Sunday, February 27, 2005

A Raven And A . . . : I don't usually do the "What I did today . . ." type blog entries. Technically, this is a "What I did yesterday . . ." type blog entry, and the answer to that is:

I cleaned off my desk.

Those of you who have seen my desk know this is quite an accomplishment. I now once again have that elusive of all commodities--"Work Space."

Which now means I must get to the business of actually using that space to work.

My daughters have already set about demonstrating to me how this it to be done by carefully filling the top sheet of the yellow pad with pen marks.

The responsibility now falls to me to begin to fill the second sheet with pen marks.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Saving Enterprise: I don't know if this is true, but for $3 million, I'll put together a show for y'all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Positate Without Pizzaz And Jam: Oh, the new Strong Bad Email?

Just . . . hmmmm.

::Scratches head::


Come On Down: The press release for the Science Fiction Museum's first Hall of Fame induction ceremony is up here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Workin': Well, it looks like all the archives are back up. Blogger musta fixed the bug.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I Have The Power: From the completely unsubstantiated rumor mill, we have this tidbit.

So a story's been shooting around that John Woo is supposed to be directing a live action He-Man movie, with Nicolas Cage attached as Skeletor.

The new story is that Jennifer Garner is the front runner for She-Ra and the Nicolas Cage thing was "just a rumor."

The internet is too funny to make up.

New Award: The SFWA has announced the new Andre Norton award for young adult sci-fi and fantasy. It's a terrific award, named after a terrific lady. Great idea.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Wage Their Battle: IGNfilmforce reports the new writers for the Transformers movie are Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

Still no director, and release date has been moved back to November 2006.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

HGTTG: At this point, probably everybody knows the new Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy trailer is up over at, so I won't even bother to mention it here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

More Congratulations: . . . to Greg and Beronica Peterson, my bro and my sis-in-law, on the birth of their first, Chase Maxwell (or possibly Lincoln).

My daughters are available to baby-sit.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Heartfelt Congratulations: . . . to Timothy Sandefur, on his engagement.

I have composed the following limerick in the couple's honor:

There once was a lawyer named Tim
Who got Erin to say yes to him
And though he thought it lame
To use his first name
Tough, because nothing rhymes with Sandefur.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Speaking Of Google Ads: Here's an undoctored screenshot from my other blog.

Netflix Calling For Comments: Hey, blogosphere. I need your help.

I dig Netflix. I think they do a good job of getting a good variety of movies into your hands in a good amount of time. Doorstep service is nice.

However, like most subscribers, my biggest gripe is their turnaround time. This past Monday, I sent all three movies I had back to them. I placed them right in the box at the post office. They didn't get back to Netflix until Thursday. Netflix said I should have received them Saturday, but I didn't. Which means, at the soonest, the movies will be here on Monday, leaving me movieless for one full week.

Is there some way around this? Are there tricks to getting the movies in to Netflix faster, or getting faster replies back? I'm about to have spent 1/4 of the month with no movie in my house. This varies slightly from my definition of "unlimited rentals."

You folks know from my other blog how carefully I'm budgeting my money this year. Would it be more worth it to me to go back to cable, tape movies on during the week, and then watch them Friday and Saturday night? If they can't even get movies back to me by the next weekend, I'm seriously frustrated.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Author Obit: No, not that one. Jack L. Chalker, the SF author and Lovecraft biographer, died this morning.

Google Ads: My google ads crack me up. Sometimes they try, in vain, to find anything to glob onto here in my blog. On these occassions, they usually just post ads about blogging or about web hosting. I imagine this being the google ad search bot's default setting for blogs.

Other times, it finds a topic and clings to it tenaciously, even with that post has gone off the main page (As with a certain famous talking dog I mentioned once, in passing, recently).

The things I blog about probably the most frequently (namely They Might Be Giants, Homestar Runner, and Orson Scott Card) I don't think I've ever seen come up there.

They have seemed to figure out my other blog, and diet and weight loss things seem to come up a lot. But the issue at that site is often the opposite. I'll do a post saying why a certain thing is a bad, bad, bad idea, but because I mention it so often, it pops up in my ad.

I'm afraid that's what's going to happen with my post about gambling today. Lots of flashy ads for off-shore casinos right next to my humble plea that people please, please keep their own money.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

. . . To The Future: I've always been a big time travel fan, so this anthology seems promising.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mom Says She's Not Here: Don't you hate when people post in their blogs with a post that says something like, "Hey, I won't be posting today," or some such?

That's because popular bloggers would probably have people beating down their doors, worried for their safety, if they missed a day of blogging. It's like not being able to get a hold of your Mom on the phone for a 24 hour period. You know, eventually you start to worry.

Not this blog, though. This blog, people get worried when I do post.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Ligers: Yes, they're real. And they're flippin' huge.

Various Bits: New movie trailer at H*R.

And if this TMBG video player from Here Come The ABCs isn't enough for you, you can download the TMBG album The Spine up in its entirety at AOL.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I Know What You're Thinking: You're saying, Erik, I really just come here for crazy news stories.

Gotcha covered.

My Poor, Neglected Writing Career: While my other blog is getting all my attention, this blog is getting neglected, along with the goal that goes with it.

I was going to write 12 Sci-Fi and Fantasy stories this year (one a month), and sell at least three of them.

So I have decided to take this goal public on this blog, so that I have some accountability for it as well.


Now, hopefully, I can find words the same way I've been losing weight.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sunday DVD Review:

David Copperfield has always been a mixed bag. The posing, the tight pants, the big hair--it seemed forced to me even as a teenager. And yet, he's still unarguably the man who has had the most successful magic career in my lifetime.

This DVD highlights some of his high points, most of which are the big, flashy illusions that are generally the low points of his specials in my mind.

A couple of my favorite bits--floating rose, a really sharp aces routine--are on here. Most of my favorite bits are not. Really, I think he should just package some of the individual specials and sell the whole shebang. The China special was fantastic--that has to have been his best--but nothing from it is here, except the "walking through the wall" bit.

So the special was just okay if you've seen all this stuff on TV before.

The part that I enjoyed--enjoyed surprisingly more than I thought I would--was Copperfield's commentary. Now, I knew he wasn't going to be giving away any secrets, so I didn't really expect the commentary to be much more than, "See, now I'm in the box. Now, I'm not in the box. Pretty cool, huh?"

Instead, he actually did give away some secrets. Not magic secrets, but some of the secrets of putting magic on TV. He goes into some detail about how certain effects are adapted for the media of film and television, and why they're different.

One of my favorite insights was regarding the vanishing Orient Express train car. I always thought the cloth they used to cover the train car looked really cool. It was a velvety brown--really nice looking. Well, come to find out, he thought it looked cool, too, but its appearance was sheer luck. The "texture" of the fabric came from how dirty the tarp got after five or six rehearsals in the zepplin hanger where they did the filming.

So if you haven't seen much Copperfield, or if you're interested in the staging and performance of magic, you may want to check this out. Otherwise, there's nothing here for you.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Color Me Jealous: . . . of the 13 year old whose book is in its second printing.

Friday, February 04, 2005

A Christmas Story: I was asked if I knew of a prequel to the hilarious film, A Christmas Story. I actually hadn't, but I did a little research, and here's what I found out.

The movie is based on a book by Jean Shephard called In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, which contains recollections from his childhood. He also wrote the screenplay and is the voice of the "Narrator" in the film we all know and love.

The first time anything from this book was adapted for screen was in 1976, when the weekly anthology series, Visions did an episode called "Phantom of the Open Hearth." Although the series usually did dramas, the comedy still fit the template of "period" themed shows they liked to do.

The next project done from the book was another made-for-TV movie in 1982 called The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters. It featured Ralph as a teenager, played by Matt Dillon.

It must have been quite a hit, because one year later we got two Jean Shephard movies--A Christmas Story, and another made-for-TV movie, The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski, which features Ralph as a high school kid in his first serious relationship.

Five years later, in 1988, Disney did another made-for TV movie that was more a direct sequel to the movie. It was called Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss and although it featured a different cast, it was a clear attempt to recreate the same feelings as the 1983 movie. It seems to be "Ralphie Goes To Camp."

One more sequel was done in 1994, which most people feel is the better of the two. When it first ran it was called It Runs in the Family, although they eventually changed the name to My Summer Story to try to make it clearer which movie it was a sequel to. It featured Kieran Culkin--Macaulay's brother--as Ralphie.

Jean Shepherd did the narration for these last two just like he did for the movie.

I've seen none of them, so I can't recommend or criticize any of them.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Grounding the Enterprise: I get frustrated when I hear people say things like, "The franchise has run out of steam."

It's simply not true. The fact that American soap operas can go on for month after month, year after year, decade after decade, with plots they've largely recycled from themselves shows that even the most banal, repetitive stuff can have staying power.

People should just face up to the truth. If a series is getting low ratings, somebody didn't do their job. It may have been the advertising department. It may have been the writers. It may have been the directors. It may have been the actors. But somehow, they weren't effectively producing mass media.

Notice I didn't say they weren't producing quality media. I recognize that good shows get canceled all the time. But either somebody wasn't making TV for the masses, or somebody wasn't hyping it right.

Which was Enterprise? Beats me. I never watched the show, except for the first two episodes and Spiner's guest shot. So it could be the show itself didn't draw me in, or the commercials didn't draw me back.

I will say, though, from the commercials, that it looked like they were pulling a lot of "stunts" that only Trekkies would understand ("Tonight, on Enterprise, we're going to feature a race of aliens that is often joked about in Trek clubs, but which will just look odd to regular viewers"). That's part of what's hurting comic books, too.

You don't build viewership or readership by focusing more and more laser-tight on a smaller and smaller group of people. You figure out what larger group you're reaching for, and find a way to bring them all in.

But you don't go too large.

Sherwood Schwartz was right when he said the guy he named the USS Minnow after ruined television. Before, the advertiser would pick programs it thought were quality and would reach solely it's intended audience. Then it would pay the station for its time. Minnow changed it so that the network decided the programming, and the ultimate goal was to get everybody, from every demographic, to tune in to every program.

But not to worry! We'll be back to the old way soon. With the rise of the internet and super-fast connections, I think we're going to see the end of traditional TV. Instead of waiting for Sunday night to watch the Simpsons, you'll just go to the Simpsons website, and it will be Butterfinger Presents The Simpsons. You'll be able to watch any episode you want, whenever you want.

And instead of the networks, power will shift to the web portals, like Yahoo!, AOL, and Google who will have the review columns and web guides that point to the quality shows and content.

And I think, in that scenario, the content will just get better and better.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Half The Battle: New screenwriters for the G.I. Joe movie.

And maybe if I say G.I. Joe enough in this post about G.I. Joe, some cool G.I. Joe swag will pop up in my google ads.