Thursday, December 05, 2013
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Funny thing is, he used to do this when we first acquired him, way back in late 2005 or early 2006. Then he stopped, because we started closing the bathroom door at night. Recently, though, he has realized that there is a colony of living toilet paper rolls dwelling in our bathroom, and By God, he will not let this scourge go unanswered!
Here's mine: A guy with a mustache is mustachioed. Where the hell did the 'i' and the 'o' come from?!
This is one of those pieces of music which carries a very strict association with a time and place for me. In my case, it's to my college years: we played this on all four orchestral Christmas concerts in which I was a part.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
(Although it's not really a pieing, so much as a container of Cool-whip just tossed at the lovely victim...but the reverse effect is pretty nifty....)
Monday, December 02, 2013
:: Still, if nothing else, this serves as a valuable object lesson: when you read this (well, if you can get through the entirety of it; it’s a joyless slog, all self-congratulation and abuse of no doubt multiple thesauri), you can take solace in the fact that this is a man who is, in fact, a professional writer, and who is living proof that a writing career has much more to do with work ethic than it does innate talent. (Ohhhh, boy. Good old John C. Wright, spouting the long-winded crazy, as always. I can't push my way through that...I much prefer Wright's short-form crazy. And don't forget that according to him, by 2059 homosexuality will again be considered a form of mental illness!)
:: In November of last year, I self-published my first novel, Falling For Your Madness. It changed my life! First of all, this was a life long dream now coming to pass, but other than that I learned some very interesting and surprising things too!
:: So humor has been banished. Everything is, if not grim and brutal, at the very least to be taken absolutely SERIOUSLY. Everyone is serious about everything they do, and every villain is a serious threat to humanity that must be fought by serious heroes being seriously serious. The only humor still allowed is to make fun of how silly things used to be; everyone can mock the way that the Hulk used to talk, but nobody seems to understand that it was a joke. Even when we're not getting on-panel disembowelings and villains raping women to show how evil they are and the other trappings of arrested adolescence, the pathological avoidance of anything that might be considered "fun" is almost total. (Maybe this is why Squirrel Girl and Deadpool are such fan favorites. They actually get to be...gasp...silly.)
:: Could it be that some students regard a university degree as a sort of credential awarded upon the conclusion of four years of tedium? How miserable! "I'm sitting here waiting for my ticket to be punched." What a way to go through life.
:: If you want to see how people’s fears and hopes for the world have changed over time, pick up a range of Star Trek novels. (Huh. I stopped reading tie-in novels years ago, although there are a few I wouldn't mind checking out at some point....)
:: So I'm going to get me a magic feather and stop folding under all the lame excuses. I'm going to make solid, specific word count and pitching/querying goals and actually write them down and use whatever magic feathers I can find to accomplish them. No excuses, and here's to flying.
:: Of course, no one is their right mind in this home-baking house of perfectionism would spend good money on such a thing as a frozen banana cream pie. (Well, frozen pies do have their uses...of which they already discovered the finest!)
More next week!
Sunday, December 01, 2013
:: Check out this period photo:
Guess what! It's not a period photo -- it's staged, using models. Check it out!
:: I really wish Breaking Bad was my cup of tea, judging by the assurances I've seen of how well-written it is. Guy Gavriel Kay weighs in with this fascinating essay:
Breaking Bad has been, correctly, I think, widely cited as a writers’ show. It is held up by many as a television series that can serve as an example to novelists of an engaging, deeply layered story arc. But, for me, for this piece, one moment is what caught me.
In that last episode, Walter White has returned home, heading towards a violent closure, and has (somehow) slipped unseen into his wife’s new home. They have a last conversation. As Walter begins his final words of explanation, his wife interrupts to demand, “Don’t tell me again you did it all for us!” which has been his litany. But this time he replies, in essence, “No. I did it for me. I enjoyed it. I was good at it. I felt alive.”
Having just read the New Yorker piece, I had to grin. It was just too perfect. Who was the lord of emperors here? The gifted, award-winning actor playing the drug kingpin Heisenberg, or the writer who wrote the words the actor was caused to speak—and thereby settled that debate about motivation, forever.
If Breaking Bad, for all its skillful acting and often superb (and witty) visual perspectives, is truly a show about the writing, that exchange seals it. Gilligan [creator and head writer Vince Gilligan] defined his emperor, explicitly and out of Heisenberg’s own mouth.
:: I won't embed the video here because...well, it's really gross. But if you like a good gross-out once in a while, especially those created by Mother Nature, this is a really good gross-out. Here's the scenario: a dead whale washes up on shore. The carcass has to be disposed of. But...it's bloating on the inside, and that pressure has to be relieved before they can move the dead thing...only sometimes the relief of that pressure is more violent than you might want, especially if you're the guy whose job it is to jab the dead beast in the belly with a pointy stick. Ewwwwwww!
More next week!
Saturday, November 30, 2013
With that, I am officially signing off from this year's National Novel Writing Month. Eighty-seven thousand words in one month? Wow. That was quite the crunch. Now, quite a bit of it was easier than it may sound since I went back and started rewriting Lighthouse Boy from the ground up, albeit with the already-existing eight chapters to guide me. But still, that's quite probably the most writing I've done in a single month. It's almost double my previous best month, May 2014, when I did 44K words. And I got GhostCop's first draft done, so I can't forget that!
Rest for the weary? No such thing. I'll probably scale back my daily quota on Lighthouse Boy to 1250 words a day, so as to give me time to start the other writing project I set for December 1: the first editing pass through Princesses In SPACE!!!: The First Of Many Sequels. I've already been thinking a lot about this, and I have some ideas that I know I'll need to execute, in addition to simply cleaning up some very rough spots in the writing. The work never stops! My goal remains to have Princesses II in the hands of beta-readers no later than kickoff of the Super Bowl. And then, the day after the Super Bowl? I start the first editing pass though on GhostCop!
Now, I have no real sense for how long Lighthouse Boy is going to be right now. I'm thinking I might well go for broke on this one, since I intend it to be a single-volume tale. My upper target for both Princesses books (and likely all of them to come) was 180K in first draft, but for Lighthouse Boy, I'm thinking of setting 240K as my upper limit (depending on where the story takes me, of course). Yes, these are long-ish books. But they're the books I want to write, and I will roll the dice accordingly.
As for publishing, well...there is no news to report on that at all. Rejections continue to dribble in, and queries continue going out. But if and when I do decide to self-publish, I know two things: It will likely be toward the end of next year, and Princesses I will be first out of the gate. My commitment remains that this is not a "practice book", and that this story will get out there, one way or another.
As ever, onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!
(Mr. Scalzi's quote from my post title comes from here.)
Friday, November 29, 2013
Yesterday was Illinois' first big snowfall of the season. The one that always seems to come out of nowhere and take everyone by surprise, because at first it's just tiny flakes that don't accumulate, and then suddenly it's several inches of thick, wet snow blowing so hard that you can barely see.
I hate the snow. I have for a long time. And one of the things that's come out of that is that when I try to complain about it online, over here, in my teeny space on a vast internet, someone always has to go out of their way to come over here and look at a post I've written about hating the snow and dismissively write "I love the snow!"
I. Don't. Care.
It only pisses me off more to see that. I'm not trying to start an open discussion. I'm exorcising my frustration. The whole point of writing about it is to get out my anxiety and all of the bad feelings I have about this particular weather phenomenon, and you've just come along and invalidated all of it with your self-serving, dismissive comment. I don't care if you love the snow. It has no bearing on my life at all. And guess what? My hating is has no bearing on yours, either. If you love the snow, write about it on your own blog and don't bother me with it.
Almost as if guided by the hand of Fate, within a day or two some guy's rant about people posting photos of snow popped up and went a bit viral.
Now, SamuraiFrog isn't saying the same thing as this guy. In fact, he's saying quite the opposite: you should be able to feel free to post whatever the heck you want to post about, and I've noticed the exact same phenomenon many times in my own blogging and posting to various places. Disagreement is all well and good, but there are times when it's clear that someone is basically along for the ride just because they like disagreeing with stuff. That gets irritating.
What the anti-snow pic guy is doing, however, is something else: he's making a blanket statement about what people should or should not post, so as to not "clog up his timeline". Thing is, he's not alone in doing this. I see it all the damn time on Facebook and Twitter, and it's incredibly obnoxious. Frankly, I find that sort of thing orders of magnitude more obnoxious than the sudden onslaught of snowpics or whatever in the first place, to the extent that when someone says "We get it, Buffalo, you can stop posting pictures of snow now, we all know what snow looks like," my impulse is to immediately take, and post, six new photos of snow.
Before I even saw that guy's rant, people I know on various social networks were bitching about the inevitable flood of snow photos (right about the same time we got our first real snowfall of the year). But that wasn't the first instance. Right now, there are these things called "Bitstrips" that are popular on Facebook. You can create a little comic-strip-looking avatar that resembles you, and then put your avatar into little situations and post them. Harmless...but after a few days of this, out came the "You people need to stop posting the Bitstrips" snark. And someone is always posting to complain about people posting pictures of their meals. (I am guilty as charged.) Or for taking "too many selfies". (I am likely guilty as charged.) Or for too many cut pet photos. (I am guilty as charged.)
Snow photos? Yes, I'm guilty as charged. Bitstrips? A-ha! No Bitstrips from me. I started using the app one day and decided that I had better things to do with my time. But do I bitch about other people using them? Nope.
After a mini-flood of such complaints on Twitter, I got irritated, because it seems to me that there are classes of photos on Twitter and Facebook that it's OK to bitch about, and others that are just as common that the bitchers-that-be seem to have collectively decided are A-OK. I created the hashtag #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout and Tweeted the following:
Oh look! A bunch of people at a hockey game! #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout— Kelly Sedinger (@Jaquandor) November 27, 2013
Ooooh! Somebody's doggie! #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout— Kelly Sedinger (@Jaquandor) November 27, 2013
Holy crap! Cars! #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout— Kelly Sedinger (@Jaquandor) November 27, 2013
OMG, this city has BUILDINGS of differing age in various states of repair! #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout— Kelly Sedinger (@Jaquandor) November 27, 2013
Hey wow! It's that same bunch of people from the hockey game, but now they're at a FOOTBALL game! #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout— Kelly Sedinger (@Jaquandor) November 27, 2013
Someone went to Disney World? Ooooh, I hope they got a photo of Cinderella's castle! #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout— Kelly Sedinger (@Jaquandor) November 27, 2013
You're on a plane? Quick! Get a photo of the plane window! #UbiquitousPhotosNobodyBitchesAbout— Kelly Sedinger (@Jaquandor) November 27, 2013
Now, I can't say that I'm as pure as the snow when it comes to this sort of bitching. I've done it myself, although I do try to resist the impulse when it arises. It used to be, for example, that Twitter was nearly unusable to me every single time the Sabres had a game, because a pretty solid chunk of people I follow are locals who are also big Sabres fans who like to tweet their stream-of-consciousness color commentary about each hockey game. However, when I'm on the Web, the Twitter client I use (Tweetdeck) has pretty good filters that allow me to pretty much keep anything with the word "Sabres" in it from appearing in my feed. This cuts out a lot of the noise. Sometimes I still slip up and throw in a "Quit talking about the Sabres!" jab, though. Hey, nobody's perfect.
When you come down to it, bitching about what people post on social networks is rather like going to each individual table in your high school cafeteria and demanding that everyone at each table only discuss the topics you want to hear discussed. It's not reasonable, it's not realistic, it's a waste of time, and when people do it a lot, I end up wondering just how narcissistic they really are, going through life with the real expectation that people will tailor their utterances and social media postings to their liking. Because when you get down to it, people are pretty much all the same. Back in the days before the Internet you would get to work in the morning and talk about...your kids and your pets. That awesome new recipe you had for dinner the night before. Your recent trip to Disneyland. We're still the same people we always were; we just have new ways of being the same people we always were.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Here, with my usual additions sprinkled throughout, is my updated list of things for which I am thankful. It is not exhaustive!
Cape May, Lucky Bones (restaurant in Cape May), Cheddar cheese so sharp it makes you pucker, Sesame crackers, Our azalea plant, Our ivy plant, Cats, Get Fuzzy, blogs, George Lucas, Star Wars, our dining room table, Klein screwdrivers, flashlights, William Shatner, Sela Ward, Mary Stewart's Arthurian trilogy, Miles Vorkosigan by Lois McMater Bujold, Stephen King, the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey, the hardware store in my old hometown, angle grinders, Dremel rotary tool, Star Trek, Sergei Rachmaninov, The Beatles, Van Halen, glass growler bottles for beer, baked pasta dishes, pizza (thin, Buffalo-thick or deep dish, it's all great!), cookies, Harry Potter, Guy Gavriel Kay, Space opera, Planetary Romance, Chestnut Ridge Park, big thick poetry collections, Jerry Sullivan (Buffalo News sports columnist), Instagram, my drill, Schopp and the Bulldog (Buffalo sports talk radio guys), Fried chicken, Italian sausage, that I have finally seen Les Miserables on stage and screen, that Star Wars is coming back, Harrison Ford, Canada and Canadians, the poetry of Tennyson, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Brian and Stewie on The Family Guy, Everyone who ever acted in a Harry Potter movie at all ever, Joss Whedon, steak, chess, comics, big breakfasts that leave me full until mid-afternoon, light breakfasts that take the edge off until a nice lunch, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, The Mentalist, Tasting something good at a restaurant and figuring out how to make it at home, Ice cream at the roadside place down the road, The County Fair, the farm exchange thing we joined this year, Libraries, JRR Tolkien, Route 20-A in the fall, Sandals, the scissor jack at work, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen, Once Upon a Time, Lana Parilla, Monty Python, aquariums, science museums, The Origin of Species, Cosmos, Carl Sagan, complete collections of Shakespeare (I own six, plus the one on my tablet!), thick fuzzy socks in winter, eggs, watching the Super Bowl, watching figure skating, the Olympic games, Person of Interest, Autumn Leaves Used Books in Ithaca, the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival, white peaches, getaways with The Wife, holding The Wife's hand, the second chapter of Luke, Asian Star restaurant in West Seneca (they do gluten-free really well), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Arriba Tortilla in East Aurora, Edgar Allan Poe, Firefly Cupcakes in East Aurora, discovering new authors, Liking books on the re-read that I didn't like the first time, Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Daniel Craig as James Bond, George Lazenby as James Bond, Sean Connery as James Bond, Roger Moore as James Bond, Timothy Dalton as James Bond, Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, my cell phone, my new tablet, embracing brighter colors in my wardrobe, the Burchfield Nature and Art Center, The Daughter getting better each year on her string bass, John Williams, Hector Berlioz, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Having no idea what to get The Wife for Christmas, Castle and Beckett, Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Kat Dennings, Melissa Rauch, The Big Bang Theory, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, "[knock knock knock] Penny? [knock knock knock] Penny? [knock knock knock] Penny?", A Tale of Two Cities, Thin-mint Girl Scout Cookies, Roast turkey, Chicken wings, Rum (particularly spiced), Coke, Anthony Bourdain, Rachel Maddow, Cake Boss, Nate Silver, George Carlin, Hayao Miyazaki, President Obama (on balance), Zooey Deschanel, my wok, pies in the face, pies in my face, bib overalls, Carhartt overalls, dollops of whipped cream on my overalls after getting hit in the face with a pie, cooking, Lester, Julio, Comet, writing, Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title), Princesses II: Princesses Boogaloo (not the actual title), GhostCop (not the actual title), Lighthouse Boy (not the actual title), NaNoWriMo, connecting with other writers via social networks, friends willing to read my writing, people who don't mind associating with me even with all the weirdness I bring to the table, All who read this blog, a future that feels bright, Baby Fiona, Little Quinn, The Daughter, The Wife, and this whole wild and wacky Cosmos from which we spring.
May you all, each and every single one of you, enjoy a happy Thanksgiving and may the coming year bring more things of Thankfulness than the last!
It's kind of a bummer that it actually will fall on Thanksgiving on occasion, as it does this year, but there's no controlling the calendar or the flow of time, no matter how we might wish to. Eight years ago today, Little Quinn departed for the final time.
He is forever a part of our lives, forever loved, forever missed, and forever remembered -- usually with more smiles than tears, but still...sometimes, the tears.