My keyboard is acting like it has a mind of its own, so the Campbell's soup can is in effect until further notice. [Note: I've switched from the Cream of Mushroom used by Evanier to Bean with Bacon for Blam's Blog even though he'll tell you that Cream of Mushroom obviously makes far more sense.]
I was just given the OK by my sister to tell this story. Hopefully it translates. It was funny as heck when she shared it with me.
My nephew, whom as before for the purposes of privacy I will refer to as Ishmael,
has become enamored of stuffed animals. Some months ago he started asking for an elephant. Our mother was able to get him one — a pink one, though, as gray stuffed toy elephants are apparently hard to find. Now, at 2½ years old, I don't think that a pink elephant is in any way either an indicator of nor an influence on his destiny; even if it were, and he ends up a 6'5", 275-lb. ballerino with a life partner named Frank, hey, God bless him. But I understand why my sister was still looking for a regular gray elephant.
And Uncle Brian found a gray elephant.
I bade you all welcome to this experiment one year ago.
Which makes now a good time to reflect on the State of the Blog. The contraction
of that phrase that gives this post its title is, unfortunately, a little too appropriate.
Please understand that I'm not trying to make the blog sound like a chore. Much
about it is nothing but positive to me. It’s just that the glitches with Blogger have been terribly frustrating and serve to compound the natural frustration I had anticipated
due to my own limitations these days. I'll try to explain why, here, if only to get it off
my chest; you're welcome to move on to something more fun.
Neil Gaiman once said, "I don't enjoy writing. I enjoy having written." A cursory
search online finds the quote attributed variously to him, Dorothy Parker, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Wherever it originated, I was surprised to hear it from Gaiman — as I'd be surprised to hear it from any writer. I love writing. I love jotting down notes, I love doing research, I love mulling over the proper word, I love picking apart and reassembling sentences and paragraphs, I love seeing how the whole article, interview, or story balances out. I love the entire writing process, fiction and nonfiction alike.
Drawing? That wears me down.
Here's my mom's house as it looked this afternoon. See that shovel at bottom right
of the photo? The heap covered in snow between it and the tree is my car; behind that
is my grandparents' car, which never got dug out from last weekend's storm.
I-76 was closed, as were the Blue Route and the Schuylkill, which won't mean much unless you used to live 'round here.
We actually got thunder during the blizzard, like the wind and snow weren't enough. The local news, of course, is having a field day because they can justifiably hype this as historic — official tallies at the Philadelphia airport are 70+" of snow this season, 42.5" in the past five days. On the network and cable news, there appears to be a showdown of the would-be-clever headlines between "Snowmaggedon" and "Snowpocalypse";
both sound too negative to me, so I'm going with "Snowffleupagus".
Related: ... for My Thoughts • Après le Déluge • Bing!
All the talk about alternate universes in my recent posts on Lost and Fringe has brought to mind an odd little exercise I wrote, yikes, almost 20 years ago.
I took an intensive Japanese course in the summer of 1991. While about a dozen of us, from high-school students to established professionals, learned the language in an immersion course led by the venerable Eleanor Harz Jorden, about five times as many Japanese graduate students were learning how to teach the same course. They served as aides to our main instructors and were assigned in rotating pairs to each one of us Americans as private tutors. Despite the fact that we were supposed to speak only Japanese with them, even when socializing, our Japanese being so fundamental and their English generally being so good made that difficult.
A tutor of mine, Oumaki-san, asked me for help with the r and l problem that's known to plague Asians speaking English. He was having particular trouble pronouncing the word "rarely" as distinct from "really"; it wasn't just the consonants, but something in the diphthong. So he asked me to write a dialogue like the Core Conversations in Dr. Jorden's books for him to practice. For the first time anywhere outside of a small group of young folk in Southeastern Pennsylvania, I proudly share the result...
J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon each premiered a new series on Fox last season, to considerable anticipation from genre buffs and admirers of quality television in general. Fringe, created by Abrams with his Star Trek screenwriting team of Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci, has just gone on midwinter hiatus. Whedon's Dollhouse ended its erratic run of just over two dozen episodes last week.
I began writing this post an entire year ago — the same month this blog launched.
As I jotted down notes on the nascent Fringe, which had refocused itself a bit upon returning from more than a month's break, I thought it might be interesting to play compare-and-contrast with the Abrams and Whedon oeuvres come Dollhouse's imminent debut. Both men were known for writing strong women within strong ensembles, and both shows featured female leads in science-fiction settings.
A few weeks after the long-in-coming Dollhouse premiere, still wrestling with my feelings for that show, I had to admit that the most relevant difference between the series from a review standpoint was this: Fringe was good.