Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: December, 2005

Belated Meme

The Thursday Threesome: Driving you crazy!

Onesome: Driving– Hey, what are you driving this winter? Same old, same old? …or was Santa very nice to you (and if so, please pass him/her along to the gang!)?

Same old, same old.

Twosome: you– Hmmm… If you could, and money were no object, what would you be driving? …and sure: taxes, license, dealer fees, gasoline, tires, insurance, etc. would be covered by Santa!

Probably something even more non-descript and not noticeable because the cops aren’t covered by Santa. Do you know how annoying it is for a patrol car to decide to tail you through a maze of empty residential streets for apparently no reason at all? (I’m not a crazy driver. I think the cop was just hoping I’d go over the 30 mph speed limit. If he wanted to catch some bad drivers, he should have gone to the mall.)

Threesome: Crazy!– …and it’s crazy, but we’ve made it through another year. Are you going to be doing any celebrating to ring in the New Year? Yes? What’s going to be your way to say “Hello” to 2006?

Just staying home and making fun of Dick Clark on how much he looks like a wax dummy.

Happy Holidays!*

Or Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwaanza/etc. Hope everyone is taking it easy.

*Addendum: Some people may think “Happy Holidays” is too politically correct. Well, who the heck cares if it’s politically correct or not? People these days are too hung up on words, that’s what, and no one seems to care about the sincere sentiment behind them, no matter the speaker’s beliefs. I have no sympathy for the kind of people who tear into a door greeter simply because he/she thinks “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” is wrong for whatever reason. Anyways, ahem, I’m going to try to take it easy before I turn into one of those people.

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Recent Amusements:

Interactive fiction games–perhaps the only kind of computer game I actually enjoy. Check out Vespers (which is a murder mystery taking place during the Plague) and Blue Chairs (a well written, trippy narrative).

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Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Virus:: Head
  2. Poop: Out
  3. Smart:: Going
  4. Agent:: Orange
  5. Wrap:: Up
  6. Brass:: Candlestick
  7. Waste of time:: For
  8. Suspicious:: Persons
  9. 360:: Degrees
  10. Dummy:: Mannequin

Cheesecake and a Meme

The Thursday Threesome: Daily Ups and Downs

Onesome: Daily– Do you have a daily routine you’ve fallen into this Christmas? …baking in the morning, shopping in the afternoon? …checking your list (twice) and then trying to find that certain something at lunch? …checking the shippers to make sure everything is on the way? …making sure you don’t miss a day with your Advent calendar?

No routine. Everything just gets a bit more random.

Twosome: Ups and– USPS and DHL and FedEx? How’s the inbound traffic this year? Are you receiving more from on line stores than you have in the past? (Oh, and a word to the gang on this: Amazon’s “SuperSaver Shipping” is using a sequence of Airborne to the USPS to the recipient, targeting deliveries for Friday the twenty-third. Heads up tomorrow for inbound reindeer!)

USPS? I’m not doing much mailing this year.

Threesome: Downs–’ hatch? What are your thoughts on eggnog now that it’s that time of year? …and sure, unleadeed or with the traditional added ‘kick’. It seems no one is fence-sitting on this holiday drink; people either seem to like it or loath it. How about you?

I do not like eggnog.

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with cheesecake. Instead of making the whole thing (with three pounds of cream cheese per cake), I’ve scaled down the basic recipe so it’s only 1 bar of cream cheese (8 oz) and 1 egg. This will make a very small cake, but at least this will allow me to try more things. I’ve already tried different kinds of berries (cranberries, blueberries, raspberries) and I’m contemplating on putting coffee or chocolate (or both!) into the next one.

And don’t worry, I have other people eating them.

Semi-aside: I’ve been to the Cheesecake Factory only twice and both times, I never stayed longer than 10 minutes. The first time I went was with a large group of people, and we were told we would have to wait two hours to get a table. The second time I went just to look at how much they were selling their cheesecakes (which was too much: cheesecakes aren’t that hard to make and the ingredients aren’t that expensive). Both times, the restaurant was packed with human sardines. You tell me–what sort of dining experience is that? I don’t want to feel like a sardine while I’m eating.

Updates on That Other Site

Some babbling about my pet project, The Sluice: a site dedicated to The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series. Somewhat major update today. I’ve cleaned up the table of contents for volumes 1 and 17 and added the table of contents and reviews for volume 18 (which should have been updated in August, but oh well). Added a link to a Kelly Link interview. Added pages for the “other regular contributors”. And moved the link to the writing guidelines to YBFH to “other links”.

If there are any other improvements to The Sluice that you think would be cool, drop me a line.

Notes on Design and Memes

Hm, yes. I should catch up on reviewing some of the more interesting books I’ve come across. If I’m lucky, I’ll post one or two tomorrow. (Yes, tomorrow’s Saturday and no one’s going to read them because everyone will be out shopping, but eh, who cares?)

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Recently, I’ve been looking through some coffee table-type books which on the surface, look like picture books of somebody’s collection. But on a second look, they’re really more like compendiums for successful graphic design.

Front Cover: Great Book Jacket and Cover Design by Alan Powers – Traces the impact of modernism on book cover design in the twentieth century. All of the covers, to me, look like they would work just as well as poster advertisements. Now, if only e-book covers were just as appealing…

Manga Design by Masano Amano – With over 100 influential manga artists profiled, it’s encyclopedic. For anyone who still thinks that manga is the Japanese version of the Sunday comics this will blow your preconceptions wide open. Whimsical to serious, beautiful to grotesque–it’s really as varied as any other art form.

Matchbox Labels by Jane Smith – Phillumeny, or collecting matchbox labels and associated match packaging, reminds me more of stamp collecting than anything else. These labels are from all over the world and have subjects that range from birds to toothpaste. And, of course, some of these labels are even ads for cigarettes. (Related link: Collecting matchbox labels: an online label collection.)

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The Steampunk Librarian. Oh, now who can turn down a weblog that has everything steampunk? Not only does it discuss the old goodies like Jules Verne and Victorian gadgets but it also explores how the antique influences more modern sensibilities.

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Book-Length Fiction? This post from the 2Blowhards is from about a month ago, but everyone knows I can’t pass up anything that has to do with books. My first impression was, Whoa, what are you dissing books for?, because I find it hard to believe that a book really requires that much attention. But then again, I read fast. I don’t take 15 hours to finish a book–if I did, my bookrolling page would have 10 entries instead of 100. And, of course, I initially read the post when I was in the middle of writing a novel–so who can blame me for feeling a bit pissed at people thinking that my hobby is a cumbersome bore and suggesting that writers should “create fiction that doesn’t weigh itself down”? I think fly fishing is a cumbersome bore but I don’t tell people to give it up and do paragliding instead.

Everyone has different tastes in art and I don’t think that one form of art is more or less valid than another. It’s true that I sometimes grumble about the doorstop books being published today but this doesn’t mean that I have to read or write those kinds of books. Now, whether or not a particular book is good reading or not regardless of the length is an entirely different matter.

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The Thursday Threesome: Candy canes and Peppermint sticks

Onesome: Candy canes– Treat of the Christmas season or something you just never got into? (Oh, and “traditional” or with green stripes for the aficionados out there?)

I like all candy canes. Except for the bubble gum ones.

Twosome: and Peppermint– or cinnamon scented candles and such? Which do you prefer when you walk into a home or business this time of year? …or maybe even fresh evergreen from a real tree?

I don’t have a preference as long as it’s not too strong.

Threesome: sticks– ..or schtick? ..or even maybe kitsch? Yeah, what is your most un-favorite piece of Christmastime memorabilia? That display at the hardware store? The “Simpsons Nativity”? That ornament you made in third grade that still ends up on the tree each year? Inquiring minds and all that…

You have no idea how much Christmas commercials irk me.

The Thursday Threesome: Seventeen Shopping Days Left!

Onesome: Seventeen Shopping– Malls? ..or one Internet? Are you doing more online shopping this year? The polls say we are, but I’m curious about what the real people are doing.

Arg. All I can say is…malls are evil. Shop anywhere except those mega-shopping centers, mega-stores, corporate thugs who claim everything’s on sale but they’re just robbing you blind. Ahem. Anyways, the traffic itself is enough to put one in Bedlam.

Twosome: Days–…or “Daze”? Are you finished with your shopping? Do you still a few things to go? What? Not even a game plan? …or is there just one person you’re having trouble finding something for?

I have no game plan for shopping.

Threesome: Left!– What’s left to do at your place (or where you are going)? Is the tree up? …or maybe you’re just happy you found the Christmas coffee mug and are calling that good?

Er, yes, the tree would be a good starting place.

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A Note on Commenting: If anyone knows how to delete comments that have been posted prior to having comment moderation enabled on Blogger, please let me know. In the meantime, I’ve disabled comments on the previous post because some dedicated spammer has gotten around the word verification.

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Has anyone else watched a travel show called Globe Trekker? I found it quite entertaining compared to other travel shows so I decided to look it up online. I did not know that there was an entire subculture devoted to presenter-bashing…