Worry When I Grow Up:
Curse of the Day:
When I Grow Up:
Curse of the Day:
Curse of the Day:
|Sunday October 20, 2002|
of the Day
"The slight browning of the flesh gave it an immeasurably better flavor -- softer than beef but with much the same taste." -- Culinary report on human flesh by one of the surviving rugby team players from that famous Andes plane crash.
The former archive directory page was around 15th by page loads, but was #1, with more than double any other page in total KB transfer, due to the massive size, so by breaking it up into 10 sub pages (Jan-Oct) it should cut that a lot. I'm on track for a bit over a gig this month, in total data transfer. I get up to 5gig a month on this account, so I can basically quad or quintuple traffic before I have to upgrade to a higher allowed bandwidth. Or maybe just get a second account and put the images on it. I sort of expect that at some point Fark or some slashdot or some other uber busy news site will plug something here and I'll do about 4 gig in a day, but it's not happened yet.
In addition to the excessive kb transfer and slow loading, I just found the huge archive page tacky. I don't like one huge mega long page for anything. I considered doing the Band Names with every band on their own page, rather than all by initial letter, but thought that would be way too much clicking to navigate. I might break up some of the bigger letters; S will be like 130k once I do all of the coming soon bands, and that's pretty long for one page.
I also articled a few more blogs, and added an Articles main page. The big main navigation bar on the left is getting a bit long, IMHO, and I should have about 25 or more articles once I get all the decent ones extracted, and probably a dozen reviews. I'll probably just list the last 5 or 6 of each on the main menu, and have a main page for each with the full listings. Same with short stories, once I add more.
I need an intern to handle that sort of busy work, as well as foot rubs, snack-preparation, and oral therapy. You should be 18-26, weigh less than most people, and look delicious in a French Maid outfit. Apply here.
The new batch is old enough for some ratfruit'ing. They don't climb much; they are small and sort of timid for their age, at least compared to the last bunch. You can see the awesome coloration variety here; there are brown and beige! They are 3 weeks old now, and eating quite a bit, but still mostly sitting around in the bed waiting for mama. Not real explorative in the cage, and hardly at all on the tree, which is out in the open with weird smells and light and dirt stuff underfoot. I'd huddle in a pile with my siblings and hope the hawk/fox/cat picked off someone else too, so I can hardly blame them.
So what if you live in the Washington DC area and own a white van for your business? Or even worse, you're a painter or glass cleaner, and own one with ladders on the roof? This has to be a bad time for you. Unless you define fun as being stopped on the side of the freeway at gun point.
And yes, someone got shot mysteriously at a restaurant Saturday night, through the guts, and he may or may not live. No telling yet if it's the same sniper. Road blocks went up everywhere, no word of any arrests, which means probably nothing, or it would be big big news.
Video for the new Nirvana song is available online. It's edited in a blender, like they had some sort of legal requirement to change the image on the screen every .2 seconds. I can't imagine the first 30 seconds not setting off an epileptic. The footage does occasionally sort of match up with the song, showing a picture of Kurt screaming when he does so in the song, showing the drummer when a drum hit is in the song, etc. This might pass for a real video, rather than one put together from clips of a dead man, if you didn't know better, but it would still be pretty lame for the frantic and pointless editing.
Romania trying to pull a France/Quebec, and ban simple English terms, forcing them to always be translated into Romanian. The law appeals to older people, defined as those over 45 in the article. It's absurdly-unworkable and would require thousands of signs be changed and simple words like "hotdog" would become nine-word Romanian tongue-twisters, as well as hurting their already-stunted and backwards economy. However since it appeals to nationalism, there's no telling if they'll actually do it or not.
In other silly foreign laws, a popular singer and actress in Turkey is being tried for desecrating the Islam flag after she kicked some red balloons out of her way while walking to meet guests on her TV show. The balloons had a depiction of the Turkish flag on them.
The woman of course had nothing to do with decorating the set for the TV show, and probably didn't even notice what decoration were on the balloons. And even if she'd made them herself and kicked them on purpose, get over yourself. It's a picture on the flag. Sweet baby Mohammed isn't going to sob his little eyes out.
Article about "synesthesia", some sort of odd combination of taste and color perception and sounds that a very small percentage of humans possess. I've never heard of it before, but it's damn interesting.
site reader mailed today
to ask about the Fantasy Review page. More specifically, since I
criticize famous and well-respected authors like Tolkien and LeGuin on
it, he wanted to know what fantasy author I think is truly
I found it an
interesting question, and as my email reply got quite long, so I
thought I'd paste most of it in here, for lack of anything better to
faff on about today.
First thing was to reread my fantasy review page, since I hadn't looked at it in a while. I was surprised how short the page was; I wrote more about fricking Mφtley Crόe for a quick joke than I do about fantasy novelists that I've read half a dozen books by. I should flesh that page out at some point. Anyway, it does cover the basics well enough, and I didn't read anything there I was desperate to change at this point.
On one level his question (Which fantasy authors I think are great.) is sort of silly; I mean if there were any, wouldn't they be listed on that page? But I enjoyed answering it anyway, mostly elaborating on things on that page.
The quick answer is that no, I've never read a fantasy novel that I thought was excellent, nor do I think any fantasy novelists (that I've read) are great. However the best novel I've ever read is at least partially "fantasy", though it's classified more as horror.
How about Tolkien?
Tolkien is such a huge influence on fantasy that every author since him that's not doing a humorous style (Piers Anthony for instance) is more or less doing Tolkien in mood and theme. So most fantasy is very ponderous and somewhat depressing, with huge weighty events hanging over the heads of the characters, a small group in an epic and desperate struggle against enormous odds, etc. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'm just pointing it out.
I'd say that Tolkien is a much better writer than
LeGuin. Tolkien writes very well in the way he wants to write. It's not like he's trying to write in quick, lively language and have dynamic characters questioning their inner motivations. He's writing an epic in
LotR, with classic characters and gigantic events. Battles on a massive scale, noble good guys, wickedly-evil bad guys, etc. My criticisms of his writing are for what it's not, and what I think it could be. He wrote it just how he wanted to, and did a very good job of it. It's like someone who built a massive granite and marble cathedral. It's built and it's very solid and sturdy and beautiful. Now maybe if it had stained glass it would be better, and it could have some more artistic touches, carvings on the walls, smaller more practical rooms, etc. But that's just someone else's opinion; the actual builder did it just how he wanted to do it.
The main thing I think could be improved in LotR is the pacing. This sets the tone of the book, that things take a long time to happen and are very important, but Tolkien always reminds me of Lovecraft where you have to really read every sentence to get the meaning. It's very ponderously-worded and weighty, which is why so many people are unable to read the books; they can't take the time to get involved in the story, to get past the thicket of verbosity that's between them and the action. Especially people who don't read much and aren't used to having to pay attention and think while they do it.
Most readers don't want great writing. They aren't real picky; if there is good action and interesting characters and some drama/suspense, even if it's utterly-formulaic, they'll snap it up. If they've read a few other stories by a given author and liked them, they'll keep buying. There is ample evidence of this: Anne Rice and Dean Koontz are two examples off the top of my head. Relatively dreadful/formulaic writers who have huge followings due to writing the same thing over and over again, and most people slurping it up like warm Jell-O. It's certainly not just horror that has that problem; the new Tom Clancy novel "Red Rabbit" is said to be awful, I've seen three reviews that just wept at how ponderous and overlong it was. And it's a #1 bestseller entirely from the author's past fans. I think people base their book buying/reading more on topic and subject and author than any objective quality evaluation anyway. I know I do; I'm must more likely to pick up some unknown fantasy or horror novel that will probably be pulpy crap than I am to read a superbly-reviewed historical fiction novel.
Writing is hard.
Especially a novel. I'd say that maybe .1% of people alive can write a coherent story. Fewer than that can write a novel and keep it readable, and
maybe .000001% can write a novel that's really great. I mean how many people out there are writing, or aspiring authors, and how many are actually
published? (Not that publication has much to do with writing quality, as
any check of the best seller list will show you.) It's not like making a movie where you need a huge crew and lots of money as an entry requirement; anyone can write a novel and try to get it published. Every English major in the last 50 years has probably tried. Hardly anyone can succeed, so obviously it's very hard to pull off.
The closest to a perfect novel that I've ever read is probably Clive Barker's
Imajica. It's technically horror, I guess, but it's as much fantasy as horror, so maybe that qualifies. The story is incredibly long and complicated with dozens of fascinating characters, most of whom change greatly over the course of the story. There are also amazing plot events, challenges, totally unexpected events, including the entire ending, side quests and plots, etc.
And this is just my opinion; many people don't like the novel or find it
boring. There's no accounting for taste.
As I said above, it's extremely difficult to get the tone, events, characters, plot-advancement, and crystal writing all at once. Just relating the events that advance the story is the easiest thing; wording every line perfectly to accomplish that task is very tedious and difficult, and would go unnoticed by most readers anyway. That's more the sort of thing that other writers notice; most people just plow through the fair or good or great prose; devouring the plot and events. I'll notice a beautifully-designed scene in a movie, but it's not a real big priority of mine; I'll take a straight-forward scene as long as the events are interesting, while aspiring film-makers probably notice how well a scene was designed and edited as much or more than they do the plot of the actual movie.
And with that cheery, inspirational essay, I return to working on my D2esque fantasy novel thing.
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