Sybil’s Garage No. 3

Sybil's Garage No. 3

Sybil’s Garage No. 3 is at the presses, with fiction from:

Gary J. Beharry
Brian Conn
Eric Gregory
Samantha Henderson
Yoon Ha Lee
Cat Rambo
Helena Singer
Lee Thomas
Paul G. Tremblay

You can get a sneak peak here. Ordering information is coming soon.

Sybil’s Garage No. 3 Update

Baby CarriageI received the edits from Jim Hans on his interview and the illustration from Kris Dikeman, so now it’s entirely up to me to finish the magazine. I can no longer point my finger at others. I had used images from Comstock.com when I realized that even though there was no watermark, they were most likely copyrighted. A quick search to their terms of use confirmed this. My friend and fellow writer, Fred Cataldo, works for them and he managed to get me a trial image (worth $90, thanks Fred!). But he and others pointed me in the direction of iStockPhoto.com which has lots of images for $1 each. Though their quality is not as good, you can’t beat their price. So anyway I set out to replace all the copyrighted images with ones I had purchased.

Long story short, we are in the home stretch. When we opened the submission process in September, I never thought I’d still be working on it in March, but that’s what happens when you’re a perfectionist.

I am not bragging when I say this is the best issue yet. The table of contents is rock solid, and the artwork (not including the downloaded photos) is just amazing. This issue will propel Sybil’s Garage from more than just a magazine to a work of art.

Gosh, You’ve Got Such Wonderful Toys

This is not from the Toy Fair.  I didn't take any pictures, so this is the closest I could find that looked similar.  Lo siento.I spent about two hours yesterday roaming the halls of the Javits center at the 2006 Toy Fair. I was expecting the coolest toys since sliced bread, but was left a little underwhelmed. Sure there were really cool things there which I’ll soon describe, but I was left feeling like I took a trip to a giant Kay-Bee Toy Store manned by corporate thirty and forty somethings with nice tans and distant accents. Nevertheless, I’m still glad I went. Where else can you hear such wonderful phrases as:

  • in an Australian accent, before life sized busts of famous fictional characters: “He’s my favorite head sculptor!”
  • before a giant Lego mechanoid-robot, a man explained to his girlfriend or colleague that they must be using two-by-fours or two-by-sixes. At first I thought he was talking about lumber, because the robot was seven feet tall. But as I walked away I realized he was talking about the size of the lego bricks. Two holes by four holes.
  • before a resin figure of a hammering Thor, “Thor! That’s my second favorite superhero.”

I also saw a really cool “one-manned-frisbee-on-a-string” that exploited physics to allow a single person to whiz it back and forth on the end of a string. (Many of the coolest toys there equally exploited physics to their advantage.)

I saw a sewn, stuffed, and logoed “triangle-football.” You know the ones I’m talking about. You made them in grade school and flicked them through your friend’s “goal-post” hands. Now they come in pre-fabbed colors.

I saw a husband and wife dressed as Obi-Wan and Count Dooku. The wife was Obi-Wan.

There was a “Space-Age Ant Farm” made from some kind of blue gel. Each had about five or six fire ants inside making tunnels. The box read, “Ants not included.” So…where do you get them from?

There was a game called “That’s my Fish.” No explanation necessary.

There was a bizarre and strangely compelling music video on one screen with an alien dressed in cliche space garb called “Zarbie and the Martians.”

There was a lot to see. I was heading down the escalator for home when a man behind me on his cell phone said, “I’ve just completed the first floor. One more to go.” Another floor? I thought. The basement level was clearly where the smaller, less working-capital businesses were. When the vendors saw my badge (and they eyed them much more observantly on this lower level) they hawked me over: “Does your company sell sports games?” “Wanna play a game with lasers?” I did actually want to play with lasers, though. The game looked really cool, like chess but with mirrors and blinding, coherent light. But I wasn’t interested in hearing the corporate spiel. I was just looking for cool toys.

In writing news, I worked on my novel for the first time in two weeks, I added artwork to a story in Sybil’s Garage, and I received a new issue of Weird Tales. All in all it was a full day.

Moving On Up

Japanese Happy Meal ToysMore Sybil’s progress yesterday, as I edited the Jim Hans interview and sent it off to him for approval and also finished laying out the stories (sans pictures.) Next is sending checks out to the authors and the long but fun process of scanning in pictures to use for the images. This time around I have a lot more source material to work with so it should be much faster.

I just read “The Lorelai” by Alex Irvine last night, one of the stories in F&SF Jan 2005. I really enjoyed it. The story was a reverberation of Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model”, but was far enough away to be a unique tale. I was a little surprised at the abruptness of the ending, and I could have used a bit more weird, but it held my attention all the way through, and that is something a lot of modern fiction fails to do. I’m not a fiction snob, it’s just that I have a short attention span. My apartment is filled with unfinished books that I’m “still reading,” their bookmarks patiently waiting for me to return. I have Dracula by the bed stand, and I read about 2-5 pages per night. I’ve been reading it for over a year, and now I’m on page 270. I should be done by 2007.

Today I’m heading over to the Toy Fair at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.  I’ve never been to one before, but my sister’s website is all about collectibles and she signed me up for the show.  I’m excited to see all the new toys available, and hopefully, I’ll come home with a few free samples to talk about.

Free at Last

Freedom, I won't let you down.The unholy bounds of conscripted work has neared its end, and alas I am free to pursue my true love. I’ve been working on my sister’s new website, coding everything under the sun including the kitchen sink (I’ve been mixing metaphors as well). The bulk of the work is completed, and as soon as it undergoes a rigorous testing, I’ll post a link here. It has to do with collecting, and I think you all might be interested.

Last night and through most of the day, we received more than 18 inches of snow here in Hoboken and throughout the metro area. A woman outside my window has been digging her car out of the snow for more than an hour. Some cars are buried so deep, you can’t be sure there’s even a car there; it might be just a drift of snow. Foolishly, I didn’t stock up on groceries, so I’m planning on eating these spicy veggie chicken nuggets. I can think of things I’d rather be eating.

On friday I had the pleasure of traveling with JJ Adams up to the Bronx to pick up a complete run of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) he was purchasing from a man named Steve. While at Steve’s apartment, I heard him mention the NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) and saw his many clocks hovering about the place. (Though strangely, none were ticking.) It just so happens my dad is President of the Long Island Chapter. Small world.

After the ride, John gave me a copy of F&SF from Jan 2005 to present, issues he already owned, along with a nice list of “must reads.” Their rainbow spines sit proudly in my living room giving life to the drab colors encircling it. I started reading the issues last night, feeling much like the man in the Jethro Tull song: “He picks up Gideon’s bible; opens at page one.”

Now that I suspect I’ll have more free time, it’s back to the layout of Sybil’s Garage. It was excruciating to have to put it aside, but rent, unfortunately, always wins before art. But art persists.