Thursday, August 31, 2006

Canada: Funding the Republicans

I'm curious if anyone out there has seen a news story about this in any mainstream Canadian venue. Seriously, is there a surer way to get us into yet another trade war when the Democrats (inevitably) retrieve power from a corrupt clan of loons?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Scoring Machine

Here I am, finally at the top of the list, and I end up sharing it with someone. Ah well; it was a good race to the end. I'm sure Mike regrets as many missed opportunities as I do.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Settling in and Some Advice for Writers

It's our 11th anniversary and we're surrounded by boxes and all sorts of detritus, but the move went well and this is indeed a great location. It's also a huge frickin' house, much bigger feeling now that we're in it. I can't imagine how people can live in monster mansions. This place is on the order of 1500 square feet, and anything larger would certainly have to be designed a little tighter on the floor plan.

Anyhow, as I gird my loins for another run at the mess in the garage, here's a great piece of advice for writers from the blog Tricks of the Trade:

If you take your laptop with you everywhere and use it constantly, you're liable to get a build-up of hairs, crumbs, and other detritus in the keyboard. To clean them out, take a Post-It note (the new 'super sticky' kind especially good for this) and run the adhesive edge through the cracks in the keys. Doing this is also a great way to stall when you can't think of what to write next.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You Don't Kill Civilians

Awful. Just awful.

Almost as bad, a gutless Western press that won't show us the results of this war.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Surprise Review

Wasps at the Speed of Sound has been out for about a year and a half now, so it came as something of a shock when Phyllis Gotlieb emailed me the other day to congratulate me on the excellent review the book recieved in the new issue of the New York Review of Science Fiction. I now have the review (written by one F. Brett Cox) in front of me, and it isn't too bad. Some choice quotes:

...many of you may not know there's a man named Derryl Murphy up in Canada who's been publishing ambitious stories of serious intent for over ten years now...

...Most, if not all, of the situations in these stories offer easy opportunities for the sort of melodrama and sentimentality that is the pitfall of many an sf writer who wants to make a Grand Statement about the Cosmic Significance of the Heartfelt Conflicts of his or her Flesh and Blood Characters. To his considerable credit, Murphy largely avoids these traps. His prose is straightforward; his characters are recognizable, flawed human beings (and the occasional alien) who never insult the reader by wearing their guts on their sleeves; his situations, horrific as they are, speak for themselves - all very good things...

...The two best stories in the book, "Day's Hunt" and "The History of Photography," are the most effectively paced, and also the most relentlessly angry and disappointed...

...Ultimately, though, Murphy is to be congratulated for giving us [and here it actually says U.S. - someone did a group replace, U.S. for us. Silly] a book of stories that are about important things but are not in the least self-important...

All isn't sweetness and light, of course. he has some problems with my pacing and balance in some stories. A fair cop, perhaps.

In the meantime, a review on Amazon of YBSF includes this pithy statement about "Mayfly:"
Mayfly, by Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy. Zzzzz.

Swelled head? No problem.

Start Twisting That Kid Early

Baby Rock Records is a company that produces music for babies, using soothing instruments such as the glockenspiel (I can't even type that word without thinking of Mike Oldfield), vibraphone, and mellotron. The catch, and it's a cool one, is that the music covered is by Radiohead, Metallica, Nirvana, and others. There are some samples on the site, and the cover art is absolutely brilliant.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Miami Advice

Nine days until we move, which will continue for some time to be my latest excuse for why I haven't been posting. However, today the boys went off to summer camp, so Jo and I took advantage of some free time and a distinct lack of babysitting fees to check a flick: Michael Mann's Miami Vice.

The movie was excellent. In my opinion, Michael Mann is a terrific filmmaker, with a keen eye and a willingness to linger on faces and on unconventional subjects (I think of Madeleine Stowe in Last of the Mohicans as an example of the first, and the places the camera tracked during the lovemaking scenes in the new movie). Mann filmed this in HD digital as well, all natural light, which makes for a gritty look, especially in low light scenes.

It's a quiet movie, too. As a matter of fact, Mann repeats a trick he performed in Mohicans. The scene where Nathaniel and his father and brother bring the Munro sisters to the besieged fort involves cannon fire, and I think most directors would have called for loud explosions from the get-go. But Mann understands that those weapons are being heard from a distance, and that our sense of what is happening can be highlighted by this. In Vice, there is a gun battle that comes pretty damn close to the thrill we experienced in Mann's Heat, only sometimes the guns are once again sometimes quiet, distant.

Which brings me to a complaint. In BC, the movie is rated 14A, which means "anyone under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Parents cautioned. These films may contain violence, coarse language, and/or sexually suggestive scenes."

My understanding reading the above is that the cinema can't stop idiot parents from bringing small children to movies like Miami Vice. But dammit, if I go see an adult movie in a theatre, I would prefer to be there in the company of other adults. Yeah, the two or three-year-old was reasonably well behaved, but the sounds of a toy truck driving on the floor and the sometime-chatter were irritating beyond belief. They had a daughter, too, about seven. Stupid parents, and a ridiculous situation for the two of us to be put in.

And so I add another reason to the ledger of why I don't go see many movies anymore. Commercials, prices (admission and food), babysitting, idiots with mobile phones, idiots with kids...

Anything else?

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