Sunday, May 15, 2016
Your Favorite Epic Fantasy Series – the “I’m-Reading-The-Whole-Series-And-I-Don’t-Need -Recaps” Edition
Sunday, February 28, 2016
I call it goodsagna because it is like lasagna, except good. If you want a less inflammatory name you could call it breadsagna. If you want a super boring name you could call it garlic bread lasagna.
- Ground sausage, 2 lbs
- Crushed tomatoes, 3 big cans
- White sugar
- Ricotta cheese, 16oz or so
- Parmesan cheese - grated, not powdered, 1 1/2 cups
- Whole milk mozzarella, grated, 16oz
- 9 slices of provolone cheese
- 3 eggs
- Loaf of extra-thin-sliced white bread (Pepperidge Farm makes a good one)
- Three sticks of butter (trust me)
- A jar of minced garlic
- A bunch of fresh dill, chopped up fine
- More salt
- Sauce: Fry up that ground sausage with some sage. Put it in a pot. Add to the pot the tomatoes, basil, cayenne, oregano. Add sugar and salt to taste. You'll want a bunch of sugar. Like, maybe close to a cup. Nobody wants you to skimp on the sugar and make the sauce bitter and sour. If you want something bitter and sour, make broccoli rabe with fresh lemon juice or something.
- Cheese mix: Take out the provolone and 8oz of the Mozzarella and put it aside. Mix everything else together. Make sure they're mixed thoroughly, obviously.
- Garlic bread: Melt the butter with the garlic and dill. Let it simmer for a while. Take it off the burner and let it cool down. Add some salt and mix it around until it's spreadable. Spread it on the bread. Put the bread on a cookie sheet and toast it in the oven until it's crunchy.
- Assembly: Put down a layer of garlic bread. Cover it with a layer of sauce. Cover that with a later of cheese mix. Repeat each layer. Finally, top with a final layer of garlic bread. Spread the provolone cheese over that top layer. Sprinkle the remaining 8oz of mozzarella over the whole thing.
- Cover it with foil and bake it at 350 for like 25 minutes or so. Let it sit for a good ten minutes after you take it out of the oven.
Monday, December 21, 2015
I specify canon because there is tons of fun AU and just unofficial Star Wars stuff that is fun for kids, like the Droids animated series, the Ewok adventures, the 2003 Clone Wars series (made by the Samurai Jack studio) and the Lego Star Wars films like "The Empire Strikes Out."
1: The Clone Wars (2008) - This is seriously great. By the time you are halfway into the first season, you will be wishing to god that the prequels had been made by these people instead of Lucas. They are exactly what we all hoped the prequels would be - the awesome adventures of Obi-wan and Anakin. You will find yourself caring about both of them, along with Padme, Count Dooku and several new characters like Ashoka and Asajj Ventress. Even Jar Jar is retconned to be somewhat less offensive. Your kids will love this show and be excited by it, and so will you. They will go into the films knowing about Anakin, Obi-Wan, R2D2, C3PO, Padme and the Clones, and it will only enhance their experience.
2: The Phantom Menace - This is a god-awful racist heap of shit, but watching Clone Wars will make you totally want to go back and see the origins, botched as it indeed was. And it ends with one of the greatest lightsaber duels of all time, so you'll at least have a high note to finish on (and a thing to keep you watching in order to get to). Your kids will probably not hate it (though they might be bored by it at times, as it is far longer than any film that boring has any right to be - If any film can be chopped up and watched 40 minutes at a time, it is this tedious piece of shit). That is ok. They are excited to finally be seeing these characters come to life, and are too young to understand how awful it is. Your job is just to grit your teeth and stay strong until the lightsaber duel.
3: Attack of the Clones - Once again, mostly shit, but your kids will be excited to finally see the Anakin and Obi-wan they remember from the Clone Wars (seriously, that beard makes a huge difference, Ewan), and now they will be less disturbed by Anakin/Padme. Though perhaps they shouldn't be.
4: A New Hope - Unless you are a terrible fucking parent who has isolated your child like a crazy Star Wars fundamentalist, your child has heard of Darth Vader. If you're lucky and careful, they might not have heard "Luke, I am you father" (they certainly haven't heard it from the films, since that line isn't actually from any of them). Either way, most kids accept it at face value when Obi-wan tells Luke that Vader killed his father. They trust Obi-wan, and they will be super sad about Anakin's death, but will totally accept it, and the awesomeness of Luke and Han, combined with the familiarity of R2 and C3PO, plus finally seeing Tarkin (who you constantly want to slap in The Clone Wars) get blown to smithereens will get their spirits up quickly enough.
5: The Empire Strikes Back - Obviously they will love this one, because it is the best. Plus, they will literally have the same reaction as Luke at Vader's Cloud City revelation. Like, they will simply not believe it at all.
6: Revenge of the Sith - Here is where you watch their little hearts break forever
7: Return of the Jedi - And then you all get to see Anakin finally redeem himself! Does he bring balance to the force? Eh, doesn't really seem like it. But still, I think that the prequels (and especially the Clone Wars) actually make RotJ a much more satisfying conclusion.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW AND BIG ONES IF YOU CLICK THAT LINK
8: The Force Awakens - Obviously, this comes after. And also, Rey is totally a clone of Padme.
I haven't seen Rebels yet, so I will update this list after I watch that, and again as Disney inevitably wreaks havok on continuity with a Boba Fett film and a Han Solo film.
Monday, August 17, 2015
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lynch brings a city to life in a way that few authors have. Camorr is as much a character in The Lies of Locke Lamora as any of the people inhabiting it. The book would be a fantastic read for the world-building alone, but it also weaves together a fantastic heist/revenge epic that will keep you up long after you told yourself you'd go to sleep and save the rest for tomorrow. The flashbacks and other interludes can be a little bit jarring at first, but once you get hang of the book's rhythm you'll find yourself looking forward to these extra little bits of juicy character-and-world-building.
View all my reviews
Friday, February 13, 2015
In the meantime, enjoy this screencapture of the manuscript-in-progress. I hope that it will give you a general sort of idea about the process I'm using to write. I've blurred/censored out some spoilery bits and highlighted where some of the Issues are in my outline to give you an idea of how it works.
I'm having fun with the writing again! Hooray! Now I just need to buckle down and finish this draft. Two weeks to go!
An Unwelcome Quest by Scott Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first two novels in the Magic 2.0 series were fantastic, and while I feel that "An Unwelcome Quest" did not quite measure up to the first two books, it was still an excellent read. Meyer is writing some of the cleverest, most underappreciated stuff currently in print (certainly the best current works in the niche genre of Sci-fi Comedy) and he continues to deftly build his world and characters in creative and entertaining ways. It was extremely rewarding to have a whole novels' worth of the Phillip/Jimmy dynamic that we've only gotten tantalizing glimpses of in the past, and the characters of Tyler, Gary and Roy are far more compelling now that I've gone on this journey with them. Todd was an entertaining villain, though I had a somewhat hard time adjusting from "surly teenager" Todd (that we saw in Spell or High Water and the prologue) to the "surly adult" Todd that tormented the wizards through the story. That said, Todd's interactions with Tyler were some of the best moments of the novel, and I was definitely fully on-board with adult Todd by the end.
Now for some of the issues I had: I really missed the Martin/Phillip interactions that I've grown to love over the course of the series. Splitting the characters into two groups did let us see some fun character interactions that we might not have been able to see otherwise, but I always felt that Martin/Phillip interactions were the highlights of the series, and I feel like this book suffers somewhat from their separation. I also felt like having the second group follow more-or-less in the footsteps of the first group made their journey feel a little tedious. I felt that reading the descriptions of places we've already seen and the dialog of NPCs we've already met made their story drag a bit. Finally, I was disappointed by the lack of Murphy and Miller. They were some of my favorite characters in the series, and they were sorely missed in this volume.
I really liked the ending of this book. Jimmy has become one of my favorite characters, and I especially loved the conclusion to his part of the story. I enjoyed the book overall, and I really hope that we will see more in the series.
View all my reviews
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Friday, January 30, 2015
February: Finish a first draft of Lullaby
March: Begin my workshop draft of Lullaby
April: Work on my workshop draft of Lullaby
May: Finish my workshop draft of Lullaby
June: Edit Lullaby, begin shopping it to agents, begin writing a stageplay*
July: Stageplay writing
August: Stageplay writing
September: Stageplay editing
October: Arrange one (or more) of my musical compositions for an ensemble
November: Record the musical composition
December: "A Christmas Carol" production with Players of the Stage
*I'm torn between two stageplays that I've done a bunch of pre-writing for. One of them is a modern take on Little Women, set in the world of fundamentalist conservative homeschooling (which bears a surprising number of parallels to the world of trandscendentalism in which the original was set) It is a coming-of-age story about making your own place in the world and choosing your own path deliberately. The other play I might work on is a science fiction story set entirely in a small shuttle. It is a small cast - perhaps only two actors, though it might be as many as four when all is said and done. It is the story of a bounty hunter and her captive, and is about the concept of trust. I'm very excited about both of these ideas, and I plan to write them both eventually, but I'm not sure yet which one I want to write first.
Further out, I have lots of other projects planned:
- Write whichever of those stageplays I don't get to this year.
- Write and produce a feature with my frequent collaborator Jesse Kalavoda (we're working on developing a road-trip drama picture, hopefully we'll have more news on that soon)
- Finish writing Noose, my post-post-apocalyptic epic fantasy novel. Noose is set in North America about 200 years after a zombie apocalypse has destroyed the infrastructure of our society. The threat is mostly over, but society has developed into a more-nearly feudal state.
- Finish writing the sequels to both Lullaby and Noose (both are currently planned as four-book series, though Lullaby could probably be squeezed into three and Noose could certainly be expanded into a larger work).
- Write the two musicals I have on the back-burner right now. One is set in the Lullaby world. It's sort of a dystopian Grapes Of Wrath meets Finding Nemo. Something like that.
- The other is a Arthurian musical called "Four Nights." It's designed to have four different storylines happening simultaneously (and with complimentary music) in four different rooms or areas. The storylines converge in one central location several times to progress the story, and then the scenes repeat again so that the audience is able to see each of the four stories play out in whichever order they choose. The storylines are interconnected and the order in which they are watched will have a big impact on your perception of what is really going on.