Monday, December 11, 2017

Alita Preview

The trailer for Alita: Battle Angel is out. I can't remember if I saw the anime.

It looks intriguing. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Brokedown Toilet

In rather gonzo news, I had to have a toilet replaced because a chunk broke off of it. And I didn’t do anything to abuse it.

I replaced the little rubber flap inside the toilet tank that controls the flushing because the old one disintegrated. If you haven’t had to do this, be thankful. It took a lot of scrubbing to get the black rubber gunk off my fingers. So I decided to replace the handle at the same time. It was held on by a hex nut inside the toilet tank. Using a monkey wrench, I gently turned it a sixth of a turn experimentally. To my great shock, a chunk of the toilet tank fell off.

As you can see, the upper left corner is gone. No, I didn’t hit it with the wrench, and I didn’t  crank on it really hard. It didn’t even make a cracking sound. It just fell off.

I stared at the chunk that came off for several seconds, stunned. I suppose experienced handymen would take it in stride, but I just gazed at the impossible.

I think that certain incompetent plumbers a year or two ago must have whacked it, but I have no way of proving that. I was actually thankful the chunk fell off while I was there and had the water to the toilet turned off. It’s hard to believe, but the bottom edge is above the waterline. But if things had been different and I hadn’t been home, it could have been a water disaster.

The thing was too old to just replace the toilet tank. So I had a reputable plumber replace the toilet and haul the old one away. All told, it cost a little over $700.00.

Needless to say, I learned a lot more about toilets than I ever wanted to. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Book in a Box

Some agents and editors want the first five, ten, or fifty pages of an aspiring author’s manuscript. And they usually want that as part of an e-mail—they won’t open an attachment from some unknown person.

But then there is one particular entity that wants the entire manuscript—printed out.

My address and their address are covered by napkins

To give you the scale: This box I bought for a little over $3.00 can snugly fit an 8½ x 11 manuscript. The manuscript, which is over 400 pages and took me all evening to print, turned out to be a surprising 1½ inches tall. (It took all evening because I printed 50 pages at a time, and I looked through the pages to make sure they had printed out okay.) So the box is about 2 inches tall.

I showed it to a few people at work before mailing it. They were suitably impressed. One woman wanted to hold it to see how much it weighed.

I went to the Post Office on Tuesday evening. The inner part where the clerks are had closed about ten minutes before I got there, so those doors were locked. So I used the automated machine in the lobby.

First class would cost over $18.00. (As to why I didn’t consider something cheaper will be revealed below). But their two-day express would cost about $20.00. So I chose that. If the Post Office is doing its job, it’ll get there right after Thanksgiving.

Why the rush? November is NaNoWriMo. Aspiring writers are challenged to write 50,000 words, or the equivalent of a small novel, during the 30 days of November. What then happens is agents and editors are then flooded with lousy novels in December, because many of these writers don’t take the time to improve their manuscripts before sending them off. 

I know my box may just end up being in the bottom of a bin. But I like to think that my willingness to spend the money to get it there before the rush of hastily-written manuscripts, and the quality of my 85,000 word manuscript will make it stand out. But it’s out of my hands now.

What is the story? Fairy War. Read an excerpt. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Harry Potter in Five Pages

The first page of the original synopsis of Harry Potter that J.K. Rowling sent to publishers is now online.

For those of you fortunate people who have never had to do this, agents, editors, and publishers often require a synopsis of a novel, along with sample pages. This is an incredibly . . . well, since I want to get published someday, I won’t finish that sentence. But think of it: You spend over a year writing a novel, then you have to summarize it in about three pages. And we’re told the synopsis has to be written in as interesting a way as the novel.

I can’t show you the page here. But to see the first page of the five-page synopsis J.K. Rowling wrote in 1995, click on the link below.

A couple things to note: A synopsis shouldn’t just be Person A does this, Person B does that. It should show what is unique about the novel. Also, the normal advice is to just name the main character, or perhaps a second character. J.K. Rowling named all three main characters, plus a couple others. I’m not sure if things are different for children’s book, of if the very names of the characters show what is interesting.

I’ve never been much of a Potter fan. But I did once have an incredibly detailed dream about the three main characters. 

photo by Megan

Monday, October 23, 2017

Screamingly Funny Slasher—Review of Happy Death Day

This may seem off-subject, but I say the best Jake Gyllenhaal movie was Source Code from six years ago:

(Was that six years ago? Wow. See my review here.)
Now imagine a slimmed-down version, without the science fictional elements. The screenwriter who riffed off of Source Code would have pitched it as comedy/horror.

The trailers emphasize different elements, but I saw that the death-by-bus scene in Happy Death Day was almost identical to the death-by-train scene in Source Code.

So I went to go see it. To my utter shock, the matinee cost $12.06. But I had come this far.

I found Happy Death Day amusing and entertaining. One reviewer said the movie didn’t take itself seriously, and that matched the trailer. As a bonus, the boy whose dorm room Tree wakes up in is emphatic that they did not have sex—he wouldn’t do that sort of thing. And they never do anything sexual.

But is it a rip-off of Source Code? I say yes. The clincher is that Tree keeps getting birthday texts from her father, which she ignores. Late in the movie, she reconciles with her father, and that gives her the emotional clearance she needs for the climactic moments. This matches how Colter Stevens in Source Code needed to reconcile with his father late in the movie before he could finally do what he had to.

Is it worth seeing? If you have that much disposable income, maybe. It would be best for you to wait for it to come out on Netflix. If you want to analyze it, watch Source Code first. If you want the entertainment aspects, watch Happy Death Day first, so you won’t be depressed by the lesser effort. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Don’t Mess with Kevin Sorbo

I’ve been torn about whether to post anything about the massive meltdown in Hollywood. Things done behind closed doors have been shouted from the rooftops.

Here’s a surprising example: Kevin Sorbo was sexually harassed.

Before he was an actor, Sorbo was a male model. (I know, hard to believe. Not.) He was set to pose one time when the guy in charge of the shoot grabbed his rear end. Sorbo turned around and punched the guy so hard he was knocked unconscious.

Kevin Sorbo was fired.

The fact that Kevin Sorbo went on to be famous may make readers think I’m saying this is how every person should react in this sort of situation. No. I don’t know how every person should react. But this sort of thing does happen. It happened to Kevin Sorbo. 

See my review of his autobiography here

Friday, September 29, 2017

Buffy the Vinyl Slayer

Below is the Buffy action figure made out of vinyl.

How important was the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer? See my entry titled “What if Buffy had Never Been?” 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trek vs. Galactica

I didn’t watch the new Star Trek on Sunday. The SyFy channel very cleverly ran a Battlestar Galactica marathon over the weekend, and I was recording a stellar episode when the new Trek was playing.

To show you how important this sort of thing is, here’s a picture of yours truly standing near the actual prop that was used as Apollo’s viper throughout the series:

Notice the realistic detail, including the NO STEP on the wing.

To be fair, here I am in front of the actual chair Captain Kirk sat in during the original Star Trek:

Yes, it took me a few takes to get the chair and my head lined up, and my eyebrow just right. Can you blame me? 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Truth or Lie

Crystal Collier’s blog takes its place as one of the more amusing ones in the blogosphere. A typical entry has her wry take on the world around her, complete with relevant (or irrelevant) pictures and memes. Then she’ll introduce someone’s novel, complete with a back cover blurb, link to Amazon, and a bio of the author. Then come the lies.

The author comes up with three unusual statements about him/herself. Fellow bloggers get to guess which one is the lie. From the pool of those who guess correctly, one will win an e-book copy of the novel.

This is a nice blog to follow. And it’s not just because I won this last time. 


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