03/07/26 links, novel progress #13
03/07/19 links, novel progress #12
03/07/12 Harry Potter, links, novel progress #11
03/07/05 current events, links, novel progress #10
I'm settling into the routine of working four nine-hour days a week and having Fridays off. Apart from that, my life still feels like I've left for an as yet unknown destination. I suppose I should just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Blogging as political activism.
Similarly, blaming Potter for not being Tolkien strikes me as about as meaningful as crying, "This cat! It is not a cheesecake!" Indeed it's not, and perhaps you should sit down, Ms. Byatt, and have a nice glass of lemonade until you recover your senses. Interesting addition to the Harry Potter discussion.
Koimistress: for they will say both yes and no
Is Harry Potter gay? The main article isn't that great, but the side-bar has some good stuff about Harry Potter fandom.
Boston Phoenix: there's something about Harry
Very nicely illustrated on-line puzzle.
This site must have been one of the first that I ever bookmarked. The "sucky to savvy" web design guide, though slightly dated, contains a lot of good advice.
Last week writing began to feel more like a chore and less like a joy,so I decided to take it easy this week. The result: I didn't write less, I just wrote other things (a "lessons learned while writing a novel" article and an entry in my neglected online journal); during the week I felt myself moving into mental writing space and wanting to write every now and again; and on Friday I felt positively depressed and irritated with myself for not working on the novel.
Also, with the last two episodes I was having another case of trying to push the story where it didn't want to go. (My protagonist is kept prisoner by a faction who wants to hand him over to the King. My plan was to have him fall into the King's hands, since I thought the confrontation between the two would be interesting. Where the story seems to want to go is to have him kidnapped by a third party before he reaches the King. Eventually I decided to accept the inevitable.)
One new episode this week, 648 new words, 34,972 words total.
After the war (53)
Lessons learned while writing a novel.
03/07/19 To write or not to write
First journal entry in months.
03/07/22 Rubber ducks rule the world
Not much going on. I finally figured out the subject for my thesis and sent off the thesis proposal last night.
In the weird cases department: the death of a British weapons expert who was at the heart of the Iraq weapons of mass destruction controverse.
BBC news: weapons expert slashed wrist
Printing out the article linked below, and being seen reading it, may get you in trouble. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Creative loafing: weapons of mass stupidity
Creative loafing: careful, the FB-eye may be watching
SYMBOLS.com contains more than 2,500 Western signs, arranged into 54 groups according to their graphic characteristics. In 1,600 articles their histories, uses, and meanings are thoroughly discussed. The signs range from ideograms carved in mammoth teeth by Cro-Magnon men, to hobo signs and subway graffiti.
Recipies for witches.
The witch's kitchen
Not what you think.
Three new episodes, 1,912 new words. I also updated the introductions to each part and added an introduction to the whole novel.
Introduction and start of part 2
After the war (50)
After the war (51)
After the war (52)
I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (among fans a.k.a. OOP) one or two weeks ago.
(Mildly spoilerish stuff ahead. If you prefer to preserve your innocence, you might want to jump ahead a bit.)
What bothered me about the book was the sheer unmitigated awfulness of the bad guys, especially professor Umbridge, the new teacher of Defence against the Dark Arts.
Writing about evil interests me. I'm primarily interested in the "there for the grace of God go I" approach, but I don't mind villains whose evil is never explained as long as they're well-rounded characters and the writing is good enough to keep me hooked (Iago and Hannibal Lecter come to mind).
With Umbridge, Rowling doesn't seem to give us either. Umbridge remains a cypher, a (to me) deeply annoying character whose over-the-top sadistic behaviour seems to come from nowhere. (When reading the bit about Harry's detention and that godawful pen my suspended disbelief started to kick in again at full force, and I was tempted to throw the damned book around the room. Only the consideration that throwing around a book of this size could do real damage stopped me.)
The book raises a number of questions with regard to the plot. Why do the powers that be hate Dumbledore so much? Why does Dumbledore, who's so powerful that even Voldemort is afraid of him, appoint Umbridge to a job she's so obviously unsuited for? I've got a nagging suspicion that the answer is - to create more obstacles for Harry and hence to make the story "darker". This creates a kind of darkness that seems to be stuck on to the story without much relationship to the characters or to logical cause and effect, a kind of darkness that contains very little real danger. Which is a pity, because in the book there's a lot of good stuff too.
The great Harry Potter debate.
NY Times: A.S.Byatt's article (registration required)
This is the story is a fantasy book is a book with a real tale, only it's not between the covers. Will Allen would retire to his bedroom and his family would hear the typewriter going at all hours. When asked what he was doing, he only smiled and said "you'll see." Later that year, at Christmas 1979 they did. He presented his family and friends with manuscripts of Swords for Hire. Months later, just short of his 23rd birthday, he died of terminal cancer. His older brother Paul, loved the book, read it several times over the years, it was a beloved family story that he read to his daughters. He felt his brother could (and should) have been a published author. He surely was meant to be, and the book got published. It won some rave reviews and awards as well.
Metafilter: swords for hire
Throughout the world, tales have always been told of heroes and heroines embarking on perilous quests in search of lost loved ones, the secret of immortality, earthly paradise or simply great riches. Many of these stories have elements in common, such as clashes with monsters, battles with the elements, interventions by the gods and tests of moral character, mental cunning and physical strength. These tales have been expressed in songs, literature, art and dance for thousands of years, and are still being reinterpreted today in books, comic strips, interactive games and adventure films.
Metafilter: the mythical quest
Inscriptions and documents in the hand of Sir George Buc reveal, among other things, that Buc knew Shakespeare personally, and interviewed him concerning the authorship of a play. This is a fact virtually unknown to Shakespeare's biographers. Also discussions and documents concerning Shakespeare claimants, including William Shakespeare of Stratford and Edward de Vere 17th earl of Oxford.
Alan H. Nelson homepage
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's comments in the European Parliament, and the furore following it, was a bizarre affair. Now that the dust has settled, what are we to make of a joke that caused the European Parliament in Strasbourg to be suspended?
Spiked: when il capo met kapo
Via: the Well
Two new episodes.
Introduction and start of the story
After the war (48)
After the war (49)
The government is being criticised by the unions and the employers' organisations for their planned cuts in governmental spending which, according to several leading economists, are going to be detrimental to our economy. In all probability, this will only reinforce the Cabinet on its planned course - since they've got balls, dammit, and leadership, and they've got the guts to make hard decisions in these difficult times. Sigh.
More Dutch politics and current events:
Dutch politics in 2003
On Friday, 20th June 2003, the death knell sounds for US patent number
4,558,302. Having benefitted its owner, the Unisys Corporation for 20 years, the contents of the patent are entered into the Public Domain and may be used absolutely freely by anyone.
K5: sad day... GIF patent dead at 20
Censorship has been an ongoing issue in Australian film. For years, those from the film community have bemoaned the so-called 'traditional and conservative' values of the censorship board for banning films such as "Romance" and "Baise Moi". It also seems that in recent years, those opposing the decisions of the censorship board have been growing in number and voice.
K5: film censorship in Australia
Tom Phillips made his first Humument pages in 1966 and continues to make them. He drew new meanings out of a forgotten Victorian novel - A Human Document by W.H. Mallock - by painting over or otherwise obscuring most of the words on the page, leaving pithy fragments. The result is wonderfully allusive, poetic and occasionally wise as well as beautiful to look at.
Organized by the International Center of Photography, New York, Dear Friends is the first exhibition to explore the role of photography in commemorating affection between men in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This installation of highly suggestive and ambiguous photographs demonstrates the extent to which the interpretation of images depends upon shifting social values.
Dear friends: American photographs of men together, 1840-1918
As [George Bernard Shaw] did all his own writing himself in the phonetically-based Pitman's Shorthand, he recognized the many benefits offered by a completely phonetic alphabet. With this in mind, he gave instructions in his will that for the first 21 years after his death, the earnings from the royalties of all his works should be spent on the creation and promotion of a phonetic alphabet, using 40 or more letters, each of which represented one sound, and one sound only, of the English language. This was the inspiration for the Shaw Alphabet.
Two new episodes.
Introduction and start of the story
After the war (46)
After the war (47)
Lessons learned while writing a novel.
03/07/04 More elements of writing
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