Archive for April, 2008

Bite me.

Yes, last night I followed my typical pattern of spending an hour or two watching primary coverage after the polls closed before I finally got disgusted with the coverage—and with the fact that CNN is still willing to put Bill Bennett in front of a microphone at every possible opportunity—and tuned in to repeats of “Family Guy” on Adult Swim.

Then this morning I awake to find that not only has Ezra Klein devised the perfect campaign blogging strategy, but my brother tops even that by actually doing something worthwhile with his time.

Simple points: Obama has not lost ground anywhere. Obama’s gained ground with middle class white males. Cable news is not real news. Obama’s ahead in delegate count and popular vote—and mathematically, by Clinton’s own estimate, he’s going to stay that way. Clinton’s losing double-digit leads in major states simply by showing up. Bill Bennett is a big doo-doo head. And so is Wolf Blitzer.

Now that we’ve established all of that, I’m going to go actually accomplish something. I’m going to watch the episode of “Good Eats” I recorded last night.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

On the Value of Genre

I was reading through issue 00 of Doorways Magazine (free from Wowio – link at the end of the entry) when I came across this little gem from Gary A. Braunbeck.

Doorways: It’s been said before, by you as well as others, that your work isn’t easily definable—you often overlap horror, dark fiction, sci-fi, and even fantasy and mainstream fiction, as well as writing stories that fall easily within those boundaries. Where do you feel the majority of your work belongs, in terms of general category?

Gary: The more I write and publish, the less I care about categorization—categorization is purely a marketing tool, a necessary evil that mid-list writers like myself—in my case, barely a mid-lister—have to accept and deal with. I was exceptionally pleased when Leisure decided to drop the word “Horror” from the spines of their books and replace it with, simply, “Fiction.”

He then goes on to talk about how he advises his writing students to “forget genre” and instead just tell the story as it should be told—which is great artistic advice, even if it’s a bit dicey commercially.

I, for one, have been disappointed making the rounds of my local bookstores and discovering that none of them have “horror” shelves. Instead, the horror titles are mixed in with the rest of the “fiction” section. The marketing reality of this is that if I’m looking for new horror—which, as someone working on horror manuscripts, I am—then I pretty much have to already know the title and author of the book I’m looking for instead of browsing or looking at a “new horror” section. Especially since my local book stores tend to fill over half of their floor space with the fiction section, making just general browsing a day-long activity. This is unlike the Science Fiction or Mystery genres, where I can walk over and take a look at one to two shelves of “New Science Fiction” and “New Mystery” and acquaint myself with what’s recently published.

Instead, I have to depend on outside resources like, well, Doorways Magazine, for a start, and those nifty cardboard standees at the front of Barnes & Noblesse Oblige. I’ve scanned those standees, by the way, and based on them, here’s the ideal back cover blurb for your latest horror masterpiece. You will adjust your plotlines accordingly.

The streets of [London/New York/Paris/Romantic Western Urban Locale] are dark and mysterious. Real mysterious. Not just episode-of-”Monk” mysterious, but, like, mys-teeer-ious. Life is dull and grey for [reporter/student/other career that involves words] Jane Merkinson [or insert favorite name of your choice]. Little does she know that soon her boring, comfortable life will be ripped asunder as a dark, sexy [vampire/vampiress] leads her into the blood-soaked, sensuous underworld of the undead.

“I loved it!” – generichorrorsite.com

“Breathtaking!” – welovevampirehotties.com

“A sleek and sexy thriller!” – Entertainment Weekly

“Please, please, pleeease give me Anne Rice’s old contract!” – The Author

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Geek conversations worth having

You know geek conversations. Whatever your particular fandom, you’ve had them. Whether it’s who would win in a fight between Superman and Scud the Disposable Assassin or who would win in a match between 1970-era Joe Frazier and 1999-era Lennox Lewis, you’ve had this kind of conversation.

Here’s my favorite geek conversation ever – newly supplanting my previous favorite, the ethics of destroying a Death Star filled with otherwise innocent private contractors and full-time support employees. Ladies and gentlemen: Evil Monkey’s Guide to Kosher Imaginary Animals.

Mermaid – A: “No, for the obvious reasons.” EM: “What if you marry one? Is that kosher? Will a rabbi marry you?” A: “Kosher is a term about eating, not about sex.” EM: “I’m not talking about sex–I’m talking about marriage!” A: “If the mermaid is Jewish, the rabbi will probably marry you. But only if you’re Jewish too. But you’ll definitely have to find the right rabbi…”

Priceless.

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Introducing: Cuppa-Joe- and Ray-Gates

Boy, has this election season gotten ugly. With nitpicking over individual words used in campaign speeches, you could be forgiven for thinking you had walked out of the Presidential election and into a mid-semester session of Remedial English Grammar. At every turn, somebody says something or pulls some minor infraction that feeds the cable news beast – and, frankly, appears to be sickening the electorate.

It is, of course, too early to assess what lasting impact this story is going to have on the race, but the way the audience at the Alliance For American Manufacturing forum in Pittsburgh received the candidates, and reacted to the issue, will be heartening for the Obama camp. Obama, who greeted the crowd at 8:45am, raised the issue and received applause. Clinton, addressing the same crowd later in the morning, brought up the remarks and received mostly silence, with a few audible impatient jeers.

It’s nice to see people getting sick and tired of the “He/She used word ‘X’ – that makes him elitist” attack. But Goddess forbid that we at the ArtMachine should ever let an opportunity to show our moral outrage slip by. So here are two stories I’m sure will be all over the news.

First – Joe Lieberman thinks that Barack Obama needs to answer the question of whether or not he’s a Marxist. This, I’m sure, would be the story of the year—if anybody aside from conservative wonks really cared what Joe Lieberman thinks any more. Then again, Joe Lieberman thrives off of media attention, and cable news is heavily populated by conservative wonks these days. So who knows? Maybe we’ll hear more about Cuppa-Joe-Gate in the future.

What’s more upsetting is what I’m lovingly calling “Rachel-Ray-Gate,” or just “Ray-Gate” for short.

On a section of McCain’s site called “Cindy’s Recipes,” you can find seven recipes attributed to Cindy McCain, each with the heading “McCain Family Recipe.” Ms. Handel quickly realized that some of the “McCain Family Recipes,” were in fact, word-for-word copies of recipes on the Food Network site.

I don’t it offensive that Cindy McCain (or one of John McCain’s staffers pretending to be Cindy McCain—oooo, kinky) plagiarized Food Network. No, what upsets me is the selection of recipes that Cindy McCain (or, again, one of John McCain’s costume-fetish indulging political staff) chose in order to give their campaign that down-home, man-of-the-people feel.

  1. Ahi Tuna with Napa Cabbage Slaw
  2. Passion Fruit Mousse
  3. Farfalle Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Peas, and Mushrooms

Dude. I’m a whiny, bitter, liberal elitist Food Network watcher (with degrees from those two great ivy league institutions, Virginia Tech and ETSU), and even I had to go to the article three times to convince myself I’d spelled “farfalle” right. I’m still not even sure it’s a real word. This is how you convince people that your family is a real, salt-of-the-earth group? Feh. I call a ”-Gate” on that.

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

A few updates…

First of all, that generic graphic that came with the template is gone.

Second, ArtMachine is now home to the Guide to Glen, which you can use to navigate my way-too-widespread web presence.

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

Creative Differences

One of the things I always find odd is how long animation in the United States has remained a children’s medium. Which is not to say that there haven’t been animations aimed at mature audiences – but for the most part the commercially viable animation has been in the children’s section. And yes, we can talk about the rise of anime in the marketplace, but that’s still not American animation, now, is it?

Every now and then, we catch glimpses of what might have been in American cinemas if the artists had had their way – Ralph Bakshi notwithstanding. There’s Walt Disney’s concept images for The Song of Hiawatha – a darker movie in tone than anything else he had ever produced, which was ultimately abandoned in favor of the more kid-friendly Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. There’s the still kid-friendly but more wild and woolly The Thief and the Cobbler, which was canceled midway through production and the unfinished footage sold to hackwork animation studios that have released it in butchered form on DVD.

And there’s this clip from over at AMC today, featuring a very Fleischer-like rendering of John Carter, Warlord of Mars.

Why were these shorts never produced? Well…

Burroughs and Clampett wanted to make a serious since fiction adventure while the studios (in typical studio fashion that foreshadowed decades of missteps) wanted to make a sci-fi slapstick comedy.

sigh.

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

In the White House, a phone is ringing…

With Hillary’s image being tarnished, her trustworthiness doubted, and victory a mathematical, let’s say, “impossibility,” it’s Bill Clinton to the rescue once more! The once-great former President is now insisting that Hillary didn’t say on multiple, highly-publicized occasions that her visit to Bosnia was under constant fire, but rather that it was once. Only once. Late at night. After an exhausting day.

President Clinton’s version of the story has several inaccuracies. Hillary Clinton actually made the exaggerated comments numerous times, including at an event in Dubuque, Iowa on Dec. 29th, in Waco, TX on Feb. 29th, and twice—bright and early in the morning—on March 17.

I’d say that’s more than once. Probably more than when she was just exhausted. And I’d say she didn’t “apologize immediately” after each and every one of those. And let’s face it – that’s one Hell of a “misspeaking.”

But that’s all right. Bill Clinton has an explanation for how somebody could misspeak so badly.

“You woulda thought, you know, that she’d robbed a bank the way they carried on about this. And some of them, when they’re 60, they’ll forget something when they’re tired at 11:00 at night, too.”

blink. blink.

So, I understand it’s 3 AM, and our children are safe and asleep. But there’s this phone in the White House, see, and it’s ringing….

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Ummm…

Sometimes, you just have to wonder. What is it that drives Uwe Boll?

Honestly – when I see something like this video (with some not-safe-for-work language), I start wondering if this mad German filmmaker may just possibly be pulling an extended Kaufman on us – and getting hella rich in the process.

I mean, really – Michael Bay, sure. Boll’s movies are, strangely, more entertaining than the majority of Bay’s work.

But George Clooney?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

A little bit of fun

And now, your dose of Yahtzee from The Escapist. Yahtzee takes on Army of Two. (some language not safe for work) He does a fairly good job after a rough start of avoiding the gay jokes – but that’s probably because he has plenty of cruddy game design to discuss.

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

This Song

April 1, 2008 – ONLINE—Folksinger C. Glen Williams has released a new single from his upcoming album, Ephemera Now – For the Future! as a free download from his blog, the ArtMachine.

Ephemera is a folk album for the next decade,” says Williams. “It’s a set of traditional and original songs that deals directly with the ephemeral. That which is now but won’t be, and that which once was but is no more.”

The free track, “This Song,” uses traditional themes both lyrically and musically. “It’s a common theme of childhood,” says Williams. “A tribute, if you will, to that time of life when we had no desire other than to run, to play, to have fun, and to annoy our parents.”

The singer/songwriter – whose song “Wasted All This Time” recently appeared in the short film “Infected,” from Ian Donnelly and iDsD Productions – may have gotten a little bit carried away in the composition of the song, he reveals.

“The radio edit of the track will probably be the version that appears on the album,” he says. “As much as it pained me to cut even a single note of the song, the original composition is over an hour long. There just wouldn’t be room on the album for anything else if I included it.”

Lovers of great folk music, however, will be glad to know that the full version of the composition is available at the ArtMachine, along with the 3-minute radio edit, both as free downloads.

UPDATE: Due to overwhelming demand, the track is also available on a low-priced CD Single.

P.S. Happy April Fool’s Day, everybody…

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008