Thursday, December 29, 2011


Well here it is before us, 2012.

I considered doing a resolution piece, but thought better of it. I’m not a fan of the term; it always comes with the same two-faced defeatist connotation, as if to say, “My resolution this year is to (Insert Lame Idea Here), but you know what that means, so if it doesn’t happen then (wink-wink), oh well.”

I prefer the terms “objectives” or “goals” more. At least with them there is, philosophically speaking, a deeper sense of committal. Besides, my goals for 2012 are pretty mundane, anyway, and aren’t very much different than 2011’s, since I still didn’t do very well towards achieving them no matter what way I choose to describe them. But (wink-wink), oh well. Besides, I just don’t feel like it.

So then I thought, what did I learn this year? Therefore, my minions, that is the subject of this post.

I learned that…

…being unemployed really sucks.
Yep, it does, and the Tucson job market didn’t help that much either, especially when it comes writing jobs. There’s a reason why some people have come to call the Ol’ Pueblo, “The next Detroit.” Sobering, but true.

…being your own boss is awesome!
Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, I recommend the experience to everyone. Yes it didn’t work out in the end, but I think in this case it was more along the lines of the journey being more important than the destination. Still, between the unemployment-caused depression and the elation of when I had freelance work to do, things were a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. Almost bipolar, even. In the end, though, I don’t regret it at all.

…while getting fired is terrible, the ultimate revenge comes when you are re-hired, especially if the new job is a thousand times better than the old.
This goes double when you know the person who fired you is still there and just as miserable as you were. Of course, it would have been icing on the cake if any of those labor lawyers had called me back, too. Just sayin’. I don’t think I’ll ever get use to wearing a tie, though. It goes against my nature.

…JRR Tolkien didn’t create his fictional languages to fit into his stories. He wrote his stories to put his (already created) fictional languages in proper context.
ISN’T THAT ASWESOME?! There’s a reason why his languages sound and feel so real as well as why so many other fantasy writers’ fake languages sound so, well, fake. Tolkien’s great passion was linguistics, and it showed in his work. Everyone else is just trying to rip him off, and poorly at that. One of my own writing rules, especially when it comes to fantasy, is to NEVER fall into the hole that so many have done before and try to create a fictional language. I’d just as soon learn Klingon. jIH 'oH Maztor toy'wI''a' Daq jIH jIH Qaw' lIj qa'!

…there’s no shame in asking for help.
This is one of those lessons I’ve learned repeatedly over the course of my life, but for some reason it has never stuck for long. I can be pretty stubborn at times, even bullheaded I’m told, and sometimes I need a kick in the ass. Maybe it’ll stick this time.

…I’ve put off my fiction work far too long.
I’m 43 now, and I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be with my fiction career by this time. Hell, I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be at 33, for that matter! This includes both reading and writing, I’ve let both slide off to next to nothing. That is unacceptable.

…a burqa is a perfectly acceptable way for a teenage girl to dress, especially if she dresses in the alternative just to piss me off.
Don’t get me wrong. I consider the treatment of women in the Middle East to be just awful. Still, while I don’t condone it I have come to understand why women in ancient Rome were married off at 13!

…Hemingway sucks.
Granted, I’ve known and said this for a long time. It just bears repeating. As many times as possible.

…the best office I ever had was the library in Pima Community College’s Northwest Campus.
Having the kids at home during the summer, and all the yelling, arguing and fighting that goes with it, was not condusive to a proper creative environment. The library gave me great views, a small but thorough collection of reference material and a cafeteria downstairs. And it was close to the house. The staff gets a little pissy about food and drink, though.

…dealing with unemployment and food stamps is almost more trouble than it’s worth.
It edges ahead by just a nose. Do you think it’s deliberately set up like that?

…losing weight is harder than it seems.
I love food and have never had a bad body image. Together with the fact that I was self-medicating my depression by eating, they don’t exactly inspire one to drop the pounds. Oh, the irony! But really, it’s my metabolism. Yeah, that’s it.

…our elected officials just can’t seem to pull it off.
I’ve written about this before. Instead of getting better they only seem to get worse. No wonder their approval ratings are all in the tank! Of course, that didn’t stop Tucsonans from re-electing that ship of fools on the City Council. Maybe we do have the government we deserve.

…pro baseball is dead in Tucson.
I had hoped, when the Toros came back, things would turn around. Guess not. I wonder if the city will be as considerate (meaning, not!) with the Tucson Padres. Hell, does anyone know if they’ll even be here for the 2012 season?! And I won’t even start on Spring Training!

…our culture should take the tradition of the siesta with greater seriousness.
I’m willing to bet that people would be a lot less uptight and consumed with work, while at the same time more productive if they just took an afternoon nap.

…not being able to go out and have fun, even once in awhile, isn’t all that great.
Some people think I’m a hermit. I’m not. I’m broke. There’s a difference. It speaks to intent.

That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure there’s more, so maybe I’ll write a follow up. Or not. Kinda depends on how I’m feeling at that moment.

(Editor's note: Like what you read? No? Well, read something else on the blog. I'll wait ... Did you like that? Great! Tell your friends! Hell, tell your enemies! Tell your family, business acquaintances, your neighbors and that guy who talks to himself at the bus stop. Especially him. Let's see what we can do to make this the biggest blog EEVVVVVVAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


(Warning: Total geek-out and spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.)

Back in 2006, I wrote a piece for, a special part of fantasy media officionado David Haber’s family of Web sites. As you might have guessed, the site dealt mainly with the backlash caused when JK Rowling killed off that most-beloved character Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Unlike a lot of people across the Internet, though, I didn’t waste my time hemming and hawing about how Rowling would bring him back to life. Rather, I talked about the malleability of death in myth and fantasy. Turns out I was pretty close to how Rowling planned it, after a fashion.

Anyway, as a great admirer of the books, that next year I said my final goodbyes like so many others when in July 2007 I read the last printed installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I rather liked the flash-forward in the epilogue. It left me with a sense of open-ended finality I found very satisfying. I have this image of Harry, grown up and walking his beat as an auror, keeping the streets safe, perhaps using similar methods as another hard-assed cop named Harry. Maybe he’s calling some dark wizard troll shit (and, as you know, three things happen to troll shit), or regaling some old goblin with a tale about a certain wood nymph who specialized in helping old goblins grow mellow and more worldly. (Author’s note: If Rowling had Harry keep the Elder Wand, I probably could come up with more analogies along these lines. Just sayin’. “This is the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in the world…”)

Still, I wasn’t quite done with the Harry Potter universe. After all, there were the movies. So yes, I fell into that rabbit hole as well and watched each as they came out to the best of my ability. Well, this past weekend I rented a copy of The Deathly Hallows: Part Two (No, I didn’t watch it in the theaters. Sue me.). Mind you, I view the splitting of a book-based movie into two segments a fairly lame and underhanded marketing gimmick meant to squeeze as much money out of a gullable public as possible. In the case of Deathly Hallows, though, I will grudgingly concede to its necessity. The book is just too damn long. Trying to compact it into one film would have had the same result as David Lynch’s Dune and Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings cliffnotesian nightmares.

I have to hand it to the cast and crew. Like the rest of movie series it remained remarkably true to the original book’s story line, much more than many other film adaptations. Still, of all the Harry Potter movies, Part Two seemed to deviate the most. Many of the scenes held true, but there still was a good measure of changes, shifting around and cutting out. On the whole, though, I guess I can forgive that.

On the whole, they made a good adaptation, but I didn’t have the kind of sense of sad finality I had when I finished reading the series, maybe because I’d already said my goodbyes. So, as I wait for the specfic media industry to fill the void left by the series’ conclusion in a manner that has nothing to do with hip, teenage vampires; eye-candy werewolves; zombies; warrior princesses; San Franciscan sister-witches; or stories that should start with, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…,” I’ll just keep looking for that new reading fix. I understand Rowling has launched a kind of online continuation of the series, no new stories but little tidbits and factoids about the Harry Potter universe that never made it to the books. I think I’ll check that out, sooner or later.

(Editor's note: Like what you read? No? Well, read something else on the blog. I'll wait ... Did you like that? Great! Tell your friends! Hell, tell your enemies! Tell your family, business acquaintances, your neighbors and that guy who talks to himself at the bus stop. Especially him. Let's see what we can do to make this the biggest blog EEVVVVVVAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!)