As of right now…

…I’m taking today off from blogging.  Which probably means that sometime tonight something will piss me off and I’ll write a 2000 word screed about it.  But it’s been a long week and my thinkybits are sorta melty, so I’m gonna use tonight to recharge.

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The most embarrassing thing ever

UnknownI did not know that I was looking, but I have found it.  I have discovered what the literal most embarrassing situation imaginable is.

It is when you are a thirteen-year-old girl and your mother, with your father also in the room, describes your recent bout with vaginal itching to your male principal.

There is no way to be more embarrassed than when that happens.  It is impossible.

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gameIt’s been all over the news lately: this will be the season where the TV version of Game of Thrones finally laps the books, or at the very least it’s going to catch them this season and next season will have to be all-new stuff.  George R.R. Martin, famous for being a slow writer (and note: I’m not complaining, at least not with an intent to be taken seriously by anyone) simply cannot keep up with the speed of broadcast TV, and there is absolutely no way that he’s going to be able to get two books written before the show hits the plotlines of the sixth and seventh books.

Those of us who had read the book when it came out fifteen goddamn years ago snickered at the poor saps who didn’t know what was coming when the Red Wedding happened.  Now, it seems, the tables have turned, and the TV people get to know the ending of the saga before, or at least at the same time as, the folks who have been reading the books.

My relationship to A Song of Ice and Fire is complicated, guys.  I’m almost compulsive in my need to complain every time someone mentions these books around me; I think Game of Thrones is one of the best works of fantasy literature ever written, and I think that the series has gotten asymptotically worse with every book that has been published since then.  They became actively bad with the publication of A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons was execrable.  At this point I may not even read The Winds of Winter.  If I do, it will be a hate-read.  I don’t even want to contemplate what the seventh book might be like.

Nonetheless!  A suggestion:

TV people!  Finish this season following the books as carefully as you always have (which is to say as carefully as you need to; the books and show, which I don’t watch regularly, have already diverged on a number of points) and then once you are clear of the published books, never speak to George R.R. Martin again about how the show should go.  Send him his checks, and end the series however you want.

George R. R. Martin!  Dance, naked and gleeful, upon the huge pile of money you have made off this show, and then write whatever the hell you want.  Don’t watch the show anymore; you can Netflix it when you’re done with the books.  Do not collaborate with these people and do not tell them your ending.  (Note: I am aware he already has.  He’s not listening to me anyway so I’m going to ignore this aspect of reality.)

Make the show and the books entirely separate cultural artifacts at this point.  We’re big folk; we can handle it.  Both of you, end the series however the hell you want, and don’t talk to each other about how you’re going to do it.  

Yes, this will lead to two wildly different endings. That is the point.

As evidence that this will work, I present to you The Walking Dead.  One of the show’s great strengths as a reader of the comics is the way that they gleefully remix everything that the comics do, sprinkling in a heavy dose of their own stuff, introducing brand-new characters, killing off people the books kept alive, and keeping alive folk who have been dead in the comics for years.  The Walking Dead TV show is the best adaptation of a story across media that I have ever seen.  Period.  Point-blank.  And part of the reason for that is that I never have any idea what’s coming next even if I’ve read the comics until they’ve fallen apart.  It is awesome.

Listen to me, Hollywood people and writer much more famous and powerful than me.  Stop talking to each other.  Right now.  Go do your own thing.  Both stories will be better for it.

Posted in Geek, Reading, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE full cover reveal

Because why not?  It’s close enough to a month off.  :-)

You can pre-order the ebook of THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE from Amazon for $4.95.

Sanctum_Sphere2_72dpi_blanc Sanctum_Sphere_72dpiPretty, innit?


Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

On social uncertainty

ei1c10_parmesan_crisp.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeTook a field trip today, taking a small group of seventh and eighth graders to a reasonably swanky annual luncheon run by a local charity.   It’s always interesting watching kids in social situations they’re not familiar with, and “three-course meal” is certainly a set of circumstances that most of my students are not familiar with.  I was worried that picky eating was going to be an issue; these kids have never heard of orzo, for example, which was on the menu, but it looked like everyone was trying everything.  There was a Parmesan crisp on top of the salad; even had no idea what it was at first, and I had some fun refusing to tell the kids what they were eating and watching their faces when they realized it was cheese.

Yesterday it was me in the uncertain social situation, and this is going to be a rare two-picture post, because I feel like it needs a visual aid.  A former student who is now a junior in high school contacted me a couple of weeks ago asking me to come to an event that her school was holding where a number of their juniors and seniors, her included, would be doing brief presentations on research they’ve been conducting in conjunction with professors at local universities.  She’s at a fairly posh and high-level local private high school, a school that I’ve known about the existence of for as long as I’ve lived here– it’s across the street from where I went to elementary school– but I’ve never set foot inside of. I was running a bit late when I got there, and I hit my first problem when I realized that what I had always assumed was the way into the building was actually the exit.  The entire place is literally surrounded by a ten-foot spiked fence, and the school does not occupy the entire grounds, so I had a bit of a challenge figuring out how the hell to get in.  Visual aid time:

IMG_1752Does this look like the main entrance to a school to you?  Because to me it looks like the maintenance man left the servants’ gate open by accident.  I just happened to drive by at the right time to see my student’s mother walking in through this gate, so I just followed her lead and parked on the street (turns out there’s no parking lot inside anyway) and walked in.  I was greeted by a rather large dog, which was alarming until it turned out that it was friendly, and upon questioning the dog’s owner was told to go through the door that you can sorta see on the right side of the picture.  Again, this was setting me up to be confused: I’m not used to the “main entrance” of a school to be so … well, side-door looking, and I was standing there trying to figure out if I should push the teeny-tiny little doorbell (Schools have buzzers! Prominent buzzers!) or just try to open the door (which I was assuming was locked) and go in when the student I was there to see opened the door.

Um, okay.  Hi!  This is good.  Weird, because there are presumably hundreds of humans here and finding the one I want immediately is kinda strange, right?  It’s not helping with the mild discombobulation.

Anyway.  Student has told me previously to find someone when I get inside and find out where the “auditorium” is.  Picture an auditorium.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  First Google result:


Yeah.  That’s actually a bit smaller than what I had in mind, but whatever, right?  She leads me through some hallways, stopping (still in the hall) outside a room where I can see some chairs are set up.  A woman comes over and says hi.  I am a split second from introducing myself as Luther Siler when she realizes I’m with my student and calls me by my actual name.  Wait, what?  You know me?  How the hell do you know me?

She and the kid have this brief I’m right here I can hear you both kind of conversation where they’re discussing some sort of snafu with my email address, so apparently she was supposed to directly invite me, which is how she knows my name?  Still, kinda weird.  Then she tells my student to make me my name tag.

Wait.  Why are there name tags why is this a name tag thing I thought there was an auditorium oh god do I have to mingle I am not prepared for this.

At this time another adult who I do not know comes over and introduces himself, but other than his name does not say who he is.  In other words, yes, thank you, Steve Johnson, I’m glad I know you’re Steve Johnson, but why are you telling me that you’re Steve Johnson?  Are you a teacher?  The principal?  Another parent?

He later turns out to be the headmaster– this is a school important enough that they have a headmaster and not just a principal– but he gives me no indication of this.

Anyway.  Yeah.  The “auditorium.”  It’s twice the size of my bedroom, maybe.  It’s got like forty chairs in it.  People are mingling and it is terrifying.  I do not do this well.

I go in and sit, resolving to speak to no one until my badly-shaken equilibrium is back.

And then the kids start talking.  And the first two, at least, are so clearly preternaturally brilliant and poised and mature that I quickly find myself wondering if my gnome-book-writin’ ass is the dumbest guy in the room.  Call me arrogant if you like: I’m used to being at least in the top half, right?  These kids may as well be speaking Greek, and that’s before the kid whose research is literally in pure mathematics and whose presentation appears to be entirely in equations gets a chance to talk.

Luckily, the fourth or fifth kid was clearly a meathead, so I felt a bit better.  And, of the fifteen or so kids who spoke, my student was the only one who managed to get a laugh out of the audience, which made me remember why I like her.  (“She got that from me,” I later told her mother, who shot me a quarter-second of a forbidding look and then smiled.)

There was a question and answer period later, and interestingly my student fielded more questions about her work than any of the rest of them.  She had another proud-of-you moment during the Q&A session, where a parent who I was starting to suspect was showing off a bit asked her if the students had to have any specialized training prior to being allowed into the program.

“Well, no.  We’re teenagers,” she deadpanned, cracking up the audience– well, me, at least– and shutting up the showoff.

Maybe not recognizing orzo isn’t that big of a deal.  :-)


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