Monday, December 22, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The move has been... let's call it "delayed". I'm sure that in years to come we will look back on the events of this week fondly, but right now no so much.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No really, I'm fine.

This I can tell you: two nights before closing on a house is awfully close.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And now presenting...

Did something last night I haven't done in ten years -- stood under the lights of the stage at the Marie Maday. Fortunately, I remembered to keep the lights in my eyes so as not to be distracted by the highly bored faces in the audience. That and my own actor move, frowning and shaking my head at everything the other characters say, made it a fairly painless experience.

One of the odd things about staged readings is the question of movement. Do you look at the other actors? Nudge, punch, etc?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Heh heh...

Emphasis mine. sure knows how to make you do a double-take.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Back to the croaking

You’ll forgive me if I start this post with a quotation. Pulled from a recent book by a local writer, it describes his experience in setting up a new business, and I can’t help but find it very telling.
“There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin. Such a one... said he was sorry for me… for [this] was a sinking place, the people already half-bankrupts, or near being so; all appearances to the contrary, such as new buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge fallacious; for they were, in fact, among the things that would soon ruin us.... This man continued to live in this decaying place… refusing for many years to buy a house there, because all was going to destruction; and at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have bought it for when he first began his croaking.”

Now, allow me to clarify. The source of this abridged passage is founding father Benjamin Franklin’s widely-read autobiography. So when I say “a recent book by a local writer”, I mean “recent” compared to the sack of Troy and “local” compared to Addis Ababa. The city he describes is Philadelphia and the topic is the establishment of his legendary printing house.

All Buffalonians know their share of croakers, and even indulge in the occasional croak themselves. It’s difficult to resist. But the two examples Franklin gives of “appearances to the contrary” – new buildings and higher rents – can undoubtedly be seen here.

Five minutes clicking through will bring up quite a few updates on new builds or conversions. The Federal Courthouse, an old Expo hotel, Rock Harbor, the new Burchfield Penney – feel free to append as many et ceteras as you like. Take a drive down-town and witness cranes actually putting buildings up. Not exactly the image of decay you hear from the croakers.

As for rent increase, I can only offer anecdotal evidence, as I’m sure you can yourself. But consider the following, which I gleaned from an email debate between a croaker and someone with a more realistic perspective:
  • In May, CNN Money listed Buffalo as the country’s fifth fastest-growing real estate market.
  • Forbes put us within the top 100 cities in which to get a job in 2008.
  • Newsweek lists City Honors as the #11 public school in the nation.
Spend an idle hour at and find plenty of similar statistics, all of which certainly seem to be from unbiased third-parties.

Franklin gives plenty of advice in his autobiography, including that when positing an argument one should try to avoid definitive statements, that one should pad one’s statements with tempering “I believes” or “so I understands”. In this case, I will ignore this well-intended advice and state quite definitively that we should put a quick end to all of our self-defeating nonsense lest we end up like the man in Franklin’s parable. It’s not the snow that keeps people away from our fair city, it’s the croakers.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

WBFO, #2 Finale

The new WBFO listener commentary is up. 'Cause I know you guys NEVER get tired of hearing me prattle on.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday Link Love

Now tell me this isn't cool. I'm glad we have reached a point as a society where we can search a limitless trove of knowledge before we've even finished a word. Why aren't we all Atlanteans yet?

Friday, November 28, 2008

WBFO, #2

A slightly-less funereal version of the Aunt Mickey post is my latest WBFO listener commentary, which will be aired on Tuesday AM at 6 and 8:30. Further updates as events warrant.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Only a Matter of Time

For some time now, my brothers have been my pathway to true geekiness. For example:
  • It was my desire to understand their ways that introduced me to Magic: The Gathering, with long-lasting results.
  • Pete gave me his copy of Record of Lodoss War, which was a first for me in many respects -- first time owning a full TV series, first anime in my collection and the first with subtitles.
  • It was at Morgan's apartment that I played my first round of 8-man Halo, prompting me to buy the Xbox and leading to a few of the geekiest things I've ever done, including holding a video game tourney as fund-raiser, manning Halo at a bachelor party, and participating in a game-inspired improv show.
It should come as no surprise, then, that when I learned that Pete is currently playing World of Warcraft, I decided to try out the demo. We're not really letter-writers, but we are certainly gamers -- perhaps this will give us a chance to hang out, right?

Well, let me tell you this. PA has it right once again. From what I can tell so far, the game is mainly a steady stream of tasks involving killing X number of Y monsters. Snooze.

Now, I assume that once the tedium of grinding is done and you actually team up with people, some coolness can occur. Except that people are a pain in the ass. So, we'll see.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Here's a snippet from His Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin.

There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin. Such a one then lived in Philadelphia.... This gentleman, a stranger to me, stopt one day at my door, and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Being answered in the affirmative, he said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive undertaking, and the expense would be lost; for Philadelphia was a sinking place, the people already half-bankrupts, or near being so; all appearances to the contrary, such as new buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge fallacious; for they were, in fact, among the things that would soon ruin us.... Had I known him before I engaged in this business, probably I never should have done it.

This man continued to live in this decaying place, and to declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy a house there, because all was going to destruction; and at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have bought it for when he first began his croaking.
Sound like any towns you know?

Friday, November 14, 2008


A bit more link-love for you tonight.

Stumbled across Wordcount recently, a little app that list words by usage. And yes, I did contact the creator to see if his tool could be used to trend data for use in my continuing offensive against the word "iconic" (sorry Eric), but he replied in the negative. #47267, FYI.

reCAPTCHA is awesome. Take one of the more annoying aspects of modern life and use it for the advancement of mankind's great work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

See Me

A few videos for the lot of you.

If you haven't been over to The Humanist yet, you should really watch this. A bit more impassioned than the approach I would take, but then isn't that always the case? The passage of proposition 8 in CA is yet another blot of the record of America, proving once again how far we have fallen from the immutable ideals laid out by our forefathers. For shame, California.

The complete Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello has been posted in excellent quality.

And most importantly, turn it up, man!


P.S. -- I just ran across an old favorite. I've watched about four minutes of West Wing in my viewing life, and this just happened to be a few of them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And Good Luck.

Looks like Obama beat me to the punch in becoming the first internet president. sounds like a fine plan for doing what the nets were built for -- getting info from one person to another. I'm all for it. Also, seems like a fine way to tag people who might try anything untoward. And then, of course, it's only a matter of time before people start getting arrested for things they email to the President-Elect. And once some evil overlords take over, an extensive digital record of people's opinons can easily be scoured for dissenters. We'll have ourselves an old-timey central-government-fueled witch-hunt based on these emails.

Or blog posts.... dang it! Well, I've assumed since age seventeen that once the new order of hyper-christian dictators begins I'll be among the first on the block.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Of Dewey and Geneology

Coughing one's way through the book-paper dust of an inherited library is a fine way to spend an evening, surely. When my father's Aunt Mickey decided to pack up the essentials and relocate to a home with fewer staircases, I did not -- could not -- understand how many books I was about to glean from her collection. The currency with which the elderly trade is bifold; possessions and the memories attached to them, and my wife Jess's and my reward for muscling Mickey along in her move is books.

Not all of them, not by the longest of shots. Aunt Mickey is a highly clever woman, the acuity of her speech never giving away her eighty-five years, and it would appear that the fountain of her continued youth is reading. As my wife tells it after days spent packing a life's worth of possessions into cardboard with the deftness only an Army-brat upbringing can teach, she owns at least ten times as many books as we do, and has read them all. Imagine that! Actually reading all the volumes in one's personal library.

I flicked through the boxes of books Aunt Mickey sent Jess home with every day, searching for arcane ISBN numbers in order to log them in my own unachievable task list and wondering what rubric she used to determine which would go to us and which to the "donate" pile. Why, exactly, did she feel that I specifically needed 'Robert's Rules of Order'? Why so many 70's-and-80's woman-power paperbacks? The musty pile surrounding me on the couch certainly represented the prism through which Aunt Mickey views us, and sleuthing out the whys made for a lusciously narcissistic diversion.

Corners of paper stick out from many of the books. Aunt Mickey did not just read her library, but continually annotated it. Scraps of notes in the horrific handwriting to which all in my family are heir can be found in a large percentage of the collection. Newspaper clippings have been folded into to the covers with the care of a film preservationist. Would you like to know the answer to Carroll's raven-and-writing-desk riddle? I've got it, tucked into the leaves of an annotated Alice. Images of Mickey sitting in her casually mod living room, gasping with interest at an article and describing it to my uncle as she tries to remember just where precisely that one book got to are now among my favorite non-participant memories.

Time spent with these books has given me an archaeological taste of my aunt's life and those of her family. One of my cousins went through a youthful period of UFO obsession in the sixties, for example. Somebody in the family studied more than a little French. A better argument for dating one's books cannot be made; a reading life like Mickey's could be measured in the tree-rings of the inside covers.

And what of when I am eighty-five? How will some great-nephew know my life? Through a pile of video games and check stubs? At the very least I can hope that my new acquisitions will provide a feeling of connection to family history and that my own library -- and life -- will be as worthy of interest.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Allow me to channel a little Humanist with some Saturday Site-Love for

We all know that manliness has suffered greatly over the last 40 years. The causes of this descent into effeminacy are multifarious, but lingering on them brings us no closer to revivifying the near-dead corpus of Man. This site champions our cause. Want to learn how to shave like your grandfather? Take a little trip.

Turn on the TV for fifteen minutes and you'll see how much modern US society hates men. Every commercial and most shows depicts us as fat, slothful fools. It is our own fault -- as traditional gender roles were destroyed in the previous decades, instead of doing the correct thing and simply eliminating bias against women we unmanned ourselves, incorrectly associating our strengths with the evils of our forefathers.

The rising popularity of gentlemanly items like cuff-links is indicative of the fact that men yearn to return to the days when the positive aspects of our nature were encouraged and revered. So, man up.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A New Hope

My crusade against the word "iconic" has been documented in part here on B A Start. I swear, not three days go by before I see it used. I refuse to believe this is due to some kind of increased awareness -- we all know it was Superman Returns.

I was doing some reading this afternoon and found a suitable replacement: paradigmatic. And this in an essay published in the Spring of 2007. Please, journalists bloggers and ad writers, start using this word as an alternate. I'm starting to lose it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All I Need to Know I Learned from 'Big Trouble in Little China'.

#1 - Independence is manly.
#2 - Muscle shirts are only to be worn by men who are a) jacked and b) pricks.
#3 - Childhood fears don't really go away.
#4 - Reporters find the need to put themselves into ludicrous amounts of danger to get something called a "scoop". Don't become a reporter.
#5 - You see a dude dressed in samurai gear, he's probably magic. Do not mess.
#6 - That group of old men who spend all their time playing some board game know something.
#7 - Next time someone throws a knife at you, just grab it out of the air and throw it back.
#8 - If given the option, leave Kim Catrall behind.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


It should come as no surprise to B A Starters that I am and always have been a fan of illustration made during the fifty years encircling the change of the prior millenium. I submit for your halloweeny enjoyment, this pic by Kay Nielsen.

I don't know what tale this is from, but damn if it doesn't look like Castlevania. And it's got the Nielsen big-canvas-small-subject thing going, which I always enjoy.

A bigger version here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

"Kun" is an honorific for boys

I would like an explanation, and I would like it soon. Anyone want to tell me why Domokun is advertising Halloween for Target? How exactly did the lovable if mysterious mascot for NHK become the spokesperson for spooooky holidays here in the US? I, for one, am baffled.

I mean, I get it. Target has been doing their best to get all coolified, what with their off-mainstream music finds etc. Why not grab viral phenom Domo? He's cute, he's from Japan, geeks love him -- he's god damned perfect.

And yet, there's something a little odd about it.

Sure, part of the cool thing about Domo was that he wasn't well-known, but that's a fairly standard geek complaint when stuff gets out to the normies. I tell you what I find unsettling. Domo hatched in front of a TV screen and fell blindingly in love with it. The little fuzzy dude just can't get enough terebi. He's a TV mascot and he loves TV. Unlike here in the US, where our TV mascots encourage us to go outside and play.

So there he stands at Target, his gaping maw hoping to convince us to purchase halloween goodies for the kids, while secretly he's at best an addictive personality and and worst an utter sellout. I love Domo, and seeing him in a US advertisement gives me a bit of evil joy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The RLTP Project, Part 6.

A hearty thanks to all who decided to join in on the fun this Monday. People laughed, which is all I had hoped for. Succession!

So what's next? Now I do some tweaking and try to get the thing put on for reals.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The RLTP Project, Part 5.

Today was the rehearsal for the reading on the 22nd, and I had a great time. The director managed to convince some very funny people to join in the fun, and they all got really into it. Geeks are funny, man.

The reading will be Sept 22nd at 7:30pm at the Road Less Traveled theater space and is open to the public. If you're interested in seeing (hearing?) The Alpha Geek, please feel free to come on down. Costumes encouraged.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Book Four: Air

Avatar: The Last Airbender is over, but was clearly cut short. Here's how Book 4 should have gone:

One year after Fire Lord Zuko's ascension to the throne:

Aang, while living a life of quiet reflection in the Eastern Air Temple, sees a flying bison. This starts him on the search for the missing Air Nomads, who escaped the Fire Nation's wrath by
disappearing beyond the known boundaries of the world. In the last 102 years, they have retreated from earthly concerns, and Aang must convince them to return in order to finalize his life's work of restoring balance. Katara goes with him, despite Aang's insistence that she not.

Ozai bargains with Zuko, offering information on his mother's location in exchange for a 'house arrest' arrangement on the family estate on Ember Island. Zuko, still learning how to be a softy, agrees. Ursa has taken refuge in a murky cave behind a waterfall in the Southern Water Kingdom, where firebending is nearly impossible. The precise location of this place is known only to the Dai Lee, as it is one of a network of hideouts they have established across the globe. Zuko, bored with palace life and a moron, decides to go himself. He appoints Mei as steward in what he believes will be a short absence.

With the Avatar and the Fire Lord now distracted, a group of Ozai loyalists (including the YuuYan archers) takes advantage of the situation and free Ozai. Oops. They embark on a mission to capture the Avatar equivalent of the nuke -- crazy Azula, who has been locked up far from civilization.

Zuko travels to the Ba Sing Se, where Toth has reconciled with her family and set up a school to teach metalbending. He meets with Iroh, who has set up his tea shop and has no interest in adventures. As the Blue Spirit, he sneaks into Dai Lee Central and steals the map of their hidden bases. He realizes they are all linked by narrow passages which can be navigated only by earthbenders. The Earth Kingdom could potentially move people -- or troops -- throughout the world unhindered. Huh. Zuko enlists Toth's help to move speedily to his mother's cave.

A happy reconciliation, and a stop over to see Sokka, who is hard at work rebuilding the Southern Water Kingdom with his father.

Just then, of course, Ozai makes his move. Easily overpowering Mei, he reinstates himself as Fire Lord, assuming that without the Avatar, Zuko cannot get to him. Trouble is, the Earth King has decided that the Fire Kingdom needs to be destroyed to ensure that they never pull a world-dominance stunt again. He unleashes his armies through the tunnel system and battles rage throughout the Fire Kingdom.

Zuko, Toth, and Sokka race back to the action, picking up Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors along the way. They mount a stealth mission to recapture Ozai in hopes that Zuko's reinstatement would calm the Earth King.

All this time, Aang has been searching the hinterlands, proving himself to the Air Nomads, and bickering with Katara. Just when all seems lost back home, he and his people fly in and stop the violence. Zuko reclaims the throne. Everybody goes home.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Why Japanese?

It started with, of all things, Rock Band. As my efficacy at the drums improved, I considered practicing. Twenty minutes a day, say. Keep that up, and I'd be rocking on Expert all the time.

After spending the briefest of moments entertaining this clack-and-roll fantasy, reason stamped it out. What a waste of time! Twenty minutes a day, and to what end? Better fake rocking? I might as well learn an actual instrument.

Hey, wait a second...

Thus began the next stage: an ephemeral question of whether or not I should take up an instrument. I played the baritone horn in high school to little effect, so at least I can read music. I can spare twenty minutes a day, certainly. The violin? Perhaps the ocarina?

This concept went fairly quickly by the wayside. Not to worry though -- I found another way to spend this hitherto unused twenty minutes. (No, it's not exercise.)

I heard this story on NPR, and the phrasing of a certain sentence caught my ear. Jefferson read several languages. Now there's a thought. The guy probably didn't speak German all that well, but he could read it.

This baked for a while until it combined with the previous thoughts and came out of the oven something new: time to learn a language.

Now being both a videogame geek and a lingustics geek, Japanese was the only choice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lost in his own museum

Not all that long ago I was hooked by a game that allowed me to play as a character who liked books. Now I find myself deep into LEGO Indy, in which archaeologist characters can get by certain puzzles by decrypting hieroglyphs. They carry books around. I... I just can't stop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Old Habits

Sometimes, you just have to rock out the LEGOs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cosplay Revisit

I know I just posted about cosplay the other day, but here's another note on the topic. Why stop at clothing when you can change your physical appearance? This post describes contact lenses made ot make the iris unusually large, as in anime large.

Also, fuck yeah.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Be Free!

So, I've been wondering how Debo's move to Phoenix has been going. Twitter is helpful certainly, but little did I know his journey would be featured in today's Golden age Comic Book Stories post of all places.

Looks like it's going long just fine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You did, Tommy. You did,

Now, I've never been to the self-proclaimed America's Fair, so I suppose I shouldn't judge. I will tell you, though, that an event which features both pig races and slot machines just doesn't sound like my thing.

Of course, if this is going on, I may just have to swing in.

Monday, August 11, 2008

BBBBQB: Vindication

Great news! BBQ Beef, which was withheld from us for so long, has returned! Perhaps this was all simply a ploy to make us appreciate the delectation all the more.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Apologeia Cosplaea

Revising the play, and this has given me cause to reflect on that most geeky of pastimes -- cosplay.

While I do enjoy Halloween more than most, I recognize that dressing up in character for a movie premiere or other geek event crosses the line of normalcy. Too bad, really. People went crazy trying to dress up like newly Jetted Brett Favre, and no one seems to mind.

Sure, more often than not cosplay, as evidenced by these pics from comic-con, ends up with scrawny guys trying to look like super-soldiers ...

fat men dressed as super-soldiers....

and women dressed in utter teenage-geek-fantasy skantitude...

but sometimes the hobby/obsession can yield some impressive recreations.

The trouble is that comics and video-games, being visual media, are of course going to depict impossibly good-looking people in physically improbable clothing. You can dress your average person up like Green Lantern all you want, but it's going to look strange unless he's body-builder with plastic sprayed on his skin. And even then.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Japanese Project Part I

Holy crap learning Japanese is hard.

So, there are four different alphabets. One is based in the Latin alphabet, which is nice, but it's only used to communicate with stupid gaijin like myself. There are two phonetic alphabets, one of which is only used for words imported from other languages. (After what date, I'm not sure). But the main alphabet is pretty much only used in kindergarten books, since the inscrutable kanji make up most of the written language.

To add to the fun, there are four different levels of formality in speech, and the grammatical rules apparently change for each. Awesome.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Greenfern was featured in an article on Buffalo Rising, which is the closest thing to publicity we've managed so far. Not a strictly accurate article, but any word is good word, right?

9/22 is that date of the RLTP reading of The Alpha Geek, which should be an enlightening experience. I mean, you can write this stuff, but can you say it?

I've started teaching myself Japanese. More updates later.

End of line.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The RLTP Project, Part 4

We're rapidly approaching the next phase in the project, the one where actual actors get up and do a reading of the play. The director emailed me today to discuss, and asked me this question:

If I were to select 4or 5 sci-fi or fantasy movies to watch as dramaturgical research - what would they be?

Holy crap! Now there's a question for the ages. My response below:

Certainly LOTR and Star Wars. I recommend the Sci-Fi Channel's mini-series Dune (not the movie from the 70's). Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a good, accessible anime movie based on a well-known Japanese video game series. For fantasy, Stardust and Willow are both fun watches. There is a Dungeons and Dragons movie which I did not watch, but may be good for research purposes. Also, there is a documentary called Trekkies about the extreme end of hard-core Star Trek geekdom about which I've heard nothing but positive reviews and certainly depicts the kind of people we're talking about.
*snif* I'm so proud. An acolyte of my very own!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Smells like Dork Spirit

OK, ladies. Looking for a way to attract the attentions of a book-lover like myself? Try this perfume. Guaranteed to turn the pencil-necked heads of owl-eyed Classics majors everywhere. I'll be honest -- I don't think I can be expected to be held accountable for my actions if I smell this on someone, so if you want avoid a tawdry night of discussion on Sir Orfeo, use it with care.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jump back and forth

I quite unexpectedly felt genuine chills at one point in this BBC Olympics ad. If there were any doubts left that Jamie Hewlitt is mega-talented, please put them to rest.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Home for a Rest

Yep, still ludicrously busy. Not quite Garvey busy, but close.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Extrey extrey

Greenfern can now be found at Talking Leaves on Elmwood. Met with good ol' Alicia today to get everything set. Here's hoping I edited everything well.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

With lots of bubbles.

Stealing a few moments for a quick post. Allow me to give you some movie ratings.

The Squid and the Whale. Thumbs-down.
Good Night and Good Luck. Thumbs patriotically up.
Batman: Gotham Knight. Thumbs up.
The Dark Knight. Thumbs (yawn... excuse me) up.
Jumper: Rock horns up accompanied by a slow head nod.
Appleseed Ex Machina: Thumbs unsurprisingly down.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Live.

Yes, I am still alive. Busy busy busy of late. A few updates.

Issue #1 of Greenfern Magazine is now complete. The process of distribution and marketing begins now. Interested in one? Send an email over to

I have been playing as much FF3 as I can fit in. I mean, one of the jobs is Scholar, and he attacks people with books. How am I supposed to resist that?

My new job is not a cake job. So stop saying that.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The RLTP Project, Parts 2 and 3

The main concern was that non-geeks wouldn't find it funny. As it turns out, they were OK with it. Packing the text with references to Dune and The Lord of the Rings struck me as risky, but the group didn't seem to mind.

One of the plays we covered last week used 9-11 as a backdrop. It wasn't about 9-11, just about fictional events that took place at the same time. As you can imagine, this got the group talking. A lot. So the question is, is it too soon? Is seven years not enough distance?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

BBBBQB Continued

For those of you who are not blogddicted enough to read comments, I received the following anonymous response to my previous post:

While the BBQ Beef is a No-Show this year, I hear from trusted sources the Mighty Taco is about to launch a new menu item on the 30th of June that is going to please the stomachs of many in Buffalo. I can't wait too taste it myself!!!!

Hmmm.... I offer now an open letter to this mystery commenter.

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your interest in the plight of Mighty lovers. I was delighted to receive your comment, especially the words "this year". What this phrase implies is that our beloved BBQ beef may return in the future. Please feel free to share my opinion with your trusted sources.

The beginning of BBQ beef season is a well-honored holiday in my household and in those of a large percentage of my friends. Few can deny that the delectable seasonal menu item is among the -- if not the -- tastiest offered by Mighty. Just last night, as a discussion was held bemoaning the plight of the BBQ-lover this year, it was called the best food produced locally. Never mind spiced chicken remnants; BBQ beef is tops.

While I am sure the new menu item will compare with the majority of the Mighty menu, I will be truly amazed if it provides the level of enjoyment which has been denied to us. I look forward to BBQ beef's return next year, which will be received with great joy across the city.


Saturday, June 21, 2008


I was just informed by a polite if laconic Mighty Taco employee that there is to be no Barbecue Beef. So, the price of gas makes travel prohibitive, food prices are up, a new cigarette tax further vilifies my kind, and now there's no BBQ beef. What a time to be alive.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Keep the Apocalypse British!

So, the Brits deploy a big ol' computer defense system which is sure to decide the best way to fulfill its' programming and ensure peace is to end all human life and they actually name it Skynet?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hail to the Me

Did I tell you guys I'm running for president? Well, I am.

Friday, June 13, 2008


A post on webshite? Believe it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why do we fall?

I present to you, gentle reader, a series of events.

  • I receive clearance to grow a beard.
  • I grow said beard.
  • I am informed politely that the aforementioned beard is leaning towards the scruffy direction.
  • I buy a beard trimmer.
  • The beard is trimmed by Yours Truly.
  • I notice that my hair is also a tad on the scruffy side.
  • The hair is trimmed by Yours Truly.
So, if you're wondering why on this sweet Earth I look like a cross between a mange-ridden chipmunk and a young Maeve Garvey, consider this mystery solved.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Random book stuff

I can't tell if I'm obsessed with literature, knowledge, or just books. It might just be books. Not bookbinding or typography, just books. On shelves, in stacks, under chairs, wherever -- a row of spines always grabs my attention. So much potential there, so much information just waiting for my ready eye.

It should come as no surprise then that this post, entitled Hot Library Smut, really gets me going.

I've seen images of the Trinity College Library before, but only because of my lasting interest in Star Wars and the book-geek scandal of the Jedi library. Seriously, check the link.

While we're on the topic of fictional libraries, the Sandman series features the best I can come up with. The library in the Dreaming has not only ever book ever written, but ever book ever dreamed of. That novel you're thinking about penning? It's in there.

Lastly, it seems I am out of the running for the Early Reviewers program. I have been denied for several months running now. Alas -- but at least I won't have to read awful books anymore.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Again I say 'Fie'!

While we're on the topic of my perennially late ideas, I think it's worth noting that the title of my play is 'The Alpha Geek". The plural form of this happens to be the title of an op-ed column printed in yesterday's New York Times by a gentle looking fellow in a pink shirt.

Dang it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The RLTP Project, Part 1

I've never been too keen on the idea of a writer's workshop. The image is somewhere between an AA meeting and a slumber party, neither event being something I have attended to date and neither being something I think I would enjoy. That being stated, I have also never had a piece of creative writing published. So, perhaps it is time to ingest some pride and give it a go.

I wrote a play last year, and now am a part of this year's Road Less Traveled Productions new play workshop. A dozen folks are going to read each others plays and then see them read by in-the-flesh actors. Mine happens to be up first, so at least I'll get that out of the way fast.

The play is an experiment of sorts, taking the timeworn standards of the Mistaken Identity plot and the Comedy of Manners (capitalization added for the appearance of maximum intellectualousity) and testing them out in the world of geekery. Boy Meets Girl at a sci-fi convention.

Now, I had a fine time writing this and even think it may have some funniness to it at points, but having people far more literate than myself evaluate it? Read it aloud? Goodness gracious me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


My latest fiction endeavor has been a steampunk serial in which victorian age Britain has made space travel possible via the invention of ether propulsion. Been working on the story for 6 months or so.

I just discovered Larklight, which the Wik describes as follows: Larklight is set in an alternate Victorian era universe, where mankind has been exploring the solar system since the time of Isaac Newton.

Dang it! Missed the aether-boat again!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Now that's better.

OK. I compared the Telegraph list to the books I have in collections, anthologies, etc, and the real total is 35. Take that, Saldanha!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Just to check notes

A recent article in the Telegraph provides a list of the 110 books which make up "the perfect library". Definitely worth a read.

Since I am a book geek, I set up an LT library to compare with my own.

Apparently I only own eighteen (outside of stuff in anthologies etc). For shame!

Friday, May 09, 2008

You really do always come back!

The next season of Avatar: the Last Airbender is on its way. All i have to say is withhold your knocking until you have tried it.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Book 'em

I'm beginning to sense a trend when it comes to the Early Reviewers program at Library Thing. I haven't been OKed for a book since The 13th Reality. Of course, the fact that my last review was roughly ten words probably doesn't help by odds.

One of the books this time around in Anathem by Neal Stephenson. Based on my collection, I think I have a decent chance. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I've done the math, and if gas reached five dollars per gallon, it would more cost-effective for me to own a horse. Sure, convincing the places I go that horse-parking is OK may take some doing, but it would be worth it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Racism Post

In Which the Blogger Goes There

I sincerely wish that we could look back on racism and laugh. In a time when high-schoolers have never lived a moment of their lives without the faceless internet, one might think the concept that you can tell what a person is going to do by looking at them would be over, a relic, a foolish notion of our ancestors. Like the divine right of kings or war being good for the health.

Alas, no. The practice of categorizing people based on ethnic lines still thrives, and not just with the aged, at whom we can shake our heads and say they don't know any better, but with everyone. Racism, like the inalienable human rights we claim, seems to recognize no boundaries,

Part of the issue stems from ethnic pride, of all places. We wave our foreign flags, toast in the few non-English words we know, and tell our children that the nationality of our forefathers is superior to the others. Our food is the best. We built this country. Our noble ancestors did this or that great thing, and our fellow Blankians (where blank is some race, creed, or nationality) conduct affairs in the best way possible. Not like those other people.

By aligning ourselves with things we did not do, with a history we took no part in creating, we put ourselves and our children into a category. And if we're in one, everyone else must be as well.

Another source of the persistence of racism is far more wide-reaching than holiday bluster. Turn on your TV and see how Obama is doing with white Catholics. Go to work and talk to the marketing people about their strategies for the urban vs. suburban markets. Institutions which make their living based on what people choose perpetuate the concept that groups of individuals can be fit into tidy, preordained boxes.

On one side, this is nonsense. Chaos theory can't predict the movements of caribou – why would statistics predict what free-thinking humans will do? The trouble is, on the other side this makes perfect sense. Of course people from the same background who live in the same neighborhood, attend the same church, send their children to the same school will tend to do some of the same things. As social beings, we feed off of each other, learning our language and behaviors from those surrounding us.

So, fine. Some tendencies of pockets of people can be predicted. I'm from New England and I drink too much. As all animals do, we learn. Last time I touched a porcupine, I ended up with these weird needles stuck in my hand – best not do that again. So, if the first few times I see people from New England they're drunk, I learn.

As an employer, then, should I assume that if I see UVM on a resume I should not hire this person? I mean, they'll be late all the time nursing that hangover.

But people aren't porcupines. Plenty of people in New England don't drink at all. We've all met Irishmen that have never been in a fight, Italians without mafia connections, anglos that can dance, Latinos that aren't emotional, etc.

That last bit raised an eyebrow, yes? We have no problems discussing the irish, italians, and anglos, but throw in a protected class and the racism-ometer spikes, doesn't it? And not because we're afraid someone might hear us, but because we're afraid we might be tagged as racists and lose our jobs.

This seems unfair. It's not. When our parents were kids, a few black guys tried to go to college and the National Guard had to show up. When our elderly remember their grandparents, they remember people who lived with – and fought a war over – the concept that people from Africa were better off living as Christian chattel than pagan free men. If asking people to tip-toe around a few issues is all it takes to bring our nation closer to the vision laid out in the Declaration, then too bad. Next time you swell with pride over the accomplishments of your ancestors, consider a little political correctness to be the payment. I know you never owned any slaves; you didn't fight in WWII either.

Any time we give the government the right to decide what people can and cannot say or think, we should get very nervous. A watchful eye must be kept on this, to be sure, but until we stop both individually and institutionally classifying people into genera based on tannin-level, it is for the best.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

I start a new job Monday, a new position within the same company. This has been coming for quite some time, and while I understood it intellectually, the emotional wallop of passing my life's work on to another person did not hit home until I moved my stuff.

I wrote an article for Artvoice a while back on how to decorate one's office/cubicle, a subtle art to be sure. Just what does one want to represent? And how to do this? For now, my trappings are all hidden away. As I assert myself in the new space with time, though, these question will raise themselves again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hey! Listen!

Allow me to geek out for a moment. I share with a life-long obsession: familiars.

I don't know what else to call them really. Pet-like little guys that fly around your shoulders and help you with stuff. These are, of course, completely fictional to date.

I believe it started with Tron. That little Bit guy (in Spanish below) flitting about left a serious imprint on my young geek sensibilities.

Years went by, and as a college graduate I played The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Widely considered the best game ever created, many people criticize Navi, Link's constant counterpart. Yes, perhaps her persistent wheedling can get a little annoying, but she certainly fits the bill as a familiar, and thus I love her.

Not geeky enough? OK, fine. Once I got an Xbox, the mysteries of Halo became my playthings, including 343 Guilty Spark. A lunatic librarian made by an long-dead alien race. How could I not go for that?

Still not satisfied? My favorite of all time is Bao-dur's remote from KOTOR2. It's a Jedi training remote familiar. FEEL THE AWESOMITUDE!

Now, what's a boy to do? Essentially, what I'm dreaming of here is a flying, voice-activated iPhone with a great AI system and a personality.

Well, seeing how this would require a level of tinkering far beyond my own, obviously the only option is to build my own steampunk familiar in Second Life. And yes, Sparky the etherworks pet is coming along just fine, thank you for asking.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mean, mean pride

Has anyone else noticed how many songs from Rockband are on the radio?

Sure, it might be an increased awareness thing, but following Gimme Shelter with Tom Sawyer just smacks of a bit more than coincidence.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Get me my walker!

Two "you're getting old" face-slaps within mere moments today.

The young woman who sold me my fries had a picture of The Fonz next to her register. When I inquired about it, she told me her coworkers had brought her the grinning Henry Winkler jpeg because she had never heard of him. The Fonz. She had never heard of the Fonz.

Shortly afterwards, a fifty-year-old man walked by me wearing a T-shirt featuring Sonic the Hedgehog. It said "Old School" on it.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just in time for spring.

I have always considered myself something of a stoic. I don't really get worked up about things either positive or negative, an even keel being my persistent goal. I did find myself laughing out loud when watching Rome and hearing the line “You’ll not turn to drink, will you? You stoic types often do when disappointed in life.”

The American Heritage def of 'stoic' give s us a bit on where the word comes from:

[Middle English Stoic, a Stoic, from Latin Stōicus, from Greek Stōikos, from stoā (poikilē), (Painted) Porch, where Zeno taught; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

That's right -- the Stoics were the original porchers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

And another

Well look who started a blog. Frequent commenter John has opened
for business. Get over there.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Must... post.... to blog....

A hearty thanks to Garv for spearheading what is sure to become the most definitive movement in the first half of the 21st century, and congrats to all who have managed to post every day. I mean, I got into a fight with an author, bought a laptop, started playing Second Life, and shaved my head to keep things interesting.

For the record, Nanowrimo started with just 21 participants. We've got that beat! I did send Garv a note of thanks today, which can be viewed here.

Just in case a "wow, we did it" post doesn't count, I'll continue.

Apparently, Jules Verne is trying to talk to me from beyond the grave. Or maybe just from the grave. Either way, he wants to chat. He just keeps coming up. Several times in bufblopofo (tieing with Tupac, I believe). Went to a lecture on the Darwin Martin house (apparently, we are those people), and was told the Courier Express claimed that Jules Verne must have moved to Buffalo, since the style was so odd.

What do you have to say to me, Monsieur? Are you encouraging my latest writing project? Angry with me for detesting The Clipper in the Clouds? Whatever it is, I'll try to get my hands on a ouija board. See you soon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

75% Less Hippie

Just an FYI, BufBloPoFo MoFo's Scheduled outage at 5:00PM PDT.

BufBloPoFo Topic for Day 13: When the writer’s return kicks back in and all the good TV comes back, what’s your viewing list going to be?

Let's play a MadLib. TV Shows: Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, Journeyman, Boston Legal.

"I keep watching ___(show)___, even though it's not good."

The one show I can honestly say I want to see come back is Mad Men. Start watching this show. Yes, they smoke and drink all the time, and no that's not the reason I like it. Not the only reason.

Sure, Jess drools all over the couch every time the main character shows his Brylcreamy head. It's worth it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Buddenbrooks is everywhere.

Yes, another post about LibraryThing.

This is a group which catalogs the libraries of of dead people. As an LT member, I can compare my collection with theirs. I assume it will come as little surprise that I don't have any books in common with Tupac Shakur*, but I was astonished to find how many I have in common with Hemingway. Gladdening to see I don't share any with Dreiser, depressing I have none with Joyce. 21 books in common with Walker Percy? Really?

Can you tell anything about someone from their library? How much? Somewhere between "where they came from" and "who they wanted to be", I'd say.

*Yes, that's two Tupac references this fortnight. Didn't see that comin', didja?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One-and-a-half Life

Second Life intrigues me. Millions of people gadding about, creating whatever they want and doing as they please in a completely user-maintained environment. No shooting, no competition, just wandering around.

Maybe it's the similarities with the Metaverse from Snow Crash (a fave). Maybe it's my HR-geek sensibilities, since companies all over use it. Whatever it is, I want to know more.

Now that I am the proud owner of the star-blessed lappy-so-happy, I am actually able to run Second Life (albeit with limited graphics). I set myself up a character, skimmed the orientation stuff, played dress-up, and got to it.

But, got to what? What the heck do people do on this thing? My initial wanderings produced nothing to maintain my interest. One of the sites I reference from time to time in my steamjournalism is The Heliograph and this guy talks a lot about a steampunk locale in Second Life. I figured I'd swing by.

Okay, so Victorian-style buildings, Victorian-style clothes... by this point I still haven't figured out the draw. By happenstance I come across a library. Someone has built a library, making public domain Vic Lit available to read in-game. I pull up a chair and start on some Jules Verne.

In other words, I end up doing EXACTLY WHAT I DO IN REAL LIFE.

Alex in real life:

Alex in Second Life:

Apparently, the way I live my Primary Life is pretty well-suited to me. Even in a fantasy world, I end up holed up somewhere with my nose in a century-old book.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Having been to New Orleans all of once (not nearly enough to start referring to it as either Nola or The Big Easy), I cannot claim to be an authority. I spent a few days in the French Quarter, venturing out to an A&P in a collegey area once or twice. Nonetheless, I feel perfectly comfortable making the following observation.

The bars in the French Quarter do not favor the colors green or purple. Even during my obligatory walk down Bourbon Street I saw neither color in any large amount. Why, then, do bars in Buffalo insist on decorating like the Joker when they try to go all New Orleans?

As you can tell, I went to Chippewa's latest destination for skeeviness, Bayou, recently. Some multiple office happy hour thing. Nothing quite like seeing scores of business-casual, fifty-something suburbanites forced to suffer in a bar designed for nineteen-year-olds. As I remember, though, Ya Ya's had a similar design approach.

Where did this come from? Are green and purple the official Mardi Gras colors? I know green is for Ordinary Time and purple is for Lent -- is that it?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I say, Holmes. How Do You Do It?

I'm realizing I didn't really flesh this out yesterday, so allow me to expand. One of things I was really into as a kid was Victorian adventure literature. Yes, I know this makes me a weirdo.

From the best I can remember, it started with Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped!. After getting a taste, I went on to devour the more accessible titles in the genre. The complete Sherlock Holmes, much of Poe, the biggies from Wells and Stevenson, even a smattering of Verne.

It's difficult to figure what drew me to these books. Why didn't I read, say, Star Wars novels or what little young adult fiction existed at the time? Why century-old books?

I maintain that the written English word reached the zenith of its grammatical quality in the late 1800's. After that, the modernists came in and stripped it of all complexity, applying the factory-manager's tenets to literature. Streamline it, do more with less, function before form. Imagine if poor Tennyson had been born in 1930.

A combination of the challenging language and the exciting subject matter made this stuff perfect for a young Alex. And did it affect who I am as a person. Take a look at my apartment and you can tell me.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Fifty Per Cent

A bit of housekeeping today.

Apparently BufBloPoFo has been enough of a success to date that our compatriots simply cannot resist starting blogs. Please welcome Greg at the Wannabe Outdoorsman and Amanda at Popcorn to the rewarding world of blogging.

I have been horribly remiss in responding to this week's comments. I bought and HP, not a Toshiba. I have not seen Interstellar 5555 -- I always assumed Daft Punk took an existing movie and re-cut it to fit their song, which is much cooler than what they actually did. Vista still sucks, though some of the features are pretty all right. I just wish it would stop clicking on things unasked.

1: I started this blog to get more practice writing. I'm not sure if the previous sentence is grammatically correct.
2: The best gift I have ever received was a combo -- my dictionary and thesaurus, which are dope.
3: Things that went right today -- It's snowy enough to not do anything. Rad.
4: Play me in a movie. Depending on the type of movie, David Duchovny or James Marsden. Play Garv, Broderick.
5: Etiquette - already covered.
6: Stuff I was into as a kid: Star Wars, GI Joe, Victorian adventure literature, Voltron, Atari.
7: In my wallet. Standards.
8: Current music. The endless mix of post-medieval church music and suicide rock that Jess plays. And Rock It by Gorillaz. Hate the video, like the song.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Well, I'm bald. I participated in Bald For Bucks, a fundraiser for Roswell, and now have zero hair.

Now, what is wrong with the people I work with? Nobody called me Lex Luthor. Nobody called me Charles Xavier. No Destro, no Lobot. I did hear Jason Statham, though, which is tough to be unhappy about.

I'll tell you this -- my head is cold.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Another Open Letter

Dear Windows -

It's about Vista. If I had wanted a Mac, I would have shelled out the dough to add one to my list of fashionable accessories*. As it turns out, I want a PC. You'll note the use of the present tense "want".

I was an Apple guy once, back when you needed to know what to put after a C prompt to make an IBM-clone do anything other than blink at you mockingly. I used to say 'an Apple is a tool, and a PC is a hobby'. Used my tried and true Macintosh SE through college without issue. Then I grew up and got a job.

So, you hooked me. I left the world of smiling icons to enter one of deadly blue screens, happy to spend hours of my life watching Scandisk try to undo whatever horrible thing I had done to my PC (simply by trying to use it). My lifelong obsession with videogames reached new heights, and I came to love the accessibility of every aspect of a PC's function offered by Windows 98 as I tweaked and tweaked, desperate to improve framerate.

Having become a willing devotee of Uncle Bill, I came to detest the Macolytes. Why pay so much for a pretty case wrapped around a machine that wouldn't let you mess with it? They were useless from a business standpoint and had precisely crapola for games. Yet friends and family, people I care about, fell to the lure of the quick and easy path of Mac ownership.

And now, having carried the torch for these many years, I am slapped in the face with this new Mac-like OS. Why don't you just replace the Start menu with the Finder and move the X to the other side of the window while you're at it?

With unflagging love,


* This list is very, very short.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lappy So Happy

I blog to you now from the new laptop. I'm not going to tell you that Alanna's recommendation of led to the purchase, but I will say that apparently one twelfth of the world's population would do well to buy an electronic device in March according to the stars.

It is an indisputable fact of modern life that Best Buy's 20-something staffers will try desperately to upsell you a bunch of stuff you don't need. This is despicable, as they normally use the coarsest of scare tactics to get the ill-informed to make poor decisions with their money. Want to shut them up? I suggest the following:

BB - What are you using this computer for?
AL - Wireless internet and word processing.
BB - Are you familiar with Vista?
AL - Yes. (Technically not true, but assume our definitions of 'familiar' differ in this context.)
BB - Well, it doesn't come with a word processor like...
AL - Not to worry. I use open source software for that.

At this point, the poor fellow blinked several times. 'Open source' is the blue-polo-shirt equivalent of 'Rumplestiltskin'.

BB - Well, what do you use for security? Viruses...
AL - I use open source for that, too.
BB - (now sweating) How about a service plan? You know batteries for these things can cost up to BLANK (where BLANK is half the cost of the laptop). We can (three minutes of pathetic blathering).
AL - No thanks.
BB - Well, here you go, Have a nice day.
AL - That's right, bitch. I know your secret. I am geekier than you pretend to be, and your three-card-monte bullshit doesn't work. Now try to sell me a pre-order of Madden 2015. I dare you.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Officially sanctioned

While I was on my safari in the Buffalo Central Library on the hunt for that Japan book, I found myself with plenty of time to look at the bulletin boards. It was then that I learned of the Buffalo News short fiction contest. They were looking for super-short stories set in Buffalo, so I re-tooled a piece I had (unsuccessfully) submitted to the Artvoice for their flash fiction purposes and sent it to the provided email address.

No response. Not a "thank you for submitting", not a "we got yer thingy", nothing.

The winners were posted recently, including some runners-up. Obviously there was some mistake. My piece is simply filled with quality. Sure, the Artvoice guy didn't recognize it, but perhaps he has some kind of bias. (When I get my Nobel, he'll rue the day he overlooked what was so clear to everyone else.) The News must not have received the complex gem of modern literature I offered them.

So, I emailed again today. A very polite and respectful note congratulating the winners and asking -- just out of curiosity -- for confirmation. Not confirmation for myself as a writer, of course (though an "oh, yours was simply magnificent but didn't really meet requirement X, have you considered The Atlantic?" wasn't outside of the realm of imaginable possibility) but simply confirmation that my opus had been received.

Sorry, but we read 500 stories and can’t confirm receipt" came the reply. No lead-in, no "yours", nothing but that sentence. And this not two hours after I sent my inquiry.

Now, I've received my share of rejection letters, and this one struck me as unusually rude. One might point out that if I had received a simple "thank you for your entry" I would not have been troubling them at this late date, or that a greeting and signature are normally considered the minimum acceptable etiquette, but these reminders would most certainly fall on ears deafened by the immense responsibility of being paid to read 250,000 words for the only paper in town.

So there you have it, Garvemus: a post on etiquette and protocol. Rejected-writer rage!!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's fate.

Dear MTV -

You must have heard I called in sick today. Why else would you play a straight hour of animated videos in the middle of the day?

You should know that all in all, I was satisfied with your choices. Daft Punk's "One More Time" and "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits are the obvious historical choices, and you did well to include them. "Move Your Feet" maintains its hilarity and "Breaking the Habit" will never cease to be awesome.

That being stated, why two Gorillaz videos? And why was neither of them 19/2000? Also, that Tupac video is awful. I am literally filled with awe at how bad it is.

My only additions might have been "Paranoid Android" (though its like seventy minutes long, weird, and only important to Radiohead freaks, so maybe "Pyramid Song"), Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" in place of the Daft Punk thing, and lego-tastic "Fell in Love with a Girl".


Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Question of Usage

"Youtube it!"

I overheard this imperative the other day. We all know you can google, fedex, and xerox, but does youtube merit a verb form?

I'm leaning towards no. The trouble is, one can search for videos on youtube as well as post them. So, does "youtube it" mean "look for that video on youtube" or "post that video on youtube"?

It could be argued that context would be the deciding factor between the two meanings,
but take for example the following conversation:

"Where did you get this video?"
"I youtubed it."
"Oh, you posted it to youtube?"
"No, I found it on youtube."
"I say. This would be easier if 'youtube' were not a verb."
"Quite right, sir; quite right."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

By This I Stand

As you may remember, I participate in Librarything's Early Reviewers program. The latest book I received, The 13th Reality, makes two books I've received and two books I really did not like. My review of the book was downright mean -- it actually made me angry to read this thing, and I opted to shelve my trademark diplomatic demeanor and have at it.

Apparently, the author wasn't so keen on that. His response is here, at the bottom of the page. I would have preferred something more along the lines of "shut up, you prick", but instead it looks as if I actually hurt the guy. Guilt, oh yes I feel it.

I must respond in some fashion, but I certainly will not retract my statements. It would appear most readers disagree with me, as the average rating is 3.78 out of 4 on LT and 5 out of 5 on Amazon, so I assume he can take some solace in that.

My forays into Young Adult fiction have been fairly limited, but I get the sense that most readers are grown-ups who forgive poor writing because the target audience is teenagers. I suppose my problem is that I expect everything to be good, that I rank books on a universal scale rather than one limited to genre or intent. Perhaps an approach closer to "it's OK, if you like that kind of thing" would be a better.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Apparently all the Starbucks' in the known universe were closed for three hours yesterday. They say it was for employee training, but we all know it was to assert their supreme dominance over American life.

"We believe that this is a bold demonstration of our commitment to our core and a reaffirmation of our coffee leadership," said chief executive Howard Schultz in a statement.

Schultz was later quoted as saying "We also believe that this is a bold demonstration of how much you little fools depend on us. Comes the revolution, don't say we didn't warn you. Mwa ha. Mwa ha ha. MWA HA HA HA HAAAAA!"

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Well, look who's back.

Also, be sure to participate.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Dark Scottish Loch

Odd synchronicities going on recently.

Fidel Castro resigns. Ivan Castro skis.

I'm watching Blade Runner tonight. On the way home from work, I heard "More Human Than Human".

Been watching a lot of Doctor Who recently. Last night, I was referred to as "Doctor Who, here".

Maybe it's the eclipse.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Ever get a line stuck in your head? As if it were a song? I've had a phrase from the attached clip running through my giant cranium all day.

The vid is from the worst episode of the otherwise excellent series Doctor Who. I recommend starting at 2:50 for context, but the line itself is at 3:17.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Without End

Chi-Mark has posted another salvo on the videogames-as-art debate, so get over there and read it.

Also, I just realized I never linked to his blog. Dick! Problem to be resolved shortly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The WBFO project, finale

That WBFO listener commentary I recorded a few weeks ago ran this morning and has been posted online. Please address the skids of adoring fanmail to

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Blog Post of Obfuscation

Anybody else find it strange that the next Bond movie is apparently a sci-fi Castlevania game?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Two Great Tastes

Sarah Michelle Gellar owns the movie rights to American McGee's Alice. Today, scifi wire posted a lil' interview with her in which she describes some of the issues she has run into getting the thing airborne.

Calling the movie "the frustration of my life," Gellar joked: "I'll do it if I have to get down and write it myself one of these days. I may have to."

Dear Ms. Gellar -- call me. I live to serve.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Let's just say I were to be tasked by some hyper-pro-Buffalo agency to fill out a weekend in such a way that highlights the region's awesomeness. This last weekend would be pretty close. It seriously sounds like stuck-up WASPs going on about their holiday at Vail. Watch.

While waiting in line for a haircut -- there were just so many people on Elmwood -- I got a text telling me that Peter Fowler had a showing at his kepa3 gallery down on Barker. Off we jetted, meeting up with some well-mannered people who drive black cars. After politely reviewing the art, we stopped by Laughlin's for a late lunch. Cajun grouper and Sam Adams Winter Lager on tap: simply fantastic! Apparently we missed some exciting doings at Sample in the late night due to some missed messages -- another expat has decided to move back into town for the low cost-of-living and thriving arts community.

All was set for a quiet Sunday until I received an email inviting me for a coffee at Spot, as a friend had set up shop there for the day to study. Well, didn't we just have to stop by? We didn't stay for long -- there were just so many people -- and popped across the street to Globe for a reasonably priced coffee. While there, we ran into more friends and joined them on a short walk down Elmwood, stopping just long enough for Shoefly, of course. We parted ways, and Jess and I took advantage of the fine January weather to continue our walk down the well-manicured green-space of Chapin to Hoyt Lake.

A bit of rest before dinner at Mother's with a friend who stopped back from NYC for a family event. After a fine meal (for a much better price than one could find downstate), another friend caught up with us and we slid across Virginia Place to Scarlet for a pint or two in the red neon.

See? Snooty-sounding, even in our very own Buffalo. Tune in next weekend when I detail how I sit inside and watch Doctor Who.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hello Buffalo, I'm Reading

Today found me in the WBFO studios, recording that listener commentary and fighting an irrepressible feeling that I had walked into an episode of Frasier. The actual recording of the essay, complete with re-reads of several of the sentences which seemed fine until I had to speak them aloud in a single breath (damn my love of commas!), took substantially less time than the conversation I engaged in afterwards.

When the radio guy asked me if I missed being home last week, I told him I thought the weather was too warm for skiing. He meant this whole "voting" thing the kids are so excited about these days. Apparently, simply hailing from New Hampshire makes me an authority on the excitements of primary season. Having clarified ourselves, we swapped tales of run-ins with political figures for a solid half-hour.

If you just can't get enough of me yapping all the time, tune in on January 29th.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The WBFO Project

I'm doing one of those listener commentaries on WBFO this week. Sent in the Mormon cyberpunk post before the holidays and got a positive response the other day, so I've got an appointment on Thursday afternoon to get all recordified.

I'm hoping to get some hate-mail. Someone out there who knows more about the topic than I do, all fired up over some minor detail. It's the sort of argument that lends itself to "well, sure, but you forgot about _____" responses. I'll keep you posted.