Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another nightmare/dream

The world was coming apart, dark wisps of smoke surrounding a city with ...I dunno wraith-like creatures darting out to grab people. Everything broke down real fast.

There were...firemen maybe.... in these bright yellow coats who started standing guard.

and there were cryptic messages the wraith's revealed in light cast by electrical sources... you know like a flashlight. I remember tossing my flashlight at the wraith's and they circled around it. Within the beam of light they made words appear as if projected on a movie screen.

So that was my dream the other night.

I have been a bit tense lately...

Review of the "new" Knight Rider...

Ever notice how the majority of remakes and updates to an old idea just never come across as well as the original?

There are a few standouts where a sequel or new version of a TV show or movie is a hit.

The new Knight Rider is not one of them.

I groaned through the hour-long premiere which was supposed to be an improvement on the big stinker of a pilot movie.

Improved special effects add little more than an expensive light show.

This show is utterly lacking in a 21st century sensibility to it. There were so many lame attempts at cheesy jokes I wanted to faint like the weak-willed tech geek on the show. Yeah, he actually fainted on camera for no real good reason. Just to add fake comedic effect.

The old Knight Rider didn't even try that hard for its laughs. The original show was cheesy without making a concerted effort at the cornball antics.

The new Knight Rider is not funny, not exciting and insults my brain by even existing.

The sooner NBC puts the brakes on this rolling junk heap, the better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So far so good...

In this case, no news can be good news. As long as I don't see my SASE in my mailbox at home, it means my query is sitting in a stack of mail at the agent's office.

At least I didn't get the snap rejection notice like last time. But that could just mean my query has not been opened yet. Still, until I hear "NO" the possibility remains that I could hear a "MAYBE" in the future.

The process works this way: You send out a query with a small bit of your work to an agent and/or publisher and then you wait to hear if they want to read more.

Even if they request more chapters and then the entire book after, it still could get tossed in the dust bin.

It's nearly impossible to account for taste in this process. There are authors who I think are total douches that wind up being bestsellers. How they convince agents and the public that they are the hottest piece of stink on the planet escapes me.

In fact there is one particular bestselling author who comes across as a total jackass if you ask me. Yeah, he sells copy but I found his writing to be unoriginal in the telling. And the degree of arrogance this tool exudes during interviews makes me shake my head.

His descriptions of the woods and the trees reflect his life in Middle America but the rest of it... George Lucas should come kick his ass for "borrowing" the story arc from Star Wars: A New Hope.

That is an oversimplification on my part and some may argue that both stories essentially are born from the Hero with a Thousand Faces model.

HOWEVER, when you have a pretty "princess" in a long white dress running from the bad guys while looking for the old sage who fought in the great war during the prior generation...

And that sage is now living under an assumed name while hiding out in the boondocks secretly playing mentor to the hero of the current story, a hero who must learn to wield an ancient power against the villain...

And that villain was gravely injured by the old sage at the end of the previous war and is now at the forefront of a growing empire...

And that villain is secretly the father of the hero...

And the old sage was keeping the secret all this time...

Did I mention that the hero's adoptive parent figure is found dead courtesy of the bad guys early on?

It doesn't matter how much the works of Ayn Rand influenced this author. Throw in a couple of robots for comic relief and see this story for what it truly is. It just irritates me to no end that this author practically pats himself on the back for the size of his advance, claims he has the best agent in the business AND refutes the notion that he writes fantasy...

He actually says the words: "I don't write fantasy. If you are drawing comparisons between my work and others, you are not old enough to understand my books."

Wrong, asshole. I am old enough to see the pilfering you've done from prior works. Of course since I disagree with the philosophy of Ayn Rand, this author would dismiss me for a fool.

For those sitting at home... Ayn Rand once stood before a graduating class at West Point and said it was OKAY for Europeans to seize the land that became the United States because the original people living here weren't doing anything with the place anyway. That the merits of our civilization, the advances that sprang from those colonists justify the actions taken to get where we are now.

I counter that notion by saying when you are the direct beneficiary of such an establishment, yes you can cheer its strides. But when you are consistently kept outside of that privileged grouping, and don't you dare pretend that we don't live in a highly stratified culture, it all comes down to elitist bullshit.

In short, I interpret this philosophy to mean: "We built this world so it's okay what we did to make it happen, now go sweep my floor and stop whining..."

See how I have a problem with that? Let me put it in different terms that predate the rise of Ayn Rand. The ancient Spartans believed they had the perfect society but part of their success was based directly on the subjugation and control of other peoples. The elite Spartans basked in their fortunes, and yes they worked very hard at building their world, but it was a society also shouldered by other people who had the misfortune of being born outside of the privileged set.

Yes, there was freedom for the Spartans...but what of the Helots who made up some 80 percent of Sparta's population? Helots who worked the fields to support Sparta civilization and had no say in their own governance. Helots who would be murdered by Spartans as a rite of passage into manhood.

You are hard-pressed to find a modern civilization that did not rise through the domination of one group over another... but the results don't justify the things you did to get there.

Anyway, 13 books later, the disciple of Ayn Rand is a confirmed winner in the publishing world.

I guess there is some solace in the fact he is not a mainstream hit like J.K. Rowling. Probably pisses him off that she generates money to rival Oprah.

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away