Welcome to my hell

Month may become dimmest on record (Boston Globe)

Contrary to popular belief, hell is not a landscape of red rock with flames flickering here and there, nor is it other people. If, as some theologians conjecture, hell is the worst thing any particular individual can imagine, I’m fairly sure that June 2009 in New England is my own personal hell.

If you receive no more missives from me, it’s likely because I went insane from lack of vitamin D.

Knitting and knitting and knitting

I envy my wife her hobby–knitting. She can knit while watching TV or having a conversation without missing a beat. And she gets something out of it, too–at the end of a four-hour marathon of NCIS, she’s made half a blanket or whatever.

I don’t have a hobby like that. I’ve tried writing while watching TV, but it just doesn’t work–writing requires so much of my concentration I can’t even listen to music other than classical (and sometimes not even that, depending on how up-tempo it is).

Which all means that, in order to be anything resembling a successful writer, I’ve got to get used to spending a lot of time doing nothing other than writing. It’s hard not to feel like life is passing you by. But that’s always been one of the crosses writers have had to bear, I suppose.

Thoughts on online comics archives

[I clicked on the “add new post” link on my BBn dashboard and the site didn’t react. It just sat there, motionless. It woke up after a second click. I guess it wasn’t expecting to ever be used again.]

Marvel Comics has a great online service called Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, which allows users to read thousands of back issues for a monthly fee. It’s awesome, but I’m a DC guy these days, and I just don’t get why DC Comics hasn’t done it yet. If they did, I’d sign up in a second. (more…)

Let the boys be boys

Could we please have a moratorium on the media’s use of the word “slam” to represent one politician’s criticism of another? Stop trying to make it exciting. It’s not.

Ed Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

On Saturday, Karen and I went to see my good cousin Ed (of the Ed Zone) in his first dramatic appearance since the renowned Rockland High production of Annie nigh on twenty years ago. This time he played asylum orderly “Aide Warren” in the Gateway Players’ production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Ed seemed natural in the role of the sadistic, brutal Warren, which makes me wonder what life is like for the employees he manages at his job, but whatever. Dressed smartly in a white shirt with a black bow tie and sporting his clean-shaven head, Ed’s Warren looked like a 1950s gas station attendant–from hell.

As for the play itself–I’ve managed to get through twenty-nine years of life and a first-class education without ever having read the book or seen the film, but I thoroughly enjoyed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. While ostensibly an indictment of 1950s mental disorder treatment, its significance has become less pragmatic and more symbolic as time goes on. I found myself making comparisons to Sartre’s No Exit. (You can read an official review here.)

There’s still another weekend of performances to go, but tickets are sold out, so if you don’t already have one, you’re out of luck. But if you’re going, prepare to enjoy an enlightening evening watching one of the classics of American drama–or a bald guy gleefully beating on mental patients, if that’s your thing.

No comment

I’ve participated in online communities ever since the days of Prodigy’s bulletin boards back in the early 1990s. I still remember my first–and only–flame war: it was with a guy named Den Elms over how realistic the effects in Jurassic Park looked. I also remember another poster chiding me for the anti-Elms posts I was writing, saying I didn’t need to “build a temple of hate” to the guy. I took that criticism to heart,* and ever since I have stayed away from flame wars and arguing on the Internet–which is, of course, the best modern analogue for the myth of Sisyphus.

But by the early 2000s, the Internet had become all about the user. And so the sort of close-minded, competition-based arguing that had once been done primarily about the supremacy of one sports team over another or whether or not Balrogs have wings is now found beneath news articles, editorials, and anything else on the Web. (more…)

No one to blame but myself.

I admit it–I don’t read as much as I used to, and when I do read, it’s often not “great literature.” As I chronicled recently, I’m working my way through the old Doc Savage paperbacks from the thirties and forties. I also read a lot of comic books these days.

When I do read a novel, it’s often…not that great. Once upon a time I used to read great works of literature for fun, but that was mostly in late high school and through college. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my literary bread and butter. And I’m also a lifelong fan of…(deep breath)…tie-in fiction. (more…)

Right Said Ed

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out my cousin and good friend Ed’s touching tribute to my recent nuptials. I can’t thank him enough for handling the MC duties for our “love story.”

The so-called Shindig–the East Coast reception for those who couldn’t make the West Coast wedding–went off last weekend without a hitch, since my wife and I had already gotten hitched in early August.

The wedding itself deserves its own post, as does, well, pretty much every non-toy-related thing I’ve been doing since I last posted here regularly, but PGPoA is still taking up most of my blogging time and energy. We’ll see if I can up the post count here in the near future.

Speaking of PGPoA, some of you may recall the craziness that was October ’06 here at BBn. Well, something similar will be happening over on PGPoA next month…

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze

(What’s this?! A new Biggerboat post? No, your eyes do not deceive you!)

Talk about being late to the party. For the first time, at the hoary old age of 29, I finally read a Doc Savage story.

Doc Savage, along with the Shadow and the Phantom and an assortment of other pulp heroes, are the ancestors (fathers, really) of the modern superhero.? And yet, while many people might recognize the name “Doc Savage,” few people–including, until recently, me–knew anything about the character.

I’d been meaning to track down some Doc Savage novels for a while, but I wasn’t in a hurry. While I’m a fan of pulp literature, I’ve been burned by too many experiences with poor writing.

While H.P. Lovecraft (creator of the Cthulhu Mythos) and Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the barbarian) were good writers as well as good storytellers, other pulp authors have disappointed me. I was never able to get into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series, and I just couldn’t get through Armageddon 2419 A.D., the first Buck Rogers novel.

The problem may be the science fiction setting as much as the writing; all the pseudo-science and antiquated ideas are too much at odds with what we’ve learned about the universe since. It becomes distracting, particularly when a character goes on and on about some scientific concept that’s been completely discredited since. (more…)

The Toybox

My friend Kate and I have started a new webcomic over on Points of Articulation called “The Toybox.” Check it out!

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