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Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Writing Links!

Here's a Metafilter post about an independent author named Amanda Hocking who has apparently sold over 100K copies of her supernatural love thrillers entirely through on-line channels like Kindle and iTunes. I'll avoid my obvious inclination toward snarky backbiting* and just say bravo to her and keep this in the back of my mind as a possible back-up plan if my attempts at getting properly published fail spectacularly, as they probably will.

Speaking of DFW**, the man has new fiction in The New Yorker. My God, this dude writes better stuff as a dead man than I'll ever put on the page, alive or dead.

The Millions has a very good article about writing from the perspective of the opposite gender. I can seriously relate to this, since there is a female character in my novel that is also a different race from myself. Talk about stepping outside your comfort zone.

The New York Times has a hard-hitting piece of journalism that asks the tough question, "Is reading hurting our spines?"

*Like maybe the irrational exuberance over such an incredible success should be tempered a little by considering the good fortune of Ms. Hocking's chosen genre and delivery channel (i.e. supernatural romance thrillers ala Twilight and the Internet). The obvious next question is: "Would something hardcore literary like Infinite Jest^ have a snowball's chance in Hades of selling 100K copies without massive promotional support from the established publishing mechanism?" Sure, one can sell a bajillion copies of vampire romance novels to Internet-literate Tweens, but what are the ramifications for the wider publishing industry?
^Actually, with it's insane amount of footnotes, Infinite Jest would probably make a crazy good e-book since all the footnotes could be turned into hyperlinks, thus eliminating the need to flip back and forth constantly from the front to the back of the book. Although that would completely destroy the reason for all those footnotes. DFW himself said that he started putting footnotes in his writing so that the reader would have to flip back and forth, thus reminding them that they were reading a book and not a website or a magazine. He wanted the reader to be conscious of the format. Very meta, Dave.
**Of course, if you haven't read the first footnote and footnote to a footnote, you wouldn't know that I have already spoken about DFW. Shame on you for not reading my footnotes. I work hard on these footnotes, and occasionally there's actually some useful information in them. *smiley face smiley face*  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Backyard Reclamation Project: Update

Well, after nearly a month of work, I've finally finished the greenhouse. Just in time for planting season, too. I replaced and cleaned all the panes of glass, tossed out about 20 5-gallon buckets that were gathering spiderwebs, and raked out the pebble floor and spread out a couple more bags of pebbles to make the floor even. I have to admit, the place looks remarkable compared to how it looked before. I broke a few panes of glass and had to create make-shift replacements for them, but those panes are primarily hidden behind hedges so they're hardly noticeable, and, judging by the temperature in the greenhouse this weekend, they aren't effecting the greenhouse's functionality.

Next weekend I'll start planting the veggies, though I haven't officially decided just what I'm going to plant. I'm gonna grow green beans and squash for sure because those are O's and C's fav veggies respectively, but as far as the rest, I'm torn. I think peas would be good, or spinach...maybe tomatoes? I'm open to any suggestions. It would probably be best for me to focus on something that is easy to store and not too hard to grow.

I'm going to start by putting the seeds in these nifty things--

--and let the seeds germinate inside the greenhouse until early April when it should be properly rainy and sunny and the little plants sufficiently strong to withstand any weather disturbances. Therefore I have to finish the backyard in the next six weeks or else I won't have nowhere to put the little guys.

As far as the garden goes, I waffle back and forth between buying a pre-fab garden square, or buying the lumber and building it myself. I mean, it's just a square of wood, how hard could it be? I'll probably do that. It'll probably be cheaper in the long run too.

So, basically, things are going well and are coming according to plan. I'm getting all the infrastructure completed to get my family just a little lower carbon and have an awesome backyard for entertaining and playing alike. If any of you have experience growing stuff, leave your tips in the comments section, or write me directly.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Beatles Completely Ukulele-d Out, Man

I had so much fun recording the cover of "Paperback Writer" that I went back and asked David at Beatles Complete on Ukulele if he needed help in the essay department. Turns out he did. This is what I came up with for the song "I'll Cry Instead" from A Hard Day's Night.