Monthly Archives: January 2007

Floating Thoughts for the Month of February

Hey, what do ya’ know: Just a couple of days shy of February and I’m getting around to my first journal entry of 2007. But you should know me by now: I only post when there’s absolutely nothing else to do, and since The Reformed Citizen is complete, awaiting its release in April, I guess now is as good a time as any to spew forth…something.

Fans of action figure rock, rejoice: Sean and Claude have been working really hard in the studio, and have finally finished the first Clawn album, which should be available sometime next month. You know what this means: millions of voracious baby Clawns spontaneously emerging from manholes and sewer grates all across the Pacific coast.

YouTube is going to start paying for user-generated video content:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/social/?p=75

I wonder if this means I can make a quick buck off the Colossal Theatre back catalog. Oh, and if there’s time, I’ll compensate Claude, Sean, Chris, Fuzz, Andrew, Angel, Joey…nah, f*ck it. Wink

I saw Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) for the first time last night. The result was a swift addition to my MySpace movies list—and not just because I recognized several scenes / characters from The Simpsons. I can see how a lot of good satire, political or otherwise, has progressed over the years. Were it not for such classics as Dr. Strangelove, Futurama would never have made it past the first dozen episodes. Actually, it’s amazing the series made it as far as it did, what with the IT / geek fan base driving advertisers away in droves. (Hey, if they’d just switched to junk food and video game ads, the Planet Express ship might still be soaring high.) It remains to be seen how the forthcoming Futurama movie and / or series (I’m not quite sure which it is) will be nurtured by Comedy Central. One thing is for certain: I will be there…oh, yes…I will be there.

A few months ago I mentioned that I bought a new PC with Windows pre-installed. As I was knee-deep in Stories from the Steel Garden at the time, I subsequently used the computer as it was, which is truly an exercise in patience considering that the Windows version(s) of OpenOffice are about as spritely as a snail trying to cross the street. So, over the winter holiday (when I wasn’t delirious with the flu), I tried slapping Ubuntu (my previous favorite distro) on my PC—but it seems my shiny new Compaq would have none of it. Nor would it tolerate Kubuntu; in both cases, my system locked up during the installation process. I tried a variety of alternative boot options, to no avail.

I checked out DistroWatch shortly thereafter, and, since I used to be a huge Mandrake fan anyway, ended up downloading PCLinuxOS when the 0.94 / 2007 preview release became available. It installed quickly, and has run very well ever since—and it (thankfully) uses KDE as the default desktop. KDE runs fast and efficient, and hasn’t crashed once—which, unfortunately, isn’t the case with Ubuntu. Ubuntu is GNOME-based, which means you can install / run KDE, but it isn’t optimized, and, quite frankly, isn’t very stable. I don’t know if this is the case with Kubuntu, as I was never able to install it or even use the live CD without a freeze-up—again, my Compaq’s tempermental nature making itself evident.

In any case, I’m impressed with PCLinuxOS. OpenOffice doesn’t slow down during extended usage; system fonts, while certainly not as crisp as Ubuntu’s, are hinted nicely across the board; KDE 3.5.6 has a very nice horizontally-oriented ALT-TAB function that allows you to easily switch between running applications; multimedia codecs are installed by default, which means you can play a decent variety of videos using MPlayer—oh, and MP3s work out of the box. Thank God for small miracles.

I need more fiction books to add to my shelf (hint-hint: Contact me if you’re an author interested in doing a book / review exchange), but in the meantime I’ve been reading Howard Lyman’s No More Bull. Howard was the guy who appeared on Oprah in the mid-1990s and brought mad cow disease to the forefront of the media. I think he also coined the phrase, “Never eat anything with a face.” While I’m certain attention has its rewards (ie, the book deals), as well as its drawbacks (ie, the meat industry lawsuits), it nevertheless worries me that one of the staples of the American diet is suffering from a very serious blight, the details of which are being shoved under the carpet, left to fester in the dark, damp corners of the various media outlets. Cows shouldn’t be eating other cows, and we certainly shouldn’t be eating cows that eat other cows. This is as important as the war on terrorism, yet no one seems to know how or where to direct their attention. In the end, I have the sneaky suspicion that in order to do things right, farmers will have to specialize more and produce less, prices will have to go up, and consumers will have to either pay more or eat less. Every outcome has its price, it seems.

The Knack is Reincarnated

The Knack, by Jesse Gordon

The Knack, which enjoyed a popular run as a weekly series at deviantART between 2003-2004, and which was fairly successful as a self-published book shortly thereafter, has now been re-released in trade paperback format by Jessture Books.

The obligatory blurb:

Adolescence: a time of change, a time of discovery and (for those who possess the knack) awakening magical abilities. For Bryson Powell, growing up is an uneventful ritual—until he meets Kyna, who changes his life forever by introducing him to a treacherous reality where willpower becomes something tangible and the mind rules all.

In other words, it’s all about teenage sex vampires who feed off of each other in order to gain psychic dominance. Well, that’s a gross oversimplification, but The Knack has been one of my more controversial stories, something parents don’t want their kids reading (even though it certainly isn’t a kids’ book, nor is it appropriate for young adults)—and now it’s being let loose, online, on store shelves, at garage sales and recycling plants, and at the bottom of Wal-Mart discount bins across the U.S. And who knows? Maybe there’s even a copy sprouting up beneath your bed or in your bathtub drain this very minute….

So…yeah. Look for The Knack at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powell’s, etc. Or ask for it at your favorite local book store. If you’re into that sort of thing. Pervert.

Some comments (I’ll add to these as they trickle in):

Devoured in one sitting, this novel cooks. [Bryson] (the new kid in town), Joshua (a stout heart, if not sound in body), Kyna (the tortured soul), and others, these complex characters are all blessed or cursed with an affliction much more plausible than the blood-sucking fiends of past fiction. Reality plays a big part in The Knack, because who hasn’t met such people whose magnetic and forceful personalities take on a preternatural quality for good, and/or evil. Teen concerns flesh out this excellent adult story, with an ending every reader should experience.

—Mark Sutton

It’s hard to find a real, believable book about adolescence these days. It’s always overdone or stereotypical, but The Knack is a different story. There are strong, well-developed characters that provide support for an already compelling storyline. There are intense situations, a solid mix of action, angst, and powerful descriptions. The reader gets a heavy dose of satisfaction as they read through the book, and they are always left wanting more. I highly recommend The Knack for anyone and everyone wanting a good read about accepting who was are, what you’ve been through, and what’s going to happen in the future.

—Carmel March

…The Knack, by Jesse Gordon, self published but worthy of traditional print. It’s a vampire story, and I’m not a vampire fan, but this strikes me as an original take. They do drink blood, but actually need any kind of fluid, even their own; it seems psychological as much as physical. They have sex not so much for sexual gratification as for the associated fluid. They do have special powers, but these are difficult to develop, and it’s not a happy state. Individuals are finely characterized, and the writing can be pretty: “As she moved through alternating spaces of evening darkness and frosted LED lighting, her hair a vibrant spray, a fiery beacon of femininity, she conversed on her cell phone.”

—Piers Anthony

I’ve been a follower of Jesse Gordon for a couple of years now. The Knack was the first story I ever read by him, and it took me straight back to high school. He has a way with bringing the future into the present, and he doesn’t alter the emotions that would truly manifest, nor does he force those emotions. His writing brings you into the reality that he’s creating, and it’s a fantastic feeling. A little weird at times, especially during the sexual scenes, but fantastic nonetheless. It’s a book to be read straight through—it wasn’t easy for me to put it down!

—Kelly Snyder

In the Year 2012

Oh, the new year is so close I can almost taste it. (Coincidentally, I have seasonal synesthesia.) Tongue Seeing as how this time of year always gets me thinking in a forwardly manner, here are a few predictions—based mostly on popular sci-fi culture—which I’ll revisit on the eve of that prolific milestone: 2012.

  • The human race as we know it will lose all sense of fashion when Spandex becomes mandatory.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger will make news headlines across the country when he is reelected president of the United States after his opponent, Michael Ironside, loses his arms in a freak elevator accident.
  • Doomsayers across the globe will be forced to rethink their stance on the end of the world when it’s discovered the Mayan calendar has merely been read upside down.
  • Star Trek conventions will be set on red alert when a naked William Shatner is found bound and gagged in a steamer trunk full of stuffed Tribbles.
  • The fourth Indiana Jones movie will finally reach post-production.
  • Richard C. Hoagland will acquire a batch of high resolution photos debunking the Mars face as “just a bunch of rocks.” He will charge $99.95 for the photo CD.
  • After considerable lobbying, the FDA will reverse its position regarding cloned meats, and will instead support widespread adoption of soylent green.
  • Michael Jackson will suddenly “ripen.”
  • Director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale will grow increasingly worried about the unfashionable absence of Mr. Fusion, the hoverboard, and the rehydrated pizza.
  • Burning Tree Project will finally disband when, upon rehearsing for the first time with drummer #13, the studio will spontaneously combust.

Happy new year, everyone.