Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Zombie Game -- GAAAAAAME!!!

Longtime readers may remember the Pirate Game a few years back, and all the hil-ARRR-ity that followed. Now my friend Ted has alerted me to the Zombie Game, created by A. White:

What is a zombie's favorite state?


And favorite kind of dog?


What do zombies use to grow hair?


Who's their favorite Presidential candidate?


And B-list actor?


And Jackson 5 brother?


Today is my birthday, so wish me a good day by leaving your own contribution in the comments. And guard your brains -- BRAAAAIIINNNS!!! Hee.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Read This Now: "The Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter

I've just learned they've made a movie from one of the books that moved me most in the last few years: The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter. The novel is a daisy chain of first-person voices and love stories: Bradley for Kathryn, Kathryn for Jenny, Chloe for Oscar, Oscar for Chloe, Bradley for Diana, Harry Ginsberg for his son . . . To name too many more names would give the novel's surprises and pleasures away; and like its stated subject, the novel is a full feast of surprise and pleasure, loss and peace, heat and pain. From its trailers, the film does not look like a travesty of the novel, but I very much doubt it will get all its richness and depth, most especially the amazing range and honesty of those first-person voices. So read the book now to have it pure for yourself, and see the movie later if you like.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Abridged Classics: Becoming Jane

I still haven't seen "Becoming Jane" (and at this point, probably won't), but I laughed hard at this "abridged" edition and the snarky pop-up comments. Down with La Hathaway! Video first seen on Austenblog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Brooklyn Arden Review: "High School Musical 2"

I loved it, even more than the first one. The plot wasn't that suspenseful -- the outcome of the Temptation of Troy Bolton is never in doubt -- and it probably says everything about the real depth of the emotions here that after the big breakup scene, complete with a tearful jewelry handover, Gabriella runs to a minivan and gets picked up by her mom. But like the first movie, "High School Musical 2" tackles its protagonists' problems with absolute respect for the characters and no distance or irony, so it's truly and sincerely sympathetic to the children and preteens who are its primary audience; and from a production standpoint, the performances got better, the musical numbers got bigger (while I must say most of the songs seem to have been written by out-of-work composers for boy bands, particularly Troy's soliloquy-ish "Bet on It," I adore "You Are the Music in Me"), and the characters got deeper (Ryan and Sharpay, at least -- Gabriella continues to be about as interesting as her refined-sugar voice). And there is just something about people singing and dancing together in harmony that makes me incredibly happy. Hurrah for "2"; bring on "3"!

My Friend Jonathan on "The Giving Tree"

"I bet this is Ike Turner's favorite book."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Pet Peeve in Passing

Apropos of nothing except a book I read recently: If you have a child or teen character in your manuscript, please, please, do not describe the child as a "youngster," as in "The youngster grinned as wide as the Mississippi while he licked his ice-cream cone." Nothing says "I am watching/describing this kid from the outside rather than getting into his head, feelings, and concerns" -- or more simply, "I am out of touch with real children"-- than the word "youngster." ("Youth" is also dangerous, but not quite as egregious.) In fact, I would go so far as to say that if the word appears anywhere in your manuscript other than perhaps the dialogue of an elderly character who is not sympathetic to children (but then who really says "youngster" in conversation? Really?): Delete it. Eggh.

This has been a public service announcement from Editors Against Thesaurus Abuse.*

* We were going to add "for the Sake of Word Variation, Especially When It Conflicts with a Believable or Even Readable Voice" -- but it wouldn't fit on our business cards. If you have a better acronym, let us know.

Monday, September 03, 2007

End of Summer Video: Ron's Slip 'n Slide Extravaganza

This has been making the rounds for a while (I first saw it on Five Bucks), but I love it for the sheer ingenuity and utter stupidity of the thing -- it's such a perfectly in-character thing for teenage boys to do. (Note also that Ron names himself "Ron da Con" in the final frame.) And, of course, the slide itself looks like awesome fun. Cowabunga, dudes.