THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE LANCE, THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR STUDENT NEWSPAPER:
NEWS, REVIEWS AND COMMENTARY, COURTESY OF THE PAPER TRAIL

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Doing it to you in your eyeholes

Or: Stuff about books.

I appreciate the irony on the fact that before he returned, I used to prattle on about Chris Jericho constantly, and now that he's back I haven't mentioned him once. Mostly because his return promo was kind of lacklustre [couldn't live up to its own hype, honestly] but this past week's RAW gave me a good feeling. The 'me want title match' promo had me rolling, and that Codebreaker/reverse backstabber finisher is pretty dope. I'd like to see them establish it as another finisher that can come out of nowhere, similar to Orton's RKO, turning their match into a 'who pulls the trigger first?' sort of thing.

Adding to my appreciation of the man and his career is the reader's copy of his autobiography my boss was kind enough to pass along. Truth be told, I don't think she's much of a wrestling fan and was glad to be rid of it. It's been awhile since I've read a wrestler's book, though I've read a lot. So many I often wonder if there's anything new they can tell me. I'm happy to say Jericho's doesn't disappoint in that regard. Y2J is one of the last guys who really had to travel the globe plying his trade, which makes for a more compelling read than some guy who played football, wrestled in one developmental group before going straight to the WWE. From tips on crafting promos [never bury your opponent] to stories on wrestling in Germany [which has a long if seldom discussed tradition of pro wrestling, or 'catch'], Jericho charms the reader from the first to last page, even if the writing might be a little casual for some.

What's cool about the age we live in is that with YouTube, most of these classic matches are available for immediate viewing. So if I read the chapter on Jericho's match with Ultimo Dragon at the WAR 3rd Anniversary show, I can watch it afterwards on demand. Pretty cool.

--Also pretty cool was Michael Eric Dyson's 'Know What I Mean?', a collection of lecture transcripts given on various subjects related to hip-hop. From commercialism to misogyny, to homophobia, to what it means to keep it really real, Dr. Dyson drops science like only he can, working Nelly and Michel Foucault into the same sentence, which is sometimes hard for a simpleton like me to keep up with, but it's always worth the effort.

--Finally, the current issue of Rolling Stone [the one with Jay-Z on the cover] has what I believe to be the first complete expose of the mythology of celebrated author JT LeRoy, with the full participation of the woman who created him, Laura Albert. Coles' Notes: earlier this decade a writer emerged on the scene, a 16-year-old, HIV positive, transgendered former prostitute turned literary wunderkind named Jeremiah 'Terminator' LeRoy. His books 'Sarah' and 'The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things' became beloved in certain hipster circles. Adding to the mystique was LeRoy's reclusive nature. The few times he did appear in public, he was spoken for by a pushy manager named Speedie. By 2006 it was revealed that LeRoy was the creation of writer Laura Albert, who also acted as Speedie during public appearances. The whole thing has been hailed and hated as one of the greatest literary hoaxes in recent memory. Hilarity and lawsuits ensued.

The Rolling Stone lets us know that it may not quite be a hoax, because Albert appears to be batshit crazy. As far as she's concerned, LeRoy is a real person who inhabits her body and speaks whenever he wants to, which seems to be less and less these days. It's a long and fascinating read, and worth picking up the issue or at least loitering at Chapters.

For the record: I read both of LeRoy's major works and thought 'Heart is Deceitful...' was good, if not a pleasure to read, I thought 'Sarah' was utter garbage. Backwoods hillbilly mysticism isn't really my bag, daddies.

So that's what I've been reading this week. You?

Quick Hit

Honest to God. What is the Windsor Star's agenda in the downtown engineering campus debate? Every time I scratch my nuts there's a new story on this thing. Today's uncredited brief comes in at a whopping 167 words. Thanks for that.

We'll build on this post as I see stuff that's interesting. Like this rant on OSX Leopard. Or Leoptard, as the author calls it. He be no happy, and he thinks the cult of Jobs can suck it.

Snoop Dogg may have made the greatest video ever. The thing looks like the New Dance Show on Channel 62 before it was a network. Come on, where are my people who remember the New Dance Show?!

It's time for the percolator, it's time for the percolator...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Grim Stench of Failure




















In 26 minutes it will be November 29. Two days after that it will be December 1, bringing the 2007 edition of National Novel Writing Month to an end. At a current word count of 21,224, I will not be making the deadline. Not to say it's impossible to make 15,000 words a day but well, I have a life.

I have a hard time determining how I feel about this. I wanted to make 50K, and if I had been a little more disciplined, I know I could have easily made it. But after a hot start, the plot ran out of steam for a minute and I lost my confidence, unsure I had enough story to make it to 50K in the first place. But I still need to finish the story, and Lady Trail has suggested if I need a deadline so bad to focus on Christmas to get the first draft finished, forget word counts, just get it done. She's supportive that way.

Still, Nano's taught me a couple valuable lessons on how I approach writing.

1. If you don't care about quality, 30 days is more than enough time. If you do care, it's barely enough time, but you need to throw yourself at it completely. I appear to be the sort to sketch out a scene for pages upon pages before actually writing the thing. It's just what works for me.

2. I need to write it in longhand first. This is certainly part of what doomed me from a time management perspective. I despise going cold from my head straight onto a computer screen. When I don't consider it to matter [ie, my first attempt in '04, most of these blog posts, teheh], then there's no problem. But when I'm writing creatively, I need that organic friction of the pen on the paper. Typing up what I had already written in longhand ate away hours of valuable, focused writing time.

3. Writing for me is solitary. I went into this event thinking how cool it would be to have a support group of like minded people in it with me; that got stomped quick. I crashed one meeting this year at the Toronto reference library. I got there early, and decided to hang out until the scheduled time, to see if I could spot the motley crew of would-be novelists. They weren't hard to spot, we'll leave it at that. Then they all packed around a table in the lobby and begin chattering amongst themselves. When a new [female] attendee arrived the coordinator would shuffle over and give them an awkward, church youth group style embrace. Too much talking, not enough writing. While I appreciate if that works for them, it does not work for me. I don't want to talk, I don't want to socialize; I want to get down whatever the hell it is I want to get down. Since I won't like it anyway, I'm automatically in a foul mood as it is, and even less suitable for human interaction. So it really is better for everyone if I just sit in a corner by myself.

So that was my journey. To all my colleagues who were on it as well, I hope you had better luck than I did, and even if you didn't, I hope you continue on anyway. Talk to me in December, maybe I'll have something worth showing.

TSOTW: Now with 40% campus content!

I'm on my grind, cousin. Ain't got time for frontin'.

  • Top of the list today is yesterday's Board of Governors meeting, which seemed to make no mention of the engineering building and its potential location, instead focusing on its suddenly expanding deficit brought on by a leveling off of first year enrollment numbers. Said the always handsomely dressed Vice Provost Neil Gold, the university hasn't been able "to grow [enrollment] in the way we wished."

    Adding to the deficit is a decrease in second year students, which UWindsor admin is chalking up to expansions on Toronto university campuses, allowing them to accommodate more students, who may have in the past come to Windsor.

    In light of the deficit, look forward to frozen teaching budgets, suspension of some renovation projects, limiting scholarships and pissy columns from Gord Henderson musing why the university doesn't take the city's generous handout.

  • Oh, and it's Wednesday, which means the mothership gives you an interview with Bedouin Soundclash; a movement for more student activism for Darfur in the Sudan and a story on Hanson...wait, what the hell? Someone's pushing an agenda over there. Rivait, I'm looking in your direction.

  • And what is this about hateful language being flung at a faculty member in the Fac of Ed last Wednesday? Specifically "racist, anti-Semitic language and a threat," not to mention "abusive language and intimidating behaviour towards gay students in the Faculty of Law." The quotes are from an open letter signed by Ross, Neil and the Deans of the Faculties of Education and Law. Seems like these sorts of incidents are popping up with an alarming level of frequency. And to think, admin spent ten large to prove there was no racism on campus.

  • Elsewhere: Best defense for public indecency fails in court; apparently we still care about missing white girl; the Canadian chocolate cartel comes under scrutiny; drunk moose brings festive cheer to Alaska bar patons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It is so late

Peep that timestamp, kids. This is when I get home. I do it for you. But at this hour, all I'm willing to do is give you some stupid videos.

An important message on a plague that's ravaging our children.



An inspirational story that truly touched my heart, and took me back to the horrible scars of my youth.




And as a special bonus, the Webby awards celebrate the twelve most influential web videos of all time. Not gonna lie, I take issue with more than a couple. You tell me, Windsor.

To bed!

GordWatch: Take the Boy Out the Ghetto, But...

Gord! You missed your calling, my friend. If anyone ever figures out you're essentially a grumpy old fart ranting on the street corner between pages 1 and 3, you'll have a bright future in marketing and branding. 'The Ivy Ghetto.' It's got a nice ring to it, Windsor.

Anyhoo, Gord's watching the clock countdown on this mythical pipedream of an engineering school-cum-urban utopia for the downtown core, as the Board of Governors meets this afternoon to put a bullet behind this debate once and for all. Maybe. They may just defer a decision until after the holidays, you know how fickle they are over there.

Obviously, Gord is not happy, and he's going after the university in all the usual ways, and thumbing his nose at the, "whiny objections from some students about the discomfort of a five-minute shuttle and the horrors of being located near bars and strip clubs and away from gym facilities and other student services."

Gord thinks a refusal of the university to get on board and take the city's pleading offerings of land and money to bail them out will cost the school further credibility in the community, and "the ivory tower will have turned its back on an opportunity to lead a Windsor renaissance, leaving a vastly more agile St. Clair College administration to step into the breach."

A Windsor renaissance? Are you frigging high, Gord? If I may, at the risk of going all Atlas Shrugged on everybody [Wiki it], why is it the university's responsibility? I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice, I'll even drink the Kool-Aid that the engineering building could draw an influx of rainbows and pixies to Riverside and Ouellette, but why is the university responsible for digging the city out of its hole? Will an engineering building take the boards out of the windows downtown?

And newsflash, I know people, too. And Gord, they tell me the students at the Cleary Campus are loitering and bolting the first chance they get. I'll even quote for you: "having the campus downtown hasn't changed anything at all for the area. The only thing it has done is put more people in the downtown area, so the city can look full to incoming tourists/parents."

Forgive me if I think the city should court, I don't know, actual businesses and industries to downtown, instead of begging the university for an 11-acre space filler that looks great during classes and empties out after 7.00 p.m.

Third time's a charm, Gord. Your continued whining on this issue scores you a perfect five Gord heads out of five.







PS: Whither the UWSA on this issue? I perused recent meeting minutes ,if you consider October 'recent', and while I didn't read every line [there's only so much of the Ken and Andy show I can stomach], I found no mention or official position on this. What the deal, council?

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Crushing Weight of Bitter Disappointment




















It's true, she really does. Just ask her. Make your own here.

The internets be a cruel mistress, Windsor. I've been poking around for the last half hour, and short of discovering the existence of 2 girls, 1 cup [Google it. And no, I didn't watch it], it's been totally fruitless. I mean, I think it's cool that some underground art guerrillas fixed Paris's long broken landmark clock and no one noticed, but would you? And what am I left with? The Windsor Star explaining Guitar Hero to me. Well thanks for that.

So I'm going to forgive you tonight, internets. But you better step it up tomorrow.

Explaining Guitar Hero, are we in 2005 here? For God's sake...

TSOTW

Busy busy, it never ends, Windsor.

  • And once again, since it's Monday, nothing worth mentioning happened in Windsor. I mean, you hate driving there, but is that really any different from usual?
  • So what is Canada's role in the ongoing climate change debate? If you want the whole thing in a nutshell, it goes like this: the Kyoto Pact committed developed countries like Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain date. Many of these countries don't have a hope in hell of doing it, and some [ie, the US] flat out refused to sign the thing in the first place. Additionally, developing economies like China and India have refused to sign as well, because they see it as a matter of changing the rules once they get in the game.

    Now, Stephane Dion and the Liberals say Canada should take the lead, be a role model for other countries and get on board with new climate-change resolutions. Stephen Harper says 'Neh-eh,' insisting such resolutions are only effective if everyone signs on, and refusing to commit Canada to any resolution with language suggesting a 'binding commitment' at a meeting of 53 Commonwealth countries. Depending on who you ask, only Trinidad and/or Australia and New Zealand agreed with him. Harper denied his position had isolated Canada from the rest of the nations, insisting his defiant stance had ensured Canada's voice was heard. You make the call, kids.

  • Elsewhere: Awkward!: US protocol dictates that the President congratulate American Nobel Prize winners, meaning Bush has to congratulate Al Gore; older white women heading to Kenya in search of 'action'; Saudi woman who was jailed and lashed after for being gang raped, gets another 90 lashes after appeal, now admits she had an extramarital affair. I'm not a doctor, but you hit me with a stick enough times, I'd probably agree to some shit, too. The mind boggles.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thank You, Iceland: Heima, a Film by Sigur Ros















This weekend I got wind that an old friend [are we still friends? You'd have to ask her] is taking an eleven month sabbatical from her job to go travel and do missionary work, including Christmas in Israel. I know she has some deeply altruistic motivations for this undertaking, I also know that some people fetishize certain locations they think can provide deeper spiritual meaning in their own lives: the 'Thank-You, India' syndrome we've mentioned around here before.

Not to say I don't have my own fascinations, they just tend to run in a different direction: New Zealand, Finland, Greenland; these places that seem to have been forgotten about. They have entire histories that no one has ever paid any attention to, because everyone wants to go to South America or Southeast Asia. One place that's always stuck in my mind has been Iceland, not least notably due to the fact that two of my favourite musical acts both come from there. One of those acts made a love letter to their home country, and I was lucky enough to see it on the big screen on Friday, at the Royal Theatre on College here in Toronto.

After touring the world for years, Icelandic ethereal noise-rockers Sigur Ros decided to conclude their tour in their home country, crossing the country like few modern day acts do. Heima [at home] is a document of that tour, combining live footage of the band with more lush panoramic shots of the Icelandic countyrside than you can stand.

Heima is gorgeous film, no doubt, but the question of how much you will enjoy it can be linked to the question of how much you like Sigur Ros. Not to say it's pointless to watch the movie if you don't like the band [Lady Trail is not as dehard as my bandmates and I, but she still enjoyed it], but how bored you get with beauty. The band has been making achingly beautiful music for 10 years now. When does that get boring? Similarly, when the movie shows you shot after shot of an unspoilt countryside and black sand beaches, when does that get boring? Your mileage may vary.

But for myself, as someone who plays in a band, it was amazing to watch this act who creates these gigantic soundscapes playing in the common room at a local community hall, or in a school gym, or completely stripped down to nothing in the middle of a field, to protest the installation of a dam. The film's out on DVD now, and I would definitely recommend a rental. At 92 minutes, it won't take up much of your time, and really, there are worse ways you could spend it.

Enjoy your Sunday, Windsor.

Friday, November 23, 2007

This and That

One week to go, currently at 21,206. Your man is not optimistic, Windsor. It can still be done, but it'll be a hustle, and most of the weekend will be a write off as it is, with plans I can't mention at risk of ruining a surprise tonight, and then work tomorrow at 7.00 a.m. followed by a six hour band practice after. Whooo! But I'll gve you a report on tonight's event after I attend it.

I got some videos for you to cap off your week, some funny, some bizarre, but first I wanted to share my pick of the week, possibly the month. There's this married couple from Australia who for about a year now have been posting videos of themselves doing cover songs. All of them are good, some are all right, but some are like, transcendent. The following clip of them doing Michael Jackson's 'Rock With You' just makes me feel really good for so many reasons. They're both so talented, and the love they have for the music they play is so evident. And damn her smile can light up a room, eh?



If that doesn't make you smile, we're not friends anymore.

So Gord had a column yesterday, I'm not going to bother going into detail but I will point out the quote from auto expert Dennis DesRosiers on the sturm und drang of Windsor's economic future: "Why can't we unite behind some of these fundamental issues (like the engineering school)? Nobody wants to work together. Incompetence is all over the place. I won't go down the list. It's too long."

Parentheses, huh? Gooord? Did Dennis really mean the engineering school, or are you taking liberties. I'm not accusing anyone of anything, but it screams out that you stuck that reference in there yourself. Just saying.

And to start your weekend off right, if you haven't seen it yet, enjoy this message from the friendly environmentalists of The Green Team. Contains some NSFW language and a questionable implication of sexual assault.



Enjoy your weekend, kids!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Metaphorical Music

As I have to be up in five and a half hours for work, I just wanted to let you all know that our bandwidth issue regarding the audio player has been resolved [I think], and you will now find a new batch of tracks to irritate you when you come to the site.

Think of the selections as twofold. If you've been here at all over the past year you know the name Nujabes. The Japanese DJ/Producer/Record store owner has become a favourite around these parts ever since we discovered him on the Samurai Champloo soundtracks. It just so happens our man has a new album out, and in celebration of that fact, the playlist features samples from that album, as well as a couple hits from his previous efforts that I haven't included before.

As well, with winter fast approaching and snow becoming a stronger threat every day, my musical tastes become a little more mellow, a little seasonally depressive if you will. I imagine most of these tracks will come to remind me of my first winter and holiday season in the big city. Maybe they can mean something for you. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunny Days

Before I begin this entry in earnest, it would really help if you watched part or all of the following video of Stevie Wonder and his band absolutely demolishing 'Superstition' circa '76.



Now that you've done that, I can tell you that the performance was filmed for an episode of frigging Sesame Street. Hells yeah.

A few years ago I wrote an entry for another blog I had about staying up way too late watching American satellite and stumbling across a show called 'Bug Juice' [think 'The Real World' at summer camp] which was followed by something called 'Sesame Street Unpaved'. 'Unpaved' was nothing more than old reruns of Sesame Street from the late seventies. And they were awesome, because what most people forget is that in its early days, Sesame Street was rough! Like, concrete jungle kids playing on empty oil drums tough. Forget this whole 'Elmo's World' nonsense, Big Bird used to live in filth, and Oscar wasn't lovably grouchy, he was just an asshole. I mean, these new kids shows like Pancake Mountain and Yo Gabba Gabba, they get all this hype for being so edgy and fresh, when they're just rehashing things Jim Henson was doing 30 years ago.

So it's with no small amount of excitement that I discovered the existence of Sesame Street Old School. Over 800 minutes on two 3-disc sets of all your favourite skits from your youth. We're talking the pinball counter, the typewriter with wheels, Richard Pryor teaching the ABC's, Cookie Monster on the fast track to diabetes, the works.

And apparently, these episodes of Sesame Street are not for children. According to that NYTimes article, the early purpose of Sesame Street was to let its "target child" [read: black, according to a 1979 Times article], know that "[t]he harshness of existence was a given, and no one was proposing that numbers and letters would lead you “out” of your inner city to Elysian suburbs. Instead, “Sesame Street” suggested that learning might merely make our days more bearable, more interesting, funnier. It encouraged us, above all, to be nice to our neighbors and to cultivate the safer pleasures that take the edge off — taking baths, eating cookies, reading."

In conclusion, a weird an somewhat terrifying clip from volume 2 of the Old School collection, a charming ditty on riding the subway, complete with warnings to the children to watch for muggers. I remember as a child being very worried for Bert.



I mean, we saw this as kids and turned out fine, right?

The State of the World

Today's goal: 5,000 words at least. I need to make about 3,000 a day to do the damn thing. Your man is not optimistic, Windsor.
  • Wednesday = updates, and this week you can get news on PO'd custodians, UWindsor's recycling program, and Windsor hip hop artist TRP [The Trail always gives love for local acts].

  • Windsor <3's crack! A workshop last night with police, outreach workers and former addicts shed light on Windsor's increasing crack cocaine problem, with the murder of Windsor cop John Atkinson last year as a turning point. Atkinson had come upon a crack deal in progress when he was killed. Those in attendance called for more longterm treatment facilities in the city, as the drug is sometime too potent and the addiction too strong for a 12-step program.

  • In the last time I'll mention the Vancouver tasing incident, the RCMP has announced it will review its policy on taser usage. The four mounties responsible for the death of Robert Dziekanski have been assigned to other duties.

  • Elsewhere: the key to school safety?: guns, and lots of them; the struggle to get condoms into US prisons; soldier told by superiors to act like a drunken maniac during training exercise. Surpsisingly, he was only injured; Wal-Mart employee gets hit by a truck on the job, leaving her brain damaged and confined to a wheelchair, awarded $800K in a settlement from trucking company. Wal-Mart says, 'Yoink!'

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Teh Win vs. Teh Sux0rz

You've probably seen this already by now, but I'm still torn by it, Windsor. Is this an epic win, or utterly lame? You tell me.



ps: It's totally for real. That guy is actually running for US president.

The State of the World: On the Clock

The Lady suggests that in an effort to keep blog entries from consuming my life during this delicate noveling month [which they do more than you think, not that you'd be able to tell by reading them] I limit the time spent on them to at most an hour and a half. So that's what we're going to try here.
  • I had to stay up til 2.00 a.m. to finally see him, Windsor. And when it was all said and done I was a little underwhelmed. Granted, nothing could have ever lived up to the sheer volume of hype surrounding Jericho's return, and I made the mistake of watching his first debut on Youtube last week, so of course I'd feel underwhelmed. When he first appeared he interrupted a promo by The Rock, and it gets no bigger than that. Now he makes his much heralded return, and he interrupts Randy Orton. Wooooww. At least he's in the title picture right away.

    Still, things are shaping up well on both brands. Edge/Undertaker/Batista and the ongoing Matt Hardy/MVP angles on Smackdown, and Y2J/Orton with HBK/Kennedy and HHH/Umaga on Raw. Now who did Jeff Hardy piss off to have to work a program with Snitsky? He ain't over, he never will be, he sucks the life out of a crowd and a TV audience. Send him to ECW.

  • Faces on College has shut down. NOOOOO! Wednesday nights suck even harder now. But fear not, Windsor, the Pizza King's already up and running again, and the original owners are trying to get things happening again.

  • A new study shows illicit drug use among high school students is remaining steady with previous years, but painkiller abuse is waaaay up. Damn you Hugh Laurie for making Vicodin abuse seem cool.

  • Former US Attorney General [and chronic memory loss sufferer] Alberto Gonzales heckled at University of Florida appearance. No one tasered.

  • Elsewhere: go ahead, smack your kid in Sweden; You know when you're double fisting it ten minutes before last call [don't lie, Windsor, we've all been there, even The Trail]? You may want to be careful: turns out such behaviour can make your bladder asplode; the world's oldest camgirl [borderline NSFW pic]; and your morning dose of too much cute for you to handle.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quickness on a busy day

Quickies today, Windsor. I just walked in the door, only to have to head back to the store at nine o'clock tonight for the pre-xmas general meeting. You are correct, Jericho is finally making his return tonight, and I'll be gone. Should have known.
  • I know you think I'm being lazy whenever I tell you it's a slow news day, but I would like to share with you some headlines over at the Windsor Star: Biologists doubt eagles are snagging local pets; Parents want skate park; and my favourite, New lock deters heartless thieves. Do you really want me to summarize any of those, Windsor?

  • It's taser city over at the Globe as the BC government announces it will launch a public inquiry in the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. They also share with us the comforting tidbit that 79% of taser incidents are on on unarmed people. Super.

  • Elsewhere: Google is in fact trying to take over the world; when you're drunk and can't get to the McD's on College and Huron Church, don't drive to the nearest establishment, break in and cook it yourself. That's illegal; secret meeting with oil cartel officials broadcast by mistake; man wins $600K in Florida lottery and thinks he's smart enough to keep it from his wife. Bonus points for most unfortunate surname I've seen today.
Naptime!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Before we Cash Out

The unofficial rule lately has been that I take off early and only give you one post on Friday. As I inadvertently did that yesterday, tonight I will herald your weekend, with a look at what is sure to be the best animated film released this year, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis.




Methinks that's a sure winner, right there.

World Statin'

A day off means fully rested and free to novel the hell out of the afternoon, once I get those damn dishes that have been sitting in the sink for a week out of there. Don't call, don't write, don't visit. I am indisposed. So let's get this done.
  • A Glasgow man has paid $170K for the Led Zeppelin reunion show next month in London. As my high school's #1 Zeppelin fan, I can tell you right now, hear me now: the show will suck all kinds of monkey balls.

    I remember being exultant back in the 90's when Page and Plant started doing their little shows here and there, and you know what happened? They tweaked all the songs to accommodate Plant's weaker voice [the banshee wail was long gone by 73's Houses of the Holy, which is still my favourite Zeppelin album, FYI], and didn't play a single song like it was originally recorded. So you can drop your hundreds of thousands of dollars, boss. If you think you're hearing Stairway, you've lost it. At least you'll get John Paul Jones this time out, who hopefully can ground P&P's incessant noodling. Play 'em like the album, boys. No tricks.

  • National Geographic has an awesome article up on the weirdness that is human memory. Given the subject of my Nano project, I feel like this article was hand deliviered by God himself for me.

  • A followup to yesterday: The Globe analyzes the video of the tasing death of Robert Dziekanski.

  • Florida offers you the best online time wasters, about two years too late [Subservent chicken? Really? ]; Kentucky man robs an ice cream store with a stapler; Bank robber apprehended two days after heist, spotted wearing the same clothes he had on when he robbed the place, only now splattered with bank dye. Dumd-dumb di-day.
Hungry. Breakfast now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Stuffs

Honestly Windsor, either I'm completely off the mark this week or it is beyond slow out there?
  • Let's talk a spell about the citizen journalism moment we're all in the middle of, specifically as it relates to the Vancouver taser case. To recap: last month Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski waits 10 hours in Vancouver airport, begins to get agitated, starts tossing furniture around. The RCMP gets called in to calm him down and end up tasing him twice, ultimately killing him. And the whole thing gets caught on video.

    It's an interesting scenario, as in similar cases we as media consumers typically don't have raw footage to judge for ourselves. And looking at this one, the mind boggles, I have to admit. I'm not saying there aren't legitimate times to zap someone, but in this case, Dziekanski appears to calm down once the cops show up, but they tase him anyway. Some reports indicate Dziekanski picked up a stapler from a nearby table, which caused the RCMP's reaction, but I'm hard pressed to figure out what sort of threat that posed.

    You know I hate to side on people who automatically jump on the 'cops = bad' bandwagon, but I'm having a hrad time seeing how this was justified. Watch the vid, surreal in its eerie calm until the confrontation, and decide for yourself.

    Of course, I have to warn that the vid is, ultimately, a man being killed, regardless of how graphic it isn't. My first question was why the hell was the guy filming it all anyway?

  • Briefly: If you missed it, take a moment to read the retiree's editorial on litter that ran in this week's issue. I'm not saying he's not right, I actually agree with him. I don't agree with his attempts to appeal to the youth. Dude and Dudette? Really?; the details make no sense to me, but a 39-year-old surfer has published a respectable theory of the universe; and a Georgia substitute teacher gives a class of fourth graders the best day of school ever in life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Worldin and Statin

Told you there'd be news after dinner.

Due to Quality, a Reprise

While grabbing the video link for that Avalanches video for your perusal last night, I came to the pleasant surprise that they actually had another video for the title track of their album, and it is a win of such epic proportions I couldn't think of a reason not to share it with you. It crosses the line from the absurd to the touching more gracefully than any video I've ever seen, and most films. I just really wasn't expecting this. Enjoy.



The news comes after dinner.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Look Back, to Varying Degrees



















The Joe Ledbetter shelf of glory! Bow down.

About 4.50 tonight the Lady called home to say she was on her way. She had an event with the school improv team tonight so she wouldn't be home for long, and given her tendency to not eat all day, I threw some stuff in the oven to be ready for her estimated arrival at 5,30 like the good housewife I am.

It was about 5.20 when she called to say as she was coming home she was driving behind a car who plowed into someone. Now a witness in an accident, she had to hang out and make statements and to the police. Being from Essex County, when I heard that statement, I thought she meant she had seen one car rear end another. It wasn't until she got home did she inform me that no, she saw a car plow into a pedestrian so hard it knocked the guy out of his shoes and sent him flying ragdoll-style the length of a city bus. Always an adventure in this town.

For now: Homemade Katamari models; the best ad campaign for Buckley's cold remedies I don't recall ever seeing on television; if you're in the spirit, the best internet christmas music station has gone online for the year. Lorne Greene is currently reading T'was the Night Before Christmas as I type this. Oh, and the always vital Michael Eric Dyson has a new book filled with his writings on hip hop. Further review later this week.

And if I may for a moment: on my old personal blog, I occasionally ran a feature where I would grab a CD I bought 15 years ago because I liked one song or wanted to be a rock snob and gave it another listen [Tha Pharcyde still holds up, Cool Blue Halo, not so much]. I need to take a moment to briefly do that here.

I work with this kid who's a little...much for your old pal. His idea of a formal greeting is to shout expletives as he walks in the store, he wears a bandana around his neck at work, he has bad tattoos on his forearms that look like he applied them himself and he listens to Alien Ant Farm [do people still do that? Really?]. Anyway, normally I don't encounter this boy too often but we were both on the morning shift today and I stood all I could stands and could not stands no more, so I grabbed the iPod and cued up 'Since I Left You' by The Avalanches.

If you've forgotten, The Avalanches were a crew of Australian turntablists who rode the wave made by DJ Shadow when Endtroducing... dropped and put together their own album of fully sampled music. The folklore associated with the album says over 2,000 pieces of music, some only seconds long, were used in the making of the album, though I don't know how true that is.. If anything, you know them for their novelty hit 'Frontier Psychiatrist' [amazing video, btw]. Ever since I acquired the album, I considered it a bit of a letdown, never reaching the lunatic genius that that one single reached. Today, listening to the album top to bottom, I realized why I thought that: because I listen to my iPod primarily on shuffle, I never heard the album as a whole, which is what it was designed to be.

The entire album is constructed as one long soundtrack to whatever insane movie was playing in the creators' minds. Samples reappear throughout the album, even for a moment, creating a unified listening experience, a sonic universe that can't be chopped up by the short attention spans we've developed in the subsequent years following the album's release. A group of DJs practicing the art of the album? Who'd a thunk?

So yeah, that album definitely holds up. Now why the hell haven't they been heard from since?

Gord Watch: Daddy's Disappointed in You

A semiregular feature in which the author examines the latest offerings from 'provocative' Windsor Star columnist Gord Henderson.

Did I not tell you, Windsor? Not like one needs a crystal ball to predict Gord's behaviour when he's got a fly in his ointment, but I did say he wouldn't let that story on the engineering students' lack of support for a downtown engineering school stand without bitching.

Gord's not chafing because you disapprove of the idea, Windsor, he's salty because he doesn't think your reasons are good enough. Let's just call and response this one Trail Classic style, shall we?

For most, sadly, the objections were pedestrian in nature. They wouldn't be able to get to the St. Denis Centre for a workout between classes. They would lose student services like the library and the CAW student centre. They wouldn't be able to keep in touch with peers in other programs. Where would they eat and who would accept their meal plan? Where would they park downtown?

You selfish bastards. How dare you be more concerned with the ease with which you can pursue your studies than polishing up the downtown? Damn you to hell.

Gord doesn't understand why you bright, intelligent university students couldn't come up with solutions for all your inter-campus transport issues. The Trail doesn't understand why you should have to, it ain't your problem. Oh, and about that commute:

I timed it the other morning. From the middle of Sunset Avenue, east along University Avenue to the Art Gallery of Windsor parking lot, driving at the speed limit and hitting every red light along the way, it took me all of four minutes. Four freakin' minutes. And I could have done it in less time using Riverside Drive.

There are few things I enjoy more than the arrogance of carowners. Four minutes, you don't say? Shorter on Riverside Drive? I don't doubt it. Gord clearly doesn't ride Transit Windsor, or he would (1) see the number of students who have to wait typically ten minutes for the #2 or #1c, and (2) know that buses don't run down Riverside. But again, four minutes or forty-five freakin' minutes, why should students have endure either?

The answer is: they shouldn't. Unkie Gord mentioned that presentation last week by Waterloo's school of architecture director, who sung a lovely song about the bluebirds and plentiful dewberries that line the streets of Cambridge since the school was moved down there. Key point of information: Waterloo wanted to move their school there, they weren't peer pressured by a whiny mayor and whinier local media.

The city wants the engineering building downtown. The university does not. The students are babies and the mayor's demanding. Who's right? Who can say? I can honestly see both sides to a certain extent. But facts is facts, and no amount of wasted space pouting down the margin of page 3 is going to change it.

Oh, and as for that paragraph trying to, I don't know, guilt somebody into fearing for their future enough to start a campus movement for the downtown location, talking about the open minded Cambridge students who get to choose where they work after graduating and have employers vie for their services? You know who else gets to do that? Ah, pretty much every engineering graduate everywhere. But thanks.

Henderson's hissy fit and general grumpy old man-ness scores a near perfect four Gord heads out of five.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Trail's Movie Corner: Death Note

























Spent a lovely weekend off with the Lady this weekend, without anyone dropping by or calling us up. Not that we don't enjoy friends and family, but we were on a three-in-a-row stretch of visitors, so it was extremely nice to spend the time together.

How was that time spent, you ask? How about on a trip to the Pacific Mall in Markham! Hells yeah.

A traditional Chinese style market, the Pacific Mall has over 500 stores, none of which are bigger than your bedroom, where fake Coach purses and 7 for $20 bootleg DVDs are plentiful. It was possibly the most magical place I have been to since arriving here. That said, you should never purchase bootleg DVDs. It's illegal, and takes money out of the pockets of moviemakers. Now, in a completely unrelated matter, let's discuss the Japanese film currently unavailable in North America that I had the opportunity to see.

Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami, a law student who comes across a 'death note,' a black notebook left in the human world by a shinigami, or God of Death. If a person's name is written in the Death Note, they suffer a heart attack and die in 40 seconds. Light originally uses the book to eliminate criminals he deems deserving, but as the cops grow wise, with the aid of the genius sleuth known only as 'L', Light finds himself becoming more like the criminals he despises as he takes continually drastic measures to protect himself.

The film carries through this promising plot pretty well, as I was legitimately curious to see how far Light would take his goal to remake a crime free world, and gives the viewer more ethical dilemmas to think about than a typical popcorn PG-13 movie. But it's not without its flaws.

First and foremost is the CGI used for Ryuk, the Shinigami who gives Light his death note, while faithful to his depiction in the manga, is pretty obvious. Secondly, and this was more a personal taste, but I don't know anyone I've wanted to kick in the crotch more than 'L'. I know his mussy air, squatting on the furniture as he gazes sideways at his computer monitor, shoving an endless supply of sweets into his face is supposed to be charismatically mysterious. Maybe that works for Japanese middle school girls, but it didn't do shit for me.

But the most damning criticism is the fact that Death Note serves only as a set up to its own continuation. There's no definitive resolution after the film's two hours, no show down with Light and 'L', and a minor character appears out of nowhere to take on an extremely important role in the sequel. Will all this work out in the end? Will Death Note go down as a four hour epic of smart if meaningless entertainment? We'll find out next week when I get through the sequel. Seven for $20, yo!

Diet State of the World

When you get home at 7.00, is it really worth giving you a news post, Windsor? Especially if locally nothing happened, on campus and off? Yeah, just to amuse myself if nothing else. Besides, I feel nauseous, so this is what you get.
Jericho, I'm not optimistic, but I hope anyway.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stating and Worlding

For reasons I cannot for the life of me discern, my most recent eBay purchases appear to have been shipped to a guy in California. Super fantastic. The Interwebs giveth, and they taketh away, windsor.

Working close today, let's get this done.
  • Will this not just go away? The Star tells us that not only does the administration notfeel like putting the new engineering building downtown, but none of you want to do it, either, because you're concerned with silly things like access to student services and the costs of commuting between the two locations.

    Look for Gord Henderson to condemn your lack of vision in tomorrow's column.

  • But for as much as it sucks to be Eddie some days, it's hard to argue that it could be worse. He could be Toronto mayor David Miller. Ever since I moved, Dude's been saddled with trying to find a way to keep this metropolis afloat financially without raising taxes, since he gets shot down by his council whenever he suggests that. Now he's demanding the head of the Toronto Transit Commission's union apologize for a one-day illegal strike they pulled in 2006, or they're going to bed without their dinner.

  • Teach your children the benefits of thriftiness by threatening they appendages.

  • True tales of Facebook: Mother stunned to find daughters sending each other gifts of blow-up dolls online.

  • Doctors would really prefer you stopped using Google.

  • Giant Grand Theft Auto billboard features a beautiful woman playing with her hair and licking a lollipop. You stay classy, Rockstar.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Scenes from the Smoke



















1. I work with a girl who is without question the sweetest, purest hearted young lady I have ever met. She sings the chicken dance song at work, calls everyone her 'darlings', never hesitates to share whatever she has with everyone around her and is one of the few people who seems to genuinely care when she asks you how you're doing.

The other day we were both in the lunch room and she was on the phone with a friend, telling them that her father wants to send her back to Iran, essentially to have her married off. She played it off on the phone, but there was legitimate fear in her voice that everything she's ever known and values could be taken away from her without her consent. I find it very odd to live in a city large enough where this sort of thing can happen, for reals. Call me Country Mouse, I don't know.

2. On the subway ride home tonight, a trio of boys in Catholic school uniforms, two with that awesome Gr. 10 facial hair, turned 'Crank That' on one of their cell phones and, while seated, practiced the Soulja Boy dance.

3. Went to the Toronto Reference Library after work today, which is the largest piece of awesome I've seen since I arrived here. I was hanging around for a writing session for the Toronto Nanowrimo group, but didn't want to stay until 8.30 at night, going on only four hours of sleep or so from the night before. So I spent the time from 4.00 - 5.30 scribbling away on the third floor until I was literally nodding off as I wrote. But I still wanted to see my comrades in arms, so I ran down the street for a latte to jerk my brain awake [so cosmopolitan, I know], and found a new table on the first floor near where I thought they'd show up. After about 20 more minutes, they walked in en masse and sat a table across the aisle from me.. Now, I'm not going to sit here and deride anybody's appearance, so if you're looking for that, sorry. I will say this, though: too much yapping, not enough writing. I mean, I thought of going over and introducing myself, hanging for an hour, maybe, but then an impromptu support session broke out and I thought, 'Dude, you can get more work done right here,' because I like to refer to myself in the second person as 'Dude.'

All told, I'll easily crack 10,000 words tonight, with a smidgen of plot left in the bank before I'm really effed. Wheee!

Aww hell...

So while everyone's been spending their time this week reviewing safety reports or deciding whether the university should be responsible for fixing downtown, no one seems to have noticed that the Maclean's rankings came out this week. Goody!

You may recall last year that Windsor and a group of a ten other schools boycotted the survey and refused to participate. I have no idea if the same holds true for this year, but I do know that Windsor placed [wait for it] in the exact same place as last year, rounding out the top 10 comprehensive universities, which has gotta suck for Concordia [see the list, sans details, here].

I don't imagine there's anything groundbreaking in the numbers this year, and I guarantee the PR will look exactly the same as it always has, with the added spin of the new investments being made on campus.

New for this year is the inclusion of a law school ranking. Law's always been one of those programs that university boosters cite as an example of a program with a quality reputation, along with business. According to the survey, Windsor's law school placed 14/16. Though to be fair, Queen's placed fifth, and during after dinner drinks with that Queen's VP last summer, she cited law specifically as a program she'd like to axe, since no one knows they have it. Conversely, at Lady Trail's school, they'd rather have the children go anywhere but Toronto or York. Further proof these sorts of rankings have nothing to do with what the school actually accomplishes, and everything to do with the perception of the name attached.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Adjourned!



















My upstairs neighbour the opera singer is practicing loudly again, and my calculations tell me I need to get over 6,000 words written today to get caught up to the daily 1,667/day quota. I have two-three lengthy scenes I can do today that could easily take me there, but that's going to take time and quiet. It's already established I can't get the latter here, so I'm out, Windsor. I'll talk to you later tonight, but consider the afternoon a personal day and wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nothing of Importance

When I sat down here, I much rather would have preferred to write for Nano. Now that I'm doing this, I know I won't feel like it when I'm done. Damn you all.

--Caught American Gangster over the weekend. The thing that made it a fantastic movie for me was obviously Denzel and Russell. The two of them make what they do look so frigging easy it's really disgusting. And yeah, the women were underdeveloped and yeah it wasn't as good as Goodfellas, but dude: Denzel Washington as a gangster in the 70's doing lots of Gangster shit. If you have a penis, and that doesn't sound like two hours well spent, I don't know if we can be friends anymore.

--So judging by the current tone of the arts section lately, someone in the Lance office really likes comics. Which is kind of funny, because two years ago, it would have been me. Now, not so much.

What began as a means to cut expenses when I moved to Kingston has become a full-on life choice, as comics and the culture that goes with it has left me kind of cold. The common rule of comics fandom goes like this: If I say I don't like comics, a billion fans emerge like cockroaches with the lights out to tell me what I'd like instead. To not like comics anymore?! Ridiculous! That's like not watching movies anymore, because comics are a medium [which is technically true]! You're just not reading comics that suit your interest. Here, try some Jimmy Corrigan or Persepolis or Optic Nerve!

And I'm like, Dude. Stop. I don't want to read comics right now. It happens. I dropped superhero books when I got burned out from event fatigue and carnival barker promotional style of the publisers and 'news' outlets [Countdown to the final House of Infinite Civil War of Sinestro Corps Crisis! Nothing will ever be the same! For reals!], and I've always had a love/hate with 'literate' comics. Too navel gazey for me. Truth be told, I never forgave indy comics tastemakers for convincing me into thinking I had to read Blankets. Now I have a $40 doorstop on my bookshelf with pretty art and a story that makes me want to slap a Papillon puppy. So save your buzz books please.

And while you're at it, don't even mention manga. I hate those little tankubons with a passion. I'd rather have 200 issues of Batman in a longbox than 24 volumes of Ruruoni Kenshin staking out half my shelf space.

You know the only thing that even catches my interest, that I see at work all the time, that I can honestly see myself spending money on? Vertical Publishing's ongoing translations of the works of Japanese legend Osamu Tezuka. From his eight volume biography of the Buddha, to Ode to Kirihito, to MW, to Apollo's Song, the books themselves look amazing, and Tezuka's mastery of comic storytelling still excites me when I flip through a volume. Write a story on that, Lance Arts staff.

Still, the fact that I even can complain about the amount of comics coverage in the paper is something I thought I'd never have to worry about, looking back on the days when I was the only guy who occasionally wrote on them, and got hate mail because of it. So carry on, boys and girls.

Just don't even talk to me about that Captain America redesign...

A Turd Looks Up at The Big Dog

Still so behind, but we're off tomorrow, so the work will be put in.

If I may, I'd like to take a moment to talk about Gord. You know who I mean, Windsor, the man who's had page 3 of the Star in a chokehold since before you knew how to read. I remember when he he took aim at Councilor Ken Lewenza's City Times newspaper endeavour a few years back [a paper I worked on] because it was staffed by St. Clair journalism students and other kids who worked for free. Right, because opportunities to gain clippings are so plentiful in this town. I must have been on assignment when Gord called to offer me a job. Damn you, Lewenza!

I admit, I've never been much of a reader of Gord's, since I prefer to dish out my own frothy hyperbole than read that of others, but I got to thinking...

The Torontoist blog does an irregular feature on Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno, examining how her over-the-top, pulpy writing punishes readers on a 1 to 6 Rosie scale. Now Gord is no Rosie; he deals mostly in municipal affairs, though his middle finger to cop killer Nikkolas Brennan over the weekend seemed pulled from a DiManno cribsheet. Not saying it wasn't deserved, Windsor, just saying it seemed like a pretty obvious move reserved for the biggest circulation day of the week.

But anyway, today Gord's got issues with your administration Windsor, specifically with its refusal to just do the right thing and build the engineering building downtown. To wit:
Meanwhile, the downtown limps from crisis to crisis while our university, historically disconnected from a host community it needs to embrace, continues to huddle in perfect isolation in its below-the-bridge academic ghetto.
The university is disconnected from its host community? Allow me to sip from Uncle Ross's Koolaid for a moment.

This school continues its support for programs it has no business continuing, as well as implementing new ones, so that students in this area who might never have a chance to go away for school can still get the education they want. They bring speakers and scholars to this community who would never set foot in it otherwise. And even though I was having a great deal of fun a few years back over the stagnant funding of the stadium, the Pan-Am Juniors were a marquee event for the city, brought by the university. So forgive me if I think you may have missed the mark a wee bit, Mr. Henderson.

Never mind that outgoing Board of Governor's Chair Marty Komsa is quoted as saying one of the main reasons is because students in their first three years would still need to have access to the main campus 2.1 kilometres away! Those pesky electives are a bitch, children.

But the biggest flaw in the logic is that Henderson's argument does nothing to address the problems I mentioned last night on this very topic. A Riverwalk looks pretty, yes, but will that really 'revitalize downtown'? When I was in Kingston, I spent every spare moment I had downtown, because the downtown core had lots to see and do, and shops to browse. Months after I lived there, I still discovered new places to poke about. Where is that in Windsor, you tell me. Cause I see bars, Quickie Marts, Dr. Disc and Rogues Gallery. So while any aesthetic improvements to downtown may make for a pleasant stroll, why would I ever make it down there in the first place?

If Gord actually cared about what navel gazing bloggers like me thought, he might offer an answer. But he doesn't, so today's bout of fingerpointing and shortsightedness earns three Gord heads...







...out of five.

[with apologies to Torontoist and X-Play's Adam Sessler for the blatant pilfering.]

Monday, November 05, 2007

Flooooot-sam

















There is no excuse for watching the awful awful sitcom The Big Bang Theory with the slavish dedication that I do, but the fact remains. What kind of crap we got out there tonight?

Once again, if Jericho ain't on my TV tonight.....

Iconic photographs of the last century recreated using senior citizens, to varying degrees of success.

How to make a life sized Jabba the Hutt. It'll take a minute.

The Canadian government says the biggest music pirates buy more music than those who don't steal. Imagine that.

I know I meant to post this, but can't remember if I did. But if you're looking for an explanation on Furries, which seem to be the new vogue fetish, this should make for a good primer.

I'm a design nerd. Particularly, I enjoy album design covers [I think old school albums from the Blue Note Label are the best ever done], so this blog makes me especially happy.

Give this a minute. By the time you finish asking yourself what it is, it will have started. Coolness!

PS: Lady Trail has already voiced her strong opposition to the new bullet point format for the SOTW. Normally that would be enough for me to revert, but bullets are so much easier to format I'm still putting it in your hands. Vote her down, Windsor!!!

So behind on the novel. Sigh.

Ohh Baby, Baby, It's the State of the World

Cuurent word count: 5,183. I'm behind schedule, Windsor, and am hitting the point where I'll have to create new scenes, not just use ideas I had last July. Ouch.

In an aesthetic note, I think I'm going to stick with the bullet points for the news. It strikes me as cleaner. If anyone is terribly offended by this and would like the old headers back, holla.
  • I first got the word on this awhile ago [Daddy still has the hookup, Windsor, never forget] and I guess it's cool to now mention, but after a few years in self imposed exile, the masterful Richie Hawtin [aka Plastikman] is coming home. And you can see him cheap as free. Hawtin will be in town this Friday for a show at the Boom Boom Room which will be recorded for broadcast Espace Musique, a show on Radio Canada [the French CBC].

    Don't sleep on this one, people. Get there early.

  • Staying local for a moment, I also see a story about the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association continuing to convince everyone [including UWindsor admin] how awesome it would be if the new engineering building was built in the downtown core, and they're bringing the director of Waterloo's school of architecture, which established its own downtown campus in 2004, to do it.

    Now, I don't deny it would be cool if the university made and investment in the downtown core. But to view it as some sort of economic panacea is a little short sighted, is it not? Yeah, the students will come downtown to go to class, but really, what's there to make them stay there afterwards? Aside from a shawarma and a lapdance, what does the downtown have to offer them them? And I'm not saying this to rain on anyone's parade, I honestly don't understand the thinking behind this idea that a commitment from the university will fix all the problems. As always, the Talented Mr. Schnurr wrote on this very issue weeks before I go around to it. He's good like that.

  • The rumbling approach to the holiday shopping season continues with the Canadian Toy Testing Council unveiling its top picks for 2008. They're mostly educational type toys, like your aunt you didn't like used to get you. I miss toys that don't even try to teach me anything. Yeah, He-Man always talked to us about compassion or standing up for ourselves at the end of the show, but we were there to watch Skeletor get kicked in the grill, come one now. And slime, do kids still have slime? They should.

  • Briefly!: Halo 3 makes terrorist tactics like suicide bombing sensible; Spidergirl born with a couple extra pairs of appendages. Eww; directionless teenagers face finds overseas, and Happy Guy Fawkes Day.

Friday, November 02, 2007

SOTW Caj Fri

Yesterday's word quote exceeded. Hate most of it already.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sound the Guns, Start the Conflict


















Word count as of this morning: 1,265
Word count as of this moment: 1,265

What can I say, I'm nocturnal, and it's not late enough yet. I know what I want to get done before bed.

Listened to the inaugural WrimoRadio podcast as I tackled the dishes this afternoon, and was surprised to find founder Chris Baty acknowledging to guest novelist Deanna Rayburn that one of the criticisms of the whole affair is that it encourages people to crank out crappy novels. The more I surf the forums, the more troubling I find that fact.

I can admit the first time I did it in 2004, I was merely interested to see if I could puke out 50,000 words, and I exceeded that goal by about 1,500. Maybe if I'm lucky, 500 of those words were good.

As I've said, my goal this year is to actually try to write something of a higher, if somewhat derivative, quality. If I make it, it will be the longest work of fiction I've worked on...well, ever. This is a serious endeavour for me, and I get a little upset the more I discover that many participants are really just fan-fic'ers using the event as an excuse to write an even larger opus centered around anime boys making out. I just don't think I can relate to the majority of my fellow Nanos, who choose to write about flying dolphins or vampires or fantasy kingdoms or what have you.

Now, I'm not nearly as upset about this fact as this dickhole [not an insult, it's a technical designation. I don't think he could deny that's what his intention was], but on the most basic level, I see where he's coming from, because under all the sound and fury he's just arguing semantics.

Yes, 50,000 words is not a novel. And calling yourself a novelist should you meet the goal is pretty ridiculous, and I've never described myself as such. I don't even describe myself as a writer [even though I've been paid to put words on a page or screen for four years now]. Clearly, the dickhole knows of what he speaks, [got that 1,085,102nd spot on Amazon's bestsellers held down on lock, yo] even if he takes himself way too seriously. I got some poems put in the small press when I was in undergrad, I don't call myself a poet *shrug*.

At any rate, I can agree that a lot of the appeal for Nano is the excuse it gives you to be pretentious and sit in coffee shops filling black notebooks with hackneyed metaphors while chain smoking clove cigarettes, and who doesn't love that?!

But when December rolls around and when the dickholes of the world have turned their attention elsewhere [honestly, what is it about LiveJournal that brings out the best in people?] Nanowrimo encourages people to care about books, and writing, and art. And are any of those arenas doing so well that we can begrudge those people their passion? Cause I'll tell you what, dickhole: those people are way more likely to buy a small press horror novel than I'll ever be.

At any rate, I have a story to work on, which is, like, SRSBSNS.

lolcats and funny pictures

The Midday Report

Apparently my body decides after my work week is over I need to sleep until 1.00 in the afternoon. Thanks a lot, body.

In other news, Day 1 of Nano and only 48,735 words to go! I only have to spit out like, 402 more to meet the daily quota.
  • In a followup from yesterday, Transit Windsor approved a fare increase of five per cent last night, which would bring an adult fare up to $2.45. What a bizarre little number. I say they should have just rounded up to $2.50. But they probably wanted to be able to say 'We're still cheaper than London!'

  • Interesting piece in the Globe about activist Alison Bodine getting booted out of Canada for the next two years. The suits say its because she misrepresented herself to border officials [whih she did], the activist say its because she had antiwar pamphlets in her car [hard to prove, though when you read the article, the border's decision to initially turn her away in September is a little questionable to begin with]. Actual injustice or another melodramatic activist? You make the call, Windsor!

  • I believe it was last year when one of the major issues in the war on terror was American use of torture to extract information from prisoners, specifically a technique called 'waterboarding'. All I ever heard about that at the time was that it was a technique that simulated the effects of drowning, but that's still kind of vague and abstract. If you'd like to see what waterboarding really entails, former Special Forces Op turned journalist Kaj Larsen volunteered to have it done on him. Just a little something to personally engage you with the buzzowrds on the nightly news.

  • Briefly: shoot pepper spray Spidey style; a knife to the brain hurts less than you think; and Dog the Bounty Hunter speaks on minorities, gets show canceled. Good one!