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By: Debra St. John,
Yesterday I accomplished one final goal for the summer. And it didn't have anything to do with writing.
I got a tattoo. I never thought I'd be one of those people who wanted one, but the desire hit me a few months ago, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I wanted it to be meaningful, not just a random, generic picture, so I put a lot of thought into what I wanted. I had a general idea, but then one night a vision popped into my head. I sketched it out, and then went on the net and did some cut and paste to put together an example. I sized it and cut it out and wore it on my ankle to make sure it was what I really wanted.
Finally, the big day came. Yesterday, I went and did it. The hubby got a new tattoo as well. He got one right after we got married, so this was his second. Mine took about fifteen minutes...his took two hours.
Here's how mine turned out:
It's a bouquet of six tulips done in pink and blue with a purple ribbon with a cross on it. The six blooms stand for our babies. We lost three to miscarriage, donated two embryos to science when we knew we couldn't use them, and had one failed invitro attempt.
Not that we'll ever forget, but this way, others will remember too. Everyone who's seen it so far loves it. A few have cried. It means a lot that they understand what this means to me/us.
Until next time,
By: andrea joseph
Blog: andrea joseph's sketchblog
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I think this was my favourite sketch from last Friday night's Dr. Sketchy. The scaling is all wrong; the hands, for one, are way too small but I don't really care. I'm a little bit obsessed with tattoos at the moment. I'm loving drawing people too. So what could be better than drawings on people? Not much.
The animated version of EDWINA THE DINOSAUR WHO DIDN'T KNOW SHE WAS EXTINCT has been released for the School and Library market by the fine folks at Weston Woods.
Excellently narrated by Cher Willems with myself as Reginald Von Hoobie Doobie, the film is one of my favorites due to the hilarious animation of Pete List and the Esquivel-esque musical stylings of Scotty Huff.
The DVD also comes
By: andrea joseph
Blog: andrea joseph's sketchblog
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These are the final couple of drawings from the rock n roll day last weekend. Actually, there's also a motorbike but that might take some time to finish. I must say that I'm pretty pleased that in just one day I produced so much stuff.
I'l let you into a secret about the car below; it most definitely wasn't that shape. I started off at the front of the car, which was going okay. Not great but okay. Then I realised that there was absolutely no bloody way I was going to fit the whole thing onto the page. It was, after all, a big long Zodiac! So, I had a decision to make and, yes, I did. I squashed the whole thing into the space I had. Ah well, as long as we keep it to ourselves nobody else ever needs to know.
Throughout this drawing I was thinking of my friend France Belleville and her 'ladies'
You’re a writer. So, you’re obsessed. You’re thinking that your passion might be an affliction. The time you’re wasting! The money you’re not making! The friends you’re losing! Perhaps you need help. Or, maybe you just need to listen to this:
I was gazing fondly at my tattoo this morning…
It’s a motif discovered on frozen mummies of Pazyryk horsemen living on the South Siberian grasslands 2500 years ago. It’s a bighorn ram, in case that’s not self-evident.
It struck me how much I still feel reassured by it. No regrets at all about taking on this tattoo.
This ancient ram with its hind legs twisted upwards suggests (anthropologists say so) a passing to the other world. It’s between worlds. I’m a sucker for liminal zones, for border country, for that untouchable place where transformation happens.
Sounds familiar! right? The major turning point in any good story is often characterized by this same kind of “death”.
I’m talking about the moment when the determined protagonist is forced into a dead end. She’s finished with the world of conventional wisdom. Finished! With no apparent future. The moment is both a crisis and a refuge. Like the in-breath meeting the out-breath, a limbo.
Pursue a desire (an obsession, a passion) far enough and we are cast painfully out of our known world and into this refuge. Surprisingly, great things happen here. People’s crusty old self-defeating habits die for want of appreciation. In the emptiness, something arises.
Now, here’s the thing—we write to arrive at that moment.
WE WRITE TO GET THERE!
WE READ TO GET THERE!
My Pazyryk ram—lingering between this world and the next—also takes me into that place of possibility.
But more importantly, that’s why we write—passionately, obsessively, and without regret—so that we can tattoo the story we’re currently working on with such a deadly and at the same time positive and reassuring scene.
That’s my story and it’s sticking to me.
Read my essay about Tattoos and the Heart of Fiction.
And two previous blog posts: Literary tattoos: girls, dragons, and Shangri-la, and Bringing your inside out.
I realized a long time ago that aside from licking mailing labels and washing dishes at several of New England's finer eateries - my manual labor skill set could not compete with the sizzle of my brain, which was light years away from anything that involved soapy water and burned popover pans.
Being "creative" is a label we writers wear on our sleeves, or if it's summer, someplace that hopefully shows more skin. We creatives are branded and in today's marketplace we all know a brand
is a good thing so perhaps we should work harder to exploit this Writer Brand
and all get permanent WRITER TATTOOS to set us apart from the normal world. It would be like the scarlet "A", only it would be a "W" which would clearly mean to everyone we meet: "Watch out while I say something clever."
I have had many non-creative jobs and many more creative ones - and I guess the point is, I can't NOT be a writer because there really is nothing else my brain lets me be...except lazy, which I'm actually trying to perfect as my next "brand".
I write because I have to...Because I want to...Because I can't wash dishes very well or drive a school bus. Of course I can write about that school bus driver, who is also writer...who might just be a guy like me with a monster in his brain who devours any thoughts of mundane employment!
And on that note: Time to go write!
Blog: Welcome to my Tweendom
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By: Stacy Dillon,
Mississippi Beaumont is awaiting her 13th birthday. That's the birthday when the savvy comes for her family. Mibs can't wait to figure out her savvy. Her brother Rocket has electricity, and her brother Fish has a powerful weather savvy.
The other good thing about 13 is homeschooling. Until the kids learn to scumble their savvies, Momma thinks it's best to keep them home. No more Hebron Middle School, and no more snarky comments from Ashley Bing and Emma Flint.
Then they get word about Poppa. Mib's world comes crashing down.
While Momma and Rocket speed away to Salina, Miss Rosemary -the preacher's wife - comes on over with her kids Roberta and Will to take care of the Beaumont clan. Mibs' little sister Gypsy has gone and told Miss Rosemary that Mibs is turning 13. Miss Roberta is determined to whip up a birthday party at the church for Mibs, and she won't take no for an answer.
When Mibs awakens on her 13th birthday, a couple of strange things happen that make her think she has figured out her savvy, and she knows more than ever that she has to make it to Salina and lay her hands on her Poppa. At the church, Miss Roberta's husband is yelling at a Bible salesman, and Mibs starts to hear some other voices as well. She leaves the church and sees the Bible man's pink bus, with a Salina address on the side. She knows how she will get to Salina. What she doesn't count on are the other kids. Roberta, Will, Fish, and little brother Samson are all aboard Lester's Bible bus when it leaves the church parking lot, and makes a turn away from, instead of toward, Salina!
What follows is a road trip adventure of the best sort. Friendships, families and savvies are at the forefront, as the children try to get Lester to speed up his trip to Salina and avoid the police who are soon looking for them at the same time.
I have to say, that this little book may be my favourite of the year thus far. Countrified charm, magical realism, a dash of romance, and a family that left me envious, all make for an utterly charming read. Ingrid Law's Savvy is a sweet book that will leave readers wanting more. Fans of Horvath and Wiles take note!
A favorite cousin of mine had this snippet of an e.e. cummings poem tattooed on her backside. It says:
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her
(Read the entire poem here.)
This cousin happens to be funny, sweet and smart as heck. (And cool, too.) She teaches at an alternative high school in Colorado with kids who haven't always been valued by society, and she works passionately to instill the love of words in her students. I'm not sure if she encourages them to tattoo literature on their bodies, but hey, here's to creative teaching methods. (What's next, sweetie? War and Peace??)
So here's a big shout-out to you, K!
posted by Neil
This one is, I think, important:Hello, Neil. I intern at a lab that deals with stem cell research, and recently was forwarded the following attached message from the head of our lab. The document linked will explain everything, but the gist of it is that there is currently some regulatory legislation in the works to replace the repealed guidelines on embryonic stem cell research from the Bush administration. The National Institutes of Health are currently running an online comment form which allows US citizens to have their opinions on the matter heard, and such opinions are being heavily considered. If you would prefer not to get involved in a controversial issue like this, I would completely understand. But if it is something that you would be willing to get behind, it would be greatly appreciated if someone of your influence could get this message out. Thank you so much for your time.
I think stem cell research is important. (You out there reading this in internet-land do not have to think as I do. You can actively want to ban it if you like.) But having learned that,
*"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a new
"Oppose Destructive Stem Cell Research" campaign today, equipping citizens
to contact Congress and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to oppose
embryonic stem cell research ." -- WASHINGTON, May 6
". ..of the 6000 plus comments that NIH
has received concerning the draft guidelines, 99% were from people who
opposed embryonic stem cell research."-Carecure Forum
and given that I do not
believe that 99% of the people out there believe that stem-cell research should be banned, I thought, well, my opinion is at least as valid as that of any Conference of Bishops. And I bet I can reach at least 6,000 people...
So, look over the document. If you have an opinion on stem cell research, and would like it expressed, go to:http://nihoerextra.nih.gov/stem_cells/add.htm
and let them know what it is.
And please, if you care about this and if you have a blog or LJ or method of reaching other people, pass it along -- link to this blog post, or link to the googledoc above. You've got until May 26th to make your opinions heard.How do you feel about the huge price being charged for "Absolute Death"? This book is only 360 pages long but retails at $99.99. All of the Absolute Sandman volumes each have a page count over 600 but are priced the exact same as this book. How is that supposed to be rationalized? Don't you think a retail price of between $39.99-$59.99 would be a lot more reasonable for a book of this length? I ask because you blog on Amazon a decent bit, and this is your creation.
I wonder if the product itself will get the same kinds of reviews that "Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier (Hardcover)" understandably got on Amazon: one star. Only one person gave it two stars, and 15 people gave it one star, due to this pricing issue.
What are your thoughts?
I'm a bit surprised -- I'd been told that it was going to be retailing for about $75, which with an Amazon discount would put it solidly into the area you suggest. but I also know there are a bunch of extra expenses that have turned up on this book, including having to reletter the whole of Death The High Cost of Living
, which weren't originally planned or budgeted for.
The Amazon complaints on Black Dossier (which is over 150 pages shorter than Death will be) aren't about the 'pricing issue', but that it's a complete and utter rip off, as you aren't getting anything extra for your money above what you'd get if you just order the normal hardback of the Black Dossier -- the Absolute edition just has just slightly bigger pages and a slipcase. Absolute Death is filled with stuff that's never been seen, never been reprinted, or never been printed in the form it's going to be seen in, and has definitely never been collected anywhere before. Whetherpeople feel it's it's going to be value for money if you're paying the full $100 (as the Absolute Sandmans probably are) remains to be seen but I do know a ridiculous amount of work is going to making it as wonderful as we can.
Right now it's up on Amazon for $62.99 (the same price they're doing the Absolute Sandmans at, although they've gone up and down to full price a few times), with a guarantee that if they drop the price between now and publication you'll get it at the lowest price they offer, and you have from here to November
. So it's $63 or less.Dear Storyteller Gaiman,
I'm not sure your personal opinions on tattoos, but if I were compelled to get a piece of Sandman art on my body forever. What would you recommend? Haha I know dumb question right? But I'm sure you wish your story to be represented as awesomely as possible.
I think tattoos are personal enough that it should be your choice. Find a Sandman drawing that speaks to you, and that you'd want to live with for the rest of your life. Make it that one.If you are writing (or doing anything else) for the sheer fun of it, and may sell it and may not, then you are on your own time, and can go throw popcorn at the TV all you want to.
If you have taken an advance or a contract, YOU ARE WORKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE, and you have the same obligation to produce quality work, ON TIME, as a soldier in Iraq does.
If you didn't know that all cats can levitate, and that it's already been studied exhaustively, then you are an idiot, and your cat thinks so too.
Mm. You were doing okay until you threw in the bit about Iraq. (I assume the flip side is, "Soldiering. Well, it's just a job. What are they complaining about? Why are they nipping off to hospitals and complaining about the facilities and treatment? Soldiers in Iraq have the same obligation not to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and not to put themselves in harm's way that a novelist in a rose-trellised cottage Devon does.") (And I keep having fantasies about a trained platoon of Her Majesty's Armoured Novelists being put through their paces by an irascible RSM "... on the double - wait for it wait for it, what do you think you're doing, you horrible little man, contemplating litotes? -on the double, quiiiiiiiiick PLOT!")
Normally, I'm the one marching up and down trying to explain to the world that writing is a job, and it's not romantic and it's not clever and it's not special. For the most part, that's what this blog is about.
But writing fiction isn't the same as say, carpentry, patrolling a border or animal husbandry. You're making stuff up. It's a kind of weird confidence trick you play on yourself, like the Roadrunner running across the air between two peaks, where if you stop and look down you can plummet like Coyote. And getting stuff done on time isn't the same as getting it right.
I'm not sure when The Graveyard Book
was meant to have been delivered, under the original contract. I do know that I had a $50,000 delivery bonus, if I handed it in by the end of December 2007, which I definitely didn't collect even a penny of, what with finishing it in March 2008. I'm pretty sure that I could have bashed something out in 2007 and got it in on time and collected the money; I am also certain that that book wouldn't have won the Newbery, and probably wouldn't have been very good. And I suspect that people who read the book would have complained that I was just churning it out for the money, and they would most definitely have been right.
But, yes. The person or organisation the writer has a contract with definitely has every right to complain, and trust me, they do. The writer is, after all, working for them, if there is a contract.
Often, with a long series, there isn't. I suspect that Stephen King's deal on the Dark Tower was that he did them as and when he was ready. It took him 34 years. Readers died, not knowing how it ended. If Steve had been killed by that minivan in 1999, nobody would have known how it ended. It would have been a tragedy, for many reasons, but contract violation would not be one of them.Dear Mr. Gaiman,
I can't tell you how much I adored the movie Coraline, and the film's score is no exception.
Bruno Coulais' pieces were haunting and beautiful, and the TMBG's "Other Father Song" was terrific, but sadly, the song which stood out to me the most I can't find!
It's the tune played when Coraline and her mother (real of course) are shopping. It was also featured in one of the TV commercials for the film. (See it here http://twurl.cc/p7j )
In all my searching all I've found is that I think it's called “Nellie Jean”, by Kent Melton (who may also have been a sculptor for the movie as well).
I know it's a long shot, but I was wondering if you had any information to pass along about the song. I downloaded the movie soundtrack from iTunes, and it's not there. I guess at worst I'll keep listening to it on YouTube, though I'd really like to download it!
Thank's, and keep it up!
I asked Henry Selick, who said,It is not "Nellie Jean" by Kent Melton – that is the 5 to 7 seconds of ukulele played by the small character in front of the garden store where Dad is dropped off. I think we just called it "shopping music" and I'm surprised it's not on the soundtrack CD. I've asked Bruno Coulais if he'd mind sending me an MP3 to share with Jason.
And then, because Henry is a remarkable man, he sent me an MP3 of the track in question, and the mighty webgoblin has put it up at http://www.neilgaiman.com/mediafiles/exclusive/Audio/in_the_store_2.mp3
(The high voice singing is actually Bruno himself.)
The house internet died, and Sunday is a day when you learn that 24/7 Tech support means that someone agrees with you that, yes, the Internet certainly does sound broken, and that they'll let people know when they get in to work on Monday. So I am saving this to a flash drive and then walking off into the world to find a wireless connection and, with luck, posting it. But once that is done I may be offline until things get fixed.
I spent the weekend monitoring the border between the known and the unknown. To the fly on the wall it no doubt appeared as if I were merely interviewing people. Tattooed people. And a group of professional photographers. These two tribes were brought together in a unique photo project sponsored by Vanishingtattoo.com.
photo by Vincent Errol Hemingson
You could call it ‘fine art meets tattoo art’, but that glib pitch sells the project short. While the strobes were illuminating some amazing body art, they were also shedding light on a once-taboo cultural practice that remains widely misunderstood today.
The event’s organizer, Vince Hemingson, suggests that tattoos are symbolic of a person’s inner self. It’s that simple. They bring a person’s inside out. If your inner life seems sometimes vague and chaotic (and whose doesn’t?), a visual reminder of who we are, or aspire to be, can’t be a bad thing.
“My tattoos help me steer a less self-destructive course through life,” says Jody, one of the models who volunteered to be photographed.
The soft-spoken tattoo artist from Abbottsford, BC, explains that many of his tattoos were acquired as markers of painful events in his life. This pain, he confesses, was largely his own fault. The extent of his tattoos, encroaching even onto his face and skull, suggest that his life has been a rough ride.
photo by Vincent Errol Hemingson
I can’t imagine adopting this strategy to deal with my own failures as a human being, although I am seriously impressed with the clarity that Jody has gained by these indelible marks.
“I’m reminded every day to choose good over evil,” says Jody, whose skin ink is largely self-applied.
The mystics – from Buddha to Jesus to Gurdjieff – have been teaching us how to be in constant remembrance of ourselves. They implore us to bring an objective awareness to our lives of abject narcissism and subjectivity. Most students in spiritual practice lack the commitment that would result in any real change. Which makes Jody’s commitment remarkable.
He scares us, all right. But why? Could it be because we’re fearful of doing what it takes to bring our dark side into the light of day?
photo by Vincent Errol Hemingson
NOTE: if you’re considering getting a tattoo, you might first want to check out these two resources:
Think before you ink: http://www.youtube.com/user/1tattootribe
What’s a good tattoo:
I have recently created a small collection
of brand new paintings. The style of the art is not what you typically see from me! Once in awhile I like to re-energize by working in a style which is not my day-to-day. These works are the final products of my latest creative excursion. The subject I tackle in the series is TATTOOS, and the people who have them. Tattoos have always been mysterious, fascinating, and endlessly interesting to me—the tattoos themselves, the reasons people get them, and what the marks personally mean to them. Then of course there’s the fact that tattoos are actually living, breathing art in the literal sense.The four acrylic-on-wood paintings in this group, "Angel", Henry", "Bird" and "Siren" will be released for sale in my Big Cartel shop at 9 PM EST on Thursday, November 11th.
I sure hope to see you there
!Want a preview? > Watch the process of painting "Bird"
posted by Neil
I've let the blog do that thing where I keep promising myself that as soon as strange and wonderful things stop
happening for a day I'll update it. And meanwhile so many things keep happening.
I'm blogging now, not as a report on what I've been doing but because I wanted to remember this:
I'm in Sydney right now. Tomorrow, Amanda and friends and I are taking over Australia Day at the Opera House
. I was sitting in the little apartment room the Festival gave us working ont he thing I hope to finish and read tomorrow night, when my computer screen turned off. I realised the computer was unplugged, and that Amanda (who was back at the Opera House doing press) had borrowed the Australian adapter plug (we had more, but left them behind us as we travelled).
So I went out to buy a couple of new adapters, so I'd have one, and so I could leave her another spare one when I left.
I wandered past sushi shops and backpacker places and Thai takeways and tobacconists in the hot Sydney summer evening sun. Last night Amanda (who is vastly amused by my complete lack of hooker recognition skills) had pointed out the hookers to me, and I saw a couple of the ladies she had pointed out to me coming on duty, looking wary in the daylight.
There were a couple - a man and a woman, both in their twenties at a guess, both short and dark-haired, looking into a shop window, with their backs to me. The woman had a tattoo on her shoulderblade - writing - and because I cannot pass writing without reading it, I glanced at it. Part of the writing was covered by a strap.
But I could still read it. And I knew what the words covered by the strap were.
The tattoo (thank you Google Image Search) was a lot like this (which is to say, the same content, and similar typeface, but probably not the same person. I'm already trying to remember if it was the left or the right shoulderblade):
(I took that photo from here.
I read the tattoo, read words I had written to try and exorcise my own small demons eighteen years ago, and I felt like a ghost. As if, for a moment, under the hot Sydney sun, I was only an idea of a person and not a real person at all.
I didn't introduce myself to her or say anything (it didn't even occur to me to say hello, in all honesty). I just walked home, through a world that felt flimsier and infinitely stranger than it had that morning.
I don't know why it affected me like that. But it did.
Art is James Jean’s Crayon Eater, ink by amazingly talented Shawn Barber. I’ll post again once it has healed up.
Yowza! Our own David Huyck just got this fantastic James Jean tattoo. Like drawing much, David?
Folks who read this blog know that I rarely link to things for sale unless they are really special. This is one of those times. I only wish I had a birthday coming up. Please enjoy the Illustrated Librarian Temporary Tattoos.
Librarian stereotypes are as old and outdated as microfiche. Nowadays you’re just as likely to see your local librarian driving a Harley as a Honda Accord. This 3-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ hard-cover book contains twelve non-toxic temporary tattoos ranging in size from 1-1/2″ to 3-1/4″. Put one in a prominent place to prove once and for all that “smart” and “cool” are not mutually exclusive! Also great for bibliophiles and bookworms. All colors follow FDA cosmetic regulations.
[note: I drive a Honda Accord.]
Not necessarily in that order....
I guess if I'm to cover these topics in chronological order, the bruise has to come first. So last Wednesday when we had the snow storm, it also happened to be Valentines Day, which as previously mentioned is sad for us because it's when we lost Oskie. So seeing as that chocolate is the cure for practically everything (and thanks to Mark London Williams for sending an article with yet another scientific study proving this is true)I'd ordered a big heart shaped box of Jacques Torres chocolates (http://mrchocolate.com) which are totally the best chocolates in the world and believe me, I've tried a *lot* of chocolate. Well, of course the Fedex truck couldn't get up my long, steep driveway, and I saw him leave the box down by the mailbox.
Having been waiting all day for the chocolates to arrive, I wasn't about to let them get ruined or stolen, so I traipsed down the driveway in the snow, ice and biting wind to retreive them. Managed to make it both down and up driving unscathed, and kids were rapturous. However, then I decided to go throw the packing box away in the garage, with its newly painted floor. Which had snowmelt on it. And was, unbeknownst to me, extremely slippery. I haven't done a cartwheeling fall like that since I fell down a flight of stairs three years ago and damaged my shoulder. This time, however, I was fortunate not to break anything, but here's the lovely bruise on my thigh, which bore the brunt of the fall, almost a week later:
Let me tell you, it looks really lovely with my bikini.
"What?" you might exclaim. "Bikini in the snow? I knew you were crazy but..."
Let me reassure you, faithful blogfriends, that I'm not *that* crazy. I'm in Mexico, Cancun to be specific, with the Webmeister, while my kids are with their dad. TWM found this great package deal at this all-inclusive, adults only (!) resort called the Sun Palace, recently re-opened and after its post-Hurricane Wilma renovations.
It's gorgeous. Here's the view from the window:
And here's what the hotel looks like:
It's awesome. It's warm. And this afternoon, after my water aerobics session, the clouds burned away leaving a wondrous blue sky. I managed to loose my prescription goggles in the ocean while bodysurfing (they got washed away in a good wave, but I guess I should be grateful it was the goggles and not my bikini, but still...) but to console myself I had a tattoo done on my back in henna. The guy was amazing - he did it by hand without stencils.
This is what it looked like while he was doing it:
And here's the final result, which I totally love!:
Needless to say, it's temporary, as we Nice Jewish Girls aren't allowed real tattoos. (Do you hear that, Daughter of Mine?) I sent a picture to my mother, who looked at the picture before she read the part about it being henna and nearly had a heart failure. I guess even at 43 with kids of my own, I still haven't lost the ability to shock my *own* mother :>)
More pics of the extremely cool room and other stuff tomorrow!
Lots of people wrote to let us know that yesterday's mystery Russian alien was... a guitarfish (although there was healthy disagreement on exactly which kind).
I'm a big fan of your work, and I am a big fan of ampersands, so when I decided to get a tattoo of the latter, I wanted the one from the softcover editions of "Preludes & Nocturnes" and "Fables & Reflections". The only problem is, I don't know which font they're in. So, instead of feverishly searching (actually, I already did that), I decided to go right to the source. Do you know what font it's in?
While I didn't know, I figured Dave McKean would, so I asked him, and he said,
The answer to your blogger question about the ampersands:
Which PB editions? Since DC have released 57 versions, I'm not sure which one you mean. If you mean the recent SANDMAN LIBRARY editions, I have a copy of Fables... and this lovely scrolly fancy ampersand is set in MISSIONARY, a font available from Emigre designed by the brilliant Miles Newlyn (if memory serves me correctly). If you don't mean this edition, then can i recommend this empersand anyway, it's the best one.
Seeing the Village Voice has just leaked it, and a few of you have written to ask about it, yes, I will be a Guest at the PEN World Voices Festival at the end of April. I can't give you any other details right now, but the curious should go to http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/1096 and sign up for the Festival mailing list for more information.
I just finished Peter Beagle's I See By My Outfit, a book I've wanted to read since I was a teenage Beagle boy and learned of its existence in the back of A Fine and Private Place, and I loved it. It's the true story of a two man road trip across America on motor scooters, and it's as much a journey across time now as it is across space: funny, heartwarming and wise. The kind of book you feel a better person for having read.
Too much fun is being had with Readerware (http://www.readerware.com/rwFeat.html) and a cuecat scanner, as books are brought up to the new library upstairs and scanned in or ISBNd or entered by hand before being put on the shelves. Mostly I wish, given the number of old books here, that someone had thought of ISBNs before 1966... And then I wish that the library upstairs was three times the size, as I don't think it's going to make the dent in the basement library that I hoped it was going to.
Don’t let the seemingly-innocuous front page fool you, Tim Biedron’s work is suitably creepy in all the best ways. Don’t miss his tattoo work.
What do you think of Chengdu? asked the president of Science Fiction World as we came in from the airport yesterday.
I can't see very much of it through the mist, I said, which was probably the wrong answer.
It's a big city, and it feels like a big city. It looked amazing last night as we walked through it in the rain, all neon reflected in wet pavements. I just got up and looked out of my window. The mist is back, yellow in the morning light, and the world looks like a science fiction film...
Last night I met my translator for today's talk. Saw my fellow authors (David Brin and family, Nancy Kress, Robert J. Sawyer and wife and others) we were fed (I was warned that the food here would be too spicy, but it was all great) and then went to the bookworm meeting.
Today I give a speech about The Nature of Fantasy.
Notably, that people outside the US can't watch the trailer. Not the best PR in the world!
For some reason probably having mostly to do with being in China, most blogs don't come up on my computer and that's one that doesn't, so I can't see the rant. But as far as I know the Beowulf "red band trailer" is exactly the same as the European Trailer that's already been out for weeks.
Not so much a question but I thought you might be interested/could pimp it out far better than I ever could. I've just set up a group on Flickr for Sandman related body modification after getting one myself ('sometimes, when you fall, you fly.' from Fear of Falling, on my inner arm to be precise - my first tattoo too.) and what better way to get photos of all the wonderful mods inspired by Sandman together in one place?You can find it here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sandman_bodyart/
rejoicing under the name 'green mouse icecream'. It's open to all submissions. I'll only step in if it's unrelated/spam.
Consider it, er, pimped.
Took my wife to see Stardust on opening weekend. She liked it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done by all, especially the character actor bits which added so much depth. On to the question, which I have never seen answered elsewhere: Stardust cost $70 million, and you projected it would gross $100 million worldwide. I know Hollywood regularly performs voodoo accounting, wherein they claim with a straight face that every movie ever made has lost money (except Titanic, which barely broke even), but what's the real story? How much of that $100 million goes to the studio and how much stays with the theaters? Does it vary substantially, and if so, based on what factors? Different regions of the world, different theater chains, different studios, what's the scoop?
Good question, and I don't actually know. I'll try to find out as best I can and answer you here. I've always assumed that voodoo accounting would mean that nothing would ever make money anyway, no matter what you make. I remember learning in 1990, the first time we sold GOOD OMENS that "net points" on a film are nice things in theory but nothing you're ever likely to take to a bank.
seems to be doing fine currently -- it came out in another three territories last week, according to Box Office Mojo
, and "picked up $4.8 million from five markets for a $9.1 million total. The fantasy feature added two more impressive starts in South Korea ($2.3 million from 176 screens) and the Ukraine (a top-ranked $577,317 from 75 screens), but looked awful in the United Arab Emirates ($102,840 from 19 screens). In Russia, it fell 40 percent for a $6 million total. "
I wonder why the United Arab Emirates didn't like it. But hurrah for Ukranians and the South Koreans. So after 14 days, it's made $31 million
, with most of the world to go.
Here's the view from my window. And my reflection. The yellow morning mist has gone though. I'll try and be quicker with the camera tomorrow.
We have a few cool life drawing groups around town here in Montreal, but nothing quite like Dr Sketchy’s Speakeasy - “Anti-art school sketching insanity. Must be seen to be believed,” - where all the models are in burlesque (no nudity; safe for work, I think).
It looks like they have a few groups around the States (NY, Kansas, Indianapolis), so you may have a Dr Sketchy around the corner from you.
Also check out Dr Sketchy on MySpace for more info.
Thanks to Salgood Sam, for the link.
Don't know if you ever watch the West Wing but (last couple of seasons aside) it was possibly my favourite tv programme ever. If I could have any job in the world it would definitely be something that involved me being in lots of meetings, walking down corridors talking much too quickly, doing lots of very important work and having an assistant who not only would take my calls, do my photocopying and buy me coffee but would also organise my entire day so really I just had to be fabulous and dynamic at work without actually having to remember where I'm going next. Sadly my job isn't actually like that but I did just meet someone who may well be the real-life equivalent of Sam Seborne. Or maybe Joey Lucas. Mark Penn runs a PR agency and is a lifelong pollster and political advisor to the likes of both the Clintons and Tony Blair. He's been described as 'the most important man in Washington you've never heard of' and has just given me the idea for my next job. Upscale tattoo parlours! Did you know that whilst tattoos are massively on the increase every year, you still have to go to some slightly scary place full of huge tattoed men in order to get one? Why isn't there somewhere like an Elemis spa or The Sanctuary, full of smiley women in immaculate white coats to comfort you that you aren't going to catch something unpleasant (in a Pamela Anderson-type way) from their needles? Tattoo parlours for ladies who lunch in Whole Foods, it's the way forward!
If you want to steal the next big business idea that means you can get out of your 9 to 5 and stop working for da man, or you just want to impress your friends, then check out this man's book, Microtrends, set to change our world now!
Gina Luck, Penguin Press Senior Marketing Manager
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