Back From France…and Very Sleepy

Thanks so much to Rick Klaw for guest-blogging so diligently while we were gone. We’re now back–got in late last night–and very, very tired. Normal blogging will resume tomorrow.

Perhaps needless to say, but…we very much enjoyed Nantes and our brief time in Paris. Utopiales was a blast–in fact, I hate to say it but I think Utopiales really sets the bar high for excellence in a lot of different ways. I saw many, many innovative processes and ideas that I thought would go over great at a US convention. We also enjoyed meeting so many interesting writers, translators, editors, etc.

The only bad thing is that this was my convention schedule the first four days:

Thurs – Badly jetlagged, 9am to 9pm
Fri – Sick from both ends, 9am to 9pm (food poisoning)
Sat – Febrile and kinetic from relief that the Thursday programming had ended
Sun – No longer energetic, but at least not doing the Thurs programming again.

Anyhoo…Jules Verne Museum, mechanical elephants, corpses as art, and much else to report on, but for now…

Just a few random thoughts before I go back to sleep….

If you’re going to have a tour of a castle in Nantes, let it be by someone like Se(r)bastien Bonnet, an English instructor, who gave us the modern, updated, cool version, and then led us to a local bar that just happened to feature wonderful local beer and a North African singer who was amazing.

If you’re going to take a wrong turn on a Paris street, I suppose you could wind up somewhere less pictureque than by a kind of huge sandstone arch led up to by a street full of rather mature and husky prostitutes. (I really thought they were just shop owners taking a break, but they were, in fact, prostitutes not taking a break.)

If you’ve spoken rudimentary French all day and are asking a film theater cashier if the movie is dubbed or subtitled, don’t lapse into English so as to avoid this beat-down: “You could at least be polite. You are not in your large, shiny home country now.” (Hey–maybe we were the twelfth American couple to revert to English that day; anyway, once we had left and come back a few minutes later armed with as much French as we could muster, she was very nice, and it turned into a very pleasant experience. Other than that, the French were all either nice or amused by our crappy French.)

If you see a group of demonstrators for a local union on the Parisian streets, walk in the other direction instead of right at them, because a trampling may ensue.

And, now, sleep….

P.S. Got most of the rough draft of my Jack Vance story, “The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod,” done on the plane ride back…

Good bye for now

Tonight Jeff resumes control of Ecstatic Days. I thank everyone for their patience as I guested for Jeff over the past two weeks. I realize that it may not have always been the Ecstatic Days that you’ve come to know and love, but I really appreciate all the comments and to everyone who stayed with the blog while Jeff was off globe-hopping. I most of all want to extend my sincerest gratitude to Jeff for allowing me to play in his sandbox. It was a lot of fun.

If you enjoyed my contributions over the past two weeks, I encourage you to visit my other blogs. I am a regular contributor to the Dark Forces book group blog and over at RevolutionSF for my own blog, The Geek Curmudgeon. I also produce a semi-regular (about once every two months) e-mail newsletter “All The Geek That’s Fit To Print” about my recent publications, appearances, and what I am currently reading. If you are interested in keeping abreast of all things Klaw, please sign up.

Again, thank you to Jeff for the opportunity and especially to everyone who kept reading. It was a blast.


Cell Phone Jammers

Cell Phones Drive Some to Break the Law

Weekend Edition Saturday, November 10, 2007 · These days, rampant cell phone use means people are forced to listen to other’s personal conversations. Some people are resorting to cell phone jammers, even though they are illegal. Matt Richtel of The New York Times talks with NPR’s Scott Simon.

I would love one of those devices. Movie theaters should use the jammers inside the theater so no one could use their cell phone while the movie is playing. If talking on the phone is so important then don’t go to a movie. Course, there is that matter of the possible $1100 penalty!

Now if they could develop a device for screaming children…

Predator Update

Guess I better begin to clean up the joint, do the dishes, and post a Predator update since I neglected to post even one while Jeff’s was gone.

Comeback earns Preds a point in Detroit

A valiant third-period comeback by the Nashville Predators earned the squad a valuable point in the standings Wednesday night, though they fell to Detroit in a shootout, 3-2, at Joe Louis Arena.

The Preds battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the final eight minutes of regulation getting goals from Ryan Suter and J.P. Dumont in addition to a heroic 43-save performance by goaltender Chris Mason. With the point, Nashville ends its five-game road trip with an impressive 3-1-1 record. The team now returns home with points in six of the past seven games.

I leave the rest of the updates to Jeff.

Happy Birthday, Irving Klaw!

Today would have been my grandfather’s 97th birthday. In celebration of the event, I am posting, under the Creative Commons license, my previously unpublished article about Irving Klaw’s film career.

[Read more…]

Cory Doctorow on Creative Commons

In the latest Locus, Cory Doctorow has produced an excellent article on how to use the Creative Commons license.

Since 2003, the Creative Commons movement has ridden a worldwide revolution in creativity and sharing, inspiring the authors of over 160 million copyrighted works to adopt a “some rights reserved” approach that encourages sharing, remix, and re-use of their works. CC licenses come in a variety of flavors, and in many jurisdictional variants, but at root, they are simple to use and apply, and they bring great benefit to “audiences” and “creators” (and help to blur the details between these two crude categories).

The piece also offers a concise overview of copyright law.

Through most of its four-hundred-odd-year history, copyright has only applied to a special class of works, generally those created with the intention of commercial exploitation. Many governments — especially the US government — only granted copyright to authors who registered with a national library, depositing copies of each copyrighted work in the country’s authoritative repository of important creative works. These libraries also served as central registries, making it easy to figure out whose permission you needed when you wanted to use a copyrighted work.

I recommend this article highly for anyone who is thinking of posting their works online.

Conversations with the Bookless: Paul O. Miles

As promised, I am continuing Jeff’s excellent Bookless series but with a Texas bent. Over the next two weeks, I will introduce you to three Texas short story writers, each with a unique perspective. As for what the series is about I think Jeff said it best.

In support of the short story, and specifically those talented writers who are currently “bookless,” which is to say those writers who are at that stage of their career where a collection or novel is a year or more away, I’m doing a new feature called Conversations with the Bookless, of which this is the sixth (3rd Texas) installment. (The first four were with Rachel Swirsky, Nathan Ballingrud, Paul Jessup, Scott A. Cupp, and Chris Nakashima-Brown.) The fact is, if you don’t have a book out, it’s harder to get attention and it’s harder for reader attention to crystallize around you. I hope these interviews introduce readers to some of the great talent that, in the coming years, will be amazingly and bountifully bookful.

Even with his modest output, Paul O. Miles has established himself one of the talented new writers emerging from the vibrant Austin, TX literary community. Probably best know for the pulp adventures of the Communist action hero The Red Poppy, Paul Miles’ unusual perspectives and imaginative pastiches have garnered an Honorable Mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2006: 19th Annual Collection for the unusual short tale “Habe Ich Meinen Eigenen Tod Geseh’n” and the alternate Robert E. Howard history story “A Penny A Word” was a Finalist for the 2007 WSFA Small Press Award.

[Read more…]

My Chinatown review

My review of the Chinatown: Special Collector’s Edition is in todays Austin Chronicle.

For many, Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski from Robert Towne’s Oscar-winning screenplay, epitomizes the peak of Seventies Hollywood filmmaking and perhaps the finest neo-noir ever made. Yet according to the four documentary featurettes on this new special edition, the movie almost didn’t get made.

Rudy Rucker posts new novel online for free

I applaud Rucker’s decision to offer his latest novel Postsingular both for free online, under the Creative Commons License, and in print from Tor. I have become a big believer in offering books this way. Very few people will read the entire book electronically with a vast majority of readers deciding to purchase the hard copy. The theory being that people are more likely to buy something they already like.

Third-Person Limited Omniscient Narrator Blown Away By Surprise Ending

From The Onion:

November 2, 2007 | Issue 43•44

PROVIDENCE, RI–The third-person limited omniscient voice, a narrative mode used to convey a story through the thoughts and senses of a literary character, was reportedly “caught totally off guard” after the main character was unexpectedly killed in the last chapter of the new novel Bertram’s Way.

“Holy shit, I did not see that coming. Did you see that coming?” the disembodied literary device said on page 367 following the last paragraph of the novel. “Man, right in the head!”

The popular narrative method said it would try to pay closer attention when utilized in the book’s planned sequel, Bertram’s Revenge.

Somedays the works does have a mind of its own.

Thanks to Matt Staggs for the link.