February 10th, 2003

flavored with age

I sell solutions

Here's how the Middle Eastern and Arab nations could win the public relations war with the west: likeable names. No American consumer can say no to a happy, ingratiating name. Some suggesstions:

1. Yummin
2. Irock
3. Party Arabia
4. Bestpalestine
5. Sinsyria

For a few million of those oil dollars, I will do this for all 22 Arab League members, and war will surely be averted.
flavored with age

Today in neo-conservative America

Suzanne Fields: The Right is starting to strut, thank God.

David Horowitz: Leftists want to make us a slave state to Libya. Also, I do not believe in paragraph breaks.

Paul Greenberg: Only the utter destruction of Iraq can stop terrorism, somehow. (Ed. note: While Mr. Greenberg says “a number of (terrorists) have come from Iraq”, in fact, none of the terrorists in the major terror incidents of the last ten years have come from Iraq.)
flavored with age

Dating for dummies

I have three problems with this "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" movie.

First, it looks like it pretty much sucks. Also, it stars bongo-playing hippie pothead Matthew McConnaghey and Kate Hudson, who is a genetic duplicate of an actress who has spent the last 30 years annoying me. I hoped that age and death would eventually rid me of Goldie Hawn, but no.

Second, its premise is absurd. No one would pay a freelance writer to do an article on how to lose a guy in 10 days. That would be like writing an article on how to breathe oxygen in order to avoid death, or how to propel yourself forward by making walking movements with your legs. Everyone knows how to do this; it's the easiest thing in the world. An article explaining how to lose a guy in 10 minutes would be overkill.

Third, every time I see an article about it (which I do a lot, given that it is inexplicably the most popular movie in America), they abbreviate it "How to Lose a Guy", and my stupid mind converts it to "How to Roll a Blunt", and so now I have that particular Redman ode to the zooted stuck in my head.
flavored with age

Ain't no geekin' low enough

I scarcely would have thought it possible, but I have become a drinks nerd.

Having ruined comics, sports, music, literature, food and general social interaction with my geekish tendencies, I have actually managed to ensnare my incipient alcoholism in my nerd-net. In aid of buying all the booze I needed to stock my home bar, I started putting together a list of drinks I wanted to learn to make, and hardly a day had passed before I was catgorizing them, alphabetizing them, color-coding them and rewriting the recipes. Anyone who thinks I'm joking obviously fails to appreciate the depths of my geekery.

The upside is, I had some friends over on Saturday and we got very, very pleasantly hammered on some of my lovingly nerded-up drinks recipes. All told I made about 15 drinks, at least 12 of them unique, and had a head-splittingly good time. I may be a geek, but I know how to work it.
flavored with age

What jail is like

You know, whenever they show a writer in movies, the writer is doing one of two things: either jotting things down in a journal at lightning speed, as if the quality of the work was judged on a time scale, or sitting in front of a typewriter or computer, with fingers flying, cranking out page after page of text. The camera will occasionally shift from the page to the writer's face, back and forth, perhaps with the screen reflected in their "writing glasses". This is how work gets done.

This weekend, I finished final edits on chapter 10 of my novel, and completed the initial draft of chapter 14. Here's how I did it:

First, I opened up a bunch of the files affiliated with the novel and read what I'd written yesterday, editing the infelicitous language and correcting typos. Then I consulted a bunch of notes I'd made about what was supposed to happen in chapter 14, and what has to follow in chapter 15. Then I ate some breakfast. Then I went over my notes some more. Then I noticed that a lot of the action in chapter 9, which I thought was finished final edits and all, seemed to flag, and didn't read particularly well, so I made some notes to go back and fix it. Then I made some notes about sprucing up the style later in the book, because chapter 10 was a little too turgid and plot-driven for my tastes. Then I had to make a big chart of a couple of subplots, because I didn't want to lose track of them. Then I read a Tom DeHaven novel for a couple of hours and thought about techniques I might want to crib. Then I had to look up some stuff about police procedures in an old textbook I had from college, so that a section of chapter 9 didn't come across as totally ridiculous. Then I realized that there were two ways I could end chapter 14, and that while both were plausible and even desirable, I had to make the decision, because how it ended would effect everything that would happen in the subsequent chapters, and it was a very tough decision to make, so I sat there staring at the screen for about an hour, and then went around doing other stuff while I thought about it. Finally I made a decision, and so I finished up chapter 14. Then I printed out chapters 10-12 so I could read them more easily and do the final edits. Reading them in the shower, I noticed that the whole section is a flagging plot line and there would need to be wholesale revisions, a prospect that totally depressed me because it would be a ton of work, so I just thought about that for a while. Then I did the final edits to chapter 9 again, and then read the first draft of chapter 14 to see how it looked.

This proves two things:

1. Either movies have lied to me (and that hardly seems likely), or I'm doing something wrong.

2. There is nothing -- nothing -- more boring than hearing someone talk about their writing.