April 28th, 2006

chi3

Between yesterday and tomorrow.

Tired. Tired. Tired. But...

A reformulation of an old adage: Those who can, do. Those who can't, plagiarize and sometimes make much more money than most of those who can. To wit, 19-year-old chick-lit Harvard wunderkind Kaavya Viswanathan. Little, Brown and Company signed her to a six-figure book deal for How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. Dreamworks even bought the film rights. And now Viswanathan has been accused of stealing much of the novel from Megan McCafferty, her publisher is pulling the book from stores for a "revision" to remove the offending portions, and Viswanathan is apologizing. It's all very queer to me. Queer as in strange. Queer as in gay Republican queer. Odd. All the books in question sound dull as dirt. I have trouble getting past that part, but when I try, the whole mess just seems...well...queer. Mostly, though, I'm sort of vaguely horrified at a 19-year-old Harvard student getting a six-figure book deal, plus movie deal, for writing what I strongly suspect (but cannot conclusively state) is vapid crap. It matters not to me whether she stitched it together from someone else's wildly successful vapid crap, though I do wonder at an apparently smart young woman's inability to write her own vapid crap.

Er...there was something else. Wait. It'll come to me. Oh yeah.

I was going to write something about the difficulties of being a solitary practitioner of Wicca in an oppressively social & Xtian world. But it's long, and it's complex, and I'm only two-thirds awake. So maybe I'll come back to that some other time. It's depressing, anyway.

As far as I know, I wrote the preceeding. All by myself. Well, except that I read the Yahoo article first. Maybe Miss Viswanathan is merely guilty of "over researching"....

Postscript: Sophie now claims that Lopez the chihuahua has a law degree he acquired via e-mail. I think she's lying. You decide.
chi6

Inching Forward

So, yesterday was an amazingly productive day. We did a read-through on "Highway 97," and then I wrote an afterword for the chapbook (1,206 words). I talked to my agent and caught up on e-mail. We read the prologue of Daughter of Hounds, and I discovered it takes about nine hours on my cranky old Epson inkjet jalopy to print a 691 pp. ms. (continuously, no breaks). This morning, the Zokutou page meter looks like this:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
68 / 691
(9.8%)


Which is an improvement. Today, it's Chapter One ("Emmie"). Tomorrow, we may try to do two chapters, as the earlier chapters are shorter than the later ones, and it would be nice to have the safety net of an extra day. Today, I also need to do the last little bit of tweaking on "Highway 97" and its chapbook. But, mostly, the day will go to proofing Daughter of Hounds. This evening, we may see a movie with Byron.

When we got home from Birmingham on Wednesday, the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology was waiting for me (somewhat mutilated somewhere between the Sheridan Press in Hanover, Pennsylvania and my mailbox, but still...). I've been eagerly awaiting this issue, as it includes a description of a juvenile Triceratops skull from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. However, I was distracted almost at once by an article on plesiosaur remains from freshwater deposits in Australia. The deposits in question are not only non-marine, they're high latitude, 60-80 degrees S., dating back to a time when Australia and Antarctica were beginning to drift apart. Indeed, the fossils were found in rocks deposited in the old rift valley. I love the idea of plesiosaurs swimming about in icy sub-polar waters. There's an echo of Lock Ness here, which got me to thinking about "paleo-cryptids," how it's often not so much that the beasts the cryptozoologists and monster hunters seek so fervently have never existed, just that they no longer exist. Gigantopithecus blacki, for example, makes a marvelous yeti/sasquatch, but all the evidence points to its having become extinct at least 100,000 years ago. Anyway, I should also note that the cold-loving, freshwater plesiosaurs all appear to have been short-necked pliosaurs, not the long-necked sort of plesiosaurs popularly fancied to persist in lakes like Loch Ness. Still, it's a marvelous image.

I wanted to link to Cliff Bostock's column in this week's Creative Loafing, sensibly titled "To Ruth Malhotra: Kiss my ass, I'm a fag." So follow the link. Ruth Malhotra, a student at Georgia Tech, has filed a lawsuit seeking to revoke GT's "'tolerance policy', which forbids harassment of gays, including the use of intolerant speech." Ms. Lahorta is a repeat offender. She's played the hate card before. Anyway, read the article. How do you convince someone whose religion fosters and encourages prejudicial attitudes that the consitutional protection of religious liberties does not also protect her "right" to treat fellow students like shit? The child has a website, of sorts, including her e-mail addy, though looking at it will only give her the attention she craves. Velour. That figures.

Meanwhile, the bad news is that NASA has officially declared that Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 won't be raining fiery death upon the Earth anytime soon, and therefore isn't the one the IOFS is waiting for. The good news is, a) they've been wrong lots of times, and b) the sky is filled to bursting with earth-crossing comets and asteroids. Personally, I think NASA's just spreading around a little anti-IOFS propaganda, hoping to avoid a panic. Oh, and I found this bit yesterday from The Book of the Damned:

That there was never a moment when there is not some comet in the sky. Virtually there is no year in which several new comets are not discovered, so plentiful are they. Luminous fleas on a vast black dog—in popular impressions, there is no realization of the extent to which this solar system is flea-bitten.

So buck up, kiddos. Hope springs more or less eternal.


Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 and all her forty fragments.