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Posts from May 2008

Just a couple of unrelated things I wanted to mention as I take a very short break from writing:

- I recently picked up James P. Davis's latest novel, The Shield of Weeping Ghosts. (Book 1 of this series of stand-alone novels is Ed Gentry's Neversfall.) This is an intriguing book. I'm only a couple chapters in so far, but it's a pretty cool mix of genres within an otherwise high fantasy setting. It's sort of like a ghost story (a city continually haunted by screaming ghosts) mixed with Beowulf (long-haired berserkers and masked witches) and lots of exotic cultural flavor atypical for most Forgotten Realms books.

- I have an RSS feed for Discovery News, and today's article was World's First Telephone Book Surfaces, wherein the very first telephone "how to" manual from 1878 is up for auction. It's an amusing read and a short history lesson, too. Check it out. My favorite parts are the direct quotes from the manual:

"Should you wish to speak to another subscriber you should commence the conversation by saying, 'Hulloa!'"

"Never take the telephone off the hook unless you wish to use it...When you are done talking say, 'That is all,' and the person spoken to should say, 'O.K.'"

And also, it warns never to "use the wire more than three minutes at a time, or more than twice an hour" without first "obtaining permission from the main office."

Ahh! Alexander Graham Bell! I bet you never saw things like this coming!

posted on 05.29.2008

I've now seen both Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Prince Caspian. Therefore I can finally continue my life as normal and focus on what needs focusing on the most. Currently that is my WotC book first draft deadline, which is in 1 week and 1 day.

Both movies are excellent, in my opinion. I'm not one to compare movies in the same series (I don't understand how anyone can say, for example, that The Two Towers was better than The Fellowship of the Ring, when the former was completely reliant upon the latter), but I will say that Prince Caspian upped the ante for Narnia. The characterization was much improved and the emotional impact greater. Plus, Reepicheep is awesome. He's like Sir Didymus: small, valiant, and certainly more dangerous.

I saw Indy this morning. I loved it. It's exactly what I wanted it to be. And for reasons obvious to some, I have an invested interest in such high action, pulp-style adventure stories. Particularly those based on the old chapter players of yesteryear.

My only criticism of the movie, as I said on another weblog, was the ending. The climax, not the aftermath bit. I feel like I've seen it before, particularly relating to the nature of the discovered beings and the, errr, structural fate of the building in which the climax takes place. Indiana Jones gets to pull some clichés and get away with it (some of which the franchise started anyway), and I even liked the recurring format from the 1st and 3rd films (i.e. racing against a villainous army to a site of archaeological significance, with or without an important artifact in hand), but I felt that climax was particularly clichéd. Even one of the Mummy movies did something similar, and those are inspired by Indy!

Otherwise I really thought The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was up to par. Maybe not quite the level of the original films, but damned close.

Go see them, if you're able to.

posted on 05.24.2008

posted on 05.16.2008

On Wednesday I took Marisa, for her birthday, to see a Broadway production of Macbeth at the Lyceum Theater, starring Captain Jean-Luc Pic....I mean, Patrick Stewart. While I certainly enjoy a good Shakespeare movie, I certainly read more novels than plays so I can't consider myself a drama critic or even a theater enthusiast. But, I know a thing or two about storytelling and I certainly can appreciate a director’s take of a dark story like this one.

This Macbeth is on a limited run, and if you have any opportunity to see it, consider it seeing it. It’s very good. There, that’s my short review. For a longer review, go here!

posted on 05.16.2008

I'm too busy to say much right now, especially since I'm pretty sick right now. But here are some picture of cats. I'm a dog person, personally, but Marisa and I have been taking care of a stray and her kitten and, well, they're pretty cute.

So there you are.

posted on 05.13.2008

My days have been occupied with multitasking. June 1st fast approaches. Racing against the calendar (like racing against the clock, but with less per-minute urgency), and trying to figure out if there's a way to divide my brain into two equal parts so that each half can think independent of the other. That would probably require a lot of medical equipment and some very good jars and be all-around messy. If you haven't heard from me lately and expected to, this is why. My head's all over the place.

Now, I could appeal to Apollo, the Bringer of Wisom, and that would make my writing schedule more regimented. I'd probably get the writing done early but the real 'heart' of it would be markedly absent. If I appeal instead to Dionysus, the Bringer of Love, then it would be all heart and emotion, and I probably wouldn't finish on time. Life, then, is a quest for Cygnus, the god of Balance.

Speaking of Greeks, I've been delving a fair bit into mythology with my current WotC book. Not nearly as much as I want to. I'm hoping after my first draft is done I'll be able to explore that even more.

In a completely unrelated matter (well, sort of), check out the 4th Edition shambling mound. Like many geeks in the fantasy writing/gaming industry, I'm a big fan of monsters. And there's nothing quite the same as a big plant monster than engulfs you with its body, is resistant to fire, and actually gets stronger when hit with electricity. Fun!

Here is the 3rd Edition shambling mound. They looked kind of goofy before that.

posted on 05.08.2008