Somewhere in between running an improv school, doing shows, teaching classes, surfing the web, playing Torchlight, playing Mega Man 9, playing Baldur's Gate, playing with my kids, something something something with my wife, I finished my novel. It's a straight up Fantasy novel. No wizards or elves or what not but it does have "Swords with Names", one of the biggest cliches ever. Still, I think there are a few interesting ideas in there and few more buried in those. I like to encrypt ideas within ideas. I aimed to make the book superficially good but then if you put a bit of work into it (I mean minimal) you get a little something more out of it. Good novels have that so I aimed to write a good novel.

I both like it and despise it. Started in 2001 in my spare time, the bulk of it written in 2002 when I was laid off, interrupted rudely by two kids, then edited and revised during my second redundancy in 2009. I'll submit it around. With zero expectation. The best possible outcome would be for someone to ask to see something else I've written (or will write). Actually getting published seems like fool's gold.

Do I try again? I have three ideas. Not sure I like any of them...



The fight scene I've been struggling with for years. The one I've delayed writing until this final revision. The sequence of one of the two BIG FIGHTS in my book is finally falling to my fingers as I write it out.

I've got 4 other fights scenes that have been in there since the beginning and though they have been revised twice, this is one has read for years as:

== fight here, 1000 wds

I've had the idea to resolve it for a couple years but it's only gotten unlocked tonight. English soccer reports. Sports journalism in the UK makes for great inspiration when writing phony medieval sword fights. At least, a really well written match report does for me.

I've got my 1000 wds and probably have another 250-500 to go. But I'm on my way. Oh, it feels nice.

Just looking back through my archive, I started writing preliminary material in mid-2001. The first draft of the first chapter shows a date of Jan 21, 2002. I'll finish this in just under 8 years. Just two chapters to go.

Then on to the rejections!


From The Rejection Pile

I was thinking of the Senryu today when considering forms of poetry that are pleasant to write. I remembered learning of them from McSweeney's (one of my fave online destinations) and their Senryu contest. I liked my entry even though they didn't.

I silence the scream
from the devil's digital face
nine more minutes.


No News is Bad News

"News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising."
- Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe (1865-1922)



I was totally going to do this with Ben once we got some Marshmellows this summer but we never did.

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.


Two Things

1) When buying audio equipment, especially headphones/speakers, I have often read about a "break-in" period. New equipment is supposed to be broken in by playing white noise continuously for X number of hours to open up the acoustics of the gear (Protip: Forget white noise, just pipe in any FM music station).

Now I had always been pretty skeptical but now I'm sold. My trusty Sennheiser cans (that's "headphones" in cool person slang) busted in one ear and I went to the national service depot, luckily located here in Montreal. They fixed it on the spot for 18$, just the price of the part. Excellent service, and for that they get blogged.

Anyways, I brought my new headphones home and the difference between my new out-of-the-box left side and played-constantly-for-over-6-years right side is unreal. The new piece sounds like a tin radio playing from inside a large animal. The old piece sounds like a live person whispering in my ear. It's also 1.5 times as loud so I'm hoping it breaks in sooner rather than later.

So, I'm sold. It's not even close. Break-in of audio goods is essential (at least for speakers; I've seen it recommended for amps and such, as well).

2) Love this quote:
"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is critical."
- Aaron Levinson


McSweeney's Rejection Is Your Gain

FAQ for Four-Year-Olds

Q1) Why?
A1) Because Mommy needs a break.

Q2) What's that?
A2) This drink has bubbles. You won't like it.

Q3) What's this?
A3) Put that down!

Q4) Where's Mommy?
A4) She went out with her friends.

Q5) Cookie, please?
A5) Fine. Here.

Q6) Is it my turn now?
A6) No, it's still Daddy's turn to watch something.

Q7) Are you ok?
A7) Yes, Daddy's just sad because his drink is empty.


I Have It Pretty Good

The rundown on yesterday's Father's Day:

- Sleeping in
- Bacon and Eggs
- Afternoon nap
- Family grocery excursion
- Mowing the lawn (boo!)
- Beer with my feet in the kiddie pool
- Watergun fight with kids
- Steak for dinner and Apple Crumble for dessert
- Playing video games with the wifey (not a euphemism)

Mood: Feeling loved


The Glass Floor

Found this in a slashdot conversation today. A lot of this seems at first blush to be total BS but I need to think and talk about this more before coming to a conclusion.

Warren Farrell is a somewhat controversial author on men's issues who has actually spent quite a bit of time exploring this exact question. He proposed, with appropriate evidence, that while women have made great strides in reducing the effects of the "glass ceiling", they tend to ignore the "glass floor" in which men tend to occupy undesirable and often dangerous professions. Examples of these sorts of male-dominated professions include sanitation workers, miners, construction workers, oil rig roughnecks, sailors, farm laborers, police officers, firefighters, and lumberjacks. The reason he proposes for this is really quite simple: the women most involved in feminism tend to be fairly wealthy, and that means that the millions of working-class men in those undesirable professions are essentially invisible to them, whereas the men who are at the top of the food chain are very visible to them, creating a perception that all men are doing better.


I Want You To Murder Me

Take your hands and put them in mine
Give me your kisses and power divine
To the stars, the nighttime sky
We dance, we dance, we cry, we cry
I run my hands along your hips
You bite me softly on my lips
And here I could die
And here we both die

[optional coda]
Oh my, 'twas only met'phorical
Oh love, this poem's rhetorical
I seem to be bleeding so liberally
Why d'you take things so literally


Game On

One of my favourite shows on TV is Mad Men (well, it's not "on" because Season 3 only starts this summer).

One of my favourite sites is boardgamegeek.com.

So it was pretty cool to find out that Rich Sommer (who plays Harry Crane) is a hardcore boardgamer and did a podcast with the BGG guys.

You can find the mp3 of the podcast here.

Warning: it's 2, yes 2, HOURS, yes hours, long. First hour is about Rich (who trained in improv at UCBNY) and the rest is about gaming. Great for when you have 7 loads of laundry to fold.


We'd Better Make the Playoffs If I Post This

Q. What do you call 30 millionaires around a TV watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
A. The Toronto Maple Leafs.

Q. What do the Toronto Maple Leafs and Billy Graham have in common?
A. They both can make 20,000 people stand up and yell 'Jesus Christ'.

Q. How do you keep the Toronto Maple Leafs out of your yard?
A. Put up a goal net.

Q. How many Toronto Maple Leafs does it take to win a Stanley Cup?
A. Nobody knows and we may never find out.

Q. What do the Toronto Maple Leafs and possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road.

Q. What do the Toronto Maple Leafs have that the Montreal Canadiens don't have?
A. Black and White pictures of their last Stanley Cup victory.

Q. What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common?
A. They both look good until they hit the ice.

Q. Why don't the Leafs drink tea?
A. Because the Canadiens have all the cups.



How many more women have to be hurt or killed before we get over a job that is not going to go away?


News To Me

I just read that Lily Allen's new album was co-written and produced by Greg Kurstin from the bird and the bee whom I love. I guess I'll have to give it a listen. Also worth a listen is Lily Allen's cover of Britney's Womanizer.

Bonus note: Cathy Dennis (previously mentioned here) is a co-writer on Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl, which is another international mega-hit for Ms. Dennis. Ho hum.


This Blog is Weak

A meme, from Clare. I'm too busy starting up a business and taking business classes to think and write anything useful.

bold = done it
italics = want to
strike = don't want to
Plus snarky comments

1. Started your own blog. Um, duh? Are people posting this on telephone poles?
2. Slept under the stars. Well, a tent with the roof open.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity I'm too responsible for this.
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo If Clare counts improv, I will too
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris 10 days was actually too long
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch I think I'll be a decent cook in about 20 more years.
15. Adopted a child Maybe foster care...
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of The Statue of Liberty (Staten Island ferry is as close as I've been)
18. Grown your own vegetables. This spring, in fact
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. It might be awesome but I couldn't enjoy it with the crowds.
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight How can you not have a pillow fight?
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort I made some pretty cool ones when I was 12-13
25. Held a lamb (Do I live in the bible?)
26. Gone skinny dipping (I'm too old and my friends too dull)
27. Run a Marathon (5k is my record. I could probably have done 10K back in the day but that's about it)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice. (cheesy tourists)
29. Seen a total eclipse Annular, but I'll count it
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (I've never seen the birthplace of either of my parents, India or Guyana)
35. Seen an Amish community (What, like going to a zoo?)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (Who picked these?)
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen the Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (Tower of Pisa = Africa?)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight Is this for people recently released from captivity?
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud Oh, youth!
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre They weren't playing a movie but I've been in one
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business Ha, just noticed this one
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Um.)
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration camp Would make me too upset
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar Ew.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square Times Square = Russia
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job (But laid-off twice!)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (This is quite possibly the least interesting thing to do in London.)
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible I am totally counting the comic book bible I had as a kid
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (ha, they meet me!)
92. Joined a book club (dear god, no)
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby Well, not me peronally
95. Seen the Alamo in person Seriously, the Alamo?
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a mobile phone What? So Luddites can feel good about themselves?
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day Oh, youth!