SUBJECT: The box says “World’s Finest,” and I have no reason to doubt.
A general address to the faithful workers contained within this creative space for the specific purpose of parting from you your hard earnings:
Salutations and good morn! My daughter, an earnest capitalist in the truest sense of the word, has beseeched me to act as her agent in the selling and distribution of fine chocolate confections. Wherefore such actions? The chief aim being to raise funds to support her school, and if I may venture, to pay the monthly salaries of the buffeted pedagogues. I digress. If you would like such delectable candy, you may ask yourself, “How can I afford such wondrous treats? Surely, since the box proclaims the sundry sweets as the ‘WORLD’S FINEST CHOCOLATE,’ how can I afford it? It must require my own life’s savings!” Nay. Fear not, gentle plebeian, the chocolate of which you speak, requires only two bills. And not the one’s bearing Franklin’s sour visage, but that of our noble Washington. Two dollars for a box of chocolate, upon my life, I speak the truth. Come visit me at my work station, and I will gladly officiate the transaction.
In the interim, thank you and glad tidings for your generosity.
Wordsmith and protector of strategic methodologies for the purpose of enhancing our client’s bounty
Post script: This is what befalls, hence you listen to the Moby Dick audiobook on the highway to work.
Some thoughts on the release (finally) of the Fantastic Four teaser trailer:
- I’m digging the Philip Glass score.
- Not digging the obligatory light shooting in sky to open a portal.
- The official website describes it as a “contemporary reimagining.” I’m conflicted. I don’t want this movie to tread the same ground as the other movies (3, including Roger Corman’s). But would I prefer to see what Marvel Studios would do with the FF in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Yeah.
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From WIRED: “After watching this clip we wanted to file this under ‘Greatest Movie Ever Made’ even though it’s probably a little too soon to make that call. That said, we’ve got a feeling, deep in our bones, that this movie will be spectacular. George Miller looks like he’s out for bloody vengeance, seeking to rain down hate on anyone who’s dared make an ‘action’ movie since he left the post-apocalypse behind.”
A few months ago, a student from the University of Rochester in New York contacted me. She was taking an English class on adaptations. Part of her research paper included the adaptation of Antigone that I created along with Tom Kurzanski. (The comic is available online in its entirety. Go to my published work page and scroll down. It’s there, all 32 pages.)
From her email:
I love your adaptation; I especially love seeing Antigone‘s power shown so blatantly. In looking at your other works, it seems that female characters take a large role. In your Antigone, female power seems to be a very central part of how you tell the story. I was just wondering if you had any thoughts about this. Was portraying feminism in Antigone your intention? Was this theme of power used in order to strengthen the plot in any way, or was it more of a message in itself?
Obviously, debating the definition of what makes something “feminist” is almost as old as the movement itself. I consider myself a feminist, and I try to incorporate ideas about gender and power into my work. I see Antigone as a powerful character — in part — as a function of Greek dualism. The obvious counter example would be her sister Ismene. However, I see Creon as the true weak one. His desperation to hold onto his political power has weakened him. He pretends to not care about the will of the people, but it’s clear that he does care. He’s a bully who hides behind his authority, whereas Antigone‘s power comes from her own conviction of right and wrong and the will of the gods. I see Antigone as a character who, through no fault of her own, is constantly challenging people on their own convictions. That’s why I had Antigone kiss her sister in the opening scene. It was her way of forcing the issue of their incest origins. It was a power play, and a rather cruel one.
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Yesterday, I had dinner by myself at Oddfellows. I wanted to get a quick bite before going to a book signing. (Rough life, huh?) Oddfellows is perhaps my favorite place in Dallas to eat. The place isn’t too crowded–except for brunch. It’s a cool restaurant in a great neighborhood, relaxed environment, lots of natural light, and good food. Now you have my two-sentence Yelp review.
I was sitting there, reading a book (because that’s how I roll). And this server walked up to me. He was probably in his early twenties. He had red hair and a camp counselor smile. He looked like the kind of attractive guy who no one could imagine having sex with, because it’d feel like you were befouling a muppet. The guy cheerfully approached.
“Hey there, big fella, can I get you something to drink?”
Cue the record scratch. Big fella? Big. Fella. What grown-ass adult calls another grown-ass adult “big fella,” who? Big fella is what you call a tubby kid when he’s at Disneyland. (“Hi, big fella, are you excited to meet Mickey Mouse?”) Do not ever call me “big fella.”
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I’ve always considered myself a feminist.
As someone who makes up stuff out of thin air, I’m concerned with how I portray women in my stories — to do so in a way that is honest and fair and responsible, to create stories that offer compelling characters, both male and female. I want good stories, and I believe this is EASIER to accomplish when you approach narratives as an intelligent, compassionate human being.
However, having been raised on a steady diet of male-oriented genre fiction, a writer can fall into one of the many tired, sexist tropes that besiege modern storytelling: damsel in distress, stay in the kitchen, double standards, slut shaming, and many more. These tropes exist because of lazy one-dimensional writing. Writers use the female characters to merely support the male characters.
Out of curiousity, I wanted to see how I fared against the Bechdel Test. What is the Bechdel Test, you say? To quote Ashe Cantrell at FilmSchoolRejects.com:
“The Bechdel Test, if you’re not familiar with it, is a benchmark for movies developed by Alison Bechdel in 1985. For a movie to pass The Bechdel Test, it must contain just one thing – a scene in which two or more named female characters have a conversation (that is, back and forth dialogue) about anything at all besides men. Anything, even if it’s something stereotypically feminine, like shopping or shoes. It could be about dog poo. It doesn’t matter.”
After a quick read through my comics, here’s how I stand.
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I really enjoy (and highly recommend) the Tactics Time newsletter by Tim Brennan. A few times each week, he sends an email with a tactical conundrum from a real game, something that you might actually see over the board–not just tactical compositions. He also includes a little bit of interesting commentary on the game itself.
Each newsletter features an inspirational quote. I wanted to share a few of my favorites.
“In chess, attention is more important than concentration.” – Frank J. Marshall
“When you strike at a king, you must kill him” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“All great achievements require time.” ― Maya Angelou
“Tactics are it. People under 2000 shouldn’t study anything else. You need to work on the ability to count and calculate.” – Mig Greengard
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge
“The weaker the player the more terrible the Knight is to him, but as a player increases in strength the value of the Bishop becomes more evident to him, and of course there is, or should be, a corresponding decrease in his estimation of the value of the Knight as compared to the bishop.” – Jose Capablanca
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April has a list she does every year near her birthday. While I commend her for wanting to do “33 Things” before she turns 32, I’m turning 38 next year — and “39 things” is a lot of things, even if it’s just piddling things. I’ll be old, one day, if I’m lucky. And I don’t want to think of 99 things when I turn 98. Sorry. I’m sticking with 10. It’s a good number.
1. Print and distribute my short story collection.
2. Memorize a poem that I like.
3. Memorize some more Mark Twain quotes. (Everybody likes Twain quotes, right?)
4. Less Facebook. More books.
5. Shine shoes like a pro. Pop that rag!
6. Get my USCF rating to above 1400.
7. Finish “Improve Your Chess Tactics” by
8. Every week, work on my novel.
9. Get our garden going.
10. Meditate more.
Back in the old days, you’d invite a friend over and they could peruse your CD shelf, quietly nodding to your choices. I guess people still have CD (and record) collections, but almost everything I have is now stored within the near-infinite, intangible bytes of my iPod. If I could pull my favorites and put them on the shelf, here they are.
I made one of these lists for Facebook a few years ago. And I think another such list is hiding in the vast archives of this blog.
My mood changes, so do my preferences, but some albums stay at number 1. Hello again, Doolittle, my old friend.
Feel free to post your own list or debate my impeccable musical tastes in the comments section.
All links go to Spotify–unless I couldn’t find the album.
20. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case
Favorite song: “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood”
For me, this is Neko Case at her best — wistful, haunting, melodic.
19. From A Basement On The Hill by Elliott Smith
Favorite song: “King’s Crossing”
This album hit me hard. Like all great works, it holds together by a string, but it still holds.
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