Friday, November 30, 2007

More INSIDE STRAIGHT-- Wild Card Consortium Writers Reading My Blog!

Just for fun, I backtracked where some traffic was coming from in the past few days... and found myself at, a comic book site with a healthy discussion board. One of the topics was Wild Cards, and I found (to my surprise) that "old school" WC writers John Joseph Miller and Stephen Leigh post there!

Not only that, but Mr. Leigh happened across my proto-review of Inside Straight and put a link to my blog on the Captain Comics board.


I interviewed JJM years ago for COMICS SCENE about the Wild Cards comic miniseries by Epic Comics (a now-bygone imprint of Marvel), and have an interview with George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass coming soon in SFRevu-- but it's mighty gratifying to know that two (or more!) of the folks who created the series saw this little write-up.

Thanks for looking in and hope you'll come back again! Drew

HEROES: Dead Pool

Okay, folks, we've heard at least two characters are going down on Monday night.
So who'll it be?
You saw my picks below, but I'd like others to weigh in.
The group of "notables" that could be killed off, to my mind, is:

  • Peter
  • Hiro
  • HRG
  • Claire
  • Sylar
  • Adam Monroe
  • Nathan
  • Matt
  • Niki
  • Micah
  • Monica
  • Mohinder
  • Molly
  • Elle
  • Bob
  • Maya
  • Angela Petrelli
  • Ando

Who's not coming back for another chapter in this story? Comment below!

Avenue Q

What a great show!

When it won the Tony in... um... a couple years ago, I thought this was a soundtrack I'd want to hear. So I bought it to hear on a ride from DC down to Williamsburg.

I laughed my ass off on every song.

Now Kat and I have gone to see the show (it's playing in DC 'only for now' at the National Theatre) and we had a blast. We were both humming along with the songs, applauding at the punchlines and generally enjoying every minute. Kat was surprised by how graphic the sexual content is, while I liked how they integrated a lot of Sesame Street elements through flyaway TV screens.

The cast was fantastic and I was not surprised that many of them have been on the Broadway and/or Las Vegas casts. In particular, we loved Minglie Chen (who played Kate and a bunch of other folks)--she brought real heart to "There's A Fine, Fine Line" and "Mix Tape." We also loved (oh great, I don't have the cast from last night handy-- I'll have to add names later) the actress who played Christmas Eve, the actor who played Princeton and the Bad Idea Bears--they were absolutely adorable little "friends from Hell." But *everyone* in the cast was terrific, well deserving of the ovation they got last night.

If you have the chance, catch the show. We think you'll enjoy it-- but leave the kids at home. This ain't Sesame Street, friends.

Official site.
Artwork copyright Avenue Q, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Point of Clarification, and thoughts on next Monday

I'm coming down pretty hard on HEROES and Mohinder in particular. But I'd like to clear up one point.

I don't want anyone to think I'm bashing Sendhil Ramamurthy, who plays Mohinder. For my money, he's giving it his all. Doesn't change my opinion that Mohinder's one of the dumbest smart guys on television... but he's doing a fine job as an actor.

On to other HEROES business.

The promo promises TWO heroes aren't walking away from this one. Who's likely to get the axe? I think...

  • It won't be Peter or Hiro. Between them, for different reasons, they're the anchors of the show.
  • It won't be Claire. That reunion with HRG doesn't feel like it has impending tragedy written all over it (unless they bump off HRG for real this time-- see below).
  • It won't be Elle. She has too much potential and I think she'll be switching sides anyway; Bob isn't doing much to earn his baby girl's loyalty. (The scene in the car was brutal.)
  • It won't be Maury Parkman-- he's out of play anyway-- and it probably won't be Bob or Angela (I don't think enough viewers would get bent out of shape if any of these three bit it).
  • And has the Haitian even been seen in the past month? It'd be cheap to have him show up long enough to get bumped off.

So who does that leave?

  • Matt- a definite possibility, but I think there's a lot left to explore in his descent into the corruption of power. A longshot for elimination.
  • Nathan- poignant if he and Peter are reunited just before Nathan's taken out of play for good. Even money.
  • Mohinder- probably not; they get a lot of mileage out of his being smart and dense at the same time. Longshot.
  • Sylar- are you kidding? Zachary Quinto is gold on this show! Extreme longshot.
  • Maya- yeah, I can see it. Even money.
  • Adam/Takezo- does anyone really doubt Hiro will find a way to get revenge for his dad's murder? I don't think Mr. Forever will make it past next Monday. Sure thing.
  • HRG- sadly, I can see them taking Noah off the board this week. Seeing Claire get him back just to lose him again? Heartless... but not impossible. Even money.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Okay, I think Mohinder's marrow-deep stupidity is infectious. That's the only explanation for a bunch of bad decision-making on last night's episode.
Let's recap [spoilers!]:

  • Mohinder is responsible for reviving Noah... and then bitches him out, saying that Noah being shot in the eye was all Noah's fault (my logic professor would love to see that diagrammed out!);
  • Micah tells his worthless, greedy cousin that he has valuable comic books (I can excuse this one, 'cause he's a kid);
  • Peter and Adam go after Victoria Pratt and Peter does pretty much one dumb thing after another (and even Adam isn't too bright if he let her blast him with a shotgun--guess regeneration limits one's peripheral vision);
  • BTW, what the hell power did Victoria have, other than toting a shotgun?
  • Claire goes after Elle, who watches the scattering of the ashes while working a Slurpee, even after Elle knocked her and "West the flying boy" out of the sky last week;
  • Peter chooses to side with Adam over Hiro at Primatech (okay, in what universe does THAT make sense? Didn't Peter get a hint that Hiro was one of the good guys last time?);
  • and finally (the whopper), Maya chooses "Gah-bree-yell" over her own brother because a) they're BOTH murderers (wow! what an insight!), b) her brother Alejandro "hates" her for killling his unfaithful wife (something we've never seen even suggested) and c) apparently Maya is not only gullible and guilt-stricken but she's horny too. Probably doesn't hurt that Sylar's a good looking guy.

So we see a HUGE amount of stupidity last night. Was this...

1. because of the hypercompressed season?
2. an example of "we need Outcome X so people have to do Stupid Things 1 through 15"? or
3. a show bottoming out in its sophomore season?

You be the judge, friends. Comment below.

Monday, November 26, 2007

INSIDE STRAIGHT: the next generation of Wild Cards

I've been a fan of the Wild Cards books since they started coming out in 1987. The premise is simple and elegant: an alien virus is let loose in 1946, killing nine out of ten infected, transforming nine out of ten survivors in a random but bizarre fashion, and leaving that final one-in-a-hundred seemingly untouched... yet endowed with some amazing superpower.

There have been 17 books (from three publishers) in the series, edited by George R.R. Martin (visit his site!) and Melinda Snodgrass (visit her site!). The series grew out of the authors gathering to play a superhero roleplaying game and finally deciding that, being writers, they'd better make some money out of this time-consuming hobby. Publication of the titles trailed off, with the last two releases in 2002 and 2006.

Now, however, the Wild Cards are back.

INSIDE STRAIGHT is the new mosaic novel (collection of interwoven short stories) by this writing group, which includes a handful of new writers amid the veterans. It begins with an assassination in Baghdad, zips to the other side of the world for the debut of a wild cards-based reality show, and ends on the bloody killing fields of Egypt.

Although there are cameos from established characters (such as Golden Boy), the stories introduce a number of terrific new characters:

  • Jonathan Hive (aka Bugsy), a blogger who can turn into a cloud of green wasps;
  • Lohengrin, a knight armored in "ghost steel" who answers the call of duty wherever it leads;
  • Rustbelt, an ironclad Minnesotan who faces a monstrous injustice... and makes a momentous decision;
  • Amazing Bubbles, whose career lies in ruins after her wild card turns;
  • Drummer Boy, a superstrong and six-armed joker who fronts a rock band;
  • Curveball, the "girl next door" who plays to win;
  • Lilith, a mysterious British ace; and
  • Stuntman, a kid who never quite measured up to his athlete dad's expectations, but has an opportunity to become the first American Hero.

Also featured is John Fortune, stripped of his uncontrollable powers by his father Fortunato, who now wants to gain back what he's lost. He has a shot at it, thanks to an amulet given to his mother Peregrine (a famous wild card known for her beauty and her huge white wings). Putting it on opens a world of possibilities... and takes him into the path of terrible danger. Backed by Bugsy and Lohengrin, Fortune chooses to embrace his destiny and heads for Egypt, where the Living Gods (jokers who resemble the Egyptian pantheon) have asked for his help.

You see, as mentioned, the adventure begins with an assassination. The Caliph, ruler of a multi-state Muslim empire, is murdered and a joker terrorist group is framed for the crime. This leads to a horrifying retaliation against Egypt's joker population, a situation that at first seems to be a background element but takes center stage very quickly. (Long-time readers of the series will get an Easter egg, of sorts, as the Caliph is a well-established character from a long time back.)

Up front is the debut of reality show American Hero, pitting 28 aces (divided into four teams) against each other and judged by aces Digger Downs, Harlem Hammer and Topper. Situations are created and the teams must react--with failure meaning each losing team has to "discard" a player. (Yes, the card imagery is still in full force herein.)

The show provides a snapshot of aces in 2008 America. Many of them are celebrities because of what they are (that is, superpowered), not who they are; Bugsy blogs about this at length in the very opening of the book. This becomes an extremely important point, as the entire book turns upon one question:

What is a hero?

As the book splits between the trio (or quartet?) in Egypt and the dwindling cast of AH in Hollywood, the importance of the question grows more clear by the page. Each character has a moment of truth, when they can be a hero or not. Some of these are exceptionally poignant, as a handful step up; the others either fail this test of character (one spectacularly so) or opt out entirely.

A small group of ace volunteers joins Fortune, Bugsy and Lohengrin in Egypt, as two armies converge on Aswan and the masses of joker refugees taking shelter there. There's a Magnificent Seven quality to this final act, which ends in desperate battle and none left unchanged (and several dead) before it's all over.

It's an ambitious book with a lot to say. Wild Cards as a series hasn't shied away from social commentary (in the context of alternate history), but this is perhaps the most head-on tackling of real world issues and the theme of heroism that the series has yet attempted. In a way, it harks back to "Witness" by Walter Jon Williams, one of the very first WC tales. That was about the Four Aces, a team assembled by an altruist and set loose on the world stage in the 1950s; now, the stakes are higher, but the underlying problem is the same: can wild card powers solve world crises? Can those with power stand aside and do nothing while terrible things happen?

What is a hero? By the end of this book, the true heroes are revealed--and a new age dawns for the children of the wild card.

What can I say? I loved this book.

Look for the SFRevu review in January 2008.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just Finished CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare

Really enjoyed it tremendously. In fact, I'm jealous, as a number of elements she's used are things I'd thought of for that urban fantasy I keep promising Kat I'll write. Darn it. Guess I'll have to "creative up" real soon...

She read from the sequel, CITY OF ASHES, at World Fantasy. The book's due out in March 2008, giving you all plenty of time to find and read this first installment.

The summary: Clary Fray, a teenager in Brooklyn, discovers a shadow world of vampires, werewolves, warlocks and faeries co-exists with mankind. A handful of folk descended from the Angel Raziel and imbued with special abilities-- the Shadowhunters-- protect the unwitting masses from supernatural destruction.

A former Shadowhunter named Valentine, long believed dead, has returned and threatens the fragile Accords that enable peace between the Downworlders (the supernaturals) and the Shadowhunters. Clary's mother is involved and soon kidnapped, leaving Clary to seek help from a group of teenagers-- including the charming Jace, the brooding Alec, Alec's boy-bait sister Isabelle-- and their mysterious mentor Hodge. Her best friend, Simon, is dragged into this business as well, and finds that dabbling in the occult is not always very healthy.

Events build to a breakneck pace as revelation follows betrayal, back and forth. Clary's in for quite a number of shocks, especially regarding her forgotten early history and the nature of her mother's boyfriend Luke.

It's quite a ride and there's plenty that will carry over into CITY OF ASHES. The characters are lots of fun, with Clary providing a sensible centerpoint as her world gets darker and stranger by the page.

Okay, that's your capsule review for the day.

The Valiant Resurgence

Hey folks-
Back when I was writing freelance for COMICS SCENE, I ended up doing a fair crop of interviews with the folks at Valiant: creators like Janet Jackson (not the singer/dancer/Superbowl misfire), Jorge Gonzalez, Don Perlin, and a few more I'm forgetting, as well as the amiable presence of Jim Shooter.

Why did I write about them so much? Well, it was an assignment, for one thing. But I really liked Valiant, particularly in its pre-Acclaim, Shooterrific heyday. It was a tight-knit world with a few funky fringe elements (Shadowman, anyone?) but a core mythology that was mighty good. It was "superheroics in the real world," before that caught on in other comics, movies and TV.

In some ways, it was Shooter's Marvel era experiment-- the New Universe-- done right.

My favorite book? Probably Harbinger. I liked the "kids on the run" storyline and enjoyed the first 25 issues tremendously. Then... well, you probably know what happened in that 25th issue. Pete Stanchek (aka Sting) faces off with Toyo Harada and pretty much kicks his ass, losing his powers in the process. =sigh= So much for Harbinger.

And so much for H.A.R.D. Corps, too. Without Harada to kick around, the Harbinger Active Resistance Division (the H.A.R.D. part) had less focus. Sure, they had a traitor in their midst and lost some of their comrades, but the book wasn't the same after Harada was out of the equation.

What do these things have in common? If memory serves, Sting's last stand happened around the time Shooter left Valiant. Then books cropped up like Armorines, Second Life of Dr. Mirage, Secret Weapons and so on. They were pretty good titles, but I felt like the Valiant universe was losing cohesion without Shooter.

It didn't take long. Attempts were made to reconfigure the line, with the launch of Quantum & Woody and a rebuilding of Solar, Man of the Atom. (Phil Seleski, yer outta there!) Didn't really work.

Now there's a resurgence building, with the release of a Harbinger TPB and more in the offing. I hope that if the line does get resurrected, they'll do two things:

1. focus on the "good ol' days" when Harbinger kids were running wild and
2. get Jim Shooter to mastermind the relaunch.

You may disagree but to me, the Valiant line succeeded because of Shooter. Bring him back and you might have something.

Thinkin' Bout HEROES

Last night's episode felt like the show was once again firing on all cylinders. Looks like Tim K heard the sighing masses and injected some adrenaline right into the heart of this beast, 'cause it sure was slouching toward resolution.

Some thoughts (and a couple spoilerish musing in invisotext):

  • West might have started off as a jerk (my wife really didn't like him at all) but I think he's sorting himself out--and he proved to be a stand-up guy when HRG needed his help, which undoes a lot of emo in my book;
  • Was that a sweet move when he grabbed HRG from his own front door or what? Definitely a high moment for this season, you ask me.
  • Hiro and Kaito have some of the best interaction in this episode. Hiro's grown a lot since his first "puppy dog" days--he's probably the most heroic of the characters.
  • Matt is finding out that power can indeed corrupt. His interrogation of Angela Petrelli was illuminating in more ways than one. Could we be seeing Nightmare Man II coming up?
  • Mohinder shot HRG? Are you freakin' KIDDING me? Oh, that's a karmic debt that'll put Dr. Suresh in massive pain sometime soon.
  • The show telegraphed the possibility of HRG coming back from the dead when Adam's blood cured the severely burned and irradiated Nathan last week; I called it after he was shot and Kat said I knew too much;
  • Elle and Claire are going to have one hellacious catfight real soon.
  • Elle is not happy with Daddy Bob right now. Guess HRG hit a nerve.
  • And the Haitian might not be too happy the next time Elle finds him, either. He'd better be quick on the draw with his nullifying power or he'll be Caribbean BBQ.
  • I still think Maya's power has something to do with the Shanti Virus kill-off, though maybe that's a red herring.
  • Is Sylar going to off Suresh? Seems like that'd be one loose thread he wouldn't mind snipping.

All in all, last night was pretty damn good. How are they going to wrap up their version of THE STAND in two episodes? No idea, but the shot of Hiro holding a sword to Peter's throat was pretty killer...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Taming of the Shrew, Washington DC

Kat and I met our friend Sherin (familiar to all you readers of BPD) on Saturday to see "The Taming of the Shrew" at the Harman Center for the Arts in downtown DC (7th St NW, y'all). I'd been in a production (as Biondello, the hapless younger servant of Lucentio) many years ago and figured it'd be fun to watch the show instead of being in it.

We were floored. What a great production! We loved Charlayne Woodard as Katherina and Christopher Innvar as Petruchio especially; their chemistry was brawling, physical, lusty and exciting to see develop. Truly a very well-chosen pair for this role.

We also liked: Nicholas Hormann as the beset-but-enterprising father Baptista; Lisa Birnbaum as the much-desired (but ultimately less pleasing) Bianca; Aubrey Deeker as Hortensio (who plays the character as a '70s-era slicked-back caricature- well done!); Michael Milligan as Lucentio/Cambio, who wins a prize that may not be all he'd hoped; and the diverse cast of disowned fathers, cunning servants (Louis Butelli as Grumio was superb and Bruce Nelson as Tranio a pleasure to watch) and impostors (several of the men adopt aliases, which can become dizzying). In all, the cast was fantastic.

But the cast was fortunate enough to have a setting that matches their artistry. The blog wants to pay special compliments to director Rebecca Bayla Taichman and set designer Narelle Sissons for going above and beyond. The staging was ingenious.

As a side note, Kat and I have discussed at length the outcome of the play. Not to spoil anything but Katherina's final speech may strike many as the product of a monstrously chauvinistic and un-PC society. But I think:

  • Petruchio shared all of the deprivations he inflicted on Katherina-- he didn't feast while she starved or slept while she remained awake;
  • as staged, there is absolutely no doubt of his love for her--he simply needs to get her attention and does so in the most efficient way possible, and he earns her love by the end;
  • Katherina "gets" Petruchio-- this is their game, their way of understanding each other, and her willingness to submit is more an acknowledgement of their partnership than of her spirit being broken
That's my take, anyway.

If you're looking for an outstanding trip to the theater, check out "Shrew" while you can. It's been extended through this week, so go see it! Now!

Friday, November 16, 2007

UPDATED! Grading the Comics November 14

Hey folks-
last month I graded my week's haul of comics. Kind of surprised to learn that this was a popular page to visit on my blog!

So let's do it again, for this past Wednesday's books.

ALL STAR SUPERMAN #9 - Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely did a spectacular job on this issue, one of my favorites of the series so far. Perfectly captures the superiority complex Kryptonians have shown in the past, contrasted with Superman's more understanding and compassionate attitude. A+

AVENGERS INITIATIVE #7 - so THAT'S who the Scarlet Spiders are! No wonder. It clears up one mystery, but suggests much yet to be learned. And Spider-Man really is terrific in this appearance... heck, I'd read Dan Slott on just about anything (and have). A

BOOSTER GOLD #4 - One of my favorite DCU books these days, this one gets moving to clear up a mystery established in issue #1, as well as setting up a bigger, darker nemesis than Booster or Rip suspected. Great use of continuity (a Geoff Johns trademark), and nice use of Flash and Kid Flash too! A

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #24 - okay, finally something happening. Superman-in-Black's identity is revealed (and it's not Kryptonian Johnny Cash), a world is murdered (whoa), Mary Marvel has no meeting of the minds with Darkseid, and the Challengers keep trudging along after Ray Palmer. (And why is the Silver Age Atom so dang important anyway?) B

GEN 13 #14 - the kids hit New York, find a crummy hotel to crash in and go their separate ways. Looks like a set-up to the "break-up" interludes lots of teams go through, except there's a definite agenda behind this (see that last panel and you'll know what I mean). New enemies lurking, new dangers ahead... cool! B+

SALVATION RUN #1 - the Rogues on their own, fending off alien horrors as they try to find safety, only to run into a bigger and somewhat nastier group of "newbies"... well, I like Bill Willingham's work and am ready to give it a shot but I hope something more goes on in the second issue. B-

SUICIDE SQUAD RAISE THE FLAG #3 - Okay, so we see some of Rick's background with Rustam and a final showdown in Skartaris, plus the timely sage advice of Jennifer Morgan. (Probably a lot of non-Warlord readers say "huh?" about now, but it's all right-- she's a sorceress, that's about all you need to know.) Not sure that recruiting the Shaggy Man for the new Squad is going to turn out well for Waller, either. Hm. B

TEEN TITANS EAST SPECIAL #1 - whoa. Cyborg cannot catch a break, can he? Just sorry that [spoiler/invisotext on] everybody was just learning to work as a group before they were all slaughtered. I mean, I didn't really know the new Hawk and Dove but... geez! Eyes torn out, Power Boy burnt to a crisp and then impaled on a branch. This was some truly graphic $#!t, my friends.[spoiler off] So what comes next, as if we didn't know? B+

THOR #4 - A little preachy but interesting. Makes sense that the second "hit" on the Asgardian world tour round-up would be [spoiler]the Warriors Three[/spoiler], but what ya gonna do? Great art, pretty good story. C+

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #48 - Mike Carey, you are one sick puppy. Wasn't quite expecting the Negative Zone connection here, but it makes sense (since Kragoff was originally a space traveler, makes sense he'd follow in the FF's footsteps here as well). But Rutskaya is one nasty piece of work... and the new Red Ghost (?) sure is fugly! A

WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY #12 - last issue!! ARGH! Okay, was hoping it'd stick around but... nice resolution to the Coyote Kid storyline, as well as the rampaging zombie hordes and the Host story. Just sorry to see it go. A

WONDER WOMAN #14 - got it, haven't read it yet. Stay tuned. (Update: Still haven't read it. Could it be I'm afraid it won't live up to my high expectations?)

WORLD WAR HULK #5 - Good and bad, honestly. Huge, explosive end to the World War Hulk story, except that it sort of runs out of steam toward the end (like our two major combatants). Nice message, except-- what happened? And who is the Red Hulk supposed to be, if not Bruce Banner further mutated by Tony Stark's energy barrage? I dunno, but... B- (which ain't great considering the series had been A+ up to now) . And... son of Hulk? Really?

X-FACTOR #25 - interesting story, as Jamie sends two dupes on a one-way mission--with Layla tagging along! Forge has a nice guest appearance too. Good work, interested in seeing how these potential futures tie into Messiah CompleX. B+

SCOTT PILGRIM VOL 4 SCOTT PILGRIM GETS IT TOGETHER TP - FINALLY! Do you know how much my wife's been looking forward to this book? She got out of bed at 3 FRICKIN' A.M. to read it! She said it's spectacular. A for content, F for making us wait so long.

The grades skewed way high this time around. Maybe I'm guilty of grade inflation. But... if you have an opinion, chime in!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Review Preview Coming Soon

Hey folks-
I owe SFRevu a bunch of reviews between now and the end of the month. Look for a quick "Review Preview" of The Phoenix Unchained by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (the first in a new trilogy set about a millennium after The Obsidian Trilogy they co-wrote).
My full review will show up here on December 1, by the way.
In the mean time, I know I'll be doing a Review Preview of Inside Straight by George R.R. Martin, Melinda Snodgrass and a batch of folks real soon, so... keep an eye out for it.

Kat Home Sick (and Homesick) Today

My wife woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat, but went to work anyway.
Not today.
She's stayed home with the kittens, tending to what could blossom into a nasty cold or sore throat (which I think is prudent and helps her office more than slogging ahead).
She's also feeling kind of down about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. This is the first time she'll be away from family and it's hard on her.
We're going to shop for and make Thanksgiving dinner together-- we have a rough menu plotted out and are heading to Whole Foods soon-- and hope it'll be a nice occasion for the both of us.
Still... I think we'll be setting up our webcam so we can Skype our families and friends. It'd be nice to see them, if we can't be there with them.
What are you doing for the holidays?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Busy November

Wow, just looking at the calendar, it's clear Kat and I are heavily booked this month.
We had-or-have:

  • World Fantasy Convention the first weekend of the month;
  • WSFA meeting Friday night;
  • a few reviews due for SFRevu, including the Marc Guggenheim interview we did a couple months ago;
  • probably going to see Taming of the Shrew this week;
  • Thanksgiving (still no plans set, may end up staying home for this one);
  • going to see Avenue Q on the 29th;
  • and figuring out Christmas plans.

whew- I'm tired just reading that list.

One thing I'm hoping is that we won't be renting a car this month. Gas prices are insane.

What are you readers doing this month? November is *supposed* to be quiet here in DC but... not so far! Write and let me know!

Monday, November 12, 2007

more WFC stuff

Saratoga Springs is a great town. We can highly recommend Circus Cafe, near the convention center, and the Borders is probably one of the biggest I've seen outside a huge city like New York. It's easily as big as the one in downtown DC.
Holly Black gave a great reading from Ironside; if you haven't bought the book already, buy it now!
Just finished Sarah Beth Durst's Into the Wild, which is awesome. Follow the link to her site on my home page and give it a glance.
Packed up two huge bags of books and entrusted them to my buddy Ern. Now we just have to get them back.
Got a few books to read-and-review this month, as well as that ghost story, so I'll be keeping busy.
see you soon!


Kat and I had an unbelievable time at the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert at the Verizon Center in DC last night.
I've seen Bruce live about... maybe eight times? Last night was definitely in the top two concerts. The band sounds incredible, and if Bruce is talking a bit less than usual, there's no shortage of sheer musical power up on the stage.
Lots of Bruce-and-Steven nose to nose on microphones (he called out "C'mon, Steven!" about five times during the show), and did the same with Patti on one or two songs (their duet on "Tunnel of Love" was fantastic).
Here's the set list:

  • Radio Nowhere
  • No Retreat, No Surrender
  • Lonesome Day
  • Gypsy Rider
  • Magic (introduced with a few words about Washington DC and spin)
  • extended harmonica solo by Bruce, leading into...
  • Reason to Believe
  • Night
  • She's the One
  • Living in the Future
  • Promised Land
  • I Work for Your Love
  • Tunnel of Love
  • Workin' on the Highway
  • Devil's Arcade
  • The Rising
  • Last to Die
  • Long Walk Home
  • Badlands (absolutely the most high-energy song of the concert to that point)
  • Girls in Their Summer Clothes
  • Growing Up
  • Kitty's Back
  • Born to Run
  • Dancing in the Dark
  • American Land

A little surprise on the way out: we were making our way out of our row and reached the steps when we saw Tim Russert and his wife. He's really youthful in person! Had on glasses and a huge grin. I asked him (probably shouted, 'cause my ears were ringing) how he liked the show and he said "Amazing!" I said this was Kat's first Bruce concert and he said, "My first was in '73!" I added she was first in line for this concert and they said it was a great show to have as a first. Could not have been a better way to say "Hi!" to someone we watch nearly every Sunday morning. Gonna have to send a fan letter...

(Note: the Wikipedia entry above has an interesting paragraph about Mr. Russert's Bruce connection.)

Anyway, Kat's off at work this morning and I'm home, enjoying Veterans Day off. I'll post on Veterans Day later, as my dad and two of my uncles were WW2 vets, but for now... Bruce absolutely rules.

Great article on Bruce's show here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday already?

Where'd the week go? My last post was Monday and go figure, it's already the end of the week.
I have a new item I'll post later today or tomorrow-- it's the ghost story I wrote and read for World Fantasy's open mike night (with a couple of tweaks). Kat thinks I should go right to trying to sell it but it is really short; I'll post it and see if you guys like it.
Anyway, not much planned for the weekend. I'm working Sunday for a few hours, then going to see Bruce Springsteen at the Verizon Center. Ought to be incredible.
Have a great Friday!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Kitten pictures

We got home last night and our kittens have not left us alone. Eileen our neighbor did a great job catsitting for us, but our white tigers missed us a lot.
Here are some current shots.

And more!

Okay, here's a few from this weekend's trip to World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs, NY.
This is a pic of me with Jane Yolen, who's a really terrific person as well as being a wildly prolific author (in diverse genres, no less!).
Below is a pic of Esther Friesner (who was sort of cut out of the frame) and Jennifer Schwabach at the author signing Friday night. You can see the tower of candy they made (which they tipped over immediately after this pic was snapped). We dubbed it the world's sweetest brand of Jenga.

I think we have some more (and I know our SFRevu confederates Paul, Gayle and Ern certainly do), but... it was a LOT of fun!

Costume Pictures!

Last Wednesday was kind of special at Ye Olde Big Monkey Comics. See, a couple of us had the bright idea to take advantage of it being Halloween and come in costume.

So Kat snapped a couple pictures.

Hopefully someone else at BMC also got a few snaps...?

Lots of Stuff Coming Tonight!

Okay, there is a LOT going on to blog about.
Kat and I went to World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs, NY, this weekend and had a fantastic time (no pun intended).
Some highlights:

  • Kat and I interviewed Jane Yolen (a sort of "what's coming next?" conversation), then George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass about the upcoming relaunch of the Wild Cards series (we're VERY excited!)
  • We also had an unparalleled opportunity to sit and chat with Charlaine Harris (truly one of the nicest writers we've ever met) about all kinds of things; SFRevu did a great interview with her but we hope we'll have the chance to chat again soon
  • Had a get-together with the editorial staff of SFRevu for the first time (John Berlyne--a really terrific guy-- was attending from England; it was a genuine pleasure making his acquaintance, and here's hoping we'll see him again soon!)
  • Caught up with (or at least said hi to) a bunch of friends and acquaintances-- it was worth the trip twice over to see Holly and Theo, Jeff and ME, Chris G and Tom S, plus a big bunch more
  • Got to meet some really wonderful writers-- a big shout-out to Sarah Beth, Cassandra, Mary T, Ian, and (again) a big bunch more (I promise I'll update this as I dig up my notes from the weekend)
  • Also got to see beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY, best known as a resort and racetrack, but there are lots of great stores and it's just plain lovely-- so go see it!

We have some pictures AND I'll be uploading the ghost short story I wrote (and read, at 3am) for an open mike night last Friday. When we record it, I'll upload the audio as well (Kat says it's better heard than read-- gee, thanks).

And of course, there's more news to come.