An Exercise

Nov. 1st, 2009 04:25 pm
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So the book reports seems to have taken over this space--most of my linking and/or occasional whining has moved over to Twitter, so you might want to follow me over there if you aren't already. Anyway, I am worried that this is now a very boring blog, especially for folks who don't happen to have read any of the books I've been talking about.

Trouble is, I'm not entirely sure I remember how to do this, at least not the way I used to. So, a challenge, for myself and for anyone still reading. Leave a comment asking a question or suggesting a topic, and I will turn each (substantive) comment into a post. I'll try to do one every day. I do not promise to be serious or truthful, but I'll do my best to be interesting and/or entertaining. It'll be good exercise. Give me a bunch of comments, and keep me busy!
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You know, I took today off, and then I decided that since I don't actually leave until tomorrow morning (6:10 AM FLIGHT GAH), I might as well work today for the extra cash, and I told everyone I would come in.


I suppose this is as good a time as any to note that I will be traveling for the next couple of weeks and thus probably not-so-accessible given that my laptop hates the internets and half my travel will be spent on a mountaintop with a somewhat hazy connection in the first place.

While I am gone please destroy everything, including the evidence. Detail your plans for global havoc in the comments.
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I think that I shall take up the didgeridoo.

Well, I felt like I should say something today. Anyone else have decisive news to report?
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Will likely not be online much today, or the next couple of days, as I will be training my replacement at the temp job. Funny thing about being a temp is that sometimes you end up being the only one who knows how to do certain things in the office, which is just a really bad idea all around. But whatever.

The point is: DANCE PARTY. Yes. Sarah P. and I are having a joint book release party on Saturday at WisCon, complete with beer and chocolate martinis, and after the back-patting is all done, there will be madness. So I am putting together a mix, and this is the post where I will take your requests. Rules: If you are going to WisCon, I will honor at least one of your requests, assuming that they aren't so obscure that I can't get my hands on them or so horrible that I can't bear to listen to them. If you aren't going to WisCon and you want to dance vicariously through us, I will take your requests under advisement. DON'T GO CRAZY PEOPLE. I've already got plenty of good stuff in mind, and it's not as if we're going to be dancing for hours and hours. For one thing, the hotel won't let us.

Please note that if you request bad music, I cannot guarantee that you will not be mocked. SUCH IS LIFE.

Later on, lovelies.
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It just feels like that kind of a day, so here you go. (via [ profile] iamza)

Meme rules:
1. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Fill in the film title once it's guessed.
5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search functions to make/confirm your guesses. Totally cheating, you dirty cheaters.

1. "Just for tonight, we are David and Ruth Laskin. Which one do you want to be? I prefer to be Ruth, but I'm flexible." ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, as pointed out by [ profile] infinitehotel.

2. "He won't listen to anybody. He's been very crazy all summer. Since June he's been trying to kill me." DOG DAY AFTERNOON, as pointed out by [ profile] mastadge.

3. "I'm saying that this whole thing is a farce, because in the end, after you've killed and captured every freak out there, there's still one left: you." HELLBOY, as pointed out by [ profile] the_flea_king.

4. "Some men get the world. Others get ex-hookers and a trip to Arizona." L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, as pointed out by [ profile] ilovehpl.

5. "Have you got a cop called Vodka?" HARD BOILED, as pointed out by [ profile] veejane.

6. "Until I get back my five thousand dollars, you're gonna get more than you bargained for. I'm your goddamn partner." RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, as pointed out by [ profile] stephanieburgis.

7. "Also, you'll find a pair of safety glasses and some earplugs under your seats. Please feel free to use them." RUSHMORE, as pointed out by [ profile] veejane.

8. "I'm not some old man! Or a wounded prisoner! Motherfucker . . . Don't you dare touch the girl. You won't be the first pig I've gutted!" PAN'S LABYRINTH, as pointed out by [ profile] o_kiki.

9. "Your only mistake is that you didn't dump her first. [REDACTED] is a show pony. You need a stallion, my friend. Walk with us and you walk tall." SAY ANYTHING, as pointed out by [ profile] infinitehotel.

10. "Can you keep a secret? I'm trying to organize a prison break. I'm looking for, like, an accomplice. We have to first get out of this bar, then the hotel, then the city, and then the country. Are you in or you out?" LOST IN TRANSLATION, as pointed out by [ profile] the_flea_king.

11. "Why would a reviewer make the point of saying someone's *not* a genius? Do you especially think I'm *not* a genius? . . . You didn't even have to think about it, did you?" THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, as pointed out by [ profile] mrdankelly.

12. "Then let's head on down into that cellar and carve ourselves a witch." EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN, as pointed out by [ profile] ecmyers. (You ALL should have gotten this one.)

13. "I just want you to feel you're doing well. I hate for people to die embarrassed." THE PRINCESS BRIDE, as pointed out by [ profile] infinitehotel

14. "First, I'll have a bath. Then I'll be shaved by a Turkish barber who will massage me down to the fingertips. Then I'll buy a newspaper and read it from headlines to horoscope. On the first day, I'll be waited upon... For requests, ask the neighbor. If someone stumbles over my legs, he'll have to apologize. I'll be pushed around, and I'll push back. In the crowded bar, the bartender will find me a table. A service car will stop, and the mayor will take me aboard. I'll be known to everyone, and suspect to no one. I won't say a word, and will understand every language. That will be my first day." WINGS OF DESIRE, as pointed out by [ profile] mastadge.

15. "Okay. But, I'm saying, it's like, I don't want to cram in sex or guns or car chases, you know . . . or characters, you know, learning profound life lessons or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end, you know. I mean . . . the book isn't like that, and life isn't like that. You know, it just isn't. And . . . I feel very strongly about this." ADAPTATION, as pointed out by [ profile] infinitehotel
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. . . and if anyone reading this is particularly savvy with customizing LJ pages, give me a holler. Now that this is my primary page I'd like to look at fixin' it up real nice.
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I am so cranky today. No, there is no reason for it. Or rather, there are many trivial reasons for it and no good ones. It is your responsibility to cheer me up in the comments. I DARE YOU.
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Do you remember "The Adventures of Pete and Pete"? It was the greatest show ever on Nickelodeon; they had Steve Buscemi, they had Iggy Pop, they had a weird neighborhood superhero named Artie, they had a guerilla storytelling sensibility. They had Luscious Jackson and Poi Dog Pondering; they had The Magnetic Fields before you ever heard of them. (See!) Go here to read a recent article about the show from Filter magazine. The show's out on DVD now. Maybe when that book money comes . . .

Evidence of my growing fame: in the second photo down on this page you can see the back of my bald head. Right next to the back of Gavin's head. I'm so overexposed!

I find myself needing to learn a lot about salt mining. Anyone ever been to, say, Khewra in Pakistan, or Wieliczka in Poland, or Salzkammergut in Austria? What about Sl─ânic, Romania? Avery Island? Help. (Also, once you're done with that you can tell me all about royal hunting parties.)

Today's Discussion Question: Was Robin Hood a pirate? Assuming, y'know, that he was on water or something. Please write legibly.
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Here's how it works:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I put myself at Greg's mercy, and here's what he asked:

1. Do you ever fear that we're writing fiction mostly for the people who read our blogs and hang out with us at cons?

Some, sure. (They're cool people, though.) With as few short fiction readers as there are in general, and in the genre in particular, it's hard to tell how much attention folks really pay to what we do. Still, I think that the Intranets have been a really good thing for short fiction, 'cause of the accessibility of archives at places like Strange Horizons and the plethora of links pointing folks at good stuff. I hear periodically from readers whom I've never met, and it does seem to be true that for every person who speaks up and says "I liked that," there are ten others paying attention. So I think that the online profile is a huge factor in visibility among people who like the sort of stuff we do.

2. Did you adopt a different persona when you tended bar?

Y'know, I made good money slinging drinks, but I don't think it was because of my personality. I'm bad at being anybody but myself. Which is not to say that myself is not a scintillating fella, but there's a definite art to the schmooze and I never mastered it. It takes an ability to be (or at least fake being) comfortable with just about anyone, and to make them feel comfortable, without actually presuming any real connection. And the truth is that in most situations I'm very shy. I can't be "on" at the drop of a hat. So the folks who sat at a bar hoping to be entertained didn't get what they wanted from me.

That said, when I worked tech support I did adopt another personality in order to relive the soul-crushing boredom. "Cyrus" was much more patient with folks who didn't understand that their computer needed to be turned on in order to connect to the Internet. Sometimes I miss Cyrus.

3. African, Indian, wooly mammoth, columbian mammoth, pygmy . . . Who's your best friend?

I'm partial to African elephants, I have to say, on account of the big ears and the way they fit into their landscape . . . there's something about a family of pachyderms crossing a dry plain, with a cloud of dust kicking up behind them, that is terribly majestic and fragile and wonderful. But don't tell the other elephants, 'cause really I like 'em all.

4. You're dropped in a foreign country, you know nobody, you've lost your wallet, you don't speak the language ... and you're starving. What's the first thing you do?

Man, this is a tough one. I suppose the first thing I'd do is kill one of the local dragons. Not only would this raise my estimation in the eyes of the local inhabitants (except for possibly the dragons), but it'd be something to eat. I'd be sure to take a taste of the dragon's raw blood before cooking up some of his flesh, since everyone knows that dragon's blood gives you the ability to understand bird language. I'd ask the birds where the nearest town was, what their favorite discos were, and who'd pay good money for dragon hide, teeth, bones, etc. Although probably I wouldn't want to sell the entire hide. I'd want to cut out a vest, first, for protection against xenophobic locals. Maybe some pants, too. Although leather pants really tend to cut off my circulation . . . chaps, then. Maybe gloves and a cap, too, if I was cold. Then I'd offer one of the birds a payment of dragon giblets to be my translator. Her name would probably be "Beetle-Chaser" or something like that. We'd head into town, and I'm sure there'd be some sort of difficulty to overcome there. There'd probably be a local sheriff or disco owner or some sort who resented my presence, and a young woman, small child, or fashion designer who needed my aid, so I'd have to spend some time sorting all that out. I consider myself a pacifist, so I'd prefer to talk things out, but for a lot of folks the fighting is sort of ritual. So there'd probably be some kind of battle royale, and things would look bad for me, and then suddenly there'd be an unexpected ally, or perhaps the dragon chaps would come into play in an unexpected way, or maybe Beetle-Chaser would turn the tide in a humorously unintended way. Perhaps there'd be a beetle on the dance floor during the disco contest or something, and in her dogged pursuit of it she would manage to trip up my antagonist's henchmen, thereby evening the fight. (Or dance-off.) Then the fashion designer or young woman or small child would give me some token of their affection--maybe a snazzy pair of boots, or a peck on the cheek, or maybe some mysterious object which is inextricably linked to my destiny--and I would be on my way out of town with my bird friend, my chaps gleaming in the sun, still trying to find my way home.

5. Will there be libraries in 50 years? What will they look like?

We talked about this a lot in my Master's program; at least, we talked about the fact that libraries are in the midst of a huge shift in focus. There are far too many books being published today for any library to collect them all, and some people are operating under the belief that all the information anyone could need is on the Internet. There are three problems with that last assumption. 1) There's plenty of information that isn't on the Internet, and even with things like Google's digital library initiative, it would take decades of concentrated effort to put "everything" at your fingertips. 2) Plenty of what is on the Internet isn't free, and the cost of subscribing to many databases is prohibitive for individuals. 3) There's a lot of BAD information on the Internet, and not all users (particularly young users) are cognizant enough of this to consider the authority of their sources.

For those reasons, and plenty of others--a need for community space being one of the most important--we'll still need libraries in fifty years. Whether we'll still have them will depend on a lot of things; the willingness of the government and the public to fund them, whether current copyright trends continue (extension, consolidation, etc.), and whether, on the other side, libraries can continue to serve as helpful gatekeepers to information on the printed page as well as to the exponentially increasing number of pages on the 'net.

Finally, in the future, libraries will look like a series of tubes.


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