Monday, April 27, 2009

Two completely different tangents in one post

I was reading the latest issue of Quill and Quire this afternoon, and I read a review of a book called Porny Stories, by Eva Moran. It sounded interesting, but I didn't think about it until I was in Indigo a little later in the day. I was looking up books I'd read about, I found Porny Stories, and I read a bit of it. Ok, I read a handful of the stories, and I liked them. They're not porny. At least, I didn't think so. I'm not sure what porny stories are like. I thought they were like romance novels, but with explicit scenes.

This book wasn't like that. These stories made me laugh. Out loud. In a bookstore. The funniest one I read was called How to Date a Writer. Step 1: Don't. The other steps just reinforced the first one, but they made sense. At one point she compared writers to guitarists, and after reading that I said quiet thanks to whatever led me to play guitar in a band.

In other news, I'm about to get hooked on Lost, and this before I even finish Battlestar Galactica. What's next? 30 Rock? No, there would have to be another show about survival instead. I guess survival stuff is pretty popular. You have humans vs unknown forces in Lost, humans vs Cylons in BSG, and humans versus each other at this place. It seems like perfect entertainment (or training) for Dwight from The Office. Maybe Future Dwight is sending me a message. Over and out.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

By the way, if you've ever thought to yourself "I wish I knew what kind of gun to use in an urban situation" (and you know you have), watch this video. Best *ahem* moment is at 1:43. Yeah.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


All's been quiet on the blogging front this past week, but I've been busy off-screen. With my courses wrapped up, I found myself with the luxury of free time. I got back to writing, working out, playing music, and seeing my girlfriend. It's been almost as much fun as vacation. Of course, if I were on vacation, I wouldn't have to be at my full-time job, dealing with all the stress and politics of my branch. Oh well... you can't have everything.

I saw State of Play a couple of times, and I really enjoyed it. It hooked me from the get-go, and left me feeling satisfied. Aggravating note from the second viewing: There were about twenty people in the theatre (early show, Monday night, small theatre), leaving a few hundred seats empty. Two guys walk in, and the lead guy moves into the row in front of me, and sits down two seats to my left. What does his friend do? He plops himself in front of me. Of all the empty seats to pick. This isn't a big, stadium-seating kind of theatre, so it made a difference. Couldn't he have sat beside his friend? Was he worried about seeming bromantic? Has he not seen I Love You, Man? Whatever. I survived.

Back to the movies: I really want to see Public Enemies. 1) I like the primary cast and the director. 2) I like the subject. 3) I really like the song in the second half of the trailer, Ten Million Slaves. You know, I'm not a fan of guns, but I really don't mind outlaw and gangster flicks.

Looking ahead, I'm putting the final touches on my manuscript, and typing up the edited copy shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks, as long as my production is steady. With no classes until May 5th, that shouldn't be a problem.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Memory of Light

This one might need some context, so I'll write a quick paragraph as an intro to the subject.

Robert Jordan is one of my favourite authors. He passed away in 2007. His death came a surprise to me because, even though he'd been battling cardiac amyloidosis for more than a year, I thought he was getting better, based on the updates he was sending his fans. I guess I was mistaken.

A few months after his death, his widow, Harriet McDougal, signed another author to finish Mr Jordan's epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. Mr Jordan was working on the last book when he died. (It's called A Memory of Light, hence the title of the post.) I had all kinds of doubts about another author finishing the work, but Harriet knew what she was doing when she chose Brandon Sanderson. I picked up a few of his books, and he's a terrific writer. (Note: I wrote to Mr Sanderson, and I bought the first edition of Mistborn directly from him. He sent it to me, signed and everything. There was a very nice note inside. I hope to return the favour if the book I wrote ends up getting published.)

Anyway, he had quite the task ahead of him, but I had faith that someday I'd get my hands on the final WoT book.

That's the backstory. Here's the story:

I found out yesterday that AMoL was going to be split into more than one book; three, in fact. Even worse, they'd be released in one-year intervals. My first thought was that TOR (the publisher) was gouging the fans. My second thought was to see what Brandon Sanderson had to say. It turns out he had quite a bit to say. (By the way, if you have any interest in writing, or for an accurate description of how publishing can sometimes work, read that article. It's long, but well worth it.)

The split makes more sense now. It makes complete sense, and the two conclusions I came to are these:

1) I am excited about this series again. It's been almost four years since the last book. I need to get back to Rand & Co.

2) We WoT fans are lucky to have Brandon Sanderson working on this story. He's pretty much working himself to the bone, which goes above and beyond his contract. He's basically doing 4x more work than he signed on for. I hope he gets some family time somewhere in there. I'd rather wait a little longer for the books than have him suffer some kind of breakdown. I think other WoT fans would agree. After all, we've already lost one WoT author.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One more Angel

There are several tragic stories that are hard to believe, but this is the one that caught my attention recently. Nick Adenhart, a 22-year-old pitcher for the Anaheim Angels, passed away early Thursday morning.

Wednesday night he pitched his first game of the season. He threw 6 shutout innings, about as good as you can ask from a new pitcher. A few hours later he was dead, one of three victims killed in a hit-and-run incident by a drunk driver who ran a red light. My heart goes out to the families of the other victims. I don't even know their names. All I know so far is about Adenhart, a young kid from Maryland who got his dad to fly out to see the game, even telling him "You better come here because something special is going to happen." You can read about it here, in better writing than mine.

Can you imagine his dad, who was the first to reach him after the accident? Can you imagine his mom, who wasn't there for her son's last game? What about his teammates, who had high-fived him just a couple of hours before the accident, certain they had a future star on their team? What about the fans who had just watched him, live or on television, ready to read or watch or listen to the news the next morning about his debut, only to find out the news was about something else entirely? What a tragic loss.
Nick Adenhart was pulled from the wreckage and transported to a local hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead

I took a Breathalyzer for the first time about 24 hours ago. I had one drink at a pub, then drove home a couple of hours later. The RIDE program was stopping most cars, and they got me to step out of the car. It felt weird. I actually screwed up my first two tries.
"Did you have more than one pint?" the officer asked me. "Is that why you're nervous?"
"No," I said. "I just read about someone killed by a drunk driver, and I don't ever want to be the cause of something like that."
I got the test right the third time, and I was more than ok. I wish Nick Adenhart was that lucky.
Nick Adenhart vigil

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to lose fans and alienate people

Sometimes I listen to the radio program Q, on CBC Radio One. Jian Ghomeshi's a cool host (I stood beside him, once, at a show with Malajube and We Are Wolves, two cool bands), and he has some cool guests on his show. I heard Neil Gaiman on there a couple of months ago. Today was Billy Bob Thornton's turn. His interview was... well, as far from Gaiman-esque as can be. He reams out Gomeshi... then can't play because he doesn't bring his drums around at 6 in the morning. (Um, Q airs at 10. Just saying...)

How do you walk away from this without thinking Thornton's being immature? I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it's really tough. The only excuse I can think of is that maybe he got some really bad, personal news, but was unable to cancel the interview. Watch it. I think it's even more painful than Joaquin Phoenix's self-destruction on Letterman. (You'll have to search for that one by yourself. It keeps getting pulled from YouTube.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Spring

Yesterday was beautiful. 15-degree weather. The sun was out, and spring was in full swing.

I woke up this morning, and this is what greeted me:

And this:

Here's the thing: I like winter. I hate winter traffic, the black slush in February, and the salt damage on cars, but something about winter feels good. It reminds me I'm alive. I thought about this as I walked across the parking lot at the bus station. My eyes were squinting and my head was down as I trudged over to the warmth and comfort (and books) in Indigo. Sleet stung my cheeks, and the wind made sure to pull my dress pants in a less-than-flattering contour of my ankles. (For those of you who don't know, my calves like to stay at the top, leaving my ankles looking marathon-runner-skinny.)

I was reminded of how small we are in the eye of the world, but it felt good. The cold on my face was about as pleasant as a shot of whiskey--which is to say, not very--but I liked it. Call me crazy.

Of course, the Jays start their season tonight. They're leading the Tigers 12-5, and I just read this fantastic NYTimes article on Roy Halladay, so maybe I am ready for spring. Maybe.
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