THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 490 October 29 - November 4, 2007
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October 29, 2007
I have done the Chaos Manor Reviews mailbag for the week; I found it interesting. It ought to be posted sometime this evening. I am doing the final column for the month, and that ought to be up tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning. This being the final for the month, there will be book and movie reviews.
The world rushes headlong ahead. Time to go read some more Chesterton.
For those who liked the first one
the second volume is coming .
|This week:||Tuesday, October
Mr. Brian Vargas of Alexandria please send me an email.
Michael Galloway is over to help get the office cleaned up. There's an astonishing amount of just old junk that accumulated, and it's going to take a lot longer than I thought.
I also find I run out of energy earlier than I thought I would.
I'll catch up sometime.
It's late afternoon now. I have my desk cleared off. The rest of the study is horrible, but Eric will be over Thursday and Michael will be back next week and between us we may get the thing done. It hasn't been cleared out in a year and it looks it...
And now back to Hell
October 31, 2007
All Hallows Eve
I exhausted myself cleaning up my office. Tomorrow is another session, and next Tuesday another after that. I'm trying to clear the decks for action so to speak. We need a Dramatis Personae and maps for Inferno II (as well as a couple more days' work on the book itself) and I need a place to work...
The final column and mail for October are up on Chaos Manor Reviews. Once again, my thanks to all those who have recently subscribed or renewed their subscriptions. You are keeping things going here while I finish this book for the third time this year (This Time For Sure!).
And there's something new to think about if you live in Delaware...
Considerably more mail when I get back from my walk.
All Hallows Day
Last night we had several hundred young visitors. About half were from Studio City, and perhaps half those were from the area where I live known informally as the Silver Triangle, or just The Triangle. The rest were brought in from outside the area.
The neighbor kids were cute. They all know Sable from seeing her on walks (a few parents said, "Oh, this is where Sable lives!" having recognized the dog but not either of us although they've never seen her without us. We understand that. We had to ask who someone was, and understood when she described her dog).
The other kids this year were all polite. One, asked where she lived, seemed confused, and asked if she lived in Studio City said "I guess so." The parents were down by the sidewalk, so we couldn't ask them.
This is a safe neighborhood, and I can well understand parents wanting to take their children here, where it's safe, quiet, and orderly, and the scariest person here is Peter Dinklage (Simon Bar Sinister in Underdog; he's great). I can even understand kids coming here in convoys of huge SUV's and being sent up to the doors in groups of a dozen or so, then loaded back in the SUV's and driven to the next block. They're having fun (although I'd think all that getting in and out of cars would be tedious), and the whole night's worth of loot didn't cost us but about twenty bucks.
The Long Beach community that has for decades had a very elaborate neighborhood decorative scheme with a Halloween Maze was dark this year: last year there were a dozen teenagers involved in a Hate Crime, AKA racial conflict, in which some girls were beaten to a pulp -- on had a dozen bones broken -- and several of the assailants were convicted, although I forget whether they were actually convicted of Hate Crimes. I'd think aggravated assault causing great bodily harm would be enough. The assailants got time served and community service, because it would somehow be racist to send them away for any significant time. Besides, one was said to be an honor student and college bound, although according to some of her school mates this is a gross mischaracterization.
Last year, late, after the young kids were all off the streets, a dozen teenagers dressed as gangsters appeared here. They told Roberta they were gangsters. We were relieved that they considered our offerings satisfactory. Last year we hadn't heard about the Long Beach Hate Crime story. This year we had, and I for one was a bit concerned. It's one thing to pay tribute to wandering ghouls. It's another to watch the neighborhood kids we've known all their lives taken away to the emergency room.
I suppose I am merely being gloomy. The only incident last night was when I took Sable for a walk. We went trick or treating to a neighbor's house where Sable demanded and got a dog biscuit and a belly rub. Previous to that we encountered half a dozen teenagers clearly not from this neighborhood. They had costumes and they were polite enough, but one of them thought it would be a good idea to rush at Sable making scary noises.
Sable is one of the world's friendliest dogs but this is a bit much. Huskies are closer to wolves than most dogs, and she proceeded to show it. Teeth bared, ears back, hair straight up along the back, tail straight back -- she looked very much like a wolf, and the young man beat a hasty retreat to the delight of his companions who told him not to be a jerk. So everyone, including Sable, learned something, and all was well.
And I'm blathering because I am supposed to be throwing stuff out of the back room. Procrastination is the thief of time. But is writing up one's day book procrastination?
We're all hoping there won't be a writers guild strike. Think of Jay Leno on his own. Or Conan.
As expected, the Writers Guild West has called for a strike. Picket lines go up just after midnight Sunday.
It doesn't affect me much. I don't do TV or movie scripts. Niven and I have made some money -- probably the most per hour of work we ever made -- working on movies and TV, but it's not our bag, and the last time there was a serious attempt to get us into TV our agent took us on a series of meetings with network executives. The meeting with Joss Wheedon's people went well, and for a while there it looked as if we might create a series for Wheedon (a modern times series set in The Magic Goes Away universe, in which the magic is still around but weak: but there's a lot in the gold in Fort Knox, for example, if only someone knows how to use it, and a couple of teenagers learn to use manna if they can find it, but there are leftover ancient wizards who are also interested, and --), but ultimately he decided to put his energy into something else. The rest of the meetings were with Network Executives about 27 years old, who had certainly never read any science fiction or fantasy that had not been made into a movie or TV episode, and apparently never any read a book since college if then. They apparently read only reports by people junior to them. They were the most arrogantly ignorant people I ever met.
After the third such meeting I told Niven, "If we do everything just right, we will get to spend a lot of time with people like that." Larry laughed, and we told our agent he was wasting his time. Not ours: we're always willing to meet people who may end up as characters in a book and at the time we were thinking about a sequel to Inferno.
We have friends who do all their work through the WGA, and we wish them well. Their cause is a good one, and will eventually affect book writers as well. No one knows how much revenue there is in digital rights, but writers certainly deserve a larger residual share than 0.3%, which is what they get now. Producers, of course, get many times that much.
There will be serious effects on what we in Los Angeles call "the Industry".
Niven and I are working on Inferno II. Today Roberta and I went for our usual 2-mile walk in the neighborhood, then Niven came over and Larry and I went up to the top of our hill (4 miles round trip and 800 foot climb). Sable was overjoyed, and is now flat out by the pool. Larry and I went to lunch.
I'm getting Orlando, my IBM t42p laptop, ready to go off for another warranty trip: he got a new fan and works fine unless I try to do something that requires really intense graphics, at which point the screen goes blank. The computer continues to work, and if you can fly blind you can shut it down (or use the hardware switch to do that). After a shut down he comes back up just fine. The blank screen is accompanied with a lot of heat. Anyway, Lenovo is going off to get that fixed. As in the past, IBM/Lenovo has been exemplary in honoring the warranty (and the people involved have no idea that I write a column). Just now Norton Backup and Restore is making a full backup of Orlando before he goes off to Atlanta. Full story in Chaos Manor Reviews.
We are now working on both Inferno I and Inferno II. We need to put together a cast of characters for each book. There are a few more scenes to be added to Inferno II, and a few adjustments to Inferno I.
After which I should be caught up. Sort of. Practically almost.
My thanks to all those who have recently subscribed or renewed their subscriptions.
I guess I will give up on Firefox. Every time I need to use it, the critical need detector kicks in: Firefox has a new revision and I have to wait for that to install before I can open the browser. My memory may be way off but it seems to happen very frequently, and inevitably when I am trying to unscramble an error message.
I will have a story in Chaos Manor Reviews. The bottom line is, if you rely on Norton Backup and Restore, don't count on doing anything in a hurry under either Vista or XP. The problem has to do with Windows and USB external drives.
November 3, 2007
More work to do. It's getting down to the fine strokes for Inferno.
And there's this:
Which may expand the market for books by quite a bit...
I took this day off.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the weekly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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