Monday, March 26, 2007

Linkage

All sorts of goodies today:

Northern Ireland announced a historic power-sharing deal today that may finally end the troubles there and bring about some sort of independence for her.

They built the Titanic in Belfast. That eventually led to a series of events that gave the world Kate Winslet and Leo Dicaprio in a big movie, and now, they're reuniting for Revolutionary Road.

J.R.R. Tolkien's son Christopher has 'finished' the draft of an unknown work of his father, The Children of Hurin, which will be published next month. It's supposed to be connected somehow to Lord of the Rings. Hmm. We'll see.

And last but not least, the apocalypse is bringing the genres together.

How To Write A Novel

Watch this. It's perfect.

Last night was a night of much watching. I sort of make up for my not watching anything during the rest of the week on Sundays, because that's when everything is on. It started with 60 Minutes, then Planet Earth on Discovery, which is really as amazing as they say it is (there's nothing like watching a Great White shark take down a seal in one bite, in slo-mo); then it was over to HBO for the too-soon series finale of Rome. I loved this show. It was a little hurried and scattered at times, but it was often brutal and magnificent and the ending was excellent. Then it was Battlestar Galactica. All I can say is wow. And Bob Dylan. Who knew? Then I capped it off with some cheesecake. The L Word. Yes. I watch it. Any guy with a pulse should. Not only is the writing often very good (not always - Papi, give me a break) but Jennifer Beales. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fights

I came across this fabulous comic by David Peterson called Mouse Guard the other day. It's one of those stories when you first read what it's about, you immediately go, "Of course! Warrior mice!"

Unfortunately Elizabeth Edwards' cancer has returned. To say it's a shame is an understatement. She seems like a wonderful person. I'm glad John Edwards is continuing his bid for the White House, and I wish the best for her and her family.

The fight to save the Vesey St. staircase, the only surviving remnant of the World Trade Center, goes on in NYC.

Stellar finality. Awesome.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Naratives

Ben details St. Patty's Day over at his blog, and even includes some Harn family history for good measure.

Excellent post on the demands readers place on writers and the narratives they weave, vis-a-vis Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8. This is the sort of lit theory re: 'pop art' that gets me going. It's only in a serialized form - and only in comic continunation of a TV show that is a continuation of a failed movie - that you can get at this kind of narrative complexity. When do stories end? Do they ever? Do continuations like Buffy or a proposed Angel Season 6 spoil what came before? Do readers/viewers have a right to know what comes next? Does Joss Whedon have a right to potentially water down his own creation by going back to the well, to satisfy his own personal desire for narrative continuation? What closure will the comic series bring, if any?

This relates to a conversation Ben and my cousin Matt and Sugu have quite often it seems: the pros and cons of serial characters. Superman is one of the great characters. But his stories will always suck. He's Superman; he's Coke. They changed Coke to New Coke, it sucked, people hated it, it went back to Old Coke. Superman always has to be Superman. All serial characters do, to one degree to another. When they attempt change, they always reneg on it and restore the status quo (didn't he die once or something?). Buffy is not a serial character. The TV series was a fairly complex and well orchestrated (less so toward the end) novel (or comic - the season arcs do mirror classic comic book arc structures) in TV form. This anticipated current TV novels (The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, etc.) to some degree. Now Buffy is a comic book, where few characters ever escape. My hope is Whedon has some second act for her - perhaps a long novel ala Sandman - and that she won't succumb to the want of the reader to have her around on a regular basis.

Oh, and Angel Season Six? Nah. They all died in that alley.

(UPDATE): Unless Buffy and the Slayerettes showed up in the alley. Ben and I went out to the pub last night and discussed as we often do all things Buffy. We weren't sure how much time has passed between Season 7 and Season 8 - on the show it was real time, so three months of summer passed during the hiatus. Turns out according to this PW article, it's been 18 months. Which means Buffy could have already saved Angel's bacon (Season 5 of Angel took place a year after Season 7 of Buffy, which means Season 8 takes place six months after that. Anyone confused? Bueller?).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hangovers

I got BLITZED last night. I usually never drink that much, and I honestly don't know how much I drank, though I know it involved Irish Car Bombs. I met up with Ben down to the pub early in the evening and I was happily surprised to see a bunch of guys from my Dad's side of the family, who I almost never see. It's moments like that when I realize a whole part of my life is missing. I grew up in a house with generations of my mom's side of the family. They raised me and that's pretty much all I've ever known; I felt like an alien a lot of the time because my interests, creativity, history, all things Irish, etc. are not theirs. But they are on my Dad's side. They're all poets, writers, artists and when we get together I feel a real sense of loss. But Ben and I hang out all the time, and maybe I can get to know them as well as I've gotten to know him.

There's a lot of things I'd like to go on about (300, the new Buffy comic) but I'm zonked from work and foggy from last night, so maybe it will wait a day. I have been writing. What I've been doing is revising, chapter by chapter, the second book of BDE (Big Damn Epic) as I prepare to start work on the third book. As my thoughts on that and the entire trilogy mature, I go back and refine the previous books to make a better whole. The first book is, I feel, I hope, finally at the point where I'm ready to let it go. It's been through five years of serious revision and evolution and it's as good a book as it's going to be. I know there are cosmetic things that will likely change, they always do, but it's ready and so am I.

The third book has been problematic in terms of structure for a while now, but the other day I had an epihany about it. I had a couple things floating around in my head; The Odyessy, and Buffy Season 8. The connection? Nothing really, other than I had been ruminating over the fact that Odysseus begins to narrate his own story in Book 9 and in Season 8, so does Buffy. Both are major shifts in narration, and that's what I realized was called for in the third book. Immediately the structure of the book unfurled in my head and I sat right down and wrote what are probably the three best opening sentences I've ever written. Since I've written the first five pages of the book, so I've been playing hokey from revising the second. But I'll go back. I don't intend to start full bore on book three - unless the mood takes me, I guess. Good lord.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Titanic Seas

The space probe Cassini has discovered liquid seas on Saturn's moon Titan. One is the size of the Caspian Sea and the other twice the size of Lake Superior. But, we'll probably never go there. At least not ourselves. We may not be doing anything manned mission wise after the shuttle retires in 2010, the way things are going; so this might be it, the future of our space exploration. Sitting back at home watching the pictures come in, watching probes do the work Columbus, Magellean and the other great explorers once did for themselves.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Page 123 Meme

After other peeps:

Turn to page 123 in your work-in-progress. (If you haven’t gotten to page 123 yet, then turn to page 23. If you haven’t gotten there yet, then get busy and write page 23.) Count down four sentences and then instead of just the fifth sentence, give us the whole paragraph.

Gunnar places a damp dishrag gently across her forehead and Sojourner feels like a girl again, the heartsick girl who imagined this itinerant explorer a sister, a mother, her future self; her dream of escaping to the stars suddenly comes rushing back, a dream once so vital and desperate she can’t believe she ever forgot it.

Yeah, I didn't revise the hell out of this little bit before posting it or anything.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Long Time

Brad Delp, the lead singer of the band Boston, is dead at 55. My brother Aaron and I went to see them twice on a reunion tour back in the 90's. I think they're his second favorite band after Queen, and I always loved them from the days of 45's - remember those? - when we had a copy of "More Than A Feeling." I loved the guitars, the production, which I'm always attracted to in anything (my brother, too, which is why I think he gravitated towards Queen and I did people like George Lucas and Orson Welles, who are essentially the same person as Tom Scholz: It's never finished).

Sad, sad news.

Rain, Sleet, Or Imperial Attack

Geek alert: The US Postal Service is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Star Wars this year not only with stamps, but mailboxes designed like R2-D2! Are you kidding? That has to be one of the coolest things I've seen in a while.

Speaking of anniversaries, it's the 10th of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the best TV show ever. Here's the very well researched Wiki feature article for all you neophytes.

The weather here seems to be finally inching back toward something pleasant, but now that layer of ice is a puddle of water and the backyard and alley looks like upper Minnesota. And of course yesterday it rained. But it's supposed to be near 50 today and tomorrow, which means it's close to bike weather in the 'Loo.

Fighting for Pluto's right to be a planet.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

American Dead

They killed Captain America (yeah, right) - and the vasy majority of people like me had no clue what led up to it. Lucky for us, Chris's awesome Invincible Super-Blog does the Marvel Civil War in 30 seconds, and pretty much sums it up right here:

Friday, March 02, 2007

Downed Lines

Polly's brother Matt is headed back to Iraq for his third tour, and the local paper was there to cover it. I wish him and all the other troops the best of luck. I'm trying to think of what else to say about the war, but it's all been said.

More snow and rain and ice here. And wind. Half the state has been declared a disaster area. The electric company has their station a few blocks from where I liv, down at the river, and for the last few days, around the clock, crews have been loading up with new utility poles and new lines to replace the hundreds lost to the storm. They depart the ball park they're using for a staging area en masse, so you have lines of utility trucks and crane trucks, 20, 30 at a time. The weather has made doing anything or going anywhere difficult, and since I was sick the week before, weeks before really, I haven't done a damn thing. I'm a little stir crazy right now. I thought about going to the movies today to see Black Snake Moan, but I doubt it now. I don't mind the snow, but I have holes in my horrific shoes and I can't afford new ones. Or the movies, either, but I guess distraction is more necessary that footwear in times of need.

I'd stay home and write, but the juice isn't flowing there, either. All my lines iced up and fell down. I haven't been able to concentrate or fix on writing for more than an hour or so a day, and it usually takes me an hour to get into it. I have difficulty starting anything new. Everything I do write feels kind of flat. No fizz. Bothers the hell out of me. There's beeing cooped up in your house because of snow, and there's being cooped up in your head with nowhere to go. The latter is far more worse and like a David Fincher movie.

Thursday, March 01, 2007