Thursday, December 31, 2009

My somewhat-incomplete-but-the-year-is-over top 10 movies list

Yeah. Somewhat incomplete.

To be fair, having to follow as phenomenal a year of movies as 2008 turned out to be is a daunting task to begin with, some may even claim it sisyphean, but still… come on. Let’s see some effort, eh? But no, this year (2009) pretty much just failed. Simply put, this was a supremely crappy year for films. Don’t believe me? The hands-down number one box office draw this year is one of the stupidest, most incoherent, witless pieces of idiot-bait ever made, not too mention blatantly racist at parts (Transformers 2). While the most expensive movie this year (Avatar, coming in somewhere in the ballpark of 400 to 500 million dollars of Fox’s money) spends nearly three beautifully rendered hours droning on and on and on about the evils of capitalism and Corporations. (Rolls eyes)

So, yeah, I didn’t make as many movies this year, even to some of the purportedly better ones that I was excited to see, and my list will definitely reflect that. So bear that in mind as you read on, my Dear and Gentle Readers…

My List

10. Duplicity
Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti are a big enough reason to make this film. Julie Roberts… eh… not so much… but you know what? She’s good. And so is the rest of the film. It’s a nice, clever little corporate espionage thriller. It’s a little Mamet-y and a little Altman-y and in all the right places. Great twists, great fun, really cool. It is something I plan on revisiting… and, I guess that’s all I have to say about it…

9. Watchmen
Here’s the thing, first off, I enjoyed the movie a great deal. Is Watchmen a failure… yes, maybe, but I still think it’s the best and closest adaptation we’re ever going to get. Also, I don’t think any of the choices, besides the song choice during Dan and Laurie’s Owl-ship sex scene, were bad, wrong, or didn’t accomplish the exact same thing any ways and often times in a more succinct and palatable manner for the non-comic book audience to enjoy. And honestly, the love for the source material is apparent on the screen. We’ll be lucky if we can get even half that effort for the inevitable day The Dark Knight Returns is made. Plus, its ugliness is absolutely beautiful.

8. Zombieland
Obviously, I have a severe soft spot for films of this nature, (Non-intelligent Zombie Apocalypse) but I rank this one pretty low on the list, and honestly, despite its charm and fun, if I had seen a few more films this year, it might not have even made it. Not that it was bad, it’s good. It’s fun. I really enjoyed it. No, more so its problems are two-fold: 1. It’s a little bit forgettable. It faded pretty quickly from my mind once the film was over. And 2. Well, this is geeky, but I hate the “dressing up as a zombie in order to fool the real zombies” ruse almost as much as I hate intelligent zombies. Plus, the characters all make some really stupid decisions that the professional zombie survivalist in me balked at, big time. I mean, deciding to scare a well-armed survivor of a zombie apocalypse by pretending that you are a zombie? Ah… bad idea. And while it is a funny moment, the obvious stupidity of the move somewhat telegraphs the joke. Woody is great, though.

7. Paranormal Activity
This one shocked me. It shocked me that I enjoyed this film even a little bit. It shocked me even more that I actually liked it. I mean, this film has a lot of things that I should hate. First off, it’s a POV (Point of View) film, which means that one of the characters is operating the camera. Now, 99.9999% of the time, this alone is more than enough to ruin a film. Why? Because eventually, at some point, you will find yourself wondering aloud: “Why the fuck are they still filming? Run, dummy! Run! Put down the camera and run!” (although REC gets a little bit of a pass because the character operating the camera is a camera operator by profession). Also, like most POV films, for some reason this movie is entirely populated with douchebags (Cloverfield). The girl is that familiar type of dumpy, screechy, hanger-on sorority chick follower and the guy? He plain ol’ sucks. Also, it was made for like 15 grand or so and uses one of the crew member’s actual apartment as the location. This usually means it’s a backyard film and, well, quality isn’t exactly Concern One in those cases. However… this flick pulls it off. It really pulls it off. A subtle slow build, but fun, creepy, and unnerving, with some fantastic tension, it’s all around well done. Sure, sure, it ends like all POV films: A whole bunch of screaming and camera jostling followed by a sudden end cut, but watch it alone in your house with the lights off and try to pretend like you didn’t crap your pants at some point. AND right when you would begin to question the characters’ concern with the camera? It’s done.

6. Sherlock Holmes
Someone asked me if this was Guy Ritchie’s big comeback flick. And I don’t think it is. In fact, Ritchie (for once) thankfully melts into the background. There are some familiar Ritchie directing flairs, but they work well, especially in the visualizations of the way Holmes’ mind works as he observes and plans. Other than that, Ritchie works hard at providing Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law a franchise and the two of them run away with it, dominating the film. They have a wonderful chemistry and the best part is not the speed of the wit that flies between them, it’s the ease of their interaction. There’s a very real sense that their characters actually know each other and have for quite some time. Now, it’s true, some folks might find it too talky. Others might find it too action-y. Me? I enjoyed it immensely and I applaud the idea to stick much closer to the actual Holmes found in the source material, despite the fact that most of the audience aggressively confuses the actual Holmes with the Basil Rathbone cinema Holmes, some even to the point of pouting about it. I know I was certainly glad to see that the Deerstalker hat was nowhere to be found. Yes, this is a modernized Holmes, but it is still firmly, firmly grounded in the original stories and it is a heck of a fun ride.

5. Star Trek
I am a long time Star Wars nerd from way back, despite George Lucas’s repeated and continued efforts to dissuade me, so even when old Star Trek was “good”, it would have never have made one of my Top Ten lists. Never. Also, JJ Abrams? He and I do not like the same things, or actually, we do like the same things, but he only likes the sucky parts. I mean, Alias? Come on, there’s no crying in the Spy business. There’s no crying in the Spy business! And Cloverfield? Ugh… awful. Awful. Awful. Awful. Stupid. And don’t get me wrong, I love Lost, but really, I only love Lost from Fourth Season on, you know, as in when they brought in people to fix all the problems of the first three seasons? So, anyway, fast forward to now and color me shocked when JJ Abrams’ new Star Trek, one featuring the original, classic characters but played by a young and pretty cast, turned out to be ridiculously fun. Ridiculously fun! Sure, sure, the science was uber-stupid, (Red Matter? Wah…?) but when has Star Trek NOT been doused in liberal amounts of idiot techno-babble? And yeah, the bad guy was really just a cheap construct used to help facilitate the franchise’s new start, but so what? Either way, all of that stuff was totally eclipsed by what turned out to be an exciting and inventive jump-start for a doddering, and quickly dying, old franchise that immediately left me wanting more. This movie was a total blast, a perfect summer flick… now, if only someone would come along and do that with the Star Wars Prequels. Oh yeah, and Karl Urban? From the first moment you heard him… he was Bones. It’s amazing. Also, Winona Ryder is in it… sigh…

4. Adventureland
This is the second film to appear on my list starring Jesse Eisenberg, otherwise known as the poor man’s Michael Cera. But despite this film’s complete lack of zombies, I have scored it the higher of the two. It was a sweet, funny, and sadly nostalgic film about a college kid between semesters, forced to return to his parent’s house and his old high school life due to financial reasons, and work a long and slow summer at a crappy amusement park. Touching life lessons ensue. For the most part, this was a quieter film, despite it’s inclusion of celebrity hair-tucker Kristen Stewart and contained a plethora (A plethora? Si, El Jefe… you have a plethora.) of great performances. Ryan Reynolds as the has-been, never-was maintenance man. Great. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as Bobby and Paulette, the park managers. Hilarious. But the real stand-out is the always superb Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks), whose dry wit and delivery is pure comedy gold. This is just a good, small, funny little film, and it is totally worth your time.

3. District 9
If you read my blog at all, then as you know, I’ve covered my feelings on this film here and here. But, you know, for the new kids: It’s totally awesome.

2. Up
I am more than willing to say: Everything Pixar has done is great. Even Cars, which is probably their by-far weakest film, is still better than most. The funny part is, just about across the board, pretty much every time they put out the trailer for their next film, it only makes me go: "Meh…" In fact, some of their films I put off and I put off and I put off, because there was no initial spark of interest. But when I finally saw them? Magic. Pixar walks that fine line of being able to entertain everyone in the room without treating anyone as an idiot. This is a studio with fantastic animation, sure, but more so, they are even better story-tellers. I don’t think I’d even want to work there, if I were given the opportunity, because I wouldn’t want the magic spoiled. I’d rather just watch and listen. Up is a tale of friendship and love and pure adventure. I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t see it. Go. It’s brilliant.

1. Hurt Locker
I have already covered my feelings for my number one pick of the year here. But just in case you are super, super lazy, I will reiterate: This is truly a fantastic film. It works as both a statement on Iraq AND as an edge of your seats, nail-biting action flick. Well done, all around. Jeremy Renner is awesome. I can not wait for the chance to sit down and re-watch this again at home. Even if this was a somewhat anemic list this year, and even if I had seen everything else I wanted to, I strongly suspect that this film would have easily held onto the top spot. Easily. It is well deserved Best Picture material. Now, from what I hear, Up in the Air might give it a bit of a run, but I’m betting right now that The Hurt Locker gets the statue this year.

So that’s it. My list. I think these are all good films, so you should check them out. Also, I’d like to give a little nod to a couple I saw and liked but didn’t make the cut.

Public Enemies: Not bad. Not great, but not bad.
Jennifer’s Body: I support Diablo Cody. I love her work and she makes me tingle. So, despite some flaws, I found Jennifer’s Body to be a good waste-of-time flick.
Push: Not bad. Really not bad. Actually pretty good. A nice little modern day superhero among us type of flick. I love Superheroes in hoodies. Some good power usage. Some cool ideas. Lot’s of fun action. Ambitious, too, maybe too much so, as it is obviously hoping for a sequel that probably isn’t ever going to happen.

And now…
The movies I wanted to see, but missed for some reason:

Moon
Whip it
The Road
Gomorrah
Up in the Air
The Informant
Drag me to Hell
Sunshine Cleaning
500 Days of Summer
Where the Wild Things Are

I know, I know, it's a huge amount of possibly really good films... What can I say? I've been busy. Also, you know... just as a side note... if you wanted to, you could re-read this whole post, but in a sarcastic tone of voice and it's a whole new experience. Just sayin'...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More on Avatar

2 week Domestic Box Office: Roughly $232,000,000.00 (Give or take a couple hundred thousand.)
2 week International Box Office: Roughly $411,000,000.00 (Again, give or take a couple hundred thousand.)
2 week Global Total: $642,993,860.00


That's a second week dip of LESS THAN 2%!

That is unheard of! That is unbelievable! That is the highest grossing 2nd week ever! Ever! Amazing, simply amazing. God damn, man... the people love it... the people love it...I wonder how much is IMAX and how much is repeat business... Anyway, what can I say?

Sometimes, I guess I'm just out of touch.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Avatar Review


Let’s start out simple:

Avatar is alright.

It is definitely not bad. It’s not great, of course, but it’s definitely not bad. It delivered exactly what I expected it to: Some very, very pretty visuals with some good action, more than a bit of corny dialogue and some ham-fisted story-telling, all of which was mired in what can only be described as one of the most worn-out of Tropes (The Noble Savage). That’s not to say that it’s not entertaining, mind you, it is, at times very much so, but what it is not, is innovative, or all that original. Well… besides the presentation, that is. That is amazing, frankly, so let me amend my initial statement:

Avatar is alright, but if you’re going to go… then you have to see it in 3-D IMAX only, because honestly, anything less is going to make the film much, much less than alright.

Yesterday after the movie, while shuffling along with the slow tide of the exiting crowd, I was trying to figure out what rating I’d assign the film, something on a scale of one to ten to accurately gauge my feelings, and maybe include a few movies to reference that I felt might best illustrate those feelings. It was a slippery question.

See, you have to understand, so let me be clear here: I did NOT hate the film.

It was fine, it was perfectly alright, it just wasn’t great… at all. Beautiful, yes, stunning, absolutely. Viewing the film in 3_D IMAX was, at times… intoxicating, it was so good. But the film itself was most definitely NOT great. Post showing, I felt ambivalent about it almost immediately. Right now, as I write this, the memories of it break apart in my mind like smoke and swirl away. I know I saw it, but I’m at a loss for even a few iconic moments to grab onto.

So, I’ve mulled it over in the time since then, and now finally, my rating: Avatar is a good strong seven and a half. A good, strong seven and a half. That’s my ranking, but it worries at me a little to assign that number. It feels both too generous and yet, too stingy at the same time.

The presentation was fantastic, eye-popping even. Totally worth the money and the time. It was light-hearted and fun, honestly, it was… I don’t hate it at all. I barely rolled my eyes in disgust while watching. No, it’s just... the story itself was—for the most part—hacky. It was a little over wrought, it was filled with clichés and a ton of extremely familiar Sci-fi designs, not to mention more than a few tired out old tropes, some of which were borderline offensive and should definitely be retired at this point, and foreshadowing was used with all the subtlety of a flashing neon sign smashed repeatedly into your face.

“Hey, what’s that thing?”
“That?”
“Yeah.”
“Oh, that’s a flying dragon skull… you know, the thing that just attacked you…”
“Oh yeah, I remember. That was exciting.”
“It was.”
“Is it the same one?”
“The same one that attacked you?”
“Yeah.”
“No, we just left it… we just got here… that’s a skull… forget it. No, see, that’s the one my Grandfather rode.”
“Really?”
“Oh yeah, you know how most of us ride those little dragons?”
“Yeah.”
“Well, he rode one of the big ones.”
“Wow.”
“I know. He used it to unite the clans during this big crisis… and then… we apparently killed it and ate it afterwards…I guess that’s why we have the skull… huh… I guess, you know… crisis averted, right? Everyone was probably hungry…”
“I bet.”
“I don’t know why I’m even telling you this, honestly, because it’s only happened like five times in our entire history of ever.”
“What? Riding a big dragon?”
“Yeah.”
“Wow, five times? That is rare.”
“It totally is. So, you’ll probably never see it happen.”
“Probably not. That’s a shame… Well, enough dilly-dallying, let’s get back to our current huge crisis…”
“I suppose.. too bad my gramps isn’t here now, huh?”
“Yeah, we could totally use him… or someone like him…”

You will never guess what happens in the third act, people, not in a million-billion years… never. Let me assure you, I totally did not see it coming.

Anyway, in case you don’t know, Avatar is the story of mighty whitey and recent cripple Jake Sully, a former marine and the only man capable of saving the noble, yet simple and helpless indigenous savages: The Cat People (Me-Yow!) from some Mean Suits, and their Army man dogs-of-war lackeys, all of whom want nothing more than strip-mines as far as the eye can see… because they’re evil! Turns out, Scully is like their savior and shit. He goes blue and thinks they’re the poo, mostly because the main girl cat only wears a thong. Also, you know what? All the Cat People’s lovely-dovey, planet-and-people-as-one-fiddle-faddle, their be-good-to-nature simpleton native lifestyle stuff? They totally know what they are talking about! Shocker, right? Despite all of our technology and science… it turns out, these simple-minded, mud-dwelling savages with their feathers and their chanting and their ooga-booga-ing… they’re the ones who actually see the truth about the world… and they see it truthfully… with magic and stuff… for reals. And that includes not wearing any pants or shirts (but don’t worry, ladies, you’ll have feather necklaces to cover your nipples… those Navi know double side tape, believe me), unless of course, you’re going into battle, then you wear these little crochet tops, which look fun. Also, animals are our friends and Corporations and the Military? Evil as shit.

I kid, I kid. (Not really.) It was alright. Really, it was. You know, I think if I had been 12, I would have been more blown away by it… No, no, the 12 year old me would have been only moderately impressed too. Maybe 8… if I had been 8, I would have been blown away. Maybe blown away is too strong a phrase. I would have been... somewhat more impressed. But not really, actually, I fully and proudly admit to hating Alien species and have said on more than one occasion: If life was Star War, I would totally join the Empire and subjugate the fuck out of all those freaky little bastards and their stupid single climate themed planets… starting with Naboo… but I digress. Long story short? I was entertained somewhat for the two hours and forty minutes of 3-D IMAX, but when I walked out, I was underwhelmed.

And I wasn’t the only one. Geeks and non-geeks all around me were all the same, up and down the line, to varying degrees. “Awesome looking, but familiar… and a little dull in the middle. “

I think that’s what bothered me the most, too. 15 years, give or take? With budget estimates that top out at $500 million dollars? And yet, Dances with Wolves meets Dune, The Last Samurai, Fern Gully, Halo, and Thundar the Barbarian (Ee-Yah-Ee!) is the best you could come up with? I read a great line in a review somewhere that said (basically): “James Cameron only cares that his characters are three dimensional visually.”

And that was patently obvious on screen.

So would I go a second time?

Maybe, in a few months, at the 3-D IMAX again, but otherwise, no. No, I would not. I don’t plan on seeing this film “normal” ever. Without it’s amazing presentation, the film will be forced to rely solely upon it’s narrative and that will only take whatever good feelings I have toward this movie at the moment and snap them.

The true litmus test of this film will be next week. World-wide, it opened to 232 million dollars… which is impressive, but what will week two look like? I’m betting a ghost town, folks, because I honestly don’t feel like there is much to return to here.

Earlier I talked about ratings, a good solid seven and a half, I said, but I was also trying to figure out what other movies share those same feelings… At one point, I thought: Maybe it’s like Deep Rising or Soldier, bad, but good, and yet watchable, but that’s not right. I’ve watched those films multiple times. I’ll even seek them out sometimes. No, I think Avatar is eventually just going to disappear into the stacks of the video store for me, never to be looked for or really watched again, whereas a somewhat bloated, but sincere failure like Watchmen, obviously made from the same type of passion and love, I will buy. Hurm… a true conundrum. It’s nowhere near as bad as Transformers, certainly, but is it in the same bracket? Nothing but spectacle? Lacking a reason to return? All show and no go? Maybe…

There’s a kind of hysterical fever that seems to grip Cameron’s latest films. People rail about their greatness, they slaver and froth about T2 and True Lies and Titanic… or at least they did… at the time. T2 still seems to hold up somewhat, but it is very obviously a pale shadow to the original or to Aliens, even to the Abyss. But the others? Cheese. Major cheese. How many of you can even sit through Titanic at this point? Huh? And it won a billion fucking Oscars at the time. It’s insane to look back on and think about now. Titanic swept the Oscars! Titanic! It’s like there was a trick pulled on us all and now we just don’t talk about it anymore. Is that how time will treat Avatar? I’m pretty sure it’s how I will. I may be alone though, Rotten Tomatoes is running at 83% positive…

Beautiful, silly in a fun way, and with some great action pieces, but hobbled by clunky dialogue, cliché characters, and designs familiar to the point of appearing as direct knock-offs, Avatar is worth the 3-D experience… but hurry, because once that opportunity fades away, so will this film’s luster.

No Avatard,
Jon

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Even more silver linings!


Check out the Iron Man 2 trailer posted by the good folks at Io9

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Silver lining


Sure, yesterday was plagued by a down moment or two, but these things happen. Such is the life, right? And hey, in the meantime, there are things like this.

Gasp! What is it, you ask?

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Why, it's one of the very first cast pictures from the upcoming (Edgar Wright directed) film adaptation of the popular comic book: Scott Pilgrim! Yay!

Wait... What's Scott Pilgrim? For shame.

Here's a skewed angle for a better glimpse...


From left to right it looks like we got: Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Young Neil, Knives Chau, Kim Pine, and Stephen Stills.

...Awesome.

Want more? (You know you do.) Look here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Status: Sad face

Two more rejections in the past few days.

ugh...

The first was just a quick, one-off, semi-form letter type rejection from an Agency that I don't quiet remember having queried in the first place. I haven't updated my Query Tracking Spreadsheet (my QTS) yet, so the possibility exists that this was, in actuality, a preemptive rejection from a very efficient Agent... maybe.

The second rejection, sadly, was from the Agent I would have preferred to get, the one that had the 60 page sample. This was my first big strike out. She did write a nice little note back to me and included some thoughts and comments and recommendations and an offer for a re-submission at a later date with a re-worked version, or with something else entirely, so, that's kind of encouraging... all things considered... I guess. On the plus side, the main problem she had with the sample was different from the problem the last Agent had, so at least there isn't one huge glaring thing wrong. Of course, on the minus side... that could be also construed as being indicative of the existence of several problems. Be that as it may, at the moment, I choose to see it as a reflection of personal taste.

So, from here on out:

Well, there are still four queries currently out there and I will send out more tonight. After the holidays, I will be checking on their statuses. Also, I've been working on cutting the book's over-all length, so that continues. And the newest bit, per the recent response, I will be taking a look at the structure of the thing at the same time.

Le sigh...

The quest continues... Onward and upward.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Scribblerati

Hey! Hey!

It's Lisa's week to blather on about something over at the Scribblerati blog and she's got a great post up and ready for your reading enjoyment. Go on and check it out, folks, and while you're there, you might want to peruse the other posts, as well as the other members of my very excellent writing group.

I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CGI Ruins Movies

I've felt this way for a long time now, so it's nice to see someone else putting the same feelings out there. Check out this I09 article. It's a 100% right on.

Like I said yesterday: I'm going to Avatar on the 20th. I want to like it, I really do, I'm ready to, but the scars from the Prequels still itch when it rains, you know? So, here's me hoping for the best, James Cameron, but I'm gonna be honest with you... I'm more than a little bit wary, man, more than a little bit wary.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The 100th Post!

WOOOOO! WOOOOOOO! WOOO!


One hundred posts!

For ten months or so now, week after week, day in, day out, day off, day off… another day off… sometimes for a week or two… I’ve been posting. Ten months or so... give or take. That’s dedication for you right there, folks. That’s me—just me, mind you—logging on and blogging eight, sometimes even nine, times a month and just cranking it out for y’all… just grinding it out. Writing! “It’s been a long road… getting’ from there to here…” And do I ask for anything besides your accolades, adoration and gifts of money and/or comic books?

No. No, I do not.

Man, are you people lucky or what?

So, as the snows roll in, blanketing the middle of this country with its heavy, frigid embrace, my attention turns away from my stack of unstamped license plates here at the Day Prison and instead... they turn to you, my friends, My Dear and Constant Readers. They turn to you. How ya’ doing? We’ve been together awhile now, you and I, so I thought, in commemoration of this big one hundredth blog post here at This Is Mine, I thought we could jump into the ol’ way-back machine and reach far, far back into the ether, all the way back to the source, and maybe do it up one more time, just like we used to back in the day... February ’09 style.

I think you know what that means…

That’s right:

UPDATES!

Gunslingers of the Apocalypse:

As of right now, today, there are no new responses. All’s quiet on the manuscript front. Everything is as it was and continues to be. There are still 60 pages out there somewhere, in the possession of an Agent I would love to be represented by, while five other queries are hanging out on the desks and in the in-boxes of some equally strong candidates. If I took nothing else from my time at the Loft, it was to start big and work your way down. So far, (knock on wood) and despite a pair of rejections, I have yet to strike out with any of the Big Kids, so keep your fingers crossed, my Dear and Constant Readers, say a little prayer for me, your favorite blogger (Jon), burn me some incense, maybe sacrifice a goat and/or small child, basically whatever kind of superstitious hocus-pocus chicanery your own personal brand of religious mythology calls for when one would like the favor of the gods smiled down upon themselves… go do that. Thanks in advance.

Bastard out of Minnesota:

I have settled on “out of” for the title, instead of “outta”, I think this is a good thing. Thoughts? Also, the good news. I think I have finally managed to pummel the opening section of the third chapter into submission, at least enough for me to be able to turn my back on it safely and move on to the next parts. The bad news is, doing so took so long that now there isn’t enough time left to finish the whole chapter and still send it out to the Scribblerati for review at our next meeting on Monday. That’s a big sad face on my part. This book has been a slow starter, the nagging questions of world building and what to tell how, not to mention what information needs to be shared again since this is a sequel, after all, have been vexing… to say the least, and unfortunately, I am a mostly linear writer and don’t like to jump around much, so it’s been a little bit of a slog for me through the last 80-ish pages. The good news, though, is once it’s all down and I move on to Chapter Four, I’ll be able to more clearly establish the story and then, if I need to, I can go back, hammer out the iffy parts in the first couple of chapters, clean it all up and link it together in a satisfactory manner. It’s very reassuring to realize that after all this work, especially since things really open up after this chapter. I feel like I’ve been trudging through a swamp lately, but after last night, at least, the ground finally started to feel like it was firming up a bit beneath my feet… let’s hope.

The Comic Book Experiment:

Blog-friend Marshall Banana has paused in his near constant attempts at further baby-making and is slowly making progress on our joint experiment. Things are looking very good from this end. Yay for Marshall! Way to go! Keep up the good work! Although, I may borrow the Scrappers idea, while you're working on it, and try to meld it into short story shape for submission. Why? And to whom? …Read below.

Strange Horizons:

This site is one of the last of a dying breed: an actual venue for the publishing of short stories of the Sci-fi and fantasy bend AND it actually pays pro-rates. Seeing this place is like seeing a Unicorn in your backyard. It’s intimidating though, because this is a realm of giants. Big names have trod here, and many still do, so care must be taken when you approach. Right now their submissions are closed, holidays and all, but they are scheduled to re-open come January. I have time to prepare.

Avatar:

I’m going to Avatar at the 3-D IMAX on the 20th, that’s the zero hour, and then…. Oh and then… we shall see, James Cameron, oh yes… we shall see. You’ll be hearing all about it, I’m sure, my Dear and Constant Reader. Be sure to await my response with bated breath.

Fringe:

Great stuff. Love it. Multi-dimensional wars fought between secretly seeded super soldiers? It’s like they wrote it from my dreams… After having watched the entire first season and having downloaded all of the current shows to date of the second, I have to say: All in all, Fringe is a very entertaining show with a really strong hook and an even stronger cast held together by a fantastic chemistry, the whole of it buoyed by good writing that has somehow avoided being undermined by either Fox or by the writing staff, a group whose other works I am almost uniformly not a fan of. Except for the new Star Trek. There is a tiny nagging fear that they still might veer off into X-files land, a place where answers and resolutions are feared and hated and driven off into exile, but so far… so good…

And that’s all the news fit to print, so let’s wrap-up…

In a nutshell, 2009 has been pretty good for me. I finished my book, with the invaluable help of the Scribblerati, the Copy Editor Twin Star Sukiyaki Death Squad Girls and all my various and sundry Beta-readers and friends. This is something most people can’t say, and I’m very proud of the end result. I’ve begun the query process and so far, in these first two months, I have managed to get some responses, which is another small and encouraging victory. The Day Prison isn’t to bad, all in all, at least, as far as Day Prisons go. Me and mine are healthy, wealthy, and wise, for the most part, so I can’t complain there too much. But best of all, most of all, I got Little Ms. Super-cute Fiancée. She’s pretty awesome.

So keep your chins up out there, my Dear and Constant Readers, life ain’t too bad.

Later gators,

Jon

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Neat!


Iron Man 2 teaser poster featuring War Machine!
Needless to say: Very excited.

UPDATE!
The Black Widow... Wa-ka-kow!