Monthly Archives: March 2014

Review: Doctor Who: Dead Air

Doctor Who: Dead Air
Doctor Who: Dead Air by James Goss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I just don’t think I like Doctor Who books all that much. The story on this one wasn’t too bad, had some interesting ideas but it certainly feels different than the show. The other, rather weird, thing about this particular story is it was read by David Tennant, the 10th Doctor himself. Except when he was reading the Doctor’s lines, he didn’t sound like the Doctor. He did when he was reading narration, but the actual dialogue it felt like he was using a put on voice. Very odd.

I’ve listened to other Doctor Who stories read by him and they were fine. I realize this one involves a monster who eats sound and can mimic voices, so Tennant might have been making a conscious choice, but still, sounds strange.

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Review: The Serpent of Venice

The Serpent of Venice
The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the Serpent of Venice, Christopher Moore once again visits the physical world of Pocket the fool and the literary world of William Shakespeare (with a slight touch of Edgar Allan Poe thrown in for good measure). This time around, instead of King Lear, the source material is a mash-up of Othello and The Merchant of Venice, only set in the late 13th century and Pocket is embroiled in a battle to save Venice from itself while at the same time, helping the course of true love… all while dealing with his own depression over the loss of his queen Cordelia. Oh yeah, and there’s some sort of sea monster roaming around the Venetian canals wrecking havoc an death on whatever comes across its path. Continue reading

Categories: Books, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ten rules for writing fiction | Books | theguardian.com

Ten rules for writing fiction | Books | theguardian.com.

Mostly I’m putting this here for me. There are some great bits of information here, things which any writer could and should hear from time to time. Some of this is motivational, some is good solid advice and some is funny (but funny because it’s true).

And while I was going to close with a Neil Gaiman quote, that’s a bit cliche at this point so instead, I’ll sum up with probably the best advice one could ever get, this one coming from Richard Ford:

“Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea.”

Categories: On Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Ringworld

Ringworld
Ringworld by Larry Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like a majority of Niven’s books, this focuses more on the concept than any type of tangible story. We get really cool technology, awesome aliens, some pretty cool thought experiments but at the end of the day, there’s really not much more than that.

And that’s okay. Continue reading

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Why we do it…

 

Last week, as class ended, a student came up to me and handed me a small box of chocolate, saying “this is for you.” I said thank you and asked why. “Just because.” was the answer.

Inside was this note.

Letter

This is why I do what I do – to try and keep the stories moving forward.

Categories: Personal, Writing | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Banished Words and Unicorn Hunting!

unicorn trappedThe late W.T. (Bill) Rabe, known for his clever PR stunts from his days as a Detroit-area publicist, created the Unicorn Hunters in 1971, shortly after he was hired as LSSU’s Director of Public Relations. Bill, with the assistance of LSSU Professors of English Peter Thomas, John McCabe, John Stevens and others, came up with the Hunters as a way of garnering more publicity for LSSU, which had just established itself as an independent school after being a branch of what is now Michigan Technological University. The Unicorn Hunters made the news often for activities and events including: the annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, burning a snowman on the first day of spring, World Sauntering Day, International Stone-Skipping Tournament held annually on Mackinac Island, Unicorn Questing Season and Teacher Thank You Week.

Like the Beloit Mindset list, this is an amazing example of the way a university zeitgeist can enter non-academic worlds and have a profound effect. Personally, I think we need more Unicorn Hunting! The regulations seem pretty fair and equitable to me and hey, the license itself is free.

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Hello, I Love You. Won’t You Tell Me Your Name?

This is really a phenomenal piece. The awkwardness and passion, the downright humanity on display, is enough to make me really happy today.

There’s a part of me that wants to know the follow up story, did the pairings become couples, become friends, but I guess that’s the writer, the storyteller in me. I want to know the rest of their story. But then there’s another part which thinks this is perfect the way it is. We don’t need to know what happens because the only that matters, in this case, is the present.

The fact they all had a connection seems to me to be the most wonderful thing of all.

UPDATE: Turns out this is a clothing ad. Not sure how I feel about that. As a marketing bit, great. it gets everyone talking. And it’s certainly not the first time viral marketing has been used to sell a product. But then I guess this is what everything has become – there is no are anymore, it’s all commerce. I still like the piece for what it represents, but no longer for what it shows. They say the people (all of whom are “personalities” of some sort) really didn’t know each other and the reactions are genuine, but at the same time, as performers, there’s a certain amount of expectation they’re bringing to the project so I can no longer trust them.

Ah well… until the next time we’re all taken in by something which tugs at our heartstrings only to get at our wallets.

Categories: Art, Personal | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Independence Day, Lietuva

Lietuva

24 years ago today, March 11, 1990, The country of Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union with the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. It was the first of the satellite nations which had been occupied by Russia to stretch its wings and test the limits of Gorbachev’s glasnost policies.

This declaration was not immediately acknowledged and was even declared illegal by Gorbachev, who demanded the Act be rescinded. 10 months later came the “January Events,” when soviet forces invaded Vilnius’ TV Tower, killing 14 and injuring hundreds more.

Eventually, in February of 1991, Iceland became the first nation to recognize Lithuania’s independence. The United States followed September 2, 1991 and on September 6, 1991, Russia acknowledged it as well.

Lithuania served as a model for other nations and ultimately led to the collapse of the USSR.

A much more detailed, on the ground report can be found here, courtesy of 15min.lt

Lithuanian Flag

Happy Independence Day to my adopted home! In light of recent events, let’s keep this flag waving high and remember all who fought to get it there!

Categories: Cities, Europe, History, Personal | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Calling August Everywhere…

Calling August Everywhere...

How have I never seen this book before? I really need to write a new Skids Poppe adventure, huh?

SaveSave

Categories: Personal, Skids Poppe, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Knights of Badassdom

knightsofbadassdom-firstposter-fullI’ll be honest, I’ve been dying to see the Knights of Badassdom since I first about it. I mean, seriously, what’s not to love? It’s got Peter DinklageSteve ZahnDanny PudiJoshua Malina and Summer Glau with Ryan Kwanten in a lead role and Tom Hopper as a completely over the top gamer. There is enough geek cred here to make a Wil Wheaton blog post jealous and the trailer was just over the top enough to keep my interest piqued.

Continue reading

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Review: Kaddisch für einen Freund

Kaddisch für einen FreundSaw an interesting film yesterday, Kaddisch für einen Freund, a german language film. Now, I was told before going there would be subtitle in English and Lithuanian so I wasn’t concerned. It was also cool because the screening, part of a German film festival, was being held in Romuva, Kaunas’ version of an art house cinema. I’d been there before, about a year and a half ago I was asked to be part of a steering committee to try and rejuvenate the place into a hipper, more popular venue. That plan eventually fell apart but I’d never gotten the chance to see a film there, so this was exciting. The film itself was interesting, being shown from house center from a laptop and a wall projector. Continue reading

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Happy International Women’s Day!

Categories: Friends, Personal | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Me and Him, Him and Me

Me and Him

For 35 years, the man on my right has been.. well, the man on my right. He has seen me through good time and bad times, he has supported me when I asked for it and kicked my ass when I needed it. We have shared adventures and conversations, happiness and sadness, we have survived his military experience and my marriage.

I am proud, honored and privileged to call him friend and brother. And today, to wish him a very happy birthday!

Here’s to spending at least another 35 with you in my life!

Happy Birthday AAron!

Categories: food, Personal | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Review: Here, There Be Dragons

Here, There Be Dragons
Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There’s a quote by C.S. Lewis which says “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” I like this quote. I like this quote a lot. What it says to me is that just because you’re writing for a child doesn’t mean you have to “dumb” the story down or condescend to your readers. Continue reading

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Practice Positivity

pierCan we stop now?

Please?

Can we stop with random negativity for the sake of just putting shit out into the world? I mean I’m all for public discourse and I certainly think we should call out evil and injustice where we see it, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about letting the world know you don’t like something for the simple sake of needing your voice to be heard. Continue reading

Categories: Personal | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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