. Unfortunately, this movie just didn't do it for me. My grade: C-
Synopsis: Internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou and his crew -- Team Zissou -- set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly non-existant Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou's partner during the documentary filming of their latest adventure. They are joined on their voyage by a young airline co-pilot who may or may not be Zissou's son, a beautiful journalist assigned to write a profile of Zissou, and Zissou's estranged wife and co-producer, Eleanor. They face overwhelming complications including pirates, kidnapping, and bankruptcy. (via Yahoo)
Director: Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums)
Writers: Wes Anderson (Rushmore) and Noah Baumbach (Mr. Jealousy)
Stars: Bill Murray (Lost In Translation), Owen Wilson (Starsky & Hutch), Cate Blanchett (The Aviator), Anjelica Huston (The Royal Tenenbaums), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Cavan blogged at 11:39 AM | 2 comments
After work tomorrow, I'm off to see family for the weekend. Read of the Week will be up Monday. Ish.
In my absence, go find a copy of the song "Danger! High Voltage!" by Electric Six. It's what AC/DC would have sounded like if they'd really liked disco.
Cavan blogged at 11:31 PM | 1 comments
I promised some good news about a week ago and, well, who am I to disappoint? So, without further adieu...
"Smoke and Mirrors" has been accepted at for publication at Byzarium (www.byzarium.com). Additionally, this publication will also be the first time my work has been published by a paying market. Of course, the pay isn't great (as is the case with most e-zines -- it's tough to pay writers when you don't have any subscription fees), but nonetheless, I'm very pleased to be paid for my writing.
The story will be published in either the June or July issue, so I'll let everyone know when it's up. In the meantime, be sure to check out Byzarium's website.
Cavan blogged at 6:41 PM | 6 comments
I've come under a bit of fire lately from family for the fact that I'm no longer considering going off to teacher's college. Let me frame the issue for you: I'm an English Lit student - the practical application of such a degree towards a steady paycheque are, essentially, zilch. Unless, of course, you go become a teacher. That had been my plan, thanks largely to the suggestions of others and not any real aspirations I'd ever had, up until about six months ago.
So, what do I want to do with my life now? Well, I'm not sure. No idea, really. Sure, ideally, my writing career takes off and I'm getting hundred thousand dollar advances by the age of thirty and legions of fans. Of course, the chances of this happening are, again, pretty much zilch.
But I'd like to suggest the idea that to expect the field you study in university to be your only career choice in life is entirely ridiculous. My mom went to college with an eye toward being a fashion buyer - now she does bookkeeping for small businesses. My dad went to college for cartography - now he sells commercial software. So, the idea that I'm going to fail spectacularly at life by not going into teaching is something I just laugh off. Sure, not having any solid answers for what I want to do with my life with just a year and a half remaining in my degree is somewhat frightening, but is there anything wrong with that? I'd like to think that having a university Honours degree, no matter what the discipline, is good enough to get me some sort of job somewhere.
The path that's taken from there? Well, who knows?
Cavan blogged at 6:53 AM | 4 comments
Customers have more difficulty getting their mind around the original philosophical problems: how can my son be lying, seventy-two hours dead, on a metal slab in a refrigerated morgue, while my son is also standing, ninety-eight point six degrees, with a smile, right in front of me? Is he my son, or is my son dead?
The Blurred Line Blog's coolest read of the week yet.
Mere Potential, by Mark Yohalem, at Ideomancer.
Cavan blogged at 12:02 PM | 2 comments
A good, solid film. However, I think that the Best Picture nomination gives the movie a little too much credit. The only thing that truly crosses the boundary between above-average and Oscar-worthy is Paul Giamatti's performance, which eclipses even his brilliant portrayal of Harvey Pekar in American Splendor. My Grade: B
Synopsis: Miles Raymond, a divorced middle school teacher and failed novelist, and his altar-bound friend Jack take a wine-tasting trip in California, pondering questions about their directions in life. (via Yahoo)
Director: Alexander Payne (About Schmidt)
Writers: Alexander Payne (About Schmidt) and Jim Taylor (Election) based on the novel by Rex Pickett
Stars: Paul Giamatti (American Splendor), Thomas Haden Church ("Wings"), Virginia Madsen (Ghosts of Mississippi), Sandra Oh (Under the Tuscan Sun)
Cavan blogged at 6:38 AM | 1 comments
Over the past few days, since I plunked down hundreds of dollars for Adobe Acrobat, I've been putting myself through a crash course on typesetting.
The result? Well, I was able to do the typesetting for Blurred Line in just two days. All I have to do now is get some minor alterations done to the cover and I'll be ready to submit everything to the printer.
Oh, and as if having Blurred Line republished with my very own company wasn't exciting enough, I'll also have some other good news to report in a few days. Stay tuned.
Cavan blogged at 7:59 PM | 5 comments
"Blurred Line contains a unique plot and even more enticing characters. It kept me guessing what was going to happen next, who was going to do it and why. I also enjoyed the short 'whispers' sections, which provided entertaining breaks in the story line."
Or so the good people at Writer's Digest say. About six months ago I entered my book in the (long breath) Writer's Digest 12th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. The nice thing about this contest is that, even if you don't win (which I didn't), you still get a comment sheet from the judge with what was good (see above), what was bad (confusing first chapter), how the author can market (I'm already doing a good job - they like my web site), and numerical ratings in a couple of categories (4 out of 5 in plot and character development).
I'm happy with what the judge had to say, although nothing in that paragraph really makes for a snappy quote, but, hey, I'll take what I can get.
Cavan blogged at 10:01 AM | 3 comments
Better late than never.
This week's story comes from Strange Horizons. Archipelago, by Anil Menon.
The idea was to get a group of people to hook up their sensoriums in a certain way and then use a data feed—the "stim"—to trigger a synchronization of minds; a firefly swarm, as it were, of minds all blinking, signalling, and responding in unison.
Cavan blogged at 9:43 AM | 0 comments
Things went smoothly for me down in Brockville. I was able to see my face and book cover plastered (briefly) onto an eight foot tall screen in a presentation, took home a nice souvenir program with a profile on me in it and, to top it all off, I even managed to sell a couple books.
Yep, that's me gabbing on about my book to anyone who will listen. The guy beside me had a much more successful day selling his CDs and guitar instruction books.
Signing a book here for Leo Brent Robillard, author of Leaving Wyoming, whose reading from that book was the highlight of all the readings given. I have his book on my shelf now, too, so I'll have to give it a read this week before summer class starts up. Check his website here.
Cavan blogged at 8:17 AM | 2 comments
A good, but not great adaptation. All the actors pretty much nail the roles, with the exception of Zooey Deschanel, whose performance as Trillian didn't really do much for me. Of course, Trillian was the weak point of the book, too. Alan Rickman, who voices Marvin, gets the biggest laughs. My grade: B
Synopsis: Earthman Arthur Dent is having a very bad day. His house is about to be bulldozed, he discovers that his best friend is an alien and to top things off, Planet Earth is about to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Arthur's only chance for survival: hitch a ride on a passing spacecraft. For the novice space traveler, the most astonishing adventure in the universe begins when the world ends. Arthur sets out on a journey in which he finds that nothing is as it seems: he learns that a towel is just the most useful thing in the universe, finds the meaning of life, and discovers that everything he needs to know can be found in one book: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (via Yahoo)
Director: Garth Jennings
Cavan blogged at 9:58 AM | 2 comments
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