Monthly Archives: April 2006

Where I’ll be this weekend

ShowMeCon4

Author Guest of Honor: Peter David

Media Guest of Honor: Noel Neill (Lois Lane from the 1950s)

The easiest way to find me is to go to the hospitality room, and if I’m not there, wait.  Not that I go to a convention for the free food and drink…but because I am on the staff, and my responsibility is the hospitality room…so while I will have relief on occasion so I can attend a few panels, and get Peter David to sign my stack of books…ultimately I will return.

I’m a formalist

There’s a term for anything, and one term that applies to me is Formalist.

 A formalist, as applied to writing, is someone who feels poetic and/or narrative forms are not restrictive in a bad sense.  We feel that placing a form’s restrictions on our writing actually helps the creative process. 

One proponent of Formalism is comicbook artist Matt Madden.  He’s written a book entitled, 99 Ways to Tell A Story. He takes a very simple story, and tells it in comic-format, 99 different ways.

Some of these ways can be seen on his site: Exercises in Style.

Interestingly, and perhaps coincidentally, one of the best fiction writing textbooks I ever received in a writing workshop was entitled, Revising Fiction.  It was written by David Madden.  I have no idea if they are related.

I’m a formalist

There’s a term for anything, and one term that applies to me is Formalist.

 A formalist, as applied to writing, is someone who feels poetic and/or narrative forms are not restrictive in a bad sense.  We feel that placing a form’s restrictions on our writing actually helps the creative process. 

One proponent of Formalism is comicbook artist Matt Madden.  He’s written a book entitled, 99 Ways to Tell A Story. He takes a very simple story, and tells it in comic-format, 99 different ways.

Some of these ways can be seen on his site: Exercises in Style.

Interestingly, and perhaps coincidentally, one of the best fiction writing textbooks I ever received in a writing workshop was entitled, Revising Fiction.  It was written by David Madden.  I have no idea if they are related.

What I like About Jew

With a group name like that, you can pretty much guess what their music is about.

I heard them sing a song just now on NPR from their new album, Unorthodox.

They Tried to Kill Us (We Survived.  Let’s Eat)

A perfect Passover song.  (Passover begins tomorrow night.)

First verse, and chorus (follow the link for the rest):

We were slaves to pharaoh in Egypt
The year was 1492
Hitler had just invaded Poland
Madonna had just become a Jew
Moses was found on the Potomac
Then he marched with Martin Luther King
He came back to free us from our bondage
‘Cause S&M has never been our thing

They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat
They tried to kill us, we were faster on our feet
So they chase us to the border
There’s a parting of the water
Tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat

Who am I?

A Whole Can of Plot led me to another one of those quizzes. This one identifies what type of gamer one is. I scored a perfect tie between story teller and method actor. There was a tie-breaker question, which put Method Actor minutely on top.  This isn’t too much of a surprise.  When I write fiction, I actually become my characters, and watch how they interact.  Writing is acting.

  You scored as Method Actor. You think that gaming is a form of creative expression. You may view rules as, at best, a necessary evil, preferring sessions where the dice never come out of the bag. You enjoy situations that test or deepen your character’s personality traits.

Method Actor
 
75%
Storyteller
 
75%
Tactician
 
58%
Power Gamer
 
33%
Specialist
 
33%
Casual Gamer
 
17%
Butt-Kicker
 
17%

Law’s Game Style
created with QuizFarm.com

Lyrics are poetry too…

The Parade’s Still Passing By — Harry Chapin

Excerpt:

You weren’t no leader,
You were more like a bleeder
Who was trying to cry for us all
You weren’t no sage
But your sense of outrage
Sounded like a trumpet call
Fifteen years ago
In the old folky show
You were just one voice in the crowd
But now with so few singing
Your voice would have been ringing
Out ’bout twice as loud.

Phil Ochs, thirty years ago, on April 9, 1976, took his own life. I was only 7. However, a childhood friend was asked to play fiddle on a song on Billy Bragg’s album, Don’t Try This at Home. After listening to this album, from there, I found The Internationale which contained I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night. I decided I had to find out who he was. All that was over a decade ago.

Lyrics are poetry too…

The Parade’s Still Passing By — Harry Chapin

Excerpt:

You weren’t no leader,
You were more like a bleeder
Who was trying to cry for us all
You weren’t no sage
But your sense of outrage
Sounded like a trumpet call
Fifteen years ago
In the old folky show
You were just one voice in the crowd
But now with so few singing
Your voice would have been ringing
Out ’bout twice as loud.

Phil Ochs, thirty years ago, on April 9, 1976, took his own life. I was only 7. However, a childhood friend was asked to play fiddle on a song on Billy Bragg’s album, Don’t Try This at Home. After listening to this album, from there, I found The Internationale which contained I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night. I decided I had to find out who he was. All that was over a decade ago.

wheeeeeee

Well, I didn’t win the powerball last night, but no one did, so on Wednesday there’s a chance at over 220 mill.  (only 100 million if one takes the direct cash option.)

However, I just finished doing my taxes.  (Yeah, I have a week left, I don’t know why I did it so early.) And while I’m going to have to go back over the numbers and verify it, once the checks come in, I’m thinking of a Blackberry, Ipod, DVD-RW, and about 80 gb of additional storage space.  And with the money left over, I’ll buy a dozen books.  all items subject to change.
I purchased my home in Aug of 2004, so last year I only got a third of the benefits  of mortgage payments.  (And it was pretty much counterbalanced by the gains from a huge sale of stock I’ve had accumulating since age 13.)  This year…wheeeee!

If this will happen every year, I might start doing my taxes earlier.

In Vinum Veritas

Went vineyard-crawling with some friends on Saturday to a beautiful vineyard in Aviston, IL, just 45 miles from my home.  It’s the Hidden Lake Winery. Their dry wines are closer to semi-territory, which most in our group preferred, but I’d have liked to taste something drier.  I found their cabernet most to my liking on that end of the sheet.  They had a merlot, and a few syrahs, along with a chardonnay, too.  They had a great selection of sweet wines, some of which they labelled semi-sweet.  My preference was for their Adam’s Apple, though others in the group enjoyed the Double Decker Red.  (having grown up on Mogen David and Manischevitz wine, I tend not to like sweet red wines, whether they come from the Concord grape or not.)  I also enjoyed their Muscat dessert wine, and I brought home a bottle of that, along with an Adam’s Apple.

The question arose in conversation what made a wine kosher or not.  Unlike the rules for any other food or beverage, the Orthodox require that kosher wine be produced by a completely Jewish staff.  This isn’t a Biblical commandment, but a Talmudic era judgment to prevent one from drinking wine made for pagan rituals.  It was the only way the Rabbis knew to make sure one wasn’t drinking wine thus tainted.

I’m not Orthodox, and I don’t question the religious background of those producing the wine.  (I have drunk mead, though, produced by some friends of friends in the pagan community….)

There is an additional concern for non-kosher wine.  The wine making process often uses a clarifying agent. “Different proteins serve as clarifying agents depending upon both the type of wine and the desired flavor…Some clarifiers are animal-based products, while others are earth-based. Common animal-based agents include egg whites, milk, casein, gelatin, and isinglass. Gelatin is an animal protein derived from the skin and connective tissue of pigs and cows. Isinglass is prepared from the bladder of the sturgeon fish.”  (Neither sturgeon fish, nor pigs, are kosher.  If either were used as a clarifying agent, it would make the wine non-kosher from a Biblical, and not just a Talmudic perspective.)  Personally, I avoid pig products, and if I knew a wine was made with pig gelatin as a clarifying agent, I would probably not drink it.  But I currently follow a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ philosophy.