It Wasn't Quite Like That
There's a new GE commercial out which showcases the development of railroads in America, culminating in the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory Point in the then Utah Territory. Right about the time of the re-enactment of the meeting of the two locomotives, a huge black cloud is dumped from the locomotives, covering everyone in thick black soot.
The point of the commercial is a new GE locomotive which burns cleaner, but this riff on a historic moment was pretty funny to a railfan like myself.
The annual attack of the ants came late this year. Usually we get the small sugar-craving ants earlier, prompting us to get out the chemical weapons and renew the impenetrable barrier to the fortress house. We live in the country and with very sandy soil. Sometimes I think that maybe there is really only one ant hill on our property and it is 1.7 acres in size. (grin)
This year I've got a new Ortho product to help put a chemical barrier around the house. But the bottles are too small. Or else Meijer didn't have the really big ones. So I haven't closed the circle. It's like living in some movie where there aren't enough troops to provide a full defense, and the alien ant invaders are finding new places to slip through. Yikes! We'll keep you posted.
Roasting George Lucas
USA Network was running an AFI tribute to George Lucas a week ago. Mark Hammill spoke of being grateful for "being made into a Pez dispenser, an electric toothbrush and... a set of Underoos." I couldn't quite tell whether Harrison Ford was choked up or what, but his piece was nice, especially when he talked about "the earlier, funnier movies" (grin), and how he wasn't what Lucas wanted when they first cast either Han Solo or Indiana Jones. (The picture of George and his dog, Indiana, explains a great deal.) And Carrie Fisher gave an inspired speech which totally skewered the Guest of Honor and our ideas/ideals of the fabulous life of those involved in making blockbuster movies... (grin). Guess she's mad that Padme/Amadala isn't shown with the same hairstyle twice... (double-bun-grin).
During a "tour" of the first three movies, they ended up showing the ghostly images of Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker at the Big Endor Treehouse -- except it's that "new kid on the block" as Anakin Skywalker. We just had Return of the Jedi on DVD the other day. As usual, we're not always actually watching the screen -- have they done revisionist history there, too? Egads!
(I'm going to have to fire up the DVD player and check this out!)
Wired magazine is one of the most amazing print monthlies out there and I am forever amused and impressed with the creative work in crafting each issue. It's also a pretty reasonable subscription price -- and hey, a lot of the ads are edgier than you'll find in more prosaic publications.
One of their little occassional features is "Japanese Schoolgirl Watch" where they look for signs of the next trends from the most faddish demographic on the planet. The current issue features a story about a chewing gum with an additive touted to "increase breast size." Yikes!
Windstorm Creative on the Web
The people doing the anthology for Cascadia Con/NASFiC have clearly spent some time thinking about contracts. They have on their web site a sample book contract, which they say is free for you to use for your own interests as you like, as well as a nice Contract FAQ piece written by Mari Garcia, Director of Contracts, Rights & Legalers, who provided able assistance with the revisions to my own contract. (The Contract FAQ piece isn't public domain like their sample contract, but it is really useful to look at, whether you ever sell a book to Windstorm Creative or not.)
A Window Into A Quiet Simpler Time
As I write this section (now a week ago), I've got my laptop in the Business workplace that my Chevy dealer has in their spiffy Customer Service Lounge. I had to wander out to the service desk and check on the progress on my 1989 S-10 Blazer -- it's getting a new AC compressor and converted to the new style refrigerant -- and I needed to "lock" my laptop for a moment. Since it uses the anemic Windows ME (hack, barf, gag) the best thing is to fire up a screen saver with password. The one I grabbed from the menu, an LCD laptop with power saving doesn't precisely need to worry about screen burn, was from the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. And when I came back, I watched it for a moment. "Coming Summer 2001" it said.
Wow. For a certain generation of Americans, life will be divided into two realms, before and after. Summer 2001 was clearly before, and represents a different era. News was less important. Security at airports was merely annoying. You know the drill.
And New York City was something which ethereal aliens could attack in an all CGI feature movie with a very tenuous connection to a successful line of video games... and we thought nothing of it.