Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: May, 2007

Really Random Rhetorical Rambling

I get the impression that many fiction writers are lawyers, used to be lawyers, or have done something in law at some point in their lives. So are lawyers wannabe writers?

Hm…would the world be a better place if we had less lawyers and more writers?


Stupid Shirts. I can’t believe apparel companies just slap things on t-shirts and hope nobody notices.

A New Challenge?

Script Frenzy, brought to you by the folks who created National Novel Writing Month. This time, the goal is to write a 20,000 word screenplay or stage play in the month of June. I’m not too hot about writing scripts, but just out of curiosity, I logged on with my Nano account–and it worked! I guess I’ll try it out–I’ll just look at it as a big exercise in dialogue rather than something I might try to pitch to some big studio executive (who won’t care anyway). And if I decide to post anything further about this, it’ll be over at Writing Sya.

One Of These Things Is Not The Same

Hey, Tits-For-Brains! (via F-Words) No. Just, no.

Bookbiz Linkage. The 2Blowhards have some interesting links to various articles discussing the different reading preferences of males and females. Here’s an interesting quote from the Guardian article:

“What I find extraordinary is the hold the male cultural establishment has over book prizes like the Booker, for instance, and in deciding what is the best. This is completely at odds with their lack of interest in fiction. On the other hand, the Orange prize for fiction [which honours women authors] is still regarded as ephemeral.”

But then again, I don’t know. The only book I’ve read on the women’s list is To Kill A Mockingbird, but that one’s also on the men’s list. I sometimes read romances, which a lot of people consider trashy women’s fiction, but I don’t have any inclination to read what romance fans consider classic, like Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t like Wuthering Heights, and when I tried Georgette Heyer, I put the book down after the first chapter because I had the strong urge to stab my eye with a fork. On the men’s list, I’d definitely recommend Heart of Darkness and The Grapes of Wrath. So what does this say about me? Am I brainwashed by the patriarchal establishment? Or am I just contrary?

Also via the 2Blowhards: Do girly names obstruct scientific progress? Apparently not is the general consensus due to small sample size in an economist’s (!) study. This reminded me of yesterday when I had to talk to an administrative assistant to reserve a conference room and she totally gushed when she heard my name (Oh! It’s so pretty!). I wanted to roll my eyes and tear my hair out. I hear this reaction all the time. If only my parents had named me Tim as they had originally planned….

The Steampunk Forum. (via who else, The Steampunk Librarian) Oh man, do you know how much time you could waste in here? Or maybe that’s just me. Yes, I’m a sad, sad uber-geek.


The Thursday Threesome: Innate Organizational Skills

Onesome: Innate– talents? Do you have any you’re willing to share? Maybe perfect pitch? …or the ability to tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue? How about a “sense of direction”? Surely you can toss something out to the gang to to wonder about…

None that I can think of. I know, I’m boring.

Twosome: Organizational– style? “A place for everything and everything in its place”? …or maybe, “the bills are somewhere in that stack” and the calendar still says “2006”? What’s your system?

Things are sort of organized.

Threesome: Skills– How are you about power tools? …and tools in general? Are you a user or do you call someone to assist?

I can use a screwdriver and a hammer. The usual household things. Power tools–no.

* * *

A Book Meme (via The Book Lover)

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror?
I like all three.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
Does it matter? As long as I get my hands on a book, it doesn’t matter what format it’s in.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
Big clue: I’m paranoid about online transactions.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Damn. There are no Barnes & Noble nearby.

Hitchhiker or Discworld?
I’ve read both. But the humor gets sort of old after a while.

Bookmark or Dogear?
Bookmark (although these days the “bookmark” is usually a piece of scrap paper or a receipt since I don’t have an actual bookmark in my possession). Dogearring is sacrilege.

Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
I subscribed to Asimov’s for a couple of years when I was a teenager. Good stuff.

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or random?
I try alphabetizing by author, but right now, my bookshelves are a mess.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Mostly keep. Sometimes sell. Or donating. Throwing a book away is an even bigger sacrilege than dogearring.

Keep dust-jacket or toss it?

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
I read with the dustjacket. I’m rather careful with books in general and do not try to make too much wear and tear. Remember, no dogearring. No creasing the spine. No flinging it about as if it were a sack full of rubbish. And definitely no reading in the bathroom.

Short story or novel?
I like both forms of fiction.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When I need to stop reading, I just stop reading. I don’t just stop at chapter breaks.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time?”
Depends on my mood.

Buy or Borrow?
Most books, I borrow. But if there’s a book that I want to add to my collection, I buy it (although I’d troll the used book stores first).

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
Ninety percent of the time, I browse. Sometimes I take a recommendation. Book reviews rarely sway me to buy a book (maybe borrow it).

Lewis or Tolkien?
About the same, I think.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?
The answer should be obvious since I made a fan site for YBFH.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
Both would get me rather annoyed, although the latter more so than the former.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
Any time is good to me.

Standalone or Series?
I don’t have the attention span or patience for series.

New or used?
Used, if possible.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
My default answer for favorite book is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. (Aside: Do you know McKinley will have a new book out later this year? Cue major fangirl squeeing.) But I think everyone’s heard of that book before. When I went to get McKinley’s last novel, Sunshine, the ditzy bookstore clerk was gushing over it–well, actually her favorite novel was Beauty–so I don’t think it’s such a cult classic anymore. So how about The Poison Master (despite its title, it is science fiction) by Liz Williams? I think the fact that I actually went through the trouble of looking for a copy online, even though I don’t even like shopping online, after reading a library copy says a good deal about my opinion for it.

Top 5 favorite genre books of all time?
Hm. I think it would be easier to just pick a top one from each genre.
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – fantasy – Yes, a kick-butt heroine did make an impression on a young girl.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – mystery – The detail, the intellectual puzzles, the tinge of horror, what’s not to love?
The Tomb and Other Tales by H.P. Lovecraft – horror – My first introduction to the master of overwrought terror.
Neuromancer by William Gibson – science fiction – I’m not sure I’d say this is a favorite, but it sure makes one think. I actually prefer short stories in this genre rather than novels.
Mischief by Amanda Quick – romance – The first book of this genre I’ve ever read. It’s a little silly in retrospect, but still, I did like it.

Favorite genre series?
Didn’t I say that I didn’t like series?

Currently Reading?
See my bookrolling list.

Stab Me in the Eyeballs

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of people using the word “loose” for “lose”. Arg! I’m not a grammar fanatic, but there’s only so much of one mistake I can take.