newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Prisoners of Gravity to start off with again.

Writers' Workshops/Clarion - November 10, 1993
More advice for writers, this time on how to become a better writer and focusing on the various Writer's Workshops.

Part One: Damon Knight (on how Clarion is set up), Kate Wilhelm (on what Clarion/other writer workshops does for a writer, and the 'writer's apprenticeship' period), Kristine Katheryn-Rusch (on what Clarion instructors do to encourage), Connie Willis (on how critiquing other people's work is what makes you a better writer), Geoff Ryman (on the training your own editor),
Part Two: Connie Willis (on her approach to teaching writing, and the importance of plotting as a skill), Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Clarion graduate, reading a bit of a story she did at Clarion, and giving her reaction to turning it in), Kim Antieu (on why Clarion tends to lead to getting successfully published), James Alan Gardner (on advice he got at Clarion that didn't particularly work for him, a Frost quote about writing vs talking about the stories), Kate Wilhelm (on how there's multiple ways to write), story about Harlan Ellison being kicked out of a writing class, Harlan Ellison (on inspiring fear in his Clarion students, and how everyone thinks they can write),
Part Three: Harlan Ellison continued (breaking the spirit of dilettantism, and giving The Great Secret of Writing), William F. Wu (about how something Harlan Ellison said inspired him for the story he's best known for), Geoff Ryman (on what Clarion gives participants than what they did before), Connie Willis (on the Clarion Slump, and learning to write in very small bits when you have very limited time), general advice, More on Nina Kiriki Hoffman's story reading.

Games: November 3, 1993
SF Authors using games people play for story fodder.

Part One: Terry Pratchett (reading from Small Gods), Lynda Barry (on her comic character Marlys who creates her own games, and why kids like inventing their own games), Poul Anderson (on "The Immortal Game", a story about a chess game from the point of a chessman), John Brunner (on adapting a real chess game and disguising it as a novel), Greg Bear (on Anvil of Stars, in which he has characters introducing chess, a zero sum game, to a pacifist alien race),
Part Two: Kristine Kathryn-Rusch (on poker playing a big role in her DS9 novel The Big Game and how poker reflects how people think), David Brin (on why the 'Game of Life' is important in Glory Season), Nancy Kress (on her story Touchdown which involves a game centered around the ruined planet Earth), Iain M. Banks (on the importance of Play, and how we use games much like animals use play, just on a different level, and the growing importance of games to simplify the complexity of life, and designing the game of Azad in The Player of Games),
Part Three: Steven Barnes (on real role playing games vs Dream Park, and why he doesn't game), Sean Stewart (on Dreamquest, a LARP, and how the difference between fantasy novel writing), Pierre Savoie (RPgamer, on how reading Ringworld the novel improves the experience of Ringworld the RPG, and how RPG can give insights to a novel universe its based on), David Pringle (on editing novels/short stories for Games Workshop based on Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, etc, and one particular book set in Near Future Earth)

Awards: January 28, 1993
Awards and what they mean to the creators who get them.
Part One: Kristine Kathryn-Rusch (on how important different awards are to SF writers), list of dfifferent awards, Samuel R. Delany (on the impact of winning many Hugos and Nebula awards), Jerry pournelle (on the benefit of awards giving a good break), John Brunner (on how awards don't transform your career instantly, but improves your long-term sales), Sharyn McCrumb (on how publishers work and how awards alter your treatment, and how sometimes they can be meaningless based on who's giving the awards), Joe Haldeman (on how the Forever War winning the Hugo, Nebula, and Ditmar, affected him, and the political aspects to awards)
Part Two: Nancy Kress (on her first Nebula award having no visible effect on her), James Morrow (on Nebula winning having a big psychological impact and getting him on the map, and the role of politics in the Nebula), Lisa Tuttle (on declining the Nebula Award for 1981), Gibson (on winning the triple award for Neuromancer, and how the location of the Worldcon might have helped him win the Hugo)
Part Three: Story about Neil Gaiman winning a World Fantasy Award and them rewriting the rules so comics can't be nominated, Neil Gaiman (on the effect of his awards being mainly to terrify him), Dave Gibbons (on winning the special Hugo Award for Watchmen), Harlan Ellison (on how him winning awards pisses people off, his thoughts about his award winning short story, Jeffty is Five, his disdain for awards, awards being detrimental to the writer), PoG itself winning an Aurora Award.

That's the last of the PoGs posted to Youtube at the moment, so next week I probably won't be doing any more.
In PoG related news, I think Neil Gaiman may be cyberstalking me. Well, not really, but it's more fun to say it that way. It's just that last week, right after I posted about the PoG episodes I watched (including two with him in it), he posted on twitter a link to the same ep. About 2 hours after. That might just be a weird coincidence, but it's the second time something like that's happened with him where I post something fairly obscure involving him that's been around for a while, and he posts about it elsewhere within hours. (Of course, more likely either there's an intermediate step of sharing from people I know, or he's got a Google Alert out on himself. If the latter's true, Hi there!).

In other TV news, lets see... not really much to talk about, actually. SGU was a not bad episode, but (spoilers ahead, and more unanswered questions) Read more... )

And, finally had Thanskgiving, since family was working last week. And actually some was working this week too, so it was a bit of a small affair with lots of leftovers. Was good... turkey, roast potatoes, ham, carrots, greek rice, french stick bread, pretty awesome gravy, pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Was quite good, and ofcourse nice to see family that I haven't seen in a while.
newnumber6: (chase)
Well, for me it was, at least. Why? Because as I was walking from work to the comic store, and reading my book while walking as I normally do, my attention was caught by something on the sidewalk ahead of me. There was, lying in a tiny puddle of water (it'd been raining) was a $20 bill! Woot! Nobody around who looked like they might have dropped it, so I picked it up and used it to buy my comics.

This week I got two books:

New Mutants #4 (not bad, maybe a tiny bit lacking punch as a conclusion, but solid)
Runaways #13 (Worst of the Immonen arc so far)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

Also, since I had the extra cash and was hungry, on the way home, I bought a gyro. A Lamb gyro, because it was the only store I've seen in a while that advertises it as an option on the sign outside (I'm sure more offer it, but if I can't see it outside I wouldn't go in to look). It was pretty good, only problem is the guy considered lettuce (and, oddly, a few french fries) as part of the standard gyro build. Lettuce does not work with a gyro, IMHO, it kind of dilutes the flavour. Fries wasn't bad, it just soaked up tzatziki juice. But anyway, it was still a gyro, just not the best I've had.

Work was okay, but rainy a bit which isn't the funnest to work in.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Thought at first I might not be able to go, on account of thunderstorms around noonish. However, they cleared up, and so I shambled towards the Danforth looking for Gyros like zombies shamble towards human flesh.

The shambling was due to the slight mugginess in the air despite the recent thunderstorm. Not the most pleasant. Crowd looked a bit thinner than in recent years, but possibly also because of the storm.

Anyway, my hunger was sated, and it was delicious, although it could have been saucier. I'm talking about the gyro, of course, I assume the human flesh was about its usual level of sauce.

Also enjoyed some honey balls with cinammon. I should stress once again I am not talking about human flesh. Just to be safe.

Other news, well, there's not much else. Almost finished Romana I's tenure on Who. She's not bad, maybe a tiny bit grating in the first serial but got over it quickly. Have to see about II.

Not much new in TV yet here. Checked out the first episode of Defying Gravity, which was described everywhere as "Grey's Anatomy in Space". And.... well, that about sums it up, actually. But I liked early Grey's Anatomy. Science seems a bit wonky at times but at least it's not horrifically bad. It's watchable so far, that's all I can say, and as we're still in summer dead zone for TV, watchable's good enough to keep watching.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
This week I got one book:

New Mutants #3 (pretty good, I'm enjoying the relaunch)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

Work was okay. I showed up right as he did.

On the way home, because of all the commercials I stopped by at McDonalds and tried their Mediterranian snack wrap. It was not bad. Probably won't have it again (since I very rarely eat out at places like that), but I didn't regret trying it.

Also, after weeks of not being able to find one anywhere, I snagged another bag of Greek (Feta, Olive, and Oregano) potato chips. My precccious..... It was the only one there, alas. At the other grocery story that carries that brand, I see a box way up high on the shelf that's got that flavour, but it's underneath a couple other boxes of chips so they probably won't crack it open for a while. But I'll keep watching, and waiting.
newnumber6: (chase)
This week I got one book:

Runaways #11 (A little mixed, some nice character moments but the big events felt a little hollow)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

At the used bookstore, I picked up:

Weapons of Choice, by John Birmingham
The SAS Fighting Techniques Handbook (New and Revised), by Terry White
Sunstorm, by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
All for 2 or 3 bucks each, in the 'we want to get rid of these' bin.

And speaking of Runaways, I've finished my complete issue by issue outline of my own first year of the title (assuming I took over immediately after the Secret Invasion crossover), and solicits through issue #24. Now starting on the outlines of those. :P Good thing I have no artistic ability whatsoever, or I'd probably be drawing it too.

Work was okay, but man was it hot today. Probably hottest work day I've had of the year. Yarg.

In other news... Uh oh. Heroes is screwed. I mean even more so. Yes, okay, it's gone to hell already and unrecoverable. Granted. But there are levels of everything. Bryan Fuller left again. Before the 4th Season has begun. Which mean the chance of redeeming qualities of 4th Season are about nil. Next I'm sure we'll be hearing they rehired Loeb. Can't blame Fuller for leaving the ongoing train-wreck though, especially when he can focus on his own work.

Oh, and those new brands of chips? The Baby-Back Ribs flavour does actually remarkably simulate the flavour of the last BBQ ribs I had, so thumbs up on that. But their "Greek" Flavour? Feta Cheese, Olive, and Oregano? I think it's just become my new favorite flavour. I'm addicted to those now. OMG. They're awesome. I say again OMG.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
This week I got one book:

Captain Britain and MI13 #14 (one of the best issues of the title, rousing and fun. Wish it wasn't getting cancelled)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

I also finally did it. I bought Doctor Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, the DVD. Now that it's no longer amazon exclusive (me, lacking a credit
card and they, not liking paypal, do not get along). While I was on my way to work from the comic store I stopped into an HMV, specifically to
look for it, and lo and behold, they had it in their New Releases shelf, and for only $12.99. Since the online places I checked earlier had it
for $19.99 (plus shipping), that pretty much settled that. I will soon be sitting down to watch it while I eat my dinner. Expect the songs running through my head for the next few weeks.

Oh, and I noticed that President's Choices has a few new potato chip flavours, so I was weak and bought them. There's Baby Back Ribs, and "Greek" (Feta, oregano, and olive oil).
newnumber6: (lasers)
Damn, just heard that the local Tori Stafford case was solved and, well, it's the worst case scenario. Man. I was kinda hoping, since it was presumed that a woman led her away, that it was one of those freaky, "I want my own kid" situations, which is good in the sense that the kid may be treated okay or maybe even a ransom. But no. Some messed up people in the world.

Anyway, no comics today, but work was okay. Came on time and not too heavy, so I got out pretty early. A bit warm though, and hungry now.

Oh, and I am amused by small and immature things sometimes. At the local large chain grocery store, I was checking out the flyer to see if they had any good deals. One of the advertised special, was those little dried-soup-in-a-cup, selected varieties. Except, the sample picture of it proudly proclaimed C*CK FLAVOUR (no censoring, and of course, meaning chicken). Now, since there are presumably multiple varieties, somebody had to have said specifically, "Okay, for the sample pick, we're going to use this variety." It gave me a giggle, anyway.

And just a brief rant. Now, I generally don't agree with the Conservative Party (of Canada, which is still usually less conservative than the US one) on issues. But there's one thing that inspires my rage in them like nothing else - their ads. Specifically, their negative campaign ads. THERE'S NOT EVEN A $#!!ING ELECTION SCHEDULED. STOP PLAYING YOUR ADS SLAMMING THE LIBERAL LEADER REPEATEDLY. We get enough of that crap during an election. You might have had a fair point had you played them then, but now all I get when I see the ads is more hatred for you.

And while I'm on a rant, is it just me, or have the standards of Lucky Charms fallen in recent years? Before, the rainbow mushroom actually looked a little like a rainbow, like it does on the box. Now, it's just a rainbow shaped marshmallow with either random splatterings of cover, or with horizontal bands of color rather than arcs, so it doesn't really look like a rainbow at all. Is a little pride and craftsmanship in the field of mass-produced tiny consumer marshmallows too much to ask?

On to TV and other entertainment media. Since it's nearing the end of the season, I've been saving my thoughts on show episodes for my big 'end of year wrapup'. So I'll just talk about Renewals and Cancellations. Old news to most, but I haven't posted about it.
The good news: Dollhouse is renewed. A bit surprising, actually, but good on them. I hope, if nothing else, this will cause the kneejerk FOX-haters to reconsider their "I will never watch anything on FOX because they don't support good genre shows" (they follow the money, and approve more genre shows than most, and in some cases, like this, where the ratings do not support renewal, they STILL give it another shot? What more do you ask? Especially when you won't watch the shows they put out.). It has gotten a lot better since the first ep, although I don't think it'll ever be a favorite.

A couple other renewals of course, but nothing I personally care about all that much that wasn't already pretty well certain.

Now the bad news. In comics, Captain Britain and MI13 is coming to an end, which will bring my monthly list back down to 2 (it went up to three when New Mutants started. Runaways is the other one). That's sad, it was a pretty fun comic. How can you not like a comic with Dracula living on the moon and launching an assault on Britain using ships that shoot vampires?! Bah, people have no taste.
Also cancelled, officially although most of us knew it was coming, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Damnit. I say again, Damnit. Seriously, I would have traded Dollhouse for Sarah Connor in the cancellation stakes in a heartbeat. I also would have traded all those shows I don't watch that were bubbled and saved. Sorry, fans of those shows for my hypothetical callousness. Anyway, Dollhouse would likely have been the only theoretical 'if only one could be saved' situation might have existed. Dollhouse, I enjoyed, and would have liked to see where it went, but I really WANTED to see how SCC would have dealt with their cliffhanger, and of course more Cameron and all the issues there. But at the same time I can't entirely blame Fox, based on the ratings. Frankly, I'm surprised they got the back end of Season 2 pickup, and I'm thankful for that, because at least they ended strongly (albeit on a cliffhanger) than on the weak stretch of eps that made up mid-S2. And of course I won't hold the cancellation against Dollhouse. How could I?

Oh, and speaking (a ways back) of Runaways, I had a Runaways-related dream. All I could remember was a) We were running cross country, I think in something like the Steinbus instead of the much cooler Leapfrog.
b) Chase had a girlfriend who was rather cool but not really connected to the Runaways, and he broke up with her on the way and we left her behind.
c) Klara was running a three-card-monte style game (can't remember the specifics, but it was some sort of gambling-related 'cheat the unsuspecting') to help earn money, but was secretly thinking of leaving the group and not meeting at the rendezvous we'd set up.
d) The only actually Runaways to appear were Chase, Klara, and Molly, with the dream 'set' sometime in the future after the rest had been rotated out, I think. Which is odd because if I was going to rotate out, Klara would be an early choice.

I guess Runaways dreams will happen when you have Runaways plot-bunnies running through your thoughts regularly. Seriously, it's getting out of hand. In my idle times I've been noodling around a sort of 'what I'd do with if I took over the book after Whedon's run/the Secret Invasion crossover' (I ignored Moore's and beyond, not only because I'm not all that happy with it but because I need a specific break or I never get anywhere beyond updating my plans because of whatever happens in the book). I've got decently fleshed out 3 arcs with loose plans for something like 6 or 7 beyond that, creating subplots, new supporting characters/recurring and/or one-shot villains/initiative members, and long term character arcs for everybody. Bah. The world will never know the genius of MONOK (Mental Organism Now Opposed To Killing), an attempt by an AIM offshoot to recreate MODOK, thwarted when he converted to the Mormon faith and joined the Utah initiative! (The Runaways have to pass through Utah on their way back since when we left off they were still in New York). And that's only one of many ideas! Okay, it's silly, but I have fun with such things.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Yes, it's not technically your birthday, but its the day we celebrate it. And frankly, I think you should be happy we celebrate it at all, considering you've been dead for quite a while.

Anyway, Victoria Day holiday today, but I didn't get it off, instead I got more money for work, and get home a little earlier because work was light and nowhere to stop for groceries on the way home.

So, I might as well talk about the Wedding on Saturday. I felt ripped off. The Simpsons totally misprepared me. I though we were going to remove weeds from a garden!

No, seriously, it was okay, aside from having to get all dressed up in a monkeysuit (not literally, although that would have been cool).

Nice to see my cousin getting married (which I didn't actually _see_, due to some last minute snafus with transportation we missed the actual wedding and only attended the reception), and seems like she got a good guy, at least from the impressions one can form from a few seconds of interaction congratulating them. And of course it was fully a greek/macedonian wedding, so there were the old traditions at the reception, like the Pig Dance, the "Bride and Groom fight over a loaf of bread" (they tear it in two, whichever gets the biggest piece 'wears the pants' in the relationship. My cousin totally got a _way_ bigger piece), the Bread Dance, and the big group circle dances to greek music that everybody not sane does. (I'm sane, so naturally abstained).

And the more common traditions like the long speeches by the bridal party. Though I thought some of the people there were rude. Not the bridal party, the crowd. I mean, yeah, they're boring speeches and not delivered well, but there was a lot of crowd-talking-amongst-themselves during them. You pay your respects and let them speak. Meh, oh well.

Food was pretty good. Appetizers: Beef skewers, cheese balls, shrimp (grilled and breaded) and a couple things I didn't get to try. Then a plate of Brushcetta, Proscuitto, grilled eggplant, some sort of mix of Kalimari (that's squid) and shrimp served in a leaf, and probably something else I'm forgetting. Then some little pasta thing, cheese and spinach crepes. Then baked salmon (which I only took one bite of, not a big fish eater), and grilled Kalimari (which I did enjoy), with spinach and arugola risotto (which was rather nice, not sure if I've had risotto before). Then some sort of lemon 'palate-cleanser', then the main course, 8oz Angus Steak with shrimp, and vegetables and potatoes and such on the side. Now, at this point the rest of the people at the table were nearly full, due to the rest of the stuff before, and so I got the shrimp of like 3 people and one and a half extra steaks (I've got a reputation of having something like a hollow leg, but it's in part because I don't eat much before big eating occasions... all I had that day was one pizza pop). And I did get a couple extras of some of the earlier things, too. Finally there was dessert which was a vanilla/chocolate tartufo (sp), which wasn't bad. All in all the food was quite good.

Had to leave a little earlier than most, on account of my Dad (and our ride) having to work early the next morning, and also my roommate (and sister-in-commonlaw) was not feeling well, but it's probably just as well, it was at the point where the music was loud and greek and annoying.

There was of course the usual awkwardness of people I barely remember but am somehow related to coming up to me and asking how I am, and a few people I do genuinely know and just hadn''t seen in a while, ramped up because I feel silly and more uncomfortable than usual while wearing a suit. And then, of course, the usual slight depression at weddings due to one not being in any of my probable futures. But it was relatively slight this time.

Was pretty tired by the time we got home, went to sleep about a half hour later.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Far superior to your human Easter, Greek Easter was today, so I went over to my grandmother's house for food.

And it was yummy. There was, of course, lamb, the highlight of Greek Easter. So good. Some of it was so tender it was practically a liquid. But in a good way, not an icky way. Then there was greek rice, potatoes, greek salad (which is basically normal salad but with black olives and feta cheese), hot greek sausage, zelnic (or spanacopita if you want to call it that), bread, pepper, and for desert, brownie pie and cheesecake tarts. Yummy.

No Easter Bread, alas, or colored eggs, but my grandmother probably wanted to take it a little easy this year since even though her busted knee earlier this year has healed, it still is a bit sore when she walks on it too much.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
So, did the family thing today. Good meal. Turkey, ham, stuffing (with pork in it), corn, brocolli, potatoes, gravy, carrots. Plenty of leftovers. Also chocolates, toffee squares, brownies, coconut/lime squares, and rocky road squares for desert.

Present wise, a bit light this year, economic times have hit the family. Still, not complaining, not bad. Got money, some towels, pillowcases, socks, shavers, couple other toiletries, and my brother's going to pay in to get me a new HD (but since what I want is more expensive than the present budget I'm throwing money in too).

Also, my grandmother (who some flisters might remember broke her knee a few months ago) is able to walk unassisted now, just not for as long as she used to, so there's still some healing to do, and in a couple months another operation to remove the pin.

Despite being an atheist and occasionally grumpy and curmudgeonly, I actually like Christmas quite a bit, albeit in small doses. Getting together with family, exchanging gifts, spirit of brotherhood, even the first taste of cold, and the decorations. Even the music, again, in small doses, is kind of vaguely pleasant in a kitschy way (with one exception. Anybody involved in "Simply having a wonderful Christmas-time" should go to hell for all eternity. Also, in my glorious new regime, anybody who chooses to put it on the radio or willingly exposes it to others will be put to death. That song is horrible.) But I'm glad it's over with. Even if I do have work tomorrow.

Also happy birthday [livejournal.com profile] escape1974.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Yesterday had Thanksgiving Dinner (a week late), and it was quite good. Turkey, stuffing, ham, carrots, corn, turnip, potatoes, gravy, bread and pumpkin pie. Mmmmm. And of course was nice to see the family again even if there was nobody there I hadn't seen in more than 2 weeks anyway.

Finished: Blindsight, by Peter Watts (reread)
Started: Consider Phlebas, by Iain M. Banks (reread)

Already read Blindsight, so no extended thoughts on it, but I do have a selected quote (not really spoilery at all) I liked behind the cut. Before that, I might as well mention that it rereads very well - Still has some of the same problems, but I think I'm actually more impressed with it after the second read. It's very bleak, from general outlook to view of human relations, but sometimes extra bleak is good. To me, at least. Anyway, quote: Read more... )

Finished: Armor, by John Steakley (reread)
Started: Nine Princes in Amber, by Roger Zelazny (reread)

Armor's a reread, but it's been so long, and in fact I think the last time I read it was in the 90s, long before I had LJ. So I'll go a bit into my thoughts, and a teeny bit spoilery (general plot spoilery): In general, liked part, other parts only okay.
Read more... ) Anyway, I probably won't go through the whole Amber series again, but I might read the first couple books of it.

In other bloggage:

Assorted questions I've been pondering lately:

1) If you _were_ the subject of the song "You're So Vain (You Probably Think This Song Is About You)", it wouldn't be vain to think so, right? I mean, it'd just be factual.

2) If every living thing on Earth, right down to bacteria and viruses, suddenly died (no radiation or anything, just call it sudden magic death syndrome), except for ONE human being and the bacteria that naturally live on and inside them, would they alone be able to spread enough to reseed the world with life (not human life, certainly, but enough bacteria that could survive long enough outside the body to breed and evolve and so on).

3) Do individual episodes of Deal or No Deal really need their own promo? I mean, it's a frakking game show! It just seems a lot of pointless busy work to have a promo for every episode that says, "On the next episode of Deal or No Deal... This guy/girl you've never seen before may or may not win lots of money!". I never see individualized promos for Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune.

4) Long Time No See? How did such a grammatically messed up sentence enter our commonly used phrases?!

5) Assume the kids of Harry Potter were forced to fight to the death, Battle Royale style. What would be the outcome? Who teams up with whom and who survives to the end? Assume it's circa Goblet of Fire, and only those people in Harry's year. Also, something magically inhibits magic. Is the outcome different if magic is allowed (except magic that might be used to escape the death-collars)? Read more... )

Finished watching The Girl From Tomorrow... I guess I did actually see it to the end, since there were elements I remembered, I'd just forgotten what it was. Still, I hadn't seen the beginning and it was worth a rewatch. Watching some Avatar now but probably won't get through the third season after all.

Since I was at my Grandmothers, I was able to watch Wolverine and the X-Men there instead of downloading it. If it was any other episode I might have done both (because occasional people talking and such can make it hard to follow), but, well, it's really not my type of episode and so not worth following up on anything I missed. Couple good moments though.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
Let's start with the Book Foo:

Finished: Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds
Started: Needle, by Hal Clement

Thoughts on Revelation Space behind the cut. General concept spoilers only. Short version: Left me a little cold, actually. Read more... )

Finished: A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge (reread)
Started: A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge (reread)

Reread AFutD several times, so there's no need to talk about it again. Always makes me want to read the prequel immediately afterwards. Key phrases: hexapodia as the key insight, still enjoyable.

So, this weekend's been a bit strange. In addition to not having a normal TV (Which does weird and unexpected things to your sense of time), because of minor concerns with the computer of mine that wasn't specifically failing, I decided to run a ScanDisk on it, and see it through to the end. That Scandisk? Took more than 24 hours. So I was without my main talking computer (I segregate things somewhat - one computer is for mail, LJ, forums, and other such that I'm interacting with people, the other is for researching weird things and watching videos. I can do limited switchover, but not in all cases and not especially easily). It was almost a weekend without communicative net. If the progress bar didn't lie to me, it likely would have been. It was at a point where each 1% complete was taking 2-3 hours, except when it reached 95% complete it jumped right to 100%. I'm not complaining, mind you, it's just a little odd (and considering the first 80% was done in something like a half hour, well, progress bars are filthy, filthy liars). Combine that with another weekend without much TV, and it looks like a recipe for boredom.

This was alleviated somewhat with a chip orgy. I'm using the term orgy metaphorically, of course, I may have the odd fetish here or there, but I'm not a freak. Well, not in that way. Since Pringles were on sale for $1 at No Frills and so were Herrs Tortilla chips, I bought a bunch on Friday. Normally I limit my chip intake, but I figured, what the hell, I'm bored, depressed, and hungry.

The other thing I did was watch cartoons on my computer, specifically Avatar the Last Airbender, and surfthechannel.com. See, I only caught onto Avatar somewhere in the early 2nd season. I missed the 1st season almost completely, and never got around to catching the third (they changed the time on me and by the time I realized it, the 3rd season was half over). So I figured since nothing was going on, I'd go back and watch from the beginning. I'm about halfway through the first season now. It's interesting the misconceptions you can develop when you watch a show from the middle. (Cut for length, not really spoilery except for the status of characters in the first episodes)Read more... )

Speaking of cartoons, Canada's started airing Wolverine and the X-Men (yay Canada), which means that even though I don't have that channel, due to... magic, I could watch it. Overall... promising start. (minor spoilers, and I'll be listing the characters I noticed appearing) Read more... )

Writing-wise, despite my writing computer being out of commision all of yesterday, because I got a good head start on it I didn't lose any time and am on target to complete my quota. Also finished a new story- still needs hellacious editing, but on the plus side it's shorter than I usually get. Next up I'm going to try a top-to-bottom restart on a story who's general concept I like but the execution blew.

And we'll finish off with a meme, stolen from [livejournal.com profile] donna_c_punk....

1. Comment on this post.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your LJ.


[livejournal.com profile] donna_c_punk gave me the letter G. It was a bit of a tough one. Despite the letter being associated with some of my all time favorite characters, once you got beyond those, it was hard to think of any that qualified that I'd given much thought about at all. So, here we go... (images also under the cut for most of them)
Read more... )
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Went to the Taste of the Danforth festival today, even though it was raining... well, spitting, maybe. Still, that made the crowds not nearly as oppressive as they were in previous years, which is good for me but kind of a shame for the festival itself.

Still, I got my traditional gyro and enjoyed it mightily.

In other news, Hugo Awards have been announced. Stephen Moffat won one, for Blink (which was probably the best of the nominees). Best novel went to Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policeman's Union", which is probably the best scenario for me, because it also won the Nebula, and so when I read it to once again complete my goal of having every Hugo award winning novel read, I'll also take a step towards my goal of having every Nebula award winning novel read.
newnumber6: (rotating)
Finished: A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Thoughts on the debut of John Carter behind the cut. Not really spoilery. Read more... )
Started and finished: The Fifth Omni Book of Science Fiction (short stories)
Started: Camouflage, by Joe Haldeman

Thoughts on the Omni SF book behind the cut. Not really spoilery. Read more... )
Finished: Otherland: Vol 4: Sea of Silver Light, by Tad Williams
Started: Queen of Mazes, by Karl Schroeder

Thoughts about the whole of the Otherland series behind the cut. Some minor spoilers. Quick thought: liked it more than I thought I would. Read more... )

Other news! I have a new tasty sandwich treat. Mortadella and Caesar dressing. Now, one of my favorite sandwich discoveries of the last decade was Mortadella and Feta Cheese. Very nice, but there's one problem. I have to have Feta. And though I love feta cheese, I don't eat it enough to make it feasible to have it on hand at all times - it's too expensive in small batches and goes bad in large batches. So usually I only get it if my grandmother gives me some from her own batches (she uses it a lot), and so Mortadella and Feta is, although awesome, somewhat rare for me. However, Caeser dressing does a lot of the same good thing - gives it a nice tangy, salty kick, and I can have Caesar dressing all the time. So it is now superior on my list of favorite sandwiches.
(By favorite sandwich discoveries I mean things that I can make easily and for relatively cheaply, not fancy frou frou sandwiches or ones that require 50 steps, no matter how awesome they might be).

In other food news tried a microwave (PC) 'lamb rogon josh' dish today, which was quite nice for a microwave meal. Never had rogon josh before, but it might be worth trying sometime if I get the chance at a real place.

And, haven't mentioned dreams in a while, but there were a couple in the last few days I wanted to get down. One involving something very disturbing from Doctor Who, and another just SF goodness. Read more... )

Oh, and damn you Marvel. You finally decide to do a Runaways What If (What If... The Runaways became the Young Avengers)... and not only do you have to give it to CB Cebulski to write (a guy who seems very nice and apparently likes all my favorite characters, but to whom I've never particularly enjoyed any of his writing), but you make it a BACK-UP story to five other What Ifs I have no interest in. *shakes fist*. I think I'll have to resort to... let's call it magic, to get this story.

Finally, shouldn't there be _some_ standards and accountability with television commercials? I mean, specifically, that when a TV channel advertises something as an "all new episode", should it not _be_ an all-new episode, and if it is not, that commercial pulled and replaced with one that does not use that phrase (or, in the absence of that, some kind of punishment)? I'm speaking specifically of the Comedy Network, which I watch a fair bit, and I constantly see commercials for Corner Gas that start with "ON AN ALL NEW CORNER GAS"... except they're reruns. This year's reruns, sure, but reruns all the same. NOT ALL NEW. YOU DIE NOW. It's not like I'm looking forward to new eps or anything, it's the principle of the thing - if you advertise All New, it had damn well better be all new. It's bad enough when US channels used to advertise something as the "World television premiere" of something that already aired in Canada, but this is another level entirely. I don't actually think they're being deceptive in this case, just lazy (too lazy to redo the commercials from when it was new), but laziness is not an excuse - you're a network, you've got millions of dollars - fix it. *shakes fist*.
newnumber6: (chase)
This week I got two books:

Captain Britain and MI13 #2 (a little too fast paced for me, but enjoyable and my Pick of the Week)
newuniversal: shockfront #2 (conversely, a little too slow, but enjoyable)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

At the comic store I saw the Heroes action figures, which apparently came out... was tempted to get either Hiro (with sword and super-hero messenger bag!) or Claire (with replacable wounded head and arm), but they were almost $20 each, and, well, on a budget. Maybe if they ever get cheaper. They also had Sylar and Mohinder, and maybe there were others behind those but I didn't see them.

Work was okay, and of course I did the long walk both to the comic store and home. Except, there was a little problem. On the way, I started to feel a little gassy, which, well, happens from time to time and is only a mild concern. Then, later, added to that, I began to feel a strong sense of... let's call it intenstinal urgency. This was not a good feeling, particularly when you're a) about 45 minutes walk from home, and b) in an area without anywhere convenient to duck into for a washroom (an area with homes, apartments, and long stretches of bridges). I managed to hold out across the bridges to get into a McDonalds. After I was done, I bought a double cheeseburger, of course, because, well, they really helped me out and when I use else someone's bathroom I feel guilty for some reason. Now, you might rightly think, "hey... given what sent you in there, perhaps eating McDonald's food was not the best idea there", but I think I know what happened. There was no logical reason for me to have those troubles that day, as I'd barely eaten anything. So, I think I scarfed down that double cheeseburger so fast it broke the speed of light on its way to my stomach, and thus travelled back in time, and caused a predestination paradox.

Edit: Oh, and I think I got a touch of sunburn on my shoulders/neck.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
This week I got one book:

Young X-Men #3 (Meh, wishing it would get to the point)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

I also picked up at the used bookstore:
Probability Moon, by Nancy Kress

Work wasn't bad. Showed up early and not too heavy. Also, it helped me prove Heinlein wrong today! That is, in the specific case. There WAS such a thing as a free lunch, and I had it. They had a deal with the Wendy's next to us that employees got a free meal. So I had their 'Spicy' chicken breast sandwich combo. I say 'spicy' because, well, what the media considers "Spicy", I almost always consider merely "flavoured". Don't get me wrong, it's usually a pleasant flavour, but I need more of a kick to count it as spicy and am constantly disappointed when something advertised as spicy isn't. And I'm not even one of those crazy major league chili-heads. Still, yay for free food, even if I probably should have gone for the Baconator.

Random other thoughts:
Things I saw on the way home today: A guy fall off his bike in the middle of a street (luckily there were no cars around that the time). A fistfight break out between two people (looking around high school age, and near a school). Rosey O'Donnell at the Bookstore. Well, technically I don't know if I saw her. I saw the crowd around her, and it's possible my eyes crossed over her at some point, but I could not confirm.

At the bookstore I also happened to see "Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone", which makes me wonder.. surely somebody out there's written a crackfic where Indiana Jones stumbles upon rumors of a parallel society running off of magic, in England, and so investigates Hogwarts? I mean, come on, Internet. I'd be disappointed if someone hasn't.

Pet peeve: I hate all the headlines saying 'Obama makes history'... not because I don't support Obama or don't think it's great he passed this particular milestone, but because "makes history" is a meaningless phrase - if he lost, it would make history. If he choked on a celery stick and had to be rushed to the hospital it would make history. Whether he won quick, won after a long fight, lost quick, lost after a long fight, he made history. If he quit right now to become a hermit in the woods where he carves make a congress out of wood to agree with him, he makes history. History dutifully records what happens even if it's not a huge milestone that's never happened before. In my glorious new regime (which would, btw, make history), the phrase "makes history" would be banned from newscasts.

Also, is it wrong I'm much less bothered by the fact that the people on the colon check commercial are transparent and have visible internal organs, than I am about the fact that they're apparently going to the movies nude?

Finally, it's come to that time. I must say goodbye to Newsarama. That is, I must say goodbye to the forums. I'll still read it for news, I suppose, although by the looks of the front page it'll probably stop being my primary source. But I'm leaving behind the forums, which have changed formats. Why?

Because you need javascript to access it. To access forums. And that's abominable. I'm sorry, called me old-fashioned, but I like to surf with javascript off, 90% of the time, and it manages to cut out 90% of the crap (viruses, popups, etc). Having a site that _requires_ javascript On almost guarantees I will rarely use it. (Although often, if there's a site that I like that doesn't require it, I'll add it to my 'allow javascript on these sites' list, because it provides _easier_ use. But if it requires it, usually gets a 'screw you' response). IMHO, it's extremely poor web design. In my glorious new regime it would be disallowed for forums. So, I'm out one more forum.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Just got back from Greek Easter. It was a slightly smaller gathering than was usual, so I wasn't expecting much, just some lamb potatoes and rice, but no, it was an awesome meal.

I had:
Roast lamb
Macedonian Sausage
Greek Sausage
Zelnic/Spanacopita with cheese/onion and ones with cheese/spinach
Greek Potatoes
Greek Rice
Greek Salad, with Feta (real goat feta, too) and olives
A hamburger
Liver soup (noodle soup with lemon in it and chunks of the lamb's liver)
Hard boiled Egg
Lemon Meringue Pie
Dutch Apple Pie
Ice Cream

And plenty of leftovers. I think that means I ate of 4 different animals today (counting eggs as chicken-in-progress). So delicious.

It was also nice for family stuff, too, been a while since this many of us got together. Well, since Christmas perhaps.
newnumber6: (rotating)
I claimed the whole weekend in the name of me, because I got ripped off this year due to Easter. Still, it was a rather lame weekend, even ignoring the general depression of the day itself.

Saturday did the family thing, though not for me, it was for Easter. And, well, the food wasn't bad, but it was still several hours sitting around mostly with people I don't know very well if at all, along with a few very noisy kids running around all the time.

Otherwise, it was like pretty much any other weekend, except with the added inconvenience of the stores being closed two days. (Though it did have one pleasant side-effect.. had to run to the gas station to get something since the grocery stores weren't open, and I noticed they have flavours of Mr. Noodles they don't have in any of the grocery stores near me... Pork, and Creamy Chicken. Tried Creamy Chicken, it was okay but I still prefer Curry Chicken, but still, cool for finding a new flavour.)

It occurs to me, that since virtually everything you can't classify supposedly tastes like "chicken", then "artificial chicken flavour" in a list of ingredients is spectacularly unhelpful and unspecific. Crocodile meat supposedly tastes like chicken, so theoretically artificial chicken flavour could be from crocodile meat. THINK ABOUT IT. Or not.

Let's see, what else is new?

I've decided that I'm going to boycott the 2008 Olympics. Not because of what's happening in Tibet, I just think the Olympics are really lame.

Finally got around to making this icon. Not quite as good as the other one since I had to pull from various sources, but still relatively pleased with it.

Oh, and I finally got around to watching The Mist, the adaptation of one of my favorite Stephen King short stories (well, novellas). So how was it? Generally, it was an excellent adaptation of the novella, faithful in almost everything but the ending. So we'll talk about the ending. (Major spoilers, of course, for both the book and movie).
Read more... )
In general the effects were good but some of the monsters looked too obviously CGI, and I might have preferred a bit more use of practical effects vs CGI - like the loading dock sequence, and I would have liked a closer look at the a certain large creature (particularly the novel's description of the bugs hanging off it).

Oh, and the Mist, either the novella or the movie always reminds me of XET now, since I ripped off the idea for the Rutland TP, so I'm all nostalgic again.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
This week I got three books:

Avengers: The Initiative #10 (Plot feels a bit hollow, but had one of the best moments of the week)
Serenity: Better Days #1 (Feels a little better than the first mini)
X-Factor #29 (My Pick of the Week, barely, generally good as always)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

At the used bookstore I picked up: Singularity Sky, by Charles Stross, and Use of Weapons, by Iain M. Banks

Work wasn't too bad, a bit more than usual but came early, so it balanced out. Since I went to get comics, did the long walk. On my way into the Eaton Centre, there was a group of people offering Free Hugs. I didn't take them up on it, of course. You get what you pay for... the hugs were probably cheaply made with child labour, and are full of lead. Nosiree, don't want to risk that.

I had no such compunctions about accepting the free samples of soup on the other side of Eaton Centre. "Butternut Squash and Coconut Curry". Sounds... interesting. But hey, it was free.

Oh, and this meme has been going around, so I'll do it too I guess:
Everyone has things they blog about. Everyone has things they don't blog about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post or comment about it.
Ask for anything: latest movie watched, last book read, political leanings, thoughts on yaoi, favorite type of underwear, graphic techniques, etc. Repost in your own journal so that we can all learn more about each other.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
So, posting a bunch of random stuff again...

Is it just me or does "Vantage Point" look like on of those crappy "go through the same story from different people's points of view" type plots that every TV series in existence eventually does one episode based on the concept if they last long enough. If so, isn't that, as a movie plot, in the 'done to death' category?

Speaking of movies, the more I see commercials for Jumper the more I'm convinced I'm going to be disappointed in how much they changed from the book, to make it worse. It's kinda killed off my interest in seeing it.

It should be come as no surprise to my flist that I'm a man who shuns reality and lives deeply in fantasy. When I'm not watching TV or movies (which are often fantastical or SF in nature), I'm often working out story ideas or SF concepts in my head, or daydreaming around a SFish concept in a Walter Mitty way. These daydreams go back and forth, certain ones repeat every once in a while after a break, sometimes I do several different ones in a day. Lately though I've been stuck on the last man on Earth scenario. Read more... )

Looks like the Writer's Strike may be winding down. Yay. Hope it lasts past the initial 'back to work while we vote on the actual deal' and hope it's a good deal for them, since they deserve it. Edit to add: They officially voted to end the strike, at least until they have a chance to review and vote on the deal. So writers are back to work tomorrow.

Speaking of writing, done a writing cycle. Started a new story and managed to finish it... except I hate it. I still like the idea, and maybe one or two of the beats, but I don't like how it turned out and if I want to use it I'll probably have to write it all over again from scratch. And I'm not even sure how I'd start. So, kind of a good news bad news situation. Oh well.

I've been feeling a little iffy for the last week or so. It's odd, sometimes I feel fine, but often at some point during the day I feel dizzy and very very slightly nauseous. It's irritating, but I suppose it's better than being actually sick. Although sometimes I wish sickness would come and get it over with rather than these shadows of it coming and going regularly.

One of the few forums I hang out at closed suddenly. Most of the people knew it was coming (though not quite so suddenly) and so there's a backup getting in place for the people who hang there, but still, end of an era, of sorts.

Doctor Who Fandom Meme/Survey, stolen from [livejournal.com profile] locker_monster.. Read more... )

Thoughts on yesterday's Terminator, the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Slightly spoilery, also with an answer from one of the producers that some Terminator fans have wondered about since the second episode about a potential 'mistake'. Read more... )

Finally to end on a random note completely different from all the rest, I have been craving spiciness lately a lot more than usual (I always enjoy it). Also, I've been craving trying something _different_ than all the usual stuff I try. I am considering getting a bottle of Jerk BBQ sauce when my current BBQ sauce of choice (chipotle) runs out, to perhaps satisfy a little of both at once.

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