Friday, March 30, 2007
Bao Xishun, last seen in the news for saving two dolphins after medical instruments failed, married Xia Shujjian, a woman about half his age yet--unfortunately--not half his size. She clocks in at 5-foot-6-inches. Congratulations to the both of 'em. May they find a blissful median together.
Get it? Huh? Get it?
Ah, forget you all. On the side, I slowed down as a squirrel bounded across the road the other day. Ladies, can you say mawwiage?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Well, let's backtrack. You see, in college I knew a girl that worked promotions for some distribution company. She got us free tickets to movies, advance tickets to not-yet-released flicks, posters, and, I guess, promotional DVDs. So I think it was when I went to see the craptastically overladen sapfest Miracle for free that I got a gift bag. Inside that gift bag, among other things, was a free DVD of the first episode of Deadwood, a show that was just about to come out. Or something like that. It might have already been out at that point; I've never had HBO and so I can't claim to truly know this.
I'm pretty sure I tossed the DVD aside with hopes to watch it at some point. Unfortunately, that never happened. Even after hearing about Deadwood and how great a show it was, I still never dug through my collection to retrieve that which I had not watched. That is, until the other night.
So, the first episode was definitely enough to get me interested in the show. It's a Western set in Deadwood, Dakota Territory in the 1870s, a destination rising in popularity due to the prospect of gold in the Black Hills. The show follows a bunch of characters around--some historic names such as Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Al Swearengen--as the camp grows from a stop on the road to a thriving town. The premiere episode is mostly setup, allowing the characters to get to Deadwood, and once there, interact with the folk.
As expected, the show's language and graphic nature is R-rated. Granted I know nothing about the Old West, but I found it a bit odd that everyone seemed to enjoy cursing so much. I liked the hidden politics of Al and his saloon of prostitutes, and Seth Bullock is an aimable fellow: quiet, law-abiding, and yet forceful when need be. I'm not quite certain of what his backstory is and why he and his partner headed to Deadwood to start a business, but I'm assuming some of that is revealed later. Also, pigs eating the dead? Sure, sure.
Anyways, Deadwood's got me hooked. I think I might have to splurge and buy the first season. Damn you, HBO, for your expensive DVDs. Actually, in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't watch this college because then I'd have had to sell all my school books and possibly my body to science just to watch the rest of the season. See? It's all working out in the end.
Now, if you're a fanboy/fangirl, feel free to yell at me for whatever reason you'd like.
Michael F. Flynn, Eifelheim (Tor)
Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon (Del Rey)
Charles Stross, Glasshouse (Ace)
Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (Tor)
Peter Watts, Blindsight (Tor)
Robert Reed, “A Billion Eves”
Paul Melko, “The Walls of the Universe”
William Shunn, “Inclination”
Michael Swanwick, “Lord Weary’s Empire”
Robert Charles Wilson, “Julian”
Paolo Bacigalupi, “Yellow Card Man”
Michael F. Flynn, “Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth”
Ian McDonald, “The Djinn’s Wife”
Mike Resnick, “All the Things You Are”
Geoff Ryman, “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter”
Neil Gaiman, “How to Talk to Girls at Parties”
Bruce McAllister, “Kin”
Tim Pratt, “Impossible Dreams”
Robert Reed, “Eight Episodes”
Benjamin Rosenbaum, “The House Beyond the Sky”
Samuel R. Delany, About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews
Joseph T. Major, Heinlein’s Children: The Juveniles
Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon
John Picacio, Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio
Mike Resnick & Joe Siclari, eds., Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches
Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Children of Men
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
A Scanner Darkly
V for Vendetta
Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Battlestar Galactica, “Downloaded”
Doctor Who, “Army of Ghosts” and “Doomsday”
Doctor Who, “Girl in the Fireplace”
Doctor Who, “School Reunion”
Editor, Short Form
David G. Hartwell
Gordon Van Gelder
Editor, Long Form
James Patrick Baen
David G. Hartwell
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
John Jude Palencar
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
The New York Review of Science Fiction
The Drink Tank
Steven H. Silver
Brad W. Foster
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (not a Hugo)
Lawrence M. Schoen
Interesting list. My prediction is that Novik, Shunn, Bacigalupi, Gaiman, Phillips, The Prestige, Battlestar Galactica, Williams, Anders, Giancola, Interzone, The Drink Tank, Scalzi, and Lynch, in this order, will walk away with Hugos. Kind of not surprised by a lot of the noms, but I'd have liked to have seen more variety. Not a single woman in the novella, novelette, or short story category. Hello? Catherynne Valente? Sarah Monette? Also, though certainly not a woman, no Laird Barron on here for "Hallucigenia"? Pshaw. That's a real shame.
Maybe more thoughts on this later. Er, maybe.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
The game opens with a character selection, letting the player select either a druid, a knight, a warrior, or a wizard. As is assumed, each class comes with their own specific stats, traits, and special qualities. I'm a druid; always have been, ever since the days of Diablo II. From here the story opens with some cutscenes, a map, and a booming soundtrack. Your character travels the world, accepting quests and battling monsters all while gaining experience. This is where the puzzle game takes heart.
You and your opponent take turns swapping tiles to get a row of three of the same. A row of coins gives you money to buy equipment and weapons, green and purple and blue add to your mana pool, and skulls deal damage to your opponent's life total. Four of anything gains you an extra turn. The addition of spells and chained attacks adds a lot of variety to the game, and though the beginning battles are very easy and basic they begin to gradually get harder.
So far the puzzle parts outshine the RPG parts. The story is quite ho-hum and nothing really to get excited about. It's just a means to an end, that's all. The only problem is that anyone can play Bejeweled online for free so you have to really like the RPG aspects to consider purchasing this for either the PSP or DS. Unfortunately, I'm content playing the demo (though there's a level cap for your characters in it). Still worth checking out though.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Thank goodness no one can take away the miniseries and Season 1 from me. Now there's a show that was perfection, from beginning to end. Now, more like a mess of things. Some interesting, some notsomuch. "All Along the Watchtower," really? Really?
No, they'll be changing.
In order to keep things disconnected, I made Game Beliefs, a blog that would be devoted to any videogame-related topics. As I soon discovered, I do not have much to say about videogames. No wait, scratch that. I do have a lot to say about videogames, just not enough to keep a blog constantly updated with daily content. So now when I feel like complaining about how trite every RPG ultimately is or how awesome Kratos is with all his godly powers I'll just do it here.
I'm also a bit of a music junkie. You know the people that say, "Oh, I listen to just about everything...except country." Well, that's me. Except the "except country" part. I'm very open when it comes to tunes, and I always find a way to appreciate music in just about every form out there (Note: not American Idol). I can go from Underoath to Page France to Placebo to The Audition to Devon Sproule to Tom Waits to Daft Punk to Wilco to Cat Power to Alexisonfire to Kathleen Edwards to Gretchen Wilson to The Visionaries to The Pixies to Wolf Parade without missing a beat. Go ahead and Google some of those and see how much they vary, both in style, form, and presentation. Having used to review CDs and concerts in the past for my college newspaper and magazine, I've sort of missed it.
I'm not big on politics, but I do stay up-to-date with the current affairs of the world (it's the journalist in me). Besides, how could anyone ignore a story about a Wisconsin man having sex with a dead deer?
I guess in the end I want this place to be a hub for different topics and not limit my audience (if I even have one; hello? anyone? Bueller? Bueller?). So, be prepared to see some different posts over the new few weeks. Or if you have something to suggest, I'm all ears. My momma always said, "Life was like a box of bloggers, you never know what you're gonna get."
Okay, not my real momma. She doesn't talk like that.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Got my contributor copies (along with money! I like money!) for Apex Digest, #9 in the mail yesterday. I think I can safely say that I've never seen a package so beat up and trampled on before in all my times of going to and fro from the mailbox. This was a medium-sized envelope, probably around 8" X 11", and appeared to have been drop-kicked over a dozen times. There were black smudges everywhere, all four ends smushed and wrinkled worse than your grandmother after a solid three-hour soak in the tub. The envelope was also ripped open along its side; luckily, the magazines and my check did not fall out. I'm guessing that some chafed postal worker got curious, took a quick look at the type of fiction Jason Sizemore likes to buy, stuffed everything back inside the envelope, and felt the need to let his inner soccer player out.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Well, I heard back from Shane Jiraiya Cummings this morning: he's accepted one of my five drabbles, "Something," for publication in the Black Box e-anthology. Very cool, and it looks like I'm in excellent company so far. Lucy Sussex, Amanda M Hayes, and Jason Sizemore, among others. I wonder if I can find a market for the other four drabbles...
Now I can get back to the other two short stories that are having me consider my sanity on an hourly basis. One is a rewrite that seems to need to be submitted by April 1, and the other is for a submission period that opens on March 23. No rush on the second one but I'm trying to balance my writing time between them both and it's starting to make my left twitch. See? Being a writer has its perks! Oh wait...nevermind.
Children of Men comes out on DVD next week. Since I missed it in the theatres, this is one I'm definitely going to be picking up. Blade Runner-esque + Clive Owen + Michael "I Can Do No Wrong" Caine = happiness/life/fill in your own term of bliss. Remember, kids, don't buy Eragon! Buy good DVDs!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Now, the toughest challenge of drabbling (can I trademark this term?) was keeping my stories at 120 and under. Think it's easy? Well, it's not, especially for me as I tend to get wordy in my prose, sometimes to the point of excessive. And even then it's intentional. I popped out five quick tales of horrific happenings and then spent most of the time trying to cut them down. If any writers want to learn how to "kill their darlings," this is a good experience. You aren't just line editing to line edit, you're trimming and cutting and dissecting with the malice of a doctor who is operating on the man his wife's cheated on him with: anything stupid or unnecessary can (and must) go. Snip! Snip!
It's a shame there isn't a larger market for drabbles and short-shorts. We'll see if Black Box wants any of them; if not, they were still enjoyable to do. Plus, distraction is always fun. Same with procrastination. They're like my own private angel/devil shoulder team. In fact, I'm hanging out with them even as I type this post...
Monday, March 19, 2007
- Wait and buy Pan's Labyrinth when it's released
- Pick up a jug of Bacardi's Long Island Rum
- Buy a goldfish or three
- Trick an old man into dancing for the money
- Clean socks are always a necessity
- Lots of Nyquil taken at five minute intervals is more fun than Eragon
- Strip club, for the fellas
- Shoe store, for the felines (er, females)
- Hire a bully to punch an idiot in the face, twice if they purchased Eragon
- Pick up the latest issue of Apex Digest; I promise you that the table of contents alone is better than anything Christopher Paolini could "imagine"
- Actually, so long as you spend that $20 on anything but the Eragon DVD you should feel pretty damn happy
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Looks like Apex #9, containing my piece of flash fiction "Sonorous," is out. Isn't it pretty? ::pets computer screen:: Yes, it's pretty. Buy an issue or two or three. Check out the wonderful lineup:
"The Sum of His Parts" – Kevin J. Anderson
"The End of Crazy" – Katherine Sparrow
"The Gunslinger of Chelem" – Lavie Tidhar
"Locked In" – Mary Robinette Kowal
"Projector" – Daniel LeMoal
"At the 24-Hour" – William F. Nolan
"Pyramus and Thisbe" – Jeremy Adam Smith
"Sufficently Advanced" – Bev Vincent
"Don’t Show Your Teeth" – Rob D. Smith
"Cain XP11: The Voice of Thy Brother’s Blood (Part 1)” – Geoffrey Girard
"Poppet’s Left Impression" – Brandy Schwan
Parting Shot: "Sonorous" – Paul Abbamondi
"Unspeakable Horrors: The Legacy of Darkness in the Visual Arts of Western Culture" – Deb Taber
"Kill Me Then" – Alethea Kontis
Kevin J. Anderson
Thursday, March 15, 2007
- Take a chill pill!
- Don't have a cow!
- Like, whatever!
- Yeah, girlfriend!
- Take a chill pill!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Happy Pi Day, everyone!
Speaking of mathematical constants, here's a list of a number of things I need to do:
- Review Robotika by Alex Sheikman and Joel Jason O'Chua, which should be up in a few days or so.
- Read and review Dreadful Skin by Cherie Priest.
- Read and review Brasyl by Ian McDonald.
- Er, try and do a Greenhorn comic to make up for the one I didn't do this week. Maybe. We'll see.
- Finish a story (either "The Morning Gift" or "The Lady of Jeweled Dreams") to submit to the MZB's Sword and Sorceress 22 anthology.
- Work on rewrite of "The Farrah Job."
- Hey, how about I not waste all my time playing Rogue Galaxy and trying to make every stupid sword from every stupid item I find? Hey, how about that? Huh?
- Continue work on shh secret project.
- I've run out of coffee creamer. ::cries like a loon::
- Gawd, I'm no longer even listing things to do here, just complaining off the cuff.
- What's with the weather lately?
- I want a kitty cat.
Ack, LOST is on!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
It's a neat idea, and there's definitely some interesting battles (Wolfe versus Pratchett?!), but I won't be able to participate too much. Nine times out of ten I've only read one book of the two in the challenge and thus am out of luck to offer a balanced opinion. Either way, it seems to be gathering some good discussion on the boards. That's good enough for me.
Monday, March 12, 2007
300 is concerned with the Battle of Thermopylae, a historical event made by men that were as proud and mighty as legends get. The King of Sparta, Leonidas (played by roaring Gerard Butler), decides to lead his army of 300 (or so) soldiers against the tremendous number of Persians that mean to enslave them. King Xerxes, a demigod glittered in fine jewelry, is out to becoming King of Kings, so to speak. It is this battle that will shake all of Greece, eventually hard enough to get them to band together to fight against the Persians and bring out the world's first democracy.
It's David and Goliath times 100,000 Persians, and David and Goliath is a fine tale of the little man conquering the more massive. It works on different layers and can be thoroughly entertaining if set up correctly and handled with an eye toward more quietly thematic scenes than repetitive hack-and-slashes that continue to prove that, yes, tiny men can cut down larger men. It's all in that Spartan training, you know. But 300 doesn't do this well. Instead it seems more concerned with style and finesse, which, I will admit, are near perfect. The art style is consistent (everything is washed in a deep sepia, but my favorite scene involved a flowing oracle as she moved in streams of white and blue and purple smoke) and there's a sharp attention to detail. Not historical detail, but minute details. There were no war rhinos back then. Sorry, just didn't happen.
Character development is what was really missing from 300. We're following a group of Spartans who, we've been told via voiceover, are raised by the roughest rules and trained to be heartless killing machines. They are more than willing to toss a weak child off a cliff than work at it and train the boy to be strong. So when the moment comes that a man loses his son in battle everyone is expected to stop, drop, and emote. Wouldn't Spartan law consider the boy weak for dying? Wouldn't he be frowned upon or made an example of? Here, it's not touched on as this is a movie and no one probably wants to see a father not care after his boy is taken out by some random Persian. So we're supposed to care. But it's hard when you know no one's name or history, and that's the problem. We learn very little of Leonidas and of his comrades. Each one seemed to fill their quota of "ready for glory" cheese lines, and then they died.
The movie flip-flops from the battles to the more subdued events taken part by Queen Gorgo (played by the beautiful Lena Headey), as she tries to rally the people of Sparta to go out and support their king. But no, they can't, it's festival week, or something like that. She does one thing well, and proves that Spartan women are just as verocious as Spartan men. Her climax, while a bit heavy on the movie-ish lines, was one of the highlights of 300.
For me, the best part of 300 was the tidbits of fantasy: the hunchback, the butcher executioner, the goat/deer-headed thing playing the lute, even Xerxes himself was interesting eye candy. These helped to break the story from being Troy's distant cousin (you know, the one no one talks to). I would have liked to have seen these creatures intergrated more into the story, rather than just being fodder for the slaugher. The hunchback's story arc (no pun intended) felt rather unfinished. Technically, the movie itself was unfinished but if they showed any more longwinded battle scenes I might have started to twitch. In the end, 300 has some pretty images, several boob shots, people losing limbs, great costumes, and little meat on the plot bone. So see it for all the shiny bits, but really, don't expect much. And remember, there's no crying in war. Unless you take an arrow to the neck. You can cry all you want then.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Got a rejection and rewrite request today as well. Going to ponder the rewrite as the story will need an entire new ending, which, for me, is the hardest part. Give me some time, folks, give me some time.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Seeing a recent Scalzi entry, I got the idea to do something similar as well. Here's where I'll keep my bibliography information, update it when the timing says so, and link to it from right over there (--->). Well, no, not there. That's my face. Go a little lower. Mm. Past the comics. See it? Go past the book covers. Huh? See it? Ah, bunch of blind ol' bats.
- "The Dealer's Hands" - Shimmer (Volume 1, Issue 3, Spring 2006)
- "Always Greener" - Shimmer (Volume 1, Issue 4, Summer 2006)
- "Sick Day" - Flashshot, Year 3
- "Daily Happenings" - Flashshot, Year 3
- "Blood Hungry" - The Horror Library (April 2006)
- "With the Dead, Change is Inevitable" - Dead Letters, 2.2
- "Chance on Catella" - AlienSkin Magazine (June/July 2006)
- "Curling Tendrils of Love" - Second-place winner in the Red Light District/Apex contest for June/July, published in Apex Online
- "To Make a Friend" - Dark Jesters, #1
- "Night Fairies" - AlienSkin Magazine (August/September 2006)
- "Never Order the Midnight Special" - Back Roads, #1
- "The Feet Eaters" - Aberrant Dreams (January 2007)
- "Sonorous" - Apex Digest, #9
- "Love Under the Lake" - forthcoming in The Blue Lady, #2
- "67442" - Murky Depths, #1
- "Birds, Gods, and the Naming of Things" - Strange Stories of Sand and Sea anthology (March 2008)
- "Something" - Black Box e-anthology (March 2008)
- "Ash Fish" - forthcoming in SALT: A Surfrider's Benefit Anthology
- "The Sport of Kings" - Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic (November 2007)
- "She's a Hearth" - forthcoming in Kaleidotrope (April 2008)
- "After Effects" - Aoife's Kiss #24 (March 2008)
- "So Go the Seasons" - forthcoming in Black Gate
- "Pigment" - forthcoming in Farrago's Wainscot
- "Imaginary Puissance" - forthcoming in Fictitious Force
- “Nonsense” - forthcoming in Aoife’s Kiss
- “The Hermit” - Behind the Wainscot (Issue #15)
- “Obmutescence” - forthcoming in Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy (2009)
- "The Spear Carrier" by A.M. Dellamonica: An Appreciation - The ED SF Project
- SF by Starlight: "En Forêt Noire" by Tanith Lee
- Interview by Danny Semmel (02/01/06) - Epic SFF
- Short fiction reviews of magazines such as The Sword Review, Amazing Journeys, Shimmer, Shadowed Realms, Farthing, and more can be read at Tangent Online, along with several anthology/collection reviews
- Numerous book reviews can be found at FantasyBookSpot
- New York ComicCon 2007 writeup
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
MTV's showing 300 seconds of Frank Miller's 300, and whew, is it intense. Like Sin City, it's violently stylish. Unlike Sin City, there wasn't a prostitute for 300 seconds. That must be some kind of record for Miller and team! I wonder if this is how it opens or if there's some backstory missing so far. Either way, check it out. At least for the wall of slaughtered Persians' sake.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Even though I didn't enjoy her books, this is a shame. The Eddings have not been having a good couple of past months.
In other news, I received Ian McDonald's Brasyl in the mail the other day and am currently trying to figure out my reading schedule. This'll probably come up next after George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords, which kind of irks me as I'd really like to tackle the sequel to Victoria Strauss' The Burning Land next. But since I only have The Awakened City in hardback and will be traveling down the line, that's a bookworm no-no (well, at least it is to me).
Lastly, the funniest/cruelest thing I've seen in some time:
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Anyways, check 'em out!