Sunday, January 26, 2014

Updating Boyhood

I blogged about Richard Linklater's amazing 12-years-in-the-making Boyhood a while ago, and now that film has debuted at Sundance to rave reviews.  I cannot wait to see this!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

22 Days Late But Well Worth The Wait

I finished the first draft of Leap of Faith about ten minutes ago, twenty-two days after my Dec 31st deadline.  I'm really happy with how much I've gotten done this month (the final third of the book) and how it's all come together.

Now the editing process begins, which will likely occupy at least the next six weeks.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

30 Years Ago Today

I'll just link to my blog post from 5 years ago for the details, and add how nice it is that on this milestone anniversary I can reminisce about what happened 30 years ago with both my Aunt Dorothy (still hanging in there at almost 88 years of age) and my brother Richard (soon to turn 60).  Life does go on for some of us, at least.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Conference Championships I Hoped For

Over the next 24 hours, the New England Patriots will visit the Broncos in Denver, and the Seahawks will host the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle, all in the quest to decide which two teams will meet in 15 days in the SuperBowl.

Almost 3 weeks ago, once the playoff teams had been decided in both conferences, I made my picks for who I wanted to see play this weekend: NE vs Den and SF vs Sea.  They weren't the teams I necessarily thought would be on the TV tomorrow, as I would've said New Orleans or Carolina looked like more likely than San Fran in the NFC, for example.  But the matchups I was most interested in seeing were those two, and lo and behold! that's what we've got!

I'm predicting that we'll be treated to a pair of great games, with four outstanding quarterbacks all vying to make it to "the big show" in two weeks.  I know both of us will be glued to the set tomorrow, starting at 2:00.  Let's hope the quality of play lives up to all the hype!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Neil Gaiman On The Importance Of Reading And Public Libraries

Another fantastic speech, transcribed here, by author Neil Gaiman.  This time he's highlighting the vital role that literacy plays in a civilization's development.  A couple highlights:

"I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It's simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls."


"I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn't read. And certainly couldn't read for pleasure."

It's a wonderful piece, and I encourage everyone to check it out.

Miracleman Is Here!

The first issue of Disney/Marvel's new Miracleman series debuted this week, nearly five years after the corporate giant declared that they owned him.  It's odd that they also declared, with great fanfare back in 2009, that the character would be returning to his original name of Marvelman and yet now they're publishing the stories under the Miracleman name, but such are the vagaries of the comic world, I suppose.

They've also chosen a God-awful format for the series, if the first issue is any indication.  It's $5.99 for what looks to be about 15 to 20 pages of the Alan Moore story from the British Warrior magazine, with the rest of the 30 or 40 pages given over to text pieces and black-and-white reprints of the Marvelman strips from the 50s and 60s that no one wants to read.  Eclipse did a much better job packaging these stories in the 80s and 90s, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Disney would opt to gouge the fans for as much as they possibly can.

The other hilarious aspect of this series is that Alan Moore apparently insisted his name not be used, and so the credit page inside the front cover reads "STORY - THE ORIGINAL WRITER," as if Moore were perhaps a mythical figure from before the dawn of recorded time.

Still, none of that detracts from the fact that this is one of the greatest superhero tales ever put to paper.  I'm genuinely excited that a new generation of comic fans will now get to experience the magic that Moore created thirty years or more ago.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fascinating Concept For A Film

Just saw this article about Richard Linklater's 12-year project, Boyhood, which is premiering in less than a week at Sundance.  It's a fictional story that was captured by the director over a dozen years, allowing the cast (especially the young boy) to actually age as the events progress.  How cool is that?

The fact that it involves Ethan Hawke makes it even more interesting to me, as Linklater and Hawke (along with the wonderful Julie Delpy) have gotten together three times before to create the incredible Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight series of films.  On the strength of that alone, we'll be all over Boyhood, the first chance we get to see it.  

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Still Steaming Along

Today I finished Chapter 15 of Leap of Faith, though I still need to do a quick edit of it before I pass it over to Vicki for her to read.  That 16-page chapter took 2 days, basically.

I also figured out how much is left to go: 4 more chapters, including an epilogue.  I know the titles of each of the 4 sections, as well as what's going to happen in them, to a moderately-detailed level.  I'll still need my brother's help with some of the stuff going on in Chapter 17, but other than that, I'm full-steam ahead at this point.  All that's left now is the actual writing it down/typing it out, which is always the easiest bit.

Shouldn't be long now before I have a finished first draft.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Making Progress On Leap Of Faith

And all it took was me missing a deadline...

As I mentioned in my last post, I've fallen behind on the writing chores for my 4th novel, Leap of Faith.  As of New Year's Eve, I had just started working on Chapter 13 with about 1/3 of the book still to go.  It's now 6 days later, and I'm about to begin on Chapter 15, meaning I've completed 2 chapters in less than a week.  Now that's the kind of progress that's needed on this project!

I also had a very rewarding phone conversation with my brother Rich today about the book which has yielded a new subplot for the last act that I think is going to be terrific.  He's also agreed to help me out with a few aspects of it once I get to that part of the story just as he's done on the last two novels.  Stuff like that always gets my creative juices flowing so I expect to be busy at the keyboard for the next several weeks.

This book is really shaping up wonderfully so far.