Saturday, January 12, 2008

Frustration is

watching the fourth episode of the fifth season of MI-5, seeing the preview at the end of it, planning to watch the next one after dinner out that night, and finding the disc is bad. Tomorrow, I must buy another copy of the box set.

Dinner, on the other hand, was extremely tasty, courtesy of Fins, a restaurant that the Raleigh News & Observer food critic, Greg Cox, chose as his best of 2007. My appetizer, the foie gras sandwich, was the only misstep of my meal, a dish rendered so-so due to the too thick, too plain bread overwhelming the perfectly prepared foie. The sashimi we all shared was lovely. My scallops entree blended perfectly cooked scallops with bits of pork and a lot of grilled onions. The tiramisu desert, which arrives in a tall thin glass, was the best I've ever had. Definitely a keeper. If you're in the Triangle area, check it out (though do plan to open your wallet wide; it's not cheap).

Dieting would be so very much easier if I did not love good food so very much.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Great Yokai War

Wow. Take the always strange Japanese film director, Takashi Miike, a man best known for his ultraviolent movies. Mix in creatures from Japanese folklore. Add a touch of Godzilla and the apocalypse. Now, do it as a children's film.

The result is The Great Yokai War, though I'm not doing it justice. It's stranger than that. We watched it tonight, and by the end all of us were howling and cheering.

I recommend it highly, though I can't say you'll love the story, the acting, or any other particular thing. It's just so damn weird that most of us found we had trouble looking away for much of it. The creatures alone are worth the price of admission.

Besides, how can you not like a movie whose closing credits song includes the line, "Let's join together to battle the menace from outer space"--especially given that the movie never has any such menace?

Slowly onward, and the assistant search is over

Today, we hired someone for the executive/personal assistant job. I'm quite pleased. She starts February 1, and I am hoping for great things from her.

On the novel front, the plot proceeds slowly, but it proceeds. Last night, I enountered an issue I had not yet considered, one of integration of certain elements, but at this point that's not surprising.

I am itching to get writing, but I also know I must finish this stage before I go to the next.

So I shall.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Almost there

I think I know all the main segments of the book and the progression of the key events.

I have a handle on the main players.

Last night, I set up the directory structure for Overthrowing Heaven and set up the sections of the outline file.

After a bit over a month of feeling useless and writing page after page of notes to and discussions with myself, I'm about ready to try assembling the pieces and see if they hold together as well as I think. If they do, then I will start writing the outline proper.

I'm excited!

On an unrelated note, if you're in Boston next weekend, please buy an Arisia membership, come by, and say hi. As one of those unusual writers who doesn't drink, I'm a cheap con date.

MI-5 Season 5 has arrived

on DVD via Amazon, so we know what we'll be watching the next many nights. We had time for only half or so of the first episode tonight, but it was dynamite. After watching the last episode of each season, I conclude that the show simply cannot sustain that level of quality--and then the next season gets better. I recommend this wonderful British series highly.

Speaking of watching things, Saturday night we caught Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. The movie demonstrated a fact I've always found to be important: great writing, great directing, and great acting are not enough to make a film enjoyable. The work must provide a story you want to see. I'm glad I saw this movie, and I appreciated its virtues--particularly the acting of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who executed his role flawlessly. I just didn't like a single of the major characters, and as their lives crumbled around them I found I didn't care enough to make the tragedy as profound as it should have been.

Check it out to admire the acting, but don't expect to have a good time.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Hugo plug and a random walk

The plug: In 2007, Baen published Barry N. Malzberg's fine book of critical essays, Breakfast in the Ruins. This volume collects his earlier, excellent book, Engines of the Night, and many newer essays. If you're at all interested in the history of SF or Barry's fascinating take on many different aspects of publishing, as well as the mindset of a very smart and very talented writer, please check it out. If you have read it, you know it should be on the Hugo ballot for Best Related Book, so nominate it. I will.

Disclosure: I consider Barry a friend, though I would not claim to be close to him, and I am a close friend of David Drake, who is a close friend of Barry. The book still deserves the award.

Thanks to my friend, Pam, I learned that the U.S. has finally won a gold medal in the World Rock Paper Scissors Championship--and the champ was the first ever woman to win the contest. See, Sarah, you have hope! (Okay, she beat me tonight. I had to admit it.)

My editor's copies of Transhuman arrived today. The book looks good, courtesy of a very striking cover painting by Dave Seeley and a strong cover design by Jennie Faries. It's an anthology, so I know that the odds are that it won't sell many copies, but I encourage everyone to pick it up. Even if you don't want to read my story, you'll find many other interesting tales in it. Check it out.

On the Overthrowing Heaven front, I think that just maybe I have all the big pieces figured out and can begin typing up what will grow into the outline.

And on that note, I return to that task.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I pwned Sarah

Yup, she lost tonight at RPS in two games flat. Sad puppy that she is, I still beat her.

To make it up to her, however, I've agreed to let her guest-blog with a few choice song recommendations from a playlist she just put together for her buddy, Cassie, in North Dakota. We're sending a shout out to all our North Dakota readers. (We're not sure we actually have any North Dakota readers, come to think of it. [Why am I referring to myself as 'we'? (Don't you hate these nested parentheticals? I know I do, and Sarah says she does, too.)])

And now, today's music recommendations from Sarah:

Paper Planes - M.I.A.
Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl - Broken Social Scene
Adventures in Solitude - The New Pornographers
Me and Mia - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
All the Money or the Simple Life Honey - The Dandy Warhols
Black Flowers - Yo La Tengo
Call Me Home - Danger and the Steel Cut Oats

I'm embarrassed to say I know only two of these songs; sigh.

On the other hand, this means more CDs to try, which is a good thing.

An embarrassing correction

I woke up from a dream in which my subconscious told me how stupid I'd been. One of the stories I listed as having appeared this year, "Reunion," is actually in the upcoming Transhuman anthology, which Toni and I co-edited. The story that appeared in Jim Baen's Universe was "The Ten Thousand Things."

I fixed this error in the post below, so now that post is correct.

I have no excuse for this mistake. I think I've just been focused lately on the book to come, not the stories behind me.

Some kind of lame self-pimp I am.



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