Proof that the World is Improving

Iranian WomenThis New York Times article says that novels written by women in Iran are selling better than novels written by men. Much better, in fact. When you press (or oppress) anyone or anything, Newton’s law says there is always an equal an opposite force. Good for them.

Canada will legalize gay marriages and become the third country, after the Netherlands and Belgium to do so. Good for them.

And, the greatest thing since rye toast, Google Video, a text searchable video database.

Ear Wax Candles

Ear CandlingHere’s something for those places the Q-tips can’t reach. Wally’s Ear Wax Candles. According to the site, sending hot smoke and burning wax into the ears is a 2000 year old custom. Here’s the disclaimer: “If you have any ear disease, ear drum drainage tubes, ear drum perforation, or an upper respiratory infection, do not attempt the ear candling process!” Yes, well, I would kind of figure that sticking anything burning into your ear would not be a good idea under such conditions.

Thomas in LoveI saw this great art house flick last night called Thomas in Love about this fella (Thomas, of course) who has agoraphobia and cannot leave his apartment. Instead, for eight consecutive years, he’s interacted with the world via his visiophone. The entire movie is shown from his point of view, and I found the depiction of near-future technology to be quite realistic and entertaining. Don’t be put off by the Americanization of the cover and the DVD box description. Here is a great film waiting to be seen.

Also, I saw last week, Me and You and Everyone We Know, and while I thought it was a little bizarre in points, I found it to be an excellent film. It’s a movie about disaffected people, but it also has a hidden message which I believe is: “we are all strange in some way.” I loved the depiction of the high-nosed modern art curator because I have interacted with such people before when I worked at a cultural center. One curator I met had lamented about a particular exhibit, and how it wouldn’t be “authentic” if in ten years the candy manufacturer that provided the material for the exhibit went out of business and they had to purchase a replica candy. Such pettiness to me is not art, but someone seeking self-important ways to bide their time. This movie redeemed the curators for me, for, like all characters in this film, they are not without flaws and therefore human. Go see it if you can.

Finally, I am happy to announce that Lauren McLaughlin whose work has appeared in Sybil’s Garage has just sold a story to Interzone, the UK’s premier speculative fiction magazine. Congrats Lauren. She’s now blogging too.

While My Ukulele Gently Weeps

Hi all! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Here’s something you Should-Not-Miss. Jake Shimabukuro plays The Beatles “While my Guitar Gently Weeps” on a Uke!. Be forewarned that the file is QuickTime and it’s huge. If you have a dial-up connection, be prepared to wait (and wait).

Here’s something to do while waiting: The Zombie Infection Simulation. Will the world be eaten by Zombies? Watch as the plague spreads…

Speaking of (not so) horrible things, I have just heard that Lee Thomas has just won the Stoker for his novel Stained in the category of Best First Novel. Lee used to be in our AlteredFluid writing group, and we all saw back then how talented he was. Congratulations Lee!

Finally, on a personal note, I just sold my story, “The Many Faces of Lisa Adorn,” to Abyss & Apex . It will be appearing there next month.

The Mysterious Mary Donovan

Have you ever read an old book and found something inside it from the previous owner? Take for example this book of poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Longfellow

(Please note that the coffee stain is not mine.)

I found this book at my grandmother’s house a few years ago. On the inside cover is a signature of a woman named Mary Donovan from the year 1924:

Mary Donovan

I don’t know who this woman is, but I suspect my grandmother may have purchased the book secondhand. As far as I can tell the book was published in 1920. Mary (or perhaps my grandmother) left a flower inside the pages of the book:

Flower

Does anyone know what kind of flower this is? Perhaps we can identify the geographical area this comes from. The poem on that page is called “Prince Henry”. Also, there was dateless a newspaper article about Longfellow stuck between the pages:

Article

It would be interesting to track down the grandchildren of this Mary Donovan and show this to them, if possible. I wonder what they would say?

In other news, the interview with the Hudson Current went well yesterday and the article should appear sometime next week. I’m going to see Me and You and Everyone We Know tonight. It’s supposed to be good. I’ll let you know. Anyhow, have a happy weekend! 🙂

How to Drive a Man Slowly Insane

As I type the gas company is tearing up the street outside my apartment with some kind of monstrous ripsaw. I’ve tried to compensate by putting on the Foo Fighters’ new album, and I’m not sure which is louder. In addition, my cat, Lucy, has decided this morning at the lovely hour of 6am that she wanted to play mousey under my bed. So, I apologize in advance if these words seem a little sleepy, sloppy, or otherwise erroneous.

My friend, Ajit, sent me this link to a Mentoring Program at Absynthe Muse. According to Elisabeth Wilhelm, the Program “connects teen and young adult writers (ages 13-22) with adult writers. It’s free, it’s unique, and we’re having serious trouble finding enough mentors for all the teen applicants.” If you’re an experienced writer, helping young people may be good for your health. According to the website: “Medical studies have proven that working with young people keeps you young. Taking part in a mentoring program is a heck of a lot less expensive than a battery of Botox treatments.” Well said.

Carrie Pilby

I’m very excited to announce that the Hudson Current will be interviewing me this afternoon about Sybil’s Garage #2. This wouldn’t be possible without the gracious help of Caren Lissner. Caren is the author of 2 and a half novels, Carrie Pilby, Starting From Square Two, and a third novel coming Real Soon Now. I’ve read Carrie Pilby, and though the publisher, Red Dress Ink publishes mainly Chick Lit, and that’s not really my thing, I found myself hooked from page one. Carrie’s a supersmart girl who struggles to fit in with a society she doesn’t understand. Caren Lissner’s a super talented writer who also happens to be a pretty nice person too. Here’s her blog.

Okay, now a car alarm is going off outside while the saw cuts the street, the cat meows, and Dave Grohl growls. I feel like I’m in one of those NASA simulations from The Right Stuff where they place me in a chamber and play loud sounds and flash lights at me for long periods to try to freak me out. Anyway, tonight I’m going to a mini high-school reunion. A few months ago, out of the blue, I received emails from people I hadn’t seen in a decade. As a product of a dozen of those reminiscing emails, we managed to find this little Sesame Street Tidbit. I remember this soundbyte warmly, but my friend was disturbed by the capitalistic ramifications it might have on future adults. Do you keep your Capital I clean?

I want to send my hellos and well-wishes to Kris Dikeman, who is ensconced knee-deep in her Clarion West edification. I’m working on a music mix CD to send her, and I’ll release the track listing here for your enjoyment.

Moonrise

And finally, here’s a nice picture of the Moon rising over Greece. It’s not quite Mars, but it ain’t so bad either.

PS: They’re still cutting…