Monday, July 27, 2009

Brain Dump

Current Reading: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman.

Inspirational Quote: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." -- Henry Ford.

Stuff that's been on my mind lately:
  • Comic Con occurred over the weekend, and I wasn't there. Anticipation (aka World Con) is going on next week. I won't be there, either. I haven't attended a convention since Ad Astra, sometime in the 90's. This is something I really ought to remedy... but of course, I'll be surrounded by the new generation of geeks and nerds wondering who the old guy is, and why he's dozing off during the "Steampunk: SciFi or Fantasy?" panel.
  • I keep hoping they'll invite me as a guest of honor, but apparently you have to have some qualifications for that.
  • I took my sons to see Harry Potter. They liked it. So did I. Like all movies, though, it wasn't much more than the skeleton of the book from which it was taken. It left so much unexplained that I think someone who hasn't read the books must have spent the entire time scratching their head and wondering who the new characters were and why they were doing what they did.
  • I also took Telemachus to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It was a movie full of explosions, bullets and the crash of heavy metal. And Megan Fox. It also had more plot holes than a new graveyard, and so many moments of fridge logic that I got frostbite on my nose. And Megan Fox. I was hoping for a story that made sense, but as Penelope pointed out, "then why did you go see Transformers?" And Megan Fox.

    Honestly, entire scenes of that film existed to show off Miss Fox's physical attributes. From my observations, adolescent boys didn't need to be hit over the head with her charms. They were entranced from the moment they saw her movie poster. I found it a reminder that I'm not twenty anymore, and look for something more from actresses than eye-candy.
  • As the company for which I work gradually dissolves out from under me, I find myself wondering what new careers exist for a middle-aged geek. I've decided to try my hand at freelance writing. I sometimes think this is the equivalent to saying, "I've decided to skip straight to last-desperate-chance, ignoring all the obvious and sensible options." Most of the time, though it seems like a good idea. John Scalzi and Kristine Kathryn Rusch both seem to do alright.

    Of course, I'm not them, and the decision scares the crap out of me.
  • My most recent submission to the Critters critique mill seems to have gone over well enough. They've pointed out a few flaws that I'm beginning to suspect are systemic in my work. This is good. I have high hopes that this one will sell to a market that actually pays.

    'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.


slcard said...

Firstly: you're not old. I know old people, a lot of them. I doubt very much you qualify. If you go to a convention, which you probably should considering your decision to try freelance (Don't you think you could use the contacts you could make? And good for you, by the way.), and you fall asleep during a steampunk panel you can argue somnolence due to a particulary good, but soporific meal, or the previous night's party.

If you haven't, take a look at Anticipation's Convention Guide. You might want to squeeze this big one in. Maybe it's just me, my ignorance of these things or a lucky strike, but I am wildly impressed with the options. I had no idea. There is great programming for the whole family. Even my husband found stuff to be excited about and he wasn't even going to register at all, and only bought a weekend pass originally so he could go to the Aurora Awards with me. Plus, if you work for the same crumbling, major telecommunications company as my son's godfather, you are likely within range of a Montréal day trip. They have day passes to the convention. John Scalzi will be there. This just seems like too big an opportunity for you to let slip away.

Anyway, good luck with the freelance writing. You'll do great regardless of conventions, I'm sure.

Ulysses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulysses said...

Old is relative. And I have some old relatives.

You're right about the contacts. Unfortunately, I became aware of Anticipation too late (pathetic, I know) for me to make the necessary arrangements for child and adult care in my absence. That, and I've committed to spending time with extended family in the grand city of Ottawa this weekend.

I know. It's even closer to Montreal. However, I don't think words along the lines of, "It's been a while since we've seen each other... but I'm going to go somewhere else now. Catch you next time" would be very welcome.

It is a big opportunity and it's going to, alas, slip away. I must live with my regrets until I have time to fit in a proper scourging.

I hope your stay in Montreal is even better than you hope.

Nice city. Big. They have a very good Polish restaurant in old Montreal that does borscht the way Penelope's grandmother only wishes she could.

slcard said...

Wish I'd known about the borscht before I'd left. I've always wanted to try it. Sometimes I stare at the recipe, but then make something Italian instead, because I sort of know what Sicilian lentil, for instance, should taste like (or at least I think I do, because I'm really a very big fan of pizza). The gastronomic highlight of my visit to Montréal was my introduction to Dragon's Beard candy. I believe Dragon's Beard candy may be one of the world's perfect foods, even without chocolate. For my husband it was the Con Suite, where all of the food was free. For my son it was the Con Suite, because there could be found a magical bath tub with a never ending supply of soda pop.

Were you aware of this Con Suite; of the bid and publisher parties in the evenings? Thankfully, we met a very nice family on the first evening who go to Worldcon every year and hence knew all the secrets, which they very generously shared with us.

As to the weekend being even better than I hoped: this would be impossible. I tend to hope very big (I think it's related to the wild imagination thing), but it was a nice time.

Don't regret not being there too badly. I spent a good chunk of time in a very small room with Neil Gaiman to my one side and Brandon Sanderson at my back; on my way to small room I passed within centimeters of Tom Doherty; and David Hartwell stopped me as I passed, to warn me it was 10 degrees warmer within. Did I take advantage of any of these opportunities to make contacts, or any of the numerous others I had? No. Of course, you may have been bolder than I.

I enjoyed a very good writers workshop, however. One of my assigned pros (a very nice fantasy writer of some import) said some kind and helpful things, and told me my main protagonist appeared brain dead. So if nothng else I've had one haunting question answered.

All in all, I've decided the giant blister that left me with a slightly antalgic gait towards the end of the convention, which I earned from running back and forth between the Delta and the Palais des congrès de Montréal, was worth it. However, I'm undecided if I'd spend the money to go again, unless perhaps they hold it in Halifax or South America.

And finally, in regards to "old", don't say it too much or you'll start to believe yourself.

Ulysses said...

I was aware of the con suite, although I expect the one for worldcon was significantly better than that for Ad Astra.

Unfortunately, I'm terrible at mixing and have never gone to one of the parties. The only way I could be considered bolder than you is if you actually screech and run away when addressed by name. I'm less a wall flower than some sort of... fungus.

Anyway. Glad you had a good time.

And my last word on age: I'm older than I'd like to be, but not yet as old as I hope to be.

slcard said...

Here's another one that might help. It lists markets.

slcard said...

Damn! I just realized this is the one I wasn't going to comment on anymore. Well you lost your privilege anyway. I'll be back....

slcard said...

So what kind of mad person really does come back weeks later (and to an argument that's months old at that) to make a point? Me, apparently. I got distracted, but I can't just let an argument go. When I left that note saying I'd be back, I planned to take you to the ropes on this old thing, but I'm no longer tasting blood, so I'll just leave the fellow who is so fond of quotes with a quote:

"You're never too old to be younger." - Mae West