What I’ve Been Doing For the Last Month

Sorry for the lack of interesting content but for most of the last month or so I’ve been spending every spare moment prepping my book. Above is the final cover, and as you can see I’ve gone back to the Yuri image. I just can’t quit Yuri. Once you go cosmonaut, you can never go back.

This version is a lot less Shepherd Ferry Obama poster and more expressionistic portraiture. With little orange stars. The back cover has some cool space porn for those who like that sort of thing (raises hand) but this is a fucking family blog, so no dirty pictures of stars doing it.

Anyway, every non-spare moment has been spent with me up to my eyeballs doing highly technical and of no interest to non librarians stuff, so lets just pretend I was traveling the south east, wrestling alligators semiprofessionally instead.

If all goes as planned, I should have the proof copy in about 10 to 12 days, and the book should be available for sale by the third week of July at the latest. Then, I will be rich and famous, just like all the other self-published authors out there.

Goodbye, Mike

If you’re my age, plus or minus a couple years, then Michael Jackson’s music was part of your life. And yeah, later, he became a troll in his own life, poisoned by celebrity and the weird depredations that lifestyle brings, awash in money and adulation but desperate for love and acceptance in a genuine, human manner — but the man could write a catchy tune. For me, it’ll always be Thriller. That was the one that stuck in my head. It was catchy, fun and smart. There’s a lot going on in that video, self referential and PoMo long before that became popular in pop music. And the zombies and the symbolism, but the music. Man! When you’re eight years old and you hear that opening synth bit, you just want to go howl at the moon. That was childhood distilled.

And probably that will be his legacy. Looking past the stunted man who never had a childhood, obsessed with a fairy tale purity of innocence he could never reclaim,making music that for an entire generation, will remind them of summer afternoons, riding bikes and watching horror movies way past their bed time.

I don’t believe in an afterlife, but there’s some consolation in oblivion. No more pain and longing, no more aching emptyness at a life mangled by fame and celebrity. In death, we can all forget the tragedy and remember the beauty.

And Away

On Saturday, Elvira and our friend Luke and I went to see Up[1] and were mightily impressed. It really is amazing, the attention to detail the Pixar gang puts into their story-telling. There’s a ten minute, mostly silent montage that had more emotional weight, drama and genuine emotion than most live-action films manage in 2 hours, and they deftly avoided any of the more saccharine moments that could have turned it into a sap fest. Bravo.

This level of depth and technical skill in an animated film is really breathtaking. A lot of reviewers have said this but it’s not just hyperbole. There’s character details being animated in ways that live actors can learn from. Also, the fact that the best movie of the year to date is an animated feature aimed ostensibly towards children should make every live-action screenwriter weep. You’re being schooled in dramatics and story telling by a movie with talking dogs.[2] Pixar is making the rest of you look like chumps. Please, for the sake of your mortgages and children, if not for your craft, step up your game and deliver us some live action films that are up to the Pixar level of quality. You will be handsomely rewarded.
Continue reading “And Away”

What Books Would Jesus Burn?

Guardian UK:

In a scene which appears to have been lifted straight out of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a group of Christians in Wisconsin has launched a legal claim demanding the right to publicly burn a copy of a book for teenagers which they deem to be “explicitly vulgar, racial [sic], and anti-Christian”.

The offending book is Francesca Lia Block’s Baby Be-Bop, a young adult novel in which a boy, struggling with his homosexuality, is beaten up by a homophobic gang. The complaint, which according to the American Library Association also demands $120,000 (£72,000) in compensatory damages for being exposed to the book in a display at West Bend Community Memorial Library, was lodged by four men from the Christian Civil Liberties Union.

Because if history has taught us anything, it’s that burning books works, suing for the right, doubly so. Also, it never, ever makes them more popular.

I haven’t read Baby Be-Bop, but I did recently read Weetzie Bat, the first book in the same series. It’s a beautiful story, about people (some of them gay!) looking for love and acceptance, a topic I know really rankles Christians. I think it was in the Gospel of John where Jesus said, “Fuck all those pansy-ass fagots, they’ll burn for wanting to be loved like a real person.”

Link via @neilhimself

New Hampshire Legalizes Gay Marriage!

And for real, not like California’s implicit, we’ll-have-to-go-the-whole-way-eventually-but-not-today kinda way. New Hampshire did it right and just laid it all out there, joining such bastions of saniy and modern living as Ohio Iowa* and the Sims 3 game. That’s right, an RPG has better civil rights than 9/10 of the the USA. Welcome to the 21st century. It’s a lot stranger than we were promised.

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*As Noz pointed out in coments, I had the wrong agrarian state in the middle of nowhere. But I’m sure Ohio will come to their senses soon, too.