Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oneidine 11, 31.

Yesterday: Oog.

"If we are all in agreement on the decision - then I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about."
Who said this, and why was it said?

Also, what does it mean today?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oneidine 10, 31.

Last week was a week of highs and lows; most of the lows involved my cold, which kept going away and coming back. For all I know it might still be doing that.
Saturday to Sunday feature a nightlong struggle between Winter and Spring; Winter ultimately won (at least for the moment). It made me think of Pisces Iscariot, which I haven't listened to in a long time... one of those albums that immediately brings to mind the late March struggle. At any rate, we (meaning Sean, Amber, the wife and myself) celebrated the spat with messy, hot, delicious Ghanaian food from Palace Gate, good old fashioned drinks at the Uptown Lounge, followed by the college budget solution (ie. that involves a fifth of Bacardi from the local supermarket, a two liter of coke, and a lot of talk about music). I don't think I went to sleep until about 4 AM.
Sunday was pretty lousy, but oh well.

New York Times: U.S. Lays Down Terms for Auto Bailout.

Who would you like to see resign?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Concept: Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight

So not too long ago I finally sat down and watched the direct-to-DVD Dragonlance movie that has so many fans bleating and bleeding not that long ago. It really sucked.

Dragonlance is the greatest paradox of the early TSR novels, because it satisfied many definitions of kitsch while also exhibiting the traits of a complex and nuanced artistic work. It was essentially a high fantasy recasting of the fall of the Roman Empire and rise of medieval Europe transported to a high fantasy setting. When a meteor strikes a sinful city, the result is an ocean the color of blood. This is set on a tiny continent sitting squarely in the southern hemisphere and the planet is orbited by three moons which endow magical powers. The gods are represented by constellations that disappear when the gods take on material form. In these aspects and more, Dragonlance established a more off-kilter allegory and theological inquiry than its genre or audience typically demands. It has always been both more compelling than other TSR lines, and more problematic.

These issues would have made a film version challenging with any amount of money. The project could've utilized its modest budget much better in a series of short cartoons (a la Nickelodeon's old Mysterious Cities of Gold perhaps?) or even as an HBO-style series. It could have paid for this perhaps by replacing the talented knowns with talented unknowns.

Even considering this, though, the film was bad. It attempted to combine Hanna Barbara-style animation with really really crappy CGI for the dragons and the draconians a la Bakshi's Lord of the Rings. The first forty-five minutes deployed the first hundred pages of the book at a well-edited clip, only to dissolve into incoherence right when things should have been getting good. I was able to occasionally lose myself (early on) in the craft of the writing, and in Kiefer Sutherland's admittedly spot-on Raistlin Majere. But there should've have been more drinking on my part. The movie was that bad. Too many compromises were made in all the wrong places.

I realize this critique is disordered. It is not nearly as disordered, however, as the film was.

It was bad.

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Oneidine 7, 31.


Unlikely synonyms.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Event: Sad Change, Scary Change.

I know that week is probably just one among many for the U.S. and for the world, but the news has been rough for me personally on a number of fronts:

Chicago's greatest parade will be shutting down after 50 years. All of those parade scenes you've seen in movies; the march through the Loop in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and the imromptu march on Taylor Street in The Blues Brothers... they've been mostly eroded into soulless PR events. There are occasional exceptions out in the neighborhoods; small ethnic parades full of color and improvisation, and from time-to-time a sports victory brings on that refreshing chaos. But those are rare and fleeting event. For Chicago to shut down this parade is somewhat equivalent to if New Orleans shut down the French Quarter on Mardi Gras.

The closure of Flint Central seems immanent this time... this was the high school I attended in spirit, and many of my best friends are alums. It was also a point of pride and cohesion in a community that in many other ways has deteriorated in the last generation.

The Flint Journal is slashing much of its staff and reducing its print operations to three days a week. Just down the road, the Ann Arbor paper is completely giving up the paper ghost. But the Journal, famous for Pulitzer Prize winning photographers and infamous for editorial lines like "Anorexic Teen should swallow her pride" always seemed sort-of invincible to me.

It is common to say "change is scary but necessary." This statement can be reversed. Sometimes change, however necessary it is, can be paralyzing. And I don't think anyone would deny that change is in the air these days in a way that it hasn't been for a long, long time.

Someone give me some good news, quick!

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Oneidine 6, 31.

The Komi Peoples.

Which flower do you most anticipate with the coming of spring?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Concept: New Link: "The View From Fez"

A few weeks ago, before hereisnowhy.com went belly up, I had just finished a correspondence with the Morrocan blog The View From Fez, based in Fez, one of the "four imperial cities" in that nation and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot. The site is a real treat, in both writing and images. I've added it to the sidebar and encourage you to check it out!

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Diary: Phenology: March 19 - 25, 2009

In the last week, I have noticed a few squirrels in the neighborhood.

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Body: Today is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord.

According to Wikitravel:

The Basilica of the Annunciation is built above the sunken grotto which according to the Roman Catholic faith was the home of the Virgin Mary and the place where she received the Annunciation (the announcement of the imminent birth of Jesus). The large and impressive modern-day church is built above the remains of churches dating back to Crusader and Byzantine times, still visible on the lower level. The church boasts dozens of pictures donated by Christian communities around the world. The Largest Church in the Middle East and one of Christianity’s Holiest shrines, its imposing dome dominates the Nazareth skyline and is an ideal landmark and starting point for visiting Other churches. It marks the spot where the Archangel Gabriel Informed the Virgin Mary that God had chosen her to bear his son; there is also a tradition that Mary lived in a house on this site. The complex of the modern Basilica is built on two levels. The lower one,Making the traditional Roman Catholic site of the Annunciation, contains ancient remains of churches from the Byzantiane and Crusader eras. During archaeological excavations, relics were found dating back to the Canaanite settlement of Nazareth, Though the most interesting find was of a typical Nazarene house, hewn out of the rock, from the Roman Period. The upper level, built between 1959 and 1969 on the site of an 18th-century church, is in strikingly modern architectural style. With its stained- glass windows highlighted against bare stone.A garden and courtyard connect the Basilica to St. Joseph’s Church and Workshop. Admission to the Basilica is free.

"It marks the spot where the Archangel Gabriel Informed the Virgin Mary that God had chosen her to bear his son" reminds me of one of the most famous episodes in the life of Muhammad, where the Angel Gabriel transported him to Jerusalem before escorting the prophet to heaven. This event is celebrated by the Dome of the Rock.

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Oneidine 5, 31.

Also forgot to mention from last week: A nice St. Pat's day meal with friends (Guinness Beef Stew and beer) and American Idol the next day.


Where is this?

Which Bill Murray movie is the best?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Diary: March 2004.

I was living in McKinley Park, and several things that were visibly coming together were nevertheless still dim in the distance. I wasn't working on Urbantasm much at all. I was temping at NMFF via Advanced Resources and had started to germ that, if I'd proposed to my girlfriend, and if she'd say yes, we'd need to come up with a plan for life, since neither of us had really built much career-objective positions. But then I was also gearing up for one of the most anticipated Scavhunts ever, and was, in the meantime, attempting to salvage Pinter's A Dumb Waiter from the slow motion wreckage of the Nocturnal, a theater group I had helped to start. I remember the predominant feeling being of exhaustion and a sort of dim frustration with things.

April would be much more exciting...

Where were you in March 2004?

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Oneidine 4, 31.

Last week. Ooog. I finished revising my second novel Beowulf, which was a big accomplishment. Now I begin the arduous process of collecting criticism, further revision, and submission to presses and agents. Also, I've got to get off this noir kick. It's a lot of fun to write, but if this stuff ever gets published, people are going to think I live some wacked-out life.

In other news, on Saturday I met some friends of the wife, and they got us into the Field museum for free. It's been updated a lot since the last time I was there, and I was pretty impressed. We checked out the Pirates exhibit, and the Aztecs, and bounced around dioramas a bit. Dinner was Giordonnos. A good day. On Sunday, I got sick.

I've been watching a lot of nature documentaries.

"Egads! What sorcery is this? There was enough paralyzing gas in that cork to keep ordinary men unconscious for hours!"
Who said this?

How do you celebrate the coming of spring?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernaltide, 31.


Who performed live music the last time you heard live music?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Occludine 30, 31.

You Tube: Darth Vader Feels Blue.

When was the last time you felt blue?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Diary: Phenology: March 12 - 18, 2009

In the last week, I have noticed a sudden multitude of singing birds. At first I thought that they were exclusive to the Magic Hedge on Lake Michigan, but then yesterday I noticed them on my walk to the El.

I have noticed that tree branches are suddenly heavy with buds, so much so that they hang lower than before.

I have noticed that the grass now seems brown and green, whereas before it was simply brown.

I have seen all of the ice melt from the lake except for a couple isolated inlets.

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Occludine 29, 31.


Where is this?

Name a bridge that you like.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Occludine 28, 31.

- My past week was defined by 1) Seeing Slumdog Millionaire in Evanston followed by a late Tuesday dinner at Steak N' Shake, and 2) The Legend of Zelda III: A Link to the Past and the Nature: Sharks film. Also, I took a nice walk along the lake, and revised several chapters of Beowulf.

"It is clear enough that you are making some distinction in what you said, that there is some nicety of terminology in your words. I can't quite follow you."
- Who said this?

What kinds of syncretism would you like to hear about in the news?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Occludine 27, 31.

- My past week was defined by 1) Seeing Slumdog Millionaire in Evanston followed by a late Tuesday dinner at Steak N' Shake, and 2) The Legend of Zelda III: A Link to the Past and the Nature: Sharks film. Also, I took a nice walk along the lake, and revised several chapters of Beowulf.

New York Times: Pakistan Leader Backs Down and Reinstates Top Judge.

Eleven countries around the world have a population of over 100,000,000. They are (in descending order of population): China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Russia, Japan, and Mexico. Of these, what are three that you would be the most interested in visiting?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Occludine 24, 31.

But these things are also Spring's --
On banks by the roadside the grass
Long-dead that is greyer now
Than all the Winter it was;

The shell of a little snail bleached
In the grass; chip of flint, and mite
Of chalk; and that small birds' dung
In splashes of purest white:

All the white things a man mistakes
For earliest violets
Who seeks through Winter's ruins
Something to pay Winter's debt.

While the North blows, and starling flocks
By chattering them on and on
Keep their spirits in the mist,
And Spring's here, Winter's not gone.

"But these things are also Spring's"
Edward Thomas

Operation Rice Bowl
Fun activities for Lent. Actually, this is a great site, as they accept small donations, are very efficient with contributions, and each week they provide a Friday recipe which is a great way to learn about the world.

If you were a bug, what kind of bug would you be?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Occludine 22, 31.


Where is this?

Do you have any phobias? What are they?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Concept: Here I Go, Playing Star Again.

In the worst of St. Seger.

So. The blog is live again, no thanks to my old server Simple Host, who 1) lost a large number of files one two occasions, only attempted to restore them on one and even then threatened to charge me a $50 penalty for their trouble (nevermind that I was paying roughly 50% higher than what I'm paying now), and 2) failed to update my account information after two attempts, meaning that my domain registration expired. This is how I lost hereisnowhy.

As for my new server, Bluehost, it's early in the relationship and they just got my money. However, they've already presided over a difficult and time-consuming content transfer, helped me change domain names, and have been professional and efficient throughout the process. A good sign of things to come.

Hereisnowhy.com was not a great domain name to begin with. People didn't know if it was "here" or "hear," "no" or "know," "why" or "y." It wasn't clear what it stood for. My wife suggested urbantasm.com as an enticing alternative... and I thought about it seriously... but I ultimately went with the ever practical connorcoyne.com. I figure that if I can keep the content of the website interesting, it doesn't matter how boring the url is.

It would be nice if I found a way for this website to cover its own expenses, which is currently about twenty-five cents a day. I'm planning on starting up a parallel blog which will maintain book reviews (some of which I've already written) and feature ads. It will be updated as needed, but since it's supposed to earn a quarter a day, I don't intend to sink a lot of time into it. When I have this up and running, I will let you know.

In the meantime, there is another route to a self-sustaining site, and one which is ultimately more important because it also applies to my career as a writer. I need to effectively use this site to promote my writing (specifically my novels and fiction) and as a way to obtain writing commissions. I'm not a freelance writer per se, and this is a very particular niche I'm filling: Talented Literary Experimentalist and Opinionated Guy.

With this in mind, I humbly request any Friends / Advocates to update / add links to connorcoyne.com, and to just generally share the blog and website with anyone you might think is interested. The same goes for individual posts of interest, etc.

And of course, your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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Occludine 21, 31.

- Well, the blog is live again... thank you for your patience!

"Dreams are nothing but incoherent ideas, occasioned by partial or imperfect sleep."
- Who said this?

Think of your last vivid dream. If it was to be made into a film, who would you ask to direct it?