Dream of the Dolphin
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore
Hitchhiker's MovieSaw the movie today, but poisoninjest writes a mildly spoilerish review that says exactly what I have to say better than I can say it, so I'll just direct you there. I am in full agreement, save that I wish they'd cast Trillian with someone a bit less wooden (I liked her in Elf, because that was her character, but please, a little emotion? If you're going to torture us with a contrived romance, at least make us understand what he sees in her, and make damn sure that she's not out-acted by the creature shop's Vogons at the very least).
I will say that on the way to the theatre, all I could think was "well, I'm sure I'll have fun, but I'm so sad there won't be the old Hitchhiker's theme music". And then, at the beginning of the movie, after the earth was destroyed, there came a familiar plinking. "It can't be," I thought. "It can't be! It can't-- IT IS!!!!! YAAAAAAAY!" And after that, the movie could do no wrong (despite contrived romances and forcings of unnecessary plot).
It was also fun to watch for the cameos (notably Simon Jones, Douglas Adams's head (and nose), and the original BBC Marvin, which had me laughing hysterically in the middle of a theatre that was snickering a bit).
Though the funniest parts of the evening were Karina's rantings about the Herbie movie (watch her journal), and the best quip to come out of Kel all evening, which actually used the words "pope" and "assless lederhosen" in the same sentence.
Oh, and go watch the Vote Beeblebrox election video.
( 11:42 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
I Couldn't Resist...Click on her, then on "more" to play with her bouncy ball on a string. 10 points if you get the reference. :o)
( 11:19 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Fun Linkage (or "flinkage" for short)Check out this web-toon, All the Great Operas. If only more culture was taught through the use of Monty Python visuals. It's truly hilarious.
In case you've been living under a rock, it is my great pleasure to inform you that the Serenity trailer is now online. In the words of my sibling, "God. Damn." I can't wait. But dude, September release date? September 30th counts as October!!! Grrr.
My boy now has his own Amazon listing. I'm so proud. ::sniffle:: The launch is scheduled for June 25 at Bakka. I am very excited.
( 11:23 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
His Mind is Engaged in a Rapt ContemplationNo, don't ask me why I chose that title for this post. I had to learn "The Naming of Cats" for a school play in grade 8, and it occasionally gets stuck in my head.
Things have been busy. Four jobs will do that to you. I finally received the Palm I won in the 999 Words story contest, though, and it's amazing -- I can pull it out and actually know what I'm doing this week! It's going to save my life -- I've been waiting for the day when I wander in to the wrong job. This will make that much less likely.
I've been thinking a lot about things. Some of the pictures from Ad Astra really hit hard -- Karina's my best friend and I love pictures of us together, but some of them came back looking like Laurel and Hardy. I'll give you three guesses which one I am. So I went out and got a yoga DVD from Lululemon, and I'm doing it faithfully every day. It's great, because unlike the exercise bike (which I can only do when I'm alone in the house -- having four jobs, that doesn't happen much), I can do it in my room whenever I want, and since there's no bouncing, I don't even bother Annoying Banging Guy. And you have to love a workout that ends with five minutes of contemplation on how to spread love and joy, followed by hugging.
It's really me bringing my life further under control, and setting it in the direction I want to be going. And along those lines, I'm giving serious thought to going to Clarion.
I was accepted a few years ago, and I turned it down. At the time, I was looking for a new apartment (we were getting kicked out at the end of the summer), I was even worse off financially (which was the primary deciding factor), I was still recovering from mono, and I was trying to finish Elysuim (which I ended up doing by not going to Clarion). I made the right decision at the time.
But I'm starting to think that now may be the time to go. And the thing that really hammered that home was when Karina asked me to look at one of her stories. Now, I can critique a beginner's story just fine, but when asked to critique a professional-calibre story, I couldn't do it. Which made me realize there's an entire set of writer's tools I'm missing. And the more I think about it, the more this is something I really want to do.
Whether or not I will is going to depend on whether I'll still have a job when I come back. Because as much as I want to go, I love my jobs too much to lose them.
( 1:14 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
So THAT'S What All the Fuss Is About...I have a new favourite show. My favourite new show since Firefly. Which is ironic, since it's not a new show at all.
Until last Tuesday, I had never seen an episode of Doctor Who. It used to run on TVO, near the time when Dr. Snuggles, Belle and Sebastian, and Today's Special were on, so I would always get caught by the theme music. And the theme music was so terrifying to me that I would run screaming down the hall and hide in my bedroom until my parents turned it off. So aside from the inevitable things you pick up as part of SF/F fandom (I knew about the TARDIS, daleks, and the long scarf), that was the extent of my knowledge of Doctor Who.
I tuned in to last Tuesday's broadcast out of curiosity, to see what all the fuss was about, missing the first five minutes in the process. So I watched the first five minutes on the Rogers Calgary timeshift an hour later... followed by the rest of the episode. And I watched the whole thing again on the Vancouver timeshift at 10.
I have no idea what it is that's captured me so strongly (I say, as generations of Doctor Who fans point at me and laugh). The show is slightly silly, somewhat cheesy, and completely wonderful, even with the burping garbage bin. I absolutely adore the chemistry between the Doctor and Rose, I love the British humour, and the moments of lightheartedness interspersed with some truly raw emotional moments. And I'm going to be heartbroken when Christopher Eccleston leaves.
I think the whole appeal of it is encapsulated for me in this image:
Something about these two travellers connecting like this resonates in me, and did from the moment in the basement of the department store when the Doctor is first introduced to Rose.
I may have completely missed the shaky sets, rubber suits, and wobbly effects of the previous series. I may have little-to-no knowledge of the previous eight Doctors. But I'm definitely on board for this ride, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
(P.S. -- if you want the desktop version of the image above, please let me know. I spent a frantic afternoon trying to figure out how to capture the image because I NEEDED this thing on my desktop. I can make it infinitely easier for you.)
( 12:08 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, April 11, 2005
Ad Astra Report 2005The problem with these things is that I never have the foresight (or time) to write everything down and then am stuck trying to recall a very sleep-deprived weekend. But I'll give it my best shot. Anybody who remembers anything I missed, feel free to jump in.
Friday began with the usual "how the hell are we getting to the con" insanity. I packed frantically while corresponding with Karina, who was trying to pack and write a story. But eventually the sibling and his friend April showed up, and we managed to make our way, lugging heavy bags, to Jane subway, where Karina picked us up and we were off.
We just had time to settle into the hotel room and get registered, and I swung by the Bakka table in the dealer's room to make sure I wasn't needed, and we were off to Karina's "Has Outer Space Had It?" panel, which wandered a great deal into skyhook geekery from the audience and made Karina angry with Mary Doria Russell bashing.
After that, we stopped by Country Style for dinner, hooking up with the newsgroup singularity on the way, and then returned to the main ballroom to watch Jason Taniguchi rip Spider-Man 2 to shreds. I will never look at Kirsten Dunst the same way again.
Afterward, we stopped by the Meet and Greet to catch up with Rick Wilber, the administrator of the Asimov Award. Karina and I both owe a great deal of where we are today to Rick, and it was really really great to have something in print to show off. I think he was pretty proud to see it, too. He made me set copies of ODYSSEY and SUMMONED aside for him at the Bakka table, anyway. After that, I returned to our room to hang out with Ruth and Lorne while Jana and Karina critiqued each other's stories out in the hall. We got decidedly squirrelly, which resulted in the only "lines overheard at cons" that I managed to write down:
"If you've got a steak in one hand, and a cousin on the other, it's a goooooood night." -- Lorne
(Long story. Basically, take his vegan friend's argument that you can't believe arguments for human omnivory that you learn in university because the dairy farmers write the textbooks, add a lot of caffeine, and then take it to its inevitable conclusion)
The other instalment is Ruth's handwriting, and makes even less sense to me because I was in the shower at the time:
"Wild Chihuahuas of Tijuana?"
"Little shaky Chihuahua?" -- Ruth
"I cut you, man!" -- Lorne
I think it got spurred off by my comment on evolution and Chihuahuas versus wolves, and went from there, by way of West Side Story. I don't know. You'd have to ask them.
It was at this point that I began to suspect Karina and I share a brain. Oh, we're usually thinking the same thing, but I was having a decidedly odd dream. I was dreaming that we were hungry and wanted to get a snack out of a fridge, but there was a bear hiding in the ice dispenser on the door, waiting for us to push the lever so he could come out and eat us. We knew there was a bear in there, so we were gathered around trying to figure out how to get the bear out without getting killed. We debated at one point building a fire in front of the fridge and then poking the lever with a long stick, so the bear would fall out into the fire, but that struck us as mean. So we decided to pull the bear out the top of the fridge. The only problem was, the fridge was full of leprechauns. So we pulled the top off, got a shop vac, and began to vacuum the leprechauns out of the fridge.
At this point I woke up, and was lying there in a moment of "WTF?" when Karina, still asleep beside me, sighed and mumbled "mmm leprechauns…".
Well, I was amused.
When all of us straggled out of bed, we headed down to Country Style for the newsgroup breakfast.
Now, I know there are people can't understand why anyone would willingly attend a con. But I have such a good time there. I love the panels, I love the dance, I love being able to geek out over the new Doctor Who with people who understand, and at this point in time, I love the newsgroup family reunion that occurs.
Nobody's really sure how it happened, but somehow, somewhere, the people who met through Julie's newsgroup crossed a boundary. We became friends. Really good friends. Friends who now operate independently of Julie (who was, due to a conflict in schedules, not even present at this Ad Astra). And it really is like one big family reunion.
After a brief stop at the bank three blocks away, Karina and I checked out the Dealer's room (nothing really caught my interest this year, save the Bakka table, which was kind of redundant, seeing as I work there) and the Art Show (where I found out that the artwork for the Fantastic Companions cover is on display at the Merrill Collection right now, which pretty much decided where I'm going on my next day off). I took a turn minding the Bakka table, and then we went to Karina's panel on "Cranking up the tension" (Karina's advice: Don't have a story in which your character is locked in a basement for the duration and has to remember the plot), in which Karina got annoyed again when she was told "I think I understand what you're saying, it's this thing that actually has nothing to do with what you said" (only not in so many words).
Upon attempting to get lunch with Amanda, Peter, and Ariella, we learned that one does not go to a middle eastern buffet for lunch, order from the menu, and expect to be on time for one's last panel. After rousting our server from the kitchen, and then later from the Bollywood movie playing on the big screen, my dumplings arrived just as I was getting up to run to my "Day Jobs for Writers" panel.
The panel itself was a little disappointing. I was getting a little frustrated because I was going at it as "Day Jobs for Writers". My creative output plummets when I'm doing boring jobs I hate, no matter how steady the paycheque, because my creative brain basically atrophies. Now that I'm working a lot at the ROM and at Bakka, I may not have a lot of time, but the ideas, and the drive to write, are way, way up. I see having a job you love, that's great for ideas, as very important. Unfortunately, many of the panellists went at it as "Day Jobs for Writers", some in a very "do it even if you hate it because something has to pay the bills" sort of way, which just bothered me. But anyway.
After a deke back to the room to partake of my now tepid Indian dumplings, we went to Rick's panel on SF Readership. I heartily wished Chris could have been there -- hell, I wish she'd been ON the panel -- because she handles the talk of how the readership is declining and how the books are selling so much better than I do, and they really needed a bookseller's voice to balance out the panel.
We did something at 5. To be honest, I have no idea what it was. I think I relieved people at the Bakka table, but I really can't be sure. Ah, Karina has remembered. I took over at the table while Chris and Karina went to find the Green Room, which apparently was the promised land. I never actually made it there. ::sigh:: They brought me veggies.
At 6, we attended Ruth's panel on Horror and Fantasy, with Ruth, Tanya Huff, Fiona Patton, and Scott Bakker. As one might expect with a line-up like that, Ruth didn't get to say much, Fiona and Scott quarrelled about the awesomeness of Alien vs. Predator (Fiona - pro, Scott - con), and everybody laughed a lot. We also learned that the reason for the original typeface on Tanya's Blood series -- the dippy type with the little stars all over it -- was because it was DAW's first urban fantasy, and they wanted to make sure people knew that it was fantasy and not horror. Hence the pretty little stars.
And we learned that Tanya really likes the word "trope". And that there can be a lot of innuendo to be found in the watching of horror movies by males versus females.
After that, we wandered off to dinner at the hotel lounge, which was a mistake. The service was really slow, and Amanda's chicken wings seemed to have been affixed to her plate with industrial glue. But we did laugh a lot, thanks to Peter's matrix impressions and more Doctor Who geekery.
The masquerade was fun, but we spent a lot of time waiting between the masquerade and the dance. Finally, though, we made it down to the ballroom, and after bullying the DJs into playing Enter the Haggis, had a grand old time. I know I'm repeating myself, but cons are one of two places I feel comfortable dancing like nobody's watching (Enter the Haggis being the other), and I just have so much FUN doing it. They played the dance staples like Home for a Rest, Time Warp, Rock Lobster, Safety Dance, Love Shack, and the Doctor Who dance mix, and all our legs were shaky by the end. Finally, around 2 a.m., we wandered up to Mark's room for the third Fireside Reading Series. We didn't have a fireplace, so I made one:
Which I had to take back during my reading, because it had been hastily scrawled on the back of the last page of my galley proofs. And after that, we all staggered back to bed and collapsed for the next six hours.
Sunday at a con is the worst to remember, because by the time you get to Sunday, everyone is completely bagged. Nevertheless, we did make it down there in time to check out, gather up the griffin picture and necklace I won in the art show, and hit the hotel breakfast buffet. Where we actually did eat more than $8 worth of food. Despite the fact that I had to chase down one of the busboys when he tried to take the juice away.
At noon, I was on the "Voice" panel, despite having nearly lost mine, which was quite enjoyable, despite the fact that I was so tired I barely remember it, save that Jo Walton had a lot to say and I was told I should have said more when it was over. And that saying "Bakka" elicits spontaneous applause. Which was actually really cool.
We wandered after that into Jana's "what's wrong with happy endings" panel, where we watched Jana valiantly try to defend the happy ending from those who though them either trite and boring or the stuff of children's literature, and then over to Ruth's panel on Fairy Tales and Folklore with Charles Vess and Nalo Hopkinson, which proved to be both intelligent and very funny. And Charles Vess looks absolutely nothing like I thought he would. And we learned that he once accidentally threw a copy of the large (and heavy) "The Uses of Enchantment" out a fourth floor hotel window.
After that, it was time to bid farewell to the con, and to the newsgroupies, and hitch a ride with Chris back to the city (being fuelled by chocolate helped).
Until the next time...
( 11:38 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, April 03, 2005
AAAAAAHHH!!!So I woke up this morning and sat down at my computer with my bagel and my morning cup of tea. Humming cheerily, I opened up Julie's newsgroup and found a post from one of the newsgroupies bemoaning the fact that she'd missed daylight savings time and woken up an hour late...
::checking computer clock, which automatically resets for DST::
"AAAAAAAHHHH MY GOD IT'S NINE THIRTY AND I SHOULD BE AT WORK BY NOW!!!!"
I completely missed the changeover this year. Totally clueless. I don't get a paper or watch the news, so I suppose it's my own damn fault, but usually it's plastered all over the papers and my parents remind me and it's generally hard to miss. But not this year.
Still, despite realizing at 9:30, while still in my pyjamas, that I was due at work in 15 minutes, I managed to arrive only ten minutes late. My lunch, unfortunately, is quite obviously stuff-thrown-in-a-bag. I may need to get a snack from the cafeteria for later.
I also had a really weird dream. I've been watching far too much SG-1, and playing way too much Alice. Generally, I suck at first-person shooter games, even set on easy, but it's so much fun and so delightfully warped, I'm bashing my way through anyhow. I'm actually, at this point, not too bad with a vorpal blade. Unless snarks are eating me. Then I just panic and start flailing around. Frelling snarks.
So my dream last night was about all these Disney characters who'd been reassigned from their cartoons to severely covert secret-ops saving the planet along the lines of Stargate stuff, under the command of General O'Neill. And everybody was rendered in hi-res polygon-based graphics with cool attacks. It was fun, though. One of Jasmine's comments on her new wardrobe (she was actually pretty cool -- totally different hair, and she actually had a middle-eastern accent) was along the lines of "bare midriffs are all well and good when you're in a cartoon, but reality demands something more practical".
Yesterday's grand opening of the bookstore was a hit, despite it being another "the Universe hates us" day (referring to the fact that every time we have a signing, there's a blizzard). Chris had me picking up a bunch of large helium balloons on my way in. Word to the wise: Ten helium balloons + slush falling from the sky + high wind = really not fun. As soon as I stepped out the door, the balloons started acting like they'd been demonically possessed. They started flailing around and lunging for anything even remotely pointy. I had to put my umbrella away because they wanted to impale themselves on the ends of the arms, so I was struggling down Bathurst, with this bunch of balloons going crazy, my hair in my eyes and my hood over my hair, half-blind, and every so often one of the balloons would swing round and wallop me in the face before lunging for the nearest pointy bush.
When I staggered into Bakka, Chris looked up and said "You know, I was just thinking, 'Sarah's going to kill me.'"
Fortunately for Chris, I was busy trying to extract my hand from the knots of ribbons the balloons had encased it in.
And I was reminded again that I have really, really, really awesome friends.
Oh, and there may be hope in sight on the owing-the-government-scary-amounts-of-money front. Cross your fingers...
( 12:43 PM ) Sarah Jane ~