Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We walked by a rusted metal sculpture of a dinosaur on our walk today. It was an interesting enough sculpture that we stopped to stare at it for a while. Very dangerous. Very fierce. And, inexplicably, holding a broken bird cage. Just before moving on, Daniel pointed out the dinosaur's mouth -- containing a collection of little, yellow, rubber duckies. Just like Elaine's. She started crying. Fortunately, we were on our way home anyway.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I've been reading Amy Tan's collection of essays about her life. It's an excellent book, and her life is at least as interesting as her fiction. The one I'm currently up to is about being in the Rock Bottom Remainders, and it makes me very happy that Daniel and I stumbled upon a performance of theirs back in college.

We'd driven into LA for a book fair. The fair was something of a disappointment. It was all hot sun and vendor stalls selling books. (Looking at books became a lot less fun when I started trying to save money by getting all my reading material from the library. It's like going to a candy store after getting your wisdom teeth out.) Anyway, while wandering around, we heard music and following it led to an outdoor stage surrounded by a huge crowd.

Stephen King wasn't there that day, and the only other writers I'm really familiar with in the band are Dave Barry and Amy Tan. But I was still really excited to see them. I love the idea of an amateur rock-group made up of successful, profession, big-time writers. Probably partly because joining a group like that someday is part of my fantasy that involves seeing my books for sale in grocery store check-out lines. Completely far-fetched. At any rate, their music was really good -- classic oldies, guitars, drums. Really good. And we got to see Amy Tan's big number -- "These Boots Are Made For Walking" -- including a special guest appearance from Dr. Demento.

Reading Amy Tan's essay about how she came to join the group and take on that song is much spiffier for actually having the memory of seeing her perform it. Furthermore, I'm really enjoying the way that her essay has brought back a memory of mine that had almost faded out of memory and made it electric again. Memory's a funny thing -- the way that different tellings of a story can reinforce or cancel each other like waves. It's like an inverse disolphony.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Doctor Who has a new spin-off! Oh, the happiness!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This weekend, we watched four musicals, all made last year. Enchanted, Sweeney Todd, Once, and Across The Universe. The best movie, by far, was Once. Although, I enjoyed all of them. Sweeney Todd's main failing was that the orchestra was about twice as loud as the actors making it very hard to understand the lyrics and dialogue without blasting out my ears. Enchanted should have had more than three songs (and more character development). Across The Universe should have traded one or two trippy songs for a few more straight-forward songs. Most of these choices -- the over-loud orchestra, etc. -- seem to me like ways for embarrassed movies to try to hide the fact that their characters are bursting into song for no reason other than to express themselves with music. I wish people weren't so bothered by that concept. It's one of my favorite conceits, perhaps more so than interstellar federations and FTL drives.

Even so, it is heartening that so many musicals were made last year and watching them got me to thinking about what a musical of Otters In Space would be like. Don't get too excited -- such a project is many, many, perhaps dozens of years off. But I would love to make one. With the improvements in CGI and flash animation and home recording studios and midi files and all that stuff... It seems like some day I could put a musical Otters In Space together. It might look like a cross between Strong Bad and a Warcraft fan-made music video, but that would still be incredibly neat.

Whether this overly ambitious idea ever comes to fruition or not, I think it's still been a useful exercise to think about. For one thing, I realized while trying to picture the heroine and her sister singing the opening duet that I've been writing them backwards. In adding a sister into the second draft, I've been altering the heroine's personality and giving a lot of her old personality traits to her sister. So, now, the name and physical description for the heroine are really better matched to the sister. Of course, it's incredibly jarring trying to imagine this new character in my novel's starring role. I've lived with the old heroine for two years... and now a different cat is taking her place? That's downright spooky.

Between the general spookiness and the pain of the damage control I'll have to do after the massive search-and-replace to switch their names, I'm finding it hard to convince myself to actually make the change. But, with a little time, I'll probably come around, since I'm pretty sure it'll be better that way.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My plan to catch up on Battlestar Galactica didn't work out so well. As of Friday night when the new episode aired, I had all of the episodes I'd missed recorded. I went through the DVR with a check list, and they were all there. However, by yesterday afternoon when I settled down to start watching them, six of the twelve were gone, along with the new episode of Doctor Who.

Comcast refunded us $13 and apologized profusely for this known problem. Of course, that doesn't give me back all the episodes I lost, nor does it stop it from happening again at random times in the future. In fact, the only way to deal with the problem is to keep a "canary" show or two on the DVR and watch it like a hawk. If the canary show vanishes, then the DVR is broken again, and we need to call Comcast.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Under the influence of a great deal of caffeine (Daniel thought it would be a good idea to get two massive coffee drinks -- one hot, one cold -- and pass them back and forth, alternating sips), I happened upon a wonderfully trippy concept. I call it Doctor Battlestargatekawood. See, those are the sci-fi shows I'm somewhat actively watching these days, and the idea (oh the trippiness!) would be to take them all and (I'm not sure how one could actually accomplish this...) put them on *shuffle*. Oh yes. And I'm not talking about entire episodes -- I'm talking about watching one scene from Stargate followed by one scene from Battlestar Galactica followed by one scene from Eureka... and so on... and so on...

Of course, ideally, you'd have more than just Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactic, Stargate, Eureka, and Torchwood in the mix -- for starters, you'd need all the Star Treks, Babylon 5 (which I still need to see), and Farscape. I'd be really curious to see how long such a video concoction could actually hold my interest.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

There is a penguin that makes my tea.