1.30.2004

A 999 Monkey shout out to Marcy!

A big Choose Death welcome to Marcy, our first commentor, and perhaps only audience! (If any editors are trolling the site - I see you Paul! - she is a far more prolific writer than I will ever be. So check out her Biodegradable blog and give a working mother her break into the big time. Nix that last line. Every mom is a working mom, and Marcy's work is good enough to make it on its own. Check out Space&Time issue #99 and you'll see what I mean. And while you're at it, buy a couple copies of #98 and send them to that unrequited love that you've been thinking about for the last couple years. Earmark "The Devil's Last Dance." Hah. That'll show, 'em!)

In Other News... I finally realized that - for myself - this blog isn't really about "the audience." A lot of people are never going to read this, nor should they. The real value is being able to look back objectively on my own life and see what was occupying my time. For instance, I looked back over the last couple posts and clearly skating has been a bit more important than writing (even though writing is what I stress about). Time to kick it into gear, Grims! One life to live, Death is coming, and not only does he have your ticket, but he's pissed 'cause you've been flouncing around like you're not terrified of the thought of dying.

So the writer's tip of the day: start a daily journal and keep track of yourself. That and coffee. Lots o' coffee.

Official Wizards' Line: What do they really mean when they say "don't pass this on to anybody else"? Probably that they don't want me to pass on there calls to anybody else ... at least until the deadline.

So despite the human instinct to gossip, I need to keep my loose lips closed, at least until the deadline passes. Then, if anyone is interested, I'll be happy to post them. But really, what is the point? If they're not up to snuff, there's only a slim chance of actually gleaning the thoughts from Wizards. Although maybe the editors will leave some comments, which I'll be delighted to annotate for your amusement and edification.

Whew.

Writing: Yes.
Skating:No. Snow on all the streets. :(
Today's Soundtrack:Quantum MCs with the line:
"The final destination used to be my main question, then I turned around and all I was looking for was present."

1.29.2004

He did what?! Time to Choose Death

So if you're new, go to the bottom and read the line that says I'm a lousy skater. It's true. I suck. However, it seems that even the worst skater can have his moments.

In the ghetto mechanics garage turn skatepark that we skate in Brattleboro, VT, there is (among many other ramps) a 4' 1/4 pipe feeding into a table top. Atop the table top we placed a 2' fun box to use as a ledge.

I was sleepy this night after a long day of dealing with pertussis/whooping cough going through the school, and so my decision making skills weren't up to par. Regardless, I decided to drop in on the quarter, try to ollie 180 degrees onto the ledges for a 50-50 grind (now headed backwards).

On the best of days I can do this trick on a 6" (that's inch) waxed curb. 2' is like giant steps to me. Fortunately, a tabletop can really throw a brother into the air, and into the air I went. I turned 180 degrees, placed my front truck (now my back truck) onto the box and completed a Five-O grind.

Now this is all technical nonsense, so to put it into context, a 50-50 grind to a fakie 5-0 grind is like comparing Casper the Friendly Ghost to Poltergeist. This trick is a whole order of magnitude more difficult - at least if you're trying to do it. I wasn't , so I did.

Y'know. Zen.

To put it in another context, the next night I was in skateshop buying a new kingpin and stopped to watch the video feed they had running. The pros were doing the same trick (albeit on handrails, but give a brother a chance...)

So guess what has become my favorite trick to practice? You got it. I spent the rest of the night practicing my 5-0 grinds, landing them more than not, getting it smoother and cleaner.

I'm still not a good skater, but I have a mean grind.

That night I left the Boys and Girls Club, and walked down to the bridge that overlooks the river. Water is low and so the falls were freezing up, forming a sheath of ice over the rushing water. It was a cold, clear night. The stars were out, you could see your breath, but you're still warm because you've been skating for the last hour and a half.

It was perfect.

I looked out over the bridge and thought to myself that if I was ever going to commit suicide, now was the time. My life was perfect. I have 2 proposals that I'm waiting to get back from Wizards - not rejected yet, so the potential is still there. I'm spending time with a beautiful woman who is also the most caring person I know. And my skating is at the very best it has ever been. Zen Buddhists say that attachment to things (be they good things or bad things) is what brings about suffering. I had had my perfect night, the night where I was finally the person I had always wanted to be. If there was any time to finish up a life and avoid attachment, this was it.

Of course, as soon as you die, they forget you. Humans have the memory of goldfish, so what is the sense in that? Got to sell those works. Got to have the print in hand.

And of course, the next night of skating was just as fun.

1.26.2004

Writing, or Something Like It. Part 1

9 months or so ago, I got back a rejection from Wizards of Coast. As a child, and as a childish adult, I played lots of role-playing games, and these were some of the best. I don't have anyone to play with here in the East, but I still I send in a submission, periodically, hoping that maybe some day I'll have the honor of contributing to one of the fantasy worlds that occupied so much of my youth.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the rejection.

So I get the rejection, but attached to it is an invitation to submit a proposal for an upcoming novel. Fireworks go off, I'm in love.

A few months go by, I get the rejection back, along with an invitation to do a work on-spec. Suddenly I'm exchanging emails with a real editor. The writing is fun. Terribly fun. The thought of actually selling on of these works, of actually getting paid to daydream, is a dream come true.

But here's the hitch: the only reason I get to chase this dream is because I'm a white American male working at a place that affords me the time to screw around in fantasy worlds. I am literally armed with privilege. What of social duty and responsibility? What of paying back a little of the wealth I've inherited. What does the world gain from another story about elves and orcs?

I once put the question to Elaine Cunningham, one of the premier writers for WOTC, and she didn't miss a beat. According to her wisdom, after the needs of food and shelter are met, humans have the need to tell stories.

I still don't know if that's enough to lift all of my catholic guilt, but it is a good enough start. I'm still waiting for a rejection on a story from WOTC and the next novel proposal is due next month.

Eep. But more on that next time.

Delusions of Democracy. Still?

The primary in New Hampshire is heating up. If you're an American, you really owe it to yourself to live in New England during an election year. While I care about politics, I don't really get wrapped up in meeting the candidates ... and still somehow I've managed to be in the same rooms as Dean, Kucinich, and now Edwards. In Colorado, presidential candidates just sort of exist in the media ether, but out here they are painfully real, shaking hands, kissing babies, doing the whole thing.

This points to one of the big problems of the electoral system. It isn't that New Hampshire has more electoral votes than other states (we're pretty small), but once the media gets a whiff of the one they consider to be the winner, that promotion translates to a self-fulfilling prophecy that can be hard to shake.

They call it "front loading," the practice of a candidate putting all their effort into the first couple primaries, and letting the rest of the chips fall where they follow. It is a riot to watch, but it is a messed up way to choose a leader.

And whatever it is, it sure ain't democratic.

1.22.2004

Support My Skating Habit
Heh. So the Cafepress site is up. Overpriced goods and me with no real image editing software. Still that is yours truly doing the heel flip. It isn't so much of a great skating photo, but I do like the light-to-dark theme.

Heel flips are all about choosing death. That damn board has to flip all the way around on its long axis - too far or too little and it's time to kiss the concrete. If you hesitate (or inversely, get too excited), oops no good.

But if you kick off just right you can skate away feeling pretty damn cool.

But, honestly, about the Cafepress. Ignore the link. Why not just set one up for yourself?

EDIT: Whew. Got some of the more garish text colors changed. Closer...closer...

EDIT: Oog-oog! God bless copy and paste coding. I still don't know html, but the colors are cleaner and you can post comments ("Hey Grimbones, you're an ass!"). Give one thousand moneys an infite amount of code, a fast connection and an afternoon and 999 of them will come up with a better page than this blog. But what the hell.

Cheers.

Htmloooooser
I am officially the last person alive that doesn't know html code. I'm hacking at the template as we speak, but no luck yet. Cut, paste, find a better freaking font and color set up. Learn on your feet, now.

Sorta like a caveman working on a digital watch. Fear me and my access to high-speed.

Oog-oog.

Let the waiting begin.

The Editor needs a "few weeks" to go over the other incoming stories to see which he likes. If he buys the story, it is vindication for a childhood spent trolling around in the collective imagination of American fantasy writers.

Similarly, the novel proposal is due on the 17th of Feb. It was ready to go, but now I'm second guessing myself, trying to edge the odds in my favor. I'm hungry for this. Terribly, terribly hungry.

Of course, taking a step back, it isn't hard to realize that you should never, ever look to any one else for vindication/validation. Never give anyone else that power. I'll let you know when I'm good enough to follow my own advice.

On a lighter note, I landed the largest noseslide I've ever tried. Slides on downhill angles go fast. You're not skating so much as falling in synch with your board.

On the same night, a massive 180 off a table top over a gap and down 2 feet, and had some consistent heel flips atop the same table top. I wish I could land the fakie 180 heel flip but no luck so far. I'm planning on trying 180 flip to gap, and flip to gap, but since the gap launches you into a blind spot from upstairs, it's rare to have the park empty enough to try them.

For the record: I'm a terrible skater. But I'm just persistant enough to keep plugging long after everyone else has given up or gotten too old.

Still too hungry to choose death.

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