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May 31, 2005

Patience Prevails

Story House, it seems, is back to considering submissions: just got a fifteen month rejection from them. Bit of a wait, to say the least.

Reading: Off the Map, by Daniel Wallace. A delightful little quartet o'tales, presented most charmingly.

Things I Have Learned

If you leave a used Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea bag in the trashcan over a three-day weekend, your office will have a pleasant smell when you return.

That's about it, actually. Summer semester starts tomorrow. Big fun. Lisa's first day of work at ASCRABAWOSOALKASMMLC is today, so let's all send her our best.

Now, then: how about a fresh cup of tea?

May 29, 2005

Detroit? Beyond The Sun?

We had the bachelor party for my brother last night. A bit of a misnomer that; to most people, the term bachelor party suggests something involving strippers, Vegas, and/or a young Tom Hanks or an alive Rodney Dangerfield. Nothing so exciting. This just consisted a bunch of guys we knew from college, hanging out for a while in a bar. Fun. Most of them I (personally) hadn't seen in years, what with living out of state for so long. They're all pretty much as I remembered, except most are married, some have kids, and almost all have had some shifts in their hairlines. Paul had a good time, as far as I could tell, so I'd call it a success.

There is little else to report, aside from the weather. The TOC is out for Twenty Epics. Looks good. I am most pleased.

All right. Going to take a shower.

May 27, 2005

I Don't Know What You Mean

Bitter bitterness

Others are enjoying themselves at WisCon. To which I say:

Fine.

See if I care.

May 25, 2005

Sit Quietly In The Dark

Despite my refusal to approach Sith, other movies from the world of popular entertainment do catch my eye. Sky High, for example, a high school version of PS238, looks cute. And there's A Scanner Darkly, which, while it does star Captain Deadpan, looks really, really visually interesting, in a Sin City kind of way.

However, Lisa is rather annoyed that Nanny McPhee, a movie starring her dreamy dreamy Colin Firth (and Emma Thompson in a distressing piece of nose gear), doesn't even appear to have a US release date.

And what's with Ewan McGregor? His new movie, The Island, bears a really striking resemblance to a piece of MST3K fodder. Tch tch.

May 24, 2005

Airport Wonder Tales

After months of shameless piggybacking on our neighbors, I've legitimized half our web use by finally getting an Airport Extreme base. Now Lisa can surf on her laptop without having to deal with the crappy connection of the various unsecured wireless networks in our neighborhood. Five minutes and it's up, just like that. Mostly. Still haven't got the printer working while plugged into the base. In theory it should. Reality appears to be another matter. Stupid reality.

Reading: The Gernsback Days, by Mike Ashley and Robert A. W. Lowndes.

Welcome To Memeopolis, Population You

1. The person who passed the baton to you.
I blame Trey.

2. Total volume of music files on your computer.
Um. Lots. 4,228 songs, 10.8 days, 17.39 GB.

3. The title and artist of the last CD you bought.
That would be Spamalot!

4. Song playing at the moment of writing.
"Gotta Get Up From Here," by Ellie Lawson. A freebie off iTunes, and I found I rather like it. Bouncy.

5. Five songs you have been listening to of late (or all-time favorites, or particularly personally meaningful songs).
Since I just got it, Spamalot's been in high rotation. Five favorites:
"The Fisch Slapping Dance."
"The Song That Goes Like This."
"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
"You Won't Succeed on Broadway."
"I'm All Alone."

6. The five people to whom you will pass the musical baton.

My first instinct is to tap people who don't know me, don't come read my journal, and thus won't have any idea. But then I'd have to find them, and that seems like too much work. So, I pass it on to you. Yes, you. Don't look so surprised.

May 23, 2005

The New Is Now Old

A weekend of nothing much to report for me. There are, of course, developments in Real Life™. Lisa has left her old job at the Last Dotcom for another: she's now going to be working for A Small Company Recently Acquired By A Wholly Owned Subsidiary Of A Little-Known And Slightly Mysterious Much Larger Company (in the future I'll be referring to them as ASCRABAWOSOALKASMMLC, since the internet has taught us that acronyms are so much more convenient). But she doesn't start there just yet. No, she's cleverly negotiated a start date of just after Memorial Day Weekend, so she's currently at home, enjoying a long vacation. Clever girl.

Reading: Super Flat Times, by Matthew Derby. Interesting in a confusing sort of way. I'm reasonably certain now that, while I do, in fact, like really weird stories that are very hard to follow, I'd just like them to come to some sort of conclusion, as opposed to just ending in that slice-of-life, is this the whole thing or am I missing a couple pages? kind of way. Sadly, this book is filled with many examples of the latter rather than the former. Ah well. Cool imagery, tho'.

May 19, 2005

Thank You, The Position Has Been Filled

Realms of Fantasy has their new slush reader.

I'm Not Dead Yet

Sold a poem, "The Wizard Gets A Haircut," to Abyss & Apex. Lovely, lovely. I have a list of goals as a writer; one of them is, once I've sell something to a market, sell them something else. Repeat until one of us is dead. So far, I'm winning!

May 18, 2005

The Only Good Spam

Got the check today from Apex for "Orders." Not big money, but not bad at all for a short-short. It's enough money to buy two tickets to see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith...except that I never saw Attack of the Clones. Yes, I never saw Star Wars II. After Phantom Menace, can you blame me? I know, this is a bogus objection; I can still go see Sith and follow it just fine. It's not like, say, missing a couple episodes of Lost, with the character development and the tricky plot twists and the tantalizing wondering what the hell is going on. Well, maybe there's a fair amount of wondering (miticlorians? the hell?) but really, how complicated could a Star Wars movie be? Still, I won't go see III without seeing II first. This is my excuse, and I stand by it.

So instead I used the money to buy the soundtrack to Spamalot! Ha ha!

Reading: Who Murdered Chaucer? by Terry Jones and a number of other, more scholarly medieval scholars. My money's on William Langland, in a classic literary feud.

May 17, 2005

An Open Letter To Deutschland

Dear Germany:

I love all your pork products. Your frankfurters. Your bratwurst. Your braunschweigers. Even your blutwurst.

Just not your spam. Don't send me any more, ok?

Sincerely,

Jon

May 14, 2005

Super 8 Is Not Two Grades Above Motel 6

(Saturday, May 14th, 2005; Jon is 35)

Left on Thursday, came home today to discover that, in my absence, I sold two stories. The first, "A Slow Corruption," will be appearing in the small-press mag Inhuman, some time in the indefinite future. The second, "The Book of Ant," has been accepted for the Twenty Epics anthology. This makes me TOC buds with Tim Pratt and Christopher Rowe. Good thing they're there to class up the joint. Also got a third rejection from a market I will not identify, clocking in at 73 days.

It's now quite clear to me: I should leave town more often.

Where did I go, you might ask? Why, to Illinois with Lisa and her parents, to see Lisa's sister Lisa do the graduate walk for her Master's in CSP. That should be it for such ceremonies, at least for a while, and good, says I. Super 8 ain't so super.

Reading: The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. Read this on the plane up and back, and in the middle while cooling my heels in the hotel room. I thought it was funny and cool and sad and very sweet, altho' the scientific explanation behind the hero's ability to travel through time is about as plausible as a ham sandwich's. On the other hand, so what? It's fiction, not the lead article in Nature.

May 11, 2005

Badger?

Behold! The Intersitial Badger Hyperdrive System, a blog most randomish run by Lucy Snyder. By an amusing coincidence, Lucy worked at Indiana University at the same time as I back in the mid-90's, although we never met.

And the first terrifying doll to start singing "It's a small world" gets it right in the head. I'm having none of that, hear me? None of it! Besides, we've still never met.

Reading: Bigfoot Dreams, by Francine Prose.

May 09, 2005

Milestone

And we have a winner! At 13 days, a short personal rejection from Lenox Avenue is my 500th rejection since I started keeping track of the darn things. I feel like I should send them a little something, like a card or a plaque or something, but they'd probably just think I was being sarcastic. At any rate, hooray for meaningless statistics!

In a related note, this journal passed its sixth anniversary a couple months ago, and I didn't even notice. Tragic.

Can't Go Wrong With Minotaurs

The trailer for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is out. Looks pretty fancy, and has minotaurs in it. And the angel from Constantine plays the witch, as far as I can tell.

When I was in third grade, my teacher, "Buffalo" Shufford, read to the class from the Chronicles of Narnia at the end of each day. We loved it, especially me, as I was already a Tolkien geek by that point. For Christmas that year I got the complete box set. I started over, rereading with great enthusiasm, and caught up to Buffalo about halfway through The Silver Chair.

My set also came with a map (the Pauline Baynes version, seen here with a honkin' big logo in the center. You get the idea). I hung it on my bedroom wall with some pride. Wonder where it is now? Probably in the attic of my parents' house.

I still hang maps of places on the wall, altho' now they're of real places. Mostly. One of them is a map of Manhattan, really a painting of the various large buildings done in scale. Not much use for navigating, but it shows the skyline pretty well. My copy predates 9/11, and has the World Trade Center on it. It's a little hard to remember sometimes that Manhattan doesn't look like it anymore.

Reading: The surprisingly short J. G. Ballard novel, The Burning World, and now Travellers in Magic by Lisa Goldstein.

May 07, 2005

The Efficiency Of Poetry

9 day rejection from Strange Horizons on a poem. Seems like most of my reports these days are for poetry. Which is a bit odd, as I've only got about a half-dozen poems circulating out there, and three times as many short stories. But what comes back, comes back, as they say. (Someone must say that; just don't ask me who.)

Reading: The Box Man, by Kobo Abe (translated by E. Dale Saunders).

May 06, 2005

No Monkeyshines, Please

Ah, peace and/or quiet. Now for some quiet days ahead, at least until the start of May Session (a two week mini-semester that compresses a full semester into two weeks time. Also compresses most students' brainpans.). Also made some vacation requests, including some time in mid-June to attend Toby's Writing Jam. He's still looking for folks, so if you're interested, give him a shout.

Oh, here's a story for you: beware the tide of monkey mess.

About to Start Reading: Avram Davidson's The Other Nineteenth Century.

May 05, 2005

I Ink, Therefore I Am

...facts are illusions...23 day rejection on a poem from ByLine, handwritten on a piece of paper, saying they can't take it because it would not fit in their two column format.

I am both disappointed and pleased. See if you can guess why!

And while I'm in a philosophical mood, I must point out to one and all Action Philosophers!, a comic book starring, yes, philosophers. Real ones. Check out the two freebies, Bodhidharma: Grandmaster of Kung-Fu! (link at the bottom) and Plato: Wrestling Superstar of Ancient Greece. Issues are themed: first one was (literally) action, next is sex, and the rest?

Tentative themes of future issues are “ACTION PHILOSOPHERS GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION”, “ACTION PHILOSOPHERS ALL-HATE THE FRENCH SPECIAL” and my personal fave - “ACTION PHILOSOPHERS SELF-HELP GUIDE FOR STUPID UGLY LOSERS”.
First, action figures; now, comic books. I expect someone to come out with a Halo mod to let you try gunning for the Buddha any day now.

Reading: The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon. No, really.

May 04, 2005

Typo Of The Beast

I laugh, and laugh, and thank heavens I have an office door to close. Why? Easy:

A newly discovered fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it's actually the far less ominous 616.
And now I laugh some more, mostly at the expense of people like this. Although if this claim is correct, it means the telephone company has condemned Grand Rapids, MI to Hell. Now there's a class action lawsuit for ya!

With thanks to Warren Ellis, whose title I also stole, because it could not be improved upon.

May 03, 2005

All About Moms

Today is National Teacher Day, as Google's charming label tells me. Actually, it's National Teacher Week all this week, May 1st through 7th. Which is an interesting personal coincidence, because May 8th is Mother's Day, and my mom is a retired teacher. So, basically, it's about eight days all about her to some degree. But I'm not getting you eight presents, Mom. Sorry.

Reading: Conan of Venarium, by Harry Turtledove. This is a prequel to Robert E. Howard's Conan books, telling the story of Conan before he hit the big time in the Hyborian Age. Turtledove is apparently a big Conan fan and while the book is clumsy in spots, he gets the tone mostly right. The most interesting thing is how Turtledove portrays the relationship between Conan and his mother. Basically, for all his youthful bloodthirstiness, Conan is a grade-A mama's boy, which parallels pretty closely both REH's personality and his relationship with his mother, as far as I can tell. For all the book's flaws, I think that was pretty clever characterization by Turtledove.

May 01, 2005

Ordered

Ooh, some late night good news: an email informing me that another flash story of mine, "Orders," has been accepted by Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest, a new market. Should appear in issue 2 of the print digest, not the online version.

To which I say: ah-woo, ah-hoo.

Flickage

31 day rejection from The Pedestal on a poem. Alas.

Two movies for your viewing amusement.

The first provides the excellent reminder for all writers that every lowly spear carrier, piece of cannon fodder, and peasant standing in the mud as the heroes ride by has his or her own backstory: The Life of a Storm Trooper.

The second isn't quite so lofty, but it's pretty funny: A Ninja Pays Half My Rent.

Enjoy.

Stupid Poem

O the month of May, the merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!
O, and then did I unto my true love say,
"Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer's Queen."

Whereupon Lisa turned to me and said, "Peg? Who's that? Some little bimbo? You big jerk!" Then she slapped me.*

Reading: The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions, by H. P. Lovecraft and Others (otherwise known as, the stuff for which he was a ghostwriter).


* - This is all possibly not true.