I've been trying to drink more water at work which is sort of like trying to breathe more air only I get the more tangible sensation of walking down to the fountain and then walking back again to go the bathroom.
Next week I think I'm go to try to eat more biscotti because of the more tangible sensation of eating biscotti. That will be a nice break from the lukewarm nothing I've been consuming all afternoon.
I guess this is just a long winded way of saying that another draft preview is up at Carlin's blog.
More draft stuff at Carlin's blog. Thank god I'm getting paid for this. Otherwise it would seem like I'm wasting a lot of time to focus on something that is no more important than choosing teams in a playground basketball game.
In other news, I have completely neglected to read The Human Stain for my office's book club. Instead of watching the movie and pretending that I've read the book, I've decide to just watch a different Anthony Hopkins movie and respond to that.
Co-worker: I found it a really moving read.
Me: Can you believe the bear ate that guy?
Co-worker: What bear?
Me: So, is it just me or has Alec Baldwin aged 30 years since '98 while Anthony Hopkins has somehow gotten younger? Am I right? Ladies?
Me: Man that bear was big. I loved when it was all 'rarrrar'!
And it's true because I did love that part.
The NFL Draft is coming up this weekend, and I'm writing a preview for Carlin's football blog The Realness Hurts.
The first piece is right here. I'll be posting more pieces as the week goes on so be sure to check them out if you're A) Bored or B) Bill Parcells.
*Our work vending machine has added Burger King brand Ketchup and Fries potato chips. Or at least they have if you believe the definition of 'added' to be "caused incidental vomiting during previously unremarkable Rolos purchase with..."
*It has been raining for two straight days here in Lincoln which will be a pleasant memory when it's 100 degrees tomorrow through October.
*I'm actually all for the addition of fast food branded snack treats. If someone comes out with an Amigos brand Crispos chip, my life is pretty much set.
*Speaking of fast food, apparently McDonald's now has sweet tea which led to this exchange after seeing the commercial during 30 Rock:
Adam: Those evil bastards!
Heather: Are we going to have to start going to McDonald's now?
Heather: I don't believe you.
Adam: Would a Filet-O-Fish change your mind?
*Heather is actually sick so we couldn't go to the reading last night but thoughts on The Pink Institution are coming up.
*In case it wasn't clear by this post, we've pretty much been in quarantine. You'd think I'd use that time to write my best man speech. Yeah, a person sure would think that.
William Butler Yeats
"The Second Coming"
B: Loose the blood-dimmed tide
A: Vex into nightmare by a rocking cradle
Y: Drown the ceremony of innocence
X: Reel shadows of indignant birds
Select: A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun
Start: The best lack conviction
So to keep up with the town where I lived for eight years during elementary school and middle school, I read the North Platte Bulletin, a paper started out of bitterness toward the town's "real" paper, the Telegraph. I don't know the entire story, but if I had to guess, it probably involved a dare made at the Applebees or some long simmering dissatisfaction over the paper's Nebraskaland Days coverage.
Thankfully, due to a combination of methamphetamines and railroad-induced insomnia, there's enough news to go around. Most of it is the worst kind of news, horrible stories about desperate people, but a good part of it is filled with harmless gossip and hand wringing that must go on in every rural countyseat during this latest apocalypse.
This story falls somewhere in between.
Broken Hearted Arsonist Gets Probation
The headline shows a nice appreciation for the absurd and grotesque, but the real peach of the article is in this line:
Blaine Gillett, Zimmerman’s attorney, said his client now lives in Grand Island and testing revealed that something like this would not happen again.
Science can really test for anything these days.* (**)
*Yes, this blog has now devolved into basically being Leno-monologue quality humor. Still, I at least take comfort in the fact that I can always get a job writing those "From the ____ department" filler pieces in the New Yorker once everyone I love leaves me.
**Other possible joke responses:
1) The test did reveal Zimmerman's next crime. Hardees has already been notified.
2) Gillett went on to express deep dissatisfaction the Philip K. Dick-esque dystopia that crushes our will and renders his legal services useless.
3) It won't happen again because the test was for cancer.
I'll be going to this and will probably write up some thoughts about her great book The Pink Institution sometime between now and then. Or maybe after. I really don't want to make a promise I can't keep.
Royals thoughts after an arbitrary number of games.
Team MVP: Brian Bannister
Team LVP: Jose Guillen
New Powder Blue Uniforms: Welcome
New Video Board: Absurd/Awesome
New Manager's Ratio of Chin to Chin Hair: 1:1
Distressing Early Season Performer: Gil Meche
Tony Pena Jr's OPS: .99 (this, it should be noted, is almost impossible)
I've got to be honest, I'd be a little upset if every one's favorite book was Atlas Shrugged but I can deal with the Bible. It's not that it's a good answer--it's probably the opposite--but it's just not surprising that a majority of people would come up with this answer when asked apropos of nothing by a stranger on the telephone.
I guess a poll like this is taken and published in order to create a certain amount of outrage over the country's shamefully lousy reading habits and narrow worldview, but I can't get worked up over people falling back on the easy answer to a question like this. Anyone who has ever asked a classroom of students for their favorite book or movie knows the blank stares and posturing answers that get thrown out. About half will say the most recent thing they experienced ("...my favorite movie is Superhero Movie"), a quarter will answer something that someone else answers only without conviction ("...um, I also liked Superhero Movie okay"), and the rest will answer with varying degrees of honesty with one or two having actually spent a great portion of their lives thinking about the answer to this question ("Star Wars.")
Picking a favorite anything is hard, and most people are far better than the rash, sentimental answers they are forced to give. That there is no consensus choice for number two is a good thing. It's seems preferable to have a country without consensus on the issue than a country where everyone universally loves The Lime Twig. Well, maybe.
Sometimes Netflix just nails a recommendation. For instance, I went to the site today and was greeted with this:
If that's not enough, here's Netflix's own description:
Adapted from Louis L'Amour's novel, this made-for-television Western centers on tough-as-nails cowboy Conagher (Sam Elliott). Hired as a cattle guard, sharpshooting Conagher goes after his fellow ranch hands when he learns they're in cahoots with a gang of cattle rustlers. Even a bullet in the back won't stop Conagher, who manages to find time to make eyes at a fetching Wild West widow (Katharine Ross). Barry Corbin also stars.
Except for the liberal use of the word "stars" in reference to Barry Corbin, that sounds like pretty much the greatest movie ever made.
Cattle Rustlers: Check
Makin' Eyes: Check
Would it be too much to ask for a scene where a bad guy shakes his fist at the heavens and screams, "Conagher!"
I bet it's not too much to ask at all.
After a two month odyssey, there is another new Gil Thorp artist. I have a few thoughts on this:
*It's troubling that the new Gil Thorp is so clearly a hard drinking sex offender. He's Gil Thorp not Mickey Rourke for god's sake.
*I like how his properly manicured hand holds that bottle. Based on his nails, I'm betting it's a Zima.
*His hair still has that great isosceles sheen.
*This might just be crazy enough to work (which is undoubtedly something this new, edgier Thorp will say right before he draws a play on a whiteboard which ends with him hitting a referee with a chair).
Dusty has Finished! My Untimely Death and I enjoyed his response very much. Plus, he has a piece from it posted. I think Dusty and I might be the only two people who like that piece which is sad because one of us isn't even a real person.
I'm excited. Should be a great reading.
Last night we saw Man's Last Great Invention play at Duffy's. Very good stuff. They once did a live soundtrack to Predator which was also superbly executed.
I don't imagine the WHL reading will be in service of any 80s action movies, but I'm not ready to rule it out.
On Editing a Novel #5
CREATING AN ANTAGONIST. Okay, first, you should probably just choose a Nazi. If you do choose a Nazi, skip ahead to #41 CHOOSING THE ANCIENT ARTIFACT YOUR NAZI ANTAGONIST BELIEVES WILL UNLOCK THE ULTIMATE POWER.
However, if you are writing a science fiction novel set in a Nazi-less alternaworld or a historical novel set in a pre-Nazi past (and you are unable to use a comparable fascist lizard alien or Victorian proto-Nazi, respectively) you'll have to try harder. Without an immediately identifiable bad guy, your readers will immediately choose one based on the distance of a character's birthdate from their own.
Once the decision has been made, it can't be undone, so make it easy on your readers by doing any or, preferably, all of the following:
1. Have the antagonist's name rhyme with Bad Foe (for example, Chad Lowe).
2. Have the antagonist intermittently and loudly express hatred of baby giraffes.
3. Have the antagonist tip less than 10%.
4. Have the antagonist have an antagonistic pet.
5. Have the antagonist express Nazi sympathies, even in the hypothetical ("Even though I'm an Arthurian knight, I can imagine a future where Germans or fascist lizard aliens share my genocidal and authoritarian political philosophies. I'd be as for that as I am against baby giraffes.")
It should be noted that you may already have an antagonist and just not know it. Read through your novel and note if any of your characters have scars, canes, capes, antagonistic pets, unusual heights and/or weights, glass eyes, henchmen best friends, or an abnormal fondness for precious gold. If one does, that's your antagonist. If you thought that character was your protagonist, you were wrong.
I hate April Fool's Day. I don't know who's responsible for it--probably the Australians--but a responsible democratic populace needs to have faith in the newspapers, television stations, and video game news websites it relies on for information.
Take these hoaxes from North Platte, Nebraska's local paper:
Kids learn too at hazardous waste collection day
-Ha! Everyone knows Hazardous Waste Collection day is in May. Nice try.
Totally nude bar scheduled to open Friday
-Ha! The 'totally' nude bar has been open for years. They must be referring to the new 'utterly' nude bar that is opening in the old Blimpie.
68 people arrested at Dawson County party
-Ha! They meant to say Sherman County.
NP man remains in grave condition after bar fight
-Wait, where was it at? Kelsey's Place? Actually, this one sounds about right. Never mind.
If I were to do April Fool's Day pranks, they'd probably be about Shelley Long. Maybe something about her coming back to television to do a Cheers spin-off. Maybe it would be called Cheer Up! Oh, but I can't joke about something I want so very deeply to be true.