Irene

Hurricane Irene was a tropical storm by the time it got to Boston, but it still ended up doing a lot of damage. Worst that happened to me was the loss of internet, but there are still people around here without power. Massachusetts got off lightly, though. I’m grateful.

EDIT: really I mean Boston got off pretty lightly. Western Mass didn’t fare so well…

wednesday night in Boston

It’s almost 11pm on a Wednesday and I’m installed at the big Harvard Square Starbucks with my novel-in-progress and an abysmal cup of coffee. (Like, abysmal. WTF, Starbucks.) Kidbro has apparently made it safely back to the US from Asia and I’ll be heading to the airport soon to pick him up. Meanwhile, I’m eavesdropping on conversations about Steve Jobs and trying to write.

This thing I’m working on may end up being the shortest “novel” I’ve ever written. Also possibly the first first draft I finish in a dozen years, so… hmmm to that. Perhaps something for me to learn.

I’m tired. I keep thinking I’ll grow out of the days when I want to sleep til noon, but apparently not. Thank goodness for energy drinks, man.

 

RIP, Mr. Leiber

Jerry Leiber died yesterday at the age of 78.

Let me preface this post by saying I was obsessed with The Coasters when I was a kid. OBSESSED. I had a two-tape compilation of all their songs (including from when some of them were The Robins) that I listened to over and over and over and over. I can still sing most of their greatest and lesser hits word-for-word (and will do so with very little prompting).

And to be obsessed with The Coasters was to be obsessed with the two men behind their music: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

I can’t even list all of the songs I loved. Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, Little Egypt (for all the silliness), Searchin’, Along Came Jones, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (for The Robins), Down in Mexico, Poison Ivy. I guess they also arranged Hound Dog for Elvis, which I didn’t actually know until I started reading the obits. All catchy, mostly peppy songs, a beautiful partnership between Stoller’s music and Leiber’s lyrics.

Every time I had a chore to do, I’d bounce along to Yakety Yak. Every day that ended in Y, my brother and I would harmonize on Along Came Jones. (well, he did. I can’t sing.) Leiber and Stoller and the artists they influenced were the sounds of my childhood.

So rest in peace, Mr. Leiber, and thank you for all the happy memories.

Here are a few of my Coasters favorites:

Charlie Brown (I don’t really understand this video but it’s FAB)

Along Came Jones

Poison Ivy (maybe my favorite?)

reboot it and they will come… right?

Backstory: DC Comics, one of the “Big Two” of comics publishing (think Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) is relaunching/rebooting their entire line of comics, putting out 52 Issue #1s in September. It is the Big News in comics right now.

Apparently pre-orders for Justice League #1, the comic kicking off DC’s reboot next week, are over the 200,000 mark. Six other (unnamed) #1s have over 100,000 pre-orders.

That’s a lot. Obviously, DC’s drastic move is paying off with these increased sales that they had hoped for/promised.

But.

I have said this before, I will say it again, and then I will probably say it again.

I don’t care how awesome a book sounds in theory, I don’t care how drastic and dramatic this reboot is, if a book’s story doesn’t hold up I won’t keep buying it.

So yes, I am contributing to the 200K+ and probably the 100K+ in pre-orders. But rest assured, if the quality isn’t there I will be dropping my subscriptions so fast DC won’t know what hit it. I don’t have the money to spend on shitty comics.

You could say I’m pessimistic, but I’m trying to be real about it. If the quality of the comics isn’t good, no level of marketing can save the industry.

So, fingers crossed. One more week. I’m really hoping the reboot lives up to all the hype.

remember that time I wrote chick lit?

I write fantasy and science fiction. It’s what I like best, and what I’m best at. But sometimes I veer away and try to write something contemporary and dramatic—I tried to become the next Tolstoy around the age of 15 and failed miserably—or comedic and quirky. However, I can safely say that the biggest failure of my young non-career was my not-brief-enough foray into chick lit.

To give you some background, my full experience consuming chick lit comes from watching about five minutes of Bridget Jones’s Diary, reading the first page and a half of Devil Wears Prada, and reading most of Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing when I was too young to really understand it.

Definitely a good jumping-off point into chick lit stardom, no? Yeah, I don’t know WHAT I was thinking.

Luckily, the like three pages I actually wrote seem to have died with a previous computer, but here let me give you a taste of what you and the rest of humanity are missing due to my early retirement from the genre…

The story was a first-person point-of-view of some ordinary NYC girl named Susan or Sarah or whatever. Susan/Sarah/Susah lived in a hilariously-large Manhattan apartment with her gorgeous possibly-Latina friend Marguerite (I know guys, I know).

The opening scene was Susah reading the newspaper and bugging Marguerite about getting a job so she (Susah) does not have to pay the entire rent. Susah helpfully offers to look through the help-wanted section, so she flips to the classifieds. Buried there—in what section God-only-knows—is an ad directed at HEARTBROKEN LADIES which reads something like:

Did your boyfriend leave you? Is your husband having an affair? Do you want to get back at the bastard? Hire a gorgeous and totally not-interested woman to BREAK HIS HEART as much as he broke yours!

Susah is reading this aloud for hilarity when she gets to the phone number and realizes… dun dun DUN… it’s theirs! (because this story was set in the quaint time pre-personal cell phone when there were actual home phone numbers)

So Marguerite says languidly, and probably sexily, “Yes dahling, I meant to mention that. I’m starting a new business!”

Hijinks ensue.

The title of this epic was… wait for it… Mankiller.

(You know, like “ladykiller” except… for men… you know…)

Yes. A great chick lit talent in the making, I was.

in which I excel at planning

I am going to be in my new apartment in less than two weeks. Less than. Two weeks. I’ve moved past the pre-nostalgia for Allston and now I am so excited for the new place I can’t even tell you. I really just can’t.

At some point in the past month I made a moving to-do list. It’s mostly boring things having to do with utilities and acquiring keys, and so far I have accomplished only two of the items. But that’s not to say I haven’t been productive, oh no! In fact, in preparation for this move I have already…

  • bought a shower curtain with a pirate octopus on it
  • packed about half of my books and DVDs (this involved a lot of “but I might want to read/watch this one in the next three weeks…!”)
  • fake-bought thousands of dollars worth of furniture at IKEA.com, including three separate couches and a dining room table that I don’t think would fit through the front door (I love fake-shopping)
  • gushed over bathmats at Target
  • sorted through stuff in the kitchen and realized I’ve never owned a can opener
  • packed all of my Flash action figures into a special “Flash action figures” box
  • panicked profusely about ALL THE THINGS

…which I think is all super-productive of me.

Anything I’m forgetting? Got any tips for me?

wednesday comics FAIL

I got a pile of shiny new comics today. It was quite disappointing. VERY quite disappointing.

Let me share my mostly-one-word reviews of this week’s take:

CAPTAIN AMERICA #2—poor

SUPERGIRL #67—poor

RETROACTIVE FLASH (the 90s)—poor

RETROACTIVE WONDER WOMAN (the 90s)—abysmal

KEVIN KELLER #2 (or Veronica #208?)—perfectly fine

That’s about $20 worth of comics, most of which I would like to give back. C’mon Marvel and DC. You have to do better than this. I am so willing to buy things, but you have to give me products that are worth my cash and my time.

And I have to single out Wonder Woman as Worst Comic of the Week. Wonder Woman was so bad I was actually offended. I am all for GIRL POWER rah rah rah, but this story veered solidly into disgusting overcompensating girl power territory. Warning: long unhappy review to follow.

(spoilers ahoy. and bewarned: I’m spoiling everything. full frontal spoilers.)

First up, in a weird 1-page prologue, there’s a club of boys who hate girls. Man oh man, do they hate girls. Not any specific girls, just girls in general. They hate girls so much they mention it in every single panel on the page.

Cut to Diana who is for some reason helping out with babysitting (or something) a group of girls who call themselves the Girl Blossoms. These girls like fashion and shoes, glam magazines, music, being rich (?), playing with dolls, and shopping. Because, wait for it, they’re girls. And those are girl things.

But DON’T WORRY, guys. Wondy is here to open their eyes to the ways of the WARRIOR WOMAN!

This involves lots of forcing them to run and jump and pretending to be a wild boar and chasing them through the forest. The girls don’t like it because it’s hard, and they are sweaty, and their muscles hurt, and they’re tired, and that stuff all sucks because they are girls.

Quote: “Girls aren’t supposed to sweat… girls are supposed to glow!”

…yeah.

But after a few weeks under her tutelage they start getting muscley and fit and *gasp!* liking the exercising and running and whatnot. They beat some generic bullies at basketball! …in an oddly wedged-in scene that is only there to show them beating bullies at basketball.

Quote: “And all I thought I [could] do was shop!”

…in case you were having trouble figuring out the moral we’re working towards.

Meantime, Wondy gets called on her possibly-bullying level of training, so she brings back all the girls’ original toys but OH WAIT. Having now been exposed to the awesomeness of JUMPING OVER SHIT, the girls find themselves less interested in their glam magazines. Damn it, they want to climb that mountain! (Literally… and figuratively, probably.)

(Aside—this scene has the only two slightly amusing panels in the entire issue, when Diana is trying to play Ken and Barbie and talk about shoes and doing a poor job of it.)

So then eventually we get to a harrowing adventure involving rain and a flash flood and having to save the boys club from drowning (remember them? that awkward first page? you may recall they hate girls?). The boys pitch a fit, of course, because OH GAWD I’D RATHER DIE THAN BE RESCUED BY GIRLS OH GAWD but the girls, having learned Wondy’s lessons well, save the boys by shoving them really hard somewhere they don’t want to go but is better for them.

Quote from the final panel (I told you there’d be spoilers): “Not only did we lose our clubhouse… and we didn’t get to die nobly… but we got rescued by girls!”

So.

Obviously they were going for the whole “girl power” thing, the girls can do sports too! thing, and yes this was the retro 90s issue, set when that sort of stuff was BIG. But. Somewhere along the way they went full circle, from yay girl power back around to making non-empowerment ridiculous and laughable.

The story is just such a ham-fisted attempt at a message, written by someone who possibly doesn’t know any girls born after 1950, that I was kind of horrified. It bashes the reader over the head with the anti-girl sentiment of the boys, and the girls painting themselves into what is obviously supposed to be considered an unflattering girly-girl box. We’re supposed to be disgusted with these girls at first, and cheer as they become Real Women Like Wonder Woman. But there’s not a dichotomy—I personally like shoes almost as much as I like comics. (or comics almost as much as I like shoes?)

And I really, really, really hate how the girls lump themselves together as the entity of “girl.” It’s not “I hate/like this because ew/wow” it’s “I hate/like this because I am a girl.”

I do appreciate the “girls can do anything!” message that the comic was trying to present, but I’d rather have it not done at all than done this poorly. Also, this sort of story (Wonder Woman helping coach a group of girls to greatness) would perhaps be better-presented as a kids comic instead of a normal Wonder Woman story.

So yeah. Overall, I’m extremely sorry to have spent the $5.

And that is the end of my review of the Worst Comic of the Week.

a wtf of a day

Let’s recap the more notable events of yesterday:

  • Woken by jackhammers about 45 minutes before the alarm is set to go off.
  • Roommate walks in on me getting into the shower (seriously, who doesn’t knock?).
  • Hit on by sketch-tastic man while waiting for the bus. (Side note: guys always try to pick me up by either talking about my tattoo or my hair. Dear Guys a) become more interesting and b) stop I’m taken.)
  • Left work due to Saturday’s Fever Thing: The Sequel appearing without warning.

Still at home today, lying around, trying to get up the energy to watch cartoons.

That’s how you know it’s bad. When you have to work up the energy to watch cartoons.

comics digest, 8/16/11 edition

And here we have the 2nd Gracetopia Comics Digest. My internet freaked out on me, so I’m way late, but I promise this is going to be more “weekly” in future.

I’ve made a few changes from last time, but this is still a new and malleable creature, so feel free to let me know what works and what doesn’t!

This week we’ll have my favorite comic of the week, a black/Hispanic Spider-Man, and some Flash (including the best Flash costume ever).

Click for more…

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friday friday

So the internet at my place is apparently working just fine for every computer EXCEPT mine. Which is really helpful.

So I’m just popping in quicklike to say OH HEY GUYS. kisses. Have a cat. In a hat.

Jaynecat

(side note, if you knit the website I got that pic from looks cool. I don’t knit, I dunno. click the pic to go there.)