I was looking at Matt Enlow's site where he mentioned a neat movie puzzle(or game, or whatever you want to call it)where you have to see how large a group of actors you can come up with where every single pair of them has been in a movie together. For extra challenge, make it so that no two such movies are the same. Threesomes are easy to come up with, foursomes much harder, and fivesomes...well, we managed one so far, by using a group of actors who were in a lot of movies together. That group is Bill Murray, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin, and Chevy Chase. I'll leave the actual movies used to link them as an exercise.
Some other interesting foursomes include: Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, and Andie MacDowell; Ethan Hawke, Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, and Uma Thurman; Bill Pullman, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, and Tom Hanks; and Andy Garcia, Joan Cusack, Julia Roberts, and Robin Williams. I also did one with Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, and Michael Keaton.
Of course, you could do some incredibly easy ones using ensemble casts that did a lot of movies together, like the original Star Trek cast, or Monty Python, or the Carry On movies. Those don't really count either, in my book.
Quincunx was expressing surprise at the rate of writing than I can manage. I think it's because while I have never written a novel before, all the muscles are there; I just rarely use them. I've written short stories, I've written ongoing interactive storylines--heck, some of my alt.pub.dragons-inn writing might have added up to 50,000 words. So I have the craft to churn out words. Maybe not to plot the novel yet, but I always thought I'd be more of the writing off the cuff anyway.
A few more recent library CD reviews:
"A Place In The Sun" by Lit was unremarkable, though I wouldn't go so far as to say, like the All-Music Guide did, that they're just another alt-rock band, like Better Than Ezra or something. They've still got those heavy guitars in there on most of their songs, which frankly turns me off. So it didn't make much an impression on me, but what it did was not particularly good.
"Another Five Songs And A Poem" by Bif Naked was good; I tend to like her stuff, so I'm not surprised. She's an interesting character, really...
Hidden Agenda's self-titled album was pretty dull, boring straight-ahead rock. I really didn't expect anything different from a local band fronted by a TV news anchorman. But c'mon, man, did you just hate the last two decades of music, or what?
Right now I'm listening to Greg Garing's "Alone". I had already heard his song "My Love Is Real" from a CD sampler my Dad got a while ago, and that's a good song; we'll see if the rest of the album stands up. The All-Music guide calls it "an awkward blend of rootsy singer-songwriter folk-rock and light trip-hop". I'd have to say that in general I like that blend--I like the little trip-hop beat in the background.
Mildly close to the topic, here's a Romanian page for you: Sarmizegetusa! If someone could tell me what this is all about without charging me to translate it, that would be really cool. I'm not sure if it's a club, a historical site, or a revolutionary group. "Sarmizegetusa" proper seems to be the former capital of Dacia under the Emperor Trajan, or before he conquered. Nobody will tell me what it means, but there's a kind of a henge there, too. Why do I even care about any of this? Ask Cristian Deac.
I'm so glad that now that the Taliban seems to be on the run, we can get back to the burning question of Aaliyah's death. Yawn.
I heard a number of Leonard Cohen songs on Jennifer Warnes's tribute album, "Famous Blue Raincoat", before I heard the originals. This version is sprightly and bouncy, so I was very surprised to hear that the original was, well, dirgelike. Warnes changes a few of the words around, but it's still a good song. (Leonard Cohen is sort of like Bob Dylan in the sense that many musicians seem to hear his songs and think, "Wouldn't it be great if someone who could sing did that song?")
Last night I managed to get almost precisely my quote done. According to my calculations I had to get up to 28,560 words, and I stopped at 28,577. I could probably have gone on for longer, but it does seem to work a little better if I don't necessarily finish a chapter at the end of a session. My chapter lengths seem to be varying wildly anyway, and last night I finished a Tor'shye chapter, did a short Yeryis chapter, and then went back to Tor'shye, because I'm not really sure what to do with Yeryis right now. She's in such a powerless situation, and I don't really want her to escape from it too easily, so all she can do is watch other people and talk to them...and right now they're not very nice people.
My timeline is probably all screwed up, since I don't really have one. I don't know how far away Tor'shye had to travel, I have no maps, and I don't know how fast a longboat sails anyway. Well, this is the first draft; the second draft is for fixing up little details like that. At least, that's my wife's approach.
Been spending a lot of team on Diarist.net, since someone happened to mention the awards on their site. Last night, when I should have been writing(my bad), I was reading the various single-entry nominees, and then was blown away by one of the "Best Writing" site nominees, The Sex Pistols are Alive and Well and Living in Sohatsenango. I barely even looked at the other two nominees, which is probably a good thing because I don't have that much time on my hands. Less than a week for the final voting, and eighteen more sites to look at... Well, "Best Design" shouldn't require as much reading, just looking, which is quicker.
Now I realize that this site is really more of an "online journal" than a "blog", because the latter is apparently used principally for the sharing of choice links. I've done that a few times, but I prefer writing about stuff, because I don't think that everything I want to express is actually found somewhere else on the Net. So I decided to register my site at Diarist.net, but I'm not sure if they will accept it because of some little proviso about "hive sites". I don't know whether Blogger/blogspot counts as a "hive site"(since they don't actually come out and say which ones are), but I think it's pretty stupid to discriminate against them just because some people, even most, that use them don't stick to it, and abandon it, just because it's easy to start it up in the first place. Do they want to discriminate against people who are too lazy to make up their own site by hand, but, like me, are perfectly willing to use tools to make it easier? I have my own web pages, and I've done my own web pages, though I am bad at design because I tend to think that anything too fancy to show up a plain-text browser is not worth putting on a page in the first place. So Blogger gives me something cool without my having to work at it too hard.
I suppose I could probably figure out how to host it on my own web site at Telus, but I really don't want to give them my password. And I hate the Geocities ad windows(the one thing I disliked about the Sohatsenango site above). So I'm going to stick to Blogger, and if Diarist.net is too benighted to consider this an online journal for that reason, then they can stick to their own little world.
Yes, I'm itching for accolades for what I consider to be high-quality writing. I think I'm interesting, I think I have interesting thoughts, and I don't consider myself unduly conceited to think so. When someone like Acanit(the Sohatsenango writer)can wonder whether her stuff is worth putting up for anyone else to read, I think that I should be able to get at least some notice. I don't know if that last sentence made logical sense, but whatever. What I meant was that just because someone whose site is really good doesn't have confidence in it, doesn't mean that I can't have confidence in my site, though it may not compare. And, I confess it, I'm not a goddamn 14-year-old girl blogging about what guy she likes and what guy she thinks is sweet but just a friend and how the big Radiohead concert was.
I like to be noticed for what I like to do. I would probably have dropped completely out of the Atlantis games I'm playing right now, if it weren't for a few people who more or less asked me not to. It might be another week where I don't send in any orders, but I won't quit just yet.
So go ahead and nominate me for a Diarist.net award come January. Make 'em sit up and take notice.
I hate maintenance tasks. It's just the second law of thermodynamics at work again. You have to do work just to keep things the way they are, and even then not quite as good.
Doing dishes, for instance. I do dishes about once a week because I can't stand doing them every night. It takes most of an afternoon by the time I get around to it. Once I get down to it, I can do them all at once, usually, without minding that much; my mind just gets into the dish-doing subprocess and I get all focused on it. It's just getting into the subprocess in the first place that's the problem.
And other cleaning? Forget it. Once a year, maybe, washing sinks and bathtubs and things. Walls and windows are only for moving out. Vacuuming carpets is for when company comes over. Sweeping the kitchen floor is for when I get tired of things getting stuck to my socks when I walk near Simon's chair.
Even cooking and eating--left to my own devices, I leave it to the last possible moment. Nicole cooks and I do dishes, that was our bargain from the start. Myself, I like things like Ichiban soup and Kraft Dinner, frozen chicken cutlets, peanut-butter sandwiches, leftovers, etc. I can make lasagna or meatloaf if I try, and I do the occasional cheese fondue, but that's the time when I start eating at 8:00 or something because it's just too much work to do before I'm actually starving.
I think the world would be a much better place if we didn't have to do these mundane tasks. Cleaning robots would be good, cooking robots would be better. Although finding someone to deal with all of my loose papers and stuff scattered all over my office would require more like a summer student.
And speaking of Ichiban and Kraft Dinner, one thing that drives me nuts is how my favourite products just seem to arbitrary disappear from time to time.
I'm not sure in any given case whether it's the store that stops stocking it(though I can sometimes find things at other stores), or whether the product itself is retired, but it's happened enough to be really annoying. Maybe my tastes are a little bit unorthodox, but it's like I'm the anti-test group or something.
I've eaten Eggo toaster waffles for years. I remember when they used to have an Apple-Cinnamon flavour. Haven't seen it in years, though they did come out with a Cinnamon Toast version. And there was a Cream Cheese and Blueberry-filled toaster strudel that disappeared. I usually alternate between Rio Red Grapefruit juice and Apple-Lime, but Apple-Lime has disappeared off of store shelves. I would like to eat Ichiban flavours other than Beef, but Safeway only stocks three others, none of which I like; I sometimes see others at other stores, and pick them up if I do.
Sometimes it's just temporary. There were no Kraft Spirals(vastly superior to any of the other macaroni types)for almost a month at Safeway, but then they came back. I don't like the competitors' cheese sauce, and the tubular macaroni doesn't cook well enough for me. Yeah, I'm picky. And there was a time in Grande Prairie where they only stocked the two-pizza size Kraft Pizza Mix, not the one-pizza size, at the Safeway either.
What else...pasta sauces! We like those Olivieri pasta & sauce things, but our taste in sauces is fairly limited. I'm not a big tomato-sauce person. I like tortellini in Four Cheese Sauce, and that's fine. For a little while they had a Mushroom Porcini sauce which was just heavenly, and we had that with everything. Then it disappeared. We sometimes go for the Olive Oil & Garlic sauce instead, but that's a bit unreliable too.
Okay, now maybe this kind of writing won't get me any awards. But it keeps happening, over and over, and I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who gets discriminated against like this, or if everyone has experiences with disappearing favourite products. Maybe I just don't shop around enough, but that's a lot of work. I've never been much for price comparisons, either, except maybe with CDs. (HMV is too expensive, generally, though I do snag the occasional one on sale; for serious purchasing, I go to A&B Sound.)
I'm getting closer to done my favourite-song list. I think it'll probably stabilize at 750, and I'm at 500 so far, still filling it fairly randomly, but then I'll have something I can twiddle a little bit. It'd be nicer if I could start at the bottom, but the top's easier for me to figure out. I don't want to have to leave out too many, so I can impress you with what I think are variegated tastes and you will probably think is somebody irretrievably mired with 80's pop and juvenilia. Sorry, I always get a bit defensive about my tastes, as a way to keep from being apologetic about them. But I like what I like, and all I hope is that maybe somewhere out there someone will be able to think of something else I might like too.
I don't know if I've mentioned that I'd like to have a radio show somewhere where I could play all of this stuff, but it'll probably never happen...
Actually, I'm just posting this right now so because I've added a Clix thing to my template, and wanted to see if it will show up if I submit something new. But I've been meaning to do this for a while.
Hmm....now I have to come up with a title for this entry...oh, the pressure, the pressure... (This will seem anticlimactic to you, the reader, because of the fact that you've already seen the title, but I can't help that.)
Anyway, crunchy numbers: 11,598 words as of tonight. That means 22 more days at 1746 words a day, or 16.5 more days at my current average rate of 2320 words a (productive) day.
Still don't quite know where this thing is going, but it's going...
My wife is still having trouble sleeping due to her cough. Last night she thinks she got about two hours...at least, by the time Simon woke up at 6:00. So I stayed home from work today, went out on our several-days-overdue grocery trip(she hasn't been feeling like cooking, so we haven't been using as many of the raw materials...we always have to run out of meat for supper before we go shopping), and generally tried to give her more rest time. We'll see if she's better tomorrow...and then the weekend.
Watched "24" on Tuesday, and I still can't believe that that's actually television. I mean, it's on TV, and yet it was so far beyond every other thing I've seen there... Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it was amazing. Watched "The Tick" tonight, and it was funny. I've never read the comic or watched the animated show, but I've heard about it...
I should clarify, for some people, that I'm really not as productive a person as I might seem. I might have mentioned(I get tired of looking up on my blog to see if I've already mentioned things, so if I repeat myself you'll just have to deal)that I've never finished a long work; in fact, I'm probably already close to or past the length of my longest. Yes, I know, it's not done yet.... In general I don't have staying power, and once things start to get hard or unrewarding then I stop. I have umpteen different long-term projects(most of them involving lists, why do you ask?)which I may never finish, and the enthusiasm for which comes and goes. Maybe this will be one of them, who knows.
When asked to explain this flaw, I usually point to my youth. I was a gifted child, I say, and I was insufficiently challenged all throughout school, because I made the decision to stay in a grade with reasonably like-aged classmates rather than catapult forward into university like Gary Coleman in that stupid TV-movie years ago. If I had done that, maybe I would have been a Steven Hawking graduate student, or Vice-President at Microsoft or something. This is fine as far as it goes, but I have a bad habit of feeling that once I've accounted for a flaw, I don't have to deal with it anymore. As Linus once said, "These aren't flaws! These are character traits!"
But I always seem to work well under deadlines. Once, in a programming contest in University, as a one-person team, I creamed a number of two- or three-person teams in completing four short programming assignments in a limited amount of time.
(Of course, when I went to the regional championships with a three-person team, we crashed and burned badly.) I often finished my exams long before the deadline. So I figure that a one-month deadline, however fake, might get me off my ass and doing some writing. And maybe even keep doing writing after the month is over. It's building up the routine that is the hard part. My computer is chock full o' fun & games, and I'm a guy who can have fun with a text editor program if I've got the right text. What I have to do is convince myself that writing is fun. (And this is just churning out first draft; after that, I'd have to try to convice myself that rewriting is fun.)
Whether what comes out of this novel thing is worthwhile or just unmitigated crap, it will be a valuable experience. Sort of like I imagine a Clarion Workshop would be. (Love to do one of those sometime...this is just a warmup. Another goal for my retirement after Nicole's books really start to sell. (And it looks like The Catalyst, one of her earlier-published books, will be rereleased in e-book format sometime relatively soon. Not much of an advance, but 50% royalties are nothing to sneeze at, even if that's 50% of e-book revenues, which I suppose you could probably sneeze at if you wanted to and had a cold or something.)
Time for updates on a few more library CD's I listened to recently, nothing particularly striking, I'm afraid. First we have "Live At Last" by The Subdudes, who you may recall I ran across in that Allen Steele novel a little while ago. Now I've never heard much of the Grateful Dead, but this is kind of what I would imagine they'd sound like. Just blues-rock stuff, maybe a little more creative than your run of the mill, but I'd probably rather listen to Phish instead. Then there's some Arvo Part, who my brother put some of on a tape for me a little while ago. This one, "I Am The True Vine", is entirely choral, and frankly I just couldn't give a toss. What I heard before was more strings and drum, and that was kind of cool. (I'm not sure how I can like harmony singing so much, but am so cold toward choral. Maybe it's because it's usually incomprehensible, and religious to boot. Religious music makes me uncomfortable.) Finally there was the Butthole Surfers' "Locust Abortion Technician", which was just weird. Some bits I liked, but not an entire song or anything. I also found it very annoying that the CD booklet didn't have any of the track listings on it; they were written on the CD itself, so while I was listening I had no clue what I was listening to. I like to have titles; they help me get a grasp on the song, something to hook it to in my mind.
My wife's got a bad cough right now, and something close to laryngitis. That's not particularly fun; it's hard for her to lie down, like to sleep for instance, without having a big coughing fit. She was semi-seriously considering trying to sleep in the recliner chair we got from my Grandpa's house. Last night she slept downstairs so that I could get some sleep, at least. I hope she's better tonight, and I hope she gets well soon.
The Poll: Wheel of Time: The Movie Basically a poll where you can register your own ideas as to who should be cast in a notional movie of the Robert Jordan books. I don't have a clue myself, but others may find it fun...
Fractint Homepage A nifty freeware DOS program for generating fractal images. There's a Windows version as well, but it doesn't have as many nifty features.
LangMaker.com - Invent Your Own Language LangMaker is a program intended to make it easier to devise model languages, but the program itself is no great shakes--written in Visual Basic version 3, flaky in a modern Windows environment, and not that feature-rich. The links here are pretty impressive, though.
SETI@home: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home A massively distributed project whereby you can devote your own computer's spare cycles to analyzing massive amounts of radio telescope data and search for patterns that might indicate intelligent life. Because it's best to know if they're coming.
Moller International The flying car people. My wife had this bookmarked for research she was doing for her book Silver Eyes(which will be out in December!).
Star Trek: Voyager LogBook My wife and I liked to watch Voyager, but due to lack of cable we missed most of the second season; here we could check to see which ones we had managed to catch on reruns.
The Unofficial Frantics Web Site Web pages dedicated to one of Canada's funniest comedy troupes ever, the Frantics, who were on CBC Radio for several years. I might have talked about them on other pages; I am acquiring many of their shows on MP3.
Ibn Qirtaiba SF Magazine I forget why I bookmarked this now, but apparently this is a magazine run by the SF SIG of Australian Mensa.
NewWorld Homepage A page with info about Canadian music(which they also sell some of).
ZapSpot ZapSpot has made some pretty fun little games, and it's all free, although their site has some annoyingly obnoxious popups! Is there any way to disable those stupid things????
Solitaire Central Hey, if you like playing solitaire on your computer, or with real physical cards, this is the site for you.
AllReaders.com Home Page A site for sharing reviews of books and getting them recommended. I don't have the time to spend there, and I am not short of books to read, but others may find it interesting...
Cygwin A.K.A. Cygnus for Windows, Cygnus being a port of UNIX onto MS-DOS. What that all means is that I can run UNIX from Windows, which to me ended up being less hassle than running Linux and trying to share data with Windows. Essentialy to my life right now.
The Atlantis Project The source for that Atlantis game I might have mentioned, two games of which I'm playing right now and which Lorenai was loosely based on.
Loud Sound Home of Tony Mason, a.k.a. None of The Above, who gave out a few free tapes of his sometimes interesting, sometimes lame, and often quirky music over the Internet. I still listen to them, so there must be something there.
Living arrangement? Me & the missus & the kid in a three-bedroom, two-story house with finished basement. Very narrow lot. One entire room in the basement more or less dedicated to books(plus a futon for guests). Two computers.
What book are you reading now? Shadowfires by Dean Koontz. Since I alternate him with Dick Francis, and seeing new items about the Breeders Cup made me want to read Dick Francis. Yes, I am sometimes a bit silly about sticking to my reading schedule. I probably shouldn't have read it before going to bed last night, though.
What's on your mousepad? My work one is boring blue with worn patches on it. My home one is an amazon.com one with a Groucho Marx quote: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a book, it's too dark to read." I think I stole it from Terranet.
Favorite board game? Could be Clue right now, but since two-person Clue is boring, we only play it with company, which is pretty rarely for us. I also like Scattergories and Mah Jongg, but those aren't really board games. Oh, and Hand & Foot Canasta, which is a family tradition by this point.
Favorite magazine? Locus, possibly, although I rarely read the author interviews or book reviews, but I like the market news and lists of forthcoming books.
Favorite smells? I have a weird taste for smells that other people might find unpleasant, even acrid. Gasoline, for instance. All carcinogenic, I don't doubt, so I try to avoid them.
Favorite sound? I've got lots of favourite songs, but sounds? I pass.
Worst feeling in the world? The stomach-wrenching feeling of falling.
First thing you think when you wake up? Is it my turn to get up with Simon or not?
Favorite color? Purple, though the shade varies.
How many rings before you answer the phone? After two, the answering machine picks up. We aren't so deluged with phone calls that it's usually a major hassle. At work, it takes more like four or five before I conclude that nobody else is going to get it.
Future child's name? Well, we've already got one, but we have also extensively discussed the next one as well. Luke and Tasha are leading contenders.
Most important thing in life? Books & music. I could probably survive without all else.
Favorite foods? Non-chocolate cheesecake and other cream cheese desserts. Almonds & pistachio nuts. Red Delicious apples, in season. (They've been very good for the past few weeks.)
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla. Chocolate is okay in moderation, but I only tolerate it. (Chocaholic comments to /dev/null. You already dominate the goddamn dessert world, so shut up, okay?)
Do you like to drive fast? I like to drive the speed limit, and make the people behind me drive it as well. I'm anal retentive and holier-than-thou when it comes to my driving. If you pass me when I'm going the speed limit, I will swear at you from the safety of my glass and metal cocoon. I have no compunctions about passing those going slower than the limit, though, and I like to accelerate very quickly to the speed limit when the light turns green.
Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? No, although Simon has a monkey and a bunny, and occasionally a pink panther.
Storms: cool or scary? As long as they don't make my computer go off, and I'm not on the highway at night, they're fine.
First car? My wife actually bought it, back before we were married, but a red '84 Mercury Topaz, which we drove not quite into the ground.
If you could meet someone dead or alive...? I've often had conversations with William Shakespeare in which I explain various aspects of modern life. (Almost put twentieth-century...is that dating myself?) But I'd love to jaw with Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, and possibly Spider Robinson(who I did meet briefly...like a fanboy geek I got him to sign my fairly complete collection of his books.)
Favorite alcoholic beverage? Wildberry vodka coolers, although vodka & ginger will work, or even White Russians. Don't like beer, tequila, or red wine.
What's your zodiac sign? I was born under the astrological sign of Cancer, but that's absolutely irrelevant. Why do you care? Astrology is bunk.
Do you eat broccoli stems? Mmmm. I'm the guy who hangs out at the vegetable tray at parties and eats it clean, except for icky things like tomatoes, and usually eschews the dip.
If you could have any job you want, what would it be? Playtester. But since that doesn't pay...
If you could dye your hair any color? I don't care that much about it, so I wouldn't. Girly question.
Ever been in love? Hey, I've been married for ten years. You think maybe?
Is the glass half empty or hall full? That depends on whether I'm eating spicy food or picking it up two hours after supper with the illusion that it's empty.
Favorite movie? The Princess Bride. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.
Do you type with your fingers on the right keys? Sure. I learned to touch-type when I was about eight because my handwriting was(and is)atrocious, although it improved once I stopped trying cursive writing. (Now I do cursive printing instead.)
What's under your bed? Dust bunnies, used Bounce sheets, one of Simon's old pacifiers.
What's your favorite number? I'd say pi, but that's so trite. Let's go for the golden ratio, 1.61803...you know, the number where n^2 = 1+n and n-1 = 1/n.
What's your favorite sport to watch? Decathlon was great fun when you could actually watch all the competitors. Otherwise I'd go for darts or snooker.