I used to be quite the cyclist back in the day, racing almost every weekend in the summer. Not so much these days, but I did ride a race not long ago for old time’s sake. It happens to be a race well known for treating riders well, by feeding them muffins and such after the race, as well as the traditional water and bananas. They also hand out a goody bag to all the riders, with little gifts that vary from year to year. This year, the bag contained this:
That’s right – a pint glass, a beer cozy, and a “Michelob Ultra” water bottle. Message received, race organizers. I will commence unwinding from the race.
Longtime readers of my blogs will know that I have a soft spot for the language of MacGyver. This supercut of people in movies enhancing images is generally awesome, but as always, the awesomest parts are those with good old MacGyver.
Of course, no video of enhancement would be complete without Adventure Time:
Papa, writing some sci-fi
Raymond Chandler may not have thought much of science fiction, but who knew that Hemingway wrote it, with his most famous bit of flash fiction?
I’ve spent a bit of time pontificating on realism in fictional works, particularly as it pertains to geospatial matters. It is good to see that Randall Munroe is in accord with me on this (head over to see the float over text):
As we all know, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is upon us. It’s an important day, well worth celebrating, but please people, don’t say “argh” and think you are properly entering the spirit of things. The proper pirate exclamation is “arrrrr” (with as many “r”s as you like – go nuts!), or, if you prefer, “yarr”. But not, “argh”.
“But you don’t understand!” I hear you shouting, “When I say ‘argh’ the ‘g’ is silent! Also sort of the ‘h’, though really, who can tell? I mean, sometimes I sort of let fly with a breathy ‘hu’ sound at the end when I’m going for a sexy pirate sound, but really, the ‘gh’ is basically a unit. And like I said, I don’t pronounce it.”
Well, look. For one thing I see poor misguided souls lurching around in eye patches with stuffed parrots on their shoulder saying “argh” with the trailing ‘g’ all the time. Think of those folks making fools of themselves and try to set an example, would you? For another thing, “argh” already clearly fills the role of a general exclamation of distress, while the piratical “arr” is more of a generalized interjection. I am by nature a descriptivist, but clearly we need both words, and it is in the best interests of the language to properly differentiate them. English is confusing enough as it is.
(That title is meant to be read in your best Ren voice, by the way, for all of you who grew up watching Ren and Stimpy), but sometimes it is necessary to be cruel. And sometimes it is funny, too.
Both of those criteria are fulfilled by this review of the erotic novel Real, by Litchick on Goodreads.
I’ve always been fond of understatement, and I’m known a certain laconic insouciance, so I was impressed by the spokesperson of the Massachusetts State Police, who recently, in reference to an axe that fell off a truck on I-95 and lodged in someone’s windshield, that it “could have been worse”. Now, the phrase “it could have been worse” is sort of pointless when you stop to think of it because yes, there is always some way to make any situation, no matter how disastrous, slightly worse.
But to say that a situation that started with an axe flying through a windshield and ended with a passenger being a bit shaken up might have gone more badly is going the extra mile. I mean, what if two axes had lodged in that poor person’s windshield? Imagine how shaken the passenger would have been. And that’s just off the top of my head. I could probably come up with a few other ways things could have ended up worse, given a few minutes.
When I first heard that an Amazon employee had crashed an unmanned aerial vehicle in the Space Needle, I thought to myself “Well, Bezos has finally done it now.” Year after year of losing money? That’s a mark of pride for Seattle-based businesses. Annoying indie authors by not giving them much money for Kindle Unlimited? Well, where else are their most loyal partisans going to go now? But but jove, people are a bit twitchy about drones getting up to mischief these days. And he could hardly have picked a more beloved civic monument to ram. This isn’t the Saint Louis arch or something.
But now it sounds like he simply buzzed the observation deck, maybe without running into anything. So that’s all right, then.
I see MTV is moving forward with a Shannara TV series. I’d feel bad for old Terry Brooks, sort of riding George Martin’s coattails on the whole “make a TV series out of a fantasy novel series” thing. They both started writing around the same time, but Brooks published the first book in his big ol’ fantasy series way before Martin. I bet ol’ Terry gets quite a ribbing at the writer barbeques.
But at least the MTV series is starting with Book 2, Elfstones of Shannara. Because let’s face it, if they’d done a Sword of Shannara movie, he would have looked even more coat-tailish, since it would have been a acene-by-scene remake of a movie someone else made not long ago.
On the other hand, the Shannara series currently consists of like twenty or thirty books, so there is little risk of George Martin-esque issues of outrunning the books. I think Brooks may occasionally write another Shannara book by accident, actually. Sure, they may run together a bit by book three, from what I recall, but that’s what script doctors are for.
We’ve all seen plenty of advice, as writers, plenty of lists of things to do, or avoid. Personally, I’ve been hesitant to recommend most of them, but finally I’ve found one source of inspiration that I think anyone would find handy.