Friday, April 29, 2011

No Wonder I Was So Tired This Morning

Apparently I spent the night in a friend's dream:

I had a crazy ass Sherlock
dream last night. It was
awesome and you were in it
Well, there was a mystery
obviously and it took place
on a train for most of it. I
was Watson some of the
time. At one point you were
a person of interest
and Sherlock had to
disguise himself to get info
from you.
You were dressed all fancy
and sipping a martini and
Sherlock was awkward since
I told him to flirt with you,
but you figured him out and
dropped hints about
who the murderer was.
There was a lot of chasing
and arguing
At one point Sherlock saved
a child and he kept scaring
her by being weird and I
would scold him. I was a very
nagging Watson

Monday, April 18, 2011


A prince and a fellowship of companions set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who have arrived on their home planet.
I finally watched Krull last night (in my defense... I have no defense). It was surprising in many ways - the opening scene and special effects clearly think they're actually in the original Star Wars trilogy, but most of rest of it is standard fantasy fare. Also, for every groan-worthy scene, there's a plot point that I actually found intriguing:
  1. A race of cyclops created when they gave up one eye in exchange for foresight. They were tricked; the only future event they can actually see is their own death. (I would seriously like to read a short story based on this.)
  2. Fire mares are the fastest creatures ever and leave trails of smoke in their fiery wake. (haha, what.)
  3. The science teacher from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory makes an appearance as the short sidekick who can turn himself into various animals for laughs and eventual saving-of-the-random-child-character. (Fun character).
  4. The Power of Love at the end. (One of many, many tropes in the movie.)
In a general sense it was a watchable enough movie, and had some fun elements; I'm glad to have seen it, but I doubt I'll watch it again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

American Gods - Twitter Q&A

One of the (many) things I enjoy about Twitter is the way in which it occasionally removes the barriers between the author and the audience. Case in point, Neil Gaiman spent an hour today answering questions about his novel American Gods on the @SFXmagazine Twitter account.

I missed most of the fun while out getting new glasses, so here is my attempt to read just the questions that got answered. And rebut (or support?) all my family members who think Twitter is a silly waste of time.

In reverse chronological order, and I paired questions + answers:

@neilhimself Thanks, Neil! A truly valiant effort. Much bravery under tweet-fire!

Damn it, Gaiman managed to wriggle out of the leg manacles. I knew we should have fixed them tighter.

And this is @neilhimself signing out. Thank you @sfxmagazine for the platform. Thank you Headline Books for setting it up. Hail & Farewell.

That's all I have time for. What a fine deluge of questions. Sorry if yours wasn't answered. It was like grabbing snowflakes in a blizzard.

@SFXmagazine @neilhimself #americangods What is going to happen to all of the questions you did not get to?
@sprunka I think they will float around the universe, and be answered by time, or never. #americangods

@sfxmagazine Does the Morrigan roam the America of #AmericanGods? Can a god hitch-hike on superstition or is active belief required? Thanks!
@cathyby If someone once believed, that's enough. One person's superstition is another person's worship, after all. #AmericanGods

@SFXMagazine Would Shadow and Fat Charlie get along? #americangods
@antonomasia09 I think Fat Charlie would be scared of Shadow. What Shadow would think of Fat Charlie only Shadow knows. #americangods

Outline? or just pull from the aether once you have gathered the experiences and info that open you to the story? #americangods
@PolytropicProds Every now and again I'd write an outline for what I had to do next, but it was like walking through fog #americangods

@SFXmagazine being an indian I can say that #americangods is v well researched. But were youu nervous about gettin things wrong?
@Hardigirl The things I'd get most wrong were things that people would tell me about places that they had misremembered #americangods
@Hardigirl I was terrified about getting things wrong, yes. And I did get a few things very wrong, when research failed. #americangods

@SFXmagazine So how's the latest incarnation of the Technological Kid holding up? I imagine he's matured a bit. #americangods
@justplainrii I think he has. But he's still looking over his shoulder. #americangods

@SFXmagazine Of course, I mean nicely organized questions and answers. would like to be able to reread and ponder at leisure. #americangods
@whooshing I hope someone can organise all the questions and answers -- it's a bit of a flurry... #americangods

@SFXmagazine How much of Shadow is you and how much of you is Shadow? #americangods
@halcyonhalcyoff "He's me, but I am not him." But then, that's true of everyone in the book, good & bad, male & female. #americangods

#americangods what was working with terry pratchett like when writing good omens?
@admiralross2400 That is absolutely not an #americangods question. #deceptivehashtagfail

@SFXmagazine #AmericanGods I'd love to see Shadow meet The Endless. Any possibility, or have you left them in the past?
@pdav21 For copyright reasons, I do not believe that could ever happen. But I suppose it's possible (Superman met Spider-Man) #AmericanGods

@sfxmagazine #americangods how much did Julian of Norwich's visions influence your writing?
@dpknowles I don't know. But she was definitely in the mix. #americangods
Eight Minutes to go! MUST TYPE FASTER

#americangods Are you ever embarrassed about what you did to(for) The House on the Rock? :)
@Aluhdeen It makes the House on the Rock people happy, and it brings people who love the place there, so no. Not even a bit. #americangods

@SFXmagazine Did you actually visit the attractions you talk about in the book, or did you learn about them through research? #americangods
@czeagler I visited them. Some I knew before I wrote the book, some I bumped into while writing it. #americangods

@SFXmagazine If you were choosing a band or musician to create a soundtrack for the book, who would you choose? #americangods
@wonderwoman1100 I wrote it to a soundtrack of Greg Brown, & The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs #americangods

Hi, Neil, dear. @SFXmagazine Curious what's your favorite Art inspired by #AmericanGods (song, statue, painting)? @GodTheMother Dear Godthemother, the HOUSE ON THE ROCK costume contest put a smile on my face that still hasn't faded yet. #AmericanGods

Where do you the see the deities of the major, modern faiths fitting into the world of #americangods? @neilhimself
@AdamLanceGarcia In much the same way that important politicians & movie stars fit into a story about poor grifters #americangods

@SFXmagazine Dear Mr Gaiman, when you wrote #americangods WHAT WERE YOU DRINKING?! Fantastic book, but I felt a little dazed upon finishing.
@TheIdleLaureate For the first third of #americangods, I was drinking Tori Amos's fine red wine. After that I had to drive home from writing

@SFXmagazine Why do you think people either really hate or really love #americangods with few ho-hummers in-between?
@TehGoob And I am fascinated that people who hate #americangods are often very clear on how they would want that story told differently.
@TehGoob I don't know. It took me by surprise. I do not know why #americangods is so divisive, although it may be a good thing.

@SFXmagazine did you ever have plans to flesh out Shadow's character further before writing Anansi Boys? #americangods
@StrangeBum My vague plan was to write another 2 or 3 Shadow stories like MONARCH OF THE GLEN & then the next #americangods novel. We'll see

@SFXmagazine Who was your favourite person/god/other to write in the book? #americangods
@ClaireyMil my LEAST favourite person to write was Shadow, as he doesn't let you inside his head, which is hard for an author. #americangods

@SFXmagazine Who was your favourite person/god/other to write in the book? #americangods
@ClaireyMil I loved writing Sam. Loved all the Zorya - they felt like relatives. Mr Ibis, Bast, Easter, Whisky Jack. #americangods

Why can't we find #americangods in brazil anymore? :(
@MariaLuiza_M I think #americangods has been out of print in Brazil for a while now, but that should change very soon.

@sfxmagazine did you travel the us while writing #americangods? including chattanooga (i'm from there)
@madasahattress I did. I bought a 2nd hand Camry and I drove, and what I saw went into the book. #americangods

@SFXmagazine why did you decide to make it a novel rather than a comic book? #americangods
@idesignwhatails I think an #americangods comic would be thousands of pages long. Writing a book it took 2 years of my life, not 10.

@SFXmagazine just read Anansi Boys in about three days and loved it, but which story was the first you thought of, it or #Americangods ?
@CircesIsland Anansi Boys came first, although it was written later. I borrowed Mr Nancy from it for #Americangods

@SFXmagazine If the present Neil Gaiman had to write the novel, do you think he could do it? #americangods
@Hardigirl The present Neil Gaiman would write a different novel, about a different time. But that's always true. #americangods

@SFXmagazine #americangods was the book difficult to sell to editors/agents?
@mshamah No. The only trouble was it was too long originally, so I cut it a bit. Now the cut stuff has been restored. #americangods

@SFXmagazine #americangods Were Norse gods always central, or did you contemplate centering it on other characters/mythoses (sp?)?
@dxferris Norse Gods seemed central as there's something so dark & fatalistic about them. Other pantheons get happy endings. #americangods

@SFXmagazine who would win in a bar fight, Mad Sweeney or Czernobog? #americangods
@DanSoloLives If Shadow could beat Mad Sweeney in a bar brawl then Czernobog could take him with ease. #americangods

@SFXmagazine What genre would you say the book belongs to? #americangods
@Hardigirl What genre is #americangods? Hmm. Is "Big Strange Book About America With Cons, Magic Tricks, Sex & Gods in" actually a genre?

@SFXmagazine How much time did you put into researching the different gods/mythologies? And who is your favorite/why? #americangods
@ekuntzsch I put about 40 years into researching #americangods, although I could only read for about 35 of them.

@SFXmagazine So can look forward to a new American Gods Book? & Will there be a follow up of Graveyard book linking in to it? #AmericanGods
@Booky_Lillz I don't think so. The Graveyard Book Universe has its own agenda. #AmericanGods

@SFXmagazine What was the most surprising thing, that you discovered writing Shadow's journey #americangods
@Enting That I needed to trust the book and not try and impose my own ideas of what ought to happen in it #americangods

@SFXmagazine is there any character from any of your other works that you feel would feel right at home in the world of #americangods?
@Snarglepip I think all of my books join up around the back. Perhaps they share a communal parking space. #americangods

@SFXmagazine Do you pick up hitchhikers? If so, have you met any interesting characters? #americangods
@MaryGaughan I always used to. I've not seen a hitchhiker in the US for about 10 years now. Still in the UK sometimes #americangods

#americangods did you intend the book to read like a road trip?
@gramophone23 Yes, very much so. #americangods is a Road Novel. partly because the endless road is something we don't have in the UK.

@SFXmagazine what part of you is contained in the character Shadow? #americangods"""
@Sevywevy I'm in everybody there. But probably my distinct lack of amazement at strange things. #americangods

I wish the #americangods hashtag had been shorter. I miss the extra characters. Oh well. Too late now. (Keeps typing like a mad thing.)

@SFXmagazine As an Englishman writing about America, did you ever feel like #americangods was something you weren't permitted to write?
@gathcreator Very much so, yes. But nobody else was going to write it, if I didn't, so I buckled down and wrote. #americangods

@SFXmagazine Why in the United States rather than England? #AmericanGods
@merlintriss Because UK Gods is a very different book. MONARCH OF THE GLEN in Fragile Things gives a flavour of it. #AmericanGods

@SFXmagazine #americangods As a 1-time instructor of World Myth, I'd like to know if you'll ever publish a studyguide/key to the book's gods
@DJStinky Possibly. I've been asked to write a Big Book Of Myth, and it may well happen. #americangods

@neilhimself @SFXmagazine Are there any new #americangods since you wrote the book?
@ianholmes I think Smartphones are rising through the ranks rapidly, as the god of telephone fades #americangods

@SFXmagazine would you ever be tempted to write another Wednesday book? #americangods
@idesignwhatails Yes #americangods

@SFXmagazine Why is the choice in songs played in the diner where Shadow and Wednesday eat dinner together? Iko Iko etc. #americangods
@justplainrii Pretty important, actually. All the song lyrics reflect on what's happening, especially if you spell sun SON #americangods

#americangods at what point in the creation & dissemination process did you realize American Gods was going to be as widely lauded as it is?
@_PBJ_ Don't know.I wasn't surprised when it was nominated for awards, was amazed it won them, am still amazed it's in print #americangods

@SFXmagazine in your books, gods are real bc ppl believe in them. If that was true, you'd still be making up stories abt them? #americangods
@AtmaSinnan No, I don't understand this one. #americangods

what scenes from the book do you think would completely ruin a film adaption of #americangods if they were removed?
@Maximumguido I think the most important thing is to try & keep the races of all the characters correct. #americangods

@SFXmagazine #americangods was the working title. Why did you decide to keep it as the final book title?
@gathcreator Everybody liked it and I never came up with anything better. It's what normally happens with my book titles. #americangods

@neilhimself Jesus doesn't appear in #americangods (he's considered aloof by other gods) but if he did, would there be multiple versions?
@ianholmes Maybe, or maybe a consensus version with satellite versions... #americangods

Did #AmericanGods narrative structure used sleight of hand because of Shadow's hobby or because it's effective to keep readers guessing?
@thefoodgeek Both of those, and because it was what the book was all about. Now you see it, oops, look over there... #AmericanGods

@SFXmagazine When can we expect the #americangods author's preferred text to come out?
@MaggieMimsy June 21 in the US and around there for the UK anniversary ed. - although the UK has had the text for 5 years... #americangods

@SFXmagazine #americangods What were Greek and Roman gods doing during the events of American Gods?
@Amarien I couldn't justify putting them in. But since then I learned about this stash of Roman coins #americangods

@SFXmagazine Was Mr.World really fully aware of Wednsday's plan or just another sacrificial god? Was the trickster tricked? #americangods
@StrawberreField It was a two man con, and Mr World was half of it #americangods

@SFXmagazine Were there any gods you wanted to use but couldn't find the space for in the novel? #americangods
@kevinchiat Yes, many. I had a whole section in a Japanese Internment Camp in Kansas that never made it in. #americangods

#americangods questions are flooding in (this is @Neilhimself) & I'm answering them as @replies so as not to clog everyone's twitter feed.

The one we won't get an answer to: Who is the Forgotten God? #Americangods
@Aulayan: I think I'll answer it in another American Gods book. But no, not here. Also, I think I've forgotten your question. #AmericanGods

Would you consider making American gods into a movie or TV serial? #americangods
@Jear1106 It's in the works right now. I should say no more at this time, but I do not think anyone will be disappointed. #americangods

@SFXmagazine Were there any gods you wanted to use but couldn't find the space for in the novel? #americangods
@kevinchiat Yes, many. I had a whole section in a Japanese Internment Camp in Kansas that never made it in. #americangods


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Toy Ads and Gender Stereotypes

Today's post is really just a link over to another post on How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes. The original post is worth reading, but the shortest version is this:

If you take the words from television advertising for toys marketed specifically to boys and girls (the boys’ list included 658 words from 27 commercials; the girls’ list had 432 words from 32 commercials) and throw them into Wordle, you get:

Wordle: Words Used to Advertise Boys' Toys


Wordle: Words Used in Advertising for Girls' Toys

Those are some pretty clear divisions - and, while I'm not surprised, I am a bit disappointed.

You can also read the follow-up to the original post here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My throat is still raw and my ears are still ringing.

First Scissor Sisters concert (at Stubb's) was definitely a success - they absolutely know how to put on a high-energy show.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Texts From Last Night

"I know you destroyed a J Beiber pinata, hid in my closet, and turned into a pineapple. Anything else I should know?"