Perpetually Sunday and A List of Excuses

I went to sleep Sunday night and awoke Monday morning to find it was still Sunday. At least, it felt that way to me.

When I awoke Tuesday morning, it still felt like Sunday, until I’d realized I’d had to work. It’s now 4:23am on Wednesday morning and as I kissed the wife and wished her a safe trip to work, I thought ahead to an afternoon full of yard work and dishes and the sort of thing one associates with Sunday afternoons.

I’m beginning to think I’ve fallen into some sort of mental time loop, in which I will forever feel as though it’s Sunday, even though it’s Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday.

I’m not sure it’s such a curse at all, actually.

With Monday being our anniversary, and Tuesday turning out to be the sort of day in which one spends the better part of an afternoon organizing the cooler of a convenience store, I’ve gotten very little writing done over the past two days. Thus, I find myself befallen to one of the single worst trappings a writer can find him or herself in; excuses.

I’m too tired.

I’ve no time.

I don’t feel well.

These are all common things to be said by a writer who has begun a novel. Granted, the only thing I thought of on Monday was the wife, and Tuesday found me to be both exhausted and sore, but I still should have made some time to write.

And I am ashamed.

Even though today’s schedule will be one full of cleaning house, yard work and important phonecalls, I will make time to write. A thousand words a day has proven to be a bit more difficult, given my schedule, than I had originally anticipated, but I will make every attempt I can.

No more excuses.

In Which We Learn Darth Vader Has A Drinking Problem

Monday was our anniversary. I had explained this to my boss, who imediately said “Don’t worry about coming in that day, then!”, which was awfully sweet of her.

The day was spent watching rented movies (Juno, which was good, Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, which was not so good), eating at a local diner, and just generally being disgustingly and adorably a couple.

It was a good day.

I’ve stumbled across this article, which indicates that the Sith Lord, Darth Vader, may have a bit of an alcohol problem.

A man posing as Darth Vader attacked a Star Wars fan, who had founded a Jedi Church, a court has heard.

Arwel Wynne Hughes, 27, from Holyhead, Anglesey, admitted assaulting Barney Jones and cousin Michael with a metal crutch. They suffered minor injuries.

Hughes, who was drunk and dressed in a black bin bag, shouted “Darth Vader!”

And

Hughes could not remember the incident and only realised what had happened when he read about it in local newspapers, the court told.

Defending, Frances Jones said alcohol was “ruining his life” and he had no idea where he got the crutch from.

Are my favorite bits.


Seven Things Sci-Fi Fans Should Stop Doing.

It’s a very interesting article. One thing that struck me in a very funny-yet-also-true sort of way, was the following:

People With Different Taste To You Are Not Inferior
Okay so you prefer the remake of Battlestar Galactica to the original. Chances are that many or most people agree with you. But that doesn’t make you better than the people who don’t like the new BSG. It’s entirely possible for two intelligent people to hold contradictor opinions. Taste is a personal preference, nothing more.

It’s also quite funny that they would cite the Battlestar Galactica fandom specifically, as I am of the decidedly small group of people who prefer the 1970s Battlestar Galactica to the more modern remake. I am also a part of the decidedly large group of people who get flack for disliking the new version. I’m told I have no taste or that I am “lame” for not liking what is “an obviously superior series”, at which I simply laugh because of the very point made above.

The Spirit

Sixty eight years ago, a man named Will Eisner created what would go on to become one of the most important comic books in that or any year.

The Spirit followed the exploits of Denny Colt, a Central City detective who was presumed dead. When he reappeared, fed up with the crime and desolution overcoming his city, Colt donned a mask and took it upon himself to become a one man army against the criminals that nearly cost him his life.

The Spirit was a working class superhero who stood for justice when no one else would. He embodied the every day struggle of the common man against the cruelty of the world around him.

Next year, comic visionary Frank Miller, will redefine The Spirit on the silver screen.

Here, you can watch the teaser trailer for The Spirit. Be sure to play the clips after the trailer, they’re entertaining. Frank Miller is afraid of an undead Will Eisner and Eva Mendes has no clue what The Spirit is about.

In watching the teaser, which is just that, a teaser, and not meant to be taken as a final cut sort of trailer, I’ve realized I only have two problems; The fact that The Spirit is in black and red as opposed to blue and red, which I would normally be willing to overlook, except in this case it makes the film look a bit too much like a Sin City related project (which is my second problem).

While I do not doubt that The Spirit’s attire will remain black in the future trailers, and subsequent film itself, I do hope Miller does something to it to take it away from that Sin City aftertaste.

That being said, I have faith in Frank Miller’s vision.

With the release of film adaptations of Will Eisner’s The Spirit and Alan Moore’s Watchmen in 2009, it’s certainly shaping up to be a wonderful year for film adaptations of amazing comic books.

Whereas Miller’s retelling of The Spirit left me with a distinct Sin City aftertaste, Zack Snyder’s take on Watchmen seems to be dead on so far. (though there is no teaser just yet)

I do not envy Miller or Snyder for being in their current position. If either of them manage to sully the visage of their respective source materials, I envision a legion of very unhappy comic book fans descending upon them as locusts would.

Planning on starting the second bit of prologue before I go about my housework. I truly cannot wait to share this with all of you and may decide very soon to give you all a sneak peek of what it is I’m working on.

If there would be any interest, of course.

Prologues and Dismissed Cases

First thing, I suppose, is first. I know there will be a quite a few people reading this blog who may not know who Gordon Lee is. They may not even know what The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is.

For those currently reading:

Here is a Wikipedia entry on the CBLDF.

And here is a Wikipedia entry on Gordon Lee.

Give them a browse and get caught up.

For those unwilling to click the above links, Gordon Lee is the owner of a comic book store in Rome, Georgia, who has been previously charged and convicted with selling pornographic materials. In his own store. To adults. Who had asked him for the materials.

This current case, however, involves the alleged incident in which a comic book containing a scene in which Picasso is painting, though in the nude, was given to a nine year old child on Halloween.

If such a thing had happened to my nine year old, I would have been upset as well. But I would have approached the store owner and let me feelings known to him/her. In this instance, however, the law became involved, and Lee was charged with two felonies and five misdemeanors.

This was in 2004. In the four years since, Mr. Lee has experienced the legal equivalent of a roller coaster, involving mistrials, postponements and several other delays.

Well, it’s been announced that Gordon Lee’s case has been dismissed. The link leads to a very interesting, albeit short, Newsarama interview with the Executive Director of the CBLDF, Charles Brownstein.

Granted, the dismissal of the case is not the same as an obvious win, but- Well, Brownstein says it best below:

NRAMA: From the view of the CBLDF, how does a complete dismissal compare to a courtroom victory?

CB: A clean win is a clean win. And this is a very clean win.

It should have never gone this far to begin with.

Four years and over $100,000 of donated money later and the “attempted miscarriage of justice” (as Neil Gaiman called it) that was the Gordon Lee case is finally over. Gordon Lee can return to his daily life unafraid of the authorities watching over him.

It’s just a sad state of affairs. In what is supposed to be a free country, this sort of thing still happens. And the Gordon Lee debacle is but one of many cases that the CBLDF is on a mission to help. Here’s just a few of them in recent years.

If you have the time and the money and want to donate to a worthy cause, please give pause and consider the CBLDF.

Here is a YouTube video of Neil Gaiman making the announcement at last night’s New York Comic Con:

I’ve finished what will be the first of two prologues for the novel this morning. Really, it’s one prologue, in two parts, seperated by a quote page. I would hope to finish a chapter a day from this point on, but I can easily tell the chapters will get longer and longer as I press on. So I can only hope to finish most of a chapter a day from this point on.

I’m really enjoying myself so far.

Happy Doctor Who Day

A quick one, sorry.

Tonight will be Doctor Who and we will rejoice. The level of Doctor Who love in this household lately is amazing, as is the level of anticipation for this new season. It seems far longer than it has been since the last season.

On a brief adventure to Casey’s last night for carbonated syrup-laced beverages, I noticed a list of outside chores Boss Lady had left for me for today. I get the joy of showing up in jeans and a t-shirt and working out in the sun all day.

Few things can compare to working outside. Such a simple pleasure. Fresh air, sunshine, the smell of freshly mowed lawns. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Early this morning, after the wife had left for work, I re-read the five thousand or so words I had completed of what will be my first novel. I was suddenly struck with a far better way to start it, however.

So I did. I opened a fresh word document and began to type, using the previously written words, in a seperate window, as a base on which to build. I was able to write a solid opening before retiring to bed. I then wrote a few more solid paragraphs when I woke up until just now, when I realized I should really get dressed and go to work.

I’m excited. I think I know how to continue now.

Onward I go. Wish me luck.

Things Between Your Toes And Other Sensations

Today I felt non dry and brown and dead, but wet and green and alive, grass between my toes for the first time in months. Literally, in months.

It made me smile. It truly is the little things.

My blog views have gone up so much in the last two days, due to the last two entries (here and here.), most of which as a result of Google searches for “JK Rowling” or “JK Rowling Lawsuit”, that I am considering blogging about nothing else.

I’ll sit here, day after day, blogging away about the lawsuit. I’ll blog about what J.K. Rowling was wearing in court, I’ll blog about whether she wore her hair up or down, I’ll blog about how many times she sipped from her water glass.

“But what about when the trial has ended?” you ask. Well, the answer to that is plainly obvious; I’ll file a lawsuit myself. One against J.K. Rowling, in which I state that the lack of a J.K. Rowling trial has saddened me and made it so I am unable to write (or blog).

Then I’ll blog about it.

It’s a fool proof plan.

I’ve just recieved a friend request on MySpace. It was from my pre-teen niece.

The world is ending.

Have to quit smoking? Put down that cigarette and pick up Pokemon!

It’s been established that, once the wife and I win the lottery, we’re moving out of this hell-in-a-handbasket-bound country.

Possible relocation spots include:

Osaka, Japan.
London, England.
Dublin, Ireland.

When we collect our winnings and make our decision, we will be sure to let you know.

Though, it may be a while.

Mumblings of Science Fiction and More of the J.K. Rowling Thing

With the temperature staying in the mid 60s and a decent wind rustling the trees, today was the sort of day that made you feel good to be oustide. Walking to the store and back was a fun thing, for a change. To think that less than a month ago, it was a cold and frigid landscape of white and gray is astounding when breathing in the warm Spring air, looking around at all the rich greens and browns.

Today was a good day.

In my previous entry, I commented on this article in which was information on a lawsuit filed by Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling.

Andrew Wheeler feels she’s wrong.

It’s truly interesting hearing from an established publisher on this topic and, while I still side with Rowling and hope she wins, I also tend to agree with a few things Andrew has mentioned.

Printed fan work is one thing. Go to your local Borders and look for any book on the topic of Star Wars. You’d be surprised how many there actually are (or perhaps you wouldn’t be surprised). Not all of them are official. In fact, many of them are unauthorized. And those will sell many copies right alongside the “Official” Lucasfilm produced books on the subject. No copyright infringing.

But from what Rowling is claiming in the suit, many of the facts in this fan’s Lexicon is taken verbatim from the books. There is, reportedly, very little original content in it. And by original content, I mean words about Harry Potter written uniquely by this man. Not just copying and pasting from the books (again, reportedly, as I’m not familiar enough with the books to recognize the similarities).

I believe therein lies the difference.

Of course, I’m no publisher.

Author Dan Ronco thinks we’re entering a new golden age for science fiction.

It is eerie to think of all those ideas envisioned by SF writers that are now becoming a reality.

Here, have some of the best book covers ever printed.

Doctor Who gives Ben Templesmith a hard on.

Doctor Who by Ben Templesmith gives me a hard on.

The Wind and the Oatmeal and the J.K. Rowling thing.

A Wind Advisory is in effect for much of Western Minnesota right now. They say the wind is gusting up to forty-five miles per hour and is knocking branches from trees and sending cats on long trips via the air*. This news does not bode well for those walking to work today (namely, me).

While I would marvel at the sight of branches leaving their wooden housings and go skipping across the road, I would not enjoy being hit by one.

If you don’t hear from me again, you know what’s happened.

The oatmeal I’ve just eaten was far too dry. It’s made me wish we had milk in the house.

Random, I know, but it does have its place, as I’m only eating oatmeal as a step in the direction of general health.

Wendy, a friend of mine in California, replied to the free fiction entry with these links. They happen to be very helpful, informative and fun to browse. (thank you, Wendy)

Baen Free Library

Project Gutenberg

The Universal Digital Library

Google Books


John Tierney, over at the NYT, has posted an article on cognitive dissonance in monkeys that makes for an interesting read.

Shame it’s from the Times. I have trouble taking anything I read in the Times seriously anymore.

Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, has filed a lawsuit against the owner and manager of a wildly popular Harry Potter website.

The owner, Steven Vander Ark, had reportedly gotten permission from Rowling to start the website. Rowling agreed, so long as Vander Ark would not try to parlay the site’s success into the printing of a book. Vander Ark agreed and the Harry Potter Lexicon went on to become one of the most popular Harry Potter fan websites on the internet.

Last year, Vander Ark was approached by RDR Publishing and offered a deal to publish the Lexicon as a book. He took the offer, so long as RDR would pay for any legal fees and damages if he should find himself at the business end of a lawsuit.

Here’s a bit of the article linked above:

Rowling acknowledged she once bestowed an award on Vander Ark’s Web site because she wanted to encourage a very enthusiastic fan.

But she said she “almost choked on my coffee” one morning when she realized Vander Ark had warned others not to copy portions of his Web site. She said she now has second thoughts about all the encouragement she has given to online discussions and Web sites devoted to her books.

The emphasis is the bit that saddens me. The creator of something as beloved and honored as the Harry Potter books should never feel leery when it comes to encouraging online discussion and fan websites. Creating something that resonates so loudly, and with so many people, should open an entire world of possibilities. The idea behind the Harry Potter Lexicon is brilliant and its creation should have been a heart warming moment for Rowling.

Instead, she’s now concerned about who will try to steal from her next.

It’s just a sad state of affairs and I feel for her. I truly do. I hope she wins her argument, I hope the Lexicon is taken out of print and I hope she’s able to resume her literary work unhindered by this mess.

I also hope she’s able to move on and feel a little better about the online world view of her work.

*As far as I know, the cat story is merely something I made up. The idea of a cat unwittingly taking flight due to high winds made me chuckle, therefore it was mentioned here.

P.P.S. I want a pony.

When I returned home from work today, I found a note on the front door.

It read:

Dear Whoever Reads This,


I went to child friend’s name omitted‘s house to see if he could play.


Love,


Ben


P.S. I’m taking money out to buy mints.


P.P.S. I want a pony.

I fear the poor boy is inheriting my sense of humor.

After reaching a minor block in the story I plucked from my “Unfinished Fiction” folder a few days ago, I took it to the wife. I explained what the story was, where I was going, where I was blocked and what the basic idea behind it was. She added her own flair to it, by way of a few ideas she presented to me, and now I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing. So, I’ll be making notes of the wife’s ideas and putting it away for a short while to germinate.

We’ll see.

Today, however, while going through a website containing many of my older short stories (many of which I cringed at while reading), I discovered a few other things I’d like to dust off and make whole. One such thing, a novella entitled Tales From The End Of The World, has already had a chapter and a half added to it as of this morning. More on the way, very soon.

I put my writing on hold when I moved here to Minnesota. The list of priorities that come before writing include: paying bills, providing food and clothing for a child, being a good husband, etc.

The wife continues to push me in the direction of writing, saying I need to get my first novel published so we can live off the riches that would follow (I haven’t the heart to tell her novelists are vastly underpaid), but I found it very difficult to focus with things like our livelihood looming overhead. We’re beginning the slow and steady crawl out of debt and, while bills are still thrown at us at a rate much faster than we can catch them, the stress has been somewhat relieved. So, now I’m writing again and it feels great.

Maybe I’ll finish my novel.

Free Fiction Part Two: American Gods

I can’t believe I didn’t add this to the previous entry. My mind must be slipping.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is one of those books that comes along and changes the way you see other books. I know quite a few people who claim Gaiman’s prose just isn’t their cup of tea, yet still lap up the literary cuppa that is American Gods. It could easily be considered Gaiman’s signature work (outside of Sandman) and proudly sits, and rightfully so in my opinion, atop many a favorite book list.

Harper Collins have taken it upon themselves to offer to us, the faithful, American Gods. In full. Completely online and completely free.

Their reason? To help along the fledgling medium of the eBook. In essence, when you purchase a book, you’re not just buying an item. You’re buying a licence to read the story in any way you choose. Be it in the form of a novel or on your PC or laptop or one of those nifty little digital readers they have now. By offering a full book (and American Gods is quite a read), for free, they’re hoping to spark a desire to read more in this way.

It’s brilliant and I’m behind it one hundred percent.

So whether American Gods is on your list of favorites or you’ve been meaning to read it or you’ve never heard of it before this post (gasp), please check it out.